Do you know me?

I was talking to God about some things that I wish I knew, could handle better or have the wisdom I need to know how to handle them period!  I said, “God I wish I knew what you thought on this,” immediately I knew the answer and it’s pretty simple. But before I tell you the answer let me ask you this, do you know how your best friend would react in any given situation? If they were surprised or scared would they scream, run, laugh? What advice would your close confidant give if you were in trouble, upset, or confused?

Here is the answer, it was “Get to know Me as well as you know people that you are close to, then you will always know what I am thinking or what I would say.” How do you get to know Him that personally? Easy, you pray! Just talk to Him and most important is to read His Word!

If I write letters or emails to you and they continue to remain unread, you will you NOT know what I am thinking, you will not know ME and eventually I will simply quit trying to communicate with you! It is talking with someone, spending time with them that lets you know who they really are. If you really know me, you will know the difference when I say something that is silly or funny as opposed to taking me too seriously, on the other hand if I am being serious, you will know it!

The difference between your relationship with God and another person is that when God wrote His Word, gave His prophets His Words, gave the Commandments to Moses, when all those things happened, they really WERE “written in stone!” Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever!

People tend to change with the phases of the moon, or circumstances, God means what He says and says what He means and we can believe it! In the book of John we can find a walk of faith by reading His unchangeable Word! Faith is important to our understanding of Scripture and to the Spirit’s activity in our lives. Faith, like love, evidenced itself in obedience. Faith approaches God boldly to receive from Him!

Amp up your prayer life and get to know God as a personal friend!

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Did you SEE it???

Tonight as I drove home from church my eyes beheld the most beautiful sight you will ever see, the full moon!  In 1947 Margaret Wise Brown wrote a book for children, a line from it says “Goodnight room. Goodnight moon. Goodnight cow jumping over the moon. Goodnight light and the red balloon…” I thought of it a few moments ago and my heart had that little swelling feeling that comes with great emotion. Last night when I stood on the deck I looked up at the sky and it was so clear that all the stars stood out against the blackness the way diamonds on velvet in the showroom sparkle under the jewelers light, the moon wasn’t full but it was beautiful all the same. The Big Dipper was just to the left of where I was standing and as I stared at it I could hear my dad giving the illustration that he always used whenever he was speaking of Gods greatness and generosity in giving us the things of which we have need, “If you look up into the sky and find the Big Dipper you see how large it is, then look until you locate the Little Dipper. You see friends Gods gifts to us are like trying to pour the contents of the Big Dipper into the Little Dipper…they just overflow…” At that moment I wanted to close my eyes and be lifted up into the greatness of the sky and just disappear into the atmosphere, however it didn’t happen, so I came back in and closed the door!

Psalm 8:3-4 says, “I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
your handmade sky-jewelry, Moon and stars mounted in their settings. Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, Why do you bother with us? Why take a second look our way?

 

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Just breathe

We pass by many, many people every day, whether it is in your car as you go down the road, at work, eating lunch or in a grocery store. I am a people watcher, always have been and sometimes I do find that I judge a person’s personality by the shape of their face. I won’t go into detail here but I will say that I am not often wrong, whether it really is physiognomy or the Spirit of discernment, well we will leave that for another discussion. I am the person that someone will stop and ask what aisle something is on I don’t know why, maybe I look like a professional shopper? Maybe it’s that I actually look at a person that is approaching and smile and if someone comes up behind me in line that has considerably less than I do I will always let them go in front of me. It always surprises them and I like that. Today as I was rolling my cart out of the store (after looking at the receipt and seeing that I had saved $22.95) and saw a lady coming toward me walking fast, she looked so very stressed and I saw her lips move, she was saying, “Just breathe”. I was even with her at that point and quickly said, “You’re going to be alright”. She turned toward me and said, “Do you really think so?” She kept walking and so did I, in the opposite direction. As I walked away I said a prayer for her. I don’t know what her problem was, what could have possibly happened that had her so distraught but I sent a prayer with her and she knew that at least one person, even though I was a stranger, cared enough to stop and give her an encouraging word.

Hebrews 13: 2-3 Stay on good terms with each other, held together by love. Be ready with a meal or a bed when it’s needed. Why, some have extended hospitality to angels without ever knowing it! Regard prisoners as if you were in prison with them. Look on victims of abuse as if what happened to them had happened to you.

