Monthly Archives: March 2013
Do you believe in miracles? When you read the Bible, what goes through your mind? When you read about Heaven or Hell, do you believe it?
Well, I have a confession to make… I really don’t believe what I read, which is probably why I don’t feel compelled to read the Bible. But I want to believe.
I hear Jesus’ voice echoing in the recesses of my mind, asking me the same question, “Who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:29)
I’m still trying to figure this out.
I have traveled far and wide seeking truth. I shudder at the realization of how much money I’ve spent searching for God. I could have paid for a college education and owned two condos by now. No joke.
Sadly, I’m still at square one. If I’m honest, I lack faith and belief. True story.
I believe it is by God’s design I review Christian books. Because recently, I’m being challenged to the core by a book I’m reading and reviewing.
I’m sure you are curious… it’s called Signs, Wonders and a Baptist Preacher by Chad Norris. Have you heard of the book or the author? No? Well, me either… until now.
It was simple… Chosen Books sent me an email asking me which book I wanted to review and I chose this one. However, I didn’t know as a result of reading this book, it would turn my world and heart upside down.
Secretly, I had an underlying agenda in selecting this book and it was to discredit it. I wanted to write off the author as crazy, nuts, off the wall, etc…
However, by the time I hit page 40, I needed to speak to this man! There was such a drive in me to speak with him.
Thankfully, when I did reach him, he was very gracious. He didn’t think I was a lunatic from New York City. He agreed to speak to me through Skype a few nights ago.
Chad Norris isn’t nuts, off the wall or crazy… he is one of the most down to earth, nice, laid back dudes I ever met. He is NORMAL!
I can’t discredit him or his book at all.
Well… I was left with looking at myself… where I’m really at with all of this stuff.
Folks, I love Jesus, but I lack faith and do not believe in miracles. I’m cynical, I doubt and question everything in the Bible and otherwise. When I read the Bible I disbelieve the miracles in there too. I gloss over the stories like they are fairy tales or fables.
I realized somewhere, somehow I determined it was all a bunch of make believe. The realization of this is brutally shocking to me, I don’t even know what to do with myself.
I admit, it’s a scary place to be.
So here I am, on the day before Resurrection Day, crying out to God… Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. (Mark 9:24).
Do you struggle with reading the Bible and believing in miracles, signs and wonders? Do you believe miracles are for today? Have you experienced a miracle in your life? Have you seen someone get healed miraculously? Have you seen blind eyes and deaf ears open? The dead raised?
Missionary Leaders Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Glimpses from Africa
Continuing where their book Expecting Miracles left off, this narrative draws from the last five years of the life of Iris Ministries. Woven alongside fascinating narrative from Mozambique is teaching from Heidi and Rolland that communicates the distilled wisdom about the heart of the Gospel from all their years of serving the poor.
More than any of their previous books, this one has the most to say about what Rolland and Heidi have learned about love–whether in Africa or wherever home might be: finding intimacy with Jesus, concentrating on the humble and lowly, being willing to suffer for love’s sake, finding God’s supply of utterly needed miracles, and walking in the unquenchable joy of the Lord. Every reader will find incredible challenge and refreshment in these pages.
I remember Heidi Baker visiting Times Square Church back in 1995. It was a 3:00pm service and she preached a touching message entitled, “Who will go?”.
I was a baby Christian. I had just started attending Times Square Church back then. The strangest thing started happening to me. To my surprise, I began to weep.
She did an altar call and I was propelled to go. I went and fell on my knees sobbing my heart out. I wasn’t familiar with the move of the Holy Spirit or anything like that. So everything was completely brand new, coming from an open and sincere heart.
I remember that day like if it was yesterday. I never forgot Heidi Baker, Mozambique or that altar call. There were only a few of us at the altar answering the call. I honestly thought I would wind up in Africa one day, but I didn’t.
It was refreshing reading Learning To Love and seeing all that the Lord has done in Mozambique years later.
