Give Thanks Until You Become Thanks

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I love Graham Cooke’s teachings! He made this statement today in a podcast (see http://www.brilliantperspectives.com): Give thanks until you become thanks!

I read it and wondered, “how on earth do you become thanks?” I listened to a short audio he had available on this subject. By the time I got to the end of this short explanation, the anxiety I’d been feeling was already shifting.

I’m not sure what’s been happening lately in my life but anxiety has been following me around. I do fine for some days. But there are those other days. Anxious. Worried. Fretful. What on earth Lord?

I love that Cooke says that the Lord always gives you an upgrade. He’s not into shifting you downward. Ever. No, our Lord is all about us advancing, making our way from glory to glory.

Webster’s dictionary defines glory as: Brightness; luster; splendor; magnificence; Praise ascribed in adoration; honor; praise; fame; renown; celebrity; The felicity of heaven prepared for the children of God; celestial bliss.

I see nothing there that speaks of darkness or sadness or demotions! No, our God, our Father in heaven is for us and, by His own Word, He is better than any earthly father in that He loves us and He loves to give us good gifts.

And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! Luke 11:9-13 (ESV)

It doesn’t matter that perhaps your own experience with your earthly father was anything but positive. This God of ours, this God who proclaims He is our Father, that He adopted us, grafted us onto His vine of life, is all about us advancing into the more of all He is. He seated us in heavenly places, next to His Son, Jesus Christ. That’s no small statement. If I’m seated in heavenly places with Jesus, my Savior, then that somehow, miraculously, positions me there, with Jesus and my Father, God. And if I’m there, then this that I’m feeling must shift to His will!

Anxiety, go! Frustration, worry, fretting, go! You have no right here, messing with me! I’m with my Father, my Savior and Holy Spirit. Thank you God! Thank you that you have made a way of provision, a way of escape to any and all of my challenges. How do I know that? His Word…

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)

So, what is the way of escape today Lord? Praise and thanksgiving! As Graham Cooke said, “give thanks until you become thanks. Speak it out loud. Speak it back to God; He loves to hear His Word spoken back to Him.”  Graham said one more thing that caught my attention. He said, “giving thanks is an act of your will, not of your emotions.” When I choose to worship Him and give thanks for all He’s done for me, I bring myself into alignment with His nature, for He is worship, He is thanksgiving. Aligning. Right. There.

OK Lord, I’m doing it. I’m exercising my will and I’m deciding to give thanks…out loud.

Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! 1 Chronicles 16:8 (ESV)

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!1 Chronicles 16:34 (ESV)

I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High. Psalm 7:17 (ESV)

 I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1 (ESV)

 The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. Psalm 28:7 (ESV)

 Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! Psalm 33:2 (ESV)

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. Psalm 86:12 (ESV)

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! Psalm 100:4 (ESV)

 Because,

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)

 Continue here, giving Him thanks for all He’s done in your life. Name as many things as you can think of. Name them all…

Are you getting it? Are you becoming thankful? I am. I want to be a thank you to my Father in heaven. I want to be known as His kid who thanks Him for all He has done in me, through me, and for me. Give thanks until you become thanks! I will Lord, and I am. Thankful. For all You do, for who You are, for loving me as You always do, regardless of my performance or my shortcomings or yes, even my anxiety. Oh God, I love you!

I invite you to share your thoughts on thanksgiving, on being thanks. I pray this has helped you today…

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God in the Storm

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“May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the Holy Spirit Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality.” Ephesians 3:16 AMPC

This is what Holy Spirit did on Monday, 4/17/17. As I heard the suggestion to perhaps fast and pray, my coming into agreement with the Spirit launched a fresh in-filling, a re-aligning if you will, of the power of the Holy Spirit.

Now hear me. Fasting and I don’t necessarily play well together! At the mere mention of the word “fast” I become ravenously hungry. But that day was different. Driven by tumultuous tumbling in the huge waves of stormy seas, I was desperately grasping for anything to anchor me, to help me get my feet back under me and set upon solid ground. I had been being rolled in the stormy seas for a few weeks and I knew somehow that if I didn’t find my way soon, I might perish in the hurricane.

