July 30, 2010

Is this "The END" or "The NOW" ??

I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say:
My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.
Isaiah 46:10 (NIV)

Walk with the Lord for a little while, and you'll soon realize that the only way to find true joy and peace is to be in the center of His will, obeying His calling for your life.  I've been wondering, pondering, praying over His will for my (and my family's) life.   He pre-packed us for the specific journey He has planned for us to take.  Each of us have gifts, abilities, special ways to serve Him and bring glory to Him while we live here on earth.  We're here for His purpose, not our own.

For months now I've been so focused on "what IS The END?"  What is Your purpose for my life?  I got caught up in trying to figure out what was going to be The END.  How foolish and exhausting!  I guess it's our nature to try to "figure it all out." (especially if our earnest desire is to please Him and live out His purpose for our lives.) 

Have you noticed that focusing on "the END" tends to blur the NOW?   Yesterday, I read in My Utmost for His Highest (by Oswald Chambers) that we tend to get so caught up in "the end," wondering about His purpose that we fail to see God is more interested in our NOW.   How are we responding to this situation now?  Are we trusting Him now?  Are we praising Him in the midst of it, now?  Are we seeking others' counsel or HIS counsel now?  Are we anxious now?  Are we running to His Word now?  Are we growing now?  Whew...these are the NOW results that God is after.  Sooner or later, He'll eventually get us to that "end"-- or "the REASON" we've been placed on this earth.  Remember:  It's the time spent in the desert, being so parched and thirsty for HIM; the being ALONE with Him in the mountain-top AND valley moments---these are the moments in which He is preparing us for that END, or that special "purpose."  

Being shaped or conformed into His dear Son's image, (in other words being a "vessel in the Potter's hands") is sometimes uncomfortable isn't it?  The stretching, the pressure from all sides, the having more "clay" dumped on us, the dizzying affects of spinning around and around on that Potter's wheel---all of these things takes a toll doesn't it? 

This summer is quickly coming to a close, and another chapter of my life may be too.  A new one is beginning.  Do I have "the answer" I've been calling on and waiting for over the past several months?   Well, at first, I was looking for that specific END:  WHY AM I HERE, FATHER?  What is my purpose "for such a time as this?"  I've not really come to "THAT end" yet.  However, I HAVE come to a conclusion..and it's this:   Why rush to "The End" when God is after "our Now"!   The journey, the lessons, the learning to LET GO and TRUST HIM, and LEAVE IT TO HIM to get me to that specific "end" or purpose---THAT is what life as a vessel in His hands is all about---for it is in the NOW that He is shaping us into the image of His OWN Son.  (Did you catch that?  N-O-W....O-W-N.)  We are His OWN special purchase and He's not going to throw us out!  He's going to conform us into the image of His OWN Son, Jesus.  No matter HOW long it takes!  The time is NOW!

Thank You Father, for these wonderful, eye-opening lessons You're teaching me.  We're all a vessel in Your precious hands...and You gently ask us this simple question:  "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, *O house of Israel (You want us to put our name there.)  "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Tammi."  Shape us, add more of Your OWN dear Son into our vessels, take away the dross, purify our hearts and prepare us Father...for one day You will use these vessels of clay to take forth the message of Your Love and Grace, Your OWN Special Son, to others.  You're preparing us NOW for The End.  Thank You for being the Alpha and the Omega...You're the Beginning AND the End...and ALL the In-Between too!  In Jesus' Name, Amen.

July 29, 2010

The "T" in Tissues

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  Rev. 21:4 

I was talking with my young son earlier today.  He has a few little habits he wants to break, such as biting his finger nails.  He calls them his "Issues."   In talking with him, the Holy Spirit reminded me of our Lord's understanding and compassion with us..He knows that we have this treasure of salvation in earthen vessels.  We're leaky, vulnerable, and sometimes weakened from the struggles in life.  Then it "hit me."   "Add a 't' to the word 'issue'!"   So I just continued in my conversation with him, "Son, we have a Savior Who understands the 'issues' we are dealing with. . .and He knows that sometimes these 'issues' can even be painful for us to wrestle with.  But always remember the cross...it's in the shape of the letter 't.'   Add a T to the word 'issue' and we've got "tissue."   Just like grabbing a good, soft tissue to absorbs our tears, remembering the suffering and anguish our Savior went through for US, in order to not only give us LIFE Eternal one day, but also Abundant (VICTORIOUS) LIFE while on earth, our spirit should feel as if someone handed us a tissue to wipe away our tears."   

