Thursday, July 31, 2014

His Glory Fills The Earth!

In a great chorus they sang, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty!  The whole earth is filled with His Glory!
Isaiah 6:3

Everywhere we look there is evidence of God's glory.  His beautiful workmanship is evident in nature through the snowcapped mountains, a colorful sunset, and something as simple as green grass.  There isn't one place we can't go where He doesn't have his artwork on display.  God's amazing power is shown through the complex creatures living deep beneath the sea, in the tiger crouching low to attack its prey, and in the tiny ants that are crawling all over the ground.  God's glory is everywhere, it fills the whole earth!  God is seen in the miraculous healing of one's illness, and the amazing strength He provides His children fighting that illness.  His glory is on display when a lost son finds his way home and a sinner becomes a saint.  From the mighty crashing waves to the sound of a newborn baby cry, His Glory fills the earth!  Praise God!  Amen and Amen!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

.......And So We Pray

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.  There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.
Hebrews 4:16

There was a time in the not so far past that I prayed for things randomly here and there when I thought of them.  Usually at bedtime and when situations popped up.  I understood that God heard my prayers and I trusted Him to answer me but I never really took my faith to that next level.  I never went boldly to God and demanded answers and I never took that next step of faith that showed me living my belief.  When I study this scripture I see myself entering God's presence with boldness and a confidence that shows that I believe God will answer me.  Instead of just cowering and asking for the same things, I want to be a person who expects results.  I want to believe with everything I have that God will give me my deepest desires and show me answers to my biggest problems.  A positive attitude brings positive results and going to God with boldness and expectance is a positive thing!   

Do you go to God with expectations?  Do you believe that what you ask for you will possess?  Start approaching God with boldness, and a confidence that won't give the devil a chance to sneak his lies into your mind and heart.  If you are going through the motions and just jabbering with God then start today to ask in confidence and with the expectation that you will receive answers.  Don't waste your time just talking if you don't truly believe that God hears and answers you.    

We have courage in God's presence, because we are sure that He hears us if we ask Him for anything that is according to His will.  He hears us whenever we ask Him; and since we know this is true, we know also that he gives us what we ask from Him.  
(1 John 5:14-15)

Monday, July 28, 2014

It Hurts!

Our son has recently had surgery. He's a tough kid and never complains. I admire both his physical and emotional strength. But today, he's hurting and telling us about it. As a mom, I hate that for several reasons. First, I'm supposed to be able to make his hurts go away. We do this for our children from the time they are first born. They cry, and we know just what to do to make them content. Second, he has things he needs to be doing and his hurt is keeping him from going on about life.
As I prayed for him last night I asked God just to touch him and take the hurt away. I asked for a miraculous healing. It was not to be so. Not that God can't, but obviously there is something to learn by someone through this pain. It may be me, my son, or someone else, but there will no healing until the lessons are learned.
But even in this trial, I am praising God because of his faithfulness. I emailed our son's doctor this morning. Within 30 minutes he called back with a plan-- intense antibiotics and a trip to the oral surgeon. Healing will come because God has given men and women wisdom to heal our bodies. He has provided medications to fight infections and heal sickness. I'm praising because I can have conversations with my son about God's faithfulness and timing.
I'm also praising because his word to me today was this- "I trusted in the Lord when I said, 'I am greatly afflicted." Psalm 116-10
God knows what we need and he knows the timing in providing those things. So, what is it you're waiting on? What is it that God could heal in a moment, but that he's chosing to allow time to delay? Look for his faithfulness even in the pain. Look for his blessings even in the wait!
He loves you, knows your need and will come at just the right time. He is the ultimate healer!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Scripture

But now God has shown us a different way of being right in His sight - not by obeying the law but by the way promised in the Scriptures long ago.  We are made right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins.  And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done.  For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard.  Yet now God in His gracious kindness declares us not guilty.  He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins.  For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God's anger against us.  We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed His blood, sacrificing His life for us.  God was being entirely fair and just when He did not punish those who sinned in former times.  And He is entirely fair and just in this present time when He declares sinners to be right in His sight because they believe in Jesus.  
Romans 3:21-26

Amen a thousand times!  Thank You Jesus!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Before I Even Ask

"Before they call I will answer. While they are still speaking I will be here."     
 Isaiah 65:24

I have to be honest today and tell you that worry and doubt are my two greatest sins. I worry about things that never come about, and I spend a lot of time wondering how God will work things out when I don't see a clear pattern for them to find resolution. I fear how a situation will play out when I should be sitting back in my Father's arms waiting for the solution to come to me; for this is how He works.

God knows I have 'freak out' down to an art form, so he often speaks to my heart about a situation before it is even public. I feel a stirring in my soul or my devotions position me on alert. Sometimes in the night I wake up and feel him speak directly to my heart.  He gives me a 'heads up' so to speak so I have time to draw nearer to him and find the strength to handle what it to come.

Just as a parent sees their child's needs and prepares to help them before the child even asks, God knows what we need before we even know our own needs. He's already putting His Spirit, other people, and a means to carry us through the trial in place before we often know what is going on. Our job is to stay in communication with Him so that we don't miss what He's prepared for us. Isaiah 65:24 tells us that God says, "Before they call I will answer. While they are still speaking I will be here." Now that is a faithful Father! 

