Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone is enjoying the day with family and friends. Today for my family means we show how we are thankful for all we have by sharing a meal together and everyone participates in some capacity to help out. Before our meal begins we say a longer grace for the meal, today we were so thankful to have a traditional dinner consisting of turkey, stuffing, corn, and mashed potatoes. We had been able to find a small turkey and we purchased what we could while the food shelter was able to help with a few other items. We were thankful for those employees for helping us, those individuals who contributed those items as well.

We may not have had to hunt for the food like the days of old, but today we certainly appreciated this meal in its entirety. Most importantly how God helped us have all that we do to live in warmth, have meals, and to have real love in our hearts. Today you will not find my family shopping at retail locations, even if we had the means to spend we choose to keep this day for what it was intended to be, a celebration of thanks. May God bless you and your families!

Faith

Typically today I would be posting a Sermon with plenty of fact filled biblical truths, but today I wanted to create a different type of Sermon, one that would reveal some updated information about my family and our struggles, and show you how we also walk in faith to keep our spirits lifted.

I’ve gone as far as I’m willing to go, and I see no end in sight.

We’ve all had something in our lives which has caused us to undergo some form of hurt, change, struggle, and this list is endless. For myself and my family we struggle financially, we don’t have a turkey set aside for Thanksgiving, and we are most likely going to have spaghetti for our festive dinner this year, and that’s without any meat in the sauce. How awful that sounds, and the typical answer we receive is in the form of “What about family?”. If you’ve kept up with my blog you’ll discover we had to move to North Carolina in order to have shelter, as we couldn’t afford to remain in Maryland with our family close by. Travel isn’t an option as we are trying to save up all we can to make a trip for Christmas this year.

don’t know if can take anymore of this.

I set the stage just there, your now on the same page as me. While our human emotions would love to keep us depressed and how Satan would love to keep us dwelling on the negative things in life, it is by faith we walk and live, and because of that Satan is kicked to the curb. I’ve been a Pastor in my house, during the week I study the Bible and God moves me into the direction He wants me to go in, and I without question eagerly follow and accept all He asks of me. We have been looking for a new Church in our new area in order to worship, grow spiritually, and to seek help from fellow Christians.

During my last doctor appointment I had observed a Holy Bible that looked old and rustic sitting on the table with a few other magazines nearby, this Bible looked like it had survived World War I, and it really made me feel blessed. I’m a self pay patient, I can’t afford insurance and I can barely afford to attend but medically I need to. I was walked back and weighted then taken into the room to await the doctor, but I had to ask the lady taking my vitals about the Holy Bible on the table out front. She explained how it’s always been there and didn’t seem to understand why I was so excited to see it and I had to tell her I felt it was such a blessing to see it out in the open, and not thrown out of the building!

The doctor walked into the room and she was eager to see how my blood pressure was doing, it was great and the medications were working. She asked me how my son was doing, which I was surprised by, and that opened up for further conversation about family and how we are struggling to make it. She told me we should try her church out, and it was at this moment when I felt God was working with her to point us into a new direction. After this visit I went to see how much the damage was, and the young lady said she would have to check and see how much the charge would be for today, when she got back she was smiling ear to ear and told me the amount.  Needless to say I had paid a fraction of my last visit which I still owed money for, and I felt truly blessed and for once I felt that someone outside of my family believed me and knew my struggle was real.  Lastly I’m diabetic and I haven’t had a meter or test strips, the doctor was able to get me a meter and got me 20 test strips so I could check my sugar at least once a week for now, I was just overcome with joy by that kind gesture.

You are not alone, I am here to help you. Look to me for your strength and I will never fail you.

It was clear to me that I needed to get us to this new church on Sunday,  and it was such a joyful visit. We had such a great time worshiping, listening to the message, and my son Alex had a blast in his play room. It was nearly identical to the church we loved back home, and I can see us returning. God used an individual to communicate a message to me, and we obeyed Him without question. While we still have our day to day issues and we are in need of help, we are overcome by the power of worship and Satan still remains sitting on the curb.

So while I may not have the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, my past due bills remain past due, and the systems that are in place to help families seem to fail when you actually need the help. I will not doubt my God’s ability to get us through this hard time, I will trust Him fully knowing that His plan is the best plan for us. This is the faith I have in God, I fully trust and know that He has a plan that will remove any permanent suffering from us, and deliver us from these short term struggles.

prayed and He heard my heart full of thanks towards Him, and asked for nothing because I knew He has already planned to give me what I NEED.

