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Humble: H-U-M-B-L-E

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:11

                Years ago, I was discussing with a friend of mine how I was upset about getting passed over and not receiving the credit I felt I was due.  I commented on me and humility.

                This friend giggled. “Missy,” they began, “you can’t even spell “humility.”    Ouch. However, my friend had a point. 

                I just went through a similar scenario.  Again, I am whining about not getting my due.  My pat on the back. My recognition.

               It is so easy to get caught up in the mentality. “Look at me and what I did!”   A slippery slope indeed, one that I keep tumbling in to.  As soon as I got angry and hurt, I realized that these feelings were not of a person following Jesus, and I began to pray. This went on for days.  Finally, a brother in Christ came to me.  He asked what was wrong because my anger and hurt was affecting everyone around me. He allowed me to talk it out and share how I was feeling.  I told him I knew that these feeling were not pleasing to God, but no matter how much I prayed, it continued.

                “Well, you are human.  Not a super Christian.  But you know that you are not doing what God wants so that in itself is good.”

                Just being able, to be honest, and say how I was feeling out loud made me feel much better.  The anger began to fade, and as the red tide receded, I began to realize I was praying for help, but I never acknowledged my sin or asked for forgiveness. I was focusing on the anger and hurt. That was all I was bringing to the cross.

                It is one thing to realize that you have sinned, but it is another to confess it.  I knew I was wrong, but in my spirit of pridefulness, I failed to admit it and deal directly with the sin.  As soon as I admitted to God and myself my actual sin, not only the product, such as the emotions and feelings, the anger evaporated.

                I think that I am guilty often of focusing on the emotions and feelings rather than getting directly to the root.  Feelings and emotions are just that, mere feelings.  But when you turn your focus to the root cause and confess it, that is where you find absolution and peace.

Typist for Jesus

Come and Drink

But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14

I walked down the hallway and up the ramp to the water fountain. I was surprised to see several waiting. I fell in line and watched the clear liquid splashing in each cup or bottle. I listened to the chatter of my coworkers and smiled at the quips. I thought about how fortunate we were that we have water flowing clean, clear, and crisp. It gushed in an unending stream. Filling cup after cup. Just there for the taking.

Holding my empty bottle, the story of the woman at the well sprang in my thoughts. (John 4:1-42) Like the people of the day, we each had brought vessels to carry our water back to our respective desk. One even had a coffee pot. We each waited our turn for our share of the filtered refresher. Without a doubt, we all would return for a refill.

The woman at the well came late in the day to fill her jugs. She came late because she was despised by those in her village. She wanted to avoid their stares and judgment. She quickly followed the lonely path to the well. The midday sun heated the sand and scorched the bottom of her bare feet. Sweat beaded on her brow her tongue was parched. She had been waiting all morning to come for her share.

I imagine she was more than just surprised when she came into the clearing and found a man there. A Jewish man with kind eyes that he did not divert when she emerged from the pathway. Instead, his eyes met hers with compassion she had never experienced. He was poised on the bricks that of the well, his hands folded in his lap as if waiting. He addressed her kindly and asked for a ladle of water. In return, He offered her a gift. Living water. She did not have to wait in line. Instead, He waited for her.

You do not have to wait for His forgiveness or salvation. You don’t have to wait until you feel worthy or ready. He is waiting for you by the well. Waiting for you to come and drink.

Typist for Jesus

Photo Gallery

Melissa and Emma the Terrible
Photo by Angela Fields
Cumberland Hike Outside Chattanooga, TN
Enterprise South- Atlas Trail, Chattanooga, TN
Sunflower Farm Ooltewah Tennessee
Photo by Angela Fields
Melissa and Angela Scuba diving in Honduras
April 2018

Banish Fear

Melissa and Angela
Honduras 2018

“Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.” Isaiah 43:1

Scuba diving has been on my bucket list long before it was called a bucket list. So when the opportunity arose to dive while on my cruise, I jumped for it.

Honduras, according to Captain Mike, is one of the “hot spots” to dive. In fact, Isla Roatan is well known in dive circles. That fact in itself made the possibility even more appealing. I was very excited that morning and eager to do something I had only dreamed. We boarded the boat, met Captain Mike, and swiftly left the pier for the dive shop.

The crisp, yellow sun danced on the aqua blue waves of Mahogany Bay. Salty ocean air tickled my nose and seasoned my lips. Along the horizon, we saw other dive boats, fishing boats, and cruise ships. It was a hectic through fare.

I could feel the excitement of the participants. I wondered if they too were experiencing jitters. Did they also have that little tremor? You know the one you feel deep in your belly when you can barely contain the erupting excitement? The boat pulled aside the wooden dock, and three young island men appeared from the small hut set back in the palms. Offering bronzed, strong hands, they helped us from the boat to the dock. Introductions all around were followed by signing forms and flipper measurements.  

