Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Right Card Wrong Company

I was going to get my hair cut and I put my ATM card in my back pocket so I wouldn’t have to carry a purse. After the haircut I went to the counter to pay and handed the girl my card. She looked at me kind of funny and said “we don’t take library cards here.” I had grabbed the wrong card out of my purse. At a quick glance they looked the same, they were the same color and size but what they were able to do was quite different. One only borrowed, the other one bought.
I started thinking about my relationship with Jesus and all the things I borrow from Him when I need it. If I’m depressed I might say I have the joy of the Lord. If I’m scared I say, perfect love cast out fear. If I’m lonely, I say He will never leave or forsake me. All of these things are true and I can borrow (believe) them when ever I want to. The truth is unless I truly buy (know) these things; the feeling of comfort is only temporary.
I was listening to an interview Jessie Duplantis did and he said most people go though their whole Christian walk believing but never knowing the truths of God. He actually used my favorite verse:
2ndTimothy 1:12 For which cause I suffer also these things: yet I am not ashamed; for I know him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed unto him against that day.
Paul was stating here that not only did he believe, he knew that he could trust God. Many of us say we believe in God, in miracles, in healing, in Heaven in…. The key is to KNOW. It’s an action word not a noun.
I am going through some life changes that are dramatically affecting my life and the other night I had my own little melt down. I did what I believed was right, I got out my Bible and read God’s word and encouraged myself but I still had a good crying session till I fell asleep. When I woke the next morning I turned on the TV and that’s when I heard Jessie Duplantis saying my favorite verse and emphasizing the “know” part. I sat up in bed and said out loud “I do know. I have seen God work in my life. I know the strength I find is supernatural and can only come from God and I KNOW He is faithful!” I didn’t just believe (borrow) I reminded myself that I knew (bought).
The best way for you and I to know God will be there is to trust Him (another action word) and no matter what the circumstances look like or what people are saying remind ourselves that we aren’t using a library card that just believes we are using a debit card that bought us outright. Read the small print, there is no credit limit!

Gena’s Jewels

Monday, July 20, 2009

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Home is ultimately not about a place to live but about the people with whom you are most fully alive. Home is about love, relationship, community and belonging, and we are all searching for home.
Quote from Soul Cravings written by Erwin McManus

In a day when homes are being foreclosed as quick as they were getting sold when the market was hot, many people are finding themselves homeless. We know as believers we have an eternal home in Heaven where we will be accepted and loved but what about while we’re still here?
One of the definitions of home I found on dictionary. Com, really hit me “reaching the mark aimed at” Reaching the mark aimed at. If we go back to our quote, home is the place where you feel most alive, where you feel loved accepted and have relationships, where there is community; then is it safe to say that since there are healthy and unhealthy relationships, there are healthy and unhealthy communities? I had never thought about that but this book has made me wonder about my own community. Is it what I’m aiming for? Is where I’m trying to “belong” a healthy or unhealthy place? We are all striving to belong somewhere. God is described as love and He tells us to love one another but how do you do that if you don’t feel like you belong to any one community?

“Jesus called to all who were weary and who found their soul exhausted to come to him and find rest. He is telling us that God will be for us our place called home.” Quote from Soul Cravings

We are affected good or bad by the opinion of those who are closest to us. What happens if you find out their opinion of you isn’t very good? If you don’t know who you are in Christ your whole identity will begin to shatter, you may begin to feel “homeless.” So if you’re living in a home/community where people are not thinking the best or encouraging the best in you this could be a sign that you’re in an unhealthy community. You may need to move your “home” or what your aiming at.
I think the common courtesies of life have been affected by our society. Things like not responding when someone reaches out to you. It could be an email, snail mail, phone message or even something as simple as a smile. We have become so self consumed that we have stopped caring about our community and our community is suffering. The Bible tells us in Philippians 2:1-2 is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another and working together with one mind and purpose.It sounds like Jesus is giving a blueprint for building a loving home in a desired community.

I’m not talking about Pleasantville. I know we all have our issues we are working through myself included but I’m thinking maybe God is trying to get our attention here, I know He has mine. I think He’s reminding us to take a good look at ourselves as children of the King.
Romans 15:5-7 May God who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.
There are so many hurting people out there, believers and nonbelievers. Lets try and make a healthy community where all are accepted and loved. Lets figure out how to have harmony and let the one voice be the voice of love. Home truly is where the heart is!

