Surprise!

A dear friend/ sister called me last week and told me she wanted to fly me to Corpus Christi for Christmas. I was not to tell anyone because she wanted my coming to be a surprise. On my way as “the surprise”I have been surprised a few times myself . Last night I spent the night in Houston because flights to Corpus Christi had been cancelled due to snow….SUPRISE! How often does it snow in Corpus Christi?

I ended up having a wonderful Conversation about the Lord with a Christian shuttle driver. SURPRISE!

When I arrived at the hotel it began to snow…SURPRISE!

After I checked in, I dragged my luggage ( I always load as much as I can in my carry on and extra bag so I can bring more) up a fight of stairs in the snow, only to discover that my room key card didn’t work…SURPRISE!

After dragging my luggage back downstairs I was given another key card and made the trek back up the stairs to my room. Both pieces of luggage are around 30 lbs each, but the second time up the stairs they felt like a hundred, so I was really thankful when I got to my door. Unfortunately, the second key card also did not work…SURPRISE!

I was getting a little teary-eyed at the thought of dragging my luggage up and down the stairs again. It was after midnight, I hadn’t eaten dinner, and I was tired. I thought about leaving my luggage and running to the office and back at lightning speed. I even entertained the thought of throwing it off the balcony. Thankfully, common sense kicked in. As I was dialing the phone number for the hotel, the manager came up the stairs…SURPRISE!

He let me in the room with his pass key and informed me that something was wrong with the system, and I wouldn’t have a working key until the next afternoon. He said he would let me in anytime I needed to get back in my room. Even though I was hungry, I thought it best to just stay put. Although I did stand on the balcony for a while and enjoy the beauty of the falling snow…SURPRISE!

This morning as I was packing my bags, I dropped my phone. Since I am a wee bit careless, I have dropped  my phone many times, and it has always survived. I was sitting on the floor so it only fell about 12 inches, but when it hit on its side flashes of colorful lines appeared on the screen. I could still hear the voice on the other end, but alas, my phone is no more…SURPRISE!

Today’s shuttle ride back to the airport was my most eventful yet. The driver offered to move to Corpus and just about proposed to me. I decided it would be best NOT to give him my business card…SURPRISE!

The last 24 hours reminds me how life is full of surprises-some good-some not so good. It also reminds me that no matter what may come my way, I can always depend on the goodness of God. His love and care carries me through the surprises in life. And that is no surprise!

I should be boarding in an hour. I am excited about the surprises in store on the next leg of my journey!

May the Lord abundantly bless you!

Jeannie

 

 

 

 

Stuck

There have been seasons in my life when I have felt stuck. A few years ago, while I was praying, (begging would be a more accurate description) for God to end my then current season and let me “get on with my life,” I saw a vision of a clock. Its hands were rapidly spinning, signifying the passing of not only days, but years.

Even though the hands of the clock seemed to be spinning out of control, I felt a sense of God being in control—not just in control of the clock, but of time itself, particularly the seasons of my life. God spoke to my spirit that things were getting ready to accelerate, due in part, to the people with which He had surrounded me. At that moment, I realized that I hadn’t been stuck; I had been placed.

God had placed me exactly where He wanted me. He had placed me where I would prosper the most. My stuck season hadn’t been stagnant. It had been a season of equipping, growth, and connections that would cause much to come about quickly in the upcoming season.

The vision of the clock reminded me of Joseph. In the 37th chapter of Genesis, Joseph dreams about his destiny, but in Chapter 39, he ends up on jail duty. His purpose leads him to prison-for a very long season.

I am sure there were times when Joseph felt stuck. The Bible tells us that Joseph was faithful in all that was put before him. He also had favor. While he was stuck in prison, God was setting up his acceleration. As Joseph managed the books, God was writing Joseph’s book—a story that would instantly take him from the prison to the palace to the position of second ruler in the land. His prison time, his “stuck season” prepared him for the destiny for which he had been created—a destiny that would save many lives!

