LebBlog

LebBlog

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

When I am Afraid | FEAR


I'm usually a very stable, rational person. I would say that in the midst of chaos I am the one that is calm and can see beyond the situation. Chaos and confusion are often areas where I thrive.  I believe that's the way God has made me. I'm not saying I'd like chaos or areas of instability but that these situations don't paralyze me.

Yesterday from the corner of my eye I thought I saw something move on my shower curtain. At first I thought it was my own strand of hair through the side of my peripheral vision. When I got distracted again I took a second look to find out it was a fast moving long legged insect.

I don't know where this fear has come from. I do recall as a young girl my mom being afraid of certain insects and I believe that that fear became mine as well.

I decided to write about this today in an effort to confront this unrealistic paralyzing fear.  After all, I’m a pretty rational person!

As a life coach I can sit with anyone and bring them through step by step on how to achieve a certain goal. Today I am my own client.

This is a deep seated fear that I've had for decades; entomophobia, an abnormal and persistent fear of insects. It’s not all insects!  I can hold ladybugs, caterpillars, ants, butterflies, lightning bugs, but I can not handle insects that crawl fast have long legs and scurry.  Perhaps is the hiding part that really frightens me.  In my mind, I am afraid that they will surface again and so the cycle begins afresh.

The fear from these small insect caused me to stop all activity and left me unproductive for almost an hour yesterday. That's a wasted hour of life!

What else are we afraid off? 

There are hundreds and hundreds of known fears.  Alektorophobia, fear of chickens. Pogonophobia, fear of beards. Hypochondria, fear of illness.  Verminophobia, fear of germs.  Theophobia, an unhealthy fear of God or religion.  And on and on it goes!

It’s irrational but it feels real! 

I know that the Lord can help me.  The Scriptures speak about anxiety and all those things that grip us and cause us to be weighed down.  Often a phobia feels just as real as a true threat. 

I will cast my anxiety on the Lord, because he cares for me. (1 Peter 5:7)  I will present this fear to the Lord, ask him for direction and his peace.   I will remain in constant prayer to the one who is able to help me.  I will meditate on what is true.  

For me the anxiety is rooted in a false perception.  I know that these insects are not on me, chewing on me or causing me death.  The fear is the “what if?” 

Today,  I am asking myself, “what if, what?”

What are you afraid off?

The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. I have begun today with addressing the fear.  It already has lost some grip on me just by my confession.

So what are you afraid off?  Realistic or imagined.  God is able to help us.  Seek help, talk to someone who is qualified to help you overcome that which keeps us up at night. Confide in a friend.  Put it in your journal.  But, begin addressing it today!

Ironically I worked for an exterminating company for 10 years. Since my job was administrative I never really dealt with the insects themselves.

We can be in the midst of what we fear and yet never overcome it.  Today, I choose to face my fear one step at a time.

Chime in and let me know how you have overcome a phobia or how I can pray for you in your journey.

God bless you!~Liz

Friday, April 26, 2019

Safety Check!

The believer's complacency is a security or confidence we feel apart from God. Our hearts say, “all is
well, we can rest now.” It’s a feeling of satisfaction and safety.

The Word of God says, “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)

This warning was issued in the Book of Amos, “Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you notable men of the foremost nation, to whom the people of Israel come!” (Amos 6:1)

When the wars of life seem to cease often, we can let our guard down. The rampart is left open for the enemy to drop in. Once inside he begins to bring confusion and we begin to feel unsettled.

We ask questions like, “why do I feel like this?” Often the emptiness settles in and our purpose is blurred. These feelings have come on the heels of thoughts we’ve entertained that speak “security, relax, all is well!”

Indeed, the Lord has drawn lines for us in pleasant places. “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” (Psalm 16:1)

In this fallen world our only security and trust is in the Lord. We must “Devote ourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (Colossians 4:2)

Pleasant times don’t equate safety. Our hearts must be thankful for the Lord’s, protection, provision and promises. But, keep in mind what happened in the middle of the perfect Garden; the enemy made his entrance. He deceived Eve and the walls came down. He entered the safe haven that God had created for his children. His brazen deceit came during a time of security. His deception was entertained, and sin resulted in the Fall.

We must stay alert and continually ask the Father to make his Holy Spirit known in our mist. Our rest is in God alone!

“A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing!”

Let’s examine our surroundings and take a deep look within. Stay alert! Let the Lord bring revival to us again. “Keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” (Matthew 24:42)

Hem me in Lord! Let my life be fruitful. He says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” (John 15:16)

My confidence is this, “He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

Safety check!

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”
(Psalm 91:1-4)

God bless you!~Liz

Friday, April 19, 2019

Let Your Heart Beat Again

Was it "A" or type "O"? The urgency for a transfusion was here. If the correct match was not given he
would die. The wrong kind would cause him to spiral deeper into sickness perhaps even death.

