Friday’s Question

Must we face our past to move Joyfully into the future?

In my experience anyway, the answer to this question is YES!  I’ve had to face, accept and move past it before I could move forward with JOY!  And I’ve had to do this many times with many different situations.  But I wouldn’t have been able to do that without my Jesus!

“Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge” (Psalm 51:4)

“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12)

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past” (Isaiah 43:18)

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10)

“Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good” (Psalm 25:7).

As Paul is stating in Philippians 3 (click to read full chapter), putting no confidence in our own flesh but putting all our confidence in Christ. Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.  And then follow His example and don’t forget about the other people who don’t know Him yet.

Because……..

Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—

 

Job 17:9 The righteous keep moving forward, and those with clean hands become stronger and stronger.

Proverbs 4:18 The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.

Romans 8:28 We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Psalm 33:18 But the LORD watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love.

Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and show you the way to go; with My eye on you, I will give counsel.

Proverbs 24:14 In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short.

Isaiah 58:11 The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.

Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.

Proverbs 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

And we will have……….

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things.

2 Timothy 4:6-9 My life is coming to an end, and it is now time for me to be poured out as a sacrifice to God. I have fought the good fight. I have completed the race. I have kept the faith. The prize that shows I have God’s approval is now waiting for me. The Lord, who is a fair judge, will give me that prize on that day. He will give it not only to me but also to everyone who is eagerly waiting for him to come again.

So I pray for me and I pray for you, that we will face the past, accept it but NOT be buried in it.  That we will move forward JOYFULLY!  Amen!

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Click on the link to find out about even more reasons to be JOYFUL………BibleGateway.com-Logo

 

Come and Follow Me

I’ve had this fountain for years and have enjoyed looking at it, watching it and listening to it.  But I’ve never been quiet satisfied with it.  It sat crooked, the way I had the water coming out of the pump didn’t give me the effect that I wanted but I wasn’t ready to make the change.   Till now!  There were several different reasons I needed to disassemble the fountain and start from fresh.  So I started thinking about the things I needed to fix.  First I had to patch the pin holes that had rusted in the metal after sitting in the same place for a lot of years.  Then I had to clean it after years of build up and patch the holes. But the main, the most important thing that I needed to do was figure out a way to bring more water through the fountain and change the flow so that it gave a more natural feel to the pump.  Basically multiply the amount of water pushed through the pump and out the spout.  I did that with a couple of different techniques.  Now I’m satisfied!

And it got me to thinking about a sermon I heard.  When Jesus came to the young men in the sea he said in Matthew 4:18-20 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”  At once they left their nets and followed him.

What is it that Jesus was wanting them to do?  Fishers of People, what does that mean? You would have to know Jesus to know this.  He came to seek and save the lost  Luke 19:10 but he knew that he was going to be killed so he had to have others that would carry out that mission.  So that’s what he did, John 17:4

Jesus has appointed me and you to continue carrying out HIS purpose.

CHURCH EXISTS

So back to the pump, I needed to move more water through the pump.  I had to clean it and increase the size of hose then I added a piece at the mouth of the hose for the water to flow through.  And I was satisfied. And I wonder, am I satisfied where I am in carrying out Jesus’ mission?   Am I multiplying or being a fisher of people.  In the story where Jesus asked the men to come and follow him, it says that they AT ONCE left their nets and followed Him.  Is Jesus satisfied with me?

So I ponder these questions……….

  1. What do I need to drop to be able to follow Him?
  2. Am I available?
  3. Am I faithful and obedient?

And Most Importantly………….

4. Do I care about the lost?

And now I ask you the same.

Lord, I praise you and live in wonderment of all You have cared for me.  A once lost! I thank you with every fiber of my being and know that without you I would be nothing.  I ask you to walk with me and teach me how to follow you.  Make be brave to reach out to others who have not made that choice yet, reach out to those that are satisfied with not moving and multiplying, reach out to those who need support and encouragement and love as you have loved.  I ask this boldly and trust that you are here with me.  Amen!

