Monday, September 29, 2008

Is it well?

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. "

I was reflecting on 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 during my worship time today, and I was consumed with a myriad of emotions. The biggest reality that overcame me was the fact that at any time at all Jesus could come. I thought about what I might be doing at that time. I thought once again about my life and what I'm doing with it. I wondered what things I'm doing might be wasteful and worldly.

I listened to a great worship song written by Horatio G. Spafford in 1873, "It is well with my soul". When I was listening to it on youtube, I was completely overwhelmed by the story that came alive on the screen. It was the story of a great tragedy that spurred Spafford to pen the words of that now legendary song of the church. To add to this tragic tale, the man who wrote the music just 3 years later, Philip P. Bliss, died in a train wreck not long after writing it!

These are the things that jolt us into reality. As we measure our successes by the accomplishments & acheivements we make in this life, we rob ourselves of the much more worthy accomplishments we can make for the next. Horatio Spafford was a modern day Job who lost everything. Because he was active in his church, and was aware of the importance of doing the things of God, there's no doubt in my mind that the devil did what he does best and got permission to ruin this man's life in hopes that he would give up his allegience to his Lord. Much to the devil's dismay, however, while in the midst of great mourning, this man declaired that it was well with his soul and that was all that mattered!

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blessed assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

He said WHATEVER his lot He learned from the Lord to care more about his soul. He knew that Satan would buffet him. He knew it, just as we should know it. He knew his attacker, and he was aware of the trials that would come, but he did not focus on them. He focused on all being "well with his soul"! His mind was not focused on earthly things. His mind was focused on heavenly things. He knew that one day the clouds would roll back and the Lord would descend, and He knew that he had no worries because he was a believer! So, too, is it with us if we are believers. We need to be aware of what's most important. We can know it is well with our souls!

As important as that knowledge is, however, we must also remember that time is short. Jesus is coming, and it's gonna be quick. The bible says it will be "in the twinkling of an eye".
1 Corinthians 15:52
"Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."

This is the time for us to be preparing. We are to be busy doing the Lord's work, yet how many of us are busy satisfying our own carnal desires. How much time do we lose chasing dreams that will never bear fruit for Christ. Running to & fro oblivious to the work we should be doing. Is it well with us? Will the Lord say, "well done my good & faithful servant" when he sees us?

After Spafford lost everything, he and his wife went to Jerusalem & started a mission that still exists today. They showed the love of Christ to people that were hurting. Despite their own pain & loss, they were able to focus on the one most important thing, the love of their precious Savior who "shed His own blood for thier souls".

How often do we allow the pains of this world to overcome us & overwhelm us? Is our focus on what is most important? What are we doing with our lives? Is it well?

Take a moment to watch the video for "It is well" and if you feel so led, read the great story of Horatio Spafford. You can find it here:
Horatio Spafford, It is well.

May you be blessed & inspired to take your own life & turn it into a great work for the Lord!

God bless you as you take comfort in knowing, "It is well"

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Gain Control by Submitting

"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves" Matt: 10:16

As I've been enjoying the freedoms that have been bestowed upon me while exercising obedience, I've also been getting attacked on other fronts. The enemy does not want to see me win, that's for sure! He sees me overcome a struggle & he's right at the door waiting to pounce on the next thing I struggle with. The great thing about this, however, is that though he intends it for evil, God will use it for good. And the beauty of it is that after going through it, the Lord is glorified and I grow deeper as a Christian. Every rose has it's thorn and the thorns that are attached to us "roses" are the things that keep us completely dependent on God. They keep us humble . 2 Corinthians 12:7 remind us of the thorn Paul had. "And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure".
The messenger of Satan was sent to strike Paul, to attack him, if you will. Evil men, unbelievers, and the like are all messengers of Satan, and he will use them to persecute and attack us. I even believe he can use "religious" people, because though a man may be religious that does not mean he has a relationship with God. Likewise, there are the misguided people. In their ignorance they do not see, and therefore are able to be used by the devil. Perfect example is those who put Jesus on the cross. Jesus said to God, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34)

It is important to note what areas you are weak in , because that is from where your attack will come. Matthew 10:16 tells us we are "Sheep in the midst of wolves." I find that interesting, because wolves, like most other animals stalking prey, will often search out the weak and the sick. The wolf waits & watches, a part of his stalking behavior, and will pounce at the perfect opportunity. It is always the weakest that are the easiest to catch. If we are not in tune to our weak areas, submitting them to the Lord, we can be assured that we will never gain any control over them. The wolf will overtake us every time. Jesus is our Shepherd. In John 10:11 Jesus says, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." He does not run when the wolf comes. He laid His life down for us, why, then, would we not submit to Him?

The devil can use things in our lives against us, even people, and we have to be very careful. It's often overlooked how the devil can use the people we care about most against us because we always believe they have our best interest at heart. We have to remember, however, that people are people and we should submit to God in all things, even in our dealings with man. I've been dealing with a lot of contention in my life regarding people and I've been daily trying to give them over to God. I am very much in tune to the fact that people can often be the "messengers of Satan" that he has sent to "buffet" me. Though they, themselves, don't even know it. I'm not saying anything bad about people, so please don't misunderstand that. This is not an attack on others. When I say they are messengers of Satan, I acknowledge only that Satan can use them against me & if he can, he will, which is why we must be very careful about the people we surround ourselves with. Most recently I have been very very convicted about my "circle of friends".

Psalm 56:11 says, "In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me."
Jeremiah 17:5-10:

This is what the LORD says:
"Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who depends on flesh for his strength
and whose heart turns away from the LORD.

He will be like a bush in the wastelands;
he will not see prosperity when it comes.
He will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.

"But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.

He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit."

The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?

"I the LORD search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward a man according to his conduct,
according to what his deeds deserve."

