Last First Dayūüćé

Back- to -School

Today marks a milestone for me.

It’s back to school again and, at our house,¬† it’s also THE LAST “first day of school”,¬† as our youngest daughter is now officially a senior in high school. Sure, I’ve been down this road a couple of times before, with two other children who have graduated, and gone off to college, but this one brings a whole season to a close for me and I just wanted to say out loud that “Being a mom is such a great blessing!”

I was blessed to have three miracle babies, when several doctors said that being a mother would never happen for me. So thankful that the LORD has the last word, and the final say, about “impossible” situations such as these.

Every season is a blessing, and as I look back with a smile and forward with joy, I’m grateful for everything that’s brought me to this day.ūüėä

Thanks for listening!‚̧ԳŹ

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.”¬† -James 1:17 TLV

 

He Was Wounded, We Are Healed

“He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

‚ÄúEarth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.‚ÄĚ

Thomas Moore

Two Rivers

Once, when speaking at a Women’s Conference, I began by sharing that I had “cried a River of Tears”.

I knew that there were ¬†women present who could relate, because they too had experienced the pain and disappointments that lead to crying lots of tears. I knew, because I had been there…

Sometimes people, in an effort to be comforting, ¬†may say,” I know how you feel”… but it’s much more of a comfort when you know that someone has actually experienced circumstances similar to your own. As women, we feel things so deeply, and “crying a river of tears” was the best way that I could describe the heartfelt sadness that accompanied me through this difficult time in my life. I knew that I was not the only one to feel this way.

Many mornings,when I was having problems with my health, and praying for a miracle, my husband would wake to hear me quietly weeping, with my head sunk in my pillow. He would try to comfort me, but after a while, I think he just wanted me to let go of what he considered to be an “obsession” with wanting to have a baby.

But I was not obsessed, and I would not let go.

In spite of all my tears, I knew in my heart, that there was another river…

Psalm 46 says that, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble…¬†There is a river, the streams whereof shall make . glad the city of God,…God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early..

Be still and know that¬†I am God…”

Sometimes we need to have a good cry, and that’s OK,… but we mustn’t cry as if there’s no hope… There is true comfort in knowing that God sees our tears, and will answer our prayers. I know because He’s done it for me.

With My Whole Heart

 

I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will show forth all Your marvelous works.

I will be glad and rejoice in You: I will sing praise to Your name, O most High.

… they that know Your Name will put their trust in You:

For You, LORD, have not forsaken them that seek You.”

Psalm 9:1,2 and 10

 

Quietly Wait

“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope

It is of¬†¬†the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed,

Because His compassions fail not.

They are new every morning: Great is Thy faithfulness.

The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him.

The LORD is good unto them that wait for Him,

To the soul that seeks Him.

It is¬†good that¬†a man¬†should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.”

“In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.

Lamentations 3:21-26 and Isaiah 30:15

Twilight

The period of the evening which takes place, between daylight and darkness is called twilight…

In the days of Elisha, there was a severe famine. Outside the city gates there were four men who were lepers. These four men reasoned among themselves,¬† “Why should we just sit here¬†until we die? If we go into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there, and¬†if we just sit here, we will die also. Let’s go to the camp of the Syrians. Maybe they will save us alive, or if they kill us, we shall but die…¬†And so they rose up in the twilight,¬†to go to the camp of the Syrians.

When they got to the camp of the Syrians, there was no one there because the Lord had made the entire Syrian army to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise of horses, and the noise of a great army approaching, and they thought that the king of Israel had hired other foreign armies to join with him to fight them...So they arose and fled in the twilight... When the lepers arrived they found an abundance of food, silver and gold. They sent word back to the king and the starving people were satisfied.

