Monthly Archives: June 2009

Power of Prayer

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Prayer card

     My heart has been broken for this little church in Independence.  This morning I woke up with the people of that community and church on my heart.  I have been praying for God’s guidance and wisdom for them, and for myself.  Prayer is a mighty thing, one that we don’t utilize enough.  God has placed this overwhelming burden on my heart to reach the unreachable.  I have no idea how to do that except through prayer.  Last week I drove through the community and prayed for each household on my drive to the top of the mountain, where the church stands like a beacon of hope.  A prayer drive. I had been down that road several times in previous days and it was on this day that I began to notice all these  little homes tucked away in the trees, some seemed empty and abandoned, but I have a feeling they really aren’t and that there are folks there who need hope and prayer.  I have a great friend who has taught me the power of prayer and he prays for people as he drives to work.  He has been praying for me for years!  His prayers are being answered today.  It is my heart’s desire that one day, I too, will be able to experience the joy of my prayers being answered for this community and church.   I know that is selfish, but it’s the truth.  We all desire our prayers to be heard and answered the way we want them to be!  A perfect world!  Well, I also know that God works things out in HIS time, not mine and that right now it is my burden to PRAY without ceasing.

   My heart is also asking a lot of questions, questions that only God has the answers to.  I read our Associate Pastor’s blog today and it is full of great tips for technology users.  Twitter, facebook, blackberry, texting, you name it, it’s on there.  He is reaching the technology users, that is where his heart is at, to build relationships, using technology,  hearts that would be unreachable any other way.  My question to myself today is, who is God calling my heart to reach?  Who am I to build relationships with and how?  Who is God telling me to consume my life and time with?   I believe that it is the people who live on the back country roads, the homes with houses full of giggling kids with worn out shoes, dirty clothes and hungry bellies.    I believe it is the homebound elderly who need a helping hand to get to the doctor, the store, or just out of bed.    I believe it is the lonely, the poor, the forgotten.  God never forgets.  I don’t want to forget either.  I pray that God will remind me daily of the people that feel lonely and forgotten and I pray that He will show me how to reach them, just as He has shown Pastor Ronnie how to reach the technology age.  God gives each of us different gifts and it is our responsibility to hone them and use them to serve Him, in unity, all working toward the common goal of reaching the lost.  We must never get so consumed with the world, self, or stuff that we forget that goal.  I am guilty of this everyday.  I would like to stay in the studio and draw and make things all day long.  Things that point to Christ.  But I have realized that those things are merely tools and that God is telling me that people want to be seen, be heard, be hugged, be made to feel needed, wanted and loved in a personal relationship with Him through me.   The drawings and other things that I do are a way to start those relationships.   They are sort of like a hand shake, a twitter, a phone call, a plate of warm cookies.  They are not the end goal.  The end goal is Jesus Christ!  We can reach all people by using all gifts.  What is YOUR gift?  Is it sewing? quilting? antiquing? Are you a mechanic…nurse…teacher…teenager…child?  Do you ride a motorcycle, are you a woodcarver, or do you like to read?  I pray that you will seek God’s guidance in finding your gift and that you will learn how to use it to bring others to know Him.  Through prayer, unity, and using our personal and specific gifts we can win the world to Christ!  God is IN everything and He IS everything!

May you seek God’s face today in all that you do…in a twitter, a quilt, and a cookie! 

D.

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Creation

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Hi!

I am having fun doing God’s work today!  This is a new idea.  I was asked to create a display for a VBS program in Independence.  I was given scripture pertaining to creation and this is what I came up with.  This is a twin size, blue sheet.  I used oil pastels to do the drawing, rather than chalk.  Boy did it come out bright!  It would be brighter on a white sheet, but I wanted it to appear like the first day of creation, in the dark.  It has been kid approved by both of my girls!  I had a worshipful time doing this with the Lord this morning!

Waterfalls and Living Water

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Hi!

Yesterday I decided to drive out to Flat Rock again.  God has pressed this little place upon my heart.  I took my camera, my sketchbook and my bible, along with a big cup of coffee for the ride!  It’s about 35 miles. 

