Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘From My Heart’ Category

 

Psalm 91:9-13

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, 10 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

Psalm 27:5

For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.

Psalm 31:20

In the shelter of your presence you hide them from all human intrigues; you keep them safe in your dwelling from accusing tongues.

One of the first things Cherokee and Chris did when they bought the new house in July was buy Chickens. We have 24 chickens and they have their own space in the yard and a safe, comfortable coop. On the first day the chickens were big enough to run free in their yard, I asked Chris how long it would take to round up all 24 chickens every evening and get them back in the coop. Chris told me that they would go back in the coop on their own as the sun went down. He was right. I watched as the sun went down and one by one they headed for the coop and huddled together inside the door waiting for Cherokee or Chris to tuck them in safely for the night. I was amazed that they knew somehow that they needed to be tucked in for the night to keep them safe from predators of the night (okay, maybe they didn’t “think” all that, but somehow they knew they needed to be tucked in for the night).

Watching the chickens as they headed for the shelter of the coop reminded me how we, as humans, sometimes need shelter from the dark moments of our lives. In life, we will come upon predators who may want to harm us. We will experience the storms of life and need to seek refuge. where is our shelter? The chickens know that they have a coop to keep them safe, but where do we go when the night starts to fall and we are surrounded by darkness and evil? 

We go to God. We need to find shelter in God. Psalm 91:11 says that God commands His angels concerning us to guard us in ALL our ways. Psalm 27:5 says that when the day of trouble comes that God will keep us safe in His dwelling. Psalm 31:20 reminds us that God keeps us safe in His dwelling from accusing tongues.

Life is full of problems, heartache and pain. The reality is that there IS evil in the world. We can’t escape that fact. We can’t run from the hardships of life. It wouldn’t matter where we run to, the hardships will only follow us. The only thing that we can do is seek shelter under the wings of the Almighty God. God promises us in His word that He IS our shelter and that He WILL protect us. God does not break His promises. We need to trust that when the pain of the world hits us in the gut, that God will be our shelter and in Him we will find refuge and safety.

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

 

The hardest thing for me as a mom has been to see my kids grow into adults and struggle with their relationship with God. We were active in a local church at one time, but left due to some personal issues. After we left, we all struggled in our relationship with God. The kids struggled the most. It was hard for me to see them fall away from their faith. I felt guilty for taking them away from something that had meant so much to them at one time. In the end it was only causing them pain and they were considered in the decision to leave. We have attended different churches. My relationship with God has actually grown in the mean time, but the kids still struggle. I hate to see them struggle in the most important aspect of their lives. I try to force God on them and I know that this doesn’t work. I just want them to “get it”! I want them to embrace this Jesus that I live and breathe. God has finally convinced me to back off a bit and to give the Holy Spirit time to work in the lives of my kids.

YOU MEAN I AM NOT ACTUALLY IN CONTROL OF THEIR WHOLEHEARTEDLY ACCEPTING JESUS?

Reality sinking in. No, I am not in control of how they think or act or what they believe. As much as I would like to force them to accept my beliefs, I can’t. I can’t force Jesus on them. It just turns them away. They have to figure it out on their own the same way I had to figure it out on my own. They have to come to the realization that life with Jesus is so much better than life without Jesus. So, what do we do while they are figuring things out?

  1. Pray: We pray, pray and pray some more. We pray that the Holy Spirit will fill them with a burning desire to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We pray that they will be filled with a deep desire to do God’s will in EVERY aspect of their lives. We pray through until all of our children have accepted Jesus and then we pray that they will grow in their Christian walk. The most important thing is to pray.
  2. Set a Godly example: No one is perfect. We aren’t going to get it completely right all of the time, but if our kids see us reading the Bible, praying, living our lives with integrity, serving others, and loving those around us then they will know Jesus through our actions. Don’t ever think that our kids aren’t watching how we live our lives. They are and they are deciding how they want to live.
  3. Never Judge: Our kids get enough judgement in the world, they don’t need it from their parents too. No one is perfect and our kids are learning how the world works. We all fumble. We all make mistakes. Our kids need to know that they have a safe place to fall where help will be given without judgement.
  4. Love unconditionally: God loves us no matter what and He expects us to love our kids no matter what. We need to love our kids regardless of how they choose to live. We need to continue to build our relationships with our kids. We need to continue to be that support system they so need in this world. In a place of so much hate, they need our love.
  5. Allow the Holy Spirit to work: We need to step back and allow the Holy Spirit to work in our children’s lives. Trying to force Jesus on them only pushes them away. We need to surrender our kids to God and trust Him to work in their lives in His timing. I know how hard that is, but take it from a mom who has been there, we can’t force our kids to believe. We are not in control. God is.

