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Rev. Dr. Delesslyn A. Kennebrew, J.D., M.Div.

Visionary Strategist Faithful Innovator Inspirational Essayist

Salvation and Stilettos Blog

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Keep Proving JESUS!!! Acts 9:20-22

Posted on October 24, 2013 at 11:08 AM Comments comments (0)
KEEP PROVING JESUS!!!
ACTS 9:20-22

At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.
 

Greetings!
BlogFam, have you ever interacted with someone whose conversation with you reflected that they were stuck in the past and had limited their perception of you to the “old” you, how you used to be, what you used to do?  I have.  And I admit that it is quite frustrating to be in conversations with people who think that they know you when who you are has changed so much from who they used to know.  How do you tend to handle those conversations short of going off on folks and reminding them of your old self and thereby confirming their inaccurate idea of who you really are?
 

I think we all handle our past in different ways and when our past confronts our present reality, we are forced to make a choice that confirms the transformation that has taken place in our lives or we cowardly revert back to the version of ourselves that we have worked so hard to change.  And then there are others in our BlogFam who will do their best to ignore these types of interactions altogether because while some may see it as an opportunity to show people a new and improved version of yourself, others will avoid it for all kinds of reasons, not the least of which is that you have tried to share your new self but have over and over been rejected, dismissed, criticized and confined to the box of who you once were.
 

This is what we see in Acts 9.  The chapter opens with “Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples;” but somewhere in the middle of this same chapter he became one of the Lord’s disciples who “at once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.” 
 

This was a radical shift in the life of Saul and the truth is that when YOU make such shifts in your own life, everyone around you has to deal with it because they have to deal with this “new” you.  Saul was different.  He was not persecuting those who followed The Way, but he was now preaching that Jesus IS The Way and people were confused about his sincerity, his motivations, his ministry.  And they were not shy about raising questions or having suspicions about this “new” Saul.
 

All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” 
 

They could NOT believe that this was the same Saul.  He sounded different.  He probably looked different.  He treated them differently.  How in the world could this be the same man who just a few days ago was on the complete opposite end of the Jesus spectrum?  The text goes on to say that there was a conspiracy amongst the Jews to kill him and that the disciples in Jerusalem were afraid of him, “Not believing that he really was a disciple.”
 

And in spite of their conspiracies, plots, plans, fear, and doubts… [And I love this part]… Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.
 

My Friends, when you are faced with the demons of your past to the point where people question whether or not you have really changed, I want you to just follow Saul’s example and KEEP PROVING JESUS! 


In other words, because of the power of God that is inside of you, you can prove that Jesus has changed your life.  KEEP PROVING JESUS in your conversations, through your prayers, by the compassion you show, through the patience you possess, taking advantage of open doors to witness about the changes Jesus has made in your life.  KEEP PROVING JESUS  in spite of the threats, the insults, the doubt, the critiques that only come to discourage you and shake your faith in the one who has made this transformation possible in your life.  KEEP PROVING JESUS and you will grow into a wiser, stronger, powerful vessel that can be used by God!
 

So, the next time anyone interacts with you in a way that reveals that they think you have not changed, think of it as a great time to KEEP PROVING JESUS and offer them the proof in your life that Jesus IS the way! 


God Loves You and I Do Too!
Delesslyn

FOLLOW on Twitter - @AudraSunshine    @SpiritedConcept     @MyVISIONFast
 
 
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God, Are YOU Sure? - Acts 9:13-20

Posted on October 23, 2013 at 10:18 AM Comments comments (0)
God, Are YOU Sure?
Acts 9:13-20
“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”

But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.  Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus.  

At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.
 
Greetings!
BlogFam, Have you ever asked God the question… God, Are YOU Sure?  I am not questioning your spiritual maturity or your dedication to the Almighty.  I am simply wondering has this question ever crossed your mind.  If your answer is YES, then please keep reading and if your answer is NO, then keep reading anyway and pray for those of us whose answer was not the same as yours.
 

God, Are YOU Sure?  This question is NOT foreign to my own walk by faith and not by sight journey.  There have been and I anticipate that there will be more times when I will ask God for clarity and confirmation based on what I feel impressed in my Spirit to do.  I like to be clear and since God is NOT the author of confusion, I believe that God can handle this question and all other questions I might have that help me to discern what is right and good, what is the more excellent and loving way to live my life.
 

When I ask this question, I am not challenging God’s authority.  I, like Ananias, in the text, just want to be sure that I am hearing God correctly so that my attempt to carry out God’s assignment will be more than a good effort but it will be accurate.  Thus, I am encouraged to read that Ananias seems to feel the same way.
 

God had just instructed Ananias to meet Saul, the one who was threatening and following through on his threats to persecute followers of The Way.  So, Ananias’ point of clarification in his conversation with God is real talk expressing his own apprehension about God’s assignment.  He wants to be clear that God is sending him to confront a man who has the reputation for killing people just like him. 
 

