Unbroken 

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” Corinthians 9:24

Today we began a series entitled “At the Movies.” Our pastor takes a popular movie, shortens it to fulfill  the purpose of his message, and inserts himself in the film and provides biblical commentary.

The film today was Unbroken, which is about the life of Louis Zamperini. It recounts his amazing odyssey of triumph that he contributes to the unfailing grace of God.

His life was such a powerful testimony! We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us and Louis proved just that! His brother Pete gave him a mantra-“If you can take it, you can make it.” This gave Louis strength for the journey  during his 97 years on earth.

I was moved to tears during the showing and sat on the edge of my seat. It was hard to watch the evil he endured.

I could relate to so much of his life-the low self esteem, facing trial after trial that would break most, and the strong will to make it despite the odds.

Pastor Dave reminded us that the devil has no real power over us and he can only trick us into destroying ourselves. He plays a lot of mind games and excels at convincing us that we  are worthless. In the case of Louis, the devil used the Bird to try to break his spirit. It was obvious that the Bird saw greatness in him, too and hated him for it.

Pastor Dave also talked about how living out of season can hamper us. Louis defined himself as an Olympic runner and was almost destroyed when he lost a race as a prisoner. His focus should have been on survival instead of his past glory. We must stay in the present in order to appreciate the blessings that we do have.

It is true that God prepares us in advance to fight future battles. Louis was “trained” as a youth with the many gladiator type battles he faced as an Italian immigrant in his neighborhood and his Olympic training as a runner.

The most astonishing part of his story was the ability to forgive his captors-the very men who tormented him as a POW. He actually met with them all except for the Bird who refused. Again, another solid example of how we can do anything as long as we rely on the strength of the Lord.

Louis spent 47 days at sea after their military plane crashed. He vowed to God that he would dedicate his life to him if he would only let him live. God granted his request and Louis eventually kept his promise.

I have been down-but never out, bent-but not broken, and I’ve been through many fires-but I never smell like smoke-Hallelujah!!!!

I want to encourage anyone reading these words today to keep running the race! Our sufferings are never in vain and all things can be used for good by God. He hears every prayer we utter and stores them in His golden goblet in heaven. Never grow weary of fighting the good fight of faith my friend!

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Sunday Sermon

“There will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain.” Isaiah 4:6

Today’s sermon was right on time. I have been struggling with maintaining my faith and hope in a few things I am dealing with. Not to mention, there have been a lot of storms weather wise. Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas, and many Caribbean nations have been besieged. Storms, physical and metaphorical, are inevitable. 


As a result we do not know what storms or the magnitude of them that we will face however, be warned that they will come in a myriad of forms. Belief in God’s word can help fortify us against the attacks. 

As my pastor pointed out, storms can help teach us what is important in life. I want to encourage anyone currently facing stormy weather to hold on to your faith. Storms can cause depression. Depression is the result of spiritual dryness. When you don’t read the Bible, attend church, or commune with God, your spirit becomes barren. Hope cannot take root in dry places. Nothing can grow without the Living Water. 

In closing, He gave us five principles to apply during trials: 

1. Laugh in your circumstances-this reminds me of the Proverbs 31 woman who laughed without fear of the future. She was wise knowing that no matter what her future held, God would use it for good. 

2. Decide what is true-remember, the Father of Lies loves to confuse the mind and paint everything black so that life feels hopeless. 

3. Discipline your body-Take care of yourself while enduring the storm. Otherwise you are even more vulnerable in a weakened state. We need all of our energy to fight the good fight of faith. 

4. Fight for your life-you have to do your part alongside God. The Bible says faith without works is dead-so work your faith!

5. Preach your message-this resonated deeply within my core. God allows some storms to pass through our lives to shelter others. This realization is powerful. Your “mess” can be a message for someone else. 

Confirmation 

“…You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, Shall revive me again, And bring me up again from the depths of the earth.  You shall increase my greatness, And comfort me on every side. ” ~Psalm 71:20-21 

Tonight I was reading the Bible and came across this gem of a scripture. This is spiritually right on time for as I was in dire need of a word.  

This gives me strength to continue. I know that God is well aware of all that ails me. 

Verses 14-17 of the same Psalm tells me just what I need to do: “But I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness And Your salvation all the day, For I do not know their limits. I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.” 

Strange Days

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” ~1 Peter 4:12-13

It’s been a long while since I posted. I have gone through various things that have left me depleted, but yet not defeated-so I’m back counting it all joy. 

I have so much on my mind, plate, and heart. I’m worried about being able to pay my son’s college tuition, dealing with the sometimes debilitating effects of fibromyalgia, the demanding pressures of teaching at an urban high school that will be closing soon, BILLS, BILLS, BILLS-paying student loans and hospital bills from a life threatening illness I endured two years ago, balancing work and life, family problems, the various natural disasters and people suffering as a result, has had my heart heavy-you name the problem and rest assured I’ve been laden down with it. 

What’s a girl to do other than to put on the garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness? I know that there is glory on the other side. I know that there is a place of peace in which I will have a moment to catch my breath from the attacks hammering my daily existence. I simply have to press onward because I know despite what I face, God is good all the time AND all the time, God is good!!!

