Am I a Godly Influence?

May 31, 2020 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Nina Medrano –

I woke up one morning thinking about my younger brother, Daniel.  I asked the Holy Spirit, “What about Daniel?  What is going on with him?”

The Holy Spirit’s response was, “Ask Daniel, ‘Are you sharing the gospel of Christ at home?’”

Good question, Holy Spirit.

It’s too early to call Daniel so I sent him a text.

I was mulling over the Holy Spirit’s question, “Are you sharing the gospel of Christ at home?”

If I answer, “Yes,” then the gospel that I share outside of my home should be the same gospel.  If not, then I dishonor God.

If I say, “I’m sharing the gospel with friends but deny sharing it with family,” then what gospel am I presenting?

In Romans 2:23-2 (NIV) Paul writes, “You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?  As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

Paul says in Romans 2:28 that “a man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly…No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit…”

I will paraphrase this verse to say that “a man is not a follower of Christ if he is only one publicly…No, a man is a follower of Christ if he is one inwardly and of true circumcision.”

So I asked myself, “Are you sharing the gospel of Christ at home?” It is a question that is loaded with Holy Spirit conviction.

It challenges me to examine what gospel my life demonstrates in the privacy of my home as well as in my public life.

Oftentimes, we live our lives flippantly and forget that our lives are no longer our own but His.  If we yield to God, or not, what influence does this have?

I hope that the gospel that I share at home draws family and friends to want to know God.

“Are you sharing the gospel of Christ at home?”

Milk-n-Honey

March 14, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Nina Medrano –

I recently had a conversation with an individual who just got out of prison. Like many inmates, this individual accepted Christ while incarcerated. This person went to prison for doing a lot of the same things I used to be involved in. We share a common understanding of life in a dark, dark world. Now that our lives are with Christ, we live differently. So much change has taken place that we spent hours just catching up.

I shared how I remember never sleeping at night. Always doing, selling, and sharing drugs with other drug dealers and users. I remember the constant phone calls from users waiting on the product to arrive.  I remember crashing hard when the product was delayed. I remember rarely leaving the house during the day. I don’t know why other than we called ourselves “people of the night,” and only the “people of the day” ventured their lives during the daylight hours.

There were always people, strangers, coming and going at all hours of the day and especially at night.  There was always pornography in the background, playing along with the music as people partied. I remember the constant feeling of paranoia, the looking over my shoulder, peering out windows, sitting huddled in the darkest corner of a room—hiding from something I thought I saw or heard. I used to hear police sirens in my head until one day I couldn’t distinguish if it was from the realm of fear or from reality. I remember getting beat up by my boyfriend. I remember thinking, “I don’t want to die in this house this way.” I remember the lies—there were many, many lies—on this side of darkness you trust no one—including yourself.

As I openly shared my personal experiences with this individual, I noticed the frequent nodding of the head, saying to me, “Yep, I know exactly what you mean!”

This is true for all people of the night. They know exactly what I mean when I describe life in that dark, dark world. They understand the constant drama that comes with that life. They learn to live with mistrust and misuse. There is no friendship, no grace, no mercy, nor family for those who live in darkness. They harden their hearts, discard their feelings, and always carry a sharp eye and a loaded gun.

More nodding of the head but this time the nod is more pronounced, saying to me, “Man, you nailed it!”

Back in those days, I used to long for a simple life with no drama, no drugs, no darkness, and no paranoia. More nods, but these nods were gentle ones, saying to me, “Yeah, I want that too.”

I shared how God has taken me out of the land of darkness and brought me into a land of milk-n-honey. Today, I have a home that is safe and peaceful. I lead a simple life filled with grace and mercy. These days the only drama in my life is sitting in my back yard watching the brilliant colors of the sunrise and sunset. And the only things I do at night are watch for shooting stars across the sky.

“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness” (Isaiah 42:6-7 NIV).

Abba (Father), thank you for bringing me out of darkness and for keeping me in the Light of your Presence. Thank you for setting me free and for bringing me into a place of grace and mercy. I will forever praise your name.

The Ministry of the Midwife

February 14, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Nina Medrano – 

Exodus 1:15-21 (NIV)
The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.  Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?”   The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.”   So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.

Chances are, if you are a faithful member of a church you have been a midwife in a ministry.

Whether you serve in the nursery, or on a worship team, or pastor the sheep– you assist in birthing God’s plan and purpose for His Bride.

The ministry of the midwife is a position that gets to observe some of the most hidden, private, intimate parts of human nature.  It’s a position that often rewards and encourages.  And, at other times, will raise the question of whether to remain or get out!  Because of the sensitive role of the midwife, Satan and his demons, will try to entrap and threaten the midwife into aborting the purpose and plan of God.

What is the enemy’s greatest scheme?   It is offenses.

If he can get us to be offended at the one giving birth then we have given him power to stop God’s plan for the Church as well as for our lives.

What is our greatest protection?  The fear of the Lord.

