Archive for December, 2011

REFLECTION: The lie…

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011


Are you living your life to the full lately?  I must confess I had not.  For a while there, my thoughts had gradually become negative and with it, heaviness slowly crept in.  I began nudging the Father, asking “What is going on?” only to hear Him say “Trust me.”.  To that, I replied, “Is that it?  Is that the only answer You’ll give me?” and he answered, “Why not?”.

I have always encouraged others to trust in God and so I, too, had to trust totally in Him.  Unfortunately, at times it was easier said than done.  Thankfully, as He promised, our Father never left me and He repeatedly and gently reminded me of His scripture “Trust (Me) with ALL your heart and lean not onto your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge (Me) and (I) will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 Ah yes, “lean not on your own understanding”.  Leaning on my own understanding had often been the basis of my confusion and frustration.

And then, as if it was out of the blue, a friend who hadn’t communicated for a while e-mailed, writing “Hi Melissa, How are you?”  She didn’t write anything else, but I knew without a doubt that our Father had sent her.  I replied “Why are you asking?  Are you sensing something?  I’ll let you answer first before saying anything else. Big smile….”  With a little prompting, she finally admitted “Of course I write you out of the blue because I am sensing a heaviness in your world.”  To that I replied, “See, I knew you were sensing something.  Isn’t our Father amazing?”  I KNEW our Father would send others my way.  How did I know?  It’s because it is so like Him!

Little by little, our Father began disclosing things and a few days later, I began listening to an old CD teaching which I had set aside for some time.  The speaker explained that “faith grows in the soil of hope.  Faith comes to our life from God as we respond to Him.  Hope is a joyful anticipation of good.  It is an excited, positive expectancy.  Any area of our life that does not have an excited expectation of good, in that place there is a stronghold, a lie that is believed.

That was it!  I realized that that was the answer to my plight!  As negative thoughts bombarded my mind, the joyful anticipation of good slowly began to fade and doom clouds slowly drifted in.  What was the cause?  I had unknowingly begun to believe a lie!

Although I was aware that the devil’s playground was in my mind, the distraction brought about by the negative thoughts weakened me and the lie silently slipped in.  In retrospect, it is surprising to see how a single lie, embraced as a truth, can very quickly destroy a person.  Although the lie I embraced was not substantial, because I believed it, its stronghold over me was powerful enough so that within a short period, responsibilities began to overwhelm me and gradually, my solid ground felt as if it was turning into quick sand.

Has the enemy been toying with your thoughts lately?  Has he thrown you a loop and while you were distracted, has he slipped in a lie?  Have accusing thoughts been playing over and over in your mind?  Misfit, looser, victim, unlovable, irresponsible, incompetent, fat, ugly, dumb, worthless, useless, life will always be miserable, you’ll never be happy…  Do any of these words and/or phrases sound familiar?  Be aware that the devil is the father of lies (John 8:44) and he will do anything to kill, steal and/or destroy you (John 10:10).

Just as with my friend’s e-mail and with the forgotten CD, as if by chance, our Father began bringing different things to my attention.  My dust covered book entitled “Jesus Lives – Seeing His love in Your Life” by Sarah Young came off the shelf and our Father began to reveal substantially from it.  (I share what our Father had revealed to me in the post script) Surprisingly, a powerful message even came through the children’s TV show, “Magic School Bus”!  (Okay, okay…I have to admit I still have a fetish for that show.)  Our Father had asked me to trust Him and as He gave me the grace to trust, He began to reveal more and more reasons why He is so trustworthy.

Father, we ask that you open the spiritual eyes, ears and heart of each so that they will recognize that You have always been by their side.  Father, for those who are struggling, especially during this Christmas season, would you help them recognize the lie(s) they have believed in and in your name, Lord Jesus, we come against the lies and command them to go to the foot of the Cross.  Father, we ask that you replace these lies with your peace, love, joy and a sound mind.  Father we ask that you plant a hunger in each so that they will willingly and freely choose to know You ever more intimately and as they do that, would you renew their mind in You.  And Lord, would you please show everyone, just as You have revealed to me, how You intricately work everything for good to those who love you and are called according to Your purpose. (Romans 8:28)  We pray for all these in Jesus’ mighty name, AMEN.

