Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Listening to God

This morning after walking with my friend Cindy, I headed home.  Initially, I was going to run to Wal-Mart, but my children asked me to please wait until after school so they could go with me.

On my drive home, I passed a young girl carrying a musical instrument and her father carrying her book bag.  They were walking on this road.

I feft a little nudge to stop and see if they needed a ride.  But, being a criminal justice major & all, I continued to drive to my neighborhood while I asked God for wisdom.  The prompting to go back to help grew stronger.  So, I turned around and made one request of God......

"Lord, if anything happens to me could you please do me one favor?  I have on my gold Victory Sports shirt today which stands for Your glory.  Could you just make sure that the Scripture (1 Corinthians 15:57) is seen and the gold is explained on the news?  Thanks." 

I pulled up to this precious young lady and asked her if she was walking to school.  She said yes in a beautiful accent and told me which school.  When I asked her if she needed a ride, she immediately looked to her dad for guidance (he was a few steps behind - he had the heavy book bag, remember?)  So, I asked him and he responded in such gratitude that I was overcome with emotion. 

His accent was even more pronounced than his daughter's. 

When I asked them where they were from, the daughter said New York.  Then, the dad said NIGERIA, AFRICA!!!!!

O.H.  M.Y.

I immediately said, "I KNEW IT! I KNEW IT!"

The father asked me "How did you know?" 

My response, " GOD SENT ME TO YOU!  IT WAS GOD!

Once I calmed down a little, I was able to tell him about God calling my family to Africa.  I shared with him how Nigeria had been coming up A LOT lately (I still have a Student Life story to share....I have not forgotten) and how we even have missionaries from Nigeria staying at our house next week.

He asked me about my church, and I just happened to have a card with our church info on it to give him.  He knew exactly which church I was talking about because one of his children had taken an AP exam there last school year.

He and his wife have 6 children ranging in age from 4 to 17!  On the way back from school, I met his beautiful wife.  What an amazing family! 

They had car trouble which is why the daughter and father were walking to school.  He told me missing school was not tolerated. 

What a privilege it is to have access to public education in this country.  In other countries, it costs lots of money so not every child can go.  Our children do not realize what a blessing & privilege school truly is.  I know my daughter is already praying for this school year to go by fast :)

WOW!  I am still standing in awe of God and what He did this morning!  Another Divine appointment!  WOW!

The family and I exchanged info and will be keeping in touch.  They talked about visiting our church too!  I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE WHAT GOD IS GOING TO DO NEXT!!!

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,

Friday, August 26, 2011

It all comes back to this....

"Lord, break my heart for what breaks Your heart."

***This post is long, but would you please read it in its entirety?  I'm being very open & honest here & if you don't read it to the end, it may seem like I'm being self-righteous.  BUT I'M NOT!  God taught me a lot through this experience, and I'm just sharing how it happened. I'm a slow learner, remember??!!!

This past week, I finally joined the new millennium.  I started a Facebook account.  Why my sudden change of heart, you ask.  Well, I have the privilege of joining 2 sweet friends in leading a 9th grade girls youth small group, and one of these sweet friends mentioned how being on Facebook with the girls would really provide insight into their daily lives.

Sigh. Really?  Really?  REALLY!

So, I took the plunge. 

Being a detailed oriented person, I'll be honest, Facebook is driving me CRAZY!  I find it difficult to communicate on there.  It all seems so random and surfacey (a new word for today!) Maybe that's why people like it so much.  Of course I realize that more meaningful conversations can happen behind the scenes.

Maybe it will grow on me like a toxic mold :)  Maybe.  Just don't stop e-mailing me, please!

So, this morning I thought I would play around with Facebook for a few minutes and try to learn something new.  I really am trying to give it a chance.  So, I started clicking on people's names, profiles, pictures, etc.  That's when I innocently stumbled upon something that really, really upset me - to the point that I was physically shaking!

I was so upset!  I only had about 15 minutes before I had to leave for my daughter's school which meant I had to make a decision about how to handle this situation pretty quickly.

I chose the old school option and picked up the telephone!  Real dialogue was needed here.  Privately.  Not publicly on FB for everyone to see.  We (the person I was concerned about & I) were only able to have a partial conversation right then, and I was still very upset when I got to my daughter's school.  Honestly, I was quite preoccupied with my FB finding - for the rest of the day. 

While I was at Faith's school for a fundraiser and just before I had a 2nd conversation with the person I was concerned about, I received this text from Marcia, my friend in Jamaica:

"Good Morning. Throughout this day let us try to replace pride with humility & presumption with devotion. Have a selfless day."

WOW!  If only I could share the details of my FB finding with you, you would be saying WOW too.  These words of wisdom were straight to me from my loving Heavenly Father for my present situation.  A peace came over me that I desperately needed.  And it changed the course of action I decided to take!


However, my FB find this morning has really had me looking at the social network from a different perspective all day.  I understand that FB can be a good thing.  It can help people connect or reconnect.  It can spread news quickly.  It can be an instrument of encouragement. It can be used to share one's faith in Christ.  ETC. ETC. ETC. 

