Fly Away!

Many years ago, when I was in my 20s, I was at home in prayer and meditation. One day while I was praying suddenly I felt myself flying straight up into the sky. I lifted through the roof of my apartment and slowly moved up towards the clouds. As I lifted my head and I looked out into the distance, I knew that the higher I went I was going to see where the earth ended, and heaven began. I kept looking up because I didn’t want to miss anything I was getting ready to see. As I lifted, I knew I was being allowed to see what heaven looked like.

As I flew, I was so focused on not missing anything that I did not want to look down. I did not care what the earth looked like from that height. I didn’t want to miss what I knew was coming ahead. As I lifted my head to see heaven, I noticed out in the distance others in the sky as well. As I saw them my thought was that even though there were a lot of people going up, I noticed that the sky was not crowded. It was not full. Upon seeing this I immediately knew that not everyone was being allowed to go up.

Not wanting to miss anything I continued to look up towards heaven, but I also took a glance to my left and my right because I wondered if any of my family and friends were going up. As I glanced around to my left and right, I didn’t see anyone that I knew. However, I did see a guy coming past me wearing his pajamas. Also, another guy coming up behind me lightly bumped me on my shoulder as he flew past me. When I turned to glance at who it was, I got a quick look at his face, but I did not recognize him. As I turned to get a better look at him suddenly I was back in my living room sitting in my chair.

What amazes me about this experience is that at that time in my life I had not heard of salvation. I had not heard about having a personal relationship with Jesus. I had not read the Bible. As a matter of fact, I didn’t own a Bible. And I certainly had never heard the word rapture. At that time in my 20’s I wrote the experience down in a journal, but I never looked at it again until over 30 years later. I had completely forgotten about it. When reading through old journal notes I realized that I had been given a vision of the rapture and I understood the significance. When I think about it, I am filled with joy as I look forward to being able to fly away to live in my new home.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Blessings,

Sandra

Be Encouraged, Be Blessed

Yesterday morning I got up early to get to the grocery store before the big weekend crowd. I made my purchases and returned to my car. After unloading the groceries, I jumped into the car and put the key into the ignition but stopped. Just before turning the key I glanced up at the entrance of the store and saw a police officer walking out of the grocery store with a small grocery bag. As I watched him, I could tell he was going to walk right past my car. When he got close enough to my car so that he could hear me, I rolled down my window and gave him a thumbs-up, and I said, “Hey, I support you guys out there.” He gave me a big smile and said, “Thank you very much!” I asked, “May I pray for you?” He said, “Absolutely, I would love that. “ I prayed for him and he said thank you very much and headed to his car smiling. As he walked away, I thanked the Lord for allowing me to pray for this man. And I said to the Lord, I hope that this man was encouraged today. I said, I hope he tells others in his unit and his family so they would be encouraged as well.

Today I got up to prepare for my morning walk. While getting dressed I listened to worship music, and once I sat down to eat, I flipped through a couple of Christian channels until I found one, I wanted to watch. I stopped and listened as a man started preaching about encouragement. I thought, hmmm, that is interesting. He talked about the importance of encouraging others, and how encouraging others would be a blessing to us. I thought again about what happened yesterday and thanked the Lord. After eating I headed to the park to walk. While walking, to my surprise, I looked up ahead of me on the path and saw two police officers, one male, and one female, on horses riding towards me. As I watched I thought about how I had been walking in that park for about 20 years and had never seen police officers, let alone on horseback. I also thought about the sermon I had heard before I left. Immediately, I knew it wasn’t a coincidence. I knew the Lord wanted me to pray for them. As they got closer, I gave them a thumbs up and I said, “Hey, I support you guys out there.” They said, “Thank you!” I then asked them if I could pray for them. They both had big smiles on their faces and said, “Yes.” As I ended the prayer, they had grins as wide as an ocean.

As they rode off, I thought to myself, the Lord placed three police officers in my path over two days. I could only assume this was his way of encouraging them.  I also thought about the pastor’s sermon when he said that by encouraging others, we are also blessing ourselves. I was so full of joy when I walked away it felt more like they had prayed for me instead of me praying for them.

I encourage you today to let the Lord use you to bless others. Who knows, it might be less about you blessing them, and more about you receiving a blessing.

