My Portion

Psalm 16:5-9

5 O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot.

6 The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance.

7 I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel; My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.

8 I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.

9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope.

 

In my adult life, I have moved well over 20 times.  My recent move to California has been one of the biggest moves of all.  Moving from the East Coast to the West Coast (over 2600 miles) by myself was exciting, even if daunting at times, because I knew that God had spoken to me.

The interview for my new position was on October 29, 2014, and I received the offer of employment on November 25, 2014.  So I basically had a month to decide if this is what I thought should happen.  You would think that was enough!  LOL  However, not enough for me; I asked for another week to pray.  I needed to hear from GOD!

On Monday night before I was to give my answer, I got ready for bed.  I still was searching.  In those moments before I fell asleep, I prayed,

God I need to know.  I have wanted to live in California my whole life, but is this what you want?  This is a huge step of faith for me.  I will be leaving family and friends.  This leap of faith has to be grounded in Your will and direction for my life.  When I wake up in the morning, please give me something that will make me know that this is what You want for me.

And, I turned over and went to sleep.  There was no wrestling to find sleep; I slept like a baby!

When I awoke on Tuesday morning (December 2, 2014), the song in my head was “Living By Faith,” an old hymn of the church.  I walked around for about 20 minutes singing, and finally stopped in my tracks and said out loud, “Why am I singing this song?”  The Lord so clearly spoke to my spirit and said, “You asked for confirmation; I want you to live by faith.”

From that moment on, I have not doubted my decision.  When traveling those 2600+ miles and doubt tried to creep in, I had the Word of the Lord to stand on and stop those doubts in their tracks.  As Psalm 16 says, God is our inheritance and portion.  He will take care of us if we just let Him.  “He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.” (Psalm 16:8)

Joseph’s Example

My brother, Charles

Genesis 45:8

“So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.”

All those years ago, Joseph’s brothers were angry with him.  They spilled animal’s blood on his coat, threw him into a well, decided they could not let him die, sold him into slavery, and lied to their father about it all.  The brothers lived with the result of their actions until they came face to face with Joseph many years later.  As they sat in front of Joseph, disbelief, fear, bewilderment, and who know what other emotions, crashed in on their hearts and minds.

They were scared!  But, Joseph loved them!

There are so many amazing lessons we can learn from Joseph.  Here are just three:

  1. Forgiveness:  At one point, he had to leave them to weep because he was so overcome with love and longing for these brothers who had mistreated him.  Do I forgive like that?  Forgiveness that overrides bitterness and turns into love?
  2. Steadfastness:  Never does the Bible say that Joseph used his anger against his brothers towards anyone or anything.  He stood on his belief in God and remained faithful to Him.
  3. Blessing:  Joseph and his family were welcomed in Egypt.  Verse 32 of chapter 43 states it was unacceptable for Egyptians to eat and sit at the table with Hebrews.  But, Genesis 45:16 states that Pharaoh and his servants were pleased that Joseph had found his family.

I have always been fascinated by Joseph.  According to the account of his life in Genesis, he was always faithful to his relationship with God.  He believed that sin was against God, not man. (Genesis 39:9)

What would our lives look like if we lived like Joseph’s example?

A Little Girl’s Dreams

 

Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

PINCH ME!  I have moved to California!  You may not think that is a big deal, but to me it is a really big deal.  Here’s why.

When I was a very young girl, there were three places that I wanted to live when I grew up.  One of those places was Florida because Florida was where my Aunt Jo lived.  Aunt Jo, my mom’s sister, actually seemed closer to my age than she did my mom.  When we would visit Aunt Jo, she was always very sweet and attentive to us kids, and she included us in everything.  We were not relegated to another room during dinner or when conversation was happening.  She was always teaching and loving us.  You could just tell.

Another place I wanted to live was Nashville, Tennessee, better known as Music City.  I was born into a musical family and was seemingly born singing.  When I was about five or six years old, my older brother, Vernon showed me how to create chords on the piano, and I immediately starting playing by ear.  With my musical heritage, I knew it would be really cool to live in Nashville.

Then there was California.  My Aunt Ellen lived in California.  At a very early age, maybe four or five, I remember her visiting us.  She flew on an airplane, which in and of itself was amazing to my young brain.  As soon as she would get to our home, she would get her nail polish and paint my nails.  This was unusual in our home because I grew up in a very conservative and fundamental home.  We did not paint our nails!  But, my dad would allow my Aunt Ellen to paint them.  Because of this, I thought my Aunt Ellen was the most glamorous person I had ever met.  So surely, California was as fabulous as she was!  (By the way, Aunt Ellen is probably the reason I am so obsessed with pretty nails today!  LOL)

In November, I was while driving on Route 29 in Kannapolis, North Carolina in front of Big Lots when I realized that God was granting me my “little girl” dreams.  From 1989 to 2001, I lived in Florida.  From, 2006 to 2011, I lived in Nashville.  And, as of 12-29-2014, I have moved and am living in California.

