Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Do You Have A Squishy Mailbox Pillow On Your Arms?

If you have followed my blogs for any length of time you have probably heard me tell part of this story before now. When I was in high school I was training to cheer for The Ohio State University, until I decided that I was going to get a standing back tuck on my own while on a carpeted concrete floor. Up until that point I could do with a spotter. It was not my brightest move to set up the video recorder as I rendered damage to my wrist. Which I will reiterate here I made the stunts, however at the very end of the tuck I came down and clipped my wrist several times.

What resulted was reconstructive wrist surgery at age 16. I have a metal plate six screws and a pin in my right wrist. In order to recover from that surgery they put me in a foam brace that I had to wear everywhere. The brace looked like an overgrown squishy mailbox. I had to wear on my arm for probably a month after I returned to school. While I did not appreciate having to wear it, if I would not have worn it I am not sure how I would have gotten through going back to school. My arm needed something to rest on, and it needed the protection. I would not have been able to give it the protection and rest it needed with out the overgrown pillow for support.

In Exodus 17:10-13 Moses had to keep his arms up too.
10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.

Moses needed his friends to be his squishy mailbox pillow. He needed people to come around him so that the had the strength to endure keeping his arms up.

Often we get a sad misconception in the church that we do not need each other. Sure we would never come out and say such a thing, but we live our lives in our own little bubbles and rarely let others in. That is not what God intended. God put us around each other to make each other better.

Proverbs 27:17As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

We need each other in this Christian walk. There will be times someone will say something to you that is exactly what you needed to hear to get yourself right with God. There are times you need your brothers and sisters in the Lord to surround you and be your squishy mailbox pillow. They help you keep your arms up when they grow tired. Remember that we cannot be islands unto ourselves. We need each other.

Try to reach out to people today. You can be someone’s squishy mailbox pillow. I know I could list several here who have been that in my life, and they have made such a difference. Let God use you to make a difference. Whom can you encourage today?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Don't Fall For the Fake Jakes!

I hope all of you had an awesome Resurrection Weekend! He is Risen!!

Several weeks ago I had someone claiming to be T.D. Jakes begin communication with me on twitter. At first I brushed him off thinking there was no way he was the real T.D. However this individual was persistent. We began exchanging a few direct messages back and forth. He then proceeded to invite me to go with himself and several other ministers over to Japan to preach over there. That was when I told him to email me at my website email. The conversation continued. At first I didn’t believe at all this was the real T.D. Jakes. However the more we exchanged emails the more I really thought it might. His phrasing on how he worded things sounded like the real T.D. The text emails were coming from Texas, and it was obvious this man spent a long time familiarizing himself with T.D. and his website because of the way he wove legitimate things about the real T. D. into the conversations. This went back a forth for several weeks until finally the truth came out. He was asking the ministers who were flying over to Japan to chip in money to charter the plane to go over there. While ministry does cost money it became increasingly obvious that this wasn’t the real T. D. Jakes but a fake. I have alerted T.D. Jakes’ ministry due to the suggestion of others. Sadly I hope no one actually falls for this.

I began thinking about deception as a result of this and how it can be so easy to fall into the trap of a lie. When you are deceived you believe you are in truth, however in actuality you aren’t. You’ve fallen for the lie. The devil has no real power. He only tries to deceive people into believing he does.

The Bible warns about deception in the last days.

Luke 21:8-9 (NIV)He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.”

So then how do you make sure that you’re not deceived? That’s kinda concerning if you think about it? You think you’re doing right but aren’t. In regards of this T. D. Jakes incident I began to come up with some thoughts on the matter:

1) Test the situation with the word, and your spirit. If red flags begin to appear don’t just overlook the red flags because you want it to be real. Ask the Lord to reveal truth. He is the revealer of truth and He will show you truth. (1John 4:1).

2) Surround yourself with people that your accountable to, submit these things. While at some point I’ll admit I might have been gullible enough to believe this might have been the real T.D. Jakes, My husband, my pastor, and my sister had strong opinions on the contrary. (Hebrews 13:7 and 1Peter2:13) We have to stop thinking that we are an island unto ourselves if we’re going to guard ourselves against deception. We have to trust those who God has put into our lives.

