What Are Your Triggers and Defining Moments?

Luke 22:61&62 , 61: “At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” 62: “And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly. “

We all have words or sounds, that are triggers that bring us back to places from our past. Some of them are great memories and others are not. Those words are often tied to the emotions that we experienced with them. Some may even have both great and bitter memories attached simultaneously. They can bring us back to times when we have failed, or the things that we just want to erase from our past. They can be some of the most defining moments in our life. What are we to do with them is the question, how are we to look and react today when they resurface?

Before I became a Christian, I spent many Friday nights at the club with my friends, drinking and dancing. I have always loved to dance, and enjoyed music that brought that desire to life. I have many great memories made with friends from those nights at the bar dancing. Those times were also a time in my life that I was making some not so good choices in life. I was spending money on things that I should not have, I was not respecting my body, in the ways that I dressed, my consumption of alcohol and the language that I was using was not Godly. So all though there are many great memories, it is also a time that I wish I had been wiser and holds many memories that I wish were never created. Naturally, we had some songs that were a given for all of us go dance to. Today when I hear those songs I am often brought back to those moments. Some of which are among the most embarrassing and shameful things that I did. They are also great reminders of how far I have come in my growth with Jesus, how much I have changed.

The above scripture tells us of a trigger that Peter would have in his life. Peter lived in a time when roasters would have been everywhere. The crowing of a rooster would be a regular event in his life. (roosters crow all times of the day, not just in the morning) That means that as Peter was going out and preaching the gospel, often there would be roosters crowing. Peter could have heard the crowing and suddenly be reminded of the time he had denied Jesus, transported back to “weeping bitterly” and full of shame. It could have caused him to stop doing what he was called to do. He could have seen it as an event that disqualified him from preaching. A defining moment that left Peter sitting in shame and remorse. Yet he did not allow this to happen. Why?

I am inclined to believe that the crowing also took him back to the encounter he had after Jesus resurrection. When Jesus had a one on one conversation with him and instructed him to feed his sheep. (John 21:17) It likely reminded Peter of the grace and forgiveness that Jesus had given him. The trigger of the rooster, showed and helped him to recall how he was no longer the same person who denied Jesus but was now standing firm and preaching the good news of Jesus. Instead of letting the crowing be the defining moment of his life, he made it be God’s grace and mercy.

When you have those triggers pop up in your life, the ones that crow and the enemy tries to use, to remind you of your old self. The ones that bring can trigger shame and guilt, use them to remind you of how far you have come. To reflect on the grace, mercy and love that Father God has given to you, and to spur you on to spread the gospel.

Keep Talking with Endearing Words

Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

This year my husband and I will celebrate 10 years of being married. I am grateful that God connected us. Marriage is not like a fairy tale, it is work. As humans we by nature tend to be selfish, in marriage we must deny our selfish nature, and put the needs of our spouse before our own. When I think back to when we were in the beginning stage of our relationship, we would talk for hours. We made sure to speak words that were endearing to each other. We were considerate always, growing in our love for each other, wanting to discover more and more about who each of us was. Now it seems that we are not as curious and considerate as we once were. I think that is normal, that we begin to believe we know everything about them. But this is not truth at all. People learn new things everyday, they try new things, discover new things that they like or don’t like, gain new wisdom about themselves, the world and so much more. Honestly, when we think about our selves we know that we are constantly learning more about who we are. So to think that we know everything about another person is just ego. We can also stop talking endearingly to each other. we can begin to just talk about things, chores, work, our family activities but lose the sweet words. If we are not mindful our words can turn from sweet to sour.

If we look at today’s scripture, we can use it as a net for catching words that do not build up our spouses. That does not mean that I only speak about things that are wonderful. It means that when I speak about the hard parts of our marriage or life, that I do so in a way that builds and strengths my husband and our marriage. Giving and being able to receive constructive criticism is vital in good relationships. It means that we are speaking word that are going to bring us closer together, and heal any hurts not cause new ones.

