Update

It has been several months since I posted and I wanted to update “Life” with me and my family. It is astounding how long it has been. “Life” happens so fast that sometimes, it can completely get away from you.

My daughter had a beautiful little girl in March in the middle of a full blown search for a new house. The owner of the house that we had been renting from decided to sell and move to New York. It still amazes me that this was right after we gave him notice that we would be moving so that my daughter could be closer to her job. The search for a new home took much longer than we expected and was really frustrating. During this time of stress and anxiety, it occurred to me as I was discussing the difficulties we were having with my daughter that God was in charge. He would not let us select a home that was not part of His plan for the family. We just had to wait and keep looking until the correct house was available for us as prescribed by God.

While in the middle of this search, my granddaughter was born in March. A beautiful baby girl.

AminaBoo

Veronica at 2 months old

The answer to a prayer. Our plans were to be moved and settled before the baby was born, but God had other plans obviously. “Many plans are in a man’s mind, But it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand (be carried out)”. (Proverbs 19:21, AMP) Shortly after her birth my daughter was told about a house that had just become available. After a tour, we decided that the house was perfect for our needs. What is really unbelievable is that the house is very close to her job. One of the primary objectives in the decision to move.  Everything was fitting into place. We were able to move quickly without excessive cost into a really comfortable home. I was reminded that only God’s plans fit together perfectly and effortlessly and this experience is another example of His grace shown to our family. I truly thank God for his kindness by showering us with blessings some we are aware of and many others that are not known to us. The best example is the birth of my little granddaughter, Veronica.

Well now that things have settled down, at least, for a little while.  I can return my attention to Shaped by a Potter’s Hands, developing my natural skin care products and nonprofit for single mothers. The last two projects will be introduced soon.

Take Care and Bless the Lord!

Reaching Forward

Philippians 3:13, “… But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.” (AMP)

You cannot see what God has for your future while hanging onto your past.  God is the future. As we await the dawning of a New Year, we reach forward towards the unknown–developing goals to propel us into the future and the better life we want for ourselves and our families.  Many of these goals reflect changes we want to make in our own behavior.  As this New Year’s Eve brings us closer to the beginning of a New Year, our determination gets stronger to carry out our goals.

After the newest of the New Year wears off, many of us will settle back into the same old habits and the new goals become nothing more than a fond and frustrating memory to be filed away.  We have all done it; reached for the future and the unknown but allowed Satan to pull us back into the familiar and limited.  Doubts about the future and our past failures all bloom on the horizon reminding us of our fears and futile efforts of the past.

To get to the next thing, God has for you, you must leave the old and familiar.  A perfect example of this can be found in Abraham (Genesis 12:1-9).  He left everything he was familiar with and traveled with his family to an unknown country.  Three years ago my family and I made a move from North Carolina to Florida.  We did not know where we would be spending the night, had no job awaiting us, and only knew one person who lived in Florida.  What we did know was that it was time to leave North Carolina.  Everything went smoothly during the over 800 mile drive, my daughter driving the moving truck and I drove the car.  We found a hotel upon arrival that accepted dogs (We have two small ones.) and soon we found a house to rent, my daughter found a job and we were settled within a month of our arrival.  Sometimes, I still look back at and am amazed at how God looked out for us and put things in place for my family.  Truly,  I believe and have experienced His love.  I feel as though I have been sheltered from the storm.

Staying with a situation or a person longer than you should instead of moving toward the new thing that God has for you keeps you from the destiny that God has designated for you.  Do you feel the Holy Spirit within you gently pushing you toward the unknown and God’s future for you?  Are you reaching, but holding back?  Let Go and Let God is an expression I heard many years ago, but it still rings true.  Abraham listened to the Lord when told to leave all he knew and ventured forth with courage and did not doubt.  silhouette-936721_640Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

Additional Scripture to help you move forward.

Psalms 62:8 “Trust [confidently] in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him. God is a refuge for us.” (KJV)

Isaiah 43:18, ““Do not remember the former things, Or ponder the things of the past.  (AMP)

1 Peter, “casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]. (AMP)

I pray that Everyone’s New Year is Happy, Prosperous, and

you attain your goals for 2017.

Are you Listening?

This time of year children anticipate the arrival of Christmas, they are warned by their parents that they must be patient.  Their behavior magically improves because Santa only brings toys and gifts to the good boys and girls.

