There Is No God Like Jehovah!

Why do  I say there is no God like Jehovah? Because that is what I believe with all my heart and soul. I am not a theologian by any means, but I do realize that no other god in the universe was willing to die for me so my sins could be forgiven and I could have eternal life.  I also came to the realization that our hope does not lie in what is happening now, but what is going to happen in the future. We become what we believe! We also stand for what we believe, so if that is the case, we need to know the real truth and not buy the lies of the world.

Isaiah 40:3-5

“A voice cries: ‘Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; and let the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley. Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.'”

Good is finally going to triumph over evil once and for all!

I remember as a kid, I could not wait for Saturday mornings. I would rush to the TV in my pajamas to watch Roy Rogers. (I know! I am ancient). I always knew who the good guy was because he wore a white hat. I also knew the guy in the black hat was going to lose in the end. Good always triumphed over evil!

Well, I am not quite that naive anymore, but I still hope for happy endings. I guess you could say I am an optimist. I try to always look for the good, however, I do not put my head in the sand like an ostrich and deny what is happening around me. If I do, sooner or later, someone is going to come along with a 2 by 4 and knock me off my feet. Life has a way of doing that doesn’t it. There are situations happening all around us and the guys wearing the black hats seem to be winning! Now that could throw us all down in despair if we let it, but you see I know there is hope because I have read the end of the Book!

Revelation 1:7

“Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. Even so. Amen.”

Yes, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is returning to this earth to take back what is rightfully His! Yes, He is coming quickly! Our redemption is near. That my friends is our Hope!

Personal Note: I am taking the month of July off to be with my family, have some recreation and just relax! Happy 4th of July to everyone. See you in August!

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Badges of Victory

Hope – How can such a small word make such a big difference in a person’s life? I guess that depends on who or what you are putting your hope in! For so many years my hope depended on temporal things that could dissolve in an instant. I did not know what faith was and I was clueless about where to buy a mustard seed.

Matthew 13:32

“It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”

I guess I had dignity (pride) and integrity (honesty) mixed up with faith. I remember after my cancer surgeries, my mother told me, “Sandy, walk into the room with your chin up and your head held high. It will be hard at first, but you can be a lady with dignity no matter the time, place or circumstance. Honey, the scars are not going to go away. You are going to have to learn to defeat them or they will defeat you!” I think those words will be engraved in my mind forever.

Mama was not being insensitive, but she knew I had a rough road ahead in this journey called life. Keeping my dignity would help me get over some of the bumps and ruts in the roads ahead. If I knew then what I know now, the signs would have read: danger ahead, no U-turns allowed, slippery when wet, so try not to cry too much!

Little did I know those words would echo in my ears every time I walked into a room where people did not know me. Time and time again. I prayed, “O God, just once do not let them stare at me so long and hard. Sometimes I feel as if their eyes are devouring me and are looking all the way into my soul.” At first I wanted to stare back at them, and stick my tongue out at them, but then I remembered after the surgery, my tongue wasn’t long enough. Mom was right, I was just going to have to accept it, but the only way I could do that was to have some hope in my heart. Where could I go to find it? It was many years before I found the answer. Someone finally came along and told me, “You are praying to God to help you, but you do not have the faith to believe that He will.” Well, that was not what I wanted to hear! I didn’t know how to find hope, much less faith!

James 4:3

“You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.”

So, I asked and shortly thereafter, it was given to me. No one put the answer in my hand I had to go search for it. The funny part is that it was in my heart the whole time. The problem was it was laying dormant waiting to be brought to life by the One who put it there.

Hebrews 11:1

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

God had been in the shadows waiting for me to acknowledge His Presence. My pride and dignity overshadowed Him. As I look back over the years, I realize it was Him that gave the  strength I so desperately needed. I know now that it was His sovereign will over my life to have the cancer because He used it to make me become the person He needed me to be! Now, when I walk into a room, I still hold my chin up and my head held high, but it is not because of pride or dignity. It is because through His grace and mercy, He turned my scars into badges of victory. The scars show a victory and have become the trophies in my life that lead me to Calvary! Believe me when I say, there is not a better place to be!

 

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Is There A Lily In Your Valley?

Have you ever had a day when you could not fight your way out of a wet paper bag? Somehow, life had deflated your energy and you were absolutely worn out? All you could do was sit there and wonder what the day would bring, and pray you had enough strength to get through it. Warning: This is not the best place to be, because it means you are entering a valley just around the bend. It will be a time of loneliness, a time to look for answers and a time to feel defeated when they do not come. You walk aimlessly trying to find a place to lay your burdens down, but there seems to be no place in the valley, so you drop them in a heap and keep walking.

I have walked in the valley many times. I prayed to the Lord to send me any place, but not the valley. It is too lonely, too cold and has too many shadows of doubts fears lurking around every corner. But if I am honest I have to admit, it was in the valley that I learned where my help truly comes from.  So many times I did not think I could take one more step in the shadows, but the Lord gave me enough light so I could see to keep going. One day as I was walking, I looked down and saw the most beautiful lily.  I had been so deep in thought I nearly stepped on it. How could such a beautiful flower bloom where the sun hardly ever shone? It had the sweetest fragrance and was definitely blooming where it was planted. I wanted to stoop down and pick it up, but it was too beautiful. So I just sat down next to it, told it all my problems and let my tears of despair drip all over it. Somehow, someway, that little lily gave me hope.

I have asked the Lord time and time again, “why didn’t you just tell me? Why did you make me go through the valley?” I do not know why I even asked, because I knew in my heart of hearts what His answer would be. “Sandy, you always want the path of least resistance and sometimes  circumstances of life makes us go down paths we would rather not go down. Some require a long, hard journey. In the valley we will have some one-on-one time. A time for you to learn to trust me a time to have peace and learn that I will take care of you no matter what life brings you way. There will always be a lily of hope, but you will have to look for it.

He told His followers the same thing in Matthew 5 and 6 as they were sitting on the side of a mountain listening to His Sermon on  the Mount.

Matthew 6:27-29

” And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

He was telling them to look around at all the lilies that surrounded them. The lilies were everywhere and blooming profusely. Will He do any less for us? He does not want us living a life of anxiety and fear. He wants us to trust Him.

So the next time you find yourself in a valley, start looking for a lily. Everyone has one, so please do not step on it!

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Did You Do What I Called You To Do?

 

Matthew 16:24

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow me.”

Sometimes I wonder in my heart of hearts if I truly did deny myself and follow Him in all the situations He placed before me? When I meet my Savior face to face, I believe my life is going to flash before my eyes and the most important question on my mind will be, “Have I done what He has called me to do or has self gotten in the way?” Did I let the world set my agenda or did I truly lay down my life and give it to the Lord? Were there times I put the cross down because it became too heavy?

The busyness of life has a way of desensitizing our souls to the needs of others. We are so busy running to and fro, we do see others who are hurting and might need a helping hand. I will use a scenario from my childhood to bring home this point.

My hometown is New Orleans, Louisiana. Anyone who has ever walked the streets of downtown know that there are beggars everywhere. One day when I went shopping with my mom, we passed a man who had no legs. He was sitting on a palette that had wheels and he was selling pencils. I could not believe my eyes and thought it would be engraved on my mind forever. How can a person live like that? How did he become so destitute? What really blew my mind was that he was smiling! I was so upset when my Mom did not stop and buy a pencil! “How can you just pass him by, I asked?” Her reply was, “Sandy we are in a hurry and need to get home.” I fussed so much that as we were returning to the car, she gave me the money to buy one. His reply was, “God Bless you!”

Well, many years later, I was working in downtown New Orleans and the beggars were still there selling pencils. At first, I bought a pencil every day, than on Fridays, and then not at all. Once again the busyness of life had desensitized my soul. I was so consumed with self and what I wanted to do, I did not see the needs of others. I was definitely in my comfort zone and wanted to stay there. I had the world by the tail and I was going to give it a spin or two, or at least I thought I was!

With each passing year I kept reaching and reaching for that brass ring on the carousel until the day came when I reached too far and fell off. That was the day when I finally reached the end of self. I realized that self was a piranha that never could be satisfied. If self was the answer, why was I so miserable? I finally realized I had been searching in the wrong places and looking for the wrong things.

One day the right person came along and introduced me to Jesus. The same Jesus that I thought was just a man in a book.  Thank the Lord she was not too busy to speak to me. She showed me in Psalm 139:13 that He knitted me together in my mother’s womb and in Psalm 139:16 showed me where “all the days He ordained for me were written in His book before one of them came to be.” He knows the beginning from the end and all that lies between! His purpose for my life was much bigger than I had for myself! My plans were centered around me; His plans for me were centered around others. When I let Him intertwine my life with others, it became a circle that could not be broken!

When I stand before my Savior face to face, the LAST words I want to hear are: “You did not do what I sent you to do. You did not feed the hungry or the poor. You did not take the time to speak to someone who was hurting. You were so busy, you did not even notice all the needs of your family. All I wanted you to do was tell others about me when they were hurting. All I wanted was for you to let me use your hands and feet to further my Kingdom, but no, you were too busy. I kept having to send someone else! May those words never be! I want Him to cup my face in His hands, look in my eyes and say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Heroes Come In All Shapes and Sizes

“Dad, I do not think I can do this! They are going to stare at me and think I am a freak! Please, take me home.” ‘Sandy, we have already discussed this. They might stare at you at first, but once they get to know you, they will not even notice. It is time to take the next step. You cannot stay hidden at home forever. Just remember what I said: I saw a man who had no feet, then I saw a man who had no shoes. It looks to me like you have both feet and shoes, now get out of the car.” Those words still echo in my ears and it has been 49 years since my father spoke them. I told him he was downright mean! As he drove off, I knew there was nothing else to do but enter the building. I was so scared I was numb, but I  kept putting one foot in front of the other until I reached the door. Once I turned the knob, there was not turning back!

I had just recovered from surgery for cancer of the tongue. I was 18 with five teeth in my head (they had to pull them for the radiation treatments) and it would be two years before I could wear dentures. They had left me five teeth, so my mouth would not sink in like Grandma Moses. I was not a pretty sight by any means! Not only did I not have enough teeth to smile, but I was red from my nose down because of the radiation.  My dad  had enrolled me in business college and was determined I was not going to sit around the house and feel sorry for myself. He thought it was time for me to pick up the broken pieces of my life and make a new one. He said I had to accept the fact that life happens and there are some things you can change and some things you can’t.

Now, as I look back, I see that he was being a hero in the disguise of being a father. He loved me enough to be tough, when deep down his heart was breaking. It took courage for him to speak those words, knowing I did not have the maturity to understand what he was doing. My father was a man of few words, but when he spoke, we knew to listen. I had to remember that my father knew what it was like to be different and laughed at by others. When he was eight years old, he had a tumor on the brain and had to wear a helmet for many months. He knew from experience how self-pity can move in and steal your hope. He was determined that was not going to happen to me. He knew I had to keep going to prove to myself that my life wasn’t over.

Yes, heroes come in all shapes and sizes and everyone of us has the potential of being one! All we have to do is have the strength to pick up the broken pieces, dust ourselves off and keep going no matter what. We have to realize until God calls us home, He is not finished with us yet. He will give us the strength to make it, but we have to do our part. We cannot let the fear inside of us become bigger than our faith, because faith develops strength. It is the inner strength that gives others hope. We need to nurture that strength and cast the weakness aside. Before we know it, we realize we can make it! All we have to do is look down and see that if we have both feet and shoes, no one that can stop us but ourselves!

Yes, my father became my hero because he let me discover there is a little bit of heroes an all of us if we persevere and keep going.  Little did I realize one day someone would tell me I was a hero. My youngest daughter Bridgette slipped a note in my hand and it made such an imprint on my heart, it will be there forever!

“My Hero, My Mother”

My hero is my mother,

She is very brave.

I will love her like no other

Pass my dying day.

My mom fought cancer when she was young.

They thought she was going to die.

But she knew her life had just begun, and

dying to her, was a lie.

She never gave up on her life.

She fought it all the way through.

It might have caused her a lot of strife,

but it was worth it, this she knew.

She taught me to love life in a very special way

She will always be my hero pass my dying day!

So you see, there is indeed a hero in all of us! “Thanks Dad and I am sorry for calling you mean! You were indeed my hero!”

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The Most Precious Things in Life Aren’t Things!

Time, where does it go? It is here one minute and gone the next. It truly is like the sand running through an hourglass. It is very subtle and then the last grain falls. Well, with an hourglass you can turn it over and start again, but in reality, it is a one-time shot. Have you ever had the “if onlys”? I have. There were words I should have spoken in a time of need, but didn’t. There were hugs I should have given, but didn’t. There was forgiveness I should have given, but didn’t. Yes, time passed and so did the chance to make things right. I meant to, but the sands of time ran out!

Well, the only way to get pass the “if onlys” is to tear that page off and start again. I cannot take back the words or actions, but I can learn from them. It is a deliberate choice and I am the only one that can make it! It is definitely a renewing of the mind and a commitment to keep that mindset. It is amazing what we can do when we set out to do it, but we have to remember this mindset cannot be done without the Holy Spirit!

Galatians 5:16

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh, for the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.”

It is a constant tug of war. It is a constant choice and it can flat dab wear you out! I cannot even attempt to do it on my own. I need the Holy Spirit to be my stabilizer. I need the fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Notice that love and self-control are the bookends. We must have love first to carry out the attributes that follow and we must have self control to keep them together! The Fruit of the Spirit is like a well-spring within us and is always there waiting to bubble up at our command. The problem is we get so busy, we forget that blessing the Lord has given us. As I look around at the busyness of life, joy and peace seems to be lacking. We are so busy being busy we are frazzled! There are days when I tell my family, “I have one good nerve left and you just stepped on it!” That is generally when I get in a tug of war with my spirit and my flesh.

So what does the Fruit of the Spirit do for us?

LOVE gives and gives without expecting anything in return. This attribute is in the heart; search for it.

JOY – It is an attribute that is apparent whether in good circumstances or bad. It reveals our trust in God when bad things happen.

PEACE is the ability to have calmness in the midst of chaos. It is a peace that surpasses all understanding.

PATIENCE is very costly; it takes time and perseverance. It just doesn’t happen! You have to diligently choose it.

KINDNESS can only be spoken from the heart.

GOODNESS means there cannot be a compromise. We have to know right from wrong and let the love of God overflow into the lives of others.

FAITHFULNESS is trusting and behaving in a manner worthy of our Lord and seeking an integrity that can only come from God.

GENTLENESS is the attribute that enables us to give a soft answer to turn away wrath.

SELF CONTROL is the glue that holds it all together. We need it to defeat the desires of our flesh.

I truly believe that is why God expects us to take life one day at a time! If we try to bite off more than we can chew, it will choke us! We have too much to do, and not enough time to do it. So we have to prioritize the things in life that mean the most to us. We have to remember the most precious things in life aren’t things! Have you ever heard the song by Dan Hill, “Why Do We Always Hurt the Ones We Love?” Why do we do that? Words hurt! They wound and sometimes the wounds are so deep,they leave scars. Just because you say “I am sorry” does not make them heal any faster, but it is a step in the right direction. This is when our actions have to become louder than words. This is where forgiveness has to happen. Without forgiveness, the wound will never heal. We have to remember that some things in life change, but our family will always be our family! Friends come and go, but family will always be there. It may not be perfect, but it is the glue God uses to hold our lives together. When our lives fall apart, families usually are the ones there to pick up the pieces! As a family we need the love and strength to say, “United we stand, divided we fall.  Now that my friends is the true meaning of family!

