Write My Answer On A Billboard Large And Clear

~ I'll climb to the lookout tower and scan the horizon.
I'll wait to see what God says ~ Habakkuk 2:1-2
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Nov 9, 2012

SEE Your Sister...She Holds a Candle Without a Flame..



This video of a pastor in Uganda brought me to tears....
tears of conviction and grief. I encourage you to listen...but allow time...it is a full 1 1/2 hours. Thanks to Kareem for posting the video. 

Oh my... was he right on... we are so unworthy of God's love... but he loves us still.... loved us even in our 'practicing' sin... 

Some people sin out of ignorance to the scripture... and of lacking a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.... and therefore have not entered into a 'renewing' of their mind... allowing the Lord Jesus to change their thot patterns and behavior from a 'self' gratification lifestyle...to the 'selfless' life ...of walking with the Savior, on a path that He created for us to walk...pure and unadulterated by the world's ways. 

This world...is cursed, as a result of the original sin. We are all therefore born into sin...thus the need to be 'reborn' by the pure spirit of God. Therefore, these 'beautiful ones' still walk...live under the 'curse' of man....because of their 'lack' of understanding God and His intentions towards them. 

 She your sister...she's been robbed and lied to.
She holds a candle without a flame.

It is for these... that He died. He died for you and me...that we not perish in our sin...but have everlasting life...with HIM. I was just like 'these' blinded ones...before the LIGHT of JESUS was brought to me and my eyes were opened by the LIGHT of TRUTH. 

The LORD puts these beautiful ones...in 'our' paths every day ...(those of us who have received His restorative salvation)... He plants them in our hearts...because we see that their eyes are still veiled to the light of Christ. Only the Holy Spirit of God can woo a soul unto Himself...but He calls us to be LIGHT in this dark world... 

Sometimes, all that is expected of us is to walk into a place...a room...a region... a dark alley... and let the LIGHT of Christ that reigns in authority over our own life....LIGHT up the darkness with our one little candle. 

 I came to know Him Early,
I came to know Him young.



Sometimes... He requires more from us. He sends us into the world...to minister to these walking without sight. He loves all mankind... and wishes that none would perish... our world begins first of all in our homes...but extends and engages on a larger scale - the moment we walk outside our front door!  

We, as Christians are called to be LIGHT to the nations, peoples of the world... that walk without the LIGHT of Christ. 

This pastor's testimony is full of LIGHT. 

I respect his heart for the nations and the peoples of the world. God has unveiled his eyes to reveal his own hidden heart... in ignorance...it was even hidden from himself. This personal encounter with the LORD...brought him to his knees. He will never be the same! 

Praise be to the LORD Almighty....for His GRACE and MERCY..


 Heaven and Earth have kissed

Harmony has been restored in this one man's heart...his testimony is proof of that. Hard message to speak...but his transformed heart compels him to hold his candle brightly for all to see. 

Christians....as well as unbelievers everywhere...as a result of viewing this video, should feel compelled to enter into a heart to heart closed closet meeting between themselves and GOD....with a unanimous heart cry... 

'Search me oh God...and see if there be any wicked way in me...cleanse me...and create in me a clean heart, I pray " 

This has been my cry...throughout these past days in this 'Post Election' state of affairs...it was set ablaze by the message of this pastor's testimony....this cry is for myself and those yet to see the LIGHT....

"Father, forgive us...heal us... restore us... back to a right relationship with you. You alone, are worthy of our praise...cause us...compel us to carry your LIGHT in us to LIGHT another's candle...without a flame." 

Go Light Your World

Oh Lord God...may I experience a like encounter with you... a transforming encounter that changes me so completely... that I walk unchained...freely carrying my lighted candle... into the dark places of my world....

May I walk without FEAR...without the fear of hatred lashed against me or being ostracized because of my chosen obedience...to carry His LIGHT. 

May I walk with LOVE ...and view everyone as God's beautiful creation...

I am so blessed to be called His Beloved... 
Beautiful one... 
Warrior Bride in boots. 

I can't explain the emotion that rises up in me... every time I hear this song.  The first time I heard it, I stood to my feet, as I felt His LIGHT reignited in me. The Holy Spirit fanned the flame with His blazing Spirit. This song, as Kathy Troccoli sings it...connects His divine will to mine...with such an empowering force...I am no longer just ...one little candle. 

