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.