God Was So Merciful to Them

I was reading Genesis Chapter 19, and I came across the following verse. I’ve read this verse before. Yet, it never spoke to me like it did this time around.

In verses 16 and 17, the following occurs:

Lot was dragging his feet. The men grabbed Lot’s arm, and the arms of his wife and daughters—God was so merciful to them!—and dragged them to safety outside the city. When they had them outside, Lot was told, “Now run for your life! Don’t look back! Don’t stop anywhere on the plain—run for the hills or you’ll be swept away.”

A little backdrop to what is happening. God is going to destroy Sodom where Lot and his family live. Abraham had previously pleaded with God not to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Abraham confronted him, “Are you serious? Are you planning on getting rid of the good people right along with the bad?” Chapter 18

God said, “For the sake of only ten, I won’t destroy the city.”

Well, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, so we can deduct that God did not find ten good people in the city.

Two angels arrived to Sodom and told Lot to get his family out of there now! The angels said to “get your wife and two daughters out of here before it’s too late and your caught in the punishment of the city.”

But Lot was dragging his feet. And this is what is so powerful to me. Sometimes I worry that I’ll get it wrong. I won’t leave when God tells me to leave or I won’t stay when God says stay. I’m analytical so I have to weigh the pros and cons to everything before I make a move. But sometimes what looks like a con in the natural world is a pro in the spiritual world. I’m afraid I’ll miscalculate, overthink, or take the wrong next steps.

I’m afraid I’ll drag my feet. I often wonder if I already missed the mark somewhere. Especially as I wonder if marriage and motherhood is for me. Did I miss my husband somewhere? Did I turn him down when he asked me out?

But this verse gives me hope. Lot dragged his feet, but the two angels that God sent to Sodom grabbed Lot’s arm (and his wife and daughters’ arms) and dragged them to safety. God was so merciful to them!

So even when we get it wrong, God makes sure we get right. Even when we hesitate God will drag us (and our loved ones) to safety. That’s so encouraging to know.

We often hear the story of how Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. We get scared. One little mistake and it could be over for us.

I don’t know why Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt. But I know that God is merciful. He knows we’re human. He knows we’ll drag our feet sometimes. And even in all of our limitations, He knows how to get us to where He wants us to be.

In God’s Hands

My sister was in a car accident several weeks ago. I kept receiving calls from a number I didn’t recognize. I didn’t answer. I figured they’d leave a message. But they didn’t.

Finally I decided to call back just in case it was something important. And it was.

My sister was on the other end of the phone with a shaky voice. “Sister, I was in a car accident. It was pretty bad. My car flipped over.”

I rushed to the scene to see her car still sitting there. Banged and bruised on all sides. Every inch of that car had some dent or crack.

The one thing not dented, cracked, banged or bruised? My sister.You’d think I would have went home with a big smile on my face singing Hallelujah! I was and am very thankful my sister is still here. Everyone who experiences a car accident doesn’t walk away. She did. That’s a blessing from God.

Yet, I went home that night and balled my eyes out. It was an ugly cry. Why? Because I love my sister. I want the best for her. I don’t want her flipping over upside down in tons of metal that could kill her! I hate that she had that experience.

I hate that I wasn’t there. I’m supposed to protect her and save her. Yet, sometimes I can’t. Sometimes I won’t.

And that too is a blessing. There is Someone who loves her even more than I do. There is Someone who can protect her far greater than I ever could.

It’s egotistical and a sign of little faith to believe that my sister’s fate is somehow in my hands. I don’t have her in the palm of my hand. As much as I want the best for her I can’t give her the best. Or any of my loved ones.

God has her in the palm of His hands. And that’s a far better place for her to be.


I Feel Discouraged


I feel discouraged. I’m a Christian. I go to church. I pray. I tithe. Yet sometimes my spirit is low.

Yes, sometimes I’m discouraged. I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know what I have to look forward to. I don’t know what’s possible for me or my future. Sometimes I can’t see my future. My vision is blurry. God is blurry.

And this week I’ve been feeling discouraged. I interviewed with my church to go on a mission trip to Colombia. After being told to put April 30th (the date of the first trip meeting) on my calendar about half a dozen times they called to say, “We lowered our capacity…..God bless you.”

Way to mislead a girl. I was SO looking forward to that trip. It was something to look forward to.

