God Has A Scrub Brush….

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Have you ever “spring cleaned” your house? I have to be honest, I have attempted to do it quite a few times. I always start right after Christmas, but somehow, I never fully reach all the rooms of my house. The good news, though, is each year I begin in a different room. So at least once a year, one room is getting thoroughly cleaned. At this rate, however, my house will never be completely clean.

This year I chose the kitchen. I cleaned out every cabinet. I washed the walls. I cleaned appliances. I even cleaned behind the stove and refrigerator. I scrubbed the floor! That in itself is a wonderful story which I will share later on.

During this week, (yes, I said a week of deep cleaning,) I found things I didn’t realize I had. I found some things I wondered why I had ever purchased. I filled trash bags with lids which had no bowls. My old pots and pans that were banged up, rusted, crusted, and warped had to go, too. Finally, the last cabinet had been emptied and restocked. The last wall had been washed. The floor had been scrubbed. I was right proud of myself. I had survived the week of hard work. A week of ups and downs on the chair that lifted me up to cabinets. A week of crawling around on my hands and knees to clean the bottom cabinets of my kitchen. I had even survived cleaning the oven. Okay, it was self-cleaning, but I still had to get up inside of that big boy and wipe him out! That in itself was a chore!

My poor hands hurt from holding so tightly to the scrub brush while scrubbing the floor. Oh, how my floor did shine.  (May I state, I’ve hated that floor for 14 of the 15 years I’ve lived in this house.) But, on this day I loved it. I have never been so proud of my kitchen! I wanted to call a press conference and invite everyone over to see it. If you haven’t caught on by now, I’ll let you in on a secret, I abhor housework. No matter how hard I work, within a few days, it has to be done all over again. My friend Kelly and I have this in common; we agree that there is more to life than a clean house.

Why am I sharing this with you? While attempting to “spring clean” my house I felt the urge to invite God to do a spring cleaning on my spiritual house. Had I known He’d come with a scrub brush I might have reconsidered that thought.

To be a vessel God can use, we must keep cleaning out the clutter of our lives. I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to treat my spiritual house like my own house. I have good intentions, however, I hold on to things that are not useful or beneficial to me as a child of God. After a while, those things build up and begin to crowd out and smother those things that are good and profitable.

Going through my spiritual house with God was not easy and neither is it finished. There have been days of crying over old hurts and wounds that I had stored away. There have been days of tears as God pointed out the things I had “purchased” that did not fit the “décor” of my house. There were days of rejoicing when God began to scrub away the old marks on my walls and hang His truths in their place. With each piece that left, I began to feel lighter. Granted not all areas are complete, but I can smell the faint scent of refreshment and revival.

My dear friend, I want to be a vessel that God can use. I want people to see Jesus in me and through me. I want God to live within me in such a way that I experience abundant life to its fullest. I want that for you, too. It can be yours if you are willing to open yourself up to His “spring cleaning”.

If you find yourself wanting to do that I invite you to pray these verses with me:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart:

try me, and know my thoughts:

and see if there be any wicked way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting.”

 Psalm 139:23-24

 

My prayers will be with you as you make this choice. As we laugh and cry together through the cleaning of my soul, I hope you find the courage and strength to allow God to finish His task in you as well.

 

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God Has A Scrub Brush is available through Amazon.com.

Anna’s Song

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The crowing of the rooster stirred her.  She could hear the sound of people beginning to fill the streets.  It was a new day.  Like so many days before, Anna smiled, pulled back her cover and knelt…

Source: Anna’s Song

Anna’s Song

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The crowing of the rooster stirred her.  She could hear the sound of people beginning to fill the streets.  It was a new day.  Like so many days before, Anna smiled, pulled back her cover and knelt face down on the floor.

“How many years has it been now, Lord?  (she chuckles) Too many to count that’s for sure.  Yet, You’ve always been with me.  Even as a child, I knew You were near.”

Anna’s mind slowly filled with memories of her childhood.  She went back to the days that were spent splashing in puddles with her siblings. They would splash and play until every one of them was wet and covered from head to toe in mud.

Her Mother would scold them for getting their clothes wet and dirty, but her Daddy would laugh at them.  More than once he had told their Mother, to let the children enjoy their childhood, soon they would be gone, and there wouldn’t be much laughter in the house.   

Rain was typical for their area in the tribe of Asher along the Mediterranean Coast.  Each day seemed to bring only more puddles and more splashing.  Mom would shake her head, “There’s always more water and mud than there are clothes!”

“Oh, how I loved our little house.  We lived further inland and did not get to see the great sea much.  I remember our first visit there.  I can still smell the salty waters, Lord.  I remember that day so well.  That day when I met him….”

It was the most perfect day.  Not too hot or too cold, but just right.  Her Father had planned this special trip for her brother’s thirteenth birthday.  Her brother was the oldest of the children with her falling only a year behind him.  There were five of them total.

Chasing after the little ones and keeping them on the right path seemed a small price for this day, Anna had thought.  Later that day when her Mother remarked on how someday soon she’d be chasing her own children, she felt a rush of heat to her face that was new and exciting, yet somewhat frightful at the same time.  Anna had a feeling there was something different about this day.  She was consumed by a mixed feeling of emotions running through her and she had no idea what they meant.  Each footstep that brought her closer to her destination caused anticipation grew in her soul.