I love this story… You can find it in II Kings chapter 7. I am always amazed that at¬† precisely the same moment that the lepers decided to step out in faith, God began working on their behalf. As soon as they arose to go at twilight, God allowed the Syrians to hear an illusion at twilight, which scared them out of their wits and caused them to leave their treasures. The lepers¬†were on their way, had probably walked all night,¬†but God had already fought the battle for them, He had already solved their problem, and He had begun at precisely the moment that they believed…¬†At twilight.

The next morning, with¬†the rising of the sun,¬†came long-awaited ¬†joy and deliverance…

The Hat Rack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many years ago, one Sunday morning, my husband and I were visiting a new church for the first time, when an elderly lady came up to us and invited us to her house for dinner, following the service. We gladly accepted her invitation, and followed her home.  As we sat in her livingroom, we shared in a very pleasant conversation, getting to know a little more about each other.. She was a long-standing member at her church and was well-loved by her church family.  Although it was very apparent that she was elderly, her speech and expressions were vibrant, and she was very happy to talk about how much she loved the Lord, and how much He had done for her, as she enthusiastically shared some of her many testimonies. My husband and I each talked a little about our faith experience, and  I mentioned how our two children, very small at the time, were miracle babies, and that I was believing God for another one.

She looked at me, with a smile in her eyes, and said, ‚ÄúYou see that hat rack over there on the wall?‚ÄĚ I answered, ‚ÄúYes.‚ÄĚ she said, ‚ÄúWhenever the Lord does something for me, I imagine that I‚Äôm hanging a hat on a¬†hat rack‚Ķand everytime he answers¬†I just keep adding a new hat.¬†¬†And the next time I find myself frustrated about something that I‚Äôm praying for, I¬† just take a look at that hat rack, and I see all those hats hanging there, and I‚Äôm¬†reminded of all the prayers¬†that God has answered, some that I may have even forgotten, and I am encouraged that he did it¬†before and he‚Äôll¬†do it¬†again.‚ÄĚ I really appreciated this example and made an effort to apply it in my own life.

Now, when I think back on this example, it reminds me of what young David said to King Saul, when he volunteered to fight Goliath…

‚ÄúDavid said‚Ķ The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine‚Ķ‚ÄĚ I Samuel 17:37

The lion and the bear were hanging on David’s hat rack!!! He just took a look back, and was fully persuaded, that God would do it again. :)

Has it been a while since you took a look at your own hat rack? Surely God has blessed you and answered your prayers in the past… Just take a look back, and like David be fully persuaded that God will do it again.

The River

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.¬†There¬†is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God shall help her and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge. Selah. Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations He hath made in the earth. He makes wars to cease unto the end of the earth; He breaks the bow, and cuts the spear in sunder; He burns the chariot in the fire, ¬†“Be still, and know that I¬†am God”¬†I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.” Psalm 46

 

Can a Mother Forget?

Sometimes when we’ve been praying for something for a very long time, we begin to lose heart, and wonder if the answer will ever come. I know exactly how that feels. I remember praying and praying for God to work a miracle in my life, and sometimes, I felt that God had forgotten about me and my situation. Of course we know that God sees us always, and knows everything about our lives, but still, it is true of us as humans, that we sometimes think that our situation may not be as urgent to God as we would like for it to be. This is so not true!

At one of my lowest points, the LORD gave me a verse which comforted me and reassured me, and to this day, this verse is very near and dear to my heart. In Isaiah 49:15-16, the Lord says, “Can a mother forget her nursing child?… Yes, she might, but I have not forgotten you… I have you engraved on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.”¬†¬†This is how I understood what He was saying to me through this verse:

1. “Can a mother forget her nursing child?”¬†– Naturally, the answer to this question would be a resounding, “No.” ¬†We all know how attached a mother is to her newborn baby, and so we understand the significance of this question. But…

2. “Yes, she might,”¬†– Although it would seem impossible for a mother to forget or abandon her newborn child, it has happened, as unbelievable as it would seem, sadly, it has been the case for some mothers. But…

3. “I have not forgotten you”¬†– God is saying that His love and care for us is even greater than a mother’s love. Infinitely greater. How so?…

4. “I have you engraved on the palms of my hands”¬†– Here, I pictured the palms of my Savior’s Hands, which still bear the nail scars, pierced for me… And then…

5. “Your walls are continually before me.”¬† My situation and all that surrounds me, is continually before Him! Oh, Glory to God!!

