Matthew 17:20, my favorite verse. "... If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."

Thursday, August 23, 2018

A Godly Analogy through Ducks

Image result for free pic of ducklings

Yesterday I stressed to God that I wanted to share something about His working in my life everyday--even the days I stay home. He gave me this analogy:

We were blessed with two ducklings a bantam graciously incubated for a friend. Well maybe gracious isn't the right word as she rejected the second one. To keep the hen from committing a dire act, I separated the yellow duckling in its own box and provided a heat lamp for warmth. Although I held it from time to time, it was very weak, could hardly waddle and never made a sound. So we decided to add the other duckling to the box. What happened next amazed me.

As soon as the yellow duckling saw its sibling, it let loose a long chorus of peeps and, through a few falls, managed to waddle over and snuggle its sibling. Within a day and a half, it had obtained the same strength as the brown one, moving all around the enclosure and filled with evident pleasure.

Like the yellow duckling in its weakened stage, in the absence of Christ, we waddle through life without meaning, searching but never fulfilled. It isn't until accepting Christ that we're awakened. We suddenly have purpose and strength in abundance to do all He asks of us!

Thank you, God, for those ducks. Though they're now in the hands of my friend, they'll always remind me of how full my life is with You. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Living Out Loud for God

Yesterday’s experience…I left town and realized I hadn’t once looked for an opportunity to serve God. That corrected itself further down the road. I stopped for fuel and ran into a friend from school. I expressed my sympathy over his recent family loss, asked about his parents, etc. This naturally flowed into me asking where (or if) he went to church. Here’s the conversation:

Him--No. I probably should but I don’t.
Me--Do your folks?
Him--No, they never did. My grandparents went some.
Me--Well, do y'all believe in God?
Him--Yes, of course.
The last question gave him breathing room by including others, but now to get more personal.
Me--Do you know where you’d go if you died, I mean to Heaven or Hell? 
I asked this because lots of people profess believing in God but don't take the need for Jesus Christ seriously.
Him--(nervous chuckle as he's turning pink with embarrassment) I’d like to think Heaven.
Think? What about being sure??
Me--But do you know how to get there? By believing in Jesus and asking Him into your heart? I didn’t get to the remission of sins before he responded.
Him--Yes, Gina, and I’ve done that. He’s a little exasperated at me by now.
Me--I’m sorry if I’ve made you uncomfortable, but the way I see it, if we like someone we ought to ask cause it’d be a shame for them to pass not knowing God and to learn we did nothing.

We can either carry our faith like a banner, or we can be embarrassed by it. I stood up on Sunday yearning to be more for Christ and I’m excited by what transpired while talking to this man. I wasn’t nervous. I wasn’t uneasy. I felt calm and peaceful about the subject of salvation. I realize I took the man out of his comfort zone, but it was the love for my friend that propelled me. All I can say is, God, let’s do it again!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

What Will God Reveal Next

I want my faith to be as strong and natural as breathing. So I start out by praying for God to use me to do His work. I also often pray for Him to direct my day. This week I have several days to myself, but they’re not being spent the way I would’ve expected. Such as yesterday. Although I rejoiced at the heavenly reward my former pastor received, saying good-bye to loved ones isn’t always easy. No, I hadn’t planned a funeral into my day.

Today, I prayed the same thing, only to spend most of the morning without power, find a little snake residing behind the breakers in the fuse box, and then lock myself and my cell phone out of the shop. (I need to get an extra key!) The lovely thing is, these detours don’t upset me. Instead, I pause in the thrill of expectation, waiting for God to reveal what’s next. R

A Good Day in the Lord

Yesterday was a good day in the Lord.

I left to attend the funeral of my childhood pastor and the man who married me and Jerad 25 yrs ago. I asked God to use me however He saw fit …

This resulted in running out of gas a few miles from the station. I managed to turn the Jeep into a driveway where a man was working out back. I asked if he had any fuel to spare. He graciously emptied the last of his extra fuel, which accumulated to half a gallon into my tank and shook his head, stating he doubted I’d get very far. I replied, then I’ll pray for God to bless it the same way He did the fish and loaves of bread in the Bible. I left with a promise to return with payment and a prayer on my lips. Ten minutes later I did return to give him money for the fuel. He was thankful and said I needn’t have done that. I explained I had to. I take God very seriously because of all He’s done for me and I represent him in all I do. So yes, I did have to come back to pay him. This led to more conversation where I learned he sometimes went to church. That single word, “sometimes” held a lot of meaning to me. Enough that I’ll remember to pray for him often.

Shortly after I left, I nearly careened into someone as I made a bone-head decision to take the road I nearly passed rather than driving on and turning around. That was another Jesus moment as I nearly sent someone to meet our Savior—Ahh! After repenting of that, I attended the funeral, cried even though I know he’s celebrating, then went to town for groceries. I talked to every attendant who checked me out. One lost a brother a month ago—I said I’d pray for her family. Another couldn’t count my change back to me, but instead of insulting her (as evidently a lot of people do) I showed kindness and mentioned an area I lack in too—not being able to stop talking! Lol The last attendant I’ll mention has a story behind it.

As I was crossing the parking lot, a young lady approached me and said she was homeless and asked if I could give her some money. I said sure, let me see what I can spare. I had her walk toward the store entrance so I wouldn’t be away from the public eye since we didn’t know one another. I retrieved a bill and instead of reaching for it she waited patiently as I asked her questions. She stated she didn’t have family and sometimes stays with a friend, but since the friend had a husband she couldn’t always stay there. I asked if she slept outside which she responded yes, if she had too. Because women with children get into the shelters before singles, she wasn’t able to get help there.
This moved me and I told her I’m glad she approached me as it reminds me to be thankful for every blessing. I gave her the money and asked if I could pray with her. I got her name, held her hand, and led the prayer. Although someone brushed past us, she didn’t shy away but continued with me. Afterward, she said this reminded her she needed to get back into church. I hugged her before going into the store—something I’ve never done to a homeless person, but my heart was all in.

