Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Nest

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise
man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25

I wonder if you are like me sometimes….

As I examine my life, my attitude, my decisions, my responses or reactions—are they pleasing to God? There is an inner drive, a push from within, an impulse to do better; to build my life on a foundation that will not be shaken.

I know I have imperfections that are being refined; always being brought to the forefront of my mind and heart, challenging my soul to do better. Better is not like a test where I want to achieve and “A” instead of a “B”. No, it more about making choices to propel all that God is doing in me, making this life ready for a grander reward. A change that will please God and allow him to keep building me even as he strips the gravel that I am standing on. He wants to build me so that my feet are on stable footing.

Most recently every thought is a challenge, every decision I make, especially when those decisions can be life altering, I find myself asking—which direction Lord? Oh, how I cry out for the Wisdom of God!

This morning Mercy (my kitty) was making all kinds of noise by the front door. As I looked to see what all the fuss was about, a little dove was walking all over a pile of leaves and twigs that my husband had recently gathered together as he was cleaning the yard. This dove was very particular about what it kept in its beak. I am assuming that he’s trying to make a nest; a home that to me seems pretty flimsy, yet to the dove he knows exactly what he needs.

He is digging with determination! He will soon join the female dove and lead her to potential nest sites. The female will choose the location. Wow! This is what I discovered. The male dove does the searching for the nest material. Once he selects the correct twig, grass blade or conifer needles (woody plant branches) he brings his findings to the female dove who then builds the nest. The male dove is not too far; actually he positions himself on her back and begins to pass his findings. That gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “I got your back” doesn't it?

It’s beautiful, and this courtship dance begins.

This is very interesting to me. I liken myself to this female dove. As I try to build am I waiting for the Lord to bring to me all that will be needed to establish a secure home, every decision and choice I make; allowing his counsel and peace to lead me? He passes treasures to me and I find them in his Word. I read what he spoke through the Apostle Paul, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you”. (Philippians 4:8-9)

This too is a delicate dance; the Lord & I. He leads and I must follow.

Lord I need your wisdom! Help me to build wisely; help my decisions to be led by You! Help me to be like the wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. (Matthew 7:24-25)

This little bird will trust that her companion will bring all that is needed to build their nesting place. She doesn't question if his choice is correct. She has learned and actually had been created to trust him.

Lord, remove the faulty ground where man wallows. Keep our feet secure and remind us that the Counselor is present; he encourages and instructs us in all that is needed to keep our feet firm and secure; how to discern every thought that comes our way. I have been created to trust you, but sometimes my trust gets intercepted. I want to see and perceive your Sovereign Hand in all I do. Instruct and Construct; I’m listening!

A pleasant surprise in my findings is this: as part of the material used to construct the dove’s nest; the conifers—these little plant needles actually release pleasant scents. I suppose the doves are enjoying a secure nest and a pleasant aroma!

Lord I want to be a pleasing yielded sacrifice, obedient; a sweet aroma wherever you lead me to spread the Good News of who you are!

May they believe the Message and this messenger that is leaning and learning daily to trust in You! Build me up Lord—Build me up!

God bless you!~Liz

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Guess what day it is?

He said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Luke 20:25 

Guess what day it is?  This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24).  You thought I was going to say Tax Day :)  Well it's that too!

We who file taxes year after year with the government are always trying to figure out the law and every loophole as to keep as much of the money earned in our pockets.  Right?  The loophole mistake if you will. That's OK. It's a legal and correct gesture to understand and apply the law correctly and reap the benefits. 

How about what's due to God; ever thought of that? What does the law say?  Have you read the Bible lately?

The Bible reminds me not to forsake the gathering of the saints (Hebrews 10:25), in other words, go to church on Sundays; keep that day apart and go and meet with Him.  Every Sunday?

Forgive those who have wronged you.  That's hard to do.  Apart from the assistance of the Spirit of God, not sure I can that.  How many times do I have to forgive them? (Matthew 18:21-22)

Tithe, what is that?  Give how much money to the church?  (Malachi 3:8-10 ) I'm not a thief; but what if I don't go to church that Sunday, do I still have to give my money?

These are just a few of the great benefits found in the Word of God. We at times distort them and then want to justify our behavior as well.   Obeying the law, his guidelines, we will find ourselves blessed instead of in rebellion.

Imagine haggling with the government officials.

Well I was actually sick 10 days last year, so does that money have to be taxed; I mean, technically I was not working.  It's a fringe benefit, why should I get taxed on that?

Dear IRS, last year you made a mistake and deducted extra monies due to an error on your part. I choose not to file this year.  Let's call it even.

Life is expensive.  I did not get a raise this year.  I'm lowering my tax requirement.  Is that OK with you?

Often either by an honest mistake or by blatant actions to cheat we keep what belongs to another, in this case Uncle Sam. We will pay and pay with a penalty! No mercy.

