Thursday, August 29, 2013

Our Savior Indeed...

Dear Raya,

The Lord recently delivered a message through me to my widows' ministry ladies. I hope this encourages you in your time of need. To God be the glory! Know this, the Lord is with you! Be blessed, Sweet Sister.

With All of My Love,


“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, Your Savior…” Isaiah 43:1b-3a

Every one of us knows what it is to experience fiery trials and overwhelming pain and suffering. Each one of us can read through this passage and understand what it means to pass through the waters, rivers, fire and flames. How many of us, after hearing this scripture, are calculating the number in our heads of the trials we are currently going through right this minute? It’s so easy to breeze through this scripture and only see the trials and hardship.
But when you read this scripture more closely, Isaiah is telling us that we have been summoned, or called by the Lord to experience these things…but He didn’t just call us to it to see how we would react. He didn’t just throw us into the abyss to see if we could claw our way out of it. We are called into trials for many reasons but here are a few key reasons:
  • So you will know that you are identified with Christ. God loves us so much that He calls us BY NAME, and then states very clearly that WE ARE HIS! Psalm 139 says, “How precious are your thoughts towards me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them they would outnumber the sand!”
  • So He can walk through it with us to prove to us that we will not experience this alone. Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Isaiah 43:1 and Deuteronomy 31:8 are only TWO of the 365 verses in the bible that exhort us to not be fearful. The Lord is faithful to His promises that He will walk us THROUGH our circumstances. God is the ALPHA AND THE OMEGA; the First and the Last. He goes before us, taking us by hand and leading the way through our circumstances…then He walks side-by-side with us…and then He gently places His hand at the small of our backs to guide us to the end of the trial where HIS are the last of the footprints on the path. Max Lucado said in his message yesterday appropriately titled You Will Get Through This, “One of the Lord’s favorite words is ‘THROUGH’.” The word “through” by definition means, “From the beginning to the end of.” God will not stop half way through your trial and leave you to fend for yourself. He is faithful to see His work through to completion.
  • Another reason the Lord allows us to experience trials is that He wants to use us in our circumstances to bring GLORY to Himself. Others will see us bravely walking through our trials and coming out on the other side having fully experienced God’s grace and mercy so that when it is their turn they will know that with their faith in Christ the same triumphant outcome can take place in their own circumstances. And for those who do not know the Lord as we do, they will see that there is something different about us, and prayerfully that will give them a desire to know the Almighty God that carries us in our time of need!
In 2 Corinthians 4 (taken from verses 7-18) we read, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For this momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Everything we do has eternal implications. Everything in this life is being used by God to draw others to Himself. This widows’ ministry is a work of the Lord; created by Him to bring glory to Himself for what He has brought Susan and I through in our lives. All of the goodness that He has brought about in this ministry of sweet fellowship and sisterhood; HE receives the VICTORY through each of our testimonies! (Susan is my co-coordinator of the ministry for any readers who do not know.)
Evangelist, Alan Redpath said in his book, Faith for the Times, “If you and I are soldiers in His army, we do not win the victory without a conflict. If we are ordained to wear a crown, we are ordained to carry a cross, for the grace of God does not mean luxury, nor does it carry us to skies on flowery beds of ease. If we would reign, then we must fight. If we would be glorified with Him, then we must suffer first.”

Ladies, we must recognize that we have an active part to play in our faith. We must first TRUST the Lord for the path He has called us to walk upon. Believe and trust that the Lord will use our suffering to serve His purposes and bring glory to His name. Trust that nothing of our suffering will ever be wasted. And we must be OBEDIENT to take the first step in His calling on our lives. He shines just enough of His light on that first step of the path in the beginning of our trials because if we could actually see the entire path there is NO WAY that we would even place a toe on it! If the Lord had shown you the entire path…all the way to the very end where you knew you would lose your husband…would you have walked towards that end? I know that I couldn’t be obedient in that! I would never have been able to see God’s gain from my loss.
Alan Redpath also said, “Your losses and your crosses you will find are places where you realize the presence of Jesus as you never could have done without them.” It is in our times of deepest sorry and hurt that we really come to understand our absolute need for Jesus. If we did not have suffering at all, where would our dependence be? On ourselves! But it is through our experiences of tragedy and fiery trials that we come to know the TANGIBLE existence of God.

