Ministry in a Fishing Boat?

“Come, follow me, Jesus said, and I will make you fishers of men. “ Mark 1:17
In one of my past blogs, I mentioned how God will use us wherever we are. He doesn’t always call us to go to foreign lands or places that might be a challenge for us. He doesn’t always call us out of our comfort zone and challenge us. Sometimes he takes the things we are most interested in and he will help us use them for his glory. Let me give you a perfect example.
For my anniversary gift, my husband decided to do something special for me. He knows I love to fish and I haven’t fished since leaving Indiana twelve years ago. He has become acquainted with and become friends with a fishing guide. He uses his boat to take people out to fish. He doesn’t guarantee they will catch fish, but this man does everything he can to make sure you do. We did. In fact, the limit was fifty fish and we caught fifty fish. He did everything he could to make sure our day was wonderful and exciting; it was. He even cleaned and washed the fish.
In the first few minutes of this trip, he got a phone call that he needed to take. He apologized even though we told him he was fine. After all, he owns a business. I tried not to eavesdrop, but you are on a boat and there are not many places to go and take a personal phone call. A few minutes into the phone call this friend started praying for the person on the other end. It was an amazing prayer. It was a heartfelt and tender prayer. We realized afterward he was talking to his seventeen -year -old daughter who was going through some things. He told us he prayed with her often. He and I began to share our faith. We talked about how important prayer was among some other things. He shared with me how he used to take guides on Sunday, but God spoke to him through a friend and he soon quit taking people out on Sundays. God blessed his business. He has made more since he quit taking groups out on Sunday.
As we were finishing up that morning he shared with me that each time before he takes the boat out he prays over the boat and he prays for the people who he will be taking out on the boat. His prayer is if they don’t know Christ somehow let him be able to share Christ with them and open a door. If they knew Christ then may his words encourage or inspire them. He shared with me this is not only a business but a ministry; his mission. We talked about how we can use the gifts God gives us no matter what they are for his glory and his work. This was more than a fishing trip it was an inspiration.
As I came home I thought about the day and how wonderful it really was. I also was inspired by this man. It reminded me that God often takes our gifts that he gives us and helps us use them for his glory. We don’t have to do anything special or be anything special. All we have to do is be willing to give him ourselves and allow him to work through us.
This man took something that he loved to do and turned it into a mission and a ministry. All of us have a something that we are passionate about. All of us enjoy doing that one thing. We take that one thing turn it over to God and allow God to use that one thing for his glory. When we do that we all become missionaries and ministers to the world. The people he touches may never step their foot in the door of a church or they may never be given the opportunity to hear God’s words, but through his business, as a fishing guide, he just may be able to touch a life and open a closed door. He plants a seed.
I was thinking about how many stories there are in the Bible of Christ being in a boat or on the water. How Christ taught us to be fishers of men. How he taught Peter to fish on the right side of the boat. This man is doing the very thing that Christ taught his disciples: to be fishers of men.
So, that brings me to you. What are you passionate about? What is it you like to do? What is your hobby? I challenge you to think this through. Ask friends or family if you aren’t sure. Once you find it I challenge you to ask Christ to show you how you can take that one thing you are good at and make it into a ministry or a mission for His glory.
Sometimes I think we are afraid to ask God about our mission or ministry because we think God will call us out of our comfort zone or call us to go to some foreign land or move half way across the states. This man is a perfect example of what we can do if we give God all we have and all our being. More times than not God will take what we have to offer him and turn that into a ministry or mission. It’s not always about getting out of our comfort zone or moving thousand of miles away.
It’s all about surrendering our lives and the letting go of those things we hold so dear and dedicate them back to him. Once we do that he will bless us in whatever we do.
This guide feeds the souls of men and women. Whose soul can you touch by you doing what you are passionate about?
Dear God I thank you for this lesson, this experience and this new brother in Christ. May I learn from him and find my passion in life. May I take what I am passionate about dedicating it back to you and allow you to use it to feed the souls of those around me. Amen

My Dad’s 95 Birthday!


