Through The Storm

About a week ago during worship at church we were singing “Cornerstone” by Hillsong. This is the chorus:

One letter from old brick alphabet set “Christ alone Cornerstone. Weak made strong in the Saviors love. Through the storm He is Lord, Lord of all.”

I was struck by the thought that a storm experienced in a person’s life is usually thought of as a negative thing, but it doesn’t always have to be nor is it always a bad thing. You see, the day before we had taken our oldest love bug back to the airport for her trip back to college. And, although, this was our sixth such trip since she started college in late 2013, this time it was the hardest for me. I also sensed it was a bit harder for her as well.Anemometer

I wondered on this as Holy Spirit was showing me this momentary storm was not a bad thing, it came out of a really good thing! As I stood in worship the tears starting flowing, both sad tears for a season that has passed and tears of gladness at the Lord’s work. He showed me pictures of her youth like a slideshow and he spoke to my heart, “My hand is upon her. I have given her the passion of her heart; the passion for justice. She is on My path.” Oh, the grace of God is unfathomable! He never has to share with us the inner work he is doing, but many times he chooses too. He knew my troubled heart before the storm ever hit and he offered his grace, his comfort and his love.

crown3-111413-734Through the storm He is Lord, Lord of all.

Shalom!

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Photo courtesy of beautiful H. Towns.

The poor, deluded fool feeds on ashes. He is trusting something that can give him no help at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, “Is this thing, this idol that I’m holding in my hand, a lie?” Isaiah 44: 20 (NLT).

Papa, whether we hold idols in our hands, or in our heart. If we cling to idols in our actions or our thoughts, on behalf of those who are yet to know You through your beloved Son Jesus, I ask for your forgiveness. And, for those of us who are your children, on our behalf I confess and repent. Thank you for showing us the idols in our life, for your unending grace and mercy and Holy Spirit thank you for your constant help in turning away from anything that is not of Jesus Christ. May we always be aware and see the glory of your light shining on all your creation! In Your life-giving Name, Jesus, Amen.

Shalom!

All Good Things

 

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When I was a younger Christian, every time I sensed the Holy Spirit leading me to read the book of Job, it always caused a sense of foreboding or fear. Didn’t God know this book was about tragedy, bad things happening to a man, whom God actually told Satan, was a man of complete integrity? Yes, God knows this, He is, after all, God! He did inspire the Book of Job, the entire Bible for that matter.

This morning I started reading through the Book of Job and the Holy Spirit has given me new eyes to read this beautiful story.  I realize now that my former fear of this book was actually my lack of faith and trust in God. You see, not only did Job lose almost everything he had, (he and his wife survived their tragic loss), at the end of Jobs story God restores to Job twice as much as he had before. Ah, the message of hope!

The Holy Spirit whispers to me, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7. Fear is from Satan, it is one of his age-old tricks that he attempts to use in tempting us to doubt God’s love and faithfulness.

One of the things that always stands out to me when I read Job is that Satan came into the presence of God and they discussed Job. Like it was an ordinary, everyday thing. Let’s listen in to their conversation.

One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. TheLord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

First of all, nothing God does is every ordinary, all His works are extraordinary beyond compare! God has given Satan the authority to cause tribulation in Job’s life. But, didn’t God remember he caused Satan and his evil minions to fall from the heavens? Yes, he did, He is God!

A little further into my reading I come upon God telling Satan this, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil. And he has maintained his integrity, even though you persuaded me to harm him without cause.” Job 2:3. Did you catch God telling Satan he persuaded Him? Can Satan even do that? Precious One, the answer is no! No one, least of all, Satan can persuade God to go against his character, which is His complete goodness for all eternity.

God knew the end of this story before it ever began. He knew that Job would continue to praise Him, the one true God, regardless of any affliction or tragedy. God did not cause Job’s plight but He did allow it to happen through the schemes of Satan.

Many times God allows trials, challenges and tribulations to come in to our life simply so we will turn to Him in complete trust and dependency. He created us to live a life dependent upon Him and him alone. Precious One, whenever you face a struggle remember that God loves you and is jealous for you. He doesn’t want the struggle to take His place in your life. He whispers to you….

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. James 1:17.

