Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Broken Down in the Desert

Years ago on a trip to Utah, our van, carrying a car full of our 6 young kids, broke down heading up the Cajon pass. It was summertime and 100+ degrees in the Mojave Desert. We were in the middle of nowhere. We were stuck. The sun continued to beat down on us, the kids were scared, thirsty, hot and tired, as we sat alone in the desert wondering, "What now?" We waited to get towed to the nearest station who informed us our transmission was shot. With nothing left to do, we decided to try and inch our way along as it smoked, grinded and died several times. It had to be about 130 degrees in the van as I looked back at my crying kids, their faces like bright red tomatoes, leaking faucet drops of sweat dripping onto their clothes.

We pulled into a car dealership just down the road, hoping that we could get another van big enough to hold all 8 of us. However, we had several issues to face; we had no money in our checking account and were already living on a tight, paycheck to paycheck budget, barely making it. After talking to someone for an hour, he informed us there was nothing he could do to help us. We headed back to our broken down sweat box and sat with all the doors & windows open trying to survive the heat. The kids were all crying, I too began to cry..."What are we going to do?" About 15 minutes passed by and a manager came up to the van and said, "I want to help you; we're going to figure out a way to make this work." Two hours later, with some tricky financing, we were back on the road in our brand new white Astro van; air conditioner blaring, kids sleeping and an overwhelming flood of gratitude and relief filling my soul.

Sometimes in life, you get, "stuck in the desert," (unforeseen circumstances, illness, or necessary change that needs to happen.) Sometimes you may consciously run into the desert, (fear, poor choices, issues you refuse to face, addictions.) The desert is a scary, lonely, isolated place to be. Some of the greatest Prophets ran into the wilderness (desert) when they were afraid. Elijah ran for his life even after God enabled him to perform incredible miracles. He hid in a cave in the wilderness. But God came and asked him what he was doing & sent him back. He had an important plan for Elijah's life and it didn't include hiding (Read 1 Kings Ch 19.) Moses killed an Egyptian soldier who was beating a slave & ran for his life into the wilderness (desert). God came to him and sent him back to free the slaves. He had a monumental task in front of him, which required trust, not fear. (Read Exodus Ch 2- Ch 3)

When you get trapped in the desert, you need to remember that no matter where you go, God is with you. He wants you to draw near to Him. He will rescue you. If you've been in the desert lately, pray and ask God to help you. He wants to bring you to a place of peace, comfort and trust that can only be found through His Son, Jesus Christ. Put your Faith in Him and you will be set free. God has an important plan for your life. Seek Him today!

When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." The Lord said to him, "Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus." (1 Kings 19:13-15)

"When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from the Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well." (Exodus 2:15) "When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!" And Moses said, "Here I am." (Exodus 3:4) "And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt." (Exodus 3:9-10) But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" And God said, "I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain. (Exodus 3:11-12)

I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice. (Ezekiel 34:16)

Jesus declared, "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshiper’s will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." (John 4:23-24)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How's Your Trust?

When you've been hurt by past relationships, friends and/or family members, as we all have, you're afraid to trust again. I know in my life, I kept people at a distance, I decided I'd never be hurt again. This was not only unrealistic; it set me up for isolation. I shut down and kept my heart safely locked away, inside an impenetrable vault where no one could get in and I couldn't get out. Safe. Secure. Alone.

Eventually, as time passed I realized that the loneliness was more painful than the hurt. I slowly began to open the vault, a few moments/hours at a time. Little by little, allowing myself to try and trust again. This wasn't easy. Some days would send me running back in & slamming the door tightly. But those times became less and less. I eventually allowed people to come into my life. Then one day I realized that the fear had been replaced by laughter, caring, kindness and love. The scarring was there and always would be, but that was a reminder. Yes someone had hurt me deeply, but God had a plan for my life, and that plan is good and perfect. It never included isolation, sadness, and loneliness.

