Category Archives: And God says…..

God Never Forgets

I love this: God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. Hebrews 6:10

I woke up early this morning. I didn’t sleep much last night. The Lord continues to bring people to me that need prayer and encouragement.

I was going through my pictures recently. So many, many memories. From when I was growing up, to when I was raising my children. I came across certificates of achievements for work, college, school of ministry, and even from when I was in high school. It seemed every where I turned, doors were flying open for me with opportunities to go further than I could have imagined. Wow. Sometimes I just shake my head in wonderment as to how life can change so suddenly…how everything can change in just a blink.

Sometimes, choices can be overwhelming and we simply do the best we can when choosing what seems to be the best choice for us. There is a future with a hope for us. I realize there are times God seems to be the only one in agreement with this. However, because he says it is so, and he cannot lie, it’s important we continue to persevere and push through the setbacks and disappointments, press on and not give up.

I remember when my daughter was in middle school and she wanted to be in band. She wanted to play the flute, and nothing else was acceptable to her. The band director, on the other hand, encouraged her to play the clarinet. They needed more clarinet players, not flute players. My daughter seemed to struggle with mouth placement and the band director once again encouraged her to consider clarinet. I told her to never give up but stay focused and keep trying. She persevered and indeed, she developed the proper flute embouchure and was allowed to play the flute. Hence forth, any time she struggled to achieve something difficult, I reminded her how she overcame before because she pushed through and persevered.

When my son was going into 8th grade, they started the school sponsored football teams. My son had dreamed of playing football since he was seven years old. However, in order to be considered for the team, he would have to successfully complete all his classes. Although he is a good student, he was in a class he would have rather not had to encounter—-and needless to say, he was beginning to see that his dream of playing football might not be realized. I encouraged him to focus on “the prize” of getting on the team, to which my son buckled down, and after a lot of hard work raised his grades. The deciding moment came when his grades came in the mail. He sat with anticipation. As I read the report, I couldn’t contain myself and with excitement I said, “You passed.” You could see the relief come over him. During football practice, my son would do whatever the coach asked him to do, and he would do so with so much enthusiasm, the coach made my son one of the team captains–not because he was so gifted playing the sport, but because he had such a heart for the team and working hard to accomplish the goals. Even after all his hard work, we found my son simply could not coordinate his mind with his body to keep up with the movement of the plays. Even with extra help from the coaches, it became obvious my son’s dream of playing football would not be realized. My son was heartbroken. But in time, my son could see how, even so, God was faithful in helping my son get on the football team.

In looking back on my life, I realize God has been so good to me. Even during the most tragic life events, God was still faithful. Through the good times when, without seemingly any effort from me, good things and good opportunities were coming to me in overtly blessed abundance, God was there with grace and mercy navigating me. During the most tragic events and difficult seasons, when choices were so overwhelming I could barely see the steps before me that I should walk in, God was there with his abounding loving kindness to carry me and say, “It’s okay. I got this.”

At the risk of rising above the natural realm of seeming ungrateful, I’ve found that in the end, the accolades really aren’t the deal breaker. Albeit they are the evidence of great achievements from which great effort was put forth. Yes, they are evidence we were smiled on in an extra special way that day and in that we derive much comfort in being given much favor…but they aren’t what truly makes our life meaningful. Nor should they. They shouldn’t be the deal breaker of deciding whether or not to keep on putting forth great effort to succeed in any given endeavor.

There were so many times I wondered if I would make it through. There were times that were so dark I couldn’t see any light of hope and wondered if I would be able to breathe. I’ve gone from having much to having almost nothing. How we measure our success and how God measures our success is often times completely different.

But God… Through every season God always shows himself faithful. Although what we had once–that inner strength and drive to reach for the stars and really believe we will one day achieve it–may seem dissipated through life’s journey of struggles, I’ve found it’s not really gone. Not really. I’ve found that which God gives, I mean those things God gives that is born from deep within us really never leave us. It’s actually still there–deep inside. It’s up to us, however, to let it rise up once again to champion the call before us.