God cares about a little girl’s desires and dreams.  He cares about your desires and dreams.  If you are delighting yourself in Him, it is more than probable that He put your desires and dreams in your heart.   So…

Delight yourself in the Lord.

Dream big.

Dare to watch Him bring those desires and dreams to pass!

Get Your “But” Out of the Way

John 10:27

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”

Recently, I met a new friend named Cyndi.  During our visit, we were talked about being obedient to the Holy Spirit’s voice and our reluctance at times to be obedient.  Cyndi shared one such instance with me.

Her assignment that day was to get balloons for a birthday celebration at work.  As she was leaving the office to run the errand, she saw an ambulance across the street.  In her heart, Cyndi felt as if the Holy Spirit told her to go pray with the person who was being placed in the ambulance.  Cyndi said, “But God, by the time I cross the road, he will be gone.”  Again, she felt the familiar, “Go pray for the person in that ambulance.”  She replied, “But God, the EMTs will not let me get close to the person.”  Again, that familiar voice said, “Go pray for the personal in that ambulance.”  Cyndi’s reply, “But God, he will think I’m crazy.”

At the third “but,” Cyndi said she realized she needed to get her “but” out of the way and do what God, through His Holy Spirit, was asking her to do.  So, she crossed the road and got to the ambulance just after they had loaded the person in the back.  She stepped up to the driver and told him she felt she was supposed to pray with the person who was in the back of the ambulance.  Much to her surprise, the EMT said she could.  She stepped up into the back of the ambulance and prayed with the man.  He was so happy that she had listened and obeyed the voice.

Although Cyndi did not know the outcome of her prayer, she did feel a great sense of peace because she had gotten her “but” out of the way and followed the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Do you need to get your “but” out of the way and go ahead and do what God is calling you to do?

Knowing God’s Voice

Cade’s Cove, TN

John 10:27

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”

This morning I was thinking about the sound of my voice.  Many times over the years, people have said things about my speaking voice.  Things like, “I would know that voice anywhere.”  Or, “you have a very distinctive voice.”  Or, “your voice is very unique.“  And, recently, I was at a women’s conference and I was talking and laughing with several ladies.  From across the room, I heard someone say, “Is that Pat Zimmerly?”  I went over to see who had sad it and found a very good friend of mine who is legally blind, but she knew my voice.  Why is that?

I used to work in the banking industry.  One of the first things you are taught in the banking industry is how to spot counterfeit money.  They teach you about counterfeit money by looking at real money.  You will o

nly spot counterfeit when you know what the real money looks like.That’s how it is with God’s voice.  In order to recognize it, you have to know what it sounds like.  And, the only way to know what His voice sounds like is to spend time with Him and hear His voice over and over daily.

Living Life to the Full

Line Dancing at Enloe Reunion

Philippians 4:4  ”Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”

On August 3rd, my sister and I attended her 40th and my 39th class reunion of Enloe High School.  WOW!  it doesn’t seem possible that it has been that long.  Time has flown by.  We remembered some people and wished we remembered others.  Even so, we had a blast getting re-acquainted with all of them.

As I have reflected on the reunion, I was reminded of my high school days.   My first couple of years in high school were awful.  Although most people would never believe it, I was shy.  The shyness I felt was from a huge lack of self-esteem.  I am not really sure why I felt so inadequate and unattractive, but I did.  During the summer before my senior year with some counsel from my youth pastor, I decided to choose happiness, no matter what.  As a consequence of that choice, my senior was amazing.  And, choosing happiness has become my philosophy of life.

Although, I have blogged on this subject before, I really do believe it bears repeating.  Paul tells us in Philippians to rejoice always.  It is a choice.  We can choose not to rejoice, but rejoicing is better.  People cannot control your emotions; you do that all by yourself.

I dare you to choose happiness for a day.  It will change your life.  And I will bet, just like the potato chip, you will not be able to choose just one day, you will need two, three, four, etc.  So, take the happiness challenge – rejoice in the Lord always!

Winning in Death and Life

2 Samuel 15:21

“But Ittai answered the king and said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely in whatever place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also your servant will be.’”

On Thursday, I came to Raleigh to be with my parents as my Dad underwent a very delicate heart surgery.  The doctors led us to believe that the chances of death without the surgery were great and the surgery could cause death.  It seemed like no matter what Dad chose, he could die.

