Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Seek Good Advice

Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket. To one who listens, valid criticism is like a gold earring or other gold jewelry. (Proverbs 25:11-12)

·     * If we want to be wise, we will listen to the advice of others.
·      *Often, others see in us things we cannot or do not want to see in ourselves.
·     * Learn to pause and respond to others’ words before you react. There may be nuggets of truth you need to hear in order to become a better person.

 Dear Jesus,
It’s often hard to admit that we need help. Humble us to a place where we are willing to admit that we don’t have all the answers. Teach us to seek advice. Lord, we need our Christian brothers and sisters to help us see our own character or teaching flaws. Show us how to help one another become better men and women of dynamic character through honest, loving conversations.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

I Am Not Sorry....................

I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while.  Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways.  It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way.  For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation.  There's no regret for that kind of sorrow.  But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.         2 Corinthians 7:8-10 NLT

Lately I have been learning so much about speaking God's truth in love.  I have learned that Jesus was bold and did not let people get away with sin and that He was confident to speak out about the wrong He saw in others.  Paul was also bold in telling the church how to act and was not afraid to call them out on their sin and disobedience.  He loved the church so much that he was more concerned about the believer's long term punishment than hurting their feelings for a little while.  He understood that if the people didn't straighten up they were headed for eternal disaster.  He was strong enough in the Lord to speak firmness with love; he was less concerned about hurting them and more concerened with the harm that would come if they didn't hear the truth.  

Speaking God's truth in love happens carefuly.  We must recognize that what we are about to say will most likely hurt the person's feelings but we can't let that scare us.  We have to be confident that if God says to speak truth then He will make good from our obedience.  It's also important to remember that although we may be hurting the person's feelings we are not harming them or destroying them.  We are loving them in the way that Jesus loves us.......a way that is so different from the way the world loves, but that's okay!  Some may call it tough love, but we can call it real love.  A love that puts someone's eternity above all other things.  A love that will encourage selfless living and a trust that is so amazing that it shows God's faithfulness in ways one could never imagine.  Loving this way is risky but it's the most rewarding in the end. 

Choose your conflicts wisely!  Don't speak truth without intentions to walk along side whom you have just spoke it to.  Don't force yourself or your ways on the person but lovingly correct and encourage.  Allow the person time to reflect and to hear God's voice.  Talk things through and help each other learn and grow together.   

Dear God, give me boldness to stand up for truth.  Remind me of your amazing love for me and that the only One whom I should worry about impressing is you.  Take away my fear and my worry that my friend will get mad at me or my spouse will leave me or my boss will fire me.  Give me your peace in that speaking your truth is the only thing that matters and then you will care for me from there.  Give me your loving words to speak.  Grow me in this area of my life.  In Jesus' Name  Amen             

Monday, September 28, 2015

Lighten Up Your Spirit

a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
Ecclesiastes 3:4 (NIV)

It had been a good week, but something was missing. My spirit just seemed stagnant. Not bad or depressed, but just stuck in ‘go’ mode. You know, going on about business, but just doing, not really experiencing.

And then, it happened! I sat in the nail salon and my spirit came alive. The workers at the salon talked feverishly in Vietnamese. Back and forth they bantered, their heads nodding and slapping their knees as they laughed. I had absolutely no idea what they were talking about, but as I watched them and heard them, a small smile crept across my face. Then, before I knew it, I was laughing right along with them. For sure I still had no idea what they talking about, and it could have been me for all I know, but they made me smile.

It was the laughter! It made my spirit fill with delight! 

And then, a night out with great women and Chonda Pierce, a Christian comedian! What laughs we had! It made me smile the most to watch the comedian laugh at her own jokes. Laughter is the best medicine!

As I left the show, I met up with a cousin who said, “My husband brought me here because I’m ‘fun challenged”! I smiled and said, “Oh, that can sure be me too!” 

Do you take life too serious at times or do you find time to laugh? The scripture from Ecclesiastes, reminds us that there is a time for everything, even laughter! Today ask God to lighten your spirit with a little, no… A LOT of laughter!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday Scripture

You are my flock, the sheep of my pasture.  You are my people, and I am your God, says the sovereign Lord.
Ezekiel 34:31

Saturday, September 26, 2015

share His Love Today!

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:4-5‬ ‭NLT

Friday, September 25, 2015

Live for Eternity

And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.
1 Corinthians 15:9 isn't just a title or a name we claim when we ask Jesus Christ into our heart.  Christianity isn't a club that we belong to that proudly declairs we believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.  Choosing Christ and placing our hope in Him should be more than a status update or something we print on our t-shirts.  There is more to Christianity than having our prayers answered and getting what we want on this earth.  Being a follower of Christ is not just for this life.

Once a Christian, our goal should be to gain knowledge in God's Word, seek Wisdom from God and obey His commands......all of them.  Life is no longer about us and living to satisfy all of our wants and desires.  We realign our dreams with His and we do our best to follow God's lead by following His commands straight out of the bible.  He has dreams and expectations for us and He has the best ability to help us accomplish those, but only when we start thinking of eternity and living for more than just the present.  

