Called and Ready Writers
CRW Morning Meditations
The Presence of God Go Ahead, Turn The Knob
Abiding In The Presence of God
I’M TALKING ABOUT ABIDING IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD. PRACTICING THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD. ABIDING IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD MEANS MORE OF HIM. MORE OF HIM IN OUR LIVES, IN OUR ACTIVITIES, THOUGHTS AND DESIRES. PSA. 42:1 SAYS, “AS THE DEER PANTS FOR THE WATER BROOKS, SO PANTS MY SOUL FOR YOU, O GOD.” HE IS MY LIVING WATER. WHEN I’M WITH THE LOVER OFMY SOUL, I FEEL SO NOURISHED, SO CHERISHED, SO LOVED THAT EVERY MORNING I RUSH BACK TO HIM.
DO YOU HAVE A SET TIME IN THE MORNING TO SEEK HIS PRESENCE? DON’T WAIT UNTIL EVENING BEFORE YOU GO TO BED. YOU NEED TO HAVE EXPERIENCED HIS PRESENCE TO GET THROUGH YOUR DAY. THIS IS WHERE HE PREPARES YOU FOR WHAT LIES AHEAD.
WHEN YOU READ YOUR BIBLE, DO YOU SAVOR HIS WORD? MEDITATE ON IT AND APPLY IT TO YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES?
ARE YOU HONEST WITH GOD WHEN YOU TALK TO HIM? IF YOU’RE ANGRY WITH HIM, HAVE YOU TOLD HIM? ARE YOU FEARFUL? DOUBTFUL? THANKFUL? HE WANTS TO HEAR YOUR REQUESTS, YOUR WORRIES, YOUR PRAISE, AND AGAIN I SAY, YOUR THANKS.
DO YOU JOURNAL? DO YOU KEEP A DAILY WRITTEN RECORD OF WHAT GOD IS DOING IN YOUR LIFE? SHARE WITH HIM YOUR DISAPPOINTMENTS, CELEBRATIONS, AND CONFUSIONS. ASK HIM FOR WISDOM. KEEP TRACK OF HIS ANSWERS.
COMMUNION WITH GOD IS A RELATIONSHIP NOT A SENSATION. WE WON’T ALWAYS HAVE AN EMOTIONAL HIGH OR A SENTIMENTAL FEELING WHEN WE SPEND TIME WITH GOD. ABIDING IS AN ACT OF FAITH.
FINALLY, WE MUST OBEY GOD, JESUS SAID IN ST. JOHN 15:10, WHILE IN THE VINEYARD WITH HIS FRIENDS, “IF YOU KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS, YOU WILL ABIDE IN MY LOVE.”
FRIENDS, I COMPARE ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE AS BEING IN A “GRACE BUBBLE.” WHEN FRIENDS ASK, “HOW CAN YOU BE SO JOYFUL?” I TELL THEM, “GOD HAS ME IN A GRACE BUBBLE. WHEN YOU ARE IN A GRCE BUBBLE, SATAN CANNOT PENETRATE IT WITH SORROW, FEAR, WORRY, OR ANY OTHER NEGATIVE EMOTION THAT WOULD STEAL YOUR JOY.
BE OF GOOD CHEER FOR YOU ARE AN OVERCOMER!
INDEED, THE JOY OF THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH.
ANOTHER WAY I GET THROUGH MY DAY IS WITH PRAISE MUSIC. PRAISE MUSIC BRINGS ME GREAT JOY. I KEEP IT ON IN MY HOME DAY AND NIGHT. GOD INHABITS THE PRAISES OF HIS PEOPLE. YOU NEED TO GET IN THE HABIT OF PRAISING HIM. YOU SHOULD SEE ME IN MY BEDROOM DANCING WITH GOD!
Go Ahead, Turn The Knob
Behold, beloved, I put before you an open door. And again I say unto you: I put before you an open door and no man can close it. Many of you have prayed for an open door, and I have answered your prayers but you do not recognize the answer because the door is not standing ajar.
