Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Neighbor, A Homeless Man...And Taco Bell?

When the tornadoes hit our state on April 27, it was completely devastating. We watched in shock as our TV news cameras caught some on tape. For anyone who doesn't know about the storms, it took out whole little towns. So many areas of Alabama are just gone...nothing else to say but gone.

Even though we all want to help, we all can't go to the destruction sites. Some people are not able due to work situations. Some are not able due to health situations. Others have the gift to give a donation. Yet again, some people help by collecting donations. Either way, we know one thing we can always do is pray.

However this sounds, this is how I felt. I just didn't think that I could go to one of the destruction sites. I do have a health issue as well. Mainly, I thought I would just sit among the rubble and break down in tears. In my mind, I was perfectly happy to just give money or bring some items to the church. I was speaking to one of our members on the disaster relief team. I mentioned giving us a time and date for a drop off at the church. They then emailed me and asked, "Can you do it? Can you supervise a drop off?" God uses different people for all kinds of things. For this, I just didn't feel like I had a specific task; but I told them I would. I didn't have any close family or friends who were impacted. I had so many friends who had such a passion for this project. I just didn't feel "needed" or the "right one."

Before we had our drop off, I sent a text to a few of my neighbors. I told them that if they had anything, they could bring it to me and I would take it to the church. This is where the story gets interesting! My friend and neighbor Angie sent me a text. She told me she had a donation for me, but she needed to bring it down. There was an explanation to go along with the donation. I was extremely curious after this conversation.This is just so out of character for her. Angie is my tough, hard working, bike riding chick, who doesn't take nothing off of nobody! She also welcomes anyone at anytime into her home. She and her family would literally give you the shirt off of their back if you needed it. I love her and her family very much.

Angie comes to the house, and I don't see anything in her hands. She wants me to sit down. She has a story to tell me. (I'm usually the one telling a story or just a running my mouth, while she sits politely, then says, get to the point lady!) Angie is a manager at Taco Bell.  A district CEO had scheduled a mandatory meeting with her and other managers to discuss upcoming events, product, quality etc. This one CEO is an extraordinary man. Angie said this is not the first time he has done something like this. He starts telling his crew about a reporter who had gone to Africa to do a story on this great doctor. When he arrived, he asked the local interpreter to take him to this doctor. The native man kept taking him to different places; a library, a school a hospital, but no doctor. Finally, the native took the reporter to a grave. Before he took him there, he wanted that reporter to see the impact the doctor had on their region while he was alive. With that said, the CEO passed out these envelopes to each of the managers. Inside, each person was given the same amount of money, wrapped in a piece of paper that simply said, "Be A Blessing."

She said, "I have had this envelope in my car for a week. I didn't know what I was going to do with it. Then I saw your text about the drop off. I want you to take this and use it." I was in such shock! After she left, I looked up to God and smiled. I knew why I needed to do a drop off. I thanked Him for this blessing.

Angie had told me she really felt that the money should go to a person or family. The Christian Service Mission had been open everyday, 7 days a week. They said they would be open. I then got word that they would close the Sunday I was doing the drop off. It was Mother's Day. Well, now what was I going to do? I just knew God had this plan. I would drop our donations off, the clouds would part, and the sun would shine down on some person or family who needed this money. They would be happy, I would be happy, Angie would be happy...right? Wrong! That's not how it worked that day.

As I was sitting there, taking donations, I noticed this man that I had seen the previous Wednesday. He didn't necessarily look like a bum, but you could tell something was wrong. For some reason, he lingered beside me at the site, before he got in his car. A voice told me, "Give the money to him." But, in my mind, God had this plan, and it was to go to a tornado victim. So, he left and I said nothing. I thought, well someone who is in need will see our sign and come up to the church. Then I will give them this money, because this was "God's plan"...nope.

I left that day and had no idea what I was going to do. I wanted Angie to be lifted up. I wanted to lift God up in praise. What do I do? I kept thinking about that guy. One of our members at church, John Green, had spoken to the guy. I sent John a message on facebook, and asked what the guy's story was. John proceeded to tell me that the guy had lost his job. He was living out of his car, and was staying in the Walmart parking lot. Well, I felt like a big ol' piece of poo after hearing that! I told Angie the guy's story and asked her if she cared if I gave the guy the money. She didn't care. She just wanted to bless someone. Here's the hard part: I didn't know if he was going to come back to our church!!

