Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I Peter 4:12-13 - "The Secret Place"

I woke up this morning with these words going through my mind...

I'm running, I'm running
I'm running to the secret place

When I heard this song at Women's Getaway I was so blessed by it. I was in the middle of everything with my breast cancer. I had been diagnosed but had not started the radiation yet. I was confused, hurting both physically and emotionally. But the one thing I knew was who was going to get me through it. The only answer was God. He was my "secret place" where I could find rest. These last two weeks have been tough with Doc's BP issues, my back and then last night him with a kidney stone. I have to stay in my "secret place" if I am going to survive all of this spiritual warfare.

In the fading light when night is breaking
I know You will always be waiting
You'll always be there

There is no doubt in my mind that God is not going to leave me. He did not bring us to South Carolina to fail but rather to prosper. We have made headway for Him and will continue to do so. Why? Because I can sing to Him and know "You are my only hope, You are the Rock on which I stand, You will not let me go, I know that I am safe inside Your hands..." The inspiration for this song came from a dark time in Phil Wickham's life. He lost his voice and was facing surgery on his vocal chords. He wasn't sure he would ever sing again. God told him no matter what the outcome He would still love him. Phil trusted God and leaned on His strength as he went through surgery. God blessed him with being able to sing again. When I was faced with breast cancer, God told me to do the radiation and I did. He was with me every step of the way. He was with me when I cried with the rawness. He was with me when the schedule did not allow us to go to Ohio for the holidays. Disappointments in life are just that. Disappointments. But God loves us through disappointments. He is with me. Plain and simple. He loves me. I am His child. As I sat in the ER with Doc twice over the last couple of weeks His peace was with me. No matter what the outcome of the tests or the financial strain I knew He was in control. He takes care of us and blesses us. Once again, plain and simple, He loves us. Sometimes I think God wants to see just how deep our faith goes. He saw His son have a deep faith which took His obedience to the deepest level in His death of the cross. I know He desires my obedience to go deep. I also know the enemy wants to see my faith falter. The enemy will not win because God already won in my life! He is My Strength to get me through tough days.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for this song this morning that reminded me just how much You love me. Thank You for the trying times that take my faith deeper. Lord, I pray for the day that is ahead. I pray for answers at Doc's appointment. I thank You for the way You continue to use us and bless us here in South Carolina. Fill me to overflowing with more of You throughout this day. I pray for all who see or hear me to know it is You. Thank You for being My Secret Place. Amen.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

I Peter 4:11 - "Love Lifted Me"

I was awake several times during the night and each time these words were going through my mind...

Love lifted me! Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help
Love lifted me!

Amen! I love the second verse to this hymn where it says, "In His blessed presence live, ever His praises sing"! It continues, "Love so mighty and so true, merits my soul's best songs, Faithful, loving service too, to Him belongs." That is what life is all about...loving and living for Him. Life is not about how many years one has been in the church. It is not about how many times you've taught Sunday school or sang in the choir. Those are just things one does as a believer. But more importantly a life lived for Him is how many people you have brought to know the love of Jesus. Too many people get caught up in 'doing stuff' in the church when they are missing the boat as to what the Lord wants of us. I am thankful for those who brought my brother back into relationship with His Heavenly Father. It is strange to say but I am thankful for his cancer. If he would have never had cancer, he nor his family may have never came to the end of self and accepted Christ. Sometimes it takes 'bad things' to make us realize just how much we need the Lord. It is through the 'bad' that 'good' can happen. I know myself when I am going through tough times I draw closer to Him. These last few days have been tough ones yet I continue to lean on His strength. I know I won't turn from Him because I know He won't turn from me. He knows the outcome with Doc's health issues. He knows what is causing the pain in my physical body and my emotional body. He knows. Plain and simple. I do not have to fret or worry because He is taking care of things. It may not happen in the time I desire but it will happen in His time.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for Your love! Thank You for accepting Gene into your loving arms! Thank You for knowledge that I do not have to fret or worry but instead can rest in You. Lord, I pray You will not allow my pain to distract from what You desire of me. Fill me to overflowing with more of You so people will see and hear You instead of me. I pray for physical strength as we have the children and teens tonight. I pray for wisdom with my physical body. Lord, I also pray for my family who are grieving over our loss. I pray for mending in relationships. Father, most of all I pray for all of my family to come into relationship with You. Lord, may I be a shining light for You in these dark days. Thank You Jesus for being My Strength. Amen.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

