Friday, September 28, 2012

The Cookie

It's hard to believe we saw him again after thinking we never would.

See it's been about 5 months, since we had our run in with Chester, not his real name of course, because you just never know who is reading blogs anymore, so let's just go with Chester for now.

We first met Chester on a brisk, grey morning in March this year. We were headed to pick my oldest daughter, Caitlyn, up from school and had arrived a little bit early. So we decided to park the car and just wait outside.

I picked up my phone and left her a message just in case we missed each other when school let out and the kids begin to pile into the parking lot. Sometimes you can get lost in a crowd of students because once school is out, it will be the fastest you ever see students move in your life.

So content that she had a message waiting from us, plus that missed call message, we knew somehow, some way we wouldn't miss each other.

So my youngest sits next to me in the front seat with her Nintendo DS propped up in her hands battling whatever unforeseen enemy needs to be defeated and saving the earth in the process, at least its what is sounds like to me.

I lean my head back on the head rest behind me, and put my sunglasses on so I can keep an eye on students walking by without them knowing I am looking at them and occasionally closing my eyes off and on.

That's when Chester showed up.

Kailee, my youngest daughter, looks up and points at him and tells me she doesn't think he belongs here.

If you could see what Chester was wearing, and what he looked like, he obviously didn't fit in.

He wasn't a student that would be attending this school. He looked much too old for that. It look like either time or the elements had taken a toll on him.

He looked at us as he passed by, and sat on the small concrete stone wall just outside the school.

Perhaps he was here to pick someone up or perhaps he was just waiting for a ride home.

He kept looking around rather nervously like he had done something criminal or was going to be in trouble if someone saw him here.

So there Kailee and I sat, just looking at Chester sitting on the stone wall just off to the left of my car. He stayed there for about 10 minutes and when the bell buzzed that signaled the end of another academic day, he ran off.

We tried to look back and find him but he managed to disappear behind some cars and we didn't see where he went.

We had gone back a few times before school ended and when I asked my daughter, Caitlyn about Chester, she didn't seem to know what I was talking about.

I guess that meant Chester didn't go to school or wasn't a parent of one of the students.

The odd thing was, the poor thing looked hungry and hadn't had a bite to eat in quite some time by the looks of him. We would have offered him something to eat, but he didn't look like he would trust anyone anyway.

You can imagine our surprise when Steve, Kailee and I went to pick Caitlyn up from school the night of her dance just yesterday. The dance had let out at 5pm, since it took place during the summer for her school club.

We had mentioned to Steve while we waited outside the school for Caitlyn about the odd run in with Chester earlier in the year and wondered if we would ever see him again.

Steve noticed Chester first. The minute Kailee and I saw him, we instantly recognized him. He hadn't changed much since we saw him last time. Same old appearance and he still seemed anxious and frightful at the same time.

This time, we had just finished shopping at Target and at least had some bags of cookies and snacks with us. So I took it upon myself to try and offer some food to Chester. Kailee even suggested that since he may be afraid of another bigger person trying to talk to him, perhaps she should try.

So I waited for Chester to stop and this time he sat beneath the trees instead of the stone wall. I couldn't have blamed him since it was unbearably hot that day. Poor thing, I bet he must at least be thirsty.

I walked to the back of the car and opened the trunk and reached in for a box of cookies I had just bought. I pretended I didn't see Chester but out of the corner of my eye, I could tell he was watching me. I couldn't fool him.

But he didn't leave. He just waited. Kailee went and sat on the wall and began to talk to him as I walked over to him. He didn't say anything. He just kept watching us. Perhaps the years had taught him to be wary of strangers or perhaps like most people, he was treated harshly by someone in his past.

You could just tell that by looking at him that we needed to gain his trust. We kept talking to him and asked him if he might be hungry.

He just gave us that blank stare where you can tell deep inside someone's mind that they are wondering whether to trust you or simply run away. At least he wasn't leaving. So we passed a few cookies to him.

We just laid them down and waited. We waited to see if we could be the people he begins to trust again. At that moment Caitlyn walked up and we had to motion to her to be quiet, because we were trying to help Chester. We didn't want him to be afraid. If the only thing we did that day was offer food to someone that was hungry, perhaps it would make a difference and he wouldn't be so afraid anymore.

Soon, Chester got up and walked over to where we laid the cookies and picked one up. He kept looking at us the whole time like he thought it was some kind of joke. We told him that if he wanted more, he could have the whole box. We just wanted to be his friends and at least give him something to eat if he was hungry.

