Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sky Writers

Last week we were blessed to spend 8 days with our daughters, parents, and grandchildren in Florida. I had been looking forward to the trip for quite some time. I had prayed over our travels, our accommodations and our time spent together. My heart's desire was for this trip to be one that glorified God in all we said and did.

As we arrived within miles of our 'home' for the week, we looked up and saw a plane writing in the sky. It was spelling out the word "Love". We were all intrigued and craned our necks to see the beautiful display. My husband teased that he'd called ahead and had that done especially for me! We all enjoyed a smile and laugh.

But as we got out of the van to eat lunch, we saw the rest of the writing. It said, "Love U Jesus". My heart just sang. I truly felt God's hand of blessing over our trip.

As we waited for our lunch to be prepared I searched the scriptures on my bible app to find God's message about creation singing his praises. This verse seems just so perfect!

"The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands." Psalm 19:1

Yes, even the skies that day declared that the Lord is good. Even all of creation shouts that he is in control, and he is to be praised!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Understand What The Lord Wants You To Do

So be careful how you live.  Don't live like fools, but like those who are wise.  Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.  Don't act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.
Ephesians 5:15-17

I started a new devotion last week.  It is titled "It Starts With Me" and was written to challenge the reader to take responsibility and live a way that reflects the values of Jesus.  I found it on the bible app, YouVersion.  (I can't praise God enough for the gift this app has been in helping me stay in the word, remember scripture, and encourage others, to name a few.)  I learned a valuable lesson on promptness that I want to share today.  I have always been late.  At least since I have had children, my internal clock always seem to be a little behind the world's clock.  I never try to be late, in fact, on many occasions, I try my best to be on time.  I have every intention to plan ahead, wake up early and stay focused on task.  But somehow I am always running out the door, hollering at the kids to hurry and I am worrying about the little time I have to arrive where I am going before my given appointment.  I have often thought of my being late as just who I was.  I never gave it too much thought and I've never felt like it was a huge deal when I was late to events and appointments.  Yes, I do feel bad if someone is left waiting on me and it is disrespectful to show up late, but those feelings have never been strong enough to convict me to change.  Not until I saw it through God's eyes.  

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.
Romans 5:6

I have always known that God's timing is perfect.  I share that beautiful truth with friends and I count on it in my own life.  It is a hope we all hold tightly to, God will always show up on time to help us in our need.  As I read His word, He spoke to my heart and I realized that God's love for me shows in His faithfulness to my needs and His perfect timing in my life.   At just the right time He sent Jesus to die for my sins!  And for the firs time I understood what I should be doing.  God spoke to me through His word and through the wise counsel of a devotion.  In the same way Jesus showed up at just the right time, I should be doing the same.  My love for others can be shown through my ability to be on time.  Just like the love of Christ showing up at just the right time to save us from sin, or God's ability to lift us up right when we need Him, I am expected to show up on time to share my love and respect for others.     

I learned a valuable lesson, or was at least reminded, of the importance of staying in His Word.  In order for me to understand what the Lord wants from me I must read the bible.  He has special orders for us all and we will never know what they are unless we are speaking to Him and studying Him.  His timing is perfect and what He says to me may not be what He speaks to your heart, but we will never know until we commit to Him.    Now that God has spoken to my heart I know what I must do, what I must start working on.  Do you know what you should be working on?  What is God speaking to your heart?  

Dear God, thanks for your perfect timing.  I am so blessed to have you looking after me and guiding me every day.  The ways you grab my attention are perfect, just for me!  Keep my eyes open to your signs and wonders, keep my ears open to your Word and my heart open to your conviction.  I love your patience for me and the love that you continuously share with me.  Your desire to make me all that I can be is amazing and I only hope that I can follow you forever, and understand what it is you want me to do.  In Jesus' Name  Amen  

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Scripture

Psalm 96:1

 Sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
 Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.

Declare his glory among the nations,

    his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise:
    he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens.
 Splendor and majesty are before him;
    strength and glory are in his sanctuary.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Because He Lives

Because He lives we have life!  Abundant life!  As we get closer to Good Friday and the miracle of Easter let's reflect on the things in our life that would not be possible without Jesus' death and resurrection.  What would life be like without the hope of eternal life in heaven?  What would life be like if we were constantly feeling shame and condemnation for our sins?  How could we stand to live without a close relationship with Jesus Christ, our friend and savior?  Yes, we can face tomorrow and all the difficulties of this world because He lives!  The blessings are indescribable and too many to count.  Thank You Jesus for suffering a horrible death and rising to life again, in order for us to live abundantly!

Enjoy this song by Matt Maher called Because He Lives

Friday, March 27, 2015

My Lighthouse!

I don't know about you, but God, and I wrestle a lot. He knows best, but I tend to worry. He speaks and my doubts creep in. My past speaks into my present and my future feels uncertain. And then the wrestling starts as I fight my doubts and work to let God's peace transcend into my heart. And somehow, in the storm, he calms the troubled waters of my heart.

The first words of Rend Collective's "My Lighthouse" had me hooked before I even heard more than the first 4 lines. Through it Jesus seemed to call to my heart saying,  'This is your story. Stop worrying and let me lead you!'

