I come from a fantastic line of women in my family who really know how to cook. My mother taught me to prepare great meals at a very young age...fried pork chops, homemade mashed potatoes, fried corn, macaroni and cheese with REAL Velveeta, and fresh biscuits. I better stop there. My mouth is watering already...
I sorta pride myself as successor of these great cooks and bakers in my family. A few years ago, I had a night of setback. I call this my chicken story.
I decided I wanted to bake two whole chickens for supper one night. The rotisserie at Walmart always made them appear so delicious and appealing as I passed by and although I had cooked chicken every possible way in the past, I realized I had never baked a whole chicken myself.
I retrieved a great recipe from the internet and purchased every necessary ingredient. Diligent to follow every step, I basted the chickens with natural herbs, set the oven to 350 degrees and loaded it with what I was sure to be a family favorite.
My starving family waited in anticipation as the two hour cook-time slowly ticked away. Everyone’s favorite side dishes were carefully prepared to compliment the great entree'. After calling everyone to the table and humbly blessing this food, which was sure to fill our stomachs with utter fulfillment, I pulled the perfectly, golden chickens from the oven. At last, we sat together at the table to partake and to my disappointment the chickens were RAW! I could not believe my eyes, nor could I understand! My mind retraced every step I had taken. I KNEW I followed that recipe to the T... and was so careful to do everything just right. How could these chickens APPEAR so ready and yet be so NOT READY! Needless to say, we could not eat the chickens! Nor, have I attempted to bake another one since.
It was in the early morning hours that my heavenly Father awakened me and spoke. “Jeneen, I want to teach you something through the chickens.” I said, “Sure, Father, what?” He replied, “You know how you did everything you were supposed to do to those chickens to yield a fabulous return?” I said, “Yes, Lord.” He continued, “And, to the natural eye, they appeared ready, correct?” “Yes, Lord. They sure did.” “That is how life is at times, my daughter. You may think it is time for something that you have been praying about for a long time to manifest. You may have done everything you know to do to bring this new thing about. The circumstances may even appear as perfect timing, BUT IT’S JUST NOT READY YET!”
Being willing to roll with God’s timing is crucial. So often in life, we pray about things and cannot understand why they have not come to pass yet. Frustrated, our circumstances may appear ready and our patience dwindling, but God knows the perfect time to bring things to pass in our lives. Sometimes, we may think we are ready, when HE KNOWS we are not. If God did everything we asked Him to do in our own timing, most of us would fall flat on our faces in failure because we were not properly trained nor prepared for the task ahead.
Learn to trust God’s timing. When He seems late, He isn’t and when your timing seems right...It Isn’t! God alone is omniscient...the all-knowing, wise One! He is aware of things we cannot even know or understand and He is following His own carefully constructed plan for your life.
May Psalm 37:5 encourage you today.
“Commit your way to the Lord, Trust in Him. And He shall bring it to pass!”
" The fear of a man brings a trap, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe." Proverbs 29:25
Fear is a powerful stronghold.I've heard it said that fear paralyzes the present and bankrupts the future. It robs us from truly experiencing a blessed and fulfilled life in Christ.
I cannot remember at what age the first glimpse of fear settled into my spirit because as a child I can never remember NOT being afraid. Like most children, I was a happy little girl. I enjoyed playing outside, running in the cow pasture, climbing the apple trees, fishing, and always hanging with my two brothers.We loved to venture off into the pasture and melt crayons on the huge boulders lying in the field.Why, I have no idea?Except, I remember loving the designs we created as the dripping, melted wax of each color beautifully ran together.
Aside from the happiness that childhood afforded me, a dark cloud hung over my head. Mornings were glorious, but with each passing hour the approaching of dusk filled my stomach with knots. With darkness not even a reality yet, the very thought of bedtime made me miserable.Terrified by night, my compassionate brother, Kelly, became my comfort and safety zone.Every night I would beg him to allow me to sleep with him.He was gracious to share his twin bed with me. Although his graciousness did come with a heavy price tag.Yes, I had to agree to scratch his back until I counted to one thousand.I willingly paid that price. Of course by the time I reached my lofty goal he was already asleep and I was left awake and alone.His presence was enough to comfort me.
When I was nine years old, our family relocated to Florence, South Carolina.In hopes of breaking my habit of sleeping with my brother, who was now 13, my mother promised to buy me a brand new bedroom suit if I would agree to sleeping in my own room. I agreed to the deal and did hold up my end of the bargain, but I was miserable every night. I can still remember the shades Mom purchased for my room.They were made of heavy, non-translucent fabric and hung from a roll. Fear gripped my heart so much that I took push pins and pinned the entire shade to the casing of my window.