He ate them all, and when he was eating the last one, a bunch of kids came running out of the school and Chester took off. Perhaps he thought he was going to be picked on or perhaps these were the kids that had made him distrust people.

Whatever the reason, Steve magically caught our encounter with Chester on film just in case something were to happen to him later.

As we left the parking lot, we realized that Chester had a home and we would be seeing him again real soon. I thought I would share that special moment when Chester was eating our cookies. Looking at it even now, brings a smile to my face and makes me realize that we can make a difference just by trying. Even little things make a difference in the life of someone when you show them you care.

What do you think?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

High Tech Spiritual Warfare

It seems the more closely we are drawn to God the more sensitive we become when we are under spiritual attack. We often don't need clues that something bad is looming on the horizon, we can just get a sense of something we don't see but can definitely feel. I find the more we are drawn to God and are walking in His will, it's an all out assault to try and take us down anyway we can.

This morning, before I woke up I had a sense of heaviness but couldn't quite put my finger on it. I wondered if it was perhaps because I didn't get much sleep last night or woke up with an odd dream I couldn't explain that was really bizarre but it just seemed like there was a darkness hovering that I couldn't see, but could definitely sense. The Holy Spirit reminded me to maintain my level of praying to God, thanking Him for the goodness He was going to bring to today no matter what was going to happen, for me to maintain my focus on Him and all the things going right today and to look for revelation for those today seeds I need to be planting for God's glory.

Even though I began my day with prayer, and listening to praise and worship songs before my Bible Study, it just seemed like the enemy was on full tactical alert against my house to divide and conquer. I even mentioned this to my husband and reminded him that the enemy is attempting to attack us today, in big and small ways and lets stay close to God. I mean if Gods on your side, you can't lose!

Then it came time to do my study with Joyce Meyer's today. It's always a great day when Joyce puts it to you plainly and that's just what the topic was for today. A Thankful Attitude. I learned the secret of high tech spiritual warfare is (1) not to complain. The word complain means simply to remain or to keep overnight, so the more we complain about things, we are guaranteed an overnight stay before we can attempt to move forward again. Take for example the Israelites who complained about the living conditions on the way to the promised land, the food supply, lack of water, just about everything. What could have taken them all of 11 days journey got them, 40 years in the desert due to their guaranteed Over Night Stays of complaining.

What we need to begin doing is speaking positive when we are facing or in a negative situation. We need to go to God, like David did, and tell God everything that's going on instead of complaining about it to anyone that will listen to us. God is really the only one that can work to change things for us.

How often are we saying we are thankful to God?

We need to be more thankful for the little things people do for us every single day. Here is the biggest tip to winning the war in Spiritual Warfare:

1 Thessalonians 5: 18-19 "Thank God in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. Do not quench (suppress or subdue) the [Holy] Spirit."

We quench the Holy Spirit when we complain about things. We need to learn to give thanks in ALL things, the good, the bad and the ugly. We need to develop an attitude of gratitude! We need to celebrate God's goodness and victories in our life. We need to have a thank you party once a year with giving gifts to the poor as a way of remembering the Red Seas, God has parted in your life.

Start by saying, " I believe that You are going to work it out for my good God!" "This is going to work, even though I can't see it or feel it, thank you even now for working on it!"

We need to be more like Daniel, who was an outstanding role model for gratitude to God. He gave thanks up to 3 times a day under the threat of being sent to the lion's den by the king, but despite the odds, Daniel kept praying and he kept being promoted and promoted and promoted and wore out three kings in the process.

We need to remember the story you can find in 2 Chronicles 20 about the three armies heading to war against Jehoshaphat. What did he do? He got down on his face in prayer and assigned his people to begin singing praises to the Lord, "Give thanks to the Lord, for His Mercy endures forever!" over and over. When the armies came against them, they were so confused by what they saw, they ended up killing one another.

This is how we wage war against the devil and win in high tech spiritual warfare! (1) Begin praying and lifting up our concerns to God, (2) give thanks to God in all things, despite what the outcome, and (3) celebrate our victory's with God!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Final Roadblock Removed!

Do you ever feel like God is calling you to do something? Perhaps it's even the worst thing He could ever ask you to do because you don't feel like it's supposed to be you to do it. What if it's repairing a relationship you didn't damage, could you pick up the phone, write a letter or even plan a face to face meeting to resolve the issue no matter how much it hurts?

