Tag Archives: faith

UTHE GREATEST POWER IN THE WORLD IS…

God DIDN'T

It’s hard to believe its been nearly nine months since I scribed my last appointment with God, and I can honestly write it was by choice.

Now, I’ve loved God my whole life, but it seemed that I had put myself in a place where those I loved didn’t quite understand the love that I had for God and each day when I would try and “verbally” share one of my appointments with God  it inevitably  brought on new challenges to where those who were non-believers would ask me questions and become very frustrated. Then when they didn’t agree with my answer, there would be another question, and so on and so forth, until frustration would set in on both parties, and the frustration would turn to anger. Then anger turned to resentment until one day I woke up and realized that the greatest power in the world is BELIEVING!

Just as Christopher Columbus believed the world was flat and Rosa Parks believed she too had  the “right” to sit with the “white”… Or Walt Disney who believed in the power of wishing upon stars…

There’s only one thing that a belief can’t do!

A belief in someone or something cannot get another to believe in someone or something UNLESS they believe in it too or are open to the thought of learning something new.

Now, this goes both ways.

It’s just as hard for a non-believer to convince a believer that there’s nothing to believe in. Unless two people are working together to head in the same direction it creates confusion. Just as Christopher Columbus would not put people on his ship who didn’t believe the world was flat, because that would create nothing but chaos. Or it wouldn’t have done Rosa Parks any good if she believed she had the right not to move to another seat, but then moved! And how sad would it have been if Walt Disney hid what he saw within his heart and was never brave enough to say, “A wish is a dream your heart makes… ” and then he never believed he could make his wish come true.

Yes, the power of believing is the most important power in the whole  world, and it wasn’t until I opened my Bible today and read Matthew 4… 

THEN was Jesus let up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward and hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.”

But he answered and said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of  the mouth of God.”

Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said to him, “It is written again, Thou shalt not temp the Lord thy God.” 

Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 

Then the devil leaveth him, and, hehold, angels came and ministered unto him. 

Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; And leaving Nazareth, he came dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 4: 1-17


When I arrived at the place where it shared that Jesus began to preach “after” he was questioned over and over and over again… I closed my Bible and SMiled. It was here where God showed me that no matter whether one believes in the Son of God or doesn’t… at one time or another the two shall meet, and God arranges this appointment not because it’s our job to change the mind of the one who doesn’t believe,  but because He gives us the opportunity to see how strong we really are in what we believe, and when we are able to find our strength that is when we are truly able to serve Him!

L.B.

Onward to the final appointments of my life. May He use the rest of my life to be of service to Him!

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What Door Will You Open Today?

 

Mission

It’s funny there’s a quote that is shared often and shared like this, “Well you know what God says. He says… ‘When one door closes, another door opens.'” Actually, God never said that. It was Alexander Graham Bell, and what he said was…

“When one door closes, another door opens; but we often look so long regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the one that is open for us.”

Until the other day I had no idea what he meant, but inevitably every time something didn’t go my way someone would recite those words in the hopes they made me feel better, and while I was SMiling on the outside, the inside of me was screaming, “WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? DOES ANYONE REALLY KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS?”

Then the other day I happened to be in San Juan Capistrano with a friend working, when we decided we would take a moment and walk through the Mission.

Corridor

 

Walking down the corridor of the Mission I happened to notice that many of the doors were open so I decided to start my tour and I walked through a door which showed where,  (in the year 1776) the people who lived at the Mission would have cooked. It was a tiny kitchen, but it wasn’t until I heard a young woman say, “Oh, now this is where you would have found me if I lived in 1776,  I would have been in the kitchen.” I looked over at her and she had a SMile that told me that cooking was her gift and it didn’t matter how small or inefficient the kitchen  was, she would be there.

Then I walked into another room and inside was a place where they stored the tools and a man said, “Oh, look at the tools they used back then. If I lived in 1776, you would have found me here, grabbing all the tools to build this mission.” I looked over at him and he had a SMile that told me his gift was building and it didn’t matter how inefficient the tools were, he would be using them.

Then I continued on… into another room… where there was a living space that was tiny and I heard a young girl say, “Oh look how cute this room is. If I lived in 1776, I would be playing house in this room, because when I grow up I want to be a mother and keep my house tidy like this room.” I looked over and saw  she had a SMile on her face that told me her gift was going to be having a family and no matter how small her house would be, she would care for it.

