Thank You God For Blessing Me

Eleven-and-a-half silver dollar pancakes, a tube of yogurt and a cup of milk!  That’s what my three-year old grandson had for breakfast this morning.   I gave him a little at a time, but he kept asking for more and more. 

As I walked to the kitchen to get the last couple of pancakes, I could only think of how blessed I am.  I have actually  known a time in my life, when groceries were scarce, and my car was running on gas fumes.  

On this day,  Andrew wanted more pancakes, and I had plenty of them. 

As I placed the pancakes on the plate, I looked up and said, “God, I thank You for pancakes.”

I really have no lack in my life.  Like others, there are things that I would like to have, but I can truthfully say I have no lack.   I have a roof over my head,  too much food in the cupboard, a car that runs well (even with 193,000 miles on it), a warm bed for resting, more clothes than anyone needs, a great family and Jesus Christ  as my Lord and Savior!

It’s so easy to take for granted the daily provisions of God, because we are waiting for that big breakthrough.  I certainly have big things for which I am praying; some are breakthroughs that only God can bring forth!  Yet, I can still testify I have no lack.

I don’t want to walk through life waiting for the big breakthrough, and yet not thank God for all that I do have.   When I was much younger, there was a southern gospel song that hit the airwaves.  I can still remember the lyrics decades later.  I want to sing this to God every day of my life.

There’s a roof up above me
I have a good place to sleep
There’s food on my table
And shoes on my feet
You gave me your love Lord
And a fine family
Thank you Lord
For your blessings on me! 

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” –  1 Chronicles 16:34

I Just Came To Testify

As I sit in Panera Bread in Baton Rouge, LA, this morning, I am enjoying a wonderful cup of coffee.  As I look across the room, I see women of varying ages, and for some reason, it caused me to recall my years from childhood until now.  That’s a lot of years!

That walk down memory lane, brought a few smiles and even a few tears.  But, on that walk down memory lane,  I began to thank the One who has been by side – Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

I just came to testify!

I think all of us, who know Christ, need to take the stroll down memory lane occasionally. When we see how God has been with us in the past, it gives us faith for the “now” we are experiencing.  If you have heard me speak, you might have heard me burst out in song,  “If you could see where Jesus brought me from, to the place I am today, then you would know the reason why I love my Jesus sooooooo!”

I just came to testify!

Life will not be without sorrow.  It just won’t.  Sometimes the sorrow is unfair, unavoidable and so very painful.   My story is one of unshakable faith, as God has proven Himself to be a God who walks by my side.  He has sustained me, provided for me, and comforted me. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I believe Him, when He says, “I am never going to leave you, Barbara, never.”

I just came to testify.

Among my sorrows:

  • Childhood abuse on several levels
  • Poverty
  • Rejection because I didn’t fit in
  • Food addiction to try to take away the pain
  • Miscarriage
  • A teenage son with cancer
  • Church pain
  • Losing a son

My story has not always played out the way I wanted, but God is the writer of my story. The plot has a lot of twists and turns, but He is still writing wonderful chapters, and I know the ending will be outstanding.  He has carried me when I was at my lowest, and I can truly testify He has turned my mourning into dancing.  My Lord has taught me that  His love for me is greater than my greatest sorrow.

I just came to testify!

I thank God for my story!  I thank God for his redeeming power.  I want to steward well the story He has given me.  I want to give hope to others, when they feel that life has knocked the wind out of them.

I just came to testify!

We all have a story. And, I believe part of our story is using what we have been through, to help encourage someone else.  I made a choice to proclaim God’s love and power, rather than drown in a sea of bitterness.

What is your story? Will you allow God to heal your hurt?   Will you allow Him to write new chapters?  Will you use your story to lift another up?  Will you point them to the One who can offer hope and life?   Join me in doing that. 

I just came to testify!

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:  Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3:21-23

Be Still!

Sometimes we just need to be still and know that He is God.

Luke, who is seven-months old was visiting Papa and Grammy, along with his two brothers.  Our home was a station of activity, noise and laughter. Ahhhhh! Grandchildren!  Need I say more?

Gaylon had taken the two older brothers outside to play, and I stayed inside to feed Luke.  After eating until his tummy was full, I could tell Luke was a bit sleepy.  I rocked him a few minutes, and his little eyelids were almost closed, and then one of the boys came in the back door wanting something.  Luke opened his eyes and lifted his head.  No way was he going to miss anything.  He had to be in the middle of it all.  No time to rest when there is something going on!

