Come To Jesus Moment

“You f…… B…..!” Is the epithet he hurled at me. Did I get your attention? As people who faithfully follow Jesus we are not excluded from our share of anger, vitriol and harassment; if not even more. Christ believers are supposed to share the gospel of Christ and fulfill the call of The Great Commission by telling others about our redeeming Savior. Preachers admonish parishioners at church services worldwide on Sunday mornings to “tell others about Jesus!” I often think: What about those who do not want to be told about God? In today’s climate, I cannot tell you how many times telling others about the goodness of God met me with indifference, hatred and disdain. People are either atheist, agnostic, apatheist or new agers. Hey, different people follow different religions — I get that — and are as passionate about their beliefs as I am about mine. In a few instances, some people I spoke to even tried to get me to convert to their religion. More, other people that I spoke to were deeply hurt by “religious” people and ran as fast as they could away from anyone who uttered the name God. Then there are those who like to challenge your beliefs, undermine your knowledge in God, and corner you into a debate about religion. I’ve learned long ago not to debate God’s word. And then there are those whom I believe are actually tired, miserable, broken and overtaken by their sins but refuse to submit to God out of distrust and/or rebellion. Thus, they attack the “God” in you!

The person who made the offensive comment to me was someone I loved dearly. He was like a brother to me. You know the type of person that is very judgmental, condescending, rude, aggressive and confrontational? This describes my dear friend. He had practically driven away every one in his family and our circle of friends because of his behavior, but I refused to give up on him. “I will love him like Christ loved, and continue telling him about God,” is what I told myself. Nonetheless, at every meeting, dinner, get together with him I left feeling drained, insulted, berated, picked apart and belittled.

But this last meeting was on a whole nother level. It’s as if he came with an agenda to provoke me to respond to his antics. The cheerful person that I am, he began to attack my happiness asking me “Why are you smiling so much? There’s nothing to smile about!” Can you believe it? Someone’s mad at you for smiling! I quickly told him what’s inside reflects on the outside and would he rather I be miserable like him? I know … I know I probably shouldn’t have said that but I just could not believe what I was hearing. He criticized everything from God, my natural hair and character, to my joyful personality. Then it dawned on me how far God had brought me from a few years ago; He took away all my pain and replaced it with His joy! I then began sharing with my friend details of my background and the things God had brought me through, and telling him that’s where my joy comes from. Telling him about the goodness of God in my life seemed to make him even more confrontational. He started badgering religion, religious people and Jesus. I told him that I’m sorry that he feels that way but God is a redeemer and if he would just open up and try to get to know God his life could change too. He said he doesn’t need God and his life is fine without him.

I had to go there! … Albeit nicely. I told him the truth. I told him that his communication with others comes off as negative, aggressive and rude. Sure, we all have our bad days, but to live in a place of perpetual rudeness is a reflective character trait. I reminded him of a couple of people we know that he personally hurt deeply. He took no responsibility and shifted blame on everyone else. He then said that he was a good person and “does good” for others. I told him good works does not make up for the hurt and pain he leaves in his aftermath. I invited him to invite God into his life. I was then met with anger, harsh words, and berating. So much so, I had to walk away from this person whom I considered a dear friend. What truly has the world come to? If you’re smiling it’s fake. If you’re nice you have an ulterior motive. If you’re a Christian you’re hateful because you believe what the Bible says. It’s hard out here in these streets! The Bible forewarned of times such as these.

In Isaiah 5:20, the Bible warns of calling good evil and evil good.

By the time I got home I was in tears and had a pow-wow with God. “God, how could he talk to me like that? Why would he curse me out like that?” It was then God began to pour into my spirit how His Son Jesus was cursed, beaten, and murdered because He shared the good news. It was as if He asked me “Was I more important than His son? Was I better than His son?” If Jesus had to suffer persecution so will you, my child! Wow! It was a wake up call! I had to apologize for my own entitlement and shortsightedness.

How many times have we asked God to “use us” for His kingdom and the assignment does not come as we expect? Truthfully, many do as the aforementioned: question God and walk away from the gospel completely when they are deeply hurt. And truthfully speaking, it is not the person attacking you but the spirit in them. It is often because many people do not want to turn away from their sins, they have been hurt and are afraid to trust God, or they need to test the “God in you” because they need to know He’s real. They are really looking for something to believe in and need to know that this God you speak so highly of is really a redeemer. If we, who proclaim this Christ, buckle at every insult then it gives opposers the finger to mock God and question His power in our lives. I have had it happen time and time again. But what I felt God was speaking to me in this situation is that he used me to plant a seed of salvation. Many hurting people put on a tough exterior but deep down they are yearning for help. God is so loving, he hears their inward cries. When someone touches God’s heart, He usually sends many people to speak into their life.

Life is hard. Sin has hardened people, but our hearts must not become hardened.

