Let His Love Fill You

On this the 4th Sunday of Advent – I thought it appropriate to talk about the power of love.

Life happens – and sometimes it is filled with hurt, pain and disappointment. Broken relationships and shattered dreams can leave us full of worry, angst and skepticism. We avoid people and situations in order to protect ourselves; but really we are missing out on what God has for us. As believers in Christ we are admonished/exhorted and even commanded to be filled with the Spirit daily. If we allow our past experiences to fill us with these destructive feelings we block our hearts from being filled with the Holy Spirit. Our hearts cannot be filled to the full with Him if we insist on holding on to the hurts of the past.

We all have pasts – but the beauty of Calvary is that we get to live as new creatures whose sin has been cast into the sea of forgetfulness; as far as the east is from the west. We not only neglect the fullness of Christ in us when we hold on to our pasts — we also neglect people around us who would benefit from His love flowing through us. If you make a determination to forgive those in your past who have hurt you, God can and He will trade beauty for those ashes — He can and He will restore what the locusts have destroyed.

I have had deep hurts in my life – and they left gaping open holes in my heart. I was on my way to becoming unloving and unlovely. I didn’t want anyone to close to me because I wanted to ensure that my heart was safe. I thank God for my father and my beloved, Lloyd, because they loved me and helped me to get to a place where I was willing to give God my heart. I made the decision to trust God with those past hurts and I forgave those who breached my trust. I really forgave them — I hold nothing against them and have no animosity in my heart; in fact I pray for them to experience the blessing of God as I have.

Open your heart to receive and walk in God’s abundant and powerful love because He can and He will turn it all around for your good and for His glory. God is love. God loves you more than you can fathom. Ask Him to help you to receive His love and then ask Him to fill you to the full with His love, leaving no room for anything else in you. He will make you complete in Him. He will plant your roots deeply in His love and make you new. Let His Love Fill You! His love is true – unfailing – pure – real – powerful. Accept His love – and He will give you a brand new life.

Happy Birthday LSC!

OK – I know y’all are all saying – ‘here she goes again!’. But all I can say is, this dude is my beau; my darling; my one and only; well, just MINE!! I’m grateful for Lloyd’s life.

In the words of Barbara Johnson Tucker and her family, “I have so many things to thank God for, I could thank Him for an entire day!” So grateful that Hallie and Bea Chinn gave birth this man.

Know this babe, the good work God began in you will continue until He completes it … Praise Him because He made you in such a wonderful way. Just know that the way you are made — Amazing!! (Psalm 139: 4)

Happy Birthday!

I’m Coming Out!!!

Yes you read it right – I am coming out of the closet.

It seems that everybody is coming out of the closet, and Oh! The angst it seems to bring to many believers in Christ! Well – I’m Coming Out of The Closet Too – it’s high time that I did it too – so here goes …. I LOVE!

WHEW!! I feel better!! Now, I am free to live out that truth about myself.

I admit it – I love my friends (those who I have known all my life, and those I have met along the way); I love my enemies (those with whom I have come to some form of reconciliation and those who have determined that a relationship with me will not be possible); I love Black people; I love White people; I love Asian people; I love Mediterranean people; I love Middle Eastern people; I love Muslims; I love Jews; I love Africans; I love Europeans; I love the Dutch; I love Catholics; I love the charismatic church; I love the conservative church; love the world that God made; I love sinners – yes I do! I love homosexuals; I love liars; I love adulterers; I love haters; I love the fallen; I love the redeemed; I love the wicked; I love the merciful; I love Republicans; I love Democrats; I love those who love me and I love those who don’t; I love you – yes you!! You name them – I love them!!

Why – because I am a bond-servant of a King who has commanded that I love – just as He loved me. I will LOVE, because if I don’t I’ll be guilty of placing before the world an image of Christ that is not true; I will LOVE because if I don’t, this world might never know the love that I have found in Him. They may never know that He loved them enough to give His life for them. I will love because He Loved!! He LOVED!! In spite of my wicked nature, the sins that so easily beset me, my carnal tendencies, my faults, my failures and even my rejection of His truth – He Loved Me right into his arms. I will LOVE!!

I have become sick of the hate that spews out of the mouths of those that call themselves Christ followers. He placed us in this world as agents of his love and salvation so I am determined to walk everyday of my life outside of the closet – living as my Savior did in a world that is lost and scarcely knows it. I won’t just love in words – I will love with my actions; I will pray for you and for them; asking for God’s best for you and for them. I will, whenever possible, show them love in a tangible way.

I won’t use my mouth (or my pen, or my keyboard) as a weapon against them. I won’t allow my thoughts to make them something less than what God has intended for them to be. I will love them when they make me proud, and when they fail me miserably.

So, there you go!! I’m out now!! Not going back in – NOT EVER!! I surely do wish more of you who call yourselves a part of the Body of Christ would do the same! Let’s have a Love Coming Out Revolution! The World needs it!

But the fruit of the Spirit is loveLOVE isn’t listed first by accident.

Tainted Water …

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Lloyd and I were driving by a village in Ghana once where there had recently drilled a water well for the local community. There were young local children fetching water from the well.  The children were pulling together on one rope to get their bucket out, and then came shock – horror!  They were fetching the water in a turpentine can! 

We lived among this particular people group, and we knew that the container was not washed out with soap and water or bleach or boiling water; it was only rinsed in the local pond until they couldn’t smell the turpentine and then declared it fit for use.  This community clearly needed not only to know that clean water was important but they needed to understand what things would contaminate the water and what was necessary for them to avoid introducing contaminates into their drinking water.  They needed to know that if contaminates were introduced – this water would bring death and not life.