I want to be the wife who and person in life who speaks words that encourage, exhort and show grace according to the other person’s needs. That means I need to listen to know what they are needing. Not what I need. It’s not about self. Marriage is about agreeing to put your spouses needs above your own. It’s so contrary to the worldly views, that have us singing things like, “What have you done for me lately” It is important to understand that we all go through different seasons, and have different needs during that season. Sometimes we need to be alone, other times we need physical closeness, sometimes we need to be reminded of how far we have come, and other times we need words to compel us to get moving forward. It is so important to understand that we can not be everything for spouses and they can not be everything to us. We need God and we need other friendships.

How do you speak to others? Are your words to those closest to you spoken with kindness? Do you speak like you did when you first met each other? We are not perfect, unkind words spoken in the heat of the moment happen, but should not be the norm.

As a wife I am to not be the nagging wife. I have chosen to trust my husband to hear me when I ask for something to be done that he will do it when the time is right for him. I know he wants to get things done, cares about our home and wants to honor me. So I don’t need to nag him. I don’t want to be the angry or complaining wife. I want to have contentment and show that contentment with what we have and what we are doing. This part is a struggle for me at times, I love to be outgoing and social,and my hubby is more of an introvert. But I know he loves me and he also puts my needs into consideration. So he goes places that he does not want to go for me. He knows that I love to go an try new things so he also encourages me to go to places with my friends with no guilt about going. When I see that I am starting to engage in any negative words, I go back to the above scripture and get the needed attitude adjustment. That means I am always watching and guarding my heart and my thoughts, because or mouth is the tool that speaks what is in our hearts and minds.

Today I challenge you as I also challenge myself to speak the enduring words you spoke when you first met. To reignite the curiousness you had to learn all about your spouse, to be more active in listening to their needs. Speak words that build them up and your relationship up. Don’t hold on to hurts. God’s word tell us that his mercies are new everyday(Lamentations 3:22-23) , I am grateful for that and want to show that same mercy to my husband.

What Is Your Harvest?

Galatians 3:16 “Now the promises[in the covenants] were decreed to Abraham and his seed. God does not say, “And to seeds(descendants, heirs),” as if [referring] to many [persons], but as to one, “And to your Seed, ” who is [none other than] Christ.”

One of the blessings in my life is that we have some land to make gardens. We have numerous flower gardens and a fairly large vegetable garden area. All of the gardens come with rewards and tasks. The vegetable garden has been a lot of hard work, but is a labor of love. Our property has a forest area on one side and there are many large trees on ever side of the property, the back yard is down a hill, and the ground is mostly sand or clay. We had to find a spot that would not become to flooded if there was major rainfall, gets the most amount of sun, and then begin to work on the ground. A few trees needed to be chopped down to give us some of the needed sun, the grass and weeds needed to be removed and the ground cultivated. The first year we tried using a small electric rototiller and actually broke it. Since then we have purchased a STIHL KombiMotor and the Mini-Cultivator attachment. It has not disappointed. We also have purchased a few yards of top soil, and triple mix and some peat moss that have been tilled in over the 3 years since we started. Next year we will be adding some manure. The weeds continue to find a way to the garden and removing them is never ending. The 1 year we bought plants and since then we to try use seeds that I had kept from some of the harvested veggies and some seeds from heirloom vegetables I bought at the local farmers market. I start the seeds indoors and then do a gradual exposure to the harsh outdoors to ensure they become hardy, and wait for the last frost before putting them in the garden. We also need to water them if there has not been any rain, watch for insects and have had to put chicken wire all around and even put up a scarecrow. We also now add marigolds to help stop the critters. We have lots of wonderful birds, and wild life but they like to eat my garden.

This was the first year we had him up, My hubby made him, I think he looks awesome !!

The harvest from the garden has been getting better each year as the ground becomes more fertile. I hope that this year besides having lots to eat during the summer, I am able to can more from our garden.

