Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Missionary's Conversation with God

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. ~Psalm 119:105

When I read this poem for the first time recently it really touched my heart. These words portray a conversation I believe all those called to share The Gospel in lands foreign to them have had with God at some time or another. This poem talks about the "crown" promised. However, it's not about a crown or about the jewels that may be in it. It's about people. About lives. About souls. Crowns don't matter. People do. Much more than anything that glitters ever could.

I said, "Let me walk in the field."
God said, "No, walk in the town."
I said, "There are no flowers there."
He said, "No flowers, but a crown."

I said, "But the sky is black,
There is nothing but noise and din.
"He wept as He sent me back,
"There is more," He said, "there is sin."

I said, "But the air is thick
And fogs are veiling the sun."
He answered, "But souls are sick,
Souls in the darkness undone."

I said, "I will miss the light,
And my friends will miss me, they say."
He answered, "Choose tonight,
If I am to miss you, or they."

I pleaded for time to be given.
He said, "Is it hard to decide?
It will not seem hard in Heaven
To have followed the steps of your Guide."

I cast one look at the field,
Then set my face to the town.
He said, "My child, do you yield?
Will you leave the flowers for a crown?"

Then into His hand went mine,
And into my heart came He.
Now I walk with a light Divine,
The path I had feared to see.
~George MacDonald

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cleaning House

No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house. ~Mark 3:27

Spring Cleaning. It's the big tradition in the states; it's even become a coined phrase used by many cleaning supply companies. It's a big deal. It makes the keeper of the house feel a great sense of accomplishment and it makes anyone else who may be living there quite happy as well.

I too am one of those who tend to jump on the Spring Cleaning band wagon. However, I also have another mood that hits me about this time of year...perhaps it could be called "Fall Cleaning". I know, I know. It doesn't quite have the same pep in it's step when you say it, but, none the less, it motivates me just about the same as the other. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it is the fact that I know a long winter awaits, especially now that I am living in Northern Europe, and that the atmosphere of my humble abode is something that will be even more important during the long winter days ahead that I may be stuck at home. How clean it is... how organized it is...These are things that are going to be staring me in the face on a much more regular basis here in the near future. And, like anyone with a Momma who taught them well, I care. I really care. I haven't always cared so much, but the inner Ms. Homemaker in me has made her debut and the slightly OCD Martha Stewart side is starting to peek it's way through. My latest project: organizing the closet. Granted, I moved to Europe with only 2 suitcases worth of my belongings to live off of for over a year, and just a few random things have been mailed to me since, but you would be greatly surprised at how much I managed to squeeze into those two suitcases! That said, my closet now looks like something that would make even the manager of the highest end department store proud. And, this being the last of my extreme cleaning/ organizing projects for home is now officially "winter ready".

In the midst of all this I'm reminded of one great thing about being single and not yet having a husband or children: Everything I have cleaned, and especially everything I have organized, will remain exactly as it is unless I personally choose to change or mess it up. Now, stick with me, I'm going somewhere with this...

Such is the Christian life. No matter how close you are to other people, whether family, friends, mentors, etc, you have to do the cleaning and organizing for your life and only YOU can truly change or mess up what you have worked so hard to "clean" or make right. Others can try to affect your decisions in positive or negative ways, however you choose whether you will ignore or heed to what they say. YOU make the final choice as to if you will act or not act on their advice. You and only you are the "homemaker" in your life. When all is said and done, it will be you that will stand before the Lord your maker by yourself. Your heart...your home, is your own. No one but God should ever be allowed to dwell there. God's voice should always be the one you listen to the closest when it comes to the cleaning and organizing of your life.

The Bible says that "you are not your own" but that "you are bought with a price". If you are truly sold out, if you are truly "not your own", then when your house is clean, you'll keep it that way. Anyone who has ever cleaned knows how much easier it is to get everything really clean, and then clean up efficiently on a regular basis, than to let everything get dirty and gross and then try to get it all cleaned up. The latter is much harder and in the mean time leaves you and those close to you in a very uncomfortable living situation as well. Why not just keep your "house" in order?

At the beginning of this blog I quoted the verse about the strong man, one often used in reference to evil, rather than good. However, it works the same both ways. If you are Spirit filled, the God in you is WAY stronger than flesh or any evil spirit. YOU are the one who chooses whether to be an overcomer or allow yourself to be bound. You choose the voices that you will listen to.

