Saturday, November 22, 2008

Redeem Christmas

Why believe in a god….just be good for goodness sake?

We’ve all heard that question “Why believe in (a) God?” at some point in our lives. The question and statement “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness sake” will now be advertised on buses throughout the D.C. area this Christmas season. The signs have been bought and paid for by an atheist group. The ads are now appearing on buses and will run through Dec. The group claims they are not trying to change anyone’s mind about whether or not God does exist. They are just trying to tap into the market of atheists and agnostics who feel alone at Christmas. Here is a quote from a spokesman from the group:

Edwords said the purpose isn't to argue that God doesn't exist or change minds about a deity, although "we are trying to plant a seed of rational thought and critical thinking and questioning in people's minds."

The group defines humanism as "a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity."

As we enter into the Christmas season remember why we celebrate Christmas. Share the Christmas story with your loved ones, your friends, your co-workers, and anyone else you may come in contact with. The name Jesus is a word most people don’t like to hear. As the song says, there's just something about that name. But the name God is okay. They don’t get as offended when using the name God. At Christmas time though you’ll find people a bit more receptive to the name of Jesus. Remember, where they will spend eternity is at great risk.

In these tumultuous times we see our own religious freedoms are being taken away more and more. In some ways very subtly and in some ways much more obvious. I want to encourage you to join with me and let’s REDEEM our Christmas.

Redeem means – to exchange, to trade in, to buy back. Are we as Christians ready and willing to exchange, to trade in, to buy back the real meaning of Christmas? Are we ready to get rid of all those things that distract us from the reason we celebrate Christmas?

As Christmas draws near remind yourself daily why we celebrate this special day. Go back in time and enter that dirty smelly stable and see the baby wrapped in swaddling cloth. Imagine what it must have been like to have no crib for a bed, to be born in a barn. But yet, Heaven came down to earth that night bringing hope, peace, joy, salvation. And now, the world wants to do away with all those things. And from where I’m sitting, it seems like they are succeeding.

Ladies, it is time for us as Christians to take our stand and say “no more” to the world’s view of Christmas. Let’s celebrate the birth our Lord with peace and joy in our hearts, with a hope that is unshakable. Don’t let the demons of December kill, steal, and destroy your reason for celebrating. We worship and celebrate the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

What in the world is going on?

What in the world is going on???? What is really happening spiritually? I believe if we (as Christians) stop and look at the events from a biblical perspective we would see exactly what is going on and would not be surprised by these events. The depth of depravity in this country was unimaginable just a few years back and still is. And, as I observe the state of our country along with the moral decline, I can’t help but wonder how much longer before we truly see God’s judgment? Or, is this already the beginning of His judgment on a nation who has turned its back on Him? The Bible is clear that we should have no other gods before GOD!! America used to be God’s country. I don’t believe that is still true today.

Please hear my heart, this blog is not about judging you or condemning you, but it is a wake up call for repentance. Why do I say that? Because, we’ve all turned our backs on God in one way or another. We’ve made power, money, materialism, our jobs, our time maybe even our families our god. We spend more time with them or achieving them than with the One who has promised to supply all our needs. We say we love God. We say we are a Christian nation. But are we? We as a nation have taken prayer out of our schools, the Ten Commandments out of our courtrooms; we’ve taken God out of our marriages. We’ve now ordained same sex marriages in some states with Florida voting on this issue in November. A battleground is brewing in Chicago for a new school for homosexuals, lesbians, transgenders and anyone else who would want to attend. This school would be funded with taxpayers’ money and they hope to have the doors open in 2010. And these are just some of the declining morals and beliefs that are now so popular in this country.

And we wonder “What in the world is going on?” I think it’s obvious! We are a nation that is no longer a nation that lives for God. We are no longer a nation who worships and reveres the One and Only True God. Do we really believe that we can continue living like this and not have God’s judgment come down? In Galatians 6:7 Paul writes – “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” God’s patience and longsuffering can and will run out.

Is it too late to avoid judgment? I really don’t know. Many people in the Christian community believe it is. But one thing I do believe is that we can have revival in the midst of judgment.