This situation with my friend is what I call a ‘Come to Jesus moment.’ We who serve Christ often too have to come to Him and lay at his feet and cry as a little baby. Life is hard. Sin has hardened people, but our hearts must not become hardened. We must do as Paul admonishes,”fight the good fight of faith” and finish our race — bruises, scars, wounds and all!

Call Down Prayer Rain Over Your Dry Desert!

Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. Isaiah 35:4

While meditating on Isaiah 35 this morning, my heart was quickened and renewed with the assurance that we will see God’s glory in the midst of our dry desert, and the excellency of our God in every situation that we go through.

In Isaiah 35:1, it says your wilderness and dry land shall be glad and your desert will rejoice and blossom like a rose. It goes on to say your desert will blossom abundantly! If you understand it in its natural context it seems like an oxymoron. When one thinks of a desert they attribute it to barrenness, dryness, emptiness, and isolation. But when we go back and read in Isaiah 35: 1, it says “the Solitary place shall be glad for them.” It is saying this solitary place is good for you because it is teaching you how to be strong, it is equipping you with spiritual armor, and forcing you to rely on and trust God even though your situation looks dismal in the physical. More, the solitary place is where your faith is being developed, and where your praise is born. Calling down prayer rain is to send praise up to heaven.

In Isaiah 35:6, it says in the desert the tongue of the dumb will sing. It says upon this singing waters shall break out and streams shall flow in the desert. I believe it is saying the tongue of the ‘unlearned’ will learn how to praise and worship their God, and upon doing so rivers of blessings shall flow into their barren places and dry lands.

The desert is where you learn how to praise God before the victory. The desert is where you learn to thank Him for the many blessings He has already bestowed upon you. The desert is where you praise Him for the trials in your life because you know according to “His excellency,” everything will work out for your good. It is where you thank Him for your desert experience because it is truly a blessing in disguise. And lastly, the desert is where you learn how to praise God in advance for answers still to come.

The 3 P’s of 2017: Purpose, Passion and Plight. 

First off, HAPPY NEW YEAR! This past year the enemy may have taken away a job, home, dream, loved ones or material possessions. But the one thing that you are in control of that he can’t take away is your joy! But it depends on you. You have to make up your mind; make up you mind to succeed, to push on, to fight every step of the way this new year. Even though some days it may have looked like you were down for the count, wounded in the battle of life, or are still trying to recover from a crash landing.
It’s disconcerting that people take addictions seriously but often take emotional well being for granted. The same rule must apply: ONE DAY AT A TIME! The fight starts and begins in your mind before it ever reaches your will and your flesh. As children of the Most high God, we all are given different tasks, assignments, and jobs to do in this life. Many will be assigned a visible platform, but most often, the hardest assisgnments are the ones that are being fought behind the scenes; in our families, on our jobs, and in our communities. That’s where the real work takes place: face to face, hand to hand, and heart to heart. But we must and can only do what we are equipped to do at any given time in life. When we think we have so much to give is often the time we most fall. But we mustn’t remain, we must get back up learn more about ourselves, behavior, character and strive to improve…to do better, be better. We must allow ourselves to make mistakes, mess up, fail. Beloved, that’s the only way a child of God truly moves more towards God’s light. Most, we must allow others that same right to learn as they go and make mistakes without holding them in judgement or unforgiveness. For we all have fought a grave battle, and some are striving daily to heal severe wounds.

We are all on life’s rollercoaster, gallantly reaching high points but yet falling as fast at the same time because we live in this frail body called flesh. We must find out what God has called us to do and do it to the best of our abilities, though we are like mere babes learning how to walk this life while constantly falling…learning as we go. ln 2017, allow yourself to fall without criticism, harsh words, judgment or guilt, but with patience with yourself, encouraging yourself, and most importantly, loving you every step of the way. 

I don’t know about you but I’m so glad God is so gentle and loving through each trial that He teaches me valuable lessons that I’m more than willing to learn while being patient with myself and finding the strength to keep going, to keep fighting the good fight of faith…likewise we all should grant the same right to everyone else who may cause us offense. Sometimes we forget who the real enemy is. Though Christians, we aren’t excluded from spiritual skirmishes. God is teaching me that the real victory comes from choosing to choose love in spite of…not letting life’s situations cause us to become bitter or unforgiving. For I believe everything, every situation and even every heartache has a purpose though the finite mind can hardly understand. This new year, take the time to mend combat wounds then go into your prayer closet and await further instructions.

We are all in this confusing, twisting, binding enigma called life that will never be fully explained perhaps until we go to our final resting home. So with that I leave you…love, laugh, forgive, celebrate and most importantly, cherish family. And as goes that old Southern hymn…hold on old soldier…You can make it…You can win!

Psalms 37:23

The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.

Puah Neiel

Don’t Just Break Through, BREAK FREE!

