Eye of the Storm

Peace in the midst of the Storm

Today, I sit and wait on Florence to arrive at my home. She has ravaged the NC coastline and kept me in the dark for days about my daughters well-being.  Today, though, I received good news for a change.  All is well where she is and her home is still standing with minimal damage.  Praise God!  Watching the rain and wind now brings me little anxiety as compared to the past few days.  God has answered prayer.  “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24.  As I praised God this morning, I just felt this song in my heart.  I needed to hear it and sing it.  The emotions of the last few days are wrapped up in these words by Ryan Stevenson.

When the solid ground is falling out
From underneath my feet
Between the black skies and my red eyes
I can barely see
When I realize I’ve been let down by my friends and my family
I can hear the rain reminding me

In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds, me in the eye of the storm

I know that as I watched, waited, and cried these last few days, God was with me and he comforted me and cared for me.  “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4.  He loved me like no one could in such circumstances.  He was my rock and anchor when I felt like everything was out of control.   He provided my solid ground.

Faith in the midst of the Storm

This past week when I felt out of control and helpless, it was my faith that kept me going through the storm.  “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1.  Walking in my faith has been the strength God has provided as I waited and waited for word of the storms impact.

When my hopes and dreams are far from me
And I’m running out of faith
I see the future I pictured slowly fade away
And when the tears of pain and heartache are pouring down my face
I find my peace in Jesus’ name

In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me, in the eye of the storm

Faith is all that can bring peace in the midst of storms in life.  Whether the storm is real or just storms of life the only peace can be found in faith.  “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Romans 5:1.  Guard your soul with the word of God.

Trust in the Lord

So this storm has taught me to trust more in the Lord.  To give my worries to him and stand in his strength and faith.  He is my protector.  “He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.” Psalm 91:4.  I will hid under his wings through the storm.


When they let me go and I just don’t know
How I’m gonna make ends meet
I did my best
Now I’m scared to death
That we might lose everything

And when a sickness takes my child away
And there’s nothing I can do
My only hope is to trust You
I trust You LORD

In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me, in the eye of the storm

In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me in the eye of the storm

Closing Verse:  “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.”  2 Thessalonians 3:16.

Challenge: Find refuge and peace in the eye of the storm under your Father’s wings where peace and faith live.

 

 

Visit Ryan’s website: http://smarturl.it/ryanstevenson

Connect with Ryan Stevenson:

Facebook: http://smarturl.it/ryanfacebook

Instagram: http://smarturl.it/ryansinstagram

Twitter: http://smarturl.it/ryanstwitter

 

 

Searching for a New Heart – Part 3

IMG_4288

Heart of Wickedness

I have been  meditating, read scriptures on the heart and praying for more guidance by the Lord from scripture for my  heart. Fully understanding what must take place in my heart means I must fully understand my heart and how it works in this world where the devil operates.  As I look back at Jeremiah 17:9 the verse that really began this walk for me, I look at different versions to dig for deeper meaning from the verse.  One of my favorites is the ESV, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”  I really start to realize not just how I need to focus on my heart but how hard it is to understand others especially when the heart is full of such wickedness.  No one can understand the heart and maybe not even the person whose heart is consumed with wickedness.  That is a scary thought.  Not just for those I love but for me.

Christ – A sacrifice for the Heart

Romans 1:21 in some ways expresses this even among believers “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”  The frightening impact of that verse is that even those that know God may not choose to honor God because of their heart.  I pray that will not be my heart.  Lord I ask that you lead me to a new heart, and one that loves and prays for the hearts of those who are lost.  It is sad that man had to find this wicked path, but as I study the heart, I realize the impact that God has had with the gift of Christ to save me from my sins.  I can feel hope in his resurrection that my heart can be resurrected from the wickedness that it bears.  From the fall man has had wickedness in his heart.  Genesis 6:5 reads, ” The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”  These words bring tears to my eyes to know that God has endured so much pain by man that he loves so much, and that love provided a sacrifice in Christ that would save us all from our wicked hearts.