There’s this little waterfall on the road to the church.  It is a gorgeous spot.  It is also a party spot.  I pulled in and parked.  I hiked up to the top of the overlook, wishing I had my nikes on instead of my sandals.  I watched for snakes, bears, and poison ivy along the way! 

I reached the top and all I could hear was the mighty rushing of the water over the rocks.  At the bottom the water fell into a pool that was calm and quiet, and then trickled down to another waterfall below it.  Our lives are like this too, we have seasons of ” mighty rushing water” and seasons of quietness.  Lately, my life has been like the mighty rushing water! 

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I love rocks, waterfalls and nature.  My parents instilled this into me from a very young age, taking us to different waterfalls and rocky places as children.  Virginia has always been my favorite state because of it’s rocky fields, green pastures, and Granny!  My Mom was born and raised in Virginia and she has always told my sister and I stories of playing on these huge rocks in the fields, as a child.    She loves waterfalls and rocks too!  Now that I am older and have a beautiful relationship with Jesus, I see these things a little differently than I used to.  The rock reminds me of Jesus, who IS our rock!  Immovable!  It stands against all tests of time and weather!  It is sturdy and strong.  Jesus is the Living Water and He fills us up at the asking.  His love is always there, constant and flowing and we need to embrace it with open arms and gather it into our lives, just as the little pool collects the water at the bottom of the waterfall.  We need to gather it in so we can spill it out onto everyone we meet, one drop at a time.  It takes many drops to form a waterfall, just as it takes many people to form the body of Christ, each person with a special gift that God has given them to do His work.  As we collect our drops ( our people), we too can be this giant waterfall that overflows with God’s love and grace to all who willingly embrace it.  It is my prayer that, together, we can all help each other find those special gifts and help others come to know Christ by building loving relationships so that they too can be filled with the Living Water.  The Water that never dies, that never ceases, that always fills us with love. 

Post problems

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Good Morning!  I am having some sort of problem with font sizes and things disappearing this morning on my post.  Sorry if it is too small, but each time I update the post, it reverts back to the tiny print. No idea why!  I’m working on it, so for now, put your reading glasses on! haha!  I can’t see it either!

Blessings,

Donna!

Ephesians 4

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RUN! On the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline- not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences. You were all called to travel on the same road, and in the same direction, so stay together, both inwardly and outwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with

 

Oneness.

 

Ephesians 4

 

Entering In

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This drawing is called ” Entering In.” 

 I had an encounter with God at Lake Junaluska last week, one that has left me reeling from His outpouring of love and compassion into my heart, for His people. All people. 

Entering In

I am the little green ball in the right hand corner, “entering in’ in a wave of blue water.  All the little colored “gumballs” represent all the people of the world.  No two exactly alike, all different, and all loved by God.  They are all streaming to the cross/communion cup/Christ.  This is what happens when we offer them Christ with our passion, our whole heart, body, mind and soul.  People need it, people want it.  Once we receive it, then we can ” let God’s glory shine, just as the sun( Son)  does in the drawing.  The sky is deep blue, reminding us of creation and the stars twinkle, God calling each by name, just as He does His children.  Christ’s arms are open wide on the communion cup, ready to embrace and fill all who enter into communion with Him. On the left hand lower corner are two leaves and a seed.  These represent seeds sown and growth in knowing Christ as our personal Savior.  The water waves of blue represent the living, breathing, cleansing water that Christ offers us to drink.  It also represents the waters of Lake Junaluska.  The mountains remind me of Moses and his trek to meet with God there, the same place I too, have met God.  In the mountains of Virginia, at the foot of the mountains at Lake Junaluska and at the top of the mountain at Flat Rock Methodist Church.  I have “entered in.”
The joy I feel is represented in the colors I have used. 
Thank you Lord!
I know I will spend the rest of my life building relationships and letting people know how much they are loved by YOU! It has become the desire of my heart, that all people ” enter into” a relationship with You!   I am left in awe of your splendor, love, mercy and grace…
d.
 

Rise up!

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1. Rise up, O men of God! Have done with lesser things;

Give heart and mind and soul and strength

to serve the King of Kings.

 

2. Rise up O men of God! His kingdom tarries long;

Bring in the day of brotherhood and end the night of wrong.

