Monday, January 19, 2015

We have hope...

It is 6:00 AM and I am sitting here thinking about a great man that passed into Glory a couple of days ago. It was so obvious that he loved his wife, his precious daughter, his entire family and most of all he loved God. No man or woman on this earth is perfect, but this man exuded the love of Jesus every time I saw him. Not by being pious in his attitude, nor by being religiously restrained in his presence. But he was laughter and joking and making funny quips with what I call rapid humor. You had to be quick to catch it sometimes and when I did it made me laugh so! :-) And in the midst of the joking and laughter and the twinkling in his eyes...I saw Jesus! Out of all the many attributes and talents that this man had, one vivid thing I remember about him...I would always see Jesus in the twinkling of his eyes as he watched and I believed enjoyed seeing me totally break up laughing over something he said.  I "saw" Jesus smiling back at me.

He lived his life for the Lord, was an excellent example of Jesus Christ before many and now he has gone home. We can and may never understand why things happen in this life and having lost loved ones myself on this journey of life; there are always questions. There is nothing wrong with questions I've learned, as long as we know that God almighty never changes, He remains the same and is always there when we call out to Him. God is for us and not against us.

This gentle man will be sorely missed. He effected so many people in this earth, so many I am sure that he probably never even knew about. Perhaps he knows now, or he is so caught up in the majestic presence of God, that as he bows at the nailed scarred feet of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and feels and is enveloped in the pure, unadulterated, crystal clear love of God... it does not matter. What does matter is that we make sure our lives count just as this man's did. He served the Lord not only by his confession, but by his day to day life; by loving God and letting that love pour from him to others. 

Grief can sometimes be what we consider a long journey, but this I know, the Lord is with us every...single...step...of the way. He never leaves us and is always there even when we feel that He is not. He is always waiting with arms wide open to gently comfort us and wipe our tears.  There is always HOPE in Him, for we do not grieve as those that have no hope...

"But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.  Therefore comfort one another with these words."
 I Thessalonians 4:13-18

Sunday, January 11, 2015

His Plan...

"I'll never get another dog ! " this was spoken out of the heart ache of losing our 16 year old schnauzer about 20 years ago.  Oh how I loved that little dog that we named Scottie, after a dog I had when I was a kid. The first "Scottie" was a collie that followed me everywhere I went on my blue bicycle until one day he just disappeared. We believed that he was dognapped and the devastation of that loss as a child affected me for a long time.

Years later, I was married with a small son and in a new neighborhood, when my 8 year old at the time comes home to ask, "Can we get a dog?"  He went through the usual promises of saying that he would take care of it, feed it, walk it and I wouldn't have to do a thing.  Well we KNOW how that worked out right? I practically became the sole care taker of Scottie number 2, although my husband did remind me from time to time that he was at least giving the dog a place to stay, even though Scottie  didn't have a job or income! :-)

Scottie number 2, became my buddy. The little schnauzer with the whiskers was my constant companion. Besides being underfoot every day, he was continually by my side when I came home to recuperate from brain surgery and a couple of years later other surgery. He would lay with me on the couch with not even a whimper, but just be there. Those soulful brown eyes, looking at me, only wanting to please. So it was understandable when after 16 years and he was ailing, we had to say goodbye.  At the time it was one of the hardest things we had to do. So out of that emotion I made the statement that I would never get another dog, because at the time it hurt too much to think of ever going through that again.

My plan was to never, ever go through the heartache of losing a beloved pet again. I even built up barriers: I would not go into pet shops nor would I watch those cute dog shows. I wanted nothing to do with the pain of that experience again.  My love for animals never went away, but I tried to keep it at a distance...safer that way I thought.  This worked fine until many years later through a certain set of circumstances a pup came into my life and he was an offer I couldn't refuse...then a few years later another pup just happened to grab my heart so now I have not one dog but two!  But what happened to the woman that said she would never, ever get another dog? I've learned to let life happen....

