Friday, January 29, 2010

Where Is God?

In talking to a friend this week, it was obvious she felt deserted by God. Have you ever felt that way? You are doing what you feel God has led you to do, you've been seeking His will and His face, all to be left feeling like He's completely forgotten you. You're wandering in some no-man's land and you're beginning to wonder if you're doing the right thing? Maybe this wasn't the direction you were supposed to go? If so, God would've fixed the problem by now. Maybe I just need to give up. After all, God would've heard my prayers and answered them long before this point. I just don't think I can make it another day. I've exhausted all of my faith.

In homeschooling Gracie, she's been learning about the Biblical significance of Asia and Europe and the history behind them. One country we've studied a great deal about this semester is Egypt. The eastern part of Egypt is called the Sinai Peninsula. It's a triangular piece of land, about 23,000 square miles, and it's the land Moses and the children of Israel wandered in for 40 years. There's just no way to get from Egypt to Canaan without traveling through alot of desert. This peninsula is one of the driest, bleakest, loneliest places on earth. Surviving a desert experience like that changes you. The Israelites who entered the Promised Land were not the same complaining weaklings who initially left Egypt. Most of the slave generation had died and only a few remained. Forty years had passed and a new generation of tested, tried and true children had grown up and matured.

Joshua was one of those. He had suffered along with his fellow wanderers, gone through countless delays and trials, yet Joshua matured. He started out as one of Moses' spies, warriors and then began the preparation of leading Israel after Moses' death.

So what did this desert experience accomplish for the children of Israel and for people like Joshua? Moses tells them in Deuteronomy 8:2, "Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands." Moses goes on to tell them in Deuteronomy 30:16, "Love the Lord your God, walk in his ways, and keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess."

With every test in the desert and when it seems God is absent and everything is going wrong, will you still trust Him enough to patiently allow Him to prepare you for what's ahead? This desert spot we often find ourselves in because we follow Him doesn't happen because God isn't paying attention, because He's angry at us or because He's forgotten we're still down here. Instead, it happens for a good and important reason--it is an invaluable lesson of preparation for the blessing of what is to come. This vast desert is God's gift to your future! Can you wander in it alittle while longer?

Monday, January 25, 2010

What Is Abundant Life?

Call most businesses and someone will answer the phone like this, "Thank you for calling so-in-so company. How may I help you?" Have you ever had someone answer the phone and when you tell them what you need, they don't seem to know how to help? In turn, they pass you along to someone else who can get the job done.

What is it that you need? I mean, what is it that you really need? Is it a physical healing? It is a financial miracle, a job change, or maybe just to hear from the Lord on a particular matter?

John 10:10 is one of the more recognized verses in the New Testament. Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full." One translation puts it like this, "I came, that they have life, and have more plenteously." The Message says, " I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of."

For me, John 10:10 is what I have termed the 'everything I need' gospel.

I've heard people refer to how poor they were growing up. Many of them say they didn't have much money, but they had everything they needed. That's exactly what God does for you and me---everything we need.

What is a full life, an abundant life or a plenteous life to you? For me, it's peace. It's being content with what I have and yet striving for more spiritually. It's knowing that although the world may be in turmoil with it's wars and families may be shredding apart, God is still in control. It's relying on Father God to see me through every circumstance that comes my way. Because you see, everything you get with the arm of the flesh, you must keep with the arm of the flesh. There's nothing I have that I want to have to fight to keep! But whatever I gain in the spirit, I keep in the spirit.

What parent would not give their child what they need? The child may want the latest in cellphones, fashions and cars. As a parent, there comes a time when you have to decipher a need from a want, and as you know, there is a vast difference.

So if Jesus said He came so that we can have "life and have it to the fullest," then He was saying everything we ever need, He will provide. No, we may not get that job promotion, win the Publishers Clearinghouse millions or even be healed from a devastating cancer, but Jesus said He will provide...somehow, someway. It is not our responsibility to fix whatever it is. Our sole responsibility is to trust that if Jesus said He will give us a full life, then He will provide that life for us.

That's what's so amazing about grace.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Going Through Spiritual Warfare?

I've been studying more about spiritual warfare. So many times, we think of lies, various addictions, gossip or hateful comments and attitudes as just plain sin, which it is. Ephesians 6:12 says, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." So where does all of this come from? From Satan and his army of adversaries "in the heavenly realms". Paul reminds us in Ephesians 1:3, "God has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ." According to this, there is a spiritual battle constantly going on in our lives in the unseen world and God has ALREADY blessed us in it! God wants us to be delivered from the power of Satan and his forces.

