Monday, December 23, 2013

Twelve Gifts from God | Significance


Matthew 18:12-14 -The Voice

A shepherd in charge of 100 sheep notices that one of his sheep has gone astray. What do you think he should do? Should the shepherd leave the flock on the hills unguarded to search for the lost sheep? God’s shepherd goes to look for that one lost sheep, 13 and when he finds her, he is happier about her return than he is about the 99 who stayed put. 14 Your Father in heaven does not want a single one of the tripped, waylaid, stumbling little ones to be lost.

Monday of Christmas week. Right about now you’ve probably gone down memory lane remembering your childhood Christmases, the family and friends who were part of those memories, and a thousand little memories of this miraculous week of yesteryears.

Those memories will make you laugh, cry or shake your head. It’s all in your perspective.

I’m going to challenge you to see through God-colored lenses for the rest of the year.

Instead of weaving yourself into a melancholic tizzy, why not see through grateful lenses?

All of us carry burdens no one ever sees.

Those burdens stop us from impacting today’s moments and behaviors, which become tomorrow’s memories.

Your loss was terrible, we understand, but you survived and someone else’s loss can be made easier because you step in with a kind word, a kind thought and a hug or a prayer. Just like that lost sheep in the verse above, The Lord sees your pain.

A few months ago I wrote Gratitude is good for the soul to help me see clearly through some tough times, which included the passing of my mother and four people I dearly love.  

I urge you to start your gratitude list/journal now and see how long it is by Dec. 31. It will make you realize that the God who created you will never let you go!

You are significant to God. 

Make your time on earth count, make your life significant.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Twelve Gifts from God | Companionship

Dec. 18, 2013


 Isaiah 58:11 

The Eternal One will never leave you; He will lead you in the way that you should go. When you feel dried up and worthless, God will nourish you and give you strength. And you will grow like a garden lovingly tended; you will be like a spring whose water never runs out.

Living a "perfect" or good life without knowing God plunged me into silent desperation, which led to painful loneliness even when I was with a room full of people that I knew well and liked. 
 – Blanca Velasquez from the post, Anyone out there lonely

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Twelve Gifts from God | PRAYER

Ephesians 6:18 The Voice


Pray in the Spirit. Pray about everything in every way you know how! And keeping all this in mind, pray on behalf of God’s people. Keep on praying feverishly, and be on the lookout until evil has been stayed. 

Paul knows that the real battles and dangers we face are not against flesh and blood. The enemies we see are real enough, but they are animated by spiritual forces of darkness that stay strategically hidden from view. These powers often reveal themselves in institutional evils—genocide, terror, tyranny, and oppression—but the weapons needed to combat them are not earthly weapons at all. What is needed, Paul advises, is to stand firm in God’s power and to suit up in the full armor of God. Although the devil and his demon armies are destined for destruction, they are serious threats now and must be resisted and beaten back. For Paul, the best offensive weapons we have are the word of God and prayer. Pray always. 
 - The Voice commentary 

“We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defense. We pray when there's nothing else we can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all.

Most of us would prefer, however, to spend our time doing something that will get immediate results. We don't want to wait for God to resolve matters in His good time because His idea of 'good time' is seldom in sync with ours.” 
― Oswald Chambers

Check back to read The Twelve Gifts of God through Christmas Day. His gifts to us are immeasurable and His love infinite. He is the reason we celebrate Christmas.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Twelve Gifts from God | Faith

Mark 9:23 The Voice


Jesus: What do you mean, “If there’s anything?” All things are possible, if you only believe.

Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time. – Oswald Chambers

Check back to read The Twelve Gifts of God through Christmas Day. His gifts to us are immeasurable and His love infinite. He is the reason we celebrate Christmas.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Twelve Gifts from God | Purpose

John 15:4 TLB


Take care to live in me, and let me live in you. For a branch can’t produce fruit when severed from the vine. Nor can you be fruitful apart from me.

When you fully comprehend that there is more to life than just here and now, and you realize that life is just preparation for eternity, you will begin to live differently. You will start living in the light of eternity, and that will color how you handle every relationship, task, and circumstance. Suddenly, many activities, goals, and even problems that seemed so important will appear trivial, petty, and unworthy of your attention. The closer you live to God, the smaller everything else appears.  – Pastor Rick Warren from The Purpose Driven Life

Check back to read The Twelve Gifts of God through Christmas Day. His gifts to us are immeasurable and His love infinite. He is the reason we celebrate Christmas.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Twelve Gifts from God | Understanding

Today marks one year since my mother passed into the eternal hands of the Lord. I miss her presence, but I’ll see her again. I wrote the post below on April 7, 2011. 

John 11:35 Jesus wept.

