Friday, November 19, 2010

Do You Trust Me?

That's what I heard the Lord say to me tonight, when I quit crying out to Him long enough to listen.  "Do you trust me?"  I had to admit, it was a good question.  So, what is trust?

According to Webster's Dictionary, to trust is "to place confidence in; to depend on."  It is also "to commit or place one's care or keeping."  It is "to rely on the truthfulness or accuracy of; to believe."

So, do I trust Him?  That kind of hit me right between the eyes.  My immediate response would be "of course I do!"  But do I?  I have been sitting here asking Him for answers that I have already asked Him for.   I have been reminding Him of how miserable I feel tonight, and how He promised to fix it all.  I have been so impatient, wanting my problem solved; my needs met.

Do I trust Him?  I have trusted Him to be my Savior, but do I trust Him in the everyday drudgery that life gets to be at times?  There are things, hopes, promises that I have placed in His care, that I have "committed to His care or keeping" as the dictionary says.  Am I trusting Him, or am I trying to take them back because I don't see any progress?  

Tonight, I got a reality check; I realized that I was indeed trying to do just that.  There are certain valuable dreams, hopes and promises that He has shown me He is and will provide for, and that HE will work out in His own time, and yet I have been lamenting and crying over the state of things as I see them.  I have put Him in the same category with mere humans, who sometimes can be trusted, but sometimes can't.  We are frail; we are weak, and we slip, fall, mess up, disappoint friends, and basically fall short of our own expectations.  

But God is God.  He doesn't mess up.  EVER.  He knows the end from the beginning.  He has a perfect plan for my life, and He is working it out in His perfect timing. I entrusted all that I love and treasure, all my dreams, family, friends, and future into HIS hands.  I can't take it back now.  I'm the one that screwed it all up to start with. 

Do I trust God?  Yes, I do.  He's the only one that is completely trustworthy.

"Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant." 2 Samuel 7:28

Monday, November 8, 2010


Change is not something that comes easily for me.  It seems that just when things finally get like I like them, they change.  I then find myself re-adjusting to something new, finally accepting the change and settling in...only to find it is changing yet again.  

This has been the case with my life, especially in the last year or so. My life is constantly shifting and changing, and I find myself attempting to adjust and keep going, somewhat like a person trying to walk on a boat that is in rough water.  At times, I have been depressed about the constant change, and have found myself wishing I could just find somewhere solid where I could be assured nothing would change.  Now, don't get ahead of me here.  I know you can see where I'm going, but hang on a minute.  

I have tried to find solace in being busy, in church work, in friends, and in work.  I have even attempted to find solace in just zoning out and watching TV.  I have tried to crawl in a hole and pull it in after me, but to no avail--I keep having to go to work and function there.  The pain inside has continued to grow, and I have been on the verge of tears constantly for months now.  I never cry, but the tears are there, just under the surface.

Just when I thought I could not take it anymore, I was reminded a few days ago by the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit to come to Jesus and let Him be my solid place.  He alone is the unchanging, unmoving person in my life that is NEVER. GOING. ANYWHERE.  He promised He would never leave me nor forsake me.  I knew that, but I had somehow lost sight of it.  

I can't depend on friends or family to always be there.  This has been a major source of pain lately, but they are just doing what people do. They are changing, growing, moving forward.  It's not that they don't love me; they do.  It's not them; it's me. I have just lost sight of my Source, my Refuge, and my Provider.  I have tried to find my worth in people, and it's not there.  It has never been there, and it never will be.  My life, my worth, my value is in HIM.  It is in Jesus Christ.  If I try to find it somewhere else, I will end up disappointed and feeling abandoned.

So this is where I'm at tonight.  Throwing myself at the feet of Jesus--again--and asking Him to be my Rock and my Refuge.  He has been there all along, ever since I trusted in Him as my Savior in 1994.  This is true; but I have overlooked the fact that He is there; I have bought into the lies of satan that I am all alone in the world.  Listening to those lies can cause you to lose focus on what's real and secure.  Reading His word and standing on it is the only way to overcome those lies. 

So I'm asking Him to fill all those hollow, empty places in my heart that I have attempted to fill with everything but Him.  I'm holding on to Him so I don't get dizzy when life starts the merry-go-round of change again.  He is the one and only constant in my life.  The one and only.

No matter what changes in my life He will be there.  I have His word on it.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ironically FREE!

It's been exactly one year since I moved into my very own little house. I blogged about it then, how that I was sitting here exhausted from a day of moving, and realized that it was Halloween, and therefore my spiritual birthday.  I totally gave my heart over to Jesus on October 31, 1994, sixteen years ago today, and I have never looked back.  Considering that this is the date on which demonic forces are tolerated and even entertained by the general population, this is very ironic.  I even raised my kids to go trick-or-treating back in the day, before I discovered the truth, but in my defense they never dressed up like anything very dark or demonic.

He continues to bless me and provide for me, over and above what I could ask or imagine.  He has set me free from so much bondage!  He has brought me out of depression, a spirit of fear, suicidal thoughts, and complete lack of self-worth.  He continues to be at work in me, chipping away at the layers of damage from years of my being caught in satan's web of deceit. I am constantly realizing that I am walking out of something else that had me bound.  I have even noticed lately that I am not as uncomfortable around people I do not know well, which means He is delivering me from a life-long affliction of shyness.  This might not seem like a big deal, but trust me, coming from a person who used to get physically ill when forced to talk to strangers--it is!  It is a process, and Jesus is walking with me every step. Praise God!  Thank you Jesus, for saving me and delivering me from the wages of sin. 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20,21).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Forget the Former Things

I am kind of a private person, and for a long time didn’t want to share so much online. Time is short, though, and I am convicted for my silence. I feel that I no longer have the right (if I ever did) to keep this encouragement from God to myself. If this helps one person, it’s worth it.

