Turn off the Noise

Psalms 28:7 The Lord is my strength, and my shield; my heart trusts, in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.

There is so much chaos that surrounds us in a day, we have a tendency to listen to all the noise or negative thoughts running through our minds. The enemy uses this noise or negative thoughts as a whisper in our mind telling us negative things about ourselves, reminders of the darkness that consumes us in a direction which leads us away from our relationship with Christ.

What voice are you going to listen to? Are we going to rely on the constant negative thoughts the enemy likes to consume our mind with or draw on the strength of the Lord and remember allow your heart to trust in him.

An example of some of my top thoughts; I will never be good enough; I will fail; then when the anxiety and depression sets in, the activity in the mind becomes almost paralyzing. It tells me if I was gone today I will not be missed. Every time I get a phone call from my boss, the thought use to be oh crap what did I do wrong now. I continue to battle the inner child voice of never being able to measure up.

Then through years of faith, patience, tears, frustration I slowly began to turn the noise in my mind off and returning to place my faith and trust in the Lord. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trust in him and he helps me, my heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. This scripture in Psalms tells us where our trust should be placed. The only thing that can turn off the voice in our minds is to trust in the Lord and allow the Word to become our shield.

The voice you believe will determine the future you experience. How?

Well, our mind is the battle field the enemy likes to make war within us. It is the enemy’s favorite playground. He enjoys the battle in our minds especially when we are drawing closer in a relationship with Christ. So often we have conflict within ourselves we don’t even stop to realize the battle is raging within. The battle between good thoughts and the negative whispers of the evil one.

How do we continue to feed our mind with positive influences? How about those individuals we surround ourselves with? We come to church for worship and fellowship with other believers. So how about submerging ourselves with devotions, bible studies, prayer time, other fellow believers. By sharpening our tools this prepares us to combat the negative talk of the enemy. This also prepares us to become more of a witness to those who are nonbelievers.

God’s intentions are not for us to live in isolation He wants us to be able to witness and become disciples of this world to share the good news of His kingdom. What does Philippians 4:13 tell us? I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. Where does the strength come from? It comes when we engage in a relationship and trust in the Lord.

Continue reading → Turn off the Noise

Worship Is An Experience

Romans 12:1-2 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. 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.

What do you think of when you hear the word WORSHIP? Right now we are all in church here to show our praise and glory for the LORD. So immediately we think of being in church. But let’s take this a little step further.

The definition of Worship means: (Verb) to honor or show reverence for as a divine being or supernatural power. (Noun) reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power also : an act of expressing such reverence

Reverence is to show a deep respect; so let’s come to the LORD as a family and experience the true meaning of worship. To do this we need to learn how to be come one as a congregation and be the living sacrifice and to allow the message about Christ and all He has to offer to fill our lives each day. Colossians 3:16 Let the message of Christ, dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit, sing to GOD with gratitude in your hearts. Paul is describing to the church of Colossae to be people who are thankful, and be prepared to worship wholeheartedly. When we have gratitude in our heart it will open our heart to God’s peace and this will enable us to become the love he desires us to be. So each day let’s prepare our hearts for worship. How can we do this in our everyday life? Let’s start by taking inventory of our hearts as we prepare each day. Relationships, gifts, family and material possessions we have. By doing this each day we are preparing for Sunday as we come together to worship, making Sunday our day of celebration with the Lord, through songs of praise, lessons being taught, spiritual gifts being shared, financial gifts being shared, words of wisdom and encouragement given to one another as we pass the peace of Christ. Then we become the Living Sacrifice as described in Romans 12:1.

Each and every one of us are bringing something to the LORD on this day of worship; we have a desire to have a relationship with the LORD and continue to build on our relationship.

When I received this message from the Lord, through prayer and reflection I was thinking, WORSHIP?!? What do you want me to say about Worship? Then one night I prayed again, asking for HIS knowledge to help guide and direct me; I already had my scripture in mind so I kept praying and praying over the scripture when I finally received the wisdom from the Lord. I woke up and I was so excited, I kept saying over and over again, Worship is an experience not an obligation; a way to show reverence and praise to the Lord; a sacrifice of ourselves to the LORD. During my reading and research I also discovered there are 7 different ways to express yourself in worship.

