Regina’s Love

I have been grieving the passing of my dear sister-in-law, Regina; my brother Mack’s beloved wife.  I have known Regina since I was a very young girl of nine years old.  She has been a strong force in my life right up to her passing just a few days ago.  She dedicated her life to God and family.  She taught me so much about living, loving and enjoying every moment, no matter what life throws at you. I want to take a moment to thank her.

From the time we first met, she was my teacher.  She was always imparting wisdom from the Word and from her personal life.  For instance, she was the epitome of homemaking and the greatest homemaker of them all. What I remember learning about most was her cooking.  She would teach me tidbits about cooking and WOW! She was the greatest cook.  I especially loved her baking; those pies and cobblers! Oh and I can’t forget those homemade rolls. I could never master those rolls. And she passed that gift on to her children.  Danielle, her daughter, makes the best lemon meringue pie and I can’t find anything like it, anywhere. Her daughter Jennifer and son Mike are great cooks. Her son Paul is too, and he was a great right hand man Regina would always say. The grandkids are following right behind. She sure loved her family and I believe she still does.  That’s how I know we will see our loved ones again, because the love never ends.

She imparted wisdom from the Word.  She loved the Lord so much and she so wanted everyone to know Jesus and to know Him intimately.  She always shared the gospel no matter where she was or what she was doing, and that never stopped. When we got our Christmas cards every year, or birthday cards, there would always be a gospel message included.  She was a true evangelist.  Mack and Regina continued their ministry after they retired and traveled the countryside sharing the gospel with elderly people in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.  Regina continued this ministry up until she could no longer walk.  To say this woman was amazing is an understatement. She wanted nothing more than to give her life for Christ and as she was going through her lengthy battle with cancer, her beautiful smile never left her face to the very end! In fact, you would have never known she was sick up until the last months of her life.  All I could say over and over was, “What an amazing woman!” She always gave all the credit to Jesus.

I know in my heart her efforts were not in vain. I have reaped the benefits of her labor of love. The Lord God has brought me through so much sadness and trouble in my life. Regina was always there to encourage me. I looked high and wide, long and hard for love for many years. I’m so glad I finally found it in Christ Jesus! I know Regina was praying for me!  Her prayers were heard when I was in a pretty dark tunnel with no light at the end; speeding fast to a very dark place.  Thank you Regina, for praying for my life, my salvation and soul restoration. I now pray daily for my family. I can rest in Christ, knowing He is taking care of things and will bring to pass all that He has promised for me and for those I love. What a legacy of love Regina left for all of us.

I thank God for Regina’s example; for being a strong woman of God.  She taught me to be a good wife and mother. She would always tell me to take good care of my husband; look out for him and pray for him always. Oh how she loved and cared for her beloved Mack, for more than fifty years.

She blessed my children. When Jessica had her son, my grandson Shia, she took her under her wing and spoke into her life with encouragement, sound advice and wisdom. It had such an impact on her. Mack and Regina traveled so far to be at my son Cjs graduation from college, even with all they were suffering through. It was such a huge blessing to us that they made such a sacrifice. She believed in supporting family and celebrating accomplishments.

I thank God for her love and her joy.  Her favorite fruit of the Spirit was truly JOY!  Whenever I would call her and ask how she was doing, she would always say, “JOY!”  And she would say, “Praise the Lord. God is so good!” Joy to you, Regina.  You are in the fullness of joy right now. I am so happy for you being with your Savior at last.

And to my family, I say, please take a moment from your busy schedules, and look about you to hope and experience the love that surrounds you. It’s hard to stop and rest these days. We have so many plans to fulfill, obligations to meet, new adventures to seek…..but I urge you to stop for a minute and feel the love.  Feel the prayers being prayed for you right now. Our lives are but for a moment. It is here and then it is gone. The time in between your beginning and your end is important, but this very moment is the most important.  Live in the moment! Live life today, in the present! Look up and receive your blessing of love and redemption. God is love and He loves you. Regina would surely want me to say, receive Christ today. I am here if you want to know more about Him.

Be still and know love is all around you. Don’t be robbed of the blessing of it, acknowledge it. There is a crowd of witnesses surrounding you, praying for you, fighting for you, pouring out love to you.  Regina is one of those witnesses and there are so many more of us, too. I love you, family!