I prayed the next couple of days. I asked God that if he was meant to have that money, please have him come to church so I could give it to him. I also asked God to forgive me for not listening in the first place. Wednesday came, the envelope in my purse, and there he was!! Not only was he there but walked right into my class! I walked over to him before class started. He looked startled. I said, "I'm supposed to give you this." Then, I sat back down.

When church was over, he came up to me and thanked me. I didn't know if he would, and it didn't matter. I found out that he had worked for 20 years with a security company. He had an accident that required therapy and a lot of time off. When he came back, another company had taken over and he didn't have a job. I asked him about disability. He said his lawyer had tried, but it was denied, and then he got better so he didn't pursue it any further. He told me he was trying to get back to family in Chattanooga and needed gas money. We were finished talking and he said, "I'm sorry, you told me you were supposed to give me this money. That you were sent to me. Who did you say that was?" He probably wanted to go thank them. I looked at him and said, "God told me to give it to you." He had a funny look on his face and left. I haven't seen him since. I know there was enough there to give him gas to get to Chattanooga. I hope he got there.

I told Angie the story. She was so happy! I thanked her for letting me be a part of her testimony. I felt blessed to see some one's faithfulness, and watch God take that to glorify His kingdom. God will bless Angie for her act of obedience. In this, I learned that I don't know why I'm supposed to do things or be a part of programs or activities sometimes. But, God knows. He has a plan. His plan is greater than anything I could ever come up with. 

Isaiah 55:8, 9
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Luke 12:42
The Lord answered, "Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? (God sent me to this verse when I prayed for a verse for Angie. God is so cool.)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Broken Car... New House?

I did not grow up having money. Our family has always struggled. Through the struggles, I watched my parents turn to God. Mom and Dad have told me so many stories of God helping them through the rough patches. In all the bad times, Dad would look at us and say, "Well we're still here. We didn't know how we'd make it sometimes, but we did." Mom would interject with, "Well, we know how Fred. God got us there." Here's a story where God helped us out in a time of need.

One day, Dad could not get our car in the right gear. If he did, it was extremely hard. He knew it had to be fixed right away. We didn't have extra money in the bank to get the car fixed. We were barely making it to pay the bills. Dad had worked with a guy named Mark, when they were both at Electrolux. He remembered that Mark knew how to work on cars. Dad took the car over to Mark to have him look at it. Mom and Dad were worried that the malfunction was going to be a major expense. Mark looked at the car, and told Dad that the activator rod, that changes the gears, had broken. To fix it, the part cost $2.95! Dad was so happy that he didn't have to come up with a huge amount of money!

Mom and Dad thought that was the blessing from God until...

As Mark and Dad were talking, Mark mentioned that the house next to them was for rent. Where we were living, my room wasn't really a room. I think it must have been a storage area. There was enough room for a twin bed and this small vanity I had, nothing else! It was hard to walk in the room without crawling on the bed. The house before this, I didn't have a room at all. My room, or my bed I should say, was in the living room. We hadn't lived in Huntsville long, and we just had to take what we could get. This house had 3 bedrooms in it. I would finally get a room of my own! Not to mention, a Burger King was literally my across the street neighbor. That worked out well as a teen late at night when friends were over.

Had that car part not broke, we never would have known about the house. You never know how God will work in your life; how an inconvience can turn into a blessing.

Prov. 19:17
 He who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his good deed.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Tonya Jones' Testimony

I want to be a child who talks to God about everything. We can learn so much from our own small children with their innocent hearts; the way they want to believe that anything and everything is possible. I've been noticing how my son, Matthew, doesn't think anything is too big or too small for God. On several occasions, Matthew (really wanting to see God with his eyes) has said, “God, I want you to come down and come into my backyard, and onto my porch, and into my house so that I can see you.” Oh, the precious faith of a child! A while back, when he turned 3, we took his pacifier away from him for good. He instantly looked up to the ceiling, and he cried out saying, "God, I want my pappy back". Then, the other day, I told him that it was time for him to go lay down and take his afternoon nap. He looked up once again, and said, "God, I don't want to go to bed, I'm not tired." These may seem like trivial matters, but these are the worries and troubles that a 3 year old deals with. Knowing that Matthew is willing to take his concerns to God, believing that He cares, is something that I can learn from.
Do we take everything to God, and ask Him for help? Are we willing to? Do we truly believe He cares about each and every thing we go through, including the little things? Do we believe He will answer? I want to remember to take every single worry that comes up each and every day and give it to Him; the big ones and the small ones, don't you? I don't want Him to say to me, "Why didn't you ever ask Me for help with that?" He loves and cares for us more than anyone else does, and He's just right there waiting to help us. Let me have that childlike faith, Lord.

