Living In, Through, and For God

I am a middle school English teacher, so I guess you can also call me a “Word Nerd.” As I soak up God’s Word daily, I have noticed that the prepositions in His Word are very important when discerning meaning, and I understand that meaning can be different for each of us.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

He knows me. He knows you. He formed us. We are His creation. It is simple, so don’t make it complicated, friend. He knows the thoughts of my heart. How wonderful it is to walk with Him and talk with Him all the day long.

And those joints that He created in me are suffering because of our Fall in Genesis. I understand, “In this world [I] will have trouble.” (John 16:33) But I do really take heart of all joy and contentment because I know He has overcome this world and the troubles in it.

Therefore, each day with the Holy Spirit living in me, I know that He will live through me so that I can live completely for Him. With degenerative disk disease, some days are more painful than others, and on the hard days, I thank God for His Word that I call to mind to battle the pain of this world. Yes, I have learned and know full well that my joy is complete in the Lord, and I can be content in all situations, so not today, Satan-I have the power of the Living Christ in me!

My King is Coming to Rescue Me

Only God can satisfy me because when He created man, He placed Him in the Good and Perfect Garden of Eden. Therefore, my heart longs to be in the Garden of Eden. I praise God that He is coming back to stay here where He will let me rule with Him! Me? Rule with Him? This is true, and it is important to go to the truth and not to my heart because the Truth tells me that my heart is deceitful. The beautiful picture painted in Genesis shows me that God created me for a glorious and beautiful relationship with Him. Adam and Eve were with him-naked and unashamed. So what happened?

Eve entertained a conversation with a deceptive and conniving serpent who tempted her to look to a tree for what was wise and true. She already lived with the wise and true One. What if she had just run to the Father (I like to call Him-Daddy.) and asked, “Now what did You say, ‘Daddy,’ about this tree?” I think we would still be Eden, not cast out of it! No, we who believe and trust in Christ would still be living in what our soul aches for, perfection, but now we live on Earth and strive for a perfection that is and will always be out of our grasp until He restores this perfect Kingdom on Earth.

What is joy, friend? I believe that joy can only be found in God and is spiritual intimacy with God. Therefore, only in God will we ever find true joy. This is not my opinion but God’s sovereign and true Word-The Truth! God was not punishing Adam and Eve by telling them not to eat of the Tree of Good and Evil. He was PROTECTING them because He did not create us to carry the heavy weight of knowing evil.

As a result of looking to some THING rather than God for knowledge, Adam and Eve were cast out of perfection, and that is where we live now-between two perfect worlds, and in case we have not noticed-IT IS FAR FROM PERFECT HERE AND WILL NOT BE UNTIL THE TRUE AND REAL KING COMES BACK FROM HIS THRONE IN HEAVEN.

I don’t know the date or the hour as to when God will establish His everlasting Kingdom here on Earth, but I do know that His Kingdom will never pass away and will never be destroyed, and we who have truly made Him Lord and Savior of our lives will rule with Him.

Time marches on, and God’s Kingdom will crush any and all kingdoms that man strives so hard to establish. I know that my Father’s Kingdom will be here on Earth and will be an everlasting kingdom that will never be destroyed like those set up by man such as Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Striving to rule without Christ will never work. It will be defeated. All that will last are the righteous deeds of the Saints.

Let me assure you that Biden and Trump, Democrat and Republican have nothing on when the meek will inherit the Earth and rule forever with Jesus in Perfection-the way God intended it. He will come. He will restore His Kingdom. Earth will be handed over to the saints to rule with Him forever and ever.

I have hope today. I have joy today! I know that the curse that began in the garden with Adam and Eve will be obliviated. Nothing will compete with our worship in this New Kingdom. Jesus is coming back for His Bride. Let us then make ourselves ready by serving Him, not the world, daily.

Everlasting Love

It was a perfect, tranquil February day, and my 37th birthday was only two days away. I had just been on a morning walk and noticed that the tulips were already bursting forth around the farm with their signature yellow hue. My precious Granny’s mortal body was dying. I walked in to see her- not expecting any replies only to hold her hand and be near her. I was looking out the window by the hospital bed that she was lying in and telling her how pretty the family barn was even though it was quickly dilapidating. I was expressing to Granny how I wanted to “fix up” the barn. As I was talking and reminiscing about the good times growing up and playing in the barn, Granny rubbed her hands over mine. I had always loved the roughness, the scratchiness of the years of hard work as they rubbed over my younger, softer skin. That is when she said 7 words that I have never forgotten. She said, “I love you with an everlasting love.” I shook my head as in to tell her – “No, don’t say good-bye.” She simply just said, ” Listen I love you with an everlasting love.”

