Sooo… I am the only one on my block who hasn’t mowed their yard for the first time this year! My neighbor offered to mow it for me but I declined. I am still enjoying the little white, pink, and purple flowers. I know it will only be a few more days before I have to bring them to their demise, but I will enjoy them as long as I can. It’s going to be a real job for someone because I didn’t rake up all the leaves last fall. On top of that the big trees in my yard have shed several limbs. In other words, there’s a lot of “stuff” buried under the pretty little flowers. Stuff you can’t see that would tear up a lawn mower. The Lord showed me our lives are kind of like this sometime. We look at people and all we see are the pretty things. And then we look at ourselves and we don’t’ see that same kind of picture. Well, in the first place, we’re not supposed to be comparing ourselves to anyone else! So, if you’re doing that just stop it. Secondly, the Lord showed me when we look at others, we don’t see their “hidden stuff” but when we look at ourselves we get the whole package; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes, if we let too much stuff get buried and hidden, it can harm us. It shows up in lots of different packages; rejection, depression, anger, bitterness, or un-forgiveness to name a few. None of these things do us any good at all! You know, it would have been a lot less trouble to have swept up the leaves last fall and picked up the limbs as they fell. Same way with our hearts. If we clean-up as we go it’s a lot easier to keep it filled with the right kind of things like peace and joy and love. Yes, I’m going to have quite a job on my hands with the yard, but not so much with my heart. I tend to it every day. Have you checked yours lately? Jesus wants you safe and happy! So get rid of that “hidden stuff” that doesn’t need to be there. Just as the Lord to help you clean out your heart. He will be glad to help because remember “Jesus Loves You!”
WOW! God is good! I am back at the hotel now – finished with the service for the women at the Bridgeport Pre-parole Transfer Facility. And did we have church! I wish you could have been there!
59 women wrote their names on the sign in sheets. I think there may have been 4 or 5 more that came I late that didn’t sign the sheet. Considering, I was competing with an opportunity for outdoor recreation tonight (and it was a wonderful night to be outside), and the facility only houses about 200, over a fourth of the population were in church tonight. We had wonderful praise and worship. They entered in and the glory of the Lord filled the place. The ministry flowed smoothly and I believe they were blessed and encouraged. I certainly was – but then I always receive a blessing. The air conditioning wasn’t working and it was extremely warm. I can tell I’m still a little weak but the Lord gave me the strength to last the whole two hours. (I actually went about 15 minutes over, thank you, Jesus for favor). But, especially, thank you Lord for what You did tonight. He poured out His love in a marvelous way. We laughed, we cried, we shouted, we rejoiced, and we laughed some more! Never for a minute doubt that God has a sense of humor! I had hit a rather strong point and was waiting a moment in silence for the Word to soak in when all of a sudden there was a terrific roar. I felt my eyes get big and said, “WHAT is that?” The train was coming through. Of all the times I’ve been there, I’ve never heard the train before. But, tonight it was just at the right time for God to make His point! And, everyone laughed and enjoyed His perfect timing. So, I have just finished a turkey sandwich (Dagwood style) and it’s time to unwind and try to get some sleep. But, before I go, I want to encourage you that you can do whatever God calls you to do. It doesn’t matter when you start—He hasn’t changed His mind—whatever He has placed in your heart, He will help you. His Word says the Holy Spirit will be our teacher and our guide. What more do we need? Let Him work through you. Be His hands, His mouth, and His feet, whatever He wants you to be to meet the needs around you. As you focus on helping and encouraging others, He will focus on helping and encouraging you. But, most of all, remember “Jesus Loves You!”
Monday, April 6, 2015
Good morning! Today, I would like to pay tribute to Ms. Lillian Freeman. She has finished her race in this life and is now celebrating with Jesus! Later this morning, she will be honored and her life celebrated by her family and many, many friends. She was indeed, a special lady. I don’t remember when I met Lil, it just seems I’ve always known her. The important thing is what I do remember. She was always happy, in a good mood, smiling, and laughing. Where ever she went, whatever she was doing, it was accompanied by joy and genuine love. When I first started writing these posts, Lil was one of the very first people who hit the “like” button. She would often make a comments of encouragement to me. She always cheered me on, especially when I would give a praise report about what was happening in the prison ministry. She had no idea how much she encouraged me. Her words always seemed to come just at the right time. I won’t be there today to participate in her home-going celebration because I’m heading out in a few minutes for that 5 hour drive to minister at the Women’s Pre-Parole Transfer Facility in Bridgeport, Texas tonight. And, later tomorrow when I post the praise the report, I will miss seeing her name among those who liked the post. As I continue to make the daily posts, there will be a void because of the absence of her comments that so often inspired and strengthened me. Oh, but I believe she will continue to encourage me, as well as, the many others she loved so much. It will just come through a different venue; as she is now a member of that elite group described as the “cloud of heavenly witnesses” that cheers us on. My prayers are for God’s love and peace to comfort each heart that grieves for her presence. May each of us be strengthened and continue to follow her example of loving kindness and spread the joy of the Lord wherever we go. I believe she would join me in saying, remember always, “Jesus Loves You.”
