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Archive for September, 2011

Prayer effects generationsIt couldn’t have been a more perfect day if I had created it myself. The sky was clear blue, the clouds fluffy white.  Green trees jumped out in stark contrast to the picturesque blue sky but were dwarfed by the skyscrapers from a big city that teased the horizon. Wind blew my hair into my face and I remember the welcomed chill it brought my sun drenched skin as I pushed my daughter in a swing. My daughter, I suddenly noticed, was very beautiful and growing too quickly as children tend to do. She was eleven now and but wanting me to push her in the swing. I wanted to protest an argument that she was too old but something in the distance caught my attention instead. When I raised my hand to shield my eyes from the harsh sun something new was in the sky to match the distant hum. My eyes tried hard to focus, both from practicality and disbelief. Were those old war planes flying through the giant city in the not-so-distant distance? All around me parents who had just been enjoying serenity with their children in a peaceful park began to scatter like ants, screaming hysterically. I looked up again at these foreign objects, these planes that appeared to be from WW2, and noticed that now bombs had begun to fall to the ground, shaking the very earth with every impact and obliterating this quintessentially perfect day. Frantically, my eyes searched for any plan of escape. Deep inside, in my heart of hearts, I had a sense of certain doom. I knew that there was no escape, that no plan would work and without a doubt we were going to die. That’s when an elevator shaft, for lack of a better term, came straight up from underground, almost directly beneath me. Instantly other park-goers began to fill the tiny capsule and I ran to claim a space for myself and my daughter, still knowing this plan wasn’t going to help us any but knowing I couldn’t do ‘nothing’.  As the elevator doors began to close, fingers appeared inside the disappearing opening, wrapping around the door and effortlessly opening them again.  An eerie sense of peace and calm filled the air and it’s possible that “time froze” because no one else seemed to notice this new person or move in any way. Standing in front of me was a handsome yet average looking man in blue jeans and a plaid shirt. As I took in his general appearance I was surprised to see a giant pair of wings behind him that were so white they were almost transparent or perhaps the color of pearls. He caught my eyes with his and held them in his command before he said boldly, quickly and matter-of-factly, “Meshele, this is the beginning of The End. You better get right with God.”

In the distance the sound of bombs impacting the earth began to morph into a less of a jolting sensation and more of an annoying ringing sound. It pierced the air like an air raid siren that had been neutered, “Ring, Ring, Ring. —  Ring, Ring, Ring. —  Ring, Ring, Ring. —  Ring, Ring, Ring. —  “

As I began to come out of this deep sleep I still couldn’t separate dream from reality. The only thing I was sure of is the emasculated air raid siren was reality and it was somewhere in my house! I checked the radio in my bedroom, but the power was off. What about the alarm clock? No, it was never set. It must be the TV then. Someone must’ve left it on all night. I attempted to make my way down my small apartment hall but still couldn’t comprehend if I was still dreaming or if I was, in fact, really walking down my hall. Relentlessly the ringing continued, but the TV proved innocent since it was turned off as well. Finally I found the direction the ringing was coming from: The kitchen! Sleepily I made my way there and found the ringing between the microwave and the fridge – The Phone! By now I was beginning to get an inkling that I might be awake but it would still take some convincing. When I answered the phone though, what I heard didn’t give me much to work with.

“They’ve bombed the Pentagon! They’ve bombed the World Trade Center! They have attacked us! America is at war! Turn on your TV!” It was my mother calling from five states and one time zone away, unaware I had been enjoying a rare morning of sleeping late. I turned on my TV and on every channel were the images that are seared into the hearts and minds of every true Patriot, to this day even ten years later. It was September 11, 2001. As the reality began to set in and separate from the dream, I began to tremble and cry. I told my mom, “I just dreamed this! I just dreamed this!” It was more than I could handle. I had never had an experience like this before, in fact you might call my life almost ‘spiritually uneventful’ up until that point (and sadly for far too long after the point as well.) I was no one. I AM no one. I’ve never done anything that anyone could even sugar coat to imply that I had done anything to further God’s Kingdom or even help humanity. I was a young girl, married to the wrong man whom was NOT a man of God to say the least, had a one year old and a baby on the way. I was too busy trying to figure out my own life and why it wasn’t working to pay much attention to God or ‘His People’.  The only thing I had going for me is a promise God made my mother when I was a newborn. She promised to teach me about Him the best she could if He promised I would make it to heaven. Ultimately, that’s all she wanted for me and she made sure that promise was ‘sealed by the Blood of Jesus’ before I was even weaned. I grew up to make a lot of horrible choices and I wound up down some pretty dark paths, even after this dream, but that promise surrounded me like a cloak. God lead me out in His perfect time (and when I learned to allow Him to take the lead). Pray over your children. It makes all the difference in the world.