Because the door is not standing ajar does not mean that it is not open. You do not push this door to open it. To open the door you must turn the knob. Go head, turn the knob and you will see that the door is open.
Learn to see in the spirit realm. Look beyond the surface. Do not be easily discouraged. We walk by faith and not by sight. Faith turns the doorknobs.
Without faith it is impossible to please Me. He who comes to Me must believe that I am a rewarder of them who diligently seek Me. Seek Me and you shall find Me when you search for Me with all of your heart. Faith without works is dead.
Doorknobs do not turn by themselves. If they did, that would be magic and magic is an abomination to me Go ahead, turn the knob.
I want to have fellowship with you. I want to bless you But the knob is on your side of the door. The decision is yours not mine. What is that you need? Whatever it is you can find it in My storehouse. But know this: The storehouse is on the other side of the door. Go ahead, turn the knob.
Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard neither hath it entered into the heart of me what I have prepared on the other side of the door for them that love me. But know this my beloved: I do not play games. This is not “Let’s make a deal.” The choice is not whether you select door #1, door #2 or door #3. The choice is whether or not you will see first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
If the answer is “Yes,” then all the things that you have need of will be added to you. I am THE DOOR. Go ahead, turn the know. Enter ye in by faith. On the other side of The Door you will find many other open doors. It is my good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. Abraham’s blessings are your blessings, too. Go ahead, turn the knob.
Laying a Sure
Scripture: I. Cor. 3:10-11
“No?” I shouted to my husband. “No more Drano. We need a plumber.”
These are the words of frustration I used as watched my husband head towards the bathroom with the Drano an in an attempt to unstop the tub for the umpteenth time.
We had a lovely home but it was old and the bathroom fixtures no doubt were the very first ones installed by the original owners. That became more and more apparent as the water slowly drained from the tub after each use. This was a major inconvenience because the residue from the bath or shower couldn’t be cleaned in a timely manner. The next one in line for a bath would have to wait for the tub to drain. Often times, I would have to return later to remove the bathtub ring and other residue. Occasionally, I would forget and suffered embarrassment when a guest would use the bathroom. However, I discovered that this was a small consequence compared to the hidden danger that would soon be uncovered.
Instead of calling the plumber, I decided to call a friend who was in the home modernization business – a builder by trade. That’s when I learned a lesson about the importance of laying a firm foundation.
The day that my friend, Emil, removed the bathtub he called me to take a look. I was astonished to see that the floor underneath the tub was water logged, smelly, and the wooden foundation was splitting. Emil said, “Mary, had you not called me when you did, this floor would surely have caved in. Its rotten to the core.” While the Drano had worked for a season, in the end it had caused great damage to the floor.
After leaving the bathroom, I returned to the kitchen to wash dishes. The bathroom being redone was on the floor directly over my head. As I looked up to praise the Lord for enabling us to avoid such a great disaster, I heard the Voice of God speak these memorable and profound words:
Beloved, be careful how you build.
Your floor is someone else’s ceiling.
If your floor caves in, everyone underneath
will be crushed.
Friends, the fear of God came over me as never before. I will never, ever forget His admonition to me. Thus, I share this true story with you for your consideration and ask you these questions.
What kind of foundation are you laying? What kind of materials are you using?
Are you preaching Jesus Christ and Him only, as the Apostle Paul did when he started the church at Corinth?
Are you building with high-quality materials (right doctrine and right living) that meet God’s standards?
Various materials can be used to build a house. Some are made of wood and some are made of stone. Some are made of a combination of both. Are you using mixed doctrine? A little of this and a little of that? Hopefully, you are using the pure, unadulterated word of God. If not, why not?
Consider this also, my friend. When the fires of life come (the trials and tribulations) which house will be the first to burn: The one made of wood or the one made of stone? When the storms of life come, which house will be swept away first; the one made of wood or the one made of stone? (St Matt. 7:24-27).
