I encountered a man the other day who spoke a 3-minute conversation. Although it was only a brief conversation, his transparency won my respect not for what he had accomplished in this life, but for his strong confidence and belief in our Heavenly Father.  I don’t remember his name nor would I be able to recognize him, but I will never forget what he demonstrated. His actions and beliefs displayed a heart of expectation, humility and determination. My new friend stepped out of the business of his day and made a priority to “listen for thunder”. I met this gentleman while visiting a prayer house.

I had arrived a few minutes before him. Upon my arrival I went through the visitor procedures of the five-room community prayer house. As I maneuvered through the house I gazed at each wall, I soon found myself in the back room. The room was about 10 x 12 and it’s only occupancy was a kneeling bench pushed up against the only solid wall of the room. The other three walls each had two windows that were covered with blinds to keep the summer heat out, but still allowed light through to offer a dimly lit quiet refuge from the outside world. Just like the hallway I found myself overwhelmed by the needs presented on the walls of the room I had just discovered. My eyes began to gaze over the countless petitions written on sticky notes plastered almost as wall paper from floor to ceiling. My soul ached with empathy as I read the requests that had been presented to God. Etched out in pencil, marker or pen each represented a request that only God could provide. Some were for healing, protection, direction, provision, and many for the salvation of loved ones.

After a few minutes of panning the room, I knelt to pray trying to regain my focus on what brought me to the prayer house to begin with. As I ventured into my objective a gentleman walked into the room with his Bible in hand. Obviously, my presence startled him as he somehow entered and exited in the same step. He quickly began to apologize for the interruption. His manner of entrance into the room signified to me that he was familiar with the room.  Along with his apologies, he suggested he would go to one of the other rooms of the house. Assuring him that his entrance was quite all right, I acknowledged that clearly, he was familiar with the room.

“This room is special to you, isn’t it?” I said.

He replied with a nod and pointed to a photo that was taped on the wall. The photo was a family portrait.

The color 4 x 6 photo, adhered to the wall by masking tape across the top, displayed a family of five with each family member having a smile that could conquer the world. Three young children were shown with their mom and dad standing behind them proud as ever. The picture would have been the perfect Facebook post to scream to the world “We are the perfect family.”

My heart melted when he explained why he was there at the prayer house. “I come here and pray for God to put my family back together. You see, I messed up and did some things I shouldn’t have done. In the midst of it all, my wife walked out and took the kids,” he explained.  His passion for restoration exuded with every word.

He continued to explain he comes to the prayer house every day after he gets off work. I had recently committed myself to attending the prayer house the tenth of every month, and secretly hoped I would remember each month. His dedication to separate himself from the distraction and responsibilities of this world spoke volumes to what made my commitment seem at that moment a tiny one.

I graciously departed from the room and found myself a different room. Again, I knelt trying to think of my objective in coming. I tried to gather my thoughts. Nothing could penetrate the thought of what had just occurred and my heart’s demeanor before FAITH literally walked in the room.  My objective was now overshadowed with the testimony I had just witnessed. I thought of the possible words he might be praying at that exact moment. Tears began to flow as I could not comprehend the feeling of losing my family and the enduring consequence of knowing it was by my own actions. My heavenly Father then assured me in my spirit that He offers boundless grace to his children by giving us the power of prayer, a way to go to Him with every need we have. Further assuring me that He allows us to ask Him to make right our wrongs, this hope renewed my faith to pray earnestly. The man who knelt next door to me sat before the Lord asking to be the man God intended him to be, the spiritual leader of his family. When our earnest prayers match God’s word, we can stand in assurance He will be faithful.

Scripture speaks of earnest prayer in James 5: 15-18-

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again, he prayed and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

Pondering these verses has reminded me of a time in my childhood when I was impacted by men who walking in faith passionately presented their petitions to God. Some of my earliest memories are from the prayer meetings of my small rural church I attended as a child. I would watch and listen in amazement as men stood or knelt with bended knee and prayed for rain. I knew absolutely nothing about farming at that age, but I knew from the broken sounds of their voices the need was great. My young mind comprehended they desperately needed rain. Being a farming community, this prayer was voiced many times.

