"Because of the LORD'S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Evidence of God's Love

I've been wanting to write this blog for several weeks now, but I keep putting it off.  It seems that I keep getting these little nudges from God.  I actually had a little nudge just this morning so no more putting it off.

It was a couple of weeks ago; actually a few days before my birthday.  As my birthday approaches I do tend to get melancholy and reflective.  I know this isn't a good thing but it happens nonetheless.    I often find myself thinking at times about the "whys" in my life.  Please, don't misunderstand, I wonder and ponder but I've learned not to dwell there. 

This particular Monday I was wondering about why it is that Bruce and I will never be "empty-nesters".  Everybody we know, or so it seems, is experiencing this chapter in their lives.  The kids are going to college, their kids are getting married or starting new jobs and moving away.  In my own mind I am fantasizing how these couples will be able to  do all the things that empty-nesters do; travel, have great adventures, walks after dinner, retire, downsize,spend time together.  But not us.

This is so hard to articulate because I don't want anyone to misunderstand.  We love Ben and we are so grateful for the life that he has and the lives that he's touched.  But, to be very honest, I do have days when I do wonder.....what if.....

I know and believe that this is God's sovereign plan and even though I don't understand His purposes, I do trust them completely.

I share those feelings so that you can appreciate what God did for me that Monday a couple of weeks ago.  Even in my weakness and self-pity God reached down and touched my soul to the core.  And although I didn't actually hear him audibly, He spoke loud and clear to me.

That morning I was feeling a little sorry for myself.  Mondays are actually not my best days anyway.  I reserve those days for trying to recuperate from the weekend.  I got dressed, yeah!, and then got Ben up and dressed and we head out to lunch.  Unfortunately, a mood like that doesn't help your attitude or disposition.  So, Ben and I head off to Zaxby's.  I turn in the parking lot and someone actually had the audacity to park in "my" space.  Sometimes a sense of "entitlement" accompanies self-pity.  I parked in the "other" handicap parking space.  We get out and go in and low and behold someone is at "our" table.  Well, not actually at ours but right next to it.  This is our table because it's just so easy for Ben to pull right up and we don't have to navigate through all the other tables.  So, the man wasn't exactly at our table but in "my" space. 

I get Ben settled at the table and wait to see what he wants to eat and this man says something to us, probably "Roll Tide" since that's what most people say when they see Ben who is usually decked out head to toe in Alabama paraphernalia.  But, I'm in no mood and just smile and hope he'll go away.

I order, get our drinks, napkins, ketcup, etc. and finally sit down.  This man is obviously finished and in no hurry at all to leave.  And he begins to talk.  I don't remember exactly everything he said but we did talk about Ben finishing at Jeff State and hoping to get a job at a local university in the athletic department.  We talked about Alabama football and Coach Bryant.  We talked about his son who is a Catholic priest in some county in North Alabama.  We talked about his brother who is a baptist and told him that the water Jesus turned into wine was a different water back then.  We talked about the disciples and how God chose men that were so very different but such regular joes.  He was very easy to talk to and by this time I had definitely warmed up to him.  Maybe I was praying he had connections somewhere and could get Ben a job!

So by this time Ben has finished up and me and the old man are winding up our conversation.  So I get up to go refill our drinks and this man walks by me on his way out and stops and says, "I really admire you and I want you to know you're doing a great job." With a huge lump in my throat I try to get out the words thank you.

At that very moment in my heart, in the deepest part of my soul, I felt the overwhelming presence of God speaking to me.  That man said his name was Hartsfield.  To me, that day, he was an angel sent from God.  Wow, God showed His love to ME.  To me, as I was loathing in my own self-pity.  God in all His grace and mercy said, I love you, I know what you're going through and I'm right here beside you.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Desire of My Heart

Several weeks before our anniversary, I told my husband, Bruce, all I wanted for my anniversary was dinner at Highlands Bar & Grill.  Highlands is a very, very nice award-winning french restaurant in downtown Birmingham.  I've been wanting to go for 27 years and finally decided that this would be the year.  In years past we've been very fortunate to be able to take a long weekend and go away somewhere; usually Nashville or Destin but this year all I wanted was to go to Highlands!

