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Beyond Blessings

There is no doubt that every day God has blessed my life more than I know. There are always the secret blessings when He causes you to leave the house late to avoid a wreck, or possibly the alternator is still working because you gave money to someone who needed it and put your faith in Him. I have experienced blessings just as everyone else has ~ but what about beyond blessings?!

I heard a preacher talking about when Jesus was speaking to the multitude. These people were all being blessed. In fact, the preacher spoke of “burping on the blessings” on land while the ones that went with Jesus got to experience Him on a whole new level. That to me is beyond blessings!

The question is how can we experience this “beyond blessings.” It’s not like we get to see Jesus walk on water, heal the blind, and raise the dead. I can only speak of what I have experienced. After our home burned down it took a short while and I felt a sense of peace I have never felt before. When you are put into a situation that you are helpless and all you can do is put your faith in God ~ that’s when it starts. This peace that passes all understanding truly occurs when you know God is in control and leave everything in His hands.

Recently, my pastor friend, Bob Stacy, has had his world fall apart in a short amount of time. His wife, June, fell about three times in a week and called 911 on the third time. At the emergency room they did an MRI of her brain which showed possible lymphomas. As a breast cancer survivor, they needed to do a cat scan to make sure it was secluded. Praise God it wasn’t spread all over her body. She was transferred to Mission Hospital and onto St. Joseph’s Hospital in Asheville, NC.

Being my counselor and best friend, I knew Bob well, but was more of an acquaintance with June. I called her a couple of days ago and left a message we were praying for her. She called back and the person I was speaking to was different. I now knew this June, for she too had found that peace. After ten years, we have something in common. The last two years have been hard on me considering painful dealing with our contractor, being injured from going in to save the shepherds, plus the loss of our Chihuahuas in the fire. Eventually, this peace I had got mixed up into the turmoil of my life and I went back to “burping on the blessings.” Hearing June made me miss having that intense faith and peace knowing that God IS in control. After we got off the phone all I could do was cry; not just my happiness for her but for what I was missing.

Even though she’s facing a tough battle, she has been blessing others; not only with her peace but with her prayers for others at the hospital. Remember, sometimes God uses you to reach others. As we were talking, she shared a chorus with me God gave her about 5 in the morning. I giggled and told her that’s because we are women and it works that way. Our day has to be done, family in bed safe and secure and all is quiet…then we can hear God.

She gave me permission to share this chorus. I pray it will touch your heart with whatever you may be going through today as it did mine.

You are the life of my heart,
You are the light of my soul.
Father, You’re my everything,
And You’re in control.

June Stacy
9/2/2019
5 a.m.
Oncology Ward
St. Joseph’s Hospital
Asheville, NC

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

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Following Orders

It’s amazing how from the day we’re born until we gasp for our last breath we seem to always be taking orders from someone. As a child we take orders from our parents, maybe older siblings, teachers, etc. Then we think we’re out of the house and can do what we want. NOT! If you go to college you’re taking orders from professors when each assignment and exam will be due. Once in the work world, always taking orders from bosses. Then one day we all dream of the day of bliss ~ marriage ~ which once again leads to what? Taking orders. Then life becomes even more twisted when you’re giving orders as a parent, only praying that your guidance will make a difference.

Following orders is the hard part of life. In the military there is a specific chain of command and everyone, no matter the rank, is always taking orders from someone else. Respect is shown to those in authority due to protocol, whether you agree with them or not. It’s a shame that in every day life people tend to lose that aspect of showing respect to those in charge. Then again, there’s always consequences when one doesn’t follow orders; not just in the military.

Take a look back at Jonah and where He ended up by not following orders. Just a small example but it makes the point. In the Bible we are given guidelines as Christians but do we follow them? Are we praying a lot? Are we in the Word a lot? Oh, and then what do we do when God does call on us? Are we obedient as Abraham was or do we run like Jonah?

In my book, “The Naked Truth”, in one of the chapters I touched on answering God’s call and how vital it is to do so. There are three people who have impacted my Christian life because they did answer His call ~ Rick and Tanya Curren, and Bob Stacy. If they had not answered His calling, I tremble at the thought where my life would be now. Not only did they talk with me about my spiritual walk, but were all very encouraging about me writing the book and following God’s call for my life

As a pianist, after you perform you hear by applause if people enjoyed your performance. As an author, sometimes you hear what people think but it’s few and far between. It was because of lack of response there has been a dead space in my writing and blogging. I was beginning to wonder if I misunderstood God’s calling ~ until this last weekend on Valentine’s Day.

