Friday, September 30, 2016

Philippians 4:6-7

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

Feeling anxious? Pray.
Feeling hopeless? Give thanks.
Feeling alone? Talk to God.
Focus on God. Focus on all he is and all he's done!
Rest in Him despite the storms raging outside of you!

Dance Your Heart Out

And David danced before the Lord with all his might, wearing a priestly garment.
2 Samuel 6:14

Yes! He danced with all his might before the Lord!  David was overflowing with joy in the Lord and He was not afraid to dance in front of a huge crowd.  What a sight that must have been.  We can only imagine through what we have personally experienced.  Christian concerts watching the band singing their hearts out dancing on stage, performing for an audience of One in front of thousands.  The people around you dancing and crying out their praises through music and dancing.  Maybe every Sunday dawns these expressions of praise as your congregation breaks out in worshipful dance.  Take all of your experiences and play this scripture in your head.  A king and leader, a man after God's heart, a father, a husband, a friend......dancing with all his might because of his abundant love of the Lord.  What does that look like to you?  Does is bring a smile to your face, maybe tears to your eyes?  

Friends I love the thought of this man dancing like crazy for God.  Not only do I try to picture David but I also see women and children and a whole community dancing their hearts out!  I look at my own life and imagine myself dancing this way in thankful expression for my Father in heaven.  Will I get embarassed when I realize who is watching me?  Will I feel shame for looking silly in front of a crowd?  My dream is to answer this with a resounding NO.  My dream is for us all to worship God with our hands lifted high and our feet leaving the ground in glorious praise because God is the One True God.  He is awesome!  

Not only did David dance with all his might.  He was confident and didn't care who was looking.  He was so focused in on God that worrying about who was watching, or how he looked, didn't have an effect on him.  He did not care that Saul's daughter, Michal, criticized him telling him that he looked like a street dancer and that he should be ashamed for exposing himself that way to the women on the street.  Saul's response was perfect: "Yes, I am willing to look even more foolish than this, even to be humiliated in my own eyes!  But those servent girls you mentioned will indeed think I am distinquished!'  Maybe he sounds too confident, and to some on the arrogant side, but I love that he didn't care!  I want to not care!  I want us all to have so much faith in God that we are not afraid to dance with all our might in front of people.  I want us to be able to express our love and gratitude for God, to others, in a way that looks crazy to people who don't understand.  I want us to dance and sing for God through our loving serventhood to the people in our communities and throughtout the world.  Like David let us all say, "In God's presence I'll dance all I want! Oh yes I'll dance to God's glory - more recklessly even than this.  And as far as I'm concerned.........I'll gladly look like a fool".  
    


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

An Offer We Can't Refuse

The people refused to enter the pleasant land, for they wouldn't believe his promise to care for them.
Psalm 106:24

How many times have I refused to go where God was leading me because I was afraid?  Too many to count, unfortunately.  My obedience has not been the greatest.  Because I didn't have a personal relationship with Jesus I was not always living in His will.  And even now that I do know Jesus, I still get afraid of following Him.  Why, after so many promises, do I still get fearful of following God to unknown places?  Time and time again He has proven himself faithful to His people.  Over and over, in the bible, He promises to always be with me and I still doubt when it comes to stepping out of my comfort zone.  It makes sense to most people.  In fact, society encouragages that we make decisions based on our needs and desires.  The world tells us to do what makes us happy and enjoy life to the fullest.  But what if that means instead of taking the fun, easy way we are to get uncomfortable for God?  Is God asking us to do hard things, step out into the unknown waters and travel to a land we don't know much about?  I believe more times than not God will ask us to endure the hard.  He promises us a land so rich in mercy and abundant provision but we are often times too scared to go.  Like the Israelites we refuse to enter the pleasant places He has prepaired for us because we don't believe God is able to care for us.  We get so caught up in the what ifs and we become paralized.  We let the world distort our trust in God and we say no to Him.  God wants nothing more than to give us everything!  He dreams to bring us into His beautiful land and give us the finest posessions in the world.  (Jeremiah 3:19-20) But so often we are denied access not because he says no, but because we say no.  We refuse His offer and take the easy way, the wrong way, the fun way.........

