Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Heavenly Messenger

I got a call on Saturday from a friend. She was kind of freaking out, in an excited, and happy way....Here's how the story goes. She told me she was out watering her grass. She lives in the apts at the church and many homeless people walk by each day. As she was watering, she said an old homeless looking man with a beard came walking by. He suddenly stopped, looked straight at her in her eyes, laid something down on the porch and continued on his way. Well, my friend is obsessive about trash and was wondering what in the world kind of trash he laid down. She turned off the water and walked over to pick up the item. She said he was still walking on his way, now by the tree out front. She picked up the item, looked at it, then looked up to the man and he was gone!! He flat out disappeared. She looked everywhere for him and he had vanished. The item she picked up was a little round disk-looking piece of wood with the words, "Let go, let God."

Now, I don't know if you believe in angels or heavenly messengers, but I certainly do. There are many Scriptures that support it and it is very Biblical. The verse that immediately came to my mind was, "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13:2. My friend has been through a rough road and this is definitely a message she needed to hear. Although it was so hard to grasp that she had a personal messenger sent from God, in what I believe, was a message to her but to her friends and church and possibly you as well. But wait, there's more!!

On Sunday morning, she sought out a friend to discuss this matter with and see what God may be trying to tell her. Confirmation. And as these friends talked to her, encouraged her and affirmed their belief also that she had been visited by a heavenly messenger, I was in the sanctuary praying. I prayed for our church, for our service, for our pastor and I prayed for a salvation. One salvation today Lord, we want to see your glory! Little did I know that as they were talking, they were leading my friend to Christ. Two years ago, when I first met her, I put some mustard seed in her palms after she told me she didn't have faith and she didn't think God liked her very much. I said, "God says you only have to have faith the size of a mustard seed to move mountains. May this be the beginning of your faith." This past Sunday, God grew the mustard seed into a tree. She doesn't just know there is a God. She KNOWS God. And the biggest message of all came from a little piece of wood sent by an angel. "Let go, let God." My friend's name is Teri Wadsworth and I share this story with her blessing and permission. Thank you Teri, for reminding us all to let go and let God. He leads, we follow. Praise the Lord!

Thursday, July 30, 2009


As I went to teach my morning class today, I parked and was getting ready to get out of the car when a long-haired man came up to my window. He asked me if I knew what time they gave out groceries. He was wearing a Marine cap and obviously a Vet. Well, today wasn't grocery day, so I asked him what he needed. He told me he just needed some groceries and had ridden the bus across town to get some. I started making phone calls and made arrangements for him to ride the bus to my church and get some food, but something in his face said, more than anything, he needed to know someone cared. By this time, one of the volunteers had arrived and she gave him some change and some snacks out of her car. I got out and gave him directions to the church and asked him if he was ok. I gave him a few dollars for bus fare. We talked for a little bit and he got very teary-eyed, which made me teary-eyed. I asked him if he knew my best friend Jesus, and he said he did. I asked him if I could have the privilege of praying for him, and he said yes. So there in the parking lot of a little church in Eastridge, we held hands and prayed. When finished, he had tears streaming by then and reached out to give me hug. By this time, most of the refugees had arrived and were surrounding us in the parking lot. I don't know what they were thinking. All I know is, I felt a little closer to my Jesus while entering the Throne Room in a beat- up parking lot. Daniel, I pray you have had a hot meal tonight and a decent place to lay your head. And I continue to pray that you really do know my Jesus and you know how much He loves you. And I thank my heavenly father for letting me entertain a stranger today.
Hebrews 13
1Keep on loving each other as brothers. 2Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. 3Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Trusting in Prayer

Trusting in Prayer:

I hope you are at least able to see the beautiful way God listens to us and allows us the privilege of conversing with Him. He could have been a God that didn’t want us to communicate with Him, and instead He says, “Jer. 33:3 'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Here is the link to the full story, if you would like to read it. http://natalielowe.blogspot.com/2008/11/call-and-he-will-answer.html God is so amazing!! One of the biggest struggles I believe we all have with prayer is, why? Why isn’t someone healed? Why do bad things happen to good people? I don’t know all the answers to this, but one thing I do know, “…… I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” 2 Tim 1:12. I know that as humans we are going to go through good times and bad times. But when you put them on the scales of life and you weigh “going through it with God” or “going through it without God” there is no comparison. Better is One Day in His Courts than thousands elsewhere! You can go to your knees in confidence that 100% of your prayers will be answered if you can accept the fact that sometimes the answer will be “no.” Name me one person in the Bible who did great things for God who didn’t have heartache, illness, or persecution of some sort? If anyone deserved an answered prayer and a miracle it was John the Baptist, yet he was beheaded. Stephen was martyred, the apostles were persecuted. Our very own Savior cried out in the garden, ”Father if it is possible, take this cup from me. Yet not my will but yours.” God’s answer was no. He told Jesus no. Not because He didn’t love him, but because He knew the ending. He knew that if He answered Jesus’ prayer, the rest of the world would be lost. Another example of bad, horrible thing that happened to the perfect person. How can we expect Him to answer our prayers any differently than He answered his one and only Son? He knows the ending. He knows why things need to happen the way they do, and we have to trust that one day, one day, we will have the an understanding of the why’s. Until that day, as Job said, “Yet will I trust Him.” I pray you will keep calling on Him and trusting Him. For the answered prayers, and the unanswered ones. For the yes’s and the no’s. If Jesus wanted and needed to pray, how much more should we want and need it? Our alters should be full every Sunday, we should all (myself included) be at that alter every week when Pastor Randy gives us the opportunity. Why do we waste it? As believers, we should lead the way for those who might not step out unless we do. Even if we ourselves don’t have anything urgent to pray about, we then should have thanksgiving and praise to give. And prayers for others to offer. My dream and vision for our church, is to every week see our alters so full of people on their knees and on our faces, that we have to use the front pews as alters also. That we won’t care who sees us, we won’t care what others think, but our knees will be worn out for our people, our community, and world. OK, if you have really made it to the end of this rant……thanks for letting me spew!! I guess I have some of that preacher stuff still in me!! Haha! I love you all and I count it a privilege to serve alongside you and minister at our church. God bless you!