One day, ONE glorious day, He WILL wipe away all of our tears.  No more suffering!  No more struggling with this old fleshly nature!  No more battles with the enemy!  No more good-byes and parting from our loved ones!   The Lord will wipe away our tears, all of them, once and for all!  And it is only because of what He did for us on that 't' shaped cross on Calvary!   That's the last tissue we'll ever need!  The greatest comfort to my heart is to know that my Savior will wipe away my tears, once and for all!   The touch of His hand will surely be far greater than any tissue ever made on earth!

Oh Father!  Thank You for these "issues" we are going through, even the little bad habits.  Thank you for the opportunity to come to You with our "issues."   Thank You for allowing me the privilege of talking with my son, and for You giving me this tidbit of insight into what You have done for us, and what You WILL DO for us one glorious day!  May each and every dear reader today, who may be in need of a tissue even now, find comfort in the fact that the very suffering Your precious Son went through on the cross of Calvary has given us the victory over all our issues...over bad habits, battling our flesh, battling our enemy, even victory over death!  Your Precious Son will one day wipe away all our tears!  Thank You, Father, Sweet Son, and dear Holy Spirit!  The Triune God!  In Jesus' Name, I pray, Amen.

July 27, 2010

"A Joy to My Savior"

"A Joy to my Savior"
written by my Grandmother, Belle Sandefur

Oh to be a joy to my Savior
To please Him in all that I do,
That He may smile and be glad for my service
In these trials I now am going through.

He alone can heal all my heartaches,
Dry the tears from my eyes from day to day;
Give me strength as I climb the highest mountain
And lead me gently as I walk the narrow way.

Yes, I know He is with me every moment
Though at times He may seem far away.
I can trust Him for He's proven His love to me
And He's the joy of my life every day.

I just wanted to share a poem that my dear grandmother wrote back in 1999. God has given her a talent for writing poetry that expresses her thoughts during each trial or storm she has weathered over the fifty-plus years she's walked with the Lord.

Grandmama has shared so many of her poems with me at different times in my life, and they've all become a treasure to me. She's been such an inspiration to me in my walk with the Lord all these years, and I'm so thankful that I can still call on her whenever I need to talk, hear her pray, or just listen to her words of wisdom. I have many memories of spending time with her and Granddaddy on the old swing under the trees in West Virginia. 

Today, as I was doing the typical household chores, I was reminded by the Holy Spirit that even the menial task of sweeping floors, can be a service for my King, as long as I do this "as unto the Lord." All of a sudden sweeping the floor didn't seem so "unimportant" after all. :o) Yes, we can be a joy to our Savior while doing our every-day, run-of-the-mill chores, as long as we are doing them "as unto the Lord." 

July 26, 2010

A Little Lamb

To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.  And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.  John 10: 3, 4