Are you thinking and acting on thoughts of you or someone else's future in heaven or on your feelings and emotions in the heat of a moment or conflict?  

I have to admit it's not easy keeping my focus on the eternal impact of a situation.  For example, as a foster family it is very easy to get tired and warn out.  When that happens I start to think of myself and I lose sight of the big picture.  When I get stressed out and I allow my emotions to lead me I usually find myself at a pity party......"I'm tired, my kids need a break, I'm missing out on fun stuff, this grocery bill is outrageous".  When I get in this mode, eternity is nowhere in sight.  I'm not thinking of my foster kids and how living with us can improve not only their life on earth but impact their eternity, as well.  And what about my own kids?  What example am I setting for them and how will my selfishness impact their future impact on eternity?   I'm forgetting that God has called me to take care of His orphans and that the reward in heaven is much better than anything fun on earth.  I am only thinking of how I feel right then and there, ignoring the wonderful ways in which God could use my situation for leaving a lasting impact on someone's eternity, even my own.  

Acting impulsively and making choices based on my feelings may get in the way of someone knowing God's power.  All because I am living for this life and not with my eyes focused on God and eternity, I could miss an opportunity to lead someone to knowing His amazing grace.  We don't know how God can use our situations and our problems to help us and others! We are called for more than just living a successful life on earth.  We are called to think upon eternity with every conversation we have and every person we share God's love with.  We aren't to worry about how much or how little we have but keep focused on God.  From God comes Jesus and from Jesus comes eternity.  Start evaluating your life and see the areas that you need to print a bigger picture.  This life is for a short time but eternity is forever!  We should be more concerned with the forever and start living with forever in mind.  I know it's not easy but I've been told it's way worth it!   

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Say Yes To Help

A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.
1 Corinthians 12:7 NLT

I will be the first to admit that accepting help from others has been difficult for me, especially in the past.  I used to think I had to have it all together and so when someone offered to help me I declined.  I thought to be a strong, responsible, capable mom I had to do everything on my own.  As years past and I became more busy I started understanding the importance of letting others into my messy life.  In fact, God made us for just that, to invite others into our busy schedule, our dirty homes, our tired lives, He has put us all together for a reason.  The Holy Spirit has given us each special gifts to help the people we love, and even those we don't know very well.  However our gift fits into someone's life, we are responsible to use it.  

Paul describes our gifts as organs of a body.  We know that our physical bodies would not function well without a heart or a brain.  We recognize the difficulties that arise when a person is missing a leg or an eye.  God made our body functions to work together to give us the best posibility of a successful life.  Unfortunately some people live with parts missing and without good function of very important organs.  God gives those people special strength and medicinal aid to overcome their disability, but when the body is His church, He never leaves anything out!  We have every gift needed to be successfull as The Body Of Christ.  

But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it.  How strange a body would be if it had only one part!  Yes, there are many parts, but only one body.  They eye can never say to the hand, "I don't need you." The head can't say to the feet, "I don't need you."
1 Corinthians 12:19-21

Most of us already know what our job is and most of us are working daily to help people within the Body, but who of us is accepting help?  Are we, like the leg to the foot, telling someone that their help is not needed?  Are we taking on too much when we could be letting others carry some of our burden?  Who are you saying no to?  What help is too difficult for you to accept?  Search your heart today and remember that you are a part of a very important Body, and just as important as helping, you should be accepting help, and making life easier for yourself, in order to share the special gifts you have with others.  We are the Body!  We work together.  We accept help and we offer help.  Relax, God made us that way!!  Stop saying no to the other parts of the body that want to make your life easier and more enjoyable.  They are a gift from God, and a part of this big, beautiful Body of Christ that we belong to.  

Dear God,
I need help.  I want your help.  Give me strength to let go of control.  Help me to allow the parts of the Body to assist me and make me stronger and more productive in my own work.  Help us all to work together in unity and to grow bigger and stronger every day.  Thank you for making me a part of your Body.  You are an awesome God!  Amen  

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Open Up to God

Look at him, give him your warmest smile.
Never hide your feelings from him. 
Psalm 34:5

Many people are under the impression that they should never voice their anger to God. They make comments like, "Well, I just shouldn't be mad or upset about this." However, God is an omniscient God. That means he is all knowing! He knows the state of our heart whether we choose to speak the words to him or not. God is also a gracious God! He understands our hurt and pains. He sees and cares about our fears. 
If we hid our true feelings, they will never find resolve and healing. When we get to the place where we can be honest with God, he can then speak healing into our wounded souls. 
Read through the Psalms. Many begin with a negative feeling, but end with the psalmist being reminded of God's supreme power and unfailing love, even in times of pain and fear. The psalmist is reminded that God is in control. Throughout the Psalms, emotions are turned from fear and pain to praises for the goodness and justice of God!