On an interesting note, I began writing this particular blog a week or so ago. In the middle of writing this, a few things happened. First, I lost my driver’s license, and then I lost an important book that I had been reading. In the past, I may not have said anything to God about matters such as these. Oh, yes, I would have worried myself sick over them, spent countless hours searching for them, vented and complained about them to everyone I know, but I likely wouldn't have ever said anything to my Father about them or brought my concern before Him regarding them. I guess I didn't truly believe He cared about things like these for some reason. Regarding my driver’s license, I prayed and asked God to please help me find it. I thought I had lost it in or around Publix somewhere. I knew that it had fallen out of my jacket pocket either in the grocery store, or in the parking lot, or possibly even in my car at some point. I did look in all of these places for it. I even went back to Publix a second time to search for it and I came up empty. I was disappointed because I thought I had enough faith.  I believed that God would make a way that I could find it, or that it would be found and given to me. I have to admit, that I did put a condition on God somewhat. In my prayer, I said let me find it, "even this day Lord."
I didn't find it that day,  and with each passing hour I became more and more anxious waiting and wondering if He would answer my prayer. Well, a few days later, when I was going to go to the courthouse to get a replacement driver’s license, I went down to the truck to put some items in it. We were getting ready to leave, and I thought I better check in the truck just one more time. This time, I found it! I do often keep a little bit of a messy vehicle with jackets, toys, purses, etc. However, it wasn't buried under any of that. It was in the floor on the side of my driver's seat. Wow! How could I have missed that the first time I searched for it? I thought I had looked pretty good for it, so I was so surprised to find it. I called Mike and we rejoiced together. About the book I lost, I searched for it a few days and couldn’t find . Then, I began searching for it again yesterday. This time I went into Matthew's bedroom to look for it. He keeps all of his books in a drawer under his bed.  I thought maybe there was a slim possibility that he picked up my book, at some point, and put it under his bed with his books. After digging through his books for about a minute or so, I remembered that this was something  I had not prayed about yet. As I was looking under his bed, I stopped in the middle of my search, and prayed about it. As soon as I ended my prayer, I looked down and there it was among all of his storybooks! Again, I was so surprised and elated. I thanked God for helping me find it.
In His Arms, Tonya
Philippians 4:6
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tonga Mitchell's Testimony

Her Cup Runs Over!

One day, Tonga went into her kitchen to get some grits. She went to the box and only had 2 tablespoons full. Now, since Tonga eats grits every morning before work, she knows how much water to put in. She put in her water and started stirring and stirring and stirring!! She said when she finished, it made a enormous bowl of grits! She couldn't believe what she was looking at. A voice told her, "Go thank God for this blessing." So, she took her bowl into her bedroom, sat on her bed, and thanked God for what He did.

She told me another story:

Tonga works at a retail store in the jewelry department. One day, an elderly lady came to her department with a shirt. She didn't know why she was coming to the jewelry section, but she told her she would try to help her. The lady wanted to buy this shirt, but it had a huge stain in it. The lady had looked for another, but this was the only one. As Tonga went to ring her up, she told the lady, "When you get home, you might be able to put baking soda and water on the stain." Tonga was rubbing the shirt in a cleaning motion. Tonga turned around to her register to get started, and the woman screamed! She said, "How did you do that? How did you get that huge stain out?" Tonga said the lady was so loud, people started looking at what was going on. A Korean woman was in line as well, and looked at what happened and said, "Praise God! Praise God!" This was confirmation to Tonga that God is always with her. You see, Tonga is Vietnamese. It meant more for her to see a Korean woman praising God than it would me. One of the biggest praises Tonga shares with me, is that because she was brought to the United States, she found God!

One Sunday, Tonga was sitting next to me. Keith and I glanced at her Bible. Every word was underlined and highlighted, over and over again. She is so thankful for getting to see and know His word. She talks to us about how God blesses her continually. She doesn't understand or know why. She just thanks God for the blessings.When I hear her stories, most of the time, she is not in tremendous need or in trouble. God just shows favor on her, A LOT because she dedicates her life to Him.

