"You know me completely, and watch over me."
"O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it." Psalm 139:1-6 ESV
I want to thank my cousin, Russ, for sharing these verses with me this morning! It was so timely, as today happens to be My Birthday! I woke up this morning meditating on all of God's goodness and mercy to me!
Had Satan had his way, I wouldn't be here, but God thought it necessary! I exist solely because of God's purposes!
I could tell you some stories, I could share my triumphs, and my trials. I can tell you what He's done for me lately. My saga is ongoing, it's growing limbs and my roots go deep. It's been an interesting journey with the Lord.
Only God can sustain us and keep us. Some of us are doing 'Hard Time' on the earth. For some, the challenges and trials are overwhelming, yet God keeps them from being overwhelmed and swept under. Others are facing life threatening challenges and frightening circumstances. God has His hand upon them as well. He gives His special 'Grace' to them as they endure the unthinkable. What a journey some of us are on.
Today, I reflect on His past mercies, and I see where He's brought me from! It's all amazing to me; a little girl, fatherless and motherless, with no home to call her own, living from house to house, from the pit to the palace, how thankful I've become!
We all have a story to tell. We all have things that we could cry about everyday. We all have had our share of ups and downs. We are existing on the face of this earth for a necessary and a much needed purpose. It is crucial that we not waste the years God has so graciously lent us. When we see Him face to face, we must have something to show for all that He's given.
This particular day, December 29th, may not hold much meaning to you, but it holds great significance for me! I should not be alive. I should not have been here. I can recall every instance where life and breath threatened to leave me. I am kept daily by the power of God!
I am thankful for all those who crossed, and still cross my path, with a message from God, to encourage and lift me up. I am thankful for the Christian love I have experienced from those who have been with God. It really showed. I am grateful for the outstretched arms in my hour of need and the compassion they showed. I saw the face of the Lord as He tenderly ministered to me through them. I say, "Thank You'' to my abusers, my oppressors, and all my enemies, because of your afflictions, I've been able to see the face of God in powerful ways; for I was able, under those circumstances, to hear Him clearly.
As 2017 comes to a close, may we reflect on all we have, and are, because of God's mercy and grace. May we try just a little bit harder, each day, as we move into 2018. May we also anticipate His eminent return!
Thank you for reading my blog posts! Thank you for stopping by and visiting this website! Thank you for following me throughout social media! Thank you for allowing me to share my life experiences with you and if I have said anything that made a difference in your life, Praise the Lord and To God Be All The Glory!!!
Have A Blessed and Prosperous New Year!!!
"Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?" 2 Cor. 11:24-29
I have been around Christians and the Christian community most of my life. I have attended hundreds of conferences, Bible studies, Church sessions, over the years. I have heard my share of pontificating by those who considered themselves students of the Bible or teachers of it. I have certainly had my fill of 'Biblical Information'; I say that will all respect.
As a Christian, I have learned the importance of 'Experience'. Often, we do not understand the knowledge we have received until we have an experience that relates to the information we have stored in the brain. While knowledge is needed and necessary, experience, at some point, has to accompany it.
The people I listen to the most, and primarily, are the individuals who are able to back their knowledge with experience. I can remember, to this very day, some powerful experiences that were shared with me from believers who suffered some incredible things. The way in which they spoke of Christ, and the clear understanding they had gained from Scripture, confirmed for me that their walk with God was as real as it gets. They were authentic, and they empowered me in my faith journey. As a result, I kept trusting in God!
The Apostle Paul, went through some incredibly hard, and dangerous stuff all because he was living in obedience to God. Satan had a serious problem with Paul! He never saw it coming. He never would have imagined that Paul would ever be converted because he had him just where he wanted him. Paul was persecuting Christians and consenting to their deaths. He was the right hand man for the devil and he was doing a banging job at it.
Once Satan realized that Paul wasn't turning back from his conversion, he wanted to kill him! He feels the same way about all Christians! Given the opportunity, Satan would kill all Christians! He is doing so in many corners of the earth today! There are many martyrs for Christ and has been for eons, but only when God signed off on it for His own purposes.