What, if anything, do you need to be honest with God about? Are you feeling anger or resentment. Trying to work through jealousy or spite? Perhaps you are afraid or lonely. Whatever negative emotion you face today, share it with the Lord and allow him to speak healing into your spirit.

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for loving me just as I am. Help me to deal with you honestly as I wrestle through these emotions. Help me come to a place of healing and grace.

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Prayer For Opportunity and Boldness

I wrote you in my earlier letter that you shouldn't make yourselves at home among the sexually promiscuous.  I didn't mean that you should have nothing at all to do with outsiders of that sort.  Or with crooks, whether blue- or white-collar.  Or with spiritual phonies, for that matter.  You'd have to leave the world entirely to do that!  But I am saying that you shouldn't act as if everything is just fine when a friend who claims to be a Christian is promiscuous or crooked, is flip with God or rude with friends, gets drunk or becomes greedy and predatory.  You can't just go along with this, treating it as acceptable behavior.  
1 Corinthians 5:9-11 MSG

Dear God, give me boldness to walk with people right where they are.  Give me opportunities to go places and approach strangers who need a friend.  Although their life consists of sinful acts help me to love them and lead them to you.  May the Holy Spirit give me wisdom to know the words to say and give me compassion on the lost and sinful.  Let my actions be that of love and acceptance of a person while being strong enough to reject the sin and lifestyle.  I will never reach people by being better than them and staying away from all kinds of sin.  Give me strength to live among the sinners who don't know you.  But, Lord, also give me boldness to stand up to a friend who claims to be a Christian and is living outwardly as a sinner.  Remind me, daily, of the sin in my own life and the mercy that I have been given.  May your Spirit give me wisdom to approach the sins of a friend withouth sounding judgemental and proud.  Help me to recognize a friend who is sinning and don't let me act as if it is just fine.  Convict me when I am joining in and looking the other way.  Take away my need to have everyone like me and give me stregth and words to lovingly rebuke them.  Show me how to distance myself from a friend who is sinning and bringing others down.  Help me to pray for that friend and continue loving the person while rejecting the unacceptable behavior.  Give me words of correction and encouragement instead of judgement and degradation.  In Jesus' Name     Amen   

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sunday Scripture

John 1:12: But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God....John 1:12

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Sing Along Saturday

This picture is a great representation of how I feel when I am really into the music surrounding me.  When it is praise music I get lost in my audience of One and I shout out my praise to God.  I don't care who is watcing, how I sound or what anyone is doing around me.  This weekend, get lost in your praises to God.  Today, find time to crank up the music and sing your heart out.  Tomorrow at church lift those arms up, close your eyes and just get lost in your worship of our great and wonderful God.  Don't worry about what others think of you, let the tears flow, belt it out and do what comes natural.......put on the perfomance of a lifetime for your King of Kings!  

Sing praises to God, song praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
Psalm 47:6 NLT

Here is a song to get you started!  

Friday, September 18, 2015

Grace for the Humble

But He gives us more and more grace. That is why he says, "God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it).  James 4:6

Do you long to be filled by the power of God's Holy Spirit? Scripture calls us to humble ourselves and the power of the Spirit will be given to us more and more. So, you ask how do I humble myself? You must make a decision do quit living by your own power and ability. You must learn to ask God to work through you, understanding that without him you are unable to say and do the right things. 
God sets himself against the proud because they are saying they don't need him. A proud heart is unable to receive God's grace. 
Proud says, "I've got this God!"  Humble says, "Lord, do this through me!"

Lord, help me to humble myself before you. Guide me in all I say and do because without you I fail and often create chaos. Train me to live in a right spirit to receive your grace. Amen

Thursday, September 17, 2015

What Will Your Fire Reveal?

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we must already have - Jesus Christ.  
Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials - gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw.  But on the judgement day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done.  The fire will show if a person's work has any value.  If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward.  But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss.  The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames. 
1 Corinthians 3:11-15

We are all called to work for God. We are His hands and feet, we make up His church.   As the church we are told to continue building on the foundation that was laid over 2 thousand years ago.  There are many jobs for us and not one is more important than another.  There are many things that need accomplished and we work together with the same purpose of growing God's church.  "The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose.  And both will be rewarded for their own hard work."  (1 Corinthans 3:8)

I may do something one way and you may do it the other way.  I may be terrible at one thing and you may be amazingly talented.  Here Paul is telling us that there are many materials, or  ways we can build on our foundation.   There is no one way that is better than the other.  God made us different so that we could all fit together and accomplish His one goal.  Winning believers for the Kingdom of God.  What a big responsitility we have!  We are God's witnesses to the great things He promises in the bible and it is our job to share His love and promises to the world.  With our special "materials"...........actions, speech, talents and patience.........we have an awesome reason for living!  

