Joy In Our Observance

what we have seen and heard we also proclaim to you, so that you too may have fellowship [as partners] with us. And indeed our fellowship [which is a distinguishing mark of born-again believers] is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things to you so that our joy [in seeing you included] may be made complete [by having you share in the joy of salvation].
‭‭1 JOHN‬ ‭1:3-4‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Happy Saturday!  It’s a beautiful day in northwest Florida, and I’m delighted to find joy in resting in the beauty of God’s world after a very busy week. Sometimes when we take time off from work, we are overloaded before and after the break.  That’s where I have been this week.  So, I’m resting with The Good Book today and singing “I’ve got the Joy, Joy, Joy, joy down in my heart”.

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As Christians we are charged with the Great Commission to spread the Gospel.  Have you ever encountered problems with this?  One of the excuses I hear from many people is that they don’t want to give up the fun in their lives to become a Christian.  So, as Christians we should make worship and fellowship joyful and fun.  I’m not saying be irreverent to God, but rather look for ways to bring joy into being a Christian.

18767EB7-A18D-48DA-9CD1-088AD37BBC76How many times have we said “I have to go to church to . . .”?  What we should be saying is “I’m so excited and can hardly wait to go to church to . . .”.  How we say things affects how we feel about doing those things too.  Is it a chore or a blessing?  Do you tithe because you think you have to, or because you love God?  Do you study your Bible because you must, or because you want to understand and learn more?  Sometimes how we say things sucks the joy right out.

How we do things can be a joy killer too.  Do you jump up and clean your house and mow the yard singing, or is it drudgery?  Do you skip into your workplace in the morning with happiness, or with the look of gloom?  Everything we do should be done to the best of our ability with a song in our heart.  If you are having trouble finding joy, turn on some praise music.  You’ll be surprised how quickly your mood will change.

A4B5C4F2-C05C-4334-B98F-3A4CB02295F0Trust me when I say, there is always someone watching and listening.  If you are complaining, or if you are unhappy all the time, why would someone want to be a Christian like you?

Have a joyful Saturday!  God bless you.

 

 

 

Try Something New Tuesday – Save Others

On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
‭‭Mark‬ ‭4:35-41‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Happy Tuesday!  It’s a beautiful morning in Florida, but we have been experiencing daily thunderstorms probably, or at least in part, due to the high temperatures.  The recent weather events bring to mind the story in Mark 4:35.

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Whenever there is a storm in your life do you call out for help?  Can you identify with disciples who were saying “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing”?  I think we all do at times, but if we love and trust Jesus, we do not have to ever be afraid.  In fact, maybe rather than identifying so much with the ones in need, we should identify with the one who meets needs.  As Christians, we have inherited Jesus’ ministry.  We all have within us the capacity to change the world.  It may seem small at times, but as we become more mature Christians, this capacity grows.  When we combine our efforts with the efforts of other Christians, and we see exponential growth.  The Great Commission is not only for preachers, it is for all Christians.

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Today, try to help others in need.  God bless you.

 

Spread the Love Friday – How Do You Live Your Life?

We justify our actions by appearances; GOD examines our motives. Clean living before God and justice with our neighbors mean far more to GOD than religious performance. Arrogance and pride—distinguishing marks in the wicked— are just plain sin.
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭21:2-4‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Happy Friday!  It’s a great day to spread God’s love.

Have you ever considered your actions as a way to spread God’s love?  If you accidentally walked out of the store without paying for a pack of gum, would you go back?  If the cashier gave you back too much money would you go back?  Would you consider living with your partner rather than getting married to avoid paying taxes?  Do you look for ways to cheat or get around laws, to receive undeserved benefits because you feel you deserve them more than others?  Do you drive a brand new SUV and receive government subsidies for food, housing and other living expenses?  What are your motives behind your actions?

 

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Your actions speak loudly about who you are, and they affect others.  For example, the cashier who gave you too much money back may have lost a family member today and now could lose her job because of the mistake she made.  It was her mistake, but do the right thing.  Whenever we mistakenly or purposely steal items in the store, the prices go up for everyone.  The store has to cover the loss, and sometimes stores close because of their inability to absorb losses.  Don’t do it on purpose, and if by mistake you walk out with something, go back.  Your actions will let others know what type of person you are.  One day it might matter if you are falsely accused.  Someone will remember your honesty.  Plus, you will be able to sleep well at night and feel good when you stand before God.