Blankets were the next form of security I adopted.Every night I would lie very still in my bed with my entire body enveloped beneath the blankets, including my head. Only my nose was allowed to protrude for breathing purposes. Childlike innocence allowed me to believe that should an intruder enter my room, I would somehow go unnoticed.
Married at such a young age, I unknowingly carried this great fear into our relationship. The first three years of marriage, my husband worked dayshift and because I had someone to sleep with every night, I gave little thought to the fear that still lingered. Until one day, Steve was switched to night shift and suddenly anxiety filled my mind with questions: "What am I going to do now? I live seven hours away from my family. I have a child to take care of. Who is going to protect us while Steve is at work? How will I ever sleep again? Why are you doing this to me, Lord?"
I knew 2 Timothy 1:7 said, "God has not given us a spirit of fear,” but I could not understand why I was still so afraid?
The first night Steve left for work I thought I would literally die with fear. With every light left on in the house, I numbly, retreated to my bed. Once again, the stronghold of fear consumed me. I wanted to cover my head.I wanted to pin the blinds. I lay petrified, but this time something was different. I had my heavenly Father to turn to.Humbly, I divulged to Him how scared I really was, requesting Him to cover me and my daughter and bless our eyes with restful sleep.
What happened next has never been forgotten.It is as vivid today as it was that night in Chicago, twenty-one years ago.The appointed time had come for the trap of fear to be abolished from my life. My heavenly Father desired to show me WHO I belonged to. He spoke directly to my troubled heart through a vision as I lay outstretched on my bed. He showed me my house from the road in which it sat on. The entire house was covered by the blood of Jesus.The blood flowed from the roof, dripping downward. Then, He allowed me to not only see, but to also hear the conversation taking place between satan and his legion of demons in front of my house. Very clearly and distinctly I heard satan say, "Come on! We have to go on to the next house. This one is covered by the blood of Jesus." Discouraged, he and his army retreated in utter disappointment.
That moment changed my life forever. I would be lying if I said fear never returned to rear it's ugly head again, because it has, but never again has fear had the power to consume my life.I learned that night that my life and all that belonged to me is protected at all times by my Father in heaven. Psalm 121:3-4 tell us that "The One who keeps us never sleeps nor slumbers." 2 Chronicles 16:9 became my strength - "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” That scared little girl has now become a mighty warrior and the key to my strength is trust.Trust, my friend! God has you and yours in the palm of His hand.Whatever troubles you this night, talk to your Father about it.And then, my brother and sister, sleep!Sleep like a baby surrounded by the One who never sleeps.
"You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flys by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near unto you."Psalm 91:5-7
I want to take a moment to familiarize you with the extraordinary opportunity I have been recently afforded. Once again, I have been invited to represent Repairing the Breach Ministries, Inc. (RTBM) in the wonderful country of South Africa.
I last visited South Africa in February of 2010. It was my first chance to experience the culture and landscapes of a country upon another continent. Honor and love immediately consumed my heart for the beautiful people of South Africa. Since leaving, I have continued to nurture relationships with the faithful men and women of South African Evangelistic Missions (SAEM).
An invitation has been extended to me by SAEM to return to the province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) located in the southwest section of South Africa along the coast of the Indian Ocean. The biggest portion of our trip will be spent in the largest city of KZN, known as Durban. The false religions of this area consist of:
Shembe - the worship of a former black Baptist leader
Zionist - a black cult of Christianity
Animism - the belief that spirits and souls exist not only in humans, but also in all other animals, plants, rocks, and geographic features such as mountains or rivers.
Much work is left to be done, but I am proud to announce that Christianity is on the rise in this great country of South Africa. How fulfilling it is to know God has chosen RTBM to be a part of this vast harvest!
I am being fabulously accompanied on this trip by a very special team consisting of my daughter (Alyse), my son (Bryce) and my wonderful mother (Terecia). My excitement to share the work of the Lord in South Africa with my family is exhilarating! The team and I will make our twenty-hour flight across the great Atlantic on May 11th, returning to the US on May 23, 2012.
God has opened the door for our team to minister in seven different locations, while in South Africa. One of the highlights of this trip is the opportunity to teach at a ladies retreat entitled, “DISCOVER YOUR WORTH IN CHRIST”, held at a resort in Albert Falls. I have been notified that the occupancy of this retreat has reached it’s maximum during pre-registration and the sponsors have now added an overflow hotel where more ladies can be lodged for all sessions. I am expecting an active demonstration of the Spirit working in and among the women at this retreat as I passionately share the infallible Word and interact with the unfailing love of Christ.
RTBM desires to always be an “active” demonstration of the Good News and not merely voices. We are fortunate to visit an orphanage in the Valley of a Thousand Hills - an area known for the highest rate of HIV infections in the entire world. We have committed to supplying a week’s worth of food to one hundred different families in both this and the Chatsworth area during our ten-day visit. Also, our daughter has willingly offered to supply the funds needed to feed the inner-city homeless of New Creation Church, pastored by Brother Tyrone Paul. What an honor it is to witness the love of Christ at work through your children. Proverbs 19:17 declares, “He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord and HE will pay back what he has given.”
