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Thursday, May 26, 2016

CURSE THE CLOUDS?


I woke in good spirits;  it was another Resurrection Sunday. 
 I always looked forward to church service at Hampton Beach, NH.
The sunrises were breathtaking, and I got chills as trumpets, horns and trombones played, Up From the Grave He Arose. The perfect reminder that Jesus triumphed over the grave when He rose from the dead, thus setting believers free from the penalty of sin.

Life was arduous.  No work, no money, no peace. 
 I longed for another Resurrection morning just like the others at the beach. 
I looked out the window my attitude changed to reflect the weather; gray and dim. 
 My good spirits dampened by the rain. 
Curse you clouds, I said in my heart.
As we drove to the beach at 5:45, I begged God to part the clouds; it rained harder.
Oh Lord, life is so challenging, I am so tired, please part the clouds so we can see the sunrise. Can't you see I need hope? 
I expected the clouds to dissipate right at that moment; instead, the Holy Spirit echoed in my head,
Just because you can't see it, the sun still shines behind the clouds. (Tweet This)
Just like I am here for you amidst the darkness and uncertainty.
That was the ray of hope I needed.
I thanked God that morning as the band played, Up from the Grave, in the pouring rain.  
I no longer curse the clouds.
Rain clouds remind me God is still at work even when I cannot see Him.
Look up at the heavens and see; gaze at the clouds so high above you. Job 35:5

Have you cursed the clouds in your life? Please share.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

I PUT THE "PRO" IN PROCRASTINATE



I procrastinate.   I don't know why I put things off.  Maybe I have a fear of failure.  
Maybe I'm just plain lazy.  
 I'm getting better.  I set a weekly schedule. Granted, It took me a month to get the jobs into my planner.




I researched potential reasons for my inability to complete a task. Here is a short list 
Fear of failure
Perfectionism
Lack of Reward
Rebellion against others demands
The list goes on...
I resonate with each of these. 
I also learned from the article,
 Procrastination is a learned behavior. 
I could blame my behavior on the abuse from my father.  (My research  proves this theory).
So, I have an excuse, right?
The poignant truth when it comes to obeying God,
Procrastination is a sin
There, I said it.  Now, if I only could put off the feelings of guilt.

Freedom came after prayer, self-examination and study of the Scriptures.
With God, I found hope to go forward boldly.  
The daily charge from my Master

Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 2 Corinthians 8:11 NIV

I think of the ten virgins with oil lamps.  Five had oil and five procrastinated and did not get oil.  You can read the story HERE

The outcome was tragic.  


On the opposite end of the spectrum...King Solomon built a Temple for the Lord. It took 20 years, but he started the work.   His patience and dedication are recorded in 1 Kings 7:51


Thus, all the work that King Solomon did on the house of the LORD was finished. 


Finished.  That is a word that most procrastinators long to hear.


I repented of my sin.  I remind myself daily that God loves me, He is patient with me, and gives me everything I need for life and godliness. 

 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 2 Peter 1:3 NIV.

God gives me the power and means to do it.  How can I fail with the Creator of the Universe on my side, empowering me to succeed! 

 
Join me and walk forward with God.  If we move forward with purpose, God's purpose; we no longer need to procrastinate.
Do you procrastinate?
If so, do you know why?
Please share below.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

OH NO, NOT MY ROW!

Oh No, not my row" I said to myself as I watched a man with the physique of a linebacker walk toward me.  The plane was small.
 I was joyful, yet tired.  I had just left the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference.  I needed time to digest all the information I soaked up over the last few days. 

The large man sat shoulder to shoulder with me.  For the next hour, we were squeezed into the back two seats of the puddle jumper. 
He  mumbled, "I don't want to talk if that is OK with you...so what do you do?" 
 I was confused at first.  He did not want to converse but still asked me a question.  
 "I write ."
"What do you write about?" 
"I write mostly about the Bible."  
I felt his shoulders tense.
I waited for him to excuse himself and sit in one of the many empty seats available. He remained.
"I went to church when I was little. My sister is still religious; she wants me to go back to church.  I am on my way to see her."
Over the next thirty minutes, he shared.  I listened. 
His mom died a year ago; he and his sister just mustered up the courage to go to their childhood home and face the memories.  He worked with many guys who hated God and made it known.  Guilt, pain, and uncertainty haunted him. He wanted peace of mind.

I prayed while he poured out his heart to me.  I desired to share the love of Christ with him; only if the Spirit prompts me.
"I am so sorry about your mom; I will pray for you and your sister.  God was my comfort when I lost my grandmother."


I could move my shoulder now; the tension in his shoulders released. 
"Thank you so much, I do believe in God, ya know.  I'm not a heathen," he stated.
The Spirit prompted me to be bold.
"We are all heathens apart from Jesus."   
He tried to shift in his seat to look at me.
"Really?" he gasped.
The pilot's voice interrupted,
"We are on our descent ..."
For the remaining few minutes I explained.
"Salvation is as easy as A B C...
A- Acknowledge you are a sinner separated from God.
B- Believe that Christ died for sin, rose again on the third day, and now sits at the right hand of the Father
C-Confess your sin and Cry out in repentance."

I recited Bible verses that corresponded to each letter and statement.