Be encouraged. Even when life takes a sudden unexpected turn and it seems everything is unraveling around you, it does not take God by surprise. Continue to love him, and in that love help his people. God’s got your back. He’s working things out for you, even when you can’t see what he’s doing at the moment.
Blessings…

Do Not Cast Me Away When I Am Old…

“Do not cast me away when I’m old…do not forsake me when my strength is gone.” Psalm 71:9. The psalmist goes on to say in verse 17 and 18, “Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.”

There is so much wisdom garnered in the history of our elder generation. So many times, we get busy and forget the generation before us who fought for what we have today, who sacrificed so much so we could have better than they had, and those who prayed for us and every generation yet to come that we would know and depend on the God of all creation, the God they grew to depend on and trust. We’ve lost something along the way when we discard their knowledge and understanding of their time and the time gone by. As I get older, I find myself remembering the “good old days” more and more. I have a deep regard and respect for our older generation.

I grew up going to family reunions each year on each side of the family. Not just our immediate families, but our grandparents, great grandparents, aunts and uncles and even those aunts and uncles we knew nothing about, except that we knew they were “kin.” I remember sitting on the front porch with my grandparents, my dad’s parents, hulling peas or cutting corn off the cob while listening to their endless supply of stories growing up on the farm and how good “you kids” have it today, compared to their day.

I remember the times when social etiquette was a force to be reckoned with, in that there were some things you simply did not about. For example, I was about 8 or 9 and we went to visit my uncle Sam. He was my grandmother’s brother. He and his wife owned several acres down the road from my grandmother and from time to time when we visited my grandmother during the summer, we were able to go visit them. He had a lot of cattle and I asked him one time how many “cows” he had. He laughed and said, “Oh, I got about ten.” Aunt Myrtle (his wife) looked at him with that “Oh, you do not” look. But, the rule was, it was rude to ask such a seemingly innocent question. It was the same as asking, “How much money do you have in your bank account.” Life was simpler then.

As I grew, I learned to show great respect for those in authority over me. In fact, if an adult asked me to do something, it was the same as if my own parents asked me to do something. It was simply rude and disrespectful to disregard the position of authority of the elderly. From as young as I can remember, we were very family oriented and were around people who were older and we were expected to treat them as if they were royalty.

Looking back, I guess I was an odd duck. While most teenagers were riding around town on a Friday night or going to the movies or hanging out with their friends on a Saturday night, I was hanging out with my piano, or going to area churches who would gather for their Saturday nite singing. There was an elderly gentleman who could still sing the deepest bass notes I had ever heard. The song director and those of us who wanted to go sing, would pick up him from the nursing home and take him to sing on Saturday night and then take him back to the nursing home when we finished. Oh, how it made him smile and laugh. We would also go to back to the nursing home on a Sunday afternoon about once a month so all the residents who wanted to participate could enjoy some good old fashioned gospel singing as well. Those were the days!

While I was working at the full-service station in my hometown, an elderly black woman came in to have her car serviced. She was a regular customer and we had on many occasions struck up a conversation. That day, while she was waiting on her car to be finished, she looked at me and said, “Do you know how old I am?” I answered “No.” She said, “Take a guess.” I guessed she was in her 60s since she said she was retired. She laughed and said, “You’re way off. I’m 75.” I was in shock. She did not have one gray hair on her head. I asked her how she was able to stay so young looking. She answered, “I don’t worry. I give it to the Lord. I can’t do anything about most things anyway. Worry just makes you old.” She added, “I also play basketball with my grand kids and I don’t eat junk. That helps me stay active.” I was speechless.

Even now, my mother can remember details of life from long ago. In many ways, life was more difficult then, but people learned how to make it through the tough times and for the most part, without falling apart. It amazes me. Yes, there is so much wisdom in our elder saints, if we would just slow down and take the time listen and consider what they have to say. There was so much structure in their beliefs. Looking back, even though the huge salaries were not as prevalent then as they are today, this generation had so much wealth in their hearts and souls for what was most important. I’ve never forgotten what that elderly woman said to me, “I don’t worry. I give it to the Lord.” It reminds me of Matthew 6:25-34, in verse 27, can worrying even add a single hour to your life? I think she got it figured out.

