“I will exult and rejoice in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have taken heed of my adversities, and have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place.” Psalms 31:7-8 NRSV
It’s Forgiveness Thursday! It’s a great time to forgive others and ourselves as Christ forgives us!
I woke up this morning complaining and griping. I don’t know what came over me, but I knew it wasn’t good. For me a little praise music and a devotional did the trick. Then, just when I thought I was okay, something negative came flying out of my mouth. Of course, there is nothing God can’t overcome. When we turn to Him, He will carry us through.
Have you ever thought about how others look to us for stability? It is our faith that gives us the stability we need in life. Other people need us to be brave. So, we should strive to live a stable life grounded in God. When we mess up, and we will, we should make it right as soon as possible.
“Commit thy works unto Jehovah, And thy purposes shall be established.” Proverbs 16:3 ASV
Happy Friday! It’s Spread the Love Friday and touching is not allowed. When we had Church services we waived the peace sign to people across the room. Do not fear. There are other ways to spread God’s love.
A year and a half after Hurricane Michael our community is slowly recovering. Just when we were beginning to see help, we found ourselves faced with COVID-19. All my book signings and travel has been cancelled and we are working inside a locked building. It seems like it would be a great time to catch up on work, but work and the emotional stress is heavier than usual. Maybe it’s the isolation, or the amount of fear that blasts through television broadcasts and social media. One of the hardest things for me to accept is the inability to have worship services.
As the week Has progressed more and more business are shutting down and limiting hours of operation. Yesterday, a friend from California shared a story about her elderly mother being sick and her inability to check on her. During the day I was in meetings discussing how to handle hurricane evacuations during COVID-19 quarantines. Then, last night I learned our son-in-law, daughter and grandchildren have been exposed to someone who tested positive. This morning I faced the tear-filled eyes of a friend, who had lost her friend unexpectedly.
How can we stay positive as we watch the world, as we know it, fall apart? Part of the problem is God created us to be social. We need interaction with other people, and let’s face it, electronic media isn’t the same. Sometimes we need a hug without fearing contamination or exposing someone else. Sometimes we need to sit together and listen to the people we love express their grief. Sometimes we need to laugh together. I feel this need strongly, despite being immune compromised. I know I might get sick and die, but cannot help but hug someone who is hurting.
Another problem is we are so bombarded with negativity and fear, that we can’t see the good. In 1999 psychologists Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris conducted the “invisible gorilla” experiment to show that when we focus hard on something, we become blind to the unexpected. (Choi; 7/11/2010; https://www.livescience.com/6727-invisible-gorilla-test-shows-notice.html). Volunteers watched a video of two teams (one dressed in black and the other in white) passing a ball. Participants were charged with counting the passes. They became so enthralled in their task that they didn’t notice a gorilla entering and walking around the room. Since that time there have been many other studies, but the point is sometimes we become so overwhelmed by what is in front of us that we fail to count our blessings. I know that I can become so focused at work that I’m easily startled. Have you ever experienced that?
We are being bombarded by news updates and images related to COVID-19 constantly. While we certainly cannot completely control our environments, we can choose to go outside for a walk, FaceTime family members and friends to check on them, send cheerful messages or funny memes to make others smile, and cry with one another. The human experience is important for everyone.
Our worship services may have been cancelled, but Isaiah 54:17 says “[n]o weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against them in judgement thou shalt condemn.” COVID-19 is not of God. We can continue to worship at home with our families. We can watch televised worship services. I have made adjustments by holding Wednesday night youth meetings and Sunday School meetings through a group chat app. Our minister is also live streaming.
In the middle of the chaos that is taking place, find your peace in God, who always understands. May God Bless You.
“Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thy heart be hasty to utter anything before God; for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.” Ecclesiastes 5:2 ASV
Good morning and happy Monday. The last couple of weeks have been quite busy, but only with good. My husband and I were able to see the Newsboys and Mandisa in concert. Wow! A video about my book was released on Two Egg TV last week. Actually, it will be released a little at a time over the next few weeks. I was grateful to learn that I will be speaking twice at the National American Planning Association’s Convention in Houston next month. I am juggling book signings, work and school. In my down time I enjoy my husband, children and grandchildren. I could have never dreamed of the life I’m living. Life is very good and I’m so blessed.
Today, the Code Enforcement Officer and I conducted some site visits around town. Nearly a year and a half following Category 5 Hurricane Michael, driving around town is depressing. Blue tarps still dominate the scenery. There are people living in undesirable situations. Landmark buildings damaged by the storm are being demolished. Although slowly a normal is being realized, it is still tough.
During those moments that seem a little overwhelming, it’s nice to rest in the peace and stillness of God’s love. I enjoy knowing that He loves me for just being me. I don’t have to earn his affection through doing anything. In those quiet moments I listen for His voice.
“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;” Colossians 1:10 KJV
Good Morning and Happy Monday! What good news do you have to share today? I had a productive and restful weekend. I was able to spend time with my friends at the gym, and catch up on a little work at home. I can’t wait to hear about your “something good!”
Do you ever find yourself doing God’s work because you “have to?” You know, when you are so busy or there’s something else you want to do, but you feel obligated to help at church or something else that you may have made a commitment to do, or even worse, something God has called you to do. I once felt called to speak to a homeless man at church. Every week he showed up, and it never seemed to be the right time. I found out a couple of weeks ago that he was in jail for failure to register as a child sexual predator. Interestingly, I never had that gut feeling when I was around him. Now, it is probably too late, and I may never have another opportunity with this individual. Would I have made a difference? Who knows.
This morning I’m reminded of the parable of the prodigal son. The older son stayed home and worked with his father, while the younger son sewed his wild oats. However, the older son had a bitter and jealous heart. He failed to realize that he had his father every day. People are always more important and special than things. When the younger son came home and the father celebrated, the older son was bitter.
