Tag Archives: Prayer

Hardscrabble Life

Standard

 

arid barren clay cracks

Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

It’s a hardscrabble life.

Sometimes you just get blind-sided and have to right yourself. If you don’t have God to right you, what do you do? Where do you go? Who do you turn to?

I love (not really) how my health always seems to take a turn for the worse all at once.

“You have to have your stent blown out, or get a new one,” says my Cardiologist. The weird thing is, I never have any symptoms so statements like this come as a shock.

“Does your back hurt?” My Hematologist-Oncologist (Hem-Onc) asks.

“No, why?”

“The CT shows some new lesions and one is on your L3.”

My cancer is back. Active. No longer “stable and dormant” which I’d gotten used to saying when people asked me how I was doing.

A PET scan is ordered. A couple lesions in my lungs and one on my spine . . . confirmed.

Sigh. I’d been doing so well for the last year or so.

I close myself off in my room. “Lord?” I whisper. “Do we have to go through this again?”

I don’t hear anything, but He is close, I can tell. That comforts me.

We’ve been through this before, He and I. Then (in 2015) He settled me in His quieting, amazing, and profound peace and I know He will again.

Truthfully, I didn’t think I’d ever want for His peace again. I thought that once it was given, I’d always have it. And I probably do, it’s just that it’s been buried. Down deep in my soul. Covered by the good times, the glory days.

But I find that I do want no, need . . . no, crave . . . the everlasting peace of my Savior. I need it now. I need to be immersed in it again.

In John 14 Jesus is talking to the disciples in the Upper Room when He says: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” (v. 14:27a)

Jesus gives us His peace. It’s no secret. There is no magic word to bring you the peace. He gives it. Freely. All we have to do is ask for it.

But what kind of peace does Jesus offer us?

In one of my favorite stories of the Bible, Jesus is asleep in the boat while the disciples are fighting a great windstorm that threatens to capsize the boat and kill them. They wake Jesus up wondering how He can be sleeping while they are about to perish. Jesus stands, maybe even yawns, and looks out to the storm saying, “Peace. Be still.” (Mark 4:39) The wind calms and the waves die down.

That, my friends, is some mighty awesome peace.

And that is the peace that Jesus gives us when we ask Him. When we think we’re drowning, when we can’t imagine the outcome, when all hope looks lost, when the winds threaten to capsize us.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” ~ John 14:27

I need your peace now, Lord. Thank you.

 

All of today’s Scripture references came from the ESV.

Salt ~ A Devo

Standard
aerial photo of boat on sea

Photo by Damon Hall on Pexels.com

I walked out of my South Florida home this morning and immediately realized that something was different. By the time I got to my car I was licking my lips. Salt. Through some strange atmospheric condition, the air was laden with salt from the Atlantic Ocean.

I drove all the way to church licking my lips and thinking about salt. Jesus told us we were to be salt and light to others (Matthew 5). It’s easy to know what being ‘light’ is, but how do I be salt? Salt melts snow. Salt seasons food.

Imagine my surprise when, during the service, the pastor zeroed in on Colossians 4 verses 5 and 6. “Be extraordinarily different from the world,” he said.

Considering the salt was on my lips, I believe God was reminding me about my speech. I silently thanked Him for reminding me to speak to everyone with grace and love. I looked around the church. It’s easy to be salt to other Christians. I need to be salt to every person I come in contact with. How delightful that He should remind me to be salt to others.

Memory verse:

Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person. ~ Colossians 4:6 (HCSB)

Prayer Prompt:

Lord, help me to be salt in this world. Help me learn how to speak to others graciously and with your wisdom. Amen.

 

 

 

 

I’m Back!

Standard

Did you miss me? I’m quite embarrassed that this is my first post in 2019 and it’s already the end of May. For shame!

I may have been away a long time, but I’ve been up to something good! Drum roll please!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1733908102I finally published my first book! WhooHoo! Streamers and noise makers!