For this is what the Lord has commanded us:
 "'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, 
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'"
Acts 13:47


I am one flame connected to a blazing FIRE....that pushes the darkness away!

He, the Lord God Almighty, remains on the throne! 
Still...Always... and for eternity... 
He is the KING of all Kings.... Psalm 2

Listen...with conviction...and GO LIGHT YOUR WORLD!






Psalm 2

The Message (MSG)

1-6 "Why the big noise, nations?
Why the mean plots, peoples?
Earth-leaders push for position,
Demagogues and delegates meet for summit talks,
The God-deniers, the Messiah-defiers:
“Let’s get free of God!
Cast loose from Messiah!”
Heaven-throned God breaks out laughing.
At first he’s amused at their presumption;
Then he gets good and angry.
Furiously, he shuts them up:
“Don’t you know there’s a King in Zion? A coronation banquet
Is spread for him on the holy summit.”

7-9 Let me tell you what God said next.
He said, “You’re my son,
And today is your birthday.
What do you want? Name it:
Nations as a present? continents as a prize?
You can command them all to dance for you,
Or throw them out with tomorrow’s trash.”

10-12 So, rebel-kings, use your heads;
Upstart-judges, learn your lesson:
Worship God in adoring embrace,
Celebrate in trembling awe. Kiss Messiah!
Your very lives are in danger, you know;
His anger is about to explode,

But if you make a run for God—

you won’t regret it!"

Prayerfully submitted
Patrina

Oct 9, 2012

Tim Taylor's SEED and an Ancient Art Form











IMAGE  credit courtesy of Larry Wright & ABC News


Tim Taylor's handwritten note was discovered by 69 year old Larry Wright with his son and grandson on 9/8/12. You can read the story by Reporter Dina Abou Salem here; and an update here.


One comment caught my attention… “You can’t leave a legacy like that with a text! …He used an ancient technology called a PENCIL.”

 – Combined with a small piece of PAPER – he PLANTED his SEED in an ancient art form called WRITING!

Decades later, it is found – still in contact with the soil it was planted in.

Surviving 40 years of WIND, RAIN, SUN, SNOW, and SOIL…. still in prime condition!

This SPEAKS volumes to me today. The note was written on two very significant dates in the history of my life. I am a writer – a lover of the written WORD!

This ancient technology survived the test of TIME!

In its finding…it physically connected 4 generations…with the watching world! For some unrevealed reason, I am filled with HOPE today. HOPE for new HUMAN CONNECTIONS… RESTORATIONS….and REAVEALED DREAMS.

Was this just happenstance – or a God appointed find? I can’t say. But we are all connected in some way to each other and the world around us through the Creator God. We may not be privy to how it unfolds. But a door has been opened. Opportunities are there that were not there before the find. These opportunities were planted as an unknowing SEED of HOPE… 4 decades ago. This seed of HOPE was planted by a young teen in expectation of a HARVEST. The very words on the note reveal such. The very fact that he wrote the note, sealed it in a waterproof canister, and buried it….shouts of an expected HARVEST!

May his NOW HARVEST overwhelm him with new opportunities of JOY…and unknown EXPECTATIONS. May he continue to plant with expectations for tomorrow's find.



In this deeper LIGHT…


I am compelled to ask myself …
“What am I planting – for tomorrow’s FIND?”

May I take this opportunity to ask the same question of you?...
“What are you planting – for tomorrow’s find?”

Seeds fall to the ground all the time…some are picked up by the wind and blown for miles and miles – on wings of the air we breathe. Others lay stagnant in the rocks - incapable of making contact with the soil. But there are those SEEDS that are intentionally PLANTED – carefully placed and protected by a prayer...an expectation... a promise or  hope.  Those are the SEEDS that Birth a HARVEST….even generations down the road.

Protect your seed! It is priceless. Intentionally PLANT…..and in your planting, EXPECT the HARVEST to come! One tiny seed has the DNA and the capacity to bring about a full Harvest.

Deeper still...


This same ancient art form was used to establish the life and ministry of JESUS CHRIST - the one and ONLY Son of God - who also walked this earth – its peaks and its valleys. This Christ spoke WORDS of LIFE to the waiting, watching, seeking world. It was recorded by this same ancient art form –in what is known as the HOLY BIBLE…the inherent WORD of God. It too has stood the test of TIME. Generations yet unborn will read it - and new HOPE will be birthed in their hearts… with its hearing!

Read a portion of this JESUS’… PLANTING - a message He planted in the hearts of men, women, and children of His day – for such a time as this.

