Tag Archive: angels


No Fear in The Follow

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“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”  ~Psalm 23:1-3

We live in a day and age where leadership and success are considered to be interchangeable. To be successful in the world’s eyes, one must lead. If you are an ambitious, confident, type A, “take life by the horns” extrovert, you might eagerly agree. Someone has to lead, so why not you? Or you may be a reserved, quiet, “don’t rock the boat” introvert that would rather not assert yourself. Does that automatically make you unsuccessful? Don’t get me wrong, the world needs great leaders to rise up for just causes and take a stand they feel strongly on. However, whether you feel you have what it takes or not, it’s not up to us to decide.  Daniel 2:21 tells us “He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings.”  Proverbs 16:9 says A man’s heart devises his way: but the LORD directs his steps. These verses tell me that we naturally want to lead our own lives, but it’s God who calls and raises up the leaders among us according to His purpose.  Some have been born with the God-given ability to lead, and they realize it early in life. Others feel they’re not called because of a lack of ability, but God equips them with everything they need. There is a most important quality that all must have to lead, and that is a humble heart to serve others.  Matthew 23:11 says “The greatest among you will be your servant.”  Just like Jesus Christ came to serve us by taking our place on the cross and rising again, a true leader has a servant’s heart and seeks wisdom, when he follows after God.

A leader that follows after God takes up their cross daily and submits every area of their life to Christ. It doesn’t take long, before one realizes how much of a challenge that can be.   Some of the obvious things are easy to let go, but some areas stay hidden until a trial brings them to light.  Those are the real toughies.  Recently in my own life, I’ve become aware that a certain sure path that I expected to be on for a few more years, seems to be winding down to an end. I always considered myself to be a humble, quiet person that easily submits to God, until I was put to this test. It’s been amazing and humbling to see how much of my future was according to my plan and trusting in what I see and hear. Faced with an uncertain future, I have to take captive all the worst case scenarios that want to play out in my thoughts, and replace them with God’s promises in His Word that He will provide all my needs, that my life is in His hands and I have nothing to worry about.  Ever heard the phrase “That’s easier said than done.”?  Well, I’ve found that to be the case.  I want to use reason, logic and what I know about the world’s system to guide me as to what to do next, but what I really need is to quiet myself and trust my Great Shepherd to lead the way.  As I reflected on this over the past weekend, I suddenly felt inspired to write a poem about trusting God.  As I wrote it, I began to think of the 23rd Psalm and it became the subject of my poem (which I will post at the end).  The awesome thing has been the confirmation by the Holy Spirit  that has come this week.  At the Wednesday night service at my church, Pastor Lisa’s message was about Jesus being our good shepherd.  I highly doubt that she hacked the documents on my computer to plan her message.  Another confirmation just occurred as I began to write.  Rabbi Schneider’s program “Discovering the Jewish Jesus” was on the television and his message was also teaching on the 23rd Psalm. I don’t think he hacked my documents either, but he may have watched Pastor Lisa online.  I love when God does that!  He speaks a message to your heart and everywhere you turn, people are speaking about the very same thing! It’s one of those cool God things, for sure!

I really believe God is telling the Church to keep our eyes on Jesus and follow Him wherever He leads, especially in the time we are in.  We need to be able to discern His voice and follow the peace through the Holy Spirit to guide us.  Knowing His voice and peace comes through having a relationship with Jesus Christ, by walking with Him daily, praying and meditating on His Word.  As so many of our beloved brothers and sisters in the Middle East have found, we as Christians will walk through the valley of the shadow of death.  Yet, we won’t fear evil because our faithful Shepherd is right there with us and He will lead us through to life everlasting.  I still get tears in my eyes when I think of our 21 brothers from Egypt who were marched out onto a beach to their death.  I read somewhere recently that every one of them with their very last breath gave praise to Jesus Christ. That is so courageous and so heart-grabbing!   What the world couldn’t see on the beach was Jesus right there in their midst and angels gathered around our brothers, ready to escort their spirits to Heaven, where they will one day soon have glorified bodies. Let us remember to lift each other up in prayer and intercession, especially those facing persecution.