2 Corinthians 9:8
 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Clint and Kelly Jacob's Testimony

When Clint and I decided to have a baby, we planned it out. I mean, really planned it out. As in, we have the letters TID (Target Impregnation Date) written on the calendar on the date we wanted to get pregnant in order to have the baby due exactly 12 weeks before the end of my school year. The getting pregnant part worked perfectly both times.  I like plans. I hate surprises. (That's why I teach surprise endings...everybody dies.) Our first pregnancy, labor, and delivery was full of bad surprises. Kadie is a blessing, but the process was not fun; nothing went as planned. It scared the snot out of me; which is the main reason I waited so long before daring to do that again.  Jump ahead to 2004, our second pregnancy. Everything was going along just as expected, until the date of our 20-week ultrasound. We went to see if it was a boy or a girl, when they said it was ONE OF EACH!!! SURPRISE!!!! I'll never forget what Clint said as I long as I live, he just sat there stunned and said, "We'll have to buy a bigger boat!" Ten weeks later, I was on bed rest.

Well, this was NOT part of the plan. Our family budget was going to take quite a hit. See, we don't make much money, at all. We have very few expenses since we live on campus and eat there, etc., but we don't make a lot. Bed rest, twins, another blasted C-section; these things were going to require a lot of time off of work without pay.  I was worried. Clint, on the other hand, was not. At least he didn't act like he was. His attitude was "We'll pray about it and God will provide." I tried to act like I believed that too, but I was a little like Sarah (from the Bible) and started making my own plans, just in case. I didn't need to worry. God showed up BIG. First, God had led me to take out an AFLAC policy right before the pregnancy. One day while on bed rest (with nothing else to do but watch YET ANOTHER rerun of Family Feud on Game Show Network), I called AFLAC to discuss paperwork. Well, my customer service agent and I started chatting it up when all of sudden she said, "Wait. You're on bed rest? That's a separate claim. You can file for that claim and then file for the delivery. We will pay you twice." Cha-ching! God showed up big the next time at my baby showers. Yes, I said showerS. People started bringing me gifts, big gifts; tons of them! I can't begin to express the generosity that was shown to us. I didn't even know we KNEW that many people. The day we brought the twins home, we had over 5000 diapers in our house ranging from size preemie through size 5, and we had not bought any of them! I could talk about that all day long, but I haven't gotten to the best part. 

When all was said and done, all the checks and bills were totaled, we were going to fall $2000 short of what we had set aside. For many people, that's probably not a lot of money. But for us, it was huge. We kept the dollar amount to ourselves. I mean that. We didn't tell ANYONE we needed $2000. For Clint, I think he kept quiet about it out of faith. He knew God wold provide. For me, I think it was a little out of pride. I hate asking for help, so we didn't. About two weeks before the twins were born, we were leaving church, when Clint came up to me with a stunned look on his face. He said that Greg Johnston had come up to him, as head of the Finance Ministry, and had given us a check. Some anonymous donor had given money to the church specifically for us. We got in the car and opened the envelope. The check was for $2000 -- the exact amount we were going to fall short and the exact amount we had prayed for. To this day, I still don't know who in our amazing church family heeded the call of the Holy Spirit and gave us that money. It was an answered prayer! It wasn't just about the money. I mean, we had savings. We could have swallowed our pride and asked out parents even. No, this check was for me, the "dew on the fleece while the ground was still dry" Gideon-type sign I needed to go into labor,delivery, and MOTHERHOOD to twins. Through that anonymous donor, God reminded me that He will never leave me or forsake me; that I can cry out to Him and He will hear me. God showed up, and we were forever changed.

Proverbs 16:9
In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Ethan's Love For Mom

I have been posting on facebook how much pain I have been in with my tooth. I had to have a root canal done today. I didn't have the money for it. That's when life happens huh? I have really bad teeth, they break all the time. The kids are used to me being in pain with them. I am always telling them, "Brush your teeth! You don't want to be like Mom." I had been hurting all weekend and was waiting desperately for Monday so I could see my dentist.

