Most of us have heard the story of the prodigal son. He decided to leave his father’s house and take off on his own. It is good to know that the story ends with the son returning home. That gives hope to other families. My story is the opposite. My father left when I was a baby. I grew up with a lot of questions. I dreamed of what it would be like to be “Daddy’s little girl.” My father came to visit about once every four years.I never knew what town he was living in, or how to find him. His short visits were exciting to me. I loved my dad very much.
I will never forget the last phone call I received from him. I had not heard from him in a long time. He was usually cheerful when he phoned or visited. This time was different. He told me he had some bad news. He had cancer. The doctors said he had three months to live. Even as I write this, I can still feel the pain of that conversation.He told me where he was living. It was only an hour away. I began driving to his house every day. I held his hand. I kissed his forehead. I knew he was in pain. He tried to keep a smile on his face. Some days, he could talk more than others.
He told me about his childhood. I asked about his first love. He told me about his first car. I never asked why he left those many years ago. It didn’t matter. What mattered was that I had another day to be with him. I wish my childhood had been different. I always wanted to be “Daddy’s girl.” I was his girl for three months. The most precious visits were the ones when we talked about Heaven. We both found comfort in knowing that someday we will be together forever. I would tell adults who have been abandoned by a parent to keep an open heart. People make mistakes. Time is precious. If a prodigal parent comes home, please don’t reject them.
Maybe you are a parent who wasn’t there for your child. I urge you to contact them. Go to them. There is never an age that your child doesn’t need you. I have memories of my dad now. I know the touch of his hand. I am “Daddy’s girl.”
Image Credit © Gokhan Okur | Dreamstime Stock Photos
While I was praying I started having problems of my own. My ear started hurting and I had noticeably amount of hearing loss. After a week and a half I decided to go to the doctor. After irrigating my ear, the doctor explained that there was a very good reason for my symptoms; I had a big hole in my eardrum. She explained that it could heal on its own, or it could need to be surgically corrected.
Since I already have hearing loss, I was devastated to learn that some of the hearing loss that I had experienced could be permanent. In much distress, I immediately came home and messaged my prayer buddy and she and her husband immediately starting praying. In two days my pain left. I haven’t gained my hearing back; however, with faith and prayer anything is possible.
In my life, I have always felt that a smile would be the upmost important blessing that the Lord could give me. I have learned that a smile is just cosmetic and hearing is a necessity of life. Sometimes we get so caught up in what people think about us and our appearance, we forget the small blessings that we take for granted daily.
Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6 (NLT)
Image Credit : © Tammy Sanders
Have you ever been reading a scripture and wished you could ask them what they were thinking? That recently happened to me while reading the book of Mark chapter six. It is about the wonderful miracles the disciples witnessed Jesus do. They had seen Him heal a withered hand. He had cast out unclean spirits. They saw a little girl raised from the dead when Jesus spoke to her. They had seen Him heal the woman with the issue of blood. They had witnessed Him calm a storm. Imagine how they felt seeing Jesus feed five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fish!
Later, Jesus had gone to a mountain to pray. Another storm comes up while the disciples are on a boat. The same men who had been walking with Jesus and witnessing His power become troubled.
~Mark 6:52: “For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their hearts were hardened.”
The definition of hardened here means dull, lacking in understanding. I wanted to ask the disciples how this could be possible with all of the miracles they had seen. Had they all just slipped their mind, really? I wished I could give them a piece of my mind! Then it happened. I had a reality check. How many times had I been guilty of the same thing? God has done more miracles for me than I can count. Over forty lumps in my breast disappeared over night. The Lord healed me of asthma. He miraculously healed me of cataracts. I was also healed of macular degeneration. There has been much more I have seen Him do. How could I fall into fear and doubt when a new need arises? I fail to remember the “miracle of the fish and loaves “ in my own life.
Like the old song says, I will learn to count my blessings. Name them one by one. Count your many blessings. See what God had done.
NIGHT STORM 2
© Yanik Chauvin | Dreamstime.com
Most of us are familiar with the story found in John 6. It is about the miracle of the five barley loaves and two small fish. The crowd had been following Jesus, and it was getting late. They were all hungry. The only food there was the lunch of one small lad. The lad gave Jesus the lunch. Jesus took it and fed five thousand men. There was twelve baskets of food left over after. This is just one of the miracles they witnessed done by Jesus. He is still doing amazing miracles today.