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. “ 1Thessalonians 5:11

Blessings,

Sandra

Warning Ahead!

About a month ago I was walking in the park listening to an audiobook about the types of traps Satan uses to get us out of the will of God. While listening, I happened to glance ahead on the path and to my surprise, a snake slithered onto the path from the woods. It was about 16 to 20 inches long and silver and gray in color. It came out of the woods and slithered out onto about 1/3 of the path. Then it stopped and looked around like it seemed to not know if it wanted to move across the path to the other side or to turn around and go back into the woods.

I saw it from a distance, so I stopped. Since I was a pretty good distance from it I didn’t have any fear. It didn’t jump out at me or get close to my feet, so I was able to view without fear.  After seeing it, I stopped, and I looked at it and contemplated how I was listening to a book about Satan at that very moment. I knew it wasn’t a coincidence, but yet I wondered what the significance was. After standing and waiting for about a minute, it turned around and went back into the woods, and I continued with my walk.

About two weeks later I was walking in a different park, not the one where I saw the snake, and I was listening to an audiobook about the endtimes. The author was talking about the tribulation. As I walked, I glanced ahead onto the path and I saw what I thought was a stick sticking straight up in the air. It was not on the path; it was a good six feet off the path on the grass. This path goes through a freshly cut and manicured lawn, so this was easy to spot. What drew my attention was the color, which was jet black. As I walked and watched, I wondered how it could be sticking straight up in the air. There weren’t any trees near so it could not have fallen out of a tree, and I knew the wind could not have blown it to land straight up.

As I walked farther down the path, I saw it was not a stick but a snake. I had never seen a snake stand up in the grass before. I’d seen a snake in the water with his head 6 or 7 inches above the water and his body below the water, but I had never seen that on land. The snake didn’t move. As I picked up speed, I looked at it and saw his little beady eyes. Since I was far enough away, I wasn’t afraid. As I ran down the path past it, I wondered about listening to an audiobook about the tribulation and seeing this snake at the that moment. Again, I knew it wasn’t a coincidence, but at the same time, I was not sure of the significance.

I spent several days thinking about both instances. Finally, I reached out to a friend and told her what happened. She said, “It sounds to me like this is a good example of the fact that Satan is alive and well, and walking across the earth, but that you don’t need to fear because you were warned ahead of time of his existence and you were prepared. Just keep moving forward my friend. “

I pray that for you as well.

“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.” Luke 10:19

Blessings,

Sandra

Big Swig!

Do you ever find yourself doing something, but you don’t know exactly why you’re doing it? Well, this morning after my morning walk, I remembered one such time. To say that I’m addicted to walking in the park is an understatement. I’ve been walking for exercise for years. It’s my quiet time. It’s my prayer time. It’s my thinking time.

This morning I checked the temperature before I left and it was 80°, muggy, and partly cloudy, so I headed to the park. As I finished my last lap, I remembered one hot summer day when I was in my 20s. At that time, I was a hard-core jogger. Today I walk, but back then I jogged five miles a day six days a week.

One hot summer day as I prepared to go out and jog, I heard the news warning us to stay out of the heat. Naturally, as a young 20 something whippersnapper, I thought I could handle it! I wasn’t going to let that sweltering 100° temperature stop me.

Generally, I would drink water before and after I jog. I know that’s not the right way to do it, but this was back in the day when we didn’t have Camelbacks. Those slim water pouches that hang across your back with a sipping-tube. Back then if you wanted water when you were running you had to carry the bottle with you. I didn’t do that because every five seconds I was dropping it because it slipped out of my sweaty hands.

So on this day, I grabbed two bottles of water and a small cooler and I left the house for the park. Now here is the funny part. For some reason, something told me to stop and purchase an energy drink at a local convenience store. Though I knew that a lot of people were drinking them, I didn’t like the taste or the texture. But on this day, I had the strong impulse to stop and get one. So I purchased the drink and then went to the park.

When I got to the park, I drank my normal bottle of water before I started jogging and took off. After finishing my last lap, I suddenly noticed that I started to feel sick, dizzy, and very shaky. I couldn’t focus and everything was swirling around. Immediately, I knew that I was on the verge of heatstroke. I made it back to my car, but I could barely hold myself up. I wasn’t walking straight, I felt nauseous, and I was staggering. 

