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Friday, April 29, 2011

God is in Control—Always

As the violent storms raged through the night, I’ll admit there was a few times when I was afraid. Especially when the lightning flashed rapidly, the wind howled and the thunder shook my house. During the intensity of the storm, I realized there was nowhere for us to go. There was no place that would be totally safe. Compared to the greatness of the storm, we are all so small and vulnerable. We are all in the hands of God and at His mercy.
Seeing the storm in the midst of its fury showed me a glimpse of God’s power. God is so absolutely wonderful to us all. He is longsuffering and so very merciful. However, there are times when His mercy expires and He transforms into a terrible God. And there is no one to protect us from His wrath when it is unleashed. There’s not a basement deep enough to hide nor a mountain high enough to climb. God’s arms are not shortened so that He can’t reach us wherever we are.
Every since I was a little girl, I have always imagined God’s anger when it stormed; warnings and pleas for us to open our eyes and change our ways. Whether or not there’s any truth to it I don’t know, but I do know that I don’t want to do anything to kindle God’s anger on me. I don’t want to do anything to force God to punish me or to get my attention.
Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I certainly can’t speak for God nor am I trying to say when a natural disaster strikes or an illness occurs that it is because someone is being punished. Only God knows why things happen to us. But I will say this; I’d rather suffer for God than to suffer for my disobedience.
And storms can come in many different forms. Sometimes it is on the inside. It can be fear, worry, illness, grief, doubt, self-consciousness, anxiety, depression, etc. It can all seem so hopeless and overwhelming at times. And sometimes I believe God uses these things to open our eyes.
Whether it is a tornado, which skipped your house while it took out the rest of the neighborhood, or disease growing inside your body, there’s nothing quite as surreal as being faced with the possibility that it could take your life. It puts everything into perspective and makes everything look different. It puts a whole new meaning on the word time.  
Have you ever noticed how beautiful and bright the sun is after the darkness of a storm? Or how sweet your child’s arms feel when you realize you might never have another opportunity to bask in the wonderfulness of a hug? We always think we have more time and take so much of the precious time God gives us for granted.
That’s why I believe we should take every opportunity that God gives us and use it. God wants us to put Him first in our lives, but He also wants us to enjoy life. He wants us to gather our children in our arms and hug them every chance we get. He wants us to tell and show people we love them every day. He wants us to laugh and smile and enjoy the beauty He created for us. He wants us to do whatever He places on our hearts right then. Let’s face it friends, tomorrow might not come for us.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What I love about Easter….

With Easter approaching, I like to take a moment and remember why we celebrate Easter and what it means to me personally. I love to read the scriptures and be reminded of how much God loves me. How He sent His only begotten Son into this world to die for my sins. When I think about how Jesus suffered for me, I’m sorrowful. I can’t even imagine how He felt as He knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane, knowing the time was near and knowing what He had to do. Can you imagine carrying your own burdens without the help of the Lord? Can you imagine suffering without any comfort, without whining or calling to God for help? I certainly can’t, but that’s exactly what Jesus did for us.
I’ve often wondered how Jesus could have suffered like that and allowed them to take His life without fighting or begging God to help Him. And there’s only one explanation that comes to my mind and touches my heart—it was LOVE. It wasn’t nails or soldiers that held Him on that cross, it was love. They didn’t take His life; He gave it, freely, for you and me. He died for everyone—the non-believers as well as the believers.
I can’t imagine how He felt as He carried the cross and the sins of the whole world, knowing some would reject Him and His sacrifice. But, still, He shed His blood. I believe, with all of my heart, if there had only been one person that would believe and accept Him, He would have died the same for that one as He did for the multitude. With Jesus, love has no bounds.
He knew Judas would betray Him and, yet, He loved him. Judas walked with Jesus and witnessed the miracles He performed and His charity, but he still sold Him for thirty pieces of silver. However, when it was done Judas realized his mistake, but it was too late. He couldn’t undo the wrong he had done unto the Lord. His sorrow was so great that he took his own life. This shows me we need to be really careful how we treat the Lord. Once something is done we can’t change it, regardless of our sorrow.
But my favorite part of it all is that I serve a living God. Even though the world crucified Him, buried Him in a tomb, placed guards and a stone in front, still they couldn’t contain my Lord. Death has no power or dominion over Him or His amazing love. How do I know He lives? I feel Him in my heart.
I’m so thankful He put that same power and love within me. Regardless of what the devil does to me, he can’t touch that part that belongs to God. He’s not big enough to keep me from going to Heaven. And there’s not a grave deep enough to hold me when the trumpet sounds.
I got things fixed up with the Lord a long time ago when He saved my soul. This place is not my home; I’m just passing through, telling people how good God is to me. I could never repay God for all He has done for me, but every once in a while I try to show Him that I love Him. I go to church, not because I’m good or a Christian, but because I’m a sinner and I need the Lord. I go because I want to be a good soldier in the army of my Lord. I want to put on the whole amour of God and fight for my loved ones. I know time is running out and I want to do all I can for my Lord, which is so little when I think about all He has done for me. I want to see my loved ones saved. I want them to have this glorious peace and love deep down in their soul. My pastor says the Lord will save our people because we ask Him to. However, the Lord doesn’t always answer our prayers when we want him to.
I prayed for my husband for ten years before he got saved. Well I say I prayed for ten years, but I think it took me that long to get to the point to where I could pray for him. At first, I wanted him to be saved for me. I know that sounds horrible, but it’s true. I wanted him to be saved so he would take me and kids to church on Sundays. I wanted him to be saved so our marriage would be stronger and things would be better. However, when I came to the point that I wanted it for him because I wanted him to have that peace, a relationship with God and to really experience the power of love, God saved him. It was an Easter I’ll never forget.
We need to remember that even though people might come to church on Easter for various reasons, God is in control. They might come to show off their new Easter clothes, but leave saved and dressed right for Heaven. We all need to be concerned. We need to tell our people about Jesus and how great that He is. We need to tell of the hope in us.
So this Easter I beg you to go to church. Take your kids or grandkids; ask your family, friends and neighbors. Don’t be ashamed of what God has done for you. Every Sunday we have a choice of whom we serve—God or the devil. We can’t serve both.
I guess everyone gets tired of hearing me talk about God. That’s what the devil tells me anyway. He tries to get me to delete my blog and stop writing for God. He tries to get me to stop going to church. He tries to stop me from praying. He wants me to stop singing for my Lord. He doesn’t want me to teach Sunday school. He fights me continuously, but I keep trying.
The way I see it God spared me and allowed me to live for a reason—His purpose. Every day that He blesses me to live is a gift. While I can’t repay Him for all of His Grace and Mercy, I can tell everyone that will listen how good He is to me.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Never Give Up On God

