Monday, August 11, 2014

Red Light, Green Light

So, I was in an accident last Friday.  I was coming home from the grocery store, buckled up and waiting for my light to turn green.  It did.  I started to go and turn left onto the highway when someone sped through a red light and hit me on my side of the car.  He shoved me into a large delivery type truck and let me tell ya, that was a scary ordeal.  Oh, and air bags hurt.  They also release a nasty smoke and it stinks. 

I can't talk about what is going on with all of this right now, but I will say we need a lot of prayer and some needs met.  LIKE A CAR!  Pray we're able to get one soon and make a good decision on purchasing a new one.  We have a good friend who is a dealer and is keeping an eye out for us.  Thankful for someone we both trust and has a good reputation with his vehicles.

I'm seeing a chiropractor for the first time in my life.  Talk about conquering your fears!  I do not like being touched, much less pulled, twisted, and stretched.  But you do what you feel you need to do, right?  It's definitely been a different experience for me.

That's the bad news.  The good news is, for the first time in fourteen years, I am finally under the weight I was when I had my first OB appointment with Harrison.  Gives me a positive boost in the arm to keep trying and set a NEW GOAL!  I know with the help of the Lord I can do this.  If I left it up to just me, I'd be in the closet downing twinkies.  Just sayin'.

Looking forward to beginning a new SIGMA year with our youth.  We're praising the Lord for answered prayer in our youth department.  We officially have a youth pastor!!!  Brother Johnathan and Mrs. Jennifer have been working tirelessly with the youth group the last couple of years and God opened the door for our church to take them on full time.  We could not be more pleased.  The youth love them both and I'm sure it will be a great year.

And that is all for tonight. I've iced my shoulders and now it's time for medication and bed!  Early appointment in the morning.

Hope y'all have a great night!!  :)

Genesis 22:14 "Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, "In the mount of the LORD it will be provided."

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sleepless In Carolina

So here it is 1:16am and I'm up, can't sleep.  What do you do when that happens?  You blog.  After all, it's been nearly two months since I blogged anything. 

Here lately it seems the sleepless nights happen more frequently.  Along with hot flashes, mood swings, and other weird symptoms of becoming an older woman.

I really haven't had any "burdens" on my mind, but it just seems that as soon as I lay down to sleep, no matter how tired I feel, I just can't seem to go to sleep.  My mind begins processing things and thinking about things and I find myself carrying on hypothetical conversations with people.  Something my dad used to do all the time.  Usually while he was shaving in the mornings.  Very interesting conversations, that man had.

Tonight I went to bed and just laid there, tossing and turning. So I figured if I was going to be this awake, why not be productive.  Folding laundry and washing and drying more laundry seemed like a good idea.  Cleaning counters and appliances was a good idea too.  But here it is in the wee hours of the morning and I really, REALLY need the rest. 

See, our youth group's summer camp was sadly cancelled.  To make up for that, our church is giving them a mini camp for the next few days.  They spent the night at the church tonight and I'll meet some other ladies in about five and a half hours to cook breakfast for them.  They'll have a fun day of devotions with Brother Johnathan, volleyball, water games, and other sports, followed by lunch, some quiet time, getting showered and dressed for supper and then a chapel service led by one of our mission men, called to preach.  It's going to be a really good day and I'm looking forward to it.  Then early Friday morning they'll load the vans or bus and head out to Paramount Carowinds, an amusement park here in NC.  I know they'll have a really good time. 

I wish I could go.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE riding rides.  But my ankle would not make an entire day walking/running back and forth to different rides in the park.  I was told about ten years ago I needed an ankle replacement.  I've been putting it off and putting it off and it just seems like here lately it's getting worse and worse.  I'm just about ready to make that first appointment and get the ball rolling on this.  Really the only thing holding me back is the 20 week recovery.  That's right.  TWENTY weeks.  Twelve weeks of NON-WEIGHT bearing recovery, followed by eight weeks of slow to intense therapy.  In case you haven't done the math, that's five months.  FIVE months.  So just pray I'll make the right decisions about all of this and do it in God's perfect timing.

