The Wisdom of Fruit Trees: God’s Plan for You in 2021!

Hello, and blessings to you in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ! Let me first start out by saying, I hope that you and your family had a wonderful and blessed Christmas and…

Happy New Year!

And I don’t just mean that in the traditional sense. I am speaking it over you and your family in Jesus’ name! The Bible says in Proverbs 18:21 that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” 3 John 2, NKJV, also says, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” So, I am starting this year off right. I am speaking life! That said…

I know that if you are anything like me, you are probably thinking something like, “well, we tried that last New Year’s Eve, and you see where it got us.” I know. I get it. I lost my precious husband and my dear mother in 2020, my husband due to complications from Covid, as he was immune suppressed, and unable to recover from the damage it did to his lungs, and my mother from strokes. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t suffered some type of tragedy or great loss and hardship in this past year. As a matter of fact, I don’t know too many people who have much of anything positive to say about 2020. In fact, I’m pretty sure many, myself included, have had thoughts of giving up…

But wait!…

Now, let’s just back that up a minute…(insert sound of brakes screeching, like when you didn’t see the stop sign – Go ahead and go YouTube that if it makes you feel better, just be sure to come back. You DON’T wanna miss this Word God gave me this morning for you). What if…WHAT IF…. there is a more positive way to look at all of this? (Seriously, you’re not going to give all these trials this past year threw at us that much power over you, are you?) I know I’m not! I said the rear view mirror of my life was torn off, and I’m not sitting here trying to glue it back on! Take a few minutes to listen to this song…

It ain’t over till GOD says it’s over!!!

The first time I heard this song, it was a home video of a little girl whose mother recorded her singing it and, with permission, shared it on Facebook. It was such a powerful message to me. A couple of nights later, I even dreamed that I was hearing that video being played, and I could hear the little girl singing it. I wrote the mother an encouraging message telling her how much it had touched me and thanking her for sharing it….

Look. I know that if you’re anything like me, you probably have a few choice words you could say to this past year (if only it were a person, let’s face it, some of us watched too many of those old cartoons). I can tell you, my husband and I certainly would not have been welcoming in the year 2020 so joyfully on New Year’s Eve a year ago if we had known what it would bring. But it’s not a person, and well, we can’t turn back time. I think we all can identify with these feelings. I’m pretty sure many of us who suffered significant losses in this past year would agree that in a sense, we kind of woke up on New Year’s Day feeling much like someone in the wake of the damage after a tornado or hurricane, surveying the damage it has left behind. But let’s just turn it around and see if we can’t get a more positive perspective on it all, shall we? (Go ahead and go do that brake screech thing again if you want. Again, just come back, you DON’T wanna miss this! 🙂 )…

I’m sure if we really think about it, we could come up with some good things we did in 2020. Or better yet, ways that God did bless us to make it through – you’re still here, right? Or you wouldn’t be sitting here reading this. The topic for our Women’s Conference at our church a couple of years ago was, “Kept”. Our speakers dove in to the study of the women in the Bible who were “kept women”, kept by God Himself through the various trials they went through. And God left His fingerprints all throughout the pages of time, in that we can learn powerful lessons from their stories. So, what all has God “kept” you through this past year? The best way we can break the enemy’s power to use these trials and heartaches we have endured over us is to give God the praise for the ways He has kept us through these things. What has He kept you through this past year? What is one good thing you have done in 2020? Here’s my list:

  1. I published a powerful book of my testimony of my Near Death Experience in a car accident that will help people who have been through traumatic events and are giving up on their faith – you can check it out here!
  2. I survived Covid. God healed me so that I could be here to encourage you, and bring more fruit in for Christ’s kingdom.
  3. I celebrated a year being healed and delivered from breast cancer.
  4. I finished a new book (fiction) that my dear late husband, Keith, and I worked on together that we both felt will help people see that no life is too hopeless for God to change. It’s still in the editing stages, so it’s coming soon!
  5. I have seen God’s provision in powerful ways in every area of my life since my husband’s passing, the more I put Him first.
  6. I have learned from it all through His grace, and yielded all the broken pieces to Him, so He can use my story to help you too.
  7. I have more great inspirational books coming, and I have accepted His call to yield my life to ministry to others, and I could not be more excited about all He is going to do through me in 2021!

