FATHER

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Why do I find myself antsy with heaviness when home?

I recently had a conversation with Carl (husband) about battling with myself when not engaging with others: work, Bible Study, Outreach, church, volunteering. When alone, I am constantly reminded of who I am without Jesus. Why?

Jesus doesn’t randomly make an appearance in my times of quiet or when I’m out serving. Jesus lives within me which means that I’m never without Him! I am not alone, ever!

Why do I eliminate His presence when on my own? It’s almost as if I step out of who I am in Christ and into who I was before Him. One toe on this Earth and the other in His Kingdom. My split perspectives have got to join together in order to be fully used by God.

I’m reading about Frances Ridley Havergal from the book, “They Found the Secret.” In it, she states:

“There must be full surrender before there can be full blessedness. God admits you by the one into the other.”

Full surrender!

What am I withholding from Him? I don’t want anything displeasing in my life but yet I continue to water those fruitless seeds which took root a long time ago! It’s like an old pair of sweats. You know they look terrible and are completely out of style but way too familiar and comfy to throw to the side. You just keep on lounging around in them, praying no one sees you!

I don’t know what these useless seeds are, why I feel compelled to harvest the darkness or how they even got there in the first place! It certainly isn’t pleasant, rewarding or beneficial!

Am I not always a vessel for Him to use? It shouldn’t matter whether I’m silent or in service? Am I not a child of God with a greater purpose? I am a saint, His ambassador whether I’m alone or out in the world. My status (if that’s the right word?) doesn’t change because of where I am or what I’m doing?

He is constant, therefore, I am too.

And, as I sit in my car writing this, I hear Jesus say:

“Your times in isolation is your classroom! I am your teacher, you are my student. In quiet, you learn. In the world, you share your divine knowledge!

What is it that you don’t like about yourself? Where do you dwell when you are alone? Past sins? Present sins? Inadequacies? Weakness? Sweet treats? Your appearance? Does any of this really matter? Don’t go out into the world sizing people up? Don’t look at others and feel inferior! You are part of the Body of Christ. Each person has a different role. I can’t have all my children looking and doing the same thing. My Kingdom, my Glory would go nowhere! This isn’t who I AM!!”  

Ms. Havergal goes on to explain:

“…I was shown that ‘the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sins,’ and then it was made plain to me that He who had thus cleansed me had power to keep me clean; so I just utterly yielded myself to Him, and utterly trusted Him to keep me.”

What am I doing to His precious gift when I hold on to the things that aren’t from Him?
What am I showing Him when I listen to dark tales that aren’t even true?
Thankless!
No appreciation for what He did at the cross?

What did Ms. Havergal experience when she completely surrendered?

“There was a constant experiencing of the fruit of the Spirit. There was undiminished and unchanging love for her Savior and for others. There was the joy that “lifted her whole life into sunshine, of which all she had previously experienced was but as pale as passing April gleams, compared with the fullness of summer glory. There was the peace of God that passes understanding, flowing onward, ever deepening and widening under the teaching of God the Holy Spirit.”

To surrender is to let go of EVERYTHING!
To give God ALL inner battles!
I am not faulty, a failure, unworthy, dirty, ugly, fat, dumb, a good for nothing or weak!

To be any of this is to call God the very same things! I am made in His image!
I am marked for a greater purpose!
He took all of my sins upon His back and died a painful death for me.

And, not just me, but for you too!!

To believe the lies of Satan is to discredit Jesus…who He is and what He’s done!

Ms. Havergal says:

“I keep wondering every day what new lovingkindness is coming next! It is such a glorious life! And the really leaving EVERYTHING to Him is so inexpressibly sweet, and surely He does arrange so much better than we could for ourselves, when we leave it all up to Him.”

Is this even possible?

I found myself stuck on a message given by Pastor John Piper. It was called, “Are We Adopted for Us or for God?” 

I was intrigued by a certain story that he told of his adopted daughter, Talitha. It’s a made up story but used to create an “Aha” moment in the lives of his listeners.

I listened over and over until I got what the Lord intended for me to have! I’m thankful I didn’t give up!

It’s Talitha’s twenty-third birthday. Pastor John goes out to a hole in the wall florist and buys twenty-three long stemmed roses for his daughter. He hides them in a closet and when the time arises, he gets them and hands them to Talitha (this is not something that he usually buys).

She says:

“Why did you do that, daddy?”

His reply:

Because, as your adopted father, it is my duty. If I weren’t to do it, I would feel guilty. It’s what I’m supposed to do.

Pastor John then goes on to say:

That’s a bad answer!

Why?

Joyless duty doesn’t honor her. Joyless duty doesn’t make much of her. You have to stop acting out of that motive.

He asks:

What’s got to be changed for her (Talitha) to be honored?

He presents the question again:

Why did you do that daddy? Why the roses?

What would be the right answer?

Because I just enjoy spending time with you. Showing you in this time, that it’s special. I love to be with you. You make me happy. I love to do stuff with you. You make me glad.

How would Talitha feel in the moment?

She would feel honored.

My daddy prizes me!
My daddy loves me!
My daddy is making much of me because he delights to be with me!

That’s the way it is with our Father in Heaven.

The story ends!

I have a hard time seeing honor, joy, gladness, enjoyment, satisfaction, significance and delight when I’m alone. I feel all of this when I’m assisting the elderly, sharing stories of God in the resident Bible Study, in church praising God with my husband and best friend, reaching out to New Salvations on the Welcome Team with Elevation Church, and in quiet when I’m being held by my Father in Heaven.

I don’t feel any of this when I’m alone!

I am a wounded child!

I feel sorrow and loss because it’s what I’ve always known.

I don’t want to go there anymore! I’m not there anymore! I surrender this little girl to you, Jesus. You know what to do with her. I, obviously do not! I want to be big and strong and fully accessible to You.

And as I sit here, I see you, Jesus, reaching out and grabbing onto that little girl’s hand. I see where you are going. I see her looking up at you, grateful, that she doesn’t have to be here anymore. She can rest, she can sleep, she can wait patiently until the rest of me meets up with her. My time isn’t finished here, but hers is. She fought long enough. She’s fought hard enough. She’s tired! She wants her Father. I want my Father. I want to be here with my Father. I let this little girl go. I’m not that child anymore. Praise be to God!!

****

I know the last paragraph of this post is not written as well as it could be if one were to look at it with an educated eye but to me, it’s written perfectly. So perfectly, that all I could do was cry!!

I thank all my readers for your support, encouragement, and love! Thank you for allowing me to share what’s on my heart and what God is doing in my life without any sort of judgment. You have truly blessed me by being part of this God-given project! I love you!!

What song is playing as I finish this post…”Who You Say I Am” by Hillsong Worship!!

Thank you, Jesus, for this awesome confirmation!!

