Do Not Throw Away Your Confidence!

I have been feeling a little puny this week.  I have been very thankful to feel my body is fighting off something, but at times I succumb to battle fatigue.

This seems to be the time satan invites me to a pity party.  I start ruminating on my weaknesses instead of God’s Strength in me.

Today, God sent a wonderful Message through a butterfly.  The poor thing was clinging to the screen.  It looked very noticeably a victim of a battle.  

Part of one wing was missing.  But it extended every bit of what it had left in praise.  I stared at it in wonder for several minutes.

It was so immobile I began to look closer to be sure it was alive.  And then suddenly, it stretched even more, as if it were awakening from a good nap and flew away.

My last view of it was as it climbed upward toward blue, sunny skies.

I got The Message.

Be still and know that I am God.

Psalm 46:10

Bless the Lord, O my soul. All that is within me, bless His Holy Name.

Psalm 103:1

The battle belongs to The Lord.

1 Samuel 17:47

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

Hebrews 10:35

Who Were You Created To Be?

Many people spend their lives wondering why they are here on earth.  And the expectation that we should know starts early in life.

Children are often asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

As we get older, we start considering what we are going to do, now that we are almost grown up.

Often we start making life decisions based on who other people have told us we are.  We start to try to match up with the expectations of others.

And when we get tired of that, we sometimes dive into the thinking of “I’m done with trying to please everyone else.  I am going to please myself now.”

We try to create ourselves, experimenting with different looks and different ways of thinking.  

But eventually we may reach the crisis of realizing we never were who we think we should have been.   We want to make the rest of our life different.  But we are not sure where to start.

The answer comes from asking The One Who created you to tell you who He created you to be.

God knew you before He even put you in your mother’s womb.  He knew exactly how long you would remain on earth.

David said,

“My frame was not hidden from You, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 

Your Eyes saw my unformed substance; in Your Book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

Psalm 129:14-16

God had and has a Plan for your Life and it’s a Good Plan.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

God knew before He created you what good works He had for you to do on earth.

Paul said,

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 2:10

If you think you have missed it, don’t despair.  Everything that has happened to you in your life has prepared you for this moment.  

What counts now is what you do now.  And the first step is getting to know Your Creator.   Simply introduce yourself.  He already knows you, but He will welcome you and let you talk.

“When you call Me and come and pray to Me, I will listen to you.”

Jeremiah 29:12

Not only will God listen, He will also talk.

“Call to Me and I will answer you. I will tell you great and mysterious things that you do not know.”

Jeremiah 33:3

When you get to know God, He will tell you more about who He created you to be.

When you know Who He is, you will know who you are and why you are here!

I share this link with you for its message, not to sell you books.  I wrote it when we first published our book, If You Only Knew … Who I AM!

Unbridled Spirit

Some years ago Jay had surgery on his neck for a cervical problem.  The post operative days were challenging, but he recovered fully.

In the midst of recovery, we were both feeling a bit caged in.  We agreed we longed for a vacation.

However, it was the middle of summer, and we were not sure we could handle a car trip.  I said we could always try to get to South Carolina.

Jay vetoed that, saying it would be too hot.  I asked him what he was looking for — Alaska?  Much to my surprise, he said, “Yes!”

I was even more surprised to hear my very non-spontaneous self saying, “Let’s do it!”

And so it came to past that just a few short weeks later, we flew to Alaska and took a cruise.

There were many things to remember from that trip, but none quite as memorable as seeing glaciers up close.  No pictures or videos could capture the full experience.

At one point, we were at a park right across from a large glacier.  Jay ventured out on some rocks to get the primo picture.  As usual, his spirit of adventure knew no bounds.  (Kentucky’s motto of “unbridled spirit” says it all about this Kentucky man!)

The rocks were slippery.  My gasp was only one of the crowd who witnessed his fall halfway down a cliff.  

I remember the split second thought of how ironic that after going through all he had been through with his neck, that it was all going to end at the foot of a glacier in Alaska.

However, God was and is merciful.  Jay’s backpack caught on the rocks, stopping his fall.  And this man, who had just had neck surgery, reached behind him, and inched his way back up the cliff backwards!

When he reached the top, it was to the cheers of a crowd and the sight of his wife, who nearly needed resuscitation from Adrenalin overload.

Jay got up, dusted himself off and checked his camera to be sure he got the picture!

It was a good one, and one day when I dig out the Alaska pictures, I will share it.

Meanwhile, he continues to be “unbridled.”  Tonight he stopped the car, hopped out and raced over to a grass strip way too close to traffic to suit me.  Why?  He was chasing rainbows!  And yes, he got the picture and is still with us in one piece.

I hope it will be a long time until Jay swings on the gates of Heaven … or at least, we can go together for the adventure.