Recorded by Matthew, a tax collector in Matthew 13:1-23 (NIV of the HOLY BIBLE)

The Parable of the Sower


1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.” 10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” 11 He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:

“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
 14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’

16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it. 18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. 22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. 23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

(Matthew’s bio – a tax collector and disciple of JESUS - ‘As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.’ Matthew 9:9)


prayerfully submitted
by His Warrior Bride in Boots,
Patrina's Pencil



Aug 26, 2012

What Do You Hold In Your Hand.... That The Lord Wants To Release?

photo by patrina's pencil 2012













My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

Psalm 42:2 NIV




photo by patrina's pencil 2012














 Zephaniah 3:14-17

14) Sing, O Daughter of Zion;

shout aloud, O Israel!  Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem!

15) The Lord has taken away your punishment,he has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm.

16) On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp.

17) The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”  NIV


Today, sorrow envelops me. I am HELD.

Sitting in this specific place that the Lord has provided for me for this season - with gray hairs crowning my head, I cup my face in my hands, and speak ever so affectionately...


I Love you Mama!

I Love You Mama!

Tears, carving tiny streams down my face, saturate these hands....and I am washed ... again, in the sorrow of missing her.

BUT GOD... 


Instantly, I am visited by the One who holds my future just as tenderly as He holds my past. He gently embodies my heart and takes me to the ICU at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita KS. - where ten years ago, mama lay in rendered silence - mute from a sudden neurological coma.

In this room, the Lord miraculously ministered to our independent souls. We became as God intended - Mother and Daughter - bound by a love that He formed in me before I was ever an egg in my mother's womb!

Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:16


I had just read to her - in the silence of her ICU room - the children's book - "The Kissing Hand" by Audrey Penn - A book introduced to me by grandson. He was just a little tike then, but the message I received from him was Huge!


"Never fear, I will always love you grandma"

As I prepared to impart this same message given me ... To my now silent mama, to impart the KISS of LOVE into the palm of her hand ... that I might imprint upon her cheek and within her heart - that eternal message ....


I love you mama!
Never fear, I will always love you.


And as the Lord held us there ... in space and time...

... in silence and slow motion, as I stood all starry-eyed beside her bed - mama, in a totally 'out of character' moment, began to pull her left hand out from beneath the covers - eyes still closed to the coma and illness that had suddenly came upon her a week earlier.

Her previous unresponsive body was responding to...

MY HEART'S DESIRE ...

to BLESS HER...

WITH MY LOVE


A Healing Stream began to flood my body. From head to heart - I was being washed with an undefined, indescribable LOVE.... as I witnessed mama struggling to render her own weakened hand in response to my proposed gift. From her silent prison walls, she responded to my heart's desire... with her heart's desire.

Source

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This miraculous encounter - still, 10 years later, chokes my breath away with relentless whole body sobbing! May I never take for granted - the undeniable POWER source of the HOLY SPIRIT  - that shored up and supported my mama's heart - and hand - in that decisive moment!


And then....

Cupping her hand in both of mine, I bowed my cheek to her fragile palm and just rested it there ... in the peace of that moment.

With tears filling and running over her stretched out hand, I planted my heart-filled kiss in the middle of the puddle - and gently guided the kiss-laced hand towards her cheek ...

I pressed it and held it there.

Source





 










Never fear, mama ... I will always love you.
Do not be afraid, you are never alone.

Whenever you feel fearful or lonely,
just press my kiss against your cheek and remember ...
I love you mama,
I will always love you.


It was to be the last time that I spoke with her alive....
the last time that I touched her.
The last time I would speak 'I Love You' over her earthly presence.

Had I known ...
I would have stayed right there forever ...
Until the Lord ushered her home 2 weeks later. 

"Will the sorrow of our lost relationship ever go away?"
 I ask the Lord today. 

He encourages as He reminds me that SOMEDAY....

I'll turn and see her safely into the arms of Jesus, where she now reigns. That in itself is enough to transform my sorrow into JOY! But today, this sorrow has found a resting place in my soul. And I feel the need to hold it there. My eyes and ears and heart are open to what ever the Lord wants to show me in this state of sorrow.

And then ... 

With opened heart and hands - He comes and anoints me with spiritual eyesight. I am blessed to see .... that I'm finally free of this previously undefined emotional 'trauma' and debris that cluttered my relationship with mama ....all those years. I was never certain of Mama's love until that given HOLY SPIRIT moment in ICU - that miraculous moment when the Lord parted the waters and imparted to the both of us ... 

