Sometimes Tears Are Prayers When You Have No Words To Say.

One of my favorite sounds is the sound of birds singing. Early in the morning as the sun rises and the sound of birds singing float through the air, I smile. Usually it accompanies spring, sunshine, green grass, flowers and new hope. It also introduces the summer season filled with trips to the lake, vacations and the sound of children playing and laughing outside. That is another sound that fills my heart with joy; the sound of children playing throughout the neighborhood, parks and even my backyard.

But this spring is different.

Life is different. Not only are we secluded in our homes, but schools and playgrounds; places filled with children laughing are closed. On top of that, in my part of the world, snow is still trying to fall from the grey clouds. The air is cold and windy.

This morning I heard birds singing in the early morning hour even though the air was cold and blustery. When I went to the window the sound of the birds quieted. I saw a single red robin perched on a branch of a leafless tree. He rested there for quite a while, standing against the cold wind that blew. His red breast puffed up to trap warm air like a winter coat. I wondered what he was doing there, alone.

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My eyes caught a flag flying at a distance from American the Legion, flapping in the cold wind. Above the wind, the sound of silence filled the early morning hour. It was if the world stood quiet while a demonic influence was trying to stealthily sweep the airwaves with pestilence and fear.

I looked back at the lonely robin, still perched in the leafless tree and I began to feel a tear fall down my cheek. I whispered without even realizing I was talking out loud, “Lord, take care of the robin. Lord take care of all the robins.” I do not know why my heart began to break. The single tear turned into weeping and I cried to the Lord again, “Take care of all the robins”!

I wasn’t crying for the robin, per say. I was crying out for the brokenness of our world, the brokenness of our country, the brokenness of people, people lost, people filled with fear, people dying, people dying without the Lord.

I wept for some time. Sometimes tears are prayers, when you have no words to say.

The Lord reminded me of this verse:

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “Matthew 6:26-27 (NIV)

By afternoon the winds calmed down and blue skies began to appear as the clouds parted. I heard several birds singing and I looked outside my window and that single robin was still perched in the leafless tree. Then I watched him fly away as if he had no care in the world.

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Lord, I do not begin to understand what is happening in our world today. But I know this: You will take care of me. You will take care of those who put their trust in you!

I began to quote a part of Psalm 91.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Highest will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
PS 91:1-2 (NIV)

I choose to trust you, Lord, not just for myself, but for those who are lost, those that feel hopeless and afraid. Lord lead them to you. If I am to be the one to lead anyone to you, give me the words to say. Amen.

God bless.

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Called to be a Light

With the COVID-19 out on the loose people have become more vigilant with sanitizing, personal hygiene and social distancing. But there are some of us who still must work. Some are on the front lines, literally, working with patients. Others may have essential positions that do not include dealing with those who are sick, yet are still working in the public.

I have been working daily. I use sanitizer after handling money and clean my workstation often, but there isn’t exactly 6 feet between those in the office and those who we encounter. Some in the office just “deal” with it while others are beginning to become extremely anxious each minute they are working.

One individual, though she wears gloves, washes her hands so much they have become red, chapped and irritated. I heard her say, as she was diligently sanitizing, “I don’t want to touch their filthy things.” That stuck with me for some reason and of course the Lord reminded me of scripture associated with the statement.

In 2 Corinthians Paul explains the importance of keeping oneself from darkness and tells us that there is no harmony between light and darkness, between Christ and the devil.

“Therefore, come out from among unbelievers and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:17 & 18 (NLT)

Of course, we must live and work among unbelievers. I don’t believe that is what the Lord is saying here. Paul states in 1 Corinthians 5 that if we didn’t associate with those of this world, we would have to leave the world.

During the COVID-19 virus that is sweeping the world, we are told to not touch anything unless it has been sanitized and to maintain social distancing. Why? For our safety, of course.

As believers we were already called to separate ourselves from the world. What does that look like? It means that we don’t compromise with sin nor join with those that do. Instead we look different than the world. That is not always comfortable nor easy.

It is easier to blend in.
It is easier to agree with the world.
It is easier to grumble and complain.
It is easier to gossip about others.
It is easier to be revengeful and unforgiving.

And the list of easier continues on and on.

It is ALSO easier to fall into fear during these times, as many in the world are doing.

But Jesus never told us that following him would be easy. There is NO EASY button. In fact, Jesus warned us that few would travel the harder road.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow, the road that leads to life and only a few find it”. Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV)

I never did understand the TV show called, “Highway to Heaven”. I am not sure what road they were on, but the road to heaven is not a paved highway, at all. Scriptures imply over and over that it is a road that will involve trials and sacrifice. But it also is one that involves a relationship with our Creator; which in turn reaps rewards of peace, hope, purpose, joy and eternal life.

