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Entries in Happy (5)

Friday
Apr102009

Jesus Messiah - Name above all names...

Wednesday
Mar182009

Singing to myself

Yes, I said singin' to myself. Actually, singing to my soul would be a better way to put it! I woke up with Psalm 103 on my heart this morning. And, for the first time in a week or so, I was eager to get out of bed! I headed downstairs, grabbed my coffee, opened God's Word and read Psalm 103. It's a familiar Psalm, but today it is fresh and new. This morning, Psalm 103 is the soul food I needed! So, here I sit singin' to my soul. Come, sing with me....here are the words:

BLESS THE LORD - O MY SOUL!
(Bless = praise with gratitude and with passion)

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. The Lord performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. The Lord is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, And its place acknowledges it no longer. But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children, To those who keep His covenant And remember His precepts to do them. The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all. Bless the Lord, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word! Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, You who serve Him, doing His will. Bless the Lord, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion; Bless the Lord, O my soul!" (Psalm 103)

Wednesday
Feb042009

One beautiful night...

I was totally surprised by the events of last Saturday night. I am still overwhelmed (in a good way) and trying to process all that happened. You see, my "chicks" as I lovingly call them decided to host a celebration. The thing I cannot get my mind around is that they celebrated me. People actually showed up to love on me, thank me and appreciate me for my work of service during these past 9 years with Truth for Women. As I listened to several of my dear friends and co laborers speak, I cried, laughed, shook my head in disbelief and cried some more. At the end, they asked me if I wanted to say something and as I stood there I just babbled. All night long, I relieved the moment. And, I thought of a lot of things I wish I would have said. Here they are:

1. Thank you! Geez, I can't remember if I stood up and said thank you. If I didn't I am horrified because my heart was and is overflowing with thankfulness. I am so deeply touched that Jessie, Kim, Sharon & Susan would go to all the work and care of planning such a wonderful surprise and that so many people would come out on a Saturday night in the middle of winter to attend. I deeply regret not getting to hug and talk to each and every one that attended, but I will NEVER forget the sight of seeing everyone sitting there. Thank you for loving me.
2. I am so proud of Jessie and Kim. They are God's women for this hour. They are the future and I am so grateful to God for the time He gave me with them - together serving HIM! It is true that God put within me an understanding that I would not be the woman to take TFW all the way so to speak. And, it is true that I have prayed and waited for that woman or those women God would raise up. I have NO doubts that God has called Jessie and Kim and that these precious women have answered the call. For the past 9 years, getting up every day to pursue the vision of TFW has been my reason for getting up every day! I pursued this God given vision with passion, pit-bull determination and as though it needed to happen YESTERDAY. God put this within me. God has put it also within Jessie and Kim.
3. God has also raised up Sharon and her heart certainly beats with mine concerning The Women's Center Lehigh Valley. I'll never, ever forget sitting down in 1999 and putting on paper the vision of TWC. Thinking about not being around to "make" it happen is hard for me. But, knowing that Sharon not only gets it but she sees it? All I can say is praise the Lord and thank you Jesus! These precious women are called by God and they have committed to God. Commitment these days is a rare and beautiful thing. For when I say these women are committed what I mean is they will do whatever it takes to see the vision, mission and purpose of Truth for Women, My Sister's Closet and The Women's Center Lehigh Valley realized.
4. I still don't know why people would come to celebrate me. Don't get me wrong - I'm not sure I've ever felt so loved or appreciate in my entire life and who doesn't want or need that? But fighting for the women in my community has been the joy of my life. Working to help women embrace God's Word as truth is what God brought me to this moment in my life to do. Fighting for the spiritual health of this community has been the only reasonable thing to do. I think of what Bill Hybels says in his book "Holy Discontent." He calls them "Popeye" moments. Times when God puts such a burden on your heart and brings you to the point where you cry out and move out saying "I can't stands it, I can't stands it, I can't stands it no more." When God does this to you and propels you into action - watch out! So watch out for Jessie, Kim, Sharon and Susan!
5. I wish I had praised my husband more. I did say that were it not for him TFW wouldn't exist, but what I didn't share is why. Oh yes, He was very encouraging and supportive. You see, he's the spiritually gifted leader in our family. And, he's had years of business experience. Over the course of 9 years, he sat with me untold hours teaching me how to lead, giving me insights, honest observations, and unbias feedback. I have learned so much from this precious man. He NEVER complained about the number of hours I spent in front of the computer, away at meetings or opening our home to gatherings of people. In fact, he supported it and I'd say at least during the first 5 years, financially made it all happen. Tom's financial investment in TFW was a personal investment in me and every woman in this community. Thank you to all who have financially supported the ministries of TFW. It is a HUGE encouragement to those of us who daily work to realize the vision but it is also a huge investment in the spiritual health of this community!
6. I will NEVER forget that evening. Your faces are forever in my mind! I love you each and all. I thank God for allowing me to know you and serve together with you. At the end of the evening, Emma was walking me to my car and she asked me what perfume I had on because it smelled so nice. You know what? All night long as I hugged and was hugged by each one of you, I breathed in your essence and your sweet aroma was left behind. By the end of the evening what was left was a mixture of all of you and it was a wonderful fragrance. Precious ones, this will PREACH!
7. So to all who were there on Saturday night and all those who couldn't come but shared they wish they could be there - thank YOU. You see, what it really speaks to my heart is that you too see the vision, you understand the mission and you support the work of this ministry. WOW.