“What was it Lord?  What was it about this day that was so different from all the rest?” Anna remembered whispering.  Raising her head to take in the view of the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, she saw him…and only him.

He stood there on the shore looking out over the waves.  There was something special about him, Anna could feel it deep within her.  When he turned he looked straight into her eyes.  There she stood before him, heart bounding and mind reeling.  Then he smiled at her and she smiled back.  Anna knew in that moment that her life was forever changed.

“He was a good man Lord. So kind and gentle.  Thank You for allowing us the chance of love.”

Anna soon found out the boy who had stolen her heart with a smile was the same age as her brother.  The boys became friends that day.  Anna’s father often thought it was so he could get close to her.  He had teased her about it when he came to visit only a few weeks later.  As the days turned into weeks, and weeks into months, his visits came more often and he stayed longer.

“You know that boy’s not coming just to see your brother don’t you Anna?” her Mom had questioned her that early fall afternoon as they gathered what was left of the summer garden.

Anna stood with an apron full of vegetables only to drop them as she locked eyes with him.  Her heart hammered so hard in her chest that she knew mother had to hear it too.  But her mother only laughed and picked up the bounty that was scattered on the ground.

“Go on,” she had motioned.  “Go on over and talk to him.  From the looks of his face I think he has something important to say.”

She looked back at her mom noticing the smile of approval on her face and the vibrant twinkle in her eye.

Giggling to herself, “I don’t know who was more nervous, Lord, me or him? But You knew we were destined to be together.  It was Your plan from the very beginning.  I can still hear the trembling in his voice as he asked me to walk with him.”

“Anna,” the way he had said her name sent shivers down her spine and brought a fresh rosy pinkness to her cheeks.  “May we walk together?  I have something I would like to ask you.”

They began to walk slowly towards the olive grove.  Neither of them saying a word until their hands accidently brushed up against each other.  In that moment all of the universe froze in time.  Hearts racing, faces flushing, yet unable to even look at each other. 

“Anna, I wanted to tell you, I mean, I want to say, I mean, I want to ask you that is, umm, well, would you consider, I mean if you would like to that is, would you give me the honor, and well it would be a great honor, but you should feel free to say no, but I would like for you to please consider it.  Would you?”

Slowly lifting her eyes to meet his, Anna asked, “Consider what?”

“Oh, my, I wanted to ask, oh wow, this is harder than I anticipated.  Anna, you are so beautiful and such a sweet and special girl.  I am so out of my league.  I would really like to court you and hopefully become betrothed to you.  But, that’s only if you think like that, and, well, if you don’t I’ll understand.  I mean, I really don’t have a lot to offer you.  But I would do anything for you, Anna.  I mean if you would accept me.”

Anna smiled softly and nodded, “I think I would like that very much.”

“The year following that special night passed like a whirlwind.  Mama and I spent countless hours together talking of the days to come and what I should expect as a new bride.  Lord, I do miss my Mama.  She sure did love You. Thank You for allowing me to have her as my Mama.  She taught me that being a Godly submitted wife was a way of worship.  She made a good home for us.  She and Daddy had a special relationship.  They were so close.  Both seeking Your will.  You always came first in our home.  Thank You for my Daddy.   His example made it so easy to know that I had found my soulmate. He showed me what it was like to be truly loved by a Father.  His love was a mere reflection of Your love.”

“Anna, my first born daughter,” her Father said as he pulled her into his arms, “My beautiful Anna.  I pray you will always be as happy as you have made me.  You’re all grown up now.  Starting a family of your own.  I hope you know your Mother and I are so proud of you.  We will always be here for you Anna, always.”

There were tears in her Daddy’s eyes as she walked away with her new husband.  Those first few years were hard.  The expectancy of a child weighed heavy on them both, but with each new month, there was still no infant cry to be heard from their home.   Anna didn’t give up though, she just knew in God’s timing she too would hold a very special baby in her arms.

“How I wish things had been different, but then again, that would not have been Your plan would it Father?  No, Lord, even now I know You knew best.  Even that dreadful day when the news came that I was now a barren widow, I knew it was in Your plan. The pain is still as real as it was those eighty some years ago.”

“Aunt Anna, Aunt Anna!” came the cry from her young nephew as he ran towards their house. “Father said come quickly.  The tree it fell.  It fell on…” His words were broken by the heavy sobs of pain coming deep from within.

Anna fell to the ground, holding her chest, “No, Lord, say it isn’t so.  Please Father in Heaven let this be a dream.  I can’t live without him.  I can’t bear it…I can’t”, Anna cried.

The next few days were all a blur.   Anna stared into the distance only to answer when she had to, but made no attempt at conversation beyond that.  Her short married life was over.  There were no children, no one to hold on to, and no one to bring her comfort in her greatest despair.

Her family and friends tried to console her.  Her parents talked her into coming back home with them for a while.  The grief and pain was so hard to bare.  Anna spent most of her days staring out towards the olive grove, begging and pleading for this nightmare to end.  She wandered through her days as a lost soul.  The only happiness she found was in those first few minutes of sleep when her dreams were filled with her beloved.  The dreams never lasted long before they gave into the same horrid nightmare.  Over and over again, they came, as the days slowly slipped into months.

“Then that day finally came. Lord.  The day I awakened from my slumber.  I had cried and begged You to return my joy and heal my broken heart.  But it wasn’t until I confessed my anger that You touched me.  All those days of crying were nothing compared to this day.  The tears before came from a deep loss.  These tears were new and different.  These tears came from a heart that had grown cold.  A heart that had raised walls.  A heart that was full of resentment.”

