Saturday, September 27, 2008

An Ounce Of Prevention

As a nurse I deal with the effects of lives lived without concern each day of my life. And with my own extra *fluffy* state, I also live with the knowledge that I need to do a better job taking care of myself.

I sat yesterday outside of a conference where I was representing the company I work for at a vendor booth. I have a harder time with this aspect of my job because I became a nurse to care for people, not to "sell" the fact that I care for people, but I am getting better.

A group of women came in from a smoke break, all of whom were grossly overweight, and they made their way to the table to get a coke and return to the conference. 

I was struck by the whole thing.

Every time I shove an iced honey bun (mmmm) between parted lips I am signing my own death certificate. I honestly do make an effort to eat things that are good for me, but I know I could do much better. 

You see, I have a history to remember.

My father was diagnosed with Diabetes when he was 40 years old. He has high blood pressure, has had 5 bypasses, is on renal dialysis and is a below the knee amputee. 

My mother has an artificial heart valve, has high blood pressure, is borderline diabetic, has lost 1/2 of one foot and all the toes but 2 on the other.

Then there are my grandparents...I'm not even going there....

Seeing those women yesterday, though did more for me than any of the problems of my parents. 

These women were all about 10 years or so older than me, or so they appeared. They were all a great deal heavier than me, and they were all struggling to walk and huffing and puffing to get to the drink table. They came shuffling in through a cloud of smoke, literally. And I am glad that their backs were to me, for I know my face reflected my feelings.

*God, please help me.*

There is a point you reach when you have gone too far for the doctor to fix your misuse of your body. After so many years of abuse, the damage is basically done. You truly reap what you sow in this case.

I have got to do better, for my sake, for my husband's sake, for my children's sakes. 

I can prevent ending up in the same shape, but I have no time to waste.

I know there are many people who balk at holiness. I am faced with them over and over. Sadly, I even see it now among the ranks of Apostolics

I have never seen holiness and separation as a *bad* thing. Holiness is like health food for my soul!

It is that very separateness that serves as our prevention! What safety there is when we separate ourselves. We may never know how many unfortunate situations and outcomes have been avoided simply by obedience.

Just as living life without regard to our health will have an effect, so will living without that protection God has provided.

Sin never visits us without leaving its evidence. 

We can once again reach that place of repentance, but sin may leave marks that cannot be erased. 

Holiness is for the prevention of sin. Repentance is the cure.

But even with the cure scars may remain. 

Thank You for Your Word today. Thank you for instructing us how to prevent our souls from being sullied by the sins of this world. In 2 Corinthians 7:1 told us what we were to do after You received us and made us Your sons and daughters and after You became our God. "...let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the free of God." Thank You for loving me enough to show me how to live. I love You so very much!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Idle Worship

There are very few things in this life as powerful as worship. 

Let me repeat that for you, because I don't know if you were REALLY paying attention..ehem...

There are very FEW things in this life as powerful as worship. 

With that being said, let me tell you a little about worship. 

Worship is adoration, to adore. Worship is focusing on that which you adore with everything in your being. When you reach that place of worship you lose focus on what is around you and your focus is centered on what is the center of you.

Have you ever really worshipped?

Let me ask that again...

Have you ever REALLY worshipped?

In the book of John in the forth chapter when Jesus revealed Himself to the woman of Samaria He went on to say, "Ye worship ye know not what; we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."

Let me *break it down* just a wee bit.

He said "we KNOW what we worship." When you ADORE something you know it, like you know your own heart. When I say ADORE I don't mean you are fond of something, I mean you have a deep, abiding LOVE for something, a consuming love. 

The Jews knew about the One True God, but He said *the time is coming when the TRUE Worshippers will worship *the One True God* in spirit and in truth.*

And He said that this is who God is seeking to worship Him. He COMMANDED we worship Him "in spirit and in truth."

When that salvation came to you, when you were filled with that Spirit, you gained the ability to truly worship, for the first time in your life, you had within you the means to WORSHIP.

Now, I'm not talking about some weak, watered down, idle worship. 

I am talking about WORSHIP! I'm talking about laying aside every sin, weight and shackle and losing yourself in your adoration of the ONE you love. 