Source

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE BLESSING OF THE KISSING HAND


And ...typical of the Lord Jesus' relationship with me..... just as I prepare to bring this posting to a close, a chorus of sparrows ignite the air waves with their song. It is as if all Heaven is uniting with earth at this very moment! A huge crowd of witnesses rejoicing right outside my open front door. Their song is so mighty and melodious.

I strain to detect my mama's high soprano ...

I'm very aware of the tangible presence of God's
Heavenly family...
in my earthly plum tree.

My heart rejoices to hear mama ...
rejoicing over me with singing.

Thank you Lord for bringing Heaven to my front door... to sing over me with rejoicing! I am rejoicing with mama that she is safely home. Thank you too, Lord Jesus for showing your powerful healing presence in that ICU room when mama and I exchanged our LOVE.

butterflies Pictures, Images and Photos

Blessed be the name of the Lord. His mercies endure forever!

And so I ask you ....
What are YOU holding in your hand ...
What does the Lord, the One who tenderly holds your future as well as your past, want to release into the heart of another?
What are you waiting for? 
Release it!


The Lord wants to bless you, as you reach out your hand to someone in need.  Did you know... that in Christ Jesus, what you hold in your hand can become a 'lifesaver' to another who is drowning? Everybody holds something that someone else needs. God puts it in our hands...not to selfishly hold onto...but to give it away! 

Open your heart ...
and your hand will automatically unfold.


Trust the Lord of the Universe...
with what you hold in your hand.


Name it?

What have you been holding onto...
in that tightly closed fist of yours?

The unspoken heart renderings

of a past hurt or grudge?

In the spirit of Healing ...
Release the gift of forgiveness and walk in LOVE.

A disagreement

that has wedged between two souls?

In the spirit of Harmony ... 
Release the gift of safe relationship and walk in LOVE.

Has your heart and soul

experienced deep Betrayal ?

In the spirit of Forbearance ... 
Release the gift of forgiveness and walk in LOVE.

Maybe you've been victimized,

taken advantage of? 

In the spirit of healing... 
Release the gift of forgiveness and walk in LOVE.

What is the Lord specifically asking of you? 
Don't delay! 
Do it today! 
There is overwhelming power
in the spirit of LOVE and FORGIVENESS.

God offers His hand ... His Healing Holy Kiss to YOU today.

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. Isaiah 42:16 NIV


The One who holds the whole universe in the palm of His hand loved us enough to give His Life as a ransom for all our wrong doings and meanderings - and declares us spotless - white as snow - FREE. He will bless you, as you become that undeserved Blessing to another soul just like me... just like you.

Do it today!

Healing abounds to those with open hearts and hands. So open your heart and unfold your hand. Let the Lord cover you with His healing touch today. 

Run to Him.... 
You won't regret it! 
He will rejoice over you with singing. 

The Lord your God is with you,he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17


On a side note: 

It wasn't until 3 years after Mama's home-going, that I recounted this 'blessing of the kissing hand' story to my sister, who was with mama in my absence. Upon hearing the story, she shared something that held no meaning for her then. She recalled how mama, even in her rendered silence and neurological coma.... Often raised her hand to her face and just held it there.

Hearing this ... brought that same Healing Stream as before. Floods of healing waters covered me and HELD me with a powerful force that created musical heart renderings ...in that space and time.

My soul rejoices with Heaven

On Her death bed....
Mama and I -
Exchanged our LOVE

Healing can and does come to us - in unexpected ways -  even from behind our silent prison walls. God specializes in high walls and prison doors. If the Lord is speaking to you today....open your heart and unfold your hand. He longs to fill you with 'more than enough' to break you out of those self imposed prison walls. 

It's breakout time! 

Freedom awaits you on the outside!  

Even in death...Healing knocks at our front door.  

 May the healing power

of the The Kissing Hand 

rest upon you today! 

In His LOVE ...

We are made complete.

 

Prayerfully submitted,
Patrina...
His Warrior Bride in Boots


Jun 12, 2012

A Family that Prayed Together

"He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." Isaiah 40:11 NIV

"The Lamb of God"
Fine Inspirational Art by Nathan Green

To my Daddy –  One of God's chosen Shepherds - One who has always had something magnificent to say. If you couldn’t reach deep enough inside to find something kind to say, you said nothing at all. I love the daddy that God built into you – always and forever in my heart.

