Don’t Give Up on God!

“Then will all your people be righteous and they will possess the land forever. They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendor. The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the Lord; in its time I will do this swiftly”NIV (Isaiah 60:21-22).

The Lord isn’t slack concerning his promises, yet at the same time, he is in no rush to fulfill a request until it is the appointed time of harvest. All of the details are carefully planned out for answered prayers, and it is up to us to abide in him, and allow those seedlings to take root where the Lord planted them so that they will produce fruit.

The Lord doesn’t deny our petitions when he delays his answer. Rather, he hears us and knows that when the perfected time arrives, we’ll be ready to receive the answer to our prayers. If he arrived any sooner, we may not give God the glory; any later, we may forget to recognize his hand at work in our situation.

Sometimes the steps towards our miracle are not at all the way we anticipated it would be, but we can trust that God has the right time and circumstance for the miracle. He knows the people that need to hear the Truth. He has set us in this place to be a witness. Before we were even born, he knew the steps that we’d need to take in order to get his will accomplished and the answer delivered, but if we really want to reap our full potential in Christ, we must learn to wait on the Lord, get established in the Word, and seek his face.

Faith opens doors in our lives, and without faith it is impossible to please God. If this is true, then many people struggle to live for God, because they don’t believe that their faith will work. Even people who do believe, buckle under the pressure of daily living, instead of bending their knee in prayer asking God to help them to endure. When life gets real, and you see no easy answers; it’s time to wait on God. It may seem that he has turned a deaf ear to your requests, but there are reasons that may not be evident to you for years to come.

Don’t give up on God! Throughout the Bible, men and women have gotten into trouble when they stepped outside of the protection and authority of the Holy Ghost, to pursue their own way.  If it seems that your prayers are never being heard, take heart, Joseph felt the same way for all of the years that he was in Egyptian bondage after being sold into slavery. He may have felt abandoned by God, but he never allowed himself the opportunity to dwell on it. He never let it rob him of his victory. He later understood that God’s plan saved a nation in famine.

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience: And patience, experience; and experience, hope:” (Romans 5:1-4).

In this week’s Lattereign we look at what it means to be  Refined through the Fire. We will all go through difficult seasons in our lives, and sometimes we may get discouraged when life happens to us. If we feel out of control, it is easy to want to give up on God, but you must not quit. You are closer to your miracle than you think. The Lord has a plan for your life, and that doesn’t mean that everything that you are going through will be easy. Still, hold on to the Lord and he will give you peace that will pass all understanding.

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The Lord Will Never Leave you Nor Forsake You.

No matter where we are in our journey in Christ it is good to know that he already has a  plan for us to prosper and be in good health. This doesn’t mean that we will never face another hardship, but it does mean that the Lord will be faithful and he will never leave us.

1O Lord, thou has searched me, and known me. 2Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. 3Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 4For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. 5Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. 6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

7Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. 11If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.

12Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

13For thou has possessed my reins: thou has covered me in my mother’s womb.

14I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

15My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. 17How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! 18If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee. (selected verses from Psalm 139)

Today, we celebrate the men of the church who have taken the responsibility to help lead our children to the Lord. Thank you for being faithful to the house of God, providing for your families, being a good Christian role model, and leading your household. You had the greatest example to follow in Jesus Christ. He took the time for children and he learned how to connect with young people. We are fortunate to have many men in our church who have become the models for children without fathers.   May the Lord richly bless you on this Father’s Day.   You know who you are.

In this week’s Lattereign we honor men of God who have made a difference in the lives of so many young people. Thank you for all you do. What is the Role of man?

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On The Day of Pentecost They Were all in One Accord

If we could all be in one accord, image how much we could accomplish! Today, we are celebrating the Day of Pentecost, when the Lord poured out his spirit on all flesh. It didn’t just happen, it was a result of seeking God in prayer. They were instructed to go to the Upper Room and pray until. It wasn’t revealed how long they would be in the Upper Room. Sometimes we have to be willing to trust, without knowing all of the details.

It is hard for me to step out in blind faith and just trust that God will have a plan for me. I know what it’s like to be disappointed by circumstances, so over the years I have been skeptical when someone has made promises. If it comes to pass, great, and I’ll praise the Lord, but if for some reason it doesn’t, I have learned to control my emotions so that I don’t feel the sting of broken promises.