After this scenario repeated several times, I decided to put Luke on the rug.  I walked out of the room for a couple of minutes, and when I came back into the room, there was Luke, face down on the rug, and sound asleep.

I think sometimes in life we grow so tired.  Maybe we are tired of the many interruptions and activities that vie for our attention.  In our weariness, we pop up and get in the middle of all the action.   As Christians, we often get involved in sixty things!  I’ve been there!  I’ve been there when trying to minister to everyone else, and my own soul was on life support. 

I’m honest enough to say that I have hit the wall a few times!  I’ve cried out to God in those moments, “Give me energy.  Help me.  I’m exhausted! You said, come unto me and I will give you rest!” 

God reminded me that He also said, “Be still and know that I am God.”

Mom, while those babies are still running around the house, you don’t have to be involved in everything that comes around.  Too much will steal your rest.  You will never recapture those moments.  Older couple at home, just because you have no children at home, doesn’t mean neglecting each other is wise.  But, so much requires that “I” be there!  Too much will steal your rest. You will never recapture that time in life. Being single doesn’t mean that you have to do it all, because others think you have few responsibilities in life. Too much will steal your rest.  

I could go on and on.

What is the answer?  I don’t have the counsel for everyone’s personal situation, but I do know that we are often a people with our noses buried in texting, social media and group activity. Those are fine within reason.

More than once God has shouted a verse to me, shouted because when he whispered, I was busy.  “Be still and know that I am God.”

Be still.

Be still and know.

Be still and know that I AM.

That’s so hard to do when we’re always texting someone, checking messages, answering every call on our cell  phone, attending every activity that  presents itself.   Each person will have to work it out, but one thing I’m sure of, we need to stop going so much. Stop texting so much. Stop reading everyone’s saga on social media.  Stop filling up our every free moment. You can’t come to God for rest, without being still.  Even if for fifteen minutes, be still and know that He is God.

“Be still, and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10

When Someone In The Church Hurts You

News alert:  people in the Church are going to offend you sometimes.  

My husband began his first pastorate in the little town of Camden, SC.  I was only 20 years old.  I was a naïve, immature child of God.   With honesty I can say, I had little to no clue what I was doing, and I can honestly say, I really thought everyone in the Church would play nice.  Here I am forty-five years later, testifying that as we have served in ministry, not everyone was nice, including me. 

I’ll spare the details, but a woman hurt me very deeply in one of our pastorates.  She accused me of things that I did not do, and proceeded to spread the accusations.  She contacted church leaders, friends and probably even God!  In front of others, she told me what she thought of me.  I was devastated. 

During the season of hurt and disillusionment, I pulled away from the church emotionally, trying to breathe, and trying to survive.  It was a difficult season, but God met me during that season and renewed me.  The woman did not apologize, and even after God touched me, I still had to see her in the pew  every week.  (Maybe it’s called a “pew” because God’s people can stink some things up!)

Over time, I was able to become stronger in God, and know that the storms created by people in the Church were not going to kill me.  They would hurt, but not kill me.   I learned that there is a safe place in God.  I learned to be careful not to pull away from God because of what people did.  God did not hurt me.  One of His children did.  It’s easy to get the two mixed up.   It’s easy to lose sight of the One we serve, the One we love and the One who loves us. 

Many, many years later, while speaking in a city, my path crossed with that woman.  As she came up to me, I was braced for another tongue-lashing.  Instead a beautiful spirit of repentance and sorrow came from her.    Now, I could have rehashed all she had done to me and my reputation, but that would do no good.  We hugged.  We teared up.  We walked away in total forgiveness, continuing to grow and serve God.

Are you in a season of hurt?  God sees.  Does it seem like the person is getting away with it?  God sees. 

It’s easy to want God to punish the person, who has hurt us, but it is necessary to give God the time to work in people.  He can change a person. I cannot.  He is doing a work beyond my natural vision.

Thank God that He doesn’t hit us with a bolt of lightning every time we do something foolish.  Otherwise, I would not be writing this, and you would not be reading it!

Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin!

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”  – Philippians 2:13

Truth Is Still Truth

As the times change, and what is permitted on television changes, I watch less and less.  I do have a few shows that I record and watch, so I can avoid commercials.  Not only do I not care about the commercials, they often have content I don’t care to put in to my mind’s eye. 

I do like a good court show. It fascinates me to watch the judge get to the truth of the matter.  The judge sits and listens to two people telling very different stories, and I watch as she asks questions, eventually painting one of them into a corner.  Eventually, either the plaintiff or the defendant has no real truth to back up what they are saying.  

