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

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

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

Seek Him!

As a part-time instructor, I’m often challenged with pushing through times when I’m not teaching. As a contracted employee I get paid only when I teach. So, keeping your name on the schedule is extremely important. When I first started teaching over 20 years ago, I was very proactive about getting on the schedule. I was constantly sending emails to the scheduler and letting them know I was ready to teach. As a new instructor, I saw and did what my peers did. They said, “If you want to teach you need to establish a relationship with the scheduler and stay on their radar.”

Though I understood the importance of being on the schedule I found it extremely stressful. Not only did I feel like a pest, but I was also consumed with checking my email and flipping through my calendar. It seemed like I was checking my email every five minutes. When I wasn’t on the schedule, I also spent hours looking at my calendar. I kept thinking, OK, I need to get a class on this date, so I can get a paycheck on this date so that I can have the money to pay this bill on this date. As the days passed, the stress mounted since I would have to go back to the calendar and recalculate the missed paydays.

The stress caused me numerous sleepless nights, until one day I realized I was not standing in faith. I wasn’t standing on God’s promise to supply all my needs. I was taking control of my schedule when I should have given my schedule to Him. Against the advice of my family and my friends, I decided it was time for me to stand in faith and give my schedule to the Lord and stop contacting the scheduler. I suddenly had a tremendous amount of peace. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that for the past 20 years I have not had a time when I wasn’t teaching. What I am saying is that whenever I found myself getting a little worried, I reminded myself to stand on his promise and trust that he would send the class to me that I needed when I needed it. As a result of that faith, I can honestly say that I have taught steadily for the past 20 years. Well, let me say almost! My last class ended in September.

This time of year can be very stressful because it’s generally hard to pick up a class during the holidays. Many students don’t like to go to class during the holiday season. So, as each day passed, I found myself becoming more and more anxious. I was waking up in the middle of the night thinking about it. Thinking about it during my exercise class. Thinking about it when I should be doing my Bible study. I became consumed with fear and doubt. Here I was after 20 years, not standing in faith. I was listening to my coworkers and not the Lord. I kept struggling with wanting to take control of my schedule. I was desperate! It was a difficult battle until I woke up a few nights ago and asked myself the question, who are you going to believe, the world or the Lord? After a long night of restless sleep, I decided enough was enough! No more battle!!! God was in control, and I needed to trust Him and get my mind off my situation and in line with the Lord. So, this morning instead of saying a prayer about my situation, and retelling the Lord, over, and over, the things that I know He already knew I prayed differently. I prayed for Him to show me how I could serve him. I asked Him to bring people to me I could minister to and show them some love and kindness. Boy did he! And within 24 hours He rocked my world!

After praying this prayer, I went to my aerobics class. When I arrived, I saw one of my friends and I noticed that she looked frustrated and angry. I asked her what was going on. She told me that she thought it would be a good idea to collect money for the instructor of the class as a Christmas present. She said she started the collection only to find out she had upset two other members in the class who were planning to do it but had not yet started. Apparently, they felt slighted, because they had been doing it every year for the past several years. My friend has only been in the class for about a year and did not know this information. When I arrived, my friend told me what happened. She was very angry that her good deed had been stomped on. After listening to her I immediately knew what the Lord wanted me to do. I told her that I couldn’t tell her what to do. But if it were me, I would pass the responsibility of collecting the money back over to them. I told her I would do it with love. I would do it without offense. I said, “Don’t fight over it, don’t argue over it, don’t be offended.” She said, ok.

After we finished talking another member of the class stopped me and handed me a Christmas card. I was so surprised! She told me not to open it until I got home. I said, OK and left. When I got home, I opened the card and my heart stopped. Inside the card, I saw three $100 bills. I was shocked! It took my breath away! In the card, she explained why she gave it. A couple of months ago I twisted my knee while walking. She saw me in class one day not participating at my normal level and asked me what was wrong. I told her that I needed a leg brace for my injured knee but the one that I needed cost $300 and it wasn’t in the budget. She placed a note on the card saying that she gave me the money to get the brace that I needed. Not only did the Lord allow me to bless someone else, He blessed me as well.

I then sat down to pray and read the Bible. While reading I received a notification that I had received an email. When I opened my email, my heart stopped for a second time that day. The email asked would I be interested in teaching a class. I screamed yes!!!

Once I surrendered and gave the situation to the Lord, and took the focus off myself, not only did He give me the opportunity to minister to someone, He blessed me for doing it. Also, the next day after my friend gave the money collection back to the original members they decided to split the responsibility! Praise God!

