Monday, January 25, 2016

When your boss stops through.....

      As I was at work today I became overwhelmed at the work God has been doing in our lives and through this ministry and it brought me to a place of awe. It was something deeply needed too, like  the balm in Gilead, the place of awe is a place I long to be at all times but it seems to be fleeting all too often. However, today God brought me back there with a simple string of thoughts. DISCLAIMER- Now what I am about to say is in no way to create shine for the young people of the ministry, as ALL glory goes to God, but I need you to follow me and it is relevant to the story. That being said here we go-
      At nearly every show that M.A.D.E. 4 Christ ministers at there comes a point in the show where appreciation is expressed, and there always seems to be slightly more 'accolade' attributed to M.A.D.E. than to some of the others present. Now my theory behind this is that these young people are incredibly sincere about spreading the Gospel versus becoming rap stars, they are more focused on the glory of God than on shining light upon themselves and God has gifted them with great talent and amazing spirits of humility. I digress. At any rate, there was a point in time where there was so much stacked against us all I did was question were we doing the will of God? Were we carrying out His plan? Was He even pleased with us? Did He really give us the vision of M.A.D.E. 4 Christ? Or were we all just way off base? Don't get me wrong, there were moments that I had that assured feeling that God was smiling down on us, providing inspiration and encouragement, but those were few and far between. I became, in those times, very familiar with the Scriptures that pointed out that even Jesus Himself received no honor in His own town, but I still could not reckon what we were going through with what we were trying to do. You see, I understand the cost of the Cross and that when God sends you to do a work it is going to make some people angry, turn some against you and cost more than you counted at the start, but that wasn't suppose to include being rejected and betrayed by the very people you were trying to help, or having every little bit of effort you made scrutinized and slandered. Or did it? That was in fact the very thing Jesus experienced- betrayed by the ones closest to Him, rejected by those He came to save and slandered by all in between.
      Where was I going with this again? Oh yeah, that's right, God let me in on a secret and set me on my way yet again today. As He was playing the truths in my minds eye and reminding me of the times He used M.A.D.E. to minister, how far He had brought us and all we had been through together, and even all the times people tried to tear us and the ministry apart. I felt sad, overwhelmed and appreciative all at the same time. It was in that moment God spoke this to my heart- "When the boss stops by and tells you "good job", you don't have to worry about what your co-works have to say". I kid you not, this time my head almost erupted!!!! I mean, this was such a revelation for me. People in the body of Christ are gifted with different approaches to ministry, not even just modern time either but even in the days of the Bible. Paul and Peter had varying views and approaches to ministry and they couldn't see eye to eye, but that was not to the discredit of either man or their ministry. However, some members see "different" as "wrong" or "less important"and have no qualms about letting people know about their objections.
      With all that being said, the next time you feel like your labor in ministry, regardless of what it is or how many times you feel insignificant or like you may have missed the mark altogether, just seek the 'Boss' and when He sends the confirmation that you are on track, hold on to it and don't worry about what your co-workers have to say.
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance for ye serve the Lord Christ- Colossians 3:23

Thursday, January 14, 2016

If you give a devil a foothold....

Firstly, allow me to say I realize I suck at being a blogger, simply because I don't like to write, talk, or put things out without a direct word from God because then it is simply noise. That being said, I do often receive several words in a close span of time so I am going to aim to write a blog at least once a week. But that is neither here nor there regarding this week, just wanted it to be noted I realize the inconsistency. Now there is this.....

