Monday, April 30, 2012

Just a Bit of Persistence

I know that we all know what persistence means, along with persistent and persist, but somehow the dictionary explains words more clearly than I can. The below definitions are pulled from Merriam-Webster’s dictionary.

1. The action or fact of persisting

2. The quality or state of being persistent; especially: perseverance

Persistent: adjective

1. Existing for a long or longer than usual time or continuously: as

a. Retained beyond the usual period

b. Continuing without change in function or structure

2. Continuing or inclined to persist in a course

3. Continuing to exist despite interference or treatment

Persist: intransitive verb

1. To go on resolutely or stubbornly in spite of opposition, importunity, or warning

2. To continue to exist especially past a usual, expected or normal time.
For the past little while I have been struggling –spiritually. To be transparent, I feel as if I have been going through a time of Job. A time in which I have lost all that has been important to me. Those things that I treasured and valued seemed to be ripped from my hand and now lay in ashes. Within my heart and soul, I knew that I would not turn my back on God but it seemed that no matter which way I turned I was being robbed of all that I held dear and I just didn’t see how I could take another step. Spiritually, I felt that I was at the place of Job 2:8 “And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.” I had reached a place of being spiritually empty and barren of all hope, faith and inspiration and all I felt like doing was sitting in the ashes of the emptiness and mourning the loss of the very things that caused me to get out of bed in the morning. What is life without hope? What is a day of breath without faith to see the salvation of the Lord? What is the point of living without inspiration from the Word of God? That is where I found myself recently and a dear friend gave me a CD that somehow caused the clouds to part and for the unseen kernel of hope to start to sprout once again. The CD was of William McDowell and the song is “I Won’t Go Back.” It talks about how I have been changed and delivered from that which I used to be and I will not go back. As I listened to the song, I realized that though, I felt bereft of all, I had so much more than I had before God changed me. Though I felt hopeless, I had more hope that I used to have. God had changed me so much over the past several years that even in this time of barrenness; I still knew that would not go back to the way it used to be. As I continued listening to this song over and over and over again, I knew that no matter what I had to endure, no matter how the adversary of my soul would try to dissuade me, I absolutely WOULD NOT GO BACK! Even though I felt hopeless, I would trust in His faithfulness. Even though I felt my faith to be at an all time low, I would remember his Word and Promises and consciously decide to believe.

So here I am still feeling weak in faith and hope but knowing that, with persistence, I will see Job 42 in my life. If I continue to be faithful, regardless of how I feel or the trials that come my way, God will bless my latter end. All it takes is a little persistence.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Ezra 8: 21-23

21.   Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.

22.   For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.

23.   So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was entreated of us.

Have you ever spoke The Word that God told you?  Or proclaimed a promise that God made to you?  You know that you know that you know that it was a Word from God or that He did indeed make a promise but then you become ashamed or embarrassed?  Have you made a stand for that which is right but then because God doesn’t show up when you thought he should you become embarrassed or ashamed.  I know that I am not alone in having those feelings because Ezra had the same embarrassed feelings.  Ezra had the responsibility of getting a large group of people along with silver, gold and precious vessels to Jerusalem.  The silver, gold and precious vessels alone would be valued about $20 million today; this was in addition to the personal treasures and belongings of the travelers.  When Ezra spoke to the king, he assured him that God would protect them and take care of those that were seeking God.  He spoke with confident faith that God was indeed on their side.  But then they reached the river that runs to Ahava and he viewed the people.  Perhaps it was when he felt the huge responsibility settle on his shoulders of leading the people back to Jerusalem, along with the highly precious cargo, that a bit of doubt crept in.  Perhaps he realized that the frailty and powerlessness of his humanity and that only God could keep the people and their substance secure.  He knew that God had called and sent him to Jerusalem, and he had spoken to the king on the confidence of that word from God.  As he surveyed the people and substance, he started feeling a bit foolish and thinking, “What if God doesn’t protect us?  What if we get robbed and/or murdered on the way?  Then people would say that our God couldn’t even protect us.  People would believe our God to be weak and not the God of all heaven and earth, even though I know that He is.”  Perhaps God had already intended to protect them from those that sought to rob or attack them, but Ezra needed assurance.  I feel like Ezra was telling God, “I made a stand for you so I need you to fulfill that which I spoke on your behalf.  I told the king that your hand would be on your people for GOOD and that your wrath was on those that forsake you, so I really need you to make it so.”  God did answer their prayers and supplication and fulfilled all that Ezra had spoken to the king.
How many times have you felt foolish on God’s behalf?  We spoke the Word that we KNOW God spoke to us.  We proclaimed the promises that He gave.  We prophesied that which he put in our hearts but then when the prophesying moment has passed we perhaps feel a bit foolish.  Not because we believe what we said to be untrue but we know that we can’t MAKE it happen and if God doesn’t follow through then we will be left holding the bag.  I know that I am no better than Ezra; there are times I have spoken that which I KNOW to be the Word of God.  I have shared the vision and proclaimed the day of liberty but then it seems that when God delays in fulfilling then doubt and embarrassment creep in.  It is in those moments that he delays that I wonder if perhaps I should not have spoken so boldly, perhaps I should have kept silent about the Word and Promises of God.  If I had but kept my mouth shut about that which God spoke to me, then when he didn’t fulfill then I wouldn’t be embarrassed.  But then I am reminded of Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it…”  It doesn’t matter whether we stepped out in faith and spoke the Word or whether we kept it to ourselves, God WILL perform that which he promised.  So though you might feel a bit foolish in the delay, be confident of God’s faithfulness and wait on Him.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Your Help Needed

