Thursday, November 27, 2008

Feeling Joy!!!

It’s Thanksgiving Day, the bustle of the day’s activities have dwindled. My Mama is over at her house settling down and getting ready for bed. My sister is up at the hospital cherishing her precious baby girl swaddled in tubes and monitors. My Papa is at the next door neighbor’s house eating Thanksgiving dinner with them, and I am here at Papa’s house in the quiet. It’s amazing… I complain about living by myself all the time… yet whenever I’m around people… I somehow always end up drifting off by myself.

I was sitting on the couch reading a book that has Bible teachings in it (just a few minutes ago), and my heart was embracing every word as I shifted from the book to my Bible. God’s Word is just so special to me. I think the reason I always end up by myself is because that is when the Lord chooses to speak to me. And not to just speak to me, He chooses to have a conversation with me and I find Him in my heart the most. I know that Christ dwells in us once we accept Him...and truly…tonight I FEEL Him there. I FEEL Him here… I FEEL Him with me....He is tangible, for sure. :)

I think it is the sweetest feeling in the world. It really just makes me have this feeling that gives me chills, makes me want to just bawl, yet at the same time just dance all around my living room. Whoever might think the Lord is not One who will be your company, hasn’t ever experienced Him. I’m coming to feel His presence more and more each day, and it is absolutely WONDERFUL! Especially now. :)

I think that it is so awesome….even through prayer. Use to be....on special days like today, my family would have someone bless our meals. God was never “out of the picture,” but He definitely wasn’t the center... and for sure.. I didn’t have a relationship with Him. I mean… two years ago, I would always look at the ground when someone would ask “Who wants to say the blessing?”.. NOT ME!!!! In fact, sometimes someone would squeeze my hand as a prompting to get me to volunteer. Nope… i wouldn't.. they could squeeze all they want, my mouth was staying shut. Even when I was Chaplain in my sorority (and it was my position to pray).. When asked to bless the meal at our formal I refused and had someone else do it. Well now... on this side of salvation.. Now I don’t mind. In fact, I enjoy it, because I enjoy inviting the Lord to supper. I enjoy blessing His Holy Name and making Him known...especially to my family.

It just ruined me… when my niece “expected” it and was eager to pray. Just flat out ruined me. I was a teary-eyed mess. AND…there isn’t anything more challenging than trying to NOT cry, when your just so incredibly blessed to tears.

It just takes one person to invite Jesus to the table. I also think it is awesome that it just takes one person to invite Jesus into the room or the conversation or the moment. Colossians 4:5 &6 says,

“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

It is incredibly awesome that my family will bring up the Lord whenever I’m around. I’m not saying, it’s because of me… I mean, I pray that they talk about Him even when I’m not around. All I’m saying, is they didn’t use to mention Him as often as they do when I’m around…now. But, whenever they choose to bring Him into the conversation… you can bet I don’t miss a beat!!! It brings me so much JOY to glorify His Name…. and you can bet I am just busting at the seams whenever I get the chance to praise Him in front of my family….by their own initiation of the subject!!! Yes, it brings me great joy to bring Him great joy… which in turn, sows joy into the hearts of others...including my family.

Ah, Yes…….Joy…. Did you know that the word joy can be read over 150 times in the Bible!!! What’s cool? I've learned that the Greek word for joy is chara, which means exceeding gladness. (busting at the seams, leaping, shouting, uncontrollable laughter, tears!!) In a Bible Study, Beth Moore teaches that it is where your heart just swells with gladness where you can literally feel your heart swelling with joy. Joy is both a noun and a verb. However, focusing on chara, it is a noun… which means IT IS tangible. Isn’t that AWESOME?!?!?! Tangible, the dictionary has a definition that I love. It says “real or actual, rather than imaginary of visionary.” I'm looking at it this way… when someone encounters “joy” in the Bible (and there is A LOT of it!)… it’s not just reading it.. It’s experiencing it.. It’s REAL, it‘s definite, it‘s possible to touch!! You’re able to literally feel it!!!!!

Same thing when you allow the joy that you receive from scripture to spill over onto everyday life…. You’re able to experience the joy of the Lord… and not just experience it as a casual encounter .. You’re able to FEEL it.. You’re able to FEEL Him!!! WHEW!!! Yep.. I'm in LOVE!

I’m able to FEEL Him….. oooohhhh.. so awesome. The promise is found in His Word....

"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you..." James 4:8

It's a promise....Yep...Go on now...find out for yourself!!!

I'm so thankful today... on this Thanksgiving Day... that I'm able to FEEL the Lord's charis....greek for grace. I'm able to feel His grace, which, in turn, causes joy. Therefore, I literally feel the joy of the Lord. AMEN!!!

Love y'all! Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

For His Glory

“…He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3

I am currently sitting in very comfortable but still funky chair on the 3rd floor of the Reese Library at Augusta State University. I am in the very back of the library (behind the stacks) where it is just eerie quiet, but... I LOVE it. It is soooo peaceful. To my immediate left (on the desk of my little cubicle that I’m sitting in)… I have 14 books that reflect around the philosophy studies of Plato. To my upper left I have my notebook for my Media, Law, and Ethics class with the syllabus that explains the 8-10 page research paper that is due exactly one week from today. To my upper right…. Is a “sample paper” of how the research paper should flow…. And in the center of it all….right up under the computer’s monitor… is my Bible. *deep breath in*…ahhh… God’s Word.

He’s the center comfort of what should be a super stressful time, and what am I doing? I’m writing about something that has nothing to do with the philosophy of Plato, nor does it have anything to do with helping those 8-10 pages of that research paper come to life. But I tell you, I may be in a college campus library…. But you should know… I am not sitting at a computer in a library… I am sitting at the feet of my precious Savior… I may have ten million things due next week, but I am called to sit as His feet for a moment, with everything set aside, because I have the empowered sense to give Him some praise and glory…. Yes, right in this moment.