Heidi and Rolland Baker share wonderful and encouraging testimonies of their work through Iris Ministries.
Granted, I personally struggle with the whole miracle element; the blind seeing, the deaf hearing and the dead rising. However, I respect the work that God is doing through the Baker’s in Mozambique.
I enjoyed reading the different stories throughout Learning To Love. The book is inspirational and I recommend it.
In conclusion, I want to thank Chosen Books for sending me a complimentary copy of this book to review.
Heidi and Rolland Baker, founders of Iris Ministries, served as missionaries in Indonesia and Hong Kong before following God’s call in 1995 to Mozambique. In the face of overwhelming need, the Bakers now watch God provide miraculously for well over 10,000 children every day through their ministry, and many more through the Iris network of more than 15,000 churches, Bible schools, primary schools, and remote outreach programs. They live in Mozambique, Africa.
I’m sure you heard the expression, “Actions speak louder than words”. Well, it’s true, it does.
This is something I strongly believe in. I do not want to hear someone talk about their faith as much as I want to see it demonstrated in their lives.
What’s the point of spouting off Scriptures at someone, when you turn the corner and are living a double life?
I know about that because I used to be one of those people. I would quote bible verses and then later be rolling in the hay.
Such hypocrisy, I get repulsed just thinking about it.
I would say how much I loved Jesus one minute and be fornicating the next.
Obviously, I wasn’t going around advertising, but sadly, this is how I was living for years.
Perhaps I thought I was fooling those around me, but I wasn’t. I was living in sin and God was grieved.
And so was I. I was not happy living a double life, I was miserable. I knew I was living a compromised life and even though I tried to make justifications for it, I knew deep down it was wrong.
I felt guilty as charged and masked it by doing good works.
I would go to church faithfully, attend bible studies, read my bible, prayed, sang in the choir and even did missions work.
You see, I thought by “doing” these things it would justify my wrongs somehow.
Sin is sin. There is no justifying doing wrong with doing good works.
I wasn’t fooling God or anyone when I was living in sin. I was only hurting myself.
You see, God forgives us, but we still have to pay for the grave consequences of our wrong choices.
We reap what we sow. It’s the law of life, you just can’t get around it.
If we say we love Jesus, then we have to demonstrate it in our actions. In our lives. Not just what comes out of our mouths or in our “acts” of phony piety.
We just cheapen His grace and exploit His salvation.
If you are struggling as a Christian, then be honest about it. Don’t hide or perform or act.
Pray and ask the Lord to give you the strength to repent and turn away from it, whatever “it” is.
Just don’t accept it or believe God will forgive you anyway. Yes, He forgives and He loves you, but He’s also a just God… and I can tell you from my own personal experience that I paid a heavy price for “choosing” to live in sin.
I don’t know who I’m speaking to today, but for whatever reason, I was lead to write this just for you.
Jesus loves you and wants you to get it right. Whatever you are doing isn’t going to lead you to experience His peace, joy or love.
All you have to do is repent today and He will give you the strength to overcome whatever it is you are struggling with.
He did it for me and I know He will do it for you too.
I caught your attention huh? This morning while getting ready for work, I posted a Facebook status saying I should start an online course on “How to Build a Tribe Without Even Trying,” which I thought was catchy.
For those of you who don’t know… at the beginning of this year, the Lord spoke to me very clearly about unplugging and unsubscribing from all Facebook groups and blogs, etc… I got this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach because I did all this work in 2012 to make connections and build relationships.
And now God was asking me to unplug from everything and everyone?
I told the Lord what will become of me? How in the world will anyone want follow my blog now that I’m not part of anything?
I had done all this work, sacrificed hours of time and invested lots of money to now unplug and unsubscribe?
I couldn’t for the life of me understand or make logical sense of His request.
However, one thing I have learned is not to say ‘no’ to God’s leading, even if it makes absolutely no sense to me or anyone else for that matter.