I have had to learn to surrender my kids to God. It has not been easy. I see them struggle with wrong choices and living life styles that are contrary to my Christian beliefs and my heart breaks for them. Life will never be free from pain, but it can be so much better when we live according to God’s will for us. My one desire in this life is that all five of my kids will know and follow Jesus Christ. I can’t make this happen. Only God can. It is now my job to get out of the way.

 

 

Read Full Post »

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

 

              

Not all of us were meant to live like Joyce Meyer, TD Jakes, or Joel Osteen. The majority of us were meant to live simple lives. Most of us were called to live quiet lives, loving those around us and sowing seeds for God. Volunteering in our communities, serving those in need, being part of a community that loves God and loves each other regardless of our quirks and imperfections. Those of us that God has called to live quiet lives have a responsibility to change our communities through being a Christ-like example to those around us. We have a responsibility to be Jesus to our neighbors and communities. It is a big responsibility. God calls us to partner with Him in changing communities and transforming hearts. It may be the most important calling we can ever have on our lives. So, the next time you think your life is mundane, boring or ordinary, remember that God calls most of us to live simple lives so that we can reach out to those who need us and need God the most.

     

 

Read Full Post »

Proverbs 19:21

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

I was watching Llama Llama this morning with my two year old grandson, Christopher, when God decided to use this children’s cartoon to teach me a lesson. Llama and his friends were planning to spend the last day of their Summer break flying their kites. At the last minute, it starts to rain and the kids have to change their plans. Llama Llama is upset because they have to change their plans and stay inside. Mama Llama reminds Llama Llama that sometimes we have to plan to change our plans.

WOW! What a reminder! I always thought that I would be a missionary. I have wanted with all of my heart to serve God in a full-time ministry position. I have wanted this since I was a teenager. I am now a 48 year old single mom of 5 young adults and working in the food service department of a local convent. I have worked different secular jobs, but a ministry job has been elusive. It hasn’t been easy for me to sit and watch as others become missionaries or enter the convent. I will admit to being frustrated and discouraged. I have even at times felt hopeless. I have cried out to God in my despair, wondering why everyone else seems to be chosen for a grand purpose but I am left living a mundane life of daily struggles. I have learned three important lessons in this time of waiting.

  1. Be Patient– God’s timing is perfect. We need to be patient while waiting for God to reveal our God-given life purpose. There are many reasons that God might want us to wait; we need to work on our character, we need to wait for God to set up our ministry opportunity, we need to learn more about God and grow in our relationship with Him. I am not a patient person! I’m sure that God has shook His head in frustration at my petulant attitude. I continue to grow in this area and I trust that God knows what is best for me.
  2. Continue To Grow– God may be waiting for us to grow in our knowledge of Him. God can not use us if we are not prepared. We have to know WHO HE IS if we want set a Godly example in the world. We have to know God’s character. We have to know God’s heart if we want to reach others for Him. By digging into God’s word and by prayer we begin to grow in our relationship with Him and only then can God use the love in our hearts to draw others to Him.
  3. Bloom Where You Are Planted– Sometimes our missionary opportunity is right in our own backyard. Find a need in your neighborhood or community and find a way to fill that need. Lead a church wide effort in volunteering at a local homeless shelter, food pantry, or other ministry. Prayer walk around your neighborhood. Reach out to those around you and open your heart to the opportunities that God presents. God often places us right where He wants us. He expects us to be missionaries in our own communities. If we aren’t, then who will be? If we call ourselves disciples, then He calls us missionaries!

These are things that I am still working on, hence the lesson from a Llama. Be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Even if you are stuck in a mundane job that frustrates you, you still have a unique, God-given ministry to those around you. You are a missionary in your own community! Be patient! Keep growing in your knowledge and relationship with God and bloom where God plants you. He knows what is best and where we are needed most. Trust in His will for your life and know that He will always use us if we are willing to be used.

Read Full Post »

 

Acts 10:34-35

34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.

Romans 2:11

For God does not show favoritism.

Galatians 2:5-6

We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. As for those who were held in high esteem—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism—they added nothing to my message.

As a single mom of five kids, I have been accused of showing favorites. Do I have a favorite? I can honestly say that I do not. I know it may seem at times that I favor this daughter or that son over the others, but I love all of my children the same and care deeply about the safety and welfare of all five of them. They are five separate people with five completely different personalities. I have a different relationship with each of them based on how our personalities mesh. Not only do they each have different personalities, they are each in different places in their lives. At times one may struggle more than the others and need more attention in that season of their lives. They are all growing in their own lives and my relationship with each one is different than what it once was. I have struggled at times in my relationship with each one, but I will never stop loving them. I will never stop caring about what each one goes through. I will never stop believing that they are the most precious people in this world.

I am reminded of the Parable of the Lost Sheep in Matthew 18:12-14:

12 “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? 13 And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away! 14 In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish. 

