Leb Blog

Monday, April 16, 2018

Kindness is contagious!

"But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved."
(Ephesians 2:4-5 )

I grew up in the Bronx and walking the streets, taking public transportation and putting coins into parking meters was second nature.

This weekend I visited my sister in Union City, NJ and we decided to go shopping. We parked in a public parking garage that demanded quarters to be fed to the parking meter to grant us the privilege of leaving the car parked.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had to pay to park!

After an hour and half we returned. The parking garage is now full. The parking attendant is walking up and down the parking lanes to see who she can issue a summons to.

We still had 30 minutes on our meter but did not need the extra time.

I noticed to my left that the meter had expired. They could not have been there to long because when I parked the lot was empty. As the attendant drew closer to the vehicle I can tell she noticed the meter had ran out of time. I rolled down my window and said, “may I please put a quarter in the meter?” I was hoping to save the neighboring car from getting a ticket. It was just an act of kindness.

I received a quick rebuttal, “no” she said. I preceded to ask her why. She replied, “is this your car?”. I said, “no”. With a stern face she continued to proceed to write the owner of the vehicle a ticket.

There was another lady observing the entire conversation. She quickly gestured by shaking her head. The words she did not speak were clear on her facial expression.

Grace.

Grace is often described as unmerited favor, receiving a blessing even though we do not deserve it.

The Word of God speaks of One who came to demonstrate grace to us. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (John 3:16). We rejected him! We spat on his face, took abrasive nails and hammered them through his flesh producing a flow of blood. The blood that was shed would redeemed mankind to himself. We did not ask to be saved but the Lord knew our condition! We would expire to eternal separation from God.

The vehicle’s owner next to mine did not ask me to add a quarter to his expired meter. It was an act of kindness and grace. But the law, the parking attendant refused to allow grace to operate!

We all need grace.

Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit of God and it desires to be dispensed everywhere we go.

Grace usually comes along with Mercy. We often use these two words interchangeably, but they are different. I've heard it described like this, mercy is God not punishing us as our sins deserve, and grace is often described as unmerited favor, God blessing us even though we do not deserve it.

Despite the disappointment, I will offer grace again as the opportunity presents itself.

We are all born with an “expired” sign because of the Fall in the Garden. But at the Cross, Mercy and Grace was dispensed to cover our deficit!

I receive your grace Lord!  Wash over me with your mercy!

Kindness is contagious!  Try it.

"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)

God bless you!~Liz

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Free Indeed!

“So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

I often hear about people releasing birds or butterflies as a sign of celebration.

We capture the free birds and butterflies and then say we are setting them free. My first thought is, were they not free to begin with?

When Adam and Eve walked with the Lord in the Garden they were free! Free to explore the beauty the Lord had created. Adam was free and even encouraged to name all the animals. Free to walk the Garden, to play and laugh. They talked with the Lord and life was good! They were free to eat of everything in the Garden except from the Tree of Good and Evil.

We know the story. Temptation visited the Garden and though they were content, the planted thought of not having access to the Tree of Good and Evil caused them to stumble. And stumble they did, right into bondage.

The free Adam and Eve were now enslaved to Sin. A rash decision, a decision against the counsel of God led them to a life of oppression.

No more walking in the Garden and talking with the Lord. No more beauty to behold. Sin tainted it all and darkness shadowed all God had created.

When Jesus approaches mankind in the flesh he speaks to the crowds and says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

See when enslavement came it brought darkness and death to enslave God’s creation. The freedom that came with joy, laughter and exploration of every good thing was replaced with oppression, brokenness and the probe would now be for liberty. Freedom eludes us. “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” (Romans 8:24)

When the Lord spoke about freedom he indeed knew what he was offering! We were once free. We roamed without any fear of being captured and enslaved. When temptation came and lured us, the freedom that was once ours was stolen; actually, we gave it away for a moment of curiosity and entertaining the thought that we could be like God knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3:4-5)

We are like the birds and butterflies that have been captured but with deadly repercussions. When we encounter the Lord the freedom he offers is not just so we can go on our merry way and enjoy God’s beauty even with it’s tainted spin. The freedom he offers is from death! He speaks of the separation that desires to keep us from Himself. God wants to give us eternal freedom. He offers the gift of Redemption. Redemption clothed in the flesh, his only son Jesus restoring the life that should have been. A life with Him never to be separated again.

Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” (Romans 8:24) The answer is Jesus!

“So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

Let the celebration begin! The one that was captured and enslaved to sin can now be free!

“In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10)

Father forgive me! Bring me home.

God bless you!~Liz
 

 







Monday, April 9, 2018

Blind

He replied, “If he is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.”
John 9:25

I did not know I needed help. I did not ask for it, but it was clear that I was blind.

The story of the man born blind should resonate within all of us. The Scriptures unfold a theme on sin.

Whose fault was it that the man was born blind is the question?

What I see in this testimony is that the blind man was not even aware that Jesus was around or that he could heal him. After all he was blind. He could not see him walking toward him. Nevertheless, the Lord reached him.

I love to tell the story of how I got saved; how I went from blindness to sight.

I did not know I needed help. I did not ask for it, but it was clear I was blind. I was dead in sin!

While on vacation visiting Disney World the encounter that I had changed my life forever.

During my holiday I visited cousins that I had not seen in years. After an awkward invitation to a small church we all headed to this tiny building where the people of God were meeting. It all happened so quickly. I was sitting in my chair with my family and next thing I know I was in the front of the church holding hands with my husband and our son along side us. The pastor saw that I was blind and reached for the Word of God.

I did not know I needed help. I did not ask for it, but it was clear that I was blind.

“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

The Scriptures reads, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) I recall standing there and acknowledging the Lord, confessing my sins. I asked the Lord to forgive me of everything that I had ever done to displease him, knowingly and unknowingly.

I remember wondering was this all a religious act? What I did not realize is the there was a transformation that was occurring, a change that had begun at the moment of my confession. Angels rejoiced at the sound of another soul being saved. Something had happened and continued to manifest itself within me.

Honestly, I did not realize what had happened in total.

Like the blind man who received his sight, I began to see things differently. An increased hunger for the Word of God was remarkable. I could not get my fill quickly enough for the Spirit of the Lord was dialoguing with me. Even in dreams the Lord was showing me his strength and his might, his undeniable authority!

We often don’t know what we need until someone brings it to our attention.

The man blind was touched by Jesus as the spit and mud was applied to his eyes. My heart was exposed as the Holy Spirit opened my ears to hear the written Word of God. Salvation came to me and removed the scales from my eyes.

It must have been and exciting time to discern every shape, colors flooding the eye gate of the man born blind. The enjoyment of horizons that glowed with the sunlight diminishing. But above all he was able to see the face of Jesus. Of what a glorious sight!

The biggest need of mankind is to understand that God loves them! If no one else ever told us that we are loved, God surely wants to interrupt our day and let us know, “Liz, I love you”. Daughter you are blind and I have come to cause you to see.

I did not know I needed help. I did not ask for it, but it is clear that I was blind but now I see!

Jesus came for me.  "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." 
(John 15:13)

God bless you!~Liz 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Friendship

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your
mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40 )

Our the 2018 Calendar it reads that Friendship Day is August 5th. I want to celebrate it today!

The last couple of days my body has been fighting a cold. Not a pleasant scrimmage.

Last night I took some cough medicine to try and resolve the post nasal drip. It worked well, and I slepted till 8 a.m. this morning. Once I got up the coughing began. So, I took another dose of the medicine.

About two hours later I hear myself saying “no, not again”. The entire room was spinning. I could not focus with my eyes and I became concerned. A couple of years ago I passed out to wake up on the floor unaware that my pressure had plummeted.

So, what does one do in a scenario like this?

I was concerned but did not think that a 911 call was needed. Was that wise, not sure.

So, I dialed my next-door neighbor Laura and explained to her that I was getting over a cold but presently was feeling disoriented and unfocused. I gave her access to my home and told her to let herself in. Sadly, I was so dizzy and unable to concentrate that I gave her the wrong code. I managed to hang on to my couch and let her in.

Sometimes life rushes by and we forget that we have neighbors and friends that are willing and would not hesitate to help when we are in need.

Well let’s just say the visit went a little deeper that just borrowing a cup of sugar. 
Laura stood with me, helped me, took my pressure and remained until I assured her I would be OK. I left her number on my phone for a quick dial. She literally was at my home in seconds.

My appearance must have looked scary to her. Mixed matched pajamas, no makeup, crazy bed hair as  I wobble from room to room. She remained with me and offered her son who is a nurse to assist me if needed.

My husband left his work place and came home shortly to take care of me.

Well, its been a few hours now and I believe I had a negative reaction to the cough medicine I purchased. It was strong, strong and potent enough to knock my equilibrium and my orientation off.

I thank God it was nothing worse. I also praise God for my neighbor!

Needless to say, I will not be taking that cough medicine again. Just tea and honey for me!

Well, Happy Friendship Day Laura! I appreciate you caring for me when I could barely stand for myself.

Let's hear it for Laura!!

God bless you!Liz

Friday, March 9, 2018

The Bully

“He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:15-18 )

Do you ever look back on your life’s trail and wonder how you have been chiseled into who you are today? Life has good experiences and bad encounters. Through it all, life leaves pathways that we can glance back at while creating footpaths toward our future.

In my childhood years I struggled with a skin disease. It could have caused me to run and hide, and to wallow in shame.

Mrs. Brown. That name probably means nothing to you. But to me it is synonymous with kindness.

We are impacted by many stimuli in our world. As a young impressionable life anything could have marked me and set me on a path that would define me as a person. 


Simon, a young Galilean fisherman. That’s who you are Simon, a fisherman.
But what happens when he encounters Jesus?

Simon arrives at a crossroad. Jesus is there with encouragement, direction and his life is influenced, impacted and changed forever. 


The footsteps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord. (Psalm 37:23)

“He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, 

and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” 
(Matthew 16:15-18)

Peter’s life would never be the same.

I recall as a little girl, Mrs. Brown asking my mom if I could attend her son’s birthday party. Now that would not normally be significant. But, to me this was a special invitation. Not many received this invite. Actually, no one in my circle did.

Mrs. Brown was my 2nd grade teacher. She saw beyond my skin and impacted my heart. Her kindness still echoes in my life today.

She understood bullying. Even in the 1960’s this spirit that wants to tear down young people was running wild. I was called all kinds of names. Mrs. Brown pulled me out and loved me. Her responsibility was to teach me. The lesson she taught me did not add up like mathematics. I could have read about kindness, but she allowed me to experience it.

Now, many years later I would come to another crossroads. Life continued to be a teacher to me, and Jesus wanted front seat, my whole heart.

God himself invited me to attend his Son’s gathering. No balloons, no hors d’oeuvre or music playing. A gruesome scene, people chanting crucify him. A man named Jesus is hanging on a cross.

Why? What kind of celebration is this?

A few days later I would better understand. Jesus was taking care of the “bully in the courtyard”. Death promised me separation from God. Jesus promised Eternal Life to the one who accepted the invitation. I reached out my trembling hands and said yes.

Just like Peter, my life would never be the same. Sin dealt with at the cross. The Blood of Jesus, his great love for me, covering a multitude of sin.

As I look back, God’s hand of direction for my life is evident. From school teachers who showed me grace and loved me to the ultimate encounter with God’s Son, Jesus.

Life continues to unfold, and the experiences continue to reveal the hand of God everywhere I look.

He is a merciful, gracious, loving Father and his invitation still stands. You are invited.
Will you accept his invitation?

The bully has been taken care off!

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) 


God bless you!~Liz




Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Song

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16 )

What happens when you are in the midst of a mistake, some oversight or perhaps a miscalculation? I am a worshipper of the Most High God! This Sunday in the middle of the worship service I found myself unable to put together the melody to a simple song. A song that I could probably sing in my sleep. Was this an oversight or a direct hit to stop me from glorifying the Lord?

I have a team of 9 others who love the Lord. I looked over to my vocal backup just to be amazed that the song was still not flowing. What is happening?

The sanctuary is packed, and all eyes are on the platform. They are waiting for songs of praise and adoration to be lifted to the Lord instead they are observers of an unprecedented skirmish on the frontline.

We live in a fallen world where chaos and confusion try to rule. Families are struggling financially, marriages are falling apart, and children are rebelling against the Lord. Do you have a song?

Our weapons are not of this world! (2 Corinthians 10:4) They have divine power to demolish strongholds.

The enemy is coming, but my God is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1b) The LORD fortifies me and protects me from further casualty. He is my defense.

He reminds me to “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within me, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16)

Did I read spiritual song? Yes!!

