Posts Tagged ‘Lord’

Fighting, struggling, clawing to write this post.  Couldn’t get it out, no matter how I tried.  Three days prior —migraine headaches, heaviness and an unshakeable restless feeling.  Then Dec 11, 2013 all hell broke loose and God’s glory stepped in….

You are regular target. The devil is out to get you and he will stop at nothing to take you out!  I can’t stress enough that we must wake up and realize that daily we are engaged in a very real spiritual battle. You must understand this is all out war.  The devil seeks to kill, steal and destroy and his ultimate goal is to lead you to an eternity of torment in hell.   Regular weapons won’t help to win this battle.  Rockets, missiles and hand grenades are of no use here. To win this spiritual war you need supernatural spiritual weapons.  In prior posts we have looked at how Praise and worship, discernment and prayer are invaluable tools in spiritual warfare.  Today we will examine the blood of Jesus.

These past  2.5 weeks have been none like I have ever experienced. It started when I found out that a church brother had terminal brain cancer.  Doctors said there was nothing left to be done. What? This couldn’t be?  Ours paths crossed  for the first time just 9 months ago when I had the privilege to serve with him during a mission trip to Haiti.  His positive attitude, his unmistakable light, his  kindness and infectious optimism made him impossible  not to love.  He had plans to return to the next mission trip to Haiti.   By this new development with him I was shocked and devastated. Apparently this had been something he had been dealing with for a while.  But you would never know by his demeanor and the beautiful light that shone through him wherever he went—he was the same Joel Jean Baptiste.  Hadn’t I just recently spoken to him up to 2 months ago or so in bible study?  Now he lay dying in a hospital bed with an inoperable brain tumor with bleeding to the brain…..

The saints quickly mobilized.  Word got out and suddenly prayers upon prayers were going out on behalf of Joel Jean-Baptise.  We “bombarded heaven” as the popular saying goes with requests, petitions, sometimes demands from God to heal Joel. God you are able. You are Jehovah Ropha–the God who heals. Is anything too hard for God? God you can do this! The prayers and hospital visits continued.  December 11 ,2013–Joel’s 35th birthday. He lay mostly unresponsive in the bed. People came out in droves–the outpouring of love and support were overwhelming for him.  A testament to the kind of person he was.  It was then that Ms Kerri-Ann Dacosta, gifted prayer warrior with an unmistakable anointing for intercessory prayer (praying to God on behalf of others) went to see Joel.  I wasn’t there to witness, but the reports were she prayed mightily and fervently.  Knowing Kerri-ann the way I did, I expected nothing less. But then coming out of the prayer, by Kerri-ann’s own account, the sudden onset of the worst headache she had experienced in her entire life. It would knock her to her knees, although she never lost consciousness.  God would have it that this would happen on the neurology floor where he would send an angel in the form of a caring and compassionate neurologist to immediately step in and wisely insist that Kerri-Ann go downstairs to the emergency room of the hospital and have a CT Scan. The finding–subarachnoid hemorrhage—-bleeding on the brain.  Oh did I mention that earlier that day, just a few hours before I got to the hospital to visit Joel and subsequently find out about Kerri-ann in the ER, that I got a call stating that my uncle, who is a father to me, had sudden onset upper back pain. A quick visit to the doctor, quick action and further investigation revealed a life threatening aortic dissection—a tear in the all of the main artery of the body with bleeding…..usually fatal within minutes.

Three people I knew.  Three people I walked with in different levels of intimacy and impacted my life in different ways. Three people with bleeding related affliction….

The blood is the source of life in the human body.  It carries oxygen and life- sustaining nutrients to every organ that keeps us.  It also removes the waste of carbon dioxide that threatens to kill us.  If our blood, in our limited sinful human state is the major life source of the human body, how much more is the blood of Jesus , the one in whom we live and move and have our being, the source that sustains every aspect of our lives?

