I am sorry that I have not posted on here for awhile. My Daughter, Janice Russell and I were taking care of my Mom since she got sick in March. She passed away peacefully on September 2nd and we are so grateful that Janice and I were by her side as she took her last breath! We miss her but are so grateful that we know she is celebrating with the Lord, my Dad and all of the loved ones that went before her who also knew and walked with Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I had the privilege of preparing and officiating her funeral as I had also done for my Dad’s funeral in 2015. The day after Mom’s funeral, the hurricane came and after that, I went back to work. We are also in major transition in our lives. We got my Daughter moved out of Mom’s mobile home and we are gradually working on going through everything my parents accumulated over the years and things at the house we rent in order to condense things and move into the small mobile home that belonged to my parents. Please pray for us because it seems that it has been one thing right after another and we desperately need some time to get away and just relax! We are very grateful to God that He has been, is and will always be with us! He is faithful and we give Him praise!
On August 26, 2013 I wrote the following and put it on my Facebook page. I thought I would share it now on my WordPress blog.
If you were told you only had a certain number of days to live, would you consider that a blessing or a curse? What would you do with your remaining days? Would you spend them fulfilling your pleasures or building up more treasures? Would you surround yourself with things? Would you still be a workaholic and spend the time you had left doing things to fill your days? Would you cherish every moment and be thankful for the time or spend each day lamenting about the time you will not have?
What would you change about your life? Would you start to see that things that seem so big are really small? Would you try to mend relationships that are broken because of silly things or would you carry unforgiveness, hatred, bitterness, resentment, and anger to your grave?
Would you impart what you have learned into the lives of others or would you be self-absorbed with the short time you have left? Would you hug your loved ones more and tell them how you love them? Would you express your gratitude for every moment you have been given?
I have things on my bucket list that I would like to do like go on a cruise, go skydiving, go deep sea diving, and go snorkeling but these things seem much less important when put into perspective. If I knew that I only had a certain number of days to live, I would want to spend my days with those I love doing something to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.
Would knowing how long you had to live be a blessing or a curse? It depends on your perspective! What are the things that REALLY matter in life? What changes would you make? Make them NOW so you have NO regrets if your time here is short. Only God really knows when we will take our last breath. There is a song that says to live like we are dying. It talks about doing things you want to do before it is too late. I encourage all of us to live every minute in a way that REALLY matters and will make a positive impact in the lives of others. Let go of unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, strife, resentment, hatred, and anything else that hinders you from REALLY living! Choose to forgive and love! Life is a blessing from God, don’t waste it!
In the last week, God began to show me some things. He has confirmed what He was showing me in a couple of unusual ways so I really feel I should share some of it. I will try to express His thoughts and heart to you in this blog.
Have you ever had some part of your body disjointed or seen someone that has experienced that? As an example, if the arm is out of the socket, it just hangs there but is not useful until it is put back in its’ proper position. It needs to be connected to the proper place in the body so it can function as God intended it to function.
Let’s apply this in a spiritual sense to the Body of Christ (the church-believers). Just as our physical bodies are designed to work in connection with all of the other parts, spiritually we are designed to function together in order to accomplish what God wants done on this earth. Each part of the body (physical and spiritual) has a special function and is important. We have many members but we have different functions. Romans 12:4-8 and I Corinthians 12:12-27 talks about that so I would encourage you to take some time to read and meditate on those passages.
I will give some personal experiences I have had in different “churches” I have seen throughout many years of my life. I use the term “churches” only because most people relate to that terminology when referring to a building that they go to at certain times to meet with other people BUT the church is NOT a building or denomination, it is the Body of Christ (believers)! I have seen what a disjointed body looks like and it is not good because the body is not functioning in alignment with all the members doing what they were designed to do with the full encouragement and support of the other members of the body. In many cases, it is disjointed! There are members who are separated (some by choice, others not by choice) and there are many who have never been encouraged or given the opportunity to function in what God has gifted them with and called them to do. I have seen people who think they are the head of the body (Jesus is the head!) and because of pride or jealousy will not allow members to function. Many “churches” are places where people go and are entertained by some good music and a certain person who stands up and speaks. After that, they go home and nothing was expected or required of them except their tithes and offerings. God has given each member a function and although giving money is great and we should give, He has called us for much more! He wants ALL of us and not just a little of our time on a certain day or our money. It may sound like I am bashing “churches” but I assure you that is NOT my intent at all. I am just trying to express what God desires and that is to have a body that is FULLY functional with ALL members doing their part. What gifts has God given you to share with the rest of His body? Are you able to function in those gifts? You may NEVER get encouraged to use your gifts in a “church” but find a place where you fit and can function in the Body of Christ. It may be in a hospital, nursing home, jail, or in a park or wherever God places you! We need to minister what God has given us to other members of His body and encourage one another to use our gifts. The Bible tells us to encourage one another daily. Are we doing what He called us to do? If His Body begins to function as GOD intended, it will be amazing what God can accomplish through us!
