Thursday, June 7, 2012

Don't Worry.... Be Happy

Followed by whistling and Jamaican beats... This was a favorite song of mine many years ago. 
"Here is a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don't worry be happy
In every life we have some trouble
When you worry you make it double
Don't worry, be happy......"

However fun the song is, it does have some Biblical truth to it. Matthew 6:25-34 tells us that we have no reason for worry.... unless....

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Unless.... unless we are seeing ourselves as the source of provision for the needs in our lives, then we have  reason to worry.  In Sarah Young's devotional Jesus Calling, she writes, "Who is in charge of your life? If it is you, then you have good reason to worry."  What does worry do? Worry about anything only causes stress in our lives, and it takes our vision off of God and places it onto our problem, our lack, our fear. The Bible clearly states that there is no fear in love. And since God IS Love, then there can be no fear in him. When we put God as priority in our lives and we place our dependence on him then perfect love casts out all fear. (1 John 4:18) 

In Max Lucado's book Max on Life, he answers a reader question about if it was ok to ask God daily for the necessities that we must have to make it through each day. To him he quoted Luke 11:3 “Give us each day our daily bread” from the Lord's prayer. He assured the reader that not only does God promise to provide our needs but that it is ok to ask God about it also. Then he ends by saying, "So don’t worry; be prayerful. God has something wonderful for us baking in the oven. Can you smell it?"

This MUST be a point that God is making sure I hear loud and clear this week, because I have seen this theme repeated in nearly every devotion, scripture and sermon I have read/heard in the last 48 hours. Even when picking a random sermon to listen to yesterday as I got ready for the day, Pastor Robert Morris was speaking about Jehovah Jireh... "God our PROVIDER."

SO, okay God... I hear you. You will provide. The job... the finances... the food... the clothes... the shelter... the wisdom... the peace. 

I listed more scriptures below that talk about God's provision. 

Habakkuk 2:1, 3
I will climb my watchtower now, and wait to see what answer God will give to my complaint.
But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!

Psalms 4:8 (NLV)
I will lie down in peace and sleep, for though I am alone, Oh Lord, you will keep me safe.

Philippians 4:11-13 (NLV)
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of contentment in every situation, whether it be a full stomach or hunger, plenty, or want; for I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ Who gives me the strength and power.

Psalms 37:8-11 (NLV)
Stop your anger! Turn off your wrath. Don't fret and worry - it only leads to harm. For the wicked shall be destroyed, but those who trust the Lord shall be given every blessing. Only a little while and the wicked shall disappear. You will look for them in vain. But all who humble themselves before the Lord shall be given every blessing, and shall have wonderful peace.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (MSG)
Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
   don't try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
   he's the one who will keep you on track.
Don't assume that you know it all.
   Run to God! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
   your very bones will vibrate with life!
Honor God with everything you own;
   give him the first and the best.
Your barns will burst,
   your wine vats will brim over.
But don't, dear friend, resent God's discipline;
   don't sulk under his loving correction.
It's the child he loves that God corrects;
   a father's delight is behind all this.

John 14:27 (AMP) Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]

Philippians 4:6-7 (MSG) Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. 

Psalm 34:17-18 (MSG)17 Is anyone crying for help? God is listening,    ready to rescue you.  18 If your heart is broken, you'll find God right there;  if you're kicked in the gut, he'll help you catch your breath. 

Hebrews 13:5-7 (NLV)  Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, "I will never, never fail you nor forsake you." That is why we can say without any doubt or fear, "The Lord is my Helper and I am not afraid of anything that mere man can do to me." Remember your leaders who have taught you the Word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and try to trust the Lord as they do.

Deuteronomy 31:6 (MSG) "Be strong. Take courage. Don't be intimidated. Don't give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He's right there with you. He won't let you down; he won't leave you." 

Isaiah 26:3-4 (NLV)  He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in Him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord! Trust in the Lord always, for in the Lord, Jehovah, is your everlasting strength.

Isaiah 41:13-14 (NLV)  I am holding you by your right hand - I, the Lord your God - and I say to you, don't be afraid; I am here to help you. Despised though you are, fear not, Oh Israel; for I will help you. I am the Lord, your Redeemer; I am the Holy One of Israel.

Psalm 112:6-8 (NIRV)  
They will always be secure.  
Those who do what is right will be remembered forever.  
They aren't afraid when bad news comes. 
They stand firm because they trust in the Lord. 
 Their hearts are secure. They aren't afraid.  
In the end they will see their enemies destroyed. 