So, the thought of “fast and pray” came in. Coincidence? I don’t believe in such things any longer. No, I believe the Holy Spirit was attempting to give me direction. After all, I had been crying out in my pain and fear for over three weeks now, “oh God, show me the way through this mess!” The anguish I was feeling had resulted in an emotional breakdown of sorts on Tuesday, 4/11/17. I knew I was out of order, falling victim to fear yet, just as being tossed around after a huge wave catches you unawares at the beach, I was flailing with my emotions. I knew I was allowing the enemy to tumble me like rock in a broiling, violent storm of circumstance, I just couldn’t figure out how to turn the tides on the barrage of flaming arrows being sent my way. I was being attacked and the enemy was winning. I was drowning…

I was desperate that Monday morning, crying out once again for the Lord to show me the way through. “How can I get my feet back under me Lord? Do you not hear me?” I cried. My husband was gone, doing several errands and the house was still. I sat on the couch, a position I’d found myself in quite often over the course of the past eight weeks or so as I was aware that depression was once again knocking at my door. “But you delivered and healed me Lord of depression many years ago. How can this be happening?” My despondency was pitiful, yet here I sat, not knowing what to do next.

And then there was that thought again. Fast and pray. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I decided then and there to fast. Now what? I think back on this and almost want to break out into hysterical laughter for the insanity of the whole thing. I was like a stubborn child; “ok then God, if you want me to fast, I will! Are you happy now?” I demanded. And then, very quietly, I knew I needed to pray. I needed to thrust my entire self into this decision I’d just made.

Honestly, I don’t know how long I sat there on that couch, looking out on the clouds and the sky, fervently putting everything I had into praying in my spirit language. It started out flat, a recital of sorts, of words in tongues that really meant nothing to me because I do not know what I uttered. I just kept going. I didn’t know what else to do, so I continued. In the past, when I’ve been incensed by something, my words in my prayer language have become rapid, full of the intonations of rage that I was feeling. Not this time. I was spent, dull, rote. The words came out, one after another, for an hour or two or three, I honestly don’t know how long. One by one the words flowed, until the unfamiliar contortions my mouth must go through in order to speak out loud in my prayer language made my mouth sore. I had to stop. And now I just sat there.

At what point do I feel the Holy Spirit made His entrance? I’m not sure but it took awhile. All too subtly I sensed something. I didn’t hear His voice audibly. No, it was simply an impression. A question. But with the question came familiarity. It was my dear, Holy Spirit once again.

“How did you survive cancer?” He asked. That was it. Five words. They were all that were needed.

Ten years ago I found myself in another battle of my life, this one literally a potential life ender. It was the one word I feared ever hearing and yet there it was. Kidney cancer! Oh noooo!

The way through came in a book given to me by a friend, perhaps two or three weeks before I was diagnosed. A book by a 1970’s evangelist, T.L. Osborne, called, “The Good Life.” A book filled with scripture yet ordered in such a way that you can find your need and the promises of God flow. Right there. Meeting you. In the middle of the storm.

The way through didn’t turn out how I imagined it would. But it was the way through and I am a cancer survivor of ten years! And once again, I was at the crossroad of terror, this one concerning finances and someone attempting to steal from my inheritance, for me, my son, and our grandchildren. It was no less intense, no less tumultuous.

I almost laugh again here. I realized this on Monday, that I was to get the book out and declare it’s truths, the actual Word of God, over the situation I found myself in. Tossing, tumbling in the waves of fear, doubt and rage, the book represented solid ground. Holy Spirit tossed me a life preserver this day…but it took me another four days to dig the book out and read it! Oh the insanity of man, or woman, as was the case.

I dug the book out on Thursday as a dear friend came for a visit and we were going to pray for each other; we were each going through difficult times. So there, in my living room, I read excerpts from the book that had once saved my life and witnessed it do its powerful turning of circumstances as we were both ministered to.

It was as if the life preserver found its mark in us both and we grabbed wildly for its life saving powers. Hanging on dearly, still bobbing precariously in the waves of a tossing sea of circumstance, we felt the saving grace of a God coming toward us, walking calmly on the waters. Oh, the wonder of realizing He was there!

“May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the Holy Spirit Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality.”

I’ve been camping once again in the pages of this book. Some would wag their finger and say, “oh no, you need to be in the Book, the Bible!” The Good Life contains page after page of Scripture, lumped together as the promises of a God that loves us so much. It is here, side-by-side with the Word of God, the Bible, that I find myself daily. Read a promise, or ten, and then go to the Word and read them in the context they were written. Is it a dilution? No. It is simply the loving words of a God who loves and cares for us so much that He still uses mere men to help us better understand the depths, width, and heights of His love for us.

