Wake Up Calls

Blood pressure measuring studio shot

The date was May 30, 2017. I was sitting in the waiting area of the doctor’s office before being called in for my appointment. I had what was most likely an infection in my body and would probably need an antibiotic. Going to the doctor always makes me a little nervous, so I had prayed that Jessica would be there. She is one of my doctor’s assistants and a genuinely caring person that has the type of positive, happy go lucky, friendly attitude that helps put people at ease. After a few minutes the door opened, and Jessica was there calling my name. She had me step onto the scale, and I inwardly cringed when I saw my weight. We happily chatted as we went into the examination room. It is a routine procedure to have your blood pressure checked at doctor’s visits, so I didn’t think anything of it when she put the cuff around my arm and began the procedure. I was watching Jessica performing her duty when I noticed the calm expression on her face turn to a look of concern. Then she mentioned that my blood pressure was kind of high. 178/108 to be exact.

I was not expecting this, and to be honest, it scared the liver out of me. I am unaware of anybody in my family with a history of high blood pressure, although my dad could have had it. He died of a massive heart attack at 56. My doctor did gave me an antibiotic, gave me some information on diet recommendations(lowering sodium intake mostly)and wanted to see me the next day for another blood pressure check.

I left the doctor’s office that day feeling like I had received a wake up call. How long had I had high blood pressure and was not even aware of it? I could have had a heart attack or stroke and died. I decided right then that I was going to change my diet and try to do what I could to get my blood pressure back to normal. My blood pressure was a little lower the following day but still well above normal. My doctor decided to treat the infection first, and then we would focus on the blood pressure. In the meantime, I was praying and doing what I could do diet wise to try to avoid going on blood pressure medication. After another week, I returned for a follow up visit with blood pressure that was still high. My doctor decided to put me on a low dose of blood pressure medication. To make a long story short, my blood pressure is pretty much back in normal range. My doctor decreased my medication dose, and I am praying and believing when I go back for a physical next month that I will get off the medication entirely.

As I was thinking of this whole scenario I saw how this could apply to a person spiritually. Sometimes God will allow things to happen in the life of a sinner or someone who has fallen away from Him to get their attention, so that they will turn to Him. Years ago there was a young man named Clint that came and visited one of our services. I found out later that he had been raised in church but had fallen away from God as a teenager. A few days before coming to our church, he had been involved in a horrible motorcycle accident, which had left him with a broken leg and a lot of bruises. Clint came several times to church, and I remember a time when after a service a group of us were standing around conversing, with Clint among us. He mentioned that he felt like his accident was a wake up call from God. He could have been killed, but God spared his life. He also stated that once his leg was healed up he would be shouting and running the aisles with the rest of us.

Unfortunately, we never saw that day come. I’m not sure what happened, but he did not continue coming to church. Is it possible that the fear he had when he first had his wreck wore off? As his physical condition improved did he let the cares of life, responsibilities or pleasures that this world offers hinder him from continuing to walk with God and serve Him?  I have seen many come to church that have had a near death experience or some kind of crisis in their life that caused them to realize that they need God. This is really the mercy of God reaching for a soul, and the Bible speaks about this in Psalm 107.

Psalm 107:8-15  Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.
Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron;
Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High:
Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help.
  Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses.
He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.
Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

 

It is truly a tragic thing though when the crisis is past, God has come through and helped the individual, to see the fear they had seemingly wear off and they walk out on God and return to the way they were living before. Perhaps there is someone reading this who has had a spiritual wake up call. God has allowed a crisis to happen in your life to help you realize your need of Him. I want to encourage you to seek God in true repentance. Let that fear that brought you to Him cause you to turn to Him with all your heart and not just to seek Him for a temporary fix. He wants to do so much more than that. Let Him work in your life and change you so that you will be ready to go to heaven. He wants to see you saved through all eternity!

 

 

 

 

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My Final Cry

I cry when I am happy.

I cry when I’m in pain.

I cry when I’ve lost a loved one

over and over again.

 

I’ve cried at many a wedding.

I cried when I first gave birth.

At times in depths of despair,

I have cried for all I was worth.

 

I’ve cried tears of joy in God’s presence.

I’ve cried when I’ve felt so inspired.

I have tears for ‘most every occasion.

I think it’s the way that I’m wired.

 

I’ve cried during times of exhaustion.

I’ve cried when I felt faint and weak.

With tears I am very familiar.

It’s much like a language I speak.

 

It’s hard for me to imagine.

There will come a time one day.

There will be no more need for crying.

For God will wipe all tears away.

 

But before He erases all sorrow,

when I reach that heavenly place,

I hope He’ll allow tears of wonder

when at last I behold His face!

