Tag Archive | God

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.

 

 

Does God still speak to individuals today?

With all the mess in this world, deep in our hearts, we desire to know some answers, to have confidence that God is really in control and that He will come through for us.

Many people don’t yet know that God still speaks to them individually.  I did not know this several years ago either.  But, since I discovered that God does speak to me personally…I have been asking Him to help me show others that they can have personal, intimate conversations with God.  God wants to be loved by His creation.  And that means having conversation, open communication, intimacy.  Do not all of these attributes require TWO beings?

While I was having a conversation with God the other day, He prompted some thoughts.  “Do people believe that the Holy Spirit inspired the writings of the Bible?”  Yes, Lord, many do, many do not.  “Do people believe that they need the guidance of the Holy Spirit in order to understand the Bible?”  Yes, Lord, some do and some do not.  “How does the Holy Spirit guide people if I am silent and not speaking to individuals today?”  Good questions.

So, I pondered them in my heart.  How, then?  Listen with your hearts, friends.  Abandon all rules and regulations and doctrines made by mankind.  God wants to talk to you.  Perhaps you are not hearing Him.  There are some reasons that your hearing is blocked.  It may be that your ears are dull of hearing.  Or it may be that something is separating you from God.  Or, it may be that no one has ever told you that God is still speaking intimately to each of us.  You have been deceived.  Of course, our enemy does not want us to have an intimacy with God.  He knows that if we do, we’ll start changing lives, families, nations, the world!

How do you learn to hear from God?  Start by asking Him that question.  And then, listen.  Not with your physical ears, but with your heart.  Deep down inside where only you and God know what’s going on…He will show you.

Thoughts of Thankfulness

Today, Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., many people will gather with family and friends and feast.  I love every day, but I especially love Thanksgiving as it marks the beginning of a season of celebration.  I love snow-bound days.  I love Sundays.  I love Christmas Day.  What do these days have in common?  They cause us to rest from our everyday drudgery and toil.  God loves for us to rest, to be restored, to spend time with Him and with our loved ones.  Thanksgiving gives me a glimpse of life in the Millennial Kingdom, when Jesus reigns and all the world is at peace.  In our homes, we have a glimpse of the joy, peace, celebration and perfect rest that is our inheritance on this day.  But it’s not that way for many people.

There are those who don’t view Thanksgiving as anything but a reminder of the pain in their lives.  Homeless.  Hungry.  Foreclosed.  Job lost.  Health and hope gone.  Relationships severed.  There is no warm home with loved ones for many; just empty, bitter, angry hearts that have turned cold and stony.  And worse, hearts that don’t know God or hearts that blame God for their miserable lives.

If we turn on the news (and I rarely do), we see suffering, pain, hatred, bitterness, corruption, and evil in massive doses. Throughout the world, the weight of the sins of mankind are becoming heavier and heavier.  Sometimes, as I listen to the news, I see a black cloud over the entire earth, oppressing the whole world.  But, sadly, people have become so used to the cloud that they don’t care anymore about anything but seeking after pleasure and personal gain.

When Jesus viewed this state of affairs of human degradation and ignorance when He walked on earth, He wept.  He wanted to gather His beloved Jerusalem under His wing as a hen gathers her peeps and protect them from the elements and the predators.  But, they would not come to Him.  It is the same today.  I weep for the world… lost, groping in the dark and cursing and blaming God.  God’s heart is aching for us.  He longs to spend time with us and to give us His rest.  Too busy?  Really?

It’s early morning as I write this post.  God and I have an agreement.  Whenever He wakes me up at 1:11 a.m., 2:22 a.m., 3:33 a.m., 4:44 a.m. or 5:55 a.m., He wants to talk to me and it’s urgent.  This morning, at 3:33 a.m., He called  me.  As we spent time together, He reminded me that people’s hearts are so far from Him.  He weeps for us and wants us to have shalom (peace with nothing missing and nothing lacking).  So, how are you spending your Thanksgiving Day?  In peace and rest, rejoicing with Christ?  Is there time in the day for Him?  Or is He limited to a few short seconds before your feast?  Today, God is calling you.  He wants to share time with you.  He wants intimacy.  He wants to be included in every aspect of your life.  He won’t force Himself into your life, He’ll just knock at the door of your heart.  Only you can answer the knock.

These are serious and  holy times, precious ones.  God is calling and calling and knocking and knocking.  The time is very near for Him to come once again to visit mankind, but this won’t be like the first time.  Very shortly, He will sound the trumpet and call His beloved Church away from the earth.  We will then be celebrating at the most spectacular event to ever take place in the Universe – the marriage of the Bride and the Bridegroom!  The Bride is being prepared now.  The Bridegroom is anxiously awaiting the Father’s voice as He says, “Go and get Your Bride!”  Then, it will be too late.  The knocking and the calling will cease.  And those left behind will still have stony hearts that will grow colder and curse God more.

