Bragging on the wonderous works of my God

Posts tagged ‘Friends’

Waiting…

I love the way the Lord speaks to me through nature.  He doesn’t audibly speak, but His message is loud and clear.  He loves me and He loves YOU.  I can have a bad day or feel down and I can go outside and He has created something beautiful and I see it for the first time and it just makes me smile every time. 

I’ll never forget the time I was mowing and I was down in a pit mentally and emotionally and could not see daylight.  I got near the fenceline and there was this neon tropical orange flower blooming.  I didn’t plant it. Somehow a seed made its way over there and grew.  I knew it was not wild purslane because that had little tiny pink flowers and they were everywhere in my yard.  This was portulaca and it was gorgeous.  My heart soared and I smiled.  Simple things like that give me joy because my Heavenly Father created them and He does an awesome job!

Look around you. The beauty of the sky. The graceful flutter of a butterfly.  All creation sings His glory.  Have you ever studied the details of a spider?  or the beautiful detail of a cat’s markings?  My Father has an awesome imagination!

My kids call me a “tree hugger” because I enjoy nature so much. What they don’t see or understand is that nature puts me in awe of the Creator Himself. I can’t wait to meet Him!

I spend countless hours in the yard, watching nature and talking to the Father.   It’s something that I do to remind myself that He is still in control and life goes on no matter what is happening in our lives.  When you are waiting on an answer from Him, what do you do?

I don’t know where He’s leading me but I do know that each day is a fresh start.  Spend time in the Word and in prayer to align your heart with His and you are off to a great start.  You will need every bit of help you can get from Him as the day progresses.  Sometimes things get tough and He can guide you through it.  We are only promised today. That is all we can count on.  Today is a gift. 

There is a popular song that asks us, “if today were your last day…”  how would you use it?  Would you spend time with family and friends?  Are you making regrets?  My dad used to tell me never do anything you’ll regret.  Live wisely. 

How can you make the most of your time while you are waiting on the Lord? 

Start each day with Him. Ask His direction in each aspect of your day. Are you doing something He would be pleased with?  How are your responses to others?  Are they short and snappy or thoughtful and considerate?

One thing that always amazes me is how Jesus treated others when He was on this earth.  Even knowing how brutally He would be tortured and then die for us, He still cared for others.  On the cross,  He made sure that His mother was taken care of when He told John, “Behold your mother.”  The thief on the cross next to Him believed and Jesus told him, “Today you will be with Me in paradise.”  

I don’t know about you, but if I have something coming up that I know is going to be painful and I’m dreading it, I am not very pleasant to be around.  I am too consumed with worry and dread. 

Waiting, worrying and wondering can cause us to be  so preoccupied that we miss the small things and the daily gifts that God sends our way to remind us that He is sovereign and in control and nothing happens without His knowledge or consent. 

Take your life one day at the time and while you’re waiting on the Lord, do what you know you should do.  Do your best and leave the results up to God.  When the time is right, you’ll have your answer but only when the time is right.  It’s not our timing but God’s providence.  His timing is always perfect.  When He’s completed a good work in you, you will be able to look back and see His hand on your life.  He may have been protecting you from something or preparing something for you.  You may need extra training before you are ready for what He has for you. 

Think about Moses and David.  Moses spent 40 years in the wilderness being “untrained” as an Egyptian Prince before he was ready to be used of God.  David spent 14 years running from King Saul before he was ready to be king.  During those times, he was heavy hearted.  Read some of his Psalms and you’ll see where he poured his heart out to God.  The Bible doesn’t share what was going through every patriarch’s mind but we did get to see the heart of David, whom was said of God, “He is a man after My own heart.”  David was honest with God.  He didn’t try to be brave when he was hurting.  God knows how we really feel and He wants a relationship with us.  How can you have a relationship when you are not completely honest? 

The time that David spent running from Saul, prepared him for warfare.  He became an expert warrior, which helped him when he finally became Israel’s king. 

What does God have planned for you or me? Only He knows.  We just have to take it one day at the time.  When you are down, look to what the Creator created.

Every morning and evening, the Canadian Geese fly past my house coming and going to their daily activities.  I love to watch them fly in the “V” formation and they chatter as they go past.  They reside at the pond near the back of our neighborhood.  In the morning, they fly out to look for food and then come back at dusk.  It just fascinates me how God created such amazing birds.  It doesn’t take much to excite me when it comes to our Heavenly Father.  He is my hope and joy in this dismal world. 

