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

 

Chain Chain Chain

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s had disappointments. We all have those days and times when things don’t go the way that we want. I know there have been times when my disappointments overshadowed the things the Lord told me that lifted me up. That’s what happened last week. I had some great highs and some deep lows. The lows were hard, and I struggled with finding the joy. When I let that happen, I could not hear the Lord. My mind was overwhelmed with the cares and worries over the situation that was bothering me.   

As I struggled with disappointment it reminded me that over the past couple of months I had been studying and meditating on the biblical term “cried out. “ I wondered when someone ”cried out” in the bible how different that from “regular prayer.“ It seemed to be different I just was not sure how. When my thoughts shifted to my studies on crying out, I found I naturally started “crying out” to the Lord about my circumstances and began praying from deep in my heart.  

On the third day, I woke up and I opened my devotional for the day. At the end of each daily devotion is a personal prayer. The prayer for the day was very simple. It said, “Thank you, father, for walking with me on this difficult journey, and hearing me when I cry out.” That little prayer hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew right then this was the Lord speaking to me. It wasn’t a coincidence or a fluke that I had been studying about “crying out.” Also, I had been praying for two or three days using those very words, and now I see them in my devotional.

When I said the prayer, I felt a burden lifted off my shoulders. I knew then that my spirit was clear to hear the Lord. With my spirit ready, I headed out the door for a cup of coffee. The coffee shop that I go to is in a small strip mall. As I drove through the mall parking lot, I noticed a homeless woman asleep on a bench. As I drove past her, the Lord told me to go and pray for her. So, I parked my car near the coffee shop and walked to her location.  

When I got to her, I asked her was she OK. She told me that she was homeless, but she was fine. To my surprise, as I spoke with her, I found out that she use to be a prayer warrior for the same ministry that I worked for. Since she was there before I started, I did not know who she was. I asked her if she wanted some food, and she told me that she didn’t need food; all she needed was prayer. Naturally, I didn’t find that to be a coincidence either that two prayer warriors would end up at the same place at the same time working for the same company and one needed prayer, and one was sent to pray. 

I prayed for her and left. When I got to church the worship, leader went to the podium and said that the Lord told him that there was someone in the church who needed to hear what he had to say. In a nutshell, he said, “There’s someone here who had some disappointments last week. Those disappointments have overwhelmed you, causing you to focus on the disappointment and not on the word the Lord has given you over your situation. He is saying to get back to him. To leave those disappointments behind and not let them sidetrack you. The no that you received last week was not up to you. It was up to Him. What he has for you may very well come tomorrow.” My heart was overwhelmed. I was almost in tears. At the end of the service, the pastor gave an altar call for everyone dealing with disappointment. I went to the altar and received what the Lord had for me. 

As I left the church, I was shaking from head to toe and thinking about how these were not random events, but they were events that were supernaturally linked. Each event connected like a long chain. 

4 I cried out to the LORD, AND he answered me from his holy mountain. Psalm 3:4

 Blessings,  

 Sandra

 

 

 

It’s in the Bag!

A few weeks ago, I participated in some volunteer training. The purpose was to be trained as a volunteer worker in my community. When I registered for the training, I was very excited about going. I like to help, and this was an organized way I could go into the community and help those who couldn’t help themselves. For example, one of the first things we were going to do was to help an older woman, who was too ill to care for her lawn and help her with her landscaping.

I was very excited about being a part of this organization. However, by the time the training day arrived I was feeling a little down. Things were not going well with my job hunt, and I needed some encouragement. I didn’t want to cancel the training, so I decided to go anyway. When I arrived at the training site, I walked in the door, and there was a sign on a poster that said there was going to be a raffle at the end of the meeting. I said to myself, “Lord I’d love to win that duffel bag.” The prize was a duffel bag filled with all kinds of goodies. I thought that would be so awesome!

As the meeting progressed, the presenter would hold something up and say, “This item is going to be placed in the duffel bag, and someone is going to win it at the end of the day.” Each time he said it, I said a little prayer. I said to myself, “Lord it would be so nice to win that duffel bag“ My desire to win did not have anything to do with what was in the bag, though there was lots of good stuff. I just wanted to be encouraged. I wanted some excitement. I wanted to feel the joy of receiving a gift.

At the end of the meeting, we were told that there was a blank piece of paper sitting in front of us and that we should put our name on it and drop it into the bucket to win the prize. So, I wrote my name on the piece of paper and dropped it into the bucket. The presenter’s wife pulled the name out of the bucket, and it was mine. I jumped up out of my seat with raised hands and screamed, “Yes!” I was so excited. By the time they finished filling that duffle bag, it was too heavy for me to pick up, and I had to have a guy carry it to my car.

Thank you, Lord, for providing what I needed, when I needed it!

4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.  2 Corinthians 1:4

Blessings,

Sandra

 

 

Rocking Chair

I have a family member who chastises me quite often because they think I’m always, “spooky spiritual.” They told me the other day, “You put God in everything, and you can’t!” I smiled and said, “Says who?” And the explained.