Why were we warned, as believers, to separate ourselves and not touch the filthy things? Like the warnings of today during the COVID-19 virus, it is for our benefit. We are to separate ourselves to keep us from becoming infected with the sins and distractions of this world. Sin can only lead us down the road of eternal destruction.

We are called to be different, to be a light, to stand out in the crowd and go against the flow so that we can bring hope to a dying world.

It’s like the bride who walks down the aisle She is not dressed like anyone else. She stands out and looks different. And all eyes are on her.

We (you and I) are the bride of Christ. What is the purpose in being different? It is so that others can find hope in this world of despair.

In these days that seem to be getting darker and appear grim, we need to bring the light of hope. I pray that God would fill each of us with his boldness to complete our purpose and represent HIS light. The world needs Jesus.

I agree with Paul when he said: “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.” Ephesians 6:19 (NIV)

My prayer is that what the enemy has meant for evil, God would use to draw people to HIM.  And I pray we can be part of that process.

God bless.

 

 

Seek Him

“If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

We have heard this scripture many times, so many times perhaps, that it does not penetrate our hearts:

King Solomon had built the temple that his father, David, had in his heart. The Lord met with him in the night hour speaking words of promise to him. This is when the verse from 2 Chronicles originated. It was for the nation. It was for Solomon.

Many times, we, as believers, have congregated together and prayed this and sought the Lord for our land. We have repented for the sins that our country has adopted. We have wept and interceded. That is powerful. Moses did that for a people who had forsaken their God. Prophets did that for the nation of Israel. The voices of “God’s people” have reached heaven many times. And the Lord spared nations because of those pleas.

In fact, if you remember, Abraham asked the Lord to spare the city of Sodom if just 10 people were found righteous in that city. In the end, the Lord saved only four people. Then the city was destroyed.

God hears the cries of his people for a nation. But as I was reciting the above verse in 2 Chronicles, I noticed something. You know how you can read a verse over and over and each time the Lord will show you a different aspect?

In this verse, I noticed he was asking HIS people to seek him. He was asking HIS people to turn from “their” wicked ways. THEN he would hear from heaven, forgive their sins and heal their land. Like I said earlier, it is so important to intercede for others, but this time I noticed that he wasn’t necessarily asking us to repent for what others were doing. He was asking us to repent from “OUR” wicked ways.

Suddenly I realized that the Lord was directing this to ME. I am called by him. I am responsible to turn to him, to seek him and to turn from MY wicked ways. I can pray for the nation and I can cry out for the Lord to forgive the nation for its sins (this is interceding and like I said, is part of the Christian walk) but this time I heard, “You are called by my name. Humble yourself. Seek me. Turn from “YOUR” wicked ways.” It became more personal.

Psalm 139:23 &24 (GWT) states, “Examine me, O God, and know my mind. Test me and know my thoughts. See whether I am on an evil path. THEN lead me on the everlasting path.”

The Lord takes us on a journey. He prepares us for a mission. He strengthens us when we are weary and cleanses our hearts from things that would distract us, things that would turn our hearts away from what he has for us. We are not here just to live, but to follow his voice for our lives.

Remember, he came to bring ABUNDANT life. It isn’t just about the best house, vacations and experiences. It is about KNOWING our LORD and drawing others to him.

So, I said:

“Lord cleanse my heart from anything I have in my heart that is not holy before your eyes. Cleanse my heart from anxious thoughts and distractions of this life that are whispering for my attention. Keep me on the straight and narrow. Help me to seek your face and hear your voice and show me if there is anything that is wicked in me. Forgive me Father (Why?) because, your ways are ALWAYS better than mine and you have a life full of abundance for me. Lord heal my heart. Heal me emotionally and physically in this hour so that I CAN intercede for those around me.” Amen.

During these hours, we should each be seeking our Lord so that we can be prepared to intercede on the behalf of others. Seek him.

God bless.

COVID-19

As I was thinking about the virus that has been sweeping the world, one nation at a time, the first thought that came to me was the scene in the Old Testament of a pole with a snake on it. I’m not sure why but that scene has not left my mind.

“But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”

 Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.  The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So, Moses prayed for the people.