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than being alive without breathing.” Martin Luther

I Will Yet Trust You

The night is falling;
the tempest blows
My mind is swirling,
no one knows.
I can’t deny it,
I just don’t understand-
Why does it have to be this way?
I’m in such a strange land
I’m so lost and afraid
My hope is failing fast
But my trust in you Lord
Is one that will last!

I will yet trust You
I will yet trust you
I’m relying on your love
I’m taking a firm stand in your integrity
There’s no one like you Lord
I believe in your ability!
I will yet trust You.

Please don’t be silent.
Send me your wisdom
I desire to speak with you
About this earthly kingdom
I cry “it’s just not fair’
The bad guys are winning
We’re in such despair
My head won’t quit spinning.
Why all the pain?
Why the suffering and doubt?
There’s no one to turn to
I just want out. I just want out!

I will yet trust You
I will yet trust you
I’m relying on your love
I’m taking a firm stand in your integrity
There’s no one like you Lord
I believe in your ability
I will yet trust You.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Excellence vs Perfection

This week at Haven we studied Excellence vs Perfection. I have to confess, I had my toes stepped on a lot! I'm an all or nothing kind of person, which can be a good thing and a bad thing. Perfectionist tendencies means that I tend to make myself neurotic in getting it right, or not doing it all. But what does God say? Does He expect perfection from us?

Actually, God expects excellence from us. He knows we aren't perfect. That's way He sent Jesus to us. Jesus was the only perfect one. We are wasting our time when we are seeking perfection or asking our children to be perfect. We will not attain! But we can certainly strive for excellence and He expects us too. Michael J Fox said, "I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; Perfection is God's business." Edwin Bliss once said, "The pursuit of excellence is gratifying and healthy. The pursuit of perfection is frustrating, neurotic, and a terrible waste of time."

Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way. How on earth do we do that? This strikes me as a perfect parallel for living through grace, as opposed to the law. No one could keep the perfect letter of the law. Perfection is legalistic. Excellence is striving to be better than what you already are. When you strive for perfection, You will always be miserable because that’s a standard that you will never achieve. But when you strive for excellence, you will stay motivated because you just have to grow as a person and become better than what you are. How can we do that? Phil. 4:8 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." also 1 Cor 12:31 "But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way." The most Excellent Way = LOVE! If you will notice, when He explains excellence, he goes right into the famous love chapter 1 Cor 13. We can't do anything of excellence without putting love into it! I encourage you to go read that chapter!

Henry Kissinger, in his book The Whitehouse Years, tells of a Harvard professor who had given an assignment and now was collecting the papers. He handed them back the next day and at the bottom of one was written, "Is this the best you can do?" The student thought, "no," and redid the paper. It was handed in again, and received the same comment. This went on ten times, till finally the student said, "Yes, this is the best I can do." The professor replied, "Fine, now I'll read it." What if God did that? What if every time we did something, He asked us, is this the best you can do? That's what He wants from us. Our Best! And He deserves it, after all, He gave us His best.

What kind of things keep us from excellence? Cynthia Heald lists these 7 things that keep us from achieving excellence:
Unconfessed Sin- Psalm 32:3-5; Anger-Eph 4:26; An unforgiving spirit-Eph 4:32; Self-centeredness-Phil 2:3-4; Anxiety-Phil. 4:6-7;. Neglecting responsibilities-Pro 31:27; Fatigue Psalm 127:1-2 Physical Disorders-2Cor 12:7-10

I found this on the internet and the author is unknown. I wish I knew who wrote it. It's full of wisdom. I pray you will take the journey of excellence, and give up on perfection. He never asked that of us anyway.