Your House = Your Heart

Keep your heart clean! Get things right with God. Then, die (repent) DAILY. Yes, daily. Don't just ask God to forgive you quickly then move on along, but ask Him to search your heart. There may be things hanging around that have been there for a very long time, of which you are not even aware,that are affecting your very being. However, if you won't take the time to listen to God, rather than just speak to Him, He certainly won't bother to reveal them to you. God is a gentlemen, He gives men the power of choice and will not speak out of turn. The cool thing: When your heart is clean the organizing side will gradually just fall in place. When you're repenting daily and seeking God's will daily, He WILL speak. He WILL lead you. You WILL feel a peace that passes all understanding, because you will trust and know, on a whole knew level, that God does ALL things well.

He desires your heart to be clean much more than we could every desire our homes to be clean. There is a great contentment that comes from having a tidy home. Philippians 4:11 says, "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." When your "house" is clean, you will know contentment because you will daily be acknowledging that He does all things well and has all things in control. It is through this manifestation of your faith that He will begin to reveal his perfect will to you.

Do what you can; God will do what you can't. Keep your house clean. Find your contentment in God and He WILL, not might not maybe, not possibly, He WILL "order your steps" and "supply all your needs according to His riches in glory."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Christians in Action

"...And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." ~Acts 11:26
"Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you - not because they are nice, but because you are." ~Author Unknown
"What this world needs is a new kind of army - the army of the kind." ~Cleveland Amory
Christian - "Christ-like".
When I was in high school I was in a club called Christians in Action (aka: CIA :-). I feel the name of this club sums up the excerpt below I felt to share. While we, as Christians, are not saved by works, if God's Spirit is truly in us it WILL show through in the fruit we bear...Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, Temperance.
The below is from a fictional book I am reading titled "The Silas Diary" by Gene Edwards. While it is a fictional work, it is based on the real journeys of the Apostle Paul as recorded in the Book of Acts. Whether or not this is the way it was, only God knows...however, this IS the way it should be and I truly belief the way it can be:
...During the course of a year, some who have rooms lose them because they have no money or nothing left with which to barter. During the winter, some barter all they own for food. In this region of Galatia, many slaves, when given the opportunity, refuse to be set free. Others, once freed and on the edge of starvation, sell themselves back into slavery. Hardship is a constant companion in the lives of these people. Such are the people who make up the community of believers in Pisidia.
A group of people have become brothers and sisters, their new way of life wonderful and joyful. It is a way of living never before seen on the face of the earth. Yet God ordained that it come into being in this poor and remote region of Asia Minor.
It is amazing, as I look back, to see how these holy ones take care of one another. If one brother finds a job in the marketplace and the supervisor needs more help, that brother runs to find another brother so he, too, can work that day.
When several brothers work together, they work harder and better. They share a spirit of joy, often singing, often praising. Though the masters and supervisors don't understand it, they remember these men who work so well together. As they hire workers each morning in the marketplace, they search out these faces first. Some of the merchants have been known to say: "You, today you work. Go find your friends, the ones you call brothers, the ones you laugh and sing with."
In the gatherings, brothers tell one another about possible places to look for a day's work. The next night they tell everyone about how the Lord provided them a job, while the rest listen, rejoice, laugh, and interrupt.
Nor were the brothers alone in this new way of meeting needs. This new life inside them was changing everyone and everything, affecting the women as much as the men. The sisters in Pisidia began caring for one another, a phenomenon unknown in the Gentile world. They care for one another in the most unexpected ways. In childbirth, of course, but also working together at the river and in their homes and rooms. (Those who have no home and have to sleep in the forum are especially cared for.) Any sister who becomes sick is soon cared for throughout the night and day.
I have often seen the sisters working together in the fields, caring for one another's children, sharing vegetables and grain with one another, or cleaning rooms together. Sometimes they meet only to sing, to talk, to cry, to care, and to be cared for. If one somehow manages to have more than a day's supply of food, they often come together and prepare one big meal so all can have a good meal that day.
"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" ~Psalm 133:1

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The End of The Beginning

"If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men." ~ 1 Corinthians 15:19 (NIV)

