Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Shovel - Are You Kidding Me?

On Tuesday, my daughter and I drove in her car to Virginia to look for a new home for her family who is relocating from Texas.  We expected rainy weather during our 3-day trip that included an 18-hour round trip car ride, BUT GOD had mercy on us.  During the drive to and from Virginia and as we toured apartments and houses, He blessed us with blue skies, white clouds, and sunny weather. 

shovel graphic - 100 x 161Not only was God gracious to us by granting favorable weather, He protected us in a far more noticeable way.  As we were driving on the highway to Virginia (well, actually I was driving at this point), a car directly in front of us suddenly swerved wildly.  I immediately saw the driver had avoided an object on the road.  I couldn't change lanes, as there were cars next to me on both sides.  Too late... before I knew it, I hit the object!  I was thankful my daughter was awake and witnessed the entire scene which took about 1 minute because I don't think I could have accurately described to her what had just happened.  We (I) hit a shovel!  As we (I) continued driving, my daughter thought the shovel remained under the car.  When I glanced in the rearview mirror, I saw the shovel spin out from under our car, travel across the highway and end up on the tip of the grass on the side of the highway.  Are you kidding me?  How is it that we (I) hit the shovel and no one behind us or in front of us hit it?  This wasn't a child's toy shovel ... no, this shovel must have fallen from a construction truck! 

A short time later we exited the highway to get gas.  We looked under the car to assess the damage.  As far as we could tell, there was none.  Are you kidding me?  What could have happened DIDN'T happen.  Someone could have drove over the shovel before me causing the shovel to come flying through our windshield!  When we (I) hit the shovel, it could have caused us to 1) have an accident injuring us and our precious cargo, my baby granddaughter 2) hit a car next to me with a myriad of possible negative outcomes, OR 3)  damage her car to the point that we were unable to complete our trip.  BUT GOD was merciful!  We didn't have any difficulties with the car during the rest of our trip and subsequent drive home.  My daughter drove her car yesterday with no problems.

And yet, when we headed home on Thursday, people in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia, Louisiana and Kentucky were dealing with the aftermath of deadly tornadoes from the previous day that took over 300 lives and obliterated homes and commercial property in a matter of minutes, the second-deadliest day for a twister outbreak in U.S. history (  I don't understand how we had wonderful weather in Virginia while so many others experienced the storm of their lives.  I had to search the scriptures.  I read Job 38 in which the Lord says to Job:

24 What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?
25 Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, and a path for the thunderstorm,
34 “Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water?
35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?  Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?
37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?    Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens

The Lord continued to question Job in chapters 39 and 40.  By Chapter 41, Job had to concede that he had spoken about things which were beyond his understanding.  Job told the Lord he knew the Lord can do all things.  And so, there are things that happen that are beyond my comprehension.  I have to accept that the Sovereign God of our universe causes some things to happen and allows other things to happen.  Sometimes He allows a shovel to enter our lives that could cause untold damage and then spins it away from us as quickly as it entered to remind us of His grace and mercy, especially in light of the storms that are surrounding us. 

Father God, thank You for Your grace, mercy, the apartment we found for my daughter making our journey to Virginia worthwhile, and for joy in the midst of storms. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Gift of a Risen Savior

As I woke this morning, I began thinking about the final preparations I have planned for when the deaconesses from my church come to my home today.  I also thought about how I love hosting guests.  I believe I have a gift of Hospitality. Romans 12:14 (NIV) says we are to:  Practice hospitality. defines hospitality this way:  1. the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers.   2. the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.
I also believe God has given me the Gifts of Teaching, Encouragement, and Helps.  Romans 12:6-8 says: We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach;  if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously.

I sometimes rebel against these gifts God has given me.  When I send out invitations and not everyone responds, or people don't show up, I think to myself, that's it, I'm not going to host another event!  When it comes to teaching, I don't always want to invest the time.  About 3 years ago at my former church, I taught a year-long bible course that I created called Purpose-Driven Generation Leadership.  I know the participants were blessed by this course because they told me so.  So why haven't I offered to teach this course at my current church -- because I'm not ready to invest the time required. 