So I say to you my dear brothers and sisters the time has come for the Christian community to recognize the error of our ways. It’s time for us to confess our sin before the throne of the Almighty God and to repent of our sins. 2 Chronicles 7:14 – “If MY people, who are called by MY name, will humble themselves and pray and seek MY face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Notice that in this verse the key word is “MY” people. God is calling His people to pray, not the unbelievers to pray. It is when God’s people humble themselves and pray, seek His face, turn from THEIR wicked ways (repentance), it is then He will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land.

I believe God is looking for those that He can prepare for His remnant. He’s looking for those who will be ready for the latter day outpouring of the Holy Spirit which the Bible speaks about. Will you be one of them? Are you willing to humble yourself, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from your wicked ways? Are you willing to be purged so that you can be used by God in a time such as this? Will you give God full reign in your life so that you live for Him only? Are you willing to lay it all down if not for yourself then maybe for your children?

Psalm 33:12 - “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He chose for His inheritance.

Messages of this kind are never easy to preach, teach, or write. They are not tickling anyone’s ears. They are not full of fluff. They are hard hitting messages but yet messages that need to be written particularly in these tumultuous times.

It is my prayer that you will join me on the road to repentance as we turn from our wicked ways and humble ourselves before the throne of God, seeking His forgiveness and His mercy not only for ourselves, but for this country that we love so much. May we once again become “One nation under God!”

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Where is your hope placed?

Are you without hope? Is all your hope gone? Do you feel as though there is no light at the end of the tunnel?

These are treacherous and desperate times accompanied by despair in the lives of so many. And, I can’t help but look around me, and everywhere I turn I see someone who has lost their hope. Or, I hear someone who is very close to throwing in towel say, “Why bother, it’s a hopeless situation? I give up.” From financial woes, to more Middle East crises which call our loved ones away from home, to rising fuel costs, to a society stricken with sin and no sign of turning away from it…..and the list goes on. Do you find yourself asking God “What is going on?” Or saying, God, there’s got to be more than this…there’s got to be an answer. God…I can’t go on like this…I can’t take it anymore. I’ve heard the heart cries of many women who feel exactly like this. They are so close to breaking down while some already have. What are we to do?

First let’s look at the meaning of hope.

Hope in the world’s understanding of the word is something wished for, a yearning, a desire, a craving.

Bible’s definition of hope is - expect, trust, anticipate, look forward to.

Do you see the difference between the two? The world’s view is for something wished for…the Bible’s definition is to expect, trust, anticipate, look forward to.

I think many times we look for our answers, our hope in all the wrong places. Or we have a view of entitlement. We have this yearning or desire that this situation we are in should go away. I’m entitled to a better life, more money, a new job. But do we look and truly seek God’s wisdom for our answers. When things don’t happen fast enough or the way we would like them to, we’ll take matters into our own hands and “hope” that things will work out the way we want them to. Have you ever done that? Are you still doing that?

How long does it take before you truly surrender your situation over to the Savior? And when you do, are you doing it with the assurance, the expectation and anticipation of knowing that He will handle this situation? Are you looking forward to what He is going to do?

Jesus sends us the storms for many reasons, to protect us, to perfect us, to humble us, to wake us up, sometimes to show us who’s really in charge of our lives. But in the end the question is where is your hope? Is your hope in the things of this world? Or is your hope in the One who says to you, I’m here, trust Me, and be assured that I have everything under control.

Surrender….not an easy thing to do. I would suggest the only way one can get to that place of total surrender to the Lord and to completely trusting Him, is to know without any doubts, that He loves you. Do you? Do you know for sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that God loves you? If you can’t answer “yes” to that question then I want to encourage you to pray and seek God. Tell Him that you don’t believe He loves you. Tell Him why you think that. Be honest and open with Him and allow the work of the Holy Spirit to minister to you and assure you of God’s love for you. Many people, particularly when they are in a season of sin feel as though God doesn’t love them. They feel unworthy knowing that what they are doing is displeasing to the Father. Others feel that they just can’t measure up to God’s standard so He doesn’t love them. Or, they’ll say I know God doesn’t love me because look at my life, look what’s happening, isn’t this proof that God thinks I’m no good, that I deserve all this mess? Or, I never hear from God so I guess He doesn’t love me. But if you are a child of God, then know without any doubting that God loves you. The bible tells us so. And I know that God’s Word is true. So regardless of how you feel, base your life on fact, the fact that God does love you. And when you do, that place of surrender will not only become more easily accessible, but it will be a place that you will run to and return to time and time again. It will be a place of contentment, a place of rest. Why? Because your hope will be in the Lord and you won’t have to worry about what to do next knowing He’ll handle it. You’ll be free from fears, despair, turmoil, frustration, anxiety, and hopelessness.

