LebBlog

LebBlog

Friday, January 25, 2019

Riches

Today I want to honor my brother-in-law Ivan who is now in the presence of the Lord.
These bodies aren’t meant to last forever.  “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.” (Psalm 90:10)

Looking over photo memories, I recall our families gathering for holidays, specifically Christmas and Thanksgiving.  I have images that reflect us smiling and laughing, exchanging gifts and enjoying life together.

Thanksgiving was one of Ivan’s favorite holidays.  We often spent Thanksgiving at my mom’s home.  My sisters & I gathered crowed together in the living room.  Sometimes Spanish Christmas carols played in the background while others tried to join in with instruments.

Ivan would join the family but ultimately, he would go back to his home because he too had cooked a bird!  He loved cooking especially for Thanksgiving.

The last couple of years Ivan battled cancer.  An enemy that at times seems to have no mercy.  He fought strong and valiantly.

I treasure my conversations with Ivan because through it all he leaned and pressed into the heart of God.  He said he was not afraid to die because he knew where he was going.  His heart broke for the injustices all around us; the troubles of man, including sickness.

He new we were in a fallen world and truly recognized sin at it’s worst.  It would break his heart to others go without.  He also recognized his own need, a need for a Savior.  He trusted his life to Jesus.
Ivan was not a rich man as most of us define riches.  His treasure overflowed from his heart, a generosity and a spirit of kindness that was tangible.  A family man for sure. 

One of my fondest memories brings me back decades when he designed a gold bracelet for me with stones settings.  You see,  Ivan was a jeweler.  Again, the riches of gold in his hand but it was his heart that reflected riches.

I wonder how Ivan is enjoying the “streets of gold” today?   The Bible quotes Jesus, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:1-3)

Yesterday, God who gives the breath, called it back to himself.  Ivan’s place was ready.

Ivan has no need for earthly treasures of gold or stones.  These items are used as material where he has entered.

“The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass. I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”  (Revelation 21:18-27)

Ivan’s name was in the book!

I’m thankful for the memories and life intertwined. Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

He will be missed.  But I will see him again."

God bless you!~Liz

Monday, January 14, 2019

Good Morning Father

 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:9-11)

I just finished cleaning out last year's bill folder.  Yes, I keep a weekly budget so I can appropriate monies to upcoming bills and daily living expenses.

I know that God is the provider of all things therefore I take nothing for granted.  Every week after the bills are paid I write a manual handwritten note of thanksgiving to the Lord.  That may seem silly to some but its a heart of thanksgiving that prompts my heart to say, "Thank you Lord!". I've done this for years.

Today, I begin with a new fresh crisp folder.  I insert all my bills on the right side pocket.  I have a calendar that lists weekly expenses from mortgage payment, grocery shopping, tithing and other expenses.

I began the transfer of invoices.  I also took the time to remove the calendar that held my 2018 budget.  As I began to discard last year's calendar it was an opportunity for spontaneous worship!

Week after week I saw how the Lord provided for my family.  I've been out on disability for almost two years.  Once again God has provided for me leaving my heart is a position of worship because He has never failed to leave me in awe as he provides for my family and I.

Over and over again I can testify of how "My help has come from the Lord." He indeed is a Good Father.

The beginning of the new year is always a time of reflection. Let's pause today and reflect on what the Lord has done. It's not a monetary calculation that signifies God's blessing.  But look deep.  We are breathing today, filled with life.  Stare at the beautiful faces of your children or perhaps nephew and nieces or a new life on the horizon; new born babies that speak of God's blessing.

Think about that one time you were desperately crying out to God; how he answered you. Remember that his ways are higher than ours.  His answers at times can be disguised as "unanswered" prayers. But, look again.

Often a cloud seems like it will ruin a good hot sunny day.  The cloud is followed by showers that refresh us leaving even a scent of sweet rain to remind us of the blessings he sends.  The sun will indeed come out tomorrow.

Today is a new day!  Everything belongs to the Lord including "the cattle on a thousand hills." (Psalm 50:10) What are you in need of today?  Need a way of escape? Ask him, believing he is not only able but willing. 

"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." (Hebrews 11:6)

Shower us with your peace and joy!  We need your rain.

God bless you!~Liz

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

How Long Should We Wait?

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)

How exciting when the Lord speaks to us and he gives us a promise, a hope, a vision of things to come!

But how long do we have to wait?

When I was young, I often would wait outside for my dad to arrive home from work. I would look down 5-long blocks waiting for his shadow to appear from a distance. This was my proof that he was walking toward me and soon I would see him. I could tell based on “his walk” the strides he took that it was indeed him, even though I could not clearly see him. Because I knew my dad, his ways and yes even his walk, I was sure it was him.

As I was praying this morning and crying out to the Lord, I felt the same question echo in my soul. Well, perhaps it echoed in as a thought. Thoughts are not always from God or even mine. The enemy knows how to put thoughts in our mind as well. He encourages us to entertain the doubt instead of the hope and to think on how we can cancel the promise that God has told us to hold on too.

