Floods of Love

Wow…what a day!  Rainy and cool in August!  Water everywhere.  Texas is flooded.  Louisiana is flooded.  North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland under flood watches.  Water, water, everywhere.  And everywhere you look in the news, someone has their own peculiar explanation of why the weather has gone crazy.

Floods.  When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him.  (Isaiah 59:19)  The standard that I have seen being lifted up over the last few days is that of compassion and help.  It is a beautiful sight!  Amidst all of the anguish, true love is shining forth.  Breathtaking!

The LORD is always operating, and the way He is operating in the midst of this storm is wonderful.  I love to watch what God is doing, and even more, I love to participate when God is on the move!

Over the last couple of years I’ve had my own flood, of sorts.  Devastation that knocked the wind out of my sails and put me in a tailspin that I was certain would never end.  But GOD!  The enemy had definitely come in like a flood and all I could do was cry out to God.  Sometimes I couldn’t even do that.  Even then, my heart, though broken, sought my LORD.

His response was to lift up a banner of love and protection over me as He began the amazing work of reconstructing what the enemy had torn down.  He started slowly, just letting me know how much I was loved.  Then He began to mend me, piece by piece, until the entire vessel was completely whole.  When that was finished, He started filling me anew with more of His precious Spirit.  So much love, and peace, and joy!

I am now on the backside of the storm.  It isn’t completely over, but it is on its way out, and I dwell in a place of perfect peace.  I want to share that peace with everyone I meet.  I want to share the amazing love I have found.  And I want everyone to have the same sweet friendship with the Savior.

Yet today I sit in my den, watching the rain, baking cakes and lasagna, and trying to figure out why I was created and what it is God wants from me.  I know if I didn’t have a purpose I wouldn’t be here.  I just have to figure out how to go about telling everyone about Jesus in a way that lets them experience His amazing love themselves.

Have I told you lately that He loves you??

Advertisements

What is God doing?

Sometimes I just have to ask myself, “What is God doing?”

I felt those words stirring in my mind this morning as I was out and about, running errands and then visiting a friend who is recovering from surgery.

It was while I was out and about that I began to wonder about the ‘bigger picture’ of what God is doing right now in my little corner of the world.  It isn’t as if I were the only person experiencing the wonder.  All over the world things seem to be out of kilter.

Take for instance, the weather.  Our weather has permanently changed since the mega-earthquake that occurred in Japan in March 2011, shifting the earth’s axis and shortening the length of a day.  And it isn’t just our weather that has changed.  Everyone is noticing changes.  Of course, there are the fear-mongers who consistently demand that it is global warming.  And they are right to the extent that part of the globe is warming that previously did not – but they are also wrong because for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, and the opposite sides of the earth are now cooler than they were previously.  The polar ice cap may be shrinking, but take a look at what is happening in Antarctica – a major increase in ice mass.  “A new NASA study says that an increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from its thinning glaciers.”  (https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/nasa-study-mass-gains-of-antarctic-ice-sheet-greater-than-losses)

But I digress.

What is God doing?

Another little tidbit is the way the stars are aligning above our heads.  Some point out that in September 2017 we will see the story of Revelation 12 played out in the sky and, in fact, it began in November 2016 and will culminate on September 23, 2017.  (Coincidentally, Feast of Trumpets)

Wars and rumors of wars.  Earthquakes.  Famine.  Pestilence.  All of these things are continuing and THIS WEEK I heard reported that SEVEN, count ‘em, SEVEN diseases that the U.S. had eradicated within its borders are now back in the country, brought in by the influx of immigrants and aggravated by the anti-vaccine groupies.  Small pox, measles, whooping cough, mumps, bubonic plague, leprosy, and polio.

What is God doing?  I believe He is fulfilling the prophecy that He gave to John the revelator.  All of these things have been foretold, and we were warned.  I think, though, that we are like ostriches – we stick our heads in the sand and pretend it is all for another time, another generation.

It is time to wake up church.  Wake up and spread the Word.  He is, indeed, coming SOON and the signs in the heavens and realities on earth make it so apparent.  It is all laid out for anyone who cares to read.  If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to try.  Read the book of Daniel.  Read the book of Revelation.  Read the gospel of John.  And make a decision as if your life depended upon it – because it does.

Time is short.

Bossy!

Do you like people telling you what to do?  Not asking, telling.  And sometimes, not even telling, but ordering.  Do you like it?  Me neither.  I would do anything for anybody, all they have to do is ask and if it is within my power, I will do it.  But telling?  Ordering?  Here comes that rebellious streak again…..

I had an epiphany of sorts about that very thing today.  My life has been full of bullies, from childhood through marriage, and I rail against anything that even smells like bully.  So having someone tell (order) me to do something brings out the worst in my spiritual nature.  It creates such emotional turmoil and upheaval that it is impossible for me to focus on anything else until the issue is resolved.