A few days after I told Bruce that this is what I wanted to do he said that he called the restaurant and they were booked solid for Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.  Thursday night I could totally understand seeing as it was Valentine's Day and all but Friday and Saturday, too???  Well, so much for those plans.  We decided on a movie and dinner afterwards, possibly Waffle House.  No kidding.  We both love Waffle House and Ben hates it.  What better opportunity than when he's not with us.

On Valentine's Day, the day before our anniversary, Bruce calls and says that he saw on Ben's FB page where someone had posted that they had a reservation for Highlands Bar & Grill and weren't going to use it and wanted to know if anyone was interested.  Bruce not really sure if this was legit asked me about it and I said sure go ahead and message them and see what they say.  Come to find out, this man's son and our son, Ben, were in the same kindergarten class and this man remembered Ben.  (Who could forget Ben!!) 

He told Bruce that weeks out before big days like Valentine's he'll make reservations at places and then ask his wife where she'd like to go.  He'd made a reservation at Highlands and Flemings and she chose Flemings.  (Been there, didn't like it, yeah, I know....weird, huh?)  Anyway, we took his leftover reservation for Friday night at 6:45.

Interestingly, this man told Bruce that as he was doing his devotional that morning the Lord really impressed upon him to be a blessing to someone that day.  He offered this reservation to a young man he was mentoring but he also declined. 

I know and believe in my heart that God intended it for Bruce and me that night.  Sure, He could have just let Bruce call the restaurant and make a reservation but that would have been too easy.  God wanted us to know, He wanted ME to know that He truly loves me even when I feel so undeserving and wants to give me the desires of my heart no matter how small it may seem.  I won't forget the day God poured out His love on us and I wanted to put this in writing for prosperity so that we won't forget this very special time.

Not all days are like this.  Some days are very disappointing and things don't work out the way that I think they should.  I get really frustrated and discouraged.  But, even on these days I KNOW and BELIEVE that God is in control and it will work out.  Not today but eventually because He does love us and wants to bless us.

I'm just thanking God publicly for such a awesome show of His grace on us.  The dinner was absolutely wonderful and I can't wait to go back!!

"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart."  Psalm 37:4

Monday, October 1, 2012


Good Morning!

Ephesians 1:7  ""In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding."

Last night at church in our contemporary service we had a layperson, this is someone who by profession is not a minister but awesome Bible teacher, share from Ephesians 1. He talked about many things but the one thing that resonated with my own heart was "redemption".  We have redemption.  Redemption.  What is redemption?  Redemption, in keeping with the context of Ephesians and when it was written, was used because the Ephesians were familiar with the Greco-Roman practice of redemption.  Slaves were freed by the payment of a ransom. 

Paul was telling the Ephesians that we are all slaves.  We are all slaves to sin.  It was the redemption of Christ that set us free.  Jesus was the ransom that was necessary to free us sinners from the bondage of sin and the curse.  Christ redeemed us from sin; from sin and the curse.  He didn't redeem us so that we could go on sinning and doing what we want to do.  He redeemed us because He loves us, in accordance with his pleasure and will.

As a believer in Jesus Christ we are free from sin.  We. Are. Free. Hallelujah.  We are free in Christ Jesus and only Christ Jesus.  We no longer have to be held in bondage to sin.  We have the power of the Holy Spirit to say NO to sin.  If we follow Christ we cannot follow a life of sin.  Jesus told his disciples that you cannot serve two masters.  You will love one and hate the other.

So, I ask the question today; what do you love?  Do you love Christ?  Do you love your sin?  Who are You serving today? 

In you profess to be a Christian, you are not bound by sin.  It's a choice.  It's a deliberate choice you make every morning.

After Jesus shed His own blood for you, His precious blood, how will you show Him that you love Him today? 

