Sunday, August 20, 2017

Psalm 5:11-12 - "Home"

Yesterday was a day full of memories. The memorial service for Mr. Fred brought back fond memories of our visits at the hospital, nursing home and their home. They normally included singing hymns and laughing. They also included memories of when he was in church and as Doc said being the ‘amen corner’! Oh, how he will be missed. Then to come home and find out of Jeremy’s death more memories started playing in my mind. Seeing him grow up into a godly man was one of them. Having class with him at Wayne College was another. Praying for him when he was so sick and encouraging him however I could was a privilege for me. Now I am praying for his wife, daughters, parents, siblings and the whole family as they grieve his loss from this earth. This family knows where Jeremy is because of the life he lived. But the loss of him here with them is great and the days ahead will be tough. I pray His strength over them in a mighty way. I pray for their tears to cleanse them in the name of Jesus. I pray the memories they have will be soothing to their souls. I will never forget how Jeremy helped my Daddy when my Daddy testified about an accident he witnessed that Jeremy was on the jury for. That meant a lot to Daddy because he knew it was the right thing to do yet he didn’t want to ruin someone’s life. Jeremy assured him it was OK. The shirt Jeremy wore the day Daddy testified was a Christian one. Daddy saw it and was encouraged. As soon as I found out about Jeremy's death I cried but immediately started praying. Right before falling asleep I prayed once more for this family.

The Lord woke me at 3:00 to pray for today. He had me pray for pastors to not be hit by fiery darts of the enemy as they are in His house. Specifically He had me pray against discouragement, people’s words, the looks on people’s faces as they preach, and misconception of people’s words or attitudes. He also had me pray for worship leaders who are trying to please people instead of God. He had me pray for congregations full of critical people. He also had me pray for Jeremy’s church family as they grieve today, especially for the pastors as they minister to people even though they are hurting themselves.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the hope of eternity that I know both Mr Fred and Jeremy had. Thank You for the knowledge that we will see them again when You call us home. Thank You for the way You will encourage and love on those hurting over the loss from this earth of their loved one. Lord, I need Your supernatural strength in a whole new way today. I need You to overtake my body with You. Thank You in advance for the way You will be my words, actions and attitude today. Thank You for filling me to overflowing with more of You. Thank You for being My Home Maker. Amen.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Philippians 4:12-13 - "Better Is One Day"

How lovely is Your dwelling place oh Lord Almighty,
My soul doth long, And even faint for You
Here my heart is satisfied within Your presence
I see beneath the shadow of Your wings

Oh how these words are so full of truth. There is no better place to live but in the presence of the Lord. That is where true contentment is found. True contentment is being content no matter what is happening. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:12-13…

Paul saw tough days and he saw good days but he never gave up. In today’s society when a couple starts having issues in their marriage they file for divorce. When a parent starts having issues with their unruly child, they blame someone else such as the school, the other parents, etc. and throw up their hands and allow the child to do whatever they want. When a person has issues at their workplace, they blame someone else and quit. When things do not go right in life, believers will blame God and turn from him. Or they will blame others and cause issues in relationships. The best thing to do is to go deeper with the Lord and allow Him to work in and through us. We need to take our faith to a new level and trust Him to give us His supernatural strength to enable us to be winners over our situation. God does not like quitters. He loves when we fight with His power. 

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the day I realized what living in Your presence is all about. Thank You for Your strength that empowers me to toughen out physical issues. Thank You for Your empowerment that enables me to win over hurtful issues. There is no better place to be than in Your presence. Father, I pray for more believers to find the peace in Your presence. I pray for the Holy Spirit to come down upon people so they will know You in a whole new way today. Lord, would You use me today to show people Your peace? Would You be my words, actions and most of all attitude throughout this day? Father, I pray for Ms Nancy today as we have the memorial service for Mr Fred. I pray for Your love to wrap around her so much that she will feel Your Strength. Thank You Jesus for being My Presence. Amen.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Philippians 4:13 - "Hills and Valleys"

