Encouragement, God’s plan, Mcdowell County WV, Uncategorized, West Virginia Mission

Coal Mines in McDowell County WV

The more I learn about McDowell County, the more compassion I feel for these families. I do realize other places face opposition but God has placed us here and my heart aches to bring them help, healing, and hope. I find myself daydreaming about rebuilding what was lost, an entire community of people living in unity, and striving to please God. But is this possible? They do come to hear the word. But James says to be doers of the word and not hearers only. Prayer will be our weapon to achieve this.

The information I’ve learned so far has helped me understand and connect more deeply with their pain, questions, and confusion.

In the 1950’s West Virginia had 125,00 miners. By 1970, machines moved in to replace these miners. I assume, they believed from a business point that this was more efficient but soon the number of operating mines spiraled downward. By the 1990s only 20,000 miners remained and today’s shocking number is 12,000.

(Above two images are from VirginiaTech.com)

Despite this history, McDowell County is still ticking along. I know many feel it will never be restored but I believe it is very possible with God. It will never be like it was but that doesn’t mean it can not be better.

When Daniel was cast into the lion’s den, the king said, ” May your God, whom you continually serve, deliver you!”

That was one of many things Daniel faced and God did deliver him.

This plant is right up the road from me. They load coal into train cars. It’s hard to get good pictures with the foliage. At night, it lights up like a Christmas tree.

God is going to do amazing things here so let’s watch him work!

Being Transformed, Encouragement, God’s plan

We Can Stand!

I’ve been struggling mentally and that led to me struggling physically. It took awhile for me to listen to God and realize that it was all spiritual. A spiritual battle that I allowed to hender me. I fought against it, but I was using the wrong weapons. I prayed, but I was praying for the wrong things. I wanted the situation to be fixed. I wanted other people to change their actions. That would fix all my problems, right? No

I can give great advice unless I’m the one going through a situation. Isn’t it funny how that works? I know all the right answers to others problems but that same advice doesn’t seem as easy. I haven’t written in a few months . I thought how can I write about finding joy in Jesus when I’m not practicing it myself. What could I possibly say when I’m consumed with worry and grief? I started this blog after arguing with God for several years. I fought with God because of fear. I’m not a good speaker or writer. I didn’t think I could do it. I wanted badly to help people but I didn’t want to mess up. But, isn’t that the point? I can’t do it but God can, and then He gets the glory.

So, I struggled for months and saw no light at the end of the tunnel. But then God showed me the way. It wasn’t everybody else that needed to change.

It was me.

It’s a new year, 2019, and its this time of year when everybody feels they have a new start. We set goals and resolutions and have a hope for a better future. We start new good habits and try to remove the bad habits. We set weight loss goals and plan weekly exercise routines. We have the best of intentions but something happens. It all starts to fade away after a few months. It’s a seasonal hope.

We are all searching for something. There is something inside of us missing. It’s almost like a hole that can never be filled.

Well, today I have great news! That hole can be filled. It won’t depend on your situation and circumstances. It won’t depend on what you’re going through whether mental, physical or spiritual. It’s a hope that is not seasonal. It’s an eternal hope that will fill all those holes. His name is Jesus! Our joy can ALWAYS be found in him instead of ourselves, others, the world or anything in it.

If you have decided to follow Jesus then listen up! Jesus is still the answer. Just because we are believers doesn’t mean we are perfect. We still get side tracked from time to time. But looking to him for our joy is and will always be the answer.

Paul says he has learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need in any and every circumstance through the One who gives him strength. (Philippians 4:11-13)

How do we do that?

You know where to find the answer, don’t you? We can find it in the one truth here on this earth, The Bible. Let’s take a look and see what it says but first we need to know that our battles are spiritual. Are you going through something right now? It’s spiritual! Ponder that for a moment. It is a spiritual battle.

You might say my problem is my husband. He continues to be unfaithful. It’s spiritual.

You might say I lost a child and can’t get over it. It’s a spiritual battle.

You might say I lost my job and I need to provide for my family.

Trust me on this. It’s spiritual but we can stand!

So knowing we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual wickedness, I think we are ready to read the scripture.

Ephesians 6:10-19 NASB

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.

11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

15 And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace,

16 In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,

19 And pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,

It helps us better understand when we can look up words from scripture in the original language and find the definition so that is exactly what we are going to do. Ready?

Verse 10 tells us to “be strong in the Lord”

strongendunamoo (en-doo-nam-o-o) – to make strong, vigorous, to strengthen. Metaphorically, of the mind.

Of where? The mind. In the mind is where it all starts.

