Posted in Journal

Lessons of The Angel Tree (Love…Just Love)

A few years back, the church I attended had an “Angel Tree.” I had the awesome privilege of helping organize the project. We gathered hundreds of gifts, items of clothing and groceries. Every child received several new toys, books, and a new outfit. Every family received a complete Christmas dinner. We boxed all the groceries, wrapped and labeled the gifts, and then loaded everything up to be delivered all over our area.

At one of the first stops, as we arrived at the house so did another church. We came bearing our gifts and were all left wondering the appropriate response as we saw these children who seemed to have plenty now receive even more.

Then later in the day we arrived at a house that was almost empty on the inside. There was no furniture, no Christmas tree, not even a bed!!! A dirty little mattress in the corner without sheets or pillows. A box for a makeshift table….that was it. That Christmas some kids wanted toys, books, and bicycles. However, these three children and their mom really needed pillows, blankets, coats!!!

We went back to the church, made a few calls and some from our small group headed back the next day with not only more toys and warm clothes, but a pantry and refrigerator full of groceries, pillows, blankets, sheets, toiletries and furniture items such as beds and a kitchen table and chairs.

All other families we visited that year for the Angel Tree Project had needs someplace in between these two “extreme” situations. But to each their need was just as desperate.

After the ministry was completed I sat with a broken heart as I thought of these…. that some are so very poor. I was truly moved by the need. But I was more broken hearted that there are some so poor in spirit. For sure those are often  harder to understand and minister to. We are most often blinded to their need because they are surrounded by stuff from whatever source they can find.

I desire to love the poor and the poor in spirit and help folks in need. Jesus gave me that desire and He so often allows me to see past the junk and distractions. There will always be those that seemingly have too much, take too much, or take advantage…but what if no one ever gave because of those few. Little children in Belmont, NC, USA would have likely been sleeping on the cold floor that Christmas season.

And what of the kids that seemed to have too much and still the parents sought for more? What is in a heart that makes one go to such measures? What kind of bondage? We prayed for them and loved on them and spoke into their lives just as we did all the families. That Word we spoke and prayed, the love we showed surely did a mighty work in all of our hearts….mine included. After all, God is Love.

I have been one of the poor and I have been the poor in spirit. I have been the parent that had to rely on others to give my children even one toy and a Christmas dinner.  I have been the parent that later gave mine way, way too much. I am so thankful God loved me and allowed others to love me in all my need!

❤️ Love…just love! ❤️

Jesus is the reason for the season.

Posted in Journal

When God Speaks and We Obey…

Eight years ago, at a church council meeting my pastor at the time said he was going to start the Christmas season by preaching a sermon titled, The Greatest Gift Exchange. He wanted ideas and music to go along with that topic.

I was driving home and going through the intersection of New Hope and Lowell-Bethesda/Beatty Road and God said two words as clearly as I have ever heard, “Cardboard Testimonies!”

It was not a new thing. It wasn’t flashy or extravagant and didn’t seem all that Christmassy. In fact, it was almost too simple and many, many churches had already done it. Nevertheless, my pastor loved the idea – but he told me since God gave it to me, I had to also organize it. Not what I was expecting. I didn’t feel like people would respond to me. But my pastor wouldn’t let me off the hook, so I got to work. While some people said, “no way” to my surprise I soon had about 50 that responded with excitement. And with each “yes” a great anticipation grew.