Many people will get insulted at the fact that I am saying man cannot be trusted, but God Himself said, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure." It is not wrong for me to acknowledge that sometimes man cannot even trust Himself.

Recently I have had to stand my ground on things I believe in and not allow the enemy to gain a foothold over me by placing myself underneath of a person that in not in submission to God. It's tough when you are trying to be a witness to others, but you have to take stands against them at the same time. It's a fine line, and we need God to help us cross it. As a person who has always needed to control situations, I have learned to put my pride aside and allow God to take care of it. It always works out so much better that way.

By submitting to God every time, we gain control of every situation because we relinquish our own need for control & give it the One who controls the universe. Victory comes when we surrender our lives to God's control.

God bless you as you submit to God!

Friday, September 26, 2008

What matters most

I've been focusing on a lot of things lately, and it seems I'm in "information overload mode". There's working, homeschooling, taking care of my house, focusing on exercise/weight loss/health, bible studies, volunteer work, field trip planning, trying to connect with my extended family, preparing for the upcoming holidays, bill paying, being a good wife & mother, church activities, friendships and the list goes on!! I read Proverbs 31 and I'm trying to figure out how she did it all without actually breaking down and I could only come up with one thing...she must have kept her focus on God as her #1 priority, and the other things must have lined up.

Matthew 6:33 says "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." I have to honestly say, I do not believe that I do that!! It saddens me to confess that, but I just don't think I seek the things of God first, and I really feel the need to change that.

I sat down & took a look at all of the things I do and realized that in the long run very few of them will matter much. My mind is so filled with information sometimes it feels it will blow, and more & more just keeps filtering in. This "information overload" can be very distracting sometimes and it often sucks the life right out of me.

I grew up Catholic, and though I no longer practice the faith, there are a lot of things about it that I am still drawn to. One of the things is the lives of some of the so called "Saints". While I believe we are all saints when we claim faith in Jesus, there is something very different about the way we live. We live in a state of grace, yet that often becomes a license to sin, even if not consciously.

When I was a young girl I had aspirations to become a nun. I only ever saw them as women who loved God so much that they wanted to live only for Him. Even at a young age I understood the importance of that. Being brought up Catholic, that was the ultimate love for God in my eyes. My parents told me I was too "bad" to be a nun and that they would never take me. If I had understood grace and forgiveness, my life may have been very different right now.

Still today I am enamored by Nuns & Monks. Their dedication to God and their obedience and humility is something I so strongly desire.On the flip side I've never been drawn to, or trusting of priests. I always felt that they were trying to be middle men for God and that Jesus was our only middle man. It was actually that belief that caused me to seek a deeper relationship with God in my early 20's and once I started actually reading the bible I learned that the need for a middle man truly WAS no longer necessary as we only needed Christ to have an audience with God. I soon left my Catholic religion, but I never lost my love and admiration for those within the Catholic church who had a great reverence for God.

These days I find myself drawn deeply to the Monks & nuns for some reason. They have something that I desire. I was reading about Monks vs Friars etc. and came across this from Wikipedia:

"A monk (Greek: μοναχός, monachos), derived from Greek monos (alone), in modern parlance also referred to as a monastic, is a person who practices religious asceticism, the conditioning of mind and body in favor of the spirit, and does so living either alone or with any number of like-minded people, whilst always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose. The concept is ancient and can be seen in many religions and in philosophy.

In the Greek language the term can apply to men or women; but in modern English it is in use only for men, while nun is used for female monastics."

A Monk I've been most impressed by is St. Benedict. I've read a lot about his life and his philosophy, and I find myself drawn to it. It's very interesting that I was not brought up to understand how much these monks loved Christ and dedicated their lives to Him. In my church we didn't focus much on the monks. Perhaps it is because Benedict wrote his rule for laymen. Check this out from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

1. Before studying St. Benedict's Rule it is necessary to point out that it is written for laymen, not for clerics. The saint's purpose was not to institute an order of clerics with clerical duties and offices, but an organization and a set of rules for the domestic life of such laymen as wished to live as fully as possible the type of life presented in the Gospel. "My words", he says, "are addressed to thee, whoever thou art, that, renouncing thine own will, dost put on the strong and bright armour of obedience in order to fight for the Lord Christ, our true King." (Prol. to Rule.)

I love his words, "renouncing thine own will, dost put on the strong and bright armour of obedience in order to fight for the Lord Christ, our true King." The "armour of obedience". I never thought of obedience as a form of armor, and yet, I can see how it could be. When we are obedient to Christ, we acknowledge our allegiance to Him and in doing so we are living our faith. God protects us, and all throughout His word He asks us to obey.

"Obedience is to accept the authority of Scripture and willingly follow its teachings. It means submitting your actions, words and thoughts to God. To be obedient is to be in agreement with God, allowing the power of the Holy Spirit to work in your life. Rebellion and distrust of God is disobedience (1 Samuel 15:22,23). It is wanting your own way instead of surrendering to God and desiring His will in all things. God expects obedience (Deuteronomy 11:26-28). To choose Christ is to choose obedience (John 14:15,21). " (taken from

Deuteronomy 11:26-28 says, "Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods, which you have not known" (Deuteronomy 11:26-28).

John 14:15,21, "If you love Me, keep My commandments...He who has My commandments, and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and manifest Myself to him"

If you consider the truth of John 14, that Jesus will manifest Himself to us, you can see how great a piece of armor that is!!

Luke 6:46 poses a rather sad question that Jesus asked and it actually breaks me to tears when I read it, "But why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and do not do the things which I say". I ask myself that question and I find myself heartbroken to think that I can call Him Lord, acknowledge that He is my King, and then at the same time denounce Him by my disobedience. I need to memorize James 1:22, "But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves" and make it a part of who I am. I feel I have been deceiving myself for far too long, and that must be breaking the heart of God.

