Thursday, December 23, 2010

Painting Pictures of Egypt

The following is written by a good friend, Jennifer Hanson, who posted this note on her facebook page. I loved it so much, I asked her if I could re-post it here. Enjoy! (On a side note, Jennifer has received an assignment to go to Cambodia as a Missionary Associate. She is waiting to go until all the funds are raised. Please help me pray for her funds to be raised. If God stirs in your heart to give, please email me at tammy@legacyministries.info.)

A few weeks ago a question popped into my head. I've been pondering it a lot in the weeks since, and then, last night, to my surprise, my mother asked me the very same question. I took this as a sign to write a few words about it ;-)

Why did the children of Israel still turn to idols again and again after they had witnessed so many miracles from God?

An entire sea was parted for them so they could walk across on dry land and at exactly the right time covered their enemies. They received food straight from heaven that was not like any food found on this earth. It could only be gathered one day at a time or it disappeared. Then there were all those plagues that completely bypassed them, but attacked the Egyptians. They had a protection of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. They saw people die from touching the ark of the covenant, people healed of leprosy, and the glory of the Lord on Moses' face when he would return from speaking to God.

But they still turned away. They still lusted after false idols. Why?

It's because the miracles aren't what it's really about. The miracles are meant to point to Him. When we lose sight of Him amongst His workings, then we start to become dissatisfied. We chase after other things to quench our thirst and satiate our hunger. How many times have I seen things that could only be explained by His power, and then I still doubt and worry the next time around? Miracles make us say "Wow! God is good!" in the moment, and they can serve to boost our faith... but it's so easy to forget in the days after.

In John 6, it talks about Jesus feeding the 5,000. In the verses after that story, the people kept trying to find Him, and force Him to be their king. Jesus knew this, and He was avoiding them. He even walked on the water to slip by them! They eventually found Him though, and He called them out. He told them that they weren't looking for Him because they saw God's power and compassion in miraculously feeding all of them. They were only looking for Him because they got some bread and ate their fill. Cool trick! They completely missed the point of the miracle. He told them that the true bread was Him. He said that His body that would be pierced for them contained the Bread of Life that would never stop satisfying. They didn't like this statement so much. They wanted more miracles. They wanted a king who would work some powerful, vengeful, magic and slaughter their enemies. Even some of Jesus' disciples (other than the 12) left Him after they heard this little sermon.

I believe that miracles happen all the time. I've seen too many things that can't be explained by anything else but a powerful God. I was born after 10 years of my parents hearing that they would never be able to have kids. My sister was born five years later. I've had people hand me large sums of money to go on missions trips hours before the fund raising deadline. My friend was recently in a car accident where he should have died, but he doesn't have a scratch on him. Just yesterday I met a perfect tiny little baby boy who belongs to a couple in low income housing, struggling to just get by. He was supposed to be born with a dangerous cist on his head. My sister prayed for him while he was still in the womb and he was born perfect. I've had God speak to me in dreams, I've had prayers answered exactly the way I prayed them, and I've had people pray over me and give me guidance from God about things and situations that they could have never known about on their own. I've been on missions trips where the presence of God fell so heavy I could hardly walk and when people gave their testimonies it was as though you could cut the anointing in the room with a knife. I've seen marriages restored, people healed, and even little things like money showing up when I'm at my very last dollar.

I have to remind myself though, that these things only point to the greater thing...the ability to have a relationship with the Great, Good, Loving, Compassionate, Merciful, All-Powerful, God who does them in His perfect wisdom. THAT is one miracle worth basing your faith on. That is the root of the Tree of Life. If I'm not connected to those roots, then I could still see all of those things I mentioned above, and then in the days after be blown away by the wind.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Have a Thankful Christmas!

I am sorry that I have not even blogged since Thanksgiving! As I sit here and think about that, it is giving me something to blog about! The calendar says that Thanksgiving is over and the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparation has begun. That's the problem! We cannot be like the calendar...Thanksgiving CANNOT be over; it has to go on into Christmas.

Too many people have a hard time receiving. How would you like it if you gave your child a gift at Christmas and the child started saying you didn't have to do it; or that he didn't like it, and he wanted something different? How would you feel if he started comparing what you gave him with what you gave his siblings? You would really feel crazy if he started telling you that he did not deserve the gift! Here's a better one--what if he went on and enjoyed the gift without even acknowledging it or saying a word to you?

That is what many of us do to God! He blesses us with so many gifts all year long. How often do we stop and tell Him "Thank You!"? Can you stop right now and think of something you haven't thanked God for and thank Him? And the comparison game? SO many "saints" are playing that one! We need to stop comparing what others have and allow God to use us in our unique, special gifts He has given us. He's the Master Creator! He knows what is best!

The problem doesn't stop with not thanking God. Many times God uses other people to bless us and we forget to thank them. Recently God put it on my heart to bless someone who is going through a hard financial trial. I did this a couple of times. To my recollection, I never received a "Thank You". Now, I really don't need it, but I believe the recipients of the gifts needed to give a "thank you" for their sake. That might be the key that actually helps them out of their pit. Phillipians 4:6-7 says, "Don't worry about anything, but in everything, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace that passes understanding will guard your heart and mind through Christ Jesus." (I added the italics for emphasis of the point.) It makes me wonder how many people I am doing that to. So now my challenge is to pray and ask God who you need to send a thank you note to! That's what I am going to do!

