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

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Steel Magnolia

Definition of a STEEL MAGNOLIA... "(chiefly Southern US) A woman who exemplifies both traditional femininity as well as an uncommon fortitude." -quote from the online Your Dictionary.

 My Mom gave this swag of Magnolias to me years ago while on a visit home in South Carolina during the Christmas season. I display it year round because it brings sweet memories whenever I see it. We both loved Magnolias. My Mom was a "Steel Magnolia" in every way...strong, resilient, full of love, and speaking the truth, all while being a real Lady. That is my earnest desire also...


Sunday, January 28, 2018

How Great ThouArt!

One of my favorite hymns "How Great Thou Art". I am sure that there are generations of folks by now that have never heard of this song, but it is a staple for me when I need to declare His greatness over my life. This hymn actually derived from a poem written in the late 1800's by a Swedish gentleman, Carl Boberg; who was so inspired by the view from his window by the sea, after witnessing a thunderstorm with lightening and then seeing the aftermath of a beautiful clear sky.

 My sweet memories of singing this hymn goes back to my childhood and hearing the St. John Methodist Church choir sing it. My mom who was a in the choir would sometimes let me sit with her in the choir loft. So I had a ring side seat! That tiny choir loft with my sister sometimes playing on that antique (even then) piano, my Mom singing in her sweet soprano voice among the other not so perfect voices, and me sitting on the steps and following along in one of the old hymn books, is a treasured memory for me.

Back then, when the choir would sing "How Great Thou Art" , even as a child, I understood that God was not only bigger than I was, but He was more important and bigger than anyone and anything! 

Those Sundays in church were followed with a delicious Pot Roast or Chicken dinner with all the trimmings; then later we would eat our dessert while watching the "Ed Sullivan" show and cheering when a black person or group was featured, like the Supremes, Gladys Knight and the Pips or comedian Dick Gregory! You see we lived in a small town that was still holding on to segregation laws, so when we saw "us" on TV, it was a celebration! Amidst it all God kept our family, rather it was worshipping together at church or sitting around the TV eating our banana pudding. He is a Great Almighty God! He is the God that created the magnificent universe that inspired Carl Boberg many years ago to write the poem that resulted in the hymn; and He is the same God that created us, love us, and knows our every need.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Mold me...

"Spirit of the living God, Fall afresh on me.
Spirit of the living God, Fall afresh on me.
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the living God, Fall afresh on me."

 Yesterday morning the words of this simple chorus written around 1926 by Daniel Iverson, came to mind; and as I began to sing it, it brought back the early years of my walk with the Lord. Some of you reading this may remember this worship chorus. It always took me to a moment that I knew was serious..."Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me" words I admit sometimes sung with hesitancy, because I knew that it meant some changes would come with the commitment. But you see, when God changes you, it is always for the good and it IS good.

We all want to "grow", expand our borders, go to the next level, conquer the horizon, get deeper, wiser, stronger or whatever we want to call it. But you see, with "growing" there is stretching, with expansion there maybe some temporary discomfort and to conquer that new horizon, we may have to go someplaces that we don't want to go...

I love the analogy of us being the clay and God being the Potter. You all have heard stories of how the Potter creates a masterpiece of art from a lump of ordinary clay; but have you ever thought about how the clay has to submit to the Potter in order to become that masterpiece? The clay has to be of a material that is pliable and easy to work with...if not it cannot withstand the shaping and designing by the Potter. If the material is too brittle or stubborn it will break at the first kneading and if it is too soggy or weak, it cannot be gripped in the Potter's hands...

The Potter's wheel is nothing to be afraid of nor to dread, because the sole purpose of the Potter is to lovingly create a masterpiece that when seen, will draw the attention of those that see it to Him. I don't know about you, but I don't want to be so brittle or so soggy that I cannot be the right material in the Potter's hands. There maybe some times of discomfort, some stretching, some pressing in and holding on, but trusting in the goal of the Potter and the work of His hands...you will become His masterpiece.      

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Close to the Brokenhearted

January is the month of my husband's passing, and though it has been many years (almost 16) there still is a place in my heart, a scar if you will that reminds me of his absence from this life. Needless to say this whole month brings back memories of some of his last days here and I would be lying if I did not confess that it is hard on those days when the memories are crystal clear.

 This morning actually while reminiscing, the Lord begin to intercept my thoughts about my husband and bring to mind people that I know whose hearts are broken also. Some from things in the past, others who are experiencing heart break even now. I began to go through my "mind rolodex" (I'm showing my age), what today would be my "mind contact list" and through all of the people that I know whose hearts may be broken or breaking; even to the people that I do not know personally, but through public conversation or just seeing them on the street, that impressed me that they were going through some hard times. Face after face came to mind, and what started out as reminiscing my loss, became a time of sweet commune with God for others. Isn't that just like Him? To lovingly and patiently divert my compassion to others even in the midst of my need. He gave us the perfect example when He hung on the Cross, suffering horrendously and yet He took the time to remember the thief that hung beside Him that cried out to Him in repentance.