Has God been in this battle, did He by chance allow me to be sifted as He did Job? I can’t answer that for sure, but I know there have been many lessons learned already in this battle over finances and it isn’t even over! One of the greatest lessons? That the man responsible for my angst, the man who is stealing from my inheritance, is a child of God too! God loves him just as much as he loves me. God showed me he is a prodigal son! The only difference is that I am saved; this man evidently isn’t…yet. God impressed me with this truth so much so that my husband and I are praying for this man’s salvation, for an encounter with the Living God we know and love. Three months ago, I was not capable of such a thought. But it has been in the furnace of testing, the fire that burns off the dross, that I’ve come to this understanding. My God requires me to pray for his soul now, and so I do.

What of the inheritance? That too has been laid of the foot of the throne. I was surviving before I received it, I will survive if it is taken away. Justice? While I grappled with that question in the early tumbling, I find I am oddly calm. Justice is something God will take care of. Now. Later. But I will not benefit from clinging to it. He will take care of it. And in that, I will benefit.

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And suddenly I find myself firmly on the beach again. The near-death encounter and wild tossing of my emotions and spirit are over. Seas are once again calm. Indeed, this statement makes for great drama here but I must be truthful; it felt for awhile that I was dying!  My Savior walked across the waters of my storm, grabbed me by the hand, and brought me safely to shore. The only difference is, I’m not standing in sand anymore. No, I’m standing on the Rock of my salvation, Jesus Christ!

My Manifesto

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Writing has been a love of mine since I was a little girl. My first attempt at writing was a version of a mystery I’d read and loved. Shortly thereafter I learned what the word  plagiarism meant. So much for that story.

I wrote often growing up, mostly about what was bothering me on any given day. Those words are long gone, something I’ve regretted. I didn’t learn about proper journaling for many years and I must admit, I’m not very good at journaling every day.

I was brought up in a home where God was talked about. I didn’t much question my belief in there being a God, I just believed. Until late in my twenties. Then I questioned Him a lot.

Coincidentally, at the same time, I realized a few things about myself:

  1. All the decisions I’d made about my life once I left home ended poorly.  I was not the independent soul I longed to be,
  2. I needed help,
  3. I didn’t know where to go for that help,
  4. So I went looking for a church to find answers.

It took a little bit of doing but I eventually found a church I felt I belonged in. Different from the one I grew up in, this church began filling a hole I hadn’t realized was there. Over the course of a few years I realized I was loved and I had purpose. God loves me and He gave me a purpose. Whew! That took a lot to get out on paper!

Purpose in God needs tending because truth takes time. In some instances (ah-hem! Did I say that?) truth can take a very long time to sink in. But, loving Jesus Christ taught me that He’s not impatient and He’s quite willing to hang around with me, waiting for me to understand His love, purpose, and sheer determination to help me get it. Yep, it took time, but I finally got it.

Writing, and a few other creative inclinations I love, was a part of me because that is the way He created me to be. Listening happens to fall into that list of things I do well. Having empathy for hurting people was yet another quality I was given. Finally, after listening to others most of my adult life, as they poured out frustrations, hurts, pains and dilemmas, I began playing with the idea that I had also been given the creative ability to make sense out of people’s lives. Did I believe that right off?  No. Not so easy to think you may have been given a talent to put others at ease even when you’re having trouble doing that for yourself.

I’ve heard the saying that God doesn’t make junk. It was easy to discount for a long time. But when you love to write, you love to listen and help problem-solve, and especially when others tell you they feel better having spent time with you, I ever-so-slowly began to wonder if it could be true.

It has only taken approximately forty years to begin to trust in all this. God has honored my attempts to keep learning about Him and how not to lean on my own understanding. I think I’m making headway and this is what I’ve learned:

  1. I am a writer,
  2. I am a listener and a problem-solver,
  3. I am creative,
  4. And I love to encourage others.

Therefore, this blog is to Just Encourage!

God Has Begun a New Thing

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“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19 (ESV)

If I were to re-write the above scripture it would say:  “Behold, I have accomplished a fresh work; now it shall sprout and come about; do you know what I’m doing? I will even lay down a new path in the wilderness and a new river in the desolate places.”

This particular scripture was spoken over me approximately 15 years ago as a prophetic word.  Today I am declaring this word over you!  God has begun a new thing.