1. Barak to kneel, to bless God, to bow down. It means to bow down or kneel before the Lord, it communicates that the Lord holds a place of importance and helps us remember just how great He is. (There will be times during communion when someone may be led to come to the kneeling rail and be in communion with the Lord through prayer.)

2. Halal to be clear, to shine, to boast, to show, to rave, to celebrate, to be clamorous foolish. In the old testament Halal is a form of worship mentioned 110 times. (Kind of sounds like a birthday celebration for an excited child. Just imagine how the Lord feels when He would hear the noise we can all make about him and all his glorious wonders.)

3. Shabach to shout loudly, to command its focus is to worship the Lord with one’s whole being. (And all the people responded AMEN! When you hear a message or a thought-provoking message which touched your heart wants to say AMEN!! Hallelujah!! Praise and Glory to the LORD!)

4. Tehillah to Sing praises, singing out of the spirit spontaneously. Sing unrehearsed, unplanned praises to the Lord. It can include adding words to an existing song or even singing in the spirit of the Lord. (During intensified prayer group, I have found myself humming, the song Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now I am found. Displaying in the moment of adoration and praise to the LORD.)

5. Towdah extending hands, acting out of thanksgiving for what has or will be done (Psalms 50:23 Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor me, and to the blameless I will show my salvation. What a blessed way to express ourselves with our hand lifting them up to give glory and praise, honor to our Lord and Savior for what has been or will be done)

6. Yadah extending the hand vigorously (be in complete surrender to the Lord, have you ever found yourself in the midst of a moment where the Lord keeps cracking at your heart, he is calling you but, you just want to go in the other direction, then all of a sudden you lift your arms and say, “I Surrender Lord, I hear your call!” During worship, we want to extending the praise and worship to the LORD, lift our hands point to the sky, place a hand on our heart so we can show an attitude of being reverent to our LORD and Savior.

7. Zamar to touch the strings, to make music with instruments mostly rejoicing. (Our Praise band and Choir leads us each Sunday morning, they have been given a gift to help lead us to bring the praises to the LORD. They prepare and share their spiritual gifts with us each week. Let’s help them out by being the hands to reach the praise and glory to the LORD let’s extend our arms and bring the praises to the LORD.)

In my lay ministry class I have 2 classmates from South Sudan, my experience with them has really opened my eyes to the ways of worship; when they bring the offering to the LORD, they are singing, dancing, clapping and rejoicing down the aisle because their sacrifice of giving to the Lord is made joyfully. Talk about making it an experience!

Take a moment, do an inventory of your heart, reflect on your day; evaluate and notice the moments where you have seen Jesus with you and times where you may have walked away or ignored the call. Then allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you and find a moment to worship the Lord. Even Saturday night as you prepare for worship on Sunday, what are you going to bring with you to turn over to Christ, what praise is your heart going to reveal? The greatest honor we can give the Lord is being the sacrifice of thanksgiving by honoring and Praising Him for ALL THINGS.

Don’t Run from the Storm

The storm clouds roll in
I want to run, I am exhausted
One more step one long stretch
I see the sun then, again the down pour
Exhausted I cry out to the Lord, “WHY ME?”
I just want one moment of rest from the storm
I can’t focus, I am done. Yes Lord I said it I am done.
He then reminds me, “Oh Child remember it is during the storms, I carry you.”

Remember Luke 8:23-25 As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. 24) The disciples went and woke him, saying “Master, Master,” we’re going to drown? He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25) “Where is your faith?” He asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the Winds and the water and they obey him.”

I see the storm continue to swell in the sky and just in a flash I run, I don’t turn back I continue to run.

Standing in the rain with me I turn to the touch of a hand pulling me back, He whisper’s in my ear, “My child the job is not done yet. I am changing you to become my child; the path you take is very narrow you need to be sure to have all the tools needed to overcome the bigger storms we will face together. There will be the biggest Christian revival anyone will see; I am preparing my people to become strong to look within and also to trust when you feel alone it is I who have taken you from the pain. It is ME who is going to shield you from the pain. So remember to maintain the faith, the lessons and the be prepared at all times.”