I find that God can't move forward in our lives to bless us, to help us grow or to push us to become better people unless we are willing to submit 100% to His calling. Like I stated in my post yesterday, I want the 100-fold return. So when I asked God to show me any areas in my life he really wanted me to clean house on, he told me I had to make the first step in resolving the issue with my father. We haven't spoken in 17 years. It's not because either of us had issues with one another, we simply grew apart and for me, I personally believed, it just wasn't the time to have conflicts and unnecessary stress in my life. I also wasn't walking with Jesus back then, I kind of went my own way and resolved to pick God up again when I found the time.

Yet, when a young man I counseled back at the end of the summer just as he was heading back to college, we both had a god-like intervention. It was a tough time for both of us in what started out as simply friends getting together, but with God there are no coincidences. He had a plan that day. A plan to work a miracle of sorts in both our lives and for us both, it was a test of our wills, a test of faith, and a test of our commitment to Him. That was a huge turning point for both of us. We each had to resolve issues with our family. He did his immediately and for me, I did mine today.

The first person I really wanted to share it with was my friend and I got so much love and support from him. I felt it was time to call my dad. He had been inquiring about me and my family through my brother and even though I provided him with all my contact information if my dad wanted to reach out, he felt he needed to come from me. Well now, I know where I get my stubbornness from.

So lately, I've been tackling a study on faith with my husband. We've been learning how to walk closer with God's will for our lives and less than our own will. I've been learning how to put up boundaries to keep my inside and focused on today, learning to plant today seeds, and being a 100% committed to God in ALL areas of my life. Today, God called and said it was time to clean the whole house, including that closet in the back where I've kept it under lock and key.

Today, I refused to listen to all the lies of the enemy, because God said today was the day. Was He making me do it? Of course not! God doesn't force us to do anything. He simply asks. If we're 100% committed, the response should be an easy one, but for me, well, let's just say it was the hardest thing I believe God asked me to do. He wanted me to call my dad today. Why today?

Because (1) He asked. (2) I was willing to go all in, and commit 100% if God saw things that needed to be cleaned up in my life, and (3) it was my dad's birthday. A perfect segue into why I was calling today of all days. I didn't know today would be the day, God would call in His chips for this area of my life, but knowing how wonderful He's been moving in areas of my life, I didn't want this to be the one thing that would hold me back from receiving His best in my life. Who doesn't want God's best?

And let me tell you He has been working in mighty ways, but I can't share just yet. So when God called today, I had no excuse. I had to 100% committed for Him, or I wasn't. He doesn't want anything less from me. So after a lengthy prayer asking for Him to be with me, I rummaged for the phone number my brother gave me a few months ago, and dialed the number. I was kinda hoping it would go to voicemail, but you know God, He had other things in mind. My dad answered.

I don't know which of us was more shocked, me or him. He was surprised, but you can tell it was a great surprise. I had to hold back the tears as I wished him a Happy Birthday and remind him who was calling. Remember he didn't have my number with him, I'm sure. We touched base a little bit today, and I told him I wanted to call over sending a card to let him know I was thinking about him today. We spoke for about 15 minutes since he was heading into work, but I know today was the start of something amazing. I know one things for sure, my dad probably got the birthday gift he's been wanting for a very long time. For me, I was happy to know that I kicked the devil back into his hole, because now, my house is clean. I have 100% assurance I am not holding anything back. I've forgiven all the people in my life I have issues with and for once, I have opened the doors in all my personal relationships!

And you know what?

I feel GREAT!

and the best part?

God's got something coming and it's going to be mind-blowing amazing and I believe it's coming soon!

I hope this message inspires you to open those doors God's calling you to work on. While it may difficult, the enemy will try to remind you of all kinds of ways to avoid doing this, but like removing a band-aid, you just got to rip it off! It doesn't hurt half as much as you think it would, and it's sooooo worth it!

If you want to contact me, leave me a message and I'll respond or you can ask me to pray for you. I know in the last days the enemy is going to seek to divide and destroy our relationships and it's time we got the construction business going and start to make repairs and build bridges. Let's put him out of business!

By the way, Happy Birthday again Dad!!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Possible Ministry Opportunity

For months now while watching what has been happening all around us, people losing jobs, losing homes, losing loved ones, struggling just to put enough food in their house to make a decent meal, helping people out with no or low cost legal options, finding medical care for people who have found themselves without insurance, you name it and I'm sure you can find a need that you have heard about or you yourself need.