Heart of Pride

Acts 7:51 reads “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in hearts and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit.  As your fathers did, so do you.”  The evil in man has been for so long sometimes I think it is even hard for us to see it.  People who have uncircumcised hearts have hearts that are not purified and heathen.  An uncircumcised heart leads to a hard heart which leads to no relationship with the Lord.  Ephesians 4:18 says, “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.”  May God give the wisdom not to be ignorant so my heart my live and rejoice in the Lord.  Ignorance that has a heart like the one in 2 Peter 2:14 “They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin.  They entice unsteady souls.  They have hearts trained in greed.  Accursed children!”  These verses take me back to Proverbs 16:5 and the pride God hates in our hearts.  Searching I found Jeremiah 49:16 which speaks of more pride and how the Lord will still hunts us “The horror you inspire has deceived you, and the pride of your heart, you who live in the clefts of the rock, who hold the height of the hill.  Though you make your nest as high as the eagle’s, I will bring you down from there, declares the Lord.”   Even full of pride the Lord can bring us to our knees.

Resurrection Saves My Heart

Yes that is what he has done to me.  I refuse to have a hard heart one that is spoken of in Romans 2:5 “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgement will be revealed.”  I want the heart of Matthew 6: 21 that is full of treasures in heaven – “For where you treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  May my heart and my treasure be full of the resurrection of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who is spoken of in 1 Peter 2:24, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.  By his wounds you have been healed!  Praise God – He is Risen!

Closing Verse:  Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Challenge:  I have the same prayer for you and your heart!  Seek to find Christ in your Heart.

Searching For a New Heart

IMG_4254

Recently, I started looking back at some of my post and find this random 4 part series on the heart back in 2013.  I was not writing regularly back then so decided to repost this series over the next few weeks with some edits.  (First posted on March 13, 2013)

Open My Eyes to My Heart

kablam_glossy_heartSometimes I sit in awe of the Lord and how he leads us and draws us near to him.  Recently I have been praying and asking God to help me let go of some things which were causing me to become a person I did not want to be.    It is funny sometimes how something you have always known just really comes to light and you have to accept it for what it is.  I guess the finality of acceptance is something we as humans try to avoid.  I know that I have in many areas of my life.  As God recently opened my eyes to this ugly person I did not want to be, he sent me searching through scripture and everywhere I turned he introduced me to my heart.  Not this heart that I can be proud of but the real heart inside of me.  I will get to that.  I feel lead to share where God is leading me on this in-depth discovery of the heart.  I long for the new heart the scriptures speak of but to have that heart I must understand the heart as a whole.

Good vs Evil

The heart can be root of both Good and Evil, but more often the heart will lead us down the easiest road and usually that is not where we truly want to go.  As I read various scriptures, I decided to turn to Strong’s Commentary for some guidance and here I found a plethora of verses that speak of what is seeded in the heart.  I was lead to all this because I was not right and I quietly and silently began really listening to God.  He began to show me so many things about myself as I read the scripture.  Everything kept leading toward the heart and that caught my attention.  Specifically I began a 6 day devotional study on Love & Marriage I found and guess what Day 1 was on – you guess it – the Heart.  This first devotion is the initial cause of my digging.  I felt God calling me to the scriptures for more.  One of the verses shared in the study on day 1 was Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” I felt completely and utterly a failure because following my heart without God would always lead to wickedness because the heart is wicked.  Who can know our heart?  The simple answer is only God and he knows all our wickedness.  So begins this journey to know my heart.