The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.” Numbers 21: 4-8 (NIV)

According to https://biblestudentdaily.com bronze represents human nature. The Lord had Moses make a bronze snake (snake representing sin) on the pole. All that looked on it would not die from the poisonous snake bites that the Lord had sent because of their sin of speaking against Him. It wasn’t that the bronze snake itself, had any power, but God saw the repentant and obedient hearts. Faith rose up in the hearts of the people and healing and life sprung from that.

Even Jesus used the example of the serpent on the pole as he spoke about himself. He said in John 3:14, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness so the Son of Man must be lifted up that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” (NIV)

He spoke of how he would die. Anyone that looks on him and BELIEVES will be saved from eternal death. I believe John 3:16 must be one of the most popular verses of all time.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever BELIEVES on him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

He was sent to the cross to save us because we sinned against the Lord. He came to bring life out of death.

Then in Numbers 16 a plague came to the children of Israel again because they grumbled and opposed Moses and even God who was leading him. This time the Lord told Moses to direct Aaron to take his censor (which I might add was also made of bronze) and put incense in it along with burning coals from the altar and run into the midst of the assembly to make atonement for the people so the plague would stop. Aaron did as he was instructed and stood between the living and the dead and the plague stopped. But 14,700 died.

You might ask. What does this have to do with this virus that is creeping across the nations? This was thousands of years ago. Is the Lord sending this plague because of sin and unbelief? I am NOT saying that. It would be very dangerous for me to make that assumption.

BUT what I am saying is that the Lord CAN and will stop this virus IF we call upon him! There is power in prayer. There is power in coming before the God of creation and calling on him to intervene.

When the plagues hit Egypt, it was the blood of a sacrificed lamb that was posted on the doorway of each Israelite household that signaled the angel of death to pass over them. No one in that household would die.

There is so much more power in the blood of the LAMB. The blood that Jesus shed. I do not think we understand the power of the blood of Christ. It was by his stripes that we can be healed.

As the old hymn goes,
“There is power, power, wonder-working power in the blood of the Lamb.
There is power, power, wonder-working power in the Precious blood of the Lamb.”

I had a dream years ago that a lion was roaring in the forest. He was sniffing for people to devour. I knew my children were in that forest. I prayed that the Lord would cover them by his blood. I saw the lion come right up to them, sniffing, but he could not smell them, nor see them, because of the blood of Jesus.

It reminded me of the verse found in 1 Peter 5:8. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”

So, what is the takeaway?

  1. Run to the Lord. Look to him, like the Israelites looked at the snake on a pole. He is your protector. He is your deliverer. He is your savior. He will heal you. NONE of this is catching him off guard one single minute. He sees it all.
  2. There is POWER in prayer. There is POWER in the blood of Jesus. Believe it and stand firm in prayer. Pray for your family, your neighbor, your city and nation. And if there is sin: repent.
  3. “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.” II Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) So rest in him. Trust him. He has you covered.

ABOVE ALL remember this scripture:

 “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.” John 14:1 (NLT)

I am ME.

Ambivert- a person whose personality has a balance of introvert and extrovert features.

I wondered where I stood in the introvert/extrovert personality label. It felt weird because there are occasions that I just want to be alone and other times when I hunger for a social setting. Would that be an ambivert? Most people are considered ambiverts.

I always thought that an introvert was someone who was shy and an extrovert was outgoing. But an introvert personality is actually a person who recharges their batteries by having alone time. A lot of socializing can be overwhelming and exhausting. It’s just the opposite for the extrovert. Their batteries are recharged by being amongst other people. So, there can be shy extroverts and social outgoing introverts. And those who are a mixture of both have been tagged an ambivert.

Depending on the circumstances I respond in different ways, like an ambivert would. For example: Sometimes I want to be the person that meets new individuals at social gatherings, and other times I don’t want to talk to anyone. I suppose it depends on the function I am attending.

Knowing the difference in other people really helps to understand those around me. I understand why my husband will retire in the bedroom when our house has been filled with a lot of people. I understand why he had a hard time at Disneyland. Though he went (God bless him) it was a strain. I, on the other hand, though I would have liked to not wait in lines that seemed to take an eternity, enjoyed the crowds. I liked hearing the laughter, the people walking around me, the festivities. Crowds frustrate him, yet you can put him in front of a group of people and he has no trouble teaching on a subject he loves. I hate public speaking.

I understand my youngest who always wants a party at our house. She loves being around people and her batteries get recharged with social activities. When she was little, she told a few of the moms at her dance class that she was organizing a dance theme in the park. I had no idea. They approached me about it. I’m like, “no”.