One time Jesus healed 10 men who were suffering with leprosy. (Luke 17) You would think that they would thank Jesus over and over, but only 1 came back to thank the Lord. Jesus acknowledged that only one of the 9 thanked Him. He then went on to tell that one that his faith had made him whole. The Greek word for "whole" is "sozo" which means healed spirit, soul and body. That means that not only was the man physically healed, he was also healed in his spirit and soul! His healing would last for eternity, while the others' only got the temporary physical healing. Wow!

This Christmas, have yourself a thankful little Christmas, and your heart will be light! :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

3 year old Jonathan conducting to the 4th movement of Beethoven's 5th Sy...

OK, I'm deviating a bit from my normal sermon type exhortations. I just LOVE this video. God has truly gifted this kid! He is truly feeling the music. Incredible! Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Are You Vulnerable or Tender?

We all know that we face many trials in this life. Jesus warned us in John 16:33 (NKJV), “In this world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” The great news is that if we have Jesus in us, we, too, are overcomers. Sometimes we forget that! When we do, our hearts hurt. Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) warns us to “...guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

I would like to look at two types of heart that can experience much pain: a vulnerable heart and a tender heart. Both are weak. The vulnerable heart is a negative weakness that attracts attacks, whereas the tender heart is a positive weakness that attracts God’s power. God was talking about the tender weakness when He said, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9 NKJV)

Let’s look a little closer at how being vulnerable compares to being tender:

As Christians, we all have times of vulnerability as well as tenderness. The enemy wants to take the tender places of our heart and make them vulnerable. God, on the other hand, wants to take our vulnerabilities and make them tender.

How do we pray for the vulnerable? We pray for them to repent. Why should they repent if others are the ones who keep hurting them? To answer that, you need to know what “repent” really means. The Greek word for “repent” is “metanoia.” “Meta” - to change; “Noia” - mind. So it means to have a mindset change. When you are vulnerable, you need to have a change of thinking to get your mind off yourself and on to God and others.

How do we pray for the tender? We pray for them to be protected. Because of the compassion from which a tender person operates, his heart is exposed and will be hurt. God does not want the tender heart to be hardened. He wants the tender heart to be protected. How is that going to happen? To answer that, let’s look at each line in Philippians 4:5-7:
“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” This describes a tender heart.
“Do not be anxious about anything,” A vulnerable heart is the one that is always anxious.
“but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” That is how you receive a tender heart.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” That is how your heart will be guarded.

I challenge you to ask God to transform the vulnerable places of your heart into a tender heart. Then you can be a conduit of His power to others who need Him. Even when bad things happen, you will be confident that God will cause all things to work together for your good. (Rom. 8:28) Out of those times in the fire, you will actually be purified and prepared for the bigger call of God on your life to make a difference in the lives of others.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It Will Be Worth It All!

As I said in the last post, I found out that there are two more English words that translate from the same Greek word for "passion." They are "affection" and "suffering." I blogged about affection last time. This time I want to blog about suffering.

Paul said in Phil. 3:10, "...that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death..." Many people only quote up to the part about power of His resurrection, but you cannot connect with the resurrection until you connect with His death on the cross. Just remember, for every cross-bearing trial you go through, Sunday's comin'! You will be resurrected out of it in a state better than you were before it happened.
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NKJV)
The Greek word for "working" in the scripture above is "katergazomai." According to Strong's, it means,
1. to perform, accomplish, achieve
2. to work out (i.e. to do that from which something results)
3. to fashion (i.e. render one fit for a thing)
Wow! You can probably come up with your own sermon out of that! Do you ever think that the trial you are facing is doing all that? Basically, what it is saying is that what you are going through is preparing you to be ready for the bigger call of God on your life! What are those dreams He has placed in your heart to accomplish for His glory? Count the costs! It will cost you some times of suffering. But GOD! In the end, it is worth is all!

Remember what Paul said in Romans 8:18 (NKJV),
“I don’t consider the sufferings to be worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What is Affecting You?

I did a word study on "passion" and found out the the same Greek word for "passion" also translates into "affection" and "suffering." More on the suffering part on a future post. This time I want to talk about "affection."

Think about it. You will be affected by that on which you place your affections. As with anything, that can be good or bad. If you have a burning desire for food, for example, chances are you will be affected not only in a mental way, but also in a physical way by gaining too much weight. As with any unhealthy addiction, the affects are numerous and far-reaching. Family members and friends also end up being affected by your affection.

Personally, I want my affection to be on Christ. To be a Christian is supposed to result in being Christ-like. If I set my affections on Him, that will start to happen. I will be transformed. Colossians 3:1-2(KJV): "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." That chapter goes on to say in verses 12-17, "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him."

Colossians 3 goes on to talk about family relationships and how to treat each other. If your affection is on Christ, the affects will be positive. They, too, will be far reaching and start to affect family members and friends. Hopefully your loved ones will see the peace that only Jesus can give and want it, too. Unfortunately, however, some will be offended by the Christ in you. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 (NKJV), "For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life."