If there is one thing I have learned in my life, and learned well, it is to never give up. Regardless of the obstacles in my way or the odds stacked against me, there is always a way to overcome adversity. God is that way—the only way.
If I had listened every time someone told me I couldn’t do something, then I would have never accomplished anything in my life. If I had allowed obstacles to stop me, then I would have never succeeded. It’s not about all the things we can’t do, but all of the things God blesses us to do.
Sometimes the only difference between success and failure is the right frame of mind. If you believe you can do something, then you can. If you believe it’s impossible, then it will never be possible for you.
Over a year ago, I sat in an exam room and was told I would never get any better. It was completely devastating to me. I was in so much pain I could barely function. I couldn’t work, clean my house, drive, or take care of the kids. The pain paralyzed my life. I was offered narcotic pain medications, but I refused. I was terrified I would become an addict. Instead I was given NSAIDs, and medication for nerve damage.
For the first time in my life, I felt utterly and completely hopeless. I didn’t want to take the medicine, but I couldn’t handle the pain.
I trembled as I held the tiny little pills in my hands. I read the pages of known side effects and wondered which ones would attack me. Flashbacks of the time I almost died, due to drug side effects, raced through my mind. I looked at my kids and my husband and prayed the drugs wouldn’t take my life.
The pain progressed and the medicine did nothing to stop it. It did, however, mess with my mind. The day I couldn’t remember if I had taken the kids to school or not, was a life changing moment for me. I didn’t know what to do, but I knew that I didn’t want to live like that—unless there was no other option.
I remember begging God to help me. And, as always, He did.
As I opened the phone book one morning searching for a new doctor, I turned to chiropractors. There were several listed, but one that beckoned me—Foster Chiropractic and Wellness Center. I loved the fact that it was listed as a wellness center because I wanted to be well.
Dr. Foster was amazing. He scanned and x-rayed me and came up with a plan of wellness for me. But more importantly, he gave me hope. As I continued to get better, I was reminded God always has a plan for us. He always has a way to make us feel better and comfort us from our trials.
The devil will always try to stop us from doing God’s work. He will bring illness upon us, to keep us from going to church, and get us to a point to where, sometimes we think we would be better off dead, but if we look to God then we can live— instead of merely going through the motions. Through God we can overcome ANYTHING!
Sometimes we just have to want to get better. And do everything in our power to make it happen. I have to exercise and watch my diet, just so I can function, but I’m so thankful it’s possible for me to still do the things I need to do. There are days when I’d love to pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep—forget the world and all of its problems. However, when I succumb to my weakness, then it only makes things worse. I’m learning to get up. Regardless of how bad I feel. The devil may continue to knock me down, but I’m tired of just lying down for him.
If it takes me all day to do one simple chore, then I should do that and be proud of my accomplishment. I’m learning to forgive myself for my weaknesses and realize God is my strength in every battle. He wants me to look to Him for my guidance, but, most of all, He wants me to trust Him with every aspect of my life.
This week has been very challenging for me. Anytime we are faced with adversity, it’s easy to become discouraged and lose hope, but I’m so thankful that my Lord always steps in right on time. He reminds me that He is my anchor and He can fix my problems in a moment and the twinkling of an eye. What is so big to me is so small to God.
When I think all hope is gone, God has a plan. The bible tells us, the darkest hour is right before dawn.

