Saturday, September 21, 2019

II Timothy 1:7 - "Hard Love"

Last night I dreamt about a couple for many years I have prayed for. It seems like they have struggled in their marriage from day one. In my dream, they finally seemed content in finding a happy medium where both realized if they were going to live a blessed life they were going to have to put God first instead of their own wants and desires. I would love to see this dream come true. When we take our marriage vows, we need to realize the only way life is going to work is for three to be involved. God, husband, and wife. The order needs to be that too. God must come first in all decisions. He must come first no matter what. When a couple lives in such a manner, they will realize life is not about them but Him. I'm so grateful to have such a marriage. It does not mean we always see eye-to-eye but it does mean God directs all decisions made. Monday will be our thirtieth anniversary. Woo hoo! I'm grateful for the way God leads us. I also am grateful for every day we have together. My breast cancer diagnosis three years ago and Doc's pancreatic cancer four months ago makes us appreciate life in a different way than most. No one knows when our time on this earth will be over but when you have 'C' in your life it brings reality into play a little bit more. We love to celebrate! For our twenty-fifth anniversary we did '25 things to do before our 25th'! We had so much fun! Some took some money like our cruise while others things were free like watching a sunset. The important thing was we were together celebrating us and thanking God for one another. Last fall we began '30 things to do before our 30th' but Doc's diagnosis got in the way of completing many things. We decided we were going to change it to '30 things to do for our 30th' since we need to extend it past our anniversary. We are going to be intentional in getting our thirty things accomplished. We know it will take some work with everything going on with his health but we also know we are making precious memories. No one is guaranteed life but we know God is in control of this situation and will bless us through it. We cannot live in fear but instead must continue to live a II Timothy 1:7 type of life. God did not make us to live in fear but instead He made us to live in His love and empowerment. I am determined to be the person He has called me to be, even in these tough times. I pray the same for Doc.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for Your love, mercy, and grace! Thank You for our dear friends Ron and Elizabeth who took us out last night to celebrate us! Thank You for my husband! Thank You for the way You are the Center of our marriage! Thank You for directing our path every day! Father, cleanse me so You can fill me today with more of You! I pray for You to ooze out of me in a new, different way today. I pray You will be so close to Doc today. May He realize Your empowerment today in a mighty way. I continue to pray for a healing for him. I pray You will show through his life in a glorious way today. Father, be with couples who are struggling in their marriage. I pray they will put You first. I also pray for couples who are preparing for marriage to put You first. Thank You Jesus for being Our Center! Amen.

Friday, September 20, 2019

II Timothy 1:7; Psalm 11 - "Do It Again"

This morning God took me to Psalm 11 to ponder upon. One commentary wrote this Psalm is about a point in David's life when everything in his life seemed hopeless. This Psalm points out how we are not to despair or give up. Instead we need to continue to trust God. In The New Living Translation it begins with: I trust in the Lord for protection. This is exactly what we must do when we feel like life's circumstances are too overwhelming. God will protect us. He is there for us at all time. When things keep coming at us one after another, He is there to love on us. His Word will encourage us as we allow it. His strength is our strength as we live for Him. Right now life is overwhelming. I cannot allow the enemy an open door but instead must lean into Him. I must be more intentional in living a II Timothy 1:7 type of life. I must not give into fear of the 'what ifs' but instead must stand in the knowledge that God is greater than anything on this earth. I must continue to believe He is in the miracle making business. I have seen Him do great things and I know He can do them again. I love the encouragement the song Do It Again gives...

Walking around these walls
I thought by now they'd fall
But you have never failed me yet
Waiting for change to come Knowing the battle's won
For you have never failed me yet