Yesterday, after class, we all gathered in the auditorium at church. I was hurting worse during praise time. I finally had to hold my mouth to sing. Ethan tugged on my dress. He had the Bible in his hand with a verse open. He wanted me to read it. He told me he remembered what Mike Henderson (his Bible teacher) told him. The Bible was a weapon against evil. He opened the Bible, and "looked down the page for the red letters" (Jesus' words). He said he knew I was hurting and thought this might help. This is what he found:

2 Corinthians 12:8, 10
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Angel on the Mountain

 Gideon said, “I have seen the Angel of the Lord, face to face”!

I have always felt rather envious of those in the Bible who had the privilege of seeing one of God’s special messengers. Many times, those who did have that wonderful vision were filled with fear and awe. I’m afraid if I do not write down what I saw on Sept 4th of 2001, I will forget, and I never want to forget that day:

Gary and I were headed up to Cheaha Mountain.  This is our favorite place in Alabama to commune with God and nature.  As we were driving up the mountain, Gary said, “I wish I could leave the old man up here on this mountain”.  I understood what he meant, because he had been depressed for some time, and when he gets down, I get down too.  This trip was a last minute idea, and although I was glad to get away, I had no idea what would happen. The weather was not great; the outlook for the night and the following day was rainy. We took a walk that Wednesday evening out to a favorite lookout spot. On the way down and back, we saw two families of deer.  They were watching us through what I thought was fog.  Gary said we were up so high; we were actually walking among the clouds!   
When we returned to the cabin, Gary began to re-arrange the campsite. He pulled a very heavy picnic table over to the edge of the cliff.  He brought an old armchair out of the cabin and sat it directly on top of the table, facing out over the edge of the cliff so he had a great view of the valley below.  Even though it was raining slightly, he enjoyed these few minutes before bed. He made his plans to get up the next morning and watch the sun come up from that vantage point on the table.  I knew I had until the light of day to sleep before he would be ready for breakfast.

The next morning, I woke up around , and looked out the window to make sure Gary was still on top of the table.  The room had been re-arranged since our last visit, my side of the bed was right next to the window. As I looked out the window, I saw Gary, coffee in hand, sitting in the armchair staring out at the beautiful scene.  He also wore a poncho to protect him from the light rain.  This covered his head and flowed down the back of the chair.  It was quite a funny site, but one that I had expected.  I lay back down, knowing that I had a few more minutes to doze.  I then realized that I saw something behind Gary that did not belong there.  I thought it might be the old, round table from the kitchen.  That would be just like him—bring the coffee, the table and chair, just whatever he needed to make this early morning appointment with God a success!

I sat up, and saw a large angel kneeling behind my husband!  At first, I thought it was just the outline of what looked like an angel in the poncho that covered my husband’s body.  I really tried to talk myself out of what I was seeing, but it was just so real.  This angel was not white and glowing, He was large and golden!   I could see his hair, and his wings hanging down to his side, and his feet behind him as he kneeled behind my husband. I wanted to rush out of the cabin and take a picture, but I knew the moment would be over if I dared to move.  The only part that I could see of my husband was his hand holding the coffee cup and his legs firmly planted on the table.  He was not moving at all.  There was a brief moment when I thought the angel might have come to take him to Heaven, he was sitting so still.  Later, when I tried to explain what I had seen, I asked him what he was feeling that morning.  He told me that he had been praying and singing praise songs until the sun came up.  He just felt that he could not sing or pray any longer, and there was a short time when he just sat still and felt so peaceful.  I told him that had to be the time when the angel came to take the old man from the mountain.

Gary likes to call his angel, Bubba, since I told him he was so large!  This angel towered over my husband’s head and side and was completely covering him.  I prefer to think that this was Michael or Gabriel sent to comfort my husband.  What an honor it was for me to witness this messenger from God as he ministered to my husband! Ever since that day, angels have become very special to me.  I have a small sign in my living room that states, “Angels are Welcome Here”, and they surely are.  Some of you may be doubtful of what I experienced, but I truly believe that God sends his angels to protect and comfort us, even if we do not see them.

I also realize that you may have experienced many sorrows and heart breaks in this life, and you wonder if God really cares.  I have no idea why we must experience the hard times here on earth, but I do know that God loves us. I also know that one day; we will join those Heavenly Angels as we worship God and Jesus forever and ever!!!      Emily Clark    

Thursday, June 16, 2011

God Shows Up!

