Guilty as charged!

I’ve been attending the same aerobics class for about a year and a half. What I love about the class is that the instructor plays a variety of styles of music. However, there is one song she plays that makes me uncomfortable. Though it doesn’t contain profanity, I think the sexual content is unacceptable.

Each time she played the song, though I continued to dance and do the exercises, I struggled! A battle raged in my mind. Should I sit down? Should I leave the room? I was very uneasy. In addition to this feeling of uneasiness, I felt embarrassed about leaving because I was a new member and I did not want to cause a disturbance. I quickly dismissed my feelings because I figured that I was probably the only one who objected to the song. Let’s face it this group has been together for several years so apparently, they thought the song was ok. 

Each day when I showed up for class, I had this battle in my mind whenever the song was played. One day I tried to slow down my movements to appear as if I was barely moving. My strategy was to try not to participate without anyone knowing I wasn’t actually participating. Each time the song played my anxiety grew, but rather than make a scene and ask the instructor to stop playing the song I just pushed myself through the song trying not to focus on the words. 

Finally, one day she played the song, and about 30 seconds into the song I heard the Holy Spirit ask, “What are you doing?” My entire body vibrated at the sound of His voice. When I heard His voice a couple of Bible stories flashed through my mind. One of the stories I thought about was when Cain killed Abel. The LORD asked Cain, “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?” As I stood in the class, I thought, the Lord is all-knowing, He knew what happened to Abel, so why would He ask that question? Maybe He asked because He wanted Cain to know that He knew what He did. 

The other Bible story that popped into my mind was the one about when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. After eating the forbidden fruit, the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” Again, the Lord knew where Adam and Eve were hiding. Did He ask because He wanted them to know that He knew what they did? I do not know, but it seems that way.

So now the Holy Spirit was asking me a question, “What are you doing?” So right there in the middle of the song, it hit me! I realized that the Holy Spirit knew that I was doing something I should not have been doing and He was letting me know.

So, when the Holy Spirit asked me, “What are you doing?” I stopped in my tracks and turned around and I walked off the floor to the back of the room and sat down for the rest of the song. I was busted! Guilty as charged!

8 One day Cain suggested to his brother, “Let’s go out into the fields.”[c] And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him. 9 Afterward the Lord asked Cain, “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?” Genesis 4:8-9

Blessings,

Sandra

Guilty as Charged

I’ve been attending the same aerobics class for about a year and a half. What I love about the class the most is that the instructor plays a variety of styles of music. However, there is one song she’s played 3 to 4 times that I feel very uncomfortable when I hear it. Though it doesn’t contain profanity, I feel the sexual content is not acceptable.

The first few times I heard the song I continued to dance and do the exercises, but I struggled with what I should do. A battle raged in my head. Should I sit down? Should I leave the room? I was very uneasy. I had never taken an aerobics class before and didn’t know what to expect. Since I was a new person in the class, I figured that I was probably the only one who objected to the song. This group had been together for several years so apparently, they thought it was ok. But I didn’t. I tried different tactics. I tried to slow my movements down as if I wasn’t moving. My strategy was to try not to participate without anyone else knowing that I wasn’t participating. Each time the song played I knew to stay and participate was not the right thing for me to do. It may have been okay with everyone else, but I knew it wasn’t okay with me. But rather than make a scene and ask the instructor to stop I just pushed myself through the song trying not to focus on the words.

Finally, yesterday I was in my aerobics class and she played the song again. About 30 seconds into the song I heard the Holy Spirit say, “What are you doing?” My entire body, from head to toe, vibrated at the sound of his voice. When He said it a couple of scriptures flashed through my mind. I thought about when Cain killed Abel. The LORD asked Cain, “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?” As I stood there in the class, I thought the Lord is all-knowing. He knew what happened to Abel, and it was like He wanted Cain to know that He knew. The other scripture that popped into my mind was the one after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. After eating the forbidden fruit, the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” Again, the Lord knew where Adam and Eve were hiding, and why. Suddenly, I knew that the Holy Spirit knew what I was doing. He knew I was doing something I shouldn’t be doing, and He wanted me to know that He knew. 