How long did Abraham wait for a son, the promised son? When Isaac was dying, he blessed his children based on the continued faith that Abraham had that God would make a “great people” for himself and bless them. Jacob continues and blesses his children including Joseph’s children. Joseph speaks of an exodus, a release from bondage and commands that his bones be taken with the exodus of God’s people.

How long should we wait?

When the promise comes from the Lord who operates outside of time, how long is too long?

He reminded me today just like I knew that my dad was walking home toward me from a distance; I knew his strides and steps though I only saw a shadow, that the same assurance is also mine based on who God says he is in his Word! We don’t see everything in front of us today but there is an assurance rising that points toward what we have yet to see.

Abel was commended. Enoch, Noah, Abraham and on and on. They waited for the Promise of the Messiah to arrive.

“Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.” (1 Peter 1:10-12)

The never saw Jesus but held on to the promise.

When Abraham received the promise, it kept unfolding from generation to generation until they entered the Promise Land, were delivered from bondage and ultimately hundreds of years later the Deliverer entered time! The Promise was that God would reveal himself and deliver, set them free and bring them back to himself. It was about the Salvation that was to come.

Today, the Holy Spirit continues to speak hope into our lives. Salvation has come! Jesus is alive!

If the Lord said to me that he will bring healing than the Healer will heal. I don’t know how or when, but restoration is coming.

What are you waiting on? Will the one addicted to drugs ever be set free? Will the rebellious child ever return? How will we pay our bills? And on and on we cry out!

But the enemy whispers, the debt is too much. They are too far gone. It will never happen.

Has it been too long? Hold on. He who is faithful is coming!

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

I love the promise in Isaiah 40:10, “See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.” And indeed, he did come!

God bless you!~Liz

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

I Can't Live Without You

Happy New Year!

I had a great day today touring NYC with my son & daughter-in-law. If was exciting to see the the lights, storefronts, smell the chestnuts roasting as the street vendors called for our attention to purchase their items. The Rockefeller Tree was light with every passer-by snapping a photo of a tree that once had roots but now stood as an attraction, a spectacle to see. I stood right below the 2019 NYC Ball. Confetti still floating in the air being carried away by the breeze.

Last night I was in church welcoming the 2019 year in an atmosphere of worship and voices giving testimony of God’s faithfulness. It was HIS glorious presence that knit us together.

This evening I’m on the couch with my husband watching some old church videos that included friends and family from years back. A virtual memory lane. As the music played in the background, I found myself fixed on the faces that scrolled by me.

Some are no longer with us. I began to feel their need for love and acceptance.  A cry for every face that scrolled by. I believe the Lord was giving me a glimpse of his heart.

We are all the same. Men and women longing to belong and to share moments of laughter and expressions of life together.

We need one another to laugh with but also to cry with. Life can be difficult, but God has given us one another to explore and travel through this life together.

I’m no different than my next-door neighbor or the stranger on the other side of the earth.

People need people and people need God. He is a friend that sticks closer than anyone! He is familiar with our pain and struggles. He is the HOPE that has come to intervene in our lives and bring JOY, PEACE and SOLUTIONS saturated in HIS wisdom to our daily lives. Lives at times filled with strife and pain.

The writer of the song “What Can I Do” by Tye Tribbett puts it like this,

Tell me what can I do
Cause I can't live without
I can't live without you
So here's my heart.
Here's my mind
I give you my soul
Need you to take control
Cause I've tried it
Tried it on my own but
What I found is
I can't make it
On my own

This song is a cry out to God, but I believe it’s also a heart pleading to experience love & acceptance from one another. We all fail. But with God’s help and one another’s encouragement we can rise again. Stay connected with me is the heart’s plea. I don’t want to do life by myself. Let’s experience life together and even the toils and the pain. Together we can hold one another up. We can pray. We’ll laugh until we cry. We are one another’s keeper. God loves us, and he desires that we experience the fullness of life that he has given us. Tomorrow is not promised. But today, well its full of God’s mercy, grace and compassion. Let’s share! Let’s live it! Let’s love one another.

The Rockefeller Tree was once alive. It was cut down and though it looks beautiful its roots have been terminated so that the life it once had has been removed. In time this beautifully well-lit tree will be firewood.

Let’s keep our roots in the fertile soil of the Word of God. It produces life that can shine brightly for all to see that the Maker of All is sustaining us. Now that’s something to look at!

“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:6-9)

I can’t live without you God.

I can’t live without you my friend.

Happy New Year!

We begin again to show the world the all-surpassing power that is from God!

Song Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oe9qRXe9yAc

God bless you!~Liz

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Contend for the Truth

I watched an interesting movie today. A little grisly but the plot was stimulating.
Something filled the atmosphere and caused those whose eyes were open and engaging with their environment (which would be everyone) to face their worse fears to their ultimate demise. I did say it was a little grisly!

The fascinating plot unfolds. There were a few who discovered that if they blind-folded their eyes they could evade this evil. Many interesting twists and turns as the story continues to the end.