 

3. Rise up, O men of God! The church for you doth wait,

Her strength unequal to her task; rise up and make her great!

 

4. Lift high the cross of Christ! Tread where His feet have trod;

As brothers of the Son of man, Rise up, O men of God!

Love

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Good Morning!

Yesterday I had the honor and great pleasure of visiting Flat Rock United Methodist Church.  Flat Rock has a rich history that reaches back to the days of the Cherokee indians.  It is built on the top of a mountain that is covered with this gigantic rock!  I have never seen anything like it in my life.  The rock takes up the whole mountaintop, it’s like this living, breathing, entity that has become one and held onto this little church.  It is covered with moss in some spots and is bare in others, every so often there will be a break in the rock and you will see growth of plants, weeds, flowers.  This shows me that anything can grow among the most stubborn conditions, all it takes is a little crack in the rock, to reach the soft, pliable, soil below, along with time, nurturing and patience. 

Flat Rock was slated to be closed.  Today, the doors are still open thanks to those who care and have taken on the challenge of reviving this beacon of hope.  My prayers are with you all and I ask that all who read this please be in prayer for this church and this community.  The Lord is in this place.  I can feel it.  As I walked around the inside of the church, my insides were all in a twitter.  I can’t really explain it in words and I know it was the presence of the Lord.  My friend, Terri, and I went outside and we sat on the little wooden bench to pray and as I prayed, the Lord showed up in His unique way, in a magnificent breeze that touched us both.  It was like He was saying, ” I am with you…”  It was most comforting and reassuring to know and to feel His hand upon this church and our lives. 

I also had the pleasure of meeting some of the people from the community of Flat Rock.  They shared their stories, tears, hopes and dreams.  It was an amazing and unique time of fellowship and I thank God for His presence there.  I am deeply touched by thier caring, compassionate and concerned hearts for this sacred place.  I have fallen in love with Flat Rock and the people there.  I see Jesus in thier faces and I feel His presence among the rock, in the breeze, and in the love worn pews.  It was like going home for me.  It reminds me of my mother and her love for the little country church and gigantic rocks.  Thank you Mom!  You were with me and I can’t wait to take you there! 

 

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Flat Rock Methodist Church

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Prayer Bench and cross

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This is my favorite window…the dove carrying the olive branch. 

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Now this is a first for me…kerosene lamps, that work, on the wall!  Beautiful! 

It was  suggested that a night service be held with illumination from the kerosene lamps only.  Can you see the glow now????

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View from parking lot

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It is a beautiful ride and it would be great to see this parking lot filled with bikers!

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Inside the church. Note the curved ceiling.  ( see corners) It is covered with lengths of dark stained pine.  Beautiful!

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The Lord is in this place…even among the ladybugs! 

One of my heart’s desires is to draw and compile a book of history about little wooden churches.  This may be the first one!  In fact, I KNOW it is. 

My heart has been touched in a way that I never thought imaginable.  God is filling me with His all consuming love for people.  I am overwhelmed with how full I feel for this little church, people and community.  We came together as strangers in a meeting, but we left as brothers and sisters in the Lord, with one goal in common…to offer them Christ.  My prayers are being answered and I know that God filled me to the brim that day in the tiny chapel at Lake Junaluska…and He has added the people of Flat Rock to it. 

Terri told me to “brace” myself for the ride ahead and she was right!  I am on that rollercoaster, arms high in the air, just a grinnin’ and gigglin’ as we take this first ride together…thank you Jesus!

All I can say is  ” WOW…”

May you be filled with the Joy of the Lord today!

Donna

 

ONE

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Good Morning!

I have a heavy heart this morning, one that has been asking itself many questions.  I heard a song the other day that mentioned being in a ” Holy Club.”  John Wesley also used that term,  This bothers me.  The world is full of “Holy Clubs” and they are exclusive to certain people , they leave people out.  Now, my bible says that Jesus ate with sinners, tax collectors, and all sorts of people, all shapes, sizes and colors.   Moses was a murderer and Noah was a drunk for crying out loud.  God loved them anyway.  God surrounded them with Himself.  He did a work in them and through them. 