(CONTINUATION  ON THE NEXT POST:  I STILL KNOW IT WAS THE BLOOD)

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School had been a part of my journey for so long.  Beyond elementary education and high school, I pushed through 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school and 3 years of residency training to become a physician.  That’s in addition to presently having to keep up with continuing medical education studies on an ongoing basis through my professional career.   I don’t take credit for these accomplishments.  All that I am, all that I have done and all that I will become I fully recognize and admit is due to the benefits of God’s grace.  I am the tangible and visible manifestation of the miracle and mystery, the immeasurable depth and detail, the intimacy and infinite possibilities of God’s grace.

It is the thread that weaves through and holds together every fabric of our existence.  When you draw breath each morning, can take a step forward, see food in the cupboard, clothes on your back, loving friends and family, enjoy the scent of spring flowers,  was spared that car accident, so and so forth –all of this  and more, every thing we are blessed to have or do, are compliments of that curious thing called grace.  Rooted in grace, is God’s  love; even when we don’t deserve it.  I will be the first to admit I am not perfect.  I’m an ok person, but catch me in the right mood and I am not so lovable.  But grace says I love you irregardless of , irrespective of and in spite of you.  I see your flaws, but I love you and I want to bless you anyhow.  God is merciful to extend His grace to us and in the same way, despite what we see and know, we must extend that type of grace to others.

It was by God’s grace that I came from being a little Jamaican girl of a modest background, to a family physician practicing in New York City.  When endless hours in the hospital sometimes overwhelmed me to the point of wanting to give up, it was God’s grace that was sufficient and His strength that was shown perfect in my weakness.   It was God’s grace that kept my sanity through some really difficult trials and heartbreak.   It was His mercy and grace that spared my life and supernaturally delivered me from some dangerous situations.  I need no convincing regarding the reality of God’s grace.  I have seen and experienced it firsthand over and over again in day to day living and in miraculous ways. The unbelievable fact is that grace is not something I earned or deserved.  True to the scripture that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Roman 3:23, NKJV), I fall short of His glory and commit trespasses every day.  But God’s grace, his unmerited favor, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the gift that He lovingly and freely gives to bless us and allow us to overcome the inevitable trials we must face.

That being said, given my journey thus far, surely I would be the last  person that anyone would expect to return back to school.  Surely I had paid my dues and put in enough time?  Right?  Well, God is certainly not everyone and He certainly is not just anyone. The Lord spoke to me about seminary back in 2010 while taking a bible course at a friend’s church, where the pastor of the church wrote “this is seminary level work” on a paper I had written.  This would give me a further glimpse of the overall plan God had for my life.   Shocked and humbled by the comment, I got a quickening in my spirit that comes when only God is speaking.  Terrified and still unsure, I didn’t share this with anyone.  My thought process was something like this:

“Really Lord?  More school”?   I enjoyed the bible institute and the subsequent discipleship classes I took a at Greater Allen Cathedral, but formal school? I loved learning more about God, the things related to the gospel, the Church and the Kingdom.  I looked forward to that aspect of school.  But the pressures of papers, deadlines, public speaking—Lord are you serious? Seminary school?  “Alright, Lord if this is You,  I really don’t believe it is for now.  You have to confirm every detail of this endeavor—timing, location, everything.  I told you wherever you take me I will go, but this is a big move.  I don’t want to take this step until I’m absolutely sure.”  That was fall 2010. Over the following years I prayed, waited and watched.  All the while I drew closer to Him and developed a deep relationship with Him.  He began to show Himself in ways I never knew before and where I struggled with hearing God previously, I now am so much better at discerning His still small voice.   I learned to allow God’s Holy Spirit to “ …guide me in all truth..” (John 16:13, NLT) and “… teach me in all things…” (John 14:26, NKJV).