The good news is, that's already happened, so there's no need for us to fear our spiritual enemy. However, Satan still has the freedom to temp and harass Christians, but he has no direct authority over us. Instead, we have authority over him through Jesus Christ.

I'm sure you've dealt with it before, or possibly are dealing with it now in some way. For instance, take this blog. I normally leave the posting options open so anyone anywhere can post their comments on my blog, leaving their name or not. A few times, I've had some spammers who try to post a porn website, which I can delete. A couple of weeks ago, someone commented on one of my entries and made fun of my beliefs. They wrote how "stupid and wrong" they think I am as chief meteorologist for WLBT and how God is "laughing at me". I thought about leaving the comment on the blog so many of you could see what I deal with on a daily basis from the public, but decided it best to delete. It served no purpose and it was a personal attack. I saw it as spiritual warfare. Why? Because that person was simply a pawn in Satan's hand. The poster was being used by Satan to talk hate, ridicule my Father God, and the career I believe He has called me to do. The sad part about it--that person had no clue how they were being controlled. That is spiritual warfare.

Perhaps it is someone who has been spreading gossip about you, someone who has continued to make your life difficult, or even a disobedient child. We will, on occasion, have to confront Satan's work in people's lives. In Acts 13, we find where Paul and his friends met a false prophet (a phony) named Bar-Jesus. A high ranking official wanted Paul and Barnabas to teach him about Jesus but Bar-Jesus opposed them and tried to persuade the official not to listen. Verses 9-12 says, "Then Paul filled with the Holy Spirit looked straight at him and said, 'You are the child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun.'" Did you see where Paul wasn't afraid to confront Bar-Jesus right there on the spot and tell him WHO was controlling him? Paul didn't get his feelings hurt, tuck his tail and slowly walk away, only to tell his friends how he had been so hurt my what had just happened. No, Paul talked directly TO Satan, without mincing words!

Spiritual warfare for Christians is fought in the mind, emotions and the will. The scripture is our first line of defense and that's why Paul urges us to be renewed with our minds. The more our minds are filled with the truth in God's Word, the less susceptible we are to Satan's musings through other people and temptations. Remember, Satan uses principalities to control personalities.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Need To Hear God's Voice

I spent the first half of my Saturday speaking at First Baptist Mize women's brunch. Even on a rainy, dreary day, the church was packed. They had to line the walls with chairs! These women were so full of life and were eager to hear from the Holy Spirit. Thank you, ladies, for a "Son-filled" weekend after all!

The more older I get, the more I realize the need to hear the voice of God. Luke 12:47 makes a brutal statement, "That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows." That isn't the kindest passage, is it? As I reflect on last week's fast and the fast I'm currently on, I'm seeing that prayer and fasting makes one sensitive to the voice of the Lord. With all of the pressures and schedules pulling me here, there and yonder, it is enabling me to hear Him above everything else going on around me.

I wonder why we as Christians have gotten out of the habit of prayer and fasting? Instead we've gone to setting out "fleeces" in an attempt to know God's will for our life.

As a parent, I have a tendency to say, "just wait" or "just hold on" to my children. If I keep giving them this same answer, they become frustrated over time and do whatever they want to anyway. When I give a "no" answer, it is because I don't believe my child is ready for whatever they've asked for or what they've asked for is not good for them. When they get older and show more maturity and demonstrate responsibility, my "no" is lifted and becomes a "yes".

God knows what we can handle and He knows what is good for us. He already knows what we will do with what He gives us. Therefore, God doesn't answer our prayers in vague terms. His answers are specific and to the point. Because we Christians no longer hear the voice of God clearly, we act like immature preteens and end up getting ourselves into trouble in the process. It's time we grow up and act like adult believers.

Through last week's fast, I learned that every decision I make should be inspired by God; every move I make should be ordained by Him. If my decisions and moves aren't ordained by Him and His will for my life, I shouldn't be surprised when it isn't a success. God isn't trying to hide His will or to make it some mystery difficult to figure out. I think He just wants to be able to communicate with us anytime what it is He wants for us. He wants us to seek Him.

Acts 17:27 says it best, "God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us."

