The Day Jesus Spoke to Me in a Parking Lot

“Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!” Hebrews 13:2 NLT

 

One morning this week, I stopped by Starbucks to have a little quiet time with God and start praying over the Romans bible study that we’re doing here on the blog. After finishing up, I ran across the street to the grocery store to pick up a few things and meet a friend to drop off her photography cd. As I was leaving and walking into the parking lot, I spotted a tall, wiry old man to the left of me walking up to a college-age kid asking him for some change. They both smiled and the young man gave him what was in his pockets and walked off. In the back of my mind, I figured he would come ask me. I was already to  my car and my hands were full of groceries. He walked up to me and said, “ma’am, do you have any spare change so that I can get something to eat?” I casually said, “yeah, hold on a second and let me finish putting my groceries away….” The grey-headed man with tubes coming from every which way smiled gently and said, “no problem, thank you.” He stood a safe, friendly distance away while I finished putting my milk into the back. Then he asked out of the blue with my back to him, “do you read the Bible?” “Yeah I do!” I exclaimed. He replied, “read John 17. There are 24 verses. Read it” I said, “awesome, I’ll do that.” He then asked me if I was from a town about two hours away (the hometown I just moved from!) “Yeah, yeah” I replied, pretty confused. He then began to tell me how he used to work at the state park there and ride horses before his wife died but after she passed, he moved to C here and shortly after, found out he had cancer. (Hence all the tubes, I suppose)

Then, what he began to say next absolutely blew me away. You see, for the past three or four weeks, my husband I have been having discussions about healing and sickness almost daily. We have been reading in Matthew and Mark where Jesus heals sick, raises children from the dead, and cures people of diseases instantly. Each had great faith in Jesus and knew that He would heal them or their loved ones and HE DID. Every time. I have been praying, thinking, confused, and marveling at all of those encounters with Jesus. I have been asking questions about people with cancer or disease who have not been healed and why that was. I had no answers and neither did my husband. We just kept reading about Jesus always healing. We believed, of course, but I was still confused. God knew that I was confused but the night before this encounter with the tall man in the parking lot, I remember thinking that God will show me one day…

After the man, for a few short moments, told me how he had been to a veteran hospital, he told me how they stopped paying for his medical bills. I told him that God always provides. He said, “He sure does and He always will!”

Then he said, “Did you know that I have been healed from my cancer? I still do some radiation so that it doesn’t come back but I’m healed. Yes, the last time I went to my doctor for a scan, I told him that I was cured! The doctor looked confused and said, ‘really, how is that?’ Then I looked at him and told him that God had healed me! I prayed to Him last night that my cancer would be gone because Jesus says in the Bible that if you have faith that Jesus will heal you then you will be healed! And we took a scan of my cancer and sure enough, it was gone! I was healed!”

I looked in amazement. All I could say was, “wow! how awesome! wow!” Not only was he a miracle but he had no idea that Jesus was speaking straight to me through his testimony and his words. Or maybe he knew exactly. Is it a coincidence that this poor survivor of Vietnam, his wife dying, and cancer walked into that parking lot and stood in front of me as soon as I walked out of the store into the same parking lot? Is it a coincidence that he was a Christ follower, a faithful servant of the same One True and Living God that I love and serve? Is it “random” that he was just healed of cancer and felt so inclined to tell ME about it after passing so many other people?

No.

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Jesus lives and He speaks. He is bigger than the box we, or I, sometimes put Him in. He can and will use anyone or anything to speak love and Truth to us, to reveal Himself. WE HAVE TO BE AVAILABLE. Our eyes and ears must be OPEN.

He wanted me to know that if I have faith in Him, pure and undoubting faith, that anything is possible. He will move mountains to heal me, save me, heal my loved ones or save them. Anything. Because He can and I believe.

If I hadn’t given that man (or that angel) some cash, I would have missed out on hearing JESUS speak straight to me. If I hadn’t chose to be available,  I would have missed out on encountering a huge blessing.  If I hadn’t allowed the Holy Spirit to lead me to show hospitality to a complete and utter stranger, I would have missed out on entertaining that angel and feeding Jesus. {Matthew 25: 35-40 read it!}

Remember to read John 17,” he reminded me as we walked away, “remember.”

I went home and immediately opened my bible to John 17 and began to read. It was Jesus praying and speaking to His father. He was praying for blessing and protection over his followers. I encourage you to go and read it. Let Jesus speak to you. He loves you so much. Here is a few verses from John 17…

“Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy.  I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.  I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do.  Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.  Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world.  And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.”

John 17:13-19

Be available. Be available. Be available.

You just might encounter angels.

 

-Katie

picture source: via

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Hospitals & Harry Potter/ / SUMMER STUDY!

