Monday, September 7, 2009

It's Been Fifteen Weeks ~ And That's Just Too Long

Fifteen weeks ago I wrote to share how God made provision for the girls and I to live back in my hometown. It was no easy task to pack the items from our three story house into a one story; to pack three bathrooms into one; to pack a two car garage into one; and to move into a kitchen with half the cabinet space and no pantry. It was possible only after donating several items to a good cause, giving away what we could, and storing things at my sister’s home. I learned two very important lessons ~ 1) to my shame I had way too much stuff, and 2) my basement was being used for nothing more than a glorified storage unit ~ for stuff I didn’t even use or that I forgot that I had.

Granted, it has not taken me fifteen weeks to pack up our home, move to the rental property, and unpack it all. I cannot deny that there has been a great deal of adjustment to leaving my home, my friends, my family, and my community. There have been tearful days and nights as I have learned to trust again that God is working everything out for my good. And I reckon it just took me a spell to be ready to finally come back and reunite with you all. Thanks to all who prayed even though I was out of touch for a while. I appreciate it so much.

The small home that I live in now is a diamond-in-the-rough complete with an occasional mouse. Now that has been something to adjust to ~ fourlegged friends. We’ve caught a few and our seven cats have been feasting on the rest. They are fat and sassy and hardly eating the cat food. :) The rental house sits on historical property owned by the Mill Springs Battlefield Association here in Kentucky - complete with a real cannon, a small cemetery in the back field, and a huge rambling home over 175 years old that was used as a hospital and military headquarters during the Civil War. God was very gracious in giving us this place to rent. Each window brings a different and unique view that is simply calming and appealing to my spirit and soul.

Tonight we once again watched a momma and baby deer graze on the lawn of the old home. Every day we can watch two beautiful horses across the road galloping through the field ~ which is a reminder of the thoroughbreds near the home we left. Truly God’s hand is here ~ and He knows that I need that moment by moment. His mercies truly are great. His peace permeates this place and were I able to even return to where I came from I do not believe I would. This is a simpler place with a simpler life in most ways.

I’ve missed you all. And I look forward to catching up on your blogs and becoming reacquainted.
Much love, Cathryn

Saturday, June 6, 2009

He Gives Us What We Need Just When We Need It

How many times have you heard someone say that to you ~ God gives us what we need in His timing ~ just when we need it? And it's true you know ~ our Father admonishes us to wait upon Him. That is so hard some times ~ especially if you are needing him to move NOW! But does He ever let us down? No. Every time He pulls through in His own timing and in His own way. And that is what I want to share with you today ~ how my Heavenly Father once again moved so profoundly and definitely that there was no doubt that I knew His will.

Less than one week ago my house sold ~ and it had only been on the market 1 day when we received word that an offer was coming. Within 4 days an acceptable offer was on the table and I have begun the process of saying farewell to the old home place ~ something I had no intentions of doing ~ because I had figured that I would finish out my life here. And that's what I get for "figuring." God doesn't like us "comfortable" and that is exactly what I had become. Very comfortable. It is a home that my husband and I had designed and built together. We had raised our children here. I had home schooled several years here. Many many memories are stored up within these walls. It is the largest home I have ever lived in and yet I do recall many a time thinking that it required entirely too much work to take care of ~ it knocked me out of a church activity or visitation many a time. And while I'm not saying that it is impossible to have a large home and still have time for the Lord ~ I am saying that with the autoimmune disease that I battle it was certainly the case for me. It takes a lot of time and energy to clean a home this size.

Extenuating circumstances have brought me to this place I now find myself in. So while it has been difficult to even think about leaving my home I have also been very nervous about where I would move to. At this time it is needful to consider short-term rental property ~ and those two terms (short-term and rental) don't usually describe too many properties to rent. Folk want at least a one year lease.

So two days ago I set out to check on the rental property in my hometown. The problem is that it is a very small town - and most folk don't rent. I knew that it was not going to be an easy task. At about 4:00 p.m. I decided to hang it up. There was little to choose from and what there was to consider was expensive, required us to live above and beside other families (something I was not used to after living in the country for 13+ years), did not allow pets, and didn't even have a yard to play catch in. The prospects were sobering. And then..... God moved.

My sister had driven a different path than usual to go to town that day and had passed a home that appeared to be empty ~ she said she wasn't even sure why she took that path ~ but we now know it was part of God's plan. This is no ordinary house - it actually sits on the property of the Mill Springs Battlefield Association beside the Brown Lanier Home (which is the home you see pictured above). It's one of those historical Civil War sites that has been preserved. This house sits on its property near by and they rent it out to generate revenue for the association. My sister wasn't even sure if it was empty but I told her I had nothing to lose by looking. Not only was it empty (and it had just become empty less than a week before) ~ no one had rented it yet ~ it was surrounded by countryside where our cats could roam ~ the rent was cheap ~ a garden plot in the back has already been tilled (I surely love to garden and can the vegetables) ~ a location that puts me very close to where my daughter will attend Christian school this fall ~ and there is more than enough yard for my daughter to get out and play her sports. It was and continues to be simply amazing. God gave me what I needed ~ just when I needed it ~ and above and beyond what I expected.
Why do we doubt Him? When we know that He owns the cattle on a thousand hill ~ why do we doubt Him? Thank you Lord for giving me what I needed just when I needed it.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Foggy Days

As I progress through Patsy Clairmont's Dancing Bones I am reminded that God will not give us more than we can handle at any given time. She uses the analogy of fog and and its heavy barrier ~ how it prevents us from seeing beyond a certain point ~ and how life is like that. We cannot see beyond a certain point. Were we able to do so, I believe it would be more than our very brains could handle. Patsy says, We can rest in the confidence that no matter what fog bank we end up in, God will care for us, in time liberate us from it, and use our tragedies for higher purposes than we could ever imagine - that is a greater plan. A plan of provision, of liberation, of redemption."

I had to laugh within myself when she talked about why we ask "why" about things that happen to us. She reminded her readers that we think if we knew "why" something had happened that it would help to end the struggle. And yet we know that this is not the case. And even if we did know the "why" of something we would still object vehemently. She believes our "whys" are ways of ranting because life isn't the way we want it to be. God does have a divine plan ~ He does hold His own in the palm of His hand. It is called trusting.

I know, for me, that the "fog of fear" can often walk with hardships and trials. Clairmont comments on this and says, "I wonder, if the disciple Peter hadn't peered through the fog of fear, would he have walked around on the water with Jesus, enjoying the waves instead of sinking in his insecurities? Perhaps if Peter's vision had been clear of fear after Christ was arrested, he would have defended Christ instead of denying him. What do you think? What fogs your vision? Insecurities? Fears? List them. Use the list to create a new prayer emphasis in your life." She encourages her readers to look up the word "fear" in a concordance and follow that "ribbon of thought" through the Bible. And then memorize the verses that "dance off the page." Let the Word of God be the greatest comfort to you.

More times than not we are in valleys. Clairmont encourages her readers to look at our lives and appreciate what is good ~ trust God to see us through the bad ~ and be thankful for the foggy distance and that we can't quite see what lies ahead. That is God's mercy and love and kindness at work. Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Valley of Bones

In Ezekiel 37, the account is given how God supernaturally transported Ezekiel to a valley which lay covered in dry bones. I can only imagine what was running through his mind when that happened. Patsy Clairmont writes in her book, Dancing Bones, "The sight before him made it clear this was no picnic." God then asked him (verse 3) if the bones could live and Ezekiel’s response was priceless when he said "O Lord God, thou knowest." Clairmont says "I wish I could grab hold of the truth in that answer for my life so that when trials come, I don’t immediately assume all is gloom and doom. Instead I could be rest assured that God knows what he is doing, even if it looks like a hopeless, lifeless situation to me." Amen Mrs.Clairmont.

How often do we take our eyes off of God and dwell upon the circumstances. I know I'm guilty.