My dad’s birthday was yesterday. He would have turned 94. While I didn’t mention him on Facebook, I thought about him all day and held him close to my heart. My dad had a hard life. His mother died when he was just a child. His dad raised him with the help of his sister. I think his dad was saddened with the death of his wife. He had a big responsibility raising children. I believe because his mother had died early and there were no women in his life (his sister wasn’t much older than he was) he did not learn the gentleness of a mother’s touch. He did not often have that softness about him that I think our mothers teach us. I am not sure of the circumstances, but, I know he told us he had to go to work really young. There was not much time for play or for having fun. His life was all about growing up fast and working hard.
Much of his background came out as he was raising his four children. We rarely saw the softness of my dad. I remember a few hugs from time to time. He really didn’t learn to play with us, but we did have some great fun times as we got older. He worked construction and farmed our farm as well as help my grandfather on my mother’s side. He seemed to always be away working construction jobs or when he was home he was out in the fields. I don’t think as a child his family celebrated holidays. I don’t think holidays were important to his dad. It was another opportunity to work just like any other day. As a child, I can remember my dad was not about holidays. Those were not his best days. He would always be upset when Mom began preparations for the holidays. Christmas was the exception. He seemed to really enjoy Christmas and being able to give us gifts.
I do believe dad loved each of us in his own special way; it was just different. My dad did go to church with my mom for awhile as we were growing up, but an event happened and he stopped going. It wasn’t until years later and we had moved to a new community that he began going again. He was not the spiritual leader in our family. That was my mom. She was the glue that held us all together. She was also the mischievous one in our family (much like myself). We had lots of fun with my mom while dad was the serious one and provider for our family.
Sometimes my relationship with dad was a bit challenging. Then mom would remind me of dad’s background and suggest I be more understanding of where he came from. The last few years I was his main caregiver or at least until I had to move to Texas when my sister and brother took over. Those years I took care of dad was a blessing to me. I did see his gentleness show and his kindness in the later years of his life. I also saw his stubbornness. We learned to love through our difficult times with each other. I received much more hugs as an adult than I did as a child. Even though those years were difficult I cherished our time together. I think dad did the best he knew how and I think despite his harshness sometimes he wanted the best for me.
So now that brings me to faith. Sometimes our relationship with God is not as it should be. Sometimes we can feel God’s gentleness and other times not so much. Sometimes we can feel God as close as a breath or touch away other times it feels like we are a thousand miles apart.
I think my relationship with my dad had an impact on what I thought about God for awhile. I thought God was a God that worked and provided for us but did not always have time to love me or show much affection toward me. As an adult, I began to realize the kind of relationship I had with my earthly father was not like anything I would have with my heavenly father.
As I mentioned earlier, my dad would be gone for weeks at a time and only show up during the weekend during the most crucial construction time. That is not the way it is with our God. Our God never leaves us. He is with us constantly. Hebrews 13:5 reminds us, “Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote, God is there, ready to help; I’m fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me?” While our earthly fathers may not always have been around and maybe even some of them left us this is not what God will do. We do not have to be afraid that God will walk away from us. We may walk away from Him, but he will not desert us ever. We can be rest assured of this truth.
While my dad was the disciplinarian I knew my dad wanted what’s best for us kids. God is the same way. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 We may not always like the plans God has for us, but we can trust God. He wants to prosper us and not harm us. He sometimes has to chisel off the rough places so that we can be the tool that he can use.
My whole life dad provided for me. That’s the same way with God. He provides for our every need. Philippians 4:19 reminds us, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Jesus Christ.” God will provide for our needs. He won’t always give us everything we want, but he will provide what we need. I have found this to be so true throughout my life. I may not have all my wants fulfilled but, I do have a house, food, and transportation. I have what is needed most and God has provided. When I wasn’t sure where our next meal was coming from God provided for us. When I wasn’t sure where the next paycheck was coming from for two years, God provided jobs for Greg and I. He was there by our side and he provided for us and he knew the plans he had for us.
While my God may not physically be able to come down and hug me or give me a kiss, he does so through the actions of friends and family. I have received more love, more hugs and more kisses from God’s children than I could ever imagine as a child. I have felt God’s love in so many ways through so many people. I have been touched by so many of God’s chosen ones that I can’t help but feel God’s love for me. Every time I receive a hug, I know it’s God touching me and letting me know I am loved. God is full of love. I John 4:7-8, “Beloved, let us love one another for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love.”
My relationship with my father was a stepping stone for the relationship I have with my heavenly Father. I was blessed to have the dad I did even though things were rough sometimes. I am even more blessed to have the relationship I have with my Heavenly Father. I may not understand why things happen when they do, or why he does the things he does, but I am sure of this: he provides for me, he loves me and he will never leave me.
What kind of relationship did you have with your earthly father and how does it reflect on your relationship with your heavenly father? Let me just add this if you had a bad or rocky relationship with your earthly father then come and get to know a father who will love you, provide for you and never leave you. He’s waiting with his arms open wide.
Dear God: Thank you for my Father. Even though our relationship was sometimes challenging I know he loved me and I loved him. Thank you for my relationship being a stepping-stone to something better in You. Thank you for providing for my needs, for being there with me all time and for the love I feel from you through others. Amen

I’ve Lost My Identity!