Friday afternoon, I was taken to the emergency room due to sharp pains and overwhelming pain in my side. After hours of tests and pain medicine, I was able to go home. Turns out, a large cyst that had been growing on my ovary for who knows how long decided to rupture {right before a cook out we were hosting}. I was so scared there were issues with my one kidney that I have but praise God, my kidney was perfectly healthy! God put sweet and caring doctors and nurses in that room that night. Everything went smoothly & pretty quickly {or maybe I just thought so because I was floating on cloud morphine, haha}. My husband deserves the Best Husband Ever award. For these past days since last Friday, he has taken amazing care of me. He is so gentle and sweet. We laid in bed and watched almost the entire series of Harry Potter. We love that magical little trio.

I am so happy to be back in the land of the living! While recovering, I texted my sweet friend, Jaimie, who is away for the summer with her hubby if she wanted to start an online bible study together over the summer. She agreed! We started Romans chapter one this morning.

After reading the first chapter this morning, God nudged me to widen this bible study. So….

I’m going to start it through the blog on TOMORROW!

That’s right…

Hot Tea and the Empty Seat’s Summer Weekly Bible Study through Romans!

If any of you faithful readers and even new friends are interested in a stress-free, fun, weekly summer Bible study reading through Romans, join us!

Each week {starting tomorrow, Thursday, May 29th}, we will be reading a chapter of Romans.

I encourage you to grab a bible/bible app and a journal! You will have all week {Thursday-Thursday} to read each chapter. Can it get any more easy?! 🙂

Each Thursday, we will meet up here on the blog & discuss what we have learned, favorite verses, passages that convict or encourage us, and any questions we may have! That’s my thoughts & YOURS!

This will be super casual and down to earth since I am no theologian or smarty pants. I just ADORE reading God’s Word and learning with my fellow siblings in the faith. If you have a blog, feel free to LINK UP & post your own thoughts or whatever God has been showing you each week. If you don’t have a blog, no problem! You can follow us each week by subscribing through email at the bottom of this page and also comment below with your own thoughts/etc OR you can “like” Hot Tea and the Empty Seat on Facebook and follow along there!

JOIN US, won’t you?! You have nothing to lose and so much to gain!

Starting tomorrow, I will post the first official “Thursday in Romans” blog post to get this party started! Please don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to become closer with God, learn from His Word, and flourish in community with other believers in the faith!

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…”

Romans 1:16

-Katie

Don’t forget, week 1-chapter 1 starts tomorrow!

I encourage you to wake up {duh}, start a pot of coffee or travel to your local coffee shop, and pray for God’s wisdom to be poured out on you as you read Romans 1!

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little prayers & big plans

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yesterday, my husband & I had the opportunity to serve in our local church’s children ministry. since moving here nine months ago, it was our first time serving with children in a new place. little hands and sweet smiles surrounded us as we started our morning worship. it was such a refreshing time. I had forgotten how sweet and innocent, loud and funny kids really are. later, the children broke up into groups of four or five and I was helping with the prayer station. I am so thankful that God placed me there because I had no idea how He would bless me just in that short hour. eight little high-heeled feet skipped outside and sat on the concrete benches. my friend, Katie, asked them these questions..

“has there ever been a time when it was tough to believe God?”

“have you ever doubted God, like Thomas?”

“has there ever been a time when you thought your plans were right but then realized that God had a different plan for you that was truly better?”

from ages 7-11, most answers were wise beyond their age. it kinda blew me away. in my little faith, I figured they would be staring off into space jabbering about Frozen & their puppies. I sat and listened to a little girl who told us how her parents getting a divorce caused her to think that God had abandoned her yet she knew that He has bigger plans. she reminded me so much of myself when I was her age. but I hadn’t that kind of faith in God yet.

it was so encouraging and made my heart happy to hear the little prayers because in reality, they were big prayers. I can’t put into words how much it encouraged me to listen to the pure prayers of children. it reminded me of how much Jesus loved blessing children. theirs truly is the kingdom. I so want to have their big faith.

I have been struggling with trusting God and believing Him since He has completely erased my plans and has been working out His own plans in my life. I was reminded this morning that those questions weren’t only for the kids. they were for me. I am in a season of changed plans and trying not to doubt God’s plans.

Isn’t it amazing that if we just open our hearts and eyes to see, God is speaking straight to us?

He is!

He wants you to know that His plans for you are FAR BETTER than you could ever imagine or hope and plan your life to be. His Word says that His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than ours. {Isaiah 55:9}

You shouldn’t expect your life to turn out the way you think it will because God’s plans for us are so much glorious than our petty little plans.

He takes away in order to give back 10 fold.

He breaks apart to build back up correctly.

He is mighty, awesome, loving, holy, and able to be trusted.

He has not forgotten you. He has a redemptive plan. A WONDERFUL, glorious, restoring plan.

We serve a mighty gracious God

-Katie

 

 

 

 

 

 

bring on the blooms {& smoothies!}

Last time I checked in with you friends, I was in a sea of tissues, cold medicine, & hot tea. While hot tea is still close by, I am so thankful to say that I am feeling 90% normal again! Praise God for His healing hands!