Gena’s Jewels

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Here's Your Sign

When a friend and I first got our Real Estate license we hit the streets trying to get business. My friend saw a FSBO (For Sale by Owner) sign in someone’s yard and she was actively marketing this person to get the listing. After many flyers, letters and phone calls she finally got the owner on the phone and she went into her speal of why they should hire her to sell their home. When she finally stopped talking long enough for the owner to speak they thanked her for her enthusiasm and all her letters, postcards, ECT but they were not selling their home they were selling their CAR! We both had a good laugh and I’m sure they did too.
The Lord used this illustration to show me that sometimes He uses signs to try to get us to hear something He is saying.
I shared this scripture with you in another jewel but the Lord is using it again, He’s allowed to do that 
John 3:12 Message Bible If I tell you things that are as plain as the hand before your face and you don’t believe me, what use is there in telling you of things you can’t see, the things of God? I love that the Lord can give you so many teachings from the same verse.
I had a dream the Lord put a live bug in my ear. Even in the dream I was digging in my ear trying to get it out. When I woke up I still had the heebie geebies rubbing my ear and thinking about a bug being in it. I of course thought about the saying “bug in your ear” and how people give you information for you to be aware of. Over the next few days’ situations came up that the saying applied to but I still didn’t get the connection. Finally, one day I was driving down the road doing about 50 mph with my window slightly open. I was praying and singing, just enjoying the day. All of a sudden this bug flies in the window and slams into my ear. I mean it hit me so hard it hurt. I had to stop the car! I have been hit with bugs while riding my motorcycle but never driving in my car with a window that’s barely open. I looked down and this poor bug is out cold. I opened the door and threw him out just in case it did wake up, I’m sure it wasn’t going to be happy. Honestly I could not believe how much it hurt my ear and all of a sudden the Holy Spirit said “bug in your ear.” I’m like OK I get it! You have my complete attention but WHAT ARE YOU SAYING!!! I thought of Bill Engvall saying “here’s your sign” The Lord showed me that a “bug” is also another word for the flu or sickness, not being healthy. I remembered that a few days earlier I had given my son some advice. I thought it was good advice at the time but the Lord showed me it wasn’t. I had given him advice based on unhealthy thinking from my past, not advice that would line up with what God said about him and who he is in Christ. I got with him and corrected the situation immediately.
A few days later I was talking to another friend and she was telling me about a struggle she was having in a relationship she thought may not be healthy. She then told me that for the past few days she kept misplacing her eye glasses. She even thought someone was taking them because she knew exactly where she left them and they would be gone. I could hear Bill Engvall again “here’s your sign.” I told my friend the Holy Spirit said “you don’t need your glasses because your not seeing clearly anyway.” She knew what God’s word said about engaging in relationships that were not healthy.
Proverbs 1:10 & 15 My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them. My son do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths.
I think we miss obvious signs because we don’t’ truly see ourselves the way God does. We will allow things in our life that are not part of God’s purpose for us because we don’t believe we are truly worthy. That of course is a lie.
Where are you right now? Is God showing you signs to move you in a certain direction? Are you coming up with your own signs to go where you want to go? Look at your situation with someone else as the main character, what would you tell them the Lord was saying? The same truth applies to you. God loves you and wants you to read your signs from His perspective. There’s Your Sign!
Gena’s Jewels

Are You For Real?

