His Grace

Why do we find it so hard to ask for help from people, never mind asking for help from God? Could it be that we think we have to be  independent with everything? Otherwise we might be considered weak to certain people.

God wants us to know that in our weakness we are made strong.

He states in His word;

9 …. “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” 10… For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NLT).

 Growing up, I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” As a kid, I did not know exactly why my mother would always come back to that statement. I used to think, ‘Enough already, I get it!’. Only after going through my own tests and trials did I realized she was right, He does only give you what you can handle. It is up to you whether you choose to embrace your faith through the trial and become dependent on God or will you continue  being independent?

When we put our trust in God nothing is impossible! We also have to remember not all our tests and trials come from God but He does promise to make good of all things for those that love Him.  Amen!

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It’s a Win-Win!

 

When a loved one is dying of cancer or any other illness for that matter how many of us find it difficult to praise God in and through the whole process? I think many of us would agree that praising God is not the first thing on our minds when walking down that road. Believe me I know the heart wrenching pain of seeing someone you love suffer. You see my brother Mike died of melanoma cancer which metastasized to his lungs eleven years ago and it was painful to see him go through so much. I remember it, like it was yesterday. Hospice came in and made him as comfortable as possible. Most of our immediate family was there at his side the whole weekend before he died. My son Tom was only four months old at the time and I can still see Mike’s smile as he looked at my son for the last time.  Something I will never ever forget. Even knowing my brother was going to die my heart had joy because I knew where he was going and there would be no more pain for him in heaven. If it wasn’t for cancer I often wonder if my brother would had known the Lord.  The best part is we who know and have received the Lord get to see him again. Now that is certainly something worth praising God about, don’t you think?!

His wife, children, and our family didn’t get what we wanted. We wanted Mike healed here on earth but we didn’t get what we wanted.  Praying that His will be done and not ours is also pretty difficult when a loved one is dying right before your eyes. All I can say is God turns everything into good for those that love Him. Mike was a living testimony of God’s grace and mercy and we will never know how many lives he touched because he had Christ living in his heart.  I often think of how awesome it must have been for Mike to get to heaven and to see just how many lives he touched because of Jesus.  Mike was in a win-win situation. If he died he got to see Jesus that much sooner and if he lived he could still tell people about his Lord and Savior so either way you look at it he won!

Paul says in Philippians 1:21-23 (NLT) this;

21 For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. 22 But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. 23 I’m torn between two desires; I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me.

This song was sung at my brother’s memorial service.

It Is Well With My Soul.

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How Close Are You?

I never thought of God as someone I could talk to like a best friend. I have always given Him the reverence He deserves but to talk to Him like a long-time friend really never crossed my mind. A couple of Sundays ago Pastor Donna Slocum and Pastor J Lillie performed a skit depicting how God wants to be our friend.  I truly had an epiphany while they were speaking.  I was not conversing with Him like He wanted me to.  I wasn’t treating him like a good friend never mind a best friend. I was holding back on our relationship. If someone heard me speaking to Him, one might say, ‘Why are you being so formal, Deb?’

I know I can tell Him anything and I do, but am I talking to Him like He’s my friend and the answer to that would be, No! Why am I having a hard time wrapping my head around this whole friend thing?   It is so easy for me to worship Him so why can’t I talk to Him like He is my friend?  Am I guarding my heart, but why? By not speaking to Him like He’s my friend what am I telling God? Am I holding on to something in my heart that I need to let go of, or maybe He’s telling me I need to work on the intimacy of my heart?  Maybe I need to learn to relax more in my prayer life and let Him hear my heart, my whole heart. What am I afraid of?  God already knows my whole heart, so again what am I afraid of? He knows the beginning to the end and the end to the beginning so what scares me about developing a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him?

I don’t have the answer but what I do know is that God is tugging at my heart and I need to follow His lead.  After speaking with a good friend today about this very issue I was put somewhat at ease with the fact that God is calling me to a new and deeper relationship with Him. I don’t mind telling you I am a little scared, well, actually more than a little scared.  I am very uncomfortable right now in my walk with Him because I am being stretched.  But then again if one is not stretched how can growth occur, right?

We were meant to be His friend, Romans 5:10-11(NLT) says this;

10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of His Son while we were still His enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of His Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

I am grateful that I have a God who keeps pursuing me.  He wants our relationship to become closer, deeper and more intimate.  God deserves to be put, high on a pedestal, there is no doubt about that, but don’t put Him so high that you won’t allow Him to be your friend.  He wants to be your friend as it states in His Word but don’t let that interfere with giving Him the reverence He deserves as well as all the honor and glory He deserves now and forever, Amen!

Lord, here I am!  I am Yours!  Help me to take every thought captive and help transform my mind to how You would have me think of our relationship and how to converse with You. Lord, thank you for guiding me every step of the way as I walk closer in a deeper relationship with You. Thanks for being my friend! Amen and Amen!