Let me ask you one more time - Where is your hope? Is it in the things of this world? Or is it in the One who extends the invitation to those whom He loves, as stated in Hebrews 4:16 -“Let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

I pray that at this moment you will make your mind up to accept that invitation and go boldly to throne of grace and place all your hope and trust in the One who wants to help you and give you a hope, a hope that will last, a hope eternal.

In Christ’s love,

Friday, June 13, 2008

Faith that endures or faith that doubts which do you have?

ARE YOU READY? Ready? Ready for what?

Here in Florida we have now entered into the “hurricane season.” What that means to most people is to start planning ahead and making preparations should we get hit by a hurricane. It means preparing an inventory list, taking stock of what we have on hand and what we don’t in case of an emergency. We might stock up on food, water, batteries, flashlights, candles, matches, and paper products. We want to be prepared to the best of our ability should we get hit by a catastrophic hurricane.

As we look around us, read the headlines, watch the news we can see the world around us is in turmoil. We are living in perilous times. Rising gas cost, loss of jobs, Christian marriages being attacked more and more, church divisions, false teachers and preachers are on the rise, economic worries, the housing slump. Will things ever get better?

Are we as Christians prepared for a time such as this? Can we have a faith that will endure the test of time?

Many preachers today are preaching on what Christians need to do to be prepared for living life in these days. Many have suggested to have at least three months of savings readily available, to be debt free, to be diligent and wise stewards of your money, and to have extra food on hand. And I do believe that is wise counsel.

But my question is this? Are you prepared spiritually? Is your faith a faith that will endure and persevere that even in the midst of an economic crisis or some other storm or trial that comes your way; you’ll be prepared to handle it? I’m afraid many Christians are not. It’s easy to prepare for those things physical but when it’s spiritual preparation that’s needed we find ourselves unprepared for the storm and its damage. We don’t know what to do when we can’t see a way out or when there are no answers coming. All hope is gone and we find ourselves at wit’s end with no relief coming.

The first thing to remember is that our God loves us….He loves me...He loves you. These circumstances are not because of our Lord looking down on you and decides one day He’ll bring calamity upon you. No! God is still on throne even when life is spinning out of control and Satan is whispering lies in your ear that you deserve all this. God said in Jeremiah 3:13 - "I have loved you with an everlasting love." Not only does He love you but it's a love that is everlasting. It's a love that is eternal, never-ending, undying, and ceaseless. Many times we read that God loves us....that He first loved us...oh...but this verse tells us it is with an everlasting love. A love that is undying....a love that is eternal and ceaseless. We may question as the hard times are upon us how can God love me and allow this to happen to me? You call this love? Keep in mind that though our times are hard and rough, each circumstance in our lives will have an affect on someone else. While God is working in your life and mine, He is also at work in the lives of others as well. And that my dear sisters we cannot always see or even know about. Trust Him and rest in the fact that your Heavenly Father loves you and adores you even if it seems as though He does not. He is at work in your life and in the lives of others bringing about His purpose while refining you as well.

Another way to be prepared is to be a woman of the Word. Know what God’s Word says. Seek it out daily, meditate on it, seek guidance and wisdom from it. We know that in Ephesians 6 Paul tells us to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of the Holy Spirit” and “to put on the full armor of God.” Ladies, put it on daily….just as we get dressed daily, the full armor of God must be put on daily. We can’t expect to put it on one day and then go out “naked” the next day and be victorious. We must be fully dressed and ready to do battle. There is no other way. Heed Paul’s instruction, be strong in the Lord and in the power of the Holy Spirit and be dressed in the full armor of God.

Be a woman of prayer. So many of our battles our won in prayer but also lost by not praying. Many of us have been in that place of torment or desperation where there are no words, there is no way you can pray, you don’t even know what to pray for so we just don’t pray. It is then you must trust the power of the Holy Spirit who is living inside of you to pray for you. He groans and intercedes on your behalf when you just don’t have the strength to do it on your own. All you have to do is start calling on the name of Jesus, just say the name Jesus if nothing else will come out. He’ll do the rest.

