Tag - Faith

The Bat Attack: 3 Ways to Overcome Fear
Christmas on Rocky Top
Was Sunday Real? or Was It Just Emotion?
Generations of Love


“Ponder” is a word that is not often heard these days.    I vaguely remember my Mamaw using the word in the context of “I need to ponder that awhile.”   As a child, I don’t think I really knew what she was referring to when she said it.

According to Webster’s, “ponder” means “to weigh in the mind, to think about or reflect on or to consider quietly, soberly, and deeply.”

Pondering is not something I do often.  I’m unsure if many of us “ponder” any more.  We are usually too busy to set aside time to “ponder.”   Instead I worry and fret as I go about my day.    In my mind, I rehearse every case scenario of any situation or relationship and usually end up exhausted about what could happen.  The “what ifs” in life lead me down a path of anxiety. 

This rarely used word came to my attention recently during worship one Sunday morning.   The praise leader led us in an updated version by Shane and Shane of the ancient hymn, Praise to the Lord, originally written by Joachim Neader in 1863.

As I sang the phrase “Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,” I began to examine my heart. 

When was the last time I pondered anew what God can do instead of worrying and fretting?

Here are a few of my ponderings:

He spoke into existence every glorious sunset and sunrise, the powerful ocean waves, the majestic mountains. 

He created man and woman in His image.

He delivered the Israelites when they were in bondage to the Egyptians.

He gave His only Son as a ransom for my sin.

He healed the lame, the blind, and raised people from the dead.

He rose from the dead on the third day and conquered sin and death.

He forgives me when I’m at my worst.

He loves me unconditionally.

He heals relationships.

He restores me daily.

As I pondered all God has done and can do… create, deliver, forgive, heal, conquer, love and restore… my faith was built.  My hope was renewed that God can heal that relationship, conquer sin in my life, and advance His Kingdom in a world that is so terribly broken.

In Psalm 64:9-10 David declares, “…they tell what God has brought about and ponder what he has done.  Let the righteous one rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him!”   (ESV)

Choose today to “ponder anew what the Almighty can do.”  Stop worrying and start “pondering.” 

The Bat Attack: 3 Ways to Overcome Fear

I’m reposting by request and because it compliments Preacher’s sermon this past Sunday.

It had been raining for days on Rocky Top so my brown rocker outside had been eluding me.  The forecast last night had given me hope of sunshine for the coming day.

I woke up suddenly to thuds against my windows. I sat up and said loud enough for the Preacher to wake up…..What is that noise?? He did wake up, stumbled out of bed and peered through the wooden blinds….It’s just some birds hitting the window. He then plopped back into the bed to sleep until his alarm went off in 15 minutes!

His explanation didn’t satisfy me…..especially when the thuds grew more frequent.

I walked over to the window and looked for myself. Oh my word….Preacher…this isn’t birds….those are bats…..hundreds of bats were flying on my precious back porch, encircling my brown rocking chair…..NO it was not raining but Bats were attacking my home!!!

I went and looked outside the rest of the windows…..bats everywhere!!! They were flying on the front porch, the side porch, the basement porch. We were officially under bat attack!!!

Ok…..think Donna…..you must get rid of these hideous creatures. Not totally sure why they have chosen my house to attack…..but they are’t welcome here. And I refuse to allow them to rob me of my back porch and rocking chair today. I will not live in fear of BATS!

1.  I walked around the house and turned on every outside light we had. The sun had risen but due to the clouds and mist, it really was’t that light outside. I remembered from basic science that bats don’t like light…… FEAR doesn’t like light either. When I am fearful, just saying HIs word out loud, declaring His truth drives fear out!

2. I also turned on all the outside ceiling fans. Those bats will have a hard time flying into air that is blowing in the opposite direction. FEAR can’t exist when the wind of the Spirit is blowing. Fear envelopes us when the Holy Spirit is being quenched in our lives.

3. Then I waited patiently. I trusted that the sun would eventually come out and shine brighter. FEAR is no match for faith……a faith that waits patiently for the promises of the Lord.

By the time the Preacher opened the garage door to head off to work, the bats were almost gone! There were a few casualties lying dead on the downstairs back porch……but the rest flew off to find some other home…..a dark cave to sleep in until the sun went down.

When my mind is a dark cave…..void of His truths, His wind of the Spirit and faith…fear will reign. But fear, like bats can’t tolerate the light of His word, the wind of His spirit and a steadfast faith.