Those two words – Jesus wept - started my writing ministry several years ago. And, those two words encouraged me today. Just knowing that the Savior of the universe, the Son of God and my precious Jesus wept, comforted my sad heart. 
My heart is heavy for my mother who is critically ill. It’s a helpless feeling to see someone we love suffering. Today I started to plunge into deep sadness, and then I remembered that I am connected to a tender and loving God. I recalled how he worked in my Mother’s life during the past difficult week. 
I immediately reactivated my faith and asked the Lord to clear my heart – to walk with me in my sadness. As I connected to the Lord, he brought that Scripture to my mind. As I read the story of the death of Lazarus, I realized that it’s okay to cry, to feel sad – to be human as Jesus was. I also know that he cares about my journey, and that my Mother is in his hands. 
God cares how I feel. He cares how you feel. He can handle our deepest sorrow, if we only surrender it to him. I did. You should, too. 

Check back to  read The Twelve Gifts of God through Christmas Day. His gifts to us are immeasurable and His love infinite. He is the reason we celebrate Christmas. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Twelve Gifts from God | HOPE

Psalm 119:114 


are my hiding place and
my shield of protection;
 I hope in Your word. 

Hope is not what you expect--it's what you would never dream. ~ Max Lucado 

Check back to  read The Twelve Gifts of God through Christmas Day. His gifts to us are immeasurable and His love infinite. He is the reason we celebrate Christmas. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Twelve Gifts from God | Goodness

Psalm 31:19 TLB


Oh, how great is your goodness to those who publicly declare that you will rescue them. For you have stored up great blessings for those who trust and reverence you. 

We don't see the fingerprints, handprints and footprints of God's goodness around us. 
  ~ Dr. Charles Stanley 

Check back to  read The Twelve Gifts of God through Christmas Day. His gifts to us are immeasurable and His love infinite. He is the reason we celebrate Christmas. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

What happens when you are scattered? John 16:32

John 16:32a Be aware that a time is coming when you will be scattered like seeds.

In this Scripture, Jesus warns the Disciples that they will be on their own after he finishes his Earthly mission. He chose these men and spent three years sharing his heart. But it wasn’t meant to be forever. They would have to receive the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the one who would teach them what they needed to know to fulfill God’s plan. This meant that they had to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, to accept His power and the ministries that God planned for each one.

Do you depend on others to increase your faith; to be there to remind you that God exists when your world falls apart; or when things are somber?  There’s a place for community and having people pray, but at the end of the day do you go directly to God? Do you have that relationship with the Lord, so that you know He will hold your hand through the fiery trials of life?

Do you need the comfort of a church building, Bible studies and others in order to maintain your faith? I know I did when I finally heard God’s voice. But soon it became apparent that God wanted my ear, my heart and my mind. He wants me to listen to His heart, to know Him.

There’s nothing like knowing God in all his glory. I relish being taught by the Holy Spirit and having a deep knowledge of God who wants me to know His heart. I can’t imagine going back to my life of worshiping on Sundays in a building expecting God to meet me there! No. Instead He is with me always, the dialogue is constant, His power goes with me in my ministry and He is what matters in my life.  

I depend on the power of the Holy Spirit.

I hope this message jolts you out of your complacency. Make sure that you can function without the trappings of religion, without others who can intercede for you, and during the troubling times ahead.

John 16:33 I have told you these things so that you will be whole and at peace. In this world, you will be plagued with times of trouble, but you need not fear; I have triumphed over this corrupt world order.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

31 Days of Your Word

Day 1
Psalm 29:11 The Voice 
We ask You, Eternal One, to give strength to Your people; Eternal One, bless them with the gift of peace

Day 2
What The Lord wants
Micah 6:8 NCV
The Lord has told you, human, what is good; he has told you what he wants from you: to do what is right to other people, love being kind to others, and live humbly, obeying your God.

Day 3
Bless The Lord
Praise to the Lord of Love
Psalm 103:1 NCV
All that I am, praise the Lord; everything in me, praise his holy name.

Day 4
He is always there
Psalm 121:3-4 TLB
He will never let me stumble, slip, or fall. For he is always watching, never sleeping.

Day 5
The beauty of heaven
Revelation 21:21 The Voice 
The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate expertly crafted from a single beautiful pearl. And the city street was pure gold, yet it was as transparent as glass.

Day 6
I will not fear
Psalm 56:3 CEV
but even when I am afraid, I keep on trusting you.

Day 7
I belong to God
1 Corinthians 3:23 NCV
And you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

Day 8
What wisdom looks like
James 3:17 TLB
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure and full of quiet gentleness. Then it is peace-loving and courteous. It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others; it is full of mercy and good deeds. It is wholehearted and straightforward and sincere.