Earlier this week I was actually impressed in my spirit that Lord was NOT going to tell me to do something.  That gave me such relief because the ‘something’ was not something I wanted to do.  So I was happy go lucky and headed down my little trail without a care in the world.  That, of course, changed today.

There I was, minding my own business, reading the Scripture and BOOM! Out of the blue it hit me.  Maybe I should do what the Lord was saying He wouldn’t tell me to do.  Lord?  No response.

For me, there is nothing so telling about my spiritual temperature than ‘no response’ from Lord.  It is sort of like the calm before the storm.  You know, all’s quiet on the western front – but not for long!  So, I approached the situation with fear and trepidation because I was beginning to think I might be in trouble.  Entering my prayer closet (which is to say, quieting my spirit and focusing on Lord), I laid before Him the three options I saw for the situation and asked Him which one I should do.  This time, the response was, “You choose.”

Once again I felt like maybe I was in big trouble here.  I approached the throne again, this time with explanation that I didn’t know what to do.  I didn’t know what the truth of the situation was and I surely didn’t want to make a misstep.  Silence.

Finally, after quite a long time (several hours, in fact) I was greeted with a revelation of sorts.  Lord wasn’t making this choice for me.  He wasn’t going to allow me to lay the responsibility on Him and then run the risk of my turning on Him some time in the future and blaming Him for the way things turned out.  In essence, He was saying to me, “Put on your big girl panties and make a choice.  Whatever your choice, I am with you.”

I felt abandoned.  Do you see the paradox here?  I don’t like to be told what to do but when He wouldn’t tell me what to do, I didn’t like that either!  Talk about a lose-lose situation for the Lord!

And as I sat there in my car in the local shopping center parking lot, I meditated on what I had just learned about myself.  I want to do everything myself up to a point – no interference, no bosses.  Then, when the choices get more difficult, I want someone else to make the decision so I don’t have to shoulder the responsibility for that decision.  Hmmmm.  Talk about wanting to have your cake and eat it too!

I learned something else.  Lord loves us.  He wants what is best for us and His advice about what is best for us in order to live happy and healthy lives is clearly spelled out in His Holy Scriptures.  But He isn’t about to force us and He isn’t going to abandon us when we make dumb choices or walk a rocky path as opposed to a smooth trail.  God loves us.

It gets better than that.  God loves ME!  ME!  Just as I am.  So, having learned everything I did today, I am going back to the drawing board on this big decision.  I will be studying Scripture that pertains to like circumstances and hopefully I will be strong enough to make the decision that Lord believes is the one that will give me the happiest and healthiest life.

What a mighty God we serve!

 

Proverbs 1:20-33   New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Wisdom Warns

20 Wisdom shouts in the street,
She lifts her voice in the square;
21 At the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
At the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings:
22 “How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded?
And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing
And fools hate knowledge?
23 “Turn to my reproof,
Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.
24 “Because I called and you refused,
I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention;
25 And you neglected all my counsel
And did not want my reproof;
26 I will also laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your dread comes,
27 When your dread comes like a storm
And your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you.
28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently but they will not find me,
29 Because they hated knowledge
And did not choose the fear of the Lord.
30 “They would not accept my counsel,
They spurned all my reproof.
31 “So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way
And be satiated with their own devices.
32 “For the waywardness of the naive will kill them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them.
33 “But he who listens to me shall live securely
And will be at ease from the dread of evil.”

Aha!

Ever have one of those moments where you slapped your forehead in frustration as the light-bulb went on above your head?  I seem to be having those quite a bit lately.  But today’s was a doozey!

I spend a fair amount of time each day on my ‘spiritual’ side.  You know:  reading, listening, growing, and trying to increase in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.  Usually these are such sweet, peaceful times that my days goes very well afterwards.  And I guess my day went well after today’s session as well.  It’s just that I have a lot to meditate upon.

A friend of mine told me this week that the Lord has been dealing with her about being slothful.  She is the LAST person I would have picked to have that weakness so I quizzed her a little bit.  It turns out, after listening to her describe what she was hearing in her spirit that she is, indeed, slothful spiritually.  Well, never to be outdone, 🙂  I headed to Holy Scripture this morning, reading all of the verses that relate to sloth.  After reading and meditating, I sort of tossed that aside as not a big hot-button for me.  But we all have character weaknesses that need work and we are usually so blind to them that we miss it entirely.  I laid aside my Bible and journal and focused on the Lord, asking Him to reveal an area that I need work in.

Guess what?  He did.  And IMMEDIATELY.  I mean, I barely got the ‘Amen’ out of my mouth and my spirit lit up with the word ‘rebellion’.