I get all of that.  But after this morning, honestly, there are some things about FB that are quite concerning.  For me, what happened this morning magnified the negative. Please bare with me as I share some of my concerns and what God revealed to me about them. 

It is upsetting to me when someone posts Bible verses or labels themselves a Christian on FB but then they cuss & carry on 2 posts later.  Or they are drunk (or drinking) in a lot of their photos.  Or they are dressed in provocative ways.  (I beg you to please keep yourself covered, on behalf of wives & mothers with sons everywhere! And what happened to the arms length fingertip rule??!!! *God made you in His image and YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!  There is no need for immodesty.  YOU ARE GOD'S MASTERPIECE just the way you are - Ephesians 2:10!)

We are all sinners saved by grace through the blood of Jesus Christ, and no one except Jesus is perfect.  However, this does NOT let us off the hook.  We are not free to sin because we are forgiven.  Our walk with Christ needs to match our talk, not contradict it. 

The world is always looking for a reason to knock us down and give themselves a good excuse for not following Christ &/or going to church.  Their number 1 reason - hypocrisy.  We say one thing but do the opposite. 

If we as followers of Jesus Christ are no different than the rest of the world, then why would a lost world (facing an eternity separated from God) see a need for Jesus?

Do we not understand who our FATHER is??!!!

Being a child of God comes with responsibility & sacrifice.  We are called to die to self daily through the power of the Holy Spirit for the sake of Christ.  Life is not about us - our feelings, our rights, our wants - anymore.  Our life is now about JESUS.  We are to love Him with ALL of our being and love others.  We are set apart.  We are different.

As a parent, I take it very personally when my children make unwise choices.  I see it as a negative reflection on our family.  Have you ever felt that way?  So, what kind of reflection are we having on God and His family when we post things on FB that do not honor Him?  Are we leading others astray?

As a parent, have you ever told your children to choose their friends wisely?  Well, the same is true on FB!  I know some people are very concerned with having a high number of friends so they will befriend anyone.  But, am I the only one who gets upset when one of "my friends" posts something inappropriate and it shows up on my page??!!!

And speaking of making wise choices, is it really wise as a married person to befriend someone on FB that you had a serious dating relationship with in the past (even if it was 20 years ago in high school or college?)  FYI: they are NOT the same person you knew in high school or college.  Life has happened and they are different & you are too.  So any mental fairy tale you may have of picking up where you left off or of having a better life with them now because your marriage is troubled & requires a lot of work is a lie straight from satan himself - the father of all lies (John 8:44)!  Don't go there!  Nothing good will come from it.  Instead WORK ON YOUR MARRIAGE!!!

I'm just saying.....


Okay.  I have one foot off of my soapbox now!

Even if you innocently befriended them at first with no ulterior motive, where is the wisdom in that?  Do you really think it's a good idea?  Are you guarding your heart? Your marriage?  Satan is slick and the flesh is weak. Why lay the ground work for temptation?  Would you want your spouse doing the same thing? 

I'll be honest, as soon as FB started popping up suggested friends for me, I was immediately convicted of not befriending any males unless they are in my family.  This sounds extreme I know, and I'm not saying you have to do the same.  I'm simply sharing what God wanted me to do. 

Most of the men who popped up were my friends' husbands anyway.  I figure if I need to tell them something, I can tell their wives or have my husband tell them. (And this is coming from someone who had more guy friends growing up than girl friends - I'm allergic to drama!)

For whatever reason, God had me do this.  He knows best and I trust Him. 

It made me think about Christians who are very intentional about not putting themselves in compromising positions.  I've heard men like Billy Graham, James Dobson, Dennis Rainey, Bob Lepine, and Chip Ingram share about the lengths they go to so they can protect their marriages & their integrity.  They do things like not traveling alone with a woman, not riding in a car alone with a woman, and not getting on an elevator alone with a woman.  At times, it has been very inconvenient & schedule altering for them to uphold their convictions, but they do it anyway.       

After my 2nd conversation with the person I was concerned about, I was still very upset about FB.  I couldn't stop thinking about the potential it has for evil.  I knew I needed to turn it over to God. It was time for some serious prayer. 

As I began to pray, I ranted about FB to God and waited for my spirit to calm down and my mind to clear.  But these things did not happen!  Instead, my disgust with what was happening on FB grew stronger!

I continued to confess my feelings to God and begged Him to take them from me so I could move on.  He didn't.  Instead, this blog post began taking shape in my mind, and I was filled with such strong emotion.  Before I knew it, an hour had past! 

I started to question God about my inability to shake my feelings.  And that's when it happened - a break through!

God spoke to my spirit and said, "All of this is an answer to your prayer. I'm breaking your heart for what breaks My heart." 


God allowed me to have some pretty intense emotions towards what I saw people doing on FB so He could break my heart for them (both the saved & unsaved!) So He could break my heart for sin!  The greater the emotion, the greater the brokenness.

Then my anger and disgust turned to sadness - deep sadness filled with tears. And 2 Bible verses came to mind.