December 5, 2010 – God used that anointed sermon followed by the testimonies of people of all ages and from all walks of life to orchestrate two of the greatest moves of repentance and crying out to God that I have ever witnessed at somewhat regular church services. In both services, people were lined around the sanctuary to pray with our pastor. Some to repent and be saved, some to repent and rededicate their lives, some crying out for healing and deliverance, some standing in for their lost and hurting loved ones. Those left in the choir sang and we stood there for well over an hour holding our testimonies of what God had done when He exchanged what we were to the new creation He made us into. What a precious, precious thing God did for us all when we accepted the gift of His precious Son, Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

I don’t say this to boast in any way. It was God’s plan, not mine and one of the most humbling assignments I have ever been blessed to be a part of. While I did my part, the reality is that many did their part too and yet even still GOD DID IT ALL. But I do share all of this to also say – LISTEN to GOD. Sometimes He wants things planned and organized; sometimes He wants things totally spontaneous. Listen to Him, be open and obedient and always, always be ready to tell others what He has done for you! He is still speaking and drawing people to Himself by using ordinary people like you and me.

My Cardboard Testimony:

Posted in Journal

Send Me…Where Love Is Needed!

I have often prayed this exact prayer while holding onto the globe waiting on God to send me where I dreamed of going! And I’ve waited and waited and waited thinking God was putting me through a season of waiting. Until finally there it was – my dream, Africa.

But what if during all my waiting, I wasn’t supposed to be waiting around at all. It never crossed my mind that maybe He had answered my exact prayer before I ever even prayed it…because maybe love was needed most right across my town or across my street…or maybe just across my own livingroom.

I guess bottom line (for me) is if God sends me again to Africa I will by all means go and love there. But I have learned while going abroad that people are the same there and here. No matter the difference in culture, color, or language. They all have the very same need for love, compassion, a listening ear, a coat, or a sandwich! They all need Jesus but sometimes they can’t hear what we say about Him because they are cold or they are hungry or they are so alone!

If you are like me and you’ve prayed that prayer…trust me and don’t go into a season of doing nothing and calling it waiting. He has answered. Love the one right in front of you today! If there is no one in front of you…go to the nursing home.

God bless you all.

Posted in Journal

Driving through the Storms

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“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” ~ Romans 12:2

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” ~ James 1:5

Yesterday, while driving to a women’s retreat Sister Frankie and I were caught in a terrible rain storm. It was hard to drive through it. Easier as long as the road had a rough surface but when suddenly it changed and the surface was smooth –  there were more reflections and more mist and it was close to impossible to see the lines or where you were on the road. So of course, the Lord uses all things and He started speaking.

What lessons about driving through the storms did the Holy Ghost impress on my heart that can be applied to the storms of life?

Pray! Pray! Pray! – Before, during and after the trip we prayed…not just for ourselves but everybody on the road. We make it a habit of always praying before every trip and most times many times along the way.

Get in the center lane – I had a long way to go on the road I found myself. I wasn’t going to need to exit. We debated getting off the road but I didn’t know the area off the exit any more than I knew the road I was on so I felt wisest to keep going and then because I knew I wasn’t going to need to exit, I got in the center lane. To go through the storms of life we need to get in and stay in the center of God’s perfect will. Not to the right or not to the left of it. Get there and stay there.

Focus – I was having a really hard time seeing the cars in front of me and beside me but there happened to be a great big boat right in front of me. (Now, is that God or what?) Sister Frankie called it the LifeBoat. I got my eyes on that big LifeBoat. He was easy for me to see and easy for everybody else to see. I felt they would be cautious as they passed him. For sure we should always be careful who we follow because following the right person or thing can get you through the storm but if you aren’t careful you can follow someone down the wrong path…right to hell. Get your eyes on Jesus, into His Word, and in places of prayer and worship.

Keep going – Once our eyes were set, we just kept on going. It needs to be the same in life. Keep going. Will we mess up? Yes, probably. When you do, get back up. If You hurt someone along the way ask for forgiveness and then get back up. If you sin, repent and get back up and keep going. It is much more dangerous to stop on a stormy road or in the storms of our lives than it is to drive on through the storm…because it is always harder to get back onto a busy highway.

Remember where your Help comes from. At the worst time, I looked and the boat was ahead of me but a distance ahead of me. In the rearview mirror, I looked and I could see that NO ONE WAS close to me behind. No one was to either side. And not only did I feel safe but I had that song going through my mind. “It May look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by You.” God protected me by keeping everyone away from me during the worst part of that storm.