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A chance meeting (only if you believe there are chance encounters with God) over the weekend opened up something new for me. I ran into a man I’d met two years ago. I’ll call him Andy. During that encounter, Andy spoke a prophetic word over a group of believers, gathered for a time of worship and prayer.  It was a good word, one that resonated with me so deeply that I was impressed to ask if I might be able to share it with my church home. He graciously consented to send me that word once he got home and was able to transcribe it.

I emailed him my contact information and waited. In the busyness of his life it took a little time. One day Andy wrote that he had not forgotten me, and he would get to it soon. In the meantime, he asked if I would pray about a situation in his life and he proceeded to tell me a bit about a problem with one of his children. My heart ached for him and I wrote back something I felt inspired to share.

You see, this is how God works in family. In the weakness of one, He will use another, perhaps someone in a similar situation, perhaps one who is doing well or standing in God’s strength at the moment, to speak encouragement to the other. This is what happened that day. I was caught up in a similar situation and at that particular moment, I was walking strong in God’s provisions. That I would respond to this new brother’s dilemma was all the Lord asked at the moment. A short time later, Andy sent the transcribed word I had asked for. And then our correspondence fell silent. Until last weekend.

My husband and I almost declined to go to this meeting but, at the last moment, we went. We’d just arrived and were going down the aisle to find a seat when once again, I ran into Andy. He recognized me and we quickly struck up a conversation. With neither of us remembering the email correspondence from two years earlier, he told me about his life now and he made some bold statements about his relationship with his children today. Andy was walking firmly in the new thing God had provided for him! I asked him how he’d come to this new understanding and his reply was, “I’m not sure when or how this happened, but I’m so comfortable in this place, knowing He has my kids covered!” I had recently experienced a troubling encounter with a family member and I was still hurting and struggling from that time. Andy’s words in this moment ministered greatly to my hurting spirit.

I went home that night and remembered that I wanted to look for Andy’s prophetic word.  I had recently purged old emails and was a bit fearful that perhaps I might have deleted his word. I laughed out loud as I found Andy’s word on the last page of my emails; I had deleted everything prior to about a month before Andy and I began corresponding! I love God’s sense of humor!

As I read our email thread I not only found the prophetic word but also the email about Andy’s child and my response. I was deeply touched, not so much by my words of encouragement, but by the reciprocity of God’s provision. Here were words of encouragement sent to pretty much a stranger in his struggles. Our encounter earlier this evening provided the exact same encouragement to me, almost two years later to the day!

Do we understand the power of our God? How much fun does the Father have, sitting in heaven, orchestrating such encounters? Do He, Jesus and Holy Spirit sit around a table and make plans for this child and that one, providing chance encounters for us, spinning the tale into these delightful times that transcend time, and sometimes bringing us back around to the point of beginning, only swapping participants so we stand in awe at His provision? I don’t even know if this is truly expressing the awe and wonder that I feel as I realized all that had been in play at my meeting and corresponding briefly with Andy.

To top it all off, I shared Andy’s prophetic word with my pastor last night at our mid-week service. He was truly touched by this word. And here’s the kicker. Andy’s word was deep and two years ago it touched me that it was indeed a word for our body of believers. But when I finally received the word from Andy a few weeks later, I never shared it and in fact, I forgot all about it. Not to worry however, because God had it on His timetable and this past Friday evening, He orchestrated to get Andy and I back in contact so the word would arise. It speaks to our congregation now even better than if I had shared it two years ago!

The end of the story is this. I’ve been wrestling lately with a couple of decisions that have to be made. I’ve been wrestling with my life, my future, and what does God want for me. I wasn’t hearing a thing – until I ran again into Andy. And suddenly, the truth of Isaiah 43:19 is releasing something into my life. Right. Here. Right. Now.

I wish I could put into words the deep rumbling I feel in my spirit. It is a transition space similar to that of a child being born. Just before the birth, there is pain and discomfort indescribable. It is the agony of anticipating something joyous and yet you cannot see it, touch it, and it actually hurts! I am in transition and I am waiting for that which I know is going be a joyous time in my life. I do perceive it.

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My friend, I’ve learned over the years that when God does something in me, He is willing to do much the same for others. My life, just as yours, is a testimony of all that Jesus Christ has done and is planning to do in my future. Testimony is the spirit of prophecy! What Christ does for one, He is willing to do for others for He is no respecter of persons.

