Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Take another step


Exodus 14:22

And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

God opened up the sea for the Israelites to walk through. Yet every step they took, they had to believe that the sea would not come crashing down. I am sure they could hear the Egyptians coming close behind them, and with every step they had to walk in faith. They had to trust that God was not going to have the sea destroy them. They had to trust that God was not going to kill them. I don’t know how long that journey was. I don’t know how many minutes it took them to get to the other side, but every step was a step of faith. They had seen the miraculous that occurred when God delivered them from the Egyptians, but every step they still had to believe.  Peter also found himself in that position when he stepped out of the boat and walked towards Jesus. With every step Peter had to believe, that God was not going to let him fall. Yet the Bible tells us that when Peter saw the wind, he became afraid and he began to sink.

In our own life, we also have to believe that God will not let us sink. When we are in a situation it is so easy for us to look at the situation and forget the things God has done for us in the past. It is so easy for us to “see the wind” and get afraid. Yet God has parted the Red Sea for us. He has opened the waters and He has called us to walk. Every step we have to believe that God is  not going to allow the water to come crashing down on us. We have to walk in faith. It doesn’t matter how long it takes us to get to the other side, we need to continue walking.

In order to do so, we need to keep our eyes on Jesus. We need to look at him and drown out the high wall of water that is on either side of us. We need to drown out the sound of the Egyptians coming behind us. We need to drown out the sound of the wind and keep our eyes on God. We need to keep on walking and keep on believing that God is going to get us to the other side.

I find myself in a situation like that right now. On January 10th the doctor told Mel that “Surprisingly the mass was gone.” Nurse after nurse and medical professional after medical professional came in the hospital room and told us that “steroids alone can’t explain a mass disappearing.” God had parted the Red Sea for us. He had opened up the waters and He was calling us to walk through them. When the doctor told us she wanted to start chemotherapy, God was whispering “Take another step.” When  the doctor told us that science tells her the mass will return, God was whispering “Take another step.” And that is what we have been doing. And now that he has had a follow-up appointment with an oncologist who ordered another CT scan as a monitoring step, God is whispering “Take another step.” He is telling us “That wall of water will not come crashing down. The Egyptians behind you will not overtake you. The wind and the waves will not destroy you.” And so we have to take another step. God has us walking one sentence at a time in this book He is writing on our lives, but we will take another step.

May I encourage you whatever situation you find yourself in, please take another step. Don’t look at the wall of water that is on each side of you, look at Jesus. You will see that His hand is extended. You will see that His love is ever-present. You will see that His strength and His comfort is there.

Take another step.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

So I went into my room and prayed



These last couple of months have been some of the hardest months of my life. I look at pictures taken from my vacation in December and I think how I had no idea how much my life was going to change within such a short amount of time. One moment we are enjoying our time at the beach and the next moment we are sitting in an emergency room. I still can’t believe that I had to hear the diagnosis of cancer. You never think something like that can happen to your family. But it did. And as I sat in the hospital room looking at my husband laying in the bed as waited for the results of the biopsy my trust was in God. I knew that whatever the situation He could and would help us through it. But it was as if my world as I knew it came to a halting stop.

And even now almost two months later, even though the mass has disappeared and the healing has taken place, the life I used to have has not returned. And even though God has opened doors, there are situations we are still dealing with. The story did not end with the healing. There are still situations we find ourselves facing.  And this morning I was tired. I was exhausted. I was drained. The mountain seems to be getting taller and I was tired of climbing.

And so this evening when my husband was at his parent’s house with the kids, I did the only thing you can do in a situation like this. I went into my room and prayed. I didn’t ask that God remove the mountain, because I know if God wants me to climb it there must be a reason. I didn’t ask God to do things the way I want them done, because I know that His ways are higher than my own. I didn’t ask God why He wasn’t moving the way He has in other’s lives, because I know that even though I can’t see the situation changing, God is in control. I didn’t ask Him to take me out of the wilderness, because I know that there are times in the midst of the wilderness God’s hand and power are seen the most.  

I reaffirmed that I was available to Him. I let Him know that I don’t understand the situation and I have no idea how things will work out, but I was still available to Him. I said the lyrics of the song “If you can use anyone Lord, you can use me.” I let Him know that I was weary, but that I was going to continue walking on the path He had called me to walk. I let Him know the journey was difficult, but I thanked Him for never leaving my side. I declared that I would walk down the road and I would do it praising God. I reminded myself of the things God has done for me in the past. I reminded myself of the things God has done for others. And I proclaimed, like Isaiah did “Here am I send me!”