Thank you Regina, for the love of God in you that was relentless, powerful, and never, ever gave up on any of us.  Surely your reward is great!  I love you…forever and always…

Gail

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HEARING GOD

My husband and I were doing a devotion and we decided to partake of the blessings of Chuck Swindoll, a great teacher of ours when we were members of Stonebriar Church years ago. He has been one of our spiritual mentors for more than 20 years.
I immediately said, “I am looking at Chuck Swindoll’s picture as I read this and I can hear his voice so very clearly.” He has such a distinct voice; so recognizable. My husband made the point that our relationship with God is like that. His voice is so recognizable that when we hear it, we immediately know who it is. “My sheep know my voice”, says the Lord. This is so true!
I heard the Lord so very clearly recently. I was at a place of such discouragement that day. Sometimes there are days like that. I had been barraged by attacks from the enemy and I just had one encounter too many. I went out to be alone and took a walk down the walk/bike path that I love. I knew it would offer quiet and solitude and rest with the Lord. The path reminds me of a path I am on with Jesus in my heart place when I’m alone with Him. I love having places like this in the natural and in the spiritual.  It was a beautiful day. A wonderful breeze was blowing all around me. It was relatively quiet with just a few walking and the every-now-and-then biker zooming by, all with pleasant greetings. The trees were mostly bare but fallen leaves were blowing around and providing a lovely dancing melody that brought peace and calm. I felt better immediately. I stopped at a bench and sat down. The Lord began to speak. He reminded me in no uncertain terms that He is in control here. He reminded me that He fights my battles. He told me to stop trying to get people to do things. People do what they want. He told me to do what He tells me to do. I have control over what I do, not what others do. He said my responsibility is to love people and He will fight my battles. He reminded me to “resist the devil” and “submit to Him” at every turn. We talked for more than an hour. I just listened but I did interject questions. When the Lord would make certain points a big breeze would come through and engulf me. I would sit quietly and let it pass. It was lovely but without a doubt, the wind served as a confirmation of what The Lord was saying. This happened three times. To the best of my ability I remember the Lord said it does not matter what situation I am in, who I am with, or what I am doing. That is not the point. Trust the Lord! You can run, you can hide, you can do what you do but if you do not trust the Lord your situation will not get better and neither will you. I asked why I had not seen much change in so long in a certain situation. The Lord said there is change and He is still moving. Faith is believing what you can’t see. He is changing things in the most precise and intricate detail. He is restoring. He is healing. He is in control. His ways are not our ways. We are not always able to understand what He is doing and I need to stop trying to make things happen and trust God to do what needs to be done. Time is not a factor for God. A day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day. Wait on the Lord. No matter how long it takes. Trust in the Lord even when you can’t see what He is doing. Rest in the Lord and you will find you are being transformed by it from glory to glory. It’s in the Rest. Pastor Creflo Dollar asked the question how do you know you are trusting God? You know when you are at rest in all situations. Bottom line…when you rest in the Lord you will hear Him better. You will walk with Him and talk with Him and think like Him and speak like Him. This is a relationship of becoming. And we are becoming like Christ in the world. I found that I need to remember I am in the world but not of the world. This is not my home and I won’t try to get too comfortable. Let go of the past and the old ways of operating and thinking which are so worldly. Focus on God. The world needs to see Christ. We are as He is in the world if we only believe it.
When I went back home that day, I had a whole new attitude and a whole new vision. Not only did I believe God and all that He said to me but I began to speak what I believe over my life. I declared the goodness of God all around me and in me. I had to remind myself to speak those things that are not as though they are. I saw immediate change in me and in my surroundings. I could detect the workings of the Lord that I was blinded to by my distress. I let the enemy distract me. This is a daily walk with God and I must remember the elementary teachings that I get so deep in spirituality sometimes (instead of God) that I forget. Keep it simple. Love. Study the Word. Pray. Rest. Let God lead every step of the way and He will instruct me in every detail of my life. Yes! I believe!

