I wake everyday…

I wake everyday…

Life is but a mere breath—like the grass that fades or the flowers that wither away. James tells us to consider it “an opportunity of pure joy” when we experience troubles of any kind.

A friend of mine passed away unexpectedly Sunday. Although I had only met her a handful of times, her life—her spirit—profoundly impacted me.

She suffered from two terminal diseases and was hospitalized countless times. She endured surgery after surgery and every time she praised God and thanked Him for another day. Her strength and resiliency inspired me.

Two days before God took her home, she wrote on Facebook, “I don’t understand why God has decided to keep me in so much pain when I’m battling two terminally ill diseases that give me pain and problems every week. HOWEVER, I don’t question it. I wake every day and live my life while I praise God.”  Amazing!!!

A few weeks ago, I was led by the Holy Spirit to read the Book of Habakkuk. I never even knew this tiny book existed in the Bible. It’s only three chapters but within those short pages held lessons to fill a lifetime.

Habakkuk, [huhbakuh k], was a prophet during the time when Judah was at war, and the Babylonians were threatening to take control. He questioned God about why He would let turmoil and evil fall on His people. Habakkuk wanted to know where God was in all of this pain and suffering. He believed God was nowhere to be found and had removed Himself from the earth.

Habakkuk demanded to know why and expected God to answer. God gave him an answer, but it wasn’t the one he wanted.

God told Habakkuk that He would use the Babylonians to wipe out Judah and that Habakkuk was to trust God because He knew what He was doing—allowing evil to spread so good would prevail.

We may not know why God does what He does or why He allows evil things to happen but we, like Habakkuk and my friend, are called to trust in God’s sovereignty and to praise Him regardless of the situations we face.

Remember—God is greater than all our giants.

Recently, the city I in live experienced extreme racism and hate. Protests and violence filled the streets. People were afraid, and I asked, “Where are you, God? Why do you allow such evil to happen?”

He answered me with His words from Habakkuk— “Trust Me no matter what. Praise Me and do not be controlled by or even be anxious over your circumstances. Move from doubt to faith and from fear to hope. But above all else, love. Love your neighbor as I have loved you. Fill the earth with love. When you love, you have wisdom, and through wisdom you have everything.”

I may never know why my friend had to suffer like she did in this lifetime. Or why there are so many who are homeless, hungry, lost, and alone. But what I do know is I am called to have faith and to wait with a patient expectation for God’s answer.

God knows what will happen and how these circumstances will further His purpose to spread the love of Christ throughout the world. He even knows who on which end of the crazy spectrum will become President in a few weeks and I have to believe He’s got it under control. No matter my trouble, “I wake every day and live my life while I praise God.”

 Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the life of Lori and for all those who suffer. Your mercy is endless and your grace abundant. Even though we know Lori is dancing with you in heaven and her suffering has ended, her absence—the void and the emptiness left behind for those of us who knew her and loved her is devastating. Please fill us with Your Comfort, Love and Peace.

Lord, we commit our lives to You as we choose to believe that You are greater than all the giants in this world. May we have faith that Your goodness will conquer all evil and help us to love one another the way You love us. In Jesus name, Amen.

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When a Penny Costs a Thousand Dollars!

When a Penny Costs a Thousand Dollars!

Whoever said that dogs don’t have personalities couldn’t be more wrong. I have two German Shepherds, and they are the sweetest, kindest, most loving creatures God ever made…until they get into something, they’re not supposed to!

Maggie, our oldest fur baby, is my most adventurous. Sadie, the all-white German Shepherd, is very trusting of her older sister which is why she’s the one who ends up in trouble most of the time.

My husband and I often joke if Maggie used her powers for good instead of evil, she would be an amazing dog.

I’ve watched Maggie trick Sadie into giving up her toy by running to the door and barking. As soon as Sadie jumps up to bark with her, Maggie immediately steals the toy and then hides it.

We have teeth marks on the back door knob because Maggie has learned that’s how to open the door, and she wants inside. If she ever grows thumbs, we’re all in trouble.

