Faithleaders! ?

I’m convinced we need faithleaders, much like cheerleaders. Jesus is raising up those who are willing to persevere and worship Him throughout their lives, come what may.

Faithleaders  who will also encourage others with reminders of victories and promises of victory. We have victory over death and darkness, sin and sickness,  and separation from God – we have victory in Jesus.

Faithleaders that will shout throughout eternity that Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Do you feel the call?

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My Divine Appointment with a Homeless Man

This was originally posted on Facebook in my “notes.” I wrote this prior to creating this blog and here is the original link: https://www.facebook.com/notes/angela-cockrell-dingler/my-divine-appointment-with-a-homeless-man/623720287675077

My Divine Appointment with a Homeless Man

January 1, 2014 at 9:38pm

 

Many have asked about my Divine appointment with a homeless man in downtown Birmingham several days ago. It has been difficult for me to put the experience into words and convey what a strange and inspirational meeting that it was. I am really not sure that I can exactly do justice to the entire picture;however, I will try.

Leading up to this chance encounter there were several things going on in our lives. It would be way too much to go into every little detail – which I am sure you will be glad for me to spare you of since I am not a woman of few words, anyway! LOL I do feel like I should say that the Lord had been speaking to me about my faith in Him, my trust in Him, and resting in Him. Also, the Lord had been dealing with me about my faith in His finished work on the cross, specifically.I have been struggling with serving the Lord because of a lot of self condemnation, false pride, and disobedience. I have been asking the Lord to remove several character defects from me and I have been impatient.

Also, Jerry has been dealing with continuing his fight with alcoholism. After being sober for almost 3 years, he had begun to struggle with alcohol again. The reason we were downtown was to see an attorney about representing Jerry for a DUI charge.This, in and of itself, was such a stressful thing. After dealing with this struggle for a couple of months and seeing it accelerate it had finally culminated in a legal matter. My faith was needing a boost. Yes, both Jerry andI have truly been seeking the Lord all along. We pray and read the Bible and attend church regularly. I know in my own heart that I had been and have been sincere in my walk and everything in me told me that Jerry had been, too. So, I have had to ask and wonder sometimes…. Why did God let Jerry drink, again???

At the same time, I would know in my heart that God knows best, He knows all, He is sovereign, He is good, and He can take a mess and turn it into a message. He gave us free will, knowing our every move before we even make it and He has a purpose and a plan. Even having such a strong belief and faith in place, while walking through the valleys and the shadows on the way to the revelation and the good end that God has in mind, I could have used a boost that day … we all could use a boost, an encouragement. But God doesn’t have to give us one…. He doesn’t have to do that…. But He does and He did that for me on the day that I had the encounter with the homeless man.

Leaving the attorney’s office I was feeling somewhat strange. The appointment didn’t go exactly the way that I thought that it would. I was kind of in a fog and was praying in my heart asking God what He had in mind for us. I was asking for direction from Him and thanking Him for His peace. It was cold and raining andwe had parked two or three blocks away. Jerry offered to go and get the car and come and pick me up from in front of the building. I thanked him and waswaiting in the lobby. I looked at my phone to see if there were any messages about the kids or anything. I didn’t see any so I clicked over to Facebook fora couple of minutes. Finding there was nothing remarkable going on there, I put my phone in my pocket and walked outside because I was thinking that Jerry maybe out there.

Well, as soon as walked out the door, I saw a somewhat older, black gentleman coming straight towards me. He had a backpack on his back and I immediately thought that he may be homeless. He was dressed for the weather and was quite clean. He came very near to me and complimented me on my outfit and said that I looked like an angel. I had many strange thoughts and feelings coming over me because I really want to be Jesus to others and share God’s love. I also immediately felt guilty because I didn’t have any money if he asked for any, nor did I have anything at all to share, like a snack or anything. I felt guilty for thinking that he may ask for money… I had so many weird feelings… but also some kind of sweet spirit feeling at the same time.

He did ask me if I had fifty cents to help him get a little more money for the food that he needed for the day. I did think that I smelled a faint smell of alcohol, but he didn’t appear to be drunk. This added to my feelings of not knowing how to respond to him. And God has told me to love people as they are just like He does. I did tell him that my husband was coming to pick me up and would be there in a moment and maybe he had some change. He smiled at me with the sweetest smile and hugged me and told me not to worry about that. He said that he would continue on down the block.

I –for some reason- blurted out that I would pray for him and asked for him to be praying for us, too. He turned back to me and was smiling such a sweet smile and said that he would. He said that God would be taking care of both of us. For some reason, tears welled up in my eyes and I said, “I know, and we are supposed to love one another the way that He does.” You see, I was feeling badly that this man, who told me that he lives under the bridge and needed fifty cents to have the rest of what he needed for the day was clearly not unhappy or trying to make me feel badly that I didn’t have the change to give to him. Also, he didn’t seem to be worried that he may not have enough to get by on or that he didn’t have a place to sleep out of the cold. I felt guilty that I was not in a position to help him.I felt badly that he was having to sleep in the cold. I was wondering if my faith was big enough that I could offer to take him somewhere warm and help him in some way.