SEEING IS BELIEVING

I have often wondered how it is that people see something so obviously wrong as totally right. How can we perceive something with such conviction that is so distorted and full of delusion? And then it made me wonder if I am experiencing that same delusion of perception myself. When we are highly offended and full of offense from others we experience the world in a distorted fashion. Our vision becomes dark. (Matthew 6:23) The more the offense the greater the distortion. What we hear distorts what we see. If we hear darkness (from the devil) our light will be dark. What we see will be dark and we will call it light. Have you ever seen a very overweight person with a tiny outfit on that clearly is too small and exposes way too much; or even a tiny person with revealing clothes that expose parts of the anatomy that should be left only to the imagination? How do they see themselves? How is it their vision is so distorted? They have been listening to the wrong voice and believing it. There are those who hear themselves sing and think they are the best singer that ever walked the earth. They can’t even carry a tune! How does this happen? I have always been fascinated by the workings of the mind, hence my psychology degree. Our minds are distorted and need renewing yes, but this is an issue of the heart. The issues of life (Proverbs 4:23) that pour out from the heart distort our minds and our will falls under captivity right behind it. It makes so much sense and I believe it is the demonic influence in the church and among Christians today. I remember when I was full of offense and the Lord brought me through and dealt with it and saved me. I literally almost died from the evil words that had been spoken over me since childhood. Then I thought I was through with it, but no, it just keeps on coming. I have to continue to deal with it and discern the enemy’s tactics both to me and in trying to use me for his deceitful devices, schemes and plans. I had been wondering lately what in the world is going on with me? God always wakes me up and gives me revelation right when I need it. It has been my own words and the negative words I have let back into my life that have caused my anxiety. I once wrote a paper about giving up ‘being offended’ for lent. Little did I know I needed to keep that going. You can so easily be overpowered by offenses again and again if left unchecked. Wow! Be careful of those things you think you have overcome. Sanctification is a progressive work. The enemy doesn’t quit and neither should you. Offenses can become unforgiveness can become resentment can become hatred. That is a progressive work of the devil. Stop him at the door! Refuse to let him in and handle your business. Communicate, forgive, speak life! We have the mind of Christ. Speak your mind in Christ and bring a new life into existence. God’s life! full of love and healing and prosperity and fruit of the Spirit. Has someone offended you lately? Have you hurt someone deeply with your words? How is what you say affecting those around you? How is it affecting your life? It is worth reflecting on these and similar questions right now! Death and life are in the power of the tongue…Proverbs 18:21 And you will eat the fruit of whichever one you choose.
Helpful reading: Unmasking The Accuser by Dr. Kynan Bridges

Gail Williams

Our Finest Hour

Our Finest Hour
Isaiah 40:3-5 The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Scripture states that we are closer than when we first believed to the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. His great love keeps Him from coming right now. He doesn’t want that any should perish but all come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) There should be more excitement at the thought that Christ is coming again soon, however, it’s hard to fathom; just as it’s hard to fathom the spiritual life that we can’t see compared to the natural life that we can see. It’s hard to comprehend the awesome glory and beauty that is ours in paradise, when it is in such dire contrast to what is going on in the world and in our lives. It can look impossible today… a whirlwind of escalating change; more knowledge – less responsibility; more self gratification – less love and patience; more give me – less giving; more fear – less faith. In spite of it all, I am not alarmed; I am not afraid and I know who is in control. “I am the Lord your God, that takes you by the right hand and tells you, do not be afraid, I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13) God will get us home.
It may look like things are hopeless but there is a song with these encouraging words: There is hope for the hopeless, rest for the weary and love for the broken hearts. There is grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing, He’ll meet you wherever you are…Cry Out To Jesus! We can count on Him to see us through. This will not be our downfall but He will surely make this our finest hour.
This is a quote from one of my favorite movies, Apollo 13. When the nay-sayers were panicking because of the seeming impossibility of getting the astronauts back home safely, they commented, “This will be the worst disaster NASA has ever experienced.” The leader calmly stated, “With all due respect, I believe this is going to be our finest hour.” And that it was; due to the passionate teamwork, creativity, love, and faith in action from everyone involved. I am learning faith is exhibited in just this way. If we have faith in God who can do the impossible, than no matter what the circumstances, no matter what we see, no matter what people say, we believe the impossible IS possible. And that means good can and will prevail, and love conquers all.
Don’t give up! Be encouraged, keep the faith, and look up! Lift up your heads! Your redemption draws near! (Luke 21:28) Our finest hour is now and the best is yet to come.
Chaplain Gail Williams