Friday, July 25, 2014

My Hope Is In Him

We put our hope in the Lord, He is our help and our shield.  In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His Holy name.  Let your unfailing love surround us Lord for our hope is in You alone.
Psalm 33:20-22

I have many things that I pray for on a daily basis but lately there has been one thing that I repeat and pray about several times a day.  I won't go into detail but it concerns my life as a foster parent and it deals with the hardship of an uncertain future for my family and the children we foster.  I know that I don't have all the answers, and although I have my thoughts on a system that at times seems failing, I put my one hope in My Lord because nothing else in life is guaranteed.  I know that placing my hope in God and giving Him my trust means that I don't have a say in what happens and with the help of God and a few friends I am slowly learning that I have the strength to do this.  So, if you know me and you see me on the streets you can ask me if it's hard to give my foster children back and my answer can be honest, and a big yes at times.  God's way is not always the easy way but as long as my hope is in Him I can trust the outcome is perfect and right.  Not even God says I have to love it or agree with Him, He just asks me to trust Him and that I do.  I believe He hears my prayers and I know that He will honor them.  I have learned to line up my will and prayers to go along with His desires for all human kind and I trust that what I ask Him will come true because it is what he would want for my foster children too.  So today I ponder my prayers and the Amazing Man who is listening to them at all hours of the day and night.  I visualize His listening ear right beside me as I place my trust in Him, out loud, just one more time, to ease the difficulty and calm my fears.  I am amazed at the peace I hold in my heart and when that peace starts to fade I begin to pray again.  I know that my God will honor His promise to fulfill the desires of my heart, His name is one the line and He is my help and my shield. 

He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; He hears their cries fro help and rescues them. 
Psalm 145:19

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Day in the SUN/SON

If you love summer as much as I do, you know that with it comes both work and relaxation. A day in the sun is my absolute favorite way to spend a summer day! But it takes preparation to spend a day in the great outdoors.
As a mom you have to get all the necessary supplies ready for a day in the SUN!
These include sunscreen and hats to protect from the intensity of the sun.
Lounge chairs are packed to relax and enjoy the beauty of the day and get that longed for tan and rest; the sun also provides energy so we can face the busyness of next day.
A life jacket for the little ones safety is a top priority.
And of course Aloe Vera for the "oops" when sunscreen wears off and the burn ensues!
Of course swimming makes one hungry so it's necessary to pack lunch and treats of all kinds.

As I think about a day in the sun I also think about living every day in the light of the SON!
John 8:12 tells us that 'Jesus is the light of the world.' In him there is rest and protection. Spending time in his presence energizes us and gives us strength to endure! And there is blessed grace and forgiveness for our "oops" moments. He is the daily bread we need.

But this doesn't just come to us without effort. It too takes preparation. It requires setting time aside to meet with our Savior. It takes effort to read the Bible instead of mindlessly watching TV or going shopping. Determine today to put in the work it takes to seek rest, protection, grace and forgiveness at the feet of Jesus!

Enjoy the rest of your summer living in the light of the Son and enjoying the sun that our Father has blessed us with!

*** The following is a special note from Emma, my granddaughter, who just can't keep her hands off the computer this morning! (It says, "Emma svimming life gacket!")

mmvn ,mmmfm90--006r djfjrlemcn,x,dmkdlw/

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

God Determines Our Steps

Human plans, no matter how wise or well advised, cannot stand against the Lord.
Psalm 21:30

For weeks before the 4H fair I had begun praying for my daughter and her horse.  She had been working very hard 4 days a week, all summer, to train a new horse because her original horse had been injured just a few months before the fair.  This new horse had never competed in a show before.  When they took her to the arena for practice she was easily spooked so being around all the people, new sights and sounds was going to be a challenge for her.  My prayers were more for the horse than they were for my daughter.  I knew she was prepared but I wanted her hard work to pay off for her.  For
this to happen she needed a calm horse, not easily spooked.  Camille needed to be on her best behavior.  Right as my daughter was to head out to perform I laid my hands on her horse and prayed, and my response from her was a loud whinny but I trusted God to handle what was to come.

As you can see from the picture my prayers were not answered.  Camille was not calm and she was spooked into bucking and rearing.  I was disappointed for my daughter who I knew would be upset.  But of course, what I thought was a disaster, ended up being a blessing, because the event she was in was one judging the handler and his/her ability to keep control of the horse .  My daughter did an excellent job!  Her skills were shown because her horse acted up and she was able to redirect her and get her back into position.  My plans for her my not have gotten her a trophy and second place but, of course, Gods' plans were in her best interest.  God knew what was needed and he allowed the horse to act up in order to show my daughter's skills.  My human plans were short of God's perfect plan and I smile when I think of it.  Something small like a horse show was able to convince me once again of God's amazing ability to know all.  It proved to me all over again that He is so faithful in all our circumstances and when we are praying and trusting Him with something He will be there to help us out.  He knows the desires of our hearts and He wants what is best for us!  My plans were for my daughter to succeed and I thought she needed a calm horse for that but God proved to me that although we make our plans He decides the steps  (Proverbs 16:9)


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

So Gorgeous!

