Samaritan’s Feet….Changing lives one pair of shoes at a time!

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Making friends......one pair of shoes at a time!

Samaritan’s Feet volunteers & staff, Gaston County Commissioner, Tracy Philbeck and I washing feet and giving a new pair of shoes at Rhyne Elementary in Gastonia, Making Friends, one pair of shoes at a time!

Jesus said, “If you’ve had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you’re clean from head to toe. My concern,  you understand, is holiness,  not hygiene.” John 13:10

Spending time at the feet of others was the example Jesus set for us to follow as He bowed in subjection to the disciples for the purpose of washing their feet as an act of honor and service. Nothing can be greater, than knowing that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, humbled Himself to the position of servant. As we put ourselves in the position of service, we look up into the eyes of the ones that we have come to serve and say. “You are the most important person at this very moment. I want you to know that you are loved by God and by all of us. We are here today simply because of our heart to love and serve you just as Jesus did.”

Today, I was once again blessed to participate in a shoe distribution with Samaritan’s Feet. The mission and heartbeat of founder, Manny Ohonme, is 10 million pairs of shoes on the feet of 10 million children in the next 10 years You can read more about Manny’s story of how a simple pair of shoes changed his life and led him to follow what was exampled to him by the love of  one who came to serve him.

http://www.samaritansfeet.org/who-is-sf/mannys-story/

I have had the privilege of serving alongside Manny Ohonme and his wife, Tracie since 2005 and have nothing but the utmost love and respect for this man and his family who daily live out what they believe. While we do not often share the same schedule, we are often in contact and communication. Today, however, Monty and I were blessed with a most special opportunity; to give back to children, teacher’s and staff at an elementary school near our hometown of Dallas, NC. We rallied and gathered our friends to help us support the effort of Samaritan’s Feet in our Jerusalem. Gastonia, NC

On this day, 400 plus children, teachers, and staff would receive our undivided attention as we spent time getting to know them, focusing our hearts and attentions towards them, washing their feet and providing a new pair of socks and shoes for each one of them. The event was a surprise for the entire school and spear-headed by their caring principal, Rebecca Huffstetler.

The day started as usual with the younger children filling our stations. So, precious. Timid. Embarrassed and confused by all these people taking off their old shoes, putting their little feet in cold water, washing them and putting new shoes on their feet. Refreshing, but in time the older children would fill the chairs and their disbelief was often verbalized.

My breath-taking and life-joy moment happened near the end of the day when a less than thrilled tough 5th grade boy sat down in front of me. What would become my favorite conversation of the day began with, “So, lady, how much are they paying you to wash my feet, be nice to me and give me this new pair of shoes?” And with attitude and no smile, I might add. He was not rude. Simple putting it all on the table and in all likelihood, wanting to call me out and say, yep, told you so, they don’t care about me.

“Nothing.” I replied. “God loves me (us), we love you and I came here today to tell you how very special you are to Him and to me. Nothing more. Nothing less.” A cynical 10-year-old smile ensued. Our moment together ended within five-eight minutes and toward the end a new-found, whimsical, wry smile appeared. I held his hands, looked him square in the eyes and ended by letting him know that every step that he takes in these new pair of shoes, that I will be thinking of him, praying for him and trusting his life to a God that wants to do great things in and through him. His name will be written in my prayer journal and I will believe God for His very best until heaven.”

I continued as the Holy Spirit kicked my heart into gear and shared the gospel message of hope, a future, and of surrendering his heart to receive the free gift of life now and eternal through Jesus Christ. The promise of forgiveness, new life and God’s perfect plan for his life. You see, we get moments like these on occasion and I felt the urgency to seize the moment while it was sill today! I continued. “God’s plan for you is perfect. Your story is still being written. When you want to give up or you struggle, think of the silly lady who said, you can do it through complete surrender of your heart to the Lord and the power of God which is greater than your mind can conceive.” God wants you to know that you matter and that He has a plan for your life!! An, sweet friend, I pray for you, I will claim each step for the rest of your days for  God to do “exceedingly, abundantly in your life above all that you can ask or think.” HE IS ABLE!!!