I love the words to this song.  I pray that today Jesus will be the theme of the song in your heart.

"Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it! Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed thro his infinite mercy, His child and forever I am.

Redeemed, and so happy in Jesus, No language my rapture can tell;
I know that the light of His presence with me doth continually dwell.

I think of my blessed Redeemer, I think of him all the day long;
I sing for I cannot be silent; His love is the theme of my song.

Redeemed, Redeemed, Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed, How I love to proclaim it! His child and forever I am.

Fanny J. Crosby (Words)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What Have You Done?

Good Morning,

1 Samuel 13:11, 14  "What have you done?" asked Samuel.  ...the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord's command."

"What have you done?!"  How many times have those words spilled out of our mouths?  These are the words of the prophet Samuel to Saul, Israel's new king.  Saul was preparing to go into battle with the Philistines and was waiting for Samuel to come and offer the burnt offerings.  He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel, but Samuel didn't come and the men started to scatter.   So, Saul offered up the burnt offering.  Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived and asked, "What have you done?"

Saul's excuses were that Samuel was late getting there and the men were getting antsy.  He had to do something.  Right?  Somebody has to be in charge.  Samuel flat out told him that he had acted foolishly.  Saul had not kept the command the Lord had given him and because of this he would not be established as king and the Lord had found someone after His own heart to lead His people because he had not kept the Lord's command.

Saul got impatient waiting and he took matters into his own hands and disregarded everything the Lord told him to do; WAIT!

That really hit home with me today.  I'm Saul.  I get impatient when I don't get answers immediately. I start thinking, wondering, planning what can I do.  How can I take care of this problem.  And, little do I realize that when I do take matters into my own hands, I am totally disregarding what God has told me to do: WAIT. 

I just finished a bible study on the Lord's prayer, "The Prayer of Jesus" by Ken Hemphill.  Some of you may have, too.  The one thing that has really stuck with me is that Jesus' disciples asked him to teach them how to pray.  But, remember this, these were Jewish men who knew how to pray.  They probably prayed several times a day.  But, they saw something different in the way Jesus prayed and they wanted what He had. 

"Our Father in heaven, hallow be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.  And, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  For Yours is the Kingdom, and the power and the glory forever." 

"Your will be done".  When we pray, "Your will be done" we must trust that our waiting is part of His will, it is part of His sovereign plan.  God is sovereign and He knows what is best for us.  Who am I to disregard the commands of the Lord and take matters into my own hands. 

I want to be the (wo)man after God's own heart.  I want His favor and His blessings to be on me and with me.  I want to obey. 

Waiting is hard.  If it was easy, we wouldn't need God.  And, oh, how we need Him. 

I realized this morning that I've been trying really hard to be patient this week with some unpleasant circumstances.  I've been trying.  Me.  I can't.  But, I know that when I am weak, He is strong.  I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength.  I know it will be worth the wait.

Thank you, Lord, for reminding me today through the prophet Samuel to wait on You. 


Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Litmus Test

Good Morning!

I Samuel 10:6 "The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.  9) As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul's heart."

Today when we place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit comes to live in us.  The same power that Christ use to raise the dead is also available to us to empower us to change.   It's only by God's power that we can change.  We cannot do it on our own.  As new believers in Christ, as His followers we are to no longer conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of our mind. (Romans 12:2). 

We are to be transformed; a change in our nature and character.  Our lives should tell the story of how we were before Christ came into our lives.  How we lived for our own sinful pleasures; doing whatever we wanted without regard to anyone else and how that could affect others.  Then our story should tell how Christ changed us.  How did the Holy Spirit come and show us our sin and our guilt.  How were we changed!  And, then our story should be one that tells others how God changed us from a life of sin, guilt, death and destruction to a life of joy, gratitude, service and praise to the One True God.

What is your litmus test for change?  How do you measure the change in your heart?  When you accepted Christ as Savior did you put away those things in your life that you know would not honor Christ?  Do you WANT to live and work for Christ?  Do you faithfully read your Bible discovering new truths.  Do you study the scripture to know God.  Are you burdened to pray for the lost and then go and win the lost?  Do you willingly serve for Jesus? 