Benedict the Monk knew the importance of obedience, humility & prayer. I read in the Catholic Online organization, the following:

"Benedict realized the strongest and truest foundation for the power of words was the Word of God itself: "For what page or word of the Bible is not a perfect rule for temporal life?" He had experienced the power of God's word as expressed in Scripture: "For just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to him who sows and bread to him who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:10-11).

For prayer, Benedict turned to the psalms, the very songs and poems from the Jewish liturgy that Jesus himself had prayed. To join our voices with Jesus in praise of God during the day was so important that Benedict called it the "Work of God." And nothing was to be put before the work of God. "Immediately upon hearing the signal for the Divine Office all work will cease." Benedict believed with Jesus that "One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God' " (Matthew 4:4).

But it wasn't enough to just speak the words. Benedict instructed his followers to practice sacred reading -- the study of the very Scriptures they would be praying in the Work of God. In this lectio divina, he and his monks memorized the Scripture, studied it, and contemplated it until it became part of their being. Four to six hours were set aside each day for this sacred reading. If monks had free time it "should be used by the brothers to practice psalms." Lessons from Scripture were to be spoken from memory not read from a book. On Benedict's list of "Instruments of Good Works" is "to enjoy holy readings."

This sacred reading, however, was a study in love, not intellect. Not just an exercise of the mind, it was an exercise of contemplation so that "our voices and hearts harmonize." Each word of God would soak into their minds, their hearts, their very souls, so that the prayers would spring up from the depths of their being, not just from their memory. "We realize that we will be heard for our pure and sorrowful hearts, not for the numbers of our spoken words." A heart was pure when it was empty of all but God's Word and our desire to remain in God's Word.

First came the lectio, reading the Scripture until a phrase was found that inspired the person to stop. Our natural tendency would be to read the phrase and think about what it means, what it has to do with our lives and then move on. But that was not part of sacred reading.

The next step was to memorize the phrase, repeat it over and over and over from memory without reading it, without thinking about it, just repeating it, until it seemed to be coming from the heart not the voice, until the power of the Word of God could take over.

When the phrase had lost all meaning except that power, the person would fall silent, still not thinking, but letting the inspiration of the Holy Spirit speak about the meaning in the heart. And finally the person would sink into contemplation, going beyond the voice, beyond the intellectual understanding, to sit in the presence of God in the divine Word."

That reading was so powerful to me. I was taught & and am surrounded by others who are impressed by the wordly successes of man. I wish I had understood how important it is to put our relationship with God first. Today I find myself not really caring about the worldly success of people. Today I'm most impressed by the spiritual practices of people that are drawn close to and fully committed to God. They are the people I have been watching & learning from. They are the ones willing to die for their faith, and they are the ones who know what matters most...a deep rooted strong relationship with our Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ.

God bless you as you seek His kingdom first!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wonderful Worship

1 John 3:1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.

Who am I?
Casting Crowns

Song Lyrics

Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart

Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
Vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours, I am Yours

Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love and watch me rise again
Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me

Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
Vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours

Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
Vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours

I am Yours
Whom shall I fear
Whom shall I fear
'Cause I am Yours
I am Yours

God bless you as you realize that you are His!

Thankful Thursdays

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
Serve the Lord with gladness; come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the Lord he is God; it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
(Psalm 100:1-5).

Today I raise my voice unto the Lord. I sing praises to His Holy name. I am grateful that He is God and that I am His. No greater Shepherd could I have. He never leaves me, nor forsakes me. I go before Him with a grateful heart, for in my time of trial, He has lifted me up.
He is good, and worthy to be praised.

Today I am thankful for God's forgiveness and His mercy. In a great financial trial He is upholding my family, providing our needs. In a great physical attack, He has overcome the enemy & in a day of prayer & thanksgiving He has healed me & saved me from the devil's snare.

I am thankful that in the midst of a consuming fire, I was not burned. The God who was with Shadrach, Meshach & Abednigo in the burning fire is with me too.
Praise God that when we walk with Him the fire cannot consume us!

Today & every day I am thankful for the Mighty God I serve!

God bless you as you give thanks to God for who He is & what He's done for us!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

When The Devil Attacks

When I wrote my last two posts "Be Raised Up" & "Wonderful Worship", I should have been expecting the enemy's attack. I know how he operates, and I should have seen it coming. I didn't because I wasn't looking for it. That said, I wasn't really surprised either.

Since 4am yesterday morning, I have been laden with a headache that has simply increased as time goes by. My eye sockets hurt, my neck hurts and I'm very very tired. No matter how I try, I cannot rest. Every time I fall asleep, something wakes me up. Today I did not go to my co-op to teach because I simply could not handle any sort of noise level. I found myself snappy and easily irritated. Not only did I choose to stay home to spare myself more pain, but I believe I'm sparing others as well! *wink* I've decided not to complain about it, however, for I know that as a Christian I am to "rejoice in all things", even this. I did what I felt was the wisest thing to do. I made sure my classes were covered and then I purposed myself to rest. Unfortunately 1/2 the day is gone at this point and I still have not found rest. Once again, every time I try to sleep, something wakes me up. The devil is hard at work.

I know I've angered my enemy. Whenever he has to accept that there is somebody worshiping God and not him, he gets very angry. When I decided to change my attitude and make worship the important practice that it is, the devil started to throw his fiery darts at me. I'm not allowing those darts to penetrate, for I know Luke 10:19 says I have been given authority & nothing can harm me. I also know that God allows these attacks so that I can grow in Him and learn from them. In the past, I would have allowed this attack to bring me to me knees in pain, complaining tirelessly. Because I have gone through things like this before & I know the fruit it will bear, I simply accept it and trust God to get me through it.

