New Strength for the New Year

I don’t have a long story to tell about 2018. It was definitely a year I care not to repeat, but also a year with immense lessons learned. Great opportunities and favor of open doors were extended to me this year. God’s grace and faithfulness were shown to me in ways beyond my imagination. I’ve also had my share of challenges with tears and checkpoint moments of loyalty and friendship.

This past month, having both parents hospitalized and emerge victorious declaring, “Life” causes my gratefulness to reach a level previously unknown to me. I’m grateful.

What most recently gripped my heart with love is a phone call from my father. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease a little over 18 years ago. Despite the ravages of this dis-ease, I have also watched him endure attacks from people he has gone out of his way to help, been betrayed by friends/colleagues/and even a few members of his congregation, outlived being overlooked time and time again but he did it all pushing ahead, never seeking revenge and with a smile. However that is not what has most touched me. You see, for the past almost 35 years, I’ve watched my father serve in his role as a pastor, counselor, mentor, leader, role model and he is indeed yet all of those things. Last night I received a phone call from him as my Daddy. He loved on me in such an indescribable way that ministered to the hurt and abandoned areas of my life. I was rendered speechless. As tears flooded my eyes, I asked God how he knew exactly what to say to address exactly what I was battling through. God simply spoke, “He’s YOUR father. No sickness will abort what I’ve anointed and chosen him to be for YOU.”

I go into this year with new strength. I do not know what I will face in this coming year, beginning tomorrow. But just as my Dad spoke with me, I do know that I (and you) have a Father ready to minister to every area of our lives.

Happy New Year!

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The Value of an End Piece…

Ok, so let’s move past the facts of this picture of pure carbs…

Have you ever observed what happens after you’ve purchased a loaf of bread? When choosing from a full loaf, most tend to reach past the end slice and even the slice right after that.

However when the loaf is almost gone, the very same slices that were ignored have become the ones are now fought over.

Some of us have been treated that same way. We’ve been: reached across, stepped over, ignored, and very little value was placed on us. But do not lose heart…

After all, the end slices are the reason the inside stays soft and fresh.

Are You Properly Dressed for the Season?

As much as I enjoy the heat of the summer, there’s something refreshing about Autumn. The turning of the leaves, the crispness in the air, the return of students to the classroom, and (for those who are into it) the return of Pumpkin Spice coffee. However the thought that comes to mind is what I call, “Sweater Season.”

One of the joys of living in the northeast region of my country is that we enjoy the benefits of the climates of all four seasons. The downside of it all is that we almost have four sets of wardrobe, but the glory of it all is that we almost have four sets of wardrobe! The shift of the exchange of clothing in my drawers and closet space is a daunting task but I enjoy the comfort of sweaters, hoodies, jackets and boots.

My warmer clothing of Autumn is not as bulky as the functionality clothes I wear just to keep warm in the brutally cold temperatures of Winter. So, I enjoy the fashions of Fall while I can. Something as simple as a sweater, jeans, and boots maybe even topped with a beret will do for a Saturday stroll.

It makes me consider the seasons of life. There are, of course cycles we experience where opportunities will eventually come back around. However there are also seasons of life which are once in a lifetime. One may disagree with that position however allow me to elaborate. You will never live this season again. As of today, it is the first day of Autumn- but not just Autumn, but Autumn 2018. Never to be experienced again. Now, your perspective determines whether it’s good news or bad news. Some of you are going through the worst storm of your life, but hold on it won’t always be like this. Others of you are living through to celebrate the best times of your life. Take great advantage- it won’t always be like this.

Whatever this season brings to or for you ask yourself the following:

  1. Am I properly dressed for the season?
  2. Am I equipped with an umbrella to shield me on rainy days?
  3. Am I draped with a knitted poncho on my warmest days?
  4. Is this why I am either extremely agitated or calmly collected when shift happens?

The ability to adjust is more than a last minute thought; it’s a process that begins in your mind. “LIFE” will happen to us all. And there are some things that will happen that will absolutely take us by surprise (and not always a pleasant one.) However dressing for the season will help us to take it all on with the stance of a victor.

So the blaring sun of the lack of finances comes in its season. What do you do? You dress in your sundress and work through it, enjoy the sun’s rays with sun block and keep moving forward. So the bitter cold temperature of failing health comes upon you. What do you do? You wrap yourself in the blanket of support, drink a hot cup of love and move forward.

Seasons of grief, seasons of despair, seasons of romance, seasons of promotion, seasons of increase will come in life. Are you dressed for the season?

A Lesson from the Wall…

Some time ago, a Millennial asked me about a word I hadn’t heard in a while…

“What’s a plum line?”

Again, it had been a while since I’d heard the term so I actually thanked her for allowing my mind to be refreshed and quickened.