God then says Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye drybones, hear the word of the Lord. Clairmont says, "What I’ve found most helpful in keeping the rhythm of life oozing within me is the same thing Ezekiel used in his valley of bones to rouse such a great army ~ O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!" If you have lost your enthusiasm for life, if you are thirsty within thevalley you walk, if your faith is waivering are you reading God's Word. Clairmont encourages us to"delve into the life-giving, bone-lubricating truths of scripture." Well said Patsy Clairmont ~ well said.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

More On Clairmont's Dancing Bones

‘Life ain’t no picnic!’ How many times have you heard that? Or what about‘no pain no gain?’ And then there is ‘if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.’ Patsy Clairmont opens her second chapter of "Dancing Bones"with these old sayings. She says "We’ve all been told that the ‘school of hard knocks’ is part of life, but if you’re like me, crushing blows still catch you off guard, leave you speechless, and at times rob you of your very breath." Clairmont isn’t too fond of any of those sayings. Why? Because they don’t make us feel any better.

She shares that in the valley’s of life "where bees nest and poison ivy spreads" ~ that as long as you brace yourself for those upcoming painful experiences that you can better "safeguard your heart from disillusionment." She also points out that though there are hard times ~ good can be found even among the bees and poison ivy. An analogy she makes is that of fruit. Fruit does not grow in high elevations on mountain peaks but rather it grows in the lower elevations ~ the valleys of life. And she encourages us to remember that we can partake of this luscious, juicy fruit even in the hard times. Hardships don’t have to always be about lemons, or pain, or hard knocks.

Scripture repeatedly tells us to prepare for hardships ~ it is a given that they will be a part of our lives. So don’t miss the view while you are there. Clairmont says to "spread a gingham cloth in a valley of clover and picnic on the Lord’s kind mercies in the midst of heartbreak and disappointment. For in the shade of his presence, we experience Christ’s tender care for our bruised emotions." The view from the valley doesn’t have to be a bad one.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Patsy Clairmont's Dancing Bones

Have you ever read the book Dancing Bones by Patsy Clairmont? Goodness sakes ~ it is one of her greatest works. She bases her writing on Ezekiel 37: 1-10. (If you move the cursor over the reference, the verses will pop up for you to read). She uses the term "dance" throughout the book to symbolize a happier walk through life despite diversity ~ despite the valleys that we often find ourselves in.

She says "Have you ever read Ezekiel 37? It talks about a whole valley full of folks who’d lost their rhythm. It seems these people had the "dance" knocked out of them until they crumbled into a heap of bones on the valley floor. That’s why I think it’s worth spending a little time looking at the valley in Ezekiel ~ and our own valleys."

At this point Patsy welcomes her readers to ‘valley experience’ ~ the place where we meet Reality ~ the place where we look up to the mountain top where we can hopefully escape all the hardships of the valley. And yet we know it really isn’t like that. Most of our life is spent in a valley of some sort. And so Patsy puts it this way ~ "I’m excited about the valley living and let me tell you why. From the mountain top I can see an eagle soar, but I’ve learned that in the valley I can hear a sparrow sing. On the mountain I see trees like canopies, but in the valley I can sit in their shade and eat of their fruit. On the mountain I see lakes like small mirrors, but in the valley I can touch the reflections and ladle the water to my parched lips. On the summit I see people like walking sticks, but in the valley I can trace a child’s face and dab away tears."

She encourages her readers that we won’t always hear the music in the valley but even during those dark times we can have the "dance" of faith ~ for valleys can be be very rich with life. Stay tuned for chapter two!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Not By My Power or Might

I know I have been sporadic at best ~ lately ~ in posting. Someday ~ maybe ~ I can tell my story ~ so that others who are walking the same path can look at me and see a survivor BY GOD’S GRACE ~ and know that they can survive too.

Today my house goes on the market. It’s uncanny ~ I never expected this house to go on the market. I just kind of figured that I would retire here ~ spend my dying days here ~ but not so. It isn’t what I want but I’m finding out a lot lately that life isn’t about my wants but rather about what I ~ and others ~ need in order to be more like Him ~ the precious refiner’s fire.

This morning I was reading in Zechariah ~ not the easiest of books to read ~ but I came across a verse that has inspired me in the past. In chapter 4 and verse 6b it says Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts. God inspired Zechariah to write this in reference to Zerubbabel leading the people to "get with it" in rebuilding the temple. So I got to thinking this morning about a whole lot of things ~ how I cannot accomplish them ~ how I cannot walk through them ~ how I feel I cannot even survive them ~ and how it is only going to take place by the spirit of the Lord of Hosts. I can muster up the might and power all day long but in the end I will fail. With God all things truly are possible.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Open My Eyes That I May See

Have you ever just wanted God to write you a letter, send you a life road map, contact you by phone ~ maybe even send you a text message notifying you specifically "this is what I want you to do ~ this is where I want you to go ~this is how I want you to do it." At times I would think that would be nothing short of grand.

But God doesn't work that way does He? For if He did it would not be necessary to excercise faith in our lives. And our Christian walk ~ our very existence as a Christian would not be based upon what it should be ~ F-A-I-T-H.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). We have faith that God is God ~ that Jesus really is Jesus ~ that the Holy Spirit is truly with us. We have faith that our Lord is going to keep His promises ~ that He is going to walk each step of our journey with us ~ holding our hand and lifting us up ~ that He is going to come back for us someday ~ that He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords ~ that there truly is victory in Jesus.

Faith ~ a small word that means so much to us. And, so, today I won't be receiving a literal letter or a road map or a text message from God ~ but I do have faith that He will show me through His Word ~ through His Holy Spirit ~ through the guidance of godly men and women ~ "what to do and where to go and how to get there."

Have you ever heard the old hymn Open My Eyes That I May See? How appropriate for a morning such as this ~

Open my eyes that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou has for me
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That should unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for Thee
Ready my God, Thy will to see
Open my eyes, illumine me
Spirit Divine.
Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law
Psalm 119:18

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Moma ~ Jo Ann Bryant Morrow

Happy Mother's Day Moma! There are so many things I am thankful for about you but the greatest thing of all took place long ago ~ though it seems like just yesterday ~ it was over 38 years ago when I was an awkward 12-year-old.

My church in southern Kentucky was having a revival meeting in the spring of 1971. I had been to church my whole life. My dear mother had seen to that. When I was five years old I walked the church aisle to make a profession of faith because my two older sisters had walked the aisle that day. I remember not wanting to feel left out. I wanted to get "dunked" in the baptistry waters. It was not until 7 years later, at a revival meeting, that my mother made her way to me in the choir loft of that little country church and whispered in my ear "If you died tonight, do you know whether you would go to heaven or not?" (Picture insert ~ my precious mother who cared enough to ask the question.)

I immediately began to cry and made my way out of the choir loft and to the altar that night. I got down on my knees and prayed with the preacher asking God to forgive me of my sins and then asking Jesus to be my Savior. It is as if it just happened yesterday. The elation that I felt that night, and the days to come after, can only be described as wanting to "stand on the rooftop and shout to the world I JUST GOT SAVED." The next day I went to school and I remember how different I felt. My closest friend asked me "What is wrong with you?" I turned around in my chair and said "I got saved last night." That would mark the end of our friendship. Jenny was a wild and free spirit. She did not want anything to do with my new found faith. Surely it was already coming to pass what the scriptures professed in II Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. I had become a new creature - the old things were passing away. I was not wanting to do those things that were not Christ-like. I was not wanting to hangout with the ungodly crowd that I had once associated with. And my life has never been the same. This is the single most profound decision I have ever made in my lifetime. It continues to be the happiest day of my life. Do you know the Lord Jesus Christ? If you died tonight, do you know if you would go to heaven or not?