Colossians 1:10 reminds us how important our attitude is to God. When we are going through our routines to check actions off our todo list, but don’t have the right attitude in our hearts, God knows. The same thing happens when we are taking action to get attention and be in the spotlight. However, it is deeply satisfying to us and God when our actions emanate from our soul. Serving God is pleasing unto Him, when we have the right attitude.
Have a wonderful Monday and keep a positive attitude in everything you do. May God bless you.
“and let us consider [thoughtfully] how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds,” Hebrews 10:24 AMP
Happy Tuesday! When everything starts getting routine in our lives, it’s a great time to try something new. What will you try?
One thing I have noticed that is important to everyone is to have encouragement during our trials, and when we feel especially weak. How long does it take for you to be worn down after a long day of work when the house is mess and the kids are begging? How about when your grown kids need help, but so do your parents?
Everyone is going through different struggles in their lives all the time. At the end of the day there are two things that matter: God and people. Things are not what is most important. Sometimes it is difficult to find a balance between work and caring for family. That’s when we need to ask God for help and truly depend on Him to help us.
A friend of mine recently lost her mother. It has been difficult for her. Not only does she need encouragement, she needs help with housework and her kids. As a Christian family this is when we need to pitch in to make a difference. Together we can help one another without wearing ourselves too thin.
Recently I have been humbled by my friends and how much support they have shown me with my new book. People I never expected have come out to help. It is wonderful to help and receive help.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV
Happy Monday! It’s a great time to share something good to brighten the day of those around you. My good news is I’ve almost completed another class. I should have it submitted by the end of the week. My other good news is my husband and I bought tickets to see the Newsboys and Mandisa at a nearby concert at the end of February. We are usually too busy to go out much. So, I’m excited. I look forward to hearing your good stories.
Have you ever felt you were facing too many obstacles, opponents or suffering in your life? Have you been entrusted with secrets that weigh you down? Well, you are not alone. Some secrets are not too big a deal and are short lived. Others are burdensome.
A few years ago a family member shared a secret with me that was very dramatic. I told my husband, but no one else for about three years. I needed someone to talk to, as did my husband. While it was a secret, it was also something obvious that we were being questioned about frequently. We were afraid to speak with anyone, even a counselor or minister, because if the news was leaked, suicide was a possibility. Another time I was entrusted with a family secret that put great stress and demands on me. While it is good to know what’s going on, secrets can destroy people. Ultimately, my heart was weighted down with the secret to the point that I unloaded without realizing what I was doing. I felt so guilty. It is for these reasons that I have decided to walk away from secrets. I also have decided to never burden others with secrets.
The good news, if you are experiencing this type of situation, is Jesus has already conquered all your opponents and worry. While He never said you wouldn’t have to suffer, He is bigger and more powerful than your suffering.
Trust in Him today and have a great Monday. May God bless you!
“But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Hebrews 10:12-14 NIV
It’s Forgiveness Thursday and a great time to forgive yourself and others.
This week has been truly hectic. I worked the weekend and the holiday, and still couldn’t catch up. However, I felt a little relief on Tuesday morning, knowing I had delegated out a large portion of the assignments in my office. That didn’t last long though. Every day, more and more assignments piled up. Yesterday, I locked myself in my office trying to meet deadlines only to find out that I had even more to do at the end of the day. I worked until the very last minute before I sped to Church to teach the youth. Last night I was thinking, “I don’t want to work this weekend, plus I have school work.” I felt like I needed a break, so I could live outside my job, enjoy my family, clean my house and complete my school assignments.
This morning I came to work early, but it wasn’t long before my heart was racing. I suddenly remembered that I had not made time for my devotional. I stopped for a moment, to read my Bible. The priest in Hebrews 10 trusted God rather than relying solely on himself and others. That’s when I realized what was happening. The only one who will never let us down is God. I was putting the burden on myself. While it is good to do the very best you can at everything, stress is not healthy. God doesn’t want us to feel like we are alone and everything depends on us. He wants us to do the best we can and depend on Him.
Put your trust in God every day. I hope you have a wonderful day. May God bless you.
“The Lord’s justice will dwell in the desert, his righteousness live in the fertile field. The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.” Isaiah 32:16-17 NIV
It’s Try Something New Tuesday. Yesterday, my saved post disappeared. So, today, I’m trying a two-for-one special.
Have you ever thought “can things get any worse?” If you have, you are not alone. Unfortunately, the answer is YES! Take a look around. The more I listen to others, the more I realize things can be much worse. Yet, you may wonder why God’s people go through adversity. Jesus, himself, lived through horrible circumstances, including torture, before dying and being resurrected. Being a Christian doesn’t exempt us from adversity. However, adversity can further us in our spiritual journeys. We could never really understand the darkness others go through, if everything was always wonderful. Once we have lived through what we think is bad, we need to remember how it felt. Why? So we can be a blessing to others while they are going through the same.
Have you ever wanted someone to notice or recognize an accomplishment? Well, if your answer is yes, you are not alone. This is something I work on daily. When I have worked hard on a project, sometimes, I wish just one person would notice. The truth is they do. It is not necessary for them to validate my need for praise. Last week a coworker compared me to another person. She said we both needed attention, but I do good things to get attention. The other person, in contrast, does bad things to get attention. YIKES! I never thought of it that way. Although I said I was doing things to glorify God, I wasn’t bearing truthful witness.
What does it mean to be a truthful witness? It means you are someone who glows in the glory of doing God’s work. There is no need for praise or blame. Pure satisfaction is found solely in doing God’s work, whatever we are called to do. To bear truthful witness is to live in the peace of the LORD. Doesn’t that sound awesome! Although I’m not sure if anyone, other than Jesus, has been a perfect truthful witness, my husband is very good at this. Even if we are not always perfect, we can work to improve ourselves. This is one of the best ways to witness God’s love to others.
