I Surrender All, or Am I Kidding Myself?

It truly sounds good, noble, in fact, to claim that we surrender all. However, I struggle with letting things go. If there is a problem, I want to nurture it, cuddle it, ponder over a solution, worry about it, fret about it, maybe even, shed a few tears over it, but at the end of the day, after expending all of that energy on working through the problem to reach a solution, I do everything but surrender all.

Surrendering all, means that I allow the Lord to take charge and work out his plan in my life. It means that it is no longer necessary to spend sleepless hours complaining to God about something that if I would just be willing to offer up my petitions to the throne room, he would be able to solve it, speedily. But no, after all, I know best. I am the “educated ” one who has faced these types of problems before, so I don’t need to wait on the Lord, this time: unfortunately, that is my greatest problem: my “I” is blocking the answers to my prayers from coming.

Isn’t it time to just stop being in control? Probably the most difficult thing I have ever had to face in my life, was when I had to admit that I had run out of options. Lost and undone, there was nowhere left for me to turn but to the Lord. He didn’t ridicule me further because I waited a long time before I turned my life over to him. No, the Lord was merciful and he welcomed me into his opened arms.

Forgiveness is a beautiful thing. It washes the soul, and can completely turn your life around. You may feel that there are those people that you could never forgive. Asking for forgiveness is not designed to make the offender feel better, it is for the one who has been hurt. Forgiveness brings healing, and freedom to live again. Those willing to forgive can watch the Lord move into their life and turn things around. Isn’t it time to open up the window of your soul to receive from the Lord?

In this week’s Lattereign, we are reminded of Joshua and Caleb who believed the report of the Lord and then, we are asked Whose Report will you believe?

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It’s A Privilege to Serve

Thank you for your service, Veterans. We celebrate you. It is a privilege to serve, and although I have never served in the military; I am grateful to those who sacrificed so much of their time with family to do so. My life is richer because of your commitment to serve our country.

Many people have not had the opportunity to serve our great country, but we have chosen to serve in other ways. The Lord desires for us to be willing to serve; so there must be a blessing that will only come through having a servant’s heart. Are we willing to step aside of the limelight and serve? Cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming floors, taking out the trash; mopping; cleaning windows; preparing meals, and so much more, can be thought of as demoralizing, menial, unimportant tasks that really aren’t recognized; unless they are left undone. No one may ever say one word about the neglect; but if left undone; they may find another place to worship.

It is a privilege to serve; it matters what your attitude is when faced with the hidden tasks that are important to the administration of the church. I am thankful for the ones who gladly serve. Jesus was the greatest example of servanthood. He washed the disciples’ feet, he helped in every way that he could, not thinking that he was above the tasks, but gladly doing it as an act of worship.

Lord, I am thankful that you have given me the opportunity to recognize those men and women who have served in the military to keep us safe and free, in this week’s LattereignVeterans Day- A Time of Reflection (opens in a new window)

 

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Whatsoever Your Hand Findeth to Do; Do it!

handsI can’t be complacent as long as there is work to do! Nothing will ever get accomplished if we don’t begin to be the change that we would like to see happen in our ministries; or in our lives, in general, but what will it take for us to get results?

Faith

Faith to believe without doubt. Why would God give you the desire to do more, if he didn’t know that you were capable of doing more than you ever thought possible? After all, aren’t we just fulfilling his will and purpose for our lives? In our own minds and hearts we could have selfish motives such as wanting to exalt ourselves instead of exercising good old-fashioned humility; and it stops us cold from taking that leap of faith.

It’s not what we can do that is great; it is what we will allow the Lord to do through us even when we don’t believe that we are professional, or qualified, or worthy enough to do it.  

Think about a child learning to walk. Those first steps are exhilarating; yet the falls could be quite ugly creating goose egg bumps on tiny foreheads, along with the awkward thuds that come with falling. Children don’t hold their failures of taking first steps awkwardly, against the ultimate goals in their lives: to walk, and then to eventually run everywhere that their little feet will take them.