Whatever I did, whatever you think I accomplished - all glory and honor goes to God. He is the one who saved me, changed me, decided to allow me to be a part of anything He wanted to do, then gave me what I'd need to do it! God used me because I was willing and because I committed myself to Him and what He was put on my heart to do for Him. I've spend the last 9 years on my face before Him waiting for "how to." In fact, most days were started with this statement: "God if you can use a donkey, you can use me."

...but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8

Sunday
Jan252009

His eye is on the sparrow

Part of being in God's boot camp is being told "how to" and then given a chance "to do". You know what I mean? Let me explain it this way. As I left last Saturday's seminar, I was armed with truths that I have had to "take up" often this week. Here's how my week played out.... When I got up Sunday morning, it was to an awful sore throat. I immediately started begging God for relief while at the same time taking Air Bourne, Ziacam and Dayquill/Nyquill! You see, as a part of my new job responsibility with Precept Ministries, I was scheduled to fly to Dayton, OH on Wednesday where I would join Kay, Jack & David Arthur at the Call2All Conference. In order to catch my 6 AM flight, I set my alarm for 3:30 AM. At this point, let me just say that I stepped out in faith believing God would give me the grace to make it because I knew my body was not cooperating. My husband had told me that Kay was not feeling well and had almost no voice. So, Miss Kay was my example to follow! I arrived in Dayton mid-day and was told they had a room ready. HALLELUJAH! I checked in, got unpacked, set up my computer, had two phone meetings and tried to get some work done. Honestly, though I think when I look on Monday morning, I'll have to redo anything I think I did. It was probably mid-afternoon when in my mind I began to whine before the Lord. By 5:30 PM, I gave up trying to accomplish anything and determined in my mind that there was no way I was going to be able to do my job! I whined to my husband, a dear friend and on Facebook and knew I had dear friends praying for me! Around 6:30 PM the Arthur's called saying they had arrived and that Kay was feeling awful and had no voice. As I prayed for Kay, I trusted that God had brought her to Dayton, had a message that He had for her to give and would give her the grace she would need to make it. I went to bed early reminding myself who am I to whine, focus on Miss Kay, the goal of the trip that God knows...