Yesterday was a day of new blossoms, if you will. My handsome husband and I got amazing results from the doctor from a surgery I had six weeks ago, continued to not really fail at our healthy diet change, & were both refreshed by our Lord as He continually showered blessings over us. Especially since I started to be able to breath again (darn, allergies). Life seems to be blooming again. That rainy, in the dirt, waiting to bloom, season is over. Praise the Lord! I cannot end this without praising God for that season though. Ya know, the season when everything just seems to be in a rut or you’re going through something just plain hard? I feel ya. Good news though! Our faithful God of love always has a plan & we can trust Him in that, to bring the sunshine once again.

Speaking of sunshine,  I am getting anxious to get outside, run, clean, plant some flowers, and dance around the house with the windows open once again. In high hopes that spring is here to stay, I have a yummy, bright, & fruity recipe to share with you today! I’m no chef, so, recipes around these parts are scarce. I whipped up this easy & delicious smoothie for breakfast this morning. It’s great. And puts me in one of those excited, I-feel-healthy, yet this is so yummy moods.

Ingredients:

12 Fresh, frozen blackberries

4 Fresh strawberries

Half of a banana, cut up

1 cup of orange juice

Before we start.. 1-don’t waste the other half of the banana! Bananas are a great source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, fiber, potassium, & other needed nutrients. 2-if you prefer a less creamy smoothie, add ice for a thicker “less of a milkshake” type smoothie. I used the frozen blackberries as my “ice” (our ice machine isn’t working) but they give it a more creamy texture. 3-I only had sunny D on hand but I believe that true orange juice would make this smoothie even better. 4-this makes one big serving so if you are up for sharing, simply double your ingredients. 5-enjoy!

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1-Combine all ingredients in a blender & blend for 40 seconds.

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Yum!

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40 seconds -or so- blending until it looks like…

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your easy & delicious Spring Smoothie !

It goes perfect with a bible, journal, study, & some quiet time!

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Enjoy each moment, give God the glory in all you do, & watch Him bring things to bloom all around you!

Check out Hot Tea and the Empty Seat on facebook, twitter, & even pinterest! Toodles!

-Katie

Day 16,17 iAmThankful!

Joey and I had the opportunity to visit our parents for the weekend. This always makes me so happy because who doesn’t love their parent’s homes; delicious (free) food and free lodging. 🙂 We had planned to head back home Saturday afternoon after celebration his sister’s birthday with the family. Although, a few nights ago, I came down with a sore throat and it has gradually gotten worse.

So now, Joe and I are having a lazy and sick Sunday morning snuggled up at his parent’s home on a cold rainy day playing cards and feeding our dog bananas since we didn’t pack enough dog food. Not the worst thing ever. What an awesome time together. No plans, no schedules, no work, or even showers. Just my husband and I on a rainy fall morning enjoying life together watching Christmas movies. Although I have a mean sore throat, I am so thankful for a home away from home.

For Day 16 & 17, I am thankful for many things from this weekend. I am thankful for my family whom I was able to eat my favorite Mexican food with Friday night, a fun hometown that hosts Santa’s Workshops that make a fun date night out, a new and awesome sister(in law), Kristi, whose birthday we celebrated yesterday, my amazing in-laws who let us stay here all weekend and play card games with us, especially my mom-in-law, Judy, who brews the best hot tea that is possibly heavenly. I’m also thankful that they take care of Penny and make us dinner. I’m also thankful for the ability to listen to the sermon online we are missing back home. Above all, I am thankful for health.

Although I feel very under the weather, I know that it’s just temporary and God will heal me. I am so thankful for my health and my husband’s health and even my entire family’s health. We are blessed to be healthy. I’m so thankful to live in a place where dying from a simple cold just isn’t an option. We have any medicine we need at our fingertips. I really take my health for granted until the times where I do get sick and I realize that God’s hand of blessing and health is always on me and my family.

Just last night as I was lying in bed, I was thinking about all the home remedies I was trying to get rid of this sore throat. Warm salt water, lozenges, sinus medicine, the list goes on. While those things did heal for a few minutes or hours, the hurt only came back. It wasn’t until I was out of options that I prayed to God to take away the pain.

I began to realize that problems I face in daily living, I try to remedy myself in this same way. I try to work these issues out on my own or rely on someone or something else to fix me or my problems. The problem with this is, although they may help for a moment or a season, the hurt will still come back one way or the other. My husband can give me advice and I can try to fix myself but it’s only when I ask and rely on God to help me that I will find true healing or wholeness.

I’m so thankful that God uses certain circumstances, good or bad, to speak to me in amazing ways. I have a fuller reliance on God after realizing that He and He alone is the ultimate healer and provider of my needs.

What have you been relying on apart from God to sustain you?

Turn to God. There are so many things to be thankful for all because of His love for you and me!

Happy Sunday!

-Katie

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