Monday, May 11, 2020

Never Forgotten

I don't often meditate on those that have gone to glory and are with the Lord. 

It's not because I don't think about them, love them or miss them. I believe there is a security that I have that keeps me anchored knowing I will see them again. I tend to look forward.

Yet tonight my heart was pulled in that direction. The path of memories. I miss them terribly.

My mom would do anything in the world for me, her first born. My grandmother spoiled me and was very influential in my life as well.

Women of distinction. They were not wealthy but on the contrary, we were poor. Money did not drive these women. It was LOVE! My grandmother was very resourceful. She was a seamstress and kept us all looking fashionable beautiful.

My mom was creative and a skilled crocheter. Blankets, bed spreads, skirts for me and my dolls - she made them all! Hard working women!

Life goes by so fast. It is true that the older we get the faster time seems to pass by.

They have stamped part of their image in me. My DNA is traced through them and I am proud of that! Elizabeth Maria (after my mom) Rodrigues-Suarez-Reveron.

I look forward to great experiences with the new generation to come. Passing down and imparting myself  just like the beautiful mothers that have gone before me.

The "REVEAL" came yesterday. I am a grandma to a little girl. She arrives this September! Another generation unfolding.

Happy Mother's Day to all! Cling to those you love! I'll see my mom & grandma again.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

God bless you!~Liz

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Take off the Grave Clothes

What clothes you?

Some of us can look back and remember what we were wrapped up in before he called us out.

Lazarus was in a tomb DEAD until he heard the voice of Jesus. “Lazarus come out!” and he was unraveled.

There is always stuff, the world’s worries and chaos that can bind us. We are living as dead men!

John reminds us that Jesus is the Word made flesh! Yet our hearts remain hard.

We are so busy living in the festivities that we have overlooked the miracle worker turning water to wine. Unbelief brings out the blind fold and we gladly secure it.

The outcast responds and rivers like living water begin to flow. The invalid says, “I have no one to help me.” But, here stands the One who unravels, and he is healed!

He has come to speak life and we take him as an ordinary man.

Are you hungry? He is the Bread of Life. But, do not be satisfied with what nourishes the flesh. He unravels deeper!

A rich inspection reveals our sin. We drop to our knees like the adulterous woman to find Jesus liberates us and likewise begins to unravel those in the crowd as well. “He who has no sin, let him throw the first stone.”

Often, we have been the crowd but today we can humbly be the forgiven.

Unravel me Lord!

He has come to give sight to the blind. But if we say we can see we remain blind and bound.

Can you hear his voice? Come out Lazarus! We can recognize his voice. Contrary messages and voices lure us to kill and destroy.

He is the Good Shepherd, the Resurrection and the Life. He comes to unravel us. One piece of linen at a time. He deals with our blindness so that we can see. He calls us from our sinful slumber and liberates the dead man.

Like a Good Shepherd he leads us besides quiet water. Get away from the noise that distracts.

He redirects my feet so that my path is secure.

We live like dead men.  Blind and bound by everything but love.

Look closely.  Jesus' heart is broken. He wept.

The tomb could not keep Lazarus.  Death lost its grip.  The Resurrection and the Life has called and Lazarus answered!

Do you hear him calling?   What are you wrapped up in?  He is able to unravel us and bring new life.

Now look back! Nothing to bind us anymore. He unravels us! “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.” (Psalm 23:6)

Yes, he prepares a table for us in view of all our enemy. We are no longer bound!

Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

Take off the filthy rags. Get rid of the stench and discard the grave clothes.

Be washed!  There is a robe waiting for the children of the King!

Have you been unraveled?

God bless you!~Liz

Monday, March 23, 2020

REFRESHED!

And so, the official countdown begins today if you live in New York state. We have been asked to
stay at home, not to venture out into public arenas and congregate. We are a gregarious people.  Now what? 

I’ve been home for almost three years since I went out on disability. Yet this scenario is very different. When I first went out on disability it was very difficult. My normal routine was interrupted

What have I learned that I can continue to apply today? 

First of all, we are being told to REFRESH. That's the language I want to use today.

My computer recently crashed. Not sure what caused it to stop working. I have three options. I can RESET the computer which means my files will be deleted. I can do a RESTORE which means I can go back to square one with nothing in my computer. Or I can do a REFRESH.

