Submitting to the Master

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

Baby TwiggyTwiggy came to us a skittish underweight two-year-old. Our first priority was her weight. The second was helping her become comfortable around humans.

Each morning when I entered the stall to feed her, Twiggy would stand in the far corner afraid. So, I changed tactics. I opened the door and waited. When she realized I wasn’t coming in, she took a few steps toward me. Every morning she came closer and closer until she began taking a mouthful of feed from the bucket. Finally, I was able to reach out and stroke her neck.

 

Twiggy

Fast forward nine months in the field with Susie, a thirty-year-old who loves attention, Twiggy has come to learn the wind in the trees isn’t so scary. Dogs can be fun. A person coming in the stall is normal activity. And if there is a problem the human will fix it.

She still has a long way to go. She isn’t broken, yet. She doesn’t know what a burden feels like. But she will. For only when she submits to a master can she be a useful horse.

TwiggyIt won’t be easy. But who said life was easy or fair? Life is what you make of it walking hand in hand with the Lord. Twiggy, just like me, has  the choice to submit.

At first, she will fight the rope, hate the saddle, preferring to prance and run free. But hopefully, she will come to see there is freedom in submission. The Master truly does know best.  And when we lay aside our need for control, we find His yoke is easy and His burden light.

 

Twiggy Yesterday, I watched Twiggy as she ran the field, gaining speed, slowing down, whirling around trees, and stopping for a breath—her movements graceful and precise. (She has all four feet off the ground!)

It reminded me of the race we’re running. Some days we gain speed. Others we navigate the obstacles. And still other days, we pause to catch our breath. Yet, there is joy along the way if we know where the joy can be found.

 

Twiggy

To find that joy we must learn to cast our cares aside. Trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not to our own understanding. Submit everything to the Master.

The secret: It takes love for the master before we can submit. Without love we will always fight for control.

 

 

Twiggy Finally, realize life is more exciting if we keep our eyes on the joy before us and bask in His light until we reach home.

 

This race is too short to run it alone. Invite the Lord along and watch how weightless you will begin to feel.

 

Forgiveness After Infidelity

Wedding Photo~Pixabay

Pixabay

The dress and veil, tuxedo and flowers, family and friends, all speak of happily ever after. But what happens when our dreams are shattered by the very one who promised to love and honor?

Below is an actual interview that took place six years ago. However, I changed the woman’s name not to hide her or her husband’s identity but to protect the innocent in their lives. I hope through her testimony you find strength for your own journey.

God bless,

Gail

 

If you happened to pass Mary on the street, you wouldn’t bother taking a second glance. She isn’t a movie star or a pop diva. Her name has never been in lights. But Mary, like so many others, is an extraordinary woman living an ordinary life full of wisdom learned only by brutal experience and sheer faith. What she has to offer enriches all those who will listen.

Married forty-seven years to one man, she is the mother of five, grandmother of nine, and great-grandmother to eight. Along with her husband, she has worked in the ministry for over twenty years. Sixty-three-years-old, she has now set her eyes on the mission field.

I recently visited Mary in her newly remodeled home to ask the formula for a long and happy marriage. She ushered me into her cozy office where we were surrounded by pictures of her children and grandchildren. I sensed a strong familial pride from the woman who now sat across from me. Settling on the overstuffed couch, I began our interview by thanking Mary for her openness.

“Thank you, Mary, for sharing your secrets to a successful marriage. Also, I would like to extend thanks to your husband for being willing and allowing you to share a little of his past. Not in pride or shame, but as a victorious testimony of God’s faithfulness. Both of your lives reveal God’s ability to do all things if we’re willing to allow Him access to the problems. So, my first question is, has it always been easy.”

Mary smiled. “No.”

“What made you want to stay with someone who had been unfaithful?”

“I believe the Lord put it in me to look at the pros and cons of walking away from my marriage. Although it was hard, I chose to stay. But, I found it even harder to forgive. In not forgiving, I kept repeating the same mistake over and over again.”

After a brief pause, as if wondering what to say next, Mary continued.

