Monday, July 30, 2012

Don't Give Up

On any given day, you can find me having sporadic bouts of praise and worship in my living room, kitchen, or bedroom.  With no preacher, no Hammond B3, and no neighbor to hi-five, I go in all by myself.  That popular church saying holds true for me – “When I think of the goodness of Jesus, and all He’s done for me, my soul cries out Hallelujah!” I honestly become overwhelmed with emotion whenever I reflect upon the Lord’s goodness, grace, and mercy in my life.  I often get a serious case of the can’t-help-its and let my floors have it!

A few days ago, after encouraging a young lady to not give up on her life, I reminisced on a time in my own life when my prayer was frequently “Lord, just let me give up!”  I worshipped God from the depths of my soul until my tear ducts dried up and my words became incoherent.  Why?  Because He did not grant my amiss request.

I have experienced my fair share of distress, disdain, and discomfort throughout my life.  Like many other women, molestation and the absence of my father - among the plethora of bad choices I made - led me into a life of sexual immorality, addiction, depression, and low self-esteem.  I had sunken so low, and become so accustomed to my hard-knock life, that when I finally reached a place where I actually wanted to get a grip on my downward spiraling life, it proved to be too challenging.  Praying was easy, but believing that I’d ever see the answers to my pleas for help, hope, and healing was extremely difficult.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

It's Been Long Enough...

During my personal Bible study some time ago, the Lord led me to Deuteronomy 1:6-8.  It says this:
“The LORD our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount: Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and unto all the places nigh thereunto, in the plain, in the hills, and in the vale, and in the south, and by the sea side, to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates. Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.”
As I meditated on this passage of scripture and the Lord began to speak to me concerning it, I knew I had to share this message with my sisters who have found themselves stuck in some area of their lives.  There are four words I believe the Lord wants me to tell you: 
It’s been long enough.
I know what it’s like to feel bound by your issues and to continue circling the same mountain day after day,  month after month, and year after year.  Since, by the grace of God, I have conquered and overcome many mountains in my life, my desire is to encourage and inspire you to do the same.   My prayer is that you will realize that you have dwelt long enough in your barren place, and it’s time to get up, go in, and possess the land that the Lord has promised to you.  I don’t know what your mountain is.  It could be depression, sickness, fear, poverty, or addictions, but the Lord is saying that it’s time to take hold of what is rightfully yours: healing, deliverance, peace, abundance, freedom, purpose.  
It’s so easy to become comfortable with being uncomfortable when discomfort seems to be your norm.  But that’s a trick of the enemy.  That’s just one of the ways he tries to keep us bound and hinder us from being, and possessing, all that God has destined for us.  But as I often like to say, the devil is a liar.  He kept me going in circles for a long time, but once I grabbed hold to the Word of love of God and clothed myself in His armor, I got a little fight in me and chose to take back all that the devil had stolen from me, or hindered me from. 
It had been long enough.
Taken from the above scripture passage, there are four actions you must take in order to move towards overcoming the mountains in your life:  Turn, take your journey, go in, and possess the land.
1. Turn – If you’ve followed this column for any length of time, then you know I believe that change must first take place in the mind.  In order to turn or shift from where you are to where you desire to be, you must first be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2).  As your mind transforms, it will help you not to focus so much on the problem (mountain), but rather the solution (promised land). 
2. Take your journey – I believe that the problem with a lot of us is that we are afraid of the journey.  We are scared of what we will have to face as we transition from one place to the next.  Transition is never easy.  It often causes us to have to deal with deep pain or ugly truths, and to separate ourselves from things or people that aid in us being stuck where we are.  It’s definitely hard, but the key to being free from the things that have us bound is facing the truth, and knowing when to let go and/or walk away.  It’s important that we embrace the journey, because along the way it builds our strength, and strength is a vital factor when it comes to possessing what God has in store for us.  It won’t be a cakewalk, but embrace the journey.  It brings you that much closer to walking into your promised land.
3. Go In – Now, before you go in and possess your land, I think it’s important that you take some time and go in your prayer closet and dig into the Word of God.  Prayer strengthens us, and the Word of God shields us (Ephesians 6:11-18).  There is no way we can go against the enemy without God.  Our words and our own strength will keep us defeated, but when we clothe ourselves in the Word of God, and strengthen ourselves through prayer, we have the perfect ammunition to fight against the enemy.  We’ve got to have our war clothes on.
4. Possess the Land – “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matthew 11:12)  It’s as simple as that – you’ve got to take it by force.  First you’ve got to want it, and when you want it bad enough, you’ll get mad enough to snatch everything God has for you right out of the enemy’s hand.  Sure, he’s going to fight you, but that’s okay because you have power over the enemy. (Luke 10:19)  Take what belongs to you!
Declare today that it’s been long enough, and make up in your mind that you will no longer dwell at your mountain and allow it to keep you from what God has for you.  Resolve in your heart that this is the year, the month, the day, the hour that the cycle of circling ends.  There is such abundant life in the reaches for you.  You don’t have to continue to sit back and watch everyone else walk into their promised land while you’re stuck in the same place. 
As Jesus said to the man at the pool of Bethesda, Will thou be made whole? Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
 It’s been long enough; possess your land.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

He's Always There

Lord, I really need your help
I cannot do this on my own.
I've tried all I know to do
But still everything is going wrong.

I'm praying and fasting,
I'm standing on Your Word;
I'm putting all my faith in You
Yet Your voice I have not heard.

I'm drowning in my problems.
Can't you see I'm going under?
Your Word says You'll hold me up;
About that, I'm beginning to wonder.

Don't You see all my pain?
Don't You know about what I'm going through?
My present help in time of trouble,
Please tell me, where are You?

Where are you when the tears are falling?
Where are you when I'm searching for strength?
Where are you when my bills are due
And all my money is spent?

You said You'd never leave nor forsake me.
You said You'd never leave my side.
You said You'd always be with me
Your face You'd never hide.

So why can't I feel you?
Why can't I see your face?
Why don't I hear Your voice?
Why does my life feel devoid of Your amazing grace?

I'm crying out to You, My Savior
Please come and rescue me.
Remind me that You're there;
Extend your love and mercy.

My child, I am here.
I've been there all along.
I've never left your side,
You've got it all wrong.

I see you when you cry.
I feel when you are weak.
I know when you are in need,
Long before you ever speak.

I hear your prayers
I know every request.
I'm not ignoring you
I'm simply preparing you for my best.

My best answers
My best way of escape
My best plans for you
My best out-pour of grace

Have I ever not come to your rescue?
Have I ever let you down?
Have I ever failed to deliver you?
My child, I'll never let you drown.

I am your hiding place,
The shelter from your storm.
I am constantly extending my grace,
Keeping you safe from harm.

My child, don't doubt Me
My Presence is always there
I am right beside you,
even when you're unaware.

Holding your hand,
And wiping your tears.
Soothing your doubts,
and calming your fears.

When you can't hear my voice
When you don't see my hand
Know in your heart that I am with you
Forever working on your behalf.

My child, I love you deeply
You'll never fathom how much I care
You are my treasure
Trust me, Your Father is always there.

Copyright 2012 LaKeisha Rainey-Collins