December 23, 2016

Be Sure Your Anchor Holds

I have had some things on my mind for a while now, but this week it just got to be an enough is enough situation. I made up my mind to disconnect from those involved for several reasons. First and foremost the character issues involved that are showing me that I am dealing with a 'frienemy', and at this point in my life, I only have room for allies. 

When I woke up this morning several things came across my mind from various phases in my life from childhood til now, and then this song written by the late C.P. Jones came to mind:

I will make the darkness light before thee,
What is wrong I’ll make it right before thee,
All thy battles I will fight before thee,
And the high place I’ll bring down.

This has been a busy week. The past few days have been full of activity and the week is not even half over.  It is a season where Christians need to be focused and intentional about our identity in God. Some things that I have suspected have become clear. A lot has taken place, both in the spiritual and in the natural.  In the midst of it all, I had to come to terms with the fact that some people that I considered friends have shown themselves to be disappointing as friends, and as Christians.  Honesty, loyalty,  integrity - these are characteristics that one must have, not for the sake of others, but for the sake of representing one's own character.

This is disappointing because when you are trying to stay focused on doing what was right, you have to distance yourself from people who don't want the same things in God that you are trying to seek after.  Only my best friend knows what this struggle has entailed for me and how it has been a true challenge to focus on choosing to do what was right instead of what I wanted. As I was giving her an update on all that has been going this week, she just kept saying, 'this is too much'.  I hate it when she is right, but I totally had to agree with her.  It has taken a lot of prayer and has caused me to see the importance of choosing whether I want what I can do for myself or choosing to wait for what God can do in my life. In that way being able to trust God regardless of how God deals with the matter, because the Lord knows what is best and I trust that for what I get and what I may never get.  So, yeah to realize that I have friends that are behaving with less integrity than those who don't claim Christ is disappointing.

The outspoken me wants to say something, but I thank God for being raised around some saints of the church who taught me some very important pieces of wisdom. One of my dearest friend's mother when she saw things going on that were not right would say, 'they think they are getting way with something but the Lord is just winking at them."  Now growing up in the Church of God in Christ, one thing you must know is that when a church mother says something there is some scripture for it. So I went on a search to see what the Word of God said.  Sure enough in Acts 17:30-31, "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead"

So with these individuals being Christians, they are accountable to much more than my feelings. If answering to God doesn't concern them, then  the breech of my trust is nothing. Translation, I just cant worry my pretty little head about such foolishness.  I pray that the Lord deal with everyone involved, and ask the Lord to help me stay focused on doing what is right. 

No, I dont claim to be perfect, I have my flaws and shortcomings just like anyone else. But I try to remember that I am accountable to God, and for that reason I want to do the best that I can to make the right decisions. And that is not always easy, but most necessary. James 4: 7-10, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."

There are plenty of scriptures that let us know that one of the challenges of living right is about our sinful nature being in a tug of war with the Will of God. The flesh is very much a distraction to spiritual things. The point is that what you want in the natural can keep you from getting what God has for you in the spiritual, and what God has for you spiritually comes with both spiritual and natural benefits and blessings. You cant give yourself anything that will compare to what God will give you in HIM. This is not pie in the sky, nor is it prosperity gospel---- this is Abundant Life: It reaches to every aspect of your being and life. It is not limited because God is, was and is to come. On all sides of time and on all sides of every situation, God is non-negotiable in power and authority. 

One of the things that most anyone who knows me knows is that I love water. I love to swim in the pool or the ocean, the lake. Yes, I am a country girl, and when I was young I spent some time swimming in the lake. Now, I prefer the pool or the ocean. Swimming in the ocean takes real understanding of the currents and physical strength. One of the things that any swimmer will tell you is that it is easy to swim away from shore, but is seems much harder to swim back. Not only because of the currents in the water underneath the surface, but also because by the time you realize that you need to be headed back to safety you have less energy left.  Many times the currents have caused you to be further from shore than you really intended to be. You can be so busy enjoying the water that you dont realize that you are moving away from safety and solid ground. 

Boats use an anchor to help them stay in a location. And anchor is a heavy metal piece that is put down in the water to keep the ship from moving due to weather conditions, such as wind or storm, and also to keep the current from moving it too far from the intended location.  This is because even in what seems to be still  and calm waters the boat can actually be moving, but it doesn't seem like anything is changing. The environment of being surrounded by water can give the illusion of stagnancy , but in actuality you can move for miles and not even realize it.  Thus the reason for the anchor to hold the boat in place. 