3) Don’t be so quick to judge a situation. (Psalms 46:10) There is a concept that I’ve seen play out time and time again. Being still and knowing He is God, is not just about seeing God show up on the scene. Yes, that is true and happens. But being still can sometimes mean being discerning and allow God show the truth or lie behind an issue. God has a way of bringing the truth evident in a situation. I’m the type of person that often finds myself jumping to conclusions first and asking questions later. However maturity has shown me time and time again that’s not always the best option. Be still and know that His is God and be willing to hear what He says.

So no I’m not going to Japan with a fake T. D. Jakes. But this situation made me look at various things in myself and in the ministry that God has entrusted Dan and I to. While it had deception all over it, I’m grateful that God used it to show me some things. Remember God has awesome plans for your life. So be excited because He is truth. He doesn’t deceive and He is faithful! 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Are You Still Hiding?

When I was in Middle School (I think it was the 7th grade) our English teacher teamed up with different school’s English teacher for a bit. We were given pen pals from a neighboring school and then later in the year it was arranged that we would meet our pen pals at a park for an outing. It sounded like a good idea, except I had a problem with mine. My pen pal wanted to beat me up. I was typically a kid that stayed out of trouble, tried not to create waves, but my pen pal kept trying to tell me that she knew Luke Perry from 90210. Those were the years of the height of the Beverly Hills 90210 faze and I voiced my unbelief in a letter. She voiced her threats through friends and as the days toward the field trip drew near, I dreaded going.

The day of the trip, it was beautiful. The birds were singing, and the smell of spring was in the air like a floral blanket. It was the perfect Ohio spring day, but I rode to the park that day as if wanting to sink under the seat. While I have always considered myself a tough chicka, and have come from a long line of street fighters, but getting into a fistfight was not something I wanted to do. When everyone else started to pair up with their partners, I sunk to the back of the crowd. I half hid throughout the day, and finally when the angry girl found me, it was not nearly as crazy of a scene as I thought would happen. She insisted she knew Luke Perry, which he is from Ohio originally okay maybe she did, I conceded to that fact. That was the end of it. We avoided each other the rest of the day.

So many times, we as Christians handle conflict with the devil just like that. We automatically go to thinking the worst case scenarios are going to happen and then it steals our joy. We have to realize that God has given us the authority over the devil.

Matthew 10:1[Jesus Sends Out the Twelve ] Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

Luke 10:19I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.

In the Bible the word says that the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy but He comes so that we may have life and life more abundantly (John 10:10) It all comes down to a choice. You have a choice to run in fear when situations arise just as I did with the girl. It stole my enjoyment of that day. On the other hand, you have a choice to rise up in the authority that if you have been born again, you have Jesus Christ on the inside of you and that you can take your authority in the situation. You do not have to run from conflict because the greater one is on the inside of you!

Be encouraged to day, that God is for you so who can be against you. Do not run in fear but be bold be strong for the Lord your God is with you!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Is The Alarm Still Sounding?

Several years ago our dear late pastor, Pastor Lee, invited my family and I the use of their pool while he and his wife were out of town. I was told how to get in the backyard and in case of emergency, ie one of my kids having to go to the bathroom, how to get in the house. It was such a nice offer we gladly packed the girls up and went to pastors house for a swim. I wanted to make sure that we wouldn’t actually go in the house. However, knowing kids, as soon as we got in the water my oldest had to go to the bathroom.

After some trial and error we opened the door to the house, and an suddenly an alarm started to sound. We’d been swimming at their house before I was sure it was the children’s alarm, but after pushing the button we couldn’t get it off. That’s when panic started to seize Dan and I. Dan was sure it was the house alarm. He was convinced the police were going to show up. I tried to explain to him that even if they did it wasn’t that we were doing anything wrong. Chaos became contagious. We quickly locked the house back up. Dan started gathering up all our belongings. He was taking a mad dash to the car. I was sure the neighbors were watching us to figure out what we were doing.

