The Stirring

Have you ever mixed caramel into chocolate? I know this might sound odd, but I like to watch the swirl as I stir one into the other. The visual reminds me of the stirring that goes on inside each of us.

Most times, when I sense a stirring, it leads me to something sweet. Yes, there have been times when I experienced a stirring that caused me fearful panic or debilitating shame. However, I have learned to identify the author of such instances (satan) over the years and quickly remind myself who I am: a child of God and whose I am. Instantly the stirring that brought fear and shame stops.

Today I felt that sweet stirring as I went for a relaxing stroll among the colorful trees. I walked past a person working outside, and that swirl that the caramel made in the chocolate wrapped around me and caused me to turn around. I found myself walking back to that person and not sure what I was going to say after “Hello” the stirring led me to ask one question that led to a friendly conversation.

When I walked away, I said a little prayer for this person that I don’t think I have ever worded it the way I did before. I prayed: “Holy Spirit answer the questions that have started to stir in her heart.”

Right after I spoke those words, I had to chuckle to myself.

Holy Spirit stirred in me to turn around and ask a question that started a stirring inside of another. No profound theology of God, Jesus, or Holy Spirit was recognized in our discussion even though the Trinity prompted the encounter.

This is how it starts with each of us, a stirring. God created us spiritual beings, and we each have a void inside that can only be fulfilled with a personal relationship with Papa God. Not to say, inspired passions aren’t rewarding, but when we invite Papa God to partner with us to carry out those divine ideas, it brings us so much joy.   

I know life gets busy. I know our schedules get filled when we don’t even try to fill them. BUT! If we would allow Holy Spirit to stir us, let His love swirl around us, HE will turn us to the Cross, and then we will realize all that Jesus has done and how very much the Trinity wants to be included in our lives. Once we allow unity, the void will no longer be there.        

Redeemed from our wrong choices.

For many years I felt I had no power when I prayed. It was almost a pleading for God to hear me. It was often anchored in fear and not faith, desperately asking God to move on behalf of my request. Honestly, when I walked away from my prayer position, I wasn’t confident that my prayer was even heard and doubted that things would change.

It wasn’t until I understood the complete work of the cross that my prayers began to change. Instead of praying from earth to upward, I prayed from my citizen of heaven to earth. 

Ephesians 2:18-20

for through Him, we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone

Through this position, citizens of heaven, because of the rebirth that the blood of Jesus has granted us, things can change through prayer.

Let me share a miraculous testimony to give all honor and praise to Lord Jesus!

I work with a small group of mechanics, primarily young men under 30, and I have become more like a mom than a co-worker. One day I got ‘wind’ that one of the guys “B” found out his girlfriend “W” (who he refers to as his wife) was pregnant. They have two boys together, and I believe other children from prior relationships, so they decided to abort the baby. But, again, the shop guys didn’t know I knew.

I shared this situation with my church family, and we prayed for the little life inside the womb to be on earth as God sees it to be in heaven. Then, not sure how much time we had before it was too late, we pressed in.

It wasn’t long “B” requested a day off, and in my heart, I knew why. Throughout the day, I kept asking God to show this couple how valued they are to understand the value of this little one inside the womb, again asking that God’s will be done. The next day the co-worker returned, and I got ‘wind’ again that it was done – termination.

I have to be honest with you; it broke my heart. I had to step into the bathroom to cry, and it was hard not to be angry at my co-worker. I asked God to let me see him through his lens of love and not my lens of judgment. It was hard at first, but I was to be like Jesus, compassionate toward the person.

After a while, “B” decided to give his two weeks’ notice to work elsewhere, but the guys would randomly get text messages from him about what was going on in his life.

A few weeks back, “B” texted them that “W” was pregnant. My instant prayer was, Lord God, let this life be! And then shortly after that, the guys came into work and said: “B” is a daddy again, “W” had the baby.

Concerned, I asked if the baby was okay – thinking to myself that the little one was born prematurely.

Then I got these text messages from “B”…

Did u see my daughter?

Her name is ——- —-

                        I looked at her picture in amazement; this was a full-term baby!

“B” went on in his texts…

She’s my baby from God.

Like she is not supposed to be here.

“B” went on to tell me that they decided for the greater good, that they couldn’t afford to have the baby they chose to terminate the pregnancy. “W” went to a clinic to get the abortion pill, and the evidence was apparent to them that the drug worked. They had no clue she was still pregnant, she didn’t have any symptoms, and the baby didn’t move.