Prayer is a mighty weapon against the wiles of hell. When you find yourself unable to pray then find some prayer warriors who will do battle for you, who will cry out in the very throne room of God on your behalf. Don’t allow yourself to be isolated. It is there in the isolation where Satan can and will wreak havoc in your mind. That is why it is extremely important to call upon your sisters when you are at wit’s end, when you can’t utter a single word in prayer, when all your hope is gone. Don’t be shy about calling upon your sisters when there is a need “JUST DO IT!” And watch God work through those prayers.

Again, the question is, “Is your faith a faith that will endure?” When the intense trials come, when the damage is devastating, when your prayers are not answered, when all hope is gone, will your faith endure? Or will you fall into unbelief? Will you doubt God’s love for you and think that He is not faithful? Beware my dear sisters because Satan loves to feed those doubts and trust me, he will continue to feed those doubts. He’ll say things like…”oh there’s no way out of this, you’re in way too deep.” Or, you deserve this, God is tired of you and you’re secret sin.” Or how about this one, well now my little pretty, how are you going to get out of this crisis? He will bring you to a place where you’ll begin to doubt God and your heart will become so hardened that instead of worshiping the God who calls you by name, you’ll be doubting Him.

I don’t know of one person who has not suffered some kind of deep hurt in their life. Jesus never said that life would be easy or pain free. He tells us in John 16:33 – “In this world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. Not easy to do yet that is what we are instructed to do “be of good cheer.” It is an enduring faith that will take each crisis, each devastating situation, each trial and storm, and hand them over to the One who is still on the Throne and say Lord, I give them to you. I leave them at the foot of Your throne. I am casting down every fear, every doubt and I am trusting you to work this out. I trust You to strengthen me, to lead me and guide me along the path that You have for me. I am casting everything on You. I am surrendering to Your will and what You want to do in me and through me.

It is then we will be able to rise up and face the devil head on. And it is then we’ll be ready for battle. It is then we’ll be ready to go in and assess the damage and allow the clean up process to begin. It is then we’ll be ready to say good-bye to any doubt and unbelief. It is then we’ll be able to worship our Lord with a pure heart knowing that yes, He is still on Throne and the victory is already won. So no matter what may come at us from this life here on earth we serve a God who is Sovereign and who is in total control. And YES…He loves you. AMEN!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Steady Through The Silence

SILENCE! Nothing but….SILENCE! Ever been there…where you just aren’t hearing from God? Me too.

I’ve been a “funk” of late. Something happened a couple of weeks ago that had more impact on me than I thought. Without going into the details please read this and hear my heart.

When this “something” occurred it set me into a whirlwind of doubts and insecurities, feelings of being overwhelmed. These feelings were screaming at me “I can’t do this. I don’t know where to begin or how to do it. How, will I find the time?”

Being the mature Christian that I am J I did what any mature Christian would do. I prayed or at least I tried but I couldn’t. I just couldn’t….there were no real words coming forth….just silence. Then I remembered that the Holy Spirit who lives inside of me will pray for me when I have no words. Unfortunately, that didn’t help the silence either or what I was feeling. So I was beginning to “feel” that I’m not hearing from God because He isn’t hearing from me.

Feelings….I am great at telling people we cannot live by our feelings but we must live by fact…the bible being our basis of fact. Feelings are like roller coasters, up and down, upside down, twisting and turning and actually causing you to get sick after so many twists and turns upside down. Yes, “feelings” can take you on the same kind of ride and I knew that. But I could not get away from those “feelings.” For the past two weeks or so I have to admit that I didn’t want to work on my bible studies let alone prepare a lesson that I would have to teach. Again, those feelings were now in control. I was in a “full fledged funk” and could not snap out of it. It was so bad that I actually asked a small group of ladies to pray for me which is something I usually don’t do.

While these feelings were overtaking my life I praise God that I have learned enough over the years to be on guard. What I mean by that is that I kept my mind, even if it was half hearted, on the things of God. I would still listen to teaching tapes each night before I would go to sleep, I would work on a bible study, and I prepared a lesson last night even though I did not “feel’ like it. But I knew that I knew, if I did not, God would someday take that privilege away from me….I had to give it my best…whatever that was at the time.

