Friday, July 26, 2019

THE STRETCHING



     
We all know what it’s like to experience physical pain. However, there is a type of suffering that cuts much deeper for it tears at our heart and pierces our soul. There are times when the Lord may allow this type of agony to stretch you for He wants to move you far beyond the limits of your flesh.

Many often quote the following statement: "God does not allow us to take on more than we can bear," But in searching for that Scripture, I found it nowhere in the Bible. Instead what I did find was this: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

The scripture above speaks of temptation only. The truth is that God DOES allow us to take on more than we can bear. But there is a higher reason for it. He is not trying to shield us from pain nor is He trying to save our life on this side of Heaven. This is something every Believer should consider as we are approaching a time of tribulation and greater persecution. This may be controversial but I sincerely believe that those who know the Lord should welcome death over life on this Earth for it ushers us into the wonderful presence of God. Hallelujah!

People suffer for many reasons and God allows it because it is through adversity that we experience change. If we suffer nothing, we learn nothing therefore we gain nothing. From where we sit, we can't see the forest for the trees but from God's vantage point, He sees the entire forest which is why we should trust Him. When we are stretched beyond the limits of our flesh, the experience forces us to recognize our limitations as well as our breaking point. Only then are we able to see where we end and God begins.

Those who choose to live in this world without Jesus are left to carry the burdens of this life alone and in their own limited power which is why so many resort to suicide and various addictions to escape. The burdens of this life are simply too much for us mere humans to bear alone. Furthermore, what comes out of suffering does not just benefit us. We can see this in Jesus' example. And if He suffered, we know that we will suffer for the student is not greater than the Teacher. The Lord has already warned us of the suffering that is sure to come. So, don't think it strange when the cup is handed to you. Suffering also enables us to better empathize, support and encourage others when it is their turn to go through hardships. This is what makes up our testimony, all of which will enable us to take part in overcoming Satan. (Rev. 12:10-11)

When a woman carries and gives birth to a baby, her body stretches beyond its normal limits and she endures all kinds of uncomfortable changes that are brought on by the miracle taking place inside of her. But it doesn’t end there. After the baby is born, the woman and everyone around her continue to experience transition in their lives. Although the woman's body eventually returns to normal, on so many levels she is forever changed. Never again will she be as she was before. The stretching experience that she endured was painful, inconvenient and life-changing but the end result made her, and many others, the better for it.

Monday, July 22, 2019

REFLECTIONS



Life has a way of taking its toll on us. Pretty often this is difficult to hide. When we take a look in the mirror, the wear and tear on our body is looking right back at us. It's a good thing however that God is in control of even this for He tells us He will work all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

For years, many of us will continue to suffer the consequences of our own bad decisions before we finally acknowledge the error of our ways. Only after everything else has failed are we willing to confess that life lived our way just isn’t working. At least this was the case for me.

Oh, how humbling it is when we get to a place of brokenness. Yet, that is exactly where God wants us to be. When we become broken, only then are we able to see ourselves for who we truly are. Only then do we see ourselves as a sinner in need of a Savior.

In the natural, when we gaze at our reflection, we can only see our fleshly body. We may think we look good but the truth is that there is absolutely nothing special about our flesh. However, the world wants us to believe otherwise. So we focus on what we look like on the outside and ignore what's going on inside. As far as God is concerned, our flesh is filthy, flawed and unworthy. God is Holy - He is the embodiment of true cleanliness, perfection and goodness.

Every day, our bodies are deteriorating. It's a process that begins the moment we are born. Our flesh bodies were not designed to live forever. One day, the body we love so much is going to die. It will completely break down and go back to the dust from which it came for it will have served its purpose on Earth. However, the you that lives inside your body - your spirit - will live on forever. Do you know where your spiritual body will go?

When God looks at us, He's not looking at our physical bodies. He sees past our flesh and into our spirit. When we die, God is looking for one thing only. He is looking for the image of Jesus. Although God sees us, only through Jesus Christ are we able to see God.

In God's eyes, only Jesus is considered clean enough, perfect enough and good enough to be worthy. In God's eyes, only Jesus is righteous and only through Jesus are we considered righteous in God’s eyes. No other image will do.

Monday, July 15, 2019

THE SPOTLIGHT IS ON YOU, LADIES!


With so much in the news today about the exploitation of women, I felt it appropriate to share this story...

When I was much younger, I had dreams of becoming a high-fashion runway model. Beholding to the world’s standard of beauty, I believed the lie and thought I had all it took to become successful in the high fashion industry. So, while attending college, I jumped at the opportunity to model swimsuits for designers at an international apparel venue in Dallas.

In the beginning, the glitter and the glam was intoxicating and I'd be lying if I didn't say that I loved it. Why? Because all eyes were on me. Isn't that what success in this world is really all about?

To sashay oneself across a stage and down a narrow runway positioned high above gawking eyes, while wearing skimpy and barely-there, was the pinnacle of every woman - or so I thought. Amidst all that light shining down upon me, it wasn’t long before I discovered that there was also a dark side. Oh yes, there is always a dark side when you are modeling the world.

It all seemed exciting at first… the glamour, the clothes, the attention. But I was deceived. The evil in this world wants you to believe that women are a commodity - merely goods to be used for man’s pleasure. And we have contributed to this role by allowing ourselves to be debased on so many levels.

The truth is that this world is the devil’s playground. Those that run it and run around in it care nothing about me or you. Their only desire is to use you for their benefit. Ladies, if you allow it, this world will chew you up, extract all the sweet juice then spit you out for naught.

In an effort to make a self-serving name for myself, I became more and more preoccupied with self. The one-dimensional world that I lived in consumed me. I was self-destructing. It’s bad enough when you finally realize you are hurting yourself but it’s even worse when you recognize you have hurt those around you who truly love you. The decisions I made during that time in my life caused me to descend into a downward spiral. To be perfectly honest with you, I was quickly moving in the direction of Hell. I was out of control.

The Lord will often allow people to sink straight to the bottom so that they can clearly see that there is nowhere else to go but to the top. This is what happened to me. It was there, in that lonely place, that I met Jesus. He extended His hand to me and I took It. He lifted me high above it all and opened my eyes so that I could truly see the world for what it really was. Then He helped me step up onto the real stage of life. There He taught me how to walk the Walk and talk the Talk. Then He told me to strike a pose! For instead of modeling for the people, now I model for the King! And what do I wear? Beautiful, flowing fashions of Glory.

Jesus truly changed my life. Instead of dying in the lie, I am now living the Truth.

God created every woman beautiful. However, beauty is given not just for turning heads. The Lord does nothing unintentional. He is the Master Artisan. Everything He touches becomes His design of perfection. He intricately fashions the inside and the out for a specific purpose. There is a reason why you look the way you do, talk the way you do, act the way you do and think the way you do. You can believe that God is all about His base. And you are all about His custom-made plan predestined just for you. Are you aware of God's plan for your life? Better still, are you walking in it?

Ladies, young and old, how do you become a highly fashioned model for Christ? First, you seek Him. Your only job is to seek Him which will cause you to know Him which will cause you to love Him which will cause you to honor Him which will cause you to obey Him and, in turn, He will cause you to be clothed in beautiful fashions of righteousness.

Through Jesus, I discovered my God-given purpose. Through Jesus, you can discover yours.