James 1:2-4 - "Lean On" matter if it is physical or emotional can be crippling. I was clinging to James 1:2-4 yesterday as I prayed for my family with the loss of my brother, my physical pain in my back/hip and with Doc's physical issues. I was beginning to think I wasn't doing a very good job in being joyful when a friend wrote me these words which blessed me in abundance and enabled me to realize His joy once again.

"It is very hard when you get bombarded with so much. Remember, joyful isn't that you're bubbly on the outside, but that God's peace is inside you. God is carrying you through everything. He said when tough times come, that He will be on our right side to walk us through. It's not how much we can handle but if we'll hold His righteous right hand through it. Thank you Lord, for being with Doc and Sheila. Ease there pain and suffering, Lord and bring them through everything with tryump. AMEN. Love y'all!!!!"

This morning the pain is still in my physical and my emotional body yet I am at peace. I do not know why we are going through these things but the Lord does. I pray the tough times will lessen yet more importantly I pray for our spiritual strength to deepen during them. The words to "Lean On" were in my mind this morning...

You can lean on everlasting arms
When your strength fails and your faith is worn
You'll be safe here from all alarms
You can lean on everlasting arms

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for friends who carry me through the tough days with their prayers and words of encouragement. I am blessed with old friends in Ohio and new friends in South Carolina who strengthen me. Thank You for the day ahead. Father, I pray for wisdom on what to do with my physical pain. I also pray for You to be glorified through it. Lord, fill me to overflowing with You so I can endure this pain in the manor You desire. Thank You Jesus for being My Peace. Amen.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

I Peter 2:4-5 - "Come Thou Fount"

I woke up to the words of an old hymn going through my mind...

Come thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise

I love this song and all of the meaning behind it! He is the fount or source of every blessing I receive. I pray every day for Him to open my eyes for opportunities He has for me so I can bless Him with my obedience. When He blesses me, I am blessed in return. I pray He will not only teach me what He desires me to learn but that He also will enable me to be led by the Holy Spirit to live out what I learn. I also pray for Him to show through the way I live. "I'll praise the Mount I'm fixed upon it..." Woo hoo! Yes! I will praise His Holy Name as I live a life grounded in Him. For a long time I sang but didn't know what the word 'Ebenezer' referred to and was blessed to find it means 'rock of help'! He has been my Rock of Help in the past and continues to be that each and every day. He protects me each and every day, sometimes even in ways I don't even know about. He protects me from temptation when the enemy comes knocking at my door. We, as human beings, are not God yet we have His supernatural empowerment available to us. When we live for Him in a life of holiness, we no longer have the desire to sin. I love the last part of this song...

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

Woo hoo! Yes! We go the ways of the world when we are not living a sanctified life. The temptation to live a 'better' life on this earth will only pull us away from a life of eternity with our Lord. We must pray for Him to "take and seal" our heart in order to live in "Thy courts above"! 

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the reminders of this song to praise You and to stay grounded in a holy life! It will be then, and only then, I will live with You for eternity. Oh how I pray for more people to come to the end of themselves and live a life of holiness. I pray for more people to not only come to know You but for them to come into full relationship with You. Father, You are so awesome in the way You bless me over and over again. Lord, not only do You know the things we are going through but You know the outcome. I do not have to fret over anything. I pray for physical strength as my body is so tired from yesterday. Waking up and feeling this way is not the way I would chose to start my day but You are in control. You will give me exactly what I need, when I need it. You know what is ahead in this day and for that I am grateful. I pray You will enable me to not be distracted and miss opportunities You have for me. I praise You Father for all the ways You take care of us. Thank You for being My Ebenezer! Amen.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

I Peter 3:13-18; I Thessalonians 5:19;23 - "Testify"

After the third time of waking up with weird dreams and having the words to "Testify" going through my mind I began to wonder what the Lord was trying to tell me. I believe I must not be testifying enough. I do my best to share what the Lord has done for me to whoever will listen. I strive to live a life for Him 24/7, doing His will. But no matter how much I do or say there is always room for improvement. When the Lord called me to go deeper with Him, I was obedient. I didn't do it quite in the manner He desired so He stopped me physically so my complete attention could be on Him. The deeper I went, the more blessed I became. That is how it is in a relationship with Him. He desires us to become more like Him. He desires us to no longer have the desire to sin. I love the words to this song...