 

DON’T GIVE UP

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How many times have you sat down for a quiet moment with God, only to feel like something was missing? You want to be there but yet you can’t get yourself still and the peace you associate with God, is nowhere to be found. This is what happened to me this morning; I wasn’t getting up from my chair until I heard from God!

I opened to my daily reading which came from Romans 12:1-21. I managed to make it through the Scripture but felt like one eye was on God and the other was on irrelevant junk! All of it unnecessary and fruitless! I diligently worked my way through half of the study notes for this assigned reading but ultimately gave up. I questioned God:

“What am I missing?”

I put on Dr. Charles Stanley and his message was called, “Life’s Number One Priority.” Interesting! My last post was on this very subject! As the message came to a close, a conversation started to form within me.

“Lord, I am not leaving this desk until I’ve heard from You. Help me understand where this disconnect is coming from. Show me what it is that I’ve done to cause this. Why am I feeling so distracted and far from You?

I went back to Romans 12 and began to read again; the Peace of God was beginning to fill me!

God wants us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices–daily laying aside our own desires to follow Him, putting all our energy and resources at His disposal and trusting Him to guide us (NLT Study Notes from Romans 12:1)

Next, the Lord showed me 1 Samuel 15:22 (Study Notes):

…was Samuel saying that sacrifice is unimportant? No, he was urging Saul to look at his reason for making the sacrifice rather than at the sacrifice itself. A sacrifice was a ritual transaction between a person and God that physically demonstrated a relationship between them. But if a person’s heart was not truly repentant or if he did not truly love God, the sacrifice was a hollow ritual. Religious ceremonies or rituals are empty unless they are performed with an attitude of love and obedience. “Being religious” (going to church, serving on a committee, giving to charity) is not enough if we do not act out of devotion and obedience to God.

When sitting down this morning, I did not lay all of my desires down as I should. I knew there were ulterior motives in my time with God. I had all sorts of things on my mind that I wanted to come to God with. I was in need of renovations on my blog as well as a blog post, a Bible Study Outline for Sunday’s gathering at the assisted living community, and on top of all of that, I was seeking a relationship with Him. Yes, I wanted to be with Him, but my reasons were not in the order that they should have been if He were truly my first priority.

“Why am I feeling so crowded this morning?”

The Lord said:

Let’s go back to the beginning of your morning. What did you do when you first opened your eyes?

I grabbed my phone and checked my email, text messages, Facebook notifications and then scrolled.

What did you see?

How to improve your blog, which platforms to switch to, friends and family posts and pictures, and worldly events.

How did all of this information make you feel?

Overwhelmed!

Then what did you do?

I got up, walked the dog in the dark, came home, made a cup of coffee, and then sat down to spend time with You.

Where was your mind when you sat down with Me?

How to build a better blog, recognition, comparison, Bible Study, Facebook notifications…

Could you hear me at all?

No!

Sit back and take all of this in and let’s see what you can come up with!

To which I did, and this is what I came up with…

Facebook on my phone has got to go!

I find myself mindlessly scrolling when I could be doing other things. I enjoy listening to my favorite Pastors, reading God’s Word or a spiritual book. Why not choose one of these activities instead of watching and reading Facebook?

When I first woke this morning, I should have thanked God for waking me up. There is so much that I’m grateful for. Why not share that with Him. Pray for spiritual wisdom so that I can walk in His Will as the day unfolds. Thank Him for His unconditional love, His faithfulness and what He did at the cross.

Starting the morning this way would be much more productive than reading chatter!

As soon as this realization hit me, I felt complete peace as only God can give. I knew that I was back on track and for this, I was pleased.

“Thank you, Jesus, for your patience. You just never give up!!”

It is a terrible feeling to sit down and feel all alone in the spot where God is normally met.

I encourage you, don’t give up in your time with Him. If you don’t feel Him right away. Tell Him:

I don’t feel close to you! I feel disconnected! Reveal to me what it is that is causing this lonely feeling?

Wait on Him! It is totally worth it! You will be rewarded for your faithfulness!! There is no better prize than sitting at the feet of Jesus!

He will answer and when He does, run with it! If He tells you Scripture, find it in the Bible and read it over and over until the meaning presents itself. And, if you feel lost, tell Him! He is your Helper!

If He reminds you of a time in the past, close your eyes and meditate on it. Quietly ask Him to show you His will in this!

He will guide you along and remind you where you strayed so that you can be wise to the detour when it comes up again because it will! If this underhanded tactic worked the first time, it will be thrown at you again!

Romans 12:1, 2 (Study Notes)

God has good, pleasing, and perfect plans for His children. He wants us to be transformed people with renewed minds, living to honor and obey Him. Because He wants only what is best for us, and because He gave His Son to make our new life possible, we should joyfully give ourselves as living sacrifices for His service.

When coming to God for prayer, meditation, conversation, and Scripture, come with an open heart! Be willing to let Him guide your time alone. I sat down this morning with my mind already full of outside distractions. I had my own agenda but God doesn’t work that way which is good. Imagine if we were the ones in charge!! Be willing to bend to what He has for you. He will nudge you in the direction that He needs you to go. Remember, we aren’t here for ourselves. This life that we have been blessed with is not ours. We are hand-picked! We are marked with a greater purpose. We won’t achieve anything if we don’t listen to God.

He knows where we are before we even make the intentional decision to spend time with Him. He hears our thoughts! He knows where our heart is. We have to give it all to Him and ask Him in faith!

“Lord, what is it that you want to show me today. I don’t want this time to be selfish. How can I make a difference today?”

The other morning, I was in visiting a resident at the assisted living community. This woman hardly ever comes out of her room. She is unhappy and extremely lonely. She believes in God and was quite frustrated that she didn’t feel close to Him. She calls out to Him but gets no response. She tells him her frustrations and challenges and only hears silence!

I said to her:

“How about praising Him for all the wonderful things that He’s done in your life. Think of all your past blessings and tell Him how awesome He is. Tell Him how much you love Him. Adore and praise Him for dying on the cross for you.”

In telling her this, I felt the Holy Spirit come alive within me, and I could see her facial expressions change from misery to joy. She was shouting “Hallelujah” as if she were looking directly into the face of God.

As I listened to her, the Lord spoke to me:

“This is one sure way to connect with Me! Thankfulness, Worship and Praise!”

If you feel disconnected, ask Him why?

Always thank Him for who He is and for what He’s done at the cross and in your life.
God isn’t our servant.
We don’t get to come to Him with our own time schedule and a list of our wants.
We come to Him because we love Him and we want to be with Him.

Psalm 37:4, 5

Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you your heart’s desires.
Commit everything you do to the Lord.
Trust him, and he will help you.

Don’t give up on Him if He doesn’t answer when you feel enough time has passed.

He is worth fighting for.

He will show up!
Give Him control!
Clear out your heart and listen!

Whatever He brings to mind, don’t toss it to the side thinking that it is not important or that you didn’t hear right. Go with it and before you know it, you will be able to fit everything all together and see just what He intended you to see.