“B” texted more…

“W” did a lot of heavy lifting at work and the kids jumping on her etc., and this baby came out perfectly healthy. She is a baby from God; this is a Jesus baby, I promise…

They did a brain scan on her brain functions are normal; she has all her worms (fingers) like she is perfectly healthy like this is a MIRACLE.

My heart rejoices that God’s hand protected this little one. Yes, this baby is a Jesus baby. Jesus paid the price to redeem us from our wrong choices. And this baby girl is a reminder to this couple, us all, that the blood of Jesus can save us from the bad choices we make.

All praise and honor go to you, Lord Jesus! Thank you for life!!  

Note: Not an actual picture of daddy and baby girl

Joy for those who see

This week a customer came in, and as we were talking, he stopped and asked: “You’re a jubilant person, aren’t you?”

Looking at him straight in the eyes, I said, I hope to illuminate joy. There is so much to be joyful about; things are shifting.

Giving me a questionable smile, I went on to say; If we look at the world around us horizontally, we can get overwhelmed, fearful, maybe even angered.

But! If we look at the world from our position in Christ (citizens of heaven – Php. 3:20), we can see exciting things. God is moving, stirring in the hearts of many. We are living in exciting times!

The gentleman smiled at me and said; yes indeed!

Truthfully lately, I haven’t been as “jubilant” as I have in the past. The burden of ‘standing’ on so many issues can become overwhelming, not to mention making one feel they aren’t doing enough. 

Then Papa God made things simple to me as he dropped these questions in my heart:

“What stirs passion in you? What is that thing that keeps stirring in your heart to bring change? That is where I want you to stand, watch and see what I can do through you.”

I type this all out to ask you the same questions: “What stirs passion in you? What is that thing that keeps stirring in your heart to bring change? Whatever that is, that’s probably the area that God wants to work through you.

So be encouraged! God is moving and doing mighty things through the people that are called by His name. 

1 Samuel 12:16

“Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes!

Mrs. Nolen

When I was a young girl, I would stay a week with my grandmother in the summer.  She was employed at the local factory that stitched seatbelts for the auto industry, so I would spend my days with Mrs. Nolen while she worked.

I remember having the best fun with her. We would spend hours watching the birds eat at her bird feeder as I talked. I am sure I was a nuisance talking as much as I did, but she didn’t seem bothered by me. 

Lunchtime was the best! She asked me what I wanted to eat every day, and I requested the same thing: cheese and crackers, please!! I was obsessed with those fancy round crackers and the individually wrapped cheese. Unfortunately, I grew up in a big family, so we didn’t get fancy foods like these. Mrs. Nolen kept two kinds in her refrigerator; Cheddar and Swiss, but I would always ask for, “Swiss cheese, please!”

Our afternoons, Mrs. Nolen would place a book on my head and tell me to walk around the room. And she was the first person to introduce me to a fingernail file. I had no clue how to use it when she handed it to me. With a puzzled look on my face, she snatched it back and mumbled, “I can’t believe she doesn’t know how to file her fingernails.” I am not sure if almond-shaped nails were the fashion then, but this is how she shaped my nails. The sound the file made on my fingernail gave me the willies. I thought it was gross, but she proceeded to tell me, “every girl must learn to do her nails,” and then she would paint my nails. One day they will be pink; the next day, they will be red.

            I hate to say this, Mrs. Nolen, but I still don’t keep up with “doing” my nails.    

It may not sound like fun to you, but it was such fun when I was a little girl. I am sure it was because I had her full attention, and we did ‘girly’ things. Having five brothers, I often ran around catching frogs and snakes; I was a little tomboy.

Even though I spent hours as a child with this woman and have many fond memories. If I were to walk into her home and ask for “Cheese and Crackers, please.”  She would probably yell at me to get out of her house and call 911 to report that an offender had walked into her house.

Of course she would! Because she wouldn’t know me. Just because I had a close relationship with her when I was younger doesn’t mean she would know me today. Right?

Matthew 7:21-23 New English Translation

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven—only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many powerful deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers.

I know, it seems strange to hear our all-knowing Lord say that he doesn’t know a person.  But Jesus isn’t referencing intellectual knowing here, but relational knowing. It’s also hard to read that Jesus would speak ‘unloving’ words such as these; ‘go away from me.’

It is true that the Lord loves and wants to have a relationship with everyone.

We know how to protect our own families by not inviting strangers into our homes. How much more would the Lord preserve His heavenly home by letting anyone in that HE doesn’t know (have a relationship with).

Did you have a close relationship with Jesus when you were younger, but it’s been years since you ate “cheese & crackers” with Him?