I believe if we think about it, we can all list some ways God has kept us through the storms of this past year, and the good things that did come out of it all, and in so doing, break the enemy’s power to use it to destroy us any further. That is simply “baggage” we are not going to drag into 2021. So, now, I will share with you the Word that God has given me, something I think will help us all. As a matter of fact, I felt His Holy Spirit nudging me earlier as I had my devotions, clearly letting me know, He had given me a Word and that He expected me to share it. So here goes. But first, I’ll give you a little more background information, so it will make more sense…

A LITTLE BACKGROUND INFORMATION: THE GARDEN OF YOUR HEART: A few years ago, as my husband and I found a good church and began to draw closer to God, He showed me a vision one morning that clearly let me know where I stood with Him. I think it will help you too, because I feel most of us can probably identify with this. So I saw what was supposed to be the “garden of my heart”. If you’ll just pick up your Bible and start reading it, you’ll see that Christ, our Lord Himself gave us teachings from this perspective. A good place to start is Matthew, Chapter 13. In this chapter, Jesus gave the Parable of the Sower. He led me to this several times over a period of time, and each time, His challenge was the same: “Which one are you?” For too long, I have been one to let too many of the “stones” the enemy had thrown into my path discourage me. I wasn’t standing on the Word as I should have been. If we keep on like this, those stumbling stones are what the enemy will use to snatch the Word away, so that it can’t be implanted deep into that soil of our heart’s garden. I also went for too long in the earlier years of my life not having the deep “rooting” of God’s Word in my life, so when those trials of life came, I didn’t have the root of that Word to guide me through it. —> (SPECIAL DEVOTIONAL SUGGESTION: I highly recommend sitting down with your family discussing this section of Christ’s teaching in Matthew 13. Don’t point fingers or judge each other. Just read it together, and talk about which of those types of soil characterizes that “garden” in each of your hearts. Then, pray together about it, and ask God to show you all ways to get that deep rooting in His Word that will help you grow stronger and stand together through the trials that may come. Get back together, in, say, a week or two, and talk about ways each of you have grown stronger in these areas. Give thanks as a family for the ways He has helped you grow together.)

So, what I saw, as far as the “garden of my heart” was a barren, desolate place, with dry, hardened, cracked ground. Nothing was growing. There was no “fruit” being produced. Then, I saw the “gate”, and Jesus standing on the other side of it, and what He said to me changed everything for me that day. He said, “I want to help you, but you have to let Me in first.” Did you get that? It is we who have to open that gate and let Him in. You see, for too long, I was, as I talk about in my book, “CPR for Your Faith from Beyond Death’s Door”, a strong-willed, stubborn, hard-headed little Ms. Independent who thought I knew how to handle life on my own. There are a lot of things that can make us that way. For years, I had been made to feel worthless and this eventually led to the mind trap of approval seeking, and way too much allowing my attitude, thoughts, and actions to be controlled by what others thought of me, etc., etc…

Now, I know better. That’s the “old” me. Let’s take a look at what Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:20-24: “But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:  that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,  and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (NKJV) Now, let’s look at 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (NKJV)

This means that if we are in Christ, meaning, walking in His promises of His Word, and we have truly opened the gate of that garden of our hearts, then, and only then, He can come in and transform all of that barren, unproductive ground into a beautiful, lush garden, full of trees producing loads of fruit for Him. But He is a gentleman. He will not force Himself on anyone. It is you, and I, who must make that decision to open that gate of our hearts and let Him in. So, I began to get more deeply into prayer with Him, and I opened that gate of my heart as I finally realized I couldn’t do it on my own, and that has made all of the difference.

In the aftermath of all that had transpired in the past year, I will admit that I had, for a time, hardened to the point that I thought I had lost something very precious to me. I didn’t hear God speaking to me in the mornings when I woke up anymore. Truth is, I hadn’t lost it, or Him. He was right there all along, just as He is with each of us who will open that gate of our heart’s garden and let Him in. But when we start to try to handle things on our own again, look out! This is what the enemy wants. Over time, he sows his weeds of doubt, despair, and hopelessness, and even tries to make you think you can’t hear from God anymore. So, as I began to pray more and get back into seeking a closer relationship with the Savior, and put Him first again, and LET HIM HANDLE THINGS, instead of letting the enemy fool me into trying to handle it on my own (see Proverbs 3:5-6), I began to awaken in the mornings hearing my gentle, loving Savior there again, speaking to me, showing me things, and guiding me. What came to me from the Holy Spirit this morning is going to change your perspective on this coming year, just as it has mine. And now, the Word He has given me for you for 2021…

THE WISDOM OF FRUIT TREES: GOD’S PLAN FOR YOU, AND ME, IN 2021: As I awakened this morning, I was seeing a vision, as is often the case. At first, I was seeing what represented the garden of my heart, and I felt as God spoke to my heart that what He was saying applies for all of us. It looked like the aftermath of a tornado or hurricane. I had the feeling, as many of us do right now, of waking up after a terrible storm. I then saw a tall, flourishing fruit tree, and He said to me,