When the Apostle Paul instructed Christians, in the early church age, to do something or not to do something, he knew what he was talking about. Not only did Paul have deep convictions concerning his faith, he had the experiences to back it up. From the very onset of his conversion, and how it all happened, was quite unusual. He heard the voice of the Lord God, literally, and became blind! What a powerful start to the ministry work God was calling him to.
I don't know about you, but as far as I am concerned, I am not interested in constant pontificating where biblical things are concerned. I'm looking to see what the person/s have to back it up. First and foremost, is their lifestyle and behavior consistent with what they say or preach? Secondly, what have they endured for the sake of Christ? What have they suffered? What price have they paid?
My life has been deeply impacted and enriched from the Christians who have endured and maintained consistency in their lives. Again, they have stories and rich experiences to back up Scripture, so when they have something to say or to pontificate about, I'm all ears. I'm all the way 'In' with them because their walk and journey with God is For Real!
The list of things that the Apostle Paul endured and suffered is beyond anything I can relate to, but it is real and it testifies to the level of faith and trust he place in the Lord God. He states that it was a privilege and an honor to suffer for Christ. Incredible! He gloried in his infirmities because of who it was he did it for! Now here's a man worth listening to. Many had no appreciation for him and wanted to get rid of him. He states that all of the opposition, and dangerous things that came against him, was because of his faith.
What have you or I endured and suffered because of our faith? What price have we paid because of it? How many stories can you tell? How many stories can I tell or are we just pontificating about things too wonderful for us to even enter into or remotely understand?
If you have vital and powerful experience with Christ, it is imperative that you share it. I believe in that! How could your faith or my faith be taken seriously or seen as real if we keep our mouths clamped shut about what we have learned by experience with God? It's yours and my testimony! It is confirmation to our faith! It's what authenticates us from merely having knowledge, but an understanding of God (not totally, but as much as He, God, would give us).
We have to be classified as 'Real Christians', not just professing ones. We need to have powerful stories to share with the world around us. People don't want to HEAR, "Come to my church", or "I'm a Christian", or "You need to get saved." They need to SEE the 'Why' come to my church, the 'Why' I'm a Christian, and they need to SEE the 'Why' they need to get saved! We could be a live, powerful, walking testimony that convinces them that God is indeed real! People are tired of hearing stuff, they need to see the stuff through our experiences and testimonies. The Christians in Paul's day knew the stuff he was suffering and the things that happened to him. He could tell them to be encouraged, because they saw how he was going through it.
The Apostle Paul has left us with a power house and living proof of his life and walk with God! He's didn't just pontificate! The false teachers of his day didn't even subject themselves to what he suffered, and that ought to tell us something!
"Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous;
but who is able to stand before envy?"
What a verse in Scripture! God is trying to tell us something that is worth paying attention to!
Scripture is clear! Wrath and anger can, and will eventually be appeased, but envy, never!! Envy is a real problem! What it causes people to do, is the unthinkable. It is a bottomless pit! I could tell you some stories, you would have a hard time believing. I could actually write an entire book about it!
An envious person is not to be played with! Envy is a dangerous emotion if not kept in check! There are many instances in the Bible that support that thought! Look at what Joseph's brothers did, and Hannah's adversary, Peninnah did, Leah and Rachel, and the sad events between King Saul and David and not to forget the Apostle Paul!
Although Envy is synonymous with Jealousy, there's a slight difference. Jealousy says, "I wish I had what I see you have." Envy says, "Not only do I wish I had what you have, I will do everything within my power to keep you from having it!" This makes envy even the more dangerous!
The Envious person is always showing you who they are! They are essentially telling you the following:
1. Their insecurities have swallowed them up.
2. They are hurting and in great emotional pain.
3. They admire you, like you, but hate you all at the same time.
4. They want what you have.
5. They need constant affirmation or else.
6. When opportunity strikes, they will sabotage you.
7. They are not to be trusted!
8. They will go to great lengths to see you punished!
Study the story of King Saul and David to see how many of these points you can trace.
