Stopped In Their Tracks


deer image for amenandehmen

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.—Hebrews 11:1

What a beautiful, hope-inspiring verse. It flows like honey from the lips of whomever recites it and gives comfort to all who struggle with the troubles and tribulations that are guaranteed to come as long as we continue to live and breathe this side of Heaven.

However, when you are in the midst of those troubles, most of us would be less than truthful if we said that we did not ever doubt. Indeed, sometimes our confidence in what we hope for DOES wane. Sometimes we’re NOT so assured that the things we cannot see are fully under the control of a loving God who will use them for our good.

The fact is, sometimes, when life gets hard, uncertainty will often fuel fear instead of hope and, if you are like me, it becomes more about survival—just putting one foot in front of the other—than it does about resting in peace and hope. It becomes more about drifting in seclusion and fear than living in the presence of God and trusting His promises fully and completely.

Truth be told, as much as I love God and as much as I know in my heart that He is always present and always worth trusting, I have still loitered in a self-imposed seclusion at times; wandered aimlessly through shadowy valleys where cares and concerns take the form of dark and menacing shadows hell-bent on blocking the light in my life. In fact, over the past few months, it feels like I have stood frozen and wrought in fear more than I have walked in peace and rested in trust and faith, even though I absolutely know better.

Thank God I know better. Thank God for the proverbial and omnipresent life-line that He continually invites us to grab hold of and uses to pull us back to a place where we can see Him, hear Him, and feel Him. Thank God, He never gives up. No matter how many times we drift away and lose sight, He just keeps offering Himself to us over and over and over, repeatedly reminding us that He is right beside us and worthy of our trust.

So, as I continued to occupy that valley between fear and worry and complete trust in Him, God started pulling me back to Himself. And, just as He often does when there is something He wants me to really hear, He began putting the subject in my path so many times and in so many ways that it was simply impossible to deny. It seemed that He used practically every thing I read and heard to assert the same truth. Trust Me, He said again and again.

And, trust me, I had heard quite a few messages in the last couple of weeks. Realizing my spiritual and prayer life was collecting dust, I had recommitted myself to the daily habit of spending my half hour drive to and from work either praying or listening to podcasts by various preachers and teachers. It’s something I had enjoyed for several years and I was hoping that it would get me reconnected and out of this cycle of fear and worry which I had fallen into. And, of course, never one to disappoint, God Almighty, the Teacher of teachers, showed up and picked up right where we left off.

Now, I don’t want to say that He harped on and on about that one thing that I was obviously needing most at this point in time, but I will say He was quite persistent. Days turned into weeks and podcast after podcast, sermon after sermon, in one way or another, all dealt with same subject: trusting Him; living in His presence; walking and dwelling with the Holy Spirit; not fearing; and, finally, believing in His good plan for my life, no matter what.

Everyday. It didn’t matter who was delivering it, the message was the same. Steven Furtick. Andy Stanley. Joyce Meyer. Louie Giglio. Over and Over. I couldn’t hide from it. Though, truth be told, I really didn’t want to.

I wanted nothing more than to honor God and find that place of peace for myself where my trust in Him is unbridled. And, so, on my way home one day, after hearing Joyce Meyer preach on the Holy Spirit, I turned off my radio and began to pray. From the Eisenhower exit to Hartley Bridge, I prayed for God to once again heighten my ability to sense the Holy Spirit as well as my ability and desire to follow His lead. I asked to hear His voice loud and clear and to once again be able to trust that everything in my life would be used by Him. I asked for reassurance that it—that I—really was going to be okay. “God, show me that it’s going to be okay,” I pleaded.

As I rode along praying from the deepest reaches of my heart, I suddenly became overwhelmed with this feeling that I was in danger. Completely out of the blue, I sensed that there were deer in the woods parallel to the interstate I was driving on and that, at any moment, that they were going to dart in front of my car. I can’t explain it, but it was so real and so intense that I began to feel panicked.

My first instinct was to brake and slow down, for I figured that slowing down would either keep me from hitting them or, at the very least, lessen the impact. However, when I looked in my rearview mirror, there was a car practically tailgating me, rendering that plan null and void. Next, I considered changing into the middle lane, thinking that I could perhaps put a little more distance between myself and them, but, yet again, a car was fast approaching there as well.

