Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Remaining Fruit

I had a most encouraging phone call on Saturday, but I didn't really realize the "encouraging" part until today.  Out of the blue, Cecil phoned me.  I hadn't spoken to her in many months.  She told me that I had been heavy on her heart since Mother's Day and she had been praying for me.  I shared what has been happening in our lives - Joe with his job and me with my health challenge.

I met Cecil about six years ago when she walked into a Sunday morning church service.  It was a Divine Appointment in both our lives.  At the altar call, Cecil responded.  Desperate and ready for a life-altering encounter with Jesus Christ, she humbly prayed to Jesus and then received my prayers over her.  On the spot, Cecil, who was a heroine addiction for seventeen years, was delivered and instantaneously set free.  She only had a couple of hours of withdrawal symptoms.  She has since become a mighty warrior in the Kingdom of God.

On the phone, Cecil broke out in powerful, authoritative prayer for me.  She must have prayed for 15 minutes.  As Cecil prayed, The Holy Spirit ministered to me.  At the end of our conversation, she asked me, "Remember when I didn't even know what intercession was?"  Yes, I remember.  I had a small part in Cecil's beginning days, teaching her about Jesus and prayer.  When she moved on from our church and went back to Queens, I kept in touch with her, praying for God to keep her.  He was most faithful.

Today, my Jesus reminded me of His Word:  "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask The Father in My Name, He may give you."  (John 15:16)   I am so humbled before my God to realize today that my fruit, which is Cecil, has remained. And I am so honored to be on the receiving end of her prayers.  Thank You, Lord Jesus!  

He just reminded me of another Scripture: "Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom.  For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."  (Luke 6:38)  I "gave" prayer and I received prayer. With the same ferocity that I prayed over Cecil for deliverance, she now prayed over me for healing.  I am in over-flow, and I am blessed!  Thank You, Lord Jesus!

Because of Him and Unto Him   

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Doing What Jesus Would Do

I have friends - truly my family - who inspire me to be a better disciple of Jesus Christ.  They don't just talk "the talk", they walk the talk.

For over twenty years, I've watched Bettye and her daughter, Keisha, fight the good fight of faith.  I've witnessed their joy and peace in ungodly circumstances.  I and my family, as well as countless others, have benefited from their warring, prayerful lifestyle.  I've seen miracles because of them, and I see the Hand of God move continuously because they persevere in faith and stand on His Word.

They are an inspiration because they are examples of unconditional love and forgiveness. When it would be so easy - and so common place - to forget someone and move on without them, they have kept an arm's-distance relationship going with an ungodly man, who had abandonded them and hurt them continuously over many years. David is in Heaven tonight because of Bettye and Keisha's unconditional love.  Over the years, they repeatedly spoke with David about The Lord - right up to his dying moments.  They cared more about his salvation than they did their own hurts. They never gave up. They never walked away from him like he had done to them. They just kept forgiving, forgetting, and praying for him.  They did what Jesus would do.

Bettye and Keisha have shown me Jesus Christ in Christendom, where it's hard to distinguish Him in the church these days.  "What would Jesus do?" is not a catch-phrase, but a true way of life for Bettye and Keisha. Because they put God's Word above their own natural desires, a man is in Heaven today; and those of us who know them, get to witness the real-deal. We get to see Love in action and the powerful impact of forgiveness.

May God use their testimony in life-changing ways - softening the hardest of hearts.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Glory of Pain

I lead a senior citizen's Bible study once a week.  Two of women were on my heart today, so I phoned them to say hello.  As it turned out, both were in chronic pain from two different ailments. I suddenly felt anxious...Ut oh!

As one who has been dealing with acute, chronic pain for three years now, I can definitely understand.  I found myself holding back tears as they shared with me.  I know exactly what they are going through.  I know how pain changes your lifestyle - simple things that used to be so natural to do, no longer are.  Every step - every thing you do - must be weighed beforehand.  With each woman, I prayed.  With each prayer, I felt so inadequate and humbly searched for words all the while feeling, "If she only knew, she wouldn't want me to be praying for her."  Me, who is riddled with pain, am asking God to relieve them of their suffering; to pour out His grace and strengthen to them.  I felt so faithless, but at the same time, I was inspired by their joyous, persevering spirits.  I witnessed the power of Christ resting upon them.