Announcing “Are You Ready? The story of a runaway girl and a persistent God.” It’s my memoir and even if you’re not Christian, I think it will appeal to you because it’s just a good story (if I do say so myself!).

But I’m not the only one! It’s already received six 5-star reviews and I couldn’t be more thrilled. It’s taken me a long time to write . . . as a reader of my blog you know that two of the years had me battling cancer and I just couldn’t write when I was on chemo or taking radiation. I was much too weak.

But now I’m doing well, although not completely out of the woods yet, and I wanted you to know that the book was available in paperback and on Kindle on Amazon. If you’re so inclined, just click the cover above and you’ll be transported to the right page. I’d love it, if after you read it, if you’d leave an honest review of what you thought. I can’t wait to hear what you say. I really think you’ll like it!

Love in the meantime . . .

Felecia

PS: if you’re in another country (United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy or Japan) you can purchase it on your Amazon pages. And the Kindle version is available in those and even more countries (Netherlands, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, and India).

Breaking the Law #2

Standard

This may be the sin I’m most ashamed to admit.Litter

I was at the gas station the other day and as I was getting in my car to leave, I tossed a crumpled receipt into the garbage can. At just the right second, a gust of wind caught hold of the paper and propelled it onto the ground. I looked at it sitting there on the pavement, closed my door and drove away.

Littering.

I have not littered since I stopped smoking many years ago. I was one who threw my butts out the window – disgusting, I know.

Driving home I shook my head in dismay. Why didn’t I just pick up the receipt and return it to the trash? Laziness. Slovenliness. As I write this today, I still can’t believe that I littered. It’s such a vile thing.

Prayer:

Lord, forgive me for my laziness. Help me to be more conscientious about my actions and to continue to obey the laws of the land. In doing so, I obey and honor you. Amen.

Let’s finish this up on Friday! I’m dying to drink in the Lord’s forgiveness.

See you then!

Felecia

 

 

Greed

Standard

GreedIf you happened to ask me if I had a tendency to be greedy, I’d probably say no, and believe I was telling you the truth. But what occurred the other evening set me back and the Lord convicted me of yet another “respectable” sin.

I was sitting with my parents at our favorite Italian restaurant. We’d ordered pizza and had eaten through to the last two pieces on the silver platter. I checked-in with my belly, yup, I could definitely have another piece. Knowing my Dad, I knew he could eat another piece too. I surveyed the remaining two pieces on the dish. One was bigger than the other. I licked my lips. How could I nonchalantly get that big one onto my plate?

That’s when the conviction hit me.

What was I doing?

It surely was greed that made me want the bigger piece. And I could probably have added gluttony to the list if I’d carried through with my plans. But after silently thanking the Holy Spirit for calling me up short before I sinned, I slid the smaller piece onto my plate and left the big one for my father.

Greed comes in many different shapes and sizes. I was stunned when I realized that greed had so easily pushed me to think in such a manner.

Prayer:

Lord, you’ve shown me that my selfishness makes me greedy. Thank you for stopping me before I sinned in my greed. Please forgive me and continue to make me a better person. Amen.

Next up on Wednesday. Hope to see you then!

Felecia

Breaking the Law #1

Standard

I speed.Speed Limit 65

There, I’ve admitted it. I don’t seem to go anywhere under 80 miles an hour.

“But,” you say. “So do I. That’s not a sin, is it?”

Believe me when I tell you that if we break the law of the land – it’s a sin. We must obey authority. In Romans 13:1 Paul states:  “Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God.”

To get home, I drive a road whose speed limit begins at 40, moves to 35, and then to 25 miles an hour. Not very many people adhere to these rules and when they do I find myself struggling to stay off their six – sometimes eliciting angry looks in the rear-view mirror or finger-pointing at the speed limit sign as we drive by.

I travel this road daily. Usually at 55, 45, and 30 respectively. A couple months ago I decided to drive the road at or below the posted speed limits. It was excruciating! Almost unbearable. Had I done this to myself? Broken the law so often that I couldn’t comfortably keep the law?