At the checkout, I asked the cashier what the city had to help the homeless. She immediately became aggravated that an elderly woman may have approached me because the cashier knew she wasn’t homeless. I explained it wasn’t the same person. I admitted to giving her money and had no regrets, for it’s like the Bible says, “When I was hungry you fed me…” She brushed this off and continued her tirade. I gently explained, “I know it’s a risk every time I give money to someone, as to whether or not they’re truly homeless, but I’m okay with that. And we often don’t realize how easily homelessness can happen. Such as the story I researched and used in one of my books about a family’s apartment being sold and the fact kept hidden from the renters until the day of eviction by the new owner. Homelessness doesn’t always mean the person is a deadbeat who refuses to better themselves. All I know is I hope to never experience it. I ended by saying, it’s a chance to pray for someone. So *** is her name. If you pray, please remember her.” It’s doubtful the woman will, but perhaps I planted a seed to the younger attendants standing by. We never know who we’re actually entertaining or encouraging.

But this I do know—it was a Grand Slamming Day to walk in the Lord!!!!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Spiritual Battles--in Dreams?

To tell the truth, this is not the first time I've had a dream where I knew the battle was spiritual and not physical and, therefore, rebuked Satan through Jesus' name. However, this is the first dream I was muted by a demonic force.

In short, in the dream I left the safety of my friends and family and climbed the open staircase to the next floor. It seemed to be a big motel with a large opening in the middle that let you see down to the first floor.

Image result for looking down several flights of elevator stairs

It was there I met a woman whom I actually know in real life but will keep her unnamed. (Oddly though, I've always felt guarded around her.) She suddenly became ... demonic is the only way to describe it ... and with inhuman force lifted me with one arm up into the air. Sensing within my spirit I was dealing with the devil I tried to call out in Jesus' name. However, another force welded my mouth shut.

At this point, I felt a surge of panic well up in my chest, but I knew not to give in. So I mentally cried in Jesus' name for the evil spirits to be rebuked. It was then my lips were freed and I could call out audibly. By this time, several of my friends and family had arrived on scene and in unison we were calling on the power of our Lord and Savior to bind Satan and his adversaries. It was quite the climax as I was still held in the air overlooking the long drop to the first floor and naturally, I woke up.

What does it mean? It's easy to assume it's God warning me from the woman mentioned. But is that all? That's for God to reveal, unless any of you think you have a Godly interpretation. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Offenses--Satan's Bait

Image result for irritated look

I know I’m being selfish, but …
Thus went my time in prayer today. Isn’t it sad when bowing before my Creator I still sought personal justification rather than His will? Thankfully this doesn’t happen often, but there are times I can’t seem to unwrap my thoughts from one gnawing irritation. Within that frame of mind, I don’t want to serve unless that servanthood fits in the parameters I’ve set in place. Boy, what a mess I am.

But God is slow to anger, full of mercy and love; enough to extend grace toward me during my pity-party and patiently wait for me to answer His call. So this morning I prayed, but I refused to open my Bible. Not until I could exhaust my thoughts a little bit more.

“Gina, read My word.”

I yawned, and told myself I needed more sleep. Thus, I crawled back into bed, threw the covers up to my ears, and … laid awake.

“Gina, read My word.”

I wrestled with giving in or finding another excuse to avoid the peace that was sure to come. (Writing that down really makes me look bad, but ultimately, that’s what I was postponing.) Finally, I did give in and wouldn’t you know, from the very first reading peace filled my heart and the irritating thoughts resided.

Are they resolved? Not to the effect my flesh desired, but from a spiritual perspective, yes. Because ultimately, I’m not here to serve myself. I have a greater calling. I’m here to serve God and through that, I serve others.

So next time offenses come my way, I’ll tell Satan (in Jesus’ name) to get behind me, ’cause I’m not taking the bait!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

God Still Calms the Wind

December 12th I experienced the power of our Lord when He calmed the winds on the Sea of Galilee. Do you remember that story from Matthew 8? The disciples woke Jesus out of fear for the waves covering their ship. His response, (v. 26) "Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?" Then He rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm."

Image result for pictures of a windy fallThough I was in a graveyard and not at sea, my experience mirrors this in a less dramatic way. I needed something from my mom and she wasn't answering her phone. Remembering she mentioned taking flowers to the cemetery, I drove there to find her. When I arrived the wind was fierce, blowing her hair, and mine, every direction. Knowing she catches cold easily when in a draft, I pulled up her hood to block the wind. She said it would only blow off again.

I looked from where she was bent addressing the silk flowers to the effects of the wind all around us. Then I prayed, "God, please calm this wind until we're finished so that my mom and I don't fall ill."

Scripture says in James 1:6 to ask in faith without wavering. Because he who wavers won't receive anything. There was a split second when doubt tried to push its way forward, but I denied it and focused on the power of my Lord and Savior. This was a small thing for Him to accomplish. But small or big, why should I doubt?

Within seconds, the wind calmed to a gentle breeze. I then described the prayer to my mom in order to give God the glory. The results lasted well after she'd finished at the grave site and only after we'd ventured across the cemetery did the wind gain momentum. Mom looked up at me and smiled knowingly. "Guess our time's up and we should be heading home." I agreed, smiling in return--the kind of smile that wells up from deep down because you know you're loved by God.

Ephesians 3:20 states God is able to do above and beyond all that we ask Him, and yet, doubt tricks us into believing some things are too hard for Him or too much to ask. Don't let doubt rob you of powerful prayers. Remember who you're addressing, all that He's capable of, and how much He loves you.