Thursday, May 26, 2016

Just Plain Salty

  My Father, My God.  Creation bears witness, you are Creator and Sustainer of all. The 
sunrise and sunset, the moon and the stars, the oceans and the rivers, the mountains and the 
valleys, the heavens and the earth.  No man can fully comprehend what happens in the earth
 in a single day.  Worthy is the Lord to be praised for all the great things that He has done! 
Please help Christians throughout the world to declare bold witness and testify to the 
goodness of Christ.  Help us to be a unique and distinct flavor in our times, those not waiting
 to be influenced but those willing to influence others with the love of God. In Jesus’ name, 

                              Just Plain Salty by Veronica Garrett 
  “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” (Matthew 5:13)

Regardless to how politically correct we would like to appear, we are always forced to consider what’s right and what’s wrong. Our culture demands that everything is relative, yet when great tragedy occurs we all agree that there are moral absolutes. Beware of empty philosophies that eliminate the sense of judgment, responsibility or accountability. Any people willing to remove all moral restraints are destined to self destruct. 
 If we are not careful, in our great opportunity to exercise our religious freedom and support those who disagree with us, we shrink back from being salty. Salt acts a preservative; in essence it adds flavor to that which it has been added.“Righteous exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people(Proverbs 14:34).” 
 I have a God given responsibility, as I apply God’s word to my life to affect the community, city and nation in which I live. I lose my saltiness when my being included in a culture does not add any distinction.  My saltiness should be the fact that my life is marinated in what the Bible teaches and therefore it affects how I live my life and how I view the world.  I’m not asserting to what I think, feel, or experience but agreeing with the God breathed word of the Bible.   
Many Christians say, it has to get worse before Christ returns anyway.  Although I think this is wrong who am I to impose my views on those who disagree with me?  They say you have to separate church and state, we cannot hold political leaders to God’s moral standards. This is a cop out. When you live in a democracy, the leaders are a mirrored reflection of the preeminent views of the people. As a Christ follower, my ballot is caste with a consciousness towards Him.  In as much as I have self interest and a personal agenda, I willingly forsake them both for Christ sake.  If any man wants to be his disciple he must deny himself.  I am persuaded that He will take care of the things that I entrust to Him.
We spend far too much time thinking what effect things will have on us when we have been left here to affect everything. What is being preserved does not ruin because the salt is just plain salty.  In 2 Chronicles 7:14, the “if my people who are called by my name” are God’s people. When God’s judgment befalls a nation it is not because of the disobedience of unbelievers, it is because God’s people became so culturally relevant until they lost their saltiness. 
In as much as those living in darkness may call us intolerant, the paradox is they are unwilling to tolerate us agreeing with what God has said. We’re not making it up as we go.  In fact, some of it challenges us. As long as there is life in me I have a responsibility to agree with the living God. In the mists of trials, mockery and slander, my purpose in the earth is to be just plain salty.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

To Know and To Be Known

 Lord God, I thank you for your unfailing love. You are a merciful God, slow to anger and 
abounding in love.  Awesome Father, I pray that we will know you and that you may open the 
eyes of our hearts to what it means to be known by You. Loving Master, restore to us 
salvation's joy that our lives may be filled with an overflow of You. Please help us to boast in 
only in You. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