But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
 
Friends, in other words, God says… ‘Ananias, YES, I am sure.’
 

BlogFam, it is TRUE that God’s ways are not our ways and God’s thoughts are NOT our thoughts so when we are called and/or commanded to obey a directive of God, God does so knowing everything there is to know about you and the situation you are being asked to endure.  God spoke to Ananias because there was obviously something about him that God needed to connect with Saul.   Perhaps it was his personality or his maturity or his courage in times past.  I am not sure about what was inside of Ananias but I am totally sure about the God who was calling Ananias to be bold, to be brave, to be God’s servant to Saul.
 

God will call and command us to do things in our lives that will give us pause and cause us to ask  - God, Are YOU Sure?  And if indeed it is God speaking to you and leading you in a certain direction, God will give you the peace of mind you need to obey just as God did for Ananias. 
 

Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.  Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus.
AND
 [20] At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.
 

I highlight verse 20 intentionally.  I do so because, my sisters and brothers, we must ALL understand that even when God asks us to obey God’s call and commands to do things we have never done before or that just do not make sense to you or anyone else, we can be certain that God knows the end from the very beginning and God has been, is, and always will be SURE about every move God makes in our lives.  And the moves that God makes or the instructions that God gives in our individual lives, are more often than not connected to the advancement of God’s Kingdom here on earth and ultimately for God’s glory alone.  Thus, Saul’s reception of the Gospel as evidenced in his conversion and baptism were a direct result of Ananias’ obedience to a very sure God who already knew the radical shift that would take place in Saul’s life once Ananias arrived.  In the matter of a few days, Saul went from persecuting followers of The Way to preaching that Jesus is The Way!
 

BlogFam, God is sure.  God is sure about everything concerning you even when you are not.  And everything that God is sure about may not always make sense to you or anyone else but GO – DO – SERVE – LOVE anyway because your obedience could directly be connected to another person’s healing, salvation, deliverance, freedom, hope, and peace of mind. 
 
BlogFam, God is sure.  Now, GO and DO what God has called and commanded YOU to do!
 
God Loves You and I Do Too!
Delesslyn

FOLLOW on Twitter - @AudraSunshine    @SpiritedConcept     @MyVISIONFast
 
 
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LISTEN to Kids Korner Radio Program every Sunday evening online at www.wigoam.com OR on your Tune IN Radio App on your cell or tablet [AM 1570 WIGO]. 

Blindsided By God - Acts 9:8-12

Posted on October 22, 2013 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)
Blindsided By God
Acts 9:8-12
Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered.
The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 
In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
 

Greetings!

BlogFam, I do not know about you but I do not like to be blind-sided.  Blindsided is to be attacked critically where a person is vulnerable or uninformed, etc.  Saul was blindsided AND blind-sighted by God on the road to Damascus.  He was unexpectedly knocked off of his path heading towards persecution and after his dramatic, yet brief conversation with God on that road, he could not see.  For three days, he was unable to physically see anyone or anything.  For three days, he was completely vulnerable and at the mercy of those who had accompanied him.  For three days, Saul gave his attention to God as he probably never had before.  And at the end of those three days that Saul had been blindsided and blind-sighted by God, Saul was able to see better than he ever had before.
 
Saul was blindsided on the road to Damascus but that moment changed his life forever.
 

Friends, have you ever been blindsided by God?  I mean, have you ever had an experience that caught you totally off guard and made you so unexpectedly or uncharacteristically vulnerable that you know without a doubt that it was the Lord our God moving in your life as never before?  This is what happened to Saul.  Saul was not looking for an encounter with God while he was talking smack about those who were following The Way.  Saul was not looking for a way out of terrorizing believers in Jesus Christ.  Saul was not looking forward to being blinded by the One who has all power to blind us and to help us to see.  But just because Saul did not see this coming, please know that our God did not have a blind-spot when it came to seeing all that Saul had done and seeing in his heart/mind what he was planning to do.  God had a better plan for Saul that undoubtedly included opening his eyes and his heart to see God.
 

And just as God was blinding Saul, he was opening the eyes of Ananias to see Saul with fresh eyes.  God is amazing like that!  In spite of the ways we lived our lives blinded to the light of God’s love and truth, God will remove the blinders off of those who need to see us as God sees us and help us to more clearly see the path of peace we should be focusing on.  Both Ananias and Saul were blind-sided by God’s will to help them both to see and to bring them together so that God’s plan could be fulfilled in their lives.  God gave both of them visions to see one another spiritually in advance of their seeing one another physically. 
 