Here it is in a nutshell…

God loves you, more than you can imagine, He has not forgotten you, and ¬†your situation is continually, always, before Him… Hold on. :)

 

Under The Mulberry Tree

¬†“Quietly waiting and listening, anticipating a blessing.”

There is a story found in 2 Samuel, chapter 5:17 –¬†25, where David has just been anointed king over Israel, and when all of the Philistines heard this, they set out to fight against him in battle. The bible says that the Philistines “spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim”, and here’s what I love about David; he always asks the Lord first before he does anything!¬†( I would love to go much deeper on this subject, but that’s another post, so please stay tuned!) ¬†The bible says that “…David enquired of the LORD, saying “Shall I go up to the Philistines? Wilt Thou deliver them into my hand?” And the LORD said unto David, Go up: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand.”¬† So David went to battle with the Philistines, the LORD was with him, and he defeated them.

Not long after this the Philistines regrouped, and returned to attack David again. You would think that David would just “take them on” in confidence, knowing that God was with him before. and so naturally he would be victorious again, but no. David again enquired of the LORD, and it’s a good thing too,because this time the LORD had different battle plan in mind for him. (This is so exciting I can hardly wait to write it!!)

God told David that he was not to use the same strategy to defeat the Philistines as he did last time. This time, he was to come up from behind them, waiting in ambush under the mulberry trees… The LORD said “… When you hear the sound of a rustling in the tops of the mulberry trees, get ready to attack, for then shall the ¬†LORD go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines.” And David did as the LORD commanded him; and smote the Philistines…” AWESOME!!!

This is so exciting! It was actually as if God Himself was in the trenches with David, and from the heavens, He would “tickle” the tops of the mulberry trees, to signal David that He was with him,¬†and would go before him, and¬†would give him the victory!

Just imagine David and his troops, quietly waiting and listening, in anticipation for God to do something great on their behalf. Now, imagine yourself in the same position…

“Quietly waiting and listening, anticipating a blessing!”¬†God Bless You. :)

Faith Unlimited

Taking the limits off our faith, releases unlimited possibilities…

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” ¬†Mark 10:27

Like a Lion

Bold. Proverbs 28:1 says, ¬†“… the righteous are bold as a lion.”¬† and in Hebrews 4:16 we’re told to come boldly before God’s throne in prayer. This is what Caleb did.

You can read about Caleb in Joshua chapter 14 verses 7-14 , and interestingly enough, the name Caleb means “bold”. Here’s his story…

Caleb was 85 years old when the Israelites reached the promised land. He was one of only two men who had survived the 40 year wanderings in the desert. After being freed from slavery in Egypt, he and Joshua were chosen by Moses to spy out the land that God had promised them. There were 12 men in all, one for each tribe. When they returned from their travels, 10 of the spies were terrified, and reported that it would be impossible to defeat these cities because they considered themselves and  their own people to be too small in comparison.  But Joshua and Caleb believed that God had led them to this good land and had faith that He would give them the victory.

The people believed the 10 spies. God was angry with them and because of their unbelief, they would have to spend the next 40 years walking around the desert until they all died off, leaving only their children and grandchildren to be the ones who would inherit the promised land. But God honored the faith of Caleb and Joshua.

Joshua became the leader of his people after the death of Moses, leading them into the promised land, dividing the Jordan River, and marching onto victory in the battle of Jericho. Caleb now 85 years old had remained strong in faith, and courageous in battle. In the face of battle over the land that Moses had promised would be his inheritance, Caleb boldly responded, saying:

“… the LORD hath kept me alive, as He said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake His word to Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now lo, I am now eighty-five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: As my strength was then, even so is my strength now… Now therefore give me this mountain,… the LORD will be with me, then I will be able to drive (the inhabitants) out, as the LORD said…Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb.”