Note: This week there will be two songs: One enforces the words of this blog and the second takes us down memory lane! Enjoy!

 

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God is Watching Us!

Have you ever seen the sun light shine through a prism? As a young girl, I was watching “Pollyanna” and became mesmerized the first time I saw the facets of light dancing across the room. I wanted to catch the colors of the rainbow and put them in my pocket. It gave me a whole new perspective of light.

It is important that we have the right perspective on things that matter, because life is not always what it seems. What we are taught in life determines what we believe. We also have to be careful in our observations because sometimes we cannot see the forest for the trees.  When everything is up close and personal we know what is happening, but from a bird’s-eye view, it is  like being on the outside looking in and seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. The problem with looking through rose-colored glasses is they  show the beauty, but not the truth. They give us a false perspective of how things really are.

From a distance harmony could appear as chaos.
From a distance love could appear as hate.
From a distance the Cross of Calvary could appear as death, when in reality, it is life.

God’s love is also like a prism and has many facets. That is why I am so grateful that we have a God who is watching over us. He is not using a telescope or wearing rose-colored glasses. He is interested in every detail of our lives. The good ones and the bad ones.

Psalm 139:2-4

“You know when I sit down and when I stand up; You understand my thoughts from far away. You observe my travels and my rest; You are aware of all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, You know all about it, Lord.”

Yes, God is watching over us every minute of the day through His eyes of love. He sees us for who we are. There is no where we can hide that He cannot find us. He knows what we are thinking before we think it and He even knows what is in our hearts. That is why He tells us to guard our hearts above all else, because everything we do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23)

His wisdom is profound, His power is great! His eyes search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. So will you join me as we lift our hearts up to Him and proclaim, “may the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight.”

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The Call to Higher Ground

As I sit in the quiet of the morning, I hear a whisper calling within. I start to become uneasy because I have heard this whisper before.  A whisper of my spirit calling me to higher ground. “Sandy, it’s time to climb the next rung on your ladder of faith!  But Lord, aren’t I doing enough? I am teaching your Word and writing this blog and so on and so on. As I voice the words, I know in my heart of hearts He is calling me higher. I could argue with Him until the cows come home, but I know in the end I will go and do whatever it is, because I not only love Him, I trust Him!

I know it is time to quit hiding behind the walls of mediocre and climb the next rung on my ladder of faith. I know from experience I can only climb as high as my faith will take me. I ask the question again, “how big is my God? I ask that because that determines how high I climb. How do I know this? Well, it all started the day I wrote a simple little prayer at the end of my testimony.

“Oh Father, please help me reach as many cancer patients and hurting people as I can. I need to show them the way to their Savior’s arms. I shudder when I think how I would have gone to hell at the age of 18 if the cancer had brought about my death.  I knew you had died for others on the cross, but I didn’t know you had died for me!  Give me the guidance to do what it is that You want me to do. Let me be able to show them that they are King’s kids, Heirs to His throne. They do not need to go around gobbling like turkeys. They do not need to look down, pecking at the dirt. All they will find there is fear and self-pity. Let them hear me when I tell them to “look up!” Let them be able to see on a hill far away stands an old rugged cross, and that is where they will find their HOPE.”

Isaiah 40:31

“Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

After that prayer, my walk with the Lord has been an ongoing  journey! He has brought me through the valley of  “end-of-self”, the valley of pain, despair and  loneliness, but never through the valley of defeat. He would swoop down in the valley like an eagle and carry me to the top of the mountain with the wind beneath His wings.

So you see, it was down in the valleys, that I learned where my help came from! I no longer let the shadows of doubt or fear stop me from doing what the Lord asks me to do. When He asks me to climb higher, I grab hold of His wings and we soar higher together, leaving the fears and doubts behind.

All this to say: Quit pecking at the dirt. “Look up!” The Lord can and will use you if you come out from behind the walls of mediocre and climb the next rung on you ladder of faith! He will go with you every step of the way to places you never imagined.

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The Best Gift a Mother Can Give!

I can still here the voice of Mama Gizzi (a missionary in Japan) as she spoke these words to me, “Sandy, the best gift you can give your children is to not only pray for them, but pray with them. That is where the power is!” A feeling of discomfort came over me as I realized I had never done it that way. We had always prayed for them, over meals and at bedtime, but to actually start praying with them over their problems was a whole new concept. The more I thought about it, the more I was convicted to do it. Not only with the girls but with Hank also. I wanted our lives inside our home to reflect the sign that hung by our front door. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

Serving the Lord meant doing things that were out of our comfort zone! My family was a precious gift from God and it was my responsibility to pray for them diligently. I knew if my prayers were going to be effective, they had to be more than, “God bless Casey and Bridgette!”  My girls were stepping out into a completely different society than I had been exposed to. Hank and I did our best to make them feel important, not only in our lives, but in the lives of others. Building self-esteem was important, because we knew the world had a way of chewing them up and spitting them out! I could not stop life from happening, but I could pray a hedge of protection around them. I desperately wanted that power that Mama Gizzi was talking about. The only way that could happen was if I stood in the battle, but fought on my knees. So with the Sword of the Spirit in my hand, I went to war for my family.

I prayed that God would protect and go with them every step of the way, drawing them closer to Him with each step.

I prayed that they would always have enough light in the darkness to find their way out.

I prayed they would know the difference from right and wrong and stand for what was right.

I prayed if they did something wrong they would feel convicted, and if they didn’t, they would get caught!

I prayed they would make the right choices, but if they didn’t, they would learn from their mistakes and the Lord would give them His grace.

I prayed they would be godly women who would marry godly men and pass on the baton of faith to their children.

But most of all I prayed for their salvation, because I knew from experience that God’s way is the only way to make it through this crazy world.

Were all my prayers answered in the way I wanted them to be? No, but atleast I had the peace of knowing that I did lift up their needs in prayer. I did not just stand there and let the enemy have his way. I fought long and hard! He might have won a few battles, but I was determined to win the war!

The hardest part was learning when to let go!

When God placed them in the palm of our  hands, we did our best to cover them with our love and protection as long as we could. Then the day came when they started pecking at our palms, wanting a little more space, so we had to loosen our grip. As time went on, they pecked harder and more often. We knew if we held onto their wings too tightly, we would tear them and they would not be able to fly on their own. So when the time came that we had to release them, we told both our girls that we had taught them all we knew. We prayed it was enough to prepare them for the tests of life that were just around the corner. They could either soar like an eagle or fall flat on their beaks! The choice was up to them, but they could know for sure we would be praying diligently for them. So as we opened our hands, we prayed that when the challenges of life became larger than their faith, they would turn to the Lord for help!

Isaiah 30:21

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

No matter where they went, they would always be in our hearts! We wanted them to know that we would always keep the home fires burning and not to forget that all roads lead to home.

 

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Giants in the Valley

There is one thing I know for sure! Life happens and circumstances soon follow. The question is, what am I going to do with those circumstances? Sometimes I can change them, sometimes I can’t. One thing I know for sure is, that I do not want to get under them. I must stay on top of them because if  I do not, I am going to wake up one morning asking the question, “Lord, how did I end up in this valley? Life was going along so smoothly and then the bottom fell out! Now I am down here looking up! The worst part is, I am not alone! There are giants down here with lurking shadows casting fear, doubt and despair everywhere. How on earth am I going to fight them? I do not have five smooth stones and a slingshot. Even if I did, I would not know how to use it.

Lord, you were with David, please be with me. I do not know the way out Lord. There seems to be crossroads everywhere. What if I keep going around in circles? Lord, you know I get lost in a bucket. I am extending my hand out to you in trust Lord. Please take it and walk through this valley with me. As long as you are with me the shadows cannot harm me! Please Lord, be my guide and show me the way out of this valley.”

Yes, our minds can play all kind of tricks on us when the circumstances become bigger than we are. We must remember that God is bigger than our circumstances. He does not give up on us, why do we give up on Him? Faith cannot be found in a storefront window. Sometimes we have to walk in the valley of life to find it. When we find ourselves in a valley we must step out in faith. Winston Churchill once said, “If you are in a living hell, keep moving, do not stay there.” I am not telling you to run away from your problems, but to run to the Lord for help. If you ask Him to fight the battles with you, He will make a way when there seems to be no way. With God all things are possible. In fact, with the Lord at your side, there is not a valley too low or a mountain too high that you both cannot climb together.

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A Hole In My Soul

How is it that some days I have laughter in my heart, and the next I feel like I have a hole in my soul? What a difference a day makes! There are days I wake up feeling something is  not right, but for the life of me, I cannot put my finger on it. It is so aggravating; like a mosquito buzzing over my head when I am trying to sleep. Do I ignore it? No! Even though I would like to do that, I realize there is a spirit inside me that says to ignore it would be ignoring reality. Do I reach for a spiritual bandaid by praying, “God, fix this. Tell me what it is I need to do, but please do not make me cling to the cross so long that I get splinters in my hands. Please just this once, couldn’t you just tell me?”

My mother’s words come rushing to my mind, “a lesson learned is a lesson earned.” No, no, I want the easy way out this time!”  But then the uncertainties of life become a reality, and you know without a doubt that He in not going to let you go, until you learn what it is He wants you to know! Just like the all-night wrestling match that Jacob had with the angel. (Genesis 32:22-32) Just as God dealt with Jacob, I know without a shadow of doubt that He is going to deal the same way with me. He is going to turn me every which way but loose, until I deal with whatever it is I have to deal with! So much for the spiritual bandaid!

If I had a hole in my foot, I could go to a doctor, but a hole in the soul has to be healed by the Great Physician. Only He has the genuine Balm of Gilead. If I want the healing to last, I have to do my part just like the crippled man at the Pool of Bethesda. Jesus, told him, “get up, pick up your bed and walk.” (John 5:8)

No matter how hard we try to prevent it, our trials sometimes become bigger than life itself. We tell Him, we cannot take it anymore, enough is enough! But in His sovereignty,  our todays turn into tomorrows. The alarm sounds, awaking us to another day. I guess that is the Lord telling us we are not defeated, so get up and trust Him to make it through another one.

Yes, the good times and bad times are woven into the tapestries of our lives. We have to remember that He sees the front side of the tapestry and all we see are the knotted threads going every which way. Even though the ends fray and the threads become weak, He will hold the threads together, covering us in His love, grace and mercy! We need to snuggle up in that tapestry that He is weaving for us, because there is no safer place we could be!

The song follows the history of the song!

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Give Them All To Jesus!

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can
And wisdom to know the difference.

Have you ever had days when “your get up and go,” got up and went? The alarm sounds and you want to stay under the covers and tell the world to go away? I guess it happens to all of us sooner or later.

I have the tendency to wake up and start the day where I left off the day before. I not only take on the new challenges, I add on the old ones as well. That kind of mindset can make for a very long day.

Matthew 6:34

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

I need to become more of a prayer warrior and less of a worrywart. The only way I can relieve the worry is to remember His promises. I know for sure satan is going to be telling me derogatory things all day. I guess that is why the Lord tells us we have to renew our minds because He knows that is where the enemy attacks!

Romans 12:2

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”

This is a deliberate choice. God will not do it, unless I choose to do it. My faith has to become larger than my emotions. I need to ask for His wisdom.

James 1:5

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be give to you.”

All I have to do is ask. I want to be a wise woman that builds my house, not tear it down with my own hands. (Proverbs 15:12) You know the saying, “when mama is unhappy, everyone is unhappy.”

I am also a fixer by nature. There are some situations I can change, and some I cannot. The problem is knowing the difference. My dad used to say, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” I can add to that and say, “If you can’t fix the situation, know when to give it to the Lord.”

Philippians 4:6

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

I pray for Him to calm my anxious thoughts, remembering that worrying will not add a single hour to my life. (Matthew 6:27) In fact, it will make me grow older faster.

I Cor. 16:13

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous. Be strong.”

I need His strength. I need to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Once I do this I can let go and let God. Then and only then will I have His peace.

John 14:27

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

I ask for His peace. That promise turns my fear into faith and my defeat into victory.

He is indeed a God of His Word! As I walk with Him day by day, I hear Him whisper in my ear, “This is the way, walk in it.”

He will do the same for you my friend. All you have to do is ask.

The Serenity Prayer

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Are You Doing Your Part?

Lamentations 3:22-23

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Oh, what a blessing! Oh, what a God! He does not want us to perish, so He gives us another chance, day after day, to get it right; not with the world, but with Him. He looks into our hearts to see if there is any room for Him. He wants nothing  more than for us to follow Him. He wants to protect us, love us, and have fellowship with Him. The bottom line is, He wants what is best for us. You see, He had it all planned out from the beginning!

Romans 7:18-20

“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if  I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.”

Now that sounds like a real dilemma!  Ever been there?  Ever felt that it was a no-win situation.? The harder you try, the worse it gets?  How does one fight back when the flesh gets getting in the way?  Well, here comes the good part – He knew our sins before we even thought of them. He knew about our choices before we even made them – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Psalm 103:10

“He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.”

Good thing, or we all would all be fried like bacon! Like I said before, “He had it all planned out from the beginning! God does not do anything by chance.

Isaiah 46:10

“Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.'”

God not only declares it, He provides what is needed to help us fight the battle that rages with our flesh day in and day out. He gave us what is needed to be justified in His sight, so now all we have to do is our part!

Justification – God’s act of removing the guilt and penalty of sin while at the same time declaring a sinner righteous through Christ’s atoning sacrifice. (Wikipedia)

You see He knew we could not do it on our own, so He did it for us. There is nothing we have done or ever will do that cannot be covered under the atonement of Christ’s blood. The best part is, it is free! There are no works involved. All you have to do is accept it in faith. Faith is key because:

Hebrews 11:6

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and the He rewards those who seek Him.”

Faith is the key that opens the door to His justification. That is why He looks in our hearts to see if we have the faith to believe that He exists and believe His Word is true! It is not for His benefit, but for ours. All we have to do is accept it!

Psalm 103:11-12

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His loving kindness (mercy) towards those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so ar has He removed our transgressions from us.”

What happens to all those sins and wrong choices? Even though they are still inside your mind, doesn’t mean they still exist in the eyes of God. When He looks down, all He sees in the blood of His Son, not the sins!  Quit beating yourself up. If God can create the world in six days, He certainly can forgive our sins! It is the enemy who keeps reminding us of our sins!

So my friend, we need to believe that His faithfulness and grace is larger that our sin! All He expects from us is  to  do is show Him our faithfulness in return!

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The Road to the Cross

We have just celebrated the Resurrection of Our Lord! The grave could not hold Him! Praise God! But we must remember that before He had this victory, He had to carry the cross.

Luke 23:26

“As the soldiers led Him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on Him and made him carry it behind Jesus.”

I truly believe it was in the Sovereignty of God that the soldiers allowed this to happen. Why do I say that?

Matthew 27:30

“They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.”

The soldiers had shown Him no mercy before, why would they do it then?

Matthew 16:24

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.”

You know, God does the same for us. He knew we were going to have to carry heavy crosses sooner or later, so He sent His Son to help us carry the burdens of life.