Stay focused on Him and be blessed in the Lord!

 

Be blessed in the Lord!

Advertisements

Faith in Action

A couple of months ago, I was headed out to mow the lawn on a Sunday afternoon.  We had no money and a little gas left in the mower. Typically, it took the entire tank to cut the back and it was down to about 3/4.  I just wanted to get the back yard cut.  I prayed…hard.  Lord, please let this gas stretch and allow me to finish cutting just the back.  The back yard was the biggest part and I HATE looking out and seeing partially cut grass. It’s just one of those things that drives me nuts.  Maybe part of my OCD…who knows.  I make sure all the nooks and crannies are mowed, too.  When my kids cut it, they leave so much of that unfinished, so I just would prefer to do it myself.  As I got toward the last 1/3 of the yard, I prayed harder…Please, Lord, please!  I kept going until I was finished.  I whispered, “Thank you, Lord!” and then I opened up the cap to the gas tank. It was almost bone dry.  Only God could produce a miracle like that.  I knew it was a miracle.  I went inside and sat down and just cried. 

I cried because I really realized that God loved me enough to  help me in that seemingly small situation.  It was a huge deal to me.  I’ve mowed the grass enough to know that it takes a full tank to finish the back yard.  I even got the nooks and crannies done.  I was flying high.  I’ve heard Beth Moore say, “There ain’t no high like the Most High.”  She is so right.

I was so ecstatic about what the Lord had done for me that I posted it on Facebook to share with my friends.  It wasn’t long that I got a nasty reply from someone who thought that my “God” should have struck me with lightning for mowing on a Sunday and why in the world would He bother with stretching my gas.  My friends went on the defensive and the post got rather ugly.  I removed her as a friend.  She was a friend of a friend and I had no idea her background.

Have you ever noticed that when you have a victory, that Satan counter-attacks with something to knock you down?  He did with that post BUT the Lord can also turn that around.  He tells us that “all things” work together for good.  The lady emailed me and explained her upbringing and asked me a lot of questions about my faith.  I had the chance to share the Gospel with her. 

You know, people watch us very closely and they expect Christians to behave a certain way.  We may not always fit into that mold but we should make the most of every situation so we can share Christ with others.

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!

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

Fame

As I sat listening to Beth Moore speak about how obsessed American culture is with fame and celebrities, I nodded in agreement.  “Been there, done that.”  I thought.  But you know what gets me the most?  Is the way tween time is geared to “being a rock star.” 

If you happen to walk by the TV at any time when Nick is playing their tween/teen shows, everybody is or wants to be a rock star.  Even toys are geared towards it. (Bratz Dolls, anybody?)  What are they trying to say?  You are basically a “nobody” if you aren’t a rock star?  Give me a break!  C’mon, America, wake up!

There is so much more to life than aspiring to be a star or the apparent latest craze of being a celebrities’ assistant.  Take the newest commercial for some product (never made far enough in to figure out what it was for) where some guy is flying around town picking up products and packages and delivering them to Mariah Carey’s hotel room.  She arrives and blows him a kiss.  I’m throwing up at this point and as I walk out of the room, I hear him go, “Dude, I just made out with Mariah Carey.”  Is THAT what we want our children to grow up to be?  Are we really dumbing down that much that we want to be the gum on the bottom of someone else’s shoe?

I can really get on a soap box with this one because it just gripes me to see young people clamoring for stardom.  The Bible teaches us that whoever wants to be first should be last.  Jesus Christ proved that with his perfect model of servanthood while He was on this planet.  He should be our hero.  He should be who we aspire to be like.  He exhibited gentleness, love and self control in the midst of the most excruciating pain and agony anyone has ever endured at the hands of men. 

What happened to honorable professions? What happened to honor and self-respect?  I sometimes wonder if people want to be “rock stars” because they can pretty much get away with acting crazy and call it “art.”  They are looked upon as royalty in this country, which is really sad because if you look at most of their lives, they are hardly honorable lives. They may be filthy rich, but money can’t fix everything.  Broken homes and relationships, alcoholism, workaholism and drugs are rampant among Hollyweird’s elite. They can’t cope so they find an outlet, which usually is not healthy. 