As I walked through each door I kept seeing the same thing. Faces that would light up when the person walked through the door of the room “they belonged in.”

Then it happened. I walked through my door and it was there where, for the first time in my life, I understood what Alexander Graham Bell was saying. I had found my doorway. It was open and just my size. The room was small and it housed the only things I’ve ever needed: A Bible and a writing desk. Yes, there were other things in there, but I didn’t notice. All I noticed was that I had found my SMile and that is when I said, “If I lived in 1776, I would be sitting in this room, reading the Bible and writing down all that I learned, and then I’d run outside and teach what I learned to all who wanted to listen!”

 
IMG_5243

 

For a moment I stood in “MY” doorway and I didn’t want to leave. I had finally found the place within my heart and it was there where I met Alexander Graham Bell. It was as if he was standing in the room saying, “You have found my little secret. The secret of the door is looking back on your life and knowing that YOUR heart is the one that closed all the other doors behind you. Now, keep this door open, read your Bible, write what you learn and share with those who ask you.”

He was right. Within my life thousands of doors had been shut, but the truth-of-the-matter of life is when we know what we were born to do, we’ll stop at nothing to complete it. The trick is to keep walking through doors until we find the one door that makes our heart beat in such way that we couldn’t close the door if we wanted to.

Within the Bible IT IS WRITTEN, “…so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.” Matthew 25:10

 

L.B.

ONWARD BY FAITH!

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Believe in your nuts!

photo (3)

Have you ever had one of those days where you’re feeling so bad you just don’t ever want to get up again?

For the past several weeks I’ve been under the “instructions” of a physician on what I can eat and what I need to stay away from,  and it seems that my new frequent favorites are “nuts”.  All I have to do is pick a nut: a walnut, peanut almond, brazilian! As long as it’s a nut. I’m free to eat.

Anyway, last week I was having a really bad day and as I went to reach for a walnut, for some reason my heart really missed my grandfather, so within the simplicity of how my heart works, I looked up to heaven and asked God to simply tell my grandfather I said hello and that I love him.

A few hours later my friend, Gina Aponte, sent me an instant message on Facebook asking  if she could send me some shelled walnuts, and I knew… God was letting me know that my grandfather was saying hello and that he loved me too.

How did I know that?

Because… when I was in high school my grandmother used to paint pictures and then each weekend she would take her paintings down to the park and she would erect them on easels and wait for someone to come along and appreciate them. Now, while she was waiting for customers, my grandfather was waiting for her, and he would take his newspaper and sit in the park and read. Then one day he noticed  a woman had set up a booth and  was selling something unusual:  painted walnuts that looked like strawberries. She wasn’t selling any so my grandfather walked up to her, purchased one, and tried to tell her how to sale them. But, when the woman didn’t care to listen to what he had to say,  my grandfather decided he would go home and make his own. The following weekend he would return with his painted nuts and show the woman how it was done.

Strawberry Nut Ornament

And, “done” he did. Within 10 minutes my grandfather had sold every one of his “red” creations, and when the woman saw that he sold them so quickly she immediately came running to his table and asked, “What’s your secret? How did you do that?”

His reply…

“Lady, you’ve got to believe in your nuts!”

I never in my life thought I would be sharing that “I believe in my nuts”,  but I do! Because if God can go so far out of his way to put it on Gina’s  heart to send me a box of nuts… Can you imagine what He’ll do for YOU!

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14)

Gina Aponte, “And you thought you were just sending me a box of nuts!”

L.B.
Onward with a SMile!

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The Most Valuable Lesson in Business… I Learned from a Lemon Tree!

Lemon Tree

Has anyone priced the cost of lemons these days? In California a simple lemon is going for 89 cents a piece, and the way I use them,  I realized that I’ve been spending around $53.40 each month to keep them stock piled so I wouldn’t run out. Last Saturday the unimaginable happened. I ran out, and when I went to the store they were out. What was I to do?

