For those Lost and those Found

daniel-jensen-UDleHDOhBZ8-unsplashImage by Daniel Jensen

I never actually read through, “ A Tale of Two Cities,” by Charles Dickens, but it could be that the first paragraph of the entirety of the book struck me so deep:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

My friends, we are currently living a tale of two groups of people, and the above quotations can largely describe what we are all feeling like as a nation.

There is a lot of anxiety and fear right now, there is a lot of people that are afraid of the virus and anxious from being out of work that they will not know how to provide for their family.

There is a lot of hopelessness too, and people who just cannot see how if there is a God why He would allow something so horrible into our lives and uproot us fully from everyday life.

There is a blame game of the origin of where the virus began, and also blaming politicians in every nation for not doing, “ more,” to keep it from spreading.

Fear is mostly the culprit in all of this though, because store shelves are not just empty locally but all over the world there are shortages of items that people just hoarded and some of it has no real necessity at the very present moment.

We laugh at memes, we watch news stories, we mock people who do this or did that…

But fear is the real deal, and we should really stop and just check on people daily or weekly, our families, are friends and our neighbors.  Everyone is going through some sense of fear right now, does not matter who you are and does not matter what you believe….it is real, and we are all feeling it.

We do need to further discuss what are healthy and unhealthy fears though, because there is a difference.

Healthy Fears:

I am someone with a history of pneumonia more than once in the last 5 years, and I have asthmatic allergies that can easily bring that on if I do not take an allergy pill daily, but even more so, I have a mother with Crohn’s disease, who I have seen go through more than several surgeries in her entire lifetime, and once with Mrsa that left her in the hospital for a good few months and we almost lost her.  When she goes to the hospital they place her in the cancer wing, because she cannot take any chances of infection happening to her body.

Which is why if she receives the coronavirus it would be really difficult for her recovery.

In this healthy fear though, we just do what we need to do to keep us safe.

I am working from home, I stay indoors, and I have chosen not to see my mother right now, or my friends that need to be away from people because they have other health issues, because I have been working call center and have been around other people that I am not sure whether or not they could have been carrying it, and where I live right now has more “presumptive,” cases then the entire county, and so it is wise to be inside and use precaution as now it is necessary.

People have said, “ I will not let this virus run my life,” but honestly, not everyone has that choice, and we can make a choice to protect other people just by letting our daily routines change for awhile.

Unhealthy fears:

This is also a time that people will be preyed on to create unhealthy fears, and I would say the media is a great example.  It is a virus, we are not living in bomb shelters, and a hurricane is not coming straight for us.  The parks, beaches, Disney etc, they were not closed because you can get the virus from sitting on a piece of grass, they were closed, because people do not know how to stay far enough away and not cough or sneeze on others, and apparently many do not know how to wash hands properly and let us not get started on people who do not know how to use a toilet property…It is the sad truth.

Again, I work in a call center, and I already know that once you hear someone cough, then what ever the virus is at the current moment will travel through the air, it is what happens when you work closely with people, or are too close to people who are sick.

Putting both of these fears aside I want to speak a little more on what I have observed as I have paid attention to people all over the world, and it is not something I know for fact, but is something I have often thought of through the course of watching this virus consume different parts of the world…

Personally, I believe according to my own faith that this is God’s judgement on our world, we can agree or disagree, but it is my belief.

When Donald Trump took office it revealed some deep rooted things in the hearts of the people everywhere, but especially in America.  I am not talking about because he as a person became the president, but the reaction and the response from people since that moment.

I was raised to respect authority, my grandfather would not let me have something unless I said, “ Thank you, May I, or Please?” My parents used to tell me that when I went out into the world I was a reflection of them, at the time I did not really understand that, but now I realize it meant that I am to be in the world who I have been taught to be at home. (No home is perfect, but there are morals and values that are good that all of us have been taught at some point.)

I was taught to stay quiet when adults around me were having a conversation unless it was important.  I was taught to respect people of all cultures and races, I was taught to have respect for the elderly and listen to their stories of the wars, and where they came from…

I am not saying by any means that our president is a stellar example of character, but I am saying if my grandfather was alive today he would say he may not agree with the man, but he would shake his hand because he was the president.