I used to live in fear of somehow missing God's plan for my life. I felt that if I made a choice that maybe didn't line up with His plan for me, that I would have blown it...forever. That all the good things that He had for me would be lost.  So my remedy for that was to put up boundaries, which can be good in some cases, but in an attempt to keep from making bad choices, it also kept good choices from being a part of my life. This included not allowing myself to let the joy of having another pet dog into my life because surely God does not want me to go through that pain of losing it again. Oh how I try to put Him in a box, when He wants me to just trust Him day to day as He leads me along.  And He wants me to enjoy this life that He has blessed me with! Sure losing a pet is painful, but what about all the good years I enjoyed!

I'm sure that you have heard the saying that "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans"
right?  Well I don't know if He laughs but I do believe that some things we come up with may amuse Him.  In my case I was trying so hard to be prepared for bad things that I was missing all the good
things that God had for me in just day to day life. When we hear "God's plan" we often think of some large blueprint on the screen of your life, so complicated that you can't even decipher it. When what I am learning is, His plan for me unfolds one day at a time and my "job" is to walk in it as He unfolds it to me...one step at a time...not complicated at all. To love people as they come into my path or I come into theirs, to be a good neighbor, to be honest and forthright, to forgive, to be kind, to speak
the truth, to treat others the way I want to be treated, are some of the ways I can carry out His plan.

So many times we think of God's Plan as events on a grand scale with the strobe lights, an orchestra playing and a hundred voice choir, when really I believe His plan for us is when we are obedient to do the things He unfolds for us to do each day.

I have friends, a retired couple, that find so much joy in volunteering in the Food pantry at their church. They organize the produce, food stuff  and clothing as it comes in and also distributes it to the needy. They have many opportunities to share a warm smile, hugs and encouragement to folks that may never get that...they are being Jesus' hands, feet and heart in doing so. Is that God's plan? I believe it is. You may never read about them in the newspaper or see them on television , but I believe that they are participating in the greatest event of all...they are carrying out God's Plan.

You see what I am discovering is that "it ain't all about me."  It really is HIS PLAN not ours.  So when we submit to HIS plan, we get the gracious benefit of getting enjoyment out of this life too!  Thank You Lord!

Now you may ask what does the dog story have to do with God's plan? Well, for me, in learning to let go of my fear of experiencing past pain again, fear of failing God and missing what He had designated for me , it is giving me the freedom to make choices by faith each day and trust who God says He is: He will never leave me, He will never condemn me, He will always lead me in Truth, and so much more. He speaks to me through His Word the Bible, in a still small voice in my heart and through His true servants. So in knowing this I can enjoy even the simple things in life, for God has put them there for the time He has allotted and it is in His hands.

So in 2015, if you haven't already, step out and begin to walk in God's plan, it really isn't complicated. It is trusting that He will show you one step at a time. Onward!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Wind of Change

“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

Looking out the window of the exercise center that I attend several times a week has become one of my favorite pastimes.  It literally is a “pastime” because it makes the time past more easily and faster as I am doing one of my least most favorite, but necessary things to do. The views are nice; there is a lake where dozens of geese have taken residence, fish that we can actually see when the lake is not frozen over and all sorts of foliage that change with the seasons.  You might say that I really get a “bird’s eye” view from the center’s second story perch, and it is beautiful with each season. 
One thing that I am learning about myself, even at this (ahem)...later stage, notice I didn’t say older, is that God speaks to me through nature, my surroundings. Now while I know that this is certainly not unique, it is exciting for me because His messages always line up with His Word and it is as clear as a bell to me. That is why none of us will be with an excuse when we stand before Him to say “Lord, I just didn’t know, You never showed me Your Truth.” He is a beyond fair God, a just God, not willing that any should perish and be separated from Him for eternity; and so He tentatively and patiently uses whatever means necessary to get our attention so that we know that He is not only with us, but He is for us.