Following Scripture

I have been visiting verses lately that speak of what is rooted in the heart.  These verses can sometimes seem good but if you really look at what can come from the heart you see the wickedness.  The first verse from Jesus in Matthew 5: 28 “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  So our sin before it is revealed has already been committed in our heart.  But what of lust as I noticed a verse was listed that spoke specifically to this word found in Romans 1:24 “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves.”  So God pulled away and their hearts took over which lead back to Matthew 5:28.  What of our desires?  Romans 10:1 says “…my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.”  At first read, this sounds good but looking deeper I see that we have to have control of what our heart desires.  Left alone we become the heart in Matthew 5 and Romans 1.  As I sit speechless and pray that the Lord will help me find my new heart with him.  I am almost afraid to continue on but the draw is powerful to read more.  What more words did Jesus have to say about the heart?

Mark 11:23 reads in the words of Jesus, “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”  This verse sounds so awesome, but to have this faith.  It is so easy to say yes Lord I have this much faith when really my heart doubts.  Jesus says in John 14:1 ” Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.”  I must not let trouble and doubt fill my heart just the Lord so my faith can overcome the wickedness my heart desires.  These words are similar to those from Isaiah 35: 4 “Say to those who are fearful-hearted, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with a vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.”  With such words from our Lord why do I let me heart be my guide?

Time to meditate on these words from scripture.  Putting this puzzle together is encouraging but also brings me to my knees in need of prayer.  Before seeking more it is time for prayer.  Time to start seeking my new heart.

Closing Verse: “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

Challenge:  My prayer is that God will be my guide and work in my heart. May he also be yours.

 

 

Count Your Blessings

IMG_1066

I haven’t spent as much time in the car listening to the radio this summer and since I have been working this past week once again my drive includes listening to KLove.  I have these moments when listening to music sometimes and it goes like this, What is the name of this song?  Who sings this song?  I really love the message of this song!  I need to Shazam this song?  So today I am sharing a new song for me and the impact while driving to work as I thought about the meaning.
Count Your Blessing
Rend Collective
I was blind, now I’m seeing in color
I was dead, now I’m living forever
I had failed, but you were my redeemer
I’ve been blessed beyond all measure

Blessed

If there is one thing I have fully determined this summer, it is that I am blessed.  God has given me the time to disconnect from the world and focus on Him and what he has given me.  “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”  James 1:17.  I have been blessed with two beautiful daughters who are hard working and independent.  I have been blessed with a loving husband who has loved me now over 30 years with all my faults and failures.  I have been blessed with a career that touches children and (I pray) I have changed some of their lives.  God is Good, but this summer He asked me to really look and appreciate the beauty he created and blessed me with.  Although, I understand the words I was blind and now I see in color as being saved, the past month showed me that color in 3D.  I really see the colors now, Lord.  I see what is important.  I am living and want to continue to live both here and forever with you.  “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,” 1 Peter 5:6.

Treasure

I was lost, now I’m found by the father
I’ve been changed from a ruin to treasure
I’ve been given a hope and a future
I’ve been blessed beyond all measure
I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Letting go and trusting when I cannot see
I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Surely every season you are good to me
Oh, you are good to me
Oh, you are good to me
God is showing me the treasures he has stored up for me.  “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.” Luke 12:33.  I want to focus more on trying to live out this verse.  Sell, share, and live with less in order to experience God more.  He is allowing me to taste heaven here on earth, and I am thirsty for more.  I want to experience more of his beauty and grace.  I want to not just count my blessing but enjoy my blessings.  I want to enjoy a future that is full of both my Father in heaven and my remaining days here on earth.   Luke 12:34 states it best, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Strength

You were there in the valley of shadows
You were there in the depth of my sorrows
You’re my strength, my hope for tomorrow
I’ve been blessed beyond all measure
I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Letting go and trusting when I cannot see
I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Surely every season you are good to me
Oh, you are good to me
Oh, you are good to me
I have walked through valleys and across mountain tops and I know that my life will be filled with both.  Yet, I have hope in God’s strength, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”  Philippians 4:13.  As I walk through the life God is giving me and count the many blessings, I know that I continue to need his strength to make the decisions and walk his path.  I know that the only strength I can rely on is that which the Lord provides.  Driving and listening to this song, I feel my Lord’s strength which I will need and promised to me in  1 Chronicles 16:11, “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!”
Surely your goodness pursues me
Surely your heart is still for me
I will remember your mercies all my days
Through every storm and gale
Closing Verse: “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31.
Challenge:  Take the time today to stop and count your blessings and lean on the Lord’s strength for your life.