My mouth is filled with your praise,
Declaring your splendor all day long. Psalm 71:8

I just bought some new Asiatic Lilies a few weeks ago. When I bought them the buds were full and large, but now they are blooming! They are gorgeous. The picture doesn't even do them justice. They are the entire spectrum of red/pink starting at the inside of each petal and working their way out the color fades to a soft white hue. They stand about 2 feet tall on a thick leafy green stem. The most magnificent thing about them is that each bloom is larger than my open hand. This plant has 3 blooms while the others have 4. They are simply spectacular!
Take time today to walk through a garden; notice the variations of leaves, stems, and flowers. Walk through the local park or walking trial taking in the various trees and plant life. If you're lucky you may even catch a glimpse of some wildlife. And end your day by sitting out watching the summer sunset. Why?
God's beauty and creativity are all around us! So often we rush about completing the tasks of the day, worrying over tomorrow or simply unaware of the gifts we've been given. As you take time to notice God's handiwork today, praise him! Praise the beauty, the diversity, and praise him simply because he is your creator!
You are amazing! I love that you created the flowers and all of nature. Though it is purposeful, it's beauty alone captures my heart and makes me sing your praises. Thank you for this wonderful gift!
Amen and amen

Monday, July 21, 2014

Be Strong In The Lord

A final word:  Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.
Ephesians 6:10

As we were helping our daughter prepare for her first 4H Horse and Pony show I was first reminded of God's amazing hand.  He created such a beautiful animal!  As I stood up close to my daughter's horse I could feel the tightness of her muscles and inspect the workmanship of our God. From every brown speckle and every breath it took I was amazed a the pure beauty and strength of this massive beast standing beside me.  I was so proud of my daughter for the hard work she put into training her horse and the ability she had to lead it with one jolt of her hand or one click of her tongue.  As it got closer to her showing her nerves began to show up.  She was concentrating on the pattern of her event along with the finishing touches to make her horse and herself look just right.  As I saw the nervousness in her I began praying for her to feel peace, and prayers for her horse, as well, to feel that same peace and present calmness in a barn with tons of people and strange horses.

When it was time for my daughter to walk out to perform I remembered this verse that hangs in her room with a picture of a cowboy and his horse:  Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  When it comes time for us to do something difficult it is God's strength we can rely on and not our own.  We don't have to do all the work by ourselves.  God gives us the strength we need to perform under all circumstances, big and small.  When you have something big you are facing and you feel like you just can't do it alone remember this verse that says you aren't alone!  Let God's strength be yours and stand up tall to whatever lies ahead.  Be strong in the Lord!  Trust that you are prepared and that He is capable of carrying you and helping you succeed.  Use His power and not your own!  

My daughter didn't place in her first try but she still had a smile on her face.  God proved to her yesterday that she could go out in front of many people and lead her horse with confidence.  She put her trust in Him when she began to worry and pulled her strength from Him.  She took God's mighty hand and let her Master lead her.  I couldn't be more proud of that lesson she's way better than winning any ribbon at the fair! 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Scripture

Therefore, God exhaled him to the highest place 
     and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
     in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
     to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2: 9-11

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Our Blueprint For Life And My Prayer For You

How can a young person live a clean life?  By carefully reading the map of your Word.  I'm single minded in pursuit of you; don't let me miss the road signs you've posted.  I've banked your promises in the vault of my heart so I won't sin myself bankrupt.  Be blessed, God; train me in our ways of wise living.  I'll transfer to my lips all the counsel that comes from your mouth; I delight far more in what you tell me about living than in gathering a pile of riches.  I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you, I attentively watch how you've done it.  I relish everything you've told me of life, I won't forget a word of it. 
Psalm 119:6-16 MSG

Well it is early on Saturday morning.  We have ballgames all day and a 4H fair to get ready for.  I find it so encouraging that as I am scrambling to find something for you to read today God is once again faithful to give me the perfect scripture.  I have never read this from the Message translation but it is beautiful to my ears and as I read it over and over it takes my breath away.  This is the map to a successful life lived by following God.  It is what I dream for my life, and although I can stray from this plan often, my heart is always here.  I want to live a life in constant pursuit of God.  I want to go to Him with every question and every problem I have, and I want to handle all my situations His way.  There is so much to learn by reading the Word!  There is so much protection by following God's commands and His teachings, hope is abundant when we read about His promises, and pure joy fills our life when we trust in God's direction and His plan.  

Friends, I pray for you this day that you can live this scripture out.  I pray that you can understand the importance of God First living and feel the joy and security that comes with knowing God.  I want you to gain wisdom through reading His Word and I hope for you to have the desire and ability to hold His Words in your heart.  I want this God First life for you!          