It’s easy to get discouraged when we feel stuck between our vision and our destiny. But feeling stuck is not a bad thing. It is an indicator of change. Feeling stuck encourages us to rise up and to take hold of our promises. Complacency kills destiny, but feeling stuck in invites it, as we are continuously reminded that there is something greater ahead.

Are you are feeling stuck? Has God has given you visions you haven’t seen come to pass? Are you trying to hold onto your sanity while holding on to your dreams? If so, be encouraged. God is going before you and setting things in order. Continue to be faithful with all that is before you. The hands on the clock are turning and will soon begin spinning. Get ready! God is going to accelerate time as He moves you into a new season-a season of changed positions and answered promises!

Lord, you are so faithful! Thank you for all of the seasons in my life, including when I feel stuck. Thank you for your equipping and favor, even when I don’t recognize it. I am confident that where you have placed me now will accelerate where you are taking me. Help me to be faithful and learn all you have for me to learn. Help me to trust you as you lead me toward my destiny. In Jesus’ Name…Amen!

Be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

Photo by khfalk- pixabay

Masterpiece

Last night I went to bed praying for the hopeless and hurting. When I woke up this morning I remembered a beautiful work of art I had seen many years ago. Since it was a mosaic, I had to stand at a distance to see the picture come together. I was amazed at the masterpiece the artist had created from tiny shards of glass and broken pieces of tile.

As I pictured the mosaic, I thought about how God restores broken lives. The story of Ruth came to mind. Ruth was a woman in the Bible who suffered great loss. After the death of her husband, Ruth looked at the broken pieces of her life and made a difficult decision. Instead of returning to her own people and her old ways, she committed herself to her mother-in-law Naomi and vowed to trust in the One True God:

“But Ruth said: Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me” Ruth 1: 16-17 (NKJV).

When Ruth handed God the broken pieces of her life in the midst of her sorrow, she could not have even begun to fathom the incredible work of art the master artist would create from them. Trusting God with the pieces, created an astounding picture of restoration. The poor, childless widow became a wealthy wife and a mother. The one who had little, received much more than she could have thought or imagined.

As Ruth’s life was coming to a close, she probably marveled at the part of the mosaic she had been able to see. But she could have never imagined the final touches the artist had yet to make. After she breathed her last, the One True God would continue to glue pieces on her mosaic. The final picture would show her descendants, one of them being her great-grandson David. Ruth’s broken pieces would become a piece in the lineage of Jesus, the Savior of the World.

Today, if your life and heart have been shattered, I would encourage you to give the Lord your broken pieces as you pray this prayer with me. But first, you might want to reach down as if you are gathering the pieces. Then holding them in your hands, lift up your hands and open them, releasing your pieces to the Lord.

Precious Lord, thank you for always being there for me. I don’t understand why my life has been shattered, but I choose to trust you. You can see what I cannot see, and you can do what I could never do. I raise my hands in both surrender and victory, knowing that the pieces I am giving you will become part of a beautiful mosaic. You are the master artist. Come and make a masterpiece out of the broken pieces of my life. I love you Lord! In  Jesus name…Amen.

Always know God loves you and adores you!

Jeannie

Preparing for the Storm

 

Weather forecasters are predicting that Hurricane Harvey will be wreaking havoc on the Gulf Coast by early morning. Many residents have evacuated. Those who are staying to weather the storm are battening down the hatches and preparing for the worst, while hoping and praying for the best.

I have been through three hurricanes. One I was too little to remember, the other two I will never forget. Before the hurricanes came into shore, my parents made sure that we had candles and flashlights, fresh water, and enough food to weather both the storm and its after effects. They also had us clear any clutter from the yard.

I have learned to do the same when preparing for the storms of life.

