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What would you say if God asked you what you want for your birthday?

When our children were old enough to understand the meaning of their birthdays, i.e., lots of presents, treats and fun, they were not hesitant about asking and expecting surprises, gifts and a special day of celebration from mom and dad and anyone else who wanted to join the party.  As parents, we secretly planned to give them the desires of their hearts as much as was in our resources and imagination to give.  We have fond memories of many celebrations.  Having four children and nine grandchildren, let’s see, with all of our ages, it adds up to a grand total of almost 350 birthday celebrations. Now that all of our children are living independently; our birthdays are celebrated somewhat quietly, but still uniquely. Mostly, they seem to involve friends and restaurants!

Every year, my husband, Skip, still asks me what I want for my birthday.  My past few birthdays have gone by with small requests and celebrations; but this year, God made a special provision a few weeks earlier.  We received a new credit card with a large sum of credit and no interest for one year.  In order to understand the extravagance of this, it’s important to understand that we have not felt the need to have or use a credit card in over ten years.  In response to his question, I answered with my desire to buy a brand new refrigerator and use the credit card.  Throughout the years, a refrigerator was a necessary item – nothing to get excited about.  We usually bought a good used model or an inexpensive model on sale.   No bells and whistles.  I mean, really, it was just a place to keep our food fresh and the choices were white or white mostly.

Anyway, this year, I was excited about this gift.  So, we began our due diligence.  We prayed for favor and wisdom.   We searched online, checking out the models.  We checked out Consumer Reports recommendations.  Oh, so many choices!  We went to several stores and wrote out the prices, pros and cons.  Finally, we found an exquisite stainless steel French door-in-door model with a pull-out drawer that can be a freezer or a refrigerator depending on our temperature setting and a large freezer with two pull-out trays.  Of course it dispenses water and ice (cubed or crushed) and lets me know the temperature of all storage spaces.  We delighted in our deal of a $4K unit for $2.5K!  Favor was given to us.  I eagerly anticipated the delivery of our new refrigerator on my birthday.  It arrived six days early!

The 29.7 cubic foot beauty sits proudly in our kitchen, gleaming from the reflections of the lights. It took Skip about 3 hours to move the old refrigerator and prepare the space for the delivery of the new one.  It took me 5 hours to empty out the old frig, clean it (it still worked just fine) for the next family and sort through the jars and containers to determine which items deserved the new shelf space.  Then, we moved the old frig onto the front porch and called a thrift shop to pick it up and be a blessing to someone else.  Finally finished.   What a blessing.  Thanks, Father!

I want to keep opening the doors and looking inside at the cool bluish lights and the organization, but after 60 seconds, it beeps at me reminding me that I’m keeping the door open too long!  In addition to the new refrigerator, Skip surprised me with 6 crab cakes and 5 Maryland Cream of Crab soups shipped directly from a favorite restaurant in Maryland.

It’s been a grand birthday this year.  I took a few days off work.  My daughter sent me a box of huge, sweet chocolate covered strawberries and my sister-in-law sent me a tea cookbook and a special license plate that says, “Jesus put the song in my heart”.  It seems like hundreds of people wished me a happy birthday on Facebook.  Quite different from the last few birthdays that I simply wanted to spend a quiet day at home catching up on lingering projects and enjoying the fact that I didn’t have to put on any makeup.  The lean birthdays enrich my soul and always draw me closer to God.

With our without the gifts bestowed upon me this year, my heart remains the same.  I’m joyful and grateful for my life.  But this year, God is stirring my heart for something different.

This morning as I celebrate 63 years on this planet, I sitting with God and thanking Him for these many years.  Of course I acknowledge that He gave me the refrigerator because He provided the extravagant provision for us.  As I was running through my many blessings in my mind, I began longing for the time when I will meet Him face to face and celebrate eternity with millions of loved ones.  Oh, what extravagance in Heaven and for all eternity.  I thought about something that I heard a few years ago.  A pastor spoke about a time when he was talking to the Lord on his birthday and God asked him why he didn’t ask God for a birthday present.  God brought it to my remembrance.

“Well, Father, what would I ask you for?  I already have the greatest gift a person could want.  My sins have been forgiven through Your Son.  I am your daughter-in-law and I will spend eternity with You.  What more could I want?”

I know that.  What do you want for your birthday?  Ask extravagantly, like your children used to do.

