Friday, February 15, 2008

Joy of the Lord

This is the day the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it.(NLT)
Psalm 118:24
I knew a woman who didn't need much to make her joyful. Most of her time was spent encouraging and serving others. She loved to listen to you even when life wasn't treating you fairly. Not always to give you a solution but a smile as to say "I care."
She always made time for God. Reading His word and having her daily conversation with Him, was at the top of her list. I could see joy written all over her face and a peace that said "I like who I am and where God has me." She knew where to find her joy, even through trails and tribulations.

Thinking about this woman, my mom, it reminded me of just a few weeks ago how I couldn't stop watching the clock. Every time I looked at where the hands were it brought me back to the awful event,that took place on February 6, 2003.

The morning started out pretty normal. I had gotten up to get my daughter off to school only to find out, she was not feeling well. I thought not today, today was my day to visit mom.I enjoyed those days, time alone spent with her. But Sydney was sick and how selfish it would have been to drag her out on a cold February day for the visit. So I headed to the phone to let mom know I wouldn’t be coming up to visit her,but the phone just kept on ringing. I thought to myself “Now that seems odd, she always answers the phone, maybe she is in the bathroom or something; I'll call back a little later."

I waited about a half hour before I tried again and this time she answered. Her voice sounded a little strange as if her mouth was full of marbles. I asked her if she was alright and her reply was “No.” So with a little hesitation, I said "Mom, what is wrong?" She then started to tell me that she was making a cup of tea and her sleeve to her bathrobe had caught on fire. I asked her if she had called 911, she replied "No" but told me the neighbor lady Doris,who was like a sister to her was on her way over. My heart felt like it was beating out of my chest as I told her I would be right up.

I quickly got ready and grab Sydney to drive up to the house. I remember as I was driving asking God to give me strength. The thoughts racing through my mind were terrifying,was this the day mom was going home to be with the Lord? What was I going to do? I had lost dad 2 years ago and now mom, I wasn't ready. I remembering asking God if she was going to alright and he whispered "She's coming home."

Even though the ride was 20 minutes away, it seem like hours. As I pulled in the driveway I tried to get Sydney to come in with me but she wouldn't. I have to say it was the first time I was glad she said "No." As I walked towards the house I asked God to help me and to clear my mind. When I opened the door, the kitchen was full of smoke. I saw Doris and Laura,mom's other friend standing next to the sink and the look on their faces said it all.

"Doris, is she alright?" I asked. Shaking her head,she said "Your mom is laying on the couch and it isn't good." As I walking towards the living room, I looked down and there on the kitchen floor I saw the melted imprint of her heart sank. Just a few feet ahead of me mom was laying on the couch with a white sheet covering her body. She didn't look like mom except for that sweet smile of hers. I tried so hard to hold back the tears. I knelt down beside her and asked her if she was in a lot of pain. She whispered softly "Oh no honey, I am fine."

She was taken to the hospital where she died at 4:15 that afternoon. Her burns were severe, 90% of her body was covered with 3 degree burns.The doctor later told me that she was surprised mom didn't go into shock until after she was on her way to the hospital. I believe God wanted me to know He was with her during that tragic ordeal. It was His grace and very presence of All Mighty God that held her hand.

Evening had fallen and I still couldn't believed what had happened. I went to bed asking God "Why?" I remember waking up at around 4:00 the next morning with such heaviness in my heart,so I went downstairs a knelt beside my couch. I began crying out to the only One who had all the answers. I knew He was listening . I knew He felt my pain. I knew He was in control of everything and yet my one question was "Why would you let this happen to someone who was so faithful, who never worried about anything because she trusted You?" I couldn't stop crying, I wanted answers but I heard nothing. I cried out,again "Why, God, why?"

A few days had passed and I still was searching for answers. I couldn't stop asking God the same question "Why?" But there on my knees, broken, as my heartached,I began to feel God's presence. It was like He had lend over, placed His hand on my shoulder and whispered in my ear..."Not even the devil could steal her joy." It was then my heart felt peace, you know, the peace that surpass all understanding.

I have found strength, peace and joy in those words that the Lord spoke to me that day. I want to be a woman just like my mom,who completely trusted God,even to the very end. She knew her joy came when her eyes were fixed on Jesus.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Romans 12:1-2

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

When this sciripture was revealed to me it changed my life. I learned that I needed to give up my worldly desires and sinful thoughts. To take my eyes off things that weren't pure , good and pleasing to God. It was difficult and at times it still is but isn't that the least I can do, look at what Jesus did for us. The pain, suffering and seperation from His Father so that we could, if we accept it, have enteral life.

We must not live in our sins. We must not pick one sin over another just because it's degree of acceptance. Please let not Christ's death and suffering be in vain.

But rise above it all by putting God's Word in our mind, meditate on it daily. Let our eyes look on things that are pure, let our ears hear things that are holy and allow His words to penetrate our hearts.

It is only then you will see what purpose God has planned for you.

Go ahead an give it a try. Become willing to be a doer of the Word, then you will know what is pleasing to Him. He just doesn't want our worship and living sacrifices on Sundays. But He wants our worship and living sacrifices daily.

Friday, February 1, 2008