My dream was clear, when Peter stepped onto the surface of the water and fully trusted in Jesus and took that first step, he was starting to walk in faith. When the wind blew and the sea roared he lost his faith and failed to remain on the surface with his feet and called out for help, Jesus helped him. At times we will walk on the surface of the water and forget about why we have faith, it’s in the troubling times where we see no end in sight that we need to remain walking on the surface of the water, and in doing so we walk by faith. Place the full armor of God on you and know that with Him you are never alone, and you cannot be stopped.

We are thankful for what He has given us and has continued to do for us, and the food that he has blessed us with. So in closing we don’t need a traditional meal to show we are thankful, we will cook what we are able and we will pray in thanks for having the food we do have to consume. Faith keeps us strong, and we are thankful for the small things that occur in our lives that fortify our faith. If you haven’t found the gift of Jesus in your life, I urge you to listen out for the person that will direct you to a church and go check it out. I’ve had friends and others tell us to go to this church or that church, but when I heard it from a doctor I know nothing about it really caught me by surprise and I couldn’t ignore it.

Long Awaited Testimony

It’s been forever since I’ve been able to clear my mind, refocus my heart, and set out to be the man I was destined to be. God has blessed me and my family so much and it’s worth sharing to help anyone else who is struggling. Over the past few months God has removed fake people from our lives, He’s protected us from false teachers, provided everything for us and has given us more then we had ever lost over the course of 5 moves.

We were blessed with an affordable rental home, and all of our bills are within our ability to maintain, really God has maintained everything for us. The glory and credit are due to Him and only Him, recently changes had impacted my heart. I took everything that was going on around me and decided to really focus in on what God wanted from me, and expected me to do. I discovered that I was getting better at understanding the Bible, and that God had blessed me with understanding when I asked Him for it. All of this will be made clear in the future, right now I just want to remain focused on all that God has done for my family.

We were facing the possibility of being homeless or living in a shelter, as mentioned above He found a way for us to avoid that. Not only was this alternative method the better than anything we’d looked into, it covered some extras that we didn’t expect. A fireplace, nice yard, and in a quite community. We couldn’t ask for anything more! But God had plenty in store for us, we had struggled to pay for our car loan at $550 a month and on very low income it was becoming too much to bare, to make that story short we lost the car. Our only transportation and we couldn’t afford to keep it, we willingly gave the vehicle back and we started looking for options.

During this period in time we had limited resources and had nobody nearby that was willing to help take us to the store when we needed to replenish our food supplies. We are now here alone and no family or friends nearby that are able to help us, we really learned that we just had to rely on God. He provided our food, I’m still not sure how we lasted over a month on minimal supplies but we did and we grew stronger in faith for it. God deserves all the glory in everything that has happen for my family, and what continues to happen.

No matter what we looked at we had been denied to no end, out of the blue an email was received that would change everything. The email was from a local dealer we’ve never heard of, we did have to utilize all of our remaining savings but we secured a loan without the need to prove income, not sure how you do that but I attribute all of everything that happened to be in God’s hands and His plan for us.

I really shortened that story but that gentleman was so wonderful to work with and didn’t match the company he worked for. We now have transportation and we are so thankful to God for the life lesson learned: We don’t need to rely on fake judgmental people when we are able to rely on Him and be provided with everything we need. To those fake judgmental people you know who you are and I’ve expressed nothing but love and forgiveness towards you, I continue to pray for all of you, that your eyes and hearts be opened, and your heart is refocused on what’s important in life.

Helping Strangers

     This past Sunday our Pastor was speaking about hearing God, and how we need to train ourselves to listen for his voice. It was this sermon that made me remember a time when I heard God’s voice speaking directly to me. I’d like to share this with you, and know that God is looking to communicate with you if you’re willing to listen.

     It was around 9 years ago I was working in a fast food restaurant as a manager, I had just gotten off of my evening shift (2pm – 12pm) and was on my way home. This is when I was enjoying some country music on the radio enjoying my trip home, I remember vividly, I had became overwhelmed with emotions and I heard the following “Give Laura $200.” and that was all I heard. There was no why, no when, and no clear explanation for this.

     I fully believed in God and was actively worshiping, I had only my paycheck of $485, this was to cover gas, rent, groceries. I didn’t even want to spare any money to anyone. But I didn’t want to question God, who does that…? Oh yeah wait I did. I asked him in prayer if he really wanted me to do this, I told him I couldn’t spare anything, and I was just short of saying “No, God I really don’t want to do this.”. 

