Music to my Ears

Even though I don’t sing, and I don’t play an instrument and I am not a very good dancer, music has always been a special part of my life. Certain songs hit my heart and soul so deep that I am mesmerized and unable to move, speak, or even breathe, as I soak in the rhythm and melody.

I remember as a child I laid awake at night trying to find “good songs” on the radio. My town didn’t have an R&B station, but late at night if I moved the dial on the radio a fraction at a time, I might catch a good song; that one that would keep my heart singing for days.

One night as I was in bed turning the dial on my transistor radio, I heard the faint sounds of a gospel song. It was far off in the distance, but it was there. My heart leaped as I knew I had found one! The DJ did not say who the artist was, or the name of the song, but it consumed me nonetheless. Every night for several weeks I scanned the radio stations late at night trying to catch that song again. I never heard it again. To this day I regularly wake up in the middle of the night with a song playing in my head. Over, and over, and over again a song plays as I dance and sing in my sleep.

A few days ago I went to bed as normal, and I woke up at 12:40 am. I had fallen asleep with a Christian television channel playing, and after falling asleep I woke up a couple of hours later hearing a song. I had never heard it before, and I didn’t know who the band was, but it went deep down in my soul, so deep I started dancing and swaying to the music in my sleep. Then I slowly woke up and I continued to sway to the music. I thought that is a wonderful song! Then suddenly I jumped up in bed and I yelled, “Ahhhhh! That’s the Lord.” I realized at that moment that the Lord had awakened me to hear that song. He knew it was the song for me.

I jumped up in bed in a panic. The problem was I didn’t know the name of the song, and I didn’t know the band. If I wanted to buy it, which I did, I couldn’t. I scrambled for my phone because I had an app that would tell me the name of the song and the artist if it could hear it. As the song was coming to an end I fumbled with unlocking my phone. It was at night and I was not wearing my glasses. Three times I desperately tried to unlock my phone before the song ended. Finally, I unlocked it and I found the app I needed. I tapped on the listen button just before the song was about to end and in a matter of seconds, the app recognized the song and the title, and the artist’s name popped up on my screen. I breathed a sigh of relief.

That song was music to my ears. It is now at the top of my playlist!

James 5:13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.

Blessings,

Sandra

Second Chance

A couple of days ago I sat down in front of my computer to grade papers. One by one I opened the documents, read them, and checked each paper for plagiarism. During this process, I encountered a student who plagiarized her assignment. What she did was take the assignment from another student who had previously taken the class, place her name on it and post it in my class as hers. I would like to tell you this is rare, but it is not. In today’s environment with so much information on the Internet and the fact that if a student does not pass a class, they have to pay a portion of it back, this causes some students to do some incredibly irresponsible things.

When I discovered what she did I contacted the student to allow them to explain. The student responded to me immediately and apologized. She indicated there was no excuse for what she did, and asked me to forgive her, and indicated that whatever punishment I wanted to give she would accept. As the instructor, I can punish a little, or I can punish a lot. Her response was not what I expected. As a matter of fact, it’s the first time in over 20 years I had a student respond this way. Generally, it’s either a quick denial, and that they would never do anything like that, or they claimed they had no idea that what they were doing was wrong. After reading her response my next step was to decide the punishment if any I was going to place on the student.

I pondered my options as the words of a friend raced through my mind. I have a friend who has a zero-tolerance policy for plagiarism and lies. Her response is that when students plagiarize or lie, that they are adults, they know exactly what they’re doing, and if they do it on her watch, she’s going to have the student kicked out of class.  As I reread the email response numerous times the words that jumped out at me were, “please forgive me. “In over 20 years of teaching, I have never heard a student ask for forgiveness. My friend went on a rampage, “So what if they repented, the deed is done. This might be the tenth time they did it and they finally got caught. Kick them out!”

As I prayed about what to do, I felt the presence of the Lord speak to me. I heard the Lord say, “ Give her a second chance.” As He said this, I knew this student was not in my class by accident. I knew that this was not a coincidence. The Lord knew that she was going to cheat, and He put me in place to handle it. I did as the Lord instructed and gave her a second chance. When I told her she broke down and cried.

We all need forgiveness.

