I’ve Seen Him Do It

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I’ve been “writing” this post for going on 6 months now.  I don’t say much about it, but on November 30, 2013 life changed in a way I would have NEVER expected.  My Uncle, Minister Clyde Richard “Ricky” Williams, lost his life doing what he loved, fishing.  The reports said that his boat capsized and tossed him into freezing cold water….  It felt as if my heart was ripped from my chest.  It was, and still is, unbelievable.  I sit here blinded by tears as I think about that day and the days that have led to the ability to FINALLY share my testimony with you.

In the weeks prior to losing him several people in my immediate circles experienced loss.  Two collegiate friends lost their 3-year old son in a drowning, a childhood friend was killed in a single-car accident while driving home from work, a sister in the ministry lost her mother……  it was just a tough time in the earth for SEVERAL people connected to me during the 2013 Lenten season.  In the midst of praying for and mourning with my friends, our family met our own struggle.  Walking around like zombies, in pure disbelief…. waking up each day PRAYING it was a bad dream.  I remember begging God to let them find him alive…. let him find his way home through the woods by the lake… or either be there, shivering from the cold, but be alive… be there….., but he wasn’t.  He wasn’t.  He wasn’t.  One of the most important and influential people in my life had been raptured before we could talk about my next career and life moves…. before he could grill my boyfriend/fiance…. before he could dance with me at my wedding; before he could grow old and wise.  He was gone and I was angry.

Yes, I’m admitting that I was angry with God.  The one thing I wanted from this situation…. the one thing I PRAYED HARD for him to “work out” didn’t “play out” the way I wanted it to.  I was angry.  Hurt and angry.  Outlining a program and making funeral arrangements…. hurt and angry.  Greeting visitors and planning service selections…. hurt and angry.  Praying and worshiping my way through, because it was ALL I knew to do…. hurt and angry.  Consoling and counseling…. hurt and angry.  In the midst of all of this I receive a text from my Minister of Music to “listen to and learn a song:  Kurt Carr’s, “I’ve Seen Him Do It”.  I put it off for a day or two, but when I finally listened to it and heard the words I was like, “really, God?  Really?”….. One time through, that’s all I could take.

“I’ve Seen Him Do It”

 

[Spoken Intro]

For someone facing incredible obstacles in your life:
I want you to lean on God and trust his flawless record.
He never fails; He can do the impossible.
How do I know? I’ve seen him do it!
[Verse 1:]
I have no doubt my God can do the impossible.
I know he can; I’ve seen him do it.
He can turn the mess you’re in to an awesome miracle.
I know he can; I’ve seen him do it.
Whatever problem you’ve got,
If you just give it to God, He’ll work it out.
How do I know?
[Chorus:]
I’ve seen him do it. I’ve seen him do it. [x4]
One time through is all I could take…..
My Angel was laid to rest on Wednesday, December 4, 2013.  I returned to Nashville after the funeral and tried to get back into the swing of things, starting with rehearsal on the following Tuesday.  Well, what do we rehearse….. the song.  Did I want to hear it…. NO.  Luckily we didn’t sing it the following Sunday because I hadn’t been interested in learning the words (that would have been EMBARASSING!!!!), but rehearsing it FORCED me to listen to it.  Every day, ALL day for a week straight I listened to that song.  At the gym, at work, in the car…. I listened to the choir and soloist go on and on about how they’d “seen God do it”, but all I could think about was what He didn’t do for me just weeks before.
The following Tuesday, after sitting through another rehearsal where we’d reviewed the song, I decided it was time for me to chat with God.  I made my way down Briley Parkway crying and verbally sharing with God EVERYTHING I’ve shared with you.  I told Him I was angry.  I told Him I didn’t understand, and I told him He’d “better have something HUGE up his sleeve with this one” because it hurt sooooooo bad.  Twenty minutes of being purely open and honest with my creator, completely vulnerable.  Well, I was mid-rant when this car came out of nowhere and just cut me off!  Yes, I stopped ranting IMMEDIATELY and went to blow my horn, but when I looked at the license plate I couldn’t believe what I was seeing…..
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Yep, you see it just as clear as me…. the thing said “Miracle”!  The car literally came out of NOWHERE.  I was two stop-lights away from my house and it cut me off.  I couldn’t believe it!  I was upset, fussing at God about what I was feeling inside… how much I didn’t like it… and the Man sent a “Miracle” out of NOWHERE!  I said, “Lord, PLEASE let us get caught by this light cause I need to get a picture of this!  Are you SERIOUS!?”  Sure enough, not even 50 feet down the road we got stopped at the next light and I snapped a pic!!! (Also, I haven’t seen this car since that night….  I look for it EVERY night on my way home.)
I went through ALL that to say that even in hurtful situations; when we experience the loss of a loved one, job, relationship, etc., He has a plan.  We don’t see it at first…. often times we can’t see it AT ALL, but we have to remember that God IS and he’s NEVER failed.  It’s a hard thing to grasp when you’re hurting and torn.  Even men and women of faith HURT.  We are all HUMAN…. perfectly imperfect.  Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “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.” So, we have to heal and pray for restoration…we have to have faith in His plan…  Yes, it’s difficult, but CLEARLY He shut me down and shut me up on purpose.  Yes, I still cry…  the pain has not gone away, but I believe that WHATEVER He is working out through this situation shall be revealed in due season.  Romans 8:18 says, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Our God is capable of the impossible.  There is purpose in the pain. He can create a miracle from our mess, do supernatural things in the midst of sorrow, comfort us in our confusion, and provide peace in painful situations.  He can make something from nothing, heal broken hearts, calm raging seas, and bid us to “step out of the boat” in the midst of the storm.
There were sooooo many people experiencing loss around the same time frame.  So many of us were praying for one another and mourning with one another.  Even now there are several friends who have recently experienced loss or are in the midst of painful transition.  Just because God didn’t do what we wanted him to do in this situation DOES NOT mean that He HAS NOT and WILL NOT keep his promises to us.  We are limited in our humanity… only so much makes sense, but in cases where life turns in unexpected ways we have to stay prayerful and faithful.  People came from FAR and WIDE for my Uncle’s service.  He was TRULY a great man!  He worked for UPS FOR-EVER and had just become an ordained and licensed Minister.  He touched the lives of MANY and truly let the light of God shine through him.  His physical absence has truly left a void.  A great example of unconditional love.  He gave his life to helping his family and others.  He was always kind and had the best advice.  So, from the loss of his life God HAS to get the glory!  I am unsure how far his waves/ripples reached, but I do know he was a man of great faith.  This is and has undoubtedly been a HARD experience for my family, but we have to remember…. God never fails.
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So, whatever you’re going though, whatever loss you’ve experience, whatever transition you’re working through…. don’t give up on God.  He’s still faithful.  He’s still sovereign….even in the midst of your pain.  I encourage you to listen to the song, pick up your broken pieces, go to God to help put you and things back together again.  I’m not saying every day will be easy, but He’ll keep you like only He can.
Rest on, Uncle Ricky.  Rest on….. love you, always.
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Morning Devotion: Joyce Meyer, Battlefield of the Mind- D.V.

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I’m certainly not the only one who had time specific plans for life’s journey. There were things I wanted to have, experience and create, but can honestly say I didn’t always consider God’s will during the drafting phase. This morning’s devotion served as a slight reminder that our lives are not our own…. we must remember and consider the purposes we were created for when making ALL decisions. He truly has the master plan. #DV

James 4:13-15 KJV

Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
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D.V.

He told me that he and his wife were missionaries to Chad, Africa, and then he said, “We plan to return in January, D.V.”

I didn’t know what D.V. meant, but I didn’t say anything.

As he described his evangelism program for the interior of the country, he kept saying, “D.V.”

Finally, I asked, “What does D.V. mean?”

“It’s a Latin phrase I learned in school, and it means a great deal to me,” he said. “It stands for ‘Deo volente,’ which means ‘God willing.'”

As we talked, I realized how seriously he meant D.V. He said he had great ideas about things he wanted to see in Chad, but more than that, he wanted to be sure his ideas were in line with God’s. “When I say D.V., that’s a reminder to me–it’s my way of saying, ‘This is what I’d like. Is it okay with You, Lord?'”

There are a lot of boasting people out there–they decide what they want and expect everything to run smoothly. That can be a trick of Satan. If he can get them to focus on tomorrow or next year, they don’t have to deal with the problems in their lives right now. They can live in a world of only good things that will take place in the future. Isn’t that like driving a car down the highway and ignoring what’s right in front of us because we’re focused on the traffic signal five blocks ahead? We’re setting ourselves up for a wreck.

