Nineteen and counting…

“Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in thee; let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.

Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed; let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.

Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.

Remember, O Lord, thy tendermercies and thy lovingkindness; for they have been ever of old.

Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O Lord.

Good and upright is the Lord: therefore he will teach sinners in the way.

The meek will he guide in judgment (justice): and the meek he will teach his way. All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.

For thy name’s sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity: for it is great.

What man is that heareth the Lord? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose. His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth.

The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant; Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.

Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses.

Look upon mine afflictions and my pain; and forgive all my sins.

Consider mine enemies; for they are many; and they hate me with a cruel hatred.

O keep my soul, and deliver me; let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee.

Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait upon thee. Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.”                                       Psalm 25

That is the second set of scripture I ever tried to memorize, I am still not really good at memorizing them but I can quote a few of them verbatim.

But Psalm 25 will also be special and especially on this day.

Nineteen years and hopefully counting since the first time I ever read those words and nineteen years since I fully understood that God really is there and He really does hear us and that He  really  will move heaven and earth to save us and meet us on our terms, no matter where we are, what condition we are in.

When we ask and seek, He really will come to us, just like His word says that He will.

We don’t have to be in a church house or have a fancy person praying for us, all we have to do is ask.

And He does it not because of anything we have done, will do, or ever could do, because our righteousness is as filthy rags, just like the Bible says, He does it because He is God and He wants to save us.

have failed Him many times along the way, many mistakes and things I wish I could do completely different and choices I wish I could go back and make all over again and maybe make the “right” ones with retrospect to guide me.

But that is one of the many beauties of God, He is a God of new days dawning and those new days begin each and every day.

That I am trying to bear in my mind for this new chapter in my life, forget chapter, this baby may as well be a whole new book, with the loss of My Mom and my sister my whole world and prospective of that world has changed, and I am painfully aware that the outcomes and happiness I experience in that new world will be dependent on the Lord guiding me and how I choose to view that new world.

And I can’t make it through this day without thanking Him for saving me and even though they aren’t here now, I still have to thank Mom and Ruby, (although I did always try to truly let them know how much I appreciated them)

Ruby did not stop until she got her “heathen baby sister” saved, from buying my Valentine’s day Bible to praying constantly for me and finally when I was ready, praying the Lord’s prayer simultaneously with me on the phone, as I wanted to “learn” how to pray aloud.

She went to church with me and explained things to me and I was so scared and timid when I first started out that I would literally shake when they asked me to testify.

When I was called into ministry, her and Mom kept encouraging me and praying for me, constantly reminding me that no matter how many doors slammed in face, or pastor’s treated me like I had the plague, that God would make a way and He has through this.

They were not “just” family, they were awesome on that count also, but they were the sweetest, kindness, prayer warriors and prayer partners anyone could have ever been blessed with, and I miss them so much and especially today.

As painful that journey has been and as painful this season has been, one thing remains, God is sovereign and although life changes and life hurts, there are always going to be times of tears, but there will also been times of joy and peace, laughter, and new beginnings and in time and in His time, He does deliver us from those enemies and He does deliver us out of those distresses and “He make all things beautiful in HIS time”.

If you have never accepted Jesus as your Savior, please consider doing that today!

You will not regret it and this could be the dawning of your brand new, “new every day” day!

Thanks for reading! God bless you with love & peace!

Nothing like these old photos, this one is one of my favorites. Despite the quality they are priceless.

Mom,Ruby,&Me

Mom, Ruby, & Me and in my heart they will forever be.

 

 

If you only knew…

“Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it IS that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” John 4:19

Pretty familiar story there, she stopped by the well and Jesus ran a quick perception test on her. Technically,  she “knew her place” as a Samaritan, and for the intent and opinion of “man” and she knew that the Jews (which Jesus was and still is) had a complete distaste and contempt for the Samaritans and would not want, let alone actually ask  for anything from her or her people.

So hopefully now that we are thinking in that vein, we’ll back this train up and backtrack to the beginning of the story. 

“When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, ( Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples.) He left Judea, and departed again into Galilee.

And he must needs go (he needed to go) through Samaria.  Then he cometh to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave his son Joseph.

Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied in his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.

There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water; Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat (food.) 

Then saith the woman unto him, How is it, that you being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.” John 4:1-9 

That brings us up to speed on the starter verse.

So many in the Bible, story after story of those who were approached by what they would feel was an unapproachable God.

Think about it, He came and walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening while they still inhabited Eden.

My all time favorite (that I have probably used far too many times) but Genesis chapter 18 tells the story that so perfectly captured just how perfectly, and supremely gracious God is, when he and the angels came down to check out Sodom and Gomorrah and he wanted Abraham to feel “kept in the loop” as to what would soon happen and as Abraham knowing what went on in those cities and wanting to save the life of his nephew Lot who lived there, he started his “bargaining” with God, asking him “if they be fifty righteous found in the city” would God spare it? And each time God answered, “Yes.”