Matthew 24:36 is a good reminder- “No one knows about the day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the father.”

Only the father, not even the Son. So when told me to be prepared, He wants our hearts to be purified like diamonds so our mind cannot challenge the evil which will be brought to challenge us.

Will you die in the Name of Jesus Christ, “Yes Lord, I will die in the name of Jesus Christ”
Weather the storm, He is preparing us for the revival of a life time.

Emmaus

She Woke Up

Psalms 147: 3 He heals the broken hearted and binds their wounds.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Depression: (Noun) The fear of despondency and dejection

PTSD (Noun) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

The feeling was exhilarating and scary at the same time. The fog lifted; she could see again but what was she seeing for the first time?

A mess left in the quake of her depression. Seeing her children again for the first time in years. What did she miss?

Graduations, weddings, celebrations and births but how could this be? She sees a glimpse of her daughter, the last time she saw her daughter she was about 5 graduating from pre-school. She is wearing the same dress, red, white checkered dress, with the letters A B C across the top. A proud moment; her oldest was going onto kindergarten. Now, her daughter has graduated from high school, married a young Marine; moved away and started a family.. This was only one child; they were three affected by this quake before she knew it the precious eight year old already had his future Military career in the works, she remembers the Lego planes in his bedroom; his dream of being in Air Force and before she knew he was gone. Graduated college and now a striking young officer proudly serving his country. Then the youngest was home; he was thinking what in the world did they do; the left me with her! He had a plan, he found his love at a church event but he heard the call to serve. He wanted to be like those others in our family he wanted to serve so, he joined the Marine Corp and short time later married the love of his life. Sure she was there for the picture moments, the smiles, the congratulations and the “oh how proud you must be” comment from those attending the social events of the year.

She also believed during her darkness she was maintained by a special relationship with Christ. She looks back and sees how He carried her. He held her close in His arms and when the smiled needed to be turned on it was there. He was showing her the way out of the darkness.

The day she woke up and the days to follow it was difficult for her to face. HOW?! WHY?! What in the world happened? The anger to follow “How could you allow this to happen?” Everything was a complete mess; what was she going to do next.

Facing each child and her husband who saw her at her worse yet stood solid as an oak frustrated at times but reassuring her they were not going anywhere.

The fear and anger has her running, the anxiety which pulsated through her body gave her the feeling of fight or flight so she decided she needed to stay strong and fight, the only way she would defeat the demon of depression was to face it. She wouldn’t face it alone but, it would be a challenge. She needed to WAKE UP and face the MESS!

Praying on her knees she asked God to please forgive her; asking for his grace and mercy to bring her comfort. She knows He is her redeemer and savior; He is with her at all times. Even knowing this comes the next part of this battle the anxiety she battles with PTSD, the trauma was real and but the memories are even more haunting; the trauma plays over and over in her mind. She finds at times, her mind has so much control she feels like she is walking around with a mark on her forward or more like a statement that says, “I’m Broke” waiting for repairs” Then the people will come around and pick at her, they pick at the broken parts, she feels uncomfortable when someone compliments her because she believes they have an ulterior motive and not a good one either.

The battle is just beginning for her; she won’t miss another moment of those things that are important to her but, the scars are still there. Not just the emotional scars but the physical scars of her trauma.  But she is not alone, she still has her husband; the standing oak in her corner that no matter how hard she tried to push him away he stood still on shaky ground. She has Christ; when she woke up the fire was reignited in her heart and soul.  Her children, the conversations with her children were the beginning of new memories and them reminding her of the ones she missed; the love and forgiveness which followed. The transformation  was so powerful for the first 5 days she was talking non stop; acquainting herself with those important in her life.