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Finally,  if you are a person who cheats the government or works the system for a better lifestyle with little to no effort, know that someone is paying for your actions and someone who needs the assistance may not be able to receive what they need due to your greed.   Nothing is free.  Proverbs 6:6 says “[g]o to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise”.  Proverbs 14:23 tells us that “[i]n all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads to poverty”.  God expects us to work hard and prepare for the future.  Nothing is gained by cheating the system.  Someone else is carrying your load.  We are also supposed to take care of people who need assistance.  So, remember to help those who need help.  Your motives say it all.  When we live with clean motives, have faith in the Lord, and work hard, our lives will be far better now and when we see God.

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Having said all of this, please know that you should not compare yourself to others.  Live your life as an example and leave the rest to God.

Have a great day.  Spread God’s love through clean living!  God bless you.

Forgiveness Thursday – Claim Your Blessings

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

Happy Thursday.  Every day is a good day to forgive yourself and others.

Are you claiming your blessings?  Deuteronomy 28 has a list of blessings and curses with these instructions “if you diligently listen to and obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all of His commandments which I am commanding you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations . . . [and] . . . [a]ll these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you pay attention to the voice of the LORD your God” (DEUTERONOMY‬ ‭28:1-2‬).  That sounds easy on the surface, but for me at least, it’s a daily challenge.  I encourage you to read all the wonderful blessings in the first 13 verses.  Then, take a look at the curses that follow.  God has given us the free-will to make the choice.

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I recently read Joyce Meyer’s book Change Your Words, Change Your Life (Faith Words, NY, 2012).  I love all of her books, but this one helped me realize that what we think and speak, has an impact on whether or not we claim our blessings.  When Jesus was challenged by Satan, he spoke God’s word.  Why wouldn’t we?  So, after reading this book, I made a list of Bible verses, and began claiming God’s blessings every day, at least one if not multiple times a day, in my life.  If you have any doubts to whether this works, try it.  God doesn’t want us to be miserable.  Claim your blessings today and every day.

Have a great day!  God bless you.

Try Something New Tuesday – How Do You Treat People?

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world. [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]
‭‭JOHN‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Happy Tuesday!  It’s Try Something New Tuesday.  What will you try?  I asked a friend, and she said she had tried Coke Zero.  Sounds a little silly, but it helps her with a health goal.  As my coach told me this week, if you are doing the best you can, you are making progress.

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Has anyone verbally or physically attacked you unjustly?  Do you want to avoid going certain places or being around certain people?  How do you treat people who have mistreated you?  Your reaction or decision not to react, says quite a bit about your character.  Sometimes our pain runs deep and it’s hard to move forward.  In these times, I think of Jesus.  He did not treat people according to how they treated him.  He showed love, patience and forgiveness to all. He kept living and moving forward no matter what he faced or came up against. It’s hard, but we can take the high road too.  We all have work to be done for the Kingdom of God.  Don’t let others steal your glory.

So as you go out today, put on the love and attitude of Jesus.  God bless you.

Tell Me Something Good Monday – Emotions

Then He said to her, “Daughter, your faith [your personal trust and confidence in Me] has restored you to health; go in peace and be [permanently] healed from your suffering.”
‭‭MARK‬ ‭5:34‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Happy Monday!  Tell me something good!  I have lots of good news.  Our son came home this weekend with news that he has a job with a nice salary and benefits.  That is something good.  Our daughter, son-in-law and grandson also came over Saturday and Sunday.  Yesterday, we had great fun in Sunday School and then treated the children and my mother and father-in-law to dinner at our home with my husband at the grill.  He’s the best chef!  Over the weekend we also enjoyed watching the movie “I Can Only Imagine”.  What a great Father’s Day treat!  Britt and I both enjoyed the movie and watched it multiple times.  Today, I plan to take my Dad to lunch and celebrate Father’s Day with him.

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Despite all the wonderful things that took place over the weekend, I’d be lying to you if I said everything was perfect.  One of my Sunday School students that I was particularly fond of left my class.  I hope it is temporary, but that may not be what God has planned for her.  It was like a child leaving the nest.  I also had an argument with my husband, which is very rare, but it happened.  Sometimes as Christians we feel like we need to hide our emotions and pretend when things don’t go well.  Yet, we still have emotions.  It’s part of being human.  Even Jesus wept when his friend Lazarus died.  It’s okay to cry, be angry and experience other emotions.  When we pretend to be perfect, others pick up on our lack of sincerity.

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Many years ago I had a discussion with a friend about emotional pain.  My friend was a nurse and she believed physical pain to always be worse than emotional pain.  A few years later, her husband took a job and she had to leave her family and friends behind.  For at least a year she was severely depressed.  I remember her saying “I was wrong, emotional pain is just as bad or worse than physical pain”.  If you are experiencing emotional pain, try meditating on these verses.