Today, imagine the Glory of God shining down upon you as you do his work. May God bless you.
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:19-20 NIV
It’s tell me something good Monday! My good news is getting a little rest after Christmas. I had a couple of days off and enjoyed waking up slowly, cuddling with my pets and reading. I even binge watched a little Netflix. It was nice. However, I’m also glad to be back at work today.
This morning I’ve been reflecting on how our lives have changed over the past year. A new puppy joined us early in the year. Later in the year we welcomed a new granddaughter and was able to spend time with our grandson while our daughter was in the hospital. In January, I started a youth class at church with the wonderful assistance of my sweet friend Melissa. The teens designed their own shirts and enjoyed three fun outings. My husband celebrated 30 years at his job. At the end of the year, I published my first book and I have started on the second. It was definitely a busy year, full of exciting times. However, there were some challenges during the year, including my sister miscarrying her twin daughters, one of which was named after me, and her later finding out that her health is bad.
Whether your year was all that you wanted, or a little more challenging, the new year brings about thoughts of new beginnings and opportunities. It’s good to reflect on the past, but move on to the present and enjoy every moment. Find your hope for the present in Jesus. May God Bless You!
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 NIV
Good Morning and Merry Christmas Eve! It’s Try Something New Tuesday! We are always looking for something new to try, especially in terms of relieving our stress. We want a little “peace” and quiet, a “peaceful” evening, and “peace” in the office and at church.
I’ve been conducting a little research on peace for a book that I’m working on. I have a BA in Political Science and International Affairs with a minor in history and economics. So, I have spent many hours studying peace in the classroom. One thing I know for certain is we do not live in a peaceful world. All you need to do is turn on the television at night. You will see politicians arguing, shootings and other disturbing images. While this seems to be a new phenomenon, it’s not. History shows that only a little more than 10 percent of the time humans have inhabited the earth there has been peace. There have been 286 wars within the last 300 years in Europe alone. What have we or our representatives done? Entered into countless peace treaties meant to last forever. The sad truth is most lasted no more than two years.
Everyone want to eliminate stress and find some peace. Stress is not what you see on television, or at work. Stress is how we react to what is taking place. It’s internal to us. Stress is the internal tension, which can be both emotional and physical, we feel when we can’t control our environment.
I would like to suggest that real peace is not derived from what is going on around us. A warm bath does not give us peace. Walking in the woods may feel peaceful, but it doesn’t give us peace. Shootings and fights do not give us peace. Peace is something that happens within us.
God sent a personal representative to be our “Prince of Peace.” In John 14:24, Jesus explained to the disciples that although the world was certainly not peaceful, He would provide the peace we need that is unlike what we see and expect in the world. In fact, it is beyond our understanding. This is something to remember and to celebrate during Christmas and every day.
Today, turn inward to find the peace you are missing. May God bless you!
“Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”” Mark 4:13-20 NIV
It’s Tell Me Something Good Monday. My good news is I’m almost ready for Christmas. It really did slip up on me this year, but I’m looking forward to spending time with my family and friends this week. Please share your good moments.
This morning I was reading Mark Chapter 4. Jesus tells a parable about a seed being planted on different types of soil. He follows it up with the explanation. If the seed is God’s word, where and the conditions the seed is planted determine the outcome. Some will be easily influenced by Satan and the seed will not grow. Others will give up when things get bad. Other people will let worldly things get in the way of the seed’s growth. Finally, there will be some that will nurture the seed, have faith, study and spread it exponentially.
Later in the same chapter after teaching several parables, Jesus is on a boat sleeping during hurricane-like weather. The others on the boat were afraid of the weather and woke Jesus up. He questioned the disciples about why they were afraid and didn’t trust Him. In order to produce an exponential crop, we have to understand that peace doesn’t come without difficulty, but with faith in Jesus.
Jesus is present with us through all of life’s storms, but no one is exempt from having difficult times. Even when our problems seem insurmountable, He is there with us. When we maintain our faith in Him, our love for His word creates an exponential crop.
“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11 KJV
Christmas Eve is only three days away and I’m cuddled under a blanket with a warm cup of coffee. Sitting here surrounded by my pets, I’m making a mental list of things that need to be done. It will be a busy week with many great moments. Yet, my mind drifts and my focus blurs as I recall years gone by and Christmas celebrations in my life.
As a child I loved helping my mother decorate and bake Christmas goodies. Not only do the scents of Christmas treats fill my mind, but also the strong odors of wood chopped by my father on those cold days we gathered firewood, and of the smell of a fresh Christmas tree harvested from “back forty” of my paternal grandmother’s farm. Christmas at church included going door-to-door singing Christmas carols in scarves and mittens made by mom. I sat in church with my maternal grandmother and listened by her side about what Christmas really meant. Christmas Eve was always celebrated with my paternal grandparents. My father’s four sisters lived away, so most Christmas Eve celebrations were at our home. We were allowed to open one gift and after dinner enjoyed fireworks bought by my parents. On the years that my aunts were in town, the celebration was larger and more exciting with cousins. The evening always ended with a ride around town to enjoy decorations and Christmas lights. Christmas morning was so exciting. After we opened our presents, we traveled all the way across the street to my maternal grandmother’s home for Christmas lunch and presents. When the day was over, I remember my mother feeling melancholy that Christmas was over until the next year.
As a teen Christmas was a little different, but still exciting. There were dances and parties to attend, and boyfriends that stole Christmas kisses under the mistletoe. One Christmas I went to the Blue-Grey Game with my high school band, where music my band director had helped me arrange was played on national television. Unknown to me at the time, this would be a transition into my adult life.