Scripture is full of the afflicted's cries.  God hears us; He sees us.  Jesus moved with compassion to heal those who were afflicted. He experienced torturous pain without relief, so I know He understands. Some days it's just a little harder to believe than others. Today was one of those days. But, I phoned them today for a reason.  Maybe it was to see this Scripture a reality in their lives, so I could believe for it in my own life.
And He said unto me, "My grace is sufficient for you; for My strength is made perfect in weakness".  Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."   ~ II Corth. 12:9-10
May I get to the place that I can honestly glory in my infirmities so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  May I, one day, be a testament to Truth, as these beautiful vessels of honor were to me today.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What A Friend of God Looks Like

Yesterday, I had the privilege of meeting an 85-year-old-woman who is nearing the end of her time on earth.  Ruth has always been a vibrant, on-the-go from morning-till-night, servant of the Lord. She is a devout Catholic, whose home is peace-filled with The Presence of our Lord. Always reaching out to those who are suffering, Ruth has visited hospitals, nursing homes, and hospices daily. That is, up till a few months ago with she received the "big C" diagnosis.  She was symptom free until all the tests confirmed stage 4. Now her body is betraying her. I drove with a friend of Ruth's to New Jersey.  I was just helping a friend take a long drive.  But, I was prayed up and asking The LORD to use me.  I was prepared to administer Communion, to pray, to encourage her in what Heaven will be like, to even cry with her if the need be.

There was no such needs. I learned that a Priest has been coming once a week to serve her Communion.  The church where she has faithfully served for many years, is now serving her.  Someone from her Parrish is in and out continually.  They come in to just say hello, to do things around the house, shop for food, etc.  Hospice, now, comes to her.  She has sown throughout her life and now she is reaping benefits back.  I see Jesus Christ in this fearless, Vessel of Honor.

Ruth is a classy woman, full of joy and peace.  She is a faithful Handmaiden of The Lord with a warring spirit.  You can tell she lived her life aggressively against the kingdom of darkness and humbly before her Master.  And as long as she has breathe, she will continue to intercede for her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  If they only knew how blessed they were!

Driving back to Long Island, I was disappointed that there was nothing I could for her.  But, I believe now, that trip was more for me.  I want to live this last portion of my life as Ruth has done - being about my Father's business.  I want to be able to hold my head up and overcome evil by doing good.  She has been able to love some very ugly relatives in her 85 years.  Ruth allowed Love within her to triumph over relatives' mean-filled ways and therefore, being a doer of The Word to "Love your enemies."
But, I say to you: Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you, so that you become sons of your Father in Heaven.  ~ Matthew 5:44-45
Ruth's name means "friendship".  She has "many, good friends" I've been told.  She sowed friendship and has reaped them back into her life. Oh, but I have a feeling one of Ruth's greatest friendships is with God, Himself. Oh, what a glorious home-going she is going to experience...I can only imagine...

May I live my life in such a way, that possibly someone could say this of me at the end of my life, Lord.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

No More Wobbly Wheels

The Ronzino Family

While praying this morning, I saw a wagon wheel. Jesus' Name was on the hub and I could see the names of the members of my family on the spokes.  The outer rim represented the connection we all have with each other.

If a spoke is broken on a wheel, the strength of that wheel is diminished. The rest of the spokes must carry the load. Sooner or later, pressure will cause the wheel to wobble creating quite a bumpy ride.

If left, it will eventually lead to complete breakdown.  The wheel will no longer function in the capacity for which it was created.

The Lord has encouraged me throughout the day that prayer is key to my family wheel's functioning.  Prayer is the pressure-lifter.  Without prayer, the accumulated pressures will cause the spokes to break and connections to be lost.
Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches; pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord.  Lift your hands toward Him for the life of your young children...  ~ Lamentations 2:19
Lord, thank You for the wake-up call.  Forgive me for all the times I've been laxed in praying.  Awaken my offensive, intercessor's heart for my family.