Yesterday, while cutting the grass instead of working on my lesson for today because I didn’t “feel” like it, I felt a temptation come upon me. I knew then that I had to be careful because not only was I living on my feelings through this silence, but now, I was on a slippery slope. I knew I had to remain steady because there was some spiritual battle going on over my life….did you ever know deep down in your spirit that there was a battle over your life? It is hard to explain but I know it was there and it was real… it was a sense of oppression. The good news is I finished cutting the grass and eventually the temptation passed. Praise the Lord!

This morning still in a funk and feeling the heavy silence of my Savior, I continued to read the word and I started working on my Beth Moore study. Finally, the silence was broken. God so spoke to my heart and removed my funk. He restored my soul and has refreshed my spirit. I can’t help but think of how God’s Word tells us if we seek Him with all our heart we will find Him Again, we have to live life by the facts of God’s Word and not our feelings.

During these past few weeks I have to be honest with you….God was speaking…there were times when He gave me what I call my “life verses” or verses that are so meaningful to me, that they bring me to tears. So you see I did get something other than silence during this time but yet these feelings were in control. I just “felt” the silence or what I perceived to be silence…not hearing from God. I was searching for answers but not hearing from the One who had them in the way I wanted. However, the other side of that is…I didn’t know why I kept getting those verses until today. Today He showed me that He has plans for me, just for me and He will bring them to completion. I know that my God is bigger than any circumstance or person and that He can handle whatever overwhelms me.

I write this because so many of you have been surrounded by the silence as I have been. I want to encourage you that even when you don’t “feel” like praying or doing a bible study or reading your bible do it anyway. We cannot see what is going on in the spiritual realm. If we allow the silence to send us away from our Savior, you can bet that a slippery slope is in the close distance. Peter followed Jesus at a close distance in John 19 and what happened….he walked right into the enemy’s camp. While he was there, he first stood by the fire warming himself. In the other Gospels we read that Peter then sat warming himself by the fire. It didn’t take long for him to make himself comfortable in the enemy’s camp. Following at a distance whether close or far, can only mean a slippery slope awaits and it will bring you right into the enemy’s camp. Walk steady through the silence because even though we may not hear Him, our Savior is near and He is walking with you. And yes, He does speak through the silence. AMEN!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Amazing Freedom found in the Infinite Grace of God!

Amazing Freedom found in the Infinite Grace of God!

This past weekend I attended with Women of Faith Conference here in Jacksonville. The theme this year was “Infinite Grace.”

As I thought about “Infinite Grace” I wondered how many women will attend that conference without really giving much thought to what those words really mean. So, I asked myself and then others “have you given any thought about the theme and what those words “Infinite Grace” mean?

After pondering those words I set off to do a search on the Internet. Here’s what I came up with.

Infinite means never ending, boundless, limitless, immeasurable.

Grace has many definitions. One is what God does for us, to us, in us, and through us. It is unmerited favor or getting something you don’t deserve. I loved this one that stated, “although there are many definitions there is one common thread that runs through them all….you can say that grace is the activity of God motivated by His love accepted by the receiver through faith.”

It is in this Infinite Grace that we can find our freedom….freedom from those things that keep us in bondage….freedom from past hurts, freedom from our shame, freedom from anything that keep us from being all God wants us to be. In other words, it’s all about finding freedom from a broken past. Freedom is ours in Christ.

Freedom is ours for the asking but the question is do you want it? What do I mean by that…do you want it?

I can’t help but think of times in my own life (sometimes even still today) where I know that something in me isn’t quite right….I’m not where I’m supposed to be spiritually; I’m not growing in the things of God, I’m kind of just going through the motions. Or it can be something that isn’t necessarily wrong but I have to ask myself should I be doing it? It can even be something like an insecurity or something shameful that is deeply hidden within me, something that I thought I dealt with a long time ago….or something that is revealed and you realize that you’ve never dealt with it. I do understand that the Lord is revealing these things to me because He wants me to deal with them. He wants me to be free so that I can live the life He purposed for me before I was even born. A life that is to be used for His glory has to be a life that is free.

