Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Me Again

Here I am again, Lord.
Troubles I can’t face.
I tried to do it my way
And I didn’t use my faith.

It started out so innocent.
I thought it wouldn’t hurt.
If I took care of this and that
Save faith for “bigger” works.

All seemed fine for quite some time.
The way looked perfectly clear to me!
My wisdom helped me forge ahead.
My pride brought up the rear.

But today was the day of reckoning.
My plots and plans were revealed.
What my way had really cost me
And the path for me to heal.

So here I am again Lord,
With problems I have made.
I am asking for your forgiveness
And to help me find my way.

When I first wrote this poem and centered it from the left hand side, I noticed something. The shape of the poem became like an old-fashion oil lamp. When I began to imagine it lit,
 this verse came to mind:

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.
Psalms 119: 105

When you have troubles of your own making, where do you go to find the answers and the strength to see them through?

I would like to challenge you to do three things:

First, I challenge you to pray before you do anything farther. 
Not only will prayer open up the communication lines between you and God but He can also reassure you of His faithfulness, love and mercy. God is always there with you but He also waits for your permission to initiate His counsel.

Second, I challenge you to go to the word of God for His wisdom and direction. Sometimes, I go to the concordance and other times, I may go to a book of “God’s Promises” or to other books which teach biblical principles. If I need help interrupting the scriptures or putting my plan of action together, I go to someone who will be honest with me and not just tell me what I want to hear. Beginning to search for the Truth coupled with faith brings about answers if we search with our whole heart.

Last, I challenge you to wait before the Lord so the Holy Spirit can inspire your thoughts and guide you through the process of healing and/or restoring yourself from the messy situation. God usually does everything step by step so listen carefully and then do your best to obey what He is telling you to do. An honest effort before the Lord will keep Him ever present.

Troubles, although hard to go through, 
have always brought me closer to God. 
And that, my friends, is a true blessing.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Weekend to Remember

Mom died. Now we have to disperse or sell all her treasures. She loved and collected anything-vintage…furniture, all types of wood pieces, and all types of glass, and silver just to name a few. For Mom, it wasn’t so much about having the things as it was about the challenge of the hunt. She loved to find what no one else could and then talk the seller down to nothing. Mom would go into a flea-invested barn herself to pick up her latest bargain. And sometimes, us kids got drafted into helping her move this ‘treasure’ for an enjoyable treat.  When she got it home, Mom would refinish it with love and display it proudly. Then she would delight in telling others about her latest ‘find’ adventure.

Together, my two brothers and I viewed the boxes piled up in each storage room along with the antique furniture. None of the three of us could see ourselves taking much because while Mom always had a large home, we have more modest homes. With that consideration in mind, we pulled up Mom’s white plastic porch ware and decided to have fun with the whole decision-making process.  Like I said, none of us really needed any of the things set before us. However, each of us did want a piece of our past and a memory of Mom.

Paper ended up going everywhere as pieces of Mom’s life were displayed before us. If two or even three of us wanted the same thing, we rolled the dice for it. Highest roller won. I can’t say I was not disappointed with some of the outcomes but it was the only fair way. Mom always said, if we started to fight over her stuff, it was to be sold immediately with no more questions asked...period.

By the time my brothers and I were finished going through everything, we were at peace. We had told many stories about Mom and her escapades which made us laugh once more. We had also told a lot of stories on ourselves growing up which caused some laughter too. Then, at the closing of the last box, I can honestly said my family was still a family and united for the future. And to me...remaining a family is what really mattered the most.

This is what I learned:

1.    Your life can change forever with a single phone call.

2.    Family relationships can be stronger then they ever were, if all set their hearts to make it possible. The boxes said “United” on the sides. Even after many years of differences between us, Mom and her things were beckoning us to stand united at the end of the day.

3.    Accumulation of possessions is fleeting. Some things we buy as ‘investments’ for later may not become the big investments we were planning on at our death. When our kin are ready to sell, it is only worth what another will pay. There are so many variables that can push the price up or down. So…when you make purchases, choose wisely so what is purchased can be enjoyed with those you love now while you are here. Then ‘if’ you can sell it for the profit later, that is always a nice bonus.

4.    Some day you WILL be at the top of the family ladder. These things in the storage rooms were representations of memories from my childhood.  Family pieces handed down...ruby glass, a silver service, sandwich plates with rings for punch cups and pictures of an era now gone.  Cherish the journey because it is all too soon gone.

