I Refuse to Live From the Sidelines

I can remember, as a child at my piano recital, waiting for my performance to come up on the program. I would sit, supposedly listening to the others, but totally distracted from music being presented. I was waiting for “my time” to come. That’s what I was there for. And when our group went back stage  as “our time” got closer, it would have taken the national guard to keep us from running and playing as we waited. We were waiting for “our time.”

I’m sure that many who played sports would have similar recollections. We were there to do our part. Of course, we pulled for the team, but we wanted our part.

As children we longed to be in the game… but what happened to us? Maybe put-downs or discouragements, maybe setting goals so high only supermen could have accomplished them, but for some reason, as adults we are different. Continue reading “I Refuse to Live From the Sidelines”

Looking For Hidden Treasure

Have you ever been on a treasure hunt? It’s a fun adventure.

One year when our son was in elementary school, we organized a treasure hunt for his birthday party. My husband diligently surveyed our yard, making notes about possible landmarks. Then he created a map, which looked like an antique rendition of a pirate’s map, including the many markers which could lead to the treasure. (A chest full of candy and surprises which would interest boys of his age).

The map took them to the Maple tree and then 25 paces to the right where they would find the rock with a red line on it. Then the directions would lead them to turn right and take 19 paces to find the Rose bush, etc., etc. Finally, of course, the directions would lead them to the place where the treasure was hidden.

It was great fun seeing the boys run and jump around the yard, yelling with glee when they found a benchmark… And when they found the treasure, the effort was worth it!

I had a dream recently which reminded me of this moment, though in some ways it was quite different. I saw a bunch of us entering an old barn which was covered with dust and decay. We went in as a group, knowing that we were on a mission to accomplish something. Continue reading “Looking For Hidden Treasure”

Do People Trust You?

This is a Guest Post from http://theSoar.net.

Have you heard the story about the bicyclist who came to a small town to put on his dare-devil show? There hadn’t been mush excitement around for awhile, so the townspeople were thrilled as they gathered for the exhibition. They gazed toward the sky as the cyclist stretched a wire across the intersection, attaching it to the two tallest buildings in town. Then as he energetically scurried down, he addressed the crowd in his best carnival voice.

“How many of you people think that I can ride my bicycle on this wire across the intersection?”

Yeah’s and yea’s filled the air.

“Who will come and ride on my shoulders?”

Silence. Nobody even moved until one tiny boy came running forward. “I will.”

He was the only one who trusted the man’s word.

This story illustrates the truth about the word Trust. Many people can be cheering you on – in your ministry or your business. But do they really trust you? Continue reading “Do People Trust You?”

Are You Living Your Best Life?

Psalm 139:16

Thine eyes have seen mine unformed substance, And in Thy book they were all written – The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was one of them.

I love that verse! Especially the words “unformed substance.” Think about it. On the inside of each of us there are gifts and talents, even desires, which we haven’t discovered yet.

Why is it “unformed?” It’s only potential; it hasn’t been realized.

Then what about the “days that were ordained?” God has plans for us – great days for us. It’s almost too awesome to comprehend.

I’m sure that when we get to heaven, we are going to be surprised to see what “could have been.” What was God’s plan? What great things had He planned for us to do? Which gifts had we never discovered? Continue reading “Are You Living Your Best Life?”

Are You Living Your Best?

Psalm 139:16

Thine eyes have seen mine unformed substance,                                                                                                                                 And in Thy book they were all written,                                                                                                                                                   The days that were ordained for me,                                                                                                                                                     When as yet there was one of them.

I love that verse! Especially the words “unformed substance.” Think about it. On the inside of each of us there are gifts and talents, even desires, which we haven’t discovered yet.

Why is it “unformed?” It’s only potential; it hasn’t been realized.

Then what about the “days that were ordained?” God has plans for us – great days for us. It’s almost too awesome to comprehend.

I’m sure that when we get to heaven, we are going to be surprised to see what “could have been.” What was God’s plan? What great things had He planned for us to do? Which gifts had we never discovered?

Every time I read that verse I get motivated to “get with His program.” I want to dream God’s dreams and tap into His plans. Only then can I live the life He has ordained.

