9/27/2008

Debt Free...I'm on my way

God does all things for a purpose, nothing is coincidental, nothing just happens.

I am watching the puzzle of my life come together, though God had the puzzle all together before I was even formed.

I am beginning to understand why God directed us to OCBF and more recently, the urge to take the financial freedom class at church. He wants me out of debt and free so that I can begin to do the work I was born to do.

How many of us go through life thinking we are here on this earth for our own purpose?! Reality is that we were born and live to fulfill the purpose He has for us. There is a greater purpose for our lives, and much of it we cannot do as long as we are strapped with debt. God so wants us to be debt free so that we have the freedom to do whatever it is He wants us to do or go where ever He wants us to go.

I know at this point there is much debt that must be erased so that I may go to the orphans. I looked at this task as daunting until today. God has called me to do something and He knows what is hindering me from going now. I so deeply feel that I will be sharing testimony after testimony of how God has miraculously deleted my debt, as well as provided finances for me to go where he sends me.

I think from this point since I have realized what He wants from me and have openly said YES Lord I will go, that He will open doors that no man can close and close doors that no man can open, in an effort to pave the way for me to be a servant on the mission fields.

What has God called you to do that debt is hindering you from doing? May I challenge you to seek the Lord and tell Him you are ready to do what He is asking you to do and then watch Him go into action to prepare the way for you to go.

Missions...Pray, Give, Go!

I have come to understand that God does everything for a purpose. My being a member of The Potter's House was for my salvation. I learned to worship, tithe, etc. It was the beginning of my growth and deep love for Jesus.

I am learning in Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship God is grooming me and preparing me for my calling. I have felt or sensed for most of my life that I would be involved with orphans. Children are my passion. In more recent time, God has revealed to me a vision of opening an orphanage, but not like any other I have seen. Sorry, I can't reveal the specifics at this point.

I am having a strong urge, desire, or longing to go on a mission trip. OCBF is a strong advocate of missions. My oldest daughter has had an urging or desire to go on the mission field as well, since she was about 7 years old.

OCBF had what they called A Taste of the World on Wednesday night. There was a missionary there that helped to translate the New Testament for a group of people in Papua New Guinea. Her testimony was awesome. She has spent 24 years of her life as a missionary and 11 of those years in Papua New Guinea. We then went to several booths where they told you of different places of the country to go to for short term mission trips. My heart was opened and receptive. I know I want to do a mission trip and I really want us (my children and me) to do it together. I think it will be a life changing experience for each of us.

Well, for the month of September, 91.7 FM-KVTT collected shoes for children around the world. I thought it was on going until October and had planned to buy a pair of new shoes to donate, however it ended today. The finale was a final shoe drive and concert. They had warehouse tours so that we could see how they collect, sort, label, box, and ship the shoes out all over the world.

My heart was moved like never before. I knew in that instant, that this had to do with a portion of my calling. The mission trips we heard about at church on Wednesday were touching and just what God began to use to soften my heart and to get my heart to be receptive to what He has in mind. This information that was given is what moved me to tears and made me say YES Lord, I will go! I want to take off the old socks/shoes (if they even have any to begin with) off the feet of these orphaned children and wash their feet, as Jesus did with the disciples, and place on them a new pair of socks and shoes.

Well, we are first going to volunteer to help at the warehouse to help sort and package the shoes for shipping. Then we will begin to save the money up to GO!!!

Please pray with us and for us that we may do what the Lord is so obviously calling us to do.

Church

November will mark a year that we have been attending Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship Church (OCBF). Early spring we became official members.

I've not shared the journey with many of how we came to be members of OCBF, but after class, I felt compelled to sing it from the roof tops that I LOVE MY CHURCH & PASTOR!!!!

We were members of The Potter's House for 10 years, but I began to feel restless. We briefly left when money was tight and attended a small church closer to home. This church was really nice. I didn't agree with everything that took place in this church...there were some things that God shielded me from, but for the most part, the church and the members were wonderful! I believe this was the beginning of God showing me what a part of a church family is like. We made some great friends and I came to love them dearly and still do.

When money increased, we returned to The Potter's House, but there was just something missing. I can't really explain it, but there was something. So I began to pray earnestly. Now please, don't misunderstand me, I loved TPH. I loved Bishop Jakes. Yet, there was something that was incomplete for me. I tried being part of various ministries so that I would feel like part of the family, but nothing helped.