13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. Jeremiah 29:13

Blessings,

Sandra

Awakened

We’ve been having some bad weather for the last couple of days. As I was preparing for the storm the Lord reminded me of His intervention in my life many years ago.

I was a freshman in college and had relocated to another state. I was 17 years old and it was my first time away from home. One night I was laying on the couch watching television when I fell asleep. This was unusual because it was difficult to watch this television because it was very small. The screen was about the size of a small laptop screen, plus it was a black and white television.

I was laying on the couch watching television when suddenly I woke up and realized that I was on the couch and not in the bed, so I turned off the television and went to my bedroom. Not long after I got in the bed, I dozed off to sleep. Then again, I was jolted awake. It was a little confusing for a second. I heard a knock on my bedroom door and my landlady was frantic and yelling for me to get up because someone had tried to break into the house. I was terrified! Shaking, I got out of the bed and I went to the door to see what was wrong. What I saw took my breath away. My landlady was standing there with a gun. I was shocked! I had never seen a gun up close and personal. She pointed the gun down the hallway and said look someone busted out my window.

She led the way down the hallway with her gun at arm’s length. I walked cautiously behind her. When I got to the living room something didn’t look right. My eyes surveyed the room as my heart pounded. I noticed we were in the middle of a terrible storm. It was thundering, and lightning and the rain was deafening.

My eyes glanced around the room and I saw glass and big rocks all over the living room floor. I walked over to the window and I looked out and that is when it all made sense. I turned around and told my landlord that no one had tried to break in, but that lightning had struck the chimney in the house next door and all the rocks flew through her window. She gave a sigh of relief and said, “Praise God!”

She put the gun down and then screamed, “Sandra, look! If you had stayed there on the couch you would be dead!” She pointed to the couch where I had been sleeping and, in the spot, where I was laying my head was a boulder about the size of a soccer ball.

I helped her clean up the mess and then sat down, shaking, and contemplating what could have happened if I had not been awakened to move and go to bed.

I prayed a prayer of thanks as I realized I was awakened by the Holy Spirit.

“Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Galatians 4:6

Blessings,

Sandra

Just a Sip

Every day I learn more and more about my walk with the Lord and how to let him lead. It’s actually part of my morning prayer. This desire to allow the Lord to lead my every move comes from studying the lives and reading the autobiographies of awesome men and women of God who were able to surrender their lives to the Lord. Their surrender included giving every need and every circumstance over to Him. This inspired me to do the same. Initially, it was a little discouraging. That was because some days I would see his hand at work in such a bold manner it would take my breath away. And other days I would see just a light touch, one that was easily forgotten. It was the light touch I was tending to forget until I learned to smile with gratefulness that he took the time to show up in my life in the first place. Just like he did the other day.

A few days ago, the weather was beautiful so, I called a friend and asked her if she wanted to meet me at a local park for a walk. She was excited so we met, and we ended up walking for about 3 miles before calling it quits. After our walk, I asked my friend if she wanted to go and have a cup of coffee. Generally, when we hang out together, we go to the same coffee shop all the time.  It’s a popular local coffee spot, with nice music, the Internet, and a good place to socialize. This little shop had become our routine go-to spot.  I wanted to spend some more time with my friend, so I asked, “Do you want to go get some coffee?” I didn’t have to ask her if she wanted to go to our regular go-to spot, I just assumed that would be what we would do. She wanted to continue to hang out so she said, “Yes do you want to go to John’s Cafe?”  This was our go-to spot, so when she asked the question to my surprise, without even thinking, I said, “No why don’t we go to Sally’s Cafe. It’s on the way home and we can sit outside and enjoy the beautiful weather.”  The words flew out of my mouth before I had a chance to call them back. Where in the world did that suggestion come from, I thought? This was not our ordinary spot.  After suggesting that we go to Sally’s she said, “That’s great, I love Sally’s!“  Still a little puzzled we both jumped in our cars and drove to Sally’s.

She pulled into the parking lot first, and I was right behind her. My windows were down so as I pulled into a parking space next to hers, I heard a lot of voices. I was not able to see around her car to locate where the voices were coming from, so I continued to park and then get out of the car. She also got out of her car and I suddenly heard screams of joy and excitement. That was when I saw that two of her children were there having coffee. All of her children are grown and no longer living at home so seeing them at an unplanned place and time was such a blessing. They were all so excited to see each other. She looked at me knowing that this was not a coincidence. Had we gone to John’s Café she would have missed seeing them. She looked at her children shaking her head at how the Lord orchestrated four lives for that moment.  It was great to watch her interact with her children and to see a simple sip of coffee turn into a family reunion.

