Friday, December 31, 2010

Lyrical Friday - Invisible Love

Hi Friends.
I'm squeezing in a final post for the year.
A few things before I dive into Lyrical Friday:
1. I am very excited to announce a Lily Makeover! Yes, thee blog will be getting a makeover. Tomorrow, January 1st, 2010 A Lily Among Thorns will be dressed in new clothes. YAY!
2. Some time next week, I will be sharing my 2011 verse and some new year commitments.
3. HAVE A WONDERFUL NEW YEAR'S EVE. Praise the Lord for all He has done. Read Deuteronomy 4:9

Moving along...

JJ Heller as become a close friend, through her songs. It is only appropriate to end the year with one of her amazing compositions. Invisible Love is one of those songs that ministers to my heart so much. The lyrics are simple yet thought provoking... atleast in my head! As you listen to the lyrics, allow them to speak to you of God's awesome love. My prayer is that when you fall, (and make no mistake about it, we all fall) that you would feel His arms before you reach the ground. I pray that you may know His whispers, though you have never literally heard God's voice. May you live in continual wonder, astonishment, surprise, fascination and be awestruck with God's invisible love for you.

Invisible Love, JJ Heller

If my arms could reach around You
I would never move
If my eyes could see You
I'd have no faith left to prove
The wonder of invisible love

This is how it has to be
With You and me
The wonder of invisible love

When I fall I feel Your arms before I reach the ground
Lord, I know Your whisper, though I've never heard the sound
The wonder of invisible love

This is how it has to be
With You and me
The wonder of invisible...

Some day there will be no time to mind
I will be Your long awaited bride
We will dance away the night

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Year In Verses

That's what my mornings look like: Coffee + Bible time!
It's my favorite time of day.

For the past 4-5 years, I have prayed for a verse that will be my theme, my motivation, my encouragement for that year. 2010's verse was (well still is till tomorrow night at Midnight)Matthew 16:26, "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" To be quite frank with you, I was a bit offended by God that this would be the verse He chose for me. In my little self-obsessed mind, my walk with the Lord was ok. However, the Lord's agenda for me was a bit different. He had bootcamp in store for me. (you can read yesterday's post for more) This verse proved to be an anchor for me, a verse that I used as a mirror: Am I gaining this world and all it's luxuries at the cost of my soul? Hmmm, I don't want to live that way. I want to live my life for the then and there and not the here and now. I love Matthew 16:26!

 Last year I posted A Year in Verses and will do the same this year. Raquel, what are you talking about? What is a year of verses? Glad you asked. Two years ago, I was challenged by a verse, a couple of verses actually, to make God's word at home in my heart. So I challenged myself to journal a verse per day. From whatever I read that day, to jot it down and date it. This has kept me accountable to being in God's word daily. So here I go, sharing 1 verse from each month out of the 364 verses that I received this year in my quiet time with Jesus.

January 19, 2010
Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high. Luke 24:29

February 7, 2010
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

March 6, 2010
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26

April 7, 2010
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Romans 12:10-10

May 19, 2010
Say to those who are fearful-hearted, "Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come and save you." Isaiah 35:4

June 8, 2010
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

July 16, 2010
The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “ Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you." Jeremiah 31:3

August 20, 2010
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever. Psalm 73:26

September 23, 2010
He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. Psalm 62:6

October 16, 2010
The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. Isaiah 58:11

November, 2010
And say to [insert your name], “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” Colossians 4:17

December 11, 2010
The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25

Be blessed dear friends.
I challenge you, journal 1 verse a day. Share that verse with others. And make it personal, like the November verse I posted. God's word is powerful and intimate. May you be drawn into God's word like never before. May you never be quenched and satisfied apart from every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, found in the Bible. Happy 2011!

and if you're not tired of reading- ck out last year's verses and then dig in to God's word.
Has God given you a verse? Share it with me.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

take a seat.

Hi Readers.
I am unworthy of your attention, yet you have accepted my invitation to take a seat. Thank you.

Let the high praises of God be in their mouth,
and a two-edged sword in their hand. Psalm 149:6.

