I Choose To Overcome!

via Daily Prompt: Overcome

overcome

 

Overcome. The word, like a two-edged sword, cuts both ways. It can mean to be overwhelmed or defeated by something AND it can mean to succeed in dealing with a difficulty or problem.  As I consider what I’d like to overcome, I must face the fact that, for the moment, I am overcome by it. I don’t mean to play with words but the reality check of overcoming anything is to first acknowledge that it is a problem that needs to be overcome. If I arrogantly ignore this key catalyst of change, then I remain the same.    I choose to overcome!

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Stop The World, I’m Getting Off!

via Daily Prompt: Overworked

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Sandy, blew out an exasperated breath and checked one more item off  her To Do list. The thrill of accomplishment that normally accompanied that little action was not there today. The list was still very long and the day was getting shorter. She’d just gotten home from work and there were personal things to attend to that seemingly could not wait, like renewing her tags online before the deadline in just a few days! Sandy perused the list; was there anything she could move to another day or, better yet, not do at all?  A weariness, that  a 5 Hour Energy or a Red Bull drink  couldn’t touch, draped itself around her shoulders and seeped into her very bones. Sandy wanted to cry but she knew if she started she may never stop. Shaking her head and taking a deep breath, Sandy mouthed a quick prayer and went on to the next task. In that moment, she made an executive decision and smiled as she circled the item on her list with a flourish. This item had originally been at the bottom of the list but she’d decided to move it up. Sandy begin peeling off her clothes as she headed to the bathroom. It didn’t take long to run a tub, light a few candles, dump in some bath salts and tune her phone to a smooth jazz station. Within minutes of sliding into the soothing waters, Sandy’s mind was somewhere else and her list… it was on the floor!    #yougottaknowwhentotakeabreak!

Daily Prompt: Fish

pikeplacefishfinal7415via Daily Prompt: Fish

Fish! If you’ve read the book or visited the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, WA, then the one word prompt immediately conjures up images of fun, team spirit and, for me, a special time of comfort.

I was in Seattle for the memorial service of my first grandson who lived 21 days before leaving us bewildered and bereaved. We’d prayed and hoped and prayed some more for a miracle of healing but for Micah Andrew Johnson, his healing took place in heaven. After the service, I found myself at the fish market as a way of distracting myself from my feelings. The team at Pike Place typically asked their watching audience where they’re from and what brings them to Seattle. The question was asked of me and I somberly answered and tried to shrink to the back of the crowd but that team was not going to let me wallow in sorrow.

For the next 30 minutes I was embraced in loving hugs, fishy kisses and invited behind the counter for a picture. They told me they were sorry for my loss and hoped my trip home would be safe and peaceful and indeed it was. I still had tears but some of them were shed in grateful thanks for their kindness to me that day.

Finding Your LIP! In Honor Of Veterans Day

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Boot camp was everything the young man expected and then some! Grueling, exhausting even what some might label abusive at times but he embraced it all.  Small in stature, the young man went above and beyond to prove that there was more to him than just size.  He excelled in all the physical tests except one; he had not been able to successfully vault over a wall that was part of an extensive obstacle course. In every attempt, he always fell short of being able to grab the top of the wall and propel himself over.

The night before the final tests of boot camp, he was awakened by his Drill Sergeant and ordered to go outside. Sure that he was about to be chastised for his failure on the course that day, the young man stoically waited for what was to come. Instead, his instructor led him to his nemesis: The Wall.  Then the young man was given an odd instruction: feel the wall.  Disciplined to respond to orders, he did as he was told. He slowly walked the length of the wall as he ran his hands over the rough surface. Thoughts tumbled about in the young man’s head. This wall stood between him and his long held goal of becoming a Marine. If he wasn’t able to get over this wall tomorrow, he would fail and be sent home.

The graveled voice of his Sergeant barked at him.

“Find a way over that wall!”

