Sunday, February 28, 2010

I was stuck in an elevator!

Right out of college, I took a job at a jewelry store selling higher end merchandise in the mall. The mall I worked at was a busy downtown clientele and in order for me to drive to work, I had to park on the top floor of the parking garage and take and elevator to reach the mall entrance.

One night I had just gotten off work and I found myself alone in the elevator. The Ohio nighttime had an air of crisp coldness that could be felt as the elevator shut its door and made its ascension. I stood back to stare at the doors. Something was not right. The institutional elevator doors could not quite close all the way. I could see that though the elevator was bringing me up, there was a rubber strip that was pulling out of the door. It was probably three inches across and it ran from the top to the bottom of the door. I am a pretty curious individual. I knew I should not touch the rubber strip. Common sense tried to reason within my mind, but I did not listen to that voice. Instead, I poked the rubber strip. Suddenly the elevator shook and jerked. It wobbled for a second and stopped.

Standing in that chilly elevator, I tried to run down a mental checklist. What do you do when you are stuck in an elevator? I mean in all the movies and TV shows there is some hero, like in the movie Speed, comes crushing through the ceiling and rescues the one trapped. I figured that eventually someone in maintenance would realize the elevator was not moving. The awkward coldness of the box began to concern me, so finally I pushed the alarm button.

A young man’s voice came on the intercom asking me what was wrong. I explained to him what happened, and he starts freaking out. “Mam, are you okay? Are you hurt? I’ll get you out of there, I promise.” I could tell he was not going to be doing a heroic rescue. I kept trying to tell the worker I was fine, I just was cold and would like to get out of the elevator.

I do not know how long I was there. Seconds felt like minutes and minutes lingered on. Every so often, this worker would check on me, I guess he was trying to figure out how to get me out.

Finally, with trepidation in his voice he came on again and asked me to explain to him what happened that the elevator stopped. Again, I had to explain that I was just too curious about this rubber strip between the doors and it was fine until I had touched it. “Well mam, We’d like you to pull that strip out between the doors.”

“Excuse me?” I questioned.

“Pull it out. All of it!”

So obediently, I found myself now in a tug-o-war with the rubber material in between elevator doors. As soon as I managed to win the battle, the doors shut again and took me right away to the top floor. I had wrestled with an elevator and lived to laugh about it.

So many times, we treat the things of God as I did to that elevator. We are just too curious for our own good, and we keep messing with what God is trying to do in our lives. We have trust that God knows what He is doing with our lives, and He knows where we are going!

Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV) says, “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

God has such special plans for our lives, and it’s a process to get there. But often times we see things and we don’t understand them. They make us curious and we just can’t resist poking at them just as I did with the rubber strip.

If we really trust God, I mean really trust Him we won’t always have to know what everything means or how it’s going to come together. Really trusting someone means I can fall off a ledge and not have to look behind me because I know that their there ready to catch me. Real trust in God means even when I see circumstances that can be contrary to what I know God has said, I’m not going to poke at it or question it. Instead, I’m going to boldly know that my elevator will get me to where I need to go. Even if things don’t always seem like they should work, they will.

I love it when the Hebrews 12:2 scripture says that God is the author and finisher of our faith. God doesn’t just write the book, but He’ll finish what He started. God’s word has power. It finishes what it starts. Philippians 1:6 says, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”

Be boldly confident today that your “elevator” will get to where it needs to go, but you have to allow God to get you there. You have to stop nit picking at every little detail and just go along for the ride. You have to trust Him that no matter what you see right now He will finish what He has started. He is a good God that loves you, and His plans and His ways are perfect.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Have You Had Some Bad Salmon?

I love good seafood. I always have. Dan isn’t much of a fish eater but for the first few years of our marriage he would enjoy a nice piece of salmon. I considered it a fair compromise and I worked that into a once and awhile meal.