Once again I must refer to the church mother, who would say, "be sure your anchor holds."  Isaiah 48:2 does not use the word anchor, but the intent of the words in modern English would give the same intent when it says, "For they call themselves of the holy city, and stay themselves upon the God of Israel; The LORD of hosts is his name."  And then we have Hebrews chapter 6 which is a call to spiritual maturity, and does actually use the work anchor. 

The wisdom of the church mothers was to let us know that there obvious dangers, but there would also be times when life would bring situations that would seem harmless but would have the potential to slowly pull you away from the safety of the things of GOD.  The Christian community contains all kinds of personalities, but the tenets of the faith apply to us all.  The situation of the southern and northern kingdoms of Israel show us the importance of this in Psalm 80, a prayer for revival.  We need consecration. 

August 22, 2016


 A few days ago, I was thinking about how is it that some people can come before God with a sense of entitlement and arrogance ... and other people can come before God with humility and appreciation?  In my thought process, I began to think about my grandmother.  When we were children and would do something obviously with the wrong intentions, she would say, "have you no shame?" 
That was the cue to do some self reflection, and correct the behavior... Not just at that moment, but from that moment forward. 

When we look at so many of the events that are taking place with those closest to us, and as far reaching as the national platforms - the question is still a valid one to ask.  Police have no shame in killing both the incident and the guilty without due process of the legal system, males procreating but not fathering their children, people walking around all day -out in public- in pajamas or with their underwear on display, broadcasting intimate life details on social media..... And on and on and on.

There is a lack of connection to what is right and good. Our society has become accustomed to anything and everything. The standards are so relaxed now, that even the most basic requirements seem like too much to ask. Everyone believes that they are a good person, because behavior should not be the measure of one's character. It is as if good and evil are now void of meaning.  That is how the decline of morality has seeped in to the norm of our culture. The inability to acknowledge anything, is in essence a way to affirm everything.  It doesn't work that way. 

Acknowledging one's own sinful nature is even more challenging under these terms. Because under these terms, there really is no sin, just misinterpretation.  So it is much easier to redefine everything constantly and conveniently than to call things wrong or right according to biblical standards.  It is much easier to point out the flaws in the character of others than it is to be introspective and to acknowledge one's own flaws.  It is larger than claiming or owning an act or event of sin, but the humiliation of knowing the lack of one's own moral accountability. Example: A married Christian protesting gay marriage, but being unfaithful in one's own heterosexual marriage.  {My grandmother would say, "two wrongs don't make a right.}  It is a hurtful feeling to humiliate yourself to yourself. This is when you know that you are wrong, even if no one else knows or identifies it. 

Have you no shame? = Are you not able to hold yourself accountable for what you know is right?  

The kind of shame that leads a sinner to repentance is the ability to stand in awe of God's completeness of being (Wholeness/Holiness), and comparing one's inferior state of being (sinful nature).  I use the word 'ability' because the sinful nature brings with it arrogance and a sense of self righteousness, which has to be shattered before one can realize the need to change.  It is hard to be humiliated, especially internally.  Shame is not about being humiliated by the awareness that others see your wrong, but it  is the internal dialogue that happens within self.  When the error of your ways become so overpowering that change is absolutely necessary, this is when one is ready to surrender to God. Conviction is being convinced that wrong was done. Repentance is the determination to change from a nature of wrong-being, intentionally going in the right direction - in mindset, intention and deed. 

When a person has no shame:  wanting the results of what is right, but lacking the desire to be or do right.  It is wanting the reward without the effort.  This leads to behaviors that lack integrity. The lack of integrity is also a lack of shame. 

Sanctification is the intentional effort to live a life separated from sin, it is biblically based integrity. It does not imply perfection, but intention.  The greater the intention, the more probable the success of the effort. It is an effort that becomes a lifestyle. The more it is practiced, it becomes the norm. Each day, each individual has to make a conscious effort to make sin the norm or to make sanctification the norm. Each day, the effort will become easier to maintain the course, and this is why it is important to remain intentional. 