“I am going to take all of the broken pieces of your grief, sadness, sorrows, and broken dreams of this past year and turn it all into the compost that will enrich the fruit trees of the fruit you will bear for Me in this coming year if you will only yield it all to Me. Yield the broken dreams and the shards you have tried to pick up on your own to Me, and you will see what I will do, for I will take what the enemy meant to destroy you and turn it into the rich compost that will nourish the fruit trees of your heart’s garden. So will I take the weeds and the broken pieces of what was meant for your harm and turn it around for your good. I will make the heartaches, disappointments, failures, and broken dreams of 2020 into the powerful, divinely enriched compost of 2021 that will yield a greater harvest than anything you have ever imagined possible if you will only yield it all to Me, for there is nothing that I cannot do.”

Only yield it all to the Master Gardener standing at the gate of your heart’s garden now, and He will turn your chaos into the chorus of His praise, your calamity into renewed confidence, and your tragedies into triumph that will bring glory to His name, if you will only trust Him. He knows what is ahead, and He is well able to do above and beyond all that we can ask or think. We do not know what tomorrow holds, and no doubt, this year will hold challenges of its own, but we can rest assured that if we put our trust in the One Who holds tomorrow in His hand, we will make it through. Jesus said in these latter days, we would have trials and tribulations (Matthew 24), but He also said, “be of good cheer, I have already overcome the world” (John 16:33).

If you are still here, it’s because He still has work you can do for His Kingdom. It’s because He has a reason for you to still be here. You can help bring in the great harvest that will precede Christ’s return. So, as we are all thinking of those New Year’s Resolutions, why not make one to let Him back in the “driver’s seat”? This past Christmas, as we prepared to celebrate the miracle of Christ’s birth and what it means for all of us, I have to say, after all my family and I have endured in 2020, I found myself going through my own personal advent season. As I prayerfully embarked on this journey, it was quite a revealing process as I discovered all that I had been allowing to be placed on the “throne of my heart” before Him.

So, this next time around, let’s not leave Him the “manger”, but may we all accept the challenge to graciously and humbly yield it all back to our Heavenly Father, the One Who created us, and Who sent His Son, our Jesus, to die for us, so that we could have eternal life in Heaven with Him. May we each find that new joy and healing, peace and comfort, encouragement, and renewed faith and vision for greater things that can only come when we finally open that gate to the “garden of our hearts” and let the Master Gardener in. We may not know what tomorrow holds, or which of us will be here next year to celebrate another year, but when we let Him back in, and give Him His place back on the throne of our hearts, we can rest assured that there is nothing that can stop the great things He can and will do in our lives.

Let’s let Him take all of the broken pieces of what the enemy meant to destroy us in 2020, and put it all through the “compost machine” of His power through the matchless and mighty name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and turn it into the compost that His Holy Spirit will use to nourish the fruit trees He has already planted in the gardens of our hearts. Then, and only then, will we see how truly flourishing and beautiful the garden of our hearts can be. Only then, will we see the great and powerful harvest we are truly capable of. May we each bring in a greater fruitful yield for His Kingdom in 2021 than we have ever dreamed possible.

Will your “garden” bring in a great harvest for the Kingdom in 2021? Let Him turn the heartaches of 2020 into the “compost” to enrich the fruit trees for what He will do through you this year!

Masks in the Church: Part 1 – The Masks We Hide Behind

“Life is but a masquerade ball. No one is ever really who they say they are, but sooner or later, the masks come off.”

Okay, I made that up, although if anyone else has ever said it, I don’t know who they are.) I have said at one time in the past that I had considered having these words put on my tombstone (Now, I know better). Still, if you think about it, there is a lot of truth in that.

A while back, I did a post on Facebook about “Masks”, and how many of us as Christians have hidden behind them for too long. With all that we have going on now, with the Covid 19 Pandemic, and other signs that Christ warned us about happening all around us, I have felt led to visit this topic again.

So, this will be the first of a series I am starting this week, on Masks in the Church. In this first of three posts I will be doing, I will just get into the basics of what it all means, and we’ll get deeper into it all in the next posts, so be sure and subscribe to my email if you haven’t, so you won’t miss out on any of these, or my future posts. I also get briefly into the subject of “masks” in my book, “CPR for Your Faith from Beyond Death’s Door”, which is now available on Amazon and B&Nsee more about that here. So, without further ado, let’s get started. Grab a cup of coffee and let’s sit down for a minute and talk about this. If you find it helpful, be sure and share it with someone!