“I had never known that kind of peace before.  There in the midst of the olive trees, I poured out my soul before You.  I was broken and shattered and You picked up the pieces and began to put them back together.  You did not judge me and condemn me for my anger.  No, like a Father who loves His children, You held me close.”

“It was my honesty with You, Lord that opened the gates of my closed heart.  It was then I began to feel Your love shower over me.  Such a sweet unexplainable peace flooded my being.  It was then that I knew my life belonged to You.  My days since have been spent here in Your temple, praising and worshipping You.  I’ve never been sorry, even when others had thought I was crazy. (laughing softly) They all thought I should remarry, but they did not understand.  No matter how hard I tried to explain, they just could not comprehend that You were my life.  And You still are today.”

‘I don’t know what this day has in store of me, but for some reason, Father, I feel as though You have something special planned.  Could it be that this is the day when I finally see Your face.  The face of my beloved.  Whatever it is, Lord, I trust You with it.  Whatever it is I will praise You.  You are my Life, my Hope, and my Redeemer.  From now until I see You face to face, I will continue to worship and praise You, Jehovah.  My Rock and My Shelter. Selah.”

Anna rose from the floor with a bold determination to make this day count.  This day was special and she knew it.  Somehow God was going to do something amazing and she was grateful to be a part of it.

Walking towards the temple, Anna’s heart began to beat faster.  Her soul filled with anticipation and she began to sing, “This is the day the Lord hath made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Anna caught the faces of the many people who filled the streets and gates of the temple.  So many people in such a hurry.  So many people lost and uncertain.  So many people hurting and dying within.  They all needed Hope.   They all needed Him, the Anointed One, the Messiah.  Anna quietly prayed that God would hear the cry of His people and He would restore them to what they once were, His chosen ones.

Her heart stopped beating with a thunderous loud beat when she entered the temple.  Her eyes fell on Simeon.  Who was that couple he was talking to?  The man held in his hands a pair of turtledoves and two young pigeons.  They were there to present their firstborn son to the Lord.

The baby cooed and the mother turned just enough for Anna to see the face of the child.  She grabbed her chest and slowly her hand made its way to her mouth.  It was Him.  The Promised One.  God in the Flesh.

Anna willed her feeble and failing legs to move, with each step becoming lighter until she ran to Him.  His face was so peaceful, so serene.   In all her years, she had never witnessed anything like this.  Tears of joy and happiness were streaming down her face.  Her smile was radiant.  After the ceremony, Simeon handed her the child.

And there she stood, looking into the face of God.  How beautiful it was.  How pure and holy He felt.   His little eyes were filled with love.  His smile was contagious with undeniable happiness.  Words could not describe the feelings that washed over her.  She was holding the Messiah in her arms.  Her salvation.  With a trembling finger, she lightly brushed his cheek and His little fingers wrapped around hers.

Her God was holding her hand as He had always done.  Her heart began to beat again with passion.  Her mouth could not hold back its praise.  There in the midst of the hurrying and busyness Anna proclaimed His Majesty.  She held Him for all to see, that God was faithful.  He was true to His Word.  God had come to redeem His people once and for all.  She handed the infant to His mother as her soul filled with jubilant joy.

Her worn old body had been renewed as she began to dance around worshipping and praising Yahweh.  Her feet moved swiftly and her voice was the sound of an angel.  Her hands were raised towards heaven in pure genuine praise to El Shaddai, the Almighty God.  Her song echoed through the corridors of the cold stone hallways.

“I will extol thee, O Lord; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me.  O Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me. O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.

“Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness.  For His anger endureth but a moment; in His favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

 And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.  Lord, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled.

I cried to thee, O Lord; and unto the Lord I made supplication.  What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? Shall it declare thy truth?   Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me: Lord, be thou my helper.

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee forever.”*

The crowd that had gathered watched Anna with wonder in their eyes.  Some laughed, some mocked, and some even feared she was possessed.

“Laugh and mock me if you will, but hear my words.  God is faithful.  He has sent His Salvation to us.  Our Hope is restored. Our Faith has become sight.  This is the day the Lord hath made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.  I have seen My Lord, I have held Him in my hands.  The One who has held me through all of life is here among His people.  Our Redeemer is dwelling among us.”

Anna retired later that afternoon to her room.  What a glorious day it had been.  Her heart was still full of praise.  She had held a very special baby in her arms.  She had held the love of her life in her hands.  The same God that had held her through all of her life, had wrapped His tiny fingers around hers.

Before lying down for the night, Anna peered out into the night sky.

“Thank You for this day.  You’ve been so faithful to me.  I stand in awe that You would choose to let me see Your face, to touch it, to hold You in my hands.  Every day of these 100 plus years has all lead to this moment.  This day, I saw You face to face.  The only way this day could be better would be to enter Your presence to stay and dwell through all eternity.  When all other memories fail me, Father, I pray this one remains.  Thank You for loving me. Selah.”

Psalm 30

Anna’s Song is based on her short story found in Luke chapter 2.  Only 3 verses tell of her life and her love for God, but those 3 verses share a wonderful testimony.  As I read over these verses and thought of Anna my heart was filled with love for her.

