Good Morning Beloved
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth, and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My word be which goes forth from my mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10-11 NASB)
Catch phrases like WWJD (what would Jesus do) FROG (fully rely on God) PUSH (pray until something happens) abound in todays culture. We see christian catch phrases on bumper stickers, posted in social media, on jewelry, book covers, back packs, baby bibs, coffee mugs you name it. Anything that can be printed on has been or will be. I was a christian catch phrase snob you might say. Never would I have any WWJD jewelry on my person! Too worldly putting Jesus in to initials that ultimately became cliché. Well, boy was I put in my place! God will use anything He wants to further His kingdom. Even a WWJD plastic bracelet sold at the Dollar Tree.
Back in the day when I was working with the youth group we went to week long summer camps. Those were some of the most fun times of my life. Growing up I only went to one summer camp because we could never afford for me to go. The year I did get to go my church gave us opportunities to earn our way to camp by holding work days and bake sales and giving scholarships. I won a scholarship by writing an essay (or they knew I was the only kid there who’s parents didn’t go to church and they felt sorry for me). Either way I got to go. It was one of those “milestones in my spiritual life” times. As my kids grew up I made sure they never missed an opportunity to go to church camp because I witnessed first hand how important that instruction and bonding time was for kids.
One year we took our FBCLG high schoolers to Jenesse Park camp where we made the wordless gospel bracelets. You know the ones with the beads that are black (our sin), red (Jesus’ shed blood), white (the blood makes our sin white as snow), blue (for baptism), green (signifying growth as a Christian), and finally yellow (as a symbol for the streets of gold in heaven). To make this bracelet one laces these beads on to a piece of leather or twine and ties it around one’s wrist. Today you can buy kits or nice expensive ones made of gemstone and gold or silver.
As I made my bracelet at camp that year I realized we were all in on the research and development stage of these bracelets. They were in their infancy back then and were a wearable offshoot of that wordless book made of flannel that we used in backyard bible school when I was growing up. Because all of the girls in my cabin made them it was my job as their leader to “train” them on how to use them. The craft packets came with verses and ways to communicate what the beads meant should someone ask.
At camp it was great to all be wearing the bracelets. Everyone had the same wrist ornaments so no one stuck out in the crowd. Everyone identified. It was when we left camp that the rubber hit the road. Would we still wear the bracelet in the “real world” where we would not see everyone looking the same as we did?
The leather knot on my bracelet had welded itself shut and I could not get the bracelet off. That day I had a nail appointment. Back in those days I was in my acrylic nail phase. Off to the appointment with no time to spare. The salon was permeated with statues of buddha and incense burning. Each buddha was surrounded by a collection of oranges, tangerines and other fruits as an offering of blessing on the salon. As I sat down in the chair I saw the bracelet. How do I explain it? My strategy was to just explain camp and it was a child’s art project.
Can you say smacked by God? As I sat there I became tongue tied. An overwhelming sense of remorse flooded my soul. How could I give those sweet girls instruction on how to share these bracelets and not do it myself? Out of my comfort zone? You bet! Recollection came to my mind about a time when I was a teen and I asked my youth pastor what to say when someone asked me about Jesus. He told me to tell my story and how Jesus changed my life.
Then it came. The question. Where did you get that bracelet? Did you make it? Here it was; the moment of truth. Was I going to live what I believe? After a quick silent prayer asking forgiveness for my pride I proceeded to tell Angie all about the beads and what they meant. She listened intently.
Three weeks later I went to my next appointment. She asked me about my bracelet and if I could make one for her. She really liked the message. I was so surprised and humbled. That led to a discussion about christianity and who Jesus was. We discussed reading the bible. She told me she did not read english very well. This was WELL before cell phones where you can find the bible at your fingertips in any language. I searched out where in San Diego I could buy her a bible she could read. Off I went over to the christian bookstore and bought her a bible in her language.
The day I took the bible over she told me it was her last day at the salon. She was going to move away and open her own place. I gave her the bible. Tears filled our eyes as she told me she would read it. I left feeling humbled that, in spite of my arrogant pride, God would use me in this way.
