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.
St. Joseph’s Hospital
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.
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.
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.
My birthday was in April and it was the hardest day I have experienced in a long time. It was the first time I didn’t have Mama to call and sing me Happy Birthday. Sound silly to you? Well, in a way it did to the logical side of me as well. At the same time, I found myself crying on and off all day for it really made me miss Mama even more. I also realized how much it meant to me that she did that every year. Just a simple phone call and her singing to me. When I was working and she couldn’t reach me she would still sing Happy Birthday on my answering machine at home or voice mail on my cell. Another hard lesson how much the little things in life really do matter and not to take them for granted.
Many times over I have heard girls speak of the expensive gifts their boyfriend / husband got them. When I was asked why I married Peter my answer was, “He brings me coffee in bed.” The days I’m in extreme pain he gets me an ice pack and moves my heat pad to the living room so I can at least lie on the couch and watch TV. He may despise some of the little things he has to do when I’m laid up, but sooner or later he will get to it. So many little things day after day that seem to go unnoticed, and probably do once in a while; it’s these little things we need to remember when times get hard.
Recently, everything that could go wrong has. The enemy has been attacking us from every direction from health to finances. It’s time to remember the little things that God has always done for us during these times. For example: the many times He calmed my storms when I have been close to a seizure, the many times He has provided financially at the last minute, the time He sent an officer to help us out of a ditch we slid into on an icy road, and the list goes on and on. Every day God blesses each of our lives but because it’s not a major bush burning experience we tend not to pay attention to the little things He is doing and working in our favor.
I want to take the time to urge you to STOP! Stop worrying and start praying and praising. Take the time to remember when He has been there for you to help you through the times you are going through now. Start living in faith instead of talking about having faith.
This is Devaughn ~ bringing it home.
Not too long ago my husband and I decided it was time for a new bed since we were both getting backaches from the old one. I found a beautiful bed on Craigslist for a decent price and the individual said she would include the mattress which wasn’t that old either. Wow, I thought I struck gold! Needless to say, the mattress wasn’t going to be around long after seeing it. The headboard and footboard though, they were absolutely gorgeous! As we were putting the bed together my husband informed me that the small boards on the side were NOT going to hold the weight. After deliberation we decided to try it out. After it was all put together with the mattress he sat down on it….all was well and looking good. Wait for it….yes, you guessed right. I decided to join him and sat on it and the bed went boom!!! He looked at me and smiled and said “Exactly when are you starting at the gym?” A few slaps later we turned and looked around and the bed was literally falling apart. The sides had come out of their groove and the headboard was leaning in and one of the posts looked as if it was going to fall any moment. We immediately got up and fixed the frame and proceeded to sleep in the living room that night.
The next day we headed out to get a new mattress set. Peter had mentioned building a frame for it to go inside of the bed frame. I then told him we were going to get a metal king size mattress frame meant to hold the mattresses and not take another chance. A few hours later the new mattress set and metal frame was delivered to the house. Peter used some L brackets and screwed the sideboards into the headboard and footboard of the bed for extra security. Once the bed frame was secured we put in the metal frame and mattresses and enjoyed a wonderful night of rest.
It reminded me a lot of our lives and how weak we are without God. Our lives are like the bed frame, looks beautiful other than minor scratches here and there and we think we’re doing well. Add some weight on and we’re still standing; a little more, yes we’re good because we’re still standing what we think as strong. I mean, if we haven’t fallen we must be ok. Then just one more thing and we break and fall to pieces. We look around and somehow our life has fallen apart.
It is at this point that most people realize they can’t do it on their own ~ they need God. That strength that comes with a guarantee like the mattress metal frame. So, we have what is needed to become strong in this whirlwind of life. With each trial we go through that we continue to have faith in Him throughout each storm, it’s another screw tightened in to increase the strength.
If life was as easy as to become saved and live happily ever after we wouldn’t see our need to have faith in Him. Throughout our trials we are blessed to experience His hand in our lives and we realize that alone we aren’t strong at all ~ but with Jesus at our side we have the strength to endure and He will be there for us ~ we just have to ask.
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.
As I wait for the answer from filing for disability our financial reigns get tighter and tighter. I called my attorney and was told that there was a small amount I could bring in and it wouldn’t affect the case. There was a restaurant that was thinking about hiring me to fix the carry out bags. Once they realized that Sunday morning and night and Wednesday night was out of the question due to my commitment to the church choir I was not what they needed. Anywhere I went I was not able to lift certain amounts and stuck to my guns about the time I have set aside for worshipping God. It didn’t bother me at all that things didn’t work out because of me sticking to my guns about my prior commitments to the choir; although, having to admit what I am not able to do has yet torn me apart again.
