Overcoming Fear

Bunnies were all over my path this morning!

Bunnies were all over my path this morning- Elderberry bush over  bunny

This past weekend while mowing, I rode down the path that leads to the edge of the woods.  I turned off the motor and sat… I could hear a symphony of crickets and frogs making music.  I saw deer and bunnies grazing—it was breathtaking.  A year ago that very path had been where I walked and met God at the beginning of my day.  I could pray out loud and no one could hear or see me.  It was perfect—that is, until that day, last July.

I was enjoying my time with Him, when my cell phone rang.  No one ever calls that early in the morning… It was Dale.  He said, “Come to the house, now.”  Dale never talks like that, so I ran.  When I got to the house he was holding his leg and said, “It was a Copperhead snake.”  Immediately we both petitioned the Lord for healing for his leg.  Healing did come.

There was only one lingering effect.  I stopped walking that path with Jesus.  I didn’t really give it much thought until this weekend, on the mower, when I saw the butterflies and bunnies crisscrossing in front of me.  I remembered how sweet that time was and realized that the fear of snakes kept me from going back.

The Lord led my thoughts to Ephesians 6.  It’s the one where Paul gives us a clear defense plan against the enemy.  He tells us about the armor that protects us.  Anytime we have an unhealthy fear of something, we need to face it with truth and investigate our line of defense in order to become overcomers of it.  This is true in the natural as well as in the spiritual.

I decided to walk my path again, but this time with armor on and a defense plan.  I’m wearing jeans, boots and carrying a shovel or a machete- just in case.  I’ve researched my enemy (snakes) and know where they hide, what time of day they’re out, and their mode of operation.  I’ll never forget the seriousness of a poisonous snake, but I will never again let it hinder me from living life to the fullest.

What do you fear?  Does it hinder you from enjoying life?  Satan (our greatest enemy) wants nothing more than for his prey to live in fear.  Fear always threatens freedom and peace.  Paul gives us truth in dealing with our enemy.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of the God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end, with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints–“ Ephesians 6:10-18

I never want to be without my armor (my boots, jeans, and machete) when walking in snake territory.  But even more than that, I never want to be without the whole armor of God to defend and protect myself from the schemes of the devil.

And I’ll never be without a defensive weapon in dealing with the devil, which is; the sword of the Word.  When we use it- no weapon formed against us will prosper!  Jesus Himself used the Word of God as His defense against Satan- and so must I!

Every time I walk my beautiful path now, I am reminded that to enjoy life to the fullest, I must never let fear overcome me, but I must overcome it with truth!  God has given us offensive and defensive weapons- that in making ourselves keenly aware, we will effectively defeat the enemies ahead!  Let’s not allow fear to prevent us from moving forward in any aspect of our lives.  Let’s take up our holy armor and weapons… riding forth into the glorious places that God has already prepared for us- if we are willing to follow Him there.   We have good reason to be courageous!

Our Hospital Debt was PAID in FULL

 

IMG955116 (3) DAle in hospital 2011 mod lighterWinners of aprons announced at bottom of post!

An envelope was taped to our front door.   It was a warrant for us to appear in court for Dale’s unpaid hospital bill.  ( you  should read the story if you’re new to my blog).

The original bill was over $30,000. We had been waiting for the insurance company to settle the claim. Well, they decided not to pay it.  We called the hospital, told them what happened and they graciously lowered our bill by 50%.  But, they were pretty serious about the remaining balance and wouldn’t accept monthly payments.

So, the deal was- pay it by August or we’ll put a lien on your house.  PAY IT NOW was the answer.  Well, naturally we did the same thing you would have done.  We got on our knees and asked God to help and show us an answer.  We didn’t have the money, to say the least.

Every day we prayed, but answers to pay the debt were nowhere in sight.  So, we told God we were willing to sell the farm if He wanted us to get rid of the debt. We resigned ourselves that this may be the only answer.

That afternoon I called a dear friend and asked her to pray for us. The hospital debt wasn’t the only thing I  needed prayer for, we had other issues that were pressing. We talked for 5 minutes and then she prayed the sweetest prayer.

Within 30 minutes after we talked she called me back, I was in my garden.   It sounded like she was holding back tears when she first started to tell me that her and her husband had decided to pay our entire hospital bill!!!  I felt faint.  My head started to get whoozy.  I thought I was going to pass out!

I was in shock. This wasn’t a rich couple. They worked hard for the money they lived on. They weren’t independently wealthy people by any stretch of the imagination. They were people just like you and me, but they were willing to give $15,000 – to help us.

I said,But…“  She said, “Sharon it is our joy to give this. I had felt for several months now that I was supposed to do something for you and couldn’t figure out what He wanted me to do. I had even told my husband about it. Then when you called I knew and so did he.”  They were giving with joy.  She even giggled a couple of times while talking.

When I got off the phone I sat in my garden and cried and prayed.

With tears streaming down my cheeks I kept saying,  “Jesus, who am I that you are so mindful of?”  Never did I ever imagine a person paying off this debt for us!

After I got my composure, I ran into the house to tell Dale. I wish you could have seen his face.  With tears in his eyes, he thanked God and couldn’t stop thanking Him.

They don’t want anyone else to know who gave the money.  They’re humble people not looking for earthly rewards.