I have lost my identity! Well, sort of. Let me explain. I have five name tags. Two are for my church. One is my name tag as a member the second one is a name tag from the church but with Congregational Care team listed under my name. Another name tag is from church and it says I am a United Methodist Women member. Another name tag has my name on it, but it adds United Methodist Central Texas Conference United Methodist Women ( basically meaning I am on the Conference Team for the UMW). The last one is my name tag for Harvest House as a Client Advisor where I volunteer. Those are just the name tags I need to wear when I participate in each of those activities. That is not to mention that some people call me wife, mother, grandmother, and sister. Along with those titles, I am an Aunt, friend, and neighbor. I could go on, but you get the point.

I have been excellent in keeping them all straight and wearing them as I should and when I should, except for last week. We were busy passing out school supplies at the place where I volunteer. At last count, we gave away 440 backpacks with school supplies in three days. So, to say I was a bit tired at the end of each day is an understatement. One morning I picked up a name tag from the place I volunteer. I went to the organization that morning. The first thing we do is to gather and pray before the clients are welcomed. One of the volunteers came up and said, “Oh, I see you have a new name tag.” Without really looking I said, “No same one I’ve always had.” To which she replied, “Really? It looks different.” I said, “No. Same one.” We went on with our day.

That evening I got home and took off my name tag. The magnet on the back fell off and I leaned down to pick it up when I noticed I had worn the wrong name tag to the wrong place. I laughed thinking back about the conversation I had earlier in the day. No wonder the poor lady was confused and I added to her confusion. Needless, to say the next day I found this lady and apologized. We both had a good laugh.

This brings me to the point I want to make. I may from day to day not know who I am or what exactly my role is for that day, but there is one thing I know for certain. I know whose I am.

In the Bible, it states very clearly that I am God’s child. 2 Corinthians 6:18″And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty.”  I may not know who I am at the time, but I know I belong to God. I am his daughter and he is my Father. There is no doubt in my mind.

When I accepted God as a young believer I was adopted into the family and became an heir. “And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ, we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.” Romans 8:17

As I was looking up scriptures that tell me I AM a child of God I found so many I couldn’t list them all here. If you are in doubt please take the time to look these up and find the many more scriptures that tell you, you ARE God’s child. In the meantime, know for sure if you have accepted Christ you are God’s child. I have the confidence I have been adopted and I am in His family.

So what does it mean to be a child of God? Let’s think this through. When you were born you had a mother and a father. A part of them is in your makeup. You may have your mom’s looks and your dad’s personality. Or you may have a trait that belongs to one or both of them. They are a part of who you are. So, if we believe this then God is in us and we have a part of him in our makeup of who we are.

Remember I am not a theologian, I am just stating what I think. I could be dead wrong, but I think when we are born God is in each of us. There comes a point in our life that we have to decide if we are going to follow him or go out on our own. A part of that decision is based on our circumstances, our environment and our belief system we grew up in. Just as a part of our parents are in us we get the choice as adults to keep that part of our parents with us and stay close or we can choose to be like the prodigal son and go out on our own and live the way we choose. Even if we choose to walk away from God he stays inside each of us yearning for our return. He is always a breath prayer away.

We know if we are heirs of someone we inherit things they leave behind. So if we are heirs of God what do we inherit? First and foremost if we stay with him through the end we will receive eternal life. Very simply put we will be with him forever. The second most important thing for me is the knowledge that since I am his child he is going to stick with me no matter what. He will never leave me or forsake me. Deuteronomy 31:6 states, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

If we are his sons and daughters then we also have been given the Holy Spirit to guide us, direct us and to teach us.

Finally, as sons and daughters, we can know his love, his grace, his mercy, his peace and all the other wonderful things he has promised us.

So while I may not know who I am some days, I know whose I am. I can live with the confidence that I am a child of God.

I want to leave you with a call to worship I did once. I have grown to love it. I think it fits for today.

I Am God’s Child!