So, My Friends, on today, I pray that you would seek God to help you to see.  And if you have been blindsided, do not be discouraged, but look to the hills from whence cometh your help and God will open your heart and your eyes to help you to see all that you need to see.  Furthermore, the Lord just might open your eyes to see others as God sees them through eyes of love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness in spite of their past, in spite of what you have seen in their lives prior to their “Damascus” experience.  I pray that you would be open to having vision spiritually so that you can see beyond the physical and even emotional limitations we all see and that can make us vulnerable.  I pray that God will connect you with others who seek and see God’s way for life together as followers of Jesus Christ.  
 
God loves You and I Do Too!
Delesslyn

FOLLOW on Twitter - @AudraSunshine    @SpiritedConcept     @MyVISIONFast
 
 
SUBSCRIBE & SHARE the Salvation and Stilettos Blog TODAY!
 
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Let GOD Leave Them Speechless

Posted on October 21, 2013 at 10:59 AM Comments comments (0)
Let GOD Leave Them Speechless…
Acts 9:7
The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone.

Greetings!

BlogFam, have you ever wanted the chatter of the people around you to be silent?  Now, I am not referring to the mindless chatter that we all participate in out of courtesy, respect or common decency.  I am actually referencing the chatter that happens around you and about you that perhaps you may NOT have had the privilege to engage for one reason or another.  And regardless of whether the chatter happens in your face or behind your back, I can only imagine how you have really wanted to make it stop and for “THEM” to keep your name out of their mouths.
 
Friends, I think that we have ALL been there and we have ALL felt that way.   We have ALL wanted the chatter to stop and there is NO ONE who can make it stop quite like the God.
 
I do recognize that you might find that this verse is a rather odd one for reflection on today, but I think the oddity of this verse is what arrested my attention.  Because in the dramatic suspension of Saul’s strategy to persecute those who were following The Way, those who were around him were directly impacted by this voice from heaven to Saul.
 
The chapter opens up with Saul “breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples” and I do not believe that he was alone.  I would venture to say that those who accompanied him were full of chatter against the Lord’s disciples and would not dare speak against their leader’s verbal venom.  More than likely, Saul’s entourage joined him in his rants and the violent chatter filled the air until…

“suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

 
The chatter stopped.  And a new dialogue commenced between Saul and the Lord.  This dialogue was not a private conversation as most of us hope to have when the Lord needs to knock us down off of our high horses, confront us and correct us about our current course of action.  On the contrary, the Lord makes a public spectacle of Saul and –
The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone.
 

BlogFam, there are some things in our lives that only God can handle and the truth is that when you need the chatter in your life to stop, God has a way of moving in your life, speaking to and through you in such a way that leaves those in your face and behind your back… speechless.

 
Friends, perhaps, it is time for you to re-evaluate the chatter in your own life.  What have you been talking about lately?  Who has been listening to you?  Has the chatter happened in your face or is it going on behind your back?  When will you allow God to put an end to the chatter by having a prayerful public or private consultation so that God can deal directly with you first and thereby silence the chatter – momentarily or perhaps eternally?
 

BlogFam, Let God leave them Speechless.  Let God silence the venomous chatter against you or those around you.  Let God stop the chatter that attacks your character or facilitates your own attacks on the character of others.  Let God be God in every situation in your life and when God speaks, Listen.  Listen when God speaks to you about you and concerning those around you.  Listen.  Trust that what God says is always in your best interest even and especially when it contradicts chatter that is not filled with remarks that express your love for your neighbor as you love yourself. 
 

Friends, let God leave them Speechless.  God is able to do so but more than likely, God will start with you first.
 
God loves You and I Do Too!
Delesslyn

FOLLOW on Twitter - @AudraSunshine    @SpiritedConcept     @MyVISIONFast
 

SUBSCRIBE & SHARE the Salvation and Stilettos Blog TODAY!
 
LISTEN to Kids Korner Radio Program every Sunday evening online at www.wigoam.com OR on your Tune IN Radio App on your cell or tablet [AM 1570 WIGO].  
 

 
 
 
 

 

Are You Serious? Acts 9:3-6

Posted on October 18, 2013 at 9:57 AM Comments comments (0)
Are you Serious?
Acts 9:3-6
As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”


Greetings!

BlogFam,
Have you ever been in a conversation or been a front seat observer to a situation when you really wanted to just stop in the middle of it all and just ask – ARE YOU SERIOUS?  And the question arises NOT because you are confused or upset but because the foolishness, the fake-ness, and the falsities that are being perpetuated in the moment are just so obviously apparent that your mind cannot even begin to think or take seriously what you have heard or observed.  The best response in the midst of this display of ridiculous and incredulous moment is simply – ARE YOU SERIOUS?
 
Well, on today, I will be the FIRST to admit that this question has been a recurring response of mine.  As I process what I see in the actions and hear from the mouths of some people, I cannot help but pause and take a moment to give them the space to reconsider the path of unbelievable conversation and actions of venom and vomit that is taking place, revealing their quick sprint toward self-implication and dare I say self-destruction.   ARE YOU SERIOUS?  is a question that  has been, for me, a way to help my brothers or sisters put brakes on, slow down so that they can shift gears, change lanes, or go in an altogether totally different direction.  This question can be a not so subtle verbal cue to the one who needs it that they need to just STOP  and listen to or look at themselves in the “mirror” because what they are projecting is clearly not helping them or anyone else for that matter!
 