Huh?  Me?  Rebellious?  You’d have to know me pretty well to understand that I am a pussycat of the introvert variety.  I’m not only a peace-keeper, I’m a peace maker!  So this was a real shocker for me.  I always obey.  I mean, ALWAYS.  How could I be rebellious?

I’m in the middle of a pretty tragic family situation right now that has been unfolding for two years.  I have blatantly (forgive me, Lord) told Lord what I would not do.  And the funny thing is, He has never contradicted me or tried to lead me down a different path.  But you know us humans — we get the bit between our teeth and we think we know everything.  So I assumed that this was the issue of ‘rebellion’ that the Spirit was impressing on me.  After more prayer and meditation, guess what?  Not so.  This was not the issue.  You want to know what it is?

My book.

You see, some years back I began work on a book.  It was hit and miss because of work and then retirement and then travel and then….well, you get the picture.  Early this year I felt I had received clear instructions on organizing what I have written for publication, and I got started.  But then I stopped again, taken over by other projects and cares of this world.  This is the rebellion that the Spirit was pointing to this morning.  This rebellion relates to spiritual matters and since I know what the Lord wants of me and have not done it, I am rebellious!  How do you like that?

No, I didn’t like it either.  But, I do like the fact that I can go to the Lord with any question and if I will shut up long enough, He will answer me.  Pretty neat.

And the book?  Well, I have travel coming up but there won’t be any more travel scheduled until I get the book in a form I can give to an editor.  It shouldn’t take that long.  It will just take a little discipline.  And a LOT of help from Holy Spirit.

I am at great peace again this evening as I bask in the forgiveness from the Lord that comes from true repentance.  And no, He won’t have to tell me again.

 

Keep Smiling!

What a glorious day! The sun is playing hide-and-seek with passing rain clouds, the temperature is around 80 degrees F, and the humidity is low enough so life outside is bearable. I feel marvelous inside and out! My health is good, my attitude is good, and LIFE is good!

As I walked about taking care of little chores today and then running errands around town, I was conscious of an attitude of gratitude for all the blessings that pour out upon me on a daily basis. I was also conscious of a sadness as I prayed for a dear friend who had a knee replaced yesterday. She isn’t doing very well. They had a terrible time yesterday getting her veins to stay still long enough to put the intravenous line in for anesthesia, and then, after the surgery she was in great pain and so nauseous. And now, today, she is still so nauseous she cannot keep any food down. She was supposed to be going home today but that has changed and she will be staying in hospital until…..who knows when.

This dear friend of mine has suffered with health issues for many years, some of which I had never heard of until she came down with the sickness. The doctors have been trying to replace this particular knee for years but her health would never allow it. First cancer; then shingles; then an unknown and undiagnosed swelling and raw tissue in her mouth; next came the itching – without rash or any visible reason, her skin began to itch so much that it was almost unbearable; and of course a fall at work that would have killed most of us; follow this with eye surgery as a result of the fall; then vascular issues in both legs which eventually led to the veins in both legs being ‘stripped’; follow this with blood pressure issues that almost seemed schizophrenic – sometimes way high followed by way low in the same half-hour period; and now, this.

Why is it that some of us suffer so much with health issues and others do not? What is the underlying cause of my friend’s many sicknesses and surgeries? I just do not know, and I do not believe the doctors have an answer either. For the last ten years this dear one has spent most of her time going to doctors or hospitals or laboratories and radiological clinics. She has been prodded, poked, cut open, sewn up, drugged, dilated, badgered and bullied. Yet, in all of this, she is a delight to be with. At each visit she tells people about Jesus and how much He loves them. She carries the joy of the Lord within her heart and nothing seems to dislodge it from that place of honor. In the midst of the most horrendous times she will get the giggles so severely that she falls onto the floor, rolling with laughter!

This has been a most amazing walk to watch as she allows the joy of the Lord to be her strength and she walks into victory after victory after victory. No cancer – seven years healed. Legs totally healed. Eyesight totally restored. Skin healed. Mouth healed. Blood pressure normalized. And, (speaking in faith) knee totally healed. Her doctors call her the ‘miracle patient’.

My friend is a walking, talking, praising testimony to the keeping power of God and His amazing strength through trials. Truly, her very life is the greatest evangelistic tool I have ever seen.

God has used my friend in the most amazing manner and she has touched an untold number of lives BECAUSE of her circumstances. She has spoken to doctors, soldiers, families, friends, nurses, janitors, technicians, and countless visitors about Jesus. So, my friends, the next time you think God isn’t using you or has placed you on the shelf because things in your life aren’t going so swimmingly, I hope you will remember my dear friend and remember that God loves you just the way you are and He is using you right in the middle of your mess!

God bless! Keep smiling!

