ACKNOWLEDGING OUR INNER VOICE

I was on my way to work one snowy morning.  The roads were very slippery, and the weather forecasters were asking for all drivers to use caution.  I had a habit, especially during the winter months, of watching for fresh green lights. Then I would know if I could clear the intersection safely, or if I would have to slow down.

 I was driving down a hill, and as I was approaching the intersection, the lights changed from red to green.  I knew I could keep going without having to brake suddenly.  But no!  There was that Inner Voice calling me by name and telling me to slow down.

 I thought it to be nonsense because I had a fresh green light, and the light would allow me time to clear the intersection without have to apply my brakes on the slippery road. I continued driving at the same pace, when I heard that Inner Voice again, telling me to slow down.  I decided to take a chance and listen, so I slowed down.

  I was just about to move through the intersection on the green light, but before I could do so, a car came barrelling through the intersection from the other side, obviously going through a red light.  If I was clearing the intersection a few seconds earlier it would have smashed into me.

 Immediately I recognized that Inner Voice as the Holy Spirit, which had guided me to safety. He had helped me to avoid what could have been a very bad accident.  I thank God for leaving us with the Holy Spirit (Comforter), who is available to each and every one of us. When we know God’s Word, it makes it much easier to recognize the Holy Spirit.

Leola Durant

leolaadurant:

Living in simplicity.

Originally posted on Steve McCurry's Blog:

Home is where one starts from. 
- T.S. Eliot

Rajasthan, India

The ache for home lives in all of us…
- Maya Angelou

Omo Valley, Ethiopia

My home is my retreat and resting place …
I try to keep this corner as a haven against the tempest outside,
as I do another corner in my soul.
- Michel de Montaigne

Cave Homes in Bamiyan, Afghanistan

Tibet

He is the happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.
- Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Bamiyan Province, Afghanistan 

The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown.
It may be frail — its roof may shake — the wind may blow through it — the storm may enter — the rain may enter —
but the King of England cannot enter! — all his forces dare not cross the threshold of the…

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TWO DIFFERENT PATHWAYS

I grew up in a Christian home, but what does that really mean? To me it meant nothing but restrictions.

Did I really know my bible or the word of God? No….I would attend church week after week only because I had too.

As I grew older I would leave the church for good, and I was happy to do so. My life was now one of freedom….total freedom, with no one to restrict me.

My teenage years and young adult hood was spent clubbing. My friends and I would spend our weekends going from disco to disco. Sometimes I left straight from the clubs and I would go straight into work. At that time I had energy…..lots of energy. It was a giddy experience at first. Oh the feelings of freedom…..sheer freedom, and friendships.

After living like this for a few years things began to change. I would be in the same room with loud raucous music with my friends around me, yet, I felt alone…..I felt lonely! It was shocking to me that I could feel lonely in a room filled with people…..but that’s the way it was. I would stop going to clubs after a while, but it would be many years before I would find my way back into a church and into the arms of God for the first time.

It was a gradual process. I noticed more and more, God’s hand in all that He had created around me. I had the opportunity to travel to India. It was a place of extremes…..either you were rich or you were poor. My friend and I were travelling around the country side, and we went on a day trip to a place called Jaipur. It was magnificent. You could see for miles around. You could see water palaces, and you could see the expanse of big beautiful mountains. I remembered just standing and drinking in the beauty of the place and thinking what a big beautiful world our creator had made. And I was surprised by the tears flowing from my eyes. I hadn’t thought of God in such a long time.

I would travel some more just having fun along the way. The odd time I would visit church and it seem to please family members, but it really meant nothing to me. Years went by and at times I would feel as though I was being drawn to come back to the church, but I was not ready. The drawing I felt was coming from Jesus….most times it was in the way of dreams.

It wasn’t till I fell ill, losing all my energy that I would think of returning to church. One day while at work I had an intense pain in my right hip, and life would never be the same after that. All my energy I had was now gone, and replaced with excruciating joint and muscle pain. Just like that my working life would come to an end, and I would be house bound, hardly able to move. Only now did I think about going back to church…..and even so, it was for my own selfish reasons. Perhaps so God could heal me, so I could go back to doing as I wish.

For the next several years I lived in pain, also going from doctor to doctor. It took some time to be diagnosed with lupus, and other auto immune disorders. Now all I could think of was my health issues. No one seemed to understand, and as a result I was now living a life fully depressed. My one bright spot was my attentive husband. I think if I was married to anyone else besides him, I might have been tossed to the curb.

Week after week I went to church, but all remained the same. I started to think….there has to be more. Where is this big Mighty God who answers prayers, and why was He not answering mine? One day our minister preached a sermon on “Hidden Treasure.” Matthew 13:44
The Parable of the Hidden Treasure ] “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

I decided I wanted to find my treasure, and I would search the pages of the bible until I found it.  I started reading the bible from cover to cover. I decided I would be obedient to God’s word, put my trust in Him, and every promise He gave to the Israelites of old I would also claim them for myself.

It was around this time that I had a dream. It was a dream that I will never forget.  I dreamt I met Jesus. I was taken to meet Him, and introduced to Him by the angels. I will never forget the sound of His voice. His voice was quivering, and from the sound of it I knew He was crying. He said to me, “Leola, you finally came. I have waited for you for so long.” By this time I had been back in the church for a few years, and at first I was puzzled by His reaction to me. It was only then I realized what God was wanting from me. He wants our full attention, He wants our worship. I had returned to church for my own selfish reasons. I prayed for healing for me, I worried about me, and why God wasn’t doing anything for me.

After having that dream I changed my focus from outward to upward. What I mean is, I stopped looking at all the things around me, only worrying about me, and I started looking upward to God. Once I placed my focus fully on God, I started to sense a closer relationship developing. It is at this time that I sense the Holy Spirit’s guiding and leading. Now that I was totally focused on God, a peace and joy came over me.

Often we speak of that Still Small Voice, and many times I would sense that Voice speaking to my heart, to my mind, to my soul. At first I could not understand, but I decided to step out in faith, and to believe that I was being guided by the Holy Spirit. I was now familiar with the bible, and I knew that the Holy Spirit would only lead according to the bible. The Holy Spirit encourages, He comforts, He is real, He is alive and if we would just give our lives totally to the Lord, He will fight all our battles for us.

It is only now I have found the freedom that I was seeking. It is a freedom that brings joy and peace to my heart. The laws which I once viewed as restrictive are now the ones giving me a lasting sense of freedom, and more fulfilment. The worldly freedom which I once pursued, turned into the one that made me feel very empty and limited.

Leola Durant

“Walking With The Spirit.” http://www.lulu.com/shop/leola-durant/walking-with-the-spirit/ebook/product-20342409.html It is my gift from God, in the form of poetry. It was a joy to write this book of inspirational poems, because as I did so I could sense God’s hand in my life as He was with me in every battle, leading me to victory, and He continues to do so even now.

WEALTH MANAGEMENT

For those of you who know me, you may be surprise to see that I am writing a blog on “Wealth Management.”

I became wealthy some time ago. I wasn’t an overnight success, but instead it took some time on my part to accumulate my wealth. My life before accumulating this wealth was one of dissatisfaction. I looked at others wondering why they were making much gain, yet I could not attain anything. I sought different ways to achieve my goals, but instead it led me into a life of drudgery. My life was extremely busy. I ran frantically from morn till night trying to reach my goals.

One day my aunt said to me, “Why don’t you put God first in your life?” I thought that was a rather unfair statement for her to make, especially since she knew the demands that I had. I continued doing those things which I thought would lead to my financial goals, however nothing seemed to be working. With nothing to lose, I thought about my aunt’s comments and decided to make God my main focus.

Where does Wealth Management come in? It was only after I turned my focus to God that I sense the guiding of the Holy Spirit. I was now allowing God to be the CEO of my life. I had decided to give Him my full attention and with Him in charge the word “Wealth” took on a new meaning.

Many people live busy lives amassing mutual funds and financial products. Some amass great wealth but still feel burdened and empty inside. The Holy Spirit also has a plan for us.  He wants us to amass wealth-Spiritual Wealth that is. With God as our CEO and Manager we will be blessed with wealth beyond measure. I am so happy that even though I do not have material wealth, I do have an abundance of Spiritual Wealth.

SMALL THINGS MATTER

SMALL THINGS MATTER

Beautiful Fall Garden

Have you ever experienced a day when everything you did just seem to go wrong? How did it make you feel? Did you feel like caving in and giving up? Well that’s just how I felt. I felt that I just could not face another day with everything I did going wrong. Have you ever had that inner voice speak to you, only to ignore it, thinking it’s just your rambling imagination? Well I have had that inner voice speak to me only to ignore it time after time.

After experiencing one of my worse days, I was now at that moment between sleep and waking, getting ready to face another day, when I sensed that inner voice speaking to my soul. When I became fully awake the thought kept running through my mind to look for the beauty which could be found in each and every day. I sauntered out of bed and decided to face the day, but this time I would look for the beauty. I soon started to grumble because nothing struck me as being beautiful.  I was just carrying out the mundane tasks of the day. Getting out of bed I had my breakfast and went to my first appointment. I continued to mutter to myself as nothing was striking me as beautiful.

I finished up with my appointment and was on my way back home. I was stopped at a traffic light when I saw a visually impaired woman walking across the street. It was only then that I was very thankful to God for my sight. It was a beautiful day and I was able to see the beauty of the day. There was not a cloud in the sky, it was clear and it was blue. I could see the blue jays and the hummingbirds as the flittered by,  I could see the other cars and other people as they passed by, but here crossing the street was this visually impaired woman.

From that moment, I decided that I would embrace all the small gems which God placed within each and every day. So often we wait for big and grand things to happen in our lives, and while we wait for these grand things to happen, we miss much of the beauty that surrounds us. I am now more thankful for the small things in my life, because they really do matter.

This experience became my inspiration for the first poem in my book, “Walking With The Spirit.”

Leola Durant