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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Fun Facts

I recently read that phobias are the most common mental disorder in the U.S. I had never considered fear to be a mental disorder but as I read through some of the categories I realized how phobias could certainly paralyze and disrupt lives. Fear of swallowing – fear of feet – fear of vegetables – fear of teenagers! Some of the phobias were easy to relate to – but then there was – Cherophobia: an exaggerated or irrational fear of joyfulness – and hedonophobia: the fear of feeling pleasure. II Timothy 1:7 came to mind, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” It is obvious the enemy does not want us to enjoy life. There are even those who believe laughter is not spiritual – but there are no scriptural foundations to that idea. Jesus plainly stated that He came so that we could enjoy abundant life! 
Consider this list of reasons to embrace laughter and fun!

Laughter is Biblical! 
Proverbs 17:22 in the God’s Word Translation is interesting - “A joyful heart is good medicine but depression drains one’s strength”
The opposite of joy is depression. Depression has become a medical malady – with prescription medicine as the cure. You cannot fix a spiritual problem with a physical solution!
The antidote for depression is Joy! Laughter can rejuvenate your spirit and tear down the stronghold of depression in your life. The Joy of the Lord is our strength! Even if your life circumstances seem bleak and depressing this life is temporary. Your joy can be full when you consider the hope you have in Jesus!
Laugh! Satan has no counter-measure for Joy!
Psalm 16:11 brings David’s insight on where to find joy… “in your (God’s) presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
If you are not pre-disposed to fun and laughter… hang around with people who love to laugh and who make you laugh! Life is too short to take yourself seriously! Lighten up!

Laughter proves to the world how Great God is!
“Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.” Psalm 126:2
Your strongest and loudest testimony is the life you live. Especially when your situation seems to call for tears and turmoil – yet you display peace and pleasure. Your co-workers, friends and family will take notice and desire to acquire those same traits in their life.
On the same scale – if you are trying to win your loved ones to Christ – and you are always sad and discouraged - whining and complaining – on the verge of a nervous breakdown – your witness is polluted and void. You are living below your spiritual privileges!

Laughter is good for your health!

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Increases blood flow and oxygenation of the blood
  • Works out the diaphragm, abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles
  • Reduces stress hormones - cortisol and adrenaline
  • Boosts response of anti-tumor and disease-fighting defenses
  • Increases immunoglobulin in saliva that protects from colds and infections
  • Improves memory and comprehension; alertness and creativity
  • Can be as effective as running in boosting health. 
  • Laughing 100 times is equal to 10 minutes on the rowing machine or 15 minutes on an exercise bike. 
  • Laughter burns calories - 20 minutes of laughter provides a great physical workout! 
  • The physiological effects of a single bout of laughter can last 24 hours
Perhaps you have you heard about Laughter Yoga? A doctor from India has created a program incorporating Yoga and laughter! Based on the scientific fact that the body cannot make a distinction between genuine and imitation laughter – a person still gets the identical physiological and emotional benefits. Imagine sitting in a circle with eyes closed; laughing just for your health! 
We all enjoy a good, gut-wrenching bout of laughter, but what if we are having trouble finding fun and mirth in our life? Here are some suggestions: 

Become as a child… Jesus said it!

  • An average 4 year old laughs 300 times a day
  • An average 40 year old laughs 4 times a day
  • Spend at least an hour a week with children. Play! Allow them to suck you into their imagination! 
  • Don’t be afraid to be silly, get dirt in your hair and grass stains on your skirt!
  • Ride a merry-go-round – swing as high as your legs can pump
  • Dig for roly-poly’s – chase butterflies
  • Eat popsicles and watermelon – barefooted! 
Host a Happy Hour!
  • Invite some friends over for a spaghetti dinner
  • Set the table with your fine china and crystal
  • Provide bibs and wet wipes
  • Omit eating utensils!
  • Watching adults eat spaghetti with their hands will surely create as much laughter and entertainment as the night can contain!
  • For dessert – load up in the car and drive for ice cream
  • Everyone has to wear their sunglasses inside the ice cream shop
  • Sing silly songs - with the car windows down - all the way home!