No amount of counseling can help a person to be free from this malady because it stems from something deeper. Its root can be found in the person's childhood and the negative events of it. Somewhere along the line, they were deprived, hurt and damaged. Not everyone who has had a negative childhood becomes an envious person. There are some qualifying differences. You also have to factor in the personality and temperament of the person. We all respond to negative things differently; some to the hurt and peril of themselves.
Don't be fooled! You cannot forge a healthy friendship or relationship with an envious or jealous person! They are not capable of developing true friendships! The man who seeks to change a jealous woman (by love, pleasing her, gifts, endless company), will only drive himself crazy! He could be the best man on earth, but that will not make a jealous or envious woman secure within herself! The same is for the woman with a jealous husband or boyfriend! Look at the amount of young women who were murdered by their husbands or boyfriends because of jealousy! Never date or marry a person who is envious or jealous!!!! Don't interpret their behavior as 'Love' for you!!! It's sick and unhealthy!
Only God can free a person from such behavior provided they let Him into the deep, dark, recesses of their heart. They would have to be willing to let God address all of their negative emotions and actions associated with their hurt and pain. No human is capable of accomplishing this for them!
Keep a safe distance from anyone who has shown you behavior that suggest that they are envious or jealous of you. They are destroyers of everything good! They will undermine you, lie on you, scheme against you, and harm you if given the opportunity! I give you the honest side of truth! I know this from personal experience. Their specialty is when they can convince others to come against you, and the simple minded, foolish, unsuspecting individuals, are their favorites to manipulate and to use.
Envy destroys fellowship among believers; it destroys families; it destroys the work atmosphere; and it destroys churches!
Never forget the above Scripture text! File it away in your heart!
We know the story of Lot's wife...she couldn't leave the past behind. It was bad enough that her family was raised in Sodom, her husband had position and rank there, and her daughters chose husbands who were ungodly men.
When the angel came to escort them out and to save them from peril, she couldn't handle it. They were told not to look back! She looked back, and was turned into a pillar of salt. What a tragic loss!
When you can't leave your past behind, it will suck the very life from you!!
These two young women lost their mother and their husbands! How would they ever have babies? How would they become anyone's mother? They schemed and plotted to get what they so desperately feared would not happen for them. They decided to commit incest with their father, Lot. They got him drunk, and slept with him on two separate nights. They both got pregnant! They chose to loose their virginity to incest! The results of this sinful, shameful act, was the birthing of the Moabites and the Ammonites. These two nations worshipped other gods. These two women lived lives that produced nothing for God! What a waste!
Their parents were carnal and worldly so what could one expect from these young women? The best way to make sure that you make choices that God can honor is to surround yourself with other women who can have a godly influence on your life. This will help you to trust God for His provision!
Samson lusted after this woman and gave her his heart. She was selfish and slick! She used her womanly whiles to get the truth out of him. She was relentless! Once she got the answer to where his strength lied, that was it! It led to Samson's downfall. She helped to facilitate Samson's blindness, his imprisonment and she was an instrument in causing the death and destruction of 3,000 Philistines. And, if she was present at the festival, she may of died. Scripture doesn't tell us if she was present or not. At any rate, she lost her husband behind her folly!
When someone gives you their heart, treat it with respect and kindness! Don't be a slick, selfish, narcissist!
She was married to Solomon's son, Rehoboam. He loved her above all his other wives. He also allowed idolatry throughout his kingdom. When he died, their son Abijah took the throne and she, as queen mother, retained her position. When he, Abijah, lost his reign, after only three years, (the Lord ended it), his son, Asa became king. He got rid of all the shrines and idols from Judah starting with the ones closest to home. Maacah made a Ashera pole, an idol associated with Canaanite deity, and Asa wasted no time removing his grandmother as queen!