But the question is “Do I want the Amazing Freedom that is found in the Infinite Grace of God? If I were to be perfectly honest I would have to say that sometimes the answer is “I do, but” or ‘no.” Why? Because it may be too painful to bring up some old and shameful memories; maybe it’s because I thought that I was way beyond forgiveness. Or it can be just too hard; I’m handling life quite well…I’ve gotten myself into a nice comfort zone; there’s no sense in bringing up my sinful past. I’m quite content here. Let sleeping dogs lie as they say. I wonder if I’m the only one who thinks that way or if there are others who do as well?

I know about hurts, shame, sin and insecurities. And, I also know about the Amazing Freedom that is found in God’s Infinite Grace. I too have been through the valleys and felt the pain of the reason as to why I was there with every step. It is with each step though that I got closer and closer to freedom, to the freedom that the Lord so desires for me. Sometimes it was a quick journey and yet others took what it seemed like forever. One thing they had in common though was in the end I found God’s “Amazing Freedom.”

I’ve found freedom on more than one occasion, and yet I know that there are more things to be dealt with and more steps to take. I’m planning on choosing freedom over bondage and I hope you will too. I hope that you will choose to walk your road to freedom by holding onto the Hand that will lead you by and through His Infinite Grace. No matter how long our walks to freedom are remember God’s Infinite Grace is never ending. It knows no boundaries and should we take a wrong turn and let go of His Hand….just reach up and grab hold of it again….but this time hold on a little tighter and a little longer…you’ll get through and be free at last.

In our Sunday morning class we just finished an in depth study on the Samaritan woman. She had many of the same issues we have today….shame, sin, self. In the heat of the day Jesus met with her and conversed with her. And through this conversation this woman came to the place of finding the freedom I’m sure she longed for. She found freedom from self which included her personal limitations and human weaknesses as well as her sinful lifestyle. She gained freedom from the racial barriers that were so prevalent back then. And she gained freedom from a sinful lifestyle that included immoral behavior, adulterous relationships and a freedom from her unbelief in Jesus as the Messiah. By the end of the conversation she knew beyond a shadow of doubt that He was the Messiah and that freedom was now hers.

The Samaritan woman is just one example of a person finding freedom. There are many examples of freedom and restoration in the bible. Take the time to read the Scriptures and allow God Himself through His Word to speak to the depths of your spirit. Allow Him to minister to you as He ever so gently reveals those things He wants to release you from, in order for you to experience His Amazing Freedom.

I pray for each person who will read this blog, that we will sit at the feet of Jesus daily….that we will come to a new understanding of just how much He really loves us. I pray that God’s Great Grace will pour down from heaven bringing you to a new understanding of who He is, and the grace He so desires to lavish on you.

I’d like to share this last comment with you in which I use three of the Women of Faith themes from 2007, 2008 and 2009. It goes like this:

When “Amazing Freedom” is found in the “Infinite Grace” of God it is for sure “A Grand New Day.” AMEN!

Let me know how you are doing on your road to freedom.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Venturing Through The Valleys

A valley is not exactly where one prefers to be. Most people would much rather be up on that mountaintop. But yet we read in Psalm 23:4 “though I walk through the “valley” of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.

The Good Shepherd will never lead us where He doesn’t want us to be. He knows exactly where the green pastures are but sometimes He takes us into the valley before we reach them. Why? Why are the valley experiences a must for each believer? Because it’s in the valley that we grow spiritually. It is in the valley that we realize how much we need our Good Shepherd and how lost we would be without Him.

Notice that David says he walks “through” the valley. He does not go half way through and then decide to turn around. He doesn't just stop there. No, he goes through. David knows that the only way to come out of the valley is by going through it. There’s no other way.

And, the Shepherd doesn’t lead His sheep only so far and then just leaves them stranded there. He doesn’t say “okay my little sheep” I’ve led you through this far now you’re on your own. I’m outta here! No, He leads them “through” until we are all the way out. He’s with us every step of the way gently leading and guiding us to the green pastures that await us.

Another key is this Psalm is the word “walk.” It doesn’t say to hurry or to run through the valley. It says David walked. What’s the importance of walking? If we hurry through we’ll never get the full understanding of what the Good Shepherd wants us to learn while in our own personal valley. Hurry is a great enemy of our spiritual well being. It will distract us and cause us to fall off the path that leads to the mountaintop. Think about Jesus….even when He was in the most difficult of circumstances He never hurried through them. He remained obedient to the will of His Father and His Father’s timing for each circumstance. May we follow Jesus’ example and not hurry our valley experience but rely on our Shepherd to bring us through according to His perfect timing. Don’t be so frantic to get out of the valley that you miss the significance of why you are there.

