Thursday, June 1, 2017

Rescue Me


Music calms my soul. It puts words to my joy and heartache. Music lifts me up when I am low. When I am overfilled with blessings, music accompanies my emotions. Music can soothe the soul or rev up our excitement for life.

“Never underestimate the healing power of listening to your favorite music on full blast while dancing around the house like an idiot.” (author unknown)

That’s another benefit!!! Music can make us feel younger and more vibrant.

You know what music really is?

“God’s little reminder that there’s something else besides us in this universe; harmonic connections between all living beings, everywhere, even the stars.” Robin Williams

I’ve never heard a living soul say they hated music. They might not like Rap or Zydeco, two of my favorites, but everyone loves some kind of music. And that’s our connection.

Well, music has come to my rescue again.

I’ve been in a slump. No know reason. No diagnosis. No medications. Just one of those natural slumps. When I fall into one of these traps, I get out the music. And God led me to the perfect song for my mood. It was sung by Wynnona Judd, “Rescue Me”.

 What do you do when you’re scared inside?

When all of your feelings just seem to collide.

Emotions just seem to let go,

All of your tears always follow.

All of these things that you’re feeling deep down;

And you realize that you’re calling out loud:

I love Thee.

Rescue Me.

Shine Your light, lead me home.

Lord, all I need is Your Love.

I love Thee.

Rescue Me.

Shine Your light, lead me home.

Lord, all I need is your love.

Rescue me, rescue me.



I played this over and over again. Singing. Crying. Healing those frayed emotions.



Oh, it’s Love’s sweet salvation

With Christ the Blessed Lamb.

We can get through anything

As long as it’s You and me.



Hope this song brought back some memories and maybe some healing. Music is powerful. I’ll be sharing more. If you have a song that speaks to your heart, please share it with me.

Blessings,

Angela

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Faith Without Prayer Isn't


Sounds absolutely right doesn’t it? Faith without prayer isn’t.

I had a young woman tell me she believed in Jesus, but didn’t like to pray, didn’t feel the need to pray. She said Jesus knew everything about her; so, why should she waste her time telling Him what He already knows.

The Bible tells us that “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Faith is believing God is who He says He is and can do what He says He can do.

But if you never pray, how is faith sustained? Is it not through prayer that we draw closer to God? Isn’t our faith about having a relationship with God? And how do we cultivate that relationship or listen to that still small voice if we don’t pray?

John Bunyan says, “Prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan.”

So I went on a mission to find out why prayer is an essential part of faith.

I found a wonderful article from Focus on the Family by Robert Velarde. I am going to recap it here, but if you would like to read the article in its entirety, please go to the link at the end of the post.

12 reasons to Pray:

1.     God’s Word Calls Us to Pray. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

2.     Jesus Prayed Regularly. “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16

3.     Prayer is How We Communicate with God. “…if my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

4.     Prayer Allows us to Participate in God’s Works. “Does God need our help? No. He is all powerful and in control of everything in His creation. Why do we need to pray? Prayer helps others know the love of Jesus. Prayer is part of His plan for accomplishing His will in this world.

5.     Prayers Gives Us Power Over Evil. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Matthew 26:41

6.     Prayer Is Always Available. Prayer can happen at any time or anywhere. The only thing that keeps us from praying is our choice to do so.

7.     Prayer Keeps Us Humble. “Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:4

8.     Prayer Grants Us the Privilege of Experiencing God. It’s during prayer that we feel closer to God. It’s during prayer that we begin to let the worries of the world slid by and we are faced with the greatest of offerings, peace.

9.     Answered Prayer is a Potential Witness.

10.  Prayers Strengthens the Bonds Between Believers.

11.  Prayer Can Succeed Where Other Means Have Failed.

12.  Prayer Fulfills Emotional Needs. C. S. Lewis said, “God designed the human machine to run On Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other.”

 Prayer is essential to faith. It enriches our faith and draws us closer to God.

Take time today to go to God in prayer. If at first it feels uncomfortable, be persistent. In a short while you will be looking forward to your time set aside for Jesus. Your reward will be immeasurable and gratifying, drawing you closer and closer into a rich relationship with the Father.
Faith without prayer just isn't.