Since the founding of this ministry in 2007, the work of RTBM has been made possible by God and through the faithful contributions of willing, prayerful and generous partners. Many hands make light work. Together we can always accomplish more than apart! For those who faithfully support RTBM - THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OUR OUR HEARTS!! If you desire to become a faithful partner to this ministry or desire to give in a one-time donation to the work in South Africa, RTBM is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and your contribution is tax-deductible. Furthermore (and most importantly) you can rest assured that your contribution will be fully used to further the work of our Lord!
Checks can be mailed to:
Repairing the Breach Ministries, Inc.
PO Box 775
Mansfield, Texas 76063
Thank you for this opportunity to share and as always - you have my blessing!
I recently had the wonderful privilege to address two-hundred homeless individuals at Mission 615 in Nashville, Tennessee. Upon receiving the invitation to speak, I was extremely anxious and wondered what I might impart to these hurting men and women. Of course, I knew I could always remind them how very much God loves them, but I desired to say much more than that.
That day, I was led to share my own personal testimony. I began by sharing the dreams I had as a child and how unexpected pregnancy at the age of seventeen had brought those dreams to a halt. I shared how difficult it had been for both me and my husband to transition from foot-loose and fancy-free teenagers to spouses, parents, and providers. Depression set in and the disappointment of missed opportunities cut like a knife. With no vision for my future anymore, I suddenly found myself asking, “Now what?”
Proverbs 13:12(a) says, “Unrelenting disappointment leaves the heart sick...” How many of the homeless shared this mindset? As I glanced across the crowd, I wondered how many dead dreams filled the room? How many felt as if they had been placed in God’s discard pile due to failures, mistakes, bad choices, hurts, etc.? Tears streamed down the faces of many as they listened and began to reflect on childhood dreams they had secretly tucked away because of disappointment and life plans that had gone astray.
How many of us can testify that life just has not turned out like we expected? We all begin with dreams and often ten or even twenty years down the road we open our eyes to look around and see that our lives look nothing like we had imagined them to.
I continued my testimony of how one Saturday afternoon shortly after getting married, I was busy cleaning the small apartment my parents had provided us to live in, when the Holy Spirit visited me right there in my living room. I was listening to an Amy Grant cassette when the words to one particular song captured my attention:
“Looking out to the hills
to the setting sun,
I feel a cold wind bound to come;
Another change, Another end I cannot see,
But your faithfulness to me
Is making it alright,
I fall down on my knees;
Tell me that it’s alright.
YOU give me what I need.”
Suddenly, I heard Jesus saying, “If you will surrender your life to ME, I’ve got your back. Everything will be alright.” Right then and there, with no one else in the room, I surrendered my life to Jesus. No, surrendering did not afford me the ability to go back and change the choices I had made in the past, but it did position me for the new thing God desired to do in my life. Isaiah 43:18-19(NCV) The Lord says, “Forget what happened before, and do not think about the past. Look at the new thing I am going to do. It is already happening. Don’t you see it? I will make a road in the desert and rivers in the dry land.”
Every one of us has a destiny! Psalm 139 tells us that before we were ever born, God saw our bodies taking shape in our mother’s womb and HE planned our purpose and destiny and penned it in His book. So, I understand why God says here in Isaiah, “Look at the new thing I am going to do. It is already happening. Don’t you see it?”
God saw it before you were ever born! He is asking, “DO YOU SEE IT?” God is about the NOW and He is always ready to perform a new thing in your life. He doesn’t need perfect conditions. He doesn’t even need perfect people. He just needs a life that is surrendered to Him. Therefore, when you least expect it or when your circumstances seems impossible He declares “I will make a road in the desert and rivers in the dry land.” GOD WILL MAKE SOMETHING OUT OF YOUR NOTHING!
This year, Steve and I will celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary. We have two beautiful, God-fearing children who are strong and stable. Honestly, I must say that if God had allowed me to fulfill all of my childhood desires, self-made plans and dreams they would never compare to the life He has chosen for me the past twenty-four years. Walking through life, hand in hand with Christ has yielded such fulfillment and deep joy!
Perhaps, through mistakes, disappointments and failures you too feel as if you have somehow landed in God’s discard pile with no vision for the life you always imagined? Maybe you find yourself today asking “Now what?” The great news is...God has no such discard pile and He is not concerned with your past. He is a God of the Now and the important question is, What Will You Do With Today? There is not one thing you can do to rewrite the past, but if you will surrender your life, dreams, and plans complete with all it’s disappointments, hurts, and failures to Jesus then God will rewrite your future.