Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Key

The ministry of prayer often teaches me as much as it helps the person I am praying for. This was the case as I prayed for a lady who I knew was coming into see me.

When I pray, God often gives me a picture of something, which can help the person, I am praying for. When I closed my eyes for this particular lady, I began to see an enlarged knob and keyhole on a huge wood door. The keyhole was large enough so that I could see there was a beautiful country on the other side of the door. I felt a peace as well as an excitement while I looked around to see as much as I could see. Then, I could see the lady I was praying for looking through the keyhole and admiring the land as well. Then the vision in my mind’s eye ended.

I was not sure what it all meant so I asked the Holy Spirit to give me some understanding of what I was to say. Moments later, I spoke out these words without even thinking about it.

The key is in the character.

I let the phrase roll over in my mind a few times before the revelation of what the Holy Spirit was saying came forth.

God often shows us a part of where He is planning on taking us by giving us dreams, visions, words of knowledge or prophecy or through other avenues in our daily lives.We get excited and sometimes consumed with the future plan. However, God will not open the door to the “promised land” until we gain the character skills to stay firmly planted when we get there.

So many times when the wait is long, we want to whine and plead our way into where we knew God wanted to place us. But God will not let us “jimmy the lock” open prematurely. Why? He loves us too much. He knows, if He allows us into the land too early, He would be setting us up for failure. Although every pathway has its challenges, God doesn’t intentionally send someone into a new situation knowing they do not have the character skills to accomplish what He is asking them to accomplish. We may try to send ourselves in disobedience but God will not send us unprepared.

So, if the key is the character, then where do we find the traits needed to advance to the next level? We can start with the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. Love-joy-peace-patience-kindness-goodness-faithfulness-gentleness-self_control. As we grow in Christ our understanding of each of these grows. As we put our understanding of each of these fruits into practice, then the Holy Spirit will reveal more and more to us. The more we develop our fruits/character the more usable we become and the more we can glorify the One we serve.

Are you ready to enter your promised land or are you still going around in stubborn circles? There are no shortcuts with God. Only the real thing will do. Ask Him what you are lacking and get ready to insert your key of character. God is more then ready to help you with opening your door.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Crosses for Christ

Crosses. I have a collection of them on my wall. And yet, if I had to choose one cross to focus on in my life, what would it be? Jesus tells us to take up our cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23 NIV). So…what was the cross I was suppose to bare, Jesus?

In the next several days, I was reading in Marlene Bagnell’s book Write His Answers, when I came across this statement.

“Write out of your life experiences,” I felt the Lord say to me. “Make yourself transparent and vulnerable so others can see what I have done, and am doing, in your life.”

God’s declaration to Marlene seemed to capture my spirit. As I read it two or three more  times, I allowed its significance to sink into my heart. Then the Lord spoke to me personally and said:

Take up your cross and follow Me.

“Ok Lord,” was my reply

Then He came back again and said:

Take up your cross ‘pen’ and follow Me.

The instructions about what my cross was supposed to be became crystal clear.  Now, I had to make a choice. He was asking me to open up my walk with Him along with myself for others to see. Was I willing? Yes…even after considering the cost…I was ready to take up my cross pen to follow Him.

What does it really mean to take up a cross and follow Jesus? A cross is like an assignment God gives to a believer to do while he/she is here on the earth. Jesus’ cross was to die for the sins of the world and make salvation available to whosoever chose to believe in Him and what He has done. All our crosses work together towards proclaiming Jesus's salvation message until He returns again.

Are you looking for what your cross for Christ is? Let me suggest a few thoughts to help you ponder what you cross might be.

What or where is your passion? This may be a no brainer for some but check to make sure there are no emerging passions that are not fully developed yet.

What has God consistently guided you towards by the power of the Holy Spirit? It may be something you have been resistant to do none the less God keeps encouraging you to head towards that direction.

If you do not have to totally depend of Jesus to carry your cross, is it really the cross He wants you to carry? Your cross will never be about what you can do for Christ but what He wants to do through you by the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit.

You may have a cross that will last for a lifetime or you may be one that has a cross for a season and then it changes with the onset of a new season. Every cross requires your all. Suffering is apart of everyone’s cross carrying journey. However, whatever your suffering ends up being, the result of persistence through it all will result in a new level of maturity you had not thought possible.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Welcome to "Friday Friends," guest blogger, Kimberly Rae, who has written a wonderful story about how she displayed the love of Christ to a young boy in Bangladesh.

Milo wears little brown shorts that do not button. A necklace made of thread is his only other clothing. His feet are so tiny. One has a piece of material tied around it and he is limping.