He got what he wanted. Caleb was bold in his faith as a young man, and even as an old man, who knew that there was nothing too big to ask God for, and his boldness was evidence of that faith.

By faith, we are the righteousness of God in Christ, and “the righteous are as bold as a lion.”

Wow! WAW!! pt 3

I thought I’d change things up a bit, and abbreviate, “What a Woman” with “WAW”. :) ¬†Anyway, this is the third and final part of my post on the Shunnamite woman. The first two posts were paraphrased from II Kings chapter 4, and today’s story can be found in II Kings chapter 8. Thanks for following along!…

Sometime after God raised her son back to life, the Shunnamite woman was advised by Elisha, the prophet, to pack up her belongings, and leave her home.  He warned her of how the LORD had called for a famine, and that it would last for seven years. So, the woman did as the prophet said, and traveled to the land of the Philistines, where she lived for seven years.

When the famine was over, she decided to return to her¬†home,¬†and she went to see the King about getting her land back. On the very same day that she was to present her appeal to the king, Gehazi, Elisha’s servant just happened to be in a meeting with the king, because the king wanted to hear more about all the great things that Elisha had done. Just as he began to tell the king about the woman whose son Elisha had raised from the dead, behold, the woman whose son was restored to life, came in to make her appeal to the king, and Gehazi said in excitement, “O king! This is the woman, and this is her son, whom Elisha restored to life!!” And when the king asked her, she told him her story and the king said to his officer, “Restore all that was her’s, and all that she would have earned from her land since the day¬†she left¬†until now.”

¬†The Lord went before her, prepared the king to hear her case, and then gave her back not only her land, but all of the profits that she would have made from her fields over the seven years that she was gone! Wow!! I told you that¬†this story was exciting! ¬†What a testimony…¬†God is forever faithful to “the faithful.”

 

 

Wow! What a Woman! pt 2

 

Just when her faith¬†had risen to a new level, it would be tested…

A few years later,¬†her son¬†was out in the field¬†with¬†his father, when he began complaining of a severe headache. His father told one of the servants to take the young boy to his mother. The child laid his head on his mother’s lap until around noon, and then¬† died…

The woman¬†took her son up to the room that she had made for Elisha, and laid him on the bed. She closed the door,¬†went out, and called for her husband. Then she asked him to send her one of the servants¬†and a donkey, so that she could go and see the man of God. She said she would hurry and return soon. Her husband asked¬† why she was going to see the man of God.. She didn’t say anything except, “It shall be well.”¬† She¬†quickly¬†saddled her donkey, and¬† left to see the prophet.

As she approached Mount Carmel, the man of God saw her coming and sent his servant, Gehazi, to meet her and¬†ask what was wrong. He told him to ask if it was well with her husband, and if it was well with the child. When Gehazi asked her these questions she replied, “It is well.”¬† When she approached the prophet, she got off her donkey, and fell at his feet. She cried out, “Did I ask you, my lord,¬†for a son?.. Did I not say, do not lie to me?”¬† Elisha sent his servant away immediately to go and see about the child, but the woman would not leave without¬†him, so he¬†returned with her.

When Elisha arrived at the house, the¬†boy was dead and lying on his bed. He stretched himself out on the child, and the child became warm… He got up and walked around a bit, and then stretched himself out on the child again, and this time the boy sneezed seven times, and opened his eyes!

Gehazi called for his mother, and when she came into the room, she fell at Elisha’s feet, and bowed herself to the ground. She picked up her son,…. And walked out.

