Posted in Journal

Driving through the Storms

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“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” ~ Romans 12:2

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” ~ James 1:5

Yesterday, while driving to a women’s retreat Sister Frankie and I were caught in a terrible rain storm. It was hard to drive through it. Easier as long as the road had a rough surface but when suddenly it changed and the surface was smooth –  there were more reflections and more mist and it was close to impossible to see the lines or where you were on the road. So of course, the Lord uses all things and He started speaking.

What lessons about driving through the storms did the Holy Ghost impress on my heart that can be applied to the storms of life?

Pray! Pray! Pray! – Before, during and after the trip we prayed…not just for ourselves but everybody on the road. We make it a habit of always praying before every trip and most times many times along the way.

Get in the center lane – I had a long way to go on the road I found myself. I wasn’t going to need to exit. We debated getting off the road but I didn’t know the area off the exit any more than I knew the road I was on so I felt wisest to keep going and then because I knew I wasn’t going to need to exit, I got in the center lane. To go through the storms of life we need to get in and stay in the center of God’s perfect will. Not to the right or not to the left of it. Get there and stay there.

Focus – I was having a really hard time seeing the cars in front of me and beside me but there happened to be a great big boat right in front of me. (Now, is that God or what?) Sister Frankie called it the LifeBoat. I got my eyes on that big LifeBoat. He was easy for me to see and easy for everybody else to see. I felt they would be cautious as they passed him. For sure we should always be careful who we follow because following the right person or thing can get you through the storm but if you aren’t careful you can follow someone down the wrong path…right to hell. Get your eyes on Jesus, into His Word, and in places of prayer and worship.

Keep going – Once our eyes were set, we just kept on going. It needs to be the same in life. Keep going. Will we mess up? Yes, probably. When you do, get back up. If You hurt someone along the way ask for forgiveness and then get back up. If you sin, repent and get back up and keep going. It is much more dangerous to stop on a stormy road or in the storms of our lives than it is to drive on through the storm…because it is always harder to get back onto a busy highway.

Remember where your Help comes from. At the worst time, I looked and the boat was ahead of me but a distance ahead of me. In the rearview mirror, I looked and I could see that NO ONE WAS close to me behind. No one was to either side. And not only did I feel safe but I had that song going through my mind. “It May look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by You.” God protected me by keeping everyone away from me during the worst part of that storm.

Praise JESUS! NEVER STOP PRAISING HIM!!!! I thank You, Lord, for taking us through to safety.

So let me close with this. What did Sister Frankie and I see when the storm cleared?

  • Multiple cars in ditches that looked as though they had played follow the leader right there into the ditch.
  • MANY Cars pulled off the sides and the median now trying to get back into the flow of the traffic. They were then causing more backups.
  • Cars spun around, wrecked and trucks jackknifed and totally blocking the road. Someone, for some reason, had made the wrong move likely due to unclear lane changes (now there’s a whole other message).

God bless you all!!!!

 

Posted in Journal

Today I am Reminded…

Sand heart

Yesterday I wrote about the difference between walking in a sand dune as opposed to walking in wet sand and how much easier it is to walk when the sand is wet and compacted. I had another thought this morning. If the sand is too wet and the water isn’t being released by evaporation or by flowing elsewhere it can create an environment for quicksand and that can be a dangerous situation to try to walk through.

Today I woke up feeling like if I don’t get a handle on a common feeling bombarding my mind it would be like being stuck in quicksand.

What was this feeling? I wanted to quit!!! My thoughts were – what is the need of me in this present place? What do I do that can’t be done or what do I bring that can’t be brought by just about anyone else out there? Now, these are not thoughts I naturally head toward. I am not prone to quit so I have to scream, GET behind ME, satan. I am calling him out and exposing his lies. In warfare prayer, I asked the Lord for help and cast down the thoughts and imaginations and a few moments later the Lord replaced them with some reminders. Just a fairly normal Tuesday in my office but then a fax showed up and as I read it this flowed out of it like a fast-moving stream.

 

Today I am Reminded…

Today I am reminded that some people face hard things that unless revealed we know nothing about. That some face these hard things, not of their own choosing and they don’t deserve it. Today I am reminded that some in trying to navigate those things lose sight of and even the will to be who God created them to be. Today I am reminded that some are just plain tired of fighting it alone…even if they made a choice to go it alone. Today I am reminded that when they lose their sight or their will or their fight the resulting bondage manifests itself in many ways.

Today I am reminded that some battles are so obvious but some hide theirs with gold and glitter and glamorous attire, riches. If you look at them and see the things that surround them; see their success and status you have no idea of their pain. The truth is that if we are completely honest we think we ourselves would be happier with more money and more worldly status so we can’t imagine they are not.