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He leaves the leaves on

Amy Gilbert:  My friend Amy!  We have a story of our friendship all of it’s own.  Good times, bad times, emotional times, sweet times and supportive times.  But they were all lead by our God and He is the master of relationships.  I’ve been blessed to have her in my life.   I’ve seen her when she felt “on top of the world” and I’ve seen here when she felt like “she was run over by a truck”, very different emotions but she always trusted in the Lord.  She may not have always been able to see clearly his picture for her life but she trusted.

11692776_10205697765456055_2688964592756907457_nI was born in Jackson, Tennessee in March of 1963 to Harold and Jeaneen Lile. My mom and dad both graduated from the University of Tennessee Martin. My mom was the first four year cheerleader and my dad was the first four year football player. They were the “Barn Warming” King and Queen. I have one sister and two brothers. We moved from Tennessee to Raleigh, North Carolina in 1971 when I was in 2nd grade. I remember it being a little hard getting used to a new place and new friends.  We were excited to be a part of our new church in Raleigh. I loved to sing, had wonderful Sunday school teachers, and had examples of people who loved God. My dad was one of the song leaders. I still love to hear him sing. (He’s 83 and doing well). We had a very active campus ministry at North Carolina State University and my mom made many meals for the college students. We usually were feeding several every Sunday after church.532799_10155306472736454_6969345458015249525_n

At a pretty young age, I faced several deaths in my life. My grandfather died when I was five. Shortly after we moved to North Carolina, my Uncle, who was only 8 years older than me, committed suicide. My parents were open with us about it, for which I am thankful. In second grade, my best friend from church died after being hit by a car. I know that experiencing these losses at such a young age led me to be closer to God. At the age of 11, I became a Christian. I loved God and loved His word. I understood simply His love for me, my need for Him.

We had a close youth group at church. We had Bible studies that we invited friends to. My junior year, a friend named Tracy came with me. We studied the Bible together and she became a Christian. At that time in North Carolina, 16 year olds could drive school busses. Two weeks after she had become a Christian, she was in an accident with a school bus that ran a red light and died. At that time I had written my prayers. I had prayed over and over that she would be urgent. I see the Holy Spirit’s leading in our prayers. She was seventeen years old. Why would I pray for urgency? It was a reflective and amazing time for me in my relationship with God.

My senior year of High School I was able to be in a program where I went to High School in the morning and went to NCSU in the afternoon. I was ready to be done with High School and been accepted at UNC-G. That year I met a new friend, Virginia. She was from Tennessee and her older sister was going to college in Raleigh. She was a year ahead of me in school. Her senior year in High School she had been diagnosed with lymphoma. She was having treatments at NIH in Bethesda Maryland, but living in Raleigh between treatments. I met her and her family at church. We became very close. Her parents would fly me to Maryland to be with her during her treatments. I would stay in the hospital room with her. We’d stay up late, watch movies, eat “fun” snacks….trying to forget we were in the hospital. She loved God and relied on Him. What an amazing time, witnessing someone depending on God through something so difficult. Virginia was in and out of treatment for about 8 years. Virginia and her mom shared Jesus with the nurses and the doctors. Several became Christians.

I went away to college in the fall of 1981 to Greensboro. I was a clothing and textiles major in the home economics department. We had a close college group from church. We had Friday night devotionals that were so meaningful. We had a “fellowship hall” that was so wonderful to sing in.  I met my now ex-husband in the college group at church. He joined the Navy in the spring of 1983 and we were married in December 0f 1983. We lived in Florida, New York and South Carolina. In each place, there was a body of believers that were my family. In Florida we lived in an apartment across the street from the church. The church secretary, Imogene, took us in. When we moved to New York, I remember some people telling me (a southerner) that I might not survive the winter. Clyde and Lois from church told me I’d be fine. They took us in and had us over often. She taught me how to bake bread and always had time to talk.

