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Monday, November 24, 2014

The Vault

There’s an old story about an Navajo indian who had become rich because oil had been found on his property. He took all the money and put it in a bank. His banker became familiar with the habits of this old gentleman. Every once in a while the Indian would show up at the bank and say to the banker, "Grass all gone, sheep all sick, water holes dry." The banker wouldn't say a word -- he knew what needed to be done. He'd bring the old man inside and seat him in the vault. Then he'd bring out several bags of silver dollars and say, "These are yours." The old man would spend about an hour in there looking at his money, stacking up the dollars and counting them. Then he'd come out and say, "Grass all green, sheep all well, water holes all full."

Sometimes it seems like life piles on us. One hit after another. Or it’s a constant trial that just won’t let up. It can be difficult during these times to be “thankful”. It can be hard to see any good that can come out of all of this. 

We forget how much we have, how blessed we truly are. If this speaks to you now, come with me and lets open the vault of God’s word, let us pull out the wealth that is yours and mine. 

Ephesians chapter 1 always reminds me that I’m blessed in the Heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. He chose me. He adopted me. I have redemption through His blood. I am forgiven. 

The riches of God’s grace has been lavished on me. His Spirit dwells within me. His great power is working for me. 

This is just in one chapter. There are countless other bags of wealth left in the vault we could bring out. 

We have to make an effort sometimes to be thankful. It is a choice that doesn’t come easy in the rough seasons. We choose to remain in our despondency, or we rise up and remember. 

David encouraged himself in the Lord, when he was going through a rough time. That’s exactly what we need to do. I can testify to you that it works. My perspective changes, my spirit is uplifted. 

Your God has not abandoned you. He brought you through past trials, He is with you now, and He is already in your future trials. His grace is sufficient for you. He has lavished His grace on you. Encourage yourself in the Lord. You’ll find He is enough. 

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

The List

I recently read a article listing eight women men should never date. It was an entertaining read. It warned men to stay away from needy, wishy washy, critical, insecure, dramatic, etc. women. 

As I read this list, I could only think, wow! If my husband went by a list like this, he probably would never had married me. Maybe no one would have. In fact no one would have a chance at love if we went by this list. I mean who among us can say they never had any issues? 

But then a question came to my mind. What if our Heavenly Father had such a list? What if He had a list of unacceptables?  “Stay away from these people. They are unsavable, unlovable, a hopeless case. Not worth my time and effort.”

If you know the Father’s heart at all, you know this is not so. But sometimes we act like we are on a list like this. We walk around like we are unacceptable, unloved, forgotten and hopeless. 

If you feel as though your “issues” are preventing Jesus from loving you, I want to assure you that this is not the truth, no matter how you feel about yourself. 

I want to share with you another list. This is how Jesus feels about you:

*He has searched unceasingly for you, like a Shepherd searches for a lost sheep. He will not stop till He holds you. Luke 15:4-6

*He waited for you eagerly and ran to you when He saw you turning to Him. Luke 15:20

*He holds you firmly in His strong right arm. He will not let go and no one can snatch you out of His hand. John 10:28-29

*You are not a wasted project He’s sorry to have started. He will never toss you in a corner in frustration. He never stops molding and making you into a beautiful vessel. Phillipians 1:6

*He looks at your broken down walls, rubble and burnt out gates and sees something totally different. He is like Nehemiah, He will rebuild you. You will be whole and secure. People will look in amazement at what He does in you. 

*He does not treat us as our sins deserve, but as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our sins from us. Psalm 103:10-12

*You are a new creation, the old has gone, the new is here. You are not what you were. God has changed you into someone completely different. You have been transformed by the renewing of your mind. To God be the glory! 2 Corinthians 5:17

*You are blessed, holy and blameless. You are adopted as His daughter. You are redeemed and forgiven by the work of His blood. He has lavished His grace upon you. You are chosen and you sit with Him in the Heavenly realms. Ephesians 1

Now this is a list I can get into! Doesn’t it just expand your faith as you read it? It should, because it’s the truth of God’s word. His Word is powerful. 

But you know, sometimes I walk around with my head down and wonder how He could love and accept me, with all my issues? I don’t know why He does. I have to remind myself of the truth, review the list. 

I want to encourage you to review the list. Know what the truth is. Walk in boldness and freedom, eyes off yourself, knowing He does love you. He makes you sparkle and shine. 

