About Me

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

HYPER-FOCUSED

 I left the 2015 Writer to Writer retreat early.  There was an ice storm predicted to hit the east coast late afternoon, and I wanted to get ahead of it. 
 I left Hershey, PA for Rhode Island at 7 am, waving goodbye to all the free chocolate.
Coffee in hand, check, the gas tank full, Check, Leaving early enough to beat the storm...   
Less than one hour into the drive it began to rain.  
It is only rain, I said to myself as I noticed a sand truck in front of me.


He must be getting ready for the snow storm this afternoon.  Good job, guys, preparing early! 
 Yes, I talk to myself as I drive.  
Blue flashing lights interrupted my conversation.
I hope no one is hurt,
I gasped as I drove by the black four-door car that looked like a large can opener removed its entire roof.   
Lord, are the roads that bad? I left early enough to avoid the storm!  
 I white knuckled my steering wheel, talking to God with more intensity.  I drove less than a mile.
  Another car off the road, 
Hey, isn't that the girl who just passed me?   
I was frightened.  
Lord, what do I do?
 I was so focused on the road in front of me I barely noticed the cars passing me.  I glanced toward my side mirror.
 My car is encased in ice, Lord, please help me! I am so frightened right now! WHAT DO I DO?
Yes, I am a New Englander but I hate driving in the ice and snow.
  More blue lights were directly in front of me.  I gripped the wheel tighter as I drove past another horrible scene.  
Another car that passed me was lodged 20 feet in a tree off the road and a different car disintegrated, almost unrecognizable, about 100 feet from it.  I began to shake and cry.   
I  called my sister who lives in Rhode Island. (no I did not take my hands off the wheel) 
I needed to hear a friendly voice in case I was the next tragedy of this storm. 
Get off the road now and find a hotel. I will pay for it, my sister said.
She did not have to tell me twice.  I immediately got off the highway to safety.  The car made it to the hotel and only then did I slide, right into the parking space.
It took me the rest of the day to stop shaking.  I could not stop thanking the Lord for His protection.
No matter what life throws at me, I try to find a spiritual lesson. (click to tweet)
Concerning my thrill ride, the lesson seems obvious.  God protects.  However, there was another lesson for me to learn.  
 Enlarge my focus.  I had tunnel vision for the first part of my journey.  I did not see the potential danger until I reached a car accident.  
There are times in life that we must take a look around us, to assess the situation. 
When I finally looked at my side view mirror, I knew that I was in trouble.  I immediately fixed my eyes back on the road and drove to safety.  
The police closed the Highway just minutes after I arrived at the Hotel.  
There were over 400 accidents that morning, three resulting in death.


As I look back (quickly) at that terrifying car ride, I thank God for teaching me that proper focus is vital.
  Dangers can come from every angle, at times we won't see it, but God does.
 Has hyper-focus effected your life?
Join the conversation.






Tuesday, May 16, 2017

GUILT BUSTER





 Everything was my fault.  At least that is how I felt . 
If a friend or family member was unhappy I blamed myself. If there was a deadly tornado in the mid west, somehow it was my fault because I did not pray about it.  If two people were whispering it had to be about me.
What a selfish mindset. I needed freedom from guilt and self condemnation.



There are two kinds of guilt. 

Before salvation- Everyone stands guilty of sin before God. We are judged by the Law or 10 Commandments.


Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: Romans 5:12 KJV


For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. James 2:10 ESV


After salvation- We feel guilty when we sin against our Father in Heaven.

Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. Romans 5:18 ESV

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Romans 7:21,24


Before Salvation


I think of Isaiah 6:1-6

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.  Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.  And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost;for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

 Isaiah was a righteous, godly man by all outward appearance. Yet when he saw God in His splendor and holiness,  he acknowledged how sinful he was in comparison.

 Isaiah's sin had to be burned away; the fire of judgment was applied to his sin. Once Isaiah  had been convicted of his sin, and cleanse from its guilt, then he was ready to serve God.



All believers are here to serve God.  We still sin.  So what do we do with that guilty feeling?


After Salvation


If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 ESV


This is agreeing with God that what we did was wrong and asking Him to provide the strength to walk in righteousness.


So why do we still feel guilty?  
When we sin against our God we have a spiritual wound that needs to heal. The feeling is the healing process, not guilt.
Our enemy wants us to keep feeling guilty.
The truth. We stand righteous before God 

 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love Ephesians 1:4 ESV


Know that your heavenly Father loves you and disciplines you.  

He does not want you walking around feeling guilty or defeated.

As I learned this I began to focus on my Abba and not myself.   I claimed His promises.  

Now, I am free.

Do you struggle with guilty feelings?




Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22 NIV


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

WORTH REMEMBERING



There are events in life that are worth remembering- weddings, birthdays and other special moments. 
My best memory?  The day the Lord took my hand in His and we began our journey together. That was 27 years ago.
 My sister Charlene needed prayer. She lived in Hawaii at the time.  We live in New England.
 I searched for a church that was open during the day. 
None!
 However, Wood River Baptist Church in Hope Valley, RI held a prayer meeting every Tuesday night at 7 pm.
 I walked through the doors of the little white chapel with my younger sister Jessie.
 I remember three of the eight people who were there. 
Jimmy Stewart’s mom, Pastor Bell, and my sister, who took Jesus’ other hand that night. 
As Jessie and I entered, a gray-haired lady motioned for me to sit on the piano bench next to her. As I sat down I recognized her.  Guilt set in.
 As teenagers, we went to Jimmy Stewart's house and listen to ACDC, KISS and other rock bands.  Jimmy was banned from having friends over when his mom was at work. God reminded me of one moment, as we left Jimmy’s bedroom to go home.  Jimmy's mom was sitting in her rocking chair with hands folded.  
Was she praying before she killed us? I thought to myself, trying to leave unnoticed.
My stomached turned and my face reddened with embarrassment as she smiled her angelic smile and waved goodbye to us.  No judgment about the music, no mention of disobeying her rule.  We hurried out of the house and nervously giggled all the way home.  
That same angelic smile from the past was sitting next to me on the piano bench.  I told her we were there to pray for our oldest sister, Charlene, who was going through some difficult problems.
"I remember Charlene, she finished High School early." Her sky blue eyes focused on me.
 Pastor Bell came into the sanctuary and asked Jessie and me to follow him.  Before I stood up, Jimmy’s mom put her hand on my knee, lovingly looked into my eyes and said, “If you accept Jesus as your Savior you can still wear makeup!”  To this day I still chuckle about her statement.  Maybe she thought I was only concerned about beauty.
My sister Jessie and I followed  Pastor Bell into his office.
 We shared our concern for our sister.  He prayed for her. Then he asked, "Do you know Jesus?"  We both looked at each other, "No!" we said in unison.  He asked if He could share something with us.  We both nodded, yes. He led us through, what I now know as “The Romans Road” to salvation. 

Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.-
Romans 3:10– As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;
Romans 5:12  – Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned–
Romans 6:23  – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 10:9-10  – that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation
Romans 10:13  – For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
Romans 10:17  – So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

I knew that I was a sinner separated from God.  I desired the love of God to fill my empty aching soul.
"Would you like to have a relationship with Jesus?"
 Jessie said, "Yes!"
 I blurted out “But I am not good enough for Jesus”.   
The childhood abuse at the hands of my biological father consumed my thoughts.  If my own father doesn't want me why would a Holy God want me?
 The pastor said, “I will be right back, I have something to show you.”  I watched as he took a green book off the shelf and made a copy of one of the pages.  
“This song from our hymnal may help.”  As I read the following words, tears filled my eyes. I said "YES" to the free gift of eternal life found only in Jesus.

               Just as I am, without one plea,
                but that thy blood was shed for me,
                and that thou bidst me come to thee,
                O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
That was the best day of my life.  God accepts me just as I am, broken and flawed. 
I always smile when I remember Jimmy's mom, Pastor Bell, and Jessie. They shared in the most important day of my life.  My very own sister and I met Jesus the same day, now that's worth remembering.

Do you remember the day Jesus took your hand?
Rejoice in your re-birth day.

If that day has not yet happened for you, go back and meditate on The Romans Road.
 If God is calling you say "Yes"  and take the hand of Jesus.
Life can be difficult, even with the Lord at your side. However, imagine what life would be like without Him there to guide you, comfort you and teach you?  
Take His hand, believe and make today a day worth remembering.
Do you have a day worth remembering? I'd love to her about it.  Please join the conversation?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

What can chase, replace, and erase? - Sinner turned Evangelist



Grace changes lives. The last two weeks we looked at these biblical accounts.

Part 1: Grace Chased Adam and Eve out of the garden

Part 2: Grace replaced Rahab from darkness to light

Today, we encounter Jesus as He pours out His grace on a Samaritan woman.

 First, the background. 

Samaritans were despised by the Jews because they were half Jew and half Gentile. 

They also worshiped idols. 

This woman was not only despised by Jews, but she was shunned by her own people. 

I've felt like her in the past.

Her shame was evident, she went to Jacob's well midday, not in the morning when all the women would get together and socialize as they retrieved water for the day.

 Her heart could no longer stand the snickers and the gossip-then she met Jesus  (Click to Tweet)

   John 4:4-42

 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.  Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?  Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,  but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband.  The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.  Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.  You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.  Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is

coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”

Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”  They came out of the town and made their way toward him. 

Jesus knew her every sin. 

He knows our sin, the sin that so easily entangles. The sin that may be hidden even from us.
By Grace, He looked past the sin that leads to death and offered her life. 

What was her reaction?

She instantly believed that He was the Messiah.
She left her water jar and raced toward those who once shunned her, her guilt no longer a barrier. Her pain replaced with a love for those she hid her face from- those who gossiped about her!
She showed them the way to Jesus. She became an instant evangelist.
She was compelled to tell others about the grace giver.

 Do you feel ashamed of who you are or what you have done?
Let's drink from the living water and allow Gods Grace to erase the past and give us a new future.




From His fullness we have received grace upon grace John 1:16 ESV



How has God's grace changed you? Join the conversation.