Monday, March 13, 2017

Breathing Room

Image result for hope
*Image from Web*

Psalm 18:18-20King James Version (KJV)
18 They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the Lord was my stay.19 He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.20 The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.

For the past month I have been bubbling over with pure excitement! Every time I have a quiet moment joy rises in me from my center and I have to let it out in an exclamation of praise and laughter.
I have caught myself randomly laughing, unable to hold in the physical stirring of anticipation and elation in my belly. 
Why?, you may ask. I am excited about the very near-future.
For a number of years my family ( like many others) has endured trial and hardship. It felt we could not get out of a cycle of financial oppression.  And while some things were effects of not-so-great choices, there seemed to be one wave of challenge after the other preventing us from coming up for air. In the last year however it felt the heaviest for all of us. Yet it was in the heaviness that our faith became the strongest. There were only two options- throw in the towel and give up, or "batten down the hatches" put our heads down and plow through.
I wish we could take the credit for the perseverance and faith, but God gets that. His own Spirit of strength was made perfect in our weakness.
Sometimes the only faith we had was mere faithfulness- commitment and determination to remain and do what we said we would do.
Yet, hope in the future and in a God who is infinite in wisdom gave us the push I needed, to walk on.
Suddenly, as year 2016 ended, and 2017 began, a renewed sense of hope was ushered in with it. Yes, this is the case with any New Year, but this was different. It felt more tangible and more than wishful thinking. It was more than simply a drive to succeed or fortified will-power. Something was planted in my heart, that let me know- know- we were about to walk out of oppression into a large place.
In the meantime, gratefulness flows from my heart, but it is a thankfulness that is fueled by the Holy Ghost. It is a joy that wells up in my soul, sparked by the Spirit of God himself. I can not help but let out a "whoop!" and say an emphatic " Thank you!"
I am myself blown away by it, wondering in my mind where it is all coming from. I lay down to rest and  take notice of the joy that bubbles up. It's remarkable.
And the enemy of my soul takes notice too. 
And he has attempted to put doubt in my mind about the genuineness of my praise. He has whispered that my thankfulness is shallow and superficial- that I am only praising God because the heaviness is lifted. 
The Devil is a liar! If he says it, then the opposite must be true.
So I know my worship is real and deep- and I will not stop. 
In the prison he is worthy and will receive my praise. 
In the large place he remains worthy and my praise too will remain.
Psalm 118:4-6King James Version (KJV)Let them now that fear the Lord say, that his mercy endureth for ever.I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place.The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Is God waiting on you?

Image result for crossroads
image credit: the odyssey online
Isaiah 30:18  Therefore Yahweh will wait, that he may be gracious to you; and therefore he will be exalted, that he may have mercy on you, for Yahweh is a God of justice. Blessed are all those who wait for him. (WEB)

In the context of the scripture there is this theme that Israel feels they are able to rely on themselves. 

15 For thus said the Lord Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel, “You will be saved in returning and rest. Your strength will be in quietness and in confidence.” You refused, 16 but you said, “No, for we will flee on horses”; therefore you will flee; and, “We will ride on the swift”; therefore those who pursue you will be swift. 17 One thousand will flee at the threat of one. At the threat of five, you will flee until you are left like a beacon on the top of a mountain, and like a banner on a hill. 
Many times when we say Lord I am waiting on you to move on my behalf, our "waiting" on God is really an undercover demand in disguise. We say we are waiting on the Lord, but really we are bargaining with the Lord. "Lord I will not move until you do this and this."
We stand still, not truly out of  "wanting to please the Lord" but rather out of fear.
In other words, we do not trust God enough to walk on.
Maybe God seems silent, because he is waiting on us to fully trust him.

I know this may seem so opposite to what is traditionally taught.
None of us want to make a move until we know it's the Lord's will. Acts 5:39

Yet consider this-

Have you obeyed the gospel? Yes.
Are you filled with his Spirit? Yes.
Do you acknowledge the Lord daily? Yes.

Then you are in his will, and in his will you are safe.
Walk on and walk in the Spirit, responding to what comes your way, in the Spirit.

But now you reached a crossroad and need to know which way to go.

Is option A transgressing the law of God? Is option B?
Easy. Choose the path of righteousness. James 2:10-12.
Then evaluate-

 Will option A  hinder my growth in Christ? Will B? Hebrews 5:12
    Yes?  Choose the one that won't.
    Neither?  Move on to next question.

 Will option A compromise my ministry or calling? Will B 2 Thess 1:11
    Yes.  Choose the one that won't.
    Neither.  Move on to next question.

 Will option A negatively affect the ministry or calling of another? Will option B? Acts 15:32-41, Philippians 2:3, Romans 12:4-5
     * Now this does not ask will another be in agreement by the decision. We can not control the emotional response of others, but we should be able to determine how much impact our involvement/presence/ministry affects/influences/supports another's.
    Yes.  Choose the one that won't.
    Neither.  Move on to next question.