Because she is an extrovert (gets her batteries recharged around socializing) yet can be shy, there were some difficult moments. She craved to socialize, yet had a hard time approaching new people. Her nephew on the other hand, who is the same age, is a social extrovert. He loves mixing in with a crowd and often when I would take them to a park when they were little, he would be seen running around with “new friends”. My daughter would watch him wishing she was more bold. One day at the park when my grandson, who was only 4 at the time, ended up with a bunch of middle school kids who were hanging out. I had to make him come back to me. He just craved to be a part of whatever was happening.

So what charges my batteries?

I do not always like to be alone. I would not enjoy going out to a movie alone, or eating out alone. I enjoy activity around me. I don’t even like the thought of living off the grid or even living in a very small town, though I have. And I would never make plans to get away to a cabin in the woods for a vacation, unless there were others to share it with me and plans were made.

There are times when being alone recharges my batteries and there are other times when socializing recharges my batteries. I guess I would be considered an ambivert, right?

But at the end of the day I do like to be alone with my thoughts. And when I get an opportunity I like to get away from everyone and write and sometimes even paint, or read a book. Quiet moments to just think, give me peace.

If I HAD to choose one, I would say that I am a social introvert.  I love to socialize; do not want to miss out on any get-togethers. That is why if I go to a new church I want to quickly get involved. As soon as I start a new job I like to connect with those like-minded. And when I move into a new community, I want to get to know the neighbors (somewhat). LOL

What recharges your batteries?

Bottom line: It doesn’t really matter. I am who God created me to be. We each have different visions, different goals, different personalities. And the amazing thing is that we are all created in the image of God.

HE MUST BE AWESOME!

For the Lord Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth. Ps 47:2 NIV

There are as many mixtures of personalities and cultures and circumstances then there are fingerprints that match. We simply cannot be tagged and put in any box (although it certainly helps to understand one another). We each are a mystery created in the likeness of our Lord. There is no one else just like me, nor you.

I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” PS 139:14 NIV

I am ME.

 

 

Do Not Look Back

We often look back on memories of our past.

We may re-live our positive memories with fondness and perhaps long for those days. The negative experiences, on the other hand, can take a more disturbing residence in our minds. Like a loop tape, they play over in our minds to the point of wishing we could change a certain time span, as you see in sci-fi movies. Or they are buried deep into our memory bank and we throw away the key. A simple moment may have changed the direction of our lives.

As far as negative experiences in our past, I have heard it said, “Your past does not dictate your future.” In other words, whatever happened in your past that was negative should not dictate the ability to live the rest of life with hope and promise. Yet, many people use heartache from their past to excuse their actions, saying it’s not their fault that they act a certain way.

It’s true that some people have experienced horrific pasts and need Jesus to enter their lives and perhaps go through counseling. But I am saying that God CAN use any hard situation to prosper us and those around us. HE has a way of turning things around. In fact, II Corinthians 1:3 states that God will comfort us in our trouble SO THAT we can comfort others when they experience trouble and pain.

Regardless, we are to ALWAYS move forward.

Remembering the negative past is for the purpose of reminding us of God’s mercy AND to help those who are stuck in their past. We can; however, learn from the past.

Winston Churchill said, “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”

So, we can LEARN from our past, BUT we should not camp there. We must MOVE forward. If we choose to live in our past –we will not grow into what we were meant to become.

In Exodus 16, the children of Israel, who wandered the desert for 40 years were told that manna, bread from heaven, would fall onto the ground every morning. There would be enough for that day. But what they did not use (except when they were to bake it for the 7th day) they were to throw out. If they didn’t it would breed worms and rot. We do not want to live off yesterday’s memories or experiences, good or bad.

I think there is more to that concept than we realize.

Even the Lord said that his mercies are NEW every morning. (Leviticus 3)

Paul shared his past in Acts 22 by talking about his background. He described how he was driven to kill those who preached the gospel. He continued by describing his transformation when he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Since then he only pressed forward. He knew where he came from but did not stay there. The negative in his life was used only to show the power of God’s ability to change lives. He moved forward. He even stated in Philippians 3:13,14 (GWT):

“Brothers and sisters, I can’t consider myself a winner yet. This is what I do: I DON’T LOOK BACK, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God’s heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus.”

At the end of his life he said,

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV)

We will not finish the race by stopping and taking a break and just chilling. And we definitely will not finish it by turning around and going back to the starting line. So we can’t finish the race by looking behind us and wishing our past was different or listening to the voices that say, “Just quit. Your life was broken from the beginning anyway. Why try?”

Even if an athlete falls in a race, he gets up and runs harder.