One of the things that caught my attention as I looked out of that window is a tree, that even in this cold of winter and the other trees are bare, it still holds some of its “fruit”.  Now while this may sound very noble of this tree, the fact is that because the “fruit” is beyond its season of harvest, it is now useless.  The frost, and fluctuating temperatures have made it just a piece of nothing hanging on the tree. This scenario brought to me another lesson the Lord showed me…now go back with me several years…
 
It was the end of the fall season 1995, this was before the back porch was enclosed and I would get up very early to sit there to have my time with the Lord before getting ready for work.  It was a cool morning with the sun just rising and as I sat quietly gusts of wind came by and rustled the leaves on a nearby tree, causing them all to fall off and dance with the wind. I heard a voice in my heart say “My Spirit is moving and those that flow with me, those that are willing to trust me, let go and flow with me, will follow me, just as those leaves flowed with the wind.”  To this day I don’t know why I did this, but God knows me is all I can say. Anyway I looked over in my neighbor’s yard and there was an Oak tree with lots of its leaves still attached. The same wind was gusting by, and yet the leaves on

that tree remained. So I asked “Lord but those leaves are still holding on.”  And to that He replied to my heart “There will be many that will cling to what they believe is trustworthy, but whoever trusts in Me will hear My voice and flow with Me.”


Now you have to understand that was also during the time when a message coming from some nationwide pulpits was “God is doing a shaking and those that are not submitted to the leadership will be shaken off.”  To be quite frank with you...that scared me! And that was because I did not know the character of God for myself.  God does not shake us off and toss us away because we are not submitted to a man…He wants us to be submitted to His love, which He demonstrated through Jesus’ sacrifice. Now I see that He was speaking to me during a time when I had many questions about what I was experiencing.  Thank You Lord!
 
That was many years ago and I have never forgotten it.  Many changes have come into my life…Major ones, minor ones. Some that made me feel as if I could not take the next breath without crumbling to pieces. Some that meant letting go when I thought it would be forever…some that meant taking a long good look at myself and seeing the real me who was not what I thought I was. False humility is a terrible thing. But through it all God has been so very faithful: assuring me it’s okay to breathe, I won’t fall apart; showing me it’s okay to let go, because He is there to catch me; and gently and lovingly holding the sides of my face as I look into the mirror of reality and see that though I’m not perfect, He is… and I can hide myself in Him as I surrender to His will.


The Wind of change is constantly blowing in our lives, God is constantly offering direction to flow with how His spirit is moving.  Will we be like the tree whose leaves surrendered to the wind and effortlessly let go and danced with the wind, following its lead?  Or will we be like that mighty Oak tree I saw that was tenaciously holding on to its leaves no matter how the wind blew.  Or like that tree I see out the window that had its little fruit still holding on even in the winter, fruit but absolutely useless.  There is a whole other message right there.  Folks still holding on to things that God may have effectively used years ago, and refusing to change with His movement…
 
Oh! As for my neighbor’s 40 foot Oak Tree that was holding on to those leaves, well a little storm came by a couple of years ago, called Hurricane Sandy, ever heard of it? Well Mr. Oak Tree was introduced to Ms. Sandy and guess what? Sandy must not have liked it, because down Mr. Oak tree went, all 40 feet of it.  My neighbor could not understand how the tree that is known for its sturdiness could topple so easily, when the other more fragile trees withstood the storm.  Well, and this is another message within itself but, in a nutshell: apparently the roots (foundation) of the oak
tree had been compromised when some stump grinding of nearby trees in close proximity were done earlier in the year. Mr. Oak Tree’s exterior appearance looked very stable but its roots weren’t as deep as it thought, so when Sandy came along that October 2012, it literally became a push over…with all its leaves still firmly attached…  ‘nough said.


“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.  Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:12-14

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Season of Joy!

Oh what great memories I have of Christmases past!  Growing up in South Carolina we did not have cold weather or snow for Christmas, but still it was an exciting time. Going to the Christmas parade with all the local high school marching bands, the department stores (we only had about 2 big ones) all lit up with Christmas decorations and Christmas music piping through the speakers, all made my heart as a little girl race with excitement.

On our local radio station, every Friday night after Thanksgiving, "Santa" would come on and read all the letters that he received from us kids in the community. Of course I sent one every year (until my brother told me that there was no Santa Claus and it was stupid).  But back then it was so exciting to hear when "Santa" would read my letter over the airwaves. He would say "...and this letter comes from Veronica Byrd that lives on Lincoln Avenue...she says that she has been a good girl and would like me to bring her a Tiny Tears Doll, a china tea set (yes I loved tea things even back then) and lots of fruit and candy Ho Ho Ho!" Oh my gosh I thought I would pass out because my heart was beating so fast!  Santa read MY letter...he knew ME and heard my request!  And as a child I had no problem believing that...it makes me smile now as I write this...oh a child's faith!  Is that the kind of faith that Jesus talks about in Matthew 18:3? And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Oh God may we have the faith to believe without a doubt that You not only know us, but You hear our requests and to be confident that You will answer us according to Your will...