Wow! What a woman of faith!¬†Fear and faith cannot operate at the same time… This woman showed incredible faith in the face of a situation¬†which could have ¬†invoked the most horrible fear. She knew that her son was a miraculous gift from God, and that¬†God¬†had blessed her and done what she¬†thought was impossible… Faced with the sudden death of her son,¬†her response was one of¬†faith, and although I’m sure her heart was pounding,¬†she¬†made the immediate decision to hold her tongue, and trust God. She told her husband,¬†“It shall be well”¬† and¬†said¬†to the prophet, “It is well.” and because of her faith,¬†God made it so…It was¬†well!

Stay tuned,..Part 3 next time. :)

The Power of Prayer and Fasting

“…this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting…” ¬†Matthew 17:21

When I was praying for a miracle, there were many times that I would get discouraged, and sometimes even depressed, because it seemed like nothing was happening… ¬†There were only a few people during that time, that I could talk to, who actually believed with me, encouraged me, and listened patiently. ¬† My grandmother was one of these people. She was the first one to pray for me when the doctors ¬†said that I would never be able to have a baby. She told me, way back then, at the beginning of my journey, that I would be a mother, and she laid her hands on my tummy and prayed for me. She had great faith. I often called her during my lowest times and she would say to me, “God will do it. He is faithful and there is nothing too hard for Him.” ¬†She told me that what I needed to do, was to pray and fast. She told me to always pray and fast whenever I could. Not just once, but periodically, along with my prayers, as I waited for God to do as He promised.

When the struggle and the waiting became the most unbearable, I remembered my grandmother’s words and followed her advice, and even though she passed away, during the 10 year period of praying for my third little miracle, and had gone home to be with Jesus, her sweet voice remained in my heart, always reminding me of the power and importance of prayer and fasting.

Sometimes when we’ve been praying for something for a very long time, it feels like an uphill battle… It’s a fight, but, Second ¬†Corinthians 10:4 says that, ” … the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty, through God to the pulling down of strongholds.” ¬†Prayer and fasting are two of those mighty weapons… Armed with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, we press through the battle, with prayer and fasting, until the victory is ours!

Sticks and Stones

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” This is so-o-ooo not true! In fact, some words can hurt worse than sticks and stones, and when you’re praying for a miracle, what you say or don’t say really does matter…

Have you ever noticed how, the moment you start talking about believing for¬†a miracle,¬†someone comes along, and starts¬†giving you all the reasons why it¬†will never¬†happen?¬†It’s usually not because they don’t mean well. Sometimes they just don’t want¬†to see you¬†get hurt or be disappointed, and sometimes it’s because they just can’t imagine such things coming to pass. Regardless of their intentions, these words, once embedded in your heart and mind, can strike a fatal blow to your faith.

It’s not only the words that you hear, that can hurt your faith, but also the words that you speak. Proverbs 18:21 says that; “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” In fact, it would be better to say nothing at all, than to speak words of doubt¬†or fear concerning what you are believing God for in your life. Luke 1;5-22 gives a perfect example of this. It speaks of Zacharias, and how the angel Gabriel told him that he and his wife, Elisabeth, would have a son.

Zacharias couldn’t believe it,.. and that’s just exactly how he spoke. He gave all kinds of reasons why this could not happen, like being too old, and finally, because he didn’t believe,¬†he lost his ability to speak. God was going to perform a miracle in Zacharias’ life,and Zach’s words of doubt couldn’t be allowed to get in the way, so Zacharias would have to stop speaking , and God made it so that he would be unable to¬†say a word, until the miracle of his son’s birth came to pass.

Later, in the same chapter, the angel Gabriel came to Mary with the announcement of Christ’s birth, and her response is one of faith,.. not doubt. She simply asks how this can be, because¬†she’s a virgin. She doesn’t say that it can’t happen… She believes and submits herself to God’s will. Mary knew how to ponder things in her heart. Not only did she speak words of faith, saying, “Be it unto me according to thy word“, she also knew how to keep quiet, allowing God’s miracle to come to pass in her life.

When it comes to our faith, words really do matter.