Shut Your Mouth 

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue. And those who love it will eat its fruit.”  ~Proverbs 18:21

When things are not going well in my life, out of fear, I have the tendency to complain, gossip and resort to a negative mindset. It’s like I already know the terrible outcome based upon “evidence”- the very antithesis of faith. 

 It took me a while to realize that this behavior is merely a display of faithlessness. It shows that I don’t believe in the omnipotence of God. If I did, I would “be still.” I quickly forget that His promise is that ALL things will work for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. I surely love Him and believe that I have been called by Him. So what’s my problem?!

I’ve concluded that sometimes we just need to shut our mouths. The Lord has everything under control. He has already told us that the battle belongs to Him. All we have to do is hold our peace in the midst of it. 

And when we don’t shut our mouths, He will shut it for us. The angel Gabriel tells Zachariah the priest he’s going to have a son. But the priest needs proof.  

“How can I be certain? My wife and I are well passed childbearing years.”  
The angel responds “Your mouth will be shut because you did not believe the good news.” Luke 1:5-23

This week I plan to be quiet. I want to hear every message that God has for me. I AM going to trust Him to guide me through the challenging situation I am currently navigating. I need His guidance and I can’t afford to let my mouth get me in trouble. It can’t be done without HIM. I’m leaning on Him for what He promised. 

My lips are sealed! 

Note to Self

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” ~Lamentations 3:22-23
The Lord is faithful even we are not. How do I know this to be true? Simple-our lack of faith does not nullify His. So I continue to praise Him for His goodness, love, mercy, favor, grace and faithfulness! Though He slay me, yet  I will trust in Him!” Job 13:15

Makes Me Wanna Holler

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God…” ~2 Timothy 3:2-4

“See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” ~Matthew 24: 4-8

So disturbed I am by the things going on in this world. However, I know God is still good and still God. Jesus warned us these types of things would have to pass and instructed us not to be afraid. Lord, I trust You. 

Tea Talks 

“God, pick up the pieces of my life. Put me back together again. I give you my praise.” ~Jeremiah 17:14

My cup of tea gave me a much needed reminder: “He takes the broken pieces and makes them beautiful.” ~Ecclesiastes 3:11

From Saul to Paul

“Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him.” ~Acts 13:9


Saint Paul by Bartolomeo Montagna

God is in the transformation business. Your beginning does not have to be your end. We see this made manifest in the life of Paul. Paul began his life as a persecutor of Christians. He was known as Saul of Tarsus before he was handpicked by God to be His apostle. At this time in his life, he had no regard, reverence or love for Christians. Saul watched the stoning death of the martyr Stephen and held the garments of the ones hurling stones. 

He was a devout Jew who had permission from the High Priest to persecute anyone professing that Jesus was the Chosen One. Saul says:

“I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today. I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished.”Acts 22:3-5

It wasn’t until that faithful day on Damascus Road that Saul encountered the Prince of peace in a personal way. The bright light and the voice of the Savior caused him to fall to his feet, “Saul, Saul why do you persecute me? ~Acts 9:4 

Persecution of His people was persecution of Him. Saul answered humbly and submitted himself and asked what he should do. He was told to rise and go into the city. This act of obedience left him blind. There he met Ananais who was rightfully afraid as Saul’s reputation preceded him. Also instructed by the Lord, he too obeyed and healed Saul of his temporary blindness. 

Although Saul was well versed in the Bible, he did not believe that Jesus was the anointed Messiah. After the fateful encounter, he dedicated his life to the Great Commission and  traveled to synagogues all across the region to deliver the Good News. Because he was a Hebrew who held Roman citizenship, he was able to speak  with confidence to both the Jews and Greeks and therefore was able to reach more people.  

Throughout his life Paul suffered many trials but continued to press on and fight the good fight of faith despite being imprisoned, beaten, shipwrecked, flogged, stoned, faced death a myriad of times, battled his own flesh, was often hungry, thirsty and cold-yet he never allowed any of it to prevent him from serving the Lord. Even when the Lord elected not to remove the thorn from his side, he continued on. He felt it an honor to be weak as it showed the strength of the Lord. “So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 1 Corinthians 12:9

At the end of his life Paul was content knowing his reward. He spent the remainder of his life working tirelessly for the Kingdom. He had written 14 of the 27 epistles in the New Testsment, lead an innumerable amount of people to Christ, enlisted others to teach about Christ, created the theological framework of justification by faith and lead an exemplary life of faith. He had done all he was called to do and knew his time of death was at hand. “I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”~2 Timothy 4-6 

Through his life we learn that God can use anyone. Each and every one of us matter to God. We are never beyond redemption. We also learn that anyone can be a witness for Christ if they are willing to be transformed and made anew. 

Paul was willing and even counted his sufferings all joy. “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” ~Philippians 1:12-14). His transformation was complete. Can you say the same? 

The Missing Pieces

“I will put My trust in Him.” ~Hebrews 2:13

It feels so good to trust in the Lord and lean not to my own understanding. 

I often liken life to a billion piece jiggle saw puzzle. Each event, experience, trial, blessing, etc. in our life represents one piece-thus it rarely makes sense to us. 

But God…literally and figuratively speaking, the Creator of the puzzle, has already put it together and can see the big picture. Trust Him my friends.