The nature of humanity is such that in most, if not all cases, the change of behavior will not come until one's desire to be right has become solidified.  Forced change can take place due to social norms or even penal systems, but a change of heart has to happen from within, before the individual is really capable of true repentance.  For example,  a child can hit another child for no reason and an adult require a verbal apology to be given. The child can learn when it is appropriate to say the words, but never have any intention to stop hitting the other child. But once the child determines that he or she does not want to hit others for no reason, the behavior will shift, not only to avoid hitting others intentionally, but also making  the effort to not hit other unintentionally.   That is the formation of character. 

So when we have expectations of God, but no desire to change -  "Have we no shame?" 

August 1, 2016


Today, was a good day.  I went to church, as I regularly do, but today was different for several reasons. I have had a lot on my mind and I have been questioning some of the ways that I have handled some choices in my personal life.  

As most of us do at some point and time,  I was thinking about how differently my outcomes could have been if I had made some different choices, both career and personal.   So when I say that I went to church today, that was really loaded with a lot of alternatives that were going through my head---specifically the thought of spending the day on the beach.  But I decided to stay the course and go to church. 

I love my church.  Being a part of a community of believers is very important to me.  What makes this important is the shared understanding of what Phil Robertson- the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty family- calls "Biblical Correctness".   Biblical principles are the foundation to my views and to be in a church that goes to the Bible to articulate why certain topic should be discussed a certain way or managed a certain way is important. 

Today we had a guest speaker. I have never heard him before, and didnt know anything about him other than I know that there are some specific criteria about the type of speaker that will be invited to speak at my church. And this man did not disappoint.  The topic of his sermon was "Our Conviction". He gave several examples of why we have our convictions and what the world system is set in place to do regarding pulling us way from what we believe about God and our walk as believers and followers of Christ. 

So, as I reflect on several things, I realize that what causes us to be challenged in our convictions is temptation.  It comes in many forms and in many ways. It is not always the obvious right or wrong, but temptation most of the time looks like the better option. It looks like the easier option and it markets a better outcome.  

Temptation  has the job of trying to convince you that you can outsmart the plan of God.   In this way, making wrong look right is the ultimate goal.   And it is impossible to hold on to both wrong and right at the same time. So temptation is what forces you to feel like you have to choose, it becomes an either/or dynamic. This is when you begin to feel the urge that a choice must be made quickly, before you miss the opportunity and before you talk your self into something else.   Anything that requires you to rush, might be something to take notice of whether it is leading you in the right way or the wrong way. Ask yourself, what is the urgency?  If the urgency is not related to pleasing God or obeying God's Word, then more than likely it is temptation trying to pull you away from what is right. 

Since it is temptation's job to look like, not only a good idea, but the best idea, this means that many times scripture or doing right will seem to be the outcome.  For example, Sarah had already been given a promise from God. One that she laughed at because it seemed impossible.  It was not that she didn't want what God had promised, but in her trying to rationalize how it could be, she decided to help the process along. She decided to act without instruction from God.   If God could send the messengers to tell her and her husband what God was going to do, then obviously if God had instructions for them those would have been given. But without instructions Sarah figured she would figure it out herself.  

Temptation would have to believe that God needs you to figure out how to make what God has already said come to reality. This is not true. God is fully aware of the details needed for what God has planned for your life. God has all of the details under control. 

July 5, 2016


A few weeks ago, I was praying about some very specific things. This was intercession for several people and situations and also specifically for someone whose life is obviously facing several challenges. It is one of those times when you cant help but to be empathetic when you see someone hurting, but what became clear the more I prayed about it was that this person was dealing with their own disobedience.

We have all been there. Anyone who claims perfection makes me skeptical to put it kindly. I know that I have at many times walked in my own stubborn way concerning some situations in my own life. But as my faith has increased, I have learned that it is much better to just learn to practice patience than to have to figure out how to correct unnecessary mistakes. In the end, I have learned to just remind myself that I trust God.

So I sat with the concept for a few days, trying to decide if I was supposed to say something to the person or to just continue to pray. Galatians 5:18 kept coming to my mind. I kept reading the whole chapter and trying to figure out how to have a conversation about what was going on in the natural versus what was going on in the spiritual. Way to often do we respond to spiritual things in the natural.  Using one's cognitive abilities must come by wisdom to know the difference. I would like to spend some time talking about discernment, but I think that will happen another time. But for now, I will just say that we have to learn to follow our discernment, it is God showing us what we are responding to and how to best respond.