Our whole entertainment industry has fallen into the sick and twisted.  There are very few decent shows to watch that don’t include violence, drugs, alcohol, free-range sex supposedly without consequences (so unlike real life).  And the language!  My husband and I put in an action flick the other night and we weren’t 15 minutes into it when he turned it off.  The language was the “f” word every other word and it was almost downright porn.  I wish I could shake my head and etch-a-sketch that stuff out but it’s there. 

We are what we put into our bodies both physically and mentally. Trash in – – trash out.  Once you get an image in your head, it is hard to just shake it off and go on as if you had never seen it. 

If people in this country would repent, begin to read their Bibles again and pray, we would see some radical changes here—for the better.  Gentleness, kindness, self-control, honesty…wouldn’t it be great to see those traits regularly in folks?

Be blessed in the Lord!

Breaking Free…Finally

You’ve heard that when you give up something in your life that you have to replace it with something else.  It’s true.

When I gave over my celebrity worship to the Lord, I first had to confess it to my husband.  We had already had battles over this issue and at one point, I was threatened with divorce if something didn’t change.   Three different times, my husband had confronted me about my obsession and each time I blew it off as if it were nothing and he was imagining things.  So, when I came to him to ask his forgiveness and tell him that things had changed, I’m sure he was leary as well.  My kids and their friends knew about my obsession and will tell you to this day that it was ugly. 

So, in order to get that out of my head, I had to fill it with other things.  Christian music totally replaced secular music.  I am an all-or-nothing person.  It’s like alcoholism to some.  If I let a little creep in, it is a threat to consume me so I stay where I know I need to be. 

We do enjoy watching the auditions on American Idol.  Some of the contestants are so hilarious to watch.  It’s great to cheer on believers in Christ (like Mandisa) and see them blossom in God’s hand.  You know what I discovered last year as we watched?  I hardly knew any of the songs that were sang.  Now the Motown, movie genre and the like, I knew.  I’m talking about pop music.  It was so great not to know the newest artists.  It was so freeing.  It’s wonderful to go through the check-out at the store and not care who is on the cover of the latest magazine.  I can’t tell you how much money I spent on magazines and “collectibles.”  It was totally nuts. 

Fast forward to the present and I can gratefully say that the Lord has helped me to break free from diet soft drinks that I had been drinking religiously since I was in sixth grade.  I would drink anywhere from six to eight daily. If I mowed the lawn, I could down four Diet Mountain Dews in a heartbeat.  

 He has also helped me to maintain a positive balance in my checking account.  I was horrible with the checking account because I didn’t want to face the fact that we didn’t have the money to spend on things we wanted but we spent it anyway.  So we went about living in denial and wreaking havoc on our financial lives.  I was any retailer’s dream.  The impulsive shopper in me got us in so many messes it was ridiculous.  I would rationalize in my mind why I “needed” a certain product and the fact that it was on sale was the icing on the cake.  Nevermind that we didn’t have the money to spend.  I could write a check and then make an excuse.  My middle name should have been “Float.”  I knew exactly how long it took from me writing a check to the time it would hit the bank.  After we got in the hole too many times with one bank, we’d switch to another to get a “fresh start.” 

The bad cycles in my life continued until I gave them over to God and gave Him control. 

Remember I mentioned that we had been members of our current church for about a year now?  The Lord had been impressing on my hear to join the choir.  I kept blowing that off, too.  I’d make excuses everytime I’d go to church.  “Oh, they don’t need another alto.”  “They already have too many choir members.”  “I’m busy.”  And on and on the excuses went.  Until one day I was listening to Dr. Charles Stanley on my iPod and the question was posed, “What are you holding back from God?”  Ding! Ding! Ding! 

The next Wednesday as I prepared for choir practice, I didn’t even tell Lori that I was coming.  I just showed up.  My husband asked me if Lori finally talked me into it.  I told him exactly why I was joining.  It had nothing to do with Lori.  I was holding out on God.  He wanted me there. 

The first service I sang in the choir, I remember driving to church that morning and I told Him as I drove, “Lord, I’m singing for You today.  I hope you are honored and glorified.”

What are you holding onto and why?

Be blessed in the Lord!

Tag Cloud