Saturday, July 5, 2014

God's Protection, Even When We Don't Ask

About 5 years ago, our church was called to fast corporately. We were able to fast however we wanted, but as a body of believers we were all fasting together.

One day, about half-way through our fast I was making dinner. I was trying to boil a big pot of chicken so I could make chicken and dumplings. I had been cooking the chicken breasts for a while so the water was really hot. I reached in with a wooden spoon to try and see if the chicken was done. Big mistake. The chicken flew off the spoon and boiling water went straight into my eye.

I had three small kids at home and there just happened to be no one around to take me to the emergency room that day, but thankfully that wasn't needed. The water that went into my eye, did not cause any damage. The only damage I had was a slight burn mark under my eye to show me how hot that water really was. I never went to the doctor. I just went and flushed out the chicken juice and I was fine. I even made it to church the next night to testify about it.

I'm so thankful for a God that takes care of us, even when we don't know we need Him. I had no clue that would happen that day and yet He still protected me. It would have been impossible to get to an emergency room, but God in His great and wonderful way looked out for me.

Zellie's Miracle

While we lived at Valliant, I would take the shortcut to Battiest while going to work everyday. For those of you that don't know, the shortcut consisted of 13 miles of dirt road, which may seem odd unless you're from Battiest.

One day I was driving home from school. Zellie was in headstart at the time and so she was in the car with me. We were driving down the dirt road and I remember looking over and seeing that she was unbuckled. I remember thinking I really should make her put her seatbelt on, but it was a fight a lot of times to get it on her and I really didn't think anything would happen anyway.

On this particular day, I was driving a little too fast. I came around a curve and lost control of the vehicle. My truck started to fishtail and then we slid sideways. A small pine tree was sitting on the edge of the road. It was small but it happened to be sturdy enough to stop the truck. I had reached out my hand in front of Zellie as we were sliding. I remember looking over at her. I just knew she was going to be bruised and banged up. Instead, there she sat buckled up in the seat.

I had not made her buckle up. She had not buckled up. My God that cares about each one of us, had buckled her up and kept her safe in the seat.

God really can take care of everything. Don't tell your God how big your mountain is, tell your mountain how big your God is. He can take care of any situation.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Following Directions

I taught myself to cross-stitch when I was like 12 years old. I have been doing it ever since and am pretty capable at reading patterns and knowing what the stitches are, etc. A few years ago, I found a table top, table runner and pillow set that I just had to have. I thought it was such a pretty piece, so I ordered all three pieces. I was so excited when the kits came in, I just couldn't wait to start working on them. I opened the package and pulled out the material and started to look for the directions. The package said to follow the directions. The problem was there wasn't any directions. There was a picture that did not match the pattern I was looking at stamped on the material. It was similar but it wasn't the same thing. Even though I had lots of experience sewing, it just looked too complicated, so I put it up in my basket and that's where it sat for several years.

This pattern made me think about when I first came back to church. There was a lot of things that I did not understand. When I felt a call into ministry I fought God for a little bit because there was so much I didn't know. When I started the credential process I realized there was actually a LOT of things I did not know. Words were thrown at me like sanctification, holiness, inerrancy of scripture, along with many other words that I had no clue what they meant. I was very confused, which was new for me because I have always been one to learn things very quickly. So quickly, that I have rarely had to study. I don't say that to brag, but to say this: God's Word is different. I have to study. As I grow deeper with God, new things are revealed to me everyday. It is a continual process of studying the Word of God and I want to do this because I want to know more of God. I don't want a glossed over version of what someone tells me the Bible says, I want to know for myself.

As new Christians it can be overwhelming to come to church, especially if you weren't raised in church. It can be overwhelming to read your Bible. Where do you start? What does it all mean? Realize that just because you are saved does not mean that you suddenly understand everything there is to know about God. It comes by being committed and being faithful. Don't get discouraged if you don't understand everything all at once. Just stay in there and ask questions, seek answers in God's Word. Find a seasoned Christian and have them help you understand the things that are hard.

Above all else, seek that relationship with God and don't give up.

I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14

Friday, June 14, 2013

Cord's Story



When Cord was three years old, he got an infection that caused the lymph nodes in his neck to swell. We took him to the doctor and they gave him a round of antibiotics and the lymph nodes should have went down, but they didn't. Instead, they got bigger, so a stronger dose of antibiotic was ordered and blood work was done. His blood work showed mixed results. Some things were too high and some things were too low. Hardly any of the things they tested were normal for a boy his age. The doctor felt like it was an infection and it should go away with the stronger antibiotic, but it didn't. Instead the knots in his lymph nodes got bigger.