Excellence vs. Perfection

Perfection is being right.
Excellence is being willing to be wrong.
Perfection is fear.
Excellence is taking a risk
Perfection is anger and frustration.
Excellence is powerful
Perfection is control
Excellence is spontaneous
Perfection is judgment
Excellence is accepting
Perfection is taking
Excellence is giving
Perfection is doubt
Excellence is confidence
Perfection is pressure
Excellence is natural
Perfection is the destination
Excellence is the journey
-author unknown


Saturday, March 21, 2009

One Thing

The enemy uses BUSY-ness to make us ineffective for the kingdom. How many times have I been busy in the name of the Lord, and totally ineffective?
One thing, Christ always did, was point to the Father. Always, Always, He was about the Father’s business. Not anything else. He hoped to please His Father. He loved Him that much. I’ve always thought by serving God through the church, and various other activities, I would be pleasing the Father. Yet, if I am not very careful, I can be pulled into an idol. I could spend more time serving, than worshipping. I could spend more time fellowshipping, than praying. I could spend more time fixing my hair and getting ready for church, than having a relationship with the King. I could spend more time driving to the church, than praising My God. I could spend more time eating donuts and drinking coffee, than learning. I could spend more time griping about someone’s outfit; than listening to His Word. Do the things I do, speak or even think, at church or elsewhere always point to the FATHER? Ashamedly, I would have to answer “no.”

The only time I know without a doubt that I am doing the “One thing” is when I’m sitting at my Daddy’s feet. When I’m doing my Bible study. When I’m praising and worshipping my Lord and Savior. When I’m teaching His Word. Most other times, it’s about me. In Luke 10:38-42, 38As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. 40But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
41"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

I would like to point out some things that God put in my heart about these verses that you may have missed before……First, we see Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet hearing His words. My Strong’s dictionary says “Hear” is to understand and give audience to. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and gave audience to Him. She understood Him. How often do we hear but we don’t understand? Do you come before Him to sit at His feet, to understand Him, to give audience to Him??? To really HEAR Him?

The Bible says her sister Martha was encumbered(KJV) with much serving. Encumbered is to “drag all around” or “distracted.” What keeps you encumbered? The fight with the kids on the way to church? The bills on the kitchen counter? The deadline at work you were supposed to finish last night? The laundry piled up? The things you need to do when you leave? I don’t know about you, but I’ve been encumbered with much serving. I have been encumbered with the fight with the kids. I have walked in the door on Sunday morning and dragged it around with me and been distracted with it. Distracted enough to not even let God in.

Distracted enough to do little else but complain, which is exactly what Martha did. “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to serve alone?” And Jesus replied, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things, but only ONE THING is needed.” “Natalie, Natalie, you are worried and troubled about many things, but only ONE THING is needed.”

ONE THING means “primary”. Needed means “required, requirement, demanded.” It’s as if Christ is saying, “Natalie you have only one primary requirement. Only one thing I demand of you.” Mary chose the better part and it will not be taken away from her.
Do you see what He is saying? It was her choice!! Mary CHOSE the better part(portion or share!) and because she did, it won’t be taken away from her. Mary CHOSE to get her PORTION or SHARE of Christ and he certainly wasn’t going to take it away from.
Sometimes we get so caught up in doing, we lose site of the better part. We forget to stop and CHOOSE to get our Portion or Share of Christ!! In Psalm 119:57-58 “You are my portion, O Lord, I have promised to obey your words. I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise..”

I have a tendency to become like Martha. I have to make a conscience choice, to be prayed up when I walk in the door. To choose to do my quiet time. To choose the better part. To choose to read my Bible. To choose to lay down the things I’m encumbered with and pick up the garment of praise. If I mess up my priorities. Then my portion is taken away. My portion is my joy and freedom in the Lord to love and serve Him as He wishes not as I wish. Because when I sit at His feet, when I focus on Him, when I do everything around Him, it doesn’t matter what happens.

But when I choose the wrong way, when I become encumbered and then drag it around with me; I drag myself down. I drag others down. And I lose my portion of joy. If I seek His face with all my heart and follow his precepts, by doing the ONE THING, then the enemy won’t be able to steal my joy.
I will be doing the ONE THING. Loving Him with all my heart, my soul, and my mind. Listening to His Word, obeying and keeping Him first and not turning things of this world into idols and distractions that take away from the better part. He doesn’t force us. It’s our choice. Will we choose the better part or continue to be encumbered?? When is the last time you sat at your Daddy’s feet and rightfully chose to drink in your portion? To lay your head in his lap? Are you worried and troubled about many things? Right now, He is saying to you, only one thing is needed. How can we be true servants of Christ, if we forget the One Thing?
“Be still and KNOW that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
Is there an area in your life He is telling you to be still and know that He is God?

"One Thing"

Only one thing is needed
Don’t you know by now?
You won’t be defeated
I will show you how.

Just sit at my feet
And lay your head in my lap.
And there we will meet
Don’t let anything distract.

Don’t be upset and don’t you worry
Just be still and know!
Don’t be too busy or in a hurry
Just let our time together grow.

And soon you will understand
The ONE THING is life’s best.
You are my beloved friend
And I want to give you rest.

So hush my child,
Just come to me.
I’m waiting my child
To set you free.

I haven’t moved
I’m still waiting on you.
Haven’t I proved,
I have nothing but the best in store for you?

Choose what is better
It will not be taken away!
Choose what is better
Your heart with mine to stay! By Natalie Lowe 3-9-09

Luke 10:41-42 41"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

“_____________________, ______________________”the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed!!!