What Do Others See?

 You have preached it now live it

So I say by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other., so that you nor not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Galatians 5:16-18

Bible with heart

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 4: 22-26

I am in the midst of completing Priscilla Shirer’s study on Jonah.  As with other Bible studies I have participated in God has opened the eyes of my heart even more.  Not only are the eyes of my heart  opened more but with each study I become even more aware of God’s daily presence in my life. I am also more aware of my walk with Christ and how I live out this walk on a daily basis.

I love the quote Priscilla shares on the last day of this study;

The fruit of God’s Spirit can only be

realized in the life of someone who is 

consistently yielding to the Spirit’s work

in his/her life.

 Priscilla Shirer

Impacting Others

CS Lewis Humility

These words really made me stop and think. First, I thought of those who have impacted my Christian walk through their daily actions. These persons live their lives in such a way that if I were a non-believer, I would want to know more from them of where their joy for living comes. I would want to know what motivates them to do the things that they do beyond their calling.  And, they do things beyond their calling with great joy in their heart and do it without expecting anything in return. When life happens to them as it does with us all, they tend to respond and not react. They stop and evaluate the situation and determine the best way to handle it. There have been times where no one else around them knew a situation was even taking place because of how they respond and how they are in step with God’s teachings.

Interruptions

Grace

In the study of Jonah Priscilla shares about divine interruptions. These interruptions are the unexpected things that come up in our lives. Sometimes, these interruptions catch us completely off guard. When these interruptions occur we have two choices. The first choice is we can react. When we react our actions may not represent the best of us. Sometimes, our reactions can come across in  the form of anger, bitterness, and the total opposite of  being in step with God and His commandments.  The second choice is we can respond. When we respond we have given ourselves time to stop, reflect, talk with the Father and figure the best course of action to the interruption that has taken place.  In our responding to the interruption, we are yielding to God and allowing Him to do His work in us. The outcome of responding is far different from our reacting.  Through responding, we are able to see God’s hand in the situation, we are telling God we trust Him and His leading. We are also demonstrating to those around us the true meaning of trusting God and living in step with Him.

Self Centered

Romans 12

The other day I was talking with someone about how we have all become self-absorbed. We are to be aware of others’ needs around us and the presence of God. Yet, it seems we are becoming more self-absorbed in our own personal needs, our wants and what will make us feel better and/or look good to others.  In other words, we are in a world of living totally opposite of Galatians 5:16-18.  It is when we are consumed with pleasing the flesh that we miss the blessings that God has planned for us. Furthermore, we become out of step with God. It is in these moments where we know in our heads what is right and what is wrong but our hearts do not demonstrate what we know.  Needless to say, it is at that point we profess to be a Christian but our actions are telling those around us something completely different. Thus, the reason why so many people see Christians as hypocrites. Sad but true.

Challenge

seek God

Today, I challenge you to re-read the scriptures at the top of the page and re-read the quote from Priscilla Shirer. As you read these passages, stop and reflect on what motivates what you do each day of your life.

Are you motivated by wanting what the flesh wants?

Or, are you motivated by what God wants you to do and living in step with Him?

When interruptions come up in life, do you react or do you respond?

Who has impacted your life by their being in step with God?

Now, think about the people around you that you could have a positive influence and even bring them to know and receive Christ in their lives by living consistently in step with God.

God's presence

In the days ahead, I encourage you to be aware of God’s daily presence and stay in step with Him. Being in step with  God has greater reward than trying to stay in step with what the flesh wants. May you seek God in all you do and may others see God in you in all you do.

May this video by our prayer in the days ahead.

That’s How We Fly

flock of migrating canada geese birds

Periodically, I will see and hear geese fly over our home. As always they are flying in the ‘V’ formation. They fly in the “V” formation for several reasons. One they fly this way to conserve energy. Each bird flies slightly above the one  in front of  him. They also take turns of who will be in the front so as one gets tired they can fall back.  By flying in this formation, they are also able to keep track of one another.

Along with that philosophy, our military aircraft fly the same way. You will see them flying in a “V” formation in military missions. One of the reasons they fly in this formation is to improve fuel efficiency  of the aircraft.

When I worked in the Special Education Department of one of our local schools, the teacher I worked with always started the year out with sharing about how and why geese fly in the “V” formation. She would share this story because our classroom operated under the same principle of the geese flying in a “V”.  In other words, our group was a team from the teacher to the assistants to the students. We took turns leading (this included the students), we knew when one was tired who could step up and help and each member of the class knew where the other was at all times as well knew when to jump in and help their peers.

Until a week ago, I had not thought about this technique in quite a while. Then, our minister shared the philosophy of the flying “V” in his message in regards to stewardship.  We were reminded how we are all a part of a group that is to help one another and to lift each other up.

Each one of us are born into a family. This is a fact. Some may have been born into one family but adopted/raised by another.  The types of families and homes are so varied especially in the 21st Century.  These varied families have different ways of how they operate, they have different rules and expectations in their homes.

Jim and I in our dating years.

Jim and I will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary this Fall. Over the years, we have had to learn how to fly together. Our learning how to fly together started when we were dating. If you are not familiar with our story, Jim and I met while working on summer staff at Lake Junaluska, NC. I was from Georgia and he was from Kentucky. As we began to date, Jim’s words were; ” I want to date you while we are here this summer but after that, you will go back to Georgia and I will go back to Kentucky. Long distance relationships just don’t last.” Well, for almost 32 years, Jim has been choking on those words. A good example of “never say never!”