 Many of you reading this are heartbroken, I'm not a psychic and don't want to be, its just fact, we all have had our hearts broken; whether through the loss of a loved one, rejection, deception, abandonment, all kinds of abuse...you get the picture. So I say to those...The Lord is very close to you, even now when you may feel that He is no where near you and your situation...He knows...He sees...He cares and He loves you. People ofter speak of having scars as a negative, but I say that they are "healing marks". I have a few physical scars from past surgeries, accidents around the house and I even have one from when I was a kid and fell off my bike down a hill...all scars yes, but they also are proof of healing. I would be careless to make light of anyone scars and the stories behind them, but I do know this...when we turn our brokenhearts over to the Lord, the memory of the experiences may never go away, but He replaces the awful pain with His unconditional love. When we allow Him to heal our wounds and brokenness, the scars become just a reminder that we made it through and are still here. Still here to share that if we made it through the pain, others can too.

 I pray for you today my friends; Father, I come to You today in the name of Your precious Son Yeshua...Jesus, our Redeemer of not just our sins, but also the Redeemer of our broken hearts. You know what it is like to hurt both physically, mentally and spiritually and You are touched and moved by those things that affect us the same way. I ask today that You make Yourself known to my friends , right smack in the middle of their pain and suffering wherever they may be, that You heal their hearts, give them Hope and restore their Joy, like only You can do. You are ALWAYS waiting patiently for us to surrender our needs and ourselves to you. Thank You and Amen


Monday, January 1, 2018

JOY@ 2018

"... the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23

 A thoughtful and precious gift from 2 lovely ladies (you know who you are); one of my favorite books, Anne of Green Gables, with the pages fashioned in to the words "JOY". Unbeknownst to them, they have given me a daily reminder that as I seek and serve the Lord it will produce JOY.

 The character Anne of Green Gables, always looked for the good in situations, sometimes to others frustration; but her Joy in seeking the good and best in life caused others to eventually want that Joy too. We do not know what this next year will bring. While some are glad to get out of 2017, there are others that worry what will the new year bring. We know that we can not stop time and 2018 is coming regardless.

I pray that those who have invited the Lord into their hearts and lives will have Joy; and for those who have not given your hearts and lives to the Lord will invite Him in so that you too can have His Joy. The scripture above states that Joy is one of the fruits of HIS Spirit. I do wish you happiness which is good though sometimes temporal and dependent upon circumstances, but Joy that is produced by God's Spirit is sustaining, strengthening , encouraging.

 That is what I pray for you, God's sustaining, strengthening, and encouraging JOY ! May you and your families experience the Love of God in your lives and homes like never before. May you have Peace, His Peace... and may you have His Joy that gives you strength. Have a blessed New Year!



Friday, December 29, 2017

Blooming!

My cactus bloomed! Well one bloom anyway. But you know that I couldn't be more happier even if it was covered in blooms. See, I have watched this cactus from its rough start from being on a clearance rack on its last leg with the Walmart compost pile being in its possible future. To be honest I didn't have much hope of it making it either, but I repotted it, put it in a sunny spot and tried not to water it too much. The rest was to just watch it acclimate to its new surroundings and respond to the love and attention it was getting. So there ya go, a BLOOM and a pretty one too! I knew that eventually it would happen.

That is sort of how we are, at least I was. The Lord found me (or I found Him) when I was in a mental and emotional state of no hope, maybe hope for the compost pile of life, but that's about it. But when I finally looked up (literally...it's a long story), and surrendered my heart and life to Him, He took me in and nurtured me back to a life WITH Hope; and as I began to acclimate, adjust and respond to His Love and attentiveness, I began to grow. I am learning to bloom where I am planted, being who He made me to be, to love myself so that I can really love others the way that He does (Matthew 22:37-38), to trust that He delights when He sees me handle a situation the way that He would. Do I hit it every time...to be honest, no. But I believe that He is just as happy with my one "Bloom" at a time, as He would be if I had hundreds of them!

 "...being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6



Thursday, December 14, 2017

Early morning snow out my window...

Early morning snow out my window... reminds me of several years ago while speaking on the phone to my friend, who was in the final stages of cancer. It was February and overnight fresh snow had fallen and left what looked like a soft cashmere blanket covering the ground.

 The doctors had sent her home with little hope...and yet in her voice that cold February morning, I heard hope; not the kind that man can give you, but I heard peaceful, graceful and a calm God-given hope. After having suffered for so long in her body, her voice previously had been weakened, but that morning it was strong and confident.