The young man pressed closer and breathed a silent prayer, “I gotta find a way.” and then he felt it…. a small niche, a lip in the face of the wall. Stepping back, he marked where the lip was and then began the circuit of the obstacle course which included running, belly busters, slide for life and swinging from ropes. He smoothly managed through each of these and then the wall loomed darkly before him.  Heart pumping wildly, he raced towards it.  In one fluid movement, he leaped on the wall, his boot instinctively finding the lip. Pushing up with strong arms, he grasped the top of the wall and sailed over! As he hit the ground on the other side, excitement surged and tingled. He’d made it!  He knew in his heart that he’d be able to repeat this performance the next day and he did. But what thrilled him even more than that accomplishment were the words he received from his Drill Sergeant after graduation: “Good job Marine.” He’d successfully become one of the few and the proud.

(November 10th Marine Corp Birthday – Happy Birthday Marine Corp! Semper Fi) 

This story inspired me to find my own LIP.  Life presents us with obstacles every day and often they seem to be just as daunting as that wall appeared to be to that young man. But I learned 3 things from this story that I want to share with you.

  1.  Get yourself an accountability partner. Someone who will challenge you to do what’s in your heart and not let you back away from it
  2.  Be willing to face the obstacles that stand in the way of your goal. “Feel the wall.” You may find your  answer in the midst of your problem
  3.  Understand that your goal is worth every ounce of effort you have to expend to get it. Don’t back away from the challenges of reaching what you really want

Photo Challenge: Transmogrify

via Photo Challenge: Transmogrify

tyra-banks
 I searched for before and after pictures on Google and found this one of super model, Tyra Banks.  I immediately recognized the “after” picture as her but was surprised at the before example. I would have walked past her on the streets without a second glance that this could be Tyra and it’s not just the absence of make-up and dolled up hair.

The “before” reflects a totally different personality like the transmogrification of a girl I knew in high school after she had a makeover. She went from being a mousy, nondescript student who slumped through the halls to a vibrant person who walked with her head held high and a new pep to her step. I thought she was a new girl at school. When I discovered who she was, I marveled that a makeover could literally transmogrify someone into a completely different person!

Her “Angela Davis” afro had been tamed to a short, boyish cut. The large, square-rimmed glasses she wore had been replaced with contacts and her pass-me-down looking clothes were updated to 70’s chic.  Prior to the makeover, this girl, who looked like she’d faint if you said “Hi!”,  was now popular, outspoken and fun to be with. She was the first example that came to mind and a great example of TRANSMORGRIFY! This kind of makeover did more than just add some “spit and polish” to her outward appearance;  it seemingly changed the perception this girl had of herself which then changed how others saw her as well!  The word, “transmorgrify” is new to me but the concept isn’t;  “As a man thinketh… so is he…” Proverbs 23:7

 

Daily Prompt: Banned

via Daily Prompt: Banned

Banned: Platform Shoes!

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At least that was the opinion of Mr. Brown, the principal of St. Rocco’s School. Tell that to a group of 8th grade girls back in 1973 when platform shoes were the newest status symbols of being cool. You could only spice up the uniform so much; hems of skirts taken up to the highest limit allowed, colorful earrings, maybe a bracelet or a choker but that was pretty much all the accessorizing that could be done until platforms came along. I ditched my Hush Puppy flats and never looked back!  My first pair of platforms were a tan lace up number. Nothing fancy in my opinion, compared to what was out there. But Mr. Brown wasn’t having it. He even held an assembly to ensure we all got the same message.

Typically, I wasn’t the one to rock any boats but this just wasn’t right. First of all, there was no mention of platform shoes, for or against, in the handbook. That had to count for something! Normally, every rule was backed by something that had been established in “The Book.”  Mr. Brown argued that since one girl had already fallen off her shoes while coming down the stairs, he felt they were unsafe and therefore no one could wear them.

Come on! One girl! One accident! Can we get better odds than that?  I mean, it’s not like she died or broke her neck!  I heard she came through with just few elbow scrapes! As far as I was concerned the fight was on! If I had to make my case by comparing all the accidents that had happened at the school over the past 10 years, compared to one platform shoe incident then I would. I was ready to do whatever it took, short of getting expelled, to persuade Mr. Brown to get with the times.