In this life, we are CALLED by God to be set apart as His example; that through our circumstances the greatness of God and His power in us to overcome our trials is on display for ALL to witness.
In this life, we are JUSTIFIED by God through Jesus Christ our Savior; ordinary sinners like us have the ability and authority to say to the “mountains” in our lives, “MOVE!” And they shall be moved!

And we are GLORIFIED by God alone that by our faith, trust and obedience to walk through our trials He receives the VICTORY!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Brokenness is where the Lord wants us to be so that He may show us His abilities.  Not what I think He can do, but what He can PROVE He can do on my behalf.  The state of brokenness is when we come to the end ourselves and are ready to surrender all.  The glory of the Lord is seen in the transformation of our souls at that very moment of brokenness.  It is a visible miracle we are gifted with as we witness Him physically, mentally, and spiritually change us from the inside out.
I found these words from Joni Eareckson Tada's devotional Diamonds in the Dust very encouraging...
Joni writes of finding some broken glass in her studio by the window and mentioned how the light was beautifully refracted off of the broken pieces.  She goes on to say, “What’s true of shattered glass is true of a broken life.  Shattered dreams.  A heart full of fissures.  Hopes that are splintered.  A life in pieces that appears to be ruined.  But given time and prayer, such a person’s life can shine more brightly than if the brokenness had never happened.  When the light of the Lord Jesus falls upon a shattered life, that believer’s hopes can be brightened. 
It’s the nature of things that catch the light: The color and dazzle of light sparkles best through things that are shattered.  Only our great God can reach down into what otherwise would be brokenness and produce something beautiful.  With Him, nothing is wasted.  Every broken dream and heart that hurts can be redeemed by His loving, warm touch.  Your life may be shattered by sorrow, pain, or sin, but God has in mind a kaleidoscope through which His light can shine more brilliantly.”
Dear Raya, be encouraged. God is the Light of the world and He will bring forth His glistening light from the shattered pieces of your heart. Refracted light is SO beautiful! The vibrant rainbow of colors that shine so brightly! Amazing! Rainbows are our gift from the Lord that serve as a reminder of His promises to us. So it is in our brokenness that God's beauty will be seen, His promises are made, and His plans to prosper us begin.

Lord Jesus, I pray that Your glory and beauty would shine through the brokenness of each heart represented in each woman reading this message You have for them. Take their shattered pieces and begin to reflect Your light and love through each sliver. Illuminate the deepest fissures. Bring forth a rainbow of light for each woman to hold onto as Your promise that You will not destroy them, but in Your faithfulness, You will RESTORE them! Be glorified, Lord. In Jesus name. Amen.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Persevere for Jesus' Sake...


You just have to say the word; every Christian knows the job they have to do...persevere through them. The Lord sifts them through His loving hands. They are meant to stretch us...grow us up...and prove to ourselves and everyone else that our FAITH is real. Do we ask for them? NO WAY! Nobody in their right mind would ever ask for trials to be handed to them! LOL But, when given something bad, it's an opportunity to draw closer to the Lord than you have ever been. Who can argue with that? I know when I am going through something trying; I want to be as close to the Lord as possible.

I remember when Jay was sick and things would get really rough from his treatments. He would be in pain, so sick, running a fever, chills; you name it - he had it. I would be awake all hours of the day and night trying to get everything under control for him; get him the least bit comfortable. There were times that I just cried out to the Lord, sometimes in private and sometimes right where I was at...bedside with Jay, in the bathroom, in the kitchen...wherever I was - cry out to Him. It was hard. I didn't want to do it anymore! I didn't have the energy or the willpower to get through. It seemed as though we'd been through the cancer trial for an eternity, and the Lord was still expecting us to endure it for an additional eternity. Impossible!!

But then Jesus came...

I am a widow and I have experienced every emotion you could think of. The life I thought I would have with my husband was no longer an option. Everything I knew was taken away when Jay passed away. The loneliness alone is enough to severely mar and disfigure a person's existence. There were times that I just didn't want to live anymore. I told the Lord that I just couldn't do it. I couldn't handle what He was calling me to endure.

