29 April 2011

Staying Connected to the Vine gives us Strength

John 15: 4 -5, and 7  
4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.

A few weeks ago, a thunderstorm caused lightening to strike a tree in our front yard and a few of the branches broke from the trunk of the tree and lay lifeless in our front yard and debris was everywhere. Nevertheless, many of the branches were able to withstand the storm and stayed in- tact without losing their connection.

As I evaluated this situation, I realized that there was a message to gain from this incident. If we are able to stay connected to the trunk (the root of God), we will be able to withstand the storms and trials of life. A strong connection and long-term, consistent staying before the Father is what gives us strength and we are strengthen day by day.  Occasionally we, like the detached limbs, are uprooted by the storms of life and find ourselves feeling lifeless and disconnected from the Father.

This was a wake-up call for me because I allow my work, the busyness of the day, things, trials, and life to get in the way of my precious time with God.  I find myself not really spending quality time praying and studying His word on a personal level as I should.  Therefore, I should not be surprised when I feel weak, wayward, emotionally strained, or caught off guard because my strength lies in Him and Him alone and if I am not connected to the source—then my source of strength is gone.

On the other hand, there are times when we are truly connected and plugged into God and we still feel weak or wayward; however, those times are minimized as we spend consistent time with God.

Sometimes we assume that our belief in God is enough to sustain us, but sometimes we are void of strength, joy, direction, and the like because our belief is not enough to carry us. We must abide in Him and He abides in us and we can ask anything of Him and it will be done.  A part of abiding can include spending at least an hour or more everyday seeking God.  This does not mean to become legalistic or ritualistic but spend precious time praising, praying, writing, worshiping, listening, petitioning, resting, being quiet, or reading His word while alone in His presence.

In this current age, 1 hour or more a day for busy individuals may seem like a lot. But in the scheme of things, it is really nothing to settle ourselves at some point for an hour to seek His face.  I am challenging myself to return to this place and posture of seeking God because I need His daily strength and His guidance like never before and this will help BALANCE my life so it want seem so overwhelming.  Join me and commit to abide in the vine so life and storms want break us!!! God wants consistent and full surrender!

Pastor Sonia

25 April 2011

My God, My God, why have you forsaken me!

Matthew 27:46 NIV About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ""Eloi, Eloi," "lama" "sabachthani?""--which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

There are times in life when we feel forsaken by God.  Times when we wish God would just rush in and change the situation immediately.  Since He is all powerful, omniscient, and able to change things with one word.  Sometimes I wonder why He want intervene and make the path easier.  However, He very rarely gives in to my antics, persuasion, or temper tantrums and He just allows me to go through the process because He knows best.  Though I know this, my emotions sometimes get the best of me and I find myself a little angry, disappointed, sad, and annoyed.  During these roller-coaster emotional days, I have to plug into the Father to gain strength, an understanding, and the proper perspective.

Today was one of those days and the Father reminded me of the word my husband preached as well as reminded me how Jesus felt?  Pastor Shawn's message summarized "a seed must fall into the ground and die in order to produce fruit. The soil of the ground is its grave but when it rises forth- much fruit abounds".  How we all hate dying but it is a natural part of the process".  It is during the dying process that we get frustrated, but He allows circumstances and time to kill the things in us that are not like Him. Also, time is an indicator if we will stick it out no matter how long it takes.  I am sure Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Job, Hannah, and a few other Biblical persons can relate to the long, long process. As impatient as I am, this is what tries me most- TIME!  After all the heartache, pain, disappointment, mishaps, rejections, hard work, walking in integrity, dedicated service, sacrifice, and continued belief-- I say "okay God enough already-- can you move and move now".

Then, He gently reminds me that He is doing things in His timing and His way and I must trust Him through and during the process.  Even today, He also reminded me that Jesus felt forsaken and desired another path, but relented to the process because He knew if He died to His will and His way-- much fruit would abound.  

So today, I have decided to die to my will and my way and embrace God's timing although I still have a little frustration, sometimes feel forsaken, and desire another way-- I must trust His way is better than mine and His timing is always perfect, because in the end, I desire much fruit to abound.

Thank God that He did not forgo the grave or death. I'm a product of His death and His rising & so are you!!! And others are depending on us to stay the course, endure the process, and complete our assignment so they may reap the benefit of our obedience.  So today, I pray God will give us peace and assurance during the process!!!

Pastor Sonia
Psalm 22:1 NIV A psalm of David.] My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?