So how do I do that? I spend time in God’s Word, reading and getting insight into how to live this life. I also spend time in prayer, asking my Creator to direct my steps, reveal to me His desires, and empower me to carry out the walk.

Finding His best is always a process. It cannot and will not happen over night. The successful results are the product of a life lived with Him and for Him. Day by day and step by step.

Life is like a path, and as we walk down that path, walking closely with our God, we will come upon treasure troves which bring us to a new level of understanding and purpose. We will often say, “Oh, that’s why that happened those many years ago. I need that experience now.” And we continue to walk.

My prayer for you today is that you will see yourself as God sees you. You are unique – no one just like you. He knows your disappointments and frustrations, but He also has the answers for everything, if we just trust Him completely. He always wants us to shake off the sorrows, to get up, and to live our lives to the fullest, making every day count.

I pray also that you grow in your love for God and become closer to Him than ever before. May you continually discover your “unformed substance” and tap into your “ordained days.”

 

 

George

I want to tell you about George. He’s my big brother. When we were children, growing up on the coast of south Georgia, I thought he was the greatest person that ever lived. He knew everything, and he could do anything.

George was the one who taught me how to play jackstones and marbles. He taught me how to jump rope and how to play baseball in the street. Sure, he would stick me in the closet and dangle cockroaches in my face, and he would say things like, “Does your face hurt? Well it hurts me to look at it.” But he didn’t mean any harm, he was just having fun. He was my big brother.

Every now and then George would get into trouble because of his playfulness. Like the time he demonstrated his infatuation with Imogene by throwing pine cones at her. Her mother didn’t like that very much. Then there were the times when the teachers would call and say that George was talking and laughing too much in school. He was disturbing the class.

George would often get me to help him play pranks. Santa Clause brought him a movie projector for Christmas. One of the films which came with the projector had a slow motion spot in it. When we were showing the movies to friends, he would get me to say at the right time, “George, show it in slow motion.” The friends thought that the projector was especially advanced. If they asked later to show something in slow motion, he would say, ” That part doesn’t look good in slow motion.”

As the years went by, George remained George. He did well in school, but his playful nature continued. Then there were some surprises.

He surprised me when he came home from school in 9th grade and said that his choral director wanted him to sing a solo in the upcoming concert. I didn’t know that George could sing especially well. He then stood up at the end of the dinner table, and sang “Ole Man River,” astonishing all of us. He had a beautiful voice!

Another surprise came when the senior-in-high-school George came home one night, his eyes shining from tears, to announce that God had called him to preach. We had been attending some revival meetings, and he had felt God speaking to him. He then had taken it upon himself to visit the evangelist at his motel and solicit his prayers. My parents, my younger sister, Ruthie, and I all surrounded George, hugging him and congratulating him. All of us cried, because this was a big moment.

Soon after, George was accepted at Emory University, and received a ministerial scholarship. Before he left for school, our pastor asked George to preach one night at church. His sermon was very short, but profound. He preached on “mountain-moving faith,” from Mark 11:23-24. This was years before we had heard of Kenneth Hagin. I never had heard a sermon quite like that; he was truly full of faith.

Back in those days, we didn’t know about spiritual warfare. We just took what came our way, and trusted in God, so we were blind-sided by what happened to George at Emory. George’s behavior became very erratic. He decided that he wasn’t called after all, and started seeking other careers. First he decided that he was going to be a geologist, then an attorney and enter politics. (He even had some friends who were going to back him). He finally left Emory altogether.

George seemed to stabilize the next year at a junior college, and then he entered Georgia Tech. My brother was 24 years old, and studying aeronautical engineering at Tech, when tragedy struck. He started having blind spots in his eyes and lack of muscle control. The diagnosis came of a debilitating disease, and within 6 months, George could no longer walk. He had the best doctors from Emory University, but little could be done for him. The next 13 years he spent with my parents, his health continually degrading until he died at the age of 37.

I’m not one for sob stories, and I have never written about this. In fact, I’ve seldom even talked about it. But I think that there are some things I needed to share.