I have been opening my Bible and then reading what I see, kind of like, "God take me here." Late last night, I found out a close friend of mine's mom died. This time I held the Bible and said "God show me what I need to see." I have been praying lately in boldness, not if it be your will, because everything IS His will. But, this one instance, I needed to word it that way. He said go to John 11:22

Well, John 11 is the story of Jesus' best friend dying, Lazarus. Our Bible tells us Jesus cried. He was there to raise him from the dead, but still cried! He felt the same pain we feel when we lose someone. When I looked at verse 22 do you know what it said? "But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."

1 John 4:15 "If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the son of God, God lives in him and he in God."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dad's Healing

Let's start at the beginning shall we? Once I finally had the guts to step out, email our preacher, and get a speech prepared for church, I began to read the Bible. I mean read night and day, pray night and day. I really wanted to prepare my heart and be in the right mind set for anyone who came to me following the speech. In all my adult life I had never done this before. I knew that the more time I spent in scripture, the more peaceful I felt; the more my life seemed to go easier. But, for some reason, I kept forgetting this lesson and would let life beat me down again. I think the difference with this was God had given me a direct message. He was going to take this and use it to glorify His name AMEN! When you have the Creator on your side, it's hard to not feel like a victor.

I was planning a trip to see my parents before I told the church about the vision. The day before I was to leave for my parents, God spoke to me. He told me He wanted me to go wash my father's feet while I was there. He told me He wanted me to tell Dad He was going to heal him as well! Now regarding my father, we have not had the best relationship. We have always butted heads with Mom in between. When God told me to do this, the weird thing was I had no remorse about it. The healing, that was another story! I didn't feel I had the gift of healing. I know God can use any of us to do His work, but I still wasn't sure. God had told me in detail what He wanted done. He told me to bring Dad into their living/dining area, in his underwear.(how embarrassing for all of us!) He told me Mom was to prepare the water. I would provide the reading and the kids were to lay their hands on him as we prayed. Now I will do a step out here and say I am not from a faith that is familiar with any of this. God told me to get almond oil to use for Dad. I didn't know what is normally used, so I went to Wikipedia. The search showed olive oil. God then, very sternly said to me, "That is not what I told you to use." The funny thing about this is, almond oil isn't the easiest to find. But, a week prior, my son and I had been at a store and we noticed it there! I knew right where to go get it. On my way to get the oil, God also told me to have my dad read Hebrews 11 three times. Now, Dad just thought I was coming for a visit, but when I texted him, he said he would read this three times. Everything involving this has dealt with the number 3. God loves to use numbers! He had told me to have Mom fill up the basin and put 3 drops of oil in. She was to do this 3 times. She was to say a prayer each time as well. As I said earlier, I am not familiar with how to do this, so I looked up some healing prayers and found a very beautiful one to say while we were there. When the kids got home from school, I told them they had a role to play in this as well. Ethan was so excited he screamed, "Woo hoo!! We're going to heal Papaw!"

When I would read Bible text, especially the story of Moses, I used to think "there is a burning bush talking to you! Do what it says!" Now I understand. Even through all of this, I was still not sure if I should go ahead with what He told me. I was very nervous. I think this is to be expected on your first several go arounds. As we were traveling to Huntsville, I was still feeling the need for conformation. I told Ethan open the Bible to any page and read. He did and the verses weren't sticking out for us. I said, "Ethan, this time pray that God give you the text. Now open that Bible." When he did, the verse he read talked about righteous men traveling to go heal some one's bones! One of the ailments my Dad has is arthritis. It scared us and made us excited all at the same time! I had read scripture that talks about Elders coming to your house to heal the sick. Even though God spoke to me, you ALWAYS make sure it is aligned with scripture. I found two scriptures that I read to my parents before we started. One was Luke 10; the people were not Apostles. God told 72 people to go out, teach and heal the sick. The other scripture was Acts 9. This story speaks of a man named Ananias. One day God spoke to him in a vision and said "Go to the house of Judah. Find a man named Saul, place your hands on him to restore his sight."