 

5/14/17

Rev 21:1-4 ” And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”  

The Gift I Haven’t Received Yet


It has been over 5 years since my oldest brother Tom passed away. About a year after his passing, my elder sister announced to the family that she wanted to start a new Christmas tradition. She had had his Bible for a whole year. This was the Bible that our former pastor, Derrald Hilderbrand, had given to Tom as a gift before he left to attend Apostolic Bible Institute. I went to the same college at the same time as Tom and also received a Bible from our pastor, which I still have. 

Anyhow, my sister thought it would be a nice idea to have a different family member receive Tom’s Bible as a Christmas gift for a year, and then pass it on to a different family member the following Christmas. Last year my daughter had the Bible, and she decided she was going to pass it on to her cousin Nick in Wisconsin. Since I don’t know when it will be my turn to receive it, and we live in the same house, I asked her if I could look through it before she sent it off. I couldn’t resist taking a few pics.


This Bible is a KJV Cambridge Wide Margin-perfect for adding notes, which Tom did.


I really enjoyed perusing his Bible, looking at passages he had underlined and reading through some of his notes. I’m glad my brother was into the Word, and although I still miss him, I would not want him back on this earth. Now he is with the Word, and one day, whether by way of the Lord’s coming or the grave, I look forward to seeing him again.

Precious?

To some it’s totally foreign

Or maybe a little bit odd

That the death of one of his saints

Is precious to our God.

 

In the death of an unrighteousness man

God does not find joy or delight

But the passing of one of His children

Is so precious in His sight.

 

How could something sorrowful

That causes our heart to pain

In the eyes of our heavenly Father

Be a blessing, a thing of great gain?

 

Perhaps because His ways are higher

And His thoughts are not our own

He sees the bigger picture

Which to us, oftentimes, is unknown.

 

This cursed earth was not meant to be

Our final resting place

We must depart from here

To see Him face to face.

 

For the child of God, death’s a doorway

To leave this old, sinful world

Trials and tests will be over

satan’s darts at us, no longer hurled.

 

And we cannot choose the time

Or the manner in which we will go

To that place where there’s no more pain

And the clear, crystal river does flow.

 

To be absent in the body

Is to be present with the Lord

In that place where sin never enters

And forever, He will be adored.

 

And though we do miss our loved ones

And experience grief and tears

We also know, they’re in the presence

Of the God who really cares.

 

Rejoicing on streets paved with gold

As before God, they shout, dance and sing

In His eyes, the grave is no victor

And death is not a sting!

 

12-7-16

 

Psalm 116:15  Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

 

Ezekiel 33:11  Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

 

Isaiah 55:8,9  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

 

Ecclesiastes 8:8  There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.

 

Rev 21:1-4  And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

 

2Corinthians 5:6  Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:

 

1Corinthians 15:54,55  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

 

 

 

 

 

Gleanings From Psalm 23

This past weekend we were honored to have Brother and Sister Ensey as guests in our home and with us in services. Our church was extremely blessed by the ministry of Brother Ensey. On Sunday morning he taught on the 23rd Psalm, and brought out so many things that I had never before seen/considered.   It has always amazed me how you can still glean things from the Word of God in passages that are very familiar to you. The Bible truly is alive!  I want to share just a few things that stood out to me as Brother Ensey taught.

 

“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:……” he leadeth me beside the still waters. “

          God will never lead you to a place where you can’t grow and prosper spiritually.

 

      “he leadeth me beside the still waters.”

          Sheep need an atmosphere of peace. As God’s people, we need peace too, and we can have it in our churches and homes through Him.

     “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness  for his name’s sake.”

          God is doing a spiritual work inside of us. He will never lead us away from righteousness!

 

      “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:”


        Death is not something to be feared for the believer.  A shadow cannot hurt anybody.

 

        “thy rod and thy staff they comfort  me.”

          The rod stands for correction. Because God is our Father, He loves us enough to correct us as an earthly father would correct his son when he needs it.  Although correction can hurt when it comes, if we receive it rightly, it will end up helping us and being a comfort

          The staff stands for forgiveness and mercy. Where would any of us be without God’s mercy and forgiveness?

Finally, if you are a child of God, you are absolutely being followed each and every day that you live. According to Psalm 23:6, goodness and mercy are following you, and we need both. Those are the kind of followers that I want. How about you?

 

Good Bye, Prayer Partner

13 years ago when we came to the city of Oakley to start a church, we promised our children who were 7 and 11 at the time, two things. The first promise was that we would get a pool, which we did do. The second promise was that we would get a dog. We had some friends that had a Lhasa Apso, and we really liked their dog and the fact that this breed of dog does not shed. Our friends gave us the number of the homeschooling family that sold them their dog, and we made arrangements with them to buy one of their pups. After much deliberation and polling of our extended family, we settled on the name of Misty for our new dog.

