Tag Archives: inspiration

What Will You Do With That Freedom?

23 Mar

braveheart-1313768696-hero-wide-0If you’re a big fan of the movie Braveheart, like I am, you immediately recognize the words, “What will you do with that freedom?” When you say it like Mel Gibson did, you can grasp the passion behind this post. Just like the real battle depicted in that movie, we are all in a battle every single day. There is a battle for our souls, which determines eternal direction. And then there is the constant battle for our minds. If Satan has already lost us through accepting Jesus as our Savior, he fights with all of his experience gained through the ages to at least rob us of our joy and the victory of living in Christ.

(Please continue reading in the growl of a Scottish warrior)

God wooed me to himself many years ago, and I repented of my sins on October 4, 1979. Since that time, I have been clinging to Him and reading the Bible as though my life depended on it. As a result, He delivered me not only from death but from the lies of the enemy that robbed me of my peace day after day.

“O, taste and see that the Lord is good!

Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” – Psalm 34:8

Here I am now, with a mind that is free. Yet the battle for souls rages on. God has called each of his children to be a light in the darkness. We don’t have to go out and become televangelists or Scottish landowners to fulfill our calling. The battle is won on our knees.

We must pray for those who don’t know about God’s all-consuming love. Pray that their eyes will be opened and their souls will be saved. Tell about His faithfulness.

If we will stop lying complacent on our beds, we can fulfill the calling that Jesus gave:

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.” Matthew 16:24-27

So that you have marching orders for the day and an understanding of where your battle can begin, here is Psalm 34:12-14:

“What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good?

Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.

Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”

The Lord has set you free from the bondage of sin and the bondage in your minds placed there by lies of the enemy. Take up your cross! Seek peace and pursue it! You have been set free! What will you do with that freedom?

Stevie McHugh, Come on Down!

22 Mar
runner-competing-in-race

The race is on! (Photo by Jean Beaufort)

Joseph’s story in Genesis tells of a man filled with a God-given dream of promotion. Before he became 2nd only to the Pharaoh in all the vast land of Egypt, he was enslaved by jealous brothers who loathed him. Then he acted with incredible integrity and yet was thrown in prison on false accusations. Finally the waiting was over. His number was up. He was called to the front, and he was ready for the fulfillment of the dream. Guess whose name has just been called, folks?

Although I’ve suffered nothing like what Joseph went through and my dreams aren’t nearly as lofty, Jesus has called me into the part of my life I’ve been looking forward to. Thank God for His grace, which is the desire and power to do His will. I’ve been living un-victoriously in the realm of health, and how hard is it to lose weight, especially when you’re no longer a spring chicken?

Here’s how Jesus spoke, which altogether has made me realize the time for action has come:

1-He opened my eyes to the need for Christians to rise up in the midst of a world spiraling downward and shine the light of Truth. In the U.S., political correctness targets Christianity and violently shuts the mouths of Bible-believers. We need to stop cooperating, and I do mean including me. The strategy God instilled in me was to “Be the Love of God” and be part of a movement that changes from complacency and worldliness to reaching out in love to actually help others as opposed to merely sitting on pews. (This revelation happened after reading a sermon by famous preacher Spurgeon, who pointed out how hard the devil works to silence the wonderful Good News. I mean, he has been diligent! Obscuring the most powerful force on earth is quite a feat, like hiding the sun. The love of God is that force.)

2-He whispered to me, “Take up thy bed and walk.”  This is a scripture about a lame man. He was being told to get up, pick up after himself, and walk. Okay. Same message for me. I’ve been hindered by all kinds of physical ailments, but recently God showed me I have more endurance than I’ve realized. I’m good to go. To me this meant: Get up in the mornings, make your bed, walk on the treadmill or take a brisk walk on the street for at least 30 minutes, take a shower, and then get to work, which is at my computer. (Get fit! Lose that extra poundage!)

3-I’ve been invited to participate in ministry with my writing. At the same time, I’ve begun volunteering at Houston Christian radio station KSBJ, where I’m connecting with a lot of amazing people. The message has been clear: Stevie, come on down to KSBJ! We need you whenever you can possibly come for prayer and other types of service.

4-I got a deadline for my God-writing project. Aubrie asked me to write her a devotion book so that she can learn about God. Last night, with no prompting of any kind from me, she mentioned that her goal is to read the Bible every day (but she wants to understand it – this I know). We were reading her challenging spelling words for the week, which prompted her statement. She’s waiting for me to provide her with these devotionals, and how could I possibly disappoint her? (It is currently about 7 a.m. Aubrie heard me proofreading this and said she needs to read her devotion that I write after school. I still need to write the first one, but it’s already outlined.)

There is actually more that I could say, but the point is my time of waiting is over. It’s like when Rocky was tapped for a major fight. I mean, it was really go time, no doubt about it. My life has that same motivating background music right now, angel rendition.

We are all prepared by God, we all wait, and we all have a calling. If you’re in a waiting time, just keep praising the Lord and believing in His faithfulness. If you’re going through a fiery trial, rejoice, God says! It means He has big plans for you, and it will be worth every millisecond of pain.

“Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.” Isaiah 42:19 ESV

The Jackpot Deadline

21 Mar
DSCN0517 (2)

Aubrianna in her Winter Princess look – Christmas 2016

Aubrianna aka Aubrie, my 8-year-old granddaughter, asked me to write a book about God for her. The next day, she asked me to read some of it to her. She’s waiting! Little does she know:  I needed this! Deadlines are my juice.

My job is writing, but I’m writing for others. So glad to make a living this way, and it’s a dream come true. I just keep forgetting that my real dream of writing involves pointing to God in a way that can draw people to our wonderful Savior. This is my true heart’s desire.

So Aubrianna agreed that, specifically, I should write a book that helps her and other kids understand about God and know Him better. The ideas I have no shortage of. Over the years, I’ve had literally hundreds of inspired ideas about writings that point people to God.

Here are a few possible chapters for Aubrie’s book:

  • Because of God, we have Breath
  • God has Written You a Letter
  • God Gave Just 10 Rules of Life – Here’s 1 (times 10)
  • God is Right There With You
  • God Fit Himself into a Tiny Package
  • God Gives us Amazing Peace
  • Jesus Loves You the Most

At the same time Aubrie challenges me to write this book, I am also compelled to pick back up on writing Daily Pep Talk.

Even though God is awesome and He is here with us, giving us His peace, most of us could use a pep talk every day. The best kind of pep talk, in my opinion, is one that directs us to focus on God. Nothing is too hard for Him, and He gives us abilities beyond what we think possible. Yes, I can translate my dreams into reality. You can, too! Let’s move in that direction by setting goals. For me, that means spending time every day working on writing that book and this blog.What steps should you take toward your God-given dream?

 

 

7 Ways to Be at Peace When World News is Depressing

1 Apr

You don’t have to listen to the news very long to hear something that may be upsetting and probably too hard core for a young child.  In my area this week we have a toddler who wandered away from his home while mom napped, and he drowned in a nearby pond.  Andrea Yates is in the news regarding her request to visit church on Sundays; she’s the Houston area mom who drowned all five of her children in a bathtub about a decade ago.  And nationwide upset over the death of Trayvon Martin is alarming not only because of the needless loss of a young man’s life but in the way the shooting seems to be creating further racial divide.

Trayvon Martin Protest - Sanford

Some people are so busy today, they literally may be tempted to organize a community awareness campaign about how easy it is for children to drown, protest the weekend release of Andrea Yates, and then organize a fundraiser to provide assistance to parents of murdered children.  There are a million and one daily opportunities to be involved in the world.  So how do you keep from being overwhelmed by both the sadness and the urge to take action?  I will share my secret, but it’s actually advice that I got from the Bible.

God created you; He understands that life can literally knock your feet out from underneath you.  He instructs you and me (all of us) to:

  1. Simply take life one day at a time.  (Matthew 6:34)
  2. Keep your eyes on things above and not things below, which means to dwell on God’s Word, His promises, His instructions, His goodness, heaven, etc.  (Colossians 3:2)
  3. Get in tune with God and listen for His voice because He will tell you what your part in the world is intended to be.  And when you do what God has for you to do, you can be sure that it will be effective.  (Isaiah 30:21)
  4. Be thankful!  A genuinely thankful heart is a happy heart.  (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
  5. Be generous.  You can’t solve world hunger.  But you can buy canned goods for the local food pantry, donate the clothing your family doesn’t need anymore, and help a friend in need.  (Luke 6:38)
  6. Treat others the way you wish you were treated, and that alone could change the world by starting a domino effect of people being good to one another.  (Matthew 7:12)
  7. Delight yourself in God and in the other good things of life, such as family.  (Psalm 37:4)

The Christian life doesn’t mean we walk around with our heads in the clouds, but it does mean that we can dwell in the peace of God no matter what the bad news of the day is.

An image of Psalm 23 (King James' Version), fr...

An image of Psalm 23 (King James' Version), frontispiece to the 1880 omnibus printing of The Sunday at Home. Scanned at 800 dpi. Français : Illustration du Psaume 23 (version autorisée par le roi Jacques), en frontispice de l'édition omnibus du Sunday at home. Version numérisée à 800 dpi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Are You Standing on the Right Soapbox?

22 Mar

I am often tempted to get up on my soapbox and wage a campaign for change about things like ridiculously long lines at Walmart after 9:00 pm, the bashing of Christianity in the media, the exclusion of genuine Christianity in Hollywood, and more recently why a company like Brach’s would stop making my favorite Easter candy which I’ve been eating since I was a little girl.  (Those marshmallow eggs are unavailable in all of Houston.)

But none of us can fight for every cause.

Backed by the favor and empowerment of God, I once organized a rally in support of our troops and in doing so was part of what began the “Support the Troops” movement that swept across America during Desert Storm in 1991.  (Read about my rally on the Congressional Record the day of 1-22-91 where Congressman Tom Delay spoke about the Alvin, Texas, rally and me, Stevie Johnson—before I took back my maiden name.)

At that event I got on my soapbox for the purpose of turning around the threat of treating soldiers the same way they were treated during Vietnam, and it made an impact on society (made national news, etc.).  So I know that one person backed by the support of God and the city she lives in can change the country.