I asked that God would give me strength for this journey. And God reminded me that He is my guide. He reminded me that He never left Joseph when he was in the prison. And He never left David when he was on the run from Saul. And He never left Esther when she was married to an unbelieving king. He reminded me that when the disciples were on the boat when it was storming He was right there. And He reminded me that He has not left me.

While praying I felt God’s embrace. I felt His comfort. I felt Him whisper words of love. I entered into my room physically and emotionally drained, but I left with strength. I left with comfort. I left with peace.

I did the only thing I know to do when situations come my way. I prayed. Worrying doesn’t change the situation. Letting fear control you doesn’t change the situation. Stressing doesn’t change the situation. Agonizing doesn’t change the situation. Trying to figure things out on your own doesn’t change the situation. But prayer changes things.

So this evening, I prayed. I left my worries at the altar. I put the situation in God’s hand. And so I encourage you whatever situation you are dealing with, I encourage you to go to God in prayer.

One Day...


One day you will be planning your wedding. One day you will have a collection of magazines sitting on your bed as your pick the color flowers for your bouquet. One day you will be writing a guest list. One day you will walk down the aisle and say “I do.” Or if you are a guy reading this, there will be a day you will be listening to your fiancĂ© planning the wedding. There will be a day you will accompany her to cake testing and gift registry. One day, you will.

You may be wondering when that day will come. Though you haven’t told anyone or many people, you have been consumed with fear. Every year you get older and you wonder when that day will come. As you see friends of yours marrying and people younger than you in relationships, you wonder when your day will come.
 
(I was always a bridesmaid...)
 

You live for God. You serve Him. You are active in ministry. You lift your hands in worship and praise on Sundays. You shout “Amen” during Bible Study. When people ask for prayer concerning their situation, you sincerely seek God and believe He will answer. You have seen God do so many things in your own life. Doors that only God could open have been opened. The job you have. The house you live in. The healing in your heart from past scars. God has done so much for you.

Yet there is a little bit of fear in you. Although society puts pressure on you to be in a relationship there is also a social stigma attached to vocalizing prayer because you want to be married. There shouldn’t be.

This morning in prayer, I truly felt as though this is what God is speaking to you:

“I see your desires. The desires you don’t share with many people. You have put on a smile, when you have been hurting. You have laughed it off when people ask you why you are still single, but I see the hurt. I see the pain those questions cause you. I see you wondering, when the door will be open. I see you fearing that it won’t happen. I see the tears you don’t want anyone to know you have shed. I have heard you ask me “When will I get married?” But I want to remind you there is nothing too hard for me. Your prayers have not gone unnoticed. Your desires have not gone unseen. You have been afraid to even verbalize these desires but don’t be afraid. If you could only see what I see. I see more than just the wedding, I see the marriage. The marriage that is going to have a strong foundation. While others have compromised and while others have taken matters into their own hands, you have remained faithful. Continue. Don’t let the words of others make you feel as though something is wrong with you. Age is not a limitation to me. Don’t look elsewhere for a relationship, maintain your walk with me and doors will open. You wonder how but you are only seeing what is in front of you, I see everything. I knew every day of your life before you were even born. I created the heavens and the earth. I caused the Red Sea to part. I rained down Manna from heaven. I saved Daniel from the lion’s den. I delivered David from Saul. I did all of this. Is anything too hard for me? No! You have been obedient and you have walked in my path. There may have been times when you have strayed and done things on your own, but I am a God of forgiveness. Your past is not an obstacle to me. You trust in me to be your financial provider. Your trust in me to open doors of ministry. You trust in me for direction on the job. You need to continue to trust in me concerning your marriage. You will not be single forever and when the day comes you will be thankful for every closed door because your marriage will be blessed. Continue listening to my voice, not the voice of others. I have seen your desires.”

(Even when I was just a young girl with an afro, God knew every day of my life. He knew when I would get married.)
 
As I end this blog, may I encourage you to continue walking on the path God has you on. God has a purpose and He has a plan for you and marriage is part of that plan. There will be a day when you will walk down the aisle and there will be a day that you will get married. Listening to society will cause you pain, but listening to God will give you peace. It doesn’t matter how old you are, God can open doors. There is nothing impossible for Him. NOTHING!!!!!!! If you believe God is a healer, a financial provider, a deliverer, a savior, a restorer, then you also need to believe that God can open the doors for marriage.