These verses are my prayers for this generous couple:

~”He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor.” Proverbs 22:9

~”For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.” Hebrews 6:10

~”Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38

Lord, with the same measure they gave, give it back to them one hundred fold- shaken down and running over! Help me to fulfill the call of Christ just like they did for us.  Help me to bear others burdens by Your example on the cross!  In Jesus’ name, amen.

~ “Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

Winners of Aprons email me your address! Amie Moore posted comment at 9:01 on 7/8, Jane post 11:23 on 7/7, Lindsey Hislop and another Amie posted on 7/5 at 2:23

Does God still Work Miracles?

Chris and Haley were married on The Glasgow Farm two weeks ago!

Chris and Haley were married on The Glasgow Farm two weeks ago!

This past weekend standing at my kitchen door was a young man who had just been married on our farm two weeks ago. Chris told me that right after their wedding his mom( who was at the wedding)went into the ICU unit at the hospital. She had been in critical condition since. Just that morning the doctors conveyed bad news to the family—there was no brain activity and both kidneys were shutting down—what’s worse, they didn’t foresee her condition improving.

He was devastated. He said he had cried every tear he had. We prayed and asked God to do a miracle for his mom in Jesus’ name. We quoted the verse in Ephesians 1:19-20 that talks about the exceeding greatness of God’s power toward us who believe, according to His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead.

Dale and I continued to pray that day along with friends and family.

Less than 24 hours later  Chris told us that his mom was able to do a few things on command, like stick her tongue out and wiggle her toes! Guess what the doctor’s new prognosis was? She will likely have a full recovery!

Does God still work miracles today? Yes, He does.  Lord, we give You the glory for her 180-degree turnaround! Thank You Jesus!

I’ve prayed for many people and I’ve seen many miracles,  I’ve also seen people die right in front of me while I prayed for the miracle! Why? Why doesn’t God heal everyone we pray for? WHY? I don’t know. But this I know, I will never stop believing that God can heal and does perform miracles.

George Muller said that there were some things that he had to ask God for 10,000 times before it was answered.

Don’t lose faith when circumstances seem impossible. Hebrews 11: 1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Don’t blame yourself or stop believing when God doesn’t answer the way you want or when you want.  Keep your faith in God strong — don’t let Satan mess with your mind!  We’ll never understand the timing of God or why some are healed and some are not. Job didn’t understand God’s ways either, but he remained faithful to trust Him even when it didn’t seem like God was listening (He was).

But there is nothing any more rewarding than living a life of faith.

Does God still work miracles today? Yes.

Malachi 3:6 says the LORD does not change.

He is he same God who parted the Red Sea, raised Jesus from the dead, brought brain activity back to Chris’ mom and the same God who will one day wipe away every tear from our eyes and proclaim no more death, no more crying, no more pain for the former things will pass away. He will make all things new, and to you who overcomes He will reward you with a great eternal inheritance!

Matthew 19:26, “But Jesus looked at them and said, With men this is impossible, but all things are possible with God. [Gen. 18:14; Job 42:2.]

 

Chris and Haley sparkler send off!

Chris and Haley

 

A Life of Faith- George Muller

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What do you need more faith for today? Enter your answer in the comment section for a chance to win these two books!

There is no greater life than a life lived by faith.

It is so powerful that even with a tiny amount of it, nothing is impossible to us (Matthew 17:20). Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

A couple of months ago I gave you a list of 10 Invaluable Christian Books. In that list I included a book about George Muller. If you want to read about someone who lived his entire life by faith, read this book. When Muller first became a Christian he felt that God was leading him to be a missionary. He was Biblically trained in the best school, had the desire to preach and the ability to speak many languages. He was completely ready for the adventure.

But God detoured Muller and led him to open orphanages in Bristol, England.  From his latter 20’s to age 70 he took care of over 10,000 children with God’s help alone. Not once in all those years did he ask for financial help from anyone other than God Himself. There were days he didn’t have food to serve the kids, but he never doubted that God would provide.

And God did provide for them.  Miracle after miracle happened at the orphanage. Unexpected food would arrive at the door just in time for meals. People came by to give a gift, and many times it was the exact amount needed to pay a bill.  These things happened not because Muller told anyone his need, but because of God alone.

Rarely did they have money for the next week, but they lived on faith.  And not once in all those years did they go without food or shelter.  George Muller trusted God with a depth rarely seen.  His faith and generosity set a standard for Christians of all generations.

People from all over the world soon heard about the miraculous things happening because of the faith of Muller.  D.L. Moody was one of them.  He visited the orphanage when 1500 kids lived there and was inspired by the power of Muller’s faith and God’s ability to provide even though Muller never asked for money.

When Muller was 70 years old God released him to do his lifelong dream—to go into all the world and preach the gospel.  For 17 years he spoke and traveled non-stop. He spoke on living a life of faith. He preached for Charles Spurgeon and inspired Hudson Taylor.  He spoke to over 3 million people and traveled to 42 countries, speaking at least once a day until he reached 87 years old.

He died at the age of 92. Tens of thousands of people showed up for his funeral. In his lifetime he read the Bible cover to cover almost 200 times (now that’s the secret to faith—know the promises and believe them). He never took a salary in 68 years of ministry but always trusted God to provide for him. He never took out a loan or went into debt for himself, the orphanage or his ministry abroad.