Light- When Hurricane Celia’s high winds pummeled Corpus Christi in 1970, we were without electricity for almost two weeks. Thankfully, my parents had plenty of candles and a couple of lanterns to illuminate the darkness. Spending time in the Lord’s presence and keeping His promises (candles) in our hearts will illuminate our way when the “lights go out.”

Psalms 199:105 “Thy word is a lamp into my feet, and a light unto my path” (KJV). When I was growing up we often went camping. I hated going to the pit toilet in the middle of the night. On the “seemingly” mile long trek, I would point my flashlight directly in front of my feet so I wouldn’t stumble when taking my next step.  I also intermittently raised my flashlight and scanned the distance to make sure I was safe—and that I was headed in the right direction. God’s Word not only illuminates our steps to keep us from stumbling in the dark, but lights our path to bring us understanding and revelation about the present and the future.

Water- Our bodies are composed of more than 60 % water. No wonder we can get dehydrated so easily!  Since we can be surrounded by water and still be dehydrated (Just ask anyone who has been lost at sea) we not only need water—we need drinkable water. In A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm, the author, Phillip Keller, who was a shepherd by trade, explains what it means to be led “beside the still waters.”  Keller mentions how shepherds go to great links to provide good water sources for the sheep—even digging deep wells if necessary. However, even with all their effort, invariably a few sheep will try to drink from polluted puddles.  If you and I drink from the polluted water sources of the world, we will not be able to survive when the storms of life “hit us”. Jesus tells us that He is the “Living Water.” We must rely on Him to be our strength and trust in Him.

Food- After Jesus had met with the Samaritan woman, his disciples urged Him to eat. Jesus told them He had food to eat that they didn’t know about: “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work” John 4:34 (NKJ). Jesus also says in Mathew 4:4 “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”” (NKJ). You and I need to know how to “hear” God’s voice and walk in His will if we are going to survive the storms of life.

Clean up the clutter- Besides gathering supplies and boarding windows, my parents always made sure we removed anything in the yard that could potentially become a missile.  Before we head into life’s storms you and I need to do the same.  Unhealthy patterns and mindsets, including unforgiveness and judgment, can become missiles the enemy will launch at us when the winds start kicking up. It’s best to clean them up beforehand.

Thankfully, Hurricanes are preceded by warnings so there is time to prepare. That is not always the case when it comes to the storms of life. If we keep our hearts prepared by staying in God’s presence, reading His Word, listening to His voice, letting Him clear out the clutter in our lives, and resting in His love, we will be able to weather any storm—knowing that the One who created the wind and the waves, can also calm them. 

May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

 

 

 

 

Not What I Thought

One of the schemes of the enemy is to try to make us think that we’re missing out. This Fourth of July, I really wanted to see the fireworks display. My daughter wasn’t feeling well, but she didn’t want me to be disappointed, so she lovingly went with me down to the Marina to watch the fireworks.

Since the Marina was less than a half mile from her house, I was anticipating the beautiful colors exploding and raining down from the sky as I looked up in wonder. The reality of the situation was that we were so far away from the fireworks, instead of looking up, we had to look straight ahead across the water, where in the very, very, very, very, very far distance we could see tiny little flashes of various colors about the size of my thumb.

Earlier in the afternoon, I had mentioned to a friend that I was taking care of someone’s bunny. When I told her that we would only have to drive a half mile to see the fireworks, my friend was extremely concerned about the bunny. “I know someone whose bunny died because a loud noise caused it to have a heart attack,” she cautioned.

Because of my friend’s statement, I had intended to check on the welfare of the bunny after the fireworks display, but I’m pretty sure it’s safe, unless its ears are so sensitive that the sound of Rice Krispies popping in a bowl of milk sound to it like cannons.

Looking back on the whole evening, I have to laugh. What I had pictured in my mind wasn’t even close to the actual scenario. If I had not seen the fireworks, I would’ve gone to bed thinking that I had missed out on a marvelous display. It made me think about how the enemy entices us with illusions of grandeur in order to keep us from God’s best. When, in reality, what we experience is nothing like what was promised.