Often the children of Israel complained to Moses while in the desert. They wanted to return to Egypt because it seemed easier the way things used to be, even if they were slaves before. They didn’t want to walk forward through hardships to get to the promised land. They were content with slavery.

How about you? Do you want to remain a slave to the things of this world instead of pressing forward?

What happened to Lot’s wife when she turned to look at Sodom and Gomorrah burning in the flames of God’s judgement? She turned into a pillar of salt. I often wonder why she turned to look back, especially after she was warned not to. Was it curiosity? Was it rebellion? Was it one last look at what she was leaving behind? Whatever her reason may have been, looking back had its consequences.

There is something about moving forward that the Lord wants to impress into our spirits.

“Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62

The Lord wants to encourage us to go forward. It is so easy at times to simply sit back and get comfy or obsess with the past.

But there is joy at the finish line if we do not give up.

(Jesus) saw the JOY AHEAD of him, so endured the death of the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Hebrews 12:2a (GWT)

He saw what was at the finish line and it filled him with joy and gave him the determination to go forward.

If we could really see with 20/20 vision, as many are stating in 2020, we could see that God IS for us. We could see that the suffering of this age is NOTHING compared to the glorious life that is in front of us. THAT is why he wants us to move FORWARD. There is so much more at the finish line.

THERE IS MORE THAN WE CAN IMAGINE IN FRONT OF US!

Do not look behind you with longing. Do not look behind you with regret. Do not look behind you with defeat. The things in the past will not satisfy anymore. Press forward.

Our tomorrows with the LORD will be greater than we have ever imagined. What does God have to say about going forward?

“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to give you a hope and a FUTURE.” Jeremiah 29:11

Keep your eyes focused on the author and finisher of your faith as you continue to move forward. Press on.

GOD BLESS!

Seasons of Life

There are seasons in life.

Seasons are demonstrated throughout nature. We experience winter, spring, summer and fall. But there are also rainy seasons, some with storms and tornados or monsoons. There are dry, hot seasons. In different parts of the world there are other kinds of seasons that may not be familiar to everyone. As a child in West Africa we experienced the bugabug season, where there would be so many of the insects that the ground was carpeted with them. In Alaska we had mosquito season, especially in the summer around tall grass and water. There is hunting and fishing season. There is planting and harvesting season. We even have football season, Christmas season etc.…

In other words, there are a lot of seasons in our lives. And then there is the season OF life. First you experience childhood, then the teen years, and young adult. Then perhaps you will experience the season of being a parent or grandparent and finally retirement.

Along with those are joyous times and painful ones, and then some that just don’t make sense.

I don’t know what you may be going through, at the moment, but I can guarantee that you will experience many of these along life’s journey.

Currently I am in a different season than I have walked through in some time. I don’t have the extra time to write as much as I would like, nor be involved in ministry, nor spend as much time with many family members, as I once have had in the past.

As I was contemplating this, I felt like the Lord spoke these words into my heart.

“Lean not into your own understanding.”

That made sense to me because I was trying to understand. I like to analyze and map things out and for some reason my path didn’t make sense to me. Does that make sense? So, taking away the pressure of life making sense, I can simply trust God.

That makes a lot of sense!

The “not leaning on your own understanding” statement is found in Proverbs 3. In fact, all of Proverbs 3 is good and encouraging and worth re-reading.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to him and he will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3:5&6 (NIV)

So, this season, is a season of trusting the Lord to lead me. I don’t have to figure it out. I am going to rest in the Lord. I am going to just submit myself to him. I trust the Lord with my family. I trust the Lord with my finances. I trust the Lord with my heart, and with my future. I trust that he will direct my path. I even trust the Lord for my country. I trust that God hears our prayers and I rest in that.

I know many people have experienced heartache and grief and perhaps disappointment. We have all walked through something that we don’t understand.

All I can say is:

PRAY
TRUST
REST

Rest in the God of creation who loves you more than one could possibly understand. Encourage those around you with this hope, this truth. He wants to direct your path and give you peace and perhaps stretch your faith a bit. His ways are always better and a lot higher than ours.

And if you are finding yourself in a difficult season in life remember, God promised that he would turn it around for your benefit. That is just the kind of God he is. Read Romans 8:28. Do your own research throughout his word. He is faithful.

Though I am currently not blogging as much as I would like, I will be on here as much as I can.

And in the meantime: I will TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL MY HEART. He will direct my path.

He will also direct yours as you submit yourself to him. Trust him.

God bless you in whatever season you are walking in today.