As a young adults Christmas meant juggling four sets of grandparents and two sets of parents. It was exhausting. Yet, today I wish I had that problem. It would be nice to spend time with each person who is no longer with us. From our very first Christmas together, we collected a special ornament each year related to where we were in our lives. Once our children were born, we kept some traditions and started some of our own. The traditions would continue to change with time. My husband and I had so much fun shopping for gifts for the children, and watching their faces as they opened their presents. Every year we watched Jimmy Stewart in “It’s a Wonderful Life” and counted our blessings. When the children grew older they were involved in Christmas pageants, handbells and acolyte activities at church. During their teen years we changed our tradition at home to opening presents after midnight mass at church. It made the kids happy, and we were able to get a little rest. Two of my fondest memories were of our son being Crucifer on Christmas Eve during his senior year of high school and our daughter playing the role of Mary in the Christmas pageant, when she was a little girl.
When our children left home, we celebrated college graduations, engagements, weddings and pregnancies. Hanging the Christmas ornaments became a nostalgic walk into the season. As grandparents with an empty nest, we still enjoy midnight mass on Christmas Eve. What better way to celebrate! We also look forward to our parents, children and grandchildren joining us on Christmas Day.
Last year, Christmas followed Hurricane Michael and celebrating was among the ruins. Despite the obvious, we celebrated. This year I have fallen behind. Less than a week to prepare and all I have accomplished is shopping, wrapping and attending parties. My husband is struggling, as well. He took the day off to finish putting a swing set together for the grandchildren. While we plan to attend midnight mass, it will be in the Parish Hall, because our House of Worship is still uninhabitable.
The angel of the Lord said “I bring you good tidings of great joy.” Have you ever thought about what “great joy” means? It’s not just happiness and fond memories. Despite the fact that it was a gift from the angel, we have to choose joy to enjoy it. Then, with the happiness we experience a peace that is far beyond our imaginations.
Our church recognizes the Liturgical Calendar. The season that we are in now is called Advent. The Christmas season actually starts with Christmas. Advent is a time of self exploration and penitence, but it also a time of joyful expectation. Christ is the “Prince of Peace” and his coming joy is a choice that we all need to accept. Even when we may have sorrow in hearts about people who are no longer here, or those who will be leaving us soon, and even when we long for carefree days gone by, we have the choice. As the seasons in our lives change, so does the peace that comes with the choice of joy.
Enjoy your Saturday and choose joy! May God bless you!
“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;” Colossians 1:10-11 KJV
Isn’t it great to wake up and realize it’s Friday! I woke up today dancing a jig right out the door. Yes, I have a lot of work to do at home and the office. Yet, there is a little bit of happiness knowing a break is ahead for some fun and relaxation. This weekend I have my list of things to do, but plan to go outside a bit and breathe in the air, while I admire my surroundings. If you haven’t tried it before, even five minutes outside can improve your mood and outlook. Bring a friend and spread the love.
This morning as I was thinking about how wonderful Fridays are, I realized that I was letting events decide my perspective. How many times have I started the day happy, and something kind of spoiled the rest of the day? Of course, I know the old saying that “it’s not what happens but how you react” that’s important. However, today I was reminded of Colossians 1:10-11.
Colossae was a City located about 100 miles from Ephesus and near Laodicea. In Paul’s letter to the early Christians in the church of Colossae, they instructed them to be strengthened in God’s word. We can look to scripture for every occasion, but today I would like to encourage you to instead of letting what happens around you affect your attitude, pause and think of what God’s word says. Find your strength there. Joy is an action and choice we all have regardless of what’s happening around us. When we express joy we are also able to be more patient, kind and loving.
Have a wonderful Friday! May God continue to bless you!
“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:” Matthew 6:14 KJV
Happy Thursday. The week is flying by and Christmas is almost here.
Starting early this morning, I have seen one upset person after another. It sometimes seems that no one is happy. Like you, I listened and empathized and made my way through the endless line of individuals. Then, the day was over. You might think this is good, but my work was not completed and my mood suffered slightly.
It is a burden when others are constantly complaining. However, providing a good ear for listening and understanding goes a long way towards relationship building and anger calming. It often saves time down the road too. Jesus taught to forgive others as God has forgiven us. When we are able to follow this simple guideline, we reap benefits beyond measure.
“Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Psalms 37:4 KJV
It’s Use Your Gifts to Change Your World Wednesday! What will you do? Making a difference doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money. It can be something as simple as a hug.
Today, a lady I worked with shared how she took her mother to the hospital late last night, because her mom was very ill. On the way home after her mother was discharged, she met up with her niece and the niece’s friend. They asked for a ride home. After my colleague agreed, she wound up driving to another town to take the niece’s friend home. Rather than becoming angry, she made conversation with the young man, who was 17 and supporting his entire family. The young man was working and attending high school. He was excited to share that he will be the first person in his family to graduate from high school. While my colleague was tired, she made a difference in this young man’s life, as well as, providing help to her mother and an example for her children.
“He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.” Psalms 107:29 KJV
Happy Tuesday! I woke up this morning to stormy weather and tornadoes in the area. It’s only been a little over a year since Hurricane Michael devastated our community, and I’m noticing the people in my life are a little rattled by the weather. Many people in our community are still not in their homes. Some live in tents. Others have tarps on their roofs. Still others have been taken advantage of by people claiming to be contractors and now don’t have a home or money to take care of their problems. How can you trust God under these circumstances?
Before Hurricane Michael my husband prayed the blood of Christ around our property and family. Today, I did the same. Then, I turned it over to God.
After Hurricane Michael a friend of our family lost his house to a fire. While he was probably upset on the inside, he never showed it. He just told everyone how blessed he was and bought dinner for the firefighters. That is total trust in God. Today, he is not where he was before the fire and there are some things that he will never be able to replace, but he is recovering and building a new home. Trusting God doesn’t mean you won’t lose all possessions during a storm. However, it may mean that God will help you recover, while you are able to witness through your life.
