Never Forget the Sacrifices Made for Our Salvation

We have all been guilty of it: that is, taking for granted that the life we are living will not change. Now, change can be seen as an improvement, or an inconvenience, but at this time of year, change is more of an unsettling surprise, even if the change is a good change. The reality is if you want to see change, then something has to change.

In the moment, it may not feel like it’s for the best, because we are often moved out of our comfort zones, but to experience life changes that will grow us spiritually, we must be willing to allow the Lord to work in our lives. It may require getting rid of some things to make room for the more important blessings that the Lord desires for us. Are we willing to go through this time of adjustment?

I can admit that when the Lord is ready to take me through a time of spiritual growth it is not always easy. I have found that I may spend more time in prayer and even doubt myself. Did I really hear from God or is it just my own selfish desires that is moving me in this direction? Am I putting God’s agenda, first, before my own? Who will get the glory for what the Lord is leading me to do? Will it be man’s praise that I desire? or, am I more hopeful that the Lord will accept my offering of love and service?

Many times, people who are in ministry have a tendency to shy away from the limelight. It makes them uncomfortable, as it should. To God be all the glory, and honor, and power, Amen!

In the world we are living in, change sometimes moves us out of our comfort zone, and into a place where we are fearful of devastating landmines (those unplanned circumstances that interrupts our agendas) It can be a bit unsettling if we aren’t flexible. Instead of handling problems as they come, we spend our time trying to avoid them all as they are relentlessly hurled at us through space. They continue to pile up, and we become so overwhelmed trying to fix everything, that we don’t even know where to start.

Honestly, it may even require us to hide somewhere behind a barrier, temporarily, so we can catch our breath. The refuge that I run to is my prayer closet. When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I. The time spent in prayer is sufficient to recharge you to face another day. It puts life in perspective. Nothing is too hard for God so when we talk to the Lord, we can have a peace that passes all understanding. He is high and lifted up and his train fills the temple. The Lord has won every battle that he has fought on our behalf. No sports team ever recorded can boast of that kind of statistic.

Then, if God is on the winning side, wouldn’t it make sense for us to seek after him? I want to follow the one who always wins. It isn’t easy to stand alone, but if I must do that to be saved, then, so be it. I have a made up mind to live for the Lord, and worship him in spirit and in truth. No weapon formed against me shall prosper, so I might as well learn how to be the change that is pleasing to the Lord, and encourage as many people as I meet to live for the Lord. After all, he is the winner, and if we stand with him, we can never lose.

In this week’s Lattereign, we look at how distracted people can be this time of year. It is a reminder to never forget who we serve and how blessed we are to be able to do so.

‘Twas the Night Before Jesus Came

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God’s Peace Passes all Understanding

In the world we live in, today, there are too many obstacles that would try to keep us blocked from having the peace of God in our lives. We may have served the Lord for decades, but some circumstances may confront us with our health and safety and we temporarily forget that the God we serve has already won the victory over every circumstance. Fear can be debilitating at times, but, today, I give encouragement to you if you are living in this phase of your life: God has not forgotten his love for you, he is still in control.

I admit that I have been guilty of forgetting and allowing the enemy to rob me of sleep and peace, but no matter how much he tries to overwhelm me with fear, I choose to hold my banner high. God is faithful, and he promised that he would never fail me. I have nothing to fear, no matter what I have to face during this life. The key to keeping the victory is to go through the circumstances you are required to overcome. It will make you stronger when you learn to trust the Lord no matter what. Romans 8: 28, says this, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

That means all things, so who am I to doubt God can fulfill his promises to me? If the answers have not happened it is because it is the will of God that I wait for the promise. Waiting doesn’t mean that I sit and stop serving. In the upper room, the disciples were instructed to wait until…. Until what? The promise came to pass. They already knew that the comforter was coming, so they continually prayed until it happened. What would have happened if they were so busy that they didn’t tarry at the altar? They may have left empty.

My heart is overwhelmed of your goodness to me. Lord, I know that I never have deserved your mercy and grace, but that didn’t stop you from extending it to me. It is humbling at times to think about what you brought me through and how that in spite of all of the mistakes I made in my past, you were ready to wash my past away and paint me a new future that included you.

There’s no turning back, now. I left all of the heartache and emptiness behind when I decided that I wanted to live for you. It was my choice to live, and it wasn’t a difficult decision to make. Knowing that the alternative would lead to destruction and despair and a separation from you for eternal life: I have no other good option to make. Living for you has been peace and love, and joy, and so much more. I can stand in the midst of the storms now and know that you are holding me up with your right hand. I will not fall as long as I know who I can depend on to be there, ever faithful by my side.

People will sometimes make mistakes and fail to live up to my expectations, but the Lord is always ready to help me to get back on track. I know that my redeemer liveth. Tonight, I can rest in the knowledge that Jesus Christ love me, and that he cares what I am facing in my life. Even when I don’t know what I am actually feeling or struggling with in my spirit, he knows, and understands that what I really need is time to talk to him. My life is in his hands, because he promised to never let me go, and I’m okay with that.

In this week’s Lattereign, we are encouraged to rise above our circumstances in  I Will Lift UP Mine Eyes unto the hills.

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There’s Only One Way to Walk: One Foot in Front of the Other.

Have you ever felt totally lost? It seems that every direction you start to go in doesn’t feel quite right so you go back and try something else, until you find yourself walking in circles with not a single hint of progress to show for it. It’s too overwhelming sometimes to just make a plan and go do whatever.

Lord, you expect me to get out of my safety zone and do what? But Lord, you know that there are so many people who want to criticize my efforts, shoot down my ideas before I have ever even run them through the process of prayer and sharing them with others. I sit there with my mouth closed tightly, bursting inside, knowing that I surely heard from God because I am not that clever to think of such a great idea. but I am silently frustrated, because with the next breath, I know that if I don’t act on it, it will probably leave my thoughts. Off to the back of my mind to needle me even more without me remembering what was so great about the idea in the first place.

I know that I heard from God, yet my silent contemplation overwhelms my sleep. Tossing and turning and wondering how and what and when and where  it will come to pass and if I will be able to formulate a plan to make it happen. It all floods into my thoughts as I try to rest. Prayer is supposed to unravel these types of frustrations, but I sit in my prayer closet, knowing that I need to speak it out, and still I wrestle with my lack of zeal that had to be squashed in order to make it another day.

And, what about that day? It is still 24 hours of my life that I will not be able to redeem, so how I spend it matters. Please help me not to squander the precious minutes of my life with trivial tasks that do not matter in the greater plan.

Cleaning and working, and all of the other chores have their place, but if I neglect my time with you, Lord, what will it matter in the long run? When the day is done, we will never be able to relive it. Our hope is to just do better with the time we have left on this earth. Take the time to think long and hard about what you will allow to occupy your time. My regret is the countless hours and days and years that are just a blur now that I could have planned better to be more effective. I know it sounds cliche’, but I regret the time lost that I could have used to make a difference.

When life is spent, how do you want people to remember you? How much time you took to clean your house? or to shop? or engage in entertainment? Will you be remembered for the way that you always had a smile on your face, or as one who took the time to encourage those who were facing dire decisions? or, who listened when it was hard to sort out a problem? Will they see the tears that you shed on their behalf? or the joy that you expressed when they got their answered prayer?

That day will come, but I have decided that it is not, today. In this week’s Lattereign, the Lord has given us an opportunity to declare that Today is a brand new day.

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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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