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." Proverbs 4:23 

(I have to share the rest of that chapter with you too... "Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level  paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil." Proverbs 4:24-27)

The second verse was 1 Peter 5:8 which says, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

(I have to share a few more verses from that chapter with you too!... "Resist him (the devil), standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 5:9-11)

God's Word speaks volumes here!  I'm praying that we will listen and respond as the Holy Spirit convicts and leads.

God loves us so much but HE HATES SIN! And so should we!

I can't help but think of Casting Crowns song "Slow Fade."  As followers of Christ, we tolerate too much.  We are called to stand firm, not grow more accepting and complacent.  We need to speak out.  We shouldn't be afraid to call sin exactly what it is - SIN.

Satan can be subtle and weasel his way into our lives without us even realizing it.  When I shared some of my FB concerns with my husband, he said he didn't really notice them anymore because he's had a FB account so long.  He's grown accustomed to them. 

The same thing has happened at our house concerning TV.  We only have local channels.  When we want to watch TV, there aren't many family shows to choose from. Unfortunately, we have slowly begun to settle for the lesser of all the evils & watch programs that "aren't THAT bad" - comparatively speaking.  But what we really should be doing is turning the TV off or putting in a God-friendly DVD.  This is how the world creeps in and we may or may not recognize it.

Sin is sin and Truth is Truth, no matter if we recognize it or not.  We have to be saturated in The Truth.  We have to be vigilant and guard our hearts, eyes, ears, mouths, hands, feet, minds, emotions, etc.  Ironically, when I went on You Tube to link Slow Fade, several of the videos made you watch advertisements first - very worldly ones!!! Ugghhh! This is my point exactly! 

My challenge to you and to me is to stand firm for the Lord, even when others around us do not stand with us or understand our position.  May God's opinion mean more to us than any other.  May we be willing to stand alone for Truth.

We are called to please God above pleasing man and above pleasing ourselves. I am praying that we have the desire and the courage to obey this call.

I am so thankful that God removed more scales from my eyes today and helped me to see things from His perspective. 

"Dear Lord, please continue to break my heart for what breaks Your heart." 

*P.S. I hope I didn't rant and rave too much.  God sparked a new burden in me today, and I couldn't keep it to myself! Thanks for reading.

*P.S. P.S. I have read and re-read this post at least 10 15 16 times!  I've made a few changes each time too!  I'm praying that you see my heart for Jesus & disdain for sin.  It's not about FB.  It's about people in need of a soul-satisfying touch from the Savior.   

Standing firm for HIM,


Monday, August 15, 2011

I'm still alive!


God did some incredible things in Jamaica!  He changed lives right before our very eyes!

There is so much to share. 

I've been asking God to please give me some special time set aside just to write (blog.)  With school starting this week, I believe He will be answering my prayers really soon.

But right now, I have some paperwork to catch up on for my dad.  Please keep checking back for some amazing God stories.  They will be coming soon.

Here is a sneak peek...
This is a picture of the ladies God gave me the privilege of studying His Word with in Jamaica. (Yes, you do see a young man too!  He joined us on this particular day and was a HUGE asset! He wants to be a pastor & really knows God's Word.) Our group got larger each day too.

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,

Monday, August 1, 2011

It's Late Again!

Here it is after midnight on the night before a mission trip - AGAIN!  I had planned all week to get caught up on my God stories.  I have so many to share with you!

Instead, I was offered a ministry opportunity at church.  God made it clear to me that I was supposed to seize this opportunity.  So, I did.  Therefore, I stll have lots of stories to tell you. And God added a few more this week too!

My eyes are begging to close, and my headache is begging for some advil cold & sinus medicine. 

Faith and I, along with 68 of our closest friends, are going to Jamaica tomorrow (Monday.)  I'm really excited about this trip.  It will also be Faith's first international mission trip and her first time on a plane.  We are going to have a good time. 

I will not be able to take my computer to blog on this trip :(  I will keep a journal & take lots and lots of pictures to share when I return though.

Will you please pray for us?

Pray for us to take a deep breath when we arrive at the airport bright & early at 6:00 a.m. and be able to shift our minds from packing mode to ministering mode.

Pray for us to have opportunities to share Jesus in the airports and on the planes.

Pray for the families we will be staying with in Jamaica (We will be staying in individual houses.) This is one thing that I am REALLY excited about.

Thank God in advance for the lives He's going to change and the souls He's going to save.

Will you please say a special prayer for me?  I will be leading a woman's Bible study in Jamaica while the kids are in VBS.  I've been planning my lessons for months.  Then a few nights ago, God changed everything!  

Pray for the ladies to open up and be honest with themselves and with God.  Pray for lives to be transformed.

Pray for the 700+ children (in 3 different churches) we will be ministering to all week through VBS, sports, & hanging out.  We will have a medical team and a construction team too. We will also go to 2 orphanages on Saturday.  Ask God to use us to show His love to the people in Jamaica.

Pray for us to be completely surrendered to God and to minister in His strength and not our own.

Pray for our team to be unified through the Holy Spirit, despite our large number.

Okay, I have to get a couple of hours of sleep.


Thank you.

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,