Posts

Showing posts from 2018

Contend for the Truth

Image
(Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIjhXt8jXsw&t=4s ) I watched an interesting movie today. A little grisly but the plot was stimulating. Something filled the atmosphere and caused those whose eyes were open and engaging with their environment (which would be everyone) to face their worse fears to their ultimate demise. I did say it was a little grisly! The fascinating plot unfolds. There were a few who discovered that if they blind-folded their eyes they could evade this evil. Many interesting twists and turns as the story continues to the end. From the very beginning it was like a parable. Those that could see would die and those that were blind-folded were safer. In the story of the blind man’s investigation in the Book of John (John 9:13-24) the Pharisees question the now restored man and badger him regarding his healing. The man answers their question by saying, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I se

GOD DOESN’T MAKES SENSE | WHY OBEY?

Image
“I want God to use me.” “I want to experience a miracle.” “I want to hear God.” The expressions of a heart desiring God are reflected by these statements. What if God is speaking and showing us who he is but we are just not responding? Have you ever been in a restaurant and felt the need to buy someone lunch? I’m not referring to your co-workers, friend or mom. You are sitting down, and you really can’t fully explain it, but you know you must buy that stranger lunch. The rationale behind such a decision does not makes sense. You don’t know the person. You don’t know their financial status. Hey, perhaps they should be buying you lunch! So, you get up pay for your lunch and tell the waitress that you want to buy lunch for the lady across the diner who is sitting with her elderly mom. The mom and daughter will never know. You leave the restaurant with a joy in your heart that you can’t fully explain! Obedience has rewards! Liz, I’d like you to get up and go speak to

Passing Through...

Image
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” (Psalm 32:8) Just finishing a 9-day vacation. Arriving at the airport I am in an unfamiliar car in unknown roads. The attendant asks me if I want to purchase a Travel Pass. It’s used for the roads I will travel on. It’s a toll card for the universal tax collection. I declined on the Travel Pass. New construction everywhere. Ten minutes on the road and I have no clue where I am. A quick exit puts me in –you guessed it, a toll booth. I’m ready to pay but the sign says, “no cash”. It actually reads “no attendant!” Well I broke the law. No where to go but down this crooked road. I wonder how much this is going to cost me? I should have taken the “pass”. I became very familiar with the Google Maps navigation system. One thing I learned during this trip is that I just can’t rely on what others tell me, including Google! I must look up and engage my environment.

Valley of Victory

Image
"Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted." (1 Samuel 17:45) You are in the valley and you see the enemy. He carries weight that is not his own hiding behind  authority, force and a shield. Covered in armor and preceded by a shield bearer announcing who he is. "Do you not know who I am?" He shouts arrogantly and tries to intimidate us. He questions our strength because all he sees is our frail figure. He shouts his credential to frighten us. A bully in the valley. "Don't you know who my Father is?" His haughtiness will be his downfall. He sees a feeble shadow. He should look closer for I am filled with the Spirit of the Lord! I don't need man-made armor for my Father dresses me. "The weapons I fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine

Sit With Me

Image
”Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 3:20-22) “Who loves you?” As a mother of a young boy, I often asked my son, “who loves you?” I wanted over and over to express to him by word and deed that I loved him. It became a fun game at times as each of us stated, “I love you” to the echo of the other saying, “No, I love you more.” When discipline was needed, love was expressed, it wrapped the words of correction. I learned that from my dad. The Bibles speaks of Love covering a multitude of sin. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8) In the Book of Revelation, we see a picture of 7 churches being addressed by God.

The Rescue

Image
"Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted." (Galatians 6:1) I watched a video today about an dog in a very dangerous predicament.  Using a simple tool 3 brave boys begin to address the situation. A dog wrapped in a vise-grip position by a huge snake.  The boys begin the rescue.   I often see every day situations as spiritual lessons.   How quickly would we go to get someone out of harms way?  Some of us would run into oncoming traffic if we saw a helpless toddler in the middle of the road.  Well, that actually recently happened and it was on the news. We often see people jumping into rivers to save others without a concern that they themselves might loose their lives.  Advocates speak up for those who can not speak for themselves.  Every day Samaritans at the rescue of the helpless. These are quick rescues without any regard for o

Jesus Loves Me This I Know

Image
"But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." (Luke 18:16 ) The simplicity of the Gospel.  This Sunday on my way home from church my 9 year old niece, Meyli began to tell me what she learned in Sunday school.  She told me the story of Saul who became Paul after God stopped him with a loud noise; spoke to him and asked him, "what are you doing?" She continued to tell me that Saul was killing Christians and after Jesus spoke to him he became blind.  He had to go to Ananias so that he could be "fixed." Love it! I listened intently as she continued.  She said, "then Saul got a new name.  His name is Paul.  Now he loves God and tells everyone about Jesus."  Then she said, "I love God too!" I took the opportunity to talk about the Lord. I asked her if she wanted to know God too.  I told her Jesus loved her and very simply e

The Grip

Image
Sometimes life feels like we are on the last thread of hope and soon we will be left alone. The whispers say that God has abandoned us and no longer will he help us. Our own eyes deceive us as we look for aid. They are marked with sorrow and dark circles are imprinted as evidence. Sleep eludes us. The troubles of this world have overshadowed the truth of God. The world shouts, “hang on!” We want to believe them but as we look around the difficulties of life pile on. What are we hanging on to? Are we linked with the confidence that the world speaks off? Is the foundation we stand on built by man? Have we succumbed to their ways? Have we shouted like in the days of old, “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” (1 Samuel 8:19b-20) Have we rebelled against God and then watch the effects of our choices all around us? Come back! Cry out like David, “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I wi

I stand in Awe!