Often during the case, one side will begin to repeatedly yell the same statement over and over, a statement that is not true.  Many times it is the written word, text or email, that shows the real truth.  The written word trumps what is being said.  

Finally, the judge will say, “Just because you repeat it over and over, doesn’t make it true.”

That is kind of where I am today, as I see what is unfolding in our society.  Untrue statements have been repeated so many times, that they are now repeated as truth.  One arena in which this is so true is the arena of sexual issues.  While I am not going to list and dissect every sexual issue that is in the news today, without hesitation I say, “Just because you repeat something over and over does not make it true.” 

I challenge God’s people to educate themselves, as to what God’s word says about sexual matters.  It is very clear, and I find little to no ambiguity.   Notice that I said God’s people.  I can’t make someone live a life based on the truth of the Word of God.   Yelling scripture at people doesn’t change them.   But, God’s people are responsible to know the truth of what God says.

We must be careful that we not let emotions change what the word of God says.  We all have friends and family that are on the “other” side of issues.  We should love them no less, and we should treat them with kindness.   That should not and will not change what the word of God says on these matters.  Truth is still truth, even if unpopular.  The written word trumps what is being said.

“Just because you repeat it over and over, doesn’t make it true.”

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 25:5

Is God Just A Fairy Tale?

“Your God is just a fairy tale, for the weak-minded.”   That was part of a conversation in which I was involved recently, and it’s not the first time that I’ve heard something along this line.   

There have been a few times that the words rang in my ears, and I even wondered, “What if this is all a big fairy tale!” 

According to one man, talking about God is the equivalent of talking about fairies or goblins. It’s the reason he doesn’t like to use the word ‘atheist’ to describe himself. ‘Call me an “a-fairyist” or an “a-goblinist”,’ he says, ‘because to me it’s the same argument.’

Now, I believe God is real, very real.  He has stepped off the pages of scripture, and walked right into my life.  But, there are still those who believe it’s all one big fairy tale.

Even if serving God and believing Him to work on my behalf is a fairy tale, I have no regrets.

This “fairy tale” has:

  • Given me hope in life.
  • Caused me to believe that I could overcome an abusive childhood.
  • Planted in me a desire to help other people in need.
  • Given me opportunity to travel across this nation and other nations, to speak good news.
  • Taught me to forgive more easily, and not live with the negative consequences of bitterness and unforgiveness.
  • Placed in my heart a desire to be generous. Before my “fairy tale,” I wanted to hold on to the almighty dollar!
  • Provided me with tools to be a better woman, wife, mother and grandmother.
  • Helped me to be kind-hearted towards my fellow humans.
  • Placed wonderful people in my path, who have been steadfast, dependable friends.

I could go on and on and on.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ has been life-changing, and healing for this old girl. 

Is God a fairy tale?  I certainly don’t think He is, but if He is, I like a good fairy tale.  A good fairy tale starts with once upon there was … and ends with they lived happily ever after.  That has been my life.  Once upon a time, I was a mess, the Prince came and rescued me, and one day I shall live happily ever after with Him!

I believe in God our Father, I believe in Christ the Son
I believe in the Holy Spirit, Our God is three in one
I believe in the resurrection, That we will rise again
For I believe in the name of Jesus

“Know that the Lord, He is God;  It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. – Psalm 100:3

God Is Singing. Why Don’t You Join Him?

While sitting in the waiting room at the therapy offices, I get a lot of lessons.  The therapy offices to which I am referring, are for therapists who work with children.   Our grandson Joseph gets both occupational therapy and speech therapy, and sometimes I get to take him.  Joseph is on the autism spectrum,  and these therapists work hard to help him.  It’s often slow progress, but it’s progress!

Truly, I could write several pages of watching the children in the waiting room.  They are amazing to watch.  They are determined to overcome.

This week, as we were waiting for Joseph’s therapist to come take him back, Joseph began playing with a toy that is similar to a house.   A child can climb through the door, and to the “inside of the house.”  As Joseph climbed through, he saw the light switch, and said, “Turn on the light.”  And, he did.  Then he said, “Turn off the light.” And, he did.  Then he went back “outside the house.”   Joseph stood up and said, “Good job, Joseph,” and clapped for himself.

I smiled, and I almost teared up.  Two years ago, this would not have happened.  Two years of hard, repetitive work is being rewarded.  Hard. Repetitive. Work.

Joseph reminded me of two things that day.

First, if we continue with hard, repetitive work, results will come. Even if they are slow, they will come.  It takes work to see results.  So many want the reward without the work and commitment, both in the natural and the supernatural.  Thank  God for His Spirit and His power!  But, that doesn’t mean results are automatic.  It often takes hard, repetitive effort, and sometimes the results can be slow in coming.