I have had this verse on my mind all very true it is! I am so thankful for the blessings of God in my life, but way more than that I am thankful that this 70 or so years isn't all there is. I have an eternity in Heaven with my Savior to look forward to! An eternity of total peace and joy. The link to the song below is about how Jesus dying on Calvary was not an end, but a beginning for all of us! Through Him rising and conquering sin, we are able to have our own personal relationship with Him. No more veils. No more standing outside while a designated man goes into the Holy of Holies. WE get to stand boldly before God's throne when we pray! When we repent, He forgives. When we are baptized in Jesus name, our sins are washed away and we feel cleaner than we have ever felt inside, and when we ask for Him to fill us with His Spirit, He is glad to oblige. (Acts 2:37-38) His greatest desire is to dwell in us. If we let Him live in us, the options are limitless as to the awesome ways He can use us for His glory and for the good of those around us!

The two quotes below, by the author C.S. Lewis, describe well what that yearning that every human being feels deep also explains how that yearning is proof of great reason to be sure to treat those around you with the special care they deserve. I pray God blesses and ministers to you as you read and listen to the below.
..."If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world...If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only... to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, echo, or mirage...I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to the other country and to help others do the same."

"It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor. The load, or weight, of burden of my neighbor's glory should be laid on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken....It is a serious thing... to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you could see it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare....There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. It is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit--immortal horrors or everlasting splendors...All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or the other of these destinations."

End of the Beginning

Monday, May 23, 2011


Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to abase. ~Daniel 4:37 (NKJ)

Pride- "faith in yourself"

Many years ago I remember the then UPCI's National Bible Quiz Master's wife, Sis. Claudette Walker, speaking at a quiz extravaganza I was attending. That day she spoke about pride...or rather Pr"i"de. She was of course speaking to a group of around 70 teams, so her main purpose of the message was basically the concept that there is no "I" in team and that pride will destroy both a person and a team.

Recently I was talking to a friend about this same issue and afterwards continued to still have this word on my mind. "Pride". I can probably quote most of the Bible verses that contain this word. But I got to thinking... what exactly is pride? How would you define it? I knew how I personally would define it, but how would someone else? What causes it? What are the signs of it? How does one overcome it? I have developed the tendency to avoid people that struggle with the sin of pride like they have the plague. I loathe it. For some reason I had begun looking at it as the "incurable disease".

But, the last few days God has convicted me about this and been reminding me that people with this issue need deliverance just as bad as people with any other sin in their life...therefore, I have been wondering how in the world a friend/ family member can play a role in helping someone over come an issue like that the root is believing there is no issue. One that is the root of many other sins. The human side of me automatically thinks "just 'put them in their place' a few times & that will bring them down a notch"...Obviously though, this is not the proper godly route to take. No, I believe understanding is the first step and prayer the second. There are other things as well, if one is in authority or a very close relationship with someone, that could be done (such as directly addressing the issue), but in general, for every situation, prayer is the key.

I have seen so many amazingly talented & anointed people's lives destroyed due to pride..not from pride itself, but rather from what pride begot. It saddens me to think about it.

Out of curiosity I decided to look up what was available online about this subject and found this great,extremely informative website to which I have posted a link below. I encourage you to check it out. It defines pride, symptoms of pride, causes of pride, differences between pride/arrogance & faith, etc.

One thing I don't know that I total agree with that's mentioned in this article (though it's more true than not) is where it says "A proud person does not pray much, and a praying person is not bothered much with pride." I have not always found this to be the case and the only reason I can think of is that while a person may pray a lot, if there prayer is one sided, rather than two sided ---talking, but not listening, they are not placing themselves in submission to authority...which is a sign of pride.

Perhaps each of us can find an area we could improve in while reading the symptoms list? I am thankful there is no such thing as an "incurable disease" for Jesus is in the healing & restoration business! Let's be sure to always keep our faith in God, NOT in ourselves.

God Hates Pride

Sunday, April 3, 2011


One of the perks I enjoy best about serving God is getting to watch Him work miracles. Every time I see Him work one it just reminds me how much He loves us and how His love is limitless. Thankfully I have been blessed to get to see quite a few miracles lately...some in my own life, others in those of my friends and acquaintances.