If you are reading this blog, I do hope that you find it helpful and encouraging in your journey. I am on a journey also and there times when I wonder if I have made any difference; whether by giving hope, increasing faith or challenging someone to stretch out of there comfort-zone and grasp all that God has waiting for them. As i seek to expand my harvest field I find that I need helpers. In order to get this blog picked up by other blogs and search engines, I need you to spread the word. If you find a particular article helpful, please post the link on your Facebook or Twitter accounts. If you have a blog, please include a link on it. Also, please take a moment to become a follower of this blog. Together we can make an impact in our world.

Tapping into Limitless Power

The sons of Anak were a race of giants greatly feared by the Israelites. When the spies made their report about the Promised Land, it included to specific references to the Anakites: first, an observation that was true “Moreover we saw the children of Anak there” (Numbers 13:28); second, an interpretation that was false “We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we” (Numbers 13:31).
For forty years these giants had stood as a taunting symbol of the nation’s disbelief. So formidable were they that the nation had coined a saying, “Who can stand before the children of Anak!” (Deuteronomy 9:2). But Moses assured the Israelites that God specializes in dealing the Anakites.

Where are you facing “children of Anak” in your life? What impossible situation seems to stand squarely in the way of your spiritual progress? God’s word to Israel is also aimed at you: “The Lord thy God… goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them” (Deuteronomy 9:3).

When your heart is filled with faith, there is no room left for fear.

So many times we look at the troubles or the situations that we are facing and we feel hopeless. We wonder: how in the world is this surmountable? How will we ever get past this? We can’t seem to see any light or anything positive about the situation. So many times we judge the hopelessness of the situation on our own capabilities instead of God’s. We look at the situation through the eyes of someone who has limited strength, limited wisdom, limited knowledge, limited resources, etc. instead of looking at it through the eyes of our God who is limitless in strength, wisdom, knowledge and power. He also has limitless resources as everything on the earth is his. Regardless of what the need or situation, God CAN take care of it. Throughout the days that Jesus walked on the earth he used variations of the phrase, “as your faith is so be it unto you.” That tells me the only thing hindering us from tapping into God’s limitless power and resources is our faith.

Friday, April 27, 2012


Courage: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear or difficulty (Merriam-Webster)

One does not use courage when everything is perfect and running smoothly. There is not a need to be courageous when there isn’t danger or trouble. I was finishing up Deuteronomy yesterday evening and then reread bits of it before I went to bed last night and then again this morning. I kept coming back to the Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” Deuteronomy 31:8 “And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.”Then as I started reading Joshua and came across more scriptures of the Lord telling Joshua to be of good courage. Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever though goest.” God was not telling Joshua, everything was going to be easy and that their enemies would willingly turn over their lands but that he could take courage and have faith in the fact that God would go with them and deliver them from the hand of that enemy. Regardless of the trouble that may come their way, God would not forsake them. I believe that God is telling us that yet today. Though the tempest comes, though trouble may surround us, perhaps it appears that the enemy is stronger than we – Be Strong and of a Good Courage for God is with you and will not forsake you, fear not nor be dismayed.

Psalms 27:14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say on the Lord.

Psalms 31:24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Strong Weakness

This morning I was reading in Judges about the calling of Gideon. God told Gideon that He would deliver the Midianites into his hand. Gideon blew the trumpet and called over 30,000 men to battle. God told Gideon that there were too many people with him, as the children of Israel would not give God the credit for the victory but take it for themselves. So Gideon told everyone who was fearful to go home and 22,000 men left. There was left 10,000 men and still God was not pleased with the amount as there were still too many. Even though the Midianites were numbered like grasshoppers and the camel were without number for their multitude. (If you read further on in chapter eight, you realize that there were in excess of 135,000 men who drew swords in the army of the Midianites.) So God had Gideon reduce the number from 10,000 down to 300. It was with that measly 300 men, armed with only trumpets, a pitcher and lamps, that God discomfited the Midianites.