Been quiet lately...doing some thinking, seeking, praying....listening.   Have you ever felt like a sheep that didn't want to leave the comfort of the fold?  I actually chuckle at the sight of that sentence, and the image it conjures up in my mind:   A fold---full of sheep, all shapes and sizes, squooshed next to each other.  Lots of "bleating" and moving around with no where to go.  But for some reason, the idea of being all cozy next to my fellow sheep, "fenced in" by the strong border I'm USED TO, just feels comfortable.  Today I think my Shepherd is calling...He's calling my name.  And here I am...shy, scared to go OUT that open door.  He's there, of course---standing before me. 
What's ironic is, on one hand I've been feeling frustrated because He's not LED US as a WHOLE group anywhere, but on the other hand He revealed to me, "Dear lamb, YOU'RE the reason we're still here....you've got to COME OUT.  Follow Me."   Notice the verse again:  "He has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice." (NIV)  When He has brought out ALL His own, He goes on ahead and leads them.   Everyone has to come out of the fold!  That would include...me.
Dear Shepherd, are You waiting on me?  Am I the only one sitting in the fold, scared to leave the comfort of this fold?  And silly ole me, the comfort really is cramped quarters, not meant to remain there constantly.  I HAVE TO come out and Graze and Listen to Your voice in order to Grow stronger and Learn of Your faithfulness.  It's time to move out in to green pastures and Follow, Feed, and enjoy Freedom.  I'm so sorry for being scared to move.  I'm so thankful for Your tenderness in leading me.  Sometimes I need You to scoop me up in Your arms and carry me...but I know that at OTHER times You want me to move on my own feet...for in moving, that proves my faith in You.   Thank You, tender Shepherd for loving me.  In Your name I pray, Amen.

July 16, 2010

Tired or Tried?

But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. 
Job 23:10

Earlier tonight I was writing an email to a friend, but I was so tired, and typing probably way too fast for my brain to keep up, that instead of typing "tired" I typed "tried."   Then I thought, "Mmmm.  How odd...Just a simple switch-a-roo of two letters, and we've got two words that are related."  

Related?  Yes...because whenever we're being "tried" (as being purged of the dross, purified) we usually become "tired" right?  Just like I mentioned in the last blog, "Are You Fed Up (or TIRED) of the Delivery?" we can grow weary from these "brown-paper-bag" circumstances we find ourselves facing on the "front door of life." 

Maybe it will help for us to remember this simple hint:  The two letters that are being switched are the letters "I" and "R."   Notice if the "i" comes first, we have the word tIred.  Isn't that the way it goes whenever we put the "I" ("me") first in viewing life's trials---we become tIred. ???  Yep.  Wondering how this will affect "me," or "why does this always happen to me?"  "when will I ever learn?" --- Worrying about "me" makes "me" TIRED! ;o)

Maybe one thing God is trying to teach us is to put the "R" first.   Rest.  Rely.  Be Reassured.  Relax.  Run to Him.  Roll over your burden on Him.   Everything changes!  We go from being tIred, to being tRied.  And what does Job say?  "But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold."  Job 23:10 (KJV) 

This is just a simple Reminder to myself to put a lot MORE "R" in my tRials and a lot LESS "I."   

Can you think of other things He's tRying to teach us to do?  It doesn't even have to start with the letter "R."   :)  

Oh Father, Thank You for a simple "typo" this evening...and for pausing me by Your Holy Spirit's nudging, to look at that once more and THINK about the truth in the simple typo.  When we look at the storms and trials in our lives from a new perspective, one that doesn't pull us into the hopelessness of  putting "self" first, but ROLL our burdens onto You, we find REST..and we also find that when we are TRIED, we shall come forth as GODL , I mean goLd.  But yes, even in that typo, I am reminded that we shall come forth as "more in the Likeness of God's image!"   Which is to be desired more than gold!  Thank You, Father!  Even in our mistakes You teach us lessons! Strengthen us Father, as we rest in Your arms tonight.  In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.  

July 13, 2010

Are You Fed Up with the Delivery?

Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.   Psalm 37: 3
Have you been holding on to something so tightly, and not being willing to let go?  Sometimes our unwillingness to let go stems from a lack of trust--full, wholehearted, trust in Him.  Lack of faith blinds our eyes.  II Corinthians 5:7 says, "for we walk by faith and not by sight."   It seems that having a lack of faith actually blinds our spiritual eyes from seeing the truth in God's Word:  His unfailing promise to never leave us, to provide for us, to shelter us, to lead us, to protect us, to strengthen us, to uplift us, to comfort us--you name it, anything we could ever ask for or need, He's promised to meet that need by His All-Sufficiency.   In our unwillingness to trust Him, we "think" we are walking by "sight," but we're really walking blindly.  
The only thing we see is our circumstances.  But we fail to realize that our circumstances are just the "wrapping paper" enclosing a hidden blessing from our Lord.  Looking at our circumstances from that perspective should stir us to run TO our circumstances instead of running from them.  Embrace the storm, and go for the blessing that is within--in the midst you'll find Him there!  
Everything comes with permission from our Father, Who has promised to work them out for our good and His glory (if we desire to serve Him) (Rom. 8:28)  And it's all coming to us as a gift from Him.  He purposely wraps them in "not so desirable" paper to test our faith...do we really trust that THIS is coming from our Lord, with a hidden gift and purpose for our growth in mind??  
Instead of getting "fed up" with these "special" deliveries, we should trust in the Lord, and do good--because He promised we will dwell in the land of promise and surely be FED.  :o) 
Trust Him.  I'm in the learning process too.  In this land of promise where I'm dwelling, He is surely feeding me.  I'd much rather be "fed by Him" and growthan simply "fed up" with life's circumstances and blindly miss the gift He sent to me In this "letting go, yet embracing the hidden gift" process, He gave me a special arrangement of "Only Trust Him."  To take a listen, just click here..Only Trust Him  (it should load automatically.)     
If you're hungry for more out of life, embrace this life and its being wrapped in "brown-paper-bag" circumstances, and be fed by our Lord. 
 Dear Father, Please help us..help me...as You're teaching me to let go of "life as I know it," help me embrace the hidden gift of blessing You're sending my way.  But I will go so far as to ask for You to help me share this gift with as many people as You see fit.  Please let these lessons, sometimes difficult as they may be, be given for not just my benefit, but for others' benefit as well, and most of all for Your glory.  One more thing, Father, it would we very wise for us to remember that the greatest Gift You have sent to us is Your Son, and the salvation He offers to us was wrapped up in the most unattractive paper imaginable---the grief and pain of a brutal death on the cross.  To receive this requires us to embrace Your gift of salvation by faith, and "only trust You!"  Thank You, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, for being Our Greatest Gift!   In Jesus' Name, I humbly pray, Amen.

July 12, 2010


Hear my prayer, O LORD; let my cry for help come to you. 
Psalm 102:1  (NIV)

The King James Version of Psalm 102: 1 is "Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee."  But I wanted to use the NIV because of one word:  "help."

Have you ever been in a situation where you were completely at the end of yourself?  Maybe your heart was broken and your spirit was crushed.  (Psalm 34:18)   You knew you needed to pray, but actually were unable to find any words to express your lament.  The only word you could cry out was "HELP!"  That's a desperate place to be.  Well, maybe it will 'help' to know that I've been there.  And if we're all  honest, we've probably all been there at some point in our lives. 

One word...HELP.   A cry out for intervention, deliverance, guidance, strength.  You name it, "Help" is desperation in one word. 

Psalm 102:17 says, "He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer." (KJV)  The word "regard" means "respond to."   We all know of His promise to "hear us when we call."  How many people "hear us" whenever we unload our burdens to them?   Certainly anyone we talk to "hears us."  But how many of those same people actually RESPOND---and DO SOMETHING about it??   Well, here we have God's promise to respond to the prayer of the destitute.  

Destitute in Hebrew is "arar" which means "naked, poor."  Completely stripped down to nothing, we bare ourselves before the King---with nothing to hide. 'This is where I am..I'm in a desperate situation!" 

The first step to getting help is to recognize you have a problem and need help, right?  Notice whenever God dealt with His children He always asked them a question.  Several times that question was:  "Where are you??"   "Adam where art thou?"  God knew exactly where Adam was.   He wanted ADAM to know where ADAM was.   Adam had to recognize "Uh oh, I'm in trouble...and this is where I am....I blew it."   When Cain slew Abel, God asked Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?"   God knew where Abel was..but He wanted CAIN to admit where Abel was..."I murdered Abel."  

In order to have God respond to our cries for help, we need to remember a few things:
H.E.L.P.  --  Humble ourselves.  ( I can think of nothing less humbling than to be stripped down naked before my God, can you??)  But remember, that's the first step to GETTING HELP...recognizing where you are...admitting it..removing all masks and baring all before the Throne of Grace.  I Peter 5:6 says, Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time..."  