In my wrestling and in my doubts
In my failures You won't walk out
You're great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea

In the silence You won't let go
In the questions Your truth will hold
Your great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

My lighthouse 
My lighthouse
Shining in the darkness I will follow You

My lighthouse
My lighthouse
I will trust the promise
You will carry me safe to shore
Safe to shore

I won't fear what tomorrow brings
With each morning I'll rise and sing
My God's love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

Fire before us You're the brightest
You will lead us through the storms

Click here to listen to Rend Collective's "My Lighthouse"  

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Maker

There are some days that I can't stop thinking about all that God has blessed me with in life.  I get giddy just thinking about all the ways He loves me!  He has the power to make the gorgeous skies, the breathtaking views of the mountains and beaches, and He even created the simple beauty in the sound of laughter.  God had us in mind when he created the earth and everything in it.  I can imagine Him thinking of us when He separated the darkness from the light and the water from the land.  He thought of all the things that would bless our lives and brought them into existence by speaking a word.  And this love He has for us is so powerful that when we are walking closely with Him it is possible to feel it in our bones.  When we are trusting God with our life, His power is strong.  The Maker of the whole universe loves us each in a very special way!  We need not look anywhere else but in creation to see the immensity of His love for us, because, after all the power He used to create the world, His love and loyalty lie with His children.  He is faithful to us and over everything that He rules, He chooses us as His #1!  Enjoy the lyrics to this beauty of a song by Chris August, click on the title to listen, and enjoy praising our Maker today!!  

I see You in the sunrise
I see You in the rain
I see You in the laughter
I feel You through the pain

Everything that You have made is beautiful
Oh, my God, I can't believe my eyes
But in all of this to think that You would think of me
Makes my heart come alive

Your love is like a mighty fire deep inside my bones
I feel like I could climb a thousand mountains all at once
And I never have to wonder if somebody cares for me
I love the Maker
And the Maker loves me

I see You, You are creation
I see the grandness of Your majesty
The universe is singing all Your glory
I can't believe You live inside of me

Everything that You have made is beautiful
Oh, my God, I can't believe my eyes
But in all of this to think that You would think of me
Makes my heart come alive

More than just some words upon a page
You've shown me in a million ways
But there is one that stands above them all
Hands of creation on a cross


Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Nothing is more refreshing than water and nothing more beautiful than a waterfall. I can just see the water flowing at a rapid speed, the roar of the rushing water overpowering all the other sounds of nature around it, and the beauty of the sun shining down from above. To me a waterfall symbolizes power, cleansing, and beauty. When we were on a cruise, we ported in Dominica and after a long hike found ourselves in the presence of such a waterfall. We were able to swim out and enjoy the refreshment of the water as we played under the fall. It was a priceless memory!

Chris Tomlin sings "Waterfall" on his newest album Love Ran Red. The first time I heard this song, ironically, I was showering and instantly fell in love with it. As I stood with the cleansing of the shower water running over me, I thought about how God's love just pours over us. He holds nothing back, he gives his best in all things, at all times. My heart cried out to receive more of him. To allow his love to overflow on me. I envisioned not just a trickle of love, but a powerful, thundering, rush of love! And I want more of it!

Give it a listen! Click the link below!

Here are the lyrics:

Oh God, my God I seek You
I wanna move when you move
You're more than I could long for
I thirst for you
You're an ocean to my soul, to my soul

Your love is like a waterfall, waterfall
Running wild and free
You hear my heart when I call, when I call
Deep calls to deep
Your love is like a waterfall, waterfall
Raining down on me
Waterfall, waterfall.

O God my God, I seek You
In this dry and desert land
You lead me to streams of mercy once again
You're an ocean to my soul, to my soul

It's coming like a flood
I'm dancing in the rain
Everything I've done is covered in rivers of grace

It's coming like a flood
I'm dancing in the rain
I lift up my hands
Your love never changes

It’s coming like a flood
I’m dancing in the rain
I lift up my hands
Your love never changes

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


When I hear the song "Roar" by Katy Perry I can't help but feel empowered and I end up singing along......yes, anywhere, even in public with my children.  It might not be a song that you relate to God, in any way, but this week as I listened to it poolside with God's blessings all around me I saw this song in a different light...............and 80 degree temperatures.  I have never really listened to the words of this song, only the chorus.  Just quickly reviewing the chorus reminds me of the power we hold over satan and his lies.  It makes me feel like I can conquer anything, especially the difficult situations that the world will throw at me from time to time.....to time.  Further research of the lyrics prove that this song can indeed be used to praise God for His mighty power over death and sin.  The opening to the song describes a person who was afraid to stand for what she believed so she ended up falling.  In this context we could say it was any one of us who was afraid of conflict so instead of standing for what we believed in we compromised our faith and fell to temptation and sin.  Next comes the point at which we realize our sin and we decide to stand up for what we believe and we confront the sin and repent:  
"You held me down but I got up (hey)  
already brushing off the dust.  
You hear my voice, you hear that sound 
like thunder gonna shake the ground  
You held me down but I got up (hey)  
get ready cause' I've had enough"

So today I am praising God with this, maybe a little, unusual song.  It is a story so familiar to every one of us.  We have all been in this place where we decided enough was enough and it was time to take our life back from satan and land ourselves in God's hands once again.  Satan has no power over us when we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, but he does continue to have power.  If we are pulled in by his lies and fall into sin created by him then it is possible for us to fall away from God's power.  But we forever hold the power to decide, at any moment, that we've had enough, and at that moment, when we call out for God, He will be right there to carry us back to His safety.  