So, this will be the first of a series I am starting this week, on Masks in the Church. In this first of three posts I will be doing, I will just get into the basics of what it all means, and we’ll get deeper into it all in the next posts, so be sure and subscribe to my email if you haven’t, so you won’t miss out on any of these, or my future posts. I also get briefly into the subject of “masks” in my book, “CPR for Your Faith from Beyond Death’s Door”, which is now available on Amazon and B&N, see more about that here. So, without further ado, let’s get started. Grab a cup of coffee and let’s sit down for a minute and talk about this. If you find it helpful, be sure and share it with someone!

Are We Hiding Behind Masks?

For too many of us, the ways we have adapted to the ways satan (no, I won’t capitalize his name) uses our past to control us and define us, we have allowed it all to cause us to develop this hardened outer layer of ourselves, all while trying to put on a fake outer front, or “mask”, a false facade for others, while inside, we slowly languish in our own self made “prison”, instead of trusting Christ to set us free.

Before I go on, I’m just going to “get real” with you myself. I recently found myself going through a trial that forced me to take my own “masks” off and get real with God, and with myself, and others. On July 17, 2020, I tested positive for Covid 19. Although I am mostly recovered, as I write this, my husband is in the hospital with it. This whole trial has forced me to take a long, hard look at myself in the “mirror” of God’s Word, and gone deeper in prayer and repentance myself than ever before, and I didn’t like what I saw…

If we as the Church are not careful and diligent to pray and seek Him and study His Word every day, the enemy will fool us into continuing to wear those masks and waste this life away drifting along in the world’s masquerade ball. His evil plan for us is that we will waste the precious life God has given us, hiding behind these masks and missing out on the real, true power of Jesus Christ and the plans He has for each of us to make a difference in this lost and dying world. Ultimately, as long as we let him fool us into living with this deception, he knows we will never truly bear fruit for Christ’s Kingdom, or complete His will for us, and that we will hear those three dreaded words that are more frightening even than dying from Covid 19: “Depart from Me…”

Types of Masks We Wear…

It’s easy to do. We do it all the time. You walk into the store. Someone you know recognizes you and calls out to you, “Hey (your name here), how are you doing?” It can be easy to give in to the temptation to put your “normal person, I’m fine” mask on, when in fact, on the inside, you’re a wreck. We don’t want others to see the trauma from emotional abuse, or other things we’ve endured, or the feelings of worthlessness from it all that we’ve suffered for years, so we hide it. We put our “smiley face” mask on, and say, “I’m fine, how are you?”. Realistically, most of us know when someone asks, “how are you doing?”, they really don’t have the time to listen to the laundry list of what most of us are dealing with these days.

It’s easy to do. We do it all the time. You walk into the store. Someone you know recognizes you and calls out to you, “Hey (your name here), how are you doing?” It can be easy to give in to the temptation to put your “normal person, I’m fine” mask on, when in fact, on the inside, you’re a wreck. We don’t want others to see the trauma from emotional abuse, or other things we’ve endured, or the feelings of worthlessness from it all that we’ve suffered for years, so we hide it. We put our “smiley face” mask on, and say, “I’m fine, how are you?”. Realistically, most of us know when someone asks, “how are you doing?”, they really don’t have the time to listen to the laundry list of what most of us are dealing with these days.

We have all worn “masks” in too many different ways. “Selfish ambition” is one (see Phillipians 2:3-8). I wore that one for too long. Now, I know that the work I have been called to do for Him is more important than whether, as a writer, I ever make that coveted New York Times Best Seller List (By the way, “coveting” is a form of idolatry.). The attractions of wealth, material possessions, and fame are no longer important to me (see Matthew 6:19-34 and 1 Timothy 6:6-14), but what He is getting ready to do through me, and the souls I will win for Him, those I will encourage because I can say, I know what you’re going through, I’ve been there.

“Approval Addiction” is another one I hid behind for way too long (Joyce Meyer has a book on this) because of years of emotional abuse I suffered because of the choices I made. For too long, I was a prisoner of my past, controlled by the need for approval, constantly obsessed about and controlled by what people thought of me, the need to “fit in”. Even worse, I wasn’t really reaching out to others because of how worthless and insignificant I felt deep down inside. That only continued to feed that old monster weed of my insecurities, caused by that need for others’ approval. If you are going to serve Christ, you must be willing to be set apart! (See Phillipians 3:7-9.) Then, there’s the old, “I’m okay, I’m not really depressed” mask, you know, the one many of us wear to church. There are countless others. “Denial” is one many of us have struggled with.