According to the story of creation in Genesis, we were created in the image of God. From what I have gathered in my quest to know Him – God’s character includes a desire for joyfulness! If He longs for pleasure, then it is understandable that He wishes us happiness. Reflect on these thoughts and scripture references…

An honorable person brings God happiness.
I Chronicles 29:17

God takes pleasure when His servant prospers.
Psalm 35:27
  
A repentant heart makes God smile.                           
Psalm 51:16-17

God enjoys our songs of praise to Him.                  
Psalm 69:30

When we glorify Him in thanksgiving – He loves it!                
Psalm 69:31
God takes pleasure when we fear and respect Him.                                    
Psalm 147:10 
                                                                                                                                                         
The Lord is thrilled when our hope is in His mercy.               
Psalm 147:10

The Lord takes pleasure in US! His people.
Psalms 149:4
                                            
The blameless person makes God happy. 
Proverbs 11:20

Dealing truthfully delights God.                             
Proverbs 12:22

God’s entertainment is the prayers of the upright.                              
Proverbs 15:8

To bring God pleasure: do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly!  
Micah 6:7-8

God delights in mercy!                       
Micah 7:18

Faith pleases God and brings Him joy.            
Hebrews 11:6


Psalm 118:24 should be our motto scripture! “This is the day that the LORD hath made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.” 
Today, celebrate God’s creativity! 
Enjoy this day He has prepared for you. 
Laugh! Smile! Grin! Skip! Sing! REJOICE! I guarantee you it will make God happy and you healthier!

(This was an article I wrote - published in Reflections Magazine 2013)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 - A Mile-Marker Year

Looking back over the past year - I realize that 2013 was a "Mile-Marker" year!
I have so much to be thankful for! Some wonderful things happened! 

  • Our youngest son, Kyle, married the love of his life, Lorraine Pollard! What an incredible day July 6th was!! Lorraine is an answer to prayers I have prayed since before she was even born! Watching them together - seeing how happy Kyle is - is a balm to this momma's heart. (She looks pretty happy too by the way!) I know God has amazing things in store for them!
  • Our middle son, Cortt, preached on Friday night at the 2013 UPCI North American Youth Congress in August! 
  • Our eldest son, Brocc preached on Friday morning of the 2013 UPCI General Conference in October! 
  • Yes - I was as close to the front as I could get for BOTH of those sermons - blown completely away by the anointing and wisdom that flowed from their souls! (Hey - I taught these kids to read and write - so every jot and tittle that comes from their mouth and mind amazes me!) They both did us proud and I am humbled by the honor bestowed on my children by their peers, mentors and heroes! 
  • I was able to travel with my good-looking-high-maintenance-Indian-husband on several trips this year, joining him in MCM ministry in St Louis several times - and also in New Brunswick, Canada; Montreal, Canada; Illinois, Alabama and South Dakota. I was privileged to minister to sweet ladies in New Jersey, Alaska, Arizona, Oregon, Kentucky and of course a couple times in Georgia... and my honey accompanied ME on a few of those trips!
  • We took several opportunities to visit with old friends this year, as they celebrated lifetime milestones... our beloved friends, Robbie and Paula Chitwood's 25th pastoral anniversary and the dedication of their new facilities was phenomenal... and we could not miss the 50th wedding anniversary of our longtime friends and mentors, Don and Jo Norris... these were times I will cherish and remember forever. We shared our 38th wedding anniversary in Prince Edward Island with some awesome friends in 2013, Brent and Daphne Carter - and Kenneth and Evelyn Marshburn. Yes... it has been a year to remember!
  • Jeff and I formed an LLC for our business - which really took off in 2013 when I became an independent representative for Enagic, and added their Kangen Water Japanese Medical Device as an option for my Wellness Clients. 

