Heaven’s Lens

Do not conform to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. –Romans 12:2

Many of us have been programmed to think and see the worst in people, circumstances and ourselves. Professional Fault-Finders; often wired from childhood to think and prepare for the worst. We are also best known as our own personal worst critic.  Even in the midst of praise for your attributes and accomplishments you can’t help but to find something wrong.

Then along came Jesus preaching, “Repent!” Change the way you think.  What a bold request; a request that goes against every fiber of your natural being. To abandon the way you’re wired and see yourself not as a “Hot Mess” but through Heaven’s lens…Faultless, Forgiven, Perfected and Loved. That’s challenging for some of us.

I suppose Heaven’s view would look like this:

I am not past, my addictions or pain.

I am a New Creation, the old me is dead and gone, the new me is here to stay.

I am not my sins.

I am Forgiven. My sins, (past, present and future) are Nailed To The Cross.

Forgiven and Forgotten.

There is no more condemnation for me. Sin has No Dominion over me anymore.

I am not weak, a victim or a failure.

I am More Than A Conqueror. I can do All Things Through Christ who strengthens me.

I am a Co-heir with Christ, created to do good works.  I am Destined to Reign and Succeed.

Enough about who I was, this is who I am: Chosen By God, Justified By Faith, Glorified in Christ and at Peace with God. No longer conformed to the patterns of this world but conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. I am the Righteousness of God in Christ. No longer a Fault Finder but a Faith Seeker. I am light and salt to this Earth. I am the Apple of God’s Eyes, the one whom the Father So Loved. I’m wired in Christ now and as Christ is, So Am I.  My Friend that is how Heaven sees you.

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The One

person at crossI was waiting patiently in the waiting room. It was an hour past my appointment time and I was not happy. I came to the early morning appointment without having coffee or bringing a book, tablet or phone. I thought I’d be in and out of there in thirty minutes top. I was so wrong. So I said, “Okay LORD, it is You who plans my day. If you’re going to leave me without coffee or iPad; who do you want me to minister too?” Moments later, I found myself spiritually sparring with another believer. That exchange lead to a mother asking me to pray for her daughter. We prayed and you can imagine my delight when I heard a few “Amens” from those listening.

Then there was, The One. It had been three hours past my appointment time. I could have rescheduled but I felt compelled to stay. There were only two of us left in the waiting area. This college student had heard and saw my interactions so he wasn’t surprised when I asked him if he believed in Jesus.

“Not anymore”, he said, “ I was ex-communicated out of my church because I asked too many questions.” He replied quietly.

“You weren’t in God’s church, Friend.” I replied. “You see whom the Father gives to the Son cannot be snatched out of His hands.  You can’t be ex-communicated out of His presence. Once you become His child, He vows to never leave or forsake you. As for asking questions, our Father says, ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you find; knock, and it will be opened to you.’ Our God doesn’t run away from questions. He loves when you have questions about Him that means you want to get to know Him. The Father desires to unveil His heart to us.”

What the young man said next almost blew me out of my seat. “Am I supposed to believe that God who created this vast universe and filled this one planet with billions of people could care about someone as insignificant as me.”

“Yes!!!!” I yelled so loud that I even startled myself.  I started to say, “You’re the One…” Then the door to the examination rooms opened. They called my name.

I didn’t know what to do; I wanted to finish this conversation but what was on my heart to say I felt it needed to be said in private.  Even though I said to the attendant, that I’d be right there, she chose to stand there and wait for me. Sadly the flesh kicked in, I started to feel the burden from the long wait.  I looked back at the young man and smiled awkwardly at him. He smiled back, waved goodbye and I left.

What I wanted to say is this:

You are The One the scriptures spoke about. The One that God So Loved and gave Heaven’s Best, His Beloved Son for. God cares for you and loves you with an unfailing and unwavering love.  According to the Creator of this vast universe and planet filled with billions, YOU are The One worth fighting for and dying for and that’s exactly what He did For You on The Cross. You’re not insignificant to Him; you are the Apple of God’s Eye.