Have you given God what belongs to God? There are no loopholes in the Word of God because he does not make mistakes!  What I have found is his mercy which allows me to begin again, Praise His Name!  His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Today is Tax Day but also a new opportunity to experience God's mercy, his grace and loving kindness.  It is our duty to understand the Scriptures; not to do like the fool who says there is no God and demonstrates it by his lifestyle.  Bad decisions can lead to consequences but his mercy allows us to start again.

Give to God what belongs to God.  You know what you've been holding back and struggling with. He wants it all--YOUR HEART (John 3:16)!

Bask in his mercy and start fresh today!  No haggling required, just a surrendered heart and he'll meet you there.  Guess what day it is?  This is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice in it!

Read Psalm 118

God bless you!~Liz

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Instructions from a dead Man?

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. Acts 1:4 (NIV)
Instructions from a dead Man?
Can the dead speak?
Imagine seeing Jesus walking, talking and eating after you witnessed him crucified, bleeding and dying before your eyes; taken down from a wood cross drenched in His blood; would you believe?
Sometimes we think we are really clever, smart, and all-together—I got this! But, what if your eyes seem to deceive you and what your ears heard confound your mind?  What if what your heart is proclaiming as truth is difficult to trust; could not possibly align with what you expected?  What if what you can see and touch defies all you know?  Ask Thomas (John 20:27).
In Jerusalem, men and women who had followed Jesus would now face that question.  After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3-4).
The Scriptures say that he ate with them, talked and walked among the living.  Can the dead speak?  Jesus was crucified as foretold by the Scriptures and spoken of by Jesus himself the last time he gathered with his disciples (Matthew 26:26-29).
But why?
After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities (Isaiah 53:11).
He did it for you and me.
This dead man Jesus, God in the flesh, Immanuel, has come to bring a gift.  He will temporally exchange his place of glory to walk with sinful men so that he might gain them for eternity.  He will pay for the sins of the world with his very life and then appear to them again to prove that He is the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25).
He will give instructions as he departs to sit at the right hand of the Father.  “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about” (Acts 1:4). It’s the Gift that keeps giving!
The Heart of God is Love.  He will not leave us alone but will send the Holy Spirit who will reside in the one who believes; the one who will allow his mind to be transformed and believe what seems to be impossible.
The Holy Spirit; He is the one who reminds us of what Jesus said.  He comes along side us to bring comfort and encourage us to trust and believe.  He draws men to Himself to begin a transformation that will leave us new, convinced of the Truth that already IS. 
He loved us to death!  He lives so that we too can live!  He sent his Spirit so that we can be empowered to continue to proclaim the Good News.  With fear and trembling at times—but stimulated to be brave and share with all who will listen, “The one who believes in me (Jesus) will live, even though they die”.

Still doubting?  Read the Book of Acts and ask the Holy Spirit to remove fear and allow the Teacher to guide your heart to see and feel; to experience Him-- It's the Greatest story ever told!

God bless you!~Liz

Saturday, April 4, 2015

They sat on the rock...

Angels announcing his birth, warning the new scared parents that would forever be mentioned when recounting the story of our Lord. Angels used to warn and redirect.  They came to minister to our Lord,  attending to him after the enemy tried to tempt him. We see them in Gethsemane as Jesus cried our to the Father. They were sent to roll the stone and then to sit and watch as the story of our Resurrected God unfolds. They are by his Throne. We find them singing and praising the Lord. All this for you and me; a redemptive story to draw us to the Father.  Jesus obeying to the point of death; brought back to life; victory over death!  Can you see what he has done for us?  He loves us and he will be relentless in his pursuit for us.  Will you welcome HIM in today? Join all creation in worshiping the Resurrected King! I'm part of the story, are you?
  • The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Luke 1:28
  • But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. Luke 1:30-31
  • The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Luke 1:35
  • But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21
  • When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” Matthew 2:13
  • After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” Matthew 2:19
  • ..and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. Mark 1:13
  • Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. Matthew 4:11
  • “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. Luke:22:42-44
  • There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. Matthew 28:2
  • While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words. Luke 24:4-8
  • They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:10-11
  • “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. Matthew 25:31
  • Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. Revelation 5:5-6a
  • Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying:“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped. Revelation 5:11-14

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 2:16

God bless you!~Liz

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Father into your hands I commend my spirit. | Luke 23:46

Word #7:  Father into your hands I commend my spirit. Luke 23:46 Jarius, The Synagogue Ruler

(Written by Liz Rodrigues and brought to life in Dramatic Presentation @ the Orange County Gospel Fellowship 2013) 

The day I saw him, I threw myself at his feet.  I worshiped him too.  What else does one; a ruler and I have no power to heal my daughter?  I saw him in the synagogue; (Mark 1) we were amazed; he spoke like one who had authority not like a teacher of the law.  

The man possessed with evil spirits entered the synagogue and he called him by name, Jesus of Nazareth.  He question Jesus and asked him if he was the Holy One of God.  It happened so quickly; Jesus spoke and a loud shriek was heard; it still echoes in my soul.  In a moment; just with a spoken word, this man was free.  We were all amazed.  A new teaching and he, Jesus, has authority.

