Monday, April 16, 2018

He IS the LIGHT !

"Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

 Dark, rainy and dreary day early this morning. I seldom turn on these lamps because generally this area is always flooded with sunlight...but this morning I needed to turn them on. The golden light emanating from these small lamps turned the gloomy foyer once again into a welcoming, cheerful area...

 Amazing what light can do...not only drive out the darkness, but illuminate a perspective. Isn't that what happens when we invite Jesus in to a situation? If we allow it, He can and will drive away the darkness of depression, sadness or defeat AND give us a new,perspective on life. What seems dark, dreadful and foreboding CAN become full of hope with strength to move forward, as you allow HIS light to shine on you.

Invite Him in today, no matter the dark, HE is ALWAYS brighter.

How to WIND DOWN !

"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things." Philippians 4:8 

Anticipating warmer weather, I put some of my plants on the back porch and it was good timing. It really is only a 3 season room, so when winter is over, it becomes a place to sit, read, relax and meditate.
 I am becoming the little old lady that dotes on her plants 😊 but really through the years I have learned how to take the day to day "drama" down several notches and just chill. So when I feel that the daily news becomes overwhelming, when what is going on in the world is nerve wracking I come aside, go out on the porch and "minister" to my plants. While watering, misting and trimming the leaves, I begin to think about the positive things in life. I admit sometimes it may take several minutes to refocus from the negative, but with instrumental music softly playing I soon begin to feel myself wind down and my perspective is refreshed, my hope is renewed and the peace that God promised is back.

 Your "tabernacle" doesn't have to be a back porch with plants, it can be anywhere! Someone I know sits in her swing in her backyard where she has placed many bird feeders and bird watch; another person who is fortunate to live near the ocean, goes to just sit early in the morning. Another person sits in their car for a few minutes before going in to a beloved but noisy household. You could sit in your bedroom for that matter, as long as it is a place where you can settle your heart, mind and spirit and get away from all the drama that seems to be escalating these days. I am seeing more and more people with such impatience, rage and intolerance. I believe that is what happens when we do not take the time to pull away from the negative that threatens to overtake our worlds.

Take time my friends, do yourself a big favor and pull away the best way that you can and allow yourself to meditate on things that ARE good, pure and righteous. You may say that to take time is a luxury, but aren't you worth that luxury? I assure you that you are...not only to yourself, but to others and most importantly God.

Father God, help us today to see our importance to You. Help us to realize that when we constantly feed on the negative, then we become the negative. Show us how to make time to come away and meditate on the good, so that we can become an effective instrument in Your Hands to reach those that feel they cannot rise above the negative drama that this world gives. Help us and we will be forever grateful

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Hope in God !

 I must admit, this morning I awoke thinking of all the things that I do not have in my life and the temptation was to go on over and start setting up for the grandest Pity Party on the East coast! I have learned that is when the enemy of my soul tries to get me; when I'm tired, weak, maybe not feeling well, emotionally and physically vulnerable.

This morning I was still partially in sleep land when all the things that make me sad came rushing in to my thoughts. It was tempting to just hop on and ride the waves of negativity that were calling me; but after a few tears, God in His faithfulness reminded me of all I do have...His Goodness, His Mercy, His Grace, His Protection, His Forgiveness, His Salvation...His Love... I have made a commitment to be as transparent as I can be in this life, I don't want to be a phone-y or fake, I really don't want to be, so that is why I spill my guts on social media I guess. There are many that are looking for someone to just be real about the trials and struggles in this life, but also to offer Hope...and there is Hope.

This morning, this beautiful morning, you may be going through something really tough, something that takes your breath away. You may feel overwhelmed with the burdens of others...there are so many needs and you wonder how will it ever get fixed. You may be hurting, so deeply and you wonder will things ever change, ever get better... There is Hope, you don't have to give up, you don't have to carry those burdens, it WILL be alright. Trust in God, believe in Him, HE is the health of your countenance, HE is strong to carry your burdens, HE is the Healer of your soul and mind...Trust Him, rely on Him.

Father God, this morning I pray for all that read this, that You will make Yourself known to them as never before. Touch their hearts, minds and spirits. Let them know that You are God and can be trusted for everything in their lives and that You are waiting...

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Waiting...?

"Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord." Psalms 27:14

Some of you may be in what I call a "waiting season" and some may say, "Well I feel like I am ALWAYS waiting for something" LOL. I admit that could be the case, but in my experience, it is not so much about the "wait" as it is about what you're doing while you wait.