In order to be in a club you usually have to pass certain requirements, pay a fee, dress a certain way, be in the “in” crowd.  Jesus was NOT in a club.  He was His own man, on a mission from God.  The people in his own hometown tormented and made fun of him.  He didn’t call himself this or that, he was who he was, JESUS.  He was a man sent from God to love the world.  Not a specific group of the world, but the WORLD at large. The rapist, the murderer, the alcoholic, the drug user, the wife beater, the liar, the thief, the adulterer, the idol maker, the hammerman.  We all have something that we are hiding and we all need the love of Christ in our lives.  Without it we cannot function.  We might think we can and we may be able to for a little while, but eventually the sin will either kill us or bring us closer to God. 

We never know who is watching us, what little eyes and ears are taking in everything  that we do, say, our actions, our reactions.  Those things are like dominoes in our lives.  When we close the door on one person, because of this Holy Club we are in, we are stealing an opportunity for God to do a work in that person.  All opportunities come from God and we need to take advantage of them as much as possible and STOP being in these holy clubs, where only certain people are allowed to enter in.  I went to Lake Junaluska and had an awesome experience at the Chapel there.  God clearly said to me, ” Donna, these are my people, ALL my people…” not just certain ones, ALL of them!  He was very clear that ALL are welcome to partake in His love, mercy and grace.  Not just the suits and dresses, but the tattoos, the long hair, the drug users, the hurting, the burdened, the weary, the sick, the lame, the homeless, the scared, the muslim woman who is oppressed, the african child who is starving, the children living in  the dumps of the world, everyONE and ALL are welcome.  Even ME! 

This morning I awoke with a passage of scripture , book, chapter and verse, on my mind.  I would like to share that with you.

 Isaiah 40  ( The Message)

21-24Have you not been paying attention?
   Have you not been listening?
Haven’t you heard these stories all your life?
   Don’t you understand the foundation of all things?
God sits high above the round ball of earth.
   The people look like mere ants.
He stretches out the skies like a canvas—
   yes, like a tent canvas to live under.
He ignores what all the princes say and do.
   The rulers of the earth count for nothing.
Princes and rulers don’t amount to much.
   Like seeds barely rooted, just sprouted,
They shrivel when God blows on them.
   Like flecks of chaff, they’re gone with the wind.

 25-26“So—who is like me?
   Who holds a candle to me?” says The Holy.
Look at the night skies:
   Who do you think made all this?
Who marches this army of stars out each night,
   counts them off, calls each by name
—so magnificent! so powerful!—
   and never overlooks a single one?

 27-31Why would you ever complain, O Jacob,
   or, whine, Israel, saying,
“God has lost track of me.
   He doesn’t care what happens to me”?
Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening?
God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.
   He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.
   And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired,
   gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
   young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
   They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired,
   they walk and don’t lag behind.

Verses 25-26 really speak to me because it reminds me that we are ALL important to God.  He has named each STAR, calls each by name, calls them out at night, gives them thier brightness, their illumination.  That only comes from our Creator, who sits high above this sphere that we call earth.  This sphere that is filled with sick and hurting people.  God sees our afflictions, hears our cries and he knows all about our pain.  He wants to help, He wants to pry our fingers off the cup of our afflictions and place them around the cup of His forgiveness, mercy and grace.  Can we not see that?  Jesus died on a cross with his arms spread wide open, ready to embrace us all with His very life, blood, sweat and tears. When are we going to let that happen?  When are we going to stop being a holy club and invite all people to “enter in?”  All.  Each and everyone of God’s precious children?  Do you want to be held accountable for closing those doors of opportunity?  I don’t, but I know I will have to answer to my Creator for having done just that.  What will I say?  That I failed to listen to Him and to stop playing ” follow the leader.”   

Who are YOU following?  The crowd or Jesus?

Which club are you in?  The Holy Club or your own club of ONE , who hears Jesus calling each of us by name, telling us that we are his, that we belong to him, regardless of our sin, our age, our color, our clothing.  We are HIS children and he waits for each and every one of us, as individuals, like the stars, to seek his loving outstretched arms and to desire to be illuminated by HIM and only HIM. 

My heart is wrenched with this message today.  It is crying out to Jesus…forgive me Lord. 

d.