Choose to know His Word and speak it out loud on a regular basis…..and watch fear dissipate.
Feed His Spirit within you…..sing His praises out loud, serve others with joy and watch the wind of His spirit blow through your fears! And choose faith….even when it seems dark and dreary in your life…..trust Him, wait upon Him! He is faithful and true!

Bat attack:  Fear attack…Conquered!  John 8:12; John 1:1-5; I John 4:18; James 1:22-25; II Timothy 1:7;  and  II Samuel 22:29

Christmas on Rocky Top

Every morning of Christmas season, preacher walks out of our bedroom and the first things he does is turn on the Christmas tree lights. Preacher loves Christmas….the lights, the sounds of squealing children opening up presents, the smells of the good food. When our children were little, he would stand outside their bedroom windows after they went to bed on Christmas Eve and shake bells, throw small rocks on the roof, and shout “Ho-Ho-Ho”!   He would snuggle with the children while watching Rudolph the Red-nosed reindeer and if you watched him closely, tears would come to his eyes as Clarice sang, “There’s always tomorrow…”

Christmas has just always been his favorite time of the year……..truly!

Some may think it is because Preacher is just a big kid at heart. Nope that is not why!

Preacher truly believes in CHRISTmas.

He believes when the mommy of a 15 year old boy, killed laying down his life to save the lives of three teenage girls, sits by her Christmas tree tonight that GOD WILL BE WITH HER!

He believes when the daddy of a very sick little boy, sits by the hospital bed awaiting surgery on Christmas that GOD WILL BE WITH HIM!

He believes when a precious widow sits by a Christmas tree tonight aching for her husband that GOD WILL BE WITH HER!

He believes when the world seems to be spinning out of control and evil appears to be reigning and there is little hope for our precious grandchildren’s future that GOD WILL BE WITH THEM!

When Mary went to Elizabeth’s house to share the news the angel of the Lord had given her, Elizabeth said to Mary “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord as said to her will be accomplished.” Luke 1:45.

Christmas is coming tomorrow morning! Even if the baking is not done, even if all the presents aren’t wrapped or if the house isn’t cleaned.

Christ is simply asking us this Christmas……Do you believe? Do you believe that I will fill that empty hole in your heart? Do you believe that I am in control? Do you believe I can be your hope, joy, peace and love when there seems to be absolutely no way?

So Preacher turns on the Christmas tree lights every morning to remember……..Christ came, He is with us today no matter what the circumstances, no matter the storms, no matter the darkness.

Preacher believes HE IS WITH US……..EMMANUEL!

And my question to you as well as to myself: What do I truly believe?

Merry Christmas from Rocky Top!

Was Sunday Real? or Was It Just Emotion?

Ok…….let’s be real with each other. It is the middle of the week after a Sunday in which the Lord really moved in my heart and in many other’s hearts. I dealt with some personal sin in my own life. I prayed and called out for the Lord on behalf of my family, my church, my friends, our nation, and our world as Preacher led us. I sang at the top of my lungs………”There is Power in the Name of Jesus to break every chain.”   P I fell on my knees in brokenness and stood up to walk in His freedom, joy, and forgiveness.

But now it is the middle of the week and some of those chains are rattling in front of me. I see them and I hear them. The enemy is taunting me and the feeling is fading. So what do I do???

Preacher said, “Revival is renewed passion to know Christ, love Christ, share Christ and serve Christ!”  So I decided to………

  • Run to the Word!  The best way to know Christ is to be in His word. To read it, study it, memorize it. There is no shortcut on this. If you don’t choose to run to His word, well you might as well just quit reading this blog right now.  So I ran to His word and the Lord began to teach me even more about Revival and how to sustain it in my own life. Here are some practical things that the Lord said to me through thru the following verse:

The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon my high places.  To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.”  Habakkuk 3:19                           

  • Make sure He is my Master. The word “God” in Habakkuk 3:19 is “Adonai” which means “Master”.   Unless He is my Master in every area of life…..meaning I choose to obey Him every time He speaks to me ……..He will not be my strength. When I was a little child, I was told that when God speaks to you that you should take the first step in obedience and then His strength will carry you through. I know this is truth for every directive He has ever given me………from choosing to hold my tongue to moving across the country to serve Him in a new ministry. The first step is my obedience, and then His power enables me!


