Sunday, November 30, 2014

??? Why Me ???

I’ve been going through a long trial for the last 2 years. In this time I’ve been stretched spiritually, emotionally, and physically…and all the while resisting the question: why me? As a maturing believer, I know better than to ask that question just as a teenager doesn’t fall out in a temper tantrum over spilled milk (or do they?).

What makes me think that I shouldn’t have times of suffering just like my brothers and sisters across the world? Should I not have times of crying, sleepless nights, and overwhelming disappointments? Should I expect everything to always go as I planned it should go? No, not if I want to grow in my faith.

While the agony of my situation hasn’t changed…I have. I’ve grown to be tougher and tender—tough on the deceitfulness of sin in my life and tender towards those who are deeply wounded. I’m not perfect, but I’m being perfected through the grace of God to be more like His Son, Jesus Christ.

So if I embrace the question: ‘why me’ in trials and temptations—should I then also ask the same question in times of blessings? I’ve yet to hear anyone ask God ‘why me?’ when things are going well.

Why should I have a relationship with Jesus Christ instead of living a lie? Should I expect to have joy and peace in the midst of a storm? Should I enjoy the grace of God that gives me strength to make it day to day?

I have this quote from Joseph Bailey on my wall: “Save me God from success. I fear it more than failure which alerts me to my nature, limitations, destiny. I know that any success apart from your Spirit is mere euphemism for failure.”

Why me? Because I’m uniquely chosen by God to go through this time of trial to become everything He wants me to be. Why me? Because no pain nor tears are ever wasted in the kingdom of God. Why me? Because He is preparing me for a greater glory in order to draw more people to the cross. Why me? Because I’m growing into this relationship with God slowly, but assured of His presence and hand over my life.

So what about you? Why you?





Monday, July 7, 2014

Facebook Envy




Spoiler Alert: Please don’t unfriend me…

Have you ever been green with Facebook envy? I know I can’t be the only one struggling with looking at pictures of tropical islands in the dead of winter, couples being in love, children and grandchildren graduating with highest honors…and these are my friends!

Okay I confess…I’ve been guilty of Facebook envy. I’m saved, sanctified, used by God in great ways, blessed beyond measure…and yet there it is—envy. It never lasts long at all, but sometimes it pops up an ugly face without warning.

Let’s be real…confessing my fault is the first step to coming out of it. I’ve learned that Facebook photos don’t tell the whole story either. For all we know behind that same palm tree, families were fighting right before the photo shot or perhaps they just came out of a wonderful group hug.

What does it matter?

It’s a beautiful way of sharing what is right with life at that particular moment in time. There’s plenty of heartbreaking and depressing news on the Internet for us everyday. How refreshing it is to witness a wonderful moment in the lives of my friends! In truth, the envy isn’t really directed towards others as much as myself. Note to self: don’t look at Facebook when having a down day.

What does scripture teach us in Romans 12:15?

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

I do rejoice with my brothers and sisters who’ve overcome many trials to stay in love for decades, with those who are blessed to get away for a much needed vacation, and with the success stories of their families. The same God who blessed them also lavishes His favor on me in His perfect timing and will.

There really is no room for envy in the lives of believers. We are blessed if the only thing God ever did for us was to send His Son, Jesus Christ to die for our sins. It’s enough.

There’s great blessing on the lives of those who rejoice and mourn together in this lifetime. I love my sisters who rejoice with me in the good times and cry with me in the bad times.

Joy is evident in the Facebook photos because the Lord is working all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. So smile!



Sunday, December 29, 2013

Are you Prone to Wander?

In 1757 age the age of 22, Robert Robinson penned the song “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”. This verse happens to always pierce my soul:
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above.
When she was younger, my daughter was prone to wander. She would get mesmerized by something glittery and couldn’t help but to drift away to investigate. I was always asking, “Where’s Janelle?”