Now we know that Santa is not a real person and parents have many theories and reasons for encouraging or not encouraging their children to believe in Santa and I respect that; and I am in no way comparing Santa to Jesus...trust me there is NO comparison.  But as I was just thinking about the joy and happiness I had in Christmases past and how as a child I was so free and unhindered in believing that something good was happening. As you get older and experience life, I believe that simple joy and happiness wears off. We gain wisdom and knowledge but lose that simple childhood "faith" that this Christmas season is a good thing! 


Of course it is not about the decorated trees, toys, gifts and such; it is about celebrating Christ's birth, no matter what day it actually happened.  The fact is that it DID happen and when the folks in the world don't acknowledge it in that way, we who know the TRUTH can certainly celebrate it with that in the forefront with... yes! decorated trees, gifts and toys for the children all while glorifying God!

I don't think God is so much concerned with how the Christmas tree was originally started by the Druids or somebody like that, as He is about whether or not we are celebrating the Birth of Jesus and with that pure motive and consecration in our hearts! God is a holy God, and He knows the motive of every heart. So we cannot allow the bondage of what others may think to steal our joy of this season.


What a Blessed time of the year it is! We Celebrate YOU Jesus!  with bright lights shining, garland and tinsel, special music, gifts, good friends and fellowship...Oh! and good food too!  Jingle bells! LOL!
"...that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth." Philippians 2:10

Saturday, November 22, 2014

God, The Chief Restorer


“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, The consuming locust, and the chewing locust, my great army which I sent among you.” Joel 2:25

 I love getting old stuff, cleaning it up and repurposing its use. My eyes light up when I spot a “treasure” while perusing the aisles of a thrift store…I can see the potential in what may be someone else’s cast off.  Now don’t get me wrong, I like new stuff too, but I seem to get so much joy out of things that have been around for a while. To me they have a story and even though they are inanimate objects I wonder what they have witnessed in their “lifetime”.  Some old things have aged gracefully and show little wear, which means they may have been in a china cabinet or a room and never really used; while some pieces are what I call all “jacked up” and look as if they have been kind of thrown around.  Were they cared for and appreciated? Are some of the questions that run through my mind… Sounds weird huh?  I used to think it was weird too that I really loved old furniture, china, glass, etc., but now I have accepted it as one of the simple pleasures God has so graciously given me. 


When I look at some of the furniture and things that I have rescued, I am reminded of how God is the Chief rescuer and restorer.  2 Chronicles 16:9a speaks about how God is roaming to and fro the earth looking for those that have a heart for Him, to show Himself strong. My interpretation: God is perusing the aisles of the thrift stores of humanity. Looking for those that are crying out to Him to be restored, those that have been oh so hurt, those that have been abused and rejected…those that have been cast off.  I believe that He delights in picking us up, wiping our tears, cleaning away the dirt, shining us up by whispering encouraging words to our hearts. And the icing on the cake so to speak is: He delights in repurposing  our lives!  Some of us may have thought we have blown it the first time around, but God can and will use us again for His glory as we submit our lives to Him!

God is a God of compassion and renewal!  He wants to restore to us what the enemy of our souls has tried to steal away! Our joy, our peace, our confidence in Him and love for others and even ourselves. He wants to see us being used for His Glory! The scripture in Joel 2 is about God declaring to a people how He is going to restore them after they had suffered very much, some of which was brought on by their own disobedience. But God who is so forgiving still promises to restore them!

