Everyday our lives are so busy with so many obligations. For example, those of us that are married, need time with our spouses to cultivate a relationship that will last. Then there are the needs of our children, the pets, the household chores, other relationships (family and friends), work, church activities, social functions, and school work, etc. How do we manage all these demands and still find the time to pray and read God's word so that our spiritual man can be fed and grow stronger. This is one of the questions that I always ask myself. I hope this blog will help make it easier to balance our busy lives so that we can make the time needed to be the person that God desires us to be. May I be a blessing to you.

The Sand Dollar Legend

The Sand Dollar Legend
Upon this odd-shaped seashell a legend grand is told, about the life of Jesus, that wondrous tale of old. At its center you will see, there seems to be a star, like the one that led the shepherds and wise men from afar. Around its surface are the marks of nails and thorns and spear, suffered by Christ upon the cross; the wounds show plainly here. But there is also an Easter lily, clear for us to see, the symbol of Christ's resurrection for all eternity.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Live Life To the Fullest

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind....Dr. Seuss.

Dr. Seuss is right, we must be ourselves no matter what and we need to learn to live our lives to the fullest no matter what others may think about us. It is not always easy to do this but it is a sign of spiritual maturity when you understand John 10:10, Jesus stated, ".....I am come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." The abundant life is your heritage because of the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus, and you must learn to embrace it.

What is important is what God thinks about you, not what others would like to impose on you. Learn from God's word what He says about you. For example, in Deuteronomy 28:13 it states, "The Lord will make you the head and not the tail..." That means He wants you to come out on top no matter what the circumstances. Learn His promises and begin to confess them, for they are the steps towards an abundant life. Be the optimist, and see the glass as half-full and begin to trust that God will overflow you with blessing that the glass will not be able to contain.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

To Everything There Is A Season

It states in Ecclesiastics 3:1 that "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."

When I first began my Christian life, I did not quite understand what this scripture meant, but the longer that I live and walk with Christ, the more I began to understand that God uses seasons in our lives to teach us lessons that will draw us closer to Him, to help us mature and become useful for His service.

Seasons in our lives give us a testimony that not only helps us to overcome, but that helps others build their faith as we share our experiences. For example, as we testify about an experience that we have gone though and we tell about how God moved on our behalf, the telling solidifies our faith and makes us stronger, and at the same time it helps the hearer believe that if God can do it for them, then He'll do it for me.

Seasons, are learning tools that God uses to perfect our faith. Therefore, we must learn to embrace them and trust that God means them for our good and it is not a punishment, but a test of our faith.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Hiding Behind Masks

At one time or another we have all worn masks to hid our true self from others. Some of us smile to hid the sadness and pain that lurks within us. While others are just afraid to be themselves, fearing rejection. In silence we wear the masks to cover up what is really going on in our lives.

Paul Laurence Dunbar wrote a poem entitled "We Wear the Mask" to express why he believed people of his race wore masks. He stated, "We wear the mask that grins and lies...with torn and bleeding hearts we smile" He clearly expressed why masks are worn, but no specifics are provided on how the mask can be removed. However, if you read closely, there is a clue in the poem that might help the reader to begin removing the mask, when Mr. Dunbar states, "O great Christ, our cries to thee from tortured souls arise."

Is Christ the answer to help us remove the masks that we wear? Yes, I believe that He is the only one that has the power to help us remove the masks. Only with His help can we begin to become the person that we were always meant to be. The scriptures encourage us to lay aside the old man and to step into His marvelous light because whom the Son has set free is free indeed. As we grow spiritually in Him, the masks we have worn begin to come off because in Him, we find the acceptance that we have longed for and the masks we wore are no longer necessary. Allow Christ to help you remove the mask and allow the real you to emerge.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rivers in the Desert

A few years ago when God pulled me away from everything that was familiar to me and placed me in a new place that appeared to be desolate, I asked Him why have you seen fit to bring me to this desert-like place where I am a stranger among strangers, and nothing I see is something I have known before? Why Lord are you allowing this drastic change in my life?

This was the inner response that I received, "I am taking you to a place where the people you will meet are not your own, where everything will be unfamiliar, so that there I can plant you and there you will bloom like an exotic flower in the desert"

With these few words, I caught a glimpse into what God had planned for me. I saw a desert place that no matter where I looked, the sand dunes, etc. were endless but in the middle of that vastness, I saw a single exotic flower planted and being sustained by an underground water source that flowed like a river around it, allowing the flower to be alive and full of blossoms. Despite, the arid conditions, this exotic flower thrived and provided the beauty that this desert place was missing.

At the time that God revealed this to me, I could not see how He would take the mess that I had made of my life and make something beautiful. I was going through a period of brokenness, loneliness, disappointment and disillusion. Nothing I had done in the past was working. It seemed as if the old ways were no longer sufficient to sustain me. I decided to trust God, because there was nowhere else to go, but to Him.

Since then many years have passed and I have continuously seen God restore and cultivate a beautiful garden out of my life that has bloomed and blessed others. In John 7:38 it states that "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." In believing what God said about my life, I allowed Him the access He needed to transform my life. Day by day, as I placed myself in His hands, He began to remove the dead roots that prevented new growth. As I read His word and prayed for His guidance, He was able to renew my mind and restore me from a young seedling that lacked the fullness of the living water to a tree planted by the rivers of water (Psalm 1: 1-3). He made the difference and showed me a new way. I could not have done it on my own.

God told the prophet Isaiah, "Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen. This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise (Isaiah 43:18-21).