Jesus promised us a life of abundance (see John 10:10). But we can’t enter into that abundance if we’re not giving our lives fully to Him. Don’t spend today planning tomorrow and avoiding the issues that confront you now.

Pray: My heavenly Father, please help me live today. Whether I actually say the words D.V. or not, remind me that Your will is more important than anything in my life. Help me not to allow Satan to get me thinking so much about tomorrow that I fail to live today in a way that pleases You. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

From the book Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2005 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.

Joyce Meyer – Morning Devotion: Positive Beliefs

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Oooohh-weeee! This one struck a chord this morning!!! Over the past few weeks I have been conversing with a few persons about a disease our generation suffers from called, Instant Gratification”. We literally have NO concept of patience or waiting. We want what we want, when we want it, how we want it, period. Technology, fast food, liposuction, and the internet has created monsters of all shapes and sizes who have forgotten what it means to listen, hear, work hard, and wait.  We don’t want to wait in line 5 minutes, so surly we wouldn’t survive waiting 25 years for God to fulfill a promise!!!!! People SAY they have waiting power, but we are guilty of trying to “help God” handle his business. We have hope, but truthfully we hope that He hurries up (YOLO)!  Remember, IT’S OKAY TO WAIT! God truly knows what’s best for us, in what time and what order. He doesn’t need our help!

Please take a second to watch this clip after reading below. Have a blessed day, and pray for faith and patience while you WAIT on GOD! We have to learn to think positive while we are waiting on God to come through!

It’s Okay to WAIT

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Romans 4:18-21 KJV

Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

Positive Belief

The story of Abraham amazes me no matter how many times I read it. It’s not just the birth of a son when he was a hundred years old. That’s a miracle. But just as amazing is the information that he waited twenty-five years for the fulfillment of the promise. He was seventy-five when God promised Him a son.

I wonder how many of us would believe God and live in expectation for twenty-five years. Most of us probably would have said, “I didn’t really hear from God.” “Oh, I guess maybe God didn’t really mean that.” Or “I need to go somewhere else to get a fresh word from the Lord.”

In our impatience, we often take matters into our own hands. I say we get “bright ideas”–plans of our own, which we hope God will bless. These plans open the door for confusion and chaos. Then their results must be dealt with, which often delays our miracle.

The Bible gives us promises, hope, and encouragement. God promises good to those of us who serve Him. Despite the adversity of our circumstances–and some people have absolutely terrible situations–God still promises good. Our sense of goodness, however, may not be the same as God’s. Getting what we want immediately may not be best for us. Sometimes waiting is the best thing because it helps develop the character of God in us.

The Lord chooses to do good to us and to make us happy; the devil chooses to do wrong and to make us miserable. We can remain patient and keep believing God’s promises, or we can allow the evil one’s whisper to fill our ears and lead us astray.

Positive belief in God’s promises yields good results because the Good One sends them to us. Refuse to give up, and you will see the results of your positive belief.

Pray: Dear Father in heaven, forgive my lack of belief. Forgive me for allowing Satan to deceive me or make me think I’m worthless or unworthy of Your miracles. I am worthy because You made me worthy. You are the God of the impossible, and I ask You to help me wait on You and never give up. In the name of Jesus Christ my Lord, I pray. Amen.

From the book Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2005 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.

Joyce Meyer – Morning Devotion: Suspicious of Suspicion

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We’ve all experienced this at some point in our lives. I’ll personally say that everyone who has said they loved me didn’t really mean or show it. Those discrepancies between word and action caused me to live EXTREMELY guarded for a while. I’ve been working on it, but still today I have my hesitations with motives and hidden agendas. Regardless of those feelings I’ve learned to love unconditionally with hopes of eventually experiencing the same…loving God’s way 🙂

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1 Corinthians 13:4-7 KJV

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Suspicious of Suspicion

In today’s scripture, these words about love are familiar to most of us, but I can honestly say that living them has not always been easy for me. As a child, I was not exposed to this kind of love–in fact, I was taught to be suspicious of everyone. I was told that the motives of other people were not to be trusted.

While it is wise to be aware of people’s motives, we must be careful that we don’t allow our suspicious nature to negatively affect our feelings about everyone. An overly suspicious nature can poison your mind and affect your ability to love and accept other people. Consider this example.