Image
“Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” (Matthew 9:2b) We’ve heard this testimony often. The courage of the paralyzed man’s friends. The interruption as Jesus was speaking. The mess created in the house as the ceiling is torn open and the teachers of the law are saying that Jesus is a blasphemer. What about the paralyzed man himself? Why did he not speak? The Scriptures does not record him saying a word to the Lord. Why? Was he afraid to speak? Was he confident that the Lord would have mercy on him? What went through his mind when Jesus said, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”? Do you think that for a moment he wondered, “I came here to be healed not forgiven?” Did he recognize the sin in his own life? The Word does not elaborate on all that transpired. It does not illuminate the condition of this desperate soul. When the Lord calls we know that we have encountered something inexpressible. Often the wrestling for us is with our sin. We encounter Jesus

Has He Been Good to You?

Image
I got up early this morning waiting for some workers to fix by roof.  Well they did not come today, they are scheduled for next week. I've been on the phone with my insurance company sorting our some details that needed to be corrected.  As I was getting ready to pay some bills, the Lord reminded me that I had not yet opened His Word this morning.  So, here I am with his Book opened. I'm reading through Psalm 103. I enjoy writing in my Bible.  I note dates where the Word of God was specific for something I was going through.  I jot down different word translations and also praise language that reflect my heart of gratitude toward my Maker. Today, in the margin of Psalm 103 it read June 2010.  I said, "wow, has it been that long since I made that note?"  I began to fan the pages of this Bible and I read that I gifted this Bible to myself in 2008.  That's 10 years ago, one decade!  Time passes by quickly. One of the reasons I like writing in my Bible is

Indeed Only One

Image
Are you getting the alerts sent to you? Are your security settings up-to-date? At the click of a button, reminders can flood you from every possible avenue you can think off.  What’s today’s weather? How many steps did I take today? Did my bank balance drop to a dangerous low? Pick up the groceries. Oh, my manicure is due today. I almost forgot, I have a date night with my husband tonight! And on and on it goes! All this controlled by apps and the proper settings on our “mobile brain”, I meant mobile phone. Life is so busy that we need reminders to get things done. Before mobile phones and clever reminder apps, life seemed simpler. Advertisements promised that we would have more time. It seems to me I have less time. The same 24 hours is now crowded by nagging beeps throughout the day reminding me of all things I did NOT do! “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28) No matter how many times we read this verse, if we are not ca

Go Deeper!

Image
Go Deeper “And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in.” (John 20:5) This is the account of the disciple that arrived at the tomb to confirm the story Mary Magdalene was sharing. His eagerness to decipher the story Mary was telling caused him to run fast. He arrived, His eyes saw and then he stopped. Why didn’t he go in? As a student of the Word of God I know that I just can’t read the Word, close the Bible and walk away. The Lord wants to open my eyes and cause my ears to hear more than what my physical body is telling me through my senses. Peter arrives at the tomb and he looks, but then, “went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.” God requires us to go closer and to discover a deeper revelation. Peter walked into the tomb. He did not know all that was happening, but his desire

Another Lesson from the Garden

Image
It looked a little different but nevertheless I continued to tend to it. I watered it, just like its neighboring vegetation. It grew tall and strong. It even looked healthier than the ones near it. I decided to take a closer look and sure enough it was healthy. Its strength was evident in its now thick stem. Its been a few weeks. Why hasn’t it produced fruit? It kind of looks like it could be a banana pepper plant, but I think I only planted 2 this year. I go inside the house a get some sturdy yarn to tie it up. It seems it needs some help standing tall because its laying out all over my garden box. So, I tie it. Then I tie it some more to ensure it will continue to flourish. As I sit outside I began to look around and noticed some weeds popping up behind my garden. At a closer look, the familiarity was startling. The weeds look like an immature replica of what I just propped up! I called my husband outside and asked, “does this plant that I just bundled up and propped wit

