Monday, July 30, 2007

There Was An *Old Lady*

Coming to grips with my 40 years of life has been quite easy to do. It seems the very core of existance for the world around me is to remind me, vividly, frequently, that I have passed the "flower of my youth."

For instance, I work with a precious girl that serves as my charge nurse. What a sweetheart, she is just a joy to be around...until....

In passing the other night I mentioned that I graduated high school in 1984 to which she innocently and excitedly replied "Oh! That's the year I was born!!"

Yippee...I'm old enough to be her mother.

I can just be strolling along through my day, not really thinking about the fact that I have reached a new age bracket in every survey I receive, or that I too have begun to be concerned with, well, let's just say **bodily function** (something I have always found humorous about those of...ahem...advanced age), and suddenly, whammo, I'm buckled at my varicosed knee by another glaring reminder that time has not only marched on, but has trampled MY youthful flower.

So it seems an old lady has come to night shift, an old lady overwhelmed by the concern of her peers as to *how she's holding up* now that her days are her nights, or her nights are her days, or, well, you get the picture.

The years have taught me a valuble lesson through His Word. Luke 21 speaks of the coming of the last day. I find that verse 28 can also apply to this new stage in my life. "And when these things begin to come to pass, them look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." Every year that passes brings new wonders to my life and also brings me closer to my goal of seeing His face.

**Plus, as a bonus when you lift up your head it helps with that turkey neck!**

God is so good, He's so good to me!!!

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Scent of a Rose

I have always heard the expression “A rose by any other name smells the same.” But I have found this is not to be really true.

I can remember as a child stuffing my nose into the fragrant blooms, closing my eyes and deeply drinking in the pungent aroma. Such a regal smell, it has inspired everything from poetry to perfume. It is a universal scent, always identifiable. What could be more wonderful than a colorful blossom with a strong rich bouquet? Even if you were unable to see, you could experience the beauty of the rose.

And it seems to me the rose itself as a flower has become even more beautiful. Through careful mixing of different types there is now practically every color in the crayon box. But has there been a cost to all this blending of the types of roses?

The Lord gave the command through Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:17 for us to “come out from among them, and be ye separate.” What does that mean? I know that it does not mean moving into a commune and shutting out the world. We have to reach the world. That was our commission in Matthew 28:19. If we are to be a light to the darkness, we must be seen.

But what is it they see? The world knows that we are different. But what does that mean to those lost and hungry souls out there, longing to see His beauty, desiring to rinse the stench of sin from them and bask in the fragrance of truth? What has the cost been to our aroma as Apostolics to allow our experience to be grafted into mainstream religion?

My husband has been so sweet over the years to send me many roses. Anytime I am within range of the vase I always feel compelled to press my nose to the tip of the bloom. I can’t remember the last time I received a bouquet that smelled the way my mind thought they should. It’s as if the beauty is on the surface only, there is no substance, no sweetness. Wonderful to look at, there is nothing deeper to enjoy.

Many are the times I have enjoyed “old fashioned” roses, grown in someone’s yard, with a perfume so strong and vibrant your very senses dance for joy. There is much to be said for those odorous blooms. Although maybe not as flashy as some varieties, they more than make up for it with the lasting impression their smell leaves.

I see so many of our beautiful ladies losing their own fragrance. Allowing our faith and stand on things such as holiness to become watered down to some hybrid version of the experience the pioneers of our faith once held so dear has left some of our saints unrecognizable and some of our churches powerless.

Are our lives still a sweet savor to the Lord, or has our lacksidaisial attitude concerning the basic cornerstones of our faith allowed us to become a stench in His nostrils? What is the true price that will be paid?

Who has not stopped to smell the roses as some point? What if at some point the rose no longer longer had a scent at all? Although still beautiful, it would become just another flower in the garden.

My grandmother always wore the scent of roses, and when I smell the fragrance of the rose I always think of her, even though she died six years before my birth. I know her through my mother and the stories she has passed down to me and through the flower I will forever associate with someone I have never met. I know that she wore rose water. And that smell triggers my own memory of every photo I have seen, ever story I have heard about this woman who invariably shaped who I am.

Mothers, what of our own children? If we continue to dilute our stand, what is the ultimate price? Our stand not only sets us apart from the world, it protects us, and it acts as a hedge from the world. How are we shaping our own children, and even our future grandchildren? If my children’s children never met me in person, what impression would the flower of my life leave for them?