 Years ago while "waiting" to get a new job that I desperately wanted, I began to get impatient and honestly, I was annoyed that things weren't moving as fast as I thought they should. So on my way to work one morning I was complaining in my mind about my current job and the Lord interrupted my thoughts and spoke to my heart and said," I want you to do this job like you will be there for the next 25 years, but also be prepared to leave whenever I open a door."

 I knew what He meant...if I was going to be there for the next 25 years, I would want it to be as pleasant as possible, would want to get along with all my co-workers, have an productive work day and enjoy the whole work environment... period. I got it! So instead of complaining and going in to work miserable everyday, I turned it into a pleasant experience. I started being more friendly, listened to people, did a better job working with co-workers and customers and even brought goodies to put in the break room y'all! I actually started LIKING going to work!

 This went on for quite a while, several months in fact, until one day the new job that I had applied for called. I actually had almost forgotten about it and assumed that someone else had gotten it after all this time. Anyway, they said that if I still wanted the job it was mine! By this time my attitude was right to leave my old job reciprocating the many sincere well wishes and "I'm going to miss you" from co-workers instead of "Good riddance" on both our parts. I had gained not only a new attitude, but friends and a correct perspective on positive influence in a world that needs it so much! I then by God's grace, was able to enter into a new season with a new job with no regrets and great expectations!

 So the "wait" was certainly worth it and yours will be too! Wait on Him and be of good courage, He has a plan just for you. Relax and let Him direct you in the "wait" so that when the next door opens, you will be prepare to walk through it.



Thursday, March 29, 2018

Heal me...

"Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, For You are my praise." Jeremiah 17:14

 So many times when we think of the word "healing", we think of physical healing, which certainly makes sense. I know that when my body is in pain, first thing I do is pray for healing; but there is another kind of healing that is just as important...

 The portion of scripture above was a prayer by the Prophet Jeremiah, sometimes referred to as the "weeping prophet." Why? Jeremiah loved his people the Hebrews, and it hurt him to see them suffer the consequences of their sin against God...it grieved him. As a prophet his job, if you will, was to convey to the Hebrews what God was saying to them. This was his prayer in intercession for them after hearing from YAH (God) what they had transgressed by trusting in man instead of God, by trusting in their flesh instead of the One who made the flesh. In this prayer Jeremiah is petitioning God to "Heal" us, heal us from our sin...Save us and we will surely be saved!

I firmly believe that all of us need healing, simply because as humans we carry baggage, some we were born into, some forced on us, some we may have innocently received and some unfortunately we created ourselves. Never the less, baggage is baggage and there is no discrepancy; in order to be rid of it and move on, it has to go through God's TSA process.

 I woke up this morning thinking of my own testimony. I have been in church just about all my life, received my salvation 40 years ago and to the best of my ability served the Lord with dedication and passion. But little did I know about the hidden baggage that I was carrying. I felt stagnated in life, feeling like there has to be something more. I tried all kind of "religious" things, thinking that would release me to my next step, but it wasn't until I totally submitted and literally fell at the feet of Yeshua Ha-Mashiach, Jesus the Messiah, and cried out to Him, that He began to reveal to me all my baggage. I remember crying so deeply that it felt as if it was coming from my most deepest being. Like Jeremiah I sobbed deeply when I saw my transgression of trusting man instead of the creator of man, I wailed deeply when I saw the consequences of my sin and I prayed "Heal me and I will be healed..."

God is so very faithful, layer by layer He not only showed me the baggage, but as I laid it down, He took it away. I will be honest, when you open up and allow the Lord to shine His Light on your life, it can be painful and embarrassing but it is so worth it and freeing. Hopefully we will all come to a point of desperation to have a full, free life that we are willing to submit to the process regardless of what it takes. We can trust God to keep and protect us in the process. He's a Good, Good Father.

 It's time y'all...time for us to get real, get submitted and allow the healing process to begin. Let's pray...

 Father God, thank You, thank You, for your unconditional Love, a love that receives us as we are, but doesn't want us to stay in our broken condition. You want to heal us, You want to do away with all our baggage that is causing us to not be whole. You want us whole in body, mind and spirit because then we can have "life and life more abundantly ". Help us to submit to You today, to fall at your feet and allow You to show us the error of our ways, even the deep hidden things. There is nothing too hard for You, and You desire to heal us. Help us trust You today.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Lay Aside...

I had a humungous pine tree (at least 40 foot) cut down in my yard last week. It took a crew of 5 men, 2 trucks, lots of equipment, several hours and a whole lot of noise to bring that baby down...but it's gone now. That tree had been on this property for a long time and even though it was so large, I had actually gotten so accustomed to it. Sometimes I barely noticed that it was there. It was the kind of thing where "if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it"...I mean sure it was huge and it was stable and anchored by deep roots so the chances of it falling over were pretty slim...so why cut it down? I mean... its been there for decades...right?

