We’ve Been Robbed

 

We’ve been studying the Armor of God in Bible study and have learned that the key to the armor is in Ephesians 6:18-19. Once you put it on you must… with prayer and petition pray at all times…be on the alert will all perseverance…and pray…
Put it on and pray it up. Those are the words from my wise Bible study leader, mentor, accountability partner and dearest friend. It’s been my motto for months.
Since starting the Bible study about the Armor of God, I feel like I’ve been under more intense spiritual attacks.
This past Saturday, April 1, was no different. It was going to be a busy day filled with lots of non-stop things to do, so being woke up at 7:00 am to the words “we’ve been robbed” was shocking. Unfortunately it was not an April’s Fool joke.
I followed my husband outside. All three cars had their doors opened and trunks popped. Inside, the glove boxes were emptied along with the console. The cars were ransacked and things were missing, but nothing was as bad as the empty spot in the driveway where my husband’s Toyota Four Runner used to sit. Yep, they stole his car and all it’s contents.
4Runner
Talk about one crazy morning. Waiting for the police, hearing our stuff would probably not ever be found, volunteering at the High School, my sons last drumline competition, trying to get my hubby a rental car…it just seemed too much.
When I get overwhelmed, I laugh because it’s better than crying. So I’m laughing, making jokes, trying to see the bright side.  It could’ve been so much worse. The robbers could’ve used the garage door openers inside the cars to walk into the house and take so much more.
I try to be a cheerful person, smile and keep upbeat. Saturday was no different. But within a day or two, the stress does catch up with me. When it does, I usually get hit hard.
Sunday and Monday were overwhelming. If something could go wrong, it did. I found myself throwing off my armor and running to hide. Then I pulled myself up, put each piece back on, prayed it up and continued on the fight.
Today, I am pondering why I took it off in the first place?
I heard God whisper, “Because you thought it’d be easier to hide.”
He was right, as always. I did think it’d be easier to throw a cover over my head and ignore everything, that was going on, but it wasn’t. Hiding drew me into a dark place, consumed by my problems instead of shining His light and watching Him work through all circumstances.
I am still a bit overwhelmed, but there’s no way to get around the hard things that will come up in our lives. To get through it, we have to remember to always put it on and pray it up.
On another bright side, they didn’t take very much out of my car. I’m so thankful because I have a book signing Saturday in Webb City. My car was already packed. They took my box of table decorations and business cards but left my canopy, table, table cloths and books.
So if you come see me in Webb City, MO on Saturday, I have a book to sign for you!
When you feel you can’t move forward, remember to put it on and pray it up! God will always geet you through!
Dana
A Second Chance by Dana K. Ray. If you can’t make it Saturday, you can buy a copy at https://danakray.com or https://amzn.com/1632132605
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My Promised Land

“And after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.” Hebrews 6:15 (NIV)

Have you ever prayed for something for so long that you have to continually remind yourself that God’s timing is perfect? And even though we know His timing is perfect, the wait can be excruciating!

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. God put the desire in my heart at a very early age. Stories have played like movies in my head since as far back as I can remember.

I won my first poetry contest in fifth grade. A simple poem I wrote in 1976, the theme: The Bicentennial.

One of our famous presidents was Lincoln,

He did us lots of good thinkin’

All though he was tall,

He was loved by all and

He kept the southern states from leavin’!

Wow, and I won first place. Amazing, huh? My prize…a book about boys track. Yes, the ultimate punishment, they thought Dana was a boy. Ugh. Not the first time someone thought I was a boy, but I graciously accepted my book, taped my poem in it and have cherished it since. Occasionally I pull it from the shelf, look at it and giggle. It is a reminder of God working in my life even before I knew Him as savior and friend.

I began the year 2015 with these words, “Okay God, it’s been twenty some years since I started putting our stories down on paper and this is the year. It’s time to start trying to get them out to the publishing world. By the end of 2015, I will be entering my Promised Land. And if I don’t have a publishing contract, I will self-publish.”

Reminded of my promise to God daily, and with the help of my critique partner’s encouragement, I subbed one of my books to two publishers in September. Nothing like waiting until the last minute. But God is good and before I knew it, I had both interested and one offered a contract. I’m excited to say that I signed that contract on December 4, 2015 with a release date set for next year. Whew. Twenty plus days to spare.