He sheepishly, smiled. I said there is just one more thing. “Can I get a hug?” I have yet in my life until today, felt a more genuine embrace than from his big ole size 10 men’s shoe bear hug that I received from Gods most precious possession.
You see, God spoke directly to his heart today. The Holy Spirit penetrated the deepest part of this young mans soul and there is no doubt in my mind that the God of the universe will make good on a prayer prayed forward for a life in the balance between the god of this world and our heavenly Father’s will for his life.

So, when you wonder if God still uses the smallest of opportunities for His good and His glory, remember the hardened heart of my friend today. And when you pray, you need not know his name but that his heavenly Father is well acquainted with the matters of his precious heart and life. Next time you think, I should do something to help….just do it. Don’t wait. The true blessing will be yours. And when you wonder, does God really still open hearts in the least imaginable ways….like through a pair of shoes, a smile, a hug, a word of affirmation, a touch or a smile? May you see my face smiling back at you and saying….Oh yes He does!! Remember, Jesus said it best….”My concern is holiness…” May we walk simply on this path of righteous living….and trust God for life-changing results! For His glory! Amen and Amen!

Caring for God’s beloved!

Hope: Defiant Reliance on God Keeping His Word

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We have known the deep abyss of fear, yet hope has not for one minutes been far away. Why? Because we believe in the power of prayer. The faith of a mustard seed at times but God has always moved mountains. He is sure. Steadfast. Immovable. The mindset of hope on our knees shifts we “hope” so to “belief” in the assurance of God almighty as THE power greater than ourselves.

On our knees our view is heavenward where God the Father sees and knows the best for us- His view broader, wider and deeper than our minds can comprehend. And “by faith” we entrust, rest in every promise, settle in to the rhythm of His faithfulness over our lifetime and put one foot in front of the other believing in His love for His children.

Hope- a longing, a wanting, trust in what is unseen, yet we “feel” the very presence of love

Hope- an aspiration, desire, wish, expectation, ambition, aim, goal, plan, design, a dream

We make our plans. God directs our path.

Within the design of hope, we plant our feet in what is unseen and trust that the step in solid, steady and trustworthy

Hope-

-to cherish a desire with

anticipation

-to want something to happen or be

true

-to dream

-to believe without wavering

Hope-Full

Hope has permeated every prayer, conversation, conjecture of a future and in our dreams and plans there would never be a moment where we backed down.

For over three weeks now we have held tight to hope because the God we place our hope in holds us stronger and never loses grip- no matter how faithless we are in our hopes and dreams for a beautiful future for my sister.

To lose hope places a pause in the active work of God and we must not waver but pray always in faith BELIEVING!!

Today my sister has made a most amazing turn for the good. Not one culture that was taken was positive became the cause for the diagnosis.

Encephalopathy- an inflammation of the fluid around the brain that became infected. This beast, a self-limiting virus, likely became stronger than her weakened immune system could handle after a 9 day hospital stay for a GI Bleed.

She is a fighter. Resilient. Brave. And I have never been more proud of my little sister.

Words do not often fail me- But this has truly tested he fact that at times my inability to fully describe the angst and stirring in my heart….. The pursuit of hope often wavered but finding hope for Claudia superseded ANYTHING that I needed and will remain a worthy pursuit to keep hope alive in her!!

So often the very day the words fail to be found, the poetic painter of pictures with words, enables this heart to settle into its rhythm.

Beautiful words about hope in this time of Advent~ as we await and renew our alive again at the reminder of the coming of the promised Messiah- Jesus Christ.

Wonderful. Counselor. Mighty God. Prince of Peace.

🕊Peace 🕊Peace 🕊Peace

Words of hope at this day’s end~

Thank you Ann VosKamp for painting my world today with hope.

I rise today with the “thrill of unwavering knowing” Yes!!

“What gives us Hope if not God and who is the source of Hope if not our Savior?

Making up hope isn’t our job.

Hope is God’s job and our job is to trust that God’s making Hope.

That God’s making a way, because He is The Way.

Let the weary world rise with the thrill of the unwavering knowing:

When we’re tempted to fill with despair, Hope whispers that God will fulfill His promises.

When it feels like life is a setup to let you down, we will whisper it to ourselves like a resuscitation:

Hope is not the belief that things will turn out well, but the belief God is working through all things, no matter how things turn out.

And when we get karate kicked in the esophagus by life and it hurts to breathe, we will be the

Remembering People who retrace it slow again, how Hope works:

Hope fiercely promises to meet us in hard things now — because we fiercely trust God’s promise to make all things new.