I have learned that the most important thing you can do when the enemy attacks is to put your armor on. This is war & God gave us the weapons for this Spiritual warfare!! Ephesians 6:10-18;
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."

Check out:
Spiritual Warfare and Deliverance Book 4:- Spiritual Warfare: Winning the Daily Battle with Satan, By Dr. Ray C. Stedman
It's got a lot of wonderful detailed stuff in it and it has really blessed me a lot.

In Luke 22:31, Jesus told Simon (Peter) that Satan had ASKED to sift him as wheat. ("Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.") and I know that in the book of Job, Satan asks God to smite Job, ( Job 2:3 says, "Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.") (emphasis mine)

Taking just these 2 instances into consideration, and what I know about the character of the enemy, there is no doubt in my mind that when I decided to focus on worship, he lunged forth at me and God allowed it. Well I have no intention on ceasing to worship the Lord, and if that means that I keep this headache & I get no sleep, I will simply rest in the fact that "by his stripes I am healed" and wait for my healing!

Isaiah 53:5 says, "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed."

1 Peter 2:24 says, "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed."

I know that my prayers were heard as soon as they went up. I also know that my angel just might be fighting to get through.
Daniel 10:12-13, " "Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia."

I will persevere.

James 5:11 says, "As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy."

God is great & right to be praised. In the middle of this battle, I will praise His Holy name & Worship Him in Spirit & in truth!!

God bless you as you worship Him even in the midst of the devil's attack!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Wonderful Worship

"O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker." Psalm 95:6

Have you ever considered that you & I were made to worship? Psalm 66:4 "All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah."

The first commandment God gave Moses was to worship Him and Him alone.

When the Israelites were in bondage, the Lord gave this word: "Let my people go, so that they may worship me." (Exodus 9:1) Several times in Exodus this was repeated. It occurred to me that God did not give Moses the words, "Let my people go so they can live their lives as they choose & no longer be in bondage to you". No, He said, "Let my people go, so that they may worship me." SO THEY MAY WORSHIP ME!!!! Worship is so important to God, that He wanted the freedom of the Israelites for that very reason.

Worship not only blesses God, but it blesses us.

Exodus 23:25-26 "Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span."

On top of the physical blessings He gives us, He also gives us blessings of peace.
Psalm 89:15, "Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship,for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord."

I've been strongly convicted of the need to be in a constant state of praising & worshiping God. When I am worshiping Him, I feel connected to Him. I feel like I can remain humble because I am acknowledging God as Holy and I remember that my place is at His feet.
Sometimes when I worship, I bow, and sometimes I get on my knees. I have never once bowed in worship that a lump has not welled up within my throat and many times I have cried tears of love for my Lord. Worship is like a direct connection to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
God created us for His pleasure, and He deserves our worship for He alone is worthy.

John 4:23-24 "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."

I read a great quote today from a Christian Writer named Patricia Bankhead. It said, "Through worship God is glorified, Christians are purified, the church is edified and the lost are evangelized." Amen to that!!!

Here's another great worship song to remind us that we were indeed
"Made To Worship"!

Chris Tomlin

May God richly bless you as you acknowledge the importance of praising & worshiping Him every day!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Be raised up!

In the past two posts I've spoken of refreshment by drinking "Living Water" and the "The Importance of a Quiet Place". This post mixes a little of both.

In my quiet time this morning, I was seeking to be uplifted. I went to the media player towards to bottom of this blog to listen to some of my favorite inspirational Christian music. Music always has a way of cutting through everything else & speaks directly to my soul. I listened to a few, and then I listened to one of my all time favorites, "You raise me up" by Josh Groban. As I began to listen to it, my spirit welled up within me & I was immediately reduced to tears. The very first verse talks of "being still", just as I shared in yesterday's post. I started to think of all of the times our Lord has lifted me up when I was deep in the pits of despair. I had visual images of Him reaching His hand out to me that I might just grab it. I was reminded of my recent post, "Rising from the ashes". It was as if all of the posts I've made this past week were confirmed in one time of worship. I felt a sense of security as I reflected on the words of the song and after a complete time of worship I felt I had really sat at the feet of our Lord. See, not only did I listen to that song once, but I listened to it twice. The first time I listened to it, I meditated on the words, and some images of Christ. The second time I watched a youtube video in which there were more images. Some spoke to my heart as they were pictures of our America & they spoke to the part of me that is partaking in the Proclaim Liberty fast. In addition to that, scripture verses flashed over the screen. They were scriptures that confirmed all the song was saying. It was truly an emotional, yet uplifting time of worship for me.

In the spirit of brotherly love, I wanted to share that experience with you so I dedicated this post to all of those readers who want to sit at the feet of the Lord today & worship Him in spirit & in truth. For those who need to be reminded that He is a lifter of burdens, whatever they be, this song is powerful. I added one of the images that really touched me. The image of Christ as He reaches His hand out to Peter in the water. How often our lack of trust causes us to stumble, yet He reaches His hand out to us that we might not drown. When I looked at that image as I listened to the song, I was filled with thoughts of times I did not trust Him, and I felt even closer to Him as I recognized my need for His hand. I included the lyrics to the song, in case you do not know them. Reading them really speaks to the inner man, for as you say those words you confirm their truth. Lastly, I included the youtube video I spoke of. When you watch it, you will be moved in the Spirit as you see God's truths written in His Word. It is my desire that we all spend a very meaningful time at the feet of our Lord. That we allow Him to wash our fears away during that time & we are truly able to embrace Him as we recognize our complete dependence on Him.

I pray that we continue to remember that we were created to worship Him, and that we learn that it should be the most important thing we do.

Song Lyrics

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

There is no life - no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

God bless you as you let Him raise you up to more than you can be!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Importance of a Quiet Place

“Be still, and know that I am God”
(Psalm 46:10a)

Have you ever considered that this scripture is not a suggestion, but a command? Yet, how can we "be still" when the world surrounding us is filled with an overwhelming amount of noise?