 Well after decades, that all changed with the 2 snow storms we recently had in this area; with the weight of the snow, those huge branches began to start dropping like flies, not only in my yard, but my neighbors too! That tree that had been there for years, appeared as if it was stable and harmless suddenly became a dangerous element to the property. Those huge limbs possibly could have fallen on me, my dogs or God forbid my neighbors children as they played outside!

You better believe that I went into quick action and found a company to have it cut down! It was hard and dangerous work and I was a nervous wreck watching them take it down. In fact I was so exhausted from watching, that I appeared to be more tired than the crew that were laughing and seemingly congratulating themselves on getting that big thing down...me on the other hand had to take a long nap to get myself together! It's tiring to run from window to window after hearing the LOUD boom of those pieces of trunk fall and me counting the crew members to make sure no one was under those pieces of trunk! Exhausting! True! I did that. Don't judge me 🤣

 Well, with that being said, what are the things in your life that you KNOW you need to let go? Letting go or "laying aside" as the scripture says can be hard work. Most times if it is a person or persons, it can be VERY hard to do. Most times if it is a thing, sin, bad habit or attitude it can also be a hard thing to do because it has been with you so long, you've grown accustomed to it being there and hardly even notice...until it raises it ugly head just to remind you "I'm here." Letting go is a gift, by that I believe, God will give us the ability to do it, but we must receive it from Him. The ability to really let go is something that we must receive each day or even every minute that the thoughts comes to hold on to it or them. We must not wait until it becomes a danger to us or others before we lay it aside.

 I don't miss that pine tree at all. It is now gone and I've noticed that I have a better view of nature and the yard is brighter because the afternoon sun is no longer blocked. Whatever or whomever, you need to let go, trust God to do it today.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

You are not Alone...

Loneliness...I don't think there is a human being on this earth that has not experienced this emotion in their lifetime. This emotion can be felt if you actually are alone OR even when you are surrounded by lots of people. So though it is conducive when you are in an alone status, it certainly is not always reliant upon that state to show up!

 I've read that people that talk to strangers in public are most likely to be lonely. So the next time you're with your Mom in a store and she holds you up because she yacking with strangers, give her a break will ya...she may just be lonely for some conversation, someone that will make small talk about the things you may consider mundane. So be patient! 😀

 On a much more serious note, the cases where people meet strangers online and develop relationships, even to the point of sending them money and sharing all there personal information; even actually moving to a foreign country to be with them, are dangerous and are fueled by loneliness.

 The other day I ran into someone that I had not seen in years and when I asked about her husband, she shared that she is now divorced. She shared about her journey these past few years and one of the things was about overcoming the fear of being alone. Thankfully she is doing well, but it was a process. Though abuse was not the issue in her case, people have remained in abusive relationships because they have a fear of being alone; sounds crazy but human emotions can be sensitive and easily persuaded negatively.

 In the years that I have been a widow, many people have asked "How do you do it?" To be honest, at first I would get a little peeved and think "Well how do you think I do it?" 😀 but with God's Grace and more patience and understanding, I have come to know that people that ask this question are really sincere and want to know.

 Someone once said that the word "alone" can mean "all-one". When you think of it, God really did make us "all-one". In the book of Genesis , God did give Adam a wife, Eve, and all the animals to keep him company, so He never intended for us to be alone, but He also created us to commune with Him. He is an ever-present God that is ALWAYS there when we find ourselves without people around or even those times when we are in the midst of a crowd or our families...and we feel alone. We CAN be "ALL-One" with Him, because He will never leave us, on that you can depend! If you are feeling lonely today know this, The Lord IS with you.

Whatever you may be going through, you are not alone. Trust Him today... let's pray... Father, we come to You today and even though we may feel alone, we trust that as You promised, You ARE with us. I pray today for every person that is reading this to begin to know that You are with them and as they go through this day let your Presence be manifested. Let them know that You have created them to be ALL-ONE with You, for You are an omnipresent and omniscience God, that You are everywhere and know ALL things and You desire to commune with us... amen ♥️

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Pruning...

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit." John 15:1-2

 A few days before the snow storm that hit us in this area, it was a beautiful clear day, chilly but just seeing that blue sky and sun encouraged me to go out and do a little yard maintenance. One of the things that really needed to be done was a large bush that desperately needed trimming. I had put it off long enough and decided to dive into the job. Pruning can be a tedious process, different than trimming where you can go in with clippers and just whack away the overgrowth to re-shape the hedge or tree; on the other hand pruning involves cutting off the dead, infected or unproductive branches and leaving the good ones.