One time in particular will always resonate with me.  Our service ended with a time of prayer at the altar. I watched and listened as many of the men went forward and surrounded the altar. One by one they took turns praying out loud. I hung on every word trying to process what was being spoken. After a while the men finished and church was dismissed. As we walked out the doors we were greeted with the smell and sound of rain and thunder. Soon after the sounds of thunder, the moisture of rain the men had desperately asked God to provide drenched the dry soil. God had heard those farmers’ prayers just like Elijah’s and His glory showered my small community with what they needed most.

I’m not sure where this prayer house man of faith is today. But I know the earnestness of his prayers will be answered just like his confidence he displayed. As a child I did not hear the thunder while the prayers for rain were being offered. I wonder if the farmers from my church heard the thunder coming in their spirit as they offered God their desperate pleas. Just like my friend heard the sounds of his family being put back together when he prayed, I want to hear thunder when I pray— no matter how distant it may be.

How would your life be different with a prayer life like the man of faith I encountered?

 

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Crooks, Crevices, and Crannies

We’ve enjoyed several days of temperatures in the upper 70’s and a few in the 80’s.  In the south that means don’t blink or you will find yourself missing Spring. Our mild winters lead us straight to the hot days of summer. I love spring and all that it represents. The excitement of trees budding, grass turning green, flowers blooming and, not to mention, I love Easter candy.

My excitement makes focusing on my list of cleaning and planting a little easier for my ADD brain. I begin sketching out flower bed plans, researching plants, and every way possible to organize a closet. Usually, my list of cleaning and planning goes far longer than my actual achievement.  Just as spring time brings excitement for growth and new things to come, it is also a time to get rid of the old stuff we have in the crooks, crevices, and crannies of our homes and our hearts.

I began this past weekend preparing to complete one of my spring ideas.  First on my list was a flower bed that continues to bring me grief. Nothing seems to live long or grow very much in this bed. Well nothing except, WEEDS!! Eight years I’ve battled this bed.  I was reminded how hard this fight has been when I pulled up a dead plant left over from last year. I think it died soon after I planted it last spring, yet there it was still in the bed. A year later and I’m just now pulling it out. Despite my history I’m determined this year will be a success.               Take caution, WEEDS! Your time is up!                Take hope plants! I will not let you die!

Why is it so hard sometimes to get it all accomplished and keep it all going? Our momentum sometimes gets blocked by our personal defeats, distractions, and desires.  Instead of cleaning our hearts we stick it out of sight, out of mind or can I suggest we sweep it into the crevices of our heart.  Maybe it even sprouts there like my weeds and we just don’t take time to pull it up. It took lots of effort on a beautiful Saturday morning to dig out tons of weeds, dead plants, and put out new soil. You see if we had just put out new soil the weeds would have just grown right through and would have still been rooted in every area of the flower bed. We had to dig them up. Much to my back’s dislike!  My husband reminded me, as impatient as I was, we couldn’t begin adding new soil until all the old plants and weeds had been removed.

How do we remove those things in our hearts that do not need to be there? Possibly we’ve even forgotten they are there. We enjoy looking forward instead of looking back or inside. This spring let’s not let what’s in the crooks, crevices, and crannies of our hearts to jump out and snag our momentum to grow in the Lord. Let’s take time to clean.

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right[b] spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.