Christmas Eve is the only night they do not have to be coerced to go to bed.  They retire early, eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa.  Parents have usually informed their little ones that Santa will only come if they go to bed and are quiet.  That is the only way they will be able to hear the hoofs of the reindeers when they arrival on the roof.  They, of course, fall to sleep in the quiet, dark room while impatiently awaiting the sounds of the hoofs on the roof.

As parents, we, of course, know the reality of the arrival of the gifts and toys, and feel blessed to be able to provide for our children.  There is nothing that can replace the look of surprise and wonder on the faces of our kids as they bound into the room in search of treasure.

We are God’s children he is happy to provide for us,  but it is our option whether we believe and accept the gift of his love and salvation.  He offers the gift not once a year, but if we accept it, He through the Holy Spirit, walks with us as we journey through life.  We, as believers, do not have to wait in a quiet, dark room for the still, quiet voice that guides.  We only have to listen and allow ourselves to be guided along the right path.  Yes, sometimes we stumble, but we are not forsaken, but are lifted up and set aright just as a small child is when they fall while trying to learn to walk.

Do you hear the still, quiet voice in your spirit gently guiding you.  Do you listen or ignore it entirely?  Some call it conscience some call it common sense.  I call it the Holy Spirit guiding me. I personally do not believe things happen in isolation nor do things happen by coincidence.  The more you let yourself be guided, the louder the voice will be as you are guided to a life that reflects the Spirit that is within you as a believer.

May we all strain and train our hearts and minds to follow the small, quiet voice and take the better path.

 

I ask again —  Are you Listening?

Passing the Baton

Comparing the Discipleship of Joshua and Timothypassing-the-baton

Moses was Joshua’s spiritual father and Paul was Timothy’s.  These great men passed on the baton to their spiritual children so that God’s mission to lead the children of Israel to the Promised Land and spread the Gospel of salvation to the world would continue to be carried out.  Moses passed on the baton to Joshua in Deuteronomy 31:7 just before his death and Paul mentions his impending death as he gives instructions to Timothy in 1 Timothy 3:14-16.

As I read 2 Timothy this morning , Paul was instructing, reminding, and uplifting his spiritual son so that he would have the fortitude to continue the work of the ministry.  Paul tells his disciple to persevere as he does and stand [his] ground with patience and endure everything for the sake of the elect [God’s chosen] (2 Timothy 2:10). As I read this, I thought of a similar instance of a leader passing the baton to his disciple–Moses to Joshua not the same words were spoken but the same inference was made.

This was Paul’s second letter to Timothy reminding him of the work of the ministry in spreading the Gospel.  The ministry that Paul was now imprisoned for in Rome.  Paul’s letters were to help booster the spirit of his beloved pupil and to insure that the fires of enthusiasm were not quenched by hardship and struggle.

Moses’ was able to impart a spirit of wisdom to Joshua and God spoke to him after Moses’ death.  Telling him to be bold and courageous and to lead the people into the Promised Land.  Timothy received his ordinance from Paul and others.  At that time I feel he too received a boost of the spirit to strengthen him for the struggles ahead.

Both of these men followed great men of God taking the baton of leadership and moving forward in the face of opposition and struggles.  Carrying the Light of God into the darkness of unbelief.

Joshua

While Joshua was definitely mentored by Moses to become his disciple, Joshua was also a skilled general and leader.  In Hebrews Joshua means Yahweh is salvation. With the Lord’s guidance, he showed potential during the Exodus and worked behind the scenes.  He lead the successful battle against the Amalekites (Exodus 17) and was one of the two original spies (Numbers 13-14) who encouraged the people of Israel to follow the Word of God and cross over the Jordan to possess the land the first time, and as such was one of the few who lived to cross over into the Promised Land after the generation had died out.  Moses  progressively groomed Joshua for leadership.

Joshua was a servant, helper, aide and stayed close to Moses from his youth.  There was an ongoing relationship between Moses and Joshua.  When God moved to change command of Israel after Moses’ death, Joshua was ready whether he realized it or not God and Moses knew.  Joshua rose to the command of God to lead His people into the Promised Land to take possession as God had decreed.

Timothy

Timothy was half Greek and Jewish.  His name means honoring God or precious of God.  His faith emerged from his grandmother Lois and was passed to her daughter Timothy’s mother, Eunice. Paul’s first missionary travels opened the mind of Timothy, his mother, and grandmother to the truth of Jesus.  He was a good example and well-thought by the Christians in the area of Asia Minor.  Timothy eventually became the first Christian Bishop of Ephesus (Ephesians).