In the middle of this Coronavirus I interpret “staying at home” as a REFRESH. Life as “usual” has changed but praise God we haven't lost everything! If you are reading this then you are alive, glory to God!

I often must look at life through God's lens. My own heart and vision are tainted by sin. I am so susceptible to fear and if I’m not careful anxiety will make me a prisoner.

“Solar Flare” by Larry Burkett, a book I read about 20 years ago was about a solar flare, a phenomenon that wiped out all of the electronics the world. One of the takeaways I remember after I read this book was that families had reunited. children were once again playing together, and the dreaded home-school scenario was in full operation with excellent results! I felt such peace at the end of this horror-like book.

The world had a REFRESH for sure! This catastrophe brought families and communities together again.

So, what am I saying? What do I tell myself? Revel during this REFRESH and reconnect. We often don't have time to call family and friends but now we do. And guess what they'll be home to answer your call!

I think of humor during this time as well. Some of those memes on social media are really funny. I'm sure some are thinking, “My home is finally clean, and no one can come over.” The introvert is saying “what's the big deal.”

My miscellaneous draw is finally clean. Cooking has become an adventure. Who would have thought that fast food was a critical life staple? Actually, this Bronx girl can use some White Castle about now!

During this crisis there are real serious concerns. We need to do whatever we can to help our families our neighbors and even the stranger. But we must abide by the guidelines.

Perhaps we can have a delivery service drop off some food to someone in need. There are services still in operation. we must get creative and use them without breaking the law.

Prayer anchors my heart to the Lord’s heart. Let's pray and see what God will reveal and do in our families. Some of our prayers are being answered during this time.

May the God of heaven make provision for your household. May you not lack food, shelter or health. As many have lost jobs may the Lord himself provide from his bounty for your family.

Stay encouraged! Enjoy those gifts that God has given to you, those children that are filled with creativity and talents. Discover them afresh and a new. Take this time to be REFRESHED!

By the way there are many books in the Bible that are less than 15 chapters. Challenge yourself to read one or two or three of those books during the next 15 days. James, 1st and 2nd Peter, 1st , 2nd and 3rd John, and the book of Jude are just a few. The book of Hebrews only has 13 chapters. Philippians, Colossians, 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, 1st and 2nd Timothy, and Titus all have only a few chapters. Take the challenge!

May you take the time to sit at his feet and listen as he speaks to you . Be encouraged and be REFRESHED.  The birds are singing.

"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful." John 14:27

God bless you!~Liz

Thursday, February 27, 2020

I'm the 1%


I'm about 2 days shy of a 5-month anniversary since I slipped off the church platform during worship and shattered my elbow.

In my post, “In Everything Give Thanks” back in September, I asked you to pray for me. One surgeon quickly wanted to open my arm and try to put it back together. 

I cried out to the Lord for wisdom and on the same day he sent me to another surgeon.

So, it's been 5 months, I went from a hard cast to multiple bandages and slings. Many days and nights of prayer along with cold and hot packs on my arm and elbow.

I kept reminding God that he knit me together in my mother's room and that he could put me back together. (Psalm 139)

Most of you know that I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and my bones have been challenged almost my entire life.

My doctor's visit today went very well. He said, “I don't think you need to continue to come for X-rays.” He looked at me and said,  "most people who come into my office with this kind of injury, 99% of them end up in a surgical room."  Remarkably, I did not.  I praise God for being the 1%.

He mentioned that in my case the rheumatoid arthritis worked in my favor. 

My elbow is showing signs of cohesiveness, the bones are coming together. He can't tell if it's due to scar tissue or the bones mending during the healing time. Nevertheless, because I am not experiencing much pain and I can function at 95% with my arm, he has released me.

Glory to God, my Healer!

I thanked him for his wisdom that God has given him. I'm thankful to God for hearing my cry and leading me to a surgeon who was not scalpel-happy!

Today my prayer and thanksgiving to God is, “thank you for letting me be the 1%.”

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Thank you for praying for me. 

God bless you!~Liz

Friday, February 7, 2020

Re-cycle

Growing up in New York I never heard the words recycle. It wasn't a thing that we did.  When the cereal box was empty it went in the garbage. Once the can of Coke was empty it was flipped into the trash.

I think the only thing that was reused were the glass bottles with milk or soda pop. The truck would come through the neighborhood and collect the bottles and then fill them and bring him back the next time he was in our neighborhood.

Today just about everything is recycled. Our world is being weighed down with garbage. Everything is disposable for the sake of convenience.