Recently I have had the privilege of watching God begin to restore a family to which I am quite close. A while back I wrote a blog entitled "The Battlefield". In this blog I referenced my dear friend and the guilt and misery she was feeling at the time. Shortly after on Facebook I posted a video to a song that I felt very strongly to share with her. What to many would look like an impossible situation, God could and is redeeming. Below are the lyrics to this beautiful song. "But when anything that's shattered is laid before the Lord"---This is the key. God HAS TO be in it for redemption to come...and because of grace it WILL come. The catch? You must ALWAYS keep God the center of your universe. He's only going to show off for those who will give Him the praise He alone deserves!

Redeem: to release from blame or debt

Grace: unmerited (undeserved) favor from God
The cruelest word
The coldest heart
The deepest wound
The endless dark
The lonely ache
The burning tears
The bitter nights
The wasted years

Life breaks and falls apart
But we know these are
Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled
It may be unrestored
But when anything that's shattered is laid before the Lord
Just watch and see
It will not be unredeemed

For every choice that led to shame
And all the love that never came
For every vow that someone broke
And every life that gave up hope
We live in the shadow of the fall
But the cross says these are all
Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled
It may be unrestored
But when anything that's shattered is laid before the Lord
Just watch and see
It will not be unredeemed

Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled
It may be unrestored
But you never know the miracle the Father has in store
Just watch and see
It will not be
Just watch and see
It will not be unredeemed

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

In a Moment...

I've been thinking about the story in John 9 lately...There's a man who has been blind his whole life. Jesus heals him. Immediately the Pharisees begin to interrogate him and his parents, asking them questions about Jesus, questioning whether His healing power really came from God,etc. He stands up for Jesus and then is cast out from them...Then the following happens:
Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him. ~John 9:35-38

In John 4, the longest conversation with Jesus recorded in the Bible occurs..with an outcast Samaritan lady who is living in sin. Jesus is sitting at the well. She's in the process of drawing water from it. She's there for the type of water that evaporates. He's there to share with her living, eternal water. As their conversation continues, eventually the following ensues:
The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her,I that speak unto thee am he. And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her? The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? John 4:25-29

"Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee."

"I that speak unto thee am he."

What must it have been like to have been standing face to face with Jesus and heard him say these words?! In a moment their lives were completely changed. In just one single moment.

The formerly blind man worshiped. The ex-adulterer left the water pot she may have been taking back to "her man" and instead began to witness about the amazingness of God.

In a moment.

Just. One. Moment.

Anything can happen in a moment. Good or bad. The point is only takes a moment. A moment to make a decision to choose God. A moment to make a decision to follow that calling. A moment to make things right with that family member or friend. A moment to give that item or money to the poor. A moment to open your mouth and tell someone about Jesus. Just one moment.

Life is full of moments. They all add up and we need to be sure to make them count. Eventually our moments will all be used up...
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. ~1 Corinthians 15:52

In preparation for THAT moment, let's be sure to use our moments wisely.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. ~Psalm 34:8

Today I was sitting in my car, just watching passing traffic, waiting for an opportunity to pull out on the main road. As I was sitting I saw in a passing vehicle a father signing to his teenage daughter....when I saw this I felt a check in my spirit. I immediately thanked God for something many of us take for granted..the ability to simply hear voices..the ability to be able to enjoy beautiful music...the list could go on & on. It is easy to take things for granted, especially when everyone else seems to enjoy the same blessing. There is no blessing that everyone else enjoys, other than the opportunity to experience salvation. No matter what the case, someone somewhere is less privileged in some way than you.

Lately I have been trying to adjust to the fact that I will soon be saying goodbye for a long time to many of my favorite people. The goodbyes that are hardest for me to think about are the ones with my twin niece & nephew and my father. Goodbyes have never been all that hard for me; this time though is a bit harder...

This time I am going on a mission trip for longer than I have ever went on one before...and this time I have no intentions to come back and finish school, etc like I have done in the intentions are simply to do whatever it takes to continue following God's will for my life and my home town is not where God has called me, but rather one of the places He has prepared me.

This time I have a niece & nephew who are two and who have completely stolen my heart. This time I have a father who is in his 70s and who had three silent strokes last year. This time is different.

While talking with God earlier this week about this and asking him how best to cope, I felt Him speak to me, "Thank me for the blessings." So, I began to think about what God meant. It didn't take long to realize exactly what he'd meant....