It is silly but true to say that I love seeing the old treasures I find, in a place where I can look at them and am happy that it is being used and admired. Well how much more is God delighted in seeing His children once again in a place in life where they are being used for His purpose and Glory! I don’t believe that He gets joy out of seeing us living out the rest of our lives sitting on the trash heap of life or the aisles of the thrift store of humanity. (I know I’m pushing it with that statement again, but I couldn’t resist  ;-)

When I started this Blog back in December 2007 while visiting in California, I said and I even posted on it that I wanted to begin “Learning from God’s Word through everyday experiences”, and it is so true…I DO!  He has been so faithful in helping me to see HIM in just plain everyday life.  I don’t need an earth shattering, open the Red Sea experience to know that He is here and loves me…and you also.  AND He wants us to know and love Him too.

So you see my quirky love for old things have a purpose, it actually has given me an insight to my calling on this earth; one of which is to have more compassion for, love, help and pray for the hurting, lost, rejected and cast off folks in this world. No one in their right mind wants to be or feel that way and I pray: Dear Jesus, wherever they are, whether in my neighborhood, or afar, whether in my daily or occasional path, make me aware of them, let me feel their heart and may I be obedient to be your Hands and Heart extended in this old world to show them that You are the Rescuer and Restorer and can make all things new!

 

 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

God’s Pruning…OUCH!


“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
John 15: 1-4
“Pruning is a horticultural practice involving the selective removal of parts of a plant, such as branches, buds, or roots. Reasons to prune plants include deadwood removal, shaping (by controlling or directing growth), improving or maintaining health, reducing risk from falling branches, preparing nursery specimens for transplanting, and both harvesting and increasing the yield or quality of flowers and fruits. “  -Wikipedia

 I have a plant that I have had for a number of years. I bought it as a small plant and now it is in a very large pot. Through the course of those years I have pruned it because it had become scraggly and tired looking or in some cases had contracted mealy bugs which were sapping its growth. My goal was not to hurt my beloved plant, but to help it to reach its fullest potential. I am sure to my neighbors that were passing by as I sat on the front porch with my sharp scissors and was whacking away at the plant, it may have seemed cruel. One may have asked “What are you doing to that lovely plant?”  To which I would reply “Actually making it better.” 

 To the natural eye it looked like a disaster area with cut off leaves and vines strewn all over the porch and me like a mad woman going at it with my scissors! But it was not as it appeared…I actually WAS doing good. J . Each time that I pruned it, it looked pitiful after I had cut it down almost to the rim of the pot…but I always knew that it would come back, stronger and more beautiful than ever.

 
In the 14th chapter of John, Jesus is preparing the disciples for His departure that is soon to come, it carries over into the 15th chapter as He explains to them that as long as they remained in Him by following and teaching what He showed and taught them, they would be fruitful (fulfilling their purpose from God). He also added that even if they were already doing what they should, there still would be a time of pruning, so that they could do even more good.

 The pruning processes in our lives may include the following: the removal of some persons, things or habits, these persons, things or habits may be a deterrent to our spiritual growth. These things may distract us from getting to know who God is, to know His character, to know what it is that HE wants for our lives. Sometimes I believe God will remove YOU from a place and allow you to sit quietly before Him.  Doesn’t mean that you will sit alone in a house all by yourself, not going to work or anywhere! WRONG! But He allows you for a time to separate yourself so that you can learn how to hear and discern His voice.

 

If we are being honest, we all know the things in our lives that are not pleasing to God.  No one has to hold up a sign in bold letters to tell you what they are for Pete’s sake. We know…

Well those are the things God wants to remove from us, because they are hindering our growth into becoming all that He has purposed for our lives.

Some pruning is voluntary, that is when you recognize and acknowledge the things not pleasing to God and begin to allow Him to help you remove them from your life.  And then there is the involuntary pruning.  The pruning that comes when I personally believe, He has brought it to our attention over and over again and we do nothing and finally it comes bursting out of the seams of the coverage we have tried to place over it and most of the time it is to our embarrassment.  When I read headlines about someone whose secrets have been revealed, I used to walk around in disbelief for about a month thinking this can’t be true!  But now I have confidence that my Father surely had warned them over and over again until finally He let them handle what they could not and it burst from the seams.  I pray for myself that I never allow it to ever get to that point in my life.  That though it may be unpleasant and uncomfortable to see myself and my shortcomings, that I will submit to God, and allow Him to prune me…Oh God help us all.

