Category : Devotion of the Week
Category : Devotion of the Week
The anniversary of September 11, 2001 is always melancholy for me because like many of you, I remember the events of that day in great detail.
I was the spokeswoman for San Antonio International Airport. Thinking it would be another day of working on newsletters and ribbon cuttings, a co-worker bolted into my office, and urgently said, “Turn on your television, Lisa!” I hit the “on” button and saw an airplane crash into one of the World Trade Center towers. I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing—it seemed so surreal. As I processed the image, my phone rang. It was the former airport Public Relations Manager who said, “This is going to affect you.” That was an understatement.
Within an hour-and-a-half, we held a media press conference with the Aviation Director, Airport Chief of Police and Director of Maintenance who laid out our airport’s emergency plan for safety. Until the Transportation Security Administration was put in place six months later, my job was purely media relations. I regularly gave the public updates on safety initiatives like the bomb-sniffing dogs we brought in, regular sweeps of the airport, and information about the FAA’s new rules.
It was a trying time that tested my resolve, but we all know extremely difficult seasons will come in our lives. The question is “Do we have a strong enough spiritual foundation to handle them?”
When 9-11 happened, I was a rededicated Christian in Bible study and serving God in various capacities. Through my faith, I was able to stand strong through this crisis despite the grueling schedule.
In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus said, “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”
Jesus is talking about the “spiritual” house, not a literal house. Trials and problems will take us down if we don’t have a solid foundation to begin with. Knowing that sudden storms are inevitable, we need to be proactive and make sure we’re built on a solid foundation, Jesus, and that our faith is unshakeable.
As I watch Hurricane Florence bear down on the Carolinas, I am praying for the people there and I am hoping their spiritual foundation is solid, even if their homes take a beating. When disasters come, we may lose everything materially, but with Jesus as our foundation, we can still stand strong spiritually.
One of my early experiences as a sportscaster took place at an Atlanta Braves game. The Braves were about to set a record for most wins at the start of the season and I was in the stands during the seventh inning stretch, attempting to do an on-camera piece. The noise was deafening and the celebratory people were not making my job easier. However, because I knew the story I wanted to tell, I got through it.
Last night the memories of that day came back as hundreds of people gathered for fellowship after our church’s Shabbat service. It was loud in the church foyer. I saw the video camera set up off to the side and asked myself, Do I really want to do this—now? I had been asked to share my “Jewish” testimony but was tired, and wasn’t sure I’d be able to hear myself speaking as I attempted to tell the story. Obediently, despite the environment, I walked over. My Jewish testimony was recorded in my brain, so I rewound and it began to play.
My father, third from the left in the photo, was a Jewish doctor who died suddenly at age 39, two months before I was born, so I did not grow up with any Jewish traditions. However, I always knew I was Jewish. My grandmother called me her “little Jew baby” and God never let me forget my heritage. He placed me in a high school with a large population of Jewish kids. After I got married, he planted us next to Jewish neighbors who invited us to Bar Mitzvahs and Passover meals, and I was introduced to a Jewish woman who became one of my best friends. When I was in my first television job in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the two area rabbis called me up and invited me to synagogue. I wondered, How did they even know I had Jewish roots?
After I rededicated my life to Christ, the pull to my Jewish roots intensified. One day, in my car I prayed, Lord will you provide a way for me to go to Israel, the land of my people?” The next week I was listening to a Messianic Jewish rabbi give his testimony and I complimented him afterward. He wasted no time in asking, “When was the last time you went to Israel?” I responded, “I’ve never been.” He said, “Well, I don’t think anyone in ministry should be in ministry if they’ve never been to Israel. How would you like to go to Israel with me and a group of pastors for half-price?” God had answered my prayer with a discount!
Before I left for the Holy Land, I was given a prophetic word. I was told “The Host has invited you to Israel and He has a message for you there.”
It was a long flight, but when I landed in Israel, I was thrilled beyond words, and all ears. I did not want to miss this heavenly download from my Father.
At our first stop in Ariel, we visited the Biblical Gardens, and there was an olive tree lit up, as if God was saying, “Pay attention to the olive tree.” Everywhere I turned, it also seemed to be all about “the roots” of Israel. I asked the rabbi who led the tour, “Is it always about the roots?” He said, “This is more than usual. This must be for you.”