Once we got in the car reason told us we should call pastor on his cell. But we didn’t have a cell phone at the time, and all of our change had been left on their back patio flung out of our short pockets when we hurriedly made a mad dash to the car. In desperation we decided to drive about two miles to other friends home to see if they were home and we could call from their house. We showed up at the friends doorstep wet, in our bathing suits and laughing hysterically at our panic.

When we finally got pastor on the phone, after he was done laughing explaining it was the child alarm and what we’d done wrong, he insisted we go back and shut it off. So we braved the neighbors’ stares once again, and drove back to fix what we’d done. We ended up having an enjoyable evening in their pool, and a story we still laugh about.

There are times in life where we have to go back and fix what we’ve done before we can move forward. It didn’t matter how silly the neighbors’ thought we looked or the crazy stares we got, but we had to go back and shut the alarm off. In turn there are also times we can’t go back and fix things, but when we can I believe we have to try.

In Genesis 12:11-20 Abraham lies about Sarah being his wife and eventually he had to fess up to the truth.

Psalm 25:9 (AMP)He leads the humble in what is right, and the humble He teaches His way

Proverbs 29:23 (AMP)
A man's pride will bring him low, but he who is of a humble spirit will obtain honor.

Times happen in life where you might need to go back to a situation and humble yourself to make it right. I can remember one time in particular in my life where I’d given my word on a matter and didn’t end up doing what I said I would. Years later the Lord instructed me to do what I’d spoken and I did. Sometimes “fixing” can be as simple as an apology, a repayment of funds, or maybe fulfilling a vow you’d made.

Remember if your feeling you have to go back and make things right, that’s cool! Because humbling yourself will catapult you forward. At the end of the day do you want to be a person who went out of their way to please God? Or pleased man?

Building character on the inside of you is never easy. But it’s always worth it. God loves you, and He’s excited about your future.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Are Your Shoes Too Small?

Last weekend my family and I were blessed to get to go to Disney. Right before we left I said to everyone “Wear shoes that are comfortable!” The statement seemed like a no brainer but my oldest picked out shoes that I knew were going to hurt her feet. So I insisted that she wear the new pair of off brand crocs she’d gotten. The problem is that those shoes had been at the bottom of the bin and had gotten misshapen and their not as comfortable as they should be on her feet. I questioned her. Was she sure they were comfortable? “Yes mom…I’m sure.”

The day was picturesque. We were serenaded in Frontier Land by a tuba, banjo and guitar singing “Zippity-do-da” while we ate our packed lunch from home. My youngest was finally tall enough to go on Splash Mountain, and while it was trying to get hot it was a beautiful day with just the right amount of breeze.

However, half way through the day, I looked down and noticed my oldest was limping. The blisters on her feet were already starting to form, and I was immediately thinking if I buy shoes here for her I’ll pay three times what their worth. In desperation I switched shoes with her. I figured my feet would stretch out the shoes and she’d just wear mine too big. We got through the day eventually. We both had blisters, and we discovered that those stickers the cast members give you all the time make for a great impromptu band-aids. See picture attached.

Shoes that are too small are never comfortable. There are times in your walk with God you can begin to feel that way in the spirit. What do I mean by that? God is constantly trying to get you to grow and change (2 Corn 3:18). God wants us always to go and grow further and further with Him. It’s a progression. Many times in my walk with Him I’ve found myself in places that suddenly I feel like I’ve out grown. It almost becomes claustrophobic. I find myself doing the same things that I used to, and suddenly it’s like “Ok, I’ve been here. Done that. What’s next?”

There are times that we have to learn to go through the mundane, but there are times when God is trying to get us to move forward with Him. It’s as if God is the Poppa Bird trying to nudge us out of the nest. If we aren’t uncomfortable there, then we won’t ever see past the comfort of the nest. You have to see the need to take a step of faith before you’ll take it. Times where you’re uncomfortable often produce some of the biggest faith moves forward.

If you find yourself in one of those times in life where you’re shoes feel to small. Remember that God has awesome plans for your life. His desire is that you would move forward in what He tells you to do.

