Thursday, July 4, 2019

In all things, God gets the glory!

The days move slowly in my world. Pretty much confined to the house nowadays because of my increasing disability, I've grown accustomed to the walls of the beautiful home that my husband found for us when we moved to Kentucky 3 1/2 years ago. It's not Florida, and there isn't a pool I can jump into when I want, but there is still beauty right outside my window if I pay attention to God's creation.

It's harder and harder for me to write in this blog because often my thoughts are scattered and  confused, but I will press on towards the goal. If my words seem jumbled that is why. Hang in there with me please.

We live on a quiet street, with an acre of land and woods behind us. There are birds everywhere, rabbits abound and we often see white tail deer at the baseline of our property.We are surrounded by God's beautiful creation if we just open our eyes.

So often we go through life never realizing that every breath we take, every worldly possession we have comes from the Grace of God and His bountiful provision. Sometimes it's real easy to want to take the credit ourselves, but the bottom line is without God opening doors for us, we would be stuck in neutral. Whether it be in our job, our personal relationships, our health, our finances, really any aspect of our lives, the Lord is in charge of it all. All he wants from us is our devotion. If we surrender our lives to Jesus, He will open the doors of Heaven for us and shower us with blessings we can't contain. It really is that simple.

When I got very sick back in 1997, during that excruciating time when I didn't know what I had and the doctors were stumped, I made a life decision and thankfully the Lord has given me His strength to stick to it for all these years. What was that decision?

I made the decision that whatever happened to me, I would use that to Glorify God in all circumstances. I would thank him and Praise Him for giving me the strength to get through each day,  and that I would use whatever happened to be a witness to His Amazing Grace in every relationship I had.

Once I finally had a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, a chronic, progressive debilitating disease of the central nervous system, I had no idea what the future would hold. I was told by the"learned doctors" handling my case, that everyone is different. Every person advances differently. They said MS is a very, very unpredictable disease. I could be in a wheelchair in 5-10 years and then again maybe I wouldn't. That wasn't much of a comfort, but that was my reality.

There wasn't much hope the doctors could give me. I knew for sure that my hope would never come from medical science, it could only come from the one who made me, my Creator. I knew was that the Lord God Almighty was the one that held my future and the only way I was going to be able to survive the uncertainty of living with this crazy disease was to put everything in the Lord's Hands and that is exactly what I did. And when you have the strength to do just that he will give you His incredible Peace that surpasses all understanding. Philippians 4:7 tell us "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.And boy, do I ever thank Him for that Peace. It has given me so much strength over the years. 

22 years later, I am happy to say that every day I open my eyes is a good day. The MS has advanced quite a bit. Indeed I am homebound now and in a motorized scooter to get around. But here's the thing, I'm still here. I'm still kicking. I'm still using my time to try and spread the Word of God through my daily devotional posts, my online prayer group and blog. I still have a heartbeat and because of that I believe that the Lord still has a purpose for my life. It's all about Jesus in my mind.
I pray He will continue to use me for His Glory until my last breath.

When you look at your life right now what are you thankful for? How is the Lord using you to bring Him glory? Whatever is going on in your life right now, God wants to use you. Reach out to Him, He will not disappoint. He is waiting for you with open arms and He will get you through whatever is happening in your life, no matter how tragic or overwhelming it may seem to you. God can take that situation and turn it on is head. He is the Creator of the Universe, nothing is too big for Him!

On this 4th of July, as we celebrate this amazing country we live in and the freedoms that we have because of the sacrifices that have been made by those who served, I am thankful that I have the freedom to worship the Lord God I love, the way that I want to.

We have so much to be thankful for today and everyday and in my mind, in everything, in every way, God gets the Glory!

My verse for today is above in red.

My prayer for today:

Lord Jesus, 

Thank you Lord. Thank you for my many blessings. Thank you for my devoted husband, my family, my beautiful home and everything you give us each day Lord. Help me Lord to continue to serve you in any capacity that I can. Thank you for this free country that we live in. Thank you that we have a President that loves it so much and honors its veterans and you Lord. Continue to watch over this land and our people. Use me Lord. Use me to bring you glory each day!


Friday, April 19, 2019

Ron Watts, a man after God's own heart

It's been a while since I've written here. As this Multiple Sclerosis advances through my body, I find it more and more difficult to get my thoughts together in writable form. That plus my cataracts are getting worse all the time. Yikes...The cognitive side of MS is real for me and frustrating as it is, I'm thankful that I can still continue to spend time spreading the word of God through my Facebook and Instagram daily devotionals and my online prayer group for women with MS. That's so important to me and I will do it until my last breath. That is the least I can do for the Lord considering everything He does for me each day.

