Friday, November 23, 2012

The Day After After

"Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
 Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.

 Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
you his servants, the descendants of Israel,
his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.

Sing to the Lord, all the earth;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever."

1 Chronicles 16:8-13, 23-25 & 34 NIV

Happy Day after Thanksgiving! Why am I wishing you a "Happy Day after Thanksgiving" wish? A little late am I? Well, I did this on purpose. Yes, seriously!

You see, we need to be thankful EVERY day for God and His mercies. We need to thank Him for all the good, for all the blessings and yes, even for all the heartaches, for all the sorrow--for all the all.

Our God is our God--always. We need to be His grateful children--always. It's easy when life is good and everything is going right --not so easy when not good or not nice things are happening. But I have discovered that some of my biggest and most powerful life and faith lessons are during those times. I don't know about you, but I totally do not like them--I avoid them like the plague. And when I was young, not only in age but in faith--I use to think that I was being punished for something bad that I had done. Kinda like Job's friends thought about him and his life. (If you haven't, you should read the Book of Job in the Old Testament. It can be a little overwhelming, but if you pray over your reading before you read it--God will show you some AWESOME truths about suffering, unconditional faith, redemption, hope and love.) But that so not true! 

Seriously, when bad or unpleasant happens, I have had to say to myself and those around me--if I believe, truly believe--that my God is in control of my life and everything that happens in it, then I need to believe, have faith & hope that He has a purpose for it and it is for my greater--not to harm me. And I need to praise Him. Do you understand that?

What is it in your life that you have had trouble to release into His very capable hands and then praise Him for? Good. Now that you have named it--do it! I know that I may be asking a great big faith step from you but you truly need to do this. Give it or them (in case you have more than one thing, which is totally fine)--to your Heavenly Father and praise Him--genuinely praise Him--through the tears, through the hugest lump in your throat that you've ever experience, through the anger, disappointment, gut-wrenching pain. Praise Him! For not only trusting you with a hurt, a sadness, a not nice--whatever it is-- but helping you through it and, if you let Him--showing you or even taking care of it Himself. Your Heavenly Father loves you SO deeply--can you receive that? 

So, Happy Day after Thanksgiving, today, tomorrow and the day after! Praise Him! Hey, please do me a favor and pass it on--it's a great way to share the good news with people!

"Since you have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, live in union with him. Keep your roots deep in him, build your lives on him, and become stronger in your faith, as you were taught. And be filled with thanksgiving." Colossians 2:6-7 GN

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

All that is Required--A Perfect Heart

"For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him." 2 Chronicles 16:9 KJ21 

Question--Do you think that you have to be perfect in order for the Lord to use you, to love you or to be a Christian? Seriously take a moment and be honest with yourself. Do you think perfection is the main ingredient in order to be wanted by God?

If your answer is yes--don't feel alone. I feel pretty confident to say that you are a part of a very large crowd. But you are also wrong.

Perfect, perfection--at times I so dislike that word. To me personally, at times, it seems like a curse. I don't know about you, but I have strived to be perfect since the moment I discovered that when you are perfect, people seem to like you--in my case my father. If I was perfect, my dad seemed to not mind my presence in the home. But if I made a mistake, oh, he would get that look of displeasure--even telling me at times to get out of his sight until he could stand to look at me. And believe me, even though I tried very hard, I was more unperfect than perfect. 

So, when I became a Christian, I brought that thought process into my new Father/daughter relationship. Have you done the same thing? Brought the false idea that your Heavenly Father only wants a relationship with you if you are perfect, all the time? And that the moment you're not He wants to give you the boot?

Crazy as it may seems to the world, God looks at our hearts. He wants a perfect heart--not perfect acts. Do you understand? Lets look at the Pharisees  Remember in Matthew 23:27, Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. You see, these people were perfect outwardly--they followed the rules, they dressed accordingly, they prayed loud and long prayers in the synagogues--and they were very proud. So, they were acting perfectly on the outside, but on the inside--their hearts--they had a judgmental spirit, they didn't walk in love and they didn't show mercy to anyone. And it made God angry because their hearts were not right.

You see, our Heavenly Father is a Father of the heart. He knows each and everyone of us and cares more about the attitude of your heart than your outwardly acts. And no, we will not always be perfect in our heart, but as long as He sees that you are trying, that you are striving to be close to Him--it pleases Him. And what is a perfect heart? It is a heart that desires more than anything to please Him, a heart that is grieved when sin has happened, and a heart that has committed itself to Him and His sovereignty over forgiveness and restoration.