She has outgrown her wandering toddler ways. However do we as believers ever mature past the wandering stage of our faith? We are admonished by scripture to “beware lest ye also” (2 Peter 3:17, KJV). This isn’t about losing your salvation; rather that we should be on the guard from following after our own desires instead of God’s will. We are enamored with coveting worldly pleasures, pleasing people, or seeking after financial gain and start to lose our spiritual ground.

It doesn’t take much to wander away from our first love, Jesus Christ. We must stand firm and disciplined in our faith walk so we don’t find ourselves lost and distant from His presence in our lives. What can we do to keep from wandering away from the Lord?

B-        Be aware of your weaknesses
E-        Engage in conversations with God about your weaknesses
W-       Walk in the Spirit
A-        Admit to other believers your struggles
R-        Read scripture intentionally and specifically to your needs
E-        Equip yourself with the full armor of God

“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”
(1 Corinthians 10:12)

We are secure in our salvation in Jesus Christ. Yet we need to be careful so that we don't become prideful in our own religious activities and deceive ourselves. God is good and He will draw you back to Himself—yet why should you waste precious time? Cling to what is right and let go of anything that draws your heart away from Him.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Living in the Moment


How you ever been challenged to live in the moment? We’re so accustomed to wanting our happy days to last forever and our sad ones to go by as quickly as possible. However, as a child of God—our every single moment on earth has been designed specifically for us!

The Lord knows the number of the hairs on your head. He knew the day of your birth and knows the day when you take your last breath. There’s nothing good or bad that happens to you that He’s not intimately acquainted with.

“What is mankind that you make so much of them, that you give them so much attention, that you examine them every morning and test them every moment? (Job 7:17-18).

Isn’t it something that God examines you every morning? His testing isn’t to give you a good or bad grade, but rather to reveal the glory that is within you. The glory of God is exposed when you are pressed and the fragrance of Christ rises up around you. Those you live with, those you work with, and those you worship with will take in the aroma of Jesus.

How many times we resist the molding and shaping that happens when we face various trials and temptations? We want this moment to move swiftly from our midst—but doing so skips one of the most important steps in your spiritual growth—perseverance!

There’s so much more to you than what is on the surface. There’s a rich, deep reservoir of maturity that wells up within the believer who willingly embraces the moments of testing like a courageous soldier of Christ.

Learn to take a deep breath and relax in your moment of testing knowing that God will never leave you and He gives you the strength to go through it.




 The New International Version, 2011. Grand Rapids, MI. Zondervan.

Friday, August 23, 2013

How to Let Go



Letting go isn’t easy for some of us. This fall I’m letting go of my oldest and only son going to the military as well as my oldest daughter leaving for college. At this stage of my life, a child will be graduating and leaving every two years. It seems like my day are flying by so fast that I keep losing track of time. Every one of us will experience some kind of letting go in this lifetime. We are made to let go of:

Loved Ones
Good Health
Dreams
Destiny
Youthfulness
Careers
Expectations
Relationships and so on.

While we may mentally accept that letting go is a part of our lives, we struggle emotionally. Many times we struggle because we don’t want change and we don’t feel ready for the adjustment. Sometimes we struggle because we’re full of regret from what could’ve been if we had done things differently. We also may struggle because we cherish the memories and want to relive them as long as possible.

Whatever the reason for our struggle…we must eventually let go. We can’t move forward to the next journey that God has for us if we stubbornly dig our heels in protest. There’s one main reason you can let go: trusting in God.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” 
(Proverbs 3:5-6).

Letting go is possible for those who’ve put their trust in God. If you can trust that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, (whom you’ve never seen) so that you will experience eternal life (which you don’t have yet)—you can trust God in letting go.

The joy of trusting God is that you’ll one day be in a place where you will never, never, never have to let go of anything. Heaven isn’t just sitting around on clouds all day. It’s a place of ongoing activity filled with joy, love, and peace.

We must trust God now while we’re on this earth filled with sin, sorrow, and pain. He is worthy of your trust. The Lord will be with you on this journey of letting go if you would put your hand in His to lead you in the best direction. It's in your best interest to recklessly with all abandonment trust in the Lord.


Let Go…and Let God

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dig out of the Pity Party Pit!