There is a tendency in the Western world to believe that once we have shared the truth of the gospel with people and they have confessed that they believe – we have done our part.  But I am a witness that what you leave behind is a person that believes the truth, but has no idea what the truth is, or what to do with that truth.  They twist it to fit their circumstance, they ignore the parts that they cannot easily understand, some rise to a position of leadership and then exploit the little that they know to their own benefit – – some minister an adulterated gospel and taint the water for entire congregations!  What is the answer???  The answer is to teach the complete gospel.  That means that we go beyond salvation – and take people to the entire truth of the gospel. 

We have to teach people to study the word of God so that they can come to know the person of God.  If they can’t read the Word, we have to be willing to give the time and resources necessary to teach them how to interact with The Word; audio Bibles, simpler translations, etc. After teaching them to read the word or to listen to the word, we must teach them to interact in the word in such a way that it becomes something that they can apply to their life!  When we equip them with these tools – they will know what the truth looks like and are less likely to fall prey to any contaminated word.  When we equip them with these tools then we are preparing them to protect the word that is taking root in their hearts.  When we equip them with these tools – we ensure that the word will bring them to the abundant life that God has planned for them.

But 🙃 – THIS. TAKES. TIME!!  And, be honest, how many of us are willing to give our precious time to another??  I can tell you as one who lives a life of discipleship,  that it is a 24 hour a day commitment.  The women that I disciple call me whenever they need to, they visit whenever they need to, they invite me to delve into places in their lives that I don’t want to go!  And I am also a witness – that you might have an 8 week program – but I have yet to disciple a new Christian in only 8 weeks!  Discipleship is life on life – LIFE on LIFE!!  It means (here I go again!) loving someone as much as you love yourself. Would you drink tainted water willingly?! I think not!!

Making disciples is easily defined as: TEACHING PEOPLE THE WORD OF GOD! TOUCHING PEOPLE WITH THE LOVE OF GOD!

Touching them with His love means that we’ll give our lives to them for the sake of His glory.

Interestingly – our Savior’s last words to us were that we should go, preach, teach and make disciples.  He really did not say go, preach, teach, and get them saved!  We’ve got to be willing to give our whole lives to the purposes and passions of our Savior and King – He wants them to know Him, He wants them to know the Father, He wants them to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  In the words of my husband, “time has come to stop dunkin’ ‘em and droppin’ ‘em” – we’ve got to start counting them as so dear to us that we not only give them the gospel but our very lives. (1 Thess 2:8)

No More Fear!

2 timothy 1 7

Have you ever been asked to do something new? odd? different? Do you, in spite of your gifts/talents, shrink back a bit when tasked with something that feels bigger than you?  I’m sure you don’t – but I sure do.  

There is something about stepping out into some new ministry when you’ve had success in a smaller place that can take your breath.  When I was in church ministry I felt like God was allowing me to work and minister in my sweet spot.  But, I didn’t start off that way.  I was quite content being an alto in the choir.  My friend and mentor, the late Evangelist Brenda Waters, was talking to me over lunch at Picadilly Restaurant in Houston — she looked me square in the eye and said, “Whatcha scared of girl!? God has given you an ear for His music; He has given you a heart for His people; He has given you a voice that quiets a room!  Just lead — you’re not a background singer; God created you to lead!”  That started my life as a worship leader – my sweet spot.  But just as I settled in to that, the call to missions came.

I couldn’t take my musical gift to Ghana in the same way that it had been used in the USA so I floundered for a short while and entered into a time of fear, afraid of being insignificant in the work of the Kingdom.  Then the Holy Spirit helped me to see and understand what I was supposed to do in Ghana; lead people toward a life of worship; not just lead them in a worship service.  Being in authentic relationships with people so that they would know what it was to live, move and have their being in Him.  My new sweet spot!  But before I knew it – another call came — lead!

This time He asked me to worship Him with my whole life in a way that others would do the same; to love Him in such a way that the people that I ministered to would feel His love poured out through me.  Terrified!  Didn’t God know about my failings? my bad attitudes? my own personal kind of crazy?!  Yes! He knew all about it and we stepped into this role as ministry directors for Africa.  And — you guessed it — my new sweet spot! Every time I get an email from a missionary saying that they feel heard and cared for — I know that this is place I’m supposed to be!  The fears fell away – nothing is left except the power of God, the love of God and a mind that is clear about His purpose for me in this season and serious about being continually developed to operate fully in His purposes.

I want to encourage you.  Push past the fear.  Push past the feelings of inadequacy.  Push past your fears and timidity.  Push past your ego and your false humility.  Push past the enemies lies that tell you that you are less than enough; inadequate; ill equipped.  Press into the presence and power of God and you WILL find that your fears will cut tail and run!  Trust me!  More than that – Trust Him!  When God asked you to do that next hard thing, that next new thing, that next step off of a cliff — know that He delights in showing forth His glory through you and doing more in and through you than you could ever have asked, thought or imagined!  I don’t know who or what was vexing dear Timothy and making him feel timid — but Paul’s words to Him are for you today too…

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.  2 Timothy 1:7

Father, I’m grateful – so very grateful – for your work in me. I could not do any of it apart from Your power; Your wisdom; Your guidance; Your will and my own submission and humility. I bless you tremendously, because you reminded me each and every day that all I needed was All Of You! Thank you for filling me with your Holy Spirit every day! Thank you for teaching me that leading meant reflecting Your Son, Jesus Christ each day AND submitting to you in a way that leads others to You! Thank you for letting me see and experience your daily new mercies! Thank you, Lord, for using me for the sake of Your glory, for helping me move past fears because You ensured me every day that what is in me are Your gifts and NOT MY OWN! My Wonderful and Faithful Father, I will be bold, loving and filled with good sense because I know what You have given me and I praise You for it!!