But in the meantime, after tonight’s activities, God called Jay by name from the clouds.  We looked up and discovered the clouds had moved into the shape of a J.

I don’t know whether God was calling him like a parent calls a child out of the street … or giving him a high five for getting the picture.  Either way, life with Jay continues to be one roller coaster ride!

Check Your Mouth!

The old expression, “Sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words will never hurt me” is not true.  Words can hurt.

Physical wounds are awful, but in reality, they may heal quicker than words that get inside and echo long after they are said.

For some, their words are not enough to wound.  They call on God to curse His Creations too.  He won’t and He does not take kindly to anyone trying to get Him to do it.

You must not misuse the name of The Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.

Exodus 20:7

James addressed the issue of hurtful words.

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 

Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 

Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 

My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”

James 1:9-12

We should all let God check our words at the door of our mouth.  David said it well.

“May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to you, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer!”

Psalm 19:14

Heavenly Bodies

We do not know how our heavenly bodies will look.  But it is interesting to imagine.

We already see in nature how God’s Creations grow and are transformed, being able to experience and do more with each stage.

Caterpillars can barely see at all. They have simple eyes which can only differentiate dark from light; they cannot form an image.

Butterflies have compound eyes and simple eyes. These eyes are made up of many hexagonal lens/corneas which focus light from each part of the insect’s field of view onto something similar to our retina.

An optic nerve then carries this information to the insect’s brain. They see very differently from us; they can see ultraviolet rays which are invisible to us.

Both Ezekiel and John had visions in which they saw creatures with “eyes all around.”  These creatures could see everywhere!

Having been visually challenged from a young age and even more so in recent years, I know the longing to see more.  

I enjoy every bit of what The Lord allows me to see, but I am always imagining what it would be like to experience even more.  What an amazing thought to have eyes all around!

And I am sure if that were true, The Lord would give us whatever would be needed to process and enjoy what we saw.

After Jesus got His Resurrected Body, He apparently was able to walk through walls, go from place to place effortlessly and even rise up into the clouds!

John said, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is.”

1 John 3:2

For now, we can only imagine!

Woven Together Forever

Some years ago, Jay and I met Miss Bea Coaxum outside a shop in Pawleys Island, South Carolina.

We sat on the porch with her and watched her weave sweet grass baskets.  She handled each strip of grass as if she was holding a precious treasure.

In fact, she was.  She was carrying on the gift of her ancestors who brought it to the shores of America long ago.

The art of sweetgrass basket making came to South Carolina in the 17th Century by way of West African slaves, brought to the south to work on rice plantations. 

Traditionally, the older African men would weave these baskets, making large “fanners” to be used in the rice fields. 

Later, women took up the craft, making coiled baskets of different shapes and sizes to hold vegetables, shellfish, and cotton. 

Sweetgrass would be gathered along the marshes, dried, and then bundled together and coiled, held in place with palmetto fronds. 

Sometimes bulrush and pine needles were woven into the baskets to add decoration. 

Miss Bea told us her mother had insisted she learn the trade and carry the gift forward.  Miss Bea resisted.  She said she felt it was a burden, not a gift.

But, as time went on, she learned a valuable lesson.  “What seems a burden to begin with may be a blessing in disguise.  Sometimes God gives you burdens to grow blessings inside you.”

She said, “And you got to go back to the beginning.  I was not just doing something for my people.  God was doing something and I got to be a part of it.”

She held up a strip of grass.  “You see this right here.  It was made by God.”

She reached for a basket and smiled.  “You see this right here.  He let me make it.  We do it together.”

We sat there with Miss Bea for quite awhile that summer afternoon.  Others came and went.  Some bought baskets.  Many, like us, were mesmerized by watching her and hearing her tell her stories.

When it was time to leave, we bought two baskets.  We felt honored to receive a treasure of what God had created, given lovingly through one of His Creations.

But there was one more blessing to come.  Miss Bea took a strip of grass and handed it to me.  She then took another strip and handed it to Jay.

She then guided us through weaving them together.  She then put her hands over ours, smiled and said, “When you have woven the grass together, you become one with He Who created it.  And you will be together forever.”

It was a benediction, a promise to take with us, and I felt all of Miss Bea’s ancestors saying, “Amen!”

And God said, “Let the earth grow grass.”The earth grew grass.  And God saw that this was good.

From Genesis 1

In Memory Of Bob Pitman

For many years, Bob Pitman was our State Farm representative.  From the beginning, we were drawn to his smile and personal touch.

He was more than “the insurance man.”  He became a life coach of sorts.  His door was always open.  But so were his ears and more importantly, his heart.

He listened, he advised, and he easily shared The Love of Jesus.  He always gave us the gifts of wisdom and encouragement.