Why does Christ offend so many? Peter puts it this way (1 Peter 2:6-9 NKJV), "Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, 'Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.' Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, 'The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,' and 'A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense.' They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light..."

Keep praying for them, and keep your affection on Christ no matter what others do around you. When you truly get this, you will not be affected as much by what people do around you. You can be whole with peace and joy even in the midst of trials!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

This is a Test!

This is a test. This is only a test. For the next 60 seconds...scratch that...for the rest of your life...you will be facing situations that will test you on many different levels! How will you respond? Too many times we are distracted by the test itself to really make any progress toward getting through it. You may have to read that sentence again! It's true, is it not? We also get distracted by how other people involved in the situation are acting...or NOT! We get distracted by how we think God needs to intervene. Yes, sometimes God does intervene and takes us out of the situation miraculously. But, more times than not, He allows us to go through some things to help make us stronger. Think about it. If you are like me, you can think back on some trying times and remember that it was in the hard times that you grew the most spiritually.

In the film, Letters to God, by David Nixon, produced by Vivendi Entertainment, a little boy, Tyler faces a serious test when he battles cancer. Throughout this battle, he poured his heart out to God by writing Him letters. The letters ended up having such an impact on his whole community. At one point in the film he was bothered by the fact that he was made fun of at school. His good friend, Sammy, took him to her grandpa, Mr. Perryman, for advice. Mr. Perryman put on a costume and came out as the wise Dadooska. He told Tyler, "God has chosen you to receive the honor...the honor of being chosen as one of God's warriors. You are God's warrior...which means you can ride forth victoriously in truth, humility and righteousness. Even though you are sick, when people see how strong and brave you are, why it makes them take a look at their own lives. So maybe that's why they make fun of you. But, Tyler, there is a glorious truth, God's truth. And it is your job to point them to Him. If they turn to Him, they find the truth. Wouldn't that be a wonderful victory!" (I recommend you to see the film to get the full story. I love this movie!)

Christ Himself was tested to a degree that we will never know. Because of that, He makes the best foundation. If we place our faith in Him, we will always be secure with our lives built upon that sure foundation. "Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner [stone], a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste." Isaiah 28:16 (KJV) In the New Living Translation, it says he who believes in the cornerstone "will not be disturbed."

That's what I want! I want to not be disturbed while being tested. I want to remember that God is making me stronger through it all. I want my faith and trust in God to grow, knowing that in Him I am always secure!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Truth About "Sounding Boards"

Many of us use other people as “sounding boards” to bounce off ideas and work through the difficult circumstances of life. Our “sounding board” confidantes can be very helpful when used selectively, and in a healthy manner. If you have a tendency to “vent” (in a positive or negative way) to someone, here are some guidelines for utilizing this important relationship in a godly way:

1. Remember that real guidance comes from the Holy Spirit.
Even pastors, teachers and wise mentors can “miss it,” but the Holy Spirit is always right. Learn to go to God first. Your sounding board should be consulted for confirmation, not for guidance that pre-empts your prayerful petition.

2. Make sure your sounding board does not have a leak!
Someone prone to gossip does not make a good sounding board. You need someone you can trust to be confidential. Examine the character of your sounding board friend before sharing the intimacies of your heart.

3. Make sure you are not just gossiping and griping!
Constantly spouting out negative opinions can lead to a critical spirit. Be careful not to allow your sounding board session to turn into idle talk and complaining.

4. Make sure your sounding board is mature enough to tell you the truth—like when you have sounded off too much.

Knowing when to stop sounding off will keep the person you are venting to from feeling like you are monopolizing her time. It will also keep him or her from taking on your burdens.

When you keep these guidelines in mind before sharing ideas and feelings with others, misunderstandings will be kept to a minimum. Good sounding boards can help you keep things in a healthy perspective. Also, some of those great ideas you bounce off someone may actually turn into reality!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

'News from Legacy Ministries'

Check out our July Newsletter. Even if you are not local, this can serve as a prayer list for you! :) Read also about ordering your copy of Loving God With All Five Senses in e-book or paperback. Simply click on the title of this post, and you'll be right there!

Grace Teaches Us to Say NO!

Recently I had a discussion with some ladies about the increase of immorality all around us. I mentioned to them that if you want to walk in the Spirit, you're going to have to make an effort, because everywhere you turn you run right into something that is trying to draw you into living for the flesh. Example...I was sick when I saw a commercial while watching the local news that showed a new show that is coming out this fall that was full of sex scenes and deceptive actions in just a 60 second spot. blaaa!