My Fourth of July celebration might not have been what I had expected, but it sure taught me about false expectations. Thank you, Lord, for reminding me that you always know what is best!

May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17).

Forbidden Fruit

Obey is one of those words that we don’t like hearing. From the time we are toddlers, whenever we hear “Obey me”—or it’s shorter version “NO!”—we immediately think of what is being withheld from us. I can’t touch, taste, smell, or do what I want to. But the reality is obedience protects.

This reality of protection in obedience hit home for me one day when I was babysitting a toddler who was determined to destroy both herself and my house. After rescuing her from everything from toilets to outlets, I put her in the playpen for a nap. To little Taylor “No!” obviously meant “Go for it!” How was I to teach her otherwise?

How could I get her to understand that toilets and outlets are dangerous when she couldn’t  comprehend the words drown or electrocute, or even death?

It wouldn’t have done any good to have sat her down and shown her electrical diagrams and explained currents and wiring.  Instead, I had to confine her within the boundaries of the playpen to keep her safe, until I finished a few tasks and could watch her like a hawk.

That evening, I was talking to a friend who was suffering a lot of consequences from making wrong choices. I shared with Him about little Taylor. When he was defying God’s “No’s” all he could think about was what God was withholding from him. Now He was learning the hard way that God’s “No’s” were for his protection.

Sound familiar? In Genesis, God places Adam and Eve in a Paradise of “Yes’s”. He only gives them one “no”. They are not to eat fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

If the serpent (devil) had told Eve to eat the fruit from the forbidden tree because it tasted better than the fruit from the other trees, she might not have fallen. But the enemy didn’t deceive her with the fruit, he deceived her through a lie—a lie about the goodness of God. If he could get her to doubt God’s heart for her, he could get her mistrust God and convince her to sin, bringing death, disease, fear, destruction and every other wicked thing that could harm her into her life. The more she believed the lie, the more appetizing the forbidden fruit looked.

The devil still uses the same tactics today. That is why we struggle with obeying God’s “No’s”.  When we choose to sin, we might not always be aware that we are doubting God’s goodness, but we are. Whenever we deliberately make a wrong choice, we are inwardly telling God that we doubt His heart for us. We see Him as withholding, instead of holding out His hands to bless us.

God wants to withhold evil from us; not to withhold what is good for us. But, unfortunately, you and I sometimes  have to get shocked a few times or nearly drown in tears from our decisions until we realize that God really knew what He was talking about when He told us “No!”.

God is a good father and He knows what will truly bless us (his children). The devil wants to steal from us and rob us of our peace. God wants to give us peace, and part of that peace comes through obeying Him and resting in His care for us. Trusting leads to obedience—and obedience leads to rest. May you and I purpose to trust Him, obey Him, and rest in His care!

May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

Genesis 3:1-7

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17 NKJV).

He Who Dwells

 

Through the years, as my relationship with the Lord has shifted from being that of a fearful orphan to being a beloved daughter, the Holy Spirit has often brought me new understanding concerning scriptures I used to recite. A recent example would be Psalm 91.

I used to view Psalm 91 as my 911 Psalm. It was the Psalm I read when I was in trouble. It was the Psalm I posted in its entirety on the wall above my bed when I was terrified at night. It was the Psalm I claimed when I was in the midst of trials. But recently I have been thinking about Psalms 91 in a new way.

Whenever I would read or recite Psalm 91 I would fly through the first two verses and get down to the business of claiming and declaring God’s protection and deliverance. But the past few days I haven’t been able to get past the first verse: “He who dwells in the secret place of the most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”(Psalm 91:1 NKJV).

Could it be that in my rushing, I had missed the whole message-It’s not about rescue as much as it is about dwelling (relationship).