“Quiet used to be as common as clean air and pure water," says Gordon Hempton, a Grammy-winning natural sounds recording artist. "And it was part of the everyday environment of our ancestors, and today it’s extremely scarce.”
What a sad truth. Today we are surrounded in every avenue with noise. From the tv to the radio, to the cars outside to the airplanes above, it is awfully difficult to find a place in which we can simply sit & "be still".

E. Readicker-Henderson wrote something regarding the effects of noise in his web article for "The World's Quietest Places". "Noise isn't good for you, pure and simple. In excess it raises stress levels, can potentially cause heart and immune system problems and even raise blood pressure. Some studies show noise can alter brain chemistry in less than fun ways. According to Dr. Cheryl Fraser, registered psychologist and Buddhist meditation teacher, "Our psychology and physiology are not designed to keep up with the hyper pace and sound of our 24/7, multitasking, multiple input modern world.""

Ouch! I didn't even realize that! Is it any wonder then, why everyone around us seems so stressed out all of the time, even when they're not doing anything?

There is a "spiritual calm" that we receive when we are "still". Being still is a state of mind as well as an attitude of our hearts. It is a confidence that God can do anything, and in His perfect timing, He will. When we experience that "spiritual calm" we quiet those voices in our head that cause us to worry & be filled with anxiety, both feelings that are discouraged in the scriptures.
Matthew 6:25-36,
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 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? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Philippians 4:6-7,
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

God never intended for us to get ourselves all worked up over these temporal things. He wants us to set our eyes on spiritual things, yet we've allowed the world to blind us.

When we feel overwhelmed by the stresses of this life and the noises of our surroundings, it is then that we must retreat to a quiet place. Consider what the bible says in Matthew 6:30-32:

"The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. "
Unfortunately the people followed them (vs 33) "But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. "

I'll bet that's what it's like in a lot of your lives. You try to get away to spend some time alone in a quiet place only to be followed by your children, or someone else who "needs" you. It doesn't have to be that way. Consider what Jesus did...
Mark 1:35 says:
"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed."

Here is the part that will be key to you having a quiet place:
"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark"

Jesus knew that this was the best time for Him to get some time alone to pray. He even left the house to do it. There's no reason whatsoever that we, as followers of the example of our LORD, Jesus Christ, cannot do just what He did. If it is our desire to be more like Him, then we must learn from Him.

My life has always been very busy. Many years ago, I was convicted that I needed to have a quiet place & a quiet time. A time just for me. A time in which I could meditate and "be still". I tried a lot of different methods, but nothing was working. Until the Lord convicted me to "rise before the dawn".
Psalm 119:147-148, "I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word. My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises"
Proverbs 31:15, " She gets up while it is still dark".

At 5am where I live, it's pretty dark. My world is very quiet. I am able to pray and meditate & "be still". I can think, or speak, or read, or just breathe. Sometimes my quiet place includes tranquil music without words. Sometimes it includes candles and sometimes it includes wonderful scents that are therapudic to me. Sometimes it includes nothing but the dark & the smells of the grass, or the warmth of my room. Each time it's different, but every time it's the same. I always come away from my quiet time with a renewed sense of peace & trust. The days I don't take that quiet time are days that truly become hectic & overwhelming. I'm not walking in the stillness of the Lord when I do not spend that time alone in quiet meditation. God performs His greatest works in my life when I sit at His feet.

Since I'm still on the 40 day "Proclaim Liberty Fast" for America, I'd like to end my post with the second part of the scripture I started it with.

Psalm 46:10, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

KNOW that He is God. He WILL be exalted in ALL the earth. Knowing that should help us to trust that no matter what happens with our America, no matter how many people try to remove God from it, thus destroying the great principles this country was founded on, we do not need to be anxious. We need only KNOW that no matter what they do they CANNOT quench the Spirit of our Living God. He WILL be exalted among the nations, even those nations that deny Him now. He WILL be exalted in ALL the earth!

God bless you as you find your quiet place, and become "still".

I just finished reading a blog post from my dear sister in the Lord and I was very encouraged by something I read & so I wanted to share it, as it is an encouragement for those of you that are seeking to spend time alone with the Lord but just can't seem to get it no matter how you try.
She says:

"My car has become my favored sanctuary; it seems that I am always in it, and it has morphed into a traveling prayer closet! So, I found a quiet spot in the school parking lot, moved my seat back, and settled in for some time with the Lord before the school chapel began."
2 things to note... she found a "quiet spot" and "settled in for some time with the Lord".
Even when we think we cannot find the time to spend in quiet mediation, there is always a way to make time if that is a desire of our heart!

You can read more wonderful encouraging posts from Kathryn at her blog "Fan into Flame".
Be blessed!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Living Water

As I shared yesterday, I was not "up to par". I knew I needed to sit at the feet of the Savior, and so at some point yesterday, I did just that. I felt like life was sucking me dry & I was dehydrated.
If a persons physical body is dehydrated, he must drink or die. The Lord showed me that so, too is it with the spirit.

To avoid dehydration a person must drink water. Water quenches thirst like nothing else. Is it any wonder that the Lord would have chosen water as an example when He taught us about "thirsting" for Him? The only thing that can quench the thirst of the spirit is the living water, Jesus Christ.

John 7:38 says: "
Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."

Water is the most important necessity in life. It is a need required by every living thing. The earth could not exist without water.

When we fast, we can go up to 40 days without food before our body will begin to shut down. Not so with water. Several days without water & we will surely die, that's how important it is to us. It's more precious than gold, or silver, or any precious stone. Water is the source of all things living.