Maybe you should pray for the person who doesn’t take off from the light as soon as you think they should instead of honking your horn at them, yes?

 

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Frozen in amber

Today I was going through boxes of pictures, so many boxes, and as I looked at each of them with different family members smiling, waving, posing, it occurred to me that these were little slices of our life frozen in time like an insect frozen in amber. You look at an insect caught in the amber liquid and it looks alive, almost in motion, yet still, its life gone. My phone has a feature that I love, when you take a picture you can put your finger on it and for a second in time it is in motion capturing the action. As I looked at pictures of my parents and wished I could put my finger on those old pictures and bring them to life again if only for a second. The song says, “Fly me up to where you are above a distant star I wished upon tonight to see you smile, if only for a while to know you’re there, a breath away’s not far to where you are.”

Psalm 39:4-6 “Tell me, what’s going on, God? How long do I have to live? Give me the bad news! You’ve kept me on pretty short rations; my life is string too short to be saved. Oh! We’re all puffs of air. Oh! We’re all shadows in a campfire. Oh! We’re just spit in the wind. We make our pile, and then we leave it.  Have you ever thought that you would know when your time to leave?

 

 

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Has it really been Four years?

My dad told me he was going to die, I asked him how he knew, “Because I heard God say ‘Thursday,’” he answered. It sent a chill up my spine; it was not something I wanted to hear. That was on Tuesday April 30 and I knew that Thursday was just one day away. He was not well on Wednesday, his legs had swollen and that was not typical for him, his legs were more like a racehorse than a lamppost. He had become very down on himself for not being able to walk, to do things that he had always been able to do but God gave me a scripture for him, Psalm 147:10 “He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man” When I gave that to him I think it made him feel a little better! Sorry, I digressed, the swollen legs indicated to me that it could be his heart and I was frightened. At 5PM on Wednesday May 1, my sister and I took hands and asked God for “just one more week”, he gave that to us because daddy went into his Bible study and taught with clarity and power, we were happy and thankful for that. Thursday dawned and he was very weak, there were several times that we thought he was actually going to die. He prayed for himself and said “Jesus, you’re not going to let me die today are you?” Then he began to prophesy and spoke these words, “I am not going to take you today, there is something for you to do, and I will take you another glorious day!” Needless to say my sister and I were very happy to hear those words! He rallied and told me that he was hungry, I fed him! He ate a Chick Fil A sandwich, then a piece of pizza and finally a Tamale that his grandson had brought him the night before. We slept peaceful that night. On Saturday he began to fade again and his body had not made any urine in almost twelve hours although he had been drinking a lot of water. By 5:45 in the evening we made the hard decision to take him to the hospital, upon being asked if he realized that he needed help he said that he did know that and if we didn’t “they might call the police”, guessing by that he knew he was going to die and didn’t want us to be blamed for not getting help for him. To make a long story a little shorter on Monday night we called the family in as the doctor told us he was going. He told us that his father was standing in the room dressed in a black suit. I asked if my grandfather had come to take him and he answered, “Yes”, “Do you want to go?”, “No”. But as we stood there he began to see things, there were people afar off on a city street but they were too far away for him to recognize. I was standing there and he said, “I saw my soul, it came out and I saw it!” I asked him, stupidly, “What did it look like?” He looked a little incredulous and answered “Like ME, it looked like ME it IS me!” He continued, “It’s so simple, so simple, you just go out and come back and you never feel a thing! If people only knew how simple it was!” As we all stood around and prayed and softly sang he became weaker but opened his eyes and knew it was time for everyone to go home, he asked where my brother-in-law was, he wanted me to take mother home to rest. By Wednesday the doctor was telling us to consider hospice care, which I knew was not something he would want and neither did I. She thought he might have six months but didn’t believe he would make it that long. They sent the hospice people to see me and I signed all the papers hoping to take him home even if he had to have the hospice care and walked back into the room.  He was speaking softly and walked closer, “Membrane, membrane, there’s only a membrane separating us from them.” I said “Daddy what does it look like?” I was going to continue and ask if it looked like Saran Wrap when he spoke again, “Like thin plastic.” I spoke quickly, “Daddy we aren’t going to let yours get torn for a long time!” He rolled his eyes to find my face and said “Ohhh but it’s already done.” That was about the last thing he said that we could really understand. No one was there at that point except my siblings my mother and my brother’s wife. We were talking quietly and as if someone signaled to us we all three got up and walked to the bed where my sister placed both of her hands on daddy’s head, I went and had my hands on his feet and my brother was standing at his right hand. As we stood there I began to softly sing “It Is Well With My Soul” my sister and brother joined in, his breathing became more shallow, he yawned and my sister called out “DADDY”, he opened his eyes wide and looked at her, when he closed them his head dropped and he slipped into eternity as we stood with our hands on him and prayed.

