Run Sammy Run!

Not too long ago I received a call from my cousin. I could tell when she spoke that there was a great deal of excitement in her voice, but I wasn’t sure if it was good excitement or bad. I asked her how she was doing, and she told me that when she was returning from work, she went to her front door and from the corner of her eye she saw something on the wall. Bugs and creepy crawly things freak her out, so she didn’t want to know what it was. Instead of stopping to investigae she rushed into the house. She opened the door and dashed inside. As she rushed in, she felt something on her head but then dismissed it for her overactive imagination caused by the excitement. Once inside she slammed the door shut. Figuring she was safe inside she turned around only to see a green salamander on her living room wall.

Now let me say that I’ve always considered myself to be a little squeamish when it comes to bugs or any kind of critter for that matter. But over the years, as a homeowner, I’ve had to deal with my share of spiders, bees, crickets, cicadas, and silverfish, so I understood how she felt. Nevertheless, when she called and told me what happened; I can’t lie, I laughed. But being a helpful person, I immediately began offering up ways of how she could rid her living room of Sammy the salamander. I won’t go into the details because I certainly don’t want to upset the animal rights people. Let’s just say we discussed some very creative ideas to get him out of the house! However, right in the middle of our conversation, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Pray”. When He spoke, I felt the concerns and uneasy feelings that were in my cousins’ spirit, and I felt so bad for laughing. The Holy Spirit convicted me so right in the middle of our brainstorming session I stopped and said, “Let’s pray”.

 We prayed for the Lord to tell the salamander to leave when she opened the door. After praying my cousin opened the door and Sammy the salamander ran out the door. Now to all the doubting Thomas’ in the room, may I remind you of this scripture in Jonah 1:17 which says, “Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah.” The Lord told that fish to be where it was at that time to swallow up Jonah. If that is not enough for you, how about, 1 Kings 17:4 which says that the Lord said, “Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.” Hello! Is our God awesome or what? OK-OK just one more. Luke 12:24 says,” Look at the ravens. They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in the barns because God feeds them.” I have personally watched a bird fly out of a tree in my yard and go to my mulch bed and jam his beak an inch or two into the ground and pull up a worm. Come on now!  If he can speak to the animals, he most certainly can speak to you. I pray He does.

 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

 

 

Pity Party

I wish I could tell you that I never whine and complain and that I never create my own personal little pity party. I wish that were true. Even though I trust the Lord with every area of my life, I still have those days when I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, I’m grateful that over the years I’ve learned to rest in His mercy and grace in my life.

There used to be a time when I would beat myself up over having a pity party because I knew, that I should know better. I learned that as I continued to beat myself up the recovery was so much longer. As I’ve grown in my relationship with the Lord, I watched as my faith grew as well. When I find myself going down that road of whining, and complaining, I immediately change my attitude from fear to faith and go to scripture.

Not too long ago I was whining and complaining because I had not been offered a new contract to teach. As an instructor, I am hired to teach a class when the classes are available. Basically, I am a contract worker. My livelihood depends upon keeping under a contract at all times. That is important because it means that when one class ends another one begins without a gap. This time of year is always a tough time because there aren’t many contracts open. That’s because many students don’t want to attend class during the holiday season. As a result, if students don’t sign up to take a class, they don’t need an instructor to teach a class.

A few weeks ago, my contract was ending and a new one had not been offered. I knew from experience that if I didn’t get a contract soon, I would not be able to get on the roster until February. That would mean no paychecks during the holiday season. During my pity party a few weeks ago, I kept waking up in the middle of the night tossing and turning about not having a new contract. But as soon as I caught myself whining, I stopped and began quoting scripture until I fell asleep. I woke up a few hours later to the sound of the alarm clock. I said my morning prayers and then I heard a ding that signaled me that a new email had arrived. I grabbed my phone and went directly to my email. At the top of the list was an email with a very familiar subject. It said, “Sandra are you interested in teaching…”  A class had arrived for me to teach!

On those days when you find yourself having a pity party, do not beat yourself up. You are human, and you will make mistakes. I encourage you to leave the party immediately and let the Lord drive you home!

5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:5

Blessings,

Sandra

 

 

 

 

Who’s in Charge?

Do you ever have one of those days when everything seems to go wrong? When there’s something off about the day in general. That’s what happened to me recently.

It started as what seemed like a normal morning. I was going for my morning walk, so I gathered my gear, set the house alarm and went to the car. As soon as I got to the car, I realized that I had forgotten my water bottle. I do not like to exercise without water, so I got out of the car and went back into the house. I repeated the process.  I got the water bottle, set the house alarm, got in the car and drove off. I drove about two blocks when I realized I had forgotten my purse. “Oh, my goodness!” I thought, “I am driving without a driver’s license.”  So here we go again, and I repeated the process. I turned around and went back to the house and got my purse. I set the alarm and got in the car and drove off.

I arrived at a coffee shop and ordered some coffee. I then went to the counter to prepare my coffee. I poured cream into my paper cup, but after I poured it in, I tipped it over on the counter. I wiped up my mess and repeated the process. I poured cream into my cup and then put it into the microwave to warm up the ice-cold milk. Ugh! I tipped it over again! So, I repeated the process. I cleaned up the mess, got more cream, put the cup in the microwave, took it out of the microwave and filled the cup up with coffee. This is not a joke, I did it again! As I lifted the coffee cup it almost felt like a strong wind pushed the coffee cup out of my hand. I knew this could not be the case because I was inside a building. When this happened, I dropped the cup and spilled coffee all over the counter and the floor.