 His goal is not to hurt us, or to hold us back, but to help us to reach our fullest potential on this earth…

After a pruning you may feel a little vulnerable, a little lost, not know what to do, where to go.  Just know that He is with you and will NEVER forsake you, come to Him. Jesus is the vine that is the source for all the sustenance we need to grow and flourish. And when God prunes, though we may look and feel pitiful, HE knows that we are coming back stronger and more beautiful than before!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Intimacy with God


My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:27

As I wrote about in my last post, I believe this is a season of healing for me. After many years of being a part of what I now see was an abusive church situation; finally leaving there and then desperately trying to “fit in” somewhere else, only to find that I never could. I see now that while I was trying to return to what I thought would please God was only a deterrent to what He was trying to do in my life…heal my wounds and get me to know Him for myself rather than what someone had portrayed for me.
In Matthew 10: 1-3 it says that Jesus called the 12 disciples and gave each of them authority to cast out demons and to do miracles.  If you’ve had some doubt as to rather or not that included Judas, read verse 3 that specifically states Judas, yes the one that betrayed Jesus was in that number also. Jesus equipped Judas with everything that the others had; the only difference was Judas’ motive of the heart.  He seemed to always want Jesus to prove Himself, instead of trusting whom He said He was.  You see when I accepted the Lord as my Savior, I don’t believe that I allowed myself to really get to know Him for myself…to really know Who He is. It was easier in a way to go by what man was telling me.  Sure I read my Bible, but my motive at the time was not to get to KNOW Him but as an act of what I thought was obedience to what a good Christian should do.  Yes, the Lord had equipped me with what I needed to be a soldier in His army, but I had submitted to man rather than first submitting to the One who had equipped me…my motive…to be accepted.

After trying to “fit in” at other churches, some of the situations were quite humorous as I look back; I finally GOT IT and sat at HIS feet.  And Oh! At His feet, He began to show me myself and it wasn’t pretty.

God never condemns us, but He does show us truth and sometimes that truth can be ugly.  When I hear folks begin to name off all the “ministry” they are involved in and how many good things they are doing as an answer to “How are you with the Lord”, I say to myself, “been there done that!”  But do you KNOW HIM? I mean REALLY? I’m not judging by any means…just sayin’.
In the last several months the Lord has encouraged me in my heart to really trust Him as He directs me into the paths of some people that have a heart to simply know God and to do HIS will.  No hidden agendas or motives, just a transparent, open love for the Lord.  I must admit my trust was shot after my experiences from years ago.  But during the time that God had me alone and I was at His feet…He began to rebuild my trust. These precious folks have been sharing about being intimate with God, getting to know Him.  How God desires for us to know Him for who He really is, not what someone else has portrayed.  Getting to know Him through His Word; spending more time in His presence. To be free in His presence and to worship Him in spirit and Truth.  This has not only blessed my heart, but I know that it is healing me from all past wounds.  I say all that to share with you a dream I had last night:

It was a beautiful dream, so beautiful that I awoke smiling.  In the dream I was doing something that my late husband and I used to do. Now before you shut me down and scream “R” rated, hear me out.  J In this dream I was in bed with my husband and we were lying in each other’s arms, we were
holding each other so tightly (like we used to do) until our heartbeats became one.  Neither of us wanted to let go and we kept squeezing each other tighter and tighter. My head was in the crook of his neck and it was as if we were customized to fit that way. Even our breathing was in sync.  So tight…so precious…I didn’t want to let go and I could tell that he did not want to let me go.  When that feeling of pure love was so overwhelming that I felt I could not contain it…I woke up…smiling.  And the Lord spoke to my heart and said “THAT is what I want with you…I want intimacy.”  No, it was not an audible voice, but I KNEW that it was Him.  Jesus told parables to the people, so that they could better understand His message; God speaks today as well…but we must have ears to listen.

In this case He spoke to me through a dream about something that I was familiar with…marital love.  He knew that I would understand what it was like to love someone so much that you  want to know every single thing about them.  And so it is with our relationship with Him.  He already knows every single thing about us (some maybe to our shame) and He STILL loves us with an everlasting love…and He is saying to us come and know me, know my love for you, I will hold you so tight and show You all that I am…

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11:28

 

 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Time to Heal...