 This was a woman that had always given of herself so unselfishly to others and understandably could have cried out "Why me?" and yet... her statement to me that morning was "The snow outside my window is so white, just think... the Lord has taken away all my sins and washed me as clean as that snow." I will never forget her words. Only a few days before she would pass into eternity and she was so at peace with God that she only marveled at His Love and forgiveness.

 Isaiah 1:18 says... "Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool." Isaiah the prophet was telling the Israelites that though they had rebelled again and again against Him, that if they would discontinue and turn back to Him, that He would forgive and cleanse them from there sins. I have stated before that there are no degrees of sin; sin knows no boundaries nor preferences of who does it. The scriptures say that ALL have sinned and come short of the Glory of God (Romans 3:23) so pointing the finger at anyone, keep in mind that there are four remaining ones directed to you.

 God has provided through His son Jesus the gift of salvation that is for anyone that will receive that gift and commit to learn and walk in His ways. My friend who displayed such peace and confidence even during what could have been her darkest hour, proved that there is hope when we put our lives in God's Hands. Though our sins may be scarlet, He can , He will and He longs to cleanse us as white as snow...


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Act of Kindness...

"Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else." I Thessalonians 5:15

 An act of kindness towards a person has lasting effects, I know because after over 20 years, I still remember when lying on a gurney in a hospital hall waiting to have some post-op tests done after having a major brain surgery; and as I waited I shivered from being cold with only the gown and a thin sheet to cover me. The attendant had walked away for something and after a while I overheard the passing staff talk about what they were having for lunch, I felt so all alone in my state...did anyone care that I was so cold? Right after that thought, one of the passing staff returned with a blanket and covered me, saying, "You looked cold." He noticed...when I thought no one cared. I cannot remember the face, but I do remember the concern in his voice and how it touched my heart...not only for the warm blanket, but that someone cared. I was not physically able to rise and hug him but I surely would have, because to me, at that time, a simple covering of a warm blanket was life...was hope.

 I was reminded of that today because at Aerobics class we were learning a new line dance and me being a klutz (but a lovable one I guess) could not get the steps right. I was going to give up when one of the ladies near me said, "Here, follow me.", and with patience, she coached me through each step. Now some would say that's stupid, but that simple act of kindness, really blessed my heart. She did something that she did not have to do. Maybe she WAS tired of me looking like Klutzy Lucy, but I so appreciated her kindness and it made my day!

 It takes so much energy to get revenge on folks for wrong things done to us...why not use that energy to doing something good, something kind. It would have lasting results AND would make this world a better place...maybe not on a national or international level, but it sure would make it a better place around you and the folks that you come in contact with. Let's be the "warm blankets" that cover people that are hurting and need to know that someone cares, let's be the coaches that come alongside the ones that need encouragement. Do something good for someone else today and have a great day!


Monday, December 4, 2017

The Power of Forgiveness

"The next day John (the Baptist) seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.) John 1:29 "But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Matthew 6:15

We often have an image of Jesus (Yeshua) as a soft, beautiful dove, a strong Lion and in this season as an innocent babe, but I am reminded this morning that He was thee sacrificial Lamb, He was the great sacrifice for all of our sins when He willingly allowed Himself to be stripped of all His heavenly power to suffer the penalty that paid for the debt we all owed but could never pay. I cannot fathom the depth of that kind of love. We may never be able on this earth to comprehend the magnitude of that kind of sacrifice. The power of forgiveness goes beyond my realm of reason, but that's where faith steps in...

I had a conversation with my teenage granddaughter when she was visiting, we talked about the atrocities, prejudices and injustices that have been done over the centuries and even to this day to people. Some things that have happened seems to have been absorbed into and even hidden in our history; spoken in hushed tones, shame ridden and even shoved under the proverbial rug for generation after generation. She wondered how could God forgive someone who would do such awful things to another human being. In her youthful passion she questioned how could God have paid the price for THEIR sins, as awful as they were and are. How could He forgive THEM... Those of us that are grandparents, I believe that the Lord has given us a certain patience/grace towards our grandchildren that we did not have with our children, maybe it is because we are a lot older, or maybe we have just been around longer and have heard and seen more in this life...that is why we have the reputations of being more lenient and more generous when it comes to things, which includes all
types of goodies by the way. 😉 In this case it was the patience to hear her out and not criticize for even asking that question. My granddaughter is a loving, kind girl, and I felt honored that she would be transparent with what was in her heart, because to be honest it was in my heart at one time.

Forgiveness is a powerful thing. Yeshua died for the sins of the world, He has already paid the price for all, no matter what the sin is. There is no "degree" of sin, God is no respecter of persons and if He was, He would be unfair, unjust and I dare to say... prejudice! That may shock you to hear that but it is true! If God favored one person over the other He would not be the loving God that He is. Now here is the key, He loves us ALL the same, He paid the penalty for ALL...but we each have to receive the gift of that sacrifice. When we come and surrender our lives to Him, then we are asking and receiving that gift that covers and forgives all our sins and unrighteousness; but if we choose not to surrender and receive that gift of forgiveness then He has no other obligation to fulfill for us. Yet even when we reject His gift He love us still...but our choices do have consequences.