Friday, July 18, 2014

Ponder these things

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19

Mary and Joseph had just traveled days to their hometown for the census. Jesus' birth had just taken place, an adventure all its own in a less than sightly animal stall. The smells, the sounds, the dampness of the night air were abounding. The shepherds had arrived and a host of angels sang hallelujahs to this newborn king. And Mary treasured it all in her heart and pondered these precious memories.
Not only did Mary treasure the memories that were being made, she pondered them. That means she reflected on them often. She probably told them to friends and family time and again. She no doubt smiled as she worked around her home as those memories randomly found their way through her heart and mind. 
What is your summer like? Are you not only living the moments, but treasuring up the memories?
Take pictures, tell stories, and live your moments making memories that will delight your heart for a lifetime. These same memories will sustain you in the dry and difficult times of trials as well! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Stepping Into The River

Give these instructions to the priests who are carrying the Ark of Covenant:  "When you reach the banks of the Jordan River, take a few steps into the river and stop."

When Mary and I began our relationship of accountability we were soon hooked!  We were so thankful to God for bringing us together to pray together, encourage each other, listen to each other and praise God together.  We often look back on our faith life and comment on what a difference having each other made in our life and our relationships with God.  Since we first became God First Friends God has laid on our hearts many ideas for a future ministry.  We have jumped into writing books and devotions, we have met with people regarding big plans, we started up a beautiful bible study group, and started a blog.............all of which still blow my mind!  Our latest is a retreat, to which you were invited yesterday, and as I read from Joshua 3 today I was reminded of life and the importance of putting our faith first.  

God has not been completely clear on every detail of our retreat.  We know that it is to be about accountability because that is where our hearts are drawn and we feel that God has shared this beautiful secret with us so that we can share it with you all.  As the Israelites were preparing to enter the promised land they were also given vague instructions to follow the priests carrying the Ark of the Lord's covenant into Jordan river.  To make it even that more faith filled, and to show God's amazing power, the river was at flood levels and probably rushing like crazy downstream.  Imagine the type of water you are to stay very clear of when flash flood rains occur......yes take a step into that water and then you will cross the river.  In so many words, that was their instruction.  Like the priests, Mary and I will take our step into the rushing river trusting that God has it all taken care of from there.  We have no idea who will come, and exactly what will happen once they are here, but we will take our step of faith and believe our God will do the rest for us. (but of course it will be so much fun!)

What has God asked you to step in to?  Are you waiting on the rest of the details before you move, or are you willing to walk into the rushing waters?  Sometimes God just wants to know we are committed to Him.  He just wants to see if we will listen.  Maybe He will shut down our retreat before it happens or maybe He will close a door to that one thing you decide to step in to but at least we took the step.  We trusted God and that's all that matters.      

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

An Invitation

By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 MSG

We are hosting our first GFF (God First Friend) retreat this year! We will be spending time talking about the importance of accountability partners. The Bible has much to say about the need for another person to walk this faith walk with you! It's changed our lives, and we want to share what we've learned. Though we'd been in many small groups, attended church regular and had a quiet time of our own, it wasn't until we truly started sharing with one another as partners that our faith grew rapidly and deeply. We will also spend part of the time learning how to open up with God about the things we often keep hidden in our hearts and don't want to deal with because they are too painful.

It is going to be a small overnight held in one of our homes on August 1 and 2. If you'd like to know more contact us at               

Please pray for us as we take this step of faith to share our story with other women who desire to grow in their relationship with God!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

He Is Greater Than I

He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.
John 3:30

John the baptist was a very special man.  He was chosen by God to prepare the way for the Messiah.  John was very devoted to God's call on his life.  He spent much of his time teaching people, and baptizing them.  On this particular day many people were lined up to be baptized when he was approached by his disciples who warned him that the man he called the Messiah was baptizing people on the other side of the Jordan River.  The disciples sounded concerned and they even made mention that Jesus was getting all the "clients".  In this day in age we call that competition.  Similar to the Girl Scouts selling cookies at opposite entrances to Walmart, or  the Walgreens that sits right across the street to CVS, John's disciples saw competition brewing.  By the sound of them they were ready to fight.  John, on the other hand, did the opposite, he was excited for Jesus.  He understood God's call on his life and on Jesus' and he knew that his time was coming to an end.  John showed amazing humility when he spoke the words you see above.  He was ready and understood the importance of his disappearance and Jesus' growth.  He was willing to set aside his success and all the fame he acquired while he was preparing the way for Jesus Christ.

In a way we are all like John the baptist.  We have all been put on earth to share the Good News that Jesus Christ is our savior.  It is all of our jobs to prepare the way for people to develop relationships with Christ and to direct them to find salvation in Jesus Christ.  It is the responsibility of us all to put God before ourselves, and when given opportunities, allow Him to become greater while we shrink into the background.  Like John we should be willing to allow our "success" to dwindle, or our fame to be put on hold, in order to shine the spotlight on Jesus Christ, the real hero.  None of life is about us, but all about God and so we put away our pride and our selfish ambitions to allow Him to become greater while we become less.

Dear God, today I ask You to help me put myself behind You.  I want to become less while You become more and I want to lead people to You with every word I speak and every action I take.  Give me the strength to humble myself and prove to the people in my life that my strength comes not from me but from You.  In Jesus' name Amen     

Monday, July 14, 2014

Confident and Alert!