When my alarm went off at 6 AM on Thursday morning, my first thought was "Thank you Jesus!" My teeth didn't hurt. In fact, I had no pain in my forehead or cheeks either. While I still had a lot of congestion, I felt like I could make it! In fact, when I fell into bed at almost 1 AM on Friday morning, I had made it! Thanks be to God, I managed to serve with joy, energy, strength and very little nose blowing. God gave Kay voice enough to passionately speak the Word of God at two sessions (almost 1,000 people). So why am I going into such detail? Because God was speaking volumes into my heart. You see, all day long I was marveling at how God was providing. I was reminded that He doesn't remove the hurdles and difficulties but as we step out in faith and obedience He gives us the grace we need to make it THROUGH!

When my alarm went off on Friday morning, I hadn't allowed for quiet time with the Lord. Instead, I had to get dressed, packed and downstairs so I could catch my ride to the airport. But, as God would have it, I finished a little early and had time to sit with a cup of coffee before the Lord. I walked over to the window and pulled back the blackout shade to find the most glorious sunrise. "Oh, thank You God for drawing me to this window at just this time so You could show me Your glory. You are glorious - this is glorious and I stand in awe of YOU." It was such an awesome touch and reminder from the Lord Himself that He is ever present, all sufficient, and personally involved in my life. He wanted me to see that and He wanted me to enjoy it with Him and He wanted me to be aware of His presence in EVERY detail of my life. God is amazing. But that's not all!

When I got to Cincinnati for my plane change my ears were killing me, my nose running like a faucet and once again I felt like I'd have to die to feel better. I decided to seek relief and comfort in a cup of hot tea. The terminal had lots of glass and metal beams. As I approached a water fountain I saw a sparrow fly down, land on the edge of the water fountain in search of some beads of water. I was captivated. I tried to capture the moment with my camera but by the time I got it out someone else walked by and the sparrow flew back to one of the metal beams. In that short 1 to 2 minutes God preached a sermon into my heart! Yes, it was based on Luke 12:6-8 and yet God also showed me how adaptable that little sparrow was to his surroundings and trusting of God to provide. The Scripture and the song below immediately came to mind! OH GOD, I LOVE YOU AND I THANK YOU FOR REDEEMING ME AND CALLING ME YOURS!


Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. “And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God. Luke 12:6-8

 

Wednesday
Nov052008

Happily Ever After

Well, we signed all the papers last week and so the house is offically up for sale. However, we were told not to expect many lookers let alone a quick sale. In fact, I'm still waiting for the "for sale sign" to go up in the front yard. I'll be honest here...my first thought was "Lord, You couldn't have picked a worse time economically to move us. Couldn't you have called Tom into ministry a couple of years ago before the housing market took a nose dive?" Miracle of God, my thoughts returned to His Word and the truth about life here in this world. In John 16:33, Jesus assures me that in this world I WILL have tribulation (* trouble, affliction, to crush, press, compress, squeeze, to break). But, how often do I buy into the lie that I should live happily ever after in this world or at least happily most of the time? Too often I forget where I am. I forget that this world:
> Is ruled by satan (John 12:31), and
> Lies in satan’s power(1 John 5:19).

I forget the ruler of this world is:
> The devil and Satan (Revelation 20:2(a)).
> The serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9(a).
> A murderer from the beginning…does not stand in the truth….Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).
> My adversary who prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

Nope, no happily ever after in this world. How could I forget? I get distracted by all the world has to offer. Pretty things that sparkle, shine, seemingly satisfy some desire within me, and often have pointed toes, tiny little heels and a hefty price tag. Is anybody here with me? The next thing I know, I start thinking that being blessed by God means comfort, ease, happiness, good times and selling a house quickly. So, when I think like this and trouble comes, I act as though some strange thing were happening to me. "Why me? What have I done?" I forget that God in His Word tells me that He uses these troubles to test me and test my faith (1 Peter 4:12; James 1:1-4). Nope, there's no happily ever after in this world, trouble WILL come. And, as a follower of Christ, every day in this world is a test! Will I pass?

How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered! Psalm 32:1

*Greek word definition