We never know what God is going to use to send His word forth. In this case he used a beaded bracelet. His word, He says in this verse, will not return to Him empty. I do not know what happened to Angie. I do know that the seed was planted in her life. The gospel was given; the Holy Spirit would do His work. I learned a valuable lesson on humbleness, pride and that God will use what He will anytime He wills it.
Like rain and snow that blankets the earth so does His word in one way or another. It can be a bumper sticker, refrigerator magnet, flyer, CD cover, coffee mug, a guy in a rainbow clown wig holding up a sign at a football game, a missionary standing on a street corner, feeding the homeless in the park or giving a girl in a nail salon in La Mesa California a bible in her native language. Pray for those opportunities that God will use. Pray that His word will reach hearts; that seeds will sprout because they have been nourished by Living Water. His word will not return void. He sent it for a reason. It will be accomplished. ️
Good Morning Beloved
But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever. (Psalm 52:8 NASB)
As I sit here in the sun room of my daughter’s warm and inviting Oregon home I hear the rain and the rushing sound of the Rogue River. That river is anything but peaceful today. It is literally right outside her back door! I can witness it’s mighty power from where I am currently sitting. The trees are multicolor with vibrant red, orange, amber and yellow leaves. My coffee is hot and my senses are peaked. I wish you were all here with me in this beautiful place. Living in San Diego I never get the chance to experience this weather and these surroundings. What a joy and pleasure it is for this Southern California girl to be in a completely different element!
When I was growing up my grandparents had an olive tree in their back yard. That tree was substantial. We climbed in it, had olive throwing fights, used it as a swing, shade and a base for hide and seek. It produced black olives that just fell to the ground. They didn’t taste very good because they weren’t processed. I never did find out why it was there but it was a sturdy specimen of a tree. My thoughts are that it was there when the house was built and my uncle probably thought it would be good for shade. He was right. It also became good for childhood shenanigans!
In the culture of Israel the olive tree is life blood. The olive is used for food, medicine, oil for cooking and anointing, wood for warmth and leaves for shade. Olive trees can grow anywhere in most any soil. Did you know if you cut an olive tree down or if it is burned to it’s root green sprigs will eventually sprout up and that old tree will become new? It is a faithful and steadfast fellow.
Traditionally olive branches signify peace as in “he extended me an olive branch in good faith of his friendship and loyalty”. After the ark settled with Noah’s family and hundreds of restless animals on board he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded enough to open the door. When the dove returned it had in it’s beak a freshly picked olive leaf (Genesis 8:12). Noah knew that was a good sign. That tree still stood through the devastating flood.
Here King David says he is like a green olive tree. One in it’s prime. Steadfast regardless of circumstances ready to be used of God. No matter what the circumstances of life we should remain steadfast in the presence of God – evergreen (faithful) and produce fruit. Not the kind we beaned each other with as kids (my cousin Frankie had a pretty powerful arm and a nasty aim!) but the kind of fruit that lasts. Fruit of our labors for the kingdom of God.
I can think of many dedicated people in my lifetime that produced kingdom fruit right in front of my eyes. There was that sweet lady at the church in La Mesa who faithfully ran the church library and let me check out christian story books every Sunday, Mrs. Russell who made the punch for VBS and served it with a smile to thirsty kids, Mr. Atnip who faithfully picked me up every Sunday in the bus and made sure I got to Sunday School, the dedicated man who sits day after day for hours receiving the boxes for Operation Christmas Child, my husband who spends hours making sure the church service runs without a hitch then stays late to make CDs for the shut ins, there are so many more examples, too many to name. Kingdom fruit that will last. You know those folks. Perhaps they are you too.
Keep pressing on dear friends. Your service does not go unnoticed by an everlasting God. Even if you are burned out, frazzled, unnoticed and under appreciated you are as a green olive tree in the house of God trusting in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever. ️
Good Morning Beloved
Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations; You established the earth, and it stands. (Psalm 119:89-90 NASB)
All day I have been trying to write this blog. Awaking at 3 AM thinking of the trip to our daughter’s house had me restless. You know when you set your alarm because you HAVE to get up at a certain time to catch a flight and you wake up at 3 then try to go back to sleep but don’t? I thought okay I would lay there and pray then I thought no that would engage my brain too much. Sleep was elusive and futile! What if my alarm didn’t go off? It had never failed me before. 3:30 came and went. Finally I succumbed to sweet sleep only to be rudely yet thankfully jerked out of a convaluted dream where I was asking my dear friend’s father-in-law why he called me and not AAA because he had a flat tire on interstate 8 in front of Grossmont High School! Dreams are weird just before you wake up, aren’t they? I am sure I had him on the brain because my friend had stopped by with a surprise pumpkin “Nothing Bundt Cake” mini for me earlier in the day (which, thankfully, was not a dream because that cake was yummy).