     Well the next day I was at the gas station getting fuel and a drink for my trip to work, I seen the ATM but I just didn’t go and withdraw the money to give to Laura. I finished fueling my car and departed the gas station to head to work. Well an hour later I arrived to work and walked into the building, looked over at the ATM and walked over withdrawing $200.

     During my shift I called the young lady into the Manager’s Office, I told her I don’t know if you believe in God but he hears your cries for help. Last night he asked me to give you exactly $200, and I simply handed her the money. Well she actually teared up and confessed that she did believe in God and was in need of help. I asked her if it wasn’t an issue if she could tell me what she needed money for, well she looked at me and said “I’m short $200 on my rent this month and I just don’t know what else to say.”

     I told her that she only had to thank God and that I was simply following orders from him. I don’t know what this was all about, was God testing me, would I serve his will no matter what he asked of me? I didn’t suffer that month either, I had just enough money for my bills and that just meant less play money.

 So now I say, Lord please continue to use me, talk to me, and let me help others that pray to you for assistance. This is my will, and what I want to do. Now I’m at a point in my life when I could really use that $200, The Lord has actually blessed me with more than that and for that I’m thankful I didn’t question Him, but just followed in obedience to Him.

     Just last month during all of my struggles I was blessed with money that helped my family temporarily, and I continue to pray to God for the long term help we need.

Trials and Tribulations

     This time last month I received news that my Social Security Disability Claim had been denied again, I was crumbling in spiritual faith. Why would God not grant me something that I desperately needed in my life, did God even exist, so many questions filled my head. A good friend of mine whom is also a Pastor received my text message about my questions. He immediately responded and it was in that phone call I was awakened and realized it wasn’t God’s fault at all, it was my fault. Talk about putting pride aside and realizing when you are actually wrong about something.

Just when I feel peace in my life and that everything is heading into a positive direction, again we are forced with a life altering event. We are to relocate by July 1st because my brothers landlord found out we had been seeking shelter in his basement. Last month I would have been devastated by such news, and it is because I had righted my heart and reached out to God, heard his answers, and began to lead my family into the spiritual light, that today I am not afraid.

(Mat 24:21 KJV) For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

 While the above verse is actually speaking of war, this here relates to the my situation because to me I’m at war. War with The Devil, he’s lurking about and trying to stir up chaos as I’m building a spiritual foundation for my family. It’s also interesting to note that the Websters Bible Dictionary States:

TRIBULA’TION, n. [L. tribulo, to thrash, to beat.] Severe affliction; distresses of life; vexations. In Scripture, it often denotes the troubles and distresses which proceed from persecution.

     So yes this is a tribulation, while there is no lynch mob gunning for my family, we are still in a spiritual war. This time however I’ve got ammunition (God’s Word) to battle back with, and I’m much strong than I was one month ago.

     To the person whom for lack of words ratted this information out to bring harm towards us, I forgive you. I hold no anger in my heart towards you, and this is just a door that God will close to open a new one for my family.

(Eph 4:31 KJV) Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

(Eph 4:32 KJV) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

 Last month I would have probably acted out in anger and could have made the situation a whole lot uglier. Grace be to God for opening my heart and allowing me to forgive, for opening my eyes to allow me to see our adversary (The Devil) lurking around, and for the strength I need to face this tribulation.

Once Upon A Time

I remember once upon a time when I was a child I would have terrible boxing matches with the air, but my vivid nightmares had me wondering what I was actually fighting. Afraid to fall asleep most times because of this I finally had a weapon that I could use.

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (I John 4:4 NKJV)

I would say this to myself when I was scared, when I was feeling lonely, and when I needed my fathers comfort. I remember the courage it gave me as a child and I know it still stands true even today, basements still creep me out, and I still use this in situations that creep me out. It’s just a wonderful feeling of calmness and peace that this single verse gives me that I felt it was worthy to mention on my blog.

Wake Up!

Over the course of a month or so, I’ve set out on a new life so to speak, a journey that will lead me to an understanding of God. This was a way of life I once knew and lived, but seemed to have forgotten in my own cloud of confusion and unsatisfactory with what I thought God should have been doing in my life.

Today I was reading the book of Romans following a study plan, I stumbled onto:
(Rom 15:4 MKJV) For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, so that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

It occurred to me, I’m learning now so I can have hope, and yet it is hope I already had. So I never lost hope, I just lost my way which in turn took my hope away.

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