1) My niece & nephew are miracle babies..the babies we prayed for for 10 years...they are an answer to prayer. Beautiful. Healthy. Great personalities. I'm proud & thankful to be their "Aunt Rachel".

2)When I got the phone call while living in Tupelo, MS last year that my Dad had experienced a minor stroke, I could have arrived home and found him in a much worse condition...I had a grandma who was paralyzed on one side for over 10 years. That's the only way I ever knew her. I automatically thought of her when I received the voicemail from my sister-in-law. But God saw to heal my Dad from ninety percent of the damage that had been caused from the strokes within weeks of them occurring.

3) I've grown up with a father who has always been there for us and always shown love to my Mom & us.
4) My father is a very godly man whom I've never heard a negative word spoken about...a true example of Christ.
5) Him & my Mom have brought me up to know & love God as well and to always follow His will.

Sometimes it's important to stop and count our blessings...The specific blessing that God was talking about to me? The blessing of simply having an awesome niece & nephew and a loving, godly father to whom to even be able to say goodbye. It's easy to take for granted how blessed we really are. I was sitting in that car earlier today thinking about thanking God for things I take for granted, this song (see link at bottom) came on the radio.
Sometimes we take obviously good things for granted...but sometimes things we think are bad, are actually good...blessings in disguise. Some of these we may never realize until we get to heaven. As the old song goes, "We'll understand it better by and by."

Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. ~Charles Dickens

I hope this song touches you as it did me. God bless!


Friday, March 4, 2011

What if You're Wrong?

I was thinking about the song "What if You're Wrong?" today, and then while listening to my mp3 player I heard a sermon Rev. David Bernard had preached recently. At one point in his message he made a reference to a quote by a theologeon who lived in the 1600s, Blaise Pascal. Rev. Bernard referred to a wager Pascal once proposed...
"If you think of your life as a wager, should you bet that there is a God or should you bet that there is not a God?...Now think about this. What's the worst that could happen if you bet that there's a God and He's really not there? What's the worst that could happen? The worst that could happen is that you could die and never know that you were wrong. That's it. So you live your life. Your dead and your gone. That's the worst that could happen. You don't lose anything. You'd die and that'd be it, no matter what. But what if there really is a God and you bet that there isn't? Whether you become an atheist or rather you theoretically believe in God but you live according to your own will without consulting God, in effect you're betting that God doesn't matter. What if you bet that there isn't a God...and there really is. What's the worst that could happen? Well,you lose eternal life and you have eternal damnation."

Pascal went on to say, "So, from a purely practical point of view, what's the smart thing to do?... BET ON GOD! If you bet on God and He's not there, you haven't lost anything. But if you don't bet on Him and He is there, you've lost everything...for now and for eternity.

In reference to Pascal's quote, Rev. Bernard said, "Act as if He is real and you will find that He is real!" Once you take that step to open up your heart to God He WILL reveal Himself to you. Whether or not you believe in Him or love Him, He loves you. And He's simply waiting for you to take that first step. Like a loving Father toward His child, His arms are outstretched. The choice is yours.

I encourage you to read the lyrics to this song and watch the video link at the top.
What if you're right?
And he was just another nice guy
What if you're right?
What if it's true?
They say the cross will only make a fool of you
And what if it's true?

What if he takes his place in history
With all the prophets and the kings
Who taught us love and came in peace
But then the story ends
What then?

But what if you're wrong?
What if there's more?
What if there's hope you never dreamed of hoping for?
What if you jump?
And just close your eyes?
What if the arms that catch you, catch you by surprise?
What if He's more than enough?
What if it's love?

What if you dig
Way down deeper than your simple-minded friends
What if you dig?
What if you find
A thousand more unanswered questions down inside
That's all you find?

What if you pick apart the logic
And begin to poke the holes
What if the crown of thorns is no more
Than folklore that must be told and retold?

But what if you're wrong?
What if there's more?
What if there's hope you never dreamed of hoping for?
What if you jump?
And just close your eyes?
What if the arms that catch you, catch you by surprise?
What if He's more than enough?
What if it's love?

You've been running as fast as you can
You've been looking for a place you can land for so long
But what if you're wrong?