I can’t imagine what it was like for her.  She was just a young girl.  I can see her face in my mind as she is preparing for her wedding.  She was just like you and I.  She had her life all planned out.  She would marry, have children and grow old with the love of her life.   But all too soon, Anna’s dream became a night mare.

In his detailed description, Luke does not say anything about her children, therefore I assumed she had none.  I, too, have felt the despondency of longing for a child.  It creates a vacuum in your soul that sucks the life out of you.  Yet, Anna had hope.  She had only been married for 7 years.  I can see her now, remember the ones who God had remembered and blessed after years of begging for a child.  I hear her calling out Sarah’s name, Rebekah’s and Hannah’s among many others as she prayed.  Yet, in the end she found herself alone, a heart-broken, childless widow.

What pain she must have endured during those first years after her husband’s death.   But in the midst of her agony, Anna found God.  Her testimony declares that He became the love of her life.  Her relationship with Him was unshakeable, sincere and without hypocrisy.

In her tragedy, Anna turned to the only one who could make her whole.  Our tragedy may not be like Anna’s, but we all have something in our lives that has left us feeling lost and vulnerable.   Anna’s Song gives us hope in knowing whatever has been broken and shattered, God can and will mend and repair it when we place our trust in Him.

Anna’s faithfulness and trust in God was rewarded with a priceless gift.  Of all the women in Israel, she held the Son of God.  She saw Him face to face.  She touched Him.  You and I will never have the blessing Anna had, but each one of us have the opportunity to witness God’s miraculous touch in our lives.  It is up to us to decide if we want it or not.

Let Anna’s Song become your song.  Let God have the broken and shattered pieces of your life.  Watch with great anticipation and hope as He performs miracle after miracle for you.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.”-Psalm 28:7

 

 

With my Song

 

Father, I thank You for picking up the shattered mess of my life and making it into something new and beautiful.  Thank You for making a testimony out of my brokenness.  Thank You for the abundant hope that I have in You.  May my voice ever sing Your praises until at last I see You face to face.  In Jesus name I pray.   Amen

Lifestyle vs. Lovestyle

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Broken and Spilled out

Been studying the Woman with the Alabaster Box and I have been really challenged with this ~ Do I have a Christian Lifestyle or Lovestyle?  Read with me Luke 7:44-46, and pay close attention to verse 44.

44 “Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon,

“Do you see this woman?

I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.” ESV

What happens to us? Where along the do we lose that deep-rooted love for Christ. Just like Simon, I find myself caught up trying to “do the Christian thing” and I miss out on the most meaningful part of being a Christian~~Loving Jesus.

Simon was a devout Religious Person, but he lacked the most important thing. It’s a very fine line and if we are not careful we will find ourselves on the wrong side.  This sinner woman was on the right side.  She knew who she was without Christ.  It is reflected in her tears.  Her love for her is reflected in what she did for Him.  It was all for Him.  She wasn’t there to impress or change the mindset of anyone, she was there to love on the one who had loved her even when she was unlovable.

We need to examine and ask ourselves:

1-Why am I doing what I am doing?

2-What attitude do I have for the things of God?

3-Who receives the glory, me or God?

4-Have I forgotten what it was like to saved?

5-When was the last time I attended church or a worship service for the sole purpose of loving on Jesus?

6-Is Christianity a lifestyle or a lovestyle?  Am I trying to impress man and God by the way I live for Jesus or the way I love Jesus?

I think the reason we as Christians are growing cold and our churches are dying is because we have forgotten what it was like to be in love with Jesus. Other things are more important now than our relationship with Him.  Lifestyles can overwhelm leaving us depleted.  Lovestyle is constantly renewing, it never runs out and never leaves us empty.

“Do you see this woman?”

This is what Jesus wants from you, true and sincere love. Not some program, not some new thing, but going back to the beginning when you first fell in love with Him.
Father, forgive me for being so wrapped up in the “God things” and not focusing more on the true “God Thing” ~ a personal, close and intimate relationship with You. I don’t want to and I can’t live a day without Your love, but yet, You don’t always get mine. Forgive for the days that I fail to love You like I should. Fix my eyes on You again Lord. I want more than a “lifestyle” I want a genuine “lovestyle”. I want to chase after You with everything that I have. I want to love on You like You love on me. Fix me, Lord. Fix me. In Jesus Name, Amen

Dance with Jesus: From Grief to Grace

Dance with Jesus
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Dance with Jesus

When we are lost in the storms of grief, only God can pierce the darkness. How can a broken, bewildered woman who lost . . . Her sister, a brilliant PhD nurse, to suicide Her youngest son to respiratory distress caused by an accidental drug-alcohol interaction, on the night of her brother-in-law’s memorial service Her sister-in-law to cancer, four years to the day after her son’s death . . . want to get out of bed and live―out loud and in color? Simple. God revealed Himself to her and breathed life back into every nook and cranny of her very being. In Dance with Jesus: From Grief to Grace, author Susan B. Mead shares her personal story of how God came to her in the midst of grief with a display of love, insight and comfort far beyond her expectations. Have you ever: Held the Hand of God? Felt God caress your broken heart? Heard Him speak out loud? Seen Jesus dancing with your lost loved one? Seen your loved one in the holy presence of God―on His Mercy Seat? Do you want to? In her vibrant, inspiring, and up-close-and-personal style, Susan freely shares how her encounters with God in the midst of overwhelming grief led her to a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him that truly restored her soul. Are you ready to laugh through the tears and dance―with Jesus? Susan B. Mead, a medical technologist with an MBA, spent 22-plus years in the diabetes sector with Johnson & Johnson prior to founding the blog Agog4God.com. After Susan lost her youngest son, she came to realize that even when things get broken, discarded, or replaced, people matter most. Susan is a Charter Blogger on the Bible Gateway Blogger’s Grid, has been published in Medical Laboratory Observer (MLO), is on the path to becoming a Chaplain with the IFOC and has been described as a solid, comforting voice in a messy world. 10% of the profit from Dance with Jesus: From Grief to Grace will benefit Water for LIFE to help dig water wells in remote locations around the world. People Matter!