You see: Hope is a defiant reliance on God keeping His Word.

The winds and the days may rage and the blaze of things may leave you feeling charred, but now is the time for faith to rise like a phoenix from ashes and we will:

Hold on to His Word for all you’re worth — because His Word is what proves God is trustworthy.

And when you know God is trustworthy — you know today is worthy of Hope.

When your bones know God ultimately makes good on His promises — that’s good enough reason for hope to burn in your bones.

As long as you still are, all is not lost. Being is hope, and hope is presence, and this present moment is a gift pulsing with hope.

Feel it even now:

Hope doesn’t promise success to the strong, but resurrection to the wrecked. Because success isn’t the virtue that will remain. Love, Joy and Hope are. So we will make those three that will remain, always our main thing.

Feel it especially now:

Like muscles, Hope is made by rising, again and again, lifting the weight of dark that’s conspiring to flatten us with the strength of His promises that’s certain to carry us.

Advent is learning how hope works and you can feel the warming light of the main thing that matters:

Hope is not some elusive lottery ticket for the lucky, but hope is the fiery torch the faithful raise in a life-grip to burn back the ugly face of the dark so they can see their promised land —

and the welcoming face of God.” ~Ann VosKamp

May hope surround you this night and for all of your tomorrows.

Lead Me Beside Still Waters

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There are days of doubt and fear when we pray…… unending, unrelenting, breathing prayer without ever saying a word out loud.

Praying in faith believing over the several weeks previous to this day’s end, have been made up of bold, believing shouts out loud to God prayers. With every opportunity, I have prayed with authority from the many years of deeply rooted truths from God’s Word written in my heart.

Tonight, there are prayers from a hospital room and an unexpected twist along this journey. How incredibly amazing that the hospital television has an entire “Healing Content”, get-well network, filled with beautiful photos and the ambient sounds of relaxing and restful places.

After Monty left tonight and I was settling in alongside of my sister, I chose for us the quiet of a trickling forest creek in hopes for her to rest peacefully through the night.

As the display of beauty and sound began to play, I adjusted the volume on the TV remote, placed it by her head and listened closely to her every breath as I watched her chest rise and fall.

We have had a most eventful and hard day. While there is still so much that we do not know, watching her sleep peacefully and breathe so perfectly soothes a bit of the anxious that rises up in me every now and then.

All that I CAN do for her is wait WITH her, focus my requests toward heaven and gather every ounce of strength that I have to speak truth over the darkness of the unknown…..

In these quiet moments, there is a strong sense of abiding union with the Lord. Whole as one. So much more than being held but a blanket of cover known only in the presence of the Holy Spirit’s bridled power spread deep and wide with enduring, unwavering love and care. So sweetly tender. Moment by moment awakening in the unseen work of God’s hand and I can feel it deep in my soul.

Known.

Not Alone.

Loved.

Every now and then the tears well up in my lower eyelids- right up to the edge and so very close to spilling out. Even this small heart dares to blink as a sign of conceding to defeat in the midst of this battle. #warrior #child #sister #caregiver

The waiting. That movement of God in my heart that reminds me— to hold on to and know full-well that God is greater.

He is able.

He is healer.

I watch a tear trickle from just inside the corner of Claudia’s eye. Our prayers have been steadfast and she is worthy of every petition that has been prayed and tenderly sifted through the hands of “The One” who sits at the right hand of God enthroned.

“…. our comfort in suffering is this: YOUR promises (God) renew our lives.” Psalm 119:50

I wipe away her tear and begin to breathe heavenward with each breath every promise that God brings to remembrance.

For every one of you that has prayed, we are so grateful. We are expectant and believing nothing less than this to be an opportunity for His glory to be displayed in her life. How it will bring honor to God— this we WILL tell!!

I continue to sing in my heart God’s Word and His promises over her as we settle in to the late night and into the early morning rhythm of another day if the Lord wills for answers.

Rescue.

Promise.

Restoration.

Lord, you promise that You are my (her) ever-present help in trouble…

You promise that Your grace is more than sufficient for my (her) every need…

You assure that you will never leave or forsake me (her)….

You promise to be the One who will go out and fight for me (her)….

With every promise my heart beats strong for her….