The atmosphere filled with the sound of foot steps, the medical team rushing to secure this life-saving process. It must be completed with accuracy! Restoration of this fragile boy was imperative lest he slip away never to see a sunrise again. We need the blood!

The Father was ready. He would give anything for their child.


He could have chosen not to go. His own life was now on the crossroads of a radical life-changing universal event. If he remained, they would die. If he left it would be to his own demise!

The deception that had creep in so effectively had darken the hearts of his creation. The separation that pulled at His heart would invoke an act of sacrifice. The Son would go. Yes, he would leave to restore harmony with the heart of the Father.

The Father had loved them - His very image was pressed into them.

The life is in the blood. (Leviticus 17:11)

Offer the sacrifice! I will draw them to myself! "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin." (Hebrews 9:22) It's the everlasting covenant of blood - the saving grace expressed at the Cross of Calvary!

Jesus, the only begotten son of the Father would go as a ransom for many. The Christ would suffer once for their sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring them back! (1 Peter 3:18)

It's the Father's love, the Son's sacrifice that would bring healing for those that would forever be separated from God's presence. They would be drawn and presented with the life-saving sacrifice of Jesus.

Lub-dub, lub-dub, the little boys heart beating again. The life-saving transfusion a success. Joy filled the room and life again would resume for this child. It was all in the blood, the transfusion for life.

The onlookers despair and hopelessness shadowed the cross. It spoke a deep pain as they reflected on their own sin.

Intertwined with this act of sacrifice was the gift; an opportunity for a heart-change; a redemption road. He gave his blood, life-saving blood that would bring restoration to this fragile, broken and sinful world.

The Son's sacrifice accepted. Jesus, overcoming death.The creation beating with life again. The life is in the blood. Let the transfer begin! The blood of Jesus for our sin-infested lives. The sacrifice of one for many. It's the Father calling us sons and daughters.

"Tell your heart to beat again. Close your eyes and breathe it in. Let the shadows fall away, step into the light of grace. Yesterday's a closing door. You don't live there anymore. Say goodbye to where you've been. And tell your heart to beat again." 
(Lyrics by Danny Gokey "Tell Your Heart to Beat Again")

"For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Colossians 1:13-14)

It indeed is a Good Friday!  
Remembering the Sacrifice!
Restoration is offered today.

God bless you!~Liz

Monday, April 15, 2019

Oh Snap!

Oh Snap!

Before there were cameras I wonder if the subject would tell the painter which angel to highlight? “Please draw me from the left, it’s my better side.”

As cameras have developed over the years from the Pinhole Camera of the 1500s to current high-resolution cameras packaged with our mobile devices, what story are the images telling?

Have you looked in the Mirror lately?

Often, if we are not content with what the mirror reflects, we just add a little makeup or just the washing of the face can tweak the image we see to be more palatable.

But we are more than what we see, aren’t we?

The Word of God reveals and speaks about the intention of our hearts. It doesn’t matter what the outside looks like, God knows us deeper than our skin container.

Today we know exactly how to take our “selfie”. We can take weight off and make it so that we look as thin as we want to be. The filters we use can remove wrinkles that life has deposited or we lighten the image so that we look more refreshed. And on and on it goes.

The filters remove impurities that we don’t like!

We have become master artist, or should I say deceivers!

The Bible says that we can entrust our entire being, the good, the bad and the ugly to Almighty God. The transforming work he does begins on the inside. It indeed will reflect on the outside. No filters – just fellowship with the Father that brings the fabric of our lives to its fullness!

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) He knows us!

Remarkably even though he knows our flaws, he loves us the way we are with an undying love.

No need to pretend around our Father. Not only does he see the outside, his work begins on the inside leaving us changed.

So, are you ready? OK, sit, take out the Word of God and begin to apply it like a fine moisturizer, conditioning every fiber of your being.

He does not want us to deceive ourselves. He knows we are depleted and wants to bring a revolutionary change!

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)

Ready? Look into the Light, snap-snap.

Did you have to pay?

Today is the day to settle your debt!

"There are two things that are certain in life, death & taxes." How many times have you heard that?

Indeed, today the account must be settled. Personally, I had to pay!

I tried to stay abreast of the laws that control how much money I have to surrender to the IRS. Because my financial status changed, I was a little unprepared for the debt that I would owe.
I had to make an educated guess at what my tax debt would be. I was pretty close, nevertheless, I came up short. I did not know.

Well that was my tax story. But, what about the other certainty in life, death? The Bible says that the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23)

I'm just trying to live! The truth is I was born in sin therefore my debt is stacked up against me upon arrival.

Not understanding the condition of my heart could leave me standing before God saying, "I did not know." But the truth is that the guidelines have been made available to me. Even creation testifies! (Romans 1:20) 

I thank God for calling me to himself and exposing the condition of my heart. There is a lot of ugly stuff in there! Salvation is a gift; a gift I did not deserve but gladly and desperately clutched too.