Biography

Susan B Mead is a woman in AWE of God and how much He loves each one of us. Her desire – share stories of hope so we can see God’s hand at work in our lives. Dance With Jesus: From Grief to Grace was written as her answer to “what does God want you to do right now?” in the Experiencing God Bible Study.Susan spent 22+ years with Johnson & Johnson prior to losing her youngest son. She realized that things get broken, discarded or replaced, yet people matter. She chose to retire early to make time for the people who matter most to her, including you, a dear reader.”Susan has personally experienced one of the deepest forms of grief, yet she writes this treasure of a book from her point of grace, not grief. I plan to give this book to any of my friends that find themselves crying and needing someone who deeply understands,” said Lysa TerKeurst, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Best Yes and President of Proverbs 31 Ministries.

Susan’s credentials include BS, MT(ASCP), MBA and IFOC Sr. Ordained Chaplain. She holds certification from the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) for Individual Grief, Group Grief and Grief following Trauma.

Excerpt:

We had the pallbearers lined up for Kyle’s service. Both hockey teams that Kyle had played for were going to be honor guards, and his closest friends were the pallbearers. One of his dearest friends, Steven Robertson, who we call Bub, even flew into Louisiana from Sydney, Australia to serve as a pallbearer for Kyle. And a friend on the Isle of Wight lit a candle for this twenty-year-old young man. How is it that some folks know people all over the world? Even in a short twenty years, Kyle lived―exuberantly! Imagine my horror, then, when I found out that one of Kyle’s closest friends, Kenny, had been with Kyle when he purchased drugs which, combined with a beer later that evening, caused respiratory distress, resulting in Kyle’s death. Kyle’s body was still in Lafayette and the funeral was to be scheduled once he had been released from the morgue and transported up to Shreveport, so timing was still up in the air at that point. I immediately called Matt to say that I could not have Kenny as a pallbearer. Matt’s words were simple, eloquent, and have subsequently changed the course of my life: “Mom, God’s already forgiven Kenny. You need to too.” “Oh, Matthew, I will have to pray about that.” And the burden lifted a little. God gave me the grace to forgive Kenny, for Kenny had―and still has―the heaviest load to bear. He carries it each and every day. His friend died. That cannot be changed. But it is our response to an event that shows our character, not the event itself. So how was I going to respond? I called Kenny the next day to let him know how absolutely disappointed I was in the decision that they both made, but Kyle loved him and would want Kenny there for him―and I would be honored for him to be a pallbearer for Kyle. Kenny is doing well to this very day―and served our country with honor. Rejoice! And that’s God―pouring His grace out on His children. You see, God knew we both needed His grace―to move from broken to breathing to blessed, free, and forgiven. Personal Reflection Have you needed to forgive someone? Did you forgive them? Have you prayed to God to lift that burden off of you―and then freely given the load to Him? Did you feel the burden lighten?

Visit Susan at http://www.susanbmead.com or https://www.facebook.com/authorsusanbmead

Her book is on sale at Amazon.com just follow the link:  http://www.amazon.com/Dance-Jesus-Grief-Grace-Morgan/dp/1630473073/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1438453686&sr=8-1&keywords=dance+with+Jesus

NO NEED TO FIGHT…

stand still
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stand still

I have been studying the story of the Widow of Nain. There is so much to this “simple” story. Today, we were on the second line of verse 14: “and they that bare him stood still”. As I focused on this, God brought back to my mind Exodus 14:13.

The children of Israel were between the Red Sea and the Egyptian Army. All hope seemed lost. There was no way of escape from the impending doom. Yet, Moses commanded them to stand still….

“And Moses said unto the people,

Fear ye not, stand still,

and see the salvation of the Lord,

which he will shew to you to day:”  

That day the children of Israel did something they had never done before.  They walked on dry ground through the walled waters of the Red Sea.

Another time in Joshua, chapter 3, God calls for His people to Stand Still and see His mighty hand of Salvation as they are preparing to cross the Jordan River.  In Second Chronicles, chapter 20, the Children of God were faced with a mighty enemy.  The children of Moab and of Ammon had joined forces and were waging war against King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah. Again, God sends the message to stand still.

And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem,

and thou king Jehoshaphat,

Thus saith the Lord unto you,

Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude;

for the battle is not yours, but God’s.  

Tomorrow go ye down against them:

behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz;

and ye shall find them at the end of the brook,

before the wilderness of Jeruel.

 Ye shall not need to fight in this battle:

set yourselves, stand ye still,

and see the salvation of the Lord with you,

O Judah and Jerusalem:

fear not, nor be dismayed;

tomorrow go out against them:

for the Lord will be with you.

