Friday, August 12, 2016

Who are you?

Well it has been a day or two since I decided to start a blog…like 16 months to be exact, so I guess you could say that I am not very faithful to the blog world, but anyway here is entry #2. J
My last blog was about finding TRUTH in situations in your life even when all the FACTS around you scream the opposite.  There is only one way to find truth and that is in the word of God.  What does He say about your situation, your sickness, your marriage, your co-workers who drive you crazy (not mine, of course)….most importantly what does He say about YOU?  Who does He say you are?
Over the past couple of days I have come in contact with some people whose “situations” have broken my heart.   I guess that is why I decided to blog again about this particular subject.  I think so many people in our world today have no clue who they are, especially who they are in Christ.
 I have heard that raising children is 18 years of letting go and the older my kids get the more I realize that is so true.  I have been challenged this week to really pound into my kids who they are in Christ.  Let’s face it…there are going to be times that we don’t get what we think we want.  We aren’t going to make the sports team we wanted, we aren’t going to get in the play we wanted, we aren’t going to make Show Choir, we aren’t going to be picked for who’s who, we aren’t chosen for the homecoming court, we aren’t going to get the job we want, we aren’t able to have the children we thought we would have, we aren’t going to be married to the person we thought we would be married to for the rest of our life….these are real FACTUAL situations that us or our children could find ourselves in.  But, do we let them define who we are?  NO, we have to get TRUTH from God’s word other than looking at the FACTS that seem to surround us.  
Satan and the world will want to tell us that we are not good enough, not pretty enough, not talented enough, not popular enough, not skinny enough, not nice enough, not rich enough, not athletic enough, the list could go on and on.  What we have to do for ourselves is to find out the TRUTH about who we really are.  If you are a parent it is so important to teach your kids the TRUTH about who they really are.  I am challenged more than ever to be the person that Christ wants me to be and especially more than ever about teaching my kids who God says they are.  So who are you?  Who does God’s word say you are?
Well, if you are a believer here is just a little bit of TRUTH about who He says you are.  Don’t let anyone tell you any different.
You are a child of God, You are justified, You are redeemed, You have been completely forgiven, You have been made righteous, You are forever free from condemnation, You are accepted by Christ, You are triumphant, You are a new creation, You are His workmanship, You are a royal priesthood, You are an enemy of the devil, You are created in His image….so You must be AMAZING!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Advancing from Facebook Notes to a Blog... I'm official!

Well I got myself a T-shirt that says what I believe
I got letters on my bracelet to serve as my ID...

I got a Jesus bumper sticker
And the outline of a fish stuck on my car
And even though this stuff's all well and good, yeah
I cannot help but ask myself--

