Wednesday, October 17, 2012

When I Am Weak, Then I Am Strong


 

For the past few years my father and I have been attending the annual opening day at the Del Mar Race Track.  It’s quite a spectacle seeing all the women dressed up sporting their fancy and some very outlandish hats.  It’s more about the fashion show than the actual races.  When it comes to betting on the races, I have no idea which horse to choose, so my strategy is to look at the horses while they circle the paddock before the race.  They are so beautiful!  I look for the feisty one or something that stands out, maybe even the unique name of the horse.  I have no idea about any of the jockeys, so they don’t factor into my decision.  Sometimes I’ll get an old pro chatting me up who ends up giving me a tip or two.   It’s all in fun and quite exciting cheering your horse on, especially when it wins or places in the top three, even if I’m only winning 6 bucks, it’s still quite a thrill. 

When I was younger, I will never forget when my father took my brother and I to see the 1972 film ‘The Cowboys.’  I believe this was John Wayne’s only film where his character actually gets killed.  In fact, Bruce Dern, whose character kills Wayne, was afraid everyone would despise him for killing The Duke.   A. Martinez was the young hot stud in the film.  Funny, many years later I had the opportunity of meeting Martinez when he landed a role in the ever so popular soap, General Hospital.  I produced and directed the launch campaign of him coming to the show.   When I met Martinez I shared with him how much I loved the film and so wanted to be a cowgirl, after that.   He was so surprised and I think quite impressed that I knew of the film from so long ago and remembered his character.  He told his experience of working with the legend John Wayne and how he was a bit intimidated initially, but working with him was such a privilege.   Those were the years of movies when westerns were the popular genre.   I had dreams of owning my own horse and riding skillfully as a cowgirl.  Of course that never quite happened.  I’ve gone horse back riding a few times, but I’ve always been so intimidated by them.  I think because they are so big and have such strength. Of course, they can sense my fear and take complete control. 

Coincidentally, the same week of opening day at Del Mar, I happened to watch the movie ‘War Horse’ and  ‘Secretariat.’  The latter film quoted the scripture in Job 39.  It was so poignant the way it was used in the movie.  I was truly overwhelmed when I later looked up the scripture and read it for myself.  Job 39:19-25 Do you give the horse his strength or clothe his neck with a flowing mane? Do you make him leap like a locust, striking terror with his proud snorting? He paws fiercely, rejoicing in his strength, and charges into the fray. He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; he does not shy away from the sword. The quiver rattles against his side, along with the flashing spear and lance. In frenzied excitement he eats up the ground; he cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds. At the blast of the trumpet he snorts, ‘Aha!’ He catches the scent of battle from afar, the shout of commanders and the battle cry.  ‘War Horse’ truly displayed the bravery and strength of the horse.   I don’t know why I was so touched by this passage of scripture, but I think because I have such respect and awe for these beautiful creatures of God and then to read how God created them with such courage.  When you see horses in the wild or how beautifully they are captured on film, they truly were created to run. 

I watched a program on PBS with Martin Clunes (Doc Martin) where he traveled the globe and met with various horse whisperers and trainers to learn how the relationship between man and horse began.   They taught Martin how to bond with a horse and basically let the horse know who’s in charge.  It was so incredible.  Even Clunes was so moved by his experience.  How incredible to actually have a horse walk over to you, bow it’s head in submission and become your friend.  It was absolutely breathtaking.   I would love to have such an encounter.  But, what I found interesting is that one of the trainers said that he believes the reason why horses run is because of fear.   But, after reading Job, it is quite clear God did not create his horses to fear, but to be fearless.  
Proverbs 21:31  The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.