Over the last several months I've needed to scoot up a little closer to the Lord. I've been hurt by people close to me and my children have been hurt by others as well.  At first I was just mad all the time.  The flesh was very unruly.  I had to earnestly pray and try desperately to ignore certain behavior.  But one thing I learned through it all is that God is still good and God is still on the throne.  What I THOUGHT I wanted Him to bless us with, He took away.  But I didn't see that He took it away right off.  All I saw as we were going through some things was a wall being built by human hands.  It wasn't until later that I saw it was actually a hedge of protection God was building to protect my children and my family.  It was THEN that God was able to move in MY heart and show me that MY wants are not always HIS wants.  And that if I truly wanted HIS will for my life and the lives of my children, then I have to trust Him.  So I purposed in my heart that's exactly what I'm going to do.  Simply trust Him. 

Since then, God has opened so many doors for my children in their lives.  I've just sat back and watched the blessings pour out over them.  It's been great just resting in the Lord and knowing He has everything in their lives...and mine...under His control.

I am so excited to see how God is orchestrating some things in our home right now.  But again, I'm praying and trusting that His will be done and that whatever He chooses will be what I choose, because I want what HE wants. 

It's never an easy thing to put our full trust in the Lord.  But once it's there, man it's good.  It's like it all just falls into place and usually like you never imagined...but BETTER!

Proverbs 3:5&6 comes to mind, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Love Beyond Measure

Crossroads Rescue Mission had their annual jubilee a couple weeks ago.  During one of the meetings my Pastor's wife approached me to say a church in Polkville asked if I would speak at their ladies meeting.  I told her yes and then kind of panicked.  I had a busy week with jubilee every night, photo shoots during the days, and lots of editing!  My study time was limited, with only a week from that Saturday.  So I cancelled photo shoots and went off facebook the next week while I studied my lesson. 
Monday was great and then Tuesday showed up.  It was one thing after another.  It started off with a phone call that morning, followed by news from my son that sent my blood pressure through the roof, followed by my husband doing something really crazy that did not help the situation, followed by my youngest son doing something crazy too.  I felt like my head would explode.  It suddenly occurred to me that it was the devil working against me over this meeting.  So I went to my room, sat on the bed and took a deep breath.  I prayed, Lord, I really need something from you right now.  And He told me exactly what to do.  By this time, Bruce was sitting quietly in the living room.  After all, he knew I was upset.  Pretty sure the slamming of kitchen cabinets, mumbling and throwing dish towels gave my bad attitude away.  Anyway, I walked up to him and said, "I'm gettin' outta here.  You wanna go?"  He said, "YES!"  So he put his shoes on and met me in the car.  We drove quietly, him never asking me where we were going.  He was just along for the ride.  No doubt, in hopes, to make me happy.  I pulled into Ruby Tuesday and he said, "We already had supper.  Are you still hungry?"  "Nope," I replied, "God said eat cheesecake."  So we did!  And it was wonderful.  We sat across from each other laughing and talking and enjoying the best cheesecake I've ever had.  It seemed like all the worries and anger just melted away.  I suppose the moral of the story is, when you're having a really bad day and you know the devil is attacking you, God will help you through it and help you to see what's going on and He will tell you what to do.  And if you're as fortunate as me, He'll tell you to go eat cheesecake.  :)

As I was studying for the ladies meeting I tried to focus on the theme of "Love Beyond Measure."  When I think of love beyond measure, I only think of God.  As humans, our love is very much measureable.  God's love, however, is eternal.  Non-ending.  It can not be measured!  I John 4:8 tells us, "...for God is love."  God IS love.  He loves us when we're obedient.  He loves us when we're living right and doing right.  But when else does He loves us?  Is this the only time He loves us?  When else does God love us?  I ran across a quote online and I couldn't get away from it so I drew my outline from it. 