Suppose a friend approaches you after a church service, and says, “Do you know what Doris thinks about you?” Then the friend tells you every detail of the things Doris said. The first problem is that a true friend wouldn’t share such information. And the second problem is that with an already suspicious mind, you now believe secondhand information.

Suppose that one day in church, Doris is sitting just a few rows in front of you, praising the Lord. Immediately you think, “She’s such a hypocrite.”

Then the Holy Spirit directs your thoughts to your own condition, and the fact that you were praising the Lord while harboring bad feelings toward Doris. Didn’t Jesus tell us to make peace with others before we present our gifts to Him? (See Matthew 5:24.)

Convicted by these words of Jesus, you apologize to Doris for the bad feelings you have toward her…and she stares at you in absolute shock. Then you realize your mistake. You misinterpreted the information your friend shared with you about Doris, allowing the devil to turn you against a wonderful, godly woman.

This is a good example of how suspicion can cripple relationships and destroy our joy while it leads us astray.

It took me a while to overcome a lifetime of suspicions, but I finally learned that when we love God’s way, we have no place for suspicions of others.

Pray: Lord, I thank You for showing me how to overcome my suspicious nature by teaching me how to love others with Your kind of love. Thank You, Jesus, for being patient with me and for being my great example. Amen.

From the book Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2005 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.

The Prayer of Consecration – The Confident Woman Devotional (Joyce Meyer)

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Today’s devotion touched a sensitive spot. Being a woman of faith I have to admit there are times I want to go my own way.  You think you have “submission” down to a science until that “thing” comes along and you find yourself somewhere in left field! For me, consecration has to happen DAILY… Sometimes MULTIPLE times a day. The hardest thing is keeping flesh under subjection. In order to live the life God has planned for us, we have to consecrate and submit. Knowing that God has called and sent me, I was convicted while reading because I haven’t been doing all the things I’m supposed to do… This one got me deep!  Read and be blessed.

Isaiah 6:8 KJV

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

The Prayer of Consecration

In the prayer of consecration, we dedicate our lives and all that we are to Him. In order for God to use us, we must consecrate ourselves to Him.

When we truly consecrate ourselves to the Lord, we lose the burden of trying to run our own lives. I would rather voluntarily follow God than struggle to get Him to follow me. He knows where He is going, and I know I will reach my destination safely if I allow Him to lead.

I consecrate myself to God in prayer on a regular basis. I say, “Here I am, Lord. I am Yours; do with me as You please.” Then sometimes I add, “I hope I like what You choose, Lord, but if I don’t, Your will be done and not mine.”

Consecration and/or dedication to God is the most important aspect of succeeding at being ourselves. We don’t even know what we are supposed to be, let alone know how to become whatever it is. But as we regularly keep our lives on the altar in consecration to God, He will do the work that needs to be done in us, so He may do the work He desires to do through us.

Pray: Lord, I gladly consecrate myself – body, soul and spirit – to You today. Take my life, shape my life, and use my life for Your glory. Amen.

From the book The Confident Woman Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright 2011 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.

Touched by an Angel

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This poem was shared tonight during our Young Adult Bible Study for national poetry month. I nearly shed a tear… read and be blessed 🙂

Touched by an Angel
By Maya Angelou

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

Lo, I Am With You

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Last night on the way home from Bible Study I was having a conversation with God.  I was an HOUR late to class and missed the speakers for the evening, but I got there in enough time to hear what He had to say to me…

The title of the class is “Good to Great”, derived from Chip Ingram’s book “Good to Great in God’s Eyes”. Mrs. Brenda Wynn, who was recently elected as the first female (and first African American) Clerk for Davidson County, was one of the speakers for the evening, and was wrapping up her presentation about the experience from her decision to run through the actual election.  She began to pour into me immediately.  She encouraged us to write our dreams down…and to keep a journal of the things God is doing in our lives (and has done) so we won’t forget.  She shared that the first time she had actually verbalized her dream to herself and others was about 6 months ago in class…  She began to share the ways in which God pulled the people and resources needed out of unlikely situations, and how her faith was all she had to stand on (yes, I was emotional and excited…smiling the ENTIRE time about how God works).  THIS conversation was then followed by a passionate summary of the evening and charge by Dr. Woods…

The subject of that particular class was about taking risks.  A slide posted that read…

In order to reap a great reward there has to be a great risk.