On Friday, we sat in the surgery waiting room while many family and friends were bathing us in prayer across the US.  As we sat in the waiting room, I was reminded of times spent in the surgery waiting room while Joel was going through his illnesses.  While I pondered life and death, the Holy Spirit showed me that in either outcome,
death or life, we win!  If we live, we get to stay with family and friends and live out our Christianity.  If we die, we get the ultimate prize!

So, like Ittai, whatever the King says, death or in life, we will live with our King.

Change!

Psalms 37:23

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way.”

Much is being said about reimagine, reformation, and change within the ranks of The Foursquare Church.  The enemy would like for us to believe that this is a bad thing.  However, I think it is a great thing.

Look at the development of humans.  A baby is born and there is a certain amount of organized chaos and uncertainly, but the parents know the this process is required for the baby to grow.  Around the age of six, the child moves into an elementary school slumber where things typically move along at a normal pace.  WHOA!  Puberty hits!  An amazing amount of reformation happens during this time.  Around the early twenties, things even out again and the now young adult settles in a bit.   Then it happens!  The young adult falls in love and the chaos of engagement

and marriage begins.  After the honeymoon season, life swings back to more normality.  Only to find out they are pregnant!  T
he chaos starts again.

Wouldn’t it be sad if these seasons came and never left?  Ecclesiastes 3:1 says it so well, “To everything there is a season.”  What season are you in right now?  Are you enjoying the season?  Or are you fighting it every step of the way?

If, as Psalms 37:23 says, “Our steps are ordered of the Lord,” then a better path will be to accept the things cannot change and change those things we can change.  Let’s delight in the path that God gives us and enjoy the changing seasons!

My Redeemer

 

Ruth 1:14-18

And they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.  Then she said, “Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.” When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her.

 

Naomi, Elimelech (her husband), and their two sons were living in Moab.  While there, Elimelech died, and the sons took Moabite women as their wives.  Ruth was one of these Moabite women.  After about 10 years, both sons died, leaving both daughter-in-laws and Naomi on their own.

Naomi was tired of living in a foreign country and decided to go home to Bethlehem.  She told her daughter-in-laws to stay in their own country, but Ruth was not interested in staying.  She had watched Naomi for over ten years and had learned about and accepted Naomi’s Lord.

The writer of Ruth uses words that could be defined as persistent words.  In verse 14, “Ruth clung to her” meaning she held tightly to Naomi as a dryer sheet holds to a fleece jacket.   Verse 16 says, “Ruth urged Naomi” or entreated earnestly for Naomi to let her go along to Bethlehem.  Ruth also said in verse 16, “Your people shall be my people.”  The verb “shall” indicates that the action will definitely take place.  Ruth also said that “If anything but death parts us” meaning that nothing would separate them.   Ruth was not going to allow anything to get in her way of going back to Bethlehem with Naomi.

The ultimate blessing was Boaz!  When Naomi and Ruth get back to Bethlehem, Ruth is blessed with Boaz as he becomes her kinsman-redeemer.  Boaz is a symbol of Jesus.  And, Jesus is our Kinsman-Redeemer.  Without her decision to stay with Naomi and return to Bethlehem, Ruth would not have been in a position to receive all that God had for her.

Are we persistent and tenacious in the pursuit of our Savior?

Are we letting things and people get in the way?

What things and/or people in your life are keeping you from your Kinsman-Redeemer?

A Sweet Aroma

Ephesians 5:2

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”

Philippians 4:18

“But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.”

Romans 12:1

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”

Have you ever walked outside on a spring evening and smelled someone grilling out?  Oh the smell!  It makes me want to go introduce myself and join the party.  It is “a sweet aroma” to our nose, and we are drawn to it.

“A sweet aroma” is used thirty-seven times in Exodus, Numbers, and Leviticus when God gives Moses the Sacrificial Law.  When the Israelites offered up their sacrifices according to God’s design, it was a sweet aroma to Him.  There were daily offerings, Sabbath offerings, monthly offerings, and yearly offerings, which include Passover, Feast of Weeks, Feast of Trumpets, etc.  I am sure it seemed they were always making an offering up to God for something!  But, I believe this was one of His ways of helping them stay focused on Him.  Every time they gathered the animals and grain for an offering, it was an opportunity to focus on God.

Ephesians 5:2 gives us, as New Testament Christians, a picture what our sweet aroma to God—being imitators of God, walking in love as Christ did, and being willing to give ourselves up as an offering.  Romans 12:1 tells us to present ourselves to God as a spiritual sacrifice to God.  In Philippians 4:18, Paul told the church at Philippi they had given, him a sweet aroma which was an acceptable sacrifice that was pleasing to the Lord when they supplied him with the items he needed for daily life.

It is my desire for my life to be a sweet aroma to my heavenly Father.  As I live each day, I will strive to imitate Christ, walk in love, give of myself to others, present myself to God, and serve others along my journey.