You make my feet run as fast as those of deer,
And you help me stand on the mountains. 
Psalm 18:33 CEV

As we sat at the table in the sunroom my aunt's eyes lit up as she saw a deer passing through our backyard. The woods is about a half mile back from our home with only fields between, so I think I'm safe in saying that we haven't had deer in our yard before. Right now our lot is surrounded by corn on three sides. I believe the deer must have gotten lost in the cornfield and was trying to reach the woods. 
As we watched her, I was so amazed by her grace and confidence. She strode across the yard with her head held high. Her gait was strong and steady. But then she stopped. Her ears pricked up and she stood still. She was on high alert. Perhaps she heard us as we marveled over her beauty. After the slightest moment she meandered on her way toward the woods.

As I thought about her during the day I was impressed with her confidence; she was alone in new territory yet confident. Then I thought about her pause to see what was going on in her surroundings before continuing on her way. There was my lesson! 

In Christ, I can confidently move throughout my day even when I'm alone or charting new territory. However, I need to be aware of what is going on around me. Do I need to ask the Lord for directions? Is there a tempting situation ahead in which I need protection? As I move throughout my day, like the deer, I need to pause and spend a moment with the Lord before going on my way. 

Dear Lord,
Thank you so very much for the beauty and grace of your creation. Thank you for teaching me to rest in you as I go about the day, pausing to reflect and refocus on you. Amen and Amen

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Scripture

Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.
Colossians 4:5,6

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sound Asleep

"Why are you sleeping?" he asked them. "Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation." 
Luke 22:46

Jesus headed out to the Mount of Olives to pray. His 12 disciples had come along with him. As they reach the garden he told them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation." Jesus went on into the garden a little ways, knelt, and began to pray. It was at that time that he surrendered his will to his Father. He knew what was to come and only through prayer could he align his will with his Father's. God sent an angel to strengthen Jesus. Yet, even after the appearance of the angel, Jesus continued to pray. He prayed to the point of sweating blood. At this point he was worn out both physically and emotionally. 

As he returned to the disciples he found them sleeping. Now, one would think that being exhausted himself he would have pity on them because they were so tired that they slept in the garden. But no! Jesus wakes them and restates the phrase that he had spoken to them as they entered the garden; "Pray that you will not fall into temptation."

And then, "Wham!" within moments- while Jesus was still waking the disciples- a crowd showed up and Judas betrayed Jesus. Jesus had warned the disciples to pray through the night. He had told them that temptation knocked at their door, yet they slept.

What about you? Will you fall into temptation because you were sleeping? Not that I only mean physically sleeping. I for one don't sleep well, so when I sleep I don't want to be awakened. But when I'm awake in the night I try my best to pray. But, what about spiritual sleeping? Are you complacent in your spiritual life? Do you tell someone you'll pray but then you forget? Are you remembering to pray prayers of praise and prayers of continued freedom from temptation? There is much to be prayed about and woe to us if we are found spiritually sleeping! 

Recently I found out that I could create reminders on my phone. I've started using them to prompt me every half an hour to pray for a specific person or situation. I love it! Not that these things aren't important enough to remember, but by creating a reminder I am more faithful, fervent prayer. Life gets busy, chaos of the day consumes me at times and this helps me keep focus! If you don't have a phone, strategically place sticky notes around your home, car, and work place. Breath prayers (those that can be said in one breath, "Lord draw Tim unto you!") keep us connected to Jesus and keep our petitions before his throne. 

So today I say, "Wake up friend and pray that you stay connected to Jesus and do not fall into temptation."

Friday, July 11, 2014

You light up my darkness

O Lord, you are my light; yes, Lord you light up my darkness.
2 Samuel 22:29

I had this scripture a few days ago.  I remember skimming over it and not really mediating on it for very long.  Well, God intended for me to do more with it because I just got it again this morning and today I see it a little differently.  As I ponder the meaning of this scripture it brings me great comfort.  The Lord is our light.  He lights up our darkness.  What is our darkness?  It might be a hectic schedule, illness, loss of a loved one, a painful past, or a worrisome future.  For me it is the fear of giving back a foster child I have had since she was a just a newborn.  I am torn between wanting to mentor and love on her hurting, struggling mother and wanting to hang on to this precious baby!  And in those moments when I start to worry I need to focus on the Light.  A very hard thing to do in the moment but the only thing that can get me through successfully. (that and encouragement from my GFF)  

When we are struggling with conflict and feel like we are losing the battle in our tough circumstances there is hope.  When there is darkness in our midst, The Lord is our Light!  Through God's perspective we can see good in any situation.  He can light up any darkness that attempts to hold us down and blind us, but we have to look for Him.  We have to call on God and look deep into that thing we are facing and find the blessings that are present.  For me it is the time I get to spend with this precious baby every day until that day she leaves.  I have to be thankful for those moments I get feed her at night and the days I get to see her sweet morning smile and that first morning stretch.  I Praise God for the opportunity to witness to her mother and start up a new relationship with her!  I have to focus on all things good and watch for God's light to shine in my darkness.  

Friends, if you feel you are in the dark I suggest that you focus on God's perspective.  Look for the blessings that are all around you.  Ask God for His perspective and invite His light to shine on you and your situation.           

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Who Are You?