Do I think that God’s will was for George to be sick? Absolutely not! But even when God’s perfect will is not being done, He brings good out of the sorrow.

First, my parents throughout those 13 years showed incredibly unwavering devotion to their son. Their home was not one of gloom, but of laughter and joy. But they sacrificed totally for George’s welfare during that time. I have heard many people since say that the demonstration of Christian love shown by my parents caused them to turn to Jesus. They too wanted that kind of character, which could only come from Christian love.

Secondly, God’s work will go on with or without individuals. Two years after George died, I came to the Lord in a new and powerful way, receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit and a new understanding of God’s work on the earth. A few years later, God called my husband and me into the ministry. This may sound strange to some, but I truly believe that God passed the torch of George’s call to us. There was a work to be done, and He wants us to fulfill it.

Thirdly, the soul-searching (and truth-searching) I did after George’s death, made me more determined than ever to take all the wraps off of the Gospel and press toward the greatest manifestation possible of God’s love and power in the earth. So many times when someone encounters a disappointment in their personal life, they are tempted to build a doctrine around it. (i.e.George didn’t get healed, so healing isn’t for today). But I am determined not to go that route.

I know where George is. He is in Heaven, in that cloud of witnesses spoken of in Hebrews 12:1. And if he could talk to me today, he would say, “Go for it! Run that race!” I am determined not to let my life on earth be stopped in its tracks by hurts of the past. I have my own race to run, and I intend to do it.

After all, our time on earth is like a point at the beginning of a ray which extends forever. (You know, “to infinity and beyond”). The time here is short, and I want to make the most of it. I will see George again, along with my parents. (I hope there aren’t any cockroaches in Heaven). In the meantime, I will run the race set before me.

Maybe you have had some disappointments. If so, I want to encourage you not to let that stop you from the life God intends for you. Our God is a remarkable God. He can and will heal every hurt in a way that seems impossible, and He will let you learn some lessons even from the pain. Those lessons will allow you to take the reality of His love to others in a way that you never thought you could.

I’m striving for the higher call of Christ. How about you?

Thankful For People Of Valor

A few years ago, I watched an interview with Colonel Ted Martin of the 4th Infantry Division. His soldiers had been waiting for weeks off the coast of Turkey while war raged in Iraq. They were waiting for permission from the Turkish government to enter through their land.

“Are your troops ready?” Geraldo Rivera asked. “Or did they get rusty on the ships?”

“No sir. We used the time to train.”

“Are your tanks ready for the desert?”

“Yes sir. We spent a month in the desert. We traveled five hundred miles in the sand to prepare ourselves for what we would face. We are the best trained, the best equipped, and most disciplined fighting force in the world.”

The last decade or so has really made me proud – and appreciative of the soldiers who trained, disciplined themselves, and performed so valiantly in service of our country.

But there are other men and women who make me proud. They are the warriors who stand for God – for the right thing, no matter what.  They have shown that they are warriors by remaining true to:

  • Their identity as a Christian – even when it’s not the popular thing to do.
  • Their personal integrity. They are determined to stay true to their principles
  • Their family.
  • Endurance through pain. Nothing will stop these brave people.
  • Their friends.
  • Their strong faith. They know their God and they know He will continue to be with them.

I am so thankful for these people. They are true warriors for God, and for His purposes.

Are you one of them? May you continue to know God’s greatest blessings!

 

I Want To Take The High Road

William Booth grew up in Nottingham, England during the mid 1800″s. Born to a family that had lots of wealth, he knew what it was like to have all the material things he desired. However, when William was 13 years of age, his father lost the family business and they were suddenly broke.

Not having any money for his education, the lad went to work as an apprentice to a pawnbroker in a “seedy” section of London. That is where he gained a desire to help the “poorest of the poor.” In 1852, William left the business to become a minister.

After several years of preaching, he joined a group of ministers who preached from a tent. Then, as his ministry grew, he started an organization: The Salvation Army. Whereas many ministers wanted to preach to the rich, Booth wanted to preach to the poor. His crowd consisted of the worst of society – prostitutes, gamblers, drunkards, and thieves.