Leader: I may be white…I may be black…
All: I may be uptight, but I am still God’s child.
Leader: I may be rich…I may be poor.
All: I might be exciting…I might be a bore;
Leader: But I am still God’s child!
All: I may be big… I may be small…
Leader: I might be going out…I might be coming in;
All: but I am still God’s child!
Leader: Mistreated, unseated…
Leader: Be never defeated, because I am God’s child!
All: I am God’s child!

Go in the confidence that YOU ARE God’s child.

Dear God: I do get a bit confused, but one thing I am sure of I AM your child. I can say that with confidence. Now I need to live like I know I am you, child. Help me to live with the confidence I need to be your child. Thank you for accepting me into your family. Thank you for being my Father and never deserting me.
I love you God and I am thankful for the opportunity to be in your family. Amen



A God Incidence

The last couple of months has been a bit challenging for my husband and I. We have had two months straight where we have had to spend large amounts of money on unexpected expenditures that weren’t planned. One of the expenditures was a repair the other was an unplanned replacement on a major item.
Only one of us works so it can be a bit challenging for us at times. I will be the first to admit I can get a little stressed out about our finances. I will also admit when it comes to our finances I am a worrier. Yes, I know I have frogs in my house that remind me to “fully rely on God”, but it isn’t as easy to do as it sounds. It takes a lot of practice and a lot of work. I was doing great for a while, but I have fallen back into my old ways.
I see the trips some of my friends take and I get a bit envious. I watch while others spend a great amount on things that make them more comfortable or life more easier and I wish we were there. I want to spoil my grandchildren more than I do.
Recently, I was reminded how lucky I really him. I have a home that is comfortable, I have a car that runs with no problems, and I have everything I need. God provides for me in so many ways. He doesn’t give me all I want, but he does provide what I need. As I look back on my life even though times have been tough and a little rough I have not been in despair or needed anything that God did not provide.
I was at a Community Gathering recently. We had musicians leading the music. They had given us a song book with the songs that we were to sing that evening. Just before the last song was sung the musicians changed up the last song. Instead of singing what they had planned they ended the night with, “What a friend we have in Jesus.”
As I began to sing it the words hit hard, “what a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!” It should be a privilege for us to take everything to God in prayer. We should not try to do this alone. We have a God that cares for us and we should be willing to take our concerns to him and leave them with him.
The next line is, “O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear.” I had been forfeiting my peace all along. I was bearing the pain of these unexpected expenditures all by myself simply because I did not carry them to God in prayer. How many times do we let peace slip by us because we don’t take the time to pray about a certain situation? How many times are we in anguish over our circumstances just because we think we can do it on our own?
“We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer”. It was very clear that God knew I needed to hear that message. He was telling me not to be discouraged. The next line, “Can we find a friend so faithful, who will all our sorrows share?” God shares our sorrows with us. When we cry He cries. When we get discouraged God knows that and he cares. He will send whatever reminders he needs to remind us he is there for us.
“Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer. God created me. He knows me from the inside out and he knows my weaknesses. He knows my weakness is worry. He knows my weakness is being overly concerned about our financial situation. Do you know who else knows about our weaknesses? Satan. Satan will use our weaknesses to try and destroy what we have with God. God is faithful and he will never leave us or forsake us in a time of trouble. He is with us.
In the last verse, it says, “In his arms, he’ll take and shield thee; thou will find a solace there.”
Solace means comfort, cheer, and relief. We will only find comfort and relief when we take our problems to God, let him wrap his arms around us. When we do that our joy will be returned to us and we can go on.
I needed to be reminded of what God can and will do if I go to him in prayer. God provided that remembrance. I was reminded God not only provides for my financial needs he also takes care of my emotional needs. But, first I have to go to him in prayer. I have to release those things that are bothering me so he can provide for me financially and emotionally.
There is a song that says, God is a good, good, father. Yes, he is. That same night that God provided that song he provided for me by giving me a new frog from a good friend. She had no idea how bad I needed to be reminded. It wasn’t a coincidence it was a God-incidence.
You may be going through some difficult times right now too. My advice is take it to the Lord in prayer. You should not bear that pain by yourself. Christ want’s to share that pain with you. Don’t lose another minute of peace; take it to God. He knows our weaknesses and he still loves us. Take it to the Lord in prayer and have peace. Allow that pain to run off of you and you’ll find solace in his arms.
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Philippians 4:6
I don’t know, but I don’t think you can praise God and worry at the same time. So join me if you are concerned about something; let’s take it to God in prayer.
Dear God: it amazes me how you work things out so that I may receive reminders of what I need. I have been forfeiting peace and bearing all the pain of worry just because I have not come to you in prayer. You arms are open wide just waiting to take me and shield me. I know I will find comfort, peace, and relief in your wide open arms. Thank you for the new frog that I was given. Remind me daily, to fully rely on you every day, in all ways at all times. Amen 