I’m going to guess it was around six to seven years ago, Dan and I walked into a grocery store and they were having a sale on salmon. It looked good to both of us so we bought dinner and went home to cook it. We savored our meal, and thought all was fine. We’d had plans to attend a church dinner the next day and I went about making the desserts I needed to make and all seemed well. Until that night, I woke up sicker than sick. I was puking everywhere. I figured it was just me and I must be fighting something so I did what I had to do, and was trying to take care of myself. Fortunately because at the moment Dan wasn’t sick he took care of our oldest daughter for me. I spent four hours plus huddled in the bathroom. I wasn’t just a little sick, I was violently ill. At about the time I started to get better, it hit Dan. Needless to say we didn’t end up attending the church dinner. We were sure that salmon had to have been bad, and we reaped the repercussions of it.

For years neither of us ever wanted to see a piece of salmon again. Didn’t desire it, and certainly didn’t want to look at it. It took me years to forget how sick we’d been. Just recently we both started eating it again.

The way Dan and I treated salmon is a lot like people treat each other. Maybe there is an altercation. Someone offended the other; most likely the feeling is mutual. It’s hard to forget when someone hurts you so deeply. It’s hard to move forward after it’s said and done, and it’s easy to just avoid the whole situation by not even wanting to see the person. It brings up the feelings you’d rather not remember. It takes a lot of maturity to learn to move forward from that place.

1 Corinthians 13:3-5 in the Message Bible says, “If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love. Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, Doesn't have a swelled head, Doesn't force itself on others, Isn't always "me first," Doesn't fly off the handle, Doesn't keep score of the sins of others, Doesn't revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.”

Love doesn’t keep score. That means it forgets the past. To be a mature believer you have to let go of what people do to you. You have to make the choice to continue to move forward no matter what the situation. Now that doesn’t mean you keep opening yourself up for physical pain, but what I’m saying is that you make the choice to believe the best in people. Put your awkward, head bobbing feelings aside and choose to love them.

Matthew 18:21-22 says, “At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, "Master, how many times I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?" Jesus replied, "Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.”

Unity isn’t something that is obtained once and then it’s there. It’s a constant choice. It’s a constant choice that God put you in this situation together and you are going to work together and love each other no matter what. It’s the constant choice that no matter what has been said and done so and so is my brother and/or sister in the Lord and I’m going to have their back even if two minutes ago I wanted to smack them.

The term forgive and forget used to really mess with me. I was like forgive yes, but how can one ever forget the situation. It almost brought me condemnation because I remembered what had happened and thought that I was still holding bitterness. Finally the Lord spoke to me and shared with me that forgetting means that you forget the emotions around it. Real forgiveness means every time you see the person the same pain and feelings don’t rise up on the inside of you. It’s a process, which has to be worked through.

I’ve learned how to “forgive” and enjoy salmon again. It’s not all salmon’s fault that one piece made me violently sick six years ago. It was time I let my distaste go for the fish. Don’t you think that maybe there are people you’ve done the same thing to? Did someone hurt you and ever since you’ve had an aversion to them? I can hear many reading this saying, “But you don’t know what they did to me?” You’re right I don’t, but God does. Let Him deal with the person.

You have to let it go, and move forward. You have to be at peace with them, and stop avoiding them. Avoiding the situation just makes it worse. Choose to be at peace today. Choose to “forget” what happened. I figure if Jesus could look out over all those people who brutally betrayed Him and physically tortured Him at the cross and forgive them, then who am I to hold onto my issues? Hope I gave you something to think about because it’s getting to be lunch time soon and I have a piece of left over salmon from dinner last night waiting to be enjoyed. Be blessed all, God loves you and so do I.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Praying Through The Cherry Orchard

In the years I spent at Ohio State University’s Theatre Department there was one particular quarter where I ran the sound board for The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov. The sound board for the theatre was in its own little room. I wore a head set that the Assistant Director, Lighting operator, Stage Manager and a few others had access to speak on. Night in and night out I sat in front of the computer and waited for the Assistant Director to give me the sign to click on the sound effect for each scene. The nights wore on, and I spent my time staring at the computer, watching the play for the twentieth time, and creating my own artwork out of whatever paper and pencils I could find.