Finally, over the past year the Lord began to confirm through other people, unaware of what I felt in my spirit years ago, that I was destined to go  to seminary or pursue some sort of path in formal ministry.   I still don’t know all that God is up to.   But that is the comforting thing about God. I don’t have to have it all figured out.   Even when we are clueless and totally unsure,  God knows.  God is omniscient—He is all knowing.  He knows everything about all things at all times.  He knows the grandest to the most minuscule details of my life.  Even when I step out in blind faith, I am stepping out with an all-seeing God beside me.  Notice I said beside me because He is omnipresent.  He is always present.  Herbert Lockyer said it best in his book, All the Doctrines  of the Bible when he said God “has no center and His circumference is everywhere.”  God told me through His word “Behold, I am with you and I will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; I will not leave you until  I have done what I have spoken to you” (Genesis 28:15, NKJV).  Based on that scripture, because God is always speaking and it will take my lifetime to fulfill my purpose, God is sure to never forsake me.  His word cannot lie. Finally God is omnipotent.  All power is in His hand.  His very essence is power.  So not only is He with me through this life’s journey, but He has the power to bring every plan and purpose for my life to pass.  The arm of he Lord is not shortened.  Having applied to seminary, by God’s grace and provision I  have been accepted to start in  2014.

And so begins the next leg of the journey and I press on. Where would I be without the gifting of God’s grace?  Grace has brought me thus far and it will see me to the very end.  I know I can’t rise without it simply because, God’s:

Gifts & Resources  Allow Constant Elevation.

And Yet Still I Rise,

With peace and blessings may you continue to rise always,

Stillirise323

More than the civil wars that have ravaged the continent of Africa, the Muslim terrorist attacks against Western culture, the genocides that continue to plague human history, we are engaged in a very real and ongoing spiritual battle. The devil has waged war against God and anything related to God.  That would certainly include His creation. This means you!  No one is off limits.  The devil comes to kill, steal and destroy everything God has for you.  Kill, steal and destroy your life, dreams, joy and peace of mind—all of the blessings of God. You can’t win this war with natural weapons.  Bombs, AK 47’s and hand grenades won’t help you here.  To win this war you have to tap into supernatural weapons.  Access those  weapons that God has granted us coupled with His limitless power.   Thus far I have mentioned praise/worship and discernment as mighty tools available in our arsenal against the powers of darkness.  Next up for discussion:   the power of prayer.

What is prayer?  In simple terms, it’s just communicating with God.  For most of us the majority of the time we communicate through spoken words.  But keep in mind, we can interact with God through our thoughts.  I loved the answer the great evangelist Billy Graham gave when someone asked if God hears our silent prayers .  He wisely said:

“Yes, God hears our prayers on all occasions, whether we’re praying out loud or praying silently in our hearts and minds. After all, He knows all about us and knows what is going on inside us—both good and bad. The Bible says that God “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). The Bible also says, “The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked, but those of the pure are pleasing to him” (Proverbs 15:26). (http://www.billygraham.org/articlepage.asp?articleid=3828)

God really does have it all covered.  Sometimes life becomes so heavy that we don’t know how or what to pray.  But we have an all-knowing God who sees and knows the words of our hearts and the words of our thoughts.  Though most of us most frequently pray aloud and some would argue that verbal prayer is better, know that God “hears you” in your silence.

P= Praise, Persistence,

In prayer take time to praise God.  Everyone likes a compliment.  God is no different.  Tell God how awesome He is.  Thank Him for His goodness, His love and His mercy.  Bombard Him with sweet, adoring words from your mouth—what the popular bible verse says is the “fruit of your lips” (Proverbs 12:14) . The more you do it, the more you will begin to feel and connect  to His presence and power.  And we know praise and worship moves God to fight our battles and give us victory over the Enemy.

It is common practice that people set aside time alone to pray in a quiet place.  It may be early morning before confronting the day, late at night before going to sleep  or any other set time.  However, the bible instructs us to “…pray without ceasing(Thessalonians 5:7).  In addition to that quiet time, know that you can and should talk to God all the time.   Need help with a challenging situation? “Lord help me to resolve this.”  Did the Lord show you favor at work? Thank him right then and there.  Something heavy on your heart? You don’t have to wait until you get home to tell God.  Even in the midst of a crowd you can share your concerns. The more we talk to God, the more we grow in relationship with Him and vice versa. Get in the habit of talking to Him all the time and before you know it, it will become second nature.