While pruning, with the removal of the "bad" branches it gave me a better view of the things in the bush that should not have been there; small limbs that had fallen from a neighboring tree and numerous poison ivy vines. The pruning also allowed me to uncover and make room for a small holly bush that was being dwarfed by the overgrowth. Though I was happy about the good job I had done, I did feel a little guilty at first that the cardinals that loved the bush would have less branches on which to lounge, but I also knew it would not hinder these resourceful birds from enjoying nature.

 Of course you know where I am going with this right? LOL When it comes to our lives, there are times when we need some pruning. Things may appear swell and great on the outside, but we know that in order to further our growth and to be fulfilled, there are things that have to go. When we submit to God to help us in this process, it is not always easy and can be a vey tedious process. Some things , attitudes and relationships that we have held on to for years,they have to go for many reasons. By cutting back and letting go, it will give us a better view of the things that we have hosted in our lives that should not be there, things that may have been passed down to us and some even have become "poison" in our lives. The pruning also will uncover things that have been dwarfed and need more "Son Shine" in order to develop and mature; and by letting go it also will encourage those that were dependent to spread their wings and be more resourceful in fulfilling their own purpose. It is a matter of trust...

 Do we trust God enough to give Him the pruning shears...do we trust that He wants the very best for us...do we believe that less IS really more when there is less of you and more of Him? That bush doesn't look so good right now, but I know that this spring it will flourish, produce beautiful, healthy foliage and bask in the sunlight.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

You are so loved!

Several years ago, my late husband and I were involved with prison ministry through our local church and had been for about 18 years total. I will never forget one of those Sunday evenings that we were scheduled to go, we both were very tired physically and mentally from the work week; and to be very honest I just did not feel like going!

 We both had a love for the incarcerated and enjoyed sharing the gospel message to them, but that evening we were just TIRED. My husband, a man of reason, convinced me that after some dinner and a short nap we would have a different perspective on going...well I did feel better after that but I still did not want to go... but we did.

 There was silence in the car for the whole 40 minute drive to get there. Usually I would already have the list of songs that I would be singing, the accompaniment music in order and our equipment prepped to go, but I had no idea what I felt that I should minister to these people...not one thing came to mind. My husband on the other hand had his message prepared and ready to go but I was so distracted by my feelings that the excitement and anticipation that I usually felt when going to share was simply not there...basically, I wasn't feeling it y'all.

 We got there and I did manage to get through security and greet all the staff and then the prisoners with a sincere smile and when it was my time to get up and sing at first I must have looked like a deer in head lights... "Lord help me", I whispered to myself and when I opened my eyes to look around at the faces before me, I knew immediately what song to sing. I opened my mouth and began to sing without accompaniment... "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so, little ones to Him belong, they are weak, but He is strong..." By the time that I got to the chorus, every prisoner, every staff member and every guest was singing along with me... "Yes, Jesus Loves me, Yes Jesus Love me, Yes Jesus Love me, the Bible tells me so."

 After singing that little song several times over, needless to say there were many tears in that room, including mine. You see when the simple words of that song hit our hearts, those words went beyond our indifferences, our guilt, our pain, our hopelessness and yes even our weariness. Singing together that Jesus loves us no matter what we may feel, gave us an assurance and the courage to go on.

I am so thankful that we went that evening, if not I would have missed seeing the transformation on the faces and hopefully the hearts of the people. It changed me...

 Just want you to know that YOU also are SO LOVED by Him. No matter what you may feel like, believe that Truth, He loves you with an everlasting love. "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8


Sunday, February 25, 2018

To do what is good, what is right...

"...to him who knows what is good (right) to do and does not do it, to him it is sin." James 4:17

 I admire how the Graham family displayed the coffin of Reverend Billy Graham at the North Carolina property. It was a beautiful,simple wood coffin that had been made by a prisoner, there were very little flowers surrounding it. It is said that he called himself a "simple country preacher" and this is how his family believed that he would like to be memorialized, without the adornment of a fancy coffin and an over abundance of flowers.

This display was quite a contrast to some that I have seen. Some with gold inlaid coffins, the remains dressed in "kingly" attire, even changing the attire for the numerous "celebration" services held for these individuals...but sadly some of these left this world in the wake of unresolved scandal and division among it's followers. Along with all the outward, even glamorous memorializing of these individuals, there are still questions left unanswered and people left broken in the mystery of the individuals' legacy.