Not only do we need water to live on this earth, but we also need water to gain eternal life. Consider John 4: 7-14:
"When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

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 flocks and herds?"

Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

The living water Jesus was referring to represents eternal life. It is what we receive when we put our faith in Him as our personal Savior. Likewise, if we do not "drink" of His "living water" daily through the reading & studying of His word, we cannot sustain our spiritual growth and development, nor can we bless other with the "streams of living water" that "flow from within" us. (John 7:38)

The Bible speaks of those that reject this thirst quenching water.

Jeremiah 2:13 says, "My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
Jeremiah 17:13 says, "O Lord, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you shall be put to shame; those who turn away from you shall be written in the earth, for they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living water."

God is the "Fountain of Living Water"! Who in their right mind, when thirsty, would walk away from a fountain! In fact, wouldn't you be looking for that fountain when you were thirsty?
I know when I take my son to the zoo & he gets running around his thirst becomes such that he starts looking for the nearest fountain to satisfy his thirst.
So, too, should it be with us. When we are feeling drained, mentally, physically or emotionally, we should run right to the "fountain of life" and drink freely from it.

John 7:37-38 , "On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."

Well I know that I believe in Jesus, so I know that I will have the eternal life promised to me, but what happens when I feel overwhelmed & "dehydrated"? I must go to God's word be refreshed & renewed. I must spend time at the feet of my Savior & "drink" until I'm satisfied.

I believe a man's well runs dry sometimes. When we keep taking water out of it to quench the thirst of those around us but we don't refill it with the abundant, overflowing well of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we can become empty & weary and not have the strength to go on. These are the same physical problems we also experience when we do not physically drink water. We have to realize how very necessary it is to "drink" from the well spring of Jesus Christ every day. We cannot function in the spirit without that drink. And reading God's word as well as spending time in prayer & mediation gives us the opportunity to take a LONG drink from the "Fountain of Life".

Yesterday I felt like my well had run dry. Praise God that He never leaves us. The Holy Spirit had convicted me yesterday that I had to "drink from the fountain of living water". Today I am strengthened and refreshed and back to "Living well".

God's well never runs dry. It is an endless reservoir. When you feel weak & dehydrated, like you cannot go on another step, stop and drink from the streams of living waters and you, too, will experiences a quenching and refreshment like none other!

God bless you as you drink from the Fountain of the living God!

Revelation 7:13-17
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

“Therefore they are before the throne of God,
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
the sun shall not strike them,
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Live Well Wednesdays

If I'm going to be honest, I confess that I'm not "living well" today. I feel like I'm being pulled in too many directions and I need to sit at the feet of my Father & simply just "be". I wish I didn't have so many necessary commitments today, but alas, I do. My plan is to "retreat at His feet" for some much needed renewal at the end of this day. In the meantime, I am grateful for the encouragement & promises found in His word!

God bless you as you find your own "retreat at His feet"!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Rising From The Ashes

Have you ever heard of the Phoenix? The Phoenix is a bird and in legends, it is long-lived and experiences rebirth out of fire. The Phoenix became popular in early Christian art, literature and Christian symbolism, as a symbol of Christ, and further, represented the resurrection, immortality, and the life-after-death of Jesus Christ.It has been used as a form of symbolism for "rising up" after devastation. Wikipedia notes the following references:

"The phoenix is also a prominent symbol on the flag and seal of the City and County of San Francisco, symbolizing the city rising from the ashes of the devastation caused by the 1906 earthquake. Similarly, the phoenix is also the central feature of the seal and flag of the City of Atlanta, along with the word Resurgens (Latin for having been restored/rebuilt, revived, rose up/appeared again; rared up again, lifted oneself), symbolizing the seemingly continual rebirth of the city after several devastating fires, most notable of which are General Sherman's burning of the city during the American Civil War on November 15, 1864 and the Great Atlanta fire of 1917. In New York, 7 weeks after 9/11, in a widely-televised event, a giant illuminated Phoenix puppet led New York's Village Halloween Parade as a symbol of the city's rebirth from the ashes (the puppet was designed by Parade designer Sophia Michahelles of the group Superior Concept Monsters)

Phoenix, Arizona was so named due to the town's usage of old Hohokam (Native American) canal paths, and the fact that the area contained the remains of various Hohokam settlements. It is believed that this group migrated out of the area due to devastating floods and droughts between 1300-1450 AD. The establishment of modern Phoenix was seen as a rebirth of this older civilization. The new city itself suffered damage from several large floods in its early years, such as in 1900, but eventually grew into one of the US's largest metropolitan areas as of the 21st century. The mythological bird is present on the city's flag and logo."

Now that I've given you a little history lesson *smile* let me tell you why I've chosen to focus on this theme today....

My husband has been out of work for 1 month now. Not only is he out of work, but I lost the income from childcare due to the child reaching school age at the very same time. To add insult to injury, my daughter just turned 18 which means she has been "emancipated" and no longer receives the Social Security she has been getting since her birth father died. In less than 1 month we went from being comfortable with extra money, to being below the poverty level. Last week we sold things and made enough money to put food on the table & gas in our cars as well manage to pay a bill. This week we had absolutely no money come in at all & we had to stretch 40.00 for gas & food. My Gas & Electric is due to be shut off today & they wont make a payment arrangement because I broke one over a year ago. My daughters college tuition is due today & if it's not paid she has to drop out of her class. We don't qualify for aid because our tax forms say we made too much last year. My oldest daughters harp payment is overdue and if I don't pay it they will "repossess" it. My phone is due to be shut off & I have no dog food to feed my dogs, who can't help that we have no money coming in. I definitely qualify for welfare but my husband won't allow it. He tried to collect unemployment so we'd have a check this week, but there just so happened to be a computer gliche on the day he called so now he has to mail it in.

My circumstances seem terribly dismal, don't they? It would be so easy for me to just give up & say, "I've had enough and I can't do this anymore" then let the chips fall where they may. But faith in God does not produce an attitude of defeat. It produces an attitude of victory, even in the midst of the darkest days. Faith says "God can, so God will!" and all we need to do is believe it!

Today my husband started a new job. He'll be making considerable less money than he had before, but it's something. I was asked just yesterday if I would care for another child in my home. The last thing I wanted to do was childcare again, but apparently I'm good at it *wink* and the Lord keeps opening that door. This Sunday my husband & I will be taking over the kitchen at our local firehouse. The profits from that will surely help. My website for my t-shirt company is almost up & running & I'm just about finished the first book of my children's book series, all I need now is an illustrator. It will take time for all of these efforts to produce fruit, and so my circumstances will not change right away, however, they WILL change.

Galatians 6:9 promises: "Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary."

The phoenix rising is wonderful symbolism for me. It rises from fire & ash. The Lord refines those He loves through trials of fire as well, and like the Phonex, we live on. We become stronger & more beautiful.

Have you ever thought about the way people adorn themselves with beautiful trinkets of gold & silver? Jewelry being a thing of beauty, each different "grade" is more expensive than the next. Gold jewelry is made from 14-karat, 18-karat, 22-karat, or 24-karat gold.Do you know what the difference is? Each one goes through a refining process, and it includes fire.

In the dictionary, “Refine” means several things. Here is the first meaning: "to reduce to a pure state, as with sugar, metal, or oil" Notice what it is "reduced to...a "pure" state! Funny to assosciate the word "reduced" with "pure"! We often think of being reduced to something as a negative concept, but it's not! Consider what the bible has to say ( I took this from a short bible study on refining):

  1. Metal is refined and purified in a furnace; the Lord purifies and tests the heart. (Read Proverbs 17:3)
  2. We must be refined before our offerings are acceptable to the Lord. (Read Malachi 3:2-4)

  3. The Lord’s people will be tested in the furnace of affliction (or great suffering). (Read Isaiah 1:25, 4:4, 48:10 and Jeremiah 9:7)

  4. The Lord examines your heart and mind. (Read Jeremiah 17:10)

  5. Those who survive will be refined and tested by the Lord. (Read Zechariah 13:9)

I have asked the Lord to bless me. I have desired to serve Him. He knows me & He knows what I need. He knows what refining process I need to go through in order for me to become the person He wants me to be.

When I was reflecting on a song that I used to sing, I was reminded of a post I made back in January, "The Light At The End Of The Tunnel". It said this:
Remember, there IS a light at the end of EVERY tunnel. Some tunnels are longer than others, as sometimes we have further to go on our journey & much more to learn. Rest assured, however, that "When you walk through the water, He will be with you and the river will NOT overflow you. Though you walk through deep water, He will be with you. Through the flame or flood you won't be burned or drowned. He is the God who lifts you up & He'll NEVER let you down!"

Those words come from a song written by Alison Durham. As I know I'm in the midst of a great fire right now, I also know I will not be burned. Just as God protected Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego and in the fire they were not burned (see Daniel 3), so, too, will He protect me!!

I stand on the promise in Gods word:
1 Peter 1:7
"These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."

Amen!! And at that I have chosen to praise God through this firey trial & "rise up" from the ashes!!! With that theme in mind I leave you with this great worship song:

I will Rise Up

You·re calling me to a deeper place
You·re calling me to come away
This is the day that You have made
To walk in Your love and Your grace

And I will sing
To You, my King
And ever

I will rise up and worship Your holiness
I will sing a song of Your faithfulness
On the mountains, through the valleys
Your love will be my peace
And I will sing of Your love for me
©1997 Doulos Publishing, division of Maranatha! Music 
Words and Music by Mike Ash

God bless you as you trust Him even in the midst of the fire!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tagged! Eight Random Facts About Me...

I met a wonderful friend in the blogosphere, Kathryn, who has become one of my constant cheerleaders & inspirations while doing the "Proclaim Liberty" fast with trumpet & torch ministries. She has tagged me (a new concept for me) to share eight random facts about myself.
I'm not sure which 8 facts to put out there, as I'm such an interesting person (not! LOL) but I'm going to give it a shot. Here goes!.....

1. First & foremost I am a child of the King. Jesus Christ is my Saviour & without Him I would be lost & wandering in this world.

2. I have a wonderful family...My husband Walt (who I've known since I was 11), my oldest daughter Brittany(on the far left), My "middle child" Brighton(on the far right) and my youngest, my 6 year old son Walter (sitting next to dad).

3. I've been involved in pet rescue for years. Most all the animals I've had are/were rescues. I work with South Jersey Animal rescue whenever they need me to help them find a home for an "unwanted" animal. That's how I got Hawkyn(1st picture, dog on the right). My dogs are Hennah, a flat coat saddle back German Shepherd (1st picture, 1st dog on left), Hawkyn, a long coat blanket back German Shepherd & Harley, a one eyed wonder of a Corgi! We also have 2 rescued cockateils and a new addition kitten that followed my son home on our walk last night!

4. I serve God in my church through 252 kids Avenue, where I'm a coach. My job is to "engage kids in meaningful discussions and hands on activities".

5. I'm a WAHM with too much work, too many ideas & not enough money coming in *smile* but I trust God to provide and He never lets me down!

6. I am working on a Christian based children's book series, as well as a Fairy Tale Based child's curriculum for homeschoolers.