It is the LORD who goes before you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
‭‭DEUTERONOMY‬ ‭31:8‬ ‭AMP‬‬

The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous [those with moral courage and spiritual integrity] And His ears are open to their cry. The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, To cut off the memory of them from the earth. When the righteous cry [for help], the LORD hears And rescues them from all their distress and troubles.
‭‭PSALM‬ ‭34:15-17‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become restless and disturbed within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence.
‭‭PSALM‬ ‭42:5‬ ‭AMP‬‬

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no enemy can withstand]. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust [with great confidence, and on whom I rely]!”
‭‭PSALM‬ ‭91:1-2‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Have a wonderful Monday!  God bless you.

 

Spread the Love Friday – Be a Revolutionary for Christ

The wicked desire the stronghold of evildoers, but the root of the righteous endures.
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭12:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Happy Friday!  Spread God’s love everywhere you go.

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Have you ever been teased for being a Christian?  Have you ever felt that you had to stifle your beliefs or that you were be considered a “goody two shoes”? Have you ever been left out or ostracized for your beliefs?  Well, you are not alone.  Christians are revolutionaries for Christ.  As such, we are called names, teased and ostracized.  It’s not easy and it sometimes hurts.  We need to rely on Christ to work through us, especially in our weakest moments.  Do we have to give up things or avoid going certain places?  Yes, but what we gain is much greater.  I have found so much happiness in being a Christian and doing God’s work.

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If you are discouraged because you aren’t accepted.  Think of all the good you are doing when you let Christ work through you. God bless you.

 

Forgiveness Thursday — Shine, Shine, Shine!

“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because GOD, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.”
‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭31:6‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Happy Thursday!  It’s been a very busy week, but I am so pleased with all the good I see in the world.

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Have you ever been placed in an uncomfortable position or put “on the spot” about an issue at work or even outside of work?  This is a great time for you to say “thank you” and shine.  Yesterday, I was involved in two such meetings: one was scheduled in advance; and one was at a moment’s notice. Guess what?  Both meetings went well.  When we allow Christ to work through us, we don’t have to be concerned or stressed out.

D9CB35F8-4DE8-4441-81F3-3135329B636FSo, what do you do?  First, don’t stress out!  Much of what we get stressed over never even happens.  Relax and say a quick prayer.  Second, really listen.  Don’t let your mind wander.  Empathize with those who are speaking with you and try to identify the issues.  Third, avoid interrupting. Just listen. Fourth, start out soft.  If you start out upset, you have nowhere to go.  Fifth, think creatively.  Sometimes we might not have an answer, and it’s okay to ask for additional time.  Sixth, when everyone has gone their separate ways, follow-up in a timely manner.  Finally, don’t hold any grudges.  Forgive anyone who has offended you and let it go.  It may take a little practices, but with time, this process will leave you feeling pleased.

I hope you will embrace opportunities like these.  God bless you.

Tell Me Something Good Monday – Take Time Live Childlike

For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:2-5‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Good Morning!  I hope you had a wonderful weekend.  Please share your wonderful experiences.

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As I continue leading the multigenerational Sunday School class, God teaches me.  Last week we had about 30 members in attendance from children to Senior Citizens.  So, when I was preparing the class I prayed about my dilemma of involving the children while keeping the adults engaged.  I spent some time planning the class, which involved all types of activities where the adults could assist with leading songs and teaching hand games to the children.

When it came time for Sunday School to start yesterday, there were 8-10 adults and no children.  I explained my dilemma to the class and moved forward. God is so awesome.  The class was about “Christian Family”.  Who knew the adults would enjoy making the church and steeple with their hands, and singing “Have You ever Seen a Lassie” with different words for the occasion?  We had a meaningful discussion of the scripture followed by a cooperative game with a beach ball.  They seemed to have fun.  One member told me repeatedly how much he enjoyed the class and one said we should play with the beach ball every week.  I had fun too.  I called my daughter and asked her to bring Landon over.  He and I played like lifeguards in the pool saving imaginary animals and had a blast!

Sometimes we are so busy running from here to there and keeping up with all our electronic devices that we forget that we need to just be “childlike” and enjoy life.  What a blessing God showed me yesterday.

I hope you have a fantastic Monday!  God bless you.

Light of the World Blogger Award

I’m truly honored to have been nominated by Joe of Lighthouse Devotions and T. R. Noble of Inside Cup  for the Light of the World Award.  I strive everyday to let God’s light shine through me and find this Award to be a blessing to my ministry.  Thank you Joe and T. R. Noble.  Take a few minutes to enjoy both blogs.  You will walk away feeling blessed.