I had to think before I opened my mouth.  Should I really ask Him for what I’d like to have?  I don’t deserve…wait!  I am from the Royal Family of Heaven.  My Father is the King of kings.  He owns everything.  I have not because I ask not, He says.  Well, I thought, it’s a bit late for me – after all, I’m already 63 years old.  But, what would happen if I asked for everything that is in my heart?  I mean, our children did not hesitate to gleefully ask us for everything that was in their hearts.  Due to our parental wisdom and limited resources, they did not always get everything that they asked for, but that did not stop them from asking.  I have so many dreams still lingering in my heart.  I don’t know, but here goes.

Okay, Father, I want to be rich, really rich, like billions of dollars.  I want to spend the latter years of my life living extravagantly with no sorrow.  I want to experience a lifestyle of a real princess that I’ve only dreamed about.  I want to bless my family and many others with extravagant gifts.  I want to be debt-free and travel around the world.  I want to laugh a lot and share Your blessings with as many as will receive.  I want to be a Shaklee Senior Master Coordinator and receive the keys to that beautiful Mercedes from Roger and Sloan Barnett.  You know what that means to  me.  I want to be fearless, courageous, strong, gentle, loving and lovely.  I want the gifts of the Holy Spirit to flow richly through me.

I want to live like the Princess that You made me to be.  I want excellent health for me, my husband and all of my family.  What good is it to have great wealth without great health?  I want to write all the words that You have put in my heart and I want the books that you give me to write to change people’s eternal destiny.  I want to live in all the pages of the book that You wrote about me.  I want to see Your glory.

I want you to restore all that the devil has stolen from me and my family.  I want to live in a lovely, spacious home and have a few strategically placed condos throughout the world.  I want to be blessed with special people who will help maintain those homes and can be trusted.  I want Your anointing, Your favor, Your protection, Your power.  I want You to heal people through me.  I want to see people get up and walk who are bound in wheelchairs and beds.  I want my brother Ricky to be whole!  I want You to raise the dead through me.  I want to be like Jesus because You said that I should be.  I want Your Word to come alive in me.  I want to expose the lies of the enemy and see people set free from the chains that bind them.

I don’t want to spend one second in doubt, fear, rejection, sorrow, pain or suffering because You said that my soul is whole through Your wounds and beatings.  You said that You came to give us life and more life!  I want ALL that you intended for me to have.  I don’t want to be cheated out of one second, one blessing, one challenge, one promotion, one victory, one jot or tittle on those pages.

I want to hear from You personally every day.  I want to obey Your voice because I know clearly that it is Yours.  I want to hold Your hand and walk with You.  I want to sit high on Your shoulders.  I want to hug You and feel Your warm embrace.  I want intimacy with You.  I want my hands to be Yours to use as You will.  I want my body, my mind, my talents and Your gifts to flow and mingle together to accomplish Your sweet purpose.  I am Your Royal Princess and I want the world to see that You are real and extravagant.

I want all of my family saved from Hell and I want to be raptured with all of my family in these last days.  When I meet You and stand for my reward, I want You to hug me and say, “Well done, Georgia!”  I want to see You smile, throw back Your head and laugh delightfully because one day, I finally had the nerve to ask extravagantly.

I can’t think of anything else at the moment.  But if I could ask You for an extravagant birthday present, this would be it.

 

 

Daddy, the enemy is telling lies about me.

“If you view Satan’s attacks against you as a battle for your inheritance, instead of a personal fight, you are standing in faith; and this will assure you the victory. If you should see Satan’s altercation with you as personal, it can cause you to feel isolated and become weary” (Pastor Asa Dockery, WHCN).  This was the heart of the devotion from my pastor today.  It hit a strong chord in me because I never really thought about all of my struggles in this way.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that the enemy of God hates His beloved family, but I have to admit that the battle has been going on in my life for eighteen years and I have grown weary at times.  This strengthened me and changed my attitude about the battle.

Satan, you cannot have my inheritance.  Jesus gave it to me.  It belongs to me and my children and I don’t have to fight for it…just stand on the Truth because He already defeated you.

Me:  “Daddy, the enemy is trying to steal what’s mine…he’s telling lies about me”.