Finally, I did the only thing I could think of left to do, and I blurted out the following plea, “Lord, please just stop them in their tracks! Stop them in their tracks, Father!”

Just like that, the feeling of looming danger dissipated just as quickly as it had started. I took a deep breath and thanked God for this unseen, but deeply felt occurrence. The sense of danger had been so real, but, thankfully, this peaceful, safe feeling felt just as real. That in itself was enough, yet my impromptu lesson on trust wasn’t quite over. Just as I was exhaling a breath of relief, my eyes were almost magnetically drawn to the woods just beyond the road’s shoulder. I couldn’t believe what I saw. There, standing tall, his body half in the woods and half out, was a deer! Head held high, looking in my direction and poised like he had literally been stopped in his tracks!

Though I would have been content with the feeling of relief I experienced a split second earlier, God knew that I needed to see it with my own two eyes. In fact, if you recall, I had just asked Him to come close and to show me that it was going to be okay; that I was going to be okay; and He did just as I had asked! Astounded, I immediately began to gush words of thanksgiving and praise.

Oh, how very much he taught me in those precious seconds and in the hours that followed as I recounted this beautiful experience.

For one, my initial response, as you may recall, was to try and do something myself. I checked the rearview mirror to see if I could slow down and then checked the side mirror to see if I could change lanes. Then and only then did I call out to our Lord to take control of the situation. I don’t know about you, but I do that all the time. I try everything in my power first, when I could save myself a whole lot of trouble by just asking God for help to begin with.

Secondly, I fully believe the woods are symbolic of things that have been going on in my life. Unknown things, such as my health, have been weighing heavily on me and causing angst. But, in just a few moments while driving down I-75, our beautiful Father in Heaven sent me a reminder that just like He controlled that deer in the woods that He was also in control of my health, my future and anything else that I might not be able to see. All I have to do is call out to Him.

Lord, I will never be able to thank You enough for answering me when I call out to You and for being relentless in Your pursuit of me. No matter how many times my trust falters, You never, ever leave my side. Thank you for SHOWING Yourself to me when I need it most and doing so in such a way that I know, without a doubt, that it is You. I shall never forget the image of that deer standing on the roadside, half in the woods and half out, obviously stopped in his tracks just by my asking. Your word says, “Ask, and it shall be given; seek, and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you.” And, as always, you are true to Your word. My dear sweet Jesus, I promise to work on trusting in You completely; to remember that You see everything that is going on—even the things behind the scenes—and that, no matter what, you will use it all for my good, all because I’m your child and I love you. Thank you for loving me so and for teaching me to look at everything through eyes of faith and trust. Oh what a difference it makes. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen and Ehmen!

Embrace the journey


road journeyWhat’s behind you isn’t something to dwell on, other than it was necessary to bring you to where you are today. Whether a pleasure trip or rocky road, it was the route to your current destination. Embrace it. Today is a gift from God.

And the Word of God Says…

18“Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past. 19“Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.…Isaiah, Chapter 43

13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus…Philippians, Chapter 3

The Ultimate Valentine


 

Collection of hundreds of Free Bible Verse from all over the world.

Collection of hundreds of Free Bible Verses from all over the world.

The Ultimate Valentine: He Can Be Yours Just By Asking…

Whether you are single or paired on this Valentine’s Day, this is a day we celebrate the very heartbeat of God: LOVE!

Remember what Jesus told us in Matthew 22: 34-40: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.”

And, as far as Valentine’s go, you can’t get any sweeter or more perfect than our precious and glorious Lord who loves us beyond compare, without condition, forever and ever. And He’s all yours for the asking.

If you haven’t yet, why not today? The day of LOVE.

Just say something like this:

“Lord, I don’t necessarily understand it all and I’m not sure what to do next, but I do believe in You and that You love me so much that you sent your one and only son, Jesus, so that we all could be forgiven of our sins and have everlasting life. I believe He died on the cross for me, to save me. You did for me what I couldn’t do for myself. I come to You now and ask You to take control of my life. I give it to You. Help me to live every day in a way that pleases you. I love you, Lord, and thank you that I will spend all eternity with you.

Lord, will you be my Valentine?”

Amen and Ehmen.

And a Happy Hearts Day to all!

