My Journey Continues

 

 Challenges Ahead

You have searched me, LORD

and you know me.

You know when I sit and when I rise,

you perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going out and my lying down,

you are familiar with all my ways. Psalm 139: 1-3

September, 2014 I journeyed with my Potter’s Clay Small Group  in the Bible Study, Stronger by Angela Thomas.  I don’t believe in coincidence but I believe things unfold by God’s design. As this study began, I was in a difficult season of my life. And, as I opened this study, it was what I needed for this particular season.

Stronger

On the days ahead of this journey of the study, Stronger I not only continued to pray but I had never-ending conversations with God. In this midst of this journey, I attempted to continue writing and sharing what God would place on my heart. I must admit writing did not come easy at times. After all, how could I encourage others while being stuck in the mud. Not only did I pray and have these long conversations with God, I also went back and re-read some of my own writings. It is very convicting when you read the words you have shared to encourage others on their journey.  The saying; ‘physician heal thyself” really hit me in between the eyes.

stuck in the mud

It seemed I was stuck in the mud and I could not get out. Just as a car’s wheel spins when stuck in the mud, my wheels were spinning but I was not getting anywhere. Frustrated. Overwhelmed. These are the words that describe where I was at as I began this new study, Stronger.

Morning Coffee

On the very first day of this study, God made me very aware that I was carrying things that I should be surrendering to him.  My grip was tight on the wheel and I was reluctant to let go and let God have full control.  Yet,  on day one of this study, Angela had this prayer.:

God, I want to know you more. I want to learn and grow and understand Your 

powerful words. In so many ways, I desperately  need to become stronger., so teach

me about who You are and the strength You give. Bring your light into my dark places.

For these next pages help me focus on You. Just you LORD. Amen (Stronger page 9)

Wow! This prayer spoke expressed exactly what was on my heart. At that moment and other moments throughout this journey, I got on my knees and surrendered ALL at the feet of Jesus.

giving up

Healing did not take place right at that moment. Instead, the healing was a process. It was one day at time and one prayer at a time. As the days progressed in this study, my eyes began to open more as well as my heart and ears were opening up to hear God’s voice.

As I continued my walk with Stronger, I was on iTunes late one evening. In the midst of finishing up my downloads, the song, Baptism by Kenny Chesney/Randy Travis popped up as a suggested song that I may like. I clicked the play button. It was at that moment where I began to feel  the Holy Spirit nudge me. Tears filled my eyes. I could not wait until morning to share this find and experience with Jim.

Since that night, Jim and I both have about worn this song out. The more I listened to the song, the more God spoke to my heart. The Holy Spirit nudged me even more.  I knew I needed to remove the old sack cloth and put on the new cloth of Christ that God had planned for me.

I have shared in my article, Go how God led me to a place of healing.  In another article, It’s On!, I share the results of being obedient and following God’s leading to a place where I could heal.  As I sit here writing, I have my new book, Stronger by Angela Thomas opened to day one.

Beginnings End

You see, I did this study in the Fall, 2014 with my Potter’s Clay small group. And, now the Wednesday night Bible Study group has chosen to take this journey. Yes, I find myself taking this journey of Stronger one more time.  Tears are in my eyes as I read the introduction to this study. It is in reading this introduction, I see where I have been and where I am now. I see God’s hand in everything that I have gone through over the last year. I now see how and where he has made me stronger.

Oh! The joy that fills my soul! It is no coincidence that God has brought me to full circle. It is not a coincidence that I am doing this study for a second time. It is all in God’s divine intervention of my life. My journey continues.…and I can’t wait to see where God is going to take me!

my heart will ever sing

He has made everything beautiful in its time. 

Ecclesiastes 3:11

Bible with heart

This post is dedicated to two very special loving group of ladies, Potter’s Clay and my Wednesday night Bible Study. So glad God has blessed me with these wonderful ladies on my faith journey.

“The Best Part of Waking UP”

Morning Coffee

 We are all familiar with the Folgers commercials like the one above.  The commercial is emphasizing that there is no need to dread the day or think about the chores when we wake up.  They tell us that all we need to do when we wake up is to smell the wonderful aroma of coffee brewing. Then, grab that favorite mug and fill it up with Folgers coffee. In most of the commercials, we see it ending with someone sitting, smiling and simply enjoying that first cup of coffee.