Why do I bring all this up about horses?  It made me think that it is the same with man. God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and of a sound mind (2Timothy 1:7).  We too face battles throughout life’s journey and like the horse, we have to be ready for the battle but ultimately victory is in the Lord’s hands.  For the past year, my life has been one battle after another.   Pretty much starting with my car accident last October, when I was crushed between three other cars.  My car was totaled, but thank the Lord and his angels that I came out of it in one piece. Isaiah 54:17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper.  I’ve had so many attacks in various areas of my life, but the greatest battle has been physical.   I have always been such an active person, physically in good shape and a strong spirit, but since a year ago, and now fast forward to last month when I underwent spinal surgery, my life has changed considerably.   Thank the Lord my surgery was very successful, and now it’s a time of rest to allow my body complete healing.   After surgery, I woke up in the recovery room.  Now if you’ve ever been in a recovery room, you’ll understand how chaotic it can be.  I have such an admiration for the nurses who attend to all the patients. They work so hard and have so much patience.  I don’t know how they do it.   I was scheduled to go home that same day, but due to the severe pain I was feeling, they kept me in over night.   I was in the recovery room all day and was the last one to leave, once my room was ready.   There was a moment when everyone else had gone and I was literally the only patient left in the recovery room.  I was alone eating my dinner provided by the hospital, and for a brief moment I truly felt alone.  Tears were running down my cheeks.  It was the first time I actually cried since it was decided I needed surgery, and usually I’m a big weeper.   The nurse came over and asked if I was okay.  I just said I’m fine and I tend to get emotional and it’s probably the medication.    I don’t bring this up for anyone to feel sorry for me or for any of my loved ones to feel bad that they couldn’t be with me, because I did have family visiting, but it was in that moment alone when I felt God’s presence and His love pouring over me.  I knew He was with me letting me know that I am not alone, and everything is going to be okay.   Of course, this made me cry even more, but these were tears of joy and comfort feeling His presence.   I thought to myself,  I truly don’t know how anyone can live this life not knowing our Father in heaven.   I don’t care who you are, but in this life we will all face a time when we are completely alone, whether it’s after having surgery, or perhaps in the hospital with a terminal disease,  or going home at night to an empty house and laying your head on your pillow completely alone,  or times when no one seems to be around to hang out with or just to chat with over the phone, or you can even be in a room full of people and feel alone.   Whatever the case, a time will come when one feels complete loneliness.   This experience of mine being totally helpless in the hospital, truly revealed to me that I will never be alone as long as I know my constant companion, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.   He is with me always and there is a peace that, comes over you that gives such comfort, especially during our times of weakness and loneliness.   Hebrews 13:5&6 Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. So we say with confidences, the Lord is my helper: I will not be afraid.   It reminds me of that famous poem titled “Footprints” when we only see two footprints, it’s not because God has left us, but it’s then that He is actually carrying us.  

 I’ve had moments when I’ve asked God and wondered why all this has happened to me.  During this season of trials, the message that has resonated throughout is for me to embrace this time of fragility and rest in the Lord, because His word says for when I am weak, then I am strong.  2Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” and Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all who are weary, and I will give you rest.   Throughout all of this, I have been so aware of God’s almighty presence and His strength and comfort on a daily basis.  God is not the one who inflicts pain and suffering.  We have an enemy the devil and he came to kill, steal and destroy our lives.   It is pretty much guaranteed that we will go through times of struggles, pain and hardship in this life, but we can either choose to handle it on our own ability, which often fails, or we can choose to take the hand of God and allow him to walk with us and carry us through those difficult times.   Another one of my favorite lines from the film ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ is when the Count is at a banqueting table amongst his enemies, and makes a birthday toast to the son of his nemesis and says, “Life is a storm my young friend, you will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shadowed on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes.  You must look into that storm and shout as you did in Rome, Do your worst, for I will do mine……”  
I get so choked up inside whenever I watch this scene.  (Now, that’s the kind of advice every father should give their sons.)   But, isn’t that so true of life?  One moment we are up and the next we are down.   I know, it has been for me.   This scene in the movie brings to mind the scripture Psalm 23 The Lord is my Shepard I shall not be in want… verse 5 says:  you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life…   Now, that is God’s way of justice and victory!   How awesome is that! 

Although, it hasn’t been easy times for me, I don’t regret any of it, even having to go through surgery. God put me in the hands of a greatly skilled surgeon, but ultimately God is my healer, and through this experience it has made me so much more aware of God’s presence in my life and that he is my strength and wants me to rest in Him, in the shadow of the Almighty, so He can make me soar on wings of eagles and prepare me for greater heights.   Many have told me how brave I was to go through with surgery, but it’s only because my faith is in the Lord.  Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.   Psalm 34:4 I sough the Lord and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.   He has guided me and comforted me every step of the way, giving me nothing to fear because my trust is in Him.   So, like the horse who runs fearless in battle, we too, with endurance, must run the race set before us keeping our eyes fixed on the prize, on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.  (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Psalm 147:10&11  His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse nor his delight in the legs of a man; the Lord delights in those who fear (in reverence of) him , who put their hope in his unfailing love.



Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Feet of Faith Hits the Radio Waves

The Molly Damon Show 06/04 by MollyDamon | Blog Talk Radio

Feet Of Faith has gone bicoastal!   Check out my first radio interview with the amazing Molly Damon! 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A STILL QUIET VOICE


Doesn’t it seem that there is never enough time to do the things we need to do? Funny, I read somewhere that said, you will get more done with less time. I have to agree with that statement. I think having less time we become more disciplined and efficient with our time. The past few months I’ve been experiencing this. I think when we have a lot of leisure time we tend to get a little complacent and idle and end up putting things off. At least that has been the case with me. Whereas, having a set schedule, say working 9 to 5, tends to force you to use the remaining time more wisely.

The past few months, I was waking up at 7am and out the door by 8am. The first thing in the morning, I'd spend 15 to 20 minutes reading my devotional and scriptures for the day. Then, the next hour commuting in my car I'd continue my prayer time with the Lord, or some mornings, the drive is praise and worship time while listening to my gospel music. Waking up at 7am has been a real challenge for me being that I am not a morning person, but I see now, how it has truly disciplined me to set that time aside for the Lord. And, what better way to start off my day than with God! It truly has been a remarkable experience having that consistency of spending time in His presence. It’s now something I look forward to and don’t want to miss out on what God’s Word is for me each day.

I’ve noticed, some mornings as I rise, I usually have a thought on my mind, whether it’s a concern, a worry, thinking about the day and what’s ahead, etc., and as soon as I open up my Bible and read my devotional, it’s as if God already knows my thoughts before I’ve even formed them into a sentence in my head. Of course He knows my every thought! After all, He is our creator and knows all! I love how Psalm 139:4 puts it: For there is not a word in my tongue [still unuttered], but, behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.

When God addresses my thoughts through his Word, I am so utterly in awe at how much he loves me and is mindful of me. He loves us all and is mindful of us all, but I think so often we are not listening or seeking Him. I’m often bewildered when I hear someone say they don’t hear from God, or they are still waiting to hear from Him. God may not always answer our prayers right away, but I assure you, God is always willing to communicate with us, whether it’s through his Word, prayer, a sermon at church, a preacher’s message on TV, etc. But, I believe we have to spend time with God and give Him a chance to speak to us, and also be open to hearing what He has to say. Perhaps if we are not hearing what we want to hear from God, we tune Him out. Or, some may want God to speak to them through a burning bush, like He did with Moses. They want some big supernatural act of God. Not to say that He can’t get our attention that way, but I think for some, even if God used balls of fire coming down from heaven, that person still would not recognize it as the voice of God. In my experience, God’s voice is that still, quiet whisper, as Elijah experienced.

1Kings 19:11&12 Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by. Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

A few months back I had one of those days where it seemed everything was crashing down around me and I just broke down in tears and wanted to give up. I was so over it all, and I kid you not, I turned on one of the Christian channels and John Hagee was preaching and he was talking right at me! The words coming out of his mouth were, “I know your sitting there feeling like your life is crashing down and you want to throw in the towel, you are being attacked from every side, but I am here to tell you to get up, stand firm, for you are more than a conqueror in Christ and He will fight your battles!” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! I was so blown away! God was speaking right to me with the voice of John Hagee. I was so encouraged and strengthened in that moment! And, after I had that God experience, I continued to listen to John Hagee and he was speaking on something totally and completely not related. It was as if God inserted His words just for me to hear! That is just so God! He works in mysterious ways and He will even personalize it, just for you! I love that!

My mother had an amazing and personalized experience of her own! She and my step-dad were driving across country to Iowa to visit my brother who was playing baseball in the minor leagues. They drove through the state of Utah in the evening and my mother was behind the wheel. It was pitch black and she had no idea where they were. All she could see were the massive mountains around her and the stars in the sky. Feeling completely lost, my mother asked God if He knew where she was. They finally reached Sioux City, Iowa and stayed at a small hotel in some remote town for the next few days. They decided to find a local church to attend on Sunday. After they sang a few hymns, the Pastor made his introductions and then asked if there was a Margaret in the building. My step-dad looked at my mother in amazement and said, “That’s you!” Being the only Margaret in the church that morning, my mother raised her hand and the Pastor asked her to come forward. He said to my mother, “ I don’t know what I’m suppose to say to you except that God wants to bless you and tell you that He knows you are here.” Talk about WOW! Every time I hear that story my breath is taken away! God’s voice doesn’t get any clearer than that! My mother, in tears, was so overwhelmed by His love for her and that He truly knew where she was! Again, as the Psalmist puts it so beautifully in Psalm 139: O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise, you perceive my thoughts from afar…

Some may think that a person who hears from God is extra special or that God must love them more, but that is NOT true at all. God loves us all equally and speaks to us all, but are we listening? Basically, it comes down to our wanting to spend time in His Word and in His presence. He wants to have relationship with all of us, but do we truly desire to have relationship with him?

