Living Out What We Believe

christmas_candles

This week on Inside Edition I heard the moving story of how Tim Tebow used many of his spiritual gifts to encourage and comfort a family in distress. He was on a Delta flight headed to Atlanta from Phoenix when a passenger suffered a heart attack. Many came to the man’s aid performing chest compressions and then a defibrillator to restart the man’s heart. Tim Tebow was in first class and heard the commotion. He got up and found his way to this family. He hugged them, embraced them, encouraged them, and prayed with them. After the flight landed, he went with them to help with their luggage and then went to the hospital. He was there when the family heard the news that their loved one didn’t make it.

Tim Tebow used gifts that all believers in Christ have available at all times. He used prayer, encouragement, comfort, service, and loving touches to a family in need. Because of his notability this story will be read and heard and told multiple times. It is a story that lifts our spirits.

In a similar way, God used a precious friend of mine and others in a beauty salon here in my city just last week to help save the life of an elderly woman. It’s a story that won’t be on the news or in the newspaper (as far as I know) but it’s still just as great. It’s a story of how my friend allowed God to use her spirit-filled life to help someone in need. As she was getting her hair done, another lady in the salon began choking on a peanut. Some ladies were gathered around her trying to help. Then my friend started praying aloud. She then looked at a lady sitting next to her and asked if someone had called the ambulance. Before getting an answer, that lady threw off her cape and went over to the woman and began doing the Heimlich. She was a nurse and even had on her nursing scrubs. God orchestrated many things that morning to bring about good that saved a woman. There is power in caring. Power in love. Power in reaching out. Power in doing something. Power in prayer.

This week I also heard of a 6 year old boy who was in a Bob Evans Restaurant in St. Petersburg, Florida where some police officers were eating. He overheard the manager shaking hands with one of the officers and thanking him for his service. Joshua Garza, the 6 year old, then approached the officers and asked if they all could pray together for their safety. They gathered together and Joshua prayed for them.

I can’t help but think of these verses that I memorized many years ago when I think of these three amazing people. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16. These scriptures don’t say “you can be” the light of the world. They say “You are the light of the world.”

I guarantee these three people didn’t take moments to sit around and ponder “Do I need to strike up a match and light up my light?” No, they knew they were light because God’s Spirit lives in them. It’s evident they consistently spend time understanding how the light of the world, Jesus, wants to show forth His glory in them. It’s evident they spend time praying in their personal alone time with God. It’s evident they understand that some of the fruits of the Spirit are love, kindness, and goodness. It’s evident that they know we’re all to pray and intercede for all mankind. It’s evident they know we’re to be bold in living out our faith. It’s evident that they were being gentle and loving in their thoughts and actions toward the men and women God put in their path that day.

These stories impact me. I want to be the light of Jesus Christ in word and deed to all I encounter. I don’t want to be so caught up in my world that I do not make myself available everyday to be light that God can use to bring others closer to Him. And, if it’s a day I’m just in my house and see no one, I know I can still make a difference in others’ lives because I am interceding for them in prayer. It’s one of the greatest things I could ever do for anyone. And, if and when there’s an opportunity to pray with someone I’ve never met before, I will do it. If they need prayer, I will be ready. All for Him.

We all hear about the Tim Tebows and thank God for them and their witness, but God uses ordinary, unknown believers daily for His glory. Believers in Christ have incredible power within our lives. God wants to unleash that power through us everyday! What do you think? Has God used you in his way? Please share your story.

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Remembering the Last Morning with my Mother

Cherry Blossoms

On my walk this morning I couldn’t help but reflect back on the morning of October 23, 2014, the last time I’d have with my mother. I’d been with my parents in Texas for 2 ½ weeks walking through the shadows of death that were accompanying the last days of Mother’s life.

I woke up that particular morning about 6:00 and thought, “Why not do my morning devotional with Mother?” So, I pulled my chair up beside her bed, a bit unsure of what I was going to read that morning. For some reason, I landed in Psalm 119. I’m not certain why I chose that particular Psalm, but as I began to read, it was evident God led me there.

I chose to read this Psalm aloud. Mother was in a semi-conscience state. In the physical realm it seemed there was no awareness, but I know in the spiritual realm, there was a deep awareness. God wanted us to pray together through this Psalm for all the Loves in our lives. At least twice, I thought, “Well, I’ve read enough, and prayed enough.” But, something or Someone urged me to keep reading. It’s 176 verses!