This year I decided to be more purposeful about finding a husband. I know the bible says, “He who finds a good wife findeth a good thing,” but I figured all the Christian men in Houston are lost. Maybe I should do the finding. So, I joined 3 different dating sites and it’s been interesting to say the least.

I wonder if I’ll ever get married and have a family. Whenever I ask Christian friends and mentors they always something to the effect that if God put it in your heart He will provide it. Yet, some days I just don’t know. And today is one of those days.

My job was phased out at work. Luckily, I was offered a position on another team. However, I’m bored. I know I should be thankful to have a job, but I’d still like to enjoy it.

Did I mention I’m discouraged? I don’t have an answer to it. I just know in this walk there will be discouraging times. It doesn’t matter who you are. Just because I sit behind a computer and blog about Christianity doesn’t mean I’m always in the highest of spirits or filled with faith.

I do know that when we’re feeling discouraged we have a few options available to us:

  1. Pray. We can always go to God in prayer. We can be honest about our feelings, our doubts, and our disappointments.
  2. Do. We can do what’s within our control to do. I may not be able to go to Colombia with my church, but it doesn’t mean I can’t go. My church partners with Conviventia. So I reached out to them directly. We’ll see where that takes me.
  3. Wait. We can wait it out. Whenever I start a new job there’s always a period of boredom. You’re waiting on things to pick and tasks to be assigned to you.
  4. Trust. We can trust God for all of our needs and desires. We can trust that He won’t withhold any good thing from us. We can trust He knows what’s best. This one is especially hard for me, because having trust leads to having hope. I hate getting my hopes up. See mission trip experience above.

I just wanted to share with you that if you’re feeling discouraged you’re not alone. We’re thinking of you and praying for you.

~ Charlene

Charlene’s Gospel Playlist

I love me some gospel music. Music does something to the soul. When I feel tired, weary, discouraged, a good gospel jam session always lifts my spirits. Here are some of my favorites! Enjoy!

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) – Hillsong


“When oceans rise my soul will rest in your embrace for I am Yours and You are mine.” Isn’t it great to know that you are His? No matter what! When God calls us to the ocean is not that we might drown. It’s so that we can see His mystery. He calls us to walk on water.  He has never failed us and He won’t start now.

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me upon the water wherever You would call me.”

I Love The Lord – Whitney Houston


It’s so good to know He hears my cry. Sometimes it feels like He doesn’t. Sometimes it feels like He doesn’t care if He does. But God hears our cries and pities every groan. If fact, the bible says He will wipe away every tear from our eyes. (Revelation 21:4)

“Long as I live and troubles rise, I’ll hasten to His throne.”

Live in the Wonderful – Lakewood Young Adults


“Give me faith to see the incredible.” Why are we here on earth? Do you ever wonder? Why couldn’t we just stay in heaven? Especially if God has already called us by name. He knew before the earth was created who would spend eternity with Him so why bother? I don’t know the answer, but I do believe God wants to show us something incredible.

“We’re gonna see all the walls come down. We’re gonna see the lost in us be found and believe for every prayer’s answer.”

Take Me to The King – Tamela Mann


“Lay me at the throne. Leave me there alone.” Have you ever felt you couldn’t face what’s left to do? You have no more fight it you. No more tears to cry. It’s okay to be at this place. We can take the broken pieces of our heart to God, and He will give us beauty for ashes.

“One touch will change my life.”

In Jesus Name – Israel Houghton

“God is fighting for us. Pushing back the darkness….. Carrying our burdens. Covering our shame.” There are so many times God is fighting for us and we don’t even know. We have to remind ourselves that God is on our side and only wants good for you.

“In the name of Jesus, the enemy’s defeated and we will shout it out, shout it out.”

Can’t Give Up Now – MaryMary

“Nobody told me the road would be easy, but I don’t believe He brought me this far to leave me.” God will never, ever leave us or forsake us. We just have to continue to trust and believe that He will not leave us. He will finish the work He has started in us. “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.” – Psalm 37:25

“I just can’t give up now. I’ve come too far from where I started from.”