There are so many emotions and thoughts that can run through a person’s mind in a split second… it’s hard to tell you exactly… but that homeless man read my spirit. He knew that I was about to cry because I had compassion for him and guilt at the same time because I was not able or willing to do more for him.

And do you know what he did? He came right back over to meand he said very strongly, “Don’t you do that! Don’t you cry. We ain’t gonna be all that until we get to glory. God knows we aren’t perfect and He loves us as we are. Don’t you lose your faith! Never let go of your faith in God! As long as you have your faith in Him and in His love then you’re gonna be ok.” As he was saying these things, I really began to cry. Tears were streaming down my face. This homeless man tenderly wiped my tears with his fingers as I was crying and he was encouraging my faith in my Lord.

Why did I let him do this? How did he feel like he could or know what to say? I began speaking like a child… I asked him why he lived under the bridge and told him that I didn’t want for him to live under the bridge. He told me: “Child, don’t you worry about me. God has me where He wants me right now and He is taking care of me. Don’t worry about what God is doing with me, I am going to be all right.” He told me that he had gotten out of work and had been for four years. He said that he was a janitor and did maintenance work for most of his life and had worked in restaurants, as well. He said that when he got laid off that he had tried to get another job in one of those type of positions but had not been able to get hired. He said that you would think at least some little old restaurant would hire a broke down old man to do some dishes – and he chuckled and said –but that just isn’t what God is wanting for me to do right now.

Then he continued to tell me that with God anything is possible. That God will not forsake us. He told me that I should always believe in the Lord and His love for me and in His goodness.

He said very boldly, like a preacher in a sermon who is overcome with emotion: “Even if a spirit of SUICIDE comes against you, GOD HIMSELF WILL SHOW UP!” This blew me away… this homeless man had no way of knowing that I have attempted and been hospitalized for attempting suicide SEVEN TIMES. The tears came again. He wiped them away again, hugged me, and blessed me and then he said that he had to go.

Robin called me right then as he was walking away, and Jerry pulled up not even a minute later. I was still in quite a fog, praising the Lord, teary-eyed, and told them everything that happened. God showed up for me in a huge way and I cannot thank Him enough that He cares for each of us so greatly that He uses the simple to confound the wise– that He uses those of us who no one would suspect – to bless each other and carry each other through EVERYTHING. God uses who He will and those who are willing. I want to be one willing! I pray that this blesses you! This was a Godwink! 

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“Private Letter (not anymore) from Jerry in Jail to Wife written 4/24/14”

I Love You! ❤

Angela,

Hey Babe! I hope you woke up with a big smile on that beautiful face because God loves you and you know who comes in second place on the love scale, that would be me.  I don’t think they have a certain time they pass out mail but I got 2 letters from you this morning after breakfast. One on the 18th and the one on the 20th and 21st. They did let the envelope in that you wrote on the outside of, I’m surprised. I was so glad to get more letters from you and [our children]. I am so thankful to God each and every day for so many things, for saving my soul, for giving me you and the kids and good friends and church family. I’m so glad that y’all are staying strong, praying for me and praying for each other, that makes me so glad.

And you are right about so many things in your letters, about not worrying about what man might or might not do but worry about what God wants us to do. You are right, we are aliens here. We’re like the Bible says, like a vapor but if we know the Father we pass from this life to an even better one. But, while we are here we must be about our Father’s work just as our Lord was and I really try to do that every day.

I have pretty much talked to everyone in here about the Father and some have even gotten out now. But, you are right in your epiphany about that it’s not us but Him. We’re just telling everyone that will listen and God put the people in position to listen. Whether they do listen or not is up to them. But, we tell people about us to show how far down in the pit we were, and what He’s done for us and they see that if God can save us as bad off as we were and all the stuff we had done, then He can save anyone! J That’s all we do is show His glory!

Baby, I love you and long to be in your arms and to give the kids a big hug and kiss. Like I have told you in so many of my letters, I love you so much that words can’t describe. You have loved me through everything and I want to do the same for you. My baby, my angel of the morning…

This morning I was doing my devotion, “My Daily Bread,” and it was awesome. The daily reading was Lamentations 3:13-26 but you know the verse that you are always talking about – it was in there – Lamentations 3:22-23 “The steadfastness of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness.” I love that verse. But what the devotion was talking about was that we trust Jesus through the ups and downs of life, but when life takes a turn and leaves us with bumps and bruises we may feel as though Jesus walked away to let us come painfully crashing down. But, Lamentations reminds us in v22 that God is faithful even when everything seems to be falling apart. This means that in the midst of our pain, even though we may feel lonely, we are not alone. J And though we may not feel His presence, He is there as our trusted companion who will never walk away and let us down. Isn’t that awesome?!! That is some of the stuff that we say all of the time! God is good all the time! All the time, God is good! Praise His name all the earth and use me for Your glory, God. God is good!

