I am a soldier!

This week I’m in Illinois at my annual ladies retreat for a time of spiritual refreshing and inspiration. The theme this year is “Women Warriors” and our focus is spiritual warfare. I have received much during these days of ministry and have been privileged to teach two classes this week, but of all I’ve learned, this poem by an unknown author has been the most moving. I encourage you to read it aloud as a prayer to God and ask Him to make you that committed soldier.

I am a Soldier!

I am a soldier in the Army of my God! SoldierThe Lord Jesus Christ is my commanding officer. The Holy Bible is my code of conduct. Faith, prayer, and The Word are my weapons of warfare. I have been taught by the Holy Spirit, trained by experience, tried by adversity, and tested by fire. I am a volunteer in this army and I am enlisted for eternity. I will either retire in this army at the rapture or die in this army; but I will not get out, sell out, be talked out or pushed out. I am faithful, reliable, capable, and dependable. If my God needs me, I am there. If He needs me in the Sunday school to teach the children, work with youth, help adults or just sit and learn, He can use me because I am there!

 

I am a soldier, I am not a baby. I do not need to be pampered, petted, primed up, pumped up, picked up or pepped up. I am a soldier. No one has to call me, remind me, write me, visit me, entice me, or lure me. I am a soldier! I am not a wimp. I am in place, saluting my King, obeying His orders, praising His name, and building His kingdom. No one has to send me flowers, gifts, food, cards, candy, or give me handouts. I do not need to be cuddled, cradled, cared for or catered to. I am committed. I cannot have my feelings hurt bad enough to turn me around. I cannot be discouraged enough to turn me aside. I cannot lose enough to cause me to quit.

 

When Jesus called me into this army, I had nothing. If I end up with nothing I will still come out ahead. I will win. My God has and will continue to supply for all my needs. I am more than a conqueror. I will always triumph. I can do all things through Christ. Devils cannot defeat me. People cannot disillusion me. Weather cannot weary me. Sickness cannot stop me. Battles cannot beat me. Money cannot buy me. Governments cannot silence me and Hell cannot handle me. I am a soldier. Even death cannot destroy me. For when my commander calls me from this battlefield, He will promote me and allow me to rule with Him. I am a soldier in the army, and I’m marching forward claiming victory. I will not give up. I will not turn around. I am a soldier…marching Heaven bound.

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April is my favorite month!

CalendarThere’s no contest for me…April is my favorite month! It’s also my busiest month so perhaps there’s a correlation.  Every year in April we say “good-bye” to winter, cold temps, cabin fever, and the dead landscape. And we say “hello” to warmer temperatures, new life, flowers, and frenetic activity. As I look at my personal calendar for the month I’m overwhelmed with joy for what’s happened already and the anticipation for what’s coming!

Celebrating Resurrection Sunday earlier in April was such a wonderful way to begin the month. We focused on the sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord when He purchased our salvation. During the week of Easter I spent time with all five of my children and three grandchildren, making it all the more precious than usual.

Moving on through April, I’m so excited that my new granddaughter, Harper Mae Zawko, will be dedicated to The Lord at our home church on Sunday, April 19. It’s an honor for us to give thanks to God for His gift of Harper to our family. We’re so grateful to accept the challenge of raising our girl, “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”   And it’s our great privilege to place her back into God’s hands for His guidance and direction for her little life and future.

April 20-23 I’ll be making my annual trip to the Illinois and Christian Ladies Retreat for a time of relaxation and spiritual refreshment. I’ve been part of this retreat for nearly 20 years. I have often been a featured speaker and for more than a decade I’ve been secretary-treasurer for the group. This year, I’m teaching a workshop in which I’ll share some of my exciting “It’s a Wonderful Life” insights with the ladies.

The last week of April is my absolute favorite week of the entire year! At my home church, First Pentecostal of London, KY, we have an annual Missions’ Conference. This three-day event is absolutely life changing! We usually host around 30 resident foreign missionaries, home missionaries, and organizations during this week. The inspiration this event brings to my life can’t be exaggerated. The effect on those who attend–is immeasurable. In addition to the uplifting services and fellowship, I’m also honored to host several guests in my home. This year, I’ll have a single missionary lady, two of my nieces, and several Bible college students staying with me.

I’ve neglected to mention one Red Letter Day in April…Tax Day is on April 15th. This year, for the first time in 35 years, I don’t have a child in my home to claim. Alas, all my children are grown and no longer at home. So it’ll be the first time that I actually have to pay a large additional federal tax. I was upset about this at first but then I began thinking of all the reasons I have to be grateful for my taxes. When I wrote out the check I reminded myself of the blessings of living in America.

I thanked God that I live in freedom and privilege, I drive on good roads and highways, I have a police department for protection and a fire department in case of disaster. I have a beautiful public library (that I visit often) and my mail arrives every day. Although I don’t have any children in the public school system, many of my friends do and it’s great to know that ournation’s children are being educated. I’m honored to know that my tax dollars go to provide a military for the protection of our country and I’m especially honored that my own son-in-law serves in the US Army. So when I mail (what seems to me) a large check to the IRS, I’m feeling no rancor or anger toward my government. I’m feeling extreme gratefulness that I’m an American and I live in the most wonderful country in the world! I’m agreeable with giving back a little of my financial blessings to the country to which I owe so much.

So, yes, April is my favorite month…in every way.

 

My life is worth the living…just because He lives

Sunday we celebrated the most important commemorative day of Christianity, Easter, which I prefer to call Resurrection Sunday. Although the incarnation of Christ was the beginning of the miracle of our salvation and reconciliation of man to God, the death and subsequent resurrection of Jesus actually “sealed the deal”! He took our sins upon Himself and died in our place (as if He was a sinner) but then defeated sin and death when He miraculously was raised from the dead on the third day.

Personally, I rejoice on Easter because I have experienced the new life given by Christ. But that’s not my only source of joy on this Easter Sunday, 2015.  This year I saw all five of my children on Easter weekend, although one son and his wife that just had a new baby couldn’t come home for Sunday worship. Nevertheless, it was a wonderful time with family. My greatest joy in life has been in the gift of my children…and now my grandchildren.

Twenty years ago, when I became a single parent, I became so burdened and worried that my children would suffer as a result of my divorce and the lack of a present father in our home. But as I cried out to the Lord for an answer, He assured me that I was not to fear, that my children would “come forth shining as gold” just like Job did after he was tested. We have all been through some difficult times in these past twenty years, but it’s true that after all this time, my children really do shine like gold! Just in the past two years, my family circle is complete and every one of my children has made a personal commitment to Christ. So although we’ve always been a close family, we are closer now as part of the Family of God.

As I celebrate the Risen Savior, I also celebrate the meaningful, victorious, life He has given me and the future He has promised me. Every day He allows me to continue this life is a gift from above. “Because I know He holds my future, my life is worth the living, just because He lives!”