But what if we don't use our talents?  What if we refuse to get creative with our materials?  What if we go through life just living for ourselves?  We may have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior but if we aren't building His church we will miss out on rewards.  Our work will be tested on judgement day and the things we do on earth to help grow the kingdom of God will be noticed and the things we don't do will be noticed too.  This fire, or judgement will test our motives and it will test the materiels we used to grow God's church.  If we left some talents sit unused, God will notice; if we use the same material and never try something else; God will notice;  if our motives for helping others is selfish, God will notice.  These things may not stand the test of fire and my friends that is scary!  Paul reassures us that we will not lose our salvation.  No, we won't be kicked out of God's Kingdom, but we will miss out on very special rewards.  We will barely get in!

Our faith is proven through our actions.  If we really love God as we should then our actions should match up with our words.  As a christian we should devote ourelves to living for the Kingdom of God.  Helping to build up His church and grow the number of believers that will enter heaven some day.  We are all craftsmen!  We are builders!  What are you doing to fulfill your role?  What materials are you using?  What materials have you left sitting to gather dust?

Dear God, reveal to me the work you would have me accomplish through the gifts and "materials" you have given to me.  I want to build your church and see it grow in my lifetime and into eternity.   Supply me with new materials, give me opportunities, and make known to me the ways in which I can work for You.  Thank you for your love and patience.    amen

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Living Blamelessly

David's relationship with God is one of honesty and understanding. David always tells God what's on his heart and mind. Anger, fear, abandonment, feelings of frustration when God delays, are among the feelings David expresses throughout the Psalms. David asks God the hard questions and shares the answers that the Lord provides.
In the 15th Psalm, David presents two questions to the Lord,
                                     "Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
                                           Who may live on your holy mountain?"

The sacred tent and the holy mountain were places of worship during this period of time. David was asking God who's worship was honoring to the Lord. David understood the holiness and blamelessness of his God. He understood that God was omnipotent and powerful. He knew that God's ways were perfect. David was asking from a humbled heart- a heart that knew it's own unworthiness.

These are still questions we need to ask God. We need to ask check our own lives to see that we are growing in relationship. Worship is a momentary lifestyle. Abiding in the Lord is a constant state of being. David gives us 5 ways to monitor our growth as we live in the Lord's presence.

First he states "The one who is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart." David isn't saying we must be perfect, but the longer we walk with the Lord, the more we should know and desire to live by his laws and in his image. We should know his truths, and they should lead our decisions. God becomes our standard and not the world.

Next, David draws our focus to the greatest muscle of our body, the tongue. "whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others." Our words hold power, and the mark of a Christian is grace and love from the tongue! We should be growing in our ability to hold our tongue and use it for good!

David shows us that our relationship with the Lord will open our eyes to evil and draw us into relationships with fellow Christians. "who despises a vile person, but honors those who fear the Lord."

Christians are to be of highest integrity and faithfulness. They keep their word, even when it is hard to do. "who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change his mind."

And finally, those who honor and worship the Lord are generous with the needy and do not take advantage of the less fortunate. "who lends money to the poor without interest, who does not accept a bribe against the innocent."

Check your own life. Are you growing in these areas? Do you know God's ways better today than you did months and years ago? Are you hearing the promptings of the Spirit when you need to rein in your tongue or care for another person?

God's word comes with a promise, "Whoever does these things will never be shaken." Amen!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

For The Display Of His Splendor

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, 
because the Lord has anointed me 
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn, 
and provide for those who grieve in Zion-
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes, 
the oil of joy 
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise 
instead of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
Isaiah 61:1-3

I love the vision that the oak tree presents in my mind.  A tall, strong, lush's big green leaves rustling while it's branches sway with the blowing wind.  It produces a hard wood that stands the test of time and storm.  With an equally strong root system,  it isn't a surprise why God chose the oak to represent our lives and wonderful things He can do for those who love and trust Him.  

God plants us in places and positions and He allows us to go through difficulties just like a newly planted oak would undergo weather conditions.  Our trust is in Him as we pray for answers and miracles.  As life moves forward we have good times and bad, but nothing enters our life without His approval.  God plants everything in our path.  He waits for the moments when we need Him most and at just the right time He comes through for us.  He gives us answers, sometimes not always what we ask for but it is always what is needed and best.  He makes us grow tall and matures us into a great oak of righteousness as we trust in Him.  His planting, us, our answers.............His splendor.  He displays His ability and goodness through the good things that come from our trusting in Him.  As we grow througth our trials and storms we can point people to Him through our successes and even through those failures that, by the grace of God, taught us way more than sucess could have.  He is made known in us and through us!  God chose to plant that oak tree, you and me.  He chose to make us righteous in order to reach more people for His Kingdom.  His splendor and majesty are seen in the great things He does in our lives.  His planting was for a purpose.  