But then Jesus came...

Have you ever felt Him standing before you? Maybe you couldn't see Him with your human eyes, but your heart felt that He was before you, calling you to action? Our own expectations of Him sometimes get in the way and we don't see things as the Lord intended. We think we can't do what He has called us to do; what He has called us to persevere through.

But then Jesus comes...

Jesus endured much suffering as He walked the earth in human form. He was God in flesh. He had feelings, emotions, physical fatigue; He was ridiculed, beaten beyond recognition, and then impaled with large spikes and hung on a cross. For...ME?? Yes, He persevered for my sake. Jesus endured everything so that I could have eternal salvation and permission to come to my Father with my petitions.

The Lord has given me the strength to go on; to take steps in this new life of unknown possibilities, good or bad, and He has blessed me with every step that I take on this path; trusting that He has a firm grip on me. When I feel like I will fall; He sends Jesus to ask, "Will you do this for Me?" When I can't move, I'm too tired, I'm being disobedient to His calling - Jesus stands before me and asks, "Will you do this for Me? Will you hold on a little longer? Will you endure a little more pain, anguish, fear, devastation, ridicule...for My sake, knowing that OUR Father is in control and trusting that this trial will not last forever...will you hold onto Me? Our Father will deliver you in time, but you have to persevere...will you do that - for ME?"

How can I possibly say 'No'?

Dear Raya, I know that you are hurting, angry, anguished, name it...but Jesus is in your face right now asking you to hold on. Will you do it...for Him?
Lord Jesus, manifest Yourself in a tangible way for the beautiful woman reading these words from my heart...from Your heart. Help her to see feel You. Pour out Your blessings in abundant measure on her. Give her the strength for another day on this road. Replenish Your Spirit within her. Thank You for each woman that reads these words that are ultimately YOUR words. You want each person to know how much they are loved and that they are not alone. Praise You Jesus! Praise You! It is through YOU that we live again. It is by our faith that YOU are here. It is by Your grace that we are sustained. It is by Your mercy that we are saved! Thank You Jesus. Thank You. In Your HOLY name. Amen.

Friday, June 14, 2013


To everything there is a season, 
A time for every purpose under heaven... 
A time to be born, And a time to die;
A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill, And a time to heal;
A time to break down, And a time to build up;
A time to weep, And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, And a time to dance...
Ecclesiastes 3:1-4
It's true...there is a season for everything in our lives. First, God gives us the obvious...we are born and then at some point, we die. Both events are as He ordains and all in His perfect timing. I love how in these verses, God gives us the tragedy...and then the reward of TRIUMPH? It would be so easy to just focus our eyes on the tragic part of life...but if we are diligent to pray and persevere in seeking the Lord for His will and restoration...He is faithful to bring about triumph over our circumstances. He doesn't change the circumstances, because that would be too easy...but rather He strengthens us to endure the pain and suffering in those circumstances and then uses them for His purpose and His good...which gives Him the glory and blesses us with healing for our hearts. TRIUMPH!
Dear Raya: our Maker, our heavenly Husband wants nothing less than to give purpose to our mourning by reaching out to others through our pain and providing comfort in times of loss. Maybe you are still at the point where you are the one that needs the comfort because the loss of your husband is just too raw. You are at the point where you can only focus on the tragedy in your life. Hold tightly to the Lord and His promises in His Word! He promises to bring the triumph to you in a way that only He can. He will turn your weeping to laughter; your mourning to dancing. Someday...a new season will come along and you will be able to take the comfort that you have been given and provide comfort to another widow that needs to see that she will survive all of the pain and anguish she is feeling. She will receive HOPE from the Lord by shining His light through YOU!
Or perhaps you have been on the journey of widowhood for a while now and you have accepted and now thrive in this new life that the Lord has sifted through His fingers and given to you. Praise the Lord for you being in this place of surrender! Prayerfully, you have reached the point of allowing the Lord to use you as a vessel for His glory. God wants to use your experience in this grief process to show what He can accomplish through your pain. He did this with His Son, Jesus Christ, so why wouldn't He do the same with us?! Sister, I encourage you to walk this road with a newer widow...share your stories of God's faithfulness, comfort and unfailing love. Stand shoulder-to-shoulder with your widow-sister to give her added strength. Carry her when she is unable to move. Stand in the gap with intercessory prayer for her and her children, if there are any. Be that voice of the Lord when she needs counsel. Encourage her to take the next steps of faith in this new life. Allow her to see that she can trust the Lord to deliver on His every promise! This fellowship, precious Raya, is like no other. This support brings forth a community of strong, godly women who have been cultivated by God with the ability to become leaders of their families, leaders of support groups, leaders of bible studies...leaders for the glory of the Lord!  
The changing of seasons the Lord refers to in Ecclesiastes 3 is absolutely necessary. The new washes out the old. Beauty overtakes the dreadful. Strength triumphs over weakness. HOPE replaces hopelessness! If we didn't have the seasons that overwhelm us and cause our heads to hang low...we wouldn't be able to appreciate the miraculous deliverance and restoration gifted to us by the Lord that loves us with an everlasting love.
There isn't anything that the Lord will not use for His glory! We will never cry the same tear twice. Each one serves His purpose and brings His healing. He is the Lifter of our heads! He is our faithful REDEEMER! Amen?
Lord, give each woman reading this the hope and strength that she needs to continue on the journey that you have ordained. Turn her tears to laughter and her mourning into dancing again. I am so grateful for your faithfulness to restore lives that have been touched by grief. I am thankful for the seasons that allow us to see YOU at work in our lives. Praising You, Jesus, for Your ultimate sacrifice that allows me to understand what sacrifice truly means. Go before me in my ministries, Lord. Use me. Renew me. ALL for Your glory, God. Amen. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Stillness in the Lord...