BlogFam, I think that the Lord does the same for us.  I can only imagine the sights and sounds that our Creator sees and hears that provoke the question – ARE YOU SERIOUS?  It really is like the Creator’s confrontation of Paul on the Damascus Road.
 
As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 

And I think that this question was a relatively nice way of saying – “Saul,  ARE YOU SERIOUS?”
Are you really serious about destroying MY church?
Are you serious about torturing MY people?
Are you serious about discrediting MY word and MY Son?
 
Now, I am not suggesting that we start physically knocking people to the ground and shine flashlights in their eyes in order to halt their progress.  No!  However, I am saying that just as we feel the need to press pause on certain displays of ignorance ad mediocrity and just as Saul had to get checked as recorded in Acts, we, too have to at times answer the Lord’s question to us about our own selves… ARE YOU SERIOUS?
 
Unfortunately, all too often our response, because we have taken things so far, blown things way out of proportion, and exaggerated our own pride and emotions, our response is just like Saul’s…
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
 
And then the Lord has to remind us  -
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
 
In other words, I am the Jesus and your  current attitude and behavior does not reflect that I am Lord of your life.  Now get up out of your own desire to live your life disregarding my ways of righteousness and redirect the energy you are exerting in your conversation and actions to MY way of doing things!
 
BlogFam, there are times when all of us have to re-visit Damascus so that the Lord can ask us ARE YOU SERIOUS?  There are times when we get off track, losing sight of the truth that ultimately we were created to worship God and we are above all else commanded to love God with everything  and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  There are times when our thoughts, words, actions, and attempts do not reflect that we know Jesus as Lord.  There are times when we must be privately or publicly redirected and reminded to be our best selves.
 
ARE YOU SERIOUS?
 
My Friends, on today, I pray that you will get serious and stay serious about your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and the ways you are being called to represent and promote God’s Kingdom here on earth.  I pray that you will be serious about knowing Jesus and accepting the correction that comes from the Lord when we need to be “knocked down” on our way to doing the things that torture, discredit, or destroy the people of God and the church.  I pray that we would seriously hold each other accountable, not to embarrass but to enhance the witness of our brothers and sisters in Christ.  And lastly, I pray that God would seriously empower YOU to be your best self, live your best life at all times for His Glory.
 
God Loves You and I Do Too!

Delesslyn

FOLLOW @AudraSunshine  & @SpiritedConcept  & @MyVISIONFast


Is There Any Evidence? Acts 9:1-3

Posted on May 15, 2013 at 9:18 AM Comments comments (0)
IS THERE ANY EVIDENCE?



Acts 9:1-2 NIV
Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.



Greetings!


BlogFam, 


It has been about one week since I last posted.  It has taken me a few days to discern the text for our conversation.  I was trying to discern whether or not I was to continue the HOPE & HEALING series or whether it was time to shift gears.  


On last week, my pastor mentioned this text in his teaching and it struck me but I was not sure how it connected to the current series.  And as I continued to think and pray, I was reminded that the healing that so many of us need is not just physical, but it is also spiritual.  And so for the next relatively "few" days and beginning on today, we will walk through selected verses of Acts 9 - Saul's conversion to Paul - to explore what the Lord might be sharing with us. I pray that our reflections will continue to inspire and challenge you as we look to God who is the ultimate source of our HOPE & HEALING.


I have always been fascinated by Paul's conversion experience.  Over half of the New Testament books are attributed to him and to read in Acts where he came from and how the Lord radically changed his heart and mind is amazing!  In the book of The Acts of the Apostles, Paul is first introduced to us as Saul, a persecutor of the early church.


Acts 8:1-3 NIV
And Saul approved of their killing him/Stephen. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.


OK.  So, I humbly stand corrected. Saul was not just a persecutor but he was a DESTROYER of the church.  Stephen is considered one of the first matyrs of the church in Acts when the church is just beginning to take off after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.  And Paul approved of Stephen's stoning. And the day that he was stoned, the church felt the pressure and the threats of her opposing forces and ran scared because in Stephen's death, they saw the reality that they could be next.


I can only imagine the prayer meetings that were happening in that day.  I can only imagine the tears that were shed and the lack of freedom to worship by all who believed in Jesus.  I know that this picture is hard for those of us who live in the United States to imagine.  We live in a time where we might offer critiques of another's faith tradition but to drag them out of their homes and stone them to death seems unconscionable.  We enjoy FREEDOM of RELIGION and the freedom to express our worship in a countless number of ways.  But this was NOT the case in the text before us on today AND it is still not the case in countries 
around the world.


