Monthly Archives: February 2011

Girl Meets God

Growing up as a young girl I remember getting up early every Sunday morning with my Dad and going to church.  Although I have fond memories of singing in the choir and  hearing about Jesus in my Sunday school class, I did not know that we had such a loving God until years later.

Much of my life as a young school girl I witnessed a bitter-sweet marriage with my mother and father. Rarely did I encounter love.  The only time I remember a little peace in the home was usually during the holidays.

In Michigan at the age of 10 I remember my father standing on the landing with suitcases in hand say to my mother that he was leaving.  When I heard this it felt as though my heart dropped into my stomach.  As I look back that was probably one of the most heart-wrenching times in my life.

As the days and years went on I watched my mother take prescription drugs to help numb the pain. As I look back, I can’t help but remember that what was once supposed to be a temporary fix, turned into years of addiction for my mother.   This was a time when doctors would  write prescriptions without getting to the heart of the matter. To me many drugs then and now function as a band-aid to cover  a wound that is much worse and needs more care than just an abrasion.

Over the next five years I witnessed first hand the heart-ache and pain that my mother so desperately tried to endure. But her battle was lost at the young age of 45 when she decided to end her life. Before her death I remember one particular incidence:  It was the middle of the night and for some reason I awoke and found my mother so stoned standing in the kitchen with a knife in hand cutting an empty plate.  I know now that the Lord was with me as I gently took the knife out of her hand and put her to bed.

Aside from all of this I remember that I began to gravitate toward people my age and older that were big on alcohol and drug use. I remember (and I do NOT encourage) there were times when I would sneak out of the house in the middle of the night to get drunk with my friends while sitting on the corner of our street.

This behavior went on for a few years until one day, because I could no longer deal with my mothers illness,  I decided just days before her death to go and live with my father along with his new wife and family.   Two days after moving in with my new family my father received a phone call from a concerned neighbor asking him to come and see if my mother was alright since there had not been any activity at the house.  When my father, who was a firefighter and captain of the paramedic squad arrived, the door was locked which led him to climbed through the back living-room window. It was there he found my mother overdosed with a note at her side.

Now I had a new hurdle to overcome and that was my struggle with the enormous guilt that I carried for the next five years of my life:  The only thing I knew to do at that time was to drown my sorrows with drugs and alcohol. It was during this time that I had also become anorexic until one day I was literally scared into eating again after my body began to act abnormally. I remember saying to myself, “I have got to start eating again” and so I immediately got up, went into the kitchen and began to make myself something to eat.

In my senior year of high school I decided to get married (mainly to get out of the house) but it lasted only a year and a half and it was not long after that I began “partying” again. Then one day after my divorce (and while living again with my parents)  I remember  my brother Bob came to visit and shared with me about this amazing person named Jesus. While he was talking to me I knew that there was something different about him which that in itself captured my attention. As I look back I see how God’s perfect timing was spot on because I was getting real tired of my life fast!

It wasn’t long after this that I had been given a cassette tape with the personal story of a woman by the name of Sandy Brown.  She was a former cocktail waitress in Vegas.  She spoke about how Jesus showed himself to her and she didn’t even know who he was until He said his name and then she thought to herself: “I know that Name, I use it all the time!” From that day on Jesus  began to transform this young womans life by helping her to overcome her drug addiction and ultimately opened the doors of churches all over the country allowing her  to share her amazing story with others about God and His amazing love through Jesus Christ.

Because of all that I had been through I knew that  I was ready for a change.  So I said a prayer that I meant from my heart, and it went something like this, “Jesus I believe in you..I believe that you died for me and rose from the dead…forgive me of all I’ve done wrong.  Help me to follow you, be my Lord and my Savior” After talking to the Lord I remember lying on the floor in my sisters bedroom and it felt as though I had a blanket on top of me, it was very comforting, I was also crying, not because of sadness, but because it felt like this huge weight was lifted off of me and I knew that something inside of me was different.  Although the outside did not change much right away I knew that on the inside my heart was filled with God’s love, joy and a peace that I had never felt before in my entire life!

Has my life up to this point been perfect? No. But one thing remains true: I have by the mercy of God experienced the Lord’s goodness and feel a great passion to share His unconditional love with anyone who is willing to listen.

The Lord has led my husband Rick and I along with our two boys to start the first church ever in the history of our home town.  Pastor Rick teaches the Bible in ways that can help us on a day-to-day basis.