The shepherd leaves the others to go after the one. He doesn’t care what the one looks like or if the one was disobedient and ran off, He goes after the one regardless. No favorites. Not one cared about more or less than the others. All are equal in the shepherd’s eyes. God feels the same way about us. He loves us all the same. No favorites. He will leave the ninety-nine to go after the one. It doesn’t matter the socio-economic status, education, gender- identity, race, religion (you get the point) of the one. He will ALWAYS leave the others to go after the one.

God loves you! You will never do anything so wrong that God won’t pursue you. It doesn’t matter if you live in a penthouse or on the streets of skid row. It doesn’t matter if you are an addict or go to church three times a week and volunteer for every church activity. There is NOTHING that can separate you from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39). He loves you just as much as He loves all the rest of the sheep in His flock.

I challenge you to really take the time to reflect on God’s love for you. Use the internet to look up verses that tell us how much God loves us. Journal your thoughts and the verses that you find. I want you to open your heart to allow the love of God to fill you to overflowing. I want you to know in your inner most being that God has NO FAVORITES! I am always here to listen, pray for you and encourage you in this journey. YOU ARE LOVED!!!

 

 

Read Full Post »

 

I received a call from Kiowa (my Air Force daughter) one afternoon, which is not unusual in itself, but she had an interesting story to tell me. She lives about 40 minutes from her base and along her route there is an intersection with stop signs that Semi’s don’t like to stop for. She had told me this before when I visited in May and had added that there are many wrecks due to the Semi’s running the signs and hitting other vehicles. She continued to tell me that on her way to work that morning, she realized that she had forgotten her rain gear and it was supposed to rain. She works outside and rain gear is a must. She was already half way to work, but turned around and headed back home. On her way back to work, as she approached the above intersection she realized that there had been an accident and clean-up was underway. A Semi had hit another car. She did the calculations in timing and realized that had she not gone back, that it could have been her. She drives a small Mazda Miata. Her little 2-seat sports car would not have fared well if it had been hit by a Semi. She said the other car was a larger vehicle and everyone was okay.

Kiowa knew that this was a “God-thing.” She recognized that God had sent her back and had probably saved her life. Many times when we are inconvenienced in any way, we become impatient. We rant and possibly become hazards on the road because we have been inconvenienced and are now in a hurry. We become angry with everyone in our way. We struggle to find God in the situation. I have learned two things from Kiowa’s story:

  1. Be Patient– God won’t always tell us why we are being inconvenienced. He expects us to trust Him and be patient. Our inconveniences may not always be to save us from harm. God may be putting us in a position to minister to someone else. God may be using us to save someone else’s life. There is always a reason for wild goose chases. Be patient when God sends you on one and look around you to see if there is someone who needs a helping hand or simply an encouraging word.
  2. Be Obedient– If Kiowa had not been obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit, this story could have ended much differently. I thank God for keeping her safe! We need to be obedient in ALL situations. We may never know when God is saving our life or someone else’s life, but when the Holy Spirit starts to lead us down an inconvenient path, Be obedient. God knows exactly what He is doing and sees everything that is going on. Trust Him! He may be saving our life or using us to save a life. Either way, we need to trust that He is in control and be obedient to that nudging of the Holy Spirit.

I learned from Kiowa’s experience. I am not always patient when God sends me back for something I forgot or something comes up at an inconvenient time. I have a tendency to whine and complain. I need to be more like Kiowa. She saw God in the situation. She was able to see the bigger picture.

Dearest Lord,

Give me a patient heart. Help me to see the bigger picture when I am inconvenienced. Help me to see YOU in the wild goose chases of life. Help me be patient when I am inconvenienced and give me eyes to see the “someone” who may need a helping hand or an encouraging word. Give me a heart to love those who so desperately need someone to love them. Help me to realize when you are using me to save a life and more than anything, Lord, give me an obedient heart. Give me a heart that follows the nudging of the Holy Spirit no matter what. I long to do your will. Praise you, Father!   Amen

 

 

Read Full Post »

 

John 20:11-18

11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

 

Jesus was not hiding from Mary, but she did not recognize Him until He said her name. He was not hiding from Mary and He does not hide from us. We search and search for the one thing that will fill that void inside of us and He is right in front of us waiting for us to recognize Him. We desperately try to find happiness and love through drugs, sex, alcohol, empty relationships, work, food, etc. and Jesus stands just behind us asking, “who are you looking for?” We try to find happiness and love in all the wrong places. All the while, we suffer from loneliness, broken hearts, grief, pain, depression, anxieties, fear and overwhelming exhaustion. We still run from the ONE THING that can fill us with joy, peace and love. Jesus is calling YOUR name right now. Put down whatever it is that is keeping you from hearing Him. Put down the drugs. Let go of the relationship that is leading you down the wrong road. Let go of whatever it is you are trying to fill the empty void with and focus on Jesus.

He is standing right behind you asking, “who are you looking for?” He is calling you by name and He loves YOU. Fill that emptiness with the one who loves you. His name is Jesus.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »