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God Doesn’t Need Us

21bb469bd758a78d363986998129d056Contrary to what you might think, believe or been taught, the truth is God doesn’t need us. He is already all-powerful, all-knowing, and omnipresent. He isn’t a God who needs anything, and that includes us. He doesn’t need our faith, our prayers, our love, and He doesn’t need our praise.

Some have suggested God created man because He needed someone to love Him or He needed someone to love. False truth!

He is the creator of all and He is above all, as the Apostle Paul said in Acts 17:24-25,

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands; And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything. Rather, He himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.”

We Are Arrogant

God has plans that are better than we have for ourselves but we think we know better. We dismiss him until finding ourselves in need or in a hopeless situation. We can’t remember the last time we read our Bible or actually pursued Him with all our heart, soul and mind. (Matthew 22:37). But the minute we find ourselves in dire straits we look to God for an easy bailout. We treat Him like He’s a Genie in the bottle ready to grant us our three (selfish) wishes.

But God Never Listens

God is always listening, but we aren’t.  To truly find answers and help from the Lord, we must search our spiritual heart. Is there anything we aren’t doing that He told us to do? When we repeatedly hardened our heart to His call we stop listening and become obedient to our desires, not His.

We Need God

As depraved, in-corrupt people we have nothing to give to God, but yet He wants us. Left on our own, we would have never gone to Him. He came to us for our need, not the other way around. We can understand and appreciate Him more for who He truly is, and for all He has done for us when we fully digest that God loves us.

Consider this:

God sent His only Son to die a horrific, painful death on the Cross even though He didn’t need us. He did it because He knew we needed Him. That’s love, that’s grace, that’s mercy and that is mind boggling. God doesn’t need me, but He WANTS me. He wants me to see my need for Him. He wants me to desire His ways, He wants me to seek after Him and He wants to spend eternity with me.

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Ebenezer Stone

…the Lord has helped us.” 1 Samuel 7:12

I recently attended a prayer project study group hosted through my local church. During the time of sharing a biblical term was mentioned that I had long forgotten: Ebenezer Stone

As the group leader enlightened us to the meaning, the freshness of God’s mercies were aroused within me. I was reminded that God never fails to show up in our time of need. His arrival time is always divinely appointed.

What is Ebenezer?

Ebenezer means, “stone of help.” Under King Samuel’s leadership (1 Samuel 7), Israel experienced a renewal of their faith. Led by Samuel the Israelites gathered at the location of Mizpah to present sacrifices to the Lord as atonement for their sins. The nation repented of their sins, destroyed their idols and earnestly committed to obey God’s Laws.

When Israel’s enemy, the Philistines, heard that the people had gathered in Mizaph they planned a sneak attack to catch the Israelites off-guard. But God supernaturally intervened with loud thunder. It threw the Philistines into mass confusion and the Israelite Army overwhelming defeated them.

To commemorate the victory, Samuel erected a monolith (a large, tooth-shaped piece of rock or stone) near the city Mizpah as a reminder to the Israelites of what the Lord had done for them that day.

Raise your Ebenezer?

Samuel was a wise and Godly man with a good idea. He recognized something that’s true about human nature—we’re forgetful. At Ebenezer, Israel could stand next to that big old rock and remind themselves, “Yes, we serve a living and faithful God, whose mercies are everlasting.”

It is important to remember. In doing so, we raise our own Ebenezer and place value and recognition on God’s divine help, mercy and restoration in our life. It’s a testimony of thanks and praise of his faithfulness.

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SISTERS

3139_1074232579462_6883989_nI have only one sibling; a sister named Sharon, but I call her Sharrie or sissy. We are one year and two days apart in age, but our chosen life paths are about as far apart as you can get.

She is a pastor’s wife and that in itself speaks volumes about her. Not everyone is cut out to be a soul mate to someone dedicated to the ministry; certainly not me. My mom was one of those women, but God saved us all when I chose a different path.

My sister has a beautiful singing voice, plays the piano and effortlessly leads worship service every Sunday at church. She loves to hike trails, camp, bake, play practical jokes and hang out at their northern cottage which I have never visited (hint). Sharrie’s laugh is infectious; you have only to sit next to her while watching a comedy movie to witness her ability to unabashedly laugh out loud. She is our daddy’s daughter in that respect.

I, on the other hand, prefer hotels to camping; opt for motorized vehicles over bicycles and never hike more than up and down the stairs of my home. Church members would drop off the rosters if I led a worship service and all my baked goods are purchased at the local grocery store.

No one can keep a secret better than my sister or save money in a pillowcase like she is known to do. When I needed money to buy cigarettes in high school, her pillowcase was the bank that provided the needed cash.

She was the athlete and compliant child; I was the president of art club and a rebel. I married at 18, she married at 27. All ‘no’ answers from my parents were an open invitation to ‘do it anyway’. Anger was my middle name and I could bring conflict to a situation quicker than the blink of an eye. The Bible scripture blessed are the peacemakers did not apply to me.

With all our many differences you might wonder if my sister and I were birthed from the same parents. The God who created the opposing contrasts of night and day also created the opposing contrasts of Denise and Sharon and has allowed our different life experiences to work in unison. Our approach is uniquely different, but our lifelong goal has always been the same; to grow in the grace of Jesus.

My sister complements my shortcomings and remains my biggest cheerleader in helping me reach my goals. She prays, intercedes, listens and forgoes judgment when I make bad choices. When I reach out to her, she greets me with arms wide open; she is a friend in all seasons of life. There are no words I can pen to paper to express how much I love her.

And so, on my sister’s 58th birthday I give thanks for our forever friendship, the differences that join us as one and the many times she has been the beacon of hope in my darkest nights. She always believes in me; applauds my accomplishments and looks up to me, though I’m not sure why. Thank you for being my polar opposite. God knew I needed that in a sister.

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COLORFUL PRAYERS

IMG_3640There is so much going on in the world and with all the fast and furious news coverage, it can all be draining to the spirit. When the demonic savagery of this Godless world seeks to destroy my hope, I create something and I tend to hum quite obsessively in the process.

My soul is soothed as my hands and mind work in unison to create and re-purpose objects abandoned and deemed unworthy by others. As I work and hum, the light of my Savior’s hope and promises overpower the shadows of darkness this world casts upon me.

Today, as I paint and refurbish a piece of outcast furniture into a beautiful princess chair for my granddaughter, I will replace my obsessive humming with colorful prayers. The princess chair has six different colors and I will lift a prayer before the Throne of God for every color used.

Colorful Pryaers

  • Bright Pink:
    The Haiti Mission trip sponsored by The Rock Church in Fenton
  • White:
    There are plenty of white areas which allow ample prayer time for friends, family and community.
  • Turquoise:
    Our President, congress and senate
  • Apple Green:
    Our US troops and law enforcement officers
  • Light Pink:
    Friends and family of friends battling cancer
  • Silver:
    Praise and thanks for the mercies of God and the salvation gifted to the world through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

If you think you don’t have time to pray, think again. There are so many idle moments that fill our day; opportunities to speak our heart before God even if it’s just an inaudible or whispered prayer. Heartfelt colorful prayers are God’s specialty.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

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THE HOUSE THAT’S NEVER CLEAN

IMG_9214As I survey my house this Mother’s Day morning, it is in total chaos. The grandkids have been here all weekend, and with friends, I might add. Every counter and table is cluttered with things I am working on for Olivia’s birthday party next Saturday, there is the lemonade stand and all the paraphernalia that entails…like cups, coins, candy and, of course, lemonade.

The hardwood floors in the kitchen have crumbs of every sort scattered beneath the counter stools and my back deck is covered with Xploderz pellets the kids shot from their Xploder gun. The laundry room overflows with dirty clothes, breakfast dishes fill the sink and clean clothes are strewn across my bed waiting for someone to fold them.

My daughter and son-in-law will be arriving shortly to spend a few hours with me and I’m not sure where there will sit. Let’s see, between the lemonade stand, art stand, forts that are inside, there are the Xploderz guns, bucket of pellets, new deck shades that need to be installed and flats of flowers that occupy the outdoor space. And we can’t use the front deck because it was just stained and still not dry.

Yet, even with all the chaos that surrounds me, I am happy and content as I watch the grandkids help Poppy wash cars and splash their feet in puddles of soapy water. The squeal of children as they ride bikes, skateboard and jump on pogo sticks is music to the heart.

My house and yard may be in total disarray, but my heart is merry. I regret that I couldn’t embrace this truth when my daughter was the age of my grandkids. She didn’t care if the floors were clean or the dishes were washed. A trip to the park was way more memorable than my obsession with organization and a clean house.

Take time to seize the moment. If your kids or grandkids want you to play, ride bikes or take a trip to the park, do it! When the house is a mess and there is laundry piled to the ceiling that’s the time to hop on a pogo stick, jump on a bike or head to the park with your kids. Life is too short to be obsessed with things that don’t make memories.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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DEFINING CONTENTMENT

seabrook2I pedaled my rented bike through the gated ocean side community of Seabrook, South Carolina where homes are more than magnificent and unpretentiously shout wealth. There are pricey cars parked in driveways and the pets on leashes are purebred only.

Association members assumed I was a member of their private community; they smiled and nodded to me as if my bike and me belonged in their inner circle. But I didn’t belong to this million dollar community and never will.

A twinge of envy surfaced as I rode past homes with manicured landscapes, breathtaking ocean views, hired services, not to mention, money. These homes, along with the purchased amenities, require enormous wealth. As an onlooker, I can only imagine what it would be like to walk through the front door of these homes. The exterior beauty must certainly represent what lies inside.

My bike ride destination was a planked wooden path that led to the ocean. It was low tide so I was able to ride along the hard-packed sand on the beach. There were occasional stops to look at jelly fish washed ashore or to scout out special shells for the grand kids. Just off the shoreline dolphins would occasionally display their stealth beauty while sea gulls skimmed the water’s surface in search of their next meal.

The ocean and everything within it seemed content with their assigned purpose in the cycle of life.

As I left the beach and cycled back to the resort, the bike pedals rhythmically rotated to the word contentment. I considered what makes me long for things I don’t have, and certainly don’t need in an effort to have a contented life.

Contentment is a state of mind; an acceptance that some things can’t be changed. A dolphin will never be a jelly fish; and unless I win the lottery, I will never belong to a million dollar community by the sea.

A grateful heart brings contentment.

The exterior of someone’s life doesn’t necessarily display what’s inside. Inside those beautiful homes by the sea there may be addictions, poor health, debt, loneliness and discontentment. Possessions don’t buy contentment. It is only when we are truly grateful for what we have and accept those things we cannot change that contentment is birthed.

Wealth does not bring contentment or peace within. Should you have both, consider yourself blessed.

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things (and be content) through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13

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DOES GOD REALLY LOVE US?

Today, on this Good Friday, I share the words of my Daddy who passed away in September 2008. He loved his Lord and today he rejoices in Heaven.

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I say look to the crucified Jesus. Look to the old rugged cross.
By every thorn that punctured his brow,
by every mark of the back-lacerating scourge,
by every hair of his beard plucked from his cheeks by cruel fingers.
by every bruise which heavy fists made upon his head, God said, “I love you!”

My Daddy Easter 2007. He was battling cancer.

By all the spit that landed on his face,
by every drop of sinless blood that fell to the ground.
by every breath of pain which Jesus drew upon the cross.
by every beat of His loving heart, God said, I love you.

– Billy Lobbs