A Strong Hand with A Gentle Touch

We are continuing our study on the Fruits of the Spirit. We have one more month after this. How are you doing? It’s been challenging for me. This will be something I will have to continue to work on.
Today we are looking at gentleness. Wikipedia says this about gentleness, “Gentleness is a strong hand with a soft touch. It is a tender, compassionate approach toward others’ weaknesses and limitations. A gentle person still speaks the truth, sometimes even painful truth, but in doing so guards his tone so the truth can be well received.” It also describes it as being kind and considerate.
I often think of times when Jesus had to be gentle as he taught his Disciple. The Passover meal that he shared with his Disciples was a teaching time. They were limited in their understanding of what he was telling them. He had to be gentle, tender, and compassionate as he spoke about the things that were going to happen to him. He had to speak the truth even though it was painful for them to hear. I am not sure though how well received the message was.
I think of the gentleness of Jesus as he took the time to be with the little children. Matthew 19:13-15 tells us this, “Then the little children were brought to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them and pray for them; and the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them! For the kingdom of heaven” belongs to such as these. And after He had placed His hands on them, He went on from there.…” I can see Jesus being compassionate and gentle as he said to His Disciples do not hinder them.
Jesus showing gentleness is throughout the Bible. I think about the woman who touched Jesus’s robe and he asking who had touched him. I think he was gentle as he asked the question. He showed compassion toward the one who had touched him.
What does being gentle mean for us today? I think for me it’s about being compassionate about something yet not be so overbearing that the message doesn’t get out. I think it’s about being tender toward others and still speaking the truth. I think it is about knowing the limitations of those whom you are talking with.
The people I deal with everyday need me to be gentle with them as I share the good news Christ has for each of us. I need to understand the limitations they may have and realize I can only take baby steps with them. I can’t give them the whole doctrine all at once. It’s more about showing gentleness and compassion and allowing God to speak the truth through me.
For me the quality of an excellent leader is gentleness. I want a leader that is gentle, yet compassionate about the work they are doing, but at the same time keep everyone on the same page. I think a leader is one who knows the weaknesses and the limitations of those he/she works with. I want a leader that may have a painful message for me, but brings it to me in a kind, tender and gentle way; not one that will tear me down, but will lift me up.
How many of us would follow Christ if he never showed gentleness, or compassion or was tender? How many of us would follow Christ if all we got was praise from him? We all know dessert is great, but we need vegetables for nutrition. We don’t all like vegetables, but they are healthy for us. We need to hear criticism once in awhile so we can grow in our relationship with Him.
We all know screaming and yelling at our kids when they mess up does not always produce the results we want. It’s when we sit down with them and talk with them in a gentle manner showing compassion and tenderness that we often get the results we were looking for. We need to understand the limitations and the weaknesses our children have and work with them in the way that’s best for them.
That’s the way it is with God. I have never heard God scream or yell at me. Instead, I have felt tenderness and gentleness as he quietly and with great compassion lets me know I am headed in the wrong direction. Just like the Disciples sometimes I have gotten the message other times I have not. He just gently continues to work with me until I do get the message right.
If you are being ripped apart, if you don’t feel the compassion or are being torn down I would venture to say you are not hearing that from God. That is Satan that is presenting himself. God is not a God that will destroy us; he only builds us up.
Just as God is gentle with us we need to be gentle with others. God was a compassionate God; we need to show compassionate toward others. God knows our limitations and never asks more than we are capable of doing. We need to know the limitations of those around us. God knows our weaknesses and he will never put us in a situation that will allow us to be defeated or brought down. We are called not to bring down others, but to know their weaknesses and not ask them to do more than they are capable of. Christ wants us to succeed; we need to help others succeed.
To follow God is to be a person who is gentle in all our ways, compassionate and tender, yet can still get God’s message across in a loving way.
Let’s work together this month and let our gentleness show. Find times when Christ showed his gentleness toward you and allow those times to be stepping stones for others.
Dear Lord, help us to be gentle with one another. Teach us about compassion and tenderness. Help me not to point out others limitations or weaknesses, but to be aware of them so I can help them to succeed. Thank you for being gentle with me as you correct me and put me on the right path. I love you God and thank you for being in my life everyday. Amen