I know that we have heard and read this story many times over but there is no event that could better display God’s power in our weakness. Someone wrote to me the other day about how they are felt like they were born weak. I have to say, what an tremendous opportunity because in who else could God really display his power and strength. God refused to do a mighty work with Gideon when he had the power and strength of over 30,000 men, even though they were going up against 135,000. God wanted the army of Israel to be out-manned, out-gunned, and overwhelmed because it was in that weakness, in that vulnerability that God’s power was displayed.

II Corinthians 12:9-10

9. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

10. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

So when moments of weakness come upon you, when you feel too weak to raise your head, take joy in knowing that it is in that weakness that God’s strength is made perfect. Raise your hands and rejoice during those moments because it is in your weakness that God’s glory can shine through.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Worthy of the Calling

John 4:6-10

6. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was the sixth hour.

7. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto here, Give me to drink.

8. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)

9. Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? For the Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

10. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that said to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

Here is a woman of ill-repute. We typically hear how this woman had been used and cast aside by these multiple husbands, and men and that may well be true, but it could be that she chose this life of loose morals. Regardless of how she became a woman of ill-repute, there is no mistaking that she was a woman without a moral compass guiding her life. She was so looked down upon by those in Samaritan society that she went out to draw water at noon instead of in the morning or evening with the other women. It was in this normal, everyday event that something unexpected happened… someone was at the well. Not only was there someone at the well but it was a Jew. And equally unexpectedly, he spoke to her and asked a drink of her. The unexpected visitor at the well was surprising enough, but then to have him speak to her and ask a drink of her hand caused her to be beside herself with nerves. You can tell that this sinful woman did not feel worthy to draw up water for Jesus by her response to his request; yet Jesus did not withdraw his request. Perhaps her voice shook a little in her response to this strange Jewish man asking her for a drink, as she felt and realized the calm power in his words. But then he said something even more confusing, he said if only she would have realized who he was she would be asking living water of him. As she stood there contemplating what he said she wondered about this living water. She knew that you had to have water to live but he said “living water” which is completely different. What is living water? Whatever it is, she decided that she wanted it, not understanding that it was a spiritual water and not a physical water. But then this Jewish man went on speaking, telling her of her past and speaking of the future. This little encounter changed her life. She went from being a woman with a past full of sin and an equally sinful present to be a woman with a future. This future that she had wasn’t just any future but it was a future full of hope, full of redemption and transformation. She could hardly contain her excitement at the prospect of this future. This excitement and enthusiasm carried her back to her city and she told EVERYONE of this Jewish man who she KNEW was the Messiah. She spoke to everyone, even those people that snubbed her, even those women that gossiped about her, even those men that used her… She had a hope for a life that was different. She had a dream of a future where there was forgiveness and a better life. How could she not share with everyone about this man who could bring such a transformation to a wrecked life? As Jesus came into the city, all of those people that had snubbed and used her came to see this Jewish man. Not only did they come to see him but they believed in him before he spoke a word because of her story. Those that didn’t believe came to believe on him because of His words. There was such a revival in this Samaritan city that they asked Jesus to abide with them for two extra days. All because Jesus asked a shunned woman for a drink.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus asked her for a drink? Don’t you think he could have provided for himself water? He went forty days without food and water isn’t it possible that he could have lasted until his disciples returned, rather than asking a shunned woman for a drink. But Jesus had a purpose, a mission, a desire to give this sinful woman hope. Hope for a life above sin. Hope for a revival of the heart. Hope for forgiveness, for redemption, for salvation.

Has Jesus asked you for something? Perhaps for you to let down your vessel and water his sheep? Or to draw up water to feed the harvest field? Maybe it is for you to go out of your way, put forth a little effort, or stretch out of your comfort zone in order to bring a revival to your city? You answer him with, “but Jesus I can’t…” or “Jesus, I am not worthy because I haven’t been living right” or “Jesus, isn’t there someone who is more capable.” Yet Jesus doesn’t withdraw his request because he knows that you can do it, you are worthy because he has called you and you are indeed capable. His calling isn’t based on your past (or your present for that matter) but on your willingness to obey. His request doesn’t come because you have talent or some redeeming quality but because He wants to bless you and give you hope for a future. So when Jesus sees you in your less than worthy condition and asks you to come up higher, don’t reject him but obey. For in that obedience you will find that hope, that blessing, that living water which will bring you a beautiful future.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Faith in the Word

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path – Psalms 119:105

I don’t know about you but so many times I long for a word… just a word from the Lord. A word that tells me that all will be okay, a word that guides me on the right path, a word that gives me something to hold on to when the way grows dark… just a word. The preacher back in February said something that I have thought and wrote about before but perhaps I needed the reminder.