Today I am reminded that  I was that person.

Today I am reminded that the Bible says in Romans 2:4 that it is the goodness of God that draws men to repentance. I am reminded to have compassion and love people as they navigate no matter the bondage they may be in and no matter how it manifests. I am reminded that if I truly love like Jesus loves then they will see Jesus (the goodness of God) in me. After all, God is love.

Today I am also reminded of how much I wanted someone, anyone to see me and care about me and what I was going through. Today I am reminded that someone did come along and they cared. That one person had compassion on me and loved me enough to speak the Truth but to do so while staying alongside me. I am reminded of one person that wasn’t afraid of my baggage. One that lived out the “greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world.” Today I am reminded that I saw Jesus in that one person and I wanted what they had. I wanted Jesus in my life.

So, truly, even more, today I am reminded of my God and Father that sent His Son, Jesus, to die for me on the cross. For me! Today I am reminded of a God that showed me His grace and mercy and His compassion when I was at the bottom of the pit and on my way to hell. I am reminded of how His goodness drew me to my knees crying out in repentance; asking for forgiveness for my sins; asking Him to help me live a holy life; to help me live only for Him. Today I am reminded of a God that forgave, saved, delivered, healed and turned my life around. I am reminded today of what a beautiful blessing repentance is to you and to me!!!!

God used that one person that loved me as He loves and today I am reminded to be that person for others. I am reminded that when I don’t love, others aren’t seeing the goodness of God in me. What if we all loved? What if God wants to use your next encounter as an opportunity for someone to see His goodness and be drawn to repentance? I am reminded today just how much He loves everyone and each one we encounter.

Today I am in tears at the reality of the hard things some face and are forced to now navigate.

Today I am reminded to love.

Posted in Journal

Holding Pattern

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On this day last year, I was in Tanzania. Today I am not. I can’t help but ponder it all as I see the FB notices from the team flow across my newsfeed.

I was reminded of this. On the way home, our plane flew in a holding pattern for over an hour because of a storm in Charlotte. When we were finally given clearance to land, it was an incredibly bumpy, scary experience. Truly I wasn’t sure in those moments that we would land safely. My Pastor says that what happens in the natural is also happening in the supernatural and really that is a picture of my life over this last year. There is a storm raging on every front. Not just in my life though…in the lives of most everyone I know. Because of the storms, many are in holding patterns, and we will be until given clearance that we are ready to take that next step of heading through the storm!

What does that mean for me? I feel I have a call to the mission field. But I feel just as strongly that right now God has me in a holding pattern – another season of surrender and waiting. I can’t explain it all, but I will wait. I will wait until GOD opens His next door for me if He chooses to open another one. But God hasn’t called me to wait and do nothing in the waiting. In the waiting, God has me doing other things just as dear, maybe even dearer, to His heart. He works to strengthen me, to make needed correction, and He highlights some of the others areas of my calling. He is even changing some of the desires of my heart to line up more closely with His own. This holding pattern is a season of waiting with His purposes and for my own good! I trust His work, and though there times I struggle to keep doubt out of my mind I do find my trust and faith growing stronger day by day.

Now, what does it look like for me? What does He have me do?  Well for me, it looks like on my knees and into the Word. It looks like a surrender! (I am called to obey first and foremost). I obey, therefore, I pray and I pray. (I am called to pray). I read God’s Word and try to memorize. (I am called to “hide His Word in my heart”). I study the Word of God. (I am definitely called to study this Word). I write down what I study and learn, what touches my heart, what I feel God is saying to me (I am called to write), and sometimes I share what God reveals. I do this in Sunday School and in services occasionally, but more on the blog. (I am called to teach and make disciples – aren’t we all?). And when I am done, I turn the page of the Word, and I start all over again and again and again. (I am called to persevere).

The Bible says: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:19-20

The blog actually gets very few views. I sometimes wonder what difference any of it can actually make. But every now and then someone finds it. When they do, I know they have been prayed for, and they will come face to face with the precious Word of God – which Itself teaches us will not return to Him void. Waiting isn’t always easy but I find purposefully waiting because God has you in a holding pattern can be life-giving.

On this day last year, I was in Tanzania. Today I am not.  But today someone visited the website from Zimbabwe.  And with that visit today the Lord has allowed me to use the blog to “go into” 100 nations of this world and share the Word of God! Over 80 of them since coming back from TZ last year. I began to really focus on my blog/website again because I didn’t know what else to do with myself.  He put me in this place and for ALL He has done, is doing, and will do – HE GETS ALL THE GLORY AND THE HONOR AND THE PRAISE! I love my Jesus so!!!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Journal

Chosen – Matthew, Lenka, and Anna Maria

I saw this post on the web last night, and it took me right back to 2007 and an Orphanage for the severely disabled in Romania.

