PEANUT’S NEW SHIRT AND THE $100 BILL

Lightening, thunder, wind, rain in sheets and big drops. 15 minutes of torrential rain blowing hard in every direction, then done. That’s our typical summer storm here in Las Vegas and we had one on Sunday evening.

The next day I came home from shopping, got out of my car and walked across the lawn toward the new water dish I put out for the wild birds. I wanted to see if the rain had filled it up. I looked down and there in front of the dish was a neatly folded $100 dollar bill. My instinct was to look around quickly to see if anyone was looking for it, but there was no one around. I picked it up and put it into my pocket. I’ve picked up pennies and even quarters, but never a $100 bill. I smiled ear to ear.

Someone must have lost it in the storm, but no one was coming around to claim it. And I found it just in time, because a few minutes later my lawn guys came and they would have either found and kept the money, or chopped it up in a million little pieces in the lawn mower.

I tried to figure out why God would drop me the $100 but I couldn’t connect it to anything at all. I don’t believe in coincidence. Saying something is a coincidence is man’s attempt to explain away what he has no control over. I tried to tie it to some good deed, but everything I could think of fell flat and God wasn’t talking. It wasn’t until 2 days later that I understood.

I was buying dog food and bought Peanut, my new rescue dog, a little dog shirt just because I love the little guy and I thought he’d like it. Then it dawned on me that my $100 bill had come to me simply the same way. He gave it to me just because He loves me and He thought I’d like it. And He was right. I liked it a lot. God’s love is a gift.

We receive God’s grace, not just because we are desperate, or because we pray so hard or any of those other religious things we do. We can pray and believe and fast and a lot of other things, but then there’s the extra blessings God sends “just because He wants to.”

God can drop His grace on us when we least expect it. It can happen anytime, anywhere, without us doing a doggone thing.

God told Moses, “I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy” (Exodus 33:19).

All I can say now is, “God keep it up and thank you so much!”

Love, Carolyn

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THE POWER OUTAGE

9 o’clock the other night I’m watching TV and the lights go out. No electricity in the whole neighborhood. Thoughts fly through my mind in rapid succession like bullets from an automatic rifle: “I’ve got a generator. I need to take it outside. I have to get my flashlight. It’s dark. I won’t be able to see out there. Sh..t, I should have recharged the batteries the last time. Do I have any other flashlights? In my car. Phew!” I’m just about to get up out of my chair and all the lights and sounds come charging back to life.

A couple days later I thought about not having the batteries ready for my flashlight when we had the power outage. It reminded me of the Bible story about the ten virgins with the oil lamps. They took their lamps to meet the bridegroom and go to the wedding. But only five took extra oil for their lamps so they’d be prepared. The bridegroom was late so the five without extra oil were running out of light. They thought they could borrow some from the others but that wasn’t going to happen.

We learn from this passage that each of us is responsible to get his or her own oil. No one else is responsible to read the Bible for us and no one else can do our believing for us. The women who were prepared, went on to the party and the others missed out. (Matt 5:1-13). This parable is about being ready when Jesus comes back. Nobody knows when that will be, but there will be a day when Jesus returns and everything changes.

“The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Pet 3:10). “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God” (1 Thess 4: 16).

Jesus said that when judgment day comes, every man will have to account for every idle word he speaks (Matt 12:36) and fire will try every work. Our works are to be built on the foundation of Jesus Christ. “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss” (1 Cor 3:13-15). “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be?” (2 Pet 3:11).

People want to feel that their lives are meaningful and that they are contributing good things into this world. Once Jesus comes back, we don’t get the chance to do it over again. We only have one life to live here on earth right now, no reincarnation. We need to make every day count.

We don’t want to miss a chance to say something kind, do something significant for someone else, give a smile, help someone, minister healing, cast out a devil spirit, etc. “We are all the children of light” (1 Thess 5:5) and we can “walk as children of light” (Eph 5:8). “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel” (Matt 5:15). Let your particular light shine.

The end of our world is imminent and according to the Bible, it could be any day. Let’s make a difference here while we can. If we think more often about Jesus’ return, we will live our lives more like the women who carried extra oil, rather than the ones whose light ran out.

Like it says in Romans 13:12, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.”

If we live like today could be our last, it just could be our best.

After the lights came back on the other night, I recharged the batteries for my flashlight. Today I’m recharging my heart for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Love, Carolyn

FREE this coming Thursday thru Monday you can download my WINGS sample book: COMMITMENT, from Amazon. Great chapters include GOING THROUGH THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE, PREACH YOURSELF HAPPY, SEEING LIFE IN A NEW WAY and RECEIVING YOUR HARVEST.

LOOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS

Sherry asked him if the job was starting on the 12th, as scheduled. His face flushed as he tilted his head downward and away from her. He said nothing. Sherry took a deep breath, straightened up her shoulders and confronted him, “It’s not, is it?” He stuttered a bit, “Well… not yet.” There had already been a couple postponements so the tension was thick in the air as her brain ingested those words.

To me it would be like putting a moldy strawberry in my mouth. I’d want to spit it out immediately. But not Sherry. Not one negative word came out of her mouth. She tucked it away and I was amazed.

All of this happened in just a matter of seconds as I stood there mixing my paint, trying to be anonymous. But my mind was going like star bursts, held in breathless wonder at how she was able to keep utterly silent under those circumstances.

Could I do that? Nope, not at this point. I definitely need more practice and help from the Holy Spirit to keep my mouth shut. But, wow, what a goal. Her ability to handle this negative situation so well really impressed me and seeing it in action gave me hope and a vivid illustration I won’t forget.

I’ve always believed that I can learn something from just about everyone, especially everyone in the body of Christ.

We all have our shortcomings, weaknesses and cracks in our souls. Where we lack, there are others who are strong. The Bible calls those who are born again, members of the body of Christ.

We need each other.

The Bible says, “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you” (1 Cor 12:18 and 21).

And Ephesians 5 tells us we are to submit ourselves, one to another. That tells me that we are to look and learn and be observant of those good qualities in other’s lives.

So, Sherry, thanks for your great example. It inspired me and gave me a vivid illustration and model to remember on how to keep my lips locked.

The thing is, Sherry doesn’t even know yet what her actions meant to me (until I send her this).

All the more reason to keep following Jesus the best we can. Because when we do, we inspire others and give them an example to live up to, even when we don’t know it.

Love, Carolyn

Next weekend is a FREE download of WINGS Part 4. It contains great chapters including GENERATIONAL CURSES, GOSSIP AND HEALING, THE PROCESS OF OBEDIENCE, ANGER AND FORGIVENESS and many more. The free offer goes from Thursday July 17th thru Monday July 21st. Enjoy.

Have you ever found yourself in your normal routine and you’re doing something you used to really like but you realize you don’t like it anymore? It happened to me a couple weeks ago. What do we do?

Step one is to admit we don’t like it. As the psychiatrist might ask: “How does it make you feel?” We’re not going to make rash decisions based on feelings but we’re not going to deny them either. Feelings are just that, feelings. They aren’t good or bad. The devil didn’t invent emotions. God gave them to us. Like a barometer, they’re good for monitoring our atmospheric pressure.

We need to openly admit that something has changed in the activity or something has changed in us to make us feel unhappy with what we’re doing. If we’re going to move ahead with a healthy attitude, there’s no more room for pretending that everything is okay. Step one: How does the activity make us feel?

Step two is to take a good look at the activity and answer a few simple questions. Often we float through activities without giving them much thought. I was involved in a weight loss program for the past three years. I reached my goal weight, kept it off and developed good eating habits. There came a point when I felt like I wasn’t really learning anything new and the flavor of the weekly meetings soured.

My friend Miki kept asking, “Why are you still going? You don’t need to.” I’d give her some lame answer and just kept on going. (It’s funny how sometimes other people see us better than we see ourselves.) Well, I finally took a closer look myself.

In Quantum physics (for you science buffs) there’s something that relates to what I’m talking about. Atoms consist of electrons orbiting around a nucleus. The electrons exist in a wave state, like a cloud, whirling about the nucleus. That is, until someone looks at it. When the scientist observes it, suddenly the electron appears as a dot or particle and no longer a wave. It can be like that with our lives—things, activities, people and ideas all whirling about us. They don’t take distinct form until we actually observe them.

In step two, once we stop to take a good look at the disagreeable activity, we ask a few simple questions.  “Why do I feel this way now, when I didn’t before?” “Has the activity changed?” “Have I changed?” Once we answer these questions we’re ready to move on to Step three.

In step three we ask ourselves, “Even though I’m unhappy with this activity now, is it moving me toward my goals?” If it’s not, then it’s time to pray about dropping it. With the weight loss program, I’d already reached my goals. When I prayed about it, it was okay to drop it right away.

With other things the Holy Spirit may direct us to wait or take baby steps toward leaving the activity behind. Praying for the Lord’s guidance will be essential. We want to be praying for the manifestations of the Spirit according to First Corinthians 12, especially word of knowledge and word of wisdom.  If we’re in doubt whether we should keep doing the activity or let it go, then we need to go on to the next and final step four.