Having limitations after being independent my whole life has been, and still is, quite a daily struggle. I have always been able to do whatever it took to make ends meet and get the bills paid. Now, my whole life is twisted 180 degrees. Accepting that I have to file for disability was hard enough; much less to continue to have to try to explain to others about invisible disabilities. I don’t mind explaining; what I do mind is people judging what they don’t understand. My qualifications are off the chart between college degrees and previous job experiences. For financial stresses to be as they are and not being able to take the jobs offered to me because of my qualifications, I truly look in the mirror and wonder ‘why.’
So ~ the question boils down to what can I do? Well, yes I am disabled. As the title also reads “yet abled.” I am able to continue to put my faith in Jesus. I am able to worship His name and call on Him for the comfort I need through these emotional dark moments. I am able to witness to others how great our God is with the disabilities as a part of my life. I am able to share my experiences with you praying that it may touch at least one of you. Yes, I am disabled but definitely abled as well! Remember Phil. 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.”
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.
It has been approximately six weeks since I have written. I am happy to be back. Ever notice how much life is planned out and looks great on a piece of paper ~ that is, until life happens. I have been staying in Florida to take care of my mother since January of 2011 and visiting my husband once every 3 months for a week or so. A week before I planned to travel home for 3 weeks this time, my mother fell and fractured her pelvis bones. I camped in the hospital for 5 days and nights with her and was able to rest and pack once she was moved to rehab. She was doing better so I continued my trip as planned to make my own doctor appointments. Within the time frame she went home and almost fell again ~ the results were her being so dependent on someone physically that my next visit would be to pack up all of my belongings and move back home. At the same time I got back from Florida with everything to finally unpack, the exact same day my son, his wife and two children moved in as well. He had gotten laid off and things had gotten bad quickly. At this point there are 4 adults, 2 kids and 3 dogs under the same roof. The mere fact that I haven’t gone to jail within the last 3 weeks has been proof that God truly exists and how wonderful His grace is! 🙂
I am facing many storms right now as you are too. We had not had the chance to start saving for whenever I came home for good so how we are going to make ends meet is all in God’s hands. The haunting sadness that I had to leave my mother in someone else’s hands due to my own limitations and that she is slowly drifting away; being the ‘strong’ mother for my son and his family while they face their trials ~ yes, we all have our storms we are facing every day.
Am I afraid? Sometimes, yes. The good part is that it’s ok to be afraid. In the Bible, and I’m paraphrasing here, we are told that when we are afraid to trust in Him; not if but when. Peter was walking on water with Jesus in the storm and was fine until he became afraid and it was then he started sinking. The reason was he took his eyes off of Jesus. He is our beacon in the darkest of storms that will guide our paths.
I want to urge you all, along with myself, to keep your eyes on Jesus throughout all of your storms. He is the Lighthouse!
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home…
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.
Yesterday I was talking with Peter about getting published. Of course, everyone dreams of their book being a best seller, but I spoke with him about the flip side of reality ~ the possibility that it may not do that well. His response was perfect in every way!! He said, “But it’s not up to you or even the publishing company ~ it’s up to God how well it will do. Just leave it all in His hands.” I said, “Thanks, I needed that” Trying to stay humble and not get hopes high I did the one thing I tell others not to do and that is look at the worst case scenario. Of course, in a lot of ways it is good to do that. The one thing we always tend to forget is that God is in control and He makes the impossible possible!!
I am finding that when I write daily it has become my own devotion. Actually, most of what I write about on here are reminders to myself as well. A few short minutes ago I was talking with a friend, Geri Bowden, about how tired I am and I had to write. It’s not like it was washing dishes or laundry, something that is just second nature. I actually have to think!! I had told her what Peter had said and she gave me the idea to write about that. Again, I found myself saying, “Thanks, I needed that.”
Day after day we find ourselves where a light bulb turns on in a thought, in a rush to get somewhere and the light all of a sudden turns green, and the list goes on. We don’t think much about it and most of the time we find ourselves considering ourselves lucky. Once in a great while do we actually realize that it was God. When I broke my back and was laid up I went from believing in God to having a close relationship with Him. After the worst was over and looking back at who I was vs. who I became ~ I was able to say to God, “Thanks, I needed that.”
Start your day off with God and ask him for his favors throughout the day. Red lights changing, a parking space all of a sudden becoming available, etc…you will see God in action. You too will find yourself telling God quite frequently ~”Thanks, I needed that.”
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.