That was a miraculous event, though.  I’d love to write about it more some other time.  The point is that when you get up on the soapbox that God is leading you to stand on, you are standing on the right soapbox.  But other efforts based on personal opinions and frustrations are not what we’re supposed to expend our energy on.

I believe that the biggest impact we can possibly make with our lives is to take the path God directs us to pursue.  When we go off on a tangent, we’re stepping off that God-empowered journey which will lead to ultimate success.  The results of our obedience won’t be known until we get to heaven; I have no doubt that standing in the right place at the right time will reap eternal reward beyond our wildest imaginations.

 

Matthew 17:19-21

New King James Version (NKJV)

19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”

20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief;[a] for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”[b]

Paraffin Bath Prayers: Get on the List!

21 Mar

Did you ever come to the conclusion, when a life crisis stops you in your tracks, that God is sending you this message?

 

Slow Down!  Quit neglecting

the things of the Spirit!

Me, too.

Quiet time spent reflecting on God and praying has been a rare occurrence compared to the years when I commuted to Houston from the Clear Lake, Texas, or Alvin area.  All that drive time in bumper-to-bumper traffic was my big opportunity to sing, worship, and listen to sermon tapes.  Lately I’ve been missing all that time with God.

And wallah!  God arranged for me to have those times back, though in a different way.  Thank the Good Lord that, with these gas prices today, I don’t have to commute.  Instead, I will be dipping both of my arthritis-riddled hands in hot paraffin wax up to twice a day for 20 minutes per hand.  (Such wonderful pain relief!)

As I sit at my desk with one hand coated in lavender-scented wax, wrapped in a sandwich bag, and inserted into a thermal glove, I shall focus on God!  Okay.  I’ll also play some Words with Friends on my mobile phone.

But mostly this will be a ministry time.  I’m going to keep a running prayer journal and spend that time lifting people up.  I’ll also be writing down answered prayer.

Have you ever heard of Lakewood Church of which Joel Osteen is the pastor?  (It’s the biggest church in America.)  I’m a trained Stephen’s Minister there, which is comparable to a deacon in a Baptist church.  To be honest, I am switching to a smaller church.  But when I go to Lakewood, I am free to wear my badge and help pray, as needed.

In other words, I am a minister; and I’ve been a part of numerous prayer groups through the years.  I’ve seen God amazingly answer prayers, and I’m not shy about believing for miracles.

If you have a prayer need in your life, please consider sending me a specific prayer request.  Or, if you’d rather keep the details private, you can simply give me a person’s first name and I’ll lift them up before the Lord (He knows what’s going on, and that’s the important thing).

My hands may hurt, but I’m truly thankful that God has shown me that He’s blessing me to slow down and engage in a daily prayer ministry.

What on this earth is more powerful than a prayer of faith?  It’s crucial business and worth the suffering that drove me to my knees.

James 5:17-18

New King James Version (NKJV)

17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

How I Sort of Stopped the World’s Clocks

19 Mar

Do you know about the guy in the Bible that God turned back the clock for?  (Related scriptures are below.)  It was very cool and the reality of the “missing time” has been proven by science.  Well, God did a similar trick for me today; it’s like the earth actually stood still.

Say WHAT?

I started praying for today yesterday; and I continued with prayer and meditation on the scriptures this morning.  As a result of prayer – because this is no coincidence (I’ve experienced this exact thing before) – I was more productive than I’ve been in ages:

  • Wrote 10 assignments
  • Went for a long walk
  • Spent quality time with the kids
  • Prepared for and completed a radio broadcast Bible study with the kids
  • Did a lot of work on my blogs
  • Played Word With Friends with lots of friends
  • Got a real inspiration for an invention that’s very clever (I hope it’s not like the other things I “invented” and then found out they already existed…lol)
  • Did laundry
  • Made an online friend (Hello, Bird!)
  • Worked on getting prints of Logan’s birthday party so that I can give prints to his friends (40 downloaded so far)
  • Exhibited complete patience with the kids without any edgy moments

Another factor about the day that made it all the more amazing is that I experienced excess pain – I actually cried from the pain.  What’s going on is that, besides my chronic tendonitis in both elbows, more and more finger joints are being plagued with osteoarthritis, which is quite painful.  (I’m very allergic to glucosamine, which fights the effects of this disease.)

So, yeah, it’s really as though God stopped the world’s clocks and let me accomplish a great deal on a very satisfyingly productive day.

The only thing is, I hope this clock miracle doesn’t mess up my schedule even more, what with “spring forward” still confusing my sleep schedule.  (lol)

I totally recommend praying passionately.  Just watch and see what happens.

 

2 Kings 20:8-11

New King James Version (NKJV)

And Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “What is the sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the Lord the third day?”

Then Isaiah said, “This is the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing which He has spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees or go backward ten degrees?”

10 And Hezekiah answered, “It is an easy thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees; no, but let the shadow go backward ten degrees.”

11 So Isaiah the prophet cried out to the Lord, and He brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down on the sundial of Ahaz.