I concluded my rapid fire statement.
"Peace only comes from a relationship with your Maker."
He seemed to understand.
His entire countenance changed; he seemed lighter on his feet as he stood to grab his luggage from the overhead bin.
"Peace is what I desire."
The Lord was not finished with this man; I was the bold mouthpiece.
 I looked up and fixed my eyes on his.
"The Lord is calling you. Today is the day of your salvation. We did not meet by chance. You must make a decision. It will be the most important decision you will ever make."
He looked at me wide-eyed, "I know."
 As we parted ways, he said, "I can't wait to tell my sister about the unforgettable conversation we had."
I don't know if he accepted the free gift of eternal life.
That is in the hands of our mighty God.
I praise God for the hour squeezed into that back row.
 I thank Him for the boldness to speak to a man three times my size.
Have you had an 
experience where the Holy Spirit prompted you to be bold?

I would love to hear about it.



Friday, May 6, 2016

THE OTHER WOMAN-When obedience hurts.



Thank you for visiting today.  This post is personal and soul bearing.   It contains a raw and realistic story of obedience versus lust of the flesh.  We serve a real God that ministers to real people.   (Click to Tweet)  It is with fear and trepidation I post it.  My prayer is that my obedience, honesty and transparency will speak to you.  This story is from my book, True Star Quality, which will prayerfully be released by the end of 2016.


I longed to have a man in my life.  A relationship gave me security and self-worth.  Hey, if a guy wants me I must be worth loving.  This desire carried over into my Christian life.  

As a new believer, I was in a relationship with a great man; we will call him D.  He was divorced and had two beautiful children.  D loved me, doted on me and made me feel like a queen.  He was the first man who made me feel secure and unconditionally loved.  Most other guys were waiting for something better. (I felt that way due to my insecurities and probably sabotaged the relationships).
  D was well respected in the community.  To top it off he was from England and his accent melted my heart.  We worked together in Wakefield, and I watched how he treated others.  
This guy is a keeper, I said to myself. 
He spent every waking hour with his children and/or with me.  His children and I bonded immediately.  
I dreamt of the day we would marry.  His daughter our flower girl; his son our ring bearer.  
D and I planned a life together.
The Lord saved my soul during this relationship.
 I poured my heart out to Kay, my associate pastors wife.  She gave me all the biblical advice, No Sex before marriage, pray together, and ask him why they divorced. 
I was confused, Why does the reason for divorce matter?
If there is any chance of reconciliation in that marriage, you need to sever all ties and allow God to reconcile them.  Kay said as she guided me through the Bible verses on God, marriage, and divorce.
  During out dating time, his ex-wife would call and update him on the kids.  The calls became frequent. Convinced she wanted him back, I asked if she desired to reconcile with him; absolutely not, he replied, it's over between us.
The calls were daily, sometimes three times per day.
Please ask her, I said one day.
After much prodding,  He asked her.
 Her reply was, Not really.
I met with Kay a second time; she gave the same advice.
 I left with a desire to do Gods will. 
When I saw D, the battle between spirit and flesh raged in the members of my body. I ached to be with him, to marry him, to ignore the godly advice. 
His ex-wife doesn't want him back; she asked for the divorce, so we are free to marry. 
I tried to convince myself and God.
I told D I wanted to please God and wait for marriage.  He was perfectly fine with not having a physical relationship and wanted to rededicate his life to the Lord.  
I love you, Cherrilynn, I want us to work. D proclaimed.
See, Lord, he wants to do the right thing, his children love me; we can be together, right?
WRONG, the Holy Spirit was not a still small voice anymore.
I knew what I had to do.  I guess I knew it the entire time. 
 God spoke to my heart and reiterated Kay's advice; He wanted D and his wife to reconcile, and I was standing in the way.  
I sobbed as I told D God wanted him to get back together with his ex.  He begged me not to go.
How do you know God wants that?  We love each other, and she left me.
I walked away broken hearted, yet trusting God.
He called many times, and I did not answer.  He showed up at my door crying hysterically.  I did not let him in, although I longed to be in his arms.
 The last words I spoke to him were through tears and a locked oak door.
D, be with your wife; that is what God wants.
I quit my job and allowed my heart to heal. I could not bear to see him and not have him.
I felt a peace knowing I was obedient to God, even if I never knew the outcome.
I prayed for reconciliation in D’s marriage.  I prayed that they both would dedicate their lives and children to the Lord.
Not quite the Hallmark ending I wanted. 
Obedience trumps a Hallmark ending any day. (Click to Tweet)

I began a new chapter in my life; I had a great job at a law office in Providence. I made new friends as I rode the bus to work. God used me to shine my light into the lives of those around me.  
Five years had passed; D was a fond memory.  
God healed my heart.  
 One day as I waited for the bus, a familiar face approached.
I know you, but I cannot remember how I said to the woman who now stood next to me.
We worked together in Wakefield.  She said, my name is Mary.
Yes, now I remember.  You started working a few days before I left.
We chatted a bit, and I asked the question that was burning in my soul.
Is D, the manager, still there?
My heart beat faster as I held my breath for the answer.
No, He remarried his ex-wife, and he and the kids moved back to England. Mary said.
Yipee, I am so happy for him. He and I were good friends, and I told him he should get back together with his wife. Is he happy? I asked.
Very, the family started attending church before they left for England.  His face beamed every time he came to work.
God hugged me through Marys words that day.  He confirmed that obedience reaps rewards, and a marriage was saved.
I guess there was a Hallmark ending after all.
(God does not handle every divorce like this one.)
Have you ever had to make a painful decision out of obedience to God?
What was the outcome?
Please share below.