God brings blessings to the poor and weary.  He frees the captives, and comforts those who mourn.  He brings redemption to the sinners and delivers praises to the desperate.  God is good!  All of these miracles He performs, all the saving He does.......they are all because of His amazing love for us and can be used to display His power and love for all His people.   Whatever bad thing you are experiencing, God has chosen to use that for not only growin you but for growing His Kingdom.

As you feel your leaves rustle and our body bend and bow from the pressures of everyday, and the trials that come your way, remember that you aren't alone.  God is in control of your outcome and the blessings you will receive in the end.  Stick your feet firmly on the ground and let God be seen through your answered prayer and the strength and peace He provides along the way.  Never forget that the hardships you endure have been planted by God to show you and others His great power.  He chose you because He knows you will trust Him and that you will be a great witness.  You will be a tall righteous oak displaying His glory and splendor!


Monday, September 14, 2015

God's Words are Flawless

And the words of the Lord are flawless, 
     like silver purified in the crucible,
     like gold refined seven times.
Psalm 12:6

Do you ever have an easy time telling others God's truths but applying them to yourself is so much harder? Do you struggle with doubt or fear? I do, but God is showing me that these feelings have no foundation!

"Lord, remove my doubt. Make my mind and heart steadfast against the lies of the enemy." This has been my earnest prayer as of late. Doubt, my greatest stronghold must be overcome. As I read Psalm 12, this verse captured my heart and caused me to do a little research. Here's what I've found...

Metals like gold and silver are put through a refining process in which they are placed in a fire of extreme heat. The dross, or unwanted material within the metal, is burned up as ashes and blown from the shiny, purified metal. Thus leaving a perfectly pure metal that is much better than the original material. The remaining metal is pure, or true.

This passage leads me to 2 conclusions about God's word. His word has been put through the test of fires and trials time and again. Through the trials of the Holocaust, God's word stood strong. Throughout the trials of Paul, David, and Moses, the Word of the Lord was proven flawless and pure.  Over the course of history God's word has been proven true, no matter how hot the heat of evil is turned up, God's word leaves no dross behind in the fire!

Also, my doubt has no substance to it; it is dross. If God has said it, it is true and pure. I need not doubt! It is a lie from the enemy, and when I feel it coming on, I have to envision the fire burning up the ugly lies. When God says I'm forgiven then I'm forgiven. The little voice telling me "You've gone too far this time. You've been given enough chances" is a lie that can't stand against the fire of God's word that says, "If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)  The enemies words are left as dross from the heat of God's word as I read His promises. 

The more we read and apply God's truths the more we are refined in the process as well. When we face doubt we need to place ourselves in the fire of his word, reading scripture and exposing the lies of the enemy. God's word is a consuming fire, as we are being refined to be more holy and reflect more of his image, his truths leave the dross of the enemy to be blown away like ashes! 

Help me to use your word to expose the lies of the enemy. Help me overcome the "things" that have me bound by reading your word. Allow my heart to receive your pure and true word. Prove yourself time and again in the trials of my life!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sunday Scripture

For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.
And who can win this battle against the world?  Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
1 John 5:4-5

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Sing-a-long Saturday

There are just some things that I can't wait to do! Some are this side of heaven, but have you ever longed for life in your eternal home? I do! I can't wait to sit in Jesus' lap, live and in person! To feel his strength and hear his tender voice of safety and comfort! I can't wait to sit at his feet for years on end just learning about him and relishing his glory. To see the scars for real. The scars that bought my salvation!
One other thing I get excited about is meeting Moses, Paul, and David! I can't wait to sit with Queen Esther and hear her story retold time and again. I want all the details! I want to hear the stories of missionaries who lived their lives fearlessly and boldly. I want to hear the stories of those who found Jesus on their death beds and offered him their lives in exchange for the sins of the past. I want to hear the stories!
This song reminds me that I can also spend my days on the earth seated at the table of the Lord. When I sit in quiet time, read his word, and listen for his voice I find peace, healing, and restoration! Why wait for eternity to enjoy the gifts he so generously offers now!
Chris Tomlin sings  The Table on his newest album Love Ran Red. It calls our mind to think about sitting  at the banquet table with all the saints who have gone before us. He reminds us that at the table we won't worry, we won't hurt, and we will live in perfect peace as we abide in our God!