I will always remember and never forget that you prayed with each of us every night at bedtime – even in High School. Thus, I carried that same practice into my own children’s life and into my grandchildren’s life - when the opportunity is there. Generations have changed, but the memories that are framed with prayer – will never lose ground.

Your slogan while we were growing up, “A family that prays together stays together” … remains a powerful truth to me today. Prayer has always been my tool to reach all the way to heaven and sit right down with Jesus – to rest my weary soul – to share a hurting heart – a disappointment - Or when I sought direction – safety – or just a helping hand. He remains my help mate – my spiritual covering, as I endure this earthly life without a husband. In this endurance, I often feel physically alone – but never ever really alone - For my God – and your God too, is always and forever with us, around us and within us.

Prayer does change things – and although our family doesn’t look like it has ‘stayed’… through the test of time… it is my prayer – and I know it has always been yours too, that we will be together in our great Heavenly mansion one day in the sweet by and by – on that big homecoming day in the sky!

So never ever stop praying, daddy. You have been given a great assignment in your old age. As you sit resting in your reclining chair, looking out your ‘prayer window’ to the world, think of us – and remember to pray. This generation - my children and grandchildren - your great grandchildren – need our united prayers. This nation needs our prayers. Families all over the world need God’s protective hand. We must not become slack in our assignment to Pray!

May His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven – in all of our lives.

Thank you for your spiritual influence – for your prayerful heart – your loving hands and gentle ways. Thank you for teaching us to play. Those acrobatic floor maneuvers and flying through the air with the greatest of ease – remains one of those memorable times when you took time for us. Your attitude towards serving others has given me my life purpose. And dare I not forget - your ability to ‘fix’ almost anything - with whatever happened to be lying around…has trickled down to me. Given the right ingredients and His wisdom to see a matter or a thing in a different light, I too have made some pretty enlightening discoveries. It makes me smile when the Lord uses simple things to perform magnificent solutions. He showed you first – before He could show me.

You were my great mentor! And I – I am still your ‘cheerleader’!

But the most influential thing – the One True thing – you’ve given me was indeed your love for the Lord.

I too was born – was created in my mother’s womb – to love the Lord. As you have shared with me, even though I was the middle child, I was the first to be born into a ‘Christian family’. In fact, according to you, mama gave her life to Christ while carrying me in her womb – a few months before I was born . That means that I felt the Holy Spirit’s touch on mama – as He entered into her own spirit that night. In fact, that may explain why I have always felt His Presence around me – even as a small child – before I ever knew Him as my Holy Spirit. I felt His undeniable Presence – like a nail in a sure place.

He - this Presence – this Quieting Spirit – this Comforting Spirit – this Safe Place – was always there for me. And now, I know Him personally! He is mine and I am His – His warrior bride forever more – just as He is and has always been for you too, daddy. I love you, daddy – first and foremost because you introduced me to the Big Daddy in the sky. He has become My Salvation! My Everything! He is the ‘I AM’ of …My Past – My Present – and My ‘Is to come’. Therefore, I have everything that I need.

You, daddy, gave this little girl, the greatest ‘gift’ a Father could ever give to his child. Not only Love and acceptance – but you introduced me to your God – who has become my God, both now and forever more.

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want for anything more. Blessed be the name of the Lord. His mercies endure forever and ever… AMEN!

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy! I love you so much…

Prayerfully,
your daughter Patrina


*  a small tidbit of information - the hand that holds the pencil on my profile icon - is the hard-working hand of my preacher Daddy! Yes, it took many many shots before we accomplished just the 'write' pose. Sadly, he no longer remembers any such photo session. But I am reminded every day.... of how a man who couldn't read - was called by that great Big Daddy in the sky - to be His chosen preacher-man - how God chose him - a young man with dyslexia - who had never read a book in his life - to teach and preach the Gospel. And the first book he ever read was The Bible! And I will never forget how my Daddy painstakingly wrote - in longhand  - all - and I mean all of his sermons for 40 + years. When God is part of the equation...magnificent things come to LIGHT! You can read more in my post - "When Grandmother Prayed"



May 19, 2012

A Living Sacrifice - The Choice is Ours and Ours Alone

Romans 12:1-6
The Message

Place Your Life Before God
 1-2  So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
 
3  I'm speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.

4-6  In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we're talking about is Christ's body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn't amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ's body, let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't.