Thank you, Moma, for this great legacy. And Happy Mother's Day to the best mother ever.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Farewell Georgetown Home School Group

Eleven years ago God called me to step out in faith to begin a home school group in the area where I live. I was, to say the least, terrified. I was currently directing a very successful group in a neighboring county - and frankly I didn’t want to "step out in faith." ~ I was satisfied where I was. But the Lord had really been working on my heart all winter long. I had taken an exodus from an addiction of soap operas that had lasted for 12 long years and my heart was open to do whatever God wanted me to do with my life. Eleven springs ago that was the greatest experience of my life ~ second only to the day I was saved at twelve years of age.

At that time there had been yet another school shooting and God impressed on my heart to begin a program that would help families to home school more easily with the support they would need to be successful. And, so, The Georgetown Home School Group was born.

Monday night I bade farewell to that "step of faith." God had impressed on my heart that it was time ~ time to hand the baton to the next runner. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. But I’m thankful for eleven glorious years of my life ~ thankful that God chose me to direct such an awesome group for so long ~ thankful that the God who called me eleven years ago will call me again to serve Him in some capacity.

I close with a walk down memory lane ~ come along and see some of the greatest home school families of all time.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Whatever It Takes

Have you ever prayed ~ Whatever it takes Lord, just bring that person to you. To my shame, I’ve never had the courage or even the faith to pray that..... before now. About 2 months ago ~ in desperation ~ I begged God to bring one of my family members back to Him ~ whatever it takes. That was so tremendously hard to do. I had fought doing that for so many years. If you are a momma ~ you can likely imagine my greatest fear in praying such a prayer ~ yes, that’s right ~ the loss of a child. And yet it wasn’t until about two months ago when I had reached the end of my rope that I finally begged God to do whatever it would take to bring this person to Him.

It wasn’t until a month later that I realized that two other people had prayed the very same prayer about this person. I can thankfully report that all of my children are very alive and well at the moment. It appears that God was not going to choose my greatest fear to accomplish His will after all ~ at least it appears that way. And yet I find myself walking in the darkest of valleys. I actually thought it was pretty dark before but I am here to testify that things can get darker than we had even fathomed. I know my Lord is with me - walking each step that I walk. Oh how I have claimed Psalm 23 in its entirety -Lo I walk through the valley of the shadow of death ~ I will fear no evil~ thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Balm for my soul indeed.

This "whatever it takes" prayer is bringing many changes to my life and the lives of my family. I will after 24 years re-enter the work force ~thank you Lord that I have my teaching certificate to fall back on; I will discontinue home schooling ~ after fifteen blessed years ~ and that is such a heart break because only three more years were needed before graduating our youngest daughter; I will relocate to my hometown that I have not lived in for over 30 years.

I must confess that I would never ~in a million years ~ have suspected that these changes would be connected to my prayer of "whatever it takes." It is so many changes to handle simultaneously and they aren’t changes I would have chosen but I must keep my eyes on the Lord and off the circumstances and know that God will work all of this to good. He will be victorious. He is doing whatever it takes to bring this person back to Him. I’ve had to remind myself of that a whole lot lately. So dear friends, keep me and my family in your prayers. God can do the impossible ~ but hearts have to be open and willing. May this heart I speak of get to the point of being open and willing.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

It's A Beautiful Morning

He Arose!

He Arose!

Hallelujah Christ Arose!

~Happy Easter~

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Tree, The Cross, The Savior

I am writing on Thursdays for the KJV Blog. You may go there for today's devotional. Happy Easter to all. He is risen!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Lesson in Bambi ~ Fly When You Are Supposed To

One of the first movies we bought for our daughters was Bambi. We watched that movie again and again and again. One scene that is ingrained in my memory is when "the hunters" enter the forest and the birds and wildlife scramble. There is a conversation between two pheasants as they are hiding and basically one bird is telling the other to be quiet and "not fly - lay low and keep your cover." Often times I have used the line "Don’t fly ~ whatever you do, don’t fly" to encourage myself and others to wait upon the Lord. Don’t fly until He tells you to. This morning when I was reading in Isaiah 40 and 41 (two of my most favorite chapters in the entire Bible), I was once again comforted with these words ~ He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength [40:29]. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles;they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint [40:31]. Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the hand of my righteousness. [41:10]. For I the Lord they God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee [41:13]. That little pheasant in Bambi was faint and weak. He didn’t wait ~ for if he had his life would likely have been saved. I got to thinking about this application this morning and it is more than safe to say that we humans are notorious for flying when we shouldn’t and not flying when we should ~ and often fear comes into play keeping us from doing what the Lord wants us to do. We grow faint ~ feeling as if we have no strength ~ as we wait for the Lord to show us His perfect will. And yet He promises that He will increase our strength. What a precious promise to claim! The Lord also promises that if we will wait on Him we won’t be weary, and we will no longer be faint. And so, like the little pheasant, we need to wait ~ wait upon the Lord for whatever He needs us to wait for. Be not dismayed ~ He says ~ for He is our God. He will strengthen us and help us. And on top of it all He will hold our hand too. Oh what a comfort!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Loose Lips Sink Ships

A recurring theme in Proverbs is the use of our tongue. Have you ever heard it said "what is in the well of the heart will come up through the bucket of the mouth." Eventually the mouth will reveal what is in your heart. So often we speak when we shouldn’t. Then we try to cover our tracks by saying "I was just kidding." Sometimes I have even heard others say "there is only an element of truth to what I’ve said" ~ in other words they "sort of" meant it. Yet other times, Christians will blame God for their ill-chosen words ~ implying He burdened them to speak frankly. Our mouths do give us away - revealing what we are harboring in our hearts.

Proverbs 4:24 says Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. I looked up froward and perverse and they mean contrary, obstinate, cranky, stubborn, etc. We’ve all had a contrary and stubborn day here or there - God says to put this type of talking "away." In chapter 8 and verse 13 of this great book, God says He hates the froward mouth.Chapter 10, verse 19 says In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise. When we are not wanting this means we have plenty. So this verse is saying many words = plenty of sin. Usually it is best to just let things go - not get into an argument with someone. Because if we refrain our lips (which is to hold back or curb our speaking) ~ God says we are wise.

The tongue is a powerful weapon ~ it is described in James 3 as a fire, a world of iniquity, an unruly evil. In Proverbs 12:18 God’s Word says There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health. Have you ever said something to someone in anger and even you were surprised with the words that came from your mouth? I know I have. It is kind of like toothpaste ~ once out of the tube it can’t be put back in. People can accept our apology and forgive us but the damage that we have done with our tongue can take much time to get over. satan gets great joy from replaying the words again and again in the minds of the erred - hoping we will remain angry, become discouraged, and that the stream of bitterness will begin to flow through our veins. This is why God warns us to hold our tongue.

So how will we know when to speak and when not to speak? Well, chapter 10 and verse 32 says that the lips of the righteous know what is acceptable; but the mouth of the wicked speaketh forwardness. We need to stay in God’s Word, stay "prayed up" and walk as close to God as we can . And while we may not always speak what is right we know what is right, don’t we. For as soon as that which is not righteous has exited our lips we know.I believe the most affective approach is found in Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath; but grevious words stir up anger. I have been on the giving and receiving end of "a soft answer turneth away wrath." And I’ve also been on the giving and receiving end of "grevious words stir up anger." When we speak softly to someone’s anger, things calm down almost instantly ~ or if we are the angry one we will calm down (kind of like throwing a wet rag on a small fire). And, as well, if we speak grevious words to someone they can immediately get their ire up and fight back ~ or we can get our ire up very quickly when someone speaks in an unkind or ungodly way to us (like throwing gasoline on a fire).

It isn’t rocket science - just remember a soft answer, a soft spirit, a kind word is going to shut down someone’s anger almost immediately. I’ve seen it many times over the years.We know what is acceptable and unacceptable to speak. And we know what to do when someone speaks unkindly or angrily toward us ~ soft words..... It sure makes life a whole lot easier.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


My visit yesterday with the blacksmith was followed by another visit that I reserved telling you about until today. While waiting for my car to be repaired, I walked up the street to a family restaurant ~ hoping to use up some of the wait time for my car.

