Thursday, April 30, 2009

Why Do We Wait So Long to Turn Around?

Sometimes I have made such a mess of things that I felt like there was no way God would have anything to do with me. This was just one more time in a list of failures. Finally, I learned that when we ask for forgiveness, that's it. It's over. Done. Finito.

As far as the east is from the west, [so] far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12

Nothing can separate us from His love.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

Why do we wait so long to return?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Antidote to Abuse

For almost 25 years I have ministering to women who have been abused. Repeatedly I ask them to read Psalm 139 OUT LOUD twice a day for 30 days.
It answers questions like: "Where were you, God?" "Does anybody care?" "Was I an accident?" and statements like: "What's the use." and "I feel like such a loser."
None of that cmes from the heart of God. Psalm 139 reveals His heart. When you know that then anything that does not line up with that is from the accuser of the brethren, Satan. Ditch those thoughts quickly before they destroy you.
That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:26-27
If Jesus wants to wash us with the water of the Word, shouldn't we be doing the same?
Your Father loves you and His plan for you will bring joy unspeakable. I can't promise you that there will never be pain, but I promise you that He will carry you and the healing will bring a new life that is more than you could have ever imagined or even hoped for.
Let me tell you in case you have forgotten, You are loved, deeply loved.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pray for Rain

I have always loved rain. Growing up we lived three houses from the St. Johns River. When rain came, I would go down to the river and sit beneath a heavy canopied oak tree and watch the rain come down on the river. It was such a peaceful, cleansing time.
Last week I was awakened by a noisy thunderstorm. I got up and went to the kitchen window and watched the lightning dance. It was quite a show. I crawled back into bed and listened to the symphony of the storm. I loved the mixed notes and thought that we are blessed to serve such a mighty God.
There is another rain coming. A rain that will wash away all heaviness and oppression/ There is a song that says, "Pray for rain when your life is dry and thirsty. Pray for rain when your life is void and empty. Pray for rain when you don't know what to pray; pray for rain."

Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things...Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first [month]...And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. Joel 2:21, 23, 25

Monday, April 27, 2009

Wrap Me In Your Arms

I am rarely lonely.
Part of that is very healthy while a secret part uses it as a defense mechanism for withdrawing from the fray. I run away from conflict and let the issue fester until it has to be lanced. That "don't rock the boat" mentality keeps the Lord out of the issue. Jesus not only rocked boats, but He stepped out of one and walked on water.
When we cower and hide, He will not interfere. Instead choose to know that perfect love casts out fear and He is that perfect love. If I must run, I must run into His arms.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hide and Seek with God

You can find God in a child's smile, an unexpected letter and in a flower. God is everywhere if you look. Look expectantly.
It is one of the things that I am really looking forward to in Ireland. How will God reveal Himself to us?
Believe me I will be looking.
I am expecting divine appointments and encounters to both give and to receive.
Shouldn't every day be lived like that?

Peace To You and Your House

And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Mark 4:39
Whatever the storms are in your life, take your peace.

What Kind of Love Do I Have?

We have all been taught the three kinds of love, but I suggest that agape love is really more identifiable as a selfless love. When we give up our right to be right, God can move in our behalf.
There is so much baggage that we bring into a marriage and its family. One word can jerk us back to the past. When we are selfless, there is no trigger.
I am becoming keenly aware of how much fear I have in totally trusting God with those I love. This awareness journey began when one of my daughters took her children away from here. I was extremely angry and bitter. I was convinced harm would come to them all.
However, I did not want to become a bitter woman. So daily, sometimes many times a day, I would repent for my bitterness. I did this for WEEKS until the bitterness lost its grip. It lost when I recognized that I didn't trust God with my daughter or my granddaughters. I repented and released them.
It's not the way I planned, but God sees the expected end. I don't.
There is another war under my roof this week. Voices being raised as each defends their position. More quickly now, I release each to the Lord and remind myself that He know the expected end. He is God and I am not.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jer. 29:11

