Restored on June 13th

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Twenty-three years ago today on June 13, 1994, I awoke to a nightmare like experience.  I will never forget it.  I remember the telephone ringing early that Monday morning, and immediately having an uneasiness in my spirit.  The next thing I knew I was belted over in a painful pool of unconsolable tears on my cold, tiled kitchen floor.  For some, their gut wrenching sorrow is released solely through tears that are only seen and never heard; but on this day, my wailing cries of lament were anything but silent, and they immediately prompted my husband to cry out for help too.  Amidst the foggy veil over my mind, the only thing I remember my husband saying to our Pastor on the other end of the phone was, “I need your help.”  

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In Memoriam Post #VeteransDay

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In memoriam of a #patrioticone post #VeteransDayWeekend
Yesterday, Sunday, November 13th, was my brother’s birthday.  He would have been 53 years old.  I always thought it was fitting his birthday was so close to Veteran’s Day, since he was such a patriotic one.  Donald Lee “Donnie” Deason was born on November 13, 1963.  He proudly served in the Air Force with honors; the disappointment of his passionate and patriotic heart was openly displayed when his Birmingham based Air National Guard squadron did not get the opportunity to serve in Operation Desert Storm.  However, this patriotic brother did not die serving on the battlefield for our country; rather, he lost a battle with the enemy who hates all men, whose evil spirit causes the hearts of men to hate and then carry out acts of hatred to the ultimate.  On June 13, 1993, his life was brutally and unjustly taken.  At the age of 30, my bother gained the victory prize of Heaven’s reward. Because of my brother’s personal faith in the saving grace of Jesus Christ, I know for certain he is more alive than ever.
To read more regarding my brother’s death, click on the page link, “A Story for His Glory” on the homepage of this blog.
While serving on the prayer team yesterday at Church of the Highlands, I learned that another praying couple also knew Donnie; the husband was actually one of my brother’s many friends.  After our time of praying for the services and for others, this beautiful couple, along with two others serving on our prayer team, laid their hands on me and prayed for God to completely heal any other areas of my broken heart, as well as for God to complete the process of turning what was meant for evil for God’s purpose and glory.*
Time does not heal us, but God is our Healer.
God is a Redeemer, Restorer, and the Lord our Healer. God’s mighty Spirit has brought so much comfort, strength, healing and peace to me over these past 22 years.
In this time of restoration, how beautiful is the faithfulness of God on this day of my brother’s birthday to lavish upon me more of His healing, comfort, and peace.  I am thankful that I was where God has led me to be positioned to receive more of the abundant gifts of God’s love, compassion, and grace through His church, the body of Christ (the hands and feet of Jesus).  
Comfort, healing, peace, and restoration is what God desires to offer all who are hurting, broken, and wounded, and who have suffered great loss in this life.  
If you aren’t connected to the body of Christ, get connected.  That’s where God does His work.  Yes, He works through His imperfect yet chosen vessels of His amazing grace and love and power – the church.
Today, just like Joseph, I can declare with certainty that what the enemy meant to destroy me with has been used to bring me to a place of LIFE abundantly in Jesus, and will continue to be used to bring others to LIFE too.* This evil that was brought into my life not only turned my mourning into dancing (Psalm 30:11), but also served as a catalyst birthing a more desperate need of God that resulted in a greater love of my Savior and His Word, and a much deeper journey in worship and prayer above everything else in my life.  
Radical need of God brings radical praise and worship of God.
No, I didn’t visit your graveside on your birthday, but my love and remembrance of you, my precious brother, are forever engraved on my heart.  May this memoriam in your honor, Donnie, be used to awaken and remind others of this precious gift of LIFE we have been given.  May it also stir up a desire in others to live forever in eternity with Our Mighty Warrior King and Savior God in the life that is to come.  I look forward to seeing your beautiful smile when I arrive at the final destination.
*Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people. Genesis 50:20 (The Message) Just like Joseph, many of our own “pits” of despair, loss, suffering, and even feeling abandoned by God at times, are strategically wielded against us by the enemy to destroy us emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and even physically.  Still, the promise of Romans 8:28 holds true for those who belong to God:
That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good (The Message).  
Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death where is your sting? (1 Corinthians 15:54-55)
The thief comes only to steal, kill, and to destroy, but I have come that you might have life and life abundantly – Jesus.  (John 10:10)
To live is to live for Christ, and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21)
So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:
They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. (Romans 8:31-39 The Message)

If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”(Romans 10:9-11)

For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

Monday Mourning Memories

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“June 13th – A Monday of Mourning”
“…mourn with all those who mourn.” (Romans 12:15)
Enough said.
Those who can empathize, understand that in times like these, no words are necessary.
Praying for all those who are mourning in Orlando, and who are suffering deep heartache and loss as a result of the senseless and horrific tragedy that occurred on June 12th and has left many just beginning their journey with grief this Monday, June 13th.
My own personal Monday “mourning” memories of June 13th are never forgotten.
For me, June 13th is truly a date that I am trusting God’s promises to redeem and restore.  On Monday, June 13, 1994, 22 years ago today, my only brother, Donald Lee “Donnie” Deason, was brutally beaten to death in the Birmingham City Jail (his first, last, and only time in a jail cell).  He was only 30 years old.  Yes, it’s still unbelievable to me too, even all these many years later!  Just how he died alone was so unbelievably unjust, horrific, and, to this date, painfully difficult to recall, but the pain is worsened due to the fact that his murder occurred in a jail cell (not at all indicative of my brother’s life), and at the hands of some who perpetuated violence and others who neglected their job duties to say the least.  A true test of walking in forgiveness and a lot of overcoming evil with good has since followed.  It’s taken me this long to finally be able to begin talking and writing more openly about this extremely grievous and heart rendering, Monday June 13th memory.  This was also on the same day of the tragic murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman (and so I can relate to the suffering of Ron Goldman’s sister as well), and, now, the senseless tragedy in Orlando falls on the day before June 13th – another mournful Monday, June 13th for many more.
Especially when a person’s life is taken in incidents that become news worthy and may lead much of the public to immediately question or pass judgment, we all need to remember that all human lives matter, and the first and most important thing other fellow human beings should do is just “mourn with those who mourn.”  We are all created in the likeness and image of our Creator, God, and there is so much more to each person’s life than a single event and/or what is shared for the purpose of selling newspapers or for higher media ratings.  In times like these, many grieving families, while still in shock and walking out their worst nightmare, are further burdened and distressed by what is being remembered and what is often forgotten about their loved one.  My brother had a passionate heart of patriotism, served honorably in the Air Force and Air National Guard, had an exceptional employee record at the Federal Reserve Bank, coached youth basketball, loved people and brought much joy to all those he was around, had the most beautiful smile, and there is so much more…!  Just as there is always so much more to be celebrated, treasured, and remembered about each precious person whose life is snuffed out at the hands of evil hearts in action.
As we pray, let us remember that all lives matter.
May the God of all comfort bring healing, redemption and restoration to all who are mourning this Monday, June 13th.
We all need the Lord more than ever before.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  (Romans 12:21)
The ropes of death entangled me; floods of destruction swept over me. The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death laid a trap in my path. But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to Him reached his ears. He reached down from Heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from those who hated me and were too strong for me. They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress, but the Lord supported me. 
The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock! May the God of my salvation be exalted!
(Psalm 18:4-6; 16-18; 46)