For as long as I can remember I've known a gal that works in this restaurant ~ and she was on duty yesterday. I sat down with my food and she soon followed and sat beside me. I sensed something was wrong ~ and I was right. She began to share what she had been going through ~ another tragically sad story of a spouse falling prey to the one-eyed-monster known as the internet. It was difficult to listen to yet another account of a Christian family being broken apart from the fall out that comes with an addiction to porn.

Does it not make the statistics (of 1 in 2 Christian men addicted to porn) believable when I know several in my own little part of the world? It would seem that a support group for these folk is in order ~ for wives dealing and coping with the devastation that befalls their family when porn wreaks havoc on their home. All I can say is Heaven help us! It is hard not to get discouraged. We must be praying for the preservation of the family unit.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Crossing Paths With Terry ~ The 'I Can' Man

This morning I found myself in a car situation that required me to sit and wait at a local repair shop. I was intrigued by a black man sitting near me who was talking to someone about "shoeing" horses. When he got off the phone we exchanged greetings. I told him I couldn't help but overhear that he worked with horses. He told me he was a blacksmith and was enroute to a local horse farm to work on some horses. He was one of those kinds of folk that you could have sat and listened to all day. It didn't take long for us to realize that we were both Christians. What a delight he was to listen to.

God had placed us in each other's path and I believe that it was for my greater benefit. Christians need encouraging and I think one of the most effective ways to do that is through a "vessel" that is on fire and sold out for God. And for me, it was just what the Great Physician ordered. This man, Terry, talked about how he shares his faith in the horse farms across the country ~ from Lexington, Kentucky to Sacaremento, California. He said, "I always get around to sharing the Lord ~ I have to. " He shared how he and other horse farm workers would make there way to the interior walkway of the horse barns ~ around noontime ~ and pray and study God's Word. My heart was warmed that this man of God ~ a man named Terry ~ is moving in and out of the presence of folk who race horses for a living.

We talked about his church and I asked him if it was only African American or were there people of other races that attended. He has gotten me so excited about his church that I have to visit. He did say that he doesn't call himself "African American." He said, "I am black and that is not an incorrect term." I told him how my best friend in high school was black and that back in the 70's it was in no way disrespectful to refer to blacks as black. It was considered respectful. He agreed and then he said something that really impressed me. He said, "What I like about African American is that they both end in "I Can" ~ I can do whatever I set my mind to ~ I can live for the Lord ~ "I can" ~ that is what I like about those two words."

God sent Terry to encourage me in a time when I really needed it ~ I've surely had a hard week ~ some very large decisions loom on the horizon for me ~ and I seem preoccupied with searching out what God's will is in this matter. Visiting with my brother in Christ, I was reminded that I can do what God sets before me ~ I can discern His will and proceed toward that end ~ I can.
~You can meet some of the sweetest people in the strangest of places~

Friday, March 20, 2009

My Absolutely All Time Favorite Time Of The Year ~ It Has Arrived

It’s here. It is finally here. The first day of Spring. I’m blogging from the southern most part of Kentucky this morning ~ and it is so beautiful here. The grass is green, the daffodils are a brilliant yellow, the pear trees are adoring their delicate blooms, the forsythia are everywhere, the robins are singing their songs. Spring has definitely sprung.

I’ve wondered before why Spring is my most favorite of seasons over the warm and sunny weather of summer or the beautiful array of colors in the fall. Spring represents new beginnings to me. In April of 1971 I walked the aisle in a little Baptist church to take Christ as my Savior. I was only 12 years old. There was a Spring revival at our church ~ and at the time of the invitation my momma walked up into the church choir loft where I was sitting ~ she whispered into my ear with tears in her throat ~ "Cathy, if you died tonight do you know that you would go to Heaven?" I immediately began to cry ~ knowing I was bound for a devil’s hell ~ I came down from the choir loft and knelt at the altar begging God to forgive me of my sins and to save my soul. It was ~ hands down ~ the most wonderful life-changing experience ever.

Spring represents "new beginnings" in so many ways ~ for the land which has been laying dormant all winter ~ for the wildlife as they began their new families ~ and the most important new beginning of all ~ my second birth into the family of God. Spring has definitely sprung - isn’t it wonderful!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Call To Arms - Part Two

This is a somewhat lengthy read ~ please, please hang with me though.

Don’t you just love to have recipes right at your finger tips when you can’t find your paper copy? I don’t know how many times I’ve misplaced a recipe and merely had to plug it into and there "she" sat ~ I push the ‘print button’ and I have another copy in moments. What about when you hear a word for the first time ~ you can’t spell it much less know its definition ~ it’s so easy to just check out Webster’s Dictionary online and "bam" you’ve got the info. And I couldn’t even begin to list the benefits of email. It is so much faster than a phone call. If you have to call several folk with the same message it is an even better use of your time. And my favorite of all ~ blogging right here with all of you ~ my lifeline to many wonderful Christian ladies who bless me with their devotions, who guide me with their kind words, who love me and they don’t even know me. By far it is my favorite use of the internet ~ and there are several other enjoyable ways I use the world wide web ~ from using map quest to get driving directions to listening to Billy Graham, Charles Stanely, J. Vernon MeGee and a host of others preach across the cyber air waves. The internet has many admirable qualities.

And yet I wonder ~ is "easier" all it is cracked up to be? Today I was once again made aware of another good man falling into the devastation of pornography. Right now all I can think is "Oh how can it be?" The ease of viewing pornography on the internet seems to be one of satan’s most effective tools in destroying Christians and their families. One in two Christian men and one in four Christian women are addicted to porn. Those statistics are nothing less than shocking and staggering ~ and they don’t even include the many men, women, and children that view it off and on and are not addicted.....yet. It is hard to fathom that we are sitting in our church congregations with this secret sin having overtaken so many lives.

A friend of mine talked with me this week about her pastor who confessed that he had had an addiction with porn some ten years ago and now he has an accountability system set up to help keep him on track - everything that he writes and views on the computer is automatically copied into an email each day and sent to his wife and one of the deacons of the church. At some point and time he realized that in order to heal he would have to be held accountable. And this was a preacher. I’ve talked with my pastor lately and he is aware of other pastors who have left the pulpit because they couldn’t break the habit ~ and yet others who are still preaching and continue with this battle. Indeed the statistics do not limit themselves to just the church congregation ~ they reflect the church pastors and other leadership like deacons and trustees as well. This is all so overwhelming indeed.

I’m not convinced that folk realize just how serious this is. It is such a powerful and addictive vice ~ and the ramifications can be likened to the rippling effect left by a concrete block rather than that of a pebble or stone thrown into the water. Indeed, the affect is paramount and the tremendous harm that is done is mind boggling. I have watched more than one family affected by pornography in the home. Minds are altered forever. Families are broken. Healing is difficult to attain "in part" much less "in whole." It is simply devastating.

We must have a call to arms ~ for this is a spiritual battle of great magnitude. I am weary of hearing about the fall of one good soldier after another. Satan is picking Christians off one by one ~ and we must fight back. May we pray as if everything counts on our prayers alone. KNOW what your children are watching on TV. KNOW what your spouse is watching on TV. KNOW what everyone is viewing on the computer. Install filters on your computers that cannot be altered except by the computer administrator. Have an accountability system in place with your spouse. Don’t expect that they can have the strength to move freely within the internet without falling. Many a good man and woman has already fallen. And those images that they have placed in their minds will be with them for the rest of their lives short of a miracle.

Oh dear friends, take some precautions and insure that all is right in your home. In a world of ipods, cell phones, computers, and tv’s ~ the temptation is overwhelming. And no one - no one - is above falling. Lord bless you today as you take up arms to protect yourself and your own.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Call To Arms ~ Part One

Why do children have to grow up so fast? And how do little first and second graders know more than I knew as a freshman going into high school in 1972? I think teens in junior high and high school know more than I know now. It is heart breaking and outraging all at the same time. My heart is troubled for children and youth in this world.