Dressed and ready to go by 5:30 I sat down to write. My dear brother-in-law who volunteered to drive us to the airport was early so we chatted while my sleepy husband, who is the walking dead if he has to get up before 7:00, wrestled with the remnants of packing everything in to a carry on bag.
We got on the plane and I pulled out my bible and started to write. Focusing on the phrase “Your faithfulness continues throughout generations” I knew I was on to something. I wrote 2 complete paragraphs about how King David knew God’s faithfulness. He had heard the stories of Moses and the prophets, he was a living example of fulfilled prophesy himself. Then I went on to compare a song called Generations by Sara Groves to all of this and it just wasn’t right. Backspacing I let go of everything I wrote. Nothing was working.
Traveling with a surgical shoe on my broken in half toe is no picnic and I panicked every time the plane bumped. I knew if we had trouble and had to land the plane and some one yelled “run” I was a goner. Steve certainly couldn’t carry me. Can you just picture it? Broken toe me with defib/pacemaker guy schlepping across a tarmac trying to escape a plane about to explode? I am laughing just typing this! No focus would come for this blog piece.
I put my bible away yet was still chewing on that generational part. God’s faithfulness to me, to us, is solid. I look back over the years in my family and I can point out the remnant back about 4 generations. Some experts say 20 years constitutes a generation. Others say 25. Either way I can point in their direction. I know someone down the line was praying for me.
We got to Sacramento and rented a car. Driving north on highway 5 toward Oregon I pulled this blog out again but still the inspiration failed me. Then it happened. We came through some majestic mountainous roads lined with trees splashed with fall colors and suddenly there it was; Mt. Shasta. Lofty, covered in freshly fallen snow, jutting up through the bright blue sky and my heart knew “You established the earth and it stands.”
That monument to creation was standing firm; planted and created by God Himself. I took photo after photo through waves of tears. Such a sight to behold. Then these verses all came together for me. Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. Period, the end (as my son would say). King David sees the fullness of God’s word and it’s sufficiency. Creation, like that giant, well crafted mountain, knows it. It is settled. God is faithful.
In this ever changing world in which we live we can be assured of 3 things from these verses: 1.God’s word is forever settled in heaven. 2. God’s faithfulness continues throughout all generations. 3. God established the earth and it stands.
Certainly one day Mt. Shasta will be destroyed like the rest of the earth when God creates a new heaven and a new earth but for now it stands firm, testifying to the majesty of the one Who created it and giving inspiration with tears to a passerby who believes in God’s promises. His Word is settled in heaven. Forever, O Lord, forever. Period. The end. ❤️
Good Morning Beloved
Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in You I trust. Make me know in the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul. (Psalm 143:8 ESV)
Every morning when I get up I have a routine. I go in to the kitchen and push the button on the coffee maker, take my allergy meds and see how much of my husband’s lunch I can prepare before the coffee is done. When I hear the last drop hit the mug I head for the fridge and my Pumpkin Spice coffee creamer. Let me just say that I wait for the creamy goodness that is Pumpkin Spice all year. When I see it in the grocery store, usually in mid October, I give an audible cheer. If you happen to be in the vicinity of the cold food isle you are probably thinking I am pretty much a nut case. I always buy 2 lest I run out and have to use plain old milk. Bleh!! I also buy extra and freeze it so I can enjoy it well in to February. But, once again, I digress.
With coffee in hand I head to my “space”. It is that place on my big comfy couch where I meet with the Lord every morning. It is all set up for success. A basket with Bibles, daily devotions, colored pencils and high lighters, my phone & charger ( I use my phone for commentaries and to write this blog) everything needed for my time with God. But all of those study materials and tools are just there and doing nothing if I don’t show up to use them.