 (Here was my day)
One day….

 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Just because you don’t see it



I love the story of Esther. It is a short book in the Bible, but there are so many lessons that can be gained from reading the story. We typically focus on Esther, but today I want to talk about Mordecai. Mordecai was Esther’s cousin and he raised Esther when her parent’s died. After Esther was taken into the king’s palace, Mordecai discovered a plot to kill the king. He told Esther about this plot, and she relayed it to her husband. The individuals who plotted against the king were killed, and the story was recorded in the book of the chronicles. Some time passed, maybe weeks, maybe months, maybe years. The king promoted Haman to a high position, and Haman demanded that everyone bow to him. Moredecai refused and Haman was outraged. Haman plotted to destroy all of the Jews. Mordecai sent a message to Esther, essentially telling her that she needed to go to the king. Esther declared that she would, even if she perished, she would go to the king. Haman hated Mordecai so much that he continued his plot against him and had gallows built with the purpose of having Mordecai hanged on it.

The story is not over, but I will take a pause. There are times in our life that our situation is completely out of our control. Currently, my expenses exceed my income. My husband has not worked since we went on vacation in December and his last paycheck was at the end of the year. The medical bills continue to come in the mail. And it is a situation out of my control. There is nothing I can do to fix this situation. It literally is an impossibility for me. If you are reading this blog, I am pretty sure you also have a situation that is impossible for you. You might find yourself in a financial situation like myself, or your situation may be different. It may be that your husband is not serving God, or your marriage is struggling. It may be that you have tried for so long to get pregnant but you still don’t have a child. It may be that you are stuck in a job you can’t stand but doors aren’t opening. It may be that you received promise years ago, but that promise still hasn’t come to pass. It may be a health situation. It may be that you are not in this country legally. It may be you have a dream but you don’t have the resources to fulfill that dream. Whatever the case your situation is too big for you.

Let’s return to Mordecai for a second. The plot was made against Mordecai. At the same time Esther had gone to the king and asked for a banquet and invited Haman to that banquet. The king granted Esther’s request. That night the king could not sleep, so he had the book of chronicles brought to him (accident…I think not!) The king read the book and read the story of how Mordecai revealed the plot. He asked his servants if Mordecai had been rewarded and his servants said no. The king went to Haman and asked him what should be done for a man whom the king delights in. Haman thought the king was talking about himself so he suggested that the king parade this man around and so the king made Haman parade Mordecai around. Haman was furious. Long story short, Haman’s plot was revealed and he was killed on the gallows and the Jewish people were saved.

The point of the story is that Mordecai’s life and the life of the Jewish people were threatened. Their situation was out of their control. It was an impossibility for them. However, God was working on the situation even though they did not see the situation changing. While Haman was devising his plot and thinking that the Jewish people would be destroyed, God was working and arranging things so that His people would live.

The same is true for us. We may not see our situation changing, but God is working on it. Things may be impossible for us, but nothing is impossible for God.  It is so easy for us (or at least me) to mentally think about how the situation could change. It is so easy for us (or at least me) to give God suggestions on how he can change my situation. I have my ideas of how I think things should be done. As I was praying about our financial situation yesterday, I felt God was just reminding me “Kimberli, I am in control. I will work it out. You may not see the situation changing, but I am working on it.” Our financial situation is literally an impossibility for me. I was never good at math, but when I add my income and then when I add our regular expenses

Expenses>income

There have been times before when this has happened. When I was going to college, I was barely working and my expenses did  exceed my income. I used to get random checks in the mail. My car payment was mysteriously paid for 3 months. When my husband first went back to work after my daughter was born ( He stayed at home when Malachi was a baby) our expenses also exceeded our income. There was a time when we got a random check in the mail from our mortgage company that was pretty much what I made a month.  I give those examples, because in my own mind, I am thinking, “God that is how you did things in the past for me, can’t you do things like that again?”

But God is telling me, “Stop looking at what I have done before. Stop trying to figure out how things are going to work out. Stop worrying. You may not see your situation changing, but I have it all under control.” This is a lesson for those who are reading this blog. It is so easy to look at how God has done things for other people, or how He has done things in the past but God is not confined to one way of doing things. Just because He is not doing things the way you think they should be done, doesn’t mean He isn’t working.


