Monday, November 5, 2018

R.E.A.L. Women Devotional - The Gain of Losing the Weight of Unforgiveness

I've often heard that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. This past June, I realized I needed to lose some weight. Weight loss is hard for me as I know it's a mind thing. I asked the Lord how I should go about this. He showed me that the weight I was carrying was really caused by emotional eating and that I needed to find the root cause of my emotional eating. As I discovered, it was dealing with past hurts over my life. (And I'm talking way back in my life) Every time I face a hurt or challenge in life, food was my friend. It never left me nor forsook me, literally!

I began working on a mind-change and at the beginning of each week, I would ask the Holy Spirit to show me what I needed to work on. As I did this and dealt with the unforgiveness in my heart, the weight began to come off.

Since my dad passed, I've hit a wall and even though I am still exercising and eating better, it just doesn't seem to budge. Yesterday, as I was walking and praying, the Holy Spirit showed me something that I never realized. These past few months, some of the things that I thought I dealt with have seem to creep back in. I asked the Lord why am I still struggling in these areas if I have forgiven them? It was then the light turned on! He replies back to me in that gentle still small voice, "it's because you haven't blessed them." I can't begin to tell you how it all made sense to me. As I walked, I began to speak out loud, blessing those who I have grieved over. But even more importantly, I had to speak forgiveness and blessing over myself. I often disappoint myself by not doing what I know I should. It was amazing how the weight on my soul literally lifted. I could feel it and the freedom I felt was overwhelming! Proverbs 25:21 says "If you see your enemy hungry, go buy him lunch; if he’s thirsty, bring him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness, and God will look after you." (The Message)

Let me encourage you today, if you have any unforgiveness toward someone, in your heart, forgive them and then speak out loud blessing over them. You will be amazed at the freedom you will feel physically! Pray this prayer "Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:23-24 I've discovered forgiveness and blessing go hand in hand in healing! AMEN!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

R.E.A.L. Women Devotional - "The Bride Has Made Herself Ready"

 As the chocolate brown Rolls Royce pulls up to the curb, the on-lookers cheer and suddenly the bells of the chapel begin to ring a joyful melody.  The bride steps out of the car and looks to see if her dress is wrinkled. She then presses out the ruffled places and looks up to see the stairs she must walk to meet her groom.

As she reaches the doorway, inside are family and guests of the bride and groom who are awaiting her arrival.  The groom is already at the alter in anticipation of his bride.  The music plays as she is met by her future father-in-law to finish the stroll down the aisle.  Her dress is simple. No diamond necklace around her neck. Nothing to take away from the glow on her face on her special day.  In fact, her dress didn't try to compete with the beauty of the church. It was very simple and it was just her pure beauty that shined. The hours of preparation before hand did not disappoint at the appointed hour. Televisions, computers, even cell phones all over the world were tuned in to this special day for this couple.

The wedding of Prince Harry to the American actress, Meghan Markle is a beautiful illustration of the day Jesus returns for his Bride, the Church.  Prince Harry was born into royalty.  It's who he is and nothing can change that.  But Meghan on the other hand, completely removed from royalty is even a foreigner.  Do you see where I am going with this?  Jesus, God's son, born as King of kings can not change that.  He IS who he is.  But we, being foreigners to God's Kingdom, have the opportunity to become royalty through the Bridegroom himself. (Ephesians 2:18-20)

As Prince Harry waits for her with a smile on his face, there was nothing at that moment that could have been on his mind accept, "I love her and she is beautiful." The smile on his face
says it all.  It made me think of what Jesus will do the day we meet him face to face.  Tears filled Prince Harry's eyes as he continued to look at this beautiful woman dressed in white. The reporter narrating the event was saying that men of nobility are not required to wear a wedding ring, but Prince Harry chose to wear a wedding ring.  This is so significant to me.  He loves his bride so much that he is choosing to wear a ring to show his commitment to his bride.  Jesus didn't choose to wear a wedding ring for his Bride, instead He chose going to the cross that would be an eternal statement of his love for us.

After visiting Westminster Abby recently, I learned that coronations are not done facing the people, they are done with facing the alter.  The alter represents God.  It helped me understand why a couple has their back turned to their guests as it symbolizes God approving of this union.  The groom then holds the bride's hand and they place it out in front of the Bishop.  He then wraps his cloak around their hands symbolizing them being joined together with God.  It was so beautiful.

 If we have chosen Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are his bride and it is just as important for us to prepare for our appointed hour. Ephesians 5 tells us that Jesus helps us to prepare by the washing with water through the word, to present us to himself as a radiant church without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:25-27) We are to be transformed into his likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18). This is our part of the preparation for that glorious day. Revelation 19:7 says "Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready."  

Let me encourage you today, if you have not met the Bridegroom who is Jesus, you can meet him right now.  Call on his name, believe in your heart and you will be saved (Romans 10:9).  Get in the word of God, get to know him and prepare yourself for him.  If you are already in a relationship with the Bridegroom then continue to prepare yourself.  The day is coming and we need to make ourselves ready. It too will be a wedding ALL the world will watch.