Have you been to that place?

There is a place in worship where your problem disappear, your troubles don't trouble you, your loneliness is gone, your heartaches, your disappointments, your trials, everything takes a back seat to Him. 

He WANTS that kind of relationship with you. He knows you have problems, but what He loves is to see you cast them all aside to be with Him. 

So to you tonight, I know things are tough, and maybe things haven't turned out the way that you would desire them to be. I KNOW because I'm walking that same road. I'm challenging you, and I'm challenging myself to reach that place again, that place where the TRUE worshiper steps in. That place where everything goes on hold, just so worship can go up. 

When we allow ourselves to reach that place we remember...


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Back From Charleston!!

Bobby & I just got back from a wonderful Anniversary get-away to Charleston, South Carolina! It was more beautiful than I ever imagined and we had an awesome time!! I would that I could put all the pictures I took on here, because, you know me....I took a blue million!! But I settled for only a few. 

We had such a fun time. We did all the touristy things, like the carriage ride, the harbor tour to Fort Sumter, and we even went to see the Hunley.

Probably the most fun we had was dining last night at this very upscale restaurant. I would that I could say the food was my favorite part. I think laughing at the food was my favorite part. Guess I'm not cut out for gourmet. Give me good old southern cooking anytime!! (At least it's cooked....)

I hope you enjoy these few shots. The first shot is from the gardens of the Calhoun Mansion. It is the largest home in Charleston and was used in the movie "The Notebook" a few years back. The second shot is from "Rainbow Row" which was incredible. The colors were amazing all over Charleston. 

I may add some more shots later, but I hope you enjoy these few!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Between The Miracle And This Moment

Do you remember your miracle? Do you remember when you realized exactly what had taken place?

It could be something simple like finding your car keys in the exact place you had already looked 12 times or seeing $5.00 on the sidewalk when you have no money in your pockets. What about the time you were running short on food and someone showed up with some extra groceries?

It could be when the doctors said there was no hope, then He took over, or when your marriage was beyond repair and He stepped in. It could be the child that has been so lost coming back home.

He is still in the miracle business, haven't you heard that said before? He still moves stones, still raises dead, still heals the sick, still supplies needs. He hasn't changed.

I remember with such clarity times He has moved in my life, in my situations, in my struggles. I remember the realization that He had answered my desperate cries, the joy I felt, the awe, the relief!!

And I felt like that eagle flying high over the mountains of problems in my life. But then, time eases in and stretches out, distancing us from the miracles in our life, dulling the brilliance and importance of all He has truly done for us.

As the miracle becomes a dim, faded memory, so does our ability to believe He can do it again.

I have challenged myself to remember. I have challenged myself to thank Him, daily, for the miracles in my life.

Keeping them fresh in my mind keeps them in focus. And as I am able to keep them in focus it encourages me!!

And if I am *ENCOURAGING MYSELF* then the next time I come up against a struggle it will be a whole lot harder to revert into the "poor pitiful me" mode!

I will be able to look my problem in the face and say "Problem, I see you, but time and time again I have seen the Problem Solver in action! No matter how BIG you may seem right now, I remember other miracles before this moment, and I'm not afraid."

Monday, September 15, 2008

Remembering The Miracle

I hope no one will mind as I indulge myself in a little reflective thought tonight.

When I was but a young lass I longed for a wee little baby of me own....

I had been blessed with my daughter who was an absolute perfect little wonder!! But, still, I wanted a son.

I went to the doctor thinking I was pregnant, only to find out that I was not, and probably could not be. That 30 minute drive from the doctor's office was one of the longest of my life. I remember gripping the wheel and begging God, "Please, just one more, just one more."

One month later I woke up on my desk at work and thought somethings not right here. A little test confirmed once again that He answers prayers.

I think as parents we tend to forget as the years pass by exactly what a miracle our children really are. When they are first born the miracle is so apparent, but the time gets in between the miracle and the moment and we loose sight of how precious our children are.

My baby boy turned 18 today. I can hardly believe it. I will never forget the moment I first saw him. He was so tiny and so perfect. I was afraid the whole time I carried him that he wouldn't make it, but make it he did.