There is no greater life than a life lived by faith.

Faith is so powerful that even with a tiny amount of it, nothing is impossible to us.

God, increase our faith! May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven! In Jesus’ name, amen.

If you stopped by after reading my post on Karen Ehman’s site, thank you for hopping over to meet me! I’m doing a giveaway on her site and on mine. So you can leave a comment at both!  I’m giving away George Muller’s book and a copy of the new NIV Real Life Devotional Bible for women. I’m so excited about this Bible because I’ve got several devotions in it!! To enter the drawing just write the one thing you need faith for right now in the comment section!  We’ll pray for you! Name drawn Monday at noon EST. Winner revealed Tuesday.nifty thrifty graphic

A Legacy of Faith

barn. boardman wedding, bible 038

This week Proverbs 31 Ministries is focusing on women who have left a faith legacy in our lives. As you read about a woman who has inspired me, think about who has left a legacy in your life and whether you are leaving a faith legacy behind by the way you live.

The words we speak and the way we live can alter another person’s life for eternity.

I’ll never forget that night when I was 11 years old.  My aunt, uncle, and their four young children had traveled from Indiana to Virginia to visit with us.  It was a grand visit.  Right before they left, something happened that was grandest of all- forever engraved on my heart.

The night had come to a close.  I got into bed and my aunt came into the room. She looked very serious and made no small talk. “We’re leaving tomorrow and there is a verse in the Bible you MUST know. Bury it in your heart and never ever forget it.” She opened my Bible (which was lying next to me) to Luke 9:62. She read it out loud as if it was life and death to her.  And with a piercing look into my spirit, she left the room.

I got out of bed and read it for myself. “Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”  I knew this would be a defining scripture for my life.  I was just too young to understand fully what it meant at the time.

The next morning, they left before I woke.  That night in my room was the last time I ever saw my aunt.  Her heart stopped beating and her mortal body died soon after they got back to their home.

Countless testimonies were told about Aunt Helen and how she lived her life for Jesus. And the stories are still being recounted even after 40 years!  She was a shining light of His radiance and glory. She was the epitome of the Proverbs 31 woman.  From that day on, I decided I would emulate her and her walk with Christ.  I read that scripture she gave me every day till I went to Bible College (the same one she went to).  I determined in my heart to be a follower of Jesus at all costs, never looking back.

The verse she gave me had even greater meaning when I read the verses before it. Luke 9:57-62 are all about the cost of discipleship. Jesus is walking with three men here and tells them that to follow Him you must drop everything of the world.  When Peter, James, and John decided to follow Jesus- they literally dropped their fishing nets, got out of the boat, and followed Him. They didn’t look back!  That’s what He is telling these three guys to do if they are going to follow Him.  That’s what He says to us today.  To this day I am still convicted by that verse, the cost of discipleship, and the legacy Aunt Helen left to me.

What legacy will I leave behind to my family and friends?  What legacy will you leave behind? The words we speak and the way we live can alter another person’s life for eternity.

Proverbs 31 Ministries is doing a Legacy Campaign. Do you have someone in your life that has lived a faith legacy?  Proverbs 31 is giving you the perfect way to honor her.  Simply click on the Legacy button in my sidebar.  It’s that simple!

 

A Burning Fire in My Bones

This past weekend I spoke at three different churches.  As I walked to the podium at the first event I started to cry when I saw the large audience. Every time I speak I am reminded of where I came from and how He uses me in spite of myself.

I was painfully shy as a child.  I was so shy that I rarely spoke at school and had very few friends.  I mean in order to have friends, you’ve got to communicate, right?  I choose not to.  From the time I was in elementary school, I would envision myself with imaginary walls all around me and I liked those walls. Well, the school thought something was mentally wrong with me because I didn’t talk.  So, they put me in a class for retarded children.  I know, that’s a bad word but it was the word they used for us in that class.  I hated the class.  I didn’t want to be in it.   I knew I needed to get out– but I couldn’t overcome my fear of talking to people.

One night as I prayed and asked God to help me overcome these fears, I felt a surge of strength rise up in me.  I started to read the Word,  something started to  burn in my heart, I couldn’t hold in. Even though I was terrified of my next words I said, “Give me to strength to overcome my greatest fear and I will speak of You forever.”

Well, I got out of that class the next day.  I was only in 6th grade but I knew in my spirit that in my weakness He was made strong. The road ahead of me was terrifying, but through Him I was going to be a speaker for Him!

I’ve been speaking for Him ever since that day. You would never know it, but that introverted little girl is still inside me.  Every day I am reminded of Jesus’ command to all believers to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

In order to accomplish this, we will always have to go outside of our comfort zone.

No matter what my insecurities are, this is a mandate on my life- and every Christian.

Every time I speak for Him, I am brought to tears before I speak asking (God) that He would use me in spite of my weaknesses.

Over the weekend  I saw people weep as they came to Christ.  People made radical decisions to turn their lives around and others wept because they finally understood how much God loved them. Oh my goodness, it was the greatest!

One of the places where I spoke had three times more people show up for the event than had registered!

At another place, almost the entire audience came forward at the end of the service for prayer and decisions.

The Lord’s presence was powerful- long after the events were over and throughout the ministry time.

Oh my, I wish I could tell you all the exciting things that happened.