“and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us”  Matthew 6:12

Blessings,

Sandra

Raise Your Antenna

It’s always nice when you get a chance to see the Lord at work.  In an environment with so much turmoil and angst, His intervention no matter how seemingly small is such a breath of fresh air. Let me explain.

I have a home that has a second-floor guest area. Family members love to come and stay with me because they have the entire second floor to themselves. This area includes two bedrooms, a guest bathroom, and a loft. I have had family members come and stay with me for one night, several months, and everything in between.

When someone asks me if it is ok to come and stay, I know it is not because they miss me, or want to spend time with me. I am not that popular. 🙂 At the root, of the request is a desire to get away from their current environment and have a peaceful place that they can stay unbothered. Everyone knows they’re welcome and I don’t require any payment. I just try my best to make sure that everyone is comfortable, so I stock up with some extra food, and give the second floor a good cleaning.

This past weekend I received a call that a relative wanted to come and stay with me. They knew the day that they were going to arrive, but they hadn’t decided when they were going to return. They were dealing with some difficult personal family problems, and they needed a change of environment as they prepared for the next journey in their life. I told them that would be fine, and I prepared for their arrival.

After cleaning the guest area, I sat down and created a list of the things that I needed before they arrived. I needed food because I do not eat meat, and I needed to get a new antenna for the television in the guest bedroom. Yes, I said antenna. It’s an old television that needs an antenna for reception.

After creating my list, I went to my computer and filled my online shopping cart with the needed items. As I put my mouse over the check-out button on my computer I stopped in my tracks when I heard the Lord say, “wait.” I was a little puzzled because as a single person, I don’t keep a lot of food on hand. I don’t buy snacks, I don’t have a lot of leftovers, and I do not eat meat. I also knew this relative was a big TV watcher and a movie buff and I was concerned that I couldn’t offer them a working television in what I knew they saw as their upstairs sanctuary. But after the Lord told me to wait, I took the old television out of the room and I replaced it with a radio. I turned off the lights and I left.

My guest arrived as they said, and since they had already eaten, food was not an issue, and they went to bed. The next morning after staying only one night, they announced that they felt they left home hastily, and they had too many things to do and were going to return home. They were dealing with a family crisis, and that the place they needed to be was at home. So, they turned around and left. When I went upstairs to change the bedding, I saw that they didn’t sleep in the bed and instead they slept in the recliner in the room, and they did not unpack.

As I sat on the bed thinking about what happened I was in awe not because my God had spared me the cost of unnecessary purchases, but that He knew what was going on in both of our lives. I thought just like with an antenna you have to change the position to improve the reception. The Lord orchestrated our lives to intercept at just the right place and time for him to do his work. I pray you keep your antenna raised ready to receive the signal when it comes.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep.” John 10:14-15

Blessings,

Sandra

$50

Today while watching television and playing a word game on my tablet, I got this strong urge to withdraw $50 out of my savings account. I didn’t have any particular plans for it, it was just something that I felt that I needed to do. So, I dropped everything and withdrew the money.

About an hour and a half later after making the withdrawal I received a telephone call from a desperate friend. She told me that she didn’t get paid until Friday and that she was completely out of food. She said she had just eaten her last granola bar. She asked me if I could help her out by giving her $20 so she could buy some food for herself and her special needs son. I told her, yes and I arranged to get the $50 to her. I gave her the full $50 because I knew $20 would not be enough for the two of them. 

After getting the money to her, I was back on the couch watching television and playing a word game. While sitting there I suddenly was hit in the head with a gust of wind. It was so hard; it pushed my head back and I sucked in my breath. Instantly I said, “Ohhhhh that was You!” meaning the Holy Spirit. “You wanted me to get the money so that I would have it for my friend when she called. Wow!”

I encourage you to stay ready for the gust of wind!

“No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit.”

1 Corinthians 2:11

Blessings,

Sandra

Slow Motion

I was listening to a Bible study this morning when the teacher talked about seeing in this world and seeing in the spiritual world. His statement brought back something that happened about 10 years ago.