… My dad used to use a plumb line when putting up wall paper in my home when I was a child. It is a string with a weighted piece attached at the end in which dark colored chalk was strummed across it. It was used by the string being carefully placed (about 1/8 of an inch away from the wall) going from the floor straight to the top. As soon as my dad was assured it was PERFECTLY straight, he had someone hold the string next to the wall at the bottom, and another person to hold it at the top. He would go to the middle of the wall and pull the string out to have it snap the wall, creating a line. I asked him why he did this, and his reply was so that he could align the paper to the line created with the plum line to ensure it was straight, otherwise the wallpaper would be “off” or crooked. He also added that he could not depend on his natural eyes to judge the project. Often things are not as they appear or appear as they should when they are actually not. So the standard of a guide is used.

(What good is expensive and elaborate material against a wall of the finished product and the completed project was permanently crooked?)

You see, in construction, the plumb line tests whether what was erected is perpendicular to the square, (if it is straight up and down,) if it is upright. It provides a standard against which one can measure what he has built.

Metaphorically, when God draws near with the plumb line, He is looking for those people who are living and abiding in His grace and His law. The Israelites’ moral standards had degenerated, so their religious profession was not verified by the right kind of works. They were not upright; they failed the test.

Amos 7:7-8 states, “This is what he showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand. And the Lord asked me, ‘What do you see, Amos?’ ‘A plumb line,’ I replied. Then the Lord said, ‘Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.’”

When God said He was setting a plumb line among His people, He was declaring an end to their attempts to justify their crooked ways. God was setting the standard. He doesn’t negotiate the laws He set. He is not swayed by the whims of the culture. His law is the plumb line against what we perceive and have determined as right and wrong.

A carpenter’s plumb line is not subject to the opinions of the carpenter. It is the same with God’s standards and the opinion of man.

Our wisdom is to align our lives to God’s standard. Unfortunately, like the young woman who inspired the thought of my musing today, plumb lines and standards are obsolete in places where they were one held sacred.

Appreciate Your Storm

sheilah vickers

If I took a poll, surveying people who likes sunshine or storms most would choose sunshine. I mean really, why do you think people refer to storms as “bad weather?”

As a young girl, my mother taught me to avoid using that very term, “bad weather.” She told me that there was no such thing. “IMPOSSIBLE!” I thought. But she explained that God sends the rain just as He does sunshine. WOW! I’d never thought of it that way.

The climate or atmosphere may be our preference but that alone doesn’t make it “bad.” I was then taught the more appropriate term to describe weather relating to storms or the bitter cold temperatures of the northeast: inclement.

There was something else I’d learned. I learned to appreciate the storm. The earth needs torrential downpours of water to keep vegetation growing. The earth needs bitterly cold temperatures to kill off all…

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Pray It Forward Now Available

Do you sense the call to pray? The demand for the answers to life never stops. The need for prayer is ever present. Prayer for others is expected of those in ministry leadership positions or those who carry titles and assume lofty roles in the church. Mistakenly, prayer is thought of as the unspoken or unwritten role of the older, gray-haired woman whose life seemingly doesn’t consist of much more than church. We tell people in passing that we’ll pray for them. “Keep me in prayer!” is a casually used phrase. But do you really know what it means to pray for someone else, much less to keep them in prayer?

Pray It Forward takes an intrinsic look at the call, duty, lifestyle and heart of the intercessor at its core. Some of the topics featured in the book are: the focus of prayer, the lifestyle of an intercessor, the faith factor, beware of distractions and deliberate prayer. What could happen in our nation- in our world- if we began an avalanche of prayer on behalf of one another? It begins when we Pray It Forward.

PRAY IT FORWARD

Do you sense the call to pray? The demand for the answers to life never stops.  The need for prayer is ever present.  Prayer for othersis expected of those in ministry leadership positions or those who carry titles and assume lofty roles in the church.   Mistakenly, prayer is thought of as the unspoken or unwritten role of the older,gray-haired woman whose life seemingly doesn’t consist of much more than church.  We tell people in passing that we’ll pray for them.  “Keep me in prayer!” is a casually used phrase. But do you really know what it means to pray for someone else, much less to keep them in prayer?  Pray It Forwardtakes an intrinsic look at the call, duty, lifestyle and heart of the Intercessor at its core.  

Hello everyone!

I’m trying to invite my friends and supporters as Facebook will allow. IF YOU WILL NOT ATTEND THE 2018 CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST AIM CONVENTION, this is just my way of letting you know the book will be out shortly.

There are still SEVERAL ways to purchase.

1) Pre-order at http://www.sheilahvickers.com FREE shipping, personalized with a name of your choosing and signed by me.

2) Wait until after AIM and order at full price at http://www.sheilahvickers.com

3) I will be happy for my staff to arrange a book signing and/or speaking event in your area. Email us at bookings@sheilahvickers.com or 718-670-3241