Blessing Others

I went to Atlanta, GA with my daughter, granddaughter and a few of her friends so they could go to a concert. While they were at the concert, my daughter and I went to eat at an upscale cafe. We were sitting outside, near the sidewalk, watching as people walked by. A homeless couple stopped and said they didn't want any money but that they were hungry. I invited them to join us for dinner and they sat down. The server hesitated but then brought them a menu. I felt stares from the people sitting around us but continued to talk with them. They only wanted food to go so as we waited, we talked about their situation and I was blessed by their company. When they brought their food, we said our goodbyes and I asked for my ticket. The server told me it had been paid! I was so surprised and asked who paid. She told me another table had paid our check because we had blessed our table and they wanted to bless us. God is so amazing.

- Renee Thompson

Availability vs. Ability

A few weeks ago Jeff preached on availability, not ability. Shortly after that, I was asked to take a leadership position in an organization. It was a position that I really wasn't qualified to do. I did, however, say yes. I would take the position since it seemed that no one else more qualified would step up and fill the spot. A few days later, a more qualified person was found and I didn't need to take the position. I feel that God was asking me to just be "available" to whatever He wanted me to do, not that He actually wanted me to do that particular job. A friend of mine calls things like that "God's wink". I like the term.

- Anonymous

Miracles

I do believe that God performs miracles. Once, while I was doing housework, I heard God speak to me. In a very plain voice, He said, "If you are to be a vessel for me to dwell in, it will have to be perfectly clean." I think that was a miracle! Also, after my husband had been dead for quite some time, I had a very unusual experience. I was in the balcony in the Sanctuary on a Communion Sunday. As we stood to sing, I felt His presence beside me. It was so real! He didn't speak or touch me, but he walked down the stairs and halfway up the aisle toward the alter. That feeling stayed with me for a long time. I think that it was another miracle!

- Sarah Rozar

God Provides

This had been a great week to watch God "show out" , as my husband says. It started with me paying bills and doing the checkbook on Tuesday. I knew I needed to pay some extra tithe money and I told God that I would do it but later. I tried to explain to Him that if I wrote the check, it would put our account really close. God said to me, "Write it and I will provide." So I did write it. The next night, my parents showed up at our door with a substantial check for no reason. I was so overwhelmed. My mom had no idea but said that she knew she needed to bring this check to us tonight. Not only was this such an awesome blessing but when I woke up Thursday morning, the text message from the church said "Thank God for the blessing that follows obedience." It was so awesome to trust God and not worry and let Him provide!!!

- Anonymous

God is Faithful

A couple of years have passed since I first heard my spouse tell me that she no longer loved me. Words cannot describe the pain that I felt in that moment.  Something inside of me died.  That announcement lead me through some incredible struggles.

I can remember praying through the 23rd Psalm, "Lord, You are my shepherd  I shall not want." But I stopped my prayer at that moment and cried out,"But I do want!  I want my family!  I want to be loved!"  

God amazingly provided for me. He surrounded me with an incredible group of friends. He lead to a counselor who was able to walk me through the pain.  He provided His healing presence.  

Ultimately, I did end up going through a divorce; however my relationship with my children has never been stronger.  And now this Valentine's day I know that I am loved.  I am loved by God not because of anything.  I just am loved!  And God has brought a wonderful lady into my life. I know that I am loved by her.  

God is faithful.  He answered my prayers.

- Anonymous

The Day After

Everyone is gone now. Robert is off to work. Tess and the boys are off. It's just me and the pets. The two dogs are here on the sofa with me. No idea where the cat might be; probably on the prowl.

Normally, my husband of 55+ years would be at the other end of the sofa drinking a cup of coffee and watching the news with me, but he's not there today, nor will he ever be again. Jerry died last Friday, February 7, which is our daughter's birthday. We had his memorial service yesterday. We always picked a day and celebrated the two birthdays together, and one would think that would be a depressing prospect for the future, but our daughter is a person of great faith and great strength. Of this seemingly tragic coincidence, she says in the future we will celebrate her birthday and her Dad's REbirthday. I like that thought!

The last few days have been unbelievably full with friends and family coming and going, and now it's just me. If I'm not very careful, I will sink into the depths of despair, but this is something I mustn't allow myself to do. To do so would be to forget God's promise of a new tomorrow, and I believe in tomorrows. I have no idea what form it will take, but I know our God is good and all of His tomorrows are good for those who seek to do His will.

    That's not always an easy task, of course, and we often fall short, but our God is not only good, He is a God of love and grace, and He understands that sometimes we fall short of the goal, and He forgives. The main thing is that we keep trying and remember: "With God all things are possible."