What if you're wrong?
What if there's more?
What if there's hope you never dreamed of hoping for?
What if you jump?
And just close your eyes?
What if the arms that catch you, catch you by surprise?
What if He's more than enough?
What if it's love?

Friday, February 11, 2011


This morning I woke up in quite a good mood....with the lyrics to this song in my head:

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, help me stand
I am tired
I am weak
I am worn
Through the storm,
Through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand, precious lord
Lead me home

My first thought was "I'm feeling just fine right why am I waking up with lyrics to a song about feeling tired,weak,and worn? This was definitely not the song of choice I wanted stuck in my head all day.

Then, as I was reading my Bible this same morning, I read the following verse:
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.~1 Cor.15:19

Paul, the writer of the above scripture, experienced ALOT of bad things in his life, much of which is recorded in 2 Corinthians 11:22-33. As shown in the verse above though, he realized that in the big picture of things it just didn't matter. He admitted that if he was just thinking about the present, the life he had experienced here on earth, and not the glorious eternity God has promised those who serve him, he would be most miserable. Not just miserable, but the most miserable of ALL men.....and after reading 2 Corinthians 11, who can blame him?!!! (On a side note, I have decided that from now on when I'm having a "bad day" I'm reading this chapter to keep things in perspective. :-)

The point:
It's ok to sometimes feel tired, weak, and worn. We are all human. We all sometimes wake up "on the wrong side of the bed" for what seems like absolutely no reason. The important thing is that our focus is right and that it never changes---

70 years vs. eternity....

Where and with whom have you placed your hope?

I remember many years ago as a Bible quizzer sitting on the bed in my grandma's house in the mountains of West Virginia late on Christmas Eve night memorizing verses for the soon starting season..... I remember this particular moment because I remember how quickened in my Spirit I felt as I memorized the verses below:
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. ~1 Thess. 4:16-18

It's like I felt God saying "Hope in this. Remember this. Focus on this...This is what it's all about. Don't forget it."

This morning when I was thinking about how Paul said he would be "of all men most miserable", I began to think about "When am I the most miserable?" I am the most miserable when I take the blinders off..when I choose judgement or justice toward others over mercy...when I begin to look at people or circumstances through the world's eyes, rather than through Gods. I am the most miserable when I take my eyes off Christ and the promise of eternity in Heaven and turn my focus towards anything that is not eternal.

Thankfully we do not have hope in Christ in this life only. We have an eternal hope!

Through the storm,
Through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand, precious lord
Lead me home!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Kind of Heroes

Began this post a year ago...came across it & felt to finish it up & post it...
"Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come." ~Psalm 71:18

"One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts." ~Psalm 145:4

Hero - a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities

Recently I attended a conference for ministers in Alexandria, Louisiana called Because of the Times. The church the Pentecostals of Alexandria hosts this meeting each year and it is a HUGE blessing to ministers throughout the UPCI organization and beyond.

During the conference this year there was one major thing on my mind. Sacrifice. I am presently planning to go overseas to do mission work for the longest amount of time, by far, I have ever gone, and I already know...this isn't just a trip, but a beginning. A beginning to a future with extremely heavy reliance on faith & trust in God, and his leading, and guiding, and provision....It's a future that is very much based on God leading one step at a time, and trusting that every step will be secure. I am already quite familiar with this type of reliance, but know deep down I have really only touched the tip of the iceburg.

During BOTT the Stewarts, missionaries to Liberia, were asked to share their testimony. I had already had the privilege of meeting this wonderful couple the summer before at Louisiana camp meeting, but little did I know what all they had been through for the sake of Christ...There were many things they shared that day, but what stood out to me the most was that they had stayed in their country through many civil wars, even when our U.S. marines were evacuated...they still stayed. At one point the gunfire was very extreme near their home for a long period of time. During this time they ran out of food and water and drunk the water from their water bed for over a week, I believe,just to survive.

THIS is what REAL heroes look like:

And then, there was this man. I don't remember his name and had never seen him before. I probably wouldn't recognize him again if I saw him, but he made a huge lasting impression on me....You see, they were having drawings for door prizes, cds or something like that, and when each person's name was announced, so was their ministry...foreign missionary, home missionary, evangelist, pastor,etc. This man's name was announced, followed by "home missionary", as the man walked by me conviction seized my heart. He was well in his 70s at least and how was he spending the golden years of his life? Still working hard for the Kingdom. My hero.