I believe God gives us the story of Job to show us hard times at their worst, but throughout Jobs story we learn about our own heart condition, God’s love and His hope. Don’t give up hope, remain steadfast in the love of Christ, remembering all good things come from our Father above.

Shalom

If you haven’t placed your trust in Christ and feel you would like to take this first step in an awesome and life changing relationship with God, please email me tbelme@brentwoodnc.org.

You Are Chosen For Such A Time As This

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The Book of Esther is one of my favorites. I read the entire ten chapters this morning, intrigued by what I sense are some parallels of Esther’s story and what is going on in our world today.

Esther was a quiet but strong woman, raised by her Uncle Mordecai after her parents had died when she was a young girl. Even as a young woman she still sought and followed the advice of her uncle.

Esther was a Jew, but her husband, King Xerxes, did not know this about her when he crowned her his Queen. It was a different time back then! An evil man by the name of Haman, lived in Esther’s kingdom. He was driven by his pride and ego. At one time he was the king’s right hand man and required all the king’s subject’s to bow down to him. And they did! Except Esther’s uncle, who would bow only to God. This infuriated Haman and he tricked King Xerxes into issuing a decree that all the Jews in all 127 provinces of the kingdom be annihilated. Mordecai learned of Haman’s plan and he beseeched Esther to do something.

business_110008020-012914-intHere is what Esther did; she told Mordecai to gather all the Jews together and to pray for her and to fast with her and her maids for three days. Then she would go and see the king and plead her case. She told Mordecai, “If I must die, I will die.” A rather interesting thing to say. You see, during this period of time if anyone went to visit the king without his summons it was an offense punishable by death unless the king extended his scepter to the person requesting his attention, even the queen! Thankfully, King Xerxes extended his scepter to Esther.

The rest of the story turns out well for Esther and the Jews and I encourage you to read or reread this delightful testimony of God’s love. Allowing yourself to be carried away by the Holy Spirit’s description of this time in history.

What strikes me most about the story of Esther every time I read it, is her willingness to seek God on behalf of herself and her people. She fasted and prayed for three days and asked others to join her, knowing she would hear from God. She depended on God with all of her heart that she made plans to visit the king before she had even fasted and prayed and trusted the outcome to God even if that meant she would die.

What is going on in the world today is frightening and in some area’s atrocious is not a strong enough word to describe the actions of others.

But, there is hope! And, it is found in God’s word.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance. Psalm 33:12.

Ah, do you see the word inheritance? If you know me, you know I love looking for our inheritance in Christ throughout his word. God chooses to give us His inheritance through our belief in His Son, Jesus Christ! Think about that for a moment, let it settle into your heart and find a permanent place to reside. Everything God has he gives to us through our faith in Jesus! Our position here is to pray for the nations of the world that they would ask God to be their Lord and to share our inheritance with them through Jesus Christ! Guess what happens when we do? The nations are blessed by the One true God! Why? Because the nations and their people are seeking God.

When Solomon had finished the temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the Lord and in his own palace, the Lord appeared to him at night and said:

“I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. 2 Chronicles 7:11-16. (emphasis added).

The highlighted part of this passage is what I sense the Holy Spirit speaking to the nations, but I think it is important to read it in context with the surrounding verses. When you believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you become a temple for the Holy Spirit to live within you. Don’t miss the promise of the last line!

1232-vintagePrecious One be a Queen Esther! Seek God not only for yourself but for those in your sphere of influence, for your neighborhood, for your city and state, for your Country and for the nations of the world.

Shalom!

 

Hope For Today: Nehemiah 4:21-23

Here are my verses for today. What is/are yours and what does it speak to your heart?

So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out. At that time I also said to the people, “Have every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so they can serve us as guards by night and as workers by day.” Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water. Nehemiah 4:21-23.

2499-1013-A2544Nehemiah and the Israelites never put their weapons down not even for a drink of water, they didn’t change their clothes and they worked by day and guarded by night. What work ethic! The Holy Spirit is always reminding me not to put my weapon down and not to take off His protective armor. What does this look like in the earthly realm? Our weapon is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, simply put, NEVER stop fighting through prayer. What about his protective armor? I’ll let you look that up in Ephesians 6:10-17.

