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Archive for the tag “journey”

Golden Opportunity

Jesus stopped and called them, “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. This question is found in Matthew 20:32 and Mark 10:51. Jesus was walking out of the city of Jericho when he passed by two blind men who were begging by the side of the road. Mark names one of the men as Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46). The blind men called out to Jesus asking for His mercy. Everyone around the two men rebuked them, but they called out even louder. Then Jesus stopped. He wanted to know what these men really wanted from Him. Was it a few coins? Did they have a pressing need greater than the obvious? They had to verbalize their need to Him. They wanted to see.

Matthew tells us that Jesus had compassion on them. He recognized their faith and touched their eyes. Matthew records the healing as immediately they received their sight. Immediately. Isn’t that one of the best words you could read? Wouldn’t it be great to have an immediate answer? I’m sure the blind men had been begging for years. But the minute that Jesus crossed their path, they saw their opportunity to act on His mercy. And they asked Him for their greatest need to be met. They knew what they wanted from Him. Immediately.

They must have heard stories about Jesus before this day because when He was coming their way, they shouted out “Son of David.” They recognized Jesus for who He was. This wasn’t just any one. This was the Promised One. They may have been physically blind, but they were more able to see than the Pharisees who never recognized Jesus for who He was. Immediately, they were healed because of their faith in the Promised One.

Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem when He came upon these blind beggars. It would be the final time He would travel that way. There would be no more opportunities for these men if they hadn’t acted when they did. Jesus was on the way to the cross. By the end of the week, everything would be different. No more opportunities for Jesus to touch these men or any other. This was it. Did the men know this was their golden opportunity? No. None of the people in the crowd that day knew what waited just a few days away. This was the last week in the life of Jesus – in the flesh.

We just never know when we have that last opportunity or our own golden opportunity; when we should have acted but didn’t. Maybe we don’t know what we really want and failed to see the opportunity when it came along. If Jesus asked us the same question, how would we answer? Do we really understand the implications of not knowing our greatest need? Probably not. It could be the greatest need that could have the greatest impact on this generation for the glory of God.

God often does more than we request – greater than we can imagine – when our hearts are aligned with His. Psalm 37:4 says delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Alignment comes first. If God hasn’t answered our prayers yet, maybe it’s a heart problem that is being corrected before the answer comes. Maybe we have the wrong motivation or the wrong request, or maybe things just haven’t lined up on God’s timetable.

The blind men might have been on that roadside for years, but one day they were at the right place at the right time for a Jesus encounter that changed their lives. They were ready when Jesus came to that place. We need to be ready too. We too will have divine encounters. We need to know what we really want. We need to know it within our souls that this is an encounter we cannot afford to miss. Grab it and let God do something amazing in it. Don’t miss the opportunity. It could be a one shot deal. We may never pass this way again.

Have you heard about this Jesus? Do you know Him for who He really is? The blind men knew Him and received their healing. Once healed, they praised Him; but they also joined Him on the journey. Whatever God is leading you to, don’t waste the opportunity – it could have an immediate effect on you and your world. This is our time to meet Jesus on the road to where He is going. Join Him on the journey. Delight in Him and you will be amazed by what you finally see.

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall. 2 Peter 1:8-10a

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Change is Good!

Have you ever written or told your full story? I have written three different versions and none of them seem to be the right story to tell. I have experienced heartache (as we all have). I have had many sicknesses that were painful and wondered how I was going to survive it. But I did. I have had triumphs and struggles with addictions. Up and down it goes. There is story after story of times when I believed a lie only to discover the Truth in the story. In the midst of it all, there is one thing that was constant – change. I never liked change when it was thrust upon me – when my Mom, Dad and I moved away from family and friends. Those were hard years. Or when I lost a job, and I realized I needed to move back in with my parents (dread upon dread). Or when I learned that I had an autoimmune disease, which I chose to treat holistically. Change isn’t easy to navigate, but it’s one that builds our character!

Over the last few years, I have come to understand that God allows change to happen for our good and His glory. It’s in the telling of the stories that we see His hand of protection, provision and providence. God is sovereign over all things. Nothing surprises Him. Sometimes we just don’t understand the timing of it all though. But there’s a reason for that too. I was listening to a message Christine Caine gave at Liberty University when she launched her Propel magazine. She made a comment about each one of us being plucked from eternity and placed into the time continuum. We were placed in this time for a reason. Maybe we actually get to see Jesus return one day if we live long enough! This will be the greatest change the world has ever seen in its history, and we could be eyewitnesses to it! (Now, wouldn’t that be a story to tell!)

Her message struck me though as I consider why now? Why is this the time I was planted in this particular time of history? In this country, women have greater rights, greater privileges than ever before. Women are allowed to hold office (even run for Presidency). We can own homes. We can do so much more than fifty years ago. Everything changed after World War II. Change is the only thing that is constant in this crazy world we live in! And change is happening with an increasing frequency. Technology develops rapidly. You blink, and there’s a new version of a gadget that you just bought! So what is God up to? Why the increase in change, and why are we so blessed to live in this time? Only God knows at this point. He hasn’t given me any revelations that I could share with you. But I believe we are going to see something great in our lifetimes – it may not be Jesus coming back. I do believe though we could see a great revival throughout the world. And maybe women will be leading the way!

We all have stories that God has given us to tell so that He could get the glory. Stories are meant to share. The ones on our path need to hear of a conquering hero that saved us from the evil one. There is power in the stories we tell. Everyone likes a good story where the damsel in distress is rescued by the Prince and they live happily ever after. There is a “happily ever after” in our stories. We might not see it right now, but one day we will. We have been written into The Story of God’s Glory. Each one of us who call Jesus as Lord and Savior, we have a good ending. Christine Caine made a comment about her ordeal with cancer last year that really has resonated with me. She reflected before she was put under for surgery – “has she done everything that she was supposed to do while she was here and did she bring everyone she was meant to bring to heaven with her?”