Isaiah 41:10 (NLV)  Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed. I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with My victorious right hand.
1 Peter 5:7 (AMP) Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.
1 John 4:18 (CEB)  There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear expects punishment. The person who is afraid has not been made perfect in love.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Applause of the Storm

Have you ever been sitting in church and suddenly been swept away into another mental realm? For example, when your driving in your car, the same route over and over, and one day you start off to work and suddenly you arrive and you realize, "I don't really remember driving here. How did I get here so quickly? Did I drive past the school? the Sonic? Starbucks??" It's like our bodies take over and drive that same familiar route, but our mind is completely somewhere else. Our bodies follow the habit, but our minds are distracted and maybe, simply bored. 

I hate to admit it, but that is where I found myself in church this past Sunday.... driving along in habit, singing the songs, but my mind was totally somewhere else. Please understand that has no reflection whatsoever on the worship team that was leading... it was just me. I just couldn't seem to get mentally in tune with the worship. 

Until, something kind of strange happened.... I heard rain. 

It was the kind of rain that you would imagine pouring from the sky in great drops onto the concrete. The sound was unmistakable. I have heard it hundreds of times in my life. My first thought was "How strange. It was very sunny when I walked in just a few minutes ago." 

Then I realized very quickly, it was not rain, but the sound of people clapping after the worship song had just ended. 

Immediately this thought came into my head, "if you keep quiet, even the rocks will cry out." (John 19:40) I was suddenly amazed at how the sound of applause and the sound of rain hitting the ground sounded so similar. Creation naturally praises its Creator!  

"The heavens keep telling the wonders of God, and the skies declare what he has done." Psalm 19:1

"Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; Let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof; Let the field exult, and all that is therein; Then shall all the trees of the wood sing for joy!" Psalm 96:11-12

"Sun and moon, praise God! All of you bright stars, praise God! You highest heaven, praise God! Do the same, you waters that are above the sky!  Let all of these praise the Lord’s name because God gave the command and they were created! God set them in place always and forever. God made a law that will not be broken. Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all you ocean depths! Do the same, fire and hail, snow and smoke, stormy wind that does what God says! Do the same, you mountains, every single hill, fruit trees, and every single cedar! Do the same, you animals—wild or tame— you creatures that creep along and you birds that fly!" Psalm 148:3-10

I was immediately, mind and body, fully aware of where I was and what I should have been doing. Instead of allowing my mind to drift onto the worries and duties that surround me, basically ignoring the opportunity to enter into his presence, I needed to concentrate my mind on HIM. To worship HIM is to replace worry and doubt. To worship HIM is to enter into his presence. To worship HIM is to leave my mindless wanderings at the door and come in prepared to honor and glorify my Creator. Creation may cry out and worship Him, but not because I have failed to do so. In one accord, His creation will lift up praise unto HIS NAME. 

"Do the same, you young men—young women too! You who are old together with you who are young! Let all of these praise the Lord’s name because only God’s name is high over all. Only God’s majesty is over earth and heaven." Psalm 148:12-13

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Conversations with God

My morning consisted of many activities, but one stands out above the rest. It is a conversation that I had with God.

I did as I do many days, I talk audibly to the open air in my house. I concentrate in prayer more easily when I talk out loud. I presented my laundry list of concerns and posed many questions about upcoming events in the near future. I reminded Him of imposing deadlines that would surely determine major events in the lives of whom I am held accountable. I reminded Him that many of these decisions could be very costly and involve many players. AND I reminded him again of the deadlines quickly approaching.... again. 

Mind you, these are no small decisions and they have not risen overnight. After posing these issues to Him time and time again over the past year, I am beginning to wonder if my communication line is completely broken down. Surely, He knows that I have to have a job to support my family... that my landlord is awaiting my decision to stay or vacate and the only extension is another year lease... that my teacher certification is awaiting my enrollment in summer classes which is dependent on employment within a certified school... among many other issues that have to have answers within a couple of weeks.

I mean, I begin to wonder why I pose these issues to Him at all after sitting at the throne time and time again... I have actually heard myself saying... out loud... 

"HEL-LO!!! Is this mic on??"

So, I stopped talking. I turned on my radio and this is exactly what I heard....