“the Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”

Jeremiah 31:3 ESV

It has been over 10 years since I heard those words. Do I ? Did I ever know what that meant? Can people love with an everlasting love? I really doubted that at first, but I think so. One definition of everlasting is permanent or deathless. I still feel Granny’s love in the way I interact with indescribable joy with my grandchildren, with the manner in which I love my children and husband and look over our household, and even how I interact with my students, friends, and acquaintances on an everyday bases. I hear her saying, “You mustn’t do that.” I strive to live by the scriptures she quoted to me over and over like, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. For by doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Romans 12:20 ESV

” See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Isaiah 43:19

Sadly, I never had the resources to fix the barn, but I was determined to be a good steward of what God had bestowed upon me. We had the barn torn down, but we did not let it go to waste. Just like God wastes nothing in us. On the contrary, we took the wood from that barn and created a new space by our pool to enjoy relationship and fellowship with friends and family. My son has used the wood to add an addition to another precious family home where he and his family live, and he and my daughter-in-law have used the wood to create a beautiful entertainment center that holds precious family photos. My sweet husband is in the process of building a farmhouse table with the precious, sentimental wood from that old barn full of memories of cousins and friends playing in the loft for hours on end. Generations to come will be able to sit around the table and “feast on God’s goodness,” not only nourishment for the body but love, laughter, and maybe even tears-which will be sweet nourishment for the heart and soul.

They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.”

Psalm 36:8

As I write this, my daddy’s sister, affectionately known as “Aunt Baye” is fighting covid-19 in a nursing home without us, those who love her so, as we cannot physically be by her side. But what peace it is to know God is there with her along with the precious memories of family and friends that fill her heart, mind, and soul.

Son and Daughter-in-Law’s inset entertainment center using wood from family barn
Completed edition to their home with some materials also being from the family barn

Yes, I do believe that earthly love still exists when we pass from this life to the next, but an even greater truth is that God’s children are His beloved. In other words, we are His treasured friend, and He, the infinite One, lavishes His rich love on us as He pursues us day after waking day. 1 John 4:8 tells us that He is love, and He cannot lie. He draws us to Him in a covenant relationship and pours out his tender love to us, so that we can rest or abide in this assurance and just BE LOVED.

Even though Granny is not here with me on this side of Heaven, I really do still feel that special love. But better still is the indisputable fact that I have One who will never leave or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). So I continue on being loved and being filled with the fullness of God. I can rest alone in this cherished, rich love and grace.

“So, as those who have been chosen of God and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

Colossians 3:12
Work In Progress-Cook House/Pool House at our Home
The tin also came from the barn.
More of our work in progress-We will blame it on our age. 🙂 We don’t work as quickly or as skillfully, but I sure am proud of my son. I must admit that his awesome father-in-law helped him, and we have some neighbors helping us, as well.
Farmhouse Table in Progress

I Know in Whom I Believe

“The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies declare the work of His hands.” Psalm 19:1

Sunrise from my front porch 07/13/20

I love a beautiful sunset. A sunrise? Not so much….Not because it isn’t beautiful but just because I don’t like to get up early. But thinking on my Father’s glory, I wanted to watch the same great star that descended from my view yesterday begin its march across the sky today. The same One Who set the sun in the West yesterday, made it rise in the East today because He chose to.

“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Sunrise 07/13/20

I know that He is a Father of love and compassion. I also know that He is One of righteousness and justification. I cannot receive part and not whole. I know that He is coming back soon, and I want to be found ready, doing His will, obeying, and pleasing my Father not just for my eternal reward that I don’t deserve but because I love Him and have a relationship with Him.

The One who created all of this created you and me and knows the number of hairs on our heads. Why would we not want to spend time with Him, learn of Him and from His glory, and worship and obey Him?

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Psalm 136:7-9

I encourage you to sit with the Father today if just for a minute to delight in His love for you. Know Him. I beg you to know Him. Sit with Him. Study His Word. Give all praise and glory to Him. Cry out to Him for He cares for you.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7

Sunset from my backyard swing 07/12/20

Peace

We celebrated Independence Day at the lake with family, and it was glorious, relaxing, and oh so peaceful. We had no Internet service, and I allowed my mind to “forget” the troubles of this world. I am back home, and my husband has on the news. Back to reality? Yes and No. I do not think that I was ever out of touch with reality. I just refuse to let my heart be troubled. In my lifetime, I have never seen a more troubled time in this country. We have sinned, and we must repent and turn to the Lord.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled neither let them be afraid.

John 14:27 ESV

Since I was taken from “my” classroom in mid March, I have experienced a gradual increase in the peace in my soul. I know this is God because when I take my eyes off Him I feel the blow of the storms all around me. I am so thankful that He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world. He quiets my soul and stills my spirit. Thank you, Jesus for making righteousness for me.

“…for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

1 John 4:4 ESV

I can only have complete peace because I know full well with every fiber of my being that He is in control, and he has promised me a plethora of everlasting peace. We find this peace in His word. I like to call it His love letter to me. I pray this type of peace never leaves my body.