"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10 This scripture is ever present in my life. I can't tell you how many times this scripture has "somehow" (we all know how...or should I say "Who") been placed before me. Nearly every question that I ask of the Lord can be answered with this scripture...
  • Lord, I am not comfortable with this circumstance. How long will it be like this?
  • Lord, why do I feel like things just aren't the way they should be?
  • Lord, I need to make some changes, what would You have me to do?
  • Lord, I don't know what to do in this situation. Will You help me?
All to be answered with..."Be still and know that I AM God."

No one likes to sit and wait. Everything in life is rush, rush, rush...but I am being continually reminded that when God says "I AM"...that means HE IS! And you just don't question it. God is in control, and when the weight of the world rests squarely on my shoulders, I have only to remember this promise, that He IS God and I am to BE STILL and trust Him for His plan to reveal itself to Me in His perfect time.

My heart has received much healing from the Lord as I have ministered to women I know, and some that I don't know, that have become widows. We share a common bond that not many (thankfully) women share. But as I get older, it is happening more and more. I believe the Lord has gifted me with a heart of mercy so that, as I have grieved the loss of my husband, I might be able to comfort other widows with the Lord's comfort that I have received for myself. I know for a fact that the Lord is using my testimony to speak to other women who have suffered this loss so that they can see that it is possible to survive, and thrive, after such a deep wound has been opened in their hearts. God is faithful to bind those wounds! 

The death of a husband is just about the ultimate test of true faith and belief in Jesus Christ. With the one we love in heaven, it’s difficult to keep our focus here on earth. We already have one foot in heaven so-to-speak, but we...the widow...are called by God to remain here and show people His power and glory through our faith in our circumstances…ALL circumstances...even this most painful season.

 God’s objective is not to make us all happy; but rather to fulfill HIS purposes.
·       His purposes are what bring Him glory.
·       His power is displayed through our weakness.
·       It is our perseverance that accomplishes both of these objectives.

No matter how difficult it might be, there comes a season in which we have to BE STILL so that we can hear the voice of the Lord speak and know how to move forward...and also so we don't get ahead of Him and HIS work! And in every one of our circumstances that we are called to go through, we are to recognize that HE IS GOD and act accordingly. Yield to Him for the circumstances that have been allowed to come to us. He is faithful to lead us through them as we trust Him to guide our steps.

Lord, my life is Yours! I wait on You. Use my life to glorify You. I desire to shine Your light for others to see. I pray that others will see beyond Me and see only You and Your work! In Jesus name. Amen.