Billy Graham was not perfect and I don't believe that he ever said that he was, but to me, he lived his life simple and true to what He KNEW to be Truth, God's Word. As for me and many others there is no question to what he believed and stood for. I believe that it is when we begin to add our own opinions and personal justifications for the way we want things to be, is when we get in trouble. That is why it is important to speak Truth...

Truth can hurt sometimes, but I have found that though it may hurt for a season, if it is truth, it will stand the test of time and you will come out stronger. Do what you know is right to do, sounds simple, but it can be very challenging at times. We are humans that care about what others think of us, we want to be appreciated and admired, fun to be around; but sometimes standing for what is right will put you in direct opposition with those you want approval from.

I am sure that as well respected as Mr. Graham was and still is, he also had many enemies because of His stand for the Truth that he knew and shared publicly. We are accountable for what we know. For those of us that are parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, bosses, how many times have we held children, students, employees, accountable for what we KNOW they KNOW is the correct, good, right thing to do and they choose not to?

When we don't know that is different and no good parent would punish their child for something they did not know...but if they do... God who loves more than any parent could, would not hold us accountable for what we do not know is good/right...but when we DO know and choose willfully not to do it...we ARE accountable and must repent and do what we KNOW is right.

Can you tell that this has been a lesson for me, many times if I am honest and yet...I have learned that it is far, far better to do what is the good and right thing to do than to desire man's admiration and approval. God is always cheering for us to make right and good decisions, so that we can hear what Mr. Graham heard as He entered his heavenly home "Well done, good and faithful servant..."


A merry heart...

A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones." Proverbs 17:22

 Can I be honest? For years I have dreaded the winter months of January and February; because in the past during those times there have been a lot of heartache and sadness. Combine those feelings with the predominately dreary weather and I really did not look forward to this time of the year. But last November I prayed and told God that I no longer want to live in that dread. He has made a season for everything and I was choosing that if He allowed me to live during that season then He and I was going to make it different from the past years, that it would be different this time...

When I began to intentionally stand against those feelings of depression and heaviness, even sometimes saying out loud "No, I will NOT go there.", I began to actually feel as if I was lighter...as if Someone had come along beside me and lifted the load that was trying to overtake me. For real... I laugh a lot and I like making people laugh; but I have learned that those that are comical, sometimes can be the saddest people around...some of the funniest comedians have autobiographies about the depression they've had to battle, sadly some even losing that battle...

 I'm not a professional, but I believe that the enemy of our lives wants to extinguish the gifts that God has given to us...by abusing and confusing those things that were meant for good. But we must be aware of the tactics "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." I Peter 5:8

 May I encourage you today? Keep going forward...when the distractions come to weigh you down and try to convince you that you simply cannot make it another day...Laugh! That's right Laugh Out Loud! Because YES...YOU...CAN ! In Nehemiah 8 it says "...the joy of the Lord is your strength..." Happiness is dependent upon current circumstances, but JOY comes when you know that you know God is with you. Trust Him and you have that guarantee.


Sunday, February 11, 2018

His Shelter...

"He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Psalms 91:1-2  

I have posted this picture of me at Laguna Beach looking out over the Pacific Ocean so many times and I know that my FB friends are sick of it and rightfully so, but it really was a milestone in my life. A pivotal time. So what do we do with milestones and pivotal times? We remember them in times when we need encouragement. Encouragement to carry on.

 I remember looking out over that vast ocean and thinking that all the things that I had experienced in the previous years, though they may have been heart breaking, devastating, eye opening and even thrown for a loop...STILL all of that could not stand against the beauty and awesomeness of God almighty! There were times back then that I felt like I was being peeled like an onion and every layer that was being revealed though it was painful and left me feeling spiritually vulnerable...deep down inside I knew that somehow it was for my good. In my limited knowledge of God's character at that time, I DID know that He is a restorer and would never disappoint me.

It was a time of the beginning of renewal, a time of beginning to take off the spirit of heaviness and replace it with a garment of praise (Isaiah 61:3) It was a time to trust that when I truly lived daily in that secret place of God Almighty and rest in Him, I would be able to have the assurance in my heart that He truly is my protector and rescuer.

 There are those today that feel vulnerable...maybe because of past or even present hurts...you may feel unprotected. Situations have come up that you were not expecting, truths have been revealed that threw you for a loop, people were not what you thought they were, you've lost your trust in the very ones you thought you could depend upon... please know this, you can trust God. We should never put such high expectations on humans, after all that is what we are...human. Put your faith in the One who created a vast ocean AND be the power that holds it back from overtaking us.

Live in His Shelter, rest in His Shadow