We all have storms frequently in our lives, and it is how we choose to react that is really important for ourselves and others. Being upset is understandable, but it will not change anything. A friend of mine is aware that a family member is dying. She cries and struggles daily. However, that is not changing the situation. Why not choose to make every day count? Wouldn’t it be better to enjoy every moment while this person is alive? Crying won’t change anything. I know that we all need to grieve, but when we can trust God during the storms of our lives, we will find peace and be a blessing to others.
This morning please keep all the people going through storms in your prayers. May God bless you!
“O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” Psalms 107:1 KJV
Happy Monday! Getting back on track has been a little more of a challenge than I originally perceived. Most likely due to the busy holiday season.
If you are busy under normal circumstances, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed right now. After all, during the Christmas season, there is so much more to do, Most people are decorating, shopping, wrapping presents, throwing parties and going to parties. While all of it can be fun, it can also be overwhelming.
I’m embarrassed to say that we haven’t so much as put a wreath on our door. Most people are shocked when I admit that. Beginning last Thursday I have had seven parties to attend. Two of the parties, I threw for others. I have four more this week, two of which are tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong, it is an honor to be invited and most of my parties have an aspect of giving to the needy. Yet, with work, school, shopping, and wrapping presents, there is not much left of me to give. It gets to the point that I am just going through the motions, not really enjoying anything. Plus, last week I felt guilty because I missed three of the seven parties.
At the end of the day I ask myself if this is what I really need to be doing. The answer is yes and no. What is Christmas all about anyway? As Christians we understand it is about the birth of Jesus. I honestly believe that if you are living to celebrate the meaning of Christmas, and striving to immolate Christ’s life, the busy holidays are good. Yet, we all have limits. Sometimes we need to rest and enjoy family and relaxation. Even Jesus had to rest.
So, when you get to those moments when you feel like you cannot possibly do anything more and keep your health and sanity, one thing you can do is thank God for your many blessings. Write them down throughout the day as you think of them. That is when you will find yourself able to rest peacefully and God’s love.
I hope you will find time to thank God for your blessings today. May God bless you!
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”
1 John 4:11 KJV
Happy Tuesday! One of the things I’m going to work on today is loving the people that get on my nerves. Is this a pride issue? Yes!
Have you ever felt like you are minding your own businesses and it seems like someone just wants to steal your joy? Maybe they are ignoring you or smacking when they eat. It could be even worse than that. Maybe they have done you wrong, physically or emotionally. You forgive them, but just don’t want to be in their presence.
The love mentioned in 1 John 4:11 is a type of love Jesus taught, where we are to love others expecting nothing in return. That also applies to people who get on our nerves. God loves us and surrounds us with love. One way we can show our love towards God is to love others as he loves us. I’m not saying this is easy or always happens immediately. It is something we should work on daily. While you are working on loving others, love yourself.
“As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”
2 Corinthians 6:10 KJV
Good Morning and Happy Monday! Recently, our family received some bad news. Actually, it was more along the lines of devastating. Despite this news, we put on faces of happiness to hide the sorrow. Even when you pretend to laugh, it can be uplifting and before we knew it everyone one was full of joy, despite the sorrow. This reminded me of when my cousin died unexpectedly. We were all extremely sorrowful. My mother was unable to attend the funeral, because it was across the country. When she saw the photographs, she thought we were being disrespectful and having too much fun. The truth is we were comforting one another with stories from the past.
Can you be joyful during times of sorrow? As Christians joy is not determined by our circumstances, but in our faith in our destiny. While joy is mentioned throughout the Bible, at Christmas we are reminded that when Jesus was born there was great joy. While Paul was in prison, he expressed sorrow regarding his situation, but still rejoiced in Christ. Jesus said “[r]ejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you”
(Matthew 5:12 KJV). So, even if you are being mistreated and are saddened by the situation, you can rejoice in knowing the future is bright.
During the holiday season many people are sad, because of family situations or loved ones who have passed. That’s okay, but find your joy in Jesus! God bless you.
“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” II Corinthians 12:9 NKJV
Happy Friday my friends! Some weeks are tough and this one has been especially tough for me trying to race the clock and meet deadlines. Yet, I have a sense of accomplishment this morning. I feel like I made a difference. At the end of the day, that can be a game changer.
Have you ever fought for someone else? Most of us do it every day without thinking twice. Maybe it was for your children or your parents. You might have fought for an employee. Maybe you stood up for someone who seemed less that acceptable to others. Whenever we take these types of actions in our lives, we automatically feel the rewards. We don’t have to toot our horn or brag. God rewards us.
Have you ever had a heavy heart or maybe felt depressed? Depression is real. Society tells us that we are doing too much and should withdraw from helping others to take care of ourselves. This type of self-medicating often leads to alcoholism, drug abuse and isolation. While we should make time for ourselves, when we help others, God heals our hearts. In fact, the more we give of ourselves to help others, the happier we become. The grace of Jesus is the healing we need.
You might wonder what you can do. A very wise friend of mine once said that she listens closely to what others are saying, so that she is able to understand what is not being vocalized. That struck me and I have never forgotten. It means watching the person’s body language. It means really listening and not just waiting to make your point. I started doing this and found that the majority of the time I forget what I was going to say. Yet, it helps me to understand the needs of others. Once you know what someone needs, you can help them, and the process continues.
Today I urge you to reach out to others and help them. Your heart will be full! God bless you.
“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:5 NIV
Good morning children of God and Happy Thursday. It’s Forgiveness Thursday, which is a reminder to start anew forgiving yourself and others.
With the recent destruction of Hurricane Michael, I find myself busier than ever trying to make a difference, but with the same demands from people. Actually with more demands from other people. I know and see the needs and do not feel angered. Yet, sometimes I think bureaucratic requirements that will not make a huge difference in how life goes on from day, should be maybe more reasonable considering the circumstances.
