Red Cups, Coffee, Jesus and Markers

Oh, he is a crafty one isn’t he? He comes slithering in all covert and be like, “I am going to stir up some trouble to mix in with their hot salted caramel mocha” “Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas didn’t turn out to well.” “Let’s see if this simple plain plan will work!”

Plain, that’s how the enemy is he has no original idea’s he simply recycles and repackages and many times we fall hook, line and sinker.

As I’ve mentioned before, sometimes I am late to the party! It took me a few days to figure out what all the hoopla was about concerning red cups and a popular coffee joint. As I’ve watched people debate this for a few days, I sit back and giggle just a little bit.

Now, I mean no disrespect to those of you who are offended by the fact that these popular seasonal red cups are void of any decorated theme this year. If you are offended then I pose these questions: How big is your God? Do you think Jesus is offended by a simple plain red cup? Where do you place your hope? Are you praying about it as much as you are talking about it?

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8.

What exactly would Jesus do in this situation? Here’s what I think he would do; bring out his most colorful Sharpies and start decorating his cup however he wanted! He is after all the Creator of creativity and if you are a Believer in Christ creativity is part of your identity in Him and I would venture to say a part of your inheritance in Him!

Precious One, as one of my best friends always says, “Holy Spirit does His job really well!” Let Him; let Holy Spirit take on any offense of the enemy, and whether you choose to drink your hot beverages from a red cup or not, you place your focus on and your hope in Jesus.

Let’s remember the reason not only for the holiday season but for every season; a Savior who died so we could live for all who believe. A Savior whose love and grace is for all His creation.

And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you. Psalm 39:7.

Shalom!

Don’t Judge Me By The Clothes I Wear

fashion-girl-on-ornate-background_GJGp5-F_Don’t judge me by the clothes I wear you know nothing of my story. Rather walk beside me and share your love for Christ with me; share His glory.

You say that you are a follower of Christ; a born again believer. If this is so, why then, would you ever say, “I can’t believe her parents let her out of the house dressed like that”? You think I don’t know what you’re whispering to your friends as you glance my way with that look on your face. I thought grace and love were your compass.

You see, I grew up in a Christian home and you know nothing of my story. There was a time I was strong and confident but then I started to believe the lies the enemy whispers my way. Some days it’s a struggle just to hear the voice of God, though I try. Hand drawing heart in sand on the beach

And, if you are a parent of a son teach him to respect me regardless of what I wear. Teach him self-control, you know nothing of my story.

It is your love, it is the grace that God freely gives to you to  give to others and it is your prayers that will make a difference in my life. Won’t you be a part of my story?

Precious One, it is the season of Homecoming dances, Sadie Hawkins and the Christmas Ball. Many pictures will be posted online. Please be mindful of the words that come out of your mouth, especially before you hit the send button. While comments can be deleted, once they’ve been seen the damage has already been done. May your words and thoughts only be gracious and kind. May the ‘clothes’ you wear be those that others desire. You know nothing of ‘their’ story.

“I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:49 emphasis added.

Shalom!

What We Ought To Be Telling Them

Two balanced rocks contrast a sea of stones under a blue sky.
Sticks and stones may break some bones and names will hurt.

When I was younger I was teased and called names; ‘fat butt’ and ‘cow eyes’. In high school my best friend since kindergarten lovingly, so he says, called me thunder thighs. What can I say? I was a cheerleader and I played basketball. It was pure muscle not fat. In today’s society I was definitely bullied, but that isn’t where I’m going with this. I was judged by others because of my physical appearance.

I’ve been studying and preparing for a teaching that I will be presenting soon and as I was looking at several verses one of them jumped off the page at me. Thoughts began to bombard my mind in quick succession. Why, as the beautiful Bride of Christ do we allow ourselves to be distracted by what is going on in the world? Why is it so important that our opinion be heard? Why are some, whom profess to be believers in Christ, so vitriolic toward others? Why are such hurtful words and sentiments shouted out over the world-wide web to this group or that group, this person or that person?

Scripture speaks to us in 2 Peter 2:10.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, thief-cowboy-mascot-tattoo-vector-illustration_my--CZand the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.”