Friday, April 8, 2011

God’s Little Ones

From the moment I felt the first flutters of life, I loved my children. I will never forget the first time I held each of my boys in my arms. I was overcome with love and joy and so thankful God blessed me to be their mommy. As I gazed down at my bundle of wonderfulness, so many hopes and dreams for their future flashed through my mind, but there was one thought that overpowered all of the rest— I desired for them to be saved one day.
I knew God had blessed me tremendously with the gift of motherhood and I wanted to succeed. However, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I didn’t know what brands of diapers or lotions to buy. How many times I should burp them or if I should let them cry, occasionally. I wished, so often, for an instruction manual that would tell me step by step instruction on how to be a great mom.
Sometimes I think I worried so much about doing everything exactly right that I forgot to hold my little ones just for the sake of holding them and enjoy those moments. I didn’t want them to hurt or cry. I didn’t want them to ever suffer. But when it comes right down to it, I’m powerless to stop them from heartaches and pain. And when I think about it, why would I want to?
Without heartaches we wouldn’t be humble or compassionate. Without disappointments we would never appreciate the good times. Without failures we couldn’t truly appreciate the ability to succeed.
Somewhere along the way I realized I will never be a perfect mom. I won’t always do things exactly right. I won’t always know all of the answers to their questions. My magic spit won’t always wash away the hurt of their boo-boos. I won’t always be able to comfort them or make them feel better. I won’t always know what is best for them. On some levels I will fail my children, but God never will. And that is the most important thing I can ever teach them—about my God.
Since children are our reflection and often mimic our behavior, it is my job to set positive examples for them and set them up some stones for their future. It’s not enough to tell them what to do, I need to show them.
I need to show them about kindness and forgiveness. I need to show them how to find the good in every situation. I need to show them how to look for the good in everyone. I need to show them about obedience and discipline. I need to show them how to love unconditionally. But most of all, I need to show them how important it is to go to church every Sunday and serve the Lord.
Looking back on my life, I realize that’s exactly what my parents did for me. They took me to church and taught me morals and values. They taught me if I didn’t have something nice to say, then to keep my mouth closed. They gave me kindness and forgiveness and so much love it surrounded me. They taught me to give and to love without restrictions. They punished me when I needed it and held me when I needed that, too. And every Sunday morning that we walked through the church house doors, they proved their love to me.
We are given a great instruction manual for our lives—The Bible. Everything that we could possibly face has already happened and is recorded inside. God gave us examples in the scriptures for every problem and Grace for every need.
We are living in a time of uncertainty and trouble. Sometimes I worry that I’m raising my kids in these awful times, but then I realize God is still the same. Regardless of how this world changes, God never will. He’s the same today as He was yesterday. He’s a God that changes not.
While I can’t save my children, it’s my job to take them to church where they can hear the gospel and receive the invitation of eternal life. It’s my job to pray for them. And when they get saved, then they will have everything they will ever need in this life—God.
He will watch over them and protect them. He will be the voice inside their head to let them know they’re doing wrong. He will comfort them and supply all of their needs.
Little children need to go to church just as much as adults. They need to be taught about God and feel His love and peace. They know the voice of the Lord and they feel His spirit. I’ve seen them stop crying or playing and just stand still.
But the most precious thing I have ever seen is little children who walk or ride their bikes to church. They leave their mommy and daddy at home and come to church alone. Sometimes they linger at the door because they’re afraid to go inside. They’ve never been to church and don’t know what to expect. However, they’re drawn to it because they know the church has something they need.
Every time I see one of the little ones walk inside I’m humbled, it reminds God has a way of getting His word out. He has all power in Heaven and on Earth. I’m so thankful we are all just God’s little ones.

