Bragging on the wonderous works of my God

Archive for October, 2009

Let’s Have a Pity Party!

Have you ever had a pity party?  I have.  Tonight was one of those nights.  I had all I could take and shortly after a visit to a funeral home, I let it go.  I do not drink, but let me tell you it totally crossed my mind.  First, I got angry.  I started spewing and shouting in the van.  I was not angry at God, but I was angry at my life and I just vented.  I went home and as soon as I could get alone, I sat down and just bawled.  I guess my husband heard me because he came in and wanted to know what I was doing.  “Well, I’m sitting on the floor beside the bed crying….what does it look like I’m doing??”  I thought.  But I was also praying so I just sputtered, “Praying.”  He sat down on the bed and tried to console me.  It’s hard for me to cry and get it out when he does that.  I know he loves me but being a woman is hard and sometimes we just need to let go.  Right?

I ran scenarios through my mind knowing that some of the problems that we are going through could be consequences of our actions. So, I went to the Lord to make sure my sins were confessed and my heart and motives were pure and clean. Then I thought that maybe it was a test of faith or maybe I was not being submissive in my heart.  Of course, during this time, the enemy is loving it and is just whispering all sorts of lies and “what if’s” in my head as well. 

Realistically, if I wrote a contract, then it wouldn’t close for another 30-45 days. I needed money NOW.  Well, close enough to “now.”  I have a cell phone bill, an air conditioning repair bill plus our satellite/phone/internet bill due and a house payment by the end of the month.  We could swing the house payment, barely, but that was all.  What about gas for the van and groceries? And at this point, I had commited to tithing again—not that we had the money but I was determined to trust and obey God and leave the results to Him.  He promised that we would receive blessings overflowing that we would not have room to receive them. 

I spent an entire day practically working on my resume and cover letter for admin jobs.  If you’ve ever had to complete that chore, you know what a chore it really is.  First you have to pick a format, then how you convey yourself on your resume and cover letter make all the difference in the world.  You certainly don’t want to come off cheesy-sounding or try to be a comedian nor do you want to at any point want to sound negative.  Now how hard is it to sound positive when you really don’t want the job but you need it??  Is that an oxy-moron or what?

Finally polished to a decent shine, I sent them off to several ads placed on Craig’s List and waited for the games to begin. I don’t totally trust Craig’s List because I have gotten some wild responses from there but I figured I’d give it a chance once again.

I had floor duty at the office Saturday morning.  In the short span of 4 hours, I received a walk-in, cash buyer and a couple who wanted to purchase a $300k condo and need to list their home.  God is amazing and He comes through in perfect time, if we obey Him.  He doesn’t give us what we want, when we want it.  He gives us what we need, exactly when we need it. 

If we trust and obey as we should, then God will bless.

Be blessed in the Lord!

Transparency

How “real” are you?  Are you fake in public and let your hair down at home?  If so, why?  Are you scared to let others in?

I’ve posed a lot of questions today but I wanted you to start thinking.  If you are afraid to be who you are in public, then you need some healing from God.  He knows who you are inside and out, every thought, every breath.  Nothing is kept secret from Him.  Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real.  This fear that you have of opening up to others and sharing yourself could be shame, low self-esteem or just plain pride.  Jesus took away your shame, if you have accepted Him as Lord and Savior of your life.  If you are depending on anyone other than God for your self-esteem, you are going to be disappointed.  And finally, pride is a sin.  Confess it, get over it and move on.

Let’s camp on shame for a moment.  I’ve done a multitude of things in my lifetime that have shamed me and my God. But you know what?  I’ve taken them to Him, confessed and repented and He said he would forgive me and I believe that.  I can walk into church with my head held high because my Heavenly Father loves me.  I don’t care what someone else thinks about me.  The only one that matters is God.  He is the one that I am going to have to answer to for my actions and thoughts.  The people on this planet judge from the exterior.  They don’t know your heart, but the Father does.  He judges motive. 

I can’t tell you how freeing it is to walk into a room of strangers and NOT CARE what they think about me!  I used to be so ashamed of my looks, my past and that I was not a “success” in the world’s eyes.  It was crippling. 

Now, I’m not going to say that it doesn’t sting when you get “slapped” by someone because they misjudged your motive.  I’m not saying that at all.  We are still human, after all, and our feelings get hurt.  It’s normal.  But, there is a HUGE difference when you can take it to the Lord and let Him handle it.  It’s freedom to live as He intended us to live.  He did not intend for us to carry around guilt and shame.  He wants us to live in peace and joy.  He is the only One who can give that to us in the midst of turmoil.  Happiness is completely circumstantial and someone can say something unkind and you can lose your happiness.  Joy is from God.  I find that when I am in the midst of turmoil, I still have that inner peace.  I know it is from Him.  It gives me unspeakable joy and I sing.  Singing lifts my heart  and the enemy is forced to listen and then they know they have not won. 

We have a multitude of witnesses upon our lives in the spiritual realm.  I keep that in mind at all times and I have always had a tendency to talk to “myself.”  But deep down, I know that I am not talking to myself.  The Lord hears me and the angels in my midst are also listening and watching. 

Do you realize the grace that has been given us?  GRACE is God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense.  Think deeply on this one.  The laws of nature were created by God. They do not change. The sun doesn’t randomly decide it wants to go to another galaxy.  The trees don’t decide they want to sit down and pout for a while because they stand too much.  The angels, demons, all of creation and even Satan himself has to obey God.  We are the only ones with a choice; a free will.  I am curious why He allows us to do what we want, with consequence of course. Some things are just so deep that I ponder them often.  That is one that I guess I won’t completely understand until I get to Heaven and meet my Savior.  I am certainly looking forward to that day and I hope you are, too!

Be blessed in the Lord!

Misunderstood

Have you ever said something or done something for someone and it was totally taken the wrong way?  How do you handle it?

Let me give you an example.  I have been working on the submissive part of my life.  The Lord Himself will tell you that has not been easy for me.  Submitting to Him and my husband’s authority has taken some time.  Actually, I’m still working on it.  I woke up early one morning and when I say early, I meant 3am.  I could not go back to sleep.  So, I started thinking and praying.  I finally got up around 5-5:30 and started cleaning, and doing my quiet time.  I got my shower and just as I finished getting dressed, my daughter came in at the last minute (she was walking out the door to go to school) and said she needed money for their trip.  It was TODAY.  So, 7am, I am driving through the pouring rain to the ATM to get some money. 

My human nature and my spirit were at war.  I wanted to grumble about it because she did wait until the last minute and what if I didn’t have any money??  But, the other side of me was glad that I was awake, dressed and ready to go and I had money.  I was appreciative of that and I could not make myself grumble, even though I wanted to. 

I decided to run to the tire store and have them rotate my tires before I headed to Savannah for a meeting.  I prayed on the way there about giving me the courage to not be sucked into the typical sales pitches of, “You need a filter.”  “You need an oil change.”  “You need brakes.”  Or whatever they could throw at me because I am a woman.  I didn’t get settled in the chair long when they called me back to the counter.  Here it comes….  “We can’t rotate your tires. They are too worn.”  My heart sunk.  I knew it but I didn’t want to have to fork out the money for that.  We need to make a house payment.  So, I called my husband to see what he would say.  I wanted to be submissive and if he told me “not now” or “take it to such and such,”  I would have done it.  But he said ok.  I know in my heart and the Lord knows, I was trying to be submissive. 

Later on that day, we were driving out to eat when he asked about the cost of the tires plus alignment  then told me not to get that done.  So, I called them, with him listening, and told them that my husband said not to get the alignment, to just put the tires on for now.  OK. No problem.  In my heart, I’m saying, “See, Lord, I am submitting.”

Sunday morning rolled around and I had already written out my tithe check.  I was excited to put that in the plate as it passed by.  I was submitting.  I was being obedient and I was thrilled to be helping out the church.

Sunday afternoon came  and as we sat down to eat lunch, I mentioned that we would not have enough money to make the house payment and was not sure what to do.  He whirled on me and said, “What?”  I explained to him that I called him about the tires and he said ok.  He argued back with me that I was being deceitful and I knew that we wouldn’t be able to make the house payment and get tires and got angry because I “failed” to mention this fact when I called about the tires.  My heart was racing and I felt backed into a corner.  I said, “You can’t add??”  Explaining how much we spent at the grocery store and what his check was going to be, etc. etc.   We went around and around for a while until I was in tears.  “Lord, help!”  I had tried to be submissive and look where it’s gotten me.

Suddenly, as we were going over everything at the table, the Esther study came into my mind and how she waited until just the right time to say what she needed to Xerxes to save herself and her people from total annihilation. The Lord helped me to remember that he had been purchasing things for his computer that we didn’t NEED such as new speakers and a new monitor, all so he could play games better.  And here he was accusing me of buying something we didn’t “need.”  

We had both calmed down at this point and I said, “I know this is going to make you angry, but I’m going to say it anyway.  Don’t buy anything else for your computer because we don’t NEED it.”  He knew exactly where I was coming from.  I had been accused of buying tires that I didn’t “need.”  Nevermind that our safety was at stake and I was trying not to drive because of them, thereby not working like I needed to. 

As soon as that sentence left my mouth, I thanked the Lord.  He helped me out of that corner with some very wise words.  I felt vindicated.  The Lord is our strength and defender.  Whenever we are accused wrongfully, go to Him.  He is our protector and He will make it right.

Be blessed in the Lord!

Dark Clouds Around Us

Have you ever felt like you were living in the midst of a dark cloud and couldn’t get out from under it?  I’m not talking about depression in this one.  For instance, you knew you wanted and NEEDED to pray, but could not get a coherent sentence out to save your life? And this went on for weeks at the time?  Your heart ached so badly and you felt like God was AWOL?

I recently went through this and it dawned on me as I was sitting around this morning that the dark cloud had vanished.  I had been in it for so long, I didn’t know if I would come out of it.  I spent hours mowing the lawn and listening to my iPod sermon podcasts that I hoped would help and praying in my heart and all I could manage to get out was, “Help me, Lord!” 

You know you cannot trust your emotions when it comes to whether the Lord is with you.  He promised to never leave us or forsake us.  That you can take to the bank.  No matter what we are feeling, He is there.  When we accepted Him as Savior, His spirit came to live within us and does not move out.  EVER! 

This is also where our faith comes in.  Our adversary, the devil, is going to whisper in your ear that God hates you and left you to wallow in your misery or in the mess you find yourself in.  Demon oppression is very real, folks.  We are in the midst of a spiritual battle and the warfare is ongoing.  Satan and his fallen angels will study you and find your weak points and work them over to make you fall, not trust in God or totally turn away.  Remember what he asked Eve in the garden, “Indeed, hath God said….?”  He wanted her to doubt.  Doubt is the first step to losing faith.  Don’t even consider those thoughts that come into your mind.  The Scriptures tell us to take very thought captive to Christ.  If it does not align with God’s Word, release it.  Do not dwell on it.

How do we get through those dark times?  Hold on tight to the Hand that is holding you.  Read the Word, listen to inspirational music.  Speaking of music, remember when an evil spirit came upon King Saul in the Old Testament?  What did he do to relieve himself at that time?  He had them call in David to play his harp.  It soothed his soul and the evil spirit would leave.  Continue living your life, as hard as it may be.  Go to church, fellowship with other believers, talk to a friend.  God gave us friends for a reason, He knew that we needed that interaction and if you have one that is a believer that you feel a kindred spirit with, open up.  You may be surprised that they have gone through the same thing. 

Our pastor has recently been going through the book of Isaiah on Sunday mornings and the last two sermons brought tears to my eyes as I drank in the living Word of God.  Holy Amnesia was the message that he preached on Sunday. God has three things He wants us to forget.  The first is our fears.  The Bible is full of “fear nots” and “do not be afraid” and “be strong and take courage.”  He knows what we are made of.  We have to “take” courage.  It’s not going to automatically be there. 

The next thing He wants us to forget is our past.  Do you know how crippling it can be to constantly beat yourself up over your past?  That is exactly what the enemy wants.  Once we have truly repented and asked for forgiveness, the Lord wants us to move forward.  Look at the apostle Paul…he used to MURDER Christians.  When the Lord saved him, you didn’t see him sitting around having pity parties about his past.  Yet, we somehow manage to do it.  Let it go! Give it to the Lord.  He has promised to forgive.  If He can forgive the men who crucified Him WHILE He was dying on the cross, why wouldn’t He forgive us? 

The enemy kept bringing up past failures to my mind and, yes, they were difficult to swallow.  Yes, I had asked forgiveness and I knew I was forgiven but the consequences of those actions are still there.  If you broke your arm and asked for forgiveness for the stupid thing you did to break that arm, the arm is not going to instantly, miraculously heal itself.  You still have to live with the consequence of that action, right?  The consequences are painful. They don’t affect just us. They affect our loved ones.  Just like they did David.  It is very hard to watch someone suffer and feel like you are responsible for their pain.  I spent probably a month or longer beating myself up, crying and begging God for mercy.  Sure, I had asked for forgiveness before but under this dark cloud, I couldn’t see straight.  I could not function—that is NOT God. That is the enemy, our accuser, our adversary. 

Obedience to God is tantamount to our success in life.  He has made His instructions very clear in His Word.  If we follow them, we will be successful.  Success may not be monetarily.  His idea of success is not man’s way of success.  If you wake up in the morning and spend time in His Word, pray and seek His guidance on a daily basis, you will be able to discern His voice and make better choices.  Simple, yet very effective.  He wants YOU.  He wants a relationship with YOU.  He loves YOU. He knows you better than you know yourself and you cannot hide anything from Him because He created you. He knows your quirks and still loves YOU. 

Seek Him today and be blessed in the Lord!

Failure is not Final

I heard that on the radio and it was thought provoking.

Failure is not final.  At least it shouldn’t be.  You shouldn’t quit after your fail at something.  Basically, what does it tell you when you “fail?”  The way you did it doesn’t work.  Life is a learning process for all of us. You wing some things, you’re educated on others but you have to find what works for you.

I’m so glad Thomas Edison didn’t quit! He just kept on.  Over 10,000 experiments to get the perfect light bulb.  How many of us would have hung in there so long?

So many stories in life are about men who didn’t realize how close to success they were when they quit.

Google “Thomas Edison Failure” and you will be surprised at what comes up.  One link I find particularly stimulating was “Fail Your Way to Success.”  Lots of good information and pep talk stuff in there.

http://www.wilywalnut.com/Fail-Fast-Success-Failure-Wonderful-Edison.html

Keep on perfecting your niche. Don’t give up. Don’t quit.

Be blessed in the Lord!

God IS up to Something!

This is a blog that I wrote back in May of 2009:

I don’t know about you, but no matter what my circumstances, I always know that God is up to something.  It’s usually something good.  It’s definitely what helps me to get through some rough patches in my life.  Those of you who have read my previous blogs know that we have been through a really rough time in the past year.

Well, I have to share this with you.  God showed off this week.  I just love it when He does that.  It makes me feel so special—which, I am, according to His Word. Each of us are precious to Him and the smallest thing that matters to us, matters to Him because He loves us so much.

Last week was Relay for Life.  A duty agent was needed for the following morning so I reluctantly volunteered.  It kept coming to mind after the email and I didn’t respond right away because I was not sure I wanted to commit after being up late the night before.  I just couldn’t turn it down.  I kept thinking that I might get something.  Who knows

I got a call from a young man asking the price of a home and I told him and he said, “Ok. Thanks.”  And I probed a bit further by asking if it sounded like something he’d like to view the inside of.  It was too far out of his price range so I offered to send him some listings via email, if he’d like.  “That sounds OK,” was his response.  I didn’t think twice about it.  I gathered up the information and sent it to him. 

30 minutes later, he called back and informed me that he found one he’d like to see.  How soon could I show it?  I looked at the clock. I was off duty at 1, so I told him 1:30.  I showed the house (which was a foreclosure).  It had cosmetic issues from an obviously angry owner but other than that, it looked like it would be a great deal. 

The house had a stipulation that the owning bank had to approve the loan and a pre-qual letter had to be submitted with the offer.  I got the name of a lender who worked on weekends and was set on ready.

The buyer told me he had one more house to see the next day and he would let me know.  I figured, “Great. I’ll be upstaged by another Realtor.”  BUT….he called me back less than 2 hours later and wanted to put in an offer.  He had apparently stopped after I left and talked with several of the neighbors and they told him the value of their home and what a great neighborhood it was and that he should grab that house.   I met him Sunday afternoon (Happy Mother’s Day to meeeee!) and we wrote an offer.  I kept him from making a huge blunder of shooting low and we put together a nice offer.  He had contacted the lender the previous evening and got pre-qualified. 

The counter offer came in only $3k difference and he accepted.  We did termite and inspections this week and he’s ready to go. 

THIS was a blessing from God.  Only He could bring a buyer that ready and willing and able that fast!

That was just the first thing.  This morning, we had to be in court and parking in downtown Savannah takes money. I had very little change left. 8:30…we had maybe an hour on the meter.  Before court started, I prayed that He would put a hedge around our vehicle and protect it from the meter maid…maybe stall her…because we could not afford a parking ticket right now.  We got finished close to 10pm. The meter had long been expired. My husband exclaimed, “Well, let’s go get our ticket.”  I told him, “No, we don’t.”  He looked puzzled.  I told him that I had prayed.  We got down to the van and the meter had expired but NO ticket.  I whispered, “Thank you, Lord!”  We got in the van and my husband exclaimed, “Thank you, Lord!”  Ain’t God good???

Here was the total kicker.  After I left my husband at work, I headed to the home inspection of the buyer that I’ve been working with.  I was hot and thirsty and no money.  I pulled into a gas station to use the restroom and prayed, “Lord, please let me find some money hidden in my wallet somewhere.”  I started digging….guess what???  I found a $5 bill!!!!  I was on the phone with my mother at the time so I shouted, “Praise God!”  She’s like, “What??”  So I told her.  I got something to drink and felt so loved and cared for by a big God for such a small issue.  He cares so much about us.

