Forgiveness Thursday – Undeserved Actions

In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:14-15‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Happy Thursday!  It’s a beautiful day to forgive others.

Sometimes forgiving others is more than what we expect.  Have you ever been minding your own business, working, when all of a sudden you find out you’re under attack?  Sounds a little silly on the surface level, but I’ve experienced this several times.  I have been accused of being paranoid and other things, but every time I was notified by other people who either witnessed or was involved first hand.  The good news is the more you experience these types of incidents, the better you know how to handle them.

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The first time this happened, I panicked.  However, today I don’t know if I would have handled the situation differently, other than the panicking  part.  The next couple of times I was angry and aggravated.  Today, it got my attention, but I actually felt bad for the instigator.  If you think about it, a person would have to be desperate to stoop to levels of trying to hurt someone else for no reason.  Have you ever heard the phrase “it’s a dog eat dog world”?  It’s true, but we have the power to change it.

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I have learned that the more we grow in God’s love, the better we are able to handle these types of incidents.  It also enables us to be prepared to take on new responsibilities in the earthly and spiritual realms.  That’s exciting.  So, today I fogive the one who seeks to cause unwarranted strife in my life, and I ask God to do the same

Have a wonderful Thursday.  God bless you.

 

 

 

Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday – Choices

For if I do this work of my own free will, then I have a reward; but if it is not of my will [but by God’s choosing], I have been entrusted with a [sacred] stewardship.
‭‭1 CORINTHIANS‬ ‭9:17‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Good morning!  We are so thankful to have survived the storm with no damage.  Today, Britt and I are celebrating our anniversary a little late by spending the day together.

The subject of “choices” is heavy on my mind.  God is a respecter of people.  He gives us free-will.  Yet, we struggle with our choices.    How many times have you been in the store or maybe on the Internet shopping, and seen something you feel like you can’t live without?  You can’t afford it, but really want it. Have you ever juggled bills mentally?  I am reminded of a time that I fell in love with a special Bible.  It was beautiful.  The pages were embossed with roses.  There were beautiful images in the Bible and I loved the way the synthetic pink leather felt.   For a year I visited the book store and walked around carrying the Bible like it was a baby.  Every time I put the Bible back on the shelf and didn’t purchase it for myself.   I did, however, buy the Bible as a gift for someone else. The recipient seemed pleased at the time, but I later learned that they didn’t like it.  One day I was driving down the road and saw the book store was closing.  I rushed over, but the Bible was gone.  As soon as I got home from work, I searched the Internet and found one for half the price on Amazon.  I ordered it right away and felt that immediate contentment.  The next day I learned it was on back order.  It stayed on back order for six months.  However, individuals were selling the once $40 Bible ($25 on Amazon) for over $2,000.  I gave up and ordered  a similar Bible, which I didn’t need.  The next day the Bible I wanted shipped out.  I ended up spending $50 for two Bibles I didn’t need.  Yet, I was excited to receive my beautiful Bible.  Guess what?  It’s untouched in the same place I set it when it arrived.  The truth is I have several Bibles and I didn’t need another Bible, especially because it looked pretty.  Bad financial decisions are painful down the road and take a toll on relationships.  In fact, how many divorces have you noted due to finances?

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Have you ever fallen in love and wanted to give into physical desires when you weren’t married?  It seems commonplace now, but Paul covers this sin of the flesh in the Book of Galatians.  Maybe you have already succumbed to the passion and now you are in a difficult situation related to that decision?  Or maybe you are stressed at home and a pretty face provides a temptation you are unable to resist.  Have you resorted to crime in order to feed your family?  Have you ever been faced with a difficult ethical decision at work? Have you made bad decisions in how you treat others?

The  list goes on and on.  Not only do your decisions affect you, but also others.  Even if no one knows about your bad decision, your attitude and actions will show what is going on inside of you. Some decisions take many years to overcome.  Some decisions may change your life forever or even result in a physical death.

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So, what do you do?  You can’t be indecisive for long periods of time.  The answer is accept Christ as your personal savior. Build a good relationship with God.  Study your Bible daily.  Build relationships with other Christians.  Then, when you have an important decision, ask for God’s guidance.  It’s that simple!  What a super gift!  Yet, it does take a little effort every day.  The good news is that if you have made bad decisions, and we all have, you can ask for forgiveness and realize that it takes time overcome bad decisions.

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Have a wonderful Wednesday and spread God’s love everywhere you go.  God bless you.

Clarifying note.  After I posted today, my husband pointed out that the Bible tells us in Acts 10:34-35 that “God is no respecter of persons”.  However, the phrase is used in a different context.  My reference was in regard to personal free-will.  God respects our free-will.  Acts 10 is referencing God showing no partiality.