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Things We Leave Behind

Ray and I moved to this small town eight years ago.
We left behind a lot and there have been regrets for some were hurt in the process.
Through our struggles here, we have found a new life and a deeper love for one another.
My worst weaknesses have been surrendered, generally one by one. (Why did I hold on so long?)
We have a freedom and a peace that we have never experienced before. We live simply, but purposefully.
Maybe God is calling you to leave some things behind.
He has been doing it for centuries.
Another Michard Card song:
Things We Leave Behind
There sits Simon,
so foolishly wise
proudly he's tending his nets
Then Jesus calls,
and the boats drift away
all that he owns he forgets

More than the nets
he abandoned that day,
he found that his pride was soon drifting away
It's hard to imagine the freedom we find
from the things we leave behind

Matthew was mindful
of taking the tax,
pressing the people to pay
Hearing the call,
he responded in faith
followed the Light and the Way

Leaving the people
so puzzled he found,
the greed in his heart
was no longer around and
it's hard to imagine
the freedom we find
from the things
we leave behind

Every heart needs to be set free,
from posessions
that hold it so tight
'Cause freedom's not found in the things that we own,
It's the power
to do what is right
Jesus, our only posession,
giving becomes our delight
We can't imagine the freedom we find
from the things we leave behind

We show a love for the world in our lives
by worshipping goods we posess
Jesus has laid all our treasures aside
"love God above all the rest"

'Cause when we say 'no'
to the things of the world
we open our hearts
to the love of the Lord and
its hard to imagine
the freedom we find
from the things we leave behind

Oh, and it's hard to imagine
the freedom we find
from the things
we leave behind

The Basin and the Towel

I can remember being divorced and bitter. I was like Scarlet O'Hara, I was going to make it no matter what.
The bestseller of the year was Looking Out for Number #1. Even as a mother of three, that was my goal. No one was going to hurt me again.
I was going to make it and my children weren't going to have to go through what I had been through. Abuse always seemed to follow me. The spirit of victimization was worn like a wet raincoat. Nevertheless, I was a survivor.
Then there began a series of paradigm shifts. I joined a tiny Epicopal mission called St. Mary's. There were 13 members, mostly elderly. So my family increased enrollment by 25%. It was at St. Mary's that I learned about community.
Later after Ray and I were married there, St. Mary's became a shelter for those who lived in Adult Congregate Living Facilities.(ACLFs) Most were mentally disabled.
Ray had a servant's heart. I did not, but I wanted to be a good wife and I followed his lead.
Together we put on a Block Party for 500 people. Over half were ACLFers. The whole Diocese pitched in. The cost to St. Mary's was about $200. We got the mayor to close the streets. We had music, dance, face painting and a Southern barbecue. The people from other churches taught me once again about being a servant.
Still my real "a ha!" moment came when Fr. John asked once in a meeting, "If God asked you to show up each week, walk down the narrow hall of the classrooms and in the room at the end of the hall wash the feet of an elderly woman, could you do it? Could you do it if you could tell no one? No one would know or praise you? Could you do it just for the Father?
That was over 25 years ago, but sometimes when I examine my motives, I hear his questions. Am I doing it for man or as unto the Lord?
Recently I found a Michael Card song that expresses this completely. I have added the lyrics and the music.

Scribbling in the Sand: The Best of Michael Card (2002)

In an upstairs room, a parable
is just about to come alive.
And while they bicker about who's best,
with a painful glance, He'll silently rise.

Their Savior Servant must show them how
through the will of the water
and the tenderness of the towel.

And the call is to community,
The impoverished power that sets the soul free.
In humility, to take the vow,
that day after day we must take up the basin and the towel.

In any ordinary place,
on any ordinary day,
the parable can live again
when one will kneel and one will yield.

Our Saviour Servant must show us how
through the will of the water
and the tenderness of the towel.

And the space between ourselves sometimes
is more than the distance between the stars.
By the fragile bridge of the Servant's bow
we take up the basin and the towel.