Though we call ourselves Apostolic, Pentecostal, or Oneness, we live our beliefs. There is a lost and dying sea of people around us; what do we expect them to carry away from an encounter with us? Will they be drawn back to us again, much as I am drawn over and over to those wonderful, colorful blossoms? Will they see a face in a crowd, perhaps yours or mine and remember again the beauty of His presence? Or will they see just another flower in the garden of life? Will we just be a colorful bloom with no substance, or will the fragrance of His presence in our lives draw the world to take another sniff?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thou Excellest Them All...

I left the bedside of my mother a short time ago. It seems lately the struggle for her to maintain her health has grown harder and harder.

I have thought so many times during my life how I would have loved to have known her when she was a young girl. From the stories she has shared with me she was amazing. Strong and independent, she was a firecracker. I always bemoaned the fact that it was my brother that got her looks for she has always been a beauty. My Dad has told me that he was the luckiest man in town when he got her.

My mother has always put herself last. She has never been one to complain, never wanted attention drawn to her. She has been content to live her life in the background and let her family shine. She still laughs about the fact that I couldn't understand why my house didn't stay clean like my Mama's once I was married. It never occured to me that she stayed up after we had long gone to bed to make sure everything was done.

My mother married my father when she was 16. A year later my brother came and just 6 weeks after his birth she lost her own precious mother. This was probably the defining moment in her young life and she pressed on, raising her children, and learning on her own all the wonderful things she has passed down to me.

Even now as she once again lies here in the hospital she is thinking of everyone else, trying to will herself well so that she can be home to help my father. And where I have fallen short so many times to meet the example of the Virtuous woman in the 31st Proverb, she has excelled that example in so many ways.

She has been my teacher, my confidant, my strength, and my example. But above all, she has been my Mama. I know looking at her life her own mother would have been so very proud of her little girl that became a woman all by herself, using the examples living in her memory. "Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all." (Proverbs 31:29)

I am so proud to have been her daughter for these 40 years. Her quiet ways speak volumes to my heart as I see the struggle life has taken on. I am not as concerned with the "why's" behind her struggle, as I am humbled by her ability to pick herself up with the attitude of "why not."

So to my beautiful Mama tonight, there are no words that I can say to you to even begin to explain how much you mean to me, the impact you have made on my life, and the love that is here with every beat of my heart. I can only pray that I will be as strong as you have always been. And I'm thankful that I see your strength. I love you so very, very much.
Your Baby Girl...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Virtue or Vice

Jesus was walking through a crowd, no doubt the throng "pressed" in to touch Him from all angles, but for a certain desperate woman in a hopeless situation it was imperative that she reach Him and that His virtue reach her. And reach Him she did. (Mark 5:25-34 and Luke 8:43-48)

Earlier in Luke, in the 6th chapter, we find where a whole multitude was healed in the 19th verse as again the Word says His virtue went out and "healed them all."

So I began to think of the virtuous woman in the 31st chapter of Proverbs. Such qualities she possessed. Using her example as the yard stick by which I measure my own life I surely fall short.

When touching Jesus healing came from His virtue leaving Him. Virtue in this respect meant "power." So this would lead me to believe that power comes by living a virtuous life.

How do we do that in this day and age, that is my question. Of course, I know where the answer lies. "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Philippians 4:8)

2 Peter 1:5-8 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

So what happens if you do not seek to live a virtuous life? 2 Peter 1:9 states "But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins."

The Bible warns us against a life filled with what is the opposite of a virtue, and that is a vice. Proverbs 6:16-19 These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Galatians 5:19-21 goes further stating "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

Looking at the world around me today, it would seem virtue is out of style. Where are the women as are described in Proverbs? I am living in a world surrounded by people who care more for themselves and their own pleasures than they are concerned with home and family, not even to mention the things of God.

I shudder to think of what the NEXT generation will be like since it seems that it is no longer convenient to raise children. The world seems more concerned with propping them in front of a box full of poisonous entertainment or drugging them into silence since too many "normal" children have been deemed in need of medication when a good "old fashioned" remedy is probably more what is needed.

