I can’t hear You…

There are times in our life when we feel God is not speaking to us. We think, “have I sinned so much I can’t hear God any more?” ” have I not read my bible enough?” “Have I not prayed enough?” “Has God given up on me?”

The fact of the matter is we may not hear God because of several reasons, but If we are asking those questions, I think it is because God is still speaking to us.

Just like any relationship, if we don’t communicate the relationship is strained.

Sin can hinder Gods move. Though God can do anything, he is also holy. If we are unrepentive then we reject God. That can be a cause of not being able to hear him.

Sometimes his silence is a test of our resolve. Will we still serve him, seek him, obey his commands even though we can not hear Him?

Often times we read in scripture of men who asked where He was. When they asked they always ended up hearing him again. Though sometimes, in just a whisper, like in the case of Elijah.

Joseph, David even Jesus asked…”where are You, why have You forsaken me?”, but if we read on…we find out God was there.

Silence can be defeaning…and it can be a wake up call. A check to our spirit.

“How is my relationship with God?”

God does love you. He doesn’t want any to die or go to eternal fire of hell.  He will continue to speak to you. We just have to be listeding. Get rid of the noise and hear our Father speak. Continue to trust in Him and wait on Him. 

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My prayer

I am and weak and I am torn. But, all I have is you Lord. You never leave me. 

You strengthen me. 

When my world crashes it is You I seek. I can not do it on my own. 

I am not strong enough. I need you. 

Come fill me with your sweet presence again. Flood over me with your amazing love. 

Let the joy you offer overwhelm me. 

Surround me, shelter me, hold me in Your arms. For You are more than enough. 

In Your arms I find rest and peace. 

I am whole. I am healed. 

I am loved

Pour my love on You

This week of Passover and the week that our Lord and Savior death, I had asked on twitter, “What was Christ saying and going this time 2,000 years ago? He knew His time was close…yet, He was still ministering” Then in my devotion I come across the story of the woman with the Alabaster Jar. Do you remember the story?

And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.” Luke 7:37-38

This story gets to me every time. She not only used a perfume that was literally a life-savings, but she wiped his feet, cried, and kissed him. What I see here is, she is showing her love for her Lord. Her extravagant love for Him. She is demonstrating not only gratitude, because that is not even close to the word she is feeling, but overwhelming thankfulness, appreciation and gratefulness. I tend to put myself in the bible characters shoes and I understand what she is feeling. As we all may understand when we realize we are a sinner. How we deserve Gods wrath, yet He was willing to make a way by sending His Son, Jesus to die for our sins.

So, she pours her love on Him because she understands how special He is. Then Jesus turns to Peter(Simon), who was witnessing this and begins to explain to Him what is taking place and concludes with this:

” Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Luke 7:44-48

This passage has so much in it, and perhaps something to talk about on a future blog. But, what I want to share with you now, is She understand how “great” of a sinner she was. It is uncertain for sure what her “sin” was. Could she had been the woman caught in adultery? We really do not know for sure. But, we do know that she came to Jesus, seeking Him. Possibly for a reassurance that she too, would be forgiven of whatever her sin was. If she was already forgiven once, as in the woman who was caught in adultery, why would she come back to have him forgive her again? We will assume that this woman was different. She came for a different reason.

Did she come to prepare Jesus for what he was about to do? Maybe. All we do know is, she had heard he was there and sought Him out. She poured all she had onto him and loved on Him. She wanted to be near to Jesus.

Awhile back I had a dream. In my dream I had met Jesus. His smile, His touch…was more than fulfilling. It was strange to me, that in my dream, He came to me and shook my hand. He didn’t embrace me, but it didn’t matter because in that one gesture I felt…joy, satisfaction, and happiness. Nothing in this world has ever compared to that moment in my dream. Things have come close…but nothing like my Savior smiling at me and being near. So, I can understand how this woman had felt towards Jesus. She knew only He could satisfy. So she poured her love on Him.

This is why I like this story. It is a way for us to relate and experience, just a bit, through this woman, how we feel we would act towards our Savior. As if we were the ones pouring our perfume, our all, onto Him.