 

 

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Are you the friend that you seek?

 God did not intend for us to be alone or He would not have created Eve for Adam. He meant for us to interact with one another in a loving manner. We all want a friend, don’t we?

God’s word says;

18…Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man. Genesis 2:18, 21-22(NLT).

It is in our nature to want to share our lives with others. Have you ever wanted a friend but you found making friends was not something you were good at? Is it because conversing with others meant you had to share part of your life with them and that scared you to death. Maybe you never had anyone to show you how? And then there are some people who make it look so easy you would say they’re a natural. Those kinds of people seem to have an internal magnet attracting the opposite polarity in others without even trying.  It is such a blessing to be able to interact with people so easily.  For some of us, a lot more effort has to go into making a friend and keeping that friend.

What does being a friend mean to you?

To me being a friend is a give and take kind of relationship because one-sided friendships don’t seem to last, how can they? Don’t get me wrong I know in friendships there are times when one gives more than the other and that’s ok but what I’m talking about is when one person is doing all the giving and talking and the other is barely contributing to the friendship.  You have to be willing to share which means being both a listener and a talker in the good and not so good times.

It’s about being there for someone when a family member is going through an extremely serious illness and all they want is someone to talk to. It means asking can I pray for you or is there anything you need? Being a friend is about being kind and loving and not making any judgments on the other person. Sometimes being a friend means you have to give some tough love as long as you remember to speak the truth in love.

His word says;

Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Proverbs 16:24 (NLT)

To me being a friend is ultimately following this one simple acronym; WWJD-“WHAT WOULD JESUS DO” and for me it also includes “What Would Jesus Do or Say!”   What we have to remember is this, it’s not just about the words we speak but also our actions because they can speak louder than words sometimes.

I have heard my Pastor on more than one occasion say,

“If you want a friend you have to be a friend”

and he is so right!

 

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Calming of the Storm

 I’m sure we all can think of a time in our lives when there was a storm that seemed it would never end.  Did you struggle for a long, long time before realizing you needed to ask for help?  Did the storm calm down soon after you invited Jesus to help or maybe after you started praising Him for His will to be done and not yours?  Luke 8:22-25 (NLT) says this:

22 One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they got into the boat and started out. 23 As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap.  But soon a fierce storm came down on the lake.  The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger.  24 The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown. When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves.  The storm stopped and all was calm! 25 Then he asked them, “Where is your faith?”  The disciples were terrified and amazed.  “Who is this man?” they asked each other.  “When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!” 

 When I read this passage I, too was amazed at the power of Jesus.  But the thing we need to learn is to call upon Him and praise Him in the storm as soon as the wind and waves begin to swell not after the boat is filling up.  Sometimes that is easier said than done, I know, but Jesus said, we are promised trouble in this life.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.  Here on earth you will have many trials(storms) and sorrows.  But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33(NLT)         

Jesus wants to help all of us in our storms.  He will never leave our side that’s why all we have to do is ask for His help.  He is ready to hold your hand throughout the storm even before you ask. It’s like walking along with the person you really yearn to be closer to but you don’t know if it is too soon to hold their hand or not.  Then you think maybe I should just go ahead pick up their hand and hold it. But you don’t because you want them to make that conscious choice of choosing you.  That is exactly how Jesus feels as He walks beside you.  Can you imagine how He feels longing for you to just call on Him?  He is ready and willing to help calm your storm the moment you ask. Actually He was ready and willing before you even spoke the words.

Dear Father in heaven help me to praise you in the storms of my life. Only you, Jesus can give me the peace I need in this storm.  Lord, I ask for an increased measure of faith today.  Please calm the wind and seas like only You can.  Cover me, with your blanket of peace now as I praise You in this storm of mine. Amen!

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Rescued!

The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.

      Psalm 34:17-19 (NLT)

            Before becoming saved I never really put too much thought into the fact that God was always at my side.  I was always told “God only gives you what you can handle no matter what it is” but what I didn’t know was that he truly was and will be there to help me through all the troubled times not just some of them.  And yes, God does only give us what we can handle and certain things he allows to happen in order to strengthen our faith.  I have to admit when I am being stretched it almost feels like a rubber band getting ready to snap.  In the midst of the trial I often think will I hold up under pressure or will I break?

The beauty of it is that God knows just how far we can be stretched. So many times you do not know why God allowed this to happen until afterwards and sometimes we never know why.  Having said that, there is one thing we do know and we can stand on He will never leave us nor forsake us (paraphrased) Hebrews 13:5 (NLT).  God is always at our side whether we know it or not; “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 (NLT)

             God knows right where we’re at and he hears our prayers.  His timing is
perfect and our prayers are answered according to his will.  Let his will be done not ours.  He is our strength when times are tough.  He picks us up when we fall.  He comforts our broken heart.  He goes before us and declares victory.  He is our Lord and Savior our all and all!