It simply mortifies me what many of these kids know ~ what they have already been exposed to at such an early age through filthy TV shows and movies ~ terminology they are familiar with from music they should not be listening to (words that would make an adult blush) ~ communication they engage in on the internet. What in the world has happened?

Do you know where your children are right now? Do you know what they are watching on TV? Do you know what lyrics they are listening to on their Ipods and MP3 players? Do you know what sites they are visiting on the internet? Do you know what photos they have downloaded to their cell phones? Do you know who their friends are at school? Your children are the greatest treasures that you have. Do well by them. Guide them, protect them, guard them ~ please.

This land we live in needs a revival. It needs a healing. In II Chronicles 7:14 God says If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. May we humble ourselves, be in great pray for our homes and our schools, turn from anything wicked, and ask God to forgive us our sins AND THEN HE WILL HEAL OUR LAND (and that includes our children).

When was the last time we spring cleaned the literature, and books, and movies, and music in our homes? Remove that which is ungodly. And do it for the sake of your children and teens. And do it for you! Lord Bless You.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Nothing Is Too Hard

If I can believe that God created the heavens and the earth in just six days or that He provided His only Son to die on the rugged cross for all sin for all time or that He once walked this earth in the form of man healing the sick and saving the lost or that The Holy Bible is His inspired Word ~ if I can believe all of those things and I wasn’t even present for them ~ then why do I have so much trouble believing that God can heal broken hearts and broken dreams?

I have a friend who is struggling with the break up of her family ~ she sees little if any hope that things can be righted. And knowing the circumstances ~ I find myself viewing this situation as pretty hopeless as well. And I’m ashamed of that ~ because I do believe in a God of miracles ~ a God that can do anything at anytime. God inspired Biblical writers to pen the word "faith" 247 times ~ so He was surely trying to make a huge point ~ to have faith.

Webster defines faith as "a firm belief in something for which there is no proof." I have a firm belief that there is a Heaven and a Hell ~ but I can’t see the proof. I believe God tells me He loves me in so many ways but I’ve never "audibly" heard His voice. I know that Jesus Christ walked on water and fed two fishes and five loaves to thousands of people ~ but I wasn’t present for either miracle. James 1:6-7 says Let him ask in faith nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think he shall receive any thing of the Lord. I have to believe with out the proof ~ as does my friend ~ as does everyone. Looking to Christ and not the circumstances ~ trusting and believing ~ and trusting some more. May we all claim how God beautifully sums it up in Jeremiah 32:27 ~ Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?

Monday, March 9, 2009

What Grade Are You In Today?

The Pineapple Story 12-tape series has been such a blessing to me over the years. In the second tape entitled "God’s Grade School" Missionary Otto Koning talks about giving up our reputation, surrendering our worldly belongings, and yielding our rights as we progress through God’s grade school. Now that’s a whole lot of "nuggets" in just one tape.

I’m a bad one for worrying about what others think of me. I’ve certainly gotten better with age but I have wasted a whole lot of time in this department over the years. Mr. Koning talks about turning your reputation over to God ~ letting Him handle what others think of you. It is so true that when we try to control or monitor a situation, so folk will see us in the light that we want them to ~ well, we will most often mess it up. But if we hand it over to God and let Him take care of how others see us ~ the outcome is so much the better. And just think how much easier it is ~ think how much less stressful it is. I think, for me, I’ve been the most concerned when someone thought something of me that wasn’t true. It is so hard to just lay that down and let God handle it ~ but if God can’t handle it then no one can. Let God have your reputation in all things. Mr. Koning also talks about surrendering our worldly possessions to him. He says "Not everything we give to God will turn to gold but we must surrender it all and see what He will do with it." Nothing is ours ~ really. Every single thing in this world belongs to Him. Koning believes that if you don’t surrender all of your possessions you will never get out of first grade in this life. He says, "Don’t have a goal to be rich ~ just serve God. Nothing is important ~ only God." Missionary Koning compares our lives to that of being in grade school. Those situations and experiences that we find ourselves in each day ~ and the way in which we handle them ~ progresses or demotes us in the school of life. Doesn’t life seem like one situation or trial after another? It seems we hardly get through one situation and another is just over the horizon. It is these times that grow us ~ that make us the person God wants us to be. Sometimes we travel through these times and fall with a thud and at other times we soar like eagles. Mr. Koning says, "God wants us Christ like so he puts the pressure on until we surrender in that area." Oh that we would see it that way ~ I would much rather progress onto the next grade ~ fully surrendering ~ rather than holding on and holding back and going through fiery trial after trial.Life is a grade school. We will progress from Grade 1 to Grade 2 to Grade 3 and so on as we yield our rights to God ~ as we yield our will ~ as we yield our worldly possession ~ as we bend under His pressure to be like Him. Oh what love ~ that Christ cares that much for us. Oh what love. Always remember ~ God puts on the pressure because He does love us. It is when we are not under His pressure that we need seriously address what kind of relationship we have with Him. We want God to be working in our lives until we meet Him face to face. Lord bless you.

Friday, March 6, 2009

One Of Those Days

It has been one of those days ~ when something happens that you weren't expecting ~ and it kind of broad sides you ~ sends you reeling ~ and when you come to you are wondering "where did that come from." Sounds like a perfect situation that the ole devil set into motion. Yep, one of those days.

But it was more than that. It was a day that brought to mind this verse ~ Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart (Psalm 26:2). I once read something to the affect that when we ride and use the reins to guide a horse we are testing him to see if he will obey. We are trying to figure out if the horse's mind and it's willingness to obey our directions are indeed connected to those reins. I don't know too much about horses (which is saying alot since I do live in the Bluegrass area ~horse capital of the world) but this sounds right.

And isn't that the way it is with our Lord. He communicates with us ~ there is testing involved ~ and we have to decide whether we will listen and obey. Isn't He checking to see if our "reins" are connected to our heart and soul? That is God proving us.

I look back on this morning and what transpired in just a few short minutes and I have to say that I am pretty sure that I failed in obeying the Lord's directions ~ which in my case would have required me not to "react" to the situation. In the end I made a very important decision that I believe I was supposed to make so it wasn't a total bust. Maybe I didn't fail the "proving" test as badly as I had thought. I would like to hope that I didn't.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dear Blogging Friends Who Use Facebook

Please know that I was in no way casting any stones if you do use this mode of communication. Maybe it is where I've been in my journey and I just wasn't ready for it. I still have Facebook in the house via two of my daughters ~ but I know how to monitor what is going on.

I shall miss uploading pictures and talking to old friends and sharing little snippets of news with other home schoolers (it was an excellent way to get a hold of some folk that I couldn't ever catch at home by phone). These are things I will miss. And yet I won't miss the pesky suggestive ads in the margin or my daughters constantly untagging my pictures because they didn't want a cute little picture of them when they were a baby put out there in cyberspace for all the world to see ~ what is up with that :) And I won't miss some pretty bad stuff I saw within the pages of those who I thought I knew. I reckon at this time it was just too hard to see.

You know, had I known that you all had Facebook my experience would have been so much better. We could have been "friends." So, down the pike, if my perspective changes don't be surprised if you get a request to be my friend ~ but don't hold your breath. :) Bless you all.

P.S. Check out this article a college gal wrote about quitting Facebook and going back to the old fashioned traditional ways of communicating. It is pretty cute ~ even if you do like FB.

Have You Ever Ventured To Try Something Called Facebook?

Lately I became very interested in finding an old high school friend. I hadn’t seen her since we graduated from high school in 1976. So, I decided to try this beast called "Facebook." Low and behold the first person I found was my old friend Carol. The trouble came when I began to search for other folk ~ it was amazing how much time I began to waste doing this. I found myself reading my Bible less, praying less, and even visiting you all in blogland less.