I made it to my car, I grabbed my lawn chair and the energy drink but I was so wobbly when I sat down, I sat down with a thug and almost tipped the entire chair over. I was so weak I didn’t think I was going to be able to open the energy drink. I knew I only had a few seconds left before I was going to pass out. Somehow, I opened the energy drink and I took a slow, long, swig, and amazingly I started to feel better almost immediately. I was stunned at how fast this replenishing drink worked. I drank the entire bottle and rested for about 10 minutes before I got in the car and drove home.

As I drove home, I thought about how close I came to serious injury. I also thought about how I felt the strong impulse to purchase the energy drink. I realized that through my stupidity, the Lord still stepped in and saved my life. I’m so glad I was obedient to his advice.

Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. Proverbs 19:20

Blessings,

Sandra

$10

 I worked for a ministry for almost 10 years. One of the jobs I held was answering the phone when people called in requesting prayer. First let me say that whenever I tell someone about this job, the first thought that they have is that they see it as a nice, sweet, cute little job where you spend the entire day sitting on the phone praying blessings over the birth of a new baby or a wedding. I wish that were the case. The bottom line is that you’re exposed to the good, the bad, the ugly, the natural, and the supernatural.

One day when I picked up the phone there was a gentleman on the other end who was livid! He was screaming at the top of his voice. I immediately asked the Lord to give me the wisdom to know how to handle this call. So after I said hello, and introduced myself, the man let loose!

He yelled, “If my son asked me for $10 to buy food for his family, not $10 to buy liquor, or drugs, or spend it on women; he was going to do something good with it! He was going to buy food for his family! If he asked me for $10, and I have it to give, why wouldn’t I give it to him? Why would I make him beg, and beg, and beg every single day! Answer me that! I want to know because that’s what I’m doing. I am begging, and begging, and begging for the Lord to help me and he won’t!“ He then used some profanity and hung up the phone.

 As I was driving home after work I said to the Lord, “Why is it so hard for this guy to get his prayers answered?” And Lord I said, “Why do so many people have so many unanswered prayers; including me?”

 He said, “I have forgiven you and forgiven your sins, but when you sin that sin is put in place in the flesh, in the world, and those sins have worldly actions and impacts attached to them that take time.“

This was a good reminder for me to not only stop sinning, but to confess and repent for my sins immediately. I don’t know if this guy would have listened to me if I would have had an opportunity to tell him this. So, at this point all I can do is to pray for him silently.

 Are your prayers being answered?

 “It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.” Isaiah 59:2

 Blessings,

 Sandra

Guilty as charged!

I’ve been attending the same aerobics class for about a year and a half. What I love about the class is that the instructor plays a variety of styles of music. However, there is one song she plays that makes me uncomfortable. Though it doesn’t contain profanity, I think the sexual content is unacceptable.

Each time she played the song, though I continued to dance and do the exercises, I struggled! A battle raged in my mind. Should I sit down? Should I leave the room? I was very uneasy. In addition to this feeling of uneasiness, I felt embarrassed about leaving because I was a new member and I did not want to cause a disturbance. I quickly dismissed my feelings because I figured that I was probably the only one who objected to the song. Let’s face it this group has been together for several years so apparently, they thought the song was ok. 

Each day when I showed up for class, I had this battle in my mind whenever the song was played. One day I tried to slow down my movements to appear as if I was barely moving. My strategy was to try not to participate without anyone knowing I wasn’t actually participating. Each time the song played my anxiety grew, but rather than make a scene and ask the instructor to stop playing the song I just pushed myself through the song trying not to focus on the words. 

Finally, one day she played the song, and about 30 seconds into the song I heard the Holy Spirit ask, “What are you doing?” My entire body vibrated at the sound of His voice. When I heard His voice a couple of Bible stories flashed through my mind. One of the stories I thought about was when Cain killed Abel. The LORD asked Cain, “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?” As I stood in the class, I thought, the Lord is all-knowing, He knew what happened to Abel, so why would He ask that question? Maybe He asked because He wanted Cain to know that He knew what He did. 

The other Bible story that popped into my mind was the one about when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. After eating the forbidden fruit, the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” Again, the Lord knew where Adam and Eve were hiding. Did He ask because He wanted them to know that He knew what they did? I do not know, but it seems that way.