Praise JESUS! NEVER STOP PRAISING HIM!!!! I thank You, Lord, for taking us through to safety.

So let me close with this. What did Sister Frankie and I see when the storm cleared?

  • Multiple cars in ditches that looked as though they had played follow the leader right there into the ditch.
  • MANY Cars pulled off the sides and the median now trying to get back into the flow of the traffic. They were then causing more backups.
  • Cars spun around, wrecked and trucks jackknifed and totally blocking the road. Someone, for some reason, had made the wrong move likely due to unclear lane changes (now there’s a whole other message).

God bless you all!!!!

 

Posted in Journal

Today I am Reminded…

Sand heart

Yesterday I wrote about the difference between walking in a sand dune as opposed to walking in wet sand and how much easier it is to walk when the sand is wet and compacted. I had another thought this morning. If the sand is too wet and the water isn’t being released by evaporation or by flowing elsewhere it can create an environment for quicksand and that can be a dangerous situation to try to walk through.

Today I woke up feeling like if I don’t get a handle on a common feeling bombarding my mind it would be like being stuck in quicksand.

What was this feeling? I wanted to quit!!! My thoughts were – what is the need of me in this present place? What do I do that can’t be done or what do I bring that can’t be brought by just about anyone else out there? Now, these are not thoughts I naturally head toward. I am not prone to quit so I have to scream, GET behind ME, satan. I am calling him out and exposing his lies. In warfare prayer, I asked the Lord for help and cast down the thoughts and imaginations and a few moments later the Lord replaced them with some reminders. Just a fairly normal Tuesday in my office but then a fax showed up and as I read it this flowed out of it like a fast-moving stream.

 

Today I am Reminded…

Today I am reminded that some people face hard things that unless revealed we know nothing about. That some face these hard things, not of their own choosing and they don’t deserve it. Today I am reminded that some in trying to navigate those things lose sight of and even the will to be who God created them to be. Today I am reminded that some are just plain tired of fighting it alone…even if they made a choice to go it alone. Today I am reminded that when they lose their sight or their will or their fight the resulting bondage manifests itself in many ways.

Today I am reminded that some battles are so obvious but some hide theirs with gold and glitter and glamorous attire, riches. If you look at them and see the things that surround them; see their success and status you have no idea of their pain. The truth is that if we are completely honest we think we ourselves would be happier with more money and more worldly status so we can’t imagine they are not.

Today I am reminded that  I was that person.

Today I am reminded that the Bible says in Romans 2:4 that it is the goodness of God that draws men to repentance. I am reminded to have compassion and love people as they navigate no matter the bondage they may be in and no matter how it manifests. I am reminded that if I truly love like Jesus loves then they will see Jesus (the goodness of God) in me. After all, God is love.

Today I am also reminded of how much I wanted someone, anyone to see me and care about me and what I was going through. Today I am reminded that someone did come along and they cared. That one person had compassion on me and loved me enough to speak the Truth but to do so while staying alongside me. I am reminded of one person that wasn’t afraid of my baggage. One that lived out the “greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world.” Today I am reminded that I saw Jesus in that one person and I wanted what they had. I wanted Jesus in my life.

So, truly, even more, today I am reminded of my God and Father that sent His Son, Jesus, to die for me on the cross. For me! Today I am reminded of a God that showed me His grace and mercy and His compassion when I was at the bottom of the pit and on my way to hell. I am reminded of how His goodness drew me to my knees crying out in repentance; asking for forgiveness for my sins; asking Him to help me live a holy life; to help me live only for Him. Today I am reminded of a God that forgave, saved, delivered, healed and turned my life around. I am reminded today of what a beautiful blessing repentance is to you and to me!!!!