When I think of the authority over our nation right now I think back to the book of Daniel, and how because he honored the Lord so much that even though he was under the King of Babylon as  prisoner he still showed honor to him too, not because he agreed with him, but because he trusted in God, and God wants us to give honor and respect to all authority.

Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;

wisdom and power are his.

He changes times and seasons;

he deposes kings and raises up others.

He gives wisdom to the wise

and knowledge to the discerning.

He reveals deep and hidden things;

he knows what lies in darkness,

and light dwells with him.

I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:

You have given me wisdom and power,

you have made known to me what we asked of you,

you have made known to us the dream of the king.”

(Daniel 2:21-23)

King Neb (I can never spell his name, so we are nicknaming him), had a dream and asked for magicians and astrologers to interpret it, but they could not.  Daniel was able to interpret the dream because the Lord revealed it to him.  King Neb, fell down in front Daniel and worshipped him.

Daniel became honorary to the king and lived many years in the palace through king after king.

God does things to help his people rise up, He did not interpret Neb’s dream for the benefit of the king but for Daniel and the Jews.

It is possible that the church was never meant to be a building for worshippers that already know God, but possibly a place for those to go who do not, but want to know there is somewhere to find hope. As Christians, we are to rise up, and not waver under the fears that surround us all right now, we need to be strong for those who really are scared, and really cannot see hope from where they are.  We need to speak encouragement to people who have lost things during this time, jobs and graduations, ceremonies and other events that are not happening because of the quarantines.

People all over the world who are in quarantine are having time to sit and open their Bible for the first time, to listen to messages online, and people are praying who have never before.

We want them to keep reading, we want them to keep listening and we want them to keep praying.

“ If my people who are called by name, would humble themselves and pray, seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I would hear from heaven and I will heal their land.”

(2 Chr 7:14)

God is talking to those who already BELIEVE in the verse above. Yes, he is mainly talking to the Israelites, but  He is calling US to humble ourselves, to pray, and seek HIS face MORE than we have in the past, He is calling US to turn from the ways we have allowed the world to influence us and PRESS IN, and from our example, we will then be able to teach others around us how to do the same.

Whenever God gives judgement He will also bring about grace through it.We will get through this TOGETHER, as long we all stay together.

Surrounded

tim-marshall-H9K0fOYlFVA-unsplashImage by Tim Marshall

 

 

I remember the night of the Moore, Oklahoma tornadoes I was texting my friend Cara while her and her family were somewhere safe from the storm.

She had no clue what was happening at her home, and one of the texts I remember I sent said, ” God is going to use this.”

Cara and her husband went to see what their home looked like the next day, but there was not a home. Destruction surrounded her. She went from each part of the house now rubble on the ground.

In the middle of all of it, through the tears, God gave her hope that they would be okay; She picked up a picture off the ground of her with her husband and two children still in a frame. A few days later, they were reunited with their dog that they thought was gone was found in a crumpled pick up truck that was laying on its side.

It is so easy to feel hopeless through our circumstances. It is easy to feel victim to what we go through. It is easy to isolate ourselves from the world and just exist.

But there is always hope.

I know many in Florida Panhandle are feeling what Cara did the day after the storm.

A reporter named “Ginger” from ABC news had tears in her eyes as she described the destruction happening in front of her as a house was removed off its foundation.

People for miles are going to come home and see for the first time what is left of the walls that held so many memories they had with their families.

They too, will find it hard to see hope in the middle of it all, but I pray that God would show them there is indeed hope, that God will use it all for good, that He will use the broken pieces to shape them, and to help them to rebuild their lives.

That they would know through their pain, that God surrounds them with His love and that they will know He is there.

There is a song I listened to a few weeks ago that I cannot get off my heart, It is called, ” Surrounded,” by UpperRoom. The lyrics are, ” I may feel like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by you.”…”This is how I fight my battles…”

While I listened, God led me to Zechariah 2:5, ” For I, says the Lord, will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.”

The enemy will try to keep us from seeing hope, and try to deter us from seeing that God is still God and that He still has a plan for us.

This verse above though, ” I will be a wall of FIRE all around her.” This means that regardless of what we go through that God sees it, and He will see us through it. He will help us through our trials, and where we cannot handle with what we are dealing with, that He can, and He will be our strength. It is HE that surrounds us in our time of trials.