With God we are Champions!!  We are fighters!!  We dance through the fire!!!  With God we can do anything!! 

Enjoy this song all day long! Praise God for the power He gives you.  Who knows maybe it will even inspire you to make a change in your life!

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Week Of Praise

This week we are going to focus on some of our favorite praise music. We will share why the song speaks to our hearts and add a link where you can click to enjoy the praise song yourself! Happy praising!

Sometimes life's trials seem to wear on and on. Scripture tells us not to grow weary, but it's not easy. So many times when I've felt like I just can't go on, this song has taken me to my knees, where I inevitably find Jesus waiting. He delivers my heart from fear to peace, from discouragement to hope, and from pain to greater healing. Jesus delivers me into his arms even though the trials around me continue.

Here are the words that always bring tears of cleansing to my heart:
             When I feel like I can't go on
             You deliver me
             And when the road is winding and way too long
             You deliver me, You deliver me!

Dear Lord, I am so thankful for you deliverance. You've delivered me from my pit of sin and you deliver me into the strength and protection of your arms moment by moment! I love you and praise you today for your deliverance.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Scripture

You can't worship two gods at once.  Loving one god, you'll end up hating the other.  Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other.  You can't worship God and money both.
If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion.  There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body.  Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description careless in the dare of God.  And you count far more to Him than birds. 
Matthew 6:24-26 Msg.

Friday, March 20, 2015

God Makes Living Possible

Who stood up for me against the wicked?  Who took my side against the evil workers?  If god hadn't been there for me I never would have made it.  The minute I said, "I'm falling, I'm slipping", your love, God, took hold and held me fast.  When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up.
Psalm 94:16-19 MSG

There have been some situations in my life, and the lives of my friends, where without the help of God we would have fallen miserably.  Tough circumstances, that leave many men and women paralyzed, have ripped through the lives of a few beautiful women I know and I get a smile on my face every time I think of the power God has over their lives.  A power that allows them to stand tall while everything around them is crumbling fast.  So often we get caught up in the bad stuff and difficulties that we struggle seeing where God has turned bad to good.  God promises to stand with us during everything we face.  He makes it possible to make it out alive!  What have you made it through that without God would have been impossible?  Do you have a friend that is living proof of a faithful God?  

Celebrate God today thanking Him for the many situations He has walked you, or a friend through.  Praise Him for the many ways He has helped you grow, and for the friends in your life that can share in your joy.  Stand tall and confident knowing that one cry will alarm God to reach out and catch you, and after you are safe in His arms, He can cheer you up, and make life livable again.  

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Pack LIght

Tomorrow we leave for Florida! A Spring Break vacation we've been anticipating for a long time. As I'm preparing to go, I not only work on preparing to go, I am preparing to leave. What I mean is that before I load up the van and get ready to head out, I want the bills paid, the fridge cleaned out, the laundry caught up, loose ends at work tied up and the house tidied up. It takes a lot of time to be ready to leave. Getting all of these things in order has left me little time to pack.

I love how God can use the little moments in life to speak to us as he did to me this morning. I was pondering what to pack in my suitcase and the words 'pack light' ran through my mind. Yes, that's it. I need to only take what is necessary. We have a washer and dryer available, so there's no need to take extras. We don't have plans that require specific clothes, the girls will have things I've forgotten, and I can re-wear outfits. Yes, keep it simple, pack light!

And about that time I thought of this scripture:
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith." Hebrews 12:1-2

What is it in our lives today that is hindering our relationship with Christ? What is keeping us from a full commitment to him? Do we need to remove some things from the suitcase of life? An unhealthy friendship, an added committee at work or even church? Do material possessions need to be sold so that financial burden and time spent on maintenance can be better spent with Christ or on his works?

The Christian walk is not easy, and we do not need added stress and burdens as we make this journey. God is faithful to show us where we need to realign and simplify our lives. Ask him today and then carefully listen for his direction. He has work for us to do that requires time and energy, so 'pack light'  for the journey!