No, after the crocodile tears are shed, they carefully scoot over to somewhere sturdy, take a hold on it, pull up to their feet and do it again, and they will probably fall, again, and again, until eventually, they will run through the house with abandon without even giving it a second thought.

How many times have we shut the door on opportunities that the Lord has opened wide for us to walk through, because we didn’t feel like we could take that leap of faith required to receive the blessings?

More times than I can even count, I have been guilty of having doubts: oh, Lord, you know that will never work for me; Who would even want to read what I have to say? And through the years, as I reflect back on the beginnings of the writing ministry the Lord called me to, I can shake my head at my own dose of insecurity. If I had not followed God’s plan, my life would have been so empty, today, while I would have missed one of the greatest privileges that I’ve ever had; to share what the Lord gives me as I fight to keep doing the perfect will of God in my life.

Do I still doubt my abilities to write? Absolutely, especially when there are times that I am trying to dip the water from a dry well. Then, I go to the Word, and I drink freely, until the writing is no longer about me, but all about what the Lord desires. It is only then that the words can flow freely on the page.

I started the In the Time of the Lattereign blog in 2013, because I felt that my local church newsletter, The Lattereign, established in 1995, was not reaching as many people as it could. I am still praying about how to reach more people with this blog. Keep me in prayer as the Lord unfolds his plan.

At the top of this page is a water pump that is in my garden. It isn’t connected to a water source, but it is a reminder to me that I must stay connected to the living water.

We all get weary in well-doing, and sometimes discouraged when our steps are not perfect, but through it all, if we can remember this one thing: that God is the one who is directing our steps, and no matter how much we look at the mountains we must climb over; the Lord is busy clearing the way for us to follow, throwing our adversaries to the left, and to the right, so that we have a clear path straight through to our next victory.

We will be safe, if we don’t look to the left or to the right, but to Jesus Christ who is the author and the finisher of our faith. He knows the way, because he is the way, and his wish for us is this:

“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (3 John 2).

This week’s Lattereign, admonishes us to  Trust God to Strengthen Your Hands. (This opens in a new window)

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There’s No Other Way to Praise Him, but with a Whole Heart.

David’s dance before the Lord was not elegant, or properly timed as would seem conventional. No, his arms were flailing about and he really didn’t care what it “looked like” or if he was an embarrassment to his wife. All he was after was to give his worship and praise to the Lord. It was God who applauded David’s worship, and even went so far as to say that, “David was a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will” (Acts 13:22).

It set a precedent for the style of worship that the Lord desires from us: worship with our whole heart. If we are so keenly aware of others that we hold back our praise and worship, we are likely to miss the deeper workings of the spirit in our life. Anyone can attend church, meet and greet a few friends or guests, and settle in to warm a pew, and wait with our mouths opened like birds waiting to be fed as the sermon is delivered.

It takes more commitment to fully understand what the Lord desires of us. He hungers for all of our worship and praise. Unfortunately, in today’s church, we are so distracted by social events and schedules, that our focus is more centered on where we might go for lunch when we dismiss, than on how many souls will be reached as a result of our praise. Lord, help us to open our eyes of understanding.

It matters if we are invested in a worship service. It matters if we are open to obey the Lord as he directs us to invite praise into our lives. To worship creates an atmosphere where the Lord can send ministering angels to meet the needs of his people. We may never know the full impact of our worship, but it is important to give all our praise and worship so that nothing hinders the workings of the spirit in precious lives that are searching for him. Lord, remind us of how faithful you are concerning your promises.

In this week’s Lattereign, we are reminded of the value of praise and worship.

With My Whole Heart I will Praise Thee

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Don’t Stop Believing; Have Faith in God!

No matter how troubled we become at times, if we can keep in our minds this one thought, we will make it, and that is, don’t stop believing. The Lord cares for us, and he lives to give us the desires of our heart. Our sorrow, he bore it; our tears, he has them stored in heaven. They are precious to him. We are important to him. If we are not worthy of his love for us, then tell me why did he choose to lay down his life for us at Calvary? What would have been the point to make such a sacrifice? The only conclusion that I can come up with is found in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

It feels like our lives are speeding up as we face crisis after crisis, victory after victory, test after test of our faith. Thankfully, the Lord doesn’t require us to have a huge amount of faith, only a grain of a mustard seed size.