Isaiah 55: 8, 9

My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

MY PRIORITY

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LORD, I’m seeking YOU in all that I do.
Help me to step away from the things that are not of YOU!
Fill me with YOUR SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE so that I can embrace the things you have for me and discard the distractions that pull my eye from YOU!
All threats…big and little!

Teach me to take notice of the smallest interference between YOU and me.
Help me catch them before they grow into emotional distress.
It used to be habits, weakness, inadequacies but by your grace, I’m in great belief that I can give them all to YOU.
I’ve done it, and I’ve watched YOU work it all out in my favor.
Thank you!!

I need to act fast in order to make wise choices because the smallest infliction is detrimental to my well-being in YOU!
Disconnected from my Source because of my own ignorance.
I don’t want to be burdened any more with things that bring me down.
I want freedom!
YOUR FREEDOM!!

Matthew 6:33 (NLT Study Notes) says this:

To “seek the Kingdom of GOD above all else” means to put GOD first in your life, to fill your thoughts with HIS desires, to take HIS character for your pattern, and to serve and obey HIM in everything. What is really important to you? People, objects, goals and other desires all compete for priority. Any of these can quickly become most important to you if you don’t actively choose to give GOD first place in every area of your life.

Yesterday was a tough day.

The morning started out great!
A new exercise class!
A new friend!
Energy through the roof!
Big plans for the day!
Things to accomplish!
Task-oriented!

Then, a sudden halt–no fault of anyone but myself. I lost traction! I felt elation draining from my body, leaving me with, irritation and frustration.

Help me recognize a detour in YOUR WILL in my life!
How do I respond to this sort of circumstance?
What could I have done to keep the momentum going?

Praying this morning for YOUR HOLY PRESENCE and WISDOM. I feel I’m at a crossroad in my spiritual growth, in my time with YOU, in my service for YOUR KINGDOM!

Keep me from wrong decisions, only seeking things that fill me with YOUR ALMIGHTY LOVE and POWER! Not because I’m on the search for amazement and recognition but because how YOU make me feel inside.

I’m addicted and can easily become quite angry when I allow things in my life to take away from YOU! This is what happened last night. Something so trivial but yet devastating!

You showed me 2 Chronicles 7:14:

Then if MY people who are called by MY name will humble themselves and pray and seek MY face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from HEAVEN and will forgive their sins and restore their land.

Church last night was absolutely unbelievable! Well, it was believable but unbelievable if one were to take it all in with a mind of unbelief–if that makes any kind of sense?

YOU spoke right through that Pastor! His words were YOUR words. Words that YOU had already spoken to me. YOU faithfully fed me for two weeks for this November 15th speaking engagement. YOU carried me to YOUR final destination with the exact same wisdom as this Pastor spoke of last night.

All this spiritual education recapped in forty-five minutes!
YOUR plans for us are always right on time, perfect, and glorious!
How good YOU truly are to us!
I am in love!
I am thankful!

I left the church feeling taken over by YOU! I didn’t want to leave that moment. YOUR HEAVENLY PRESENCE so close. Complete ONENESS!

This is what I’m seeking, YOU and only YOU! Not to eliminate my current circumstances but to have YOU at the center and all around! I want no part of anything that doesn’t come with love, joy, compassion, patience, and kindness. Out with all the rubbish!!

I can feel a big difference between the challenges of YOUR HOLY CALLINGS and the challenges resulting in my own bad decisions.

Let me stop and take notice of where YOU are so that I can move in YOUR direction.
Let me be picky where my time is spent!
Let me place my zeal in worthwhile things!

In some areas of my life, I’m not feeling YOU!
What do I do?
Direct me, FATHER!
Do not let me step out of YOUR WILL!
Do not let me out of YOUR sight!

This makes me feel upset which is not of YOUR doing, HOLY GOD!

It’s all me!!

I choose you, LORD!
I fight for you, LORD!
YOU are my life!

SHE SPEAKS

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FATHER GOD,

Thank YOU for the Victory yesterday! YOU prepped and prepared me the ENTIRE two weeks, just as I asked! YOU taught me through the struggle and the crushing anxiety that YOU had already made a way. YOU filled me with spiritual knowledge just as I requested! I did not want to disappoint YOU, my Pastoral Team, the congregation nor myself. YOU explained what happens when we are called to action. I praise YOU because YOU never leave us hanging. YOU don’t expect us to carry out YOUR requests by ourselves. YOUR supernatural power comes in like a mighty wind, which is something I’ve never experienced before. I will be praying for this a hundred times over!!

Oh, the joy to be used by YOU–to delight in YOU each morning and to witness the beauty YOU create as I deliberately sit in quiet, expectantly waiting for YOUR HOLY PRESENCE! There is nothing I want more! How precious and lovely YOU are to me! How you surprise me with abundant inner joy each time YOU visit. YOUR intentions are never evil. Yes, there are many things that happen in this world that we do not understand but one thing stands true, YOU are always in the midst of them, fighting on our behalf. Flipping unfortunate circumstances in our favor!

Yesterday was a true testament of YOUR faithfulness and YOUR unconditional love for me. YOU do keep YOUR promises. My faith and trust in YOU has exploded to new heights. The things YOU could accomplish on this earth if we’d only take our eyes from ourselves and see YOU for who YOU truly are.

YOU are a FATHER who loves, saves, and forgives! A FATHER who sent HIS only SON to die on the cross for all of our sins in order to be reconciled to YOU. How I love YOU, adore YOU, need YOU and rejoice in YOU. My joy is YOU!!

Yesterday couldn’t have been more perfect!! YOUR WORDS to me, as I sat before YOU in prayer, was a lifeline. I felt YOUR distinct and unmistakable Presence; YOU were loud and clear:

“I’ve sent a brother to help you in your act of obedience. Why are you not grabbing onto this valuable gift? Why ignore?”

“Rebellion! I want to do it by myself!”

“Big mistake!”

I praise and thank YOU, Jesus. YOU never give up. I relented and contacted my Christian Brother, my gift from YOU. I picked him up at ten o’clock and while driving, I explained our order of business.

Memory Care first!
Independent Living second!

We did not discuss what would take place. He’d been prepped in his own way just as I had been prepped in my own way. My brother sat peacefully in the passenger seat. He was excited and anticipating this moment; acting faithfully in YOUR requests of him.

I, on the other hand, was feeling slight apprehension and doubt in my own capabilities. I failed to recognize YOUR hand on the events that were about to take place. For this, I’m sorry!!

Upon arriving at the Memory Care, my brother grabbed his ukelele, asked me to pass out the songs and we all began to sing. This was going to be alright! I felt myself relax as I observed what was taking place before me. After the music, a message was said, prayers were given and we were finished. I hardly spoke at this service. I felt the need to step back and soak in the words that came smoothly from my brother’s mouth.

We were off to the Independent Living. We followed a similar pattern as in the Memory Care but when “fear” was mentioned in my brother’s message I heard YOU shout:

“Go!!”