He has never failed me nor will He ever fail me. My prayers may not be answered in the manner I desire but He always answers them. In verses four through seven of Psalm 11 we see how David's confidence in God never failed him. He never stopped believing God would protect Him. One commentary read that David's state of mind remained firm in his trying days. He kept a "steady confidence in God when things seem to be most adverse." David had great faith and wisdom. This came from being in relationship with God. He believed in God because He knew God and because He remembered what God had done for him in the past. It is easier said than done at times to live such a life. Doubts come into our minds. Hopelessness can take over. But we must never quit believing. We must never give up.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for Your love, mercy, and grace! Thank You for the words from Your Word this morning that encourage me greatly! Father, life on this earth can be hard. Tough days can make for a time of questioning. I'm grateful You are here to love us through these days. I'm thankful You put things and people before us to encourage us. Lord, this morning I pray for a cleansing in my spirit. I pray You will take away anything that is between You and I. I also pray You will fill me to overflowing with more of You. I pray You will flow from me today in a new, different way. Lord, I pray for Doc to feel Your presence today in a mighty way. May You be the soothing balm he needs. May You also be his Healer today. Thank You for being My Faithfulness! Amen.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

II Timothy 1:7 - "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)

Yesterday I read a prayer that went like this:

"Faith is not about asking God to stop the storm, but trusting Him to strengthen us as walk through the storm. Amen."

This prayer has so much truth in it. If life were perfect, Doc would not have pancreatic cancer. If it were perfect, we would not have any worries at all. But because of sin, life is not perfect. It won't be perfect until we are with our Heavenly Father in heaven. Until that time, we must live out our faith on this earth. We must not allow fear to take over during the storms of life but instead must allow God to empower us so our faith can go deeper through them. We must allow Him to be our Guide. I think of the song Oceans this morning...

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

I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise my soul will rest in your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Yes! He is there for us. All we have to do when we feel like we are being taken down by a storm is call out to Him. He may not stop the storm but He will strengthen us so we won't be taken down by it. We have a choice when the storms come. We can either give in and allow them to win or we can trust and allow God to win. I'm no quitter. My earthly Daddy taught me to fight the storms of life. He had over sixty surgeries while on this earth, beat cancer multiple times, had a broken neck from being hit by a train, survived a gun shot wound, etc. Yet he never gave up. I cherish the phone calls I would get each morning from him. They were such an encouragement. I will never forget his words when he found out I was having a tough day with my MS. He would say, "Now Sheila Babe, it's OK to be in bed but you can't stay there. You gotta get up and move so it doesn't take off." So. so true. His and my Momma's faith were/are a great example to me on how to live. I am so thankful for their examples. My faith has gone deeper over the twenty-five plus years with MS. It has gone deeper with my breast cancer diagnosis three years ago. It also has gone deeper with the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in Doc. There are definitely days I just want to go to bed and cover up my head but I know neither my earthly nor my Heavenly Daddy would approve. Therefore, I continue on. I refuse to give up. I refuse to allow the enemy an open door. I will stand grounded in my faith. I will be intentional on not only loving God but sharing His love with others. As my sister said the other day, "We are McHenry's. We'll get through it." Most importantly, we are Daughters of the King. Therefore, we are equipped for the storms that come our way. Woo hoo!

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for Your love, mercy, and grace! Thank You for the encouragement You give! Thank You for taking my faith deeper! I know the only way for this to happen is for me to be pure in heart! Cleanse me so You fill me so I can be who You desire me to be. Father, I pray for Doc's physical, mental, emotional, and most of all spiritual being today. May You be greater than the pancreatic cancer. I pray for complete healing in his physical body. I pray You will encourage him to great lengths today. Lord, continue to heal physical bodies but most importantly I pray for a healing in spiritual bodies. As we studied last night, issues in spiritual bodies can effect a person in other aspects of life. May more people be cleansed. May more believers share You with them so they can be cleansed. Lord, continue to take our faith deeper. Thank You for being Our Faith Builder! Amen.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

II Timothy 1:7; Psalm 19 - "How Great Is Our God"

This 'waiting room' we are in right now is not an easy one to be in. Waiting on the appointment with the doctor in Charleston has brought about a lot of questions. Why are we going to see him when the mass did not change in size? Why was the pain taken away if the mass did not shrink? Will the cancer spread during this time of not having chemo? Even though Doc feels better with not having the side effects of chemo he still is weak. What can make him feel better? So, so many questions. This morning the Lord took me to Psalm 19 which I read in different translations. I settled in on The Passion TranslationThe first six verses are about God's story in the skies and the last eight are about God's story in the Scriptures. Verses two through four tell of how all we have to do is look around at nature and we can see God. He is always around us through His creation. I love the way Scripture is described in verses seven through fourteen...