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thinking Yourself Happy

Last night before bath time, Gracie asked if she could take a shower. Knowing she once tried to take a shower and she lasted all of 10 seconds, I reminded her of her last attempt. "But momma, I just want to try it again. Please?" she begged. I consented and explained to her how to take a shower. She stepped in and took it from there. "When you get finished, let me know," I yelled through the door. "I'll help you get out." Gracie yelled back, "I'm finished, mom. But I want to stay in here alittle longer and sing!" So, Gracie commenced to singing in the shower. Gracie's melodies reminded me of the importance of being happy.

Think about the Apostle Paul. He was snake bitten, shipwrecked, beaten, or in the middle of prison and he would probably say, "I feel like singing now because Jesus is in my heart and I'm counting on God." How would you like to have been chained to Paul for a year? Paul wasn't some lonely, confused, bitter preacher.

If you read about Paul's presentation in the king's court, you'll see what I mean. King Agrippa, his sister Bernice, Governor Festus and all of the military leaders, lawyers and other important people were there when Paul came in. They wanted to make fun of him, but you can't make fun of a happy man. Paul probably had the least reason to be jovial of anybody in that whole crowd. Standing around him were people who had power and money, fame and prestige but Paul says to King Agrippa, "Oh, king, I think myself happy." (Acts 26:2)

Paul told them all about how Jesus Christ came to earth, was crucified, rose from the dead and is alive. Before it was over, I can just imagine King Agrippa shaking from conviction. The kind said in verse 28, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." I think that's one of the saddest stories in the Bible because as far as we know, the king never accepted Christ and found the unspeakable joy that Paul had. Although he heard testimony from one of the best preachers other than Jesus himself, the king was more concerned with what his friends thought. King Agrippa died a poor, broken man.

One translation of Acts 26:2 puts it this way, "I have been congratulating myself". I don't think Paul was boasting of who he was in the flesh. Paul was boasting of what God had accomplished for him through Christ. Paul was bragging on redemption.

It reminds me of a song we sang in church Sunday:
Joy unspeakable that won't go away
Just enough strength to live for today
So I never have to worry what tomorrow may bring
Cause my faith is on solid rock, I'm counting on God
I'm counting on, I'm counting on God!

Monday, January 11, 2010

My Fasting Reflections

(This blog entry is alittle heavy, so let me warn you of my inmost feelings ahead of time!)

Saturday night, I traveled to Topeka Baptist Church outside Jayess. I've never been to Jayess and neither had my GPS! In fact, my GPS said the town and the church did not exist, so I knew I must have been in the right place. What an awesome night with those ladies! It was a sold out crowd and one I will not surely forget in weeks to come. It became apparent to me why I had fasted the week before as more and more ladies would come up to me and tell me what I had spoken about was just what they had been dealing with. Now THAT is a God-thing!

That was topped off by our worship service yesterday. Our pastor never got the chance to give his sermon, only because the Holy Spirit was falling on us all. I like to joke that I'm a good Baptist girl, but I was about ready to run the aisles! Don't you just love it when you step out of your comfort zone and let the Holy Spirit lead?

I've done quite a bit of personal reflection on last week's fast and, boy, have my eyes been opened. I read Isaiah 58:1-12 and was floored by my own lack of fasting and prayer. I think we have abandoned fasting and praying because we didn't seem to get the desired results we wanted before. Is the problem with God? When we pray and fast and don't get a breakthrough, there is something in our life that needs to be dealt with.

John 14:12 says, "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." Notice Jesus promised "greater things", not lesser works. So we should expect and receive "greater things"!

My purpose in fasting should be what is spelled out in Isaiah 58:6-7, to "loose the chains of injustice", to "untie the cords of the yoke", to "set the oppressed free", and to "break every yoke". This is the heart of God. When we begin praying the heart of God and fasting for the desires of the heart of God, we see results. If I can only fast for a new car, a new job or house, my motives are wrong and I will be disappointed with the result of my sacrifice of going without food. If we really put God first, He will never fail to put us first. But if we put him third, He is not obligated to answer our every whim and fancy. If having fun is more important to us than having God's favor on our lives, there isn't much hope for our spiritual futures.

God is saddened because He knows that prayer and fasting can make us powerful in the Spirit. Meantime, Satan is thrilled because, without the power of the Spirit of God, we can never stand against him.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Climbing Higher

Recently I watched a documentary on the climbers who tackle Mount Everest. As you know, this is the tallest mountain in the world. But the climbers can't go from the bottom to the top in just one day. It takes several days for their bodies to adjust to the high altitude. They have camps they stay at for days at a time so their bodies can get used to the atmospheric changes. Even medically, their bodies change. Their red blood cells actually double in number to be able to carry enough oxygen to keep them alive. I guess you could say this type of climbing must be in your blood in order for you to survive!