To which I did!

I launched into the WORDS that YOU had given me two weeks prior. Only, it wasn’t coming from me. Yes, it was my voice but what I said and the presentation were not of my own doing. I don’t speak with that much impact, urgency, strength and confidence.

Where did my timidity go?
Where were my shaky knees?
Where was the waver in my voice?

No, this takeover doesn’t just occur by human will!!

It was YOU!
It was PERFECT!
It was a MIRACLE!

How awesome it felt to see the conversation on the listener’s faces!

Some looked on intently!
Some nodded!
Some smiled!
One winked!

How different this is from writing. I’m hooked and ready to do this again because I know that YOU have many things to say. I know that YOU have work to do.

I want to help!
Use me!

In writing, there is much isolation. Sure you get comments and that is always a blessing but to see the face of another as YOUR WORD is shared is certainly a prize worth battling for!

Afterward, handshakes, hugs, and words of encouragement from the people in the congregation!

All of this, I took in appreciatively. I just knew it was YOU reaching out to me through the lives of others:

“Well done! I’m so proud of you!”

So, thank YOU, JESUS! I love YOU. Thank YOU for this Victory which is all YOURS!! Thank YOU for loving me through it all. Thank YOU for YOUR endless supply!! Even when I was doubtful and ready to quit, YOU stepped in and gave me gentle nudges. You spoke to my heart with the intention to motivate and to teach and for this, I’m truly grateful!

You often told me in times of weakness:

“Wait a minute! Not so fast! You can’t give up! I want to show you some things to help you out!”

And, YOU most certainly did!!

PREPARATION

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Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

Sitting at the dock yesterday in quiet–reading the Bible, “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers and a Dr. Charles Stanley devotional.

Somewhat anxious over all these speaking engagements–assisted living community, independent living (the founding Pastors are away this week and I’m filling in) and the prayer team at the local church which I just signed on with. Am I headed in the right direction? Am I in the Will of God?

I believe God gave me the message that I’m to give at the independent living community on Thursday (Nov. 15). Debating whether to stand at the podium? What does God say to do?

I want to change it to feel more comfortable by encouraging audience participation–a closer seating arrangement so that I don’t have to feel like I’m on stage!”

The opposition is strong. I woke this morning feeling fearful in all that I’m doing. Those familiar feelings of quitting overwhelm me.

I keep hearing John (Prayer 101 leader) saying, “You have no choice but to go, Satan! You have no power here. In Jesus Name, Amen!”

I see the seriousness on John’s face, and I can feel his faith in God’s promises from way over here. I want that kind of faith. I have that kind of faith!

Do I?

Probably not!

John said in a most recent prayer that I have a job to do.

“Leave Racinda alone!”

Yes, I do have work to do, given to me by God, Himself!

“Single-mindedness!” as Paul states in the NLT Study Notes of Acts 20:24.

Focus on the mission!

Oswald Chambers says:

“…everyone who does come knows that second the supernatural life of God invades him instantly. The dominating power to the world, the flesh, and the devil is paralyzed, not by your act, but because your act has linked you to God and His redemptive power.”

We are to act!

God will meet us where we are, and He will lead the charge if we let Him.

Why do I want to change what God’s given me to suit my own needs and comforts? Why can’t I just push forward without questioning? Where is the “Send me, Lord” attitude? It’s an honor and a privilege to carry out the work of God.

At the dock yesterday, after much reading, prayer, and meditation, the Lord told me to use Dr. Stanley’s “30 Life Principals Bible Study” as a guide for the assisted living community Bible Study that I was called to lead at the end of September.

I left the dock feeling relieved until I walked into the apartment, sat down at my desk and opened the book.

The residents don’t want to hear me read! Why can’t I summarize? Why, because my nerves won’t allow my brain to hold the information or maybe my brain just can’t retain! We won’t go there–not today Satan! I’ve got a job to do!

I hear the Lord saying:

“Just do as I say and watch what happens!”

Trust exercise!!

He continues:

“This exercise will give you bigger faith to deliver the message that I’ve given you and in the way I’ve told you to do it. I’m your HELPER, remember? What was the Scripture that popped out of your mouth the other morning? It was from Isiah 41:10! It just came out! Did you make that happen? No, you did not!! This is what it’s like to allow me to work. I’m showing you what will happen when you stand at the podium, in front of the microphone and before the people. The message that came spilling out of your mouth, while you were in quiet with me, will do the very same thing as the Scripture did the other morning. You prayed that I would seal it and protect it until the day of its delivery. I’ve done that. You prayed for continued understanding, a filling of spiritual wisdom, and preparation. Haven’t I been doing this?”

“Yes, Lord!”

“Well then, what’s the problem? Do your Bible Study at the assisted living community this morning, as I told you. You read the Introduction and let the residents read Chapter One of Genesis and then ask the five questions that are supplied by Dr. Charles Stanley. Let Me do the rest! Quit trying to control the situation by doing what you think the residents need to hear. You don’t know them like I do. You don’t know what they need. I do! Come back to this journal entry, report your Bible Study results, then write what I’ve just told you on your blog.”

“Yes, please and thank you, Lord! I’m excited for all of this, especially to write again.

“One more thing, ” Jesus says, “Following the ’30 Life Principal Bible Study’ will take the pressure off of you so you can focus on the other things that I have for you!”

Why in the world am I so hard-headed?

OFF COURSE

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What is the meaning in this self-pity? Why do I feel off course? Why do I feel that my days of writing are over? Why do I feel like I’m on the verge of giving up? What are You trying to tell me? Open my ears, my heart, my eyes, and my spirit to what You have to say.

Are you teaching me trust? Is it even You in the midst of all this questioning? I’ve heard that when we grow stronger in our love, faith, and obedience, the devil gets angry and will change tactics to bring that person down.

Is this what is happening? Help me understand, Jesus. Help me in this battle if this is indeed a battle. I want to know so I can–so WE can put our heads together and come up with a strategy. Let me fight with you! Teach me!!

Romans 1:21-23 is called, “God’s Anger at Sin.” 

Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship Him as God or even give Him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.

From the Study Notes for this Scripture:

They have stifled the truth God naturally reveals to all people in order to believe anything that supports their own self-centered lifestyles…God cannot tolerate sin because His nature is morally perfect. He cannot ignore or condone willful rebellion. God wants to remove the sin and restore the sinner–and He is able to, as long as the sinner does not stubbornly distort or reject the truth…Make sure you are not pursuing a lie rather than the true God. Don’t suppress the truth about Him merely to protect your own lifestyle.

How would you have me approach this? Not in my strength, but in Your Strength. This can’t be my game-plan but Yours. I don’t understand how I am to remove this?

The Lord says to me:

“You will not! You cannot!! You will HAVE to trust Me, and I will remove it. This is your exercise in trust.”

“How do I start?”