Matthew 7:7&8 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

I wonder, do we even know His voice? Take sheep for instance, they know their master’s voice and will only follow and obey his voice. Can we honestly say that we know our Master’s voice? If we are not reading His Word, then how can we know God’s voice? The Bible is the written Word of God, inspired by God. It’s His voice.

My mother has been telling me for years to get in the Word and that God’s Word brings life! It is the living Word of God! Jesus said to choose life. He wasn’t talking only about actual physical life and death. We will all die at some point, but Jesus was talking about himself. He is the walking, living Word of God that came to bring us life and life more abundantly. I now know the excitement my mother has always felt when reading God’s Word. It really is alive!! These past few months I have truly been experiencing that same excitement!

Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

I love the word “delight”. It means to take great pleasure or joy in. If we think about those things that give us great pleasure, imagine feeling that same way about our time with the Lord. And when we do, WOW, the windows of heaven will start to open and God will reveal His wonders and mysteries to us, and then we’ll know His great and perfect will for our lives, and we will walk in that abundant life!!!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

SIMPLY ASK


Have you ever had a taste for something that you know is yummy, but you end up with something not even close, but you settle anyway? Here’s a little experience I had this past Christmas holiday.

After Christmas weekend, I drove home from visiting my parents. Just before I approached home I had a taste for an eggnog latte, so I decided to go to the drive-thru Starbucks down the street. I ordered my eggnog latte, but the voice through the box was sorry to say that they were out of eggnog. Much to my disappointment, however, I decided to try their gingerbread latte. As I pulled out of the drive-thru with a tall gingerbread latte in my hand, I took a sip and was not pleased at all. It tasted like medicine! Not exactly what I had in mind. As I drove away, I thought to myself, “I just paid nearly 4 dollars for a drink that is horrible. Why should I accept this substitute as okay?” So, I turned around, parked my car and decided to go inside to see if I could exchange it for something else. Couldn’t hurt to ask, right? With a smile on my face, I explained to the person behind the counter what happened and that I was really sorry, but I just didn’t like the gingerbread latte and was wondering if I could have a vanilla latte instead. At least I know those are good. So, the young man turned to his boss who nodded his head and said, “No problem.” Better yet, they refunded my money and gave me a grande latte instead of a tall. I couldn’t believe it! That was so unexpected! I felt so special! I know it’s a simple gesture and some of you may think, “What’s the big deal?” but this truly made my night. I left feeling more than satisfied. As I was driving home, pleased with my free grande vanilla latte, as clear as you are reading this blog, I heard God’s voice in my head say to me, “See Rhoshan, it’s that simple. All you have to do is ask. You were about to drive off, settling for second best. You don’t have because you don’t ask, but, when you do ask, I will give you far beyond your expectations.” Wow, I was so amazed that God could take such a simple thing like buying a cup of coffee to teach me a lesson. But, it is so true! How many times do we settle? We ask for something and because we don’t get it when we want it, we become impatient and just accept what comes along, a substitute, instead of waiting for God’s best. Or, so often we don’t ask at all. Makes me wonder how many of God’s blessings I have missed out on because I simply didn’t ask.

James 4:2&3 You do not have because you do not ask. When you do ask, you don’t receive because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

A few days later, I heard a powerful message from a preacher on TV, whom I believe to be one of the great evangelists of this generation. Truly an anointed man of God. I won’t mention his name because I don’t like to lift up the man, but rather lift up the Word of God. I believe this message ties in perfectly with why we often don’t ask God. He said something that I have never heard anyone or any other preacher say in all my years as a Christian. He definitely got a revelation from God and it was a revelation for me. In the context of his message about the abundance of God, he made reference on how Jesus, often said to the disciples, “O ye of little faith.” Matthew 8:26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And again when Peter walked on water towards Jesus but started to sink. Matthew 14:31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him saying, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Anytime, I have read these passages of scripture or heard it used in a sermon, it has always been used in a negative sense as if Jesus was scolding them or upset because they lacked in their faith. But, this was the first time someone interpreted these words of Jesus in a positive light. When Jesus said, “O ye of little faith” he was actually encouraging his disciples to trust him more. More like, “My beloveds why do you only take so little from me? You know my abundance is never ending, so why do you only ask or expect so little of me? I wish you would trust and expect more, and take more of me. I have so much to give.”