Although many centuries, kings judges and prophets pronouncing God’s word, ruled Israel and its people, Joshua and Timothy had several things in common:

  1. They were  both proteges of great men of God. (Joshua-Moses and Timothy-Paul).  Both Moses and Paul moved and carried God’s Word into new areas one for the Israelites and the other to the Gentiles.
  2. They worked from an early age to be shaped by their prophets.
  3. They were both gifted with great ability and a willingness to follow God’s word.
  4. They both worked behind the scenes as assistants and helpers for many years to prepare for the great tasks for which they were destined.

Each of these men had a burning need to learn and follow their prophets.  They sat at their feet and learned, participated in their trials and shaped their lives after their leadership examples.

Joshua had to be prophet (God’s spokesman) and military leader just as Moses.  Timothy was student and assistant following Paul bringing God’s word to the Gentile.  Paul described in 1 Timothy 1:2 Timothy as his spiritual son.  I believe that Moses looked upon Joshua just as endearingly because he was Moses closes assistant.

Both of these men although separated by centuries played essential roles in the introduction and growth of the Word of God among the people of the world.

Is this God’s destiny for you?    Are you ready to take the baton?

Birthday Goals

Recently, I  was blessed to experience another birthday.  It has been my habit to look back on my life on birthdays and reflect on God’s blessings and my activities during the past year.  For me this is a time to review and start making changes and setting new goals for the upcoming year.  One of my continuous goals is to strengthen my relationship with the Father and to become more aware of the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  My intent is to lessen the time it takes me to respond to a prompting and to reduce the times that I ignore it altogether.  No matter how I try sometimes I still follow my own mind in direct contradiction of what the Holy Spirit is prompting me to do.  Just as Paul said in Romans 7:14-15 , 21-25:

“… I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.  So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” (ESV)

When I make the wrong decision despite what the Holy Spirit prompted me to do, I repent and ask forgiveness and try to do better.  But fortunately for me, I have a forgiving God who loves me, and continues to look after me in all my hard-headedness.  Despite of my stumbles, I know that I have made progress and continue to make a conscious effort to move forward.

My hard-headedness and stubborn disobedience reminds me of the exiles of Israel after God brought them out of Egypt  making Aaron create the golden calf during Moses’ absence on Mt. Sinai incurring God’s anger and resulting in a great loss of life and thstubborneir wandering in the desert for 40 years. After the Lord had brought them out of Egypt and Moses led them through the Red Sea and drown the Egyptians. Those who witnessed the miracles and examples of the Lord’s power, it should have been enough.  But time after time, they tried the Lord’s patience and suffered the results of taking the wrong path.  Isaiah 48:4, “Because I know that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead brass,” (ESV)

One of the many benefits of being a child of God is that we can be wrong and hard headed, but still be able to repent, and go the Father for forgiveness because we have an intercessor who will constantly plead on our behalf.  Fortunately, for us Jesus has been assailed with the weaknesses, trials, and pitfalls of being human and conquered them.  He understands the pull of Satan and how to fight against and overcome temptation.

As I stride to improve and be a grateful recipient of God’s grace, I thank Jesus every day for being my intercessor and understanding the weaknesses of the flesh.

Have You Thanked Him Today?

Childlike Simplicity

“And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3, KJV)

God sees us as His children and therefore wants Believers to have childlike trust, faith, and dependence on Him.  By coming to Him with the simplicity of a child we allow ourselves to throw off the complication of adulthood in a world ruled by Satan.  By developing the faith of a child and total trust, we look at the world without the depravity and mistrust that develops as we get hurt and disillusioned.  As adults we become callous and put up walls to protect ourselves from all those who would hurt us.  It is even harder when those we love and trust hurt us.  For those of us who long ago or who never experienced the joy of an innocent childhood, but were pushed into maturing early and missed the fun and wide-eyed innocence of childhood, the walls are thicker and harder to remove.

