Thursday, June 19, 2014

In God We Trust

In God We Trust
By Sharon Crowe – May 15, 2014

Coming from a below-poverty household as a young child, I would always find extreme pleasure and joy in finding money on the ground.  Even though I was only just a little girl, I appreciated the fact of what I could buy with that money.  If I found a penny, I could buy bubble gum.  If I found a nickel, I could buy a whole candy bar or 4 jaw breakers.  If I found a dime, I could buy a bottle of soda; and joy of joys, if I found a quarter, I could buy a loaf of bread to share with my family, and a ½ stick of margarine! Bonanza!!! 

Consequently, I was always walking around with my head down.  As I walked along my street, my neighbors would admonish me to lift my head high; to walk proudly.  I never mentioned to them my purpose for walking with my head down. My thought was that it was none of their business.  Why didn’t they just leave me alone?  However, I was raised by a mother who spent countless hours teaching us “good manners”, and a healthy respect for adults.  So I would lift my head, smile, and say, “Yes, Ma’am” or “Yes, Sir.”

On one such occasion, one of my neighbors, Mrs. Edyline Jakes, (she lived in the corner house on my street), called me over as I was headed home.  It was a glorious day!  I had found 48 cents!!! I was happily thinking of all the things I could buy with that money.  If my mother allowed it, I could actually use nine cents to go to the movies with my friends that Saturday.  I was in heaven.

So, when Mrs. Jakes called my name, I pretended I didn’t hear her. I didn’t want her to ruin my fun.  Mrs. Jakes had the habit of always asking subtle questions about what was going on in your home and life.  I dreaded any conversations with her as she was an expert at digging information out of any person, child or adult.  My mother had already lectured us repeatedly on the mandate that “what goes on in our house, stays in our house.”  I wondered how I was going to win the information battle that day.  I was only 7 years old, but I lifted my chin, put a smile on my face, said a quick prayer for God’s help, and girded myself for battle.

Surprise! Surprise!  When I walked over to Mrs. Jakes, she asked me how much money I had found that day.  I looked at her with rounded eyes; I was absolutely stunned.  How did she know what I had been doing?  As I looked up at her she laughed, and said she used to do the same thing when she was a little girl.  She asked me to show her one of my coins, and then instructed me to look at the words printed on the coin.  Of course, on each coin were the words, “In God We Trust”.

Mrs. Jakes asked if I had ever given any thought to what those words actually meant.  I had to admit I had not.  She asked if I truly believed that I could trust God for all of my needs.  I had to admit again I hadn’t given it a lot of thought.  I was only 7 years old after all, and my thoughts were mostly directed at fun, food, friends, and school.

Well, that day Mrs. Jakes gave me a lesson on what it means to trust in God.  She actually had her Bible in her lap and read to me two verses from Psalm.  Many years later, I don’t remember the actual verses, but I would like to believe that they were Psalm 84: 12, “O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.” , and  Psalm 9:10, “Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.” 

I remember Mrs. Jakes telling me that no matter the circumstances, issues, or situations I may face in my life that I should always seek the Lord and trust in Him.  I believe she knew it might not have much meaning for me at such a young age, but felt it was never too early to start learning about the goodness of God.  I regularly attended church, but with some young kids, the bible lessons didn’t always “stick”.  Mrs. Jakes also mentioned that I should continue to follow the word and promises of God, no matter what difficulties or challenges came my way. She shared with me that life could be hard, sometimes almost unbearable, but that I should never give up, and just keep trusting and believing that God answers prayers and keeps his promises to His people.

Whenever I see a penny on the ground today, I might not pick it up, but I do reaffirm every time and daily that, “In God I Trust.”  Do you really trust in the Lord?   I pray that you do.

If you are wondering how I remember the scriptures came from the Book of Psalm, Mrs. Jakes rewarded me with two crisp $1.00 bills for memorizing the two scriptures.  Time has dimmed the actual verses I memorized, but the lesson has never been forgotten and has helped carry me over the rough patches of life.  I was also told to pay God first that Sunday, but the rest was all mine to do with as I pleased.  Oh, Happy Day!!  O Happy Girl! Do I trust in God today?  ABSOLUTELY!!! 

So be blessed and below are five additional scriptures to read, and perhaps memorize on trusting God, our Heavenly Father. 

Psalm 20:7                                                     2 Samuel 7:28
Psalm 13:5                                                      Proverbs 28:26
Daniel 6:23

Keep the faith and live joyfully in Christ!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

God Gives Us the Authority

Why Bend in the Wind?
By Sister Sharon Crowe (11/16/2013) 

Anyone who knows anything about me at all knows that I enjoy watching Asian dramas, especially Korean and Japanese dramas, in my spare time, or when I just want to relax.  Yes, I must read subtitles, but it doesn’t spoil my enjoyment at all.  These dramas have a feel of innocence that American dramas do not have any more.  Whether they represent their country’s true culture or not, is a question for another day.