“When we choose not to forgive, we have a tendency to bring unfaithfulness into every argument. And it keeps eating away at us. When I chose not to forgive, I didn’t walk away physically, but I walked away spiritually, causing a division in my marriage.”

“And yet, no evidence of that division is seen today. Can you now say that someone can truly forgive infidelity?”

“I can’t speak for those who don’t know the Lord as their personal Savior. But, I can honestly say forgiveness was only possible with the Lord’s help. How can I not forgive when He’s forgiven me?”

“What a profound statement. Isn’t it amazing that we often forget that? How did you get beyond the pain of betrayal?”

“By walking hand in hand with Jesus, casting down the thoughts of the past, and bringing everything under the blood. I cannot tell you that I am free from the thoughts of the unfaithfulness, but I can say by looking to the Lord that I am able to walk in victory each new day.”

“Do the thoughts of the past include physical reminders?”

“Yes. There’s a child.”

“Would you say it’s harder to forget the past when there is a child involved?”

“I don’t think so. I have accepted her. Through the years, we have developed a relationship. I know that she loves me and I love her. I am thankful for her marriage. She too had a rough beginning and her husband has been there for her. I am thankful for that.”

“I am so glad to hear that. Can one love their mate as they did before infidelity?”

“First, let me say, both of us were young and I can say I didn’t know how to love. Add not knowing how to love to two people who don’t talk their problems out and they will eventually drift apart. When they do, someone will be there to make a spouse think it’s okay to break the marriage vows. But it doesn’t have to end there. I love my husband more today than I did the first twenty-two years of our marriage. When we gave our lives to the Lord twenty-six years ago, God drew us closer together because we chose to forgive each other.”

“What would you say to someone who is going through this situation as we speak?”

“I’d ask them if they loved their spouse. If they said yes, then I would ask is that love strong enough to forgive and not bring up the past? If they couldn’t answer, I would tell them how the Lord was my lifeline to forgiveness. How He taught me that what He has cleansed isn’t unclean, but forgiven. I believe forgiveness through God’s love can bury the past and cover it over so deeply that it can’t be revived.”

“What would be your advice to young people contemplating marriage?”

“Your love for each other is going to be tried. When it looks like you don’t know where the next penny is coming from do all you can to hold to each other. Hold through sickness and health, the loss of a baby, and infertility. Look to the Lord and He will make a way when it seems there is no way. Trust in the Lord always. He will never lead you wrong.”

It has been six years since talking with Mary. I am happy to report she and her husband are still happily married and working for the Lord. To God be the glory!

 

 

God Is The Strength Of My Heart

Psalms 73:26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. KJV

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. NIV

 

Someone is Praying

Someone is Praying

We don’t realize the extent of God’s blessings in our lives until something happens. It’s during those times, we catch a glimpse of the incredible power of our Creator.

I wish to share a friend’s testimony with you.

Recently, this precious man found he needed surgery for stents. Family and friends gathered and prayed for him asking for God’s covering. Later that week during morning devotion, I stumbled across the above verse and sent it to offer comfort in his hour of need.

During the surgery, they failed to place the stents due to a 100% blockage in the main coronary artery called the widowmaker. The surgeon informed the family it was a miracle he’d not had a massive heart attack.

 

God is the strength of my heart and my portion. How excellent is His name in all the earth! I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress. In Him will I trust.

 

He is now preparing for open heart surgery on the 24th of this month.

Would you, dear friend join me in prayer for peace to surround my friend and his family during this time of need?

Thank you.

Gail

Guarding Our Hearts

Proverbs 4:23 commands us to guard our hearts for every thought, word, or deed flows from it. Actions must be taken to protect it from invasion.

Every year I plant a garden. It isn’t a lovely garden with a white picket fence, ivy trellis, and flowers adorning the beds. No. In fact, the beauty of my garden is in the eye of the beholder. If you were to see it, you would probably ask yourself why I even bother.

My garden is enclosed with cow/horse panel on three sides with the back of the barn completing the fourth. Added to the bottom is a piece of running board or catwalk. Along the north side is an electric fence. And even though, I have added a layer of protection every year, something always seems to find it’s way inside.