Other examples of “masks” we can tend to hide behind are, “tolerance” and “political correctness” (Careful! Are we not denying Christ, as Peter did, by doing this?). Too many times, we as Christians have tried to “blend in” to society, when God calls us to stand out! We have let the devil trick us into wearing these masks, but they only keep us from seeing who we really are in Christ, and who He has called us to be.

Taking off the Masks – Who has God Called You to Be?

So, take a few minutes to start each day together with God’s word, pray for Him to show you the “masks” you may have been hiding behind, then ask Him to remove them and help you let go of the need to build false facades, “release” it all to Him, and speak the Word over your marriage, your family, and your finances. Make the decision today to “get real” and pray and agree on that Word God gives you together (see Matthew 18:19-20), and I can assure you, you will begin to see changes in your prayer life, your spiritual walk with God, and your marriage and family relationships.

I can honestly tell you right now, today, for me, those chains have been broken! The masks have fallen off! They are gone! I am FREE in my new identity in Jesus Christ, my Lord (also in that section in Phillipians 2:1-15, about seeking to have the mind of Christ).

If this series the Holy Spirit has laid upon my heart to share with you helps you somehow to take a closer look at your own life, and see, through His loving guidance, what masks you may have been wearing, then it will have achieved its purpose. After all, it is not me, but Him, lovingly calling out to you now, while there is yet time for us to make a difference. I am only the hands that typed the words you are reading here. I am only His willing vessel, one who has been broken in many ways, but He saved me, delivered and healed me, and I have answered His call to help as many as I can, just as I hope you have.

With this pandemic we are all facing now, we can only work together, pray and show our appreciation to all of those front line workers who are bravely doing their jobs to take care of us, and pray for those who are sick. The truth is, none of us are promised tomorrow. The path to prayerfully seeking His guidance to help us take the masks off that too many of us have worn for too long, and show us the plans He has for each of us to make an impact for His Kingdom is a journey each of us must take on our own. We can only work, love, and pray together, now, as never before, and believe in the miracles He wants to do in our lives.

There is Hope for You…

Covid 19 is not an automatic death sentence. Many have recovered, and gone on to appreciate the things in life they took for granted before. I am one of them, or you wouldn’t be reading this right now. But if your time should come, and your name isn’t written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and you haven’t accepted our Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then after your last breath will be too late. You will have just allowed the devil to punch your ticket to the Masquerade Ball of no return.

Jesus loves each of us, so much He died for us to have a more abundant life of hope and fulfillment, leading others to Him. I hope you will accept Jesus as Lord of your life today. If you would like to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, all it takes is a simple prayer, and to believe in Him with all your heart, in total surrender to Him. If you’re ready to take that step, click here, and allow my 12 year old self to tell you how. (That got ya thinking, didn’t it? 🙂

 

What Will Your Choice Be?

I wore many masks for a long time, but thankfully, I have been set free by the power of Jesus Christ. I am no longer chained to the past. I gave my ticket to that masquerade ball the enemy had me going to for too long to my Lord and Savior, my Jesus. He took it and ripped it up and gave me a new hope and a new life. Right now, I am taking it one day at a time as we recover from this, and praying for healing for my sweet hubby. Again, none of us are promised tomorrow. But I can tell you this much: I’m done wearing any of those dumb, ugly masks. I know now that God truly cares about what we’re hiding behind that mask, and that the truth has set me free (John 8:32,36, and 14:6) just as it will set you free. I know that each new day I wake up with the breath of life He gave me in my lungs, I will praise Him with it, and never take it for granted again. I don’t want to be the person I was before all of this. I want now, more than ever before to strive to reach my full potential of what He has called me to do.

Which will you choose? Will you continue to be a part of the problem, as many of us have been for too long, or will you choose to make a great impact for the Kingdom of Christ? The clock is ticking for every one of us. Thankfully, we have a loving Savior Who standing there at the door of our hearts, waiting to come in and help us “get real”, with Him, and with those we will reach for Him. Now, let this song minister to your heart…

Have You Checked Out My New Book?

If you haven’t, be sure to check out my book, “CPR for Your Faith from Beyond Death’s Door”, as I mentioned above. It has my testimony of my near death experience in a car accident in November of 1985, what I have learned since, and has been written as an encouraging message of faith, especially for those who have been through traumatic events and have felt like giving up. In the book, I also talk about throwing off the excess baggage from the past so you can sail forward to God’s wonderful plan for your life. I feel in any case, that it will help enrich your walk with Him, but it should by no means take the place of studying God’s Word. Jesus is the Lighthouse. I am only a flashlight to point the way to Him.

Know Someone Who Could Use This?

