Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Coming Soon

Many of us have pet peeves, things that drive us crazy. Well I have one I'd like to share. I hate to drive by new construction sites and have no idea what is being constructed. Is it a grocery store? Is it a restaurant? A bank? Another nail place? Why can't they just put up a sign that says, "Coming Soon, blah, blah, blah"? I drive the same way to the salon everyday. One such site is going up. I drove by it for several days and even thought seriously about driving a new way just so I wouldn't have to go crazy trying to figure out what is "coming soon". After taking a couple of days off, I passed by the construction site only to realize what they are building. A new SONIC! Oh man, how did I not see that coming?

I like surprises, I truly do, but only for my birthday, Valentine's Day, Christmas, etc. You know, the surprises that are presents (preferably bling or some other sort of accessory). I do not like to be blindsided by events or construction sites. It just bothers me.

Would it not be nice to have "Coming Soon" signs in our life? Maybe. Maybe not. I believe God protects us during the preparation time for our coming events and circumstances. Say for instance, if I had known Pastor Scott was going to have us canvas the neighborhood on the spur of the moment, I would have volunteered for nursery duty (refer to my past blog, Aquarium Keepers). Can you imagine what would have happened had we walked into church that Sunday and saw a large sign that read "COMING SOON - CANVASSING THE NEIGHBORHOOD"? How about "COMING SOON --- car accident", "COMING SOON --- flu", "COMING SOON --- death of a loved one". No, I believe if we knew too much too soon we would be afraid to drive our cars, go around people and be paranoid that everyone we love is going to die. God protects us while He prepares us. There are circumstances that God reveals to us when He knows we are ready. Life happens. We all know that bad things are going to happen. We just cannot live our lives anticipating tragedy. If we do, we lose out on all the beautiful blessings and awesome people in our lives because we are too concerned about what is "COMING SOON".

I also think (and I may be childlike in my thinking) that God loves to surprise us with little blessings that we are not expecting; things we have prayed about, forgotten, but He didn't. I remember when James and I were living in Houston and we were praying for our children; specific areas in our children's lives. It has just been within the last 6 months or so that we have seen those prayers answered and come to fruition. I wish I would have had a sign that said, "COMING SOON -- prayers for children answered". What about all those times when you have needed a financial blessing, new job, loved one saved, relationship healed or physical healing? "COMING SOON -- (YOU fill in the blank)".

When Mandi and Jeremy lived in Little Elm, they longed for new construction sites. Little Elm is a small community, not far from Frisco, but still, not much in Little Elm. Frisco is a shopaholic's paradise. Not Little Elm. So, when construction began, I know they were excited to see what was "COMING SOON". I remember Mandi telling me that she almost cried when she read a sign that said, "COMING SOON -- Wendys". It was something different. It was something new to the area. Josiah loves their chicken nuggets. It was a place Jeremy could stop on his way home and pick up their dinner on a night Mandi needed a break (especially after Ava Beth came along). That was a good sign -- one that they were happy with and knew they would like the finished product. Everyday I'm sure Mandi and Jeremy drove by that construction site anxiously anticipating the completion of the new construction site in their little community. Just writing about this makes me have an insatiable hunger and for Frosty and Fries. Join me?

I saw a sign the other day, just across the street from the salon, that said, "COMING SOON -- Payless Shoes". I am so excited! Summer is coming and I can have fun little flip flops and summer sandals in all colors. All I will have to do is go across the street.

My life seems like a construction site. God is constantly adding on or removing. Some days I feel like a demolition ball is headed straight for me. Some days I feel like an implosion is inevitable. Some days I feel like we need to add a top floor and have an elevator installed that actually goes all the way to the top. But, what does my sign say? "COMING SOON -- Godly Woman"? "COMING SOON -- Soul Winner"? "COMING SOON -- Godly Mentor"? I so want to be what God wants me to be. Do I have everything needed to be constructed in a Godly fashion? Do I have the right people working with me and for me? Do I have people in my life that are skilled in the areas I need to be built, REbuilt or torn down?

If your life were a construction site, what would your "COMING SOON" sign say? What is it in your life that you are anticipating?