I continued to simmer with excitement. 

Ang and I sat in the boat as it bobbed rhythmically on the lapping waves. We had been through the class, fitted with BD jackets and weight belts. Now we waited our turn to enter the blue expanse.  

Flippers protruding before me, I shuffled to the boat’s aft. With the rocking of the boat shifting the weight of the tank, I was unsteady and unnerved. I followed the instructions gave and leaped into the churning depths.

There is a lot to remember when you are struggling in open water. Inflate BD, clear ears, stay vertical, breath in and out in the regulator only and do not drown. I hit the deflate button on the BD jacket, and in a fury of bubbles, I began to sink beneath the water’s surface. Expectedly, my ears felt the pressure change, and as I was instructed, I cleared my ears.

Now it was time for my skills test. I was to remove my regulator, blow bubbles out of my mouth, and reinsert the mouthpiece.

Attempt 1- FAIL

Resurface

Attempt 2-FAIL

Resurface

Attempt 3-Success but then panic

Resurface

The last attempt- Deflate BD, sink beneath the waves, clear regulator, and ears.  

Success!

The weighted belt drew me further into the depths. Around me nothing but blue. I immediately wondered what lurked behind the blue? My tremors of excitement were becoming a simmering fear.    

Clutching the rope that stretched between the world above and the world beneath, I felt the sea exert her pressure. My lungs felt compressed, my ears began to ring. Above me, the sun’s light and warmth faded. Nothing but blue closed around me. Cooler water rose from beneath me spreading ribbons of cold around my legs. It traveled deliberately, steadily up my body. The pressure increased, and my ears hurt, sharp stabbing pain in the left. I waved to the instructor, pointed to my ears, and he did the sign to clear them once again. I tried to relieve my discomfort. No luck, the piercing pain continued.  

My body continued to sink with the weight around my middle.

Between the pain, fear, fading light, and creeping cold, I began to panic. I tried one more time to clear, pinching my nose and swallowing but this time the mask creased and the ocean flooded into my mask. Instinctively, I held my breath. The instructor tried to calm me, but panic was driving now. Hand over hand, I pulled myself up the rope kicking with all I had. A flipper came off, but I barely noticed as I clawed my way back to air, light, and warmth. I broke the surface and tore the mask and regulator off. I greedily inhaled all the air my lungs could hold.

When I look back over my life at my many failings and spiritual pitfalls, there is a common denominator, fear. Fear robs us of joy and peace. It causes us to buckle under the pressure and settle for less than God’s best for us. I allowed my fear to take over, and I reacted in panic.  

Others on the excursion completed the test and descended to 40 feet and glided along the sandy bottom. They trusted the process, themselves, and the instructor. They did not let fear rule the situation. 

Fear is a repulsive force. It can exert pressure on you and whisper things in your mind. Allowing it a foothold, it conjures up imaginings and doubt. There is no place for fear in a Believer’s heart. 

I wish this story ended with me gearing back up and with determination descending to 40 feet and swimming victory laps around the coral bed, but it does not. Instead, I climbed back on board defeated, disappointed. 

Fear keeps you trapped. Keeps you from opportunities and experiences. Fear does all these things, but you do not have to allow it. Ultimately, fear answers to you. Reject it, rebuke it and never let it rule you.

Trust in Him and deny fear.

For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

Typist for Jesus

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Age is Irrelevant to God

It is a beautiful Sunday.  Bright sun, clear blue skies, and a gentle breeze.  I can hear the laughter and music from the pool in the complex, and someone is grilling over the fence.  I am watching all this from my bedroom window. I am inside on this beautiful day doing homework. Math homework to be precise.  Formulas for simple and compound interest. As many of you know, I have decided to return to school. Crazy, I know, I have passed the half-century mark, and I am a grandmother now, but I have always wanted to get my education.  It has been hard, not just getting through classes but being the oldest in the class, that most times includes the professors. Everything is online, powerpoints, virtual books, and apps on my phone. School is very different than the last time I cracked the books.  It is intimidating and overwhelming a lot of the time. I cannot help but wonder if it was foolish for me to be pursuing my education this late in life. However, I took a little look in the Bible, and I found several prominent people that God called into action were well into their years. 

  1. Noah was 600 years old when the flood came, and water covered the earth. Genesis 7:6  So Noah probably was between 525 and 545 years when he began building the Ark. 
  2. Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh. Exodus 7:7
  3. Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?”  Genesis 17:17, God got the last laugh on that one.
  4. Remember Caleb, who followed Moses into the wilderness, when he was forty years old, Moses sent him as a spy into the Promised Land. When the people rejected his report, he had to wait for forty years.  At eighty-five years of age, now serving under Joshua, he asked for permission to drive the Anakites from the “hill country.” He had another mountain to conquer.