My God is Awesome – Charles Jenkins


“My God is awesome. He can move mountains. Heals me when I’m broken. Gives strength where I’ve been weakened.” God is a Deliverer, Protector, Provider. God is everything we need. Sometimes it is easy to get discouraged or restless when things aren’t going our way. Sometimes God keeps us in the valley to hide us from the rain. He knows what we need when we need. He’s awesome.

Break Every Chain – Tasha Cobb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              “There’s power in the name of Jesus to break every chain!” I like to believe I’m (we’re) apart of the army rising up! Sometimes the struggles, setbacks, diversions, closed doors, and disappointments are because our purpose is greater than us. Sometimes our ambitions and goals and the times we’re called to walk on water aren’t even about us. We think they are, but they’re not. Sometimes we’re called to be the army that breaks the chains of someone else that they might be saved.

Resist Worry and Lean on God

I’m a self-professed worry-wart. I worry about anything and everything. Maybe it’s the Virgo in me. Last Friday, my sister sent me a message that our tenant told her she had termites. I went into worry-mode.

Termites are serious business. They can literally eat you out of a house and home. It can cost thousands of dollars to repair the damage done.

So, I’m a little panicky. How much is this going to cost? Where’s the money coming from? What if the walls cave in? What if the ceiling collapses? I couldn’t concentrate for the rest of the day at work.

I told you I was worry-wart.

So I worried and googled and worried and googled some more.

Saturday morning around 9 o’clock I decided to go get some coffee. I open the house door that leads into the garage. “Oh my goodness!” I left the garage open ALL NIGHT. From 6 pm Friday night until Saturday morning my garage was completely open. To make matters worse the house door was unlocked.

Someone could have come in and harmed me. Someone could have stole everything out of the garage.

Yet, I slept like a baby. Why? Because I had no idea that I should be worried. If I would have known the garage was opened and the house was unlocked, I would have freaked out. Let’s pretend I couldn’t close it or lock the door for some reason. I would have tossed and turned all night. I might have even slept with a knife in my hand.

God protects us over a multitude of things we aren’t even aware of. I imagine there are dozens of things I could be worried about if only I knew, but God is a good God. He protects us from dangers seen and unseen. I didn’t have to worry over my protection and plead with God to keep me safe that night. God gave me what I needed when I didn’t even know what I needed myself. If God’s protection and provision sustains us when we have no idea of the trouble we face, does He not also give wisdom and guidance to see us through the troubles we know?

Worrying doesn’t move God into action. Sometimes it’s not even prayer that leads God into action. It’s His goodness and mercy. When we know who God is and that He cares for us we don’t have to worry.

Below are a few scriptures to help you when you find yourself worrying:

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” – Psalm 55:22

“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

– Matthew 6:27

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

I love 2 Timothy 1:7. Fear and worry do not come from God. God gives us power, love, and sound mind. With a sound mind we can make the right decisions. God doesn’t want us to be afraid, but the devil does.

When we resist fear and worry we are resisting the devil and leaning on God’s promises. When you feel overwhelmed with fear and worry, I pray that you’d remember where fear comes from and run to God. I pray this over myself as well.

Who I Really Am


Man, Silhouette, Time, Amount Of Time

A young man that I know passed away last month at the tender age of 23. I didn’t know him well, yet I mourned his lost. It’s not because I love him or that I’ll miss him. I barely even knew him.

I mourned the loss of what could have been. Not for me. For him. I believe that God knows we want to live long lives. The bible references long life many times.

“I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.” Psalm 91:16

“You shall walk in all the ways that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.” Deuteronomy 5:33

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Ephesians 6:1-3

Yet, this young man lost his life at 23. I couldn’t really comprehend it. It weighed on me for days, maybe even weeks. I cried for him.

“God, why did you take his life? What about the dreams he had?”

I am such as believer in life. I believe life should be joyful, purposeful, and magical. I believe we should strive to achieve everything in our hearts. I believe we should make the most of life.

As I lay on my couch crying, heartbroken over the loss of what his life could have been I placed my hand over heart and listened for God.

“Charlene, you’re so in love with the experience of life you’ve lost touch with who you really are.”

I was reminded that I AM a spiritual being having a human experience. I am a child of God. I can’t love life more than I love the Creator of life.