Visiting these children was such a beautiful but tough part of the mission…emotionally and spiritually. I was told because of their laws and disabilities they could not be adopted. It left me to ponder why God had them there and why He sent me there as a 46-year-old woman to see it all. I thought how as a young girl after my dad died I secretly dreamed someday I would have another dad that would make a choice to love and adopt me. Though it didn’t happen I was able to hope for that…but here they were and no earthly dad could ever choose them!

I laid in my room that night and I became overwhelmed and began to sob. As I cried the Spirit of God surrounded me and I talked to Him about three little children – Matthew, Lenka, and Anna Maria. Two confined in beds in conditions I was unaccustomed to with infirmities considered hopeless. One confined because though she was a perfectly normal child, her twin sister was disabled and they weren’t allowed to be separated. Oh, how these little ones had touched me and in their faces as I talked and sang and played with them…I saw the face of Jesus!!!

God and I continued talking into the night and I asked Him of the purpose of the lives they were given. When I did, He stopped abruptly and said, “Missy…I have chosen you. I have always chosen you. But why have you never chosen Me?” I said, “I thought I did choose you. 9/11/2006 in my dining room.” God said, “Yes, you chose Me as your Savior that day. But Missy why have you never chosen Me…as your Father? Why do you want an earthly dad more than Me?” That night I made a choice.

Needless to say, Romania was life-changing. Many times, like last night I think of three little children. Matthew and Lenka couldn’t see, couldn’t talk, and couldn’t even move on their own. They did little but lay there all day, every day. Anna Maria was a prisoner because of circumstance and would be held there until she turned 18 or her sister died.

Three tiny but chosen servants of God that He used to soften my hard and bitter heart. One day they will know of their fruit. Oh, how Jesus loves the little children. Oh, how He loves you and me. Make a choice today!!!

Posted in Journal

Weary of the Sales Pitches

I don’t usually state my irritations, but today I am highly annoyed. My newsfeed and inboxes are FULL of ministers wanting to “mentor” me for a fee…in the prophetic, in prayer, in healing and deliverance, in praise and worship, in how to see angels…and on and on it goes. From what I have seen it consists mostly of live and/or recorded classes, private FB pages to get special and secret content and meet other mentees, special discounts on products and conferences, some have a one-on-one conversation included.  All this at the price of $11.95 and up (way up) per MONTH!

What is the definition of a mentor?

  • a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.
  • an influential senior sponsor or supporter.
  • a wise or trusted adviser or guide
  • to act as a mentor to (someone); train

Perhaps you can twist the definition to say these people can mentor/train whosoever will sign up even if they don’t even know them and likely will!

Now don’t get me wrong – I do believe in teaching and studying, and I really believe in discipleship….but it bothers me that the gullible people are given the impression by these “mentors” that what they, as ministers of God, have been blessed and anointed by God with can be bought and sold. They don’t come out and say it. In fact, they say that the subject matter can “not so much be taught but caught.” Maybe you can learn a few things about the different gifts and offices and maybe that will increase a desire for a gift as you study and seek the Lord, but I believe you cannot become a prophet or anything else unless God anoints you to do that and He anoints as He wills.

Why if you could be anointed by studying and training and even desiring I would be anointed in all of the above and then some….because I am a STUDENT and have gone in many directions and in-depth over the years. I own more Bible studies, topical studies on such things as Healing, Deliverance, and Prayer than most would imagine and I have gone through them all and shared many.  BUT in the end no matter how much I study, how much I might desire a gift, how much I hang around anointed Generals of the Faith I CAN STILL ONLY DO WHAT GOD CALLS ME TO DO in the way and in the places He calls me to.

Things may be better understood by teaching videos and surely they provide value in the equipping but in my opinion, your money would be more fruitful given to your true mentors – your teachers, your pastors, your prophets those that hold you accountable week after week. And your time would be better spent serving in your local church and most importantly on your face seeking His.

Maybe I am wrong and just weary of all the sales pitches.

 

Posted in Journal

Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God!