If we have received such awesome forgiveness for our sins, then we have to forgive others. Unforgiveness is a sin. To forgive others does not mean that we have to hang out with them and be chums, but it is a heart condition. We may never understand why someone do or did what they do or did, but here is where faith comes in, we ask God to help us to forgive them not because of anything we can do but because of HIS sacrifice that He gave for ALL. He has already taken it upon Himself, so we give those people to Him. Forgiveness is a powerful thing, if we ever withhold it, then we are only hurting ourselves. Someone once said, that not to forgive is like pouring a glass of poison for the person and then drinking it yourself... Trust the Lamb of God today...if there are people or a person that you have not forgiven, trust Him to help you forgive them today...that act of forgiveness will be the best "gift" that you could give to yourself and them this season.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

No Way!

I really just noticed how much I write about anxiety and depression...well you guessed it, those are 2 things I have dealt with the most. No shame in saying it, I find that the older I get the "filters" seem to get flimsier and there is something so freeing about being transparent. All that pretend stuff is so tiring. I think that my "mask" has almost completely come off, or at least my grandchildren (teens) think so because they always say "MeeMaw I can tell what you are thinking by looking in your face!" So when they ask my opinion, they know what's coming.:-)

 I have this thing with dread, now don't laugh, I'm being wide open here...Yeah dread (pronounced DRED), which according to the dictionary is to "anticipate with great apprehension of fear". Yep, that's it. Its like even when something good is about to happen, you still have this feeling like you better not get too happy because you never know what may blindside you! Dear Lord! Am I a wacko or what? To be honest I am getting a lot better. I've gotten to understand God's character a whole lot better and also through prayer and by submitting to God, whose ways are higher than mine, and just trusting in His unconditional love.

 I am learning also to catch those feelings of dread early, before they can spiral off and become full fledge depression. Sometimes even saying aloud (even in public) "Nah uhh" translated means "No way". Even though this act may scare an unaware bystander, it helps me to shake off those feelings and thoughts that try to do a sneak attack. I don't recommend it for everyone, because there IS a risk that you will be escorted to the nearest exit. lol Recognizing and admitting your limitations can be a sobering experience, but surrendering to God's limitless wisdom, power, and justice is a great beginning to getting stronger. I can't have my hands in everything, so I release and entrust it all into His Hands. Not easy, but I'm working diligently on it. :-)

 The Scripture below also talks about a "kind" or a good word given makes your heart glad...so true. So sure, if someone gives you an encouraging word it certainly snaps you from those foreboding feelings of dread, but also if I give someone a kind/good word, it distracts me enough to realize that it is not all about me! There are many people that are experiencing trials and need a good kind word...something that we all have to give.

 So! now that I've spilled my guts on social media, I pray that if you are experiencing anxiety, worry or depression, be open about it and know that you are not alone, there are others, BUT there is HOPE! Submit yourself and all that comes with it to the Lord, entrust Him with whatever is causing you to feel dread, and encourage yourself by giving someone else a kind and good word...it will bless your day.


Monday, November 20, 2017

I Need Him...

" I need Thee Oh I need Thee, every hour I need Thee..." This song is ringing in my heart this morning, not out of sadness or turmoil, but rather out of gratitude because I know that the Lord is there to cover every need. It is a declaration that He is always near and willing to help us to be what He has ordained for us to be.

 Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:38-39 while in the midst of persecution "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 created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." So either he was crazy or he had learned the Truth of God's character...that God's love is so strong, so forgiving, so everlasting and so unconditional that NOTHING could ever separate us from that Love. To put it bluntly, and I will... Anyone is a fool if they don't want to be a part of that kind of relationship.

 So as I sing that old hymn this morning, (I even got the jump on the birds this cold morning lol); as I sing, I sing it as a declaration that I need Him y'all...yes in the hard and scary times, but I need Him ALL the time! It sort of grieves me when I hear folks brag about not needing God and how they can do it all by themselves...I pray for them, seriously... that their eyes and hearts will be opened to receive His Gift so freely given. As the song says: I need Him every hour...and you know what? To be without Him I would surely be lost and a really pitiful lil somebody... so I pray today...

 Father, I thank You for Your love that we can never be separated from. Even as David declared in Psalms 139 that nothing can separate us from Your love... we thank You for that today. I pray this morning for those that cannot make this declaration, open their eyes to see You, so that they can experience this awe-inspiring, life changing Love. We need you Lord, whether we all know that or not WE. NEED. YOU. and I am so thankful that You never give up on us and will be always cheering us on to come to that realization. In Jesus' name Amen