In December of 1986, I was a “very pregnant” matron of honor in my friend, Virginia’s wedding. She had met Dan, they had dated, and gotten engaged. She then relapsed with her cancer. They decided to go ahead and have the wedding before she started chemo. She was a beautiful bride, wearing her mother’s gown. After her wedding, I went into preterm labor and was on bedrest until my first son, Ernie, was born in January of 1987. He’s 30 now.

Virginia had a bone marrow transplant in the fall of 1987. She died in January of 1988. Her funeral and the celebration of her life is something I will always remember!!

I had my second son, Nick, in October of 1988 after several month of bedrest and medication due to preterm labor. He was six weeks early and in the neonatal intensive care at the Medical University of SC. It was such a hard time. So many questions. There was a lot of fear. There were many prayers. The church there was so supportive. Another navy wife from church took care of Ernie everyday while we were at the hospital. Nick is 28 now, strong and healthy. We got out of the Navy in 1989 and moved back to New York. I had my third son, Luke, in March of 1990 after three months of bedrest due to preterm labor. Again, without the church, we could not have made it. Everyday someone from church would come and take care of Ernie and Nick, so I could rest.  The church where we attended were such an example of loving and caring for everyone. They loved God and in that love served others.

We moved back to North Carolina in 1997 to be near family. It was great to be with old friends and meet new ones. I met Rhonda and her family in a small family group at church. Our boys met then and are still friends. I can’t believe I have been back in Greensboro for twenty years! In those years, I have grown deeper and deeper in my love and need for God. Through divorce, the death of my mom and many others struggles, I have seen God’s guidance and provision in so many ways. He has provided such healing in my life. Through difficulties, He has taught me that He is my stronghold. He has also encouraged me with this verse: “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:4. I have been able work with a support group for women during the past 9 years and have seen God’s healing and His amazing comfort. He has brought many people into my life that have encouraged me and challenged me in my walk as a follower of Christ.

This has been a challenge to write. I feel like I have meandered through my story. It is hard to reflect and look back, but as I do, I am so thankful for this journey I have had with Him. One more thought…

Over the past few years, I started hiking. One of my favorite places to hike is Hanging Rock in Danbury, NC. It’s not too long of hike, about 2.6 miles to the top and back. It gets pretty steep at the end. I had hiked it several time during the spring and summer. It is worth the climb to get to the great view at the top. One year I hiked it in November. It seemed so different. I could not figure out why. I could see the top; it seemed so far and so high. I knew I had done it before many times, but it seemed out of reach. I finally figured it out. There were no leaves on the trees. I could see just how far I had to go and it seemed too far. I’ve learned that God leaves the leaves on. In my life, if I could have looked ahead, and seen all that was ahead, it would have been too far, too hard. I am thankful He leaves the leaves on. Today, I walk with Him. He is faithful. He is the same, always there. He goes before me, He goes behind.

Lord, thank you for putting her in my life. It’s not always been easy but you knew what you were doing.  Please wrap your loving arms tightly around her and keep her strong. Amen.

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Jump

Jesus asked me to JUMP!

I have learned when the same subject keeps coming up over and over then Jesus is trying to tell me something.

I just watched a famous tv/movie personality give a talk on “Jump” and then just a few days after that I received a notification that a pre-order audio book that I ordered a month ago was now available.  I was in amazement when the subject matter of the 1st chapter was on “Jump” .  Yep, Jesus is asking me to “Jump” again!

And I want to say, “Lord, I’m old and too tired.  Isn’t it time for me to rest?” Though I find myself wondering in anticipation of what door he was going to ask me to JUMP through.

You know they say hind sight is 20/20, so I started thinking back of all the times that he has asked me to jump.  Did I know that is what he was asking? No, but I believe the Holy Spirit was intervening for my ignorance. Still yet, I would jump!