  1. Pray for a clean heart. Psalm 51 shows us how to ask God for a clean heart. Don’t store things in your mind or heart that are not from God. Often times we hold on to           memories and hoard up broken emotions in order to validate the wrongdoing done to us.   Our spiritual life will pay the price until the soil of our heart is without them.
  1. Plead guilty. Admit to God our transgressions. Holding on to things that do not push us forward only feeds to our pride. Pride will blind us and trip us. Holding on to things or people even though we know God has told us different  will feed our fears and continue to stunt our growth.
  1. Place yourself in His presence. God is our hiding place, our shield and His word is our hope. Stand in His light and it will be a lamp to your feet. Spend extra time in worship and His word. It will ignite a momentum that nothing can slow down.  I’m reminded of when  Moses said to God,”If You don’t go with us, do not send us up from here.” Remaining in His presence it vital to our stamina and success.
  2. Plant new seeds. Hide his word in your heart so that it will provide strength in both days of trouble and in moments of weakness. Testify to others what makes your garden grow. Tell them how your spring cleaning the crooks, crevices, and crannies of your heart so that changed your life will be changed forever!

Happy Spring!

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Counting Grace

 

When we feel the most incapable is when

we see God’s capability!

New Jobs
Newlyweds
First Time Parents

Parenting TEENAGERS

Empty Nesters

Parenting Adult Children

Newly Single

New School

New Budgets

New Ministry

New Church

New City

   Most of these roles collide with us some time or another as we weave in and out of seasons of our lives. Seasons of transition can be both joyous and beneficial. Often times they are answers to our prayers yet, the newness brings sandy footing at times. Change can also come like a thief in the night and alter all the normalcy we abide in. Either way the reality of stepping into the transition and moving along with it is not an option. Pressing on toward a new normalcy can cause doubt and anxiety.

   Focusing on God’s sovereignty and power is crucial when our lack of measuring up seems greater than the task at hand or when we just don’t like our new circumstances. God’s capabilities never change.  He is all knowing all powerful all the time.  He is our loving father and nothing catches him by surprise.

   I can remember bringing my first born home from the hospital and waking to every movement and mutter. I placed his bassinet at the foot of my bed to make sure I would hear him. Just to make double sure, I placed the baby monitor inside his bassinet. The reality became every tiny movement sounded like he was plummeting out of the bassinet. I found myself in a new awaited role yet, I felt completely inadequate to fulfill that role. Thankfully I can report he survived and so did I. A few nights later, I learned the baby monitor wasn’t needed while he was in the room with me. Looking back it seems so obvious, but at that present time it seemed required in order to be confident I could handle my tiny new bundle of joy.

   New seasons of life seems to jolt our bearings of normalcy and therefore feelings of inadequacy begin to mount. Transitions can be”overwhelming” and sometimes take months to adjust and feel confident. What are we to do during those moments, which seem more overwhelming than over “achieving”?

   Moses became a negotiator, transporter and communicator when God deemed him with bringing His people out of the hands of Pharaoh. Moses’ list of inadequacy far outweighed his confidence yet, God allowed him to be victorious. Throughout Exodus we witness conversations that seem all too familiar to us.

Lord’ I won’t know the words. Ex 4:1

I’ve never done this before. Ex 3:13

They are going to see I don’t know what I’m doing. Ex. 4:1

I know someone else who will do a better job.  Ex 4:10

What if I fail at this? Ex 4:10

   There are a number of ways to combat the thoughts and emotions that lead to overwhelming stress and fear.

   One is to RESERVE God’s presence in your life.

   I love the way Moses said to God ” If You don’t go with us, don’t let us leave. Moses switched his view from his own incapability to knowing the power of having God as his companion.  Exodus 33 records this powerful conversation for us:

14 And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

“My Presence will go 15 then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.”

17 So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.”

    Piggy back seems to be the game my life transitions are playing.  One after the other before I can adjust my knowledge or understanding. As new life transitions approach,my lack of capabilities seem larger than life, especially at three in the morning, I have found myself asking God to go with me. My acknowledgment of wanting Him close to my side humbles my spirit and places my dependency on His shoulders and not mine.

    Sometimes I like to sound spiritual and ask Him to go before me. When really I want him to go into the future, reanalyze the situation, see if He wants to change His mind, and find someone that would do a better job. Many times I am reminded of all the reasons that person would do a good job, almost as if I’m writing them a reference letter. My view of His presence beside me brings a calmness and confidence that chases those doubts away.

Exodus continues with Moses asking God to show him His glory. 