She looks for the signs of Christ in her life. She found them He will place on her heart a scripture one that reminders her that HE is with her. He reminds her the path to healing is also forgiving. What does this mean for her next path; going one by one to those closest to her and asking for forgiveness.  Working through hard work with therapy and identifying who she is for the first time. Not being defined by one tragic moment or several moments in history. But, by shedding the anger, bitterness and learning to combat the negative with the good.

She will walk with the diagnosis of Depression, Social Anxiety and PTSD however she will not allow it to define who she is as a person! She takes the courage and face each day with love and joy in her life. Not taking another moment for granted.

 

 

 

He is My Son

Deuteronomy 3:16 (NIV)

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you

I know the Lord is always with each and everyone of my children, when I think of them and the way of life they are living I am reminded of their faith. This scripture is one I know the boys refer to from time to time. This story is about a mom and his youngest son.

Where do I begin….

Once upon a time there was a mom who loved her son so very much! She did everything with him. She would watch all the quirky TV shows, cook, grocery shop and just spend good quality time with each other.

One day the handsome young man decided he would become a Marine. In shock and dismayed the mom decided with her heart she would allow her son to become a Marine for the United States. This mom was so proud of the decision her son made. She supported him unconditionally. The day she watched her son graduate from MCRD San Diego boot camp was one of her proudest moments.

Then she felt something missing something had changed. He was not her little boy anymore; he had grown up to become a fine young man who was eager to serve his country in any way possible.

Sure there were trials and challenges through boot camp but this young man came out on top. Through infantry training, schooling and relocating to his final duty station he grew up even more. Slowly her baby was slipping away… Sure he still loved his mother after all it was his mom.

But years earlier after high school before the Marine Corp a fair maiden captured his heart. The tall blonde with bright blue eyes had captured his eye and his heart. While away he missed her more and more- they say the heart grows fonder with distance, but what mom didn’t expect was for him to get married- then all the memories of her baby boy came rushing in. Her trips with him, the laughter in the kitchen and just them being together enjoying each other’s company was going to change. He was already living on the east coast- now he wants to get married.

Mom prayed, prayed and prayed some more even though her heart was heavy she again let her baby boy go again. This time so he could have a family with his wife. Mom knew in her heart long before a decision was made for them to marry this fair maiden would be the one who would fill his heart with love and comfort.

His innocence was captivating he was so eager to please and make others happy but knew in his heart this young lady would be the one! They make a plan and she becomes a Marine wife; then he is called out to go far away.

Very little contact mom has had since he left on a boat; mom prays at night her son is doing well. She prays he still thinks of her from time to time. Because this is what reassures mom that she is still loved, she has to put faith in the Lord that one-day mom will hear from her son that yes, he is okay.

You see mom is saying good-bye until later to another son. One who has grown up to be a man who doesn’t deter from a challenge. Since the age of 8 all he talked about was becoming an Airman. One who doesn’t become overshadowed by the challenges of the world. He is the one the younger brother looks up to and is always being challenged and pushed by the older brother to do better. This is what brothers do for each other. They support each other unconditionally no matter where they in the world.

Mom is asking God, why? Why do my sons, my children serve this country?  Then she hears the answer, like a wisp in the wind. Because, mom raised them to serve the needs of others. She raised her boys to help those who are not able to help themselves. She was an example they followed, she put others before herself. Sure every once in a while she wants to have her pity party but she doesn’t. She will trust in the Lord to take care of her children. She has surrendered them to the Lord. Thank you Lord for allowing mom to be the best mom she could to her children.

She faltered and failed many times but these two young men showed unconditional love for their mom. A love never failing, never ceasing but a pure example of unconditional love.

Mom has gone through a lot of changes in the past few months, and being a military mom there are certainly more to come. Now, she focuses on keeping the memories of the past from overwhelming her and looks forward to the day when she sees her two sons who proudly serve this country together again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pulling Weeds

One day I was sitting in Village Inn waiting for my car to get serviced at Wal-Mart, the condition set by Chris if I wanted to go to Lansing to see my father.

I was alone, and I just started writing. I always knew what the title of my next blog would be and the subject matter I just didn’t know the direction I was going to have it go in. So here it is.

