Tuesday, July 26, 2011

All the Single Ladies...

A poem? Seriously. I haven't written a poem since I was 13. But that feeling thing that happens when I write a song, a chapter, a Blog, it showed up. I am old enough to know that it's the Holy Spirit. I argued. Tried to put music to it. Gave up. So here is my first poem in 23 years. It's dedicated to all my single ladies, all my single ladies, Oh, Oh, Oh....


He is not in the emptiness of a tryst. Or the control of a fist.
He is not even in the softness of a first kiss.

He is not in search of milk for free. Or voluptuous arm candy.
He is not smitten by lashes & chemistry.

No. He. The He. He-man. He-ro.
He looks deeper.

He is. In pursuit of you. By way of The Way.

He is seeking first The Kingdom.
He is walking down a road toward Proverb 31.
He is running straight into your destiny.

Will you be there? Where are you?
Wallowing in impatience?
Soaking in insecurity?
Or bathing in Esther's anointing of Preparation? Expectation?

God's ways are higher ways.
God's thoughts are greater thoughts.
God's plans are better plans.
God's man is THE Man.

Friday, July 15, 2011

True Authority

When authority is given to you what do you do with it? I am often amused (& annoyed) at how just a tiny bit of "authority" can change a person's attitude completely. And I'm not talking about being given a gun & a badge. I mean a clipboard. Some people are so power hungry that the slightest amount of "power" turns into some crazy-eyed dictator! So with that said, some believers have bought into the lie of the enemy that you have to choose between authority & humility. If the enemy can convince you of that farce then he's put you in a place of defeat. See, he fully understands your authority. Do you?
Jesus came to this earth to completely destroy the works of darkness. He exposed Satan's tactics & lies. He gave us the complete war-plan of the our enemy & then explained that He (Jesus) had already won the EVERY battle, so all we need to do is walk in that victory! But instead of doing that we allow the enemy to plant thoughts, fears, circumstances, etc in our lives & then we just live with it...until we can get to glory-land, hallelujah. Well, let let me remind you of YOUR AUTHORITY AS A BELIEVER! Christ is our example in all things, right? Phil. 2:5-11 tells us to take on Christ's attitude in all things. So what does that mean? He was the Son of God. He NEVER became anything else. He simply made the humble decision to to live inside of "flesh". But He was always the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Alpha, Omega, the Beginning, the End, the Door, the Way, the Truth, the Life! None of that changed! That is one of the ways He overcame the flesh for us! He lived it. He walked it. He tasted it. He felt it. But He NEVER submitted to it! Flesh submitted to His AUTHORITY! He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, but He answered with the Authority of the Word! The very same weapon we have access to today! He declared "IT IS FINISHED!" on the cross. What was finished? Everything. Everything we face, have faced, or will ever face was over! Jesus tell us in the Book of John that in this life we will face tribulation & difficulty. But He didn't stop with that sentence! He finished it up with "But be of good cheer for I have overcome the world & stripped it of its ability to harm you!"(AMP) Don't you see? Christ walked into the pit in those 3 dark days that His body lay in that tomb. He TOOK the keys of death, hell, & the grave. Keys represent authority! Remember where Jesus said He was giving us the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven? That we now have the authority to bind & to loose? (Matt. 16:19) We must begin to walk in that authority! Phil. 2 goes on to say that Christ humbly came to the earth. He gave up His divine privileges. He took the position of a slave...therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor! He gave Him The Name that is above every other name! At the sound of that Name every knee has to bow (to the authority of The Name)! Every knee in Heaven, on earth, & under the earth! Satan knows the authority we have through The Name of Jesus, the Blood of Jesus, & the New Covenant that we now have access to through Christ! Here's the difference in Christ's attitude & the attitude of flesh: Jesus had authority wrapped in humility! When we choose to submit to the One through which we have all this Spiritual Power, then we cannot be stopped by anything hell tried to throw at us! It is only when we walk with pride & arrogance that we will fall flat on our face & succumb to the attacks of the enemy. How do you know the difference? It's all about who gets the glory for your victories! Verse 11 of Phil. 2 says "Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father". When The Father receives ALL glory, then you know that your authority is based on your relationship with Jesus, not in some pseudo clipboard kind of "power". Don't allow the enemy to torment you anymore with what he tells you he is going to do in your life. Remind Him that "It is written..." & greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world! Simply put: Satan, IT IS FINISHED!

Friday, May 20, 2011

What if...

Well, I've promised friends and members of our congregation that I would begin to blog again. So I suppose if tomorrow IS the last day of civilization as we know it, then I should really get to it! Maybe you have been living under a rock for the last six months and don't have a clue about the great quake, rapture, and five months of torture being spoken over the earth. Harold Camping, 89, of California is predicting (I do not loosely use the term prophesying) that the world will end at precisely 6PM, Saturday, May 21, 2011. Well, begin to end anyway. It will actually come to an actual end October 21, 2011, but since I know Jesus, I will already be enjoying Heaven. While I prefer to place Mr. Camping into the category of the author of "88 Reasons Jesus will Return in 1988", I have a pretty vivid imagination. So I have been asking myself all day, "What if?"
The truth is, Mr. Camping picked a pretty important time to predict the Great Quake. Just yesterday our President made some very, umm, disturbing(?) suggestions to the Nation of Israel about dividing their land. Since the Bible clearly states the consequences of pitting yourself against His chosen people, it could be a magnificent coincidence if something catastrophic happens somewhere in our nation tomorrow...But, I don't think the Lord would really want a kooky man like Camping to take "credit" for the consequences of the GRAND MISTAKES (I am speaking far too kindly to Obama's statements and stand) that our current administration has made. Also, I believe God's people, who are called by His Name, are humbling themselves as I write, asking for mercy and forgiveness, and I believe that our God is hearing us. Blessed be His Name.
So, back to the point of this blog. What if? What if tomorrow at 6PM it was over? What would you do? What wouldn't you do? Here are some things I've come up with for myself:
I would forgive everyone. Every perpetrator of my wounds, tears, trauma, whatever. Forgiven. Every person I've ever been paranoid around, I would release that insecurity & fear. I would sit around with my family and snuggle under a blanket. We would talk about our high and low of the day or week. I would take a long hot bath while reading my favorite book on Heaven (my personal favorite is "A Divine Revelation of Heaven" by Mary K Baxter). I would probably sing. I love to sing worship songs around the house while I clean the kitchen, do laundry or other household chores. Ooo, and I would totally drink REAL Coke! And eat ice cream. I would let my kids sleep with us because I want to see the elation on their faces as we hear the Trumpet sound. I know it will all happen in a twinkling of an eye, but I would still love to see their beautiful smiles as we soared to meet Jesus in the air! Wow. I would definitely make sure all our bills were paid and my house was clean. I don't want people to question my character even after I'm gone. But wait! I'm getting ahead of myself! It's supposed to happen at 6Pm, so we'd be eating dinner. Ok, in that case, I would invite ALL of my family over to be here together. I would spend tomorrow morning going door to door in my neighborhood, posting things on fb, and making phone calls explaining the Gospel so that no one I knew would be left behind. I would call our church family together for one last service in our sanctuary. I would tell them how much we love them and how blessed we feel to be their pastors. Mark would read the passages in Revelation that describe the splendor of Heaven and we'd sing. I'd call my Mimaw and tell her we were about to be together with all our family who've already gone ahead of us and I'd have my Papaw pray over the phone just to hear that sweet voice as he talks to Jesus. I'd call Nanny and tell her how stinking excited I am to see my Pa! He never got to meet Mark. There's just so many things I can think to do...
But, I must tell you, I do not believe that tomorrow is the day. I interpret the Word to say that ONLY the Father Himself knows the day and the hour. So what do I do with all these ideas? I act on them as if today was my last day. I tell the world, and my neighbors that Jesus really did pay the price for them simply because He loves them. I worship the Lord with all that I do, whether I'm singing or not. I tell our church family how dear they are to us. I explain to my girls that we don't serve God because we're Pastors, but because He is so wonderful. I forgive everyone who has ever caused me pain. And I release that pain to my Healer. I make a decision to go visit my Mimaw & Papaw AS SOON AS school is out! I call my Nanny and go have lunch with my Dad and Lisa. I hang out with Mom and Chuck...and I NEVER let any of them wonder how I much I love them. I make sure they know! I continue to be a good steward (manager) of all the blessings God has given me: my health (no Coke & ice cream), my home, my money & my family. I will finish my assignments (yes, my book!). I boldly stand for Christ and His Word even in the face of religious mind sets and people who oppose me. I walk in the anointing that God has placed on my life without apology. And if tomorrow is my last day, I will hear "Well done, faithful Cheree'."
What about you?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Rest Stop

Growing up I looked forward to our annual family vacation each year. Very early in the time-share boom my parents purchased a condo which we used to spend one glorious week at the beach. Often we would leave in the middle of the night so there would be no hotel cost on our way. My sisters, my mom, & I would sleep a good portion of the trip while Dad drove. The smell of coffee and the sound of country music filled the car throughout the night. On occasion I would wake up to realize that we'd pulled over either on the side of the road or at a rest stop. My dad just needed a little rest in order to continue the long drive. But the true rest for him and each of us actually came when we arrived at our white sand destination. Our days were spent at the pool or "riding" the waves on our little brown floats. We ate our meals inside the condo. Three little girls with sun-kissed cheeks and Strawberry Shortcake pj's would sit around the table while Mom and Dad boiled shrimp and treated us to bear claw pastries. These are the greatest memories of my childhood. Not only because of the fun that we had as a family, but also the fact that our parents (who were pastors) were for seven days, absolutely and completely relaxed. It created an atmosphere of peace. I am not implying that our house was completely stressed out the remainder of the year, but between the ministry, Mom's job, and just simply life in general we were as busy and distracted as any All-American family. We never really learned that the rest that we were enjoying on our trip could be enjoyed all year long. At least, I never learned that fact :)
Maybe you're like me. You live for the evenings at home with nothing to do. And yet somehow, someway you create "burdens" for yourself. Like there is something terribly wrong with the occasional veg-out on the couch with your loved ones. See the problem is we have a hero complex about stress, busyness, anxiety, and even worry. We believe that rest is an action instead of a lifestyle. Jesus was very clear about worry and stress. He tells us in Matthew 6:25-34 not to worry about anything! Not your clothes, your shelter, your food...NOT ANYTHING! He asked if we thought that God loves the birds or the flowers in the field more than He loves us. The answer is of course, no, and yet we are concerned that although He meets their every need, He cannot take care of us. This passage is not about the lack of diligence, hard work, and planning. It's about the worry. It's about the anxiety. Did you wake up this morning with so much on your mind that you literally felt like crawling back in the bed and crying? It doesn't even have to be material things you are concerning yourself with right now. Maybe you are distracted by trying to fix relationships. Or possibly you are finding yourself so depressed and overwhelmed with situations in your life that you are not sure you can continue one more day. Whatever it is, learning to rely on the care that Christ Himself has for you is the first step in unloading your burdens. Later in the book of Matthew (chpt. 11:28-30) Jesus tells us to take every heavy burden that is weighing us down and give it to Him. Here is the passage from the New Living Translation: "Then Jesus said "Come to me all you who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke (burden) upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly and the burden I give you is light".
You may ask, "How can a burden traded for another burden be a good thing? Or how can a burden be considered light?" Well, the answer is this, the burden we receive from Jesus is empowering. The yoke is what was around the neck of the animal so that they could better pull the plow. It is what we need to get the things in our life (spiritually and physically) done the right way. The burden we give Him is that sick, desperate feeling. The hopelessness that so many people constantly live under. The trying-to-figure-it-all-out to no avail. That's what we are trading! We are trading anxiety for peace and problems for solutions! The rest that Jesus wants us to have is not a vacation from problems or a quick power-nap from our life. It is a life changing peace and rest that passes all our human understanding (Phillipians 4:6-7).
Remember the old Nestea commercials? I like to call this a spiritual Nestea plunge! Just fall back and let the REST that God has promised to cover all your thoughts. Allow yourself to hand-over every burden that you are carrying today. Don't let your emotions argue with the truth of true rest in our Savior! Live your life rested!

Be Blessed!

**For more study on the rest that God has promised us, go to Hebrews chapter 4

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Power of The Choice

In our Sunday School class we are doing a study on Defeating the Spirit of Fear. We've determined operating in Fear or Faith is a choice. Actually, having been given a free will by God, our entire relationship with Him is a series of choices. I look back on mistakes I've made and longed for the elusive "do-over". Obviously we can't live those moments again, but serving a God who longs for restoration with His children, I've learned the joy of the 2nd chance...& 3rd & 4th & on & on. Wow! I've made a lot of mistakes :) but He is so merciful! I am so grateful for a God who never gives up on the purposes He has for our lives. Phillipians 1:6 says that the God who began a good work in us is faithful to complete it. That is, He gives us opportunities to obey His voice, which then takes us to His purpose for us. In Numbers 13 & 14, Joshua was given such an opportunity. The Lord instructed Moses to choose leaders from each Tribe of Israel to go spy out "the land I am giving to Israel" (Num. 13:2). This was the promised land. It was already theirs according to the Word of the Lord. So the 12 spies go as instructed into the land to see who was living there, what the land was like, and what fruit was being produced there. They explored Canaan and found grapes so huge that one cluster had to be carried by two men on a pole between them! They described the land as "magnificent", "flowing with milk and honey". But they found the people who were living there were too strong in their eyes. Some were literally giants! Ten of these spies were so overwhelmed with these giants, that they seemingly overlooked the fact that this land was everything they'd dreamed of it being! But Caleb and Joshua decided to choose the better part. They chose to look at the giant fruit and not the giants themselves. They knew that this land belonged to them and no enemy of any size could keep them from it! I believe that it was this test that positioned Joshua in a place of leadership. What if he'd given into the crowd? The majority had the people so fearful that they wanted to stone Joshua and Caleb. But they chose to believe the Promise of the Lord. In Deuteronomy 30:11-20, a choice is given again to the people. "I've set before you life and death, blessing and cursing...choose life, that both you and your descendants may live!" Your choices will affect those under your influence. Joshua made a difference in the life of God's chosen people by choosing to see victory in the land and not defeat. Leadership is handed over to Joshua in chapter 31 of Deuteronomy. Moses says in verse 7 "Joshua, choose to be strong and courageous! The Lord isn't going to leave you. You are the one that He has chosen to lead the people to their inheritance. He will give your enemies over to you!" (That's a little "Cheree'" translation :) And that's exactly who led them into their promised land: Joshua. He is the same man who says "Choose you this day who you will serve...but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!" (Joshua 24:15) His life was full of choices that were divine set-ups for his destiny.
What will you choose to see today? Giants or grapes? Opposition or provision? Nothing can stand in your way if you will walk in the authority of God's promises.
I pray that in the face of difficulty, opposition, and giants trying to set up house in your promised land, you will never back down from the right choice!
Be blessed,

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bad Day?

So, I've had a pretty bad day. I went to bed with bad news on my mind & woke up with it still there. And just to add insult to injury, more began to come in via text around 7:45 AM. It's exactly 4:36 PM now & I haven't received negative news in approximately 1 hour. So...what do I do with this day? Here are some suggestions my imagination have given me:
1. Sleep, sleep, sleep
2. Get in my car & drive somewhere very far away
3. Drink (not really a drinker since I'm a Pastor's wife, but it crossed my mind :)
4. Call someone & let them have it
5. Tell God how disappointed I am in Him
6. Let my negative thoughts turn into negative words
Here is what I CHOSE to do:
1. Turn to the Word
The end. That's it. I am at a place in my life where I have chosen to give myself no other choice. Make sense? I cried as I spent time in the Word this morning. My "grief" doesn't intimidate God. As a matter of fact, I encouraged my class at church yesterday to study Psalm 119 throughout this week, so I went there myself. What I found was a Psalmist who was apparently having a bad day as well. The 119th Psalm is the longest of the books, so I imagine it may not have been written all in one sitting. There is an ebb and flow throughout the verses. Good days, bad days, joy & grief. Verse 25-32 is where I found a kindred voice today. The New Living Translation says it this way "I lie in the dust, completely discouraged; revive me by Your Word. I told You my plans, and you answered. Now teach me Your principles. Help me understand the meaning of Your commandments, and I will meditate on Your wonderful miracles. I weep with grief, encourage me by Your Word. Keep me from lying to myself. Give me the privilege of knowing Your law. I have CHOSEN to be faithful. I have DETERMINED to live by Your laws. I cling to Your decrees. Lord, don't let me be put to shame! If You will help me, I will run to follow Your commands!"
I've had to make a choice today to believe that God is true to His Word. He loves me. I choose to believe in His Love and purposes for my life. If the enemy can ever get you to doubt the Love that our Father has for us, then we will never truly trust in His Word. I ask the Lord daily for two things: divine wisdom & a sign of His Favor toward me (Ps. 86:17). He indeed showed His Favor by supplying for one of the situations through an unlikely source. As well as divine wisdom to see my way to that source. I could choose to see the many, many, (did I say many?) negative reports but I MUST choose to focus on God and His Word. I will say that I am truly ready for this day to end, but at least I have hope for what tomorrow holds. Everyday that I choose Faith and not fear, is one day closer to the destiny that the Lord has in store for me! Not one bad day is worth turning my back on that!
Be Blessed!