He is the son of my prayers so long ago. The prayers of a young mother desperate for *just one more.* He is also the reason I serve Him today, the reason this backslider came back home. God in His mercy used my child to reach me. And that day I returned my son to the One who gave me my miracle.

I have laid him at the altar so many times, and I will continue to do so, no matter the years that pass, for I never want to forget my very own miracle, just as I never want to lose sight of the Miracle Maker.

So to my baby, *yes, you and your sister will always be my babies* I am so blessed. I don't know what I did to deserve you both. You have given me so much joy. There is not much better in life than laughing with you. You are so strong and even though you have only had 18 years of living *you have the brain of a 100 year old man!* I am so very proud of you, of who you are and what you stand for. I cannot wait to see the beautiful life ahead of you begin to unfold!! And to be able to hold your babies someday, and to see my big grown man hold his own miracle for the first time, well that will be the best of the best. I love you so so much!!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Let Go Of The Stone

I must say that I always feel antsy during election time. I have always been an even-keeled kind of person that avoids confrontation at all costs *UNLESS* you are someone with their pants cinched underneath your posterior with that whole said posterior in full view...then I cannot contain myself.

I really try to stay away from listening to the news media. It kind of makes my stomach knot up to just listen to all the muck and ruck that flies back and forth during elections. It seems like it is getting totally out of hand with this election, more so than I recall, but then again, I have tried to block out all the garbage from before, so who knows.

But as this election has unfolded, I have found myself paying attention. For some reason this time, it seems particularly important that I remain somewhat in the loop.

I have observed the tossing back and forth of stones by each side. There is so much about politics that I don't quite understand by personal choice. But I understand enough to know that there is danger on the horizon, the danger lies in desperation.

And again I am drawn back to that familiar story of Jesus, stooping in the sand, quietly stopping all the accuser of this woman found in sin.

What if the candidates followed his example? What if they said I'm not engaging in that kind of nonsense?

I have always told my children when someone *shows out* really bad about something it usually means they have something they themselves feel guilty of and they are trying to get the attention on someone else's short comings to take the attention off their own. Time and time again that has proven to be true. The old favorite saying of mine "Right wrongs no man" comes to my mind again.

Let them stand on their experience, on their qualifications, let them drop the rocks they have raised to throw and use the platform of whatever they feel will make them the wisest choice.

Winston Churchill once said; "However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results."

What is the result of throwing stones? Jesus said while keeping His eyes from the accusers that the one among them without sin should throw that first stone, and as I have said before, since He was the only one without sin and He did not pick up a rock, who are WE to do so.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Message Of

I have spent a couple of days this week traveling around my area with the head of our Community Education Department. He is a terrific guy and full of idea, young and upwardly mobile, I have gleaned much from him.

Over the years I have spoken many times and if I am well versed in my subject matter, then I do really well and can be quite eloquent.

BUT...for some reason, with this guy standing over my shoulder, I tanked.

He told me, "You go ahead, and I will jump in if I see you drowning."

Well folks, I was about 10 feet below the surface of the murky pond of public speaking before he dove in with a life preserver.

When we left his only comment was "You say *um* too much."

Um, I never um really even um realized I um did that!!

I told him, "Give me a break, guy! You have the marketing degree!!! I'm a NURSE!!" :)

He gave me so many wonderful ideas, and I WAS excited about the in-service I had planned for today, until, um, Jason pointed out that I um said um too much!!

Needless to say, I was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockers (OK, lame, I know, but I'm tired, people...cut me some, um, slack!!)

Everyone was gathered around and I looked at them with my notes clutched to my chest and I said, "OK, I'm nervous," and I explained to them what had taken place the last time I had done this.

Just as I had hoped, everyone laughed.

"I am just a Nurse, but I believe in this program, and that's what I want to share."

And the rest, as they say, was history. I ROCKED!!!

I have been feeling pressured to obtain the goals set before me with my office. And I have let that pressure override every sane thought, at times. Since there are 2 other companies here that have been here and are established in the community I have felt that was a barrier to our meeting our goals.