One lady said, "Too many people think that because of God's grace they can go out and live however they want. They think He will just forgive them and then they can just go out an do it again." I responded, "They don't know what true Grace is, then. True Grace teaches us to say NO!" I mentioned this verse found in Titus 2:11-14 (NKJV),
For the Grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
That's what I'm talking about! There is no lasting satisfaction in living to gratify the five senses of the here and now. True satisfaction goes beyond the five senses. That's why I wrote my book, Loving God with All Five Senses. (Go to www.legacyministries.info to order your own copy.) Yes, we can and should enjoy pleasures with our five senses. That's why God created them. It points to His awesome creativity--for lack of a better term! But if we get out of control feeding the cravings of our flesh, we are then distracted from genuinely tasting the deeper things that bring true and lasting gratification that God has for us in the Spirit. Here's another great passage from Galatians 5:13-25 about this subject:
For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
I challenge you. Read that again! Would you rather have the works of the flesh that lead to death or the fruit of the Spirit that results in abundant life? I'm telling you that the peace and joy that comes with living for the Lord, with His GRACE that gives you the courage, strenth and desire to live a godly life, is available to everyone. Not only is it available, but it is offered to you right now! The price has already been paid!
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life! John 3:16
Surrender to Him today and you, too, will experience wholeness. Who wouldn't take that offer?!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Embrace the Summer!

The following is the July, 2010 artilcle I wrote for my column, "Sense"sational Musings for www.ithirstnw.net:

Oh yes, it’s summertime, and it’s HOT! It is so hot, sometimes I feel like I’m in a desert. Do you feel like that? How about spiritually speaking? Do you feel like you cannot sense the Lord’s presense? You know He’s there, but you cannot hear His voice, feel His embrace or see His hand.

May I suggest to you today to embrace the dry times? WHAT?! Yes, that is what I said, “Embrace the dry times!” Why? Because, when you do, that is what is going to help you to soak in more when God finally pours His rain on you and you sense His presence once again. That’s what David did when he was in the wilderness.
Psalm 63:1 - A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, You [are] my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.

On the flip side of that, I also suggest to embrace the times of soaking. When you do, you will be more apt to remember those revelations God blessed you with when you go through the next drought. That is what will carry you through.

We need to remember that God created dryness as much as he created water. He appoints the times and seasons in our lives.
Genesis 1:9 - And God said, Let the waters under heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
Psalm 95:5 - The sea is His and He made it; and His hands formed dry land.

God will decide when the dry spell stops and when rain begins. He also decides when rain stops and dryness begins.
Psalm 107:33, 35 - He turns rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground. (35) He turns the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings.

Embracing whatever season you are in will allow you to be ripe for discerning the plans and purposes He has in store for you. Many times when we experience God in incredible ways, times of spiritual drought seem to follow. However, what looks and feels like drought to us is something more. God is still working through that time whether we sense it or not. Remember, it was the Holy Spirit who led Jesus into the wilderness after His water baptism. The enemy came it at the end and tried to take advantage of Jesus’ time of hunger after 40 days of fasting. He tempted Jesus, but Jesus did not fall for it. Instead, He remained focused and reminded satan what the Word said. The devil then left Jesus and angels came to minister to Him. His ministry was then launched.

So, I guess that means that dry times in our lives are actually blessings! Let’s take a quick look at times in the Bible when dry times were answers to prayer.
1. Noah’s family and animals were finally able to depart the ark and walk on dry land.
2. The children of Israel escaped a life of slavery and passed through the Red Sea on dry land.
3. The children of Israel crossed over the Jordan River on dry land to enter the Promised Land.
4. Jonah was spit out of the belly of the fish onto dry land and given a second chance after disobeying God’s call to Ninevah.

As you go through your summer, embrace it! Know that this season will soon be over, and God will take you through the next season with even more revelation because of what you are going through now. Rest assured knowing that this, too, shall pass!
Isaiah 44:3 - I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground; I will pour my spirit upon your seed, and my blessing upon your offspring.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

He Loves Us!

I have often thought about how I have actually physically felt the presence of God so strong at times in worship. There is no way I can explain to you how that feels. Yes, there are times when I don't feel anything and yet I go on and worship anyway, because I know that I know God is real whether I feel Him or not. We need times like that to strengthen our faith, because faith is not what you experience with your five senses. It is so beyond that. As Hebrews 11 says, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Emphasis mine) However, I do thank God for the times that He so graciously has chosen to let me experience His manifest presence in my spirit, soul and body.

I saw a car recently that had bumper stickers that showed it was obviously owned by an atheist. Well, I say obviously, but on the other hand it also had stickers about being wickan, so I'm not sure how you can worship satan and still be an atheist. One of the stickers eluded to religions fighting over who has the best imaginary friend. When I read that I thought, "That person has no clue! There is no way God is imaginary. I have experienced Him! You can't tell me that anymore than you can tell me that the sun in the sky is imaginary!"

When I see this video I found on tangle.com, it stirs me to tears every time! Tears of JOY in my Lord, I must say! This young worship leader, Kim Walker (who recently married and is now Kim Smith) has a way of helping corporate bodies to enter into worship. I especially like what she says toward the end about experiencing the presence of God and how it changes you. Listen to this and see what I'm talking about. I pray you are as blessed as I am. (BTW, I tried to upload the video, but if it didn't work, just simply click on the title to this post and it will take you to the webpage with the video.)

