When a Friend of God Speaks

WHEN A FRIEND OF GOD SPEAKS

Anxiety in the heart of a man weighs it down, but a good word makes it glad.  Proverbs 12:25

            I’m not a stranger to pain. I’ve lived long enough to recognize the foreboding fronts on the horizon that often heads my way.  I’ve felt the change in the atmosphere and remember bracing myself for what I knew was coming.   Since I have survived similar storms before, it’s somewhat comforting. At least I’ve gained a little experience that will help me navigate the next one.

            Regardless, the anxiety you and I experience when our world stops is profound.  These moments will come to each of us. Like those who attended the soccer match in Paris, or those who casually had dinner at a sidewalk cafe, we can’t conceive that our world is about to change. When it happens to me, I wonder if I’ll ever breathe easily again.  There’s a new edginess in my gut and I know I need to cultivate a deeper relationship with God in order to survive it.  I look inside for Jesus, my Anchor, and know I must hold on tightly.

            What can make the greatest impact are the reassuring words of others who are connected to God and close to me.  When I have reached out to selectively share my burdens with them, the other person’s response made the difference between drowning and pressing on.  What they passed on to me was what I needed most.  FAITH.

  • “Christine, God is not stunned by this nor has He forgotten you!”
  • “Let me lend you my faith right now. I know yours is weak.”
  • “I don’t know how God will redeem this, but I’m waiting to see it with you.”  

            Continue reading “When a Friend of God Speaks”

It’s Called Redemption

IT’S CALLED REDEMPTION

The wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.  Proverbs 13:22

            Look at Solomon’s words. Do you believe this outrageous claim?  Could it be true that when others deprive you of what is rightfully yours and hoard it for themselves, that God wants to repay it to you another way?  Could it be true that the losses you experience, even when inflicted by those in a position to intentionally hurt you, will be restored down the road?  God says that the answer is yes.  It’s called redemption.  Take Romans 8:28, erase the damage done by those who have recited it to us as platitudes, and consider this golden promise again.  “God makes all things work together for good who are called according to His purpose.”

            Live long enough and you will experience pain. For many, their innocence is shattered in childhood. For others, it is fractured in marriage when the one they believe loves them like no other discards them without much thought. Add to these losses the death of parents and children, the disintegration of dreams, the erosion of financial security, and we can end up believing that our best years have already been lived. We begin to mark time to just make it until glory.

            Once, while in the pit of disillusionment, God spoke to me about new beginnings and His power to redeem ashes.  I was to grieve the losses, trust Him to be my Redeemer, and stand in the promises until I could see them come true.  Some, I’ve already experienced and I’ve been astounded how God can mastermind a fresh start when I can’t begin to envision it. But, I am still waiting for redemption regarding other losses. God may choose to redeem them here on earth but just as often, redemption happens in eternity.  No matter, it’s promised, it’s coming, and it’s a sure thing.   Continue reading “It’s Called Redemption”

How Others Feel In My Space

HOW OTHERS FEEL IN MY SPACE

Much wealth is in the house of the righteous.  Proverbs 15:6

            The wealth Solomon is referring to has nothing to do with net worth.  He speaks of an abundance that can be felt in one’s spirit. How do others feel when they’re in my space, whether home, office, car, or Sunday School room?

            Have you ever driven by a certain house and felt that something is wrong?  The house felt dead, even dark.  Sadness, trauma, anger, and perversion all left their mark on a property.  I have stayed in many homes where there has been a lot of arguing.  I could tell just walking in the door that the spirit of anger had a foothold.  Tension knotted my stomach just minutes after arriving. I have also been the guest in homes where depression ruled.  I felt my energy decline the longer I was under their roof.

            God’s children are not to be held captive to sin, nor a prisoner to the things of darkness that seek to rule all men.  We are to know how to get free from such chains to walk in freedom and joy.  The effects of that on our home, whether we live in a palace or a small room in a nursing facility, are simply profound.

