Friday, September 21, 2018

Hurricanes and Hope

Last week was surreal waiting for Hurricane Florence to hit the Carolinas. Having lived here most of my life, hurricanes sometimes drop by, but you never know how long they will stay or what they might bring. I wonder if that is why the South still has so many of faith, due to constant praying to avert natural disaster, constantly facing something out of our control. And we are still not out of the woods yet. Flooding is now taking place and not only limiting our routes but displacing many. We are prepared as much as possible and have learned some survival skills, but it is our compassion and connection towards one another that is so remarkable. It is what I love about the South. When someone is hurting or grieving, we are there to support in whatever way we can. We bring food, love, hugs, tools, and helping hands. When one is hurting, we are all hurting. "Love your neighbor as yourself," Galatians 5:14 comes to mind. I just wonder what it would look like if there wasn't a natural disaster to call attention to it or something tragic happening locally. What about you? What incredible act of kindness has been shown to you or that you have been a part of? Wouldn't it be great to share the good news instead of focusing on the disaster? Let's encourage one another here with comments stories that give us hope and make us smile.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Trains, Planes and Treasure

A few weeks ago, I was on a train headed back home from a fabulous vacation with my parents to visit my daughter in Vermont. It was a long train ride from New York to South Carolina, so we were about 4 hours into the trip in the club car playing cards, when my mother suddenly asked if I had gotten my jewelry out of the safe in our hotel. I was pretty sure I had since I had been thinking about my jewelry being in the sleeper car which was not locked, while we were here playing cards.  I went to double check to see if it was where I thought it was in my carry on bag.  It was not. I had our sleeping car attendant pull my suitcase to see if I had put it in there while I double checked my backpack.  Not there.  The realization suddenly dawning on me of what happened.  

We had packed up that morning and were ready to check out before going to breakfast. Since I was tired of lugging my backpack around everywhere with that pouch of jewelry in tow, I decided to place it in the hotel safe so I could go to breakfast without it. When we got back to the room, I was focused on creating a video for my website and by the time I was finished, it was time to head out. I never thought about that jewelry again until we were on the train.  

I immediately called the hotel and spoke with security. They sent someone to check to see if it had been recovered. I prayed the entire 30 minutes of waiting for them to call back.  I was relatively calm, considering my greatest treasure, outside of God and my family, was in that pouch, including my wedding ring and band. In prayer, I began to thank God that he had given me those things to enjoy and if they were just for a time, then I would still praise Him.  I knew He was watching out for me and would take care of all things concerning me.  And if it was in His will that it be restored, I prayed that He had sent angels to guard my jewelry until I could retrieve it.  I sensed in my spirit, a peace that He had already taken care of it. Security called back and let me know they had the jewelry!!  The maid had discovered the safe was locked and had called security to open it.  A security manager was the one who opened the room safe, found my jewelry and placed it in their hotel safe.  

At this point, I still didn't know if it was all there. Anyone could have taken any piece of it and there would probably be nothing I could do. Keeping my eyes on Jesus to take care of all things was all I could hope for. I called my daughter from the train and asked her to book me on the next plane to New York. Two days later, I flew into Newark, New Jersey, caught another train and went straight to the hotel in New York.  I actually met with the lady who found my jewelry. I checked the pouch and it was miraculously all there.  I was so grateful. She was an angel in disguise.  

As I headed out, I contemplated, how God had taken care of me while I was taking care of others.   He knew I was out of routine and was ahead of me on the path I was traveling. "Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act." Psalm 37:4-5

So what about you?  What is the most valuable thing you've ever lost or left that was recovered?

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

According to the Grammar daily: 

Maudlin was first used in the early 1500s, and we get it from the biblical character Mary Magdalene. In medieval art, Magdalene was almost always shown weeping, either washing Jesus' feet with her tears or weeping outside his empty tomb. People of the time referred to anyone who has a similar weepy look or disposition as Magdalene. Over time, the pronunciation became slurred and the spelling changed to maudlin."

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

"When we work on finding out who God is and the future He has for us, our focus doesn't become about what we don't have, or what others have, but in what He has for us." - #ExtraordinaryHope #Hope #God#Future #Focus #Us #ElizabethAnnWallace #Author #Book #Devotional