God bless and may you have a blessed Christmas,

Melissa

p.s. – Although many fail to recognize it, our Father constantly speaks to each of us.  May the following quotes I take from Sarah Young’s book. “Jesus Lives – Seeing His love in Your Life”, speak to each and reveal God’s truth.… .  “Then you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” John 8:32

Pp 78-79  “I understand you perfectly and love you eternally.  It is your soul I love, rather than your appearance or performance.  Sometimes you are so dissatisfied with both of these that they become your focus.  To break free from this self-preoccupation, relax in My loving Presence and let the Light of My Love soak into your entire being.  Rest deeply while I massage your thoughts and feelings, helping you change your focus from yourself to Me.  Remember that I created you to know Me; to enjoy ME and center your life in Me.  Cease striving and know that I am God.”

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10

Pp 146 – 147  “To live at peace with everyone, you need to control not only what you say and do but also what you think.  It’s common to assume that your thoughts about others don’t matter much, as long as you keep them to yourself.  However, I am fully aware of all your thoughts.  When you indulge in negative thinking about someone, your relationship with that person is damaged.  Those hurtful thoughts also affect your relationship with Me, and they may have a depressive effect on you.  The remedy lies in turning to Me and seeking My forgiveness.  Then, ask My spirit to control your mind and help you think My thoughts.  This is the way of Life and Peace.

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. “ Romans 12:18
”The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6

Pp184-185  “…Remember that My Love for you is independent of your performance.  So, when you become anxious or fearful, I do not love you less…  No matter how unsteadily you walk, I applaud each trust-step as if it were an Olympic feat.  When you stumble or fall, I give you time to pull yourself back up.  However, if you lift your arms to Me, seeking My help, I cannot resist coming to your aid.

Looking to Me for help demonstrates genuine trust in Me.  It is easy to turn against yourself when you have failed, but this is not pleasing to Me.  Some of My children blame others – or Me- for their failures.  All of these responses are hurtful and counterproductive.  The sooner you turn toward Me, the better.  My tender Love can soothe your wounded pride and help you learn from your mistakes.  As you sit in ashes of failure, looking up to Me, you grow more humble.  You realize that you need Me continually to develop a steadfast heart.  In my unfailing Love I will lead you.  In My unfailing love I will lead you.  In My strength I will guide you – all the way to My holy dwelling.”

“In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed.  In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.” Exodus 15:13

Pp 320-321  “Be angry, and yet do not sin; Do not let the sun go down on your anger.  Although this is a biblical command, anger is treated as taboo in many Christian circles.  Repression of this normal, human emotion is neither righteous nor healthy; in fact, it can lead to serious problems.  If you fail to recognize your anger, you are likely to let the sun go down on it and take it to bed.  This gives the devil an opportunity – a place of entrance into your life. It can also result in various health problems.  Therefore, early recognition of these powerful feelings is vital.  The command ”Be Angry” gives you permission to have such feelings, so you are free to face them openly. You do, however need to be careful how you express them.

The first step is to bring your anger to Me.  I will help you discern whether or not it is legitimate.  If it is, then I will help you figure out what to do about it.  Anger can be a signal that something is wrong and needs to be addressed.  Sometimes though, your wrathful feelings are based on distortions: misunderstandings or misinterpretations.  Recognizing such distortions can be very freeing.  If you have not acted on these feelings in hurtful ways, you can simply release them.  However, if you have dealt with your anger in sinful ways, you will need to ask forgiveness of Me and anyone else you have hurt.  Remember that I came to make you free.  Dealing with anger in a responsible way frees you to live abundantly, enjoying My Presence more fully.”

“Be angry, and yet do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.” Ephesians 4:26-27 NASB

”And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32 NKJV

Pp.232  “…I want to help you control not only your spoken words but also your thoughts.  The contents of your thoughts have an enormous influence on your health and well-being.  Many people are depressed or anxious because their thinking is so distorted and unbiblical.  If this problem remains uncorrected, it can lead to a breakdown of health. However, Scripture provides correction: “Pleasant words are sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24 When My Spirit is controlling your thoughts and words, both your soul and your body will flourish.  Ask the Spirit to think and speak through you.  Since He lives in your innermost being, he can easily influence you, but He waits to be invited.  The more you invite Him into your life, the healthier and happier you will be.  Your words will be pleasant – blessing not only you but also those around you.”

p.s.s. – Our Father had also brought me to Fr. Gabriel, who was a beautiful confessor.  Aside from the powerful absolution prayer, Fr. Gabriel prayed over me and immediately after that, a powerful prayer team prayed me right into victory!  God is so…good!  (To those who had been lifting me in prayer, THANK YOU so much from my the bottom of my heart!)

REFLECTION: How far will you go?