So now the Holy Spirit was asking me a question, “What are you doing?” So right there in the middle of the song, it hit me! I realized that the Holy Spirit knew that I was doing something I should not have been doing and He was letting me know.

So, when the Holy Spirit asked me, “What are you doing?” I stopped in my tracks and turned around and I walked off the floor to the back of the room and sat down for the rest of the song. I was busted! Guilty as charged!

8 One day Cain suggested to his brother, “Let’s go out into the fields.”[c] And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him. 9 Afterward the Lord asked Cain, “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?” Genesis 4:8-9

Blessings,

Sandra

Run Amuck

Many years ago, I arrived home late one night from a week-long business trip. I was completely exhausted and had my mind set on a hot shower and a good night’s sleep. I arrived home and parked my car in the driveway. I got out of the car and turned to open the passenger door behind me. I had placed my luggage on the backseat of the car, so I ducked my head into the backseat area to grab my bags. As I tussled with the bags, I heard something; it sounded like footsteps, but I wasn’t completely sure. Suddenly every part of my body was on alert because it was midnight, and the majority of the lights in the subdivision were off so everyone was in bed.

I slowly stepped back and then stood on my tiptoes to look over the roof of my car. To my shock and surprise, I saw a young guy who looked to be about 17- or 18-years old running towards me as fast as he could. Every bone in my body started to shake. I wanted to scream, but the words just wouldn’t come out. That’s because I couldn’t breathe. With each step he made, I sucked in my breath, and with my hands in the air, all I could say was, “Oh, oh, oh!”  I was paralyzed with fear! I couldn’t get my feet to move so I could run or my mouth to speak so I could yell.

The look on this kid’s face was focused and strained. His eyes were like laser beams drilling into mine. I was convinced the attack was imminent, but I was too weak to move. When he got about five feet from my car, he made a quick 180-degree turn, reached both arms in the air, and caught a football.  I screamed, “Oh my God! You scared me to death!” He said, sorry ma’am, and turned around and threw the ball back to another kid who was standing down the street.

Fear; what a terrible feeling. How quickly it can run amuck and take over your brain and cloud everything you see and do. When afraid most often it’s not about what’s actually happening to you, it’s about what you believe is going to happen to you.

Don’t let fear run amuck in your body and mind. Hold on to Gods word which says, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Blessings,

Sandra

Who Told You That?

When I first started to minister to people as a baby Christian, and the message was rejected I was dumbfounded. I thought, here I am handing them the key to eternal life on a silver platter and they turn their back. I honestly did not understand.

Over the years I have ministered to hundreds of people, including one guy named John, numerous times. I tried several approaches with John, but nothing ever worked. In one instance, I tried the “free gift” approach. I said, “Let’s say you showed up at a local department store, and the store greeter welcomed you and handed you, and everyone else a $100 gift card.” I said, “Now tell me you wouldn’t get on the phone and call everyone you knew to tell them to come to the store and get the free gift card. He said, “You darn right I would.” I said, “Exactly!” I said, “Well salvation is the same thing. It’s a free gift that’s been given to you. And the reward is eternal life. Something that can never go away or be spent.” He looked embarrassed and did not respond.

I’ve known John most of my life, I can tell you that he has jumped from one temporary job to another. Now that he is 70, he doesn’t have much to show for his life. No job, little income, no nest egg, bad health and he is barely making ends meet. He also has a pretty negative attitude. Each time I minister to him, he comes up with one excuse after another as to why he “can’t do it.” Recently I asked him how he felt his life turned out. He said, “Not so good.” I said, “Then what do you have to lose with turning your life over to the Lord?” He said, “I don’t know. But that is alright, I still have time.” I said, “Who told you that?”

25When the master of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. You will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Lord, open the door for us!’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ Luke 13:23-25

Blessings,

Sandra

Guilty as Charged

I’ve been attending the same aerobics class for about a year and a half. What I love about the class the most is that the instructor plays a variety of styles of music. However, there is one song she’s played 3 to 4 times that I feel very uncomfortable when I hear it. Though it doesn’t contain profanity, I feel the sexual content is not acceptable.