And as horrific it is to think of anyone being persecuted or dare I say... destroyed because of their faith in Jesus, I step back from that perspective to wonder if MY faith, if YOUR faith in Jesus would have withstood the persecution and destruction of that day.  I wonder if 21st century church haters would find me guilty of unashamedly loving Jesus.  I wonder if my light would still shine under the pressure of persecution and under the threat of death.  What about you? Would there be enough evidence of your faith in Jesus for the Sauls of today to drag you or your family and friends off to prison?


I believe that these are some serious considerations. We take for granted the fact that there are so many OPTIONS of places to lift up the name of Jesus.  You can find a church to fit your personality, your music style, your preaching preferences, your time constraints, and your commuting convenience.  And if you do not like the church you are in, you can leave and go to another one and hear the same Gospel truth.  But the freedom that we take for granted was not the freedom that our Christian ancestors experienced.


Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.


Friends, I know that Saul will be converted in a few verses but the chapter does not open with his conversion.  It opens reeminding us of his hatred for The Way.  It opens by implying that even with the knowledge of Stephen's death, there were still men and women who believed in Jesus Christ and were willing to lose their lives for His sake.  Yes, some did run away but many, if not most, given the lack of transportation options of that day, stayed at home and waited for that dreadful knock. 


Again, I ask you on today, would there be enough evidence of your faith in Jesus for the Sauls of today to drag you or your family and friends off to prison?  


BlogFam, I know that we live in a different day but the truth is that our commitment to our faith should not be any less intense than the women and men who kept following The Way of Jesus in spite of the persecution and destruction of the church.  And on today, I pray that you would reflect on your commitment to Jesus Christ.  I hope that you would repent for any way that you have been ashamed to take a stand on behalf of Jesus Christ.  Lastly, I pray that believers around the world would pray one for another that we would stand firm in our faith regardless of our personal preferences to express our worship J
esus Christ.


GOD LOVES YOU AND I DO TOO!!!
Delesslyn

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:
@AudraSunshine
@SpiritedConcept
@MyVISIONFast

Praise the Lord!!! DUH!!! Isaiah 38:18-20

Posted on May 7, 2013 at 9:56 AM Comments comments (0)
Praise the Lord! DUH!

Isaiah 38:18-20 NIV
For the grave cannot praise you, death cannot sing your praise; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for your faithfulness.  The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today; parents tell their children about your faithfulness.  The Lord will save me, and we will sing with stringed instruments all the days of our lives in the temple of the Lord
.


Greetings!

BlogFam, 


My first response to reading our verses for today... PRAISE THE LORD!


My second response to reading our verses for today... DUH!


PRAISE THE LORD because I am living!  I can shout and sing praises to the Lord and I am a witness to the Lord's faithfulness.


DUH because it does not take the intellect of a rocket scientist to know that the grave cannot praise, death cannot sing, and the pit cannot hope.


So, why does King Hezekiah state the obvious as he reflects on the miracle of his recovery from his sickness that had him knocking on death's door?


I think he states the obvious because he knows how close he came to his own death and being buried in his own grave.  I think he states the obvious because he has a greater appreciation for the life that he had before this experience and the extension of his life that he now has to look forward to for the next 15 years.  I think he states the obvious because his death would have been the end of his praise here on this earth.


And perhaps, this is our challenge for today... TO LOVE and APPRECIATE our lives so much so that the most obvious response to life is to PRAISE THE LORD!



The living, the living shall PRAISE THE LORD!


Unfortunately, for so many of us, as we face the trials, tribulations, and troubles of this life, we often neglect to PRAISE THE LORD!  Praising the Lord becomes one more thing to do that we mistakenly dismiss because we are overwhelmed by the realities we face that make us feel hopeless, fearful, alone, and leave us silent.  We use the energy we have to get ourselves together, to make things right, to get it all under control and in the process of doing all of that, singing or shouting PRAISE THE LORD does not seem to fit where we are right now!  


But Hezekiah reminds us that the least we can do, while there is breath in our bodies is PRAISE THE LORD!  Regardless of our situations, and circumstances, we give GOD praise because we are ALIVE! And because we are alive, there is still an opportunity to hope and to "soon" experience the faithfulness of God.


I have attended funerals and I have visited cemeteries and I have yet to see the person in the casket wave their hand in praise.  I have yet to hear the claps of those buried in their graves.  I just do not think that will ever happen and to be honest with you, I do not think that I ever want to see that happen...until the second coming.  I am not ready to witness any of that!  I am quite comfortable with the silence of the dead.  We should let the dead rest in peace.  I am clear that the silence of the dead is due to the absence of physical life on earth.  There is no breath in the dead or in the grave to praise.  So, King Hezekiah, knowing that he was so close to being silenced by death and shut up by his own grave, highlights a profound difference between those who are alive and those who are dead.  