It has been made know to me that my heart needed to be right with God. I did not want to stand empty handed before the Lord when the certainty of death knocked on my door.

I personally have nothing to give that would cancel my debt. I can't file an extension. No one else can pay it for me except for One. All that I have to offer in exchange are filthy rages. (Isiah 64:6) Nevertheless, today is the day to settle the debt! So I will submit my heart to the One that can be trusted.

The day has arrived. 

"Take care, brothers, that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart, so as to forsake the living God. Encourage yourselves daily while it is still “today,” so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin." (Hebrews 3:12-13)

"One of these days we all will stand in judgment for every single word that we have spoken. 
One of these days we all will stand before the Lord Give a reason for everything we've done. 
What are you going to do when your time has come and your life is done and there's nothing you can stand on. What will you have to say at the judgment throne?  I already know the only thing that I can say....And what I've done is Trust in Jesus.  My great Deliverer.  My strong Defender.  The Son of God.  I trust in Jesus, Blessed Redeemer.  My Lord forever. The Holy One, the Holy One."
(Lyrics by Third Day)

We can be prepared!  

The IRS Tax Laws spell it out for us.  
The Word of God became flesh and has arrived.  He is the gift of Salvation!

God bless you!~Liz

Friday, April 5, 2019

My Offering | Unnecessary Death

What caused the death of Aaron's sons who were serving before the Lord?
After Nadab and Abihu offered "strange or unauthorized fire" before the Lord, scriptures says there were consumed. They were killed before a Holy God.

I'm writing today so that we may be encouraged and note, inquire within and ask ourselves, "what we are presenting" ourselves to. What is infiltrating our minds, our bodies and causing even rational, logic to escape us.

Often fear and anxiety strap us to a point of immobility. We can't function. The Voice of the Lord seems far away. The simplicity of life becomes so complicated, poisoned by the noise of the world. The distractions we engage in pull us from his peace!

Are we filled with his Spirit? Are we inviting
his Good Presence to be in our midst?

Nadab and Abihu who were serving before the Lord took casually their service to the Holy One. Though they had instructions on how to minister before the Lord, something happened and they brought to the Lord an unauthorized fire.

Was this an unnecessary death?  Scripture says that though they knew what was supposed to be brought to the Lord they choose something less than.  Scripture does not say for sure, but I wonder if these two sons of Aaron were under the influence of fermented drink?  

We do know that the Lord spoke to Aaron and the two brothers shortly afterwards. 

"Then the Lord said to Aaron, “You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the tent of meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come." (Lev. 10:8-9)

There should be nothing that clouds our mind.  We know that the enemy's war ground is the mind.  Why succumb, give control over to anything that would influence our thinking?  

The warning out of 1st Peter reads, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." (Ephesians 6:10-13)

We are encouraged to protect our head, our mind, our thoughts with the "helmet of salvation."  God knows what we need!

Unnecessary death?  This could be in any area of our lives.  Take another look in the mirror of the Word of God and ask the Lord to reveal areas of compromise.  Then ask the Holy Spirit for his help.
Seek someone to trust in and pray, pray without ceasing.  God is faithful to help us in our weakness.

Compromise could be anything that leads us away from our Great God.

God bless you! Liz

"Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Ephesians 5:18-20)

Friday, March 29, 2019

Drink

I have a tender memory when I was a little girl. I remember being on vacation with my parents
heading north to Canada. We stopped at a rest area to stretch out and get some food. I remember my dad hiking a few feet up a nearby mountain and encouraged us all to sit.

He took his pocket knife and poked around in the grass. To my surprise a fountain of water seemed to appear. I was so intrigued. He encouraged us to drink as he himself brought some of this crystal-clear water to his lips. I recollect being skeptical about engaging with this new-found thirst-quenching water. As my dad drank, he prompted me to drink as well. Truly, I don’t recall if I did.

I grew up in the Bronx. Water came from the faucet not the ground!

What I did not understand at that early age was that Water Springs are drinkable. There is a natural filtering process created by God to give us life-sustaining water.

In a simple statement, rain that falls on soil finds its way into permeable rock such as limestone or sandstone and through natural gravity finds its way toward a river or stream.

The stream that was intercepted by my dad’s pocket knife was a natural spring.

There is a process here. Pure water does not reach my lips just because it falls from the sky. It falls on the surface and gets into the mountain side. It must travel through rough patches, be refined by rocks and yet still it needs to go deeper so the refining process can produce life-saving water!

Are you thirsty yet?

Jesus said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:37b-38)

See, life can be difficult. The troubles of this world seem to hold us hostage. Just when we come up for some air it seems we are back into the thick of difficulties.