I have to be honest I felt like I missed a moment; like I failed God. Then the Father reminded me that it was Him who orchestrated this moment. It was Him who prompted the prayer I prayed later on for this young man. Everything went according to God’s plan. The Father assured me that I planted the seed and watered it.  Now it’s His job to make it grow. With loving-kindness God will draw him.

Remember its God who orders our steps. What may seem like a bad day may very well be God preparing “A Moment” for you to share the love of Jesus with That One.

God Is With You

IMG_0489It’s been over a year since my Dad passed away to be with Christ. When your parent gets up there in age, you begin to prepare yourself for that day. In spite of your best efforts, you’re never really prepared for that moment when you realize that they’re gone. No more laughter, or advice you really didn’t want. Just silence.

In the beginning everyone is so understanding with words of comfort. When days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months and years your encouragers begin to wonder sometimes out loud, Will you get over it already! They don’t mean to be cruel but I guess people’s tolerance for grief is limited. So in an effort to not be a buzz-kill, you lie when they ask you how you’re doing. You put on your best smile and fake it for as long as you can and when you can’t fake it anymore you isolate yourself. In the back of your mind you hope that someone would notice that you haven’t texted or called; that they barely see you anymore. My guess and I could be wrong is that your distance is a bit of a relief to them. You’re clearly depressed in their eyes and who wants to be around someone like that.

I believe sadness is often misinterpreted as depression. What I feel is a great amount of sadness but because of my Dad’s salvation I have hope. For some, losing a parent is like losing a part of you. It’s like your childhood just disappeared. You’re no longer someone’s little girl/boy anymore. If you’re close to that parent you miss just being able to pick up the phone and talk to them. You miss the relationship.

I share this to share what God did for me in the midst of my trouble. The word says that God draws near to the broken-hearted.  Not only did He draw near, He kept showing up as a Father. The first time was while visiting my sister in-law’s church. The church joined hands in a prayer circle; everyone got a chance to speak. I lifted up my Dad’s salvation to the Lord, (my Dad was unconscious in the ICU at the time,)  it’s been my prayer for him for years. My mouth repeated my petition but my heart was screaming, “God I wish you could just come down and give me a hug!” I didn’t say that out loud, this was an intercessory moment. It wasn’t about me.

The Pastor dropped her hands and looked me straight in my eyes. She said, “God told me to give His Daughter a hug.” She walked over to me and gave me the biggest, warmest hug I’ve ever received. She began to pray over me in a heavenly tongue while she held me. I don’t know what she said but I felt the arms of God wrapped around me and I was so touched and humbled that He called me His Daughter before a group of people.

Whenever I write in my prayer journal to God I would close with, “Love, your daughter” I was never certain if I had the right to call myself daughter. That day He permanently evicted the doubts in my heart and mind when I heard Him say, “I AM Your Father and I AM With You and For You, Wherever You Go.”

It didn’t matter to God that I was still feeling the loss even after a year. It didn’t matter that I struggled to smile. I don’t have to pretend or hide my emotions from Him. He promised that He would be with me wherever I go. If I’m in despair, He’s right there collecting every tear. If I’m angry, He’s there without judgment. No matter where I am or what stage of grief that I’m in. Good, Bad or Worst Day of my life, God, my Father is with me. 

He shows up like a Father does every time. He makes me laugh in a way only a Dad can. He imparts wisdom to me when I need Fatherly advice. He listens to me when I just need someone to talk to. He repeats Himself, like any good parent, and reminds me of who I am and the plans He has for me. The Father is with me.

I share this all while fighting a losing battle with my tears just to tell you that your Heavenly Father is with you. He knows what you are going through, He understands more than you’ll ever know. He’s not just there during the Happy, everything is perfect days. He’s also there in the dirty, smelly trenches with you. Jesus has paved the way for you to have an amazing relationship with the Father. He truly cares for you and loves you sons and daughters with an unwavering and unfailing Love. God’s words aren’t just mere words; it’s the Truth. His promises are real and alive and you can hold on to them and Him!