Have you ever asked yourself, “God is this for real?” I mean what if I have it wrong and the rest of them have it I right? What if there is no brass ring? Is it possible I’m chasing the never ending carrot? Do you really have my life in control?
Have you been believing God for something? A job, spouse, home, baby, your marriage, finances, health. You know you heard God tell you it was yours but it STILL hasn’t happened! You may be wondering did I really hear God.
If you have asked these questions and responded with, I don’t know anymore. I’m frustrated, I’m angry, I’m tired, I doubt, then your right where I was a few days ago. I was annoyed and frustrated and burdened by my circumstances. I went to bed with an attitude and woke up with one and could not seem to kick the mood. It would come and go with no warning. I still read my bible and even had great worship time with the Lord but then out of no where, bam there it was again. That “feeling” inside of me. The thing I hated the most was the feeling was not only inside of me but it was obviously mine. I felt like blowing off the whole Christian thing and just hanging out with me. The only problem with this plan was I didn’t exactly like me.
If it makes you feel any better there was a man in the bible, his name is with held to protect the innocent, who also felt this way. He is talking to Jesus and he says in Mark 9:24”I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Notice the exclamation mark, that’s in the bible I didn’t add it. This guy was struggling with his feelings and his son’s life was at stake!
I was on my way to lead a class to a group of women and it was already planned we would be listening to a CD. I figured that was best, I could just sit back and hide for the hour. Of course the Lord had other plans and told me to tell the ladies how I was feeling. I was like, I can’t do that I’m suppose to be positive and tell them about Christ stability and I’m on shaky ground myself. Isn’t God funny, it doesn’t matter how shaky we may feel He’s totally confident. So with my pride stuffed in my pocket I told those dear women how I was feeling and asked if anyone else ever felt the same way. Every hand raised and the Holy Spirit took over. I thought I was going to minister to them but the truth is we ministered to each other. I believe that’s how God wants us to do things anyway. I told them about my struggle and a conversation I had with my oldest son. He was the one that asked if I ever feel like I’m chasing the never ending carrot and I said yes. He then asked the important question “what makes you keep going?” I told him that every time I question God He reveals Himself to me again.
After I brought up this whole thing to the Lord He gave me Proverbs 2:3-6 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
If you’re looking for hidden treasure you don’t just walk around and find it you have to dig and dig and dig. Maybe the times we’re having trouble with our beliefs could be considered “digging” times. You feel like your just lifting one shovel of dirt after another with no end in sight. Times like these are another reason I believe it’s important to study the old and new testament together. The Old Testament establishes who God is and the New Testament establishes what Christ died for and how the Holy Spirit was given so we can make it through the digging times. If you found a treasure chest filled with jewels and gems would you only keep half and put the other half back into the ground? NO WAY!
Sometimes we have to search for God as we would for silver or gold and in that hidden treasure is more insight, understanding and belief. I told my son that since I know there is no such thing as coincidence it can only be God. The day after this conversation my daughter-in-law called me and I offered to keep my grandsons while she went to work. She had other plans but I persisted that I would watch them until their dad came. She agreed and not 20 min. later called me from her cell phone, she was in a car accident. Chances are my youngest grandson would have been injured. I knew God was revealing himself to me because I needed to see Him. That is just one of many examples, I’m sure you can think of a few in your own life. I want to encourage you that weather we admit it or not many of us have times like this in our lives. If you go before the Lord with a sincere and respectful heart and tell Him how your feeling (He knows anyway) He is faithful in not only showing Himself to you but revealing something new as well. Our circumstances or unbelief never changes God’s plan for us. So the next time you ask are you for real, grab a shovel and start digging there’s treasure in them hills!

Gena’s Jewels

Boat Rocker

Have you ever been on a canoe or row boat with someone and they keep moving around and you’re sure the boat is going to tip over? You tell them “quit rocking the boat!” Well, if you’re hanging out with Jesus He really is about rocking your boat. He is not content with status quo and you shouldn’t be either. He has really been talking to me lately about who I allow to represent me. Who am I associated with? Do I have the same beliefs and convictions as those I stand with? Kinda like the birds of a feather thing. Are we “saying” the same things or are we keeping quiet when we know something is wrong. How often do we go along with people and say “I don’t want to rock the boat?” We don’t want to make waves or stir up trouble. Where did we get this teaching from? Certainly not from God. He never had a hard time setting people straight. When the Israelites were traveling to the Promise Land the Lord gave them some pretty direct instructions.
Deuteronomy 7:1-4 When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanits, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you and when the Lord your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Dot not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods, and the Lord’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you.
God wasn’t worrying about hurting anyone’s feelings. He knew if His children hung out with the wrong people eventually they would pull them away from Him.
Now I have never had to wipe out an entire nation, although I have wanted to wipe out my teens in the past but that’s another story.
Years ago the Lord sent me to see a Pastor and I was suppose to tell him that he needed to be careful, that there was something in his life that was going to hurt his ministry and I was pretty sure the Lord told me it was pride. I thought this Pastor was going to be happy I gave him this important message. As you can imagine he was not. I was fired as a Sunday school teacher soon after that. I had rocked his boat. Looking back at that situation, in light of what the Lord is teaching me today, I actually appreciate what that pastor did. He decided he didn’t want me representing him and the truth is I didn’t want to represent him. Without going into the gory details I found out years later he was no longer in the ministry.
Jesus also was not apologetic when he was telling the disciples where to stand. He told them if people didn’t like what they had to say just shake the dust off your feet and move on. In other words they don’t represent you and you don’t represent them. Matthew 10:14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.
It’s not always easy doing or saying the right thing but the Lord is all about being obedient. In all your relationships both personal and business make sure you know where others stand so you know they represent what God stands for. If not maybe you need to rock the boat and let it tip, then the people remaining in it with you are the ones you’re supposed to be floating with in the first place.