Again, what materials are you using? Are you building your life on a shaky foundation such as fame and fortune? Or are you building your life on the only sure foundation, Jesus Christ, The Chief Cornerstone? Are you using His principles, such as compassion spiritual maturity, sensitivity, love, peace, joy, and all the other fruits of the spirit? Incidentally, the cornerstone of a building is the center stone in the top of an arch, holding the whole arch together. By Him all things consists. (Col. 1:27)
The conclusion of the matter is this. Jesus is the glue that holds our lives together. He is The Rock of our salvation. Upon this Rock we must build our lives. A building is only as strong as its foundation. Selah.
Somebody's Trying to Kill Me!
Every time I think I have surrendered all to the Lord, He shows me an area that I won’t let go. Such was the case recently when one of my nieces informed the family that she was going to marry someone we all knew was wrong for her, not the least of the reasons is that he was Moslem. She was raised in the Christian faith but wandered away several years ago when she started dating him. Even though they had been dating for a long time, we were shocked when she made her announcement.
To no avail, many of us tried to talk her out of it. When my counsel fell on deaf ears, my emotions went from sadness and fear to anger. She did get married in Pakistan and no one in the family got an invitation. When I tried to reach her, her home phone, cell phone, and email address were disconnected.
It was when I entered the anger mold that I heard the voice of the Lord say, “All flesh must die.” For years, I’ve been trying to walk out the scripture that says, “Be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger”(Jas. 1:19). Truthfully, this has been a challenge for me. The problem has been with conforming versus transforming. I’ve been trying to do it, more or less, (probably more than less) without God’s help. Romans 12:2 tells us not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
Saints, our minds must be renewed. Our flesh must die. We must decrease so that God can increase in us. The Apostle Paul says, “I die daily” (I Cor. 15:31). “Our spirit is willing, but our flesh is weak”(Mt. 26:41). And there is no good thing in the flesh. (Rom. 7:18)
Yes. God is trying to kill me. The “Me” part. I plan to cooperate – no matter how much it hurts.
Please pray for us.
Stuff And Things
Just as soon as my eyes popped open this morning, I heard the Voice of The Lord say, “Repent.” As innocently as I could I replied, “Who, Lord?” (I was trying to pretend that I didn’t know He was talking about me.) But the Lord would have nothing to do with my foolishness. “You,” He quickly responded. I well knew why I was being called to repentance.
For several weeks I had been agonizing about some stuff and things (issues of life) that I had no control over. I quickly repented and then The Lord reminded me of one of my own sermon preached about 10 years ago. It’s in my book also, Ponderings From the Heart of Mary. I sat down to refresh my memory. The sermon is called, “A Basket Case: Letting Go.” On the next pages you will find that sermon. I hope you will read it and be blessed. Don’t forget to put YOURSELF in the basket!
A Basket Case: Letting Go
Scripture Reading: Exodus, Chapters 1 and 2
Have you been struggling for months, perhaps even years, with situations that have caused you frustration and emotional pain?
Has the pain been because of a wayward child, one who has gotten off track (or never gotten on track)? Maybe it’s a marriage that’s going from bad to worse. Perhaps you have been afflicted in your body and can’t seem to get healed. Have you had dreams and visions that haven’t yet manifested after years of waiting?
There are many such frustrations that we are confronted with from time to time. The Bible refers to these as “the cares of this world”(Matt. 13:22).
Not too long ago I found myself experiencing a great deal of anxiety in a particular area. This strain on my spirit led me to fall on my face in prayer and cry out to the Lord for some relief.
What I said was, “Lord, you have instructed us to cast all of our cares on you(I Peter 5:7). No one in their right mind wants to hang on to these burdens. But how do you turn them over? It seems so much easier to say than to do. Over and over I give them to you only to retrieve them again. Lord, please show me how.”
Now it was the Lord’s turn to speak. He said, “Pray for the faith of Jochebed, Beloved.” (He always calls me Beloved.) The Lord went on to show me what He meant.
Exodus Chapter One
Stories are told in the Bible about many significant women, but Jochabed had a very special faith – unique in its own way. Jochabed had a son whose name is well known – Moses. God had a plan for Moses, but from the time he was conceived, even while he was in his mother’s womb, the enemy was out to kill him. However, in spite of the enemy’s well-laid plan to annihilate all the male Hebrew children, the Great Jehovah permitted Moses to live.