I’ll also have you know that when I took my hair down from my pony tail just a second ago…a beautiful fragrance filled my lungs. Yes… the fragrance comes from washing my hair…. I mean, I do praise God for shampoo… but the fragrance from my hair reminds me of when the sinful woman from the Gospels washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and then she wiped His feet with her hair. Then she proceeded to pour perfume from her alabaster jar onto His feet. I mean, Jesus’ loves a woman who sits at his feet (with long hair that smells good, so...therefore, He loves me!)….I mean, ya know….I’m JUST sayin’! *wink*wink*

I’ve had so many of you e-mail me wanting to know how the Pamper Me weekend went and how my testimony went. I cannot tell you how much I was blessed this past weekend. Surely you should know… my cup is definitely overflowing. I find it so wonderful that last year after Pamper Me; I left the event and couldn’t get Jesus off my mind…. And this year after Pamper Me… I left the event and I STILL can’t get Jesus off my mind. But that is okay with me, because He is right where He should be. Amen? AMEN!!!!

I have to tell you that the Lord did a work in and through me this past weekend. All I did was tell my testimony of what Christ has done in my life, but somehow He used it to be bigger than I could have imagined. All for His Glory, that is for sure. Wow… I can’t possibly explain to you how it felt to have women walk up to me and pour their hearts out to me…. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to pray with so many women there and in the Name of Jesus, ask that He would touch their hearts and continue to strengthen their souls. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to stand in the back of a full room with a precious sister in Christ, and Praise the Lord as “Amazing Grace... My chains are gone” echoed in the presence of a full room, …but at the same time sense the stillness of just the three of us. God, that precious sister, and myself. Awesome. I have chills.

But the most wonderful feeling came from having a woman walk up to me and cup her hands over my cheeks, looking me directly in the eyes with her eyes glazed over with tears and telling me that she saw Jesus in me. Wow. Never would I have imagined. Bless Him. Bless Him. I praise Him, it’s all to His Glory.

Wow. God is so good. WHEW! God is so good. CAN I JUST TELL YOU THAT GOD IS SO GOOD!!!!!! Throughout this past year, I have prayed that He would use me for His glory in any way that He wanted to. I’ve told Him over and over that I give myself to Him as an offering and that it is my prayer that He would direct that offering in anyway. Wow, He does. I have to tell you that when you are completely willing to just give your life to Christ, He really does take it. It’s His life after all; we’re just along for the ride. What an awesome ride this past year has been, and it is all because last year around this time I met Jesus.

I MET JESUS. I didn’t just meet Jesus either, I became engaged to Him. When we find Jesus, we should change. When we come to know Jesus, we should change. When we’re willing to live for Jesus, we should change. When we come face to face with Christ, our entire mindset, perspective, and outlook on life should change….. and the neat thing, it changes all for His glory. It is no longer about us in this world, but we are humbled to know that it is about Him and His glory and how He wants us to be in the world, but NOT of it. Everyone who is in the world, AND OF the world, should see the difference in us as Christians. I use to get upset if someone thought I was weird… but you know what…. it’s okay if I’m weird…because IF I’m weird...then, I’m weird for Jesus. That’s just fine with me. :)

(Pause for a second!!!! I just had a guy walk behind me, and he told me that I smelled good!!! HA!!!!!!!!!! Then he looked at me “weirdly” because I started laughing! Ha! Ooohhh!! If he only knew….. that’s the aroma of Christ. I’ll say!! *wink*wink*)

Ok, back to being weird. Oh wait, I think I was done with that. Moving on. I’ve seemed to have gotten off from what I was originally talking about.

Yes, God changed me this past year through the sacrifice of His Son and the filling presence of the Holy Spirit in me, and I was able to share that this weekend. He showed up, that’s for sure. I met so many wonderful women and blessings came down in showers, no no… they came down in waterfalls… (I can’t think of a better word for water being poured heavily)…..because He used me to bless them, but in turn…. They blessed me. He blessed me. I blessed Him. Wow. Just a sharing of blessings. That is too cool!!!! Did I mention that God is sooo Good!!!!!

I was so humbled to be His servant this past weekend, and I was so thrilled at the Huge response for His glory through so many women of all different ages. Isn’t it wonderful that age doesn’t matter when it comes to Jesus. Isn’t it so sweet that I was able to hold up a 40-yr old woman as I prayed with her… just as if I was holding up my 4-yr old niece? Age doesn’t matter when it comes to loving Christ and praying to Him.

The weekend continued and my testimony was told and it was soon over, but the impact that God made just moved mountains. I mean, He was just so incredibly powerful through all the speakers there. Our Heavenly Father used each lady at that retreat to glorify Jesus. That’s exactly what happened, and I’m so thankful and honored to have been able to have the opportunity to serve Him in the most awesome way.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

To think that God had this planned all along, He knew from the moment He said, “Let there be light”… that many years later on Dec. 8, 2007 a 21-year-old girl named Miranda would yield her life to Jesus Christ… and on Nov. 7, 2008…He would allow a 22-year-old growing disciple for Christ… named Miranda to bring glory to His name through the infiltrating power of the Holy Spirit. And it just fills me up to know that He loves me so much, allowed me to have the opportunity to shed my praise for Him, and I can just imagine God looking down and seeing “that it was good.”

“…And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- THAT YOU MAY BE FILLED TO THE MEASURE OF ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD.” Ephesians 3:17-18

How awesome?!?! We have the opportunity to live full lives, full in the fullness of God. Don’t cha want to do that????.... Yes, I want to do that.

“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen”

I hope you know how much I love y'all.