Was I prepared to read that, NO!  But, it was exactly what I needed to hear and be reminded of.  The faith in obeying God at all costs, in leaving things that are familiar…totally stripping yourself of a ‘comfort zone’.  She reminded us that obeying God isn’t simply for our benefit, but someone else’s breakthrough/blessing could be tied up in our “yes”.  She gave the following suggestions of how to become a risk taker for God…

  1. Refocus your fear…
  2. Rejuvenate your faith…
  3. Recall God’s FAITHFULNESS!

These things can all be accomplished through:

  • Self denial and surrender
  • By renewing your mind through scripture
  • By releasing your faith through prayer (Even here she reminded us that while we are yet speaking God is answering our prayers!)

Her scripture reference came from Matthew 14… the story of Peter walking on water.  For some strange reason I decided to use my phone to locate the scripture instead of pulling out my Bible (I carry a physical bible with me in my purse ALL the time 😉 ).  I select the ‘read’ option to search for the scripture, and it redirects me to 2 Timothy 4!!!!!!!!  Yep, all the Bible scholars would know why I nearly HYPERVENTILATED! I said, “Do Lord Jesus”… smiled and moved over to Matthew….  Class was wrapped up by a challenge to the students to step out on faith… not looking to the right or left, not up or down, but to stay focused on our dreams and desires.  We had to physically gather our things and ‘step out of the boat’ to be dismissed from class (the action part ALWAYS gets me! #emotional).

Now, to fast-forward to my drive home (better yet, back to work)… I’m emotional and thinking to myself ALL THE WAY down Kings Hwy (like God can’t hear my thoughts), and I finally decide to open my mouth and talk to Him once I hit Ashland Hwy.  My conversation went a little something like this….

“God, what is going on?  I always wonder if I made the right decision moving, if I am still in your will… It has definitely been hard, but your hand has HAD to be in ALL of this!  This has to be you…It really can’t be anyone or anything else.  Yes, I will finally admit out loud to you that I did hear a voice while standing on the altar that last Sunday in October… a voice that said as clear as day, ‘It’s not too late to change your mind.  You can stay.  It’s not too late.’… a voice that I clearly ignored!  But, I will admit that it has been bothering me ever since!  God, that COULDN’T have been you!  I know that if I leaped out you would catch me, and you did.  There is absolutely NO WAY things could have happened the way they have.  With all the places I applied to, you ONLY opened the door here… The way you lined up a place to live, the people you have placed in my life, the church you have replanted me in, promotions at work…God, it could have only been you!” And before I could utter my thought of “send me a sign or SOMETHING” I saw a shooting star.  Yep, right there in front of my face… streaking through the sky from left to right…. as clear as, well……CLEAR!  Having placed the stars in the sky, He assured me through his POWER that I had done the right thing… that He is right here… that he still loved me…., and most importantly that I wasn’t disobedient…. He’s STILL here… and He has everything under control ::exhale::

I have only shared my altar story with ONE other human being.  I cannot put into words what the feeling has been like over the past year.  I don’t want to use the term “double-minded”, but it has definitely been a battle.  But, now I’m free…. just like that I was LIBERATED, and it feel soooooo good!  I was SCARED to go… scared to leave everything and everyone I knew…. scared to start over, and scared of being alone, scared (especially) of leaving my family, but more EXCITED about what God was going to do through my willingness to break away…  So, I leave you with a charge to trust God.  People say it often, but I live as proof that He will give you everything you need to carry out the assignment on your hand.  It’s okay to take risks… honestly, it is proving to be the only way to truly move forward and bring life to your dream.  Seek God, listen, and MOVE.  And if you hear something that contradicts what you see Him doing in your life remember, actions speak louder than words!  He proves himself to us time and time again… He’s given us EVERYTHING and only seeks a “yes” in return…  Are you willing to step out of the boat?

(I left out the fact that I’d called a mentee on the way to church and we were discussing her future goals and dreams… We were sharing about the challenges of making a big decision and the growth, development, and opportunities that result from the willingness to step on out faith.  You better believe I called her back after my convo with God, and she was the first person I shared the altar experience with!  I was overjoyed at the way things simply worked together!!!  There is so much more to it, but isn’t it AMAZING how God works! #GottaLoveHim!!!!)

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