Dear Lord,
Your word says that if I need wisdom I should ask and you will show me what I need to know. I need to know how to simplify and clean up my life. Lead me today to unpack the unnecessary things in my life. Show me where I need to let go. Give me courage to make the changes that will help me live for you more fully.
In your name I pray,

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pray For All People

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people.  Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.  Pray this way for kings, and all who are in authority so that we can life peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.  This is good and pleases God our savior, who wants everyone to be saved and know the truth.
- 1 Timothy:1-4 -

I have to admit I am not good at following the commands of this scripture.  Don't get me wrong.  I pray for many people and I love to intercede on their behalf.  It is an honor and a privilege to pray for friends and people who are requesting prayer.  Even adding a few prayers for people who don't ask is often fun.  I run into trouble when it comes to praying for people outside of my circle of family and friends or acquaintances who ask for specifics.  I don't regularly pray for our leaders and governments.  Especially in the state that our country seems to be in, it is crucial that I find time to pray, and don't get me started with what happens in other countries.  Often there is so much right in my own circle to pray for that I forget about the rest of the world.  But Jesus didn't die for me to share the Good News with only those people I know.  He didn't come to save my community or my family, He came to save the world.  

Praying for leaders even when we don't always agree with what they do or how they lead is crucial today.  Back when Paul urged the people to pray for all people and governments they were, in fact, dealing with one of the harshest leaders of their time.  Persecution for the Christians was an ever growing threat.  But Paul knew that in order to get the Good News spread throughout the world they needed a government and its society that was conducive to doing so.  One may think that some governments are too ignorant for one person to change, but through the power of prayer, the possibilities are endless!  

So today I wish to pray for all people, everywhere!  The message version states to pray every way you know how, for everyone you know.  Today I challenge us all to list new prayer requests.  To step outside of our circle and pray for the world and its leaders and governments.  Prayer is powerful and it absolutely changes things!  

Dear God, thank You for giving me this task of praying.  It is an honor to lift up my friends and people's requests.  I love to intercede for others and carry them and their burdens to you every day.  I am sorry that I haven't been faithful to praying for governments and leaders of this world.  I am sorry that my prayers don't get outside of my little circle.  Today and the days to come show me more.  Bring to my attention the bigger picture and some new prayer requests.  Show me how you want me to pray and hear my heartfelt  honest prayers for your people.  In Jesus' Name.....Amen      

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Bring it into the Light

"For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed hat will not be known or brought out into the open." Luke 8:17

 I strongly believe in accountability in our Christian walks and this verse reminds me of yet another reason to find an accountability partner. We all have hurts and pains from our past. Whether they are the results of our own choices or because of someone else's sin,  the hurt often remains. Secret sins, abuse, poor choices, anything we try to keep hidden is a playground for satan. He spins the merry-go-round of regret, throws us down the slide to a pit of fear, and replays the pain as he chases us day after day. 

It takes courage to share our hearts and our hurts. Today, if you need this freedom,  I encourage you to share with a trusted friend or a Godly Christian counselor. This verse tells us that one day all things will come into the light anyway, so why not deal with them today and find freedom for you soul! God doesn't' want us to live in fear of the past. As we deal with it, there will be emotions that are tender and painful. But in the end, the freedom of walking into the light is well worth the journey. 

Dear Lord,
I ask that you help us to live confidently and boldly in your name. Give me the courage to deal with the hurting places in my heart. Bring me a friend who is trusted and wise. Lead me into your healing and wholeness. I long to live in your freedom.
In your name I pray.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sin Is Sin

Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip.  They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents.  They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy.
- Romans 1:29-31 -

Society has a tendency to rank sin.  We have all been caught thinking of one thing or another and end up categorizing it in our head.  We think of murder, theft and adultery as being "big" sins while we ignore or brush aside those things such as gossip, quarreling, hate, and envy.  In fact, most of the things we do, we tend to ignore, unless it involves breaking the law in some way.  But God takes sin seriously.  He does not rank our sins and sees them all the same.  Read the list of sins in the scripture above and pick out those things that you have done in the last week.  Have you argued with someone, have you envied a friend for that vacation she is taking soon, are you greedy with your money and belongings, is there someone you hate or refuse to make amends with, have you gossiped or deceived?  Have you forgiven that person that hurt you, do you keep your promises to your spouse to love honor and cherish till death do you part?  Some of the "everyday" sins that take place in our life, the one's we may no longer even recognize as sin, those are the same things that God walked away from (v 28).  He abandoned his people when they stopped acknowledging Him.  He left and said let them do the things that should never be done and so they continued sinning.   

My eyes are opened today as I read this scripture!  I know that there are a few things listed above that I have taken part in over the last several days.  Some of the things I have become so accustomed to that I don't even recognize them as sins.  But, in reality, every one of them are the reason we are heading into Good Friday.  Every sin I have committed, "big or little", put Jesus on the cross.  There is not one thing that put Him there over another.  That man's affair, that mother's murder of her unborn child, that thief's armed robbery.........they all put Jesus on the cross with the same hammer and nails as my gossip, unforgiveness, quarreling, and broken promises.  