God: “Really, we’ll see about that.  Come here Gabriel…”

Amen

Letters from home…

Many years ago, during my basic training days in the United States Air Force, I looked forward to mail call just like every new recruit.  When I left for basic training, my husband, Skip, was my boyfriend.  He faithfully wrote to me every day.  Mail call always meant a letter from home.  I anticipated a letter from him and could hardly wait to open it when I got back to my room.  I clung to every word that he wrote, reading and re-reading each letter.  I cherished them and pondered them in my heart and thought about  him all day long.  What do you imagine the outcome would have been if I had thrown away all of those letters?  Or what if I would have simply tied them with a pretty ribbon and stacked them neatly in my drawer?  What a silly thought, you say, and I agree.

About half-way through “basic” (that’s military lingo), we were permitted to make a phone call (pre-cell phone days).  I greatly anticipated hearing Skip’s voice on the phone.  While talking to him, he asked me to marry him!  I accepted his proposal and a few days later, my engagement ring arrived during mail call.  Some of the other young women in the barracks shared in my excitement and said that I was so “lucky” to have such a loving, romantic fiance.  But some warned me about trusting him and that he may not mean what he said and “be careful that I don’t get hurt”.

Which voices did I choose to believe?  Of course, I believed the voice of my future husband and no one could persuade me otherwise.  Now, I began receiving two or three letters a day.  I was on his mind 24-7!  I was (and still am) his beloved.  I cannot even explain in words how my heart felt the day that I stepped off the plane once I finished “basic” and saw my husband face-to-face as he wrapped his loving arms around me.

Fast forward 40 years.  Last night, our pastor spoke about our hearts toward God and His heart toward us as He revealed deeper revelation from His Letter.  As I walked out of worship service with my husband, the Lord instilled a deeper love in my heart for Him and His letter to us: the Bible – His Letter from Home to every one of His beloved.

We are engaged to Christ for eternity.  I was pondering what had just been spoken to us through God’s Love Letter as God used His servant to impart the words to those who wanted to hear.  I considered the similarities and the differences between my earthly husband and my Heavenly Husband.  Why would I believe my imperfect earthly husband’s words and not believe my perfect Heavenly Husband’s words?  Should I put any less “weight” on the Love Letter from God than I did on those love letters from Skip?

God lovingly reminded me of my anticipation of Skip’s letters, of the promise of marriage and of the fact that I believed and clung to every word that my earthly husband spoke to me through his letters and through that one phone call.  Did I doubt anything that my future husband said to me?  Did I doubt his love for me?  Of course not!  Then, why is it that I sometimes doubt any word that God has written to me?  Why do I sometimes believe the voices of those who want me to doubt my future Husband’s love and plan for me?

Last night, I determined in my heart to read and re-read the Love Letter from Home with the same committed heart that I had as a young bride-to-be over 40 years ago.  My anticipation to hurry to my room and read His words to me has heightened.

Fellow “basic trainers”, our Husband-to-be is returning for His Bride one day soon.  Don’t be deceived by the voices of the enemy.  Read and re-read the Love Letter and cling to every Word that is written.  If your Beloved wakes you up at 3 a.m., get up and go spend a some time with Him.  He wants to talk to you.  We can trust Him to fulfill every Word that He wrote.  We can rest assured that God’s promises are true, that He is not a liar and this His thoughts toward us are good.  God loves and adores His betrothed and we are on His mind 24-7  – and even greater than that  – we are on His mind for eternity.  Just like I received my engagement ring – the promise of future marriage from my earthly husband, God sent His Holy Spirit to us until we see our Beloved.  Precious Bride of Christ, arise, for the world will soon know of God’s love for you as we draw near to the time when “basic” is over and we will see Him face-to-face.

You ain’t give up squat.

Does God take things away?  Job 1:21 says that the “…Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord”.  In my human reasoning, (not the fruitful way to reason with God) I had trouble relating to a God who takes away.  From my personal experiences, I had much taken from me and I did not equate someone who takes away as someone who loves me.  See what I mean?  Consequently, I had a battle in the background of my mind about the love of God toward me if He takes things away.

Once again, God spoke through my pastor, Asa Dockery, and shed new light on a question that I pondered quietly for a few years.   Sometime in February – okay – I forgot to journal the date – but I wrote the expression because it caught my attention.  Pastor was quite expressive when he explained what our Lord said.  “Jesus said, “You ain’t give up squat.  Look at what I’m going to give you when you let it go.”  I love our pastor’s southern drawl and speaking style.  He pulls no punches.  Anyway, I considered what he said and the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart.