Too often, people give up on their dreams and prayers, because it doesn’t come quickly, or easily.  I am so thankful that none of us gave up when Joseph did not see quick results. Today, we are seeing results, because his parents, his extended family and his therapists refuse to give up!  I know we will yet see more growth in Joseph, but it will take prayer and hard, repetitive work.

Second, we need to pat ourselves on the back  occasionally.  Joseph has had many pats on the back, and much applause from his family and therapists.  When he masters a new thing, we applaud, no matter how small the thing is.  We get excited and celebrate the smallest victories.   This has taught Joseph to celebrate his own victories, no matter how small.

So often, we stay sad and depressed because no one is patting us on the back.   Look at your life?  Have you made forward progress?  Have you grown as a person and a believer?  Then stop right now, and applaud yourself.    I am not talking about an attitude of bragging and arrogance.  I am talking about looking at where you used to be, and where  you are now!   Don’t wait on someone else to clap.  Stand before God and clap, thanking Him for the progress you have made, and are making.

Those who have heard me as a speaker, know that I will often break into song in the middle of a message.  One of my favorites to sing out:

If you could see where Jesus brought me from to the place I am today.
Then you would know the reason why I love my Jesus so!

Trust me, writing it doesn’t have the same effect as singing it!

Don’t beat yourself up today.  Today, stop and thank God that you are not who you used to be.  Even if  you feel your progress is slow, rejoice!   Why not join heaven today in a song of rejoicing over YOU!

“The  Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior.   He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”-  Zephaniah 3:17



Ready or Not, Here He Comes

behold-i-am-coming-soonAfter keeping one of my grandchildren, my son asked me a question.  “What is different about keeping my child, than keeping your own children?”  My answer, without hesitation, “I am very aware they are your children, and I don’t want anything to happen to them under my care.”  That conversation took place several grandchildren ago.

Yesterday, I had my grandson Joseph visiting.  “Papa” was not home from work yet, and Joseph kept asking for him.  Joseph does love his Papa!  He will jump up and down with joy when Papa finally arrives.

Usually I know where Joseph is, because he sticks fairly close to where I am in the house.  I noticed things were quiet, and I called out for Joseph.  No answer!  I called again. Nothing! This is unusual, so I began to look around the house for him.  No Joseph!  Gulp!  Finally, I noticed the door leading into the garage was slightly ajar, and the garage light was peering into the dark laundry room.

Joseph was in the garage waiting for Papa to drive up, and open the garage door.  (He was in no danger because Papa doesn’t park in the garage.)  I went out to check on him, and he said, “Want to see Papa.”

Joseph was in the garage, waiting with great expectation for the return of the one he loved so much – his Papa.

Forty-eight years ago, I gave my heart and life to Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.  Over those years, He has changed me, healed me, walked with me, touched my hurting heart and loved me.  It is easy, as life wears on and difficulties arise, to forget that Jesus has promised to return for us.  This is not my final home.  This is my temporary home.

As I watched Joseph wait with anticipation, for the return of Papa, I was reminded that one day Jesus Christ is coming back.  One day, believers on earth will jump with joy as “the garage door of heaven opens,” and Jesus calls us home.

Thanks be to God for His Son Jesus Christ, who died for our sins, and made a way for us to live eternally with Him.  Jesus Christ is the way through the door that leads to eternal life with God, and ready or not, He is coming!   Please be ready, by accepting the Lord as Your personal Savior.

I am a lover of worship choruses, and I attend a church that sings mostly choruses.  I think from time to time, it would do us well to be reminded, we are just passing through this place on earth.  Pull out an old hymn, and  sing with expectation:

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage[l] one another with these words.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18




Sometimes We Simply Mess Up

houtonHouston, we have a problem!  Gulp!  Houston and I had a big problem last week.

Last weekend, I was scheduled to speak in Spring, TX, which is a suburb of Houston.  When finalizing arrangements, I was considering flying into Houston Lobby International.    In talking with my hosts, I discovered that Hobby was a long way from their destination, so we agreed I’d fly to Bush International.  My preferred airline does not fly to Bush International; therefore, I booked with a different airline, and completed travel arrangements for Spring, TX.

This past Thursday,  I was completing all the things that I needed to get accomplished prior to leaving on Friday morning.  I had all my messages done and in my brief case, along with my Bible and computer.  My boarding pass was downloaded.  I had most of my clothes packed, and the rest laid out and ready to go.  I sat down to do my nails. (Hey, I am a woman speaker, who talks with her hands, so nails are a must do!)

