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Let Go What’s Gone

I love a good heartfelt story. I guess I have always enjoyed them. I was watching a movie one day where the main character was trying to comfort a friend who had been hurt both physically and emotionally by someone. The main character put her arms around her friend and said, “Honey, you have to let go what’s gone!” The depths of those words have been going over and over in my mind the last couple of days. How often to I try to hang on to the things that are past. They need to be let go, yet I find myself grasping for the edge of those things and fighting to keep my fingertips on them. Like dandelions in the wind we chased as children, they flew away and were gone before we realized it. And yet we continue to reach back to grab the negative rather than turn forward and embrace what is positive.

This morning I was reminded of Hebrews 12:1, “Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”  There are two types of baggage Paul is dealing with here. First, Paul talks about weights. When I came across this verse for the first time, I kind of read it all together as “weights and sins“, but they are two distinctly different things. Weight, I have learned, can be anything that is holding back our progress. Negative feelings and actions can bind us tight. Trappings of the past and the “what if’s” can burden us to the place where can’t put one foot in front of another.  Hurtful words or actions by someone or regrets of our own makings can be weighing us down. A weight could also be a seemingly good thing. Perhaps longing for the way it used to be can stop you from moving forward. Sometimes I long for the days when the boys were little. Looking back and cherishing the memories of them is good, but it can become a weight when I focus solely on all the changes I would have made, and mourn all my mistakes.  Regrets can be cumbersome, they can tie us up and not only hinder our progress moving forward, but also can be so heavy it pulls us backward dragging our spirit low. This can also lead to depression if we are not careful. We need to lay the weights aside. Often we carry weights that were never meant for us to carry. Friend, what are you trying to hold on to that is locking you down from moving forward for God?

The second part of the verse is “the sin which doth so easily beset us.”  Believers all have sins which seem to give us a fit. We are tempted and find ourselves drawn to the same sin over and over. Our human nature did not dissolve when we became a Christian. It became something we would continue to deal with every day. Before we gave our life to God we didn’t care if we were sinning or not, but now that we are a Christian, and our goal is to be like Christ, we have to deal with our sin as it comes up. That’s where 1 John 1:9 comes in. Confessing our sin to God and receiving forgiveness that God offers moves us forward. It’s time we get serious about letting go of that sin we are trying to hang on to. It is time to let go and let God cleanse you. You must ask yourself, “Is the sin I am holding on to worth what it is doing to me and my relationship with God?”

Whether it is a weight or a sin you are fighting so desperately to hold on to, it is time to let go. Letting go will free us to do what the last part of Hebrews 12:1 tells us, “and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” We all have a race that God has given us to run. It stretches before us and lasts a lifetime. In our hearts, we know we want to run the race well. If something in the past is weighing you down, or a sin plaguing  in the present and regret is locking you down, let go what’s gone. Do not keep dragging it back up. Brake free and run like mad in the race that is before you.  Philippians 3:13-14 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”  Let go what’s gone, my friend. Jesus is waiting for you.

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A Kind Word

Someone once said, “You don’t know what’s missing until it’s gone!”, and in a sense I guess that is true. However, some things in life you don’t realize how much you have missed until you begin to experience them again. A kind word from someone is one of those things. Often we may find ourselves in a rut of going to church, putting on our “happy face”, putting in our God time, and leaving without really interacting and having fellowship with those around us. When was the last time you really took the time to give a kind word to someone, and encourage them in their walk with Christ? There is a point when so much is going on in our lives that we hit survival mode and are only able to go to church, and meet with God and that is all we can handle at that moment. The cares of this world may have driven you to a place that you barely can put one foot in front of the other. When we find ourselves in this place, God may use someone to speak a kind word or offer a prayer on our behalf that will help us to see that God has not left us and we still have christian friends that are there for us as well. One of the best things about being a part of the body of Christ and in a God filled church is that you can be there for each other.