How many times have you asked yourself, if only...(fill in the blank with your need)?

How easy would it be to fix things if everyone just got together and said, enough is enough, let's stop waiting around for the government to fix things, lets jump start a program to really help people who are hurting?

God has placed such a burden on my heart to help people who are in need, but often I felt like I can't do it alone. Then God asked if I would at least be willing to try if He provided the means. Why sure! Of course, I'd jump at the chance! Today, God reminded me I don't have to do it alone.

I know there are tons of people around the world, through Facebook and all kinds of Social Media groups that would LOVE to jump in and help in ways that only they can. You might have a special gift to help out and simply didn't know where your skills sets might fit in. I mean what can one person do right?

A lot if you're 100% committed to making this work. I believe it can!

I believe that God will bless the efforts and provide a 100-fold return if we are willing to be a 100% committed. The great thing is that you don't have to be 100% committed all the time. Just 100% committed when you decide to step out in faith.

It could simply be responding to the need of a single mom, who found out she can't make her rent because her husband stopped paying on his child support and now she is really stressing out. When she tells you about it, I know in some cases we can just pay her rent, but in some cases we can. That's when I believe we should. If we can't, I believe we know people who can, or even if we simply got 100 people to contribute enough to help, we can all help!

This is my belief that as believers that there is nothing wrong when people tell you that you're having an issue, and are standard response is, "I'll pray for you!" Let's take it a step further and accompany that prayer with action!

James 2:14 - 17 amplified version

"What is the use (profit), my brethren, for anyone to profess to have faith if he has no [good] works to [show for it]? Can [such] faith save [his soul]?

If a brother or sister is poorly clad and lacks food for each day, And one of you says to him, Good-bye! Keep [yourself] warm and well fed, without giving him the necessities for the body, what good does that do?

So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead)."

While this is still in the process of being compiled with many prayers to move forward, and we have yet to work out the business side of creating a non-profit and logistics on this side, we would love to begin planning with those of you that are sincerely interested to show the world, what the power of His Love can do to change lives in more ways than ever before.

I am super excited to hear your ideas and comments!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Help me remember, Lord, that faith without obedient actions to back it up is destitute of power, inoperative and dead. Help me work together with other believers to make this vision of Yours, a reality and show people everywhere the power of Your love! In Jesus Name, we pray! AMEN!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Test of Faith

We've all heard the say, "Our faith is being tested" or "It's only through tests, that we are strengthen in our faith!" but what does that really mean? How do we know when to take a step of faith or what to do while we are in the midst of the storms?

My husband and I are in the midst of our own personal storm. While it is not a raging tempests or maelstrom, it is one of the biggest of our lives. We are waiting to learn the outcome of our home loan modification since our loan was sold to another mortgage company. Our old mortgage company wouldn't work with us, and we are hopeful, change is a sign of great things to come. We should learn something within the next few weeks and I believe it will be a great thing. I am putting my faith that God will not forsake us and willing to put my Trust in Him and not in anything less.

So how do I manage through my day? What am I doing differently that I wasn't doing before? Well since we found ourselves being tossed about in our storm, we remember the story of Peter in the Bible. As long as Peter believed and was willing to keep His eyes on Jesus, during his own storm, he was fine. But what I realized is that the devil was probably whispering into his ear, that he isn't supposed to be able to do this, no one walks on water, look at the water, anything to get his mind, focus and eyes off of Jesus. Even for just a split second, when we do, we put our faith in the enemy. We fail, we fall, we sinks and we are immediately stricken with fear and panic. So there is a lesson in this. Don't take your eyes off of God no matter what the enemy or the world says. There only goal isn't to try and help us, help ourselves, it's to try and take our focus, our thoughts and our eyes off of God.

When we maintain that focus on a daily basis, we are strengthen!

Did you catch that?

Yup, it was daily! Not worrying about some deadline, sitting on someone's calendar somewhere. Not some notice we received in the mail, not a phone call with less than pleasing results, not even a well meaning but disheartening comment from a family member or friend. If you can answer yes to this questions today, then God has blessed you and you need to be thankful to Him through prayer today. It's what I call and have learned is planting today seeds.

Do you have enough food today?

Do you have clothing to wear today?

Do you have a roof over your head today?

Do you have enough money to cover your needs today?