The above scripture tells us that Jesus is the seed that was born of the promise to Abraham. Just like the seeds I have planted in my garden, first I need to accept the seeds to be planted. We must first accept Jesus as our Savior and welcome Him to live in our heart. The seed of Jesus is always good and will produce a harvest of great bounty, and all good things in our life. It will sustain us in hard times, comfort us, bring peace and joy, wisdom and blessings beyond our imagination. God’s desire is for all to have his full harvest of goodness available through Christ. The ground ( which is our heart and our lifestyle) needs to be cultivated, nurtured, watered and cared for. Similar to how to my veggie garden is a work in progress, that change from hard clay to growing a large harvest of vegetables takes time. There is work involved. Weeds need to be removed, some God will remove for us and other we will need His strength in us, to remove them. We need to be diligent in reading and obeying His word to be watered and grow. Just like my garden has taken time and each year the harvest of good vegetables has grown, so will our harvest of the goodness and promises grow each year. God is not a genie in bottle. His promises are never ending, but there is more to it then just rubbing a bottle the right way. He knows that we need to become hardy, (like my plants to be ready for the outside) ready to accept all of His goodness or it will just rot away. Once you accept Jesus, fully surrender, listen and obey in your friendship with Him, allow Him to weed out the bad parts, or direct you how to do it, watch as your harvest grows more and more each year. Some of the work will be hard, but the rewards will be amazing.

I would love to hear some of the weeds that God has removed, and some of the harvest that you have received from Him.

I Want The Power.

2 Kings 3:15(b) 16 & 17, 15(b) “While the harp was being played the power of the Lord came upon Elisha,” 16. “and he said, “This dry valley will be filled with pools of water!’ 17. “You will see neither wind nor rain, says the Lord, but this valley will be filled with water. You will have plenty of water for yourselves and your cattle and other animals.”

Recently I have been struggling with energy issues and frustration waiting for some doors to open. I have been waking up and feeling tired but not able to sleep, just an overall feeling of being depleted of energy. I will say that it has been pretty humid here and I have also been battling migraines, but even when they are not present I just can’t seem to get going. My mind is full of all these great plans and ideas of things I want to get done, but my body is not co-operating. This overall lack of power or energy, then gets my mind racing. It opens the door to the enemy to start me thinking about the plan that I believe God has given me for my life. (I believe and have been told by many other people that I will be preaching at churches, and other places as a guest to help people find and live the blessed life they desire. To show them how to break free form bondage and know Jesus.) In these times of no energy, I have started questioning will this ever happen, will I be able to physically do it. I hear the enemy saying things like, who do you think you are? Look how long you have been believing this and it has not happen yet, you won’t be able to do it. I have been getting up praying, reading my Bible, studying it and still not finding the energy or power I need. I started to feel the weight of depression sneaking in. Despite all my head knowledge and believe in the power and hope of Jesus, it was not being manifested in me. I don’t think that I am alone in this, I am sure that this has happen to many others. Then a few days ago God, who hears our prayers and answers brought me to the above scripture. It was a game changer. It reminded me of something that I had not been doing. With the closure of my home church from Covid-19 and our home having limited amounts of internet data available, I had been choosing not to stream the worship part of my church service and jumping on when the sermon portion started. Additionally, one of my favorite places to listen and sing my Christian music is in my car, and Covid-19 has limited my going out in my car.

The above scripture states that when the harp was played the power of the Lord came upon Elisha. I wanted, I needed some of that power. So I made sure to listen to some christian music. Honestly, it was a game changer. I have been feeling more energetic. I have a new power alive in me. My mind was filled with renewed hope, the enemies voice was silenced and Gods word in the music was on repeat. In some ways such a simple thing to do listen to worship music, but what an incredible impact it had on me both physically and emotionally. I really believe that the Holy Spirit was prompting me to listen to the music. What happen when I was obedient was not only did I feel like my dry valley of energy was filled, like the dry valley in the scripture, but I was asked to preach this Sunday at one of my local churches. I did not see that coming. Many of the churches in my area including my home church remain closed because of Covid-19. Those that are open, have only been open for a few weeks after many months of being closed. In my mind I could not see this actually being a time when I would be invited to preach. Yet God opened that door. Just like in the above scripture, where it says you will see neither wind or rain, yet the valley will be filled with water.

