It’s In The Eyes

Over the course of the last several months I’ve been experiencing some health issues that have kept me in bed most days.  At times I would get up, look in the mirror and realize that my bright blue eyes had lost their sparkle.  There was a certain sadness that lay beneath and around the corners of my eyes.  I would take in a deep breath, shrug my shoulders and then crawl back into my cozy safe bed.

I’ve been studying in Thessalonians with some very sweet wonderful ladies these last three weeks.  Over the course of this time God’s been doing a work in me that is not easy for me to explain only to say that He has been turning the purifying flame up a little hotter this time so that the dross that is deep down has been able to dislodge and come to the surface so that he can wipe it away.  The important thing to note is that this is an unpleasant, somewhat painful process that we sometimes need to go through to get rid of some ugly so that God can continue to move us forward toward His goal for our lives.

Friends, this week as I was reading about all the stuff that the Apostle Paul was going through during this time I realized that through the floggings and beatings he took, the shipwrecks, the imprisonment, the stoning he remained devoted to Jesus Christ and the church.  No matter those obstacles he did not allow them to become a hindrance to his mission of sharing the gospel.  At some point during this week I felt the wake-up.  I felt like Jesus placed his hands on my shoulders and looked into my weary eyes and said, “enough”.  It is time that you got up, and continue on this path that I have placed you on.  You have allowed the enemy to take up too much room in your mind.  That’s it!  God you are right.  I have allowed the enemy to jab at me day after day, steal sleep from my eyes, occupy my thoughts and weigh my body down with unnecessary burdens.  And I do not want any of it, as a matter of a fact my strength is in Jesus.  It is time for me to get up out of this bed, and boldly walk confidently down the path toward the goal God has for me.

So tonight hubby and I were running some errands and I was driving so he could run in and out of our stops quickly.  As we were at our last stop I had my head down playing candy crush on my iphone as I had done during this whole trip.  I had a feeling come over me and I felt compelled to look up.  When I did I seen this man standing against the building.  He wasn’t very old, perhaps early thirties. He had tried to speak to a couple of people as they were walking by each one shaking their head as they quickly passed him.  I knew at that moment that he was probably homeless and was asking for money.  So when Felix came out of the store, I pointed to the young man and asked Felix to go ask him what was wrong.  I rolled my window down so that I could be a part of the conversation and we learned that his name is Steve and he is homeless and hungry.  His time had ran out at the shelter and honestly there really isn’t any other place for a young single man to go.  We had the opportunity to pray with him and share God with him.  Felix gave Steve his number and the address of our mission and told him to stop in Saturday night and we would have some more food and hygiene products for him.  He was grateful and as we were saying goodbye my eyes caught his and I seen the despair, the  loneliness, the hopelessness, the sadness.  Now, if know us or if you follow my blog you will know that we have worked with homeless people for about four years now.   Most of the time within 5 minutes of speaking with them I can pretty much summarize their situation.  Every now and then, you will meet someone that has a certain look in their eyes that only disappointment and time on the streets can put there.

As we drove home, I began to cry.  I could see his dirty fingernails reaching out in thankfulness for the food.  I can see his brown hair curl around his face but the impact of the hurt I seen behind his eyes I believe I will see in my dreams tonight.  Friends, I encourage you today that no matter what situation you are in, financial, physical, spiritual or emotional not to loose the sparkle of the holy spirit in your eyes.  As you wake up this morning and walk to your mirror boldy and confidently know that you are a work of art created by the master.  You are more than your circumstances.  You are more than your past mistakes and failures.  You are more than your personal finances and all the material belongings you may or may not have.  Your life has been delicately and wonderfully strung together by moments and encounters as you journey along the path toward the goal that God create you for.  You are loved so much.  So my friend, stand up, pull your shoulders back, take a deep breath and reflect God’s glory and impact someone’s life today.

Praise Him!!

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Plentiful

 

harvest field

 

Matthew 9: 36-38  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.

Eastside Mission had it’s kick-off community block party outreach yesterday.  I must say it was absolutely amazing to be back on the streets after 8 months of “being still” and waiting on God.  During the 8 months God was growing, stretching and preparing us as He was about to expand our borders.  After 4 years of inner city street ministry on Main Street in Hamilton we thought God had really given us a HUGE mission field.  Now, reflecting back we realize that was our time of preparation.  