Baby, I can’t wait until we are able to talk and enjoy each other’s company and the kids’ company. It’s like I told you that when you are away from your family it really is the small things that you miss. I’m praying all the time for God to put us back together ASAP and everything to go good for you and the kids and that you and the kids are safe. I am so glad that all of you are doing good and I want you to thank all the people that are praying for me/us and helping you and the kids/us. You and the kids and of course, God first, is what keeps me going and all the prayers I would be lying if I told you I don’t get depressed because I do – and then I remember and pray to God because I am not as one who has no hope. I also think about you and the kids and know that y’all are alright and that helps me, too. Maybe the car or cherry picker or something will sell where you will have a little money. J

I can’t say enough how much your letters mean to me. They encourage me and make my day when I start missing you and the kids I’ll read one of your letters. I also love your analogy about the rich man. That really does or did fit me because it’s easy to forget where you came from and how easy it is to go back. Now we are with our sweet Jesus where I/we will never depart from Him. But, baby you are my soul mate, you are the half that completes me and I just love you more each and every day. I’m proud of you for the strong Christian woman that you are.. I know that you/I have a calling for His glory and for Him to save souls from hell but that really is the calling of every Christian man and woman. I’m glad that [2 people we know] have been getting along. We’ll just continue to pray for healing. I love you and will write more tomorrow.

Your Loving Husband,

Jerry ❤ I love my Baby

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Jerry from Jail Writes “Praise and Faith and Random Thoughts and Ramblings April 17, 2014”

Are we as Christians just to praise God when everything is going our way? There are many examples in the Bible for us to go by. When we are broken is when God is ready to reveal His plan for us. When we have tears coming down our face with our hearts broken saying, “I love you God! I praise You.” I have really been in that situation lately. I don’t know what God is doing but I know that I trust Him and love Him no matter what. He has been too good to me and my family for me to turn from Him. I love God more each and every day and can’t wait to wake up and serve Him and praise His name, again.

Even though the situation I am in is of my own doing, it didn’t catch God by surprise. God knows our situations and He is always with us no matter where we are. He knows what we need and don’t need. He is an awesome God. At the core of everything God is love. He created us in His image, His children, to love and to talk to and for us to talk to and listen to Him. I love praying to the Father because I know He loves me unconditionally.

He knew us and everything that we were going to do in our life before the creation of the world. He knew that we were going to need Him to save us. Let’s think about it this way: before we, as parents, had our children if we would have thought about it, we knew that our children were going to be imperfect and that they were going to make mistakes. But, that didn’t stop us with God’s helping hand from having them. That’s why I want to urge everyone to embrace God because He loves you and wants the best for all of us. Does it involve pain? Sometimes, yes, but it’s a pain that is not for nothing.It’s to teach us, grow us or show us something. We will live a lifetime and never be perfect. But if we “acknowledge Him in all of our ways then He will make our paths straight.”

The main thing is to keep God first no matter what the situation looks like. Just trust Him and listen for the small, still voice. Even though we aren’t perfect it isn’t a license for us to do what we want to do. We are to get closer and be growing closer to God each and every day, month and year that goes by. If we aren’t growing then we are getting stagnant and going backwards and I want to tell you that neither of those are good. All we have to do to grow is read the Bible and read slow enough that we hear from God and understand what we are reading, pray, and before that we have to acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God and turn from our sins.

My faith a lot of times is tested on a daily basis, not so much in jail, and my faith is tested in a lot of different ways. I don’t always pass. Sometimes I fail and it ends up making me stronger and makes me love God more and more because He keeps helping me get back up out of the mire. I have messed up a large portion of my life but I am now growing in Christ daily and getting stronger and ready to do what He wants me to do.

God will never give up on you. We are going to go through trials in this life and I want to tell everyone that it’s better to have God than not have Him when we face the trials and storms of this life. That’s what the whole human race really needs is Jesus. This life that we are living on earth is just a blip on the radar (if that much) compared to eternity. Without the mercy of God, people that are walking around lost are walking on eggshells. I was doing it for over 30 years and God kept me until I did surrender to Jesus. Jesus tells us to put our burdens on Him and to take His yoke because it is light.

