Put It In Reverse 

“Do everything without complaining and arguing.” ~Philippians 2:14

It seems that laundry is a never ending cycle at my house. The hamper is seldom empty for long. Frustrated, I decided to google articles about how others deal with laundry overload hoping to find some solutions for myself. However, instead of tips, I found a lot of complaining. This made me pause and think about how we should flip every negative thought into a positive one.

For instance, instead of griping about having to do copious amounts of laundry, I can be thankful that I have the convenience of both a washer and dryer at home and a laundry area in which to do it in. Not to mention the necessary supplies to get it all done.

Sometimes, no, most of the time, I dislike driving. Between chauffeuring my two boys to and fro school and their many activities, driving myself to work, and running errands and other miscellaneous things that require me to be behind the wheel, I am usually exhausted from the mere act. However, I force myself to refocus my thoughts because I am blessed to even have a vehicle to drive. I can come and go as I please. I am not tied to the bus, uber, cabs, or the mercy of others.

Periodically I feel insecure about my appearance. My skin is acne and blemish prone. I am starting to show signs of aging, aka gravity calling. My hair is even starting to thin and grey. My teeth are not as white as I would like them to be. I have “ballerina” feet after years of dancing. I am usually stiff when I wake up in the morning. But once I recall that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made, I am alright with myself. God made no mistakes when he designed me long before I was placed in my mother’s womb. Besides beauty is vanity-an illusion if you will though we’ve placed so much importance on it. “Charm is deceptive and beauty fades. but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30.

At times my job can be a real headache. I am a public school teacher in an urban setting. The politics of it all can be simply mind boggling. But because of my job, I am able to provide for myself and my children. The Bible says in Colossians 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. I have been striving to remember this. I know some of the people I encounter at work will only meet Jesus through my attitude and actions. I am not only serving my students and coworkers mentally, but spiritually as well whether they receive it or not.

Even experiencing many bad days can be thought of in reverse. Someone is always worse off than you are. We are instructed to count it ALL joy. “At present you may be temporarily harassed by all kinds of trials. This is no accident. It happens to prove your faith which is infinitely more valuable than gold.” 1 Peter 1: 6-7.

You see, I could go on and on with things that I complain about. My personality is on the melancholy side. I used to call myself a “realist.” But truth be told, I was just another whiny brat. We take so many thing in life for granted. An amazing amount. I no longer want to live this way. I want to be thankful for everything as it CAN be used by God. He is an expert at bringing the good out of a bad situation. As Rick Warren likes to say “Everything is Father-filtered.”

Thinking negatively is actually a form of disrespect to God. It suggests that He is not in control. Or that He is not capable. Or that we know better than He does. It suggests an ungrateful heart. I pray and repent that the Father forgives me for my doubt, worry, and complaining. Lord, I trust You!

Testimony Tuesday

“But You, O Lord are a holy shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the Lord with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill.” Psalm 3:3-4

God has been my shield. He has heard each of my cries as He sits on High looking low. Thank You Father! Today I received some good news from my doctor, another battle won in the war He’s fighting on my behalf. 

It’s no coincidence that the Lord gave me a word for 2015, “still.” Still as in “Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10 and “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14. He knew in advance the magnitude of what I would be facing. 

Despite His faithfulness, I continue to struggle with whether or not I deserve His goodness. But I came to the conclusion today that I don’t. However God “remembers that we are dust” and covers us with His grace and mercy daily. Thank You Lord! 

Testimony Tuesday 

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. ~1 John 5:14-15

God does not disappoint because I have a testimony to His goodness in the 11th hour. Tonight I attended the graduation at the school where I work. After the ceremony, one of my students asked me to wait a moment because he had something to show me. I had no idea what to expect.   

He presented me with a large white envelope. I opened it and the contents took a minute for me to process. I had forgotten all about it as I have been dealing with some personal issues as of late. It was an acceptance package from ISU. 

I immediately broke into tears at the goodness of the Lord. I had prayed for this and God saw fit to say yes even the odds were stacked against him in the eyes of man.  

My student did not do well on the ACT or the SAT. In fact, he only received a composite score of 9 his second time taking the ACT. He needed a minimum score of 13. Nor did he pass the ECA which is the graduation qualifying exam in our state. 

I decided to contact ISU and speak with someone in Admissions. On May 8th, I wrote a letter on his behalf and helped him pen a personal statement. Both would be presented to the ISU Review Board. I prayed and we waited. In the meanwhile he received a waiver for the ECA. 

Seeing that letter was a perfect way to end the night. However, I can’t take credit for this as I was only used by God to carry out His will. ALL the glory goes to Him! He has been showing me so much faithfulness, favor, and mercy that it is overwhelming at times. But I’m hear to scream from the mountain top that the goodness of the Lord is real! 

  

He Loves Me

“The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and sincere” ~James 3:17, NIV

God spoke to me today via one of my church members. He knows that I have a heavy burden pressing on my heart and sent this message to comfort me. 

I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around and received this note: 

 It reads ” For you this week “Peace Be Still.” Well, God Himself might as well have penned it! I felt so grateful and emotional. If I may be candid for a moment, I still struggle with the notion of how much God loves me. I don’t deserve it yet He is still crazy faithful and loves me with an everlasting love. 

My God. 

Father, how grateful I am that you have found me worthy of your favor, mercy, and lovingkindness.  You know everything about me-even down to the amount of hairs that I have on my head, and yet you love me anyway. I thank you Father for seeing my pain and wanting to provide comfort. I thank You for Your compassion. I thank You for this message that I know was from You. Thank you for using such a sweet lady to send it. Thank You for Your reassuring Word Abba. In the healing blood of the Lamb, Amen. 

 

Mountains

“The mountains quaked at the presence of the Lord, the One of Sinai, before the Lord, the God of Israel.” ~Judges 5:5

Mountain
Everyone living will experience their share of trouble. No one is exempt from it. The Bible clearly states in James 1:2, My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, when being the operative word. Thus, facing problems of all levels should not shock us. They certainly do not surprise God.

Wisdom comes from spending time at the feet of the One Most High. His word says that He will be a very present help in times of trouble. He will give us the strength needed to scale the mountains of our lives.  He has also given us the Bible to be a “lamp to our feet.”  Paul wrote in the book of Romans “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (v.4).

God will speak to you during these times and you only need to be still and listen. Don’t waste your lesson while at the foot of the mountain. Take the time to glean all you can while climbing. Mountaineer Stephen Venables states “The summit is not the glorious climax; it simply is the point when you are furthest from the base. The views are always better on the way up.” There is value in the valley. The Lord wastes nothing and uses ALL things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, Romans 8:28.

Mountain #2

Even when our problems are self-induced, He can still work it out in our favor and reroute us. His GPS is greater than any made by Garmin or Magellan. Shift your focus away from the mountain and onto the Creator of the mountain. We will get through. As a result, we will be qualified by God to help someone else overcome their mountains. Problems can serve to purify us. They can also humble us. How else would we appreciate the beauty of healing if we didn’t have pain?

So take heart and really do count it all joy. When we are weak, He will strengthen us. He will give us supernatural ability to navigate whatever we may be going through. He has promised to do so and His Word can never return void.