Dear God, thank you for this new day that I might see my sins through Your eyes.  Forgive me for ranking my sins and other's.  Forgive me for judging others when I have a plank in my own eye.  Reveal to me the things that offend you and give me the strength to change my ways.  Show me how to love and honor you with my whole life.  Transform my heart and mind.  In Jesus' Name    Amen 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday Scripture

Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory. Romans 5:2

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Have you ever been in your car, and as you arrived at your destination, your favorite song sounded on the radio?  It has happened to me more than once in the last couple weeks, with the same song, at the same destination, even the same time of day!!! Every time I have to get out of the car and I get so bummed, it's always at the best part.....you know, just when it gets louder and the chorus belts out of the speakers.  Well this morning it happened for the third time, very early in the morning and it hasn't left me yet.  When I finished with what I was doing when I had to leave the song I looked it up on iTunes and downloaded it to my phone because never again did I want to miss that song!  Now I have been listening to it over and over all day, and still every time I hear that chorus I get a smile on my face, tears in my eyes, and chills throughout my body.  

I have a past and in that past I have sinned a million times over.  There are things that I easily leave at Jesus' feet and the moment it spills out of my mouth I feel free, but a few of my sins seem to linger in my mind even after I have repented.  I know we all have these sins in our life and we struggle forgetting them and forgiving ourselves, but this song has so gently spoken to me in a powerful way.  Friends, we are free!!  Because Jesus died for us we are blameless, holy, forgiven, righteous, free, spotless, worthy, child of God, chosen.........WE ARE HIS!!!  

Whatever it is you just can't let go of, that sin that lingers in your mind and holds you captive, leaving you feeling just shy of free, I want to encourage you right now to lay it at His feet one last time.  Wrap it up and give it to Jesus as a gift, something that He would never give back.  Cry it out, tell Him you no longer want it.  Tell Him you are sorry for holding on to it for so long.  Accept your gift of freedom.  

Now listen to this song, put it deep into your heart and pull it out when you start to feel "less than".  My dear friend, you are so much to God.  He gave it all up for you, alone.  He chose you and He loves you.........sees you as something special.  Don't ever let satan or anyone else tell you different!  Oh!  and one more thing......walk around today like you own the joint :)  You are a child of God!  Lift your head high, smile at everyone and share the love of Jesus.  

(click to listen)

Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body.  As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.
- Colossians 1:22 -

Friday, March 13, 2015

In the Waiting

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.  Romans 8:28 MSG

What are you waiting on today? What petition have you laid before the Lord? Whatever you lay before him, he is faithful to restore. A wayward child, a parent's health, a marriage on the brink, a financial need. Whatever you have offered the Lord will not go unnoticed. As we wait, there are 3 things to keep in mind.
1.  Isaiah 55:8 tells us this, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways   my ways," declares the Lord. God will answer your prayer, but be alert because he may not do it in the way you think he will, so watch expectantly to see what He's up to!
2. God works on his time schedule not ours. Galatians 6:9 says, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." 
3. God never wastes any experience, good or bad, exciting or boring, painful or joyful. He uses them all. Romans 8:28 reminds us that "in ALL THINGS, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." There are lessons to be learned about God, his love and his faithfulness in all circumstances. The lessons we learn in our circumstances will better prepare us for what is to come. 
Lord, we are all waiting on you! Help us to be joyful of your salvation as we wait. Help us to learn all that you are trying to teach us as we wait on you. Build our character and grow us in spiritual maturity in our time of waiting. We love you and trust you to be faithful in all things. Amen and amen. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Know The Father

Don't envy evil people or desire their company.  For their hearts plot violence, and their words always stir up trouble.
- Proverbs 24:1-2 -

We have all had this conversation one time or another.  I know I have been involved, on many occasions, with my GFF's, talking about who we should hang out with and what God would want from us in certain situations.  It isn't an easy answer.  Throughout the bible Jesus is listed as spending much time with sinners and evil people.  He says if we can't love those who don't love us then we aren't loving at all.  It is a topic I can't cover in one day nor do I want to cause conflict over such a touchy, obviously questionable, area.  I am just so drawn in by this scripture and want to share my thoughts on the matter.  

The message states it this way:
"Don't envy bad people; don't even want to be around them.  All they think about is causing a disturbance; all they talk about is making trouble."

It says don't want to do wrong.  Don't want a lifestyle of sin and don't even want to be around it.  If we apply this to our own lives what might it look like?  Do we have to stop hanging out with that group of friends who don't believe in Jesus?  What about that friend who lives a life of sin, must we say goodbye?  If we want to join in that same opinion then we are wrong to hang out with them.  If we are vulnerable and easily swayed to compromise our faith and God's commands then we should not join with other's who contradict what God's Word says.  My friends, it all comes down to knowing God and gaining wisdom through our relationship with Him.  If we know Him well enough, we will hear him tell us what is right and wrong.  He will protect us when in danger or doubt, but only if we are close to Him, listening for Him and letting Him rule our lives. 

My child, don't lose sight of common sense and discernment.  Hang on to them, for they will refresh your soul.  They are like jewels on a necklace.
- Proverbs 3:21-28 - 

Hanging around people who are a bad influence is a slippery slope.  For some, this scripture may mean saying good bye to a certain relationship.  For others, God may say stay near them and encourage them.  We just have to know God well enough to discern when to stay and when to pack up and go.  I know for a fact, God does not want you staying in a relationship that is physically harmful to you or your children.  He would never ask you to keep hanging out with someone who is regularly committing crimes or breaking the law.  And He certainly does not want you enabling the bad behavior of others.  But there are so many situations and instances where we might question.......does God want me to be friends with someone who drinks and swears like a sailor?.......how about that friend who stopped going to church?..........or the coworker who is gay, can I hang out with her on the weekends?  I don't know your specific question and I can't know the answer either.  I don't know your strength to say no to certain things and I don't know your vulnerabilities or your deep desires.  Only God knows you like you know you, and that is Who you should be seeking when difficulties like this arise.  