The conclusion that came to was that this person already knows that they are being disobedient, because it is written into the fact of being disobedient. A person has to be given instruction and be intentional about doing something else for it to classify as disobedience. It is the complete opposite of to obey. There is a complete difference in doing something wrong and not knowing that it was wrong, or not knowing what should be done. But once you have been told what to do and act with intention and purposefully calculate how to do otherwise, that is clearly disobedience. 

Being analytical, I began to think about the reasons that a Christian would be disobedient to God. At the top of the list was fear. Doubting God's provision is what causes the fear. When a person becomes fearful of their needs not being met, they respond with their survival instincts and not their faith. Many times, this survival instinct is why we respond based on the facts in the natural instead of the spiritual.  The bible is full of warnings about the flesh because the body is a strong guide, if we don't remain intentional about keeping our intentions on doing things according to God's design. Instinct and flesh encourages one to do things in a way that will produce a right now solution, even if it doesn't guarantee longevity or vitality to one's life. The deception is in thinking that we can do more for ourselves than God can do for us. In actuality, God wants to give us much more than we can image possible. It is the limitations of our human minds that cant see all that God wants to give us. So instead of reaching for what we cant even imagine from the hand of God, we go after what we can see and get for ourselves. 

Wanting a solution right now, and an easy solution is basically attempting to outsmart God. This never turns out to be the easiest way to go about things, but the flaws of humanity seem to make this appealing. It takes a few bumps in the road of life to see that God's way is going to be the best way to face any situation in life. Because it is much better to face challenges with God on our side, than to know that we have been in opposition to the very thing that God has instructed us to focus on in life.

For the Christian who is attempting to remain in their disobedience, this is when they want prayer and encouragement from other Christians, all at the same time, knowing that in their heart they have not decided to change directions or the intent of their actions. But instead want other to ask God on their behalf that God bless their disobedience. It doesn't work like that!

And most amazingly, it is usually the very people that warned the person in the beginning not to be disobedient, that they return to asking to pray for them in the midst of what they are dealing with, as if they have forgotten what they were already told.  They had received plenty of warning, because God is not going to see a person going the wrong way without giving one some guidance in how to do things differently and get yourself out of the situation before it draws you in. God is direct and not going to leave you with unsolvable riddles about the plans God has for your life.

Stubborn is the best way to describe the response to the warnings that came long before the trouble. The thing is that trouble never actually seems to be a problem in the beginning. If it wasn't appealing then it would not be a temptation. The need to rationalize why the temptation is not that bad is just a way to justify doing what one wants to do. Of course in the beginning the situation seemed manageable, and of course listening to those who love you enough to warn you was not the option taken, but instead mashing the gas and moving full speed ahead to prove that it could be done your way.  But in the midst of doing it your way, is where you find compassion from those who loved you enough to tell you the truth and warn you in the beginning.  They cant stop the situation, but they can pray and stand on God's Word. We, Christians, want to see our wounded healed and made whole by the Power of God.

Christians who are true to their faith will always speak in terms of God's instructions. The Word of God applies to the Christian and to the sinner, to ALL. To the world this seems to lack love, but in truth it is the most loving thing that can be done. I will admit that there are those who seem to be so harsh in their expression that others don't see the love, but most Christians are not telling you about God's instructions without knowing that they work because of their own challenges in life where God has proven to be the best solution to any problem or circumstance. Every Christian knows what it is like to repent, to have to ask God for forgiveness and to begin the journey back to where God's instruction and provision are for one's life.

I can't help but think about my own childhood. When I was young we took regular vacations to the beach. Back then, swimming in the ocean did not include a lot of concern for shark attacks and we would swim out into the water much farther than we could stand up. As a matter of fact, I can remember plenty of times swimming out so far that I would have to wait for the waves to see how far I actually was from the shore. When I realized that I was too far from shore, I would begin to swim back towards safety.  I would swim out so far, because my Daddy and my uncles were also in the water, and I knew that they would come help me if I got in trouble. But they also let me swim out so far, because they knew that I was a strong swimmer. My ability allowed me to do what many of my other relatives could not do, go out into deeper waters. But even then I had to know when it was time to turn around and return to safety.

For the person who is being disobedient to God, they are out in the deep on their own. Once so far out into the deep and away from safety, the decision has to be made whether to continue going further away from safety, or whether to turn around and begin to return as fast as possible back to where there is help and support to getting back in the Will of God.