John 16:33

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

The road to the cross is a hard one to travel alone. I love that expression, “The cross before me, the world behind me.” The only way we can truly overcome the trials is to keep our eyes on Jesus. If we do that, He will give us the strength to keep going when the burdens seem heavier than we can bear.

2 Corinthians 12:9

“And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for the power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in Me.”

We have to remember we can never be victorious if we never fight the battle. We will never know how big our God is and what our faith can accomplish! That is the last thing satan wants. He loves to sit on our shoulders and scream in our ear, “Quit trying to overcome this! You will not win! It is too hard! If God truly loved you, He would not have let this happen. Well, my friend, the hotter the fire, the more the flames can refine. Discouragement is not from the Lord. It is a tool of satan!

I truly believe that all the battles we face in life are used to make us the people God created us to be. He uses those trials to embed our testimonies in the hearts of others. I can say that from experience. Who in their right mind would want to have to fight the battle of cancer and then fight the repercussions for fifty yeas afterwards? No one! But I know that the Lord can use me more this way than He could before. After all, He is the potter and I am the clay! He has never forsaken me yet and I believe in my heart, He never will. He just keeeps whispering, “one more step, you can do this!”

Yes, my friends, the road to the cross is a long one! As time passes and our journey continues, we need to look in the rearview mirror of life and see the distance we have traveled. How did we make it through the crossroads to Calvary once more? Was it because of the tiny seed of faith grasped in our hand as we put one foot in front of the other? Was it because we heard His whisper to our aching heart through the sounds and beauty of His creation? Was it because He whispered to us through a smile, a touch on the shoulder, or a kind word from another person? The important thing is that we heard His whisper! It was enough to keep us moving until we reached the cross, where we could finally put our burdens down. Our hands will probably be full of splinters and blistered but we did it! I have to ask myself, “which splinter would I remove if I had a choice to make?” My reply would be, “none, not one, there would be too much at stake!”

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Do You Absolutely Know That You Know?

Have you ever been in the wrong place, at the wrong time, doing the wrong thing? You are not quite sure how you got there, but the minute you did, you made the choice to turn around and get out of there as fast as you could go. If only life was that easy, but sometimes there is no turning back. I guess sooner or later it happens to all of us. Question is, do we learn from it?

I am so glad there are absolutes in life:

Light/darkness, love/hate, laughter/tears, right/wrong.

When we do not obey the absolutes of life, that is when we get in trouble. Our choices can either make us or break us.  If we do not know what we stand for, we will fall for anything. That my friend, is when we end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, doing the wrong thing.

A son asked his father one day, “what determines how our life will turn out?” The father said, “son, it is the choices you make and the friends you keep. You have got to determine and know what you stand for. People are watching, and even though it may seem out of date, integrity still turns a head. A man’s character is determined by doing the right thing no matter what and being a man of your word.”

I guess that is why I respect the Lord so much. He always did the right thing and He certainly kept His word. He definitely saids what He means and means what He saids. He gave us the truth. He gave us the absolutes of eternity:

Life/death, narrow gate/wide gate, Kingdom of Heaven/hell and last but not least, God/satan.

John 5:24

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”

Matthew 7:13-14

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

We have to be careful not to be traveling the roads of this world so fast that we miss the narrow road that leads to the narrow gate. This is the one time we want to be in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing.

Matthew 7:21

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

The last thing anyone wants to hear is, “depart from me, I never knew you.

Matthew 7:23

“And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me you workers of lawlessness.'”

Whose voice are you listening to?  Are they speaking the truth or are you believing a lie? The voice you believe will determine where you spend eternity. Why do I say that?

John 14:28

“You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.”

John 11:25

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live, even though he dies.”

This is a sure promise I hold onto in life because it keeps me going. It gives me hope for the future. He is the one with the resurrecting power! There was no power on earth that could keep Him in that tomb, not even death! Indeed He did indeed arise from the dead and with that resurrecting power, He will return again to bring His people home.

Have you chosen to be one of His people? Do you absolutely know that you know where you will spend eternity? Be sure that you know you are in the right place because you have reached your final destination. There is no turning back!

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Pages of My Heart

Psalm 139:16

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” (NLT)

Little did I know that God is quite the record keeper. He definitely has a large library filled with books!  Yes, God has records for each and every one of us from the day we were formed in the womb.

Here are a few of the books that contain our names:

The Book of Remembrance – Malachi 3:16-17

“Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another.  The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name.”

He knows those who fear Him. He writes their name in a book.

The Book Of Deeds – 2 Corinthians 5:10

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

As believers, our deeds will be judged, not our sins. If they were good, they will remain. If not, they will burn up. (I Cor. 3:12-13)

With every turn of the pages, He knows where we came from, where we have been and where we are going. He knows if we believe in Him or if we have denied Him. He knows our good deeds and he knows our bad deeds. He even knows what we think before we think it, but the one thing He knows the best is our hearts. (Psalm 139:23)

I wish I could have a do-over! There are so many things I regret, but the one I regret the most is not knowing Him as my Savior until I was thirty-two. Oh, the years I wasted! How many times did I take the pen out of His hand and write the script I wanted instead of the one He had written for me. I know it broke His heart when He saw some of the things I wrote into the chapters of my life. Some were good, some were bad and some were downright ugly.

He not only knows my heart, He knows my sorrows. I thank Him every day for His grace and mercy!

Psalm 56:8

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” (NLT)

I discovered that verse when I was in Israel.  We were at the Garden Tomb and I saw the prettiest little bottles in the gift shop. I picked one up and this verse was attached. That really touched my heart to know He sees every tear I shed.  It seems as if I have cried a river in my lifetime. I often wonder if  He has a bottle that is big enough.

The Book of Life

Rev. 20:12

“And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened and another book was opened, which is the book of life and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.”

Revelation 20:15

“And if anyone’s names was not found written in the bool of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

This my friends, is the Book that matters the most! It determines if one goes to heaven or hell!

It is my prayer that our lives will become an open book so the Lord can write on the pages what He needs us to do to further His Kingdom. On the last page may He write,  “Well My good and faithful servant!”

 – Jesus, I Am An Open Book – Dallas Holm

 

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Do You Hear His Footsteps?

My favorite time of day is early in the morning when I take my cup of coffee in one hand and my Bible in the other and sit before my Lord. It is so quiet I can hear the pages as  I turn them. This is when I get my marching orders for the day. I need His guidance to show me what it is I need to do, where I need to go and hopefully who I need to pray for. I learned a long time ago if I do not wait for the Spirit to guide me, I start on my on path and either get ahead of Him or lag behind. When that happens, I know it is going to be a very long day! My family can even tell when I have not had my coffee yet or when I missed my quiet time. Then all of a sudden remember they have some place they need to go.

I have discovered the more I learn about the Scriptures, the more I need to know. There are some fabulous nuggets that are right there before my eyes, but I will miss them if I do not  take the time to dig deeper. One day I found a real nugget which opened my eyes to just how close the Spirit of the Lord wants to be with us.

Genesis 1:1-2

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.”

Do you see that there was darkness, but The Spirit of God was still there! Let’s go a little deeper. What was the Spirit of God doing? He was moving over the surface of the waters. If you go to the original Hebrew, you will see the true meaning of the word “Spirit” (H7306) ruwach – to breathe, to blow. The Spirit was very close to the surface of the waters.

Now lets look at the meaning of “moving or hovering” (H7363) rachaph – flutter, move, shake. The Spirit of God was moving or stirring up the waters.

Maybe an easier illustration is envisioning an helicopter hovering over the water trying to rescue someone! That is what the Spirit of God does. He wants to move us and stir our spirit to line up with His. He wants us to walk so close beside Him that we hear His footsteps.

Psalm 91:1

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.”

Do you remember as a child  trying to chase your shadow? I tried and tried , but it always out ran me. Now, as an adult, I do my best to stay in the shadow of God instead of chasing my own. Why?  Because I know without a doubt that it is the safest place to be.

John 14:16-18

“And I will pray to the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

He calls to us through His Spirit, but one must be His child to feel the stirring of the Spirit, to hear His footsteps and know that He is there with you. Like I said in the beginning, there is no safer place to be.

John 16:13

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, shall come, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak from Himself, but whatever He may hear, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”

I guess you could say, “He is a in-your-face kind of God! He wants us to stay so close to Him that when he breathes out we feel His breath. That way we know it is Him stirring up our Spirit to be in His will. I came to the realization a long time ago, if I was not in the Word of God, I was not in His will. The Word and His Will go together and I cannot separate them. That is where I learn the truth and His promises.

Jesus promised us we would never be alone because He was sending the Holy Spirit to guide us.  As long as we have the Holy Spirit, we will have the help of the Lord when we seek Him with all our heart and soul. Trials are going to happen and there is not one thing we can do to stop them, but to trust that the Lord knows. Circumstances can become larger than we are at times and the worries  of the world can toss us around like the turbulence of the sea, but as long as we have Him, we are never alone. Our only hope is in Him. So what does this hope do for the children of God?

I John 4:4

“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them (the world): because greater is He that is in you, than he who is in the world.”

We need to grasp the truth that He is the only one who has the power to overcome the world which includes our trials and circumstances.

2 Corinthians 3:5

“Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.”

Without Him,  we can do nothing in and of ourselves. All we need to know is that He loves us more than we can ever love ourselves.

Romans 8:31

“What then will we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

It’s the world that wants to make us feel defeated, not the Lord. He is there just waiting for us to ask for His help. That is how we become overcomers!

So, my wish for you today is for you to get a cup of your favorite beverage and go and meet with your Lord. When you do, you will feel His presence and comfort to guide you through your day. If you diligently seek Him, you will find Him. He is probably just a breath away. Listen closely, you might even hear His footsteps.

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I Need Thee Every Hour

Have you ever heard the expression,  “People do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care?” I do not know who said that, but they certainly had a lot of wisdom! That is where the rubber meets the road, isn’t it? Life sometimes gets in our face and we wonder how we are going to get through the day ourselves, much less be an encouragement to anyone else. I remember the words my dad spoke to me when I was diagnosed with cancer of the tongue. I had to have all my teeth pulled for radiation treatments. I was in between surgeries and he wanted me to go to business college so I would not be sitting around the house feeling sorry for myself. I told him, “dad, that is mean!”  His reply was, “Sandy, I saw a man who had no shoes, than I saw a man who had no feet. It looks to me as if you have two feet so get out the car.” It was a long walk down that hallway, but somehow I made it. All I could think was, “Yes, I have two feet, but I do not have any teeth!” I had to prepare myself for the stares, but after awhile I was just thought of as “the girl who had no teeth.” I made some very good friends and I learned a valuable lesson. My physical appearance did not make me the person I was. It was what was on the inside that mattered. After some time passed, I realized my dad was not being mean, he was being wise. He showed me I had more strength than I thought I did, but in reality it was God’s grace and strength, not mine. (That was before I knew Him and how much He cared)!

There is always hurt in this world! You do not have to look far to find it. In this month alone, I have lost a dear friend, another friend has a daughter lying paralyzed in a hospital bed, and as I type this blog another friend is getting ready to meet his Savior face to face! In fact he has been praying for the Lord to call him home. He is so tired and wants to see Jesus.

! Peter 3:15

“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”

“Oh Lord, I want their precious families to know how much I care. I want to lessen their pain of today and give them hope for tomorrow. They do not need the world’s answers, they need your answers and love. It is so hard to trust when  their hearts are broken. Be there for them Lord. Let them feel your presence and show them how much you care for them. Please pick up the pieces of their lives and glue them back together with your love, grace and mercy.  Please give them the strength to hold on to their rope of faith and promise them that you will not let go of your end, but will daily pull them up closer to you. Take their hand in your nailed scarred hand and lead them down the road to Calvary. On the way, let them drink from the river of peace that can only come from the fountain of Your love.”

Psalm 121:1

“I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD who made heaven and earth.”

I need you Lord! I am asking you to bless me now so I can help them! Give me Your words, give me your love so I can comfort them. Let them know how much I care! May they realize they need you as much as I do!

May I ask you dear friends to pray for these precious families. It does not matter if you do not know their names – He does!

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What Really Matters?

What really matters? That is a hard question, isn’t it? I have to admit, I lived too many years before I figured it out. My soul focus was on me. After all, I was the one who had to be pleased or it was going to be a long day for everyone! Is that something I am proud of? NO! What made me change?  I realized that trying to satisfy the flesh was like trying to feed a piranha – it was never satisfied. The more I fed it, the more it wanted.

One day as I was looking in the mirror I thought, “Sandy, are you really making a difference in anyone else’s life but your own?” Look around you! People are hurting, they are scared, they are lonely. One act of kindness can make a difference if you get self out of the way.

I spoke to the Lord that day and said, “you know Lord, I really do not know how to make a difference. Will you teach me?” So I got out His Word and literally looked up the verses on “kindness.” There were so many I was overwhelmed! He really does want us to be kind! He showed me what kindness truly was. He showed me that actions were louder than words. The hard part was being kind whether I felt like it or not!

Ephesians 4:32

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Colossians 3:12

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”

So, I made the effort to take the time to be kind, not only to people I know, but to strangers as well. If I saw someone and we made eye contact, I smiled. Did they always smile back? No, but the majority of them did. If I saw someone needed a helping hand, I gave them  mine! Did they always say “thank you”? No! Did that matter? No! You see, I was being kind because it was the right thing to do. It was what the Lord wanted me to do! His approval was the only “thank you” I needed.

I have met many nice people in the grocery line! We shared words, smiles and even recipes. One day a little boy was checking out and needed a quarter. I reached down and gave him one. You would have thought I gave him $10.00. The smile on his face was all the “thank you” I needed.

Philippians 2:3-4

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”

Please do not get the impression that I am Sandy, “the do-gooder”. I am not doing it to impress others. I am doing it because it makes me feel that I am making a difference in someone else’s life besides my own. It might be just a smile, but a smile can surely make one feel better. It might make them feel life isn’t so bad after all. Who knows, it might be contagious and they will smile at someone.

2 Thessalonians 3:13

“As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.”

What do I do on the days when life gets in my face and screams at me? I MAKE myself smile to get my mind off me and my circumstances. Does that take effort?  Yes, but I do it anyway! If they do indeed smile back, it will make me feel better! If they do not smile back, I have the satisfaction of knowing I did the right thing!

Matthew 5:16

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

Kindness is as an ember of light that expels true darkness. One smile, one touch, one hello seems so small, but to another it might be the only ray of hope they receive that day. It might be just enough light that it will keep them from stumbling in the darkness.

So, my friend, do you know what really matters? Is doing acts of kindness really worth it? Yes, but it is costly because it takes time to make the effort. Yes! God has blessed me beyond words! Little things can mean a lot! When we truly live for Jesus, it truly is all that matters!

 

Posted in Blessings, Hope, Inspirational, Kindness | Tagged , | 6 Comments

He Hung The Moon!

Psalm 19:1

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky displays His handiwork.”

Do you ever wonder as you look at the stars and the galaxies, how they got there? Do you ever wonder if there is indeed a man in the moon? As a little girl, I looked for His eyes and  mouth and thought He was smiling down at me. I do not know if  there is a man in the moon, but I do know the One who hung it.