One night in particular the students were talking over the headset about random things and the Lighting Operator revealed that she was Wiccan and had just had a reading done. Suddenly all voiced turned to her. Their curiosity was sparked, and they wanted to know more. I have found that people have a supernatural desire in their lives and all so often they don’t know that God has given us the gifts of the Holy Spirit and they go and pursue the deception. People are interested in those kinds of things, and they need to know that God doesn’t like Tarot cards, but we don’t have to go have a reading done, because we serve the one who created the stars and He wants to talk to us! So I piped in the conversation as if electricity perked my ears and said something along the line of, “I’m a Christian and I believe God wants to talk to His people but going and getting a reading done is not Godly.” Well, no one heard me. They were all so caught up in asking questions to the girl, they didn’t pay attention to what I had said.

As I sat on the stool and could see The Cherry Orchard playing below me, I slipped down to my knees in the dark sound room, raised my headset so they couldn’t hear me, and began to pray. I prayed for these people on the head set with me that night. I prayed that they would hear me and what I know what the Holy Spirit wanted me to say. I prayed for boldness, and I prayed that God would give me the words to speak. Finally I got back on that stool and lowered my headset again. This time when I began to explain the difference between the prophetic (a gift from God) and a psychic (the counterfeit from the devil) the voices on the head set heard me. They wanted to know about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It became an open door for me to set there and begin to preach on the Word. To my knowledge no one gave their lives to the Lord that night, but I know they heard the word and seeds were planted. The Wiccan got quite annoyed with me, but that’s okay I still pray for her.

I love telling that story, because God used it to show me first hand what prayer can do. There was a shift in the spiritual realm that night, not because I was so obedient, but because God wanted those people ministered to. So many times people think that praying is nothing but mumbling a few words that do nothing more than ease a conscious or give us the veiled thought of some kind of control. But the Bible says different! James 5:16 says, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
Proverbs 15:29 says, “The LORD is far from the wicked, but He heareth the prayer of the righteous.” James 4:2 says, “You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.”

Praying isn’t something that we go and recite a few memorized words. But it’s something from the heart. God wants to have fellowship with His children. He loves it when we talk to Him. I teach people all the time to talk to God just like you would talk to your best friend. You don’t need to get out the King James Version of the Bible and say your Theyth, and thy’s. You just need to talk Him. Be His friend. Tell Him when something is bothering you. He wants to be your friend, but you have to let Him be that for you. It’s absolutely silly when people don’t talk to God. If you don’t talk to your best friend how will they still be your best friend? You must communicate with God. Talk to Him, and allow Him to answer you. I promise you that you’ll be glad you did.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What if we started a coup?

*** I wrote this today because something I read in the newspaper that ticked me off, and I wrote a letter to the editor. I don't want the CIA to mistakenly believe I'm trying to overthrow the current administration by physical force. I'm just trying to rally the believers. I'm not a person that flows in poetry often, but when I do it really hits me. I realize this will tick some folks off :-) ****

What if we started a coup
By Anna M. Aquino
Copyright 2010

What if we started a coup…
And the liberals were removed from their high and lofty place.

What if we started a coup….
Where we bound complacency, apathy, masked tyranny and loss of accountability.

What if we started a coup…
Where the American idols didn’t have more rights than God and His believers do.

The pursuit of religious freedom has been deceived and misshapen
And now like a noose around our neck it chokes.

Politically Correct, Controlling Healthcare, Budget Deficit
All drunken excuses to take another toke, or make another joke.

Calling the Survivors, the believers willing to fight
To restore this nation and it’s core values back to the Right.

What if we started a coup…
And took a stand for righteousness and truth.

What if we started a coup…
Where our founding fathers voices echoed like a battle cry to the nation.

What if we started a coup…
Where we shook off the bondage of wickedness and used our rights once again.