The Apostle Paul realized that the troubles of this world were producing something good in him. “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. “ (Romans 8:18)

Oh, the trouble is not pleasant, but it does cause us to press in deeper toward the Lord. He himself brings forth a purity that otherwise would not come.

The grace of God is always refining us.

Our desired changes don’t rise to the surface by themselves.

Like a beautiful Spring flower pushing its way through the still frozen ground surface, the process produces a beauty that reminds us life is emerging again.

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 6-9)

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b)

I’ve come to know that Jesus who offers life-saving water can lead us through the hard places that try to consume us. He walks us through the valley and takes us by the hand into greener pastures. It’s a hard process to come out on the other side.

But Jesus intercepts time and Scriptures says that on Mount Calvary Jesus himself was cut in to, a piercing that caused his blood to flow.

A much-needed sacrifice for the purification of our lives. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

The woman at the well was probably skeptical and wondered what this Rabbi was offering. She was broken but desperate enough to ask Jesus for the Living Water he offered. “The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” (John 4:15)

She left his presence rejoicing and transformed.

Are you thirsty?

John Newton put it like this, “Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come; 'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far and Grace will lead me home.”

I live in Orange County but you won’t find me at the edge of a mountain. Today my water comes in a bottle. Nevertheless, its Spring Water for me. Water that carries life with natural minerals.

Broken and desperate is the condition of the heart before we encounter Jesus.

He knows how to lead. Join me as we reminisce through this old hymn.

“The Lord has promised good to me. His word my hope secures. He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.” (Amazing Grace)

God bless you!~Liz

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Breaking News

I overheard the news anchor say, "the person was last seen wearing a black shirt, dark jeans and a
backpack". I thought to myself, "what kind of description is that?" That can be several people I know. That could be me!  The description was so vague. They have so little to go on. The investigation has to continue if they are going to arrest the correct person.

How is God described today? If we had to tell someone about him and give details, would he be described like any other god?

This is Sally from TruthNews, "can you describe God to me?"  "In my mind, god is powerful but I guess not all-powerful because sometimes evil wins." "Someone must have created god because things are not created out of nothing." "He must have a beginning and I guess an end too, right?" "This world is a free-for-all and god can't seem to rule, he can't be everywhere; have you seen the news?" "I guess he needs to get some rest. Everyone gets tired! Perhaps tomorrow when he awakes things will be better." "God, is there a god?"

It seems amusing but sadly our world is in trouble much like the days of old. We need to know about the One True God, Yahweh!

In the Book of 1 Kings there must have been some who were misinformed; a correct description of the True God of Israel needed to be proved, put on display for all to see (especially for Ahab). 


In a very powerful but comical encounter, Elijah challenges the prophets of Baal with a very well known practice of that day regarding sacrifices. The prophets of Baal begin the sacrifice ritual to their god. "So they took the bull given them and prepared it." Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made." (1 Kings 18:26) Scripture reads, that they cut themselves in an attempt to have Baal light the fire.

Well, Elijah can't seem to take it any more and he mocks their efforts and their god. He says to them, “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention." (1 Kings 18:27-29)

Vague descriptions lead to unclear answers.   

"At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!” (1 kings 18:36-39)


The Bible is filled with a detailed description of God. He has written to us with proof of who he is so that we won't fall for trickery or be mislead to follow false gods.  He shows us who He is from the very beginning of time.  He lavishes us with his love and calls to us.  He reveals himself, and points to his marvelous creation that testifies of him.

We are in trouble and we need a Savior!

He takes broken hearts and heals them.  He speaks to us with such tenderness calling us sons and daughters.  He rejoices when arms are opened to him causing celebrations in heaven over the lost son or daughter returning home. (Luke 15)

I'm your news anchor today. I will describe him clearly using HIS own resume.

He has no beginning and no end. "Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God." (Psalm 90:2) 

He spoke into the darkness and created the light. "The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light." (Genesis 1:2-3) 

"Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! " (Isaiah 30:18)

"For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints." (1 Corinthians 14:33) 

"Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep." (Psalm 121:4) 

And yes, he is the son of God! "And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."" (Matthews 3:17)

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His [a]only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

So, how would you describe Him?  

Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." (John 20:27)

God bless you!~Liz

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Shut In - Shut Out

"The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in."  (Genesis 7:16)

Ever felt like the “crowd” won’t let you in their circle? Perhaps God has shut you out.

The Lord shut Noah in to give him a safe haven. He was spared from the destruction all around him.

Surely, he felt the waters pound on the side of the wooden ark, God’s wrath hitting every part of the ship. I wonder how often Noah looked at the sealed door and remembered that God himself had shut him in. His security, his trust and future preserved by the hand of God. The winds howling day after day as the deadly waters filled the earth shutting Noah out from God’s wrath. The stench of death was all around him but his escape was in the obedience.