Father, I pray today that you would speak to our hearts. Reveal to us who and what you want us to be. Give us an insatiable hunger for Your Word. Equip us with Your wisdom to be the finished product You desire us to become. Give us teachable spirits to learn from those You have already put in our lives to build us. You, oh Father, are our foundation -- You are the Chief Cornerstone; everything else is secondary to You. Without You, our foundation will crumble. Fashion us, mold us, design us, refine us and raise us up to be bold women of God. Women who keep their homes in order and women who know order. Help us to be submissive to You first, our husbands, and/or Godly men who are in direct leadership in our lives. Father, Your Word teaches us to be submissive. Protect us in our submissiveness. Help us to live in sweet anticipation, not anxiousness, for what You are going to raise us up to do for Your glory and for Your purpose. I thank You, Father, for wonderful people You have put in my life to build me up. Help me always to be gracious. Bless my readers today, Father. In Your name, Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Terminator/Originator

James used terminology on the telephone with a co-worker several days ago that was new to me. James has been with the railroad for 30 plus years. I've been with him for many of those years. I thought I knew all the lingo and had heard every acronym regarding the railroad. He asked the man on the other end of the phone, "no terminators, then?" Now, you must understand, James conducts his railroad business at all hours of the day and night and I am with him on some of these occasions. I witnessed the rerailing of a couple of engines and a few cars one cold icy night in Dallas and as you know, railroads do not run through the best part of town. I just happened to be in the car with James when the call came. I spent the entire evening in the car watching the railroad action as well as checking all the mirrors for half man/half goat creatures in the night that I imagined watching me. There was no time to take me home and the roads were too icy. So sets the scenario for many a "date night" for James and me. We railroad!

When James got off the phone I asked, "What is a terminator?" He said as only James would, "it terminates." A man of many words, my James. When he saw the all too familiar blank look on my face he went on to explain that it meant the train terminated in the Centennial Yard (that's the train yard in Fort Worth where James works). He said we have "Terminators" and "Originators". I said, "Well, now that's a blog." I had not started blogging yet so he looked at me with HIS all too familiar "there she goes again" look. I have no idea what James said after that because I was already distracted.

I began to think about whether I was a terminator or an originator. Really, either one is good and then neither one is good. That was not great grammar but I think you get the picture. I put it into perspective and broke it down.

TERMINATOR:Do I terminate gossip? Do I terminate stinkin' thinkin' in myself and those under my influence? Do I terminate negative talk (though it be may true, is it edifying the person talked about)?

ORIGINATOR:Do I originate gossip? Do I originate stinkin' thinkin' in myself and those under my influence? Do I originate negative talk (though it may be true, is it edifying the person talked about)?

I want to be a TERMINATOR in the above scenarios. But here is where I want to be an ORIGINATOR. I want to start my day with prayer and thanksgiving and I want to encourage others to do the same. I want to say hello to people BEFORE they say hello to me. I want to show myself friendly and love people as God loves me. I want to speak kind words into people lives even if they do not do the same for me. I want to teach and mentor others in the ways of the Lord. I want the WORD of God to be in my mind and on my lips. I want to encourage others to have the joy of the Lord even on days that are not good days.

In all the TERMINATOR movies Arnold always says, "I'll be back." I now think that makes no sense. Terminate -- stop
at this point and don't come back! Originate -- begin at this point and move on!

I'm sure you can all identify with this. What are you?
  • Terminator?
  • Originator?
  • Both?
  • Neither?

And, oh by the way, James, I DO listen to you (for as long as I can and then I wander off).

Monday, February 13, 2006

Faith

If you have faith as a mustard seed . . . nothing will be impossible for you . .Matthew 17:20

Faith is a very easy word to SAY, but it is not always easy to live what we say. It is vitally important that we have faith. The Word teaches us in Hebrews 11:6 ". . . without faith it is impossible to please Him . . ." Faith is the opposite of common sense, often mistaken for enthusiasm and narrow-mindedness. Just as common sense and faith are different so is the natural life and the spiritual life. So, when you exercise common sense it is natural and when you exercise faith it is super-natural (or spiritual). Perfect faith becomes reality.

Often God brings us into particular circumstances to educate our faith -- it is how we learn and grow. To those who do not know Jesus, God is only a concept. They cannot have faith in Him because they do not KNOW Him. When we come to know Jesus we immediately have something that is real and our faith is limitless.

II Corinthians 1:24 tells us ". . . because it is by faith you stand firm . . ." Faith is the key to standing firm in the midst of trials that normal everyday life brings. We know that even when a sparrow falls to the ground He is mindful and all the more He is mindful of us, His children. (Refer to Matthew 10:29-31.)

Our salvation is dependent on faith. It is by grace that I have been saved THROUGH faith (Ephesians 2:8). Only God would give us exactly what He requires of us. He requires faith and He gives every man a measure of faith. God has given us so many reasons to trust -- so many reasons to have faith in Him. Our faith should be increasing daily. When God does something good for you, tell someone. It's our confessions of faith that build others' faith (Romans 12:3). A few years ago I exercised my faith in a big way. I chose to have faith that God would heal me of asthma. God DID heal me and I tell you because I want YOU to have faith that God will do everything He said He would do for you - - - salvation, deliverance, healing - - - whatever you have need of. Just because He said He would!

We have a sprinkler system at our house that is set on a timer. The sprinkler system not only waters the grass but it keeps moisture near the foundation to prevent shifting. The Word teaches me to be a good steward of what He has blessed me with. God has blessed us with our home and our yard but we have to maintain it. Common sense tells me that since there is a drought, my yard will die. However, faith tells me that my grass is going to live and not die because God has given me other resources. Faith tells me that God is bigger than any drought and to have faith for rain AND while standing in faith I am to do everything I know to do to care for what I have. So it is with us spiritually. We may go through droughts and feel like we are going to spiritually dry up and die, but faith helps us to stand firm. Remember Romans 12:3, about the MEASURE of faith? How much is a measure? I'm not really sure but I know that a MEASURE can be added to or taken away from. Feed and water your faith just as I feed and water my yard. Take care of the faith you already have and it will not only live, it will grow. Be adventurous. Accept risks and reap the benefits. In Ecclesiastes 11:11, we read ". . . cast your bread upon the water . . . "

There have been times when I have had a situation where I wanted someone to stand in agreement with me. I am very careful about who I ask to pray for me. I pick only those who I believe have FAITH. One of those is my daughter, Amanda (my Mandi). She prays the Word over me and she has faith that the Word will do what it says it will do. I have asked Mandi to pray for my healing. I have asked Mandi to pray for my business. I have even asked Mandi to pray for my menopausal days. I know that I can trust her to have faith for me.
I have seen her prayers answered.

I truly am a woman of faith. God has been so faithful to me. There are things I have prayed for that I've forgotten about but God never has. His answers always come and sometimes they are the answers I WANT. Some situations are life situations and we continue in our faith. For instance, our children. You will NEVER be through praying for your children.

Above I referenced Matthew 17:20 but I also like this one. Matthew 13:31 and 32 says this. "...the Kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof."

See yourself with just a little bit of faith and growing it. See yourself as that huge tree (of faith) that others can come and build their nests in your branches. See yourself with so much faith that others will come to you for your faith. People will be healed because of YOUR faith. Lives will be changed because of YOUR faith. The lost will be saved because of YOUR faith.

God will do for you everything He said He would do! Have FAITH!

See, I call things that are not as though they are because the Word tells me I can. That's why I have FAITH.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Caught Up

Before reading my blog, "Aquarium Keepers" you may want to read Amanda's blog "Caught Up". Sunday was life changing for her as well and she does a wonderful job telling her readers about it. I am so thankful we experienced such a life changing event as a family. You can go directly to her link referenced on the right side of the page.

http://www.farmorethanrubies.blogspot.com

Aquarium Keepers

Sunday was a pivotal day in my life. I will be forever changed.

When describing my Pastor to those who do not know him, I always use words like "Bold" and "Passionate". One Sunday I introduced Pastor Scott to a friend of mine that I had invited to church. He shook her hand, said he was glad she came and then (without letting go of her hand) looked her square in the eye and asked her if she knew Jesus. It made me uncomfortable. I thought, "Well, of course she knows Jesus. She's at church after all." I was not offended, neither was she, but it did make me feel uncomfortable. He did nothing wrong. What he did was right but what I FELT was wrong. Oh, and yes, she did know Jesus. Later that day the thought crossed my mind, "What if she had said "NO"?" And I had been with her day in and day out and never led her to the Lord.

Well, as I mentioned earlier, Sunday was a pivotal day in my life. Our Pastor stood before the congregation and challenged us to canvas the neighborhood where our church is. I thought he was going to have a special "visitation" night. But that is not what he had in mind. He had packets prepared for us to go out immediately. Right at that moment -- church clothes and all. He gave us instructions, told us to get in groups of 3, women do not go alone, one can be the "talker" and one can be the "packet carrier", etc.

Now, I grew up in a church that I believe was dependent upon the sale of peanut brittle to pay the bills. I think I was one of the top sales people in our church. I knocked on doors many Saturday mornings in our neighborhood (nice neighborhood where I knew everyone and so did my parents). I had my speech down. I told them where I went to church, sold the peanut brittle, but never once asked any of them if they knew Jesus. I went out many Saturday mornings on visitation with our church bus. We canvassed neighborhoods close to our church. We had puppet shows and we gave out candy. After all, we were trying to break our attendance record. But none of that prepared me for what happened Sunday morning.

Well, we broke one rule. There were 4 of us instead of 3 as Pastor Scott had instructed. Myself, my husband, James, my daughter Amanda (Mandi) and my son inlaw, Jeremy. As we crossed the busy street I said, "I'm the "packet carrier", James, you are the "talker". James asked, "Why me?" I said, "Because you are the Priest of our home, the head of our family." I believe he rolled his eyes at that moment. The first house we visited James stepped up first and was the "talker" and on the next house Jeremy said, "I'll get this one." The next house Mandi said, "This one is mine." One house, in particular, we ALL were the "talker". The gentleman's name was Pedio. He said his wife went to church and he would tell her about our church. Mandi said that we would like for HIM to visit and to come with his family. I told him his little girl (standing behind him) was pretty -- boy, was I anointed or what?James asked him if there was anything he needed help with or was there anything we could pray with him about. He told us he had lost his job. We all stood on his doorstep and James prayed for this man and his family. As we walked away, Mandi sternly said to us, "We should have asked him if he knew Jesus. Pastor Scott would have." I realized that my boldness is only when I'm in my comfort zone -- IN the church.

Everyday this week Pedio has been on my heart and I have prayed for him. I have prayed for everyone on the streets that we visited. They need God. They need US to show them God. They need a church family that will love them into the Kingdom -- not condemn them. Who cares if their English is not good? My Spanish is non-existent. God understands all languages. Tonight before choir practice I will drive down the streets we visited and I will pray for these people. I will pray that God will speak to their hearts. I will pray for boldness to go BACK and visit again. Sunday morning, I'll drive the streets again and I will pray for these people. I will pray that I will have boldness to go BACK and visit again.

Pastor said a couple of things Sunday morning that I have not been able to get out of my mind. He said that in the shadow of our steeple there are lost people who will die and go to hell. He also said that we are to be "fishers of men" and most of us are "AQUARIUM KEEPERS".

Matthew 4:19 says in RED letters "...Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."

Father, in the name of Jesus, I ask You to help me be bold for You. Take my ministry outside the 4 walls of the church. Let me bring others to You not just take care of the ones who have already come to You. I don't want to be an aquarium keeper. I want to add daily to Your Kingdom. Give me compassion for those who need You. Let the steeple on our church become a beacon of light that the lost are drawn to. Let our church be a place of refuge where the lost are saved and their lives are forever changed. Give the leadership of our church wisdom to minister to those who will come. And, they WILL come. Your Word teaches us to go out and compel them to come in that Your house may be filled. Give us provision that we may provide. Give us instruction that we may instruct. Forgive us that we may forgive. Love us that we may love. Oh, Father, you are enlarging our territory. Help us to call out to You as Jabez did. "Oh that You would bless us indeed, enlarge our territory. Keep Your hand on us and keep evil from us." This is out of my comfort zone, Lord. You are taking me to a place I've never been. I go willingly. Send me. Amen

Monday, February 06, 2006

Designer's Original

And, behold there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, that art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. Luke 13:11-13

That scripture needs no embellishment. I would like to break that scripture down just a bit. "...in no wise lift up herself..." She seems to be helpless. I wonder if she had been to doctors. Did she have the means to go to doctors? I get the feeling she had done everything she knew to do. She needed Jesus to touch her and she recognized she had a need.

"...when Jesus saw her, he called her to Him..." He KNEW her. He recognized her need for him. He called her out. I wonder if she thought "No, I'm just a an infirmed woman. I can't respond to him. After all, he is Jesus." I wonder if she had heard the Old Testament scripture that we read today in Genesis 1:31, "...and God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good..."

God created YOU and He said, "This is good." He had a purpose for you. He still has a purpose for you.

I'm reminded of Moses' conversation with God when he told God that he (Moses) was to bring up the people but that God had not made it known to Moses who He would send with him. "...Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight." (Exodus 33:12) Hey! He knows YOU by name. I know what you are thinking. "That was Moses and he was a mighty man of God." I guess you have forgotten about the time Moses spent on the "backside of the desert". (See Exodus 3 for a detailed account.) Well, I may not be Moses but I am Karen Pierce and nobody is a better Karen Pierce than me. I'm actually very good at being Karen Pierce. I am a "Designer's Original". I was "fearfully and wonderfully made". I have a name and God knows exactly what my name is. He called me out. God has a divine plan for your life and you are the only one He can use to fulfill His plan for your life. He designed you for His purpose and His glory and He will call you by name. You were fashioned, molded, designed, refined and perfected. Don't try to be anyone else because God needs YOU to be in the starring role. You are exactly what God created you to be.

"...and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God." Praise is essential to an intimate relationship with God. This woman recognized she had an infirmity that she was helpless to change. He called her out, healed her and she praised Him.

About 8 years ago, I went through a rough time in my life. I had just lost my grandmother. We moved to Houston (without the children). I was lonely because I didn't have any friends close by. I would go to Wal-Mart just to have someone to talk to. James didn't understand. He said that I was the only person he knew that could walk into 7-11 and come out with a Diet Coke and a friend. I fell into depression (which later I decided was really OPPRESSION). The doctor put me on anti-depressants. I am not going to talk bad about anti-depressants because there are people who truly need them. That is between you and God. I truly believe God delivered me from that very sad state I had fallen into. I only took the medication for a short period of time. I believe it was God who changed me because of my faith. I am no great name in society. I have never authored a book. I'm just Karen Pierce. But, HE knew my name. He called ME out. He delivered ME. I praise God for my deliverance. God did something for me that medicine could not do. God did something for me that my understanding of the sadness could not do. No one else but God could do what He did for me.

God has already done wonderful things in your life. Start praising Him. "Put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness." Praise should continually be on your lips. A dance should always be in your feet. God created you. God fashioned you. God designed you. You are a Designer's Original. God loves you. God called you out. God knows YOU by name.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Home!

I love reading in Psalm. Not all of it, but much of it was written by David. Most of it, David actually SANG. I have always enjoyed reading about David and studying his life. My mother told me when I was a little girl that had I been a boy she was going to name me David Keith. Well, instead I am Karen Renee and I am so not a boy. Maybe that is why I was drawn to "David" even as a little girl.

When David wrote the Twenty-Third Psalm he was up in his years -- elderly. David had lived a very colorful life by this time. He had seen tragedies in his own household. He had been "almost" killed several times. He had been to war many times. He had faced many sorrowful events in his life. David always found his way back to God. With all the junk in his past he wrote the Twenty Third Psalm. In my mind I see David taking himself back to the little shepherd boy tending his father's sheep.

He was a shepherd himself. He knew that not one of his little lambs would ever want for anything. He knew how to get the flock to eat and then to make them lie down in green pastures. David knew what it was like to go ahead of the flock and build a dam to make still waters for them to drink. He knew what the sheep feared the most and he knew he had to care for them. He knew that he would have to discipline the sheep and teach them to follow. David understood what it was to nurse and nurture the sheep. He knew that when they came to dark valleys and eminent danger, he would have to be the one to safely lead the flock. David had to be the one to calm their fears. David always knew he would lead them home.

Home! What a wonderful thought. Home!

When James and I go on trips we plan and plan. We look forward to it and we enjoy it. But when the trip is over and we are headed home, the closer we get to home the more excited we get. Home!

The Twenty-Third Psalm builds into a crescendo declaring David's faith. "And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Shouldn't that be our declaration? Isn't that what gets us through life? The promise that we do have a future in Christ Jesus. We will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. We are not homeless people. We have an eternal home that with faith we look forward to.

David was a King, David was a Psalmist, but most of all, David was a shepherd. He wrote the Twenty-Third Psalm with conviction and was convinced that God felt about him the way he felt about his own flock. How beautiful. I'm sure David recited and sang that Psalm over and over again. He knew the Psalm, he wrote the Psalm. I'm sure you could recite the Psalm yourself. Go ahead, stop reading and recite it.

You know it, don't you? My thought for you today is, it's not enough to know the Psalm. Do you know the Shepherd? Do you know that He cares for you? Do you know that He will never leave you or forsake you? Do you know that He will nurture you and bring about your healing? Do you know that He will lead you beside still waters? Do you understand that you have hope and a future? Do you know that you too can dwell in the house of the Lord forever?

Father God, in the name of Jesus, I ask you to use this to minister to someone today. Draw them to You and show them, as only You can, that You are the Shepherd that cares for them. You will discipline but You will heal and comfort them. Amen

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Carry On

I'm sure you have heard someone say, or you have said, "She has baggage." Or, "We ALL have baggage." I suppose we do.

Last August, James and I flew to see our son, Josh, in Seattle. It took me DAYS to get packed. I'm a total freak when it comes to traveling. I'm not one of those who can take one or two pair of shoes that go with all of my outfits. I like choices. I do not want to know what I am wearing each day. I like to surprise myself. I also need jewelry and handbags to coordinate. I don't care if all I'm doing is sight-seeing, I need to be outfitted. I always take far too much and my husband has dealt with it very well. Before we went on our trip to Seattle, he bought all new luggage with rollers.

Something caught my eye as we were standing in the ticket line. It was a little rack that is used as a measuring device for the luggage you are allowed to take onto the plane with you -- your "carry on". I got a little scared. I usually want to take all my baggage with me. That always poses another problem, what do I carry on with me? It's always toiletries, make-up, jewelry, camera, phone, Bible, other reading material, gum for my ears popping, etc. Baggage that is too large to fit in the rack is deemed to large for "carry on" and you must "check it".

In my life, there is baggage that I have checked. I loaded it up and truly checked it. And, I'm done with it. There are some things that I "carry on". I know you are thinking, "Well, she needs to check it."

There are things in my life that I cannot check. There are things in my life, good and bad, that have made me who I am today. I can't check it. I have to "carry on". See, I survived an abusive marriage. I was healed of asthma. I was delivered from depression. I survived poverty. My daddy died too young. My mother had a stroke and has never recovered from the damage. My grandmother died and I still need her. My son has broken my heart many times.

But those are some of the things I carry that make me who I am today. That's where my anointing comes from. That's where I get my sensitivity. Those things drove me directly to God. I was like a little girl running to my daddy, hurt, bleeding and crying. Every time I ran to him, he ran toward me and met me. He picked me up in His loving arms and brushed away my tears, kissed my scrapes and set me up a little higher each time.

There have been times when I've asked God, "Why did I have to be abused? Why did my children have to live in abuse and be abused? Why did you take my daddy? My grandmother? Why has Josh made the mistakes he has made? Why can't you heal Mother's eyes and mind? Why did the children and I have to scrape to get by?"

God speaks only one answer. "Your salvation was free but your anointing cost you everything. Protect it with everything you have." And so, I "carry on". Another answer God recently gave me, "I didn't TAKE your daddy and your grandmother; I RECEIVED them."

There are things in your life, good and bad, that make you who you are today. Let them be your tools of ministry to help others that are hurting. Remember Joseph saying to his brothers in Genesis 50:20, "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive." See, the enemy tried to destroy me, but God was with me and He protected me. He had His hand on me and all the while my testimony was being written. I am alive and well today. I am a survivor. There is life after abuse. We don't ever forget it but we can't let it destroy us. Use it to bring God glory.

I pray that as you read this that your life will be changed. Your thinking will be changed. Our past is just that -- past. But, today, in Christ Jesus, you have a future so "carry on."