Monday, June 16, 2014

Persistant Faith

Last week, I and one other person were privileged to pray for a middle-aged Christian man, Gary, who had liver cancer. I sensed the presence of the Lord strongly when we anointed him with oil and commanded the cancer to leave. As the session ended, I felt like the Lord had stressed three points to Gary. Maybe they will speak to you in your situation, too.

Know The Resurrection’s Power of Christ

The Lord gave me a vision for Gary. I saw the inside of a hole in the ground in the woods. The bottom was covered with a single row of large soft leaves like Lamb’s Ear. When I looked up, I saw the simmering rays of the sun illuminating the bed of leaves. It was a peaceful even joyous scene. Then the sunlight left and a flashlight entered the hole. Its light went from side to side like it was searching for something. Then I sensed it was a grave.

What does this mean Lord?

“You can search all you want, but I am not there. The empty tomb is all the proof you need to know that I rose from the dead to give you power over the works of the enemy. Come boldly before the Throne of Grace.”

Take Communion

Taking communion frequently helps us to remain focused on Christ and what He has done. The Resurrection of Christ was not for the forgiveness of sins alone, but it also gave us the power to renew our mind and receive healing for our body as well

Psalm 103:

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me,
Bless His holy name.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forgot not all His benefits.
Who forgives all of your sins
And heals all your diseases.

Keep the faith.

Then at the end, the Lord said this:

“Tell Gary he does not have to have great faith to receive his healing but he does have to have persistent faith.” Then the Lord gave me this scripture:

Luke 17:5-6

The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith-that trust and confidence that springs from our belief in God."

And the Lord answered, “If you have faith (trust and confidence in God) even as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots, and be planted in the sea’, and it would obey you.”

What does persistent faith look like? It means we continue to stand and believe in God’s truth even though we may face opposition, obstacles, and discouragement. How is persistent faith maintained? By pursuing the word of God and listening to the testimony of others who have used persistent faith to win their battles.

Are you going through some tough times? Difficulties like cancer or others like a job loss will test our perseverance no matter how much faith we think we have. The enemy is out to steal, kill and destroy all of us and he will not give up easily. But with God’s steadfast strength, our persistent faith, and the revelations we gain from the study of His Word, we will come out on the winning side, alive and well.

My computer has been severely messed up. I hope to get it fixed soon. Thanks for your patience.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Gone Fishing

Now that Jesus has raised from the dead and given uspower to become like Him, what do you suppose God’s next move is going to be? I think He wants to take us fishing. Now, God doesn’t fish in the same old way we do. He fishes for all kinds of people. He doesn’t care about where He has to go to catch one, how big it is or what it looks like when He pulls it up. All God wants to know is whether His catch will love and serve Him through His Son Jesus.

So what kind of equipment does He use, you may ask?

God uses a variety of poles and all of them resemble you and me. Me, a pole of God’s? Yes, all God’s children are potential fishing poles. He likes to big game fish in the ocean with a heavy-duty rod and reel just as much as He likes to sit at the edge of a secluded lake with a homemade cane pole. The goal is still the same…to catch what is hungry in the area.

Hook? The knowledge of the freedom anyone can have through the mercy, grace, and righteousness found in Christ. He uses our passion for proclamation to throw out the bait for everyone to hear.

Bait? God keeps everything organized in His tackle box. He has collected an assortment of abilities to fit each situation just in case one doesn’t work out. He uses abilities through the actions and attitudes of love joy, peace, patience, and kindness for some and then others need to see gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. Sometimes, he will throw out prophetic words to disturb the waters or create some interest.

The line? Our faith added to His.

What about the float or bobber? That would be the Holy Spirit’s job to alert the fisherman of the possibilities ahead.

How long will God stay at a fishing spot? He will stay as long as it takes Him to catch the apple of his eye. He’s never pushed for time like we are. God’s remarkable love for all the ‘whosoevers’ have brought out the very essence of what a true patient fisherman is.

Hey! God wants to know, if YOU are interested in going fishing with Him sometime? He goes everyday. He likes a simple catch but he believes the bigger the challenge, the greater the glory when the victories are finally told. Go ahead…grab your bait and see what he’ll catch with you today.

"Come, follow me," Jesus said,
 "and I will send you out to fish for people." 
Matthew 4:19 (NIV)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Checking Your Resolve: Part 2

Preparation is only the beginning of a plan. The next step is putting that plan into action. After repacking into Kristen’s car because mine wouldn’t start, off to Raleigh we went. That was a “worry” tactic for weekend from the enemy, I am sure.

We arrived at the tail end of the Friday night session. However, Kristen and I were still able to meet the children. There were five, two boys and three girls, ranging from 5-9. They were enthusiastic about the weekend so we became enthusiastic too. I sensed God’s presence was there with me so I reminded myself to leave the results in His capable hands.

I taught 3 lessons during the day. The first had to do with being fisher’s of men and what that could mean for them. The third one had to do with how special they are to God. Then, I helped them realize God has given each of us a special gift to share, which can help lead others to Jesus. Each of these lessons went well and the children responded to my questions. However, the second lesson evoked questions from them.