In between all the great things was the traveling… A flight was delayed.  The plane broke down and traveling time equaled 21 hours…  There were other circumstances that must go unmentioned.

But, God did what He wanted to do in spite of me or any other circumstance! Hallelujah!   That’s what I always find amazing: the harvest is great- He just needs us to “Go.”  He provides everything else; the words, the ability , the power, and the conviction on the listeners.

On my way home I read the biography of John Wesley.  He offered the hope of Christ to millions of people in the 1700’s.  He rode by horseback a quarter of a million miles, preaching forty thousand sermons in open fields, churches, and barns.  Oh my goodness, I want the Word to be like a burning fire within my bones like Wesley, unable to contain it.

 With no microphone he preached in open air to thirty-two thousand people!!! 

Jesus, set us on fire for You and for laboring in the harvest—for it is truly great!

 Somebody asked John Wesley,

“How can you impact so many lives through the Gospel?” Wesley responded,
“It’s simple, I set myself on fire and let the world see me burning.”

But His Word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, I could not.” Jeremiah 20:9

Ten Invaluable Christian Books

A great book is invaluable. There are a few in my collection that I return to over and over and can’t imagine being without. These books are worth more to me than great grandma’s antique china! Do you know what I’m saying? If I had to depart with all my worldly goods and could only keep one thing it would be a stack of my favorite books.

Monday night I was the guest speaker on Proverbs 31 MinistriesBible- study conference call with Melissa Taylor. We had a wonderful time! If you want to hear it, it was recorded- so you still have the opportunity. They are studying an amazing book; Let it Go, written by my dear friend Karen Ehman. At the end of the call I was asked what other books I’m reading. I think that’s a great question…

What you read really tells everything about who you are, what your desires are and what your future goals are. My response to the question; “Tortured for Christ- by Richard Wormbrand, Jesus Freaks- by D.C. Talk and The Cost of Discipleship by- Dietrich Bonhoeffer.”

In my present stack of favorite books;

The one and only infallible and inspired Word of God; the Bible is my favorite book. I love the fact that Corrie Ten Boom was able to smuggle a Bible into her concentration camp. She ministered the hope of eternity in the darkest place, and as a result- many chose Christ as their savior before their death.

The Spiritual Guide by Michael Molinos– written in 1675. There have been more copies of this book burned than perhaps any other single Christian book ever published. Michael Molinos was condemned to imprisonment in a dungeon for writing this book and he never came out. It is a phenomenal book about the deep things of Jesus; the cross and suffering. Oh my goodness, it is priceless to me.

The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer. This book draws you into a deep, abiding relationship with the One who “Nourishes the soul.” It’s a spiritual masterpiece exposing the roadblocks that keep us from fully knowing God. It reveals our responsibly in the pursuit, and ultimately leads us into the very presence of God Himself.

Desiring God by John Piper. Very insightful, must read!

Tortured for Christ by Richard Wormbrand. This is the story of courage, tenacious faith and unbelievable endurance. Wormbrand spent years in solitary confinement, physical torture, hunger and mental cruelty. His crime (like thousands of others) was his fervent belief in Jesus Christ and his public witness concerning his faith. Oh my goodness. . . I weep every time I read it- not because the stories are gruesome, but (oh my!) the love of Jesus will blow you up. Literally, I’ll be sitting down while I read it and find myself standing in ovation in tears to what true love for Christ looks like!

Jesus Freaks by D.C. Talk. I LOVE this book. It is a collection of short stories about men, women, and children who have suffered for their faith in Jesus. We used to read a story a night to our youngest in our devotion times together. Oh my, it puts our current problems in proper perspective. You must have this book in your collection.

The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer is on my lap right now. I haven’t read it all but the premise of it, deny self, pick up your cross and follow Him. Bonhoeffer is an amazingly brilliant man with unquenchable faith. He died for what he believed in.

George Muller: The Guardian of Bristol’s Orphans by Janet and Geoff Benge. Do you need your faith bolstered? Read this book! It’ll only take you a few hours to read and you’ll want to buy another one so you can give your copy away. It’s that good, I promise!

Hudson Taylor: Deep in the Heart of China by Janet and Geoff Benge. Incredible book. I loved it.

Fiction Books:

The Final Quest by Rick Joyner. A gripping story of the last battle between light and darkness. I read it at an airport waiting for my flight. I’m surprised I heard my flight called because I was so engrossed in it! It’s a great read!

The Prisoner in the Third Cell by Gene Edwards. It is a dramatic story of John the Baptist, imprisoned by Herod and awaiting death. He struggles to understand a Lord who doesn’t rescue him out of the prison. If you are a suffering Christian, or know one, this book will bring enormous comfort and insight into God’s ways. I love this easy read and it is thought provoking.

I want to give away a few of these books. Just leave a comment telling me which book you want to read (Tortured for Christ, Final Quest or Jesus Freaks) and I’ll enter your name in the drawing for that book. Don’t forget to check back to see if you won. I’ll pick a winner Friday at 10:00 AM! May the Lord increase your wisdom and understanding in the deeper things of Him! Each winner gets just one of the books. If you want a Bible I have one to give away, just let me know!

 Proverbs 4:6-7 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding (NIV).