10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing. Psalm 143:10

Blessings,

Sandra

 

 

 

Smart Lock

As a homeowner sooner or later you know you will be faced with home repairs. As would be expected after over 10 years in my home I started having some trouble with the deadbolt locks on my doors. They started sticking, and I needed to replace them. I went to my local home improvement store and I was looking at the deadbolt locks when one of the sales clerks walked over to me and asked if he could help. I told him what I was doing, and he asked me had I considered purchasing a smart lock.  To be honest my first thought was a sarcastic one. I said, oh my goodness, don’t tell me you make locks now that will send you text messages! He laughed and said, no but the smart lock would allow me to re-key my locks at my own convenience and within the comfort of my home. He said if I wanted to change my keys to my door, I could re-key the lock myself.

I thought that was interesting, but once he told me the price, that’s when the battle in my mind began. Each new deadbolt would cost me $50. If I were to purchase the smart locks, I would be making an investment of $100. All I could think about was the money. Do I really want to do this? What benefit is it to me? How often would I need to change keys? I went for almost 10 years without having to change the keys. Is it really that necessary to spend the money? My mind kept telling me to not to do it, but something in my spirit kept telling me to make the investment. I fought that battle for several minutes until I finally gave up and decided to spend the $100 and purchase the smart locks. I went home, installed the deadbolts, and re-keyed both locks. I always like to give a spare key to a family member, so I took one of my keys and put it in my car in the container in between the two front seats. The plan was that the next time I went to the hardware store I would get an extra key made. I was very busy and didn’t get a chance to get to the store, so the keys remained in my car.

Three days after purchasing the deadbolts, early one Saturday morning, I woke up because I heard someone banging on my front door. I went to the door and I saw a woman who lives in my subdivision standing on my front porch. I opened the door and she told me that my car had been broken into. Apparently, in the middle of the night, two teenagers went through the subdivision and broke into all the cars that were parked on the street or sitting in the driveway. That included my car. When they broke into my car they took a spare key to my house.

All I could think of at that time was the smart lock. I was overwhelmed with emotion that because I had purchased smart locks, within minutes of being told my car had been broken into, I had rekeyed the locks. That meant that the key that the burglars stole,  no longer worked. I went over in my mind the battle that I had in the store about spending the $100. Within three days of that purchase, those locks had earned me every penny I spent back, plus some!

Now I know why I struggled in the store about spending $100 on a smart lock.  I was in a battle between Satan and The Holy Spirit who knew my car was going to be burglarized.

Praise God for the leading of the Holy Spirit?

“12 The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness,” Mark 1:12

Blessings,

Sandra

 

 

My Bad

Not too long ago I met a woman who asked me to pray for her. I am always ready to pray, so I jumped at the opportunity. I asked her what she wanted me to pray for and that’s when the floodgates opened. She began what turned out to be a very long complicated list of issues that needed the Lord’s attention. Her request was intermingled with an emotional narrative detailing each situation. It was not what you might call your typical one and done prayer. As she was speaking, I was thinking to myself that I needed to get a notepad out of my purse to write down her requests because I will never remember what she is saying. Though that’s what I wanted to do, I was too embarrassed to do it.

Finally, she finished her request and I said, “OK let’s lift this up to the Lord and pray for your right foot.” As soon as I said it, I thought to myself, what are you saying? I did not see that response coming. I felt so stupid. Pray for your right foot? Where did that come from? Too embarrassed to stop, like a true prayer warrior, I moved forward as if nothing happened. On the inside, I was dying, but I went ahead and prayed for her right foot anyway.

After I finished, she said, “Why did you pray for my right foot? I did not ask you to pray for my right foot.” I stood silent for a few seconds not sure what to say. Then she said, “ I have been having a problem with my right foot for some time, but I didn’t ask you to pray for it.” My first thought was to say, “My Bad! Let me start over.” But as soon as she said she was having a problem with her right foot, that’s when it hit me. That was confirmation! That’s when I realized it was the Holy Spirit. That would be the only way I would know what to pray. I smiled with confidence and said, “The Holy Spirit!” She was literally speechless. I could tell by her response that she now realized that Jesus is real.

8 Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! Matthew 6:8

Blessings,

Sandra

 

 

 

In the right Hands

Last week I did my normal mall walk. Sometimes it can get hot in the mall, so there are primarily two spots in the mall where people tend to take off their jackets and lay them on a table while they walk. I do the same thing, so last week I dropped my jacket at the table as normal, but when I came back around after walking the jacket was gone. Immediately I went to the security office, which is also lost and found to see if anyone had taken it there. Unfortunately, they had not.