Step four is the last step. We ask the question, “Are the benefits of this activity worth the pain to stay with it?” Jesus said, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?” (Luke 14:28 & 31). On a piece of paper or the computer we make a list of the benefits, then a list of the detriments to staying with this activity. We prayerfully take the time to weigh the worth.

We’re half way through 2014. It’s a good time to examine our goals and the activities we’re doing in light of those goals. We ask ourselves, “What are my major goals: in relationships, in work, in exercise and health, in religious and spiritual matters, in finances, in entertainment and relaxation, in hobbies and special interests?”

Then we take each category and observe the activities around each. We make those activities stop swirling like a cloud and instead become clear like the electron dots of an atom. If there are activities we’re unhappy with, we carefully go through the four steps. 

Step One: How does the activity make me feel? Step Two: What has changed? Step Three: Is the activity putting me closer to my goal and if not, how do I drop it? Step Four: Is this activity worth the cost?

NOTE: You may want to do this exercise one goal category at a time (bite-sized pieces). That’s what I’m doing, taking one more hefty goal and then the entertainment one, having some fun with it.

Love, Carolyn

PS: This coming Thursday through Monday get your FREE download of WINGS SAMPLE BOOK A. For this sample book I’ve chosen chapters specifically about the POWER OF WORDS to direct our lives. These chapters are true life stories about the tremendous and varied BENEFITS OF CHOOSING WORDS WISELY. There are pertinent questions that go with each story to further help the reader look at his or her life and see HOW to apply the keys for more satisfying and victorious living.

BLACK ICE

I was driving to a friend’s house when it started to rain. As I turned into the far lane of the freeway on-ramp, the wheels on my pickup hit the grease in the road and it started to hydroplane just like hitting black ice. I turned into the skid but then I was sliding in the opposite direction and out of control. The whole truck slipped one way then the other, then toward the cement easement.

I heard the forceful sound of crushing metal as my front end smashed into the cement. I heard the garish crunch but I didn’t feel it. Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion and I was the spectator watching a movie of myself.

This happened to me before in Michigan when a big truck jackknifed across the freeway right in front of me and I nearly hit it but suddenly stopped only about five feet short, and once when I hit black ice at an intersection in Ohio.

I am convinced that God actually slows down time in these kinds of situations. In Isaiah 38:8 God said, “Behold I will bring the shadow on the sundial ten degrees backward.” That was about forty minutes. God can and will do this for us. And I pray for protection every morning and truly believe that angels surround us so that we don’t get hurt. Psalm 5:12 promises, “with favor thou wilt thou compass him as with a shield.” I believe that with all my heart.

The back end of my truck jutted out into the oncoming lanes. Fortunately there were only a few cars coming and they were able to go around.  I managed to scrape my way across the two lanes and into the hotel parking lot.

A tall good-looking man came over. He asked if I was hurt and I said I wasn’t. He said, “I saw the whole thing and I can’t believe you weren’t hurt and that you can actually drive your car!” He pulled a tool out of his shirt pocket, “I always carry this with me.” It looked like a pair of pliers, but then he began to cut into the metal bumper with it and was able to bend out the bumper and use the tool again to loosen the last bolt holding it on. He put the piece in the bed of my truck. Then he used the tool again to pull the fender away from the wheel so it wouldn’t scrape. After a little effort on his part and testing on my part, I was able to drive freely. All I had was twenty dollars with me, which I gave him and thanked him profusely for the help.

A couple more miracles took place around this incident: my roommate found a place to get parts at the most discounted prices in America and my neighbor offered to put them on for free. What I’ll end up paying is less than half of what I’d pay with a deductible.

I’m not trying to say that all of this was a delight. Not so. After the accident I had to grab my mind and mouth many times to keep out the negatives of worry, stress and despair. But thank God I was able to do it. I’m learning to keep quiet and trust Him even in the negative situations and He comes through every time.

If His eyes are on the sparrow, He will surely watch over me. (Luke 12:6-7)

Love, Carolyn

Check out my books on Amazon under my name and have a great week!

GOD CAN TURN OUR IRRITATIONS INTO DELIGHT

When we do a faux finish to match a live sample, (like making a piece of hardboard look like mahogany), we have to look at our samples in the conference room because it has the same lighting they have at the designers’ office where our samples get approved. Our electricity went haywire and three of the necessary lights in the conference room were off. We were on a strict deadline and were already nervous.