A Christian’s Take on the 2016 Presidential Election

i-prayed-and-i-votedPresidential elections are often challenging for Christians. It can be difficult to know which way to go. A lot of Christians vote Republican due to issues such as Roe vs. Wade and same-sex marriage. I struggle with these issues as I don’t really have a major stake in the ground either way although I do lean pro-choice on both.

This time every four years leads me to question my position. Should I be against pro-choice? Today, as I was reflecting on the results of last night’s election I thought, “I can’t accept Jesus Christ as anyone else’s Lord and Savior on their behalf. They have to do that for themselves. Why should I decide what choices they should and should not be able to make?”

As I reflect further on the election, it is shocking that Donald Trump was elected as the 45th President of the United States of America. It is my belief that this win was not because of his policies. It is because of his beliefs. Millions of Americans support Donald Trump because of his beliefs. There were other Republican candidates competing in the primaries with similar positions on policies. There were other candidates who support pro-life and reversing same-sex marriage laws. The hurtful, shocking, discouraging thing is that millions voted for Mr. Trump because they believe in his beliefs. And his beliefs are divisive, exclusive, sexist, and racist.

Two scriptures come to mind:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no Law.…” – Galatians 5:22-23

We should always move in the direction of the Spirit as Christians. We have understanding of the tree by looking at the fruit. Donald Trump does not produce fruit of the Spirit. He produces hate, fear, discord, meanness, harshness, and lack of control.

We are called to live by the Spirit for acts of the flesh include hatred, discord, rivalries, divisions, and factions.  Yet as a nation we’ve decided to move away from the Spirit in favor of making our temporary home here on earth “great again.”

The second scripture that comes to mind for me is:

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” – Mark 8:36

Even if there is a sincere and honest belief that Donald Trump can “make America great again” what does it matter if we have to exchange our very soul for that greatness? What does it matter if we have to exchange love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control to be great again? Is that even possible? Is it possible to be great without the fruit of the Spirit? Can we be great without inclusion and oneness?

I don’t have all the answers, but I trust the One who does. I pray for Donald Trump. I pray that he leads our country with respect and dignity and in the direction of the Spirit. I pray that he leads in a way we can be proud of. I pray for Hillary Clinton. I pray for her strength. I pray for her future. I pray for all the seeds she has planted that they fall on good ground. I pray for our country. I pray for my fellow Americans.

God, direct us and protect us. Watch over us. Order our steps. Show us which was to go. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Your will be done.

God Bless America.




Hearing God In Haiti

#CoreLuv #DependtheOrphan
#CoreLuv #DependtheOrphan

I recently went on a mission trip to Haiti. I thought I would share my journal entries from the trip for today’s blog post.

Aug. 13, 2016

It’s crazy how the first idea of doing a mission trip in Haiti came from Lilly Grove but it was Lakewood that brought me here. I’m wondering if God planted that idea in my head years ago for this very moment.

I pray that God helps me to open my heart, close my mind, and release my worries so I can hear from Him and be transformed! I wanted this trip to change me.

I was just talking to my roommates tonight about how it’s easy to look at the Haitians and think how unfortunate they are and how lucky we are to be born in the states…I’m realizing that God loves us all. He has all His children in the palms of His hands. He knows what He’s doing. He’s not comparing us. He’s not setting some of us up to be blessed and others to be cursed. He’s not setting some of us up to succeed and some of us to fail. We’ve defined the parameters of success and being blessed. We’ve compared and separated ourselves. God loves us all, and He shows us all His love in the way we most need.

Aug 14, 2016

“In order to be effective your capacity must expand. Your purpose is never achieved. It is discovered and then nurtured.” (From morning devotion)

This morning’s devotion was Acts, I think Chapter 19. I have to look it up later. The lights are not on in here. I can’t even see to write this. It was about Saul. God told him to reach out to someone if I’m remembering correctly. But he didn’t want to. It just speaks to me with all the things I don’t move forward on. Last night, I thought to pray with the girls I shared a room with before bed but I didn’t say anything….I often have things on my heart that I don’t act on. Lack of confidence and fear mostly. Sometimes unforgiveness. We don’t know the opportunities we miss out on by not following God’s instruction for whatever reason. I definitely need to grow in this area.