Each time Abraham asked God again, lowering the number because he knew how bad they were but desperately wanted to save Lot, so he went all the way down to twenty. And finally Genesis 18:32-33: “And he (Abraham) said, Oh let the Lord not be angry, and I will speak yet but this once. Peradventure (perhaps)  ten shall be found there. 

And he (God) said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.  And the Lord went his way, as soon as he had left off communing  (speaking with) Abraham: and Abraham returned to his place.”

All through the Bible, through miracles (like with Moses), through angelic visitations such as, Jacob, Joshua, Hagar, Manoah and his wife,  John’s father Zacharias, Mary, and many others. Through spoken encounters, and by dreams and visions to his prophets, ALL through the span of time, he has made himself to be approachable to us.

And it is up to us to be obedient to that approach.

I love the story of Elijah and the widow, (1 Kings 17:8-16), we are told that this takes place during the famine, a famine God had been sustaining Elijah through by having  ravens feed him and a brook provide water, but when the brook was allowed to dry, it meant it was time for Elijah to move on, comfortable or not, time to go, again obedience.

So God tells him where to go and that he had commanded a widow to take care of him, if you notice in that story, when he met the widow she was gathering sticks for a fire, so he asks for a drink, and as she is going to get him a drink,  he then called to her to ask for food, she tells him she has basically nothing but a tiny bit of flour and oil, and that she was going to prepare the last of their food and her and her son were going to eat it and then die.

So once he asked her to make his food first and then for her and her son, she agreed, I personally believe that was the moment when her obedience to the prompting of God in her heart brought forth a miraculous blessing from God from that obedience.

For her and her house, not to mention the prophet, God supernaturally sustained her and her house until the barren times were over.

But think of that, what if she had not been open to prompting of God in her spirit? God had told Elijah in advance taht she would take care of him and yet she told Elijah she was going to prepare food and die. God had already put the blessing their and god has already prepared her heart to act upon his will.

Now to the lady at the well, she is a good example of this, and I truly feel that many of us suffer from our OWN self-image issues, feeling that we would never be good enough are kinda like the lady at the well when Jesus approached her, her first response was shock, shocked that he would even speak to her and more shocked again, that he would ask anything of her, because the treatment she had received from his “people” had been anything but kind.

Sometimes I truly think many have a hard time coming to Christ and accepting salvation, not because of him or salvation itself but because of the ridicule and mistreatment they have suffered from others.

And wrestling with the “good enough-ism” when we will NEVER be good enough, nor are we expected to be, because HE IS more than good enough to cover all of our sins.

So maybe up to this point your life has held a kind of  “snap before you are snapped”, and “get them before they get you”, kinda philosophy because when you buy into the lies of satan and convince yourself, in your own pain, that “the God-stuff” and all that “Jesus loves me” business is just not real… or that he is not approachable for you, it is very easy to throw away your today, your future, and your eternity and for what?

He IS real, but how could you possibly KNOW the reality of an invisible being while your mind is trapped in a blinded, cynical world?

How can you possibly KNOW whether or not He does love you IF you have never opened the door and let him in long enough for him to tell you that he does?

Just like this lady, who didn’t begrudge the water she just couldn’t believe she was approached for it by someone whom she mistakenly believed hated her.

How many do you think prejudge God’s thoughts toward them?

Without ever understanding that we can NEVER even know his thoughts or understand his ways, because as the Bible teaches us “His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts” and all the human attributes of grudges and prejudices that we ascribe to him, without KNOWING him are just wrong and are not even in his character.

Just as this lady THOUGHT she would be naturally misjudged and automatically hated, she did not have a clue WHO she was talking to. And so many today are falling to that same misguided mindset!

Jesus KNEW who she was! He KNOWS who you are, and He KNOWS who we all are!He went on to tell her all about her life and save her.

He KNEW what was going to have to happen to those sinful city’s when he spoke with Abraham and he KNEW exactly how many he would find there, and just like all the other references, and many others that could be used as examples, HE KNEW the answers BEFORE he asked the questions.

He is God, He knows all these things, he knows the beginnings, the endings, and all that goes in between.

He knows the number of the hairs on our heads and the moment that our hearts will beat the final beat.

And he is so different from us because he created us, not the other way around and even though he came to earth as human, he is still NOT a human.

And it in is that graciousness, beauty, and mercy that he does approach us in life, he sends his word, he sends his messengers, and even now in this present day, he STILL sends his angels, and he will send his own Spirit. 

And Psalm 19:3: “The heavens DECLARE the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.”

All the heavens, all of creation bears proof of a magnificent Creator and despite all the intelligence insulting nonsense taught contrary to this truth, we are still are born with a need to reconnect and an internal knowledge in our hearts and our souls that scream out that there IS more to this existence and that there IS more to life than simply death!