Are you in a dry valley of any kind? A dry bank account, a dry relationship, dry health, dry joy, whatever it is for you, and you want the power and the valley filled with living water of Jesus, then crank up some Christian music. Stay listening and singing along until like Elisha the power of the Lord comes upon you. When that power is on you, God will give you wisdom of how to fill the valley or He may just do it for you. God loves to bless His children, He still performs miracles today. You may not even see any sign of it changing and then suddenly it is.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Also would you please pray for me as I preach this Sunday. That I would hear and speak the words that the Holy Spirit gives me with confidence and that the people would grow in their relationship and understanding of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Thanks in advance for those prayers.

Why Would God Allow This?

2 Chronicles 13:5(b) & 6. 5(b) ‘This is what the Lord says;You have abandon me, so I am abandoning you to Shishak.” 6 “Then the leaders of Israel and the King humbled themselves and said “The Lord is right in doing this to us.”

Since I have become a Christian I have heard and been asked many times “Why would God allow this to happen.” by friends that are not living Christian life’s. I have even wondered why God would allow certain things to happen. The truth is we likely may not know the answer to this for somethings while we are alive. On some occasions, after coming through the trial or circumstance that has caused me to ask that question, I can see why God allowed it. The trials have caused me to learn more about myself and areas that I need to work on, a new level of empathy for others, opportunities to see God’s hand at work and so much more. This is explained in Romans 5: 3-5. But today while reading my Bible the above scripture jumped out at me.

The Back ground to the scripture is this:

  • It was being said to Rehoboam, who was King of Israel and the leaders of Israel.
  • Rehoboam had followed God and in 2 Chronicles 12:1, it states that he was firmly established and strong because he followed God, but once he was strong and established he abandon God.
  • He was on the run from Shishak, and had already lost his fortified towns to them
  • It was spoken to him and the leaders by a prophet, Shemaiah

I started thinking and placed myself in Rehoboam shoes. He was right in the middle of his crisis, had already lost his home, was fearful for his life and was told this is because you have abandon God, so He is abandoning you. Would I humble myself and think, yep God is right in doing this to me? Or would I get upset with the messenger? In today’s world we likely are not running for our lives from warriors, but we may experience money, relationship, or health crisis. If we are completely honest with ourselves, we often can see that it is because we have abandon Godly ways of living (this is not always true, but very often is). We have not followed Godly principals in money management, showing love to others and ourself in relationships, or treated our bodies like temples by exercising, eating healthy, and avoiding things that are dangerous to our health. Then when the crisis comes we say Why Would God Allow This?

How does the story end? God in reality had not abandon them, He was right there waiting for them to turn to Him. When they humbled themselves and prayed God gave them relief.( 2 Chronicles 7) GOD DOES NOT ABANDON US!! HE IS THERE WAITING FOR US TO TURN TO HIM. That is how free will works. God will allow us to make mistakes and suffer the consequences when we do not follow His ways, but we can call on Him for help and get some relief.

So the next time we start to question Why would God allow this? let’s take an honest look and ask ourselves was I involving Him in all the choices I made that led to where I am? If not be humble and say like Reoboam and the leaders did, “The Lord is right in doing this to us.” Then pray asking for forgiveness and some relief. He is right there waiting for you to turn to Him and He will answer. It may not be the help you wanted, but it will give you some relief.

Remove Your Veil

2 Corinthians 3:16-18, 16.” But whenever anyone turns to the Lord , the veil is taken away.” 17. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 18. “And we all; who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