A Time to Heal…

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace. - Ecclesiastes

In our journey through life, there is a time for everything the Bible says. One of them being a time to heal…I have walked and continue to walk through that season and I am not ashamed to say it.  During this season you learn a lot about yourself. In spending time with the Lord these past few years, He is teaching me to not look at what I believe is the thing or person that has caused hurt or trauma in my life, but to look within me…not to be condemned (God never does that) but to get at the root cause of why my reaction to the offense or misunderstanding, is hurt, feeling rejected or just downright feeling like giving up!

Over the years as God in His love and patience reveals myself to me and “we” rectify the issue, I can be quoted as saying that “I feel like I’m being peeled like an onion, layer by layer.”  The “peeling” process was not pleasant each time, but in all honesty once the old layers were gone, I actually felt relief, lighter and even restored.

I say that I am still walking in a season of healing because with each day as I take an introspective look at myself, I always come up short of what I know God wants me to be.  Is God a hard taskmaster that stands over us with a gavel ready to bring it down in judgment?  No!  A million times No!  But as I am getting to know His character for myself, I know that He is a loving Father who wants His very best for me (and you too!).

It’s our choice on whether we want to be made whole.  I’ll admit to my shame sometimes when I am hurt or wounded, I just want justice, or what I believe to be justice.  When God is so much bigger than that!  He sees the whole picture clearly, I only see my side.  He’s not willing that anyone should perish in their sin (John 3:16), He wants to give everyone the opportunity to be made whole and fulfill His plan and purpose for them on this earth then join Him in Heaven.  So basically, “It ain’t all about you or me Honey!”

A season is just that…a season, an allotted time that will eventually pass.  This season of healing for me is progressing and will not last forever. I know that He is restoring me and building me up for a purpose, what that is I don’t know yet…but in due “season” He will let me know.

As a child when we went on our annual family vacation, it seemed like it took forever to get to our destination, in our case it was usually Buffalo, New York, which is a mighty long way from South Carolina.  My father used to tease us when we would ask how much longer and say “Oh we have about 1,000 more miles” to which we would all groan and whine. But being the loving father that he was, he knew that it was a long, arduous trip and a little uncomfortable for me and my siblings, so he would 
 
Me and my father on a "break" while on one of our trips
always make sure we would stop and take breaks. And I remember getting out of the car to stretch my cramped legs and sitting by the little brooks and streams of water in the mountains of the upper Northeast. Then we would get back in the car and continue our journey until we made it safely to our destination. And so our heavenly Father leads us: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness, for His name’s sake.” Psalms 23

Is it a season of healing for you? If it is allow God, our Father, to reveal Himself to you through His Word, the Bible; and also surrender and allow Him to show you…YOU!  The first step in any healing process is to first admit and submit…admit your weaknesses and submit to someone who has the answers.  And the One that has all the answers is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, our shepherd, our divine healer Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Growing up!


“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”  I Corinthians 13:11

October…beautiful October!  This month has many happy memories for me: it is the month that we (my late husband, son and I) moved into our new to us home in New Jersey. We had a home in the Philadelphia area for a little over 6 years and felt that it was time to move on up. We were “The Jeffersons” of New Jersey.  J  I remember that we were so excited and planted like a hundred flower bulbs that October. I still have some flowers that come up from that planting many years ago.  What a great time that was, new home, nice neighbors and beautiful weather!

The month of October was also the month that we would make our annual trip up to what we called “Dutch country”, which is in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area.  It is so very beautiful up there this time of year when the leaves change their colors. Also lots of great places to eat the cooking made famous in that neck of the woods.  Such precious memories….

But there are some memories that are not so happy this month; two of them being it is the month of both my late Mom and husband’s birthdays.  Even though they both have been gone for several years, I still miss them when this time comes around.  To top it off, a few days ago I ran into an acquaintance that I had not seen in a while and she made a statement that shook me up pretty bad.  The rumor about me that she stated was not a good thing to say to someone.  I chose to believe that she did not say it to be mean, so I managed to smile and lovingly part our ways after a brief conversation.