That’s why He says, “Cast ALL your cares upon Him, for He cares for YOU.”  Pray about EVERYTHING.  It all matters to Him. 

As I stood in the house listening to the inspector talk about what a great house it was, I just got chills.  Only God could bring a buyer and cause a sale to go so smoothly together like that. 

The inspection gave me a chance to enjoy nature while I was there.  A baby praying mantis crawled up onto my arm.  It was so cool to see that tiny head moving around, looking at me.  Ducks were in the lagoon and walking through the neighborhood with their ducklings.  The only sad part was when the inspector went to check a light and there was a birds nest on it and in pulling it down (he thought it was a wasp nest), some of the babies died.  They didn’t even have their little eyes opened yet.  I prayed for those little babies that God would be merciful. I made sure they were out of the sun but by the time we left, only one was still alive.  I have this horrible tendency to want to “adopt” every critter/animal I come in contact with and try to take care of it but I was strangely at peace with this and knew that the Father loved them, too and would take care of them.  He is, after all, God.

I have been floating on the clouds today giggling like a little girl because my Heavenly Father loves me and shows it in remarkable ways.  He’s just awesome and I have to brag about Him.  🙂

Have a great week and remember that He’s in control and is ALWAYS working on your behalf. 

 

When God is up to something, the enemy can’t stand it!

This is another blog that I wrote in May of 2009:

Remember the story in the Bible about how Elijah beat the prophets of Baal with God’s help?  Here’s a slight refresher:

Elijah was proving to Israel and prophets of Baal that the Lord God of Israel was the only God. He told them, “How long will you waver between two opinions?  If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”  The people said nothing.

So Elijah proposed to have a contest to see which God would respond to their sacrifice. Basically, whichever god who answered by fire, he was God. The people agreed.

Elijah let the prophets go first.  The prophets of Baal couldn’t get a breeze to blow and they were cutting themselves trying to get Baal’s attention.  Elijah even taunted them with, “Maybe he’s in deep thought or maybe he’s busy or traveling.”  They moaned and wailed and sliced away.  Nothing. No response, even though they continued from morning until noon.

Elijah’s turn. He built an altar with 12 stones. Put wood on top, then the sacrifice.  He commanded that 12 jars of water be brought and drenched the altar.  They even dug a moat around it and it filled up with water.  Logically speaking, wet things don’t burn, right? 

With God, ALL things are possible.  So with that in mind, here’s what ensued.  God sent fire down fron Heaven, consumed the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil and the Bible even tells us that it licked up the water in the trench.

The people then believed that the Lord God of Israel was God.  Elijah then struck down and killed 450 prophets of Baal. 

He had to be flying high in his mind about how awesome God is, don’tcha think?  I know I would have been.  Well, shortly thereafter, Queen Jezebel heard what he did to her prophets so she put a hit on him and he ran and went into hiding and wanted to die.  

What??? Why???

Well, think about it.  He was on the mountain top and Satan basically pushed him off.  He couldn’t stand it that God was prevailing so he jumped in and tapped into Elijah’s weak spot and sent him down the mountain. 

After my mountain top experience last week, the enemy knocked me down.  First, I attempted to burn a little of the dead pampas grass in my back yard and the fire managed to get out of control to the point that even after 3 hoses going and 5 gallon buckets of water from our pool, the fire department was called in.  I was praying so hard out loud, “Lord help me!”  I was shaking and embarrassed and I’m sure my neighbors wondered what in the world was going on.  I’m so thankful that the Lord did send help via neighbors because I couldn’t leave the fire alone to get help.   I could almost picture the enemy laughing at me. 

Then my check engine light came on the van and it started sputtering and had to be taken to the shop. 

The enemy was enjoying this, I’m sure.  But he’s not getting to me.  God is still in control and whatever He allows into my life is for a reason. 

I met our new neighbors across the street via the fire fiasco and that was a blessing. 

Not having my van was not an issue like it could have been.  I had some out of town military folks coming in to look at houses Monday and he was gracious enough to drive.  8 hours later, they found a house they liked and put in an offer.  We had a great time together and even compared notes on 16 year old girls and 19 year old boys.

I am learning and seeing that God is in every detail of our lives.  Each day brings a new challenge but as long as God is in control and I give my day to Him first thing in the morning by spending time with Him, I respond properly to whatever challenge is thrown my way.

I honestly don’t know how people survive in this life without Jesus Christ.  He’s my dearest friend.  If you don’t know Him as Savior, won’t you trust Him today to be Lord of your life?  Your life will never be the same and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.  It’s easy and it’s free.  All you have to do is ask!

Be blessed!

Sheila

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