If you are looking for something more meaningful in your life, just know this: God loves you! There is nothing that you have done, or are currently involved in now that will keep God from showing His love to you.  He is ready and waiting for you to call out to him. “They that call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. You can also access Pastor Rick’s messages for free at http://www.poncechurch.com


His Love is Never Limited

Jesus Love is not limited. When he walked this earth as a man he shunned no one. He loved everyone especially those who were despised and ridiculed by others.  As I was thinking the other morning, I remembered a true story in the Bible where Jesus and his disciples were invited by Mathew (a despised tax collector) for dinner at his home, “Later Mathew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. BUT..when the Pharisees (people who claim they love God but show NO mercy to others) saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor-sick people do.” Then he added, “Now GO AND LEARN THE MEANING OF THIS SCRIPTURE; I want YOU  to show MERCY not offer sacrifices (sacrifices today are doing all the ‘right’ things outwardly yet inside there is no mercy or love toward others). “For I have  come to call not those who THINK they are righteous, but those who KNOW they are sinners.” Mathew 9:10-13 nlt

As I remembered this passage of scripture he began to show me a very important point: The fact that Jesus sat and dined with sinners (we’ve all sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God) was proof that he was not condemning them, but in fact demonstrating God’s Love and Mercy in action. The religious people could not stand even the thought of being around them which was a sure sign, proving their lack of mercy with hearts full of judgment and condemnation (Mathew 23:23-26)

As a Christian, a follower of Jesus, I have chosen to live a life of mercy as He has commanded me to. Just as the scriptures say, “those that have been forgiven much, show others much love.”  In my 30 years as a follower of Jesus I have been forgiven of much and have lived and continue to learn that Loving others in the way He has loved me is the only way of life for me.

Something my wise husband who has been a teacher of the Bible for over 30 years said this in regards to the religious phrase “hate the sin love the sinner”: “We don’t need to hate the spec in our brothers eye-The log in our own eye is a full-time job.” Well said. Meaning, don’t get caught up in others mistakes, but rather take that energy and work on improving our own lives. Love God, Love Others, Love Life.


A-Stones-Throw-Away

And there she was, a beautiful woman crouched  down covering her head in fear knowing her death was just a stones-throw-away! Then, all of a sudden, a kind and gentle man approached her and said to the crowd surrounding her, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down and began to write in the sand…when the accusers heard what he had said, they slipped away one by one, then the man stood up and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No Lord,” she said, and Jesus said to her  “Neither do I go and sin no more.” John 8:1-11 (New Living Translation)

After the 2011 Super Bowl began I sat down to check my facebook newsfeed and as I scrolled down I could not believe one of the posts I read regarding Christina Aguilera and her National Anthem performance. It was not so much what was said, but it was “who” said it (a fellow Christian): Filled with judgement and condemnation.  I thought to myself, “Aren’t we Christians?! What kind of example are we setting to those surrounding us? Especially the ones we’re called to win to Christ.”  Then I began to think about Jesus and how gentle and merciful he was (and is) during his life here on this earth before his death and resurrection. He set so many examples for the Christian to follow and yet sometimes, because of our words and our actions, I feel many of us have forgotten who we represent! It seems as though we have allowed ourselves to be tricked into following religion instead of Jesus.  When we as Christians read this story of the woman caught in adultery we say, “Yes, that’s right, we are to show love and be merciful” But then when REAL life presents itself  it seems that many times  we’re left standing with rocks in one hand and a pitch fork in the other.

To the Christian: If you are a true follower of Jesus, check your heart and your motives. Ask yourself this very simple and world renown question: “What would Jesus Do?” Take a close look again at our Saviors life…how did He live and treat others? And then make the necessary adjustments and act accordingly.

To the person who is on the fence regarding Christianity:  I know it may sound strange, but don’t make your decision based on the people around you.  As Christians we are flawed! Jesus said that there is “Treasure in Earthen Vessels” meaning, as people, we are going to make lot’s of mistakes and that your BEST example is Jesus Himself.  He came to forgive and show God’s mercy in action. He was a man with no sin, but yet he became sin for us…he paid a penalty that none of us deserve and why? Because, “God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son, that whoever chooses to believe in Him (Jesus) would not perish, but have life everlasting” John 3:16  He loves and forgives you, and all He asks of you is to believe and love others in return.