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At some phase, each of us will be confronted with the impurities of our hearts. The Holy Spirit reveals our sinfulness not to condemn us but to establish humility and deepen the knowledge of our need for grace. It is at this crossroad that both holy men and hypocrites are bred. Those who become holy see their need and fall prostrate before God for grace and forgiveness. Those who become hypocrites are they who, in seeing their sin, excuse it and thus remain intact. Though all men must eventually stand at this juncture, few are they who embrace the voice of truth; few are they indeed who will walk humbly toward true holiness. — Francis Frangipane in his book Holiness, Truth and the Presence of God

Yesterday I found myself at this juncture once again. I can think of nothing more heart wrenching than to be shown the impurities of your own heart by a holy God. But I am so very thankful that He loves us enough to show us. I am so thankful that He still convicts and lets the spirit of repentance fall. I am so thankful that He forgives. I am so thankful that He then shows you how He wishes you to proceed beyond forgiveness.

See, sometimes Father requires that we go to a person or group of people and humble ourselves and apologize for words spoken or not spoken; for actions taken or not taken. The Bible says in James 5:16:

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

We sometimes like to skip over that part. We let it go and say it was no big deal. Truly yesterday I had to ask forgiveness for some words I spoke. They weren’t what some would consider harsh words but the words I spoke were not grounded in love, compassion, and support for God’s children. He does look at the heart, you know! So here I was and I knew I had to go not only to the person I spoke them to but also to those that were present when I spoke them.  I tried to get out of it. Believe me, I tried. I tried to excuse it away – they won’t remember and even if they do will I not be dredging up old stuff? Oh, we can come up with some great excuses, can’t we?

But I know the voice of the Lord and I really know the conviction of the Lord. When I was first saved I asked the Holy Ghost one day to give me a heart of repentance. I desired a heart that was sensitive to conviction and always ready to ask forgiveness of Him and make amends quickly with anyone I hurt along the way. He gave me that heart and it is not always easy. I don’t always do it perfectly and I am surely not usually graceful in the process. Sometimes it makes others more uncomfortable than I am. But there is something about repentance and confession that sets us all free.

So I apologized not once but to several different people. It was HARD and in the end, not one of them even remembered my words and some didn’t even hear the conversation and all of them thought it was no big deal. BUT that didn’t matter so much because – God heard and to Him what He heard and saw in my heart was a big deal. While He doesn’t remember our sin past that moment of forgiveness, He told me to go to each of them and He does remember that. He knows why He wanted me to do that because He knows His plans for each one of us.

In the end, we stand at the crossroads and the roads lead to holiness and Life or to death. What is holiness? Where can you find the presence of the Lord? His presence demands obedience to His Word, His voice, and His call.  His presence demands a clean heart.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. ~ Psalm 51:10-12

Create in me a clean heart oh God… We quote the scripture, sing the song, and we ask that of our God in prayer.  And then He answers….

Posted in Journal

…for Your Good and His Glory

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. ~ Psalm 16:11

I have lived long enough to discover that life is not about having every dream come true or every want fulfilled. Life is about glorifying God in all things. Sometimes we go through some very hard trials and great loss. If in that we are focused on ourselves, we become bitter in our suffering. But when we can see the journey for what it is – an opportunity to glorify God and minister to others, we will discover that our burdens are more bearable.

I lost my dad as a young teenager and my only sister as a young adult. My heart aches over the losses. I have seen days I thought I would never recover joy following my dad’s suicide and it seemed all my peace left forever the day my sister was taken off of life support. These were hard parts of my path. Yet, in the course of my life God has given me many opportunities to help others in ways that would not have been possible were my dad and sister still alive. Does that make their deaths worth it? Of course not! But somehow my pain is lessened when I am used to help others going through similar losses.

Romans 8:28 says: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.

Indeed, the difficult parts of our paths are never without meaning and purpose. If we are God’s children, although it may seem His hand is against us, He is always working for our good and His glory.

My prayer today is that you will know the true fullness of joy and peace that comes from walking with Jesus along your own path. I pray that you will allow Him to use you to help someone else. And if it is in your heart, may God work to root any bitterness out … for your good and His glory. In Jesus Name! Amen.

Posted in Journal

My mom has been…

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My mom has been ….

The stay-at-home mom
The working mom
the bread winner mom
The student mom
The teacher mom

The pastor’s wife mom
The pastor’s widow mom
The heartbroken mom
The protective mom
The forgiving mom

The single mom
The dating mom
The engaged mom
The bride mom
The remarried mom

The mom who lost a daughter
The grieving mom
The grieving mom
The grieving mom
The accepting mom
The peaceful mom

The injured mom
The helpless mom
The sick mom
The weak mom
The healed mom

The mom who cared for and lost her own precious mom long before an actual death.

The strong mom
God loving, God seeking, God fearing mom
The faith-filled mom
The Bible believing mom
The church going mom
The merciful mom
The praying mom
The ever evangelizing mom

She’s the mom of Preacher Mike
She’s the mom of Missy. I am always just Missy to her 😍
She’s the mom of Karen Lea who she’ll see again in heaven.
She’s the Ganny to 7 grandchildren and 4 great grands.
The mom to so many third graders and countless church kids!!!