When we joined the church I had made a vow to God that I would not be a "church hopper", but that I would stay with this church until He moved me. I had remained faithful to that vow, except for the time frame of 8 months when we took a hiatus due to finances.

One evening as I was driving home from work, I was listening to 90.9 FM, KCBI. The Urban Alternative was on. Tony Evans was speaking and to be honest, I can't even remember what he was speaking about. I was only half listening, for the most part, I was praying and seeking the Lord in what to do for Sunday. I was actually feeling burdened about going back to TPH in just 3 days and I didn't know what to do. I couldn't understand why I was feeling this way either, my mind was not able to wrap around what was going on within me. There was this struggle, this war and I didn't know why. Suddenly it was as though a faint whisper was being said in my ear...go there. I turned the radio down, sure I was not hearing correctly, but again I distinctly heard a faint whisper...go there.

Ok Lord, I will go there.

That following Sunday, I was obedient and the moment we walked in the doors, I knew within my spirit that this was our new church home. I haven't looked back for one moment. I LOVE MY CHURCH & PASTOR. Did I say that already? ;-)

I have heard many in my circle of friends searching for that "perfect" church only to be disappointed time and time again. I have heard many say they don't like youth groups and that they are unbiblical, that women should not preach, that leaders and elders of the church that are married must have been married only once, on and on it goes. Now I believe these things to be unbiblical as well, so please don't leave me comments giving me scriptures that show this to be true and please don't leave me comments bashing me for what I believe.

OCBF has leaders and elders and they have all been married ONCE, Women do not preach to men, and they do have youth groups and children's church. My children are part of the youth ministry, but Pastor Evans as well as those that lead the children's church are very adamant that they are not the main spiritual teachers of the children. OCBF strongly believes that the parents are the first avenue and what they do is help to reinforce what the parents have done and are doing.

This church is alive! The members love the Lord and are sincere in their concern for each member. There is no such thing as a perfect church. I have found that following the Lord's leading in going where He directs you is as close to perfect as we will get here on earth. Perfection is not on this side of heaven. Again I have made a vow to God that I will not leave my church until He moves me.

What was the deciding factor in your church membership? Please share...

Financial Freedom - Tithing

I had a financial freedom class at church this morning and as we talked about how we each thought of tithing, I voiced what I used to think of it and the perspective I have on it now. I didn't see it as an act of worship to the Lord, I saw it as a bill. Like I said, I didn't see it as worship, I saw it as "paying" to the church what God required of me to do and I was determined to be obedient in doing it.

Now, even though my perspective and mind frame towards it was not right, God still honored my obedience. Maybe I've missed out on something "more" because of my attitude towards it, but nonetheless, God still honored His Word and did what He promised to do in Malachi 3:10-12.

Well, as I was reading the required book for this class; Your Money Counts, by Howard Dayton, I had several light bulb moments. One of them concerned tithing. To give is to be obedient, true. But to give is also to worship the Lord. It is also to say thank you Lord for trusting me with your money, I lovingly worship you by being obedient to bless you with the 10% you have asked of me, so that I may do what you ask of me with the 90% without worrying.

Bishop Jakes always says, it is a best to have a blessed 90% than a cursed 100%. God honors our obedience.

I recall of times on paper, we had more bills than money. However, after tithing we had paid all bills and purchased other necessities and there was still money left over, when in reality there should not have been any.

This is the way God's economy works. I want to be a part of that economy and not the one that we see around us in reality, newspapers, and news reports.

No longer am I "paying" God, or the church (as I used to think). What I give is an act of worship, this is what I was made to do, to worship my God in ALL areas of my life.

9/14/2008

Yikes, IKE

On Friday I called my Aunt, who lives in Galveston very near the seawall. I wanted to find out for sure where she was and to know that she was safe. I asked her where she was and got the shock of my life, she was still in Galveston and was refusing to leave. Needless to say, my blood pressure went up and the anxiety increased. I could not believe that she was still there, but even more than that, I could not believe she was determined to stay there.
With other family members calling to try to persuade her to leave and finally her cousine going to get her, she finally gave in and left.
I heard from her last night and she was in Spring, TX and was safe. RELIEF!
I wonder now, as she is able to watch news reports, what her thoughts are. She claimed that it wouldn't get so bad and now I wonder as she looks at things that were there for years and are now gone, what are her thoughts.
We still have no word if her house is still standing, flooded, damaged, or what. The entrance into Galveston is blocked with boats and debris. A life changing moment. Lives lost, lives altered, a moment in history, forever a mark in my heart.