Gena’s Jewels

Monday, July 13, 2009

Who's Calling?

Have you ever called someone on the phone and you think you know who you’re talking to but as the conversation goes on you realize it’s not the person you thought. You’re amazed at how much their voices sound the same and you could have sworn you were talking to the right person.
I have answered my cell phone and a friend asks to speak to my mom and I say “this is the mom” and they laugh and say “you sound just like your daughter.” It reminds me of how many times I call out to God and after He answers I wonder, is that you answering me Lord or someone who sounds like you?
I have good news for you; I’m going to tell you some things about how blessed you are that I know God told me.
3"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
4"You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One dearest to you.
5"You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought.
6"You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat.
7"You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for.
8"You're blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
9"You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family.
10"You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom.
11-12"Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.
6"Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven." (Matthew-Message Bible)

Then there’s the times the person your speaking to is trying to trick you. I called my son to talk to my grandsons and Lucus the younger one answered but I couldn’t tell if it was him or his brother. I would say “is this you Lucus?” and he would say “no it’s Anthony” this went on for a few minutes till I knew for sure it was Lucas and I said “I know it’s you Lucas” and he said “no it’s Nathanael.” Well I knew for sure it wasn’t Nathanael because Nathanael is my 17 year old son and a 4 year old definitely did not sound like a teenager.
We have to be careful who we let speak into our lives as well. Is what they say coming from God or someone impersonating Him?
"Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don't be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.” (Matthew-Message Bible)
Basically God is telling us here to make sure the people we seek counsel from are men and women of integrity. How do they behave when no one is looking?
This morning I just wanted to hear from God and I realized the best way is to open the Bible and read it for myself. I like the read letter Bibles where it shows when Jesus is talking. When I’m reading those words I never have to ask “whose calling?” I have Heavenly caller ID and I will always take that call.

Gena’s Jewels

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Technical Difficulty

The other day I was watching my grandsons and helping them clean their room. I told Lucas, the 4 year old, to pick up the books that were all over the floor. After he picked them all up he said “Nana I want this book” and pointed to the one on the bottom of the stack. I told him he could have it but he would have to put all the books back again when he was done. About 20 minutes later I went in his room and there were books all over the floor and I told him to pick them up. He looked at me with the sweetest eyes and said “I want you to help me Nana.” I of course reminded him that I said if he took them out he would have to put them all back. He then corrected me and said “you didn’t say I had to do it alone Nana, if that’s what you meant you should have said that.” He had me on a technicality.
I wondered how many times the Lord tells us to do something and we don’t do it and try to hold Him on a technicality. We know what He told us to do and we actually think we can get one over on Him using this theory.
For example, I knew the Lord told me to go visit a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. I didn’t go that day (technically He didn’t say go today) so I waited until it was more convenient for me which happened to be a few days later. When I did go see her I found out her dad passed away after a long battle of old age and sickness. Guess when it happened? Right, the day the Lord told me to go over there.
Joyce Meyer says in one of her books that procrastination is the same as disobedience. Powerful statement and very true. It doesn’t have to be something you don’t want to do it could be something you’re looking forward to but putting off for whatever reason. If the Lord tells us to do something all the technicalities in the world will not sway His decision. If you don’t do it you’re not listening. I think the same rule applies when we are not living out our true purpose because we are busy doing other things. We may use this technical call; but God it’s the Christian thing to do or it makes sense to do this or that. If it’s not part of God’s plan for your life and it’s keeping you from your purpose that too is disobedience. We have to learn to distinguish between the times when we are to be Jesus for people and the times Jesus wants to do things Himself.
Too often in my kids life I have tried to be Jesus for them on the technicality that they are my kids and it’s my God given right to interfere. It didn’t work in the past and it doesn’t work now.
I pray you will take a moment today to evaluate where you are in your walk with the Lord and ask yourself:
Am I doing what God designed me to do?
Am I hiding behind some other “Christian” job avoiding my own?
Am I trying to be God for someone?
Am I trying to get God on a technicality?
Only you can answer these questions.

Aren’t you glad we have God to make the game plan, Jesus to send it with love and the Holy Spirit to clarify any misunderstood calls. With God there is no technical difficulty!

Gena’s Jewels