For the grave cannot praise you, death cannot sing your praise; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for your faithfulness.  The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today...


So, DUH!  Praise the Lord, BlogFam, PRAISE THE LORD!  While there is breath in your body, you have a reason to praise! Do not allow the trials, tribulations, or troubles of this life trip you up such that your tongue is twisted, tied, tangled up and keeping you from shouting a triumphant PRAISE THE LORD!


BlogFam, let EVERYONE that has breath, PRAISE THE LORD!  
PRAISE YE THE LORD!
DUH!


GOD LOVES YOU AND I DO TOO!
DELESSLYN

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Looking Back After Coming So Close... Isaiah 38:9-17

Posted on May 6, 2013 at 9:23 AM Comments comments (2)
Looking Back After Coming So Close... to the End
Isaiah 38:9-17 NIV


Greetings!

BlogFam,


At the end of an event, a situation, an illness, a recovery, a defeat, a victory, a day, a week, a month, or a year, we should take the time to look back.  I know that there are times that we really just want to forget all about what has just happened in our lives or in the lives of those we love, but I want you to know that sometimes, most times, it is a good thing to look back.  I am not suggesting that you move forward with your eyes focused on your past but I do think that you should be informed and even inspired by your past to live your future in a wiser way because of the lessons you have learned from looking back


I know that we have been discussing HOPE and HEALING for the last month or so on the blog and my most recent posts have come from Isaiah 38 but we are nearing the end of this series... I think.  I know that we are at least nearing the end of Isaiah 38.  [LOL!]  And as we come to the end of this chapter, I have a deeper appreciation for this chapter than I ever have simply because the text records that King Hezekiah did exactly what I am encouraging you to do in your own life. King Hezekiah looked back.  At the end of his illness and recovery as recorded in the opening verses of this chapter, we are given the privilege to now read his personal reflections after his near death experience.


Like any one of us who have come to a point in our lives when we felt like we were going to never see tomorrow, King Hezekiah takes the time to reflect on what has just happened in his own life and we should do the same. 


A writing of Hezekiah king of Judah after his illness and recovery:  I said, “In the prime of my life must I go through the gates of death and be robbed of the rest of my years?”  I said, “I will not again see the Lord himself in the land of the living; no longer will I look on my fellow man, or be with those who now dwell in this world.  Like a shepherd’s tent my house has been pulled down and taken from me. Like a weaver I have rolled up my life, and he has cut me off from the loom; day and night you made an end of me.  I waited patiently till dawn, but like a lion he broke all my bones; day and night you made an end of me.  I cried like a swift or thrush, I moaned like a mourning dove. My eyes grew weak as I looked to the heavens. I am being threatened; Lord, come to my aid!”  But what can I say? He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this


WOW!  When you come face to face with death and the death sentence has been confirmed by the Prophet of the Lord, as was the case for King Hezekiah, what more can you really say?  If the Lord has spoken IT and the Lord has done IT, what can you really say?  I do not know; but I do know that like this King, I, too, would have questions about end of life, loss of life, regrets, troubles, triumphs, failures, forgiveness, and everything that really matters that I might have ignored up until this point. King Hezekiah comes to this point of his life and he truly realizes what he could have lost.  I think he is in awe of his own life and how close he was to his last breath.


He does not make light of his experience.  His eyes were full of tears and he cried until his eyes grew weak of crying.  This is not a laughing matter. Actually, he was in pain and agony and he acknowledges this but he is also awakened to his absolute need to totally depend on the Lord, the same one who has allowed this dark moment in his life.  I think that his entire life perspective changed when he was facing the end of his own life... the possibility of his life being pulled down and taken away, rolled up and cut off changed him. 


And as he now reflects on his life, looking back after coming so close to the end, he declares:


I will walk humbly all my years because of this anguish of my soul.  Lord, by such things people live; and my spirit finds life in them too. You restored me to health and let me live.  Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.


King Hezekiah had a near death experience and as he looks back over his life because of this encounter, he knows that it was nobody but the Lord who gives him life, restores his health, keeps him from destruction, and does not carry his sins into his future.  


My friends, as you look back, what have you learned?  How will you live differently because of your past?  How has your perspective about your relationship with the Lord shifted as a result?  What is your next step?


I pray that you would take a moment to look back over your own life, take note of the lessons learned and move forward into your future knowing that it is nobody but the Lord who has kept you and who will keep you in the days ahead!  BlogFam, take a look back because this one look, can change everything about your life!


GOD LOVES YOU AND I DO TOO!!!
Delesslyn


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When the Lord REMEMBERS... Isaiah 38:4-6

Posted on May 1, 2013 at 8:23 AM Comments comments (2)
When the Lord REMEMBERS...






Isaiah 38:4-6 NIV
Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the Lord , the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city.
"






Greetings!