But I am not content to live for myself as most of the empty world seems to be. I am pressing through the crowd, looking for virtue. And I'm desperate. I'm desperate to see my children filled with moral character instead of pills, I'm desperate to see my lost love ones saved. I'm desperate to have a marriage filled with Godly love and passion. I'm desperate to reach this community with the precious Word of God. I am willing to push my way through, to work, to reach, to grasp until I reach Him, because I want that power in my life.

When I see so many I know giving their very souls to fill their lives with empty vices, I want my voice to rise above the noise of sin and cause Jesus to stop and say "Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace."

When the world says it is of no use, by the virtue of my faith, Lord, I know I must touch You.

Lord, let me live my life as a vessel of honor. Let me seek You with my whole heart. Let me press toward the mark of virtue, let me be a blessing to my family, and to those around me. And when I meet someone in need, let them meet You through me. I love You too much to fail You now.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

From Heaven's Point of View

What a sweet anointing we experienced this morning. How much I needed His presence and it seems I was not the only one as He spoke to us in such a powerful way. "I am your strength" was His message.

I have loved this song since the first time I heard it. I have fit it in to many situations in my life. It fits now too. My life and the lives of my family has taken on what seems to be an erratic pattern of extreme highs and lows.

Once again my sweet Mama lies in the hospital after another surgery. Once again my Dad is trying to grab hold of hope for his condition. I sent my son to watch over his Papa this week, to be his eyes and his helper as Dad faces a week of running and testing. (I think God will make a man of my *little man* yet)

So this morning as I sang I could hardly get the words out because each word was my testimony. I shook from head to toe as I praised the One who holds my life in His hands. Because that is what my song is about, my praise.


Today I faced a mountain that I had no strength climb
For the struggle of this journey's left me weak, both in body and in mind
Where I stand to the peak is a distance on my own I cannot reach
So this journey of a thousand steps begins right here on my knees.

Soon I'll soar like an eagle
High on wings of praise
Far into the heavens
Where I can almost see God's face
Rising in His splendor
To heights I never knew
What once looked like a mountain's just a hill
From Heaven's point of view

I may face things tomorrow I can't comprehend today
Circumstances so uncertain make it hard to find the strength to pray
But I'm living in that promise "I'll never leave you, I will always see you through"
So what's this mountain to an eagle flying high from Heaven's point of view.


Thank You Jesus for allowing me to rise above my problems as my praise for You lifts me above my circumstances and reminds me nothing is impossible for You. I love You, I love You, because You care. I couldn't imagine if You weren't there.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

*Right* NOW Faith

"...I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of good courage..." (Joshua 1:5-6)

Rahab was a harlot. Yet when the king of Jericho came to her wanting her to turn over the men that were in her house she set in motion events that would place her, a harlot, in the bloodline of the Saviour. All because she had faith in a God she did not even know.

I do know Him. I know the One that formed the earth, the One that breathed the breath of life into a human form. Yet this woman who had only heard of the things that God had done for others possessed a far greater faith in His ability to deliver than I sometimes do, even though I have been a partaker many times of His goodness.

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1) I have heard many powerful messages that included this verse and my own faith was increased each time.

Why is it I still let doubt creep in?

As I read of Elijah challenging the people to prove their god, I don't see any indication that as he was pouring water upon the sacrifice he had prepared that he at any time thought God would not come through. In 1st Kings 18:37 he prayed "Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again." (and on a side note--isn't it interesting that he said *heart* because as believers we do have to have the same heart toward Him)

Yet just one chapter away Elijah, who had called down fire from heaven that even burnt up the very stones surrounding the sacrifice, was sulking under a tree, whining, and wanting to die because opposition arose against him.

I was sure of myself and my faith was strong when I was thinking of an opportunity I knew was coming my way today. I reasoned within myself that I would ask a certain thing during a conversation and that would help me to know if it was the Lord's will for me or not. But unlike Gideon when my time came to look for my fleece I was afraid.

At that moment I should have had the faith of Rahab who could make petitions known to a God she had never met, instead I was like Elijah, sitting under a juniper tree, forgetting just Who I served.

And as He did for Elijah, He spoke to me in spite of myself.

Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Timothy's Burden

My mind has been on Timothy. Although it has been reasoned that Timothy was in his 30's at the time of his conversion, Paul spoke to him through his epistles as one of young age.

How it must be when God places that call in your heart. When you feel a leading to do a work for Him it must be hard at times to find direction without a Paul to guide you.