So I decided to spend seven days adhering to all posted speed limit signs to see if I could reverse the trend.

You’d be surprised at how easily I was able to adhere to this new way of driving! The first few days I did find myself pushing a little harder than was necessary on the accelerator, but by day three, it actually became fun to go slower. I was amazed that driving the speed limit in the right lane on the highway was so less stressful. On day four I considered myself a right-old fogey as other people honked, waved certain fingers at me, and crossed double yellow lines to get around me.

So now, a week or so later, where am I? Even with my lead foot, I have managed, without to much thought, to not be too far above the speed limit, if at all. And I could only do that with the help of the Holy Spirit! Thank you, Holy Spirit!

Prayer:

Lord, help me to obey the laws of the land and in doing so, obey and honor you. Amen.

Have a great weekend and I’ll see you on Monday.

Felecia

Gossip

Standard

GossipGossip is defined as:

  1. idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others
  2. light, familiar talk, or writing.1

If you’re maturing in Christ it’s very possible that you no longer gossip. We probably all did it pre-Christ.

There’s something very naughty and dangerous about gossip, passing secrets about another person. It’s a little thrilling. But now it’s easy to see the destructive nature of gossip and I’ve worked very hard to not let gossip pass my lips.

A while ago I was sitting around a dinner table with 9 other people when the ladies on either side of me started to gossip over me. I listened until my stomach turned over and then spoke up. I whispered to the one on my right, believing that I had a modicum of influence over her and said, “I don’t think you should be gossiping.” She reared back as if I’d struck her and retorted, “It’s not gossip if it’s true.”

Huh?

But it was gossip and as the ladies continued talking about another woman who was not at the table, I shut down my ears and started praying that God would stop them.

Unfortunately, I didn’t do so well the other day when I found myself around some people who were gossiping and I did nothing. I didn’t mention that they were gossiping. I didn’t try to stop them from gossiping. I didn’t get up and walk away. I simply sat there and listened.

Do we participate in gossip by NOT saying something or taking some other action? Methinks, yes. I certainly didn’t feel very good about the whole situation afterward. The Holy Spirit was convicting me.

Silence is acquiescence. Silence in the face of sin is approval of that sin.

Prayer:

Lord, please keep a guard on my mouth and do not let me make idle talk about another person. Please step in when I’m caught between gossips. Help me to say and do the right thing. Amen.

On Friday … One of my worst sins … and I bet yours too!

See you then!

Felecia

 

1 http://www.dictionary.com/browse/gossip?s=t

The Sin Chronicles

Standard

 

Cherished Sin

Have you noticed preachers don’t seem to be talking about sin as much as they used to? It’s almost as if sin had become a taboo subject in our post-modern, anti-Christian world. After all, who wants to be reminded of their sin?

I do! And I happen to believe every maturing believer is compelled to rout sin out of their lives. It’s how we grow more like Christ.

BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) studied Romans this year so you know we were all up in the sin-grill and I couldn’t be happier. One of the best things about the BSF bible studies is that God always talks to me through whatever we happen to be studying. I get a mighty lesson whether I am ready for it or not.

Most of you also know I’ve been reading Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate by Jerry Bridges. Between the study of Romans and that book you might think me to be a masochist. But I assure you, I’m not. I simply want to grow closer to God. To remove the barriers that grow between us like Chia Pet hair. My insignificant little sins. Yet … I am the only one calling my sins insignificant. All sin is significant in God’s eyes.

What better way to come to grip with my sins than to confront them head on?

I’ve found it’s so easy to live day after day ignoring my sin. After all … it’s really so small … so inconsequential … after all, it’s not murder, right?

I’ve decided to publish The Sin Chronicles. I am going to tamp down on the sins I knowingly commit as well as the sins that wiggle up out of the depths of my soul when I least expect them. I’ll be asking God every day to ensure that all iniquities be brought to my attention. I want to be convicted of those sins that I might attempt to allow – Holy Spirit, please pull me up short before I commit them!