"I am eager to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours." 
Romans 1:11-12

We love to blog what God is doing in our lives. We love sharing what we are learning and how God is challenging us to grow. It is important to us to share our walk with God because he uses our stories to encourage and challenge you as well. That's just how God works!

In the book of Mark, Jesus sent the disciples out to tell the story of salvation. He sent them fishing for people who wanted to serve him. He was looking for more disciples. Jesus sent them with the word of God and their own stories of transformed lives. Our stories are important!

Because our faith is relational, we want to know you too. We don't need to know your name if you don't want us to, but we want to know our readers. Are you male or female, single or married, just starting a walk with God or a mature follower of many years? What is God teaching you? How are you being challenge in your faith? Your stories will encourage us too!

To share with us go to the bottom of today's blog and click "No Comments." A comment screen will come up and you may type us your story. Click "Publish" when you are done. If you wish to comment anonymously simply click the drop down arrow next to "comment as" and scroll down to the 'anonymous' setting.

We can't wait to meet you!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

True Repentance

Come on, let's go back to God.  He hurt us, but he'll heal us.  He hit us hard, but he'll put us right again.  In a couple of days we'll feel better.  By the third day he'll have made us brand-new, alive and on our feet, fit to face him.  We're ready to study God, eager for God-knowledge.  As sure as dawn breaks, so sure is his daily arrival.  He comes as rain comes, as spring rain refreshing the ground.
Hosea 6:1-3

When I first read this I thought it was so beautiful.  I imagined the sin in my past and saw myself saying this to God that day I was ready to make big changes in my life.  I knew I was forgiven, that there might be some consequences to my choices, but there was hope for me to start all over.  I was ready to know God differently.  I was ready to study at His feet and change my life forever.  

The problem with this passage I took from The Message is that the Israelites were not truly sorry for their sin.  They knew the suffering they were experiencing was due to their sin and disobedience to God but they didn't take that seriously enough.  They would withstand God's wrath for a few days and then believed it would get better for them.  They thought they could say sorry and move on not changing a thing about their life.  They weren't really sorry for disobeying God and for their sinful choices, they were more or less just sorry for getting caught.  

Every time we repent of our wrongdoing and our disobedience to God we should be considering the changes that need to take place in our life.  Like Israel do we just let repentance roll off our tongues not thinking another second about the changes that need to go along with it? Are we living like Christians  or just claiming to be Christians because it sounds good?  If you continue reading into verse 4 God states that the Israelites were not loyal to Him, that their love "vanishes like the morning mist and disappears like dew in the sunlight".  He knew their hearts and through their actions he knew they weren't truly repentant of their sins.  And so I guess my question is whether we are truly repentant when we ask God to forgive us.  Are we truly sorry for the pain we caused and our disobedience to God?  Or are we just sorry for getting caught?  Our lives speak the answer to those questions.  Our actions speak louder than any words or stories we might make up.  If we are truly repentant then we will begin to change our lives.  We will ask God to search our hearts and begin drawing near to Him for answers and the help we need to change.  We would give up our old behavior to become more like Christ because we are true Christians.  

Dear God, show me where I have hurt You.  I choose this day to change my behavior and to hand over my idols so that I can be truly repentant, asking you to forgive my sins.  God I am sorry for hurting You and others with my actions.  I want to live a loyal life to You.  
In Jesus' Holy and Precious Name, Amen     

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Love Of the Word

"May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts. I long for your salvation, Lord, and your law gives me delight." Psalm 119:173-174

If I had talked to you about 3 years ago and you mentioned Psalm 119 I would have smiled and confidently told you what I knew about this chapter of the Bible. It would have sounded something like this: "It is the longest chapter of the Bible. It has 176 verses and covers about 8 pages!" Then I might have stood back to see if you were impressed with my biblical knowledge.

Today if you asked me about Psalm 119 I'd tell you an entirely different message.  It would go like this…
Psalm 119 is a cry from the heart of David. David was a man who failed not once but made mistake after mistake. He feared enemies who threatened his life. David however loved God's word. He loved to read it, to memorize it, and meditate on it. David knew that wisdom and discernment in battle came from being prepared in advance. He also knew that in the heat of decision making, he had to know the word of God so that it could be recalled to his mind and lead him where God wanted him to go. I would tell you that I love Psalm 119 because I too have found that when I'm in the battles of life, God's word is my light and my protection. When I wake at night afraid of what tomorrow will bring it is God's word that comforts me. When I'm uncertain of decisions that I have to make, I seek the wisdom of God's word. When I see the hand of God, it is often the praises of David that help me celebrate God's goodness. Like David, I make lots of mistakes, but it is my love for God's word and dependence on his promises that set my heart right time and again. 

The difference between my interpretation of Psalm 119 is the result of life's trials leading me to my knees where God's word has proven itself faithful time and time again. It's the transition from head knowledge about God to heart knowledge where his word came alive within me.

I don't know where you are today in your knowledge of Christ and the love of his Father, but I do know that if you spend time in his word, like David and myself, you will fall in love with the goodness of his love written down for you in the Bible. Verse 72 says, "The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold." Do you long to love God's word this way? Then begin by asking him to deepen that desire and he will be more than delighted to honor your request.