For a while now, I have been second-guessing myself and entertaining doubts about my divorce. Did I really try as hard as I should have to make the marriage work? I was beginning to believe that God was really disappointed in me and I would now never fulfill what He had planned for me. God had an intervention planned though; through the words of a Christian comedian.  As he talked about forgetting the past and pressing on, I was reminded of a scripture that had come to my attention 15 years ago.

You see, God spoke to me on Jan. 18, 1995 (it's marked in my old, worn, NIV Bible from the early days of my Christian walk) through Isaiah 43:18-19. I felt strongly that He wanted me to take note of that passage of the Word.  I worried and puzzled over that scripture for years, wondering what was His angle?  What was He trying to tell me?  Several times through the years it would come up again, and I never quite got it.  I didn't understand, and so I put it aside, so to speak.  I hadn't come across that in a long time, but He reminded me of that scripture tonight, so I looked it up....and it suddenly made perfect sense.

It starts out "forget the former things, do not dwell on the past..." HELLO! Yea, He knows me, doesn't He? Ok, so He has my attention. He knows I am prone to dwelling on my mistakes and failures. He wants me to look forward, though, not backward: “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”   The scripture continues "I am making a way in the desert…” Yes, you could say that the divorced life is like a desert; a parched, dry heart, a cracked and broken life. You could even call it a wasteland:

1. land that is uncultivated or barren

…but even more accurate in my case is

2. an area that is devastated, as by flood, storm, or war.

Does that sound familiar?  It does to me.  I certainly can relate to the pain and devastation caused by divorce, that's for sure! God allowed me to go through that horrible ordeal as part of His plan. I don't understand completely, and I know He hates divorce, but He is taking what satan meant for evil in my life and using it for His glory. He has been with me every step of the way.

He goes on to say there will be “streams in the wasteland."   So….He is making a way, a path; He is formulating a plan in the middle of the dry, barren, hopeless looking situation left in the wake of divorce. Not only that, He is creating streams…which consist of water….and with the water comes LIFE. This means there will be growth and productivity in my life…and in yours…as we allow Him to work through us.

If you are struggling with a flood of negative emotions because of divorce, take heart! God is not through with you. If you are feeling like you have failed, like you will never be happy again, look up! Your Father is extending His hand to you. He has a plan for your life, and He wants to help you. He only wants the best for you, for He loves you very much. Give God a chance to take what the enemy meant for evil and turn it around for good in your life.

“I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13,14.

Yes, Lord, I will forget the former things!  I can't wait to see the new things you are doing.  I am pressing on....and I am no longer looking back.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Battle is the Lord's

I am reminded tonight of what David said to the Philistines before he killed Goliath: "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied...All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give all of you into our hands."  (I Samuel 17:45-47)

Are you facing a battle in your life?  Sometimes the circumstances in which we find ourselves loom like giants over us, and we get scared.  I know I do.  We forget that if we are in Christ we do not face anything alone, because He promised He would always be with us.  He said He would "never leave us nor forsake us."  We can be encouraged in knowing that we have this promise.

I went to the Word tonight for encouragement in a situation in my life, and I found it.  It was too good to keep to myself, though; I really felt like I should share it.  So be encouraged, my friend.  You are not alone. The battle is the Lord's!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I Am Undone

The first time I heard this on K-Love earlier this week, it resonated in my soul. I am drawn to God tonight through this song. I am not one to share the deep things in my heart on here much, but I sense the Spirit is leading me to share. Maybe someone can relate and be encouraged; I don't know. What I do know is that tonight I am totally undone, and... like the song says, I don't want to be alone tonight, but I have no choice. Ahh, but Jesus is here...He promised to never leave or forsake me. Thank you, Jesus, that when I am afraid, or lonely, or need a shoulder, You are here. Jesus, You are the "I AM..." and whatever we need, you are the fulfillment of that need. Without You, Jesus, I would not have the strength to go on. Thank you for salvation, Jesus, and for holding me tonight...

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Porch Swing

The house I grew up in, an older bungelow, had a large front porch that stretched across the entire front. On one end, there was a green porch swing and 2 or 3 of those sturdy metal lawn chairs.  When I was a child, we spent many summer evenings sitting on this front porch. I am not sure why we did this.  Perhaps it was that our house was not air-conditioned, as was the case with most homes in the 50s and 60s and we went out there to cool off after supper.  Maybe it was because my parents loved being outside. Whatever the reason they had for doing it, I did it because they did it.  My favorite seat, of course, was the swing.  Just like my dad, I couldn't sit in it without swinging.  Why else would one have a swing, except to swing in?

Fast forward to 2010.  I just bought a house a few months ago.  One of the things I really wanted was a front porch.  The house also needed to be in a quiet neighborhood where there wasn't a ton of traffic always driving by, creating noise pollution.  I wanted a lot of trees, too.  Well, the house I bought has all that.  I had looked for 4 or 5 months for a house, and had all but given up on finding a house with those specifications.  God knew right where it was, though, and He led me to it.  I love my little house.

Here we are in July, and I haven't sat on the porch a lot so far.  We had such a cold winter that went on forever, then *pow!* it was summer, and a very hot one. A few times, though, I have managed to find the time and the inclination to sit out there, like tonight.  I heard the frogs (hollerin' for rain) and the jarflies, otherwise known as locusts, from inside the house!  The sounds of a summer evening pulled me outside, and the cool breeze surprised me.  It was quite pleasant out there, and I found myself sitting there for about an hour. While I was there, I pondered the whys and wherefores of porch-sitting. 

We sat outside because it was cooler out there when I was a kid, but these days, it's much cooler inside. There are so many more things to entice me to stay indoors; TV is more compelling than in the mid-twentieth century, due to cable, dvrs, and dvds.  The computer is a big draw as well. There is homework to do.  Life has become so much more busy than I remember it being when my parents were the age I am now.  As I sat there, soaking in the sounds, the cool breeze, and the solitude, I noticed I could think clearly.  I could relax, and I know I am more apt to hear God's voice when I just sit like that.  Perhaps one of the reasons I got to have my front porch was so I could sit out there and communicate with my Father. 