In the last month when my husband was so sick, I was so encouraged by all of the kind words, prayers, texts of encouragement, cards, support of our church friends & family, and even people I had not met but who heard about our situation and responded with encouragement and blessings. Some will never know this side of Heaven the extent of the joy that brought to me. Though I tried to express my thankfulness, It has meant so much more that a mere, “Thank you” can cover. Those of you who have ministered to us, you have shared fellowship with us that caused our joy to abound. (I John 1:3-4)

For the last two weeks, my husband has been interim pastor at a new church. One of the things I have really enjoyed has been getting to know the new people and sharing our lives with them.  As I look how far God has brought us in the last couple of months and all He has taught us, I can’t help but try to pass on the encouragement I have experienced. I have again realize the importance of sharing a kind word with someone. Many in this world are carrying burdens and are hurting. You never know that your word, prayer, text, card, etc. will be the difference that will turn them once again to the Heavenly Father. You have a wonderful opportunity to share a kind word that will produce ripples of encouragement throughout someone’s life. Don’t hold back! Give a Kind Word!!!

‘Tis The Canning Season

The Canning and Freezing Season had arrived. It began week before last. It never ceases to amaze how quickly you have to jump in the middle of this, or you will miss the bountiful harvest. Long farms in Bainbridge, where we get all our veggies and produce, opens the day after Mother’s Day. It’s when our work begins. I put up ten gallons of squash because hubby is such a fan, and green beans and new potatoes have been coming from our sweet neighbors. Our corn has been ordered (20 dozen), and we will get it on Monday. Our Family is crazy about sweet corn! 🙂  During the summer months, if I don’t can and freeze my veggies, I will be sorry during the winter months. That’s the way it is with the harvest; you have to be waiting on it so as soon as it is ready you reap. Hubby and the Boys help me so much during this time! I could not do it all without them. I am glad that they like to enjoy all the bounty during the winter months. It gives us all something wonderful to look forward to.

Amazingly enough, The same principle applies in God’s Kingdom. You work and wait patiently for the harvest. When it is time to reap, you have to be ready or you might miss what God has for you to accomplish.  “But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come. And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.” ~ Mark 4:29-32

I can not sit idly by, and wait for the veggies to hop into the freezer. I have to process each one by working, praying, and gathering. With each process, small steps are taken. If you miss a step the end result will not be what is best. The aspects of sowing and reaping often apply to someone coming to the Lord in Salvation, and this is certainly true. However, the principles of sowing and reaping can also apply to our ministry. I need to be constantly working with the help of the Holy Spirit to reach others, and help them to grow and mature. In our Sunday School classes, the children in our neighborhoods, friends we meet shopping at Wal-mart, or any other ministry we are passionate about. I may see the results right away, but most often I have to wait for the harvest, continuing to work daily to cultivate the area where God has placed me. Then again, You and I may never know till we get to Heaven the impact we made on another’s life by encouraging and uplifting them, or being that voice of reason when others may fail them. Reaping is sweet, yet working in God’s Kingdom can bring you the greatest joy. We may shed tears over these dear ones, but joy will come.

Let us be busy sowing where God has placed us, and leave the result of the harvest up to Him. His Harvest will be a bountiful one!

Loving the Broken

We all share a common bond. Whether it be physically, emotionally, or even spiritually, we have all had times in our life when we have been broken.  As I am starting to get out and about a little more, I have come in contact with so many of my friends who expressed how glad they were to see me doing better. I can honestly say this is one of the hardest physical tests that I have ever been through except for giving birth to my two boys. Almost every one of my friends has mentioned how hard it must have been to be confined to the chair and/or bed for so long. I would have to agree. It was hard, but there were two reasons why I didn’t go crazy. One reason was knowing that God was with me, and he would never leave me during my hard days. The second reason is the one I would like to focus on today. It is all of the love and support I received from my family, my church family, friends, and even those I didn’t know who were loving me through prayer. They were all reaching out to someone who was broken. Through these dear ones, I have seen and experienced the Love of Jesus.