There are many things that you cannot put a value on because they are priceless and there is no amount of money that could replace them if they were lost. Think about what is priceless in your life and don’t ever take it for granted! Be grateful!
God is AWESOME! I had an issue that needed to be fixed and I had NO clue how to fix it. God gave me the answer. It was something I never would have thought about and it worked perfectly to fix the problem! God has ALL of the answers that we need if we just ask Him.
I posted the following on Facebook one year ago:
I have been a Christian for over 47 years now and I thank God for His love, mercy and grace throughout the years. For anyone who does not know this, being a Christian does not mean that we have arrived and are walking in perfection. Some people who are not Christians are quick to point that out as a reason to not have anything to do with Christianity. However, for anyone who has done that, don’t judge a perfect God by His imperfect people! If you are a Christian and judge other Christians because they sin in other ways than you do, stop that! ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God! We should be praying for each other.
I will be quick to admit that I am far from perfect and have made some bad choices in my life which took me wondering down a wrong path for awhile. The great news is that once we realize we are on the wrong path, if we genuinely repent, God not only forgives us but He FORGETS our sins! God is AMAZING! HE is perfect so He is the ONLY one who would have a right to judge us but He forgives and forgets!
In my case, I have always been my harshest judge! Even after I repent for bad decisions that resulted in sin (anything that pulls our attention from God and what He wants for us) , I have continued to lament those decisions and condemn myself. Satan wants to keep us down by reminding us of our imperfections even after we repent. Satan is the accuser of the brethren and he wants to keep us from what God has for us. The Christian singer Carmen says that whenever the devil reminds him of his past, he reminds the devil of his (the devils’) future! In my case though, I have been a harsher judge of myself than satan has. The funny thing about this is one of my main spiritual giftings from God is mercy! I have no problem extending mercy to others but it is different when I need to show myself some! Our judgment of ourselves can hold us down and back from what God has for us. This morning I was thinking about times I have missed God and He spoke to me to “Get over it!” With God’s help, I will extend the same mercy to myself that I extend to others and learn from it!
What I have learned is that ALL failure is a prayer and relationship failure! When we become distracted and our one on one time with the Lord diminishes, we are opening ourselves up to deception and sin. Satan does not come to us and tell us to commit a sin because we would recognize that was wrong and not do it. What he does is try to distract us with things that will steal our time with the Lord and hinder our relationship with God slowly. This can even be done by seemingly good things like ministry. We can get so busy with ministering to others that we lack in our time ministering to the Lord and letting God minister to us! We need to watch out for anything that starts taking our focus off of the Lord and make sure that God truly comes FIRST in our lives!
I posted this 4 years ago on Facebook:
I woke up early this morning singing (if you can call what I do singing) this:
I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
Oh, bless me now, my Savior!
I come to Thee.
It is from an old hymn called “I Need Thee Every Hour” and I have not heard it in many, many years. It SURE is true that I DO need Him every hour of EVERY day in my life. Left to myself, I would mess everything up! Even Jesus said that He did not do or say anything He did not first see His Father do or say. If Jesus needed the instruction of His Father, how much MORE do I need Him in my daily life!
Now to the second part, “Oh, bless me now, my Savior! I come to Thee.” Sometimes Christians have the mentality that if we come to the Lord, it is His duty to bless us with the things we want. We tell Him what WE want and expect Him to do what we want and bless us with those things, even though what WE want may not be anything close to what HE wants for us. He does NOT want us to come to Him like we come to an all-you-can-eat buffet where we can pick and choose ONLY what we want and as much of it as we want. There was a very dangerous (and false) teaching that went around many years ago and maybe some misguided teachers are still teaching it. They took one verse in the Bible (totally out of context) and developed a whole teaching on it. Here is the verse: 11 Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. Isaiah 45:11 (KJV). The teaching was that WE can command God. Now, if you go and read that verse in context, it is clear that God is telling us NOT to question Him and what He does. He is the one who is God, not us! Here it is in context from another version of the Bible: 9 Woe to him who strives with his Maker!—a worthless piece of broken pottery among other pieces equally worthless [and yet presuming to strive with his Maker]! Shall the clay say to him who fashions it, What do you think you are making? or, Your work has no handles? 10 Woe to him [who complains against his parents that they have begotten him] who says to a father, What are you begetting? or to a woman, With what are you in travail? 11 Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Would you question Me about things to come concerning My children, and concerning the work of My hands [would you] command Me? 12 I made the earth and created man upon it. I, with My hands, stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.
The point I am trying to make is that we need to come to the Lord humbly, recognizing that HE is God and He will decide what we need and give us those things. We can ask God to meet our needs and He will but what we perceive to be needs may not REALLY be needs! If we got everything we wanted, it would probably destroy us. We also need to approach God in an attitude of wanting to bless HIM. Instead of a “bless me Lord” attitude, we need to go to the Lord in an “I want to bless you Lord” attitude. Ask the Lord today; “How can I bless you today Lord?”