Archive for February, 2015

NO MATTER WHAT…

 Over the years I’ve come to realize that some of the bad
things that have happened in my life, for apparently no
reason, did indeed serve a purpose; even though I couldn’t
see it at the time.
      The biggest one lately, of course, was the diagnosis
of end-stage uterine cancer I received back in October of
2012.    I was living here in Charlotte, married to the man
of my dreams, a mother and grandmother and great-grand-
mother who stayed busy being a disciple of Jesus, main-
taining my Front Porch website, crocheting for my Hats
for the Homeless project, painting Witness Wear T-shirts,
going weekly into the city jails bringing my stories and the
Gospel to the inmates, doing my little Thought for the Day
emails….you name it?   I had a hand in it somewhere!!
       Then, out of nowhere, I have this doctor informing me
that this type of cancer is always terminal and that I’m going
to die.    I looked him right in the eye and said the first thing
that popped into my head, “So are you, Doc!   We’re ALL
gonna die.   I’ll die when God says it’s time and not one
minute sooner or later.”    My second thought was WOO-
HOO!  I’M GOING TO HEAVEN!!!
       My husband and I are devout Christians so neither one of
us came completely unglued, but I did have a few questions
for the Lord later on that night…..”OK Lord….now what? 
What’s the plan?”    In order to make a long story short,
which I’m usually NOT good at, suffice it to say that God had a
mission for me.    
We’re living in the End Times, which means we’re
running out of time to complete the Great Commission that
Christ gave the disciples before He went back up to heaven all
those years ago.    All He wanted was for His followers, His
children, (that’s you and me, folks…) to tell the world about Him
and make sure everyone had the chance to be baptized, receive
salvation and partake of eternal life with He and His Father in
Heaven.    So, as Christians, we should be working as hard as we
can to win souls for Jesus.
       Unfortunately, the world in general doesn’t read the Bible…..
it does, however, read Christians.   And if what we SAY is totally
different from what we DO, well, that’s not exactly kingdom
building material, is it?     We run around telling anyone who’ll
listen about how wonderful our God is and how magnificent a
place Heaven is…..but then, when one of us is actually preparing
to GO there?   We fuss and carry on as if it’s the worst tragedy to
strike in years!!!    When we do that the rest of the world can
conclude only one of two things….,,either we’re all hypocrites or
idiots…..neither one of which is going to persuade Unbelievers to
pop on over to our side of the fence!    
       What God wants me to do is show the world what it should look  
like when a strong Christian experiences this whole death and dying
thing.
       I’d never given much thought before about the fact that I have
a good-size following on the Internet in general, due to my website,
daily thought, speaking engagements, etc.     Now however, it made
perfect sense.     God’s the one who helped me build the Front Porch
and get into all the other stuff that resulted in people all over the
world knowing who I was….and now I get it!!    He saw this cancer
thing coming down the pipeline and He must have figured out that
with my in-your-face, tell everybody everything personality, that He
could use me, since folks would be watching anyway, to get the message
across about how we Christians should feel about finally going home!
        So for the past two years….my life’s been a whirlwind of medical
adventures (surgery, chemotherapy, having a port installed in my chest,
stents inserted into my ureters, (don’t ask!), and now catheters, etc plus
meeting dozens of people in hospital waiting rooms, nurses, patients,
relatives of patients, etc…who all, for whatever reason, needed to hear
what I had to say.!
       The conversations come about because when folks learn that I’m
dying…they can’t figure out how I’m able to maintain such a
downright sunny disposition about the whole thing!    They want  to
know the ‘secret’ !!      Which of course is a secret I’m more than willing
to share with anyone who’ll listen!!
      So here I sit, cuddled up on my couch….connected to the world via
my little laptop, praying hard and scribbling as fast as I can in an attempt
to reach as many as I can with the wonderful message of the salvation
that Jesus made available to all of us with His amazing sacrifice!!
       Every day that I wake up  breathing, I just assume that God isn’t
done with me yet and I get busy….working the porch, answering emails,
writing blogs (yes, like this one!), sending out articles, etc…..whatever
I can do until He calls me home!    Someone said the other day that
since I work so hard it’s a shame I don’t draw a paycheck…..I just told
her, that it’s true….working for Jesus here on earth may not pay much
but His retirement package is OUT OF THIS WORLD!!!!!  LOL!!
       So the next time you find yourself baffled as to why God has
allowed a calamity or misfortune to find it’s way into your life, 
remember this:    Just because God hasn’t shared His purpose with
you does not mean He doesn’t have one!!
       His job is to plan and direct your life…….your job is simply to
cooperate and trust Him no matter what!  
Be Blessed !!

STRESSED?