~2 Chronicles 20:15-17~

I can see this poor mother grieving for her son. All hope lost. I can hear the deep groaning that comes from a heart completely shattered.  Nothing could stop the pain and agony she was going through. Until Jesus stepped into the scene.  Not only did He have compassion on her, He showed it to her.  He went beyond speaking words of sympathy.  He reached out and touched her son’s coffin causing everyone to stand still.  And there in the middle of her greatest battle, she saw the Salvation of the Lord.  She meet the Redeemer of Life.

In the midst of our chaos and uncertainty, when facing the tallest giants, or facing our most feared enemy, He’s calling for us to “Stand Still and see the Salvation of our Lord.”   And when we do, we will see a miracle that only God can do.  The Battle is not ours, but the Lord’s.  Standing still seems such a strange thing to do when facing trials and tribulation, but it is what God calls us to do.  When we follow His command, our obedience will yield victory.

battle is the Lords.

Father, remind me to Stand Still.  To stop squirming in fear, but totally trust in Your power and authority over any type of battle that I may face.  Let me be blessed, by seeing You move in ways that only You can.  Take these battle’s Lord, they are Yours anyway.  I was never meant to fight them, only look to You as my Salvation, my Redeemer, my Lord.  Thank You for the victories.  May I ever praise Your name for all You have done and continue to do.  In Jesus Name, I pray.  Amen.

I am a Soldier

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be strong

Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses,

the same commit thou to faithful men,

who shall be able to teach others also.

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life;

that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

2 Timothy 2:1-4

I AM A SOLDIER 

(Soldiers in the Army of The Lord)

I am a soldier in the army of my God.

The Lord Jesus is my Commanding Officer.

The Holy Bible is my Code of Conduct.

Faith, Prayer, and the Word are my weapons of warfare.

I have been taught by the Holy Spirit, trained by experience,

tried by adversity and tested by fire.

I am a volunteer in this Army and I am enlisted for Eternity.

I will either retire in this Army at the rapture or die in this army.

But I will not

GET OUT

SELL OUT

BE TALKED OUT

OR PUSHED OUT! 

I am Faithful, Reliable, Capable, and Dependable.

If my God needs me, I am there.

If He needs me in Sunday School to teach children, work with youth, help adults or just sit and learn,

He can use me because I am there.

I am a Soldier!

I am not a baby.

I do not need to be

pampered

petted

primed up

pumped up

picked up

or

pepped up!

I AM A SOLDIER!

Bible pledge

I am not a whimp.

I am in place, saluting my King,

obeying HIS orders,

praising HIS name,

and

building HIS kingdom.

No one has to send me flowers, gifts, food, cards, candy or give me a handout.

I do not need to be

Cuddled

Cradled

Cared

for or

Catered to.

I am Committed!

I cannot have my feelings hurt bad enough to turn around.

I cannot be discouraged enough to turn aside.

I cannot lose enough to cause me to quit.

When Jesus called me into this Army, I had nothing!

If I end up with nothing I will still come out ahead.

I will win!

My God has and will continue to supply all of my needs.

I am more than a conqueror.Christian flag

I will always triumph.

I can do all things through Christ!

Devils cannot defeat me.

People cannot disillusion me.

Weather cannot weary me.

Sickness cannot stop me.

Governments cannot silence me and

Hell cannot handle me.

I AM A SOLDIER!

Even death cannot destroy me.

For when my Commander calls me from this battlefield,

He will promote me to Captain and then allow me to rule with Him.

I am a Soldier in the Army of my GOD

and I am marching, claiming victory!

I will not give up.

I will not turn around.

I am a Soldier marching Heaven Bound!

 Author Unknown

Here I stand, will you stand with me?  Guess what?  If you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and followed the Lord in believer’s baptism, you’ve enlisted!

Are you pulling your weight?  Or allowing the enemy to gain territory?

**This was presented by a Pastor at the Executive Meeting of the Carolina Baptist Association.  What a challenge!**

May I Have This Dance?

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Wouldn’t it be great if we could just dance easily through life without a care in the world?  Reality, though she means well, will never let us.

 Life is hard.  

Life is tiring.

 Life is stressful.

But life is also fun and joy

to those who choose to see it that way.

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cinderella2

I wish I could say I face each day of life joyfully, but to my despair, most days I don’t.   And on July 23, I felt this way.  It was the day of Jayden’s return visit to her GI specialist.  After several visits to many doctors now, I have grown accustomed to the feeling of being let down.  My heart was not up for it again.

The long ride did nothing to enhance my mood.  Did you know we had a very limited supply of Pediatric GI Specialist?  Neither did I until January of this year.  That’s why we drove 3 1/2 hours for a less than 30 minute exam.  When you add heavy traffic and hundred degree temps you have the perfect recipe for a big slice of irritability.

When we arrived our motel room after the appointment, all Mike and I wanted to do was take a nap.  Our 8-year-old social butterfly had a different plan though.  We tried to discourage her at first then my mind went back to an article I had previously read on Carolyn Mallon’s Distracted Mom Blog site titled, “Building a Strong Relationship with Your Child.”  (I’m not going to go into great details about the post, but I do ask you follow the link at the end of this blog and read it for yourself.  It really made an impact on me and reminded me of several truths I already knew. )

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According to Carolyn, Jayden was bidding for my time.  She was asking me for a date.  My little girl wanted to dance with me.  Certainly, I could oblige.