I always believed that we have a cloud of witnesses around us, I always knew that the spirit of the departed could come to comfort you, that your soul could come and go and that until the “silver cord” is broken you will not die but seeing it up close and personal gives you a whole new faith in what happens in the after life. He had died on the “glorious” occasion of the 51st anniversary of the day we first walked into 2800 Piedmont Road, 5-8-1962 to 5-8-2013, and he was able to pastor his own congregation, one that he would never have to walk away from. We love you daddy and we will see you soon!

 

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Dare I say, More sage advice?

Although my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek when I make that statement you read in the title, I do think this is good advice!

Today I sat in an arena normally used for basketball games but today was decorated with beautifully draped panels of the school’s colors and the court filled with white chairs upon which sat 580 young people who had completed their studies and were receiving a diploma as proof of it. I looked at their faces as they came across the stage after receiving that important piece of paper, they were thrilled to be done and excited, maybe not all but I’m thinking most, to go out and change the world. I watched as with up-turned faced they listened to their “go forth” speeches, one which advised them to “make room” for more things than just the norm and I wondered if they were really hearing the words that were being spoken to them or if they were just excited about being through with exams and term papers and looking forward to the celebration parties they were all going to have after the ceremony. As part of the older generation I wonder if we have given them a good world to come into and I mentally saw them as if they were being born into a new life just as they had been twenty or so years ago, being pulled from the safety and security of a mother’s womb into a world where there would be a lot of times they would have to fend for themselves.

What can you show to our future doctors, lawyers, merchants, dads, moms that they wouldn’t know without you? Have you given them a good example of what a Christian young person should be in the world today? Or have you shown them anger, quick tempers, and prejudices?

I leave you with a quote that I feel sums it all up succinctly,

“We are apt to forget that children watch examples better than they listen to preaching.”– Roy L. Smith

 

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Sage advice from Haro

In re-reading the blog I wrote last night I realized I left out that the reason “Francie” holding her coffee cup to warm her hands was a luxury, it was because she didn’t drink the coffee, after it got cold she just poured it out. It might not have mattered to you but it did to me, you’re welcome 🙂

Are you enjoying your life the way God meant for you to do? All you have is today, tell someone you love them, share a smile, a scripture, a hug, with someone you love. Don’t ever let the sun go down on your anger, you might be sorry.

In the fall of the year as the leaves would begin to fall my grandmother would go out with a broom to sweep the driveway and complain, “If I had a child, I wouldn’t have to do this myself“. One day as I was walking down the street she was sweeping and said that to me, I said “Mama, no matter how many times you sweep those leaves, there are going to be that many more tomorrow and so what? They are going to keep falling and you are going to keep sweeping.” She died in the Spring of the year and the following Fall sure enough all the leaves were falling, the beds still had to be made, dishes washed, all the things that were in her regular routine still needed to be done.

I had a shower room built on my side porch so my dad could just roll out there and roll right into it and get over onto a built-in chair! It is 8 feet long and 6 feet wide with two showers heads, I had it made it big enough for he and my mother to both go in there, of course I don’t think he ever saw her completely nude, except in the total darkness! My dad died without ever having used that shower.

My advice to you is old and cliché, “Don’t worry, be happy”

 

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At least I can afford heat and cooled air!

Matthew 5:3  3″You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

I was talking with a friend about a book that we were both re-reading, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.” The heroine of the book is an eleven-year old girl, she is very poor and her one extravagance is holding her cup of coffee in the mornings to warm her hands, which are so cold in an unheated apartment. As I thought of it, I thought about that fact that growing up our family was really pretty poor most of the time. A preacher’s pay is not great, or wasn’t before the day of mega churches where pastors are driven in limousines, and there were times that he would give his entire pay check back to the church to pay the bills.  But we never had a “poor” mentality. I realized that being financially challenged and being poor is two different things. God always provided for us, when there was no money, there would be someone that brought us something good to eat. Mother kept our clothes clean and pressed, even our shoelaces, and the shoes had a shine on them. When we moved to Atlanta we received some good government surplus peanut butter and cheese that came in brown paper boxes. We never felt poor not at all; it never dawned on us to feel poor. God always provided for us and we were always happy. So after going through all of this in my mind, I thought of the scripture that I put at the top of this Blog and when I really studied it, I understood. The Message translation says, “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule.” Read that over and over until it dawns on you that being at the end of your rope you realize that there is nothing that you, in your own power can do to change your circumstances, the answer lies in God alone. That kind of takes the pressure off, if you think of it that way. I know there is nothing I can do to make my life better, happier, richer but God, Who knows all, has the answer, not just the answer but the solution for my problems, and yours!