From the very beginning it was like a parable. Those that could see would die and those that were blind-folded were safer.

In the story of the blind man’s investigation in the Book of John (John 9:13-24) the Pharisees question the now restored man and badger him regarding his healing. The man answers their question by saying, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” (v25)

Jesus was letting the world know that those who claimed their own righteousness would be justified by their own sinful efforts. Those who humbly came to Jesus knowing their own brokenness and sin, those Jesus would restore! The blind would have sight while those who could see would remain blind.

As the cinema continues, the main character who has an emotional detachment issue has to face her own fears. She finally overcomes by keeping her eyes closed and running toward the place of rescue. Through many toils and snares she reaches the place of salvation and security for her and her children.

I cheered, screamed and finally was able to breath as she enters the place where the birds are chirping, and safe haven is hers to dwell in. Interestingly, the place of refuge was a camp for the blind.

I love to dissect movies and their message to the viewer (me). This had an underlying message right out of the Word of God.

In the middle of the movie a stranger appears at the door where these few strangers are huddled together. Some urged and fought, contended not to let the stranger in. Nevertheless, the stranger is welcomed in. He seems to fit right in with them. The warning should have been adhered to. The man was an impostor desiring to bring chaos. He slipped right in bringing death inside their sanctuary.

The warning is sounded right out of the book of Jude. “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” (Jude 1:3-4)

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:18)

The alarm has been sounded! Contend for the truth. We must be careful not to allow compromise to mix with truth. Watered-down truth is no longer truth.

Jesus, the Savior of the world has arrived. He is the way the truth and the life! (John 14:6)

“One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see.” (John 9:25b)

God bless you!~Liz

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

GOD DOESN’T MAKES SENSE | WHY OBEY?

“I want God to use me.” “I want to experience a miracle.” “I want to hear God.”

The expressions of a heart desiring God are reflected by these statements. What if God is speaking and showing us who he is but we are just not responding?

Have you ever been in a restaurant and felt the need to buy someone lunch? I’m not referring to your co-workers, friend or mom. You are sitting down, and you really can’t fully explain it, but you know you must buy that stranger lunch.

The rationale behind such a decision does not makes sense. You don’t know the person. You don’t know their financial status. Hey, perhaps they should be buying you lunch!

So, you get up pay for your lunch and tell the waitress that you want to buy lunch for the lady across the diner who is sitting with her elderly mom. The mom and daughter will never know. You leave the restaurant with a joy in your heart that you can’t fully explain!

Obedience has rewards!

Liz, I’d like you to get up and go speak to the women sitting next to you and let her know I love her. “What, God? Are you speaking with me?” So, on I went trembling but delivered the message, that God loved her. The woman was startled at first but then began to share her heartache with me. The heartache that God knew off.

I believe part of the reason we don’t see God move in our lives is because we are too smart for our own good!

The world teaches us to be rational, to think for ourselves. Don’t let anyone take you for a fool! That’s great and I agree. But there are moments when God is trying to use us, teach us and reach us by allowing us to exhibit obedience.

As God impresses upon us what he would like us to do, we must be careful that we don’t scrutinize his request to the point of disobedience. “Lord, you sure you are talking to me?” Our intellect and logical reasoning could remove God right out of the equation for a blessing based on obedience.

It’s Christmas time and your budget it maxed out. God asks you to give someone $100! That clearly can’t be God, right?

“Rahab, hide the spies.” “Who said that!” Her obedience chronicles her in the lineage of God. She obeyed.

Abraham heard God, but would he follow through? Abraham built an alter and bound his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” (Genesis 22:12)

Early morning and the sun is rising. “Friends haven’t you any fish?” (John 21:5) I wonder if the disciples thought to themselves, “no fish, just tired and hungry.” “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” (John 21:6) What, are you kidding? This body of water has no fish, trust us!

We can’t just trust our own reasoning sometimes! In their obedience the disciples caught 153 large fish. Good thing they obeyed. They didn’t even realize it was Jesus speaking to them.

Sometimes we too fail to recognize that God is speaking to us. He desires to commune with us, use us, and help us experience him.

So what ridiculous blessing is awaiting you for your act of obedience? How can you bless someone you know or the stranger you will only pass by once in your life? Perhaps $100 is just pennies for you. God clearly is speaking but will we obey? Did we send the card he told us to send? Did he say get them two tires for their car? That does not make sense, clearly that can’t be God. Get lunch, well that’s more reasonable Lord! What, for an entire month?

“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. (Matthew 14:17) “Bring them here to me.” (v18)

“Raise your staff and stretch out your hand.” (Genesis 14:16)

“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised” (Acts 1:4) “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:2-4)

God doesn’t always make sense. He bypasses our intellect and asks that FAITH arise. Obedience has its own reward. No one out-gives God. Obedience has rewards! Let faith arise and experience the joy of the Lord!

“I want God to use me.” “I want to experience a miracle.” “I want to hear God.”

Friend, he is waiting for your response.

God bless you!~Liz

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