Changing the Path

 

The Final Summit

In the last couple of days, I have read the book called; The Final Summit by Andy Andrews. Andy Andrews has become one of my favorite authors. He is spot-on in this book when the question that is posed at this summit is; “What should humanity do, individually and collectively, in order to restore itself to the pathway toward successful civilization?  It is through this question and in reading this book God opened my eyes to the many things that have happened in our world/society to have gotten to where we are today. And, that place is not a very good place.

crying

In the last week, I have seen attempts to re-write and remove history and many of these things this country was founded on. I have seen people attempt to re-write the TRUTH  to justify why they do what they do. If you are on any type of social media, you have seen mud-slinging from both sides of any controversial issue that is in the news. It seems we get off one roller coaster ride over an issue and we are soon back on over another issue. It is becoming where the offended are being offended. Sad and scary.

my way or God's way

 

In The Final Summit, the main character, David is being summons by Gabriel to attend  and lead this summit that will consist of former great leaders of the world to figure how to turn things around and put the world back on the right path. However, Gabriel shares that the answer to the question is two words. It is up to those at this summit to figure what the two words are that will turn humanity around.

new path

The archangel, Gabriel points out that God does not need or will send a flood to wipe out humanity that ‘humanity is sinking of its own accord.’ (The Final Summit page 35).  Gabriel points out how man has turned from what is really true and have begun to re-write the rules and created a new truth.

Gabriel goes on to say;

“What I mean is this time, quite simply, you are providing your own flood. Certainly you are aware that some so-called progress you have pursued now enables you to destroy life on this planet in several different ways, many times over, and with varying choices of speed. You don’t need Him to make it rain.”

“(The Final Summit page 36)

In other words, the last time the world was destroyed God sent a flood. He was in control of the rain. God told Noah to build an ark and who/ what would be on the ark. God planned how many days and nights it would rain. However, this time around, man is creating his own flood by re-writing the rules, believing in lies, and adjusting the truth to accommodate the desires of the heart.

Lost and Confused Signpost

As this summit progresses with much discussion and “thinking” they have the right answer to find out that the answers they are coming up with are good but not the right one.  The members of this counsel discuss how wisdom, courage, hope, character building and self-discipline would help in turning humanity back on the right course. Yet, these thoughts were not the answer that Gabriel was looking for.  After the last try and feeling deflated, one of the counsel members stands up and says; “it is never too late.”  “There is still time.”   (pg. 197)

hour glass

I love the last two sentences. These two sentences spoke hope to me. As dismal as things seem to be today with the way things are happening, we still have hope. We still have time.  What we must do is share the hope that we have through Jesus Christ. We have a choice to either sit around on Facebook and try to shove each other’s views down the throats we disagree with in order to get our point across or we can step up, be bold and do something to turn the path around.  And, in the midst of being bold in turning the path around, be sure to seek God and his blessings. As we know, “all things work out for the good and for the glory of God.” (Romans 8:28)

seek God

I won’t give away the ending of the book but I will pose these questions to my reading audience:

What are you doing to make a positive difference?  

What can you do to help turn a hurting world’s eyes to the cross of Jesus Christ?

What can you do show a world of hurt the real truth and the hope we all have when the sands of time do run out?

My challenge for all of us is to use what we have and what we know in a good way that leads everyone to the path of TRUTH and righteousness.

Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make

the most of every opportunity. Let  your conversation 

be gracious and attractive so that will have the right response L

for everyone.

Colossians 4:5-6

Take time to watch the video below:

 

Freedom

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, 2006.

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Tired, weary and heart-broken and with a lot on my mind before going to bed one evening, I said a prayer to God asking Him to get me through all that was before me. There were things that had happened in recent days that even I was questioning God and asking Him a lot of why questions.  I continued to mumble and talk to God as I drifted off to sleep.

During the night, I heard a hymn being sung. This song being sung was so audible that I would have thought Jim was singing right in my ear but it was not him singing nor was this beautiful serenade outside my head. This song was being sung inside my head. It was the most beautiful sounding voice I have ever heard to the point I simply cannot describe this voice singing to me. I don’t even remember dreaming anything before hearing…

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Smile! It’s Just Another Day In Paradise!

April:

Originally posted July 2011

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

“Living by faith is not easy, but it is essential. It is the only weapon for adversity that cannot fail.” Dorothy Kelley Patterson

One of Jim’s and my favorite country songs is Phil Vassar‘s Just Another Day in Paradise.’ In this song, Phil talks about all the things that go wrong at home but to just smile, laugh, love one another and keep moving forward. This summer has been ‘another day in paradise’ for the Hawkins’ home. Our summer began with saying good-bye to a loved one, then a couple of trips out-of-town as we shared with my dad closing one chapter in his life to begin a new one. Dad retired from 47 years of ministry. Along with saying good-bye to a friend, retirement events, Jim and I are also planning our son’s wedding that will take place in a few weeks out-of-town.