Yes, God asks us to do difficult things and go to dangerous places but we can trust that there is no place he will take us that He isn't capable of protecting us from.  There is nothing He can't help us with.  God will always be with us and bless our obedience.   


Monday, September 26, 2016

Worn and Worthy!


My grandchildren have favorite books. Oh, you'll recognize these beloved books right away by their torn covers, dog-eared edges, and rumpled pages. The duct tape bindings are dead giveaways that these books have been thoroughly enjoyed! These favorite books have been read, reread, and yes, read again! Most of their words can be recited without taking a peek between the covers. 



So now I ask you to take a look at your bible this morning. What does it look like? Which of the following words describe your bible: new, pristine, crisp, dusty, rumpled, worn, used, loved? Would someone look at your bible and say it is definitely your favorite book? I ask this question for the purpose of self-reflection. Perhaps you feel that writing in your bible is improper; Perhaps you believe that bent edges and rumpled pages show a lack of respect to the author. But today let me ask you this... Would God be honored that you kept the pages of your bible crisp or that you loved the words so much that the pages were falling out from use and you had memorized the words because you had read them time and again? 

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Dear Lord,
Give me a hunger for your word. As I read, enlighten my heart and my mind to your wisdom and your ways. Take me deeper in your love and make my foundation firm as I meditate on your word. Lord, make my Bible my most beloved book and let the pages reflect the depth of my love for you as I learn of your love for me! Amen

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Sing-A-Long Saturday

You are free! You're chains are broken! You need not live as a prisoner to sin... 
Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom!

Friday, September 23, 2016

A New Love

(7) Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you;
rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning.
This old commandment - to love one another - is the same message you heard before.
(8) Yet it is also new.  Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it.  
For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining.
1 John 2: 7-8 NLT

Why fix something that isn't broken?  The commandment for loving others had not changed since the beginning of time.  God would never change his mind, in fact, the basis of all that He has ever done for us is love.  But was love hard to understand before Jesus came along?  Did we have the perfect example of love to use as a guideline?  Of course God showed people love over and over again from his creation, to the promise of a rainbow, through promising children to the barren, saving people from fire and lions, leading people out of danger and providing resources along the way, the list goes on and continues today.  God is love, but what a gift we were given in Jesus.  Not only did we know about the great love of God but now, through Jesus, we could witness the love of God in a more relatable way.  Jesus was human like us and the love he showed to others was remarkable and out of this world.  God's command to love others took on a whole new meaning when Jesus entered the picture.  We could watch a man selflessly comfort a broken woman, see a man tenderly accept a broken man, we experienced a man lay down His life for the lives of many.  In Jesus we have the best example of love, the true example of love.  Yet God's commandment to love others was old, in Jesus, it was made new.  Jesus was the living example of what God commanded us to do in the beginning of time.  

"So now I am giving you a new commandment: love each other. 
Just as I have loved you, you should love each other."
John 13:34

Jesus declared that he was the definition of love.  We were to follow his unselfish example and love sacrificially.  Like Christ we are to put others first, sacrificing our time, our resources, and our selfish desires.  Jesus is the true example of love and we are commanded to follow Him.  Loving like Jesus is the only way to love well and the only way we will stay in the light.     

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

He Laughs!

When you arise, O Lord, you will laugh a their silly ideas 
as a person laughs at dreams in the morning.
Psalm 73:20

This scripture makes me happy and gives me confirmation of what I so often tell myself.  I have lots of plans.......plans for a day, plans for my future, plans for my family, the list goes on and on!  Short term plans and long term plans.  Plans for little things and plans for big things.  I can work very hard to make these things become reality, I can plan my day according to my ideas but unless God agrees it's all just silly.  I often tell myself that God sits back and just laughs at my plans, especially on the days they don't seem to end up the way I expected.  I imagine His smile as I say my plans for the day knowing full well it won't end up my way but His.  He may laugh at my big ideas and get a chuckle out of my doubtfulness but in the end His plans always succeed and mine may or may not.  

