Saturday, September 27, 2014

Are You Midst A Storm?

September 27, 2014

After trying to decide what to share with you, the Lord put it upon my heart to

 share about the storms of life; those unexpected trials that come our way. No
storm is  pleasant. Each one is stressful, difficult, and painful. Each one  causes
 us to at times become fearful, worried, depressed, and discouraged.

While trying to cope with my latest trial, I heard a story that not only lifted 
my spirits, but clarified my vision and got me back on track. I hope it does 
the same with you.

                                                   The Canary

There was a lady who had a beautiful yellow canary. She loved that little

bird, especially loved hearing it's beautiful song, because hearing it always
seemed to make her hard life easier- her burdens not quite so heavy.

 Every morning, rain or shine, the first thing she did before breakfast, 
was to vacuum the carpet, because it was always full of bird seeds below 
the bird cage. On this particular morning, she'd finished doing the carpet
 and switched to the small hand vacuum she owned.
Her intention was to quickly clean the bottom of the bird cage. 

She opened the cage door and turned the vacuum on. The canary began
 flitting about and making shrieking sounds.
The phone rang!  While reaching for it, the hand holding the vacuum 

swung up a little. She heard a whooshing sound and then, there was no 
sound from the bird. It had been sucked up by the vacuum cleaner.

Horrified, she quickly turned the vacuum off, tore open the vacuum bag,

and was relieved to see movement midst all the dirt, dust, and
seeds she'd vacuumed up.
She rushed to the sink, filled it with dish soap, gently put the bird into 

the water and began washing it as best she could.
Once she got the canary rinsed off, she saw that it was shivering.
   "Oh, you poor thing." she muttered, and went to get the hair dryer.

She'd mentioned her experience to a neighbor, who told the local 

newspaper. A reporter, following up the story, went to ask how her 
canary was doing.
     "He's not the same really,"she said. " He mostly sits on the perch 

and stares. I no longer get to hear his song."

And that, dear hearts, is just how it is with you and me. 

We are confronted by an unexpected storm, and before we know it,
like the canary, our song too is silenced. Our trials change us too.
They steal our zest for life. We find  we no longer sing, whistle, or
hum like we used too. We become spectators in life instead of participators.
Trials weaken our faith, destroy our confidence, drain what little bit
of strength we have, and too often leave us with little, or no 

How do we make it through a storm? We make it by remembering not

who we are but WHOSE we are. We make it by feeding on God's Word,
memorizing the promises he made to us. It is those promises that 
will get us through the rough waters, will see us safely to the shore.

We make it by helping one another; by not allowing ourselves to

fall back into the habit of isolating ourselves. We make it by taking
the Lord at HIS Word, remembering that His promises are never
broken. Unlike the promises we make, HIS are dependable; are
promises we can always depend upon.

"Deuteronomy 31:6 " 

"Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of
them  for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; 
he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."

One of my favorite Bible verses is "Joshua 1:5

"There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days

of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not
fail thee, nor forsake thee."
   How can I possibly be worried, fearful, sad, depressed, or anything 
else negative with this promise to hold onto? I depended upon, 
and leaned on my mother and father. They died!

I leaned on my sister. She died! I leaned on, and depended upon people 
I believed loved me ,and had my best interest at heart.
Some died! Some betrayed me - turned out to be my enemies.

 I have friends and family that love me very much.
 But I know better than to depend upon them for those things
I hunger for like: inner peace, a strong and mighty faith, a

 relationship with Jesus, and one day- eternal life.
 Nobody can give me that except He who 
created me. 

Storms of life will come; many of them. But we do not have to
fear them. If we are the Lord's, we will never...not one time, 
have to face a trial alone. No matter where it is, no matter what
the trial is, how painful, how sad, how overwhelming...even
death; Jesus has promised that he will be with us to the very end.
We cannot trust many people. But we CAN trust the LORD. If we
cannot trust the one who created us...who then can we trust?

Stay strong my friends. Hold tight to the Lord's hand when in 

trouble and he will not fail you.

Memorize Joshua 1: 5 and this one:
Joshua 1:9 

"Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of
a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou
dismayed: for the LORD they God is with thee
withersoever thou goest."

May you every day experience the honor of HIS presence,

the warmth of His love, and the tightness of His embrace.

Love you much.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

God's Grace And You- and Me.

September 6, 2014

I do not usually start my Spiritual entries with a story, but am today.
I chose to do it  this way because I think sharing the story first will
help us to remember what is important; help us to remember
that which the Lord would not wish us to ever forget.