Maybe that is a good thing, and maybe it isn’t, nevertheless, that is how I survive. God is good all of the time, when I have plenty and when I don’t. No matter where I find myself in the journey of life, I have learned to believe God. He is my provider, my healer, my comforter, my banner, and everything else that I need in this life. I am thankful that he saved me, and he has promised me that there is nothing that can separate us from his love, so I have nothing to fear.

The disciples were in the Upper Room to pray and wait for the promise, and when that promise wasn’t delivered immediately, they kept praying and believing until the Lord poured out his Spirit. It was a glorious time; one that started the New Testament church, but it never would have happened if they had not waited for it.

Today, we are a fast-food church expecting miracles in the instant that we pray the prayer, but how does God know that we are willing to trust him? If he gave us exactly what we wanted, when we wanted, without our investment, would we still live for him? If it doesn’t cost you, what is it worth?

In this week’s, Lattereign, we look at how Naboth was willing to face adversity to keep his inheritance. Are you willing to humble yourself

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Waiting on the Promises of God

When will I realize that the Lord does care what happens to me? Nothing that I can say or do will ever change that, yet I find myself doubting God’s promises are also meant for me, at times. I’m nothing special and certainly there are hundreds of other people who deserve the Lord’s favor more than I ever could. You see, I make mistakes; I fail God sometimes. While my heart is in the right place, I forget to remember that God is faithful to me and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.

My prayers may go unanswered because, in the first place, I only wished for something to happen, and I didn’t actually pray about it. If we want to get our prayers answered we must first be willing to pray. Too often we are too distracted to invest the time in prayer. After all, prayer requires commitment and time. It doesn’t always fit nicely into our schedule; in fact, we have to make the time to pray because there will never be enough time in our schedule to do it. It’s inconvenient, but if we desire to hear from God it is necessary to learn to listen. He speaks to us in so many different situations, but it is challenging for us to hear above the clamor of this world’s noise.

May I always remember to pray when my world may be falling apart. Even if my world is not falling apart, prayer will sustain me throughout my day. I definitely do not want to act outside of God’s will for my life, for I know the consequences of trying to walk without the Lord’s direction could be devastating.

Honestly, I want the Lord to fight my battles. I get so weary standing against the evil one alone, and it is so wonderful to just hand my problems over to the Lord so that he can direct my steps. Not being in tune with the Lord leaves a person lost and alone. If you feel that you are in this situation today, the Lord is only one prayer away from us at any time.

Instead of wondering whether God will answer your prayers, try trusting and believing as if it has already come to pass. Wait on the Lord. In this week’s Lattereign, we find that we gain Strength in Quietness and Confidence.

 

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“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles.” Isaiah 40:31

Litany of Remembrance

In the rising of the sun and in its going down we remember them.

In the blowing of the wind, and the calm of its stillness, we remember them.

In the opening of buds and in the rebirth of spring, we remember them.

In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer, we remember them.

In the rustling of leaves and in the beauty of autumn, we remember them.

In the midpoint of the year, and as its beginning and end, we remember them.

When we are weary and in need of strength, we remember them.

When we are lost and sick at heart, we remember them.

When we have joys we yearn to share, we remember them.

So long as we live, they too shall live, for they are now part of us, we remember them.(author unknown)

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.

And many people shall go and say, come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears unto pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:2-5).

Today we celebrate, Memorial Day which was set aside as a time to give honor to the soldiers who died in battle. If it hadn’t been for their dedication to fight, we’d not be enjoying our freedom today. Thank you. We take for granted the opportunities that are given to use liberally on a daily basis. Many of those freedoms that we don’t think much about cost the lives of innocent young men in the heat of a battle.

In spiritual warfare, we have another battle to win. This one is easy; however, because the battle has already been won. It was won at Calvary. We can have confidence, that Jesus Christ has already gone before us to make a way. He promises to never leave us or forsake us, and I’m blessed to know that because of his sacrifice, I am offered the ultimate power to accept or reject the rewards that come as a result of the victory.

The Lord has prepared his people to win with full spiritual armor:

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel (Ephesians 6:14-19).

I am thankful that I can be free. In this week’s Lattereign we reflect on this day: Lest We Forget Lord help us Remember

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Just Do It

We all make plans and sometimes they may amount to nothing more but wishful thinking. Projects that appeal to us: unfinished. Languishing in the back of the closet for decades, ones that we lost interest in or that life happened and we were distracted enough to set aside. It seems that even though they may be hidden far in the back of our mind, they never go away. Every once in a while you think about it, a smell, a photo, or some memory triggers your locked dreams, and you go there to the back of your mind.

It may be bittersweet, or even painful, but you are compelled to go there, and sometimes you promptly shut the door, again. I challenge you, today, to act on your goals and unfulfilled ambitions. It could be that the Lord is waiting for you to obey his will. It could be that it’s time, and for whatever reason, be it lack of faith or fear, you couldn’t act on it. It’s time to, as the slogan goes, “Just Do It.”

I don’t know why this even became a topic for the Lattereign, this week. Maybe I’m only speaking to myself. Life is so short, and we are not promised tomorrow, but one thing is for certain, we must live for today, as if we didn’t have much time left. How many lives could be impacted by the decisions that you make, today: to share a testimony, to empathize with someone who is hurting, to be a light in a darkened world? You can and do make a difference. The decisions you make will influence everything and everyone around you. That is a great responsibility, that we must not take lightly.

I believe God. He is the author and the finisher of my faith. He leads me through the darkness. He is the light of my soul. He is my strong tower. So, with all that he’s done for me, how can I not, “Just do It.”

In this week’s Lattereign, we learn that  The Secret to Success is Not a Secret. 

It requires obedience, faith, trust, and willingness to keep walking forward. May the Lord bless you as you learn to walk with him.

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A Tribute to Mother

How anyone could create a loving home in the midst of a chaotic family atmosphere is a mystery to me, but by the grace of God, Mama was able to accomplish that in our home. We were never quite sure if dad would be sober when he came home from work, so we stayed prepared for it just in case he wasn’t. Our life was uncertain. but one thing was sure and constant in our home: our mom’s love for us. We knew that when we got off of the school bus, she would be waiting for us to arrive.

As we got older, we often made bad choices. Did that stop mom from loving us? No. No matter how badly we fell into a sin or some trouble, we knew that we could always come home and find mom waiting for us. She never said, “I told you so; she never interfered when we had major decisions to make; she didn’t judge us harshly, (She practiced the scripture, “Judge not that ye be not judged.”)

I remember one time when mom put a stuffed bear in my bed and covered it up so it would look like I was asleep. I had wanted to spend the night with my girlfriend, but I was in the 4th grade and daddy worked out of town, so I couldn’t get permission first. After I practically begged mom to let me go, she conceded (I think we were supposed to go on a field trip the next day).

The next day when I got home, mama told me that her heart almost stopped beating when Daddy come home late and went in to kiss me goodnight! I was sleeping so soundly, that he didn’t even turn on the light when he went in to kiss me. Daddy never realized that he had kissed the bear. Whew, Moms. They are such a blessing to have around and today, on Mother’s Day we get to recognize them.

“In all things give thanks” I thank my mother today for teaching me about Jesus and his love. I thank my mother for never giving up on me accomplishing something great—even when I often missed the mark by miles. I thank my mother for giving me a reason to sit still and visit—even though the visits were rare occasions because often I was too busy to be still. I thank my mother for not turning away from me when I was angry with God—her prayers brought me through a desert time in my life, and as a result, I made my peace with God and built a stronger bond with her.

I thank my mother for  protecting me from all of the monsters both real and imagined in my life. When the nightmares came, it was mom who was there to take me in her arms and hold me as I explained that the skull was on my pillow so I was afraid to move. She turned on the light and showed me that the skull I saw was only the shirt that I had crumpled up at my pillow. In mama’s arms, the world was safe.

I thank my mother for finding a way to encourage me to follow what the Lord laid on my heart at a young age—writing. She didn’t laugh at me when I told her what I felt the Lord wanted me to do, just because I was only eight years old, writing seemed like such a faraway dream. Mama’s response to my plans was to buy me my first journal and ink pen. I can hear her saying “Gracie Ann, you can do anything that you set your mind to do.”