Maybe I've been avoiding it because all the people I used to sit on the porch with are in heaven now.  My dad, mom, brother, grandma, and uncle are all gone on.  I wonder if they sometimes get to see me, sitting on my porch in the cool of the evening? If so, they are probably wondering why I haven't bought a swing yet.  I will take care of that very soon.  I will have my porch swing, a green one, to sit and swing in on cool evenings. How can I be so sure it's supposed to be green, you ask?  Isn't a swing the same in any color?

You have to understand; my Father God doesn't do anything halfway. When He says He will give me the desires of my heart, He means it.  He knows my heart better than I do, too, and He thought of everything.  This house is made to order; a product of the desires of my heart.

So, the shutters and the roof on my house guessed 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hot Water

The lawn needed to be mowed, so I started out early before it got too hot.  We are having an extremely hot and humid June this year.  It already feels like August.

AOG was also coming by to change out my meter.  As I mowed in the back yard, I saw them drive by.  I stopped mowing and went to tell them I was home but in the back yard.  They changed out the meter in 15 minutes or so, and I showed one of them where the gas appliances are.  My heater is electronic ignition, so all that had to be re-lit was the hot water tank.  He lit it and was on his way. 

Mowing without a mask caused me to sneeze quite a bit last night, but I thought it was going to be ok.  However, this morning I awoke feeling dizzy, more like vertigo, which I am quite sure is because of sinus pressure on the inner ear.  I was increasingly dizzy throughout the day.  By about 4:00, I decided I couldn't drive to Justin's party because of it.  I had also discovered that the hot water was no longer hot.  It was lukewarm.  I noticed this when I was getting water for cleaning.  I went and looked at the tank; yes, the pilot light was lit. 

At some point, I decided that maybe I had a gas leak; after all, the problems all started after they changed out my meter.  I finally called the gas company and they sent someone out.  He checked for leaks and there were none.  Then he reached down and turned on the hot water tank.  Apparently, the gas company worker yesterday forgot to turn it back on after he re-lit it. I have never had gas appliances before.  I've always lived in an all electric house or apartment.  So I knew nothin' 'bout turning on a gas water heater.  LOL!

So I should have hot water again by now.  The dizziness is apparently sinus related, because meds helped.

And so ends the last official day of vacation.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hurry Up...and Wait

The flight out of Richmond  was about 15 minutes behind schedule, and my layover in Detroit was already only an hour, so I knew that I would have no time to spare in getting to my connecting flight.  Detroit was about an hour and a half away, so I settled in to enjoy the flight.  I read for a while and had a Coke and some peanuts when they offered it. I talked to the woman in the seat beside me...a major feat for me, because I'm not comfortable talking to strangers.  She was a nice lady, traveling to visit relatives with her 2 granddaughters. I read some more.  As we neared Detroit, I noticed out the window an expanse of blue.  It was water.  Better yet, it was one of the Great Lakes!  I have never seen such a large body of water other than the ocean. I could not see the other side.  I snapped pictures until we were told to turn off all electronic devices.  I was fascinated by seeing what I discovered later was Lake Erie. 

We landed in Detroit, and when we got off the plane, I looked at the status of my connecting flight on the monitor.  It was as far away from where I was as it could possibly be!  All the way to the end of another concourse.  I was at the far end of the one we were on.  I took off for the gate where my next flight was.  I walked as fast as I could on the moving walkways, and made pretty good time. I finally made it to the right concourse, and started looking for one of those newstand souvenir shops.  I spotted one, and the line didn't look too long.  I ran in there and quickly found a collector spoon for myself and a magnet for a friend, paid, and was on my way in less than 5 minutes.  I still made it to the gate before they started boarding...barely.  Of course, I was in zone 3 and they always start with zones 1 & 2.

The flight to Memphis was a little bumpy.  I have only experienced turbulence one other time, and I didn't like it then, either.  It didn't last the entire flight at least; probably about 30 minutes or so.  We landed in Memphis and I realized that I already had a 2 hour layover; adding back the hour I lost when I traveled east would add another one.  It was about 4:15, and I had to wait until 7:25 to fly to Fort Smith.  I decided that was ok; I was hungry, since I hadn't eaten since breakfast.  Also, I had homework I could submit on the online site.  I found a place to eat and settled in, finally in no hurry. The food was overpriced, but good.  I couldn't get online, though.  I decided it was probably the restaurant; I would try again when I left there.  I found a seat close to the gate and tried to get online again.  No luck.  There was only one network available that responded at all; and it wasn't free.  To use this network, I would have had to subscribe and pay a fee.  No way!  I was so put out.  The longest layover, and no internet!  What gives?

I ended up reading for an hour.  When we boarded, we were told there would be a delay because we were waiting on a mechanic.  This was a little disturbing.  We waited...and waited...and WAITED.  Finally, after 45 mintues, the captain announced that we were waiting on an airline mechanic that was needed in Fort Smith. After over an hour, he finally showed up and we took off about 8:30--an hour late.  By the time we left, the sun was down, but we caught up with the sunset because we were flying west.  I thought this was cool.  We also passed a large thunderstorm cloud a short distance away in which I saw lightening.  I was never able to catch it on camera, though.

We landed in Fort Smith about 9:15. Almost home.  More waiting...this time on luggage.  At last I had my luggage, my friend drove up out front, and I was homeward bound.  All in all, a very good vacation, even with the airport delays.  I am glad I got to go.