Back to yesterday, we had all kinds of fun activities for our introduction into the neighborhood. Pastor Felix and I spent the time by getting to know our neighbors, meeting their families and talking about their needs and the community needs.  At one point, I remember standing a midst all the busyness of serving and lovin’ on people I had a count of 175 people that we were blessed to serve this day.  We have approximately 1700 people within immediate radius, we passed out 560 total flyers and served 175 men, women and children.   As I’m standing there and process all of the conversations I was having, watching the kids playing I am feeling overwhelmed with all the needs.  Trust me, the needs in this area are many!  As we suspected there is a lot of heroin and addicted mommies and daddies.  Many generations living together in small houses and not being able to make the ends meet.  

For some time leading up to the kick-off and even more today we have been posting pictures, sharing needs, asking for volunteers and I’m starting to feel myself getting stressed about how in the world are we going to accomplish this.  This is 4x what we did and served over on Main Street.  God what in the world are you thinking?  So as I’m starting into that familiar tailspin I pick up my bible and I start reading about Jesus going into a city and Him telling the disciples that the harvest is plenty but the laborers are few.  Man God is so awesome 2,000 years ago He knew that there would be a great need for workers in the harvest field.  God knows we are facing many needs financial, volunteers, supplies, etc. but God ALSO knows that the laborers are few; therefore, as He is guiding me in His word to ask Him to send out workers into His harvest field.  Because bottom line – He has given Pastor Felix and I the charge of stewardship over this mission and building His church among these un-reached people and whether He sends us 2 or 20 we are going to praise Him, serve others and glorify our God as we pray for God to send the laborers.  Won’t you take a minute and join us in praying for this harvest field and the workers to serve in it!!  God might also be calling you to take a step out, he may be calling you to step outside of the church you are comfortable in with the friends and family you love and do some water walking!

Praise Him!!

Stewards

 

STEWARDS

Being a steward is someone who takes care of someone else’s property. God owns everything we just possess it.  As Christians we were bought with a price. We are stewards over our body, influence, talents, attitudes, money, possessions, and time.

1 Corinthians 6:19-21 (NLT) 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

 God has given us freewill; however, we have to keep in mind that one day we will answer to God as to how we were stewards over what He has allowed us to have.  Since we belong to God we are responsible to Him for what we do with what we have, do, say, act, etc.  I want to look at a few areas in our lives that God owns but has given us stewardship over.

First, our body:  Romans 12:1-12 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.

 Our bodies now belong to Him, for His use we are to keep it clean, holy, and healthy.  Do we keep our selfish desires of the flesh in check?

Second, our influence:  If you claim to be a Christian you must realize by now that people will watch you more close.  What do your peers think of you?  Does your influence make your peers want to be a Christian because of what they see in you?  Does your influence lead them to or away from God?

Third, our attitudes:  Do you allow God to control your attitude or do you allow your circumstances dictate your attitude.  If you are having a particularly rough day will it reflect in your attitude?  How is your attitude toward the people in your life and your own household? Are you focusing on everything that is wrong and negative instead of the good or positive?  At some point in our lives we have faced challenges; a loss of a loved one, loss of a job or a home, an illness or sudden injury, those things we have no control over; however, we do have control over our attitudes during trials.  Our attitudes should reflect our position as God’s child not our current circumstance or trial.  Rejoice at all times, even in the bad.

Fourth, our talents:  God has gifted us with certain abilities and talents that we need to use for His glory and edification of others not our egos. Romans 15:2-3  We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.”

We are to be faithful in what we were given and not covet others gifts, talents, abilities or ministries.

Fifth, our money and possessions:  In an article I seen it was stated that 29% of all Christians tithe.  Wow!  What a statement.  I can’t help but wonder do these people really even know God.  Because it is apparent to me that if you know God then you live your life in total surrender to Him and His will; right?  After all, did we not forsake all for the call.  We buried the old man and put on the new in Christ.  If you want to know where people’s hearts are then follow where their money goes.  Then you will find what interests them most.

Material Possessions if we are covetous to give then we are rebellious to God.  Take a look at the rich young ruler.  He loved his possessions so much that he gave up eternal life with Jesus Christ to hold on to his wealth.

Sixth, our time:  How many times have we heard or said, “there’s never enough time in a day” or  “where did the day go, time flies.”

Ephesians 5:16 (NLT) 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.

What are we spending our time doing?  Are we wasting time on things that are eternally unprofitable?  Yes, we do have to work, eat and sleep but we should do a schedule check to make sure we are using our time for God and the things of God.  We have so little time to do what we are called to do we better stop wasting it.

James 4:14 (NLT) 14 How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.