I am not a scientist by any means, but with a little research I learned that the planet earth was tilted on its axis with precise precision that kept everything in balance.  If it had been placed too close to the sun, we would burn up and if it had been placed too close to the moon, we would freeze to death. The sun brings our seasons and the moon controls the ocean’s tides. The oceans waves are only allowed to go so far.

Yes, all creation does testify that there is indeed a God! I believe that God knew we would have to be reminded of His existence daily, so He put the skies before us to declare His handiwork.

Do you know your Creator/Redeemer lives or do you think He is a myth or a lie from the enemy? Well, my friend, if you think there is an enemy, you can be sure there is a God. After all, He was the one who created the enemy.

Rom. 1:25

“For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is praised forever.”

Psalm 8:2

“You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.”

Now that my friend is a falling star you need to catch and put in your pocket for safekeeping!

Romans 1:20

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

Not only do the heavens reveal His majesty, but they also reveal His eternal power and divine nature.

2 Peter 1:4

“For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”

That is the answer that shows us where we get the power to overcome the darkness of this world! It is in His power and divine nature that we become more than conquerors. (Romans 8:37). It is knowing that His precious promises are true that equips us to know we can face tomorrow. Remember, it is not how many times we get knocked down in life, it is how many times we get back up. As long as there is a breath of life in us, we have to keep going. The only way that can happen is if He gives us His strength and we have the faith to believe those precious promises.

The day I invited my Redeemer in my heart, is the day I knew that the One living in me is greater than the one who is in the world. (I John 4:4)

Yes my friend, your Redeemer truly lives! He has risen! The tomb is empty. If you go there, you will not find Him. I know because I spoke with Him this morning!

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God’s Sovereignty – He Reigns!

I have had the blessing of studying the Scriptures “Precept Upon Precept” for many years. I shutter to think where I would be today without Kay Arthur and  my friends at Precept Ministries. You see, Kay introduced me to my God. Line by line, word by word, she showed me how to dig out the treasures and the promises of God. Yes, I finally got God out of the Book and put Him in my heart.

For many years, I have had the blessing of teaching “Precept Upon Precept” to wonderful  groups of ladies. We have learned together, prayed together, laughed together and yes, even cried together. God has woven our hearts together with the thread of His Word. Nothing can compare when women of God get together to study His Word and the power of God shows up.

We are currently studying the Book of Isaiah and we stand in awe as we meet our God and Redeemer face to face. We are learning the sovereignty of our God and how He is the One that needs to reign in our lives. (Did you see “reign” is in sovereign?) That means life has to  be more about Him and less about us! As we search the Scriptures, questions arise? How does He know our thoughts before we even think them? Why are our ways so different from His?

Isaiah 55:8-9

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and my thoughts then your thoughts.”

There lies the answer. The One that spoke the universe into existence and placed every star  in the sky knows us by name, but yet, our thoughts and ways are not the same as His. I wonder if He did that on purpose? If we knew beforehand His thoughts and ways, we would never need Him spiritually. We would do everything our own way and in our own strength.

Psalm 33:14; Psalms 33:15

“From His dwelling place He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth.”

“He who fashions the hearts of all, He who understands all their works.”

He is not asking us to understand what He does or how He does it. He just wants us to trust and obey – knowing that He knows the beginning from the end and everything in between.

Ecclesisastes 3:1-8

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven. A time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. A time to search and a time to give up as lost; a time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; a time to be silent and a time to speak. A time to love and time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.”

No matter the season you are in right now, be assured He knows. Life happens and changes everyday. How do we make it through the seasons that break our heart? The secret is to gather the fears, doubts and emotions that bring helplessness, and bring them to the cross. Place them there and leave them there. We must remember there is a reason for every season! Trust His Sovereignty! It’s the only way to His peace!

 

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Feel Like Getting Your Feet Wet?

Faith is amazing! It can be as small as a mustard seed or it can fill the universe. The choice is ours. The reason I say this is because the size of our faith is determined by the size of our God. For many years my faith in God could fit in a thimble, but now it takes a whole universe to hold my God! What made the difference? Time, precious time, and a whole lot of searching for answers in His Word.

Jeremiah 29:13

“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

For years I attended church, but the only time I picked up the Bible was to dust it. (I had to dust in order to earn my allowance). I smile now remembering my mama’s words, “Sandy, you must handle the Bible with respect and you must never put it on the floor.” One day as I picked it up, I wondered what would happen if I opened it and read it? Maybe it would help me understand why He supposedly loved me.  The only reason I was wondering that was because I heard it in a song. Maybe, if I read His word it would tell me if He did indeed love me. I had high expectations as I opened the Bible and turned the pages ever so carefully! Did I find my answer? No! I hardly made it through Genesis. I decided it was too hard to understand, so I decided I would just trust the song’s words to be true. But, the real problem was I did not have enough faith to believe or trust Him. He was still just a Man in a Book.

Matthew 14:25-27

“And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking of the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost! And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

In order to truly believe and trust Him, I needed to see Him walk on water before I wanted to get out of the boat. In fact, I did not even want to step into the water – That water was cold!

So, I decided to try the world’s way. I would take the wide path and not venture onto the narrow path. I just followed the crowd to see where it would take me. In time, I realized it would not take me very far. In actuality, it became a dead end street.

Matthew 7:13

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”

Did I learn my lesson? Yes, indeed I did!  I realized if I had values, they thought I was a real stick in the mud and no fun. I also realized when troubles came, the world was too busy to care and they waved as they passed me by.

When storm clouds appear on the horizon and the waves of life come crashing down upon you, your eyes and heart start searching for someone who will not pass you by. Care to guess who that someone is? Yes, it is the One walking on the water, stretching His hand out and beckoning you to come toward Him while the waves are still raging all around.

Matthew 14:28-31

“Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

I remember asking the Lord, “if I come to You, would you meet me when the water reaches knee high?” The Lord responded,”No!”  “What if it reaches up to my waist?  Would that do?  “No!” “Lord, can you just throw me a life preserver and pull me to you”? “No!” You have to have the FAITH to believe I am going to rescue you! You will make it, but you must not take your eyes off me.”

So my search for faith began! I was sinking and I had to find out what faith was and how to get it fast!

Hebrews 11:1

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

I wanted the assurance, but my fear and doubts were larger than my conviction. How was I ever going to get enough faith to venture out to meet Him? All I could see were the raging waves.

Romans 10:17

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ.

Well, there was my answer. I had to learn to walk by faith and not by sight. I had to get in the Word of God and get to know my Lord. This time I would not stop at Genesis. I was not going to put my Bible down until I had the assurance He loved me and cared what happened to me!

Ephesians 2:8

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not from yourselves; it is the gift of God.”

Indeed it is! Each step I took towards Him, He stepped toward me. Little by little I got to know His character and started feeling His love. The more I trusted Him, the less I feared and doubted. The more time I spent getting to know Him, the more I realized I never wanted to do life without Him. When I showed Him my faith; He showed me His strength. The best part of the story is, He never passed  me by and waved. He always stopped and met me where I was at. Never again did I have to ask Him to throw me a life preserver because He was already there in the flesh.

So the next time the storm clouds gather on the horizon and He beckons me to “Come,” I think I will jump into the water with both feet and swim as fast as I can!

 

 

 

 

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Precious Fellowship, Precious Blessings!

Have you every gone to the garden alone, seeking the peace like a river and hoping it will make it well with your soul? I have; I go there often! I not only find peace but also the blessed assurance that can only come from my Lord. He takes me by the hand and walks with me. He meets me where I am and actually listens to everything that is on my heart.

Hebrews 13:5

“Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you.”

I wish I could say I have always fellowshipped with my Lord, but I can’t. The world caught my eye and I got all caught up in its baubles and glitter. I would buy something I just had to have and within two weeks it just became another possession. I was looking for true contentment in the wrong place. Jesus was calling my name, but the sounds of the world were the only sounds I heard. He wanted to have a closer walk with me but I was always too busy!

But as time passed, I realized that every good thing comes from the Lord. The things that matter the most to Him were right in front of my eyes. He had blessed me with a precious family, wonderful friends and His everlasting love and faithfulness. I am sorry to say I took these precious blessings for granted. I did not mean to do; it just kind of happened. Once I came to that realization, my priorities changed fast. There are some things that money just cannot buy. There are some precious memories that happen only once and I did not want to miss them. The older I become, the more precious they become to me.

I know one thing for sure, I need my Lord. I need to meet with Him often. All I have to do is whisper His name and He comes. All I have to do is ask Him to take my hand and walk with me and He does. All I have to do is ask for His blessed assurance and He gives it. That is why I go to the garden to seek peace like a river and stay there until it is well with my soul. He will do the same for you my friend. He will meet you where you are at. All you have to do is whisper His name! I assure you He will hear you because the garden I am speaking of is right inside your heart!

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Does the Spirit of the Lord Dwell in Your Home?

Psalm 127:1

“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.”

Oh, if only Hank and I had known that sooner! Now, please do not get me wrong, we were very happily married and we loved each other very much, but we were doing everything in our own strength. We did not really think about the Holy Spirit helping us except on Sundays in church. We were hearers of the word and not doers. (James 1:22)

The two most important roles I wanted to fulfill in my life was to be the best wife and mother I could be. The only problem was those roles did not come with instruction manuals. I did not realize that I was the thermostat of the home. Ladies, whether we like it or not , that was  built in our job description when He made us wives and mothers. You have heard the expression, “when mama is unhappy, everyone is unhappy!” Truer words were never spoken.

As a military wife and mom of two daughters, it was my job to keep the home fires burning. I had no trouble starting the fires; the hard part was keeping them going. Every time I got busy doing something else that needed to be done, it was time to put another log on the fire. Just as we got all snug as a bug in a rug, Hank came home with orders. I honestly can say the Marine Corps can put you in some weird far-off places. I usually gave Hank fits when he brought some of those orders home. Then one day I read:

Acts 17:26-27

“and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.”

Well, that took all the air out of my sails!  When I realized it was God doing it, I had to accept it! It was a lot easier blaming Hank. I suddenly realized that if God was the One that determined my boundaries, there must be a reason, so I started really seeking the One who was determining my boundaries. Hank was so glad I found that verse! It sure made life easier for everyone. It was at this point in our lives when we both started diligently seeking the Lord.

Joshua 24:15 (paraphrased)

“Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (paraphrased)

This was a deliberate choice on our part.  It did not just happen. So with that being said, we did our best to create an environment in our home that would be pleasing to the Lord. In all honesty, I have to say we did not have a clue how to do this,  but then I realized the Lord had indeed given us an instruction manual. The Bible was to be our guide.  I wish I could say we always did what we were suppose to, but that isn’t the case. Our house was filled with love, but also with some ups and downs.

Mark 3:25

“If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.”

That might have been one of the problems. We just agreed to disagree and walked around “the big white elephant” in the room and pretended it wasn’t there. That was probably not the best thing to do because sooner or later one of us would trip over it’s trunk.

We loved our daughters very much and  wanted our home to be the place where they could  escape the chaos of the world. Did that always happen? NO! We kept tripping over the attitudes! Not only theirs, but ours as well. So at times our home became the battlefield. Words were sometimes spoken that were best left  unsaid, but we learned to forgive, even though some did leave scars  Thank goodness the love was greater than the hurts and scars. Praise God we knew He had given us His grace so we had to do the same.

We shared laughter, tears, good times and bad times!  When the storms of life came, and they did, we grabbed hold of our faith and each other as tightly as we could, trusting the Lord every step of the way. I have lived long enough to know that sooner or later when the bottom of your world falls out, you need to land on a rock and you want that Rock to be Jesus Christ.

Matthew: 7:24-24 – Choice One

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.

Matthew 7:25-26 – Choice Two

“Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does NOT act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell and great was its fall.”

I am so grateful we chose to build our house on a solid rock. It was no easy task! We spent many hours on our knees in prayer for our family. We knew that we could never create the home we needed unless the Spirit of the Lord was there. He was the one that gave us that sure foundation.  As I look back, I am so glad I kept the home fires burning because the home is truly where the heart is! That is why we have to guard our hearts very carefully!

It is my prayer that my family will always be excited to come home because down deep they feel in their hearts, “there is no place like home.”

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I Know Who I Need! Do You?

My mama used to say, “Sandy, if you would only listen, you would not always have to do things the hard way!  You definitely have a  mind of your own, but you are going to have to have a large basket to carry around the “if only’s” in your life.

Oh why, oh why did I not listen to mama more often. After all, she had lived life long enough to be able to see the trees from the forest. I, on the other hand, couldn’t see the forest for the trees. I chose to attend the school of hard knocks! In fact, I almost earned my Doctorate! Kind of stubborn, don’t you think?

Deuteronomy 1:2 – Israelites Crossing the Desert

“It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea.”

If this was the case, why did it take the Israelites forty years to get to the promise land? Scripture tell us it was their stubbornness and disobedience that kept getting in the way. God just kept taking them around and around the mountain until they got it right.

I can so relate! It took me 32 years before I came to the conclusion that I needed the Lord! The funny thing is I did not go seeking Him, but He kept pursuing me.  He never once gave up on me, even during the times when I was ready to give up on self. He was faithful and just kept putting christians in my life that planted seeds. Then one day they took root and I have been growing ever since. Better late than never, right!

Daniel 4

“But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.”

I was in the fast lane letting life pass me by. I hardly had time to say hello to anyone, much less see the pain in their eyes from the brokenness in their hearts. I was trying to teach my daughters right from wrong and did not quite have that down myself. I was so involved in other things, that I was not seeing what was happening around me.

John 10:9

“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”

Sometimes, I imagine God looking down as we frantically run through our mazes of life. We go every which way trying to make it all happen, not realizing He is the only door that can get us out of that maze. I no longer have to scurry about to and fro trying to figure life out on my own. Oh, what a blessing that is! Yes, I definitely needed the Lord.

I Peter 5:8

“Be sober-mined; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

I know for a fact that I cannot fight the enemy’s schemes on my own.  He seems to be everywhere lurking in the shadows. I need the full armor of God to do that. (Ephesians 6) I have a precious family and I pray earnestly for them each and every day that they enemy does not get in their way of choosing right from wrong. They need to be covered in prayer. I have to show them how big my God is so when the time comes, they will also know how to fight the enemy  Many a day my daughters have seen me holding the Bible in my arms close to my heart because I was so broken I could not pray.could not pray. The Lord knew that and sent His Spirit to calm me. May that forever be engrained in their minds.

So yes, I am blessed to say I know the Lord, but the best part is He knows me! I take Him with me everywhere I go!

 

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Author and Finisher of Our Faith!

Well, another New Year is upon us. A whole new chapter!  As I turn the blank pages I ponder to think what each new day will bring. I have lived long enough to know that there will be ups and downs, mountain peaks and valleys, laughter and tears and the list goes on. Will I be prepared for whatever life brings?

It is kind of like standing on the outside, looking in.  Trying to be prepared for what is going to happen and at the same time not having a clue! Will I want to write what happens on each page or will I put the pen in the hand of My Lord and let Him be the author? Will I  trust His sovereignty no matter what?

Hebrews 12:2

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, disposing the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

I think the only way I will not grow weary and lose heart is to know my Lord better. What is important to Him needs to be important to me. I do not want the busyness of life to interfere with that decision. I do not want me, myself and I to get in the way. I need His blessings every day. How do I get that blessing?

Psalm 1:1-3

“How blessed in the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does he propers.” (Prospers does not necessarily mean wealth. It means to have an effect!)

You see, I made the mistake of letting the opinion of others toss me around so many years, that I came out with some pretty bad bruises. I learned that being on everyone’s favorite list was not going to happen. In time my values have changed with each passing year. My Lord comes first, and my family is right behind Him. Nothing can take their place. My husband has stood beside me each step of the way even though there are times when he wants to send me to the moon with a one way ticket.  I have seven precious grandchildren and when they wrap their arms around my neck I know the treasure I have. The same treasure I had when my two daughters wrapped their arms around my neck growing up! (Then they became teenagers. need I say more?)

I owe it to them to be constantly in prayer for their direction and protection. I want them to see that the Lord needs to be first place in their lives or they will also get tossed to and fro by this world. Why is first place so important?

Colossians 1:17-18

“He is before all things and in Him all things hold together. Hs is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so He Himself will come to have first place in everything.”

He does indeed hold all things together. When the bottom of my world fell out, I picked up all the pieces and ran to the cross. I laid them at His feet. In time, He picked up all those pieces and glued my world back together. My prayer is that my family will know where to run when their world comes tumbling down around them. If they see it worked for me, that might give them the hope it will work for them!

So my friends, this is my prayer for each and every one of you! Get to know your Lord and hand Him the pen so He can fill in the pages of your life! After all, He is the one who created you. No one knows you better!

Wishing you many blessings in 2016!  God Bless!

 

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Oh, What a Savior!

 

Oh, what a Savior,
Oh, what a Friend,
To save a wretch like me.
He entered the world as a baby even though He could have come as a King.
He worked as a carpenter and made things out of wood, yet He had made the trees.
He was a son to His mother, but He was her Savior first.
He read the Word, yet He was the Word.
He didn’t have a place to call His own or a place to lay His head, yet He owned the universe and everything in it.

He rode on a donkey when He deserved a white stallion.
He was taken as a prisoner, yet He came to set the captives free.
He wore thorns, when He deserved a crown.
He bled and died on the cross, yet His blood gave me life and resurrection.
He came from heaven to enter hell.
Why?
To save a wretch like me!

Before I knew Him as my Savior, I did not give Him a thought.
He was the Author and Finisher of my life and I thought He was just a man in a book.
I owed Him everything, yet I gave Him nothing.
His Word was a lamp unto my feet, yet I chose to walk in darkness.
He offered me eternal life, yet I chose to live for the moment.
He wanted to give me peace, yet I chose to tremble in fear.
He wanted to bless me, yet I chose to be cursed with sin.
Oh, what a Savior.
Oh, what a Friend,
To save a wretch like me!

MERRY CHRISTMAS JESUS!
It is the time of year to celebrate our Savior’s Birth. We need to come forth and bring our gifts and lay them at His feet. What shall we bring, wrapped up with our love? What would mean the most to Him?
TIME, TIME SPENT WITH HIM, PRECIOUS TIME! That is costly you say, “who has the time to do that?” He does!

Merry Christmas Everyone! May it be a blessed one!

In HIm,
Sandy Denton

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Someone Is Watching!

Have you ever worn yourself out trying to please everyone so they would become your friend? It can flat dab wear you out! Why do we do that? Why can’t we just be ourselves?

As a teenager, my mother told me, “Sandy, you need to know what you stand for, or you will fall for anything. Up until this point I have been able to protect you and keep you within the boundaries of doing what is right or wrong, but now you have to stand on your own two feet and make the choices that will determine how you spend the rest of your life.

Well, that was easier said than done! I was at that age when the whole world was my oyster and I really did not know what I wanted or what I truly believed in. I can tell you now that I was not the person I should have been. You see, the problem was I could not know who I was because I did not know who the Lord created me to be. It was many years before I found the solution. You see, when you follow the real Jesus then you can become the real you! You can then stand firm because you are on a sure foundation.

I Cor. 3:10-11

“According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

In other words, there are two foundations to choose from:

The sure foundation of Christ or the foundation of the world which is made up of sinking sand. The choice is up to us.

I can now tell you from experience that each one of us is going to have a day in our lives when the bottom of our world falls out. When that happens I do not want to be standing on sinking sand. I want to be on a solid rock, and I want that rock to be Jesus Christ my Lord!

Whether we realize it or not, people are watching every move we make. They want to see if we are walking the walk and talking the talk or are we just pretending. Sooner or later our actions will reveal the truth, because what is in our hearts usually is revealed by our actions. We have to say what we mean, mean what we say or do not say anything.

I John 2:3-4

“By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him, and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him. The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”

So dear friends, we need to be the light in this dark world. We need to be the beacon of hope to others so they will want what we have. That can only happen if we are standing on a sure foundation, have the love the Lord in our hearts and know the truth – the truth that sets us free to be the person God created us to be!

One last question: Do you know what you stand for or will you fall for anything? Remember someone is watching and you can make a difference!

 

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Created In Love

Have you ever wondered why you were born? I have! How can one person make a difference in this life or in the lives of others? There are so many of us. It seems like we would just get in each others’ way. But as scripture says,”For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”  Isaiah 55:8

I may not be able to understand it, but if there is one thing I know, it is that God does not make mistakes. He knew the exact day I would be born and He knows the exact day I am going to leave this earth.

Psalm 139:13-16

“For you formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.”

When I read these words, I know I was created with His fingers of love. In fact, He loved me so much He died for me. I pray as you read this scripture, you will realize He loved and died for you also. He knows all about us. Our past, our present and our future. He even knows what we going to say before we utter a word and He also knows what we are going to do before we do it.

Psalms 139:1-4

“O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O LORD, You know it all.”

Now with that being said, if God knew what we were going to do beforehand, why did He still die for us? Despite all our mistakes and sins, why did He still stretch out His hands on the Cross to prove His love for us?

John 3:16-18

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

There is our answer. There are the choices set before us. We must remember that He not only knows us and loves us; He knows where we will be spending eternity! I am blessed to know that He is preparing a mansion for me in His Father’s House and one day He will bring me there!  I sure would love to have you as a neighbor!

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Miracle of Blessings!

My favorite time of year is here! The scent of Turkey cooking and the sound of christmas carols are in the air. Thanksgiving and Christmas is upon us!  Even though there is more hustle and bustle than usual, there seems to be a touch of excitement in the air. It is a time when people smile more, care more and want to bring joy to others!

It is also a time for Thanksgiving! Why do I say that? Well, we all have crosses to bear at one time or another. Even though that burden is heavy, we must remember that the one who died on the cross for us is also the one that helps us carry ours. We need to take the time to look in the rearview mirror of our lives and see how far we have come. When we count our blessings, it makes us realize that no matter what life throws on our path, there is always a of miracle of hope tucked away in our pocket. It has been that miracle of hope that has blessed us along the way. We need to dwell on the good memories that brings smiles to our faces and warmth to our hearts. It is when we count our blessings, we see what the Lord has  truly done in our lives.

There are just some things in life we just cannot put a price tag on!  Love, laughter, friends, but most of all our walk with the Lord. We all need a touch of kindness and a smile every now and then. but we always need the Lord in our life. That is indeed a gift that money cannot buy! It is free for the taking. All we have to do is reach out and take His nail-scarred hand in ours! That is indeed the greatest blessing of all!

So dear friends, from the Denton household to yours, we wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! May it be a time with family and friends that will never be taken for granted. Make it a good memory! Be thankful for this time together because it is indeed a blessing. With that being said, it might be a good idea to tuck this one in your pocket also!

 

 

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A Sinner Saved By Grace

Today, I am getting out my Book of Memories and turning the pages of my life back in time. There are memories in my life I do not wish to dwell on, but there are some that I need to hold close to my heart and cherish. This memory was special, because it was the day I bowed my knee and said, “Lord, I cannot do it on my own any longer.”

I always knew there was a God.  I remember when my mom was a secretary for our church, I would slip into the sanctuary occasionally to see if I could hear or see God.  I never did hear or see Him, but I did feel something. There was such a serenity and quietness and I felt it might have been His presence.

For so many years I got my love of God and security in God confused with the love and security of my parents and husband.  You see – I could see, touch, and communicate with them. I touched them – they touched me back.  Being so young, it was hard to reach out and touch someone I could not see, so in my mind, God could not see me either.

I knew He was at church and I visited Him there every Sunday. I realize now that I had a religion, but not a personal relationship with my Lord. I did not know He wanted to or could come home with me. He lived at the church, that was His house. Maybe if my parents had read scripture to me that would have made a difference. We did have a Bible on the coffee table and I dusted it every week while doing my chores. Maybe if I had picked up the Bible and read it instead of dusting it, things might have been different. After all, it had all the answers to life and was God’s love letter to us all.

2 Peter 3:9

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

I now realize the Lord knew the exact minute and day I would become His child, but I did not have a clue. I did not know He died for my sins, that He wore that crown of thorns for me and suffered such an agonizing death for me. I thought He did that for everyone else, not for me! When I realized that He would have done that for me alone, my heart broke and I felt so humbled, undeserving and full of anguish for the years I had wasted. That is when I realized I was indeed a sinner. How could I ever make up for the lost years? How could I ever repay Him for His longsuffering, patience and mercy? Well, the answer to that is, I did not have too! The price for my sins was paid in full at the cross by the redeeming blood of My Lord. That my friend is grace! This is God’s gift to each and everyone of us when we bow the knee. It is free for the taking. All we have to do is accept it. From that moment on we never have to fight our battles alone. That my friend is freedom!

That is the day I met my Lord. That is the day I had a choice to make. I could stay a unrepentant sinner and do everything in my own strength or I could reach out and take His nail-scarred hand in mine!  I chose to take His hand and accept the gift of His grace and the miracle of His love! The same gift is waiting for you at the cross. Believe me, it is worth the trip!

 

 

 

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May the Lord Go With You!

Well, today is a new day. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is on the horizon. As I wake up, I have taught myself to say, “Lord are you ready?” (I do not know why I ask Him that, because I am sure He has been waiting on me).  So, why do I invite the Lord to share my days?  I have two reasons: (1st) Each day is a gift and I want to live it to its fullest. (2nd)  I sometimes end up in the darnedest places, doing the darnedest things and I need His guidance and help. I do not intentionally set out to have those kind of days, but they happen more than I like to admit. With that being said, I try to take the Lord with me everywhere I go. After all, He gave me a promise that assures me He is already there.

Deuteronomy 31:6

“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them (Israel’s enemies), for the LORD your God is the One who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”

Hebrews 13:5-6

“Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU.”  so that we confidently say, ‘the LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID, WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?

Please notice, that this promise was given twice.  Once in the Old Testament and once in the New Testament.  When God repeats Himself, He wants you to believe it. Also, notice the capital letters; He did not want us to miss this promise!

Usually, we do not know what each new day will bring, but the Lord does. He knows the beginning from the end.  He is never taken by surprise, which is another good reason to bring Him with you. After all, He is the author and finisher of our faith. He knows each day in our Book of Life.  He knows there will be good days and bad days. He knows there will be days  that are filled with joy and days that are filled with despair.  He knows there will be days of plenty and days we do not know where the next meal is going to come from.  All He asks us to do is have enough faith to trust Him.

I can honestly say, I have traveled many roads in my life.  In my earlier years, I did not ask the Lord to come with me. I thought I could do it on my own. (Wrong answer!) But, thank goodness I finally learned where my help comes from. I always look up now, never down.  You see my help comes from the Lord.

Psalm 121:1-8

“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.  The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is you shade on your right hand. The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.”

This verse does not mean that nothing bad will ever happen to us, but it does mean He is there with us giving us grace every step of the way.  So my friend, when things seem hopeless and you do not feel He hears your prayers, keep the faith.  Do not let the enemy snatch it out of your hand. Do your best to hold on a little longer because tomorrow  might be the day the victory comes!

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The One That Holds the Key!

Have you looked around you lately?  Have you seen the hurt and desperation on the faces of so many? The footsteps of time have taken on the shackles of defeat. Each step they take gets heavier and heavier. They are wondering if there is any hope? They are wondering if   there is anyone who is worthy enough to overcome all the evil that surrounds us? I want to scream from the top of my lungs, “Yes, there is someone who has the key to their chains of defeat!”

Rev. 5:12 – Angels, Living Creatures and Elders around the Throne proclaiming:

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”

That is our hope! The problem is, they do not want to hear that the answer is in the the Word of God. They just want it fixed. They do not want to go into all that “spiritual stuff.”  Little do they know that it is in the spiritual realm that the battle in being fought.

Ephesians 6:12-13

12″For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” 13Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”

As we daily turn the pages in our Book of Life, we must decide if we are going to be in charge of that day or if we are going to let that day be in charge of us. We can be led by the Spirit and have help to guide us or we can do everything in our own strength. The choice is up to us! We have to help fight this battle!  We cannot just sit back and watch it happen. That is why there is so much darkness!

Everyday of our lives we all have two keys to choose from:

The Key of Defeat that leads to slavery and death or The Key of Freedom that leads to abundant life.

If we choose the key that leads to defeat, we find ourselves in prison.  Not necessarily behind bars physically, but bars from within. We cannot escape our feelings of defeat, and unworthiness. Life beats us up and we do not have the strength to stand because of the weight of the chains that have us bound in fear and doubt.

If we choose the key that leads to freedom, we can have life and have it abundantly. We know that greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world.  We have the key to the truth. We do not need to be shackled to fear and doubt. We have hope.

So why, would anyone choose the key of defeat? Why would they want to become slaves of the enemy and stay in that kind of bondage? Because they do not know the truth that sets them free. They have bought the lie of the enemy and  live in the chains of guilt from their past, present and future without any hope. They do not know the One that is worthy to set them free.

Isaiah 61:1

“The Spirit of the LORD GOD is upon me,  because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners.

Not only did Jesus come to set us free, but He conquered death through the resurrection.

Revelation 1:17-18

“When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man.  And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and hold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.”

He is reaching out with the Key of Freedom; all we have to do is reach out and take it.  The shackles and chains will be released and so will we!

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Is Someone Knocking at Your Door?

Good Morning!  Today we are going to listen in on a conversation between a seeker, the Holy Spirit and the Lord.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him and he with me.”  Revelation 3:20

Spirit:  Can you hear it?  Someone is knocking at your door.

Seeker:  “Oh bother, now who could that be? Probably a solicitor. I guess they cannot read the “No solicitor sign! I am going to open the door, and let them have it, but suddenly …….  I am stopped in my tracks!  This cannot be! There before me stands the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Why on earth would he be knocking at my door? He must certainly have the wrong address!

Spirit:  Well, I think I can answer that question, if you really want an answer. He got tired of waiting on you. You told Him you wanted to become His child, but you kept putting it off  until you felt you were worthy enough. Well, the Lord did not have the time to wait on you any longer. The sands are running through the hourglass pretty fast. Psssst, it might be a good idea to open the door and invite Him in!

Seeker:   Hesitantly, I open the door and invite Him in. He enters and reaches out to take my hand. I try to say something, but for once in my life, I am speechless. I still do not understand why He is here and who am I that He should come to my home in person?

Spirit:  Because He saw your heart. He knew you were seeking Him and wanted to have a relationship with Him. Your religion just wasn’t fulfilling enough.  You knew there had to be more!  So He decided to meet you where you were at, instead of where you thought you had to be.  You see God paid a great price for your salvation.  It was the blood of His Son that made you worthy, not your actions or works. He sent you a Savior to show you what life is really all about.  He knew you had reached the point in life where you wanted contentment more than you wanted things. He knew you finally were looking for the real source that would make your life worth living.