Bad company corrupts good character (1 Corinthians 15:33).  If you aren't strong enough to not be influenced by "bad company" then common sense tells you to stop hanging around them.  If you were addicted to drugs in the past and your "company" uses drugs, common sense says find new friends.  If you are curious about a same sex relationship then don't hang around others who will encourage that lifestyle.  If you are a sad or angry person don't stay with company that speaks negativity and will only drag you down.  Jesus was the sinless, spotless Lamb.  He was strong enough to say no to temptations and His presence changed peoples lives.  He could be with sinners and not be sucked in, but He was human just like us.  The difference is He was walking ever so closely to The Father.  

Friends, we must make choices according to The Word and our choices must line up with God's will for us.  When we know God's will then it is easier for us to follow.  Hang on to the wisdom He provides, be honest with yourself, don't ignore the warning signs and let God move you!  Don't even want to hang around others who put you in danger of compromising your faith.  Hang around those whom you can safely love and gently restore without being pulled into their lifestyle.  No, we don't have to always say goodbye but we must be very careful and know our limitations and our vulnerabilities.  If we are honest with ourselves, we are honest with God, and He  can and will protect us.  

Who or what activities do you question today?  Is God telling you to stay or go?  Get in His Word and find out!!        


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Marriage: Sacred and Holy Worship

Last night I got to enjoy the awesomeness of worshiping our God in the company of thousands. My husband, Jeff, had gotten me tickets to a Chris Tomlin concert. His worship music is amazingly heart felt and moves me into the presence of God every time I listen to it; Last night did not disappoint!

As I stood next to my husband praising God with hands raised, eyes closed and a love coming straight from the heart of God into my very soul- I had to think about the love God has given between a husband and a wife. Scripture says this about marriage:

There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never “become one.” There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body. 1 Corinthians 6:16-20

As I received the love of God, freely and so undeservedly, I wanted to share it. I wanted to pour out the depth of love that my God lavishes on me to an overflowing, abundant degree. I felt my hubby's body sway in time to the music along with mine. And for a brief moment my heart broke for the way our world has distorted the beauty of marriage. The world has taken the beautiful oneness of marriage and turned it into a self-pleasuring act void of God. It has minimized the role of God in a marriage and replaced it with a misconception that marriage is about getting something for ourselves. Rather it is a giving of ourselves in a holy submission to our God. Marriage is about making us holy, not making us happy! Yes, happiness comes, but not by what we are getting, rather by giving of ourselves. The world has made marital love about sexual acts and sensual pleasure. But God's design of marriage is beauty, heart felt intimacy, and a depth of love that is shared with no other human on this earth. It is sacred and holy ground. The love that is made between a husband and a wife is worship! It's about thanking God for the other person and honoring His name in the tenderness we express to one another. Marital love flourishes when Jesus is honored first! Our bodies become an instrument of His love expressed through us and into the heart of our spouse. God's design is perfect, holy, and absolutely pure! If we want to love our spouse well, we must dwell continually in the presence of our Lord!

Teach us to love our spouses like you love us. Help us first to understand the depth of love you have for us. Open our hearts to receive your love so that we can in turn make that love blossom with our spouse. Lord, as Christians let our marital love so shine that the world takes notice. Help us to expel the lies of the enemy and revive marriages throughout the world in your holy name!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Honoring My Husband

I actually had a whole other blog prepared today but circumstances called for something different.  Our family had an emergency placement last night at 8 PM and I have to brag on my husband for a moment.  It never fails......seriously, every time we get a call from DCS my husband is enjoying a little down time.  Last night was no different.  I actually had an unexpected cancellation and was able to stay home.  He finally had a night off with no practices or meetings and so we snuck in a little "date" (if going to Wendy's in sweats even counts) without our children and we had nice conversation and alone time.  When we got home he was so excited to sit down and catch up on a few T.V shows, I had a small project I wanted to do for him and so we went about our evening, well we were at least heading that direction, when the phone rang.  Two children, a toddler and a baby.  My husband knows my heart when it comes to these helpless babies and in fact he has the same feelings.  Let's just say he lives in reality a little better than I do.  He knows our families limits and I am trying so hard to follow his lead.  God made him to be the leader of our home and so many times my selfish desires want to win out.  He was willing to say yes for the night since it was an emergency and the chances of finding the right home for these children were slim at such late notice.  So we picked up and drove the nearby jail where we were to pick these children up.  An hour later we were headed home with two children we knew nothing about.  The baby was screaming hungry and her brother was just as sweet as can be.  We got them home and failed at putting the toddler to bed, of course he woke up as soon as we got him out of the car.  The baby too!  She was not going to bed without a fight.......a very long fight.