Why are so many busy advancing the kingdom of Satan with judgement of others when we ought to be sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ?! Jesus is coming soon and like a thief we won’t know when. The heavens will disappear, everything will be destroyed by fire and the earth will be laid bare. Do you want to be around when this happens?! God doesn’t want any of his beautiful creation to perish but for all to come to the knowledge of the saving grace of Christ. And, he left very precise instructions for us that we are to make disciples of ALL the nations, which includes ALL people groups, which includes terrorist or not, murderer or not, adulterer or not, drug addict or not, tattooed or not, homosexual or not, transgender or not, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

And if that isn’t enough for you, he speaks this to us in 2 Corinthians 5:10.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

Hand drawing heart in sand on the beachDo you want to hear Jesus list the names of those who received less than the grace of Christ from you, when you have received nothing less than grace from God? Lord have mercy, Bride of Christ, please wake up and share the love of Jesus with EVERYone! John tells us that in this world we are like Jesus, (1 John 4:17). Please put aside your personal feelings and be just that. We don’t get to choose to love the one’s who ‘look’ like us, we are called to love all. If you are firmly rooted in the love of Christ you have nothing to lose and nothing to fear and everything to give. What do you have to fear in loving others who live differently than you, look differently than you or act differently than you? Nothing, you don’t have to give up your convictions to love with the love of Christ! It isn’t about you. It is Christ’s love in you that attracts others to you, don’t stop there, don’t stop half way. Love the way Jesus loves, without condition.

May we all hear the sweetest of words from the lips of our beloved Savior, when at last, He calls us home.

Well done, good and faithful servant!

Shalom!

Wisdom, Sorrow, Knowledge, Grief, Happiness

vintage-crown_zksjzYduPerhaps he began to feel this way because he had turned his back on his first true love. He had known this love since he was a young boy. This love had guided him and loved him with a love so rich and so deep, I imagine it was overwhelming at times. Perhaps it was because he allowed others to attempt to fill the hole in his heart. Expecting them to love him the way his true love did; using them as a substitute rather than exploring the depths of love his true love provided him.

One day he wrote these words, “For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.” King Solomon wrote these words in Ecclesiastes 1:18. Wisdom Close up portrait of Eurasian Eagle-owlwas the very thing King Solomon had asked God for. As I read this verse I wondered what had caused the king to feel such despair. Perhaps it is because he did one of the things God had told the nation of Israel not to do – intermarry with women from other nations. You may be asking yourself, “why would God care if Solomon married women from other nations?” The answer is simple, God knew that if his beloved nation intermarried with other nations, who worshipped pagan god’s, they would turn His children away from Him. And, that is what happened to Solomon.

 King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 1 Kings 11:1-2.

Was this the reason Solomon felt like wisdom had become such a burden to him? Perhaps it is why Solomon also wrote these words in Ecclesiastes 2:26a-b, “To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God.” Did Solomon feel he had gone too far and couldn’t find his way back to God? Perhaps we will never know this side of heaven.

This caused me to think about the necessity in my own life about seeking God more and more intimately. About the importance of staying connected to him, so that the wisdom of God will not become of burden of conviction but a continuing expression of his love.

Precious One, if you believe in Christ as your Lord and Savior, nothing you have done or can do will ever separate you from the love of God! His love for you is so vast and so deep, that He has graciously provided confession and repentance as part of your relationship with Him. It is the restoration that maybe Solomon was looking for but gave up trying to find.

Hand drawing heart in sand on the beach

Precious One, if Christ isn’t your Lord and Savior, He wants to be. He loves you so much and longs for you to freely choose Him!

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. King Solomon – Proverbs 4:7.

Shalom!

Intimacy With God Is Accepting His Grace

hummingbird-in-chinese-style_fkMiwCLd

Grace. A free gift of underserved favor. I have even heard grace stated this way, “Grace is not getting what one deserves, (death because of sin), and grace is getting what one doesn’t deserve, (favor).

If we really ponder this, grace is a part of our inheritance and our identity as believers in Jesus Christ. Why then, is hard for many to accept God’s complete grace for our life? Perhaps it is pride or fear or still feeling undeserving of his grace and his love. I can’t answer this question for you only God can, but you have to be willing to ask. That is part of the care and concern you give to your relationship with God.

Holy Spirits latest revelation to me about being more intimate with Him is to let go of; to surrender, what I think my mess ups are, to Him. He whispers to my heart, “My child, accept My great grace for your life. Stop beating yourself up over your missteps. Confess, repent and move on in freedom! You are already forgiven. Anything less would be a mockery of what I have already done on the cross!”

red-gift-box-with-fireworks_zktK5CIOLet me ask you this; what do you when you receive a gift? If you’re like me you’re excited to receive a gift, open it and enjoy whatever has been given. How would you feel if you gave someone a gift and they put it aside, not acknowledging it, not opening it and not enjoying what you have chosen just for them? I’m guessing you would feel sad and hurt.

How do you think God feels when we choose not to accept his gifts?

Precious One, if you ask God to show you how to accept his gifts he will. It may be work on your part but the gift makes is all worth while.

Shalom!

What Will You Bring?

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17.

I sit here this morning, having allowed myself to sleep in, it is after all a holiday here in our great Country. As usual my list of things to accomplish is long. Blessings to all you working moms who work outside the home as well as full-time in your home.