Seeker:  In awe, I reach out and took His hand, bowing before Him. Oh Lord, You know I have been earnestly seeking you! I have asked you into my heart so many times, but I keep worrying about my yesterdays and tomorrows.  It is so hard to let go of “self.”  I guess I do not have enough faith to turn my life over to You completely.  This world is getting crazier by the moment and I am so confused, I do not know  who to believe or what to do.

Lord:  That is why I came. I wanted to give you My peace so you would know that I am with you always.  Regretfully as long as you are in this world, you will have many trials and sorrows. But I want you to take heart because I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 paraphrased)

Seeker:  Lord, that does give me hope, but what about the mistakes I keep making and the sins I keep committing? No matter how hard I try, I keep messing up?

Lord:  Do not worry. I am not finished with you yet!  “You will come to know that those I dearly love, I discipline and instruct them. All I expect from you is for you to repent when you are convicted by the Spirit”.  Believe me, as long as you are in the flesh, it is going to happen.  (Rev. 3:19 Paraphrased)

Seeker: What is it you want me to do?

Lord:  I want you to go tell others about me and show them the way to the Cross.

Seeker:  How do I do that?

Lord: “All you have to remember is that you are a child of God and have overcome the evil one. Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (I John 4:4 Paraphrased)

Seeker:  When will I see you again?

Lord: “In my Father’s house there are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”  John 14:2-3

Seeker: Thank you Lord for dying for me.

Lord:  Thank you for accepting me as your Savior and seeking Me.  So many make my death be in vain and it breaks My Father’s heart!

Seeker:  “Amen, Come quickly Lord Jesus!”  (Revelation 22:20 Paraphrased)

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Darkness of the Soul

Storm clouds are gathering on the horizon and there you sit in a little dingy of a boat. You are not prepared for a rain shower, much less a storm that is growing more fierce by the moment. Before you know it, the wind is starting to pick up and the waves are starting to toss you to and fro. The storm clouds encircle you in darkness and there is nothing You can do but hold on tight with all your might until the storm passes.  Suddenly your soul becomes as dark as the clouds. You look around to see if the Lord is there like He was for Peter, but it seems He is no where to be found. “Lord, you said you would never leave me nor forsake me, but here I am in this little dinghy getting ready to be swallowed up! You fall on your knees facing the raging storm and cry out, “God, where are you?

Isaiah 45:5-7

 “I am the Lord, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; 6 That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, 7 The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.”

If God created the light and the darkness, why is it we only trust Him in the light?  I personally believe it is because we are creatures of light. We like to see where the path leads before we choose it. But in the darkness, when you cannot see your hand in front of your face, you have to trust the Lord completely. You, yourself and I are no longer enough to survive in utter darkness. It will not be by sight that you overcome, but by faith in the creator of the storms. No one knows the ferocity of the storm better than He does.

He is also the God that causes well-being or calamity.  How many times has your dreams slipped through your fingers like sand? No explanation is given that you can understand; just utter disappointment and darkness of the soul. Someone had taken the pen out of your hand and wrote a whole new chapter in your book of life. It is an argument that cannot be won with the Author and Finisher of your faith. So in desperation, you tie the knot and hang on telling the Lord, “I am holding onto the rope of faith for dear life. I am not going to let go of my end, so please do not let go of yours.”

Isaiah 41:10   “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

This my friend is where faith comes in.  You have to know that God is right there next to you in the darkness and He is aware of your every move. The storm will not last forever and even though you feel worn and battered, the sun will bring joy in the morning! Once again your God and faith has brought you safely to the shore.

“Our weeping does last for a night, but oh what strength of faith and joy awaits us in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

Posted in Grace and Mercy, Hope, Inspirational | 4 Comments

One of Those Days!

Have you ever had a “I don’t know, I don’t-care-anyway kind of day?” You should of, would of and could of, but the day got so bad you didn’t?  Well, guess who is having one of those days?  Me! I am having a pity party, but the only ones attending are me, myself and I and oh yes, the enemy of my mind is here cheering me on with pom poms!

I was hoping to shake this off before I started my quiet time, but I guess the enemy cheered me on more than I thought. So I am sitting here as my flesh and spirit are having a tug of war.  How long do I have before I have to make a choice of stopping it or letting it continue?  Who am I going to trust with this day?  At my age, I have to be careful how I use it because each day is a gift.

I used to tell my daughters when they had a DRA (dirty rotten attitude) to go to their room until it could be adjusted.  As I sit here remembering that, I realize I am guilty as charged? So once again, I have to decide what the verdict is going to be.

Before I was a believer, I really did not have this problem.  If I wanted to throw a fit, I threw a fit, but once I became a believer it took all the fun out of having a pity party. If Christ is in me, then I have to reveal Him and not self.  I pray for His will, so why am I handing the reigns of self over to the enemy?  If I do that, the Lord’s presence is going to leave and take a walk until I make up my mind.  That is the thought that always brings me back to my senses. I am a child of the King and I need to behave like one. That too was a choice, but it was the best one I ever made.

So I open the door, tell satan to leave and then I ask my Savior to enter in and pray for His  grace and peace. After awhile the sun is shining and the birds are singing.  There is a spring in my step and a joy in my heart.  Funny how one act of obedience can change everything.  Now the Lord and I can do as He has planned.  Someone out there needs a kind word, a helping hand, a touch of hope. I know if I had made the wrong choice the Lord would have used someone else, but I sure would have missed a blessing. Yes, “greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world.” (John 4:4 (paraphrased)

Yes, there definitely is victory in Jesus. So with that being said, I think the Lord and I pretty much ruined satan’s day!

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He Touched Me!

“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jer. 29:13

Even though I had read that verse many times, I was too busy to seek Him. I had places to go, people to meet and things to do.  Then the day came, as I was walking along minding my own business, the floodgates of hell broke loose and were heading my way.

Have you ever tried to outrun the hounds of hell by yourself?  Let me tell you dear friend, it cannot be done. The sad part is most of us do not know the hounds are chasing us. Then one day we wake up and life hits us in the stomach so hard we can hardly breathe. It is in those moments that we turn to self and realize self is not enough. It takes the hand of the Master to reach down and rescue you.

It was on such a day as this that I came to the crossroads of my life. I realized I had two choices: I could seek the Lord with all my heart or I could let the hounds of hell encircle me. The choice was up to me. That was the day I completely ran out of self and ran to Him. It was at that moment (when I was trying to remember this verse, but couldn’t), that I called out, Lord, HELP!  Well, I guess He could tell by my desperation that I was seeking Him with all my heart. Did he hear me? Yes. Did He reach down and rescue me? Yes. He  reached down with the tip of His finger and touched my soul.  Not only did He touch my soul, He cleansed me and made me whole!  A touch as gentle as a butterfly’s wings changed my life forever.

It broke my heart when I realized He had been there the whole time waiting for me to acknowledge His existence. His outstretched hand had been extended to me since the day I had been born. All I had to do was clasp it so He could lead me on this journey called life.

Why does He want us to search for Him with ALL our hearts? I came to realize it was because He has so much love for us that it takes our whole heart to contain it!  He uses this love to make us become the person He designed us to be. It is then that He fills our soul with so much joy that it spills over to the lives of others. Life is no longer about us. It is about teaching others they too can outrun the hounds of hell if they choose to!  All they have to do is acknowledge their blessed Savior so He can reach down and touch them with His love and fill their hearts with joy!

Posted in Grace and Mercy, Inspirational | Tagged | 3 Comments

The King is Coming!

I once had someone ask me,  “how are you?”  I replied, “I am blessed.”  He then asked, “how do you know you are blessed?”  I replied, “because I know what a blessing is and I know the One who gives it to me.”

I wish I had known that earlier, because it sure would have made my life a whole lot easier. I was doing everything in my own strength and it was flat dab wearing me out!  Once I got a hold of God’s Word, it got a hold of me and my life has never been the same.

One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 121

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where shall my help come?  My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.  He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.  The LORD is your keeper;  The LORD is your shade on your right hand.  The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night.  The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.

It is those precious promises that give me hope and carry me through the tough times.

You see this earth is not my home. I am just passing through. It is a detour given to me by the Lord so I can tell others of His love for them.  Just knowing I have a purpose is a blessing in and of itself.  Just to know that He has enough faith in me to do that!

I have been blessed with a wonderful family and a home where I have done my best to keep the home fires burning.  I wanted to make it a retreat for them from this crazy world.  I wanted to live the scripture that I have hanging outside my door, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

Not only that, I have seven precious grandchildren that fill my heart with pure joy!

So, I can say for sure, I know what a blessing is, but I also know that it cannot compare to what the future holds for me!  You see my King of Kings and Lord of Lords is coming for me!

One day I am going to hear the trumpets sounding, the chariot wheels rumbling and as I look up I will behold Him. It will be the fulfillment of every eye shall see and every knee shall bow as the King comes through the gate!

Yes, the King is here! I shall meet Him face to face.  I will be wearing a white robe that is going to glisten with His glory. Heaven’s choir is now assembled and singing Amazing Grace.

How about you?  Do you know you are blessed? Do you know the One who gives the blessings to you? Do you know He is coming for you? Are you going to be taken by surprise when the King comes?  May it never be!  Look up, your redemption draws nigh!

Posted in Grace and Mercy, Hope, Inspirational | Tagged , | 5 Comments

A Tribute to Mama

Has the Lord ever gotten a hold of you and turned you every which way but loose?  Your world was turned upside down and you were holding on for dear life. You pray and pray and pray that this is a nightmare, but in reality, you know this is as real as life gets. You have two choices, you can trust God in this or you could let go of your end of the rope.

I ask you these questions because I know how it feels. I have been there and want you to know, no matter what, God is with you all the way whether or not you feel His presence.  So with that being said, I would like to ask you to take a journey with me back to the year 1992 when my world turned upside down.  My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  It was a long, heartbreaking twelve years as I watched my sweet mother slip away into oblivion.  So I am sharing this with all my friends who are going through this hard chapter of life. Please know my prayers are with you and please remember God is there giving you grace every step of the way.  If He wasn’t, we would never make it!

                                                          A Tribute to Mama

Life is so precious, so delicate. One little puff and the wisps of your life scatters in all directions. For nearly twelve years now I have been trying to pick up each delicate part of the wisps and put it back together so I can see my mama again.  You see my mama is in the December of her years, and I watch her dying and slipping away one day at a time.

Mama, every time I visit you, my heart fills with compassion.  I want to cup your face in my hands and tell you everything is going to be all right – just like you did for me when I was growing up. I feel so utterly helpless and defeated, so unable to help you. Never in my wildest dreams did I think life would turn out this way.

Mama, you were so gentle, quiet, caring and oh yes, such a lady – very much the lady!  Every hair had to be in place and you took pride in how you dressed. You never swore, (well, once and that was at me. I had pushed you to your limit).  You did not smoke or partake of alcoholic beverage, but you did not fuss at others for doing so, except dad. I look at you now and it looks like another woman is living inside you. This person does not even know if her hair is combed and as long as she is warm, it does not matter what she is wearing.

Oh! how I miss you, my dear precious mama.  There is not much I can do for you except pray for you, love you and fill any needs that you might have.  The hardest part is realizing that you do not have a clue who I really am! You taught me to tie my shoes, helped me with my homework, made sure I had everything I needed. You dedicated your whole life to sis and me.  How can you forget your children?  Sometimes, you look at me and smile as if you know me, but cannot quite figure out who I am. You have a glaze in your eyes, but I am praying it has not covered your heart yet.

I had hope that you and dad would live to be in your 90’s so we could make more memories to cherish. Where did the time go? Like sands through an hour glass, the precious moments slipped away, never to return again.

Mama, do you even realize the man that you were married to for fifty-six years is gone? Can you feel that somewhere in your subconsciousness? You ask and talk about him sometimes, and even make me bring him back liver and onions when I take you out to eat. Once I said, no, and then I realized, in your mind, he was not with us, but was waiting for you to bring him supper. So, I do that for you mama. I bring the meal back to the nursing home and offer it to someone who likes liver and onions (which is not always easy). That is the only positive thing about your condition. It saved you from grieving his death. You lived for him. Day and night you were there for him. I am very much relieved that you were spared that heartache.

Mama, today is the Christmas party at the nursing home.  Sis and I will be there with goodies and presents. Oh mama, will the real you please surface for a little while? Just one glimpse to keep us going? That would be the most wonderful Christmas present to us, a priceless one and one that we would cherish for the rest of our lives.

I am writing a book mama. Oh, it may not win the Pulitzer prize, but I wrote it anyway.  It is about how I grew in my walk with the Lord and learned to trust his sovereignty.  It is about all the hurts that life brings sometimes in order to make us the person God designed us to be. I want people to know that my mama cared enough about sis and I to instill values into our lives and make us ladies. You and dad were there to show us the way and not many parents have time to do that anymore.  Thank you mama, for loving us, caring for us and always being there for us.

I have to close now mama. I know I will never be ready when the Lord calls you home. I do not think anyone ever wants to let go of their mother, especially if they are as blessed as I was by having such a dear precious lady bring me into this world.  I miss you and dad so much.  You were good parents, no doubt about it. May the Lord richly bless you mama.  May He do for you what He has done for me.

My Prayer

Father, I come to you asking that you keep my mama from suffering. When her time comes to be with you, please have a mansion waiting for her in heaven and let dad be there to welcome her arrival.  I do not know if dad is there or not but I am hoping against all hope that he is.  Please make my mama know me in heaven, let her be waiting for me with my name on her lips. Thank you Lord for the years You gave me with her and thank You for the eternity we will be able to spend together, never having to say goodbye again.  Amen

(Mama went to be with her Lord on June 3, 2004 and there is not a day that passes that I do not think of her).  I know she is precious is your sight, because she is definitely precious in mind).

THIS SONG DOES NOT END AT THE SOUND OF THE CLAPPING.  PLEASE FINISH IT ALL THE WAY TO THE END.

 

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Friends Forever!

What a beautiful garden the Lord has given me!   I call it my Friendship Garden. As I look at it, I stand amazed.  Not only is it beautiful, but I realize it was one of the biggest blessings God could have given me. It started out as just little seeds, but with each passing year, has grown flower by flower into a kaleidoscope of color and beauty.  There is not one flower that I would pull out.  Each seed of friendship was planted by a smile, a touch, a word or an act of kindness.  Each one has a very special memory that I will always cherish because they were nurtured with love.

I truly believe the Lord knew we needed friends to help us through life.  The road was going to be a long one and we were going to have many hurdles that would need the hand of friendship to help us get over them.  Did you know that God can show His love for you through your friends?  It is a love that never quits, never surrenders and never gives up.  It is a love that will never let you go!

John 15:11-14

“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.  This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.  You are My friends if you do what I command you.”