The old me would still be in an uproar over that incident, even fearful.  But Glory to God! Within a few minutes I allowed the Lord to turn something negative into a positive experience!  I believe that I’m growing up! I no longer feel depressed when this month comes around. Instead I have chosen to think on the precious, good memories that God has blessed me with. 

Abie Kulynych said something very profound a few Sundays ago during his sermon. I paraphrase what he said referring to prayer : God wants us to have Child-like faith when we come to Him, not Childish faith. Childish faith demands its own way and gets upset when things don’t turn out the way we think they should .  But Child-like faith is a faith that wants only what the Father God wants. Because if we believe that Father God truly loves us, then we will have the assurance that He will only give what is best.  Now THAT is "grown-up" thinking...something we should all earnestly seek after.
I thank God for the new season. Not only is it beautiful, but it is a new beginning …an opportunity to grow up!
 
Here are some pictures of my outing on this beautiful October day!
 










 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Lonely, but not alone!


“I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”  Matthew 28:20b

This scripture has kept me comforted for many, many years.  Somehow knowing that God is by my side has made this life so much more livable.

At the age of about 10 or 11 with the arrival of my beloved baby sister I was no longer the star of the family, there were times that I would withdraw and climb up my favorite tree.  Being a tomboy of sorts, I was usually found in a pair of cutoff jeans climbing some kind of tree, which besides reading was one of my favorite pastimes.  But there was a special tree, a Chinaberry tree that grew on the left side of our driveway near the backyard that I would climb when I wanted to “fly away”.  When I would climb that tree and finally get to the highest branch, I can remember now like it was yesterday, I felt like I was on top of the world…my little world anyway.  With the warm breeze blowing in my face, I felt as close to God as I could get.

Though I did not know at the time that is what I was seeking, I believe God knew I was seeking for my purpose.  Who am I? Where do I fit in? Are you there? I’m sure were some of the things going through my 10 year old mind.  And now when I look back, I realize that He spoke to me on my level.  A bird stopping to sing a beautiful song:  “You are my creation, even more important than this bird.“
My Mom or Dad would call my name checking to see where I was:  “You fit in to this family that I have given you.”  The soft wind blowing in and caressing my face:  “Yes, I am here.”  He spoke to me even back then reassuring me that He is ALWAYS there.

Since that time, and through my life’s journey God has escorted me through some things that if I’d had a choice I would not have wanted to take that route, but never the less, He has proven Himself so very faithful to me. He has truly never left my side. Sometimes He is silent, but I know that He is there, encouraging me to continue to go forward.

Sometimes it can get very lonely, but I am learning that I am never alone. When I can sit on my back porch in the early morning hours and say nothing but wait in His presence and begin to feel His peace that passes all understanding come over me, I know He is there.  When I don’t know what to
do and He seems silent, I am learning that He is still there and as I trust Him He will show the way in His time.

 

Since my adventures in my favorite tree, God is teaching me Who I am: I am His child, and though I had wonderful parents who loved me with all their hearts, they were only examples of His love for me, a love so deep I cannot fathom.  Where I fit in: I fit in wherever His love directs me to go, because as I am obedient He will use my gifts and talents to be a blessing to someone.  And Is He there:  Yes! Yes! He is ALWAYS there, to love, to chastise, to comfort, to encourage, directing, to listen and the list goes on and on!

 

So yes I get lonely at times, but I KNOW that I am NEVER alone!  He will never leave me, in that I can trust!
 
Thank You Lord for Wisdom and Understanding!
 
On another note I took a trip to a gigantic Thrift store the other day and here are some things I saw:
 
A tea set on a Teapot, how lovely!

Precious Moments anyone?

Something for everyone!

Oh Tinker Bell how lovely!

These pillows were so luxurious and so cheap!

Patriot Teapot!

Cow jump over the moon teapot!


I say that Bunny is chasing down those veggies

So cute just right for the spring!

Mickey!

Humpty Dumpy and Book Teapot!

I was very good and these were my only purchases!

Do I need this?  LOL

A brass Monkey!

Sunflower mirror!