Just as God tells our youth in 1 Timothy 4:12 not to let anyone despise their youth, the same is true for our elder saints, as it says in Luke 1:50 his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. Let us not overlook the wisdom available to us through those who have lived a little longer than we have. Perhaps, there is still room for all of us to learn and grow. Don’t worry. Give it to the Lord.

It’s a Sticky Situation

“This you know, my beloved, but let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” James 1:19, 20

One Saturday morning, when my daughter was 7 years old, I was doing my normal schedule of house cleaning chores. I promised my daughter I would take her to the store to get her a video she wanted, so I was trying to get everything done as quickly as possible. I was finishing up when my daughter asked if she could help me clean the kitchen floor. I said yes, of course (who doesn’t want help from their children, especially when they offer?) As I was getting everything ready for us to get started, I heard a knock on the front door and went to see who was there. When I came back, my daughter was standing at the edge of the kitchen floor looking at her masterpiece. Her face was beaming showing that her heart was about to explode with the anticipation of how I was certainly going to praise her good job and willingness to help clean the floor, knowing we would soon be on our way to get her the “prize” that awaited her.

My heart sank. I looked at the floor in utter disbelief. An entire bottle of blue Dawn dishwashing liquid was squirted out all over the kitchen floor. She looked up at me and smiled. I was beside myself. I couldn’t speak. Finally, I was able to eek out as joyfully as possible, “Oh my. I see.” My first thought was how am I going to get this blue, sticky, gummy mass of mess off of my kitchen floor. My second thought was are we going to get this mess cleaned up before the store closes?? Ugh!! I didn’t want to say or do anything that would crush her spirit and did not want this to keep her from wanting to help again. So, I took a deep breath, looked at her big, beautiful dark brown eyes, smiled and said, “Okay. Let’s get started.” After a little over an hour, with the help of a few gallons of water, a shop vac and a lot of giggles, we were able to get the soap off of the floor. It was then we were finally able to actually clean the floor. Smooth sailing again!

What started out looking like a disaster, ended up being a great time spent together laughing and working together as we went “slip sliding away” on the floor. During this experience, I learned how cold water is good for cutting soapy suds. Then it occurred to me, although the cold water was what I needed to clean up the soap on the floor, the whole experience would have been a disaster if I had let the cold water of my emotions be quick to respond and over react to my daughter’s effort to help.

As children of God, we are to pursue God’s righteousness in all things. In this scripture, God tells us to listen, be slow to speak and slow to anger. In our lives, if we do not become hasty in our reactions or allow how we feel about a situation decide how we respond, then even through the times of dismay, we can still overcome and walk in the righteousness of God.

Pray Even If You’re Outnumbered

The Holy Spirit spoke to me so clearly, “Pray, even when it seems like you’re out numbered.”
Could something so simple make a difference?

That word was so profound and so timely. He reminded me of the story of Jehoshaphat who was the king of Judah. He made unhealthy alliances, which was not God’s choice for him. He thought he was doing a good thing, but it turns out it wasn’t. He thought those alliances could help protect him from enemy attack, but he instead ended up going through great attacks from the enemy because of it.
Jehoshaphat turned away from this alliance and began once again to rely completely on God and trust him with the decisions and choices he made.

Sometime later, a vast army set out to attack the nation of Judah. Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord. Through a prophet, The Lord told Jehoshaphat, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but belongs to God.” Jehoshaphat was given further instructions to go out and face the enemy and that the Lord would be with him.

The next morning Jehoshaphat encouraged his people and said, “have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” They began to sing praises to God. As they began to sing in praise, the Lord sent ambushes against the army and the army was defeated–all without Jehoshaphat or his army having to fight.

This is what the Lord is telling us all. Pray. Talk to God. Rely on him to give you the answers, directions you need. Don’t listen to the voice of doubt or fear. TRUST GOD that HIS WORD will do what He sends it to do–even if it seems like the enemy is gaining ground or if you don’t see the answer right away–and watch God defeat the enemy sent to attack you.

Don’t give up. Don’t give in. The devil is a liar and he’s working overtime on the minds of his people trying to steal your faith and trust in the Lord God Almighty, the one who is all powerful and able to turn things around for good for you!!!