In the second lesson, I read the book Heaven Is For Real for kids by Todd and Sonja Burpo about there son's (Colton) experience with heaven. I hadn’t read much, when Zeb, age 8, skeptically asked, “Did he ‘really’ go to heaven?” 

I responded enthusiastically, "Yes he did. Not everybody gets to go to heaven like Colton, but God chooses a few to make the round trip from time to time. God wants us to know that Heaven is a real place and what it is going to be like when we arrive. Knowing about heaven gives us confidence of our future home and helps us share heaven’s reality with others."

As I progressed to the pages with the animals, Sarah, age 5, responded. She calmly came and nestled between the book I was holding up and me. We continued to discuss what animals they wanted to play with when they arrived in heaven. Meanwhile, I noticed Sarah’s little finger on the brown dog in the picture. She still made no comment. As I turned to the next page though she peacefully returned to her seat.

Later, I overheard this conversation.

Adult: I’m so sorry your dog died this week. But I bet he is in heaven right now playing with the dog I lost.

Sarah: Yes, I know that now. We read a book in class today that told me so.

Adult: What was the name of the book?

Sarah: Heaven Is Real

Adult: I am glad you are not sad anymore.

Sarah smiled and skipped off to play.

Was I sent to calm the cries of Sarah's aching heart? Yes among others. Even though I struggled with going, God had a specific purpose in mind for me as His representative. He led my planning so I would have something for each of the kids on their level of understanding.

Monday, I got this email from the mother of Zeb:

I just want to share with you all what an impact the weekend had on my family, especially Zeb. He has been a part of two LWM at our church but this was the first time he has gone with us as team members (Lydia's third). Last night and again this morning when he was praying he thanked God for the weekend and his new friends, asked God to help him keep the 10 commandments and the coolest, he prayed next time he could give his testimony. Mary Jane and Kristen, a huge thank you for all you taught and the time you spent with our precious children!

God gave me victory over all my reluctances when I choose Him over my fears. He allowed me to receive much more affirmation then I ever expected. I did not think I did anything outstanding while I was doing the task but God blessed the time and used it to make me stand out.

Look what I would have missed, if I had been stubborn and said no.

So again I ask you: Have you had times lately where you know God has asked you to serve  in a situation and you allowed your fears to keep you bound to indecisiveness and fear. I want to encourage you again with my results to press through and see God’s affirmation and victory spread out before you. He never expects us to do it alone. He is always right there with us.  We just have to seek Him and then rest knowing His wisdom is on the way.

Part 1 of  Checking Your Resolve

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Checking Your Resolve: Part 1

I don’t WANT to do it. I wish I had known earlier the other two ladies were not going to be able to make it. I was supposed to be the helper and not the teacher. This is out of my comfort zone. Lord, what am I going to do?

These where the thoughts I had, as I prepared to teach the K-5 children at a Lay Witness Weekend four hours away. I was in a panic. I desperately wanted to say no, but there wasn’t any real reason I couldn’t. Suddenly, God put me in remembrance of my closing statements on the blog post Becoming Grandma. We have to be willing to teach the children or we deny them Christ. (When you speak or write forth, be prepare to back it up yourself.) Then, I sensed God wanting me to lasso my fear and release my faith into His guiding hand.  He graciously pointed out that I needed to take captive the doubting mindset or I would become powerless. So I prayed for God’s help and direction and then set out to gather what I needed.

I asked a lot questions and got a lot of help from others. However,I finally decided I needed to do what worked best for me. I went through my Christian children’s books and several caught my eye. I was still shaky in my thoughts at times and still wanted a way out (just being honest), but for the most part, I was experiencing victory. I kept refocusing on God’s faithfulness and thanking Him for success. Soon the fruit of perseverance came forth because my creative juices began to flow.

Then it happened! I bent over to pick up a plant and pulled my lower back. It didn’t hurt at first but by nightfall, I could barely move much less stand. As I laid there on an ice pack, I thought, This was the way out I had been hoping for! This could be God. Oh Joy! I’ll just call and cancel.

Before I could get to the phone, there was a caution in my spirit.  ‘The way out’ didn’t seem so right anymore. I felt God testing my resolve and was giving me a distinct choice. Did I want to grow or remain in the protective environment I had so carefully constructed around myself? Was it worth being uncomfortable momentarily for the new level of normal I could achieve? All I could think about was this: If I took the easy way out, my developing reliance on Him would be sabotaged and the enemy would win. I despise the enemy winning at anything so I consciously chose to move forward with God.

I asked for prayer everywhere because I only had 4 days to heal. I stayed on an ice pack, took ibuprofen around the clock, and kept planning my lessons. By Friday, I was much better and felt I could go. God helped me finish my preparations and then He healed my back.

Has God checked your resolve lately? Is there something you need to do that is out of your comfort zone? I want to encourage you to fight the urge to squash the leadings of the Holy Spirit and step out in faith. God loves us no matter what but He desires us to grow and learn more about His Kingdom living. And...the victory dance in the end, well… there’s nothing like it.

Part 2-Next Week