As much as I loved writing in this blog these past 9 years, it has been increasingly difficult because of my health issues, but even if it takes me a month to get my thoughts together, I strongly feel God pulling me to tell you the story about a wonderful ambassador for Jesus named Ron Watts and how the Lord has used this man for His Glory. So hear goes....

I met Ron when I took our first born son Eric who was 3 at the time to Sunday school at our neighborhood, Vamo United Methodist, in 1987. As I took Eric, (nickname Biff) into the Sunday school to drop him off for the first time, this very tall, lanky boisterous fellow approached me. "Welcome to Vamo Church young lady, what's your name"? I said Nicki Watts, he chucked and said " Really? Well, can you believe it? My name is Ron Watts, and I think we're going to be very good friends Nicki Watts, I can feel it." And looking back, Ron was right, because from that very first day, my heart belonged to Jesus and with Ron and all the other dear Christian friends I met at Vamo Church.

Ron's wonderful welcome set the stage for a 30+ friendship with me and every member of my family. That man in particular and those many Christian friends I made at that church have prayed our family through so many crisis' I've lost count. For years, as far as I was concerned, Ron was the patriarch of that church. He was the lay leader. He was a member of the choir. He had a bible class that led many to Jesus. But above all the tangible ways he served the Lord through the church, Ron was first and foremost an evangelist. He would talk to anyone and everyone he met about Jesus. It might be on the golf course, it might be at a party, it might be at a church function or on the Christmas tree lot (our church sold them for years), but Ron was always talking about Jesus and his love. His simple phrase to any newcomer he met was. "How are you with Jesus?" Some people were offended, but with Ron, you always knew where you stood. He was all about sharing the love of Jesus with everyone. Just a lovely, lovely man.

Ron and I in 1999, when he won the layperson of the year from the Lighthouse News

Fast forward 25 years. Ron and his sweet wife Sarina moved up to Sun City Center, a retirement community in Florida. Ron and Sarina joined a baptist church, and we were fortunate enough to go visit them at few times before we moved out of Florida in 2016. Ron joined the choir and began to share his love of the Lord with a whole new congregation. It was wonderful to see him shining for Jesus, like he always did.
Visiting Ron and Sarina in Sun City Center, Christmas 2013
    with Ted and Carol Smith, Nicki and Steve Watts, our former Pastor Brent and wife Mary Byerman

Unfortunately, a few years ago, Ron was diagnosed with Dementia, and for the last year or so he's been in memory care nearby the apartment that he and Sarina shared. He's had many health challenges. I keep in touch with Sarina every few months, checking up on them, and the last time I talked to her she told me an extraordinary story about Ron.

Many days because of his advancing dementia, he doesn't make much sense at all, and Sarina told me,, "Nicki I get so frustrated. One day he's fine, and the next day I can't understand a word he's saying. I get so discouraged." Such is the horrible disease of dementia.

Recently, Ron had an episode that landed him in the hospital. Sarina almost lost him she said, he was in a wheelchair, and once released they sent him to rehab. In the rehab facility, they taught him how to walk again among other things.

One of his physical therapists was a woman from Mongolia. Of course, Ron began talking with her about Jesus. She told Ron, I pray to Buddha every night. Ron told Sarina that he told her "Well, you can pray to Buddha all you want, but praying to Buddha won't get you into heaven. You need Jesus."

Now Sarina wasn't there and didn't witness this, so she wasn't sure exactly what was said. Could this be in Ron's mind, or did this actually happen? Sarina never met the woman and Ron finished with rehab and returned to the memory care facility. Life went back to their new normal for both of them. Sarina goes to see Ron most days and spends time with him. He's slipping daily, but thankfully he still knows her and still loves to talk about Jesus.

I often sent them picture of the family,and Sarina says whenever I do, Ron brightens right up and knows everyone in the pictures. We recently added a new grandson to our family and when I sent those new pictures of little Ben, Ron said, "He looks just like Biff, doesn't he?" So, the good old Ron is still in there somewhere.

So a few weeks ago, Sarina gets a call from one of the Elders at the baptist church they attended before Ron got sick. He told her that this woman from Mongolia began coming to their church a few weeks ago and she was getting baptized on Sunday and she said it was all because of a guy named Ron Watts. Sarina almost fell out of her chair. The story was true all along. Ron was doing what he does best.