God's Love Beyond Measure:
  1. God loves the Flawed.  Romans 5:8 says, "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."  That word "commendeth" means to entrust with care of preservation.  At the time of Christ's death, I had not committed one, single sin.  I wasn't born yet!  But He looked ahead in time and saw me in my sinful state and He preserved that love for me by shedding his blood for me anyway.  That's love.  Ephesians 2:8 tells us that it's not about our works.  Are you kidding me?  We are flawed to the very core of this flesh.  Of COURSE it's not about our works!  It's about HIM and what HE has done because of His love for us!  And He still loves us today, just as much as He did yesterday and the days before that, and the day He gave His very life for us.
  2. God loves the Rejected.  Romans 8:35 says, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"  Jump down to verses 38 & 39, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  You may feel that God cannot or will not forgive you of something.  You may feel rejected because of past sins in your life.  But these verses tell me there is nothing, not one thing, that can separate us from the love of Christ!  There is no sin so great, the grace of God cannot cover.  He will take us just like we are and loves us too much to leave us as we were.  He can and will make something great out of us, if we let Him.  The world may reject us and throw us to the side, but GOD will never do that.  You may even be rejected for what you stand for. Luke 6:22 says, "Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake."  Hey, when we are rejected for His name's sake, we are BLESSED!  Because He is on OUR side!  Romans 8:31 says, "...If God be for us, who can be against us?"  Being rejected isn't so bad, really, because we KNOW we're on the winning side!  And He NEVER rejects His children!
  3. God loves the Awkward.  You may feel awkward because you can't speak your thought clearly to others.  Or maybe you have a disability that holds you back from serving in a capacity that others without your disability have no problem.  You know Moses had a speech impediment.  Most scholars believe he stuttered.  But God used him as the most influential person to go up against Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel through the desert to their promised land.  One of the greatest men of God I know stutters.  But yet he is doing a work for the Lord that amazes me on a weekly basis.  Don't allow your awkwardness or fear of what people think of you keep you from serving the Lord.  Psalm 118:6 says, "The Lord is on my side, I will not fear: what can man do unto me?"  The Lord loves you and wants you to tell others about His love.  You may seem awkward to others, maybe even to yourself.  But God loves you just the way you are and He wants you to share His love with others.
  4. God loves the Sorrowful.  Sorrow is a more intense feeling than sadness.  We can feel sad over many things, but sorrow is felt down deep in our soul.  It is said that sorrow lies somewhere between sadness of accepting a circumstance and distress of not accepting that circumstance.  Maybe you are sorrowing over something or someone in your life.  A death of a spouse or a parent.  Maybe you are sorrowing over a wayward child or friend.  The Bible says in II Corinthians 1:3-5 "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ."  We sorrow, but GOD can and will bring our comfort and then we can turn around and help those who are going through their own sorrow, because of what Christ did in us through our own sorrow.
  5. God loves the Broken.  One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Psalm 147:3, "He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds."  I have felt broken and in pieces and like I would never overcome the hurt caused by friends who said they loved me and would always be there for me.  I have been broken over having to cut people out of my life who had turned their backs on God or were going in the opposite direction of where I was going toward God.  And sometimes that happens.  Sometimes you'll have that.  I have been broken over circumstances beyond my control that may have caused hurt and pain to someone else besides myself.  But by leaning on Christ and His love, I have experienced His healing power and experienced Him taking those broken pieces of my heart and mending them back together.  It was not an overnight experience.  It took a lot of time.  A lot of prayer.  And a lot of hiding myself in God's Word.  You might feel broken and lost and like you'll never be the same, but God will heal your broken heart and He will bind up your wounds, the way only He can. 
"Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely.  Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly.  Though we may feel lost and without compass, God's love encompasses us completely...He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken."

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Lord is My Portion

Often, when Bruce is going through a difficult time with something, he will say, "The Lord is my portion."  I have thought a lot about this verse for several days and have prayed this to be real for a very dear friend.

She and her family are going through a very difficult time in their life.  A year ago, they never saw that today they would be broken hearted and grieving inside.  But God did.  And He prepared for them for this day and for the days to follow until He is able to mend the pieces of their hearts back together.

As I thought about this verse, "The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him," I kept thinking of that word  portion

Portion has a few different meanings, along the same line.  But the one that spoke to me most, was "...A part that is allotted to a person or group." 

My friend's family is a group, but each of them have been touched by this storm and each of them are hurting in their own ways.  The LORD is their portion as a family, a group.  But the LORD is their portion individually also.  He will give them exactly what each of them need to heal and as they each begin to heal, the family will heal together.  The LORD is their portion. 

When the storms of life hit out of no where and even when we see or suspect a storm is coming, we must remember that God saw it coming long before we did.  And He has had a plan all along for what we are going to go through.  He has prepared the LORD to be our portion. 