I’ve come home to half-eaten highlighters, pencils, and paper. One time I left but came right back because I’d forgot something and there in the foyer stood Maggie with a package of Cheese Nips dangling from her mouth and Sadie, of course, right behind her. Maggie dropped the contraband in front of Sadie and high-tailed it for safer ground. Sadie wagged her tail excited to see me and completely oblivious to her sister’s deceit.

One time I rushed Maggie to the emergency vet because she had eaten poison. I spent the next three days shooting charcoal down her throat every hour with a large syringe. I think I got more charcoal on me and the kitchen walls than I got into her.

Another time Maggie was dehydrated from constant diarrhea and vomiting so we made the dreaded trip to the vet. After countless tests, the doctor determined she must have eaten something that made her stomach upset (go figure!). He gave her a water patch under her skin to help with the dehydration and told me to watch her for the next few days to see if anything comes out the back end.

And sure enough, a few days and a $1,000 later, she pooped a penny!

Her latest antics involved starfish. Who would’ve thought starfish was like crack for dogs?

I had starfish and seashell decorations delivered to my house for a birthday party. I left the opened box was in my office and the next morning caught Maggie with one of the starfish packages in her mouth. Not thinking much about it, I took it from her, put it back into the large box and folded up the sides naively assuming that would keep her out. (What was I thinking?)

In hindsight, I should’ve duct taped the box and put heavy bricks on top of it because while I was out walking, Maggie and Sadie broke into my office!

When I returned Maggie had an empty package of starfish in her mouth and Sadie had her nose crammed into the box searching for another bag. They had eaten 12 starfish! I can’t exactly say how many Sadie ate because I’m sure Maggie didn’t share many with her.

I called the vet, and thankfully starfish are not toxic for dogs. However, the foul odor that emanated from the two of them the next day smelled toxic and almost drove me out of the house!

I love my four-legged children and wouldn’t trade them for the world. But as we affectionately say in the south, “bless ‘em little hearts!”

They keep life interesting that’s for sure.

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God is Love

God is Love

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!

His faithful love endures forever. Psalm 136:1

About two weeks ago, I started posting a series of pictures on Facebook with scriptures from Psalm 136. I wasn’t sure the intent for the postings, other than I needed to do it. I felt certain I would follow-up with a blog but, I wasn’t clear what that would be either—until this morning when it hit me… His faithful love endures forever.

Last March I was laid-off, and instead of finding another job immediately I decided to take some time off to write a book that I felt God nudging me to do (I’m still writing it). We had money in savings, and I drew unemployment. All was well.

Now a year later, our savings have slowly dwindled down and my husband and I have agreed it’s time for me to get a job—but part-time so I can finish my book.

I found a perfect position as an office manager for a small CPA firm. I’ve always done this type of work. It’s comfortable and familiar, and I knew I would do well there.

Then unexpectedly I was offered a job as a writer/editor for a local community magazine.

Unbelievable!

The problem was that as a writer/editor it paid less than the office manager but it could afford me opportunities and experiences that the other would not. The risk was high, but the reward could be greater…if it worked out.

I felt God had offered me two options—one I knew well and another that required tremendous faith. He wanted to know if I was ready for what He had prepared for me to do next.

After discussing it with my husband, I called the CPA and told her I couldn’t take the position. At that moment fear washed over me and I questioned my decision. I had given up something comfortable for the unknown and had stepped out in faith into something that didn’t make logical sense.

A dear friend said, “Amy, walk through the fear and doors will open.”In Philippians 4:19, God promises to supply all of my needs. And in Romans 8:28, He vows to work all things together for my good.

There are thousands of God’s promises in the Bible waiting for us to claim. Although, two things are needed to receive His promises—faith and patience.

Faith in God’s word.

Faith in God.

Faith in His abilities as God.

Faith to believe God is capable of doing all that He’s promised.

And patience to wait on God because He doesn’t always answer prayers immediately. Sometimes He tests our faith for a period of time between our prayers and His answers.

As human beings, we tend to think of God with human logic. However, He can do exceedingly more than we can ever think of or imagine.

God is not limited by human understanding, thinking or reasoning. He sees the entire parade, whereas, we only see what’s coming around the corner or what has already past (and if we’re looking, what’s right in front of us).