Wave after wave
As deep calls to deep
Oh, I'll reveal my mystery
As soon as you start to let go

Yes! We have to let go of self and the ways of the world in order to find what He wants for us. The 'mystery' of His love is embraced in a whole new way as we allow Him full control over every aspect of our life. We don't have control anyway but we sure like to think we do. Oh how I miss the days of being in church and hearing Chester testify of what God had done in his life. I loved hearing the stories of Grace waving her hankie and getting blessed. Sometimes I think I should have lived in a simpler time. A time where...

  • it didn't matter how long the service went on Sunday as long as the Spirit led it
  • church services were lively and people testified
  • the music wasn't an issue because everyone was there to worship
But I must remember God has me in this time for a reason. When I get blessed, it might be a surprise to people but it is genuinely the Holy Spirit oozing out of me. I will not apologize nor will I stifle it because that would only hurt Him. Paul tells us in I Thessalonians 5:19 not to quench the Spirit. In verse 23 he tells us, "Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again." There is a connection to these two verses. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through us in order to be 'kept blameless.' That means if the Holy Spirit comes down on us and blesses us we need to allow Him. It means if He chooses to have us be blessed in the middle of a church service, we need to let it out. It doesn't mean we need to interrupt the service but it needs to be a part of the service. If He prompts us to testify, we better do it. It is up to Him to take care of people's attitudes, not us. He is the Only One we need to please. He doesn't care if a church service goes 'too long' or doesn't go the 'way it is suppose to' but instead He desires to see His Spirit have free reign. Oh how I pray for more of these type of services.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the reminders throughout the night of what You desire of me. Thank You for blessing me in abundance. Thank You for having me in this time, in this place even though I long for simpler times.The most important thing I long for is Your Holy Spirit residing in me.I ask for forgiveness for the times I have stifled Your Holy Spirit in a service. Lord, enable me to remember You are the Only One I need to please. I thank You for the opportunities You will give me today to share Your love. I thank You for the way You continue to give peace in the storms of life. Lord, You know the things laying heavy on my heart and You also know the outcome of these situations. Thank You I do not have to fret over them. I pray blessings over those who are hurting deeply today due to deaths. I pray Your peace will come down upon them in a whole new way. Thank You Jesus for being My Deep. Amen.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

I Peter 3:8-9 - "Magnify"

I woke up this morning to these words from the song "Magnify" going through my head....

Take it all take it all away
Magnify no other name
Open up open up my eyes
To you, To you...

Another part of this song goes...

God be greater than the worries in my life
Be stronger than the weakness in my mind
Be louder let your glory come alive
Be magnified, Be magnified...

Yes! No matter what happens during my day I want the Lord to be glorified. The desire in my heart is for Him to be glorified through my actions and my reactions. In I Peter 3 Peter gives clear direction on what our "job" is while on this earth and that is "to bless" others. When we do this, we will be blessed in return. Woo hoo! The greatest blessing we will receive in living a life of His love is that of eternal life. In order to receive this gift we must get to the end of ourselves and allow His Holy Spirit to work in and through us. The key to living this type of life is found in the words "Until you're all that's left" which are found in this song...

My sight is incomplete and I made you look small
I've been staring at my problems for way too long
Realign where my hope is set
Until you're all that's left

Yes! Nothing else in this world matters as much as He does. No matter if we are on top of the mountain or in the valley He is the key. Our actions and reactions will determine whether He will be magnified or glorified. People are watching to see how we handle the ups and downs of life but most importantly He is watching. His desire is to bless us. I imagine His heart hurts when we don't live out a life of holiness. I sure don't want to hurt Him after all He did and does for me. I want to "magnify" Him! Woo hoo!