One day we’re sitting at the feet of a Jewish scholar and shopkeeper in old Town Jerusalem where he shared the meaning of the olive tree. He said, “The leaves of the olive tree represent God’s protective covering over our lives, but olive trees have to be threshed to get the fruit off of them.” He said that represents God’s discipline in our lives. He explained the trunk of the olive tree lives about 800 years but then he said this: “The roots of the olive tree never die.” And that is when I knew God’s message for me. “My Jewish father died, but my Jewish roots never died.”
Because I could have never had this thought, and it seemed to come out of left field, I knew this was my message from God, but what was I supposed to do with it? Take Hebrew? Join a Messianic Synagogue?
It took about a year, but God eventually led my husband and me to a church that honors the “Jew first,” gives its tithe to Israel, has a once-a-month Shabbat service and offers numerous classes on Jewish roots and traditions. I don’t know where all this is leading, but I am a sponge, and I am thankful for both my Christian and my Jewish heritage. —And that is my “Jewish” testimony.
What about you? Do you know your faith story? Would you like to be able to share it without thinking twice about it? Then you should consider attending the Roaring Lambs Testimony Workshop this Tuesday night from 6:00-9:00 p.m. (www.roaringlambs.org) We’ll teach you how to write and speak your story so you’ll feel confident to tell it any place and at any time.
1 Peter 3:15 says to, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
Are you prepared?
Pearls of Promise wants to invite you to its annual “Level-Up Women’s Conference September 29th at New Day Church in Southlake. Tickets are currently half-price so just click on the link to the Eventbrite site and type in the Promo Code: “LevelUp.” https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2018-level-up-womens-conference-tickets-44917660933?aff=eac2
We also want to tell you about Lisa’s latest book, The Only Father I Ever Knew: How a Fatherless Child Finally Found True Love. The book is currently available on Amazon.com and with the backdrop of Lisa’s story, along with sixteen other testimonies, is designed to help those with father wounds.
7. Because His Word Says So.
Pride is not a good thing but I was feeling pretty proud after teaching myself how to edit a video on i-movie. I had already learned how to use the application on my phone, but creating a video on my computer was the next step. When I was in television, I used to edit almost all of my work, and enjoyed the process, but the technology has changed a whole lot since then. It was so different that it was intimidating.
However, I was motivated to learn because I needed a book trailer for my new book, The Only Father I Ever Knew. It is my heart to get this book in as many hands as possible so they will experience the love of our heavenly Father and learn about his father-like attributes. I figured a video about the book would give a synopsis of its content, and from experience, I have realized people watch videos over something written.
When the book trailer was completed, I was happy with the result and thought, Not bad for an amateur, and I put it out there on all the social mediums. However, by the time I went to bed, only eleven people had viewed my video on YouTube, and some of those clicks were from me. I was forlorn. Knowing God can draw people, I asked, “Don’t you love me? This book was written for you, and about you. Why haven’t you given your children a holy push to watch the book trailer?”
I was having a pity party.
But we cannot base God’s love on circumstances. We have to trust His Word when it says,
“I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3) or
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1). What about this one:
“The earth is filled with your love, O Lord…” (Psalm 119:64).
Do you believe God loves you, even in the worst of circumstances? My book trailer does not represent a serious scenario. I have to believe that the indifference has nothing to do with God’s love, but I have a friend who just lost her son. It may be difficult for her to trust that God loves her during this trying time, right? But I am praying that she will feel the arms of her heavenly Father around her as she mourns.
I have come to the determination that we either believe God’s Word or we don’t. We either live by the standards set in the Bible or we make up our own rules. We either trust that God love for us is unfailing, or we choose to believe that his love is inconsistent. But God’s Word does not teach that the Creator’s love is wishy-washy. It says, “Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds” (Psalm 36:5–6).
People’s love may fail, but God’s love for us is eternal. It says that right there in the Bible. And he loved us enough to sacrifice His own Son so we can spend eternity with Him in Heaven.
Today, no matter what the circumstance, will you thank God for His sacrificial, unfailing love?
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
If you would like to know more about Lisa’s new book, The Only Father I Ever Knew: How a Fatherless Child Finally Found True Love, then check out the book trailer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSpaDqs8D_U
Her book is now available on Amazon.com.
We also want to invite you to the annual “Level-Up Women’s Conference” coming up September 29th at New Day Church in Southlake, Texas. The event price is now half-off with the Promo Code: “LevelUp.” Just go to Eventbrite and register today! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2018-level-up-womens-conference-tickets-44917660933?aff=eac2
6. He Fights our Battles
Are you facing a difficult scenario right now?