For as long as she could, Jochabed sheltered and hid her precious son from the enemy. Nevertheless, the day came when she realized that if she wanted him to continue to live she must let him go.
She took a giant step of faith and placed her beloved son in a basket, placed the basket on the Nile River, and let it float wherever it would. Moses floated right into the waiting arm of the enemy where he was subsequently raised and groomed in safety in Pharoah’s household!
Man’s plan was that Moses would one day succeed Pharoah and sit on the king’s throne and rule Egypt. But God’s divine plan was that Moses would be the deliverer of his oppressed people out of the clutches of the enemy, which eventually came to pass. Many more supernatural events occurred in the life of Moses after this.
What I have shared with you was just the beginning of the Master’s plan for His servant’s life. One of the points I want to make here is this:
God has a wonderful and individual plan for everyone’s life. That plan is that we “be fruitful and multiply”(Gen.1: 22). This is the very thing that the enemy Pharoah was afraid of (Exodus 1:10). For this reason, he implemented his evil plan to slay the Hebrew boys. As a result, Moses’ life was in jeopardy.
Again, let me remind you that the adversary had a plan to kill Moses while he was still in his mother’s womb. Why? Because he knew that Moses represented a potential threat to him. He knew that Moses and the children of Israel would greatly increase in number.
Every one of us in this room is a similar threat to the devil. God has a plan for every one of us. The fact that we were born is evidence that our purpose is necessary.
We were born to lead. We were born to give the devil a fit! God has planted a seed in our natural and/or spiritual wombs that is intended to put Satan to an open shame. That is why he is doing everything in his limited power to discourage, defeat, depress, and dethrone us. And to keep our visions and dreams from becoming realities. But we were born to reign. We were born to bring forth fruit and have that fruit remain. But we are going to need to do what Jochabed did in order for this to happen. We must trust God and let go.
Letting go is not easy for most of us because we have been fiercely taught to do just the opposite. We have been taught by the world around us to hold on, don’t let go, hang in there, don’t give up, etc., etc. The Bible has even taught us to hold fast, occupy until I come, and to persevere. So what are we suppose to do?
I have lived for well over a half century now, and what I have found from my personal experiences, as well as from counseling others is this. If we are not led by the Holy Spirit, we can become very confused. We will find ourselves letting go when God wants us to hold on, and holding on when He wants us to let go.
Let us take a look now at this chapter. Although the names of Moses’ parents are not mentioned here they are mentioned in Numbers 26:29. As a matter of fact, we don’t even know the name given to Moses by his natural parents. Later, we will see that he is named “Moses” by Pharoah’s daughter.
Moses’ name means: Drawn out. Because he was draw out of the water. You and I have been drawn out of the world. Perhaps you even feel as though you have been in water over your head – Hot Water!
As I read verse two, I am reminded of the sovereignty of God. God is the One who determines our gender while we are yet in our mother’s womb. He put a male seed in Jochabed’s womb in spite of the fact that Pharoah had put a contract out on all male children. God knew this and He could just as easily have put a female seed in Jochabed’s womb. A little “Mosette” may have allowed Jochabed to keep her child. But God is God and He had another plan. A sovereign plan for Moses’ life. His plan was for Moses to be a deliverer of His people out of the land of Egypt. Let us continue to digress here for a moment.
Have you ever wondered why God chose a Moses instead of a Mosette to lead the people out of Egypt? Did He favor men over women? No. However, I do think that the children of Israel would not have been willing to follow women. Even as you read the genealogies throughout scripture, they almost always read: “Son of So-and-So. Son of So-and-So.” In those days, women were looked upon as second-class citizens. But that doesn’t mean that God can’t and doesn’t use women as leaders. In fact, He used Deborah in the Book of Judges to lead His people and He is yet using women today.
It’s really too bad that the hearts of some men are so cold, and they are so disobedient to the heavenly vision, that we had to have an equal rights act and an amendment when God created all of us equal in the beginning.