And then there's another hero I want to talk about...Sis. Kristi Landaw. Her & her husband are missionaries to Trinidad & Tobago and also some Spanish speaking countries in the Caribbean. The first mission trip I ever took, right out of high school, was a YOM to Trinidad, so I, of course, got to know them quite well then, and later ended up attending Bible college with their children in Indianapolis. So, all that said, while I wouldn't consider myself close to them at this time, they still hold a dear place in my heart. Therefore, from the time I heard Sis. Landaw had cancer, I prayed for her often. A lot of missionaries going through what she went through could have thrown in the towel, and nobody would have probably thought it wrong at all, but they didn't. They fought. They prayed. And they won. They are back on the field & God is still doing a great work in Trinidad!

While writing the last part of this (now in 2012), I glanced at Sis. Landaw's FB page, and saw the lyrics to this song she had posted...believe it is very appropriate for what I am writing about:
Too many miles behind me too many trials are through
Too many tears help me to remember but there's too much to gain to lose
Too many sunsets lie behind the mountains
Too many rivers my feet have walked through
Too many treasures awaiting over yonder there's too much to gain to lose

"Too much to gain to lose"...That's a hero's mindset.

My heroes are not all missionaries, nor are they all full time ministers. But they are all people who no one need ask, for it is obvious, that they walk with God daily, for His beauty is reflected through their countenance & his power is displayed through their courage.

When I look at the type of people I have written about above, as part of the generation following them, I am encouraged that I too can do whatever God asks of me, no matter what may come my way, no matter how difficult or scary the task. Through people like this God's strength has been shown to this generation and His works have been praised. Their commitment itself shows that His acts are indeed mighty and well worth the sacrifice.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Never Never NEVER Give Up

"Never, never, NEVER give up." ~ Winston Churchhill

The blog below (posted by another one of my close friends) tells the testimony of a dear friend of mine, a friend I just met this last summer, but that I now feel like I've known forever. One day this last July her and another friend and I went to a restaurant for lunch on a Sunday afternoon. I had heard she had an amazing testimony and asked her to please tell me it. Two hours later this girl I had just met that morning had me in tears right there in that restaurant as she shared her testimony with me. The tears came because God in a strong way began to speak to me to never give up on anyone. To ALWAYS keep reaching and to NEVER place judgement. Isn't that exactly what Jesus would do?

I hope this short version of her testimony ministers to you as it did to me.

Fancy~Shmancy: A letter from Angel: "In late September, I met a young lady with a big smile and lots of spunk. Her and her friend Linda were introduced to me and my friends thro..."

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What If?

My friend sent me this very long text a few weeks ago and it got me thinking...
"What if God had nothing to offer? No blessings, no promises, no protection? And what if we had no knowledge of a heaven to go to for eternity? What if we didn't get anything out of living for God, but a relationship with Him? What if we got nothing out of it but God Himself? Would we be as driven to live for Him? And what if we didn't need Him or have to have Him to fulfill our needy list of prayer requests? What if we accepted him as He is, whether we agree or disagree with His plans? What if He became our love and we focused on worshipping Him in every way and loving on Him with our prayers instead of using our prayers to control or change a situation the way "we think God wants it to be?" What if we lived for and focused on loving and pleasing God? What if all that mattered was Him instead of what He can offer-no heaven, no promises, no blessings, no protection, no favor because of your obedience and fastings- nothing but His love, His presence, Himself? No strings attached on either side."

My initial thought when I first read the text was, "Wow, that would stink!" Some parts of the text itself were self-conflicting. Any God of love would desire to bless, protect, make and keep promises to, and provide for His children. If this desire is not present, love is not present and as anyone who serves Jesus knows, God IS Love. The god mentioned in that text wouldn't have died on Calvary, yet Love in flesh DID die on Calvary for us and rose again.

However, going along with the text, I did ask myself, "What If?"...quickly the words to one of my favorite songs came to mind:
"I was made to worship you, live for you, open up my mouth and praise you, I was made just for you, to adore you, you and only you."