My One Word

Rachel Olsen (Co-writer of My One Word, Zoe Elmore and me- Last month after ‘She Speaks Intensive Conference’ in Charlotte, NC and before our Proverbs 31 team time we had a sleep over at Zoe’s house! It was so much fun. I love them dearly!

After reading the book, My One Word by Michael Ashcraft and (my friend) Rachel Olsen, I’ve decided that my one word for this year is; Love.

This year, I’m going to be more intentional in my time with God to focus on- love. I want to burn with love for Jesus.  I want to cross over into the next level of glory in loving Him the way He loves me.  I want to love Him outrageously.  I want to be consumed with burning love in my heart for Him.

Once consumed by love, I pray that the overflow affects every part of my life.

I want to be so transformed by love that it pours from every pore of my being onto every person I meet; family, friend, or stranger.

I want to see people through His eyes and have His love for the people.  When I pass strangers on my way, I want His love to be so burning in me that I radiate His response to them.

I want to love what He loves this year.  I want to wake up saying, “I love You.”  And every morning ask Him, “What do You love?”  I want desperately to know the greater secrets of His heart. I know that when I discover more of what He loves, I will find soil rich with secrets to unfold.

I can be sure that I will find the secrets to His heart because His word says it.  “No eye has seen, nor ear heard nor has our minds conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (I Corinthians 2:9)

This year I will spend more time in His presence.  I will spend more time in His Word and contemplating His love.  In response, I want to be like Moses after he was exposed to the glory of the Lord.

Moses had to cover his face with a veil, because the glory of the Lord was too great to behold. But we, who are in Christ, behold this glory- unveiled! 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

Oh my, unveiled!  We are constantly going from one level of glory to the next.  Jesus!

Reflecting like a mirror the radiant image of the Father’s glory, we are transformed into the same image from one level of glory to the next!

I want to be a reflection of Your great Love.  Overcome me this year with a deeper revelation of Your love.  In Jesus’ name amen.

“…Apart from the Word of God, we cannot know who God is and how God is. And part from it, we don’t readily recognize who or how we truly are either. And, we don’t see our potential in Christ.

Don’t merely read verses; if that is all we do, we run the risk of deceiving ourselves. Don’t just pile up biblical information in your head. Let it soak into your heart. Let it interpret you. And then let it seep out through your actions.

…Only when we begin to let what we believe affect what we do are we able to embrace the process of formation.”  -Excerpt from, My One Word, page 61-

Reading My One Word book by the fire tonight to give me ideas on how to keep my one word in front of me every day this year.

 

In His Presence- Present

Sparky in the snow covered field at sunrise

I stared at my computer without an ounce of enthusiasm or creativity.  A mountain of work beckoned me…  With already missed deadlines, bills to be paid, taxes to be done, text messages waiting for answers, dishes in the sink…  Then a phone call halted all of it and paralyzed my ability to do anything productive.

I prayed, but it didn’t help.

I couldn’t focus. The whole time I prayed, I was thinking too much.  You know what I mean?  So, I got my Bible out and read.  It didn’t work either.  The phone kept pinging with new messages.  I couldn’t get my brain on a different track no matter what I did!

So, I ate a piece of chocolate.  And, noit didn’t help.  But it was good.

I went back to the computer and within  seconds, I found myself looking at Facebook posts!  Let me tell you- that never gets you anywhere!

I jumped up out of my seat, turned my computer and phone off, and said “Lord, Help me.  I’m overwhelmed and I can’t seem to get over my own thoughts.  Lead me with Yours.”

I went outside alone, without the world (a.k.a. phone).

I walked.  I just needed to decompress.  I didn’t think about urgent deadlines, people waiting for me, the phone-call, Facebook…  I walked vigorously through the field.  I saw our wood pile and decided to restock our porch for the woodstove.  I hooked the trailer onto the back of the tractor, filled it up, and stacked the wood next to our front door.

I got down from the tractor and started talking to God again.  This time it was different…  Without thinking of what I would I say- I started thanking Him.  His love overcame me and it was gone.  You know– the load I was carrying. I told Him everything that made me feel anxious.  I gave it all over to Him, everything.  He refreshed me and ignited my heart.  By the time I got back to my desk, everything was back in its proper perspective.

Everything was going to be okay, even if by human standards it didn’t look like it… It was. This time I opened my Bible and it was alive.  I came to “Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” Psalm 37:3-5.

It is nearly impossible to feed on His faithfulness, delight in Him, and trust Him to bring it all to pass when all of our minutes are filled.  Our time is filled with to-do lists, social media, texts pinging.  You name it.  I can’t imagine what it would be like if television took a portion of my day.

When I turned the world off and went into His presence-present, I entered the very sanctuary of God.    And when I did, passion and creativity ignited in my spirit again and the load of this world disappeared.  Oh, to be in His presence is addicting!  My entire thought process was supercharged with the assurance of, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  And, I did.

You don’t have to have a woodpile or a field to get away from the world. Just leave your phone and worries at home, take a walk and enter into His sanctuary-present.

Love is As Strong as Death

Sunrise on Glasgow Farm

“Love is as strong as death. . .” Song of Solomon 8:6

True love is passionate, unquenchable, fiery and devoted at all cost.