You can listen to The Table by clicking here Click here to Listen

Dear Lord,
I long for your peace and healing. I relish the moments when you speak directly to my heart. Open my heart to what you offer at your banquet table. Thank you for creating me with a void in my heart that can only be filled by your love. Continue drawing me into your loving presence. Stir my spirit to delight in the thought of eternity at The Table!
Amen and amen

                                                               "The Table"

I will feast at the table of the Lord
I will feast at the table of the Lord
I won’t hunger anymore
At His table [x2]

Come all you weary; come and find
His yoke is easy; His burden light
He is able; He will restore
At the table of the Lord

There is peace at the table of the Lord
There is peace at the table of the Lord
I won’t worry anymore
At His table

There is healing at the table of the Lord
There is healing at the table of the Lord
I won’t suffer anymore
At His table

Come all you weary; come and find
His yoke is easy; His burden light
He is able; He will restore
At the table of the Lord

I know He has a place for me
Oh, what joy will fill my heart
With the saints around the mercy seat of God

Come all you weary; come and find
His yoke is easy; his burden light
He is able; He will restore
At the table of the Lord
At the table of the Lord

I’m invited to the table of the Lord
I’m invited to the table of the Lord
He says, “Come just as you are”
To His table

Friday, September 11, 2015

A Happy Heart Heals

A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, 
but a broken spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22

Are you feeling a little down today?  Have you been sick or are you fighting off some negative emotions?  Maybe you are feeling fine but you have a friend who isn't.  God says the medicine we need when fighting sadness and or physical illness is often times laughter.  A happy heart and a cheerful mind works healing in our own lives and in the lives of those we love.  A while back my friend text me a note of encouragement and I hold it dear to my heart, still today.  I only remember the very important words that are changing the way I look at life, light hearted.    

Light hearted is to be cheerful and carefree.  Carefree is to be free of anxiety or responsibility.  While we can't always get rid of our responsibilities throughout the day, we can hand over our anxiety.  We have a big God just waiting with his hands outstretched for us to place in them our worry and anxieties.  As for the responsibilities, I look at my own life and realize that I can't just throw them down but I can look at them differently.  I can give myself more grace when I don't finish something on time or allow myself room for mistakes and failures.  Life isn't all picture perfect!  In fact, there is so much we can learn from messing up but if we don't keep light hearted we will often times let our mess ups bring us down or frustrate us. 

God says that a broken spirit will make us ill!  When we take life seriously and we are hard on ourselves or others it rips away at our happy hearts, our bones will dry up and we will be lifeless and sad.  So let's laugh more!  Let's smile more!  Let's be light hearted and take everything day by day, moment by moment.  Don't let things get us down but turn to God and hand over our worries, without missing a beat.  And for those of us who have friends who need to smile, let's take the extra time to laugh with them!  Watch a funny movie, send a funny text, do activities that don't take thinking, but allow you both to enjoy a light hearted moment together.  God wants us to be happy and enjoy where we are every day!  So let's get to it!!

Dear God, thank you for wanting what's best for me and for giving me your Word to encourage and redirect.  Help me to keep a happy heart and give me wisdom to encourage a friend's smile.  Heal the hurts and the illness around me through laughter. Bring smiles to the faces of those who need healing and lighten my path as I hand over my worry. 
In Jesus' Name  amen        

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Live in Community

“not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:25‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Why does Paul direct us not to give up meeting together? What is to be gained from it? There are multiple reasons to meet with fellow believers with the first being encouragement. I am always encouraged when I meet with my friends. I gain strength for the next leg of my journey. 
    It encourages me when I can share what I'm learning and the wisdom God gives me to share encourages my friends.
     I am encouraged when I hear that I'm not the only one struggling with "stuff".  When life gets hard it's important to hear the reality of life- everyone experiences trials! And God is faithful to his children. 
     Meeting in community also helps us expel the lies that the enemy has told us. True friends aren't afraid to speak the truth in love. They help us see clearly when the fog of the lies rolls in. 
     And best of all, we can share good, clean moments of laughter! Laughter that comes from deep within or hearts. Laughter that makes our hearts burst with delight! 
     So now I challenge you... Have you given up meeting regularly with fellow believers? Do you call upon friends in your time of need or do you struggle through on your own? Perhaps it's time to step out and reconnect with your church or start a small group. Call some fellow believers and meet for a Coke or a coffee. Pray about it, asking God to bring you friends who will build you up and value your friendship. Make a commitment and stick with it! 

Dear Lord, 
In your wisdom you gave Paul the words from today's scripture. You know the benefits of Christian fellowship and the joy that comes from meeting together. You value the strength we gain from one another. Give us the courage to step out and meet with others... For our sake and theirs! 
In your holy and precious name, 
Amen and amen

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Without Borders

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever you would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my savior

These words are found in the song Oceans (Where My Feet Fall) by Hillsong.  When I hear them I am forced to think of my own faith and whether or not I am willing to be led anywhere God wants to take me.  I think of the things and people I hold dear and I try to imagine being led to a place where I have no control over what happens regarding them.  I like to think my trust is without borders but there is no way to really test that unless I give God control.  Would I shut down the borders of my faith when it comes to my child's health, or my marriage.  If my own health was threatened could I surrender all of my faith and trust in the outcome or would I sound the alarm and close the gate?  Would I take back all my faith when I was tested, or could I keep a loose grip on the doors to my border?  Could I keep walking into a place that alone I could never wander, trusting that God was working on my behalf?  Am I willing to go deeper to a place that is dark, lonely, scary and even painful..........believing that God would make me stronger through it all?  