The Hand of the Father

Ray and I have seen the hand of the Father in designing our travel plans for Ireland. This week he got a letter from his Aunt Anna, 83, who gave him towns and names names of ancestors to seek in the Waterford area. This will be a delightful hide and seek game.
He has given us the ability to exchange dollars into Euros at no fee.
He has given us a guide for Dublin.
The myriad of ways that He has woven this adventure together is awesome.
I am reminded daily of how much our Father god loves us.
We are trusting Him at a level we have never trusted Him before. Leaving our familial support and ways behind, we are going on an adventure with God and have no idea what each day will hold. We decided NOT to make a single reservation for lodging, but rather go where the Father leads us. We want to be a blessing to the people there and are expecting to see God's hand in it.
Can you take six minutes to listen to this Love Letter from the Father?
You see He loves you as much as He does us for He is not a respector of persons.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

He Shall Bring It to Pass

Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring [it] to pass. Psalm 37:4
Many times I have committed my ways to the Lord, but I haven't trusted Him and I try to bring it to pass.
Guess what?
It doesn't work.
This trip to Ireland has been a bit intense because it is stretching us so much. However, it has been fun and easy. God continues to bring in resources in the most unexpected ways. One customer who usually buys $30 a month, bought over $400 worth of Mary Kay when the airline lost her luggage. Ray has gotten some "fix-it" jobs.
We aren't holding back at any level. We are continuing to give out as the Lord prompts and He is multiplying back.
We aren't making any reservations for lodging except for some time we will spend with a friend. This is a trust journey. We are committing our ways to the Lord and asking Him to bring us to the places He wants us to say to encourage someone or to be encouraged ourselves.
We have such peace about this trip. This is a breakthrough journey. We will return changed, not because of Ireland, but because of time away as a couple, the faith it took to even commit to going, the divine encounters He will bring and more that He will reveal.
I know we will never be the same.
Found a song by Hillsong that describes where we are:
With All I Am
by Hillsong United
album: For All You've Done (2004)

into your hand
i commit again
with all I am
for you Lord

you hold my world
in the palm of your hand
and I'm yours forever


Jesus I believe in you
Jesus I belong to you
you're the reason that I live
the reason that I sing
with all I am

I'll walk with you
wherever you go
through tears and joy
I'll trust in you

and I will live
in all of your ways and
your promises forever


I will worship I will worship you forever


Sunday, April 12, 2009

What Promises Are You Waiting to Come?

When Abraham was 75 years, God promised to give him descendants that would create a great nation.
Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: Genesis 12:1-2
It was hard for me to leave Jacksonville. I had phone, internet, USPS and a car to keep me connected to it. Abraham left it ALL behind- country, kindred and his father's house (which represents inheritance.) THEN God would make of him a great nation.
At age 99, Abraham was still waiting. Still he did not go back to his old familiar life. He believe in God Almighty - El Shaddai- whose very name refers to His all sufficiency and mighty power to accomplish His promises.
God's ways are not often ours. He asked Abraham to circumcise ALL boys and men in his household including himself.
Can you even fathom undergoing circumcision at age 99? Yet God always asks us to cut away the flesh before He can use us to fulfill His will for our lives.
Each of us must get before God and ask what fleshly thing must be cut from our life to better serve Him?
I know what mine is. Do you know what He is asking you to cut away?
I guarantee it.
Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected [us], and we gave [them] reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened [us] after their own pleasure; but he for [our] profit, that [we] might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Hebrews 12:9-11

How Will You Finish?

Eight years ago on Easter Sunday, Ray and I drove into Thomaston, GA, a small town of about 10,000 people. We came here to try to save my life. I was 56 and a cardiologist said I wouldn't see 60. Just months before I had been introduced to a ministry of Pleasant Valley Church called For My Life. It had already wrought tremendous changes in my life, but I knew if I stayed in Jacksonville, I would just go back to the way I was. So I left my mother, my children and my grandchildren to begin anew. My emotions felt like they were in a high speed blender. I had a lot of guilt for leaving everyone.
We left our furniture on the truck and crashed on the carpet of the living room before getting up to go to church. When church began, Ray began to cry. He was extremely pale. He told me he was going to the car. It really scared me. I dug in my purse for a nitroglycerin patch and went to the parking lot to find him. All that was going through my mind was, "Oh, great, I have killed my husband trying to save my own life."
Tears were streaming down his face when I found him. So naturally I started crying, too. I said, "Honey, what's wrong? Is it your heart?"
His eyes widened.
"NO! I just was overcome, because I have never seen you so happy."
He had laid down everything to save my life, because he loves me unconditionally.
A pastor once told me, "Diane, there is no reason your marriage should work, because of your backgrounds. But Ray has never given up on you. Still as much as Ray loves you, God loves you even more. You wouldn't believe it. So He sent you Ray so you could see love in action."
Eight years a miracle began and there have been times that I have not treated it in the reverence it deserves, Every day is indeed a miracle. I have already had about 1360 more days than the surgeon said I would.
How many have I fully lived?
Jesus came that we might have live abundantly.
The house we live in is a piece of that abundance. Although we had owned investment property, we had never owned a personal home until we moved here. It isn't fancy, but it is a place of refuge and hospitality
So many pieces of life's puzzle have been found here. I have even picked up some wrong pieces and tried to shove them in, but they didn't fit. Yet the picture is still not complete.
I purpose to live my life with gratitude and in His abundance. I want to finish well.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Two Ways to Live Your Life