Psalm 27:14 (KJV)
Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Wait on the Lord, and trust in Him. For truly He knows how to get you to where you need to go. Trust Him beyond your comfort level. His ways are good.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Because Monkeys Have Braces

This afternoon I made an apple crisp and I as I was taking it out of the oven my youngest came running through the house asking me what I had made.

“An apple crisp,” I replied as I tried not to burn my fingers.

“Oh!” She began to run around again. “Mom, what did you make?” She asked me again. I know it is a standard childhood issue. However, it really irritates me that I am always feeling like I have to repeat myself repeatedly.

“Monkeys have braces.” I responded. I was joking. I assumed she would laugh at me, and keep running around the house.

“Mom made braces!” She went running to tell my oldest, “Do you want some?”

I had to giggle at her. Then I began to think how much we do the same thing to God.

The Bible is clear that we would hear the voice of God.

John 10:27 (NIV)
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

Nevertheless, some of us, me included have the same habit as my youngest. No matter how many times He has talked to me on an issue, I am always asking the same thing again. I am always questioning what He has told me repeatedly. So the questions are either: I am not really heeding what He is saying in the first place? Or is it I am not trusting Him enough when He tells me the first time?

We have to start caring about what God is saying when He says it. As I type that, I realize that many of us think we do, but if we have to ask Him to repeat Himself twenty million times are we really heading what He said. Being able to have a relationship with the Lord is an honor and a privilege. If we want to mature in the Lord, we must begin to treat it as such.

I am convinced that trust is one of the earmarks of a mature believer. Trusting God is not dependant upon if the manifestation comes overnight. Trust is not dependant upon the circumstance. But Trusting God is unconditional. It is choosing to believe in Him, over every thing else. When Peter walked out on the water (Matt 14:29) He had to choose to believe He could because Jesus told Him too. He did not start to drown until He took His eyes off Jesus and put them on the storm. Even then, Jesus reached down to save Him.

I often think of Noah who in faith built and ark for 100 years because of one encounter with God. Yet so many of us if God doesn’t tell us 50 times in a week, do a sign and a wonder, jump up and down, and swing us around we don’t really listen to Him.

We have to open our ears to what His Spirit is saying to us today. I am not saying God will get irritated at you or give you false information like I did to my daughter. No, not at all. However we do need to start heeding God’s voice. We cannot get where we need to go without His voice. His voice needs to be precious to you. So that you do not need to stop and ask repeatedly, but that, you go with it. Spend time with Him and let Him talk to you. Choose to believe Him today. He has great plans for you life. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Taking Back Your Couch!

When I was in college I lived for a year on the 23rd floor of Morrill Tower on The Ohio State University’s campus. There are two towers: Lincoln and Morrill (Sadly nicknamed Sodom and Gamorrill) that etch themselves in the horizon of the campus in Columbus Ohio. Morrill is the one closest to the famous football Horseshoe. These dorms are built where the rooms are in a collection or pod of four rooms. Those four rooms share a bathroom and a living space. There are several pods per floor.

I had a habit of visiting the pod next door, and maybe it was me, or maybe it was another girl but the door was left open one night to the main living room and someone came in and stole the ugly institution style coach that came in all the pods. I was blamed for leaving the door open. Weeks passed by.

I had a friend who worked at the front desk. One day he came to me and told me he heard a rumor that there seemed to be some extra couches on the 17th floor.

A few days after that news I decided since I was between classes I would investigate. All I planned on doing was knocking on a few doors and asking if anyone knew anything. However it was a good thing on a whim I brought a roommate with me.

When the doors to the elevator opened the roommate and I walked to the first door. I knocked. I waited. It was obvious someone was in one of the rooms. We saw the lights on. We heard the thumping of music. However, no one came to the door. In fact the more I looked into their living room I noticed that they had two couches. In fact the more I looked at that couch the more I realized it was our couch. Our suite number had been written on its underneath in a large black sharpie marker. Without waiting to find out who was back in the back of that room, my old roommate and I picked up the couch. We quickly maneuvered it out of the room, and into the elevator. As far as we were concerned that elevator couldn’t close it’s doors any quicker. In fact if I remember right that was about the time the RA of the floor poked his head around the corner and tried to stop us.