Saying Goodbye

The vacation was winding down; Wednesday night I had to pack all my stuff because we were leaving about 10 the next morning for Richmond. It's amazing how stuff gets everywhere when you are living out of a suitcase.  I managed to gather it all up and get it where it would be easy to practically just throw my pjs and toothbrush in and go.  I never could find the spray I bought after I got there for conditioning my hair before using the Chi.  I finally decided I must have packed it deep within my larger suitcase that I was going to check, so no biggie.  It was about 5 or 6 ounces, over the limit for the carry-on.  You can only take liquids if they are 3.4 ounces or less and they have to be enclosed in a quart-size ziplock bag.   

Morning was there quickly.  Goodbyes are hard, and Jeff had to leave for work about 8:30, and Alli left soon after that. It makes my heart hurt right now just thinking of it.  Then it was just Jeremy and me.  We put our stuff in the car and headed for the Wa Wa, which is a chain located mostly in the southeast that has great coffee and cheap gas.  I have never seen a better coffee bar in my life.  Several different kinds of coffee lined the wall, and in the middle was the cream and sweetener station.  There was a section of different kinds of milk, half n half, and creamers submerged in an iced-down cooler.  It was, in short, a coffee drinker's dream.

We started for Richmond, which is about a 45 minute drive, with Jim Croce singing on the CD player.  Jeremy and I had a great visit just driving to the airport.  Sooner than I was ready for, we were at the airport and I had to part ways with my other son.  I swallowed the large lump in my throat as I said goodbye and walked away, toward the terminal.  I had a little trouble finding the Delta counter, but an airport security person showed me which direction to go.  It was a confusing airport. 

I checked in at the kiosk and got my boarding passes, then checked my baggage.  Now it was on to the security screening.  There was not a long line and it was my turn before I knew it.  I put all my stuff in the tubs on the conveyor belt and walked through the metal detector.  After I passed this inspection, I headed toward my stuff and started gathering it all up. I noticed that my laptop carry-on was there, but the other suitcase was not.  About that time, a security officer asked me to step over to an area where a more in depth screening can be done.  They were going to search my luggage?  For what?

Remember full size bottle of hair conditioner I couldn't find?  They found  it.  Because they found it, they searched me and my luggage to see if I was a terrorist I guess.  I told the guy that I accidentally brought that bottle in my carry-on, that I had intended for it to be in my checked luggage but I never could find it.  He and the other security people decided that it was indeed a hair care product and that I meant no harm and had accidentally brought it.  They threw it away and let me have my suitcase back.  I wasn't badly upset by this; if anything it made me feel more secure knowing that the TSA people take our safety seriously.

I then had to find my gate, which I did without any trouble.  It was an hour before my flight, so I was doing good.  I got a bottle of water and sat down to work on my homework while I waited to board.  I had written the paper the night before, but wanted to re-read it before I submitted it.  I made a couple of minor changes and saved it, but before I could get to the website and send it on its way, my flight was called.  I was soon on my way to Detroit.

And that's another story in itself.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Family and Fun

It was 96 in the shade in the Williamsburg area when I was there on vacation.  I'm sure the heat index was over 100.  The air was oppressive; it made it difficult to do anything that required walking.  We were only out in it for a couple of hours at Yorktown, but we stayed about 4 hours at Busch Gardens and about 5-6 hours each day, 2 days in a row at Colonial Williamsburg.  Add my UTI to the extremely hot weather, and you've got not only a wimpy girl who hates summer and sweating but a sick one.  I felt terrible the first 3 days.  I'm sure I was very whiney.  I began to annoy myself. 

Being with my family made it worth it, and we had a great visit in spite of the oppressive heat. We only see each other about twice a year, so we packed as much into the 5 days I was there as we could.  I savored every moment.  Monday evening, Jeremy came in from Savannah.  We caught the end of Alli's softball game and then we went to Greenleaf for $5 appetizers, which were yummy.

With my family by my side I saw the beautiful gardens of Busch Gardens, toured the historical sights of Yorktown and Colonial Williamsburg, and saw Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the York River.

I watched Jeff's brilliant performance of the lead role along with the Williamsburg Players in their closing night's production of "Company." 

We watched some of Big Bang Theory, season 2, as well as "What's Up Doc?" with Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal.

We played new board games I had never heard of. 

We talked, and laughed, and got caught up on each other's lives. We giggled over you tube videos and quoted from the movies they grew up watching. I remembered what great people they are.  Jeff has found the love of his life, Alli, who is a wonderful additon to our family.  I couldn't ask for a better daughter-in-law.

I love my family.  <3

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Traveling Day

I had been planning this vacation for months.  I had my time off work approved, my plane ticket, and had made arrangements to have some good friends look in on Isabel, my cat.  I was working feverishly to get to a point at work where 3 days--June 28-30--would be enough to close out the current financial fiscal year at school when I returned from vacation. I was mostly packed by Thursday of the week I was leaving on Friday.  Everything was set.  There was just one little problem...

Thursday evening (the night before! I know, right?) I had the uncomfortable feeling that I was maybe getting a bladder infection.  I don't drink enough water, a fault I have always had to work on.  Add to this my frantic rushing around to prepare to be gone from work for 2 weeks, and about a ton of stress, and yep...recipe for disaster. 

Oh, did I mention that I am taking an online class in Summer I?  I debated about dropping it, but I have tried every semester to get into this class, a required one for my major, but it was never offered at night or online.  When it became available online, I grabbed it.  I had worked as far ahead as I could on the homework. Yes, add that stress as well.

Friday morning, there was no question.  I was sure I had a urinary tract infection. I went on to work and called the doctor, thinking they'll call something in for me.  No, they had to see me.  Great.  I told them I have a 4:30 flight, which means I need to be at the airport by 3:30 or 3:45 at the latest (it is Fort Smith, after all). It is now almost 11:30, and they go to lunch for an hour at noon.  I locked the office and took off down to the doctor's office (which is in Van Buren, thank God). I spent my entire lunch hour in the doctor's office.  The final diagnosis was, yes you have a UTI. Duh. So they called something in for me and I raced off to Walmart to get it.  Of course, when I got there it's wasn't ready.  I ended up waiting almost 30 minutes there for my prescription, which the pharmacist told me to take with food.  I hadn't had time for lunch, but I knew I needed to get started on the antibiotics, so I went through Sonic and got a large WATER and a corn dog.  Then I booked it back to work, where a lady was waiting for me to open up so she could pay her daughter's pep club membership.