Memorial Day Storms

He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭107:29‬ ‭KJV‬‬

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Good Morning and happy Memorial Day!  Say hello to my little subtropical storm friend, Alberto.  The eye of the storm is expected to make landfall about 70 miles from where we live, but so far we’ve only seen scattered showers and light wind.  Thanks be to God!  After a week of rain many are concerned about flooding.  The local businesses depending on tourism and the economy in Florida will definitely feel the storm.

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I started feeling the low air pressure Friday evening before I realized there was a storm. This morning I thought it might be good to sleep in, but let’s just say that Dominic had other plans for me.  I woke up to my fur ball cat wrapped around my head pulling my hair.  The mighty hunter awoke us night before last when he pushed my husband’s bread machine onto the floor.  I’m glad he’s cute.   Even as I type this post, he is climbing over me like a toddler needing attention.

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I love to watch the weather from the safety of our glass enclosed porch.  Today, I am reminded that our soldiers do not have that luxury.  Whatever the storm, they fearlessly face the elements.  Memorial Day is not just a day off from work.  It’s a time to be thankful for the sacrifices made so that we can enjoy freedoms often taken for granted.  It’s a time to remember those who have given their lives for our country and to celebrate those willing to defend it now.  Over the years I’ve had many family members and friends willing to serve, including my son-in-law, two nephews, father-in-law, uncles, and cousins.  Today, I pause to say thank you.

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All of us face storms in our lives.  Some may be overwhelming and seem insurmountable, but we are never alone.  Remember that even in our most hopeless moments, we are surrounded by God’s love.

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The wind is picking up a bit, so I’m going return to the safety of reading on my porch with Dominic, who has now been joined by our very scared and drooling Great Dane, Singer.  God bless you all.

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Blessings Abound

The blessing of the LORD brings [true] riches, And He adds no sorrow to it [for it comes as a blessing from God].
‭‭PROVERBS‬ ‭10:22‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Good morning!  The sun is out and Landon is excited.  If it doesn’t rain today, he will be able to go swimming.  After a long dry period, we have experienced a couple of weeks of daily rainfall.  When you are three and want to go swimming, this isn’t good news.  Unfortunately, there are children with larger concerns than rain affecting their fun time.

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At work I’ve started writing newspaper articles to help new businesses.  Yesterday, I hit the jackpot.  I interviewed a young man who was continuing a family business after his father had died.  I interviewed a Chinese couple who had  traveled from China to chase their dream of starting a Japanese restaurant. Finally, I interviewed a young man from Nigeria starting a used car business.  Did I mention all of these entrepreneurs are under the age of 30?

The stories were so interesting and heart warming.  I felt blessed to meet with each person. I worked four hours late to make sure their stories would make the newspaper deadline.  This morning as I watch Landon racing through the house and playing with his toys, my mind reflects on the last interview of yesterday, the young man from Nigeria.

91C7F62E-6E63-4B33-A7D9-ADC093EDC541In his interview yesterday, he shared how Christians are murdered in his homeland.  He spoke about extreme poverty and physicians leaving college to resort to a life a crime, because of their inability to earn enough money to feed their families.  He also shared his story of attending a summer basketball camp, where he was selected by a coach for the NBA.  Did I mention this young man is 6’11”?  I’m a mere 5’2” (when I stretch) and I was so glad when he sat down.

His parents allowed him to go to North Carolina at the age of 16 hoping to provide him a better future.  They must have loved him so much to let him go.  Plus, he relayed that promises were made to his parents about his care that did not take place.  Once in the United States, he shared a dorm room without heat and air conditioning with three roommates.  He had one outfit to wear and he looked forward to going to Golden Corral to eat, because he was not provided food on a regular basis.  His Christian beliefs were what helped him obtain a degree and play in the NBA. He has also been instrumental in helping other young men get noticed by coaches too.  I felt his pain as he shared his story, which included his mother not being able to attend his college graduation due to a hardship in obtaining a VISA  from the US embassy in Nigeria at age 52.  He talked as if this is an old age, which surprised this 52 year old mother.

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His sad story was laced with hope for the future, which included his Christian beliefs.  As I explained yesterday, sometimes when we go through tough times, we can appreciate our blessings more.  God seems to use those of us who are the most broken.

I pray your blessings overflow today.  God bless you.

 

Spread the Love Friday – How Much Are You Willing to Give Up?

Jesus looked at him and said, “How difficult it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man [who places his faith in wealth or status] to enter the kingdom of God.”
‭‭LUKE‬ ‭18:24-25‬ ‭AMP‬‬

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Happy Friday!