But my God has a way of reminding me just WHO He is and that He is in control of little ole' me!!

As I stood there today listening to the staff in the offices I went to, the theme was the same. We want someone who will do what they say they will do...

And He spoke to me oh, so clearly, "What you thought was a stumbling block is a launching pad."

John Ford said: "You can speak well if your tongue can deliver the message of your heart."

It wasn't the fact that I was an eloquent speaker that made the difference today, it's that I delivered the message that I FELT inside of me. And when I opened myself up and gave who I really am, not who someone else may feel like I should be, I received the response I needed.

And, sure, there are other providers out there that have more than we do RIGHT now, but I believe in the promises I have set before me.

"Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there."--Babe D. Zaharias

There may have been someone before me, trying to reach the same people, but something in their delivery was not up to par. That's where I step in.

There are also people out there who have been looking for Him, and have had others come to them with the answer to the longings of their hearts, or so they thought. But after a while it seems empty, and the need for more rises again.

That's where we step in. You don't have to be able to deliver an awesome speech, use words that are 10 miles long, just give them the message of your heart....

It gets them every time!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I'm Expecting!!!!

I can remember all those years ago when I found out I was pregnant with my children. Both times I was surprised. But it was the emotions that followed those pronouncements that I was going to be having a baby that I remember most.

The anticipation, the fear, the excitement, the joy, the expectation, and a million other emotions all bottled up inside of me. Each day brought that longed for event closer and closer. And each day brought changes within my body that prepared me for being able to fulfill that particular destiny, the moment when I would actually giving birth, the moment I would see the culmination of every dream I had ever dreamed coming true before my eyes.

I read everything I could about pregnancy. If the doctor told me to stop something, guess what? I stopped. If he told me to start something, I started. I KNEW that it was not only ME any longer. I knew that I had taken on the responsibility of another life, and in order to give that new life the opportunity to be healthy I needed to take care of myself, I needed to do whatever was necessary to protect my growing child.

And I remember with the clarity that only a mother can remember with the moments of giving birth. I can remember the excitement that accompanied the pain, the overwhelming joy and the inexplicable love. I can remember the release and the relief when those lusty cries reverberated throughout the delivery rooms.

Working as an Obstetrical Nurse for as long as I did I had quite a few occasions to *catch* a new life in my hands. I cannot even begin to explain what that feels like. Nothing I have ever done in my professional career compares to wrapping my hands around such a miracle.

Micah 4:10 Being in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the and of thine enemies.

Isaiah 66.8 Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.

When the church {ZION} travails children are born. And you know what, we may have to go out to our cities, we may have to seek them in the countrysides, We may EVEN have to go into the parts of town we would rather avoid, but GOD is calling to us.

Can you feel the excitement, the anticipation for what is about to take place? I can!

As I was praying this morning God spoke so clearly to me: "You're expecting."

I answered, "Yes, LORD, I am expecting."

I am expecting.

And I may have to stop doing certain things, I may have to start doing certain things, I will follow the dictates of the Word, because I understand the responsibility I have! I am part of Zion, and my time of travail is at hand. It is my responsibility to give birth. That is the whole point of my existence.

And as my time draws nearer, as the time of the church draws nearer, I am getting ready, preparing for the additions, expanding to make room for all that God is about to do.

Lord, I heed to Your call. I will go where You would have me to go, do what You would have me to do. I know that my time is at hand, but not only my time, YOUR time is at hand, isn't it Lord? Lead me, prepare me, use me. I want to give birth by reaching out to this lost and dying world.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Put On A Happy Face

I am sitting here in the waiting room in ICU. Today has been a day. I was on my way to a meeting this morning when I got a call from the nurse saying my Mom wanted to talk to me. I could hardly understand her.

Needless to say I did a u-turn and head to Valdosta.

It has been a rough day.

My Mom looks really bad. It just breaks my heart. She has been crying off and on all day.

I have been holding it together by a string and a prayer.

I have been worried about her. I worried that when she went home she would not do what the doctor said she should do. I worried because I work and am unavailable for 9 hours a day. I worried they would need me and I would not be available.

I worry, but does that make me faithless?