To add insult to injury, I was exposed to the profiles of some people I had not seen for years ~ and it was heart breaking. God’s people are away from Him in rampant proportion. And while I was willing to remain on line and try and be some kind of testimony to them ~ I figure I could spend my time more prudently by praying for them daily and staying in contact by email should they need a shoulder.

I don’t mind using some time to blog with you lovely ladies who have become such sweet friends to me ~ gals who love the Lord and are reading God’s Word and meditating on it. That is edification! If I have spare time to use, I choose this Christian blogging over Facebook hands down.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It Is True ~ The Truth Can Make You Free

In my journey to yield all rights to God, I have been challenged to not hold on to the old ~ old thoughts ~ old pains ~ old mistakes ~ but rather to act on truth. That has been a huge wake up call for me ~ "acting on truth."

Not all truth is easy. Some is really tough to hear ~ and at times even tougher to tell. What I am finding is that it does often hurt at first ~ but then it enables ~ it empowers ~ and it makes us more like the folk that God wants us to be ~ for He himself is true (John 8:26).

In John 8:32 Jesus said And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. God has given a wonderful example in His own Son about the beauty of truth. He is the truth and the way and no one can reach God but through Christ (John 14:6). Truth ~ it can make us free ~ in so many ways.

Friday, February 27, 2009

God Won't Push Us Out Of The Way To Do His Will

Four weeks ago I experienced something within my family that was tremendously painful. There have been many weeks and months ~ and even years ~ leading up to this very hard pathway. Four weeks ago, before I knew it ~ it had engulfed my heart and spirit. I don’t know that anyone is ever ready or prepared for grievious situations. Sometimes we just have to hang on to the Lord for dear life ~ and pray like there is no tomorrow. I’ve felt so very sad and at a loss ~ yet knowing all along that my Lord never left my side ~ not once.

I’m not here to tell you that there has been a miraculous change in my situation ~ and that everything is well. But I am here to say that though I have been walking in the darkest of valleys, God is still my very best friend and finally my heart and spirit have been renewed.

As I shared yesterday, I began listening to The Pineapple Story series again. I listened to tape #1 twice ~ it was that profound. I am so thankful that God brought them to mind today. He certainly knew how much I needed it.

Through out this tape series, Missionary Otto Koning shares how we must yield many things to God (including his garden of pineapples) in order to reach that true happiness that we can experience only when we give everything to our Lord. In this first tape, he talks about yielding our rights ~ to pretty much everything. He reminds his listeners that we don’t own anything ~ from our car and home to our peace of mind, and health, and happiness. Everything belongs to God. And when we come to that realization and lay it all at His feet (which will likely have to be a daily practice) it is then that we will have everything above and beyond what we need. It is then that we will have true happiness.

Mr. Koning discusses how God wants to make the choices in our lives. We should never say "I am never going to do that" or "I don’t want to live there or work at that job." Because as sure as anything you will find yourself doing that. I remember when I was teaching at a Christian school in the mid 1990's and I said "I will never home school." Guess what I have been doing for the past 15 years? Yes, homeschooling.

He encourages us to give all of our possessions to God ~ for God will take better care of them than we ever could. He said, "Whatever you give to God with the right motives you will never lack that thing again. Whatever He is Lord of ~ whatever He controls ~ He will always do a better job of it than we can." But it has to be our choice. God is not going to push us out of the way to achieve His will. We have to surrender. And if we don’t ~ we will struggle.

And so I gave up my rights today. It wasn’t easy but I have found myself at a place in my life where I need God to do His will in a big way. He wasn’t going to push me aside so He could do a perfect work ~ it was necessary that I step to the side. I don’t know if things will ever be restored in the way that I desire for them to be ~ I don’t know what is going to happen. I just know that I laid down my rights to everything today. And you know what? It was such a load off of my heart. To say "Lord it is all in your hands. It is yours to do with as you please." For the first day in many many days peace has been restored in my heart and spirit. Tomorrow may prove to be a "dickens of a day" ~ satan will attempt to take me back to the pit I was in ~ but God can handle him easily. Until tomorrow...........

Thank You ~ Friends ~ For Your Love and Prayers

It's not always easy to remain in contact when you are walking through a deep valley. I've taken time away from blogging for that reason. I have felt the prayers of my blog friends and have appreciated every sweet email and post comment I have received. Thank you for caring about me ~ someone you don't even know. I look forward to spending an eternity with you ~ my Christian sisters ~ in Heaven.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Yielding My Rights

This morning I pulled out an old set of cassette tapes produced by The Institute in Basic Life Principles. The series is called The Pineapple Story featuring the testimony of Otto Koning’s missionary years in New Guinea. The twelve tapes share Mr. Koning’s powerful witness to yielding one’s rights to God and what a tremendous change that can bring to your life and to those lives around you.

I had listened to this series several years ago when I was away from God. A friend had stopped by one day with a delicious meal and the first tape of this series. I fought listening to the tape because I knew I was away from the Lord ~ this friend knew I was away from the Lord ~ and I wasn’t interested in being preached to. When I finally surrendered to listen to it ~ needless to say ~ it was life changing.

It had been many years since the waters had been stirred in my soul by the Holy Spirit. For way too long I had practiced quenching the Holy Spirit (I Thessalonians 5:19 - Quench not the Spirit). That day after listening to the tape, the flood gates opened and would not close. I cried and cried for hours mingled with prayer ~ confessing years of sin ~ begging God to forgive me. The sobs were so intense I thought at times I would stop breathing. It was such a magnificent time of cleansing. I do not believe I will ever forget it. That was over 11 years ago. Indeed, God used Mr. Koning’s testimony to bring a dramatic change in my life.

This morning when I began to listen to that "first tape" in the series I heard things that I had not heard when I listened to it in the past ~ kind of like when we read the Bible ~ you can read a verse many times and each time get something different out of it according to how the Holy Spirit is leading.

To spare you reading such a lengthy post I will continue tomorrow with how Mr. Koning’s testimony inspired me today ~ an inspiration I was desperately in need of ~ thank you Lord. See you tomorrow blog friends.

Monday, February 16, 2009

They Burned The Church Down

As I have read through the Chronicles in the Old Testament, I’ve thought a whole lot about the Jews and the tragedy of their ultimately going into captivity in Babylon. For all those years, they had thought that they knew what was best for them ~ to have a king to lead them. Most of the kings were very wicked; and the final one ~ King Nebuchadnezzar ~ had the temple, which King Solomon built, destroyed. In II Chronicles 36:19 it says And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof. My heart hurt when I read that verse - trying to envision the darkness of that day when the temple was burned to the ground.

Under the leadership of many evil kings, the Children of Israel continued to make very poor choices. II Chronicles 7:22 says Because they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshiped them, and served them: therefore hath he brought all this evil upon them. In the end, God’s chosen people were taken into captivity for 70 years.

This very account reminds me of the "falling away" of the church today. For some it is just about stage entertainment. They feel if you don’t entertain then folk won’t come. For others they have gotten away from preaching the Word ~ of telling about Jesus and how to be saved from our sins. And yet for others it is meeting to eat or socialize in place of preaching. The church has fallen away. And these situations don’t even include the many folk who call themselves Christians and they don’t even attend church.

I believe that in the same way it grieved God in the days of King Nebuchadnezzar ~ it grieves God today that His church ~ His people ~ are not about the Lord’s business. We live in a very wicked time and I believe it is directly related to the falling away of God’s people. In many ways we are already in captivity to the sin that lies around us.

What can we do to help strengthen the church? That’s a whole lot to ponder ~ isn’t it. Stay in prayer and stay in the Word ~ and we will be well on the pathway that we need to be on.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

He's All I Need

For many many months now I have been in the battle of my life. It has surely been noticeable that many of my posts are about leaning on the Lord. It seems I've had a great deal of experience doing that lately. Thank God that He promises that if we draw nigh unto Him that He will draw nigh unto us (James 4:8). And what a promise that is. Certainly one which constantly gives comfort.