Then, I face the day-to-day problems of life. Last week our Great Dane died unexpectedly leaving a hole in our hearts and lives. Our cat is not at all happy either. My husband burned his hands badly. Then, the part the took the cake for me, was sitting in the doctor’s office for the second time with vampire red eyes and painful joints listening to the doctor tell me there is nothing else he could do for me until a new drug is developed that will not lower my white count so much.
I’m no different than you or anyone else. We all have struggles. It’s how we respond that determines how happy we will be. Where do you find your hope?
Monday night my husband and I attended a For King and Country concert, which touched our hearts and provided good Christian praise music and entertainment. I was even impressed with the t-shirt sales staff, who prayed with the volunteers and taught them how to make a difference in the lives of the concert attendees. Then, yesterday, after hitting my point of exhaustion, I led the teen group at our church. God showed me the hope I needed again. There may be lots of bad in the world, but there is always hope when we take time to listen and train our youth.
So, today I encourage you to listen to Holy Spirit God has poured into our hearts. He is provided for our comfort and for us to use to comfort others. God bless you.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
Happy Friday. I haven’t posted in a few weeks and I feel like I owe my readers an explanation. Sometimes explanations are easier to feel than to relay. Last Spring I took on an additional duty at work of writing newspaper articles weekly. I love this new part of my job. I have the opportunity to hear stories and convey them in a positive light. It’s not like regular news reporting. It’s promoting businesses and how people feel about themselves. So, weekly I interview people and write two to three articles which appear in two newspapers. I was very blessed to have one article appear in two larger, regional newspapers. I had experienced some heartbreak at home and this new venture, although stressful when meeting deadlines, left me feeling like I helped people.
Then, October 10th the world as our community knows it changed when Hurricane Michael wiped out our town. The workload in our office increased dramatically. I sometimes feel my head is spinning with tasks I’m juggling. Again, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I want to help with housing, economic recovery and spiritual health. So, about two months ago I began working more closely with others on housing provisions. Then, about a month ago I decided to get involved with the long term recovery team. This is on top of my already too busy workload. Yet, it feels good to make a difference in whatever small way I can.
In the middle of all this recovery work and writing, I decided to join the gym on January 1st. I want to be healthier and lose weight. I haven’t lost weight, but I have been faithful to going to the gym six days a week for 1-2 hours a day. Also, around this time we learned our daughter is going to have a baby. How exciting! I knew I needed to finish up my classes, so I could make her a quilt.
Then, one other thing happened. I had been hearing the call for a while, but for whatever reason, I wasn’t responding. One morning while leading Sunday School a grandmother conveyed her concerns about what was being taught in history at the local public school and how it conflicted with what the Bible tells us. So, I knew I needed to step up. Now, I’m leading a teen group on Wednesday night. For a church that had few children attending Sunday School, I feel so blessed to have 5-9 teens coming every week to learn. What a blessing!
Well, no one can do it all, and I’m no exception. In the midst of my own stress, I felt Satan’s daily attacks. Before I knew it, I wasn’t keeping up with my classes. I was studying my Bible to teach, but not for my daily reading, and I quit writing my blog. Most days I was going to work at 7 am and getting home around 9:30 pm. My husband has been supportive and helpful with the house work, but my life lacks balance. In the middle of it all I was spending far too much time on social media.
So tonight I realized that I need to give up a few bad habits and add back the good. While I will not be posting every day. I plan to post one to two times a week. I also plan to study my Bible daily for my relationship with God. I’m going to work more on my classes and spend less time on games and social media.
There are a few good things that have occurred over the course of the last year. God has brought some special Christian friends into my life. One friend is my gym buddy. Another is my spiritual friend, who fasts and prays with me. Also, about a year ago I joined a Women’s Bible Study class in another town and with another denomination. I love these ladies. We study together every week.
I have come to realize that none of us are perfect, but I have been growing despite setbacks. Satan knows our weaknesses and when I’m under attack the most, I must be doing something right.
It has now been over four months since the storm hit. I was in a meeting on Wednesday where six of the eight people present still did not have phone and Internet service. Our community was hit by one of the largest storms recorded, but we were forgotten. I live in a rural area with lots of trees, or maybe I should say we had lots of trees. The damage we have dealt with is different from what others have experienced. The storm hit right before the election and the California fires. We have been forgotten by many. Yet here we are, a community already economically depressed, with businesses and residents gone. This morning I was told that a school bus never picked up some of the children. Why? It’s easier to leave than to struggle in the aftermath. There were not enough school bus drivers. This is one of the many issues we face. Depression is another. I heard a report of seven suicides related to the storm. Just driving through the debris daily is depressing and many are not able to use their church buildings. Our church has this problem. Yet, our blessings are more. Hundreds of people have helped our community and we have each other. Above all we have our sweet Lord.
I request prayers for our community. God bless you.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,”
James 1:2 NIV
Happy Tuesday! Since Hurricane Michael came through the Florida Panhandle, I talk to depressed people every day. Honestly, the feelings have washed over me from time to time. It’s difficult to find joy in your world when it has been devastated. Every time we walk out the door we are faced with it again. So, we face daily trials, which will last for many years. Of course, we all have many things to be thankful for, and we are all thankful. Yet that is not enough.
Many people face depression and trials that still their joy. It doesn’t have to be a hurricane. It could be a situation at work, or with family. It could be a problem with finances, especially with the government shut down. Many people worry so much about their children that they lose their joy. It’s a common problem. We look to the past have regret. We look too far into the future and have fear.
I was listening to a minister this morning who said “if you are not joyful, then there is a problem with your priorities”. This statement is powerful. Where do you find your joy. How many times have you posted photos on Facebook or Instagram to get likes. Do you think likes determine friendship? I use Facebook, but we can’t let it rule our life. Most of us have a few friends we can call on in emergency, and they aren’t the many who like our photos and memes.