  • And even though we said good-bye to some precious friends and family members this year - the hope that we have in Jesus made the bitter - sweet.
As I count my blessings - I am reminded of "Purim"...
Rev. Wayne Huntley recently preached a message at our church on the Feast of Purim... remembering and thanking God for the things that Could Have Happened - maybe Should have happened - but Did Not happen. There are many of these moments in our lives - and sometimes we don't really recognize them. However, this year, our family will celebrate the Feast of Purim!

On April 15, 2013,  our son Brocc and his wife Randi - along with our three grandchildren - were with Randi's parents and grandparents in Boston. It was a momentous, once in a lifetime event for their family! Randi's Dad, David Nickell, was running the Boston Marathon! A longtime dream and goal!
As they stood among the onlookers - cheering for him - they were unaware that they were mere yards away from a deadly bomb. David finished in record time - and felt so great that his recovery time was a fraction of what he normally needed. He even told Brocc and the kids, "I felt like I had wings as I ran today!" Within minutes of completing the marathon, the entire family loaded up on the shuttle and headed out of the downtown area to where they had parked their car earlier that morning. Before they reached their car, they heard sirens and saw emergency vehicles heading downtown... and then their phones went dead. They had missed the bombing devastation by less than 30 minutes. We were so grateful when we finally made contact with them! The minutes it took us to hear from them seemed like hours! In the aftermath of it all - when I read of all the horror and loss - especially the story of the 8 year old boy who was killed - my heart broke for his family... for his grandmother. He could have been my grandson! I do not understand the "whys" and the "hows" of all the things God did for us on that day - but I am so grateful for His mercy.

On August 10, 2013, as our family journeyed home from Youth Congress in Louisville, Kentucky, we hit a terrible rainstorm! We all traveled separately, and I remember driving for a while, to relieve my husband. The rain was so heavy I could barely see - and the roads so full of water - I was only able to drive about 35 mph. Kyle and Lorraine were a couple hours behind us - so by the time they reached that area, the rain had stopped - but the roads were still dangerous. As they traveled through Greensboro on a busy six lane freeway - they hit a patch of deep water and hydroplaned. Losing control, their car spun and lifted off the ground... landing in the median - without hitting any other cars! An off duty State Trooper was right behind them and witnessed the whole incident. He told them it was a miracle how their car avoided hitting other vehicles, and how long they were airborne without rolling and flipping the car! Another witness stopped and told them she was calling on Jesus the whole time (and of course they were too!) Although their car was totaled, they did not have a bump or bruise. The worst thing that happened was the mosquito bites they got waiting for the wrecker! The lady who prayed for them ended up bringing them (and their luggage) all the way to their house... refused to take payment and insisted on giving them $100! (She was from Virginia traveling to Spring Lake to visit family!) 
What could have been a devastating tragedy for our family - turned out to be quite a blessing. The insurance gave them MORE than Lorraine paid for the car two years prior. And they were safe, healthy and whole! 

Yes, I think I will call a celebration Feast of Purim in 2014! We will thank God for what DID NOT HAPPEN in 2013! I mentioned only TWO things- I'm sure there are more... some of them we were not even aware of. The drunk driver who missed hitting us head on by seconds. The headache that we prayed for and God took away may have been a brain tumor! God is so faithful and merciful. Many times we wait to thank Him for His blessings. However, often the blessings are what DID NOT happen!

Happy New Year!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Seasons

I woke up to cheerful birds singing this morning and remembered 

an entry in my Gratitude Journal several years ago... 

so I dug it out and decided to share it here.