I managed to get out of there by the 2:00 time I had set to run home and pull all my baggage together.  I was 99% packed, but there are always last minute things like my toothbrush, the Chi, which was too hot to pack when I left for work, etc.  I got this done and my friend Deb showed up right on time to take me to the airport. I was a nervous wreck--flying makes me nervous, and deadlines that I am worried about missing do as well. I talked non-stop I'm sure all the way over there. I was at the airport by 3:30 as I had hoped, and I checked in at the kiosk for my boarding passes. flight was delayed.  What?! No! You mean I rushed around for nothing?  I went ahead and checked my one bag (too much stuff is needed in a week's time to get it all in the 2 carry-ons you're allowed).  I then went through security with my carry-ons and collapsed in a chair by the gate where we would board.  I could now relax.  They finally called us to board and we ended up taking off about 5:08.  Only about 38 minutes late.  Not too bad.  I could still make my connecting flight in Memphis.

We got to Memphis with no time to spare.  Fortunately, the gate was on the same concourse, so it wasn't too far to go.  There was no time to sit down, though, because they had already announced that our flight would board in the next few minutes.  This plane ended up being delayed a little, too. They finally let us board, and we were on our way to Atlanta. 

When we arrived in Atlanta, already about 20 minutes behind, our gate was not ready.  So we sat in the plane for about 20-30 minutes.  It was already going to be close for me to make this next connection.  I was supposed be there by 8:45 or so, and the next flight was at 9:37. Since we were behind, though, it was after 9:00 when we got to Atlanta.  We didn't deplane until 9:30. I looked at the departure status of my next flight, and it was delayed!  It was set to take off at 11:30 instead of 9:37, but at least I would have time to get there.  It was on C concourse, and I was on B. So I made my way to the subway train, went over to C, found the was moved.  It was still delayed, but had been moved to--you guessed it--B concourse.  Yes, the one I started on.  *sigh*

This whole thing was like a comedy of errors.  By this time, it was past annoying and stressful and just plain funny. Ever see the Bugs Bunny episode where he's the cartoon artist, drawing stuff to happen to Daffy?

Jeff was supposed to pick me up about 11:30 in Richmond, so I texted him and told him the delay status.  We did finally take off around 11:30 from Atlanta, and landed in Richmond about 1:15 am, where we proceeded to wait for 30 minutes for our baggage. So it was 2:00 when we left Richmond for Williamsburg, a 45 minute drive. We arrived at Jeff and Alli's apartment just before 3:00.  Jeff proudly showed me to the guest room that they had fixed up for my visit, and I crashed.

I know that the steps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord.  I have no doubt that He had it all arranged just the way it was for my protection.  All evening, even though I was tired and a little frustrated, deep down I knew the Lord was taking care of me. 

And so ended day one, the traveling day.  More vacation blogs will follow.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


     mel·an·chol·y /ˈmɛlənˌkɒli/ [mel-uhn-kol-ee] noun, plural-chol·ies, adjective  –noun 

         1.a gloomy state of mind, esp. when habitual or prolonged; depression.
         2.sober thoughtfulness; pensiveness.

I'm not depressed anymore.  I am usually pretty level, and able to cope with whatever life throws me in a given day.  Ah, but just a few short years ago, that wasn't the case.  Days like today were the norm, not the exception.  A good day was a rarity instead of an everyday occurance.  Thank God, I am free from that!  He has broken the chains of depression. Still, I have days like today, and I have to look to God for help, just as David did. He wrote in Psalm 42:
"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.
 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
 My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long,
"Where is your God?"

 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?
 Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." Psalm 42:1-3, 5

I've been sitting here, talking to God.  Maybe it's Him speaking to me, I don't know, but I sense that in those times when I just feel like I can't stand to be alone another minute, when I feel like I really need a friend, but none are available, could it be He wants me to come to Him?  Reaching way back to when I went through Experiencing God, by Henry Blackaby, I seem to remember he said that we are born with a "God-shaped hole" inside our hearts.  I believe that.  I think that sometimes--not all the time, but sometimes--we run here and there, listening and talking to everyone but our Creator.  Then we can't understand why we feel so empty, so lonely.  We attempt to fill that void with everything and everyone....except the One it is designed for.

"Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life." Psalm 42:7-8.

I have to work at it, this going to God and asking Him to fill me.  My human nature wants to fill it with anything and everything, but I have to resist that temptation and remember that He loves me and wants a relationship with me.

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.
 He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
 My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

 Selah." Psalm 62:5-8

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tonight's Conversation with God

Tonight, I'm a little shaken, so when I talked to my Father tonight, it went something like this:

Me: God, I'm scared.

God: Why? I am with you.

Me:  I know, but I just get scared sometimes. What can I do? Will you protect me?

God: Yes. There are lots of places in my word where I promise this:

"When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared." Proverbs 3:24-26

"The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 27:1

"When I am afraid, I will trust in you." Psalm 56:3

"I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8

Me:  Thank you, God.  I feel better.  You are so good to me.  I love you.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Jesus has RISEN!