Before I get ready to open God’s word and immerse myself in the beauty and peace of what He has for me today, I make a quick perusal of a social media sight to see what others are up to. I stop by a prayer group to read requests and offer prayers on behalf of others, and Holy Spirit begins to whisper “Yaweh”. My next stop is to a group who is reading through the Bible chronologically this year. As I read what others have posted about their readings for today, Holy Spirit again whispers “Yaweh”. Now I am intrigued.

Although Yaweh is a name for God there is a specific meaning behind this name of His. I look up the meaning and find Yaweh is the Proper Name for God. Not only that it also means the one bringing into being, life-giver, giver of existence, creator. (Strong’s Hebrew 3068).

Last night our Pastor was speaking with us on the vision for our faith family. It was vision casting tied together with a sermon that gave me holy goose bumps and a desire to ‘let’s do this!’ You see, the past four years we have been in a season of being on a journey to discover Christ together. And while we are still a part of that journey, last night we entered a season of bringing true life to our community.

Bringing Yaweh.

Shalom!

 

Does It Make It Right?

doodles-flowers328-01-111413-1077 (1)This morning as I was walking with my friend, in the deep dark and dense fog, that was actually a bit balmy and warm, not cold as one would expect fog to be, we began talking about world events. Specifically about the two militants that Jordan executed in retaliation to the death of one of their pilots. My friend explained how she and her daughter had been talking about this subject last night and my friend stated that finally someone was doing something about terror. I listened to my friend talk and then I said to her, “let me ask you a question.” “Does God love terrorists as much as He loves me and you?” She was silent for a few moments and I said to her, “yes, God does.” God loves all his creation, how could he not when each of us believer and terrorist alike are created in His image? Now, please, do not mishear me, God does not love the evil, the sin that people choose to buy into and live out, but he does love each of his created beings.

Many of us are familiar with John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. I think we do this verse and those we share it with an injustice if we don’t also share the gem right after it; that is John 3:17????????????


For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

In the single most greatest act of love of all time, God gave His Son as a sacrifice so that all the world, even those who commit heinous acts of crime, could be saved through Him. Are you a believer in Christ? Then your responsibility is to love, like Jesus does, at all times.

My friend and I continued our conversation. I asked her how big is her God? Did she truly believe that God heard her prayers? Did she think that if she prayed and asked God to do something about this situation, even though she might not see evidence of it, that God would? From the beginning God’s heart has always been about the salvation of the nations. Was she praying and asking Holy Spirit to drop his seed of salvation into the hearts of evil people? Are you?

My friend’s daughter told her, “two wrongs don’t make a right.” I agree with her, yes, even in this situation.

Are you angry about the news of evil around the world? You should be, now let that anger move you to do something constructive. A good place to start is with prayer.

My heart is saddened that three people were killed in this situation, who, mostly likely, never had the opportunity to hear the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They will spend eternity separated from God.

Hand drawing heart in sand on the beachLove is the most powerful spiritual weapon against evil. Use it and use it abundantly.

May the shalom of God be yours today and everyday.

Looking Through A New Lens

“Every step you take, every word you speak, every breath you earthbreathe-all is done in My watchful embracing Presence. You are totally immersed in My invisible yet ever-so-real Being! Sarah Young “Jesus Calling”

I know and believe by faith that the power that raised Jesus from the dead; resurrection power; the power of Holy Spirit lives in me. But, as I read the above paragraph from “Jesus Calling” the profoundness of me residing in Jesus came alive like a beautifully wrapped present just waiting to be opened and inside is something you’ve waited for and known all along but didn’t know until the gift was given and you chose to open and receive.

I have a precious friend, who, after receiving a gift from God, ‘gets back in line’, and says, “more Daddy!” More indeed! More light, more love, more grace, more mercy, more supernatural wisdom, more resurrection power!

for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ Acts 17:28 (emphasis added).

Shalom!

My Word Is Sabbath

24 hours delivery sign.I often think back to life during the 70’s and 80’s, before this crazy 24/7/365 world we have created. A time when if you needed gas for your car you had better make it to the gas station before 6:00pm the latest or you would be out of time and most likely out of gas. And, if it was a year of oil rations you would probably find yourself in a bind. Back to a time when “what is Black Friday and Cyber Monday?” would be valid questions. Back to a time when most business establishments were closed on Sundays, yes, even the grocery stores.