Crazy Busy

I have had one busy summer and I bet you have too. Seems like life just gets crazier and crazier each year. The years just seem to fly by. I love summers, but they are a challenge to my faith. I can’t seem to find the time to get away, sit down, do my devotions and spend time with God. I have good intentions, but something happens. Fall, winter, and spring I am good. I can make time for them. I find that time period is my growing time.
Each year at the end of summer I am blessed to be a part of a three-day retreat. I attend our local church camp with a group that I am involved with. We get away for three days. We laugh, cry, talk till wee hours of the morning, share, study, worship, pray and come away refreshed and renewed. God meets us there and it is good. I am just sorry more men and women don’t take advantage of this time.
It is by a lake and lakes refresh me. They calm me and often make me think of Jesus and his time on earth with us. I am really looking forward to it this year. Like I said I have been busy and have not been in my normal study habit. I have several speaking engagements this fall and I really need to be refreshed, renewed and ready to go do those things God has called me to.
I bet you are the same way, aren’t you? You might have taken a vacation, but how many of us need time to rejuvenate after our vacation? How many of us really needed to come home and rest after our vacation? I know I did.
God does not want us to live rushed lives. He wants us to enjoy our lives and enjoy the time we spend with one another. Rushing around and being busy is not in his plans; they are in our plans. When we don’t continue to take the time to get into his word, to pray with him daily, and to be alone with him we are missing out and we lose ground. It’s like taking one step forward and two steps back.
I know this and so do you. I am reminded each summer that I have not kept my focus on God and my faith has been challenged, but what do I do to change it each summer? Nothing. Nothing changes from summer to summer. That is why it’s so important for me to do a retreat to finish up my summer and to get back into the swing of things which includes Bible Study, prayer time, and alone time with God.
If I am so busy how will I ever hear the voice of God? If I am so busy, how will I know if he’s calling me to do something really important? If we are constantly busy doing and being and never spend time with our spouses, children or friends what kind of relationship would we have with them?
August is here and it’s almost Fall. Summer is winding down. How did your summer go? Are you like me and missing some of the normal things we do in the fall, winter, and spring? Have you been so busy you just might have missed a call or two from God?
We can’t beat ourselves up about what has been. We accept God’s grace and pick up where we left off. We get back into finding quiet time with God. We pick up those dusty Bibles, open them up and read. We read the blessings God has given us, we read the promises God has given us and we read the warnings that remind us we are to live a Godly life. We go into a quiet room, light a candle and reflect on God’s light in our lives. We think about not blowing the candle out, but how we can take that same light and light up the world of someone living in darkness.
I encourage you to seek a time where you can get away for two or three days and spend that time in prayer, bible study, fellowship, and worship. Ask your Pastor to help you find that special retreat for you. Or better yet, create a retreat for you and some of your friends or family (this is not a vacation; this is a time for worship, prayer and bible study).
Time set apart with God is a time of renewal and growth. I challenge you to a time of renewal and growth. I challenge you to go to a quiet room and light a candle. Think about the light in your life that God has provided. Next, think about what it would look like if you took that same light and lit someone’s darkness.
We know with the fall and winter comes holidays. It will get crazy busy again, but we all need a short time of renewal. Let’s do it now. Won’t you join me?
“Study this Book of Instruction continually. 
Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. 
Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”
Joshua 1:8 

I rise early, before the sun is up; I cry out for help and 
put my hope in your words. My eyes are awake before the 
watches of the night, that I may meditate 
on your promise. Psalm 119:147-148 

Dear Lord, Thank you for this time of renewal. Thank you for the opportunity to go away and be with you and those you have chosen to be with me. Thank you that as I show up so will you. Guide my paths, direct my ways and allow your Presence to be felt so that I may come back renewed, refreshed and ready, My God to do your will. Amen

I Can’t Get That Song Out of My Life!