Friday, May 18, 2018

R.E.A.L. Women Devotional - The Royal Wedding

At 3:00 am, Jordanne, my daughter and I watched with anticipation as we waited to see the bride arrive at the entrance of Westminster Abbey. The groom looked quite handsome in his military uniform. Truly a prince. As the bride stepped out of the car, she looked just like a princess-to-be should look, elegant and happy.

As Kate proceeded down the aisle with a four minute walk, the Holy Spirit spoke something to me. He said that this was a picture of salvation. The reporters kept referring to Kate as a "commoner." The dictionary definition says it is "any person ranking below a peer; a person without a title or nobility." Before we come to Jesus, we are "commoners" or as the Bible says, "sinners." This was history making for England because there has not been a marriage between a Royal and a commoner since the 17th century.
The reporters said that it has taken her 8 years to prepare for this moment as she entered into the Royal family. It was 8 years of learning royal etiquette and even learning how to live with and resist the negative press. Revelation 19:7 says "Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. " When we become followers of Jesus, we prepare for that Wedding day by getting to know Him and who are are now in Christ. We too are faced with a new way of doing things and even how to resist the Enemy.

As the bride made her way down the long aisle, the camera showed the view from above. I noticed that the abbey is in the form of a cross, as most cathedrals are. It made me wonder if the red runner carpet represents the blood of Jesus. It was Jesus death on the cross and his blood that was shed that made a way for us commoners to become royalty. Ephesians 2:12 says, "But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ." Second Corinthians 5:17 says, "This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" (NLT). Kate went in as "Kate Middleton" and came out as Her Royal Highness, which she will now be called. When we come to Jesus, Revelation 5:9 &10 says, “ You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”

The wedding of Prince William and Kate was seen around the entire world. Whether one of the 1,900 invited guests, a spectator who lined the streets of London or watched it via television, this wedding was seen by the majority of the world. It made me think of the day when the King of Kings will ride in on his white horse to receive his Bride (the Church) who has made herself ready. Ephesians 5:17 says, "that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish." We as the Bride need to be preparing ourselves for that glorious day when the whole world will be watching as it says in in the Bible. "Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him..." (Revelation 1:7). Bride, make yourself ready, holy and pure as we await the arrival of the Bridegroom to come for his Bride and we celebrate THE Royal Wedding of all time.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

R.E.A.L. Women Devotional: Cut or Uncut: The Beauty in Being Hurt

Have you ever seen an uncut diamond before?  I had never really thought about it until I saw what an uncut diamond looks like.  It looks like a piece of ice or if you've seen them in a cluster, they look like rock candy.

Years ago, I had been to a diamond factory when I was in Israel.  We watched a video explaining the process of how a diamond is cut.  As I sat there, I realized that it is similar to our relationships, which I like to call "real"ationships.  

A Diamond can only be cut by another diamond.  Even diamond dust is used to help polish the diamond. Olive oil is something they use in Israel along with diamond dust to polish it. This is truly amazing. (There is a video that explains this process on youtube. The more facets of a diamond, the more brilliant its shine.

The Lord used this picture to help me understand our process of letting our light shine.  Matthew 5:16 says to let our light shine that it may glorify your Father in Heaven.  You see, we can only be shaped and cut by another person.  Often times it's through pain and hurt.  I've heard it said, "God never wastes a hurt."  That is true.  This was one of those "light turn on" moments for me.  

As a follower of Jesus, my hope is never to feel hurt of pain.  Unfortunately, Jesus said that we will have trouble. Jesus tells us this in John 16:33.  In a broken world, we can't get away from it. Most of the unforgiveness and hurt we carry around in us is from other people.  Most of the time it's people we love, whether it's family members or close friends.  As a pastor's wife, I have had my share of hurt.  Which often I hear Christians say they don't like church because they've been hurt.  I don't think they think about the other side of the coin that there are many pastors and their families that have been hurt. So in reality, we are all victims of hurt and pain.

The bottom line is "hurt and pain" are really a part of the transformation process of a "diamond in the rough." Yes, it's rough, but the brilliance that eventually shines through is the goal.  If we know the pain and hurt we endure is truly about being shaped, I think we can appreciate it more.  Some of us seem to have more pain and hurt than others.  But if you look at it as another facet being cut into you life, the more God's glory will shine through in the end.  Ephesians 2:10 says we are His masterpiece being created anew in Christ Jesus.  If we stay "uncut" which is not allowing ourselves to be vulnerable in relationships, then we will never become the beautiful work of art that God planned for us.  

I ask you today to reflect on your life. Have you purposely held people off because of your fear of being hurt?  Have you pushed off relationships that have hurt you? Let me tell you, I write this having been hurt myself, but I too am someone guilty of hurting others.  Which really means, that I am a diamond being cut into the beauty of God's glory.  Take some time today to reflect and forgive those who have hurt you. Instead of trying to stay "uncut" use those hurts to shape you and allow the Holy Spirit who is the anointing oil to soften and smooth those rough places.  I promise in the end, you will see the beauty of the glory of God shine in such a way that others will know you are rare and one of a kind brilliant work of art.