18 And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.”

   Secondly we can adjust our mindset by RECALLING His grace.

19 Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” 20 But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. 22 So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. 23 Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”

     It was in one of my wee hour moments that God told me to make a grace list. I began to recall all the situations that God had poured his grace over and blessed. My capabilities have nothing to do with the task ahead of me. While recalling my grace list, I can see God’s grace poured over my mustard seed size trust. It reassures me He is more than capable to handle whatever door I seem to be walking through. I don’t have to move down my list very far to find myself overwhelmed with gratitude and new found confidence that God can manage my list with His grace. Counting grace is far better than counting sheep.

    If you find yourself lacking for the transition handed to you, make sure you have RESERVED God’s presence. He will never leave us or forsake us but when we verbally acknowledge our dependency on Him it reinforces our faith.

   Next, RECALL His grace. Ask God to show you His glory and as His glory passes by, you will see grace that’s been poured over all areas of your life. Fight your fears and lack of confidence with His capabilities. Sometimes my grace list is in the form of a prayer to God, as I speak those grace blessing back to Him in thanksgiving, and other times they need to be on paper or index card stuck away in my purse or pocket so that I am reminded throughout my circumstances.

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to the ministers of a new covenant,

2 Corinthians 3:4-6

Share with someone your grace list. 

You will be blessed and so will they!

 

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You’re My Only Hope written by: Donna Granberry

maxresdefaultWith the new Star Wars movie breaking records in theatres I was reminded of the first Star Wars. I saw it 5 times, mainly because I was 10 and Hans Solo was by far my favorite character. In the beginning of the movie Obi-Wan and Luke Skywalker are “tuning up” R2D2 and C3PO when a video message appears from Princess Leia. The message explains she is in her desperate hour and needs Obi-Wan’s assistance. The message fades with her last words, “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi! You’re my only hope!”

Who’s, or perhaps, I should ask where your only hope is this New Years.

Listening to a radio call in show recently, a caller called in with a very tragic circumstance and voiced they had ran completely out of hope. They could not see themselves continuing life. This broke my heart and I hung on every word the Christian psychologist offered. He said something that struck me to the core. It was like as he spoke the words I could see the truth in my own life echoing the truth he shared. I was astounded as scattered thoughts of my experiences began to align into a folder in my mind. His wisdom to her was in a corrective tone. He stated to her,” You have not run out of hope, you have run out of cope.” It was as if he titled a chapter in my life.  A very important chapter that has changed the course of my everyday coping skills.

Often times we find ourselves voicing similar appeals. Circumstances seeming so unbearable that there seems to be no hope.

It’s certainly true in my life, and I would say yours. Scriptures tells us tribulation and trials will intercept with our path.

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

 

God has created us to be creatures that cope. Our physical bodies begin to cope with the environments around us. Mentally we do some of same things. We find ways both consciously and unconsciously to adapt to circumstances we are experiencing. Unfortunately even though our bodies are very talented at changing course or rolling with the punches, sometimes in life we run out of cope.

Some coping is extremely hard especially when we face the same situation for an extended amount of time. Our coping task becomes so piled up that we can’t see the hope that offers the equipping mechanism to handle the coping. We too sound just like Princess Leia expressing to others and sometimes only quietly to ourselves the reality of our hopelessness.

When we confuse that with being hopeless we are forgetting the truth that God’s word says is reliable and never ceasing. Jesus Christ promises hope. He is our only hope.  In the book of John He tell us

He promises to give us hope in Jeremiah 29:11

Psalm 45:11 The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.

For most of my life I had my coping behavior wrong. I thought it was fueled by a strong personality, a faith larger than the task ahead of me. I continued to lose my hope. I continued to allow my loss and grief to shout to me, “You will never be able to subdue me.” I would then shift my activity, bottle up my emotions and sharpen my determination. Yet I would fail to cope once again and loose hope in the midst of my journey.