Persistent prayer also comes in handy when we are enlisting God’s help or looking for God’s guidance.  A wonderful example I’ve heard of this was a preacher describing how his little girl would latch on to his leg and not let go until he moved to get the cookie she politely asked for.  In her simple act, the Lord revealed to him that the same tenacity and persistence that this little girl showed in getting what she desired, is the same way we have to latch on to God and pray until He moves on our behalf one way or another.  God may not always answer by giving   exactly what you want, but persistent prayer encourages Him to move in the way that He knows is best for you.  So after you pray, and after you’ve prayed, pray, pray again.

R=requests

“Be anxious for nothing, but in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God (Philippians 4:6, NKJV). No matter how big or seemingly insignificant, God wants to be included in every aspect of our lives.  Just take a look at yourself and everything around you. The make-up and complexity of something as simple as an eyelash is astounding, much less our entire human bodies and  all the things of nature.   The phrase “spare me the details” doesn’t apply to God. God is a God of intricacy and intimacy.  He wants to hear about, be involved in and orchestrate every detail of our lives.

I love the example the biblical character Nehemiah represents for presenting our requests before God.  He went to God for anything and everything.   When he needed pardon from the king of Persia to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the destroyed walls of the city, what did he do? He asked that God let him “ prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy…” (Nehemiah 1:11, NKJV) in the sight of the king.  Not only was Nehemiah given pardon without hesitation, but the king went a step further and  gave him extra assistance in going.  Through our prayers we can call down the favor of God.

Got haters or opposition causing trouble in your life?  Check Nehemiah again.  When his enemies tried  different tactics to prevent him from rebuilding the wall, Nehemiah didn’t curse, didn’t physically retaliate, didn’t  lose his cool.  Just like a child who tells their parents about the bully at school, Nehemiah simply went to Father God in prayer.   His simple request was this: “…O God strengthen my hands….” (Nehemiah 6:9, NKJV)  and “My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat, according to these their works…”(Nehemiah 6:14, NKJV).  And voila!  Checkmate!  The very next verse,  the  words of Nehemiah’s victory:  “The wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days”(Nehemiah 6:15).   You see the devil just can’t win when a child of God cries out and He decides to step in. So the next time Satan comes and tries to step to you, brandish your weapon! Kaboom! Hit him  with your prayers!

 

A=Answers

The beauty of prayer?  It’s an exchange not one one-sided.  It’s a dialogue not a monologue.  It’s collaborative not selfish.  When we speak, God speaks back.  When we speak God delights in our act of worship through prayer.  When He speaks He speaks life into our being.  Yes..it is important to praise and present your petitions before God.  But also take time to hear what God is saying to you.  Open your spirit and tune your senses to see how God is leading.  He may speak through a person, His Word, your thoughts, a feeling, a song…anything.  Trust that the enemy will always try to hinder you from praying because he knows how powerful of a weapon it is.   Without it you are extremely open and vulnerable to attack.  Just like soldiers must stay connected to their generals for guidance, so we must stay connected to God Almighty for all that we need.  It is through prayer that God will dispatch his Holy angels to fight on our behalf.  It is through prayer that God moves the obstacles in our lives. It is through prayer that God heals, delivers, blesses, empowers, guides, defends and protects us.  So pray and simply trust God. Pray and believe God to answer (in different ways—another topic) in His perfect way, according to His perfect will and in His perfect timing.  I guarantee He will never steer you wrong.

Y=Yes

Prayer is indirectly a sign of worship.    When you pray to God you are saying God I acknowledge you, God you are real and God I am dependent on you.  You wouldn’t pray to something or someone you didn’t believe in. In essence you are saying yes, You are God.  The lie?  A good prayer has to be fancy, eloquent and have a barrage of big words.  The truth—the beauty of prayer is that you simply do it.   That you intentionally reach out to God.  God doesn’t look at the details of the eloquence of words.  He looks at the genuineness of your heart. The amazing thing is as you grow with God and spend time in His holy Word, you will learn to allow his Spirit to guide your prayers and naturally begin to pray according to the promises of the scriptures.  When we pray in obedience to God and declare our yes to Him, this opens the door for God to partner with us in overcoming the forces of darkness.  So if the devil  insists on riding your tail, have no fear! TKO him with your prayers!