If you know someone who would be encouraged by this information, please share! Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to hit that ‘Subscribe’ tab so you won’t miss my next post in this series, and so you will be among the first to know about my upcoming new books. Now, let’s throw those masks out and start building the Kingdom together!

The Grand Equation: 5 Steps to Finding Peace – God’s Formula for Balancing Out the Equation of Your Life #5StepstoFindingPeace

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Do you sometimes feel like your life is out of balance, like there’s something missing?
Does it seem that no matter what you do, things just don’t “add up”?
Would you like to know how you can find that balance and peace in your life?
My friend, there is a way. But are you really seeing the greater picture, or just going by what you can see immediately around you, as it applies to you?
Stay with me here, this gets really good. I know it has helped me. I know this because I have lived it, and found out most of it the hard way. I am currently 52 years old, soon to be 53, and I can honestly say, when you reach this pinnacle on the journey through life, you want to share the wisdom you’ve gained (most of it the hard way if you’re like me) with others, and hopefully maybe prevent someone else from taking the same falls in life you have.
Isaiah 40:31 is a powerful verse that has guided me through some of the rockiest, toughest roads of my life. It reminds us to see that greater picture through the eyes of the eagle:
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.”
We all go through hurt in this life. Most of us can relate to going through these painful times in our life. People you thought you could trust “stab you in the back”, reject you, judge you without getting the facts. Old unforgiven hurts and grudges. People who have written you off a long time ago. So how do you ever find peace despite it all?
1. Look at the Bigger Picture…From the Greater Perspective of Our Creator
The answer is simple. But you must first understand that you need to look at it from the proper perspective. As humans, we only see what is immediately around us. However, the eagle sees all that is on the ground below. If we pray for God to help us “mount up with wings as eagles” as the above scripture promises we can, then we see the picture through the eyes of that eagle, or closer to God’s perspective, seeing the whole picture.
Whether we want to admit it or not, we tend to see ourselves in the middle of our little “circle of life”, envisioning everyone else and everything in life rotating around us. But in reality, we are not seeing the full picture. It is our Heavenly Father, our Creator, Who sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to save us by His grace, which we didn’t even deserve, Who belongs in the middle of that circle. So, the first thing each of us must do is put Him back in the center of our lives, and stop making it about ourselves.
Hey, I am talking to myself here too, friends. I went through years of heartache, dysfunction, and disappointment, because of the bad choices I made early in my life. I’ve also gone through a lot of undue stress and wasted precious time I cannot get back before I could ever get it through my head that it wasn’t all about me.
But what about all those hurtful situations that we find ourselves going through that we feel we didn’t even deserve? How do we forgive those who have hurt us deeply for no good reason, or treated us unfairly?
2. Forgive, Let Go, and Let God…
Well, first, we forgive them with the same grace Christ was willing to forgive us of our own sin. (See Matthew 6:14-15, Mark 11:25, among others).
Romans 12:19 boldly emphasizes this: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
He sees that bigger picture a whole lot better than we do, and He sees the hearts. Nothing is hidden from Him and nothing surprises Him. Besides, we never know that when we show them the love of Christ and forgive, it might just touch their hearts and win them over to Him. When we insist on being angry and getting our own vengeance, we rob Him of that.
Once we see it all from His Grander Perspective and forgive, this closes the door to the enemy being able to further use it to control us, and it opens the door for our loving Heavenly Father to work it to our advantage (see Romans 8:28, Galatians 6:9). Then, we apply a simple formula, which I will share with you here. For that, we’re gonna do some math.
I heard those groans! I know, math was never my best subject either, but this is a simple and time-tested process. I know because I have already been tested on it, so now, I am sharing it with you because I know it will work for you just as it has for me…
I have a chapter in my upcoming book, “CPR For Your Faith From Beyond Death’s Door”, called, “God’s Mathematics”…If the “equation” of your life isn’t “balancing out”, try what He has told me (and it won’t, until you do this, trust me, no better yet, trust Him)…
3. Take yourself OUT of the equation.Hey, I know that’s hard, believe me, it was for me. But like I said, in order for this to work, we each and every one have to get this through our stubborn, human heads…it’s not about us. It’s about Him, and what He did for us. It’s also about what is available to us, if we are only willing to believe, trust Him, and put Him back in control. This means total surrender from all the “I deserve, I shoulda, I coulda, I woulda, I’m gonna…”
Let. It. Go. This is the only way it can work. It represents total surrender to Him, the only One Who can save us…even if it means saving us from ourselves first. Trust me when I say, I went through this one “kicking and screaming” – okay, not literally. 😉
4. Put Him (Jesus, our Lord and Savior) in all the places you’ve been putting yourself.
Then…and only then…will it finally start to balance out. Trust me. It works.
For a long time, I held on to resentment, bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, and the longer I held on to it, the longer I kept making it about “what I felt I should have been entitled to”, what I deserved, ya da ya da… I wasted a lot of time trying to figure it all out myself. It wasn’t until I let all of that go, and turned it all over to Him, and did just what He’d told me, that it all began to work out, and I began to finally have peace.
Now, for no. 5…
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5. Put down the pencil. – That’s right, just give Him the “pencil”!
After all, HE ALREADY HAD YOU FIGURED INTO THE EQUATION – long before you or I were even born. We need only turn to His Word for proof of this…
  • Genesis 15:5 – “And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.”
  • Galatians 3:8-9 – “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed. So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.”
  • Galatians 3:29 – “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
  • Matthew 10:30 – “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”
  • Luke 12:7 – “But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.”
  • Matthew 6:26-27 – “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?”
  • Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