On those nights when it seems the darkest, when it seems our pillow holds most of our tears, when we feel we are further from God's presence than we have ever been....  HE is our portion.

We will have days where we don't want to get up out of bed, days where we feel we may never be the same.  We will have days that seem they will never end, but...  HE is our portion.

Our Associate Pastor preached a wonderful message tonight and said something I will never forget.  We need to praise our way to prayer.  When we are feeling our very lowest and prayer is the only thing we know to do, the only thing we CAN do, begin it with PRAISE.  Find the praise in the storm and praise GOD to your prayer and to your petitions. 

The LORD is my portion.  And He will ALWAYS be enough.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Empty Worship Equals Empty Power

Last night the Holy Spirit of God was moving freely in the service.  It was so good to see the alters filled and hear testimony after testimony, along with anointed singing.  We rejoiced in the birth of one of our young couple's little girl, and also in the birth of a new child of GOD.  Yes, it was a very good day.

There is a young man in the mission and his entire church from Tennessee loaded a bus and drove down to be with him in the service last night.  They came and got right in on the service as if they'd been members of our church all along.  It was a blessing! 

Their music director testified and something he said kind of popped out at me and I haven't been able to get it off my mind.  He said the church he and his family had left were moving in the contemporary direction.  That they left a lot of times feeling hungry for something more powerful.

When he said that, the first thing that crossed my mind is when I'm hungry but in a hurry or don't want to take the time to prepare something good for myself, I grab the first thing I see.  A handful of chips, a little Debbie cake, a candy bar.

These things won't fill us up.  They give us a temporary satisfaction, along with empty calories.  We need good calories throughout the day to give us energy and keep us going.  So why not just take the time and eat the right foods when our body is telling us we need to eat?  Chips and a Debbie cake or a candy bar are ok from time to time.  But when our body needs nourishment, we need to feed it the right foods. 

Just like our physical body needs the right foods, our spiritual body does too. 

Jesus said in John 6:35, "...I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."

In order to feed our spiritual body, we need to eat from the Bread of Life.  There are many things we can nit-pick over in churches.  Your church may do things differently from my church.  And that's fine.  That's why you go to your church and I go to mine.  :)  But I do believe that the modern church has slipped away from true worship and are making a quick fix to feeding the spiritual, leading to empty power in the Saints of God.

Most modern churches want to spend forty-five minutes in a praise and worship singing where they sing the same words over and over and over and over.  Then spend five minutes reading a passage from the Bible.  There's no real meat in the message or songs.  Something about loving your neighbor and being kind to one another.  Then it's over.  Everyone goes home to do their own thing and they leave with a temporary satisfaction that will only carry them through part of the day.  Then they starve the rest of the week.

I realize that's a very run-down description, but I think you know what I'm referring to.  Like I said, not every church is like mine.  Not every church is like yours.  It's not about my church or your church.  It's about being in a church where people are fed empty power.

John 4:24 says, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."  There must be a balance in the service.  You can be in a service where there is a lot of spirit, but little or no truth.  And you can be in a service where there is a lot of truth, but little or no spirit.  I've been in both.  And let me tell ya, it leaves you hungering and thirsting for the Power of God.  

It's no secret I love my church.  I'm thankful for a man of God that allows the Holy Spirit to direct the service.  We have an unspoken order of service.  A way things are kind of laid out.  But there is no official order of service, written in a bulletin and handed out.  If we did that, it would be a waste of paper, because most of the time, our services NEVER go the way our Pastor or the congregation thinks it will.  We don't have a calendar saying who is singing each service through the month.  Our choir director doesn't make a list of songs the choir will sing over the next several weeks.  And that's because the Holy Spirit is allowed to be the director and orchestrator of the service.  It's good to go and be fed in spirit and in truth.  It leaves you feeling Spiritually fit, spiritually strong, spiritually encouraged, and spiritually powerful. 

The more we get of empty calories, the less we get of the nourishment we truly need.  We begin to lean toward the convenience and instant gratification of meeting a need that will never be met until we give our body the right stuff!  

We need the meat of the WORD and the BREAD OF LIFE to fill us UP with HOLY GHOST POWER!  

Are you hungry? 

The Master says, "...Come and dine..."