Posts from the ‘Thoughts from the Porch’ Category

Freedom

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!

Originally posted July 2011

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

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!

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!!

How’s your attitude?

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!

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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