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

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,

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

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

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

 

 

 

Nook and Cranny

Yesterday I sat down to fill my pillbox for the week. While I was in the process of filling the box, I dropped one of my pills. Since I was sitting on a cloth sofa and the floor was carpet, I didn’t see or hear where it fell. I got off of the sofa and looked everywhere. I looked on the floor, under the cushions, and around the end tables, but the pill was nowhere to be found.

The more I looked without success the more I began to feel a little anxious. I wanted to find the pill because I didn’t want it to be found by a child. Leave it to a child to find that one thing that you’ve been looking for-for six months. After looking in every nook and cranny without success, I lifted my hands to the Lord and prayed that he would show me where the pill fell. After I prayed, I went about my normal activities for the rest of the day.

The next day after I returned from church I changed clothes. I put on a pair of sweatpants, a sweatshirt and a pair of winter boot style slippers. We had some unseasonably cold weather so yesterday and today I reverted to my heavy winter slippers. When I put my foot in the right slipper, I felt something under my foot. I took the slipper off and put my hand inside, to pull out what I found. It was the pill! The pill had fallen from my hands and fell inside of a boot slipper that I only wear in the winter months. I said, oh my goodness! I couldn’t believe it! All I could do was shake my head with unbelief and say thank you, Jesus!

“A woman has ten valuable silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and look in every corner of the house and sweep every nook and cranny until she finds it?” Luke 15:8

Blessings,

Sandra