I spoke at Ardenwoods in Arden, SC. In January I spoke there and took copies of my book to give to the congregation as they had become family to me. Saturday, the 13th, I received a phone call asking for more books and if I would bring them for those who weren’t there to receive one. That in itself put me on cloud nine with all of the compliments that followed in the voice mail. Of course, I was happy to take some more! I spoke Sunday morning on God’s love for us and how we show our love for God. Afterwards, the gentleman who plays the organ started talking privately with me. He’s 94 years old and cancer now has hospice visiting him once a week. He talked with me about what he’s going through and stated he wasn’t ready because he wasn’t assured of his salvation. We spoke for a while, Bob Stacy joined in and tears were flowing. We prayed and then we all went to brunch. I was informed then that they have been trying to talk with him about his salvation for 12 years, yet I made the difference. To be blunt about it, God used me as His vessel.

What I’m trying to emphasize is how important it really is to follow God’s orders when he calls on you. If I had not written this book, started speaking and gave some away, this wonderful man may still not be assured about his salvation in his final days. Seeing how God works using just one willing person to help someone else in their spiritual walk was truly a blessing. Others have affected mine and I saw the difference ~ but to think that God could use me? He can use anyone!

I shared this with you to remind you how much of a difference you can make in someone’s life. You don’t have to be an author or speaker, just be you ~ the perfect you that God created. When you’re feeling that tug to speak to someone about Jesus, don’t be afraid for the Holy Spirit will guide you. We are all witnesses and it’s everyone’s job, not just the pastor, to be talking with others about Jesus. I urge you to look beyond yourself, step out of your comfort zone ~ make a difference today.

This is Devaughn ~ bringing it home.

It’s Not Logical!

Many times over we as humans need something to make logical sense in our pea brains. Yet, the two major aspects I find in the Bible spoken of over and over doesn’t have any logic ~ faith and love. To “walk in faith” of an unknown God is held very true to my heart, yet doesn’t necessarily ‘fit’ into the logical realm of things. Love ~ it’s never logical! Ask yourself why you fell in love with your spouse. Again, there’s no logic to a feeling that you know with every fiber of your being to be real.

Sadly enough, many people choose to disbelieve in God because of the logical thought process. No matter how much people can debate back and forth on evidence, it isn’t logical. Even as a Christian I can say it isn’t logical and I DO believe and have faith! (I also love my husband. Hahaha!) In fact, when we met he wasn’t working so if I would have gone by ‘logic’ we never would have gotten married. When people asked me why I said it was because he brought me coffee. But, there was a connection with him I had never had with anyone else for no logical reason, yet it was there. At that time I let my walls down and got bit by the love bug. I had loved before and found I had never been ‘in love’ until that point in time.

As a Christian, I’ve always believed but it wasn’t until I broke my back and was alone on top of a mountain that I once again, let whatever walls down I wasn’t aware I had up, and got to know Jesus ~ I mean really have a relationship with Him. Some may say it was because I needed something to cling onto. Well, it remained the same once I got off my back ~ literally! We all go through spurts where our spiritual walk is better than at other times. I know I have since then and yet I still have that deep love for Him. Logical? You answer it.

I do know that many times over I giggle about the “illogical” aspects. Hear me out. An entity to speak words and the universe is created ~ and to top that one off, He already knows our history and future before creation! We are to walk in faith and believe in someone we haven’t seen or touched. OK, from the outside looking in logic has no place in belief. That IS where faith comes in. The last half of John 20:29 says “…Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.” (MSG) Reading that assures me that I AM BLESSED!

I will close with this one statement. For those who believe no explanation is necessary; for those who don’t believe, no explanation is possible.
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

In One Moment

paul walkerThe holiday season is here and everyone is rushing all about trying to find the perfect gifts for everyone. Happiness tends to drift in the air as lightly and gently as snowflakes and in most cases, continuing to layer only to add to the feelings of the holidays. At least that’s the way we picture it and for most of us it is a happy time of the year ~ but not for all.

My heart is heavy tonight as I think of the tragic death of Paul Walker and his friend. I intentionally leave it as ‘his friend’ because that is what you will find in the media. The continuous efforts of Paul Walker to give to the needy, especially those victims of natural disasters, shall never be forgotten. His friend ~ even though we haven’t read a lot about his contribution to the world while he was here ~ was just as valuable, we all are. Some people are famous while others are the backbone of what keeps everyone going. Then again, even that can change quickly ~ in one moment.