BlogFam,

There is one date that is a National Holiday on my calendar and possibly no one else's and that is the date of my birthday!  I love to celebrate my birthday and I am excited when other's choose to tell me Happy Birthday via card, call, Facebook message, or tweet.  it really does feel special to be remembered on such a special day to me.  Now, I will admit that I am not that good at remembering the birthdates of others, except those in my immediate family and a few very close friends, but THANK GOD for Facebook Birthday reminders!  LOL!


And yes, I do take this date very seriously.  For all of my life birthdays have always been a BIG DEAL in my family and so for someone to remember my birthday or to be reminded to remember my birthday via Facebook notifications AND to actually tell me HAPPY BIRTHDAY makes me feel special.  Now, you may not think your birthday is a big deal but there is something or some date on the calendar that is major for you and that is a date that you want somebody, other than you, to remember.


It really does feel good to be remembered.  It feels good to know that someone is thinking about you especially when they are having pleasant and positive thoughts.  It feels good to know that someone has you on their mind and then they actually make an effort to let you know that you are on their mind by praying for you or calling you or posting on your Facebook wall or texting you.  I do not know anyone who can honestly say that they do NOT want anyone in this whole wide world to think kindly of them.....no not one.  Friends, it really does feel good to be remembered.


Now, obviously, I am very partial to being remembered by my family and I will admit that there are others whose forgetfulness or thoughtlessness would not move me one way or the other but I expect that my family will always keep me close to their hearts and on their mind...at least on my birthday. :-)  And even with that expectation of my family, they are human, just like I am and their birthday call or card might come late, just as mine might be for them.  However, the love I have for them and the love they have for me dictates and demands that we forgive and keep pressing on!


And BlogFam, I must add that whether or not my birthday is celebrated as a National Holiday by family or anyone else for that matter, there is still one person whom I know will NEVER forget about me and ONE person who will NEVER leave me nor forsake me.
 This ONE person remembered King Hezekiah and this ONE person remembers you and me.  

Friends, I am so grateful for the eternal memory of our Lord.  I am so grateful that even when others forrget me or do not prioitize my presence in their lives, I do not have to feel absolutely forsaken due to the omnipresence of my Heavenly Father/Mother God....a father to the fatherless and a mother to the motherless.  Friends, isn't this AMAZING?

Isn't it AMAZING that the creator of the whole universe knows you and rememebers you and listens to you and cares about you?

Isn't it AMAZING that the all-powerful and super-natural force that formed man and woman from the dust of the earth and then breathed life into dust to make them into the image of God's self knows the number of hairs on your head?

Isn't it AMAZING how the love, the grace, the mercy, the patience, the faithfulness, the compassion, the protection and the provision of our God is INFINITELY UNLIMITED?


Friends, the Lord remembered King Hezekiah and the Lord remembers YOU.  



And because of the life that King Hezekiah lived before the Lord, there were some positive and pleasant memories in the mind of the Lord that I believe helped to reverse the sentence of death in this passage of Scripture.  King Hezekiah asked the Lord to REMEMBER him.  He asked the Lord to specifically remember his faithfulness, his wholehearted devotion, and his good works.  And the Lord did REMEMBER and the Lord did REVERSE the king's situation


Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the Lord , the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city."



And my friends, there is nobody in this world who can REMEMBER you and REVERSE your situation like the Lord!  When the Lord reverses your situation it will be thoroughly complete and completely thorough.  In other words, the Lord will take care of EVERYTHING concerning you.  The Lord, not only ADDED fifteen years to the King's life but the Lord also moved on behalf of the city in which the king lived and led.  The Lord DELIVERED and DEFENDED the city - and everyone in the city - because the King prayed a simple prayer asking the Lord to remember him.


BlogFam, when the Lord remembers you, you do not have to be worried or depressed about the forgetfulness or thoughtlessness of others.  You can press on knowing that the ONE who is able to actually REVERSE your entire situation, has you on his mind.  You can move on knowing that the ONE who remembers YOU is able to deliver and defend the lives of others who are connected to you simply because your life, your tenure has been extended.  You can live on knowing that the ONE who remembers you will respond kindly to your requests and He is able to add years to your life and life to your years!


My sisters and brothers, my birthday may not be a National Holiday on anybody else's calendar but mine and no one except my family may remember it; but there is ONE overwhelming presence in my life that REMEMBERS me at ALL times everyday, from before I was born until now and only the Lord is able to REVERSE any situation in my life.  I want the Lord to remember me and to respond kindly to my requests and on today, I pray that you would know that the Lord remembers you and I pray  that on today, the Lord would respond kindly to your requests.


GOD LOVES YOU AND I DO TOO!!!
Delesslyn
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Lord, I Pray that YOU Remember me! - Isaiah 38

Posted on April 23, 2013 at 6:56 PM Comments comments (0)
Lord, I Pray that YOU Remember!
Isaiah 38:1-3 NIV
In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”  Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord , “Remember, Lord , how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Greetings!