Each valley is different for each person. And though we may cry out to God, “Get me out of here, I’ve had enough, I can’t take it anymore”. Or we might say something like, “How much longer Lord, how much more of this? I want to be on that mountaintop NOW!” We want God to say “yes” quickly, we want so badly to arrive on the mountaintop. But God says “no” not yet my daughter. Not yet! There’s a “yes” that awaits you outside this valley, but if you get out of your valley too soon, you’ll never experience the true freedom and deliverance that awaits you. Our Shepherd calls us and says, “Come my daughter let’s continue our walk, follow me. And even though it may be hard, remember that goodness and mercy are right behind you all the days of your life. Yes, even here in the valley, particularly in the valley.

As we go through our daily lives we are told in Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

While we are in the valley we are to “ask” the Good Shepherd to lead us and to show us what our next step should be. We are then to “seek” His answer. In other words, He’s shown us what steps to take, now keep “walking,” keep moving forward in search of His answer. Don’t stay where you are in the valley or you’ll never get through. Knock implies to be persistent – keep moving forward, keep searching until you find His answer. It is then that you will get through your valley and arrive at your mountaintop.

The decision is ours. Will we be like the Israelites who wandered for 40 years or will we follow the leading of the Good Shepherd?

I pray for each one of you who may be in their own valley right now. May you find God’s strength to continue your journey upwards to your mountaintop. May you find His comfort along the way knowing that He’ll never lead you to a place where He doesn’t want you to be. May this Venture Through The Valley bring you to a greener pasture refreshed and restored with a renewed love for the Shepherd who laid down His life for you.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Missing Your Messiah Moments!

Slow down! Stop and smell the roses! So many of us have heard these words before. But the question is how many of us have actually done that; have slowed down; have taken the time to stop and smell the roses?

I’m afraid too many of us have done just the opposite instead of slowing down we are speeding up, full throttle, pedal to the metal. Life seems to be going so fast we can’t even remember what day it is or how we got to where we are?

Over these past few weeks I’ve made a conscious effort to make mental notes of the little things that the Messiah has done for me or things that He revealed to me like He did with the woman at the well. (Yes, it means changing my focus and slowing down, paying attention to what God is doing for me!) Jesus, the Christ (the Messiah) revealed to this woman who was an outcast in society that He was the Messiah. Now this woman was at the well in the heat of day getting water for her empty water pot. She had a task at hand that needed to be done. But yet this Man had spoken to her which was unheard of in that day. It was then that she had a choice to make, to stop what she was doing, listen to Him and converse with Him, or continue with the task at hand. She chose wisely. She chose to stop what she was doing and enjoy a Messiah Moment. Oh, she did not know that He was the Messiah at first, but she continued to converse with and listen to this Man who was speaking with her. It was by stopping what she was doing and spending some time in conversation with this Man that He revealed to her first (even before His disciples) that He was indeed the Messiah.

So I ask you…why haven’t you stopped or slow down to converse with your Messiah? What are you missing in your God appointed Messiah moments? Is it a word of encouragement? Or maybe it will be something that God will reveal to you and you alone. Will you make a wise choice to sit and talk to the One who has a special moment waiting just for you?

I want so share a couple of clips from some emails that I have received this past week that touch exactly on this subject.

Hi Janice,
I just wanted to share an experience I had yesterday with you. Could you also forward this to all the ladies in our class?

I was sitting outside in our backyard with Ethan when I saw a dragonfly zoom by. I thought to myself how pretty a blue dragonfly would look (blue is my favorite color). Not a second later there was a blue dragonfly right in front of me. It hovered around us for awhile and even paused on a chair across from me so I could get a good look at how pretty it was. And then it dawned on me - This was a way of God saying "I'm here, I love you". How truly amazing is our God!!! Now I wonder how many signs like this have I missed because I was too busy or too caught up in life's problems to notice. I wanted to share this with everyone because it's the little things like this that help strengthen my faith. I am blessed to have you ladies in my life!
Your sister in Christ,

Here’s one in response to Jenny’s email.