“You guys can’t steal that couch!” He began to yell.

“We’re not. We’re taking it back. It’s ours. Look!” I pointed to the suite number.

“How did you know who stole it?” He was trying to argue with me. He started trying to resemble a drill sergeant from a crazed military movie.

I explained to him about getting a tip, and I was just taking it back.

Eventually he let us go, and after the dust settled I think I got a small lecture on how I hadn’t followed proper protocol in dealing the situation. But really, I took back what was ours.

I was thinking about this story the other day and began to realize how it relates to our Christian walk. Sometimes we aren’t careful in areas and can leave doors opened in our life unguarded. Maybe we aren’t prayed up and our kids have a wild day. Or maybe we aren’t prayed up in an area of our life, or maybe we’re in sin over something God has talked to us about. Doors can be opened, we can be vulnerable in an area and the enemy can come in and steal our stuff. Our joy can be stolen if we’re not renewing our minds when our kids have a wild day. There are many times we can leave ourselves open to the enemy.

The Bible equates the enemy as a thief.

John 10:10 (NKJV)
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

If you’ve found that the enemy has stolen your stuff you have a spiritual right to demand it back!

Matthew 11:12 (NKJV) 12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.

Take what’s rightfully yours. Take the authority that God has given you! When Jesus died on the cross went into hell, he beat up the enemy and rose again. You don’t have to be the victim. You are the victor! Jesus gives his authority to those that believe in Him. You don’t have to be the looser in the battle. Rise up within yourself, and use your authority. Put on the armor of God (Esp 6:10) Go take your couch back! Stop allowing the enemy to bulldoze you, or lie to you and tell you that things are never going to change. Rise up in the power of His might. You have the victory in Jesus! Ask the Lord if there are areas you have opened in your life. But you don’t need to quit. Stand on the Word of God! I could have chosen not to take our couch back. I could have chosen to let them keep it. But I didn’t. Take back what is yours. Choose to be victorious in your situation!

God is awesome, keep moving forward. He has great plans for your life.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

What If?

Yesterday Dan and I happen to watch a movie that I had never heard of on Netflix. This movie called “What If?” I have to say was done really well, and being that I usually rate most Christian films overly cheesy it says a lot coming from me that I totally gave this one my approval. The script was written well, and I highly recommend you check it out. Here’s the link to their website.

The premise of the move is that the main character played by Kevin Sorbo, who had a call of God on his life for ministry chooses not to follow it. Years later God gives him an encounter with an angel named “Mike” played by John Ratzenberger (“Cliff” from Cheers) where basically the lead character experiences a few weeks of what his life would have been like had he chosen to obey God’s plan for his life. In the end the main character is forced to make some powerful choices that not only affect himself but generations.

This led Dan and I to discuss various times in our lives that were crossroads, not realizing then, but really do now how if we would have made certain choices differently our lives would have been very different. Very early in my life I made the choice that I didn’t want to ever look back and my life and always wonder “What if?” For the most part, I don’t have regrets. But then I began to think of all those in life that I’ve known that have chosen not to pursue what they knew was their destiny. I’ve known people who after hearing a prophetic word and knowing God had destiny in them looked at me and said, “That’s fine but I don’t want that.” How miserable it must be to always be thinking in the back of your mind “what if I would have done this?” or “What would have happened?”

What is so beautiful about God’s plan for our lives is that He always as a way to redeem the time I doesn’t matter if your realizing now at 30 or at age 100. If you choose now to fulfill what God has for your life He has a way to work everything out, and redeem the time. Just as the man in the movie was given a second chance God wants you to fulfill the things in your life He has ordained you to, and I’ve seen time and time again how He works everything out.

Sometimes it can be easy to question why you’re feeling led to go one direction and then you choose to go another. I want to encourage all of you today that you need to listen to the Holy Spirit. When God is directing you, just go with it! If you can see where you’ve gotten off track repent and get on it! Life is too precious and too short not to fulfill your God given destiny. Go with it!!!

Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)
21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.