When I think back over the last month, and ironically, it was exactly one month ago today, on January 13, that this odyssey began, the specific events are a blur. The one thing that is crystal clear in my mind is the extraordinary love shown to Jerry during his illness and to our family since his death. For me, each time a minister visited or brought communion, friends and family called, sent cards, or brought food, I felt the loving arms of our Savior enfolding me, and I am sure Jerry did, too.

So...today it's just the dogs and me, and I'm very sad. The chocolate lab is pretty old now and she seems to suspect that perhaps Jerry won't walk back in the door, and she's a bit testy, but then, so am I. I've written a few "thank you" notes. I need to write more and I will, but not right now.

- Jane Sharpe

The Lord is Faithful

Sitting outside looking at my crepe myrtle tree, I notice that in its dormant stage with peeling bark, vacant branches and broken limbs; I can still see beauty. For as I look past the obvious, I see a rich reddish brown smooth look under the peeling weathered bark that brings depth of beauty I had not seen. Even with ugly scales of old wounds there seems to be a newness that was not there before. As my eyes look up following the thin long stems which once were adorned with flowering blossoms, I see the seeds of the future plants that still cling against the blue sky. Knowing one day soon they too will be pruned to give way to the new. Then what once was dormant will again burst out in all its glory to be clothed in new, sporting the most beautiful flowers seen. LORD that is what you will do for me as I grieve the loss of my sweet husband, Billy.   
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations.  
The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. Psalm 145:13
- Jean Daniels

 

Finding a Home

As many of you may know, Courtney Coxe and I are getting married this May! One of the big things we talked about was where we are going to live after we get married. I've been renting a house in Midtown for about a year and a half now with a lease that ends in August—a few months after the wedding date. Early on, Courtney and I decided that we wanted to start fresh and both move into a rental property that was neither mine nor hers. In mid-January, I worked out a deal with my landlord that he would advertise the house in Midtown for rent and, upon him finding a new tenant, I would be released from the current lease terms. Within one week, he found a new tenant! It was a huge blessing! Courtney and I started scrambling, looking for rental properties in West Mobile. We didn't think that anyone else would have been interested and we'd be stuck in the house through August—much less renting out within a week! Experience #1 of God working in our everyday lives!

In our searching, Courtney and I nailed down three potential properties that met all of our criteria: a patio home further west than we were hoping, an older townhome with a few more steps than we would have liked and a newer home that was a little over our intended budget. Due to the congested traffic, we knocked out the patio home. We toured the townhouse and saw that it was great, but needed new carpet and paint, which would up the rent. Nonetheless, the townhouse was already poised as our choice. Just after the ice melted from the Polar Vortex of 2014 I set up a visit to take a look at the newer house that was a little expensive. A few hours before we were supposed to tour it, I found out that someone had toured the house and immediately put down a deposit. It was a bummer, but a clear sign that we should go with the townhome. We put down a deposit and got the promise of new carpet and paint! Experience #2 that God was directing our path towards the townhouse! (Or so we thought...)

The next day at church, we were talking about how excited we were to have found a place when some friends at church said they had a home that wasn't on the market, but they wanted someone they knew and trusted to rent it from them personally. They offered us the keys to see it after lunch and I remember driving to the property hoping—and even praying—that it would not be anything special and that we wouldn't be interested. We had the townhome and I didn't want anything to compete with it! Boy, was I wrong! The house was exactly what we had been looking for—a thousand times better than the townhome and certainly more than we thought we could ever have. The new house has all of the qualities that we were searching for and is priced perfectly in our budget, even though it could probably rent for much more! This truly was an example of God putting people and relationships in our lives to share in the fellowship that brings Him glory. To cap it all off, the property manager of the townhouse was willing to give back the deposit that we had made previously. God's grace was all over the entire situation! Thank you Lord! Experience #3 of God in our everyday lives!

- JD Foote

The Spirit of God

This week, while stuck in the house thanks to ice, I got the opportunity to watch and read lots of stories about people sharing food and water in places like Atlanta and Birmingham. As I read these stories, I was blown away at what people did for strangers when times got tough. As I talked it through with my husband, he said, "That's the human spirit!" As I thought about it, I think those stories were more the Spirit of God coming through humans who didn't even know they were being the hands and feet of God. The next time I feel that faint whisper to do something for a stranger in a tough time, I'm going to remember and thank God that it is His spirit in me and not only my own. I'm so grateful that God chooses to work through us—even when we don't realize it!

- Anonymous