“You start by confessing and repenting of your sin, and it has to come from your heart. Pray for my deliverance from this bondage. Pray to Me to reveal the truth and follow through with what I say!”

Father God,

I have sinned! I believed the lie that as long as I abstained from certain sugars, I was following You. It was a tiny addition at the beginning which has now turned into the very same thinking that I had when I over-indulged.
I confess that sugar is an idol. I confess that food is an idol. I have wandered in my thinking, my actions, and my devotion to You. I have caused this disconnection and for this, I’m sorry!
I don’t know what comes next, but I do know that I need Your help.
I pray for your guidance! I pray for your support! I pray for understanding of the wisdom that You will supply me with because I am Your child with a greater purpose; I will carry out this purpose for Your glory, for People, and for Your Kingdom. I pray for broken chains.
I trust you, Jesus, to lead the way. Let me hear and discern every word and action that comes from you. Let no evil come against me in this time of learning. I pray for deeper love and trust in You!
I desire to follow you because I love you! My life is worth nothing without You. I want You to continue Your work in this world.
Thank you, Lord, for revealing my sin which I covered up with substitutions. I will fight on my knees, and not in my own strength; I have none!
I hear Your precious Words to me this morning!
“Start out by thanking me for the food before you. Every day renew your commitment to following my lead. Lay it down, every single day.”
Thank you, Jesus, and it’s in your Heavenly and Holy Name that I pray, Amen

Romans 3:20

For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.

Study Notes from this Scripture:

We know that we are helpless sinners and that we must come to Jesus Christ for mercy. The moral code revealed in the law can serve to guide our actions by holding up God’s moral standards.

Romans 3:31

Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law.

Study Notes from Romans 1:18-20

If people suppress God’s truth in order to live their own way, they have no excuse. They know the truth and they will have to endure the consequences of ignoring it.

I am not being “good” by keeping to a “law” that I set up for myself such as in signing up for Weight Watchers, My Fitness Pal or some other weight-loss program. I’m not pleasing to God if I adhere to all the restrictions imposed upon me by these plans. I’m not favored because I’ve lost weight or because I’m relinquishing my weekly weigh-in because “weight-loss” is not my objective. This “lifestyle” change is all about God. I’m doing this in order to reconnect with Him. Wrong perspective!!

My faith in Him, to see me through, is my objective. Turning to Him daily for guidance and wisdom is where success in chain-breaking will come from. He’s not pleased because I’m following a “diet” to my own specifications. He’s pleased with me because I am, daily, putting my trust in Him.

It’s not about the food or the lack of food; it’s about relying on God, trusting Him in all things, and growing deeper in relationship with Him so that I can successfully fulfill His plans for me. Food is the teaching tool, not the problem. The problem is my lack of trust and faith in Him.

Study notes from Romans 1:18-20:

Although people may believe there is a God, they refuse to commit themselves to Him…Knowing that God exists is not enough. People must learn that God is loving and that He sent His only Son to demonstrate His love for us.

Wisdom shared with me from a fellow Christian sister:

You are tired (in reference to Spiritual Warfare) because you are fighting from your own strength. This type of fight is done through prayer and fasting. God has to give you the game-plan for you to fight. The Holy Spirit can rejuvenate you through prayer…once you stop and listen for instruction, your fight gets a little easier. We are human, so we have human reactions and responses sometimes. The key is not to stay in those feelings.

Could walking in the Will of God be so easy compared to how I’ve been determined to walk? Such simple instructions! 

Prayer of thanks and daily prayer in seeking God’s help and guidance. Laying down my tactics, listening for His, and carrying them out. Not in my own strength but in His.

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me!

***

Thank you, Jesus, for this wisdom. Help me to understand and bring all that you’ve said into fruition.

Thank you, Joyce, for your prayers! I felt them this morning! I love you!

 

GREATER FAITH

white car traveling near trees during daytimeTherefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

Romans 5:1, 2

My husband, his mother and I spent four days in Georgia due to Hurricane Florence. We hitched up our travel trailer and headed inland to escape potential destruction and death. This was going to be a big one our Governor dutifully told us!!  

I love the excitement of an evacuation. It’s a time to pack, clean and move out. It’s time spent with my husband doing the things that we enjoy doing. All daily responsibilities are quickly forgotten only to be replaced with adventure and opportunity. Who or what will we encounter on our trip.

I have a set-in-stone routine when I’m at home. My time with Jesus is first and foremost on my list. I’m blessed to only work as needed at the assisted living community, my volunteer positions start later in the day, and the private-duty client that I transport to and from appointments once or twice a week, allow me to spend unlimited mornings in prayer and meditation.

However, when on a camping trip, my time is shortened due to what’s happening around me. There is the dog that whines because he can’t decide whether he wants in or out, golf carts that circle around the campsite in search of the dumpster or just simply curious as to who has the better recreational vehicle; I can assure you, mine is not the one.

Our home away from home is about twenty-one feet long. It has one slide out which widens our living arrangements just a touch. There is a couch that seats about three, depending on the size of the people, and at night it opens up and becomes the dog bed. Our bed is a full-sized queen with a very comfortable mattress which we purchased ourselves. The kitchen has two sinks, three burners, a fridge, microwave and minimal cabinet space. The bathroom has a tiny shower that I often bump my elbows against, the toilet works as it should, and the sink is good for brushing teeth and shaving. All in all, it’s a box but what fun we have when we are out in it.

I try my best to keep my quiet time as I do when I’m home, but it’s impossible when sitting in a lawn chair at a table that sits low and wiggles. I’m not able to spread out all my Christian paraphernalia, write comfortably, or talk and pray out loud as I would normally do in my office. Bedtime prayers on my knees are eliminated completely because of lack of room. My cherished moments with Jesus are just not the same.

We left for Georgia on Wednesday morning and made it back to Charleston by Saturday afternoon. I felt a little let down because the “fun” was over. It was time to get back to work and responsibilities were looming.

Sunday morning, I sat down with Jesus, with heaviness in my heart. I was disappointed in my lack of faithfulness to spend time in prayer which caused me to feel torn and distracted. My focus was not where it should have been. I had to really be intentional with my time with Him on that morning but I was determined to get back to where I was before we had left. I had missed Him and our lengthy times together. I was sorry that I didn’t spend as much time with Him as I would have liked while I was away. Before my funk could deepen further, I heard the Holy Spirit:

“Hang on one minute! You aren’t going down that road! You cannot revert back to those old thought patterns. You are not that same person! Listen to me…did you feel fear and anxiety while you were away?”

I took a moment to think:

“Nope, not a hint!”

Truthfully, I wasn’t in any kind of emotional distress. My daughter stayed to weather the storm with her best friend and her boyfriend. My sister-in-law stayed back with her family and there was not a drop of fear for any of them. I completely trusted God in whatever the outcome would be. I had faith that he would keep my family safe!