It wasn’t until I realized the lens of God’s glory glasses that I began to envision that hope has nothing to do with cope.  The word hope is a noun. It is the name we place on an expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. My “certain thing to happen” was to be rid of grief and heartache. I realized what needed to be changed. Instead of hoping my grief and headache would go away and never return, my hope needed to be, how can I exclaim Jesus through this situation?

As the author Ron Dunn writes, “When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we accept Jesus for all that we know at that time in our life.” As we begin the road to sanctification we dually learn more about ourselves and more about Jesus. Instead of relying on the hope I have in Jesus to help me, I continued to try to increase my faith in my own power. My own power blocked my view of God’s glory. Through humility and brutally honest conversation with Jesus I saw the hope Christ grants us in an entirely new way. I say the power that that hope held for others around me as I could witness to them. I began to know Jesus in a whole new way. I learned the fear I had for facing grief and pain was greater than I cared to admit. Pouring out my fear allowed me to see my life through God’s eyes. It was after that encounter with God I felt led to begin this blog in hopes that others will to view life through God’s glory.

When I place God’s lens on my life I then can see my hope in front of the large pile of circumstances that require me to cope. More often than not my coping skills run out and when they do I rest in the Lord. For me that looks like a time of refocus. Time spent with the Lord, through His word and conversations of prayer. Most importantly for me was being brutally honest with my circumstances and asking Him to allow me to see through His eyes. Even now sometimes it takes more than a quick checkup of my vision. Each situation takes different amounts of chiseling of my heart than others. And then I can see and will continue to see His hope rise up and meet me where I am and make me new again. I will again have learned more about me and more about Jesus that I didn’t know before.

‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.

26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad;

Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.

Acts 2:25-26

Hoping fuels your coping!

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Just 5!

12208779_1543545092602456_6822803792820662609_nThe smell of fresh plowed peanuts in the air and the feel of cool breezy nights mean one thing at my house- It’s fair time!

Recently I attended a local fair in my community. Fall in south Alabama is embraced by the National Peanut Festival. Just like football marks fall beginning, our fair means it’s time for jackets and that the holidays are just around the corner.  We celebrate our fair on a large scale with many civic groups and venders offering food you can only enjoy during our Nut-Fest.

While standing in line for the best corn dog ever, I noticed a young family that I knew eating at the booth next to me. I waved; they waved back as they were encouraging their little ones to finish their dinner with all the excitement booming around them. I asked if they were having fun. Mom gestured with an over exaggerated, “Oh, yeah!” I knew exactly what she meant. The fair comes with its own set of vices. Fighting the long line of bumper to bumper traffic, weaving through the crowds while managing to all stay together, spending more money than you expected on food and rides are all part of the fair experience. Sometimes these negatives make us ask, “Is it worth it?”

As I walked away, I realized my friend really only has a few more years bringing her little ones to the fair. I remembered my kids were round 11 or 12 when we started meeting friends at the fair. Although I was somewhere in the vicinity, in their eyes they were DEFINITLY not with Mom!   So really this young friend of mine’s number of trips to the fair with a family filled with wide eyed excitement could be as low as five. You could count on one hand how many more times she will be able to come with a family that resembles the one before her.

Amazed at the reality of how little time we have with our kids compared to our lifetime of activities with them, I fought the urge to stop and share this info with another mom I passed whose child was pitching a fit to ride one more time or the dad who was carrying his little girl on his shoulders while she happily wrapped her cotton candy glazed fingers through his hair. I just wanted to shout “FIVE! Just five more trips! It’s all you have.” I know I sound like an overdramatic empty nester! Although my nest isn’t quite empty yet, it is so far past the trying years of young children. The message to enjoy it, embrace it, and etch it into your mind because it will one day be a delightful memory is my strong reality. Even the tantrums and yes, even the sticky fingers will bring a smile one day in hind sight.

God spoke to me later reminding me of how my revelation at the fair is parallel with our spiritual journey. We succumb to circumstances (often with drudgery and defeat) thinking it will last forever, but in actuality it is usually a small season of our life. Sometimes battles we face do last a lifetime, but usually if we could step back and see the big picture, we would be reminded of God’s character and presence in our lives and the small sliver of the pie we are facing at the moment.