Then the next step is to Expect God to hear us.   How many times have you and I gone before the Throne of Grace with an attitude of "Oh well, I wonder if He even listened??"  (bad attitude, I know..but let me be honest...I've been there.)  One of my favorite promises of God is Micah 7:7--"Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me." (KJV)  Take that one to the Bank of Faith and cash it in!   Cha-Ching! 

Not only should we expect God to have his "listening ears on," but we also should have our listenin' ears on too!   Listen to His voice.  Matthew 17:5 clearly states God the Father's desire for us:  "...This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him."  In our desperate cries for help, we need to take time to be still and listen for His voice.  Surely He will tell us something in order to guide us through our moment of need!  

The last part is particularly special to my heart tonight.  Praise Him in advance.  The Lord showed me this weekend, in the midst of a "storm," when the "rug was pulled out from under me" and I had no idea what to do.  I reached for my Bible Promise "Bread Box" and He gave me these two scriptures:  Hebrews 10:36 "For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise."   "The Will of God??"  What IS His will for me in this??  Hello?   I Thess. 5:16-18 "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."  Aaahhh!  I get it now!   For this very moment, we are to Praise Him. Psalm 34:1 "I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth."  Even if you can't muster up the "cheery" spirit to praise Him,  it's okay, because David says, "HIS Praise will be in my mouth."  The Holy Spirit will produce the praise from within you by putting a song in your heart.  

This is the best way I can think of to ask for HELP.    No need to dial 911 in this situation.   :)   Don't forget to praise Him, continue to pray and have a joyful spirit (by staying in His presence)---because it seems to me He is saying that "after you have done this, you will receive the promise."  He will announce to you something specifically for YOU and your situation.  H.E.L.P. is on the way!

Father, Thank You for my times of distress.  Yes..I praise You for my need for Your Help.  For You have revealed to me a strategy for getting a response from YOU.  May You uplift all my sisters and brothers who are in dire need of Your help as well.  Turn Your face to us, for we humbly bow before You now, baring all to You---our hearts are in desperate need of just a glance from You.  In Jesus' Name we pray..Amen.  

July 10, 2010


My eyes are straining to see your promises come true. When will you comfort me?  Psalm 119:82  (NLT)

The original KJV of Psalm 119:82 says, "Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me?"  But I chose the NLT version to give you a mental picture of eyes straining, almost squinting, to see God's promises on the horizon.  

Have you ever been in a tunnel?  Living in the Virginia Beach area, I've been able to drive through several tunnels.  When I'm at the very bottom of the tunnel, my eyes can strain to look ahead, but the end of the tunnel is nowhere in sight.  All I see is the incline of the tunnel---up, up, up...sooner or later we've got to reach the end of this tunnel, right?   Um..is it me, or are these walls closing in a bit??   HA  (that was for added drama...I was just kidding.)  :)

Life is full of mysteries and tests that require wisdom in order to glean the lessons God is trying to teach us while we're in the "fog."  I've heard it said that "wisdom is like the defogger to the glasses in which we're trying to view our circumstances."   Let's take it a step further: "Wisdom is gained every time the Word of God is opened."  Hmmm... The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.  Psalm 119:130 (KJV)  So...in order to keep our eyes from straining to see God's promises fulfilled, we need to stay in His Word, gain that wisdom, and apply that "defogger" to our "glasses" (i.e., our perception of things.) 

Staying in and BELIEVING in His Word = Automatic Light at the End of Your Tunnel.  Beware...Son-glasses may be needed, for the brilliance of His glory in your life will shine brightly when you exit the tunnel!