“It is when you saw only one set of footprints that I carried you.” (Footprints Poem)

I decided to open my Complete Jewish Study Bible to see what Zechariah 2:5 said in that translation, and it simply says,

” I will be for her a wall of fire SURROUNDING her; and I will be the glory within her.”

We can acknowledge this truth in reading any of the great wall of faith heroes from the Old Testament, David for example, God delivered the enemies surrounding him into his hands many times, or take it from those who were in the surrounded in a fiery furnace that did not burn no matter how high the heat.

We just have to hold on to hope when things get tough, even if it seems unbearable, still always hope, it is in the times we feel at a loss or have lost everything that it is important to realize it is a stepping stone for a foundation that cannot be shaken.

Blessings,

Angie

LSOF: Speaking Grace To The Mountain

One thing I know about life is it tries to set us up for failure. It tries to make us feel like we are not capable, not able, and not wise enough to overcome. But it is a lie.

It’s up to us whether we are going to choose to believe it, or receive what is the truth.

We were created for a purpose. Who we are, and everything we will do in life was built up into the plan God has for us. Sometimes though we miss the right road, and we have to find our way back through detours.

I have a habit of driving down the highway on my phone and missing my exit because I am too enthralled in a conversation to realize that I’m missing the planned destination.

The enemy likes to start with distraction.  He knows that if he can distract us, then he can slowly but surely turn ordinary situations and events that happen into huge mountains.

We can get distracted easily because when things are going so great in our lives we become blinded that there are tests. We forget that in the truth of what we have been taught that there will be trials.

What I have learned is that its more important to remember the power God has above what the enemy has done.

“What are you, O mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel  you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!’” (Zechariah 4:7)

This is how we need to answer to the mountains in our lives.

I know you are asking me, “ How would I begin to respond that way?”

I’m going to share with you how to speak GRACE to the mountain.

Reading the scripture above talks about a mountain that was stated would become level ground, but what we need to do is APPLY the same concept to our lives.

Grace helps us apply into our lives what we are reading.

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly, I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. (Mark 11:22-23, NIV)

Do you believe that God can take down the mountains in your life?

I read some of Habakkuk as I was studying this concept, and what I want to focus in on is not just speaking grace to the mountain, but what the power of grace will do to our mountains through our belief.

I want to visualize these two different translations of Habbukuk 3:6.

He stood, and shook the earth; he looked, and made the nations tremble. The ancient mountains crumbled and the age-old hills collapsed.  His ways are eternal. (Habakkuk 3:6, NIV)

He STOOD, and SHOOK the earth, He LOOKED, and made the nations TREMBLE, The ancient mountains CRUMBLED and age-old hills COLLAPSED. His WAYS are eternal.

He stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting.(Habakkuk 3:6, KJV)

He STOOD and MEASURED(also means to shake), He BEHELD and drove asunder the nations, and the everlasting mountains were SCATTERED, the perpetual hills did BOW; His WAYS are everlasting.

I love the KJV version most, because look what it says about the mountains, that they were EVERLASTING…and yet, God scattered them, or in Hebrew context it read He BROKE them, and the PERPETUAL hills which meant, “ never changing or to end.” they BOWED to Him.

” The mountains saw thee and they trembled ,the overflowing of the water passed by the deep uttered his voice(thunder) and lifted his hands on high.”(Habakkuk 3:10, KJV)

I love to visualize the mountains trembling when they SAW God.

So what can we believe about our mountains currently in our own lives?

Could we maybe just believe that grace can overpower them over them overcoming us?

Speak grace believing of its power by BELIEVING what the Word says, and those times of trials you will remember what happened to the last mountain.

He SCATTERED them, He made them TREMBLE(writhe in pain), He made them CRUMBLE, and COLLAPSE before Him.

Let Him do the same for your own mountain.

Believe Him for it!

Blessings and Love,

Angie

 

 

 

 

 

LSOF: Storms and the brokenhearted

I have this habit of trying to avoid storms, and I try to leave just right before one hits my area.  The other day as I pulled away from my house the lightening bolts seemed to be hitting only a few feet from my car.  But I managed to drive away and left the dark ominous sky in my rearview mirror.

In life we definitely encounter myriads of storms.  I have been caught up in one for two months now with a several different events that have tried to shake me a good few times. It has been a lot.