It will be ten years ago this September that I married my husband. It was one of the best days of my life. Our wedding was not huge or elaborate but it was perfect to me. In typical Angelina fashion, I was late getting to the church. In my defense, the delay was not because of me this time. I have also been working on applying the principal, 5 minutes early is on time. ( sometimes I am successful) I remember when I arrived looking down the aisle at my soon to be husband and feeling so overwhelmed with joy. I actually was shaking and crying with tears of joy. He stood there waiting for me to come. To proclaim to the world (ok, to me it was the world) that he loved me, that he would protect and honor me no matter what. That even on my worst days He would be by my side. I could be completely honest with him about my hurts, fears, and the things that I was not proud and his love would still be there. I looked down the aisle at his eyes and they were calling me, to come to Him. I could remove the veil and show him and share with him all of me. I did not need to hide behind the veil that I used with others. He loved me and would love me flaws and all. After exchanging or vows I would be transformed into Angelina Taylor, wife, sister, daughter, (at the time I had not connected with my birth Mom and brothers and my adopted Mom had past away). I would become part of a new family.

The above scripture tells us how God is waiting for us, calling us to Him. Similar to how my husband was waiting down the aisle for me. That God wants to be connect with me. That through Jesus our veils are removed and God’s love is poured over us. That we have freedom, to express all of our emotions, to be raw and vulnerable and that He will be there with us. To give us healing, acceptance and love. That we can expect to be the recipient of His glory. The glory of joy, strength, wisdom and faithfulness. The glory of being transformed into His image, the way He see us and designed us to be. That we can have our veils removed to see the love He has for us, and experience the best relationship imaginable. Similar to how I was transformed after the vows I exchanged with my husband, we will be transformed into His daughters/sons, family members with all the rights and the inheritance that He promises. All we need to do is turn to Him, He is standing there waiting for us to respond to Him. To accept Jesus and become and receive all the blessings that come with that acceptance.

Easy Fruit Dip

Strawberries are in season in my area right now and I do love them and all most all fruit. The other day I had a dear friend over and made this dip along with some fruit for us to nibble on well visiting. I sent some home with her and her grandchildren loved it. They asked her to get the recipe so I thought I would share it with you. It’s simple to make, only needs a few minutes to chill and is delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1 tub of vanilla yogurt
  • 1 package of Jell-o instant pudding ( I used vanilla but you can try other flavors)
  • 1 cup of stabilized whip cream or use 1 tub of freezer whipped cream thawed

Directions

  • In a large bowl, mix the yogurt, whipped cream and the pudding mix until completely combined. It will still be gritty but have no lumps. Once the pudding dissolves the grit will be gone.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and allow to chill for 30 minutes. Now enjoy with your fruit.

It can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Simple and delicious.

Mistakes and Flaws That is Me.

Song of Solomon 4:7″ You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.”

I admit I have days were it seems that everything I try to do just does not work out at all. I love to cook and bake and the times when I have company coming ,that is when everything seems to go wrong, or when I have somewhere important to go, that is when I will get a big pimple on my face, or not get a good sleep and shows on my face. One small thing can start me on the list of things in my head that I see that are flawed about me. Truth is I have many flaws, lots of scars (emotional and physical)and have made many mistakes. Being alive does that to all of us. The people I love also have scars and made mistakes.

How do you look at yourself and others? Do you see all the flaws? Have you lost the ability to see the beauty in yourself or them? I have found that it is easy to get trapped in the replaying of the lists of my own flaws in my mind. It takes more effort to see the good things about me. Additionally, when someone I love upsets me I can get caught up in thinking of their mistakes. In the above scripture Solomon shows us how to truly love both our self and others. He loves his wife so much that he does not see any flaws in her at all, to him she is all together beautiful. In 1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” So the moment the list starts to play in your head, stop it. Replace it with all the good things about yourself and others, look at through the eyes of love and be like Solomon who saw no flaws.

The Day I Had Always Dreaded. Father’s Day.