I declare over you right now that Jesus Christ is doing a new thing in you; do you not perceive it? He is making a way through the desolate places of your life, providing life-giving waters where there has been none. You are entering into a new place – now! I pray you will receive this prophetic word over you today and I would love to hear your comments below. Get ready to move – God has begun a new thing!

Receiving Peace

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I don’t know where this is, but I’d like to be there right now. It looks peaceful. And quiet. I can imagine the sweet songs of birds and off in the distance a horse softly whinnying. Perhaps the sounds of people talking softly or the giggles of children playing in the last moments of the day before they are called into the house for the night. My spirit longs for the peace of this scene.

“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.]” John 14:27 AMP

God has been showing me new things recently. My husband and I facilitate a home group and there has been much revelation coming out of our study and conversations. And there in the midst of these discussions God’s peace has come in ways I’ve not expected.

Jesus tells us in John 14 that He is leaving His peace with us, but not as the world gives peace. That causes me to stop. What is He saying?

The picture above leaves me with an impression of peace, of what I believe peace looks and sounds like. In my minds eye, it is what I perceive peace in this world to be. And yet, if I’m understanding correctly, the words of Jesus say this isn’t the peace He left for us.

No, His peace is something more. In His words He instructs us to not allow ourselves to be troubled – or afraid. How many times a day do you find yourself troubled or afraid? Honestly, I have troubling thoughts more often than I’d like to admit.

What is He trying to show us then?  I love the Amplified version because here, if we keep reading, we get a hint. It says, “stop allowing!” I take it there is a choice in this verse.  Jesus left His peace here for us to enjoy but it may not be what we think of when we think of peace.

Where do those troubling thoughts or fear come from? From the enemy of our soul, Satan.  How often does he attempt to cause us grief throughout our days? Often! I don’t know about you, but I find troubling thoughts in some of the oddest places of my life.

I think understandably, troubling thoughts and perhaps even fear can come from the news, perhaps situations we find ourselves in, maybe even in the everyday occurrences of our lives. Then they get compounded by conversations that take directions we didn’t expect, news from our loved ones, our jobs, and so on.

Surprisingly I’ve found troubling thoughts in my social media connections, in realizing that my good intentions have fallen by the wayside and even in conversations with folks I dearly love. Let’s face it. The enemy is quite adept at throwing us curves throughout our days! Why? Because if he can keep us off center, he can keep us from God’s peace!

Thus, Jesus is telling us in this verse that we must work at remaining in His peace.  It’s there for us because He told us He left it for us to partake of. But you and I are going to have to work at receiving His peace.  It means we must ever be on guard at the enemy’s tactics.

Here’s the kicker. When we begin to be aware of what the enemy is doing and all the ways he loves to take us into troubling thoughts and/or fear, we deliver a very gratifying and wicked left hook directly back at him! And that, my friend, feels really, really good!

No, I’m not sitting on that beautiful hill as the sun sets sweetly in the distance. I’m sitting here on my couch in my living room realizing that I’m resting in His peace tonight. I just finished looking at one of my social media sites and something I read disturbed me. But instead of allowing that disturbing thought to take hold, I saw what he was trying to do. I captured the thought, and in realizing and denying it, I just sucker-punched the enemy.

Not tonight Satan! I’m resting in the peace Jesus talked about in John 14:27. And that’s the truth!

 

Patience is a Tough Nut to Crack!

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I feel badly that I haven’t been very reliable in writing lately. The past three weeks plus have been a challenge. I am still with my parents, away from my husband and church home.

Uncharacteristically, it has been raining – a lot while I’ve been here. So much for walking off pent up feelings and frustrations.

My mom has been in the hospital for a week, then two emergency visits in the span of these twenty-one days. So much for routine.

My Dad’s declining hearing has made for challenging exchanges. So much for flowing conversation.

Life is unfamiliar right now as all my routines and responsibilities changed in the matter of a few hours, as long as it took to make a reservation, get on a plane and fly to my childhood home.

I’ve heard the phrase that the baby-boomers are now called the sandwich generation. I’m not quite sure I get it. While we are quite involved with our son and his family, we do not have responsibility in his life, other than we are doing our very best to be good examples for children and grandchildren. I do, however, understand the vagaries of being available for elderly parents. Hmmm, I guess that’s the point; sandwiched between two very different generations, attempting to make connection and sometimes provision, with the folks we love most.