This post does not begin to scratch the surface that is the vastness of prayer.  Minister Maurice Belfonte, youth minister at Shekinah Youth Church/Greater Allen AME said it best in this facebook post:   “Prayer redirects, reconnects,  reorders,  recovers,  reinvigorates, refocuses,  reveals, reduces, restores, reactivates,  reminds, replaces,  reforms, recommits.  Just a few things that Prayer has done for me.  I could go on and on. The moral of the story is:  #PRAY.”

So after you pray and after your pray, pray..pray again…and  yet still I rise

With peace and blessings may you continue to rise always,

Stillirise323

Many  people, Christian and non-Christian know the epic story from the book of Exodus of how God parted  the Red sea so that the Israelites could escape their enemies, the Egyptians.  But that wasn’t their last encounter with facing water as an obstacle.  Fast forward to the book of Joshua where they now faced the River Jordan  and God would move miraculously again.  Unlike the first time, when God told Moses to raise his rod and the waters divided, this time with Joshua as their leader, the bible says that the:

“..feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water…. and  the waters that came from upstream stood still and rose in a heap very far away…(Joshua 3:16, NKJV).  Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground…”(Joshua 3:17).  And finally,  ” when all the people had completely crossed over, the ark of the Lord and the priests crossed over in the presence of the people” (Joshua 4:11)

The ark of the covenant, a chest holding the ten commandments, represented the presence of God on the earth. It was considered sacred and holy and not just every and anybody  could carry this sacred treasure. But notice a few things:

1)It was designated that only the Levitical  priests, a chosen group that was set apart for unique dedication to God, could carry the ark.  This was in addition to their duties of offering sacrifices to God to make atonement for the sins of the people as well as pronouncing blessings over the people.

 2)The priests had to step out first into the water, bearing the ark of the covenant and then the people came after.

3)The priest did to cross over themselves until all the people crossed first.

Obviously, the levitical priests played a vital role in the survival of the Israeli nation.   And their function served as a foreshadowing of what Jesus would do for all of us once and for all. Since Jesus Christ died on the cross as a living sacrifice so that our sins could be forgiven and our relationship restored with God, we no longer have need for a levitical priest to work on our behalf.  With Christ as our Lord standing as the perfect High priest , we in turn have become “… a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation…” (1 Peter 2:8) selected to show the world  the goodness of God.  All true Christians now function as priests to the Lord God Almighty.

Furthermore, just as the levitical priests of the bible bore the ark of the covenant, we must bear/carry the glory of God to do His work and make an impact on the lives around us.  As the priests were required to be holy,  we are called to consecrate (i.e. dedicate, devote ) ourselves to God and strive to be holy.  But it’s not so simple! It may mean you have to move ahead of the people and come out of the crowd.  Will you do it?  It may mean the Lord will take you through a rigid lifelong process of molding, shaping and transformation.  People, things, attitudes, character traits–anything that hinders you from becoming the righteous person God demands you to be will be uprooted. Will you cooperate?  You may have to be first to step into unknown waters with faith and trust,  so that those coming behind you (i.e. unsaved family members, friends in need,  etc.) can safely cross over.  Struggles will come!  Will you go? Are you selfless enough to stand firm and sacrifice your own needs so that others may cross safely. Even when it seems like you are being left behind while others move forward.  Can you do it?

The closer you get to God, the more of His glory will be revealed through you.  But carrying God’s glory is not a joke. The requirements of those levitical priests to remain holy were stringent.  Any deviation meant instant death.  They could not approach Him unholy and without some payment for their sins and the sins of the nation.  But thank God for the blood of Jesus that was shed  that we can approach His throne despite our faults and be forgiven by His grace and mercy. Thank God for the payment of the blood of Jesus, that grants us eternal life  and not death.

God wants to demonstrate His power and work miracles through you.  But to carry God’s glory, you must know there will be trials, struggles and hardships.  Don’t let this deter you.  Take hope in the fact that God says “…as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will never leave or forsake you” (Joshua 1:5, NKJV).  Be strong and of good courage….(Joshua 1:6).  With God, you can do all things.  The blessings of His glory far exceed the hardships….and yet still I rise.