Someone asked me the other day how I handle stress.   It made

me stop and think because I’m hardly ever under any stress.  I

think it’s because most stress is caused by worry and I know for

sure that I never worry, so for me stress is more of a non-issue!

       And, naturally, that makes folks want to know how on earth

I can go through life without worrying!   It’s simple …. I just pray

instead!

       An old preacher friend of mine told me a long time ago that

anyone who claims to know and trust Jesus should be ashamed

to worry about anything!   When you think about it, that’s very

true!    Break it down….

       What are we taught to believe as Christians?

          a) Jesus loves us unconditionally

          b) He promises to be with us always — every minute of

               every day even to the end of the age!

          c) God has a plan & a purpose for everything that happens

               in our lives and He will make sure that good comes from

               even the bad things.

    &   d) Jesus always protects those who trust Him and He will

               never let the righteous fall.

       Now before you see that word “righteous” and hit the panic

button, remember THIS:   Righteous does not mean perfect!

Righteous means that you are doing the best you can, every day,

to keep your focus on Christ,  to learn and obey the command-

ments He gave us and you try to share His name & His Gospel

with as many people as we can.

       Nowhere in the bible or anywhere else does it say that we

have to be perfect in order to claim His promises!    If that were

the case, Heaven would be so empty it would echo!   Because

no one is perfect.    We were all born sinners and even though

we’ve committed our lives and our hearts to Jesus, we’ll continue

to sin as long as we’re in these earthly bodies!     Jesus knew this;

that’s why He came to earth, suffered so much agony on the cross

and ultimately gave His life — to pay the price for every sin we

had and would commit.    He knew we’d need blanket protection

….that’s why perfection is not a requirement for salvation.    All

you need is what He’s already given you…..faith!

       That’s why I don’t have any stress in my life.    Even when

bad things happen I know God is right here with me.   And I know

that there is no panic in Heaven — God has no problems; only

plans!

       I don’t need to know every detail of every solution He’s got

up His sleeve either (which is good because He’s never developed

the habit of letting me know what He’s going to do ahead of time!)

and I know from experience that when the crisis has ended and I

look back I will be amazed and able to see clearly what He did 

and why!

       When that happens over and over again in your life, it gets

easier and easier to “let go and let God!”    When His children

display that kind of trust and dependence in Him, I believe God

is truly delighted!    He loves it when our faith in Him runs so

deep that we’re willing and able to turn control of our lives over

to Him.      It does take practice though!   It won’t happen over-

night….just keep reminding yourself that it’s difficult for God to

direct your life if you’re constantly fighting Him for the wheel!

       Giving up control doesn’t  come easily for most of us.   We’re

so used to being in control that handing over the reins to anyone

else can be downright scary!     But God isn’t just anybody! 
He’s GOD!   The safest place in the world for you to be is under

His care!     So no matter what’s going on in your world, just re-

member God is in control;  of everything and everyone, all the

time!    Once you get that truth engraved on your heart,  you

won’t have to deal with stress either.

       Now,  does that mean that from now on you’ll skip through

life under blue skies and rainbows picking daisies as you go?

Afraid not…..troubles, pain and problems are part of everyone’s

life….what it does mean is that you’ll never face any of it alone!

You’re going through life sheltered by the hand of the living God

and there is simply no safer place you could possibly be!

        So when others are stressed?  You can be at peace.   When

others are terrified?   You can be grateful.   When others are

worrying?  You can be praying!    And always keep in mind that

the word stressed is just desserts spelled backwards!!

WHY PRAY?