With those two scriptures read, I looked at Mom and Dad and said, "I have a message for you. God sent me here today for a reason. He told me to wash your feet, and Dad, He told me He was going to heal you." My face was red, my heart just a pounding. With that, Mom and Dad got up, and said, "What do we need to do?" Do you remember before that God had showed me specifically for Dad to be in his underwear? I don't know about you guys, but that's not something I want to see! On the way up, I had told Tucker, "I think I am going to tell Dad just to be in shorts. We don't want to see Papaw in his underwear." Tucker looked at me and said, "If this is what God said do, then do it Mom!" But, I didn't. I told Dad to go back in his room and come out in shorts. Do you know what he came out in? Yep, you guessed it! His underwear. We sat him down and got ready to begin. After Mom had prayed and put the oil in the water. I got down on my knees and began to wash Daddy's feet. I didn't know then what this had to do with anything. God spoke to me at that moment and said, "This is not for him, but you. You will need to humble yourself. You will need to have a servant's heart. This is your time to let all the past go and forgive!" It was the neatest thing to be hearing from my heavenly Father as I am washing my earthly father's feet! Since then, any area of contention I ever had with Dad, just doesn't seem to be there. All the hurt and pain for both of us got washed that night! AMEN!

After the washing, I told Dad, God wants you to confess your sins. This doesn't mean he has to give us details of what he's done. It was a repentance to God, and had nothing to do with us. Dad did this. Ethan, Tucker, and Mom  then layed hands on him as I said the healing prayer. I put oil on his body, where he hurts, etc. Once I finished the prayer, each person began to speak a prayer over him. Tucker had started and was so full of the Holy Spirit that moment that he thought he was saying his prayer out loud. When he finished he wasn't sure and said, "I hope you all heard that, cause it was powerful!" The last person to pray was Mom. I have heard my Mom pray. She is always very quiet, timid almost, reverent in her words. This time, a mighty voice came over her. She declared him to be healed! She prayed the enemy off of him and the evil ones to be gone! We all just looked at her when she was finished. We didn't know what to say. We had never heard Mom speak this way.

We then starting shouting Praise God!! Woo Hoo!! Praise Him! Everyone looked at each other in the room. Mom and the boys said, "Do you feel that? What is that?" I told them we are filled with the Spirit right now. Finally, my dad spoke. He began crying. He said, "When I came out here, my hips hurt so bad, I could hardly walk. Now, they don't hurt anymore." We started praising God again. My dad has several health issues he deals with. I didn't know which one was going to be healed, or if they all were. One big issue for my father is depression. If you know of anyone who is diagnosed with this, you know there are times where they feel there is no hope. Sometimes they get stuck in that dark hole and they don't know how to come out. I watched God bring my dad out of that place that night!

Over the next few weeks I called Mom and Dad. The first thing I noticed was when I asked my dad how are you doing, he said, "I'm doing great!" I hadn't heard my dad say that in about 15 years. I had a conversation with Mom following and she asked, "Has your dad told you what's been going on?" I said no. She said, "Your dad has rededicated his life back to God. He's able to go to church all the time. The whole church is whispering and asking, what is different about Fred?" When they ask, Dad smiles and points to the heavens. He simply says, "God did it."

Monday, June 13, 2011

Leap of Faith!

God speaks to us in a still, soft voice
 (1 Kings 19:11,12)
Three years ago, as I was sitting in church, God gave me this title, God Still Speaks! He put into my heart an idea for modern day Christians to start giving testimony of what He does for us. He gave me a vision of every Church having love letters/testimonies of the work He was doing in each of their churches. The people God chose in the Bible were regular people, just like us. Some were even criminals, murders, etc. But thank God He sees past our flaws and uses us despite ourselves! There is a tremendous need in the Church today to share with non believers as well as believers what God is doing in our lives; why we choose to follow Him. For this, He sent a helper:

"I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you in all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you." (John 16:12-15)

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self discipline." (2 Timothy 1:7)

When we are brought before the ruling authorities to give an account of our faith in Christ, to give testimony to faith, we are not to meditate what we will say beforehand for Jesus says He himself will give us a mouth and a wisdom that our adversaries will not be able to oppose or resist. (Luke 12:21-25)

Wow! Those are some powerful scriptures. One thing I have learned is that when God gives you an idea, most of the time, He gives it to others as well. I had taken a big leap of faith in God when I announced this idea at my church. I thought, "people are going to think I am crazy!" After I shared the vision, I had members come up to me, whom I had never met, and said God had put the same thoughts into their hearts. It was a huge confirmation to all of us! I pray that as you read this blog, you will see the work God has done in my life, as well as our church family. This blog will be open to others as well, who have testimonies to share. Now, let's get to some testimonies, shall we?