Much time was spent with the Lord. Every detail prescribed. Build the ship because the rains are coming. Noah could not fully understand but he obeyed. God shut Noah in to preserve him and shut him out from his global annihilation!

Adam and Eve were shut out from the Garden. But their exit would not be the end. The Messiah was coming. The enemy of our soul had gained entrance into their lives, but the penalty of sin would soon be overcome.

As we allow our spirit to listen closely to the Lord we will often here him ask us to get away quietly with him. Sometimes that gentle whisper comes in around 3 a.m. when everyone else is asleep. He wants to close us in so we can hear him clearly. He invites us into the tabernacle like he did with Moses.

He will gladly shut out all the earthly distractions that come to steal and destroy our relationship with Him. The noise of the world pounds hard and it makes luring invitations to us. “Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:7b) Allow the door to be shut and run to the Lord! 

Those outside the Ark mocked Noah. Jeremiah brought a similar warning and the people mocked him as well.

Jeremiah replied, "But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” (Jeremiah 20:9)

It’s in the quiet times that the Lord continues to permeate and flood us with his presence! He fortifies and strengthens us as we remain in his care.

We are Messengers of Life carrying this same fire! It’s the fragrance of Christ. “He uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.” (2 Corinthians 2:14) 

As we stay close to the Lord the world around us loses its grip. Jesus spent time alone with the Father because he knew that soon he would be shut in. The cross would call, and the grave would consume him but not overtake him. On the third day the sealed tomb door exploded wide open with his Redemptive Power on display for all to see! Death could not keep him and the penalty of sin was paid.

“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.” Psalm 5:11-12

The next time we "feel" shut out let's remember that God may be protecting us and preserving us for a life-saving adventure! We must bring the Good News to all.  The boat is ready.  The rains are coming.  Even if we are mocked we must share the Love of God. It's like fire shut up in my bones!

God bless you!~Liz

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Thump, thump. Can you hear it?

Is the shout clouding our judgment or common sense? Our hearts are racing, and all we can feel or hear is our own heartbeat. 

It’s a parade of opposition closing in over us!  We feel as if we are in a tunnel and everything is shrinking except for the noise.  The clamor is powerful because we chose to move backwards.  After all everything inside of us is shaking and commanding me to cave in.

Often when we feel intimidated or afraid, we run through a gamut of emotions. Reason is somehow obliterated, and it seems easier to go with the crowd.

During Jesus arrest and public accusation, we see such a case.  What was Pilate afraid off?  He had three opportunities to set the record straight, to release Jesus but the crowd’s noise silenced his convictions.

“For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore, I will have him punished and then release him.” “But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed.” (Luke 23:22-23)

Have you been cornered and accosted to change what you know to be right?  Has fear of people caused you to be silent? It’s amazing how crafty the enemy has become in his pursuit to shut out truth and justice.

Pilate let the fear of the crowd change what he knew to be true.  Jesus was beaten and crucified.

Elijah ran away from Jezebel after he heard the message delivered to him that Jezebel was coming after him. This was a prophet mightily used of God but now running to the heartbeat of fear.

Jesus was crucified but rose from the dead!  Elijah encountered God in a whisper that encouraged his heart to focus again.   

What can we do when errors and wrongs are trying to manipulate us? How can we stand up for what is right and not succumb to the noise?

Sometimes stating what is right has to be learned because for some of us it does not come naturally.  It is easier to stay in the boat than to rock it!

We must recognize what we are thinking.  Our thoughts dictate what we feel, and they produce actions. Self-dialogue is good.  Communication should be respectful of others.  But we must practice assertiveness and state what we want to say.  Fear of other’s opinions will cripple us.

If we don’t address and speak what we want to convey, the silence will reap resentment in our own hearts causing stress and even anger at ourselves.  The thought, “why did I not say something” often reverberates within us.

Speak the truth with respect and promote honest dialogue.

We must acknowledge truth and learn to speak a yes or no when called for.  Often, we are afraid of what we should say.

Being quiet is a powerful tool. But, when we are called to speak, we must push past the fear and speak up.

Truth will prevail.

Let's not get caught up in the noise.

Pilate had three opportunities to release Jesus, but he was silenced and intimidated by the crowd.

Today we have an opportunity again to address and speak with respect to the situations that want to overtake us.

Humbly stand before the presence of the Lord like Elijah. Let his presence realign the heart.  Let our minds be renewed and our tongue surrendered to his use.  Every member in our body for his glory.

“When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? (Psalm 118:5-6)

God bless you!~Liz

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Do we have riches? Or do they have us?

Why did the Rich Ruler leave Jesus’ presence so despondent? Was it the riches?

He stated to Jesus that he had kept all the commandments and yet he was still looking for approval from the Lord, the way of Salvation.

Do we have riches? Or do they have us?