One drama in particular, Ad Genius:  Lee Tae Baek, is a drama based on a true story about a poor, hardworking young man who had struggled to get into the advertising business.  He had met with failure after failure in attempting to obtain a lucrative advertising contract.  In one scene against the Vice President of a large, well-established advertising firm, he asks the protagonist of the drama, “Aren’t you the person who is better off than me?  You are an Elite!  Then why are you so bent on trying to step all over me?”  The protagonist responded in a cold, arrogant, matter-of-fact voice, “It is not that I stepped all over you, but that you allowed yourself to be stepped on”.

I sat back a little further in my chair and thought, “Wow!!”  How often do we fall prey to being a living doormat for other people to step on us?  I can hear some of you shouting out loudly, “NEVER!!” (in large caps).  However, I believe that at one point or another, we have all had to bend in the wind to someone else’s will.  We have all been in a position of submission; whether it was on our jobs, in school, church committees, in our homes, to our parents, teachers, friends, bullies, etc.  I believe we all have been there.

Even though it was just a drama, I thought these men needed God in their lives.  I also realized that God is always near, because as I was watching the drama, the word ‘authority” came to mind from the Holy Spirit.  I wondered how many people might not know that God has given us the authority to do many things.   Matthew 16:19 reads, “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven:  and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven:  and whatsoever though shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  (KJV)

Of course, there are real men, women, and children, being subjected to another’s will or are just outright being stepped on, because they haven’t claimed their position of authority.  It is not a secret weapon, but another of God’s many gifts to us; another key to the kingdom of heaven. 

I just want to remind someone who may be facing a major battle, (whatever it may be) or climbing what looks like an incredibly tall mountain; that God loves you and has given you the authority to stand strong against any challenge or adversity that is in your life.  Sometimes it is easier said than done, but believe that through Christ, all things are possible.  Romans 8:28 reads, And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose.”  (ASV)

In the drama mentioned above, it had a happy ending as the young man never gave up, becoming quite a successful adman.  It happens in real life all the time.  We will examine some real life stories of people I have met, who told me of their victory in another issue.   So stay strong; don’t allow the winds of life to knock you down, because God has given you the courage and authority to overcome it on earth, as it is in heaven. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Water Your Spiritual Garden

Correcting the Error of Our Ways
By Sharon Crowe (2/28/13) 

I received an email from my cousin Jackie this morning with an attachment that included the questions below.  Take a look at them and determine if any (or all) apply to you.

  • Isn't it strange how a 20 dollar bill seems like such a large amount when you donate it to church, but such a small amount when you go shopping? 
  • Isn't it strange how 2 hours seem so long when you're at church,
    and how short they seem when you're watching a good movie? 
  • Isn't it strange that you can't find a word to say when you're praying but,
    you have no trouble thinking what to talk about with a friend? 
  • Isn't it strange how we need to know about an event for Church 2-3 weeks before the day so we can include it in our agenda, but we can adjust it for other events in the last minute? 
  • Isn't it strange how difficult it is to learn a fact about God to share it with others; but how easy it is to learn, understand, extend and repeat gossip? 
  • Isn't it strange how we believe everything that magazines and newspapers say but... we question the words in the Bible? 
  • Isn't it strange how everyone wants a place in heaven but....
    they don't want to believe, do, or say anything to get there? 
  • Isn't it strange how we send jokes in e-mails and they are forwarded right away but when we are going to send messages about God, we think about it twice before we share it with others?
I can tell you that after I reviewed the questions, I thought they should be shared.  I am a BIG believer in self-evaluation, so I found several (unfortunately) that apply to me in my Christian life.  Since none of us is perfect, a concerted effort to correct those areas will be implemented by me immediately.  I encourage you to do the same.

Also, in an effort to determine the original author of these questions, I conducted a Goggle search.  In error, I clicked on a site for non-Christians or ex-Christians (those who decided to leave Christianity behind).  There is no need to tell you that every question listed above, was answered on the basis that God does not exist; so why should the Bible be read, why attend church, why spend money and get nothing for it, why pray, there is no heaven, etc.  I won’t repeat any more of their nonsense here. I refuse to aid and abet in that endeavor.

Now, I will tell you that it is very rare that I actually come into contact with a non-believer.  I regularly encounter on occasion those people who may not practice their faith, attend church, tithe, but believe in the existence of our heavenly Father or at least say they do.

Frankly, I was shocked at the negative comments, and began to pray for “David” and all non-believers and former Christians.  Having grown up and associated with others who have a healthy respect, love and fear of our Lord and Savior, I prayed with all my might.

I wonder how people can question the existence of God, when I feel Him all around me.  I need only look out my window and see His wonders everywhere.  I need only close my eyes, lift my arms to the sky to know that He is there.  What about you?

This non-believer’s website had experienced over 408,000 visitors.  I regretted that my “clicking error” would be counted as a visitor.  However, I began to think that maybe God had led me there for two reasons: 1) to bring awareness that we must not let our guard down and continue to fight against the forces of evil; and 2) to continue to share the message of God to believers and non-believers alike.

Saints!  To be honest, viewing that site was a little scary. We have to work harder to continue building up God’s army for the fight we MUST win, or we could find ourselves being surrounded by darkness.  So, let’s start by correcting the error of our ways, so that when we tell people that we are Christians, they can see the “light” of the Lord within us.