I came home and told my husband that the world was running out of lemons. He laughed and  shared that his sister had a lemon tree and he would see if she would share. She did and WOW did she have lemons. She has a lemon tree that is over 25 years old and each lemon is the size of a softball, so I decided that I would take six lemon seeds  from her donated lemons and plant them. I would grow my own lemon trees so that I would never run out again.  I planted the seeds and shared with my husband that I had solved my ‘problem of the lemons’ and within 3-to-5 years I would be producing an abundance of lemons!

“Are you serious? he said. “You’re going to wait 3-to-5 years for those seeds to grow?”

“Yep!”

Then yesterday happened. My husband walked into my garden and saw my bright yellow container with a note that shared there were lemon seeds within the soil and he said, “That’s it. Get in the car. I’m taking you to a nursery and I’m going to buy you a lemon tree that has a lemon on it.”

We got in the car and drove to several nurseries and no one had a lemon tree to sale and all I could think was… The world is running out of lemons. What am I going to do? But as life always seems to work itself out we came upon a nursery that had one lemon tree standing alone as if to say, “Pick me!” My husband looked at the price and said, “Let’s go to a few more places. I can’t fathom paying 24.50 per lemon, because with only two lemons growing,  these will be the most expensive lemons you have ever squeezed.”

Last Tree Standing

We got in the car, headed to a few more places before we ended up back at the nursery with the last lemon tree standing. My husband purchased my tree and when we were leaving I noticed there was a beautiful statue of a little girl sitting in the garden. I snapped her picture and when we arrived home my husband planted the tree for me, I watered it, and the two of us went inside. Our mission was accomplished.

Little Girl Waiting

Then this morning I walked outside  to check on my two lemons and it was there where God showed me the most valuable lesson in business that I will ever learn.

My two lemons

For 25 plus years I’ve been working on a non-profit that has been very hard, and every time I wonder if we’ve given enough, God will put it on my heart to keep going. So, we go!

But, what I realized this morning was that God used the lemon tree to show me the importance of timing, and when He wants someone else to do something for us. To help us. To teach us. To give to us. He will put it on their heart to do so. Just like the tree. I was willing to wait for the harvest, where my husband’s heart was willing to purchase the necessary tree in which fruit was already producing.

One of my favorite bible verses arrives within Habakkuk 2:3, For the vision is yet for an appointed time and it hastens to the end; it will not deceive or disappoint. Though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come; it will not be behindhand on its appointed day. 

Now, I know why it’s always been one of my favorite verses, because my Appointments with God have been nothing more than my waiting on His appointed time to teach me the lesson, and He’s right. I’ve never been deceived by Him or disappointed.

And, real quick… Back to the picture I snapped of the statue of the little girl. God used that photograph to remind me that even though my body is aging my mind still remembers the little girl who once sat in a garden and dreamed that the desires of her heart would one day be made possible, and from this day “onward”,   I will never ask God again if He still wants me to give comfort, because much like the tree. All I have to do is plant the seeds and the harvest will arrive.

The fun part of this appointment is within a few years I will have six lemon trees that I will pass on to others, and they too will have lemons in abundance, because there are some moments in life where we plant a seed thinking the fruit is for us, but in the end… He had us plant it to help another.

My hope in sharing the story of my lemon tree  is to share that if God has given you a dream…  keep growing it because one day your harvest will arrive or another will arrive to help and the two of you will harvest “the” dream together.

L.B.
Onward to watering the desires of my heart!

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Remembering Lisa…

Gina and Lisa

Gina and Lisa

A few weeks ago a dear friend of mine passed away, and her “Celebration of Life” was last Friday. Lisa and I met a few weeks before we graduated high school, but from the moment we became friends we stayed in constant contact with each other. Lisa was an amazing women, who lived an adventuresome life, and she did many things that I can only dream about. For instance… jumping out of planes, hanging with lions, tigers and bears! Her love for life was contagious, and at a young age Lisa was diagnosed with MS, and spent the majority of her time living each day to her fullest.  I was blessed to be given a moment to share a story about my friend, as those were gathered to celebrate her life, and  being that I believe the most important words we share with others are the memories of others… I wanted to make sure that I placed this moment within yet another… Appointment with God!

My words shared…

Each day I’m surrounded by adversity, and because I happen to believe that God allows things to happen for a reason, people always ask me this question…

“If God is such a loving God, why does He allow bad things to happen to good people?”