At this point, our pediatrician told us we needed to get Cord in to see a specialist immediately. He said the words no parent wants to hear. In his 30 years of pediatric work only one other child had presented with the same symptoms that Cord had and that child was diagnosed with cancer. It just so happens that my mother-in-law knew the child that he was talking about and that child did not make it. She had died.

Armed with this information, I was determined to rebuke that diagnosis. I wasn't going to believe it was cancer until it was definitely confirmed. That was a good thought on my part, but the reality is that the longer we had to wait the more that doubt started to enter my mind. All of this happened around the first part of December and we could not get an appointment with a specialist until December 31st.

At first, I was ok and Cord acted fine. Except for the huge knots on his neck you really wouldn't know he was sick. Our pediatrician told us that there was no point in giving him any more medicine after the second round of antibiotics, because it wasn't working, so Cord went the rest of the month without taking any medicine.

My faith started out very strong. I knew God would take care of it. I prayed. I had the church pray, every chance I could get. Cord is kind of a private person and I have no idea what was going through his 3 year old mind when all those people would lay their hands on him and pray, but I was determined that he was going to be healed. Well, instead of the knots getting smaller, they actually got bigger. At their biggest point the knot on the right side of his neck was 2 1/2 inches and the knot on the left side was around an inch.

I became frustrated because it seemed like God wasn't answering my prayer. We lived at Valliant at that time and I would drive to work at Battiest everyday. I would pray all the way to work and all the way home. I had a constant prayer line with God going on and still the knots got bigger.

After a time, I begin to let doubt and fear creep in that Cord wasn't going to be healed. It got to the point where I started imagining Cord having to go through treatments and how sick his little body would look. I even started to imagine his funeral and what it was going to be like. All this sounds really crazy, but when you are going through a trial like this you feel a little crazy. The last straw happened one night while I was laying down with Cord in the bed. Our conversation went like this:

Cord: "Mama, Jesus is coming to get me."

Me: "Yes, one day He's going to come get all of us."

Cord: "No Mama, Jesus is coming to get me now. I don't want to go."

We had been very careful not to talk about Cord's sickness in front of him or our other kids. We didn't want them to worry, so this conversation was completely out of the blue. I began to sob. I was so devastated. My stress level had been so high, I was trying to hold it all together, but this was my breaking point.

I went and wept before God. I told Him, "God, I believe you have something for Cord's life. I don't believe that he's supposed to die, but if that is Your will, then I need You to help me get through it." You see all along I had been looking up things on the Internet and trying to find a human way for Cord to receive his healing. I was trying to be the strong mother in control of my boy's life. God didn't want that though. God wanted me to hand over control of Cord's life to Him. To let Him heal his little body.

That night, I gave God control of Cord's life and within a day or two Cord's knots started to go down. No medicine, nothing. They just went down on there own. When we finally did get in to see a specialist the knots were completely gone. He looked like a normal little boy and the doctor wanted to know why we were even there. He couldn't find anything wrong with him but suggested that we look into getting his tonsils removed.

I don't have a confirmed case of cancer for Cord, but I know in my spirit that had I not given God control of that situation, Cord's illness would have turned out differently.

I can confirm this.

1. Cord had an infection.

2. Two rounds of strong antibiotics could not take care of it.

3. My God healed him from his infection without medicine of any kind.

That is the power of my God. I am so unworthy for how good He has been to me and to my family, but I'm so thankful that I have Him to call on whenever I need Him. Some of you are going through trials right now. I encourage you to keep putting your faith in God. He will get you through this.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Storms



When I was 18 I was driving home from work late one night and all of the sudden I felt my car start to shake. I knew there were storms moving into the area and I had been driving trying to get home and avoid them. The wind was hitting my car so hard that it felt like it was about to blow my car off the road. What did I do? I gripped the steering wheel tighter and kept on driving. Eventually, the wind died down and I made it home. I was almost certain I had just went through a tornado, but it was so dark that I really couldn't see anything. I know that I have never felt wind blowing like that before or since. My suspicions were confirmed when the next day or two, the paper reported that a tornado had blown through that area at the exact time I was traveling. There were no houses in the area and had I wrecked more than likely no one would have found me until the next day. God watched out for me and protected me.

