Archive for December, 2009

The Gift of You

December 29, 2009

Yesterday was my birthday. I was thankful all day for the gift of life, excellent health, wonderful family and friends. It was great getting gifts and warm wishes from friends.

Two were especially touching. One long time friend who lives somewhat like a nomad remembered my birthday. He sent me a mp3 with him singing “Happy Birthday.”  It touched me because I’ve known him since I was 18 and the greatest gift he’s always given me is his kindness, wrapped in unselfishness.

The other birthday greeting was left on my answering machine in a faint voice.  It was from a dear friend battling tongue cancer who said, “I would sing ‘happy birthday’ to you if I could.” It brought tears to my eyes because he remembered me in the midst of his pain. I remembered his kindness…always wrapped in unselfishness.

Both of these friends over the years believe they bring very little to the table. I so disagree. I treasure their friendship. They have given much…the best of themselves.

So many times in life we can feel inadequate because we don’t have what others have; We believe we are not as beautiful or smart or financially secure. We wonder, “what do I bring to the table, how can I make a difference, how can God use me?” Just give the best of YOU. That is more than enough. You will make someone else’s day brighter.

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My Gift

December 25, 2009

My heart is overwhelmed with JOY this morning. I have so many reflections on life with “the gift.” I was just a child when one Tuesday evening a child evangelist explained  (using a felt board and paper figurines) that God loved me so much that He gave me His Best gift, His only Son, to live, and then die for my sins. God knew I needed this gift, a Savior, more than anything.

Sis. Copeland told me that all I had to do was to receive this gift and it was mine.  I believed her and said a prayer of thanks for the gift of Christ as my Savior. I invited Him to live in my heart forever. Boy, am I glad I did.  He has never left me since that monumental day.  Every day I sense His presence.

I am so enraptured by His love because He’ll give His gift to anybody who wants it. It’s not reserved for only the rich, the beautiful, the famous. He came to me, a girl from Houston’s 5th Ward (some call the ghetto), of working class parents who loved Him as well.  A girl with hangups, insecurities, doubts. He whispered to me what every woman wants to hear: “I love you intensely, and will never leave you.” His love has defined me all my life. I can’t live without it. When my heart has been broken, He was standing by to comfort me and say, Cheryl, come to me. I’ll heal your hurts. When I didn’t know how my financial needs would be met, He whispered, Cheryl, don’t worry about that. Haven’t I always come through?”  All I could answer was, Yes, Lord.

I want to give My Savior and Lord a gift this Christmas. What do you give One who has everything, who created everything? I’ve got it! I promise to give Him my ALL, to hold nothing back from Him in 2010. I promise to empty myself of myself and follow His script. After all, what He longs for most is my heart. He wants me to give it to Him freely. I can do that gladly for the One who pursued me and loved me first.

Merry Christmas,

Cheryl

A Few Good Men

December 8, 2009

Character counts. Godly character really counts.

 I will never forget what Wintley Phipps once told me, “Cheryl, if a man is not committed to God, he will not be committed to you.”

I am confident that there are men today who are committed to being men of standard. I reflected on this while hearing a message from Pastor John K. Jenkins on A Few Good Men.  He mentioned that men are not perfect and that all have flaws, but there is still a remnant seeking to be all God wants them to be.

My mind immediately went to my father, Rev. Elihue Martin. Each year I have a greater appreciation of what he represents. Maybe I think of him more because of his failing health the past few years. I realize I did not appreciate him as much as I should when I was growing up. I thought most men were like him. Now I know him to be a rare breed.

Elihue Martin only completed the sixth grade. He served in World War II and later went to a trade school and picked up the skills to be a barber. I passed his shop every day as I walked to elementary school. He cut hair by day and rushed home in the evenings to attend church services.

All of my life, I have only known him to be a man of godly integrity. It was not unusual for me to see him reading his Bible,  on his knees praying, or lying prostrate before God late at night. He consistenly led family devotions six mornings a week. We had Sunday school at home before we went to Sunday school. He never lied to us. He said “a man’s word is his bond.” I never heard him use profanity. Never a hint of adultery or flirtation with another woman. He taught my 7 brothers and me a strong work ethic. No one was allowed to sleep late. We had to respect his rules. He taught us to respect authority. He and mother never cared how others ran their houses. They were committed to obeying God no matter what, not winning a popularity contest.  My Dad preached against credit before we got our first credit cards. He always taught living below your means. Forget about keeping up with the Joneses. He was consumed with keeping up with God’s commandments.

My father isn’t perfect but I know in my heart he has done his absolute best to please God. In just a few months, he will turn 90. Yes, there remains a few good men.

Expecting great things of God,

Cheryl