Friday, December 23, 2016

This evening, this post comes through my newsfeed:

“…gunshots fired right beside our car in Kmart parking lot. JJ gets out calls cops and cop coming to scene t-bones an suv!!!!! CRAZYYYY!!!"

My brother, his wife and all his kids were there, gunshots firing right beside their car, and the cop coming to help was sidelined with his own catastrophe. While I was relieved, and thankful that they were ok, and the assailant was taken into custody, I still couldn’t help think about how quickly a life (lives) could have been taken. I praised the Lord for protecting them, and then something came to my spirit – we all carry such immense potential to “fire” misguided bullets of anger, resentment, pride, jealously, bitterness, hurtful words and actions. Just like the woman with the real gun did, we get caught up in our own world, we see only our own hurt and discontentedness, and the ones in close proximity to us end up being the ones affected most. Sometimes, like a ticket of entitlement, we use our situations, hurts and confusion as an excuse to carry on in a way that is not kind, or very considerate of those who love us. I know it’s human to have bad moments, bad days, heck, even bad weeks; nevertheless, we are to be careful that our “speech always be with grace.” (Col. 4:6) I know that’s incredibly difficult sometimes when you are hurting, I’m the worst at it so very often, yet, we still are called to do it. And, it stings when I read, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me," (Phil. 4:13) because, I know that means I have to get my mind off myself and on to Him. That’s not as easy as it sounds cause I battle the “it’s all about me” syndrome at times. I'm sure my nephews will not ever forget how scared they were tonight, and neither do the people we hurt. Just a thought, life is precious – so, where’s your aim?


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Just a Season...

Transparency time -  I'll just admit it, I have grown weary (and let my spirit become malnourished because of it.) It seems to have started with not being able to sense God working in my life, I couldn’t feel His presence as I had over the summer. At first, I kept praying and seeking His truth, but then, as the weeks rolled by, I began to get discouraged, not understanding where He went; I allowed the enemy to steal my peace. I was counting “my own life dear” and began losing my joy, and making myself easy prey to the one who seeks to steal my peace, kill my joy and destroy my faith. And although I kept praying for others, my prayers lost their fervor, their zeal – and so did my walk with my God. Waking up with a certain amount of sadness and dread is not a comforting thing. I know several people who face this struggle besides myself, and lemme just say, it stinks! Nevertheless, our God is always faithful to see us through those times if we will turn our thoughts and heart toward Heaven and seek to draw close to Him – even when we don’t 'feel' like it. Quite honestly, sometimes I have allowed myself to become so focused on my own weariness that I grew self-centered instead of Christ-centered . Sad thing is, we seek rest in the wrong ways because the enemy let’s us be when we are not finding our respite in Christ. Truthfully, he doesn’t care about us when we aren’t doing anything for Jesus, and to get a “break” from his assault is what is so alluring to the flesh and mind in the first place; and what do we do?  We listen to the subtle lies of the adversary. But oh the leanness that is sent to our souls when we lay down our armor, even for a little while.  I may not know how to pray (or what to pray) as I go through this weird valley I’m walking, but, I do know He has told me that I can trust Him to be in my midst, and that I “shall not be moved." He will show up “right at the break of dawn.” (Ps. 46:5) I know that He has told me to reach out to others for their prayers and counsel, for surely, "two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. (Eccl. 4:9‭-‬10) I have seen that “as iron sharpens iron, so does the counsel of a good friend." I know what it means to both bear a burden for a friend, as well as have my own burdens bore by another. It matters not if I 'feel' my Father, I can always trust that He is there with an everlasting love, and a power to see me ton hrough. So, I will keep looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith, knowing that this is just a trying season, and it is "working patience, and patience experience and experience hope." (Rom. 5:4)  And, I will pray - after all, that's where the battle is won now isn't it.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Both Day and Night...

Sometimes I find that sitting down to read the Word of God isn’t easy to do. I get distracted, my thoughts are here,  there, and everywhere, and, I find myself growing frustrated that I’m not more disciplined. Then, this happens – He loves me anyway – and blesses me with truth about His truth. Lately, as I have been moving through Psalm 1 (at a snail’s pace it seems) I am beginning to see how much I miss when I rush through a reading just to say, “yay, I got my daily word in!” Last year, in one of my classes, we talked about how spiritual disciplines become more of a duty instead of devotion. I get busy, grow increasingly tired as the school year moves along, and I lose sight of the richness of grace and power found in His law; I forget how beautiful it is to abide within its safety. Psalm 1:2 pricked my hurried heart this morning about that very thing. When all is well, and the light is shining (day,) when the Holy Spirit’s comfort surrounds me, I need to carefully consider the forcefully compelling teachings and facts (law) He has laid before me in His word, focusing on their truth and power. I need to mentally plan (meditate) a strategy– an offensive battle plan constructed from His law; and, in unison, when the final part of the day comes, the darkness falls, night has come and it’s time to defend my soul and the souls of those around me, I will remember the day’s mediations, I will focus my thoughts toward their truth and power. The day and night become a force to be reckoned with when I make them both a dwelling place firmly fixed upon the Him. God’s word is full of treasure, and this morning, while the light shines, He is reminding me of that faithful fact. So, when the night falls, and the black of midnight tries to assail my soul, may  I find myself securely planted amid the strength of His word!