We need to put aside the former things in our lives that hold us captive and remind ourselves that we belong to Him and He wants to do a new thing in our lives that will transform us even if we find ourselves in desert places. He is the living water and He is able to change us into the strong trees that will have deep roots connected to the water source. All we have to do is begin to drink and allow the refreshing to begin so that we will grow.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hagar a Single Parent

Have you ever asked yourself, how did I get into this mess when you found yourself in a situation where it appeared that no matter what you did, there was no positive outcome.

In my life, I have found myself in these types of situations more than once and sometimes, it was through no fault of my own. Nonetheless, no matter how I got into a bad situation, God was faithful to me and in His mercy, He heard my cries and made a way of escape that I could not have ever dreamed existed.

As I study God's word, I can relate some of my "No Positive Way Out Situations" to the story of a young Egyptian slave girl named Hagar. She found herself in a situation where her mistress Sarai forced her to lie with her husband Abram, because they wanted an heir (Genesis 16:1-3). Hagar was a victim of circumstance that happened to be in the wrong place at the right time.

As a result of their sexual union, Hagar became pregnant, which led to conflict between her and Sarai. In desperation Hagar fled into the wilderness in her pregnant condition, but God in His mercy watched over her and the angel of the Lord was sent to her. The angel of the Lord made Hagar a promise "I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude" (Genesis 16:4-10).

Hagar believed God, because she returned to her mistress and submitted herself. Later she gave birth to Ishmael, but the conflict between the two women only increased. In the end, Hagar and her son were forced out of Abrams' camp and sent out into the wilderness to fend for themselves, because the true heir, Isaac was born. However, God heard Hagar's cries and He protected them and He kept his promise to them (Genesis 21:9-21). God was merciful to Hagar when she found herself a single woman forced to raise Abrams' child alone. Despite the "no win situation" that she found herself in, God turned it into something positive.

Today, God is still the same God that He was to Hagar. He is merciful towards us and He seeks opportunities to make the crooked places in our lives straight and to bring us that way of escape where there seems to be no way, if we only humble ourselves and cry out to Him. It does not matter what circumstance you find yourself in, God is there patiently waiting to hear you cry out to Him and He will faithfully answer.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I Am The Lord that Healeth Thee

After recently having some medical tests done, I faced a crisis where the dreaded "C" word was mentioned by my doctor. She stated, "The tests revealed some cancer cells and we need to get you in here right away to take a further look." After she told me this, I do not recall what else was said because all that I could hear was "You have cancer and you know what that means." In one split second, my world was turned upside down and I was paddling hard to stay afloat.

I felt the tears start to run down my cheeks and I was at a loss for words. In the silence of my room as the sun went down, I tried to suppress the negative thoughts that ran through my mind. Then from somewhere on the inside of me, I felt the spark of hope rise up. I felt a glimmer of faith begin to build and in a whispered voice I proclaimed, "This is only a test and He will be with me."

After that I put my face to the wall and I prayed. I meditated on the promises of God and concentrated on Psalm 118:17, "I shall live and not die, but proclaim the works of my God." I called on my closest Christian friends to stand with me and believe God for my healing miracle.

After that more medical tests were done. As I waited for the results, I kept my thoughts on what God had promised me in His word and I thanked Him for my healing.

When the final test results came back, there were no cancer cells in my body. Once again, God had shown Himself strong on my behalf. I am so thankful for His mercy and loving-kindness towards me.

I am here to encourage you if you are struggling with health issues, trust Him for you healing. If God can heal me, He can heal you too. He is no respecter of persons and wants what is best for His children. Psalm 91:16 states, "With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation." God is concerned about your health and wants to see you well. Call upon the Lord and ask for a healing miracle, thank Him and watch what He will do on your behalf.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Lost Gemstone

Imagine receiving as a gift a handcrafted piece of jewelry that is one of a kind. An irreplaceable piece that can never be replicated; it is a work of art, special and precious. Anyone receiving such a gift would be elated.

Now imagine wearing it for the first time and before the day is out, a single tiny gemstone wiggles out of the setting an falls off.

This is what happened to me. I received such a gift and in one single moment, it went from being a spectacular piece that could be shown off for others to admire, to a defective piece that no one would consider wearing again, because the flaws were to obvious.

I can only tell you that when this happened to me, I was heartsick at having lost one tiny gemstone. I searched high and low for the missing gemstone, but I could not even begin to imagine where I may have dropped it. I backtracked to every place that I had traveled throughout that day. I walked around with my head hung down looking for a clue, a sparkle, anything that would help me recover the missing gemstone. I crawled on the floor. I looked under, behind and around furniture. I even enlisted the help of my friends, to no avail. The tiny gemstone was gone forever.

That night as I lay on my bed to sleep, the thoughts of the missing gemstone swirled inside my head and I had a sad countenance. I closed my eyes and then I heard a still small voice on the inside of me say, "Do you trust me enough to believe that I can do anything?" I knew it was God speaking to me and I replied, "Lord I trust you." Then I prayed and asked God to give me peace over the situation and to take the sadness from me. After that I drifted of to sleep.

The next day, I went about doing all the things that I had planned without thinking about the missing gemstone. As my work day ended I walked up the street to catch my bus home. As I stood there waiting, I looked down and in the dirty crevices of the sidewalk, I noticed something shiny peeking through. I bent down and with my finger moved the loose dirt and there I saw the tiny gemstone that I had lost. I had to smile because once again God was showing me that every detail of my life is important to Him.

From this experience my faith was reinforced with the knowledge that nothing is impossible for my God, if I will only believe and trust Him. I learned that He loves me so much that even the minute things of my life are His concern. If He is interested in me, how much more will He be concerned about you and your situation. Trust Him and see how much you mean to Him and you will be pleasantly surprised.