Mom… it will be a year on the 23rd of April since your passing on into God’s glory. We miss you down here but I know you are at peace now. Thanks for all you did for us and the lasting memories we cherish.

And Mom...     I love you!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Weary Warrior

Sometimes I have felt forgotten in this dreary and toilsome land.
I so wanted to be the strong soldier that God had in His plan.

But in the heat of battle, I forgot to follow His direction.
What happened next was the inevitable insurrection!

I went up and down the hills of life fighting with all “my” might
Thinking I was doing all that my Commander had in mind.
But suddenly I heard it out of the corner of my ear
His faint little whistle summoning me to come near.

I stood outside His tent of meeting to make sure I was collected.
And to see if there was anything I had knowingly neglected.
As I stepped into His presence and bowed down upon my knees,
He could see me shaking ‘cause I thought He wouldn’t be pleased.
Stand up and come closer child. You need some loving care.
I can see your heart is breaking. It’s full of such despair.
You needed to be summoned here cause you forget the way to fight.
And I wanted to remind you victory is not won by “your” might.

I looked up at His shining face into His eyes of love.
And felt almost simultaneously His arms around me snug.
Any fear I had that I didn’t meet His standards
Melted away immediately with His kind and loving manner.

Now listen to Me closely my child to what I’m about to say
So you will not get discouraged and forget along the way.
My commands are not as hard, if you follow My leading strictly.
Especially when the days are hot and things get a little sticky.

First, I want you near Me never leave My side.
Abiding is the answer for the age-old question of pride.
Next, only decree the words that you hear Me say to you
Until you see them happening and your faith has grown anew.

So what do I do in the middle when my dream seems so impossible?
And everybody is saying that I must have heard You falsely.
He cocked His head a little ways before He answered the question.
Why staying in My Presence child to master the art of intercession.

I raised my hands up high to proclaim the victory
And to seek the understanding that would finally set me free.
That’s the way my child. You have discovered the final key.
Always have that attitude of praise and thanks towards Me.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Guest

Being able to purchase my new home 6 months ago was God’s signal I was moving out of Egypt into my own personal Promised Land. I had imagined what moving out would be like for along time. Now I am getting to live out what I had dreamed about for years.

Unpacking, I placed each of my colorful additions in their new locations. With each piece, the house seemed to come alive. The more I placed the more alive the rooms became. Then, the peacefulness in my heart began to flow. In my excitement, I made God a promise in gratitude for not only for what He had just given me but also for what He had brought me through. I promised God I would use my home for ministry. My heart wanted to share with others the wisdom and the home I had gained.

This past week I got my first call about 10:00pm. A good friend of mine wanted to know if I would be willing to take in a homeless young girl for a few days before her court case. Morgan had fled an abusive situation where she feared for her life.  From the moment she came through the door, Morgan kept thanking me for letting her stay in my home. She felt so fortunate to have a safe place to go. We talked for a while about her circumstances and then I lead her back to my guest bedroom.

Over the next 3 days, Morgan and I shared many experiences of how God had helped us overcome circumstances with His principles and with the help of those He had placed around us. As I kept listening to Morgan’s story, I never sense she was bitter towards her abuser in anyway. I was amazed! In fact, Morgan said she had become a strong and independent person thanks to this ugly situation in her life. She felt piety for the one who hurt her emotionally all those years but she was now praying for them to know God too. Morgan was not making this statement because it sounded like something she ‘should’ do as a good Christian but she meant the prayer from deep within her heart. I was amazed at Morgan’s spiritual maturity at 17. I know that Morgan may have other issues to deal with because of the abuse but she is well on her way to total freedom.

Good News! Morgan won her court case. Not only that, but she has been able to maintain an A average in high school and in a class at the local college. She has also secured a new job. Now, Morgan will be able to start afresh with what she will need to succeed. Blessings on you Morgan!

I have dealt with challenging circumstances wanting to trap me with bitterness. And for a while, I let the situations overtake me. However, when I had had enough of bitterness stealing my joy, I prayed. God came in and threw me a lifeline. I grabbed hold and followed His lead. With faith, wisdom and perseverance, the chains finally fell to the ground for good.  Like Morgan, I had overcome was well.

How about you? Is bitterness stealing your joy because of your past? Are you ready to break free from the chains? God is throwing you a lifeline by making His principles available through His Word and by the people He plans to send your way. He is waiting on you. Talk to Him, listen to Him, start the search and allow Him to begin to set your heart free.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be absolutely free.
John 8:36