"Do you know where Jesus Christ is right now? The Bible says Jesus is in Heaven, and He lives today to make intercession for us. Right now, Jesus is praying for you. And do you know how He is praying for you?  As He is making intercession for you before his Father? As Jesus watches you going through the trial you may be going through in your life right now. Jesus is praying, 'God, give them the strength to hang on. NOT to give up!' Jesus, right now is weeping for you. Just like Joseph wept for his brothers. Jesus is weeping for you saying, 'Oh God, there is so much I would like to show them. I would like to tell them. I would like to reveal to them how this is all gonna turn out out for good cause they love me and are called according to my purpose. I would love to tell them the story, but the time is not right, not yet.' " Dr. Robert Jeffress (pastor of First Baptist Dallas) was speaking about the story of Joseph and the story of Lazarus. 

Well, of course, my ears perked right up! I knew this was NO accident. It was at the end of his sermon, so I went online to hear the rest. He related the story of Mary and Martha and how they could not understand why Jesus had not come sooner. Their brother, a man whom Jesus loved, had died while waiting on his friend. "Jesus wept." HE WEPT! Even while knowing what HE was about to do... to speak life into the man who was in the grave... Jesus was so incredibly moved by the sorrow of his sweet friends, that he wept for them. They didn't know that a resurrection was on the way. 

Joseph could not have known that he was delivered into the hands of the Egyptians to one day become their ruler and save them and the hands that delivered him... his own family... from starvation. He had had a dream, but the dream must have seemed like a distant memory after so many years of slavery, accusation and imprisonment. Once again, God had planned, to breathe life into a dead relationship and save a people from annihilation. A resurrection was in store for Joseph and his brothers. God never forgot where Joseph was at, and He was prepared to work good for him because Joseph loved Him and was called according to His purpose.  

So, today, I was thankful that Jesus reminded me exactly where He stands. That my "mic," so to speak, is still on. That He is making intercession for me to his Father.  That He is still in the resurrection business. That He weeps over me. And, that there is so much more to this story, that is yet to be revealed.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Dry Bones

Just wanted to share a message that has been repeated to me through many songs, scriptures, stories and teachings over the last couple of weeks. When seeking God to hear his voice and his word for my life at this time, I have continuously been led to three specific characters in the Word; Abraham, Moses and Ezekiel.

Abraham had a promise from God, but saw only old age in the physical realm and his own wife laughed at the thought of bearing children. Moses was called by God, but saw only his physical short comings and his own people rejected him. When he led the Israelites to the edge of the sea, yet again, there was the impossible ahead of him. Ezekiel was led to prophesy to a valley full of dried up bones to rise up and breathe.

In the natural, we can only see the impossibilities, the dry bones, the death in our own lives and circumstances. But GOD leads us to the impossible and then, like a pop quiz, asks us, "can these bones live?” Then He stands and waits for our response.

What do we believe? How do we speak to God and to ourselves? What things do we prophesy over our own lives? Do we speak death? or life? God's power? or our own understanding of the natural instead of the Super-natural?

I hope to be as wise as Ezekiel some day and pass the quiz... “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” The only thing I have to know is that He Knows. His promises are true and everlasting. He promises to never leave or forsake us (Heb 13:5-6). He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8).

Ezekiel 37:1-14 (NIV)
The Valley of Dry Bones

1 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know. ”

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord. ’”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord. ’”

Sunday, January 8, 2012


It's simple....

Your word is your promise. You do what you say.

A promise is a promise. Breaking it is never a consideration.

Think of others before yourself. Making others happy will bring you joy.

Doing anything because it "feels right" suggests that you haven't given it much thought to whether it IS right.

Feelings WILL change. Honor remains the same.

Respect the ones you love first because you will always love those whom you respect.

Honor and commitment should never become a thing of the past or the past is all we will have left. There will be nothing left for our future.

Our society has been lied to. We are told by media, friends, family and some religions that if it feels good... Then we should do it. Our own happiness should reign supreme. If something gets too hard, then we should move on.

So what happens when you can no longer find happiness by doing what feels right? When you have left everything and everyone behind to follow your heart? What happened to thinking things through? What has happened to our American spirit?? "When the going gets tough, the tough get going?" "Never say die?" Our society has become lazy and selfish. What is going to be left for our kids? What legacy will they inherit? Will we still be able to be the greatest nation in the world when our greatest inclination is to please ourselves?

It is more clear to me than ever before, we have to teach about devotion.

Pass it on...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Notably Quoted....

I like information. You could call me an information junkie. I like to research, read and then write about what I have learned. I like knowing "stuff!" So, another term for me could be... "a-know-it-all." It's okay... I am coming to terms with this label and finding out how to use my powers for good and not evil. Ha, ha! :P

I used to write stories and poems as a kid and teen, and inevitably, they would represent some part of me: past, present, or future. Maybe, someday, I will take the time to write like that again... If and when the inspiration hits. 

