Tonight, I had an unexpected pleasure. I had dinner with a young lady, Naomi Hamilton, with whom we met when we lived in Vero Beach, Florida. We met Naomi’s family when she was about ten years old. She is the oldest of ten children, and she has grown into a beautiful woman of God. Naomi loves the Lord deeply and serves Him as a mid-wife working with young women in trouble in the Phillipines. Her website is http://saferefugeinternational.com/ and you should go check out what she is doing. She started this ministry over 10 years ago and God is doing great things through her.
Jesus laid down His own life for us. Her website states, “At age 21, she left the comforts of western life and began working with families in developing countries. She worked as the clinical director of a free maternity and birth clinic situated just outside of a large slum in Manila, Philippines. This birth center provided care for the poorest of the poor at all hours of the day and night. She supervised countless deliveries, prenatal appointments, and postpartum visits. In addition, she led a staff of more than twenty people, modeling compassionate and quality medical care as well as sensitivity to the spiritual and emotional needs of the clients being served.
“Through these experiences, Naomi knew there was something more than just helping these women with their maternity needs, and then watching them children go back into devastating circumstances and being used in the sex-trade. In January 2007, she opened Safe Refuge. Since then not only has Naomi helped countless woman through medical and pregnancy needs, but she has been able to rescue them out of dire circumstances.”
If you feel like you would want to do more to support this ministry, go to the website and check it out. I pray that God will continue to change lives through the life of Naomi, but I also pray that God will give Naomi the desires of her heart.
Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.”
Yesterday we celebrated 3 years since Joel has passed away. Although, for the most part, I am doing really well with it, at about 5:30 pm, I had a little “moment.” I cried for about 15 minutes, thinking about my life with Joel and my new life without him. It seems that time has helped the grieving process, but there are still times when I miss him terribly.
Also, yesterday, a friend of mine frantically texted me and asked me if I could sing and play at her aunt’s funeral that was scheduled for today. Last night after my little “pity party” I wondered if I would be able to sing and play without breaking down. At the funeral, I sang “His Eye is on the Sparrow” and “In the Garden.” Both of those songs are beautiful and express the love of our Lord Jesus. His Word in Matthew 6:25-34 tells us that if He will feed the birds and clothes the grass of the field, how much more will He take care of us.
While I was sitting there listening to the funeral message, I realized that I was strangely and wonderfully comforted by the service. I was reminded that Joel is in heaven, and although he is praying for us, he is also enjoying the most wonderful existence that is possible. And that is comforting to me.
Ephesians 4:12-13 “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
Recently, in one of my classes, the professor relayed that he had heard Jack Hayford speak at a seminar about Ephesians 4:12. In the seminar, Pastor Jack taught about the Greek meaning of the word “equipping” in this verse. Two of the meanings of the word are: (1) the word that is the setting of the broken bone; and (2) the realignment or a placing of a limb back in the socket.
Whenever I have been taught about this verse or when I have read it, I have always thought it meant the pastor or teacher was training and teaching people so they could take that knowledge to do the work of the ministry. However, with the context and meaning of the word “equip,” the teaching should focus on mending the brokenness of people, instead of focusing solely on a method that they use to do the work. God has gifted each us with individual gifts and abilities that we can use to do the work of the ministry.
I am not saying that there should never be training in discipleship. There absolutely should be discipleship training. However, I am saying that people will be better able to minister with their own sets of gifts and abilities if we help them with their brokenness first. We are not called to give them what we have, we are called to mend their brokenness, so they can “become mature and attain the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
Psalms 27:33 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way.”
In 1970, I made the leap into teenager-hood. My best friend lived down the street from me. Almost every evening we would go for a walk after school. The only technology we had was a home phone, and we were amazed when the push button variety came out. Cell phones were not an option then. Every one in the family shared the home phone with only one number. It’s hard to remember back to the days of no cell phones.
Things have changed since 1970. Now, most everyone over the age of ten has their own cell phone. When you enter almost any public place these days, people (young and old) are playing on their cell phones. We use our phones to, play games, check our email, find directions, look up things on the internet, texting, occasionally calling someone to talk, etc. We think we cannot live without these phones. We are tied to them. They control our lives.
What would our world look like if we had the same relationship with the Holy Spirit that we have with our cell phones? If we were to become tied to and controlled by the Holy Spirit, I imagine that our world would be a different place. Not only would we act differently in a lot of situations, but we would be making an impact in others’ lives as well.
Most of the time, the things we use our cell phones for are not important in the grand scheme of things. However, allowing the Holy Spirit to lead and guide our lives is of eternal importance. If our “steps are ordered of the Lord,” the next person in your path may well be a divine appointment from the Holy Spirit.
Colossians 3:1-2 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
A couple of years ago, our Pastor did a series about the church being a rescue boat instead of a cruise ship. Most people come to church and choose a church with the “what can you offer me?” mentality. When in reality, God has called the church to “seek and to save that which is lost;” to be a hospital, if you will.
We think we want the cruise ship experience. However, a recent fire in an engine room on a cruise ship created a strong analogy about sin.
Most of the 4200 people, who boarded the Triumph on February 7th and left Galveston, Texas for a four-day trip to Mexico, were not thinking about what could go wrong. Most likely, they were thinking about how much fun they were going to have over the next four days. I am sure some of them had massages and other spa services planned. Some of them were going to get off the boat and do excursion trips at each destination. Some were just going to lie out on the boat’s deck and enjoy a drink or two. Some just “came for the food!” But, for whatever reason each one of them boarded that boat, it was for their pleasure.
I can only imagine the panic that must have ensued once the people were told of the fire. According to an Associated Press article, “Passengers described harsh conditions on board: overflowing toilets, long lines for food, foul odors and tent cities for sleeping on deck.” This was not the “pleasure” for which they paid! Not only the fear of whether the boat would sink or not, but the uncomfortable conditions did not make for the pleasure trip they had planned.