Today I am thankful for seasons - I love them all!
I can never decide which is my favorite - Winter, Spring or Fall - 
Oh maybe Summer in its radiance - toasting, melting, sweet -
I enjoy the lazy evenings and walking in bare feet.
But then the first fall morning dawns with a hint of crispness in the air
and I'm sure I'd move to "Autumn" if I could make my residence there!
The brilliant leaves and shrubs - the pumpkins and scarecrows -
Fall festivals and candied apples - Tom Turkey - but don't you know...
It happens late one autumn night - the temperature drops way down
and old Jack Frost shows up to quietly paint the town. 
Then I'm hooked - 'cause Winter's come and brought the Christmas Spirit!
Oh yes, this season is so grand, with coats and hats and mittens!
Fudge and friends and fruitcake show up at every door
To put the coffee on and sit awhile is the very best solution!
The gifts - the glitz and then its time for New Year's Resolutions...
If we're lucky it will snow at least one time before the green buds show.
And then one morning you awake with a whistle - the birds are singing 
Spring is springing! 
Spring - thank God for the wonder... New life everywhere above and down under.
Nests and webs, sprouts and perfume - from the zillions of trees and flowers in bloom.
Oh yes, thank God for seasons! I love them each and every one!
And thank God for Family - and Friends - and for Fun!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Red Convertible

Today, my precious husband, gave me a surprise College Graduation gift. A red, mustang convertible.
Now, I know every girl in town is envious of me... I'm so blessed, excited and SHOCKED! Jeff Chavis is a very frugal guy, and for him to purchase this car for ME... well - I know it held a private message. 
If you have heard my "red convertible" story - you know that for quite a while now - seeing a red convertible has been my "sign" from Jesus - reminding me to Let Him Drive!
The story is so personal - I have only shared it a couple places upon God's leading.
So here's my "Red Convertible" story...
I was at our Ladies Prayer Retreat in October 2007. My sister Debbie led one of our devotions using an illustration from a Max Lucado book about "Tucker Town" - A town where all the residents pushed their vehicles around all day - with engines running... they just liked DOING THINGS for themselves! Of course, they were tired, worn out souls, with no life! We all thought that was pretty silly - then the devotion took a quick turn and she talked about how we try to do things "in our own power". God doesn't want us to push our car around all day - nor does He want us to get in and drive it. HE WANTS TO DRIVE! 
So at the end of the devotion, I was on the floor - face in the carpet - pouring my heart out in prayer... asking God to help me with the struggle to "be in control"! With all of the hats I wore and the responsibilities on my shoulders at the time, I felt overwhelmed, overworked, under-appreciated and exhausted most of the time! I was the Pastor's wife of a busy church, music director, choir leader, church pianist... just to mention a few of my duties.
I have never had a "vision" before - but that morning - I had one.
I saw a huge Bus sitting in our Church parking lot. People were everywhere - getting on and off the bus - and I could see myself there - running around with clipboard in hand - trying to create order in the chaos. I was delegating everything; from getting the tires checked to getting a logo painted on the bus. People were interrupting me, asking me questions and I seemed to have an answer for all of them. I finally walked around and started up the steps to get on the bus. I remember thinking... "I wonder if Jeff (my husband) or Brocc (my son and the co-pastor) should drive?" I knew it should be one of them, but I felt torn as to which one should be the driver. When I boarded the bus, I looked up and saw a man sitting in the seat just behind the driver's seat. His eyes bored into mine and immediately I knew... this man was Jesus. The realization made me gasp and I asked Him the craziest question... I said, "What are YOU doing here?" 
Very kindly, he replied, "I'm here to drive the bus." 
"YOU?" I queried, in disbelief! (I just felt like He should have a more important role than the bus-driver!) 
He stood up and looked down at me - and begin to gently explain. "You know that I have plans for this Church. Prophesies have been proclaimed about my plans for your future. Much prayer has gone forth asking me to take you to a new dimension. So, I have to drive, if you want to get to the places I want to take you." 
I was still confused. "But what are WE supposed to do?" (speaking of myself and my family)
His words hit me like a brick. "Just sit down, and ride." 
"What? That's it? Just ride the bus like everybody else? I mean, shouldn't we be recruiting more people... or monitoring or SOMEthing?" 
"No... I just need you to sit down - and ride the bus."
I began to sob - and that's what I did for the next half hour or so.

Later, I shared this vision with the Ladies group - and wept - asking them to pray for me - that I could learn to just "Sit down and ride the bus!"