One morning I heard a really loud metal on concrete noise followed by the sound of a dragging chain. It sounded like it was right outside my door on my own patio. I kept hearing it so (cue the scary music), like in the scary movie when you are yelling “don”t open the door”, I did! What I was hearing was my neighbors dog dragging around his feeding dish. He was hungry and wanted everyone within earshot to know!
This all was taking place at 5:30 AM. Lovely for those who are still in dreamland. I hear this desperately hungry canine do this every morning. It takes about 20 minutes or so for him to stop. Not sure if the owner gives in and puts food in the bowl or the poor animal gives up. Anyway, he is hungry in the morning and wants his food!
David tells us in this Psalm that he wants to hear from God in the morning. He trusts in God. He is asking God to show him the way he should walk. Mornings have always been easy for me. I am what you call a morning person. Apparently so was King David so I am in good company! I realize that mornings are poison to those like my husband who are night people. Getting up early to spend time with Lord is a biological sacrifice and requires extra focus and dedication. If you are a night person kudos if you are up early.
Several years ago, while sitting in church one Sunday, my pastor Brother Bob taught a sermon on personal time with God. He went on to talk about spending time daily in the word and not just on Sunday. “If you don’t know where to start get up 15 minutes earlier and read The Daily Bread” he suggested “but be in the Word!” Well I knew he was looking right at me when he said that. Red hot waves rolled through my body as I squirmed in my seat. That message was directly from the Holy Spirit for one Terrie Bearden delivered via Bob Kleinschmidt. I did get up earlier and did this for a while but it soon went by the wayside when life happened.
Years later I went to Spirit West Coast as a chaperone. SWC is a huge 3 day youth rally with bands and speakers who teach Jesus to hundreds of teenagers. I went to a workshop led by Lori Salerno. She was giving strategies for “quiet times”. Quiet times? What are those? Man, could I use some quiet time. I found out that quiet time is Christian lingo for spending time with the Father.
Lori said she would get up early and spend one whole hour in prayer and bible study. What? One whole hour? She went on to say it changed her life. It was difficult at first filling that hour but as time went on and she remained faithful one hour was not enough so it grew in to two. At the end of the workshop she prayed a prayer over us that we would hunger and thirst for God and His word.
That next morning my eyes shot open at 5:30 AM I got up and found my bible and started reading in the Psalms praying as I went. The next morning the same thing happened. Later that week I bought a daily devotional by Emily Barnes titled 15 Minutes Alone With God and started journaling. My spiritual life started growing.
Fast forward to today as I sit here writing this blog and I tell you my time alone in the morning with the Lord is the best part of my day. We share, I pray, He speaks to me through His word, I study, journal and enjoy as I bask in the love He gives. If I have a bad night I know He will sustain me through my busy day as I remain faithful to His call to get up and be with Him.
Again this morning I heard the dog bowl and the dragging of the chain. That dog is hungry in the morning and so am I. I hunger and thirst for the word of God like Lori prayed over me so many years ago. I pray that same prayer for my husband, children, grandchildren and family. That is my prayer for you all today. Praying that your time with Him will not even be enough! I pray that, like King David, you will seek God in the morning when you are fresh and starting your day. I pray that He will teach you in which way you should walk and to Him you will lift up your soul. Follow this example and seek Him in the morning. Welcome to the feast that is the Word of God. ️
Good Morning Beloved
Certainly, man walks about like a mere shadow. Indeed they frantically rush about in vain, gathering possessions without knowing who will get them. Now Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you. (Psalm 39:6-7 HCSB)
Yesterday my husband and I attended a family party. These gatherings are very special to me and I look forward to every single one! This was a celebration of the retirement of my dear brother-in-law John. He has worked hard year after year to provide for my sister and their lovely family. As person after person got up to give testimony of John’s faithfulness to his family my heart was filled to the brim! They testified to the fact that he did work hard and set a good example for them but even more he spent time with them and taught them well. He was not out “gathering possessions” (but Lord knows if you go in my sister’s garage you could get
lost and have to call a search and rescue team) he was busy imparting himself in to their lives. That is what they all treasure most, his time.
