Thursday, May 12, 2022

Deep calls to Deep

“Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping?
Why don’t you eat? Why are
you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?” (1 Samuel 1:8)

A woman in distress. Her longing cannot be met with physical things. Food won’t satisfy; her brokenness comes from a place that only God can mend, and it’s for his glory.

Elkanah meant well. Her husband tried to bring comfort to his wife. She wanted a child. This was something the Lord had to do to bring glory to himself.

Her longing was deep. Indeed, deep calling out to deep.

“The deep of man’s need calleth unto the deep of God’s fulness; and the deep of God’s fulness calleth unto the deep of man’s need. Between our emptiness and His all-sufficiency there is a great gulf. . . . Deep calleth unto deep. The deep mercy of God needs our emptiness, into which it might pour itself. . . . Nothing can fully meet the depth of our need but the depth of His Almighty fulness” (SMITH, JAMES AND LEE, ROBERT, HANDFULS ON PURPOSE FOR CHRISTIAN WORKERS AND BIBLE STUDENTS, EERDMANS, 1971, VOL. 8, P. 11.)

God’s desires cannot be satisfied with earthly or material stuff. It can’t be satisfied with emotions, a temporary “joy-fix”. Other people can't appease the emptiness that only God can satiate. It must be birth from God for God's purposes and use. Elkanah’s questions missed the vast emptiness that God was trying to satisfy.

Are you waiting on God? Then wait. Man cannot fulfill the purpose that God his birthing within us. God does all things well in his perfect timing. Yes we must continue to cry out to him for he put the desire within us and he alone well satisfy it.

“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!” (Psalm 42:11)

Hannah waited and God delivered. She gave birth to Samuel who became a prophet unto God. Samuel anointed King Saul and King David; two men, one after the flesh and the other after God’s heart. King David in all his frailty, mistakes and sin was used by God mightily. He is in the lineage of Jesus Christ the only begotten son of the Father who brought salvation to all mankind.

If you wonder why the struggle is big, that’s because what we do not see is even bigger.

Father glorify yourself in us. We wait on You!

God Bless You!~Liz

Saturday, February 26, 2022

"When you have money no one is ever really your friend" - Death on the Nile

Quote from "Death on the Nile."

”When you have money no one is ever really your friend.”

In today's world money is a god. It has always been a god.

If God owns everything, can I be trusted? Will my greedy heart go after all that God owns? Can my love for him be skewed by what I can get from him?

“The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.” (Psalm 24:1)

Many have sought God for what they can get from him. What's in it for me? 

What if the life-saving gift that he is offering is rejected? What if what we're looking for is achieved as we humble ourselves?

Everyone desires peace, love and joy. We want to discover and attain all that life has to offer. Unfortunately, in our search, if left to our own devices, we may obtain what we want and miss what we need.
 
"What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?" (Matthew 16:26)

“For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.” (1 John 2:16 NLT)

God the Father in his great love for us sent his son Jesus to earth that we indeed may live life to its fullest. Jesus came to give us life but the war that was waged continues to operate. It steals, kills and destroys everything around us. (John 10:10)

If God owns everything, can I be trusted? Will my greedy heart go after all that God owns? Can my love for him be skewed by what I can get from him? Will I miss the bigger picture?

The Lord who formed me, (Psalm 139) and knows me well is interested in lavishing me with his love! Yes, even his resources for life. 

Can I really be called God’s friend?

God has looked upon me. He knows my brokenness and need. He knows that I can easily be tricked into a downward spiral of depravity.

So, what does the Creator of Heaven, who owns everything do? He sends his Son Jesus to earth. He takes a world of chaos and turns it right side up.

He reminds me of the new life he offered Nicodemus. It’s available for me too! “You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 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 3:7-8)

Will the God who owns everything trust me? Jeremiah reminds us that our hearts are desperately sick. Who can know this heart and fix it? (Jeremiah 17:9) Only the Lord!

Hollywood says, ”When you have money no one is ever really your friend.”

Yet, God has called me his friend and he owns everything!

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

In humility and need. I surrendered to the Lord for new life and forgiveness of sin. What did I get in return? New life! Eternal life and sins washed away.

What does the Creator of the world say about me? 

 As his son walked on earth, this is the message to his followers, to his disciples, to his children. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:13-15)

He calls me friend. He reveals the Father’s plan to me.

“This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’” (Jeremiah 33:2-3)

All who call upon my name shall be saved. (Romans 10:13)

It seems no matter where I search in his Book, there is a call for me to come to him. The Owner and Creator of everything wants me! He remembers that I am but dust and bids me to come.