Wow! What an amazing finish to this year! God so blessed me to finish “His” book: Don’t just breakthrough, BREAK FREE! I say His book because I had totally different intentions when I started writing the tome. But beloved, God had to bring me through various trials and deliver me from some things in order for me to understand the gist of what I was writing about! Including: stubborness, unforgiveness, pride, homelessness, joblessness and debilitating sickness. I payed the price with blood, sweat and tears! It took me nearly 7 years to finish this book!

I now realize if it had been published when I first started writing it, it would have been verbiage and not experience. It would have been words but no substance. It reminds me of  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when they were thrown into the fiery furnace. God had to allow me to be thrown into the fiery furnace to test this word that I was proclaiming; He had to test my faith by fire! Luke 22:31-32 says, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you Simon, that your faith may not fail!

So like clay, instead of being burned up, my faith has been refined into a beautiful vessel! Hallelujah! A vessel for salvation, a vessel of hope, a vessel of light to the lost, depressed, and those that are struggling to live another day!

Many of you may know I’ve recently lost a dear loved one. You never really realize the magnitude of death until it knocks on your door. When I was writing this book, for some reason God put on my heart to write:

“From time to time, God will send you a travel companion to help you along your way [on life’s journey]. Although you may be tempted to get upset when they leave, don’t!” Page 237.

I couldn’t understand at the time why I had written that as I never really lost anyone close to me to death. While editing the final chapters of the book, when I reread that sentence, I wept.

Beloved, God knows the trials we will endure before we can ever conceive of them. Surely, we can never understand why God allows good people to die violently, but oh how He loves us and protects and keeps us in the midst of life’s storms. I love you and God bless you!

-Puah Neiel

Your Worship Determines Your Victory

O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.

2 Chronicles 20:12

This was the cry of the people of Judah who soon learned that they would be attacked by an alliance of the Ammonites, Moabites, and Menuites. Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, out of great fear, sought the Lord for help and proclaimed a fast throughout all of Judah.Beloved, though this story happened in Biblical times, it still rings true to what the people of God are experiencing today.

Those spiritually attuned can sense a more diabolical presence of evil in these last days. Sometimes it may feel as if you are being smothered by spiritual attacks on all sides: in relationships, on the job, commuting, and even in your own home; like the land of Judah, in 2 Chronicles 20:1, when word went out that Judah was under attack by surrounding neighbors.

Sometimes the warfare can seem so intense that the first thing we do when we face an attack is reach out to a spouse, relative or friend first. And, most of the time you go away just as you came: still distressed, frazzled, and confused. Most people will listen but aren’t really qualified to help you. Why is God always our last resort? Because we want immediate answers. We want to be soothed and comforted in that moment. We want a word now! More, oftentimes in these situations God seems silent and we need immediate answers.

In 2 Chronicles 20:3, the Bible says the first thing Jehoshaphat did was SEEK THE LORD and proclaim a fast. How often do we forget simply to seek God first and not let emotions get the best of us. The second thing we do is seek spiritual guidance or desperately try to get answers from a person whom we may feel hears from the Lord. Saints if you are to ever grow spiritually and eat the solid food of Christianity as Paul says in Corinthians, you must learn to seek God’s face yourself. Wait to hear His voice, wait for His leading, wait until you get direction from Him before you move. Wait before consulting others. Many people put their faith in other people as opposed to God, or worst they put more faith in the problem than in God. More, you don’t trust God but you trust others’ fallible opinion. No, you must believe that you too can hear from God. That’s the only way you will mature in spiritual warfare. You must learn to fight your own battles. We must have faith in God and stand firm on His word as the people of Judah:

‘If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you—for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.’ 

2 Chronicles 20:9

Most of you are running around in panic and sheer terror regarding this evil trial that is facing you. You are stressing yourself out when God is simply telling you to give it to Him. This battle really is between evil and righteousness. Darkness and light. Demonic forces are sent out to try to frustrate God’s plans for your life. But what God has written in stone shall be fulfilled no matter what forces try to oppose it. 

Thus says the LORD to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s.’ 

2 Chronicles 20:15

But here’s where you drop the ball. In the midst of the trial, what are you thinking? Are you thinking defeated thoughts? You are believing the enemy’s lies that you aren’t gonna get through this situation; to give up; there’s no hope. So you neglect to read your Bible, neglect to fast and hope the situation will just go away. You’ve given up on the inside. Therefore, you are already defeated. If you can just muster up a mustard seed of faith and open your mouth and believe. That’s all it takes, and proclaim the goodness and mercy of God over your situation and it WILL change! PRAISE HIM! Beloved, your worship determines your victory! 

And when they began to sing and praise, the LORD set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed.

2 Chronicles 20:22

Beloved, sometimes you just have to praise your way out of persecution, trials, attacks. God goes to war to the command of praise!