True joy comes from a heart with God as the top priority. If you are finding your joy is gone and you are in despair. Check your heart and priorities. Don’t look to what’s around you. Don’t look to the past or too far into the future. Look to God and place him first. Realize that whatever trial your facing is temporary and is being used to shape you.
“Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”
Hebrews 2:18 NIV
It’s Try Something New Tuesday and a great opportunity to look for ways that you can make a difference in someone’s life. Last night I enjoyed Christian fellowship and Bible Study with some of my favorite people. As I was driving to work this morning I heard the radio DJ say “just because we are still learning does not mean that we can’t make a difference”. That statement stuck with me. We are all in different places in our walk with Christ, and we can learn from one another. Isn’t that great! We don’t always have to be right. It’s about loving each other as we grow together.
Have you ever been tempted? If you answered no to this question, I would doubt your honesty. Everyone has been tempted throughout their lives, especially Christians. We are targeted by Satan. Our weaknesses are always changing and Satan knows where to wiggle in and disrupt our happiness.
The good news is Jesus knows what it feels like to be tempted. He was tempted harshly by Satan and was able to overcome temptation. So, when you are tempted, He understands. This is good news because we can turn to Him at our weakest moments. We also can learn by His example. Whenever Jesus was tempted by Satan, He spoke God’s word. That’s why it’s important to study the scripture and memorize verses. When you do this you will always be prepared to tackle Satan. In the meanwhile, there are books and apps available with verses arranged by topic. So at any time you can pick up the book and find comfort through God’s word. This is much better than drugs, alcohol, food or whatever worldly things we might turn to. These things leave us feeling empty and have bad side effects for us and our families.
Today, turn to God’s word and Jesus when you experience temptation. God bless you!
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV
Happy Thursday and happy 2019! In the panhandle of Florida, as in many places, the new year provides hope: hope for new opportunities; hope for answers to difficult questions; hope for forgiveness for past mistakes; and hope for the return of our pre-Hurricane Michael world. While our city will not be the same and our hearts are broken, there is always hope when we place our faith in God.
Sunday I was studying my Bible and a verse jumped out at me. The Apostle Paul explained to the Corinthians that he had been taunted by Satan and asked three times for Satan’s torment to be removed from him. Jesus explained that Paul’s strength was mad perfect in weakness. Therefore, Paul should be pleased to experience illnesses, persecutions and distress.
God always knows what we need and when we need it. Of course, these verses were not new to me, but still spoke to me. Every time we are tempted, sick and/or distressed, we become stronger with God when we resist. We pass the test and are stronger every time. These verses bring back a children’s song we all know, “Jesus Loves Me”. The song s ays “in our weakness He is strong”.
When things get tough, we don’t have to turn to partying, drugs, alcohol, or affairs. All we need to do is study our Bibles, praise God in songs, and pray. Trust me when I say, you will be stronger. It’s hard to be mad when you are doing these things.
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”
Romans 5:1-6 KJV
Happy Thursday! I was able to take a few days off during the holidays and found myself sick with a nasty upper respiratory infection. The upside is I slowed down and took time to ponder my decisions and life. Over the past couple of years I have learned that my Christian growth cannot be rushed. God’s timing is not my own. I love setting goals and timelines, which is helpful in daily life. However, in my Christian growth I’ve found God holds me accountable to certain lessons along the way. Although it’s tough, I’m thankful.
Have you ever slipped up in one area of your life and suddenly found your entire life spinning out-of-control? I was watching television yesterday and heard a story about a man who had a horrible fungal infection in his lungs. The fungus baffled physicians, not only wondering the origin, but also how to slow its growth. I listened carefully thinking of a slice of molded bread and how quickly the mold spreads. As it turned out, the man enjoyed sniffing socks, and in this unusual pastime inhaled the fungus.
This story seemed a little gross and silly to me. However, I was reminded of how even a small slip can lead to overwhelming changes outside of God’s light, if not kept in check. The sin could be something simple as worrying about our children, or it might originate with pride. Regardless, if we don’t ask for forgiveness and make a concerted effort to turn our lives around, the sin continues to grow like a fungus. Even worse, we start justifying the sin and the spiraling continues.
The Apostle Paul taught the first century Romans that we can grow through our tribulations. Just as the Penicillin that cures our infections comes from that nasty looking mold, we can gain patience, experience and renewed hope without shame through God’s love. Christ already made the sacrifice for us.
Forgiveness is a simple process, which can be difficult and take time. However, when we keep pushing through the pain, we receive a peace beyond all understanding. Have a wonderful Thursday. God bless you.
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Colossians 3:13 NIV
Happy Thursday! It’s a rainy day, but the sun is shining within me.
Have you ever felt like your heart was hard from bad circumstances and rumors? In my line of work I have to take an unpopular position more often than not. After 20 years of hearing people say that I wanted to destroy the City that I love very much, I felt very bitter toward many people. I had seen their ugly side. I would hear others speak wonderfully about different people I had seen behave with disrespect and insolence. I couldn’t understand. I wanted to warn my friends, but you and I both know that never works. Plus, my friends didn’t have the same experiences for obvious reasons. So, guess who looked even worse. One night I hit the bottom and went to our church after a late City Commission public meeting where someone I called a friend spoke horribly about me. I cried and prayed for understanding.
God works in mysterious ways. As I grew closer to God, studying His word and taking theology classes, he opened opportunities for me. It’s funny how we think it’s our idea, but it is Him working in our lives. While many adventures were and still are awaiting, one of the opportunities was to write articles for a local newspaper about businesses in our city. I would be interviewing some of the same people who had spoken to me with strong language, contempt and anger. These were the same people who had spread untrue rumors in the community.