Dear Lord,
Your Word is a written reminder to us of your love. It holds the guidance and assurance we need. It is your faithful promises to us. Deepen our desire to love your law. Though we will falter and fail, your word is steadfast and true. Teach us Lord, and draw us into your word each day. 
In the precious name of Jesus we pray, Amen

Monday, July 7, 2014

Walk By Faith

For we walk by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7

As I sat and watched Indiana Jones take his leap of faith it made me stop and think about my life and whether I was capable of taking a step like that for God.  He was on a rocky cliff and he was in search of the Arc of the Covenent, His father was badly injured and he was trying to find it and use its power to heal him.  The movie was intense by this time, Indy had dodged blades and made it across an unstable rock floor when it came time to step out into nothingness with miles of air between him and the ground.  As he meditated shortly, believing in God's ability to help, he was transformed and made strong enough to trust in His next step.  He put his foot out over nothing and leaped landing on a bridge that was naked to the eye.  Something that was there all along.........he walked across the bridge to the other healing.  

How often am I afraid to take that next step because I can't see the bridge to step out on?  How many times do we say no because the conditions aren't right or our worldly wisdom can't see a possible way?  God is calling us all to be more like Indiana Jones.  He says we don't have to know what's up ahead, we don't have to see the bridge below, we just have to believe He loves us enough to make a path for us to walk along.  We don't do what we do because we have seen all of God's ways.  We walk because we trust that His ways are ready for us.  We trust that He is right there building bridges, making something out of nothingness to help us along our journey.  Walking by faith is listening to God's voice and obeying even when it seems impossible.  

Dear God, help me to be more faithful to You.  I want to walk by faith, and not by sight.  Take away my tendency to trust in my ways and my knowledge.  Give me boldness and confidence to step out for You.  You are ready for me.  Help me to be ready for you, trusting in Your ability to keep me safe.  
In Jesus' Name, Amen 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sunday Scripture

So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet. James 4:7-10 MSG

Saturday, July 5, 2014

24/7 Dad

I will be your God throughout your lifetime - until your hair is white with age.  I made you, and I will care for you.  I will carry you along and save you.
Isaiah 46:4

I find peace in this today.  God has each one of us on His mind.  Just like I think of my kids and what I need to do for them each day, God thinks of each of His children and their needs.  Whether we ask or not, he is a part of our lives, either watching from abroad or standing beside us holding our hand.  He made us and will care for us until the day we die.  Some of His children don't want His help and many of us can relate.  Our toddlers who are gaining independence can do it alone, or our teenagers who think they know everything and don't need our help.  We are all just like them with our God and although there are times we may stray or decide to go alone He is always waiting to be called upon.  He is a 24/7 Dad just watching and waiting to help us in our need.  He plans to care for us until the day our hair turns white.  

Praise God for being the ultimate parent keeping watch over and loving every one of His children equally!  His arms are ready to pick us up and carry us along in our need.  He made us because He loves us!  God is our God throughout our lifetime.  Many of us may not always see Him that way or we may not think we need Him but He is there waiting and willing when ever we call on Him!     

Friday, July 4, 2014

Share Your Faith

That precious memory triggers another; your honest faith- and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you! And the special gift of ministry that you received when I laid hands on you and prayed- keep that ablaze! God doesn't want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible. 2 Timothy 1:5-7

In the above scripture, Paul is addressing Timothy. Paul, the key apostle throughout the New Testament, is encouraging his young protege in the ministry of the gospel. At the time this is written, Paul is alone in prison, yet he finds it important to get word to Timothy as a means of encouraging his faith and giving him a focus. Paul understands that the Christian faith is shared not only by word of mouth, but by our daily living. As he addresses Timothy in the beginning of this letter, Paul is quick to remind Timothy that the faith he has was also lived out by his mother and grandmother. He then tells Timothy to live boldly, lovingly, and sensibly. He is to live out the faith he has inherited and make it now his own.

This gets my mind going and encourages me as a mom and grandma; I too must live and talk my faith! As Aimee's blog yesterday encouraged you to share your story, I too am urging you to talk your faith openly. Not for show or to mask the messy life underneath, but to give testimony to the reason you stand strong in life's storms. It is Christ in us that keeps us firm. It is Christ that strengthens and enables us to smile and carry on when the pressures of life try to overwhelm us. Therefore, we should give the glory where the glory is due! Praise God for He alone has rescued us from the perils of this earthly life!
Sharing isn't easy. At first you may feel uncomfortable speaking about Jesus and God out loud. I find it easiest to talk about him with a praise for the gifts he's given. "Isn't this a beautiful day God has given us!" or perhaps, "I am so thankful that God gave me you!" Such simple statements reflect the love in our heart for God, do not demand response, make His name known, and open the avenue for further discussions about God at a later time. 