Yesterday was a bit strange. I woke up from having a dream that made me pray throughout the day. I asked God if He gave it to me to prepare me. I never received an answer just felt the urgency to pray so I did. I wasn't connected throughout the day to any news but when I turned the radio on in the car in the evening I heard something had happened in Barcelona Spain. The same place that was in my dream. Even though I didn't pray specifics throughout the day He had me praying for that area. After I heard this I prayed specifically for all involved including the ones responsible. I would not wish such an attack on anyone but I am hoping this is the reason God had me praying and not for what happened in the dream. Although, He knows His will is all I desire. There is so much going on that is not of God. Attacks that cause injuries and death are happening all over the world. How do people cope without the hope of Christ? How do people get through tough days without His strength? I know I can't. He is what is seeing me through these days of pain and being so tired. He is the One I turn to for encouragement when life is tough. I praise His Holy Name for all the ways He loves on me in the mountains and the valleys of life. I pray for more people to find Him so they will also have His peace.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for Your love, mercy and grace. Thank You for all the ways You encourage me. Lord, I pray for more of You to fill me to overflowing so people will see and hear You instead of me today. I pray for an abundance of Your Holy Spirit to flow out of me. Be my words and my actions in a mighty way. Thank You for being My Peace, Hope and Strength. Amen.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

II Corinthians 4:6 - "Oceans"

Listening to God's voice changed my life. Before I could hear Him I first had to be in right relationship with Him. I had to die to self so He could live in and through me. I had to realize life is not about what I desire but what He desires. "Oceans" was so heavy in my thoughts during a time when the Lord took me deeper.

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

That is exactly what He did. He called me to go deeper in my relationship. Where I was, was not enough. But the thing about it is we should never be content with staying where we are in our relationship with the Lord. We always need to strive for more of Him. Saying you are 'saved' or 'sanctified' is not enough. People need to see Christ living in and through us. Last night in group it was awesome the way the Lord spoke to us individually but it all was one focus. We need to be a light in this world. Sometimes we are the only connection people have to Jesus. The burdens can become very heavy but He is always there for us. We must remember the Holy Spirit goes before us and prepares people to hear the Gospel from us. It must be done in God's time and not our own. But before we can share Him we have to know Him. We have to be in right relationship with Him. That sad part is that the church today is full of people who are 'playing church' instead of living out Jesus. There is too much legalism in the church today. For many gatherings of believers there is too much what man desires and not enough of what God desires. Man's choice of music, man's words in preaching, man's way of's way not God's way. I love to hear the stories of the people waving their hankies and running the aisles when they got blessed in a service. I love to be in a service where there is freedom to worship so if the Holy Spirit pours down upon someone it comes out of them. My heart breaks for...

  • the times Holy Spirit is stifled
  • when people allow their own personal likes of music to cause issues
  • when pastors have to have their congregation out by a 'certain time'
  • people who are in conflict with others in the congregation
All of these things show where people are in their relationship with Christ. We have to get past self and allow the Holy Spirit to take us where He desires.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Yes! The only way to be "In the presence of my Savior" is for Him to be not only your Savior but the Lord of Lords and King of Kings of your life. That is exactly what I am praying for today for many believers. I am praying they will let go of their desires and accept His. When they do, they will be blessed in abundance with a new freedom.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the blessings of yesterday! Spending time with Jimmy and Eli was awesome! The way You spoke to us in group was so exciting for me! Thank You for the day ahead and for the ways You will use and bless me. Lord, I pray for more of You to take over my spirit. May people see and hear You instead of me today. I also pray for more believers to allow Your Holy Spirit to work in and through them. Lord, may Your Holy Spirit have reign in more bodies of believers in the days ahead. May You receive freedom to be a part of services in a whole new way. Thank You Jesus for being My Freedom. Amen.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Matthew 4:10-11; "He Knows"

As I read Matthew this morning I stopped at chapter 4 to something I never picked up on before. In the very beginning it says that Jesus was led into the wilderness " the Spirit for the Test" (MSG). Some people always give the devil credit for putting temptation before them when in fact sometimes it is the Heavenly Father who puts tests before us. Satan is always looking for ways to trip believers up. He likes to make believers look bad to those who are not grounded in faith. Doubt and despair are part of what he likes to see people wallow in. He likes to see them in such distraught that they will sin against God. We must remember the words of Jesus when satan tempted Him...

Satan listened to Jesus and left. We read in verse eleven after he left the "...angels came and attended" Jesus. This lesson is one all believers need to adhere to. We need to knock the enemy down when he comes knocking at our door. We need to remind him God is who we serve. When we do this, God will empower us with His supernatural strength. We also need to remember sometimes when we are going through tough times it is a test. The Lord wants to see if we will pass or fail. He wants to see if we will dig our heels in deeper with Him or if we will give up. When I feel like giving up, He reminds me that He is always with me. When things seem to go wrong time and after time, He reminds me nothing is wrong when He is in charge. What I see as 'wrong' is just a little detour in the way He sees it. His timing is the best timing. His way is the best way. The little detours along the way are places where we can be crabby or we can embrace. We have to make the choice. As we embrace the detours of life He will bless us with His peace. 