This probably was one of the sweetest and most powerful moments I’ve ever spent in the presence of the Lord. I read a few verses and then audibly prayed words from them for our mutual Loves, our spouses, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. We even prayed for those unborn babes that would come into the world through Mother’s grandchildren. And, isn’t it awesome that one of those babes was born just three days ago! Here are things we prayed taken from this powerful Psalm:

  • That our Loves would keep their way pure as they live according to God’s Word.
  • That they would seek God with all of their hearts.
  • That they would hide God’s Word in their hearts.
  • That they would be kept from deceitful ways.
  • That they would turn their eyes away from worthless things.
  • That they would know and understand the unfailing love of God.
  • That they would walk in obedience to God.
  • That God would give them knowledge and good judgment.
  • That they would meditate on God’s Word.
  • That they would have lips that overflow with praise.

Today I made the commitment to read and pray through this Psalm once again on the anniversary date of Mother’s sweet and gentle passing into the arms of the One who made her and loves her so.

          Heavenly Father, May this be the way I will celebrate You and my mother’s life on this

          Earth on all the future October 23rds You give me. Amen.

Help! I’m Coming Undone

In the stillness-He is there

My emotions have been all over the map for many months, and with good reason. My mother died a few months ago, my sister is on a difficult cancer journey. I’m twelve hours away from her, and seventeen hours away from my grieving daddy. I also let go of some ministries I dearly loved. And, now we’re in the process of selling our house and buying another. So, there are many mornings I get up feeling crazy!

What’s kept me from totally unraveling is falling on my face and having a talk with my heavenly Father. That conversation goes like this:

  • I’m overwhelmed. God says. “I’m here.”
  • I’m sad. God says, “I’m here.”
  • I’m anxious over a big decision. God says, “I’m here.”
  • I’m scared. God says, “I’m here.”
  • I don’t understand. God says, “I’m here.”
  • I’m exhausted. God says, “I’m here.”

The Lord God, the great I AM – He meets me where I am.

My sister’s house is adorned with scripture plaques. Almost every wall is decorated with something spiritual. I love being surrounded by such beauty! My favorite plaque has these words:

In the stillness, He is there. 

These words are taken from I Kings 19 when Elijah is fleeing from Queen Jezebel who is ready to take him out. He is running scared. He is exhausted physically and emotionally. God miraculously fed him on the journey and gave him rest. With his replenished soul and body, he travelled 40 days and 40 nights to meet with his God on Mt Horeb, the same place God manifested his glory to Moses. After spending the night in a cave, God commanded him to present himself on the mountain for the Lord was going to pass by. God sent a powerful wind, an earthquake, and a fire, but He was not in those manifestations of nature. God came to him in quietness. “And the word of the Lord came to him…a gentle whisper.” F.B. Myer says of this encounter: There the forces of Nature spoke to Elijah’s varying moods. In the fire, the earthquake, and the tempest he heard the voices of his own soul. ….Then the accents of the “still small voice” fell upon his ear, calming quieting, soothing.

F.B. Myer also says that God does not judge us by our moods. I say, “Hallelujah! Thank you, Jesus!” I can pour out my soul to Him sharing every emotion imaginable and in His still, soothing voice He says, “I am here.” The great I AM is with me. That is enough. I am helped. I am calmed.

 

One Minute Challenge

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Years ago I heard a woman share about a one-minute-challenge that I thought was powerful, and I can say from experience it is. She suggests sitting quietly for one minute a day, being still before the Lord (use stop watch on phone) and say to God, “I’m just here to tell you I love you, Lord.” In this moment of stillness peace and calmness come. In this moment of stillness the Holy Spirit can speak. In this moment of stillness the presence of God can be felt. In this moment of stillness answers to problems can come. In this moment of stillness strength is found.

In my life I often find that that one minute of stillness easily increases to a longer length of time. I find that words of praise just seem to automatically jump out of my mouth. I can’t seem to keep from offering words that express how much I thank Jesus for loving me. Just pondering this love overwhelms me and moves me.

I even find my posture during this still time makes a difference. I don’t know exactly why it does, but it does. That posture is on my knees. I have to admit that this posture is very difficult for me. It’s something I’m pretty sure is related to pride, laziness, or a desire for comfort. A bended knee is a posture of humility.

I am reminded of a powerful song sung by Jaci Velazques from years ago:

There are days when I feel the best of me is ready to begin.

Then there days when I feel I’m letting go and soaring on the wind.

‘Cause I’ve learned in laughter or in pain, how to survive.

 

I get on my knees, I get on my knees.

There I am before the love that changes me.

See I don’t know how, but there’s power

When I’m on my knees

 

Oh Lord, help me take a moment everyday to be still in your presence, acknowledging how much I love you and thanking you for the perfect, unconditional love you have for me.

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us, the God of Jacob is our fortress.