We are a middle class lot. All of us have or continue to work hard and mostly live within our means. We do not have riches or huge mansions or lots of expensive “things”. Let me just clarify right here though that there is nothing wrong with having lovely things and many folks live in mansions. That is perfectly okay. God gives to each one accordingly. It is what we do with the means we have that makes the difference. I am not pointing fingers I just want to make a point about the brevity of life.
We have a large immediate family by most standards. Most by blood but a big number by grafting in. Several couples and their children have been gathered in as our own over the years. One of us would meet someone, invite them to a family function and they became family. They were surrounded by love and could not escape if they wanted to! There is always room. It is a joy to behold.
As I watched the kids run around (trying to be even more observant of them as usual so they wouldn’t clobber my broken toe) my heart melted with tenderness and love. They were playing inside and out, touching base with their parents, eating too many cookies and way too much candy, getting in trouble for throwing rocks, dancing, singing and my 2 year old grandson even took his shirt off and ran outside to the jungle gym! Blessing overwhelmed me as I began to think of how rich we truly are.
Life is very short. This verse tells us that we are but a mere shadow. Are we rushing about working this angle and that angle to have more possessions? Do we think that more will satisfy the longing in our children’s lives?
Last summer my daughter’s children came to stay with us for a month. We went week long beach camping, shopping, to the movies, lots of family activities, swimming several times, made lasting memories and much more. When the time came for them to fly home I asked each one what they enjoyed most. 12 year old Tyler’s response had me in tears. He said his very favorite activity was watching movies with me. Just the two of us sitting on the big comfy couch watching Robocop over and over. That caught me off guard. I tried to speak but could not because my voice was filled with tears. Remorse set in as I recalled thinking “oh my goodness not Robocop again! I need to run errands or do dishes or do anything but that!” He was genuine and I was busted inside.
Never take for granted one minute you have on this earth. You are but a vapor. Our hope is in God. Christ was extremely relational pouring Himself in to his disciples. Teaching them, training them up in the way they should go. When he left them they had riches untold. Riches of the heart and soul. As He was giving his life blood for us on that cross He even made provision for the care of his dear mother (John 19:26-27).
As you take stock in your life today give honor to your time. I’ve heard it said, and know it is true for me, that a woman spells the word love t-i-m-e. Children do too they just don’t always know it. In this super busy microwave oven high speed internet life we live take a few minutes to breathe, relax, and invest your time into what is important; relationships with people. Family, friends, community, church, neighbors, they are out there.
If you are reading this and you are lonely or alone today then YOU reach out! Don’t wait for someone to come to you. You go to them in Jesus name. Life is too short. Pray and ask God to show you and lead you. He will! Invite someone over to your home for a bowl of soup and conversation. Surprise a working mom by taking over dinner. Participate in volunteer work at your local church or community center. There are opportunities galore. Go in blessings and love. My prayers are with you as you discover the joy of giving of yourself. There is nothing like it! Oh, and if you have a relationship that needs mending take care of it today. Ask forgiveness if need be and make it right. You may never get another chance. You be the one. Be blessed. ️
Good Morning Beloved
Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth. (Colossians 3:2 NASV)
In December I am having my right knee replaced. What an amazing time we live in where doctors can replace entire joints with a 10oz. piece of titanium. I have had several people ask me how I am going to handle Christmas. I tell them that things will be simpler and the kids are getting cash!
As I look at what is ahead for me during this hubbub of a season I don’t focus on the dates a few weeks from now, I am focused on how I will be a year from now. I set my sights on how great I will be feeling, moving, walking and even possibly 5K-ing in a year. These things take time and cannot be judged on how I am in a week or in a month or two.
In light of all of the tragedies around the world today I would like to remind you of this verse in Colossians; to set your mind on things above. Christ is seated at the right hand of God and He is preparing a place for us. He said He would come again and receive us into Himself and I believe it! (John 14:3).
We do not know when any of this will take place. Times were dire during WW1 and even more dire during WWll. I am sure believers must have thought that Jesus would surely come. World situations today are set such that Jesus’ return is imminent. Innocent people are being killed as they go about their everyday lives at restaurants, concerts, schools, churches, shopping malls. Make no mistake the enemy is alive and making himself known. See him for who he is! He cannot win the ultimate battle. It has already been won on the cross. Jesus overcame death to live for our sakes.
As you go about celebrating Sunday today remember that this world is not our home. We are, as the apostle Paul said, to set our mind on the things above. Pray more. Be vigilant. Ask forgiveness. Mend relationships. You be the one to make the first move. Show more love. Put extra in the offering plate or Salvation Army red kettle. Hug tighter and longer. Watch less media and play a board game with some kids. Bake home made cookies. Take donuts to your local fire station. Take lunch and spend time with someone who is homebound. Babysit for a frazzled mommy. There is so much GOOD you can do! Get out there and do it. Start today. The choices are endless.
I really don’t like commercials that is why we DVR most things we watch but there is one commercial that catches my eye every time. One guy sees someone open a door for someone so then he helps a lady with her groceries, some one sees that and lets another person go ahead in line and so on through the 30 second morality lesson. Pay it forward is the theme. Today “set your mind on things above” and do a kindness. Be comforted in all of the chaos. Perhaps your kindness will spur others to do the same. Make a difference in your world in Jesus name!️
Good Morning Beloved
Our hearts and prayers go out this morning to the precious people of Paris, France.
So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” Then he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet.”
(Exodus 15:24-25a NASV)
Moses had just led the children of Israel out of Egypt, through the Red sea on dry ground, and they were on their journey to the promised land. They were in the wilderness for three days and, as most humans would be at this point, they became thirsty.
Moses cried out to the Lord because there was water water everywhere and not a drop to drink! The waters of Marah were bitter. I pity the poor guy who first found that out. The Lord showed Moses a tree and told him to throw it in to the water. Moses obeyed and immediately the water became sweet. I am sure there was a mad rush to quench major thirst.
People walk on the earth every day in bitter water. They are dying of thirst and they don’t even know it! They drink it, wash in it, swim in it and drown in it. The enemy of our souls has made that bitter water potable for many. They think they are hydrated and doing just fine when in actuality their souls are parched and dry.
When Jesus met the woman at the well in John chapter 4 He told her that He would give her living water and she would never thirst again. He went on to say that the water that He would give would become a well of water springing up to eternal life.
It is common knowledge that Jesus Christ was crucified on a cross. He died for your sin and mine. This passage in Exodus got me thinking of what that cross was made of. I am pretty sure we have heard the expression “Jesus died on a tree”. That cross was made of wood that came from a tree. That tree was thrown in to the bitter waters of our sin to make a way of salvation that springs up to eternal life.
My prayer today is that every time you get a drink of water you think of Jesus. Thank Him for His death and resurrection. Thank Him for dying on that cross and taking the punishment for our bitter sin. Remember that He said “If any man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'” (John 7:37b-38 NASV) Verse 39 goes on to say He was speaking of the Holy Spirit.
Pray for those you know today who are walking around thinking they have it all together. Pray that they will discover the Living Water and run to be drenched in it’s refreshment. May you have peace like a river.. ️
Good Morning Beloved
Thus says the Lord God to these bones, “Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life” (Ezekiel 37:5 NASB)
Just an aside here. At Christian Creative Learning Academy where I am filling in as Director there are 3 boys named Ezekiel! One is Zekey, one is Ezekiel and one is Zekey V. That name is making a comeback and MAN is it confusing at times!
The prophet Ezekiel was a man greatly used by God to bring messages to the people of Israel. Here in chapter 37 Ezekiel was brought by God to a valley filled with dry bones. God caused him to walk among the bones and the verse says there were very many on the surface thereof.
God asked him if he thought those bones could live. Ezekiel told God that only He would know that answer. So God told Ezekiel to prophesy over those bones and that He, God, would breathe life back in to them. Only God can do a miracle like that. Only a living, active, loving God can breathe life into a literal dry bone.
Right now I am devouring a book titled Breathing Room by Leeana Tankersley. I met Leeana at a writer’s workshop I attended recently. This is a book that I just cannot put down. From the very first page I knew I needed to read it with a highlighter and a full package of post-it flags in my hand. It was in my late 20’s when I really discovered recreational reading. I called in sick one day so I could finish Sidney Sheldon’s Master Of The Game. Confession is good for the soul I guess because I have never divulged that information before now! I don’t recommend you do that, but I digress.
In Leeana’s book she talks about human body’s ability to breathe and that point that, if you are holding your breath, you must let it out. It is called the “critical line”. This book is speaking to my heart right now because I feel like I am walking around holding my breath. Breathing Room is filled with stories about how, on the outside, everyone thought she had a perfect life and had everything going for her. She takes us on a journey that tells us that with God’s help she learned to really breathe because her perfect life wasn’t so perfect after all.
People walk on this earth every day dragging around a dry, lifeless bag of bones. They think they are living but they are holding their breath. Many, maybe even you, are at that critical line. Perhaps you are going about day to day raising kids, working a full time stressful job, paying bills, cooking, cleaning, being out in public, rushing here and there, fighting sickness, worry, angst, fear and feeling the urge to say STOP THIS CRAZY THING and you stop breathing. Oh, you think you are breathing because your lungs are filled with air and you still have a pulse but are you really breathing?
In childbirth classes a technique of breathing is taught to get a woman through a contraction. She is to take short breaths and pick a focal point to watch until the contraction stops then she is to take a deep cleansing breath. This clears her lungs, body and mind to prepare for the next contraction. Many of us are walking around today focused on that fear, anxiety, the unknown and breathing those shallow little “get through this contraction” breaths when what we really need to do is to stop, take that nice big cleansing breath and turn our focus on God. Let Him in. Let Him breathe on those dry lifeless bones. Sit a while at His knee. Let Him refresh you beside the still waters.
In verse 14 of Ezekiel 37 God says “And I will put My Spirit within you, and you will come to life.” This is a choice you make. The offer is there you just need to accept it. Breathe deep my friend. Take in that fresh air that only God can give. Relax in His presence as He gives your soul much needed CPR. Allow yourself some breathing room today. ️
Good Morning Beloved
God is faithful – reliable, trustworthy and (therefore) ever true to His promises, and He can be depended on; by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Corinthians 1:9 AMP)
This verse starts out with one of the truest statements ever made about God, at least in my life; God is faithful. It then goes on to say He is reliable and trustworthy, true to His promises and He can be depended upon! My goodness those are big statements. The New American Standard version of the bible simply says “God is faithful”.
What does that mean? According to Webster’s dictionary it means strict or thorough in a performance of duty, true to one’s word, promises, vows. Take a look at your life right now and the situation you are in. Has God been faithful to you? Has He kept his promises? Whatever is happening in your life can you see the hand of a reliable God in whom you can depend?
There was a time in my life that I rebelled against God. I had been in a difficult marriage, had 2 very young children, was miserable and scared and could not believe God was allowing all of this to happen to me. I remember sitting in the floor of my apartment crying in frustration and fear of what might happen next and saying to God “If You make me stay here and You condone this well, I just don’t believe You are real.” The whole situation is as clear to me as if it were yesterday. I was angry with God but it was not His fault! Choices I had made got me in to that frame of mind. I was also not responsible for other’s actions that were harmful to me.
I picked myself up off of that floor and went over and ceremonially put my bible on the shelf. I wanted to throw it in the trash my heart was so hard and bitter.
Life went on and I stopped going to church. That was a very dark time for me. I became a single parent and set about to raise my kids by myself thank you very much! Goodness, I look back now and wonder why God didn’t strike me dead then and there! He gently and lovingly stood by me as I made bad choice after worse choice.
One day I got a phone call. It came out of the blue (or did it?). The sweet voice on the other end was my pastor’s wife. She said that she had been thinking of me and praying for me. She hadn’t seen me at church in several weeks and wanted to make sure I was OK. I told her that I was’t coming back; I was too hurt. She went on to say “Terrie you know how you have been taught and I have faith that you will find a bible believing church and you will go back”. Her words stung like a mean hornet. Oh she was by no means being mean. She could not have been kinder but those words tore at my heart that was on strike! In essence her words crossed the picket line.
Hanging up I purposed to shut all things God out of my life because I was so deflated. In the small teeny tiny recesses of my broken to pieces heart was that still small voice we all hear about. The nudge got softer and softer as I squeezed the Holy Spirit into a microscopic box in the depths of my soul.
I got a job, met my future husband (who was not a Christian at the time) and went along my not so merry way. When I reflect on that time in my life I see the hand of a living, faithful and longsuffering God watching over me. I am sure my sweet pastor’s wife was true to her word and was praying for me all along.
One day in the grocery store I ran in to an old friend. She was in front of me in line. She and I had been at my old church together and she told me of her new church. A perplexed look came over her face when I told her I was not going to church. “You?” She asked. Indignant I said “yes, me”. She proceeded to go completely gaga over a pastor she called Brother Bob and invited me to her church. Right at that time another young woman chimed in behind me. She too went to that same church. Drat! I was surrounded! God had placed me in that line at that very time with those appointed women to snap be back to life. I lost touch with that sweet lady over time but through circumstances that only God could possibly design I got to see her before she died and share with her how important and life changing that grocery store meeting had been in my life.
That next Sunday after the grocery store encounter I walked in to that church and 37 years later I am still there. Our faithful, trustworthy, ever true to His promises God had begun a good work in me and He continues to be faithful and will complete it. The experiences I had have all been turned in to good as I counsel and help other women in similar situations. So many lessons learned and I am still learning. Being literally surrounded by God’s intervention put me on a lifelong path of service and fellowship. Praying for you today dear one as you are called in to companionship and participation with His Son Jesus. Be encouraged. God is ever faithful.️
Good Morning Beloved
A “revisit” blog from 2014. Still pertinent today as many in my sphere of life are trying to find a “new normal.
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will never leave you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6(ESV)
So many I know right now are adjusting to a “new normal”. It seems I have been bombarded lately with phone calls concerning life changing events in so may lives of the people I love dearly. My nieces lost their precious Grammy, my brother’s wife walked out on him which, in turn, made his daughter – another niece – grieve for her dad, my 9 year old granddaughter’s beloved teacher passed away, a close friend’s parents are leaving her life long home and moving to a senior complex and those are the tip of the ice berg. Several more phone calls along the lines of blow ups at Christian work places, people not keeping their word, jobs lost, families torn apart.
One day I said to the Lord “there is just too much to pray about!” not to mention my own personal day to day “stuff”. As I was texting with one of my nieces she mentioned that it was very tough getting used to this “new normal”. I told her that it really is a hard walk but that God is carrying her right now and will put her down when she can walk on her own. He will never let her go but He will be there walking by her side and when she needs to be picked up again, He will. I told her to give Jesus her broken heart. He will hold it in His hands and take good care to heal it while she is grieving. She can trust Him with that broken heart.
All of the above I have prayed with, loved, laid awake at night thinking about, cried over, mindlessly eaten too many potato chips while thinking about – you name it. These are life changing events that you don’t get over in a day. You can’t say “suck it up and move on”. It’s not like having a friend “un-friend” you on Facebook. This is real hard rubber meets the road kind of grief. Three different times in the last couple of weeks people I know have messaged me about finding pennies, how they thought of me and what it meant to them. It is interesting.
When I started this penny collecting journey in 2004 I never dreamed it would spread out to people I know and love finding them for themselves and carrying it forward. One was found on a university campus, one in a workplace classroom, one while walking down the street. My boss left one on my desk. It is a good thing and a noble thing to Trust In God. I know He has all of these heart breaks and mind and body numbing issues in His hands. Today at Target I found a penny. 1986 it said on the bottom rim. IN GOD WE TRUST it read. Mr. Lincoln looking noble in his profile. I knew it was time to start writing again about the glory of God.
When the people of Israel were in battle against Amalek at Rephidim Moses stood at the top of the hill with the staff of God raised above his head. While Moses’ staff stayed in the air the Israelites prevailed but when Moses would drop his arms the Amalekites prevailed. How long can you hold a large stick in the air? His brother Aaron and is friend Hur took a stone and put it under Moses so he could sit down and then they each took an arm and held it up so that the Israelites could fight the battle and win! Sometimes we feel like Moses but more times we are Aaron and Hur to someone who needs us to just hold up their arms (with our prayers and love) while they battle. As believers we “fight” on our knees in prayer. This past few weeks the Lord has chosen me to be Aaron and Hur to so many. What an honor to be in that position. The “new normal” is a large deal in so many lives. And He walks with me and He talks with me…….