I’ve learned that God wants me to find the joy in fear because when I do, I find Him. When I put my trust in Him and allow Him to work, the impossible happens.

God parted the Red Sea for the Israelites to escape Pharaoh’s men. He led His people through the wilderness with a cloud by day and a flame of light at night.

God made the heavens and placed the earth among the waters. He made the stars and the moon to rule the night and the sun to rule the day.

I ask you, is there anything He can’t do?

God says, “Dream abundantly and plunge into My promises because My faithful love endures forever.”

Thank you, God, for Your promises and faithfulness. I’m believing You today for the impossible. I’ll have faith in You and be patient. I’ll walk where You tell me and know You’ll guide me in all truth because Your faithful love endures forever. Amen.

 

 

 

Does “Jesus” Offend You?

Does “Jesus” Offend You?

A friend recently told me that I appeared too “religious” in my blog posts and writings and suggested that I tone down my references to Jesus.

I was left speechless for several moments and eventually asked, “Why?”

She said that many perceived the word Jesus as offensive and it made them uncomfortable. If I wanted to reach more people I should refrain from using it as much– so others would feel more open to what I had to share.

Her comment stirred up memories and emotions within me of when I first came to believe in God– Jesus.

My neighbor, a Christian lady, had asked me to start running. I accepted her offer, and while we ran, she did most of the talking. As a first-time runner, I found it slightly difficult to breathe and run at the same time which made carrying on a conversation near impossible. Since she had a captive audience with me, she took the opportunity to share her love of God and what He meant in her life.

I had been raised in the church but never thought God loved me. I felt that He was unattainable and elusive. But my morning runs with Gina opened a door for me to believe it was possible that God loved me and desired a relationship.

I wanted what my neighbor had–peace, joy, happiness, love. She told me if I prayed and asked God to come into my life and fill my heart He would.

And I trusted her.

So one day, I went into the bathroom (the only place I could be alone at the time) with my dusted-off bible and prayed, “God, please come into my heart. Gina said you loved me, and I want to believe her. Please show me the way. But if it’s okay, I want to leave Jesus out of this. He’s too radical, and I don’t want people to think I’m a ‘Jesus freak.’”

I laugh at those words now. God probably laughed too and thought, Okay Amy, but just wait– one day you’ll call Him Friend.

And today Jesus is my Friend but most importantly He’s my Savior.

I can relate to those who think Jesus is too radical because He is– radical about me, about you, about every living person.

He came so we could have full access to the living God. How awesome is that?

Everything Jesus did was considered extreme and crazy. He said He was God, which intimidated many people– including me at one time.

God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are all-in-one but at the same time– different. Now if that’s not confusing and mystifying, I don’t know what is.

But the more I delved into God’s Word, the more He opened my eyes to the love of Jesus and the more real He became.

It took time but finally got “IT” and although the name Jesus may offend some people, He’s my lifeline now.

I pray that through my actions and words, others will experience Jesus just as I once did with my neighbor.

It’s not about shoving doctrine down a someone’s throat or standing on a street corner with a shaved head, and a rose–it’s about being a conduit for God’s love and leading them into a relationship with Him.

And if people quit reading, or move on, because of the name Jesus then that’s okay. They learned what they needed and hopefully when ready they’ll return.

We are called to plant seeds love. It’s God’s job to water.

God has the power to change a person’s heart– He did with mine.

I thank Jesus every day for not being offended by my “offensive” behavior. And I pray that compassion and tolerance will overflow all those who feel insulted by His name and that one day the eyes of their hearts will be opened!

In the loving name of Jesus,

Amen.

 

Resolve to Save a Life

Resolve to Save a Life

Beth Crosby, writer and dialysis patient, wrote the article linked below about me as a living kidney donor.

Beth’s blog http://www.dialysisgal.com chronicles her journey through weekly dialysis. It’s dedicated to those who are facing dialysis now or in the future and the ones who love and care for someone in kidney failure. Information there is based on her experience and the questions she has asked, conversations she has overheard and articles she’s read. Her blog is devoted to education and sharing things she’s learned the hard way or wish she had known earlier.

I hope you enjoy the article. Thank you, Beth!

Resolve to Save a Life