As we draw nearer to Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, let us remember Him. Let us show our gratitude and thankfulness to our Savior in our daily walks with Him. Let us come to Praise and Worship Him with a new passion as we remember what He has done for us.

God made that too

I was sharing with a friend, that it’s been cloudy and rainy lately. Spring time always brings rain. But, it has been non stop lately. 

So I took a picture…

I said, “though it’s cloudy God made that too”

I began to see with a different perspective.(actually…I feel it was the Lord)

You see, lately, I’ve been, like the weather, gloomy and a bummer. I’ve been going through some personal trials. And it has been tough to get through. But, through it all I remember God is with me. God has my back. He knows what He is doing. I only need to trust in Him and keep my eyes fixed on Him. 

God may not have made my trial (I know that is debatable)…but I know God is with me through it. 

So friend, (and to myself included) I encourage you with this…

Though the days seem dark…one day…the Sun will shine again. Don’t lose Hope. Cling to God. 

Ezra 2: Free will offering

 Some of the heads of families, when they came to the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem, made freewill offerings for the house of God, to erect it on its site.” Ezra 2:68

I have read this phrase, “free will offering”, and have often wondered what this is all about. Lets look at a quick definition of what it means:

“A term applied to gifts presented out of the benevolence or religious impulse of heart of the giver, and not in fulfillment of any obligation, promise, or vow.” Jewish Encyclopedia

After reading this I thought of the “free will” part of it. CHOOSING. It is our choice to choose to do this. Are we compelled by the spirit? Maybe. Is it out of the emotion we feel during a time of blessing so we choose to give? Maybe. Needless to say, it is going above and beyond what is expected. I don’t think God forces us to give an offering to Him but, it is our CHOICE to do so.

How often are we MOVED to give above and beyond what we do? It doesn’t necessarily mean just in financial giving but, of ourselves as well. Perhaps of our things. I am reminded of the early church. They didn’t just give to support those for temporary needs but they gave above and beyond. Some selling everything they had to meet the long term needs.

I think a big problem many western Christians deal with IS giving. We live in a society were we always want a hand out…or just a hand up(?) We do not always think of others. Our society is “take care of yourself” “satisfy your selfish needs” “if you are not happy…”. It never or hardly ever teaches others to help people. Not like they did in the early church. And often times, when we give we expect something back. Or a tax return.

Just the other day I seen an ad saying that a coffee shop would offer free drinks if you “show kindness” to another person. How sad. We have to be bribed to be kind. I guess it is their sad attempt at “teaching” people how to think of others.

Giving can be difficult when we feel, we have nothing to give. Often I wanted to give extra, above my tithe, but because of my lack of budgeting and over spending(selfishness) I was not able to give. How many people could have been reached if I had not been so stingy and selfish? I didn’t need another dress or another pair of flip flops.

This is how our society thinks though-“Satisfy our fleshly needs(wants)” Then when we hear the Holy Spirit nudging us to give we cling tightly to our purse/wallet. “God I cant…the bills”

If we cant give, with the little that we have, how can we give above and beyond? I think this goes back to wisdom, budgeting, discipline and thinking of others. If we think first with our spirit man we will not be so selfish to go out and waste….or splurge…on things we really don’t need.

Is it wrong to want things? If it becomes so much of an idol in your life…the “I have to have this or else” then, yes it is wrong. It is okay to want things. If you have the means to go out and get it, then I think it is okay. But, again we have to be wise. If we do not have the funds then do not get it. Which this goes into disciplining ourselves and budgeting. I think it is okay to save but, here too, we shouldn’t keep so much to ourselves. What will it do in the end? It will all burn up. Maybe you have extra because God wants to use you to help support a ministry financially. Or maybe you have extra material things because it can be used to help someone who needs that particular thing.

Going back to the Free-Will Offering, how can we give if we horde? How can we give if we have nothing to give? I know some of us might remember this…

 

Deuteronomy 15:10 – “Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.”

Deuteronomy 16:17 – “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you.”

Proverbs 21:26 – “The righteous gives and does not hold back.”

Proverbs 22:9 – “He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor.”

Proverbs 28:27 – “He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses.”

Malachi 3:10 – “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.'”