But, for today (January 6th), I wanted to see who else, out there, had experienced what I have and what they had to say about it. It reminds me that we are never alone... there is nothing "new under the sun." It was a cathartic exercise for me, since, today is my 16th anniversary. It's ok... I'm ok.... So, today I looked up quotes and one liners. I love finding great quotes! You will see some funny, witty, and some of the most beautiful expressions of love lost. 

"Bad as I like ye, it's worse without ye".  ~Irish Proverb

"Yet leave me not; yet, if thou wilt, be free;
Love me no more, but love my love of thee."
~Algernon Charles Swinburne

"Have you ever been hurt and the place tries to heal a bit, and you just pull the scar off of it over and over again"  ~Rosa Parks

"I prithee send me back my heart,
Since I cannot have thine;
For if from yours you will not part,
Why, then, shouldst thou have mine?"
~John Suckling

"To die and part is a less evil; but to part and live, there, there is the torment."  ~George Lansdowne 

"Missing you could turn from pain to pleasure, if I knew you were missing me too." ~Author Unknown 

 "I like the snot to run a little, the tears to accumulate a bit before reaching for the handkerchief.  Then I know I’m really crying.  Crying just isn’t crying unless it’s messy."  ~D.H. Mondfleur (Ha, ha! Loved this one!!)

"Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion.  I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward." ~Kurt Vonnegut

"Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts."  ~Charles Dickens, Great Expectations, 1860


"The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears."  ~John Vance Cheney

"To weep is to make less the depth of grief."
~William Shakespeare, King Henry the Sixth

"Wife: honey I want you to whisper dirty things in my ear! Husband: kitchen, living room, dinning room, patio" ~Anonymous (they are obviously no longer together!)

"It’s hard to tell your mind to stop loving someone when your heart still does." ~Anonymous

"Why is it that when you miss someone so much that your heart is ready to disintegrate, you hear the saddest song on the radio?" ~Anonymous (This is sooo true!!)

"I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited. But I couldn't stay away, I couldn't fight it. I had hoped you'd see my face and that you'd be reminded. That for me it isn't over." ~Adele 

"The hottest love has the coldest end." ~Socrates

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

God Texts!

In a much earlier post, I mentioned that it would be so awesome if sometimes God would actually text us or call us so that we could feel like we were having a real life conversation....

So, I have to share this little story from last night... its like 2am and I can't sleep. Bogged down by all the events of the evening, I just could seem to wind down. I had done all sorts of things and had been laying in bed listening to Gateway's praise and worship music for quite a while. I kept having the urge to turn on the TV, because the nights are sometimes the hardest. But, I also had the feeling that God was telling me, "Just wait. Listen for me. I will keep you company."

So... I waited. It just seemed to get harder.

It was getting later and later. Just when I roll over thinking that I am gonna get no relief... it happened.

I heard that buzzing sound coming from my phone... what? Who on earth would be texting me in the middle of the night? It's almost 3am.

I looked at my phone, thinking I was probably just mistaken, but no. There it was. A text from God.

Now don't think I have totally lost my mind here... just hear me out.

The text was actually written from a friend of mine who had been awakened by her daughter having a nightmare... happened to get on FB and see my last post. She was texting me to let me know that she was praying for me right then. She reminded me of God's grace and his provision. She referred to other stories of tragedy and the beauty that came from their ashes. She could have waited to text me the next morning or during the day, but she acted exactly when God knew that I needed someone to reach out to me in the middle of the night. Incredible, isn't He! (Thanks, girl!!)

And then... if that wasn't enough... it happened again! Another message from another person just minutes later! My phone buzzes, and there is a message from my mom. Her message was "trust." It pretty much underlined the theme of the night. (Thanks, Mom!)

He showed me, in real time, that He was listening... He was talking... He was taking care of me...He was HERE.

But wait... here's the kicker.... before all of this happened, I had prayed a simple prayer...

"God, can you please just show me that You are here? You know how lonely it gets in the middle of the night. I just wanna know that You are here."

"Is there any place I can go to avoid your Spirit?
      to be out of your sight?
   If I climb to the sky, you're there!
      If I go underground, you're there!
   If I flew on morning's wings
      to the far western horizon,
   You'd find me in a minute—
      you're already there waiting!
   Then I said to myself, "Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
      At night I'm immersed in the light!"
   It's a fact: darkness isn't dark to you;
      night and day, darkness and light, they're all the same to you." Psalm 139:7-12