When I rebel against my gifts, I'm really rebelling against God.  When I read the 1st verse of Romans 12, it says that I am to offer my body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—which is my spiritual act of worship [personalized by me].  The Holy Spirit lets me know that when I rebel against my gifts, I'm not worshipping God, which reflects a lack of willingness to sacrifice and I must confess it's selfishly thinking that this life I live is all about me.  It's not!  Christ gave the ultimate sacrifice for me...and for you.  He shed His blood on Calvary. 

Matthew 27:26-31, 34-35, 39, 48 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him.  They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him... There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots...Those who passed by hurled insults at him... Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink.  
But praise God, this isn't the end of the story.  Matthew 28:5-6 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.
This Resurrection Sunday, I pray that I never again rebel against the gifts that God has given to me.  I am abundantly blessed above all that I could ask or think.  I have a risen Savior who loves me so much that He prayed and died for me before I came into existence!  I thank You, Father God, Jesus the Christ, and the Holy Spirit.   

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Our Healer

I went to 2 funerals over the past 2 days.  Both women (April and Thelma) died of illnesses where they seemed to suffer.  April's sister sung "I Believe You're My Healer" at the funeral.  She said she sang this song to April during  April's hospitalization.  April and Thelma are now healed from their earthly illnesses. 

I know five individuals (Daniel, Rita G, Vince, Rita W, and Brenda) who passed away over the past 2 years from cancer.  I also know some long-term cancer survivors, two of whom are in my family.  I believe these who passed away, as well as the survivors, have the same Healer.  God chooses how He heals.  We don't always understand why He chooses to heal by releasing someone from earth to glory, but as the pastor said today: God gives us grace to withstand those things we don't understand

If you are grieving, please listen to the song "I know You're my Healer." I pray it gives you comfort and a degree of healing:

Lyrics to Healer :
You hold my every moment
You calm my raging seas
You walk with me through fire
and heal all my disease

I trust in You
I trust in You

I believe You're my healer
I believe You are all I need
I believe You're my portion
I believe You're more than enough for me
Jesus, You're all I need

Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible
Nothing is impossible for You
You hold my world in Your hands


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Linda Pierre - US Soldier Killed In Afghanistan

My last post was about 2 soldiers.  I spoke about the US soldier who is fighting here on earth on behalf of the U.S.  I mentioned that our war against Afghanistan is the longest war in which the U.S. has ever been involved.  My son, a major in the U.S. Army, sent me an e-mail yesterday.  This is what he said: 

Sadly we lost 5 Soldiers from my Brigade Friday morning (Afghanistan time) in a suicide bombing. One of the Soldiers was my commander's secretary when I worked in Brigade Headquarters.  I knew her pretty well. She kept me out of some hot water a few times and was an outstanding Soldier.  Please lift them and their families in prayer.

Today, my son sent me another e-mail with a link about the soldier who lost her life.  Her name is Linda Pierre.  Please honor her life by looking at this video in which she speaks about her life in the military.  Then pray for her family and for all of our soldiers serving on OUR behalf!  Thank you.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Two Soldiers

Today, I read about the suicide of Clay Hunt, a 28-year-old former Marine corporal who earned a Purple Heart after taking a sniper's bullet in his left wrist and later returned to combat in Afghanistan.  Friends and family say he was wracked with survivor's guilt, depression and other emotional struggles after combat.  Hunt's death has shaken many veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan

My son is a soldier.  After completing high school, my son went to college for a couple of years and then enlisted into the Army.  He completed his basic and advanced training and was promptly sent to Korea.  He never returned home.  In the course of one week in May, 2000, he married, graduated with his bachelor's degree in Economics with the help of the military's "Green to Gold" Scholarship Program*, and was commissioned as an officer which was the happiest week of this mother's life!