Day 9
Give myself humbly to You, God.
James 4:7-8 TLB
So give yourselves humbly to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. And when you draw close to God, God will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and let your hearts be filled with God alone to make them pure and true to him.

Day 10
When I need strength
Philippians 4:13 CEV
Christ gives me the strength to face anything.

Day 11
There's only a heartbeat between here and eternity
Hebrews 9:27 The Voice
Just as mortals are appointed to die once and then to experience a judgment.

Day 12
Live in Him
John 15:4 TLB
Take care to live in me, and let me live in you. For a branch can’t produce fruit when severed from the vine. Nor can you be fruitful apart from me.

Day 13
Mark 9:23 The Voice
Jesus: What do you mean, “If there’s anything?” All things are possible, if you only believe.

Day 14
You are my all
Psalm 73:25 
For all my wanting, I don’t have anyone but You in heaven. There is nothing on earth that I desire other than You.

Day 15
My strength
Psalm 73:26 The Voice
I admit how broken I am in body and spirit, but God is my strength, and He will be mine forever.

Day 16
In my weakness
2 Corinthians 12:9 The Voice
But he told me: “My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” So I will brag even more about my weaknesses in order that Christ’s power will live in me.

Day 17
My brief time on earth
Psalm 39:4,6-7
(TLB) - 4 Lord, help me to realize how brief my time on earth will be. Help me to know that I am here for but a moment more.
(The Voice) 6 In truth, each of us journeys through life like a shadow. We busy ourselves accomplishing nothing, piling up assets we can never keep; We can’t even know who will end up with those things.
(TLB) 7 And so, Lord, my only hope is in you.

Day 18
No one but God cares
Psalm 23:1 The Voice
The Eternal is my shepherd, He cares for me always. 

Day 19
Your love, Lord
Psalm 89:1 The Voice
I will sing of Your unfailing love, Eternal One, forever. 
I will speak of Your faithfulness to all generations.

Day 20
In my sadness
Psalm 31:9 TLB
O Lord, have mercy on me in my anguish. My eyes are red from weeping; my health is broken from sorrow. I am pining away with grief; my years are shortened, drained away because of sadness. My sins have sapped my strength; I stoop with sorrow and with shame.

Day 21
Knowing your love!
Psalm 117:1-2 TLB
Praise the Lord, all nations everywhere. Praise him, all the peoples of the earth. For he loves us very dearly, and his truth endures. Praise the Lord.

Day 22
Pining for maturity
Ephesians 4:13 The Voice
These ministries will continue until we are unified in faith and filled with the knowledge of the Son of God, until we stand mature in His teachings and fully formed in the likeness of the Anointed, our Liberating King.

Day 23
Eternal life
1 John 5:12 TLB
So whoever has God’s Son has life; whoever does not have his Son, does not have life.

Day 24
Living in the Spirit
Galatians 5:25 TLB
If we are living now by the Holy Spirit’s power, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

Day 25
Deeper understanding of you, Lord
2 Thessalonians 3:5 TLB
May the Lord bring you into an ever deeper understanding of the love of God and of the patience that comes from Christ.

Day 26
Seasons of our life: He never fails
Lamentations 3:21-24 TLB
Yet there is one ray of hope: his compassion never ends. It is only the Lord’s mercies that have kept us from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his loving-kindness begins afresh each day. My soul claims the Lord as my inheritance; therefore I will hope in him.

Day 27
It is for God to decide
Romans 9:18 TLB
So when and where God decides to show mercy is completely up to Him. Likewise, when He chooses to harden one’s heart, how can we argue?

Day 28
Big faith
Romans 10:17 CEV
No one can have faith without hearing the message about Christ.

Day 29
Heaven's poetry
Ephesians 2:10 The Voice
For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago.

Day 30
May I never forget
Psalm 119:43 TLB
 May I never forget your words, for they are my only hope.

Day 31
God can do it.
Psalm 145:16 The Voice
The desires of every living thing are met by Your open hand.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Why God may not go on your journey - Exodus 33:3

Exodus 33
1 The Lord said to Moses, “Lead these people you brought from Egypt to the land I promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; for I said, ‘I will give this land to your descendants.’ 2 I will send an Angel before you to drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 3 It is a land ‘flowing with milk and honey’; but I will not travel among you, for you are a stubborn, unruly people, and I would be tempted to destroy you along the way.”

Even the chosen go astray.  God’s chosen people decided that they had had enough. They were tired of the desert experience; they were tired of doing as God commanded, they were tired of waiting for the land of milk and honey so they decided to do life on their own.  

These Scriptures are so relevant for our times today. God sets rules. We break them:

·       We say it’s fine for two men or two women to be married
·       We’re fine with redefining marriage and in the process the entire fabric of how a family was established by God
·       We’re fine with the degrading images our child see as entertainment
·       The list is endless...