An electrician was called but it was a full day before he showed up. When he did, he was way too casual for our liking. He would work a little, take a smoke break, jabber with the guys awhile, work a little more, take another smoke break, laugh and jabber with the guys some more, work a little and then, yes, another smoke break. At the end of the day, we were told the lights were working. Next morning, lights not working again. This was really frustrating.

My boss said, “I guess we’ll have to go over to the pub to get a good look at our samples.” I thought she was joking so I just laughed and got back to work trying to do the best I could. The electrician showed up again a day later and I was getting more and more disgusted with him and started calling him names behind his back. I knew it was wrong, so the second night I repented and I forgave him and tried to not let my thoughts about him weave more of a bad story.

The next day at work, my boss being equally frustrated with the situation, suggested again taking our samples to the better lighting at the pub. This time I quickly agreed and off we went.

Not only was it super profitable as far as seeing what we needed to do with our samples, but they were serving breakfast at half off, so we decided, “What the heck, we’re going to take a break anyway, so why not here?” We’d never done that before.

We had a really delightful time, laughing and letting all our frustrations disintegrate into thin air.

The electrician irritated us to no end, but since we ended up having such a great time, maybe we should have been thanking him instead? One of my friends is convinced of this philosophy: We should be thanking those people who bother us for stepping into our lives. We may never have had the opportunity to learn what we did without them.

With this situation I was reminded of Genesis 50:20, where Joseph says to his brothers, “You plotted evil against me, but God turned it into good.” The electrician didn’t specifically plot against us, but the adversary used his actions to really get to us. But God turned the situation around and used it to catapult us into a really amazing, one of a kind, fun day.

I don’t know about you, but I need to see more of this kind of thing. God will take my negative and turn it around for good and no one can stop Him. That’s a great truth to hold on to.

Love, Carolyn

Check out my book on Amazon. It’s in print form and e-book, or you can get shorter, stand-alone sections with 6 chapters for as low as $.99. WINGS: A Journey in Faith from the Earthly to the Heavenly.

NO GLASS CEILINGS

Sometimes I need to re-read a chapter from my own book. I’ve been getting a little irritated with people lately and it’s not good. When I start to judge others it not only puts a stumbling block in their way, but it also puts limits on my own life. So I need to stop. Here’s the chapter I just read to get myself back in line:

NO GLASS CEILINGS

According to wikipedia the term “glass ceiling” refers to the unseen, yet unbreachable barrier that keeps people from rising to the top, regardless of their qualifications or achievements. That’s what it’s like when we prejudge and criticize people before maybe getting all the facts straight.

As long as we keep this glass ceiling on others in our own minds, we not only hurt them, but we’re hurting ourselves as well. A good example of this is when Jesus went back to where he grew up. Those people had seen him as a child growing up and they put limitations on him. “They were offended in him. And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief” (Matt 13:53-58).

I heard a preacher say to the people he pastors that he expects them to get more revelations, more insights, more understanding on the Word of God than he does. That pastor expects and believes for God to work in those people. He doesn’t act like he’s their savior. He’s operating Luke 6:38 that says: “Give, and it shall be given unto you, pressed down shaken together and running over shall men give unto your bosom.

If someone is born again, they are a new spirit person on the inside. They have Holy Spirit and God can and will work in them. Just don’t you be the one to put that glass ceiling on them. Even Jesus himself said to his disciples, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do” (John 14:12). Even though these disciples still were unlearned in many areas of their lives, Jesus had full expectation for them to do more than He did. What a great example to us.

Ephesians 4:25 says: “We are members one of another.”  The body of Christ, which we are, is supposed to work together, “the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Eph 4:16).

If we as leaders in any aspect of life can start to apply this kind of thinking, we not only shatter the glass ceiling we’ve put on others, but we will also open windows that bring back blessings from them to us. The flow or circle of blessings can then go unhindered and how much easier and smoother our lives will be.

Some of the scriptures I pray to break through glass ceilings are as follows:

Ephesians 1:17-19 “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.”

3 John 1:2 “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”

2 Thessalonians 1:3 “Your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.”

Ephesians 4:11-12 “And he gave some apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers.”

Isaiah 54:13 “And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.”

I know I’m not unique in that people irritate me at times and I don’t have the most loving thoughts toward them.  But when I read these scriptures, like I just did, I can change my mind and see annoying humans in a new way and act better toward them. After all, it is God’s will and Jesus’ command, “love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34). I’m looking forward to tomorrow and I already have a better attitude tonight.

(I wrote this last night J)

Love, Carolyn 

Get more helpful life tips in other chapters of my book too. Available from Amazon. Just look under my name.