When Jesus died on the cross, "the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!" (Matthew 27:51-54, NIV)

As I quoted from Mark in yesterday's blog, Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus' body and laid it in his own tomb, freshly cut into the rock. The Pharisees were worried, though, that Jesus' disciples would steal His body. They went to Pilate the next day and expressed this. They said 'we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ' "After three days I will rise again.' " So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.' So Pilate told them to secure the tomb. "So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard." (Matthew 27:62-65, NIV)

I am so thankful that Jesus died for my sins.  I can never repay the debt I owe to Him for taking on my sins and dying a brutal death by crucifixion.  But the story doesn't end with His death. Quoting again from Matthew, "After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me." (Matthew 28:1-8, NIV)

"Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:16-20, NIV)

HE IS RISEN!  My Lord conquered death, hell, and the grave and is now at the right hand of the Father in heaven.  "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2, NIV)

Please consider what He has done for you and me.  If you don't have a church home, come and worship with us tomorrow morning at Evangel Temple, 12th and Dodson in Fort Smith.  Services are at 9:01 and 10:45. Even if you choose to go somewhere else, please go to church and worship Him.  If you haven't received Jesus as your Savior, I urge you to do that.  He gave His life to save you. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

Jesus Died for Us

Continuing the story of what Jesus did for us:

At dawn's first light, the high priests, with the religious leaders and scholars, arranged a conference with the entire Jewish Council. After tying Jesus securely, they took him out and presented him to Pilate...It was a custom at the Feast to release a prisoner, anyone the people asked for. There was one prisoner called Barabbas, locked up with the insurrectionists who had committed murder during the uprising against Rome. As the crowd came up and began to present its petition for him to release a prisoner, Pilate anticipated them: "Do you want me to release the King of the Jews to you?" Pilate knew by this time that it was through sheer spite that the high priests had turned Jesus over to him. But the high priests by then had worked up the crowd to ask for the release of Barabbas.

Pilate came back, "So what do I do with this man you call King of the Jews?"

They yelled, "Nail him to a cross!"

Pilate objected, "But for what crime?"

But they yelled all the louder, "Nail him to a cross!"

Pilate gave the crowd what it wanted, set Barabbas free and turned Jesus over for whipping and crucifixion.

The soldiers took Jesus into the palace (called Praetorium) and called together the entire brigade. They dressed him up in purple and put a crown plaited from a thornbush on his head. Then they began their mockery: "Bravo, King of the Jews!" They banged on his head with a club, spit on him, and knelt down in mock worship. After they had had their fun, they took off the purple cape and put his own clothes back on him. Then they marched out to nail him to the cross. 

There was a man walking by, coming from work, Simon from Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. They made him carry Jesus' cross. The soldiers brought Jesus to Golgotha, meaning "Skull Hill." They offered him a mild painkiller (wine mixed with myrrh), but he wouldn't take it. And they nailed him to the cross. They divided up his clothes and threw dice to see who would get them.

They nailed him up at nine o'clock in the morning. The charge against him—the king of the jews—was printed on a poster. Along with him, they crucified two criminals, one to his right, the other to his left. People passing along the road jeered, shaking their heads in mock lament: "You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days—so show us your stuff! Save yourself! If you're really God's Son, come down from that cross!"

The high priests, along with the religion scholars, were right there mixing it up with the rest of them, having a great time poking fun at him: "He saved others—but he can't save himself! Messiah, is he? King of Israel? Then let him climb down from that cross. We'll all become believers then!" Even the men crucified alongside him joined in the mockery.

At noon the sky became extremely dark. The darkness lasted three hours. At three o'clock, Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?"

Some of the bystanders who heard him said, "Listen, he's calling for Elijah." Someone ran off, soaked a sponge in sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, "Let's see if Elijah comes to take him down."

But Jesus, with a loud cry, gave his last breath. At that moment the Temple curtain ripped right down the middle. When the Roman captain standing guard in front of him saw that he had quit breathing, he said, "This has to be the Son of God!" 

There were women watching from a distance, among them Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and Joses, and Salome. When Jesus was in Galilee, these women followed and served him, and had come up with him to Jerusalem. Late in the afternoon, since it was the Day of Preparation (that is, Sabbath eve), Joseph of Arimathea, a highly respected member of the Jewish Council, came. He was one who lived expectantly, on the lookout for the kingdom of God. Working up his courage, he went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. Pilate questioned whether he could be dead that soon and called for the captain to verify that he was really dead. Assured by the captain, he gave Joseph the corpse.

Having already purchased a linen shroud, Joseph took him down, wrapped him in the shroud, placed him in a tomb that had been cut into the rock, and rolled a large stone across the opening. Mary Magdalene and Mary, mother of Joses, watched the burial.  (Mark 15, The Message). be continued...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Jesus Prayed for Us

Tonight I am thinking about Jesus as He prepared for His death on the cross; a death He went willingly to for you and me.  You can read the whole story in any of the four Gospels in the New Testament:  Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  I am quoting from John because that is where He led me tonight. 

He told the disciples that night "... now I am giving you a new commandment:  Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34,35 New Living Translation) 

He also prayed for his followers; the ones there with Him, as well as you and me, over 2000 years before we were born.  He prayed:

“My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory...I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me." (John 17:9-10,20,21 New Living Translation)

Jesus died for you. He sacrificed His life so that you could be with Him forever in Heaven.  He loves you that much. Please don't toss this most precious gift aside.  He gave everything for you, holding nothing back.

Will you accept His gift to you?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Emotional Freedom

I have been skimming through the old journals, and I came across this entry from August of 2003.  At the time, I was just emerging from another one of my bouts with depression, one that almost destroyed me.  I was enrolled in a Beth Moore study which was certainly no coincidence.  God set me up, and He used her teaching to heal me:
 8/4/03—Several days ago, as part of my “Breaking Free” homework, I read this:

"Sometime in the midst of my morning time with God, I ask Him to satisfy all my longings and fill all my hollow places with His lavish, unfailing love. This frees me from craving the approval of others and requiring others to fill my “cup.” Then, if someone takes the time to demonstrate his or her love to me, that’s the overflow! I am free to appreciate it and enjoy it, but I didn’t emotionally require it! See how the love of God that permeates the life through His Holy Spirit brings freedom? Not only am I freed, I am able to free others from having to boost me up emotionally all the time. Hallelujah! Where the Spirit of the Lord’s lavish love is, there is freedom!!" (Beth Moore in Breaking Free).

