Leb Blog

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Passing Through...

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” (Psalm 32:8)

Just finishing a 9-day vacation.

Arriving at the airport I am in an unfamiliar car in unknown roads. The attendant asks me if I want to purchase a Travel Pass. It’s used for the roads I will travel on. It’s a toll card for the universal tax collection. I declined on the Travel Pass.

New construction everywhere. Ten minutes on the road and I have no clue where I am. A quick exit puts me in –you guessed it, a toll booth. I’m ready to pay but the sign says, “no cash”. It actually reads “no attendant!”

Well I broke the law. No where to go but down this crooked road. I wonder how much this is going to cost me? I should have taken the “pass”.

I became very familiar with the Google Maps navigation system.

One thing I learned during this trip is that I just can’t rely on what others tell me, including Google! I must look up and engage my environment.

During this trip we ended up on a on a one-way, 3-lane road. We were driving correctly, but we had a vehicle heading in our direction going the wrong way. Horns blare and praise God everyone is safe.

The Word of God is a map. It navigates us through this world, gives us warnings, insight and direction on how to travel. The Word reminds me that I am a sojourner traveling through a world I do not belong in. Look around and take it in. Note the culture but don’t adhere to all its directives. Collisions waiting to happen are everywhere.

I enjoy vacation, but I always like returning home. Maybe because its familiar.

The Bible says that our hearts long for home, he has set eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We are just passing through. Don’t get used to this world because it is passing away. The never-ending changes appeal to our flesh. The lure is for us to become satisfied here. But we are not from this world (John 17:16).

There is a Navigation System available and offered to us. Take it! The tolls in this life are hefty! The Navigator himself has paid it all. We can’t afford the penalty of our errors and mistakes.

Look up! He has sent Help (Palm 121)!

Apart from God’s help we are lost. Destined for oncoming collisions. But help has arrived. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” (Psalm 32:8)

Welcome to LIFE. Would you like the Navigation System? It comes at no charge to you. You have a Personal Attendant and the price has been paid.

Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14:6) He has been sent to rescue the lost.

After nine days, my heart longs for home. Vacation was great, but I’m just passing through. My cozy worn-out couch and its familiar sounds and scents call to me.

My soul too longs for eternity. Jesus draws me and speaks. It’s the presence of God I long for.

While traveling, Lord, lead me to your refreshing Spirit. Help me know you are near.  I desire to enjoy your familiar presence that brings me comfort, joy and an overwhelming peace.

Welcome to Earth. Would you like the Navigator to show you the way? The cost has been settled.

Yes please, I’ll take HIM!

God bless you!~Liz

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Valley of Victory

"Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted." (1 Samuel 17:45)

You are in the valley and you see the enemy. He carries weight that is not his own hiding behind  authority, force and a shield. Covered in armor and preceded by a shield bearer announcing who he is.

"Do you not know who I am?"

He shouts arrogantly and tries to intimidate us. He questions our strength because all he sees is our frail figure. He shouts his credential to frighten us. A bully in the valley.

"Don't you know who my Father is?"

His haughtiness will be his downfall.

He sees a feeble shadow. He should look closer for I am filled with the Spirit of the Lord!

I don't need man-made armor for my Father dresses me. "The weapons I fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds."
(2 Corinthians 10:4)

The enemy's defiance rises and he tries to terrify me.

"The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?" (Psalm 116:6)

"Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
(1 Samuel 17:26b)

Our enemy rises us against us because he knows we belong to another. His defiance is against the seed, Jesus Christ himself!

"Do you not know the battle is already won?"

Victory was settled at the cross! The enemy has nothing on us.  Threats and intimidation are the weapons of a weak foe.  

"We are alive in Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit that lives within us"

"And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." (Colossians 2:15)

"You got nothing on me."

“David said to the Philistine, You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head." (1 Samuel 17:45-46a)

"What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us,who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31)

What is stealing your joy, your well-being and confidence in God today?  What is trying to cause harm and anxiety in you?  

"Know and fully recognize with gratitude that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, not we ourselves [and we are His]. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture." (Psalm 100:3)

"God fights for me."

"This is how I fight my battles!  "

"(I) enter His gates with a song of thanksgiving and His courts with praise. (I) am thankful to Him, (and I) bless and praise His name." (Psalm 100:4)

So, take another look at the valley.  "What do you see?"

I see a defeated foe in the valley of Victory!

God bless you!~Liz

Monday, October 22, 2018

Sit With Me

”Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 3:20-22)

“Who loves you?” As a mother of a young boy, I often asked my son, “who loves you?” I wanted over and over to express to him by word and deed that I loved him. It became a fun game at times as each of us stated, “I love you” to the echo of the other saying, “No, I love you more.”