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With a sigh, I agreed to go with her to the pool.  My husband the great protector of his family groaned and said he would go too.  I must tell you that it was a long and awkward journey to the pool.  Here we were in our bathing suits, flip-flops with a beach towel draped over our arms riding the elevator with business men and women.  We passed by several business meetings where the men at the table where dressed in suit and ties and the women dressed neatly in knee-length skirts with matching jackets.  Each had their nice pens, briefcases and laptops displayed in orderly fashion before them.  You can imagine the looks we received.

Fortunate for us, there was only one other family at the pool.   It didn’t take our Jayden long to make friends with the cutest little 3-year-old you’ve ever seen.  The little girl was completely fascinated with Jayden’s ability to swim under water.  She laughed and clapped as Jayden entertained her with hand stands, cartwheels and flips of all kinds in the water.

During Jayden’s performance Mike and I talked with the adults whom we found out were the grandparents of this delighted princess.  They were staying at the hotel because the grandfather had an appointment at the same hospital early the next morning.  We talked for a while and got to know each other.  It wasn’t long before the night air began to set in and the water began to get cold.  Mike and I decided to get out of the pool.  As we sat at a table drying off and watching Jayden swim, neither one of us prepared for what was about to take place.

We were discussing the doctors report when the grandfather got out of the pool to go to the restroom.  The very next minute I found myself screaming while Mike ran towards the restroom area.  The grandfather had slipped on the tile just inside the restroom area.  It took me a minute to grasp what had just took place but soon I was up and running too.

The grandmother, who was still in the pool, was oblivious to what had happened and began asking us, “What’s wrong?”  I told her that her husband had fallen and hit his head.  Mike was already getting towels and trying to talk to the grandfather.  Jayden and I took the little girl with us while the grandmother ran to her husband.  His head was bleeding profusely.  The grandmother took over applying one towel after another and Mike ran inside to tell management to call 911.

Mike soon returned and continued to minister to the husband and wife team, I was trying to keep Jayden and their granddaughter occupied.  It was during this terrible ordeal, I got to see what my daughter was made of.  She did not get hysterical, whine or complain because her fun was interrupted.  Rather she began to minister love to the little Princess.   I watched as she got a chair for little girl.  She helped her take off her “floaties”, got her a towel, and even put her shoes on for her.

I watched in amazement as she took this little girl by the hand and began to say to her, “Your Papa’s going to be alright. Jesus is here watching out for him.”   I looked on with tears in my eyes and a heart full of pride as Jayden closed her eyes and whispered a prayer for the family.

We did not leave them until the ambulance came for Grandpa and the little girls parents arrived.  Heading back to our room each of us realized we had witnessed something divine.  It wasn’t just coincidence that this happened while we were there.  No, God had given Jayden the desire to go to the pool.  It was meant for us to be there to talk with this family.  It was meant for us to be there so we could not only share Jesus through our words, but also in our actions.

By saying yes, and taking the time to “dance” with out own Cinderella, Mike and I were blessed to see how compassionate and caring our little girl was.  Her love for others goes deeper than just having someone to hang out with or to play with.  Her love drives her to take time to share her life with others.  There in those terrifying moments, we watched as our eight-year-old became a hero!

This wasn’t the first time we’d seen Jayden comfort another child, but it was the first time under these circumstances. In Carolyn Mallone’s article, she suggest the only way we truly know our children, who they are and who they will become, is by spending time with them.  I will forever be thankful for this moment in time when we decided to “dance” with our daughter.

cinderella 4

The next time you are thinking about saying, “No”, or “I’m too busy”, remember the time you spend with your child is not wasted or in vain.  Not only will your child benefit from it, so will you.  I’d lot rather Jayden remember our together times than remember how clean my house was or whether the dishes were washed and the laundry done.  When she talks of me with her children, I want her to relish in the fact that Mama took time to “dance” with her.  I want her to know she mattered above all else to me.

Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

Psalm 127:3-5 NASB

Cinderella

Father, I pray You would always remind me what I very special treasure you have given me in my daughter.  May I never take for granted to person she is.  She is Your child.  Special, compassionate and loving.  Thank You for allowing me the opportunity to learn from her.  Now, I pray You shelter her.  Give her a heart for You and a heart for all mankind.  In Jesus name, I pray.  AMen

dance

Please take time to read—http://www.thedistractedmom.com/building-a-strong-relationship/

The View from Here….

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Shared this a while back, but wanted to share again.

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She looks carefully for the perfect spot, making sure the ground is level so there is nothing that will cause him to fall. Finding it, she eases on the brake and shifts the gear into park.  She is quick to shut down the car and shed her seat belt. Within minutes she is at his side. Opening his door she is greeted with a generous smile.  The smile that has warmed many hearts. She smiles back while unfastening his seat belt.  Then she double checks his shoelaces before taking him by the hand and helping him stand.

Reaching around him she grabs his coat and holds it out making it easier for him to put on.  His right arm goes in perfectly, but the left gets caught. With adoration in her eyes, she makes a joke of it causing them both to laugh as she lifts the disobedient arm and…

View original post 1,368 more words

Where Are You, God? Where are You?

Be still and know
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Be still and know

It was during the Celebration Service that it all began.  We were in the midst of celebrating with our church folks and with several other church congregations all that God had done through our week of Missions and Ministry with  Ocoee Outreach from Cleveland, Tennessee.  We had just sat down to eat, when one of our own became sick.