Vibrations

Image
What do you sound like? What is vibrating around you or better said from within you? Yesterday I was worshipping the Lord and singing the song “I exalt thee” as I was getting ready to make lunch. This had never happened to me before. I guess because of the position I was standing in the episode became more noticeable to me. I had a frying pan in my hand and as I was singing the sound seemed to be “caught” by the metal pan and I felt the song I was singing in my hand. It was a chilling beautiful experience. Immediately, the Holy Spirit spoke and said this is the way it should be wherever you go! WOW, no matter where our feet tread the sound that should be emanating from us should be a sound that turns others to the Lord. It should cause those around us to feel the heart of worship. Those who encounter us should be able to catch and enter the atmosphere of praise. In all we do, those who meet us should be drawn into the presence of the Lord. I actually felt it. It was so

The Story of the Table

Image
“I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud And your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.” Isaiah 44:22 (AMP) The table had been around for a very long time. Built by skilled hands, a Craftsman in his own right; the table looked beautiful! All finished, he brushes his hand over the top and he is pleased with his work. As time passed, the color began to change. Memories of the first stain is forever embedded in the wood. While distracted and not focusing there was spillage that changed the surface. It would never look the same again. It was marred but nevertheless the table stood upright. Throughout the years there were carvings on it, scars from the years of its life. Nevertheless, the table stood. If you look closely you can even see the years of wear and tear ingrained in the wood. Times of laughter and tears of sadness all recorded by the table. The wedding is coming, and we need a table. We can't possibly use this

Lettuce Pray

Image
The lettuce in my garden has grown marvelously this year. I take no credit! I plant, fertilize and pray! I wait for the rain and the sun and the Lord produces great fruit! I think one of the most remarkable experiences for me is when I see fruit coming forth from my garden. Cucumbers always surprise me. It looks like nothing is happening and then underneath the vine and leaves, if you look carefully, in its proper time, there it is, great fruit coming forth. Sometimes it looks like nothing is happening in our own lives. The world calls it “status quo”. If we are not careful we might begin to agree. But the truth is that the God who spoke the world into existence is still speaking to us today. He directs the affairs of men if we let him. He leads his children by his Spirit. “For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to

Priceless Adventure

Image
So today I drove twenty minutes to go for a walk! Yes, 3 of my friends and I each in our own vehicles (let’s not bring up carpooling) drove to the center of town to go for a walk. I thought walking was just that, walking! No, in America we drive to our walking location, park and then we walk. I must say it’s pretty comical. Actually, I had a fantastic time! Often in the body of Christ there is an underlying humdrum. Routines get boring and sometimes we might even feel like life’s gusto has been depleted. But the Bible says, that God has given us fullness of life. The entire world was created for us to enjoy!  So let's experience his JOY! We must get creative and redeem back the time we have. Yes, chisel out an hour and create a healthy diversion to be refreshed by the Lord. Take a walk. Sit by a pond and search for wildlife. Perhaps a bike ride would be just the thing to do. Call a friend and go for ice cream or a cup of coffee. Sometimes we imagine that everyone

Prisoner

Image
“The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) Who goes to a prison voluntarily? Perhaps an act of defiance, insubordination, a breaking of the law and the individual is arrested. There is a trial, attorneys are present, some witnesses, and a judge makes the decision after the jury likewise deliberates. Is the offender to remain incarcerated forever? When people discuss God often no one describes themselves as an offender, a law-breaker. But that is exactly what we are. We have sinned, done wrong, committed a crime against God who is Holy. A couple of months ago I went to visit my brother who is confined in prison. I had to rise up early & drive 45 minutes. Upon my arrival I had to fill out forms, show ID, and explain the reason for my visit. “He’s my brother”, I said. Leave the pocketbook behind in a locker because it’s not allowed in the visiting area. Only certain attire can be worn. I’m searched, and my ID is requested again. I must have surrendered my ID at

Gentle Breeze

Image
"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

Deflection

Image
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

Show Mercy?

Image
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 g

Kindness is contagious!

Image
"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

Free Indeed!

Image
“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 oppre

Blind

Image
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

Friendship

Image
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 conce

The Bully

Image
“He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” ( Matthew 16:15-18 ) Do you ever look back on your life’s trail and wonder how you have been chiseled into who you are today? Life has good experiences and bad encounters. Through it all, life leaves pathways that we can glance back at while creating footpaths toward our future. In my childhood years I struggled with a skin disease. It could have caused me to run and hide, and to wallow in shame. Mrs. Brown. That name probably means nothing to you. But to me it is synonymous with kindness. We are impacted by many stimuli in our world. As a young impressionable life anything could have marked me and

The Song

Image
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one  another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. ( Colossians 3:16 ) What happens when you are in the midst of a mistake, some oversight or perhaps a miscalculation? I am a worshipper of the Most High God! This Sunday in the middle of the worship service I found myself unable to put together the melody to a simple song. A song that I could probably sing in my sleep. Was this an oversight or a direct hit to stop me from glorifying the Lord? I have a team of 9 others who love the Lord. I looked over to my vocal backup just to be amazed that the song was still not flowing. What is happening? The sanctuary is packed, and all eyes are on the platform. They are waiting for songs of praise and adoration to be lifted to the Lord instead they are observers of an unprecedented skirmish on the frontline. We live in a fallen world where chaos and c