People have had this tendency during this time to tell me how I can be ” victorious,” and that ” He will deliver me and my family through this,” or ” Imagine the strength that is building in you right now,” and also ” Well, maybe I can just encourage you through this.”…

And while they all have been kind and meant well, that sometimes we just have to stop and think of the deeper message in all of this, and only a message that God could give…

Sometimes its not about finding victory in our times of grief, sometimes its just that we have to keep going through it in order to come out of it. Simply that.

I mean let’s face it, there is no magic that could keep a real storm from coming, and there is no magic way to make it pass any faster than it came…its just how it is.

It’s God’s timing. We just have to know that He knows the purpose.

I had a friend say to me that she is tired of sharing about what she is going through, because the people around her make her feel like she is just a “drama queen.” 

Folks, I gotta tell you sometimes we are just inundated with so much that its seems like some of it could be exaggerated. But it IS possible to have so much going on that it overwhelms people around us at the same time. And it overwhelms them…

Because only God is God.

Words will carry weight when needed but when we don’t know what to say we have to be careful what we do say. We have to be careful that if what we speak that we also believe. Don’t let your words come through empty, or just don’t speak at all.

I’ve had a lot of people love me through some real recent events, but the best were those who would tell me:

” Quit with the cliches of how you think you are suppose to be, and tell me how you really feel.” And they listened, and they were just empathetic.

We all want to love well.  We also all want to make people feel better where they are in their current situation.

But sometimes its just our place to love well, and let the people around us go through what they need to.

Sometimes we just need to watch them cry, sometimes they need to know that we see it.

It’s what Jesus would do. It’s our ultimate goal in this life to become like Him.

Isaiah 61:1-3

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor. 
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives 
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor 
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn, 
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes, 
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning, 
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

” I’m Already There…”

There is this song by Lonestar, ” I’m Already There…” and it is about a man calling his family while he is away. He is sad he could not be there with them, but to comfort himself and his family he just answers:

I’m already there
Take a look around
I’m the sunshine in your hair
I’m the shadow on the ground

I’m the whisper in the wind
I’m your imaginary friend
And I know, I’m in your prayers
Oh I’m already there

Music touches my heart so deeply when it comes to my faith, because I read lyrics not in the sense of what the song is trying to convey but what I believe God is speaking to me through it. It doesn’t have to be a Christian song at all, God speaks through everything.

I brought this particular song up, because there is a verse that has been on my heart for the past few weeks. It is interesting, because this particular verse that is found out of Deuteronomy was a concept I saw inside the verse last year. God speaks through what He knows we already know.

Before I go into this verse in Deuteronomy 31:8, I want to share a bit about the beginning of Deuteronomy 31, and give an idea as to what is happening.

Picture Moses, Joshua, and the Isrealites standing on the edge of the river. Moses is 120 years old. He has done what God had asked of him, and God was ready to raise up a leader in Joshua.
Moses knew that the people would be hesitant to leave him, but also knew he needed to prepare the people that his journey with them had come to an end.

“I am now a hundred and twenty years old and I am no longer able to lead you. The LORD has said to me, ‘You shall not cross the Jordan.’ The LORD your God himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will take possession of their land. Joshua also will cross over ahead of you, as the LORD said.” (Deuteronomy 31:2-3)

I think what might be being said here is that the people would not be able to face the nations before them until an appointed time. God had to cross over first, and then he would have Joshua follow Him.

I love how it did not go like this, ” Joshua will go ahead of you, and we hope he finds God there.”

Just as Moses was preparing the Isrealites for his departure with them, I would suggest that knowing Joshua no longer had Moses for a leader, that he was handed the staff and in Moses eyes it could have been said, ” Your Lord God will cross over before YOU.” He might have wanted Joshua to know that he would not be leading the people alone or blindly. He might have said that to first and foremost comfort Joshua.

The LORD will deliver them to you, and you must do to them all that I have commanded you. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31: 5-6)

Moses shares that the nations would be delivered to them, which is exactly why God told them to stay put and wait. God would know exactly what the best plan would be for the people. He tells them there is no reason to be afraid. God already knows the outcome.

“Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the LORD swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. 8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:7-8)

There is a pattern we can see in Deuteronomy 31 that I have not seen with other scripture. Moses tells the people: ” The Lord God will crossover before you,” ” The Lord goes with you,” ” The Lord himself, goes before you, and will be with you.”

I love how God never once says he is going ahead of them without saying that He will also be with them.

I think too often we forget that God knows the plans He has for us, but that He does not leave us to take them on alone. He is there with us through the journey.

I know as someone who is preparing to be led a different direction in my life, one that means it is a journey He leads, but that I follow; that there will be people following my footsteps too.

As many times as I’ve seen this verse the last few weeks in Deuteronomy 31:8, I can’t help but hear God saying loudly to my heart, ” I got this, I have your back, if you get discouraged…I may be ahead of you, but I’m still right here.”

We are not meant to go through this life alone, regardless of how much knowledge we think we have on accomplishing something, and regardless what position we have, we need to know we have support, we need to know God is there, and that He will place people in our lives that help to mold us into what He needs us to become for His namesake.

God is going to ask us to lead. It might mean we are going to have to put something down. It might mean the things we have to let go of might be people in our life. It might mean we have to change who we are so much that it takes a toll on us. It might mean that we might have to lose our lives completely for the cost of following Christ.

Whatever it means for us. He already knows, He was already there.

We are standing in his footprint.

LSOF: Different Places, Similar Progress

My heart has really been given some wisdom lately when it comes to people.
We are truly all in different places in our walks.
It also occurred to me that different places in our walk didn’t mean necessarily further.

I tried to wear my Sketcher Shape-ups the other morning, and let me just say they live up to their name, ouch would be a total understatement. I only made it around the block before I just couldn’t take the pain in my calves anymore. I made it to the front door, only to be sure to throw them across the room, and off of my pitiful, and might I add, Out of shape, feet.

It made me upset with myself just a bit, because I have allowed myself to get to this state.

I have a job that has me sit down for 8 hrs a day, and I’ve been doing it now almost a year. It is an amazing job, but muscles wear down when they are not used for a long period of time.

It isn’t my job’s fault that I haven’t used my muscles forever.

I think it is similar when it comes to life situations. When things happen to us, we can’t always deal with it like any other time. Sometimes things are so heavy on our shoulders that we are just too worn out to take a moment to just see the purpose of where we are. There is alway a bigger picture.

When we first get back on our feet after being in a pit for a long period of time, it is hard.
This is why you see Pastor’s and other people in position take a break for awhile, its not that they did something wrong, and its not that they no longer want the position, its just that God has asked for some time to reflect and re-evaluate somethings. Sometimes personal, sometimes the view from our side of everything on the outside.

The pit makes you take a look at your life and see that you are in a place and you are to find the purpose from the place you stand now.

I think people have a tendency to look at those who have had rough times, and had the perception that the person just doesn’t have as much faith as they used to, but please if you are one of those people; know that it is in the rough time God makes us stronger.

I learned this walk really is about gaining wisdom, and within the places we feel we are too weak, God has made another area that is unexpected, stronger.

We are not meant to handle everything on our shoulders at once, We cannot be like Atlas, and I believe that is why there is always something weak God is working to make stronger.

We forget that in the situations we go through that we are indeed learning something essential, but it isn’t in anything anyone tells us, but what God shows us.

I am one who has had the opportunity to allow God to do some crazy things in my life, meet people, and visit some places that seem unbelievable to some, to which I actually sat down and asked someone,
” Am I the one doing this?” and the reply I got was,
” It’s too weird to be you, it has to be God.”

I’ve felt pretty inadequate on several occassions when it comes to people. I guess I always let my insecurities bully me into a corner, and many times I let them hold me there.
I’ve compared myself to those who seem better than me, or know better than me.

It was as if God held my face one day and said, ” LOOK CLOSER.”

I got to see for myself that those who appeared to have it all, they were missing more than I knew.
I got to see their insecurities, and sadly, I watched them fall apart.
It took them off the pedastal I had them on.

I’ve shared a lot about different places we find ourselves in, but something else to know is even though you find yourself where you are, we are all working with similar progress.

We are all working one step at a time, one day at a time, to accomplish our personal and professional goals.

We stop our progress when we let the insecurities in our lives get in the way. We have to just keep walking, fall a little, but learn from the bruises we receive.