Oh Father, I need to see the fulfillment of Your promises on the horizon.  Please take these tired eyes of mine and cover them with Your wisdom.  With the veil of Your Word over my eyes, I shall no longer be BLIND!   Give me the eyes of Your dear Son, Jesus, in order to clearly see the world as You see it---in desperate need of a Savior!   For indeed, Father, out of all of life's trials and struggles, my main focus should be to draw closer to You, bring honor and glory to Your name, and praise You even in the storms....even at this midnight hour!  And what's this, Father?  You just reminded me--You are in the business of Midnight Miracles---setting captives free at all hours of the night.  Oh!   My "eyes" are squinting---but it's a GOOD THING!  I'm catching a "smidgy" glimpse of Your glory!  I think I need a pair of Son-Glasses to shield my eyes from Your wonderful glory!  Thank You, Father, for Your Word is TRUE!  Never changing, and All Sufficient! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

July 6, 2010

A.C.T. Now

He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.  I John 2:6

Have you ever prayed about something for so long, seeking an answer from the Lord, and yet for whatever reason He remained quiet?  Day after day, week after week, sometimes month after month, you await an answer...you're simply waiting for God to ACT.   I've been there..in fact, I'm there even now.

For months now I've been seeking His guidance, writing notes as to what it is He may be teaching me through this time of "quiet."  Guess you could say I've been in the wilderness.  It's okay, though, because Nahum 1:3 says "the clouds are the dust of His feet..."  So that can mean one thing:  I may be in a FOG, but at least I know that HE is very nearby---just got to keep looking up.  ;o)

Recently I've felt like a "deer in the headlights" of oncoming traffic.  You know---totally frozen.  So focused on what's coming that I've forgotten to MOVE.  Ever noticed how difficult it is to focus and function on a day-to-day basis when you're facing something scary?   Wonder why?  Well, I think there could be a couple of reasons:  the ole enemy knows just what it takes to stop us "dead in our tracks" once we've started moving forward in our journey with God.  FEAR.  What an obstacle!    Or--it could be our Heavenly Father is trying to purge the dross from our lives in order to reveal to us more and more of our NEED FOR HIM.  Either way, one thing is for sure---God has allowed it, and He wants us to ACT now!

Of course God wants us to wait on Him.  (Psalm 27:14)   But do you think He wants us to just sit still?  Oh ha...I know you're thinking, "Be still and know..."  (Psalm 46:10)   Yes.  But there are a few other things He wants us to do.  He wants us to ACT---Abide in Christ.  (John 15:4)  Continue in our service to others for Him.  "God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them."  Hebrews 6:10 (NIV)  While Abiding and Continuing, we need to be Trusting in Him with all our hearts.  (Prov. 3:5)  (Trusting Him is what brings the "stillness" to our hearts.)

Ahhh...the main key is to keep feasting on His Word (see SUP, Success Under Pressure)---Abiding in Christ on a daily basis will ensure the lines of communication will remain open and "unclogged" by sin. 

Then, instead of freezing in our tracks, staring at the big burden or trial, we need to CONTINUE ON in our service to others for God's glory.  I've noticed a pattern....Look at Job 42:10  "And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before." (KJV)  Take a look at II Kings 4:37...The Shunammite's faithful hospitality to Elisha was rewarded with an answer to a SECRET desire of her heart.  God gave her a son.  It seems to me that when we remain focused on OTHERS in the midst of our trials and storms, and continue to reach out and serve THEM, that God will begin to ACT on our behalf.  

The final letter, "T for Trust," really hit close to home this weekend.  God showed me that I have several "little foxes" that are "getting the grapes" in my life:  lack of motivation, fear of MOVING forward.  But it's the root cause of these little foxes that is the main problem:  LACK OF WHOLE HEARTED TRUST in my Father.  Trust in Him wholeheartedly.  For goodness' sakes, if I can trust Him for my eternal security, then why on earth is it so hard to trust Him with "this stuff?"   Oh, immediately I asked for forgiveness for my lack of complete trust in Him with all of "this," and am letting go.  The end result will be whatever He wills it to be.   Since I  know that He works all things out for my good and His glory if I'm called according to His purpose, I have to know that whenever He does choose to ACT on my behalf, it's "gonna be GOOOOD." 

So, let's A.C.T. while we're waiting for God to act on our behalf.  Abide in Christ, Continue to walk forward in our service for Him, and Trust Him whole heartedly.