Whether it's cardboard, water bottles, or Coca Cola cans. Recycling is almost mandatory in some areas due to the overload of trash.

Recycling – to use again.

The Word of God. Do we re-cycle it? Have you passed it on?

Preachers do it every week. TV programs can be watched over and over again. Even the disciples as we read in the book of Acts went around preaching this great news of God and thousands were converted and acknowledged Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Digital Re-cycle.

The Message is the same.  It has not changed. We have more platforms than ever before. The opportunities are endless.

Digital Re-cycle. That's what the Lord whispered to me. That's when we take the Word of God in whatever format we have it and pass it on. Did you get a great message or image on Facebook that honors God? We can surely like it but better yet ---share it and pass it on!

Did the preacher minister a transforming life changing message from the Word of God – Pass it on! YouTube a platform used weekly to live-stream messages – share it, re-cycle that Good Word!

Sharing the Word of God can bring life and light to those in darkness. There are so many different teachings, books, and writings that contradict the truth of the Word of God. Why not take the Truth and pass it on! Yes, re-cycle the Word of God, use it again! Get your digital soap box, stand and share!

I love to write and design digital marketing images. Everything I do stems from this core; the truth of the Word of God. I don't need 1000 likes on my page. Sharing and reusing and retelling of God's truth is what I desire. In other words, once we have received this truth whether we read it on some media platform or heard it proclaimed on the church platform, we should take this truth and share it.

Sharing or forwarding or re-cycling these truths that arrive in our inbox, tweets or podcasts – we should pass it on. These digital platforms are available to us to reach our circle of influence with the truth of the Word of God.

There's plenty of garbage all around us. Teachings they lead people to believe they can save themselves. Fine-tuned arguments they lead people astray from the Lord. The devil has polluted the world and desires to keep the soul unredeemed. But this is the truth, Jesus came into the world as a baby. He walked among men and became very familiar with their sufferings. He performed miracles even calling the dead back to life. He came to redeem the lost.  He was crucified, died and was resurrected on the third day. The world and the powers of the air are screaming for our attention.

Jesus silently went to the cross to pay for our redemption. Tweet that!

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” 
(Mark 16:15)

This is the charge that God has given us, to those who have believed this great message, those who have been transformed, those reborn of the Spirit of God. Go and pick up your soap box, stand and proclaim The Gospel message.

As you spend time on these digital platforms, re-cycle the good news. Don't let these great works of art be seen by your eyes only –pass it on. Take God's message and send it to your friends and family that need encouragement or perhaps salvation.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16

Let the message that has brought salvation and joy to your heart also bring joy and transformation to someone else's life. Yes, YouTube, Instagram or your Twitter platforms can be your voice of life, the saving grace of Jesus Christ proclaimed to those bombarded with trash.

The good news has come through Prophets, Disciples, preachers and teachers. Jesus himself spoke to the multitudes about this Good News.

Don't be afraid, fear has no place in the mission that God has given us.

Go, like it, share it, tweet it, send an email or forward the podcast. But go!

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” 2 Timothy 4:2

God bless you!~Liz

Friday, January 31, 2020

The Whip

I remember being a little girl hanging out with my sisters in our bedroom. It was bedtime and my father had instructed us to go to sleep. Instead we were giggling making noise, just being silly kids.

My father warned us several times to go to bed. We could have obeyed his authority but children as we were, we continued to laugh, giggle and make a ruckus out of bedtime.

I come often to this memory because it showed me my dad's authority but also his mercy. My dad came into our bedroom clicked on the light and commanded that my two sisters and I get out of bed. He lined us up military style with the belt in his hand. We knew we were in trouble!

My dad had never used the belt on us. Just one look was enough of a warning for me. But that night we challenged his authority. 

It seemed like forever as we stood at attention waiting for the discipline to come. Suddenly, my dad with belt in his hand burst out laughing. I'm sure that was odd for us. After all laughter that was the very reason we were in trouble!

Actually, it wasn't the laughter at all! We chose to challenge of his authority!

Well my dad in his gentleness commanded us to go to bed and this time we obeyed.

In the book of John, we see Jesus in the temple courts addressing an issue that had developed in the place of worship. The temple built with specific instructions from God himself. It was a place to meet with God. A place of consecration. A place of prayer and worship.