I wonder if at times the angels around us are not whispering – “He’s praying for you right this moment. He has had me stationed by you every step of the way. Slow down and you will see His hand.”

“Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

When life seems hard, bleak, and chaotic Jesus is praying for us. He is praying for our spiritual endurance, longevity and effectiveness.  So many times we are paced to hold our breath until our situation exhaust itself. The thought that I am on His prayer list is incredibly humbling and reminds me it’s worth it.

“Teach us to number our days from Psalms” is a request that offers an answer that is forever evolving. Understanding the grace received daily and the love that is poured out just because we are His, is a lifelong task. May we enjoy it, embrace it, and etch it into our minds because it will also bring a smile.


Psalm 90:12-17

12Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

13 Relent, Lord! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants. 14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. 15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble. 16 May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children.

17 May the favor[a] of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.


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Prepare for Rain

Growing up in close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico I know the drill to prepare for a storm. Whatever kind, it’s pretty much the same routine.

 

        Storm Prep

  • Remove or tie down all the objects outside that could be used as flying weapons of destruction.
  • Go to the gas station, along with everyone one else, and make sure the vehicles are all full of gas.
  • Head quickly to the grocery store before all the bread, milk and batteries have been purchased. (Although we never eat the bread and milk during the storm)
  • Prepare to go without electricity for at least 2 days.

I’m sure you know the drill as well. Most wise people prepare in general the same way for storms. Just like if you see a forecast for rain or see dark clouds over head, you usually grab a raincoat or umbrella. In fact I’ve carried a raincoat in my car all summer in preparation for the summer pop up showers that sometimes come from nowhere.

God recently confronted me with the question “Are you preparing for rain?”

Luke 12:54 And He was also saying to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming,’ and so it turns out.

I have my rain jacket in the car, an umbrella in my office; therefore, I’m pretty sure I’m covered in case a rain shower peaks over the horizon.

My actions speak as though I’m expecting and prepared for rain. I know whether it happens today or in two months, it will rain again and when it does I am ready.

I quickly realized God’s appeal to me through this scripture was much more than the rain that blesses our dry soil and brings forth nourishment to both the seeds planted and to the foliage.

I have sought the Lord in prayers for ministries I’m involved in for several years. I’ve cried out with pleads for lives to be changed and needs to be met for the sake of the gospel.

I have had specific prayers for my family, asking for God to use us for His glory. Today God reminded me I should prepare for rain, not because of any magic words I’ve spoken and definitely not because of any works I have done. It is only because God is Faithful, Good, Mighty and Sovereign. Countless times scripture leads us to the promises that God will answer our prayers. When we replace our will with His, we can know He will not pass us over.

 If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

 

Tears filled my eyes as God reminded me His plan will come to pass. As I continue to lift my burdens to the Lord, I will prepare for God to move and give Him praise in advance:

 I will prepare for new salvations to come in need of discipleship.

 I will prepare for the news of callings revealed.

 I will prepare for testimonies to be shared of God’s goodness and healing.

I will tie to the foot of the cross those objects in my life that could be used as weapons of destruction so that Satan can no longer use them for harm.

I will continue to refuel my soul with scripture so that I will be filled with His word to move where He sends me. It’s time to eat the milk and bread.

One of my favorite Mercy Me songs has always been “Bring on the Rain.” It speaks of the reality of hardship and how God can use us during those times for others to see His presence in our lives.

Bring on the rain, Lord. I’m looking up for clouds of glory!

And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. Luke 12:54

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As far As I Can …. Part 1

As far As I Can …. Part 1

Webster describes trusting as someone who is showing or tending to have a belief in a person’s honesty or sincerity; not be suspicious.