When an orb-weaver spider creates its web, it’s a very clever design. Scientists marvel at their creativity even while not fully understanding the depths of this creation. “Spiders can spin different kinds of silk, and not all of their silk is sticky. In fact, in a spider web only the silk used for the intricate catching spirals are dotted with glue, so spiders know which threads to avoid.(https://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/spiderweb.html)

The Lord replied to the rich ruler, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22)

It’s easy to judge this man. But what happens when the Holy Spirit tells us to give something up? Perhaps money, time or just our French fries? What is our reaction? I’d dare say that if we quickly think of an excuse, then this thing has us! Pride reveals its ugly head and gives us permission to protect what is “ours.” We are caught in a web spun by our enemy.

We can learn a thing or two from the spider’s web designs. It knows how to create the web and not get stuck in its own trap. She makes herself a way of escape so that she herself will not end up being consumed.

The Rich Ruler’s response.: “When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.” (v23)

Riches are a blessing from the Lord. We are entrusted with them but must be willing to release them at the Master’s request.

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

Let’s take a look at all we have, or better yet all that God has put on loan to us. Lord, may we use all you’ve entrusted to us to share the Good News and advance your Kingdom.

Go ahead and build a web of resources and dispense at the Lord’s request.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40)

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:8-10)

Do we have riches? Or do they have us?

God bless you!~Liz

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Will you follow? At what cost?

While reading Luke 9 today I can see a condition of the heart that at times can describe me and perhaps you as well. Surely it spoke to the disciples while they walked with Jesus himself.

Here are men who have been called by Jesus; invited to be in his inner circle. A front seat with the Master. He gave them authority to drive out all demons and cure diseases. (v.1-2) He reminded them that He himself would be their provision. Take nothing with you as you minister the Good News. (v.3)

The disciples are still students and we are about to embark on an object lesson. The multitudes have gathered, and they are hungry. What is the response from the students? “We only have 5 loaves and 2 fish.” (v.13) How quickly we forget that God himself is our provision.

FORGETFULNESS

It’s getting personal now. There is an inquiry, "who Jesus is?"
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” (v.20) Peter acknowledges that Jesus is the Christ.

Now that we have established authority, Jesus tells his students, “don’t tell anyone.” (v.21) He further explains that he must be killed and that he will rise again on the third day. “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (v.24-26)

Liz do you still want to follow? You must deny yourself, take up your cross. (v.23)

DENY YOURSELF

As the Father commends his son from glory, what are we doing? Are we sleeping? Stay alert!
“This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” (v.35)

LISTEN

The teacher once again shows his authority as he sets free a boy tormented by an evil spirit. The request came from a father, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child.”. With just one look the authority is established! “Jesus rebuked the impure spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father.” (v.42)

What was the trouble here? Jesus lets us know. “You unbelieving and perverse generation.” (v.41)

The students have a lot more to learn. Jesus reminds them again, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.” (v.44)

Still want to follow? Where is my trust & faith? Did Jesus say, unbelieving?

DOUBT

He is leaving soon. But he promises to send His Spirit.

I’ll follow you Jesus, but can you let everyone know that I am the best? I would like that important seat next to you. Really, you know I’m your right-hand man or women! Well we know the scriptures does not say it like that, but it might as well. (v.46-48)

Humility, where is it?

PRIDE

Jealously arises and Jesus speaks.

“Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”

The interesting thing here is that they were just chastised for not being able to deliver the little boy from and evil spirit. Now they are jealous that someone else did. Lord help us!

Their hearts still need change. When the Samaritans would not welcome Jesus, they asked the Lord if they should call fire on them. “But Jesus turned and rebuked them.” (v55)

JEALOUSLY

So much to learn as a student of the Lord. We don’t always have God’s intentions, because we often act and speak out of our own desires.

Scripture reads that pride is the downfall of man. Humility is a reliance on God and not our own flesh. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)

I’ll put it like this: Humility is freedom from arrogance and pride. Those who operate in humility are able to achieve excellence by using their God-given gifts and talents without having to self-promote themselves. This perspective allows us to see the strengths of others. Humility does not mean that we lower our standards or that leadership is less effective. Humility speaks volumes. It allows us to excel in relationships and we are often noted as peace-makers. Leaders who motivate and promote others to achieve their best, to use their gifts and talents and overall improve in their area of influence are practicing a freedom from pride.

We have a lot to learn. I’m thankful that God is able to get to the root of my heart and it still pleases him to use me.

Still want to follow Jesus? Yes, Lord I am your servant, your student and ready to listen.

I have some much to learn, a transformation that only the Spirit of God can do.

OBJECT LESSON: So, I just finished writing on humility. I get a call from my husband and  here I go. The Spirit of the Lord gave me an opportunity to practice humility. My words, my conversation should have been gentler.  I should have been quick to listen and slow to speak. So what do I do.  I call him back an apologize for my rudeness. Ouch, object lessons hurt but they also refine.