-Be Encouraged God’s Beloved because that is who you are in Jesus Christ. God is with you! #JesusIs

A Father Who Listens

dad-909510_960_720My family and I were just hanging out at home one day. It was one of those days where everyone had a joke or funny story to tell. All of the sudden my seven-year old went stomping out of the room. I called after him but he didn’t respond.  So I went after him and found him curled up on my bed with a pillow over his head. I asked him what was wrong, he sighed  and said, “Nothing.”

I lifted the pillow off of his head and wiped away the tear that rolled down his cinnamon colored cheek. He got up and sat beside me. “Nobody ever listens to me, they won’t let me talk.”, he said.  Sadly, that often happens to the youngest in the household. I put my arm around his little shoulders and said, “I’m listening.” He looked up and said, “Thanks Mom.” What followed was a tale of an action packed, yet funny dream he had the night before.

This moment taught me something about our relationship with God.  The beauty in knowing that our Heavenly Father is listening. Even in the midst of a crowd, He hears you. His ear is tuned in to the voice of His children. How amazing is that! You have the ear of the Lord of Lords, the King of glory, the omnipotent, omnipresent, the Life Giver and Creator of all. He listens to you.  He even hears your unspoken prayers, your incoherent prayers. He hears your cries; your pain-filled, heart-wrenching sobs. God the Father hears YOU.

Don’t take my word for it, hear Him for yourself:

“You will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 29:12-14

See the Father’s Love for you in action:

2 Kings 20:2-5

“Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you.” “

Thanks to the finished work of Jesus Christ, We have a Father who listens, so talk to Him.

 – Be encouraged God’s Beloved.

Jesus: The Original Transformer

IMG_0161…Along Came Jesus

In John chapter 4 we come across one of the most beautiful conversations between Jesus and a Samaritan woman. This encounter was not a coincidental encounter it was very much intentional. You see Jesus went out of His way for this encounter. We meet Him alone and waiting by Jacob’s well. He was tired and hungry from the long journey so His disciples ventured into town for something to eat. Soon after a Samaritan woman approaches the well and Jesus says to her, “Will you give me a drink?”

He took her by surprise because in those days the Jews didn’t associate with Samaritans. Nevertheless Jesus continued to engage her in conversation. This wasn’t small talk; this was deep revelation He shared with her about the living water that He possessed, water that would end all thirst.

Then their talks shifted into her personal life. He brought up her five ex-husbands and the man she currently lives with who wasn’t her husband. Yet there was no judgment or condemnation. She wasn’t made to feel ashamed about her past or current situation. Their talks switched again this time the topic was worship and how the true worshippers will worship God in Spirit and in Truth. Again Jesus unveils a deep truth to a woman whom we can assume was not a minister in training or a religious leader. She wasn’t even a Jew. Nothing about her seemed to qualify her for such a rich encounter like this at least through the world’s eyes. Yet Jesus felt otherwise.

The woman closed by saying, when the Messiah comes, He will explain everything to us. Without riddles or mystery Jesus did something that was rare for Him, I’ve only seen this twice in the scripture. With plain speech, Jesus revealed that He was the Messiah. From my studies the only other person He did this with was the man who was born blind (John 9)

This woman, who chose to fetch her water in the heat of the day probably to avoid the stares and whisper of the townspeople. She left her water jugs and ran through the town and yelled,  “Come see a Man that told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”

Many of the Samaritans in that town believed in Jesus because of her testimony.  One encounter with Jesus, a Truth that doesn’t condemn but sets free, transformed this troubled woman into a bold preacher of the gospel.

Transformational Ministry

When Jesus is revealed chains are broken, demons flee, shame is lifted, broken hearts are repaired, and minds are renewed. The weak can now say I am strong and the poor can proclaim they are rich. People are reborn when Jesus is lifted up. The man who hung on the cross beside Jesus was a thief but after one conversation with Jesus, he went from thief to paradise bound. That’s the power of lifting up Jesus!

As children of God the Father, let’s make sure that we are unveiling Jesus when we minister and share the hope and love we have in Christ. Follow His blueprint. That’s how souls are saved and lives are transformed. Let’s lift up the Original Transformer!


 

A Man Named Jesus

person at crossI was walking down a road called self-destruction, when I encountered a Man who was and is like no other. His name was Jesus Christ. He is a gentleman in every sense of the word. He knew everything there was to know about me; He knew me better than I knew myself. He knew the good; the bad and the ugly yet He never condemned me or made me feel ashamed of the bad choices I made. He Loved me…anyway.

The more time I spent with Him, the more I saw how deep and wide His love was for me. A Love unfailing, unwavering and everlasting. I’ve never felt this loved before. There was so much He wanted to give me, so much He had planned for me. Salvation, healing, peace, joy through His righteousness. He offered me freedom from my past and my pain. Forgiveness and the courage to forgive.

This Jesus took my heavy luggage, that contained all of my burdens and hurts and He handed me His. Surprisingly it was so light and easy. This was just a fraction of the gifts He offered me. There was so much more, more than my heart and mind can contain. I had nothing to offer Him except for a believing heart and a mouth that confesses and shares with others that He is who He says He is! Savior and Lover of our souls. This was more than enough for Him.

A Man named Jesus. A Man without spot or wrinkle who shed His righteous blood for the redemption of all of our sins, sickness and diseases. The only One who was willing and worthy to fulfill the will of the Almighty God. A Man like no other. He met me in my fallen state; touched me and transformed me into His image from glory to glory…to glory. Would you like to meet this Man named Jesus?

A Salvation Prayer


Then pray with me. Father God in Heaven, thank you for loving me so much that you willingly gave up your Beloved Son Jesus Christ to die for my sins. He took all of my sins, death and punishment into His own body and nailed it all to the cross. Better yet, He rose conquering death and the grave with salvation and complete healing in His wings. He did this so that I may become a son/daughter of the Almighty God, the righteousness of God in Christ. Today I receive Your Son Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord and I receive You as my Father and my God. Come into my heart; fill me with your Holy Spirit. I say goodbye to the old me and embrace the new creation that I am in Jesus. In Jesus name. Amen.

Welcome child of God, to Jesus’ Beloved Family 🙂

The Father’s Plan For You


“For I know the plans I have for you, “ declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” –Jeremiah 29:11

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God Has a Great Plan For You.

Many of us know this promise well. It’s our personal hope, our life-preserver. The rock we stand on when life throws its worst at us. Every time you hear this promise your confidence quickens because, this is your promise. God is personally talking to you. If you’re anything like me you’ve studied this verse inside and out. You’ve read other translations. You’ve written it on post-its and stuck it on your wall, computer, fridge, mirror…everywhere! Have you noticed that God says the word “plans” three times? For those of you who’ve studied the Hebrew language the number three is said to represent “completeness”.

This promise has often been the topic of many intimate conversations between the Father and I. What are your plans for me? Am I on the right path? This hope and future you speak of Father God, is it in this life or the eternal one?

The other day I read the verse again and was about to close the book when I heard Him say, “Keep reading, that’s only part of the promise.” So I read verse 12-14 and I had what I could only explain as a jaw-dropping moment. We all know Jeremiah 29:11 but how many of us know/remembers the second half of that promise.

Allow me to share:

“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.”

When I read this I heard Him say:

I have a plan for you, plans that will touch and enrich every area of your life. Whenever you call on Me and pray to Me, says the LORD, know that I’m listening to you. You have my ear and my full attention. One call from you and I’m right there.

How beautiful is that!