Time Clock

As I write this, it is the beginning of a new work week. This morning before I could even put my feet to the floor my phone on my bedside table was already sounding off with text messages, Facebook messages and phone calls.  We all have had mornings such as this one. Furthermore, I know that each of us wake up every morning with a list of things to do for the day. Some days there seems like there is not even much time to absorb the aroma of coffee brewing much less enjoy it in our favorite mug and look out the window.

coffee brewing

In our home, if you smell the aroma of coffee brewing in the early AM, you can be assured that it is not me doing the brewing except if I prepped it the night before and have set it on automatic brew.  Jim is the one up early in the AM. He gets up earlier than he needs to each  morning to have his quiet time with God. He starts his day out sitting at the feet of Jesus before he does anything else. All the while, I am still in bed enjoying resting in the arms of Jesus.  A morning person I’m not.

Not a morning person

If by chance I do wake up early, I have been at fault of disrupting Jim with a list of things that need to be addressed for the day. I get anxious when he does not rapidly respond to my requesting help in getting some things done before time to walk out the door.

Give Me Jesus "In The Morning When I Rise...Give Me Jesus

Give Me Jesus
“In The Morning When I Rise…Give Me Jesus

Time with Jesus is  important.  Mary’s actions in the story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42) demonstrate to us of what is really important. Mary is enjoying visiting and listening to what Jesus has to say. All the while Martha is preparing the meal, making sure the table is set and calculating as to when to put the bread in the oven so it would be hot at meal time. After much frustration, Martha complains to Jesus. She tells Jesus to tell Mary to get up and do something!  I can picture the scene n my head. Martha complaining and Jesus just sitting there smiling back at her. I can hear him now telling Martha to take a chill pill.  He explains that there are things to be done but there is something even more important. The top priority is stopping and taking time to be in HIS presence. We need to allow ourselves to be filled with HIS spirit and hear HIS voice before we do anything else.

Preaching to the Choir

By now, you can say that I am preaching to the choir. This story brings true to conviction to my heart. Yes, I do have my quiet time with Jesus but sometimes it is not before I have taken care of other items on my daily list.  Some days I don’t even have coffee or eat breakfast before I get a few things done. Sad but true.

Mary at Jesus' feet

Why was it  important for Mary was to visit with Jesus. In Mary’s mind, she knew that once the visit was over, she had absorbed the words that Jesus spoke that she would carry in her heart forever. Whereas, the cooking, the cleaning and whatever else needed to be done would still be there.

I am working

All of us get caught up in the business of life to the point we forget to realize what is important.  Instead of waking up to the aroma of coffee and grabbing that favorite mug, we wake up with our feet hitting the ground to conquer whatever chore and/or the demands that the world has on us for the day.  When we do this, we are allowing the world take priority over our relationship with God.  Yet, at the end of our journey here, the world and all of its list will still be here and all that will matter for us is our relationship with God and his SON, Jesus.

Enjoy Morning Coffee

My challenge for you and myself is  to take time not to just wake up and smell the coffee but to wake up to the aroma of HIS sweet spirit. Before starting the day, grab that favorite mug and spend time with Jesus. The best part of waking up is not only Folgers in your cup but it is waking up to say “good morning, LORD!  Allow Him to fill your cup for the day so that you can tackle the chores of the world.

Are you walking with Jesus?

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked; “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”Martha, Martha, “ the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:38-42

Take a few minutes and listen to the video below.

Allow God to fill your cup.

kneeling at Jesus Feet

You Can Call Him Anytime

The Dragon's Tail

Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth; and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.  John 14:6-7

My husband,  Jim and I met while working on summer staff at Lake Junaluska, NC.  Jim was from Kentucky and I was from Georgia. When we began dating that summer we said it was for only the summer. I had previously been burned in a long distant relationship and Jim did not want to have anything to do with one. Yet, as the summer progressed, we realized that this relationship was going beyond summer.

Through The Years

Through The Years

Thirty-two years ago when we were dating there were no cell phones, did not even know the meaning of social media. The biggest concern at that time in the world of communication was that Ma’ Bell was selling out to ATT&T which none of us liked.  Yet, in order for our relationship to work, we knew we had to both give it our one hundred percent. Communication was the key to our relationship working out.