All we need is Jesus and His Grace, NOT LAW. We’ve had some rough times in our journey on this Earth but there are harder times still ahead. God wants us to know that He will always protect, regardless of what the circumstances and evidence try to prove to us. He also wants us to know that He promised this evil would not thrive infinitely on the Earth and that He would put a stop to it one day, in His perfect time, and that day is drawing near. It’s time to put away whatever guilt or condemnation you feel and embrace acceptance. The Bible is full of imperfect people, people who had affairs, lied, stole and murdered, who were embraced, accepted, loved and forgiven. God’s about heart modification – not behavior modification! The Law has been fulfilled by Christ and there’s no need to earn your place before God! Just accept His love and forgiveness. When thoughts come into your mind that tell you that you are disqualified from God or a hypocrite, remind yourself those are lies and that you are loved, accepted, forgiven and that God ENJOYS conversation with YOU!

Be loved!

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No one has ever accused me of being any kind of math whiz but even I know that you can’t get something from nothing.  If you hope for nothing, faith will produce nothing.  Faith is the evidence of things hoped for. 

What is hope, after all? When we think of hope we think of a feeling more akin to wishing than believing. You might say, “I hope I get a better job.” but inside you have a feeling of uncertainty. Immediately your mind begins to list all the evidence to support your insecurities such as, “The economy is bad. The job market is weak. I’m too young. I don’t have education or experience. I’m too old. I’m very slow and on my way out.”

There’s not much hope at all in that, is there? This is not what the Bible means when it promises you that ‘hope will never disappoint.’

In 1Corithinans 13: 13 it says “These three remain: faith, hope and love but the greatest of these is love.”  God is Love, Faith is the evidence of things hoped for and hope is a joyful, confident, expectation of good. You can have faith and have no good fruit produced if you are not hoping for anything good. Worldly hope is not Bible hope! It doesn’t matter what the evidence against your hope is, GOD is faithful to provide! When God told Abraham he would be a father in his old age and once he finally received that prophesy from God, the Bible says Abraham “hoped against hope!” He had a joyful, confident expectation of good in his life against his doubt and insecurity and his faith is what produced the evidence of that hope:  Isaac.  

Imagine you’re making a loaf of bread. You mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and knead the dough and it’s ready to go into your pre-heated oven. If you leave it on the counter it will continue to rise but eventually it will collapse and dry out. Your oven is pre-heated, working and ready for baking but if you never put the dough into the oven it will never become bread. The ingredients are the desires of your heart; the good things you want to see happening in your life.  The kneaded dough is your hope; your joyful, confident expectation of good.  You may have a wonderful batter and hardy dough but without the oven there will still be no bread. The oven is your faith; however hot your oven is represents how strongly you believe that God is a GOOD God. It can be red hot and ready to go but without any dough there will still be no bread.  Sometimes it takes a lot of courage but if we’re brave enough to put our dough in the oven, risk getting burned but hoping against hope anyway, we’ll have a beautiful loaf of bread! Somewhere along the way we realize there’s a timer on the oven that keeps the bread from getting burned; a Bible promise in Rom 5:5 (NKJV) – Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

The bread represents Jesus Christ. John 6:35(NKJV) – And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” When we take communion we discern the bread to represent Jesus’ body. In Hebrew the town of Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, translates ‘House of Bread’. When we are ‘hungry’ and we seek the Bread of Life, we are ‘seeking first the Kingdom of God’ and part of the many ‘things that will be added to you’ are the ingredients, the dough and the oven, just to name very few.

Ask and it will be given; Seek and you will find; Knock and the door will open! “

Ask continually, persistently, without ever stopping! NAG GOD with a heart of Thanksgiving (there’s a trick for ya!)

Every mother knows that if a small child has gone more than 45 minutes without a snack they behave as if it’s been three days since they’ve had a crumb! They’re at your feet begging for something to eat. The Bible mentions several times to come to God like little Children, not with a whimper or a wine, but with the boldness to ASK for some bread when you’re hungry, the courage to hope and put the dough in the oven and the determination to not give up until the timer goes off and you’ve got it!

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