Oh Father, You are Sovereign and in control of every tiny detail in my life.  I'm so grateful for Your tender mercies and compassion which never, ever, ever, ever fail!   I'm taking the plunge...letting go.  Trusting You with the outcome.  I'm praying for all my friends and even strangers out there who may be suffering from some sort of captivity in their lives...financial, emotional, spiritual..whatever it is, Father, TURN THEIR CAPTIVITY in Jesus' Name...for we know that You are the God Who sets the captives free!!  AMEN AND AMEN!  And all of Your children are saying...Amen!

July 2, 2010

S.U.P. Success Under Pressure

When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. 
Ruth 1:18

Surely you're familiar with the story of Ruth.  The sweet, courageous woman who portrays our need for a Redeemer.  Boaz is a picture of Christ--our Kinsman Redeemer.  Oh the book of Ruth is full of wonderful images of our Savior, with His redeeming love being intricately woven throughout its pages. 

Today I was in need of a Word of encouragement...maybe even some Comfort Food.   "Oh, Father, I come to You...I need to hear from You."  After breathing a short prayer for the Holy Spirit to illuminate God's Word to my heart, I opened the Bible and found my eyes staring at the book of Ruth. 

The courage in this woman's heart revealed something LACKING in my own.  She had the backbone to follow her faith--the faith that God had given her.   I'm sure Ruth respected Naomi.  But did you notice the DETERMINATION of Ruth NOT to turn around and go back, as Orpah did, at the urging of Naomi?  

Do you know what you want out of life?  What or Who are you DETERMINED to go after?   Let's say you are on the right track, following the Lord, but someone comes along and URGES you to GO BACK to your native land, your sinful ways.  Would you have the backbone to say "NO, I won't go back!"   ??   Sooner or later we'll be faced with a strong person, who's determined to turn us around, to get us off track.   They may even be unaware of what they're doing.  They may THINK they're urging us to do something that is "right in their own eyes." 

The key to "Success Under Pressure" is submission---submission to God and His will.  If you're totally sold out and determined to FOLLOW THE LORD, then no matter the temptation or "strong recommendations" by others to hop off track, you'll have the backbone to keep on the right track.  

Isn't it "neat" that the initials for "Success Under Pressure" are S.U.P.? Hmmmm...That reminds me of:  Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will SUP with him, and he with me. Rev. 3:20  (KJV)  We can be so determined to go our "own merry way," that we fail to hear our Savior knocking at our heart's door.  Just like when Naomi saw Ruth's determination and gave up "urging Ruth," our Lord will eventually do the same thing if we continually reject His invitation.   He is never pushy, or overbearing.   That's why it's important that we be VERY CAREFUL to respond to His gentle urging, and open our heart's door to Him....He will come in and "SUP" with us.  It's in that sweet fellowship with Him that we'll find the strength to be Successful Under Pressure!

Thank You Father for this wonderful truth to my heart.  Increase our courage and stamina---increase our ability to withstand the enemy's temptation to "go back."   I also pray for anyone who may be determined to "go their own way" by ignoring Your sweet invitation to come in and SUP with them.   Soften their hearts, Holy Spirit. Quiet the anxiety in their hearts so that they may hear the sound of Your gentle voice calling out to them. And for those of us who may be encountering some "static" from others, give us wisdom to hear YOUR signal--broadcast YOUR direction for our lives, and give us Holy Boldness to follow You, no matter what.  In Jesus' Name, Amen.

July 1, 2010

Comfort Food

My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.  Psalm 119:50

In my last blog post, I discussed "Trading Sisters."  In 1997, I found myself enduring the loss of one sister, while being gripped by the hands of two other "sisters:"  Sorrow and Suffering.  My sister, Sherri, passed away at the age of 22.  She suffered from epilepsy, clinical depression, and adverse affects from her prescriptions.  She had undergone two brain surgeries to correct her epilepsy, and had begun to live a more "normal" life---She even began a career as a nursing student.  However, something happened in her last few weeks of nursing school (May 1997).  Of course, we'll never know for sure the reasons "why,"  but I had to place those "unknown details" in the hands of our Sovereign LORD.   The fact is, symptoms of her depression began to worsen, unbeknownst to us, and six weeks before graduating from nursing school, with honors, she ended her life.   OH!  The pain!  Words can not describe the anguish of losing a loved one in such a tragic way.   Especially a child of God. Oh my. 