But first, let’s see what behavior constitutes sin.

Most everyone is aware of the Seven Deadly Sins: pride, greed, lust, wrath, gluttony, envy, and sloth. 1  The Bible validates these sins even though they not printed anywhere in a list. In the Bible, there are the seven sins found in Proverbs 6:16-19 which are:

  1. A proud look,
  2. a lying tongue,
  3. hands that shed innocent blood,
  4. A heart that devises wicked plans,
  5. feet that are swift in running to evil,
  6. A false witness who speaks lies,
  7. and one who sows discord among brethren.

But let’s not forget Galatians 5:19-21 where Paul mentions several more sins to be on our guard against: “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these … ”

Then we have the unimportant, everyday sins … speeding … swearing … gossip … pride … envy … greed.

Oh, this is going to be fun. I hope you’ll come along on the ride with me and consider your own sins while I discover mine. Please don’t be like one guy I met recently who told me he did not sin. When I asked him if he was Jesus, he hemmed and hawed and admitted that he might sin but that it wasn’t a lot and it wasn’t very bad.

I think that’s where we get into trouble. Believing our trivial little sins as “not that bad.” Because God is training us up to be like Jesus, I think He would beg to differ.

Join me on Wednesday as I start to greet my sin … not with a smile … but with a slack-jawed, horrified, open mouth.

I’m amazed at what I do. Thank God, He forgives!

See you Wednesday!

Felecia

 

1 http://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/what-are-seven-deadly-sins#sins-in-the-bible

The Interloper’s Demise ~ Redux

Standard
If you’re new to the blog, this story began last year. You may want to read the earlier parts to catch up with the rest of us. You can find it here … Part OnePart TwoPart Three … Go ahead, we’ll wait.

 

Caution TapeIt was a cold day in February, even for Florida, when the Mastermind ended his onslaught on my house. He put away his tools and took my special bed. He’d done all he could. Was it enough? We’d have to wait three months before we could find out. His photon torpedoes made my house swell obscuring the ability to get an accurate picture of what was inside.

I’d been through this before. I laid in bed every night praying to my Creator that the Intruder was gone for good. Wanting to prove the cutter wrong when he said, “You may have to live with him for the rest of your life.”

Three months later we tested my house and I met with the cutter. The Interloper was still there. To get away from the photons, the trespasser had broken into separate pieces and he was now scattered across the upper floor of my house. But the cutter’s eyes twinkled. “I want you to meet with the Brazilian,” he said. “We think we may have found another course of action.”

Motivated to rid myself of this evil presence, I ran head-long to the Brazilian’s office. I liked him and wondered if he was still eating his daily turkey sandwich. Inside he informed me that there might be another way. Medicines that I would feed my house twice daily. The treatment was working with a woman who had the same Trespasser as I did and he wanted to try it with me. I readily agreed.

Three months downing two types of medication in a specific order. I waited with fingers crossed and prayers sent to my Guardian for the outcome of testing. Had the pills done anything to eradicate the Intruder? Gleefully, the Brazilian brought good news. One spot was gone and the rest of the spots were shrinking or stable. I looked heavenward and praised my God. After so many years chasing this Interloper, I could handle “shrinking or stable.” We decided to continue the treatment for another three months.

Those three months came to a close this past Monday. I’d completed all my testing last week. Anxiously, I waited with my mother in the Brazilian’s office for news. The Brazilian strolled in shaking our hands and chatting pleasantries. I watched his face for any signs. He sat down at his desk and poked on his computer.

“You’re clear.” He stated matter-of-factly as if he was talking about the sky or a background check.

I paused. Not really sure I heard him right but knowing I did. “I’m clear?” I asked. “What do you mean I’m clear?”

“Your chest is clear.” He said as he broke out into a wide smile.

“Clear?” I asked again, not able to comprehend the results. “Completely clear?”