So when my daughter was dying I ran to his feet. The crowd was massive but somehow I reached him.   I humbled myself before him.  I pleaded with him, I had no shame.  I’ve seen what he can do.  He speaks with authority; even evil spirits obey.  I begged, my little girl is dying, come please, put your hands on her and she will live.  He begins to walk; it’s just a matter of time and she will be well.  And then she, the woman that touched his garment, interrupted us. 

The healing that my little girl needed; she took it.  She was made whole even as the news that my twelve year old daughter had died.  I cried; my head hung in shame.  A synagogue ruler, and I have no authority; I can’t even get the teacher to my home in time to save my little girl. 
The words of the messengers, don’t bother the teacher, your daughter is dead.

He ignored the messengers.  He looked at my distraught face and said, “Don’t be afraid, just believe” He allowed no one to follow except for a few of his disciples.  I could barely walk.  As I arrived the wailing and crying just confirmed what I already knew.  She was gone! He questioned my family and my friends.  Why are you crying?  She is not dead but just asleep.  

How does one go from crying to laughing?  But that’s exactly what they did, they laughed in his face.  Again he pushed the crowed away and entered my daughter’s room where she laid, cold and dead.  He was not afraid to be defiled. He touched her and began to speak.  It’s that authority again; I recognize it.  So I watched him; Jesus, the One with the power to heal.  He told my daughter, “little girl get up”.  To my wonder, though she was dead, she awoke and breath came back to her.    He must be the Holy One of God! Who else can do miracles?

I remember my daughter’s words: Daddy why does Jesus have to die?  Did he not make me live?

God bless you!~Liz

It is finished | John 19:30

Word #6:  It is finished. John 19:30
The Women with the Issue of Blood

(Written by Liz Rodrigues and brought to life in Dramatic Presentation @ the Orange County Gospel Fellowship 2013) 

I’ve always been in the shadows, unable to be part of everyday life.  People avoid me. My relatives escape my presence.  I’ve lived in shame and ridicule.  I heard of him and sought to find him.  It’s with those words; “It is finish”, that have caused me to remember again.   

He’s dying.  They taken him and placed his body on this cross. I see it, red like crimson; drops of blood flowing down his body. 

It drips along his ripped flesh.  I can see it flow into his torn side. With every gasping breathe the blood streams to the ground.

It was not long ago when I, the outcast, in desperation, moved among the crowds that followed him.  Here I am again in the crowd.

No one would touch me.  No one could come near. 

It was finished!  Healing, it was mine. The blood it just -- stopped.  Twelve years of agony.  Doctors could not help me.  And now it just stopped. I have a sense of wholeness but I was afraid.  
He knew; he knew it was me.  I have defiled the Master.  He called out for me.  He was aware, Jesus knew.  He turned around in the crowd and asked “Who touched me?”  The disciples couldn't answer him, there were so many followers.  His eyes are searching to and fro.  It’s me Lord; I could not hide any longer.  I fell at his feet as I trembled, told him the truth, I worshipped at his feet.  He called me daughter.  He said my faith had made me whole. He told me to go in peace and suffer no more. He saw my affliction and the anguish of my soul. 

Jesus is hanging on a cross.
Why should he suffer?  What wrong has he done?  

It seems like every ounce of blood has fallen to the ground.   His is not like mine.I was contaminated, yet when I touched him he did not retreat.  Somehow I did not make him unclean.  He said virtue had flowed from him.

It’s heart wrenching to watch.  But I can’t stop my eyes from looking at his face.Perhaps it’s strange, but the flow seems precious.  

There’s a sweet presence here. I just don’t fully understand this all; I find myself worshiping at his feet again.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Guess what day it is?

Luke 15:10 (NIV)
In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
This morning I woke up to bells and whistles! 21st Century technology; if someone needs me my square, handheld device lets me know someone is trying to contact me.  Yes, my Droid cell phone!
Today is a special day in so many ways.  Today is my birthday, Yaaaa!!!  
When this time of year comes around I am always reminded of the day my life was changed.  Approximately 26 years ago there was a celebration in Glory.  This young girl, mother of one little boy, while on vacation heard the sweet voice of the Spirit of God wooing her to himself.  
Yes, a small quaint church in the west part of the state of Florida; if you listen carefully bells, whistles, and rejoicing can be heard as the angels celebrate the life of Liz.  Listen everyone, there is a transformation going on! Yes, Liz would never be the same again.  Born of the Spirit of God, born again, made new, redeemed, drawn back to the Father, reconciled....if goes on and on.  We call it many things; on that day my soul was awaken to sing!  Yes, I recognized the gentleness of the Spirit of God pouring out his love on me; drawing me to sit with him; to learn of him, to experience him! Hallelujah!
I am 52 years old today and I am so thankful for life; for every breath that he gives me; every smile that I can share; the sweet aromas of flowers I inhale; the singing of the birds; the gentleness of the breeze coming from the ocean and all the bells and whistles my ears heard this morning that indicated I was loved by so many.  Thank you for your birthday greetings this morning.  LIFE IS GOOD!
God bless you!~Liz


 Acts 9:32-34 As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the Lord’s people who lived in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas,...