Dear God, thank you for this reminder that I am not in control.  Things will happen that I don't plan for, and I will doubt my abilities, but You will shine through and make your will known.  Forgive me when I try to go alone.  As we laugh together at my silly ideas draw me closer to your will and give me guidance and wisdom to live the life you have planned for me.  Amen  

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Saturday Sing Along


Open your bible and read Psalm 84.  Now meditate on those words as you listen to today's music selection.  God is so good and the promise we have of our future in heaven, face to face with Jesus, is unexplainable!  There will be trials on our journey and there will be hard decisions but with God we will make it!  Even through the low valleys we can find joy in our source of strength and comfort.  We can take the hard road with Jesus and be better off than taking the easy road alone.  A day in His courts is better than a thousand anywhere else!  Amen Amen!

Friday, September 16, 2016

All of You

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭6:19-20‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Thiw verse is a power packed one! You see, On the cross Christ paid for you with his very life. His blood was the ransom necessary to buy you back from your sin and the penalty you deserve, which is an eternity apart from God. He bought you body, mind, and spirit. He bought All of you. So as a response to that he asks for you to use your body, mind and spirit to honor and glorify Him. There are not times in your life in which you can do what you want, when you want, once you give him your heart. God wants you to live for and serve him in your work, play, finances, parenting, marriage, and even in your rest. Whatever you do in this earthly body is to be done for the Lord! 

Dear Lord, 
Help me to serve you fully. Help me to not compartmentalize my life but rather to allow you to live through me in all things, at all times. I love you and thank you for what you've done. You've given me a gift so big that I can never repay you. I offer my life, in and with this body, for your service. Amen

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Know God

If someone claims, "I know God," but doesn't obey God's commandments,
 that person is a liar and is not living in the truth.
1 John 2:4

Obeying God's commands is your outward display of your love for Him.  It also shows how much you know God.  Knowing someone takes time and relationship.  It becomes evident, through your actions, how much you truly know someone.  Take, for example, your best friend, you can expect how she will react to certain situations, you already know how she will respond to a particular person or circumstance.  Knowing your friend well, in these moments, will enable you to readily serve your friend.  Knowing how she will react will prepare you to help her.  You will be ready to serve your friend in any circumstance because of your intimacy with her.  You know what makes her happy and sad, and you know what she expects in a given situation.  Therefore, you can work together in handling any issue.  

We can know God in this same way.  By engaging in His word and spending time meditaing on His commands we can develop an intimate relationship with God and in turn truly know Him.  Knowing God will prepare us to act in certain situations and lead us to obey Him because we know what He expects of us.  We can't obey God if we don't know His commands and don't listen to His voice on our hearts.  And just like with our best friend, we can work side by side with God in any situation.  This is called staying in His will.  When we truly know God we will want to spend more and more time with him, just like a best friend.

Father God, I do not want to be the liar expressed in this scripture.  Help me to commit to You and develop a deep, lasting relationship with You.  Your truth says I will obey You if I know You and so teach me Your ways and your commands.  Help me to stay close to You and live in Your will.  When I claim to know You let my words be truth.  In Jesus' Precious Name I pray...........Amen

          

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Face of a Redeemed Woman

Frustrated. Inadequate. Overwhelmed. Confused. Mentally Exhausted.

These words and more could adequately describe my feeling as I walked the halls of the school on the fourth Monday of the school year. I had recently accepted a new split position in my building. "What have I done? This is too much. I can't even get one job done and another is piling onto my agenda!" was my thought as I traveled the hallways.

I passed my husband in the hall and his comment without one prompted word from me was, "Pull yourself together. You're doing fine." My face told the whole ugly story.

Throughout the rest of the day and into the evening I fretted and tried to accomplish something. But nothing could be completed. My list could not be shortened. I was in too deep. (Sigh)

My prayer became, "Lord, show me what I'm doing wrong. Show me what I'm missing. I'm drowning here, and I hate it. I can't accomplish one thing. What do I do? I can't even focus."