I don't know what tomorrow holds but I do know who holds tomorrow. Someday I will look back on these darker days and be able to see each and every move that God has made. Someday I will be able to help someone who is walking the same path. Someday I will be able to testify with an exuberance that God is all I need. I hope you will take the time to listen to He's All I Need by the Kingsmen.

Friday, February 6, 2009

What Satan Fears Most

What satan fears most is a man on his knees ~ not vast marching armies with great weaponry. He knows he can stand against the power of men ~ to engage us in battle is mere sport to him. But a man on his knees with his head bowed in prayer is something quite different to the prince of the air. For when he sees us in prayer to our God most high ~ he knows we have seen through his devilish lies. That’s why satan fears most a man on his knees ~and we’ll keep him trembling if our prayers never cease.

We need to realize that there is a war constantly going on in the spiritual realm. The devil does not want you happy, blessed, and rejoicing in the Lord ~ but rather depressed and blaming God for all the wrong that is going on in your life.

The enemy will try anything he can to separate you from having a relationship with the Lord and he is very successful at bringing problems our way in order to keep our mind from anything and everything except God. That is why it is important to have a strong and committed prayer life. If the devil constantly sees you in prayer and always asking for guidance and wisdom from the Lord, then the enemy knows his power has become ineffective against you.

Just as you would fight to get a burglar out of your home ~ you need to fight that spiritual war by praying ~ by fasting ~ by speaking forth the scriptures of authority and rebuking the enemy in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

A person who kneels in prayer will be able to stand up to anything.

I could not have put it more simply than this. This powerful poem and devotional was submitted to Dwayne Savaya Ministry by Daryl Jackson.

Monday, February 2, 2009

God Is Thinking ~ But Are We?

How much do you think God thinks about you? In Matthew 10:30 it says But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Hebrews 4:12 says He is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Both of these verses certainly indicate that God thinks about us. Psalm 40:5 talks about God’s thoughts and if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. Imagine that. God thinks more about you and me each and every day than we can even number. Psalm 139:17 reiterates the same truth about how often He thinks of His children ~ O God! How great is the sum of them. That warms my heart that my God feels that much love toward me.

And so the big question is "How much do we think of Him each day?" Do we give Him a second thought as we go throughout our regular routine? When we walk past His Word do we pick it up and spend some time with Him? Do we go to Him in prayer praising and worshiping Him? How much do you think of Christ these days? Can we say what King David said in Psalm 42:1~

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

For so much of my life I would have had to answer weakly and feebly to those questions above. But I finally got it - I finally realized what I was missing by not reading and praying on a regular basis. May our souls pant after God every day we remain on this earth.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

My Spring Counter

This is my first "countdown counter." I did not count down until Fall ~ or Thanksgiving ~ or Winter ~ or Christmas ~ but Spring is a very different story. So I decided to take part. Spring represents life and new beginnings ~ and I'm in need of that! It is my favorite of seasons ~ there are none other as exhilarating and beautiful ~ in my opinion ~ as Spring.

Beautiful flowers on Prince Edward Island

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Vow Of A Lifetime

May 22, 1982
In a little Baptist Church in Monticello, Kentucky
Pastor Don Strange Officiating
Condensed Version

Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God in Heaven, and into which holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. Therefore if any man can shew any just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace.

Will you take this woman to be thy wedded wife, to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Will you love her, comfort her, honour, and keep her, in sickness and in health; and forsaking all other, keep thee only unto her, so long as ye both shall live?

And will you take this man to be thy wedded husband, to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Will you love, honor, and obey him; keep him in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all other, keep thee only unto him, so long as ye both shall live?

What God hath joined together let not man put asunder.

Tonight I tearfully watched "Fireproof" ~ and it was a much needed reminder of what took place in my and Gordon's lives almost 27 years ago. Vows are very serious ~ and not to be taken for granted ~ come what may.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Through The Storms

I did not know His love before, the way I know it now. I could not see my need for Him, my pride would not allow.

I had it all, without a care, the "Self-sufficient" lie. My path was smooth, my sea was still, not a cloud was in my sky.

I thought I knew His love for me, I thought I'd seen His grace, I thought I did not need to grow, I thought I'd found my place.

But then the way grew rough and dark, the storm clouds quickly rolled; The waves began to rock my ship, my anchor would not hold.

The ship that I had built myself was made of foolish pride. It fell apart and left me bare, with nowhere else to hide.

I had no strength or faith to face the trials that lay ahead, And so I simply prayed to Him and bowed my weary head.

His loving arms enveloped me, and then He helped me stand. He said, "You still must face this storm, but I will hold your hand."

So through the dark and lonely night He guided me through pain. I could not see the light of day or when the storm might wane.

Yet through the aches and endless tears, my faith began to grow. I could not see it at the time, but my light began to glow.

I saw God's love in brand new light, His grace and mercy, too. For only when all self was gone could Jesus' love shine through.

It was not easy in the storm, I sometimes wondered, "Why?" At times I thought, "I can't go on." I'd hurt, and doubt, and cry.

But Jesus never left my side, He guided me each day. Through pain and strife, through fire and flood, He helped me all the way.

And now I see as never before how great His love can be. How in my weakness He is strong, how Jesus cares for me!

He worked it all out for my good, although the way was rough. He only sent what I could bear, and then He cried, "Enough!"

He raised His hand and said, "Be still!" He made the storm clouds cease. He opened up the gates of joy and flooded me with peace.

I saw His face now clearer still, I felt His presence strong, I found anew His faithfulness, He never did me wrong.

Now I know more storms will come, but only for my good, For pain and tears have helped me grow as naught else ever could.

I still have so much more to learn as Jesus works in me; If in the storm I'll love Him more, that's where I want to be! ~Author Unknown

Hebrews 13: 5-6 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Greatest Love Letter I've Ever Written

This is a longer read than usual but I hope you will read it to the end..... Over the course of several months I have posted about leaning on Jesus ~ about letting Him be our confidante ~ about making Him our closest friend ~ about allowing Him to be the one we go to when we are down and in trouble. It is part of His plan ~ and, frankly, I've found out over and over again that humans simply aren't wired to handle His "friend job description."

Humans fall short ~ and it simply is not their fault. We are not strong enough to carry the weight of someone else. We are not capable of being the perfect friend. We are not able to be "there" at all times for anyone. We just aren't. And when we attempt to put an individual into any of those positions it never works. We get hurt ~ they get hurt ~ and it could all have been spared if we had just followed the perfect path. There is not a friend like the lowly Jesus ~ no not one ~ and never will there be ~ ever.

Earthly friends are a great treasure to have ~ and I enjoy having them. Folk, who know me personally, know that I love to be with people. I'm one of those folk that might strike up a conversation with you in the grocery store ~ though I don't even know you. I tend to be of a friendly sort. But the dear Lord knows I've have at times placed too much emphasis on friends in this life. I reckon that is why I post about it so often. I, very well, recognize the importance of not elevating friends to a position that they should never be elevated to. You've heard the old saying ~ "Don't put me on a pedestal because I will eventually fall off." I've learned that it is an injustice to that individual to put them on the pedestal to begin with. They cannot fulfil God's job description as the perfect friend.

For the past few months I have been weary about something ~ and it is a pretty big something ~ I won't deny it. And just maybe it is my cross to bear in this life ~ my thorn in the flesh that I must be content with for my remainder here on earth. Yet with it being a rather "big something" to deal with I have confided in some family and friends about it all. But I've come to the conclusion that no matter how much I talk about it ~ it really doesn't make me feel any better ~ nor does it make the situation better. Actually I think it makes me feel worse and it makes the situation worse as well.