Please tell me why I struggle with the tiny grain of a mustard seed faith, Lord. Didn’t you say you would do it, (whatever it is)? Was I dreaming when you promised that if I would seek your face,  that I could ask anything and you would do it? Still I have all of these promises from your word, and yet, I walk in the same path daily when I forget that you have already conquered the world and that I need to trust you to  direct my steps.

I get discouraged at times when life is not going the way I planned, then I realize why: I am looking at My plans, My goals, My ministry, My place; shouldn’t it be all about Jesus Christ and his will for me in all of these things? Furthermore, if I will learn to put him first and foremost into every decision, plan, step I take, my life and God’s will for it, will become one. It’s not about me, it’s about him, and glorifying his name.

I could be the most talented person on the planet, and know it enough to broadcast it to the world, but if I don’t get in line with the will of God, it doesn’t matter how much I am seen, my life will have been worth little. The Lord is looking for a people who will humble themselves before God and allow him to shape their lives into something beautiful.

Saints, the time is moving faster now than at any other time in history, and we have a choice to make: choose this day who you will serve.

In this week’s Lattereign, it shares how important it is to be prepared for eternity. We are blessed to be a part of this church, the church of the Living God. We must keep believing in what the Lord has promised, and be willing to share it with others.

It’s Time to Be Prepared

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It’s Time to Stand in His Presence, and Let the Lord Fight Our Battles.

And you thought that for just one precious 24 hours that the devil was planning on taking a mini-vacation so you could catch your breath: wrong. Am I the only one who feels that we can’t seem to catch a break in this spiritual warfare? Everything goes well, according to plan, then, someone says something and disrupts your entire plan. It’s like playing Jenga with only one tile holding up the stack, and it’s your move. What will you do?

Facing adversity, tough decisions, heartaches, and consequences of our past actions, can sometimes weigh on us when we are struggling to just breathe in his presence, but that is the key to being an overcomer: going through a situation and getting into his presence. If we can find a place to be in his presence, we will find refuge during the storms of life.

Rest in this day and age is unheard of, with so many forces grabbing for our attention, it is little wonder that we have a hard time focusing on what is important and at the top of God’s list. I want to use my time to cultivate my walk with the Lord, because I need God to intervene. “And he walks with me and he talks with me, and he tells me I am his own. What joy we’ll share as we tarry there none other has ever known.” The song talks about fellowship.

My ultimate desire is to do his will, no matter what I am called to do. The Lord will take care of the rest of our lives, but this one thing he asks of us is to obey his voice. I should say, “not my will, but thy will be done.”

If you were to gain the whole world and lose your own soul, what will you have to show for a life lived? I will never be able to confront the enemy in the same way that you might confront the enemy, because our battles are unique. The one thing that the devil uses to throw me off guard is not necessarily the same thing that he will use to throw you off guard. We must be instant in season and out of season, always ready to defend ourselves and what we stand for. Nothing in this world is worth losing your soul over. The things we place so much attention on, today, may not even matter five years from now.

It is not for us to judge who will make it and who will not. We are responsible for preparing so that we will be ready, and allow God to work out his plan in our lives. After all, as it tells us in this week’s Lattereign, it is his plan. His Presence, His Plan, His Power

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When Facing the Wall: Keep Moving Forward

Sometimes we find ourselves without direction. We may look to the left or the right and still not know a clear direction to go. What path should we take? In our struggles to make sense of everything we forget that the Lord is not the author of confusion. If we will trust him, he will help us. He will lead us to peace. I know that life doesn’t always go as planned, and in times of trouble the Lord promises to be with us.