Up until a few days ago my answer was always the same.

“I have no idea why God allows bad things to happen to good people, but I trust Him in all things.”

Most the time that answer never sufficed the people who asked me, and needless to say they would leave our conversation more confused!

But last Sunday I was sitting in my office and I decided instead of not understanding “why” God would allow bad things to happen to good people, I decided I would simple ask God to show me the answer, and that’s what I did,  and it didn’t take but a moment for God to remind me of these verses in the book of Matthew…

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Now, I am not sharing these verses to preach a sermon today, but to share with you “why” God allows bad things to happen to good people.

And the answer is… because God is blessing us!

We think blessings should arrive within the perfections of:  relationships, children who never screw up, great jobs, enough money, the perfect house, vacations, life without sin, and bodies that never tire, but in the reality of what Lisa and I believe… Jesus never said those things were the blessings, but rather, He shared with us that the blessings arrived within the adversities within our lives, and even today… and through Lisa, I realized the truth to what He was sharing.

Lisa was the blessing!

And because He loved Lisa so much He gave her the hardest job in the world and that was to learn the lesson of living each day to “her” fullest, and reminding us of what truly is important, and that is each other!

Lisa had time for everyone, and when I would show up at her door, she would greet me with her smiling face. She would share stories with her dry and witty sense of humor of her animals, family and friends, and she never had unkind word to say about anyone that she considered her friend.

I happened to be with the Lisa the day of her “ah ha” moment when she realized that God wasn’t punishing her with an illness, and that she didn’t do anything wrong, but because he knew her heart so well, He knew that she was strong enough to handle the adversities that He would allow within her life, and when Lisa shared with me that she understood what it meant to allow Jesus into her heart, I told her to hold on a minute… I ran to my car, got my notebook and when the two of us were face-to-face again I said, “Lisa, each day I make an appointment with God, and when something grand happens or I learn something I write it down, because I want to believe that life isn’t about the disappointments within our lives, but the appointments that God makes with us, so we can see the beauty that arrives within our hearts!”

When I had my notebook in hand I said, “LISA! Okay. The roving reporter in me wants to know why you decided to accept Jesus into your heart today,” and she said, “Because this morning when I woke up I asked God if He was real to send someone to knock on my door… and today you knocked!”

The two of us smiled, and I shared with her how I was passing by and God put it in my heart to stop and check on her, and that is why I knocked, and when we both realized that my knocking and her opening the door was not an accident, but an “appointment!” Lisa smiled at me and said what Lisa always said to me… “Alrighty then!”

I believe God has me scribe these appointments, because there always seems a time when I get to look back to finish the story, and the beautiful part of the story of Lisa is the moment she entered heaven… God pulled her aside and she got to see the story of her life, only as it played out she didn’t see the adversities she once had, but she was able to see the love and joy that she gave to others.

And, I for one am so blessed that she was willing to call me her friend, because the friendship of “Lisa” was one of the greatest gifts God could have ever given me!

And to verify that the story I just shared is true and correct I have to add that God gave me one more appointment that I HAVE TO SHARE!

As I was finishing writing the above I stopped typing and looked up to heaven and asked God, “Is this the story you want me to share with her family and those who loved her. If she truly is with you, and is happy and whole, let my heart know?” I waited for a moment and my phone rang and on the other end I heard my mother say to my father, “That was weird!”

Immediately I said, “What’s weird, and my mother said… “Gina, I know your cell phone number. Your number is 210-1403, but as I was dialing you I got an answering machine and it said, “You have reached the number for Lisa Smith! Gina, I hung up the phone and I dialed your number again, and it said the same thing…

She then had me call the number, and my mom was right. God confirmed my heart that we have reached the number for Lisa Smith only her number has been changed to 523-2013 because….

May 23, 2013, is the day when God “called” Lisa home!

L.B.

ONWARD TO THE MEMORIES!

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PHONE A FRIEND!