Matthew 6:3-4 – “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

Mark 12:41-44 – “And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.'”

Luke 3:11 – “And he would answer and say to them, ‘The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.'”

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 – “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.”

Luke 6:38 – “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”

 

It is that season

How often have we come to this time of the year and find ourselves so caught up with life. It is not that we have forgotten that we are a Christian, it is we get so busy we….forget we are a Christian. 

We live like a Christian daily, but we forget to take up our cross sometimes, or we forget to spend time with God, maybe it is we forget to share Christ with someone. 

There are springs sports, fellowships, teas, concerts, finals, vacations, work…it all becomes so part of our life…that we seem to miss out on opportunities with God.  

“Oh but I go to bible study, church, I’m on the worship team, I teach class at church, I never forget to do my devotions….etc”. All things we say to “prove” to God we are still thinking of him. But, he knows our heart. He knows we get burnt out. He knows we haven’t spent alone time with him in awhile. Our relationship has went from a flaming torch at Christmas time to a flicker at Easter time. 

Maybe I am the only one that gets the “springtime blues” right around easter(Palm Sunday/Resurrection sunday) 

It seems this holy day rolls around  and then I  start reevaluating my walk with God. I know it should be year around that I am keeping my life in check. But, nevertheless, it comes. And like a refreshing spring rain, that bring growth, so does this season…these holy days. It is like going to church in the middle of the week, it brings a sense of focus again. 

I know we all go through these times. That is why I share it with you. To tell you that you are not alone. 

So as we go through this Easter season once again, let us truly set our minds on Christ and what he has done. Let him reign in your life. Let us surrender every part of our messy days to him. That we are not caught offguard. Let us stand firm in our faith, totally focused on the work he has called us all to do. 

Ezra 1

“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying:

“Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all His people, may his God be with him! Let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel; He is the God who is in Jerusalem. Every survivor, at whatever place he may [a]live, let the men of [b]that place support him with silver and gold, with goods and cattle, together with a freewill offering for the house of God which is in Jerusalem.’” -Ezra 1:1-4

Cyrus

Here we read about King Cyrus. A very notable king indeed. He was picked by God to help Israel rebuild Gods “house in Jerusalem”. He was “set apart” by God. There is something there, that I want to dive into a bit.

Cyrus was not Jewish. In fact he was Persian. God set him apart before he was even born. Lets look into the book of Isaiah:

“who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd
    and will accomplish all that I please;
he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,”
    and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.”’ Isaiah 44:28

A brief history on Cyrus. With a little light research on his youngers years, it is uncertain as to if Cyrus was born to the king and or was part of the aristocracy or if, according to myth, he was put in the care of a Shepard couple. The point is he was not apart of the kingdom till later after Cyrus the 1st died.  Fast forward, he becomes king over all the land. He is considered a great conqueror, in fact some give him the title “Cyrus the Great”. Then we come across this portion of scripture, where God speaks to him and uses him to rebuild Jerusalem.

God chooses who He wants

In a recent conversation, a friend and I had with someone about, whether God “picks and chooses leaders.” We know God is in control. He knows everything after all. And He can choose who He wants to bring His purpose about.

We can do a study of all the Kings, rulers, and judges in scripture and we will find out some were good and some were bad. The point is, that God predestined or chose these leaders for His good purpose. Cyrus was no different.

God had a plan for His people and He used Cyrus to fulfill his plan.  Does every leader have a purpose? For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” Romans 13:4

Still not convinced? Here is further reading on it,

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Romans 13:1 

“”It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men And knowledge to men of understanding” Daniel 2:21

For not from the east or from the west
    and not from the wilderness comes lifting up,
but it is God who executes judgment,
    putting down one and lifting up another.” Psalm 75:6-7

 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,[b] whether it be to the emperor[c] as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.” 1 Peter 2:13-14

Then there’s this:

 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above..” John 19:11

God is in-control

God brings those in authority for our own good. In the book of Judges, God raises men and women up to lead Israel. If you read The book of 1-2 Kings God allows these Kings to be raised up to bring his people back to him. These leaders are raised up for our Good. To lead us to Him(God).