I figure the folk are praying for me once I talk with them and I certainly don't minimize the profit of that. But I reckon I could have gotten them to pray for me if I had just told them I had a serious unspoken that I needed them to take to the feet of Jesus. Please don't misunderstand me. I don't believe that it is wrong to have close friends that we can confide in and lay our head on their shoulder in the darkest of times and just sit and pray and know that they are there for us. That is the making of a wonderful earthly friendship. That is a true friend. But it becomes of much less affect and can only bring pain when we replace God with them. It is a fine line ~ is it not? And sometimes a hard one to discern.

This week I really got to thinking about my "friendship" with God ~ and how I need to be treating Him like my closest friend. So three days ago I began a love letter. I've started more prayer journals than I can count ~ so I knew this had to be different if I was going to stick with it. I simply began a new folder in my word processor ~ and each time I have felt lonely and gloomy, each time I have wanted to lay my head on His shoulder and have a good cry, each time I wanted to feel the love and warmth of His arms around me ~ I have taken out my laptop and begun to write a letter to Him. As I pray I type it. And guess what? It works. It really works. And if I'm interrupted ~ I don't lose my place. :)

I will sit at that keyboard and pray and cry and type and pray and cry and type some more. Oh what a friend He is ~ like no other ~ no not one. I cannot see His face or hear His voice but I know that He is there. I cannot tangibly feel Him holding me close as He tells me everything will be alright but I know He is there.

O, what a friend we have in Jesus ~ all our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer. O what peace we often forfeit ~ O what needless pain we bear. All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Have you written God a love letter lately? It's a great experience.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Love Letter's Gonna Have To Wait

I had planned on posting about a "love letter" I've been writing for the last two days ~ but I reckon that will have to wait. Today was the big day for our new president. I've been out and about throughout the day ~ I checked some blogs ~ and read some email ~ and even talked to some family and friends ~ and it seems that there is an air of apprehension ~ even worry ~ about what tomorrow and the next day and the next day holds.

On November 4th our nation went to the polls to vote ~ and the popular vote results (66,882,230 to 58,343,671) reflected a country that was pretty much divided. That night I wrote a post that God laid on my heart ~ and in light of the uneasiness I sensed among so many this day ~ it seemed fitting to post it again. And as for that love letter ~ I reckon it will have to wait until another day (you can stay tuned for that one).

It is a solemn evening as many Christians watch to see who will be the next president of the United States. I have been encouraging friends and family for quite some time to take God’s Word and use it as a measuring stick against the beliefs of the candidates. In the end we can vote the way in which we feel God is leading us through His Word and the rest is up to Him. So, if we wake up tomorrow morning to find that the man chosen by the people is not the man that we feel measures the tallest against God’s Word ~ we need to keep some very important things in mind.

~ We are to pray for our new leader ~ no matter who he is. God commands us to in His Word. I Timothy 2:1-4 says I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior. Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of truth.

~ OUR GOD IS STILL SOVEREIGN. HE IS STILL ON THE THRONE. In Colossians 1:16-17 it says For by Him were all things created, that are in Heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers, all things were created by Him and for him; And He is before all things, and by him all things consist.

~ We are to work for the night is coming. John 9:4 I must work the works of them that sent me, while it is day; the night cometh when no man can work.

I can see how Christians may grow very worried and fret over the election results. This is why it is so important for them to be in God’s Word. If we stay in His Word then we will be anchored and strong and ready for whatever comes. It is your only comfort; it is your only peace; let it be your all in all.

Listen, my friend, I can’t help but believe that the United States has become a "stinky" wound in the sight of God. This country ~ our country ~ founded on the God of the Holy Bible ~ with a heritage so rich for our Lord ~ has turned its back on Him. So many many Christians have become like the world ~ their complacency is so strong ~ just living to live ~ following God as it suits their lifestyles. Why do you think one out of two Christian men are addicted to pornography? Why do you think so many Christians are divorcing and then going on to live with the next person they come to care for? Why do you think 50 million helpless babies have been aborted since 1973 ~ even some by Christians? We are in a very sad state. And that is just in respect to the Christians. Looking at those who are still lost and dying ~ it is even more sinful and dark. We are an infectious wound in the eyes of God indeed.

I love America and have always counted it such a blessing and privilege to live here ~ to be an American. But we are so very far from where we started. We are so very far, even, from the days when I was raised in the 60's and 70's. Not long after 9/11 I saw a bumper sticker that said "We say God Bless America but we need to say America Bless God." We want God to bless us but we haven’t been blessing God in the way in which we live our lives.

As we near the end of our journey on this sin-sick earth things are not going to get better. They are not going to get easier. And I encourage you my friend to stand fast in the Word of God, stay in church, pray like you’ve never prayed before. We are fast becoming the minority in this world. If God tarries coming this night, we will see another morning. But be not discouraged. For God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling there of. COME WHAT MAY ~ FEAR NOT ~ GOD IS OUR REFUGE AND STRENGTH. Those verses still hold true today just as much as they held true back in November just as they held true when they were written. We are commanded to pray for our president ~ I hope you will. So dig your heels in ~ stay busy for the cause of Christ ~ and lift our new leader up ~ he's gonna need it ~ because this old world is spinning out of control ~ he's got his work cut out for him.

God ~ My Greatest And Closest Friend

There's not a friend like the lowly Jesus
No not one ~ no not one
None else could heal all our souls' diseases
No, not one ~ no, not one
Jesus knows all about our struggles
He will guide 'til the day is done
There's not a Friend like the lowly Jesus
No, not one ~ no, not one
There's not an hour that He is not near us
No, not one ~ no, not one
No night so dark, but His love can cheer us
No, not one ~ no, not one

No earthly friend can do all of that ~ no earthly friend is supposed to. Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus, He is a Friend that’s well known. You’ve no other such a friend or brother, tell it to Jesus alone.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Are You Sleeping?

I'm come to be quite fond of the verse We spend our years as a tale that is told (Psalms 90: 9). I reckon my fondness stems from the reality check that it constantly reminds me of. This verse can truly put your whole life into perspective. Our life is a tale ~ a story ~ and with all tales an end is emminent. We have one "go around" ~ and while so many in the world see that as an excuse to live the devil's way ~ it truly is the perfect reason to live the Lord's way ~ and redeem the time that He has given us.

Ephesians 5:15-16 says See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Our time on this earth is running out. My pastor preached on this very passage last week ~ in tears pleading with us to "redeem the time." He talked about how the world is at an all-time low ~ because people are getting farther and farther away from God. And in the mean time Christians are sleeping. In verse 14 of this same chapter it says Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

I think a lot of us can go to sleep ~ through indifference (having a more "open mind" in respect to this evil world which will lead to 'fence sitting' and a state of indifference) ~ and through sin (yielding to the temptation that encircles us in this world) ~ and even through distraction (satan loves to distract the Christian with everything imaginable from prestige and riches to trials and troubles ~ whatever it takes to make us ineffective for Christ).

God is coming back and if death does not take Christians from this world then the trumpet will. And with that thought, Pastor Dan encouraged us ~ that until that happens ~ to redeem our time in three particular ways:

1. Read your Bible ~ everyday. Cherish it like those Africans that Raphael took Bibles to (see post entitled "Greasing The Way in Prayer"). We need for it to be our most precious possession.

2. Win your lost relatives to the Lord. Now is the time ~ tomorrow might be too late.

3. Serve God with all you have.
Pastor Dan shared with us that he had been out soul winning and he was able to speak to a gentleman out in his yard about Christ. The man accepted the Bible tract but was unwilling to pray and ask God to save him. He said what so many say "Not today. Maybe another time." One week later my pastor went back to visit this man again and he had been killed in a drive by shooting. We won't know until we enter eternity whether this man read that tract and accepted Christ. Little did Pastor Dan know that less than seven days after he witnessed to this man ~ that his life would be needlessly snuffed out.

Oh that we would redeem the time that Christ has given us here on this earth. Oh that we would redeem the time so that this tale we are living might be a worthy story to tell. Oh that we will redeem the time...........