I'm also the mother-in-law, aunt, and cousin of active soldiers.  My nephew (after two tours in Iraq) and cousin are stationed in Afghanistan.  By God's grace, my son was reassigned and subsequently did not go with his previous unit to Afghanistan.  I know many in our country takes their service for granted.  Some dont' realize that our war with Afghanistan is the longest war in our nation's history, surpassing the conflict in Vietnam! 

Besides Korea, my son has been stationed in Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Tennessee with overseas duty also in Germany and Kuwait.  He's been separated for months at a time from his wife and children. While officially stationed in Pennsylvania, where he and his wife bought their first home, the Army sent him to NJ  -- five hours away from his family -- to 'work' the entire time (2 years).  In his leadership role, my son has had to help many soldiers and their families with issues including a direct command's suicide, a near-death drowning, substance abuse, marital discord, etc. 

I'm a soldier, too!  The battle that I fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. I'm wearing the whole spiritual armor of God, that I may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  My armor includes girding my loins with truth, the breastplate of righteousness, my feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith enabling me to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God  (Ephesians 6 KJV).  I don't need the President or Congress to approve a budget so that I can afford or purchase my spiritual armor.  Jesus paid for my armor with His blood. 
I try to do my part to let our soldiers know I remember them - I send care packages, e-mails, and cards.  I attend the local Military Support Group meetings.  But most importantly, as a Prayer Warrior, I utilize the power of prayer to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests on behalf of the U.S. military and all God's people.  Please don't forget about our servicemen and women who are voluntarily serving on our behalf.  Some like my nephew (who has a wife and 3 children) have had multiple tours of combat duty.  Clay Hunt could be my son, nephew, son-in-law, cousin, or your relative, neighbor, or friend.  Don't forget about our soldiers.  Put on your armor, take up your sword, AND pray for them!

*The Army Green to Gold program is designed to offer Enlisted Soldiers in the Army the opportunity to earn commissions as Army Officers; commissioned Officers are the managers, problem solvers, key influencers and planners who lead Enlisted Soldiers in all situations.  Source: 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Praise, Thanksgiving, Forgiveness, Intercession

When I spend time wth the Lord in the morning, I start with praise!  I love to praise His Holy and Righteous Name. I praise Him for who He is, the Mighty, Magnificent, Wonderful Father, the King of kings, Lord of lords, the Great I Am, the Rose of Sharon, the Bright and Morning Star, Creator of the Universe, the Alpha and Omega, my Comforter, Prince of Peace, Lover of my soul, a Kind, Compassionate Friend!  I tell the Lord, that He and He alone is worthy of all my praise. 

After I praise the Lord, I thank Him.  I thank Him for each day and His reminder to rejoice in it, for allowing me to awaken with the capacity to think and speak with all of my limbs functioning, for no phone calls with bad news through the night, for my husband and his ability to move about, for my parents and my mother-in-law who are all 70+ years of age yet still able to live on their own, for my children and grandchildren, my extended family, my church family and being able to worship the Lord freely, friends, my husband's job, our home and the material goods including our cars He's given to us.  Then I thank Him specifically for recent blessings - sometimes something as simple as a phone call with one of my grandchildren.  

I thank Him because I'm reminded of how much He's blessing me and I'm faced with the reality that I haven't done anything to deserve all this.  Thanking Him reminds me of how much I need forgiveness for my lack of appreciation, an unkind word, a negative thought, not following through on His instructions or something else that is lacking in me.  I ask Him to forgive me.  Although I know I'm not perfect, when I acknowledge all He's done and is doing for me on a daily basis, I'm humbled.  I know when I confess my sin, he is faithful and just and will forgive me.  (1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.)