My husband, the Pastor and leader of our group, carried the young girl and her mother to the Emergency Room.  The rest of us stayed behind to take part in the activities of the night.  Within an hour, Jayden, our daughter became sick also.  I was not prepared for what was about to take place.

Jayden’s condition began to deteriorate fast.  Before I could get her into our room to wash her up and change her clothes, she was vomiting in the floor.  It was uncontrollable.  If she moved the slightest bit, it started all over.  She was burning up with fever.  I couldn’t clean up before the next onslaught came.  Finally it subsided long enough for her to get a quick shower.

Before I could get her settled in bed and call for help,  she was at it again.  Now we both needed a bath and there was a bed and a floor that needed cleaning.  I was never so glad to see my husband walk through the door than I was at that moment.   He cleaned up the room and called for more linen and towels as I was cleaning myself and Jayden.

Fortunately for us, our Pediatrician’s Nurse was with us on the trip.  I stand amazed at how God always provides.  She had packed several kinds of medicines, but the most valued was the ones for nausea. By this time we had three girls sick with the same stomach bug.  Around two in the morning, Jayden finally fell into a deep sleep.   

I lay there beside her and all I could think was,  we are supposed to leave for home tomorrow.

Home…

8 hours away!!!  

Home!!

How I wanted to just be home.  

There was no way she could travel like this.   I dosed off only to be awaken at four to start the process all over again.  During the early morning hours her fever left, but coming in its place was horrible, fast striking diarrhea.  It was one of the longest nights of my life.

Our team began packing after breakfast that Friday morning to head back to SC, while Mike, our nurse and the other young lady headed to the Emergency Room where she was admitted into the hospital.  The other young lady who had gotten sick the night before was better now.  Mike and our youth minister made arrangements for us to stay and for us to have a rental car to travel in. Soon, our team was on the road home and Mike was headed back to the hospital to carry suitcases and medicines.

Jayden and I were left alone at the motel.  Jayden could hold nothing down and now, everything that came from her was green.  I had never seen her so violently sick.  By noon, we had gone through all of her clothes.  Again I was calling for more linens and toiletries.  If only she handle the ride to the hospital, but she couldn’t even raise her head without getting sick.  We were in a mess.

Mike returned as soon as he could with lunch and new clothes.  Jayden awoke and wanted something to drink and eat for the first time since she had gotten sick the night before.  She drank some water and ate half of a roll before she went back to sleep.  Mike stayed with her while I walked around the motel.

I made my way to the court-yard before I feel in a heap from exhaustion.  I began to cry in agony.  Looking up I questioned, “Where are you God?  Where are you?  Do you not see us here?  Do you not care? She’s so sick.  To sick to even walk!  How can this be happening?  We came here for You and where are You now?”

A breeze began to blow over me, caressing me in the heat of the day.  “I’m here, right here, child.  I’m here with you.  I’m the one who strengthened you through the night.  I’m the one who stilled the fever.  I’m the one who told the nurse to bring the medicines.  I’ve seen each tear.  I’ve seen it all child.  I’ve been right here through it all.  You are not alone.”

All that week, I had wanted to feel His presence, to feel His touch.  I had so longed to have a special encounter with Him, but it had not come.  I had seen Him move in so many others.  Watched as they glowed in His touch.  But it was there, in the heat of the day, face down on Tennessee grass, that I had my special moment.  It was there that Daddy pulled me into His arms and held me.

I cried for my daughter, I cried for myself, and then I cried as the sweet love of God showered over me.  I cried and cried until there were no tears left.  It was then that the peace that goes beyond all understanding overwhelmed me.  I raised myself up with strength I did not possess before ready to face whatever the day brought.

Just as I was turning to go back to the room, I caught a glimpse of something.  It was there in the Magnolia tree.  One lone flower.  The others lying on the ground in a wilted heap.  But that one lone flower was surviving through it all.  It was my “God wink”.  My reassurance that we were going to survive this and any other difficulty that came our way, because we had God as our Father.

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Scripture after scripture reminds us that we are never alone.  He is always with us.  No matter our circumstances, no matter our storm or trial.  God is with us.  He never forsakes His children.  He is our refuge and our strength.  It would be easier I suppose to never go through any hardships, but then how would I know what it is like to be held in times of trouble?  How would I know what it was like to be strengthened when all my strength is gone?  How would I know what it was like to hear the voice of God speaking softly to my soul?

Sometimes God allows us to enter a place in live where all we can do is “Be still and know that He is God”.  I am very thankful for those times.  Even though they hurt and are hard, they can not defeat or destroy us.

Psalm 46,1

 He is our refuge.  

He is our God.  

Our Father.

God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
    though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
    God will help her when morning dawns.

The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
    he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord,
    how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
    he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the chariots with fire.

“Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Psalm 46

That afternoon, Jayden ate a whole dinner roll.  We carried her for fluids on Saturday morning and she began to regain her strength.  She was able to eat most of her lunch and keep it in.

 We left Cleveland late that Saturday night.  It was a long and dark journey to reach our destination.  The sun rose as we entered South Carolina.  Just days earlier I had longed for home, cried for it.  But home for me is not found in South Carolina.  My home is where I was at, in the heat of the summer sun, on Tennessee soil.  It was there I was home, safely cradled in my Father’s arms.  For us who are called by His name, home is anywhere the Father is.  And we can rest assured that He is omnipresent.

We are never alone!!