It would be a big deal to some if you were to have a direct line to the Governor, the President, a powerful King or Queen of a wealthy nation but you, child of God, you have the ear of the Creator of ALL. God the Father listens to you! He shows up just for you! That’s our hope and future.

The one who listens says; I don’t make a promise that I can’t keep. I will never leave you or forsake you; I will be with you wherever you go. I am with you in the valley, on the mountaintop and everywhere in between. I fight for you. You are my heir and every promise to you is a ‘yes’. My love for you is unwavering, unfailing and it never gives up.

Your future and hope is in Him that is able. The one who loved you so much that He died on the cross just for you. Got questions about your future, the things you wrestle with at night? Just ask; He’ll give you the answers you seek. Whether you’re a Gideon who needs a little more convincing or a Paul who’s ready to go as soon as the scales have been lifted from your eyes. God will meet you right where you are.

He who began the good work He started in you, He will see it to completion. That’s the plans, hope and future we have to look forward to.

 

 

God’s Divine Exchange

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I have an investment tip for you, one with no risk and huge rewards. Your investment can be as small as a mustard seed but I can assure you that your return will exceed your wildest expectation. Here’s my life investment tip, For God so loved the world {that’s you} that He {willingly} gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. -John 3:16 emphasis mine.

Belief, that’s your investment and God’s Divine Exchange, is your reward. Here’s a quick snapshot of our investors, aka the Believers, portfolio.

Your Sins and Iniquities = For Christ’s Righteousness

Death and Separation = Eternal Life

Ashes and Despair = Beauty and Joy

Your Sorrow and Pain = Jesus’ Peace That Surpasses Understanding

Your Poverty and Lack = God’s Riches and Grace

Your Brokenness = Jesus’ Health and Complete Wholeness

I’m one of these investors and I can testify that this life-changing investment worked for me. I was once lost in this world. A prisoner to my past, mistakes and pain, until I met my Investment Holder, Jesus Christ, the Son of the one and only God. He pulled me out of the miry pit and showed me a Love I didn’t deserve and didn’t think existed. Then I learned that Jesus loved me, even while I was still in sin and invested in me when He laid His life down on the cross. If I were an investor, I wouldn’t have invested in me but from the Father’s view I was worthy. So I sowed my mustard seed of faith believing Yes, Jesus loves me and by His grace I was saved and set free. By His stripes I am healed.

Today I serve as one of Jesus’ partners with an investment tip I hope to share with as many souls He drops into my path. My hope is to find other investors willing to take a leap of faith on God’s Divine Exchange. An investment that is open to all. No experience needed to invest the only requirements are belief and an open heart.


Father Keep Me Encouraged

I was wrapping up my morning prayer when I said, “Father, keep me encouraged today.” I gasped as soon as the words left my mouth. I couldn’t believe I just said that. I’ve been saved for almost half my life; these words shouldn’t be coming out of my mouth. I felt ashamed. God has performed miracle upon miracle in my life. He’s made the impossible, possible so many times. My entire household is blessed beyond measure. I have more than enough to be encouraged about. If King David could encourage himself after losing his wives and kids and the family’s of his men to the enemy. Surely I can muster up enough encouragement for myself. Looking back at all the Lord had done for me only made me feel worse. Besides, things were good. There was no reason for me to make such a request. I felt so ungrateful and selfish.

That’s when I heard the Lord say, “If your child were to ask you for help and it was within your power to help them, would you ever deny them? I thought… No.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it wouldn’t matter how many times I’ve helped my kids in the past. It wouldn’t matter how great or small the need was; if they need me, I’m there. I don’t keep a tally. I would never say, “Sorry kid you’ve hit your limit, or you’re an adult now, you’re on your own.” To be honest I take pleasure in helping them, even with the things I know they can do themselves. I love being there for them. I like to think that the love I have for my children is but a fraction of the Love God has for us. If it pleases me to encourage my children then I have to believe that it pleases God to keep me encouraged.