"There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle ."
Albert Einstein

When Ray and I were missionaries in Lesotho, the Basotho would begin their testimony with "I praise God for my life." These were people whose family lived on less than $30 a month with no electricity, plumbing, telephone, or personal transportation. Their main meal was pap, a traditional porridge made from mielie-meal, ground maize. It was like thick grits. Mama would make up a big pot and they would eat it for days.
Yet they had an attitude of gratitude for the smallest of things. They were humble and joyful.
Tomorrow is Easter. My Jesus said that He came that I might have life and not only that but have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)
He died to give me an abundant life. If that is not what my life represents especially in the things that money cannot buy, I need to find out who/what the thief is. For the first part of that verse says, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy..." What choices have I made that opened the door to the thief. Once identified, I need to take responsibility for those choices and repent. Then, and only then can I enjoy the abundant life He promised.
I praise God for my life.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Finishing Well

All of this year Ray and I have been working to save enough money to realize a dream we have had for 30 years and that is to go to Ireland. Last week we bought the tickets, but that is less than half of the total cost and we have just eight weeks before we leave.
I have a Mary Kay business that provides a supplementary income. I have seen it take off this year and the more it did, the harder I worked, the more stressed I became until I finally recognized that I was relying on my own strength and my own wit.
Then this morning I read another definition of planning for success:
Planning for Success
TGIF Today God Is First by Os Hillman

"I know, O Lord, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps." - Jeremiah 10:23

In business I hear a lot about planning. Every January I hear workplace believers establishing their planning for the year. Corporations establish plans that cover anywhere from one to five years. Individuals establish personal life plans. There is only one problem that I see with most planning done by well-meaning believers. If God is not the originator and director of the plan, then that plan is doomed for failure. So often, Christian workplace believers set out to plan something that seems good in their own mind. The merits of what is being planned can look great, and it can even be a worthy endeavor. However, that is not the point. When Jesus said He came only to do the will of the Father, He could not consider doing anything that was not what the Father wanted, no matter how good or righteous it might appear to be.

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps" (Prov. 16:9). God must give us the vision for what He calls us to do. After we have the vision, we must ask Him if He wants us to take action on that vision and what the action steps entail. The Lord wants to direct each step of the planning process. David learned this lesson when he went to battle against his enemy, the Philistines. One day he inquired of God as to whether he was to go up against the Philistines, and the Lord said, "Yes, but only when you hear the marching in the balsam trees." It is a mistake to reason and analyze in order to come to a decision on a matter. The Lord already knows the answer. It is our responsibility to seek Him to find out His mind on the matter. Our planning must be established in Him. Only when we remain so connected to the source can we be assured of putting God's plan into place. Also, getting that plan confirmed through others will assure that we are not following the deceit of our own heart.

When you begin to plan next time, ask God for His wisdom for establishing the vision and action steps. You will be surprised how well He can plan."

Tonight I watched Flywheel. Between the two events I have re-dedicated my business to the Lord. It is time to amp my my faith in God. Without Him I can do nothing.
Hope you will watch this trailer of the movie and then go get it.