God’s Word is perfect in every way; how it revives our souls!
His laws lead us to truth, and his ways change the simple into wise.
His teachings make us joyful and radiate his light; his precepts are so pure!
His commands, how they challenge us to keep close to his heart!
The revelation-light of his word makes my spirit shine radiant.
Every one of the Lord’s commands is right; following them brings cheer.
Nothing he says ever needs to be changed.
10 The rarest treasures of life are found in his truth.
That’s why I prize God’s word like others prize the finest gold.
Nothing brings the soul such sweetness as seeking his living words.
11 For they warn us, his servants, and keep us from following the wicked way,
giving a lifetime guarantee: great success to every obedient soul!
12 Without this revelation-lighthow would I ever detect the waywardness of my heart?
Lord, forgive my hidden flaws whenever you find them.
13 Keep cleansing me, God, and keep me from my secret, selfish sins;
may they never rule over me!
For only then will I be free from fault and remain innocent of rebellion.
14 So may the words of my mouth, my meditation-thoughts,
and every movement of my heart be always pure and pleasing,
acceptable before your eyes, my only Redeemer, my Protector-God.

When we stay in His Word and walk in obedience to it, our life will be so enriched. His Word is where we find promise, hope, encouragement, love...the list goes on and on. While in this 'waiting room' I must stay in His Word more than ever. I must keep His promises in my heart throughout my days so the enemy will not have an open door into my life. If I don't, the enemy will have a hay day messing me up. The last verse of Psalm 19 is the way I want to live each and every day. The only way this can happen is for me to live a II Timothy 1:7 type of life. I cannot fear these days but instead must stand in His love and empowerment. As I do, I know God will bless me with fulfilling these words...

So may the words of my mouth, my meditation-thoughts,
and every movement of my heart be always pure and pleasing,
acceptable before your eyes, my only Redeemer, my Protector-God.

Woo hoo! This is the desire of my heart! I want to bless Him with my obedience. I want to love with His love in a way that will change people's lives. I want to be Him to all I meet.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the encouragement of Psalm 19! Thank You for being in this 'waiting room' with us! Thank You for loving us so greatly that You will cleanse me this morning so You can fill me with more of You! Thank You for being an encouragement to Doc today! May You speak to Him in a way that will enable Him to lean more into You. Thank You for Mom's good report with the orthopedic doctor! May You continue to be her strength. Thank You for the strength You are going to provide throughout this day! Lord, be with those hurting whether it be physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and most of all those who are hurting spiritually. Be with Ellen to continue to lean into Your strength as she has surgery. Thank You for the time You have blessed Steve and Peggy with family these last few days. May You continue to lead them as they walk this journey. Thank You Jesus for being My Protector-God! Amen.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

II Timothy 1:7 - "Whom Shall I Fear"

This morning the Lord woke me singing the song Whom Shall I Fear...

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

The one who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

Yes! He is always with us. He is always ready to provide exactly what we need, when we need it. He protects us even when we do not realize we need protection. This song begins:

You hear me when I call
You are my morning song
Though darkness fills the night
It cannot hide the light

There is much truth in these words. God cannot be taken away from us by the enemy unless we allow the enemy such power. We can feel like we are being overtaken by the enemy but the enemy cannot overpower God. It takes living a II Timothy 1:7 type of life to not give into darkness. It takes standing in faith and trusting God to get through 'tough' times. God can be our Morning Song as we live in His presence. He can be our strength when we allow Him to cleanse us each day so He can fill us to live as He desires. I love the part of this song that goes...

My strength is in Your name
For You alone can save
You will deliver me
Yours is the victory