            Some years ago, I had the chance to visit a certain woman’s house for the first time.  It was the home of Elizabeth Guthrie, my dear friend and co-laborer in this ministry. It was Christmastime and I was invited for lunch along with two other friends.  I didn’t know Elizabeth well back then so when she answered the door and I took a step inside, I felt I had stepped into such a peaceful space that it literally took my breath away.  It was obvious that someone firmly connected to God lived there.  A holy calm marked her territory and it spoke volumes to me about her private world. While I conversed over lunch about other topics, I never stop pondering the feelings of being in her space. Continue reading “How Others Feel In My Space”

Stuffing Painful Memories

STUFFING PAINFUL MEMORIES

Even in laughter the heart may be in pain, and the end of joy may be grief.  Proverbs 14:13

            That which weights down my heart like lead is usually difficult to acknowledge.  Somewhere beneath my sanguine exterior, grief pokes at me constantly, begging for acknowledgment.  If it’s too frightening to process, I will run from it. If the grief is terrifying, I’ll run from it indefinitely.

            I am in tune with the sad eyes of people at social gatherings.  Those who regale others with the funniest stories of the evening can be the very ones who cry themselves to sleep in private agony.  How many comedians have admitted that they struggle with depression? It seems to be a theme. The jokester is often the troubled soul. Continue reading “Stuffing Painful Memories”

Pre-Requisites of Good Teaching

PRE-REQUISITES OF GOOD TEACHING

The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable.  Proverbs 15:2

    I still tremble with fear knowing that I have been called to be a teacher of the Word.  In the beginning of my ministry, I was a recording artist and never could have imagined the future. I’ve learned the hard way that teaching is so much more than just sharing information.  Eloquence of the spiritual kind is what happens when what a teacher shares is shaped and empowered by God to go into a man’s spirit, like a well crafted arrow, to change his life.

  • To teach successfully, I must have wisdom.  That means I have come to the end myself and recognize that I am spiritually bankrupt without God.
  • To teach successfully, I must know people.  I must understand the heart of a man and how he thinks, moves, and breathes with or without God.  That starts with knowing myself as revealed by the Holy Spirit.
  • To teach successfully, I must be in tune with whether or not others are connecting with me.  Blank stares, napping, shifting in their seats…these are not good signs. I must be open to others feedback.
  • To teach successfully, I must know when the hearts of my listeners are ready to hear the message.  There must be fertile ground for the seeds to take root.  A message delivered prematurely, even though it may be expertly crafted, is completely wasted.  I may as well have curled up at home with a good book. And, there will never be fertile ground without prayer. Lots of it.
  • To teach successfully, I must know how to hear the voice of God’s Spirit while I’m teaching.  As one who used to be chained to my notes, convinced that I needed to have every “t” crossed and every “i” dotted, I have learned that God wants to tweak my messages during the delivery.  If I don’t know how to hear Him and don’t have the guts to follow His lead, I will live in the bondage of perfectionism. I will forfeit the thrill of seeing Him move supernaturally through a Spirit-led tangent.

“The Scriptures come alive to me,” is one of the greatest comments a teacher will ever hear.  God is looking for those who are willing to do their own rigorous heart preparation before ever taking the podium. I’m asking God to never let me do anything less.

Break me and mold me.  Burn the message into my spirit and remove the dross. I finally have no other agenda than Yours, Lord.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

Save Yourself The Trouble

SAVE YOURSELF THE TROUBLE

“Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult; whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse.”  Proverbs 9:8

            Since the Word of God is ‘profitable for correction and for instruction in righteousness’, it would also stand to reason that the messenger who brings the Word of God to others is also bringing correction and instruction.  As God’s ambassador, I should be prepared because not all are willing to receive it.  I shouldn’t be surprised when the experience turns sour and my spirit is left stinging after the encounter.

            If the other person’s pride is wounded, there is often payback. The level will be determined by the degree of evil in the person.  Try to reason with a mocker, one who is addicted to being right, and you can plan on being insulted.  His need to look good at all costs will prevail.  Rebuke a wicked man and the stakes go even higher.  Instead of arguments, there will be personal attacks.  Know that your soul will be unsafe and the target of injurious comments meant to do personal damage. Continue reading “Save Yourself The Trouble”