Some years after we met Bob, we joined a new church.  We were delighted to discover that Bob also went to church there.  And even better, he sang in the choir.

Not only did we get to see him more regularly, but we also got to enjoy his music and see that warm smile.  When he sang, it was as if he was truly a part of a choir beyond the walls of that church.

And then God took it up a notch for us.  We met Connie, Bob’s wife.  Connie had a smile that could only be matched by Bob’s.

Connie is a wonderful prayer warrior, whose Love for God and everyone around her spills out as a healing balm.  When Connie calls me, “beloved,” I get a foretaste of The Joy of hearing Jesus speak those words.

Connie loved Bob and Bob loved her.  Their Love was real and long term.  God truly created a Power team when He brought them together.

Bob was promoted to Heaven last night.  I am sure The Lord Himself walked him Home and presented him to the saints of God.

I am believing Bob got to meet some of the singers who preceded him there.  And they are singing now for Connie, and their family and for all of us.

Here is the link to a song of celebration and anticipation of that great day when all God’s singers get home!

I Am Still With You …

I take great comfort in knowing those who have transitioned from this earthly body into a heavenly body are not truly gone from us.

They have simply changed clothes, so to speak.  We no longer see them with our physical eyes in the same way.  

But we can see them with our spiritual eyes, as the memories of our time of physical connection come to mind.  We can see them in all the world around us and share spiritually in their expanded life.

I love the writings of Steven Charleston, who sums it up well.  Sleep well tonight and know not only are God and all His angels with you, but also those you love.

Here is what Steven says.

Just before the sun leaves the sky, in the long lavender light, you can catch a glimpse of them. 

You need to be out in the countryside, away from the city glare. Then if you look to the high places, the hilltop or the mesa, you may see them, only for a moment, standing along the horizon. 

They are the sentinel spirits, the ancestors who keep the night watch. 

Each evening they take their places, appearing as quietly as the stars. 

These are our guardian spirits. These are our elders of eternity. 

If you listen, just at moonrise, you may hear them sing, for only a moment, the night chant, to shelter the Earth, to keep the many tribes of life safe until the distant morning. 

When you lay your head down and whisper your prayers, never be afraid, for the ones who love you are keeping watch, their hearts beating in time with your own.

God’s Promise

God gave His Rainbow as a sign of His Covenant with us.  It is His Way of saying, “Look up.  Remember what I promised you.  Remember what you promised Me.”

“I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. 

I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. 

When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds.”

Genesis 9:12-14

The prophet, Ezekiel, saw the rainbow as The Glory of God.

“All around him was a glowing halo, like a rainbow shining in the clouds on a rainy day. This is what The Glory of the Lord looked like to me.”

Ezekiel 1:28

John saw God’s Rainbow in Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

“And instantly I was in the Spirit, and I saw a throne in heaven and someone sitting on it. The one sitting on the throne was as brilliant as gemstones—like jasper and carnelian. And the glow of an emerald circled his throne like a rainbow.”

Revelation 4:3

And tonight we saw Him too … and we stood in awe and wonder … and gratitude to The One Who always keeps His Promises!

Sharing God’s Word

As we have gone further into our home clean up project, we have learned much about ourselves.

It has been interesting to see what each of us is willing to give up, and what we aren’t.

We have been forced to consider whether we are hoarders or guardians of precious treasures.

Today God and I had a conversation about whether I was hoarding His Word.  Ironically on the same day we were getting ready to contribute to an organization that gives Bibles, I cleaned out the bookcase in our family room.

I cheerfully loaded up a box with books to go to the library.  The box did not include the various Bibles I had collected over the years.

I felt God’s nudge.

“What about My Word?” He said.

I smiled, being sure He would be proud of me for taking such good care of The Bibles.  I pointed out how I had put them right back on the shelf.

There seemed to be a Holy Silence, followed by a deep Celestial Sigh.

“I thought you wanted to share My Word.”

“I do.  We’re contributing to that Bible group today.”

“What about those Bibles on the shelf?  Are you going to share them?”

I explained how I had received each of them on special occasions.  I reminded Him that most had my comments written in them.

He asked, “So, let Me understand this.  You have multiple copies of My Truth, along with Truths I have revealed to you.  And you plan to keep them closed up and on display here?”

It was my turn to sigh.  Oh … 😳

I added The Bibles to the box.  I am making a donation tomorrow.  It has given me Joy tonight to contemplate who might be surprised to receive a Bible with “Carolyn’s Commentary” written in the margins!

Perhaps you might also want to send out God’s Words.  You may never know where they will go, but you can trust God will see they get delivered to the right person at the right time!

As recorded in Isaiah 55:11, God said, “My Word … shall not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve The Purpose for which I sent it!”