Every parent has a goal for their children. Here are some of my goals:

  1. Having a relationship with Christ
  2. Falling in Love
  3. Know unconditional love
  4. Enjoying making memories
  5. Have a full and successful life

As parents we can help our children attain some of these goals. The one goal I am focusing on is making memories. Our children have childhood memories these memories can be good ones and bad ones.

I know growing up in a home with multiple children each child will have different memories of how they view the way they grew up. This especially happens when there is a generation gap.

In 2007 my mother passed away from a glioblastoma brain tumor. Having someone close you go through this isn’t easy, she put up a fight and I know in my heart she did this for our family.

Our relationship wasn’t always roses, we were after all, mother/daughter. There was nothing I wanted more was for my mother to just love me for who I was, everything I believed I did  to please her.

In the final days before she died, she told me I would be fine. I know she loved me, there was never a time she wouldn’t tell me she loved me even in a heated moment of anger or should I say disappointment, she would say “I love you, bye” not once did she hang up the phone without telling me she loved me. She told me she did this because if she died tomorrow there would be no doubt that she loved me.

But, it doesn’t change the negative-I remember the tantrums me storming out of the house not understanding why she didn’t like me, what did I ever do to be treated so badly I didn’t get it, these memories flooded my mind. Then I remember when I was pregnant with my daughter how mom was so loving, understanding and supportive.  Before she passed away she asked me what my favorite memory was, I explained it was the night I fell asleep on the living room floor and she laid next to me; wrapped her arm around me feeling Erikah kick. This memory resounds through my mind often; I hold onto this memory because I choose to remember the loving moments in my relationship with mom.

When I think of my mother I also remember how she drilled into my head, “Bad association spoils useful habits.” this is a scripture 1 Corinthians 15:33(NWT) Do not be misled. Bad association spoils useful habits. She always wanted better for me, I didn’t understand this I was a teenager seeking guidance and direction. I saw how strong my mother was when faced with adversity. Then I remember, Proverbs 31:25 (NIV) She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

I didn’t always agree with my mother; however she was my mother and I respected her as my mother. I loved her the best way I knew how. I want to focus on the good memories so I can be free and enjoy those memories. I am working hard on pulling the weeds; the negative memories so I can focus on the good.

My children will have good memories and bad ones as well. My prayer for them is to one day realize I am human afterall, I did falter and fail often but, I did my best to raise them to become the individuals they are today. I pray one day they will reflect and decide to pull  the weeds, focus on the good times.

 

Becoming Priesthood of Believers

The world can be a challenging place to live in if we do not have a relationship with God. With God as our focal point He helps us cope when we are faced with difficulties.  Before I became a member of this congregation I was a victim of abuse; I was a victim, I remembered each anniversary like it was a birthday, I was lost and confused. Soon I learned that God will also place people in our lives who have strong influences on us. One person He placed is in my life is Pastor Helen, she has been influential in my spiritual walk and it all began with a simple phrase, I needed to stop being a victim of my past and become a survivor.

Sure, those words didn’t set well however over time this statement changed my life. Where was I going to begin learning how to become a survivor.   I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself and stop becoming emotionally draining to those around me so, by developing a relationship with Jesus I was able to turn my past over to HIM.  I then learned the meaning of true forgiveness so I would be free; by forgiving those who have caused harm to me in my life allowed me to find my true happiness in God and understand the healing grace of Jesus.

God wants each one of us to find true happiness and have a relationship with him.  As a result of Jesus’ death we have salvation; God used this (Jesus’ death) act of love to bridge the gap of sin and death which at one time separated us from God, and us from other people. God has called on ALL of us to become servants; we need to show others how to make the grace of Christ real in their lives but, first let’s start with our own lives.

There is a biblical concept of priesthood of all believers, it is important to understand the church and everyone’s role who serve in the church. All believers, laity and clergy alike are called and given the authority to be priests to one another. We have all been baptized in Christ and we are one in Christ. We all have a role to play by being a member in the body of Christ; in God’s eyes no role is more important than the other. Often times there is a misconception that pastoring/ministering is left to the clergy; when in reality it is left to ALL of us to be pastoring/ministering to each other.