And so I encourage you today, as I encourage myself, God is working. You may not see it but your situation will not remain the same. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

I am available to you


There are many “wonders” of the world that people travel just to see. The pyramids and the Statue of Liberty are examples that I think of. While people marvel at the beauty of what they are seeing, I can’t help but think of the sweat and pain that went into building those things. Too often we can focus on the end result, and not realize the hard work that went into the creation. The same is true when we read stories from the Bible. We think of David as king, Joseph as saving the people during the drought, Moses as delivering the people out of the hands of Pharaoh. The road they took though was a difficult one. The road they took involved pain, loneliness, sorrow and tears. It is so easy to see the end result and not think of what it took to get there.

In our own life, we often think of the promise but we don’t want to endure the ride. The Sunday before my husband and I went to California, I remember praying “God I am available to you.” I know God has a promise and a calling for my life, but there have been times that I have resisted the journey. I have resisted the pain. I have resisted the road that leads to the promise. But the Sunday before our family vacation, my prayer was “God I am available to you.” I am available even if it means I will cry. I am available even if it means there will be times of loneliness. I am available even if it means the road might be difficult. I am available to you.

I had no idea as I was praying those words that my husband had a mass in his chest. I had no idea as I prayed those words that his body was full of cancer. I had no idea that just 2 weeks later we would be sitting in a hospital awaiting the results of a biopsy. But during that difficult time, I never took back those words. I still declared and proclaimed “I am available to you God.” I still proclaimed “Whatever road you have us take, I am available to you.” I still declared “No matter how difficult this journey, I am still available to you.”

The road we may take is not always easy, but God is there. David was anointed king. Many years passed, but he still proclaimed “I am available to you.” And during those difficult times, God was drawing David closer to him. David was developing a relationship with God. Joseph was given a dream. Many years passed before the dream came to pass, but he still proclaimed “I am available to you.” And during those difficult times, God was drawing Joseph closer to him. Esther wasn’t necessarily given a specific word or a specific promise but she trusted in God when she was married to the king. And during those times that must have been difficult, God was drawing Esther closer to him.

While we were in the hospital, we had no idea how the story would end, but we knew and trusted in the author. And my prayer today is still “I am available to you.” I want to be like Isaiah who said “Here am I send me.” I know the road may at times be difficult. I know the journey may be incredibly hard. I know there might be obstacles that we have to overcome, but I am available to God. I want to be a vessel He can use. I want to be sensitive to His voice.

David was on the run for his life but he never turned away from serving God. Elizabeth was barren into her old age, but she never turned her back on God. Esther was married to a heathen king, but she never walked away from God. Isaac was 40 and single, but he continued to trust God. They all made themselves available to God.

The road God has us take will not always be easy, but we can be assured that God will be with us every step of the way. In addition, when we make ourselves available to Him, he can use our tears and our pain as a testimony and example and encouragement for others. We can strength through David’s walk with God because we see that in difficult times, David held on to the promise. We gain strength through Joseph’s story because we see that he never turned away from God even when he was sold into slavery and forced into prison. We can strength through the story of Esther, because we see that Esther never turned her back on God even when she was placed in a situation that was not her choosing. And we see what God did through them when they made themselves available to Him.

And so today my prayer is the same “I am available to you God. If no one else volunteers, I will volunteer God. I will go down the road  you have called me to go because I know even if it gets difficult, you are right beside me.” I am willing to endure the journey, because I know the end result will be great. All of the promises ever declared upon my life will come to pass, I just have to be willing to go down the road to get there. I encourage you to make yourself available to God as well. I encourage you not to get discouraged and don't give up when the road gets bumpy. God has not left you. He is right beside you.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

I have not forgotten you


  • I can hear God whispering to Joseph while he was thrown into the pit "I have not forgotten you."
  • I can hear Him continue to tell Joseph while he was in prison "I have not forgotten you."
  • I can imagine God reaching down and wiping the tears from Esther's face when she was chosen to be married a king who got rid of his previous wife "I have not forgotten you."
  • I can visualize God wrapping His arms around David while he was on the run for his life "I have not forgotten you."

The situations Joseph, Esther and David found themselves in weren't because of sin. They weren't being punished because of some action they committed. Yet the road they were on was a difficult one. I am sure they spent countless nights crying. They may have wondered why they were in that situation. Yet God never forgot them. He never abandoned them. In the midst of their situation, God was still there. He was still in control. His plan was still going to be fulfilled.

Joseph's dream was never threatened. Esther's calling was never abandoned. David's anointing was never removed. The purpose and the plan God had for those individuals remained even when they found themselves in prison, in the palace and on the run.