What if we started a coup…
Where we pray for freedom, and one nation under God to rule in our land again.

What if we started a coup?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

But I want to dive off the 33ft high platform. . .

When I was competitively cheering in high school I decided to take a diving class at Ohio State to help me with my gymnastics. The first day I walked into the pool area I remember looking up, and thinking I want to dive from that. I’ve always been the thrill seeker. I figured I’ve dove off of high dives at a normal pool before, and I’m a strong swimmer so why not? The highest Olympic sized platform for diving is 33ft in the air; you can roughly say 3 stories up. It took me a few classes to work up the courage to ask the instructor, and his response surprised me. He would let us climb the stairs and look down, but under no terms were we going to dive off that platform. I’m not a girl that’s afraid of heights but looking 3 stories down into the water was a little humbling. He told us about how he once dove off the platform, and messed up. The water pressure is so intense that when he came up out of the water his bathing suit had been ripped off his body on impact.

In my novice eyes I didn’t know the dangers of diving. When you are up that high, and you don’t enter the water right that water surface can act as if you’d hit a brick wall when speeding. If you don’t know what you’re doing it can cause serious injury. To humor me he let me dive off the highest spring board and one of the times I did, I didn’t lock my hands together like I should have and my arm spun. When I hit the water I hurt my shoulder and it knocked the wind out of me. I could only imagine what diving 3 stories down would do. I’d heard shoulder injuries are common.

Living life in the kingdom and pursuing ministry can also be like the high dive. So often we know the things God has called us to do. They can be like that high platform in the sky, and we can say to ourselves, “Forget the other boards I want to jump off of that one up there.” It can get frustrating because deep down we can prophetically see our destinies towering over our lives but we still are stuck down at a low spring board. But it doesn’t work that way. Our Christian walk and things God has called us to do is a progression.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (The Message), “Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We're free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.”

We have to work our way and train to get to that high dive or the destiny in our lives. We have to allow ourselves to gradually become like Him. It doesn’t happen over night. The training can get frustrating and sometimes you’ll wonder “Am I ever going to get there? Is God just shaking that thing in front of my face to mess with me?” I understand the frustration. I’ve spent a long time crying and having similar thoughts, but we must have faith. We must trust God to do what He says He will do. That’s faith. Believing what you know He has said over what you have seen. You must trust Him because He is your Daddy and He loves you. God doesn’t show you things prophetically just to mess with your head. He loves you. He has good plans for your life. (Jeremiah 29:10) You have to trust him. If he would let you reach that high dive without preparing you, it could cause serious injury to you both physically and spiritually. In the kingdom the injury isn’t going to just hurt you, but it’ll hurt those around you too. He’s taking you through the training for your benefit.

In Philippians 3:12-14 Paul is equating the Christian walk like running a marathon. It wouldn’t make since in the middle of your race you crossed the finish line. No. There is a progression, an order to the way things must be done so that you’re ready to dive off your high dive.

I’ve often said one of the biggest hang ups for prophetic people is learning how to see yourself at point D and E in your life, but being ok with living at point B. You have to be content with where you are in your training. You have to be able to look up and see that high dive over you, know that one day you’ll get there but in the meantime enjoy where you are. You must embrace the training.

One day, if you don’t give up you’ll find yourself on that high platform. You’ll be ready. You’ve been prepared for that moment, and it will be right on time. One day God will be able to see you walking in all those things He is preparing for you now. I can almost see him smiling. His smile is contagious. He is saying, “That’s my kid! Do you see him? Do you see her? They are doing what I created her for on this earth! I‘m so proud of them!” He loves His children so much. He’s making your high dive ready for you. Be encouraged today, and don’t give up for many of you are about to walk into a new day.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sometimes, You Have to Get Back to the Basics.