This morning I was thinking of how my Daddy use to tell me it was OK to rest but I couldn't stay in bed or the MS would take over. He would tell me that I couldn't give up even when I felt like I couldn't fight anymore. I am so grateful my Heavenly Daddy was my earthly Daddy's strength. I am blessed in having his determination to never give up when the detours of life come along. No matter how hard, no matter how many tears fall, no matter how people treat you...God is there to enable and empower.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the blessings of yesterday with the children and teens last night. Thank You for the blessings ahead in this day. Father, I pray You will enable me to stay strong in my faith. Give me Your words and attitude today in a brand new way. Shut my mouth when it needs shut and speak boldly through me when the time comes. May Your will be done in my life today. May You be glorified through me today in a mighty way. Thank You Jesus for being My Detour Guide. Amen.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Genesis 1:9-10 - "God of Wonders"

On the third day of creation God created land and sea. I always have felt drawn to water, particularly the ocean. When we were on one of our cruises, we swam in water where I could see my feet. It was beautiful. Now that the Lord has brought us to South Carolina and we live on an island I see water everyday. As we cross the bridge I feel like I have to pinch myself that I am living in such a beautiful place. I remember telling the DS that if God was going to bring us to SC He would put us near the water. I think he thought I was joking but I knew if He was going to take me so far from my family He would bless me with being near the ocean. It is there that I feel the most peace. As I sit and watch the waves I see His power. The light breeze across my face is Him touching me. The smell of the ocean air is Him in every breathe. Last year at this time I went out to the beach multiple times during the week. This year I may get there once every couple weeks. That saddens me. I need to make time to be there more often. It is where my cup gets filled the best. It is where I am encouraged the most in my loneliness. The beach is where I am able to tune everything else out and tune in best to God.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the blessings of yesterday and the blessing ahead in this day. Thank You for a decrease of pain. Thank You for the time ahead tonight with the children and teens. Lord, will You show me how to make more time for myself. I feel selfish in taking it and I feel even more selfish in asking You to enable me to do so. I need more of You in my life. I need more concentrated time with You. The desire of my heart is to become more like You. I pray You will enable me to do so. Fill my cup to overflowing with more of You so people will see and hear You through me today. I cannot be who You desire of me if my cup isn't full. I cannot give people what they need if I am empty. Thank You Jesus for being My Blessedness. Amen.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Galatians 5:22-23 - "He Is With Us"

Some days are just harder than others. Sometimes people or circumstances cause you to want to quit but you know God doesn't want that. He wants you to persevere through tough times. The desire of His heart is to be seen through you in circumstances that are not fun. Doc's sermon on James yesterday reminded us if we wanted to keep our joy we needed to stay in close relationship with the Lord. That makes sense in so many ways yet as a human being it can be hard when dealing with hurt. It is hard to stay focused when dealing with physical pain. It is hard to not take things personally when dealing with people in ministry. One must remember everyone has a story and with their story comes baggage. 'Hurting people hurt people' may just be a saying but it is very true. Sometimes people hurt others on purpose but a lot of the time they don't even realize they are doing it. Sometimes words come out of mouths or looks come across faces that hurt another person but not intentionally. The Lord knew I needed the words to the song He Is With Us this morning...

We can trust our God
He knows what He's doing
Though it might hurt now
We won't be ruined
It might seem there's an ocean in between
But He's holding onto you and me
And He's never gonna leave, no
He is with us, He is with us, always, always
He is with us, He is with us, always

Amen! These words are promising words that we all need to hold onto. No matter what we go through in life "He is with us!" Yes! Praise His Holy Name! 

We believe
There is purpose, there is meaning
In everything
We surrender to His leading
He wants nothing more
Than to have us close

As Doc shared yesterday, when we walk in obedience He will give us insight as to what He desires us to do. When "We surrender to His leading" His voice will be heard and followed. It is the best place to live. We must trust Him 24/7. He will soothe the hurts brought on by life. He will give insight as to how we need to approach people and love on them even when they are unlovable. He will empower us with His Holy Spirit so the fruit of the Spirit will flow from us even when it seems to be impossible.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the reminder this morning that You are with me no matter what. Thank You for giving me Your words and attitude in times of hurt. Father, You know the things I am dealing with and You also know the outcome. I pray for more of You to show through me. I pray for more focus as I deal with physical pain. I pray for You to be glorified in all I do. Lord, I also pray people were not only listening but they were grasping yesterday's sermon. Oh how I pray for more to walk in the path of obedience. Open doors that need opened and shut doors that need shut in all of our lives so You will be greater than us. Thank You Jesus for being My Promise Keeper. Amen.