My first jump was into his arms through baptism. What a true blessing.  This was a jump of Hope! Although I didn’t really understand what I was doing and regretfully it has taken me over 35 years to remotely understand.  The confusion and heart ache of my younger years and then moving right into a marriage to my prince charming, yes a Christian man, catapulted me into a long life of learning to love my Lord.

Then there was a long period of silence or at least I wasn’t listening, I was simply gliding through my spiritual walk.  I was gliding on the shirt tail of an image and family that I had put on a godly pedestal.

Then, a big jump!  The jump of trusting and leaning on Him through the ending of a 10 year marriage.  I was no longer going to have that marriage/family to steer me in my spiritual walk.  But I also was no longer going to be limited to what they thought a relationship with Jesus looked like, it was going to only be up to me now.

Then I jumped before I was lead.  Into a new marriage so quick after the heart ache of another.  Not asking for guidance just making my own deliverance.  And I was delivered into a new marriage to a man who, although loved me dearly, had a very different thought process than I did.  When I say hard 14 years, I mean HARD!  I told HIM I was done but if HE wanted this HE would have to fix it.  And HE asked me to jump again! Jump into a path of trust, dependence and silence.  Trust for HIM to be my voice and my strength.  I Jumped!  And HE fixed it.

During those 14 years of hard times, tragedy struck and sickness of a child hit and hit hard.   It also was a time of fear for the loss of another son to the ugly world. Another season to jump.  Jump into a faith that makes no sense but carries you through without question.   The knowledge that if I have faith, HE will come through.  So I jumped!

As I jumped in my faith, I was also asked to jump into leadership.  This was a role in my christian walk that HE had never asked me to jump through.  But it was a role that taught me so much about loving people where they are.  About working together through differences and glorifying God through it all.  This was a jump in obedience of being a servant.

When my husband and I got married, my children and I had moved 14 times over the prior 11 years and all I wanted was to be settled and have a home.  Which we did for 20 years but then life, security and home was changing.  HE was asking me to jump yet again. This was a jump of surrendering all!  Move from my family, my children/grandchildren, my friends and my church of 25 years.  This jump was frightening!  But I did it. So starting a new home, new state, new job, new church and new friends!  Almost too much new for 1 person!  But when the bottom seemed to be getting too close, Jesus would catch me because he had a plan.  And because I was willing to Jump HE was going to make it perfect.  And I’m beginning to see His plan now.

This has been over a period of 37 years and I would have thought my “jumping” years were behind me.  But no!  Jesus never stops asking us to “JUMP”!  With each and every jump there is growth.  Growth that gets me just a little bit closer to HIM.  Growth that shows me how much HE loves me and who HE made me to be.  Growth is hard but jumping is Good!

So I say………….

Isaiah 6:8 “Here I am send me”

Isaiah 6 – Full chapter click here

So what now?  And am I willing to do it without fear!

Lord help me be willing to JUMP everyday for You! Amen!

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Friday’ s Question

If you were to draw a picture or write out words that describe God, what would it be?God1

A.W. Tozer once stated that, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us”.  He explains that in order to begin thinking about who we are called to be as a Christ follower, it is first important to think about who God is. ref: Identity:Book 1 of the 4 Chair Discipling study.

So Try it, see what it says about who you are.  How you relate. And how you love. 

 

Look em up!    BibleGateway.com-Logo Click here

Numbers 23:19

1 John 4:8-10

Exodus 34:6-7

Isaiah 6:3

Psalms 23

Meditate on who God is to find out who you are!

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God is Not a Buffet

I heard it said the other day that, “God is not a buffet.”.  And that made me think, “Do I take Him for granted, knowing that He is readily available in multitude? Where I can get exactly what I need from Him and leave off anything that I don’t.”  Where I can pick and choose what verses that I want to hang on to and choose which ones I would rather forget.   Like the buffet in the picture, all that lovely food!  I could fill myself to the brim with all the things I love and leave off those not so appealing prunes.