Last week, I was able to participate in the block party we had in a community near our church. This is a relatively new ministry our church has become involved in the last year or so. I was struck by how many faces I have looked into and realized these people are experiencing brokenness. I am not sure if it is the times we are living in, but so many I have come in contact with lately have been hurting in some way. It is not only in our communities, but in our church pews as well. I read a quote the other day that seemed to sum up what I have been feeling. “Hurt people hurt people.” I am not sure of the author of this quote, but I can relate.  So many times during my time of recovery, I would pray that the Lord help me to speak sweetly especially on days when I was hurting. I think we fail to see that people in our communities and in our churches often speak or react to what we do out of frustration or because they are hurting. It is not always easy to love and reach out to someone who is harsh or cutting with their words, but God calls us to Love. We need Him to love through us. We need to love the broken and hurting people God has put us in contact with. Why? It is simple. God has called us to minister. Sometimes the only time someone may be open to letting the light of God’s love into their heart is during a time of brokenness. It is our chance to be the hands of God reaching out to them.

I am so glad for all those who reached out to me in my time of brokenness. I know I need to take the things I have learned during this time in my life and pass it on. I need to reach out beyond what is comfortable, and love all the ones with whom I come face to face with daily. We have all been in a place where we have been brokenhearted, broken physically etc. So we know what to do. We need to love and bind up the broken. It is what Jesus would do.

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek;  he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;” ~Isaiah 61:1

Sunday Worship/Monday Ministry

I love the Sunday Worship Services at our church. It is a wonderful blessing to be able to go with my family, and worship our Lord together. As I reflect back on my childhood, A large part of my life was spent in church. My family went to church whenever the doors were open. Most of my closest friends were a part of my church family. We spent time in their homes, and they spent time in mine at least every other week. I am so grateful for a Christian Family,and a heritage of growing up actively participating in worshipping the Lord in his House. I believe this is one of the reasons I accepted Christ into my life at an early age. I would have to say that my church family had a supreme impact on the person I am today. Godly men and women taught our kids classes and took us on activities. In a few years, Youth group became an integral part of my church experience. We were taught Biblical principles, and a deep lasting love for God. 

As I have grown older, chronologically and in my faith, I see more than ever before the importance of Worshiping God  in my life. I know that there are those of the opinion that worshipping together as a group is not as important as personal worship. Please don’t misunderstand me.  We can worship God through praying, reading our Bible, journaling, etc., and we should indeed do these things every day. Daily Worship is important to the building of our faith.  However, I strongly feel that some have come the conclusion that it is the only worship we should experience. To me there is something special about coming together to the House of God with fellow believers, and worshipping together as a church body. Through worship, we are able to strengthen each other.  I know I am strengthened when I hear other believers share testimonies of what God has done for them that week. I am strengthened by worshipping the Lord through singing praises to Him, and bowing my heart before Him as the sermon from the Pastor speaks to me. One of my favorite times of worship is while the Offertory is being played, and I talk to God experiencing sweet fellowship with Him. Even participating in the Lord’s Supper has become another time for me to worship God as I remember all Christ did for me on Calvary. When my boys were little, I would whisper to them throughout the Lord’s Supper of all of the beautiful pictures we can see in all Christ has done for us. Worship is so much more than just showing up for a church service. It is active participation on our part that if we are not careful we will miss all the wonderful blessings Christ has waiting for us.

Sunday Worship has impacted me in other ways also. I may not have realized it at the time, but Sunday Worship was preparing me to reach out beyond the door of the church. God does not want us to have our Worship with Him on Sunday to end when the church doors close. I believe God wants our Sunday Worship to propel us into Monday-Saturday Ministry. We should take time to pray for those in the community, and reach out to them when they are in need. The methods for getting out into the community may vary from church to church. Our church has had some good success with Block parties in the surrounding communities, and ministering to boys 12-18 at a motorcross track that moved into our community.  The methods may be different, but the message does not change. We need to go out into “highways and hedges and compel them to come in.” Our Communities need the message that Jesus saves. They need to know that there is a church that cares about them and loves them.  They need to know that Sunday Worship is not the only thing the church does every week.