She wasted a perfect opportunity, as queen, to be a good influence in the kingdom, especially among the males in power and authority. If you have the opportunity to be a positive influence, take advantage of it. Don't waste a chance to influence for good! You may never get the opportunity to do it again!
This was the time in the early establishing of the church, where Christians were willing to make sacrifices left and right for one another. They were pooling their resources together to meet each other's needs. What a wonderful, and much needed thing within the Christian community.
Sapphira was married to Ananias. It was within her power to give the amount she and her husband decided. But, she chose to lie about the amount they were giving. I suppose she wanted to make an impression by leading others to believe that she gave more than anyone. She certainly left an impression that day! Her hubby died for lying about the amount they gave and he dropped dead right on the spot. She, being anxious, looking for him, lied about the same and she dropped dead as well. She lied to the Holy Spirit, although she was speaking to Peter. What hypocrisy and deceit!
God sees what's in every man and woman's heart! Why lie? Some Christians lie anyway. There are always consequences for lying. She and her husband paid with their lives! Do not deceive to impress others!
Make Good and Godly Choices!
2 Samuel 6:23
"Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death."
This is such a sad story! This young lady, King Saul's daughter, Michal, was a beautiful young lady. She was loving and courageous, operative word, 'Was'. Life can throw you some blows that can change you completely!
King Saul had two daughters, Merab and Michal. He had promised Merab, his eldest daughter to David, provided he could slay Goliath, and he did. Saul and his jealous self couldn't stand the fact that David is now getting the praise that he was use to getting when a victory was wrought. The women sang a song of victory to David and this was where the problems began between Saul and David. Saul goes back on his promise and marries off his eldest daughter, Merab, to someone else.
In the meantime, Michal, Saul's youngest daughter, fell in love with David. Long story short, she ends up being given in marriage to David.
These two sisters were daughters of a narcissistic, emotionally unstable, jealous and crazy father! Jonathan, David's BFF, was their brother. Jonathan was not like his father. There were other brothers as well in this dysfunctional family unit.
Michael loved David!!! She knew that her father was trying to kill her lover, so she helped him to escape the wrath of her father by pretending her hubby was sick, thus keeping her father from seeing him. She placed and idol with hair in the bed to fool her father. When he found out, he asked her how she could even think to do a thing like that to him. How 'Cray-Cray' is Saul? He doesn't even care about his daughter or even the idea of making her a young widow. How narcissistic is that?
David is long gone for many years, running from Saul. Saul gives Michal in marriage to someone else! Could you imagine how this young girl felt? Her lover, husband, was gone and now she is given to someone she didn't even love.
David becomes king and now he has taken two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail. Shortly after that, he takes concubines and more wives. He demands Michal be given back to him. Now, many years have gone by and he gets her back. She is not the same woman. Her husband was crying behind her as David took her away. She sees he's married with concubines and I could only imagine her anger and pain at her father and her first husband, David.
David wins another victory in war and is dancing up and down the streets, going hard, as he rejoiced and worshipped God. Michal, his wife is watching from the window and is mad as heck and acuses him of exposing himself before the young damsels. He refuted all she said and the Scripture says that until her death, she was barren. Hmmm......
Michal, loved David, but she never knew or loved his God. Had she came to know the God of Israel, she would have understood his praise and received the peace she needed to deal with all the negative things that happened in her life.
Many sons and daughters have horrible parents! Many have parents that are emotionally unstable that have caused havoc and severe trauma to the family. This is incredibly sad, but God offers a promise in such cases. "When father and mother forsake you, the Lord will take care of you" (Prov. 27:10). That's a promise and a sure promise!
Michal, was torn from two husbands, and lost her brothers and father, in war, she also lost her five nephews to hanging (Merab's sons) and she bore no children of her own. What a sad life, a daughter of a king, and a wife of a king!