For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.” Romans 13:4-5

Whether our current leaders appear to be good or not, we are to humble ourselves under them. But they are not the ones we are to look to to bring us HOPE or LIFE.  We are to look to God for all things. As long as we live on this sinful broken world, we will have leaders who will fail us. Just remember God never fails and we are to always look to Him.

He is in-control and He knows what He is doing. He is doing it all for our good. That we would run to Him and depend on Him only.

I Still Believe in the the Movement of the Spirit

This is good stuff. Must read

Pursuing Glory

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I came to Christ in the midst of a spiritual revival that was sweeping through sections of the church in the mid-90’s.  I watched my mom get miraculously healed of cancer in front of my eyes and it was shortly after that I gave my life to Christ.  It was during this time that Brownsville, Toronto, and other places were experiencing moves of the Holy Spirit. We treasured that season because we were watching things that happened in the Bible regularly occur before our eyes. For us, this was what Christianity was supposed to be about.

Somewhere around the year 2000 many of those movements faded a bit and it was during this time I started feeling called to church planting.  After college I moved to Kansas City to learn church planting and how to follow the Holy Spirit like I had seen others do.  I got a bit more…

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Some recipe

I love to cook. And I experiment cook just about every time. So no one recipe is the same. I figure I would try to write what I do down. I really don’t care if you take it and get famous off of it..lol.

One thing I love to make is …tacos. Like ..a lot!! My mom makes the best tacos. At least, the best home made soft shells I have ever had! I am still trying to get that recipe down. So I cannot share that with you yet. But, in my love for all things mexican, I have experimented with other dishes. SO my first recipe will be about quesadillas. A recipe the whole family loves.

I may add more recipes to this one. Keeping all the recipes together on this one blog. So feel free to browse back from time to time.

Taco Seasoning

It really depends on how much beef you are making. As well as how much of each seasoning you like. This is for about 5 pound of meat. Easily a table spoon of each.(or less depending on how spicy you like it.)

  • Paprika
  • Chili powder
  • Garlic
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Salt
  • Pepper
    • (This can be to taste. If you add cayenne you may not want to add too much if at all)
  • Cayenne
    • (Again, this too can be to taste depending on how spicy. Other spices like a 5 pepper spice I have used as well)
  • Cilantro
    • (Any green herb like basil or parsley I have used just depending on preference)

 

Po’Man Chicken Quesadilla

Now I have been in a bind a few times, and I know buying chicken can get pricey. SO, I have learned to improvise a bit. Canned chicken (which may be a little cheaper) may not taste as good as fresh chicken but, when doctored up..not too bad.

I take the canned chicken drain the water. Fry it up in the pan. I dice up a small onion, a bell pepper..red or green or both, saute them up in butter. After the veggies are slightly softened I mix with the chicken.

Bacon-fry up chop then add into chicken mix. Put on low heat to stay warm.

NOTE: An optional add..is One can of black beans.

Use a bigger pan for frying. Turn heat to medium heat. Spray the pan with olive oil spray, take a large soft shell place on sprayed pan. Add the chicken/veggie/bacon mixture to the shell. spread around to the edge of shell. Add Sharp Cheddar cheese(enough to cover most of the mixture. Then add the top shell. Spray top shell with olive oil spray.

Fry approximately 1 -2 minutes on one side and about a minute on other side.

Remove from skillet and slice up into slices

Additional Sauces for dipping

  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
  • Guacamole

And there you have it. My easy chicken quesadilla

 

 

Becoming Missional by the Power of the Spirit

Spot on!!

Pursuing Glory

x4iia7-3c7e-riley-mcculloughDisclaimer: If you ever see a footnote on the bottom of a post, it’s likely to become a follow up post at some point. This post originated here.

There is a giant market in Christianity in the West for all things “missional.” In fact it’s so large, we’ve started naming things missional that aren’t.  And much of the missional conversation has begun to center around doing good works for our neighbor–caring for the sick, empowering the poor, advocating for those at the margins.

All of this must include sharing the gospel. The missional movement will go completely off track if it abandons the story of Jesus as the way to the Father and the only answer for the human condition. In fact, while good works are important and cannot be ignored, sharing the good news must take priority in our lives. I say this as someone who has taken…

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