We galloped through an open field on our horses, then slowed to a trot and talked while riding side by side.  Our conversation went from one level of glory to the next.  It was heavenly.  I had never told anyone the dreams of my heart, until that day- nor anyone else since.  A connoisseur of the finest delectable fare would never want to share a spread with anyone other than one who had tasted and seen the very essence of the unspeakable.  The sun started to set and we realized we had been talking for hours, though it seemed like minutes.

That was my first date with my husband, Dale.  Our first date was and is the very signature of our marriage.  Passion and fiery love is drawn from the depths of two people, unified in spirit.  The strength of our marriage is exactly proportionate to how much we love each other.  The more I know him, the more I love him. The more I love him the more I want what he wants and dislike what he dislikes.  The stronger the marriage, the more passionate it becomes.

This kind of love will sacrifice anything for love.  If given the choice of living in a castle with all the riches afforded me without Dale or living in a hobbit home craved out of dirt on the side of a hill with him, I would choose the latter.  I would do anything to be with him.

The same is true for our lives as Christians.  A Christian’s strength and conviction is exactly proportionate to how much we love Jesus.  The more we know Him the more we love Him; the more vehement our love, the more we want what He wants and dislike what He dislikes.  Yet, we can’t fully love Him until we know how much He loves us.  Once we get this revelation- we are lit with a holy fire of love that is unquenchable and for this kind of love we would do anything.

God authored a lyrical poem written by Solomon about marital bliss in which He and His bride are consumed by this love that transcends knowledge.  The poem is metaphorical with figurative language expressing timeless truths- only understood by those consumed by His love.

As women, it’s not surprising that we long for great love stories.  But, the consummation of any love story will never satisfy us in the core of our spirit.  Only Jesus can fulfill our passion to love and to be loved, in the deepest sense.

True love is passionate, unquenchable, fiery and devoted at all cost.

God in His infinite wisdom and love for us described ultimate love through an allegory of the passionate bride and groom.

Jesus, I love You. I want more of You!  Break my heart for what breaks Yours.  Open my eyes to the things unseen.  Everything I have is Yours!  Baptize me with Your love! I want the flame of Your fire to consume me with unwavering devotion!

Ephesians 3:14-21 says it well;”For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge— that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory. . . for ever and ever! Amen.”

“Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD.” Song of Solomon 8:6 ESV

God’s Strength, Peace and Power in Middle of Hardship

Winner of give-away will receive- two kitchen hand towels w/ wooden spoons (decoration sewn on by our daughter Hannah, a $15 Panera gift card and a Starbucks VIA Brew 12 pack. I’ll do the drawing Wednesday at 10 AM EST. Check back to see if you won!

If you’re visiting me today because you read the Encouragement for Today devotion…Welcome! I’m so glad you stopped by. You can find the devotion at http://www.proverbs31.org/devotions/hardest-days-god-uses-them-good-2012-12/.

Hardships are never welcome, especially at the holidays. Why can’t we just push pause on all sickness, death, money problems and tragedy at Christmas?  Right?

However, God promises us that when we go through the waters, they won’t overtake us. When we walk through the fire, we won’t be burned (Isaiah 43:2-3). Even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil, for He is with us and comforts us.

None of us would choose to walk through hardship. I’ll be the first to plead, “Please, not me Lord!” But I can tell you this first hand: When and if you must journey through it, He surely will see you out, and it will not overcome you. Keep your eyes on Him. You must!

I have lived to witness Him heal, deliver, restore and provide supernaturally in and through tragic events.  Many times it is the very circumstances that I didn’t want that God used as a vehicle to do His most miraculous works.

God warned us that bad things would happen to good and bad people. We live in a fallen world. But He, God, is in the business of working all things for the good of those who love Him—even the worst of hardships (read book of Job)

I don’t know what’s going on in your life. But this I know: The eyes of the Lord run to and fro over the whole earth looking for those whose hearts are loyal to Him so that He might show Himself strong on their behalf.

Don’t lose hope or let despair consume your thoughts when terrible things happen. Jesus left the portals of Glory to be born in a lowly manger. He lived His whole life as a living testimony for how we should live. He died and rose again so that we can have access to unimaginable strength, peace, and power in middle of it all.

Let’s pray for the families who lost their loved ones in the school shooting this past week. My heart is broken for them. God’s heart is broken for them.

I wish I could pray for each of you living through hardship right now.  Let’s do this…Would you leave a one word prayer request below, and let’s pray for each other today?

I’m going to do a drawing from all who leave a comment. The winner will get a $15 Panera gift card, a Starbucks VIA Ready Brew 12 pack, two kitchen hand towels and two wooden spoons (stitching on towels done by our daughter Hannah) May Christ bless you!

Last Christmas Dale’s heart stopped the day after our car accident. The next day he was released from the hospital in perfect condition. God healed him! Every day I thank God for his life, it is precious to me. I pray for those who have lost loved ones. To read the whole story go to http://sharonglasgow.com/2012/06/death-brings-life-to-5000-people/

Our friend Chris (blue shirt) had cancer four years ago and lost her job. It was December, she moved in with us . She’s not only cancer free now, she’s healthier than anyone I know and she’s become our family–my sister. She is a writer, a worship leader, an amazing friend. . . and she lives here! How amazing is our God?!!
Four years ago this November our first grandchild, Grace died.  Thanksgiving and Christmas were devastating to say the least that year–with empty arms we wept. I am overcome with gratitude to God that He has blessed us with two more grandchildren since then.  I pray for those still waiting for their Christmas table to be filled with babies and children.http://sharonglasgow.com/2012/11/he-restored-us-after-our-loss/

Enter a one word prayer need in comments below to enter -Winner of give-away receives- two kitchen hand towels w/ wooden spoons (decoration sewn on by our daughter Hannah, a $15 Panera gift card and a Starbucks VIA Brew 12 pack. I’ll do the drawing Wednesday at 10 AM EST. Check back to see if you won!