The first few times I heard the song I continued to dance and do the exercises, but I struggled with what I should do. A battle raged in my head. Should I sit down? Should I leave the room? I was very uneasy. I had never taken an aerobics class before and didn’t know what to expect. Since I was a new person in the class, I figured that I was probably the only one who objected to the song. This group had been together for several years so apparently, they thought it was ok. But I didn’t. I tried different tactics. I tried to slow my movements down as if I wasn’t moving. My strategy was to try not to participate without anyone else knowing that I wasn’t participating. Each time the song played I knew to stay and participate was not the right thing for me to do. It may have been okay with everyone else, but I knew it wasn’t okay with me. But rather than make a scene and ask the instructor to stop I just pushed myself through the song trying not to focus on the words.

Finally, yesterday I was in my aerobics class and she played the song again. About 30 seconds into the song I heard the Holy Spirit say, “What are you doing?” My entire body, from head to toe, vibrated at the sound of his voice. When He said it a couple of scriptures flashed through my mind. I thought about when Cain killed Abel. The LORD asked Cain, “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?” As I stood there in the class, I thought the Lord is all-knowing. He knew what happened to Abel, and it was like He wanted Cain to know that He knew. The other scripture that popped into my mind was the one after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. After eating the forbidden fruit, the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” Again, the Lord knew where Adam and Eve were hiding, and why. Suddenly, I knew that the Holy Spirit knew what I was doing. He knew I was doing something I shouldn’t be doing, and He wanted me to know that He knew. 

When the Holy Spirit asked me, “What are you doing?” I stopped in my tracks and turned around and I walked off the floor to the back of the room. I was busted. Guilty as charged!

8 One day Cain suggested to his brother, “Let’s go out into the fields.”[c] And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him. 9 Afterward the Lord asked Cain, “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?” Genesis 4:8-9

Blessings,

Sandra

A Warning!

A few days ago, I received a text from a friend asking me if I wanted to meet her for coffee at a local restaurant. I thought that was great and we set up a time for the next day. After setting it up I suddenly became consumed with thoughts about running into a woman, I will call her Jane, while there. The thoughts came out of nowhere. I haven’t seen Jane in almost two years and what makes matters worse my last encounter with her was not pleasant. In terms of our personalities, Jane and I are opposites. She is very aggressive, and I am not. So, my thoughts of running into her in the restaurant were focused on seeing her and finding myself in a difficult, challenging, aggressive conversation; something I most definitely didn’t want to do! But at the same time, I had no reason to even think that she would be there. Yet, for some reason, I was consumed with these thoughts. It seemed like every thirty minutes I was thinking about her and praying over both of us.

As I tried to figure out why I kept having these thoughts, I tried to come up with some sort of a logical reason or connection for the thoughts. I had never seen her at this restaurant before, I didn’t know whether she even went to this restaurant. I did know that she worked about two miles from the restaurant. So, I attributed my thoughts to a figment of my imagination triggered by the location of the restaurant.

The next day when I went to meet my friend, I arrived at the restaurant about 20 minutes early. I sat in a chair near the door so I would be able to see my friend when she arrived. But as I sat I became consumed with thoughts about running into Jane. I began to wonder if I should move away from the door, out of sight. After giving it some thought I decided that I had an overactive imagination and I would stay put. My friend arrived and we found a table near some windows facing one of the several walkways to the front door. After chatting with my friend for about a half-hour I looked up and saw Jane walking up the sidewalk to the front door. My heart almost jumped out of my chest. I did a double-take just to make sure, and it was her. I turned my attention back to my friend, but from the corner of my eye, I saw her glance over at me. I did not see her once she arrived in the restaurant. The restaurant has various walls and corners, so I didn’t know where she sat.

While talking to my friend I was only half engaged in our conversation. I kept thinking about what happened the day before and being consumed with thoughts of Jane. As I talked with my friend, I realized that God knew she was going to be there. Then it hit me! He was warning me. He was preparing me for the encounter. When I saw her, I did not have any negative feelings towards her, and I did not feel any anxiety. Knowing that He warned be about having a negative, or challenging conversation with Jane, I made it a point to focus my attention on my friend. I did not want to open the door to a potential negative encounter with Jane so I decided it would be to my benefit to avoid her.

 Praise God for the warning! I pray if the Lord warns you that you do not ignore Him as well.

12 When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod. Matthew 2:12

Blessings,

Sandra