Where did this Great Faith come from? This is something that I’ve not experienced before. There has always been an opposing emotion in everything that I do. Oh, how thankful I am for this gift, praise be to God. I cannot begin to explain this newfound freedom; where are the chains that held me to fear and anxiety? This is a life-changer!

So, why am I beating myself up for my limited quiet time on this evacuation camping trip? All was well, so what’s this all about? Why is this feeling of failure creeping up on me? Have I truly offended God by not giving Him as much time as I do when I am at home? Why am I even focused on this? Shouldn’t I be praising God for greater faith? He rescued me from a life of complete bondage and if you’ve followed my writing, you can surely see where I started and compare it to where I am now.

I give all credit to God. I certainly didn’t do any of it!!

Charles Stanley says in his daily devotion from September 15, 2018:

“God is a jealous shepherd–He wants His followers to rely entirely upon Him. He draws us through valleys in order to remove every habit, thought pattern, or external crutch that we use instead of trusting Him…Believers can shout ‘I trust God’ from the mountain because they have learned to live by faith in the valley. Walking in the shadow of evil is difficult and frightening work. But when we surrender to whatever the Lord has to teach us in this dark place, our spirit is quieted and our faith is strengthened.”

I could feel signs of a weakened faith on that first morning back in quiet, but it wasn’t because of what I did or what God didn’t do; the reason was because Satan was trying to take God’s glory from Him. His mission was to get my eyes off what God did in my time away. He did not want me to realize and understand that transformation has taken place within me. I am a new person and it is because of Jesus!

Yes, I admit, for a minute, I did entertain the thoughts that were deceitfully spoken into my mind. I did feel doubtful about who I am in Christ and what He’s done in my life thus far. I did want to shy away from the opportunities that have been given to me before the evacuation started. None of it sounded doable! Who am I to lead and speak for God?

Yes, I was excited with what God was doing in my life before I left for Georgia, and I’m not about to let progress slip through my fingers on account of what Satan says. I’m determined to sit in this moment of quiet until it all comes back. I’m not giving up because I am a child of God with a purpose.  

The Holy Spirit came alive within me and filled me till overflowing with His love and strength and there was no way that I was going to close my Bible and walk away. He was fighting for me, and I could not flee the scene. He showed me Roman’s 4:5:

When some people learn that they are saved by God through faith, they start to worry, ‘Do I have enough faith?’ They wonder, ‘is my faith strong enough to save me?’ These people miss the point. It is Jesus Christ who saves us, not our feelings or our actions, and He is strong enough to save us no matter how weak our faith is.

I had a conversation with a friend and she reminded me that faith is active. When we have faith, whatever situation we are in, we are actively relying on and pursuing God. I was moving in faith while evacuated. I was relying on God! My time in quiet is an opportunity to grow deeper in my faith, wisdom and, most importantly, in my relationship with God. These times are a learning period for when I need to actively utilize my faith. It’s like a boot camp for what’s to come. I was able to enjoy evacuation, without the worry and fear for my family, because of my faith in God; isn’t this much higher than a quiet time?

Romans 4:10-12

Paul’s point here is that the “ritual” did not earn Abraham his acceptance by God; he had been blessed long before the ceremony was introduced. Abraham found favor with God by faith alone…Ceremonies and rituals serve as reminders of our faith as well as instruct new believers, but we should not think that they give us any special merit before God. They are outward signs and seals that demonstrate inner belief and trust. The focus of our faith should be on Christ and His saving work, not on our own actions.

God doesn’t stop loving us because we don’t have ample time to spend with Him. Daily routines will change but that doesn’t indicate a cease in blessings. He is always with us, working for our good, clearing the way, and pushing us forward. There are no boundaries on His love! He died a painful death for us! Would you take on all the sins of the world, be mocked and beaten, allow nails to be driven into your hands and feet and hang until dead with two other criminals. I think not!!

God desires that we spend time with Him. Intimacy is created in time alone. He has things that He wants to share with us such as wisdom that will help each of us succeed in our life.

Hosea 8:13

The people’s sacrifices had become a mere ritual, and God refused to accept them. We have rituals too: attending church, observing a regular quiet time, celebrating Christian holidays, praying before meals. Rituals give us security in a changing world. Because they are repeated often, they can drive God’s lessons deep within us. Rituals can be abused…we should not reject the rituals of our worship, but we must be careful to think about why we do them. Focus on God and perform every act with sincere devotion.

It’s time for me to take off the training wheels! It’s time to grow up and live a faith-filled life. Life is too short to live in fear and anxiety. We don’t have to succumb to such emotional distress because God is with us in all the things that we do each day. We can put boundaries on Him in the way that we think or the actions that we take, turning our head in the opposite direction, not listening and doing things our own way. Trust and have faith that through all circumstances, He’s there and He never gives up.

I challenge you to spend at least ten minutes in quiet. Shut everything down and just listen. I’d be interested to hear what comes to your mind.

On my dry erase board I wrote, “Lay it all down, it’s a choice.” This reminds me that I can turn towards God in faith or I can look the other way.

****

The Bible used in this post is a New Living Translation Study Bible. The Scriptures that I refer to comes from the study notes from that particular Scripture.

 

 

TRUST IN THE LORD

agriculture clouds colors countryside

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
Do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek His will in all you do,
And he will show you which path to take.

Proverbs 3:5, 6

We are presented every day with choices. Some are a blessing and some are a distraction. At that moment, when someone presents you with an opportunity where do you seek guidance? How do you know which course of action is the best? Do you feel overwhelmed, fearful, anxious, or out of sorts and confused? Some of us grab the nearest coping tool which could be a drink, a pill, or food that’s secretly tucked away in a dark corner of the cabinet. Do you run from the decision-making process by jumping in your car and quickly heading to the closest distraction which may be a drive-through, a shopping mall, or to a friend that you know does not have all the right answers, but you want to unload and hear their opinion anyway? Is denial your escape? Do you do your best to pretend that nothing is out of the ordinary, conduct yourself falsely and believe that the decision will eventually sort itself out?

I’ve certainly done most of these in order to find my answers. Instant gratification works at the moment but eventually, it wears off, leaving me in the same state where I started!

On the 30th of August, I was presented with an opportunity and my normal response would have been, “I’m in!” Thankfully, through the Lord’s guidance and wisdom, I yielded to the Holy Spirit and responded, “Let me pray about this before giving you an answer.”

I went home with high expectations of securing this opportunity as my own. I felt confident that I was capable and equipped. I was ready to dive into this life-altering decision, head first!

The following morning, I set out to pray and meditate and hear from God. I opened in prayer and put my requests before Him, trusting that He would lead me along the right path. His Word says that we must seek His will in everything that we do.