(my thoughts) It would be like a child asking their mother, “Are we having dinner tonight?” Of course they are having dinner tonight. A child doesn’t have to ask that because they expect it and know that their parents would not let them starve. They have such simple faith knowing there will be food on the table. It’s a given! Just as Jesus was trying to remind his disciples that he will supply their every need. The disciples were with Jesus 24/7 and saw all the miracles that Jesus did and all the times he fed the multitudes with plenty left over, but perhaps they thought, as many of us do, that we don’t deserve God’s abundance, we are not worthy, or we just don’t believe enough and often doubt. I know I’ve felt that way many times. We start to condemn ourselves, while all along God has given us so much grace and forgiveness, and he’s just waiting to bless us.

The message I heard, ended with a beautiful statement: “It’s the hand of love that gives and the hand of faith that takes.” So whether it’s as little as a cup of coffee or as great as a physical healing, there is nothing too small or too great for the Lord to provide, but we must first, simply ask.

Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Monday, October 31, 2011

ARE YOU CRIPPLED?

Jesus said, “Arise, pick up your mat and walk!” - John 5:8

The scripture above is from the passage that tells the story of Jesus healing the lame man. This man had been lying crippled for 38 years near the healing pool called, “Bethesda” which means “house of mercy.” Once a year the pools waters would stir up and the people believed that the first person to enter the pool would be healed. There were many lame and disabled who gathered around the pool hoping to be the first one in. This one crippled man was not able to move and no one in the crowd helped him.

I believe there are two messages to be learned from this passage. The most common lesson and one that probably most of us hear, is that the crippled man was having a pity party, feeling sorry for himself and making up excuses that no one will help him and he is too weak to crawl over on his own. But, when Jesus arrived on the scene he told the man to get up. Then he told him to pick up his mat, and lastly to walk. Jesus instructed him to take action. The crippled man first had to get up, take his first step of faith then pick up his mat and carry his own load in life. Basically, be responsible for yourself and stop blaming the world. I do think this message can apply to those who think of themselves as a victim and don’t really want to do what they can do to help themselves, always making excuses. But, I believe there is a far greater message in this story, one that my mother shared with me, a message of compassion.

But first, let me share a story. A few months ago I experience being paralyzed. It was a Saturday afternoon, I went out to the beauty supply store, and as I walked back to my car, I felt a slight twinge in my back. I knew something was wrong. I was able to get home safely. I called my mother and told her I wouldn’t be driving down to Orange County. Shortly after, I made some lunch for myself and while carrying the plate in my hand, the next thing I knew, the plate tossed in the air onto my couch and I fell to the floor between my couch and coffee table. I had never felt such excruciating pain in my life. My mobile phone was on the coffee table, but I was facing the opposite direction. I tried to roll over onto my back, but the slightest movement caused the pain to increase. I was so terrified. All I could do was cry out to Jesus for help. Somehow, I had the courage to roll over and reach for my phone. (“It hurts just thinking about it”.) I called my mother, in tears. I can only image how worried and scared she was when she heard my voice in such fear and pain. She called my father and brother and they called me right away. I could barely speak between my crying and the pain I was feeling. I know they all felt so helpless because they live about an hour away from me. I tried to call 911 but I wasn’t getting a signal. My mother called me back and she had to call 911 for me. I felt so alone and scared. My mother stayed on the line with me, praying and comforting me until the firemen and paramedics arrived. One of them broke through a window, without breaking the glass and another jimmied my back door to get in. I had six brave men in my house attending to me. Did I mention handsome, too? This was my first experience being in an ambulance and high on morphine! My parents met me at the Emergency room as soon as possible. The cause of my pain was due to severe muscle spasm in my lower back that was putting pressure on the nerve. I share this incident of mine because I don’t know if anyone has ever felt such pain to the point of being physically paralyzed, but I experienced it for a few hours that day, and it took a few months of physical therapy for me to be back on my feet walking normally.