Psalm 34:7 (NLT) reads, “For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.”

Psalm 61:5 (NLT) reads, “…You have given me an inheritance reserved for those who fear your name.”

The Hebrew midwives feared God more than the King and they did not succumb to the king’s threat.  God saw this and rewarded the midwives by giving them families of their own.

When we choose to stay in the fear of the Lord, God will defend us and will reward us with His intended purpose and ministry of our own.

The Apostle Paul exhorts us in his writings to the Galatian Church: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”  (Galatians 6:9).

Lord, protect me against the voices of offense that surround me and frequently point out the shortcomings of those in ministry.  Help me to stay in the presence of the fear of the Lord.  Season my heart with much grace and mercy towards myself and with others—as we continue to be transformed into the image of Christ.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Autumn Seasons of Life

December 28, 2019 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Nina Medrano –

The first day of autumn  is the day of the year when the sun crosses over the equator.  The reason for our seasonal changes has to do with Earth’s yearly trip around the sun.

If our planet did not take a yearly trip around the sun, then life on Earth would be off balance.

The land would not experience the cycle of death and new growth. In fact, parts of the earth would only experience a hot or cold season eternally. The seas would become stale without the changing of waters and temperature. We would lose a large amount of plant and animal life, because many animals breed only in summer. There would be no relief of seasons.

I find this very interesting that Abba Father would design the earth to take an annual vacation, if you will. This prompts me to think about the importance of annually taking a trip—a vacation away from our busy seasons of life.

Just as Earth needs relief and time to heal and rejuvenate itself, we, too, need relief of our seasons of life.

On the first day of autumn, day and night are nearly the same amounts of time. There are about 12 hours of daylight on this day. On this day there is an equal balance of time.

God is a God of order and balance. He establishes changing seasons for the earth as well as for our lives.

By God’s design, each season has a specific purpose and effect on the Earth. So do the seasons in our lives.

As the first day of autumn approaches, I am mindful of God’s purpose and effects of this new season in my life. I ask myself what areas in my life need to be put to death so that the seed of life might grow in my spring season. How can I partner with God in balancing my time spent with Him and with my part in this world? And lastly, when should I plan a yearly get-away and bring intentional relief into my seasons of life?

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven”(Ecclesiastes 3:1 NKJV).

Drought Duress (Part 2 of Spiritual Drought)

November 12, 2019 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Nina Medrano – 

O GOD, You are my God, earnestly will I seek You; my inner self thirsts for You, my flesh longs and is faint for You, in a dry and weary land where no water is” (Psalm 63 AMP).

In Part One of the July article, “Spiritual Drought,” I shared my experience of my search for the Lord and not finding him.

Like the Shulamite woman, from the book of Song of Solomon, I searched for the Lord.  I searched in the Scriptures, in prayer, in church gatherings and in prophetic camps, but did not find him (Song of Solomon 3).

In “Spiritual Drought” article: “Everywhere I searched I caught only whiffs of His fragrance where I knew he had been but I had just missed him.”  And, my heart ached for Him even more!  Unable to sleep, I dusted off my guitar and painstakingly pressed my tender fingers to the chords and when my fingers faltered I cried out to the Lord, “I’M LONGING!”  Suddenly, His Presence overcame me, like rushing waters.  Finally, I had “found the one my heart loves.  I held him and would not let him go,” (Song of Solomon 3:4 NIV).

In the days that followed this experience, I asked the Lord why He waited so long to let me find Him. I believe I received my answer from a guest speaker speaking about cotton farming.  That’s right, cotton farming!

I live in Lubbock, Texas, which is the largest cotton producer in the world.

I learned that when all conditions are right:  sufficient water, sunlight and good soil, the cotton plant will appear to look healthy and green but the roots are shallow.  When the roots are shallow, the cotton plant will not yield much cotton.

The farmer is not as interested in how healthy or green the plant appears on the surface.  His greater concern is the depth of the root because he knows that the deeper the root, the more fruit it will produce.

One of the key strategies in aiding the plant to produce more cotton is a method called “Duress.”

During the hottest time of the season, the farmer will withhold water from the plant causing the plant to stress and struggle.  Eventually, the root system begins to dig deeper into the soil in search for water.  The process of drought duress develops strong, deep roots, which in turn produces much cotton.

I heard the voice of the Holy Spirit say that this spiritual drought and duress that I am experiencing is part of God’s plan to grow and develop my faith.  Praise God for his Spirit who instructs us in all things!

I don’t know how much longer I will be in this drought and duress season.  But, knowing that this is part of His plan to make me more fruitful encourages me to dig deeper into His Word and not give up hope.

I find it interesting that in the natural state of things, much of Texas is in drought and duress.  Is there a connection between the natural and the spiritual?  I don’t have that answer.

But, often, the Lord uses natural events to speak prophetically to His Body regarding the things of the Spirit.

“Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6-7 NIV).

 

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