If you’re struggling in your faith, or you find that God’s promises don’t seem to be manifesting in your life the way you need them to, this lesson will help you. In fact, the truths presented here, when absorbed and acted upon, can totally change your life.
This video includes a full-length Bible study recorded live at my church a couple months ago.
I remember two specific things about those mountains. In one sense they were a little frightening to a six-year old. Highways were not what they are now, and the less developed highways ran in among those mountains with a little more drama than they do today. The inclines were exceptionally steep in places, with warning signs everywhere about making sure autos were in lowest gear and with stories rampant about “runaway” semis going down those inclines. I remember coming around curves more than once where the road looked as though it would literally lead straight into the mountain. It was a little overwhelming in one way, but it was also tremendously exciting as well. The second thing that struck me was that within these mountains and their foothill regions dwelt people of a different culture and attitude toward life. It wasn’t just the Cherokee people who exhibited that difference. It was virtually all the people who called that place home.
That particular trip touched, not just me, but also my parents. They fell in love with Tennessee and decided that they wanted to live there. When an opportunity came to do so – through a job opening in Nashville, TN – my parents jumped at it. Nashville wasn’t in the mountains, of course, but it was a lot closer. I can honestly say that I have never lived any place that was so special to me as Nashville, Tennessee. I fell in love again – with the city of Nashville and the whole state of Tennessee.
In the years following, my family and I made many trips into the Smoky Mountains. We saw the Park and the surrounding towns change considerably during that time, but the area never lost its unique culture. And having a strong Cherokee heritage in my own life, the older I got the more I wanted to know and be known by the people who had given me my great grandmother. My immediate family and I eventually moved back to Illinois, but we have never stopped visiting the Smoky Mountains.
I’ve wondered sometimes if there’s something in my own blood that calls me home to the Smokies. I don’t recall ever visiting any other place – or even living in any other place – that kept pulling me to come back to it the way the Smokies do — or where I felt so much as if I were “home” each time I visited. Over more recent decades, I’ve tried to maneuver some things in my live and work out a way to have my work and my everyday life in the midst of that area of the country. But the Lord has kept opening doors to the ministry He wants me to do in other areas instead. So those other areas remain my world of everyday life. And, alas, I am still relegated to making visits to my mountains.
But those visits, over the years, have gleaned me an entire family of wonderful characters who do get to live and love and work and play right in the midst of the Smokies. So I’ll have to settle for that. When writing the books in The Smoky Mountain Series, I’ve lived there with them and enjoyed being “home” for all those months. There’s one more book to come, so I’ll continue that enjoyment as I write Book 5: This Fire In My Heart. I’m grateful that, through these books, I can truly live in two worlds at the same time.
My heart’s telling me that it’s time I worked things out in my schedule to make another trip to that place that’s the next best thing to Heaven. In fact, on my most recent trip to the Smokies, I picked up a little magnet for my refrigerator door that says, “Heaven’s a little closer in the mountains.” Ahhh, YES, INDEED, IT IS!
If you’d like to read the series, you’ll find the first 4 books in paperback and digital HERE.
My most recent teaching video. Hope it inspires you.
Old ladies get to sit in rocking chairs and sing hymns. I just figured that out. I can almost hear some readers asking, “Why would you think that?” My answer: Because I’m sitting here right now in the early morning, rocking contentedly and singing one of my favorite hymns:
“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine.
Oh what a foretaste of glory divine.
Heir of salvation, purchase of God.
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.”
It’s one of my favorite ways to start my day — this rocking and singing and reading God’s Word. I have some of my best chats with the Father in this old rocking chair. And a few days ago it suddenly hit me that I was doing exactly what other women of God have done for generations — particularly in their senior years.
I remember vividly staying overnight with my grandparents on my dad’s side of the family and waking every morning to the sound of my grandmother Daisy singing hyms quietly as she sat rocking in the living room. The bed where I slept was positioned so that I could see far enough into the living room to see her sitting there with a cup of coffee and enjoying that quiet time wiht the songs about the Lord on her lips.
But it was my great-grandmother on my mon’s side of the family who made the greatest impression on me. He name was Rosie, and she was a little woman, but strong and sturdy inside and out. She was a strong Spirit-filled Christian. She prayed in tongues, twirled and danced before the Lord in church services and generally lived her life as something of a fanatic for Jesus. She and her husband farmed, but even after she became a widow, she planed her own huge garden every year, tilled it, harvested it, and walked down hot, dusty country roads to take the bounty to other families.
She was also a no-nonsense person with great common sense. Grandma Rosie never sat waiting for her cup of coffee to get cool enough to drink. She simply poured some into her saucer so it cooled instantly, and she slurped it from that saucer.
She really believed what she read in God’s Word. She trusted the Lord for good health all her life and never even saw a doctor until she broke her arm when she was in her nineties.
Grandma Rosie had a rocking chair as well. A place where she rested and prayed and worshiped the Lord in her own heart. And I’ve often thought she must have spent at least a few hours sitting in that chair praying for her children and grandchildren.