I’m sure there were a ton of people wondering what in the world was happening to me.
Granted, my initial decision was propelled by a disappointing incident with someone I really admired and respected.
If truth be told, I practically idolized this “successful” person, which I’m sure grieved the Lord.
However, when I look back now, I realized God allowed it to happen because He is in the process of teaching me something major.
You see, I was falling for man’s prescriptions for success. I did learn from the best, yet somehow, God was not prospering my efforts. Why? Because He doesn’t want me following man’s formulas, prescriptions or strategies for success.
He wants me to trust Him. He wants me to stop looking at man and start looking at Him. The author and finisher of my faith.
God is my promoter, not people, no matter how famous, successful, influential, popular and in demand they are.
“For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up.” Psalm 75:6-7
God told me He would bring the people He wants reading my blog posts. He told me not to strive or chase, but to write what He tells me and leave the rest to Him.
I said ‘yes’ because I truly want to live an abundant and supernatural life with God. I don’t want to follow the way of the world. I don’t want to follow man’s schemes for success. I don’t want to chase after anything or anyone, but God.
As a result of my obedience and relinquishing it all, I am getting more subscribers to my blog now than ever before without even trying.
God is faithful and well, if we follow Him and do things His way, we honestly can’t lose.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
Won’t you follow Him today?
There was another death in the family… seems to be a theme lately. This time it was my husband’s younger cousin. A shock to say the least. Noone was expecting it. She wasn’t sick or anything. She left behind the most adorable five year old boy. Breaks my heart honestly.
Friday was the wake. I had off from work, so we all went as a family. I normally do not make it to these things.
We were running late. It seemed as if invisible forces were causing us from getting there, including the fierce wind pushing against us while walking to the funeral home.
We finally arrived and I immediately sensed the hopelessness hanging in the air like a thick cloud. We made our way up the stairs to an ocean of tears.
We walked through a maze of people until we came upon vacant seats in the back as my father in law began speaking. Suddenly, I felt a surge of energy propelling me out of my seat.
I told my husband, I need to go up front and pray for the people. He looked at me with a surprised expression.
I’m not one to speak in front of people, much less a group of strangers. I’m the type who likes to sit quietly in a corner, minding my own business. But, for whatever reason, on this particular day, God had other plans for me. I couldn’t resist the force propelling me to go.
I knew it was the Lord and I obeyed.
I walked up there and stood in front of all these people staring at me. I whispered to the Lord, what am I doing here? The Lord gently said just speak what I tell you.
I wasn’t going to say no to Him, not anymore. I learned my lesson years ago and won’t be making the same mistake twice.
If God wants me to speak, then I will speak, no matter what happens or how awkward I feel.
When it finally came time to open my mouth, all I remember were these words echoing back at me… Jesus is real!
Hallelujah! Yes, He is! I adore Him and magnify Him, despite myself. He can use a fool like me and be glorified. He is great and worthy of all praise. I love Him with every last breath in me. I want to please Him, because He is worthy. I know I have failed Him many times (and still do), but my heart’s desire is to do His will and make Him smile.
As a result of my obeying and saying yes to God, despite the apprehension I felt of what others might think of me, God showed up. God’s presence permeated that place… and then my husband joined me and began to speak too.
Then his cousin came forward, shared and sang a beautiful song. I was in awe at what the Lord was doing right before my eyes.
I learned a valuable lesson that day. Yes, I was afraid, intimidated, shaking in my pants, but with God I pressed through, listened and obeyed. Then I saw God move in power, encouraging others, touching hearts and giving them hope.
Where there was first hopelessness and despair, it was replaced with love, hope and encouragement by the power of the Holy Spirit.
It truly become a celebration, reflecting the spirit of our little cousin. Her presence will prevail in others she touched during her short time here on earth.
In conclusion, I wanted to share this beautiful song sung by Jenn Johnson called Come to Me. I hope it blesses you.