      Most everyone read the book 'When you give a mouse a cookie' as a child and there is a lot that can be said about this seemingly simple children's book. Let me frame it for everyone for just a's blog is dedicated to a really good friend of mine that brought to my mind this incredibly deep insight into the book of the mouse and his cookie.
     I have a friend that has been going through a mess of trouble at every turn for a solid 8 months, with little to no relief in between. I am talking about intense storms like being homeless and transferring from temp home to temp home more than 4 times, backstabbing from 'friends', lose of a car, near lose of a job, lose of a marriage and even almost losing a child. All this while trying her hardest to maintain a job, mother her kids and be a full time representative for Christ. This friend remained faithful and despite it all kept in good overall spirits with little 'snapping' involved. I have been praying like crazy for her and her family as well as trying to encourage her, but at the same time ensure she received the incoming message of God regarding her circumstances, and today it paid off in a MAJOR way!!!!
     I received a text today that disclosed at the very least, a glimmer of solid hope regarding this situation. This friend has, in the last 2 months, gotten both of her sons out of the grips of incredibly dire and detrimental influences, improved her damaged relationship with her oldest daughter and even made grand steps toward reconciliation (as friends at the very least) with her husband!!!!! There were tears, prayers and honest, genuine communication in the walls of her home these last few days. Strongholds were torn down, woulds were revealed, acknowledged and set on the path to healing, and truths were exposed, allowing redemption to happen, just as God had planned. So what does all of this have to do with a children's book about a mouse and a cookie??? I am so glad you asked.....
     As soon as I got the text I began to praise God for answered prayer and a change for the better for my friend, when God spoke a strange word to my heart....."when you give a mouse a cookie" He said. I am sorry....what???? What happened in the story when the mouse was given a cookie?
He wanted some milk
Okay, and then
He wanted to see the mirror
And then....
Well, eventually he wanted to lie down....but what is the point Lord?
This is how the enemy works in our lives, was the point God was making. My friend had some sin not so much in her life per say, but more so in her heart, and this provided the enemy an open door, or a welcome plate of cookies and milk, if you will. This unaddressed sin had grown, and began to manifest itself in her life in some pretty ugly ways without conscious knowledge of where it was all coming from. When we give the devil a gap, a chink in the armor, a foothold in our lives, he begins to take over, get comfortable in our lives and then eventually want to take up a more permanent residence in our lives. When we harbor bitterness, unforgiveness, take up wrath and revenge, or justify any other sin we give the enemy a foothold in our lives. Essentially we give him a cookie and welcome him in, allowing him the opportunity to make himself at home and begin to take over more than we gave in the beginning. Today ask God to search your heart and look over your life, ask the Holy Spirit to search you completely and then receive His honest revelation and kick the enemy out!!!! And for goodness sake QUIT GIVING HIM COOKIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

I totally suck at being a Christian

        So, I came to a realization today that was like a slap in the face- I totally SUCK at being a Christian!!!
       I am well versed in the saying " I cannot brag on my love for God because I fail Him daily..." and I find great solace in that thought, believe me, but it felt like a cop out of sorts. You see up until about 10 years ago I was a church attending "Christian" that saw the importance of God, the need for Jesus and someone who really desired to go to Heaven, but as far as understanding the true need for Jesus as  my Savior, was something altogether different. I mean, come on, I know I smoked, drank occasionally, let a curse word slip form time to time and maybe even told a little white lie every now and then, but I didn't really do any of the BIG stuff I did before I got saved. Let's be honest before I was 'saved' I use to cuss like a sailor, steal whatever I wanted, treat people like garbage, smoke like a chimney, drink like there may soon be a drought and indulge in the company of gentleman as I pleased, but I had since been relieved of all of that. Then 10 (+/_) years ago I found a church that did for my spirit what no other thing had ever done- they lit a fire in me. I began to 'feel' God in a way I never had before, I wanted to do more, to be more and everything in my life started to change. Soon after I would began working with some of the young people there and eventually started teaching a class and even started a ministry with my husband. I could see the change God was making in every area of my life, including my sin life, (SN-While 'sin life' doesn't sound like a thing, in all honesty we all know it definitely is!! It is defined as the area of your life where sin is allowed to operate under one excuse or another-ie- 'she doesn't deserve forgiveness, she isn't even sorry' or 'It isn't a bad lie, and therefore doesn't count, if it is to protect someone') My sin life had been traded in for 'churchy sins', you know, like letting everyone know about how Sister Soandso had been bad mouthing all the members of the board, or how the building committee was misusing funds to put in a totally unnecessary new parking lot, and telling the outreach committee I was not able to participate in the distribution of blankets this year because I had to work, when in fact I just didn't want to be bothered by that ol' messy Sister Soandso. However, things here began to change ever so slowly, but most assuredly, I will spare you the long drawn out details, but after awhile we felt the nudge of God moving us along. We left the church as it were, with no real plan on where to go or what to do, but we were following the leading of God so it had to be all good, right? Not so much, well at first any way.
       After being at home on the days I was normally in the church for a period of time, I began to notice that I read my Bible less and less and prayed even more infrequently, I found that God and I sort of started to drift apart. I was getting angry much more quickly than I had before and my patience was running on a much shorter fuse. Clearly God had not moved, but I couldn't understand what exactly had happened. I struggled for awhile because there was such an internal conflict, it was like part of me longed for God and wanted to get back closer to Him, like I felt before, but the other part had no real hunger or thirst for the things of God. I became indifferent. Lukewarm. I knew God hated this kind of mindset, He was an all or nothing kind of God, but I also didn't want to be fraudulent in my service or worship and that is what it felt like it would have been at that time. I suppose because there were no more choirs singing songs that lifted my soul or there were no more pastors offering healing balm for the wounds life had inflicted upon me, I felt abandoned and let down. I wanted to be fed and because no one was there to spoon feed me I had subconsciously determined that I was going to sit in the corner, fold my arms and starve. But God!!!!
     As I tried day upon day to fight my way back into Gods presence He began to send little reminders that He was in fact still there and I had not completely caused Him to spit me out....yet. God began to reveal Himself in a whole new light. He started to show me that people, no matter how gifted or anointed they may be, are not the source, but rather simply a resource from Him to utilize. He alone was the source.(SN- Please do not mistake me I am not advocating not going to church or leaving and striking it out on your own. I happen to love church and attending them A LOT!!!!) God was formulating something in me for season yet to come, but you have to begin to till the fields long before you plant a seed. He let me know that even when I was unfaithful, He remained faithful. When I wanted to stomp my feet and be contentious, He would remain patient. When I wanted to walk the other way, He had no problem pursuing me and wooing me back to Himself. What kind of God is this that arrests the heart and refuses to let it self destruct??? It does my heart and soul such good to know that I serve a God not deterred by my flaws, my mistakes and the way that I screw up at least one something on a daily basis, but rather He is patient through them, using each one to formulate a moment that holds a treasure greater than I could EVER deserve.