For more on hardships http://sharonglasgow.com/2012/09/when-hell-seems-to-come-against-you-be-an-overcomer/

He came to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3     and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. 5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. 6 And you will be called priests of the Lord, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast.

7 Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.

8 “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them. 9 Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”

10 I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.” Isaiah 61NIV

Entertaining Angels Unaware

I was sixteen years old, driving down the road and saw an old homeless lady sitting on a bench. The blistering heat kept the rest of the world inside air-conditioned buildings that day-but not her. As I drove past her, I felt this tug at my heart—I thought to myself, she could use an ice cream cone and company.

I asked her what her favorite flavor was. She said, “Vanilla.” I bought two cones and went to the sit next to her. I handed one to her and we both started to lick the melting ice cream tower, we smiled at each other as it dripped down our hands.  After the melting part was under control—very causally I asked her, “Do you know Jesus?”

Her response was breathtaking. She definitely knew Him and for the next 15 minutes or so she went into the most powerful expository on the Throne room of Heaven and the glory that is within it, I’ve had ever heard.  She described it as if she lived there! It was the most glorious conversation with someone I’ve ever had in my life, even to this day.

It was time for me to leave; I had to get to work. I took her napkin and mine to the trash which was about five feet from where we sat. I turned around to say goodbye and she was gone. I looked everywhere for her, she wasn’t anywhere. Where did she go? It was impossible for her to get out of sight that quickly. She seemed to be in her 90’s and moved slow.

I’ve never forgotten that day. My plans were to minister to her, yet she ministered to me and the memory of her and her description of Heaven is engraved in my heart forever.

This past weekend as I was literally running through a store, I remembered her again as if it were yesterday.  I felt the Lord tugging at my heart like He did that day—to treat strangers that I pass this season with sacrificial love.

Was this woman an angel? I don’t know. She could have just been a homeless old bag lady with immeasurable wisdom in heavenly things.  Does it matter? Not really. What matters is, that when I step outside of my comfort zone and show love to strangers, to the people who work at my local grocery store, bank. . . it opens the portal for God activity to happen.

There are many hurting people who you and I will pass on our busy journey this month. Would you join me in this endeavor to reach out to the people we pass, especially the least of these?

Jesus, Give us Your love for the strangers we meet this season. Teach us how to love people like You do.  Give us words to say that will open the door to You. Use us as Your instrument of love and let Your kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven!

Hebrews 13:1-2 “Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. (NKJV)

He Restored us After Our Loss

Our first Grandchild–Grace Evangeline Young-Beautiful!

This past weekend November 4th was our very first grandchild’s 4th birthday.  Grace Evangeline Young.  I love that name, don’t you?  Every grandchild is special, but she was especially special because we had waited so long for her arrival.

Her mommy and daddy, Heather and Jeffrey, had been high school sweethearts—homecoming King and Queen. They graduated high school and went off to college (…and remained pure their entire 5 years of dating!). They got married and worked for a few years in preparation for the big family that they had dreamed of together.

Then the time came to bring that dream to life. But time after time it didn’t happen. Finally, Heather got pregnant, and we were so excited!  After a few months, she miscarried.  This happened more than once. Our hearts were broken . . . Why Lord?

Then, Grace Evangeline was conceived.

We passed the first trimester, and by the time we got to the final trimester we could hardly stand our excitement!  We already knew her—she loved music, danced every time it was turned on, and was a morning girl, strong and active. We just knew she would bust into the world a little leader with rhythm and energy.

But one morning just two weeks before her scheduled due date, Heather woke up and didn’t feel Grace kicking.  This was highly unusual for Grace.  I’ll never forget that morning.  Jeffrey called and told me there was no heartbeat.  They were being sent to the hospital to induce labor to deliver Grace dead.

I’ve never cried so hard in all my life. My emotions were uncontrollable. I felt that I was in a bad dream. Nothing was real. Dale drove us to the hospital—there is no way I could have driven. When we got there we were amazed at the strength the Lord was giving to Heather and Jeffrey to endure this tragedy.

24 hours later Heather gave birth to Grace, our first grandchild.  The cord had wrapped around her, taking her life.  I have never experienced such depth of pain—to see a long hoped for dream, lifeless.

Grace is buried here on the farm. In the summer I go down and mow around the perimeter of her gravesite, and I still cry. I thought after four years I would stop, but I still miss her.   Her body rests here with us, but her spirit is with the Lord and one day we’ll get to meet her alive! We’ll have a big ole family reunion in Heaven, and we’ll have eternity to get to know each other.

It has been hard, recovery long–but God has restored us and made us strong, firm and steadfast.  We are blessed with two amazing grandchildren from Heather and Jeffrey, Lochlan who is 2 and Felicity who is 7 months old. We pray for all those who desire a family and haven’t conceived yet and for those who have lost babies. Our hearts break for those who live through this suffering but know that God will restore!