Have you ever had a phrase, scripture or song that just keeps coming up over and over in your life? I am not talking about a short period but over several years? That has been happening to me. It started years ago.
Back in 2005, in the Spring, I left my church and family behind because my husband had been transferred to a plant halfway across the United States, down south. We were moving to Texas. Jokingly, I told people he was being transferred; I was being called. I just didn’t know how true that was. The last hymn played in my church on that day was a song called, “Here I Am Lord.” The words to the chorus are, “Is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go, Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart.” I didn’t give that incident much thought nor did I think too much about the song or those word at the time.
When we got to Texas later on that same month, I began praying for a church and church family. How would I ever know which church or what congregation? I started praying God would show me visibly which church he wanted me in. I attended the local church of the same denomination for a trial run, thinking, later on, I would try other churches. After several weeks feeling pretty comfortable in this church I began to explore the idea of testing the waters and looking for another church. I wasn’t unhappy, but I wanted to see what else was out there. Before I started my test, I went in one Sunday morning and something was different. I wasn’t sure what it was, but I knew it was different. As the service progressed the song, “Here I Am, Lord” was sung (I can’t remember if it was a solo or the choir had sung it or a congregational song). Goose bumps began to form and tears soon filled my eyes. I knew God had answered my prayer and had visibly sent me a sign. Now God knows I am stubborn in my thinking. For whatever reason, over the next several weeks that song was played many times. I know the choir did a number, I know the congregation sang it once and I remember a soloist singing it. I remember praying to God, “Ok, I got it! I am home! This is my home church.”
Over the years this song has popped up in my life either in my devotion time or praying or at church. I would say this is my theme song. Just recently it has popped up again. I believe I needed a reminder a couple of weeks ago.
I had been home to Indiana and while attending church with my daughter we sang that song again. As I was headed back to Texas I made some remark about how I was going back to my mission field. I was really making a joke about it; only half believing what I said. Then God reminded me I had just sung that song about sending me and holding his people in my heart.
Then recently I volunteered to read scripture in my class at church. I was given a Luke passage. Another man volunteered to read a passage as well. The teacher then directed him to read the Luke passage and gave me Isaiah. Can you guess what passage it was? Isaiah 6:8, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” I believe in God incidents and intervention. I could have easily read the Luke passage, but at the last minute, it was changed. I got the scripture I was to read for a reason. I believe it was to remind me there is a reason I am here in Texas. I may joke about Texas is my mission field, but I believe God is telling me this is no joke; this is your mission field.
Now for the main point, if you have something that keeps coming up over and over pay attention to it! It could be God talking to you; giving you a message or directing your path. If you find yourself hearing the same message in various ways it’s not a random thing. It’s God wanting you to know and believe something. Take some time right now; stop reading this and think about the message you have been getting over and over and over. What is it telling you? Are you focusing on it or are you dismissing it from your mind? Could God be sharing something with you, directing you in a new area, or guiding you to do something?
The other thing I want to stress is this: God does not always move us to a different location to do missions. Most of the time God calls us to do mission work right where we are. Our mission work could involve our families, our mission work could involve our neighbors, our church or a community organization that needs volunteers. You do not have to move halfway across the country or move to a new country to do mission work. Mission work is sometimes within our households or right outside our doors. You can do mission work every day doing everyday things. You can do mission work as you are shopping at the grocery store simply by saying, “God bless you. Have a great day” to the clerk who is having a bad day. Or you may offer to pray for her or him. There are people who are struggling that we pass every day. Have you thought about stopping and asking that clerk if she needs prayer and tell her you will pray for her?
There are many organizations struggling because they don’t have enough help with what they do. Have you thought about giving your time to a non-profit who needs volunteers? Our schools need adults who will read or listen to children. Our hospitals are in need of volunteers most of the time.
Our neighbors are struggling with raising kids, getting kids to where they need to be, feeding their family, homework, and the list goes on. What can you do help your neighbor? Take a meal once a week, offer to drop the kids off, help with homework? There are lots of things we could do to help, but we don’t think about that being mission work, but it is.
In the first verse, there is a phrase that says, “I have heard my people cry. All who dwell in dark and sin my hand will save.” We are God’s hands and feet. We are the ones God will send, but first, we have to say to him, “I will go, Lord. If you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart.”
Are we holding God’s people in our hearts? Are we willing to move outside our churches, our homes, and our comfort zones? Are you willing to be sent?
God is asking, “Whom shall I send? What will be your answer?
Dear God: Thank you for reminding me Texas is my mission field. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. Help me as I spend my time doing what you have called me to do. Help us to hold your people in our hearts. Help us hear you as you call us to be missionaries right where we are. Whom will you send Lord? It is I if you will lead me. I will hold your people in my heart. Amen