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Faith with Doubt

In Mark, chapter 9, Jesus is confronted by a boy with an evil spirit and a father who has a lack of faith, faith mingled with doubt about Jesus’s power to heal. But just before this event, Jesus had been on the mountaintop with Peter, James and John and had been transfigured before them in dazzling, white clothes talking to Moses and Elijah. God spoke and declared Jesus as His Son and told the disciples to listen to Jesus.  Then suddenly, everything was back to normal and Jesus told them to speak of this to no one.
As Jesus, Peter, James and John go down the mountain to meet the other disciples, they see a crowd of people and teachers of the law gathered around the disciples arguing. Sure enough, as soon as you come off a mountaintop experience with the Lord, you are immediately put back on the battlefield.  
“As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. ‘What are you arguing with them about? he asked.” Mark 9:15-16 NIV
It is interesting to note, Jesus spoke this question directly to the disciples, clearly marveling at why they would be defending their position.  Before they could answer, a man in the crowd, the father of the son with the evil spirit speaks up. He begins to tell Jesus he had brought his son to Jesus for healing, but not finding Him there, asked his disciples to drive out the spirit, yet they were unsuccessful, even though they had cast out demons before. The father goes on to explain that the spirit has made his son mute, epileptic and demon-possessed often throwing the child into the fire or water to kill him. Jesus in his frustration for their unbelief then speaks out, He tells the father to bring his son to Him.
The demon in the boy makes one last display of his power by throwing the boy on the ground in a convulsion, rolling him around and foaming at the mouth.  Don’t you wonder what Jesus was thinking? The demon knew his power was pathetic and nonexistent in the presence of Jesus and yet Jesus allowed it for the glory that God would be given. Then Jesus asks the father how long this behavior has been going on. Jesus already knew of course, since He is Omniscient, and yet he for the sake of the father allowed him to speak out the truth, almost as a confession for all the others to hear. And then the father adds,
“But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Mark 9:22b NIV
Here is the little boy’s father, desperate for a miracle for his only child, his faith having already been tested when he failed to see a miracle through the disciples attempts to help, now is concerned that maybe even Jesus can’t bring about a miracle. Isn’t that so much like us?  We see the failed attempts of the church to help us and if they are the representation of Christ, well then… But Jesus, confident in the power of God in Him, repeats back to the father, “If you can?” (Mark 9:23 NIV). Isn’t this what we ask of Jesus every time we doubt what He can do? Jesus asks this question rhetorically to make the father think about his own level of faith in believing in a miracle for his son. What’s your level of faith in Jesus’s ability to come through for you in whatever you’ve asked or He has asked of you? Our level of belief is paramount to what we will be a witness to or in our own ability to carry out what the Father has asked of us. He then tells the father, something we all need to hear in our minds and never question.  “Everything is possible for him who believes.” (Mark 9:23 NIV). Not just a few things, not just the big things, small things, ordinary things or even extraordinary things. Everything! Immediately, the boy’s loving father exclaims, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 NIV) Jesus did not only have to deal with the boy, but also with the father. Much of the father’s own suffering came from his lack of belief.
“When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. ‘You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “ I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.’ The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, ‘He’s dead.’ But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.’ Mark 9:25-27 NIV
Jesus never needed a crowd to produce a miracle. In fact, not all of Jesus’s miracles were with a crowd.  But certainly all who saw it, their faith was increased and God received much glory for what was done. In fact, in the same parable in Luke, it says the crowd was amazed at the greatness of God. When God’s power is exhibited through us, the message must always be clear, that it is for His glory and not our recognition.
Also note the way Jesus commanded the demon to leave the child and never come back in him again. In imitating Him we should do likewise in boldness and authority. and follow his example if ever confronted with this same situation. Granted, it wasn’t a quiet scene when the demon came out and for some of us, that would be quite scary, but we have nothing to fear when Jesus is in control. When others ask for our help, we need to trust that God will come through when we step out in faith. Isn’t that what He asked of the child’s father, just believe, that He will help all who believe?
“After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why couldn’t we drive it out?’ He replied, ‘This kind can come out only by prayer (and fasting).’ Mark 9:28-29 NIV
Some manuscripts have prayer and fasting, and I agree that some healings require both.  I also believe, God will direct you if and when you are confronted with a situation as to what to do.  Remember, Jesus said in Matthew 6:16 “when you fast” knowing there would be times when we would need it to gain spiritual strength.
“They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because he was teaching his disciples.” Mark 9:30-31
Don’t you just love the Lord!  We often think the disciples just had to catch everything on the fly, listening along with all the others and catching as much as they could, only having a few moments when they could ask Him some tough questions. Jesus knew this situation with the boy had rocked their faith.  They had attempted to step out and help the father and the boy only to be embarrassed and harassed. They were still feeling the sting of Jesus’s rebuke concerning their faith. And He knew just what to do about it. Jesus knows when we need times alone just with Him, no crowds and no distractions.  Times when we can sit at His feet and just soak up His Presence and all He wants to show and teach us. Those times are absolutely necessary in walking on the kingdom road. If you can’t remember when you’ve had one or if ever, then set aside some time like Mary. Don’t be concerned with the things of this world for they will all pass away. Let Him strengthen your faith and show you things in His word.
“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 KJV

#Faith #Doubt #Miracles #Jesus #Demons #Healed #Disciples #Teaching #Belief #RightBelieving #Devotions

Monday, April 16, 2018

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
                         Lamentations 3:22-23