What melted my heart and won me over last night was my husband's choice to put his tired body and his desires aside to answer God's call.  We may not be keeping them for more than 24 hours but in that moment he was willing to love these children with all he had and do his best to make them feel comfortable and loved, if only for a night.  I want to honor my husband and thank him today for the kind hearted man that he is.  I don't praise him enough for the love that he shares and the great husband, father and provider that he is.  I married him and he is mine forever!  God blessed me indeed!!  I encourage you to submit your husband today and praise him for the great things he does for you.  Even if he isn't the man you used to know or situations have changed him and he isn't always the nicest guy, find the good in him, thank God for one good thing.  Submit to his wishes for your family, don't always insist on getting your own way but work together and respect each other.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Today Starts with a Choice

I have made mistakes when I misunderstood God's direction. I've said and done things I wish I could change, but today is a new day. I choose today to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. To calm my heart and listen to what God is asking of me. To surrender my rights and take responsibility for what I'm supposed to do in hard situations. Today, I choose to wear the armor God has prepared for my safety and defense against the schemes of the devil. I choose to follow God and not my own desires. To let him fight the fights in the heavenly realms as I choose to love on this earth.

Lord, lead me today and keep me humbled under your leadership.

What choices do you need to make today? Where does God want you today to step up and do things his way? Where have you been hurt and need to offer forgiveness? Are there things that others have done that you responded inappropriately too and need to ask forgiveness? Yeah, me too! Today let's let God move in us to be our leader as we humble ourselves to be changed ourselves and live strong in the armor he has provided.

The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sunday Scripture

God's wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes.  You don't find it lying around on the surface.  It's not the latest message, but more like the oldest - what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene.  The experts of our day haven't a clue about what this eternal plan is.  If they had, they wouldn't have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross.  That's why we have the scripture text:
No one's ever seen or heard anything like this,
Never so much as imagined anything quite like it - 
What God has arranged for those who love him.
But you've seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.
-1 Corinthians 2:7-10 MSG-

Dear God, thank You for The Holy Spirit living in me that I may discern your wisdom and follow your ways.  I desire to have wisdom to know right from wrong and to help others find a deep relationship with You.  Thank You for Your great love story to me, for giving me Jesus so that I may join You in Heaven and experience you face to face someday.  I don't understand all Your ways but my desire is to dig into Your Word daily to find out more and more.  Lead me to know Your secrets for me, and to live so sure of You that Your love, light, mercy, and grace spill from me.
In Jesus' Name

Friday, March 6, 2015

He Will Not Abandon Us

No, I will not abandon you as orphans - I will come to you.
-John 14:18-

My day started off on an emotional spin as I watched a sweet video of a couple who had tried for 9 years to have a baby of their own and decided to adopt.  The video was a short documentary of their journey and meeting their brand new baby boy for the very first time.  I cried right along with them when they entered that hospital room.  I just couldn't stop thinking of my recent situation, saying goodbye to our foster baby.  I was reminded of the hole in my heart that still aches for a forever addition to our family.  We have been more than blessed with our own 3 children but the reason we started fostering over 2 years ago was to find that special child that belonged in our family forever.

I can't help but think of all the children who are abandoned at birth or that wake up one day with their parents but by the end of the day they are sleeping in a strange house with strange people.  How terrifying!  The apostles were facing such a story as Jesus explained to them that He we was leaving.  But His promise in John 14:18 is so comforting.  As I read it me heart feels so much peace knowing that I can never be abandoned by Him.  We will never have to live one day without Jesus!  We never have to fear waking up one day without Jesus, our strength.

Dear God,
Thank you for sending Jesus for me.  You did not leave me the day He died on the cross but brought Him closer.  Now through Your Holy Spirit He dwells in my heart!  I am undeserving of this amazing love you have for me.  I can never be abandoned by you, help me to do the same for others.  Amen  

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Be Alert!

I was running my garbage disposal last night as I cleaned up the supper dishes. Something was obviously stuck in the disposal, so I turned it off and reached down into the disposal to feel around for the lost item. Just as I reached down into the disposal, I heard a noise, felt instant pain, and shrieked at the top of my lungs. Rapidly I pulled my hand from the drain. My daughters, who were nearby, couldn't decide if I was just playing around or really in pain. I wrapped my hand in a towel and began to assess the damage. There was blood, but upon further inspection we realized my finger was not harmed too badly. The nail had been split but the cut wasn't through the finger!

What had happened? My grandson, who's 22 months, had flipped the switch back on after he'd seen me flip it off. I had not noticed him watching. Luckily the switch is broken and you have to hold it to keep the disposal running. The blessing is that when I screamed, he let go of the switch and the disposal stopped! Poor baby! He may need trauma counseling from all that drama!

The reason I tell you this story is because I believe God is in everything and has lessons for us all the time. As I drove to Bible Study after 'the incident', I began thinking about how quickly my brain responded to get my hand out of danger. This whole incident took only seconds. I was thinking about how quickly Brody let go of the switch when he heard my danger cry (or grandma drama cry). And friends, I thought about how dangerous sin is to us. How it longs to tear us up and leave us too wounded to recover. How out of now where it appears and leaves us reeling- wondering what just happened.