This was the last straw. I knew this was not normal. All the events of the morning replayed in my mind. One event after another. Why? I am not that clumsy. I took a deep breath and walked to my table. As I sat down, I slammed my fist on the table and I said, “Who’s in charge here Satan? I am a child of Christ, and this stops right now!”

Who’s in charge of your life?

4 Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind]. 1 John 4:4

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

 

Flicker and Pop

My parents came to town about two weeks ago to visit. They are both in their 80’s, and it is a joy to have them here. My mom is a homebody and enjoys staying at home watching television and working on jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, and other games. She particularly likes watching television. She goes to bed each night with the television on in her room. Before she comes to visit, she always asks if the television in the guest room works.

Two to three days before my parent’s arrival my television started having issues indicating that it was at the end of its life. The screen started to flicker, the color became distorted, and there was a static popping sound. This occurred several times a day before their arrival. I was not surprised when I saw this happening because my television is almost 23 years old. It is one of those old tube televisions that weighs 160 lbs.

I did not want to rush and purchase a new TV without doing my research and making the right decision. The new television would have to be wall mounted, and the old television would have to be properly discarded. I did not feel I had the time to take care of this before they came. So as the TV flickered and popped over the two to three days,  I decided to give it to the Lord. I said a prayer that the television would work correctly and not break for the duration of my parent’s weeklong stay.

Praise God, from the time my parents arrived until two to three days after they left the television worked perfectly! During their stay, the television was on practically all day and night, and it did not flicker, pop or lose color. Two to three days after they left the issues returned. By this time, I had done my research, identified a new TV, and made arrangements to have the old one properly discarded.

Praise God for answered prayer!

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 15:7

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

Wait a Minute

This year celebrates my 17th year of teaching college part-time. When I started 17 years ago, my colleagues told me that I needed to establish a relationship with a class scheduler who would keep me on the roster. They said, “If you don’t teach, you don’t get paid.” They did not have to tell me twice, so I was on it and set out to do just that.

I was proactive about contacting them and making sure I was on the roster. This was great from the standpoint that I was always teaching, on the other hand, it was very stressful. It was a lot of networking, and a lot of emails I had to manage. As I would approach ending one class, I began to stress out about whether another one was going to become available. This was a challenge because I was approved to teach three different classes, each having a different class scheduler. Whew!

To keep the classes coming I was always thinking about the next one. Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night in a panic wondering if I had contacted them all or thinking I might have missed something along the way. Once I was awake, I wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep until I went to my computer and checked my emails to find out if I sent that critical email request. After many nighttime waves of panic and constant worrying, I finally decided it had to stop. I made the decision that I would give my class schedule to the Lord and let him manage it. So in my prayer, I told the Lord that I trusted him and that I knew he would send me the classes that he wanted me to teach, and when he wanted me to teach them. I was quick to add that no matter what he did, I would relinquish control, trust him, and be happy with the result. That was 17 years ago, and I have been teaching 1 to 2 classes every semester until five months ago. Then kaboom the bottom fell out, and my classes stopped.

Five months ago, I ended a class I was teaching, and I had not been placed on the roster to teach the next semester. I can honestly say that at first, it freaked me out a little. Had I done something wrong to cause my classes to stop? Did I take it all for granted and not thank the Lord enough for what he did? How am I going to manage financially with this decrease in my income? Also, to stay qualified as an instructor I must teach at least one class per year. Was my teaching career in jeopardy? I kept telling myself to calm down, and I turned my attention to checking through all my emails to make sure that I didn’t miss anything. I also checked and re-checked my alerts to make sure the notifications were turned on. One week passed, two weeks passed, three weeks passed, and I heard nothing but crickets! I was hurting.

Waiting in silence gave me a lot of time to think. Since I was not teaching, I had a lot more free time. I found myself going through phases of being both happy and sad. Sad because I wasn’t teaching, and I wasn’t getting paid, but happy because it was nice to have a break, to get refreshed. For 17 years I had not had a break from grading papers and answering student questions.

Finally, one day it dawned on me, “Wait a minute, God is in control!” He knows what I need when I need it. I wasn’t standing in faith. I had trusted the Lord with my schedule for 17 years. He would not fail me now! I could not let fear, doubt, and anxiety creep in and distract me from the Lords promises. He knew what was best for me. Everything suddenly clicked, and I was back on track. That is when I started to enjoy my free time. I started reading more, praying more, writing more, and spending more time with my family. I got to the point where I stopped counting the weeks and focusing on the negative things of this circumstance and started focusing on what I could do to continue to grow spiritually during my free time.

A few days ago, while thanking the Lord for something else he had done in my life, my phone pushed me an alert. When I looked at the screen all I could do was jump up and yell, “Thank you, Lord!” There was a class for me to teach beginning next week. My first class in five months! Praise God!

33 But the one who always listens to me will live undisturbed in heavenly peace. Free from fear, confident and courageous, you will rest unafraid and sheltered from the storms of life. Proverbs 1:33 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Blessings,

Sandra