We, you and I, are daughters and sons of 'THE KING"! We have no business living life held hostage by a broken past or horrible parents and dysfunction! We have no business inflicting our pain on others! God has promised to take good care of us, no matter what! Believe Him and what He says about you! Don't follow in your parents footsteps! God is a healer!
1 Corinthians 10:13
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
Even though God gives His strength and grace to help us to endure, He knows our breaking point. He knows when enough is enough! He knows when the trial would start to work against us. He knows when our spirit would experience brokenness. He Knows how much, for how long, the trial should last.
We often feel as though we’ve reached more than we can handle and ask God to let us out, and He doesn’t. Some of us run the other way and suffer even more for not enduring what God sent our way.
God knows us better than we could ever know ourselves. He knows what we are capable of. He knows the fruit He could get from our lives, the good, the bad and the ugly stuff. He knows the glory He would receive from putting us through certain things.
It’s tough. It’s hard at times. It may even be a struggle. Take it from me, I give the honest side of truth! I have never encountered a trial that I didn’t want to run from! I have come to understand why God has taken me through certain things. My experiences, along with the help He has given to endure, are my riches! I am ‘Rich Beyond Measure’! That is the title of my latest book. In it I share a bit of my pot of gold. A ‘Pot of Gold’ earned from simply enduring hardship. I also share some of those hard things and what I have learned about God.
We will never really understand God's point of view on the events in our lives. We are charged to just place our unwavering trust in Him and follow where He leads. This doesn't happen over night. It takes all of our lives to learn a microcosm of what God has been trying to do with us, and when we reach heaven, it will all be plain. It will all make sense!
God has given us every resource we need to become spiritually wealthy. I'm busy storing up these riches. Trial after trial, hardship after hardship, victory after victory, blessing after blessing, and triumph after triumph!
Remember this, God will always make your burdens according to your strength! You are stronger than you know!
2 Cor 11:23-29
"in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft."
The Apostle Paul goes on to describe all of the things he suffered while trying to obey and serve God. Read the rest of the verses from 24-29. How could he have endured all that stuff?
This year is coming to a close. What challenges and heartaches have you experienced while trying to obey and serve God? What did you have to suffer for His name sake?
In an earlier blog post, I mentioned that all who live in obedience to God, WILL, not might, WILL SUFFER something. It's never easy, but God finds it necessary because He knows how to get the glory out of our lives.
I'm learning more and more about this thing called, 'Grace'. God's grace is more than the saving grace we received from the hand of His son. There is 'Grace' that enables you and I to endure whatever God sends our way. That enabling 'Grace' is what I find myself praying for more and more. There use to be a point in time when I told God I didn't want His Grace. I wanted to be excused from the trial. I wanted out!
MY SOUL LOOKS BACK AND WONDERS HOW I GOT OVER...(old Gospel song sung by Aretha Franklin when she was singing Gospel).
As 2017 comes to a close, I am thankful for God's enabling 'Grace' that has given me the strength and fortitude to endure afflictions, testings and trials. No year has been complete without them, fortunately. I can say, 'Fortunately' as oppose to 'Unfortunately', because God has given me a glimpse into what He is doing in my life. I am receiving more clarity on my purpose, along with finer details of why I continue to exist on this planet. Those finer details have been etched a little clearer due to trials and afflictions.
The Apostle Paul experienced the same. One would say that being imprisoned, and being on boats, in order to stand before one political figure after another, etc, was a hindrance to his ministry in that, it took him away from helping the local churches. God saw it differently. Paul's imprisonment allowed him to testify of Christ to people high up in government and people in power. That was a needful thing.
The more we listen to God, the clearer things become. God gives the clarity to discern how He is handling us. The more we listen, the more we'll come to learn and understand.
Only God can enable you and I to suffer and endure disappointment, hardships, injustices, trials and afflictions. Without His 'Grace' we wouldn't be able to make it through!
What victories can you claim for 2017? How has God's enabling 'Grace' brought you through some stuff?
By His Grace, may we move forward into 2018 with a determination to trust and obey Him just a little bit more.