The song goes that we should Rejoice for the steps of a righteous man are ordered by God. In the time of trouble, God will uphold him, God will sustain him, God will preserve him. In the time of trouble, God will lift him up, so rejoice your steps are ordered of God.

Wait, what if the steps lead me into some troubled waters? Even those steps are ordered? Yes, and the reason is that God is now, and will forever be, in control. He is the master of our soul. He knows what it will take to prepare us for the opposition that we may need to face down the road on our journey.

I can’t tell you how many times that the Lord has reminded me about situations that he delivered me from. If he did it once, he will do it again, and again. You can have confidence in the Lord to work out his plan for your life with precision and masterful skill. I know that my redeemer liveth.

It doesn’t mean that every time a situation appears, that we will know exactly what to do to overcome it. But, every time that you find a way to victory in the circumstances beyond your control, the Lord gives you more confidence and that, coupled with faith in God, works miracles that we can not always comprehend.

Don’t stop moving forward; the way will unfold as you step out in faith and trust God. We ask for your will Lord. Help us not to ask selfishly, but to genuinely care about the plans that you have for us. I believe that you will guide me into all truth. Even when I don’t understand what is in your plan for me.

In this week’s Lattereign we are reminded that no matter what we do, it can’t separate us from the Love of God.

Nothing shall separate us from the Love of God

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Hold on. Wait on the Lord. You will receive His promise.

We aren’t required to do handstands, back flips, or any other such nonsense to hear from God, yet, it is only natural for us to try and hurry along the answers to our prayers. One of the most difficult things that I have ever been required to do is WAIT. It isn’t in my nature to wait. I’m the one who rarely asks for help, and it is even more challenging for me to step aside while someone else picks up the baton, if you will, and completes a task that was my vision. It tends to lose some of its appeal if I’m no longer involved, after all, no one will ever be able to follow through the way that I can follow through. If a project is taken away from me, it ceases to become my project.

I started the Lattereign, in 1995, because I was searching for where I could fit in to ministry. I’m not saying that I was super talented or even slightly professional in writing. All I had when I started this ministry, was a desire to fill a need to share what the Lord gave to me to maybe encourage someone else.

I made glaring errors in the first few years of writing as I developed both the equipment that I used, and learned to know who I was wanting to reach, so I decided to just forget professionalism and all of the other traps that might hinder the message from being portrayed, and I started focusing on praying until the Lord spoke to me about what to write. I still continued learning what it would take to be a good writer.

I would like to say that lightening bolts of glorious inspiration just etched words on the pages every time that I touched the keyboard; but then, I would have to repent for exaggerating the truth which involved many blank pages and late nights fretting over what I wanted to write instead of what the Lord wanted me to share. It took a long time to finally allow the Lord to guide me in what he wanted to say. Not my will, Lord, but thy will be done.

I wanted to be used in a different ministry altogether, at first, but the Lord said no. I was devastated at the time and I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t “good enough.” I know now that if the Lord hadn’t said no, the Lattereign would have never been started. As I think back on it, not being allowed to be used in one area, yet, could have made me bitter enough to walk away from one of the deepest desires of my life: to be a writer.

Even today, after 24 years officially being labeled a writer, I still have times when I’m reminded if I hadn’t waited on the Lord, he wouldn’t have led me in the path that I’ve been walking. The Lord may say, no, it’s not time, wait, but that doesn’t mean that later after you have been found faithful, and you continue growing in the Lord, and learning to submit to your leadership, and to be sensitive to the spirit of the Lord, when serving  becomes more important than recognition, and doing your best, takes precedence over a pat on the back,  that the Lord will find that you have reached a place where you can be used.

It’s not about me, Lord. It’s about entering into worship. I could have many awards on the national scale in my professional writing life, but what have I gained if it’s all about me, me, me, and I lose my passion and burden to share the Lord’s message. If the opportunities come, then let them come, but if they don’t; then, I will be humbled if one person has been encouraged by something that I have written. It will be worth it all.

In this week’s Lattereign, we find that when you reach out to the Lord and make your petitions a matter of prayer and intercession, you will find joy.

