Category Archives: Uncategorized

One Thing Remains

If you look at this picture what do you see? Either a sunrise or a sunset. Kinda like is the glass half-empty or half-full?

It’s all in what your perception is. There are great things about both the sunrise and the sunset. The sunrise represents a new start, a new moment, a new day. I love Lamentations 3:22-23 in the Message Bible – God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! 

Bethel Worship has a great song that reminds me of this verse- One Thing Remains

If you don’t have time to listen to it, the lyrics are:

Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant through the trial and the change
One thing remains
One thing remains

Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me

On and one and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never ever have to be afraid
One thing remains

In death and in life I’m confident and covered by the power of your great love
My debt is paid there’s nothing that can separate my heart from your great love

Rejoice today, in this day that Lord has made! His mercies are new and regardless of what may have happened yesterday, today is a fresh start!

The Law of Influence

We just started a new semester of Bible School, and I’m very excited to be teaching Leadership. I’m using John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership as a guide for this class.

What a great book! Tonight we talked about three of the laws of leadership, but the one that stuck out to me the most was the law of influence. Regardless of your position, level of personal success, title, etc… the level of effectiveness you experience in leadership is determined by one thing. The level of influence you possess.

I started thinking about Mordecai. Remember him? If not you can read his story here. His niece was Esther, the girl who became Queen and saved her people from death. Mordecai spoke the famous words found in Esther 4:14 Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

The law said that no one could go before the king without an invitaiton. The law said if you did you would most likely be put to death. What a level of influence Mordecai must have possessed to instruct Esther to break that law, putting herself at risk, and have her follow his direction to the letter. The majority of the Jewish population didn’t know who Mordecai was, but that didn’t stop his influence from affecting the destiny of that entire nation.

Every one of us has a certain level of influence, good or bad. What are you doing with this powerful tool that you possess? Are you using your influence for good, to affect positive change, or are you influencing those around you in negative ways?

Just like Mordecai, even if you think no one knows you the influence that you posses may just affect one person, who in turn affects nations. Use your influence wisely. It might just change the world.

Wait, I Say!

Isaiah 40:28-31   28 Have you not known? 
      Have you not heard? 
      The everlasting God, the LORD, 
      The Creator of the ends of the earth, 
      Neither faints nor is weary. 
      His understanding is unsearchable. 
       29 He gives power to the weak, 
      And to those who have no might He increases strength. 
       30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, 
      And the young men shall utterly fall, 
       31 But those who wait on the LORD 
      Shall renew their strength; 
      They shall mount up with wings like eagles, 
      They shall run and not be weary, 
      They shall walk and not faint.

There are times when each and every one of us feels weak.  When we feel like we need a little help. This passage is a great encouragement for those times. Verse 29 says He gives power to the weak,  And to those who have no might He increases strength. When we feel weak, that’s when He is strong through us. Verse 31 gives us the key to receiving that strength.  31 But those who wait on the LORD. Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. We have to learn to wait upon the Lord.

I don’t know about you, but there have been times when I was looking for answers from God but I didn’t take the time to just wait on Him for the answers. When I finally got smart and stopped long enough to really hear Him, that’s when I got my answers. The same is true when we need strength. When we take the time to wait to hear His voice, He will guide and direct us. He will give us the strength we need to face every circumstance.

Psalm 27:14 also tells us  14 Wait on the LORD;Be of good courage,  And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!

Be of courage today, and learn to wait on Him. Soon you too will be soaring like the eagle!

Answer That Call!

I have a really annoying habit. I have the tendency to not return phone calls. It’s not that I don’t want to talk to people, it’s just that if someone calls me and I miss their call, I try to wait until I’m in a position to really talk. That means without the hubby talking on his phone next to me in the car, without the kids yelling about why the other one looked at them wrong, without the distraction of making dinner, doing laundry and cleaning the house at the same time.

Problem is, waiting for the right moment usually means that that return phone call doesn’t happen right away. The other day one of my friends called. I was running around in the middle of doing some things, but I’m glad I answered that phone call because it was literally a matter of life and death. I’m so glad I didn’t miss her call!

How often do we do that to God? He calls us, and instead of answering right away we wait to find that perfect moment to return his call. How may times has that moment passed us by all together? When we hear that still small voice, asking us to go meet with him for a little while, are we too busy being caught up in our lives, so we say, “I’ll go pray later.”?

In Psalm 91:15 God says, 15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. When we call upon Him, He doesn’t wait for the perfect moment to get back to us, He answers. Next time He calls us, let’s learn from His example and answer that call!