Each one of us play a role in being a priest in our community. What is a priest?

  1. A priest functions as God’s representative in the world, communicating God’s word and shedding light on God’s will in people’s lives. A priest pronounces God’s word of forgiveness and healing grace.  As believers we give words of forgiveness by stating, “I forgive you” this demonstrates the healing of a relationship through forgiveness and grace.
  2. A priest also acts as the people’s representative to God. A priest intercedes for the people, going to God for the sake of the people, and offering sacrifices of love on their behalf. Each time we lift someone in prayer or we are giving of ourselves selflessly we are being the representative for them.
  3. A priest is not only the ordained clergy but anyone who has experienced the love, acceptance and forgiveness of God, and who helps others experience this grace as well. At one point or another we have experience the love God has for us and accepted Christ as our savior.  There have been several members of this congregation who have surrounded me with unconditional love when I have reached out to them. I refer to them as God’s vessels and I am reminded their words of encouragement are words from God.

There is one great high priest and that is Jesus, He is the supreme mediator between God and people. In Christ, the separation between God and humanity is overcome.

  1. There is only one representative to God and that is Jesus. He is the Word made flesh, mediating God’s grace and truth to us. The only way to the Lord is through the son and the son is Jesus. He is the one we develop a relationship with; which draws us closer to God.
  2. Jesus is our representative to God. He shared our humanity and loving sacrificed his life for our salvation. John 1: 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

All believers share this priesthood-in partnership with Christ. The members of the Christian community are a royal priesthood. As described in 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10

1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10: As you come to him, the living stone-rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him-5) you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

9)But you are chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10)Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

  1. We are part of the priesthood of all believers, each of us is called to represent Christ and share his grace with others. We need to stand with Christ in the gap to help those who have lost their way with God or we have a friend on the outside looking in; God wants us to extend a hand by using our relationship with Christ we bring them closer to God.
  2. We also participate in Christ’s ministry when we perform loving, sacrificial acts and share the good news of God’s grace and forgiveness. Live by example, how are we demonstrating the love God has shown us; we also must be able to have grace and forgive as God did.

The phrase “priesthood of all believers” doesn’t mean every person should act as their own priest. What it means is we are given the authority to love to be priests to one another.  Christ laid down his life for others to make the grace of God real; we are also called to do this. Demonstrate the grace, love and forgiveness of God to each other and those in need of a relationship with Christ.

The church is the body of Christ a place where people come to experience the love, acceptance and forgiveness of God. The Church is also the place where we have also committed our lives to Christ and also to the ministry of sharing God’s grace with others.

We all have a journey we are on and are becoming more aware of our role in being part of the priesthood of believers. God has a plan; a mission for each one of us.  While I was on the walk to Emmaus (Which is a 72 hour retreat; to help you individually to develop a relationship with Christ. At the beginning of the walk we are assigned a table group. This group was our family for the next 72 hours, my table was the table of Rebecca.) By the time Pastor Helen told me to become the survivor my faith journey was just in it’s infancy by the time I participated in the walk to Emmaus. Well, I experience a brief argument with Jesus, he was urging me to share my story within my group. I resisted very hard and I even remember walking down the hallway and verbally stating “Why? I am no longer a victim, I’m becoming a survivor.” Little did I know at the time; if Jesus wanted my story shared it was going to be shared. So by the discussion got to me; the words were just flowing from my mouth. In that moment I was ministering to someone else and giving them the strength they needed to share a part of their past they had never shared with anyone in their lives not even their spouse. They were also a victim of abuse.  In that moment I realized, the Lord DOES have bigger plans for me and I may not always understand at the time but, how can I question his plan. I share this experience with you because:

  1. We need to make Christ real for people; we need to embody Christ in all things we do in life; personal, family, work and leisure. The building we come to worship in is not the Church, the Church is a ministry of love; we are a community of believers in ministry, the royal priesthood whoever are the body of Christ in the World. Not only do we belong to the Church; we are the church, wherever we are.
  2. We need to be a gateway of God’s grace, share love, acceptance and forgiveness with other people. God has put in our had the keys of the kingdom, we have the power to bind or unbind a person by the way we share or withhold the grace God has given us. Words from God can be expressed in many ways; when a person is in pain we can tell them “God Loves you,” “You are forgiven,” or a simple prayer. For someone who is overwhelmed with life, a simple touch of a hand on the shoulder, the company of a friend, or an offer to help also represents God. There are so many different ways to represent God in different situations.
  3. In the world today there is so much darkness that surrounds such as narcissism, cynicism, and hopelessness; so, we want to be the light in the darkness and also become a promise in the midst of problems to help others overcome these things.