And this one, which speaks for itself, as all of God’s Word does…

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  • Psalm 139:13-16 – “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.”
The Grand Equation…
Too many times, the hurt, damaged self esteem, and feelings of worthlessness we have suffered at the hands of others leaves us damaged in ways that have left us unable to trust our Heavenly Father, Who only wants the best for us, and created us with His perfect plan in mind for each of us.
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Only He sees the grand equation of the plan He had for our lives, fully balanced out, with all the factors in place, blessings He had originally intended for us, many of which we often forfeit when we insist on being in control and doing things our way. Far too often, we grieve His Spirit when we do this, and we hinder, or delay His ultimate plan for us.
Jeremiah 29:11 “sums” it up best: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” – KJV
The New King James Version renders it this way: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
In truth, it is only in finally letting go, releasing it all to Him, turning the “pencil” over to Him, and trusting Him to balance it all out, in His perfect, all-knowing, all-seeing way, as He sees fit, that we will finally begin to see that we are already a part of a far grander equation than we could have ever dreamed possible. We only see one page, of the greater “book” that He sees, the “bestseller” He penned, with you as the main character, long before you were even born. 
If you know someone who needs this word of encouragement, please share via the buttons below! And don’t forget to subscribe to my email, via the tab above so you can receive email notifications of my book, “CPR For Your Faith From Beyond Death’s Door”, coming soon, as well as future book releases. 

“Silent Night” in September?-A Love Stronger than any Hurricane #HurricaneFlorence

20180916_123651“True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that – it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.” – Charles Spurgeon

As most are probably aware by now, Hurricane “Florence” (OK, no “Flo” jokes) just tore through our area here in the Carolinas. It came ashore here in North Carolina, causing major damage and catastrophic flooding, then tore through South Carolina, and according to this news report, is still wreaking havoc, now spread over six states. As my husband and I just got our power back on Saturday night, and our internet wasn’t restored until late Sunday, we are just now being able to access information as to just how bad the damage has been. We had some tree branches down all over the place, including about half a tree in the back yard, which, thankfully, didn’t hit the house, and some flooding, which we are still dealing with, but we are thankful that our kids and everyone in our families is safe. That said, we are also praying for all of those in areas that got it worse, and especially the families that lost loved ones in this storm…which brings me to what this post is about.

The little angel figurine in the picture was part of a collection of Christmas figurines, some Nativity pieces, and other things, which, up until now, have remained in a box, carefully wrapped in pillow cases, etc. The collection came from household belongings which were donated to our church a couple of weeks ago by a local preacher and his wife after her mother passed away, most of which was dispersed by our Outreach team of our church. Keith and I have gone out with them the last couple of times, reaching out to the community, and we have truly been blessed and humbled by our experience so far. We are seeing lives restored and people saved and delivered at our church, and I believe it has only just begun.

Until recently, setting up a “prayer room” in our home was just an idea, something I had been thinking of doing, ever since I saw the movie, “War Room”. But when our pastor began to speak about it in his messages, we knew it was time to stop “talking about it” and make it happen. I can tell you, things have changed for the better since we cleared out that back room and turned it into our own “War Room”, and God has certainly made His presence known in that room in some powerful ways, which is just what happened this past Sunday morning.

I can tell you that if our own resources were better right now, and we weren’t sitting here unable to even get out or get anywhere much because of the flooding, (the dirt path leading to our house has pretty much been turned into a river), we would most certainly be out there, helping others who have gotten the worst of this storm. But since I can’t do that, I have done the next best thing, and that is, pray.