A Second Chance is due out May 24, 2016.

As I sit here and write this I believe our God to be big and I believe Him to fulfill our dreams. I am a walking example of His answer to prayer. I pray you will dream big dreams and believe our God to be as huge as He really is. Thank you, Jesus, for continued answer to prayer!

God Speaks Through a Diet Coke

I was preparing for an important task and I needed help. Help is one of the hardest things for me to ask for, but I have learned to yield to God in this. I swallowed my pride and asked Tammy (name changed) to help me. Of course she willingly said yes, even seemed excited. The day before the task, I got the dreaded text. Tammy had to back out. In the Spirit I understood and was very pleasant. In the flesh I irritated.  

I’m whining to God about Tammy and having to do the task alone as I stopped for my morning coffee. It was already ninety degrees so I swayed from the hot coffee and decided to grab a diet Coke instead. Very rarely do I buy a screw top diet Coke. I prefer the fountain drink but today, for some odd reason (God) I grabbed the screw top bottle and took it to the checkout.

The checkout person held the bottle up and in an almost too cheerful way, said, “Look, you get to share a coke with Tammy.”

I said, “What?”

He held the diet Coke up, spun the bottle around and there was Tammy’s name printed on the label. “This is Coke’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign. They put names on the bottles of a person and you’re supposed to find someone with that name and buy them a Coke, or you could bless them in some other way, I guess. Your call.”

I walked to my car and once inside, held the bottle up and looked at the name in big black letters. Tammy. I laughed with God for a long moment. God, through a diet Coke, had to remind me that sometimes I don’t have the right heart or attitude. I might have done the right thing outwardly, I understood and was nice, but my heart wasn’t right.

I’ve heard preachers say that even when you don’t want to do the right thing do it anyway, your heart will catch up. I’m once step closer to my heart catching up. Next time, it won’t be a forced ‘do the right thing,’ but it will just come naturally in the Spirit.

My Amazing Daughter

Last Friday my oldest daughter fell at college and broke her ankle really bad. I mean, really bad. Two broken bones, plus two fractures in the fibula, and dislocated it.  Because it happened Friday afternoon, they told us she would have to wait until the morning for surgery.

We got her admitted to the hospital and waited for the doctor to approve pain meds. She was in a lot of pain.  I think it was more painful because it was dislocated. After a horribly painful night mixed with tears and morphine, the nurse came in and explained how the Ortho Surgeon planned his day. He would rate the breaks and then do surgery accordingly, worse goes first and so on. We didn’t want my daughters to be the worst but we sure wanted her in there getting operated on first.

The PA came in, checked things out, explained how it would work then left.  The nurse came back in and asked if he told us the order of the surgeries.  Since he didn’t, she explained that the surgeon was going to do a hip replacement first. Then it was she wasn’t sure who was next.  It was between my daughter and a little girl next door who had a pretty bad brake on her elbow.

My daughter, although still in excruciating pain, looked up at the nurse and she said, “You know, you can give me more pain meds and go ahead and let the little girl go first.”

Tears filled my eyes.  I couldn’t believe that she was willing to sacrifice, to lay in excruciating pain longer so this little girl, this total stranger, could go into surgery first.  I wanted to scream no, take my baby first but I didn’t. Instead I stood by, a proud mom.

They took my daughter next. Doctors go by worse case not sacrifice.  But my daughter showed what true sacrifice it.  Her willingness to endure more pain to help a total stranger reminded me of Jesus and His ultimate sacrifice.

He knew the pain He was going to go through on the cross, yet, He was willing to do it anyway. Jesus knew us, my daughter didn’t know this little girl, but she was willing to take the pain longer so this little girl didn’t have to suffer anymore.  Amazing.

As we go through our daily lives, let’s keep our eyes open and see who we can be Jesus to others.

Santa May Need Food

There is a corner that I pass almost every day and it’s a prime spot for panhandlers. Their signs often read homeless, need food, need money, and will work for food.  I’ve helped some when I feel the Spirit nudging, never giving money but I have given food.