There was much opposition to this ministry. Many religious people were offended that he was helping the “rough” people in the name of Christ. In fact, he was often attacked physically by those who were offended, many times suffering wounds inflicted by them. He had many opportunities to stop his work, but an inner strength drove him to continue. To those offended, he returned only kindness.

Just a few months before his death in 1883, William Booth made his last speech.

While women weep as they do now, I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl on the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight – I’ll fight to the very end.

And he did. William Booth lived a life of the High Road Principle. He lived his life following the inner voice of God, and no one could stop him. When he received evil treatment, he returned kindness. Although he had a crowd of hasslers who followed him everywhere he went, he never fought the people. He went about his business doing what God had called him to do, and he continued to help the “worst of the worst.”

Now his organization is a world-wide ministry, and very well-known for its generosity in times of need. When Booth died, he had no idea that he was launching such a huge plan, but he knew that he was following the call of God for the people of his day. And he never gave up.

When I encounter such dedication, such kindness, such determination, I am humbled and inspired, aren’t you? We can look around us today and see so many people who need us. They need Jesus, and they need us to help them make the transition. Sometimes the people may be victims of hurricanes or other natural disasters. Other times they are victims of their own evil habits. But either way, they need Him and they need us.

Just thinking about this makes me want to do more.

A Voice Of Thanksgiving

Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, All ye lands

Serve the Lord with gladness! Come before His presence with singing!

Know (perceive, recognize, and understand with approval) that the Lord is God. It is he who has made us, and not we ourselves (and we are His)!

We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise.

Be thankful and say to Him, bless affectionately praise His name.

For the Lord is good; His mercy and loving-kindness are everlasting,

His faithfulness and truth endure to all generations.

 It is amazing what a thankful heart does for us.

This is a time when we look around and see so much pain. Personally all of us have issues with which we are dealing. Money issues, family issues, health issues, and issues concerning the state of the world.

But in the midst of the trouble, we can look to our God for help, refuge, and strength. He is our deliverer, our healer, and our provider.

As we begin to praise Him, we are reminded of all of these things. He makes a table for us in the presence of our enemies. He anoints our head with oil.

The joy, which is our strength, bubbles up within us. Our faith rises up and we begin to see the way out. God’s plan is coming forth.

I am so thankful today to our God and His faithfulness to us. He is the greatest!

The Message Of The Dawn

We woke up early today. Mickey has a men’s breakfast meeting in a nearby town, then church, and finally he will be speaking at an area Thanksgiving service. Whew! Busy day.

As I brewed my cup of coffee, I glanced out of the kitchen window, and was awed by what I saw. It was the same view I had admired often, but this time it was different. This time it seemed to speak to me.

I love sunrises – even more than sunsets. It’s, of course, the beauty of the swath of color, but it’s more than that. It’s announcing something – a new day. A new chance. A new breath. New. New. New. I love the message.

Maybe it’s because I never live up to my own expectations, but I’ve always loved new beginnings. Yesterday is gone, and you get to get up and go again. You don’t know exactly what the day will bring, the people you may meet, the opportunities and challenges you will face, but you are ready to “do it again.”

It’s as if God planned our lives in segments – segments we could handle. He wants us to value each segment and live it wisely. That’s all we get, really. One day at a time. Whether we are doing big things or little, we do them one day at a time. When we master that concept, we master many others.

Today is important. Today is someone’s birthday and another’s funeral. Today people will come to know Jesus. Today people will get engaged or married. Today new babies will come into the earth.

Today is also the day we need to diet, if we are going to. Or exercise, if we are going to. Or read the Bible and pray, if we are going to. Or forgive that person, if we are going to. Or stop drinking, if we are going to. Today is important.

When we “get this” concept, our lives change. It’s so easy to think that tomorrow we will accomplish what we dream about, but today doesn’t matter. But it does. That’s all we have – one day at a time.

As I look at the beauty of the dawn, something else comes to mind. Lamentations says that God’s love is “new every morning.” God’s faithfulness to us is symbolized in the fact that He never misses giving us a new day – not until the time we go to our next life. One more chance – and I’m going to take it.

Oops, I’d better get going. I need to face the day.

Psalm 90:12  So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.