Praying that the highest praises of God be upon your heart and a two-edged sword in your hand. Get up. Take the sword of praise and Fight! Yes, fight! Are you losing trust in God's provision? Fight it with praise. Are you gripped by fear? Fight it with praise. Feeling small, insecure, unloved? Fight the feeling with praise. I think you're catching on... Praise is a mighty weapon. Whatever it may be that is keeping you from peace, from joy, from living the abundant life I encourage you to fight it with praise.

Unto a different subject... I felt a nudging from the Lord to relfect with you a little about this year. Let me start by saying that I would like 2010 behind me. This year has taken me on a roller coaster of pain, loss, confusion, loneliness, and mind battles. But God has taken me on a wondrous journey towards forgiveness, healing, redemption and grace.

The greatest gain for me this year is without doubt: accepting God's grace. As strange as that may sound, it's as you read it. This year my eyes were opened to God's amazing grace. I gained a real understanding this precious gift. I learned how far I was from living the abundant life.I had for 12 years accepted God's forgiveness of sin in my life, yet could not forgive myself. I was self condemned and imprisoned for past errors. gripped by both guilt and fear. I had believed the lie that I was of little worth and would amount to nothing. My misunderstanding of grace was far from the living and intimate grace God offers you and me. God is liberating me from much bondage. I have accepted God's grace for me. And though I have not grasped the richness of it, I am being cleansed and clothed by His love, mercy and grace. I am walking in His aisle of grace, and there is no where else that I'd rather be.

I can't say that this year is coming to an end, because everything that happened this year has molded me into the person that now walks into 2011. I am grateful that the Lord has been my tower of strength, my teacher, my healer, my savior, my lover, my friend. And He will continue to be all these and much more forever and a day.

I thank my God for all you. Through one of the most difficult and loneliest times of my life, it was you my readers who kept me company, you cupped my tears and held me accountable... and you may not have even known this. You have been instrumental in my heal journey. May the Lord take delight in you and sing over you as you my beloved friends live as lilies among thorns for His glory, honor and praise. May what you have experienced this year not hold you back from moving into all God has for you, but rather let those experiences be milestones of God's faithfulness. May the Lord be with you. God bless you.

But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren. Deuteronomy 4:9

But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.
Romans 5:20

 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness. Romans 9:8, 10

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory... Ephesians 3:20-21

Monday, December 27, 2010

Flames from James

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no variation
or shadow of turning.
James 1:17

Throughout this Christmas weekend, this single verse kept popping up and floating in and out of my thoughts. A sweet reminder of the very best, most excellent, matchless and priceless gift: Jesus!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Jesus (even though you weren't born December 25th... you would have been freezing!!!). You ARE the very best gift ever. Thank you for coming down to earth so that we who believe in You can go up to Heaven. I love you.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Lyrical Friday - Joy to the World remix

What really matters this Christmas? Pretty sure it isn't the presents but rather His presence. -Ron, 30 Days

Joy to the World, Dominic Balli

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

this may be a Word for you

heavy ladden.
outta gas.
worn out.

beloved friend, if this post finds you feeling like any of the above, this Word is for you.

He will find YOU in a desert land
And in the wasteland, a howling wilderness;
He will encircled YOU, He will instruct YOU,
He will keep YOU as the apple of His eye.
Deuteronomy 32:10

Cast your burden on the LORD,
And He shall sustain you;
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.
Psalm 55:22

You will keep him/her in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because their trusts in You.
Trust in the LORD forever,
For in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength.
Isaiah 26:3-4

Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
Isaiah 41:10

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
Isaiah 43:2

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity.
Jeremiah 29:13-14

Call to Me, and I will answer you,
And show you great and mighty things,
which you do not know.
Jeremiah 33:3

Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Will bring her into the wilderness,
And speak comfort to her.
Hosea 2:14

I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten.
Joel 2:25

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:3-11

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
John 3:16

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7

Know today, that the Lord loves you with a great, unmeasurable and undending love. He cares for you and promises to perfect all which concerns you (Psalm 138:8). May you find peace in His presence, comfort in His Word and hope in both.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lyrical Friday - Heaven Song

happy Friday sweet friends.