The idea of volunteering kind of meshes with God’s heart, don't you think? He allows us the freedom to willingly – cheerfully – even reluctantly …. choose. He allows us the freedom...

To choose God or satan – Life or Death
To choose our life’s work or His
To choose to serve or be waited on
To choose to be a living sacrifice or a deadbeat
To choose to give or hoard our life away

The choice is ours.... and ours alone.

Volunteering within the church is a hot topic these days. Actually, I suppose it always has been :) My dad was a country pastor of not one but two churches at the same time - in all but two of his pastorates. He not only had double duty in his gifting, he was forced to work outside of the paid church position – to provide for his family. He was a pastor for 40+ years. Even in retirement - he still volunteered his time, his gifts – always cheerfully and without any expectations of being paid.

Yes, we, his family, were oftentimes – on the short end of His ‘call’. Yes, it was a growing-up process. Yes, The Holy Spirit had to guide me through that process. Over and over :) Yes, Dad was a workaholic - without boundaries. But on a side note, it was a common thread in all of his pastorates – to expect the pastor to be 'involved' in everything - including every meeting that was held. So my experience is probably on the extreme side. But still, I wouldn't trade my spiritual heritage. I am who I am largely because of my mom and dad's sacrifice unto the Lord.

As Shanda posted at ‘A Pause on the Path’ …there is a fine line between pastors and other paid church staff - serving beyond their given work week. Some are highly overworked. Others refuse to put in anymore time - past their paid position. There definitely needs to be a balance between work and service - even if one's work is outside the church. But whose responsibility is it to define that line? Shanda stated that she had a problem with those staff - particularly pastors - who refuse to volunteer any time past their position. I understand this desire for unity within the church. If others are expected to volunteer, why are paid staff exempt so to speak.  She was asking for input. I decided to do this follow-up post to express my point.

 VOLUNTEERING MUST SPRING FORTH FROM AN OVERFLOW OF THE HEART

Whether a pastor, a worship director, a secretary, a children's director, etc., none can be forced into 'extra' service or volunteering. Romans 12 - states it pretty plainly that we, as born again Christians, are a part of this one body of Christ – the Church. We are all called to work together to build His church. Individual gifts are given by Him to each one of us. We are encouraged to operate in our giftings to support the whole body and the community at large, and ultimately to glorify the Lord Jesus  - to bring honor to His name while sharing in His testimony.

Although we are called and by faith equipped ...we can't be forced to serve. None of us can - whether paid staff or not. We can't be forced to use our gifts within the church. We can't be forced to even seek to understand our giftings. By Christianity's very roots - we are free to choose - to serve or not to serve. 

If we choose to serve, I believe our gifts should decide where we are most suited to serve. That is the reason for  the gift - to serve God and others. But we can't be forced to serve or volunteer. It springs forth on its own - from a willing heart. It is about stepping out in faith - that's where the willing heart comes in. We just have to be willing. Faith will carry us the rest of the way. And we are all given a measure of faith.

If we choose not to serve, we miss out on the true JOY of living a transformed life through Christ.

Concerning pastors: Pastors in particular need balance. Most, who have a willing heart for God are over worked and some even under paid - as was the case with my dad and now my son-in-law, who is in his first pastorate. They do need to balance their position with spending time with their own family - the family that God has entrusted them with.  But the unwillingness of a pastor to adamantly not be involved in the health and well-being of his flock - because it is his day off or past his paid work day  - is a serious heart matter. Larger congregations that have multiple pastors with different gifting positions - are able to work around this issue.

Pastors are watchman and are held to a higher responsibility. Like it or not. My dad took this responsibility seriously. It weighed on his mind. It was not to be taken lightly.

"At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me: 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself." Ezekiel 3:17-19  NIV
Pastors are Shepherds: The faithful shepherd was with his flock both day and night. He took his position seriously. He defended it, caused it to lie down in green pastures, and led it beside the still waters. ( Psalm 23:2) Without his care, the sheep would stray away. They would face real danger.

 "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36 NLT

It does not bring honor to Him when a pastor or any of us who call ourselves followers of Christ, sit back and refuse to go the extra step or mile. Many of us are guilty of letting the same people do all the work. We've become lazy Christians. Our hearts aren't full to the brim with all of Him.