P.S. If you are one of my friends and I haven’t called you back lately, I promise I’m really gonna try to do better!! 😉

He’ll Just Give You His Hand

For the past few days we’ve been talking about Peter and the story found in Matthew 14:22-32. To catch you up, the disciples were in a boat in the middle of a stormy sea. Jesus came walking along on top of the water. Peter asked Jesus if he could walk on water too, and Jesus said yes, so Peter got out of the boat and started walking. BUT he looked at the wind and the waves and started to sink. That’s where we left off yesterday.

Today we get to talk about my favorite part of this story. Verse 31-31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

When Peter started to sink, he called out and asked Jesus to save him. Jesus’ response was to immediately reach out his hand and catch him. Not after He gave Peter a lecture on why he messed up. Not because Peter did or did not  deserve His help. Immediately, instantly, without hesitation, the moment Peter called out to Him, He reached out His hand and saved him.

In that one moment, I doubt Peter stopped to think about whether or not he was worthy of Jesus saving him. He just knew if Jesus didn’t he was going to drown. So he called and Jesus answered.

Romans 10:13 says For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved” That means whatever we need to be saved from, if we call on Him He will reach out His hand and catch us too. Just because we have received Him as our Lord and have become born again doesn’t mean we still don’t need Him to be our Savior throughout the rest of our life.

Whenever you need Him, you can call His name . He will never leave you or forsake you. He’ll just give you His hand.

Dominate The Storm

Yesterday we talked about Peter and how we have to step out of the boat. In Matthew 14:22-32 Peter stepped out and started walking on water, something that was impossible in the natural. That’s where we stopped yesterday,but that’s not where Peters story ended. Peter was walking on the water toward Jesus, but then- verse 30  But when he saw that the wind was boisterous,he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”

Has that ever happened to you? You stepped out to do what God had for you, but then you looked around at the circumstances, allowed fear to overshadow everything else, took your eyes off of Him, and started to sink.
I firmly believe if Peter had kept his eyes on Jesus, fear couldn’t have come in to stop him from walking supernaturally. Faith and fear are opposites, just like light and dark. Where faith is fear cannot be, and vice versa. The circumstances just show up to try to take your focus. I can prove it. Verse 32 says And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. As soon as they stopped defying the natural, the wind stopped, the waves stopped, and the storm ceased. The circumstances didn’t bother Jesus, and He gave that same ability to Peter.

Although Peter allowed the storm to intimidate him, he had the capacity to dominate the storm, and so do you. Next time you step out and start walking on water, when the wind starts blowing and the waves start crashing, keep your eyes on Jesus, don’t be afraid but only believe. Instead of sinking, you’ll find yourself walking above the storm and accomplishing the supernatural in your life!

Get Out Of The Boat

I have been thinking about the story of Peter. Remember him? That one disciple that seemed to get in the most trouble?
The story I’ve been pondering is the one found in Matthew 14:22-33. To paraphrase, Jesus sent His disciples away so He could spend some time in prayer. Verse 24 says the boat was out in the sea, being beaten and tossed about by the wind. In other words, there was some kind of crazy storm going on. Sometime between 3:00-6:00am Jesus came to the disciples, walking on the water. They freaked out because, of course, who walks on water? They were terrified, screaming in fright, so Jesus told them to calm down, it was just Him.
Peter says in verse 28, Lord if it is you, tell me to come out there with you. Verse 29 says He said, Come! So Peter got out of the boat and walked on
the water, and he came toward Jesus.

There is more to this story, but I want to stop right there. This verse says- So Peter got out of the boat and walked on water! Walking on water is something that is naturally impossible. Don’t believe me? Go try it for yourself, you’re probably gonna sink like a rock!

Peter saw Jesus defying the natural and walking on the water. Something in him said, I want to do that. So he asked Jesus if he could come out there on the waves with Him. When Jesus said yes, Peter hopped out of the boat and started walking.

This story ministered to me because I have somethings on the inside of me. Dreams and desires that naturally I don’t have the ability to accomplish. I have limited myself because of what I think I can and can’t do. But when I ask Jesus if I can do those things, He is gonna tell me yes. Then it’s up to me. I just have to get out of the boat and start walking. That’s when my natural ability turns into supernatural gift and the things that I couldn’t do by myself, He does through me.

Philippians 4:13 says I can do ALL things THROUGH Christ who strengthens me. The same applies to you.

