"Count Your Blessings!"

I was recently in an automobile accident, my daughter and I, which in all my many years of driving has never happened to me, thank God.  She’s fine by the way.  After the initial shock of the impact I thought I was fine, but the next day things begin to happen that I had not expected to occur.  It’s as if your entire body absorbs the impact, but after things begin to settle in your body parts, begin to hurt that you never even realized that you had.  Things begin to rattle and to click and clank a little louder than you ever remember hearing them before.  I won’t go into all the specifics of that grueling, tying, scary day, just know this, I hurt.  The police officer that took the police report looked at the car and actually said she was truly amazed that I was standing next to her, and was not in the hospital at that very moment.  I told her that I was praising God for that, she said, “You should be, because the way this car looks it was a very hard hit, and you should be in the hospital,”  and she turned and walked away after telling me to have a better day.

Four days later I had a birthday, “Happy Birthday To Me,” and it was then while I was opening my presents thoughtfully chosen just for me by my loved ones, that I begin to truly realize how very blessed I’am, just for having my life, my relative health and strength.  People kept asking me how I felt having another birthday, my reply to them after careful consideration was, “I Feel Blessed, Just To Be Alive.”  And I do. 

After something like that, you don’t really realize how blessed you are until late at night, when the lights are out, and your eyes are closed, and you continue to see the vehicle that hit you coming straight at you over and over again in your mind.  You feel the impact as it hits you as it did before.  And you jump out of sleep just as the impact comes.  Heart pounding rapidly.  Pulse racing.  Head throbbing.  Calling out that one name that is above all others names, that alone can save you, “JESUS!”  When you realize that you are lying in your bed beside that one who gently turns and wraps their arms around you, letting you know with unspoken words, “I’ve got you.  You’re safe now.”  It is then that you truly begin to realize just how blessed you are.  I’ve learned a valuable lesson during this time.  Count your blessings every day.  Consider every day as a brand new blessing.  A new day of “Given Life.”  And as you begin to count your blessings, you will be surprised to realize that things are not as bad as they may seem to be.  And you will be encouraged at what God has already done in your life.  Seize every opportunity that is put before you everyday with eagerness, energy and excitement.  Stop whinning and complaining and blaming everyone for why you dont have or have not become.  YOU make things happen for YOU.  You may not have everything you want, or be what you are reaching out to be yet, but Stuff, you can always replace, but a life can never be replaced.  Now, it’s time for healing.

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"Help For a Wounded Soul"

I recently had a conversation with a young man who has become somewhat disillusioned with his christian walk.  Although raised as a christian he now denies himself to be a christian.  Here’s why.  Some time ago, he had been asking God for some personal things to be made manifest in his life, and much to his regret his prayers were not answered according to his specifications or, the way that he had hoped that they would be.  He has not totally lost hope or faith or denied Christ, but his is waining, borderline.  So his question to me was quit simply this:  “How can you continue to just sit and hope and believe that God will still do the the things that he promised you so long ago, and not give up on that hope?  What is the use in continuing to believe when it seems that God does not really answer our prayers?”  Then he backed up his newfound phylosophy with this, “If something good happens then we believe its God.  If something bad happens then we believe that THAT’S God.  It doesn’t matter one way or the other.”  He continued to say, “Just go after the money.  That’s what I believe in.  Because once you have it, you can go anywhere or do anything you want.  You can believe in that.” 

Wow.  Well, after my initial suprise because I know how this young man was raised, came empathy, but then an understanding for the state of mind that he now finds himself in.  He wanted something so bad, that when it didn’t happen, he became disenchanted with everything he was taught to believe in, in his very up bringing.  But even through all of the feelings that he incited in me, surprise, wonder, shock, empathy,  I could in no way agree with him.  So this was my response to him.  Sweetie, (I call everybody by some sort of endearment), I understand your disappointment and the hurt that you are feeling because your prayers were not answered the way you wanted them to be, but I would rather wait on the promises of God and have Jesus in my life, than have all the money you could ever give me.  Believe me, Iv’e had it both ways.  Life with Him and life without Him.  And I would much rather have life with Him.  Sure there are things that I want and have been asking for; a new house, increase in finances, my business exploding with new accounts, all my children spiritually aware of who they are, and who they were meant to be in the kingdom of God.  And while yes, money is a necessity and there are many things you can not do without it, money is not lord of my life.  It does not rule me.  It does not dictate to me.  And it does not shape me into the woman of honor and integrity that I am. 

Many times, we deviate into moral bankruptcy as our material fortune grows.  Money does not change who we are, it only magnifies what Is already there.  And we begin to forget ourselves.  The selves that we are supposed to be.  For according to Proverbs 10:22, “The blessings of the Lord maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow with it.”  And while there are many prayers and promises of God that I wait on, I WILL wait and I WILL be of good courage. And I WILL NOT faint.  Psalms 27:14 says, “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”  So, I will continue to pray for this young man, because I know, deep down in his heart of hearts, that there is still a belief, still a burning ember, however minuit, it is still there.  And it will come back to life.