When the Holy Spirit asked me, “What are you doing?” I stopped in my tracks and turned around and I walked off the floor to the back of the room. I was busted. Guilty as charged!

8 One day Cain suggested to his brother, “Let’s go out into the fields.”[c] And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him. 9 Afterward the Lord asked Cain, “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?” Genesis 4:8-9

Blessings,

Sandra

Ahhh Man!

Every day before I start my morning devotions, I say a quick prayer asking the Lord to help me to forgive those that I need to forgive. As the year ends it is still one of my top prayers. It is at the top of my list because I’ve learned that sometimes I thought I forgave someone only to find out that I didn’t. I keep the prayer at the top of my radar because I found I would unexpectedly tighten up with the mention of someone’s name I thought I had let go of ill feelings towards. It was because of those times that I will begin this year as normal with prayers to forgive and to be forgiven.

This reminder to not lose sight of harboring unforgiveness popped up a few weeks ago. During my morning prayer time, I asked the Lord to bring forth to my mind anyone in my life that I had not truly forgiven so I could forgive them. Now let me step aside and just be real. Here is what happened. Immediately after saying the prayer the Lord whispered a name to me. He said, “Jane Doe.” And in the blink of an eye anger rose up in me and I blurted out, “That is a despicable person!” Also, in response to this mean statement my hand instantly flew to my mouth as if to stop the words from coming out, but it was too late. My shoulders slumped and I said, “Ahh man, Lord I am so sorry! Forgive me.” I shook my head in disbelief. How could I say that? I thought sure I had let go of all anger. Though I realized the Lord had simply done what I asked; He brought forth someone in my life I had not truly forgiven, it was still a very painful experience.

I stopped right then and asked for forgiveness for the anger I felt, the words I spoke, and for the Lord to change my heart towards this person. As the year ends, I encourage you to do the same. You may be surprised who the Lord brings up. What has been your experience with forgiveness? Please comment below.

12 and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. Matthew 6:12

Blessing,

Sandra

Let Go and Let God 2

The funny thing about walking with the Lord is that is He always seems to start working in my life long before I recognize it. My usual weekend routine is to go to a coffee shop and have coffee at about 6 am. But this past week I had been exercising a lot, so I ended up oversleeping and I did not arrive until about 6:30 am. When I arrived, I went to the counter to order, but it was held up because someone had forgotten to make the coffee. They know I like my food and coffee at the same time, so I had to wait for the coffee to brew. After the coffee was finished, my breakfast was prepared, and I went to a table to eat. While eating and enjoying time with the Lord a guy walked in and sat down at the table near me. I recognized him immediately. I had ministered to him at the same coffee shop about four years ago. You can read about that encounter here

When he sat down, I looked up at him and said, “It’s John right?” He said, “Yes. I didn’t know if you remembered me.” I said, “Yes I do.” He said, “You’re in the ministry aren’t you.” I said,” Yes.” He said, “Do you mind if I sit down and talk with you.” I said, “Not at all.” As he sat down, I said a silent prayer for the Holy Spirit to speak during this conversation. We talked for about 45 minutes. He caught me up on what had happened since the last time we spoke, and where his relationship was with the girl, he spoke about four years ago. We prayed, and then he left.

As he left and I packed up my things to leave I marveled at God’s timing. The Lord’s first intervention was to have me oversleep. His second intervention was when I got there, I couldn’t get my coffee and breakfast as soon as I entered because someone had forgotten to make the coffee. So, I had to sit and wait for the coffee to brew. These events caused me to stay at the coffee shop longer than I usually do. If I hadn’t overslept, and if the coffee had been ready when I got there, I would not have been in the restaurant, and this divine intervention would have never taken place.

21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21.

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

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

Hi, Friend!

I love to walk in the park, except when it’s cold. This time of year, we will have some wonderful days in the 80s then it might drop down into the 50s. That’s been our weather for the last month or two. This morning when I woke up it was in the 40s and even though I wanted to walk I felt it was just too cold.