As the weeks passed, it became almost comical... I would be running around on a Sunday morning with my list of tasks - stressed to the max - trying to get everything up and ready to go for service. Invariably, one of my sweet friends would saddle up to me and whisper - "Just ride the bus, Sis. Chavis!" I would laugh and joke back... "Well, the bus has four flat tires this morning, so if I don't get someone motivated, no one's going anywhere, anytime soon!" 
But in prayer, I would seriously plead with God... "Lord, help me! I really don't know HOW to sit down and ride! I've been doing what I do for so long - I don't know HOW to stop!!"
Month after month passed, and my daily struggle continued. I prayed, cried and even fasted - asking God to TEACH me how to sit down so HE could drive!
In January of 2008 - we traveled down to the Because Of The Times Conference in Alexandria, LA. During one of the altar services, I crawled down between the pews and found myself again, praying my desperate prayer. I remember saying, "I don't know how to let you drive this bus, Jesus!"
And immediately - I was back in the first vision - same setting - same bus in the church parking lot - and I had the same clipboard... running around trying to get everybody on board with this project.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a red flash - so I turned to see what it was. Spinning into the parking lot - pulling alongside that big bus - was a Red Convertible - and JESUS was driving it! He just looked at me and smiled - then kind of tilted His head towards the passenger seat. He didn't have to say a word! I dropped my clipboard and ran around the car - opened the door and jumped in that convertible! As He popped it into gear - I remember saying, "Oh yes! I can DO this!!" 
All of my frustration, confusion and struggle was gone! I got up off of that conference floor changed and relieved! I did not know WHERE He was taking me and I honestly didn't care. I just knew He was driving and I wasn't! 
You see, just a few weeks after I got into that car with Him, I was diagnosed with breast cancer - and He drove me through the curvy, foggy roads of two surgeries - 33 treatments of radiation - months of uncertainty and fatigue... but it was all just a part of the scenery with Jesus driving! 
My son came home from college and took over the music. Darling saints stepped up and took on responsibilities I could no longer fulfill. I had finally learned how to sit down and ride. The peace of God surrounded me like a warm blanket, as I watched leaders emerge from the woodwork. People who would have never stood up, if I had not sat down.
From that day to this - when I see a Red Convertible - my heart flutters - because it reminds me - that HE IS IN CONTROL! Sometimes, before I even realize it, I will gasp out loud! My husband has learned not to be alarmed... its just a Red Convertible moment.
So, today... when he drove up beside me in that Red, Mustang Convertible... I didn't know whether to laugh or cry! Its a lovely car that anyone would enjoy driving and owning... but to me - its more than a car. Its a message.
A message I am living - one day at a time!
I'm letting Him drive...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Living the Blessed Life!

Proverbs 10:2 Tainted wealth has no lasting value, but right living can save your life.
"Hi Mrs. Chavis", the lady sitting in the foyer of the restaurant said kindly. I greeted her and looked closely - trying to figure out who she was. She looked vaguely familiar, but my mind was drawing a blank. Her hair and clothes were disheveled and in need of washing. She looked to be in her 70's and was obviously not in good health. And was that alcohol I smelled on her? I pushed these thoughts out of my mind and stepped closer... "I'm trying to remember where I know you from, sweetie". When she spoke her name to me, I tried not to show my surprise. Could this be true? This was not an elderly woman! She was younger than me! My mind was flooded with the memories of her story... Living in a small town, you hear things about people...
Her husband was one of the wealthiest and most prominent men in our town. He owned several properties and when he divorced his wife (who was the Mayor of Spring Lake!) well... it made the headlines. Of course days after their divorce was final, he married a beautiful young woman - nearly 25 years younger than him - whom he had been living with. 
And now she sat looking up at me - 25 years later... unrecognizable. I sat down beside her and said, "It's so good to see you Cynthia... how have you been?" She began to pour her heart out to me. She pulled up her pants leg to show me a bandage - telling me how desperately she needed our church to pray for her. A six month old wound was not healing because of a circulatory blockage. She told me that she needed surgery to save her leg, but that she had no insurance. When I asked about her husband, she told me that he was in an Alzheimer patient in a sanitarium... and that all of his estate had been absorbed by the nursing homes and twenty-four hour care he needed for the past ten years. She only had one of the rental homes left, where she now lives... in near poverty. 
By this time the rest of our group was exiting the restaurant, and I gathered them to pray for this precious lady. We anointed her with oil and prayed a prayer of healing and blessing over her. She sobbed and promised to come to church... and then she claimed her healing right there. We rejoiced with her and I gave her our church card and contact information.  
My husband and I drove home reflecting on the last few times we had seen this family. Her husband owned a Garden Center where we frequently went for plants and such... we recalled how vehement he was against religion, God and Christians. I remember that his young wife would just shake her head and smile, because she went to church occasionally, and he would just rant about her wasting her time and his money. When the Garden Center closed, we heard through the grapevine that he was ill and that they had lost the business... and then later that he was in a nursing home. 
In my Bible reading this morning, this verse in Proverbs reminded me of the life of this couple. He was a millionaire - a prominent man in our city. She lived the high life. Wanted for nothing... but tainted wealth has no lasting value. When we come to the end of our days... right living is what will sustain us and give us hope! I am so grateful for my life today. I may not have tasted of the wealth of this world, but I'm living the BEST LIFE! I'm living a BLESSED LIFE! And I thank God for every breath!
 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Stop Whining and Get a Grip!