This is a revelation to me. It has changed me forever. I’m free!

I tried it—He really does fill me up when I ask! All the way to my toes if I need it! Thank you God!
I share this because it's even a more mind-boggling revelation to me now than it was then.  It has changed me forever.  God really does fill that longing in my heart; He provides all my needs, even the emotional ones. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Tide is Coming In

Continuing to pull from my journal, here is an entry from 1998, when I went to North Carolina with my friend, Melanie during that summer. We spent a week on North Myrtle Beach, which is actually in South Carolina. The picture of the beach is the actual picture I took that morning.

An entry from June 24, 1998 —Weds—The week of the beach (N. Myrtle, So. Carolina) is ½ over. God woke me up early (5:45) so I got up and walked on the beach. Sunrise was beautiful. I took pictures.

I was walking along and I noticed the tide was coming in. The Lord showed me something in that. I don’t know if I can put it into words. Waves come in on top of each other. Before one could reach me, 4 or 5 more were breaking, one right after another. I noticed there were hundreds, thousands of shells and shell fragments. Much more than when the tide is out. I believe He was saying that blessings will come like that, and I will have more than I can contain. Just like the high tide is in God’s timing, so are His blessings for me. All my needs are being met, but the desires of my heart are yet to come in His time.

The tide is coming in. Praise the Lord!

My Testimony

I recently became aware that I don't really have my testimony on here.  I thought I did.  I've been very selective as I pull entries from my actual journal (which I have all typed into a word document...yes, I'm a little ocd, ok?).  Anyway, here goes with the testimony.

I was raised in church.  I did all the "churchy" stuff; I went to Sunday school, attended Vacation Bible School every summer, and went to youth camp as a teenager.  I knew exactly how to "do church."  After many years of going through the motions, I convinced myself I was a Christian. I can remember trying really hard to please everyone and do the right stuff so they would all be happy.  I never felt I measured up; and I was right.  I was trying to bridge the gap between God and me by being good enough, and that just isn't possible.  I was lost.

I won't elaborate on the many years I went on like this, but basically, it went on for years.  I married at the tender age of 18 and had all three of our wonderful kids by the time I was 27.  We tried to stay in church, but it was very hard, and I know I was unsaved, which was part of the problem.  Looking back, I'd venture a guess that my husband was, too. Because of my upbringing, I knew that our kids needed to be in church.  I was drawn there, and I know now it was the Holy Spirit convicting me and drawing me to Christ.  Eventually though, by the time the oldest was a teenager, we had pretty much stopped going. Great timing to drop out of church just about the time the kids reach their teens.

In 1993, my 13-year-old daughter was invited to Disciple Now, a youth retreat held over a weekend, at a local church.  As a result of this, she was saved and I started going with her to that church.  My life didn't change immediately, though.  Even though I was finally in church, I was still walking in darkness in my heart.  I had been depressed for a long time and was very unhappy. I know now that satan had built a stronghold of depression and fear in my heart.   I had deluded myself into thinking that I was ok.  I justified every sinful and selfish thing I did.  I was never "out there;" into drugs or alcohol, but I might have seen my sinfulness if I had been.  Instead, I didn't realize I needed saving.  After all, I had been raised in church;  I had a Godly heritage.  In addition to this, my marriage was in deep trouble; my husband and I barely spoke. I stayed heartbroken over the situation most of the time; one of the reasons I was so depressed.

It all came crashing down on October 31, 1994. That particular morning, I had come home at daybreak after working all night at Walmart.  In those days, department managers reset the counters for the next season after the store closed at 9:00.  I had to reset my department for Christmas since it was Halloween.  I tried to sleep after my husband left for work and the kids went to school, but even with black trash bags over the windows it was hard to sleep.  I was so convicted about my life and how I had been living, going through the motions of Christianity but not actually willing to turn control over to God.  In short, I was miserable. I slept 3 or 4 hours and finally got up about noon.

I went into the living room and just fell down on the floor. Something broke in me and I just started crying out to God.  I had made a complete mess of my life trying to be in charge, and I finally saw my need for a Savior. The Word I had been hearing at the church I had been attending for a year did not return void, but was at work in me all that time.  I saw the truth at last, and I was so ashamed that I had rejected Jesus' sacrifice all those years.  So many wasted years!  I asked Him to forgive me and I received Jesus as my Savior right then and there.  I laid there crying for close to an hour I guess, brokenhearted.  As I later journaled:

"October 31, 1994:  This was the day that I laid the broken pieces of my life at the feet of Jesus. He was so real to me that day, alone in my house, that I could almost see Him standing in my living room. Having been in pain emotionally for a number of years, I asked Him to fill my heart with His love, because I felt no one really loved me. I asked Him to fill my cup, as I lifted it to Him, until it overflowed with His love. I asked for Him to fill me with the Holy Spirit and use me somehow in His work.  The results continue to amaze me...God has allowed my pain & hurt, BUT—now I listen to Him. I probably wouldn’t have if I had lived the “perfect life” I wanted.  He is molding me so He can use me..."

I would love to tell you that everything was rosy and perfect in my life after that, but it wasn't.  I did have the peace of God finally, and by His grace I got through some very dark days in the next few years.  My brother died suddenly in Dec.1995, my mother died three months after him, and in 1997, my marriage ended in spite of my best efforts.  I can see now that only because I was trusting in Jesus could I have survived those days; His grace truly was--and IS--sufficient for me. 

I have never been the same...thank God!  

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Did I ever mention that I bought a house? I did. I am a homeowner. After renting an apartment for twelve years, eleven of them in the same apartment, it was time.  It was quite a journey, from being newly divorced and working two jobs to make ends meet in 1997 to buying a house in October 2009.  God really did a work there.  Not only did He have to get me through some really rough stuff financially, especially in those early days, He had to convince me that I was capable of whatever He put in my heart to do--with His help of course. Anyone who knows me very well knows that I have not exactly exhibited an abundance of self-confidence.  That said, just know that my buying a house is a BIG DEAL.

