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Through the valley

Psalm 23 – “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”

It has been a challenging last 4 days. I got a call Friday night that my grandpa had been in a really bad accident. So, the kids and I set out Sunday on a 12 hour tour up to visit him in the hospital. Now, we are on our 12 hour leg back home. I am so grateful that God prepared my path and provided a way for me to go and visit him. He prepared my car. He prepared my son to help drive some. He took care of it all.

But for the second time in his 87 years, my grandpa is walking through the valley. And it is hard to watch him go through it, again. I feel so helpless and confused when I walk into his room and see all the machines and hear all the noises. Suddenly, all the training and knowledge that I have received about medical conditions and prognosis and treatment become a distant memory that I have to work really hard to retrieve. 

It is a challenge to be positive. The devil is right there on my shoulder whispering in my ear all the negative thoughts he can muster up. He wants me to think about the very worst. He wants me to dwell on all the things I see wrong. He fights me when I try and remember that God is in control.

Yet, I know Jesus is in control of it all. 

Let me tell you about the day before I got the call – my tire pressure light came on. For land’s sake, I just got new tires within the last 3 months! So, my husband and I decided to go get it checked out and get the oil changed while we were at it. It was that time. This was Friday afternoon. I got the call Friday night. God knew on Thursday that grandpa would get hurt Friday afternoon and that I would get the call Friday night. He knew that I would want to go visit him and he knew that my husband needed the knowledge that the car was safe to carry his precious cargo 800 miles away without him. 

God knew. God prepared the way. 

So as my family and I walk through the valley, we covet your prayers. Pray for my grandma. She needs it. Pray for my aunt and my mom. They need it. 

But the great thing is that no matter what God chooses to do in this situation, the table before us will be prepared by Him. He will provide everything we need. He will be our rod. He will be our strength. He will anoint our thoughts with His grace and mercy. He will make our cup run over with His blessings. Of this, I have no doubt.

Candles

Proverbs 18:28 – “For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.”

I love candles. I have one in my kitchen that smells good enough to eat! They chase away darkness. They chase away odors. They bring comfort. They give light. Candles are so fun to have around. 

Candles were mentioned many times in the Bible, probably because they were the main source of light aside from the sun. Yes, I know, this is all very basic.  

But let’s think for a moment how to enjoy a candle. In order for a candle to be effective, you first have to trim the wick. You have to cut it. The wicks go crazy if they are too long when they are lit. And then there is the process of lighting the flame. You have to rub two things together that cause a spark. You have to create friction and fire to make a candle effective. Candles are no good if the wick is never lit. It will never fully serve its purpose if we just leave it up for decoration. 

We are the same way, if you know Jesus as your Savior. In order for you to serve your purpose, sometimes you need to be trimmed. And that is no fun. You also have to be lit. Friction has to happen and a flame has to be started. Something has to light your fire, so to speak. 

Who better than Jesus to trim you up and light your fire?!

We are instructed by Jesus to be a light of the world. Matthew 5:14-16 – ” Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”  A light, by deduction, is a candle at night. Therefore, we need to be a candle in the world. And we need Jesus to be the One trimming us up to shine for Him after He has lit our flame in our heart by salvation.  I love candles. 

So let me encourage you today, first, to accept Jesus as your Savior if you have not already done so. And then, let Him keep the wick trimmed so that you can live brightly for Him. It’s easy to let the world try and blow out your candle, but stand firm. Guard that flame in your heart. Let the wind fan the flames instead of blowing them out. Happy Wednesday!

Shoeboxes


Luke 11:9-10 – “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

It was a beautiful day. We went yesterday to create our offerings for the Operation Christmas Child shoebox drive. We have participated in this event for three years now, I believe, at our church. Our little youth group pigs out at a local pizza place and then heads across the street to the One Dollar Store to fill our shoeboxes with goodies of all sorts. 

At first, the kids packed their boxes with toys and candy. Then we talked about where the boxes would be going – places where food was a premium and they had absolutely nothing. The perspectives changed. They removed most of the toys and candy and replaced it with bowls and spoons and soap and toothbrushes and tooth paste and wash clothes – things we all take for granted. 

Our youth groups looks forward to this each and every year. In fact, when we plan for the year, it’s the first thing that’s mentioned that we HAVE to do. 

So, I’m sure your wondering what these verses have to do with all this information. When we create these boxes, we ask that God guide our hands and help us to provide whatever the recipient of our box will need. Each box is different. Each box has character. Each box has a story and a memory behind it. 

We pray over our boxes before we send them on their way. We know that before a child will receive our gift, they have to go through a series of lessons and learn about Jesus. They hear the plan of salvation. They are offered THE MOST WONDERFUL GIFT – salvation. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. The batteries in the flashlights we send will run out. The pencils will become nubs. The soap will disappear. But salvation will never disappoint or disappear or run out. No, this gift that only God can give will last throughout eternity. 

And all they have to do is ask. 

How beautiful is that?!

So let me encourage you to participate in an opportunity to present the plan of salvation to someone somewhere in the world through Operation Christmas Child- https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/

It has truly blessed our hearts. I know it will bless yours as well.

Heartbreak

1 Peter 3:15,16 – “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.”

Wednesday was a tough day. And I’m not talking about all the running that I had to do. No, I’m talking about a conversation I had with a patient I see. 

God had set it all up. I had received a random text from my mom about my aunt’s email address. And my patient wanted to know if everything was okay, seeing that I checked the text from my mom. Well, that opened the door for me to tell someone about Jesus by using my blog. 