Please forward to Jenny. I had a similar experience with a group of buttterflies(not real ones though). Our school is only 2 years old so the Principal told the Art teacher that the hallways look like a hospital and suggested she paint something on the walls. My students all know that I love butterflies. I have my classroom decorated with all kinds. One of them talked to the Art teacher and when I got here Monday morning, outside of my room on the wall are 9 of the most beautiful butterflies I have ever seen. It made my whole week! To them it was a small gesture, but it spoke volumes to me about what they must think of me to take time out to do that. Sometimes we are so busy being busy that we don't take time out to enjoy the small blessings. Jenny, I'm glad you were tuned in enough not to miss that chance! Angie

As we can see there is a great deal of Messiah Moments that we miss. Why? Because we don’t slow down to see the dragonflies and butterflies or stop to smell the roses. We are just not focused or tuned in to the One who wants to share a special moment with us. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to miss my Messiah Moments. I pray that you will join me in stopping and slowing down to capture, to take hold of your Messiah Moments. And while your at it, be sure to post a couple of your own Messiah Moments!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Why the blog spot?

So why do a blog spot?

First and foremost... so our Lord and Savior will receive all the glory from all the correspondence that will take place on this site.

Secondly... so that we as women can get to know our sisters in Christ on a whole new level and share our lives with one another. that women can find a place of support and encouragement from their sisters in Christ and know that whatever life throws at them they are not alone. They have sisters on the other side of their computer monitors who will be there for them. that we can share with one another what God is doing in our lives and through our lives.

May this be a place of women sharing life to life and heart to heart.

To God be the glory! AMEN!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Our Purpose

Our purpose:

1. Is to glorify God through the Lord Jesus.

2. It is to edify, educate and encourage all women as they seek to grow in their knowledge and love of the Lord Jesus.

The site will be an opportunity that the Lord has made possible to reach out to one another in order to help and encourage each other in our daily walk with Him.

This site will reach beyond our individual churches and bible studies to the unsaved women in our community and city, reaching women from all walks of life and to facilitate their growth and maturity. This site will also include opportunities for building close relationships among women in the body of Christ that crosses generations, ethnic groups, economic status, skills level, and gifts.

One of our goals is to help women know that regardless of what their past looks like, there is a bright future for them in Jesus Christ and that they can be all that God wants them to be. We will provide a heart to heart site that will focus on the issues that are relevant and unique to women, give Godly insight from the Scriptures about every day living through a weekly post.

Remember, every woman is important. Every woman’s spiritual health is important. Every woman who is a part of the body of Christ or is truly searching to know Him is welcome to join us in this site and to be a part of this wonderful move of God. I pray that each woman will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have been called into the kingdom for such a time as this! Our God wants to take those ashes and give you His beauty. Isaiah 61:3 “”to give them beauty for ashes.” Will you accept His gift?

Our Name

Women of the Way! Our name is taken out of the book of Acts Chapter 19:9, 23. It seems that one can speak freely about God but start saying the name Jesus and most people will become uncomfortable. These two verses refer to people being hardened and not believing but speaking evil of the Way (which refers to those who followed the way of Christ). And in verse 23 there arose a great commotion about the Way because Paul had persuaded many people to stop believing in their idols and start believing in Jesus.

The name was chosen because I want to be known as "A Woman of the Way."

Women of the Way - Who are we?

Who are we? We are women who are burdened; Women who are busy; Women who are hurting; Women who are...not in the best of health; Women who....sometimes worry too much; Women who are...filled with guilt; Women who are...feeling that dread of hopelessness taking over our lives; Women who are...lonely; Women who...don't sleep well at night; Women who are...ashamed of their past; Women who...never thought or believed that they were loveable; Women who...thought that their sins were so great that they deserve only the worst of punishment; Women who...never saw herself as a woman who had worth...That is until the Lord Jesus Christ made His way into our hearts. And, we realized that though life can sometimes drag us down...we can find our true freedom and joy in Christ Jesus...because it is He who gave us "beauty for ashes." And it is for Him that we now live.

Each woman has her own story that is unique and personal to her. But each woman shares one same story and that is...that Jesus Christ has changed their lives and rescued them from the pit of hell...He has given them "A New Beginning" and has transformed their lives.

Join me and other women as we walk this journey of life together as Women of the Way.