Who would ever want to believe that there is nothing more?

IF THIS, these lives, blessed or not, rough or not, was ALL we would ever know as existence, no one should EVER get out of bed, they should lay there and simply give up because that would be the most morbid, depressing state!

Believing that there is no hope, no love. nothing eternal!

BUT there is so much more!

And until you know Jesus you will never understand what is it to truly be ALIVE.

Until you know him, his peace, his supernatural provision (which never ceases to amaze me in my own struggles) and most importantly his plan for your joy, you ARE missing everything.

And you are missing a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with the absolute King of heaven and earth, who wants to heal you, deliver you, and let you know that no matter who you are, what you have done, or what others have said about you THAT he loves you and wants to show you things that the human mind cannot even begin to comprehend!

IF you only KNEW the one who can turn your night into day, scatters every demon, and breaks every chain, turn your ashes and tears to beauty and laughter.

He will rock your very soul and he will restore you and his mercy will turn your upside world perfectly upright.

IF you only KNEW who were missing… you wouldn’t miss out on him.

Young or old, black or white, all nations, all people, there ARE none who have not been approached and offered this blessed gift, the gift of Jesus Christ, we are not promised the next breath, but we ARE promised an eternal existence, either in heaven or in hell.

Like it or not we ARE forever, we WERE created to be eternal and eternal we WILL be. And maybe you still feel like, “crazy Jesus fanatics” (as we are often called), “think they know everything” but you know what, we ARE not fanatics.

Have you ever thought about this, everyone that witnesses Christ to you now, was once on the other side of that fence!

No one is born saved! We have all sinned, most of us also have thought once or twice about that “crazy Jesus fanatics” talking to us about God in our pasts!

But now the only separation between us is that we CHOSE to listen to them and took to heart the thought of “Hey, maybe there is more, maybe there is hope.”

And invited him into our life and accepted that salvation and now we thank him for those people who loved us enough to share the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel. 

So as he stands knocking at the door of your heart, as creation bears witness to his majesty, and his messengers, and witnesses are sent to you, know this, HE IS approaching you, accept him, get to know him before you decide whether or not you need him in your life.

We are nothing without him, we will never know TRUE freedom, true joy, or true peace until we are connected back into the one who breathed our very life into us. Don’t miss out on that because you will have missed it all.

1 John 4:19: “WE LOVE BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED US.”

Love & Peace till next time, have a blessed week!

Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω NB 2018

 

 

NUMBERED

CHICKS LOG: STAR DATE: DECEMBER 27 2015.  Sentimentally looking for the  approaching 2016 and as most of us welcome a new year. One more shot to get right things that maybe did not go as planned. Another chance to make something right and do the work of the kingdom. A New Year filled with perhaps golden opportunities that may never come again.

We all know that with all the new beginnings also come new challenges and often new heartaches and then we tally up those numbers into lists of credits, debits, and accounts that may never be settled in our hearts. We take those numbers with losses high-lighted and throw them down at the feet of old man time, as we desire old acquaintance be forgot. And give to baby new year a clean slate and look to the future and hope the baby treats us a little kinder than the old dude did and that we all will have a better year.

As humans we ponder the events of the past year and we set goals and make resolutions for our hopes and dreams for the new one. I don’t make resolutions but I do have hopes, dreams, and goals.  I pondered all this yesterday as my pre-Christmas cold had returned with a bloody vengeance and my dripping nose had me feeling like the guy from the hot dog commercial when his kid asked him to cook something and the room starts spinning and “cook something” echoes repeatedly. But with me it was like “write something, write something” my nose won that battle but here I am today! 

My lessons from 2015 is simple, a reinforcement of the knowledge that God is sovereign, storms come, winds blow, life hurts and it hurts bad but Jesus is still walking that water with us. He will go with us to the end of this world IF we will allow Him.

 How we view our circumstances and how we allow it to work into our relationship with Him is completely up to us but it is the deciding factor of the numbers game that will either make us or completely break us. I have been to eight funerals this year, there have been more pass away but those are the ones I have made it to. My daughters best friend lost her Mom in June. One Church sister lost her Dad, another lost her husband and I watched my  own Dad preach two funerals, I watched him lose friends, church family, his niece and then this month his sister. My husband lost his Dad two weeks before my Aunt passed away. His death leaving his family absolutely devastated beyond words because his condition had improved and appeared that he was going to be fine.  Two of these had lost their lives after battles with cancer. Watching all the tears and seeing all the pain, and all those who suffer, especially with prayer requests being to pray for God to please let them not suffer. It can overwhelm everyone, everyone involved. Knowing the entire time that the ones who will be left behind truly need the prayers more.