Some of you may have heard me tell this story before, if you have bear with me. It has been one that has been on my heart for the last few days.J

I grew up technically in a small Ohio town, but really, my mom and dad’s house is in between the town and an even smaller blurb on a map. I think the technical definition of Waldo, Ohio is a village it may be a township. Waldo, Ohio is every bit what the image of a small town: two traffic lights, two churches, a few bars (one well known for its fried bologna sandwiches), a fireman’s festival every year, an ice cream stand, and two churches. Being that the town is so small the two churches used to get together on occasions for various functions. I grew up in the Lutheran one, and caddy cornered to it was a Methodist church.

One fall evening, I would guess it would have been my senior year of High School; I drove over to the Methodist church for baton twirling lessons. I was a twirler for a few years at school and the woman I took lessons from was using the basement of the Methodist church for space. That evening I arrived early, and because I was familiar with the building, I stuck my head into the sanctuary. I have such a soft spot for older constructed churches. There is something about them. They always have a way to bring me back to the place spiritually where I first learned His name. As I glanced in the sanctuary, the picture was so beautiful. The moon was shining through the stained glass windows leaving color rays dancing on the aisle way. The altar looked so inviting. Glancing at my watch, I saw I still had time before my lesson, and like a gossamer spiritual string, I felt led to kneel down in the middle of the dancing reflections of stained glass windows and consecrate my life again to the Lord. I remember crying in that small Methodist church, declaring that I just wanted to serve Him. That I just wanted to live my life and do whatever it takes to bring Him glory. I wanted to make Him proud, and though the call of God on my life seemed so bigger than myself, I just wanted to be able to look at Him in the eyes one day and know I’d done all I could for Him. The presence of God was all over me that night. The tears flowed freely down my face, and I meant what I said. Reluctantly I found my way to the basement, but the memory of that night has always stayed with me.

There have been several times in my life where things have seemed to get so complicated. Sometimes, just like I did that night I can feel a tug at my heart. No matter where I’ve been physically spiritually I find myself going back to kneeling in the middle of a moonlight Methodist church crying out my love for the Lord.

Sometimes whether we mean to or not, situations and concerns can complicate our walk with the Lord. However, we must constantly try to remember what and why we are where we are. Even sometimes in ministry, slowly and gradually it can be as if we are trying to do the work of the ministry before serving and loving the Lord. The shift can sometimes be subtle.

In Exodus 20:3 God gives the 10 commandments. The first one is that you should not have any other gods before Him. So often times we think that we do not because we are not worshipping Buddha or anything like that. Nevertheless, so many times, things can slowly become a “god” to you, and you are worshipping it more than God. Sometimes your family, your friends, the ministry He has called you to, they all can become something that you are fixing your mind on more than Him. We had a Lutheran intern some years ago and I will always remember hearing about a sermon he preached. He called it “Hail to the Lawn gods.” In which he talked about people even putting their lawn before God because that is where they spent all their time.

Matthew 6:33 (New King James Version) says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” I love the way this scripture is worded in The Message Bible, “30-33"If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

God wants us to seek Him first with our whole heart. Have you ever been around someone who you can tell is merely telling you what you want them to tell you, and not really meaning it? It’s frustrating and annoying. You might think that you are fooling everyone by going through the motions. But you can’t fool God. I can say all these things because we’ve all, myself included found ourselves in this place.

There are so many fresh things that God wants to do to His children in these days, but in your heart are you really still seeking Him first or just telling Him you are? What is first in your life? Is it Him or something else? It’s time to be honest with yourselves, and honest to God. It’s time to find yourself in that place of consecration where you get down on your knees before God, and say God I want you more than anything and I just want to serve you. Find yourselves pulled as if attached to that gossamer cord. It’s the Holy Spirit wooing you today to leave the chaos, confusion, and complication. Make it simple again today with you and God. It’s surrendering your life to Him, and telling Him you love Him from your heart.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Beep, this is a test. This is only a test.