God used that one person that loved me as He loves and today I am reminded to be that person for others. I am reminded that when I don’t love, others aren’t seeing the goodness of God in me. What if we all loved? What if God wants to use your next encounter as an opportunity for someone to see His goodness and be drawn to repentance? I am reminded today just how much He loves everyone and each one we encounter.

Today I am in tears at the reality of the hard things some face and are forced to now navigate.

Today I am reminded to love.

Posted in Journal

Holding Pattern

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On this day last year, I was in Tanzania. Today I am not. I can’t help but ponder it all as I see the FB notices from the team flow across my newsfeed.

I was reminded of this. On the way home, our plane flew in a holding pattern for over an hour because of a storm in Charlotte. When we were finally given clearance to land, it was an incredibly bumpy, scary experience. Truly I wasn’t sure in those moments that we would land safely. My Pastor says that what happens in the natural is also happening in the supernatural and really that is a picture of my life over this last year. There is a storm raging on every front. Not just in my life though…in the lives of most everyone I know. Because of the storms, many are in holding patterns, and we will be until given clearance that we are ready to take that next step of heading through the storm!

What does that mean for me? I feel I have a call to the mission field. But I feel just as strongly that right now God has me in a holding pattern – another season of surrender and waiting. I can’t explain it all, but I will wait. I will wait until GOD opens His next door for me if He chooses to open another one. But God hasn’t called me to wait and do nothing in the waiting. In the waiting, God has me doing other things just as dear, maybe even dearer, to His heart. He works to strengthen me, to make needed correction, and He highlights some of the others areas of my calling. He is even changing some of the desires of my heart to line up more closely with His own. This holding pattern is a season of waiting with His purposes and for my own good! I trust His work, and though there times I struggle to keep doubt out of my mind I do find my trust and faith growing stronger day by day.

Now, what does it look like for me? What does He have me do?  Well for me, it looks like on my knees and into the Word. It looks like a surrender! (I am called to obey first and foremost). I obey, therefore, I pray and I pray. (I am called to pray). I read God’s Word and try to memorize. (I am called to “hide His Word in my heart”). I study the Word of God. (I am definitely called to study this Word). I write down what I study and learn, what touches my heart, what I feel God is saying to me (I am called to write), and sometimes I share what God reveals. I do this in Sunday School and in services occasionally, but more on the blog. (I am called to teach and make disciples – aren’t we all?). And when I am done, I turn the page of the Word, and I start all over again and again and again. (I am called to persevere).

The Bible says: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:19-20

The blog actually gets very few views. I sometimes wonder what difference any of it can actually make. But every now and then someone finds it. When they do, I know they have been prayed for, and they will come face to face with the precious Word of God – which Itself teaches us will not return to Him void. Waiting isn’t always easy but I find purposefully waiting because God has you in a holding pattern can be life-giving.

On this day last year, I was in Tanzania. Today I am not.  But today someone visited the website from Zimbabwe.  And with that visit today the Lord has allowed me to use the blog to “go into” 100 nations of this world and share the Word of God! Over 80 of them since coming back from TZ last year. I began to really focus on my blog/website again because I didn’t know what else to do with myself.  He put me in this place and for ALL He has done, is doing, and will do – HE GETS ALL THE GLORY AND THE HONOR AND THE PRAISE! I love my Jesus so!!!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Journal

Chosen – Matthew, Lenka, and Anna Maria

I saw this post on the web last night, and it took me right back to 2007 and an Orphanage for the severely disabled in Romania.

Visiting these children was such a beautiful but tough part of the mission…emotionally and spiritually. I was told because of their laws and disabilities they could not be adopted. It left me to ponder why God had them there and why He sent me there as a 46-year-old woman to see it all. I thought how as a young girl after my dad died I secretly dreamed someday I would have another dad that would make a choice to love and adopt me. Though it didn’t happen I was able to hope for that…but here they were and no earthly dad could ever choose them!

