Thursday, May 29, 2008

Which Kind of Bag Are You Carrying?

On the way home yesterday, I had a revelation about bags. I have seen several preachers take bags and pull out various things ( bottles, cigarette packs, beers, condoms, etc.) and say this is the stuff that people are hiding but the revelation was that everyone has baggage. They differently and we carry them differently nevertheless – it is there. I said “Wow! God, I don’t have to speak anywhere. Why are you breaking all this down like that?" I believe that he wanted me to know this, write it down and ultimately run and tell someone.

Anyway, some have designer bags, expensive bags – they try to make it look good but it is what it is: Baggage.

Some try to camouflage it and wear flamboyant, unique bags and make it look like they have it that way because it is part of their persona or their outfit but in all actuality – they would much rather do with out it.

Then we have those that carry huge bags with a lot of junk in them. Those of “us” that do that know that we don’t need everything but we hold onto everything just in case. We are afraid to let go. We take the same stuff everywhere we go and wonder why we are so weighed down.

Then there are those that carry the tiny bag knowing they don’t have enough room. This is the person that knows that they have things that they know they are not ready to let go but they prematurely toss contents in attempts to make their bag lighter. When they need to reflect on that past emotion or that past experience they can’t because they never went through what they needed to go through. They bailed out too early.

Then there is the individual that carries the big empty bag. They know that there’s nothing in there but everyone else has a bag so they need one too. This person conforms to the world around them instead of being transformed by the renewing of their mind. This individual is free but remains bound by being used to being bound so feel that they must always be bound. Thus, they carry a bag that they do not need.

Most bags are carried on or the majority of the weight is supported by the back. Why? Because it is out of sight. We don’t want the world to see how heavy the load actually is that we have to bear so we dress it up, make it fancy and carry it how society and church tells us that we should carry it. The bag isn’t important – what’s important is what’s in it. We all have bags. Which kind of bag are you carrying?

Shanita Waters
By His Stripes We are Healed, author

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Who's praise are you picking on?

While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. "Why this waste?" they asked. "This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor." Aware of this, Jesus said to them, "Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. (Matthew 26:6-11)

Why is it that people that are doing nothing for the Lord have so much to say about the way others live for Him, worship Him and praise Him? How much could the disciples have been doing for the Lord that they had time to “pick on Mary’s praise”? You never know what the person praising has been through or what God has revealed to them. This is why we must all have our own personal relationship with the Lord so that we can recognize and obey the sound of His voice no matter how it may look in the natural.

In ancient days, it was a practice to anoint the body in preparation for the burial with perfume. Unbeknownst to the disciples, Mary was preparing the body of Jesus for his burial. Mary’s mind was set on things eternal and the disciples were concerned with the temporal. When God places something in our hearts to do for Him – we need to do what he tells us to do regardless of what others may say, think or feel. Only what you do for Christ will last.

When we see others focused on their work for the Kingdom, we must learn to be encouraging not discouraging. Mary Magdalene was on assignment for the Lord. The disciples attempted to stop her progress. Mary continued anyhow. The disciples didn’t know why Mary was using the perfume on the Lord so in their eyes it was a waste. But it’s not our job to question the necessity of one’s efforts. Our thoughts and ways are not like God’s. We don’t always understand why He uses the methods or people that He does but it is His will and it will be done anyhow. Are you “picking on anyone’s praise”?

Shanita Waters
By His Stripes We are Healed, Author

Monday, May 26, 2008

Am I standing or fighting?

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Have you ever felt like you were unjustly being attacked? Do you know what it is like to feel those that should be for you are suddenly against you? I’m here to tell you that it is not them. They are simply being used. We are not battling people. Therefore we cannot resort to carnal weapons. They just won’t do. The enemy seeks to destroy those he can. He will use whomever and whatever he can to get to you. The good news is that you have everything in Jesus that you need to fight him off. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil and left us the tools and the power to continue that work that he started.

We must be strong in the Lord and not our own strength. Remember, this battle is not ours. It belongs to the Lord. Paul told us to put on the whole amour of God because he will protect us. No where does it tell us in the scripture to fight or go to war but to STAND. We are told to be strong, gear up and stand. If you stand for Jesus you won’t fall under the hand of the rulers of darkness. This is a spiritual war. The enemy seeks to see you sink. So before you reach for your weapons – remember who the enemy is. The enemy is not that relative, that co-worker, neighbor or friend. The enemy is Satan himself. So be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the full armour and stand. Hold your peace and allow God to fight your battles.

As you realize that you are under attack before you react - ask yourself am I standing or am I fighting?


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Do I need to show you my scars?

Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." (John 20:24-27)

When Jesus was resurrected and given a new body, he kept the same hands that were pierced by the nails that were used to crucify Him. Have you ever wondered why Jesus held onto the scars? Have you ever wondered why after all that he went through He would want to walk around with that reminder? Have you ever wondered how He could bear to look at the physical evidence of all of the suffering he endured? Thomas didn’t believe that the other disciples had seen Jesus. Thomas didn’t believe that Jesus was resurrected. He needed tangible evidence. In the story, Thomas was able to physically put his fingers through the holes in Jesus’ hands and stick his finger into His side. Because Thomas saw that Jesus was resurrected as He told them that he would be, Thomas was able to believe. Some people don’t believe that they can heal from the wounds that life inflicted on them until they see someone else’s scars and how they were healed through the blood of Jesus.

We, like Jesus are resurrected (by baptism) and we too have scars from our former lives in our unsaved state. Those past heartbreaks and heartaches are our scars. Some of us have some incision marks from operations that science said we wouldn’t survive, scars from past physical injuries or children from failed relationships. Nevertheless, we have these scars to give hope to a dying world that just as we were once hurt, injured, bound or deserted and we recovered that they can too. We are to rejoice in the fact that Jesus healed those wounds, made us whole and gave us a testimony to encourage someone else. The bible teaches us that we overcome not only by the blood of the lamb but also by the words of our testimony.