        So, yeah I truly suck at being a Christian, but praise God that Jesus has the Savior thing down pat!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

 I was at the grocery store today with my husband and God prompted a Word in my Spirit but I didn't even realize it until later, when I was at work of course. Truth be told God had started pouring elements of the word into my heart, mind and circumstance a few months earlier. So, it went something like this- between my husband and daughter there was a stern determination to bring summer back, at least in the fruit section anyway. Our cart began to be filled with all things summer-watermelon, mango, citrus and strawberries etc. I, being the penny watcher that I am, was less worried about the tasty fruits and their yummy goodness as I was about the fact that just a few short weeks ago strawberries were a meager $.99 pert container and now they lunked in the cart at a heavy $4.99!!!!!! This fact alone made me stop and re-evaluate our current situation. I explained to my unappreciative co-shoppers that the season for these wonderful offerings had passed and that if they just "had to have them" they we certainly not be getting the quantity they desired, or not at all if there was even an inkling that there was some GMO agents present that allowed these items to simply exist at this time. Later on at work, I suppose I was still stirring a bit about having been dupped into buying a $4 watermelon (and I am talking about a small, person pan sized watermelon), when God dropped the word in my heart like a weight (yet again). Seasons, Krystal, life is all about seasons. The Word tells us in Ecclesiastes 3 that to every thing under the sun there is a season in which it is to happen. This is true about everything in life, the good the bad and the fruity. Things change, time goes on, things grow and they die-so is life,and it happens whether we want it to or not, whether we approve or not. The beauty in life, harmony can be found in learning to move in tandem with God and in enjoying the fruits of the season. I am not an advocate of paying a higher premium, or contributing to the need for genetically engineered products to appease a person, but I must admit regardless of the time of year I love a good bunch of juicy grapes. However, God is teaching me in THIS season of life to love the fruit of the season, or at the very least learn to appreciate them because all things taste sweeter in their own season, they leave the earth in proper shape and provide the greatest amount benefit when they are cultivated and harvested in their own season, When the season is upon you to cultivate and reap patience, God may till the ground of your heart with difficulty, and an endless showering of hard times, but He fully understands the need to get it just so to reap the greatest harvest. So in whatever season you may find yourself, simply learn to dance in the rains of spring, soak up the sun of summer, enjoy the crisp air of fall and appreciate the renewal that comes from the hibernation of winter, God sees the end from the beginning and He wants you to be the sweetest and most vital you can be when the peak of your harvest time comes.