"Blessings"

Jim and I wrote letters to each other every week. I knew the exact day when to expect a letter in my mailbox and sometimes was surprised to get an extra one during the week. Jim and I had a time set on Saturday nights where he would call me and we would talk. We shared about our week, our struggles, our joys and what was ahead of us in our individual lives as well as a life as a couple. Every four weeks, Jim would drive down to see me for a weekend. There were also opportunities for me to travel up to see Jim in Kentucky.  Our success was determined on how we communicated with each other and kept Christ in the center of our relationship.

Young woman reading bible

This morning I am sitting here in my chair with my bible opened to John 14:6-7. Jesus is telling the disciples and us the way to His Father’s House. Once we accept Christ into our lives, we have to keep the lines of communication open.

How do we communicate and nurture that relationship with Christ?

Just as Jim and I had a designated time to talk to each other each week, we need to have a daily designated time to talk to God. This is our time to pour our hearts out to him. He wants to hear our joys, sorrows, our petitions, and simply what is on our hearts.

little girl talking on phone

When Jim called me on those Saturday nights, we took turns talking. Jim would sit and listen to what was on my heart and then I would listen to what he had on his heart. We sought each other’s hearts. Just as Jim and I took time to listen to each other and seek each other’s hearts,  we need to seek God’s heart. It is important for us to sit still and listen to his voice and hear what is on his heart.

He makes all things beautiful

 I mentioned earlier how Jim and I would write each other letters in between seeing one another. God has also written many letters and stories for us to read and learn about his kingdom and his will for our lives.  You can find these stories and letters in the best-selling book, The Bible.  For those new in the faith, I always recommend starting in the Gospel of John. John is the greatest love story you will ever read. As you read the scriptures, be in tuned to God’s voice. What is he wanting to tell you from the readings and/or where is he leading you from the readings?

10622860_10152622922226740_1934228684971941411_n

Yes, God created you. He knows everything about you. Yet, he longs to have a relationship with you. Unlike Jim and I having a long distance relationship, your relationship with God through his Son, Jesus is right there where you are sitting or standing at this moment. You don’t have to schedule a phone call or wait for the postman to bring you a letter of invitation.  All you have to do is ask Christ into your heart and begin a beautiful relationship with Him. Then, each day sit down and have a chat with Him.  You can call Him anytime!

 

The Doorway to a New Season

Fall Drive

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old is gone, the new is here!”

2 Corinthians 5:17

This afternoon, Jim and I took a little ride through the back roads of our community. As we rode and enjoyed the scenery, we noticed that the Seasons are changing from Summer to Fall. The air is turning crisp. The trees are beginning to show signs that their leaves will be turning soon. Before too long, the leaves will fall. Fall will soon be fading out just as Summer did and Winter will set in. However, we anticipate the newness that next Spring and Summer will bring us.

Season of life

As we go through life, we go through our own personal seasons. Some seasons are brighter than others. Yet, when we have Christ in our lives, no matter how rough a season,  we have the affirmation that Christ is with us. We also know that there is a Season more beautiful than we can imagine promised to us. It is the season where we enter into our eternal home.

kneeling at Jesus Feet

If you are reading this and have not given your life to Christ, why don’t you receive him this moment. Lay all the old life and all that burdens you at the feet of Jesus. Then, ask Christ to come into your life and make ALL  things new. After all, as I read in my bible today, it clearly reminds me that Christ is the doorway to a beautiful season.

light of the Lord

May we walk in the light of truth and embrace the newness of Christ.

Have a blessed Fall.

Blessings

One

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.

So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything but

only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the

man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded 

according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers;

you are God’s field, God’s building.

1 Corinthians 3:6-9

The Power of One

ONE is a powerful number. I can think of many things that started with one.  One  person stepped out in faith.   One person responding to a yearning in their heart.  One person wanting to make a dream come true.  One person listening to the voice of God. Yet, at  the end of the day,  the outcome was more than one. 

Janine Stang

This morning as I was watching the Today Show they did an interview with Janine Stange. As of this evening, she will have sung the Star Spangled Banner in all fifty states.  She started this journey as a way of showing her respect and gratitude to our service men and women who have taken that one step forward to protect what the Star Spangled Banner stands for. As they were wrapping up the interview with Janine, these words she shared struck a chord in my heart. She noted that when the Star Spangled Banner  is sung no matter the venue that it is a time when everyone is one.