He brought to mind the times when all four of our children were infants and toddlers.  We had to go through a stage when each one had to give up their pacifier.  Our daughter had a favorite bear and one son had a favorite blanket as well as pacifiers.  Coaxing each one of them to give up their “security” took some doing.  I’m sure many can relate to what I am saying.  As their parents, we knew it would be very silly for them as young adults, still getting comfort from a pacifier.  Then God said to me, “well, you are still trying to get comfort from “this” and I have something better for you if you will give up your pacifier, Georgia.”

I cried, just like each one of our children did.  But not because I did not want to let my pacifier go, but because I realized that I had believed a lie about God’s character.  He never takes anything away.  We really don’t have to give up “squat”.  Just like we coaxed our young children gently into laying down their infant pacifiers so that they could pick up something better, God only asks us to do the same.  I think that many of His children are still carrying around their pacifiers.  By laying down the thing that was a temporary fix, we can pick up what God has for us.

Do you see it?  So, in actuality, God never asks us to give up anything – only to lay down something in order to pick up the next thing that He has waiting for us.  If you are holding on to something and are afraid to let it go, ask your Father to help you grow up.  Honestly, He has something better that brings much more comfort than an old pacifier.

Will you past the test?

Testing occurs on a regular basis in the battle for your soul and today, I was given another test.  I had an opportunity to obtain an item for “free” that I really wanted and was a desire in my soul.  At first glance, I was excited about the “gift” from God.  I even had loved ones tell me it was a gift.  So, I made plans to go get the item.  But a problem arose.  I began having an uneasiness in my soul about the item.  So, I asked the Holy Spirit specifically to let me know if it was okay to obtain this item (valued at about $2,000) at no charge.  He began to whisper truth into my spirit.  I tried a few more times to “rationalize” the find as God and I talked back and forth.  But the uneasiness persisted and suddenly, my spirit was settled.  I knew, just like a teenager arguing with a parent about why she should have something (knowing that it was wrong, but wanting permission from her parent to do it anyway).  She suddenly realizes that her parent was right.

The peace of God flooded my soul.

Then, I saw it clear as day.  The enemy was trying to rob me of my future destiny by getting me to come into agreement with him, thereby opening my soul up to demonic spirits.  By my own permission, I would have allowed these spirits to mess with my blessings that God has in place for me.  I quickly repented and thanked God for His guidance.  He reminded me that I must be tested and tried and come through the test in order to receive promotion in the Kingdom.  Just like Jesus in the wilderness, Satan made the temptation seem right, even using Scripture.  But Jesus rebuked him and defeated him at his own game.  I did the same thing today.

It’s difficult to explain the joy in my spirit as I realized that I had passed a test which I had fallen victim to several times in the past.  What test?  Trying to obtain something that God says is good through methods that are not or before the timing and release of God to possess the item.  Pastor Asa Dockery just preached a message on January 29, 2012 about this very subject, called “After the Fast Has Ended” and today, I passed the test.

Thank you, Father, for perfecting me.

Abuse Grace?

Once again, Pastor Asa Dockery’s insight into God’s word spoke to my heart today about God’s grace.  Believers know that God’s grace is free, but I never considered that I might abuse this gift.  I know abuse, I lived through it and God delivered me from it, but how could I be abusing God’s grace?

Pastor states that:

We might not start out treating God’s grace as sacred, but let us go through some fiery trials because we walked away from His love for the pleasures of this world, and it will be the goodness of God that will recapture our attention.

My 15 year fiery trial has not been obvious to anyone but God.  But, finally, I am at a place where the goodness of God recaptured my attention and brought me to repentance.  God has been speaking clearly to me about bringing my flesh into subjection to His Spirit and getting His temple in order so that He can bring increase in many areas of my life.  I kept saying “tomorrow, Lord”, “I can’t”, “it’s too hard”, or “you love me the way that I am, right?”  Abusing the grace of God?  I know that performance doesn’t please God, so I would rationalize that if God wanted me thin, then He could perform a creative miracle and I’d wake up just the way that He wanted me to be.  So, I swore off any type of “diets”, but in essence I wanted an excuse to continue to live in rebellion – to abuse God’s grace.

After a child of God waivers and falls into sin, it will be the goodness of God that restores him to the place of grace from which he has fallen. We have a loving and compassionate heavenly Father, who is longsuffering. Let us honor the free gift of God and save ourselves from hardships and heartaches.

It’s about honor.  Honoring God’s grace.  Transformation has taken place in my mind today.  Finally, I rest in Your strength and am enjoying the sweet odor of obedience to Your grace.