Great Shepherd

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring,
But my heart will sing
Just the same.

I know that my steps are planned
That He holds my hand,
There’s no shame.

For He leads me to life everlasting.
Nothing can hold me down.
Whatever comes against me tomorrow
He can turn it around.

For He’s my great shepherd who leads me,
Besides refreshing waters so still.
To green pastures, a table before me
His every promise He’ll fulfill.

My Father’s goodness and mercy
He sends to follow after me.
In His house, I will dwell with Him,
Forever loved, complete, whole and free.

If you haven’t made Jesus the lord of your life and would like to invite Him into your heart, please pray the following:

Dear Heavenly Father,
I confess that I’m a sinner.  I repent of my sins and ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You sent
Your Son, Jesus to die on the cross in my place to pay for my sins, and that He rose again from the dead, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. I invite You, Jesus, into my heart and ask that You would wash me and cleanse me in Your blood. I thank You for Your love and mercy.  I make You my Lord and Savior.  Amen.              

God bless you.

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shamrock-wallpaper-for-pc_1152x864_7735331“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.”  – Proverbs 13:12

How often do we settle into a routine, turn the volume down on our hopes and dreams, and brace ourselves to live life as usual?  We believe in God and His Word and that someday in the far off future, He will deliver on His promises.  I know I have.  Five years ago I surrendered myself to this way of thinking.  Both of my parents had become critically ill within months of each other, and although I desperately prayed and believed for a miracle, God took each of them home instead.  During this time, I was in a relationship that I truly believed was an answer to prayer and to bring comfort,  but it only added to the hurt and heartache I was already going through.  So I had reasoned that in the Age to Come, I would  see the promises of God fulfilled in my life and not a moment before.  I knew God loved me and was good because I could sense His presence in my life. I knew God could answer prayers at any time, as I had seen in the lives of others and heard in their testimonies, but year after year when life became a cycle of work, sleep, work, sleep, church, work, sleep, work, sleep, church…with my prayers seemingly unanswered, I stopped expecting to see God ever move in any major way in my life.  Little did I know that during that time, God was setting things up to blindside me with a HUGE, Over-the-Top blessing!

I’ll never forget Thanksgiving of 2013.  I was sitting in a Cracker Barrel restaurant by myself, eating my holiday meal.  My family lived very far away and my friends were celebrating with their families and relatives.  I wasn’t sad to be alone or anything like that, I had simply accepted that this is how my life was.  Had anyone said to me that day that I would spend next year’s Thanksgiving Day, sitting in a living room on the other side of the world, drinking Turkish coffee with a group of some of the most incredible, wonderful people you could ever meet, I would have looked at them like they had lost all sense of reality.  Yet, that’s exactly what happened!

A few weeks into the 2014 year, I decided to attend a Missions Meeting at church.  They would be talking about the various trips where they planned to send teams  I wanted to see if there would be any affordable trips to a Latin American country that coincided with my summer break from school.  I had gone on missions trips many years ago in the past, which led me to major in Spanish in college and become a Bilingual Teacher.  There weren’t any.  I was a little disappointed, but continued to listen about the other trips in the fall.  As soon as they mentioned the  details of the trip to Israel, I felt a spark of excitement on the inside, as if I had suddenly come to life!  It had been many years since I last felt that way, and it was incredible!  I knew it would be nearly impossible to get the time off from school, especially during one of the busiest times of the year.  And yet this feeling that I was supposed to go, superseded all of the many reasons “of why I shouldn’t bother trying to go”  playing out in my mind.