We need to encourage one another more, and keep ourselves all in check with how far we’ve come.

Just because progress seems small in your eyes, it might mean the world to someone else.

The dynamic of who God created us to be is found in the moments we struggle in.

He knows we are going to question Him, He knows we are going to fall flat on our face at times…

He also knows that we will come out of everything victorious.

Pain truly is gain, whether you believe it or not.

I’ll leave you with a verse that smacked me clear in the face this week:

2 John 1:8 (NIV, 1984)
“Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.”

LSOF: Heart Wisdom

There was a simulcast this weekend, with an amazing message. If you want to check it out, see earlier posts.

I always try to get an underlying message for myself to hear. One that doesn’t necessarily come through from the speaker audibly.

The message for me was that I don’t need to be a scholar to be able to share wisdom with the world about Jesus. What He has done in my life, and who I’ve come to know Him as, I personally do not think could be found in any research article. There are just somethings that cannot be studied.

And its those accounts that one experiences on their own, when the pen and paper are put away, when the cameras are gone, and when the crowd has better things to do…

I sat with a lady during the simulcast who I shared about my experience with the pit and that you can indeed be put in it due to obedience.

Her eyes got wide, and she sort of seemed to let out a breath of deep relief.

I don’t know what it was that she had gone through, but it was at that moment she needed to hear that she wasn’t alone, and that she was doing in her life what was God’s purpose.

My experiences with pain and Him restoring me, have taught me to not be ashamed what I should share with anyone. We all have darkness that has been apart of our lives. It is through knowing darkness exists that we will search to find the light.

I want to share that I have deep respect and esteem for Beth Moore. I’ve done many of her studies, but I learned we had something more in common. She got to know Jesus more through her pain. Knowing that has helped me to love on others with my story. There are still areas where pain exists in my life, but I had to learn that God’s healing overshadows it.

God loves me. God cares for me. God protects me. God delivers me. God knows where I am. God understands how I feel. God changes me. God restores me. God heals me. God will be the only one that will help me live my life victoriously.

Someone told me a few months back that I helped restore their faith in God, and without sharing much more I’ll say that now she wants nothing to do with God.

My heart has taught me that when it comes to God, you have to work at knowing Him. You have to work at loving Him, and trusting Him. There are no quick fixes.

We go through the fires in life, because we need to get burned. We need to experience that God binds up our wounds.

I’m sad for those who choose what is temporary instead of true hope.
My pain was real, but because of it, I know my faith is real.
So all those scholars out there, who think they have all the answers…
I can assure you they don’t…

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…”
(Proverbs 3:5)

Sept. 10, 2011 -Living Proof Live Simulcast: ” We Also” – Session 1, Point #1-2

Living Proof Live- September 10th 2011…

“ WE ALSO”…

It is A LOT of information, so I am writing out points little at a time, there is a total of 7…and I think we definitely should be able to sink it in a little at a time…the simulcast was a lot!

The opening:

Luke 1:1-4

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a]among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

 We learn that Luke is the physician, and wrote the book of Luke, and the book of Acts.

2 Timothy 2:22

Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

 We are called to have company with others who call upon Christ.

2 Timothy 4:5-12

5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

 6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

 These were the last words to Timothy.

Personal Remarks

 9 Do your best to come to me quickly, 10 for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. 

 If you have ever been betrayed by a friend, or had abandonment Paul knew what that was like as Demas deserted him.

11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. 12 I sent Tychicus to Ephesus.

 “ Only Luke is with me.” –

Colossians 4:10-14

10 My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) 11Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews[a] among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. 13 I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14 Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings.

 This is where we learn that Luke is the physician.

Acts 16:6-7

6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.

 

Acts 16:11-12

11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district[a] of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.

 We see it go from They to WE.

Luke and Paul met in Antioch, because of Paul’s illness.

Christian means, “ Little Christs”-

Galatians 4:12-15

12 I plead with you, brothers and sisters, become like me, for I became like you. You did me no wrong. 13 As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you, 14 and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. 15 Where, then, is your blessing of me now? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.

 “ Alone Together”- Term for social networking, everyone feels more alone then ever.

1. We were created for good company.

“ If we want good company, we have to be good company.”

Have pure heart in relationships.

1 Peter 1:22

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.