In the midst of all…

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Let’s Talk

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

In my previous post, Hide and Seek I share how God is seeking us most when we have sinned. He longs for our return to being in relationship with him. Once we quit hiding from God and accept his love and grace, the journey does not stop there. God not only wants us to come to him asking for forgiveness when we have done wrong but he wants a daily relationship with us.

As we know, to be in a healthy relationship with anyone, communication is the key. It requires daily conversation expressing with the other person expressing what is on our heart and mind. Being in relationship with God is no different. He wants to be in constant communication with us.

Prayer is the key to our relationship with God. It is through prayer where we come to the Father seeking his will, pouring our hearts out to him…

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Let’s Dance!

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

Rhythm, a sequence in time repeated, featured ... Image via Wikipedia

Have you ever seen someone so happy to be in the Lord’s presence that they not only lift their voice in song, their hands in praise, and, yes, even dance. I have seen this take place on occasions when in a worship experience. Nothing delights my heart more than to see someone dance. It is such an expression of openness of their love for God and what He is doing in their life.

For those who know me from my high school and college days, know I love to dance.  This past summer, our family had two occasions where dancing was part of a celebration. These two occasions were wedding receptions. One was at my son’s wedding and the other was at my niece’s wedding celebration.

Mother/Son dance at my son’s wedding…Drew is much taller than me so he had me put my feet on his while…

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ATTITUDE CHECK!!

April:

How’s your attitude?

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

AttitudeCheck-large

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which

being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds, and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Ephesians 4: 22-24

How many of you remember going to church camp, conferences, or even worship services and a leader would shout out; “ATTITUDE CHECK!”? The response from the participating group would be; “PRAISE THE LORD!”.  In other words, it was a barometer of how the group was feeling and an encouragement for everyone involved to have a good time, to take part and be in fellowship with God.

attitude

Our attitude affects our every day living. If we look at life or what we are doing with doom and gloom, it is going to be just that….doom and…

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Restoration

He who is seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Revelation 21:5 (NIV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old is gone and the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

restoring

One thing Jim and I like to do is go out and about and find pieces of furniture or other items that we can re-purpose or restore. I have several items in my home that we have stumbled on while on such excursions that Jim has taken time to restore.  The end result is we have pieces that aren’t perfect. Some of these pieces have markings that with all the sanding and rubbing one could do they will not come out. Jim and I call these markings/scratches character marks which only add to the beauty of the piece we have restored. Along with the character marks, we also have a new conversation piece in our home.

restored

Not long ago, I was singing with our local hospital choir at a memorial service being held at our hospital for employees that have passed away within the past year.  After the service was concluded, I was speaking with our choir director regarding all that I had gone through last year and how God led me to healing waters.  “My soul/spirit has been restored” is what I told our director. Her response to me was not only “God is good” but she told me that this year is the year for restoration.  The word restoration has echoed in my mind since that morning I sung with the hospital choir.

Bible with heart

Since that moment of hearing that it is the year for restoration, I have begun hearing stories of healing and lives being restored. The healings have not just been physical healings but emotional and spiritual healings. There are people I have prayed for over time that have turned back to God and allowed to be their source of strength and hope.

power of prayer

Of recent, Jim and I had heard the most beautiful story of restoration. About a week ago we were on our way to the beach. Before getting to our destination, we decided we needed to stop at a Kmart for some snacks and other last-minute supplies. As we approached the check out lane with our items, I noticed that the clerks hands were shaking. I thought to myself; “I wonder what kind of disability does she have “ but the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear that it was not a disability.

Within me, God spoke and told me that she had overcome some sort of addiction but what kind I did not know until it was our turn to check out.  As she began to check us out, this clerk  asked where we were from and where we were going. We told her and then she began to tell us her story. She had lived in the area we were in at that moment for nine years. Jim asked her what brought her to where she was now. Her response was; “the law.”

bowing before God

This clerk had lived on the coast and had been an alcoholic  which led her to be homeless and getting into trouble with the law. She was brought to the town where she currently resides and admitted into a rehab unit.  Through this rehab program she began to find peace with God. This girl explained where she had been and how through the twelve-step program she learned that God was the source of her strength. She explained how she had tried to find strength in a bottle and got nowhere. The clerk went on to say that she is thankful to God everyday for all that he gives her and for bringing to where she is now. Now, not only is she nine years clean but she has a steady job, a place to live and is a sponsor to three women through AA.