In reality there is only 1 thing in that picture of the buffet that I need.  There is only 1 things that will satisfy my every need.  There is only one thing that I know would sustain me.  Can you see it?  I challenge you to not treat God as a buffet in your life.  Just as I challenge myself.  To not pick and choose those things that He gives to me in multitude but to take graciously everything He has to give.  To be grateful for all that He is and all that He has made me.

Ephesians 1:3 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

Hebrews 10:23 

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

I am grateful! I pray Lord that I will share Your goodness with others. Amen!

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Friday’s Question

Do you think your worthy of being forgiven, redeemed and in eternity with God?

I’ve was faced with 2 different situations yesterday where this possibility was forgotten or either never learned.  And I wonder, why?  Why are their people out there spending their life in shame about decisions they made years before?  Afraid of opening up and reaching out.  Afraid of being honest or real with others.  Putting on airs on the surface and withering on the inside.   One case ended the life of a person who found themselves in a situation and so burdened by it that they took their own life, at the expense of a whole lot of people that would have loved them through it.  Another case of one that is continuing to live a life in the shadows of dishonesty, feeling burdened and shameful but pride is overcoming them, at the expense of relationships with others that would love them regardless.  Why is this?  When there is Christ who died on the cross and is simply wanting us to ask Him to join us in our lives.  He will always forgive and redeem us if we walk our life with Him.  But we have to be open, honest and willing to be vulnerable in in our walk, ridding ourselves of ourselves and allowing Him to take over.

9e6a9115e9647c0f93dac24855e2dd6bIt reminds me of the Woman at the Well.  Where Jesus meet a Samaritan there who in the worlds view wasn’t worthy of pretty much anything.  She had led a wild life and made lots of bad decisions, yet Jesus saw her.

John 4:1-26 – Full Story click here

It pains me that people live lives full of shame, guilt and feel there is no where to go.  If they only knew.  Am I expected to tell them?

Lord, please help me be brave and will to share your love with others.  Letting them know that they are never hopeless and without someone that loves them.  You are the most precious gift that we have ever received.  Amen!

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Justifier

Sometimes I just want to scream the injustice from the mountain tops!

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Psalm 37:4-6

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.

Psalm 9:10

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

Psalm 112:7

He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.

Romans 12:19

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

Isaiah 43:2

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

But that is not my job, it’s God’s!

Have you ever been unjustly accused of something?  Have you ever had harm done to you and carried shame around?  Have you ever been the topic of a gossip chain? Have you ever been in need and your needs were totally overlooked? Have you ever played a part of doing these things to someone else?  Have you ever?

I can tell you my answer to these questions would be YES.   Whether the unjust was done to me or to someone else, I am learning that it’s not my place to be the justifier. My only part is to try my hardest not to be unjust to others and to run to God when the unjust is towards me.  Shouting it from the mountain tops only shows that my faith in God is weak, not trusting that He alone is my justifier.

Lord, help me not be consumed when I am treated unjustly and help me be aware of my every action so that I will not treat others unjust.  I want to walk this earth in the way that You set the example.  Open my eyes, open my heart and hold me through it.  Amen!

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Friday’s Question

How do you rid yourself of a heavy heart?

In my experience it’s by depending on God not others, forgiving those who have harmed you and asking for forgiveness from those you have harmed.

Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Luke 6:37“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,
Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
Philippians 2:4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

To do this we must admit “all” to ourselves, leaving nothing out.  Start looking to others and encourage them and this will take our eyes off ourselves.  Forgiving others is not for them it’s for us.  

You will be amazed at how God’s promises will start flowing in.

Lord you know my heart right now!  You know what heaviness is hanging on for dear life.  You know, and only you know, what it’s going to take to rid myself of the heaviness.  I pray Lord that my every thought will be focused on  you and that you will guide my every step.  My one and only Savior! Amen!

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