 

Songwriters: Gareth Gilkeson / Chris Llewellyn / Bridget Herron / Ali Gilkeson / Will Herron / Steve Mitchell / Patrick Thompson
Counting Every Blessing lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group

 

God is my Anchor

Lessons Learned – Here are a few.

Lesson #1:  Ok, I said there would be a guest post, but as new cruisers we have learned a lesson we should have already known.  Don’t boat on a schedule, so our planned four day trip from St. Petersburg, Florida to Mobile, Alabama took seven days.  Therefore our new blog site does not have a post ready yet, but now that we have stopped I will be able to spend some time reflecting on the last seven days.  Take your time because there is a time to hurry and sometimes there is a time to be patient and cruising in a boat is a patient time.  “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:” Ecclesiastes 3:1.

Lesson #2:  Prepare for the worst.  “But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”” Luke 21:36.  Yes, we learned a lesson the hard way one night and did not prepare and protect ourselves as we should have, but God was there and help us through the storm, literally, and provided us the wisdom that only he can provide.  “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5.

IMG_4070

Lesson #3:  Have a good anchor.  All I can say is that our anchor is pretty special to us after this first voyage.  I have thought often of all she has held us through over the last seven days.  I look at her and see her as a metaphor of Christ.  Christ is our rock and he holds us close to him and protects us from evil.  That is what our anchor did she held us close and protected us.  “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,”  Hebrews 6:19.

IMG_4069

So I will try again next week to share our new traveling blog and our first passage.  Stay tuned for more lessons and all the fun!

Closing Verse:  “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:14.

Challenge:  Make Christ your anchor and live life today!

Happy Friday

IMG_2603

 

New Body…New Life

IMG_1332

Celebrating Life

This past weekend we laid my mother in law to rest.  The funeral was such a celebration of her life and I am thankful for friends and family who came together to celebrate her.  I can smile again thinking about her life and knowing that she has found a new home in heaven.  Last week I was mourning while watching the slow and painful stages of death. My heart was broken as I watched her through nine long days and I longed for her to find peace with her Father in heaven.  “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18.  I could only ask each day over and over -Why is she hanging on?  Others around us asked the same question or Who was she waiting on?  I am not sure and we may never know, but a friend did share that God would not take her home until her purpose was complete.  “Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,” Job 14:5.  We may not know her final purpose yet, but I do believe there was a purpose in the last nine days of her life.  May God’s Will Be Done.

Party in Heaven

Last week I could only mourn her end and how heart wrenching it was to watch, but now I can celebrate her life and knowing that she is “partying” in heaven.  (We told her everyday that she was going to be late for her party).  I know that at her party she now is new and alive.  “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,” John 11:25.  Her frail and worn body has been replaced with a heavenly body promised by God in 1 Corinthians 15:54, ” When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:  “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

God’s Promise

Scripture brings so many promises to believers of what God has done, is doing, and will do.  God provide the perfect sacrifice in his son Jesus Christ, so that through death we now can find life.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.  While we walk through this earthly life longing for our home in heaven, God is preparing a place for us in his house.  John 14:1-3 provides us with this promise, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”   So I walk now more confident in my future and in the promises God has made because I have victory in Jesus – ““O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-57.  Death has no hold on me anymore because Christ conquered Death.  I fear not.  “And the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”  Revelations 1:18.

Closing Verse:  “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4.

Challenge:  Walk each day in the faith that this earthly world is not your home.