As sick as this man is, his love of Jesus Christ is so ingrained in him that he is still winning souls for the Kingdom. Praise the Lord! I got chills down my spine! Thank you Lord. As long as Ron is still winning souls for the Lord and is needed on this earth, I don't think he's going anywhere.

Isn't that incredible story? Talk about a Easter miracle! God can use anyone at any stage in their lives. I was so uplifted by this story, I knew that somehow, I had to figure this out so I could spread the word to everyone. It's taken me a few weeks to get my thoughts on this together but it's well worth it. Thank you Lord for giving me the cognition to get through this. Continue to use our friend Ron like you always have.

Mark 16:15 tell us "He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." And that is exactly what Ron has been doing for years and years. Thank you Lord for Ron's continuing ministry. We have been so blessed to have this extraordinary man of God in our lives.

My verse for today is from Mark 16:15

My prayer for today/

Lord, thank you for Ron Watts. Thank you for his strong ministry for you for all these years. He has brought many souls into Your Kingdom. Be with him Lord. Comfort him as he goes through his days. Give him the strength and courage he needs to face his health challenges. Give him Your peace that surpasses all understanding.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Standing on the Promises of God

I remember a sweet friend of mine from Florida. She was in our bible study and boy was she a strong prayer warrior. I recall her telling me that she prayed for her husband's salvation for many years, never giving up hope, but being very discouraged along the way many times. Finally, on his death bed, he accepted Jesus into his heart. The point of the story being, keep praying no matter what happens. You never know when the Lord is going to answer your prayer. Sometimes it comes quickly, and sometimes it can take months and yes, it can even take years.Stay the course, keep lifting up your prayer to the Lord.

We never know how God is going to move in a situation or when. He is the only one with the perfect timing, not us. We want everything right now. That's not how the Lord works. He's on a different time table than us and only He knows how all the pieces fit together in each of our lives. Remember this verse? 2 Peter 3:8.... But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. We are definitely on different timetables! 

It is so hard to wait on the Lord. But the Bible tell us that if we do, we will be strengthened along the way. Isaiah 40:29 tells us "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." One of the first verses I learned to memorize from the bible is this powerful one from the book of Isaiah about waiting on Him and His perfect timing. It has served me well over the years as I have learned to wait on the Lord through my diagnosis of MS some 20 years ago. I'm still waiting on my healing from this disease. I'm not sure if and when it will happen while I am still on this earth. Maybe I have to wait until I enter into glory to be healed. Maybe the Lord wants to use me just as I am, sickened from disease. Of course I want it to be right now, but what if God has a different plan? That's just one of my prayers. But no matter the prayer, we have to wait on the Lord to answer it in His perfect time. 

Isaiah 40:31

"But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint."

Whatever your prayer and whatever your problem, the Lord hears your cries. He is not deaf to your pain. Just remember that the teacher is always silent during the test. Your situation could be the biggest test of your life. 1 Peter 1:7 reminds us  "These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world."

As you wait on the answer to your heartfelt prayer, you will, no doubt,encounter terrible disappointments and stumbling blocks along the way. Your prayer may be for yourself, or for a loved one who is sick or for a wayward child who is lost. It may be for a friend or co-worker. It could be anything or anyone.

We live in a fallen world. Satan, the great deceiver, is constantly nipping at every one of us, wanting to discourage, confuse, confound, and stir up everything. The Bible is very clear about him and his motives. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us loud and clear: Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. He whispers in your ear telling you that the Lord could care less about your prayer or your situation. Don't believe it friend, That is a lie!!! 

God cares about every detail of his children's lives. He knows what's going on. He sees your pain, he is with you. The Bible tells us that Jesus sticks with us through it all. Proverbs 18:24 "One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."

So I encourage you to give it all to God. Stand on His Amazing Promises. Believe with all your heart that your prayer will be answered by Him. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. But you must be strong and believe with all your heart that He will do just as He says. Matthew 17:20 tells us.... "Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

One of my favorite hymns is Standing on the Promises of God. It gives me hope, when I am weary. Be blessed by this beautiful song, remembering that the Lord is there with you through the pain and while you are waiting for His perfect answer to your problem. He loves you so much.

My verses for today are above in red.

My prayer for today:

Heavenly Father:

You know what is on my heart. I am believing in Your Promises and perfect Timing. I am believing that the answer to my prayer is coming because you are a God who delivers. Give us the strength we need to endure the waiting period, because we know you will come through just when we least expect it. 

I love you Lord and I thank you in advance for the answer to this prayer.

I pray, Amen and Amen