And, isn’t that the way of sin? We are usually tempted by sin’s beauty and the pleasure involved. We rarely consider, or even see, the costs involved. Satan is very good at hiding the negatives of sin. We want what we want and we want it now.
Robert Frost wrote so eloquently in his poem, The Road Not Taken, how the traveler took the road less traveled. What road are you taking? Are you taking the road that is less traveled or are you taking the road of pleasure? The pleasure may not always continue to be pleasure. There are always consequences to every choice we make.
The Road Not Taken
By: Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sign
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
A psalm of David.
1 Keep me safe, O God,
for I have come to you for refuge.
2 I said to the Lord, “You are my Master!
Every good thing I have comes from you.”
3 The godly people in the land
are my true heroes!
I take pleasure in them!
4 Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods. I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood or even speak the names of their gods.
5 Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine.
6 The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance!
7 I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
9 No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety.
10 For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.
11 You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.”
The past few months have been a stretching time for me. There have been lots of opportunities for trusting in God. With some, I have trusted well, with others, not so much! But, I always know that God is right there with me through the Holy Spirit. Even when I make choices that may not be the best. He never leaves me nor forsakes me.
In this Psalm, verse 5 is so comforting. ”Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine.” He is all we need and He is guarding everything we have. This reminds me to continue to trust in the Lord!
Luke 12:3 ”Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.”
Luke 12:12 ”For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
Proverbs 7:16 and 18 “These six things the Lord hates, yes seven are an abomination to Him. A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.”
This morning as I was reading the Life Journal Bible Reading Plan, these two verses in Luke just jumped off the page at me. And the one verse in Proverbs just put the exclamation point on it.
There are times when I am convinced that I have the answer to situations that are going on around me. Is that my place? Sometimes the Holy Spirit may want me to give my thoughts or opinion, but it should be from His prompting, not mine. It should never be from the perspective that I think I have the answers. And, if the Holy Spirit is prompting, then the words spoken should be done in love and care not in a haughty or damaging way.
Based on these verses, and there are many more that talk about the tongue, I believe God wants our spoken words to be uplifting and encouraging. What do you think?
“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.”
It’s been a while since I blogged. Starting classes in August has made my life just a little hectic. Full-time employee, full-time student, as well as being a mom, and the activities I have a church…well, you can imagine I’m just a little busy. LOL
But, I am still learning and growing! Here is something that I have been pondering for a little while now.
In my theology class, we recently learned about “kenosis.” Kenosis is a term used to mean that Christ emptied Himself of His divine attributes to come to earth. In doing so, He became a human, but still fully God. And because He was a human, He could have sinned, but He chose not to sin. He could have called “ten thousand angels” to relieve Him of death on the cross, but He chose not to do so. Christ chose to give up His divine prerogative of deity so that He would be able to be the divine sacrifice that was needed to be the sacrificial Lamb of God.
Recently, we sang a song at church that was written by our Worship Pastor, Mike Gminder, “Supernaturally.” The song has a line that says, “Empty me of all my pride, fill me up to overflow.” This song really made me think about myself.
Patricia is my given name. It means royalty. I was the baby of my family for about six years, and even after my brother was born, my daddy propagated the idea of me being the baby. I was spoiled by my daddy. When I married Joel, he called me Queen and spoiled me as well. And, all who knew us called me Queen Pat because that was what Joel called me and thought about me. I was spoiled by Joel.
I like being spoiled. However, in Ephesians 5:18, the Bible tells us to “keep being filled with the Spirit.” In being filled with the Spirit, what do I need to empty myself of? In order to be filled with the Spirit, there are things that need to be emptied.
Today, I pray that God will show me what I need to empty so that I may be being filled with the Spirit.
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
The Love of God
By: John Campbell and F.M. Lehman
“The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell.
It goes beyond the highest star and reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win.
His erring child He reconciled and pardoned from his sin.
Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry,
Nor could the scroll contain the whole though stretched from sky to sky.
O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure the saints’ and angels’ song.”
What an amazing hymn! I just wanted to share it with you. If you are struggling today with any kind of issue, know that the love of God is measureless. It has no ending. He is ready, willing, and able to wrap His arms around you. He will work out the most intricate details of your life, if you will let Him. He loved us so much that He sent Love in the form of Jesus to earth to die on a cross for us.
Well, I think God set me up! LOL As I have told you, when I went to Cleveland, Tennessee, I really didn’t know exactly why I thought I had to go, but I thought it was that I was going back to college at Lee University. So, when things changed and I didn’t get to enroll in classes, I was disappointed. But, I realized the position I was taking with the Foursquare Processing Center in Concord, North Carolina, was where God was leading. So, I “got over it!”
As I was moving to North Carolina, someone (I don’t remember who) said, “you know Lee has a campus in Charlotte, right?” Of course I did not know that. So a couple of months ago, I started calling the number from the White Pages that I had for the Lee campus here. After a few weeks of not getting a return call, I thought I was done. However, last weekend, in speaking with a friend from Cleveland she told me her sister attended the Charlotte campus and my friend found out for me who to contact. After one phone call last Wednesday, I had an appointment at the Lee University Charlotte campus. I met with the Director, and you are reading the blog of the most recent Lee enrollee! AND, I found out that not only does this Charlotte Campus have a psychology degree, they have a counseling intensive! Who would’ve thought?!?!?!?
God did it–He set me up! Through a series of moves, not getting jobs, getting temporary jobs, getting a permanent job in a different state, talking with people, and just plain God happenings, I am now doing exactly what I thought I went to Cleveland to do a year ago!
God set me up, and I am so excited!