I don’t know if it’s just the age of my youngest daughter, or just her personality, or maybe both. But if things don’t go her way she has a tendency to jump up and down and throw a fit. It causes a lot of irritation in our home. I’m usually okay at ignoring it, until the feet come out stomping, kicking, and jumping and that is usually my breaking point for correction. Because I know this about her I have found myself purposely trying in some situations to change her pattern and allow there to be change in it, just so her reaction can be put in check. For example the other day both girls wanted to pray at the dinner table. I’ll never tell you that you can’t pray in my house however instead of letting the youngest go first, I let the oldest. I got the reaction I expected. The youngest threw a fit, but I was also able to look at my youngest in the eyes and correct her for her attitude.

I realized when I did this that sometimes I think God does the same to us. Don’t get me wrong He doesn’t conjure sickness and disease or anything contrary to the word. But I do think that sometimes He puts us in situations that may make us uncomfortable just so we can see what is inside of us. He sometimes works situations out in such a way that it shows us some character flaws that need worked on.

The Bible talks about discipline quite a bit. Here are just four scriptures.Proverbs 3:12 says, “because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”Proverbs 5:23 says, “He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly.”Proverbs 10:17 says, “He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.”Proverbs 12:1 says, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.”

I have my own personal theory that if I can see my flaw and admit to it, then that puts me on the pathway of dealing with it and correcting it. If we never realize the flaw is there how will we ever correct it?

Sometimes it’s easy to see situations in your life that have been showing you your own shortcomings. Did someone get promoted before you? How did you react, did you really love them when you congratulated them or was that merely a fake hug? OR maybe you’re in a situation where someone just irritates you, and while you know you need to show them love you really want to lash out and smack them. Did you start going to a church and someone offend you? Are you going to quit or are you going to keep going?

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 says, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” We have to learn to show love at all times.

Sometimes we all can become like a three-year-old in our attitude. We all can get to the point that we want to jump up and down and scream. We can try to pout to God, or we can be more mature accept that shortcoming in yourself has been exposed and work on changing it. We are supposed to be more mature, but you have to choose to put the childish ways behind you. God loves who He corrects. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Realize some way somehow this situation will and can be worked out for good.

Be glad. God loves you. He loves you too much to let you continue to go forward without correcting some attitude that may need some adjustment. He loves you too much, and that’s a good thing. My kids will quote “be changeable and correctable.” We always have to have the attitude towards God that we don’t know it all, and we have to go forward in His leading. So if you find yourself in this situation today: just pick yourself back up, adjust your attitude, and keep on going. You’ll be glad you did.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Can You Tell I'm Bleached?

My grandmother was an amazing woman. She had an uncanny ability to get anything spotless. If she couldn’t clean it she’d paint it. I’m not joking. She would even bleach her lawn rocks once a year. Because of this ability anytime we had a garment we couldn’t seem to get the stain out it would get sent to grandma’s house because somehow she could. The problem with this was that sometimes when you sent any type of garment with color in it, there were no promises as to what color it would be when you got it back. Sometimes that wasn’t too big of a deal. However when your school colors are Red and Black, and your on the softball team, and suddenly your uniform is a strange shade of orange and brown it can get a little embarrassing. I’m exaggerating a tad. I don’t remember it ever turning orange and brown, but I do remember it being a slightly different shade of red. It was obvious that uniform was different and stood out.

The blood of Jesus is better than any bleach. John 1:7 says, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

We all mess up. We all sin. We all fall short. When we plead the sacrifice of Jesus over our lives it should change us. When we cry out and say, “God because of your son’s sacrifice I shall be clean in your eyes.” Our result should be obvious. We now have the ability to be in the presence of God because Jesus has made a way. It should be that people notice a change in us. It should be that they notice that we are different.

1 Corinthians 1:1 says in the Message Bible, “I, Paul, have been called and sent by Jesus, the Messiah, according to God's plan, along with my friend Sosthenes. I send this letter to you in God's church at Corinth, believers cleaned up by Jesus and set apart for a God-filled life. I include in my greeting all who call out to Jesus, wherever they live. He's their Master as well as ours!” Our cleansing through the cross should set us apart.