I wrote out my complaint and was able to get the majority of the 8th grade girls to sign it. I stood in Mr. Brown’s office and watched him read every word. He sighed deeply before putting the paper down on his desk. He stared at it for awhile before looking up at me. I stood there, trying to look neutral instead of sassy and I met his eyes with just a tad bit of defiance.  Finally, he stood, paper in hand and gestured towards me. “Edwina do most of the girls really feel this way?”  I nodded vigorously. Words escaped me since I wasn’t expecting that question.  “Ok, let’s compromise….”   I held my breath and said nothing. He took deep breath and passed his verdict: “2 inches in height will be the limit. Is that understood?” I blinked in surprise and stammered out a, “Yes sir!” before exiting his office. I felt like blowing the smoke off my imaginary pistol. The word “banned” had just met its match!

 

 

8 Tips For Sharing The Gospel

10560919_604986566278066_1581486046_n1. Be prepared to share! The Gospel means “Good News” What’s the good news? How can you make what happened 2000 years ago relevant today? Well even if you feel you have no imagination to spiff up a story, the Gospel is good news all by itself! The man who came from heaven to earth for 33 years, ministered for 3 and then died, was raised from the dead and then ascended back to heaven is the gospel in a nutshell. During his time of ministry, he shared many things through parables (stories) that people could relate to. He often answered questions with questions. He made you think! Similar to the prophets of old, this man came and clearly stated what the Lord said to a “stiff-necked” people that refused to believe even in the face of some pretty spectacular miracles. This man, Jesus, knows how to help you get the story right and share it in love even to those who’d rather not hear it.

2. Have a heart to share! Be very clear about why you want to share the gospel. If you feel it’s your Christian duty then you’re not ready to share. Pray and ask for a heart for the lost, to see them as the Lord sees them. He said it was not his will that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

3. Listen before you speak! Often we can be so enthusiastic about wanting to share that we leave the Holy Spirit behind! Take time to pray in EVERY encounter before you share and allow the Holy Spirit to direct you.

4. Don’t be nervous! Many of us have wondered, “Are we going to mess up? Will we get Nervous Wreckthis right?” Again, that’s why steps one to three are so important. If you have done these three prerequisites, the rest will fall into place. We may not always feel like we know what we’re doing but trust that the Lord does!

5. What’s YOUR story? I found a great article by Pastor Randy Mason, from Liberty Baptist Church in Marhalltown, Iowa to help me out on this one!
The Apostle Peter addresses this very subject in 1 Peter 3:15, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” “Sanctify” means to prepare, to purify by preparation. At the time that Peter wrote this there was great persecution and hostility to the Gospel. That same attitude is beginning to pervade our culture in the United States as well. Peter says you better prepare yourselves and equip yourselves to be able to give a defense of the Gospel in these times of hostility and persecution.

The word “Lord” means one true living God. Being a Christian does not mean that Christianity is the best option among many religions. Christianity is based on the Biblical premise that Jesus alone is Lord and the only exclusive way to a relationship with God. There are some 22 major religions and some 200 minor or less known religions throughout the world, but according to the Bible only Christianity, only Christ will bring you to a right relationship with God. Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) The word “always” means perpetually, constantly being ready to share Jesus Christ with those around you. We are to be spiritual minutemen and women. Ready at a moment’s notice when God gives us an open door to share the hope that is within us. Being “ready” means to be armed. Paul talks about this in Ephesians chapter six:
“…wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God…”
We must equip ourselves with all the spiritual armament if we are to be successful in presenting a defense of the hope that is within us. To give an “answer” is translated from the Greek word apologia from where we get the word apologetics, which is a defense of the Gospel. It means to present in a reasonable and coherent fashion why you have the hope within you and we are to do it with gentleness and reverence. We are to do it with humility toward men and not fearing men, but do it with a reverence and worship toward God. Apologetics of the Gospel is not something just a pastor does, but here in first Peter the Word of God is making it clear that giving a defense of the Gospel or making a presentation of the Gospel is something that every believer has a responsibility to do.