Tell me about a time when God came to your rescue.

 

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My Father’s Business

 

Breaking Through

Have you ever wondered what it means to die to one’s self?  When I was first saved I used to think why does the Pastor keep saying that?  I mean really, if  you think about it how can one die to one’s self?  I know this is silly but this was going through my head at the time, that is physically impossible. You certainly would not be around to talk about the experience because you’d be dead!  So just what was the Pastor talking about?

One of the benefits to being in a bible preaching church the Pastor  explains his comments because he knows there are new eager believers hanging on his every word. Yes, I admit I was one of the new eager believers, well not so new now but none the less still eager to learn.  This is how it was explained to me; repent of your old ways and receive Jesus in your heart and you will be a new creation in Christ or something close to that.

When I was reading Galatians the other day the following verses caught my attention:

Galatians 6:14-16 (NLT)

14 As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. 15 It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. 16 May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God.

Galatians 6:14 caught my special attention well, actually, the latter part of it did, “Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died.

My life has changed drastically over the past five years.  Externally, I have become single, I lost my job, I went on unemployment, I went back to school, I home school my son and now I am searching for a job. But all of that is circumstantial to what has changed on the inside; my heart has undergone a transformation. It is so hard to explain it in words, the closest I can come to explaining it is the deepest “yearning” I have ever had for anything.  I believe that is what Pastor was speaking about when he said die to one’s self; get your mind off yourself.  I can honestly say that my interest in this world has come to an end. Oh, I don’t mean I want to die tomorrow but what I’m trying to say is that my eyes are Heavenly bound now.  That does not mean that I don’t see what’s going on around me because I do.  It’s just that now I pray that God will use me to reach the lost for His glory and that I will not be so consumed with my wants and desires.

I have been praying for an unquenchable thirst for months/years and He has answered my prayer. My heart desires what His will is for my life. I find I hear the Lord so much clearer now and all I want to do is be about His business.  My Father has called me to His business of  Special Touch Ministry, Inc. and I am currently the Vice President to our local Special Touch chapter-REACH New England.  It is so exciting to be used by Him and I can only imagine how Samuel felt when God called him to be about His business.

What business is the Father calling you to today?

 

 

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C.cada: Writing Prompt

C.cada is a community for Christian artists to get together and practice their art work whether it be writing, painting, pencil drawings, water-color,  photography, wood carving, musical/instrumental, fabric art, etc.  Pastor J of Lillie-Put is the founder of C.cada (Cornerstone Christian Artist Day Apart) and we were given a group art project back in January of this year. He gave us this writing prompt (He heard the crunch of autumn leaves behind him.  He turned...) that had to be incorporated in the short story somehow and it had to be 500 words or less. All of the short stories will be displayed at the C.cada Art Show this October.  Here is my short story,  The Woods.

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The Woods

He heard the crunch of autumn leaves behind him.  He turned slow but sure not to make a sound.  He peered around his son’s favorite oak tree; visibility was difficult for dusk was upon him. Nothing crossed his view, shrugging it off; he continued to pack up his camera and writing supplies. There it was again, the crackling of leaves! Closer and louder this time Marcus crouched around to ascertain what was making the ruckus. Again, nothing was there no matter how hard he pried his gaze into the deep woods.

Eager to gather his camera and writing supplies now, Marcus was intent on his departure. The auscultation of the branches breaking insinuated something huge.  There’s only been small wildlife in these woods from what he could remember.

Something else in the distance was moving with an increased velocity almost supersonic. Branches were snapping with an amplified sound.  Eventually, the only sound he could hear was the pulsating blood rushing through his ears.  Marcus crept stealthily to scan beyond his oak tree, shell-shocked at what his eyes computed.  It was a mountain lion propelling straight for him just as it leaped to attack Marcus dropped and screamed, God help me!  He laid there with his eyes glued shut praying fervently that God would wake him up from this nightmare.  Squinting one eye ajar he caught a glimpse of something magnificently radiant and very large.

Being there was a full moon and clear skies that night the woods were not succumbed by total darkness.  Whoever this was he wore a polished breast-plate and brilliant shield inscribed with large red crosses and in the battle stance his sword dripped with blood.  He easily stood seven feet tall could he be some kind of religious knight?  Maybe there was a King Arthur’s fair somewhere nearby?

Marcus had been visiting these woods for a good part of his life about 46 years now.  There had never been any mountain lions or “King Arthur” events around here for the matter.  As Marcus rose to a standing position he noticed the inscription on the breastplate, MICHAEL.  The “knight” lowered his sword and the mountain lion dropped to the earth dead.  Semi-paralyzed and aphonic with fright Marcus’ eyes gazed up at the massive man.