The most important thing to me about her rocking chair is that I now sit in it every single day. It isn’t just a family heirloom to me. It means so much more. I know for sure that the generations of believers who have gone before us have prayed for us and opened doors to God’s involvement in our lives in more ways than we will ever know until we meet those people in Heaven. Their faithfulness in times of struggle and their prayers of faith on our behalf have helped forge who we are and what we’ve accomplished.
Every time I sit in this rocker, I think of my Grandma Rosie, and my heart overflows with gratitude for her and her life. But even more, my heart overflows with gratitude and worship to the Lord for all He’s done for me — and all He’s still doing.
This quiet time in my rocking hair with the Word is unique.The Lord draws close to me — or perhaps I should say I draw close to Him, for He’s always as close as I’ll allow Him to be. But I’m very aware of His closeness as I sit here meditating on His Word and the words of faith that flow with the melody of the hymns I sing.
Am I an “old lady”? I don’t feel like one at all. I’m only 71. But I’ve decided that just for this one purpose — having he right to sit rocking and singing to the Lord for a while each day — I think I do want to be an “old lady.” Because it’s true: old ladies get to sit in rocking chairs and sing hymns.
“This is my story; this is my song:
Praising my Savior all the day long.
This is my story; this is my song:
Praising my Savior all the day long.”
Hymn lyrics by Fanny J. Crosby
THE PRICE IS PAID
How deep and dark the grave in which they laid the Lord.
And naught to give Him hope except the Father’s Word.
But ’twas enough, for God had said, “When day three comes,
You’ll rise with life anew and come again to Home.”
Throughout the vigil, silence reigned and men did mourn.
And in the halls of Hell, the demons, they did groan:
This man from off the cross had stormed their barriers staid.
Hell panicked at the word from Heaven: “The price is paid!”
Then Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man, stepped forth
And grasped the keys of Death and Hell with violent force.
Then rose through realms beneath to burst from earth and grave.
His shout of victory rang abroad: “Mankind is saved!”
O, Lamb of God
So pure, so holy, undefiled,
You came so meekly,
Vulnerable, a tiny child.
You took our sin
And took all of its consequence.
You chose the cross,
And on it your lifeblood was spent.
But for what cause,
When tempted in the garden that night,
Did you still choose
To let yourself be crucified?
You told us, Lord;
If we’d just listen, we would know.
You said, “Because
I love the Father, I will go.”
Lord, work in us
That holy and obedient love,
That we, when tried,
Will speak and act only for God.
(Photo courtesy of Karen’s Whimsy)
Nathaniel was a man who knew no guile.
He walked with Jesus, loved Him all the while.
When first he heard His name, a question posed
But waited ’til the answer was disclosed.
“From Nazareth can any good come forth?”
He asked of those who knew that city’s worth.
He asked for meditation, not reply,
Yet found the answer true in Jesus’ eyes.
And although from the garden he did run
With others as they scattered one by one,
As Roman guards led Jesus, bound, away,
There came a reckoning after the third day.
As Mary ran to spread the glorious news,
Nathaniel, hidd’n with others, all confused,
Received her words with doubt, and hope, and fear,
And hungered so His Master’s voice to hear.
Then Jesus stood among them, His work done:
Salvation for the world from Nazareth comes.
Seized and stripped and slapped and spit upon,
A shackle placed upon the brow.
And scarlet robe on shoulders bowed.
The tortuous, mutilating pain.
To give me peace and health again.
To execute the Father’s plan.
Now empty stands:
He’s paid the price for every man.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. A few years ago I wrote 7 poems during Holy Week — or Passion Week — leading up to Easter Sunday. This year in commemoration of our Lord’s suffer, I’m going to repost those poems on each Wednesday in Lent — and then post the last of the 7 on Easter Sunday. I hope they bless you and inspire you to gratefully meditate on how our Lord Jesus suffered for our sins and in our place to work our total redemption and salvation.
My heart pounded
As they dragged me out.
They stood me close beside Him,
And I looked about.
The crowd was frenzied:
With rage and raw disgust.
I wasn’t sure the real cause–
Why they fumed and cussed.
I glanced beside me
To catch a glimpse of Him,
But what my eyes saw in His
Convicted me within.
When guards shouted,
“Who is it going to be?”
Then I understood they’d choose
To set one free.
Set Barabbas free!”
I could not believe my ears:
They chose, not Him, but me.
“What of Jesus?”
Then asked the guards.
“Crucify Him! Crucify Him!
He is not our God!”
My shackles fell off:
By law a free man.
Pilate called for water then
And there he washed his hands.
The day grew dark
As He hung there,
Upon a cross with thieves each side,
Then He said a prayer.
He prayed, “Forgive them.”
Did that include me?
When He said, “It is finished!”
I knew He’d died for me
I posted this newest teaching video a couple weeks ago, but it had a problem, and I had to take it offline for repair. That problem is now fixed, and hopefully, the video will be up to stay this time.
My newest teaching video is available on line for viewing now.