But how to throw off the cloak of adulthood and return to the simplicity of childhood in our relationship with the Father? To me childlike simplicity means to come to Jesus not with mistrust, worldly-hunt for a way to get a step-up on the competition, but to come to Him with the wide-eyed amazement, trust and expectation of a child at Christmas time.  The expectation that something good is going to happen.  I remember going into the living room and being amazed at the beautiful tree and gifts under it.  Trusting totally that there was something for me in at least one of those boxes or bags.  As I got older the amazement of Christmas fell away and was replaced with insuring that my children had a good Christmas.  I was taught as a child that it was not all about the gifts, but that it was about the birth of Jesus and tried to instill that remembrance into my own children.  But I cannot deny I always loved seeing the amazement in their eyes when they looked at the gifts under the tree.

Children do not look for underlying motives, they tell the truth without hesitation, take life at face value, are open and free-spirited, trusting, and ready to believe.  They are teachable–like sponges ready to absorb everything put before them.

Recovering the childlike amazement is harder than it sounds.  Especially as overtime we continuously try to force ourselves into the square hole of conformity to the world.  It just amounts to making ourselves fit-in. As we mature and find out more about who we are in Christ, we can no longer feel comfortable continuously trying to fit-in.

Developing the simple life of a child does not mean that you become passive or gullible.  I personally believe that the still quiet voice will guide us on the right path if we listen intently, but I do believe we must be willing to heed the guidance not letting our own feelings, ambition, and ego get into the way.

I know that I will never accomplish change without the Holy Spirit.  I pray everyday that the Holy Spirit will guide me in pulling down the walls that have taken me many years to build and help me to learn and enjoy a childlike trust in Jesus and embrace the gift of Grace.

Grow in Grace

II Peter 3:18, “…but grow [spiritually mature] in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory (honor, majesty, splendor), both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” (AMP)

Grace defined is the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

As we pray for God’s saving Grace in times of trouble, He may give us Grace to be delivered out of the trouble or He may give us Grace to go through.  Only God can make the choice.

A loving parent may tell his or her teenager not to hang around a certain group or individual because they are always in trouble at school.  The parent is sure that no good can come out of associating with this person or group.  The teenager ignores the parent (because parents never know what they are talking about) and continues the association.  The association leads to a problem with the police.  Not necessarily because the teenager committed a crime, but because they were on the scene.  The parent may immediately come in response to “The Call” or wait until the next day.  The parent is not being mean or uncaring.  It is just as difficult for them to wait at home as it is for the teenager.  But spending the time in a holding cell will allow the kid to remember the parent’s warning and regret their decision to ignore it.

God is a loving parent to all His children.  He wants only the best for us.  If he decides to remove us from the trouble, He will.  If He decided to strengthen you to go through it, He will.  His knowledge of the future and the benefit derived from the lesson learned is for our good.  My personal experience has been that some lessons are learned and retained when you have to go through until the end.  The good news is that He never leaves you, has strengthened you to overcome, and that although we do not believe so at the time, we take a step towards greater maturity.

Regardless, if God removes you from the trial which seems to be constantly on the arisen or strengthens you to go through it, His love and grace are surrounding you and are your protective armor.

Isaiah 41:10 says, Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Save

Let Go

I surrender every area of my life to you Jesus. Show me how to “Let Go”. I am controlling and need to “Let Go” and let you rule my life.  I am not good at it.  Yes, I have long since acknowledged Jesus as my Savior, but letting the Spirit take over my life is a constant struggle.   let go

Several weeks ago while sitting at church listening to a sermon regarding Joshua’s sending spies into Jericho and their encounter with Rahab.  I let my mind wonder and began envisioning that I was floating on water being carried along on the surface.  What is interesting is that floating is as close to swimming as I was able to come during my swimming lessons several years ago.  My arms and legs are truly uncoordinated,but I did learn to release control of my body to the point that I could float quite comfortably.  I felt I was floating along being carried to only God knows where on what seems to have been a river. There  was such a feeling of peace that came over me as I listened to Rahab’s story.  

I did not understand what was happening or why I felt the floating sensation during a sermon at the time, but today it became apparent to me.  For one of the few times in my life I had actually unconsciously surrendered myself completely to Jesus and “Let Him Take the Wheel.” The sensation lasted just a few moments, but it was totally refreshing to my spirit.

Today I realized how impossible it is to be a controller when I am totally incapable of controlling my own life and was never equipped to.  How many times have I heard and read this, but today it became apparent to me.  Creating the habit of following the Spirit is not easy, but necessary I will be working on it.