“Have no fear.” Michael said.

Marcus’ mouth lay open unable to utter a word still.

Michael whispered, “He heard your cry.”

With tear filled eyes, Marcus chokingly said, “Really?”

“He knows your pain.  He too, lost His son! Satan came like a roaring lion to steal the joy of Christ from your heart.  Your son Bobby would have donned his play “Armor of God” gear and overthrown him like David conquered Goliath.”

Marcus agreed, “He sure would have.”

“Your Heavenly Father wants you to know GOOD will come of this tragedy, because of Bobby many will come to know the Father.  Bobby told me he can think clearly now and there is no more pain!”

Marcus fell to his knees and sobbed.

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My “Beloved”

These are my thoughts on my “Beloved” some might even read it as a love note well I guess it really is one.

I don’t know how he does it but he makes me feel like it’s just him and I in the room even with a room full of people.  Somehow he knows I need to talk as soon as I walk in the room.  There is so much going on around us yet I seem to hear every word he speaks. It’s like hitting the mute button to all of the white noise and I am the only one in the room who can hear his whisper.  He’ll say something like; “Won’t you talk to me?  I know something is bothering you, I can tell.”  Almost inevitably I breathe a deep sigh and a tear will fall down my cheek and I am instantly comforted by the fact he knows me so well.

So many times no one else knows how I feel except him.  There are certain things that are just too personal to share with just anyone.  When nothing seems to be going right I know I have to talk to him and other times we sit surrounded by silence.  In those moments my spirit feels one with his and peace fills the room.  Recently, I have found myself calling him more and more, just because.  He has totally captured my heart, so much so, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t talk to him or think of him.

It is pretty amazing to be this much in love that my heart will ache to spend more time with him.  Some days it is hard to think about anything else but him.  Those days he’s all I can think about and I find myself longing to be in his presence.

Looking back on my life I can’t believe  it took me so long to realize he has always been right here beside me.  I knew I was in love the very first time I invited him in.  It sounds crazy I know but seriously it was and is true love, you know that “forever” kind of love.  His love is like no other, a love I have never experienced before in my entire life not from anyone.  Talk about a fairytale love but better! He is kind, gentle, loving, trustworthy, and most of all extremely patient with me.  I mean how many people these days can you say, love like that?

You might already know who he is but allow me to introduce you to my Beloved.  He is my all and all, Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior.  The love I have found with Him is an unconditional love that will last an eternity.  Amen!

                    For he loves us with unfailing love; the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever.  Praise the Lord!  Psalm 118:2 (NLT)

My Love

Oh, how I long for the Son,
To which my heart was won.
It overflows with love
Only from thee above.
Can you not perceive?
How my heart believes
That He is The King,
Hence, my “Everything”.
He is the lover of my soul
For, there could be, no other.
Oh, how I long for the Son,
To which my heart was won.

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A Change of Heart

How often do we say the words, “I forgive you,” the question is do we really mean it or feel it in our hearts when we say it?  Personally, I have said theses words, “I forgive you,” and to be completely honest they were just words at the time.  God says we have to forgive, well, I did say the words but that is not what He meant, is it?  I just figured sooner or later if I said the words enough I would eventually feel it and begin to believe it in my heart or so I thought.  I’m here to tell you it does not work that way; you need to have a change of heart.

God states in His word that we must forgive.

Luke 17:3-4 (NLT) 3 So watch yourselves! “If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. 4 Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks for forgiveness, you must forgive.”

Forgiveness is not about the person you are forgiving it is really about you and your heart. You must believe in your heart that you have forgiven them or how can God begin to heal those wounds especially if there is un-forgiveness still present in your heart.  Sometimes you believe you have truly forgiven that person until something or someone triggers a memory that opens up that old wound.  It is in that very moment you realize, “Wow, I guess, I really haven’t forgiven them after all?  So what do I do now?”

You must choose if you really want to forgive them or not because the next step in the process of forgiveness is a crucial one. You need to be willing to prepare your heart to make a conscientious decision to ask God for help.  You can’t do this on your own and I am speaking from experience.  I needed others to pray that I would have a change of heart.  In my flesh it was impossible for me to forgive this person for what had been done but God does not want us to stay in a place of un-forgiveness, you only end up hurting yourself.  My heart needed to be softened and with the help and prayers of my brothers and sisters in Christ my heart changed. God heard all of our prayers and I was able to truly forgive this person.  At the time that I was working through all of this I felt God speak to my spirit, “Debby, I forgave Paul.”  I knew I had to forgive him.  I no longer carry the burden of un-forgiveness, God now has it!

Matthew 6:14-15(NLT) 14 If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Is there someone you need to forgive?   Ask God to help prepare you for a change of heart.

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