This is where we all learn dependence on the Lord and I want to share a story that was told at my Aunt’s funeral. The man who preached it has been an Evangelist for over 40 years and his ties to our family are truly God sent, he and another preacher prayed faithfully with our family and my brother when he was terminal, they preached his funeral and in the midst of all those visits he told Mom and Dad that he had prayed the salvation prayer with my eldest brother, either the day he died or the day before. This was in 1973 and had been a torment to my family for years, but see even in the middle of the suffering and ordeal of losing one child, God gave them comfort about the salvation of another.

Silver linings in those dark clouds and rainbows in between the storms. Anyway, he preached my Aunt’s funeral and he is so humble and uses God’s word to comfort all who hear him. His wife had battled cancer for years and years, in the meantime a man had asked him to promise that if he passed away before him would he preach his funeral, and of course he agreed. The way it all went down was like this, the man passed and his wife lost her battle, he had to preach his friends funeral at 2:00 pm and his wife’s services were at 4:00 the same day. He shared that story with everyone as proof of God’s love and mercy even in the worst possible situation. The same God who carried him through would also carry those who asked him.

It is all seasons of this life and some years you will have to add every flower, every rainbow, and every sunny day, and most of all every single morning that He has allowed us breath, into that credit column to prove that all in all the good DOES outweigh the bad. IT IS ALL HOW YOU CRUNCH THOSE NUMBERS.

Mention of numbers, here’s some good ones. 

GODS LOVE AND CARE TOWARD US: 

MATTHEW 10:28-31:  “And fear NOT them which kill the body, but ARE NOT able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both the soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthling? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. BUT THE VERY HAIRS OF YOUR HEAD ARE NUMBERED. FEAR YE NOT THEREFORE, ye are more valuable than many sparrows.”

GOD WATCHES OVER US:

PSALM 56:8: ” Thou tellest (counts or takes into account) my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are the not written in thy book?” 

JOB 14:16: For now thou NUMBEREST my steps: dost thou not watch over my sin?”

LEARNING TO LEAN UPON THE SURE MERCIES OF GOD: 

PSALM 90:12,14: “So teach us to NUMBER our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom. O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may REJOICE AND BE GLAD ALL OUR DAYS.”

WISDOM FROM THE WORD:

ECCLESIASTES 12: 1-8:” REMEMBER now thy Creator IN THE DAYS OF THY YOUTH, WHILE THE EVIL (VEXATION, TROUBLES) DAYS COME NOT, NOR THE YEARS DRAW NIGH (while in your prime) when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

While the sun, or light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: (good days) In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease (stand idle) because there are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened (grow dim), and the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up the voice of the bird, and the daughters of musick shall be brought low;

Also when they shall be AFRAID of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail, BECAUSE MAN GOETH TO HIS LONG HOME (DIES, ETERNAL HOME),and the mourners go about the streets: Or ever THE SILVER CORD BE LOOSED, OR THE GOLDEN BOWL BE BROKEN, OR THE PITCHER BE BROKEN (SHATTERED) AT THE FOUNTAIN, OR THE WHEEL BROKEN AT THE CISTERN.

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and THE SPIRIT SHALL RETURN TO GOD WHO GAVE IT. VANITY OF VANITIES, SAITH THE PREACHER; ALL IS VANITY.”

HOPE IN GOD:        ROMANS 8:36-39:    “As it is written, FOR THY SAKE WE ARE KILLED ALL THE DAY LONG; WE ARE ACCOUNTED AS SHEEP FOR THE SLAUGHTER. Nay, (NO) IN ALL THESE THINGS WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERERS THROUGH HIM THAT LOVED US. For I am persuaded, that neither DEATH, nor LIFE, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, NOR THINGS PRESENT, NOR THINGS TO COME, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, WHICH IS in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

LAMENTATIONS 3:21-23:   THIS I RECALL TO MY MIND,THEREFORE HAVE I HOPE. It is of the Lord’s mercies THAT WE ARE NOT CONSUMED, because HIS COMPASSIONS FAIL NOT. THEY ARE NEW EVERY MORNING: GREAT IS THY FAITHFULLNESS.”

That is MY HOPE,   WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERERS when He allows us to laugh through the tears and leap while lame, and shout when we are so emotionally drained that we no longer have words and are just speechless. I see the rainbows and hear the birds and even through the bad we had a beautiful, new little family edition and my sister started a beautiful new chapter in life,  my friend Michelle and our husbands attended a spring formal with our daughters only weeks before her death and even with stage four cancer, she danced and those, those are the memories that will forever shine. My Aunt Evelyn will forever be in my heart, I will forever miss her and miss talking to her and miss her always being there with us but I know one day we will dance on those streets of gold. I know just as He did for Brother Joe, God will strengthen all who ask and I know in the end when all numbers come up God allows us to hold the winning hand. From my heart to yours, may you and your family have a Blessed New Year in Jesus’ name. Amen!

Φλογιζω NBJ 2015