I can hardly believe it is already April. A whole fourth of 2015 has already passed. Mind boggling how fast time flies by; especially when you’re having fun. Are we having fun yet? Just saying… Maybe it’s because I’ve been really busy! I was thinking about that this afternoon. Situations, which I don’t care to discuss, created a big pile-up of stuff on my things-to-do-list. I’m talking serious things like taxes that were due two years ago. You get the picture? Now, don’t go blasting me for procrastination because I think it was a God thing I didn’t get them done until now. And, no, I didn’t get penalized because they owed me money. But, let’s get off taxes and back to what I want to talk about today. And that is, getting what God wants us to do, done! A while back, I made a little book for my friend Marejohn for her birthday. You might say it was a compilation of life anecdotes, scriptures, cartoons, and thought-provoking ideas I’ve picked up all along my journey of life. One of the cartoons pictured a bunch of hungry-looking alligators watching a little fellow sunk up to his waste in the mud. The caption read, “It’s hard to remember your original purpose was to drain the swamp when you’re surrounded by alligators!” I think this happens to the best of us from time to time. We’re on track. We’re doing our best to do what God has told us to do. Then, suddenly we find ourselves in a quagmire of issues, conflicts, or circumstances that pull our attention away from completing our assignments from God. Oh, they come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and events. Sometimes, it’s health issues. Other times, things that rob our finances show up. The next may be issues in relationships. The list can go on and on. It doesn’t really matter what the situation or event is. The important thing is that we recognize it for what it is and not allow it to send us down a road that is not aligned with the purpose God has for our lives. And, even if that happens and we take a slight detour, it’s not the end of the world. All we have to do is pick up from where we are, get re-grouped, re-focused, and go at it again. That’s what I’m doing now. You see, for the past few months I’ve been like that little guy in the swamp. It’s been like the harder I tried to get things done the more interference showed up. The proverbial take two steps forward and one step back was about to become my daily mantra. Oh, I’m not saying the things I was doing were not important; they were and they had to be done. The problem was I let them become a swamp that almost swallowed me. And, I definitely let the time-stealing alligators distract me and keep me from completing the tasks God has assigned me to do. One of which is to write and post these not-so exciting life lessons on a regular (probably almost daily) basis. You know, I just love to encourage other people. I think it’s a gift God has given me. I love writing these posts. I truly believe God uses my life lessons to show others how much He loves them and that He’s always ready to help them. And, I especially love the encouragement I receive from the likes and comments I get back. It’s that law of sowing and reaping thing. You plant encouragement; you get encouragement! Pretty simple, huh? I don’t know anyone that would turn down encouragement; certainly not me! So you’re asking, “What’s the problem?” Well, it’s like this. I haven’t been giving this task its rightful place of priority at the top of my daily things-to-do- list(s). It’s an easy thing to talk about what we should do, but doing it can be a lot more difficult. Sometimes it takes this thing called self-discipline to get back where we need to be. Sometimes it means checking our priorities. Do we have the important things in the right order on our lists? Or, have we let the time-stealers squirm their way to the top. Sometimes it means laying something else down to make time for the things that should have the greatest priority. It means we have to make a conscious decision; choices have to be made. Let’s choose Jesus! Let’s choose to place the things that are important to Him at the top of our lists. Let’s choose to complete His assignments before we do anything else. Anyway, I’m sure that’s what He wants me to do about these posts. I believe if we put Him first, He will help us and keep the time-stealers at bay. How about we put Him to the test? If He will help me, He will help you, too. I challenge you to give His tasks priority and see what happens! But, there’s one thing that is sure; that never has to be tested. That is, no matter where He is on your priority list, “Jesus Loves YOU!”
Shannon Howllett – Make Him famous!
Reply! That sounds like a great idea! I think I’ll give it a try. I truly want to reach and encourage as many people as I possibly can. Must not become so involved in the logistics and mechanics that I don’t have time for the message. Just so you’ll know, a big part of my time has gone to resting in order to recuperate from the liver failure. In what time I had left, I’ve been focused on getting the ministry legally established as a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. I keep reminding myself this is a “one time” thing and as soon as I can get it finished all the time allocated to this can then be directed to actually doing the ministry. I love what Randy Chandler says about prophesying on his blog talk show, “It’s the place where we do it more than we talk about it.” That’s the cry of my heart. I want to “BE” ministering to people rather than just thinking and talking about it. Father has shown me that Facebook and the internet are the most efficient and effective tools and through them I can reach a vast number of people. Please pray for me that I can figure out how to best use every tool and opportunity God has given me (especially that I can improve my writing skills). God gave me the tagline “Changing Lives One Heart At A Time”. (Note to self – get the Facebook cover photo changed to match the website). He touches my heart with what He wants shared. I write it down and post it. He prompts others to read it and individually touches their hearts. Like you and many others, they make a comment, hit the like button, or the share button and then the message is forwarded to another group of people. Again, He moves in individual hearts. It goes on and on like ripples on a lake; especially if those reading will hit the share button. Talk about exponential multiplication! The possibilities are mind boggling! Love you, girl. Take care of yourself and tell all the family hello for me. We should get together for coffee someday. That thought makes my heart smile.
Thanks for checking out my website and coming to my blog page. I pray you will be blessed and encouraged by the things I share. Have a great day! Deb