It is difficult but turning every area of our life over to Him is critical because He knows more than we do. When we restrict certain areas of our life and ignore His requests–grief, confusion, uncertainty, and disconnection is our end result. Wavering between His desires and our own desires. We need to make Him a vital part of all that we do because when we do this, He will provide guidance because you will be working to accomplish His purposes. Even in the difficult times, when we have no idea where to turn, what the cause or even the reason, we must wait patiently for Him. We respond in this time of stillness with sincerity and confidence–trusting and having faith that He will give us His clear direction when He’s ready and when He knows that we are ready to receive. We have to be intentional with our quiet times with Him. Even if we don’t feel like it or our time is running short. He will use each valuable second that you devote to Him for His good.

Proverbs 3:21-26 is helpful when faced with choices:

My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment.
Hang on to them,
for they will refresh your soul.
They are like jewels on a necklace.
They keep you safe on your way,
and your feet will not stumble.
You can go to bed without fear;
you will lie down and sleep soundly.
You need not be afraid of sudden disaster
or the destruction that comes upon the wicked,
for the Lord is your security.
He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.

Proverbs 4:5 goes on to say this:

Get wisdom; develop good judgment.
Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.
Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you.

If you want wisdom and discernment, you have to make the decision to go after it. This is not easy. I can certainly attest to this! It takes determination, and you cannot abandon it once you begin the search, no matter how difficult it becomes. It is a daily process when deciding which path to take.

Your efforts in seeking God are not fruitless. Even when you are in a waiting period, He will still reach out and give you just what you need while you are silent and still. There is wisdom to be had every single time we sit with God. He is not wasteful.

We are to guard our hearts above all else. We need to concentrate on desires that are good. Immediately throw out the ones that are bad. The sooner you get rid of them, the better. They only escalate! Instill boundaries and goals when faced with decisions. Seek Him first, set your sights on righteousness and the Will of God, look straight ahead and don’t get sidetracked.

The opportunity that was given to me on the 30th of August was from a trusted friend with good intentions. I wanted to take it, God did not agree!

I declined with a lengthy text to my fellow Christian brother explaining what God had shown me in my time alone with Him. I want to share some of it with you:

Good morning!

Thank you for your kindness and your willingness to help connect me to the right people in regards to this new opportunity. It would be joyful to work alongside you. Unfortunately, I don’t feel that it’s the Lord’s Will for me at this time. I would have to give up volunteering in the Elderly Outreach, and I would not be able to attend your Bible Study. I’m most certain that these areas are where He’s called me to be. There is much to learn, and I greatly desire spiritual growth! I need to take full advantage of these special opportunities that God has blessed me with. I  love all who are involved in this ministry! I’m grateful to serve in this capacity. The Lord has been speaking to me about starting my own Bible Reading and Prayer Group at my place of employment. I love to read His word, and it would be awesome if I could get together with the residents and hear them read and learn from their insights and experiences with the Lord. Would you please pray about this? My fear of leading and speaking is holding me back. The Lord is diligently working in my life, and this new opportunity would hinder the process. I would be distracted! I need to remain alert and strong. I share all of this with you because I instantly connected with your kind, compassionate and godly heart. This decision makes perfect sense and I feel peace. Praise God.

Again, thank you! I pray your day is blessed, and I look forward to seeing you soon.

 

 

SEEK HIM FIRST

seekSpecial opportunities may come our way unexpectedly. Don’t let the fear of what might happen cause you to miss an opportunity. Be alert for the opportunities God gives you and take full advantage of them.

Exodus (interpretation) 2:7, 8

I serve with an Online Welcome Team for a large ministry. I have held this position since June of 2017. My responsibilities are contacting new Salvations and Re-commitments to Christ. Every other week, I’m given a list of names with the expectation of reaching out to each one of them by Thursday night. I begin with a short text in the hopes of making a scheduled phone call. When I first started this opportunity, my preference of communication was text or email. I was not comfortable with sharing God and my church through voice but have since been relieved of this distress, praise God! There is a desire within me to stand before a crowd and share the Gospel. I have no idea how it will happen; I firmly believe that God has already made a way. I just need to sit tight, listen, obey, rely on the Holy Spirit’s strength, and keep moving forward.

I have made many friends throughout my time on the Welcome Team. I speak to people from all over the world. There is a woman in India who shares her prayer requests with me and of late, her secret remedies for a common cold. In her last email, just a few days ago, she assured me that if I followed her recipe, I would be spared illness. I couldn’t help but smile and be thankful for her kind and thoughtful words.

I have another friend in Florida who I contacted in September of 2017. We communicate at least every couple of weeks, mostly through text and email. When she was baptized in the ocean, she sent me a picture. How blessed I am to be part of her life and her walk with Jesus. She is a tremendous support and offers great encouragement in my own walk with Him. I’m incredibly thankful for her divine friendship.

She isn’t the only one who has sent me a baptismal photo! I wrote of this young man in my post, “Two Hearts Collide.” I was privileged to be thought of as he went through a traumatic crisis in his family. He reached out to me in pain and all I could do was cry as I prayed for him. It wasn’t until months later that his photo arrived. He was just seconds from being fully submerged into the baptismal pool, declaring to the world that Jesus is his Savior!

A college student living in India, reaches out to me from time to time. In the beginning, we emailed quite a bit. He was having some struggles in school, religion, and in his relationships. He is grateful for this ministry, he loves Jesus, the church, the pastors, and all the godly resources that are given to him as he learns to fully trust and surrender to God. He calls me “sister” and I quite like that!

Recently, I’d been given the name of a woman who comes from the northern area of the United States. I reached out to her via text and her response to me was that she was not able to engage in a telephone conversation at the moment but perhaps in the weekend. I did not hear from her but that’s okay. I know that lives get busy and talking to a complete stranger on the subject of faith can be a little daunting. I’ve felt this myself.

On one particular night, my phone rang and I saw that it was this northern woman. I was excited that she’d contacted me. When I answered, I could tell right away that she was distressed. Her conversation was hard to follow, but I did my very best to understand and help. When she questioned me on what to do, I came back with words of encouragement, support, and ultimately pushed for professional help. I honestly felt as if her troubles would be better handled by someone with expertise. She didn’t like that so she hung up on me.

I was a little shaken but only because I immediately took on the feelings of failure. Satan swooped in and announced that I hadn’t proceeded as a Christian should. I should have prayed and left all the other spiritual conversation out. He brought up all kinds of scenarios. I sent an apology text to the distressed woman, but did not receive a response back. Disheartened,  I reached out to my Welcome Team family; they gave me the boost that I was in need of.

I spent the next few days sending Scripture to this lost and wounded woman up north and finally, one afternoon, I heard back. The door to a new friendship had been opened, and I continually pray that the Lord would direct my steps–that I would be a blessing instead of a challenge. He has been faithful in pointing out pivotal Bible verses which I have been diligently sharing with her.

There are many more stories to share, but I will save those for another time! I want to show you what God can do when we spend time in prayer and in Scripture.