I thank my mother for finding something to love in me. We weren’t rich in material possessions, but I was the richest girl in the entire world, because I had my mother.

In this week’s Lattereign It’s Time to Celebrate Mothers.

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Walking Toward the Light…

Beyond the open door

I remember when I was very young we would take Sunday drives through the countryside. Sometimes we ventured even further, and I remember one time in particular Daddy decided that he wanted to drive to Florida to visit relatives. We lived in Georgia at the time, so it wasn’t too terribly far. Mama hadn’t really packed for a long trip so we had to stop and get food for sandwiches and drinks to hold us over until we could stop for the night. (Funny thing, that’s really all I remember about the entire trip, I guess I was too young.)

The rest of the trip isn’t really important, but being willing to spontaneously go when the Lord calls you is important. In our daily routines, we schedule everything, but time with God. I was thinking about how often I find myself stuck when trying to decide the next move to make in ministry, or in any other decision I must make. Sometimes I find myself pondering a move, so long that I talk myself right out of it.

Could it be that it really wasn’t God’s will for me to do x or y? Over the years, I am finally learning to wait on the Lord. I will not budge until I am confident that the Lord wants me to move. Call it procrastination, or fear, but just the same, I know that the Lord is in control of my life, and if I wait on him, he can lead me down the path that he has laid out for me to walk.

It has kept me calm and focused on the very things that will matter in my life, my family, my walk with God, and my future. It is all safe in his arms. In this week’s Lattereign, I discuss the open door.

I Have Set Before Thee an Open Door

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If We Only Knew How Much the Lord Loves Us…

If you think for one minute that the Lord does not care about you, then you are completely wrong. Often times it is us who have forgotten to appreciate our small contributions to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. We think that our offerings are so small compared to the next person’s offering. We measure our worth by the talents of other people, instead of focusing on what the Lord has gifted us with. We all have a task to do.

There is a purpose in the kingdom of God, and it is up to us to receive the calling that is placed on our lives. I know for myself that for decades I struggled with finding my place to serve in the kingdom. I wasn’t one of those that was multi-talented. I could only do my best, but try as I might, I failed every time to do someone else’s best. I watched how others were being used in ministry, and there rose up in me a twinge of self-doubt.

I remember thinking in the early years that I could never sing the way that sister A. sang, or teach a bible study the way that sister B. taught, or do any of the multiple jobs that are required in the kingdom. The only thing that I was sure of was that I didn’t want to go through life being a mediocre Sunday morning christian.

If I was to find my purpose it would require that I be found faithful in both the great and the seemingly insignificant things that I was faced with. I knew that I was broken before the Lord rescued me from sin. I was grief stricken and disillusioned about this whole Christianity thing. But God didn’t abandon me. He didn’t condemn me to a life of struggle and sin. He raised me up and set me on a high hill, where I could restore those things that the devil had tried to rob from me.

In this week’s Lattereign, with great mercies will I gather thee the Lord demonstrates how he loves us and shows mercy for us. I know that there are many people who could do what I do, but God has called me to fulfill his purpose for my life. He expects me to honor my commitments, and for that I am forever grateful.

May the blessings of the Lord overtake you in this season of your life.

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He is not Here, for He is Risen

The disciples may have lost hope when Jesus was crucified, but then the miraculous happened just as the Lord had promised. He rose up from the grave. I can only imagine the anticipation that the disciples felt when they heard the news. To see their master alive after three days was what they had hoped for.

It is only natural for us to be cautious when the Lord answers our prayers. Since we don’t want to be disappointed, our humanness keeps us grounded in reality. They had watched him when he was crucified, and they even placed his body in a tomb. So, it was only natural for them to have questions about his resurrection. Although the Lord had already prepared them for this event, it required their faith to believe it. Thomas was the only one who insisted on being sure that this was the Christ. He wanted to see the scars and once he was convinced, he believed it.

More people attend church on Easter and Christmas than any other time of the year. Thank you, Lord, for giving us a reason to rejoice. It is a day of celebration and reflection on the great price that Jesus paid for our salvation, and I am still in awe of how much he loves us.

In this week’s Lattereign we explore how Great is the Mystery of Godliness.

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