To Know and To Be Known by Veronica Garrett 
 Not Everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers! Matthew 7:21-23
We have all met the type of people who like to drop names of their affiliation with important people.  They are the types who usually don’t have a real connection with the famed or celebrated personalities, but in their search for significance they bask in the glory of the most noteworthy person they know.  However, the celebrated person doesn’t really know them. Although modern media has made this more attainable, it’s not a new thing.  From the early days of Jesus’ ministry there were those who claimed to know Him and yet he declared He never knew them.  
We know that Jesus is omniscient; He is all knowing so he is not referring to a lack of awareness of the person.  To be known in this case is to have a relationship with Him. They had not accepted Him as Lord and Savior. Quite honestly we meet people today who will tell you they know the Word and they know Jesus but when asked have they accepted Him as Lord and Savior it is here they fail the essential of what it really means to know and to be known by Him.  They know about the Word and they know about Jesus but know him they do not. 
If we are not careful we will allow those closest to us to think that due to some legacy of faith and generational commodity they have inherited what it is to know and be known. How often do people say I’ve been Christian as long as I can remember? I grew up Christian…When this happens we must persuade them to think harder to a point of exchange—When did Christ become their Redeemer? When did He become your Savior? Maybe he never has but we should compel them to come to know Him and be known by Him today.
To know and be known is not due to my generous service or monetary giving. In most cases my service and giving preceded or succeeded it.  Many people have participated in church service all of their lives and spent great energy on religious tradition but die without knowing Him. They can give testimony of all that Christ has been to everyone else except self-- they have no relationship with Him. All mankind is God’s creation but not all are His children. I believe this is by far the greatest blessing in the life of the Christian, to known and to be known by Him.  
Social networking gives a real picture to our desire to know and be known. Quite honestly I can be overwhelmed by the constant feed from hundreds of friends on the internet. Who’s in the grocery store, on their way home from work or Wal-mart at times can at times be just plain tedious.  And yet, there is one who delights in each of us even to the numbering of the hairs on our heads. My mom was still calling me the baby and He was well aware of my name. In fact, before I was formed in her womb He saw me. 
I too have this overwhelming need to know and be known but there is only One who can answer my enormous need.  Guilty I am of sharing the tedious with Him and I find great pleasure in what it means to know and be known by Him. He answers my questions before I voice them and He shows Himself to be worthy of all my praise.  The relationship of knowing and being known by God does not make me self consumed. Quite the contrary, it humbles me to a posture of praise. I am convinced that the greatest gift in life is to know and to be known by Him.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Alien Nation

My Lord, thank you for calling me out of darkness into your marvelous light. Thank you for 
calling a people who were not a people and making them into a chosen people. Thank you for 
making this same people into a royal priesthood, a holy nation and a people belonging to You.
Bless my family and friends richly with your presence.  Bless 
godly men, women, and children throughout this city, state, country and world. Please Lord 
richly bless the efforts of  your servants. Father, please bless abundantly and give
 grace and favor to the family, ministry, and career 
of all your disciples. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Alien Nation by Veronica Garrett 

 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 1 Peter 2:11

When a foreigner is visiting a country, he or she does not have the rights of the citizens of that country. For example, foreigners do not have the right to vote. As a Christ follower, my allegiance is to God. There are certain rights that Americans may have but due to my heavenly citzenship I forfeit these liberties.  There are many civil disputes, life choices and alternatives in our nation that do not take take this into account.
In fact, many foreigners may have a working visa that allows them to live in this country. A working visa allows a person to stay as long as they are working. I too have a work assignment that designate my length of days in this foreign land. My life's purpose is to complete the works that were prepared in advanced for me to do.
Most often the stand out trait of a foreigner or alien is the dialect. It is often intriguing because the accent speaks of a different land.  It may even sound strange. I too speak a language that is strange to many. My beliefs and values are so contrary to the norm until I  am type caste as an alien.  The mere fact that I refuse my sinful desires is counter culture.  Living in a foreign land and being an alien is at times challenging, my words are misinterpreted, my work is misunderstood, and my country's identification is mistaken.
The fact that the apostle Paul urges me to live as an alien and stranger in this world let's me know there is urgency in resisting sinful desires. These desires are are at war against my very soul.  They are apart of a greater plot and scheme. They will play me right into the hands of my enemy who seeks to bring me captive. His schemes are like those of a terrorist and his plan for me includes massive destruction instead of the abundant life that God's people should enjoy.  Those who belong to a royal family most boldly express allegiance to the King of kings. Consider yourself an alien and a stranger, realizing that you have been sent here on assignment by God.  You have all the right connections to influence the lives that He has purposed. Today I am reminding myself that I am a stranger and an alien to this world liken to one visiting a foreign country.     

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Art of Forgiveness


 O Magnify the Lord with me for He alone is worthy to be praised.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

The Art of Forgiveness by Veronica Garrett 

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
         For His mercy endures forever.
  Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
         Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,
  And gathered out of the lands,
         From the east and from the west,
         From the north and from the south. Psalm 107:1-3 (NKJV)

Forgiveness allows a broken place in our life to become the backdrop to something beautiful. God's forgiveness takes the worst of who we are and transforms us into His likeness. The redemptive love of Christ takes our greatest failures and craft together an expression of beauty. Our broken places become no different than broken mosiac tiles creatively placed, displaying extravagant beauty and splendor.
These broken places become a defining thing like broken glass becoming a work of art. True forgiveness creatively takes a broken thing and makes it into a masterpiece Ask any artist of great skill how he or she does their work and words like time, disclipline, inspiration, practice, and patience are words you may hear. We must learn from the Master the artistry of forgiveness with great skill.  Being amateurs we must be inspired by God's forgiveness for us and disclipline ourselves to work patiently and practice forgiveness.
The flow of the Holy Spirit in our lives enables us to forgive the most hurtful situations.  The free flow of the Holy spirit liberates and heals the wounded. In my own strength and limitation I may be faced with seeming unforgiveable and yet when I apply the passion of calvary's of the cross to that hurt what I have received flow on to those I've been hurt by. A man or woman of God has no right to stop the power of God's forgiveness from flowing through their lives. God's forgiveness through the redeeming love of His son is what makes us His masterpiece.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A "Can Do" Attitude

Lord God, I thank you for this day. You are my Strong Tower. Oh God arise, let your enemies 
be scattered. I know that trials come to strengthen my faith. Thank you for sufficient grace 
each and every day. Please bless my Pastor and His family, my church family and friends. 
Bless my co-workers and my family, In Jesus' name, Amen. 

A "Can Do" Attitude by Veronica Garrett 
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phillippians 4:13 (NKJV)

There comes a time when every child of God must face a giant. What are giants? They are great challenges, opposition and resistance to achieving our goals.  Many of us can supercede the expectation of those around us in optimal circumstance.  However, the idea of facing a giant is the ability to perservere in the face of adversity. The amazing race that we run does not go to the swift nor the strong but to the one that endures to the end.  When I consider that my talent or abilities will not secure the prize, it is true that having a "can do" attitude will. Any time you are developing endurance you are growing stronger in order to overcome whatever tries to hold you back.
Far too often we fail to press on towards the mark of the high calling. A "Can Do" Attitude gives assurance when my qualifications, temperament, or skills constrain me Christ strengthens me so that I can. My weaknesses are real but when I consider my God He is far greater. Rather than face a giant, we surrender dreams of becoming business owners, artists, doctors, or other careers we greatly desire. In as much as my distrust appears to be toward's myself it really goes deeper than that.  I find it difficult to invest all that I am into believing that I can do all things through Christ. I find it hard to believe He will strengthen my many weaknesses.
In 1Samuel 17, we have the young David coming bring a care package to his three older brothers who are in the Valley of Elah with Saul and all of then men of Israel fighting the Philistine. David's father sent him to see how his brothers were doing. So here Goliath is giving his daily insult toward Israel and David witnesses it. In 1 Samuel 17:26, he asked the men standing near him, "What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?"
The giant Goliath has been making his comments each morning and evening for forty days. So David tells Saul he will fight Goliath. After some resistence Saul  agrees to allow David to fight Goliath. David stated that Lord would deliver him from the giant.  Anytime we are facing a giant we are in need of the miraculous. So with five smooth stones and a sling the young David faced an armored giant named Goliath. David went against the giant in the name of the Lord and he struck Him down. Some of the giants that we run from we should run toward in the name of the Lord. Only then can we have a "can do" attitude.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Seeing Is Believing




  Lord God, Thank you for your tender mercy and unfailing love. Please Lord, give me a clean heart so that I can see you. Give me spiritual wisdom to give godly counsel and to labor today as your representative in the earth. Lead me and guide me by your spirit so that I can cooperate with your work in the earth. Please comfort those who have suffered the tragic loss of a loved one.  Bless our nation, and our government --give them wisdom for the task before them. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Seeing is Believing by Veronica Garrett 

 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 1 Timothy 4:1
We live in a time when people are intrigued with the supernatural. There are many shows that demonstrate signs and wonders.  Some would say, "seeing is believing".  Unfortunately, many Christians fail to discern spirits and assume that any spiritual manifestation has to be God. In contrast, we know that 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.
Believers who are willing to believe what they see can easily be misled. While often searching for the newest move of the spirit as well as some manifestation of spiritual gifts, people can be influenced by deceiving spirits.  What I've learned about spirit led living is my own desires have to give way to God's greatest purpose. A person can have great boldness and fervor to  pronounce and lead in their own way and not be led of the Spirit.  
Learning to listen to the Spirit's leading is a growing process. If we never begin to listen we will fail to hear.  Our own unctions have to be deciphered and as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit he willingly teaches us how to hear and see Him more clearly. While driving to work one day I felt a strong urge to stop at a gas station. I believed I was being led of the Spirit to do so. My car was nearly full of gas and with some relunctance I pull up to the gas pump. No sooner than I could step out of the car a man asked me would I buy him something to eat. I went inside and purchased as much as one can find in a convenience store for breakfast. The man's face was filled with gratitude and he said, "Thank you, God Bless You". It was my great privilege and the joy of the Lord over flooded my heart. Over the years I've been asked for food and money by many but I can never recall that look of appreciation nor the prior unction. God is in the people business--saving the lost, helping the needy and encouraging spiritual growth. 
We should not quench the spirit but always allow Him to freely flow in our lives. We must yield ourselves to God and be used for His glory.  When God promises to exalt, bless and esteem us before men it always has His purpose at heart.  In the last days many false teachings will happen within the church. The people of God must know the truth in order to recognize falsehood. In this case, one great resource that is often overlooked is the word of God.  It brings into balance my understanding of the ways and character of God.  It also restrains from misrepresenting the God we love by violating His divine order and principles. Those who deceiving spirits often prey upon think studying somehow is at odds with their faith so they tend to value an abstract view of faith matters.  In contrast, scripture is the guide to help keep us on track. 
Charisma and animated expression are not true witness of God's presence and the people of God must test the spirit by the spirit.  Seeing is not always believing. Some manifestations are from the pit of hell. They are traps used by the evil one in efforts to deceive the elect. One lesson we learn in this life of faith is that our natural vision is often misaligned with what is happening in the supernatural. When we are poor we are rich. We we are cursed we are blessed. When we are seemingly defeated we stand in victory.  Only when we believe God can we see things as they really are.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Bullet Proof


  Heavenly Father, Thank you for my health and strength. Please forgive me for my sins--those I've committed as well as those that I've omitted. Please help me to use my faith to shield me from the attacks of the evil one.  Prick the hearts of the lost and prepare them to hear the good news. Give me the courage to share the gospel and an earnest desire to see the captives set free. Bless my family, friends, and colleagues.In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Bullet Proof by Veronica Garrett 

  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
The on duty police officer acknowledges that he may come under attack somewhere during the day so he prepares by wearing a bullet proof vest. Due to his line of work, it is quite reasonable that he may come under attack with little or no warning. The vest which may go unnoticed by those in view of him, provides protection to his vital organs. The time for him to dress in this vest is not during an altercation but prior to an occurence.
Like it or not a Christian is on the front line of the Lord's army. He or she must prepare by wearing the full armor of God. Most attacks of the evil one come with little to no warning.  At times it is a series of trivial events that can somehow provide great discouragement.  Very rarely do we hear of one standly boldly while another attempts to cause them bodily harm. However, when we rightly raise our shield of faith we can confidently stand our ground. Our faith will quench all the flaming arrows as each one comes our way. Not one, not two, but all the arrows of the evil one.
When there are holes in our faith, ideas of distrust and doubt arise. When distrust and doubt becomes sizeable fear develops. As fear increases so does a sense of panic and a strong urge to respond. When we respond in fear our actions are just plain unreasonable. It is not because they do not believe in God that most are tossed to and fro. The problem lies, when things are shakey and they cannot see their way out, they don't concentrate their effort to believe God. Focus. If we don't stand firm in faith we wont stand at all.  
Our enemy does not shoot blanks, he fires loaded weapons of flaming arrows. His hope is to coerce you and I to forfeit God's blessings in our moments of weakness. Job is testimony of how real the flaming arrows of the evil one can be. And yet, in the mist of great crisis and distress Job set his heart to trust in God.  When we focus our hearts and our minds on trusting God in the mist of trials we too are shielded by our faith.