After praying for forgiveness, I approach Him boldly (I John 5:14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him).  I ask Him to comfort the bereaved (I pray for bereaved families for at least 2 years; I'm praying for almost 50 families who've experienced the death of a loved one since April 2009), heal the sick knowing I have to accept His choice of healing should He decide to end someone's suffering here on earth, protect our soldiers (with a special request for my nephew and cousin serving in Afghanistan), guide our President and elected officials, and minister to those in prison (there are five men who I lift to the Lord).  I solicit His help for individuals who I know have specific prayer needs whether those needs are financial, stressful situations, marriage issues, etc. 

left praying hands 5I am confident that prayer works.  I pray while on the telephone, in a parking lot, at the hospital, or whereever I physically am when the need is shared with me. After I spend time praying with my Father, I am energized and ready to tackle my day.  I'm refreshed and renewed.  Joy floods my soul.  As a little girl, I heard the saints singing, 'just a little talk with Jesus makes it all right!"  Now I know for myself  that these saints knew what they were talking about.  Go ahead and try it - have a little talk with Jesus right now.  You'll be energized to run on a little while longer!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Blessing of Being Available

My neighbor, Rita, was on my mind today, so I called her.  I knew she had a couple of relatives (husband and wife) who both were ill from cancer.  Sadly, they recently passed away about one week apart.  They had been married nearly 60 years and didn't have any children.  Rita retired a year or so ago and was able to spend quality time with them helping them make their transition.  Rita told me she was glad she was available to them. 

I told Rita that I understood that thought very well because it's something I've been saying ever since I quit my job on March 31, 2006.  In April, 2006, my grandson was hospitalized in another state.   I was available to go to my son's home to help him and my daughter-in-law without getting a supervisor's permission or stressing about work that would be waiting on me when I got back.  In May, 2006, my brother-in-law's sister suffered an aneurysm and passed away a week later.  I was available to be at the hospital every day with his family before she passed.  I was available to visit several friends during their hospitalizations.    During the summer of 2006, my mother-in-law had surgery.  She was able to spend part of her recuperation at my home because I was available.   

In 2007, I was available to volunteer during the day with a high school youth group and another non-profit youth organization summer event.  I was later asked to serve as the  youth director for their new program, which I did for two years.   When my young cousin was in intensive care, I was available to spend time with him at the hospital.  My mother-in-law was hospitalized with a serious illness and again spent part of her recuperation in our home.  I was available to develop, launch and facilitate a year-long leadership course at  my church in 2008. 

In 2009, my mom was hospitalized on two occasions.  I was available to be with her at the hospital during the day, have her recuperate at my home, and take her to her doctors' appointments.  I was available to be with my sister who lives in another state when her husband was ill and to help her make funeral arrangements.   I was available to be with a friend during her several complicated surgeries.  For several months last year, I babysat for my daughter when she had to return to work after having her first baby.   

Yes, it is a blessing to be available!  Isn't this what Mordecai told his cousin, Queen Esther, when he said "who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”  (NIV Esther 4:14)  Only God knew when I quit my job that He would bless me to be available on so many occasions.  These times have been sad, exciting, stressful, unpredictable, peaceful, but most of all blessings full of joy! 

One of those joys was my availability to take a picture this morning of a duck nesting near my front porch and then see the results a couple hours later!


Thank You, Lord, for making me available, blessing me abundantly above what I could think or imagine and giving me Joy, Joy, Joy down in my soul!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Quiet Time

I learned a long time ago that if I don't dedicate solid, nobody-but-me-and-the-Lord, prayer time in the morning, I may very well not get to it later in the day.  Yes, I pray one-liner prayers throughout the day, but in the morning, I give full, undivided attention to Him.  Yet, I've concluded lately, that after praising and petitioning the Lord in intercessory prayer, I'm not spending time simply listening to Him. 