Jesus arrives at the scene. The part that stands out to me always is verse 15. “And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money and overthrew the tables.” (John 2:15 KJV)

How long was Jesus watching the scene? How long did it take him to make the whip? Was he walking among the people and not recognized?
“He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.” (John 1:10)

Jesus exhibits his patience. How often has he watched us in our own demise, perhaps trying to get our attention but we have ignored or not recognized his authority? A heart of rebellion always challenges authority. Whether we are a little girl in a room not listening to her daddy or redeemed child of Almighty God still messing with sin; He wants us to obey.

Did Jesus sit in a corner and watch his House of Prayer turn into a marketplace? As he put the whip together was, he praying for them?

How many times have we been in sin and we hear the Father enter in and turn on the light during our times of darkness? Have we recognized his authority? Is it not his mercy that leads us to repentance? “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4)

John says that the whip was used to disperse the animals. Tables were overturned and the coins were scattered all over the temple floor. Not once do we see the Lord harming any animal or for that matter any person involved in this shamble.

“The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” (v18)

Why would the Jews ask him that question? They didn’t recognize the Authority in the room! Yet, I am certain their hearts were challenged that day. Darkness does not like to be exposed.

A repented submitted heart allows God’s mercy to flow.

That night as a little girl I'm sure I went to sleep thankful I didn't get whacked with a belt.

Today as a child of God I am thankful for his mercy and his grace. I know the Lord has watched we make mistakes. Perhaps at times outright rebelled. But the Lord is gentle. He is the authority over me helping to shape this stubborn heart. Causing me to bend toward righteousness as he leads me by his Spirit.

So, let’s enter the place of worship and give to Jesus our attention, devotion and worship. He promises to meet with us.

He has called! “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13)

Let’s pay attention. He is speaking and even walking among us.

The whip never touched the sinners and those making a mockery of the temple that day.  Yet, the Innocent One was beaten and whipped and the hands of rebellious men with a whip made by their hands.  

"Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him." (John 19:1)

God bless you!~Liz

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The Reveal

I love watching Undercover Boss.  It's a program where the owner of a business or the a CEO of a corporation dinguses him/herself and interacts with its employees.

When I read chapter one of the Book of John today this program came to mind.

The employees of these businesses don't know that they are being observed and are interacting with their ultimate "boss."

When then Undercover Boss program comes to an end, the boss reveals him/herself.

The Apostle John records the unveiling of Jesus. Jesus is not disguising himself. He is not trying to find deficiencies in the world. He knows they already exist. He interacts with those made in his image and they do not recognize him.  They continue walking with scales in their eyes unable to see the Creator of the world among them.

"He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him." (John 1:10-11)

Jesus came just as it was foretold.  The enemy of our soul works really hard to make sure we stay blind.  Groping around this fallen world, trying to "save" or make a name for ourselves. We are broken and at times disgruntled.  Our anger and disillusionment comes from a broken relationship with our Creator.  We were designed for fellowship with God.

Born in sin we don't know true Joy & Peace. The Holy Spirit draws us to himself but often we don't recognize his wooing. God loves us!  God loves us!  He is not trying to play hide and seek.  He is not masking himself so that we don't recognize him. On the contrary, he clothed himself in flesh, in human-likeness and came to be with us on earth. He came with a purpose to ransom us back to God.

John writes "Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God." (John 1:12-13)

Now that is great news!

The Undercover Boss concludes with their reveal.  Those who were disgruntled are encouraged and at times sent for proper training. Most are commended for their efforts and are even rewarded with gifts that promote continued growth and a fine-tuning of their skills and craft. Usually I am in tears by the time the episode is finished.

When our hearts realize our own mess, Jesus doesn't refuse our surrender to him.  On the contrary, he calls us sons and daughters.  Children born of God.

Just imagine the Lord taking us by the hand and bringing us close to himself.  He wipes away tears of brokeness and rebellion.  He washes us away filth that has tried to define us.  The scales that are off our eyes are tossed away.  He begins to teach us and renew our minds.  He comes developing gifts that have been in us.  There is this sweet tenderness in his words toward us.  He loves us! He knows we messed up.  He knows our distance from him lured us into all kinds of idolatry. But now he has revealed himself to us!  The past is behind and a new road has been set for us.  Let the tears flow.  He has done a new thing in us.  We are new and the old things have passed away!

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."  (John 1:14)

The true light that gives light to everyone has come into the world. (v9)

God bless you!~Liz