Friday, June 27, 2014

Turn Upside Down & Shake

My sweet Jessica graduated from high school and I made a cork board of pictures for her graduation party. At the top I had some stick on letters spelling out her pet name from me which is Noony J It is a term of endearment my grandmother used to use.

When I was taking it back home from the party I noticed two of the letters fell off. I only walked from my car to the house so I figured they wouldn't be hard to find. I was wrong. I searched everywhere for those stupid letters. I emptied the back of the car out, which is no easy task as I collect stuff all the time. I walked up and down the driveway and retraced my steps from the car to the house. I was getting so frustrated I couldn't imagine where those letters went. I asked the Lord a few times “what the heck, where are they?”  It became an obsession for me to find them. My better judgment said forget about it, just get more letters. It’s not even her real name but I was determined to find them. I was about to lose it so I just left the board on her bed and shut the door.
The next day I went into Jessica’s room for something and there it was the object of my frustration. I picked it up and asked the Lords again, “where are those letters?”  I heard him say "turn it upside down and shake it.” So I did and sure enough they fell off of pictures they had stuck on. The thing is Gems I looked at all those pictures thinking they may have been stuck on there but I didn't see them.

As always the Holy Spirit wanted to teach me something. He said “Gena sometimes you can look at a person and it appears everything is in order BUT, if you turn things upside down and give them a good shake things can be set free that were sticking on them.” Or in my case in them.
Matthew 15:18 But the things that come out of a person's mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.

I will now give you a human application to the above verse……
I have been dealing with my own list of oppression's.

Oppressed: the feeling of being heavily burdened, mentally or physically, by troubles, adverse conditions, anxiety, etc.
The past month or so has been one circumstance after another and it's been a huge pain in the butt! To be honest I was feeling warn down.
Of course the enemy knows exactly when to attack us; kick a man when he’s down. However, the result of the attack is on me. I will respond with what is in my heart at that moment.  My heart will speak and what comes out may not be who I am but what I’m feeling about who I am at that moment.
In this particular circumstance I was feeling rejected and hurt so when the attack hit I spoke words that reflected how I felt and I can tell ya Gems they weren't nice words. The problem wasn't the other person, or even the situation, it was how I was feeling.

It was the stuff stuck to my heart. The Lord used the situation to turn me upside down and shake me up.He wanted me to see what fell out. The Holy Spirit used it for me to see I had things in my heart that needed to be removed. Honestly Gems I was surprised at how I was reacting. I truly thought I was further along in my emotional trunk.

I thought I had conquered those emotions but I guess they can slip back in without our noticing.

It’s OK to mess up; it was good for me to see I had some shaking up to do. I needed to remind myself how much God thinks of me and that I matter to Him despite how people or situations make me feel at the moment.
I needed to remind myself that the only love language that matters is dying to self. Everything we feel is about what's in us.

So Gems if you find yourself feeling upside down and shaken, take a deep breath and ask the Holy Spirit what He's trying to shake out of you and let it go cause God loves you enough to get rid of the nonsense.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Crown Of Mercy

Some times I'm leery about giving a prayer request when the request has to do with my heart hurting. I hesitate because I don't want to hear how you think I should feel I just want to be heard.
Have you ever experienced a time when your walking through something in your life and it just really hurts? You share it with the people you love and they tell you how you should feel or say you should be grateful for the test. They give you scriptures in the Bible you should read and pretty much tell you to suck it up and give it to God.
Gems these are not bad things but seriously sometimes all I want is a hug and a hand to walk with me through my experience. I want a shoulder to cry on and a tissue for my tears. I don't want your advice, your Christian sayings or your pious opinion of my situation. I want you to love me with mercy and grace. We can get to the other stuff later.
The truth is there are seasons in all our lives. They aren't good or bad there just part of the cycle of life. Just because we mourn a part of life we're not ready to let go of doesn't mean we don't celebrate the part of life that is to come. It just means we will miss the part we are letting go of. 

That can't be wrong there's a verse in the Bible that expresses my very thought.

Proverbs 20:25 Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on a wound, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.

We have to be careful with our words they can help or hurt. Proverbs gives great advice about kind words.

Proverbs 12:25 Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.

We as Christians, and I include myself in this, like to talk about the crown of authority we have through Jesus and it's true we do have authority. We reign over sin and death but we serve with love and kindness.

Proverbs 103:4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.
As you know all these jewels are stories from my own life and I'm guilty in all of them. It's the things I'm experiencing at the time that make me search my own heart. I recently asked the Holy Spirit to reveal something new about God to me. As the day went on I didn't feel like He showed me anything about God personally. I asked Him “Holy Spirit your not showing me anything, why?”
Oh Gena, how many times have I warned you about asking the Holy Spirit questions....
This is what He said to me “Gena, every time I teach you something about yourself that doesn't look like Jesus I'm showing you something new about what God looks like.”
What I learned Gems is we have to learn about God's sovereignty and holiness in balance with learning about His love and grace.
Robert Morris said something that rocked my world. “God is so merciful that even His throne is called the Mercy Seat.”
Gems let's work together to be compassionate to each other. Listen when your brother or sister is hurting and instead of giving your personal opinion on the situation give a hug and a kind word.