As a side note, I do not look fondly on the 70’s.  Though I was a young girl and teen during this time, I was not a fan of the hippie free love movement. My oldest brother was a hippie and drug addict during this era and my family and I experienced first hand some of the worst of this movement. As Providence would have it, my oldest brother was also the first sapphire-encrusted-peace-sign-in-vector-format_GJ1dEEjuto come to know Jesus in the 80’s and soon became the family evangelist. A visit could not be had with him without hearing the gospel message in some fashion. We didn’t have caller i.d. back then and so we took our chances when answering the phone because if it was my brother you were going to hear about Jesus one way or another. I miss that about him, heck I just miss hearing his voice. Sadly, he passed before knowing that some in our family have also chosen Christ as their Lord and Savior and have the hope of seeing him again one day in Paradise. He died in Paradise, really, in Paradise, CA. Isn’t that just like God?!

Back to sabbath. Sabbath is a way in which our living pattern imitates God’s. In that work is followed by rest. Sabbath was what God did after he finished creating earth and everything in it.

By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Genesis 2:2.

Keeping the Sabbath is the fourth command of the Ten Commandments. It is part of the Mosaic Law; the Law of Moses. As believers in Christ we are no longer covered by the Law, we now live by the power of the Spirit. The Law is still pertinent and active today and shows those who do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior, their need for Him. For those who already believe it is the power of Holy Spirit and his conviction in us to live a life of righteousness according to his will. (2 Corinthians 3:7-11).

Some of my friends have been posting on another social media website a single word they believe God has given them to meditate and live by for this new year. As I pondered this, I realized my word is Sabbath. Holy Spirit actually began speaking to me about a Sabbath day last year and my desire to practice this has grown in intensity. So, while I’m not one to make New Year resolutions, my goal is to practice having a weekly sabbath. To work hard six days a week and rest on the seventh day, just like God did. What better way to model my life than after the One who gives life?!

Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee taken by my cousin B. Passentino.

Whatever this new year holds for you, I wish for you the deepest Shalom in Christ Jesus.

Shalom!

 

It’s A Party!

Party poppers on whiteIn 1982 actor Laurence Tureaud coined the phrase, “I pity the fool!”, with his role as boxer Clubber Lang in the movie “Rocky III”. We know him more readily as Mr. T., well you will most likely know who I am talking about if you are as old or older than me!

Pity is the feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the suffering and misfortunes of others.

A pity party is an instance of feeling sorry for oneself and/or seeking pity from other people.

This morning I came across this:

Yet I curse the day I was born! May the day of my birth not be blessed. I curse the messenger who told my father, “Good news-you have a son!”  Let him be destroyed without mercy. Terrify him all day long with battle shouts, for he did not kill me at birth. Oh, that I had died in my mother’s womb, that her body had been my grave! Why was I ever born: My entire life has been filled with trouble, sorrow, and shame. Jeremiah 20: 14-18.

Goodness, that is a whole lot of pity partying going on! Jeremiah was upset at the job God have given him to do. Jeremiah spent most of his ministry speaking pending doom over Israel and Judah. He was unpopular among his peers and contemporaries and his prophecies were unwelcomed messages. The Israelites were in a perpetual cycle of rebelling against God, then turning back to God and then rebelling again. In essence they loved living in their sin more than they loved God and the desire to obey Him. Jeremiah was sent to give them message after message of their consequences if they chose to continue down a path of sin. They would hear none of it and even plotted to kill Jeremiah.

By the time we get to Jeremiah 20: 14-18, we read that Jeremiah had enough. He was having a pity party and complaining to God. He cursed the day he was born and the messenger that told his father of his birth, saying, “my entire life has been filled with trouble, sorrow and shame.”

Have you ever been there? Smack dab in the middle of a pity party or have someone in your life who always seems to look at the cup half empty? Pity parties and I use to be quite good friends, until one day Holy Spirit began showing me that attending a pity party put the focus on me and took the focus off of God.

Pity parties are about pride and pride is sin. So, while Jeremiah was prophesying against the Israelites and their continued sin, he himself was sinning by having a pity party! Do you see God’s love here? God was gently showing Jeremiah the sin in his own life by allowing Jeremiah to have a pity party, while at the same time sending him to give messages to the Israelites about their own sin. I have found that God works in my life to show me sin and the area’s that ought to change by allowing me to teach what I most need to learn.

Pity parties and I are no longer friends and when I feel them trying to get a foot hold into my life again, I call upon Holy Spirit for his help because that is the only way for me to avoid falling deep into a party that I have no business attending.

Believe it or not, Mr. T.’s “I pity the fool!”, is actually a form of tough love and a technique he uses to motivate others to make positive change(s) in their life.

Precious One, it isn’t about you, it is, has always been and will always be about serving the One true God, however that looks like in your life. And, you can be sure that He loves you beyond your imagination. Many times God’s love is tough because of his great love for you. Don’t be a fool and play into the hand of pity. Know that God will never leave you nor forsake you.

Shalom!