I would rather be poor and know that I will inherit the Kingdom of God than to have all the riches in the world!

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Don’t ruin your day!

I have a recurring dream, I am walking in the hall of a school and no one is there! I keep looking in the rooms to see if I can find someone but I never see anyone. I always find an office and there are blinds in the windows with the waning sun shining through, I am small, I am scared. The hall starts getting smaller until it is almost closing in and I can’t see a door that leads to the outside, that’s when I wake up. I’m not trying to analyze the dream, I’m pretty sure it originates from a place in me that had to change schools so many times because my parents were sent from church to church, so not worried about the meaning. My thought is that we all have things that come to us when we are caught “off guard”, which is moments of stress when you are vulnerable, or right before you drift off to sleep, then it invades your dreams.

I prayed with a person this week that was terribly upset about a problem at work. As I was driving home, I continued to pray, I asked God to give them a miracle, so they would know for sure He had heard their request. Feeling emboldened by the Spirit I was feeling I placed it out there, “God I am asking that you let the answer come by the end of the business day, thank you and Amen!” I waxed even bolder and called the person telling them about the prayer and told them to expect an answer by the end of their business day. Next day I was anxious to hear the results feeling confident that my prayer had been heard, first phone call, “I couldn’t sleep last night, I never heard anything. I tried to have faith and didn’t realize I was thinking about it, but I had bad dreams all night trying to figure it out.” I was disappointed, but told him to “hold on”. Later that morning I got a call, this person’s assistant had received a call after he had left the office that solved the problem! The assistant had taken the message and decided to wait until next morning at work to give it to him! I was so happy to know that God had answered the prayer exactly as we had requested, but they didn’t know it had been answered and had a bad night full of dreams inspired to kill their faith not knowing the answer was already there.

The moral of the story is this: Don’t let bad dreams or thoughts ruin your day, remember before you speak He hears!

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Angels watching over me

I have said in the past, and I am sure I’m not the first to have said it, that having a child is like wearing your heart on the outside of your body where it cannot be protected. When my first was born, my daughter, I thought I could never love another human the way I loved her, and then my son was born and my heart expanded to hold them both, plus their spouses and don’t forget my grandchildren! I have gone through having to have an EEG on Cherita to see if she had a brain tumor only to find out that it was just a “bad temper” when she was ten-months old, the problems we had with her teeth, to Ara nearly dying with a burst appendix at the age of ten. There have been a lot of laughter with the tears in our day-to-day life and I wouldn’t trade one moment of it for any amount of money. Thinking that getting them grown relieves you of problems is just being naïve, that’s where the real trials and tribulations start. The small boo-boos can be taken care of with a little TLC and band aids but financial problems, fertility issues, real health issues like having two lungs full of blood clots and one child with impending knee surgery tomorrow takes planning and a lot of prayer and knowing that God gives you guardian angels to watch over them when you can’t be there. I have told in the past how when my son was dying with gangrene from his appendix having burst that while he was crying and I was limited to stopping at the red line on the floor when he was rolled through the doors of the operating suite that little ten-year old boy saw his angel standing behind the surgeon and became calm. It was a testimony he told to everyone that came to see him and then he walked up and down the hospital halls telling other patients how his angel had come to be with him during his operation. So I believe that tomorrow as he goes to sleep under the anesthesia his special angel will be there watching the whole process.

What do people do that don’t have faith in knowing that Jesus died and shed His blood so that we could be healed? I thank God that according to Psalm 91:11-12 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

Tonight I wish I could lay my boy down in his little trundle bed, laying my hand on his head and pray his good-night prayers with him, since I can’t I know that God is giving His angels the job of watching over him, thank you God for that. Know that He is watching over you and all yours too!

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