Yes! There is victory when we live for Jesus! There is empowerment readily available to us as we live for Jesus! There is deliverance from the 'junk' of this world when we live for Jesus! Oh how I desire to share this truth with others. When I see people struggling, I want to help them. The greatest way to help them is to share the truth of Christ with them. I know I need to get better in doing this and pray daily for God to take me deeper in my relationship with Him so I can do so. Last night in our study of Rahab there was a statement made in the book by Liz Curtis Higgs that made me think about how many people live in the shame of their past. She wrote, "With God, it isn't who you were that matters it's who you are becoming." Our past is just that. The past. When God wipes away our sins, they are not just gone but forgotten. Too many times we, as humans, beat ourselves up for things God has wiped away. They are no longer in His mind. Therefore, we need to no longer let them be in ours. The enemy will use our past to tear our relationship with Christ apart. The enemy will make us think we are not good enough for God. Those are just lies. Rahab was a prostitute yet she had a happy ending. I desire a happy ending and know as long as I stay in pure relationship with God I will have it spending eternity with Him. My past enables me to help others going through similar situations but it is not held against me by God. I am not proud of my past but I will allow God to use it to help others not to make the same mistakes or to show them how to live without being condemned.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the encouragement this song gives me! Thank You for loving me so much that You encourage me greatly! Father, I pray for a cleansing in my spirit today so You can fill me with more of You. More of You Father and less of me is my desire. I continue to pray for Doc for a healing in his body. Encourage him today in a new, different way. I also pray for my Momma who is going for a follow-up appointment today to receive 'good' news. I pray for many who are dealing with physical, mental, emotional, and financial issues but most of all I pray for those who are struggling spiritually. Lord, give me opportunities to love on many today with Your love. Open doors to me to be You to those I meet. May You be my words, actions, and attitude throughout this day. May I be more intentional in being You. Thank You Jesus for being My Morning Song! Amen.

Monday, September 16, 2019

II Timothy 1:7; Matthew 5:3; Isaiah 65:17-18a - "Home"

Yesterday was a day with many instances of realizing this is not our permanent home. I am reminded of the words of a song Chris Tomlin sings called "Home"...

I'm goin' home
Where the streets are golden
Every chain is broken
Oh I wanna go
Oh I wanna go
Where every fear is gone
I'm in your open arms
Where I belong

Yes! There is comfort in these words. There is promise and hope found when they go through my head. But not everyone has such hope if they are not in relationship with God. We, as believers must get better at sharing His love with others. If we don't, there will be many people spend eternity in hell. Hearing of boat accidents; the death of a teen in a car accident; a machine being unplugged on another person made for a day of praying a lot for those who were hurting yesterday. It also made for a lot of reflection on those in my little world who need me to be more intentional with sharing the love of Christ. Doc's sermon yesterday was also thought-provoking in this manner. We all go through 'tough' days but we have the choice as to whether we will allow the enemy an open door into our lives or if we will allow the Lord to have full control. Matthew 5:3 in The Message reads: You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. Getting to the end of self is where life really begins. It is at that point that we quit making decisions and trust Him with every aspect of life. It is at this point His peace is found in a way that is unimaginable. It is where freedom is found. It is where Hope is found. I love the word picture this song gives...Where every fear is gone, I'm in Your open arms, Where I belong, Home! I see myself climbing up on my Heavenly Daddy's lap and being loved on. There will no longer be accidents, deaths, etc. Instead there will be peace. I no longer will have a prayer list full of petitions but instead will be praising Him. Woo hoo! I'm so ready to be where there will be no more disease, sorrow, etc. But I can't hurry things. There is work to be done here on this earth. Lots of work to be done and I need to be doing it. I need to make sure I do not miss any opportunity He puts before me to be Jesus to those He puts in my path. I need to make sure His love flows from me in the way He desires. I cannot get caught up in 'stuff' of the world and miss anything He has for me to do or say. The only way for that to happen to be cleansed daily so I will not only hear His voice but walk in obedience to it. The challenges of this time in life are opportunities for Him to shine more brightly through me. I need to not only remember that but live it. Isaiah 65:17-18a tells us:

“Pay close attention now:
    I’m creating new heavens and a new earth.
All the earlier troubles, chaos, and pain
    are things of the past, to be forgotten.
Look ahead with joy." 