Our Creative Creator


Even though the billowing cloud, dark and mysterious, hung mid-sky, I couldn’t help butblue sky and clouds smile knowing in my heart what lay behind it. I knew this cloud was like a stage curtain in God’s own theater and that when He decided to peel it away, I would be completely awestruck. Just as this very thought passed through my mind, God must have decided it was show time and sent a gentle wind from stage left, quietly removing the dark veil and revealing the most beautiful blue sky accented with the fluffiest white clouds imaginable. The sun shone like a spotlight, highlighting the most vivid colors of the world all around me. Thank you, Jesus, for this display. Thank you for sharing your creativity with little old me and making my drive to work a memorable one. I absolutely adore you and will be on the front row of your audience anytime you’ll allow. Amen and Ehmen.

The Ailing Atheist Argument


While I may never be able to convince an atheist that there is a God, I can guarantee you that an atheist will never convince me that there isn’t. Point to PonderAnd it’s not about what I know from books or people. It’s from personal experience that I KNOW. To live without God is unimaginable to me. Even one minute without Him would be too much.

Note: I posted this on Facebook last year on this day, the morning after watching a Bill Maher set at work. Up to that point, I guess I had never really listened to an atheist, but on that night as I listened to Bill mock religion as well as God Himself, I wondered what could have possibly happened to him to get him to that place. It made me sad to know that this existence is all he and those like him will ever know. 😦

Matthew 10:33 says:

But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

I can’t even imagine! And so thankful for that. Amen and Ehmen.

 

Plugging into His Power


Pondering Out Loud

1 Corinthians 4:20
“For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk, it is living by God’s power.”

This was the daily verse provided by You Version today and something aplug into biblebout it just struck a chord with me; so much so that I stopped everything that I was doing, opened my bible and studied not only that verse, but all of 1 Corinthians, Chapter 3 and 4. I wanted to make sure that I understood the context for which this statement was made. Boy, are there some powerful things in those two chapters and I made many notes. I was surprised, however, that this particular scripture verse, which continued to resonate with me, goes completely un-noticed in the notes sections of the Life Application and Study Bibles. So, I prayed. I prayed for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and wisdom in fully understanding the significance of this short, single sentence scriptural verse.

As per usual when I ask for teaching on a biblical principal, I grabbed my computer to open a blank document so that I’d be prepared to start writing. But, just as I did, my computer’s power cord came unplugged from its AC adapter—that little black brick that acts as an electrical bridge between the wall source and the actual computer. Because it had dropped to the floor, I had to get up and retrieve it and, as I lifted the plug, I immediately sensed that this was a teaching moment. And, so, here I sit pondering and whatever follows is my “pondering and praying” out loud.

So, just how does this computer power supply relate to this scripture: “For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk, it is living by God’s power?”

As I finished re-typing the scripture, the word “power” leapt off the page at me. In fact, the Microsoft “grammar police” actually underlined it for me and I honed in my focus on that one word. The first thought that popped into my head was that for one to truly understand and share the things of God, they must be plugged into God’s power. Ok, that’s a no-brainer, I thought, and I asked for more. That’s when the Holy Spirit whispered into my own spirit, breaking it down a little further for me and using the computer power supply to help me better understand.

From a technology and scientific standpoint, AC adapters are used with electrical devices that require power, but that do not contain the internal components to derive the required voltage from the main power source. This adapter “adapts” the power so that the device—in this case a laptop computer—can make proper use of it.

I then imagined myself as the laptop computer in this analogy. Without power and the proper power adapter, I am destined for failure. Sure, I may run for a little while on stored up power or even from a corrupt power source, but I will eventually shut down and die. My AC adapter—His Word and Spirit—serves as the bridge between me and the main power source, which is, of course, God. And, like the computer, I alone do not have the internal components to derive and make proper use of God’s power. To live in His Power, I must have His Word and His Holy Spirit within me. And that is the only way to truly possess and promote the Kingdom of God; to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.

Indeed, without Him—like the computer whose value and purpose plummets to nothing without power—we are dead and useless. Aha, point taken. Lord, help me to plug into Your power today and everyday. Amen and Ehmen!

Point to Ponder


No matter how hard and much we may wish that aPoint to Ponder branch in our lives will bear fruit, sometimes it just doesn’t, especially if it is not biblical or doesn’t line up with God’s will for our lives. And, while it may hurt at the time, we should be thankful that He cuts it away. I know I am.
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.” John 15: 1-4