There’s probably a woman sitting here right now called to pastor a flock. But before you can answer that call you are going to need to put away – let go of – some manmade doctrines about female pastors, and push pass some of your own indoctrination, intimidation, and inferiority. God said in His word that in the last days He would pour out His spirit upon all flesh – that means men and women(Joel 2:28). Having said that, let us continue with verse two.
“She hid him three months.” There’s a time to hold on and a time to let go. If you know anything about newborn babies, and all of you do, it’s not an easy task keeping a wet, hungry newborn quiet. But God protected him by silencing his cries from the enemy for three months.
Looking at verse three we see that there comes a time when no matter how much we love our children, we can no longer protect them and shelter them. We must let them go. However, if we are women of wisdom, we will have already prepared and laid a godly foundation for them just as Jochabed did for her son. She prepared an ark of safety for her child.
God’s people are everywhere. And He has someone watching over your child right now. Maybe your child has left home for college, runaway from home, been evicted from home, in jail. Wherever he or she is, God has someone watching over him or her. Have you dispatched your angel to encampeth round about your child?
Don’t you know that Pharoah’s daughter was a king’s kid? She didn’t need to bathe in the river. She probably had a Jacuzzi in her master bathroom! But her footsteps were ordered by the Lord.
The child Miriam was a quick thinker. She did not panic. Some of us would have said, O God No! The enemy. The very person from whom we were trying to save our child. He has floated right into the arms of the enemy. How do you suppose Jochabed felt watching this happen? That’s why we must walk by faith, not by sight.
I believe that because Mother Jochabed put him in the ark of safety and because Miriam didn’t panic, God rewarded them for their faith and Jochabed got her son back. Not only that, but she was paid – by the enemy – to care for the child! Imagine that! Have you put your child in the ark of safety?
When Jochabed got her child back I believe she not only nursed him with mother’s milk, but also gave him Father’s milk – the sincere milk of the Word of the Lord!
Isn’t it interesting that, even though Moses was still a three-month-old baby, and he still cried when he was hungry and wet, and even though he was still a Hebrew child, and even though Pharoah still had a contract out on Hebrew boys, he was not killed. Why? Because God had a plan for Moses’ life. Moses was under God’s divine protection because he had a divine appointment. He had to deliver his people from bondage.
Friends, stop fretting about your children. It may not look like it, but God has a plan for their lives also. Yes, it’s true. They may be rebellious and wayward but prodigal sons and daughters are coming home every day. The effectual, fervent prayers of the righteous availeth much. Mothers, out prayers can and do change things.
“And he grew.” And his mother had to release him – again. She did this because she was an honorable woman and had made an agreement to nurse and raise up the child and then give him back to Pharoah’s daughter.
Mothers, our children are only ours for a season. They really belong to God. And we must dedicate them back to the Lord. I see Moses being placed in the ark of safety and in the water by his mother as a dedication ceremony. In a sense, this was Moses’ baptism. Have you dedicated your child back to the Lord?
Because Jochabed released her child, the scriptures were able to say that Moses became the son of Pharoah’s daughter. And she gave him the name “Moses.” Many times when God calls us into His service, He does change our name. For many years, I used my middle name “Darlene.” In 1982, He instructed me to begin to use my first name “Mary.” The reason why is a story that I’ll save for another day.
We don’t know how much time elapsed between verse l and verse 11, but all things do come to pass and Moses grew from childhood to adulthood. All the while, God was still protecting him. Some things never change. Moses was a white Hebrew living among black Egyptians and growing up as Pharoah’s grandson. You don’t do that without God’s divine protection.
Moving along quickly, as I said, some things never change. Sin is one of those things. Moses sinned. He tried to hide it, was discovered, fear set in, and he ran. Sin is a vicious cycle.
But this can happen when we get ahead of God. Moses was acting out his call prematurely. God does not condone murder, but we see later that what Satan meant for evil, God used it for His purpose.
So, let me ask you a question: What’s going on in your life? What is Satan trying to kill, steal, and destroy in your life?