 

#ITSPERSONAL

IMG_3840

Personal

My family is a family of educators.  Our history is full of educators, but I will not bore you with all the extended details.  “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” Colossians 3:20.  I do want to share my direct line:

My Grandmother (Father’s Mother):  Swanee

My Father:  Alfred

Me:  Allie

My Daughter:  Hannah

We are a lineage of public educators and I can remember some of my parent’s struggles growing up, but I know there was nothing else my father should have been doing except loving students.  He  was a middle school physical education teacher, a coach, and an administrator at all levels.  People to this day continue to tell stories about his love for his job, other educators, and students.  I followed his footsteps as a high school English teacher and finally as a middle school school library media coordinator.  I found my passion!  I love this age!

Now, as I near the end of my career, I pass the passion torch to my daughter who chose a harder yet fulfilling path.  She loves her students deeply as she walks each day through the doors of a low performing school with low income students.  She loves and cares for sometimes their physical needs, sometimes their mental needs.  She celebrates their successes often and cries with them when they struggle.  So yes, Public Education is personal.

IMG_3823

#RedForEd

Last week the country watched a unified effort as North Carolina educators stood up for their students.  I am sad to see how others view educators.  I know the evening news shows the bad most of the time in education, but the majority of educators come to work and love their “kids”.

I have seen teachers:

  • Buy clothes and sew clothes for students
  • Buy formal wear
  • Buy food
  • Provide snacks, breakfast, and lunch money
  • Get students medical services
  • Tutor on their own time after school or at the public library
  • Buy school supplies not just for their classroom but individual students.
  • Be parent stand-ins
  • Travel to watch and support student’s passions

These are just a few of the things I know teachers have done for their students. “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6.  Honestly, schools nor educators are financially able to meet the needs of some of our students.  I firmly believe the majority of educators want better for their students and classroom before themselves, but even educators deserve better.  Yet, why don’t we want better for students and their teachers.  ”

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11.

I pray our “elected leaders” in both parties are doing more than listening because as our family motto goes, “Actions Speak Louder Than Words”.  Act for our students and the educators who love them.”

Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance,”  Proverbs 1:5.

My Favorite Teacher

Jesus was our great teacher.  “This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”” John 3:2.  His example is one I see in so many teachers.  Think about your favorite teacher, I know that when I compare mine to Christ, I see clearly God’s work.  When I think of some of the great teachers who touched my life, I remember characteristics such as service, discipline, loving, passionate, and caring.  All of these are characteristics of Jesus Christ, My Savior and Great Teacher.  Yes, I believe teachers are the some of the strongest people I know.

Closing Verse:  “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”  Matthew 28:19.

Challenge: Volunteer in your local school.  They really need you in the coming weeks.  Go and see God’s work.  There is nothing better than touching a child’s life.

#WatchGod

God continues to show his grace.  God continues to bless.  God continues to allow this person to shine.  My prayers continue for God to bless and show his love in this person’s life.

#WatchGod

IMG_2992 (1)

Loving Others

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34.  I am beginning a May Challenge that I read about recently,  and will be sharing my journey each week in my blog post.  I am sharing the challenge now hoping that readers will join me and share their experiences with me and others.  I want to hear what happens!  So……

Challenge

Here is the Challenge:

Screen Shot 2018-03-18 at 9.03.33 PM

Choosing Someone to Love

As a sidenote, I keep prayer cards one for each person that I pray for each day.  This is a tip I learned in a life group reading and discussing the book, A Praying Life by Paul L. Miller.  I feel lead to choose someone not on my prayer cards.  This might have been the greater challenge because I have a lot of prayer cards!

I looked around me at others who touch my life for that person that God was calling me towards.  That person who needed something, and then God place him/her in front of me.  “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24.

Challenge Begins

I begin my 30 days of prayer for this person today.  “Pray without ceasing,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17.  I can not wait to share what I see God doing in his/her life each week!  If you accept this challenge please share what God is doing through your prayer life for this person.  Join Me in #WatchGod.

Closing Verse:   1 John 4:19-21 “We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

Challenge: Ask God to provide someone for you to spend 30 days praying for.  #WatchGod

Sometimes I Wonder Why?

IMG_0224

 

Why?

