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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

God is Not Afraid of Your True Emotions

Submitted by: Justina Page 

Lost in the fire
...When you walk through the fire you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.For I am the Lord your God the Holy One of Israel, your Savior... Isaiah 43:2-3 

On March 7, 1999 at the crack of dawn something goes terribly wrong. I awake to explosions, smoke, and darkness. Oh my God. The house is on fire. Our family is jolted from peaceful bliss and thrown into chaos – our home is totally engulfed with flames. In complete darkness, desperate to save the family, my husband begins frantically jumping in and out of windows.

Like precious obedient lambs, the three oldest boys grab their younger autistic brother and wait at the designated point for their father. Their obedience to the fire escape plan is rewarded with life and merciful 1st and 2nd degree burns. I am thrown out first but hysterically reenter the inferno—determined to reach my precious bundles – 22 month old twins. A large burning oak bookshelf falls on me. I am trapped, burning, and unable to speak above a whisper.

Shouting from the edge of the street a neighbor embraces me by pressing her head to mine—“I have six sons, get my babies.” The count never reaches six. Despite our greatest efforts, everyone did not make it. Tragically the house collapses before my husband is able to get our twin son Amos. I and the other twin are severely injured in the process. All earthly possessions lost in a matter of minutes. 

In the garden of my heart weeds of bitterness, fear, and most potent, unforgiveness had taken root. Friends counted on my faith. Many people leaned on me for support and encouragement. Even in my hospital bed at my weakest point people came to confide in me and draw strength. The dilemma was bewildering. Who could I talk to? Who would understand the intensity of the faith crisis I was in? Only God.

Through the fire
God lost a son, his only begotten son to a tragic, unjust death on the cross. “Show me,” I said, “how you dealt with the loss of your Son.” The scriptures stir in my spirit. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son John 3:16. You gave your Son to me and all things work together for good to them that love God. “But God,” I say, “even this? I cannot sit, stand, walk, or use my hands. I hurt physically and emotionally, my twin son is hurt—my other dead.” God answered me—he is not afraid of my true emotions. “My son died yet he rose and lives again—your son lives.” he says. I am challenged.

I had accepted Christ many years ago and firmly believed in the hope of eternal life. Now my son has slipped into that eternal place where I had prayed for him to be one day since his birth. I choose to embrace my faith and not abandon it. God had saved Amos. God had loaned him to me for a season and now he had taken him back. This was God’s choice. Out of faith blossomed the tender seed of hope. Hope is the heartbeat of survival. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Part I - Unanswered Prayers… When God refuse to hear

Doubting prayer

Part I

...I cried out with my mouth his praise was on my tongue. If I cherished sin in my heart the Lord would not listen; but God has listened and has heard my prayer... Psalms 66:16-20

All knowing God

God is omnipresent. He knows, sees and hears all prayers.  So why does God refuse to answer? Do people annul their petitions to God?  Are their actions, stubbornness or refusal to adhere to God’s word the cause of ineffective results? 

The Bible mentions several viable reasons why.

  • Sin – 
    • Don’t wander, restrain from evil – Jeremiah 14:11-12  
    • Don’t harbor wickedness in your heart – Psalms 66:18  
    • Don’t believe God is too busy to hear your prayer and refuse to         ask for forgiveness – Isaiah 59:1-2

  • Disobedience – 
    •  Don’t turn away from God’s word – Prov. 28:9

  •  Lack of faith – 
    • Can’t please God without faith – Hebrew 11:6                          
    • Ask and don’t doubt God’s ability James 1:6 
  • Insincerity
    • No lip service give God your heart – Isaiah 29:13

  •  Pride – 
    • Don’t exalt yourself like the Pharisee – Luke 18:9-14

  • Wrong motives – 
    • Praying for self gratification – James 4:3     
    • Don’t be boastful pray in the closet – Matt 6:5-6 
  • Unloving attitude – 
    • Spouses honor each other – 1 Peter 3:7

The Broken Covenant

Jeremiah was chosen to turn Jerusalem away from their immoral behavior of worshiping false gods, idolatry, and doubting God’s ability. He saw his nation being destroyed because of disobedience. Jeremiah’s plea to obey the covenant and God’s warning signs all fell on death ear. When they refused to hear and obey God’s covenant He brought disaster and told Jeremiah not to pray for them. Though they cry out to me I will not answer Jeremiah 11:11.  

I am the man in the mirror

The man in the mirror is you
During a season I was guilty of several of the seven deadly sins and questioned God. "Do you hear me Lord?" I took a look at the man in the mirror and asked – "Show me your ways Lord teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me" Psalms 25: 4-5. I finally realized God’s hearing was not dull but my behavior had separated me from His love – Sin, disobedience, Lack of faith, Insincerity, and Pride.

Once I shifted my paradigm and trusted God the more he revealed himself.  Through prayer, action, and deed God is now present. Was it clear as a glass of water? No. There were days like Moses - asking for multiple confirmations and other days like David - it was no doubt God was present.

God's Delayed answer

Many of you are totally connected with God yet you still question. What appears to be an unanswered prayer could be a delayed answer. Our God’s deny of a desire could mean He has something better! Either way, always humble yourself, pray, and seek God’s face. Know that your prayers are heard and will be answered in God’s time.

Tigner Rand 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Waiting on God

Submitted by: Patricia Manns

Wait for the Lord – be strong, and let your heart take courage – wait for the Lord! Psalms 27:14

I have mixed emotions right now.  A dear friend is facing a tremendous mountain. For the past few weeks I have encouraged her along the way. But quite honestly, unless God moves on her behalf, there is no way things will change.

When God is far away
the pain of being alone

I know it is not about me but I feel helpless.  I am lifting her up in prayer yet realize my faith is also being tested.  How would I handle the situation? Would I question God? I probably would. “Where are You, I have tried everything I know to do and nothing works!” Don’t you see my situation? I can’t sleep – I sit alone, wondering when you are going to move? What is taking You so long?

We all felt that way before. Remember how you felt thinking God had abandoned you?  Everybody’s prayers appear to be answered but yours. So many good reports… so many testimonies of victory… but not you.  What have you done to deserve this?  Why God are you working for everybody but me? When will it be my turn? You are exhausted and feel like curling up in a ball and cry. Maybe you have done that and now find yourself depressed. “How did I get here again?”

Songs of faith

Praise God
I hear the song I’ll wait for You! I’ll wait for You!  A gentle voice reminds you that you are not alone. You have not been forgotten.  God, your Father, sees you. He is singing and holding you. He is ever the God who understands how we all feel.  He will see you through even if you don’t know when or where.  He knows your name – He whispers words of encouragement and wipes away your tears.

God hears our prayers

“My Child, I am here. I love you. I am holding you in the palm of my hand. Look at me and not the storm. Lay your head on my chest, it is a safe place. I will cover you with my wings and you will find rest.  Go ahead take a deep breath – once more.  Hear me say your name and then say mine. Anytime you need me, whisper my name. Jesus – Jesus – Jesus.  Rest my child I am leading you through the storm.

I now hear another song - “Where He leads me I will follow. I go with Him all the way.”

Release your burdens

Friends, even when we cannot see beyond our nose God is there waiting on us to trust Him. I know He is Love and that he loves my friend.  Though I cannot help my friend I feel her burden, but I must also release that burden to God.   He is the ultimate burden bearer.  “Great is Thy Faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see!

So I choose to trust and praise God even if I don’t know what tomorrow may bring.  God is my tomorrow. All is well with my Soul.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Stepping Out on faith…especially when you have no choice

Submitted by: Rev. Clyde Corbin, II

Now without faith it is impossible to please him, for the one who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 

Life Decisions
 Downsizing Decisions

Very recently, my previous employer informed us at the end of September our department will no longer exist. I could join another department or take the severance package.  I was forced to make some very strong decisions in a limited amount of time.  I decided to take a look at my options and see which ones would give me access for growth.

The available positions meant that I would continue going through the same motions. The problem with leaving I had responsibilities; a wife, child, and a mortgage to be concerned about. My risk taking becomes my family’s risk too. It is so easy to stay with a company that I had been with for seven years and not risk something new. But where and when do I grow?

It is easy to walk on water

walking in faith
My situation reminded me of the story of Peter walking on water Matt 14:22-33. In the midst of the storm, Peter asked Jesus to bid him to come so that he too may walk on water. Jesus said “Come”. Peter walked toward Jesus, and got afraid when he saw the wind and began to sink.

It is easy to remain where you are comfortable and not happy or using your gifts and talents to its fullest. But where do you get to grow your faith? Believer, in order to walk on water, you must first get out of the boat. So I took the severance and begin job hunting.

 The value of faith

  •          Based on experience my value was worth far more than the salary
  •          I learned not to panic
  •    I walked in faith 
  •         I’m a “prime candidate” for almost any career It’s my choice to choose the path

God has somethiing for you
 When I think about my career over the years God brought me a long way. He never let me be in a situation where I was struggling to make ends meet. Knowing this, I had a sense of peace. While others around me stressed and worried, I remained calm.

I have such a belief that God would bless me that I was not concerned, but excited about what He had ordained for me.

You cannot have open arms to receive your new blessings if you are still holding on to old stuff. So do not panic, God has something good for you! Until God opens a door, praise Him in the hallway.

The final decision

So, what was the end game? I did my part. I updated my resume and LinkedIn. I got out there and interviewed. I hung out, spend quality time with my son for two weeks, and refocused.

 I was unemployed for only two weeks. Now, I am writing this to you from my new job! Believer, your promise is bigger than your past. Walk into your season!

Believer, do you know your worth? Through your storms in life you held on to your faith. Remember, you are worth it all because Jesus paid it all for you!


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