I was led to the book of Romans and with 7 words God replaced that shame that crept into my heart with love and a boldness that set me free. This is what I read: “…The God who gives endurance and encouragement…” Romans 15:15 NIV. I didn’t even finish the rest of the verse and I didn’t need to. All I needed was these few words, that He is the God who gives endurance and encouragement. Never again will I ever hesitate to ask my Heavenly Father to keep me encouraged. The greatest trick of the enemy is to keep us too ashamed to come to the Father with our needs. Hebrews 4:16 encourages us, “to approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. “

I was feeling a bit burnt out that day. I needed a “pick me up”. I thought because of my “maturity in Christ” that I was beyond asking God for the little things. If God cares to count the hairs on our head surely He cares about the little things that goes on in our lives.

I want to plant this verse in you. “ May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” -(2 Thessalonians 2:16-17) May this seed of truth take root in your heart today. 🙂

Be encouraged Child of God and don’t ever hesitate to cast your cares upon our Father who cares about you and loves you with an unfailing love.

Embrace the Season

Ecclesiastes 3 says there is a time and a season for everything and there is a purpose to it all. Your season may be Fall. There are a lot of changes taking place in your life. In Some areas, it’s all falling apart. In others you’re holding strong.

Perhaps you’re in a dry season. You’ve been stripped of everything you’ve worked hard for. Like winter; every area of your life seems bare, it’s going nowhere. Everything seems fruitless and pointless. What makes matters worse is when everyone around you seems to be growing and flourishing and you, you’re standing still. Like someone hit the pause button on your life.

I’ve had seasons where I thought I wouldn’t make it. Some time ago my life had just blew apart. I was on the bathroom floor crying and screaming, Why God? Why?

I heard God say, Wrong question.

 I sat up angry and confused and said, What do you mean wrong question, I’m the one doing the asking!

Then He said, It’s not why you should be asking, it’s Who! Who is in control?

That’s a good question, I thought. Who is in control? Just because I’m having the worst day of my life, it doesn’t mean that God stopped being Alpha and Omega of my life. He said He would never leave me or forsake me. As far as I know, never means never. Good or bad day, He’ll never leave my side. He doesn’t take sick days, or pop out for a lunch break. My bad day isn’t the result of God being out on vacation. So as bad as things may be, I’m not in this alone, God is with me and He can get me through this!

God is a Promise Keeper. When I got saved He made a promise to me. He said that He has a plan for me. The situations in my life may change but God’s plans for me will never change. Things may rock me, but they won’t harm me. Things may be rough right now but according to His word I will succeed, I have hope and a great future ahead of me.

I made up my mind that day. Whether it’s the worst day or the best day of my life, I’m going to hold on to God’s promise like my life depends on it. No matter how it looks, I’m going to judge Him who promised faithful and If I struggle with unbelief. He’s going to give me the encouragement I need to overcome my unbelief. I’m not alone in this I can and will lean on Him.

What did God promise you?

Your fall and winters are just seasons, they’re temporary. Some falls and winters are worse than others. Yet we are encouraged by our Father who loves us and sent His beloved Son to die for us to count it All joy!

I have to be honest with you, I don’t enjoy these seasons but I can’t deny that these were the seasons that refined me. Where faith was built up and hope renewed. I learned how to tune into God’s voice in the midst of the lies and accusations of the enemy during these seasons. It drew me closer to God and I saw a Love for me that is beyond words.

There is a purpose to your lack, droughts and afflictions. According to His promise your pain will not be in vain. I’ve come to see the low points in my life as the fertilizer that prepares me for the fruit that’s about to come. The vehicle that carries me into my Spring and Summers. You may not be in that place where you can celebrate in the midst of your trials yet, but you can have rest and peace in them knowing that God is with you and for you.

Whatever season you’re in, I want to encourage you to embrace it. While you’re in it I want you to hold on to something that’s proven and true, He Who Promised Is Faithful! Embrace the Season. 🙂