Oh, and if people decide they will not worship the golden calf, they will be verbally stoned and ostracized.  Our country continues to redefine itself: equality for all, marriage with whoever suits your fancy.

Oh God, forgive us!

Even the religious are going along with the madness!  Even leaders go astray. Look at Aaron who succumbed to pressure. He pacified the crowd probably to save his own skin.  It’s not popular to destroy peoples’ personal happiness!  Why should we deny happiness to two men or two women who love each other? Anyone who opposes same sex marriage is an ogre, a horrible Christian.  The attempt is made to make us seem like we are judging and not loving.

But it’s just the opposite:
John 14:21
The one who loves Me will do the things I have commanded. My Father loves everyone who loves Me; and I will love you and reveal My heart, will, and nature to you. 

Refusing to go along with sin isn't the issue. Our love for others isn't the issue. 

People refuse to understand that God makes the laws. We don’t.

I want God’s presence to go with me! I don’t want Him to reject me because I wanted to be part of golden calf festivities and the popular culture. 

Don’t be surprised when you stop sensing the presence of God in your life. He can decide not to go along.

Don’t find yourself alone in the land of milk and honey.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Open the door.

Philippians 2:13 (TLB) - For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him, and then helping you do what he wants.

There was an air of expectancy when I stepped through sacred doors recently. 

What is God going to do today? 
The thought had briefly crossed my mind earlier in the day.

One more door, open one more door.

I did. 

wasn't disappointed.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The 3 best days of my life - so far. Based on Acts 17:27

October 19, 2013

Acts 17:27 - Living Bible (TLB)
“His purpose in all of this is that they should seek after God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us.

Since I read a wonderful post on Maria Shriver’s blog, this post has been swirling in my brain.

While cleaning treasures from my closet this morning, I found one of my many journals.  At that time, I had experienced the second happiest day of my life. Before I write about those days, I must tell you what I know for sure now.

May 2, 2006 is the best day of my life. Period.
There will be no other better day while I am living on Earth because on that day, I saw the hand of God and my life changed forever.  It was an unexpected supernatural occurrence. God wanted to get my attention. He did. Life has never been more exciting, joyful, painful and meaningful.

I can blog about the milestones of my life, but there is no more significant milestone for me than the day that God chose to reveal himself to me.

March 2, 19-- is the second best day of my life.
My daughter, my heart was born. Jacqueline changed everything for me. I was driven, independent and very selfish. She made me a fiercely protective and involved mother determined to pass on the compassionate, intellectual and activist qualities I value. She is my pride and joy and the depths of my love for her cannot adequately be described.  

Jacqueline finished college (on plan and on time) and is on her life flight. I’m excited to see how God will continue to use her gifts and talents.

December 18, 2005 is the third best day of my life.
On that day, I walked across the stage at Minute Maid Park to get my college degree.  A degree that eluded me for years because I wanted to work, earn money and take care of myself – that independent streak I mention above.  I finished freshman and sophomore years on time, but it took blood, sweat and tears to make it to the finish line for my undergrad degree.  

Along the way, I credit college professors, bosses, colleagues, family and friends for encouraging me finish the degree. I did and I received a promotion the very day I took the final exam. Since then, I've earned a certificate in pastoral care. 

I am very satisfied with the five and half decades I've enjoyed so far. 

I don’t know what is ahead, but I know there is no better place to be than loved by God.  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

What is holding you in captivity? Take off the chains and go Read John 8:32

John 8:32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

These are my notes based on a sermon by Dr. Charles Stanley. You can find it here: Real Freedom, Oct. 13, 2013. 

Causes of captivity: 

False beliefs,
lying, deception, sexual immorality, Drunkenness, drugs, smoking, laziness, profanity

Fear, false guilt, jealousy, worry and anxiety, prejudice, feeling you can never please God, bitterness, unforgiveness, insecurity.

BONDAGE affects our personal testimony and hinders spiritual growth.

TRUTH that sets us free:  Freedom comes when we know the heart of God through a relationship.

And, when we allow The Lord to reveal junk and hidden sin 

and then allow Him to remove it.

What pride is holding you back?

You can choose to have the freedom God wants for you. 

If you don't know there's stuff/sin keeping you down or if you continue to not deal with it,  you will always live at a lower level. 

Get rid of the burdens and the guilt!

Freedom comes when you allow Jesus Christ to work out the sins of your life. 

My comments:   
After that day in May 2006, I allowed God to help me deal with the bad habits I had developed to cope with life. It was hard to let go of my pride and perfection. The transparent Christian life was hard to deal with at first until I discovered the freedom and the heart of Jesus Christ.

If the Lord sets you free, take the chains off and go! You are  not supposed to stay stuck!