AppointmentswithGodCalling

A few weeks ago I shared Kenn McFarland, and how each day he shows up and shares a verse in the Bible, adding my name to personalize it.  Today he sent me this:

Heavenly Father, may Gina be a living expression of Christ’s love and faithfulness this day and everyday; and Father, and may she hold fast to Your word of truth; and Father, may she be steadfast, immovable; yea Father, and may she be faithful and always abounding in the work of the Lord; and Father, may she bring into captivity every thought, imagination and desire to the obedience of Christ; and Lord, may she live a life worthy of the calling which she has received; and Father, may she discipline herself for the purpose of godliness; and Father, sanctify her in Your truth for Your Word is truth; and Lord, may she earnestly seek you; yea Lord, and may her soul thirsts for you; and Father, may she stand firm in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ; and Father, may Your perfect plans be accomplished in her life!! In Christ’s name I pray Amen and Amen

As I was reading through I found myself stopping after I read:  and Lord, may she live a life worthy of the calling which she has received;

For over ten minutes I silently sat at my computer, pondering what I had just read, and found myself remembering these words…  11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. Jeremiah 29: 11-14

And this is what I want to share.

I can’t write the exact amount of times that I have been asked this question, “Gina, how do you know if you have been called by God to do something?”

People think because I give gifts of comfort to hospitalized children that it must have been this grand calling. As if God came and stood before me and said, “Gina, now this is what I want you to do for me, and you’re going to do it, because this is your calling.”

But…  truth-be-told, that’s not the story of how I found my calling within my life.

And within the simplicity of what I just read, I just found my answer to that age ol’ question. How do you know if it’s God who is calling you to serve Him?

Answer: We know that it’s time to do something for God, when we know that He’s the only one who can help us do it! And in the simplicity of knowing the right time to start doing something,  is the day we acknowledge that we need help…  His help!

Each person was created with a desire within their heart, and all God is waiting for is YOU! He’s waiting for you to call  up to Him  and share the plans that you have within your heart, because He knows them… He’s the one who put them there, but in His patience and wisdom, He silently waits for you to declare that He is YOUR LORD, because that is the moment in which you PERSONALLY KNOW, that He created you so He could prosper you, and not harm you, so that He could give you hope and a future. And… all He’s waiting for is YOUR CALL. He wants you to pray, (communicate) because He’s listening. He wants you to seek Him (as if you were calling out to a friend) because HE wants what we all want.

A FRIEND!

L.B.

Onward to phoning my friend!

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MY FAVORITE GIFT OF ALL…

Jesus

I love gifts that make me think and this Christmas I received such a gift.

Opening my first present I felt all the excitement that I once felt when I was a child. What is within the wrapped box? 

I needed nothing. Asked for nothing, but yet there was a present wrapped and delivered with my name on it, and as I was opening the gift I realized that receiving a gift is just as wonderful as giving one!

My gift was given to me by my brother and his wife, and as I opened it I could see a hint of uncertainty on their faces. Did they get me the right gift? It wasn’t until I opened it, SMiled, and thanked both of them did I hear, “Oh good. We didn’t offend her.”

What was my gift?

Jesus. I received a Jesus doll, and when the night came to a close my husband shared with my family that I keep a Nativity Set out all through the year. Within the set is baby Jesus, lying in the manger, and when my husband wants to see if I’m paying attention to the Nativity Set he will take baby Jesus out of his manger and will place him in another spot. If I haven’t noticed that Jesus has been moved he will ask, “Where’s baby Jesus? Where did he go?” As he shared the story he took my gift and placed him on the mantel and said, “Now, I’ll be able to hide this Jesus too!”

Of course the next morning my husband found a secret hiding place for Jesus and asked, “So, where is Jesus today?” I walked around my 600 sq. ft. home and couldn’t seem to find him. At one point my husband was getting frustrated and said, “Gina, Jesus is right in front of your face. I can’t believe you don’t see him!” I took a moment and sure enough, Jesus was right in front of my face. I FOUND HIM!

For the past two weeks I’ve been thinking about that moment and how frustrated my husband became when I wasn’t able to find Jesus right away, but truth-be-told, God used that moment to show me how there have been many times within my life where I’ve been frustrated with other people when they couldn’t find Jesus when I was explaining him to them. I believe that this Christmas the best gift I’ve ever received was a reminder that finding Jesus is both a journey and a destination, and I never want to hinder someone from their journey towards their destination.

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

L.B.

Onward to finding Jesus!

 

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