God had been dealing with me for months before I even started house-hunting.  He urged me to start packing up Jeff's room; a good place to start since I obviously didn't use Jeff's stuff. Actually, Jeff didn't even use his stuff, since he moved to Virginia without the two six-foot bookshelves full of books (yes, he has that many books) and a closet full of clothes. That in itself is a story for another blog.  So, I began carting books to storage, even before I was officially looking for a house.

After months of searching, I found the right house and closed on the deal.  I became a homeowner.  Now if I could just stop shaking long enough to move.  Why was I shaking?  Oh, I forgot to mention:  I was terrified to move. I was so scared of living in a house.  My little second-floor apartment had been home to me for eleven years, and it was my comfort zone. I shifted into high gear: I started really packing and moving. A really good friend and her husband and sons helped me all day on a Saturday, and I was in.  I had wall to wall boxes, but I was moved in.

That night after everyone was gone, I collapsed on the couch to rest and watch a little TV before bed.  I hadn't been afraid yet.  Hmm, that was strange.  It had been in the back of my mind all day, the fact that everyone would leave and I would be there all alone in a strange house.  As I sat there on the couch mulling this over, I heard the sounds of a group of children next door, having a lot of fun at their Halloween party. Ah, how nice.  It made it seem like a friendly, safe neighborhood. 

Wait a minute...Halloween?  Was the date really October 31?  At that precise moment, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  My first night to stay in my new house was October 31.  Unbelievable.  In case you haven't read some of my earlier blogs, this just happens to be my spiritual birthday.  I was radically saved on October 31, 1994, all alone in my living room.  It was a very dramatic "about face" for me.  I truly turned 180 degrees, from running away from God and all that He stood for to running into His loving arms and repenting.  I have never been the same.

As it began to sink in that God had purposely arranged for my first night in my house to be that particular day, peace enveloped me.  It occured to me that I was not afraid. I was sitting on my couch, just in awe of Him and praising Him for doing that for me, when He clearly said to me that He gave me this house, and He wouldn't put me in harm's way.  If  He gave it to me, which He did, then He was already here and He made it a safe place for me to dwell.

I love it when the God of the universe goes to the trouble of doing something that will be very special to me.  He knew that it would give me peace to know He did that for me. It's home sweet home because He picked it out and was already here when I got here.  My Father is awesome!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Whom Shall I Fear?

"The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?
When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident..." (Psalm 27:1-3).

This is just on my heart tonight.  This girl is no stranger to fear; we got to know each other very well over the years.  However, fear has been evicted from my home and my heart.  It has no place here now, because God set me free from fear. I'm not saying I am never afraid, but it doesn't control me anymore.  Whenever it tries to get back in, I quote scriptures until it goes away.  Scriptures like:

"When I am afraid, I will trust in you." (Psalm 56:3).

"The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (Psalm 118:6)

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2 Tim. 1:7)

I have literally walked through the house quoting these and others that the Holy Spirit brought to mind, and peace just settles over me like a blanket. 

I don't know if this is for someone or just for me.  I just really felt I had to share it.

"For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD." (Psalm 27: 5-6)

Blessings my friends!


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Called out of darkness

" are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9.  We sang a song tonight at church that had that phrase in it.  I can't stop singing it.  It keeps going over and over in my mind.  Experience has taught me that when I can't get something out of my mind, it's usually because the Lord has something He wants to show me.  I am ashamed to confess that I haven't always stopped and listened.  Sometimes I have just pressed on with whatever I deemed so important that I couldn't stop and look up a scripture and let the Holy Spirit teach me something. Tonight, however, I didn't push the urging of the Holy Spirit aside; I looked up the scripture and asked Him to please show me what He wants me to know.  There may be more, because I will meditate on this for awhile, but I realized this much right away: 

I have given my heart and life to God; accepted His gift of salvation by trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior. This much I know; I am His. In case I didn't get it, though, He reaffirms four times over that I am His; I belong to Him.  As a Christian I have become part of a (1) chosen people, (2) a royal priesthood, (3) a holy nation, and (4) a people belonging to God.  It doesn't stop there, though.  He also wants me to know that I am to declare His praises; He who has "called me out of darkness and into His marvelous light."  This is not only my calling to sing His praises on the worship team; it is much more than that.  It is the "everyday me," the "day in, day out, going to work and school me."  Do I let His light shine through me?  Am I reflecting His love to the people I encounter, or am I keeping it all inside?  I have just been made aware again that I am salt and light; a representative of Jesus to people who are lost and hurting.  I have to admit that I have not done a very good job of this lately. 

I AM NO LONGER IN DARKNESS!  Praise God!  He has rescued me, and I have to tell the world.  I have a new fire inside me to journal; to share what He does for me; to encourage whenever I can.  I know this is also a calling; the inclination to write everything down; to keep a journal.  I don't have the right to keep His blessings to myself.  The journaling has been sketchy for the last year or so; I had effectively set it aside.  In the hurry and busyness of everyday life, I allowed it to get squeezed out of my life.  I thought I had lost the ability to express my heart and God's goodness and faithfulness through the written word. 

But I found it. And I just picked it back up.

Be blessed, my friends!     

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Old is Gone...

It is always amazing to me when I happen upon an element of my former life, something I used to enjoy; some aspect of my life before I accepted Christ as my Savior in 1994.  I think sometimes the Lord lets us forget what we were like so that we can really see the change that He has brought about.  I can take absolutely no credit for the change whatsoever.  It's all God.  He has been at work in me all these years, and I had been feeling a little inadequate lately, somewhat of a failure.  He just let me see that I am not where I used to be, and I was encouraged.   As Joyce Meyer says, "I'm not where I want to be, but praise God I'm not where I used to be."  Thank God!

"...if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 1 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV).