Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Channel - My Shield

























James and I spent a wonderful week camping in Port Aransas. We have a fifth-wheel trailer so we camp with full facilities. No going without bathing for us. Our vacation was delightful. We enjoyed reading and relaxing. Most of all, we enjoyed not having an agenda.

When I am near the ocean I feel like I am as close to God as I can be. I am amazed at the awesome work of God. I like to get in a place where I can see nothing but water. In one of my favorite old movies, PT 109, Cliff Roberts plays J. F. Kennedy (Jack). They are on a Naval ship out in the ocean. One of the sailors says, "Wow, that's a lot of water out there." Jack says, "Yes, and that's just the top of it." I always think of that when I am at the ocean. So much water and that's just the top of it. Then I begin to marvel at some of what I know is underneath it. It is truly amazing. I am also reminded of a scripture passage in Job 38 where the Lord spoke to Job out of a whirlwind. It is an awesome chapter. God begins to tell Job just who HE is. He reprimands Job first by saying "Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?" God tells Job that HE will demand and Job will answer. God tells Job just how powerful HE is. I love verse 11 where God is speaking about His control over the sea (my ocean).

...Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?

Yes, GOD controls those waves. The tide comes in and goes out the exact same way every time UNLESS GOD commands it otherwise.

Let me now explain the above pictures. One evening, James and I drove down the beach several miles. We came to this jetty and we just had to get out and walk down it. In the first picture, you see big waves. The middle pictures shows the jetty -- waves on the right, calm on the left (as shown in the 3rd picture). Also, in the 3rd picture, you will see ANOTHER jetty that James guessed to be about half of a mile away; thus forming a channel. I asked James to stand in the middle of the jetty and, using his peripheral vision, tell me what he saw to his right and then to his left. His answer with his right hand "waves crashing" and with his left hand "calm". I then asked him what the jetty represented to him. "Shield" he said.

I kept going back to the "channel". I began to focus on what the channel's function is. The channel is smooth "sailing" for ships to come into port. I find that when I am "channeled" I run more smoothly. I enjoy "smooth sailing". It's when I get out of that channel -- cross over that jetty -- that I experience the crashing waves. I find my peace and my calm in the Word of God. His Word tells me that He is in control. He commands. I answer.

James' answer of "shield" was so profound.

Every word of God is pure; he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
Proverbs 30:5


God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried away into the midst of the sea; Through the waters thereof roar and be troubles, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
Psalm 46:1-3

BE STILL,
AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD . . .
Psalm 46:10


Father God, in the name of Jesus, I place my trust in You and You alone. You are my refuge, my strong tower, my shield and my protector. You calm the raging seas around me and You give me peace. You shelter me from every storm and You bring me into the quiet place. You give Your angels charge over me. You know me by name and You call my name. My name is written in the palm of Your hand. You have called me Your own and You have loved me. You are an awesome and mighty God. Your power amazes me. You are strong and yet You are gentle. You reprimand and yet You encourage. You are mighty in all Your works. You are in control, Father. My steps shall be ordered by You. Your praise shall continually be in my mouth and I will sing of Your love forever. Amen

Mom

Several years ago my Mother, Mary Helen, suffered a stroke. This stroke took her peripheral vision and she experiences short term memory loss. Needless to say, it has changed Mother a great deal. Phone conversations are sometimes overwhelming to her. When she is trying to say something I try to be very patient and just quietly listen. If I interrupt her it can cause her to completely lose her whole thought process and she becomes very agitated with herself. Then she shuts down completely.

Yesterday I was having a very hard day. I was coming down from a very high place in my life. Josh, Desi and Mason had been here for several days and had gone home; James and I had just come back from a wonderful vacation; James had left early for his first day back to work and I was returning to work myself. I had this sad feeling that everything was over and now what. I went through the motions of the day. I started the day off with my Bible and spent quality time with the Lord. I walked (fast) on the treadmill and listened to awesome Praise and Worship Music as I exercised. I did everything I knew to be happy but deep down I was struggling with despair. I had wonderful clients who made me laugh and I enjoyed my time with them. However, deep down there was this underlying sadness I could not shake.

I needed my Mother to speak into my life as only a Mother can do. Mom is always there to listen to me but she rarely has much to say back to me. I know she prays for me but since her stroke, she has changed and I do not get very much advice from her. I never realized how much I missed it and how much I needed it. I called Mother. There is such a stillness in her voice and sometimes that is all I need to hear -- just her voice -- and I feel like everything is going to be alright. Most of my readers know this -- I am full blown menopausal. No one knows this better than my Mother. She was the very first one to diagnose me. That was one piece of advice I did not want to hear from her. But, as usual, Mother was right. Last night I shared something with Mother that I had never shared with anyone else (and we will just leave it that way). It sounded so silly, even as I said it to her, but she listened. I went on to say, "I know it's not the way it really is, but that's the way I feel." Mother spoke so simply yet she said the most profound words I could have hoped for. Mother said, "Karen, it's those days you have to rely on your knowledge, not your emotions." And then, unlike her, she repeated it as if she needed to hear it as much as I did. I could not help but wonder how much she has really gone through and how awful it must be to not be able to express herself. I truly believe the Holy Spirit was speaking to me through Mother and it was as much for her as it was for me. There is nothing as precious as a spiritual bond between a mother and daughter.

On "those days" when you feel like you cannot hold your head up; when you feel like no one really loves you or cares about you; when you are scared of a doctor's report; when you feel like you do not have a friend that understands you; when you feel like everyone else has it better than you; when you feel your job is more than you can handle; when you FEEL . . . Rely on your knowledge.

It's not what we FEEL -- it's what we KNOW.

Here's what I KNOW.

Blessings will come on me and overtake me. I am blessed in the city. I am blessed in the field. Blessed is the fruit of my body (my children and my grandchildren). I am blessed going in. I am blessed going out. The Lord, my God, will cause my enemies to scatter. The Lord will COMMAND the blessing upon me and all that I set my hand to. I will lend and not borrow. I am the head and not the tail. I am above only and not beneath. I am saved, sanctified and full of the Holy Spirit. I am healed. I am delivered. I am set free. I am LOVED.

My knowledge is in the Word of the Lord. My knowledge is in who I am in Christ Jesus. I am a child of the THE KING. (See, I really AM a Princess.)

(For scripture references, read Deuteronomy 28:1-14)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Gracie's Shoes


In late 1982 I went to work for the Haggar Apparel Company in Dallas. Shortly after I began working there I met a beautiful woman that I admired greatly. I do not believe I have ever known anyone so appropriately named as this precious woman, Gracie. Gracie had an infectious laugh that could be heard over cubicle walls and it made me want to smile every time I heard it. I wanted to be like Gracie. She had the most awesome skin that was flawless and all she had ever used was Oil of Olay. It wasn't just Gracie's beautiful skin that made me want to be like her. It was Gracie's countenance. Gracie led a very clean and Godly life. She loved her family and she was true to her family and to her God. Gracie never compromised her ethics or her morals.

Gracie had something else I always wanted. It was this special pair of shoes. They were white sling back sandals with a beautiful 2 1/2 inch heal. I remember coveting those shoes. Every time she wore them I told her I loved them. One day Gracie brought me those shoes. I wore them only on very special occasions and each time I wore them I thought of Gracie and how I loved her.

Through the years I have moved several times and I have moved those shoes every move and they are still in their original box though one end is slightly torn. Every time I come across that London Fog box I know there is part of Gracie in there. There have been times I've taken them out of the closet and clutched them to me and said a prayer for Gracie.

It's been 20 plus years and I still have those shoes. Although, this past week I loaned them out with the instructions "DO NOT let anything happen to these shoes. These are Gracie's shoes."

This morning about 10 minutes into our Easter service, standing on the back row of the choir beside my daughter, Mandi, I looked down and there was Gracie's shoes. Mandi couldn't have been more than 7 when Gracie gave me those shoes. But here we were today, Mandi now 30, and she was wearing Gracie's shoes.

Thank you Gracie for sharing something with me. That was a really sad time in my life and you had no idea of the things I was going through at that time. You had no idea that GIVING something to me could make me feel so special. You had no idea how precious those shoes have been to me through the years. I will keep them forever and forever you will be in my heart.

Easter

I have written this blog many times in my mind on my way to the salon and then again on the way home. I have had so much anticipation for what God would do for me Easter Sunday. My drive to and from the salon are some of my most precious moments with the Lord. It is in those times that I pray and that I do something I'm not very good at -- L I S T E N. God has spoken to me gently during those times and God has spoken to me profoundly during those times.

Yesterday was one such time -- one of those where God spoke very profoundly to me. Now, I do not know how God speaks to you but rarely does He speak in King James vernacular with me. Most often, I hear a slight Texas accent.

I was driving and praying. I was actually praying for Josh. Josh has been here this past week and I have had a lot of time to spend with him. He brought Desiree and Mason home with him for their vacation. I was praying a very simple prayer. Josh had told me they were going to come to church with us on Easter. I simply prayed, "Father, please speak to Josh's heart. I believe that Josh has had an experience with You and I believe he is saved. But, Father, please don't let him go away from me again without me knowing for sure. I need that as his mother." That was it. Then, God said, "I want you to fast and pray for Josh". I said ok to that but God said, "I want you to fast TODAY until you get home from work and I want you to continue in a state of prayer for Josh." I began to ramble off all the reasons I couldn't fast (not even just part of the day). Then here it comes straight from God. "Well, I gave MY son to die for you. Can you not do this for YOUR son?" I obeyed.

This morning Josh sat beside me in church. Our Pastor delivered one of the most awesome messages not just about the Easter story but about salvation. It was powerful. He made it so simple. I believe 20 plus people came to Jesus today. Josh didn't come to Jesus today because he already had. As I left the pew I said, "Thank you, Jesus, you confirmed everything for me. I know my son is one of YOUR sons." God spoke to me, "What's a couple of meals for your son's salvation and your peace of my mind?"

This morning was the most beautiful Easter I could ever hope for. Family is so important and knowing your family is a member of God's family makes it all the more beautiful.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

My Friend Kathy












Today is April 11, 2006 and it is Kathy's birthday. The above picture is Kathy with Josiah. She is letting Josiah play in MiMi's jewelry and it's OK because Josiah is secure in his manhood.

Kathy is a very special friend. I love her very much. She is really more than a friend. Kathy is like family. She is always there when you need her. Kathy is one of the most giving people I have ever known. I have seen Kathy give to people when she didn't have it to give. I believe God will bless Kathy richly for her spirit of giving.

Thank you, Kathy, for being a wonderful friend and for loving me the way you do. Thank you, Kathy, for not only loving me but for loving my family. You love my grandchildren as if they were yours. You are precious to me and I cherish your friendship more than you know.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY SPECIAL FRIEND.

I love you.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Family

(left to right)

Kyle, Josiah, PawPaw w/Ava Beth, Brooke and MiMi w/Mason

This is what it is all about; PawPaw and MiMi surrounded by (and underneath) grandchildren.

Josh, Desi and Mason came to visit us for their vacation. We are all enjoying getting to know Desi and Mason. Desiree is Josh's fiance' and Mason is her son. We have all just fell in love with Desiree and Mason and feel like they are already family.

Sunday was Brooke's 9th birthday. We cannot believe it. It seems like yesterday that she was born. We all got together for Brooke's party on Saturday. She was so excited that her Uncle Josh got to be here for her party. Even at her young age, family is very important to her.

Family IS important. At the end of the day, all you have is God and family. No matter what happens during the day, at the end of it, you've got your loved ones. James and I cherish the time we spend with all of our children and our grandchildren. What means the most is that we can get together and everyone just have fun.

We are a blended family. It was not always easy to blend our children but the grandchildren do not know any difference. As far as they are concerned we have all been together forever. It's amazing how people comment that Kyle and Josiah favor. We ALL think Ava Beth looks like Brooke. They all call each other "cousin" and it's so sweet to hear "Uncle" this and "Aunt" that. Josiah, only 3, began calling Desi "Aunt" before he ever met her. In his little mind, he has Uncle Josh and Desi has to be his aunt. Kids are so good like that. They just take each other in and ask no questions. They all welcomed Mason into their little family. I am proud of all of my children in this regard. They are all grown now and have chosen their mates for life. James and I love Randy and Jeremy as if they were our own. We love Desi the same.

God is like that. He takes us in and asks no questions. We only have one to ask Him: "Will You forgive my sins?" He does and then He takes us in just as we are and calls us His own. There is nothing more precious than being in the family of God. Nothing in life is as important as being called a child of God.

. . . but you have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Romans 8:15

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Special Frame

Several years ago, my friend, Lori, was going through a really tough time in her life. I was listening to her and I knew her heart was broken. God gave me something for Lori. I said, "Lori, God is going to do for you everything He said He would do." I told her to print it out on her computer and post it on her refrigerator. Lori lived in Houston and I lived in Burleson -- miles away from each other. Little did I know that God would bring Lori and I together again. Soon after Lori moved here I was sharing something with her that was breaking my heart. She prayed with me and for me. One morning she came to church and said, "Karen, I'm going to give you something that you gave me." She handed me a small easel and a frame. I looked at the frame and it said, "God is going to do for you everything He said He would do." I had forgotten all about saying that to Lori. I brought the frame home and set it up in a very strategic place in my house that represents what I was praying for (it's very personal).

Every time I see the frame and what it says I am reminded of how God did so much for Lori and that God would do the same for me. Daily I see this, "God is going to do for me everything He said He would do." and I speak it over the situation.

One day while cleaning I dropped the frame and broke the glass. I cried and then I thought, "that's silly, I can replace it." God spoke so sweetly to me, "Karen, don't replace it. Remember that through the brokenness I can heal. I am God. Even through the brokenness I am going to do for you everything I said I would do." So, sitting in its special place is a frame with broken glass that you can see even in the picture and it says,

God is going to do for me
everything He said
He would do!

I am seeing God's promises come to fruition in this area of my life. Someday I may reveal it and I may not. God is so true to His Word. When we pray the Word into our lives and over the situations in our lives, God is faithful to us. What I am asking God for is something He has already promised me -- I'm just waiting to see it come to pass.

Thanks Lori, for always being a Godly woman in my life. Thank you for sharing your heart with me. I love you beyond words.

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.
Ephesians 3:20

Stars

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Genesis 1:3

God's very first commandment. He spoke it and there it was:

LIGHT

This is our first introduction to God's power. Have you ever wondered why LIGHT was first? God is God and His ways are not my ways. I am human but I try to think like God sometimes. I quickly find out how limited I am without Him.

When I am in my home and on a mission trying to find something I have lost or misplaced, I walk into a room, whether it is day or night, and the very first thing I do is flip that switch. Yep! I turn on the light. Illumination. Light almost always reveals what I have lost or misplaced.

Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every many have praise of God.
I Corinthians 4:5

God does the same thing in our hearts. There are things hidden away in our hearts -- good AND bad. God shines his light (He IS the Light) into our hearts and reveals even the most secretive issues we have. He reveals but never exploits. He reveals so that He can change them or heal them.

ARISE, shine; for thy light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. Isaiah 60:1

God shines His light through us so that we can bring Him glory and honor.

Ye are the light of the world. . . .
Matthew 5:14

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 5:16

Our light is to shine NOT to bring glory to us but that man see our good works and glorify God. It's never about us, is it? It always all about Him.

Going back to creation. Look at Genesis 1:16

And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

The two great lights must be the sun and the moon. Sun the greater and moon the lesser. Then the Bible says he made the stars also. It's as if the stars were an afterthought. It is like me saying, "Evangelist So-and-So preached to thousands and hundreds came to Jesus: and he went home and baked cookies."
Souls saved? Cookies? Sun and Moon? STARS? The stars did not seem very important and yet we have spent billions of tax dollars on the research of stars. Astronomers have made millions of dollars telling fortunes and futures based on the alignment of the stars.

I am amazed at the power of God. He spoke and it was! The first chapter of the Bible says:
Verse 3: And God said . . .
Verse 5: And God called . . .
Verse 6: And God said . . .
Verse 9: And God said . . .
Verse 10: And God called . . .
Verse 11: And God said . . .
Verse 14: And God said . . .
Verse 20: And God said . . .
Verse 24: And God said . . .
Verse 26: And God said . . .
Verse 29: And God said . . .

That is 11 times in the first chapter that God spoke or called something into being. God's Word is yes and amen. If He can speak creation into being (read it again and again -- it is powerful) then do you not know that every word of His is true. When He says you are healed, you are healed. When He says you are saved, you are saved. He said your seed is blessed. He said you are above only and not beneath. He said you are blessed going in and blessed going out. He said these blessings will come on you and overtake you. He said you are blessed in the city and you are blessed in the field. (Read Deuteronomy 28 out loud and get it into your spirit.)

Go back to the first chapter of Genesis and look at the very last verse. After all the "God said and God called" verses.

Verse 30: And God SAW . . .

He spoke it -- He saw it!

As I said earlier, millions of dollars have been spent on stars. Stars are a phenomenon to us. They are miracles and yet they were simply an afterthought of God. He just made them.

Oh, but look at Psalm 139:14 (my favorite scripture).

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

He took time with me. He fearfully and wonderfully made me. He fashioned me, He designed me, He molded me. I am a Designer's Original.

Let His light shine through you today. Be a hand extended to those in need. He will meet all your needs according to His riches. You were not an afterthought of God; you were fearfully and wonderfully made. He made you for His purpose and His glory. You are to be a light, a beacon in the darkness.