Monday, June 14, 2010

'News from Legacy Ministries'

Click the title of this post to read the latest newsletter from Legacy Ministries and read about ordering my newly revised book.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Love as You Love Yourself

I actually wrote this in 1989. The only thing I added now that I am posting this in 2010 is the phrase "the older I get, the more I learn not to". It is encouraging to me as I read this I realize that those tendancies you are about to read about that I did so often are not much of an issue anymore. It must be true that with gray hair comes wisdom!

I must learn to love myself (not have a poor self image) before my relationships with other people reach their full potential. Of course I do not love the creation more than the creator (Rom. 1:25) Maybe I should say, I love Christ within me. There is only one God, but there are many Christians. Each one has a different personality through which Christ is revealed. The Bible says in Mark 12:33 to “love your neighbor as yourself.” How can we love our neighbor if we do not love ourselves?

This is different from pride. Pride means you think you are better than others. The truth is that deep down people with pride really do not love themselves.

I remember after I first got married; I wanted to change my whole personality. My self concept was suffering. You see, some might say that I’m very out-going. However, that is not always good! Even though my foot tastes awful, it seems I have chewed it down to the bone—the old “foot-in-the-mouth” syndrome! The older I get, the more I learn not to, but especially in times past I have told people what I think of something as if they asked for my opinion! I knew immediately that I should not have opened my mouth. I would come home, and Bill could tell right off; “What did you say this time?” Then there were those times that Bill was with me, and he knew I would say something I shouldn't’ so he gently nudged my knee with his hand to remind me to keep quiet. It saved me from a lot of turmoil. That started making me want to be like Bill instead of me. I was down on myself for weeks. Finally, Bill sat me down and talked to me. He said he married me for who I was, not so he could change me to be like him. He said that I had opened him up more than anyone else had ever done; never before had he been able to express his inner-most feelings. It was then that I realized the awesome miracle of our marriage. God knew what each of us needed, and He put us together to compliment each other and to be truly one in Christ! Oh yes, Bill still has to nudge my knee sometimes, and I have to ask him quite a bit what he is thinking, but we have a much more exciting marriage than if we were so much alike.

God made each of us uniquely perfect with our own personalities. Since we are born in sin (Rom 5:14, 17, and 3:23), we all have flaws in our personalities. The more time we spend with our Creator and other children of God, the more the flaws decrease. God takes out the tendency to gossip in the extravert and the evil thoughts that are not spoken in the introvert. It just takes spending time with Him in intimate communion and a sincere, repentant heart.

Time spent with other Christians is also very important. We compliment each other. Just as a man and wife are better together than apart—because one’s strengths are the other’s weaknesses and visa versa—so the church needs to bind together as one. Imagine how we would so encourage one another and bring out each other’s strengths if we all would gather together after following the first step of individual time with God. (Matt. 22:37-38) The best of every Christian's personalities combined would be so much more like Christ than just one person. Isn’t that our goal—to be like Christ? Let’s help each other—build each other up—never cut the other down. (Gal 6:2) Then the church will be “a glorious church without spot or wrinkle” at the time of Christ’s return. (Ep. 5:27) Glory be to God, the Creator of all!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Trap of Comparison

How many times do we not live to our full potential because we compare ourselves to others? There are two ways comparison happens:
1. Comparing our "strengths" to someone else's "weaknesses"--That would be called being haughty. "Haughty" is an adjective describing one who behaves in a superior, condescending, or arrogant way.

2. Comparing our "weaknesses" to someone else's "strengths"--That would be called having an "Inferiority Complex." To me that's when someone has an overdeveloped sense of being inferior to others. In other words, that seems to be all they think about! Believe it or not, having and inferiority complex is just as much pride as being haughty, because the focus is all about self.
Let's take a look at some examples of these in the Bible. First we'll look at someone who was haughty. Luke 18:9-14 (NKJV), Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: [10] “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. [11] The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You, that I am not like other men--extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. [12] I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I possess. [13] And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner!’ [14] I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Notice the Pharisee compared himself to another man, but the tax collector (or "Publican" as the KJV says) compared himself to a Holy God. Go back and read the last verse again and see just which one ended up being lifted up.

Next, let's think about Moses, our example of one who had an Inferiority Complex. God showed up to him in a very powerful, supernatural way in a burning bush that was not consumed. God asked him to go lead the Israelites out Egypt where they were in captivity as slaves. Moses kept giving excuses why he shouldn't be the one to go. “Who am I that I should go?” “But I am not eloquent in speech.” “Can’t you send someone else?” All the while, God was proving He would be with him. Read it for yourself in Exodus 3 and 4. Thankfully, God still used Moses to lead the people out of Egypt and turn the tide of history setting the stage for people of God to be delivered for ages to come. It was certainly not because of Moses' abilities, or should we say lack or fears?

My prayer is that when God nudges me to do something, He will remind me to look to Him, and not compare myself to others or focus on my lack of abilities. I need to remember, as Paul said in Philippians 2:13 that it is God who works in me both to will and to do for His good pleasure. If He has put a desire in me, He will give me everything I need to accomplish it. He has promised to complete what He starts in me. Thank you, Lord!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

'News from Legacy Ministries'

Click on the title of this post above to read the May Newsletter for Legacy Ministries and the Legacy Equipping Center. God is on the move! Your prayers, support and attendance at events is greatly appreciated as we go forward "...for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry for the edifying of the body of Christ..." Ep. 4:12.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Jump into the Cleansing Stream!

