Saturday, December 3, 2016


I live in the beautiful Smoky, Appalachian Mountains.  This year, we have experienced a severe drought.  Along with the drought, there have been wildfires, devastating and scary fires.  Fires that have destroyed homes and businesses, and have taken lives.

Even though I live in an area that was not directly on fire, I personally have been impacted by them.  The road that I take home, was closed just a few miles away due to a fire.  I have family members who were vacationing in Gatlinburg, and had to evacuate at a moment’s notice with just the clothes on their backs, and were very fortunate to get out alive.  Images and stories have been seared into my brain of the devastation, so much so, that I asked God to show me what I can learn from all of this.

I asked, this is what He gave me…

Fire in itself is a good thing.  In a survival situation, we are told, fire is one of the essential things a person must have.  Without it a person would not be able to stay warm, cook, or purify drinking water. 

Fire, in a proper setting is life.

How can something so necessary to life also be so destructive and deadly?  I asked myself this question, and then it came to mind, that this is true for almost everything in life.  Things that are good and essential, are often some of the very things that, if misused, can be the most harmful.


1.        Fire, in itself is a good thing, beneficial, but used outside of a healthy way, such as the containment of  a fireplace, cook stove, or even a well-built camp fire, is extremely destructive.  Just like most things God gives us for our good, they must be used under the confines of His rules.  He gives us His rules, not to harm us, but to keep us from harm. 


Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  (NIV)


   2.       God’s Holy Fire, which is the Holy Spirit, used under His guidance, is for us to help others.  It is for the believer to inspire, to help others, and to share the warmth of God’s love to others.  When I try to do things on my own, I take the fire out of the fireplace so to speak, and I can do major damage to relationships.  It is only through staying connected to God through His word, that I can do any good.  On my own, I am just like the wildfires our mountains experienced these last several weeks.

Hebrews 12:28-29

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.” (NIV)

                                                                                   Luke 12:48b-49

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. 49 “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! (NIV)


3.      Be ready!  Another reminder to be ready for the return of Jesus our savior.  We do not know the day or the hour, but like those who had to evacuate, if you do not have a plan, or are not ready to go at a moment’s notice: in other words, if you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus, you will be caught a fire much worse than those that burned through our beautiful mountains. 

Matthew 25:41

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (NIV)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

I’m doing this for your good

”I’m doing this for your good.”  How many of us have heard a parent say these words?  As a child. We question the truthfulness of our parents as they tell us, what seems like the worst thing in the world, is in reality for our good.  I know, to my horror, I have said these very words to my own daughter when she was young.


Recently, I had a very sick dog, and these words have taken on a new meaning and reality.  My dog Stella, had gotten into something, still unknown to me to this day, that caused her to be sick to her stomach, to the point that she completely stopped eating and drinking for days.  After and emergency trip to the bet, it was determined the course of treatment would be anti-nausea medication along with special soft dog food, topped with another medication that needed to be taken with food.

I was able to get her to drink a tiny bit of water after the anti-nausea, but she absolutely refused any food.  I ended up taking a very small amount of food and force fed her so I could give her the other medication.  To do this, I had to force her mouth open, shove the food in as far as I could get it without choking her, then hold her mouth closed and rub her neck so she would swallow.  When I thought enough time had passed, I let go of her mouth, only to have her spit out half the food.  This went on, and on until I was able to get enough food down her to give her the medicine.


Exasperated I said out loud to this dog of mine, “this is for your good, I am not trying to harm you.”

Instantly, it was if God Himself were speaking those words to me.  And isn’t that what he does for us?  Something is hard to take, or “swallow” and we fight against it.  Things like, a death of a family member, loss of a job, financial difficulty, troubles in marriage, prodigal children, health issues, or any number of things. 


If, however, we let God work in us through these things…

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.


Romans 8:28 (NIV)

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.


While I do not believe the “prosperity gospel” and believe it to be not biblical at all.  I wanted to see what it means for God to prosper us, or to work all things for our good.  I believe what this means is that God wants us to grow in relationship to Him, and with each other.  I believe His plans to prosper us, is to know joy in the midst of pain, to be able to bless others, and to glorify Him.


So how are we to be a blessing to others?

How do we grow in relationship with Him?

How do we grow in relationship with others?


There is no formula or easy answer to these questions, but really the only way I am able to do something that is not natural to me is through the working of the Holy Spirit.  He is my guide, my helper, and my counselor whenever I need Him. 


So, back to being force fed, so we can take our yucky medicine.  Try to see things through another perspective, and ask God how this will work for my Good?  Ask Him to grow you through this trial, and ask God to increase your joy through this hardship and guess what?  He will!


With God, we do have hope, and a future – try to look for it.



Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Out of Brokenness

What can God do with a shattered, life?  When the worst thing that you can imagine happens, and you are left with a pile of pieces, so broken you don’t know how they will ever be put back together, do you wonder how God could ever use this? 
Not long ago, the ladies I work with, and I had a time of devotion and reflection together.  Beforehand, I had broken small clay pots, one for each of us.  I had us take the time and write on the inside of the shards the things that had caused us to be broken in our lives.  Then we put the pots back together.  Some pots took a lot of work; some took more than one person to hold the pieces in place while the glue took hold, before more pieces could be added.  One pot took all of us working together to get it back together again.
After all of our pots were put back together, and the glue had dried, we placed a tea light in them and turned off the lights.  The light from those little candles shown through the cracks of the broken pieces in such a beautiful and profound way, much like the light of our savior shines through the broken pieces of our lives. 
and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
What seems like yesterday, in many ways, and in other ways, a lifetime ago: in reality, only four years ago, I came home after a long night of work to find my husband of twenty years, dead from a heart attack.  Two short days later, my father died after a long illness, and so my journey of brokenness began. 
Most certainly, this season of grief and brokenness is one which I questioned how God could ever use to His Glory.  But as the years pass, I see the promises in Isaiah 61 come true in my life. 
It began with me praising God for who He is, and not how I felt.  Next, I began to beg God to restore my joy, which He did, after He reminded me that joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit, and is not dependent on how I felt.  After my joy was restored, God put me to work.  He placed other people in my life that had experienced loss and brokenness.  He also started to place it on my heart to share my story, and my journey.  

Out of darkness and into the light. 
Like the clay pot, my pieces are put back together in a way I never expected. Like a stained glass window, I am beginning to see the beauty that God is creating in those broken and cracked pieces.