Over the last several months I’ve witnessed this word “trusting” in action. In this world we measure trust in percentage. An old southern saying is evidence of this

“I trust ’em as far as I can throw ’em”

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Trusting others has always amazed people. How many times have you participated or watched someone prepare to fall back in the arms of friends who they are supposed to trust to catch them.
Admittedly there are people I trust a little and people I trust a lot. My yard stick for trust has segments notched out with boundaries of protection for myself and my loved ones. Unfortunately the older I get the latter group gets smaller and smaller. I guess my throwing arm is not what it used to be.


Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

My observance of trust over the last few months has alerted me that I sometimes use this same measure stick with God. I trust him sometimes more than other times. Most of the time the notched reached on my measuring stick is determined by how big the circumstance is I’m facing at that time.
My first encounter of amazement happened when I had the privilege of taking my grandmother for a PET SCAN. Just a few days before the test she was given news that she most likely had lymphoma. This scan would give doctors further confidence in their diagnoses and provide data that could be used to determine the best treatment plan. As she walked across the parking lot and into the hospital doors, I watched in awe as she walked with the same countenance as she normally would; head high with grace and poise. This test was more real to her than any of the rest of us. She had been suffering from many of the symptoms for several weeks and there was no denying the seriousness of her condition. I paused as I watched her calmness and wondered if I could ever be that calm and controlled in such a personal battle. After her test we went home realizing it would be days until the test results would be read. Her uncertainty never wavered. Her prayer was and still is, the same as ours, that God would heal her from lymphoma. But her trust is not determined by God’s answer. I have heard her tell others several times “I am trusting God”.

Her trust measuring stick is notched out at 100% with no suspicions of God’s plan.

Her trust is anchored in the blessings and faithfulness she has experienced proving that God is GREAT and His LOVE for us never ends.

 Her act of trusting in her Lord and Savior has enabled her to bless us as we have witnessed God’s hand in her life.
She has once again steered me in the right direction.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;

God will help her when morning dawns.

<> Psalm 46:5

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The Eyes of My Heart

Over the last couple of years I have prayed and meditated for Ephesians 1:18 to be true in my life and in my families.  In turn it has opened the eyes to my heart in many areas.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people,

The season of my life led me to this verse as the mother of teenagers becoming young adults, I desperately wanted my kids to see their occupation, their spouse and everything the future holds through God’s eyes.

As this verse has passed through my heart, it not only gave me confidence that God would reveal His will to my kids but also conviction in my own life.

Most recently the verse paired itself with a conversation I had recently.

It was a casual conversation about future plans both near and far. I was taken back, when during the conversation I was asked,

“So what would you like to see happen in your lifetime?”

I thought for a moment. I asked for clarification that the question was meant in a spiritual nature. His answer was yes. My immediate thoughts could not convey an answer. I was somewhat stumped. Having a passion for discipleship I interned analyzed the question through a discipleship lens. My answer was:

 

“That I myself and the ones around me, under my influence, would grow in the discipleship process. Understanding and growing in God’s word and being able to convey scripture in both acts and conversation.”

I was humbled when my friend replied,

“My goal is a little higher than that. I want to see revival across our city and surrounding areas.”

His explanation continued with the ingredients of revival and the reality of the revival could be seen in his words and facial expression. I realized his heart was heavy for this to be a reality. I don’t recall a lot of what was stated after that because I was taken back by my low scale expectations. We finished our conversation, said our goodbyes and I as I drove away in my car and even later when I arrived at home my mind continued to probe, “why did you think small.”

Now I realize there was not a right or wrong answer to this question. But something wasn’t right in my spirit with my answer. Finally my mind went to” the verse”.  I had asked God to reveal to me what does, “the hope to our calling look like?” I have a journal completely devoted to this verse. I have meditated and researched for hours the magnitude of this verse. It was with this simple question that God revealed my heart was finally enlightened to the answer.

This verse contains so many lessons on so many levels but I can say I plan to rest in this particular objective for a while.

The true Hope to our calling is BIG.

  • It has no limits.
  • It is powered by the Holy Spirit.
  • It is a God size miracle becoming REALITY.

It was as if God whispered “That’s It!” True humbled hearts turning to Jesus, praying, seeking His presence.