In the beginning of this volunteer role, I was so nervous and scared to death when I had to make a phone call. I even left the team for a few months in order to serve in another part of the ministry that dealt only in emails. I knew, pretty much by the first week, that I was in the wrong place. The Lord had not sent me there, my fear did! I relinquished this comfortable opportunity and signed back up with the Welcome Team.

I am quite comfortable now. I am able to converse and pray with others without breaking out in a sweat, all Glory be to God!! This is not where He desires me to stay!

I was recently approached by a Coordinator of this Welcome Team ministry. She sent me the following message:

Hey Racinda, how are you? Are you sure that you do not want to be a leader for your team? You are so engaged, prayerful, you share stories, you complete your tasks, you care for our team.

I smiled, my heart swelled but immediately felt that I was not the one for the job! I like where I am. I have met some wonderful, godly people along the way. I was excited to serve the following week. I was anxious to meet new Salvations and hear their stories of what God is doing in and through them.

My response to my Coordinator:

I thank you for considering me!! I will continue to pray over this opportunity throughout the weekend. I hope to have an answer for you on Monday. I have to say that I would miss connecting with new Salvations!! I am finally comfortable in my role on the Welcome Team. I’ve met some life-long friends.

As I sent this, the Lord gently reminded me of something that Charles Stanley said in his message, “Lessons We Learn in Gethsemane, Part I:”

Father:
Not my will but your will!
Not my time but your time!
What you want is what I want!

I was determined to sit down with God, the following morning, and wait for His answer. I wrote this in my journal:

Praying and seeking God for His Will in this new opportunity! I will miss the people I contact every other week. I am happy where I am. If I do accept this new position, I don’t want it to overtake serving in the elderly outreach that I’ve just signed on with. I need to hear from You, God! Don’t let me stray, be distracted, or lose focus of what You want!

I reflected on God’s glory and waited expectantly for an answer! He said this to me:

Leading a team is an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with me as well as with others. The wisdom I have given you, can now be passed to another. You learned from it, lived it and what you have to share, is valuable. Your brothers and sisters can utilize what I’ve given you. Keeping it to yourself is not sowing seeds in my Kingdom. Are you holding back because you are fearful?
I’m calling you to speak! You know this don’t you? Of course, you do!! I want you to be bold, courageous, and confident. This is another step in that direction. You can’t grow in comfort–stretch!!

He directed me to Proverbs 15:17-19 (interpretation)

Those who are locked into one way of thinking are likely to miss the right road because they have closed their minds to any new options. We need the help of those who can enlarge our vision and broaden our perspective. Build a network of advisers. Then be open to new ideas, and be willing to weigh their suggestions carefully.

The Lord is showing me that this new experience is a necessity to His greater purpose. I now see this opportunity as a gift. I will be surrounded by other Team Leaders, a whole new set of Leadership in other areas of the ministry, learning from their experiences and growth with God which will certainly open new doors for me. This will give me the growth that I need to serve Jesus and people in a much stronger capacity.

Luke 12:48 (interpretation) sums it up perfectly:

The more resources, talents, and understanding we have, the more we are required to use them effectively.

Monday morning, I sent this to my Coordinator:

Good morning!! I would be honored and privileged to lead my team!! Thank you for this awesome opportunity, and I pray the Lord would guide and direct me in this new role!! I look forward to great spiritual growth and a deeper intimacy with God and people!! Praise be to God for who He is and all that He does!! Amen!! Have a lovely and blessed day sister.

God is faithful and He does want the best for us! He will answer; all we have to do is get quiet and patiently wait. He isn’t out to make us guess and question all who is around us. Seek Him first and have faith that He will give you exactly what you need.

Praise be to God for He is good!!

SURRENDER

dry animal gift dangerous

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Ephesians 4:31

Each night before falling asleep, I get down on my knees beside my bed and thank God for my day. I pray how I am led and end with the request to have memorable, sweet dreams of Him so that I can apply what He’s shown me to my life as well as to the lives of others in order to glorify Him. He did this several nights ago and I want to share it with you!

There have been many sightings of Copperhead Snakes in our apartment complex. About a month or so ago, a couple was walking their dog and they shouted over to my husband and me to be careful because they’d just seen one. I really didn’t think anything of it. I grew up in the desert and scorpions, black widows, tarantulas, and rattlesnakes were all a part of my everyday life. I had no fear of any of them nor did I fear the snake when our neighbors announced its presence.

It wasn’t until I ran into the maintenance man, a couple of days ago, that my fear settled in. The neighbor across from our apartment had just lost her dog to a Copperhead Snake. It was around 9:00 PM and the dog was investigating something in the bush right outside her apartment. He was bitten on the nose, she rushed him to the emergency vet where treatment was administered and the dog ended up expiring on the way home due to a heart attack. We knew the dog well (Charlie) because he did not care for our dog (Gerry). They would often have terrifying growling matches!!

I grew reluctant to take Gerry out because I didn’t want him to be the snakes next victim. I pray to God for protection each time we leave the house; I thank Him when we are safely climbing our stairs. The other night, I had a dream about snakes!

I was walking with two other animals besides Gerry. They led me into a grouping of small bushes; space was somewhat restricting. I found myself flat on my back, not quite sure how I ended up in that position. I wasn’t hurt and I didn’t fall. I surveyed my surroundings and found that there were snakes everywhere. They were big, fat and menacing!! My animals were on high alert, still and ready for their attack.

I tried to silently push myself out of the bushes, but I couldn’t. My strength was just not there! The snakes were so close to my face. Their heads seemed bigger than my own. They slithered across my body, and I was amazed at how heavy they were and how quickly they moved. Neither I, nor my animals, were bitten. The only wound that I sustained was a scratch from a revealed fang; venom was not released into my system. We were okay!

The following morning, I found myself sitting at my desk reflecting on this dream! No, this wasn’t a particularly sweet dream of Jesus, but I do believe there is divine meaning.

The snakes represent the hurt within me and the sins that I reach for because I don’t believe that God will rescue me. The tight quarters in the bushes are the walls that I’ve erected in order to protect myself from further damage and heartache. The animals are my false sense of security–my addictions. I cannot move because I’m helpless and hopeless in saving myself. I am on my back because I give up and I surrender.

Dr. Charles Stanley puts it this way in his, “30 Life Principals Bible Study:”

To surrender to God is to let go of the steering wheel of your life and leave the driving to the One who not only designed the car but also plotted the course. To surrender control to God is to gain confidence and faith…There are at least three reasons why God seeks your surrender. First, He loves you and desires your fellowship and worship. Second, He wants your service to be effective and fruitful. Third, He waits for the freedom to bless you.

Therefore:

I surrender my unforgiving spirit!
I surrender my hurts and loneliness!
I surrender my constant need for control in certain areas of my life.
I surrender my shame and guilt!
I surrender my battle with perfection!
I surrender my weight, my food, my fears of death, anxiety, and depression!
I surrender my inability to control others!
I surrender my constant need to punish because I haven’t lived up to certain expectations!

Jesus, I surrender ALL my life to You!