7. I've been a homeschool mom for 10 years & I am actively involved in a Homeschooling Co-op. I graduated my daughters together last year and now have the great pleasure of homeschooling my overactive but fun loving son! (Lot's of prayers needed for the next 12 years!! *smile*)

8. I'm a recovering food addict who is Holding up the banner of victory! Hence the name of my blog!

And now for the next step.... I tag:

1. Denise at "Shortybears Place"
2. Marsha at "Marsha's Musings
3. Suzanne at "I was thinking"
4. Tami at "Desires of Thine Heart"
5. Bill at "The Hughes Family"
6. Tami at "Valley Girl"
7. Sunny at "A Wife's Biblical Submission"
8.L.L Barkat at "Green Inventions Central"

Here are the guidelines:
1. Post eight random facts/habits about yourself. Choose eight others to "tag", and include the guidelines in your post.
2. Let your "taggees" know that they've been tagged!
3. Enjoy learning more about your cyber-sisters/brothers. :-)

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Trail of Tears

As I'm still on my 40 day fast for America, I was getting ready to put a post out regarding blessings. Ironically, while searching for a picture to include, I was led in a different direction and my heart grew heavy with sorrow.

I've been an American Citizen all of my life. The only person I know in my particular family who wasn't always was my grandmother. She was brought here from Italy when she was a child on a boat filled with other immigrants. She had an appreciation for America, as it was a promised land for her. I believe that I have taken it for granted.

Today I stumbled upon a poem written by a native American. It was included in a book titled, "Cherokee Legends And The Trail Of Tears", adapted by Thomas Bryan Underwood.


The whites honor the "Heritage"
And the man who once lived there -

But, that leader of our Nation
Was cruel, unjust, unfair -

He ordered the removal
Of the Cherokee from their land

And forced them on a trek
That the Devil must have planned -

One thousand miles of misery -
Of pain and suffering -

Because greed of man
Could not even wait till spring -

We should bow our heads in shame
Even unto this day

About "The Trail Of Tears"
And those who died along the way.

It was October, eighteen thirty-eight
When seven thousand troops in blue

Began the story of the "Trail"
Which, so sadly, is so true -

Jackson ordered General Scott
To rout the Indian from their home -

The "Center Of The World" they loved -
The only one they'd known -

The Braves working in the fields
Arrested, placed in a stockade -

Women and children dragged from home
In the bluecoats shameful raid -

Some were prodded with bayonets
When, they were deemed to move too slow

To where the Sky was their blanket
And the cold Earth, their pillow -

In one home a Babe had died
Sometime in the night before -

And women mourning, planning burial
Were cruelly herded out the door -

In another, a frail Mother -
Papoose on back and two in tow

Was told she must leave her home
Was told that she must go -

She uttered a quiet prayer -
Told the old family dog good-bye -

Then, her broken heart gave out
And she sank slowly down to die -

Chief Junaluska witnessed this -
Tears streaming down his face -

Said if he could have known this
It would have never taken place -

For, at the battle of Horse Shoe
With five hundred Warriors, his best -

Helped Andrew Jackson win that battle
And lay thirty-three Braves to rest -

And the Chief drove his tomahawk
Through a Creek Warrior's head

Who was about to kill Jackson -
But whose life was saved, instead -

Chief John Ross knew this story
And once sent Junaluska to plead -

Thinking Jackson would listen to
This Chief who did that deed -

But, Jackson was cold, indifferent
To the one he owed his life to

Said, "The Cherokee's fate is sealed -
There's nothing, I can do."

Washington, D.C. had decreed
They must be moved Westward -

And all their pleas and protests
To this day still go unheard.

On November, the seventeenth
Old Man Winter reared his head -

And freezing cold, sleet and snow
Littered that trail with the dead

On one night, at least twenty-two
Were released from their torment

To join that Great Spirit in the Sky
Where all good souls are sent -

Many humane, heroic stories
Were written 'long the way -

A monument, for one of them -
Still stands until this day -

It seems one noble woman
It was Chief Ross' wife -

Gave her blanket to a sick child
And in so doing, gave her life -

She is buried in an unmarked grave -
Dug shallow near the "Trail" -

Just one more tragic ending
In this tragic, shameful tale -

Mother Nature showed no mercy
Till they reached the end of the line

When that fateful journey ended
On March twenty-sixth, eighteen thirty-nine.

Each mile of this infamous "Trail"
Marks the graves of four who died -

Four thousand poor souls in all
Marks the shame we try to hide -

You still can hear them crying
Along "The Trail Of Tears"

If you listen with your heart
And not with just your ears.

There were just so many things that had affected me when I read that poem. I have a lot of respect for the American Indian, and I've always thought of them as the "native" Americans, as they were here first. I wonder how God viewed the injustices that was done to them, and in many cases still is. I wonder how hard it was for them to forgive those who had wronged them, and taken away the land THEY loved. And now we call this the land WE love, and I know how we would feel if it was taken from us. There are so many people I hear in the area in which I live who continually complain that the "Indians" (not native American, but the ones from India) are "taking over America". They throw out words of hatred toward them, and some do things to try to hurt them. I was actually reading a blog post today that said:

I have been telling everyone that the gas stations should not be owned all over America by the same people who want to kill us. Personally I feel gas stations have been outsourced and Indian etc. are paid to come here and run them to keep from hiring Americans. I have stopped driving and I am using a bus pass. No matter where I travel in America, Muslims own the gas stations and Koreans the Beauty Supply Shops. Our leaders have sold us out."

I don't talk politics, but I do know a lot of people who feel this way. I have my own opinions about things, but by trusting God I can remove my opinions and simply pray for His Sovereignty in all of it. When I look back at the injustices done to American Indians, and I see the way people feel about the injustices they believe are being done to today's Americans by the "Indians" (Arabs and the like) I find it a strange "twist of fate" and I am reminded of how desperate we are for Divine intervention. I'd hate to see us walking our own "trail of tears" and without dependence upon God as a nation, we cannot guarantee what fate might befall us!

God bless you as you trust completely in God's sovereignty!

PS...check out the video, "Wiping The Tears Of Seven Generations"

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