Uninspired to walk, I made my way to my study to begin working. As I walked down the stairs I said, “Lord I really want to walk today, but it’s just too cold, and I don’t have anyone to inspire me to want to walk in the cold.” I then went to my desk and sat down in front of my computer.

About 15 minutes later I heard that familiar ping that I had a text message. When I looked at the message it said, “Hi friend! Would you like to go walking in the park this morning? “I laughed out loud and responded with a resounding yes!

 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer… 1 Peter 3:12

Blessings,

Sandra

Sing – Along

Yesterday I went to my exercise class and at the end of the class, the instructor played a slow love song for us to cool down and slow down our heart rate. The song was one of those sappy girly songs, so everyone cheered when it began to play. The song was about a guy telling his wife or girlfriend that he will always love her, and never give up on their relationship. We loved it!

After the class ended, I sang and hummed the song on the way to my car.  I liked it so I decided that I wanted to find out the name of the artist who sang the song so I could buy it.  Since there’s a line in the song that is kind of catchy, I figured the song and the artist would be easy to find. Unfortunately, I never got that far. As soon as I got to the car my mind reverted to the tasks on my to-do list and I immediately forgot the lyrics. My mind went blank.

Later in the day after I got a chance to relax, I remembered that I wanted to buy the song. However, no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t remember anything about the song. I turned off the television, I closed my eyes, and I searched my brain for the lyrics without success. Finally, I knew that I needed help, so I prayed and asked the Lord to help me remember, and boy did he! After going to bed for the night I was jolted awake at about 2:13 am. The only way I can describe what happened is to say that it felt like the Lord took the song and pushed it into my spirit. As soon as that happened, I started to sing. Immediately I recognized what the Lord had done so I jumped up in bed and grabbed a piece of paper and pencil from my nightstand and wrote the lyrics down. I was in awe over what had happened. But what was even more amazing was the experience of having the Lord push them into me. I felt the song dive into my spirit. It was an amazing feeling.

After writing down the lyrics I wondered what made this the right time and place for Him to speak to me. Is my brain too occupied at other times for him to get through? Maybe it was because I was listening to some scriptures to some soft music while sleeping. Did this open the door? Whatever it was I wanted to do it again! Several questions popped into my mind as I reviewed the experience before falling back to sleep. I’ve heard people say that once you experience the presence of the Lord you never forget it. I agree to that 100%! If there is a way that I could figure out how to live in that space all the time, believe me, I would. I pray the same for you.

4 One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. Psalm 27:4

Blessings,

Sandra

 

 

You Don’t Have To Say It Twice

The weather has been beautiful for the past couple of months. When the weather is warm, and the sun is shining I must get outside, so I walk almost every day. I walk an average of 3 to 6 miles per day depending upon the whether. In addition to walking, I also go to an aerobics class. It’s not unusual for me to take a walk in the morning and then take another walk in the afternoon.

Well, today I decided to take a walk right after breakfast. After my morning walk, I showered and went to church. I got home from church about noon. The weather was beautiful, the sun was shining, and I thought I have to get out there and get in one more shorter walk. So, I grabbed some lunch and then got dressed for the park.

Before leaving the house I sat down for a minute to watch the end of a television show that was on while I was eating. When I was ready to leave, I turned off the television and then stood up to leave. I don’t think I walked more than 5 feet when I heard the Lord’s voice loud and clear. He said, “Don’t go and walk, it’s going to be too much for you today.“ I froze! It was almost like everything went silent. I stood still, but only for a second. Then I said out loud, “You don’t have to tell me twice.“ So instead of heading for the door, I went straight to the bedroom and changed clothes to spend the rest of the afternoon at home.

Now I have no idea what would’ve happened if I had ignored the voice and walked anyway. I can only assume it would’ve been bad. I was so thankful for the Lord’s warning and thankful that I was obedient. I pray the same for you.

4 Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. 5 Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me.  All day long I put my hope in you. Psalm 25:4-5

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