The Bible says that the giver of the lunch was a lad. The definition of lad is a child, or a little boy. I want to go behind the scenes of this story.
There is a person who was a big part of this miracle process who is hardly, if ever, mentioned. The preparation for this miracle took place back at this child’s house. I haven’t met any little boys who bake bread or fry fish. I believe Mama was in the kitchen. She was busy cooking lunch for her son to take with him when he went to see Jesus. I can see her praying for her boy as she rolled out the bread. She must have asked God to use her son. Little did she know he would be used greatly that day.
He must have been taught about Jesus and who He was. He trusted Jesus to offer him his only food that day. All of us touch someone’s life. We must do our part to teach them of Jesus. We need to always be mindful to pray for those who are younger than us in The Lord. We may not be the one who is called to bring the word. We may not be the one who lays hands on those in the prayer line, but we all have a part to play. We are all needed to see God’s will accomplished. It doesn’t matter if I am the one frying the fish or a server. It doesn’t matter. I am determined to do my part to help others come to know Jesus. I want to help others see the miracle that HE is. The mother didn’t mind that she was home cleaning when the miracle of the loaves and fish took place. She was praising and thanking God that she had been obedient to do her part. She had helped advance The Kingdom of God!
© Michael Levy | Dreamstime.com
And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. ~ Matthew 9:20 – 22
Lately, I have been bombarded with many people being sick with cancer. Most of them I knew, some I don’t know. However, even if we don’t know the people, God knows their needs. Therefore, I prayed for them all.
One morning as I was praying, I thought about how it would be if people could come to the church, get hands laid on them, and supernaturally be healed. I saw doctors scratching their heads as they explained to these patients that the cancer that was once there, couldn’t be found. After a while, churches all over had people lined up out the doors waiting to be prayed over. It was amazing. One door had the sick and diseased people coming in and the other door had healthy people walking out.
I know in my heart that this type of supernatural healing is God’s desire for us. He never created us to be sickened with terminal diseases or emotional, physical, and mental deformities. Instead, He created us to be healthy bodies that possess all abilities needed to become disciples of Jesus Christ. I stand in awe at the abilities God has given us. However, these abilities come by faith. Healing and supernatural manifestations come by faith. I know that God is going to do these healings at Gateway Believers. I long for the day that when we see the sick, after our prayers, they leave us whole.
SMALL BOY WAITING FOR A RIDE
© Geotrac | Dreamstime.com
I do not know about you, but during this seeking time I have had to deal with a lot of emotions and things that I thought I had taken care of years ago. Boy, was I wrong!
Going down the road the other day, heading to Walmart, the craziest thought came across my mind about an event in my life that happened years ago when my boys were in elementary school. I was engaged to a man who was a Christian. He attended this church as a matter of fact. He was a godly man, and I really thought he was the one God had chosen for me. I had a check list that I told God about years ago after my divorce. I wanted someone who went to church, was committed, loved God, believed the Word, did not give up and quit when things got tough, was faithful, and had a job. Well, I started to mentally go down my checklist. I was able to check off a lot of things. I had decided that I was not going to settle for anything less than the BEST God had! That is why I developed my checklist.
During our engagement period, I started thinking about how in the world could we get married and spend the rest of our lives together when he never had time to spend with me. The only time we really saw each other was at church on Sunday mornings. A good, solid, and Godly relationship is something that needs to be built. You cannot build it if you do not take the time to lay the foundation that it will be built upon. He worked two jobs most of the time. I was praying and kept sensing that our engagement and upcoming marriage was not what God had in store for me. The only thing was, I really did not want to listen to the Holy Ghost and break it off. I had just brought home my wedding dress and the wedding was just a few weeks down the road. Maybe we could make it work? No…God had different plans.
Four days after bringing home my dress, trying it on, and dreaming of the wedding that was going to take place, God spoke again. This time he spoke to both of us. It hurt us both to do what we knew we had to do, but we obeyed. I was devastated! Plus I had a reminder of what could have been looking at me every day: the dress. Not too long after that, I had the opportunity to sow that dress as seed into another couples life at the church.