Monday, November 2, 2015

There is place for everyone in the will of God but not always in His presence

      As I was working today, the Holy Spirit laid a word upon my heart that caused me to stop and really think about what He was saying to me. The word was relevant to a situation I was (am) praying about in regards to my own personal life as well as professionally and spiritually. The word dropped in my heart like a weight.....There is place for EVERYONE in the will of God but not always in the presence of God. Allow me to unpack that a bit.
      There are times in life where God arranges situations and circumstances to buffer things off of us to make us better, and other times where He uses them to propel us into our purpose. Every great person in the Bible was placed into their position by an opposing force, a person God used to set into motion the seemingly negative circumstances that deposited them into their destiny. For example-
Moses had Pharaoh
Daniel had the other governors and leaders
Joseph had his brothers AND Potiphar's wife
Esther had Vashti AND Haman
       All of these counter parts set up the other to be in position as vessels of honor by being vessels of dishonor, as those mentioned in 2 Timothy 2:20. Without the divine set-up, if you will, and the seemingly negative circumstances surrounding these people in their time of propulsion they may not have made it to the mark. God allowed there to be particular circumstances to be set into motion surrounding the would be victors that, should they have responded in a differing manner, may have shifted things in the opposing direction, Jesus realized that Judas was simply serving a purpose by betraying Him. While we all realize He is the son of God and therefore possessed supernatural power and purpose, He was also at one point wholly human, and prayed the course of His purpose to shifted, were it possible. Judas, by way of his betrayal, and subsequent 'sale' of Jesus to the Pharisees ensured the plan of God was seen through to completion. The same is true for Joseph with his brothers, and the rest. We will try everything within our power to wriggle out of uncomfortable situations, ones that push us out from the safety of the shore out into the great unknown, situations that cause us to feel betrayed, abandoned and rejected. We will try all we know to somehow work out in our minds that God's will for our lives includes Him wanting us to be happy, but we have to understand that our happiness will ALWAYS come second in line to God's Holiness and His will, and sometimes God has to use people to ensure we reach our purpose.
      Considering all things, we have to be sure we learn from the example of Esther in dealing with Haman, waiting on the proper and wise time to put him into his place. If she had moved too quickly the King's heart may not have been inclined to let make her petition, and even more importantly Haman would not have had time to build the very gallows that would later be his final stop this side of eternity. More importantly we must learn from the example of Jesus in His treatment of Judas even after it was revealed that he was the very one that would betray Him. Jesus still sat at the same table, broke bread with and even washed the very feet of the one that would solidify His place on the cross. Judas had the opportunity to walk side by side with the Master, to glean from His wisdom and partake of His greatest blessings but chose rather to be used a vessel of dishonor in the will of God removing himself from the presence of God.
      We are called to respond in love to all situations and glorify God in all because even the ones that hurt, especially the ones that hurt the most are the ones with the greatest rocket fuel to launch us to our purpose.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Today was not what I thought I needed....I was so wrong

Today was a day like I have never had before, but one I do not necessarily desire to have again anytime soon. Allow me to explain. I have been in a storm in recent months where wave after wave has pounded me to the point of breaking. The funny thing is I have been praying through the bridge of the song Oceans by Hillsong for months leading up to this point. The very lyrics say-
 "Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior"
As I prayed this through, I sincerely meant it however, as the Lord began to lead me out into the depths with trials, changes and LIFE, I started kicking and screaming for the shore. For months I had begun to destruct relationships, burn bridges, allow my joy to be sabotaged and even allowed my work to suffer. I was even angry with God for a period of time because I felt that if He would just talk to me and give me a little direction I could make it, but to no avail. No matter how mad I got, how frustrated I became, how much good I even tried to front nothing changed. I felt no real joy, no peace, I actually felt like I was out of my body, watching myself throw my days away but I didn't even care enough to stop it. The funny thing was that my job was going well, finances were on point and our ministry was flourishing like never before. By all rights I should have been thrilled, not so. I went to church, 'praised' God (although the songs had lost their meaning and depth) and even agreed with the messages, but there was no real meaning anymore. Then there was today. Every message I heard was on faith and how God was trying to grow faith. As I worked through my day God turned my heart in an instant and allowed me to see like I hadn't in quite a long time. Scales had been removed, joy and peace flooded my heart once again and I was back to feeling like my old self. Nothing changed in my situation or circumstance just how I viewed it all and the realization of the need for the storms. Suddenly I am on top of the waves and not simply being knocked around by them. So now you can see I appreciate the place the storm took me but I am not truthfully in a hurry to be in the storm again except when God has a destination to direct me to. My point is remain faithful and even when you feel like you can't be trust God because He is not conformed to your circumstance and will surely conform your circumstances to His purposes in His perfect time. M.A.D.E. OUT