Friday, April 1, 2011

God's Mercy

God’s love and mercy is so boundless to us all. Regardless of what I do, I’m so thankful God never gives up on me. While I love to speak about how good God is to me, I very seldom tell of the times when I’m reproved by God. However, it’s during those times when I realize just how merciful God is to me and when He proves His love to me.
I take so much for granted. Honestly, I don’t even know how blessed I am until God shows me. It’s then I realize just how small I am and how big my God is. Even though I love God with all of my heart and I know He loves me more than I can even imagine, I fear Him—greatly.
God holds my life in His hands. He decides whether or not I’m able to draw my next breath. There is nothing I can hide from my God. In the judgment of my life, I’m alone. It’s just me and God. My family and friends can’t even help me or pray for me, unless God gives them the prayer to pray. He controls it all.
I’ve been there before, in the midst of my own misery. I’ve begged God to help me and He ignored me. Much like the times I ignored Him and that tug in my heart to do His will. He definitely showed me, without a shadow of doubt, I can’t do wrong and get by with it, nor can I refuse to do something He has commanded me to do. I may decide to do things the hard way, and go the long, painful way around, but I will do whatever it is that He wants me to do. And He can even make me so miserable that I’ll not only come willing to do whatever it is, but I’ll gladly do it. But the thing is, when we turn away from God and refuse to do His work, we can’t just decide then to do it when things get tough. God decides when our suffering is over. Sometimes He gives us some time to think about it.
When God gave me the gift to write I was afraid. Especially, when I sat down and the words flowed out of me, my heart burned within me, and my hands trembled. When I would read back my words, it terrified me because they weren’t really my words at all. Sometimes I would even write things I didn’t understand. Sometimes I had to write things about my life I didn’t want to think about, not to mention write down on paper for others to read. So I would freeze up and block the words. With tears flowing from my eyes, I would beg God not to make me write it.
God gave me some time to wallow with it. He listened to my excuses every single day as to why I couldn’t do the job He gave me to do. He listened as I cried in self-pity and tried to justify not doing His work. He was patient with me, when I proclaimed over and over this job was too big for me. Even though He didn’t agree with my excuses and knew I was only trying to find a way out of it—He still had mercy on me. In fact, He gave me the very breath I used to deny Him. He woke me up every morning knowing I wouldn’t do anything for Him that day. And just when I thought that maybe God had forgotten about my job or decided I didn’t have to do it, He showed me He was in control.
A few years ago, I got really sick. All I could do was lie in the bed and whine. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, and could barely breathe. I ached all over and thought I was going to die. My husband took me to the doctor and they sent me back home without helping me at all.
My suffering intensified and I begged God to help me. But it was as if He couldn’t even hear my pleas. I had no comfort—only pain and suffering.
It wasn’t like I had told God—I’m not writing that book and you can’t make me. It was just that I didn’t ever make time to do it. The first time it got a little hard I would run away or block the words He was giving me. Whenever I felt that little tug in my heart, letting me know it was time to write, I always had an excuse or found something else to do.
He showed me that if I wouldn’t do His work, then He wouldn’t allow me to work at all. When I came willing in my heart, to write the book He commanded me to write, He rocked me to sleep and eased my pain.
I can tell you this I wouldn’t have willingly wrote that book for a million dollars, but when God speaks it’s with power and authority. The best part is that He didn’t just give me a job to do and expect me to do it on my own, but He helped me. He knew I wasn’t capable of doing it on my own; He never expected me to. All He wanted from me was my obedience. That is all I am capable of anyway.
I believe with God’s gifts there is responsibility. When He gives me the words to write, it is my job to write them and share them according to His will. He has a purpose for everything He does.
When I think about it, I realize God could have removed my gift to write His words. He could have taken away everything special He had planned for me. Instead, He was so merciful to me. I’m learning not to confuse God’s mercy with His approval. Just because He doesn’t punish me, right away for something I’ve done wrong, doesn’t mean it is okay for me to continue to do it. Maybe He’s giving me time to do the right thing and ask for His forgiveness and guidance. If I ignore that still small voice that pleads with me to do what is right, then I force God to show me that He is God and there is none other.
It’s too late to change it after it’s already happened. I’ve learned that the hard way. This is just one small example about how God got my attention. There have many other times in my life, when I needed to pray right then; when I didn’t have a second to spare. And I can tell you it’s an awful feeling to watch someone you love suffer and not be able to pray for them. I’ve been there, where I thought someone I love was dying and I had to pray for myself because my sins and iniquities stood between me and God. It’s a terrible feeling to call to God and not be heard. It’s a terrible feeling to not be able to feel the Spirit of the Lord or His boundless love.
While we chose not to obedient, we don’t get to choose our punishment. Please, think about all of the beautiful things God has given you to brighten your life; is there one you can give up? The one thing you love the most could be the cost for your disobedience.

Author shares message through Zippy the zebra