For the sake of everyone’s safety, our pastor as well as I am sure, most around here, made the decision to cancel services, urging everyone to still honor God in our devotions as well as staying in prayer for those affected by the hurricane. So, after I got up Sunday morning, I just felt the urge to go into the prayer room, and just pour it all out to God. I don’t mean just my family and our little circle of friends and all of that. I will just say here, that my faith has grown in leaps and bounds since I came under strong conviction to pray for others more, in our church, our community, and not just my family. We pray for each other in our church, and we share each other’s burdens. We rejoice when someone in the church’s prayers are answered, and it gives us a special kind of joy when we know we prayed for that need with them. It helps build our own faith. Galatians 6:2 says, “ Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” So, that is what we do. We rejoice with others as their prayers are answered, because we know that what God has done for them, He will do for us.

So, that is what I had in mind when I went into the prayer room. I knelt down at our humble little makeshift altar and just began first to praise Him, which is how I always begin my prayers. Then, I began to pour my heart out to God, not only for our own family, our kids, and our church, but for all those in our local church community, and the church as a whole. In other words, as the “Bride of Christ”, and others all over who have been affected by this terrible hurricane that has done so much damage and wreaked so much havoc and devastation everywhere. I prayed for God to help our Outreach program, and to help us all be the true examples, the light of Christ’s love, that we need to be as we reach out to those around us. I prayed for the families of those who lost their lives in this storm. I prayed until I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit begin to fill that room, lifting up my praises to Him.

When I came out, I looked at the time and realized I had spent at least a whole hour in that room, and I can tell you, I received an immediate answer. So, in effect, this special way God chose to answer my heartfelt prayer is for you, too, which is why I just had to share it with everyone. Immediately, as I walked out of the prayer room, I began to hear what sounded like a tune being played, from somewhere. At first, I thought something had happened with one of our neighbors, and it was someone’s cell phone. I walked all around the house, trying to figure out where in the world it could be coming from. It wasn’t my husband on his phone.

Then, I realized it was coming from somewhere in the house. It was muffled, like it was coming from inside of something…the box! That was it. It was coming from the box of Christmas figurines, which I had yet to even go through. I got down the box from where it was sitting, and opened it, and sure enough, it was coming from inside it. When I located the piece it was coming from, I carefully unwrapped it, the one you see in the picture above. It was playing “Silent Night”.

I sat down at the dining room table, where we usually have our devotions, and after a minute or so, turned it over to find the button to turn it off….

…it was already in the off position. 

Flipping the switch to “on” only made it play faster. I got my phone and took a picture of it, then shared it with our pastor’s wife. Ten, fifteen, twenty, then thirty minutes passed, and it was still playing. My husband actually had to take the battery out to get it to stop. Although it could very well be possible that this may have been a regular, or at least, occasional occurrence with this figurine, that doesn’t really matter. I know that my God is an on time God, and His timing is NEVER off.

It was then, that the Lord brought to my mind the passage in Romans 8:37-39 (NKJV):

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

This all took on a special significance to me, as I sat there listening to “Silent Night”, after spending almost two days, and one sweltering night, without power, or internet service, in the dark, and with no way to access internet via phones, as we have just switched to flip phones for now to cut corners. Though it was just an electronic tune, I knew the words, and found myself singing along with it, and being filled and surrounded by the peace of God, in a way I had much needed.

So, there you have it, God’s immediate answer to my prayer, to yours, and all of those who have been affected by this catastrophe, as we pray for one another, and help each other through this. Whether it’s hurricanes, tornadoes, or other storms of this life, even after we have lost electricity, internet services, or even our homes, and even if we have lost everything, nothing, NOTHING, can ever separate us from the power of an almighty God who loves us and will never leave us, nor forsake us. Indeed, the God of Abraham, Jacob, and Isaac, the God of Israel, Who parted the Red Sea, and led the Israelites into the Promised Land, and Who sent His Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ to earth to die for our sins, has Himself sent this message of His undying love for us. So, as we all work together to rebuild our lives, may we ever be reminded, that even if we lose everything, and we have nothing left but God, it is then that we will realize, He is all we need.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, which was inspired by a powerful message we recently had brought by one of our newly ordained ministers, that saying is actually on the wall in our laundry room. You can believe I took another long, hard look at it, by flashlight, of course, during the time we were without power, reminded once again, that we will never lose the Power we have available to us through the Heavenly Father Who loved us enough to send His Son to die for us. Thanks to a little angel figurine that played “Silent Night”, one stormy morning in September, even though it was turned “off”, we have been reminded once more of the Love that is stronger than any hurricane. It is a timeless message, lovingly sent by a God who needs no electricity or modern technology to communicate with us, for His power, His love for us, and His amazing grace, are much stronger.