Maybe you don’t have a child as Jochabed did. But perhaps the seed is in your spiritual womb. And Satan is trying to steal, kill, or destroy your visions and dreams. It’s time to put your visions and dreams in the ark of safety.
Do you have a call on your life to the ministry but things seem to be at a standstill? It’s time to put your ministry in the ark of safety.
Someone here wants their loved ones saved but you are holding on so tight that God can’t move on your behalf. It’s time to put those loved ones in the ark of safety.
Do you have a God-given vision to start a church but you can’t even get folks to come to a home Bible study? It’s time to put that vision in the ark of safety.
Are you physically sick and can’t seem to get well? It’s time to put that need in the ark of safety.
Do you have a desire to marry and have a family but you can’t even get a single date? It’s time to put that desire in the ark of safety.
Do you desire a promotion on your job, but after five years you are still in an entry-level position? It’s time to put that desire in the ark of safety.
Are you struggling to make ends meet financially? And it’s a toss up between paying the past due light bill or the past due gas bill. Perhaps you’re holding on too tightly to God’s tithes. Do you realize that every dime that you steal from God, you you allow the devil to steal 90 cents from you? It’s time to release God’s 10%
Are you letting past pain rob you of your present and paralyze your future happiness? It’s time to put that pain in the ark.
Friends, today is the day of your deliverance. I believe that everyone in this room is holding on too tightly to something that God wants you to let go of.
Think about it. Pray about it. Then, in your sanctified imagination, place the basket on the Nile River as Jochabed did, and let it float. No matter what things look like in the natural, let it float. Walk by faith and not by sight. But don’t walk on the water to retrieve the basket. Let it float.
The relationship between Jochabed and her son Moses is an example of how to release our own loved ones, our careers, our hopes, our dreams, our pasts, our presents, and our futures into the hands of an omnipotent, omnipresent, and omnipresent God – for He is faithful.
Let us pray.
Wait And Evaluate
It’s hard to believe, but here we are in the middle of 2005! Did you plan to do something this year that you haven’t gotten around to yet? If so, you only have six more months to do it. But, before you do, let me give you two words of wisdom to meditate on: “WAIT AND EVALUATE.”
After failing the “Are You Too Busy” test a couple of weeks ago, I went before the Lord with this question: “How do I do better? How do I get more balance in my life?” This is His response:
“My people are too busy for Me. They are doing those things that please themselves rather than the things that please Me. My will must be done. Time is short.
“Today, I say unto you: Wait on My voice. Get your marching orders from me. Then go forth under My power and anointing.
“Take a good look at what you are doing. Is it busyness or fruitfulness? Is it My will or your will being done?
“Beloved, if you wait for My voice and evaluate your works, I will teach you how to work smarter and not harder.
“And, again, I say unto you – WAIT AND EVALUATE.”
Following is the 21-question test that I failed two weeks ago. I have since flipped the script and I am putting a lot more slack in my calendar. If you see me getting too busy, please hold me accountable.
TOO BUSY QUESTIONNAIRE
Do you feel like you’re rushing through each day without a moment to catch your breath? If so, you are too busy. Being too busy robs you of the joy of living. It also causes chronic stress, increases health risks and damages relationships. Are you too busy? Find out now!
Read each of the following statements, then choose the answer that describes you best.
Use this scale to answer each question and then keep track of your score.
The statement is true of me:
Never True Sometimes True Often True Always True
___ I prefer to do most things myself. I’d rather not ask for help.
___ I get very impatient when I have to wait, or stand in long, slow-moving lines.
___ I am in a hurry, racing against the clock.
___ I am irritated when I’m interrupted.
___ I am busy, and I keep many “irons in the fire.”
___ I find myself doing two or three things at one time, such as eating lunch, writing a memo, and talking on the phone.
___ I bite off more than I can easily chew.
___ I feel guilty when I’m not working on something.
___ Things just never seem to get done fast enough for me
___ I lose my temper when things don’t go my way.
___ I spend a lot of time mentally planning future events.
___ I find myself continuing to work after my co-workers have called it quits.
___ I get frustrated when people don’t meet my standards of perfection.
___ I get upset when I0 am in situations where I am not in control.
___ I tend to put myself under pressure with self-imposed deadlines.
___ It is hard for me to relax when I’m not working.
___ I spend more time working than socializing with friends, or pursuing hobbies or leisure activities.
___ I dive into projects to get a head start.
___ I get upset with myself for making even small mistakes.
___ I forget, ignore, or minimize important family celebrations or holidays.
___ I make important decisions before I have all of the facts.
Now, add up the numbers you assigned to the statements above to see your
20-39 You enjoy a healthy balance between getting things done and taking time for yourself. Congratulations!