So the next time you see someone facing a similar hurdle that God brought you over ask them: Do I need to show you my scars?


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Dream Come True

I've always had what many people consider to be a "creative mind". I can remember as far back as Elementary School when I would write stories and poems that prompted my teachers to want to learn more about my home life. I would write about what I saw that I liked and what I saw that I thought should be different. I mixed a little of the truth and a lot of my imagination. The pictures I drew and stories I told were wise far beyond my years. Needless to say, this caused great concern.

As an adult, I still have a lot of creativity pent up inside of me waiting to be released. I still look at the world around me and desire to make a positive impact. I used to get excited and talk as long as I had someone to listen. Now I write. By His Stripes We are Healed, my first novel is a result of this pent up creativity and my outlook on life.

I've always dreamed of being a published author and now that dream has come to pass. I thank God for it. It's truly a dream come true.
Labels: dream, first blog, novel, published author draft

What Will You Place in the Tomb?

As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. (Matthew 27:57-60 NIV)

Joseph did not bury Jesus in his tomb because there was a lack of rocks in the region or because he didn’t feel like cutting out another tomb. Joseph buried Jesus in the tomb that belonged to him because he knew that it was only temporary. Joseph was a disciple of Jesus and therefore knew that Jesus was the truth and everything that he said would come to pass. Faith led Joseph to loan Jesus his tomb. How many people do you know get buried in loaner graves?

To many others at the time, the body of our Lord was just a lifeless corpse. They had no need for it and didn’t care who took it or what they did with it. They were casting lots for his garments. But those that knew the truth knew that Jesus wouldn’t stay dead and that the grave couldn’t hold him down. We all have some situations that seem to be dead in our lives. Maybe it’s a dream that isn’t coming to pass the way that we imagined, a loved ones failing health, issues in our relationships, hindrances in our spiritual walk or a grudge that you may be holding onto. Whatever the situation is we must learn to put that in tomb with the same measure of faith that Joseph laid the body of Jesus in the tomb so that Jesus can bring “that thing” back to life.

Notice that when Joseph laid the body in the tomb, he sealed it up and went away. He didn’t try to rush or move the hand of God. He knew what God promised him so he left the body in the tomb and allowed God arise. God does not need our help or us to remind him of what he said he is going to do. We have to fully let go and let God so that he can speak life into that dead situation. So, what do you need to place in the tomb?


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Monday, May 19, 2008

Seek the Lord While He May Be Found

I am not a morning person. I don't like Mondays and I stongly dislike ( I try not to use the word "hate") getting out of bed in the morning no matter how much sleep I get. However, this morning when I woke up, I felt an unspeakable need to get up out of bed and start my day. I wasn't thinking about the tasks that were awaiting me at the office or the chores that I needed to do around the house. The only thing I was able to focus on was my need to get up and thank God.

You may be thinking "why does she need to get up early and thank Him? Why not thank Him when you get up?". I'll tell you why: because I don't know how much time I have. I had to get up and talk with Him because in Proverbs 3:5-6 God promised me that if I acknowledge Him in ALL of my ways that He would direct my path. I don't know about you all but I have some situations in my life that I need God's direction in. Rather than take matters into my own hands and make a mess of things, I had rather go to God in the first place.

I was not able to lie in bed and get that last little bit of sleep because God quickend my spirit. He wanted me to speak to Him but more importantly He wanted to speak to Me. What did He tell me? He told me that He loves me, He will never leave me and He will be with me even until the ends of the earth.

When I got to work, I thought even deeper about my need to speak with the Lord. I asked Him to bring to my rememberance some scriptures that would support the urgency I felt to speak with Him. He gave me two:

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:(Isaiah 55:6) and
They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the LORD;
but they shall not find him; he hath withdrawn himself from them. (Hosea5:6)

After I thought and meditated on these scriptures deeper, I appreciated my early meeting with the Lord even more. I don't want to go to seek the Lord and not be able to find Him. I don't want Him to withdraw Himself and His spirit from me. So despite how much I don't like getting up in the morning or how many other things I need to do to prepare for my day, I will first acknowledge He that gives me life to see yet another day.

I pray that as you read this blog and even as some of you may have been able to relate to my initial procrastination that you will mediate on Isaiah 55:6 and Hosea 5:6 as well. We have to work while it is still day because when night falls, no man (or woman) will be able to work.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Are You Prepared?

Moses said to the LORD, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue." The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD ? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say." But Moses said, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it." (Exodus 4:10-12)
How many times have we aborted our assignments because we feel that we are not good enough or that there is someone better equipped? How many times have we disobeyed God in fear of what others may think, feel or say about us? How many times have we forgotten that it is God who appoints us and man’s inability to accept these appointments that become disappointments? If God placed a specific task in your hands for you to do – He will see you through. Not only will God see you through but he will give you the means and the instruction to do it.
As Moses led God’s chosen children through the dessert, they had no change of clothes – yet there were never naked. There were no flowing rivers – yet they were not dehydrated. There were no crops - yet God sent them manna from Heaven. They had no flashlights to see by night but He gave them a pillar of fire to see by night. There was no compass to make their way during the day but He gave them a pillar of could to lead them during the day.
Suppose Moses had not beckoned to God’s call. Imagine how he would have felt watching someone else lead the children to land of Canaan. Do you think he could bear it? No. Well, I ask you are you prepared to watch someone else finish the job He started in you? What will you say then left with your works undone?
We know all this and most of us are familiar with the text – yet we still doubt God and His ability to use us. God brought you to “it” to bring you through “it” so that He may get the glory.