Do you need extra help to emerge victorious?
This morning I am dealing with a situation I cannot disclose, but it happened overnight and is out of my control because it concerns an adult member of our family. However, I know there is no battle my loving heavenly Father cannot fight. I am claiming Romans 8:37: “Now, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” The Greek word here for conqueror actually means to “gain a decisive victory.” When we ask for God’s intervention in a situation, the odds are overwhelmingly for us, not against us.
We cannot lose.
Our heavenly Father loves us enough to carry us through the battles of life. He isn’t distant and removed when we war through problems. If we’ll let Him, he tells us to step aside so He can dual with whatever is trying to take us, or a family member down. “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:14).
After almost three years of co-hosting the “A Time to Dream” radio show, featuring people’s powerful testimonies, I have heard story-after-story from individuals who have overcome the worst of circumstances—like drug addiction, abandonment, and abuse. One woman had a gun pointed at her head, and in the midst of this life and death moment, she simply cried out the name of Jesus. That’s all God needed to hear. Mysteriously, her assailants ran, and she was rescued. The woman sharing her story figured the attackers most of seen an angel standing behind her.
All of our guests want to share openly about their past life because God fought their battle, and they gained a decisive victory over what tried to destroy them.
Sometimes all we need to do is admit the battle is too much for us. That’s when we call upon the divine General and retreat from the front line, so He can activate His army to fight against what seems unconquerable.
Our loving God does not want us to go it alone.
Today, will you admit you need Him? Cry out for help, then watch Him fight on your behalf.
“For you equipped me with strength for the battle; you made those who rise against me sink under me” (Romans 8:39)
5. He gives us his Word to Live By.
I’m not the best at reading instruction manuals and often learn by trial and error. One day after having lunch with my son and his fiancé, he started the car with his key fob. “That’s handy,” I said. He replied, “You’ve got that same feature on your fob as well.” I’d had my car for two years but didn’t realize I could start it remotely, and that it wasn’t difficult to do. If I’d only read the owner’s manual, I might have embraced this technology sooner.
Out of His love, God also wants to make our life easier but we have to read His manual, the Bible. I just heard a testimony of a woman who did not open the Word of God until she was fifty because she thought it was a history book, and she hated history. It wasn’t until she faced a crisis that she delved into the Bible. That’s when she found the truth that Holy Scripture is “alive and active, sharper than a double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
The Bible is God’s love letter to mankind. Throughout, it clearly shows His repeated attempts to reach His created ones, either directly, or through His son, Jesus. It also leads us to salvation, as God sacrificed His own Son to atone for our sins. If you study hard enough, you’ll find evidence of Christ throughout the Old and New Testaments.
The Bible’s words can give us peace and joy. There have been days where my own anxiety has attempted to set in, but I feel a calmness envelop my body when I read God’s Word.
God’s Word also help us with indecision. Every time I am at a crossroad in my life, I turn to the Bible for help. His Word is a “lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Psalm 119:105).
When I open the Word of God every morning, I am expectant. I ask the Holy Spirit to show me something new about the Lord. When I am working on a message, I ask for applicable verses that will back up the points I am making. Currently, I am preparing for our Pearls of Promise Level-Up Women’s Conference on September 29th where I’m providing a “Battle Strategy” on how to fight every day battles. Lately, the Holy Spirit is faithfully pointing out passages that have to do with overcoming and fighting battles. The truths leap off the page so I dutifully write them down as my loving Father provides the encouragement He desires for His daughters.
How much time do you spend in the Word of God?
Reading the Bible is a discipline, but it’s a not a difficult routine to start. Just try to read for fifteen minutes in the morning, then stretch that to thirty. Ask God to speak to your heart. Before you know it, you might be so engrossed, you will lose track of time!
Maybe you are tired of stumbling through life and need the Divine Owner’s Manual. Out of your heavenly Father’s love for you, he provided His Word.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17).
We invite all of you to the annual “Level-Up” Women’s Conference September 29th at New Day Church in Southlake Texas. We’ll help you Level-up your identity in Christ, Level-up you warrior heart to fight everyday battles, and we will attempt to Level-down the wounds in your life. Currently we have a “Buy One, Get One Free promotion.” Just check out our events page and click on the link that leads you to Eventbrite. Type in the Promo Code: “Level Up.” http://pearlsofpromiseministries.com/events/