40-59 You are mildly overdoing it. You have a tendency to become too busy. Remember to take time for family and the things that are truly important to you, and don’t be afraid to say “no.”
60-80 You are really overdoing it. It’s time to make some changes! You’re too busy and your life is not in balance. You may be endangering your emotional health and your physical well-being with an extreme lifestyle.
If you have been waiting for what seems like an eternity for God to answer a particular prayer request, this is being written with you in mind. If you have started to become weary from waiting, this is especially for you. If I could tell you how to get your prayers answered, would you listen and do what I say to do? If so, please read on.
When I received Jesus Christ as my Savior nearly thirty years ago, someone told me that God had a wonderful plan for my life. Initially, I experienced a lot of joy from my newfound relationship with Jesus Christ; and, as often seems to be the case with new believers, He answered a number of my prayer requests almost immediately. Needless to say, I was overjoyed. As time went on, however, I began to notice that some of my most important requests seemingly were not being responded to as promptly. I began to wonder, “Is God really listening?”
One day I decided to confront God in prayer with this question. He responded with the words, “Stay in Line.” He also gave me a visual aid: I looked into the spirit realm and saw a long line similar to what we wait in at the supermarket or bank. I was somewhere in the middle. At the front of that line was God’s storehouse of blessings with my name on many of them. The Precious Savior Himself was there overseeing the storehouse. He began to give me instructions. This is what He said to my heart:
“Don’t be weary. Stay in line. As each person in front of you moves up to claim his or her blessings, rejoice for them. Rejoice also because you get to move up a step or two. Don’t murmur or complain and say, ‘What about me, Lord? I’m your faithful servant, too. I’ve even been serving you longer than she has.’
The Lord went on to say, “Stop comparing yourself with the faithfulness of others. Serve Me with a pure heart. No good thing will I withhold from them who walk upright before me.”
He continued, “Furthermore, don’t be distracted by what’s going on along the sidelines. Those are Satan’s devices to snare you and to get your eyes off the mark. Look straight ahead and stay in line. Remember what happens when you get out of the grocery store line. You lose your place and have to go to the end and start over again. This happens to many of My people, and that’s why it seems as though I am not responding to their prayers. Also, there are times when My people become distracted by what’s happening on the sidelines and they don’t realize that the person in front of them has moved up. So the person behind them goes around the distracted one. This also can delay your blessings.
“Remember also that there are no shortcuts in this line, but you can make the time seem shorter by waiting patiently on the Lord. Most of all, remember that My Son, Jesus Christ, is the author and finisher of your faith. He is also waiting. He’s waiting for you to get to the front of the line.”
I truly appreciate the Lord speaking to my heart. Let Him likewise speak to you. Persevere, my friends. Stay in line. Rejoice with them who rejoice. Your blessing could be just a step away.
(Excerpt taken from “At His Feet,” Minister Mary Edwards’s fourth book out of six. Copyright 2001.)
Push Pass The Pain
Pain. We all understand it. Whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual.
In a recent discussion with an out-of-state friend, she was expressing her pain: The pain of loneliness. The last of her single friends was getting married. Although she was happy for her friend, she was fighting some serious depression. She was over 40, never married, and it has been a while since she even had a date. Thus, no prospects for marriage. The emotional pain of loneliness was throbbing in her heart.
Then there’s my other friend who has battled reoccurring cancer for more than seven years. She is angry with God because He hasn’t healed her. Thus, she suffers physical, emotional, and spiritual pain. She wants no mention of God in her presence. All we who care can do is pray for her.