Maybe you've really never trusted in Jesus.  The Holy Spirit of the Lord has the power to change us and to make us more like Christ.  All we have to do is ask Christ to come into our lives.  Ask God for forgiveness of your sins and REPENT, turn from a life of selfish desires and sin to a life that follows Christ.  Let "Jesus take the wheel" and lead you to be the person God intended you to be.

May God bless you today.

In Christ,

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Ebenezer

Good Morning!

I Samuel 7:1 "...and all the people of Israel mourned and sought after the Lord. And, Samuel said, "If you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of foreign gods...and commit yourselves to the Lord and serve him only...So, the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only."

Verse 12 "Then Samuel took a stone and set in up between Mizpah and Shen.  He named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the Lord has helped us."

It's officially here, SPRING!  Across the street I get to enjoy a beautiful forest of dogwoods in my neighbor's yard and her white azaleas.  In my backyard is a blanket of pink azaleas.  Everything is so beautiful!! I also have in my backyard, a hydrangea bush that is starting to green again and I hope will soon have some beautiful blue blooms.  It's not just any hydrangea bush.  This hydrangea is my "Ebenezer".  This is one of my reminders that "thus far the Lord has helped us."  This hydrangea was a gift from my four sisters when we learned that my younger son, Daniel, had a chronic liver disease in 2004.  Daniel had Wilson's disease, a condition where your body  doesn't get rid of copper.  The copper had pretty much eaten up his liver and he had to have a liver transplant.  As difficult and horrific as they may sound it was still one of the most awesome times of our lives.  We saw firsthand the mighty hand of God and truly felt His presence with us each and every step of the way...from beginning to end.  God performed a miracle in Daniel's life and I am so very thankful I got to watch!!!! 

So, when I see that hydrangea bush starting to bloom, it's just one of many reminders of God's faithfulness and how He helped us through that difficult time.  Just having the privilege of looking at my son everyday is another reminder.  Thank you, Lord God, for your goodness to us!!

Here's something to think about today.  Do you have an Ebenezer?  It doesn't necessarily have to be something tangible.  It can be a time you remember God's faithfulness to help you through a difficult situation.  The point is to REMEMBER!  Maybe you've forgotten and you need a reminder today that God is faithful and that God is good.  If you're facing a difficult situation and feel like God is far, far away then you may need to do as the children of God did and mourn your sin and seek His face and repent and ask God to help you through.

"Come, thou Fount of every blessing, Tune my heart to sing thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing, Call for songs of loudest praise;
Teach me some melodious sonnet, Sung by flaming tongues above;
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it, Mount of thy redeeming love.

Here I raise mine EBENEZER; Hither by thy help I'm come;
And, I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home;
Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger, Interposed his precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy grace, Lord, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee;
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it, Seal it for thy courts above."
Robert Robinson
1 Samuel 7:12

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lesson learned from Joshua

Good Morning!

I've finished Joshua!!  What an amazing book.  There are so many great truths and practical application to learn and apply to my own life right now.  I just want to share what I learned from Joshua and the Israelites and how God used what I learned in my own life.

One of the first truths that I read over and over again was "be strong and courageous".  Over and over again God reminded His people to be brave.  You know you don't tell someone to be brave unless you know that the future is going to be scary.  God had promised the Israelites Canaan, the promised land.  There was only one small catch....it was already occupied.  The people had to go in and fight for the land God promised.  They had to fight.  That thought keeps coming to my mind even days after I've read it.  They had to fight.  Do you see the similarity?  We, God's children, have been promised eternal life with him.  God in Jesus Christ has given us victory over sin and death and promised us a home in heaven with him.  BUT, in the meantime, we still have to fight the enemy of this world.