Back to the classroom! I'm a perpetual student.


"He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.” (Luke 9:20)

Friday, January 25, 2019

Riches

Today I want to honor my brother-in-law Ivan who is now in the presence of the Lord.
These bodies aren’t meant to last forever.  “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.” (Psalm 90:10)

Looking over photo memories, I recall our families gathering for holidays, specifically Christmas and Thanksgiving.  I have images that reflect us smiling and laughing, exchanging gifts and enjoying life together.

Thanksgiving was one of Ivan’s favorite holidays.  We often spent Thanksgiving at my mom’s home.  My sisters & I gathered crowed together in the living room.  Sometimes Spanish Christmas carols played in the background while others tried to join in with instruments.

Ivan would join the family but ultimately, he would go back to his home because he too had cooked a bird!  He loved cooking especially for Thanksgiving.

The last couple of years Ivan battled cancer.  An enemy that at times seems to have no mercy.  He fought strong and valiantly.

I treasure my conversations with Ivan because through it all he leaned and pressed into the heart of God.  He said he was not afraid to die because he knew where he was going.  His heart broke for the injustices all around us; the troubles of man, including sickness.

He new we were in a fallen world and truly recognized sin at it’s worst.  It would break his heart to others go without.  He also recognized his own need, a need for a Savior.  He trusted his life to Jesus.
Ivan was not a rich man as most of us define riches.  His treasure overflowed from his heart, a generosity and a spirit of kindness that was tangible.  A family man for sure. 

One of my fondest memories brings me back decades when he designed a gold bracelet for me with stones settings.  You see,  Ivan was a jeweler.  Again, the riches of gold in his hand but it was his heart that reflected riches.

I wonder how Ivan is enjoying the “streets of gold” today?   The Bible quotes Jesus, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:1-3)

Yesterday, God who gives the breath, called it back to himself.  Ivan’s place was ready.

Ivan has no need for earthly treasures of gold or stones.  These items are used as material where he has entered.

“The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass. I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”  (Revelation 21:18-27)

Ivan’s name was in the book!

I’m thankful for the memories and life intertwined. Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

He will be missed.  But I will see him again."

God bless you!~Liz

Monday, January 14, 2019

Good Morning Father

 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:9-11)

I just finished cleaning out last year's bill folder.  Yes, I keep a weekly budget so I can appropriate monies to upcoming bills and daily living expenses.

I know that God is the provider of all things therefore I take nothing for granted.  Every week after the bills are paid I write a manual handwritten note of thanksgiving to the Lord.  That may seem silly to some but its a heart of thanksgiving that prompts my heart to say, "Thank you Lord!". I've done this for years.

Today, I begin with a new fresh crisp folder.  I insert all my bills on the right side pocket.  I have a calendar that lists weekly expenses from mortgage payment, grocery shopping, tithing and other expenses.

I began the transfer of invoices.  I also took the time to remove the calendar that held my 2018 budget.  As I began to discard last year's calendar it was an opportunity for spontaneous worship!

Week after week I saw how the Lord provided for my family.  I've been out on disability for almost two years.  Once again God has provided for me leaving my heart is a position of worship because He has never failed to leave me in awe as he provides for my family and I.

Over and over again I can testify of how "My help has come from the Lord." He indeed is a Good Father.

The beginning of the new year is always a time of reflection. Let's pause today and reflect on what the Lord has done. It's not a monetary calculation that signifies God's blessing.  But look deep.  We are breathing today, filled with life.  Stare at the beautiful faces of your children or perhaps nephew and nieces or a new life on the horizon; new born babies that speak of God's blessing.

Think about that one time you were desperately crying out to God; how he answered you. Remember that his ways are higher than ours.  His answers at times can be disguised as "unanswered" prayers. But, look again.

Often a cloud seems like it will ruin a good hot sunny day.  The cloud is followed by showers that refresh us leaving even a scent of sweet rain to remind us of the blessings he sends.  The sun will indeed come out tomorrow.

Today is a new day!  Everything belongs to the Lord including "the cattle on a thousand hills." (Psalm 50:10) What are you in need of today?  Need a way of escape? Ask him, believing he is not only able but willing. 

"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." (Hebrews 11:6)

Shower us with your peace and joy!  We need your rain.

God bless you!~Liz

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

How Long Should We Wait?

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)

How exciting when the Lord speaks to us and he gives us a promise, a hope, a vision of things to come!

But how long do we have to wait?

When I was young, I often would wait outside for my dad to arrive home from work. I would look down 5-long blocks waiting for his shadow to appear from a distance. This was my proof that he was walking toward me and soon I would see him. I could tell based on “his walk” the strides he took that it was indeed him, even though I could not clearly see him. Because I knew my dad, his ways and yes even his walk, I was sure it was him.