As a military wife, I have been lonely many times. After the boxes were unpacked, I started missing my old friends and I would ask the Lord to send me a new friend. I remember one time, I was so lonely that I asked Him what I needed to do?  As I was praying, His spirit whispered in my ear, “Sandy, if you want a friend, you have to be one first.”  “How do I do that Lord?”  “Look around you and soon you will see someone whose life needs to be touched with a smile, a touch, a kind word or act of kindness. Do not be afraid to  extend the hand of friendship.  If you see a need, fill it; if you see a hurt, give them comfort.” “But, what about my needs Lord?”  (That’s me being selfish!)  His reply was, “Sandy, as you help them with their needs, you will not have time to dwell on your own.   Besides, if they are your friends, they will try to be helping you through some things as well.”

Yes, friends are definitely a gift from God.  Friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  Each one placed there by the hand of God.  We have laughed, and we have wiped each other’s tears.  In the good times and in the not so good times, we have been there for one another. They have even loved me when I was not even lovable – you know, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  They have loved me enough to tell me like it is (in love)  whether I wanted to hear it or not! We shared our problems, hurts, fears and yes, even secrets.

Sometimes it is not easy to reach down and pull each other out of the pit when our foot has slipped.  It takes time and patience.  True friends stop what they are doing, kneel down and start praying as they hand you the rope. We know together with the Lord, we can take on life with a vengeance.  There is not a circumstance or battle that we cannot face together once we join hands and hearts.

I know for a fact, one friend cannot replace another.  Every friend that the Lord has placed in my life is unique and has influenced my life somehow, someway.  They have wiggled their way deep inside my heart and stayed there.  No matter the distance, I take them with me everywhere I go.  I cherish them.  One is silver and the other is gold.

So dear friends, as you read this blog, I want you to know if the Lord has placed you in my friendship garden, I am so proud to call you friend. Whether you were planted there many years ago or just recently, I want you to know that your friendship made a difference.  Whether it was your smile, touch, words or an act of kindness, God used you to make me the person I needed to be!

So when my journey of life is over, I am going to gather all the flowers from my friendship garden and make a beautiful bouquet.  I am going to tie them up with beautiful ribbons and  place them at the feet of Jesus.  I am going to ask Him to bless each and every flower and bring them to heaven so we can be friends forever!

Posted in Blessings, Friendship, Inspirational | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Enter Through the Narrow Gate

Choices!  How important are they in our everyday lives?  How can such a simple word determine our destiny?  Everyday that we live, we make choices that will shape our todays and  tomorrows.  It is never ending!

I can best explain it  by quoting from an article I once read.  A son asked his father, “what is life all about?  How do I know what I am to do?”  The father replied, “son, it is the choices you make and the friends you keep that will determine what happens to you in life.”  Those choices consists of right or wrong, good or evil, truth or lies, light or darkness, freedom or bondage, faith or fear, and the list goes on.

I think the Lord knew from the beginning  that life would be filled with choices.

Matthew 7:13-14

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that  leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Why is it, that the narrow gate is the least taken?  That seems like such an easy choice.    Who  wouldn’t  want to enter the gate that leads to eternal life?  Why would they choose destruction?  Is it because they do not know it is there or do they know it is there, but  feel too unworthy to open the narrow gate and enter into the freedom of our Lord’s grace and mercy?

I have seen so many people I dearly love and care for want to go through that narrow gate, yet when they start to enter in, they realize the passage is too narrow for all their baggage (bondage) to go through. The thought of having to leave it paralyzed them with fear. They had carried that baggage with them for so long it had become part of who there are. It has become their identity.

The enemy immediately tells them that they have reached the point of no return and their future is doomed.  He makes them believe that the Lord’s blood was not powerful enough to cover their sins.  He whispers in their ear, “once a sinner, always a sinner.”  He fills them with his lies and they feel so unworthy, they believe him.  They just cannot let go of the shackles of fears, hurts, and disappointments, so they pick up their bags of bondage and leave.  They go back to the world of destruction, not choosing the truth that would set them free. The truth that the Lord indeed did have the power to unlock the shackles.

Luke 5:31-32

“And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick.  I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.'”

We are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God. He knew without a shadow of a doubt that He was going to have to shed His blood to cover our sins.  In fact, He knew the sins  before we even committed them.

So dear readers, if you are carrying around bondage and walking in shackles, it is  time to    meet your Maker and become a sinner saved by grace!  Do not make His death be in vain!

Jeremiah 29:13

“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for me with all your heart.”

I John 1:9

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Once your have made it right with God, please return to that narrow gate.  The Lord will be there waiting to open it so you can enter into the freedom of His grace and mercy.  Once inside, you will be free.  The bondage and shackles are gone!  Leave them where they belong, let satan have them.

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Down On My Knees I Learned to Stand

Has God ever given you a mountain that was too high to climb or a valley too deep to cross? Did you think, as I did, that you could climb that mountain with the best of them and all you had to do to get out of the valley was put one foot in front of the other?

When we find ourselves in this valley, who should we go to for help?

“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains from where shall my help come?  My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”  Psalm 121:1-2

I ask myself time after time, why I didn’t realize this sooner? Oh, how I wish I would have taken the time to learn what God was telling me through His Word.  My life would have been so much easier.  But no, I had to do it my way!

Why is it we think we can do everything on our own?  Why do we think we do not need help from anyone?  Even as babies, we had to take the hand of someone to learn how to walk.  Maybe that is why the Lord designed our first steps to be taken that way – to show us it is okay to take a hand of another when we need help.

After I graduated from the school of hard knocks, I realized I was making life harder than it needed to be.  I realized I was going the wrong way, meeting the wrong people and doing the wrong things.  I was going no where fast.  I found myself going in circles on the carousel of life.  One day as I was reaching for that brass ring, I fell off!  Not only did I fall off, I landed on my face.  I had no way to look but up!

Let me share with you the words I shouted to the Lord in a mountain/valley experience:

“Lord! Lord!  It’s me Sandy!  Please come help me out of this valley!  I have no idea how I got here in the first place, but I surrender!  I am lost and I need you to show me the way out!  This place is so dark and my eyes are so full of tears I cannot see where I am going! My legs have been knocked out from under me and I cannot even stand on my own two feet.  I cannot take one more step, unless you come take my hand and lead me out of this valley.

Lord, do you see the size of that mountain?  I know with your help I escaped from the valley, but how am I ever going to have enough strength to climb that mountain?  I will not even make it to the plateau. (I do not like heights!)  Lord, Lord, I promise you I have completely reached the end of self; in fact, we can bury her right here in this valley!”

I shouted those words very loudly, and I meant every word I said.  I had indeed reached the end of self and was on my knees begging for His mercy.  That is exactly where I needed to be because it was on my knees where I learned how to stand.

That was the day, in complete humility, I died to self.  I told the Lord, if He would have me, I was His. He extended His hand to me and I grabbed on for dear life and I am never going to let it go!

From that day forward I have tried not to get too far ahead of Him or too far behind.  I want to be flat dab in the middle of His will.  I want to be so close to Him that I feel His breath upon my face. I want to be so close to Him I hear His every word.  I never want to get lost again!

I would like to think I would not have any more mountain/valley experiences, but I am pretty sure I will.  That is why I find great comfort in knowing that when I have to go through another valley I will not be alone.  He will be there with me.  Not only that I know He created the valleys and the mountains, so He knows the way out.  All I have to do is trust and  follow Him.

There is a quote that says it all, “When you follow the real Jesus, then you can become the real you He created you to be!”  That is why I am never going to let go of His hand.

So dear friend, if you are ever looking for me, you will probably find me on my knees learning how to stand!

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It’s a Matter of the Heart

What is burning in your heart?  Can others see it?  Can others feel it?  I have to ask myself these questions daily.  You see, it is very important that people know my heart is sincere.  Why is that, you ask?  Well, most of you who are reading this blog know the answer, but for those of you who just met me, I will tell you.   When I had cancer of the tongue at the age of 18, it left me with a thorn in my flesh. My speech is not always coherent and you really have to pay attention when I speak.  I am in no way complaining, because the Lord has used this thorn to make me into the person I needed to be.  You would think I would stop speaking, but I haven’t.  Not in the least!  Hank tells me I could talk the stripes off a zebra and he is probably right, if that was possible.  We have a joke between the two of us when it comes to communication.  I am a babbling brook and he is the Dead Sea.

I have the gift of gab.  I was born with it and I cannot help myself.  On top of that, I feel my spiritual gift is teaching.  Now who in their right mind would teach sounding like I do?  The answer is ME!  I told the Lord to send me and He did.  So here I am, ready or not!  In order to teach, I have to reveal my heart to others.  You see, if they do not see my heart and the sincerity of what I do, they would not be willing to sit under my teaching.  Trying to understand me takes love and patience on their part so I have to show them my heart.    What a blessing the Lord has bestowed upon me because of that.  He has placed beautiful ladies in my classes who have done just that!  Oh, how that blesses my soul!

So what does it mean exactly when I say it’s a matter of the heart?  Someone once said, “a situation doesn’t change a person, it reveals them!”   What your heart is filled with will eventually be revealed. What happens when life squeezes you?  What comes out? When you squeeze toothpaste, toothpaste comes out.  When you squeeze an orange, orange juice comes out.  So, what happens to a human heart when it is squeezed?  If you are a Christian, hopefully the Holy Spirit is revealed, but that is not always the case.  Sometimes we react just like the world and the flesh comes shining through.  I know, I have been there in both situations.

What does the Lord expect to find in our hearts? First of all, we have got to have teachable hearts.  Is your heart opened to hearing the Spirit or is your heart closed?  Did you lock it and throw away the key because someone has hurt you?  I know the scars of the heart run deep to the soul, but forgiveness is necessary in order to have a teachable heart.

Is there doubt or fear in your heart that has taken over your faith?  You have to have a believing heart!  Your Lord has got to be bigger than your doubt and fear.  The best remedy for that is to get in the Word and meet your Lord.

Is there deceit in your heart?  The Lord does not expect perfection, but He does expect honesty and integrity.  After all, if we belong to Him, we should have His fingerprints imprinted on our character.

Are you seeking the Lord with all your heart?

“But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”  Deuteronomy 4:29

If you do your part, then the Lord will do His!

That is why I cherish the time with my Lord.  I do not have to put forth the effort to make Him understand me. I do not have to say a word – He can hear my heart.  That is why I keep short accounts of sin because I want my heart to be pleasing to Him. I do not have to fake it to make it with Him. He knows I am just plain old Sandy and He meets me where I am, not necessarily where He wants me to be. He already knows what is on my mind because He already knows what is on my heart.  I  do not have to be strong;  He is my strength.  He knows what I need of Him without me uttering a word.  What a blessing, what a God!  He can do the same for you my friend, so why not meet the Lord in quietness  so He can hear your heart! He has the time if you do!

 

 

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Sinking Sand

Once again, before the craziness of life takes over, Hank I are walking on the beach in Florida.  As I hold his hand and feel the sand under my feet, I realize this is the same sand that has run through the hourglass of our lives for 46 years.

During all those years Hank has been my rock. That was a good thing, but at the same time, it was not the best thing.  You see, I depended on him for everything, just like I did my parents.  They always took such good care of me, and I felt safe with them. Even when I was going through the cancer at 18, they were my strength. I never thought I needed anyone else.

Shortly after we were married, Hank completed college and joined the Marine Corps. We moved often, but every place we lived had an influence on my life. The hardest adjustment was the overseas tours and being separated from Hank. The first time he went overseas we were separated for 13 months. The day he left I thought my heart would break, especially since I had just found out I was carrying our first child. We had been a part of each others’ lives for 11 years and all of a sudden he was gone. So I went home to mom and dad.

On one tour of duty, we were stationed at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, California. Hank was attached to MAG-39 which was a unit that was always on standby to deploy anywhere there was a need. One day the inevitable happened. The phone rang and it was Hank telling me that his unit was deploying immediately. He could not tell me where he was going or when he would return. He told me there would probably be no communication, he loved me, and hopefully he would not be gone too long.

Well, right there on the spot, my world was on sinking sand and I was sinking fast.  You see up to that point, I had always had my parents or Hank.  Now I realized, it was just me and my 3 year old daughter Casey.  For the first time in my life I had to be the source of strength to someone else. Fear gripped me by the throat and I was clueless how I was going to make it.

The only thing I could think to do was run to my closet. I knew I had a Bible in there somewhere.  I was desperate and had to find it!  When I found it, I held it up to my heart, and said, “God, if You are in there, please come out! I need you now! I need You to show me that You exist and that you are not just a man in a book.” I have never been alone before and I need answers. I need to know what to tell my daughter when she asks where her daddy is! You see, even at that young age, her daddy was her rock also. It was at this point in time, I realized I knew of the Lord, but I did not know Him as my Savior. I had no sure foundation and my feet were on sinking sand! Oh how I needed a rock and I needed that rock to be Jesus Christ. I had finally reached the end of self!

I wish I could tell you I had an extraordinary encounter with the Lord, but it did not happen that way. I can, however, tell you I was no longer feeling alone. Somehow, I was given the strength I needed to be the mother I needed to be. The Lord met me where I was at – on my knees begging for His mercy. It might have seemed like a thread of mercy to others, but to me it was a rope I could hold onto until I knew what to do next.

Well, weeks passed and I felt the Lord drawing me closer each day. He put people in my path that brought me one step closer to Him. Then the day finally came when I invited Him into my heart. We have been inseparable ever since. Needless to say, my Bible is no longer kept in the bottom of my closet!

Hank came home safe after three weeks and Casey and I were there waiting.  She needed her daddy and I needed my husband.  He returned home the same man, but I was a different woman.  Is he still my rock?  Indeed he is, but he is not my sure foundation.  I pray that the Lord will call me home first, but if that is not the case, I will not be standing on sinking sand, I will be standing on a Rock, and that Rock is Jesus Christ.

 

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Remember the Memories!

This past month, Hank and I had the joy of having our seven grandchildren together at the same time.  Three of them live near us, three live in Arizona and our oldest granddaughter is attending LSU.   We also had the pleasure of having a very special young lady stay with us while she was interning for the Make a Wish Foundation.  (If that does not give one the right perspective on life, nothing will).  She brought a ray of sunshine with her presence and made a place in our hearts that will be there forever.

There was a lot of activity, a lot of noise, but most of all, a lot of love.  We had our moments of laughter and bickering, but somehow  they would end up playing together in the pool.  I envy the resiliency of youth and the way they are able to bounce back so quickly from the circumstances of life.  Sometimes, I think we as adults take life too seriously.

I spent a lot of time cooking and picking up brownie crumbs, but it was worth every moment.  Hank kept them busy playing sports, boardgames and even took them to baseball camp.  He calls that time away “the boys’  getaway.”  He looks like the pied piper walking down the street with his entourage following behind.  We both wanted to make memories that would last a lifetime.  Memories are important at our age.  It’s the memories that carry us when we are not with them.

While they were here, we celebrated my birthday.  We went to the movies, had pizza for supper, and topped the occasion off with cake and presents.  They were all excited.  Little did they know I had already received the greatest present ever – my seven grandchildren being together.

As the days of my life have turned into years,  I realize time is the most precious gift you can give someone.  It is a costly gesture because it requires  the giving of yourself.  Is it worth it?  Most definitely!  Kids know how important they are to you, by the amount of time you spend with them.  They will remember the time spent together more than they will remember the toys.

As I reminisce, I wonder how did life pass so quickly? Where did it go?  Did we spend enough time with our two daughters?  Did they know how much we loved them?  Will they remember the hours we spent playing board games, doing things as a family, but most importantly, sharing our family meals together?  (They did not like the fact that there was no TV allowed at mealtime, but that was the only time they would share what was going on in their lives and I did not want to miss a word!).  I hope they remember those special times, because I certainly do!