I ask to see his foot. The Bangladeshi mother does not understand my question, but she sees my hand motions and unwraps the dirty cloth around his foot, explaining in Bengali all the while. From her gestures I guess that he had stepped on a sharp object. His foot does not look good.
I leave Milo and his mother and head home, grab my scarcely used first-aid kit, then return to my new little friend.
It does not take long for me to realize that my mission is futile. Either the sore had scabbed over, or so much dirt has crusted in it that I cannot get it off. I try an antibacterial wipe, then an alcohol wipe. Since neither even erase the dirt marks on the surface of his foot, I know nothing I do will get to the actual sore to help.
The rest is rather pointless. I apply antibiotic cream, but for no purpose since the sore is still covered, then the gauze goes on and I tape it securely to his foot. I have been talking the whole time for Milo’s sake, but all in English. Finally I say “shesh”--- Bengali for “finished,” and heard it ripple through the crowd.
The smiling mother picks up Milo, while I also stand. I am shocked to see people around us in every direction.
I say goodbye---see you again---to Milo and his mother, and walk to the ever-present rickshaw. The rickshaw driver is smiling at me. I hope he knows it is Christ’s love I want to show.
Have I done anything worthwhile? Not really. None of the first-aid I did will make any difference. The again, perhaps other things are accomplished this day, things that were not my goal, but that held more worth than my goal.
In such a place, where class and status matter, I reached down and touched a little boy who had perhaps never received any special attention in his entire life. I had touched his foot, in a land where the foot is unclean and many would be mortified to touch another person’s foot. I had smiled and tried to help, and in a country where most think that all Americans and Christians, perhaps my doing so had represented Christ in some small way.
On my rickshaw ride home, I pray that God will heal little Milo’s foot. And I pray that someday, when someone tells them of Jesus in their own language, they will think of this small act of kindness, ad be willing to listen. I pray they saw His love in me.

Whose foot has God asked you to touch today?

Kimberly Rae lived in Bangladesh, Uganda, Kosovo and Indonesia before health problems brought her back to the US permanently. She now writes from North Carolina, where she lives with her husband and two young children. Rae's Christian suspense/romance novel on international human trafficking, Stolen Woman (Kindle version), hit the Amazon Bestseller list in 2011. Find out more at, or read about Kimberly's real-life adventures on her blog,!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

You've Got Cancer

Hearing the words “You’ve got cancer,” are devastating. Walls seem to come crashing down around you, as you begin to realize you must mount up to face the fight. It looks as if faith flees momentarily, but like a magnet comes back the moment you turn to stand.

These were my thoughts as I sat in a chemotherapy waiting room this past week. My daughter-in-law, Leslie and I had driven Tom, her step-dad, to his monthly doctor’s appointment. This time, Tom was there for a check-up before his chemo treatment the next week; however, this fight started long before this visit.

Tom has been battling brain cancer for the past 10 months. It took six weeks, and numerous theories before the doctors could diagnose Tom’s problem correctly. Tom’s type of cancer is very rare, and little is known, so the doctors felt compelled to give him chemotherapy as a precautionary measure. Tom is one of three in the world that has ever had this type of cancer and the only one who has had it to start in the brain first. It usually manifests itself in other areas of the body first. Thus, explaining why the doctors felt the need for further treatment.

Within the next several weeks of the diagnosis, God miraculously healed Tom of the brain cancer. The two heart-shaped tumors were on the x-ray, and then they were gone. The doctor’s couldn’t explain the disappearance, but they couldn’t deny it either.  Tom and his wife Nancy had gone through days of not knowing what challenges were coming up next, how are they going to pay for the expensive treatments and, of course, just the exhaustion of dealing with an illness like this. Even though God healed Tom of the brain cancer itself, it has still been a fight to make sure the illness is totally defeated. Tom and Nancy have remained strong through the whole process. They have thanked God for the miraculous healing He has given them and they have thank God for the strength to finish this final leg of their journey. Tom and Nancy have become stronger, wiser, and even more convinced of God’s loving care as they have sought Him in every aspect along the way.

I am thankful for Tom and Nancy’s Godly witness and perseverance in their most recent challenging experience. It helps me know that I can expect God to be there for me when I go through my difficult times. The journey may not be as easy as I would like, but God can redeem any circumstance for my good and His glory, when I seek Him with my whole heart.

How are you handling your overwhelming challenges? Are you running away from God in anger and disappointment, or are you running to Him for His strength and wisdom? Choose to let God into all your circumstances and He will become more then enough for your every need.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

America’s Birthday

I am vacationing in sunny side Kentucky
with my son and daughter in law
I want to leave you with some thoughts
I had on our nation’s birthday. 

"America was not built on fear.
America was built on courage,
on imagination
and an unbeatable determination
to do the job at hand."
(Harry Truman January 8, 1947)

I love America and the ‘can do’ spirit
which has flowed over her from the beginning.

I love seeing the flag waving high. For me…
our flag has always symbolized gumption and victory.

I am thankful that God allowed me to be born here.
I will be mindful all the
rights, privileges, and responsibilities I have because of it.

As I watch the fireworks display their glory, I will be remembering they also symbolize 
the lights and sounds of battle. I will be thanking those who have walked the battlefields in the past
 and praying for those who continue to walk the lines today.

I will be praying we as a nation can pull ourselves together and regain our Christian edge and focus.

I will be praying we would return with vigor to our founding motto “One nation under God” instead of the motto “Whatever” which we seem to have adopted today.

I will be praying our nation will once again become the godly example and spring board for other nations to be able to find their faith and freedom in the only One who truly has it to give.

I will be praying the body of Christ can once again see the importance and power of prayer in fighting the good fight of faith. Prayer is not the last resort but the first line of defense. It is where our wisdom is established and our courage is maintained.

What is your part in helping this nation fulfill its destiny? America cannot accomplish her purpose without each of us doing our part.

When I finished, I notice the shape of the words formed a flask.
May the oil of His presence be poured out on each of us

who will do the will of the Father.