20141123_153048I picked up the application as soon as they were made available.  I held on to it, wondering how I could approach my boss about this.  The trip was scheduled to return after Thanksgiving and Kindergarten would be gearing up for standardized testing.  That meant that I would be gone during the test preparation time and return just a couple of days before testing started.  Then it was announced that the Stanford would be replaced by the Iowa test in our school next year, and there wasn’t any indication of when it would take place!  That announcement was by no doubt, in my favor!  As the due date drew close, I was still trying to think of a way to bring up the trip, but then the perfect segue into the topic opened up at our Family Science Night.  My colleague and I had chosen to present the experiment in how to make an egg float to the top.  It was an experiment regarding the density of water.  My principal came in the classroom to observe how our experiment was going and began asking questions.  As I answered his questions I thought to myself that now would be a great time to mention the trip, but how??  As he was wrapping up the conversation he mentioned how our project explained why everything floats in the  Dead Sea.  BINGO!  There it was!  As he was turning, I said “Speaking of the Dead Sea, I wanted to talk to you about this opportunity that I have…”   Even though he didn’t give me a solid  yes, he encouraged me to go ahead and get the application in before the deadline.  With that, I began my adventure.

I got the application filled out and turned in just in the nick of time.   I then had to wait to see if I would get called for an interview.  Weeks went by and I didn’t hear anything.  Eventually I came to the conclusion that I was not selected and felt disappointed.  After I had finally given up, I received a call a few days later to contact them if I was in the building to conduct the interview that was scheduled that day.  After combing through my inbox, I saw the email informing me of the date and time of the interview, and I had missed it!  How could I have let this happen?    I was closing out the school year and didn’t check my personal email.  I sent a message back explaining what had happened and asked for another interview, which thankfully was granted.  The interview seemed to go well, but again it was time to wait.  I got the  call a week later that I was selected.  I was beyond excited!

20141125_114137I really felt that the Holy Spirit helped me to get to the first meeting!  I had the wrong date written down in my calendar.  Our team leader sent a text to remind us about the meeting that morning.  She had my home phone listed as my cell phone.  For the first, last and only time ever, I received the message on my landline.  I scrambled to get ready and go, thanking God the whole time,  that the text came through on that phone and not my cell phone.  I  often wait until later in the day to check my cell phone for messages and would have missed the meeting entirely.  When I got to the church, the 11:00 service was letting out.  I had to park in a garage about a block away which made me late.  As I hurried into the church and in the area that we were to meet, no one was there.  The meeting was held in a conference room in which you needed to be escorted by someone with authorization.  I turned on my cell phone to notify the team leader that I was there, but my battery was dead!  I couldn’t believe it I stood there not knowing what to do and started praying for a way to get there.  Within five minutes, I noticed a female custodian heading in that direction.  I went over to her and let her know that I was there for an Israel trip meeting and before I could ask if she could let someone from the team know that I was there, she simply took me to the area and let me in with her security pass and rushed away.   I thanked her at the time, but I was so very grateful that I wanted to again express my appreciation after the meeting was over, since I knew this wasn’t ordinarily done, but I couldn’t  find her.  In fact I never saw her again and I sometimes wonder if she was an angel.  Had she not done what she did, I would have left thinking God must not want me to go and pulled myself out of the team.  Whether she was from Heaven or not, she was definitely my angel and I knew God was orchestrating everything!

I arrived and got to meet the other members of my team and was blown away by this great group of ladies.  I couldn’t help but think, “What am I doing here?  These ladies are incredible and so spiritually mature…I’m just the daughter of a factory worker…”  But they made me feel very welcomed and that I was a definitely a part of the team.  We had trainings and scheduled events to take part in leading up to the trip and began to bond as a team.

While preparing for this trip, there were many obstacles that popped up that made it seem like this trip would not take place.  I got a new boss who gave me a bit of a hard time about going in the last week before the trip (even though I talked to her about it when she first arrived on campus), the Iowa testing schedule was announced and Kindergarten would be taking the test after Thanksgiving (same as  the test before);  my position was changed to teach regular Kindergarten instead of Bilingual  in the second week and everything I had was in Spanish (I would have to create all English materials myself) .  The biggest obstacle of all, was that in the summer, Hamas began attacking Israel.  This led to  Israel having to defend itself,  resulting in the One Hundred Day War. This ended before the trip, but tensions were still high.   I won’t even mention the conflict Israel had with the United Nations over whether to lower sanctions against Iran, which  would give them  liberty to progress in their Nuclear Energy Capabilities.  Okay, so I guess I did mention it, but that’s all I’m going to say.

