The ‘goodie’

This hit home! My daughter found an envelope last Sunday. She handed it to me. I rolled my eyes and put it in my Bible. This morning as I was cleaning, I found that the envelope had fallen out of my Bible and under the couch. It hit me yet again but harder today. AM I GIVING GOD MY BEST or what is left over after I get “the goody” out like a stick of chewing gum? He deserves my first fruits because anything (this is not just money and things but time, talents, etc-anything) HE ALLOWS me to have is HIS ANYWAYS!!! God bless!

Can I Hinder My Prayers?

I asked God to speak to me, and He did. You know that saying. “Be careful what you ask for. You might get it?” Lately, I have been feeling distant from God, and I do not like that feeling. I know that He will truly never leave or forsake me, so I knew that it was I who had moved not my Jesus. As I have been digging into His Word and praying, I thought He might reveal Himself like a warm hug. Nope. It did not happen that way. The Holy Spirit has really convicted me, and I am so thankful for that.

I was convicted listening to sermons from faithful pastors and through His Word. I have noticed that I have been spending my time on lesser things like scrolling social media and painstakingly cleaning the house. Yes, I will bury myself in business until I make it an idol. I am very aware that I have to be really careful with the use the time God gives me. The good thing is not always the best, and I have just learned that it is important that I seek out Jesus. He loves me, sees the whole picture, and will always protect me.

I can also let fear and worry rob me from Jesus’ peace if I am not careful. Our family has been struggling some this summer. You know those “spells” in life when everything wants to tear up around the house, and it ain’t cheap to fix it. Yeap-stuff like that. Satan trying to rob our joy. Nope-I won’t let you do it, evil one.

I have been convicted that it is not just time that I do not always use in His obedience but monetary blessings as well. Y’all I love lit tea, but it is expensive. I also love “plundering” at the dollar store and buying some things that I really do not need. I am truly thankful that I am convicted. Now, I must pray hard for Jesus to help me be obedient. It is a struggle for me.

As I began really trying to study the nature of who God is and how Jesus lived His earthly life out as an example for us, God used faithful servants and His Word to speak into my life. One of those faithful servants is my pastor, John Durden. This past Sunday, John preached from 1 Peter 3:1-7. Let me tell you where my ears really perked up-the last part of chapter 7 reads “so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” Well now, my husband and I do our best to live out our lives for Jesus and lead our family in His will, but we fall short. Lately, I have just taken my shortcomings as part of being human and telling myself that God understands. Yes, He understands. Yes, He forgives me when I truly repent (turn from my ways). Could my ways be hindering my prayers? I have been doing a lot of soul searching-just sitting and listening to Jesus, and as I explained earlier in this post I can see where my ways could be hindering my prayers.

God also spoke to me in my quiet time with Him. Going back through my journal, here are some of the scriptures that I specifically wrote down.

“Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; They must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. ” 1 Peter 3:11-12.

“In the days of His humanity, He offered up both prayers and pleas with loud crying and tears to the ONE able to SAVE Him from death, and He was HEARD BECAUSE OF HIS DEVOUT BEHAVIOR” Hebrews 5:7-emphasis mine. That verse breaks me to pieces every time I read it. My Jesus was obedient. He did not have to come to Earth. He came so that you and I could be in right relationship with Him and spend eternity with Him. The Creator of the universe loves you and me. It just plain gives me chills that the Maker of the universe was tempted in everyway that I am, so I must do my very best in this fleshly body to be obedient, and I have not been doing my very best. Father, forgive me.

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things just as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let’s approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for help at the time of our need. Hebrews 4:15-16

“He was a son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.” Hebrews 5:8

My prayer life can always use improvement, and in Luke chapter 6, I was reminded that God prayed all night before choosing His twelve disciples. Then Mark 1:35 reads, “And in the early morning while it was still dark, Jesus got up, leff the house, and went away to a secluded place, and prayed there for a time.”