Woo hoo! We have a Hope to look forward to as believers. I believe we need to get better at working toward this Hope. The only way to do this is to be more intentional in living out a II Timothy 1:7 type of life where we do not live in fear but instead live a life empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for all the ways You love on me! Thank You for putting opportunities before me to love with Your love! Father, cleanse me so You can fill me with more of You. May I walk in obedience to Your will in a new, different way in the day ahead. May Your love flow from me in a way people will see and desire in their own life. Lord, I pray for Doc to be encouraged throughout this day. I pray for him to receive more healing in his physical body today. I also pray for others who are dealing with physical issues: my Momma; Rita; John; the one in the boat accident; and many others. I pray for spiritual healing in many. I also pray for comfort for those who have lost loved ones. Father, empower all who believe in You to share Your love in a way that people will come into relationship with You. I pray for more believers to die to self so they can not only hear Your voice but walk in obedience to You. Thank You Father for being My Hope! Amen.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

II Timothy 1:7 - "Haven't Seen It Yet"

I love Saturday nights when the Lord has me praying for pastors. I pray for my pastor/husband every day and am blessed by those prayers. I also pray for myself as I minister to many. Last night before going to sleep, once during the night, and then again when I woke He had me pray for pastors "to interrupt Scripture properly." I know when something comes to me repeatedly in prayer it is definitely from the Lord. As I thought about this prayer request, I was saddened to think of how people twist Scripture to mean what they want it to mean. The enemy deceives people any way he can. We, as pastors, must not allow that to happen in our lives. We are not the only ones who can be harmed from such tactics. Those who are watching us and those we are leading may also get hurt in the process. A pastor who stays in close relationship with the Lord is a pastor who will lead people on the path of righteousness. Such pastors will guide others on the path to eternal life with the Lord. That is the type of pastor I desire to be. I never want to get in the pulpit without the leading of the Holy Spirit in charge. Nor do I ever want to lead someone down a 'Sheila' path but instead desire to lead them in the Lord's way. There is a great responsibility when you are a pastor but there is also a responsibility for all believers to walk in His ways. Last night the Lord had me to pray for some specific situations in pastor's lives...

  • Two pastors along with my husband who are battling cancer. A pastor whose wife is on Hospice due to brain cancer.
  • A pastor friend who is not currently in a church as he seeks God's plan for his life.
  • A pastor who will be going back into the pulpit for the first time in many weeks.
  • Pastors who have retired or in transition between churches.
  • A young pastor who has just been called to a church.
  • Pastors with prodigal children.
  • Pastors who need to draw closer to God so they will not only hear Him but walk in obedience to Him.
I'm pretty sure there was one more situation He gave me but I cannot remember it. That's OK because He already knows it. It amazes me the recall He gives me when it comes to prayer requests. So many times I cannot even remember what I'm saying in the middle of a Recall in prayer confirms I am being led by the Spirit. What a gift God has blessed me with! I love how He wakes me with a song every day. Today it was "Haven't Seen It Yet" and it brought to mind pastors who need the reminder of these words...

He is moving with a love so deep
Hallelujah for the victory
Good things are coming even when we can't see
We can't see it yet, but we believe that
He is moving with a love so deep
Hallelujah for the victory
Good things are coming even when we can't see
We can't see it yet, but we believe that

There are many pastors who are in church situations that seem impossible; family crisis; financial issues; etc. The way we, as pastors, handle these situations is seen by all around us. We have a choice to make to allow man to influence our lives or to allow God to be in control. When we allow God to be in control, He will give us exactly what we need every moment of every day. Last night He blessed both myself and Doc with physical strength to participate in the Outreach. That was such a gift as I knew I did not have the strength on my own. Today is a new day. My physical body is still struggling but I know I'm not on my own. He will be my strength. His promise in II Timothy 1:7 will see me through. I do not fear the day ahead but instead feel empowered to love with His love as I walk in the Spirit. I will stay close to Him so He can give me His strength, wisdom, and direction. I know as I do I will be blessed in abundance.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for Your empowerment yesterday and the way You will empower me in the day ahead! Thank You for the privilege to pray for pastors! Thank You for cleansing me this morning so You can fill me with more of You! Thank You for last night's outreach where we were given many opportunities to love on many! Thank You for the work the electrician has completed on the church building! Thank You for the way You will flow out of Doc's words this morning along with other pastors who will allow You to! Lord, be with all I prayed for during the night and be with pastors who have not committed fully to You. May they find transformation in their spiritual lives sooner than later. I also pray for a family in crisis that needs to feel Your empowerment today. Lord, give them peace. Thank You Father for being My Victory! Amen.