“Clear.” He waited for the news to sink in.

I turned to my mother whose eyes were shining. She had a large smile on her face.

“Look at the CT report,” he said, turning the monitor toward me. “No evidence of cancer.”

I shook my head unable to speak. In shock, I suppose.

“Continue the course of medication for now and in another three months we’ll get a CT Chest and Abdomen to make sure.”

“Am I cancer free?” He looked up at me without saying anything. “In remission?” I offered, wanting to put words to this condition. The Brazilian stopped short of claiming either outcome.

Even though I still have a hard time believing where we are right now and that the Intruder is actually gone. I praise my God. Singing the Doxology with a whisper of hope in my heart.

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.

Praise Him, all creatures here below.

Praise Him above, ye Heavenly Host.

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Jesus had always told me that I would be fine. But in our Christian economy, fine could be healthy and living or living with Him in Heaven. I had been prepared for either conclusion for two long years.

So for now the Interloper seems to have been beaten back. Dead again. And me? I’m still stunned. Not really sure how to cope without the beast who’s been intertwined within me for so long; but ready to try!

Am I Ungodly?

Standard
Am I Ungodly?

 

Well, we’re in Romans at BSF this year. That’s Bible Study Fellowship for the uninitiated. Romans is a wonderful book full of the teaching of Christian doctrine and how to live a Christian life. However I’d completely missed Paul saying in Chapter 1 verse 18:

For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

While I initially understood godlessness (or in some versions ungodliness) and unrighteousness as one in the same, Paul distinguishes between the two.

In his book, Respectable Sins, Jerry Bridges states that ungodliness is describes an attitude toward God, while unrighteousness refers to sinful actions in thought, word, or deed.

While I usually start chastising myself when I misread Scripture – or don’t read it well enough to begin with – I’m going to let myself slide in this instance. Let’s face it, in the beginning of Romans Paul has been hammering home the “wrath of God” on everyone because we are all sinners. The passage is uncomfortable to read because you know it’s true. But we have to know – must know – what we ought to receive at judgment because of our sinful nature before we can truly appreciate the saving grace of Christ. We deserve nothing short of God’s wrath.

So, am I ungodly? Are you?

Jerry Bridges goes on to define ungodliness as living one’s everyday life with little or no thought of God, or of God’s will, or of God’s glory, or one’s dependence on God.

Gulp.

I can see myself in that sentence. I may spend some quiet time in the morning with God but how often do I continue that conversation throughout the day? Some days are better than others. Some days I’m in communication with Him all day long; praying, worshiping, thanking, giving Him glory, talking, and trying to listen for His voice.

But not always and it’s definitely not often enough.

Jerry helps when he says:

Our goal in the pursuit of godliness should be to grow more in our conscious awareness that every moment of our lives is lived in the presence of God; that we are responsible to Him and dependent on Him. This goal would include a growing desire to please Him and glorify Him in the most ordinary activities of life.

After I finished this convicting chapter I knew I needed to seek God’s forgiveness at once. I squeezed my eyes shut, rolled over, and dug my head into my pillow in an attempt to shut out the world and be alone with Him.

Lord, help me to keep you forefront in my mind all day long. Allow your Holy Spirit to guide me, mark my steps, watch my words and actions, and do everything for your glory.

Immediately I received a vision I have not seen since 2008.

All I could “see” behind my shuttered eyes was a glorious swath of deep, rich purple. This has been an indicator that my Lord is with me. Non-condemning. Hearing my plea and cradling me. I was awash in His love.

How is it that we have the maker of the universe listen to and love us so?

His all-consuming love makes me want to not be quite so ungodly.

In His love,

Felecia

PS: the book is almost ready to go to my beta readers and then to editing. Thank you all for being so patient with me. Keep your eye out for a chance to sign up for my email list and receive a couple of chapters – Free!

PPS: Another great book on the subject of becoming more godly is: The Practice of the Presence of God a thin but weighty volume by Brother Lawrence.