He Loves you and wants to give you everything He's promised. He needs you to open the vault which is guarding your heart and allow Christ to come inside and begin to do a good work in you. Allow Him to show you how to Love and Trust again. Remember He is the Author and Perfector of Miracles. You are a Miracle in His eyes.
You are made in His Good and Perfect Image. He will never leave you nor forsake you.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
Psalm 139:23-24

"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace."
Numbers 6:24-26

"Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and revering him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land-a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills."
Deuteronomy 8:6-7

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" Hebrews 13:5-6

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Life Jacket Saved Me

My emotions began to flood my body, several waves of trouble crashed down on me. Every time I'd come up for air, a new one pounded me. During this time, I struggled to catch my breath, as I desperately reached for my 'life jacket' the Bible. I clung to it early in the morning, allowing God's words to keep me afloat. One thing after another attempted to sink me throughout the day. The waves continued to come, but my 'life jacket' was firmly in place. God's words were bigger than the waves of problems; His Truth, bigger than every fickle emotion which threatened to drown me.

As I learned to Pray through each sea of problems, I was overcome by an undeniable Peace. It seemed to stop the flood. It replaced the fear, doubt and anguish, with a feeling of comfort. Emotions are feelings and thoughts, not necessarily truth. When we allow our emotions to control us, we sink into a pool of despair. If you're feeling drowning affects, stop and pray. Open up God's written Word and put on His 'Life Jacket.' Establish a close, trusting relationship...allow Jesus Christ to rescue you!

"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."
Lamentations 3:21-24

"Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord." Lamentations 3:40

"The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O Lord my God. When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple." Jonah 2:5-7

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Listen...It's For You!

I started my morning like every other day, spending time praying, reading my devotional & my Bible. I then go on to posting scriptures & thoughts on my Twitter account, typing up a message to email to a few people then rush to get ready for work.  

As I headed out the door, I had no idea how important the things I just finished reading would be for me. I sometimes think, “I'm good, I've got this whole, stress, worry, and fear thing under control. I've learned to seek the Lord daily and feel like nothing's going to shake me.” I know the truth of Jesus Christ for goodness sake. I carry it on my heart, in my mind & spirit.

But...the enemy is always lurking, waiting to hit a weakness. 

I walked right into my first obstacle the second I reached my car. There were two parking control guys standing at my oldest son's car. I asked, "Is there a problem?" "Yes, this car's registration is expired & we're towing it." I tried everything I could to talk them out of it. I was so frustrated, knowing my son was in Utah with my sister, didn't have any money to get the car out and he's the only one on the pink slip. His car didn't pass smog even though he paid all his fees; he hasn't been able to complete the registration. I was so upset, I started to cry. Then a few more things transpired to continue my down ward spiral. I cried on the way to work, just feeling overwhelmed. Once I reached the parking lot, I sat in my car and prayed. I knew the enemy was throwing everything at me, playing with my emotions & overwhelming me with so many things at once. 

As I prayed, Anthony called me and said, "Re-read the Devotional you just sent out to everyone this morning. It's perfect for what you’re facing." I opened the e-mail on my Blackberry and began soaking in each and every word. I always read it before I send it to everyone. What I didn't realize were those words were specifically for me! (Try saying, "I trust You, Jesus" in response to whatever happens to you.)  Don't get me wrong, I know when I read them that it's for my benefit first & foremost, but sometimes, I find myself thinking, "Oh, this will be perfect for so & so, they’re going through a really difficult time right now."

But the truth of the matter is, when the Lord sends words your way, you need to soak them in & apply them to everything you face during the day. It's not for someone's for you. He's giving you guidance and direction, which enables you to be comforted when the enemy overwhelms you...attempting to send you into a tailspin. The Lord's words are there to grab hold of your instable, human emotions. He knows what's outside that front door waiting for you. He is arming you with His protection. He has already defeated the enemy. He is leading you to this same victory. Listen to what the Lord is telling you & just as Jesus replied to the enemy's lies, with God's written word, follow His example (Read Luke 4:1-13) For the enemy loses his power in the face of God's Truth.

Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'
Luke 4:4

He replied, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes & scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you."
Luke 10:18

"A man's steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way."
Proverbs 20:24

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."
Proverbs 19:21