What dreams do you have that you haven’t stepped out on? What desires are in your heart that you haven’t felt qualified to accomplish? Where your ability ends, His ability will take over and you will find the impossible is possible for you! So start today! Get out of the boat and just start walking!

 

 

An Everlasting Love

Jeremiah 31:3-4

3 The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying:
“ Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. 4 Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt,

I love this scripture. The Lord says- I have loved you with an everlasting love. So many tines I see people who feel that they are unworthy of the Love of God. They feel that their actions have taken them out of fellowship with Him and that they can never be restored. Others feel that God is a mean judge, who they will never be good enough to stand in front of.

But NO! This scripture tells us that He loves us with an everlasting love. That word everlasting itself means literally lasting forever, never-ending. No matter what we’ve done, no matter how far we’ve strayed, His love is always there waiting for us to come back to him.

I am reminded of the story in Luke 15:11-32. The story of the young man who wanted to get his inheritance early and took it and squandered every bit of it. He walked away from his father, his home and everything that he had. One day he spent all of his money and found himself in the midst of a pig pen, without any friends, without any food, without any hope. Remembering how good he had it at his father’s home, he decided to go back and see if there was any way his father would forgive him. He thought maybe he could just be a servant and work for his keep. But when he returned home, his father came running and embraced him. Instead of becoming a servant he was restored to his place of sonship.

That’s how it is with our God. When we come back He isn’t there waiting to slap us down or punish. He is waiting with open arms ready to love us.

This verse says with lovingkindness I have drawn you. And then comes the best part. When you think you’re too broken, when you think you’re unable to be restored, when you think there is no way you can ever be what you once were, He rebuilds you. Verse 4 says, again I will build you- YOU WILL BE REBUILT. Just like that prodigal son, when you return to your Father’s house He will rebuild you, and restore you to be more than you dreamed possible.

As I was writing this post I felt compelled that there are those reading this today that feel hopeless, that need restoration. No matter what you are going through, you can see your life restored. If you would like to email me at lsarno@relevantfl.org I would love the opportunity to pray with you.

For This Cause- Miss Elaini

So I’ve decided to take Fridays as a day to introduce you to different people, organizations or causes I think are great. to start off the New year I wanted to give you an update on someone you’ve met here before.

Remember Miss Elaini?

I wrote about her here. Her goal was to raise $50,000 for orphans in India in 100 days. While she did not reach that goal initially, she still continued her quest. As of December 31, she had raised a little over $47,000. She did not give up but still worked to try to raise the money in the final hours of 2011. $3000 is a lot of money when you only have hours to go, BUT we serve a BIG God!

When it was all said and done, the total raised was $54,000.60!!!!! (As of January 1.) And since then it has grown to over $56,000! You can read all about it here. The money that was raised helped fund 20 orphanages in India. Some of the money was used to buy mattresses for the orphan’s beds. 15 of the 20 homes now have mattresses, and I have a feeling Miss Elaini isn’t going to stop until the children in the other 5 homes are no longer sleeping on boards. If you would like to help her, please go here and donate now! Every little bit counts!

Miss Elaini is a true example of Galations 6:9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

You can follow her example. What projects or tasks are you facing that seem difficult? Don’t lose heart, for in due season you will reap!!

The Most Beautiful Gift

My Christmas was wonderful. I got to spend it with all of my families. It was worth the 5 days in the car to get to have a day with my siblings, parents and grandparents.

Upon my return I was given something so special, so humbling, and so incredible that I had to share it. I’m a giver by nature, and I love to give gifts. So when I receive gifts I’m always thankful, but this particular gift had me in tears for a good half hour. I had to go to my office to compose myself before I could even say a proper thank you.

What was this gift? Some of my friends got together and prayed for me for an entire month. Every single day. And they didn’t just pray general prayers, but specifically for every area of my life. They compiled these prayers into a beautiful book. Each day has the prayer they prayed along with corresponding scriptures.

I have never in all my life been so humbled. There are wonderful people who pray for me often, my mother, grandmother and the beautiful ladies on our prayer team. But to know that my friends devoted a month of their time to lift me up was beyond beautiful. I don’t know that I could ever repay them for their wonderful gift. It makes me hope to be everything they were praying for.

John 15:13 says No one can have greater love than to give his life for his friends.

My dear friends gave me one month of their life, and nothing could have shown me that they love me more.

P.S.- If you are ever looking for a gift for your pastors wife, I highly recommend this. There are many challenges that pastors and their wives face that many never even know about. What an encouragement to have a tangible reminder in those times that they are not alone!!