What a weekend! I attended the Cleansing Stream retreat Friday and Saturday in Augusta, GA with a group from my church who have been going through a 12 week discipleship course to be cleaned out from the inside out! This is one of those things that cannot be explained but has to be experienced. It's all about the two things I am so passionate about....discipleship and inner healing!

There were hundreds of others who were also getting delivered from "stuff" that had kept them bound from that abundant life God wants us to have. The worship was amazing. At the beginning I entered the sanctuary with worship music going on that just stirred an expectancy of what God was about to do! As the weekend progressed, worship increased from people who were getting rid of all the garbage that was stopping them up from free worship...you can only imagine how free the worship was becoming as the weekend progressed.

God showed me some areas in my life that needed to be washed with His amazing Living Water that I did not even realize were issues. I have been walking through some trials lately, but they only served as primers to get me ready to be set free this past weekend! It is so true that God's truths will totally set you free! Now I want to offer this discipleship leading to diliverance at the Legacy Equipping Center this fall.

For those of you who are local, if you are interested in participating in Cleansing Stream at the Center, let me know. If you are interested in getting this started in your own church, click on the title of this post and it will take you to the Cleansing Stream website. You can see all about the ministry and hear some testimonies about what God has done in others through Cleansing Stream. Let me know if you start the program. I want to hear what God does! Below is a video of a testimony I got from the Cleansing Stream website.

video

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Have a Cookie....or Not!

(The following is the article I wrote for my monthly ezine column “Sense”sational Musings for the April, 2010 edition of www.ithristnw.net.)

One day the Lord gave me a vision in my mind’s eye. I saw a woman taste a chocolate chip cookie and throw it down in a fit of rage, obviously upset with what she tasted. When she did, crumbs shattered all over the ground. Then she tried frantically to eat the cookie, but it was difficult because of all the crumbs.

I inquired of the Lord about the meaning of this vision. What came to me was that the lady represented any one of God’s children. The cookie represented the lady’s false image of what she thought God was. When God did not do what she thought He should do, she threw the cookie down in anger and it shattered. We need to keep in mind that the cookie represented the lady’s image of God; it did not represent God Himself. God did not shatter, because that was not who He truly is.

I then saw many cookies--each on their own platter--on both sides of a big hallway. These cookies represented more wrong concepts of God. They are cookies, because everyone says "He is good." Some that have been around for a long time are crunchy. Others are fresh-baked and soft.

A crunchy cookie has been the wrong concept of God for a long time in a person's mind. A soft one is a new wrong concept of God that is fresh baked. When one eats of it and throws it down, the newly baked cookie doesn't shatter, because it is soft. Consequently, though the taste of the soft cookie does not satisfy, it is not as disappointing as the old cookie that shatters into crumbs and is harder to eat afterward. Trying to pick up all the shattered pieces only leads to more anger. I had the sense that the first cookie in the vision was a very old cookie from the batch and that God understood that.

The Lord was showing me that even though the lady in the vision was so angry with God, deep down she really desires Him, or she would not have tried to eat all the crumbs afterward. He knows that. She will find Him because somewhere deep in the recesses of her heart, she wants to.

When we find ourselves holding on to cookies and we are angry at God, we need to surrender to Him so that He can take our deceptions and replace them with truth. This will only happen when we turn to Jesus. We have to go to Jesus without any of the cookies--or crumbs--in our hands, because if we have them when we approach Him, we will still be looking at the cookies instead of genuinely seeking God to show us who He truly is. We can either lay down the cookies before we approach the Throne, or we can ask God to take the cookies when we get to Him. Either way, we cannot hold on to them after we get to Him and expect answers. Jesus IS the answer, and He IS there. However, as long as we hold the platter of cookies we will not be able to see Him, because our focus will be on the cookies instead of Him. We will find that as we surrender our platter of misconceptions to the Lord, He will then give us food from Heaven that will be better than any cookie we have ever tasted! Unlike cookies, His food has everlasting sustenance that brings us nourishment for specific needs we are not even aware we have. 2 Cor. 3:14-18 talks about the Jews having a veil over their eyes when they read the scriptures. They have the truth in their hands, but they cannot see it. The Bible then says, "Nevertheless, when one turns to Jesus, the veil is taken away! Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty!" FREEDOM!! He is FREEDOM--not just “good” like a chocolate chip cookie.

When we see Him as He truly is, love and true worship automatically flow out from the deepest part of us to God. Right now He reveals to us His character one concept at a time. Each time another false conception of God is taken away, we truly taste and see that He is good in that aspect of God, and it is everlasting! One day, when our corruption is overtaken by incorruption, and we are changed in the twinkling of an eye, we will see Him as He is--in His entirety--not one concept at a time, but every concept. 100% purity---and it is GOOD! It is then that we will experience everlasting FREEDOM forevermore!

Friday, April 9, 2010

You're Getting Sticky!

I recently called a great friend to ask her to pray for a fellow pal who was going through tremendous trials. She said to me, "You're getting sticky!"