And guide he did. Paul used strong yet careful words leading Timothy along through his ministry, guiding him through pitfalls and giving him the basis to make sound biblical decisions within the church.

He said "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity" (I Timothy 4:12)
He taught him how to treat people with respect, earning respect in the process.

I guess as a mother, my own love and appreciation for the teaching of Paul grows with each time I read them, each time I study these writing by Paul to his "son in faith" (I Timothy 1:2). I can only imagine how Timothy's own mother, Eunice, felt seeing the loving guidance that her son was given knowing she could not navigate him through the waters of his charge, but that he needed a man of God to steer him through.

Oh, when the Lord steps in and places a burden within you, the desire you have to "press toward the mark" (Philippians 3:14) becomes consuming. And without a loving hand to direct it would be easy to falter, to make irreparable mistakes, to lose your direction and drive.

I can imagine Eunice on her knees praying for leadership for her son, praying for someone to teach him the things she could not, to teach him what it means not just to be a man, but to be a man of God, to overcome fear and timidness, to rightly divide the word, to fight, to remember, to serve.

I can imagine because I too have prayed, and prayed.

Jesus, will You ever know how much love I have for You in my heart, for it overflows me. To know You hear me, You hear my prayers, my cries, "such knowledge is too wonderful for me." I don't know what is in store for my own "Timothy" but You do for Your Word says "Thou has beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me." And I am so so thankful You have heard the cries of this mother throughout the years and have as always poured out above and beyond anything I could ever ask or hope for. My cup surely runneth over. I am so thankful for the "Paul's" in our lives. My Precious Lord, my Savior, my Jesus. You are the love of my life.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Well, What Do You Know About That?

I while back when I was in such a dilemma concerning my working situation I prayed that God would open a door for a certain job. The door didn' t open for that job, but it did open for me to be where I am and I am sure of that. Tuesday I got a call from the company I was so desperately wanting to work with. There are several openings coming up.

You know, I am no good on my own. If you know me at all then you know that to be true. My Dad has always joked that it takes both my husband and I together to make a whole person. And that is true, in a way. But I know that I am only completed by Jesus.

I look to Him when I am confused, or hurting, or lost, or happy or sad, or rejoicing or mad. Without hurting anyone, He is really what makes me complete. He is the part of me that was missing. And my closeness with Him makes me a better wife and mother to my family.

Doing His will for me and my life is of the utmost importance to me. He speaks to me in so many ways, guiding me along. But at times like this I wish He could call me up and say, "OK, Sheri, this is what you need to do."

I am praying for His leading once again. I don't want to miss any opportunity He has for me, but I also don't want to miss the mark either and be out of His perfect will for me and my family. Help me pray that my heart and my ears will be tuned in once again to hear Him whatever way He chooses to speak to me, I want to hear Him.

Whatever will make it best for me to give Him my all, that's where I need to be.

I love You today, Lord. Always I am amazed at the way You come to me, pouring out Your blessing on my life. I want to be sensitive to You, always listening, ready to go where You send me. And always my prayer is Use me, Lord. I am Yours. I am Yours.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Alpha and Omega??? Yes He Is!!!

I had a thought this morning. It could possibly be the fact that I have been up all night, but it struck a cord in me this weary morning. *And for all who are reading this AMAZED that I had a thought let me say---I Know!*

I face so many problems in life, as we all do. I don't have a special lease on life's trials, but you know how it is when you are the one facing problems that it can seem that way. I was reflecting on the events of the past year of my life and I suddenly understood with great clarity exactly what it means to serve Him.

Before any of my problems ever existed, He did. So why do I doubt that He can do anything when there is NOTHING new to Him under the sun. He has healed EVERY sickness, He has worked through EVERY situation, He has drawn in EVERY type of sinner and backslider, so why would I not believe for one second that He can do it again for me, for my need?

And even more incredible than that to my sleep deprived mind is the fact that long after I am gone and the problems of my life have forever ceased to plague me, He will still be....

Till the very end of all time, till that great day when there will be no more *sorrow there, no more heartaches to bear* He will still be the Great I Am, the First and the Last!

My lazy bones may shout through church, and for all of you who say, *so what, I knew that* let me say maybe it's time for old things to become new again in your heart so you can rejoice in His goodness for ALL time(s).

Have a wonderful, wonderful, day!