As I start each day, I thank the Father for allowing me to see it, acknowledging His love for me, asking Him to bless my family, and asking the Holy Spirit to take the wheel and direct me through the day.  As I continue my activities, I am focusing on “Letting Go” and floating in the rest of God.

In case you thought surrendering to the Lord and letting the Holy Spirit guide you meant that you become inactive and passive, it does not.  Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”  What I am surrendering is the anxious worry and struggling.

I am not there yet, but continuing to work toward it.

 

Life Trials Make Diamonds

What has diamonds to do with Romans 5:3-4?

And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance;  and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation] (Romans 5:3-4, AMP)

A diamond, the hardest naturally occurring substance on Earth, formed under high pressure and temperature over billions of years.  It is one of the most precious of all the gemstones.  During the development of the diamond, it is changed slowly from one substance to another.  The results are a brilliant, hard multi-faceted stone that is treasured throughout the world.

The Life’s Grinding Stone

The trials and tribulations that we go through as part of living  can either turn you into a person of integrity and a warrior for God or, if you let troubles weaken you, you will break under the pressure and never emerge as the precious stone that God has purposed you to be.   As I look back on my life and the difficulties that I have encountered, I truly thank God for preserving me and continuing to work with me during my trials.  He gave me the strength to go through and not buckle.  The trials have smooth many of the rough edges and strengthen me.  When I face problems I remember the Holy Spirit has moved me through other problems.  Although I pray for a miraculous deliverance from the trouble, sometimes you just need to go through it so the lesson can be taught and another chunk of worthless material can be removed.  The trouble usually comes because I did not do what the Holy Spirit prompted me to do or I stubbornly followed my own path instead of asking for guidance and awaiting His response.  I have also been known to place my trust in a person instead of trusting God.  I have learned about what a mistake misplaced trust is the hard way.

Personally, I still struggle with praying for deliverance when trouble comes, but I at least now know that God will work in his own time and according to His own plan.  So my prayers include a request for deliverance, but also if it is not according to His will that He will strengthen and guide me through it.  grinding stone

Just as gemstones are smoothed to make them more brilliant, we are smoothed on the grinding stone of life, smoothed so that the rough edges are worn away and the true warrior for God shines through.

Have you felt the smoothing process as the Holy Spirit guides you through life’s trials?

Can you hid from God?

The answer is “No”.

Job 34:21 “For God’s eyes are on the ways of a man, And He sees all his steps.” (AMP)

Have you ever felt as though someone was watching you.  You looked around and see no one particularly paying you any attention.  So you turn around again and continue your activity.  But the feeling continues and although you look around again, you do not discover the watcher.  I have had that feeling, it can really make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.  The feeling usually comes when I am doing something that is not right or I am engaged in an active that my conscience is telling me to back away from.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of conscience is — “An inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior.” Because I am a firm believer that what the dictionary defines as conscience is really the Holy Spirit and not just a part of the human psyche,  I have learned to pay heed to the small, quiet voice that has become louder and clearer over time.  Not that I always follow it’s lead because I can be very stubborn at times, but I am more aware of it, and respond to it more often.  One reason for this change in my behavior is that when I do not respond to the Holy Spirit’s prompts, I always regret it sooner or later.

We think that God does not see or is not concerned with the little indiscretions as well as large ones.  As I stop and think about some of the events of my life that I have hidden deep down, away from my current thoughts, and would rather no one found out about, I ask God for forgiveness in the name of Jesus because I know now that I can do nothing that is not seen.  In my younger years, I did not have an understanding of the of the Holy Spirit.  Not that I am an expert now, but I know a prompting when I get it.

Where can I go to hide from the eyes , “… of the Lord which roam throughout the earth.” (Zechariah 4:10, AMP)  Where can I flee?  Psalm 139:7 says, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?

We cannot hide the bad habits, bitterness, hatred, jealousy, lack of integrity from God and the Holy Spirit reminds us that nothing goes unseen.

I used all the above Scripture to reinforce my belief that God sees everything I do big and small.  There is no hiding, just as he can rescue or give us the ability to make it through  any trouble, he sees what we are doing.

All changes take time and effort on our part fortunately the Lord is patient. I am nowhere near where I should be, but I am closer than I have been.  It is my prayer that all Believers are working their way toward a better understanding and relationship with their heavenly Father through Jesus Christ.

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The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims His handiwork. Psalms 19:1

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