Tag Archives: hope

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Appointment with God, Onward by Faith

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Appointment with God, Belief, Bible, Christianity, Coffee, Devotion, Faith, Finding Yourself, Friendship, Gina Gippner-Woods, Gina Woods, GOD, God's Favor, Hope, Jesus

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Appointment with God, Belief, Bible, Christianity, Devotion, Faith, Friendship, Gina Gippner-Woods, Gina Woods, GOD, God's Favor, Hope, Owie BowWowie

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!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Appointment with God, Belief, Bible, Christianity, Coffee, Devotion, Faith, Finding Yourself, Friendship, Gina Gippner-Woods, Gina Woods, GOD, God's Favor, Hope

GOING UP!

I was 12 years old the first time I jotted down an Appointment with God, and it seems that each time I go to pen an appointment I’m always reminded of the young girl I once was. So inquisitive. I wanted to know the truth of my heart, and if I only knew the length of time that it would take me to find it, I wonder if I ever would  have scheduled my first appointment.

Last week I went on a trip that would introduce me to a woman who I’ve been talking to for nearly a year.  Kelly Barker and I were introduced by a mutual friend, and from the moment we first chatted on the phone we became instant friends. She helped me with my business, non-profit, and quickly I realized that I could learn much from her.  I was like a sponge trying to absorb everything that she had to say, and the more we chatted, the closer I felt to her. Within a few months of our friendship, her brother, Russ, was killed in an accident, and that is when I was able to share with her the knowledge that I had learned about life, death, and comfort.

Now, nearly 10 months into our friendship we finally journeyed “onward” towards each other so we could finally meet, and it was interesting because the moment I saw her coming down the escalator at the airport I felt as if my heart had known her my entire life. We hugged, giggled as girls do, and then we left the airport knowing that the few days we were going to spend together would define the amount of time we would spend together in the future.

Our trip was wonderful. From the moment we walked out of the airport to the moment I took her back to the airport, we were like life-long friends who just needed a few days to catch up to each other, and immediately we started talking about our next visit.

As I was driving away from our visit, my heart realized the importance of communication. Believing in others. Love that can’t be explained, but known.

Through this appointment with Kelly, God showed me the reason He asks us to open the Bible and read from His words. I spent the past year getting to know a woman I had never met face-to-face,  but because we took the time to get to know each other, the moment we saw each other we knew exactly who we were.

And, that’s all God wants. He knows us, because He created us, but what He wants is that when it comes time for us to take the escalator up to heaven he wants us to be able to look straight at Him and know exactly who He is.

I’m so glad I didn’t turn away from my first appointment with God, because I would have missed this one.

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1: 14-15

ONWARD TO MY NEXT APPOINTMENT!

 

2 Comments

Filed under Appointment with God, Belief, Bible, Christianity, Coffee, Devotion, Faith, Finding Yourself, Friendship, GOD, God's Favor, Hope, Jesus

THE OPRAH EFFECT…

The other day I was listening to the radio when someone made a reference to Oprah Winfrey and the effect that she had on the world. For the past few days I’ve been thinking about that statement and in some ways it’s true.

In 1986 I was watching her show and she had this amazing woman on who had done incredible things and Oprah said this, “People need to turn off the television and stop watching others do great things and do them!” At that moment I turned off Oprah’s show and vowed to never watch it again until I had accomplished something “grand” and I even said, “I won’t watch Oprah’s show until after I’ve done something grand with my life and then Oprah will call me to be on her show because I will have something interesting to share!”

When last year arrived I was talking to a friend and she asked me if I had seen the last Oprah show and my reply was, “In 1986 I vowed to never watch her show again until after I was on her show, and to my surprise… Oprah’s people never called my people, so ‘no’ I haven’t seen her show since 1986!” We laughed, but in many ways Oprah was right. She was successful not because of her knowing everything, but because she was smart enough to know that she didn’t know everything and added guests to her show that knew more on a subject than she did, and they in turn shared their knowledge with her viewers, and so on and so forth!