check-list6. Follow up with lots of prayer! Winning souls is not about putting notches on your spiritual belt or checking “witnessing” off on your list of things to do. The Lord may not have you to speak to thousands but simply to a few. Water and nurture those interactions with follow up prayer and touchbases if possible.
I’ve met folks in the airport that I had great conversations with about the Lord that I have not seen nor heard from since. I wish I had at least started keeping a journal of these encounters so that I could continue to pray for them by name and remember the circumstances around our meeting. It’s an exciting thought to me that someone out there that I may have met me 10 years ago in a restaurant or movie theater line is STILL praying for me! I used to have a “book of remembrance” where I simply wrote down the names of the people I was praying for. I’d lift up the book to the Lord and simply pray “Lord I lift these requests up to you and ask that you do exceeding, abundantly above all that I could ask or think” then I’d wait quietly for the Holy Spirit to prompt me to pray about anything specifically. That was it! Never forget the effective and fervent prayer of the righteous avails much! Keep ‘em lifted!

7. Thank God for what He is doing! Even if it seems like you are not seeing results. (People giving their lives to Christ) how long did the Lord wait for you? Be encouraged by the wisdom of Paul, some plant, some water, but at the end of the day, God gives the increase. I like to say, God doesn’t do “A” without doing “B” we may not always be a witness to the end result but we can trust that the Lord knows how to work all things together for good so that nothing is wasted.

8. Where do I sign up? Be committed to sharing the Gospel as a lifestyle not a sideline hobby. The more you share, the more you want to. It’s an indescribable joy to talk to others about Christ. I remember the first time I did street evangelism with my late husband Keith. I was very hesitant, afraid that people would think we were being pushy and trying to “shove religion down their throat” My husband chose two alcohol guzzling men sitting on crates behind a liquor store to share the gospel with first. I cringed, I was certain these guys had zero interest in what we had to say. Keith parked our van close to their outside “bar stools” and got out. He told me to join him if I felt comfortable. Like that’s gonna happen! Is what I thought but I smiled weakly and nodded as I rolled the window down so I could hear the conversation.

My husband strolled over and greeted them jovially; which was his nature. They looked up, clearly surprised. One man, I’m going to call him “Moe” protectively moved the brown bagged bottle they were sharing a little closer to his side. I thought that was hilarious and sent up some reinforcement prayers for my husband. The other man, we’ll call him “Joe” simply eyed my husband with interest and took another sip from his red plastic cup. Keith chatted with them for a while and then plainly explained his purpose for speaking with them; to share the gospel. Joe cocked his head to the side and asked, “Why?”  “Why?!” My eyes flew to my husband. Did he anticipate that question? Keith cocked his own head to the side and smiled. “Cause we care!” He said with a laugh. No drawn out speech, just a simple statement: We care! Apparently, that did it for Joe. He sat his red plastic cup down and bowed his head in prayer with my husband. Moe, stood to the side observing everything with a look of amazement on his face. When Keith and Joe finished praying, my husband turned to Moe and stretched out his hand in invitation. Moe backed away shaking his head. He grabbed the bottle and his cup and disappeared around the building. Joe watched him retreat for a minute and then turned to Keith with a grin. “He’ll come around.” Joe said “I’ll talk to him later.”  What?! Joe was already preparing to evangelize?!
My husband waved for me to get out the van. He introduced me to Joe and we sat down and talked for another 30 minutes or so. We shared some resources; where he could go to get a shower, get a meal and be around other believers who would help him in this new journey. Joe was genuinely interested an asked us to write the information down. When we left Joe, I felt completely different from when we had first pulled up. I couldn’t wait to talk to the next person! This feeling of elation stayed with me for several days. I couldn’t get over how exciting witnessing could be. Of course, there were some who blatantly told us they weren’t interested. Like the woman on Belle Isle in Detroit, MI who said with a sneer. “You messing up my high!” We always respected a person’s decision not to hear what we had to say but we’d still offer prayer. Surprisingly, there were people who didn’t want to hear the gospel but took us up on our offer for prayer! (Remember, nothing is wasted with God!)

I hope these tips have been a blessing to you as you pray about being a witness for the Lord and a light to shine where ever you are!
Blessings!
Edwina