Our wedding day

What happened to make Jim swallow his words? The answer is simple. From day one, we learned how to fly together. Yes, there were and still are times of trial and error but non the less we learned to fly and fly together.  We work together day end and day out on making sure the other’s needs are met. Both of us know that when the other is tired the other needs to move to the front and take the lead.

Not only did we have to learn to fly together as a couple. But we had to learn how to line up the other geese in our lives. These geese being our families, and our son, Drew when he was born.  Jim and I knew that when we married, we married not only each other but we married each other’s family.  In other words, Jim’s family became my family and my family became Jim’s family.  When you compile these two families together, there are a lot of geese to coördinate in order to fly in formation.

Okay, you ask how do the Hawkins’ fly? When putting our ‘V’ formation together, we have to look at a big picture. We look at who is free at what time, who can do what at what time and we diligently make sure that each side of the family gets some sort of quality time. For us, quality outweighs the quantity.

For example, when Drew was growing up, my parents would come up and pick Drew up and usually took him on a two to three-week summer vacation of some sort with them. Now, you may ask; “was fair to Jim’s family?”  The answer to that question is; “yes.” Why? You see, Jim’s parents live two hours away from us. My family is a good six hours drive when traffic is good. Jim’s parents got a lot of extended weekends when Drew would have days off at school where it would be impossible to make a trip to Georgia. We also made sure Drew got a week in here and there throughout the summer. It just wasn’t all at once like with my parents. It is just what worked best for each family.

In forming our formation of the flying “V”,  Jim and I knew that each set of parents would and do play a significant role in Drew’s life in their own unique way. It was important to us that he have a relationship with both sets of grandparents.  It is through time with his grandparents that Drew learned more about who he was/is, his heritage and he had opportunity to hear stories that he would some day share with his family.

Drew is now married. When he married, we told him that he would have to learn to get his own ‘V’ formation in order. Jim shared with Drew not only would he be marrying Megan but he would also acquire a whole new family and Megan would be not just marrying Drew but she would gain a family who would and does love her dearly.  Jim and I also told Drew that as he lined up his ‘V”  formation, that we would fall into place where he needed us. Drew is now the head of his own household and he knows what works best and the needs of his family better than we do. It is not for us to tell him how to fly his “V”.   We will fly with him by lifting Megan and him up and encouraging them . We told him we will do our best to know when we need to jump in and help and know when to stand back and do nothing until we are asked to help.

If you were to be a fly on the wall in our home and watched us coördinate an event/holiday with either side and sometimes both sides of the family, you would think we were writing up a battle plan. It is not a battle plan per say but it is strategically lining up our ‘V” so that we can accomplish the mission/task at hand. And, that mission is to insure that we are aware of  the needs of each person involved and each one is taken care of.  Just like the military aircraft, Jim and I want to be as fuel-efficient with the geese that are in our “V” formation. So, that’ s how we fly!

How do you fly?

1 Thessalonians 5:10-12

New International Version (NIV)

10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

 

Light

The Jesus told them, “You are going to have light just a little while longer.

Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever

walks in the dark does not know where they are going. Believe in the light

while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.

John 12:35-36 / NIV

My sweet father-n-law Jim, Sr.

My sweet father-n-law
Jim, Sr.

My late father-n-law was an electrical, mechanical and master electrician.  He worked for GE over thirty years and in the midst of those thirty years and after his retirement he wired a lot of homes and buildings. He had a love for light. On any given week day, one would not be surprised to see Jim, Sr. hanging from a ladder at church changing a bulb or adding lighting to some area of the church. He loved lights.

When Jim and I built our current home, Jim’s dad wired it for us. In our house you will find more than one or two switches on a plate. We have one switch plate that has up to six switches and we have multiple dimmer switches  throughout the house. Needless to say, when Jim or I walk into a room it is not too hard to find a switch that will turn on some  source of light.

light of the Lord

In Genesis 1:3, we read where God said, “let there be light.”  In verse four we read where he separates the light from dark. Thus, we have day and night. But there is so much more meaning to this light.  God knew that one day the world he created would begin to become dark again.  He would again would have to send light but this light would be a different kind of light. It would be his Son, Jesus who would be the light to the world of hurting.

In my previous post, Go and The Journey, I shared how God has led me to a place of healing.  The Sunday after Jim and I had made our decision to join the church we are attending and be baptized, Jim had to work. Before he left out for work, he told me to go ahead and go forward at the end of the service to acknowledge we were ready to take the next step to where God was leading.

the-glory-of-god-in-christ-jesus-271x300

The Sunday service came to a close and the closing hymn was being sung, I went down to the altar. There I was greeted by our pastor. I told him Jim and I were ready to take that next step. At that moment, Pastor Dan took my hand and had prayer with me. Where I was standing up front there was a spotlight shinning down on the altar area. However, as Pastor Dan prayed with me, I felt not just a spotlight coming down on me. I felt the warmth of a light around me that I had never felt before. This light was a light of peace and a light of joy. At that moment, I felt the Holy Spirit not only surround me but embrace me. Have you had an experience where you can’t really put the experience into words? This was one of those moments for me.

kneeling at Jesus Feet

As a reader, you may be feeling like God has abandoned you. You may be wandering around in the dark trying to find a switch to a light source.  Friend, I want you to know that there is hope. There is a light in the darkness. This light is known as Jesus Christ.  All you have to do is surrender at His feet  those things that are casting darkness over you. Just as God said in Genesis 1:3; Let there be light. You can cry out to God and ask for light into your dark world. This light is Jesus Christ.

Carry this scripture with you in the weeks ahead:

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am

the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in

darkness, but will have the light of life.”

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