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for yesterday with the time You gave us to take a walk in the beauty of Your creation. Thank You for the fun times and the memories we made last night with the children and teens. Thank You for giving me strength for yesterday and rest last night. Thank You for the song my friend Sheryl sent to me that encouraged me greatly. Thank You for all of the messages of encouragement sent from many yesterday and the phone call from Crystal that made me feel better. Lord, You are so good at putting people in my life to encourage me and for that I am grateful. Father, I want to be a blessing to You by my actions and my reactions. I pray for more of You to ooze out of my words, actions and attitude so people will desire to have a life with You. I pray for people to go deeper in their walk with You to the point of living out a life of holiness. Father, You are truly the key to eternal life and oh how I pray for more people to accept You. Thank You Father for being My Key. Amen.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

I Peter 3:4-7 - "Beloved"

I thought 'I want to be a Sarah' as I read the beginning of the third chapter of I Peter this morning. I don't want to have a child at an old age as she did but I do want to follow her example of how she loved her husband. Peter continues in verse four with direction for husbands to "Honor them, delight in them." As a wife, I need to show respect to my husband. I think of how my friends who have a non-believing husband struggle with the idea of showing respect to them. I pray for God to show them ways they might not have tried in the past. Matthew Henry writes:

There is nothing more powerful, next to the word of God, to win people, than a good conversation, and the careful discharge of relative duties. Irreligion and infidelity do not dissolve the bonds, nor dispense with the duties, of civil relations; the wife must discharge her duty to her own husband, though he obey not the word. He continues...A chaste conversation, attended with due and proper respect to every one, is an excellent means to win them to the faith of the gospel and obedience to the word.

I pray for Jesus to flow from their mouths so their husband can see Him in them. I pray that for myself. I want Doc to be uplifted by my words. I want him to know I support him not only through my actions but also through my words. In the beginning of this chapter there is direction given about beauty. Outward beauty is not what is important but instead it is "holy beauty" or inward beauty. If my soul is not taken care of, my husband will not be blessed. When Doc was ordained, Dr. Diehl prayed over me to have a "gentle and quiet spirit." I was teased afterward about that. But I do think the Lord has tamed my spirit down over the years. I would like to think I have the qualities Matthew Henry writes about...

Take care to adorn and beautify your souls rather than your bodies. The ornament prescribed. It must, in general, be something not corruptible, that beautifies the soul, that is, the graces and virtues of God’s Holy Spirit. The ornaments of the body are destroyed by the moth, and perish in the using; but the grace of God, the longer we wear it, the brighter and better it is. More especially, the finest ornament of Christian women is a meek and quiet spirit, a tractable easy temper of mind, void of passion, pride, and immoderate anger, discovering itself in a quiet obliging behaviour towards their husbands and families.

I like the idea that the longer we wear the grace of God, "the brighter and better it is." Woo hoo! Normally it doesn't get better in one's outward beauty as the gray hair comes on, the wrinkles start showing, etc. But when you think about what a lady who is living a life for Christ you see a glow about her instead of the wrinkles and gray hair. I desire for people to see His glow in me instead of the imperfections of my physical body. I think of how pregnant women have a glow about them. They have new life growing inside of them. When we have new life in us, we will glow too.

Today is a tough day for many with all of the celebration that happens around Valentine's Day. I pray for...

  • ones who are lonely due to the death of their spouse
  • ones who are hurting due to a separation or divorce
  • ones who have been abused by their spouse and feeling unloved
  • children who will go to school and hear what other children received from their parents while knowing they will receive nothing, not even love
  • singles who have never had the true love of another

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the time we took yesterday to enjoy lunch and a walk at the waterfront park. Thank You for my husband. I continue to trust in You with his physical issues. I pray for a timely response from the cardiologist for the stress test. Thank You for continuing to encourage him. Lord, adorn me with more of Your grace so I will glow with You. I pray for more of You to fill me to overflowing so You will ooze out of me. May Your words, actions and attitude ooze out of me today in a way people will know it is You. Thank You Jesus for being My Beauty Maker. Amen.