Yes, I thought, I WOULD worship Him, even if He was a distant god and I was a pawn, because He is my creator and that's what I am created to do. But boy do I love him so much more knowing that he is an intimate God who knows both the thoughts and intents of my heart and loves me with an ever lasting love.

Later, the text wasn't on my mind, but while praying God reminded me of it again and I felt Him say, "Billions of people do this everyday."

I got the point...And my heart sunk.

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands.They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them. ~Psalm 115:5-8

I'm thankful I serve a LIVING God who is also a LOVING God. So many people know OF Him, but have yet to really KNOW Him. And there are still so many people who have yet to even hear the name Jesus.

I pray we never take our knowledge of the one true God forgranted.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Watching God Work

“When God is looking for someone to use He looks to the prison, not to the palace.” ~Rev. Jeff Sanders

Has God ever spoken something to you and you wish that He hadn’t? I don’t mean something chastising, but a word of direction regarding your future or a promise, yet you found yourself wishing that He had just kept you out of the loop?

I am, as some rednecks would say, a “get ‘er done” type person. I consider myself more a follower than a leader, but if I look around and no one is leading, I’ll usually take the reins and do what has to be done. So, if I’m at point A and you tell me I’m eventually going to be at point C, I intend on doing what it takes to get there…because that’s where I’m supposed to be going, right? Why waste time? Why take the 10 mile trail when there’s a 5 mile short cut?

So, when I, apparently at the right time, listened to a cd of a message Bro. Royce Wilson had spoken at BOTT 2009, a minister’s conference hosted every year by a church in Alexandria, I was reminded that, when God’s timing is right, He will begin to speak, but not before then.

You see, before listening to this message, I was getting pretty upset, and was letting God know about it. I was asking Him things like, “Why tell me something if there’s nothing I can do about it?” (Remember, my “take the reins” personality description up above?”) I felt God gently tell me, “Because you asked.”

“Ok…He did get me there.” I did ask. Every major decision I make I pray and fast about. And I had been doing a whole lot of that at this pivotal time in my life. So yes, He had answered and He had answered in more detail than I would ever have expected.

Yet, I still found myself wondering, why, knowing how I am, would you choose to show me this, a Point C with a road block? Then I felt God reply, “So you would have to trust me, and know it was me and me alone who got you there.”

Sometimes, if most people are in a lazy mood, they don’t have much of a problem sitting by letting someone do something on their own…but most people also, that have a high level of respect for someone, if they see them working on a project, etc, that they feel they could lend a hand to help with, are usually going to help, or feel guilty not doing so. And this is all well and good. But we have to be careful not to take this approach with God, remembering that His ways are above our ways and His thoughts are above our thoughts. Usually his plan is so complex and so much better than what we would imagine that we would merely be in the way if we attempted to “help”.

Yes, faith without works is dead, but sometimes our “works” simply has to be to pray and continue to do what’s right.

Bro. Wilson’s message was about being a “stranger in the land of fulfillment”.
He talked about how when God gives you a promise, you are not crazy; it will come to pass. His references were to the story of Joseph. He also said you are not wrong to share that “dream”/ promise with people. It is true that they may take it the wrong way, but you are not wrong to share it. He goes on to talk about the different stages of fulfillment…One being the prison. This is where the words from Rev. Sanders stood out to me.. “When God is looking for someone to use He looks to the prison, not to the palace.” God doesn’t usually pull someone straight from the palace to do his work. There are things He wants you to learn so you are ready when He places you where He wants you. Sometimes you may have to go through many trials to reach this point. Perhaps the greater the call the greater the trials? Yes, this is a scary concept, but the more and more I read the bios of people of God who have been used mightily, the more this seems to be the case. Obviously it is not because God doesn’t care, it because He has faith you will endure, come out as gold, and will be able to be used at a level you never would have been prepared to have been used had you just experienced the palace, and not the prison also.

So, are you willing to watch God work? To trust Him with a hands off approach in whatever trial you may be facing?

You might be wondering, how can anything good happen or change if I’m just standing still? Sometimes you don’t have to understand something. You just have to believe God’s word & trust Him.
And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. ~Exodus 14:13

Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you. ~II Corinthians 20:17

Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God. ~Job 37:14

Relax, Stand Still, & Watch. God is in control!
The earth is the LORD's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. ~Psalm 24:1