Leb Blog

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Gentle Breeze

"The wind blows wherever it pleases.
You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or 
where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”  (John 3:8 )

As I sit outside this morning and hear the rustle of the leaves, it’s a gentle breeze that’s producing the beautiful song.  It brought a smile to my face.

My grandparents lived in Fajardo, PR. Today I was reminiscing over a visit when I was a little girl.

My grandma’s house was surrounded by trees with lots of shade. Her balcony was huge or at least it was to me. There was a little house in the back that I could enter in. I remember a sewing machine and just a quaint room that beckoned invitation.

No matter where I was in her big lot of land, the trees covered everything. I could feed the chickens, catch slugs on the ground or climb the mango tree and have a treat.  At night I would sit with my grandfather on the porch taking in the lessons on how to play domino.

It’s amazing how just the rustle of the trees can flood my mind and bring me back to a vivid childhood memory, a beautiful memory!

As the birds are singing this morning and only nature’s song is flooding my ears, the Lord also whispered to me.

He reminded me that my grandma, Felicita was a Christian. I don’t ever remember going to church with her or even knowing or understanding the walk that she had with God. I still don’t. I do recall that after she died she gave her bible to my cousin, Olgita.

As life progressed, in my twenties, I too began to serve the Lord. My cousin became ill and I remember visiting her at the hospital. As life was escaping from her and the transition of life was arriving, I recall pulling out a bible and reading from the book of Psalms to her. I began to encourage her and speak about the Lord and his goodness to her.

Sharing with other relatives, I pointed to my grandma’s bible that was in my cousin hands. She was not awake or able to conversate, but I do know that the Word of the Lord has authority and is a testament of all God has left for us. I said, “read to her from grandma’s bible”. The hope of eternal life is spoke about in the Book.

Did grandma go to church and pray for her family? I have been born-again and know that once you have this treasure, you want everyone to have it! Maybe grandma did speak to me about the Lord and I don’t remember. After speaking with my dad today, he said she was always praying, reading and in church. Perhaps as I walked the land and climbed the trees, she had prayed over her entire home that I would encounter the Savior. Indeed, I have!

Even now the wind is blowing, and the trees are moving at the Lord’s command. Even now the Wind of the Spirit is moving and speaking his purpose and direction over me.

Truly, before I was even born he knew me.

Pray, read and worship the Lord. Pray over your lineage that has not come forth yet. Cover those that will one day walk the earth, grandchildren, nephew & nieces. Pray for those that are rebelling against the Lord today. Pray for God’s intervention. Pray fervently and never forget that prayer affect today and tomorrow; it crosses over continents, causes change and effects future lineage.

Thank you Lord for saving grandma and saving me.


God bless you!~Liz

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Deflection

Today is raining and I’m in Lake George enjoying a few days of rest & relaxation. Not an outdoor kind of day. I’m reclining and watching a TV program about a magician that performs tricks in the midst of everyday activities. You can find him in a grocery store or out in the street, behind any ordinary store counter drawing the crowd in.

As I watched this program the magic trick in not as intriguing to me as the language that the magician is using. As he performs “mind blowing” acts the victims are left baffled.

You can hear them saying, “that’s not possible”, “that defies physics”, “I can’t believe my eyes”, “my mind is so confused” and on and on it goes.

The magician begins to deflect the questions and continues to focus on the results of his trick. He bends the conversation to where he wants it to go. Now the victim is lured in even more. They begin to dialogue with him and concur that the effects of this act are amazing!

Against all that they know is right, their eyes trick them, their senses are confused, their hearing is deceived, and their minds are convinced that what is happening must be true!

The first deception was in the Garden. Disobedience was exercised, and the beauty of life was tainted.

Today, the enemy of our soul continues to twist daily interactions and conversation to reach his own end. The end he desires is to separate us from our God; to dilute our effects as Christians. 


What if we asked the right questions and began to filter daily activities and encounters through the Word of God? What if we tested all that our eyes saw and all that our ears heard against God’s Holy Book?  What if every thought was taken captive and brought to the Lord?

The enemy enters the Garden and says, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the Garden’?”

“The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”  “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:2-5)

So here the trickster repackaged God’s words and Eve listened. The deception was so quick that she adds to the dialogue and says, “and you must not touch it, or you will die.” And die they did. Amazing!!

If the victims of the TV show would carefully investigate and not allow themselves to remain in a state of confusion, they  might begin to reason that something else is going on. Perhaps a magic trick! But a trick nevertheless.

The magician takes a pizza topped with vegetables and meat, closes the box and places it on a chair and gives it a few spins? The vegetables and meat toppings are perfectly separated each occupying one-half of the pie. The laws of physics shout, “no way!” The victims say, “incredible” and walk away amazed at what they just saw and now believe.

At the end the magician announces they are on a TV Show known as the Carbonaro Effect and the victims begins to laugh. Some are just embarrassed that they “fell for it”.

Well, Eve did “fall for it.” Adam you know the Lord very well. You walked and talked with him in the Garden? What happened?

We all know that Sin entered the world and its effects have laced us all.

Before we point the finger and say, “fool” we must check ourselves.

The Word of God must be our guide and filter. Our enemy is clever and knows how to twist the Word of God!

” Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them.” (Deuteronomy 11:16)

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!” (Galatians 1:6-8)

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.” (Ephesians 5:6)

“He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them.” (Luke 21:8)


God bless you!~Liz

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Show Mercy?

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:36 )

Here we go again, Mercy: not getting what we deserve.

Why is it that when mercy is dispensed we often don't know what to do?

We are so used to getting blamed, ridiculed, chastised and punished that when we experience mercy we are in a state of shock or better said, awe!

The world expects us to pay for our mistakes. The law requires payment.

On Saturday morning I went out to eat breakfast with some of my friends. On my way home I stopped at the supermarket to pick up my groceries. I am almost home and stopped at a red light.

Two cars in front of me was a vehicle just a little past the light signal so that they could not see when the light turned green. Once the light changed I honked a friendly beep to let them know the light changed and it was time to move. As we are all at a full stop the car behind me must have seen the light turn green as well. He doesn't honk but pressed on the gas pedal and you guessed it, KABOOM! I was rear ended, felt quite the impact in my seat.

The world demands retribution!

Sin speaks death over our lives.

The world shouts and says, "look out for Number One"; ourselves!

God arrives and demonstrates Grace and Mercy and turns the world upside down.

I put my car on park and walked around to the rear of my vehicle. The other driver got out as well while the other cars just passed around us.

The driver began to rub his hand over the bumper of my car possibly wondering, "what did I do"? We are now on the side of the road with onlookers passing by.

I watched him, this man was probably afraid and concerned of the retribution.

It took only seconds and I felt myself extending my hand to him. I caught him of guard and he did not know what to do. I re-extended my hand and he shook my hand. I told him, "God bless you" and began to walk away. He did not know what to do. For the first time in those few minutes he began to speak. He said, "thank you, thank you". As I was walking toward my door I could still hear him, "thank you, thank you". He did not explain why he hit me. He did not say it was a mistake or his fault. He embraced mercy!

I drove away with a nail punctured hole on the rear of my vehicle and scratch remnants to prove of the impact.

People expect retribution and punishment.

As a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, I too stood astound, shocked, and in a state of awe that at the cross Jesus would pay for my sins. His hands pierced with nails for my wrongdoing. I deserved punishment but instead he gave me mercy and grace and paid the debt I owed.

Yes, I look to Jesus and say, "thank you, thank you". I am forever grateful and I am reminded to pour out my heart of thanksgiving in worship. Thank you, thank you Lord!

So walking away with a chipped bumper is not that big of a deal. All I have belongs to Jesus. It's Jesus' car that was hit and he said walk away and bless him with mercy. Mercy is what I gave because mercy is what I received.

God bless you!~Liz

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