I was at work one day when my supervisor walked down the aisle and went a few cubicles down and tapped a good friend of mine on the shoulder and told her that she had received an emergency telephone call. My friend was talking to a customer at the time, so she had to wait a minute to hang up. As soon as she hung up, she got up and started running down the aisle to get to the front desk to take her call. I looked up and I saw her running down the aisle past me. To my amazement, she was running in slow motion. I had never seen this before except on television in sci-fi movies. I was amazed at what I saw. Every part of her being was moving in slow motion. I didn’t have a whole lot of time to think about what I saw because I was on the phone with a customer as well and the calls were coming in rapid-fire. That was the first time I saw in slow motion, but it wasn’t the last time.

The second time I saw in slow motion I was driving home from visiting my parents out of state when I looked up on the other side of the highway and I watched as a car ran off the highway and tipped over onto the grass that divided the highway from the northbound and southbound traffic. I pulled my car over to see if there was some way I could help. I got out of the car and I stood on the side of the road and watched as a young man climbed out of the back window and he started running in slow motion over to someone who had been thrown out of the car onto the grass.

The last time I saw in slow motion I was driving home from church. A few blocks from the church I had to make a stop at an intersection. There was one car ahead of me, so we both were waiting for our chance to turn. As we sat, I heard some tires screeching and a horn blow and suddenly all of the traffic at this intersection was moving in slow motion. A car ran the light and as that car drove through the intersection it was moving in slow motion, and as all the other cars at the intersection reacted, they too did so in slow motion. No accident occurred.

In this bible study, this morning the teacher said two parallel realities were existing side-by-side. One is the reality of the natural world, and the other is the reality of the spiritual world. He said seeing in the natural is seeing from only one perspective. I don’t know whether or not these incidences of seeing in slow motion were seeing into the spiritual world. I don’t have an explanation for it. It was certainly something spontaneous and amazing. Though I don’t have any answers I pray for us all as we move to begin 2021 that as the Lord did for Elisha when he prayed for his servant for his eyes to open, He does the same for us.

“Then Elisha prayed, “Lord, please open his eyes and let him see.” So the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he saw that the mountain was covered with horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” 2 Kings 6:17

Have a blessed new year,

Sandra

2 am

I was raised in a small town in Michigan. There’s no other word to describe where I lived except to say it was the country. Though the streets were paved, there weren’t any streetlights or sidewalks, and the nearest gas station was about 10 miles away. I lived around open fields, woods, and farms in all directions.

In many ways, my childhood was pretty typical. I went through the normal teenage angst like most teenagers. But when I was 13 I decided I was miserable and I was going to run away. For reasons I no longer remember I decided that I was going to sneak out of the house at 2 am and leave. I had no idea where I was going to go, no idea how I was going to support myself, and no idea where I was going to live. But nevertheless, I was going to go!

I packed some essential items in a brown paper bag and placed it on the floor inside my closet. I knew that if I set my alarm clock that I would wake up my sister and most definitely wake up my parents, so before going to bed, I asked the Lord to wake me up at 2 am. With my essentials packed, I crawled into bed and quickly fell asleep. At exactly 2 am my eyes popped open and I saw the red light on my digital clock shining bright with the current time of 2 am. I quietly slipped out of bed, grabbed my clothes and my brown paper bag and I snuck down into the basement so that I could slip out the back door. I opened the back door and stepped out into the backyard.

Before I could close the door behind me every animal in the woods woke up! Is that a wolf? What’s that rustling around over there in the woods? Wait a minute, is that a bear? Is there a snake over there by the swing set? Standing there for what seemed like an hour but was only a few seconds, I decided that it was too dark to leave and I better wait until daylight. I turned around and I went back upstairs and put the paper bag in the closet, and I got back in the bed. I’ll find some time tomorrow during the day to run away I thought, and I went back to sleep. That was my first and last attempt at running away.

At 13 years old I didn’t understand about a personal relationship with the Lord. I was raised Catholic during a time when all services were in Latin. I never understood church. I never understood the Bible because we used a catholic missalette. On the other hand, I knew that my mother sincerely prayed, that I had vivid dreams and that I always seemed to know things. What I mean by that is that I could look at another person and suddenly know something about them. Not necessarily what they ate for breakfast, but their character. Whether they were telling the truth or not telling the truth. Whether they were a good person or bad person, whether they could be trusted, whether they couldn’t be trusted. At times I could see their pain. I learned very quickly I could look at another person and know things, so I assumed that others could do the same with me. So out of fear I was afraid that if I twitched if I blinked, if my eyelid fluttered, that my entire inner being would be exposed for the world to see. I assumed it was normal, so I developed a stoic emotionless demeanor to protect myself.