Proverbs 16:24 Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Let's remember Christ made us Kings to reign over sin and Priest to connect with each other. Forgive those who haven't handled your pain in the best way. Teach them what you learned about God in a loving way because I can guarantee you they will experience this themselves one day.  God help me to take hold of their hand and walk with them in mercy so together we can wear your crown of Mercy.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Scaredy Cat

I recently returned from my second trip to Haiti. Honestly I had not planned on going this year BUT God had other plans. All of my resources have been going to my daughter Amanda’s mission in Uganda so I hadn't saved any money for other mission trips. As the big day came closer my dear friend, Pastor Fritz, kept asking if I was going on the trip. I kept telling him “no” and kind of wondered why he was still asking. I should know by now when the Holy Spirit is making it clear “no” is not the answer He’s looking for.

About 10 days before the trip departure Pastor Fritz asked again “are you coming to Haiti?”  This was that 2x4 slap in the head moment that got my attention.  I explained again I had not saved for the trip and had no funds to go but if God was still asking I would put all my reasons back into His hands.

I agreed to pray for the next 24 hours and knew it would have to be God Himself handing me the money if it was supposed to happen.  I told Pastor Fritz I would talk to my boss the next day about time off but I didn't do it because I really didn't think it was going to happen. To be honest there was a part of me that was OK with it not happening. Haiti was a huge leap out of my comfort zone last year and this year I would go without my kids for security. I hate flying and get very anxious on planes. I don’t like any weird food and it’s hot as hates’ in Haiti. What if I get sick, what if I lose my passport, what if...  I know I’m a wimp.

I usually ask my prayer warriors to pray for me but I only asked one woman, I hardly know, to pray about it. I wasn't going to use my big guns for this obviously “NO” decision. No money, no guilt, no worries.

I did pray about it… “God if you want me to go send money, amen. P.S. Don't feel like you have to answer right away”

Pastor Fritz called about 6:30 the next evening and asked if I spoke to my boss for time off. I said no and he said “you may want to; your ticket is paid for. You just have to get money for food and the hotel.”

What!!!! I’m now getting a bit nervous.

 I called my boss and explained the situation. I told him I was totally OK if he said no as I hadn't asked for the time off in advance and it was such short notice. He paused for a moment and said “I think you are supposed to go.”  Not only did he give me time off he and his wife donated the rest of the funds needed for me to go! I had my answer loud and clear. God if you want me to go send money…

The thing is Gems I was kinda scared to go back to Haiti. I’m getting older and as much as I like to think I have an adventurous spirit  the truth is I’m a lot more cautions than I used to be.  I struggle with not letting fear keep me from doing things God wants me to do. It’s easier to say I don’t have the money than to admit I’m scared. People will let me off the hook if I’m broke but if I mention fear they might question my faith. I don’t want to limit God and in order to not do that I have to take limits off myself. Have you ever felt this way? Like it’s just not in you? Your just plain scared and don't want to do it?
I needed to know that I knew God was sending me on this trip. It was more than just the Lord providing financially.  I needed Him emotionally to walk me through it. I needed to feel Him holding my hand saying come on girl I gotcha.

I needed to hear and see Jesus in this situation so I could put all my fears aside and go to Haiti or wherever else He might be calling me to. I didn't want to miss any experience He had or has for me.

It’s like when the children of Israel were following the cloud by day and the fire by night.

Exodus 13: The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.

They knew it was God moving. However Moses said, if you don’t move we ain’t moving.
Exodus 33:15 Then Moses said, “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place.

If God was moving me then I could go, knowing I was in His will and He would take care of everything. This knowledge could overcome any fear I may be feeling.

Gems I have to tell you after all that happened and God was so clear, I was so excited about going to Haiti. God not only provided for me financially He provided emotionally as well.  I wasn't nervous at all on the plane. The group I traveled with was just as amazing as the one the year before and my roommate was a MacGyver type.

 Anything you needed she had, what a blessing thank you Angela. Yes her name was Angela my own personal angel. 

Gems as always I just want to encourage you that if you are truly seeking the Lord the Holy Spirit will speak to you exactly as you need to hear Him. Don’t let fear or insecurity keep you from experiencing God’s faithfulness or keep you from using the gifts He gave you to bless others. It’s OK to be scared just don’t live in fear.

I had so many amazing God moments and was blessed to teach young people about the Lord.

I was blessed to speak into young men’s lives that are hungry for God and make new and lasting friendships.

 I was also blessed to help baptize boys and girls in the most beautiful waters I have ever seen.

 It's OK to go afraid just go with God.
Thank you Jesus for loving scaredy cats like me in spite of our fears and turning us into lions!