My concern has always been whether or not they are really in need. I’ve watched some of them “change shifts”.  They walk a block down to the local grocery store, climb into a car nicer then mine, another person climbs out with the sign and takes his post on the corner.  I’ve also seen one holding the sign while playing on his iPhone.

This morning the in need guy is standing in a Santa outfit.  Not a dirty, I found this in the dumpster, Santa outfit, but a new or very clean Santa outfit. White beard, white hair, black boots, back belt, red coat, red pants, red hat and black gloves. I wondered where he get it and what money did he use? Was Santa truly hungry?

As I began questioning how this man got a Santa outfit I thought of Satan. He loves imitations. To obscure the truth in a way we become so calloused we don’t help anyone. I’m not saying this man was without need, I don’t know, but he did make me think of the needy. I wonder if some of them are overlooked because of the impostors out there.

So how do you know who to help?  There are many great organizations to give to. I also know that if you’re in tune with the Holy Spirit, He can guide you. When I see someone struggling and my heart begins to pound and the Spirit tells me to do something, I do it.

In this holiday season we will come across many impostors that Satan has set before us to callous our hearts to the true needy but lets not let him.  Instead, lets get out there and be the hands and feet of Jesus.  Santa may just need food.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of min, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40

The Day After

I woke up this morning with the song Your Love Never Fails by Jesus Culture going through my head even though my heart was very heavy. The heaviness wasn’t so much because of who won or lost the election but because there is still so much hatred and un-unification in our country. I purposefully didn’t turn on the TV this morning because I didn’t want to be inundated with all the talk of the elections. As a mother, I strived very hard to teach my children to be gracious winners and graceful losers.  I just couldn’t see the TV commentators doing either.

I did, however, check out Facebook and was horrified with some of the posts. The most shocking against our military. Someone posted that their husband and about 1000 other military people in another country didn’t get absentee ballots in time to vote. If this is true, that, in itself, is sad, but the comment of the next person brought me to my knees. He said he thought it was crazy that we would think our military should put down their guns to vote. Does he not understand that that is the very freedom our military fights for?

Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, or Independent, whether you wanted Obama or Romney, the task at hand is to set it all aside and unite in loving Jesus and loving people? Let’s focus our energy on showing Christ’s love to others regardless of our political stand then sit back and watch God bless this country.

2 Chronicles 7:14 says, If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land.

The key is to do the four things to receive the three.  Humble yourself, pray, seek His face, and turn from your wicked ways THEN He will hear us, forgive us and heal our land!

Mercy Anyone?

I was running errands this week and heading to a store to pick up a few things I needed. In some parking lots, you park your cars at an angle. There are big yellow arrows to show you the right way to drive through the rows.

Some parking lots leave enough room so that if someone does drive the wrong way you could get way over and both squeeze through. Not this store. I pulled in and I’m in a hurry. I felt overwhelmed. I have more work then I have hours in the week. I pulled down the row looking for a spot when a car turns and starts coming straight at me, going the wrong way.

I stopped but the car kept coming straight at me. There was nowhere to go. The car stopped and the lady looks at me, her forehead wrinkled, she is mad. I soon realize she isn’t going to budge and she thinks I’m in the wrong. I knew if either one of us was going anywhere I was the one who was going to have to back up.

I said, aloud, “Are you kidding me?”

I have the right away and I have to back up. The car passed. No wave or mouthing I’m sorry. She drove by like I had totally inconvenienced her. I couldn’t deny my frustration. parked, ran inside, ran out and headed to my next stop.

To get into the parking lot of my next stop, I had to drive through another company’s parking lot. I turned the corner and soon found myself sitting on a big yellow arrow telling me I was going the wrong way. I looked up from the parking lot and I was staring at a car coming straight at me. I quickly got out of his way and mouthed I’m sorry. Instead of frustration or him saying, “Are you kidding me?” he gave me a slight wave and off he went.

I parked and sat for a minute. I began to try and understand why I was so angry with the car going down the wrong way towards me. Was I upset because she appeared to not be sorry or because I was inconvenienced? Both I decided.

I gave an annoying laugh and wished God had turned the situations around. If I had been wronged first I know I wouldn’t shown mercy because I would totally understand the situation but instead God showed me that I have to show mercy in all situations just as He does for us.

“You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.” Matthew 6:14 (The Message)