The opening verse above shows how important the perfect heart is to God. And this is even before Jesus had died for us. That He was wanting to show Himself not to the ones that were performing perfect acts, but those who were harboring a perfect heart.

So take heart and remember--God only desires three things from you--truth, faith and a pure heart. Truth in the way you handle life in your spirit and worship--He despises it when you 'fake it', when you pretend church. Faith in your relationship with the trinity (Father, Son & Holy Spirit). Pure heart,which is a perfect heart.

I will ask you the question again, do you think you have to be perfect in order to have your Heavenly Father want to love you? 

"But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 HCSB

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


"Then he sent out a dove, to see if the water was gone from the ground. But the dove found no place to set her foot, so she returned to him in the boat. For the water was still over the earth. So Noah put out his hand and took her, and brought her into the boat with him. He waited another seven days, and sent the dove from the boat again. The dove returned to him in the evening. In her mouth was an olive leaf that had just been picked. So Noah knew that the water had gone from the earth."  Genesis 8:8-11 NLV

We have all heard the story of Noah's ark. And it is a great story in itself. But this past weekend I heard the above verses presented in a way that makes it personal--at least to me--and so I want to share it with you.

God loves us so very much. and He has a plan for each of our lives. And there are times when He will send us out to test us. Just like Noah and this dove, God will give you a task and send you out to do it. 

So imagine Noah is God and you are this dove You know that you the task you need to do, but as you flying around, looking into the horizon, there is not a tree to be found. But there must be a tree, God sent you to get just a little leaf. So you keep flying and flying. All the while, the ark, your place of security, is getting farther and farther away. You look below you and all you see is churning, angry water. Thoughts start flooding your mind--"Oh no, what should I do? I can't fail. What will my God think? He will be so disappointed in me. But I have to turn around, my arms are burning, they ache so badly and there is no place to rest. I hate to do it, but I just have to turn around. 

So, there you are flying back toward the ark. As you get closer and closer, new thoughts are attacking you--Oh, what will all the other animals think of me? They will say, "You sorry little dove, God should have sent out the condor or the eagle. They wouldn't have come back empty handed." Then just at the right time, as if He knew, God opens the door and holds out His hand, palm up, so that you would have a sturdy place to land--and then gently pulls you close to His chest. Does He scold you? Does He shame you in front of all the other animals? No. In fact, when you start stammering out an apology, "Oh my God, I am so sorry. I tried, I truly tried, but I just couldn't complete the mission." What does He say? He pulls you even closer to Him, looks you square in the eyes and says, "My child, my child, you did not fail Me. I knew that you wouldn't find the branch. I was just testing you to see how much you trusted Me. If you trusted our relationship enough to come back. And you did. Thank you. Now you rest with Me. You will have another chance."

At the end of seven days, God comes to you and wakes you from a deep slumber with a whisper. "Little one, are you ready? I need you to go and finish the task I have given you." He gently gathers you from your warm bed and opens the door and He gives you a little upwards toss. Before you know it, you are again soaring. This time is different. What do you see? You see olive trees! Oh, how gleeful you are! Your heart is just swelling with the sense of thankfulness! You swoop down, grab a leave and head back to the ark. Oh, how pleased my God will be with me! You can't help but think. Again, just as you get to the ark, God opens the window to receive you with a warm embrace. And He says, “You are my child, whom I dearly love; in you I find happiness.” Luke 3:22 CEB

Are you at this place? Are you fearful to step out in faith to do something that God has been prompting you to do? Are you worried about what others will think? Or maybe you've tried to step out, felt like you haven't accomplished what you were suppose to. That your failure is too big for your God to receive you back. To have Him want to use you again. 

Release all of those negative thoughts. All of those chains. If you are getting a sense that your Heavenly Father is wanting something out of you, if He is wanting to give you a mission--you must do it. That He knows your heart and spirit and as long as He knows that you gave Him your best--He will use you. He will be your strength and your guide. Trust in Him. He will set you free! As with the dove, He will be the wind beneath your wings.

"Yet, the strength of those who wait with hope in the Lord will be renewed. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and won’t become weary. They will walk and won’t grow tired." Isaiah 40:31 GW