Happy New Year!

Lamentations 3:21-23 has always been a favorite passage of mine-
"This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness."
 
And I am sure I've read that passage in context as I have read through the Bible many times. 
Today I read it in "The Message" translation. Now, let me preface this by saying that I LOVE the King James Version - it is my #1 baseline translation of the Bible. However I do like to read parallel translations just to get a better grip on the meaning of a particular passage as I study. 
I also consulted Matthew Henry's commentary and found this note: "Some think Jeremiah makes these complaints, not only as an intercessor for Israel, but as a type of Christ, who was thought by some to be Jeremiah the weeping prophet, because he was much in tears and to him many of the passages here may be applied.Reading this chapter, you can certainly understand why the book of Lamentations is so named... in our day this kind of "lamenting" is often called complaining - or whining... 
Here's an excerpt...
1 I'm the man who has seen trouble, trouble coming from the lash of God's anger. 
2 He took me by the hand and walked me into pitch-black darkness. 
3 Yes, he's given me the back of his hand over and over and over again.  
4 He turned me into a scarecrow of skin and bones, then broke the bones.  
5 He hemmed me in, ganged up on me, poured on the trouble and hard times.  
6 He locked me up in deep darkness, like a corpse nailed inside a coffin.  
7 He shuts me in so I'll never get out, manacles my hands, shackles my feet. 
8 Even when I cry out and plead for help, he locks up my prayers and throws away the key.  
   (Wow... have you ever felt like this?)
9 He sets up blockades with quarried limestone. He's got me cornered.  
10 He's a prowling bear tracking me down, a lion in hiding ready to pounce.  
11 He knocked me from the path and ripped me to pieces. 
     When he finished, there was nothing left of me.  
12 He took out his bow and arrows and used me for target practice.  
     (Poor guy... he's talking about GOD treating him like this... 
     can you say "depressed"?)