By definition, volunteering, whether within or outside the church, can’t be driven by expectations. ‘Expected’ and ‘Volunteer’ are not one in the same. It’s an oxymoron to put them together. And yet, Christ said that you will know them - by their fruit...
"Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions." Matt 7:20 NLT

"By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?" Matt 7:16 NIV

VOLUNTEERING MUST SPRING FORTH FROM AN OVERFLOW OF THE HEART

Those who volunteer do so from an overflow of the heart. One can't be forced to volunteer from the heart. One may be forced to 'volunteer' as a requirement of some program or such that they have agreed to join. But for the most part, volunteering must be a personal thing. It must come from the heart - or it becomes a thorn in one's flesh so to speak.

Psalm 51:12 NIV  “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:17 KJV “For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.”

Christ instructs us and encourages us to live a sacrificial life in community with others ….as Romans 12 expounds upon. But He desires for us to live authentic lives in tandem with others – using the skills and gifts that He has given us to further the Gospel and to give back to Him in ways of service. Volunteering within these areas would be a useful way to honor God and lead by healthy example.

Scripture continues by saying that “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3:16 NLT

And again in Proverbs 4; 20-22 “My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body."

So if we are in the Word and the Word gives Life, then our lives will willingly and cheerfully seek to serve Him in ways that we are gifted in. It is the fruit of a transformed life. Is it not?
Matthew Henry puts it this way… “Good work is likely to go on, when all concerned are hearty in furthering it. Let us hope in God's mercy; if we seek him, he will be found of us.”
May our lives be a shining example of living a life for Christ – an audience of ONE.

May He indeed be found in us !
CHOOSE this day whom you will serve .
"But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15 NLT

 "LIFE IS A COLLECTION OF DECISIONS THAT DECIDE THE JOY YOU EXPERIENCE" ~ Dr Mike Murdock


His Warrior Bride
Patrina 




Other examples in scripture of a willing heart that cheerfully volunteers - to serve…

2 Chr 17:16 KJV "And next to him was Amasiah the son of Zichri, who willingly offered himself unto the LORD; and with him two hundred thousand mighty men of valor."

Judges 5:2 NIV "When the princes in Israel take the lead, when the people willingly offer themselves--praise the LORD!"

Judges 5:9 NIV "My heart is with Israel's princes, with the willing volunteers among the people. Praise the LORD!"

Psalms 110:3 NLT “When you go to war, your people will serve you willingly. You are arrayed in holy garments, and your strength will be renewed each day like the morning dew.”

1 Chronicles 29:9 NIV "The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the LORD. David the king also rejoiced greatly."

I Chronicles 28:21 NLT “The various divisions of priests and Levites will serve in the Temple of God. Others with skills of every kind will volunteer, and the officials and the entire nation are at your command."

Exodus 36:2 NIV “Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work.”

1 Samuel 26:6 NLT "Who will volunteer to go in there with me?" David asked Ahimelech the Hittite and Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother. "I'll go with you," Abishai replied."

Proverbs 31:13 KJV “She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands”

May 12, 2012

My Flavor of Favor...My Gentle Child

Dearest daughter,
Mother's Day 2012

Your love has contributed to God's favor over my life. You are His gift. He planned that you and your brother would become my blessings. I see His signature all over you :)

Thank you for loving me. For pouring your goodness into me. It mixes with God's love, and flavors my world with inner happiness. I love you forever, I like you always, as long as I'm living, my sweet courageous daughter you will be.

Even though your little fingers no longer wrap around mine, your strong hand encompasses my heart, as we walk our separate paths together as family. I value your input - your values make me proud.

Though we rarely walk hand in hand these days, I remember well the many times, when you slipped your arm around mine, as we stood together in church - worshiping our Lord and Savior - swaying together with the music. It felt like I was so much more than just your mama. It was as if the fullness of God had me all wrapped up ... through His beautiful package in you.

So, even though we are far apart geographically, time and space can not weaken this love I feel for you. I hold you just as dear within my heart, as I did so many years ago, when I held you for the first time - within my arms.

You have taught me much about this life I've lived. I see my successes in you and your brother. Where I failed, you have overcome. Thank God...in Christ, we are over-comers. I praise God for you both today, on this Mother's Day weekend 2012.

Pondering the familiar quote from 'Forrest Gump'... "Life's like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gona get", I have come to realize this:

Even though the families we are born into are not necessarily a box of sweetness...they are full of surprises.