In one moment someone can go from poor to rich (lottery) or from rich to poor. In one moment another death is added to the statistics and another life is brought into this world. In one moment you can say something that slaughters even the hardest of hearts. In another moment you can say something that mends the deepest of wounds. We all go through our lives moment by moment, taking for granted that there will be another; not considering how much of a difference we could be making for someone else. God did not give us another day to live for ourselves; we are given another day to be here for someone else.

Do you stay so busy you aren’t having much time to pray or read the Word? If so, you’re busier than God intended you to be. Remember, we celebrate the holiday “Christmas” as the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord. Throughout this holiday season try not to rush so much that your moments don’t count. Be a blessing with your actions and your words. Make every moment of your life meaningful.

~ In Memory of Paul Walker ~

Thank you for making your moments meaningful for others.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

Signs of Life

God has blessed me with His grace but left me out with grace walking in high heels. OK, so not just high heels, more like walking itself. My parents even found out it would be cheaper to buy me a pair of crutches when I was young. Unfortunately, sprained and broken ankles followed me into my adulthood as well. If nothing else I learned the one fact about pain ~ it reminds you that you are alive! Even emotional pain reminds you of this. Many times we get our heart broken and don’t feel we can go forward. When we take a moment to look back in time though we realize we obviously found a way. There’s always good that comes from pain. Sounds strange, doesn’t it? If someone hurts your feelings at least it shows you have a heart that is caring and loving. That in itself is a sign of life.

Remember when our children started walking and got many bumps and bruises, and it was up to us to ‘kiss and make better’ and yet we encourage them not to give up and keep trying. That lesson we teach them is the hardest to apply in life. The bruises will go away. The one saying we’re used to hearing is to take life one day at a time, one step at a time. Again, go back to an infant learning to walk. Part of walking is falling. Take that concept and bring it into your adult life. You’re going to fall, you’re going to get hurt, and that is life. There will be pain in your life and tears. These are all signs of life.

The wonderful part is that Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted. When we become saved, we are born again ~ once again learning to walk. As Christians we will fall, we will hurt, we will be hurt, we will have tears ~ we also have Jesus to turn to for our healing just like our parents were there for us, and we are there for our children. Remember, this is God the Father. As long as we keep getting up each time we fall, there’s always a sign of life.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

Proof of Faith

Day by day we encounter the unexpected, otherwise known as life. The budget looks great on paper, until…; the trip was going smoothly until…; break it down even smaller, the day was going great, until… Yes, life happens and we are never 100% prepared no matter how hard we try. Those who live with faith in God tend to handle these times a little better than those who try it on their own. Then again, remember most of us have learned by trying on our own to have that faith.

Is there proof that faith in God really helps? Look in the scriptures. Noah was told to build an ark when there was a serious drought going on. By having faith and obedience in God he did and was saved from the flood. Moses was at the Red Sea with armies chasing to slaughter all of them. Through obedience and faith he raised his staff as instructed and the seas were parted. Abraham just packed everything up and left not knowing where he was going to go but had faith in God that all provisions would be taken care of. Serious paraphrasing here ~ Jesus does tell us that if he would take care of a sparrow’s needs, don’t we think we’re more valuable than that sparrow to him?

Now it’s time to take a look at ourselves. When we encounter an until…do you panic? Do you worry? Do you immediately pray or do you take it on yourself and then if you can’t work it out, then pray? Most of us fit into the latter category. We always tend to want to be in control and just jump in and take care of it, no matter what it is. How many times do you stop and pray for guidance before you do?

In closing, my thought/question for the day is ~ do live your life with faith in God or just claim you have faith in Him? Can others who know you see this faith as they could with Abraham? Does your life show others proof of faith? Always remember, the way you live your life is a testimony to others.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

Gains and Losses

In the world of business decisions are made by looking closely at the gains and losses of investments. Analysis, budgets and many other reports by specialists are constantly being run and rerun before any action is taken. Once in a great while someone goes by their gut instinct, some call it a hunch, and ignore all of the numbers in the reports and go for it. Sometimes it turns out, sometimes it doesn’t. There are cases that companies have gone bankrupt only because of making that one decision; although, sometimes it has nothing at all to do with any decisions. After 9-11 happened the amount of businesses that folded were numerous which shows how it’s not always the business owners fault if it goes under.