Yesterday

Wow! Sometimes the memories of our childhood are so bright they can take our breath away! That’s what happened to me yesterday and then again this morning. I had this flash of a memory of my brother and sisters and I all walking to the local movie house to see the Saturday matinee. I had my quarter clutched tightly in my hand and my older brother was holding my ‘popcorn’ money.

I wouldn’t want you to think that this was an everyday occurrence for us. We did not have much in the way of disposable income in our family so to get to go to the movies meant that someone – my step-grandmother perhaps, or my single uncle – had given my parents money so that the kids could go do something fun.

We walked to the movie house from our home. It wasn’t too far away but for an eight year old it was quite a trek, little legs striving to keep up with all of my older siblings. We lived in a suburb of Detroit and the roads were busy then, but not impossible to cross. We always made it in time to get popcorn and find seats all together. Then the movies! Sometimes it would be a double feature. I remember seeing The Blob, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Boy, oh, boy did those things scare me!

I had occasion recently to be back in Detroit for a revival meeting. I hadn’t been in the area since we moved away in 1966. It had changed so much, and yet was so very much the same. We drove by my elementary school (wow! So small!) and cruised by the two homes we had lived in. Both were so small! How did a family of eight live in those little bitty houses? If it weren’t for the addresses in front of me I would swear we were in the wrong place. They had looked so much bigger when I was a child.

I was surprised at the waves of nostalgia that swept over me. We had only lived in Detroit for about five years but they must have made quite an impression upon my life. I felt the ache of homesickness as we drove the streets, and the longing to have those days and my family back again. I wanted to start over – to go back to 1960 and start all over again, taking time to appreciate my family and the days we shared in those little homes. Life was easier (for me) then and I didn’t have all of the bad memories tormenting me. I only had a future and dreams.

As I reminisced about hopscotch and dodge ball and snow cones and Saturday matinees my driver was silent and simply drove where I directed him. I suppose he sensed that I was reliving those moments in my mind and he left me to it. After almost 50 years I still knew which turns to take and what road led to where.

The Lord has reminded me this morning that my memories, my past, are part of who I am. The good, the bad, and the ugly have all had a part in shaping me into the woman I have become. He has reminded me, too, that some of those memories are colored or tainted, like my memory of the houses as being so much bigger than they actually were. He reminded me that it is never good to yearn for the past. What we remember is not actually how it was and, if we could go back, we would wish we hadn’t done so. He has brought me back to the present like a kaleidoscope quickly turning and in the same moments bringing to mind all of the blessings He has placed in my life for today – right now. And with His sweet, gentle, touch I release the past into the past and embrace my present. After all, we really only have today.

May His love rain down upon you and His light shine through you – TODAY.

Give Me A Break!

What a gorgeous day! Absolutely perfect weather – which we NEVER see this time of year. I should be out walking or riding a bike or swimming or SOMETHING other than what I am doing!

And what is that, you may ask? I am engaged in warfare!

I have a mouse in my house! At least I think it is just one. I saw it come in when it crawled out of a box that was carried in from the garage after having sat out there for three days longer than it should have. (Can someone PLEASE explain to me why some people never do what you ask WHEN you ask? But I digress….)

I saw the little brown mouse head for the kitchen and lost him around the bend. Over the next several months I have put out ‘humane’ traps, old-fashioned mouse traps, mouse bait, RAT bait, glue boards, glue boxes, mouse tunnels, and on, and on, and on. After a while I gave up. I hadn’t caught anything and no one else in the house seemed to care or notice the occasional dropping. I finally convinced myself it had crawled off and died somewhere.

The most amazing thing through this struggle is that no one believes me. My family laughs at me and does absolutely NOTHING to assist in my battle to free my home from detestable inhabitants (the mouse!)

I haven’t tried a cat because, of course, I’m allergic as is everyone else in the house. But that would be the best solution.

As I said, I sort of quit trying. I left a couple of traps lying around but I’ve never caught anything. And then BOOM! I awoke this morning to a mouse dropping in my BED! IN MY BED!!! This means WAR!!

This afternoon I am making up glue traps and boxes, baiting with peanut butter and putting them everywhere. I’ve even cut some down and made a three foot long glue board to go in front of my closet door – nothing goes in, nothing comes out!!!!

My most frustrating moment was when the three-foot-long glue board got stuck to the BOTTOM of the closet door! You know, those things are REALLY STICKY!! I pushed, I pulled, I swore (forgive me, Lord) and I tore. Eventually, I pulled it loose, repaired what I could and taped it to the floor.

Now I know this sounds silly to most people, but I can’t stand mice. They are dirty, disease carrying rodents who belong OUTSIDE, not in my home! And I swear, if I don’t catch the little monster this week, I’m bringing in the big guns – EXTERMINATORS!!!