Run towards obedience.

July 2, 2016

Due Season

There is a moment in time when what seems impossible or beyond your ability suddenly looks different to you. Not because the situation has changed in the natural, but because your perspective has changed spiritually. It is when you realize that God is much more calculating than the challengers and much more limber than the obstacles. It is when you begin to see the unimaginable starting to manifest before it has actually happened completely. It is when your perspective changes from 'I don't see how'...... to 'there is NOTHING too hard for GOD'.  In that moment, you realize that God is about to give you a miracle. God is about to do something that a human could not do or take the credit for when it happens.   When it is a true miracle, no one can be given the credit for the accomplishment but God. 

One of the most amazing things that can happen is to watch God bring about a shift in a situation in your life.  There are times when you can't  see or imagine how to get from one manifestation to another, but God is so much better at the details than we could ever be, and God works in and through things that we have not even thought could be resolved. It is the awesome ability of God to orchestrate and demonstrate POWER.

Many times we think of due as a moment, but it is a time, a season. When the season shifts we must be ready.  We must be tuned into the Will of God, and to the Holy Spirit, so that we can properly respond to the shifting of the seasons.

Due Season is a shift that is not able to be calculated exactly, but when it comes, we have to be ready to change our mindset, because our function and mentality have to shift with the season. It is similar to harvest for the farmer. It does not happen in one day, but in one day you can realize that it is time to shift. The shift is when you begin to see things as ready for another phase than before.

Due Season is when you have to begin to work differently because the task and goal is different. It requires a completely different mode of operation, one that you have to be prepared for, or you will not shift efficiently in what must be done.

For example, the farmer who has prepared the ground, and planted and watered, and pulled weeds and kept an eye on the field, will begin to notice the changes that occur as the field begins to sprout and then to grow. As it grows, the farmer can begin to anticipate and even calculate when it will be time to harvest what has been planted. But there will come a day when the farmer realizes that it is time to shift, from nurturing the crops to harvesting the crops. It would look like he is destroying his own work, but in truth he has shifted to another season.  Every thing about his mechanism must change because it is a new season. One that requires the readiness to do something with the harvest. Not only does the harvest have to happen within a window of time, but also what is going to be done with the newly harvested crop must also happen in this season, or else the work will only produce a portion of its full potential. The crop as it is harvested has to be managed to prepare for use and for storage. If the crop is not stored properly it will not be able to keep for a long period of time and much of it will become useless and spoiled. Therefore, the crop must be gathered and stored in a way that gives it potential not just for the due season, but for the seasons that are to come that will not produce anything new. It is God's way of preparing us for a time when nothing is coming due, but so that we will have no lack or need.

This is why it is so important to understand the value of the Due Season. The excitement of knowing God is providing must be met with wisdom to understand that it is God maturing some things in our lives that God has been preparing and making ready. When all the details are just as God wants, then the season shifts and the value of what we have been looking at one way suddenly turns as we see things coming not only to natural maturity, but spiritual maturity.

Due Season is the day that you realize that the shift is actually happening, that God has actually done more than you could have imaged possible. It is like the crop planted in the ground, the dirt is covering its progress, just like the situations in our lives cover our own progress. But as the plant grows and sprouts above ground, it is easier to see the progress. We have to know that God is working even when we don't see the progress. This is our faith in what God has promised.

When we begin to see the things sprouting, we can get excited because of its potential, but when God brings it into full maturity, it will be beyond what we could have ever imagined, because it is not only to help us survive, but it is also to nourish us -- both spiritually and naturally.  It is also to help us walk in the fulfillment of our purpose and calling.

Due Season is not just to relieve the needs and lacking places in our lives, but it is to give us the strength and nourishment to walk in our calling and give us the fortitude and tenacity to walk in every gift that God has placed within us.

God's provision is amazing. God's provision contains so many details that we could have never even imagined. And in the timing of God, when every detail that seemed to be separate and unconnected  suddenly makes sense, that is God showing us that it is time to prepare for a new season in our life. When God's Promise suddenly seems tangible, that is God telling us to get prepared for the harvest that we will have when the season has shifted. It cant be rushed, but we also have to be ready.

We have to have our mind prepared to let go of the old season and the work that we did in that past season and look forward to the things that will take us forward in God and the abundance of what God has been preparing to place before us in Due Season.

John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.