I was feeling so good that I was organized, and on target for an early bedtime.  Yay me!

As I was sitting, waiting for my nails to dry, I received a message from a friend, who wanted to know where I was going to be in the Dallas area.  I told her I would be in Spring, TX. She informed me that was near Houston.

With panic in my heart, I looked back, and sure enough, I had booked the wrong airport.  What was I thinking!  The Dallas airport was a four-hour drive from Spring, TX.  If I rented a car, I might make the evening meeting on Friday, but there was no way I could get back to Dallas in time to fly home.

I feverishly began to try to change my ticket, but after a while, it was evident, that I could not get there in time for the evening service, and it would cost me about a thousand dollars.  Gulp!  So, Gaylon and I decided we would get up at 4:00 a.m and make the ten-hour drive.   I am a woman of my word, and I was going to Houston to honor my commitment. There was no way I was leaving that church in a bind!

How I hated to inform Rachel, my hostess, about what I had done.  I had never, in all my years of ministry, made such a blunder.   What would she think?  I hated to put her in a stressful thought pattern.

Rachel was beyond gracious.   She insisted that we reschedule, and that God would provide for the weekend.  I tried every way I could to persuade her to let me drive, and get there.  She assured me that she was not stressed at all, and that God would take care of things.  So, I stayed home, with a red face!  I still could not believe I made such a blunder.

During the weekend, I read Facebook posts, and texted with Rachel. They had a wonderful weekend.  (How could they have a wonderful weekend without me?)  Yes, God provided, and Rachel has given me a rain check to reschedule.

What did I learn from this?

  1. We are all subject to error even if we are diligent, honorable people. We must forgive ourselves for our errors.  Even in our mistakes, God can provide.
  2. While God will use us, we are not indispensable to His plan.  He can work when we are present, and when we are not.  It’s not by might, not by power, but by His Spirit.
  3. Thank God for the “Rachels” of life, who don’t fume, go into a rage or disown a person when an error is made. Rachel was quick to realize that this was not a surprise to God, and He would provide.

When you are in a situation in life that screams, “Houston, we have a problem,” stop, breathe and look to the One who has the power to work despite our problems.  After all, heaven does not have a problem!

“So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” – Genesis 22:24




And Suddenly …

suddenlygodTo protect the privacy of others, I’ll change details slightly, but this is a true story, and happened within the last thirty days.

Friends that I love deeply have gone through a difficult time, that has lasted a very long time.  It has been a matter of prayer every day for way more than a year.  Sometimes the burden has felt heavy, and sometimes, I have wanted to cry out like Habakkuk, “How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?” 

As I have walked with the Lord God for fifty years, one of the things I have learned, is to be faithful – faithful when I feel like it, faithful when I don’t feel like it, faithful when I see God at work, faithful when I am seeing nothing, faithful when I am hearing from heaven, faithful when it seems heaven is brazen and my prayers are falling right back into my lap.

Months and months have gone by, as we have cried out to God with, and in behalf of, our friends. Hearing nothing, and seeing little, we faithfully obeyed, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” – Ephesians 6:18

Then … SUDDENLY!  (Suddenly after months of prayer.)  SUDDENLY, God intervened in the situation and did wonders.  I have cried tears.  I have laughed. I have knelt before God in thanksgiving.  But most of all, I have been reminded that the God of “suddenlies” can show up, and instantly change situations.

Never did I dream, that I’d wake up that morning, and before the sunset, God would suddenly change things.  SUDDENLY.

When Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, he could not have imagined how long his trial would last.  Then “suddenly” he woke up in his prison cell, never realizing this was the day God would fulfill destiny.  SUDDENLY, after thirteen years of faithfulness.

When the Jesus told the disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit to come, they faithfully went to Jerusalem.  The story is recorded in the book of Acts.  They began to pray and wait upon God. Then “suddenly” the Holy Spirit fell upon them – SUDDENLY after ten days.

How long  does suddenly take to appear?  That is up to God. Nevertheless,  we do serve the God who hears, and suddenly shows up.  Many times, we have sat in God’s waiting room, doing what He told us to do.  Often we have done it faithfully, but frustrated.  It is in those moments that God shows up when we least expect it, and SUDDENLY He throws us a game changer.

Are you frustrated today?  Are you wondering if God is even hearing you?

Many times, those mountains that seem to consume us are just little mole hills that the devil has magnified.  Feed your faith, connect with God and wait for the SUDDENLY.  It is coming.

“And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.” –  Acts 16:26