When I am asked this question in the future I am ready. My heart is ready to give a God size answer.

 

 

2 Chronicles 7:14 NASB Version (New American Standard Bible)

and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

 

I pray the eyes of your heart will be enlightened to see revival in our land as a reality.

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My Prayer for 2015

I then shall live as one who’s been forgiven.
I’ll walk with joy to know my debts are paid.
I know my name is clear before my Father;
I am His child and I am not afraid.
So, greatly pardoned, I’ll forgive my brother;
The law of love I gladly will obey.

I then shall live as one who’s learned compassion.
I’ve been so loved, that I’ll risk loving too.
I know how fear builds walls instead of bridges;
I’ll dare to see another’s point of view.
And when relationships demand commitment,
Then I’ll be there to care and follow through.

Your Kingdom come around and through and in me;
Your power and glory, let them shine through me.
Your Hallowed Name, O may I bear with honor,
And may Your living Kingdom come in me.
The Bread of Life, O may I share with honor,
And may You feed a hungry world through me.

Amen, Amen, Amen

Written by: PHELPS, DAVID / GAITHER, GLORIA L / DP,

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Struggle or Strength

Will I struggle for survival this year or find strength and grow stronger?

This past year is somewhat of a blur. It is as if with each month that passed, the earth spun faster and faster.

A lot of circumstances requiring much thought and prayer were nestled in each spin. Medical uncertainty, medical emergencies, rebellion, regret, and many deaths are just a few of the storms that blew into the lives of my family and friends. As a wife, mother and friend I felt the most inadequacy I can remember ever feeling. Overwhelmed by the thoughts of the “What if’s?” and the “What then’s?”. The depth of hurt and consequences that were happening and could happen seemed to echo in my mind endlessly leaving me drained and spent.

During the last months of the year I was definitely in “Survival Mode.” I coasted the latter months on prayers of survival and protection hoping we would dodge another issue.

As the New Year has begun, I have rested in the calmness and offered many thanks to God. God prodded the thought of having another option than simply SURVIVAL. Would I focus on surviving the circumstances that come my way over this next year, or would I focus on strengthening myself spiritually, mentally, and physically?

To be honest, I ended the 2014 year with my emotions, fears, and my regrets higher that my faith.

God has blessed me with a few weeks to breathe from issues to battle. During this reprieve I have asked myself “Do you want to continue to survive the storms and be a weary mess afterwards or be stronger after they pass?” He seemed to give me a plan of action.

This is not a resolution list by any means; it is a strengthening plan to put into action. I know if I do not seek areas to strengthen myself in the Lord, my survival will someday leave me too weak to combat storms that will come against me. The reality of that probability has hit closer to home than I like to admit.

My strengthening plan:

1.)        Abide in Christ

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:4-5

I will strive to get up early, stay up late, drop responsibilities, take a day off or whatever it takes to spend time hearing from God and refueling by His grace and love. I will dedicate time to memorizing scripture to hide in my heart when my storm is louder than His voice.

2.)        Acknowledge Christ

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”     2 Corinthians 12:9 Giving Jesus Christ the Lordship of my life each and every day settles the matter each morning before I start taking control. Thankful acknowledgment for His grace in my life, which is never ending for me (and those around me), helps me do just this. It’s by that grace and submission I have the blessings in my life.

3.)        Adhere to His Plan

I heard Ron Dunn share once “Good and evil run on parallel tracks; and usually arrive at the same time.”  I have found this to be especially true this past year. Whatever my circumstances I will adhere to the Sovern will of God and trust His presence and love through everything good or bad.

4.)        Ask Him to Work 

20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.  Eph 3:20-21

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:5

So many times I’ve made the mistake of listing ways for God to answer my prayers. I’ve witnessed God’s hand this past year answer prayers or bring to light circumstances in ways I could not have imagined. His way is so much better than our way. Adhering to journaling my prayers and His answers so that I will be reminded one day during a future storm that His power and plan is greater than we could ever imagine.

 

There will soon be thunder in the distance heading your way. What’s your plan?

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