Embracing God as My Father

Dr Brenda Stratton

The greatest revelation I have ever had in my life was to find out that God was truly my Father. He just wasn’t God up in the sky, or Jesus in my heart. He was God, my Father. Whatever kind of father you have, you might have placed his characteristics on your heavenly Father. That is just what I did.

For me, having the concept of God as my heavenly Father was only an intellectual ascent. But the day, I understood that God was my biggest Fan, and He truly loved me unconditionally, changed my very life.

I remember a time in prayer when He began to pour His love on me. The first time, I experienced this was at a prayer meeting. God begin to say, “I love you, I love you, I love you over and over.”

This was the first time, I heard God say, “I love…

View original post 481 more words

Advertisements

When You Think You Can’t Go On Anymore

“I can’t go on, Lord. I have had enough,” I said to myself one Sunday evening. I placed a bottle of sleeping pills in front of me as I sat on my bed.

pills

pills (Photo credit: Mouse)

I had been depressed for several months. I was extremely stressed working in my job, and I was upset with God that I was still single. I was already in my 30s and still not yet married. My hopes and dreams were dashed.

For several months, I went through the motions of going to church every Sunday, and serving Him in full time ministry. But I felt that my life was going in a direction that I had no control over. I felt hopeless and all alone in this world. I was ashamed and didn’t talk to anyone because I felt family and friends wouldn’t understand.

I just wanted to go to sleep and not wake up in pain anymore. I cried out to God to take away my pain.

“I waited and waited and waited for God.
 At last he looked; finally he listened.
 He lifted me out of the ditch, pulled me from deep mud. He stood me up on a solid rock to make sure I wouldn’t slip.” Psalms 40:1-2, MSG.

During this time, God reminded me that I have an enemy, Satan, who would love to get credit for cutting my life short. But God showed me that my life was greater than my present circumstances, and what I was experiencing now, did not determine my future.

Life isn’t always fair, but God is just. I didn’t have the last say so over my life, He did, and my future was blessed. God begin to speak life into my destiny, to give me hope.

“The days of my life all prepared
 before I’d even lived one day.” Psalms 139:16, MSG

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11, NIV

Prayer of Healing

Father, I thank You that You are showing me that I am not without hope. Hope says that there is always the expectation of good coming to me. Lord, Your good surrounds me like a shield. Lord, help me to remember You are the only one that has the authority to give and take life. Forgive me for not honoring Your authority as I consider taking matters into my own hands. Show me the wonderful destiny and plans You have for me.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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.