 1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

 We go through a cycle confession to destruction over and over.

“ Don’t just read the word, actually try to live it.”

“ Disobedience to God deforms the heart, and as it says in 1 Peter 1:22,

“ Obedience reforms the heart.”

“When we look for people to fellowship with, we need to know those who walk in obedience have souls that have been purified.”

Philippians 1:9-10

9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ…

Love with knowledge.

 End of point 1…..

 

2. Individual calling can only be fulfilled in a “we” context.

None of us were to fulfill our calling on our own.

I don’t have a WEE calling, I have a WE calling.

We have to lose our self-consciousness.

“ We can guard our dignity right out of epiphany.”

“ TCTBB- Too cool to be blessed.”

Luke was a second generation Christian- He wasn’t there for the encounter of Christ from the beginning.

What would happen if we studied the scriptures according to the scriptures? Instead of looking for a scripture that applies to us, what would happen if we just looked at scripture?

“ HERMENEUTIC”

Her-me-neutic- method of principle or interpretation.

Instead of looking for how something applies to us, and doing something for us, instead let us see how it applies to Jesus, and what we are doing, what we are doing for Jesus….what is the true purpose?

What if Jesus was the hermeneutic?

LSOF: ” Coming out of the Dark…”

As I began writing this post the song, ” Coming out of the Dark.” by Gloria Estefan came to my mind.

It’s quite fitting to say the least.

I spoke last time about my experience with the pit, and now I’d like to share what it is like once I came out of the pit.

My friend and I meet every other week or so to just pray and have conversation about God, and the things He is doing in our lives. And today we focused on God’s attributes and what we know them to be.

I shared that God is merciful and shows us favor by His grace, that we so do not deserve.

I focused on the pit and how when we are obedient and just keep dealing with the thing until its over, then God rewards us by His favor in our lives.

The pit is indeed a rough place to be, but I want to give emphasis to the word PLACE for a moment, because that is really what it is, just a place in a season of our lives.

One of my dear spiritual mentors shared with me in a birthday card how God does not throw us on earth like a pieces on a chessboard, but that he strategically PLACES us where He needs us to be to fulfil His purpose.

The Pit has a Purpose.

So I write this to share with you that favor will come once the purpose of being in the pit is done, but sometimes its also good to realize that God will bless even when we are in the pit. He wants us to recognize He is there and He loves us.

It’s important to look for His fingerprints through the pit. Those little blessings that He leaves for us.

I was sharing this morning with someone that asked me what happened to living in Savannah

To which I told them that God moved me back to Florida, and I also added that I grieved it, but that

I knew He had a greater purpose than I could see at that time.

For the first time in my life I can tell you I really love my life, and I really have come to know the character of God through my time in the pit.  I learned how He was with me when I flat out cursed Him in my own way. He was merciful, He didn’t look to try to make life worse, but instead He saw how numb I had become from my own emotions, and piece by piece…He started to put me and my life around me together again.

And what is interesting in all this is I didn’t think that I would get out of the pit by God’s help alone, I really thought that others might help me who had experienced it at the same time. I was wrong, and it is why it took me so much longer to get out then it was needed.

We are all a work in progress.

Keypoint I feel I should make in all this: Don’t deny that you are in the pit, don’t deny that something isn’t going the way it should be in your life, Don’t deny that there is something inside of you that you need to re-evaluate with God.

Don’t deny you need healing.

Again, I’m just talking; its just you and I having a conversation over starbucks, and I’m telling you what I experienced.

I want to see you free, because God does.

LSOF: Darkness to Light

From darkness to light…

What has been, or is the “darkness,” in your life right now? What is a common theme
that just torments you where you stand?
Do you feel like, because of it, that you feel like your goals and dreams seem too far out of reach?

I’ve been there too.

I could best describe it as the ending scene in, ” Alice in Wonderland,” when Alice is going through the corridor
and all of the characters are chasing after her. At one point she starts to run in slow motion, and then finally reaches the door to the outside, only to find it locked.
And if I can recall she says, ” Please open the door, I need to get out of here.”
and the door speaks to her, ” But you are already out.”