He desires to lavish me with his great love! (1 John 3:1) Salvation is the gift for the far off, the broken, the greedy, the swindler, idolater, rebellious, the confused, the cheater and the cheated, the sinner who thinks there is no hope.  We are not beyond his reach.  He is the Restorer to the broken and crushed in spirit.

He has come to give us life and everything we need in this world and beyond. Will you trust him today?

The gift is free! “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

God owns everything and wants me and you! Salvation establishes our relationship with the Creator.  He calls us friends and loves us!

He can't stop thinking about us and died for the re-establishment of our relation with the Father.  Noah was given the olive branch, delivered by a bird.  We have been given the new life delivered by the Son!

God bless you!~ Liz

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Quick Decisions

 I recently placed an online order. This is a very common activity for me. I'm savvy and know how to look for a good deal.

With the cold weather and the wintry mix that we've been getting I placed an order for some rock salt. I want to be prepared. My eyes caught a good deal on some ice melt so I proceeded to order this bucket that would carry me through the rest of the winter.

What keeps me and holds me together as I live my life? I am a believer. What does that mean? I have heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. I trust Jesus. He came to save my life. I believe that he died on the cross and on the third day rose again. When he left the earth, he sent what he promised, the Holy Spirit, which guides me daily.

And she lived happily ever after.

There are forces, a spiritual war that believers are caught in. My life is redeemed and belongs to the Lord. Yet there are entities trying to diminish my effectiveness.

Everything is not what it seems to be! Read the fine print!

The warning - stay on the alert! I'm an excellent shopper yet I got caught off guard in my recent purchase.

I’m savvy, I was confident.  As I shop online I often ask the Lord to show me what I need because often my shopping cart is filled with what I want.  That is a discipline that I continue to learn daily.

As a believer I must remain vigilant.  It's more than an online shopping experience. The repercussions are costly.

Everything must be filtered through the Word of God.  My emotions may be easily fooled.  The heart must be examined by the Lord.   A constant dialogue with the Holy Spirit must be my daily pursuit.  My heart might try to trick me. My emotions can be easily fooled. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

Everything must be tested.

The apostle Paul spoke to the Corinthians and warned them! The enemy of our soul is a great deceiver. He lies, he deceives, he tricks, and if we’re not careful his influence can lead us astray.

Many have been led astray by false teachers and doctrine. (2 Corinthians 11) This is not a pit that the people of old fell in. This hole exists and consumes people today.

It's beautifully decorated. The road is wide, lined with trees.  If you listen carefully, you might hear the conversation. It is not the birds chirping and praising the Lord early in the morning. The rustle of the tree leaves speak of danger.

It's the same conversation that Adam and Eve had with the serpent. A little twist here and a little change of language and mankind was deceived and fell.  Disobedience left a terrible imprint.

The Bible says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

God’s Word reminds us, that he who delights in the Lord, “That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.” (Psalm 3)

Pick up the sword! It is the Word of God. Pray and ask the Spirit of God to give direction. He can open our eyes to really see and cause our ears to hear correctly. Pride can come in and begin to tell us that we are secure. But we must consult with our heavenly Father. Fight to remain!

My online order status said it would take a little longer for delivery, so I cancelled the order. 

A few days later I received a package in my mailbox. I don't have a big mailbox.  The item was wrapped in plastic. I looked at the package and I was baffled.  I had no recent orders. I began the unwrapping process.  I'm still unsure. What could this possibly be? As I removed all the packaging, inside this plastic bag was an item the size of a handball.

Lo and behold, there was a tiny little mini bucket of rock salt. Now if you are as confused as I was  - now we can laugh! The item that I ordered (in my savvy shopping excursion) was not a big bucket of rock salt. The small print under the item description read that this was a miniature rock salt bucket to be used as a Christmas tree ornament! It’s January!!

Oh, the lesson isn't finished. This tiny replica cost me $23. Praise the Lord I got a refund!

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)

It can happen that quickly. Deception, trickery, accusation, pride, a world wind of confusion, anger, misrepresentation, lying, stealing, a whisper laced in gossip – be on the alert!  There is a battle waging!

I'm not as savvy as I thought I was.

I'm thankful that as a believer I have a great Counselor to give me advice and direction. He teaches me about what I need, not what I want.

Lord, I am your child. Lead me and I will follow.

The Lord does not use fine print. He makes it very clear to all who will listen. He loves us.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

“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)

The quickest decision we can make that leads to life is to say yes to Jesus! That's NO DECEPTION - it is life!

God bless you!~Liz

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The Witness Has A Ripple Effect

Ever wonder who's listening to you? When was the last time the Lord sent you to minister the gospel to

someone? Did you accomplish the mission?

In the book of Acts chapter 8, Phillip is sent to an Ethiopian eunuch with a message.