If the answer is yes, thank God right now! He has blessed you and have promised to provide your daily needs. We aren't supposed to worry about tomorrow because the only guarantee we have is today. Known of us knows what will happen tomorrow, but today, if you're still here, then focus only on today and praise God for all the things going right today.

But what about tomorrow? What is something goes wrong tomorrow? What if I lose my job or house tomorrow? What if the diagnosis is bad tomorrow? What if something tragic happens tomorrow?

Matthew 6:34 provides the answer:  "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Simply put, don't worry about it. But isn't that easier said then done? Yes, it is but I find if I remain focused on just today, my worries are less. When I hear the enemy trying to remind me about something else, I simply tell him to shut up. I boldly proclaim, that I believe that God is working in my life, on my behalf and that something good is coming! I keep saying it outloud, over and over until I believe it. Sometimes, in all honestly, I say it a lot. But it helps. 

I also remain focused on all the things that are going right in my day. So often we fail to miss all the things that are working and instead focus on those that aren't. This reminds me of the movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. One of the tasks Indiana Jones must accomplish to save his father's life and gain the Holy Grail is to forge across a deep crevasse but without any way to get there.  He reads that he must take a leap of faith to move forward and while it appears that he could fall to his death, he closes his eyes and takes a bold move. That's when an invisible bridge appears. 

God is like that in most ways. He is simply waiting for us to take that bold leap of faith in our daily walk with Him. It's keeping our focus, our thoughts and our eyes on Him and believing without a doubt that His perfect will, will be good enough for us. Now while we may not get what we ask for, are you willing to believe that whatever happens, you Trust God in it all. To bring about goodness for you? No matter what?

I wonder if we exhibited more faith like the ones we do on a daily basis without thinking how much our lives would change for the better. What if you simply trusted God to do what's best in your life, like you expect that when you put the key in your car it will start? Or that when you attempt to turn on your light switch the power will come on, or when you pay for something with your ATM or credit card, you won't be denied? Is your faith like that? 

I challenge you to stay within the boundaries of today and focus on what is going right. Pray and give God all the tomorrow seeds and lay them at His feet. Ask God what can you do today, to act according to His will in your life so you can plant seeds today for a harvest tomorrow. Then sit back and watch God work. He never fails and He's will is always perfect and it will always lead to what is best for you!

Dear Jesus, 

Too often I get ahead of myself in my attempts to handle my problems, when I should keep my focus, my thoughts and my eyes on you instead. I ask that Your will be done in my life today and not mine. Lord you know what is best for me, and no matter what happens, I know you have my best interests at heart. You remind us in your Word,  “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:35-3. I believe that Lord. I believe that you are working in my life and even though I may not see it, you won't fail me. Help me stay in the boundaries of today because tomorrow isn't guaranteed. Reveal to me that seeds you want me to plant today that will lead to a bountiful harvest tomorrow. In Jesus Mighty Name, AMEN!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


I got this in my email yesterday and completely forgot to share this with you. I think it's time for more miracles in our lives, and who knows who you might be able to help today! Enjoy!

Cost of a Miracle

A little girl went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet.

She poured the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even.. The total had to be exactly perfect.. No chance here for mistakes.

Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall's Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door.

She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention, but he was too busy at this moment.

Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good. Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it!

'And what do you want?' the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice.. I'm talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven't seen in ages,' he said without waiting for a reply to his question..

'Well, I want to talk to you about my brother,' Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. 'He's really, really sick....and I want to buy a miracle.'

'I beg your pardon?' said the pharmacist.

'His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?'

'We don't sell miracles here, little girl. I'm sorry but I can't help you,' the pharmacist said, softening a little.

'Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn't enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs.'

The pharmacist's brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, 'What kind of a miracle does your brother need?'

'I don't know, 'Tess replied with her eyes welling up I just know he's really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can't pay for it, so I want to use my money..'

'How much do you have?' asked the man from Chicago .

'One dollar and eleven cents,'Tess answered barely audible.

'And it's all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.'

'Well, what a coincidence,' smiled the man. 'A dollar and eleven cents-the exact price of a miracle for little brothers.'

He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said 'Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let's see if I have the miracle you need.'

That well-dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neuro-surgery.

The operation was completed free of charge and it wasn't long until Andrew was home again and doing well.

Mom and Dad were happily talking about he chain of events that had led them to
this place.

'That surgery,' her Mom whispered. 'was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?'

Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle dollar and eleven the faith of a little child.

In our lives, we never know how many miracles we will need.. A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law.