At the funeral of a teenager, the youth pastor shared a conversation he held with him days before his death:
One day, this teen was weeping and so, the youth pastor asked him why he was crying. The teenager replied, "I want to see the face of God." Over a year ago my cousin, who attended the funeral of her friend, shared with me this beautiful anecdote. It is still resonating heavy within my heart.
Do I yearn for Jesus with the same passion?
Do I long to see His face?
Am I living for the here and now, or for the there and then?
Am I eager/restless/craving for Heaven or  am I attached to this world? 
As I search my own heart and ask myself these questions, only one song echoes my response. Heaven Song by Phil Wickham is fitting. May these lyrics provoke you to yearn for Heaven, for our Father; with the same passion as the teenager who now is basking in the full glory of our Lord.
Heaven Song, Phil Wickham

You wrote a letter and You signed your name
I read every word of it page by page
You said that You'd be coming, coming for me soon
Oh my God I'll be ready for You

I want to run on greener pastures
I want to dance on higher hills
I want to drink from sweeter waters
In the misty morning chill
And my soul is getting restless
For the place where I belong
I can't wait to join the angels and sing my heaven song

I hear Your voice and I catch my breath
'Well done my child, enter in and rest'
Tears of joy roll down my cheek
It's beautiful beyond my wildest dreams

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

just a question

Yesterday, ccfleikon*, posted the following question to it's followers on Twitter:
Do you pray in an attempt to change God's mind?

I ask you the same question.
Don't leave a comment.
just think about it and be real with yourself.

* Calvary Fort Lauderdale's College group: Eikon

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

the ultimate "Couponing" win!

Have I got a story to share with you!

The other day, my cousin and I talked about buying someone a gift. We decided on going to a certain store because we both had a coupon to shop there. The day of the purchase, we found ourselves coupon less. As she was driving I prayed out loud, "Lord, please provide us with a coupon. How? I don't know. Maybe have someone give us a coupon. In Jesus Name, Amen."

Fast Forward 30 minutes later.

We are sitting on the floor at the store, deciding what to choose when a store employee casually walking by us. Of course, I had to stop him. We asked him if they had extra coupons. What a surprise when He said that they didn't have. As if he cared, I carried on to tell him how my dear Mother threw away my coupon. And BAM, with out any hesitation he offers to "hook" us up with a discount if we pay at his register. He walks away. Can you hear the angels sing, "Glooooooooooria! Glooooooooooria!" OK, maybe there weren't angels singing but we sure were grateful. God heard my prayer.

follow me in this story...

It then hit me, that if I use dmy rewards card I would receive a 25% off coupon for my next purchase.  I figured it all out in my head: I buy this other item, get the coupon and then use it for the gift we were buying. I told my cousin and we both agreed on the new plan. Now we didn't have to bother the store employee.

Fast Forward and skip over the scene of me looking at books and home decor
that I didn't end up buying. 

We are at the register and I hand over my rewards card... we have to make sure this is checked so that I can get my coupon. I told the guy to charge me for the first item and explained to him the whole process of getting the coupon for the next purchase... He literally yelled at me, yes, yelled, "Didn't I tell you that I was going to give you a discount?" At this point I'm speechless, the other cashier and customer look over and He is starring at me like I've committed some horrible crime. Awkward moment there. He repeats himself, "I told you I was going to hook you up." Alrighty then, no arguing there. He proceeds to give us the discount (25% off) and He also gives me the rewards coupon that I intended to use.

Though that guy was pretty nice, in an awkward kind of way, the one who is entirely good is none other that My God. He is good all the time. Not only did He answer my silly prayer, but He taught me a few lesson that I needed to be reminded of: He who promises is faithful.