 I think lots of Christians are confused by the whole concept
of prayer,.   For many, it’s simply talking to or at God.   A
worthwhile pasttime no doubt, but one that overlooks the
basic reason for prayer.   For others, prayer is the spiritual
equivalent of rubbing a genie’s lamp or writing a letter to
Santa.     But relegating prayer to the status of “wishlist”
is not only wasting time, (yours AND God’s) but missing
out on the most amazing benefit of one of God’s greatest
gifts to mankind!
       Stop for a moment and consider this:   Almighty God,
the Creator of this entire universe and everything in it, has
bestowed upon you both the right and the ability to approach
Him at any time, for any reason.   He wants to communicate
with you on an intimate, personal level.
       He wants you to come to Him with all your feelings,
problems, questions, doubts, joys, fears, and yes, your
requests.   God the Father takes great delight when His
children demonstrate the kind of love and trust that sends
them rumming to Him for help when they’re overwhelmed,
hurting or confused.  He wants to be the FIRST One you run
to for help —- not a last-ditch after-thought you pull out
when everything and everyone else has failed.
       God promises over and over again, in His Holy Bible
that His love for us is unconditional…..He loves us with a
love that cannot be changed or stopped by any force on
earth.        Once you believe that down deep in your heart,
you’ll realize that you have the best support system in the
world backing you up; 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
He’s never out-of-the-office, or on another line and not once
in over 50 years have I ever gotten a busy signal or been
re-routed to His voicemail!
            One thing it did take me years to figure out is that
prayer is a two-way street…..or at least it should be.   It’s
easy to develop the habit of talking “to” God, but it’s a bit
more difficult learning to “listen” to God.    Psalm 46:10
tells us to “be still and know that I am God”.    Much easier
said than done for most of us, I know.
      Start out by just sitting somewhere, alone, in comfortable
silence, with a cup of coffee or tea, and some paper (in case
He says something to inspire you.,…) and spend 20 or 30
minutes or so just thinking about Jesus.    Who He is, what
He’s done for you, how He’s blessed you, how much He loves
you, etc.
       When you make spending time with Jesus like this a daily
priority Jesus will definitely take advantage of the opportunity!
Who knows how long He’s been waiting for you to visit?  
       WHAT you do during your ‘Jesus’ time isn’t as important
as making sure that you schedule it EVERY day!   Read your
bible, sing worship songs, just meditate, ask for help, say
thank-you for blessings already bestowed…..just devote this
time to Him and watch what happens in your life!
       We find time for all sorts of things in our lives…..trips to
the gym, logging onto Facebook, watching our favorite TV
shows, etc.      Certainly we should be able to carve out 30
minutes or an hour for the Savior who suffered so much and
died to guarantee you eternal life in Heaven!       Once you
start and time with Jesus becomes a habit I promise your life
will never be the same again!
       Jesus will change you from the inside out in ways you’ll
never expected and you’ll start to see things in and about other
people that you never noticed before!    Opportunities to help
and encourage others will appear, chances will open up for you
to talk about Jesus with others…..and people will start to notice
something different about you that leaves them both curious
and fascinated with whatever “IT” is.   They sense the difference
and want it for themselves!   That’s your invitation to tell them
about Jesus and, if necessary, make the introductions!
Tell them what He’s done in your life and how He wants to do
the same for them!    
       Sharing this information with people that Jesus puts in your
path is literally the most important thing you can do in your life
on this side of heaven!    Not only will Jesus be thrilled, but He’ll
be there to help you every step of the way, giving you the grace
and the strength you need to handle whatever comes your way.
I’m living proof!
       And prayer is the key to it all!   Time spent with Christ.
Gradually, living with and working for Jesus will become a way
of life and you’ll wonder how on earth you ever lived any other
way!   I sure did!

NO FEAR?

Whenever people ask me why I’m not afraid to
die my answer is always the same.    “Because I trust God completely.”
       My faith is in the same almighty God who created the
entire universe, the same God who loved us so much that Hesacrificed His only Son to die a horrible death in order to pay the price for our sins and create a bridge between Himself and those of us who believe in Him.
       In His word, the Holy Bible, God promises us over & over again that He has only our best interests at heart and that He loves us unconditionally, beyond measure, and He has prepared  a wonderful place called Heaven where we will spend all eternity with He and His Son Jesus.
       Once you believe this truth deep in your heart you’ll have notrouble trusting that whatever happens in your life, whatever problems arise, whatever situation you find yourself in —-God is there, too.    He’s there with you every minute with a plan and a reason for everything.  
       In my case, God has been there for me so many times, answered so many prayers and bailed me out of so many
catastrophes that I have n choice left BUT to believe.   There’s just no other way to explain all the rescues, miracles and turn-arounds that dot the landscape of my life over the last 50 or so years!
       When something happens that’s just so phenomenal that you can’t explain it any other way I call that a ‘Godwink”;  kinda like the Father looking down on you from Heaven with a wink, saying, “I got this — no worries!!”  And I believe Him!!
     That’s why I have no problem answering the question about why death doesn’t frighten me.   For a real Christian?  Death is not the end of anything….it’s only the beginning of an eternity that’s going to be more wonderful than anything I could imagine!
So either I stick around and have extra time to introduce more people to Jesus OR I get to retire and head for heaven and paradise right now!   Either way?  It’s a win-win situation!   
That’s basically it —- if I woke up this morning, then God isn’t through with me yet.    I still have work to do…just what or where or with whom I don’t know yet….but I leave that up to Jesus;   He knows and that’s the most important thing!    It matters to me that He knows how much I love Him and that I’m available for whatever He wants me to do today!    Today being the important word!!   The Lord’s prayer says, “Give us this day our DAILY bread….doesn’t mention weekly or monthly installments!  NOW is what counts!  
       Jesus literally went through hell on earth to pay for our
sins and guarantee us eternal life.    And all He asks for in
return is that we spread His Gospel and share His Name!
In other words?    Know Him and make Him known!!
Isn’t that the very LEAST we can do?