The storms of life blow into our lives, too. Sometimes we have an inkling they are coming and sometimes we don't. When they happen though, we just need to grip God that much tighter and hold on to Him. You see, had my gripped loosened on the steering wheel I would have been doomed for destruction. My car would have blown off the road, into the trees and being in a little dinky car, there is no way that I would have made it out alive without God's protection.

The same is true for us. If we let go of God during our storms of life, we are destined for destruction. God is the only way we will make it through. He will encourage us when we don't think we can take one more step. He will comfort us when we are so overwhelmed by bad news that we don't how we are going to make it through. He will be there every step of the way and just be everything we need.

I know several people that are going through storms right now and I just encourage you to hang on. God knows the beginning and the end. He will help you through this. He is a mighty God. If He can help one teenage girl get safely through a tornado, then He can do anything.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Get Grounded in God

So apparently I almost hurt myself the other day. I have been pinning like crazy on Pinterest and I have really wanted to start making homemade cleaner. I went to Wal-Mart and bought all the stuff. I'm probably on a list now for people that buy too much cleaner, LOL.

When I decided to make the cleaner I pulled up a couple of recipes to look at and then decided to make my own version of homemade cleaner. In the back of my mind I vaguely remember something about not mixing certain chemicals but I didn't bother to go look it up. I just added them slowly so if they did blow up, it wouldn't be all that bad. When nothing blew up, I figured everything was OK.

Everything was ok, the first time I used it, but when I went back to use it the second time, I nearly passed out from the fumes, which come to find out were toxic. My carelessness put me and my family in danger. If I had only followed the directions, none of this would have happened. Now I've had to throw my bottle of cleaner away and start over.

As I relate this to my Christian walk, I think about what happens when we don't follow directions. You see prayer, Bible reading, and church attendance are all directions we should follow in order to have our relationship with Christ. If we leave one of these out, it leaves room for sin to come into our lives. Then our relationship with Christ becomes toxic. In other words, the bad stuff starts to take over the good stuff until there is no longer good stuff left but only something bad that is far away from what it was intended to be. The good news is that if you are in this state, all you have to do is ask God for forgiveness. He is ready to cleanse you and make you whole.

God has been showing me, that as Christians we need to be more grounded in Him. Our faith cannot depend on what someone else teaches us or tells us. We have to be firmly rooted in God's Word and we also have to have meaningful conversations with Him (prayer) in order for our Christian walk to remain solid.

Some people will argue that you don't have to go to church to follow God. While this may be true, in some regards, church does encourage you in your Christian walk. It also allows you to minister to other people. If you look at the church in Acts 1-2, they met daily together. I believe this is an example that we should follow. While we don't normally meet daily together, we should be encouraging each other daily and make getting together to study God's Word a priority as often as we can.

I encourage you this week to really dig into your Bible, set aside extra time to pray, and really make church a priority. Get grounded in God.

1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 1 Peter 2:1-3

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Simplicity of Prayer

I attended a conference a couple of weeks ago and the question was asked, "Who taught you how to pray?" Some of you can easily answer that question and some of you may not be as certain. Some of you may not even be sure that you know how to pray now. This started me thinking about prayer. In Matthew 6:9-13 we are given a model prayer by Jesus himself:

9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.


What strikes me about this prayer is the simplicity of it. It was not a lengthy prayer, but in these few words Jesus spoke everything that is important in life.

Vs 9-10 shows us how to give God honor first when we pray. Too many times we start out our prayers by asking for everything we need and we forget the part about saying Hey God, I honor you and am just thankful for all you have done for me. Jesus showed us that we start out by thanking God before bringing our requests to Him.

Vs 11 shows how to ask for our needs. Give us this day our daily bread. We should be asking God for the things we need and expecting Him to answer.

Vs 12 shows us to ask for forgiveness and help us forgive others. Sin will keep us from having a relationship with Christ. It puts a wall in between us and God. Unforgiveness will also keep us from having that close relationship with God. One of the best things you can do for someone you are angry with is start praying for them. You may be angry with them when you first start, but it is amazing how God will begin to change your heart so you can experience forgiveness. This doesn't mean that they didn't wrong you in some way, but it means that you no longer have to let that anger stay in your life.

Vs. 13 shows us to pray against being tempted. We are all tempted everyday. Jesus himself was tempted before starting His earthly ministry (Matthew 4). If Jesus said pray against temptation, how much more should we be praying against temptation?

Prayer is simply a conversation with God. Speak to Him as you would a close friend. He wants to have that conversation with you. Don't get caught up in thinking that it requires big words and hours and hours of speaking. Just simply speak from your heart and most importantly spend a few moments listening to see what He has to speak back to you.