BlogFam, 

There are certain people who have conversations with me about me and I listen intentionally and intensely because I know that what they say to me is out of their genuine love and concern for me.  That list of people is NOT long at all but the list does exist.  It is not at all that I do not think those whose names are not on that list have nothing of value to add to my life, but because of previous experiences or personal observations, I just do not know how far I can go as far as trusting their motives for believing or receiving whatever "word" they have for Delesslyn.
Now, this is my personal truth.  I have no desire to impose it on anyone.  I am clear that there are some of you who expect and accept a "word" for your life, without discretion, from whomever is bold enough to speak it into your life.  I am not that kind of person.  I might hear what others, not on the list, say but please believe I will be going to God in prayer and even verifying with those on the list to share their wisdom with me.

Now, PLEASE BE CLEAR that the few people on my list are honest enough with me to tell me the good, the bad, and the ugly.  They will speak the TRUTH in love and with all sincerity.  I appreciate it even if I am convicted by the words they say because I know deep down, it is ALL for my good.  So, I can only imagine how King Hezekiah felt when his trustworthy and God-fearing prophetic confidante comes to him with words of death and not life.   I mean, whether you are on my list or not, I do not ever think I want to hear the words that the Prophet Isaiah spoke to King Hezekiah:

“This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover."
I know that this had to be devastating!  And talk about kicking a man while he is down!  Yes, King Hezekiah was ill.  And, Yes, King Hezekiah was at the point of death.  But hearing words of hope are what we prefer to hear when things in our life look bleak.  And I do not think that the King was ready to hear such a final word that told him his life was coming to an end.  


Think about it.  Most ministers do not visit the sick in the hospital prepared to give words that ensure that those they visit will NOT recover.  We do not even go to funerals expecting to hear words that depress us even further.  And even if things do not look good based on the medical evidence, we still want the doctor to give us at least an inkling of hope in spite of what they have been trained to diagnose.

We want to hear words of life and hope in our seemingly hopeless situations of life!

And yet, after hearing this word from the Prophet, he did not fuss and cuss the Prophet.  He went directly to the source of this message that was delivered by the Prophet.  


King Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and he prayed to the Lord.
I cannot stress how important it is for ALL of us to make prayer our first response in every situation of life.  Far too often, we get overly emotional and caught up in what things look like, instead of resting in the one who has the whole world in His hands. We  seek refuge in every place but God who is our refuge and our strength. We look to everyone else instead of first looking to the hills from whence cometh our help.  And in this passage we are reminded to PRAY regardless of the situation or circumstance, the disease or the diagnosis, the chaos or confusion.  We are to turn our faces, our attention to heaven and pray to the Lord.

And I love the prayer that the King prays in this passage...


Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord , “Remember, Lord , how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.”
And Hezekiah wept bitterly.


BlogFam, can I tell you why I love this prayer?  
Can I tell you why I think that this prayer is AMAZING?  
Can I tell you why I am so intrigued by this prayer?
I love this prayer and I think it is AMAZING and intriguing because he did NOT ask for one thing.  The prophet just told this sick king that he was not going to recover and he was going to die saith the Lord and in response, the king simply prays... LORD, I PRAY THAT YOU REMEMBER ME.

WOW!!!
WHAT A PRAYER!!!
BlogFam, Could you pray this same prayer?

“Remember, Lord , how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” 
The only way you can pray the prayer that King Hezekiah prays in this verse is if you have lived the kind of life that is reflected in this verse.
  
Are you faithful to the Lord?  
Is your heart wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord?  
Are you doing what is good in the eyes of the Lord?


King Hezekiah does not ask for his health to be restored.  He does not ask for the Lord to reverse the sentence of death. He does not ask the Lord to strike the Prophet for speaking such a word over his life.  He simply prays: LORD, I PRAY THAT YOU REMEMBER ME!  And in this prayer, the King is very specific about what he wants the Lord to remember about him...his faithfulness, his devotion, and his good works.  
Friends, what does the Lord remember about you?  What kind of memories have you chosen to create in the mind of the Lord?  
I love this prayer and I think it is AMAZING and intriguing because he did NOT ask for one thing directly related to his illness or pending death.  He only wants the Lord to REMEMBER and then to go from there.  King Hezekiah trusts the Lord.  He does not dispute the Lord's will or question it or doubt it but he does raise his personal testimony as evidence that his life is in agreement and I believe that he wants the Lord to consider his witness and reconsider the sentence of death.  


BlogFam, is your life's witness enough to put on the line when death has been pronounced over your life?  This is a serious question and it may not be an easy one to answer.  But it is my prayer for all of you that when you are facing an impossible situation and you do not know what to say, I pray that you can boldly pray the prayer of this King...
 
 
“Remember, Lord , how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” 

GOD LOVES YOU and I DO TOO!!!
Delesslyn

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