It takes place right after the apostles are scattered shortly after the death of Stephen. Phillip heads to Samaria and there he ministers the gospel. People are delivered from evil spirits and the sick are healed! Then the Holy Spirit instructs him to go to Gaza, another town in Samaria.

The story of the eunuch unfolds. We know that the eunuch is reading the book of Isaiah and Phillip begins to share the meaning of this prophetic writing. As they are driving in the chariot the Ethiopian eunuch sees a body of water and asks to be baptized.

The part of the story that I want to focus on today is the fact that this Ethiopian man was not alone. He gave orders to stop his chariot so that he may be baptized. (Acts 8:38)  

My question.  Was there a ripple effect to Phillip's act of faith and obedience?  The scriptures do not mention anyone else being baptized or for that matter anyone else engaging in conversation with Phillip. Nevertheless there they were listening to the God changing message of the Gospel.

Often when we have to deliver a message the Lord gives us, our view is so narrow. The message transforms lives!  Our obedience in delivering the message can cause multiple lives and families to be changed.  

Is it possible that others are listening? When we bring the message in the public square -  the public is listening.  It's no longer just the one person we are speaking with.  

The word of God is so powerful, and God’s love is so immense that he wants everyone to be saved. God's desire is a none would perish but that everyone would come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

Sarah’s eavesdropping caused her to laugh when the angel of the Lord spoke to Abraham. At first she did not believe but indeed God’s word came to pass.

The witness has a ripple effect! The next time God dispatches us on a mission let’s remember it's more than what we see. We are messengers that God is using to bring the world to himself. What a privilege to be used by him!

"He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." (Mark 16:15)

May the Spirit of the Lord use you to expand his Kingdom; to bring many from darkness to light! (1 Peter 2:9)

God bless you!~Liz

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Inhale

Have you ever been standing next to someone and as you inhale you can smell their fragrance? 
I have a very strong sensitivity to scents.
I only like specific perfumes. Strong perfumes can quickly cause my head to pound.

When I was young, I remember my dad gifting me a perfume during Christmas. I remember it came in a beautiful box along with other makeup products. I felt so grown up. His purchase came straight from Macy's. For me that was a big deal. To this day if I smell that perfume, it'll bring me back to my early teenage years.

Later, as I grew older, I made my own choices and purchased the scents I liked. We can choose what we smell like.

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take the following fine spices: 500 shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much (that is, 250 shekels) of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels of fragrant calamus, 500 shekels of cassia—all according to the sanctuary shekel—and a hin of olive oil. Make these into a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend, the work of a perfumer. It will be the sacred anointing oil. Then use it to anoint the tent of meeting, the ark of the covenant law, the table and all its articles, the lampstand and its accessories, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the basin with its stand. You shall consecrate them so they will be most holy, and whatever touches them will be holy. “Anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them so they may serve me as priests. Say to the Israelites, ‘This is to be my sacred anointing oil for the generations to come. Do not pour it on anyone else’s body and do not make any other oil using the same formula. It is sacred, and you are to consider it sacred. Whoever makes perfume like it and puts it on anyone other than a priest must be cut off from their people.’” (Exodus 30:22-33)

Exodus reminds us of the Lord’s specific instructions regarding the Tabernacle. There was a recipe involved in the anointing oil. A recipe not to be duplicated for common use. Oil was on the tent, in the ark of the covenant, on the table, and on all the articles. Could you imagine walking by the Tabernacle? The aroma would have been captivating.

Often in reading the Old Testament we wonder why all the specifics. It's a Holy God trying to teach us in our brokenness and need for the Divine.

As I grew older, I got married. My husband also purchased perfume for me. This scent has remained in my collection for daily use. It reminds me then I am loved. My husband also could recognize my entrance in a room by just inhaling. (As long as someone else does not have my perfume on. That would be awkward!)

Unlike perfumes we purchase today, the anointing oil was different. It was sacred. They were consecrated and set apart. The fragrance testified that these men were chosen to serve the Lord.

Today there is a new fragrance upon my life. I have surrendered the stench of death for a new aroma, the aroma of Christ. His life poured out for me and on me.

Everyone has a scent. We are either like Aaron and his sons who are consecrated for the service of the Lord with a distinguished, handpicked perfume from the Lord. Or we just smell like everyone else blending into the futility of this world.

The Tabernacle instructions were specific. Today the Lord Jesus extends an invitation to wear the fragrance of his choosing. A fragrance purchased by his very blood that we would be a distinct people.

Salvation and redemptive life, it has a specific presence. Or at least it should! His death was not in vain. It is a gift that we open, receive, and apply. It's not from Macy's! It comes from the very heart of the Father who has loved his creation and wants us to be his.

“For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life.” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16a)

Inhale and breathe. What does it smell like to be around you?
If you don't like what you smell like, go take a dip in the River of Life!