As a young child these things were extremely real, but at the same time confusing, and uncontrollable. So, asking the Lord to wake me up at 2 o’clock in the morning was something that I did very naturally. I didn’t get down on my knees, fold my hands, grab the rosary, and pray for the Lord to wake me up at 2 o’clock in the morning. I just said it to myself almost haphazardly, as I was placing my paper bag into the closet. No further thought was given to what I was asking.

I did not understand the importance of communicating with the Lord. I didn’t know how to pursue Him. I didn’t know how to nurture or grow in Him. As a 13-year-old child, it was one incident, that happened one day, and I moved on. I was just too young and too inexperienced in the things of faith. Today, I wonder how that incident would have changed my life if I had a true understanding of the Lord? How would my spiritual journey have changed if I understood the meaning of prayer? I was too young to understand that when he woke me up, He answered my prayers and that He heard me!

If the Lord wakes you up at 2 am I encourage you to see it for the miracle it truly is, thank him, and go after him with everything you’ve got!

I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. Proverbs 8:17

Blessings,

Sandra,

Act!

A couple of weeks ago I was running an errand when a pastor friend of mine and his wife popped into my mind. I’m sure you’ve had times when a person pops in your mind and you think, hmm, maybe I’ll give them a call and see how they’re doing. Well, that’s what happened to me.

I completed my errand, and I went home. As soon as I stopped in the driveway, they popped into my mind again. So instead of going inside, I stayed in the driveway, and sent him a text, and asked him how he and his wife were doing.

By the time I stepped in the house he had returned my text and told me that he was sitting in the emergency room with his wife who was battling pneumonia.

To be honest my first thought when he told me that he was sitting in the emergency room was that I felt very embarrassed. I thought my goodness how could you disturb the man when he’s in the emergency room. I felt horrible! But then I realized, I had no idea he was in the emergency room, and I had no idea that his wife was sick.

Then I started thinking about the timing of sending that text. If I had sent it earlier, he could’ve been on his way to the emergency room, or at home, caring for his wife. If I had waited much later or the next day whatever was going on would have been over. All I knew was that the Holy Spirit nudged me to send him a text while he was sitting in the emergency room, with nothing to do, but wait.

When he told me, he was in the emergency room all I did was send him back an emoji of praying hands, and I typed the word praying.

I have to assume that the Lord wanted him to receive those prayers at that moment. Not earlier or the next day. I pray when you get nudged by the Holy Spirit that you act immediately.

“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” Romans 8:14

Blessings,

Sandra

Peace I Give

I think we can all agree that it’s difficult to get through life without feeling a little stress or anxiety. Stress and anxiety can come from many places including our family, our friends, and our jobs. I’ve been dealing with a stressful situation for the past week. The dialogue in my head has been a never-ending reel of self-doubt. What could I have done better?

Every day at some point that reel in my head would pop up and I would feel the anxiety swirling around. Finally, yesterday afternoon I gave it to God. Now I know what you’re thinking. Why didn’t you give it to God two weeks ago? Honestly, because I was in so much pain I was consumed with my feelings, how I felt, what I did right, and most importantly what I did wrong.

So yesterday before going to bed I sat on the side of the bed and I cried out to the Lord that I needed peace. I gave the entire situation to him. I just lifted my hands in the air and said it’s all yours. I can’t do it anymore. I trust whatever it is that you do with the situation. Immediately I begin to feel a sense of peace, I knew the Lord had touched me. The problem had not changed but the stress about it had been lifted. I was so grateful. When I went to bed instead of getting up in the middle of the night and worrying about it, thinking about it when I went to the restroom, thinking about it as I headed to the kitchen to get a glass of water, I had total please, and I slept through the night.

The next morning I woke up after a peaceful night’s sleep, and while still in bed I said, “Alexa, play my devotional for today.” She said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

I sat straight up in the bed!

I pray you to have peace today.

Blessings,

Sandra

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