During this time in my life, I was part of a prayer group that consisted of five people. I remember going to our regular scheduled prayer meeting after my break up. One of the ladies, whom I considered a good friend, talked to me privately. She told me that I did not need to come to the prayer meeting anymore since God did all of His talking through my ex-fiance. Again, I was devastated! I already had a hard enough time stepping out in prayer and learning to listen to my spirit man. This did not help me one bit! Actually, the more I think about it, this is probably when I did start shutting down in my prayer life. I did enough to get by but I would not push in to where God wanted me to go. I had been kicked in my gut when I was already down by Christian friends.
The more I thought about all of this I realized that I was shutting down not only in my prayer life but in trusting God and in myself to be able to hear from God. I also began to get a better understanding of how important our words are. Not just in our own lives but also in the lives of those we come in contact with everyday. We have the power in our tongue to build up or to destroy, not only ourselves, but others as well. This New Year, I made some resolutions, like so many of us do. I am going to focus a lot more on what I say to people as well as how I say it. I do not want to be someone who destroys others or prevents them from their breakthrough. I want to be someone who helps to build them up so that they can fulfill the destiny that God has for them. What words will you use this year? Will they be ones that will build or destroy? The choice is yours.
For me, this month started off with a bang! I purposed in my heart a long time ago to do all that God had for me no matter my circumstances. Believe me, the circumstances of life have not always been in my favor. Countless surgeries, physical pain, and much more have tried to hinder me from doing what God has called me to do. Even on the days when excuses could roll off my tongue with ease, I’m reminded of my commitment to God.
That simple choice has led me to where I am now. I’m doing more than ever thought possible a few years ago. For example, I’m continuing to write articles for church magazine, transcribe sermons into books, all while maintaining my courses in communication at college. It’s in His strength and grace that I’m able to do all these things. What excuses have you let creep into your life? Whether you realize it or not, these excuses slowly eat away at the passion you once had for life. You may have been a vibrant person, and after you let the weight and cares of this life weigh you down, your friends and family may not even recognize the depressed person you’ve become.
It’s not too late to make a change, though! Humble yourself before God and ask him to let his thoughts about you be your thoughts about yourself. When you start to see yourself as God sees you, you will realize his grace has always been there. You just have to reach out and grab it! After you recommit yourself to God, do something! You’ve heard it said time and time again that actions speak louder than words. If your passion is children, go where they are. Spend time teaching them how to read through the school system. You’ll be surprised at the opportunities that will come your way as a result of your decision to quit making excuses!
“For some [in the Body of Christ] have decided that My presence is not enough. Some have decided that there needs to be more operations of the flesh, manifestations of demons, and demonstrations of mind over matter. But I want you to know, my children, that you are not such people. For the reason that I’m able to come [and visit you here] is because you’re hungry for Me, and I have said that he who hungers and thirsts shall be filled.”
“So, don’t take my Spirit for granted, but know that each time that I come, I come for the purpose of My Kingdom and you are part of My Kingdom. So, therefore, I am come for you. I have come to heal, to deliver, to set free, to fill, and to save, for that is the operation of My Kingdom and the manifestation thereof.”
“For I desire to manifest all of My gifts. Know that it is not for the purpose of man, but it is for the purpose of the Kingdom. For I desire to set you free so that you can soar above the ceilings that the enemy has placed in your life. For surely He had a plan and said, ‘Oh, I thought I’ve got them now! I’ve got them now!’ That is just as sure as when the Lord Jesus Himself went into the heart of the earth and there abode for three days. [During those three days] Satan had a jubilee and a rejoicing, but on the third day there was a great shaking that took place, even a resurrection. So shall it be in your life!” saith the Lord. “For when the enemy thinks that he’s got you down for the third count – when he thinks that you cannot get up again – there shall come a grace, there shall come a power, there’ll come a strength that is beyond you! And you will know and experience the power of My Resurrection in your life, and you will rejoice and give Me glory and praise, and the Kingdom of God shall come nigh unto this territory through you!” saith the Lord.
~prophetic word given by Apostle David Coker to Gateway Believers Fellowship, July 31, 2011