When trouble visits, we must be armed with a song. A song of praise with thanksgiving because the LORD has not forgotten us. If we are in sin, repent and worship the Lord! If the enemy has come to taunt us, open the arsenal and pull out the song of worship. This is a world where the enemy is always on call looking to whom he can devour. Don’t let it be you! Worship the Lord!

All eyes are on the platform. Should not all eyes be on the Lord? This is a distraction.

Stop! Stop all instruments and silence the interrupted song of praise.

I begin to call upon the Name of the Lord. With all the authority He has given me, I go into my collection, weapons of praise. Let’s put our eyes on the Lord.

I hear myself say the words, “Let’s do it like this!” I began to sing a song that has been deep in my heart from the days of old.

“Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah!! We praise you oh Lord, you are my defender! I will glorify your Name! You are worthy of all praise and I will exalt your Name.” Can you hear the chorus? Can you hear the applause as we all joined in the praise of God? Hallelujah!!!!

Satan will not prevail. He will not interrupt the worship of God. I am a worshipper of the MOST HIGH GOD and I will indeed exalt HIM!

All eyes on the platform to see what the Worship Leader will do. I will do what I am called to do, I will worship the LORD. I felt His presence and the arrest of the spirit of disturbance and confusion. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!

Why tell a story that most would want to run from? Life is those few seconds of choice where we decide if we will cave to confusion or rise to exalt the Lord. Do I hide and wallow in self-pity where Pride leads, or will I come under the Strong Tower and rise with a song of victory! I will rise. 


“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.” (Psalm 27:1-2)

Liz Trivia: This was the first Psalm read to me when I got saved almost 30 years ago! You indeed are my Stronghold!

“For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.” (Psalm 27:5)


God bless you!~Liz

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Ancestry | Psalm23InMe

For Christmas I received a 23andMe kit. If you are not familiar with this, it’s a DNA kit that
processes your saliva and returns a description that depicts your DNA in colorful strands and detailed reports.

I can be a little skeptical, but I was pleasantly encouraged to see two of my relatives quickly listed and connected to me.

Yesterday was my reveal night along with my daughter-in-law. We both revealed our results while our husbands recorded the session and discovered a little bit more about us.

So, what did I discover?

My ancestry composition reads that my linage primarily comes from Iberia (Spain & Portugal). In the mix, my linage makes a connection with the British, Irish, West African and Italian cultures.

I indeed am a colorful expression of life!

No matter where we grow up, who raised us or where we are going, there comes a time where this life ends. You are probably wondering why so morbid?

I am amazed that through the decades and years of time, today I am alive in 2018. Influenced by family, touched by culture, taught by experiences, traditions and practices; it’s all fashioned me to be me!

But, could there be more that the report is not showing?

The Lord in his mercy has preserved me and has drawn me to an experience unlike anything that can be documented by looking at my DNA report. When the Spirit of the Lord drew me to himself there was a transformation in my soul that can not be reported by looking at my blood or picking apart my saliva.

You can however ask those who knew me before I entrusted my life to my Savior, Jesus Christ. The change was plain. Something has happened to Liz. I knew the change had occurred, but the evidence had credibility by those who testified from the outside.

I remember this unquenchable hunger to know God more! It was like a water dam that opened and swept me from the ordinary to the extraordinary. Who is this Jesus? Why do I feel so alive!

The simple expression of my need for a Savior opened a new chapter in my life. It’s a whole new book!!

IF the DNA test could document the spiritual transformation, the report would read differently.

Liz was dead and now is alive! A new line would emerge with a strong pulse of faith! A new heart beating! (Ezekiel 11:19) The historical trace would bring me back to the beginning. “For he chose me in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” (Ephesians 1:4) Hope would be evident, infused in the very core of my being. A new creation! (2 Corinthians 5:17) The family line would reveal my adoption! “In love he predestined me for adoption” (Ephesians 1:5-7) Look at my lineage! “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a [special] people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies [the wonderful deeds and virtues and perfections] of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9 AMP)

Now that’s a report!!

What does your report look like? Today can be the day where it all changes. He loves us. His family continues to emerge. Won’t you let him adopt you today?

“But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 19:8-13)


Oh, interesting thought. I have Psalm23inMe. Death is no longer morbid 😊

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.


God bless you!~Liz