As I was praying this morning and crying out to the Lord, I felt the same question echo in my soul. Well, perhaps it echoed in as a thought. Thoughts are not always from God or even mine. The enemy knows how to put thoughts in our mind as well. He encourages us to entertain the doubt instead of the hope and to think on how we can cancel the promise that God has told us to hold on too.

How long did Abraham wait for a son, the promised son? When Isaac was dying, he blessed his children based on the continued faith that Abraham had that God would make a “great people” for himself and bless them. Jacob continues and blesses his children including Joseph’s children. Joseph speaks of an exodus, a release from bondage and commands that his bones be taken with the exodus of God’s people.

How long should we wait?

When the promise comes from the Lord who operates outside of time, how long is too long?

He reminded me today just like I knew that my dad was walking home toward me from a distance; I knew his strides and steps though I only saw a shadow, that the same assurance is also mine based on who God says he is in his Word! We don’t see everything in front of us today but there is an assurance rising that points toward what we have yet to see.

Abel was commended. Enoch, Noah, Abraham and on and on. They waited for the Promise of the Messiah to arrive.

“Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.” (1 Peter 1:10-12)

The never saw Jesus but held on to the promise.

When Abraham received the promise, it kept unfolding from generation to generation until they entered the Promise Land, were delivered from bondage and ultimately hundreds of years later the Deliverer entered time! The Promise was that God would reveal himself and deliver, set them free and bring them back to himself. It was about the Salvation that was to come.

Today, the Holy Spirit continues to speak hope into our lives. Salvation has come! Jesus is alive!

If the Lord said to me that he will bring healing than the Healer will heal. I don’t know how or when, but restoration is coming.

What are you waiting on? Will the one addicted to drugs ever be set free? Will the rebellious child ever return? How will we pay our bills? And on and on we cry out!

But the enemy whispers, the debt is too much. They are too far gone. It will never happen.

Has it been too long? Hold on. He who is faithful is coming!

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

I love the promise in Isaiah 40:10, “See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.” And indeed, he did come!

God bless you!~Liz

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

I Can't Live Without You

Happy New Year!

I had a great day today touring NYC with my son & daughter-in-law. If was exciting to see the the lights, storefronts, smell the chestnuts roasting as the street vendors called for our attention to purchase their items. The Rockefeller Tree was light with every passer-by snapping a photo of a tree that once had roots but now stood as an attraction, a spectacle to see. I stood right below the 2019 NYC Ball. Confetti still floating in the air being carried away by the breeze.

Last night I was in church welcoming the 2019 year in an atmosphere of worship and voices giving testimony of God’s faithfulness. It was HIS glorious presence that knit us together.

This evening I’m on the couch with my husband watching some old church videos that included friends and family from years back. A virtual memory lane. As the music played in the background, I found myself fixed on the faces that scrolled by me.

Some are no longer with us. I began to feel their need for love and acceptance.  A cry for every face that scrolled by. I believe the Lord was giving me a glimpse of his heart.

We are all the same. Men and women longing to belong and to share moments of laughter and expressions of life together.

We need one another to laugh with but also to cry with. Life can be difficult, but God has given us one another to explore and travel through this life together.

I’m no different than my next-door neighbor or the stranger on the other side of the earth.

People need people and people need God. He is a friend that sticks closer than anyone! He is familiar with our pain and struggles. He is the HOPE that has come to intervene in our lives and bring JOY, PEACE and SOLUTIONS saturated in HIS wisdom to our daily lives. Lives at times filled with strife and pain.

The writer of the song “What Can I Do” by Tye Tribbett puts it like this,

Tell me what can I do
Cause I can't live without
I can't live without you
So here's my heart.
Here's my mind
I give you my soul
Need you to take control
Cause I've tried it
Tried it on my own but
What I found is
I can't make it
On my own

This song is a cry out to God, but I believe it’s also a heart pleading to experience love & acceptance from one another. We all fail. But with God’s help and one another’s encouragement we can rise again. Stay connected with me is the heart’s plea. I don’t want to do life by myself. Let’s experience life together and even the toils and the pain. Together we can hold one another up. We can pray. We’ll laugh until we cry. We are one another’s keeper. God loves us, and he desires that we experience the fullness of life that he has given us. Tomorrow is not promised. But today, well its full of God’s mercy, grace and compassion. Let’s share! Let’s live it! Let’s love one another.

The Rockefeller Tree was once alive. It was cut down and though it looks beautiful its roots have been terminated so that the life it once had has been removed. In time this beautifully well-lit tree will be firewood.

Let’s keep our roots in the fertile soil of the Word of God. It produces life that can shine brightly for all to see that the Maker of All is sustaining us. Now that’s something to look at!

“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:6-9)

I can’t live without you God.

I can’t live without you my friend.

Happy New Year!

We begin again to show the world the all-surpassing power that is from God!

Song Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oe9qRXe9yAc

God bless you!~Liz