Today, as we do whatever we do, whether alone or with family, full or hungry, cold or warm, having plenty or lacking, there is one thing that we can all do,  no matter what the outward circumstances.  Give God time.  Be with Him.  Love and adore Him.  Share Him with others.  Ask Him what He wants you to do today.  What is His plan for you?  How can you be a part of what God is doing in your area?  Separate yourselves today and go boldly before the Throne of Grace and receive rest, joy, peace and pleasure in His presence.  Let Him love you and love Him back.  Remember, He suffered for you to have the right to come to Him.  It is His desire for you.

“Still, it’s what God had in mind all along, to crush Him [Jesus] with pain.  The plan was that He give Himself as an offering for sin so that He’d see life come from it-life, life, and more life.  And God’s plan will deeply prosper through Him” (Isaiah 53:10 Message).

Amen.  Shalom.  Be blessed and at peace.

By my 40th wedding anniversary, I learned about sacrificial love.

Always on our anniversary, we remember our wedding day.  And we celebrate another year of our love together.  I love to celebrate with my husband, Skip, and simply enjoy him.  This day marks our 40th celebration as husband and wife.  We lavish each other with gifts of kindness, attention, sweetness and well, love.  My heart is full of him all the time, but it simply bubbles over on such an occasion as this.  Sometimes, however, my heart has not always bubbled over for him because I have misjudged his motives and mine.  These were times when I had not yet learned to “die” to my own selfishness.

My desire is for my earthly husband.  God gives wives that desire.  But another desire exists…for my heavenly Husband.  God says that He is the Only One who knows the motives of our heart.  He is the Only One who will transform those motives to line up with His perfect motives.  Sometimes, my motives are not pure toward my husband, whether it be my husband of 40 years or my eternal Husband.  And, over the years, others have judged my husband with incorrect motives and have spoken unkind things about him.  But God says that He is the Only One who knows the motives of our heart.  He is the Only One who will transform those motives to line up with His.  God loves to show us about loving with His love – empty of our selfish desires; especially toward the ones that we love the deepest and most intimately.

My husband is a quiet, humble man of God who loves me and I believe that he would die for me.  He loves God and is saddened by the lies spoken against Him. He loves his country and is saddened by those who try to destroy it.  He loves his family and is saddened by anyone who wants to destroy them.  He loves God’s creation – all of it and it pains him to see destruction of God’s beauty.

God blessed us with four wonderful children who are now having children of their own.  Throughout the years as we raised our children, my husband had to demonstrate tough love on rebellion – at least to the extent that he understood how to be tough.  Sometimes our beloved children judged his toughness incorrectly and that hurt.  But, don’t we do the same thing with God?  We judge Him incorrectly because we don’t know His heart.  That saddens God.

In the past several years, I been seeking God’s heart as I desire to know Him and fall more deeply in love with Him.  I have been given the time to examine many areas of my life and my character as the Holy Spirit leads me.  I thought about my beloved husband of 40 years.  The trials have made us stronger.  Jesus is the Center of our marriage today.  But it wasn’t always that way.

Back Where You Belong by Jack Vittriano

Sometimes, we misjudged each other’s hearts.  We blamed each other for our failures.  But, because of grace and mercy, we began to ask God to examine our hearts, and they were not empty words.   Not only did we want to know each other’s hearts…I mean, really know, but we wanted to know our own hearts.  And we wanted to know our spiritual Husband’s heart…I mean, really know it.  As I discovered, neither husband is a hard taskmaster…at least not toward His beloved family.  And each  husband has the responsibility of helping his wife be all that she was created to be.

When we are born into the family of God, He looks at us in a new way.  God is always for us and He always loves us.  It’s just like when my husband and I were married, we looked at each other in a new way.  Sure, we understood our passionate love for each other at first but as we celebrated another and yet another anniversary, our love grew to include a deep companionship and deeper, more sacrificial love.

We are for each other and we love each other – as completely as we can understand.   Jesus loves us so much that He died so that “we” could be one with Him and enter into a sacred covenant with Him.  In the same way, my husband and I were joined together in a sacred covenant ordained by  God.  In that covenant, we have learned that we are to stop judging each other and love each other the same way that Christ loves us.  That’s supernatural – for without God’s hand in our marriage and in our lives, we would have perished.  We continue to lay down our own lives and die to our selfish desires – little by little – the same way that we lay down our lives for our spiritual Husband – little by little – until we are so entwined with Him that His will becomes ours and we become the fullness of each other in the sacred covenant.

It saddens me that so few couples are enjoying what we have been blessed to have.  People misjudge others.  People misjudge God.  People don’t forgive themselves or else blame God for stuff that the devil has done to them.  Immaturity – blindness – selfishness – sin.  All the attributes of the fallen sin nature of humanity.  Why do human beings reject the love of God towards them?  God says because the devil has blinded them.  Is God a hard taskmaster?  Some think so.  I did, for many years.  But, God already exhibited His tough love toward us – through His Son, Jesus, Whom He sacrificed for us.  Can love get any tougher than that?

As I consider my life and this occasion, my heart grieves for the deception of the people in the world who blame and misjudge our beloved Heavenly Father and Husband.

Father, use me to show others how wonderful You are.  Bring Your Bride’s heart into alignment with Your heart that we may be one.  Thank you for giving my husband and I forty years together to learn about love and You.

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.