What about the change
What about the difference
What about the grace
What about forgiveness
What about a life that's showing
I'm undergoing the change, yeah
I'm undergoing the change
The Change
Stevin Curtis Chapman
Most of you guys have probably heard this song and even though it's a little cheesy, the words kept speaking to me over and over again. What about the change? What about the difference? What about a life that's showing I'm undergoing the change? 
I realized my need for a Savior on April 14, 1992.  I was 16 years old and a good kid, however I realized that I needed forgiveness.  I realized there was something out there that was greater than me.  I realized that I needed Jesus.  On that day I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit took up residence inside of me and my life and eternity would forever be changed.  I wore the t-shirt that said what I believed, I wore the bracelet with the letters...I never went as far as the bumper sticker or the fish...don't judge me.  It wasn't however until 4 years ago that I really understood what a relationship with the Lord was.  Websters defines relationship as the way in which 2 or more people talk to, behave toward, and deal with each other.  So if that's what a relationship means then I need to be talking to the Lord and He needs to be talking to me.  Ok, wait a minute...the Lord needs to be talking to me?  Does that even happen? Can you really hear Him?  The answer is YES!!! I think very few Christians know how to hear from God and that's why they question at times is all of this real? Just think of the most important relationship you have on this earth right now.  What would that relationship be like if you never talked or if you always talked, but the other person never did?  There wouldn't be much of a relationship would there?  The same goes for your relationship with the Lord. 
About six years ago I began to sit in a Sunday School class where I was being taught how to hear from God. The teacher gave several examples of how the Lord had spoken to her and said the things He spoke to her about really happened.   It intrigued me and at times I thought well that could happen to her, but it will probably never happen to me.  Let me tell you why it didn't happen's because I wasn't talking to Him much and I definitely wasn't listening for Him to talk to me.  Heck, I didn't have a clue how to hear Him talk to me.  One of the first couple of principles I remember her teaching was, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" -John 1:1 and "Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word" -Romans 10:17.  So basically God is the Word and that is where my faith should come from.  The word that is used for Word in John 1:1 is the Greek word logos which means the written word. The word that is used for word in Romans 10:17 is the Greek word rhema and it means a personal spoken word, a word for your situation that should give you faith about whatever it is you are going through.  This is how He speaks directly to us....through the written word of God that then turns into a personal spoken word to you.  So here is where your participation has to take place.  In order to get a rhema word about your particular situation, you must be in the word.  How???  Its not hard!  You don't have to be a biblical scholar, a pastor or even a sunday school teacher.  Get a devotion book, a devotion app on your phone, a daily devotion that is sent to your doesn't matter, just get in the word.  This is when the "change" will really happen. 
So I told you it was 6 years ago when I learned this principle, but it wasn't until 2 years later that I really experienced a true relationship with the Lord for myself.  Was I saved? Yes!  No doubt, but was I talking with God and Him talking to me on a consistent basis?  No, so how was there really much of a relationship.  Why didn't I began to experience this relationship right away?  Right after salvation? Well because honestly no one had ever taught me how.  I think that is where the church in general fails so many today.  That was my reason for not doing it in the beginning of my Christian walk, but why did it take me 2 years after I learned this principle to begin to put it into practice in my life?  Basically because I'm hard headed, stubborn and think I can do it all on my own.  I know how to do a lot of stuff and if I don't know how then I can google it and figure it out myself.  I don't need anyone's help and I take pride in being able to be a "get it done" type of person.  This however is not the best personality trait to have when the Lord wants you to depend on Him and trust Him completely.  Most of you can probably guess what happened the 2 years after I learned this principle for me to finally put it into action.
Therefore put on the full armor of God,
so that when the day of evil comes,
you may be able to stand your ground...
Ephesians 6:13
Notice that verse says when the evil day comes, not if it comes.  An evil day will eventually come into your life and my hope is that you will remember some of this, so that you can know how to stand your ground when it does.  My evil day came on February 26, 2011.  What had initially been diagnosed as a sinus infection with our daughter Greer had turned into late stage heart failure.  Our 9 year old baby girl was dying before our eyes.  She ended up having a stroke that day as well.  I won't go into all of the events of that day, but I know the Lord had a clear path made for us before all of this even started.  Through all of the bad I could still see His hand in everything.   I could have been like most Christians and just claimed "all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord" and other verses like that.  I could have also claimed the most often misused... "He won't put more on us than we can handle"  uhhhhhh....yes He will!  Your 9 year old daughter on the brink of death is way more than you can handle.  I think something this significant is what it took for me to finally decide...I need Him to speak and I need to hear it.  I couldn't google or YouTube how to fix any of this.  So, what I had learned two years before, I finally put into practice.  I had a friend bring me my Bible and my devotion books the next day.  On March 1st, I heard Him speak, not in a loud booming voice, but through His word.  I got a rhema word about our situation.  This was it...
For You have tried us, O God;
You have refined us as silver is refined.
You brought us into the net;
You laid an oppressive burden upon our loins.
You made men ride over our heads;
We went through fire and through water,
Yet You brought us out to a place of abundance.
Psalm 66:10-12
I don't believe I had ever read or heard these verses before this day, but as I read them my heart began to race and I began to sweat and I thought this is for me.  The Lord has shown up on the 5th floor of UAB in the ICU waiting room to speak to me...personally.  This verse was basically saying to me..."hey, you are about to go through a bunch of stuff, but I'm going to bring you out to a place of abundance."  Me being the skeptic that I am prayed that the Lord would repeat it again if it was really the rhema word that I thought it was.  Let me just say that it began to become comical at how many times this was repeated throughout Greer's sickness.  At one point I was looking for the hidden cameras.  I honestly thought I was being punked.  Abundance was everywhere.  This is when The Change began to occur in my life.  I had been a Christian since 1992, but 19 years later is when a real relationship started. 
So all that to say this... the Lord wants to speak to you.  He wants a relationship with you.  He wants to talk to you about everything.  Little things and big.  Should I take this job, should I go to this school, should I date this person, etc.  Don't let it take a HUGE event to get you in the word like it did me.  Satan is good at what he does and more than anything he wants you to doubt your salvation, doubt that the Lord even exists and doubt your identity in Christ.  When the Lord speaks in such a mighty way for you like He did for me... that's when you will become passionate about it.  That's when the relationship really starts.  That's when you realize that He is so good, so faithful, so true, and for lack of a better word so AWESOME!  Everyone reading this has something in their life that they need an answer for, something they are believing Him for.  I want to challenge you to get in the word and see what He has to say to you personally.   Believe me, I am "preaching" to myself more than anyone.  He has shown up and spoken to me in huge ways and still I try and do things on my own and not talk to Him about it.  We are just stupid like that I guess.  I'm glad He loves me anyway.  I'm not an expert.  I just know how He has spoken in my life and I know He will do the same for you. 
I'm not sure who this post was really for, someone reading it or just for me personally.  All I know is for some reason the Lord wanted me to share, so there ya' go.  All my blog post won't be a
mini-novel, I promise.  I just want to bring Him glory for the amazing things He has done in my life.