I believe the greater message of this story of the crippled man is about the compassion of Jesus. For 38 years this poor man couldn’t move. I’m sure he too was in severe pain. But, Jesus, the great physician, had compassion on this man and healed him. The message here is that Jesus is the healer, not some pool of magical healing waters. Also, I believe, a message of shame to all the spectators who didn’t try to help this man. Where was their compassion? I wonder how many of us walk past a crippled man because we don’t have the time and can’t be bothered. It could be a homeless person, a friend, co-worker or family member in need, and how many of us just turn away and don’t want to get involved. Or, we might just say, “I’ll be praying for you.” and just walk away, instead of meeting the need. Yes, prayer is powerful, but does it ever occur to us that maybe God wants us to do more.

Romans 15: 1&2 we who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Each of us ought to please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.

1John 3:17 if anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in them?

I think we have to think twice about judging or criticizing a person who is hurting, broken or who just can’t get up. Unless we have actually suffered in their pain, who are we to not understand and not show a little compassion. Crippled, could be someone not only with a physical disability, but maybe it’s someone you know who is bound by drugs, alcohol, depression, abuse, fear, poverty, or any stronghold that is keeping them paralyzed and they just don’t have the power within them to get up. They need someone's help.

My recent personal experience of pain has given me a greater compassion for people who suffer constant pain, whether it’s physical, mental, emotional, it shouldn’t matter what is paralyzing them, we simply need to be more like Jesus and show a little compassion.

Isaiah 58:6&7 Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to see the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and provide the poor wanderer with shelter, when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are??


As a man thinks in his heart, so he is. Proverbs 23:7

Have you ever heard that story that goes something like this: You can bring a pig inside, give it a bath, dress it up in a tuxedo, but the minute you open the door, it will dash outside and jump right back into the mud. - Basically, once a pig always a pig. I don’t know who came up with that version, but I just love the analogy. It’s so visual. I dated someone like that once, or rather, he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but that’s a whole other story. (lol!)

Growing up, my father always taught my brother and I to never forget who we are. In fact he still reminds us of that. He would tell us the history of our family and our lineage that goes back to royalty and how our great, great grandfather was the King of Persia, the Kadjar family. Often times, he’d go over all the photographs and our family tree and explain who’s who and where we all fit in. It’s quite fascinating and I appreciate it so much more now than when I was younger. I use to get embarrassed when my father spoke of these things because I thought he was just boasting. In my home, I have photographs and paintings of our ancestors, but I never talk about it unless someone takes an interest and asks me who they are. I guess that’s just my nature, I’m not one to just start talking about myself. But, as I grew up and matured, I came to understand my father’s intentions all along. My father never said these things out of arrogance, but only to encourage my brother and I. He was teaching us these things to build our confidence in knowing who we are and where we came from, so we will always believe that we can accomplish anything in this world. That we can be and do whatever it is we so desire to do. Nothing or no one can stop us and even through the worst of times we can stand back on our feet and reach for those stars, because we know where we come from. My father speaks this with such conviction because he is a walking testimony of such a life. His life story is of one who’s had it all, lost it all and got it all back because he’s never forgotten who he is. Even now, he tells his only granddaughter the same thing. I’m so proud of my father and the things he has accomplished, and I am truly blessed to have a father who believes in me and has always shown his love and support in all that I do.

I share this story because I believe it is the same with our Heavenly Father. Once you have become born again in Christ Jesus, you are a new creature and have a new family. You can now call the God of the universe your father, who loves you so much and wants to give you everything according to his glory and riches. You are now sons and daughters of the King of all Kings, the God of all creation. You have been adopted through Jesus and now an heir to his kingdom. Romans 8:15-17 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba,Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ,
This also means that your old self and old ways have passed away and now you can put on the new and improved you, who can do all things through Jesus Christ! You can now walk in confidence knowing that you are a child of God’s and have been given all of His promises and the assurance that you’ll be spending eternity in heaven. The Word of God (The Bible) is now your family heritage. Galatians 3:29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. It is the history of your lineage, your inheritance, the bloodline that bought and paid for your transgressions, and you have access to the power of the Holy Spirit that now lives in you, so you can be more than a conqueror! Do you believe this is who you are? I think many who have accepted Jesus Christ, as their Lord and Savior, don’t actually walk in that power because they don’t truly believe who God says they are. 1 John 3:1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