Trusting God through the little things is a good representation of how we would trust Him in the big things (Luke 16:10).  In the small things, if we shut our borders and don't allow Jesus to lead us and protect us then we will never be willing to trust God with the big things, and our faith can only grow when it is tested.  We have to be willing to walk out deeper than we could take ourselves because naturally who would go farther than they could handle on their own?  No, we must let go of our inhibitions and fears and let God take us where He wants.  We have to strip away the borders of our faith and allow God to take us anywhere that will grow us and result in good for our lives and the Kingdom of believers.  Jesus won't leave us.  He will walk with us the whole journey and He won't let us down.  But so often we decide to walk alone.  We stop trusting God and we start working in our own strength, trusting in the things we can accomplish and in the promises of the world instead of the promises of God.  We worry like crazy, put our mind through anguish and destroy our bodies because we are unwilling to open up the borders to our faith.  

Dear God, help me to be strong in You.  I don't want to fear and I don't want to put limits on what You can do in my life.  I open up my borders to You and give you free reign to lead me to a place of growth, trust and amazing works.  Show up for me as I approach the edge of my borders and take me deeper than I have ever gone before.  Make my faith stronger and help me to share it with others.  
In Jesus' Name   amen     

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Perfect Peace

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3

Worries, anger, fear, doubt... the list of distractions goes on and on. Our minds can so quickly be enveloped in things other than God. With a brief thought, we can so quickly be consumed by worry and before we know it, minutes or even hours have passed leaving us unsettled and ever so afraid of the future and its uncertainty.
However, this verse reminds us that we need to stay focused on God. Reciting scripture, rebuking negative thoughts, and remembering the faithfulness of God in our past are all ways to remain steadfast. Remaining in a constant prayer dialogue with our Father assures us that our spirit will remain in perfect peace.
As you go through your day today, train your mind to remain focused on the Lord. Be aware of distractions and quickly hand them over to the Lord for they are his battle not yours!

Dear Lord, I give you this day and ask for your help in training my mind to remain focused on you. Keep me in constant relationship with you through prayer and scripture. Amen

Monday, September 7, 2015

Simply Obey Me

If you love me, obey my commandments.
John 14:15

There are many commandments that God gives us besides just the original 10 found in Exodus.  The new testament is bursting with God's commands that teach us how to act, who to love, what to do and who to trust.  They aren't listed together in any special order or even found on one page.  God's commands aren't just a bunch of rules that we have to follow in order to be saved and forgiven.  His commands are a way of life!  They are the first thing we should think of when we wake up each morning, following His advice, His character and His morals.  God's commands aren't all spelled out perfectly for all to understand either.  He speaks to us each individually when we take the time to read the bible and find a personal relationship with Him.  We aren't held under a microscope for God to watch our every move just waiting for us to mess up, or to reward us for being perfect.  No, God's commands are His way of teaching, and leading us to a life that mirrors His Son, Jesus Christ.  He is patient with us.  He knows the difficulties of following Him and how hard it is to love those who hurt us.  He understands the price we pay when we choose His way over the world's.  God, of all people, knows it isn't easy following His commands.  This is why His commandments are more than just a list of hard things to do.  God's commandments are a way of living and the one thing He expects from us is to obey.  In a moment of weakness, obey.  In a moment of wild and crazy, obey.  In a moment of hurt and despair, obey.  In a moment of pain and anger, obey.  In a moment of lust, obey.  In a moment of doubt, obey.  And, in order to obey we must know God.  We must know how He handles the types of situations we face.  God has so many blessings stored up for us in this life and in the life to come but if we don't know him then we aren't able to obey Him and if we don't obey Him then we will miss out on so much!  

Allow me to guide your day.  Don't fret.  Just seek Me alone.  I will meet your every need.  Only I can anticipate what is coming next and best prepare you for My coming answers.  Don't worry about outcomes and timings.  Simply obey Me.  That must come first
-taken from pg. 277 The Listening Heart: Hearing God in Prayer by Judy Gordon Morrow      

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sunday Scripture

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; 
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
‭‭John‬ ‭10:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Saturday, September 5, 2015


"As water reflects the face, so someone's life reflects the heart." Proverbs 27:19

Have you ever stood poolside and seen your reflection? It's an accurate depiction of you your face. A reflection of you. But what about your lifestyle? Have you ever thought about what it says about the real you? What it reflects about your heart?
When we are grumpy it's an indication that something is off in our heart. A string of bitter words reflects a bitter root that has taken hold in our spirit. Gossip flowing from our mouth reflects a jealous or selfish heart. The way we spend our money shows where our heart longs to be.
Saturday is a great day for reflection. Think back over your week. What does it say about the true nature of your heart? I know for me, today is going to be a day of reflection so that I can make the changes God desires in my heart.