This past week I was reminded of God and how he works in my life.  I move through life and forget sometimes how much control he really has in my walk.  How he cares for me and others around me?  This week he reminded me once again of his presence in my life. “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” John 14:20.  I stood in a moment when I knew that God had been at work.

Skip it or not?

I have to honestly admit I was dreading something this past week.  The snow at the beginning of the week made it even more desirable to skip out on a promise I had made, but I knew I had given my word so I plunged forward.  I guess I felt my heart strings being pulled and did not even know why.  “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28.  That is the work I saw from the Lord this week.  He used everything to bring good not just into my life but to those around me.  I am not sure if those with me realized the impact but this day did not pass me by without knowing that God had been in full control and done his good work.

Where God is?

Now looking back from the other side and knowing that I almost did not go, I can see God’s full plan and the blessings he provided for me.   I thought I did not want to go, but now I know that I would not have missed it for the world.  What I thought I was going for had nothing to do with the lesson that God taught me that day.  Where was God?  He was in an unexpected place where I was not looking, yet he reminds me to look every where for him.  “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:13.  Maybe it was a slap in the face to remember that I am to be seeking him, but when I fail like this past week he will seek me.  “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10

Closing Verse: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own           understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

Challenge: Seek God first in all that you do, but know that he will seek you in a place you might least expect it.

Celebration in Heaven

IMG_1207

Saying Good Bye

Over the past week or so, I have watched the country say good-bye to a man who believed in the walk to Heaven.  He has preached to Louis Zamperini and was known as the Pastor to the Presidents, as he prayed and advised many.  He has loved so many people and so many have been touched by his passing.  Even as he made his last trip from Montreat, NC to Charlotte, NC, the roads were lined with so many people who needed to say goodbye.  I struggled to watch news report about him because for some reason losing him has brought forth in me so much emotion.  I did not know him or his family, but he was just a person who seems to easily connect with people – thousands and thousands of people.  This past Sunday night, I watch the short documentary and just cried, but I know that living or dead, Billy Graham belongs to God.  “For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.”  Romans 14:8.  It feels like the world has lost something good. Someone who found the good when there seems to be so much hate.  Rev. Billy Graham personally touched me at a trying time in my young life with his words, and for that I am thankful.

Funeral+Service+Held+Rev+Billy+Graham+Billy+YuEU0pZ-a--l

Zola

In November of 1987, I said another goodbye that caused more pain than I had felt in my 19 years of life.  My grandmother, Zola Williams White, passed away.  She was such a role model for me, and I saw and knew her love for Christ.  What she and I failed to do was talk about death and her not being in my life one day. What would that be like?  I was a Sophomore in College, I needed to know where she was or if she was.  Seems strange to tell this story now, but back then without a laptop, smart phone, etc to do simple research, I began a journey to find some answers. “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”  Hebrews 11:6

(my grandmother)

Heaven

This journey began by finding Christian bookstores and visiting each looking for answers about Heaven.  I looked at so much material.  I read many, but we all  know that there is not really an answer to be found.  I have to stand in my faith just as she had done for some many years.  I know looking back she was not afraid, but where I found my comfort was in a book written by Rev. Billy Graham.  Facing Death and the Life After was published in 1987 released just about the time of her death.  I feel like it was written for me, and reading this book began a turning point for me to walk in faith after being so angry with God about losing her. I realized that Heaven is a place that Christ promised us while on Earth.  “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?”  John 14:2.  I long to be there.

Unknown

Goodbye is not Forever

So watching the funeral and events leading up the funeral have been painful knowing that a great man of God is not among us anymore, but how happy heaven must be to have Billy Graham home.  One day I pray that I meet Billy Graham in heaven standing along side my grandmother who I know is loving both Christ and Billy today.  How do I know?  God’s Word Tells Me -“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  Psalm 119″105.

c93b53ad616e615faf39c2a908de98fd--billy-graham-quotes-traveling

Closing Verse: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Challenge:  Christ is challenging us to follow him and walk by faith.