20141128_090530The trip went as smoothly as can be!  We got to see  many of the famous landmarks, hike up Mt. Arbel, sail in the Sea of Galilee, float in  the Dead Sea, pray at the Western Wall, and much more.  My favorite was visiting the Garden of  Gethsemane and  going inside the tomb believed to be where  Jesus was buried –  EMPTY , of course!  We also  got to meet, encourage and bless many wonderful people along the way.  My team members were a major source of inspiration  to me and I learned so much from them!

All of this brings me back  to the verse quoted at the beginning in Proverbs 13:12.  This trip was a dream come true for me.  It woke me up from a deep slumber and revived my spirit  and faith!  God really is good, and He wants to give good things to His children!  When asked by a friend to describe what this whole experience was like, they only words I could use to describe it were I felt like my life  was kissed by Heaven!  If you feel like you’ve been put on a shelf collecting dust, don’t  fall for the lie!  Don’t you dare give up and lose hope!  Wait on God with patience, faith and expectancy!  He has much, much more for you!  If He fulfilled this long time desire of my heart for me, He will  fulfill the desires of your heart as well!

I pray that in this New Year of 2015, your life is kissed by Heaven over and over! God bless you!

Miracles: An Unexpected Shift

Have you ever had one of those experiences when you were certain that one thing was going to happen, and instead the complete opposite ends up occuring? It’s a feeling of utter amazement and can leave you absolutely stunned. It can be something as simple as a student getting a much higher grade on an exam than they expected, or a life-changing event such as overcoming an illness, affliction or an area you’ve been struggling with for years. Those are miracles and yes, they do happen more often than we realize. Some are obvious and others take time to see the actual results, like a woman that struggles for several years with a food addiction and suddenly gets the resolve to join a diet program and emerges 2 years later, a hundred pounds lighter. True story!

A few months ago, I had one of those completely unexpected events happen that defies the laws of  motion. It was on my way home from a church service. We had a guest speaker that night, by the name of T.D. Jakes. Ever hear of him? Anyway, it was one of those services where you go in like you do every week and everything is fine, and yet from the first worship song until the end of service you find yourself crying and you don’t know why. It was like that for me, a soothing sense of peace  from  the sweet presence of God that was there that night.

On the way home, I still felt this peace and remembered a song from many years ago called “He is Here Right Now” sung by John Starnes. While I was kind of humming/singing this, I noticed that a car got into my lane several feet in front of me and was driving slowly under the speed limit. I checked to make sure I could change lanes safely and when I looked forward again, all I saw were his brake lights and me quickly heading toward them. Without even thinking, I jerked the steering wheel to avoid hitting him. I was in my SUV and could feel all the weight in the rear of the vehicle as it began to cross over into the other lane towards the cement guard rail along the freeway. I got that sickening out- of- control feeling that I was going to hit it and there was nothing I could do, but brace myself for impact. Suddenly, to my surprise,  I felt the entire weight of the SUV suddenly shift back to normal and straighten up perfectly in the lane and I continued driving on. I looked in the rearview mirror and all the traffic behind us slowed waaay down and kept a very safe distance from us. I knew that either I missed my calling to be a professional stunt car driver, or angels had stopped my SUV from skidding out of control.  I knew it wasn’t the former and it had to have been the latter!  It was a very awesome moment as I thanked and praised God for protecting me as He promises in this verse:

“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways…”  Psalm 91:11 

It let me know that God isn’t finished with me yet! I’m here for a reason, and so are you!

Be blessed and encouraged, everyone!