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Yesterday, as I sat in on a DVD teaching I had attended many times before, I partially listened to the speaker while I worked on a reflection.  If I had it my way, I would not have been there, but because I had co-invited another who was so excited to learn about God, I chose to come.  It was only proper for me to welcome her there and to introduce her to some others so she would feel comfortable the next time around.  Unfortunately, I didn’t go without a struggle.  All throughout the week, I had wrestled with the Father, asking Him to get me through this bump.  I had confided to my best friend that my human brakes were still on up until the very moment I walked through the open door, but because the grace of the Holy Spirit was greater than my discomfort, I was there.  To be honest, it was so easy to turn away as I had come across 3 locked doors before I found an open one.  But thank goodness, with God, ALL things are possible!

As I fidgeted in my seat, I came across Luke 6:17-26 in my Bible.  The scripture related to the time when Jesus was teaching many and the venue was packed to the brim.  “And behold, men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed and they sought to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went upon the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles in the midst before Jesus. And when he (Jesus) saw their faith he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”… he said to the man who was paralyzed – “I say to you, rise, take up your bed and go home.”

My intent at that time was to research on how it was possible for forgiveness to bring about healing.  Instead, our Father used that scripture to reveal how far these men went off the limb to bring a paralyzed man to Jesus.  I had read this scripture many times before, but this was a definite new revelation.  As if on cue, the speaker then quoted 2 Corinthians 5:20-21…”So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.  We beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  For our sake, he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

As our group went into a discussion, our invited guest innocently voiced, “I would like to know how God loves me.”  I asked her to relate her story of how she was invited to the gathering that morning.  Our guest is not a Christian.  At the earlier part of the year, her neighbour, who I had recently befriended, had invited her to attend the children’s weekly school Mass with her.  This one had never attended Mass before, but she was drawn to it and she came regularly.  As she continued her story, I discovered that she had driven to our parish many times, but she was hesitant to enter because there was no one to accompany her in.  I asked if she realized “who” it was that invited her to Mass.  By the grace of the Holy Spirit, I pray I had helped her recognize the enormous love of God that her neighbour had extended to her.  Not too long before her invitation to Mass, her neighbour had tragically lost her son in a car accident and a month later, her husband had also passed.  I can only imagine the immense pain this neighbour had endured and yet her desire to bring our guest to Christ held priority over her own needs.

The idea of inviting our guest to the teaching was not mine.  It belonged totally to another who was introduced to the guest along the way.  Like her, I consider myself another who was just introduced along the way and the term “acquaintance” would probably be the best term to describe the relationship shared between the three of us.  And yet, what baffles me is, while our relationship rested in its early stage, there was a common desire to invite her to the program.  I continue to ponder over what prompted the invitation, but In my mind’s eye and in my heart, I believe that that common desire was tenderly planted into our hearts so that our guest would eventually come to know the Sower of pure desires, the One who brings true joy to those who choose Him.

How far are you willing to go to bring God’s good news to the world?  Our Father has commissioned all and yet not many are willing.  May the grace of God give each the strength to move beyond our comfort zone and may we each willingly choose to bring eternal life to the world.

God bless,

Melissa -December 3, 2011

p.s. – May this song give each a glimpse of our reward in Heaven as we say “yes” to His call.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06xqOjoMEfw&feature=related <- please click to listen to the song

THANK YOU FOR GIVING TO THE LORD by Ray Boltz

I dreamed I went to heaven
And you were there with me;
We walked upon the streets of gold
Beside the crystal sea.
We heard the angels singing
Then someone called your name.
We turned and saw a young man running
And he was smiling as he came.

And he said, “Friend you may not know me now.”
And then he said, “But wait,
You used to teach my Sunday School
When I was only eight.
And every week you would say a prayer
Before the class would start.
And one day when you said that prayer,
I asked Jesus in my heart.”

Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am a life that was changed.
Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am so glad you gave.

Then another man stood before you
And said, “Remember the time
A missionary came to your church
And his pictures made you cry.
You didn’t have much money,
But you gave it anyway.
Jesus took the gift you gave
And that’s why I’m here today.”

Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am a life that was changed.
Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am so glad you gave.

One by one they came
Far as the eye could see.
Each life somehow touched
By your generosity.
Little things that you had done,
Sacrifices made,
Unnoticed on the earth
In heaven, now proclaimed.

And I know up in heaven
You’re not supposed to cry
But I am almost sure
There were tears in your eyes.
As Jesus took your hand
And you stood before the Lord.
He said, “My child, look around you.
Great is your reward.”

Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am a life that was changed.
Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am so glad you gave.

Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am a life that was changed.
Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am so glad you gave.