So many times people myself included want to just blend in and be like everyone else. I can remember as a kid in Sunday School wanting not to respond to the question because I always was and nobody else would speak up. This irritated me, and I tried so hard not to answer. I didn’t want to stand out. As an adult I’ve grown to realize that God made me and set me apart for His glory, and continuing to try to just blend in is doing myself, those around me, and God’s call on my life a disservice. Why? Because just trying to blend in is not what God created me or anyone else to be in this life. I need to be true to who God created me. Sometimes that means I may feel a little uncomfortable. But that’s okay.

So what if you’re different? We all are. The last time I check no two people are alike. It’s a lie to believe you’ll ever completely blend into the background. You’re different. So stop trying to merely blend in, and start accepting yourself for who God made you. You are different and unique. God has a plan and a purpose for your life. You were not created by accident, but you were formed in your mothers’ womb with a purpose. Whether you want to believe or not only you have the unique capability to fulfill that purpose. Sure God could rise up and get someone else to do it, but He’s calling you to be set apart for His glory. One day we’ll all have to give an account for what we did and didn’t do on this earth. Will you say to him, “I didn’t want to stand out of the crowd, so I didn’t try?” Somehow I don’t think this answer would go over well.

I feel there are many struggling who are reading this as I type. God’s made clear his path before you and in your head there are still questions circling around your thoughts as if in a marching band. You have to stop all the questions to dictate to you what you will and won‘t do. You have to trust God and move into what you know to be His will for your life. You have to get over yourself and stop trying to blend into the background. Stand and know He is God in your life, in your circumstance, and in your destiny! His plan is bigger for you than what you see. The fulfillment in life you seek can only be found in serving God and doing what He’s designed you for in this life.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Be Ready For Your Divine Appointment!

When I was in college I remember one of my professor’s telling a story about a girl. She was frustrated and upset because she couldn’t get a job as a set designer. She’d been told “no” time and time again, One particular day she found herself setting on a park bench crying. She clutched her resume in her hand wondering if anyone would ever value her talent. Eventually a man sat down on the bench next to her. Seeing the crying woman beside him he couldn’t help but ask her what was wrong. The two began to talk. The young woman sobbed, and finally she relayed the story that she’d been trying to find a job as a set designer and no one would hire her.

Finally the man said, “Well do you have your resume with you?” She handed him the resume heavy hearted. He took a look at it. Handed it back to her and said, “You are hired!” It turns out that the man had been trying to hire a set designer for the traveling set of Phantom of the Opera. The moral my professor used to always tell us is to always have business cards or a resume handy to give to anyone who asked for it.

I love the story of Joseph in the Bible. Here was a young kid so excited over the things that God told him would happen one day in his life. He gets sold into slaver by his brothers who betray him. He gets falsely accused and thrown into jail, and it seemed as if he’d stay in jail the rest of his days. Please go read Genesis 39-47
I was reflecting on Joseph the other day. While he is in prison he interprets two dreams accurately Genesis 40. He asks to the one that gets out of prison to remember him before Pharaoh. I’m sure every day he waited thinking that he would be released. I’m sure every day he thought and thought would be his last. But it seemed as if that day would never come. The Bible isn’t clear about all the emotion he had to have gone through. He had to have walked through frustration. Two years later, the Pharaoh has a dream and Joseph is remembered. In one day Joseph goes from jail to being the second in command of all of Egypt. God had prepared his divine appointment. His whole situation changed in one day.

We’ve all found ourselves in very similar situations as Joseph. God has told you something and it seemed like things were going to break forth, and day after day you wait and it seems as if it’s not changing. I have news for you, God IS Faithful! He will accomplish what He has set into motion. Isaiah 55:11 says, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

You keep holding on! One day the suddenly will happen. One day things will totally be different. One day you will see yourself put in that place that God has designed for you. Don’t give up! Don’t get weary! Be like a bull dog and hold on to the promises of God!