 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy

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It’s Good to Know That You Can Always Come Home.

I remember growing up and everyone going outside to play until well after dark. it was a glorious time of dirt slinging to hit signs in the field, hopscotch and any other games we could think of to play. But, when it was dark, we could hear mama calling us to come home. That meant that play time was over, and we had to go inside. In all my younger years, I never remember not hearing her call.

There’s something about being home that is soothing to my soul. I find peace at home, and no matter what the circumstances we face outside of those doors, when I’m home, I have learned to leave it at the door. It is my choice whether I want to pick up the situations again when I leave, and sometimes there is no way to avoid it, but the few precious hours that I can be home, I have learned that all things will work for our good if we learn to trust God. He has a plan for our lives. He promises to never leave us or forsake us, and the monumental problems that we sometimes must face, are really reduced in size when you compare your problem, to God’s intervention.

I know that it is troublesome to have to face situations, but if we could only see the angels that are encamped about us ministering to us and working through to the solution on our behalf. “O ye of little faith,” Jesus said, and then he calmed the storm. We all have faith, it’s just that sometimes we have our focus on the problem, not God who has the solution.

We must pray that the Lord will help our unbelief, if we want to see the miracles that he desires to give us. He blesses us in spite of ourselves, but sometimes he is waiting for us to obey him in the small areas of our life, before the greater blessings can be released. The question is, are we willing to obtain all that the Lord has for us? or, are we just satisfied with the crumbs? We will never be worthy enough to receive from the Lord, and that is okay, because it isn’t a requirement for us to be worthy; it is required for us to have faith to believe. God is worthy and his grace is sufficient for us.

Over the years, I have watched people come into the church, and leave the church for various reasons; some to go out by faith and minister; some to heed the call to serve on the mission field; and unfortunately, some have wandered away from the church for reasons too numerous to count. But there is one thing that we are able to do when we are ready: that is to come home. The Lord will welcome you back with open arms, because even though you may have made terrible mistakes, God is still God and he will never change. He is a forgiving God and you are precious in his sight. There’s no place like home.

Help us as we celebrate God’s mighty power to save and keep his people. In this week’s Lattereign we look at The Power of Prayer and Now Faith. 

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This is the Day That the Lord Hath Made

This is the day that the Lord hath made; I will rejoice and be glad therein. IF you can’t find any other reason than this statement to praise God, then, that is sufficient. Life will never go as smoothly as we want it to, and if it did, would we have a reason to pray and give God the glory? Let’s be honest; when everything is working out in your life and the blessings begin to pour out on you, be warned and be careful to keep praising God. In the good times, I will praise him, and in the bad times, I will praise him.Why? Because he is worthy to be praised.

The deeper we commit to this Truth, the more likely we will face opposition. The key to overcoming it is to just keep doing the will of God no matter what anyone else does. Look up and behold the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He may require us to wait for a season until his plans for us unfold, and it’s not always easy to wait on God to bring judgment against our enemy, because he sees the whole plan where we see in part. Your “enemy” could very well be another Saul who was renamed Paul.

If we lose our burden for lost souls, will we keep praying? The times of joy and peace and contentment are few and far between what life is really like. Life is filled with tears, and sorrows, and disappointments, rejection, and unanswered questions. There is not one day that goes by that I let down my guard on my spirit and my emotions, because when I do, I set myself up for attack from the enemy. If we begin to doubt ourselves and our value to the kingdom of God, then, it’s time to remind Satan of this promise in Romans 8:1-4: 

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

We are the Lord’s treasure. He loves us with an everlasting love, enough love that he robed himself in flesh, in the form of Jesus Christ. In Colossians 2:9-10 it says:

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

We are complete in him. Nothing is void. He satisfies every need in our life; are we willing to surrender to his will and keep doing what he has called us to do? This is no time to give up! It isn’t in God’s plan. Keep the faith, and let’s do the work he has called us to do, while there is still time to reap the harvest.

In this week’s Lattereign we find that The Best is Yet to Come.

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