Beauty from ashes

 

She went on to share with us that the first thing she tells the ones she sponsors is that you need to surrender all to God and allow him to be the source of your strength.  As Jim and I began to gather our bags, the clerk apologized if she took too much of our time by sharing her story. Jim’s response was; “you didn’t take any time away from us at all.  He went on to tell her that her story of restoration was beautiful and we would pray for her.”  It was in those few minutes of the check-out lane where Jim and I saw God at work in someone we did not even know.  What a wonderful treasure we were given in those moments and one we will never forget.

Young woman reading bible

If I gathered all those who read my posts together in one room and went around asked; “do you know someone who is in need of restoration?”.  It is without a doubt each person would know of someone who is down in that pit at this moment trying to crawl out and is desperate for hope. These persons have looked to other things besides God for strength and it has gotten them nowhere.

raise hands above

The best thing we can do for those who are lost and feel as there is no hope is to persistently pray for them. By being persistent in prayer, we are  placing the person and situation in God’s hands.  From my own personal experience my prayer consist of asking God to place others in the person’s path that can lead them to healing.

Heart

Not only is prayer the best thing we can do for a person in need of restoration, but having non-judgemental ears and heart is also important. You see, the person in harm’s way already feels bad about themselves and what they are doing.  What we have to do is lead by example. This example is having a  Christ-like attitude when it comes to helping them. After all, Jesus not only healed the physical illnesses/disabilities but he He healed the spiritual as well.  He did it in a non-judgemental fashion with saying as He healed them; tell the Good News and go and sin no more.”

God's timing

Restoration may not come right away and this is where our faith comes into play. The pieces that Jim and I have purchased over the years and that have been restored did not happen over night. Some pieces took days, some took weeks and some are taking years to complete. It is in God’s time where restoration will take place.

When restoration does take place, you will see such inner beauty and joy beam through the eyes of a person that was once hurting. Yes, they will have scars but they are scares of experience. The scars of  experience can be the light of hope in leading others to God’s strength, peace and kingdom.

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When restoration does take place it is important for us again to be non-judgemental but be unconditional in our interactions with them.  We need to give God the glory for the person who has changed their lives for the better.  Just as the father of the prodigal son celebrated his son’s return, we also are to celebrate the person who has chosen to come back and be a part of God’s kingdom.

Ability to change

My prayer today is that if you know of someone who is needing hope and strength that only God can give that you will  start by persistently  praying for them. Then, love on them with a Christ-like heart and show them His grace through your actions toward them.  And, just as the lyrics to the song goes; “don’t give up hope, some people change.  Love finds a way, some people change.”  

Bring It On! You Will Not Win!

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

Satan. He attempts to stop us in our tracks of our faith walk with  God. In recent days, I have experienced Satan trying to challenge me.  On Sunday, Jim and I were scheduled to sing in choir for both 8:30 and 11:00 worship. Since we had to sing at 8:30, we were to be at church by 8:00 to get our robes on, warm up, and rehearse our anthem. On Saturday night, we made sure our alarm clock was set to where we would get up early enough to take care of the dogs, have a relaxed breakfast and still get to church in plenty of  time.  Satan had other plans. On Sunday morning, we got up on time and then things went down hill. Our newest addition to the family, Smokey has been doing a wonderful job with house training. On this particular morning Smokey did take care of…

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Adoption

April:

Originally written and posted September 2012

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

Smokey
Taken right after we picked him up from his Foster Home.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-” Ephesians 1: 1-5

It will be a year this weekend, when Jim and I got up early on a Saturday morning to pick up our new family member, Smokey. Jim and I found Smokey by going to our local Humane Society website that led us to the link of Pet Finders. Then, as we looked through the many faces of looking for homes, Smokey’s cute face caught our hearts. We immediately…

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Pack Lightly

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

A couple of weekends ago Jim and I headed to Georgia for a long weekend. This weekend involved in being at several different venues during the course of the weekend. As always I struggled to discern on what clothes I needed to pack and what really didn’t need to go.  Progressing into the weekend, I realized I didn’t need to take as much as I took.

over packing for a trip.

We have all been there. We are planning a trip and we over pack. We over pack because we are afraid we won’t have the right outfit for a dinner, or something could happen and we need that particular item. Thus, we pack everything but the kitchen sink and take it with us.

over packed car

The result in packing everything but the kitchen sink is that the room in the car is limited. Our car has been so packed full at times that I was not…

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