Luke 5:4,5 “Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.

John 4: 46-50 “So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, who son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he want unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.”

Both Simon Peter and this Nobleman had nothing to hold onto but the words of Jesus. Jesus didn’t offer Simon Peter a foretaste of the fish that he would catch, nor did the nobleman immediately see the healing of his son. All they had was THE WORD of Jesus. So on this journey back out to sea, what did Peter focus on? Did he feel a bit foolish knowing all the toiling they did all night and yet here is this man that is a carpenter by trade telling him to launch out again? The only thing that Peter had was his faith and the word of Jesus. The same goes for the Nobleman. There wasn’t email or texting to get the instant alert that his son was miraculously healed so what did he hold in his mind and in his heart on the journey back to Capernaum? The only answer can be faith and the word of Jesus.

Luke 5:8 “And when they had done this, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.”

John 4:51-53 “And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying Thy son liveth. Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed and his whole house.”

 “Faith is the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for… And the EVIDENCE of things not seen.” Faith is something that you can hold on to even when your hands are empty. Jesus’ Word is what you can focus on when the way grows dark and everything looks contrary. When we hold to our faith and anchor ourselves on the Word of God, we will see the victory that we desire. When we merely take God at his word is when we will see prayers answered and promises fulfilled.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fighting the Inevitable

Living close to one of the “Great Lakes” we hear a lot about riptides.  Each year there are so many people, young and old, that drown because they get caught in these riptides.  Not being a great swimmer, I read up on the phenomena of riptides and how a person can save themselves should they be caught in one.  In my reading, I found that many people that drown in riptides do so because they either panic and/or attempt to swim against the tide toward the shore.  It went on to say that even an experienced and strong swimmer would exhaust himself and ultimately fail should he attempt to swim against the powerful currents of a riptide.  When exhaustion and panic set in and the currents carry you far out into the water, drowning is almost certain.
So it is with the will of God.  There are plans that God has for this world and plans that he has for each individual in it.  The end of days appears to be coming quickly upon us, and regardless of what we do, how we vote, what we say, God will do that which he has determined to do.  We can be part of His plan and be rewarded with life everlasting or we can fight against it and be cast into everlasting darkness.  The end is inevitable, where we spend it is the only choice we have.  For our individual lives it is very similar.  God has a certain will and purpose for us.  His will is inevitable, whether we fulfill that will or drown in the process is our only choice in the matter. 

For me personally, I feel that God has put a call upon my life.  Now I can take a hold of that calling and do that which he has called me to do or I can go against it and do my own thing.  His calling WILL be fulfilled, if I refuse someone else will take up the mantle but I will be left outside of his will and fighting to stay spiritually alive.  Regardless of how strong I may think myself, I will most likely die a spiritual death while going against the flow of God’s will.  There are so many people that choose an honorable (and apparently easier) path over God’s will because His will is too hard, His path too uncomfortable.  They do not appear to understand that though there are many honorable paths; God’s path is very singular.  When they choose that honorable path over God’s will, they have chosen to fight against the inevitability of God’s will.  Truly God’s will, even at a personal level, is inevitable; it is our choice whether we are in it or whether we spiritually drown while fighting against it.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

If God be for us...

Today as I was reading a book that I haven’t read in almost twenty years, The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale, I read a scripture that I have read and heard many times.  Songs have been written about this scripture and it is quite a wonderfully positive verse.  “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31  Like I said, it is a fantastic scripture and one that we need to repeat and memorize until it becomes very real in our lives.  As the scripture say, we know that when God is on our side, it doesn’t matter who the enemy is, or what they may to do try to distract us, disable us, or cause us to fail because God is our side fighting our battle.  That is exactly how I read and understood the verse when I read it today – the first time I read it anyway.  But I read it again and for some reason it came out differently and something new and fresh came to my understanding.  This is the way I saw it the second time I read it yesterday: “If God before us, who can be against us?”  Really it is just a difference in the cadence in which I read it but what a change.  Such a little difference but to me it was the realization that God must truly be before us.  We can’t lead the lost without God before us.  We can’t “take up our cross and follow him” unless he be before us.  We can’t show others the paths of righteousness unless He be before us.  This reminds me of the song, “I have decided to follow Jesus.”   When I follow Jesus, who can be against me?