So for the past couple days after I've praised and poured out my heartfelt concerns to Him, I just sat in silence.  I found it extremely difficult to shut down my thoughts, to not let my mind wander.  I closed my eyes.  I asked the Lord, please help me stop thinking so I can listen to You.  I know that I'm going to have to make time every day to be quiet in His presence and I'm going to need His help.  I want to be like the Psalmist David.  He said in Psalm 131:

1 My heart is not proud, LORD, my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.
2 But I have calmed myself  and quieted my ambitions.
I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content

We're told in Ecclesiates 3 that 'there is a time to be silent.'  Habakkuk 2 says:  But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.    I challenge you to not only pray without ceasing, but to also practice being silent with the Lord, to give Him room to speak to You.  I'll let you know how this is going for me.  And I hope to hear from you, too. 

Father, when I pray to You, You are in Your holy temple; help me to silence my thoughts so that I hear from You.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love!

view detailsI'm back from my road trip refreshed, revived, at peace and full of joy!  My blood sister and I, along with 10 of our sister friends had a wonderful worship and fellowship experience.  Our trip planner, a praying woman of God, coordinated a beautiful event with the theme They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love from I John 4:7 (Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.) 

We were asked prior to the road trip to come prepared to share our answers to the following 4 questions about a woman in the bible:  why did you choose her, why she is your favorite, how has God spoken to you through this woman, and why do you think God has placed the story of this woman in the Bible.  With over 100 women named in the bible and only 12 of us, it's amazing that two of us chose Anna, two chose Esther, and two chose Martha!  The other six women chose Eve, Mary Magdalene, Priscilla, Ruth, Tabitha (Dorcas), and the unnamed woman in Proverbs 31.  We also had a bible study on friendship. 

I knew we were going to have a great time because all but one of our group had attended retreats and Women of Faith conferences together for several years.  This time we were a perfect 12.  Wait...I take that back, there were 13 of us...God was in our midst!  The love our intimate group has for one another flowed as we laughed, cried, and built up one another.  We all agreed that we want to get together like this on an annual basis.  In fact, we told our trip coordinator that we might want to get away for a full weekend next year instead of just overnight.   

We know others know we are Christians by our love from the confirmation we got from our waitress.  She remembered serving us from one of our previous retreats and gave us outstanding service.  Not only were we full spiritually, but we also were physically full!  Joy, Joy, Joy!

You know, you didn't have to go on the road trip with us to participate in our fellowship.  You can select a woman in the bible and answer the same four questions.  If you do, please post your thoughts on my blog about how the Lord spoke to you so that we learn from one another and share in His unspeakable joy!    

Friday, April 1, 2011

Road Trip

Me with my sister and mom
In about an hour I'm getting on the road with my sister. We're joining 10 other Christian women for an overnight trip...hmmm, reminds me of the 12 disciples!  Since we have a bible study planned and will be worshipping and fellowshipping together on one accord, I'm sure the Lord will meet us there.  Our activities will reflect our love for the Lord.  I hope the unsaved witness our adventure and want to have what we have...unspeakable JOY provided by a Loving Savior! 

Last night, I attended a revival.  The preacher asked "How Well Is Your Memory" and challenged us to remember what God has done for us.  When I had my meditative time with my Savior this morning, I reflected on what He's done for me...saved me, spiritually and physically (I almost died from an ectopic pregnancy), restored my marriage years ago when I was ready to give up (going on 31 years of wedded bliss), allowed me to carry my son and daughter to full term (I've had 2 miscarriages AND the ectopic pregnancy), has blessed my parents with more than three-score and ten years, allowed me to QUIT my (well-paying) job after 27 years of service (I haven't missed a meal nor a vacation).  While I have neck stiffness (a litttle bit of arthur), a numb foot, can't see far away without my glasses, tend to have warm flushes, and take blood pressure medication, all in all, I'm in fairly good health. 

I talked to my Lord this morning about other things He's done for me, but you get the picture.  I'm abundantly blessed...above what I could ask or think.  Think about it....How Well Is Your Memory?  And then give the Lord some praise for what He's done for you!  I'm going to continuing reflecting and praising Him while on my road trip.  I'm excited and JOYful!