I don't know, but I don't think so. But maybe I should be praying, "Lord, I believe, but help thou my unbelief."

I know I'm a child of mercy. I know that God is in control. And I trust Him. Look at all he has brought me and my family through. Does that mean that my faith is lacking because I hurt, because I look in the face of reality and finding it looking back at me?

I don't want to appear to anyone that I don't fully believe that MY God is able. I know without a doubt He is.

I am expecting it, but sometimes I feel weak, not my faith, but me....

Sometimes I get weary having to be strong. Does that make me bad?

I think it just makes me human. It is the reason I need Him. and I do, Oh So Much.

So I have learned to *suck it up.* I have learned that when I am weak, I have to paste a smile on my face and lean COMPLETELY on Him.

And it seems when I am at my weakest, others may find me disappointing, but He is never disappointed in me

When I end up a blubbering mass at His feet, He doesn't say, *Oh ye of little faith.*

He says, *I know it's hard, but I am here. I will never leave you or forsake you.*

So I have learned to suck up a LOT. I have learned that I can hold it together with a string and a prayer, and then, when the time comes, I can throw myself at His feet. And He always catches me.

Tonight I stood by the bed and held my Mom's hand, literally. She did not know I was there, so I held her still hand in mine, and I reminded her that I was there, and I was strong for her. And I pasted a smile on my face and one in my voice.

I love You tonight. You have held me up today, I could not have stood without You.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Winner By Random Drawing

What child does not love the story of "David and the Giant?" We all hoped to be able to slay the giants that we face in our own young lives using David as our inspiration since he was young himself and was able to win where bigger, stronger, older, more experienced soldiers could not.

Still today, the story fascinates me. Being the youngest child of three, I know what it is like to live in the shadows.

Here sat little David, singing to his Lord, tending the sheep, while his older, wiser and stronger sibling were about doing the important stuff.

I never noticed David feeling pity for himself.

He goes, at his father's bidding to check on his brothers. He finds everyone cowering in the face of a *giant*.

Instead of joining his brothers behind the rock to shake and quake in the face of the enemy he boldly stood and said, *I'll fight him!*

Out of the brook he takes 5 smooth stones, the rough edges removed by the adversity caused by the water moving constantly over the surface.

Let's imagine, for a moment, that David had named each stone.

1 Samuel 17:45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou has defiled.

Let's suppose one stone he named Jehovah-Shammah: The Lord is Present. Had he picked this stone and used it, he would be saying, "God is here, right now."

Or what if he named one Jehovah-Jireh: The Lord will Provide. Had he picked this stone and used it, he would be saying, "God provided me the means to fight."

Had he named a stone Jehovah-Nissi he would be saying "God is my victory."

Or what about Jehovah-Saboath: The Lord of Armies. David would be saying God is the Lord over this battle, and all of the armies of Israel.

But for tonight, let's supposed as David randomly reached in and pulled out a stone, he pulled out the one he had named Jehovah-Tsidkenu: The Lord our Righteousness.

1 Samuel 17:48 says: And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew night to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.

The giant stood thinking *who is this pipsqueak??* Instead of running behind the rocks or climbing into the ditch with his big brothers, David ran to face the problem head on.

1 Samuel 17:49 And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence *Jehovah-Tsidkenu,* and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead: and he fell upon his face to the earth.

Jehovah-Tsidkenu: The Lord our Righteousness. I love it. Not the Lord IS our Righteousness, but The Lord OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS!!

What are you battling today? Have situations you are facing made you feel inferior to the *GIANTS* around you? Maybe it's time you quit cowering from your problems and run boldly to face them. Maybe it's time you stopped waiting for someone else to come along and take care of the problems you face and you grabbed hold to the Lord to fight for you.

Which stone will you need for your fight? Maybe you need Jehovah-Rophe: The Lord who Heals, or Jehovah-Shalom: The Lord our Peace. Maybe you need Jehovah-Rohi: The Lord is my Shepherd. Or could you use the help of Jehovah-Mekeddshem: The Lord who Sanctifies.

Whatever you are facing, He IS Jehovah-Shammah! And His NAME IS JESUS!!!