This year, we spent several days trying to figure out why the tops of my bell peppers were disappearing. We checked the fence. Too small for a deer to stick its head through. We checked for holes next to the fence. No sign of turtles. Then we placed boards in front of the gate. The next morning I found another scalped bell pepper. With pregnant clouds above, I had no other choice but to wait it out.

Baby BunniesOne week later, I decided to weed the tomato bed. During the process, my seventeen-year-old daughter found tufts of hair next to one of the plants. Baby rabbits! With umpteen dozen wooded acres, why in the world did she have to pick my 48 x 48 fortress. I began trying to figure out how the mother was able to get inside while my daughter was oohing and aahing over the cute little ears!

“Oh, they’re so cute,” she said. “Look at those fuzzy ears!”

I watched her for a moment and knew I couldn’t get rid of them, yet. I told her to stop and we would watch them for a little while. Then, I began searching for the break in my wall. Finally, I found a little tunnel under the wall of a stall. The fuzzy miner had been busy.

On the way to the house, I informed my daughter the rabbits had to go. Her disappointment was obvious. “But they’re so cute.”

“Well, cute or not, they’ll destroy everything out there. Make a choice.”

With hand over heart, she replied. “My heart is torn.”

I reminded her that small things can be cute, but they can grow up to be quite ugly and destructive. She agreed. She searched for information on what to do and found they were older than they first appeared. According to the experts, the babies would soon leave the nest. A week later, they moved out and we covered the hole.

My garden may not be pretty to some, but it supplies me with a veritable summer buffet. From it, I pick tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, peas, cucumbers, strawberries, bell peppers, and cantaloupe.

Next year, I plan to add a moat.

 

Music Is A Heart Thang

From my earliest memories, music was, and is, an important part of my life. From listening to the radio to singing in church, music shaped my world.

It defines my mood. You can tell exactly what’s on my mind by listening to the music playing in my truck, on my computer, or inside my head. Music says it all. Music is a heart thang! Yes, I said thang.

Every singer, if they are to connect with their audience, must get in touch with something inside them. They will have to own the song. Writers, on the other hand, are different. They live the song. You hear it in their voice. You see it in their eyes. You believe what they’re saying. You can agree, or disagree, but you will feel something.

There is nothing like listening to someone belt out a song of celebration, heartache, defiance, or determination with every ounce of their being.

I grew up listening to different genres of music and watching the artist perform. Each one taught me different things. As I read the stories behind the songs, I grew to admire the person.

One such woman was Dottie Rambo. To see her on stage, you would never know her heartaches in this life. But you definitely could hear them in her music!

Just a few facts about her life:

  • She was eight when she heard the lyrics of her first song.
  • Began singing on country radio when she was ten.
  • Gave her heart to Jesus when she was twelve.
  • Her father demanded she give up her faith or leave home. Dottie left home.
  • Her mom placed an address tag around her neck, in case she got lost, and kissed her good-bye.
  • She sang in churches, making little money.
  • She suffered excruciating pain from a ruptured disc in her back.

While on stage, she wasn’t sad. She refused to back down from her walk with God. She gave God the glory for all He did in her life. She sang of wanting to see Him. At the end of your life, her voice weak, she still sang of His goodness.

I think it is sad when we sing these songs without ever knowing the story behind the song. The story behind the song is why the song was written in the first place.

I hope you will check out her site and read about her here and other places. Check out her songs by the different artist on Godtube and Youtube.

Songs

Too Much to Gain to Lose

He Looked Beyond My Faults and Saw My Need

Mama’s Teaching Angels How to Sing

Remind Me, Dear Lord

Shelter in the Arms of God

If That Isn’t Love

Build My Mansion Next Door To Jesus

Tears Will Never Stain

I Go to the Rock

We Shall Behold Him

I Will Glory in the Cross

 

Artists who have recorded her songs include:

Elvis Presley

Vince Gill

Barbara Mandrell

Johnny Cash

Dottie West

Pat Boone

Sandi Patti

Bill Monroe

The Isaacs

The Oak Ridge Boys

Whitney Houston

 

Click on the link, take a moment, and listen to the sweet sounds of the Georgia Mass Choir as they join Whitney Houston in I Go to the Rock.