You are beautiful, you are His daughter. And He will never stop loving you. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Fresh Bread

I’ve worked in an office environment and I have watched big egos in action. In the executive world it’s all about promotions, titles, and big paychecks. After witnessing this whirl of self importance, I’ll just remain a peon thank you.  

What’s really sad though is when this attitude enters into the church. The body of Christ is no place for big egos and focus on self. After all Jesus Himself was worlds apart from this attitude. In Philippians 2 it says this about the attitude of Jesus:

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!” 

I’ve been in a leadership position for 10 years or more in our church body and I’ve learned some invaluable lessons along the way. I’ve been pondering on these things and I want to share it with you.

*Our focus should not be on gaining people’s approval. Think you are all that and a bag of chips? Well you’re not! Read your own press sometime and you’ll find that bubble burst. If I go down the road of seeking people’s approval, it will certainly lead to a despairing end. Yea it feels good to be applauded, but it’s also a dangerous tool of the enemy. Beware of this temptation. To be quite honest, it’s easier to deal with rejection than the praises of people. 

*Let God be your promoter, don’t promote yourself. I wrote in a earlier blog that spiritual promotion is far different than worldly promotion. It takes you deeper than you ever been. It pulls you closer to the Father’s heart. It tenderizes your heart. Your spiritual perception is clearer. Your spiritual appetite is more acute. 

God is all about character. I’ve known people who were placed in leadership positions who were seriously lacking in character. I’ve seen the debris field as a result of damage done. Let God do His deep work in your life and let Him promote you. 

*Placing our agenda above everyone else’s. It’s not your ministry, but God’s ministry through a willing vessel. You are the turtle on a fence post. The turtle didn’t get there on it’s own, somebody had to place it there. 

He has entrusted others to you. It’s all about loving and feeding the body of Christ, not about you. 

*Our focus should be God’s presence in our lives, seeking His face, His heart. I love Moses prayer in Exodus 33, “Then Moses said to him, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?" 

This is what leadership should be about. The Lord wants to take us like a fresh loaf of bread, and break us to feed the people He’s placed in our lives. 

Its awesome to be considered a leader, but it’s also very sobering. Even a bit scary sometimes. It shouldn’t be taken lightly, because lives are at stake. As long as our focus is on Jesus, we’ll be that fresh bread. 

I’m confident that you can be the leader He’s made you to be. After all, He’s been working on you for a long time now. His fingerprints are all over you. When He promotes you, you will be ready to be the vessel He’s formed you to be. 

Rest in His hands, trust Him to do the work. You will be amazed. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Election Day

Tomorrow is election day and I’ll be so happy when it’s over. I get so tired of the political posturing and ads. But I want to talk about another election. 

In 2 Peter 1:10, it says, “Therefore my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble.” 

Do you walk in complete assurance that your Heavenly Father loves you and has saved you to the upmost? Or does doubt and fear torment you and keep you from this blessed assurance? 

As I pondered these things, I thought about marriage. I’ve been married for twenty seven years now. There have been rough spots and lean times. That comes with the territory, it’s life. 

I bear my husband’s name. I bore his son. We have a lifetime of memories together. We have sacrificed for each other. We’ve done life together. We truly are each other’s best friends. 

Now at the end of the day, I’m not mired in doubt about whether I’m married, or loved. Or if I truly love him. I am in complete assurance about these things. We have a history. I walk around in confidence that I belong to him and he belongs to me. Unless something drastic happens, that will never change. 

Now as wonderful as human love can be, it is human after all. So lets take this up a notch to our relationship with Jesus. 

Do you and Jesus have a history together? Has He proved faithful to you through the toughest times? Does He have your heart? Have you made every effort to grow in your relationship with Him. (2 Peter 1:5-9) 

If you can truly say yes to these things, then you have an assurance that can’t be taken away from you. You can lay down in peace tonight knowing Whose you are, and Whose name you bear. As it says in Romans 8, “Neither death or life, neither angels or demons, neither the present or future, nor any powers, neither height or depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”. 

Perhaps you have never fully given your heart to Him. Maybe you’ve pushed Him away. So you’ve never felt this assurance. 

You can start today on this journey with Jesus. You can walk in confidence and assurance that you are loved. This can be your election day! Choose a new start today.