106_0638

This is one of the earliest pictures I could find of her that was saved on the computer. We were both a lot younger. 🙂

 

Our new dog quickly worked her way into our hearts, even though at times she did some bad things. I recall going out of town for a tournament when our kids were involved in Bible quizzing. We left Misty at home but had a dog sitter that came twice a day to care for her. Upon arriving home, we found the blinds of the front window chewed upon and badly mangled.

We’ve had a lot of good times with Misty over the years. From early on, she was pretty much a mommy’s girl. When I was at home, most of the time she followed me wherever I went, unless of course somebody in the house happened to be partaking of any good smelling meat or delectable. She loved whipped cream, and she would come running whenever she heard the sound of it coming out of the can.

One of Misty’s favorite things to do was open gifts. She was very skilled at savagely tearing at wrapping paper and pawing and clawing until at last the gift was revealed. As I was saying before though, if she wasn’t being enticed by food, she usually followed me wherever I went. When I would go to work, many times I would come home to find her sitting in my son’s window seat(at our first house)or on top of the couch looking out the window at our second house waiting for me. Early on she even wanted to be with me when I would pray in the morning, either downstairs in the family room or up in my closet if we had company staying overnight.

Over the past six weeks, Misty’s health had really been deteriorating. Yesterday, I came home from work to find that she had lost the use of her back legs. She was very distressed and tried using her front legs to move around. To make a long story short, my husband and I took her to the vet emergency hospital and after an exam and consultation with the vet, we made the difficult choice to put her down. It was tough this morning praying by myself in the closet. I always leave the door slightly ajar and half expected her to bump it open with her body as she usually did.

I miss my little pooch, but I’m thankful that God allowed us to have her for as long as we did. Good bye, my little prayer partner. I’ll always love you and cherish all the good memories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She Crossed The Finish Line

This is the wording my husband/pastor used in relaying to some folks from our church that Sister Carmen Hood, whom we have been praying for, had passed away today. Sister Hood was the wife of the late evangelist Jason Hood, mother of Jaelyn Hood, anointed singer, songwriter, musician and a genuine Christian lady. My heart goes out to her family. I am praying for them and especially her daughter Jaelyn who has lost both her daddy and mommy within a short time period.

When I first heard the news of Sister Hood’s passing, my mind went back to something I posted almost 10 years ago. The post was entitled When Death Doesn’t Seem Fair. To keep this post from being too lengthy, I won’t go into the details of that post. I just mentioned it, because this is one of those situations where from our human standpoint, the death of Sister Carmen Hood may seem unfair. She endured so much physical affliction, was so young and has left behind a little girl. It’s easy to wonder things such as “God, how come you didn’t heal her when we truly believed you could do it?” “Why are you leaving her little girl without a daddy and a mommy?” I’m sure there are other questions too, and I make no claims that I completely understand it all.  The truth of the matter is that this is just one side of the story. This is our human perspective, but God has a perspective too.

The Scripture says in Psalm 116:15, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” 

What we look upon as a loss down here on earth, God is counting as a great gain.  One of His children, whom He never intended to live forever in this sin cursed world, has come home to a place where there will be no more sorrow, tears, crying and pain, and best of all, there is constant, unbroken fellowship with the Lord. Many times we have prayed for Sister Hood to be healed, and today she received healing in the way that God chose to heal her. I understand that her passing is very difficult for family and friends, but to those of them that have been obedient to the gospel and are living for Jesus, it is only a temporary separation. It is an ending in one sense. In the Scripture, living this Christian life is compared to running a race. Sister Carmen has finished that race and can now say with the apostle Paul:

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: ” 2 Timothy 4:7

But today was also a beginning for Sister Hood. The apostle Paul goes on to say:

“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:8

My prayer is that Sister Hood’s family will find comfort in the fact that she has gone on to receive her prize, and if they will embrace the same faith that she had, they will see her again.

I dedicate this poem to Sister Hood and her family.

She crossed the finish line

Led by His hand divine

Though we felt it too soon she should go

God allowed it to be so.

 

Frail body can no longer confine

She crossed the finish line

Continuing her redemption story

In the presence of His glory.

 

We prayed that she would be healed

God’s plan for her now revealed

She crossed the finish line

It was by His design.

 

And although we do feel great pain

Our loss, Heaven’s blessed gain

We know everything will be fine

She crossed the finish line.

 

 3/25/16