Life-Sustaining Faith

Esther 6

As I was doing my devotional homework for Priscilla Shirer’s Bible study, Discerning the Voice of God, she asked us to revisit the story of Mordeci and Haman in Esther 6. You know the story. Haman had beef with Mordeci and wanted him dead. So, he prepared a pole to hang him in the courtyard. Meanwhile, the king was having trouble sleeping and asked that the royal records be read to him. He read a report of how Mordeci helped saved his life by informing on two men plotting to kill him. The king asked what had been done to honor Mordeci for his service. When he was told nothing, the king set it in his mind to do something about it. The next day, Haman came to the king. He was planning on asking the king to give him permission to hang Mordeci. But, the king had other plans. Haman was so full of himself that when the king asked him what can be done to honor a man that the king wanted to honor, he thought the king was talking about him. But, in actuality, the king was talking about his enemy. Haman wanted to kill Mordeci, but God wanted to save him. And, God made sure, he orchestrated things to protect his life.

It got me thinking about my own life. I asked myself the question. What if I trusted God to protect me from my enemies instead of taking matters into my own hands? What would it look like if I trusted God with my entire life, down to the smallest detail?

This past Saturday, my church had a book discussion with Jesse J. Holland, Marvel novel, Black Panther: Who Is the Black Panther? Afterwards, there was a long, long line to pre-order an autographed paperback copy of the book, which has sold out worldwide in hard back . I was torn. But, eventually, I decided that if God wanted me to have a copy of that book, God would work it out. I was very tired and hungry – not a good combination for waiting in a line. So, I went to get something to eat, believing that it was God telling me to take care of myself and not my flesh being impatient. Sometimes, when you are hunger, angry, lonely, or tired, you can really can’t hear from God as well. So, I took a chance and left.

About an hour later, I returned. The line had gone done to three people. After I did a little dance and shout, I got in line and was able to order a copy of the book. Not only did I not have to wait, but I got to meet three dynamic women of God, and we had a great time fellowshipping. AND, I got to talk to the author. So, not bad for trusting God when he told me to take care of my body instead of trying to push beyond my point of being able to maintain energy without food and a break. God cared about this small detail of my life. And, if God cares about this small detail, surely God cares about the big details as well.

That’s how it goes with God. God, has orchestrated every detail of our lives – from eternity. We, on earth, are just walking out in time what has already been declared, “In the end, the children of God win.” Like Mordeci, we don’t even have to worry about one detail of our lives. Whether it is when we will rest, eat a meal, or how we will get a copy of a book or whether is how we will pay our bills, sustain our families, or protect our lives, God will be our sustainer, protector, provider, and our everything else we need. God is just awesome like that. I hope you agree and I pray that you can see the handprint of God in every detail of your life as you walk with a life-sustaining faith.

Don’t Be a Vessel of Nonsense

He permitted no one to do them wrong; Yes, He rebuked kings for their sakes, Saying, “Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm.”
Psalm 105:14-15, NKJV

Anyone who knows me knows that one of my pet peeves is church nonsense. I define church nonsense as those things that make no sense to anyone but the enemy. If you ask the person who is delivering the nonsense why they are doing it, more than likely they don’t even know why. They may think they are having a bad day or that they were just doing the what needed to be done. Sometimes, people who deliver church nonsense think they are doing the work of God. But, I promise you if you ask them to trace this nonsense back to the source, they will find the enemy smiling and God not smiling.

One of the ways the enemy loves to deliver nonsense to me is by destroying a God moment in my life. This nonsense usually comes in the form of discouragement disguised as godly advice. I had an encounter like that recently. Someone in the body of Christ just had to say something unnecessary and then tried to clean it up by pretending the message came from God. But, thanks be to God, that person left a clue that they were being used by the enemy, even though they may not have known that was the case.

How did I know? The person did something that violated scripture. She accused a woman of God of lying. She violated Psalm 105:15. She actually said that what I was told by this minister was a lie. This accuser of the child of God wanted me to believe that what I was told was a lie. What is so funny is that this didn’t line up with anything else that I was told about this woman of God. When I asked the accuser why she thought the woman of God would tell a bold face lie, she said, “I don’t’ know.” That was my second clue. They didn’t know because they were being used by the enemy. The enemy loves the gray areas of truth, and usually the person has holes in their “revelation” that don’t make godly sense.

In seeking God’s face through study, stillness, silence and wise counsel, I realized that the enemy was trying to draw a wedge between the woman of God and me. I also realized that the enemy was trying to discourage me by causing me to doubt the peace that God had given me about this area of my life. On that day, when this accuser spoke to me, I was not even thinking about the “delay” in God’s promise. I was still beaming from my last encounter with God. I was so caught up in the last blessing of God that I was not even trying to ask for anything more. This accuser, this one used by the enemy unbeknownst to them, tried to wreck that.

But, PRAISE BE TO GOD!

God, blocked it. My peace, while shaken a little, was not destroyed.

The moral of the story is this: Don’t allow the enemy to use you to deliver nonsense into the lives of other people. You should always ask yourself: “Is this true, is it necessary, and is it being delivered with love?” In other words, does it line up with God’s unchanging and holy standard, God’s Word? Is this God’s timing for this? Is it being delivered as a word of conviction (not condemnation), comfort, or confirmation? Does it sound like something God would say to someone whom God loves? If you can’t say yes to all of these, then resist the urge to be a vessel of the enemy’s nonsense?

Doubt: The Dream Killer

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” ~Suzy Kassem

This morning, I was driving from my Mom’s house to the airport in Atlanta. Over the past twenty years, I have done this drive hundreds of times as a traveler or a driver for travelers. The trip is simple. I drive to I-75N, take I-285W and follow the signs for the airport. But this morning, I ended up getting turned around. Now, I can blame the early morning, pre-dawn hour. Or, I could blame the fact that I need glasses. I can even blame the fact that I was concerned about getting the rental back in time to make my flight. But, that is not why I spent 15 minutes lost. I got turned around because I second guessed knowledge that I already knew. In other words, I doubted myself.

After getting back on course, I couldn’t help but wonder how many times I’ve let doubt kill a dream in its beginning stages or when things start getting tough. Answering this question is even more important today because God has asked me to be a bolder in pursuit of the desires of my heart. I am usually the one who likes to work in the background, helping others reach their goals and fulfill their dreams. I worked for twenty years in the nonprofit industry because I believe that by helping others be all God created them to be, I would be making the world a little better. For this same reason, I answered the call to ministry, and assumed that God wanted me to continue working in the background. And, while I will always use my gifts, talents, skills, and experiences to bless others in pursuit of purpose, God is clear that the time has come for me to fly with the eagles instead of walking around on the ground like a scared chicken, hiding out in the background.

And, as you know, I don’t like doing things alone in pursuit of God excellence. So, I invite you to take stock of your life, clarify your purpose, and decide to soar with me. When doubt arises, hear God whisper through the words of Suzy Kassem. Don’t let doubt kill your dreams.

Are you willing to soar with me?