Here’s where it gets tough – she told me she was agnostic and proceeded to very sweetly tell me what she believed and why. It was clear through the discussion that she had already made up her mind about Jesus. She had rejected Him. And it broke my heart. When I left, I cried. I called my husband. I called my mom. I was heartbroken that this dear lady, whom I care about, had made the choice to die and go to Hell, even though she doesn’t believe in it. 

How do you go on after that?

It is tough. I have to work with this lady. I have to help her achieve her physical goals while knowing that her eternal future is in jeopardy. 

All I can do is pray for her. I will keep living differently in front of her and keep interjecting Christ whenever I can. I need to know in my heart that I pricked her heart every time I had the opportunity. 

I can’t save her. I can’t make her believe in Jesus Christ. I can’t change her mind. But I can love her. I can show her Jesus in my thoughts, my actions and my words. I can tell my brothers and sisters in Christ about her need and have them pray with me. That’s all I can do. And if the opportunity presents itself again, I will pounce on it…again. I just need to be listening and be aware of what God is laying before me. 

Promises, promises

Genesis 9:22-16 – “And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.”

As I was driving and driving and driving last night, a usual sight in the land of perpetual evening showers made its appearance – a rainbow. I love rainbows. I think of leprechauns. I think of science (I know, I’m a weirdo). But mostly, when I see a rainbow, I see a promise. 

God used the rainbow to reassure Noah that He would never again destroy the entire earth with water. Now, He has destroyed parts of the earth but not the entire thing. And there’s something to be said in that. 

God keeps His promises. 

In a world and time when promises are as cheap as anything, God’s promises are….priceless. We need them. We desire them. We must have them to feel secure. Too many things in this world are uncertain and shifty. God’s promises are a bedrock that we can build our life upon. 

The Bible is full of promises. There are books written that will direct you to Scripture that reveal promise after promise. There are promises that He will never leave you. Promises that ensure wisdom. Promises that nothing is too big. So many promises. 

And each and every one is rock solid. You can take it to the bank. If God said it, He WILL do it. 

Bonus – we have promises yet to be fulfilled. How exciting is that?! Presents that you know are coming and you can hardly wait to open them! The best promise of all – He will come again to receive us unto Himself. Oh that gets me excited! Like preacher says – If that don’t light your fire, your wood is wet!

His return. That is a promise I’m excited to see fulfilled. And that amazing partial rainbow that I saw in the sky last night reminded me of that wonderful, blessed hope. I’m only here for a little while, so I better make it count. 

The Schoolmaster

Galations 3:24-26 – “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”

Tomorrow I, once again, begin my job as schoolmaster. Some begin that job today. For me, one more day of freedom. 

In these verses, the schoolmaster is like the ones taking the children to school. The schoolmaster doesn’t educate the children. He/she had the responsibility of taking the children where they can learn. 

In the Old Testament days, the law was given to bring people to God. It was given to show them their sin and bring them to the One who can cleanse them from their sin. 

Today, we have faith. Believing in Jesus Christ brings us to the One who can (and will) show us our sin and teach us right from wrong. The Law is still important in principle. It shows us so much about Jesus and His sacrifice. It shows us what should be important in our life. It gives us basic, common sense rules that are applicable to every one always. But, we have to remember that we live by faith. We walk in faith. 

The Old Testament people anticipated and believed in the coming of the Savior. We, in New Testament times, look back and believe that Jesus is the Messiah and the Savior that the Old Testament people anticipated. It’s all still faith, just from different perspectives. One needed the Schoolmaster and one needs the Holy Spirit. 

So, as the schoolmaster season approaches, remember this – the Law is important to remind us of the principles of Godly living, but it is faith in Jesus Christ that will bring us into eternity with Him. 

The Importance of a Godly Man

Psalm 1:1-3 – “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

Yes, I know, it’s way past Father’s Day and my anniversary has come and gone this year. But I just want to tell you how important Godly men have been in my life. 

First, let’s look at a few attributes of a Godly man. 1) He doesn’t act like the rest of the world. He has a different set of values that he holds himself and those around him to. 2) His Bible is his rule of faith. He doesn’t look to movie stars or theologians or self help books for the answers to life’s questions. He seeks out the Word of God for questions that puzzle him. 3) He is firmly planted. You don’t have to worry if he will be there when things get tough – you already know. 

I have been so blessed to have Godly men in my life. The first, of course, was my daddy. He was far from perfect, but he was all the attributes listed above and so much more. The next is my husband. He isn’t perfect either, but neither am I. We fit together like a hand in a glove. He compliments me in ways that I never dreamed possible. I remember praying for him to come into my life. I never dreamed he would mean as much to me as he does. (Love you babe!) And by marriage, I gained another Godly man, my father-in-law. When my daddy passed away, I remember telling him he had some awfully big shoes to fill because he was now the only dad I had left. He sweetly said he would do his best. Like his son, he is all the attributes above and more. Last, but not least, I have my son. He is growing to be an amazing Godly man. His love for God and others blows me away sometimes. His insight and desire to serve is heartwarming. 

Now, I have many more Godly men in my life – my pastor, my brother, my church brethren and so many more. I am truly blessed. 

Godly men are so very important in a woman’s life. They provide protection, love, guidance and support. I would encourage you to love on the Godly men in your life. And remember, thank God for them. For He is the One that blessed you with them in the first place!