Learning to Rest

Almost 29 years ago I first heard the concept of resting in the Lord. (Heb. 4) and yet I often feel I am no closer to fully embracing His rest. The closer I get to it, the more I recognize how much fear I have in absolute surrender, the irrevocable kind. I think Ireland could be a trust walk if I make no reservations, but simply stop when He says stop. A time where I lean back and trust Him to catch me. The risks are fewer, because my livelihood is not on the line.
I get into performance and drivenness on the job trying to do things RIGHT. Here there is no RIGHT. Ray could care less whether we spend the night in Tramore or Dunmore East. There are, of course, certain sights we want to see, but they don't have to be done on a specific day.Perhaps I can even learn more fully what taking my peace is all about.
Today I am staying home from work. I have been drooling for a couple of days. I don't know if it is from a broken tooth that I am choosing to ignore or something more serious. I do know that I am tired and wound tighter than a banjo string. So I am going outside to pot some plants and then when the sun is out come in and finish writing an article for the Journal and start another. I am believing that in this slower pace, I can hear God say, "This is the way, walk in it."
Our Sunday service was powerful and one of the songs that Mary Pat shared (a favorite of Pastor Anita) was Order My Steps in Your Word.
I am posting the lyrics and then the video. What a way to live!
Chorus 1
Order my steps in Your word dear Lord,
lead me, guide me everyday,
send Your anointing, Father I pray;
order my steps in Your word,
please, order my steps in Your word.

Verse 1
Humbly, I ask Thee to teach me Your will,
while You are working, help me be still,
Satan is busy, but my God is real;
order my steps in Your word,
please, order my steps in Your word.

Verse 2
Bridle my tongue let my words edify,
let the words of my mouth be acceptable in Thy sight,
take charge of my thoughts both day and night;
please order my steps in Your word,
please order my steps in Your word.

I want to walk worthy,
my calling to fulfill.
Please order my steps Lord,
and I'll do Your blessed will.
The world is ever changing,
but You are still the same;
if You order my steps, I'll praise Your name.

Order my steps in Your word.
Order my tongue in Your word.
Guide my feet in Your word.
Wash my heart in Your word.
Show me how to walk in Your word.
Show me how to talk in Your word.
When I need a brand new song to sing,
show me how to let Your praises ring,
in Your word, in Your word.

Chorus 2
Please order my steps in Your word,
please order my steps in Your word.

Please order my steps in Your word.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Too Busy to Listen

Sometimes I think we are so busy getting "there" -wherever that might be- that we never really see what God has set before us to see or hear and most importantly to do. My own son called me on it yesterday. He said you and Dad are so focused on getting to Ireland that you don't take time to have fun. He is someone who needs to be heard, but he talks so much sometimes that I find myself half listening. Although he is a grown man, I know that God often uses our children to speak into our lives. What have I missed?
I received a powerful email today. I am attaching it below. I do not know who the author is. So I cannot give proper credit. However, I would like for you to reflect on what the gift of time can mean to someone. I sure am.

Just Stay

A nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside.
'Your son is here,' she said to the old man.
She had to repeat the words several times before the patient's eyes opened.
He was heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he dimly saw the young uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand. The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man's limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement.
The nurse brought a chair so that the Marine could sit beside the bed.All through the night the young Marine sat there in the poorly lighted ward, holding the old man's hand and offering him words of love and strength. Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away and rest awhile.He refused. Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital - the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients.
Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, only held tightly to his son all through the night.
Along towards dawn, the old man died. The Marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited.
Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy, but the Marine interrupted her.
'Who was that man?' he asked. The nurse was startled, 'He was your father,' she answered. 'No, he wasn't,' the Marine replied. 'I never saw him before in my life.'
'Then why didn't you say something when I took you to him?'
'I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn't here. When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, knowing how much he needed me, I stayed.'
The next time someone needs you ...
just be there. Stay.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

We've Got Our Tickets to Ireland!

We came close to buying our tickets last Saturday, but something said wait. We did and saved over $300!
We believe God is going to meet every expense perfectly and expect this to be an "exceedingly abundantly" second honeymoon. Ray is certainly God's gift to me and I am looking forward to some one on one time with him going back to his roots in Dungarvan.
Please keep us in your prayers. We are expecting Divine appointments and encounters.
Two special videos for you to watch!