Yes, time is important and I am so glad we had that time with our girls and now with their children.  I pray for them each and every day.  I pray that they will make the right friends, the right choices and that they will walk daily with their Lord so they can become the persons He created them to be.  I even pray for their future spouses.  I know the world is out there calling in a loud voice; they need to be covered in prayer.  I believe the greatest gift I ever gave my girls was letting them see me read the Bible.  They knew I started my day with the Lord.  Somedays when life got in the way, I would just sit and rock with the Bible held close to my chest as the tears ran down my face!  Children usually learn by example and that is one I wanted them to learn.  I wanted them to know they could run to the Lord in good times and bad.  He is there waiting with opened arms.

Yes, Hank and I were blessed immensely by having this time with our grandchildren.  I will remember it forever and I am going to tuck it inside my heart!  I just hope they will remember and tuck it in their hearts also.

The day that we were dreading came and it was time for goodbyes.  Not only our grandchildren were leaving but our lovely young houseguest as well.  (No mercy in that!)  I love hellos, but I hate goodbyes.  You would think as a military wife, I would be used to it by now, but I am not.  The tears still come to my eyes.  All it took was the appearance of one little tear and then the tears were flowing everywhere.  We were all trying to be so brave, but we did not fool each other for a minute.  We were miserable!

Hank and I drove away with heavy hearts and tears in our eyes, but we knew a memory had been created for each and every one of them.  Hank looked at me and I looked at him.  He knew from past experience that unless he took me somewhere to get my mind off of things, I would cry for hours.  We ended up at Home Depot, which is not my favorite place, but I was desperate!  I was determined I was going to find something to buy to make me feel better.  Hank knew that meant work for him.  (In case you are wondering, we bought some wood to fix my desk).  Spending money always makes me feel better!

So, as I sit here this morning, the silence is echoing off the walls.  I keep expecting one of them to come down the stairs so I can fix them breakfast.  After a few moments, I realize that is not going to happen.  My attention then focuses on the fingerprints and the brownie crumbs.  I decide I am going to keep them a few more hours.  They are reminders of the love that was shared in our home.  I know eventually I will have to clean them up or I will have ants marching in one by one, but for now I am going to just sit here and thank the Lord for this blessing of memories.

So in closing, I want you to remember spending time together is what makes a memory that can never be taken away.  They are a gift!  As the days pass and turn into years, we need to make every moment count.  Give someone a gift today.  Give them your time.  You will be blessed and so will they.

A note from the past:

Hank and I took our family on a cruise when the girls were younger.  As we were eating breakfast, the family behind us was having a very loud discussion.  The father was upset because his children were not spending any time with him.  He was telling his wife he had taken very important time off to do this and all they wanted to do was spend his money.  His wife replied, “what do you expect, that is all you ever gave them.”

Sad, but so true!  I do not think that was a coincidence that we overheard them that day!  I think it was an eyeopener sent to us as parents!

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I Know He Watches Over Me!

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This morning as I was sipping my coffee,  taking in the sounds of nature, I saw a small little bird perched on my neighbor’s rooftop.  I guess he was sitting there taking in the sounds also.  As I watched him I wondered why he was there all by himself.  Was he lonely?  Was he lost? Or did he just want to be alone for awhile?  I could so relate.

Was he lonely?

I wanted to go up there and sit beside him.  I wanted to tell him he was not alone.  The Lord was there with him, just as He had been with me.  As a wife of a Marine, we moved often.  It seemed just as I made close friends, it was time to move again.  It was easier for Hank because he immediately met people at work.  I had a harder time finding friends. Sometimes, I felt like a little sparrow alone on a rooftop.   I always blamed Hank, but one day a missionary in Japan told me I needed to look up Acts 17:26:

“and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation” 

After reading that Scripture, I realized it was the Lord using my husband to place me where I needed to live.  The Lord spoke to my spirit, “Sandy there are people I want you to meet and I have placed them where your paths will cross.  You have to trust Me in this.  You see Sandy, I use people to shape others; iron sharpens iron.  You need to be sharpened!  Looking back, I realize that every place He moved us, there was a special person there who was more mature in the Lord than I was. God had strategically placed each one there to help me be the person I needed to be.  Each and every one of them found a special place in my heart and indeed showed me what it truly meant to have a Savior who was my constant friend.

Was he lost?

I wanted to tell him that God had His eye on him and knew exactly where he was.  He did not have to be afraid.  Again, the Lord would be with him as He had been with me.  There were times I lost my way not only physically, but spiritually.  Hank tells me I have no sense of direction and I could get lost in a bucket.  I would argue with him, but he is right about that. Many a day he had to lead me back home.  Once in California it took nearly a whole squadron to figure out where I was.  You have to realize this was before the days of the cell phone.  God and Hank had to be my GPS! There were days  when I had gotten off my spiritual path that the Lord had me on!  Somehow, I had lost my focus and life became all about me!  My emotions seemed to get in the way and I reacted to life instead of responding to it.  It took me a while to realize when the flesh was ruling me – I reacted.  But when I asked the Lord to help me – I responded.

Did he just want to be alone for awhile?

I wanted to ask him if he knew God was telling him to be still so they could visit.  It says in the Bible that God cares for us.  How many times does God want to commune with me and I just keep going.  How many times was He knocking at my door and I didn’t let Him in because life had gotten in my way?  It breaks my heart to think I gave the world a banquet and gave Him the crumbs off my table.  The world didn’t die for my sins, so why do I do that?  I am trying to give the Lord my wakening hours first.  When I do that I have control of my day; when I do not give Him that time, the world has control of me.  With tongue in cheek, I wonder why that is?  In my heart I know exactly why.  I am going in His strength and not my own. After awhile,  I think I was bothering his quiet time because he suddenly flew away.

Once again I found myself sitting on a rooftop, but this time I was not alone.  The Lord was right there with me. I am so glad I gave that little bird the time of day because he made my day a special one.   In fact, he put a song in my heart.   Sometimes, little things mean a lot.  Want a blessing?   Tomorrow you might want to go outside to sip your coffee and hear the sounds of nature.  The Lord and a little bird might be waiting for you!

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Here I Am, Send Me!

Good Morning Lord,

Here I am again asking You to do something for me,  I know I am forever calling on You, but You are the only one that can help me do what it is You are sending me to do.

I know I do not have to tell You about our nation.  I know You are as brokenhearted over it as I am.  How did we fall off that mountaintop into the valley of  despair and chaos so fast?  We had such a firm foundation.  You were at the center as our God and now You have been taken out of  everything except from the hearts of Your people, the remnant.

Lord, a battle is raging and the bullets of doubt, fear and discouragement are flying over our heads.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that You are calling the remnant to stand as an army and fight with everything we have.  We are the only ones that You have trained for such a time as this.  We are the only light that can bring our world out of such darkness.

The problem is we, the remnant, are tired.  We feel defeated before the battle has even begun because of the condition our nation is in.  We are full of doubt and worry about our children and grandchildren, wondering how on earth they are going to survive.  I would like to tell You the remnant is ready, willing and able,  but we are not.  Our cups are not only chipped and cracked, but are almost empty.   We are thirsting for righteousness and there is little to be found.  So now we are coming to You because we know that You are the only one that has a well that never runs dry. We need You to fill our cups to the brim.  I know if You fill them with Your love and mercy we can do the job You have prepared us to do.

I cannot speak for anyone else, but as for me,  I am telling You, “here I am, send me!”  Now I know that I am not an Isaiah, but I do know that I am Your child and I want to make a difference.  There are so many hurting people crying out for deliverance. Their souls are empty, and instead of turning to You they are turning to the world. They do not know You are the only One who can fill the void inside their souls.

Where on earth do I begin?  I cannot bring hope to everyone, but I can bring hope to those around me.  Please Lord, make me a ray of hope in this darkness.  I read somewhere if  there is a light, no matter how small, there will not be complete darkness.  So I come to You as my Lord and ask You to put a light in my window so others will see.  Maybe if others see the light in my window, they will put one in theirs.  That is why I am asking You to fill our cups to the brim and make us whole.  That way we can be the people You need us to be to make the difference that so desperately needs to be made.

My prayer is that anyone who reads this blog will also lift their cups up to You to be filled and when that is done, they will turn to You and say, “here I am Lord, send me!”

When we meet You face to face, we want You to be able to say to us, “Well done my good and faithful servants!  You did what I sent you to do!”

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Seaside Reflection

This week, I escaped to a little corner of the world; Destin, Florida. It was a time with family, friends, a time to relax and just sit by the beach. I sat there mesmerized as I watched the roaring waves hit the shore. How can such power diminish into nothingness in a blink of an eye.

As I sat there, my soul just soaked in the peace and tranquility as the waves rolled in and out. I had no idea my soul was so restless and weary until I felt the closeness of God in His creation. One could see His fingerprints all over.

My poor soul. I do not mean to neglect it, but sometimes the hustle and bustle of life just gets in the way. It was nice to stop and let my soul catch up with my body.

One of my favorite scriptures is God telling us, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) It is in the stillness that He speaks to us. It is in the quietness that He can refresh our souls.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that I need the blessing of His presence. I would never be the person He created me to be if I did not have His guidance and protection.

I am also aware that the enemy roams around like a roaring lion seeking who he can devour. More than once he has mocked my ministry to the Lord. I could almost hear him telling me, “Sandy look in the mirror and see what stares back at you. Is that the kind of witness the Lord wants? How can you possibly teach His Word, much less bring anyone into the Kingdom of God looking and sounding like you do? No one is going to understand a thing you say.”  He might have me throwing a pity party for awhile, but then I remember he is the father of lies and I know who I am in Christ. That is when I ask the Lord for His presence.  He reminds me that He can use me more this way and I am to trust Him. He not only lifts me up, He makes me more than I can be. He makes me strong once again and gives me His strength to carry on His Name! Oh what a Savior! Oh what a God!

Never doubt for a minute if He sends you to do a ministry He will open every door and make a way. He will raise you up to more than you can be if you will just trust Him. There will be storms, but remember He is the one that calms the roaring sea!

 

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We Know Not What We Do!

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Oh God,

Our nation is in such a mess.   We are hanging on your last thread of mercy.  I am asking that you hear our cry.  I know you are tired of listening to our excuses, but there is no way we can make it without you.  I know we have made a mockery of your freewill, but even more so, we have made a mockery of Your Name. I know you are thinking we have turned our backs on you, but God, not all of us have.  I know we are guilty for not speaking up sooner.  We put our heads in the sand and said in our hearts, “this is America, nothing can happen to it.  We are the nation that sets the example for every nation.  God is not going to let anything happen to this nation.”  How soon we forgot 9-11!

What happened to our foundation?  How did it crumble?  Did we become so busy that we forgot our heritage as “one nation under God.”  Now we have become one nation under many gods.  We fight and kill each other defending the name of all the gods.  We have become so confused as a nation we do not know the truth of your Word; the truth that sets us free.  Professing to be wise, we have become fools.  Please forgive us for we know not what we do!

We have put our pastors in the position of having to do what the world dictates or they will have to give up the pulpit. God, we need the church.  It is our sanctuary that prepares us to go out and change the world. Please do not give up on us; please give us one more chance to prove our love for You.

Oh God, please hear our prayers for the sake of our children and grandchildren.  Can you please give us one more chance so we can prepare them to go the distance?  Please grant us enough love to start again.  What do we need to do to make amends? Father, we have tied the knot and hanging on the last thread of Your mercy.  We, as believers, are not going to let go of our end, so please do not let go of yours!

We beseech you in the Name of Your Son Jesus Christ to have mercy on us or to tell Your Son to come quickly!

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Go Light Your World!

Someone very wise once told me, “united you stand, divided you fall.”  That simple phrase, if heeded, can make so much difference in our marriages, in our country, and in our world.  I look around at the brokenness, heartbreak, and destruction that has overtaken our world and it breaks my heart.  (I can only imagine what it does to our Lord’s.)  How did it happen?  Were we too busy to see what was coming?  I think somewhere along the line, the family didn’t think it was worth the fight to unite.  I think that somewhere along the line our country  became so full of conceit and self assurance they didn’t think they needed to unite. And the world grew darker and darker as the time passed.  Remember, united we stand, divided we fall.

How can so much darkness enter a world that was once so full of light?  I guess I was being too busy to notice, too busy to care, or I had become so busy that I was too dog-tired to give a rip!  Well, I guess it really doesn’t matter how it happened because it did and our world and everything in it is crumbling.  We have become desperate, and desperate people do desperate things!

This eats at my soul, so again I know it breaks my Lord’s heart.  He gave each and every one of us a soul that He wanted to fill with His love and show us our purpose.  For 32 years I filled that soul with the baubles of the world.  Was it the baubles that got me through the rough times?  NO!  It was a Savior who was long-suffering enough to wait until I realized the void could only be filled by Him.

Well not any more!  I am not going to sit around and watch my world go to hell in a hand basket!  I am going to ask the Lord to let me be a light in this dark world.  I am going to ask Him to light the fire in my soul.  It only takes a spark to get the fire burning.  I am going to take that spark and light a candle in a hurting and empty soul.

I am going to smile at strangers because it might be the first time in a long time that someone even noticed they existed.  I am going to pray that the Lord will light the candle in their soul with His Spirit.

I am going to reach out and give my hand to those who have fallen into the pits of despair.  I am NOT going to tell them what I have been told so many times in my life  ”Get over it!”  I am going to do my best to pull them up!  I am going to pray that the Lord will light the candle in their soul with His Spirit.

I am going to give a lonely soul my hand of friendship and tell them they never have to be lonely again.  I am going to show them the one who cared enough to die for them in the first place and then I am going to pray that the Lord will light the candle in their soul with His Spirit.  

I am going to seek out the deceived and tell them they have bought a lie from the father of lies.  I am going to tell them if they stay on this path they will spend eternity in darkness where the worm dies not and the fires are never quenched.

I am going to pray that the Lord will light the candle in their soul with His Spirit.  

I am going to seek out the helpless and help them!  I am NOT going to look them in the face and call them a loser.  I am going to tell them that God doesn’t make junk!  If they will ask Him, He will show them the purpose He has for their life.

I am going to pray that the Lord will light the candle in their soul with His Spirit.

I am going to seek out the hopeless and give them hope.  I am going to tell them there is always a splinter of hope at the Cross.  I am going to tell them to run to the Cross and hold on tight.  The Lord who hung on that Cross will give them all the hope they need.  The Lord will then hand them a candle, light their soul with the Spirit and tell them to go light their world!

I believe with all my heart that is what the Lord is calling His church to do!  Will you join me?  My prayer is we will unite in our hearts, join hands and run into the darkness and light up our world in the name of Jesus.

Now I know the enemy will be trying to blow out our candles every step of the way, but I know we are going to succeed because we know that greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world.  Remember, united we stand, divided we fall.

P.S.  If there is anyone who does not know how to light their candle, please contact me!  Remember there is a candle in every soul.  Please do not try to light it with the attractions of the world.  Please don’t just hold a candle in your hand that has no light,  it will never be bright enough to show you the way out of your darkness! I will be honored to pray for you and show you the way to the one who will light it for you!

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