We are living on God’s time.  Every day is a gift from God and we will be accountable to Him with what we do with our day.  Once the day is gone the time is lost and we can never regain that time again.   As I was doing this study it was touching upon the youth we are charged with raising and teaching.  When we take our kids to church what are we looking for in a youth group; classes, groups, or activities?  So, I did some searching and checking back into the recesses of my time as a youth and here is what I came up with.  Back in the day we spent time with other youth groups doing sword drills and listening to God’s Word. Today we are so busy in our churches that just like the adults if we can woo them in with all the glitz and glamour of what we have to offer then it is the same for the kids and the parents will want their kids there as well.  It is just time to stop worrying about hurting feelings and speak the truth.  We are filling our kids with so many activities that we leave them very little time for God’s house and when we do finally take some time to get them there for 1 hour a week we fill that time with religious activities.  We are losing our kids here and growing a generation of emptiness when it comes to the word of God.  After all, if we teach them about purity and modesty they won’t want to come back, so let’s go do some scavenger hunts, go to Kings Island, or whatever it may be.  We better wake up!!

Finally, the gospel.  Romans 10:13-15 (NLT) 13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

You have a responsibility in spreading the gospel whether it be on a foreign mission field, a hometown mission field, at your work place, or in your neighborhood you have a responsibility.  Either you are called to go or called to send.  I’m not talking about short term missions here I’m talking about the missionary that gives all to go live in an area and build relationships with the people and teach them the things of God and give them the gospel.

Do you accept the charge?

We must remember our bodies belong to God, our influence and attitude should be Christ reflective.  Our talents are a gift from God for His use and glory, our money and possession all belong to him not just the 10% we need to spend it the way He instructs us. Our short time on this earth we are commanded of God to spread the Gospel not waste the day.

 

Praise Him!

Abide in Jesus

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I pray that as you read this blog that the Holy Spirit will make truth real to your heart. I have heard and seen many Christians struggle with the perception of negative, defeated, useless, helpless lives.  I can recognize it quickly in someone because for a very long time I lived that way.  I walked in what I thought was the way; however, I never really seemed to grasp the truth.

If we are a true believer and follower of Jesus Christ He dwells inside of us via the Holy Spirit.  Our part is active, we are not only to recognize this power within us but we are to abide in it.  Abiding is active; abiding is our daily choice and responsibility.  Abiding means to endure without yielding, withstand, bear patiently, tolerate, and ACCEPT WITHOUT OBJECTION.  That one seems to be the toughest one when it comes to abiding.  It means we give up our wants, our desires and taken on His.  We lay the “I” down and become “in Him”.

When Jesus ascended back to Heaven He left us here to not only tell people about Him but to show people Him by allowing God to conform us into His image.  This is not an easy process and quite frankly I don’t know who jumps for joy when going through trials, tribulations and temptations; however, this is how God chooses to purify us and mold us into the image of Jesus Christ.  God takes us into ourselves through these times of testing and trials to reveal and confront the condition of our heart to rid us of ourselves.  

When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we die to our “old” self and put on the “new”, Jesus Christ.  We leave our old life, habits, people, places & playgrounds behind to take on our new life and our relationships with God.  John said, “I must decrease so that He must increase”. This is still true for us today.  We have got to empty ourselves of us.  Check this friends, the same Holy Spirit that led Jesus Christ to the cross will lead us to our cross being the everyday sufferings and rejections. Submit yourself to God, allow Him to perfect His will in your life, to accomplish the purpose for which you were created.

We have to understand the truth in the holy scriptures.  God wrote us a book, we have got to pick it up, pour ourselves into it and allow Him to work in us.  When we are attacked we need to understand that Jesus Christ serves as a hedge of protection around us and in order for Satan to get at us he’s got to go through Jesus Christ, just read the 1st two chapters of Job.  

1 Corinthians 10:13 New Living Translation (NLT)

13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

What does this verse say to you?  It tells me that God always ALWAYS provides us with an escape.  Get that, know that truth.  Also, know that any attack on us is also on Jesus and He protects, defends and supplies all of our needs.

Next, check out Ephesians 1:20-22 New Living Translation (NLT)

20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church.

So we see that Jesus Christ is exalted above ALL spiritual realms.  

Ephesians 2:6 New Living Translation (NLT) 

For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.

This portion of scripture tells us that we are united with Christ, we are in Jesus Christ and as believers we are positioned spiritually higher than our enemy, Satan.  So when we come against these attacks we fight with more superiority than the enemy does.  We have the advantage and we always have a way of escape.  So no more self-pity, no more saying the devil made me do it.  We have a choice.  A choice to abide in Jesus Christ.  A choice for escape.  A choice to claim the victory that Jesus Christ has already won.  Wow!  What hope!!!

Live today with the hope of what Jesus’ shed blood means to us and how important the blood is and how important we are to God because of it.  Recognize it, stand on it, claim it and realize that we are more than conquerors in Jesus Christ.

Praise Him!!