God bless you, Angela











Friday, May 12, 2017

Faith Meets at the Cross


Dreams kept piercing my sleep. Overlaying images caused intense restlessness until one night I finally got up, grabbed paper and a pen, and began to draw. This is not the first time this has happened. Draw? Really? I kept telling Christ, “I’m not a sketcher.” Still, I felt the deep desire to draw what I kept seeing in my dreams, images and words.

As you can see, I kept it very elemental. I have prayed over this image for weeks. I kept wondering if there was more to it than the simple words that I saw. But there’s not. It’s simple. Faith meets at the cross. That’s where we find our Shepherd, Redeemer, and the powerful blood of Jesus Christ that was shed for us. It’s all wrapped up here.

Shepherd. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” John 10:11

Redeemer. “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.” Isaiah 43:1

Blood and power of Jesus. By faith you see His face, His torment, His love poured out on the cross. For all suffering, God has a plan. At the cross, we are humbled to see the glorious exhibition of God’s love – one we cannot fully comprehend in our human state. But we are told it’s Jesus’ blood that offers mankind redemption and freedom from the bondage of sin.

“Now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been made near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Ephesians 1:7

At the Last Supper, Christ explained to His diciples, “For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:28

Songs upon songs have cried out the blessings in the power of Christ’s blood.

“What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Oh! Precious is the flow that makes me white as snow; no other font I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus!”

The Good Shepherd shed His blood for us. He was the last sacrifice and we can trust the righteousness of Christ. Every day I ponder Christ’s sacrifice. I want to honor Christ by remembering and living my life to glorify Him. I’ve been rescued out of a sinful life. 1 Peter 1:18-19 states, “You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”

Thank you, Father.

I also know Christ, the Good Shepherd, is still working on me, leading me, and protecting me. Because of His death, I am redeemed. The power of Jesus’ blood offers me salvation for my soul, forgiveness for my sins, access to God and victory over Satan. Praise God.

Remembering is important. It keeps your mind focused and your heart engaged to do the good works Christ has prepared in advance. Remembering keeps us headed in the right direction. When we are Christ focused, our burdens are light and our joy is abundant. Even in hard times we still sing a song of victory because of Jesus’ sacrifice. This is when remembering is even more crucial.

Praise be to God, our Shepherd, Redeemer, and Deliverer, Jesus Christ!

Take a moment today to reflect on all that Christ has done for you. Never forget His sacrifice to give you a life of purpose and commitment to Him.

God bless you,

Angela









Thursday, April 20, 2017

Swallow Your Fear


This is Sydney. She is five. Yesterday I was sitting in the car with her while her mother was shopping. We were having a very lively five-year-old discussion when out of the blue, she said, “Nana, did you know you can swallow your fear?”

Me: “Swallow your fear? How?”

I watched as she inhaled, expanded her chest very wide, and exhaled very dramatically.

Then Sydney said, “That’s how you do it. You take in a big huge breath, swallow, and blow out the fire.”

Me: “Fire?”

She gave me that look. It’s the look that glares, “You are the adult and should know all these things”.

When I didn’t respond, she shrugged her shoulders and explained, “The fire is fear.”

Me: “Who told you all this?”

Scrunching up her lips in total exasperation, she announced, “Mommy tells me to breathe when I get upset. When I do, I swallow my tears. Then I feel better. So when I get scared at night, I breathe in the fear, swallow it, and then I blow the fire out. That’s the scary part of fear. Then it’s all gone.”

Sydney immediately diverted her attention away from me and on to something else. I sat back and pondered her words. Yep, leave it to a kid to put you in your place.

Swallow your tears. Swallow your fears.

The Bible tells us, “For God gave us not the spirit of fearfulness, but of power and love and discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

I think my granddaughter gave Nana a little lesson here.

Sydney listened to her mom. Her mom lovingly demonstrated to Sydney how to control (discipline) her emotions. She used that strategy to control her fear.