Another friend just lost her husband to another woman. She’s left with a mentally disabled child who has limited comprehension of every day, normal situations. How do you explain to this child that Daddy may never be back? This child is eight years old and one of the few words he can say is “Da Da.”
Then there’s the pastor’s wife who, according to the doctor’s report, will lose her eyesight any day now. Can you imagine the courage it takes to wake up every morning never knowing if today is that day?
Let us not forget to pray for those who care for the sick and shut-in. I’ve been there and remember so well how physically tired and emotionally drained I became. At one point, I dare say, I was close to being spiritually bankrupt. It seemed that everyone wanted my blood and no one was checking the gauge.
No. Life isn’t fair! And because we live in an imperfect world even the righteous suffer. But great is God’s faithfulness. In I Corinthians 10:13 the Bible says, “He will provide a way to escape so that we may be able to bear the pain, whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual. Ask God for His escape plan. He will help you push past the pain.
Friends, we must endure hardness and be good soldiers; as a good soldier gird up your loins and fight the good fight of faith…knowing that God will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
God's Grace Bubble
Today is Monday, July 25, 2005, the first anniversary of my dear husband’s transition to his heavenly home. His soul is resting in peace. And so is mine. It’s all because of God’s Grace Bubble. I won’t say that this has been an easy year for me. But, because of God’s Grace Bubble, more things are going right than going wrong.
Every morning when I arise I say, “Lord, order my steps in your word today.” And He does. Let me give you a few examples that I hope will help you understand the Grace Bubble.
Prior to Rev. Edwards’ departure, we had plans to move to Texas and had a lot of Texas clothing: hats, boots, jeans, etc. Well, after Rev. passed, it was hard for me to wear any of this clothing. However, one day not long after his departure, I prepared to dress. Very clearly, I heard the Lord say, “Put on your Texas garb.” So I did, and left home headed for the post office.
Upon arriving at the p.o. and opening the box, there was only one little envelope inside. Had there been more mail, it could have easily been lost inside of one of the papers. Then, again, it couldn’t have been lost because it was a very special card. This is how it read: “Sorry, cowgirl, you lost your cowboy.” My knees nearly buckled! Here I stood dressed in my western clothing and reading this sympathy note from someone I didn’t know! I was determined to find out who this person was.
Immediately I went back home and called Information to see if I could get a phone number for my sympathizer. Fortunately, the spelling of the name was unusual and I got the number and called. The lady on the other end, Rose McGhee, told me how we had met. It was at a ladies convention in Nashville, Tennessee, the year before. In a small group of ladies, I mentioned that my husband and I were going to move to Texas and be a cowboy and a cowgirl. When she heard that my husband had passed, she remembered our conversation. She had my business card and dropped her God-inspired card in the mail. That made my day. Just to know how God was watching over me and knew just what I needed is more than I can express.
Lord, how great Thou art! He had me dress for the occasion, and then He sent words of comfort to me through someone I didn’t even know. This is just one example of God’s Grace Bubble. Let me give you another one.
God often speaks to me in the shower. This is a place where He rains His shower of love down on me in the beginning of my day, following the reading of His word and prayer. Well, one morning He spoke to me and said: “Mary, because you have given so many people a new start in life, (that was the name of my ministry in the Joy of Jesus family life program) I’m going to give you a new start in life.”
Later that same day I opened up one of the sympathy cards that were steadily coming to my home. The one I want to tell you about had a cross on the outside and the words, “God Bless You” on the front. When I opened up the card the words inside said, “Happy Birthday.” The handwritten words on the bottom said, “We’re praying for you.” This couple probably grabbed the card hastily and thought it was a sympathy card. But I know differently. God had them send that card to confirm that He was going to give me a new start in life. Isn’t that what a birthday is?
There is so much more that I could say to let you know how the Lord has been blessing me this past year. But I’ll save it for another day.
God has a Grace Bubble for you also. His grace is sufficient for whatever you may be going through.
Caught up In Him
Minister Mary Edwards
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