RECENT:Florida Judge calls Obama’s health care Unconstitutional

Finally! Sr. U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson from Florida says Obama’s health care plan is UNCONSTITUTIONAL! “Never before has Congress required that everyone buy a product from a private company,” Judge Roger Vinson wrote in a 78-page ruling on the Florida-led lawsuit pitting 26 states against the federal government.

“I must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the Act with the individual mandate. Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void.” An excerpt taken from a recent article published in the Miami Herald.
As an American and as a Christian, I pray that God continues to inspire our Judicial lawmakers to stop and put an end to any decisions deemed unconstitutional by our president and congress. I am an American and I support our Constitution and our God given Freedom here in the United States of America!

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/02/01/2044290/federal-judge-in-florida-says.html#ixzz1CjtaFlvQ


Is God with You?

How would you  feel  if  members of your family were plotting to kill you? What do you think your reaction would be if someone close to you sold you into slavery? Or what if you were wrongfully accused and thrown into prison? Sounds like a CNN headliner right? What I am about to share with you is a TRUE story of a man named Joseph and how because of a dream, his brothers set out to kill him.  In this dream he saw his family bowing down to him just before he was about to help and save them and many others from a great famine. When he shared this dream his brothers they were so outraged and full of jealousy  toward Joseph.  Reuben, Josephs older brother influenced his brothers into not killing him but suggested they just throw Joseph in an empty cistern (Reuben’s plan was to later return Joseph to his father). Now instead of leaving Joseph to die in the dry well they decided to sell him to some local traders who were passing by.

With all of this devastation taking place in Josephs life, was God with him? Let’s see what the word of God says, “When Joseph was taken to Egypt by the Ishmaelite traders he was purchased by Potiphar, an Egyptian officer. Potiphar was captain of the guard for Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. THE LORD WAS WITH JOSEPH, so he succeeded in everything he did and served in the home of his Egyptian master.” The following is AMAZING!  Potiphar noticed this and realized that the Lord was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did. This pleased Potiphar so he soon made Joseph his personal assistant.” (Genesis chapter 39:1-4 nlt) WOW! Talk about turning things around!

Not long after, Potiphars wife decided she wanted Joseph for herself, but Joseph refused to give in to her lure, so he fled from her. She was so outraged that she made up a lie about Joseph which led to his imprisonment. Right now you’re probably thinking “enough already, give the guy a break!” So what happened next? The scriptures tell us,The Lord was with Joseph and showed him His faithful Love How? “Before long the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. The LORD was with him and caused everything he did to SUCCEED.

WHY WAS JOSEPH ABLE TO RISE ABOVE HIS PROBLEMS? He KNEW GOD was with him! Because of his connection with God he was able to master his emotions by refusing to allow anger, bitterness, unforgiveness and hatred toward his brothers overtake him. Joseph refused to judge his brothers and chose to show them mercy “But Joseph replied, ”Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but GOD intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people (there was a famine and Joseph was very powerful and had harvested grain to help feed others during the famine) No don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them”

Key: Learning to not blame others is the FIRST step to mastering our emotions. Joseph understood that God would turn his circumstances around IF he kept his heart from bitterness, anger and hatred. He knew that the ONLY WAY OUT would be for him to show mercy toward his brothers and because he did, GOD showed MERCY on Joseph and he will do the same for you and me.  Do you have family, friends or co-workers that have hurt you or committed wrongful acts against you? I encourage you to get connected with God right now if you want to see your present circumstances turn around in your favor. If you’re a Christian, ask God to help you show mercy as He has been merciful to you. If you are not a Christian, the Bible says “They that call upon the name of the Lord (Jesus) shall be saved” Ask God to forgive you and receive His Son Jesus Christ, believing that Jesus went to the cross in your place…taking your sins upon Himself. Believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. Take His gift of mercy and give out mercy. The Bible says that God shows His mercy to those who are merciful (forgiving) toward others.

The Lord IS with you my friend!  Don’t allow your present circumstances imprison you. Just like Joseph you can get rid of unforgiving thoughts and emotions toward those that have hurt you. Let it go and let God work it all out.  When you do this the Lord WILL work on your behalf just as He did Joseph’s.

http://www.poncechurch.com/ for Pastor Rick’s recent series on “Mastering Our Emotions”