With peace and blessings may you continues to rise always,

Stillirise 323

 

Near and dear to my heart, I have a special love for him.  He doesn’t speak.  With a few fragmented sentences he can articulate what he wants:  “I want ice cream, I want car (meaning to drive in the car).”  He points to himself and utters  “soda”, to express his desire for soda.  He’s good at echoing; he can  repeat what you tell him to say and follow directions of what to do. But he can’t  converse.  6″2, handsome, physically well.  Yet thirty years strong with the intellectual capacity of a 2 year old.  He is my brother Kevin.  We call him Kev for short. The doctors chalk it up to autism and mental retardation.  That’s the label and the final diagnosis.  Nothing else to do.  The intellectual part of me, my flesh, can identify with what they say. I work in the medical field and we see it fairly regularly.  But I know different.  It’s deeper than that. Kev’s plight is spiritual.  It is the handiwork of the devil live and in living color.  But I don’t focus on the cause. That’s the least of it.  I focus on the solution.  My faith tells me that whatever the reason, he can be healed.  Whatever the root cause, it can be uprooted. He will be healed in Jesus name.

The bible says with faith the size of a mustard seed we can move mountains (Matthew 17:20).   I’ve personally never seen a mustard seed, but apparently they are very small; about the size of a pencil point.  So even a small amount of faith is acceptable.  That’s all you really need to overcome.  But in the words of my other beloved brother, Drew, I must say: “I don’t know about a mustard seed, but I think I have enough to grow a mustard tree.” Mustard seed faith is good.  But if I could go one step further, I want to have mustard tree level faith. I believe in my Father that much.  I’ve seen the Lord work.  I’ve seen Him level mountains in my life and the lives of others.  Is anything too hard for God? Kevin’s predicament is nothing for Him to fix.

Do you have mustard seed or even more,  mustard tree faith?  The bible says that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1, KJV).  In simple terms it’s having the assurance that what you are hoping for is already done although you don’t yet see it.  Trusting God will bring it to pass although it has not yet manifested.   We are quick to put our faith in lotto, other people, our own abilities; essentially in everything unstable and flawed.  Yet we fail to put our faith in the God that is faultless and completely flawless.  What are you believing God for today?  As I stand in faith for Kevin’s complete restoration and deliverance in this life, I stand in faith with you for whatever you are believing God for.  Let us bond in faith, trusting and resting  in the power of our awesome God. Know that He is able and He never fails.  And although God may not always give us exactly what we want( that part is not  always easy), He always gives us what is best for us in the end.  Even in disappointment, God can bless us in ways beyond our superficial human expectations and limited human understanding. Trust  and know not some things, not most things, not a few things but ALL things work together for the good of those who love the Lord…. (Romans 8:28, KJV).

May our faith expand from mustard seed to mustard tree….and yet still I rise.

With peace and blessings may you continue to rise always,

Stillirise323

Ooh he/she  tried you! That was the lingo folks used growing up when somebody tested you; especially in terms of showing disrespect or pushing you to your limit. Like earlier this week between my plane landing late,  the splitting headache I had and the airline losing my luggage to boot,  I couldn’t help thinking:  man somebody is really trying me!  And I guarantee I was right. As long as you are living, breathing and existing on this earth expect to be tried.  You better believe you are going to be tested. The trial most often comes from the Enemy, but bear in mind our loving God will also test us to make us better.  The key to passing any test is preparation.  Know the material you will be tested on.   Although this list is not all inclusive, we are often tested in 4 main areas in our lives:  our strengths, weaknesses, desires and familial/generational  issues.  Let’s first look more closely at how we are tested in our strengths and weaknesses:
 