As the saying goes, a pig will always be a pig, but that’s because it’s an animal and was created a certain way. Humans on the other hand, were created with a mind to think on their own and make choices. Some people think a person can never change their ways, and yes, I believe they are right, a person can’t do it on their own. But, I believe and know that there is only one who can change a person’s heart and way of thinking. His name is Jesus Christ, and in Him old things are passed away and all things have become new. (2Cor. 5:17)

Unfortunately, I think many Christians don’t actually believe God can change those things in their life that keep them in bondage. They don’t actually believe that “by His stripes we are healed!” The suffering Jesus endured at Calvary was not only for the forgiveness of our sins, but he took away all sickness, disease, oppression, and any power that Satan has over us. As born again Christians we need to have that confidence of knowing who we are in Him and that Jesus defeated the enemy, for good! You are a child of God, so act like it! If we don’t believe that, then we will not live a victorious life and those old things will continue to rule over us.

I love what one pastor said, that our body can only do what our mind tells it to do. Scientifically, this is true. God knew exactly what he was doing when he created this intricate and most incredible organ called the brain. It does in fact control all functions of the body. So, what information are you feeding your brain with? What are you telling it to do? Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Recently, it seems every time I turn on the TV to one of the Christian Channels all the preachers and evangelists I’ve listened to were speaking about “renewing the mind.” Romans 12: 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. It truly is the key to how we are living our life! Until we actually stop listening to those negative voices in our head telling us how terrible we are, and start listening to God’s voice and his Word, and believe all the good things that the Lord says about us is true, then we will continue living in our old way of life. If we don’t know who we are in Christ, then we wont be much different than that pig.

Psalm 139: 13-18 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Psalm 103: 1-5 Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits who forgives all your (my) sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.


No matter who your family is or was, whatever your lineage, whether they came from Kings, Queens or Rulers, at the end of it all, there is only one blood line that truly matters, and is above all. I pray and hope that everyone will one day come to know their true heritage and be adopted into the family of God, through Jesus Christ, so you too can experience your inheritance in God’s glorious Kingdom! And you too can walk in confidence, knowing who you are!

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Man After God’s Heart


Psalm 119: 14 –16 I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

Now, I understand why God called David a man after his own heart. Yes, David sinned and made many mistakes like any other man, but he always came humbly before the Lord with a broken and contrite heart. But, after reading Psalm 119, David’s heart goes beyond that. His words are so incredible! It put me to shame. I mean, honestly how many of us believers can say we speak as David did? Who of us, from the depths of our heart say these things to the Lord, as David does in Psalm 119? Words like: Oh, how I love your law! I long for your salvation. Your law is very delightful! I live to abide by your law and my heart is set to keep your decrees! Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. My flesh trembles in fear of you; I stand in awe of your laws. Give me discernment that I may understand your statutes…..

Psalm 119 is the longest passage of scripture in the Bible, and its 137 verses are David’s words of praising, honoring, and loving God’s laws and covenant. We don’t praise God’s laws like that! We don’t wake up every morning excited for the opportunity to live according to God’s decrees! We are so focused on pursuing our own desires, dreams, goals, selfish gains, and we hope those things are what God wants for us too. Instead, it should be the other way around. Why is it that we so don’t desire to know God’s word inside and out, to know what he’s all about so we will know the life He wants us to live? And yes, it may mean that we have to change some of our old ways. God wants us to live Holy, as He is Holy. That doesn’t sound so bad to me. What’s wrong with that? It may not always be easy, but, shouldn’t we want to strive for that? Shouldn’t we as believers live a life "set apart" from the rest of the world? Shouldn’t we want to live a life that’s pleasing to our Heavenly Father? The scriptures say: 1 John 2:15 - “be in the world, but not of the world...” Romans 12 – Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

I recently had a discussion with a friend about our lifestyle being a reflection of our relationship with the Lord. We weren’t in complete agreement, but we did agree that at the end of the day, it’s between you and God. Another friend of mine has this analogy of “being set apart.” She says, “if I can’t tell you apart from the drunk man sitting at the bar, then how has Jesus changed your life?” I think you get the point. I know that none of us are perfect. That's why God sent Jesus. I personally, don’t think we will ever be perfect like Jesus, as long as we are living in this world and in the flesh. But, we should want to try our best, right?

Reading this passage truly convicted me and made me stop and search within myself, and ask myself, how much do I desire to know God, and do I love Him so much, that I want to live a life pleasing to Him?” I hope that when God looks down on me He sees a woman after his own heart. How awesome it would be for God to say those words, “Now that’s a woman after my own heart!”

Psalm 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.