Maybe Sydney’s strategy has some credence. Breathe in deep, swallow the fear, and blow it out. When we blow fear out we get rid of it. It no longer consumes us.  

I turned around and got Sydney’s attention. “Do you think God grabs that fear when you blow it out?”

Shrugging her shoulders again she declared, “Who else would get it?”

Sometimes it pays to hang around children. You never know what good advice you’ll get.

God bless you








Friday, April 14, 2017

Cries of Grace



Thursday, April 13, 2017

Jesus Conqueror of Sin


This was written so beautifully that I wanted to share it with you. I’ve been reading this devotional every day since 1989, and I never grow tired of it.
Hope you enjoy. Blessings, Angela

What was the power and influence that changed the cross from an instrument of bloody torture into the most glorious and beloved of all symbols? The Romans had crucified thousands of people before and after Calvary. If Jesus had not risen from the dead, no right-minded person would have glorified anything so hideous and repulsive as a cross stained with the blood of Jesus. By the miracle of His rising from the grave, Jesus placed the seal of assurance upon the forgiveness of our sins. A dead Christ could not have been our Savior. An unopened grave would never have opened heaven. By bursting the chains of the tomb, Jesus proved Himself to all ages the conqueror of sin. The sacrifice on Calvary had fulfilled its purpose; the ransom price paid for your sins and mine had been accepted by God. Hallelujah, what a Savior! 

Each time I see the empty cross, let me be reminded of Your suffering and Your victory, Lord Jesus.

(a reprint from Billy Graham’s Day By Day Devotional)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Faith Refining


I am a woman of faith. Every morning I eagerly seek God’s Word. I want it to wash over me before my day begins. When I leave my prayer area I am filled with joy. I truly believe this daily routine sets up a buffer of God’s words around me that helps me navigate all the issues and trials that will come up during the day. Historically it has proven to be an anchor and even in the worse storm the anchor has always held.

Six months ago, my husband and I began a move from North Carolina to Virginia. The whole experience toppled my routine. There were mornings when I could not go to my sacred place to worship, and other mornings when there was no sacred place to be found. There were days upon days of chaos and disorder. Everything turned upside down. I began to wonder if the anchor would hold?

I found myself waking up frayed and testy, unnerved and unhinged. Nothing felt right. Nothing was in the right place. Even my prayer time was disconnected and disjointed. My thoughts were scattered. Anger and frustration rose at unnecessary times. But it was the unrest that seemed to bind me up the most. I couldn’t concentrate on anything, not even prayer. And worse yet, I failed to fully enjoy the magnitude of my blessings.

One day I left all the work behind and found a quiet corner. Crying out, I began to wonder if a move could topple years of commitment to my Savior, Jesus. As I sat in utter grief, I began to realize it wasn’t just the move that had been disturbed; it was my order of life that had been uprooted. I used to have a set place to pray and a set place to study. Was my faith that rigid and ordered? The thought caused me to gasp.

Immediately, I began praying the name of Jesus, simply calling out His name in anguish until I was exhausted. Every day after that I did the same thing. It wasn’t easy. I had to purpose myself to sit stationary, even if it was around a bunch of boxes, and cry out to my Savior.

At one point, I asked God, “What do You want to accomplish in me? Teach me because I know this experience has not been in vain.”

It took weeks for the answer to come. And when it did I knew my faith had been rightly refined. God unsettled me to help me see He was everywhere. I could pray anywhere. I didn’t always need study material or a Bible. I just needed Jesus.

I could say the move got easier after that, but it didn’t. What got easier was me. The anchor held in spite of the storm. It held because God needed me to focus on Him rather than outside circumstances or stringent practices. The anchor held because once again God took me through the fire to refine me and remind me that He is all I need. The need is every day, all day long. The need to be in His Word is also mobile. I’m learning to memorize verses to lean on and take with me.  

Are you going through a storm today? Cry out to Jesus. Say His name over and over again until you begin to feel the earth shift and your body yield to His wonderful grace and mercy. Ask God what He needs for you to learn. Then wait for God’s answer.

Jesus is the name above all names.

The anchor holds in spite of the storm.

God bless you always,