Strengths
We all have been created with unique gifts, talents and abilities. But beware!  It’s like the devil  is watching and saying:   “Oh yeah?  You think you’re so good? We will see about that.”
In the book of  Job, when Satan presented himself before God after roaming the earth afflicting mankind, God challenged Satan to test Job.  Why?  Because God could confidently say “…there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8, NKJV).   Job’s strengths:  righteousness and faithfulness toward God was what the Lord allowed Satan to attack. But as Job’s Creator, He knew how He designed Job and what Job  could handle.  As the story goes, at the Lord’s allowance Satan kills Job’s family, wipes out his possessions, inflicts him with horrible skin sores and he is ostracized from his community.  But in the end, as the Lord knew he would be, Job was faithful to God and remained righteous.  He did not curse God despite his trials and in the end God blessed him with even more than he had before he was attacked.
We have to recognize that the  same way the devil attacked Job, is the same way we may be tried in our own gifts and strengths.  For example, if you have a gift of discernment, expect the devil to send a fraud cleverly disguised  as something they are not.   If your strong point is showing mercy, someone will come that will make it difficult to show mercy to.   As a prophet,  you may be tested in how you hear and deliver the truth of God’s message.   As a teacher, a challenging student is going to try you in the teaching gift.  In any and all areas  of our gifts we  can be tested.  But rest assured that if the Lord allowed it, these challenges are designed to mature, strengthen and take us to higher levels in our talents and our abilities.  Like Job, if you allow the test to accomplish it’s purpose, you will only come out better in the end.
2) Weaknesses
Remember the devil’s ultimate goal is to kill, steal and destroy.  The best way to do that is to attack you in the areas where you are the most vulnerable and the most weak.  For example, as a person with an addictive personality, suddenly you may find yourself surrounded by opportunities to dabble with addictive substances.  If you struggle with lust, watch out for the trap sent to lure you into  dishonoring your marriage.  Is patience  your struggle?  You may have to experience some delays to beat down impatience.   With my quick temper, I’m always being tested on exercising restraint.  If I’m honest sometimes I pass; sometimes I fail.  But the key is to become stronger in those areas over time.   In cooperation with the transforming power of God’s Holy Spirit, those weaknesses will no longer be weaknesses anymore.
So yes.. the devil tests us to destroy us.  But check the flip-side with our God.   If we endure, He uses every test to sharpen us, mature us and draw us closer to Him. He makes all things, even the difficulties, work together for our good.   In our trials we are not alone.  We can always rely on His power and strength to get us through and you will never get to know God more intimately than when you are tested.   Be confident He has every answer.  With Him by your side you cannot fail.  In the next post, we will look at how how we are tested through our desires and in familial issues.  Remember in every test there is a testimony….and yet still I rise.
With peace and blessings may you continue to rise always,
Stillirise323

It’s been nagging at you for a while.  You know you are meant to do more.  Maybe start a business, write a book, go back to school–something.  Yet days turn into weeks, weeks into months, months into years and you have not taken the first step forward.

The bible says in Genesis 18 that  the Lord came to visit Abraham in the form of three men.  And because hospitality was so key during those times  and let’s face it, it was God after all,  in a show of hospitality, service and honor  Abraham “ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried and prepared it” (Genesis 18:7, NIV)

Like that choice calf there are some choice assignments or situations that God  will give you to prepare or handle. It might be to encourage someone, pray for someone, lead a church ministry, go back to school, be a caretaker to the sick, write a song…anything.  How will you handle it? Will you be like the servant in the scripture who Abraham asked to prepare the calf? My sense is he wasted no time—the scripture says he  hurried and prepared it.    Abraham his master gave the assignment and immediately he went to tackle it. How often does our Master  give us something to do and we delay, sit on it or dream up all manner of excuses not to do it,  myself included.  “Lord I’m tired; let somebody else do it; I don’t know what I’m doing; I’m doing enough”–do these excuses ring  a bell?  All the while God has designed, equipped and fashioned you for this specific assignment.  And just like that calf was  choice and tender, some situations we are assigned may be delicate, fragile and requires some special handling with care.  But know that if He called you to do it, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, the gifts He as given you and His grace, you will successfully complete every task you are assigned.

Now I understand that some things we are given to do, may be on hold for a future date.  But ask God to help you complete those things you should be doing right now.  Whether it be doubt, fear, lack of resources, etc. let Him remove every hinderance to you preparing your choice calf.

God loves a serving of obedience to His will.  Won’t you feed Him that today?  Praying to prepare and handle every calf to His satisfaction….and yet still I rise.

With peace and blessings may you continue to rise always,

Stillirise323