Psalm 24:3-4 says, "Who may ascend to the hill of the Lord? Who many stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessings from the Lord and vindication from God his Savior." God challenges anyone who wants to move up higher in their relationship with Him. After He says we must have clean hands and a pure heart, He promises blessing from the Lord.

I mentioned Monday I would share with you what I set out to do for the new year. Well, I've been fasting since Sunday. I started out doing a liquid fast and transitioned to a Daniel fast late this week. And after writing down the things I wanted to hear from God and the people I was specifically praying for, I've continued it up to this point. No, it hasn't been easy and I've had to rely heavily upon the Holy Spirit to get me through the headaches as my body has dealt without caffeine. But I am convinced this is what the Lord wanted me to do and get 'uncomfortable' while I was doing it.

I'm learning there are some blessings we cannot receive from God at the level I'm currently at. We must move up higher in God's presence. And as we make adjustments to the altitude, we must also make adjustments to our attitude (not very easy!). I believe the true hunger in the heart of every believer is God's presence. I was convicted for 2010, it is time for me to move up higher in the glory of God. This where we are satisfied, fulfilled and where blessings flow.

It may take me some getting used to, it could get unpleasant at times, and there may be plenty of challenges along the way. But I'm letting the Holy Spirit be my guide and I'll trek on with my pursuit of a change in altitude!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thursday's Winter Weather-Update

The moisture has moved out of the area today and the chill is moving in!

We received numerous reports of snow, sleet, icy conditions and sleet across our viewing area, as expected. The biggest threat we have now is the dangerous wind chill and temperatures this evening and into the weekend.

Also, if you are traveling early Friday morning, please proceed with caution. The bridges, overpasses and county roads could re-freeze overnight.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Winter Weather Possible

The big question I've been asked over the last couple of days: will we have any wintry weather this week? It is looking more and more likely.

In these kind of scenarios, 1 or 2 degrees can make all the difference when it comes to the precipitation type, whether it falls as rain, sleet or snow. Not only is the temperatures critical, but location is pivotal. While you may have all rain where you are, someone just 10 miles up the road could have sleet.

Although north Mississippi could be in for a small icing event, which could still cause power outages and travel problems, I don't think central Mississippi will get that much. Some light accumulations of rain, sleet and snow will be possible. And as I've mentioned several times on WLBT, if you are the least bit concerned about driving in this weather on Thursday and early Friday, don't. Roads will be passable, but it's the driving of the inexperienced that can cause problems. If you live in a rural area, be prepared for outages just in case you get a heavier glaze on powerlines and trees than others.

Here is the National Weather Service's graphical depiction of what is expected late tonight and Thursday. Find your county and you'll see what is "possible". Meantime, I'll be with you on WLBT throughout the duration, giving you the latest updates and forecasts.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Welcome to 2010!

I hope you had a few days to enjoy your family and friends as we celebrated Christmas and New Years. I took a few days off myself and it seemed to fly by as it always does.

In spending time away from work, I had a chance to go home to visit my family. Here is our annual Christmas picture taken in my parents' home. Me and my two sisters are on the back row with our husbands; my brother is next to my dad, and the grandchildren fill in the spaces.
So have you made your new years resolutions yet? Just for kicks, I went back to read over my blog entry I on January 5, 2009 to see what written as far as resolutions are concerned. Here is what I wrote:

"I want to lose another 10 pounds which will get me back to my high school weight; I will shower heaven with more thankfulness for everyday blessings; and I want to finish writing my book."

I lost those other 10 pounds and lost a total of 54 pounds; I have certainly become more grateful and full of more praise; and I finished my book, which is already selling on Amazon and I have a full slate of book signings scheduled. Now for 2010's resolutions.

Although I want to continue working hard to keep the 54 pounds off that I lost, my challenges this year will be more spiritual in nature. To start with, I'm keeping my first challenge more personal for now. I'll share that with you this Friday after I've had some time to go through it.

This year, I want to be more of a Godly witness to those I come in contact with, those who watch me every day, and to my family. I want to finish reading the Bible through since I've more than half way through it.

For me, 2010 is all about sitting back and watching God move in ways that only He could get the glory for. So, what are you resolving to do this year? Share them with me right here on this blog. You can do it anonymously or you can sign in if you have a Google account.