Aug 15, 2016

Today at the orphanage I spent time with a young girl in a wheelchair (Cassandra). I was amazed at her personality. She told me she wanted to go get on the swing. Then she told me to take her over there. Then push her. Lol. I’m not that assertive about what I want! It was amazing that she’s perfect. I guess I was expecting her to be not present mentally but was. She was fully aware and fully present. I pray for all those kids. In America, we think about what we want to be when we grow up and what our potential is. I don’t think those are their thoughts. So I pray for their future. Whatever God’s plan and vision is for their lives, I pray that it is fulfilled. I pray for their purpose in the kingdom of God to be fulfilled and brought forth. I pray for their health and their hearts. I pray that God blesses them with more joy and happiness and more helping hands.

Aug. 16, 2016

I forgot to mention that yesterday we went to a woman’s house who used to be a witch doctor. It’s how she made a living. She was converted (saved). She accepted Jesus as her Savior. Now she has another business. It just goes to show that God will replace the sinful thing you are holding on to with something better. Your needs will be taken care of.

It’s our last night in Haiti…I’m thankful for the experience. I’m thankful for Jami and Jeanny and Sandra. It’s an honor watching their walk with God. Tonight they prayed for us one on one. It’s amazing what this experience has been. I got to watch intimate relationships with God up close and personal. I got to love on kids and experience their love and joy. I saw them as people. God’s beloved children.

I pray that my sister would have an opportunity to go on a mission trip. I pray that God opens up the right doors for her. I pray the same for my mom if she’s interested. I pray it for my brother. He’s a helper (like me).


As I think of my experience in Haiti I’m reminded of the opening lines of Good, Good Father:

♬ ♪ Oh, I’ve heard a thousand stories
Of what they think You’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper
Of love in the dead of night ♬ ♪

I feel like I heard God for myself in Haiti. I’m forever closer to Him. I’m forever changed. I pray God pulls me closer and I pray the same for you.

Prince of Peace


I was walking toward the church building this morning. I park a block or so away to avoid the after church traffic. I couldn’t see them, but I knew they were there.

“They” being the hecklers and protesters who like to camp outside the church and harass, I mean “redirect” those who are clearly following the wrong Shepard. The Shepard in this case being Pastor Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church.

As I got closer I saw them yelling from a bullhorn and holding signs. I hurried on by, not wanting to give them the attention that they wanted. I did happen to see the words “false prophet” on the sign they were holding. These hecklers tend to be so focused on Pastor Osteen’s financing that they overlook what Lakewood represents to the world.

I love Lakewood. I love what the church does for its members. I love what it does in the community and around the world. You can take free classes on parenting, marriage, substance abuse, anger management and more. Even Christians who are not members of Lakewood have been able to take advantage of the life classes that the church offers.

Whether there’s a natural disaster such as the recent flooding in Houston or a family in need for a holiday meal, Lakewood is there.

Paul Osteen, Joel’s brother just returned from a three and half month trip to Africa. Paul is a surgeon. His wife is a nurse. They use their gifts and vocation to bless others who would not have access to medical care otherwise.

I could go on and on about why I love Lakewood, but that isn’t the point of this blog post. My purpose today is to share with you a specific characteristic of Jesus that we should look for in each other and ourselves.

Jesus goes by a lot of names. He has been called The Everlasting God, The Creator of all Things, The Angel of God, The Messenger of the Covenant, The Lamb of God, and The Living Bread to name a few. One of my favorite names is The Prince of Peace.

Jesus stands for peace. Not discord. Not disorder. Not chaos. Not harassing people on their way to worship Him. Peace.

The bible references peace many times.

For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people. – 1 Corinthians 14:33

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
I have a hard time believing that anybody that goes out of their way to create disorder is following God’s direction. I do not believe that God sends people out into the world to create division. I do not believe we are called to interrupt worship services.
If we feel that our brother needs Godly correction we are called to do so in love and in private, “If your brother sins against you, go and confront him privately. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” – Matthew 18:15-16
Nobody is perfect. We all fall short. However, when we’re acting on God’s behalf we must take care to ensure that our behavior, words, and heart align with the word of God. There’s a lot at stake. We may lead someone away from God rather than to Him. We may mislead and misinform other believers.
Pray over your own thoughts and attitude. Listen to God. Whatever you do ask yourself, “Is this in alignment with who God is?” If it’s not I encourage you to reconsider what you’re doing.
For the hecklers and church disruptors, I ask you, are you standing in peace?