Dear Lord,
Help me to get an accurate depiction of my heart. Show me where strongholds have taken place and bitter roots are growing. I love you and want to live right before you.
In your holy name,

Friday, September 4, 2015

As The Deer

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.
Psalm 42:1

I imagine myself as this deer.  Searching for hours, my mouth dry and my legs tired, I come up on a stream that is rushing with fresh, cold water.  I start to run faster in its direction and when I get to it I dive right in.  My thoughts were on nothing but finding this water, keeping my body going until I discovered this fresh stream.  I was driven by my need for water.  

Are you driven by your need for God?  Today are you panting like a thirsty deer who has been walking for hours.  Is your soul tired and weak from the long journey?  Do you rely on God to renew you and fill you up?  Friend, nothing else will quench your thirst better than God's Word.  No one can help you like God can.  He isn't just there for us to brag about with other Christians proclaiming that "He is Good".  He is there for us to really get to know and trust.  He is there for us to pray to and count on in an emergency.  Waiting for us to praise Him on the good days and seek Him on the bad.  He waits!  Are we looking?  Are we running to Him, seeking Him out and longing to be with Him all the days of our lives? 

As a deer pants for streams of water, is your soul panting for God? 

Father God, you are Good!!  Thank you for being so easy to find!  I praise you that I don't have to walk for hours to feel you in my presence and fill up on your fresh living water.  Help me to keep focused on all you are in my life.  Remind me daily that you are all I need.  Like this deer I anticipate seeing you daily and filling up on your encouragement, commands and love.  Thank You God, Amen     

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Lord Himself!

The Lord himself watches over you!  
The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon at night.
The Lord keeps you from all harm
and watches over your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, 
both now and forever. 
Psalm 121:5-8

This was a song for the pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.  They were traveling great distances along rough terrain and dessert conditions.  Often our journey in life can feel as if we are traveling this same road.  It can feel forever long and as if the sun is scorching down on us.  There are times that we feel alone as if in the dark of night.  This road can get scary and we feel like there is no one there to care for or help us.  Friend, God is with you.  He watches you move and change directions.  He knows when you need a break and when you need the strength to keep walking.  He delights in being your protection, and whether in the heat of the moment or in the coolness of the lonely night, He will not let anything harm you.  He loves you my dear friend!  Forever and ever He is with you!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Keep God First

"But you thought your fame and beauty were your own.  So you gave yourself as a prostitute to every man who came along.  Your beauty was theirs for the asking.  You used the lovely things I gave you to make shrines for idols, where you played the prostitute.  Unbelievable!  How could such a thing ever happen?!"  
Ezekiel 16:15-17

When things in life are going well it is so easy to forget the hard times.  When life is going our way we often don't take time to put God first, and we pack away the memories of when He provided for our every need.  We forget all the desperation we once had and the endless nights of prayer and pleadings.  Yes, unfortunately, when things are going well in life we tend to ride the wave and leave God sitting on the beach.  Even worse we tend to take all the things He had supplied thus far and make them our own.  We take credit for the way things are going, we use His resources for our advancement, but we never stop to thank Him.  We turn His blessings into our gods.  Those things He provided for our betterment then become the focus of our life.  Money to get us by one week becomes the goal for our whole existence.  The job you needed to keep your family secure in a safe home now becomes the only thing you wake up for every day.  That child you prayed for years to conceive then becomes your only reason for living.  We, just like Judah, use the lovely things God gives us and make shrines for idols to whom we give ourselves away and deny the one true God.  

It's easy to see this occur in other people's lives.  We can look back in the bible and find many examples of people begging for God's help only to take credit for all that they had or to put their trust in gods instead of the One True God.  Friends, unfortunately, this happens to us all.  We take for granted our God who is always there for us.  We forget so easily the saving He did, and the answered prayer He provided.  We forget that all we have is from Him and we start to trust in the tangibles.  We trust in the things we can see and feel.  We trust in the things that we think we have control over.  We trust in ourselves and others instead of God who got us where we are and has a plan for where we are going.  We sell ourselves to little gods such as sex, alcohol, drugs, jobs, children, money, fame, and entertainment.  We take our blessings from God and turn them into idols.  We defile our blessings by placing them on our idols, improving our idols, and putting them before God.  We forget where they came from and start to even take the credit for having them.  

Friends, take time today to look back on your prayers from months or years past.  Lay out all your blessings and see where they lay today.  Are you give God the credit for where you are?  Are you praising God for the things you have, and are you still placing Him first in your life?  Have you handed over your blessings to your idols, or are you grounded in God?  My prayer today is for us all to step back and take a big picture of where we came from and where we are headed.  All along the way we should see God's blessings...................Dear God if we aren't already praising you and thanking you for all you do in our lives please help us start today.  We wish to lay down our pride and our idols to trust in the One True God.  Show us where we place too much trust and the things that take first priority over you, and help us to change our ways.  God we love you and we want you to be the God of our life.  Thank you for waiting patiently and for never giving up on us.  We are excited to refocus our lives to put you first.  In Jesus' Name......amen