There was never a time that God forgot the promise over their life.When Joseph's brother's were plotting against Him, God still sat on the throne. When Joseph's brother's sold him into slavery, God was still in control. When Joseph was falsely accused and thrown into prison, God's hand was still upon his life. And never once, did God forget Joseph. God never abandoned the promise and the calling that was upon Joseph's life.

The same is true for each and everyone of us. When I read a book, I like to read the end before I read the beginning. I like to know how a story is going to end. There are times when God gives us a promise (the end of the story) but there are times when we walk one sentence at a time. In both situations we need to have confidence that God has not forgotten us, nor has He abandoned us.

My prayer the last few months has been "I am available to you." There has been so much that has transpired within the last month. When my husband was diagnosed with cancer, tears immediately began streaming down my face. When the doctors told us that his mass was so large it was constricting his heart and causes his lung to collapse, the tears continued to stream. When they told us the cancer was rare and the treatment had a lot of complications, the tears were there again. But through it all, God was whispering "I have not abandoned you. I have not forgotten you."

He was whispering to me "I am in control of this situation. I have a plan that exceeds what you can even imagine. There is a purpose behind this pain you are dealing with right now. The mountain in front of you seems so high and the road you are on seems so treacherous, but I have not abandoned you. I have not forgotten you. I am in control!"

There are promises that have been declared over my life and some of them have yet to come to pass. There are dreams that I know God has given me that have yet to be fulfilled. Satan would like nothing more than to convince us when we are faced with a difficult situation, that God has forgotten us or abandoned us. Yet that is nothing but a lie. The road we take will not always be easy, but God has already paved the way. The mountains we climb might seem so tall but God's hand is holding ours.

I don't know what situation you find yourself in. I don't know what promise was given to you years ago. I don't know what dream you have embedded so deep within your spirit. But I do know that

God has not abandoned you. He has not forgotten you. You are not alone.

You might find yourself in a pit like Joseph was.
You might find yourself faced with lions like Daniel was.
You might find yourself in the middle of a storm as the disciples were.
You might find yourself in the wilderness like David was.
You might find yourself barren like Hannah was.

But you will never find yourself alone. You will never find yourself abandoned. You will never find yourself forgotten. God is in control. His plan will be fulfilled. His promise will come to pass.







Monday, February 2, 2015

A fork in the road

 I posted this blog post in September of 2007. I came across it this evening and thought it was appropriate to post.


We are standing at a fork in the road. There are two roads that we can take; two ways we can possibly go. One road is the road of name-brand Christians. Christians who think the car they drive defines them, the clothes they wear make them, the platform they sit on, describes them. Christians who worry only about title, position, and power. Christians who don’t seek after God, but who seek after what they can get. Christians who please man, but not God. Name-brand Christians stand on the pulpit and act holy, they hold a microphone and act sincere, they sit in the pews and play the part.

Name-brand Christians are not genuine, they are not real, they are fake.
The second road we can take is the road to purity. A road filled with no games, no facades, no masks. A road with Christians who will pray. Christians who will read the Word. Christians who won’t be consumed with titles, positions, acclamations.  A road filled with Christians who don’t seek after prestige, but who seek after God. Christians who don’t seek after applause, but who seek after God. Christians who recognize that it is God that matters the most. Christians who want to make a difference for the Lord. Christians who ask God ‘what can I do for you; not what can you do for me?’ Christians who have a burden for this generation. Christians who sob over the lost. Christians who want to please God.

My heart breaks because I don’t know what road we are taking. I don’t know where we are going. I don’t know what our future holds. This generation can make a difference. This generation can make a change. This generation can do mighty things. But the road we need to take is the road to purity.

If we take the Name-brand road, then the titles we have, the positions we hold, the platform that we have are not sincere; it is not real. If we take the Name-brand road we might be pleasing man, but we are so displeasing to God. If we take the Name-brand road we are fooling only ourselves. If we take the Name-brand road we are not doing anything. We might have the power, we might have the prestige, we might have the applause, we might have the clothes, the car, the positions, but we don’t have God.

But if we take the purity road, we have so much. We have God, and that is what matters the most. We have it all. Let us restore the purity of the church. Let us restore prayer. Let us restore the Word. Let us begin the renovation, the restoration, let us have a makeover within the church. Let us put a stop to the games that are being played, the politics that have defined us, and the sin that has consumed us. Change lies in our hands, and so it is up to us. What road are we going to take?