I know life gets in the way, so many things grab our attention. Responsibilities with our family, jobs, and community can muffle the knock at our heart’s door.  Though I want you to know He is still there at your door knocking.

Revelation 30:20 KJV Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with Me.

You might be thinking, I don’t even know what to do to be in God’s will, or, I cannot add another thing to my busy schedule.

I used to think that his will was about “doing” good works. Honestly, I exhausted myself, striving to be “good enough” or doing “good.” I thought it was my ‘works’ that made me good enough. Unfortunately, I had it all wrong.

Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works so that no one can boast.

Jesus himself explained it very simply to the disciples.

John 6:28-29 New International Version Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One he has sent.”

To believe in the One (Jesus), we would need to know what was recorded in scripture about Him. And when we read scripture, it’s helpful to ask Holy Spirit for insight.

I can remember when I would read my bible and think I was reading riddles, and it didn’t make any sense to me. However, once I started to ask Holy Spirit to be with me as I read, scripture became alive to me.

John 15:26 Living Bible But I will send you the Comforter—the Holy Spirit, the source of all truth. He will come to you from the Father and will tell you all about me.

It was amazing that the verses that I read each morning gave me the tools to navigate through my day. I was encouraged, and I felt His love, and it made me hungry for more.

I will finish this blog by saying this: God is loving, and HE longs to have a relationship with us.

Jesus made way for everyone to bring us back into the right relationship with Him. Not only that but, Jesus sent the helper to us, Holy Spirit.

Do you hear the knock at your heart’s door? I want to encourage you to invite God in. Just start out eating “cheese and crackers” with him, and before you know it, He will fill you.

Psalms 107:8-9

Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

Unity does not mean uniformity!

This word, unity, has been stirring in my heart for many months now. Somedays, I hear it echo loudly, and then there are days it is only a whisper, but it keeps coming up.

And as surprising as it may seem, this word is misunderstood in many circles. I believe the reason that it is so misinterpreted is that the enemy knows the power of unity or agreement and wants to keep us (all people) divided.

It doesn’t matter the size of the division; it can be as in small circles of friends or big groups like businesses, communities, or even a Nation and everything in between.

1 Corinthians 1:10 NIV

I appeal to you, brothers and sister, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.

In this verse, Paul is saying that we need to pursue unity within the church of Christ intentionally. Do not give place to divisiveness or competition. Instead, honor others, seek to be like-minded (in our belief in the Messiah), and recognize Jesus as the common ground for unity.

I volunteer as a mentor at a local ministry, and the woman I was teaching was telling me how she went to a concert of a Christian artist. She said, “it is hard to explain, I was around a bunch of people I didn’t know, but it didn’t bother me. It was like we were friends or something. I was okay with them jumping up and down, and they were okay with me dancing. It was like we were  connected.”

That connection is the spirit of God that is in each of us. It is the Christ in our brothers in sisters that reaches out to the Christ in us. We are united in and through Him. It is a miracle of the indwelling of Christ. But that doesn’t mean we look, dress, or even talk the same way.

We each have a specific niche, talent, or “gifting” that might not be another person’s favorite ice cream flavor (per se). We might communicate a bit differently, or we might like to wear jeans when another wants to wear dress slacks. All of that doesn’t matter. We can still be unified.    

Unity, in Greek, means oneness.

Oneness is defined in Webster as a combination or ordering of parts in a literary or artistic production that constitutes a whole or promotes an undivided effect. 

Think of a jigsaw puzzle. Each piece of the puzzle has a different shape from the other, but it creates an image when interlocked together.  Whenever I have done a puzzle, I would become somewhat overwhelmed looking at all the pieces.  Thoughts like: Where do I even begin, or, It’s going to take me forever to put this together, would echo in my mind.

                We all can be overwhelmed when something looks too big to accomplish, right?

But once I begin to separate the border pieces, I would be able to figure out how to fit them together. Slowly finding the details, the task didn’t seem so overwhelming. The different random pieces of color start to blend. Then suddenly I see it! The picture the creator of the puzzle intended the result to look like.

I write all this out to say; we look different, we have different shapes and sizes, but if we can stop looking at our differences and come together, the results would be amazing. It might look a little intimidating. We might not know where to begin, but let’s step out of our comfort zones and connect.

There have been many things being exposed in the world we live in that are evil. So many fronts we need to begin to unite to protect the innocents of our children. We can not fight all of these things by ourselves. However, we can partner and interlock arms with individuals that have already begun to fight (Purple for parents of Indiana).  We can share with our friends and neighbors the things that are being taught to our youth in public schools. We cannot put our heads in the sand any longer.