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

$10

 I worked for a ministry for almost 10 years. One of the jobs I held was answering the phone when people called in requesting prayer. First let me say that whenever I tell someone about this job, the first thought that they have is that they see it as a nice, sweet, cute little job where you spend the entire day sitting on the phone praying blessings over the birth of a new baby or a wedding. I wish that were the case. The bottom line is that you’re exposed to the good, the bad, the ugly, the natural, and the supernatural.

One day when I picked up the phone there was a gentleman on the other end who was livid! He was screaming at the top of his voice. I immediately asked the Lord to give me the wisdom to know how to handle this call. So after I said hello, and introduced myself, the man let loose!

He yelled, “If my son asked me for $10 to buy food for his family, not $10 to buy liquor, or drugs, or spend it on women; he was going to do something good with it! He was going to buy food for his family! If he asked me for $10, and I have it to give, why wouldn’t I give it to him? Why would I make him beg, and beg, and beg every single day! Answer me that! I want to know because that’s what I’m doing. I am begging, and begging, and begging for the Lord to help me and he won’t!“ He then used some profanity and hung up the phone.

 As I was driving home after work I said to the Lord, “Why is it so hard for this guy to get his prayers answered?” And Lord I said, “Why do so many people have so many unanswered prayers; including me?”

 He said, “I have forgiven you and forgiven your sins, but when you sin that sin is put in place in the flesh, in the world, and those sins have worldly actions and impacts attached to them that take time.“

This was a good reminder for me to not only stop sinning, but to confess and repent for my sins immediately. I don’t know if this guy would have listened to me if I would have had an opportunity to tell him this. So, at this point all I can do is to pray for him silently.

 Are your prayers being answered?

 “It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.” Isaiah 59:2

 Blessings,

 Sandra

Who Told You That?

When I first started to minister to people as a baby Christian, and the message was rejected I was dumbfounded. I thought, here I am handing them the key to eternal life on a silver platter and they turn their back. I honestly did not understand.

Over the years I have ministered to hundreds of people, including one guy named John, numerous times. I tried several approaches with John, but nothing ever worked. In one instance, I tried the “free gift” approach. I said, “Let’s say you showed up at a local department store, and the store greeter welcomed you and handed you, and everyone else a $100 gift card.” I said, “Now tell me you wouldn’t get on the phone and call everyone you knew to tell them to come to the store and get the free gift card. He said, “You darn right I would.” I said, “Exactly!” I said, “Well salvation is the same thing. It’s a free gift that’s been given to you. And the reward is eternal life. Something that can never go away or be spent.” He looked embarrassed and did not respond.

I’ve known John most of my life, I can tell you that he has jumped from one temporary job to another. Now that he is 70, he doesn’t have much to show for his life. No job, little income, no nest egg, bad health and he is barely making ends meet. He also has a pretty negative attitude. Each time I minister to him, he comes up with one excuse after another as to why he “can’t do it.” Recently I asked him how he felt his life turned out. He said, “Not so good.” I said, “Then what do you have to lose with turning your life over to the Lord?” He said, “I don’t know. But that is alright, I still have time.” I said, “Who told you that?”

25When the master of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. You will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Lord, open the door for us!’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ Luke 13:23-25

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

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