This is not just in the world of business. We find ourselves always checking the numbers to make sure the bills can be made. The wonderful budget that lies in front of you always looks great ~ that is until life happens. We are not always prepared for emergencies and find ourselves re-working the numbers, otherwise known as “borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.” When it comes to having to purchase a new car, another home or any big investment, like major business owners we consult the numbers over and over to make sure it’s doable. Going into such an investment with numbers on the paper that support the decision doesn’t guarantee it will work out because once again, we have no control of the future.

The one thing that doesn’t fit our logical sense of profits, investments, gains and losses is a decision to do something when you know ahead of time you’re going to lose. To complicate it more is the thought of doing something that causes you to lose and someone else to gain. How many of us would be willing to give someone else everything we have and walk away with nothing? None of us would, not one. We would be willing to share as long as we would still have something but to walk away with nothing and give it all to someone else? Not! We are greedy by nature.

One person did the unthinkable ~ Jesus. He knew from the beginning of time that he would have to give his life for us to have salvation. Not just that, he also knew HOW he would die and how he would be treated. To top it all off he knew that even after he died on the cross he would still be rejected by most men. That decision doesn’t make sense when we think of gains and losses. Jesus was the Son of God and didn’t have anything personal to gain by his decision. He died on the cross out of love so we could have ~ His loss became our gain.

I will close with a short thought. The next time you don’t feel loved, you feel like you’ve done so much for everyone else and are forgotten by others; remember ~ Jesus thought of you when he made his decision.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

Way To Go God!!!!!

the_naked_truth_bookHave you ever had that moment when you just want to scream “Way to go God!”? Well, I have had many. My CD – Miracle of Love – and it’s production, the home Peter and I recently were blessed with and yes, even my son! 🙂 Today is another biggie for me. It is now official – I have signed with Tate Publishing to publish my book. Wow ~ and I can say it backwards ~ Wow….

We are told many times over to leave everything to Him and basically kick back and enjoy the ride. I have been writing this book on and off going on 3 years. The dream of having it published was merely just that – a dream. I continued to write here and there and after kicking it hard again and finishing another chapter God started working. I started talking with Publishers and researching ready to go full force. It’s exciting to think about but the reality of what it requires is a whole different ballgame. Anyway, I just figured I would do what I can when I can and not worry about it anymore ~ until my phone rang last night. And as Paul Harvey would say at this point, “Now you know the rest of the story.”

So, here I am with complications with my hands and yet God moves this mountain and I just signed for publishing. Well, if He moved that mountain He can move all of the others. All it takes is the faith of a mustard seed. Over the last 24 hours I have gone from feeling excited and overwhelmed to second guessing myself. Here’s the key though, we don’t have to have faith in ourselves or our ability; all we need to do is have faith in God.

In closing today I would like to urge you to never give up on your dreams. When you hit those moments that you wonder if you can do it, remember one thing ~ With God ALL Things Are Possible!!! (Phil. 4:13)

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

Encouragement

As an author of her first book I truly have experienced how much a few words from others can mean. Of course, most people focus on the few words others say that have hurt them. Imagine how we would all be if we spent more time focusing and remembering the encouraging words, even if they are few and far between.

First and foremost when we feel the need for encouragement and/or inspiration all we truly need is to open the Bible and read God’s Word. We can also turn to Him in prayer and find a sense of peace in the darkest of storms. Then there are times when we need something with a little more flesh – someone we can ‘literally’ talk to and hear from right here, right now. For instance, a child may have a nightmare and you can assure them they’re not alone because they have God watching over them. Even with that assurance the child still doesn’t want to be physically alone. We need to remember we are God’s children and He recognizes our need to have someone here and He does put people in your life to help you for that very reason.

Take a look at your life very closely. Do you find yourself encouraging others or always telling them how much better they could do things (which in it’s own way is discouraging)? Every word we say to others makes a difference and we need to be conscious if we are making a positive difference in others’ lives or are we subconsciously tearing them down. I know that when I look to see how many views my page is getting, how many ‘likes’ my posts are getting, comments, etc. it encourages me to keep writing no matter how hard it may be that day. I thank you all for your encouragements.

Let’s all start this week out focusing on encouraging others as God instructed us to do in His Word. Yes ~ one person CAN make a difference.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

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