I have a story about my life that I want to share. I was sitting in the Etowah County Jail in December 2002. I would go to church because I was thinking that it got me out of my cell for an hour or so but God was working on my heart. I was saved in there in December and I took a look at my life and saw that up to that point I had really wasted every bit of it. I was on my way to prison for the 3rd time. I had no one to write or come and see me and I cried out to my  God and said I wanted a family – I wanted someone that cared about me.

In 2004 I got out with nowhere to stay so the probation officer told me that I had to stay at the Salvation Army. I ended up walking to my aunt’s house and living with her, really in a small apartment we called rooms. I ended up meeting my wife while I lived there but I also started backsliding. I was having pre-marital sex and I was starting to drink again. I ended up running from God and getting into trouble for D.U.I. in 2005. My soon to be wife was pregnant with our son. I ended up doing 60 days on the D.U.I. and our son was born on Dec. 25th. Me and my wife got married in Jan. 2006.

I just wanted everyone to know that God loves us. He isn’t just sitting up there waiting to zap us. Jesus went through the same things that we go through. I have messed up a lot in my life and I tell everyone when I give my testimony that if God can and did save me after all that I have done in my life, then He can save anyone that is willing to accept Him. Even after I accepted Him I still did things like drinking that I know I shouldn’t be doing. But I really re-dedicated my life to Him, again, and He has kept me strong ever since then. I do love the Lord and if it is meant for me to go into the ministry I am willing and ready. For now I am a jailhouse preacher and will do what I feel like God wants me to do while I am here.

I really think that we as Christians need to put God first in everything that we do. That is what I have been trying to do. We, or at least, I need more Jesus and less of the world. Like John said, “He must increase, I must decrease.” That is my goal for the rest of my life. More of Jesus shining out of me each and every day. I have been put into a situation to where I can’t read the Bible because I don’t have my reading glasses, and my beautiful wife in her wisdom told me to meditate on what I already knew, that’s what I’ve been doing.

Just keep God in first place and everything else will fall into place. If you do accept Christ please don’t be ashamed of Him because it is in Him that we have hope; not in this world and it’s fleeting pleasures.

Let’s all rise up like mighty warriors and say, “I love Jesus!” with no shame or guilt but with pride on our face and in our hearts because of who He is. We don’t need to hide in the shadows afraid to say or do something because our Father is the Father of Light. Let’s knock the god-haters out of the spotlight and take it back and let our voice be heard.

Let’s speak with the boldness of the Holy Spirit. Let’s shout! “I love God! I praise God!”

I’m not ashamed of it and if you don’t want to do the same or do, I’ll pray for you. Praise the Lord!

 

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God Is Our Father and I Thank Him

Thank You, Father, for waking me this morning and for revealing more of who You are to me, yet again. Especially after the service at church last night where Your presence and Your love was so evident. My thoughts as I woke this morning and turned to You in prayer went something like this:

Would we be happy if our children only came to us whenever they needed something or when they had “messed up,” again? If the only time our children spoke to us it was to give them something that they wanted or needed? Or whenever they had done something wrong and needed for us to fix it for them or clean up their mess? God is our Father. God is not just our judge or taskmaster. Whenever we become saved through His Son, Jesus, we are called His children. We are brought into His kingdom of light, out of the darkness, and into sonship and daughtership with Him. The only words the Lord wants to hear from me are not begging for forgiveness for more mistakes that I have made or begging for those things for which I have a need. God is more than willing to forgive and provide and we don’t have to beg or plead for anything. Also, God already knows that we need Him and that we are not perfect and He knew that we were going to need forgiveness. That is exactly why Jesus came and paid the price for all of our sins once and for all on the cross. We don’t have to miserably beg for forgiveness. We just need to talk to Him like He is our Father and spend time with Him, abide in Christ, and walk with Him. If we did this maybe we wouldn’t fall so much, so often. How many times have we longed for a loving earthly father to talk to but he is miles away at the time, or gone on past this life, or maybe we never had one?  God is always right here with us wanting to talk to us, to hear about our day, to talk about our dreams and our hopes, to lead us, and to guide us. Jesus walks with us every step when we know Him. The Holy Spirit is sealed within us, willing to comfort, remind us of scriptures and promises from the Word, to lead us, and to encourage us. Instead of being stuck thinking that God wouldn’t want to hear from us because we’re too bad or too messed up – we need to get ahold of the fact that He loves us. He sent Jesus to pay the price for our sins. He raised Jesus from the dead on that third day with His mighty power and Jesus is alive today at the Father’s right hand and He loves us and He is on our side. He is praying and interceding for us every day. Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit and we are so richly blessed. Thank You Lord, for showing me more of who You are today. I pray that I will spend more time talking to You today and thanking You and loving You – each and every day – and that I will walk and talk with You as Your daughter. I pray that I will encourage others and that I will walk as a daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 

by Angela Dingler on November 7, 2013