We have to be on alert! We must be armored in the word of God. Sin is lurking, and we can't just hang out at its doorsteps. We must know God's truth so that when the temptations come we are alert and can hear the Spirit's call to 'get out of there NOW!'

The funny thing about this is that I text the girls as I was writing this blog and said it's hard to type with a wounded finger. But assured them I was fine because God had a lesson for me. The response from Erica was this... "Satan's quick, Sometimes he gets ya, Just gotta realize and get out of it!"  Exactly what God had spoken to my heart! Friends there is no time for idleness!

"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." 
1 Peter 5:8

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Live An Honorable Life

It is God's will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you.
-1 Peter 2:15-

It isn't always what we say that will point people to God, but our actions and how we carry ourselves.  Living an honorable life is caring for others and doing what is right.  Even when others disagree with  our actions, if they see us consistently doing things out of love and obedience to God they will eventually see that what we do isn't to hurt them, but out of respect and love for them.  People can see right through us.  If we are not genuine in our dealings and our conversations then they will never give our God the time of day, especially if they are not believers.  People who are mean and hurtful and put us down for our beliefs are people who just don't understand.  And even if they have been given many chances to get it right, it is our responsibility to show patience and love all the way up to the end when they choose God.  

Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors.  Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will hive honor to God when he judges the world.
-1 Peter 2:12-

Sometimes the best thing we can do is be silent and keep on loving.  Many times it's not what we say but how we carry ourselves.  How we show respect even when our belief with another collides.  It is honoring God by following His command to love all people.  We can move people to Christ through our gentle spirit.  Putting our feelings aside for those who don't understand, and loving them anyway.  After all, God loves us when we mess up.  Jesus died for us when we were sinners and hadn't yet understood......in the same way we should be loving others.  God loves us with His honorable unchanging love, we too can live this honorable unchanging life consistently following God's way and pushing through the barriers that separate believers from nonbelievers.  Through your actions silence those who don't understand and call them to know Christ personally.         

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

You Are Loved!

There are a few stories in the Bible that stir my heart every time I read them. The stories of Hannah and the woman at the well are two of them. Another one is the sinful woman who anoints Jesus' feet. It's found in Luke 7:36-50. I encourage you to read it in its entirety, but here's what I love about her today...

Jesus is at the home of Simon (a Pharisee, not to be mistaken with the disciple). Jesus has been invited to a meal and is reclined at the table. Imagine a small table just inches off the ground. Perhaps he is resting his upper body upon a pillow of sorts, his feet stretched out to the side of him. As he talks with those also around the table, a 'sinful' woman approaches him from behind- tears streaming as she kneels at his feet. She has come to anoint his feet with her most prized perfumes. Yet scripture seems to make a very clear point that her tears were what fell upon Jesus' feet.

I know those tears. The ones that are hot as they stream down your face. The ones that just spill out as if coming directly from your heart as a cleansing flood.

She knew her sin. She knew the depth to which she had fallen from the Father's love and her heart was repentant. I've been there. Have you? Repentance isn't just sorry. Repentance bows at the feet of Jesus and then looks straight into his loving eyes and says, "I'm sorry I hurt you. Please forgive me and never let me even go close to that sin again, Lord." The woman's heart cried out to be forgiven. And forgiven she was!

The reason I love this story is the same reason I love the other stories. I love the realness between the woman and Jesus. I love that she knew it was safe to approach him, even in public. I love that he does not condone her sin, but looks deep into her to see who she is in the Father's eyes; she is a beautiful, amazing woman of God! I'm sure she'd tried to leave her sin before. I'm assuming her lifestyle had become who she thought she was made to be. Her sin was her identity. But not to Jesus! He saw her heart by looking straight through her eyes into the depths of her soul. And there he saw beauty! And she knew she was loved! No expectations, no proving herself, just love.

As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.... Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." Luke 7:38, 48

Dear Friend,
Go today knowing that you are loved deeply just for being you by an almighty, amazing God!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Bring A Gift Of Laughter

On your feet now - applaud God!  Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence.
- Psalm 100:1-2 MSG -

One of my favorite things, as a parent, is to hear my children laugh.  First of all, if they are together laughing, I know that they are getting along which brings my heart joy.  Second, the kind of laugh that comes straight from their belly, the one that is free and without abandon, that laugh always brings a smile to my face.  I love to hear joy overflowing from my children.  Their joy is my joy!  The same is true with our heavenly Father.  He loves to see us happy.  He longs to see his children getting along and laughing together.  I even believe we put a smile on His face when we get to laughing hard.  He loves the sound of our happiness, as long as it's not at the expense of another one of His children.  The scripture above states that our laughter is a gift to God.  Our laughter is a gift of praise.  It brings us into His presence where He laughs along side us and delights in our happiness.  So today, share your joy with God.  Offer up your happiness and your laughter as a gift to Him and thank Him for the many reasons you have to laugh.  Find a friend and laugh with her.    

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunday Scripture

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus! 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18