When discipline was needed, love was expressed, it wrapped the words of correction. I learned that from my dad.

The Bibles speaks of Love covering a multitude of sin. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)

In the Book of Revelation, we see a picture of 7 churches being addressed by God. To the church of Laodicea, we hear the words, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Rev. 3:19-20)

Here is God inviting us to repent, to make things right with Him. He even provides a table for us to sit and eat with him. He extends forgiveness for our error and wholeness for our brokenness. The Creator of everything is inviting us. Can you hear him? “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Rev. 3:22)

Yesterday while I was at church I had the privilege of holding my friend’s daughter on my lap. As I held her I noticed that she seemed to be losing her vibrant energy. As I rocked her back and forth her little head leaned in on my chest and she fell asleep. How precious the trust and confidence that she would be safe in my arms.

God says he will do the same for us. He invites us to a place of security and rest with Him. When I read, “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.” (Rev. 3:21) this is God’s invitation for me to sit and rest with him.

His arms are a place of security and a reassurance that we have been accepted. The invitation said, that he rebukes those he loves. He does it in his great love! He warns and directs. He invites us to enter in where he is. This is God asking me to rest in his arms! The call is to me.

When life has diluted our vibrancy and our energies have been zapped by life’s circumstances or by our own rebellion against God, he reminds us that we can repent and rest in him.

When I engage with God he renews me; my body, soul and spirit. I can hear my heart speak to him saying, “I love you Lord.” to which He responds, “but I love you more.” And, indeed God does!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Therefore, rest and lean into the heart of God. It’s a safe place. Repent, recline and rest, you are in the arms of Jesus!

God bless you!~Liz

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Rescue

"Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that
person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted." (Galatians 6:1)

I watched a video today about an dog in a very dangerous predicament.  Using a simple tool 3 brave boys begin to address the situation.

A dog wrapped in a vise-grip position by a huge snake.  The boys begin the rescue.  

I often see every day situations as spiritual lessons.  

How quickly would we go to get someone out of harms way?  Some of us would run into oncoming traffic if we saw a helpless toddler in the middle of the road.  Well, that actually recently happened and it was on the news.

We often see people jumping into rivers to save others without a concern that they themselves might loose their lives.  Advocates speak up for those who can not speak for themselves.  Every day Samaritans at the rescue of the helpless.

These are quick rescues without any regard for our own safety because others, strangers are in a life or death situation.   

When sin has tangled someone we love, do we run with the same tenacity? Do we seek ways to rescue those we love from spiritual dangers?

A snake wrapped around a helpless dog.  Three boys to the rescue and indeed free this animal.  How refreshing!  

I'm reminded of the three Hebrew boys that refused to bow down to a false idol.  Throw them in the furnace but they refused to turn their backs on the God of all creation!  And their God rescued them!

"Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted." (Galatians 6:1)

We are to stay close to our God who fortifies us and leads us daily.  Help us Lord to gently restore those being led astray.  Give us wisdom and the resolve to help those being dragged away by sin.

God bless you!~Liz


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Jesus Loves Me This I Know

"But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." (Luke 18:16 )

The simplicity of the Gospel.  This Sunday on my way home from church my 9 year old niece, Meyli began to tell me what she learned in Sunday school.  She told me the story of Saul who became Paul after God stopped him with a loud noise; spoke to him and asked him, "what are you doing?"

She continued to tell me that Saul was killing Christians and after Jesus spoke to him he became blind.  He had to go to Ananias so that he could be "fixed." Love it!

I listened intently as she continued.  She said, "then Saul got a new name.  His name is Paul.  Now he loves God and tells everyone about Jesus."  Then she said, "I love God too!"

I took the opportunity to talk about the Lord. I asked her if she wanted to know God too.  I told her Jesus loved her and very simply explained that he "fixes" us when we are in trouble too.  This was no long drawn-out theological explanation or sermon, just the simplicity of our need for Jesus and his love for us.

I asked her if she wanted to pray and ask Jesus to come inside her heart just like Paul.  She said, "yes!" I told her that it was important that she prayed because it was her request to Jesus.  I said, "prayer is just talking to God."

She said something like this, "Jesus I love you and I want you to live in my heart.  Thank you for listening to me.  Help me learn about you. Help me do well in school. Amen."  I said, "amen".

I told her to remember this day, Sept. 30th.  Jesus has heard you.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.  You belong to Jesus.  Afterwards, she said that she wanted to speak to her little sister, so she could know Jesus too.  My little evangelist!

It's simple. Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so! I'm broken and he can fix me!

I'm in the process of mailing her a children's Bible.