The book of Joshua tells me that you will be with me (her) wherever I (she) goes…..

You promise you are a refuge for the oppressed, and a stronghold in times of trouble…

You say You will counsel me (her) and watch over me (her), and guide me (her)by Your righteous right hand…

You’ll sustain me (her)and be my (her) mighty fortress…

You invite me (her) to cast my (her) cares on You, for You will never let me (her) fall…

Your name is a strong tower, and as the righteous run into it, they are safe…..

Jesus, You tell me I’m (SHE IS) SAFE….

In the sacred moments—

TRUTH spoke the depths of our darkness into light and became the presence of hope that I hold on tight to FOR her….

In the gap….

In the quiet…

In these moments…

While the whole world kept moving right outside of the door and not one thing regarding the circumstances have changed….

Truth. Set. Free.

The pain in my heart was and is still throbbing, but my courage has been renewed by truth for a road neither of us would have chosen. I am assured that no matter how old I get, in His sovereignty, God still allows me new opportunities along my faith journey that may stretch my heart. I am assured that they will always lead me on a path of promise and hope. The reminder that no matter how tough I think I am, it is the power of God that gives us the strength for every enduring moment we may face.

No. Matter. What.

I am smiling so fully inside. Actually I am STILL smiling all over the outside too!!

At some point my sister’s nurse came into the room- which I did not realize. She told me later that she paused but then left because I was typing and the smile on my face was not what she had seen previously and she wanted me to smile out loud for as long as that smile might possibly last.

Why?

Because the blessing of hope was no longer shadowed by my pursed lips and furrow on my brow but a smile secured by real faith- You know the kind of faith that wrangles through things with the Lord and is ultimately what real courage is made up of.

Courage that finds its position bowed low and giving thanks in ALL things!

Grrrrrr…… She so busted me!

An exhausting journey for so many reasons but it has not been because it is TOO hard.

Life is always moving and we all get weary for ALL of the right reasons. You know it is true.

With every Bible verse inwardly spoken over Claudia tonight came an infusion of life-giving blood into our spiritual veins.

In the quiet and stillness, the sweetness of God has revealed Himself as an ever present and perfectly available Savior.

“In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help… He heard my voice….” Psalm 18:6

Wow. Just wow!

Ann VosKamp says it this way—

“Don’t ask me how it works, or how the Holy Spirit does it, but when we DO the Word – actually DO it — something splits the seams of heaven and pours out a shower of blessings.”

This I know—

Ankle deep in my humanity. Light broke through and overpowered the darkness tonight just as it did in that small stable in Bethlehem so very long ago!

This is where our hope lies. #thecoming #advent

Come Lord Jesus Come

At this day’s end……

Shop Early- Black Friday Deals Today!

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Shop Early- Black Friday Deals Today!

I just love giving to others. I grab sales all year long in hopes of blessing someone that I love!!

But I really LOVE to save money, so that I can do more! Right!

Check out DaySpring Cyber Monday Site-wide Sale savings TODAY only without having to wait until the day after Thanksgiving!!

Use code MONDAY17

How about also grabbing your Christmas cards early and writing a personal note in each card for the special friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and more!!

When did sending Christmas cards become just part of the checklist?

Let’s be intentional with sharing God’s love through a handwritten card with those you love this holiday season… isn’t that what the season is really all about?

With the code SHIPCARDS, you’ll receive free shipping on all Christmas card purchases now through 11/16.

Check out this awesome video about this sacred time of year!!

Christmas Cards

DaySpring Christmas and Save

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Shop DaySpring and use the code FAMILY to save 25% off any order!!

See what’s happening over @ DaySpring Christmas

Note: There may be affiliate links. That means that I will make a small percentage of your purchase. This helps to keep me writing and sharing! Thank you! Mel

. 25% Off Code FAMILY

DaySpring Ministry Appreciation Month

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Check out free tools and tips to help you celebrate Ministry Appreciation Month

in DaySpring’s #returntheblessings campaign.

Honor the men and women who serve you throughout the year. Your care for them will mean so very much!

Check out this precious story!

A Real Day In The Life of a Pastor

Disclosure: For the sake of integrity, I want you to know that any highlighted link on my blog is an affiliate link. If you visit and/or make a purchase, then I will make a small amount from your purchase. I appreciate your support and understanding!