I’ve been here just shy of a month now. There have been mostly daily battles, rising and falling emotions, not unlike the tensions of the tides, rushing in, pausing to determine whether to push forward or to retreat, only to eventually fall back and allow myself to rest in the deeper pools of known waters.

I’ve learned some things about myself. I’m not by nature a caregiver sort of person. When God gave out the gift of hospitality, I must have been off playing somewhere and missed notice I was to be there in line! I did, however, receive the gift of administration. Ample dosages. Maybe a double portion! I can get things done and I’m a fixit person to the depths of my soul. I’ve come to the conclusion the Lord needed me to, once and for all, hear Him in the fact that just because I can orchestrate and line things up, not all things are to be fixed by me. Yes, it’s been an interesting month.

I’m here this morning in an uncharacteristic lull. Savoring. But it’s going to change in a few minutes as the troops are moving in the background and a grocery shop is on the agenda. Once the ship is in motion well, I might as well give in and go with it.

God is good…all the time! While this has been a challenge, I’m alive and well and forging on. My Lord has provided even when I’ve lost sight of my own abilities to cope with these fast-changing hurdles. I’ve failed, but fairly quickly I’ve realized He’s been here through it all. Humbling. That’s ok, I’ll survive.

The grocery store calls. Off we go once again into a day of unknowns. Remember awhile back when I confessed I didn’t like change? God had a good laugh over that one. And this particular morning I’m kind of snickering with Him. I’ve learned I can make adjustments, and quickly if I need to!

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Thanks Lord. The patience nut has been cracked!  Blessings on your day.

Be Careful Who (or What) You Worship

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It’s been one of those days.  I had a plan.  It was a pretty straight lineup of things.  Tonight as I look back over the day, the path, instead of a straight line, took on the look of a crazy squiggly line, up, down, around, and around, up and over and back again.

Once again I am with my elderly parents, 500 miles from home.  My Mom had a heart attack a week ago.  She’s home again thankfully after six days in the hospital.  God has been so faithful in healing her, in holding my Dad in His palm, and in lifting me up by the prayers of the saints back home in my church.  It’s been a difficult week but we’ve made it.

This morning we ended up back in the emergency room.  Mom wasn’t sure about sensations on her right side and we had to make sure we weren’t dealing with a clot.  After four hours, numerous blood tests and a EKG she was released home: all was fine.

Well, you know or can imagine, I’m sure, what this morning might have felt like for my Mom, Dad and me.  All my plans for the day went flying out the window as fear attempted to rush right into each of our minds.

Being in a different town, away from my husband, home, and my church family leaves me in a sometimes precarious place.  More than once this week I’ve had to face issues I’ve never dealt with before.  In spite of moments when everything in me wanted to either panic or cry uncontrollably, I got through.  Wait.  Correction.  In spite of those moments GOD strengthened and brought me through!

Tonight I decided to attend a prayer and worship time at a church we attend when we are in town at my parents’.  I attended last Sunday when they announced this special time but evidently I got the time wrong – I arrived an hour early!  Sigh.

I sat down to listen to the worship team practice and decided to take a look at my devotional today, the one I missed due to rushing off to the emergency room right after breakfast.  I was met with this verse:

“Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!  There is no want for those who fear Him.” Psa. 34:9

Tonite I’m realizing that fear has been trying oh so hard to throw me off track.  Every day for the past eight days I’ve been confronted, in one way or another, by fear.  So many questions and doubts, all laid into my Lord’s lap because I don’t know where all this is going for my Mom.

No, I must wait for each day to unfold as it will.  And here is where I must choose.  Will I fall into fear’s waiting arms?  No, not this time satan!  I know where that path leads – more fear and torment.

Instead I’m choosing to fear God.  I know He’s not happy when I succumb to the enemy’s ploys.  Why?  Because He has provision for me, no matter what I face.  Tonight I’m choosing to fear my God, as one of His beloved children.  And what does the Word say about that?  Back to Psalm 34, where David tells us that there will be no want for those who fear the Lord.

That’s all I need tonite.  I’m not going to be tripped up by fear!  Instead, I’m here with fellow saints, getting ready to worship our God.  His provision is here tonite, just as it has been all week long!  Accept my offering Lord, of my love to you as I lift my voice in worship to You!

Oh, it’s so good to be in the house of the Lord!  And it is here I’m provided for in whatever comes my way.