Our journey/mission is personal. The only person who can guide you on your mission is yourself and the relationship you have developed with Christ. Just as Jesus struggled in the wilderness with his own temptations we are going to have our struggles as well. We need to be true to ourselves, look at ourselves in the mirror and remember our relationship with God is personal and avoid religious language and stereotypes. We want to be a Witness for Christ in a way that is natural to us.

Our journey is spiritual; spiritual doesn’t mean after we have passed on it is about how we live today to the fullest in this time according to God’s will. Just as Jesus worked for God’s deepest desire for people in this world; live in the fullness of God’s grace and truth. This is our mission from God once we have accepted being a part of the royal priesthood this will help us interpret God’s will for people’s lives.

Our journey is service oriented we are reminded we do not act on our own authority but we are a representative and our journey should be one that demonstrates serving as Jesus served.

We share our journey, we work together as a team we are one body of Christ in this community and we must remember; we cannot accomplish Christ’s ministries alone, Jesus called along 12 others to share his life and his journey with. (Just as I mentioned earlier) I have had several members of this congregation I have called on to help steer me in the right direction or just in a moment of needing a little reassurance.

Our journey calls for our best, each day when I wake I have the free will to decide what type of day is it going to be. Each day is a journey in strengthening my relationship with God by becoming closer to Jesus and in doing this I want to ensure I put my best foot forward in attitude, ability and action. After all, Christ did give his best for us in turn we should do the same for him.

I was saved on November 11, 2006; my mother passed away on July 17, 2007 I believe with all my heart; me being saved at this time was part of God’s plan. Hindsight is 20/20 after all; then my younger sister was asked, “How is Melanie handling your mother’s death?” her response was, “Not too badly, she has a strong relationship with Christ.”  At that moment when I heard her retell me the conversation I realized I was being used as a vessel of God’s to show how coping with difficulties of this world which cause heartache we still find comfort of the Lord’s arms.

God wants Christians like you and me to become active partners in our journeys/missions; he calls on us to be the church. We are blessed with an opportunity to write our own modern day version of the Gospels, telling our story and how being active participants in the body of Christ we grew in our relationship not only with Christ but with others within the body of Christ; we became messengers for God to those of little faith. We each have a responsibility, a mission, a journey and that is to continue each day to make Christ real in our lives; share his grace so that others may know what God’s salvation is really about. We have the ultimate responsibility to be the church right where we are; it is about our personal relationship with Christ and being the example to others who strive to have the same relationship with Christ. Be a vessel/or messenger of God in someone life today. We are all called to be priests.

Unconditional Love =Forgiveness

Young relationships have a lot to learn about forgiveness and unconditional love. The greatest gift any child could give a parent is when they call and say, “I get it, I understand what unconditional love is.”

So let’s talk about the truth, forgiveness and saying I’m sorry.

John 8:32 Then you will know the truth and the truth shall set you free.

The truth can set us free. I use this statement to discuss the importance of forgiveness. Asking for forgiveness and forgiving.

Recently I ran into my husband with a laundry cart at the Laundromat. First words out of my mouth was, “I’m sorry.” this statement was the nudge I needed to write about forgiveness and how this relates to unconditional love.

No matter the situation when you say I’m sorry you are asking for forgiveness. I have found recently I have been saying these words a lot because even though my words are unintentional I do not like to cause pain to a person. If I see someone hurting, I want to help by wishing I could absorb their pain. So I say I’m sorry you feel this way is there anything I can do to help ease the pain. This is a way of showing someone empathy and compassion.