Thinking I had a bad phone connection, I replied,"You mean my phone connection is bad?"

"No," she said, "YOU are getting sticky! You're taking it on! Remember the 4 L's, Tammy."

"What are the 4 L's? Please tell me!"

"Love them. Listen to them. Lift them up. And LEAVE them to the Lord!"

Oh, Yes! She then began to pray the most refreshing prayer over me, and it was as if I could literally feel God lift the burden off me and begin to anoint my spirit with the oil of the Holy Spirit.

My prayer is that I remember to take time every morning to spend time with God for Him to apply that oil to my spirit so that I won't be sticky when people come to me to share their burdens. My desire is to do what Isaiah 61:1-3 says:
"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to [those who are] bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."

The only way that people are really going to be set free from the brokenness they come to me with is if I am so "oily" with God's anointing so they are not dependant on me. Believe me, I have seen time and time again that I am so not capable of setting anyone free! I can only take them to the ONE who has proven time and time again that He not only can but He will, and that is God! And what a privilege it is to take them!

So, are you one who needs to be set free? Are you ready to be released? Are you ready for God to reach down to that part of your heart that has been crushed and seemingly forgotten about and for Him to pour in that long awaited love? Just take a moment; close your eyes; take a deep breath of His love and let Him know you're ready! See what happens in the next moments; the next hours; the next days; the next weeks.

Are you the one who is getting sticky? Do you need to remember the 4 L's as you try to take others to the throne room? Let's do it! Memorize the 4 L's with me and ask God to do it through you.
Love Them
Listen To Them
Lift Them to the Lord
Leave Them with God! He is FULLY capable of taking care of them Himself! :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Resurrection Day!

What a glorious day this is--the day we Christians celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour from the dead! Think about it; Jesus had more influence on this world than any other person in history. The whole calendar is based on His life. Many people from different religions think highly of Jesus. Some say He was a great teacher. Some say He was a prophet. Others think He was a great philosopher. And of course, we Christians believe He is God. Don't you think that with so much admiration for Jesus that there would be a shrine at His grave with flowers and incense burning 24/7? Well, the reason you don't hear of that is because He's not in a grave! He has risen! He has risen indeed! That's what sets Jesus apart from any other religious leader.

Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, is himself a proof of the Resurrection of Christ. Why else would someone who was so against Christ and His followers, to the point of persecuting Christians and even killing them, change his whole life to preach Christ and even be persecuted for the Gospel himself, if the proof of Christianity (the resurrection) was not proven to him? He wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 (NIV), "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also..." He went on to write in verses 12-14, "But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

I'm with Peter when he wrote in 1 Peter 1:3-4 (NIV), "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you."

Friday, April 2, 2010

'News from Legacy Ministries'

Click on the title to this post to read the April Newsletter for Legacy Ministries. Thank you for your prayers and support!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spiritual Warfare Prayer

It seems as though many people close to me are facing attacks from the enemy right now. I know that as long as we are on this earth we will face trials. Jesus promised that. That's one of His promises we don't like to face. He said, "In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world!" (John 16:33) The good news is that in the end, God's Word prevails over every attack of the enemy! In the meantime, we have to seek Him with our whole heart and receive His direction and Peace.

I have decided to take the "Spiritual Warfare Prayer" from my book, Loving God With All Five Senses, and post it for all you who are facing trials. It is based on the scripture passage from Ephesians the 6th chapter. I pray it will help you as you face those things that eventually will make you a better person.

"Thank you, Lord, for placing the Helmet of Salvation on my head. It will protect me against any thought-bomb the enemy tries to place in my mind. I will not take them on as my thoughts in the Name of Jesus! I place my thoughts in Your hands. Please forgive me for the thoughts I hold on to that are not of you. I ask you to change my mind set to be more like the mind of Christ. Thank you for transforming me by the renewing of my mind.

Thank you, Lord, for placing the Breastplate of Righteousness on me. It will protect my heart. Lord, I place all my emotions in Your hands. Help me to remember that You are with me regardless if I “feel” it or not. Please forgive me when I fear. Thank you that though my righteousness is as filthy rags, yet You have clothed me with Your righteousness because of what You did at Calvary!

Thank you, Lord, for placing the Belt of Truth on my waist. Please reveal any hindrance or lie I have been holding onto that would keep me from trusting You and replace it with Your Truth, oh Lord! Help me to let go of my perspective of the Truth and seek Your perspective knowing that Your Truth will set me free! Help me also to have a deaf ear to the lies of Satan and give me ears to hear what the Spirit says.

Thank you, Lord, that my feet are shod with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace. I am being prepared for the calling of God on my life to take the Gospel of Peace to others. Help me to remember that no matter what I go through, You will use the circumstances in my life, both good and bad, to prepare me for the destiny You have chosen for me. Thus I can have peace in the midst of the storm. Thank you that every step I take will be in Peace and I can take that Peace to people wherever I go!

Thank you, Lord, for putting within my hand the Shield of Faith, whereby I can quench every fiery dart of the wicked one. Help me to remember that Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen and that without Faith it is impossible to please You. Forgive me when I have gone forward in my own strength and abilities instead of totally relying on You. Help me to dwell in the Secret Place of the Most High where I will be protected from any onslaught of the enemy.

Thank You, Lord, for giving me the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God—the only offensive weapon. All the other armor You give me is for protection, and I thank You for just how protected I really am! This weapon is the only thing I need to combat the enemy. It is really an arsenal of many weapons that are not carnal, but are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. Forgive me when I fail to read and study Your Word when You have prompted me to do so. I choose to read Your Word, meditate on Your Word, memorize Your Word and use Your Word against the enemy in due time. Help me to not fret over what I will say, but to trust Your Spirit to give me just the right Word in the very hour I need it. I do not want to “debate” Your Word thereby casting pearls before swine, but I will speak Your Word to those who are hungry for it as well as proclaim to the enemy “It is Written!” Remind me also, that my enemy is not flesh and blood—it is not any person, including myself—but it is Satan and all the principalities with him. Therefore, I pray that You would remind me to not let corrupt communication proceed out of my mouth but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

And having done all, I will stand! Thank You that the battle is not mine, but it is Yours! Thank You for the victory in Christ Jesus who came to destroy the works of the enemy! In reality, the enemy has already been crushed under Your feet by your death and resurrection. He is therefore under my feet as I trust in You and let You dwell in me! I am more than a conqueror through You who love me with a perfect love that casts out all fear! And for that I will ever be grateful!"

Thursday, March 4, 2010

'News from Legacy Ministries'

Click the link above by clicking on the title of this post to read our March Newsletter. God is on the move! He is doing great things at the Legacy Equipping Center! Thanks for your prayers and support!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ep 5 - Passage Lookup - New International Version - BibleGateway.com

Ep 5 - Passage Lookup - New International Version - BibleGateway.com

I was stirred to go to Ephesians 5 this morning. When I read it, I thought "Wow! What if we all did what this says? What a difference that would make!" So, my challenge to you today is to go the the link (by clicking on the title of this blog post), pray and ask God to give you a desire to apply this passage to your life. Ask God to actually live this through you.

I would love to to know if this positively affects any of you. Please leave a comment and let me know! Go now and be immitators of God, bringing light to the darkness of this world!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Do WHAT?

The Christian faith is full of paradoxes. What is a paradox? The first definition on dictionary.com is "a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth."

Think about it...

I am to die to my self in order that I may live.

I am to give so that I can receive.

I am to humble myself to God, and He will lift me up.

I have found all of these seemingly absurd statements to be very true. They are not easy to do in the natural, but once you can get past the natural and allow God to give you a supernatural desire, a life of satisfaction is the result. There is another paradox in the Bible that seems harder than any of them. We are told to bless those who persecute us. WHAT?!

Let's look at this closer...
Romans 12:14-19 (NIV) - "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord. On the contrary:
'If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Another passage says...
1 Peter 3:8-10 (NIV) "Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For,
'Whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from deceitful speech.' "


What if more people did this? How would the world change? That would definitely be walking out the talk. Jesus was our example. Isaiah prophesied Jesus, the Messiah's death many years before it actually happened when he wrote
"He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth." (Is 53:7 NIV)
Even in the worst of persecution, Jesus did not try to defend Himself. Yes, His accusers seemingly won the battle when they killed Him. However, three days later, look what happened! He was resurrected from the dead and conquered death, hell and the grave! I don't care what the enemy tries to do to silence God and His people. God always has the last word!

I recently told a friend this who is facing some crazy accusations that have gotten out of hand. She responded, "That's Jesus. He's God!" I replied, "Yes, but where does Jesus live?" She knew when she said, "In me!"

Lord, help us to look to You for our approval instead of people. Their unkind words will not hurt as bad if we do not need their approval. That way when they persecute us, we will have what we need to show them grace and repay their evil with good. Help us to show them Your goodness. May our actions be the seed that draws them to Your kindness which leads them to repentance. Help us to have the grace to release them to You, knowing that You can take care of the situation much better than we can!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

God's Manifest Presence

The 2010 Legacy Women's Conference "Equipped with JOY" has come and gone. It was INCREDIBLE! So many ladies received freedom from burdens that were weighing them down. It is hard to describe to someone who was not there how God's presence permeated the room.

It's that manifest presence I'm talking about. The kind that most people haven't a clue about. Think of it like this. God is omnipresent. That means He is present everywhere. So often we don't even recognize His presence. It is like camouflage. It's there all right, but it fits right in so we just look right through it. Besides the omnipresence of God, sometimes He allows us a window of opportunity of experiencing His manifest presence to those who seek Him. I call it the secret place of the Most High. It is like entering the throne room of God where peace and joy will flood your inner core. This is what so many people miss. Even most Christians miss out on this.

Thank You, God, for the privilege we ladies had at the "Equipped with JOY" conference to experience Your manifest presence. It was worth all the opposition we faced leading up to the conference when we all got together and basked in Your presence!
You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

2010 Women's Conferece, "Equipped with JOY!" THIS WEEKEND

What robs you of joy? What a great opportunity to get away and be refreshed with a good soaking of God's presence! Register today! Click the link for more information.

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