For me… If I were to have spent the past  26 years  spending one hour out of each day  (that’s 9,490 hours)  listening to stories of other people  I would have missed that “one” extra hour a day that I had to do something “grand!”

The interesting part was I realized today that I’ve always used that one hour spending time reading the Bible. So, in some interesting and odd way I do the same thing that other people were doing when they tuned on the Oprah show… only instead of watching and listening to what other people have done I’ve spent my days reading about what other people have done.

What have learned from Oprah?

I learned that God used Oprah’s voice to speak directly to me that day, and that because of her words I’ve truly used those hours to find my heart, and in many ways I would like to personally thank Oprah for being bold enough to tell people to turn off the television and do something, because that day, even through she lost “one” viewer,  “God” gained “another” friend.

There are only 24 hours in each day and I believe that the one hour I spend each day with the Lord is what has given me more time…

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33

Because eternity is what was added!

It truly is amazing how every person’s life affects another, and just in case Oprah’s been trying to get in touch with me… I’ll leave my number so she can give me a call, because truth-be-told… each person is “grand” within God’s eyes, and it’s too bad it only took me 26 years to figure that out!

805-497-0534

One never knows!

L.B.

ONWARD TO PRAYING YOU A “GRAND” DAY!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith

WE’RE NEVER TRULY LOST…

A few days ago my aunt and uncle came for a visit. The last time I saw them was a few years back when their son passed away and they filled me in on how his wife and daughters were doing. They continued on by sharing how my cousin, Gail, was holding up with her family and the new events that transpired within their lives. It’s interesting how at times… families can be so close, but then age and distance can  turn families into distant friends.

As our conversation continued my aunt shared a story about my grandmother and the story went like this.

“Gina, nearly 15 years ago your grandmother called me at work. Two young girls had knocked on her door asking if she had lost a White Poodle. Your grandmother took one look at the dog and immediately thought it was my dog, so she replied, ‘No, I didn’t lose a dog, but I know whose dog it is.’  And she took it.

A few moments later she called me at work and said, ‘Pat, now don’t you worry I have your dog and I will keep him here until you get home!’

Now, at that moment I began to worry because my dog was sitting at my feet and I said to your grandmother, ‘Mom, now I am worried and I will be right over.’

When I arrived at your grandmother’s house I walked in and saw a poodle that was supposed to be white, but was completely brown from trying to find his way home. The moment I walked through the door he immediately ran to my dog and was so happy to see him, that I decided since the two dogs got along so well I would take him home, clean him up and then work hard to find who his owners were.

For weeks I tried to find his home, but with no luck I became the owner of another poodle and the two dogs remained the best of friends for nearly a decade. When my poodle eventually died, the other one died within 24 hours, and within 24 hours and one minute I was left with nothing more than the beautiful memory of how one lost dog found his way home to a place where he would be reunited with his own breed, and a loving home!”

My aunt laughed and teared as she shared the story because she  believes that God blinded my grandmother’s eyes from seeing the dirt so that the dog wouldn’t be turned away, but would find his way home.

For the past few days I’ve been thinking about that story and how many times within my life I’ve been accused of not seeing what other people see, but now I believe that there are times within our lives where our heart sees what God wants us to see so we too can find our way home.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

When I think of the story of one lost dog I now see how God orchestrated that meeting between the girls, my grandmother and my aunt, and if God will make a way for a tiny little lost poodle He will certainly make a way for us!

16 This is what the Lord says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters,  17 who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick: 18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:16-19

Praying everyone a beautiful day. There’s nothing grander than being reminded that God knows which doors He wants us to open.

L.B.

ONWARD TO SEEING WHO KNOCKS ON MY DOOR!

 

1 Comment

Filed under Appointment with God, Belief, Bible, Christianity, Devotion, Faith, Friendship, GOD, Hope, Jesus