I declare God’s blessing on each of you today, according to His perfect will!

Shalom!

At The Feet Of Jesus

Not long ago, I had an ‘aha’ moment. Actually, I have many ‘aha’ moments, but this particular moment came while I was reading Luke 10:41-42. I was working on a teaching and the Holy Spirit reminded me of these verses, and He guided me to the version in The Message. I don’t study from The Message but sometimes the Holy Spirit brings me there to further illuminate his word for me. Like the light from a lamp that is switched on; its brilliance fills the space it encompasses.

“The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.” Luke 10: 41-42 The Message.

2159-1013-A2201I have always felt that as Mary sat at the feet of Jesus it was to learn from Him. To hang on every word he said gaining his knowledge and wisdom, and while this may be true,  during this ‘aha’ moment I sensed the Holy Spirit saying to me, “she sat at My feet to receive from me.” Mary was modeling solitude. Simply being in the presence of God with no agenda, no prayer requests, no thoughts, no words, just quietness. Simply receiving his love. Do you love how Jesus describes himself? As the main course! And, don’t miss his promise to Mary, He won’t be taken from her! This promise is ours also, it is part of our inheritance in Him. For those who believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior, He will never be taken from us. Hallelujah!

A few days after this ‘aha’ moment a friend asked me to preview a teaching she is giving later this year. Wouldn’t you know, this verse is part of her teaching?! Oh, but it gets better, as we discussed this teaching she commented that her sense was that there wasn’t any knowledge transfer from Jesus to Mary going on. Mary sat and freely received the love of Jesus, which he freely gave! It always amazes me when the Holy Spirit confirms for us what he is speaking to us. He doesn’t have to but chooses to do so. I hope that I am always amazed by this aspect of our relationship!

Here is what I believe the Holy Spirit wants us to feel deep in our soul:

“Solitude is sitting at the feet of Jesus receiving his lavish love. Being refilled and replenished by the Holy Spirit. Being at home with Jesus.” T.B.

Precious One, I bless you with the lavish love of Christ.

Shalom!

The Remnant

For a remnant of my people will spread out from Jerusalem a group of survivors from Mount Zion. The passion of the LORD Almighty will make this happen! 2 Kings 19:31.

There it is again, ‘the remnant’. It has been swirling around in my mind for years, popping up here and there from the depths of my being. The remnant.

community-92313-194I first heard of the remnant, some years ago, perhaps fix or six now, maybe longer, from a friend. He felt God asking him to gather a remnant. Since that time the Holy Spirit whispers remnant to me and it resonates with my soul, as if it has always been a part of me, a part of eternity that God has placed in my heart.

One of my best friends and I often talk about the remnant when we’re together, asking what does the remnant look like, who is the remnant? And, a new question I am now asking, “what role as women and believers in Christ do we play in the remnant?”

A remnant is the part of something that is left when the other parts are gone; a small surviving group. During the Old Testament a remnant was usually described as the survivors of Israelites from captivity that God used to continue his people. Paul used remnant in the New Testament to show God’s purpose of bringing believing Jews and Gentiles together to form the Church, the new people of God, who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

FireworksIn one exhaustive concordance I found 65 occurrences of remnants. That is quite a few, in my opinion, for a subject that gets little to no attention. I am beginning to understand and believe that we are all a part of a remnant; a group of believers part of faith families and communities that have one major component. A spark. A spark that remains. A spark that can be fanned into a roaring flame by the power of the Holy Spirit. A spark of faith.

I also believe God is calling women throughout the Body of Christ to rise up in faith and step into their anointing and use the gifts given to them by the Holy Spirit. Some are vision casters, some are door openers, some are both. All are catalyst. All women of Christ can be used by the Holy Spirit to reveal change or action that He will bring about. The question is, are you willing?0534-people

Are you willing to step into your inheritance in Christ, to be used by him as a catalyst and part of a remnant, with a spark of faith? A spark that only he can grow into a consuming fire? Going wherever He takes you and however that looks?

Today I choose to be a part of the remnant I have been placed in for the sake of Jesus Christ and the spreading of his Good News.

So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. Romans 11:5.

Shalom!