Below are a couple of definitions of dwell from the The Online Free Dictionary

1. To live as a resident; reside.

2. To exist in a given place or state: dwell in joy.     

In Acts 17:28 the Word says, “for in Him we live and move and have our being…” (NKJV). In order for us to live and move and have our being in God, we must have an intimate relationship with Him.  He needs to be our habitation not just our hang out. Instead of defaulting to Him we are to dwell (live) in Him.    

You and I don’t need to run to a shelter in the midst of a storm if we are already living in a shelter. We just need use the resources that have been made available to us. To me this means drawing close the heart of God and receiving the love, peace, and joy He has for me as I rest in His care.

During the years when I used to view God’s presence as a place to run to, I was often running from Him, because I didn’t feel worthy and I didn’t trust His heart for me.

When you and I dwell in God’s presence we are transformed by His power. In His presence, faith replaces fear and acceptance replaces abandonment. In His presence, our minds are transformed, and we no longer see ourselves as slaves but as beloved sons and daughters (God’s princes and princesses).

Instead of just viewing God’s presence as a fortress, may we make it our habitation and relish our relationship with Him.

May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

 

I’ve Got This!

The more I understand God’s love for me the easier it has been for me to trust Him. When I was younger, anytime the Lord told me to step out in faith or make a change in direction I would panic and fire back questions asking for specifics. I figured if I knew all the details concerning the whats, wheres, hows, and whens I would be able to trust the Who (God.) Since most of the details would usually not be revealed until the last minute, I would continuously worry and strive to make things happen. Needless to say this was not productive nor healthy.

Back in those days when I used to play 20 questions with God I was unaware that trust is built in relationship, not just in obedience. I was also unaware that my Father God knows exactly how much information I need for each step of my journey. He goes before me and prepares the way. As I step into my next season I receive His grace for that season. If I were to know the detailed road map before I had the grace to handle the directions, I would not grow in my relationship with Him, and I would not develop character through the fruits of the Spirit. To be honest, if I saw it all before I had God’s grace to experience all I would be tempted to pull a “Jonah” and high-tail it in the opposite direction. Thankfully, God knows my true needs as well as my heart.

A few months ago I woke up one morning hearing two words in my spirit: “Virginia/June.” I have learned when I hear something I believe is from God, to both pray and wait for confirmation. Shortly after praying, I received a call giving me confirmation.

Even though I knew the where and a general when concerning my next season I had no clue as to the hows. During the months that followed, whenever I would pray for wisdom, the Lord would speak three simple words to my heart, “I’ve got this!” And I would be flooded with incredible peace.

For the first two months I had no clue how God was going to orchestrate everything that needed to happen for me to move. But in May the puzzle pieces started to come together. As usual the puzzle doesn’t look anything like I expected. My incredible, loving, Daddy God has arranged a wonderful place for my special needs sister and father to live, as well as providing the finances I need. Not only has He swung the door to my next season wide open, He has already been preparing my heart to minister His love and life as soon as I walk through it.

Once again, I am amazed how God Has put everything together! But I am even more amazed at how He has put my broken heart back together. There were many years when I would have doubted and worried, but this time, I actually had peace and trusted Him to insert the missing pieces in the right places. From the moment He first told me “I’ve Got This!” I really did believe that He had it!

If you, like me, are getting ready to walk into a new season, I would encourage you to trust the Lord and wait on His perfect timing. Not only does “He Got this!” He’s also Got you!

May the Lord abundantly bless you!

Jeannie

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:5-7 NKJV).

Much Fruit

Sometimes when we are going through a trial it’s hard to see anything good coming out of it. Quite a few years ago I was going through a season of intense physical and emotional suffering. One day, as I was getting ready to leave the house, I saw a picture in my mind of a large bowl of fruit. As I thought about the meaning of the fruit bowl, I heard the Lord speak to my heart: “Thank you for letting me entrust you with this trial. Much fruit will come from it.”