9/11 Devotion

REST IN PEACE
by Chaplain Gail Williams
Rest in peace. These are the words we think of when remembering those lost in the tragedy of 9/11. We also remember these words for the families of those that were lost; they are for all of us as much as for those gone on.
I want to share the story of a young pregnant woman that changed her flight from later to earlier and ended up on the flight that crashed into the towers. She wanted to get home earlier. She called her husband to let him know she got an earlier flight but he was asleep. She left him a voicemail. She called awhile later, knowing the hijackers had taken the flight, and in a very calm voice, her husband remembers, asked him to “please pick up.” He never did. She then told him there was some trouble on the plane but she was ok, for now. She wanted him to know how much she loved him. She told him that several times. She started to say, “I will…” her husband believes she started to say she will call back but she knew she wouldn’t. It was the last message he heard from his wife. This husband spoke of his amazement at the calmness in his wife’s voice and his gratitude for the message of love that he will treasure forever.
I start with this story, not to bring you down, but to remind you of love being the most important thing, and the rest and peace that can come from that love. There is so much fear, anger, hurt, frustration, and unrest in this world and in our lives; and it is real. God instructs us so many times in the bible to ‘Rest in Him’ and receive His peace, no matter what we see. The two go hand in hand, Rest and Peace. We need both now more than ever.
Christ said to…”Come to Me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) He also said, “My peace I give you, not as the world gives do I give to you.” (John 14:27) God is teaching us a certain rest and a certain peace that we can only receive from Him. When we take the time to “learn from Him”, the rest and the peace will come.
As we learn to trust Him with all our heart, wait on Him, and not worry or be anxious for anything, His love is revealed to us and through us, and so is His rest and peace. I let Him know all I need and in Him every need is met. In a time when there is such threat, turmoil, chaos and confusion, inside us and all around us, we need this kind of supernatural rest and peace to walk through it all unharmed. We can walk through such dire situations and circumstances in perfect peace…because we trust God to see us through. When all around us may be falling and giving up, we stand firm, and rest in His perfect peace. An analogy was made of the ‘pitch’ that was used to secure the Ark that Noah built. It was used to cover the outside of the boat and keep the water from coming inside. It allowed the Ark to travel through the great and awesome storm as all inside were safe from the utter destruction going on outside. When we spend time getting to Know God and His love, Christ provides us with this supernatural ‘pitch’ all around us. We can walk through anything. We are safe and secure inside.
This kind of rest can only come by close relationship and walking with Christ. How do we come closer to God? We come by prayer. Spending time with God in prayer is the answer. His love will surround us and also pour from us to those around us. More love is what is needed in the world today. As we rest in Him and in His peace, we will have faith and quiet assurance. The love of God will surely prevail in our lives and will be evident to all. Remember: In quietness and confident trust, is your strength. (Isaiah 30:15) God will keep you and protect you in His loving care, no matter what is happening around you.

Be Prepared

gailrobinw

BE PREPARED!

 

 We had a book club meeting recently and the book was Five Days at Memorial.  What a deep and emotionally penetrating discussion about the Katrina disaster in New Orleans and how healthcare won and lost in preparation and care for individuals before and during the incident.  Tragedies of this kind bring out the best and worst in all of us.  Can we really ever be prepared for such an event? What would you or I do in the same situation?  It is something to think about.  As individuals, as a team, and as a community, we all need to prepare ourselves for the worst.  That’s hard to do.  Just ask many of the patients and family members in the hospital approaching death, and they will tell you how hard it is. 

In this Lenten season, I am reminded that God tells us over and over to be…

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Be Prepared

BE PREPARED!

 

 We had a book club meeting recently and the book was Five Days at Memorial.  What a deep and emotionally penetrating discussion about the Katrina disaster in New Orleans and how healthcare won and lost in preparation and care for individuals before and during the incident.  Tragedies of this kind bring out the best and worst in all of us.  Can we really ever be prepared for such an event? What would you or I do in the same situation?  It is something to think about.  As individuals, as a team, and as a community, we all need to prepare ourselves for the worst.  That’s hard to do.  Just ask many of the patients and family members in the hospital approaching death, and they will tell you how hard it is. 

In this Lenten season, I am reminded that God tells us over and over to be prepared; for the one main event:  His return.  We celebrate every year, Christ’s life, death, resurrection and ascension.  Praise the Lord!  We are also celebrating His coming again. We have to be reminded, because we are closer now than we have ever been.  Spiritual preparation is key to all preparation.

The signs are all around us, and we are asked to recognize the signs.  God says, “Be alert”, “Be Watchful”, “Be Sober”, and “Be Holy”.  Jesus will come or we will go, in either case, we need to focus on Him and prepare ourselves.  He says not to be afraid of all the changes that are taking place.  It is the natural course of events. Change is good but it can be hard.  He is still in control. The finished work of the cross assures us of this.

How do we prepare? Here are just a few scriptural instructions:   Have faith in God. Mark 11:22; Pray without ceasing. I Thessalonians 5:17 (12-28); Set you mind on the things above which are eternal.  Colossians 3:1, 2; Be a part of the greater works. John 14:12; Lean not on your own understanding but acknowledge God in all your ways.  Proverbs 3:5, 6; Do the will of God.  1 John 2:1. Love God. Love one another. Luke 10:27. Put off the old, put on the new. Ephesians 4:22-24.  Just as Jesus became like us, we must become like Him. He gives us the power for all of it through His powerful Holy Spirit.

The Word is our guide book for preparation.  I believe if we prepare spiritually, we will be prepared for anything that comes our way.  For grace, wisdom, love, and power will abound and whatever is to come, He will walk with us every step of the way, faith to faith, glory to glory, until we see Him face to face.  What a glorious day!!

Chaplain Gail Williams