No matter what in all these roles a few things are fact… my mom is a mom that perseveres, does it with a grace that is supernatural, and expects nothing less from those around her!!! If you know her and have been on the receiving end of her mothering…you can’t help but love her as your own.

 

 

Posted in Journal

He Hears, He Cares…

God has done amazing things in my life over the last 24 hours to encourage me and remind me that He hears, He cares, He answers prayer, 5C8DDE2B-6CC6-407A-9672-2D4C00D27EFAand He has and always had a plan for me and for my life…and His plans are very specific and personal.

Earlier this week, I was in a state of desperation in prayer. I felt that loneliness necessary for going deeper places with God. Necessary, but painful to the core. I cried out to God during morning prayer on Monday and asked Him to please have someone pray in agreement with Him for me! Nothing seemed to come of the prayer right then, but later I felt a lifting of the despair. Although the burden was still present and I could see it, I knew I was no longer the one carrying it.

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Yesterday my mom brought me a letter she had found in a box. It was written in 1980 and it was to me from my Religion professor at Gardner-Webb University. Dr. Ronnie Prevost was my professor but also went to my church. Over the few years I knew him, not only was he my professor but he was my Sunday School teacher and also a father figure. I babysat his kids, so I was close to his wife and all of his family. They loved me. When the boy that I thought I would marry showed up on my birthday with another girl Dr. Prevost is the one that saw how that sent me into a spiral of destructive behavior. My heart was broken and his heart was broken for me as he truly thought of me and treated me as a daughter. In the letter he wrote these words, “Melissa, you need to find your own special place and purpose in this world. You need to do your best to move forward. Just do your best, ok? And Melissa, always keep in mind Proverbs 3:6 ‘In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.’”

That touched my heart to be reminded of how God has ALWAYS put into my path the spiritual parents, friends, and teachers needed to help with that particular part of the path…as I acknowledged Him. My dad died in 1975. The Prevost family was a major part of my life from 1977-1981 when they moved away to work at a college in Alabama. Sometimes I forget all the people God has woven together in His great plan to help raise me and encourage me, correct me and love me. Now please don’t misunderstand, I had the best and most Godly mom and so blessed to have her always there for me, but I have had quite a few others in many stages of life that God provided. I still do, praise God. What a good, good Father who blesses me so!

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Then today….

I received a text this morning from a lady I used to go to church with. I haven’t seen or spoken to her in almost 6 years. She wrote… I can’t get you off of my heart and mind this week. Not sure why, but the Lord keeps bringing your name to me several times a day. When that happens, I just pray.

He hears. He cares. He answers. He has a plan for you and for me. Always has. Still does. Always will.

‭‭

Posted in Journal

While Sitting at the Airport

image_540183366551203Last week I was sitting at the airport on the top floor of the parking deck. I was waiting for Dan to arrive and watching airplanes takeoff on either side of me at the same time, and it was happening about once a minute. That is a lot of planes flying in unison, and these are just two runways at CLT. You wonder how in the world can they keep it all straight? They can because there’s a plan in that Control Tower. They stay focused and in line with the plan. If something changes, they have to go to the controller for further directions and permissions as it relates to the rest of the plan. Things happen, and there are changes and cancellations and delays but not without other things being affected.

It made me think about my life. Right now we are in a fight. There are so many sicknesses and other issues on all sides. It is mind-boggling. Now I ask Jesus how do I proceed in this battle? He says by keeping your focus on Me and getting direction only from Me and My Word. He is the controller, and He is my strong Tower. While there is nothing wrong with wise counsel and it is needed. In the end, the direction must come from Him alone as we only see in part. He has the grand plan, and it is good. As I focus on Him, I get clarity and understanding and strength.

If I learned anything since TZ, it is that sometimes God shuts your voice down for a season for His reasons. Maybe He shuts us up because we are our worst distraction. Most people that are talking aren’t praying and listening for His voice. This place of no voice is not a comfortable place. But I am not fearful or wavering or ignorant. I am just trying to be obedient and stay in His will for my life and my call. Some days I feel like all I have left is my focus, and yet it feels like that just might be everything.

Sitting at the airport, I was amazed by air traffic controllers and the many pilots that follow such explicit instruction. They make it flow. But I sat more in awe of my God and Father who knows the plans He has for me even in the midst of all that goes on in this crazy world and chooses to speak to me and encourage me as I focus on Him at the airport.

Thank you, Holy Spirit.