Dear Lord, we are so grateful for all you have done for us. You surrendered your life that we may live life to the full. Through your Spirit we ask for the courage to speak about you boldly, lovingly, and sensibly! 
In your precious name we pray, Amen.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

because You are my strength and protection

My life is an example to many, because you have been my strength and protection.  That is why I can never stop praising you; I declare your glory all day long.
Psalm 71:7-9

I have learned in recent years that being honest with people is so very important.  Sharing my real life stories and struggles helps others get through their own.  I realized a while back that sometimes my only opportunity to share God with others is to talk about Him as if He were my best friend, and so during conversations with people I will mention Him.......what He is doing in my life, how He has helped me through the struggles of fostering, the ways in which I place my trust in Him.  I used to be more selective in the people I shared God with.  I would hold back with those people whom I didn't know very well or with those who didn't have the same beliefs as me, but not anymore.  Just like this scripture says, my life is a testament to all, and the things that I do and say reflect on my God.  So to leave Him out of a conversation, to withhold the Glory from Him, and pretend He isn't a huge part of my life and the source of my strength is just wrong.  

I haven't been perfect nor have I had a perfect life growing up and into my adult years.  I have had struggles and sin in my life just like you.  I want people to know that about me.  I want them to know where I come from and especially know Who got me where I am today.  Despite the hardships I have endured God has been my source of strength.  He has carried me out of deep pits and lonely places.  Everything I have is a blessing from God.  I don't ever want anyone to think, nor do I want to let on, that God is not the reason for the great things in my life.  I want to be real with people when I am hurting and struggling.  I am not afraid to look broken and afraid because I trust God to get me through those feelings and circumstances.  (Trust me I haven't always felt this way, I used to try too hard to look like I had it all together and I never wanted to accept help.  Yeah, that didn't work out so well.)  So here I am boasting in my iniquities and giving God the glory as it should be.  Thanks be to God for the good things in my life.  Thanks be to God for the struggles that have brought me closer to Him.  Thanks be to God!   

Now it is your turn.  If you don't already, start mentioning God in your everyday stories and don't be afraid to share what He is doing in your life.  Be a testament to His great love, and protection.  Make sure people know why you are still standing after that illness or where your strength comes from to get through that divorce.  Share your struggles with others and be sure to tell everyone Who carries you. Praise God all day long in your quiet worship and your conversations with people.           

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

An Important Job!

But if she has children or grandchildren, their first responsibility is to show godliness at home and repay their parents by taking care of them. This is something that pleases God.      1 Timothy 5:4

The lawn needs mowed, the house is a wreck, and there are groceries to be purchased. Life is so full of things to do, but scripture reassures us that the most important thing we have to do is care for the ones that have been entrusted to us. Whether the little ones are fully dependent on our care or adult children that we've already raised, it pleases God when we make time for them. Our speech, our actions, and attitudes affect the lives of the children and grandchildren that have been entrusted to us. 
My daughter read a quote to me the other day that made me stop and think. It was this, "It's not a parent's job to make sure they have Godly children. It's a parent's job to make sure their children have a Godly parent." So, whatever you do today, make sure it is done in a way that will honor God. When you are with your children and grandchildren, be with them fully. Pay attention to their words, share with them how God is working in your own life, laugh together, and most importantly, let Christ shine through you. The list of 'to do' tasks will wait! 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Then the Lord sent this message through the prophet Haggai:  “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins?  This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you!  You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!
Haggai 1:3-6

This is what it looks like when we have our own agenda and we don't have any intention on living in God's will.  We don't ask God for His help and we don't bother asking Him what He wants from us.  We just do what we want, and what we think is best for us, without relying on God's input.............without putting Him first in our life.  The things we do don't glorify God and we usually always end up unsatisfied.  

“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you!  Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored, says the Lord.  You hoped for rich harvests, but they were poor. And when you brought your harvest home, I blew it away. Why? Because my house lies in ruins, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, while all of you are busy building your own fine houses.
Haggai 1:7-9

I will be the first to admit it's not easy living in God's will, especially when I have my own ideas and plans.  It's easy to get caught up in the things I want to buy and the things I think will make me and my family happy.  I can get on a role and forget to ask God, or even, at times, have no intentions of relying on Him, or inviting Him into my plans.  I have been to that place that says I did everything right but I don't see the results I expected.  I am familiar with planting much but harvesting little, and drinking much but staying thirsty.  And in all those moments the one thing that is always in common is that I'm doing everything on my own and I am not putting God first.  My priorities are my own and it all goes down hill from there.  

So often we get great ideas and we begin the work of building our own careers, families, friendships, futures without ever consulting the Creator of our lives.  Our priorities are our own and they don't match up with God's will for us.  Many times we do great things and we have great ideas but we don't see results because we moved on our own instead of asking God first.  We focus too much on ourselves and forget to invite God in and we work on building our own lives and forget about the lives God wants us to touch for Him and the homes he wants us to help provide for and the jobs he has laid out for His Glory.  While His work lies dormant, and His house lies in ruins, we are working hard and "having fun" working on our personal stuff.  We miss out on so many blessings and  we end up never satisfied.

My dear friends I need your prayers putting God first in my life and I promise to pray for you, as well.  It is a community effort to hold each other accountable to our relationships with God and the God first life that He wishes for us.  If we keep on living me first, we will never be satisfied and we will constantly be looking for something new, better, and more exciting.  Put God first and watch your life transform and be filled with so much Joy you are shining brightly and abundantly overflowing.