  • Acknowledge my high places and REPENT!  High places aren’t fun, pretty places. In the Old Testament “high places” referred to where people sacrificed to idols. Many times people sacrificed their own children on high places. High places are strongholds of sin in my life. A stronghold is the area of your life that the enemy has a grip on; an area that the enemy can count on your response. It can be an addiction to food, alcohol, drugs, approval, gossip, anger, greed, shopping, pride, laziness, self-centeredness and the list goes on and on. God’s power can’t enable you to walk on your high places unless you are willing to acknowledge you have them. If I excuse my “sin” because of anything or anyone, then the chains can’t be broken. One can’t repent and turn from sin unless, one acknowledges and agrees with God that it is sin.


  • Have the feet of a doe! Yep, that’s what the Lord said. Hind’s feet are the feet of a female deer. I believe God specifically used “hind’s feet” for a reason. The feet of a male and female deer are different!   As I researched this some experts say that a doe can go higher than a buck because they are more agile and because their feet are different.   One study said that doe’s nails are longer so they can grip the rocks better and therefore are more agile in rocky environmentsThe Lord doesn’t want strongholds in our lives to pulls us down or weigh us down.   He wants to give us hind’s feet to move powerfully and effectively through them.


  • Worship! Habakkuk, the prophet, began chapter 3 with a musical term “shigionoth”…… a musical term that meant to sing with delirious joy.  The prophet closes chapter 3 by reminding us about worship.   Worship when the chains are rattling! Worship means to declare God’s worth. Fill your heart, your mind, your life with music which glorifies Him.  Speak words of His worth!   The moment I begin to sing His praise, the noise of the rattling chains disappears.


  • And finally Serve others and Share Christ…..Revival is only revival as Preacher says when it leaves the church building. So this week when I began to “lose the feeling” I asked the Lord to put others in my path that I could serve and share Christ’s love with. After having several opportunities to just love on others, God begin to fill me with His joy.

So up on Rocky Top I have seen a lot of deer. I haven’t been quick enough to snap a picture of one.

But a dear friend of mine has! She actually took the above picture of a doe on my high place…..yep right outside my window. See that precious doe peeking up over the rocky top!  When she sent me this picture I had so much joy in my heart. Thank you Lord that you will send Your power into my life to walk right through any stronghold/high place in my life if I will just run to your Word, acknowledge you as my master, worship you and then love and serve others!!!

Sunday was REAL!   “There’s an army rising up……to break every chain, break every chain.”

Generations of Love

I’m sitting on the back porch today at Rocky Top contemplating the last 35 years! Whoa…that is a long time! Yet, that is the number of years I have been married to Preacher.

Remembering our first date at Wendy’s and a movie, this blonde haired, blue eyed guy caught my heart!

After sitting on a swing at Baylor University for several hours talking, I knew he was “The One”! I ran upstairs to my dorm room and proudly announced to my roommate, “I’m going to marry, John Avant.”

And two years later, we walked down the aisle of Miller Chapel at Baylor and pledged our lives to one another and began a wild adventure.

During those 35 years we have lived in four states, eleven apartments/houses, served seven churches and one denominational mission agency, been on mission together in 7 countries, raised 3 children who are now all married, and have two adorable grandchildren. Wow……I’m tired.

We have also in those 35 years experienced death of parents, a grandchild and dear friends; experienced sickness and surgeries; and there were times that we might have called our marriage quits if not for the fact Preacher would lose his job if our marriage failed. Does that shock you?? It shouldn’t!

A good marriage is hard work! BUT a good marriage is full of joy and fun!

It is fun to dance with my husband knowing he has chosen me over and over! It was a blast to dance at each of my children’s weddings with the man who helped me bring them into this world and helped to parent them. And it is a joy to watch my husband throw his grandchildren up into the air as they laugh and squeal with delight.

But I do have regrets and there are things that I want to grow in as a wife to this blonde haired, blue eyed guy who I truly adore…even after 35 years.

If we don’t grow, we regress and eventually love grows cold.

So in celebrating 35 years of marriage I want to leave you with some wisdom from some women who have been married longer or almost as long as I have.……..collectively this wisdom comes from almost 150 years of marriage being represented!  Here are some great ways to grow in your marriage!

  1. Love Jesus first…..He is the only one who can truly meet all your needs!
  2. Show affection to your man and have lots of sex!…….Get over your body image…he chose you and thinks you are beautiful. But do choose to take care of yourself…he wants you around!
  3. Keep dating…….choose to have time alone each week without kids!
  4. Go on adventures together…..experience new things together.
  5. Keep communication lines open……..talk it out!
  6. Never forget the bigger picture…working on your marriage is about creating……..GENERATIONS OF LOVE……..and that will ultimately change the world!

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