A shout out to the Orange County Gospel Fellowship Children's Ministry, "YOU ROCK!"  Thank you Brigid Callahan for sharing the simplicity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Interestingly, I gave my life to the Lord when my Niece, her mother was born almost 30 years ago.  This Sunday I had the privilege of praying with her daughter to do the same.  Isn't God Marvelous!

God bless you!~Liz

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Grip

Sometimes life feels like we are on the last thread of hope and soon we will be left alone. The whispers say that God has abandoned us and no longer will he help us. Our own eyes deceive us as we look for aid. They are marked with sorrow and dark circles are imprinted as evidence. Sleep eludes us.

The troubles of this world have overshadowed the truth of God. The world shouts, “hang on!” We want to believe them but as we look around the difficulties of life pile on.

What are we hanging on to? Are we linked with the confidence that the world speaks off? Is the foundation we stand on built by man? Have we succumbed to their ways? Have we shouted like in the days of old, “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” (1 Samuel 8:19b-20)

Have we rebelled against God and then watch the effects of our choices all around us? Come back!

Cry out like David, “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7)

It’s the extended hand of Jesus we must cling to. Listen as the Lord speaks to Peter. “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27) Peter focuses on the Lord and his perspective changed. In the middle of the water’s roar there is a stillness as the world is shut out and Peter is in the hands of the Master.

It’s that peaceful and fruitful place we want to be in but sadly our focus is often interrupted by the wind and fear that whispers that we are going to drown.

The Lord recognized that it was doubt that propelled Peter to lose his footing.

Run and escape to a quiet place with Jesus. Pour out your heart and reaffirm your own soul that only in Christ is there true rest. Depend on him and regardless of what is happening insist on staying in his grip, in his presence. “Yes, my soul find rest in God.” (Psalm 62:5-8)

Holding on to the last thread. Will it break? Fear not, did you not see his hands opened beneath you!

“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” (Psalm 62:8)

God bless you!~Liz

Friday, September 21, 2018

I stand in Awe!

“Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” (Matthew 9:2b)

We’ve heard this testimony often. The courage of the paralyzed man’s friends. The interruption as Jesus was speaking. The mess created in the house as the ceiling is torn open and the teachers of the law are saying that Jesus is a blasphemer.

What about the paralyzed man himself? Why did he not speak? The Scriptures does not record him saying a word to the Lord. Why?

Was he afraid to speak? Was he confident that the Lord would have mercy on him?

What went through his mind when Jesus said, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”?

Do you think that for a moment he wondered, “I came here to be healed not forgiven?” Did he recognize the sin in his own life? The Word does not elaborate on all that transpired. It does not illuminate the condition of this desperate soul.

When the Lord calls we know that we have encountered something inexpressible.

Often the wrestling for us is with our sin. We encounter Jesus and he tells us we are forgiven by the finished work of the cross. Like me, I have asked him to heal me of disease. Jesus can, he has and he continues to do so.

God created mankind in his image, the world, everything we see, and he was pleased. When temptation came, and mankind fell everything changed drastically. Sin landscaped the world and sickness ravished our perfect bodies. Sickness was introduced to the perfect world along with all kinds of evil and spiritual death. Physical death would also follow.

Sometimes we miss the correlation of sickness and sin. Not every sickness is a result of sin. After all,we do live in a fallen world. In this story of the nameless paralytic man we get some insight on the condition of the heart.

I wonder if this paralytic man understood this? When Jesus said, “your sins are forgiven”, what did this mean? Did it mean restitution? Did the paralytic man reason that today there would be wholeness in him? It was not a reward for the sick man but a gift from the Healer and Deliverer himself, the Savior of the World. Jesus was announcing that he was the only one who could forgive sin. No wonder the teachers of the law were angry.

When the teachers of the law saw this miracle that meant that a “heart check” was imminent for them!

No talking. No defending oneself. No excuses. Yes, Lord I am a sinner.

The gavel sounded, and it was in our favor. It’s for “whoever believes”.

I wondered if his silence was just a form of worship and awe. The paralytic man came in broken, a diseased sinner separated from God and left healed spiritually and physically.

The woman with the issue of blood, she said to herself, “If only I could touch his cloak, I will be healed.” No words. She hears, “Take heart, daughter, your faith has healed you.” (Matthew 9:22)

God is not contained in the ark, the tabernacle, the church or anything made by man. He desires to live within each one who confesses his need and depravity. He desires to dwell in us; he knows our need. God dwells outside of any box we have falsely imagined. He has come to forgive sin and heal us. He is Healer and the Savior of the world bringing restoration to our soul and our bodies.

“Be still and know that I am God.’ (Psalm 46:10a)

Sometimes a quiet heart is an act of worship. It allows us to listen to the song of grace and mercy being sung over us. He loves us. In reply we worship him in spirit and in truth. Thank you, Jesus!

God bless you!~Liz