Fighting is the opposite of peace in most of our minds, but actually we are called to “Christian Warfare.” In Ephesians 6, He tells us to “put on the whole armor of God so that [we] can stand against the schemes of the devil” (v. 11). Of course, we associate armor with fighting, but when we arm ourselves with the truth found in His Word, we will be victorious. He has already paid for this victory on the cross over 2,000 years ago. He knew us before we were formed in our mother’s womb. Therefore, the applied blood of Christ that has brought us righteousness will protect all who are His, and this good news of extraordinary peace from Jesus Christ is too good not to share. He gave us salvation through faith. While we stand in these promises, we must “pray at all times in the Spirit …. and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18)

“And because of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 1:3–31

It won’t always be easy, but he equips us with everything we need to stand ready to fight the evil one who He has already conquered. God bless you. I pray His peace will rule in your hearts today. I promise that to know Him is to love Him. He sure does love us! He died so that we could live in Heaven forever with Him.

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”
Psalm 19:1

What Cancer Taught Me

Life can be like a swamp sometimes. I penned these words in my new favorite leather journal that a dear friend gave me on the day my 8 year old daughter was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, bone cancer. The same friend who brought her sweet presence to comfort my hurting heart on that day, also brought several bags of groceries in and shared with me the poem, “Footprints” by Mary Stevens.

http://www.sapphyr.net/largegems/footprints.htm

And yes, I asked, “Why?” We had prayed for weeks that this “pathologic fracture” would be something benign. Our family, community, and church-all of us- had prayed so hard, but my little girl had cancer, and I was in complete shock! My heart was torn apart! I begged God to take it from her and give it to me, but His ways are not our ways. However, I have learned in 47 years of life on this side of Heaven that His way is always the BEST WAY!

As I wrote those words in that very special journal, we were on yet another 5 hour drive to see the man whom God had prepared to help save our daughter’s arm. The trip from Garfield, Georgia to Gainesville, Florida is a long, boring one without much scenery. Part of the trip takes us through the outskirts of the Okefenokee Swamp, and on that particular day, it really stunk; I can remember thinking as I looked at the charred pine trees from the wildfire the summer before that right now life stinks or so I thought at that moment. Looking back, I see how blessed we were. We had great doctors, nurses, and an awesome support system at home. God sent his angels to watch over us every step of the way. That doesn’t mean that I never got scared or never stumbled, but He got me through it.

“He will order His angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.”

Psalm 91:11-12

Of course, it is much easier now when looking back to see all the great things that were happening through her journey to healing, but it is not always so easy in the middle of the storm. So just how do we get through the swamp, through the stinky, sticky, hard places of life? According to David Jeremiah, we find stones… the patches of dry land. We could not stay stuck. We had to keep moving forward. During this especially difficult season of my life, I honestly thought I could not put one foot in front of the other on many days, and this is when “He carried me.”

“God is ever true to His promises, and it was by Him that you were, one and all, called into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.”

1 Corinthians 1:9

During the battle we often didn’t know what the next hour would bring, but He comforted and provided every step of the way in His tender loving way. I learned that God’s promises are true. God is good; God is love; God causes all things to work together for my good according to His purpose. He will never leave me or forsake me, so I am never alone. It has certainly taken a lot of stepping stones to get us through the swamp of many trials including osteosarcoma.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”

Romans 8:28

Often these stepping stones looked like a text encouraging us and letting us know that we were being prayed for or a colleague who let me know that everything in my little classroom was going well, and she “had me and my students” and would take care of what I could not physically or emotionally handle right then. Solid footing was also given to us by a community that raised money for all of our needs and many of our sweet girl’s heart’s desires to hep her cope with a life turned upside down and full of big needle sticks and lots of foreign chemicals being pumped into her little body. It looked like a faithful teacher coming to help her catch up on her school work at crazy times of the night and day because her energy ebbed and flowed at its own will. Most importantly we had prayers being lifted up to our Father in Heaven from people around the world. Our medical team was and still is the perfect match for us, prepared for us and countless others for these critical times in our lives.

“You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.”

Psalm 139:5

My heart hurt, y’all, watching my baby go through this, and I begged God to let it be me, but He chose her. My faith was strengthened in every way. I know that He is for me. I know that He will supply every need even when circumstances look dire. Today, our daughter is healed, and we give God all the praise, honor, and glory.

Yes, He healed her. I know that He did not have to, and I know that if He had not that He would still be my good and gracious Heavenly Father and Savior. He has not answered every prayer with the answer that I wanted. I have endured many trials like watching my parents die. One of the hardest times in our financial life was when my husband was run over and drug down the road by a drunk driver while serving and protecting our community. I also lost my best friend at the tender age of 17 to a drunk driver. Every single time, He carried me and strengthened my faith. Today I know that His word is true. He tells me to cast my anxieties upon Him, and He will give me peace, and what glorious peace it is.

“Cast all your anxitey on him because He cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:7
The journal where my love of writing began. Thank you, Sherry!
A gift with more promises from a new friend who recently lost a grandchild. Thank you, Denise!