God told the Israelites that if they obeyed Him and keep His commandments that He would go before them and that He would be with them and that they would CONQUER their enemies.  God will do the same for us IF we obey Him and do what is right and pleasing to Him.  Some battles are going to be harder than others.  Some battles are going to leave us feeling every bit of the battle.  We're going to know that it was a battle and we'll have the scars to show for it.  Last week was such a battle for me.  It was a hard battle and an even harder lesson to learn.  I knew that during and even after that I had been whipped.  I didn't obey and I fell.  Humility is a very hard lesson to learn.  I asked God for forgiveness, and to give me the strength and wisdom not to make the same mistake twice.  I learned that I need to TRUST him and rely on His power to overcome the temptation to do things my way.

Another lesson I learned from Joshua had to do with an Israelite named Achan.  When the Israelites conquered Jericho God said that ALL the spoils belong to ME.  These were to be the firstfruits given to God for the victory.  Achan decided that didn't include him.  He took a robe along with some silver and gold and hid them under his tent. 

So, in the meantime, Joshua goes into battle with the city of Ai and is chased back and looses 36 men in the process.  WHAT? Defeated? Why?  First, Joshua didn't ask God what to do.  He sent a convoy to spy out the land.  They reported to Joshua that he didn't need to send all of his troops just a few thousand would do.  Joshua listened to the spies.  He didn't ask God what to do.  They were chased back.  Joshua started to wail against God and said why did you bring us here?  Why didn't you just leave us on the other side of the Jordon?  God told Joshua, "Israel has sinned, they have violated my covenant which I commanded them to keep."  They (Achan) had kept the things devoted for God.

ONE man's sin ruined a whole nation.  It was so easy for me to jump right in and say, "YES!" That's the problem with our family.  That's why we've had so much bad stuff happen lately.  This is all so and so's fault.  BUT, before I could even get up from the table God knocked me upside the head and said, "NO, it's not someone else's fault, it's your own heart you need to be looking". 

You know I do believe that God is capable of taking care of sin.  Why do I continually want to help him out?  I had to look at my own heart and yes God showed me the unconfessed sin in my own heart.  I needed to repent and ask forgiveness and be restored. 

Another lesson learned from Achan was what Warren Weirsbe said in his commentary.  "If Achan had just WAITED a few more days he could have had ALL the spoils of war he wanted.  You see after Achan was called out by God he was stoned and burned to death.  The people and Joshua attached Ai again and defeated them and took the spoils of war for themselves.

In our day and time waiting is not often a choice.  Decisions need to be made yesterday and everything is due NOW!!  Last week while I was discussing a decision that needed to be made with Bruce those words came immediately to my mind, "If Achan had just waited...."  So, I decided to wait and not act immediately.  Praying that God will honor my decision to wait and bless it.  "God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him"  Warren Weirsbe.

One other lesson that really stood out involved Joshua.  Joshua, a faithful, steadfast believer in the One True God.  Joshua made a mistake and he didn't ask God about attacking Ai.  He was defeated.  But, I think Joshua learned a valuable lesson that day.  God went on give him the victory over Ai.  He actually used his mistake to His advantage.  It ALWAYS so encouraging to me that God showed us not only the great strengths of men like Joshua but He also showed us his weaknesses and how he STILL used Joshua to accomplish great things for Him.

The key here is OBEDIENCE and keeping God's commands to LOVE Him with ALL our heart and soul and strength and mind.  God wants to bless us and all He wants us to do is to LOVE Him so much that we're willing to pay the cost.

I shared with my son how God used His Word to help me in making a decision.  My son is not real clear about how God speaks to us through His word.  I showed him that while I was making that decision those words came to mind immediately and it helped make my decision.  We NEED desperately to be teaching our children how God works in our lives.  We need to share with them these precious moments of revelation.  We'll find as we go on to the book of Judges that the next generation of Israelites has forgotten God.  They will learn that a life without the Lord on your side is a life of bondage and despair.

"God delights "to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect (wholly devoted) toward Him"  2 Chronicles 16:9

May the grace and peace of God be with you today.