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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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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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I AM!

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over six months since I’ve had a second to scribe the moments I never want to forget, and this morning a friend called asking, “Gina, are you okay? I used to follow your whereabouts through your Appointments with God, but became concerned when you disappeared. I actually thought you may have died or something!”

“Died?” 

“Well, yes. I’ve known you for decades and you’ve always had an appointment to share and when silence filled my in box I realized I had to make sure that you were okay.”

We laughed and then she asked, “No, really. How are you?”

I am fine!” I replied, but in the midst of answering her question I smiled because 10 minutes before she called I ran into my office to grab my purse off my desk and when I did I knocked my Bible off, and as I was picking it up it opened to Exodus 3:14, and I read: 14 God replied to Moses, “I Am Who I Am. Say this to the people of Israel: I Am has sent me to you.”

My friend and I talked a bit longer and when she was assured that I was fine she said, “Well, I can’t wait to read your next Appointment with God. I’m sure that it’s going to be an interesting one. At least, if nothing else… I will know you are alive!”

We laughed, said our goodbyes and off I left to run my errands, but as I was driving I couldn’t help but wonder if God didn’t open the Bible deliberately to Exodus 3:14,  and if God didn’t have my friend call to ask if I was okay, because I answered her the same way God answered Moses when I said… “I am fine!” 

Then I started thinking about the many questions that people ask God, and I realized that within the words, “I AM”  He is giving a simple answer to the truth of who He really is, and He did so, so that everyone could understand the simplicity of “I AM!” 

Questions people ask God… 

Question: “God are you real?”
God’s answer: “I AM!”

Question: “God are you with me?”
God’s answer: “I AM!”

Question: “Who is going to help me pay my bills?”
God’s answer: “I AM!”

Question: “Who is going to help feed my family?”
God’s answer: “I AM!”

Question: “Who is going to help me find a job?”
God’s answer: “I AM!”

Question: “Who is going to be with me when I’m ill?”
God’s answer: “I AM!”

Question: “Who is going to watch over my children when I can’t?”  

God’s answer: “I AM!” 

The list of questions goes on and on, but in the midst  of “I AM!” I realized that God used my friend today to show me why I haven’t had any time to scribe the moments that I never wanted to forget, and that was because I had become, “I AM!”

My list had gone from being a “TO DO” list to a “I AM” list, and within my head it went something like this…  

I AM going to accomplish this today, and when I AM done, I will make an appointment with God and I AM going to scribe what I want to remember! Or… I AM going to figure out how to get out of debt today and when I figure it out I will then write my appointment with God. It seems that for the past six months I became “I AM!” and when that happened, it seems that I had no time to remember all that I never wanted to forget.

I do now believe that God showed me who He is and who I am, and it’s by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. 1 Corinthians 15:10

Onward to remembering… “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

 

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MY DEFINITION OF GIVING!

You

Today I woke up and wanted to crawl back into bed. Not feeling great today,  I put on my robe, grabbed a cup of coffee and came into my office. I’ve been sitting within my chair for nearly 4 hours working on one simple paragraph that would define the meaning of giving. Funny how the first thing I did was opened my Bible and  read through each verse that would give reverence to such an important subject, but to no avail my heart did not find what it was looking for. I then sat back in my chair and looked at all the photographs that line my office of children in hospitals receiving gifts of comfort, and I couldn’t seem to find the answer there either. As I was getting ready to put on my “To Do” list the word defeat next to “Write paragraph about giving!”  I decided I would Google definition giving! 

Funny how within the 50 definitions in which I found there was one that read,  To make a present of: We gave her flowers for her birthday.

But my heart heard… To make a presence!

THAT WAS IT!

That was what I was seeking and within a moment I realized that giving gifts to others isn’t about the gift that we give, but that we make a presence, because we are the gift. When we give a gift to another person we are saying to another that I value the gift of YOU, and the receiver of the gift (when they accept the gift is saying) I value the gift of YOU!

In the simplicity of my question, God showed me something beautiful. He was right. Jesus, His son, was the greatest gift He could give me because the message of Christ was… I value the gift of you, and  I when I  accepted his gift on the Cross it was because I valued the gift of him.

My prayer in sharing the definition of giving is next time it’s someone birthday, or they are having a bad day and you want to “give” them something… always remember that it’s the presence of you within their life that is the present.

How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 1 Thessalonians 3:9 

L.B.

Onward to simply being in the presence of giving!

 

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IN GOD I TRUST!

Yes I do

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”

Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God. Genesis 17: 1-8 

A few weeks ago I was reading through the book of Genesis and I haven’t stopped thinking about the stories in which I read. The story begins God created the Universe and everything that lives and breathes within it. It shared stories of those He walked with, and the words of wisdom in which He shared. As I was reading through the book there was something profound in which I “found!” I finally “found” my answer to this question that has been posed to me a hundred times over.

“If God is real than why doesn’t He come down here?”

I realized today that God is the Father of all things, and He had to walk away from us so that we could receive the true gift of “freedom”. Had He stayed on earth from the beginning of time (Genesis) He would have wanted to do what all parents do, and that is to tell us what and how to do it, and had that happened there would be no “freedom” of speech. There would be no “freedom” of religion, and more importantly there would be no “freedom” of “choice!”

With all my heart I believe that  in His infinite love, and the fact that people and hearts don’t change, I know that during the time of Mary  and Joseph there were many people who daily posed the same question that is asked today, “If God is real than why doesn’t He come down here?”

So, He did. He showed, and even when He showed many who saw Him could not believe that a God  would send His only son to live and die for us, and what I love about Jesus is that he had one thing that held all of him together above all things, and that was that he trusted God.

“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Luke 22:42

I realized that each day I’m surrounded by the words: faith, hope and love… but the word that I’m going to forever focus on is trust, because that one word (when left out) leaves every other word still questionable  For without trusting in faith, we don’t have faith. Without trusting in hope, we have no hope, and without trusting in love… there is no love!

L.B.

For the first time in my entire life I can honestly write, “ONWARD BY FAITH… BECAUSE I NOW COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND WHERE MY TRUST COMES FROM!

 

 

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THE DREAMERS AND THE DREAM!

AppointmentswithgodIhave

A few hours ago I read through the speech that Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered on August 28, 1963, in which he called for an end to racism within the United States of America.  When I finished reading through his dream, I went to my Bible and read the speech that Jesus shared the night before he was crucified, and for some reason the two “dreams” seemed very familiar. 

17 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you,the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Jesus Prays for All Believers

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you  known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” John 17: 1-26

I love how Jesus made a promise in verse 25 and how Martin Luther King, Jr. kept it!

What I realized today was both of them were sharing the same message, and the message still continues on today!

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you” Jesus

I have a dream that all men are created equal...” Martin Luther King, Jr.

L.B.

Onward to the dream and remembering the dreamers!

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