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"Extreme Home Makeover"

I had the opportunity to be directly involved with HGTV’s “Extreme Home Makeover” Cleveland, edition when they came a few years back and re-did the house for the family in Maple Heights.  It was a rare and awesome honor to have been a part of that.  The team literally tore down the old home and rebuilt the new home in a  matter of days.  And when they were finished, there was a brand new larger more modern home standing, that even faced in a different direction in the place where the old one had been.  The before and after pictures were simply astounding.  We went from a small falling down deeply in need of repair home, to a home that could very well be placed on the front of and be featured in “House Beautiful.”  But a lot of work went into the rebuilding of the old home to make it picture perfect that was not seen on camera. 
There were people, many of whom were professionals, who literally stayed on site round the clock, taking shifts to assure that this house was done right and completed on time.  Yes, the family was getting by in the old house, and for them that that was ok.  They were completely comfortable there.  They had a few bumps and hurdles to jump over on a day to day basis, but all in all, they were ok.  They were doing good.   No matter how badly in need of repair it was, they were home.  But someone else saw their struggles and decided it was time to make a change for this family.  They deserved a better home.

Many times in our lives, we must go through an “Extreme Home Makeover.”  Our lives are sometimes in shambles.  We go through periods when we feel like nothing is working right.  The plumbing is messed up.  You put up a wall, the ceiling falls.  You patch a hole, a floor tile comes up.  You go to prayer, all hell breaks loose in your home.  You press to make it to the house of God, your car breaks down.  Just as you make a decision to pray more and study the word of God more, thoughts begin to come into our heads that DO NOT glorify God, at all!!!  You are enticed to go place that would not spiritually benefit you, or view things that will actually tarnish your spirit.  There is always battles to fight, repairs to be done.  Always a hill to climb.  And always room for more improvement in our lives.  The worst is over though.  You’ve done the first greatest thing that you could have ever done, when you gave up your life of sin and accepted Jesus Christ into your heart as your personal savior.  That was the hard part, admitting that you were wrong.  And let’s face it, nobody thinks their wrong; and nobody likes to be wrong; and nobody likes to be told that they are wrong.  That just lets you know from the beginning, YOU’RE ALL WRONG!  According to

1 Corinthians 6:19 Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.  1 Corinthians 6:19
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  When you don’t allow Him to make those costly repairs, then your spirit is all wrong.  But, when you allow Christ to complete the “Home Improvement Project” He began in your life when you first believed, you will begin to be able to enjoy the benefits of having a house that is in complete working order.  There is nothing like it.  But when the roof goes, then the plumbing goes, then the windows need replacing, and so on, and so on, it can begin to get a little hard, even discouraging to allow Him to complete the repairs.  Don’t let the repairs in your life wait too long until something else goes wrong.  Like an automobile that has sat over the entire winter without being started.  At first it was just the battery that needed changing.  Now because you left it so long without repairing, starting it up, or cleaning it out, something else has gone wrong.  Now, it’s the alternator and the starter, and now it needs to be towed.  It has become much more costly to repair than it would have been if you had tended to the repairs in the first place.  Allow God to repair you House, your body, your temple, your mind, your soul.  Allow Him to do those Extreme Home Makeovers in your life.  EVEN IF IT MEANS LETTING SOMEONE GO, OR CUTTING SOMEONE OR SOMETHING OUT OF YOUR LIFE THAT IS NOT AND HAS NOT BEEN BENEFICIAL TO YOUR LIFE.  Let Him take out that which does not benefit you.   Let Him replace it with good things, good wood, good parts.  And you will have a spiritual home that you and the Holy Spirit will be proud for ANYONE TO SEE.

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"Even If It Hurts"

Accepting that we are wrong does not come so very easy to us the human race.  For some reason or another, we tend to feel like we are right about everything or, that we know everything, whether we do or not.  And while I have the philosophy that it is good to know a little bit about a lot of things, that way you can keep things interesting during a conversation, it still stands to reason that nobody knows everything, and no one is right about everything.  And when we are not, it’s best to just concede to that fact and admit that maybe, just maybe, we may in fact be wrong.  But a lot of us have a problem admitting when we are wrong.  And a lot of us will argue till Jesus comes when we feel that we are right about something, instead of just admitting that we are wrong.  But I have found, that sometimes it’s just best to give up the right for the wrong, even if it hurts.  The right to be right. 

My young daughter had a heated arguement with someone about an opinion she had about something that she thought was absolutely true and correct.  And she literally cried because she wanted her point of view about the matter to not only be heard, but she wanted it to be the point of view that was chosen by the other person she had gotten into the conversation with, and she wanted to be right.  They obviously did not share her enthusiam with the subject matter, nor ageed with her point of view.  That made her very angry.  When I told her that sometimes the right thing to do is instead of arguing with people who think they are right, the best thing to do is to back up and allow them to come to grips about right and wrong for themselves, whether YOU feel like you are the one thats right or not.  They must sometimes, learn their own lesson.  Sometimes the lessons are hard, sometimes not so hard.  But everyone must cross that bear when they get to it.  She finally conceeded.  Grudgingly at first, but she backed up.  Guess what?  She was right about her opinion or her assesment of the situation, and the person had a life lesson they had to learn through it, but sometimes you cannot force right on a person, no matter how right you think it may be.  That is called giving up the right for the wrong. 

Its simple.  You have someone behind you driving erracticlly.  You pull over and let them go by.  You yeild to them.  Its better to yeild, than to be dead right. 
Someone wants to do something that YOU know may be detrimental to their health and well being.   You tell them how you feel, you tell them what you feel is right, but they chose not to agree with you, feeling that they have the right to do whatever it is they want to do.  They are a grown up man or woman.  :->  Right or wrong, they have a choice to make.  Sometimes we will be black balled for saying what we feel, but all of the time, we MUST say what is right.  If we don’t, it just becomes another second hand opinion, and sits on a shelf collecting dust.  It does not matter.  Speak truth, even if it hurts.  Be the truth, even if it hurts.  And live the truth, even if it hurts.

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