Although, I didn’t go into great detail of my struggle I mentioned it consumed me. It consumed my mind. I believed the lie that it would not get better. The lies of the devil. We need to use the knowledge of the Lord. By using the knowledge we know of the Lord through His Word we can stand.

What does Paul say next in verse 10?

“And in the strength of His might”

strengthkratos (kra-os) – power

mightischus (is-koo) – power, potency, preeminence

It’s His strength from His power. What a relief for us.

Now we get to how we can do this. Look at verse 11!

11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

schememethodeia (meth-od-i-ah) – to trace out with method and skill, to use, to deal artfully.

The devil has a plan. He has a method and we should too. The Lord has provided us with the perfect protection, but we have to pick it up and use it.

The next verse (verse 12) is important. We need to understand and remember that we do not struggle or wrestle against flesh and blood. Our struggle is against spiritual forces of wickedness. Go ahead and read it again.

Are you ready to take up that armor and stand firm? Together we will walk through each piece of armor discovering what it is and how to use it. We need each and every piece, and we need to put it on daily. It’s a lot to take in and put into practice, so we can split it up into several lessons.

Will you travel through these verses with me?

I hope so.

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If you’ve found your joy in Jesus, share it!

Encouragement, God’s plan, Uncategorized

I Don’t Want to be a Ministers Wife

So your husband is called by God to preach the Word. From stories I’ve heard, wives have several different reactions. Maybe you’re going through or have been through one of these three reactions.

1. No way. You didn’t sign up for this and it can’t be. I don’t want to be a ministers wife. Nope, not happening.

If this is you, don’t worry. Just pray and keep listening because God will confirm it for you too. He knows who your husband is married too and if you have children. He will guide and comfort all of you just don’t let your will take precedence over Gods will.

2. You know God did indeed call him to preach but you’ve decided to go with your plans. You don’t how to be a pastors wife and you don’t have time to learn. You have mapped out your life and it doesn’t go against the Bible so you figure you will stay with what you know.

Maybe this is you. Again keep praying and listening because I promise Gods plan is better than your plans. You will be unsettled and anxious until you accept His will.

3. You are extra excited. It will be an adventure and you are looking forward to whatever God has in store. You’re not worried and can’t wait for the next step.

Let’s be honest. This last reaction doesn’t happen as often as the others. Ministry is a serious matter. I was excited and knew the call was real but at the same time, I didn’t know what that meant for me and my family. I think I experienced a little from all three of these reactions. Let me share how we begin this journey.

I woke up in the middle of the night several times with my husband (Larry) missing from the bed. I usually found him walking around outside by himself talking to God.

He explained that he had been having dreams that woke him up at 2 am every morning and he couldn’t go back to sleep. He thought he was going crazy, literally. He dreamt he was in overalls preaching in a small church. He didn’t understand at first but this went on for around 2 weeks.

Then one night it all became clear and confirmed. We were sitting in our vehicle after church waiting for our oldest son to get done with choir practice. Our home pastor came walking by and Larry stopped him to explain his dream and asked him to pray for understanding from God. Our home pastor asked if Larry could come to his house and of course, he agreed.

What happened next will never cease to amaze me about God, who He is and how He works in our lives.

He pulled up bible study notes on his computer and ask Larry to read a statement he had typed while studying.

The statement read:

God has impressed upon my heart that Larry Stapleton and his family will pastor a church planted from this church.

He let us know that God had impressed this upon his heart the week before but he felt he shouldn’t mention it unless Larry came to him. We knew in our hearts that this was confirmation from God.

Like I said, I was excited but that meant a lot for our entire family. We sold as much as possible including our land. We moved to a place we had never seen so Larry could attend college. We left behind all our friends, a 6 figure job, church family, and what we knew as our life.

Those sound like bad things but looking back I realize those where good things. It reminds me not to hold on to the things of this world. I couldn’t imagine a life different than the one I’m living right now. We still get choked up when we think about it.

What if we had run from the call?

I think about that question sometimes and wonder how many others are running from it due to fear, the unknown.

Let me offer you some encouragement.

God has provided for us every step of the way. He is always on time. A bill was due, the pantry was very low, books for college were needed, the kids outgrew their clothes and like a miracle, God took care of it. I won’t lie, I worried sometimes and still do. But God always showed up. He has never failed to provide the things He knows we need. There have been ups and downs that were needed to grow but please remember He knows the plans He has for you. (Jer. 29:11)

I would love to hear your story or answer your questions. If you have a similar story please share it with us. Did you have a different reaction than what we discussed today? Share that with us too! You can comment under the post or contact me through the contact me page. I can’t wait to hear about how God is working.