Psalm 68:5 “A father to the fatherless, and defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”

Father’s Day,I had always dreaded this day. As a small child at school we were given time to create great gifts for our Fathers. As a teen I would hear stories of how my friends had cool Dads and ones that they knew would protect them. I even heard stories of how they were worried about what thier Dad’s would think of their boyfriends. As an adult I seen how Grandpa’s showered my friends children with wisdom, fun times, love and great stories. But that was not my life. Fathers Day was a reminder of how unlovable I was, unwanted, and in my mind it grew to unworthy. This was my fatherhood experience, unwanted by my birth father( placed for adoption at birth), unwanted by adopted father (after the marriage of my adopted parents failed he no longer was a part of my life) , and sexually abused and abandoned by the men my Mom brought into my life. I know that I am not alone in the dread of this day. For many years I would go from determined to prove that I did not need a father, to trying to win fatherly love from others. In being determined, I was actually full of anger, resentment and bitterness. This way of living resulted in me not trusting most people, not letting anyone in and not being able to receive or give love to others or even to myself. Trying to win it, resulted in me being willing to accept behaviors that are unacceptable. I felt unworthy of love so bad treatment was what I deserved in my mind.

Even after I had accepted Jesus into my life I had some baggage that I carried over to my relationship and view of Father God. So many wrong thoughts of who He was. I can actually recall thinking at one point, that it as long as I had Jesus and the Holy Spirit I was good. I did not need Father God. Secretly, I thought it makes sense that Father God would send His son to suffer, that is what Dads do they cause their children to suffer. I admit I had a hard time as a new Christian understanding that they were all one in the same.

Then I found the above scripture, “A father to the fatherless” That was me!! He knew that there would be children like me. He cared enough to write about me in the Bible. A father who loved me unconditionally, that I had an identity of being His daughter. What did that mean? I searched it out in the Bible. It meant that I had a Dad that was my protector, that favored me, that I was the apple of His eye, that He was always with me, that He would give me joy, peace, wisdom and an inheritance. But most of all it meant that I was LOVED. I was Worthy and I did nothing to deserve it. I was born His child right from my birth. I may not have known it and certainly did not feel it when I was a child, but it was the truth. All I had to do was accept that he was my Dad, and that he sent Jesus to give me access to Him.

If you are like I was dreading Father’s Day, filled with issues from the absence of, poor treatment of your earthly Father, know that you have a Father, who loves you. He can heal all of those hurts, He is not a replacement, but was your Father all along.

Do Not Be Discouraged!!

1 Corinthians 16:58″ So my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is useless.”

Some days I feel like none of the work or things that I do even matter. That it is all pointless. I remember feeling this way, even more so when my children were younger. No matter how many times I said something to them it was like it went in one ear and out the next. Since I asked Jesus into my heart, I often feel like the seeds that I try planting for Him are not producing the fruit that they should. I believe that this is true for most of us at some point in our life. That we can start to feel that nothing we do matters, that it’s all useless,

The above scripture reminds me and encourages me that everything that I do that demonstrates a Godly life is useful. Sometimes it takes years to see it. I recall a number of years ago, while talking with my daughter on the phone, she said, “Mom, you were so right about the difference of washing your floor on your hands and knees.” It is a small thing, and my point is not about the actual act of washing your floors on your hands and knees.( wash your floors how ever you desire) nor am I saying that washing your floors this way is Godly. The point I am making here is, for years she would say, I don’t see the point of doing it that way. She refused to listen to my why, and I thought she was not listening at all. Then one day she proved me wrong. She was listening and she did try and she liked the results. The same thing can be true with more important things in life. Our words and actions that show Godly character and living can matter to people who we do not even know.

Sadly,my husbands “Granny” passed away before I got to meet her. The stories that I have heard about her makes me confident that she lived to glorify the Lord in everything she did. She left a legacy that she did not get to see. I have been so inspired by her handling of the trials in her life and her loving attitude towards others. Although I never met her I feel like I know her. It is not uncommon in my home to hear phrases that she said being repeated. She has planted in me ways of coping with difficulties that she likely had no idea were even going to be useful. I am going to be so excited to meet her in heaven, to share with her how she helped me, encouraged me and strengthened me in Lord.

Do not be discourage,keep on doing the work, be enthusiastic about your life and all that God has given you. Share through your words and actions the joy of living for God. It is all useful, even when you think it doesn’t matter, it does, even when you think the people you want to hear are not listening or don’t care, they may remember when it matters in their life. Or just like Granny, your words and actions may matter to someone who you never even met.