But his delight in in the law of the Lord, and in His law he mediates both day and night.  Psalm 1:2

Friday, November 11, 2016

A walk to remember....

God’s favor rests upon His children when we separate ourselves from the enemy camp. (Ps. 1:1) God delights to stay connected to us, but many times, we find our plans and purpose being influenced by all the wrong things. To desire His divine protection, and long for a right relationship with our Father is where victory lies.

  I am beginning to understand more and more just how important it is to be a steward that seeks to take great pleasure in the Lord’s word and will, and not take counsel from, or tarry among the negative and disrespectful influences of the enemy. It may be, learning a pilgrim's walk with God is harder than one would realize, but totally doable through Jesus (all things remember?) And, although this world is not my home, (Heb. 13:14) as a Christian, I am never to act as judge and jury of others, this is not what loving Him is about - rather, I am to rejoice in His grace, understanding that it is He who is my Savior, and live my life in such a manner that others see His redeeming and powerful love. (Acts 22:15, John 3:16, Heb. 9:12)

Although it was hard to take in at first, His word enlightened and moved me today, and gave me a sense of direction and peace - and even though obedience is often difficult, therein lies the reward – a walk to remember.


Psalm 1:1-2 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly , nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord and he mediates in it both day and night.

Monday, October 31, 2016

He loves me...

What a beautiful thing, this love our Father has for us. It overwhelms me, there are no words to describe it. I'm thankful that He hears me in the morning, during the day, the evening and even in the wee hours of the night. His favor surrounds me like a shield. (Ps. 5:12)  I'm thankful He will guide me, teach me, and lead me along the path of life, knowing I am a stranger in a foreign land, and I don't know where I'm going on most days. I'm grateful He delights to deliver me, longs to bring me joy and dances with pleasure at the thought of me. What??? He rejoices over me, with singing?? (Zeph. 3:17)  Again, what a good good Father I have, one that makes me feel so special, nurtured and loved.  I love the mere mention of His name, my heart overflows with joy today because He loves me. (Ps. 5:11c)


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Hosea and Gomer

From the beginning of Hosea's account, the very subject he addresses is infused with the uncomfortable theme of sexual debauchery. Nevertheless, reading it through the lense of spiritual context helps to bring a richness to the text that transcends the nature of the content. Teaching the passages of Hosea would require honesty, and a brave approach from beginning to end, because of the truth contained in this prophet of God's message. One of the most provocative portions for me stands out in the juxtaposition of Chapter 2, 4-5 and verses 14, 19-20,23 - 
  “Bring charges against your mother, bring charges; For she is not My wife, nor am I her Husband! Let her put away her harlotries from her sight, And her adulteries from between her breasts; Lest I strip her naked And expose her, as in the day she was born, And make her like a wilderness, And set her like a dry land, And slay her with thirst. “I will not have mercy on her children, For they are the children of harlotry. For their mother has played the harlot; She who conceived them has behaved shamefully. For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers, Who give me my bread and my water, My wool and my linen, My oil and my drink.
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Will bring her into the wilderness, And speak comfort to her. “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me In righteousness and justice, In lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, And you shall know the Lord ."
Hosea had been obedient to marry Gomer because of His love for God, not necessarily out of a true love for Gomer, yet, at the end of it all, this has shifted. The words he uses to explain what transpired is full of emotion, righteous anger, tenderness and surrender, which is a beautiful picture of God's adoration toward His children. Hosea promises a betrothal of faithfulness that I am quite certain Gomer had never experienced, and, I dare say, it was also likely did not feel worthy of it either. God is divine and He loves us just because. To know that before redemption, we were slaves to sin, prostitutes of the flesh, God could have, with all justification, left us there. Nevertheless, just as Hosea bought Gomer off the auction block "with fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley" (3:2) God bought us back too, except our debt was forgiven at a much steeper price - His only Son's blood - definitely a love I had never known before, and I am certain I am not worthy of. 
When I read how the Lord said to Hosea, “Go again, love a woman who  is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of  the  pagans.
I cannot help but recall this verse from the Psalms, "He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me." (18:19) The fact that His love for His children is so complete is the most provocative thing of all - shockingly wonderful !