There was a man whose neighbor was an elderly woman. She'd been a very
good neighbor- he knew her well. This woman was without a husband or
children. Her only companion was a dog, a dog she loved more than anything 

else in the world.  One day, this man was driving home, was very tired, so not
quite as attentive as he should have been and ran over her dog. He felt terrible!
 Shaking, feeling heartsick over what he had done, he dreaded facing the woman.
 But, after taking a few deep breaths, and giving himself a few minutes to regain
 control of his emotions, he picked up the dog and carried it to the neighbor's
 house. Being in poor health, it took a few minutes for the woman to come to 
the door. When she finally did, there stood the man, her dead dog cradled in
his arms.
     "I am so sorry." he told her, tears filling his eyes, his voice shaky.

 "I was very tired, was not as alert as I should have been and hit him. "
     "It's alright." the woman said. "I keep telling him not to chase cars, but

 he did it anyway. If you hadn't hit him somebody else would have. But I can't
 bury him. Would you help me do that?"
   "Of course. "the man said, and promptly dug a hole and buried her beloved 

dog next to the Oak tree. The woman, seeing how distressed the poor man still 
was, patted his shoulder and said," Really. It is alright. "

The man went home, and that night could not sleep; he kept thinking of what

 a horrible thing he had done. He was weighed down with guilt over it; kept 
thinking of how this dear lady would now be forced to go through life without
 her beloved companion.
     "She must have been  in shock." he said to himself. "I don't think she knows

 her dog is really dead." He went to the big Oak tree, where the dog was buried,
 dug it up, and carried it back to the house. When the woman came to the door
he held the dog out to her and asked, "Do you realize what I did? I mean really?
 Do you understand that your dog will no longer be with you?"
   " Yes." she said."
      The man buried the dog again, went home, and again started thinking about

 the woman, about how lonely she'd be without her dog. "Surely, she doesn't
 realize her dog is dead."  he told himself. "She is quite old now, and obviously
 in denial. I have to make certain she knows he is gone. I have too! 
He returned to the Oak tree, dug the dog up and once again showed it to the
     "I am so sorry I killed your dog." he said. " So sorry you will be without 

him now."
     The woman, old as she was, saw the sadness weighing upon him. Again 

she tried to reassure him. "You don't have to keep saying you are sorry
 I know you didn't mean to kill him. And I forgive you." 
Even after hearing she forgave him, the man dug that dog up for two weeks.

 This story is about you- and about me. It is about God's grace, and how 
too many of us don't truly understand what it is, and how it works, which
 is why so many of us are still carrying around so much shame, worry, fear,
 guilt, insecurities. Sometimes we don't even recognize when grace is at 
work in our lives. For instance: The times we've made a mess out of our lives,
 or something really tragic happened, and we keep praying about it, keep 
saying to God "Please Lord, fix this for me. I can't handle this. It's too hard.
 Too much!" 
We have not understood that God is trying to work out some things

 within us. Sometimes God can't answer our prayers because we keep
 talking, pleading, getting in His way, telling him just how we need, 
or want this problem to be fixed. We seldom heed his WORDS to
 "Be still and know I am God."

God is so patient while working with us; has to put up with our fears,

 our  doubts, our  worries, our need to control,  our constant "But Lord,
 what if's?" Think about some of the trials He has seen  you through. 
Messed up as you were  (as we all were), He brought us through, didn't he?  
That is because of God's great love for us...HIS GRACE.

Grace creates masterpieces out of the mess we make of our life.

Grace so changes a man (or woman), that people who have known 
them all their lives scarcely recognize them.
Grace forgives, comforts, directs, restores.
Grace holds us steady and at peace midst the chaos in the world.

Grace is love in action, and there is no love as great as the Lord's.

I shared this story with you because I know that many of you are as 

this man, still carrying around guilt and shame over past mistakes. 
I was this man for many years. It was about three years ago that I realized
 what I was doing. I can't tell you how horrible that made me feel. 
 Jesus gave his life for me, covered my sins by his love- his grace, and yet
 I continued to grieve over all I'd done. My constant grieving, constant
pleading for forgiveness  was as bad as spitting in his face, acting as if
 his sacrifice was worth nothing.
Nobody enjoys reminding us of the horrible things we've done more

than Satan. I determined not to let him do this to me any more.
 Not ever!  There are times still, when he tries to imprison me again by 
reminding me of the, horrible mistakes I made. But each time he 
does, I remind  myself about the man and his dog.
It is my prayer that this story helps some of you realize what I did, 

that the Lord's words are not as ours. When HE says I forgive you 
HE means it. And not only does he forgive us, God says once he
 forgives us he will not remember our sins; they are forgotten.

Hope this story is as great a blessing to you as it was to me.
I pray you may always experience the warmth of God's love, 

the honor of His presence, and the tightness of his embrace.

Love you much,