Change is meant to grow us and develop our character. Our character is meant to glorify God. And our stories of how we got to where we are, is the life-change that people need to hear so that they too can have the future with the happy ending. Change is a very good thing, even when it’s forced upon us! One day, I’ll share more of my story. In the meantime, I am just grateful for being a work in progress knowing God still has amazing things to show me!

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-10

Identity

I had a phone call from a collection agency – again. No, I don’t have any debt that needs to be collected. But it gets my heart to thumping nevertheless. A few years ago, someone had stolen my identity. This person used my medical insurance number to obtain medical services. It snowballed from there. It took a few months to get it all squared away once I learned of the theft. But I still have to resolve issues every now and then. This call reminded me I needed to check my credit report just to make sure nothing else was going on. It was all good – whew. Every call I receive of this nature reminds me how much I have to be thankful for. God has blessed me even though I deserve none of it. These calls also remind me of where my true identity lies.

Christ gave me a new identity on the day I received the gift of salvation. It was a long time ago. I didn’t deserve it, but He invited me to join Him on mission. Well, that’s not what I thought when I went up front in my home church on that day. But the Holy Spirit told me to go so I did. A few years after that, God called me to sanctification – big word. I didn’t know what that meant either at the time. God was calling me to be set apart for His purpose. There was a lot that needed to be cleaned up. He set about cleaning up my mind and my heart. One step at a time, slowly my mindset began to change and my heart began to line up with His. It’s an ongoing process of transformation, and I have yet to arrive at the destination. God is more concerned with my progress than my destination though. The destination is already set upon the Rock. The journey there is the challenging part.

My spiritual identity can never be stolen like my identity on this earth. What I have physically can be stolen, but that is not where my treasure lies. These things are nothing compared to what I will have in the future. God has blessed me abundantly – more than I could ever ask for. A few years ago I went to Australia, and I thought that was the best trip ever. But what I am realizing now, the best is yet to come. Yes, I will go on mission with Him. Jesus is my friend, and I want to go with Him on the biggest adventure I will ever have! Praise God for making all things new!

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-10

Going Public

Several months ago I was questioning God. I asked Him – what’s hindering me from moving forward? What’s hindering my relationship with the Holy Spirit? Why am I not working in the power of the Holy Spirit? I started searching in my soul, in the Word, listening to different speakers and reading a few books. One thing kept coming up: baptism. I considered this answer. I had often thought when I saw others being baptized whether I need to be re-baptized. I had received the gift of salvation at the age of 11. I was baptized soon after. Even though I really didn’t understand any of the ramifications of what being “born again” really meant at the time, I believed I had covered all my bases. But as I was considering baptism this time, one of the speakers spoke about being baptized in the Holy Spirit. I started questioning that aspect since I knew I was not really working in the power of the Holy Spirit, maybe this is what the answer was. I thought about it, prayed about it, read about it and asked a couple of people about their thoughts on the matter. And then let it go.

A few weeks ago, I started questioning God on the matter again. I heard a few sermons soon after this on the Holy Spirit. Two pastors spoke on the subject in length. Both said “we have all we need already in us if we have the Holy Spirit, if we are born again.” I believe I am born again – my life is living proof of it. So if I have all I need already in me, what’s hindering me? God placed baptism in front of me again. Even though I did it when I was 11, I didn’t really start living my life as a born again follower of Christ until a few years ago. This is the time to fully acknowledge His work in me. This is the time to go public.

I started attending a new church a few weeks ago. They are having a baptism this evening. I will be in that group who are being baptized. It’s a simple obedience to what I believe I am to do next in order to move forward in complete surrender to His will. Whether I receive any deeper anointing or find a new power working through me is irrelevant. I am to follow where God leads me. I am excited to find out what’s next in my life. Each small step of obedience leads to another small step. As I take each one, a true walk of faith is occurring. My journey is not about a destination since I know the ultimate destination, but it’s about the process to getting there. Celebrate with me today for I am alive in Christ!

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:3-4 (ESV)

Open Door

A couple of years ago I had a dream. I believe it was a vision from God. I mentioned it in my newsletter in May (Think Myself Free). This dream or vision was not clear. I remember only the open door and my need to close it, but it would not close. When I woke up, I was immediately filled with fear. I thought someone was in the room with me. And I prayed immediately that if I was in danger or demons were present for God to protect me. I was immediately filled with peace and went right back to sleep. I did not know how to interpret all that had transpired.

I have mentioned it to a few people, and they gave me different possibilities. At the time of this dream, I was in a middle of a transition to another path in life. One thought was the door represented the future, and I was trying to close off the future. I didn’t like what was on the other side. I was fearful of going through the door. One thought was the door represented people who needed to come in and out of my life. Another thought was that my old path was not yet done, and I wanted it to be done – representing me closing that door.

I believe God’s visions always reflect a spiritual issue. God doesn’t focus on the physical as much as He does on the spiritual. We are spiritual beings in a physical world. I believe I finally have the interpretation. The open door means I need to tell my story, going where He wants to send me and doing the thing He has placed in me. The fear comes from sharing my story. It’s something I thought I could take to my grave, but God has a different plan. His ways are not my ways.

The scripture in Habakkuk 2 I used last week, and a message from Craig Groeshel opened my eyes to the vision, and I believe it is true. It’s time to tell, and it’s time to write it down. So in May, I started my next book. It will tell of my journey, and how I got to where I am today. It’s scary to be this open, but I know God wants to use it to reach someone else that needs to hear. May it be as He says!

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 1:7-8

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