13 He shot me in the stomach with arrows from his quiver.  
14 Everyone took me for a joke, made me the butt of their mocking ballads.  
15 He forced rotten, stinking food down my throat, bloated me with vile drinks.  
16 He ground my face into the gravel. He pounded me into the mud.  
17 I gave up on life altogether. I've forgotten what the good life is like.  
     (Can you relate yet?)
18 I said to myself, "This is it. I'm finished. God is a lost cause." 
     It's a Good Thing to Hope for Help from God  
19 I'll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I've swallowed. 
20 I remember it all - oh, how well I remember - the feeling of hitting the bottom.  
    (Okay... here comes my favorite part!)
21 But there's one other thing I remember, and remembering, 
    I keep a grip on hope: 
22 God's loyal love couldn't have run out, 
    His merciful love couldn't have dried up. 
23 They're created new every morning
    How great your faithfulness!  
      (This is so awesome... keep reading!)
24 I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over). He's all I've got left.  
25 God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks.  
26 It's a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God. 
27 It's a good thing when you're young to stick it out through the hard times. 
28 When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence.  
     (Here's some great advice!)
29 Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. 
30 Don't run from trouble. Take it full-face. The "worst" is never the worst. 
     (Wow... great insight!)
31 Why? Because the Master won't ever walk out and fail to return. 
32 If he works severely, he also works tenderly. His stockpiles of loyal love are immense.  
33 He takes no pleasure in making life hard, in throwing roadblocks in the way:  
34 Stomping down hard on luckless prisoners,  
35 Refusing justice to victims in the court of High God, 
36 Tampering with evidence - the Master does not approve of such things. 
     God Speaks Both Good Things and Hard Things into Being  
     (What? See... some people don't think this is true - 
     but its in the Word!)
37 Who do you think "spoke and it happened"? It's the Master who gives such orders.  
38 Doesn't the High God speak everything, good things and hard things alike, into being?  
39 And why would anyone gifted with life complain when punished for sin?  
     (This is a powerful concept! Life is a Gift from God! Yet some    
    say "It's MY life! I'll live MY life the way I want to!" They don't 
    think God should give them guidelines or rules to live by? 
    Think again!
40 Let's take a good look at the way we're living and reorder our lives under God. 
     (Great place to start a New Year's goal-setting session!  
     Reordering... reevaluating... re-prioritizing... 
     Yep! It's gonna be a GREAT year!!) 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Completion

I am innately a procrastinator... and I get sidetracked. I have been accused of having too many irons in the fire and not finishing projects. However, I will defend myself by adding to my list of confessions... "I work better under pressure!"
Having said that - please understand - I LOVE the feeling I get when I have accomplished a task. I like to make "To Do" lists, mainly for the gratification of checking items DONE off my list!
As this year closes, I am feeling immensely accomplished! I have finished my Bachelor of Science Degree Program in Alternative Medicine! Every day since my first class in August 2008 until my final exam on December 17, 2011, was a challenge. I learned to structure my time and LIFE to fit around an internet connection and the college deadlines I was given. We traveled more in ministry than we ever have before; and yet I managed to keep it all together. (Dare I mention that I made the Dean's List with a 4.0 every single semester? To God be the glory!) I burned the midnight oil and set my alarm hours earlier just to keep the pace. So here I am - at 52 years of age - and I've finally FINISHED something major on my bucket list!
I am excited to see what Twenty-Twelve and the future holds. I know that Jesus has never left my side. I have leaned on Him... felt His nudge and urging to succeed. I have rested in His confidence and approval. He has been my strength and has ordered my steps all the way. The details He worked out were amazing... and many times, I KNEW He was purposefully orchestrating calendars and timelines to accommodate me. (For example... my Dad passed away in April of 2010. It was no small thing to me - nor could I see it as a coincidence - that his last week on this earth was during my Spring Break... I was able to give my undivided attention to him and my family.)
My husband has also been amazing. His support and consideration of my work-load were second to none. (He should get some kind of Diploma or Award for putting up with me!) I tried not to allow my college work to alter our lifestyle and ministry... but I do feel if anyone got short-changed it was Jeff. I could not have finished this degree without him! Late nights and early mornings became the norm for me - and he kept me balanced and took me "away" from it all every chance he could, (always making sure I had a strong wireless internet connection!) I think he is really the only one in my family who understands how hard I worked to get through the program.
So... I have never been where I am right now. I am walking in unfamiliar territory. Will my career take off and pay off? Will I have to get a J.O.B. to pay for these student loans? What lies ahead? I may not know the answer to these questions... but I do know that God is in control and in charge of my life. When cancer knocked at my door in 2008 at the beginning of this journey, God gave me this scripture... Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." NIV
He is God and I'm not... and that thought gives me peace! Twenty-twelve... here I come!