I have also found that when you show empathy a person is more likely to trust you and will allow you to take a sneak peak into their heart. Unconditional love, allowing the person to have ownership of their feelings which leads to the beginning of healing.

In 2006 I wrote, “Often times this is how forgiveness works, having the power to forgive without being asked is a sign of unconditional love for others.”

Have you ever had to forgive someone with out them asking for forgiveness? For me this was the hardest thing to do in my life. I had a person in my life who was very abusive to me and one day with the help of my loving congregation I learned who to set myself free and I ended up saying out loud I forgive you.  There was a long list of people I had to forgive, those who disappointed me and not being there for me when they should have been. The ones who assumed they knew what I was going through and called me horrible names. I learn my normal was not normal at all, I was living the life of being a victim. one day my Pastor’s wife pointed out to me I was living my life as a victim and when was I going to allow God to take over the healing and move forward. The first step was to forgive my abusers. Once I did this I felt for the first time I was set free. I would make strives to serve the Lord and teach others the importance of forgiving.

Ephesians 4:32 Be Kind and compassionate to one another forgive each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Jesus is our example of mercy and unconditional love as our relationship with Jesus grows we want to become more like him.

Two Point

  1. Ask for forgiveness to be forgiven will allow us to unload those burdens.
  2. To give forgiveness is to be set free.

I building a relationship with Christ we want to be more Christ like. We become a better person by making changes . Remember what God did for us.

John 3:16 “for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal love”

This example of God’s love demonstrates unconditional love and forgiveness.

We believe that there are sins that are so horrible and we will never find the grace of God’s love however in Psalms 103:12 As far from the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Remember to Say I’m sorry and forgive just as the Lord would want us to do with a spirit of unconditional love.

Waiting at the Well

Scripture: John 4: 1-26

I enjoy reading the conversation between the Samaritan woman and Jesus. It is a real eye opener for me, in some retrospect it demonstrates how  a single encounter with Jesus can change a life. This in part is why I chose to call my blog “Waiting at the Well.”

Who doesn’t have a past that is less than perfect? Who doesn’t have  luggage which has a tendency to bring us down. Sure, in a perfect world we would raise this up to Jesus and turn it over to him 100% of the time; however we are human and we want control.

Let’s take a look at the story of the Lady at the well. Here is what we know:

1) She is a Samaritan Woman and Jesus was a Jew

2) She was drawing water from the well of Jacob and Jesus was talking about living water

What is the living water?

  • This is when you desire to have a relationship with the Lord as if you were thirsting for water.  Jesus tells her that anyone who drinks of the water from the well will continue to be thirsty but, whoever drinks from the water he gives them will never be thirsty again. I would like to think Jesus is talking about the relationship we can have with him. The comfort and peace which is found in this relationship of unconditional love from the Lord.

3) She was a woman who lived in sin; She stated that she had no husband, then Jesus replied to her “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

  • Wow, what a jolt of reality. If it were me, I would have hidden myself, instead her encounter had a calming effect on her. She was more than willing to listen to the words of Jesus; she identified him as a prophet. I love to read His response to her..

John 4: 21-24 Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22) You Samaritans worship what you do not know, we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23) Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24) God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

  • If I am understanding this correctly it’s not about the location of where we worship God; it is about our attitude; he wants us to be “in spirit and in truth”

4) Her eyes are opened to whom she is speaking with. I like how she ‘knows the Messiah is coming’

John 4:25-26 The woman said, “I know the Messiah” (Called Christ) “is coming. when he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26) Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”

I know in my heart, God knows me better than I know myself; what he wants from us is to come to him on our knees, raising our arms to praise him and to develop a  relationship with him no matter how broken we may feel. I believe our past is part of God’s plan to mold us from the inside out to carry His message forward.

Where are you? Are you waiting at the well for Jesus or have you moved beyond this point?

As for  myself, I have moved from the well; I have found my peace and comfort  from the Lord when I decided to surrender myself to him on November 11, 2006.

Romans 8:26-27 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27) And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.