Living with clinical depression is difficult enough..BUT be a child of God, having accepted the loving Gift of His Salvation through Jesus, trying to grow and serve Him, and still be touched by a terrible disease such as depression can inflict pain and misunderstanding beyond words.

This post is not about depression, or the debate of suicide and Christianity.  Nope. I'm not even going to "go there," not unless the Lord leads.  However---enduring deep grief, such as the tragic loss of a loved one, can throw a person into the depths of despair!

You may be wondering HOW DID YOU GET THROUGH IT, TAMMI?  Well, initially, I didn't think I could "go on."  In fact, I had always "heard" that "God never puts more on us than we could bear."  HOWEVER, I honestly felt this was TOO MUCH for me to bear.   Yet, He whispered to me, "We know that all things work together for good, to them that love God and are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)  He gave me a tiny seed of faith to cling to that verse, even in the midst of the nonsensical grief!  (I later learned that HE does allow us to go through some things that ARE more than we can bear---because HE will bear US, along with our trials, so that we don't have to "go it alone.")

What's your favorite comfort food? We all like to go to certain foods for comfort. . .Icecream.  Chocolate.  Cookies.   Have you ever noticed that if your faith is in need of strengthening, the ole enemy tries to deceive you into losing your appetite for God's Word?   Wonder why?  Because HE KNOWS that God's WORD is the only source of TRUE comfort in the midst of our deepest sorrow.

Do not be deceived....instead of losing your appetite, ask God to muster up the strength to go to His Word.  There you'll find a special morsel of comfort to get you through that moment.  I will never forget the "morsels" He gave me.  Psalm 34:18  The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  (NIV)  My spirit was crushed!  My heart was broken.  But He PROMISED that He was CLOSE to me and was GOING TO SAVE ME.  I was even afraid to face another day without my dear sister!  He gave me this:  Isaiah 41:10  So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.    Here I found the promise that He was going to strengthen me and help me...with His SUPER-STRONG, RIGHTEOUS RIGHT HAND.

In Psalm 119:92, David says "If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction."  Even though sorrow and suffering don't conjure up feelings of "delight," we can find our delight in God's Holy Word---it's "chock" full of promises to get us through every moment of each day.
Psalm 119: 76  May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.  

I just wanted to follow-up the last blog about "Sorrow and Suffering" with a morsel of HOPE.  Yes, Sorrow and Suffering have been my "new sisters"---but this journey has not ALWAYS been a gloomy, dark and dreary experience.  The Lord has been with me all the way, and I have found comfort in His Word.  And how special for God to point this out to me---The LORD was right in the middle of it all, with Sorrow and Suffering on each side of me.  Look at the initials:   S.L.S.   And Sherri's initials were (Drumroll):  S.L.S.   Wow.  :)  

In need of comfort, sisters?   Reach for the Bible, open it up and let God's precious promises bring comfort to your aching heart!   Have a favorite "comfort food?"    Take a moment to let us know your favorite Words of Comfort from our Lord.  I couldn't think of anything better than to spend a moment with my new sisters, while enjoying some "serious" COMFORT FOOD from Our Lord!  Could you? :o)

Thank You Dear Father, for being right there in the middle of the Sorrow and Suffering with me.  Jesus, YOU are The Word....You are MY COMFORT.  I pray for my sisters who may be out there embraced by Sorrow and Suffering right now.  I know it hurts!  I've been there, but make Your presence known and comfort them through Your Word.  May the lessons You've taught me through my "times of Suffering" be an encouragement to others, for Your glory.  In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
 I'd like to personally thank photographer, Alex Hafer, for granting permission to use his picture of the deliciously inviting chocolate cupcake!  THANKS!