Please know that you and your brother - your respective spouses and the 4 sweet blessings that have been bestowed upon us all - will always remain the SWEETNESS of my life. You will hold that flavor of FAVOR until God sends His Chariots of Fire to usher me out of this earthly realm and into ETERNITY with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. If I never see you again, this side of heaven, I'll greet you with the fullness of His love - in that great homecoming in the sky.

May you, my daughter, be blessed this Mother's Day as the blessing of you has warmed my heart ...for all these years! You are the 'nutty' sweetness of my life. I just adore you. You make this mama so proud! :) Carry on... dear daughter of mine. I love you and the young lives you and My son-in love have graced me with.

I praise God for His 8 indescribably sweet blessings that He has chosen to fill my box of life with.  I cherish the love - the surprises - each and every one. Every day offers a new and enduring flavor - in this box of favor! 

Happy Mother's day dear

I love you !
I remain - always and forever,
affectionately - your mama

Jan 26, 2012

When Grandmother Prayed...



I hold within my heart and hands, a letter from my grandmother - writing to my father about the time when grandpa was dieing.

He'd been an invalid for most of my dad's life. Due to a stroke, grandpa struggled to talk ... one word at a time. He spoke words with stops...you know, like a telegram :)

The night he died - he told grandmother ...

"Go home.  Not afraid."

She had prayed for grandpa's salvation throughout their married years. She and the children went to church without him. She raised their children to know God.

Then one day, grandpa told her...

"Jesus came.  Give His blood.  Over my head.  Pour all over."


Later - as they watched the tornado come, he said...
"Not afraid.  Ready.  Die.  Don't care.  Happy.  Love you.  Love kids.  * Well Jr preach".... and they both cried together.

Still unafraid to die, grandpa sent grandmother home from the hospital that final night - to get some rest. Before climbing into bed, grandmother prayed for grandpa. And from the midst of the still dark air, grandmother heard the the voice of God...
" It is well, it is done."

Not knowing what the message meant - she simply relaxed in the knowing that God was in control. A few minutes later, the Dr called to say that grandpa had quietly passed.

"It is well, it is done."




All of Grandmother's prayers reached heaven. Grandpa had given his life to the Lord. He was ready to die. He was ready to be with the Lord.

I have pondered my grandmother's heart and tenacity towards prayer - even in a family with an unbelieving husband/father. Dad used to say that when his mother began to pray, it was as if she held a key that could unlock heaven...

"Heaven and earth came together when mama prayed."


 Grandmother kept prayer journals. She wrote in the margins of her personal prayer devotionals. Often, she was vulnerable enough to insert names (family names :) 'between the lines'. Dad's name was there, his siblings, her siblings. Grandpa's name was there often. One prayer devotional in particular - that I hold within my safe keeping, sports my name inserted between the lines. :) In fact, because of her specific placement of my name - between those particular lines - I know that my grandmother knew something about me - way back then - that has taken me years past her own home-going, to understand.

I am a second generation beneficiary of my grandmother's generous prayers. 

We may never know what our prayers accomplish - but I bet all of us who have made the decision for Christ - did so because SOMEONE prayed.


NOTE:

*  "well Jr. preach" ... meaning 'Jr preaches well.'

Jr. was my dad's childhood nicname. He was named after grandpa  - everyone called him "Jr.".  God called dad to preach when he was 24 years old. Dad suffered from dyslexia and dropped out of school in the eighth grade because of ridicule over his inability to read. When God called him to preach...God taught Dad to read...and the first book he ever read was the Holy Bible :)

Jr had not only entered into a relationship with God but God had taught Jr to read!

...and Jr preached well!


Patrina



"HEAR The Word of The Lord"

Prayer Changes Things

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” ..... Romans 12:12

ipray

ipray

DEVOTIONALS

DEVOTIONALS

The 'I AM' over our yesterdays ~ our today ~ our tomorrow

Elohim: The All-Powerful Creator

Jehovah: The Self-Revealing One

Adonai: The Owner of All

Jehovah-Jireh: The Lord Who Provides

El Shaddai: The Almighty Sufficient One

El Elion: The Most High Ruler

Jehovah Nissi: The Lord’s Banner of Victory

Jehovah Shalom: The Lord Our Peace

Jehovah Mekadesh: The Lord Who Sanctifies

Jehovah Rophe: The Lord Who Heals

Jehovah Tsikenu: The Lord My Righteousness

Jehovah Robi: The Lord My Shepherd

Immanuel: God With Us