Before then I had thought of trials as tests, not opportunities to trust and to be trusted. God is all about relationship. Relationships are built on trust, not tests. God knows our hearts. He is not trying to see what we can achieve. He wants to grow our trust so He can entrust us with all He has created us for.

He is a Good Father, not a strict teacher. Like any good father, He teaches through many experiences to grow us and to equip us. Not to see if we will pass or fail.

Knowing He is good allows us to rest in His love in the midst of unlovely circumstances. As we draw close to Him and trust Him He will bring forth much fruit—the fruit of our testimony and the fruits of the Spirit manifested in our lives.

May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

 O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good! Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who trusts and takes refuge in Him” (Psalm 34:8 AMPC).

“But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge]” (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

 

Going Somewhere

Going Somewhere

Lately, it seems as though I am being pulled in many different directions. Before I leave for Virginia for a season I am trying to meet with as many friends as I can, as well as sorting, packing, selling my books I still have on hand, writing, preparing messages to teach next week, taking care of my special needs sister….you get the idea.

You would think I would be going nuts trying to get everything accomplished, but actually, I would much rather be busy than bored. Maybe that is why I like to walk at the bayfront when the wind is stirring the waters.

Right now, there is no doubt that I am definitely going somewhere soon. But there have been seasons in my life when I felt as if I were going nowhere.

 

Last Spring God told me to turn over the care of my father and sister and go elsewhere. I stepped out in faith and obeyed. After visiting in three different states, I returned and stayed with a few friends awaiting my next direction.

 

I was looking into renewing my teaching certificate and getting a “real job” but every time I made a move in that direction, God stopped me. In November I came back to my dad’s house for a week to take care of my sister while he went to a wedding in California. Unfortunately, the day before the wedding, he fell and broke his hip, and has not been able to live at his house since then. So to make a long story short, I am still here at his house.

 

After a few weeks of caring for my sister again, I, felt as if I were going nowhere. I thought that maybe my extended stay was keeping me from accomplishing the things God had put in my heart to do. My current circumstances reminded me of an experience I had had years ago when I was living in Arizona.

 

I was volunteering at the hospital on one of my days off and had just entered the elevator with a cart full of supplies I had gathered from the storeroom. After maneuvering the cart to the back of the elevator I pushed the button to ascend, but the elevator didn’t budge. I waited a minute just in case someone was exiting on another floor. Then I pushed the button again…Still no movement. Just as I began to envision myself being stuck inside for an indeterminate amount of time, the doors opened and to my surprise, I was staring into the face of the same woman whom I had conversed with in the hallway before boarding. That is when I realized I had been pushing the wrong button. My effort had resulted in my going nowhere.

 

Needless to say, once I recognized my mistake, I quickly corrected it, exited on the second floor, and made my way to my destination with no further hindrances. Although my extended stay in caring for my sister again and my elevator experience felt similar, I realized that there was a world of difference: On the elevator, I was pushing the wrong button. In returning to my dad’s home, God had pushed the right button. Repeating the same mistake didn’t take me anywhere, but obeying God always takes me somewhere, even if I do not recognize it at the time.

 

As I look back on these past seven months I am in awe of all God has done. I am thankful for all I have been able to accomplish at my father’s house, and I have been blessed in more ways than I could ever have imagined. Once again, God has shown me that when He puts me in specific places, the rewards outweigh the struggles. Whenever I am in His will, even when it feels as though I am going nowhere, He is always taking me somewhere.

 

If you are in a season where you feel as if you are going nowhere, I would encourage you to ask God for wisdom. He might show you that you have been pushing the wrong button and repeating unhealthy or unproductive behaviors. But He also might reveal that your seemingly nowhere season has been taking you somewhere you were not aware of. Somewhere you never could have gone without your present circumstances, even

if that somewhere is just to a deeper relationship with Him.

 

May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

 

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Psalm 33:4  For the word of the Lord is right; and all His work is done in faithfulness” (AMPC).