I think how this story relates to us in regarding to the stuff that is swallowing us up in our lives,
I think it says that our reality is NOT the true reality.
I think it says that when we choose to believe what is found in the darkness,
instead of believing the Hope found in the light…
We create our own prisons. We mask ourselves and everything we are,
inside of our minds. We allow ourselves to be, ” chased,” by the common theme of thoughts,
and situations that plague us daily.

Why do we do this?

I think a lot of the time, its easier to believe lies.
Because the truth is something that has been more far fetched for us.

Put it this way, if you are used to feeling like a failure,
and then you succeed at something…
you probably won’t even realize that you have indeed, succeeded.

Why do we continue to believe these negative thoughts?

I think that we let one thing or a few things that have happened in our lives,
decide what the future will look like, because they have been so common.
Because the ending keeps looking the same.

Matthew 6:22-23
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy,[d] your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

It’s basically like deciding tomorrow will rain, because today is.
We don’t really know for sure.
But we set ourselves up to the degree, that the worst will just continue to happen.

And honestly, can I tell you something…
We were not born with a storm cloud over our heads.

We have to remember that God has full control over everything that happens to us,
and all we have been through, its never out of His sight.

Which I have to just add something here that seems to be a common thing in this day and age:
When something amazing happens in another’s life, something unbelievable…
It is often chalked up as coincidence,
BUT…
When something bad happens, the FIRST thing others do is BLAME God!

It tells me that our culture doesn’t really believe in God, they believe that they believe themselves, and God just gets in the way.

How much of our darkness in our life is attributed to our own doing?

How much of our lives our wasted, because we are slaves to ourselves?

 

How much of our lives to we set ourselves up ON OUR OWN, with defeat?

I think so much of the time that even though there is a real enemy out there,
that he doesn’t even have to do anything to test us…we test ourselves and he just
sits back, laughs and takes some notes…

Do we really want to live lives that show we rather walk through our own mess everyday,
our own past, and keep it with us like some security blanket?

Because let me ask you something,
Do you feel secure?
Does it make life easier, because you live life the way you always have?
You might think so, but you would be very wrong.
We are meant to progress, we are meant to face ourselves…
Because we have to understand that God has set up our character, and who we are…
It’s set up for a purpose, nothing is in vain…
I am sure I’ve said that many times on this blog, but its the truth,
because once you start to believe that life is horrible,
and your web of torment will never let you go…
you are telling yourself…
It all was meant for nothing.

Healing from the darkness….

John 12:46
I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

Healing from everything in our lives that has been the tier of negativity and destruction,
is not something that is simple. You can’t just read a “self-help,” book…you can’t listen to Oprah,
or Tyra, you can’t hear the right lyrics in a song, you can’t buy something at the store, you
can’t eat something, you can’t get it from sex, drugs, whatever…

True healing starts with realizing there is true darkness.

True healing comes from admitting that its a problem to your future.

It means admitting you are not God.
It’s admitting you have lost control.

Psalm 61:2
From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

I’m not saying that we need to start going to like ” Anonymous” meetings and saying,
” Hello my name is…and I have been dealing with this since I was 5…”

I’m saying that we need to put that darkness in its rightful place,
back to hell where it came from.

It starts with one day at a time living your life a little differently than you have.
It may mean you need to surround yourself with different people.
It may mean you might have to take on a different hobby.
It may mean you might even have to find another job at times…

But progress comes from changing what has been consistent,
to inconsistent.
It’s deactivating our thought process into a new form of perspective.

I also have a warning for you…
If you continue on, and don’t seek to start healing…

You are going to hurt people in your life,
you are going to hurt those who have reached out, and want to be there for you.
You are going to jump at something said or done that was completely
miscommunicated.

And you will go into a circle of consistent chaos…and that will become your future.

I want to leave you with this thought:

In a fire drill, we learn to STOP, DROP, and ROLL…

What if we looked at the darkness as flames….
and could speak to it…
” STOP tormenting me in my life, I am now going to DROP the control this has on me,
and It will ROLL away from my life by the hands of God.

We do not have to let our darkness overcome the light of who we need to be.

There are many out there who have no clue that darkness even exists in their lives,
because they’ve never known light…

Now that you know that there is a problem, now that you know that you need to stand up
and take care of your own, ‘stuff’…

Will you?

Because there is a world out there that God needs your help to heal…

Think about it.


Isaiah 40:31
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint