Extreme Makeover

When I was young I hated my nose because it didn’t look like Hollywood’s definition of beauty. I wanted to change so many things about my appearance.  I even questioned God why He made me the way I was.

Insert Vol 96 America's next top model

Insert Vol 96 America’s next top model (Photo credit: Insert Magazine)

I grew up in Los Angeles, California, next to “Hollywood” where looks and image are extremely important. Surrounded by the world’s standard of what I should look like, I got discouraged when I didn’t look like America’s next top model. I could not emulate Hollywood’s standards of beauty, intelligence, and success.

As I began to grow in the Word, I began to see myself more through the eyes of God. Those things that I didn’t like about myself, especially my nose became the things that made me special and unique.

If I had continually used society’s yardstick to measure my life, I would come out as lacking. I would not have been able to fulfill my own destiny if I continued to try to live someone else’s life.

The world defines success as the attainment of wealth, goals, position, or honors; but the biblical meaning of success or Sakal-Hebrew, actually means to prosper, wise and understand.  (Read Joshua 1:8)

Joshua 1:8 (ESV)

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

God definition of success is different from the world. It is not about the attainment of physical beauty, wealth, position and honors, but about having wisdom, understanding and flourishing as a person. His Word was my extreme makeover. Mediate on God’s Word daily and you will be on the road to success.

Prayer of Healing: 

Father, I thank you that I am a beautiful and unique person. In Psalms 139, You said that I am fearfully and wonderful made. Your works are wonderful and that is what I determine to see about myself.  Forgive me for comparing myself to others and judging myself by worldly standards. Today, I live in the reality of who You have made me.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Killing Fields

“They are killing people close to this compound, it not safe for you to stay here,” said our missionary host. I was in India on a mission trip to reach out to abandoned children in the orphanages.

Abandoned. Child's chair. Asylum.

Abandoned. Child’s chair. Asylum. (Photo credit: World of Good)

The killings happened 4 miles away from where I was, and no one claimed responsibility for the murderous act. People were terrified.

But God’s hand of protection did not fail me. He protected me from adverse danger and even those that I didn’t know of. This really came home to me as I witnessed the driving culture in this foreign country, and saw how many times my team and I almost ran into pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles and cars.

Most of the people in the world have no understanding of how close they might have come to their last day on earth. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice, an estimated 4.3 million violent crimes, 15.6 million property crimes, and 133,000 personal thefts were committed against U.S. residents age 12 or older in 2009. The rate of household burglaries was 27.6 victimizations per 1,000 households in 2011.

I am thankful that God is my constant refuge and fortress, and that He covers me with His shield of faithfulness and love. Psalms 91 is a beautiful description of all the ways He protects us.

Psalms 91:1-11 (ESV)

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
 my God, in whom I trust.”

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler 
and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions,
 and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 

You will only look with your eyes
 and see the recompense of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge  no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
 no plague come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.”

Prayer of Gratitude

Thank You Lord, for all the ways that You have protected me. Even when I am not aware of the dangers ahead of me, You have protected me time and time again.  Heavenly Father, I appreciate your constant protection over my life. Please help me to constantly praise and thank You for Your faithfulness to me.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Waiting

“Your airplane has been cancelled, please go to the ticket counter to reschedule your flight and get a voucher for a hotel room.”

It was 9:30pm, I was at the Philadelphia airport when I heard those dreaded words. I had been sitting in this airport for 6 hours already.

wait

wait (Photo credit: CmdrFire)

I had an early start at 8:30am in the airport at Cancun, Mexico, after coming back from an outreach in Cuba.  Just the day before, I experienced a 5-hour delay in Cuba, going to Cancun en route back to the U.S. and finally caught the last shuttle to the hotel at 10:50pm.

We spend a good deal of our lives waiting in lines at the checkout counters in stores, restaurants, doctors’ offices, in traffic, customers service phone calls, on people, etc. There must be a way to wait that won’t perturb us and make us loose our cool.  I must admit that I didn’t pass the test of waiting with the right attitude on this trip.  I wish I could tell you that I was a blessing to everyone I met, but that didn’t happen.

All I could say was, “Please be patient, God is not finished with me yet!”

We will have difficult times of waiting in our lives, where we want to speed up God’s process and timing.

Sometime ago, I needed money to pay my rent that was due on the first of the month, but I didn’t have enough money. So I borrowed from friends and relatives. When I went to the office to pay my rent, the manager was out of town and he was coming back only on the third of the month.

I checked my mailbox on the third, and I saw that my cheques had come in. There was enough money to pay my rent. God showed up in my time of need. I had tried to take things into my own hands and help God out, when He has actually worked everything out. God’s timing and provision increased my faith.

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” Romans 8:26-28, MSG

Next time, you are given the opportunity to wait, focus on the love and goodness of God, you will be able to get through it better and be blessing to someone.

 Heavenly Father, Help me to develop an attitude of gratitude.  Father, enable me to always rejoice in knowing that Your love supersedes any difficulties I may encounter.  As I keep my eyes on Your love, goodness, and faithfulness You will keep me in perfect peace as I am going through this waiting process.  Thank You for allowing me to see this situation I am facing through Your eyes.

In Jesus’ Name Amen.

I Am Royalty

“The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have announced their newborn son is to be called George Alexander Louis. He will be known as His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge,” reported the U.K Guardian.

Screenshot Prince William, Kate & Royal Baby a...

Screenshot Prince William, Kate & Royal Baby at Lindo Wing (Photo credit: Steve Rhodes)

The whole world was in awe as they were informed of the birth of Prince William and Kate’s “new prince.” Third in line to the British throne, newscasters said this child is worth at least one billion dollars.

I lived in England for a while, and I know how excited people can get when there is news from the Palace. We rejoice at the birth of this child, believing that his life and destiny will be a blessing to many.

Another child came into this world over 2000 years ago, and He was the epitome of Royalty. When I first heard God called me His royal daughter and child, it made me feel special.

At that time, I was going through a plateau in my job. I somehow felt that I had missed my destiny and felt empty. My life wasn’t fulfilling and my job was not going as I had thought it would. I felt that I had made the wrong choice.

God said to me, “You are my daughter, I had already planned your life. You haven’t missed out. Nothing takes me by surprise or catches me unaware. You may be unaware, but as your Father, I always know what’s coming ahead and I have made all the preparations. I am your Father, and I have promised to take care of you.”

When we believe in Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we are adopted into His family. We become royalty based on the Word of God.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9, NIV

We are in a royal family, because of what Jesus has done on the Cross. He has given us a new identity and He wants us to begin looking at ourselves differently.

We are no longer paupers, but Sons and Daughters of royalty. The new Prince George Alexander Louis is worth over a billion dollars, but as a son or daughter of God you are “Priceless!”

Father, help me to understand and embrace the identity You have given to me as Your son/daughter in Your Kingdom.  I am Your child and You have taken the responsibility to love, care and protect me.  I am so glad to be in Your family.  I give You my hand, teach me how to be Your child and enjoy You.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Leaving the Past Behind

“If you don’t do this now you may never do it,” I told myself. I knew it was time for me to move on and take a step of faith.

English: a moving train captured from another ...

English: a moving train captured from another train (stationed) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is hard to leave the known and familiar for the unknown, even when we know what we are holding onto is blocking our future.

It was time for me to resign from my job and start my own ministry. My heart had already moved on from the place where I presently was, but my body continued to be there, going through all the physical motions. It was difficult to leave a job that gave me a salary, and to start raising my own support from scratch.

I had wanted to stay in my comfort zone even though I knew I could not fulfill the dream God gave me. God did me a favor by leading my heart out first, so that it would be easier for me to follow physically.

God is always moving us forward into greater areas of our destiny, but when we stop to build a monument to our past, it holds us back from focusing on our future.

“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.” Philippians 3:13, ESV

No matter how difficult our past was, we sometimes cling on to it and refuse to let it go. It could be a dead end job, a failed marriage, a hurtful childhood or an abusive relationship.

Forget about what’s happened;
don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?”  Isaiah 43: 18-19, MSG

Let’s not carry the past around like excess bag. Learn from our past life lessons and move on. God wants to give a fresh sheet of paper to write our new future, and not to rewrite the old past.

Letting go doesn’t mean giving up… it means moving on. It is one of the hardest things a person can do. Starting at birth, we grasp on to anything we can get our hands on, and hold on as if we will cease to exist when we let go. We feel that letting go is giving up, quitting, and that as we all know is cowardly. But as we grow older we are forced to change our way of thinking. We are forced to realize that letting go means accepting things that cannot be. It means maturing and moving on, no matter how hard you have to fight yourself to do so.” Unknown

“Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind. C. S. Lewis

 “When one door closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.” Helen Keller

God has a wonderful plan for our life! Go, take the plunge to move out from your past and into your destiny. Say Good-Bye to the past! Even if you are afraid, do it anyway.

“I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” Jeremiah 29:11, MSG

Heavenly Father, help me to be bold enough to put my past behind me so that I can step into my hopeful future with You.  Show me the lessons that my past held so that I can learn from them as well as avoid the same pitfalls. Thank You for loving me so much that You are committed to seeing me fulfilled my destiny. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Lies We Believe

“I will never do that again,” “I will never over eat like that,” “I will never spend that much money again”

Description unavailable

Description unavailable (Photo credit: d e x t e r .)

We vow to ourselves that we won’t do certain behaviors and actions ever again. We promise ourselves over and over again that we won’t do it, only to find ourselves doing it again. Where do those lies come from? Sometimes these lies come from us, other people’s values and influences, or by Satan himself.

Satan is always trying to devalue us, and to make us think that God is not for us. He wants us to believe a lie about God and about ourselves. He tells us a lie, and makes it seem that it is true. When we buy into it, we own the lie as if this is what we truly believe, or accept as the truth about us and our circumstances.

Lies We Hear 

Growing up as a child, we are often influenced by our families, those in authority and friends who spoke both truth and lies into our life that we assumed as facts.

  • “You are stupid, you will never be as good as your sister or brother.”
  • “Strong boys never cry.”
  • “You are too fat.”
  • “You’re not very good looking.”

When we began to take them into our soul, we begin to list them as facts, and act as if this is really true about ourselves.

Lies Man Tell

  • “It’s all my bosses’ fault why I am not promoted”
  • “I lost my job because of the economic recession.”
  • “I lost job because my bosses’ friend took the job away from me.”
  • “I was not promoted because I didn’t get the support from my wife at home when I needed it most.”

Man lies about his work because he derives his identity from his work. God gave man work before He gave him a woman.

Lies Woman Tell

  • “I am too fat. I can’t compete with younger and beautiful woman.”
  • “I am not worth being loved, so I stayed in this abusive relationship because this is the best I can do.”
  • “He just trying to encourage me when he tells me that I am ugly and fat.”

Woman lies about how she feels about her relationships, because a woman was given to the man to be a helpmate. She finds her fulfillment in a home and being a helpmate.

Flower photo

Flower photo (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Who We Really Are

God wants us to go to the Word and find out who we really are. We are the most valuable being in the universe because it cost God, the Father, His Son, and it cost Jesus, His life for us. When we replace the lie with the truth of God’s word, we will gain freedom to speak the truth about who we are.

For a long time, I felt that God favored other people instead of me. Their lives looked better than mine. They had better jobs and better relationships. Therefore, I believed that God doesn’t love me the same way He loved others.

I knew this wasn’t right and that was the lie. As I began questioning God, new thoughts rose up in my spirit.

God is my greatest cheerleader, and He felt an extravagant love for me. There was nothing He wouldn’t do for me.

I replaced the negative thoughts with the truth, and this has brought such joy to my heart.

“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23, ESV

Replace the lies about yourself with the truth of God’s Word. When we learn to speak God’s Word about ourselves, we will be truthful to ourselves.

Father, I ask You to free me from all the lies I believed about myself. Unveil Your truth into my being so that I may see what You see about me and who I am. Free me from all the lies I believed from my childhood, and from other people’s influence. I will not be controlled by the lies of others, because I choose God’s freedom and to walk in truth. Thank You for freeing me from false identity, fear, confusion, and Satan’s deception.

In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Fallen Off the Wagon

I have been a professional dieter almost all my adult life. I have lost the weight of at least three people, and gained the size of six people. I have tried every diet that is out there. I have tried juicing and eating correctly. I seem to do well for a while, and then I fall off the wagon.

Weight and height are used in computing body m...

Weight and height are used in computing body mass index, an indicator of risk for developing obesity-associated diseases. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We all have something in our lives that we just can’t get the victory over.  It may not be “Big Sin” issues, it could be just a habit we can’t overcome. This alone can make us feel like a failure.

I promised God that I would do better by vowing, “I will never eat like that again.” But the key lime pie would somehow jump out of the plate into my mouth, down to my stomach without my consent :). There is a reason why I haven’t been able to gain freedom in my eating habits. It is because I haven’t faced the truth about this area of my life. I am addicted to food!

I have to admit that I loved to eat, and I have not surrendered this area to God. I give it to Him and take it back. It’s like rolling a ball by pushing it away, and then I run over to the other side and take the ball back.

God will take care of those areas if you submit them to Him.

Roll your works upon the Lord commit (and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and) so shall your plans be established and succeed.” Proverbs 16:3, AMP

I have to admit that when this area stays submitted under God, I find success. God gives us grace each day to start afresh. He doesn’t condemn us when we fail.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1, ESV

I am finding victory in God one day at a time.

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” Mary Engelbreit

Let’s truly submit those difficult areas to God and leave them with Him. Get His perspective of what you need to overcome while focusing on the power of the Cross.

Father, forgive me for living my life apart from You in this area of my life. I repent for not surrendering, taking back and yielding to You. You do not see me as a failure so I will not see myself that way.  I surrender ________________(name the area) into Your hands, and I trust that You will direct me in gaining victory in this area. I realize that the Cross and the Blood of Jesus has made me victorious already. Thank You.

In Jesus Name, Amen.