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

1 Peter 5:10

The Young and Glasgow families united in celebrating Grace’s life

Her burial spot is 300 ft from our house-I like that.

Jeffrey, Heather, Me, Dale, Jennifer, Ellie, Rachael and Hannah at our service for Grace. Heather and Jeffrey led almost the entire thing themselves! The Lord gave them strength to do what most could not have done. The Lord was their strength.

Her body rest here but her spirit with the Lord–We will see her again in Heaven alive!

Jeffrey, Lochlan, Felicity and Heather at Grace’s Grave on her 4th birthday. We’ve  planted flowers and roses, but the deer eat everything we plant!

Sorcery, Mediums and Witchcraft

Standing at my door was a girl I had known since 1st grade. At 8 years-old she had a fascination with magic, mediums and consulting the dead in séances. As a child I had never heard what God thought about these things, it just wasn’t talked about in my church. I didn’t know for sure that it was wrong but I felt it wasn’t right and never participated in her lifestyle.

 

By the time we were teenagers she had gone much further in her quest for magic and power. I prayed for her all the time and told her my desire was that she would someday come to Christ. She smiled at me and said, “You’re so naïve Sharon, you just don’t see who I am, do you?”

 

She looked like death, her body near skin and bones, her hair matted to her face and dark circles around her eyes. What started out to her as innocent magic or “white witch” power, devastated her life. In all my years of knowing her I had never seen her cry, but today she was crying. “Sharon, can I stay with you for the night? It’s horrible.” Immediately I said, “Yes!” Surely this is the night the Lord will use to bring her to Him I thought.

 

Ignorantly I invited her into my home. It was probably the darkest night I’ve ever experienced as I battled in prayer against the forces of darkness that gripped her, and were now taunting me.

 

Before that night, I never realized the intensity of spiritual warfare – of demons and angels and how they operate in the spiritual realm. God led me to pray in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and evil was forced to obey me when I did. What Satan meant to harm or scare me that night, God used for good to strengthen my faith in Him.

 

Satan and his angels (demons) will try to make you think they are all-powerful, but at the name of Jesus Christ they are rendered powerless. Our kids need to know this truth. Read Luke 10:17-20 to them and talk about how they should handle situations like the one I found myself in when I was a teenager.  Tell them they can rebuke evil in the name of Jesus Christ.

 

That one night radically shaped my parenting. I want to make sure that I teach our children that God has strong opinions about dabbling with the enemy’s games – things like ouija boards, tarot cards, or fortune-telling.   God instructs us to have no part of them. I also watch out for books, movies and TV shows about sorcery or mediums. Many people think these things are harmless entertainment but they are not according to God.

 

This Halloween, check out the activities your children plan to participle in. Pray over your home and children in the name of Jesus Christ. Ask Him to protect your loved ones from evil and to shine His light of love and truth through them – He’ll do it!   We can rejoice because all authority in heaven and earth has been given to Christ our Lord and He gives believers this authority–in His Name!

In tomorrow’s post I will answer the question: What are Ghost’s?

 

Deuteronomy 18:10-12 “Let no one be found among you who. . . who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD. . .” (NIV)

 

Galatians 5:19-21  Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions jealousies, outburst of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissentions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in the time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. “ (NKJ)

 

Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (NKJ)

Ephesians 1:18-21, “the eyes of your understanding[a] being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” (NKJ)

There is Power in the Name of Jesus

View from our house to the barn

There is power in the Name of Jesus

There is power in the Name of Jesus! One day, one glorious day at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is LORD! Philippians 2:10-11

I had to get up and run around the house after I wrote those words! Until that day He has given believers authority to use the name of Jesus with power and authority.

Last weekend I had the honor of going up into the mountains with an amazing church for a women’s retreat. Our theme for the weekend was, Our Identity in Christ. On Saturday morning I was telling the story of what happened to Dale when his heart stopped after our car accident at Christmas. I told the group at the moment it happened that I commanded Dale in the Name of Jesus Christ to be healed and to live. http://sharonglasgow.com/2012/06/death-brings-life-to-5000-people/ After the morning session a woman came up to me and said, “When you said, ‘In the name of Jesus. . .’ my hip/leg pain started to heal. I’ve had this pain for quite a while, and I could feel it being healed when you said the words, “In the name of Jesus. . . “

She emailed me this week and said she is thanking God every day for the healing. I got another email from a woman who came to the retreat with kidney stones. She said she had her kidney scanned Monday after the retreat and the stone was crushed.

There is something powerful about that name, Jesus. I don’t know what’s going on in your life. But this I know-when I call on the name of Jesus, circumstances change. Satan hates it when we call on Jesus’ name.  You may be “hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor. 4:8,9) when you call on the all- powerful name—Jesus.

In the name of Jesus there is power!

 

 

Acts 4:12, “Neither is there Salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

Acts 5:41, “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”

2 Thessalonians 1:12, “That the name of our LORD Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in Him, according to the grace of our God and the LORD Jesus Christ.”

John 14:13, “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Acts 2:38,”Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Col. 3:17, “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Mark 16:17-18, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; . . .they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

Luke 10:17,The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

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