Today, I’m reminded of the story in Luke 18.  The ruler asked Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life and then went on to explain how he had kept all the commandments.  Jesus answered him by saying  “[y]ou still lack one thing; sell everything that you have and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have [abundant] treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me [becoming My disciple, believing and trusting in Me and walking the same path of life that I walk]” (Luke 18:22).  How much are you willing to give up?

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While these verses deal with following Jesus, they also make us think about giving to others.  From time to time all of us have been asked for money.  I’m sure we all have tried to deal with the concept of how much to give and how to help the people asking for money to become more self-reliant.  Conversely, I’ve asked for money, as well.  It’s humiliating to be in that predicament, even if by your own actions.  What are you willing to give up?

There was a church recently selling dinner plates to help a family with a sick child.  I watched an employee in the building give her last bit of change to help the cause.  Would you be willing to give all your spending money until you were paid again?  What if payday was a month away?

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As parents we have to balance letting our children make their own mistakes and stand on their own two feet, and being a safety net to help them when they are in need.  My parents set me out on my own at 18 and I never went back for help.  Man was it tough, but I became self-reliant.  I learned that some times things have to get bad, so I can appreciate the good.  It is true that the toughest times in my life usually have resulted in the fondest memories.  I also learned some bad personality behaviors/habits that have been difficult to break.   When it comes to my adult children, what am I willing to do?  What are you willing to do?  Where is the balance?  Jesus held people accountable, but helped people too.  Would you give all your money until payday, to make sure your adult child had food and encourage him/her to work? Or would you just say “no, get a job!”  What would you do?

Have a wonderful Friday and spread God’s love everywhere you go.  God bless you!

 

 

Forgiveness Thursday – And Forgive Yourself!

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

 

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Happy Thursday!  I can’t believe how fast this week has passed by. There have been quite a few things happening here.  A couple of days ago two children, who are well-known and loved, and come from families loved by the community, were in an accident that resulted in their deaths.  One of the boys was twelve and the other a senior ready to graduate this week.  The community is devastated.  While, we sometimes know the cause of an accident like this, we often still have questions about why.   I drove by our local high school on the way to work this morning and saw that it has black ribbons and bows at the entrances.  Please join me in praying for these families and friends that they can find comfort in their time of sorrow.

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Yesterday, I enjoyed some much needed training.  I am thankful for people who are called to teach, even in a secular capacity.  I needed it.

Yesterday, was also our wedding anniversary.  It is difficult for me to believe that nearly thirty-two years ago I met and thirty-one years ago I married my best friend.  He has truly changed my life.  I can’t even remember life before my husband.  All marriages have ups and downs, but I can’t think of anyone else with who I would want to experience good and bad times in life.  As we have grown older and more mature, we’ve also grown closer to God.  Often our conversations are about scripture and life applications.  It seems sometimes like talking isn’t even necessary.  We enjoy the quiet moments together.  We almost always know what the other is about to say, and we enjoy each other’s company above all other people.  I’m thankful God blessed me with my wonderful husband.

Today, put all your anger and worries aside and make forgiveness a priority!  Remember to show love and embrace the ones you love as often as possible.  God bless you.

 

 

Tell Me Something Good Monday – Royal Wedding, Pentecost Sunday and Issues of the Flesh

When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them.
‭‭Acts‬ ‭2:1-4‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Good Morning!  This weekend has been full of excitement.

First, did you watch the royal wedding?  Weddings and graduations are always exciting because they indicate the beginning of a new chapter.  I must admit I woke up early to watch the excitement of Prince Harry and his new wife.  When I was a teenager I watched Charles and Dianna get married.  Later, I watched Andrew and Sarah, although I seem to remember less about that one.  I remember when Dianna and Fergie were pregnant and planning their nurseries.  Then, I watched Prince William when he married Kate.  So, it is was exciting for me to see another royal get married.  It’s fun to watch history as it unfolds.  This wedding was particularly different because of its inclusiveness.  I loved it.

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This weekend we had our church picnic.  Yesterday was also Pentecost Sunday.  We had a wonderful celebration of a high school graduate and our Sunday School teachers. Great fun was had by all.  It’s good to spend fun time with other Christians. Enjoy the slide show above.

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Can you imagine being alive on the original day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came rushing in?  It must have been amazing.  Many times I think the Holy Spirit speaks to us and works in our lives today, but we disregard it as a coincidence.  The closer I get to God and the more I study, the more I hear the Holy Spirit. He usually speaks to me when I’m not expecting it.  However, the message is clear.

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Most recently I was enjoying lunch with a Christian friend and we were talking about sexual immorality in society.  The discussion was about how we interpreted certain scriptures.  My friend said, “I don’t think God puts us in a situation that we cannot overcome” (reworded). Time stood still for a moment for me as I heard God clear as day tell me that everyone has issues with the flesh that they struggle with.  I know for me it is food.  I try not to judge but to understand.  I’m no different from others and my flesh is weak.  I love food.  So, I know that this is an area that I need to work on.  God really put things into perspective for me.  So, sometimes the message isn’t one I would like to hear, but it is still good news.  Now that I understand, I will work harder because I love God.