These few are just a small sampling of those that even in advanced years were willing to serve.  So age is no excuse to stop serving, stop learning, or stop sharing the Gospel. No matter how old you are, God has a plan and a job for you.  So if you are thinking that once you get to a certain age you can sit back and do nothing, you need to think again. There is work to do until He calls you home. 

Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.  Psalm 71:18.

Age is irrelevant to God.

Typist for Jesus

Age is Irrelevant to God

It is a beautiful Sunday.  Bright sun, clear blue skies, and a gentle breeze.  I can hear the laughter and music from the pool in the complex, and someone is grilling over the fence.  I am watching all this from my bedroom window. I am inside on this beautiful day doing homework. Math homework to be precise.  Formulas for simple and compound interest. As many of you know, I have decided to return to school. Crazy, I know, I have passed the half-century mark, and I am a grandmother now, but I have always wanted to get my education.  It has been hard, not just getting through classes but being the oldest in the class, that most times includes the professors. Everything is online, powerpoints, virtual books, and apps on my phone. School is very different than the last time I cracked the books.  It is intimidating and overwhelming a lot of the time. I cannot help but wonder if it was foolish for me to be pursuing my education this late in life. However, I took a little look in the Bible, and I found several prominent people that God called into action were well into their years. 

  1. Noah was 600 years old when the flood came, and water covered the earth. Genesis 7:6  So Noah probably was between 525 and 545 years when he began building the Ark. 
  2. Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh. Exodus 7:7
  3. Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?”  Genesis 17:17, God got the last laugh on that one.
  4. Remember Caleb, who followed Moses into the wilderness, when he was forty years old, Moses sent him as a spy into the Promised Land. When the people rejected his report, he had to wait for forty years.  At eighty-five years of age, now serving under Joshua, he asked for permission to drive the Anakites from the “hill country.” He had another mountain to conquer.

These few are just a small sampling of those that even in advanced years were willing to serve.  So age is no excuse to stop serving, stop learning, or stop sharing the Gospel. No matter how old you are, God has a plan and a job for you.  So if you are thinking that once you get to a certain age you can sit back and do nothing, you need to think again. There is work to do until He calls you home. 

Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.  Psalm 71:18.

Age is irrelevant to God.

Typist for Jesus

New Wineskin, New Wine

And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins” (Luke 5:37-38).

I made some decisions this week about some things that I want to accomplish in the next few years.  These are not new goals.  Instead, they are old goals that I have yet to realize.  For years these items have been on my list but I have allowed circumstances and situations to derail me.  Just as I made up my mind to follow through on the first of this list, a situation popped up.  I began to allow myself to get distracted and in just a few minutes I had begun to talk myself out of following through.  In just a short time, I had already retracted my plans and was convinced that this new situation would not allow me to finish this goal.   I sat alone, disappointed. 

As I was talking with the Lord, later on, I realized that I was just following my Modus operandi.  For my entire life, my MO had been to allow circumstance and situation to hinder my progress.  It is now or never to make a commitment to following through.   I realized I was trying to put new wine in old wineskins.  So, I read up on that particular parable, looking for wisdom.

The parable of the new wine in old wine skin is recorded in three of the gospels.  Matthew 9:14-17, Mark 2:18-22 and Luke 5:33-39.  Because it is mentioned three times by three separate writers, I think there is definitely a lesson just waiting to be learned.  

The parable was spoken by Jesus to rebuke the accusations of the Pharisees, that he and his disciples were not as pious as the Pharisees.  Jesus was anything but conventional.  He ate with tax collectors and sinners.  Spoke to women and lepers and according to these Pharisees, he was not fasting enough. Unfortunately, these men that had devoted their lives to being scholars and experts on scripture and God, just could not get past what they thought was Jesus’ flagrant disregard for the laws.  The legalistic approach was all they knew.  If the Pharisees were going to be able to embrace Jesus as Savior they would have to let go of the legalistic way they viewed their relationship with God.  They were so inundated by rules and laws they had lost the relationship.  Jesus was offering freedom from the legalism and a relationship of grace and love.  Unfortunately, they were unable to relinquish their old ways of thinking.  Jesus never broke the laws, he just followed them as they were intended.  Not with only legalistic focus but with love.

I cannot continue to use my old way of thinking to accomplish my plans.  Obviously, my old mindset has not worked.  If I am going to do something new, I need to renew my thinking.  I do not want to miss out on realizing these goals because I am unable to change my MO.   I got my new “wineskin” and I followed through on the first step to completing my goal. 

Do not allow yourself to miss out on God’s gift of love and redemption because of old ways of thinking.  Do not be denied realizing a desire or a dream.  If they are not working out or coming to fruition, then examine your MO. 

Get a new wineskin and get ready to make new wine.

Typist for Jesus