God bless you!~Liz

Monday, August 30, 2021

It's Loud!

I’ve been thinking a lot about life’s hurdles and opposition. Sometimes my mind’s thoughts can 
be so strong and shadow the TRUTH that I know!
 
I use the word shadow and was very careful. Lies can’t obscure God’s Truth. Oh, for a short time it may not seem clear but as I pursue God there is an unveiling that occurs. 

But praise the Living God who is constantly reminding me of His Word. He is a lamp unto my feet and my source of life, direction, and victory!

Who is my enemy? Sometimes the enemy has a face and that’s all I see. But there is more! “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)

A couple of nights ago I was reading a Psalm in God's Word and though I was struggling I kept saying, “I don't have an enemy chasing me like the psalmist wrote about.” Then the Spirit of God who teaches me all things and speaks to me as I am quiet reminded me the source of the fight, of the stress, all the troubles of this world stem from one source.

From the beginning of time the enemy of my soul has brought confusion and especially doubt. Once we begin to entertain whether what God says is true we are about to tread on shaky ground. Go back to Genesis and see what happened to Adam and Eve.

We have 66 books that God has left us as a resource for this life. Skim through the pages and sometimes it seems like it's not applicable to us. Perhaps we're not listening and allowing God to remove the veil that at times obscures God's truth.

So, I began to pray not for the thoughts in my mind but against the enemy of my soul who tries to diminish who I am. His suggestive lies sometimes come across as a possibility truth. After all, I might begin to entertain that indeed I am weak. The problem is not the acknowledgement that I am weak. The issue is if I stay there. But, as I open this resource that God has given me I am reminded that when I am weak he is strong. A mighty wind blows and the enemy of my soul is knocked down. I am reminded that he has no authority over me. Take a deeper look. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring back to your remembrance the Word of God that is locked up within you. It’s a comfort and safeguard to me.  It is a threat to Satan!

Therefore, the issue is not our troubles.  Bring it all to the Lord like a little child with your broken pieces.  Drop it on his lap and let him know your need for him.  His Gentleness and Love will scoop us up and begin to whisper his Truth over us.  I am made in his image.  I am loved.  He has filled me with his Spirit.  I am an overcomer.  My purpose is unfolding.  He will return for me.  I am not alone.

“Give us aid against the enemy, for human help is worthless. With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.” (Psalm 60:11-12)

This is not some new revelation. It’s a reminder so we know how to fight. Israel’s problem was a memory issue. They often forgot that God chose them out of all the people’s  of the world to be their God. To fight for them and rescue them out of this dark world.

So, like a snow globe that has been shaken, today I have once again been reminded that God is Sovereign and He Reigns. This is who I am, “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

There will always be hurdles and opposition. But I don’t run this race alone!

Thank you again Holy Spirit for reminding me who I am!

The lie speaks loud but God's whisper shuts it down!  Feel the breeze of his Spirit!

God bless you!~Liz

Saturday, May 22, 2021

What do you see?

Early this week I was visiting my dad who was in the hospital. We had a conversation regarding a painting that was on his wall. While under the influence of medication he insisted that the painting that hung in his room was a dog. My sister and I reassured him that the painting was of a tree.

Praise the Lord my father is doing remarkably well! We repeated the conversation regarding the painting to see how his mental clarity was doing. He insisted that the painting was of a dog. Concerned I backed up to where he was laying down to view the image from his vantage point. Lo and behold the tree looks exactly like a dog!

It's the game that we play when we are kids. We look up to the clouds and we imagine the clouds being something else. We see images in the sky that are not there, but the shapes convince us otherwise. We see rockets, mountains, monsters, cartoons, bugs and people’s faces. Nevertheless, the cumulus clouds are just that – puffy, cotton-like clouds!

Our eyes can play a trick on us.

Sadly, a more deceptive trick is the condition of our heart. The Bible puts it like this, “The heart is deceitful above all things and it is extremely sick; Who can understand it fully and know its secret motives?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

God knows my heart. A self-evaluation of my own heart will note that though I think my heart is good often sin can creep in.

I may insist that I am well, but the Lord will stand by my side, look from my vantage point and reassure me of the truth. He calls it how he sees it. Sin is sin. In him there is no lie!

The remedy for my heart has been purchased. The Father himself has dealt with the condition of my heart. Separated from him I have now been reconciled through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. It is clear. In the Book of John 14: 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Deception end there!

No matter what the influence, Jesus knows how to speak and reach us. Can you hear him? Get alone with him. Be still in his presence and let him speak to you. Clarity will come. Truth will prevail and freedom will be attained.

He causes our sight to be corrected and our hearts to be healed. The blind indeed will see!

God bless you!~Liz

Deep calls to Deep

“Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you th...