Please share your stories about the royal wedding, the Holy Spirit and issues with the flesh.  I hope you have a great day!  God bless you.

 

Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday – Consider the Source

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:6, 8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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Happy Wednesday!  As a manager I’m always taking a mental inventory of people’s gifts.  Everyone is different and has different gifts.  Isn’t that great!  Some people are social. Others are more analytical.  Some people are detail oriented.    It’s not so important what your gift is, as it is to your ability to work within your gift.

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There are times all of us work outside our gifts, and that’s just life. However, when we can work within our gifts we are happier.  For example, if you love gardening, and you take a job in accounting, well you probably are not going to be very happy.   So, when we use and accept gifts, we need to consider the source.  If some one very crafty makes you a handmade gift.  That gift is priceless to the giver.  Regardless to what the gift is, it is special because the giver took the time to remember you.

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Go out and change the world today with your awesome gifts!  God bless you.

Try Something New Tuesday – Let God Take Over

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭14:14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Happy Tuesday!  It’s raining here and we are so excited!  Isn’t it great God knows what we need and when we need it.

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Have you ever had one of those days where you felt invisible to someone?  I’m sure you have had at least one person in your life that has treated you like no matter what you have done, it’s never enough or good enough.  It’s tough not to take this to heart, especially when you feel singled out.  What’s worse is sometimes this type of behavior seems to almost grow contagiously, and before you know it multiple people have joined.  So, what do you do?

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One thing I know you don’t want to do is let them control your emotions and actions.  Sometimes it is just enough to take a deep breath, smile and keep going.  Other times you might feel a little more beaten down.  You can still take a deep breath, smile and keep going, but when the person is talking, listen to what they are saying and watch their body language.  Then, when they leave, pray for them and turn the situation over to God.

In Exodus 14:14 Moses told the Israelites that if they would stand firm against the Egyptians, the LORD would fight for them.  God is still fighting for us today.  We only need to be still.  While you are waiting, put on some praise music and to uplift your soul.  Whatever you do, try to avoid mimicking  the actions of people who mistreat you, when you deal with others.  If the situation continues, pray about it.  Unfortunately, sometimes it takes pain to get our attention and push us to make changes in our lives.  If that is your situation, don’t fret.  Just let God help you.

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I hope your day is wonderful!  God bless you.

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

So Jesus, seeing His mother, and the disciple whom He loved (esteemed) standing near, said to His mother, “[Dear] woman, look, [here is] your son!”
‭‭JOHN‬ ‭19:26‬ ‭AMP‬‬

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Happy Mother’s Day!  This day has been special for me.  I remember a time when I prayed to be a mother every day.  Now, I have two strong, beautiful and extremely intelligent children, a wonderful son-in-law that I call my own, a very precious grandson, and many other children that call me “Mom” and/or Memaw”.  Wow!  I feel that I should honor them.  I am also fortunate enough to have a wonderful mother, mother-in-law and several wonderful aunts in my life.  Each is unique and special.  Finally, my sister, sister-in-laws and friends are also mothers and grandmothers.

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This morning couldn’t have been more perfect.  My husband gave me a beautiful card and gift and we took Landon with us to church.  Of course, he was very well-behaved.  After church the men of the church served a delicious breakfast.  During Church and Sunday School, I listened to stories about how important different members’ wives, mothers and grandmothers were in their lives and the role these women played.  Some had recently passed away.  6DBAE8E5-1C80-41EE-A268-AB1C3C9D13FAWhile driving home after church, Landon sang to the radio.  I could hear his sweet voice singing “Jesus”.  He told us that he loved the song, so I will include it today.  It was then and in similar moments that I have seen the influence that we have as grandparents.  Mothers have an even stronger role.  When we arrived home, our daughter came over.  I am blessed.

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Being a mother is not always easy, but the good moments are priceless!  Mothers have an important role.  We care for our children before they are even born, forming very special bonds.  We go through the pain of childbirth.  We protect and nurture our children, teaching, believing, guiding, loving and cheering them along the way, even when we are heartbroken.DDE11D12-F854-4028-A3E3-6BD28F404B83Then, we take a step back and allow them to go out on their own, because we realize the children we called our own, were only loaned to us temporarily by God for us to prepare them for the world.  Mothers aren’t perfect, but they have an important role.  As he hung on the cross, Jesus remembered His mother.

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Take time to tell those in your life how precious they are to you, because none of us are promised tomorrow.  God bless you.