I laid in my room that night and I became overwhelmed and began to sob. As I cried the Spirit of God surrounded me and I talked to Him about three little children – Matthew, Lenka, and Anna Maria. Two confined in beds in conditions I was unaccustomed to with infirmities considered hopeless. One confined because though she was a perfectly normal child, her twin sister was disabled and they weren’t allowed to be separated. Oh, how these little ones had touched me and in their faces as I talked and sang and played with them…I saw the face of Jesus!!!

God and I continued talking into the night and I asked Him of the purpose of the lives they were given. When I did, He stopped abruptly and said, “Missy…I have chosen you. I have always chosen you. But why have you never chosen Me?” I said, “I thought I did choose you. 9/11/2006 in my dining room.” God said, “Yes, you chose Me as your Savior that day. But Missy why have you never chosen Me…as your Father? Why do you want an earthly dad more than Me?” That night I made a choice.

Needless to say, Romania was life-changing. Many times, like last night I think of three little children. Matthew and Lenka couldn’t see, couldn’t talk, and couldn’t even move on their own. They did little but lay there all day, every day. Anna Maria was a prisoner because of circumstance and would be held there until she turned 18 or her sister died.

Three tiny but chosen servants of God that He used to soften my hard and bitter heart. One day they will know of their fruit. Oh, how Jesus loves the little children. Oh, how He loves you and me. Make a choice today!!!

Posted in Journal

Weary of the Sales Pitches

I don’t usually state my irritations, but today I am highly annoyed. My newsfeed and inboxes are FULL of ministers wanting to “mentor” me for a fee…in the prophetic, in prayer, in healing and deliverance, in praise and worship, in how to see angels…and on and on it goes. From what I have seen it consists mostly of live and/or recorded classes, private FB pages to get special and secret content and meet other mentees, special discounts on products and conferences, some have a one-on-one conversation included.  All this at the price of $11.95 and up (way up) per MONTH!

What is the definition of a mentor?

  • a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.
  • an influential senior sponsor or supporter.
  • a wise or trusted adviser or guide
  • to act as a mentor to (someone); train

Perhaps you can twist the definition to say these people can mentor/train whosoever will sign up even if they don’t even know them and likely will!

Now don’t get me wrong – I do believe in teaching and studying, and I really believe in discipleship….but it bothers me that the gullible people are given the impression by these “mentors” that what they, as ministers of God, have been blessed and anointed by God with can be bought and sold. They don’t come out and say it. In fact, they say that the subject matter can “not so much be taught but caught.” Maybe you can learn a few things about the different gifts and offices and maybe that will increase a desire for a gift as you study and seek the Lord, but I believe you cannot become a prophet or anything else unless God anoints you to do that and He anoints as He wills.

Why if you could be anointed by studying and training and even desiring I would be anointed in all of the above and then some….because I am a STUDENT and have gone in many directions and in-depth over the years. I own more Bible studies, topical studies on such things as Healing, Deliverance, and Prayer than most would imagine and I have gone through them all and shared many.  BUT in the end no matter how much I study, how much I might desire a gift, how much I hang around anointed Generals of the Faith I CAN STILL ONLY DO WHAT GOD CALLS ME TO DO in the way and in the places He calls me to.

Things may be better understood by teaching videos and surely they provide value in the equipping but in my opinion, your money would be more fruitful given to your true mentors – your teachers, your pastors, your prophets those that hold you accountable week after week. And your time would be better spent serving in your local church and most importantly on your face seeking His.

Maybe I am wrong and just weary of all the sales pitches.

 

Posted in Journal

Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God!