9/11/2008

Remembering 9/11

There aren't many events in my life that I can remember what I was doing or what was going on around me, as well as I can on the morning of 9/11, seven years ago.
I had the radio set to come on every morning and I would wake up to the music. What I was hearing wasn't sounding right. I lay there. Surely they were making a HUGE mistake in their report.
An airplane went into a building in NY. Are you serious? Wow, wonder how they lost control of that one...was my thought. But then I sat straight up in bed and my first thought was OH MY GOD WE ARE UNDER ATTACK!!! Is this what the end of the world is supposed to be like? I don't remember reading that in my Bible. I thought we would be caught up first. Then I thought good Lord I've been left behind. This is no joke, these were my thoughts.
Then I ran to turn on the tv and right before my eyes I saw the second plane go into the second building. And I fell to my knees and started screaming!
My mind did not want to believe what my eyes were seeing. I begged God to please let the people get out safe, please don't let it be mass casualties. I begged and begged, then they said another plane had gone down and then another.
Then, as though it couldn't get any worse, one building started falling and you see people jumping from the other and then it falls. People screaming, running, confusion on their faces.

Those images are forever ingraved in my mind. Visions that will never go away.
I, like many others, watched the news for days and days until finally it dawned on me that my children were getting depressed.
This morning my son said "we won't be turning on the tv at all today, I don't want to see the videos of it again". And though I still grieve for the loss of the innocent lives, he is right. I can't bring myself to watch tv today. My heart still cries for them all, but especially the children!
I think we got too cocky and believed it would never happen on American soil, but we were wrong. I thought after this our nation would turn back to it's roots and once again become a nation whose people's hearts were turned to God. I thought we would have revival.
And in some sense, all of that did happen and then again, some things got even worse.
I pray for revival for our nation, because next time God may do just as He did with the Israelites and allowed them to be taken captive because they had turned so far away from Him.

Please pray with me in rememberance of the innocent lives taken and those affected by the cowardly act of so many on 9/11, but please also pray with me that we will have revival in our land, our cities, our states, our nation!

May God Bless the families who lost loved ones on 9/11.

9/09/2008

I Scream, You Scream, No we aren't screaming for Ice Cream

Can you say excited and ready? I've been checking out the Habitat for Humanity website (the store) and I'm getting really excited about the housing renovations I'll be doing.
There was a clip from one of the local news stations about the store. This man was given a quote of $3000 to re-do his bathroom. He did it for $32 by going to the HHS! Can you believe that? $32 and that was for everything!
So then I went on their site to see what materials they have and they give you various lists of things they have or may have and the price range. I will be able to afford to remodel one room per month at the rates they give or if need be one room every other month.

So, First things first, I am trying to find out if there are any churches that will help by blessing us with gift cards to purchase the roofing materials. That's my first priority. Then I will be re-doing floors. Actually I will need to put new plywood down through-out the entire home first. This is what I mean by doing the floors. There is some major water damage to alot of the rooms, plus the plywood is more sturdy and durable than the particle board that is down AND it will be easier to put hardwood flooring on it.

Those will be the two most costly things I am faced with before the year is up. Then the beginning of the year I am looking to replace the walls in each room with mold resistant sheet rock. Now, from there, I believe things will flow a bit smoother as I should be able to purchase most of my materials and necessaties from HHS.

And get this, I'm going to put a small Island in the kitchen with a marble top. We went to Home Depot and the lady tells us they don't custom make many Islands anymore. They take cabinets that the customers choose and arrange them the way the customer wants, puts paneling on the areas that don't have doors or drawers and voila!!!! an Island that is "custom made".

So now if you know me, you know my creative juicese were flowing at this point.

I was dreading the things that need to be done in the home because of the cost, but ONCE AGAIN, God is so good and loves me so much, He is showing me how to do it!!!! Just like He did when we built the chicken coop (which needs to have new plywood put on it).

He really is EVERYTHING to me!

Psalms 40:1 - I waited patiently on the Lord and He inclined to me and heard my cry.

Over the last week I've fretted in my mind/heart. I've learned some ugly things about my estranged husband that have literally cut me to the core. Things I "knew", but was able to push the truth of reality far from my mind. But when finally faced with the "reality" of it, it became a hurt so deep and real all over again, as it did when he first left.

So I've played these thoughts and scenarios over in my head, thoughts that have brought torture and torment to my mind; the kind that turn your stomach and make you want to puke. The kind that keep you from sleeping.

But as I sat in the car preparing to go into the office, I began to re-read some things I had previously written in my journal. Several were scriptures: Ps. 25:4-5, 27:11, 86:11, 43:3, 5:8, 31:3, 23:3, 40:1.
Ps. 40:1 leaped out to me and in the midst of my tears, it was as thought I could hear God saying "I hear you".

Ever had a peace envelope you so completely? At that point the tears still flowed, but my words were "I know You hear me" & "Thank You that You hear me".

God loves me with a love that is unfathomable and untouchable by another human heart.
I don't have to ask, beg, or plead for His love. He already does. Then with that you get to a point where you realize that He understand your pain. He know all about it & His Son felt it.

Rejection from a person is a HARD pill to swallow, but when you are finally at a place to put it in perspective...God's rejection of you would be far worse. And then not in a cocky, prideful sense, you realize...I'm going to be okay. The hurt will heal even if a scare were to remain. this too shall pass & I will never be the same. I am complete in, with, and through Jesus. It may take a while to renew my mind to fully grasp and understand that fact, but it does not change the fact that it is true!

If my husband never returns to our marriage & even if he does, there is NO love that can come close to the love my Father has for me. His love and acceptance is far better and more than I can ever dream or imagine.

9/05/2008

Conforming? Salt & Light?

I seem to be so full of words tonight, but I will try to articulate what I feel God is sharing with me.
Romans 12:2 says And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

The life lesson, as stated in my Life Principles Bible says God does not want us to try hard to sin less, but to depend upon His Spirit to be transformed into people who love to please God through willing obedience. That transformation begins with the mind.

Then it says in Matthew 5:13 that You are the salt of the earth; but it the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

And again the life lesson states that Jesus wants us to take seriously our role as "salt," a preservative. Our behavior is to be distinctly different from those who do not know God, and it must not reflect the same kinds of sin that corrupt a godless culture.

Now, not to harp on the words that were spoken to me concerning my children, but as a dear friend pointed out to me, my children are considered dumb/stupid, simply because they don't know the ways of the world. Now I will be the first to admit that their math level is not where public school children are, but I don't see any of my children cringing when it comes time to pull out the math books either. They may not be perfect spellers, but I don't see them hesitating to use a dictionary to learn to spell a word.

I have given my children the opportunity to learn ANYTHING, when I equipped them to read and have a love for learning. There is NOTHING in this world they cannot learn, all it takes is picking up a book and reading & studying on whatever it is that piques their interest.
What brings me the most joy is when I say go get your Bibles and they are running and smiling as they go to get them.

I don't mince words here, If my children NEVER learn the things of this world and all that the world says is important and necessary for life, but they have a relationship with Christ and walk with Him moment by moment and day by day, I have fulfilled my purpose in their lives.

What do you do...

…When the pain you feel cuts deep like a knife and is so heavy it feels unbearable? What do you do when you see the pain in your children’s eyes and there is nothing you can do to ease that pain or take it away? What do you do when the very people that say they love you and your family now say they want you out of their life and that your children are dumb and stupid? What do you do when the very thing you suspected, you find out it is true? How do you keep your head up and keep going forward? How do you get past the hurt and the pain? How do you not feel rejected?
There is a song by Kirk Franklin on his The Fight of My Life cd.
The title is Still (in control) [Verse 1:]Lately I've been thinkin'Thinking 'bout youAnd all the thingsI've seen you go throughYour mother the kids andThe problems at homeSorry I wish I could fix what's wrongI hurt when you hurt andI cry when you cryEven the deep onesSometimes wonder why am I going throughI'm waiting but still no use [Chorus:]He's still in controlHe's sovereign and He knowsJust how it feels to be afraidHave folk you love walk awayBe still and know He's still in control [Verse 2:]Lately depressionYour job and your lifeWeighs on your mindAll day and all nightYou know every scriptureAnd what prayer to prayOnly a fool would thinkIt'll all go awayBut there is good newsFor you there's a planA High Priest who knowsAnd who understands what you cannot sayJust a little longer can you wait [Chorus:]He's still in controlHe's sovereign and he knowsJust how it feels to be afraidHave folk you love walk awayBe still and know He's still in control [Bridge:]Don't know what tomorrow will bringOr if this sickness will ever leaveYou can paint a perfect pictureBut will it ever look like it used to beSee, one thing I know for sureThis season made you stronger and more matureCan't you see how far you've comeAnd when you look backIt's gonna be worth it, oooh [Chorus] He's still in controlHe's still in controlHe's still in control
I listened to this song over and over during my drive home today, trying to come to some sort of understanding or conclusion. I don’t profess to have all the answers, nor say that I understand. I’m lost, feeling like I’m a walking zombie at times. I hurt, my children hurt. The pain is unbelievable at times, yet the words to this song are what give me comfort. I don’t understand fully why my marriage failed or why my family is the way it is. I can’t say I understand completely what happened on Tuesday evening with me, Joseph, and my mother, but I know that God is sovereign and He has it all in control. I know He is using even this to grow me and mature me. I’ve cried out that God arrest the hearts of my children and keep them for Himself, this could be the very thing He chose to use in order to do that. We have all learned that the only one we can truly count on is God and God alone! We are human, frail, and weak. We hurt and will hurt others, but God is the only solid foundation in our lives.
I’m clinging to Jesus right now, just as I did when my husband first left. I find my greatest comfort knowing that Christ felt many of the same things I am feeling right now. He knows what it is to be rejected by those who say they love you. He knows what it is to be hurt. He knows everything I am going through. What I am dealing with, what my children are dealing with is no surprise to Him. He already knew it would take place. It has been a surprise to us, but not to Him. He knew it would happen and He knows how He plans to use this for His glory and our good. Something else I’m learning is that in my weakness there is His strength. It sounds contradictory but when I am weak, there is less of me and He is strong, meaning there is more of Him.