Last week I woke up and one of the first things that I had on my mind was a desire to have a rocking chair in my study. I love rocking chairs! I purchased my first chair back in the 80s, and it has moved with me from state to state, and I have moved it around in the house from room to room. If I feel like rocking in the living room, I move it to the living room, and if I feel like rocking in the bedroom, I move it to the bedroom. But I was getting tired of moving it around, up and down stairs, so I wanted another rocking chair. My dilemma was I did not want to spend a lot of money.

So on this morning, I completed my normal Saturday errands and chores, then I ate lunch and then I decided to take a walk around my subdivision. I usually walk around my subdivision in the morning. Walking in the afternoon is a little unusual because of the heat and the intense sunlight. But it was cloudy that day, so I decided to walk. I grabbed my walking stick and headed out the door. As I stepped out on the street, I noticed a family having a garage sale in the distance. I’m not much of a garage sale person, so I didn’t think much of it. As I walked past their house, I looked up the street a little further, and I noticed another house having a garage sale.
As I approached the second garage sale, what do you think was sitting in the front yard next to the curb? A rocking chair with a matching ottoman! All I could do was laugh with joy. Now at first glance, I was sure no one would buy this chair because the cushions on this chair were beyond filthy! But they did not scare me because I knew they could be removed. As a matter of fact, they were so filthy they looked black, though the original color was beige. I was scared to touch them, but I needed to see the chair structure.
I walked over to the chair, and with my two little fingers, I gingerly lifted the cushion to see the condition of the chair. My heart jumped with joy! It looked perfect. I asked the owner how much she wanted for the chair and ottoman, and she said, “I’m asking $20, but I will take $15 if you take it today.” I said, “I’ll take it!” I told her I would come and get it after I finished my walk.

As I finished my walk, I reviewed the events of the day. First, my first thought that morning was wanting a chair. I got up with the desire of a chair on my mind. Second, I never walk around my subdivision after lunch, but this day I did. Third, there was a garage sale with a chair just waiting on its new owner to pick it up.

I said to my family member, what you call luck, I call a blessing! Trust me, God it in it!
4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Psalm 37:4
Blessings,
Sandra

No Fear, No Doubt!

About two weeks ago I was watching a Christian program on television. I watch this show often, so I am familiar with its format. The host usually will invite a guest who tells their story or testimony or introduces a new book they’ve written, and then at the end of the show the host asks the guest to pray for everyone in the listening audience. The guest on the show that day talked about how she had gotten into a car accident and damaged her knee. The injury was so bad the doctors told her that she would never walk again, let alone get back to her normal daily activities. As a strong Christian she refused to accept that diagnosis. Instead, she chose to believe God ‘s word. As a result, she is now walking, and back to her normal activities.

As the show was ending, the host said that they were going to go to a commercial and when they came back he was going to have the guest pray for healing for everyone in the listening audience who had a problem with their knee. I have had a problem with my knee for many years, so I was excited to receive a touch from the Lord. As the commercial played, I put both hands on my knees. My left hand on my left knee and my right hand on my right knee. I started praying in the spirit while the commercial was on. As I prayed, I felt the presence of the Lord and noticed that both hands, and both knees, began to heat up. I knew the Lord was healing my knees. After the commercial was over the guest on the show prayed for healing for anyone having problems with their knees.

I’ve had problems with my knees for many years. Like any issue you’ve dealt with day after day, year after year you learn to work around the problem. So as usual, at the end of the day when it came time to go to bed, I began to think about wrapping up my knee to keep it stable. I learned to do that because sometimes in the middle of the night my knee would get stuck in a bad position, and the pain would wake me up. As I got ready for bed, after being healed, I contemplated whether I should wrap my knee. Fear and doubt begin to creep in. I started thinking what if I don’t wrap it, and it starts to hurt. The pain can be unbearable. Or even worse what if it causes a pinched nerve, and I’m not able to walk on it when I get up. As I was tossing these things around in my mind, I suddenly realized that if I wrapped my knee, I was demonstrating that I didn’t believe I was being healed in the first place. As soon as I caught what I was doing, I stopped and stood on God’s word.

I went to bed, and for the first time in many years, I did not wrap my knee. I slept just fine, and when I woke up the next morning, my knee felt fine. Excited, I started to get dressed, but again I started to contemplate about wrapping my knee. I walk for exercise every day, and often early in the morning. As I started getting dressed I found that fear and doubt crept in. What happens if I get out there and my knee starts to hurt? Sometimes the slightest twinge will cause my knee to swell for several weeks. As this fear and doubt tossed around in my mind, I caught myself and realized that if I wrapped my knee it was demonstrating that I didn’t believe my knee was healed in the first place. So, I stood on God‘s word, and I didn’t wrap my knee. And guess what, I walked, without a problem! Praise God, I have walked and slept without wrapping my knee, without any problems for almost two weeks!

7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

Blessings,

Sandra