Do I prefer one of the options A or B?
    Yes. Choose your preference.
Now, Walk on and walk by Faith, responding to what comes your way in the Spirit.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Is it the will of God?- Part 2

OK, let's be honest.
There are happenings in our life story when a finer, more precise decision is needed.  There are moments, if you may, when a deliberate movement of the hand will produce a purposeful, detailed line on the painted canvas. (continuing with our painting analogy from part one)
Image result for painting
thinner brush for details and precise lines*

When a painter reaches for a specific fine-tipped angled brush, preparing to manipulate the paint atop the background, he has a purpose in mind. In this same vein, God is precise about certain aspects of our lives. There are areas that are intended to bring distinctions to, and/or be distinctive from, other areas. There are, for example, dark contrasting shadows that make the colors around them vibrant. When dark moments seem to enter our life canvas, remember that it's purpose is to embolden the bright times.
 Those less clearer points are the moments when we must follow the examples set forth in the word:
As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus.- Acts 13:2-4

Don't get me wrong. I am not saying the Lord should only be sought in times of great indecision. Daily the face of the Lord should be sought and the requests for God to order your steps should be made. Once you have placed the day and it's events in the Father's hands, trust that your actions from that point, in that day, are in the will of God.
When situations arise, however, that are out of the normal routine and/or cause you to hesitate and think twice, seek the Lord. Life-altering decisions? They should be taken to the Lord in prayer and even fasting.
In the example above God's servants  did not need to know if they were to preach the gospel. They were given that command in Matt 28 and in Acts 1. They did not need to ask God if they were to evangelize.  In the same manner there are somethings we should just know to do as children of God. We do not need to "seek the Lord" on these matters.  And just like the disciples and the apostles in many instances, their path was guided by mere turn of events. There were places they ended up being, simply out of sheer cause and effect. One particular moment met them at a place calling for intentional action and decision. Now, what they needed was clarity on where next to go and in what manner they were to minister. They moved only at the direction of the Holy Spirit. They were able to hear the Spirit's instruction because they prayed and cleared away the distraction of the world and humbled their flesh through fasting. Then they heard clear direction from the Lord.

The conclusion of the matter is this- be anxious for nothing.
Seek the Lord's guidance and trust your life to flow in his Will for the everyday.
And for those moments where the chain of events have seemingly ceased to flow- seek the Lord with intent, with prayer, and fasting. The spirit will instruct you.
Walk on child of God- and marvel at the masterpiece the master painter is creating with your life story.
Walk on and rest in the safety of his infinite wisdom, and his masterful plan.

*Image from web

Friday, January 27, 2017

Is it the Will of God?- Part 1

Image result for bob ross winter scenesOK so have you heard of Bob Ross?
If you haven't, look him up.
He's a gifted painter.

And while watching Bob Ross paint recently, (because hubby has been binge watching every season) I was mesmerized at the brilliant use of color and brush stroke that made every painting breathtakingly, reflectively, and simply beautiful. ( How's that for a long sentence?) 

 I was in prayer Wednesday morning,  focusing on seeking the Lord for direction for my family. The verse in proverbs was my motivation. I wanted to make sure we "acknowledged Him in all our ways, [that] He may direct our paths."
As I knelt at my chair, talking with my Father, a painting from Bob Ross begin to take shape in my mind's eye.
First there was the various shades and gradients of blues and whites, birthed from a whirlwind of broad brush strokes to form the backdrop.

Then Father spoke to me-
See how the magnificence of this background color formed? It was a masterful mixing of hues on the palette, a skillful retrieval of paint onto the brush- just so- , and a confident generous application of the paint onto the canvas. Though,it was not done with a fine brush but a broad one, though the strokes were not singular, but wide-spread, it produces a backdrop from which the rest of the story will emerge. 
Related image
broader brush for background*

These are the"normal"  happenings in our lives that create the backdrop for our unveiling stories. It's  our daily getting up and ready for work-whether inside or outside the home.It's the every day chores, general tasks, and the seemingly mundane responsibilities. God is not at this point worried about the type of toothpaste we choose, the grocery market we prefer, whether you wanted wintergreen or peppermint Altoids, or if the color of your car should be champagne or pearl. As long as it does not cause you to transgress, God can use you at that in-door office job or that  manual labor,construction job. Go ahead and make the choice that suits you best. You will not abandon his grace, and mess up his plans for your life because you chose one over the other. Like the broad brush strokes the painter uses for the background, there are parts of our lives that flow one into the other. God trusts us to choose what to do, without suffering anxiety about whether this be the Lord's will for our lives.

But what of the not-so-normal?

Continued in part 2:

*Image from