The following morning I sat with my bestie, my GFF. We prayed silently and read scripture. My scripture pointed me toward praise and singing to the Lord for what he has done. And then it hit me like a brick! I needed to change my focus! I was so worried about what I had to accomplish, what I had yet to do, and that I couldn't cross anything off of my list. Among my mess, I had forgotten the most important task of all- and I was reminded that Christ has accomplished that on the cross! The work has already been done. My face instantly went from that of a woman overwhelmed to the face of a redeemed woman! SMILE! JOY! BRIGHTNESS!

So in summary, whatever comes your way today, Smile because you are a redeemed woman. Christ has already accomplished all that needs accomplished. HE has accomplished it all... it's not about you! So smile on, let your light shine! Let your face radiate like a beacon on a hill!

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16



Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Together!

Come, let us tell of the Lord's greatness;
Let us exalt his name together.
Psalm 34:3

It's been a while since I have thought about the importance of having an accountability partner.  I have gotten so used to Mary texting me and encouraging me with scripture that it's become second nature.  This scripture brought me back to my dream for women, and men, everywhere.  I want Christians to have someone they can count on to hold them accountable to upholding a christ-like life.  It takes more than just ourselves studying and carrying on a relationship with Jesus.  It is important that we have someone to share this with.  Someone to call or write you scripture to memorize or sharing thoughts about certain situations you are facing.  And not only is encouragemet important but praising together is key, as well.  Exalting His name together is so much fun!  A life with Christ is made more enjoyable when we can share it with someone!  Do you have that someone special?  Who can you tell of the Lord's greatness on a daily basis and who can you count on to join you in prising His Name on high?  Dear GFF, I pray for you to find that special person to share your faith with.  I pray for you to find someone who is serious about helping you go deeper in your relationship with Christ and someone who isn't afraid to get crazy about shouting Jesus' name together.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Why Did God Create You?

Why are you here? Why are you roaming this earth, breathing the air, and living this very minute? Why did God create you? Take a moment and think... What were you made for?

You are here, My Friend, because God created you. He created you with a purpose in mind. He had a plan for your days, for who you would be and what you would accomplish for his kingdom. You were created to do good works in Christ's name. You were envisioned long before your parents decided to have children. You... Dear GFF,  are a part of a greater plan that began in the distant past and carries on through eternity. YOU WERE CREATED BY GOD'S VERY OWN HAND TO DO GOOD WORKS IN CHRIST!

His vision for you is unique. You were not created to do the works of your spouse, sister, friend or co-worker. You alone have a role, a purpose, an individualized plan for your days on this earth. God has a vision for your life! Isn't that an amazing, humbling thought? That of all God has to think on, he choose to think on you!

Ephesians 2:10 tells us this, "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do."

Meditate on that verse today. As I do, I  marvel at the fact that I'm not an after thought, that I'm not just coasting through the days of a life aimlessly set in motion, but rather, God has a vision for my life! I have purpose and value. To the Lord, I am beautiful, perfectly made, and worthy. I believe that means I need to get to figuring out why I have been created. How about you?

Dear Lord,
I have been on your heart and mind since the beginning of time. You envisioned me as you prepared for eternity. You have a plan, a purpose and value for me to add to this life here on earth. Help me to discern why you created me and give me the courage to follow your lead! Amen


Saturday, September 3, 2016

Saturday Sing Along

You are Priceless!  These words make me smile everytime I hear them!  I imagine God speaking them directly to me and it lifts me up and encourages me.  No matter what we may think or the lies satan is telling us God sees us so differently!  He sees us dressed in white!  Amen

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Lord Still Rules

But the Lord is in his holy Temple;
the Lord still rules from heaven.
He watches everyone closely,
examining every person on earth.
Psalm 11:4

Even when things are really bad and seem to be out of control we can trust that God is still in charge. He sits at his throne and rules from heaven.  What a very comforting thought!  David was constantly running from Saul, and his enemies were great in numbers, but he could trust that God's rule would prevail. He knew that God was greater than the bad happening around him and he trusted that God had the power to rule over all the earth and sky.  Even when earthly rulers and things of this world start to take charge and abuse their power we, too, can believe that God is still in charge!  We must never give up on believing God is in control!