When I realized that my jacket had been stolen, I was a little upset. Not because it was expensive because it wasn’t, it had no monetary value. The jacket was old, worn out, and kind of ratty. But it was the top to a sweat suit that I wear a lot in the winter time. My feelings were hurt, but there was nothing I could do. I had finished my walk, so I left to go to my car. Once outside I lifted my hands to the Lord, and I said “Lord, if somebody took my jacket they must really need it. I pray that they are blessed by it.“

This morning I went to the mall to walk as normal. As I walked around the mall, I had just started my last lap when I looked up, and I saw one of the cleaning ladies wearing a black jacket. I was so focused on the jacket I didn’t even see her face. I walked straight towards her looking at the jacket. As I walked, I said, “Is that a black jacket?” When she heard me, she started unzipping the jacket and said, “Is this your jacket?” Still focused on the jacket I said, “I don’t know, it looks like it.” She handed it to me. I had marked the inside of my jacket on the pocket, so I opened it up to see if it was marked. It was, and I said, “Yes, this is my jacket.”  She said someone left it on the table and they turned it in. I said, “Really? I went to lost and found, and they said there wasn’t one there.” She seemed jumpy but said, “Sometimes they take them to the maid’s closet. I was wearing it because it is so cold in here; feel my hands.” I didn’t feel her hands; I was too focused on my jacket.  I was smiling. This jacket was like an old friend. It comforted me. We had been through a lot. I was excited we were back together.

After getting the jacket back, I continued my walk. I got about halfway around my last lap when the Lord reminded me of the prayer I had prayed the week before. He said, “You prayed that whoever took that jacket probably needed it and that they would be blessed by it.“ I then started to replay my conversation with this lady in my head. I realized at that moment that this woman was the one who had taken the jacket, and instead of turning it into lost and found she took it to her locker. When I asked her if that was a black jacket, immediately she unzipped it and was taking it off as fast as she could. I remember she was a little fidgety and a little uncomfortable and she kept talking about how cold it was collecting trash in the mall.

Once the Lord reminded me of the prayer that I prayed I knew right then that I had to give the jacket to this woman. I walked around the mall looking up and down every hallway trying to find her. I finished my walk, so I went back to the table where I had left the jacket in the first place. This table was near the security office and the cleaning office. I sat at the table, and I prayed. I told the Lord that I wanted to give the jacket to the lady, but I didn’t know where she was. I asked him to show me where she was. I sat at the table for about 15 minutes thinking she would walk back around, but she didn’t. I felt sad and disappointed that I had missed this opportunity.

It was time to leave, and so I got up and headed to my car. When I walked outside, I looked up, and in the distance in the parking lot, I saw this woman standing outside shaking from head to toe. She was outside smoking a cigarette. She was a ways away so I took off running waving my hands so she would see me. When she saw me, I ran toward her holding my jacket at arm’s length to give it to her. She saw me and ran towards me with her arms wide open to receive it. When we met, I gave her the jacket, and I told her she could have it. Before I could finish my sentence, she was putting the jacket on. She said, “What a blessing, thank you so much!” She hugged me, and we both went our separate ways.

“When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!’ Luke 15:9

Blessings,

Sandra

Encouraged

Several weeks ago, I woke up and I was not ready to face the day because I did not expect it to be a good one. I’m usually a very upbeat person, but life has been a bit of a challenge as I painfully look for a job. Being out of work will challenge every aspect of who you are as a person and who you are as a Christian. If you want to know how strong you are in faith go through a job loss. Discouragement is real, idle time is real, and lack of purpose and direction is also real.

On this day my cries to the Lord were loud and came straight from my heart. I needed to hear His voice. I needed Him to speak to me. I didn’t need to know why I was out of work; I didn’t need to know why my part-time teaching classes had stopped coming, I didn’t need to know if He was still walking with me. I needed encouragement!

As I prayed with all my heart, I suddenly heard a familiar sound, that ping that I had received an email. I opened my eyes, and I glanced at my phone. That is when I saw it. Those wonderful words, “Are you available to teach…”   I almost jumped out of my skin with excitement. Except I didn’t; instead I lifted my head to the Lord and shouted, “Thank you, Lord!” I shook my head thinking, I know I would be lost without Him.  He’s never late and knows exactly what we need.

19 But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer. Psalm 66:19

Blessings,

Sandra