Fearless by Sarah Harnisch

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Why Fearless?

Because you are afraid to oil. Because you may have stepped out and gotten a starter kit and don’t want to waste it– especially without knowledge on how to use it. Because it’s a huge jump to go from products you’ve used for 30 and 40 years to something completely, totally new. You are stepping out in faith.

This newest mini erases fear. In 2 hours, I make you into a confident oiler. For business builders, this takes all the 0’s into your account and turns them into faithful essential rewards oilers.

Why?

Because we’ve been raised on a system that tells us the things in the store are safe. And I’m about to erase all that, and show you something totally new. Oils aren’t a few glass bottles in a box. They are a lifestyle. Let me share my story with you– and where this has led me– away from a path of brain bleeds from my toxic lifestyle, and into something clean. Something that works and does not have to be scary. This new tiny book has sold 30,000 copies in 1 day.

Lead a life that’s Fearless. Start with the new mini, here:

https://oilabilityteam.com/product/fearless-confidence-essential-oils-2-hours/

Interested in learning more about Young Living Essential Oils hop on over to my website.

yldist.com/melanieself/

I will be giving away one Fearless mini book. Comment below with you email address and you will be entered!!

Description

In this tiny mini book, you will learn:

• how to read labels and understand difficult ingredients

• why oils are the starting place to natural health

• what the biggest learning curve is with oiling (and how to overcome it)

• how to try new oils each day with purpose

• why oiling is serious and not a fad

• what chemical overload does to the human body

• how to develop a mindset where you reach for oils first

• why Young Living’s research is ground-breaking, and has never been done before (and what it’s doing to the industry)

• the most effective form of topical oil application

• pages of content on how and why to use a diffuser

• what to do when you have a bad experience with an oil

• the fastest way to double your oils collection

• what it actually means when an oil has been approved for internal use (and how to do it safely)

• where to place oils on your body

• how to use oils for emotions

• uses of the starter kit

• why essential rewards shows serious commitment to living a toxic-free life

• the Simple Swap: a room-by-room checklist to kick toxic chemicals to the curb

• 10 challenges to get you oiling every day (that unlock new content on our website, oilabilityteam.com)

• after the kit… now what?

What are the uses of this book?

To bridge the gap for new oilers. It’s the very first book I gift with every starter kit. If you are not in the habit of using oils, it’s uncomfortable to get a kit and be handed an encyclopedia and told to “look it up.” This gives you the why and how of oiling, and trains you how to research for yourself!

Life: Heart Failure, Listening and Living 

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Oh sweet friends, the words of this blog that Ann VosKamp shared today is so timely and makes me shudder with the heart of passion to remind us all of the truths we do not know until we walk that road.
Right?
So close to our “heart” (pun intended), we still our busyness and have slowed our pace with the recent reminder of how perfectly the Lord has silenced the noise that so easily can sidetrack us.

That of our reminder and so many of our friends of the “heart ” of the matter.
As I shared in Bristol with our MRO ladies, Monty and I have learned a new posture for prayer- It. Is. Good.
Read these words with your whole soul inclined towards its beat.
Be reminded that in light of eternity…… nothing else matters more than we live, love, give, care for others, pray sincerely, hug each other, speak words of life because this life we know is just a vapor…..
These words can haunt and are telling—
We will all give an account!!

“Come home to your life and listen to the mystery of it and press your ear up against the Word-voice of God and witness the very growing of your own soul and be still long enough to drink down all this ordinary glory and hear your heart keep beating how all is grace.

Come home to your life and listen to the mystery of it and press your ear up against the Word-voice of God and witness the very growing of your own soul and be still long enough to drink down all this ordinary glory and hear your heart keep beating how all is grace.”
All. IS. Grace.

Life’s never about being seen — it’s about seeing God. And about God seeing us and revealing Himself to us.

Life’s never about climbing ladders higher — it’s about climbing higher up and deeper into God.

Life’s not about winning some race — it’s about resting in grace.

Life is not about growing in status— it’s about growing your soul.

Life’s not about growing your career, your bank account, your retirement fund, your platform, your status — life’s about growing your soul. 

http://annvoskamp.com/2017/08/when-you-go-into-heart-failure-and-it-turns-out-to-be-a-metaphor-for-all-the-things-right