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Light of the World Award

The Apostle Paul said, “Pay everyone what is owed: taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due”.  Romans 13:7

“I believe that true believers and followers of Jesus Christ are actually like lighthouses for God. For this reason and because Jesus Himself said that we are the ‘light of the world,’ I decided to create The Light of the World Award to honor authors (bloggers) whose presence on the web serves as a shining light for Christ and His Gospel of salvation.”  Joe Rodriguez, Award  Creator (Lighthouse Devotions)

My Answers to Joe’s Questions

  1. What three words would you use to describe your blog?  Inspirational, Healing, Blessings 
  2. In what way(s) can a Christian shine for Christ? We all have God given gifts.  Each person’s gifts are different.  When Christians use their gifts and strive to live like Christ, we shine for Christ.  No one is perfect, but people are always watching.  It’s important that we make good decisions and have good attitudes, especially when we are having a bad day.  As we walk with Christ, others will be drawn to us and we can share our beliefs.  Never let an opportunity pass.  It may be the only chance you have to shine in that person’s life for Christ.
  3. What bible verse (quote it) talks about being a light in a dark and lost world? For once you were darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light [live as those who are native-born to the Light]
    ‭‭EPHESIANS‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭AMP‬‬
  4. What Christian song do you know that has the word “light” in it? Provide a link if available.  I have a couple of favorites.  First So Will I (100 Million X) by Hillsong UNITED.  The lyrics begin “God of creation there at the start before the beginning of time with no point of reference you you spoke to the dark and fleshed out the wonder of light . . .” 

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I also enjoy listening to the upbeat song called Start a Fire by Unspoken.  

Lyrics
This world can be cold and bitter
Feels like we’re in the dead of winter
Waiting on something better
But am I really gonna hide forever?
Over and over again
I hear Your voice in my head
Let Your light shine, let Your light shine for all to see
Start a fire in my soul
Fan the flame and make it grow
So there’s no doubt or denying
Let it burn so brightly
That everyone around can see
That it’s You, that it’s You that we need
Start a fire in me
 You only need a spark to start a whole blaze
It only takes a little faith
Let it start right here in this city
So these old walls will never be the same
Over and over again
I hear Your voice in my head
They need to know
I need to go
Spirit won’t You fall on my heart now
Start a fire in my soul
Fan the flame and make it grow
So…

My Nominations

  1. Faith Love Soul. Yamina strives to help people to live their personal best life.  Her tips are great and will uplift you along the way.
  2. New Creation Ministries .  There are many ways to shine your light, and Ellie is does it with nutrition.  I’m so thankful for posts that are helpful in living a healthy life.
  3. GodInspiredArt&Quotes.  Tammy shines God’s light through her bubbly personality.  I always enjoy chatting with her.  Her blog features God inspired art.
  4. Dr. Charles Earl Harrel   What a blessing it has been to get to know Dr. Charles Earl Harrel, minister and author.  If you haven’t already picked up his book The Greatest Moment, do so right away and visit his blog.  God’s light shines through his work.
  5. Taking Up My Cross this young writer inspires me with his knowledge.  He uses every day situations to teach God’s word.
  6. I’ve recently discovered Walking In God’s promises.  The author uses delightful life stories to share how God is at work in our lives daily.
  7. Tonya Batterson LaLonde touches my heart with her encouraging posts.   Visit her blog and see how God’s light is shining through her

The Rules

  1. Save and add the award image (pictured above) on your blog.
  2. Create a page/post to mention the award nomination and thank the person/blog that nominated you. Make sure you provide a link to their site.
  3. Give credit to the creator of the award (Lighthouse Devotions) and provide a link to the site as well.  (http://www.Lighthousedevotions.blog)
  4. List the rules.
  5. Answer the next four questions on the same post:
    1. What three words would you use to describe your blog?
    2. In what way(s) can a Christian shine for Christ?
    3. What bible verse (quote it) talks about being a light in a dark and lost world?
    4. What Christian song do you know that has the word “light” in it? Provide a link if available.
  6. Nominate 7 or more people/blogs to receive the award. Briefly explain why you think they should receive it and provide a link to their sites.
  7. Contact them and let them know that you nominated them.
  8. Provide them with a link to the Rules page.
  9. Say a prayer thanking God for His light and ask that He continue to shine it through you and your blog.
  10. Keep shining the light of Christ wherever you go and in whatever you do!

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. – Matthew 5:14 (NAS)