As I reflect on that statement of how everyone is one  as we gather at a venue to sing the National Anthem, I think of many things that started with one.  One person with a dream and/or nudge from God. For example, Martin Luther King, Jr. He had a dream. His dream was that all men and women were to be treated equal. He stepped out in faith and as he stepped out others came along and joined in with his mission. At the end of the day, his one voice became many voices working to make his dream a reality.

ice bucket challenge

Then of recent, there was the famous ice bucket challenge. It took one person saying they would have ice water poured over them and issuing a challenge to others to do likewise to raise awareness and money for ALS. Out of that one challenge, social media was full of ice bucket challenges and challengers. The outcome of one person extending the challenge resulted in not only bringing awareness to ALS but also money was raised for ALS research.

When I think of OneI not only think of the National Anthem when everyone is one, Martin Luther King, Jr. with his one dream, or the ALS challenge, but I think of this scripture from 1 Corinthians 3:6-9. When it comes to the Kingdom of God it only takes one person to sow a seed of faith, hope and grace. Then, someone else comes along and waters it. As time goes on there is more than one in helping a pilgrim on their faith journey.  As a result the Kingdom of God grows and flourishes.

planting seeds

You see, we are all one.  As Christians we have been called to invite others into the Kingdom of God.  It only takes us listening to that ONE voice and stepping out in faith and sharing God’s grace, light, and love.  As we listen to that ONE  voice , there are others who are also listening to that ONE voice that are also stepping out in faith.  The end result we have a multitude of voices  sharing the light of Christ.  Just as Janine Stange, expressed what it is like for everyone to be as one as the National Anthem is sung, we are ALL ONE IN CHRIST!

listening to God's voice

One. A powerful number. “All it takes is one voice. Then, when you look around there is more than one voice singing.”   May we be willing to step out in faith in sharing the Good News of our risen Savior.  I won’t challenge you to  pouring a cold bucket of ice water over your head to get the message across. However,  I challenge you to respond to that ONE voice. Step  out in faith in response to the call that has been placed in your heart. Just like the ice bucket challenge I know without a doubt there will be more than just your one voice.  There will be others that will step out to join and support you on the journey of which you have been called.

one voice rock

 

An Angel In My Path

 Keep loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, 

for by so doing some people have entertained angels without know it.”

Hebrews 13:1-2

Smokey

Smokey My angel who reminds me of God’s unconditional love for me.

In the last month, Smokey and I have begun volunteering at our local hospital.  When I adopted Smokey I didn’t dream at the time that there would be a ministry for me with this pup that has become joined at the hip with me. This past January, we had him certified as an Emotional Support Assist dog. We primarily had him certified for me.  However, over the last couple of years, he has shown us the gift he has in bringing comfort to other people. Thus, my adopting him has evolved in to a ministry of sorts.

Love God

This morning as Smokey and I finished up our visits at the hospital,  we encountered a couple of the family members sitting outside  that we had encountered earlier  in one of  the family waiting areas.  I stopped once again to say hello and let them love on Smokey one more time. The conversation progressed and  this one particular family member began to share her story  and  journey.  The more she shared the more her story resonated in my heart and mind.   I heard the  echoes of events that have taken place on my faith journey. This past week had been a week of emotion and my spiritual wellness being drained.  Tears welled up in my eyes because I was not only listening to her story  but through her sharing she was ministering to me.

In our conversation, we shared how important it is to count our blessings especially in times of trials. I told her that the first blessing we receive every morning is that God wakes us up. She went on with that thought and said; “you are right.”And; ” if God wakes you up in the mornings he has a plan and purpose for you for the day.” This lady went on to say that it is important to not only count your blessings every day but because we are blessed to do at least one kind thing for someone during the day.  We both agreed that among the trials in life there is hope and there are blessings.

God's blessings

As I wrapped up my conversation with her,  God placed the following words on my heart to share with this sweet lady. The words were; God doesn’t promise us perfect days but he promises us A Perfect Day in his time.”

Earlier this week, I was struggling with exhaustion, with hurt and the yearning to be lifted and healed emotionally and spiritually. And, here I was at a hospital for where the sick go to be treated and hopefully healed. Yet,  I was being healed by someone right outside the hospital  doors by a sweet lady with kindness and love in her eyes and voice as she talked to me.   Needless to say, I walked to my car feeling wrapped up in the Holy Spirit’s arms with tears of healing streaming down my face.

feather

I truly believe God has his angels walking among us. This morning, I was blessed by an angel.  This person may not realize the impact they made on my life in those few briefs moments but she was my angel with the words I needed to hear.

God is good!

All the time!

May you be showered with blessings in the days ahead.