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At some phase, each of us will be confronted with the impurities of our hearts. The Holy Spirit reveals our sinfulness not to condemn us but to establish humility and deepen the knowledge of our need for grace. It is at this crossroad that both holy men and hypocrites are bred. Those who become holy see their need and fall prostrate before God for grace and forgiveness. Those who become hypocrites are they who, in seeing their sin, excuse it and thus remain intact. Though all men must eventually stand at this juncture, few are they who embrace the voice of truth; few are they indeed who will walk humbly toward true holiness. — Francis Frangipane in his book Holiness, Truth and the Presence of God

Yesterday I found myself at this juncture once again. I can think of nothing more heart wrenching than to be shown the impurities of your own heart by a holy God. But I am so very thankful that He loves us enough to show us. I am so thankful that He still convicts and lets the spirit of repentance fall. I am so thankful that He forgives. I am so thankful that He then shows you how He wishes you to proceed beyond forgiveness.

See, sometimes Father requires that we go to a person or group of people and humble ourselves and apologize for words spoken or not spoken; for actions taken or not taken. The Bible says in James 5:16:

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

We sometimes like to skip over that part. We let it go and say it was no big deal. Truly yesterday I had to ask forgiveness for some words I spoke. They weren’t what some would consider harsh words but the words I spoke were not grounded in love, compassion, and support for God’s children. He does look at the heart, you know! So here I was and I knew I had to go not only to the person I spoke them to but also to those that were present when I spoke them.  I tried to get out of it. Believe me, I tried. I tried to excuse it away – they won’t remember and even if they do will I not be dredging up old stuff? Oh, we can come up with some great excuses, can’t we?

But I know the voice of the Lord and I really know the conviction of the Lord. When I was first saved I asked the Holy Ghost one day to give me a heart of repentance. I desired a heart that was sensitive to conviction and always ready to ask forgiveness of Him and make amends quickly with anyone I hurt along the way. He gave me that heart and it is not always easy. I don’t always do it perfectly and I am surely not usually graceful in the process. Sometimes it makes others more uncomfortable than I am. But there is something about repentance and confession that sets us all free.

So I apologized not once but to several different people. It was HARD and in the end, not one of them even remembered my words and some didn’t even hear the conversation and all of them thought it was no big deal. BUT that didn’t matter so much because – God heard and to Him what He heard and saw in my heart was a big deal. While He doesn’t remember our sin past that moment of forgiveness, He told me to go to each of them and He does remember that. He knows why He wanted me to do that because He knows His plans for each one of us.

In the end, we stand at the crossroads and the roads lead to holiness and Life or to death. What is holiness? Where can you find the presence of the Lord? His presence demands obedience to His Word, His voice, and His call.  His presence demands a clean heart.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. ~ Psalm 51:10-12

Create in me a clean heart oh God… We quote the scripture, sing the song, and we ask that of our God in prayer.  And then He answers….

Posted in Journal

…for Your Good and His Glory

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. ~ Psalm 16:11

I have lived long enough to discover that life is not about having every dream come true or every want fulfilled. Life is about glorifying God in all things. Sometimes we go through some very hard trials and great loss. If in that we are focused on ourselves, we become bitter in our suffering. But when we can see the journey for what it is – an opportunity to glorify God and minister to others, we will discover that our burdens are more bearable.

I lost my dad as a young teenager and my only sister as a young adult. My heart aches over the losses. I have seen days I thought I would never recover joy following my dad’s suicide and it seemed all my peace left forever the day my sister was taken off of life support. These were hard parts of my path. Yet, in the course of my life God has given me many opportunities to help others in ways that would not have been possible were my dad and sister still alive. Does that make their deaths worth it? Of course not! But somehow my pain is lessened when I am used to help others going through similar losses.

Romans 8:28 says: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.

Indeed, the difficult parts of our paths are never without meaning and purpose. If we are God’s children, although it may seem His hand is against us, He is always working for our good and His glory.

My prayer today is that you will know the true fullness of joy and peace that comes from walking with Jesus along your own path. I pray that you will allow Him to use you to help someone else. And if it is in your heart, may God work to root any bitterness out … for your good and His glory. In Jesus Name! Amen.