I know the enemy is mad. He is furious. I prayed and asked God how to raise the children He gave me and how to continue on the path of schooling them if that was what He wanted. God gave me instructions and then waited for my obedience. I listened and obeyed and Satan is spitting fire for real. He hates God, he hates those that believe and he will stop at nothing to hinder our walk.

The question is not what do I do, the question is will I continue walking with God, holding tight to His hand and sitting in His lap as He takes me and my children on a journey that looks hopeless today, but one day we will look back and see just how God put the puzzle of our faith & life together to form a big picture…

Be about God's Business and He will be about yours!

I heard this on the radio this morning and it was one of those quotes you wish you could rewind and play again. Only I didn't need to, the first time I heard itjust stuck in my head and planted in my heart.
Have you ever had something said to you and it just jumped in your spirit and seemed to come alive? I wonder if that is how Elizabeth felt when Mary greeted her and the babe in her womd (John) leaped.
Well, that is how I felt this morning. I know God called me to focus my children's education at this time completely on Him and yet I still doubted I was doing the right thing. I was a little short on my bills with having the house moved and paying bills, but my tithes are set to the side and God will not be robbed. I am wondering how I will get to work for the rest of the month, but God is good and faithful and if I am about His business, He will definitely be about mine!
It goes with the scripture that states...seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and all these things will be added. At times we don't know how to put that into action, but for these past two weeks, for me it has been to steer my children towards Christ and nothing more & giving my tithes cheerfully! I am blessed to do both.
There has been conflict, so it's not an easy road, but whenever you are doing ANYTHING for Christ, satan is angry as fire.
How are you being about God's business? Please share. I would love to see what God has asked of you.
To those I have called on in the last couple of days, thank you for keeping me on track and encouraging me in the Lord. Thank you for being obedient and speaking truth into my life. I don't cease to thank God for you daily!!!!

What if we treated our Bible like our cell phones?

A dear friend sent this to me via email and I just had to share it here.
It does make you take into consideration your priorities. This was really good.
Please feel free to copy/paste and pass it around.


Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?


What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?

What if we flipped through it several time a day?

What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?

What if we used it to receive messages from the text?

What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?

What if we gave it to Kids as gifts?

What if we used it when we traveled?

What if we used it in case of emergency?

This is something to make you go....hmm...where is my Bible?

Oh, and one more thing. . . . .

Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill.


Makes you stop and think "where are my priorities? And no dropped calls!

The House Saga...STILL continues

Only not like you think. The single wide has been moved and set up. We are currently cleaning and making minor repairs to walls so we can begin moving in this weekend.
It has been a journey…a long journey. I know God had His purpose for dragging it out, but I am so grateful that leg of the journey is over.

Tuesday morning we had many bumps and snags along the way, but with each one, I prayed and God opened doors, softened hearts and made a way out of no way.

Tuesday evening could have been a better evening, as we had some serious family issues that I won’t publicize here, but even in that, I know God is still faithful.
He will turn our gray sky blue and at the end of this we will see the finished picture and say To God be the Glory!

Now, the way the house saga continues…well, just stay tuned and I will keep you informed.
The next phase is replacing the roof!

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