Blooms of Summer

About 3 months ago, I was walking around the church where I work helping a member find something she had lost when I came upon two peace lilies in the corner that had been forgotten. One of them was turning brown and wilted and the other one was in slightly worse shape. The dear lady I was with asked me to toss them or if I wanted to try to bring them back to their green status, I was more than happy to try and put them in my office. I have never had a particularly green thumb but I decided to try because I always thought peace lilies were so pretty when they bloom. I kept them in the room next to my office and began to water them and have them where they could get some sun. Believe it or not they begin to perk up. I was so very excited the day I moved them into my office.  The deep green of the lilies added some nice contrast to the tan walls and I have thoroughly enjoyed them.

Even though I have taken good care of them, I had yet to see any blooms on either plant and it had me concerned. Aren’t plants supposed to bloom in the spring? I wondered if they would ever bloom. As I started my work day this morning, I notice a small white flower opening up. In its own time, it brought forth a beautiful white lily.

I am reminded that God’s hands are on the plants as well as on people. How we grow and develop are in His hands. I get so impatient sometimes wanting things to move and grow on my time table.  In our churches we want those who are visiting to join. We want those that are asking questions to make decisions for Christ. In my hurry, I need to remember that if we do our part God’s way the timing of it all will be perfect. In the New testament, there are verses that describe this process so well when it tells us how some planted the seed, some watered the seed, but God gave the increase. God takes all of us where we are and cultivates us into the Christians He would have us to be.

For a while it seemed like things were on hold in our church. We could sense God moving, yet I could not see any visible changes. Then over the last month an explosion of things were happening. People were being saved. God moved dramatically in our Vacation Bible School. Folks were joining the church and getting involved. Though there were struggles, God was bringing the increase. It was in His Perfect time.

I don’t know what you are going through in your life today. Maybe you are struggling and wondering if God is even hearing your prayers.  You want things to happen right now and you feel like the blooms of spring are a long time in coming. Don’t give up hope. Keep planting the seed, keep watering, let God move in on His time table, and be amazed at the blooms of Summer.

The Boys Are Back In Town…

My boys are finally home and I have had a wonderful week with them. They were gone from our midst for about three weeks. First, they experienced their a week of overnight camp away (5 days). They had a blast being away and enjoying the joys of camp life. Then, after two days of them being back home the boys spent several days with my parents in FL. We got back home from that and with a day of turn-around went to VA. with their Meme and Nana (my husband’s mom and grandmother) being gone for 8 more days. I am so glad to have them back even though we jumped into the school year almost immediately.

We have enjoyed watching the Olympics and I have been amazed at all the events that I have never heard of before. It has been interesting to watch and at almost any time of the day you can find several events to catch up on. I have especially enjoyed the swimming and gymnastic events, but I have also have watched volleyball, beach volleyball, water polo (something new), and diving. We have cheered the USA to the very end. I can’t believe we still have several more days to cheer “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” There have been numerous inspiring individual as well as inspiring team events.

A favorite story of mine is the one that came out during the opening ceremony of the Olympics. The small boy that happened to be in the earthquake over there walked in with the delegation from China. This little one crawled out of the rubble then decided to go back in and he pulled out two others. When he was asked why he went back in he said, “I’m the hall monitor. It’s my job.”

In a way, we, as Christians, are called to be the “hall monitors” of the world. When tragedy strikes or in just every day life, we need to help pull people out of the rubble of sin and despair. We can share with them the only one who can heal and make them new,  Jesus Christ. By sharing the love he so richly bestows on us we are doing what God called us to do, our job.

I can’t wait for the events showing tonight. It should prove to be awesome.

“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of Light.”  ~Ephesians 5:8

***In keeping with the theme of the Olympics, My hubby has posted a top ten list on how to know if you’ve been watching too much coverage of the Olympics. If you need a chuckle this morning, pop over to Heavenly Heartburn and give it a look-see. Blessings to you today! 🙂