Many times, more often than not, I rejoice over God's promises for my life but then my mind begins to wander and plot ways of making those promises happen. I lack trust in that God fulfills His promises. I too am marked as a control freak, much like Eve/Sarah/Rebekah/Tamar and other women in the Bible who in some way manipulated a situation in there life. I am impatient and rebellious, but the Lord is always faithful to meet me where I am.
1. Regardless of my "handy-work" God's hand at work is much sweeter, more satisfying and overflowing with goodness. [He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5]

2. I could have gone to the other cashier and used my coupon, which would have been OK but in order to receive the "hook" up and walk out with an extra coupon, well, I had to go to the one who promised it to me. Apart from God, we will never be blessed. [But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33]

3. The store employee could have hid and not taken care of us, or due to my lack of trust and not given me a discount. But his kindness, generosity and integrity to his word was not dependent on me but entirely on his desire to bless me, to bless us. So it is with the Lord, His goodness, His generosity and His Word don't waver nor do they come to a screeching halt because we are unfaithful and/or faithless. God desires to bless us with an abundant and overflowing life. [Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32]

Has God promised you something?
Has He said to you, "Look to me and I will "hook" you up!"

Let's not be a people who are cheated or who cheat themselves from the blessings of God because we take matters into our own hands. Remember that the promises and blessings of God are as coupons than only He can redeem for us.

Let's choose to say:
Lord You said it.
I believe it.
You do it!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Lyrical Friday - Beloved

After a month long break, Lyrical Friday is back. Yay!

Tenth Avenue North has blown me away with their song Beloved. This song brings to life the book and story of Hosea, in such a way that you can't help but identify with it's words. I love it. Meditate on these lyrics and allow God to woo you with His perfect love.

Therefore, behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her. Hosea 2:14

Beloved, Tenth Avenue North

If you haven't read Hosea , I highly recommend that you do.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

to: All // from: Paul

Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn't take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I've become just about every sort of servant there is that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.
1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (The Message & NKJV)
Who can you serve today?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

an apology, a sermon and an adventure

hi friends.
I have to apologize.
I promised a Lyrical Friday and I didn't post one.

This past Friday, we launched a new series at our youth group: Freedom. The Lord blessed me so much with the opportunity to be the first speaker alongside with my friend Willie. I had the girls in the main sanctuary and Willie took the boys to the video sanctuary. I titled my teaching, "Freedom to Live: Made for More." It was an amazing experience but at the same time terrifying. I didn't fear the young women who filled the room... I feared saying anything outside of God's will. I feel for our Pastors. Man, do they have a lot of responsibility as they stand behind pulpit and share God's Word. Overall, it was beautiful. Incredible that God wooed His daughters into His presence through a broken vessel like myself. I'll share more this week.

An hour after youth group was over, I headed to Orlando. A family from church invited me to join them. I went to Island of Adventures and Universal Studios for the first time. We laughed a lot, we rarely waited in lines and the weather was perfect. Oh, and we were soaked in the Popeye ride (AVOID IT AT ALL COST), we rode on dueling dragons in the dark of the night, we were nearly swept away by Twister, went on a bicycle ride with ET, saved Fiona from the terrible Lord Farquaad, escaped mummies, and we celebrated a birthday. I had a blast.
Needless to say, I am exhausted!

But I cannot go to bed without encouraging: Psalm 34:4-7
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.
Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
he saved me from all my troubles.
For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
he surrounds and defends all who fear him.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I'm back

Hi Friends.
November was a wonderful month!!! I have to give God all the glory for all the amazing post. I absolutely loved sharing my fiends and family with you. I had a blast last month. It was refreshing to be the reader.

I guess I hadn't noticed how much a part of my life this blog, you my new friends are to me. I have missed you.

Everytime God revealed Himself- I wanted to share it with you.
When I read an awesome verse- I wanted to share with you.
Moments of correction- I wanted to share with you.
What I learned from the guest posts- I wanted to share with you!
I so wanted to share so much with you- but I remained still.

The Lord definitely stripped me of all glory, praise and well, he stripped me of me. I'm glad I stayed away from posting because it is not about me, it's about the Lord. I would have robbed you from all the glorious gifts the Lord had in store for you. I praise Him for his faithfulness throughout November. And I thank you for joining the celebration.

All this to say: I'm so happy to be back!!! Tomorrow Lyrical Friday will resume. Stay tuned throughout the month for Flames from James, To All // From Paul, and many more blog post.

God bless YOU!

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