I am so thankful for His conviction. I am reminded that I must seek Him out. He will draw close, and He does forgive me. I cannot imagine living on this earth without His presence. After being in His Word, having faithful people speak life into me, and praying in the Spirit, I do feel like I have been brought to a closer relationship with God. His word tells me to be obedient. Jesus, my Lord and Savior, was obedient when He walked the earth as a faithful example for us. I see where I need to change my direction. I had veered off the path and was going the wrong way. He is faithful to guide me and lead me when I truly seek Him and listen to what He has to say to my heart.

Surrender

Self-confidence is overrated! Way overrated! This may sound like a very strange statement from a mom of three, grandmother, and seasoned middle school teacher, but it is true. We can do nothing without God. Can we even make our own hearts beat? No, the One who created us does! Who allowed us to awaken from slumber this morning? Who has blessed us with our cognitive abilities to reason?” The answer to these questions is certainly not us frail humans. For in Him we live, and move, and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)

“It is God that works in us, both to will and to do His good pleasure.

Phillippians 2:3

Before surrender, there must be humility, faith, and trust that God is more than able to meet your every need and use you for His honor and glory as He created us to do.

I was a total control freak for 44 years of my life, and I was miserable trying to take care of everything! 🙂 I was carrying so many loads that God never intended for me to carry. It took my then, 8 year old daughter being diagnosed with bone cancer, grueling chemotherapy, more surgeries and blood transfusions than I care to remember. We were told on two different occasions that she had relapsed according to those fear invoking scans every three months.

I accepted Jesus as my Savior on my knees on the floor of my bedroom at 10 years old. I know I was saved, but I struggled with anxiety and depression. I finally surrendered all control and began totally to trust God. The surrender was again on the floor of a room. This time it was the restroom next to the scan room where I prayed every scan that the scans show no evidence of disease. Exhausted and laying on a cold and dirty floor crying, God told me that I was praying the wrong prayer. (No, I did not audibly hear His voice, but I sensed it in my spirit.) I knew I had to pray that whatever the scans showed, whatever happened that He was to be exalted-that all glory was due to Him-that He was in control! I thank God He showed me. I surrendered,. Lord, whatever those scans show, I will be faithful. I will accept. I will quit trying to manipulate the situation the way I want it to go. I will trust you, Father, and I do, and I pray that everyone will have the Peace of Jesus. What a gift it is! I am so thankful for what He has done for me so that peace, joy, and contentment are mine everyday no matter the circumstance. It is so freeing just to trust in Jesus.

We trust Him with our salvation, so why did I want to hang on to the little things in this life for so long.

Jesus Saves

I was raised in the Primitive Baptist Church. That may mean different things to different people, or it may not invoke any feelings in you. All of this is fine because it is the same Jesus who saves us all.

” For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 6:23 ESV

I thank God for pursuing me. My eyes were opened suddenly one day in the back of a hot auditorium when I was in 5th grade. The Gideons came to school! They gave me my little New Testament Bible, but more importantly they shared the Gospel with me. Yes, they shared the eye-opening Good News of Christ with me and my classmates that day. I am sure they prayed for us before they came. They probably had lots of things to do like gassing up their cars and packing boxes of Bibles. Y’all, it is in the little things that BIG things happen! I am also sure they had lots of other “stuff” they could have done that day….maybe…maybe not? IDK! I do not even know who the man was who spoke to my small group in the back of that auditorium. I am just thankful he was obedient that day!

The gentleman sparked my curiosity, and I wanted to know more, so I subscribed to the “club newsletter.” I don’t even remember the name of it. The literature came in the mail; I read it, and I accepted Christ in my bedroom that day. No, I don’t know the time and date. I know the place-my bedroom in the home I grew up in. I do remember the feeling I had after I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior that day. PEACE!! Complete peace!! I went out and rode my brown bicycle, and felt like I could literally fly ….I was so light. ……kind of like a feather. There are really no words to describe this peace. It is the same peace that I have today, and I thank God for it!

Nothing compares to the feeling of salvation. The peace that Jesus gives me is undescribable. Oh, How I LOVE JESUS. I am so thankful that He chose me. I pray, dear reader, that you have this same peace.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have triublation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

You may wonder what all this has to do with how I was “brought up.” If the Lord wills, I will continue to share my journey with you on this page. God bless you all!

Mama, Daddy, and me