Have you ever felt so frustrated that you were ready to give up? Usually after a deeply disappointing experience, we fall into the triple P (pity-party-pit). Use the following acronym  "DIG OUT!" for the next time when you feel a pity party coming. 

D-        Do something with yourself
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

The easiest thing to do is to roll up in the fetal position and throw a blanket over your head. Instead take a walk, work out, call up a friend for coffee, clean up the house, or bake cookies. Do whatever you need to do to take your mind in a totally different direction.

I-           Initiate the scriptures you’ve memorized in the past
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32)

It’s the truth you know in your heart and mind that will set you free. Begin to rehearse those scriptures in your mind over and over again until you sense the peace of God taking hold of your heart. When you ruminate on God’s word in faith, your heart attitude changes from despair to hope once again.

G-        Go back to God in prayer
“I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer” (Psalm 17:6).

When we’re in the pit, we tend to just pour out our frustrations to God. Now it’s time for you to listen. Be quiet in this prayer time listening for the sweet, still voice of the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart.

O-        Order your words, actions, and thoughts in line with faith
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).

Step outside of your situation and look at it again with eyes of faith. Recognize that nothing happens to you without God’s knowledge or presence. He has a plan for your life to turn everything (good and bad) for your best interest.

U-        Understand this tactic of Satan
“For we are not unaware of his schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:11).

One of Satan’s best weapons against believers is the spirit of discouragement. He wants us to get our eyes off God and onto our circumstances. The root of doubt, unbelief, or fear comes from the devil to keep us unstable in our faith so we can’t be about our Father’s business.

T-         Thank God at every opportunity
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

When we’re in the midst of the triple P, we neglect to see all the beautiful and miraculous surrounding us every day. Start with simple thanks…for the air, the trees, and sky. Work your way into your particular situation and find something to give thanks. Expressed appreciation to the Lord always results in lifted spirits.


Get out your shovel of faith and dig your way out of a pity party!

The New International Version, 2011. Grand Rapids, MI. Zondervan.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Tired of Fighting Part II

Don’t you hate constantly being in conflict? What can we do about it? The following checklist is for those who want to be free of conflict as much as possible based on James 4:7-11.

(   ) Submit yourselves, then, to God. (v. 7)
To submit to God means that you recognize that you’re not in control of your life because you’re ultimately accountable to God for what you say and do.

(   ) Resist the devil, and he will flee you. (v. 8)
The devil will make suggestions to your thoughts in a conflict. He will try to convince you of the worst things about a person and give you evil ideas for dealing with them.

(   ) Come near to God and he will come near to you. (v. 8)
God doesn’t want us to run away from Him when we mess up. He wants us to come to Him, confess our sins, and be free from the guilt, shame, and regret that plagues.  

(   ) Wash your hands, you sinners. (v. 8)
Did we raise our voice? Curse someone out? Hit somebody? Whatever we did in this conflict that didn’t honor God—we need to confess our sins to one another.

(   ) Purify your hearts, you double-minded. (v. 8)
Sometimes we can sit and stew about something until it steals our joy and peace. We need to look intently at our hearts where pride, jealousy, or envy can reside.

(   ) Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. (v. 9)
Choose to resist glorying in your conflict. While it may be funny or pleasurable for a season—the ramifications of our sins can follow us for life. Recognize that Jesus bore the cross because of your sin.

(   ) Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up. (v. 10)
Choose to lower yourself. You make the choice to forgive others if necessary. Begin to see the bigger picture that God wants to use you in great ways, but your pride will block it.

(   ) Brothers [and sisters], do not slander one another. (v. 11)
Resist the urge to slander the one you disagree with. You stay above the conflict by not talking about it with other people—except if you are seeking wise counsel from a mature believer.

After following the checklist, ask yourself this question:

Am I handling this conflict in such a way that this person would want to know Jesus after dealing with me?

We are called to peace not conflict. We are called to resolve conflicts quickly with grace and mercy. We are called by God to be His representatives first in our home and then to the world.

Aren’t you tired of fighting yet?