When God opens a door, we need to take advantage of the opportunity. Not long after I began writing weekly articles about local businesses, another newspaper requested my articles. I even had an opportunity to submit an article to two larger city newspapers. With my position of not working for the newspaper as a paid writer, I was able to take a different perspective. My articles are about the people owning and managing the businesses.
As each person shared their story, my hardened heart understood and felt what they were sharing. Be careful what you pray for, because some of the stories you simply can’t forget. I sometimes want to share the stories that are not confidential, but I realize that it might drag down someone else’s heart. This was my request and I am so thankful. However, there is another side to understanding and it can be painful. I also realized I’m really not that much different. I sin too.
The good news is Paul explains to the people in Phillipi in Phillipians 4:7 that “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” How did Paul know this? Paul knew from personal experience of persecuting Christians and having an encounter with Christ.
The same holds true today. We need to forgive ourselves and others. Ask God to forgive you. His peace is amazing!
“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”
James 4:4 NIV
Happy Wednesday! It seems a little more like hectic Wednesday here. We have the hustle and bustle of Christmas combined with people frantic to build roofs on their homes with more rain in the forecast. Nearly every building still standing in our town is without a roof or has a huge blue tarp.
Last week a friend and I went to see Natalie Grant and Danny Gokey in concert. We had VIP tickets, which made the event even more special. In the Q&A session, the two told of how they hadn’t realized how severe the destruction and damage associated with Hurricane Michael had been. It’s almost like we’ve been swept under the rug due to all the political events taking place. The concert was absolutely amazing! The singers collected gifts for children and visited an elementary school while in the area. I was surprised to learn yesterday that a friend of mine, who is from Milwaukee, went to school with Danny Gokey. It really is a small world if you think about it.
Have you ever felt like your life was spinning out-of-control? I felt that way recently. Sin is a slippery slope. Satan takes advantage of our weaknesses, which are always changing. Once we allow him to influence us, we grow further and further away from God. One of the most painful things a married couple can experience is an affair outside the marriage relationship. When we grow away from God, it’s like an affair with Satan. It’s amazing how quickly he can slip into our lives and turn us upside down. I couldn’t see it in my own life at first. Then, I heard the song below by Natalie Grant. “It’s hard to stand on shifting sand. It’s hard to shine in the shadows of the night.” For me the night was darkness. Darkness can be so overwhelming. Yet, before I allowed Satan to influence me, I was so happy. Now, once again I feel “like my soul is flying when my feet are on the ground.”
Have you ever felt this way? David struggled with darkness. Yet, he always sought to make God happy in everything he did. This is opposite of what the world teaches. We are taught to fight for positions, titles, awards and jobs, when the most important thing for us to strive for is God’s love and making God happy. You never have to be in the darkness. The battle has already been won. Just ask Christ to forgive you. If you haven’t accepted him as your Lord and Savior, it’s never too late.
When we are in the light with God, we can help more people. We can share the light, instead of the shadows of darkness. When you use your gifts to change the world today, share them in the light. God bless you.
“Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.”
John 5:8 KJV
Good Morning and Happy Monday! Today, it has been two months since Hurricane Michael came through our town. My good news is we are slowly recovering. It’s going to take a long time for life to get back to normal, but officials are meeting day after day, and constantly looking for ways to help businesses and people with housing issues.
Have you ever felt so depressed that you didn’t care if Christmas just passed you by? I have felt that way at times. Our minister shared a story that warmed my heart yesterday. His wife wanted a live Christmas tree, which is their tradition. The box stores in our town did not have any because their corporate offices decided we didn’t need them here after the hurricane. He went on to explain how he traveled to find a live Christmas tree. The best part of his story was how we are strong despite the setbacks we may face in life. God made us that way. We shouldn’t let the corporate offices of box stores determine how we are going to celebrate the birth of our savior.
It’s normal to feel sorry for ourselves now and again, but we need to pick up our beds and walk. We need to take the initiative to make things better. Speak positive words. Sing Christmas songs. Get out of the house. Give to others. Do something fun and enjoy Christmas! When we do our part, we’ll notice God stepping in to handle the rest. Plus we will feel better.
In past years I have gone to see the Nutcracker and many other different things. This year I plan to go with a friend to see Natalie Grant and Danny Gokey’s Christmas concert. What better way to enjoy the holidays!
I hope you have a wonderful day and enjoy the holiday season. God bless you.
“And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.”
Joshua 7:24-25 KJV
It’s Forgiveness Thursday and a great time to forgive yourself and others.
Have you ever known something was wrong and did it anyway? Was the temptation just too much at the moment, even though you knew what the right thing to do was? It could be something as simple as not taking care of your body by overeating or choosing not to exercise. After all your body is the temple of God. Maybe it’s a temptation to have an affair or take something illegally? We all have temptations and if you haven’t ever made the wrong decision on purpose at some point in your life, you are definitely in the minority. Does that mean that it it’s okay? No.
My husband and I were talking this morning about the story in Joshua, where Achan did not follow the instructions given to him and hid the silver. His entire family was killed. How much worse it would be to watch your family be killed, than to die? This is the kind of crime we see in movies and real life.
I’m so thankful that Jesus paid the price for us. It is simple to ask for forgiveness. Yet, how many times do we make the same mistake repeatedly? Is that okay? No. We need to make a conscious effort to live a life that is pleasing to God.
I hope you have a wonderful Thursday. God bless you.
“My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.”
Psalms 57:7 KJV
It’s Wednesday and camels around the world are happy! What will you do today to make the world a better place?
One thing I have found that always works is to listen to praise music as much as possible. You would be surprised how many of the lyrics come directly from the Bible. The sounds will put your heart, soul and attitude in a better place. You might ask how could that make a difference in the world. When you are in a better place, others will notice. Plus you will respond differently to stressful situations. No one is perfect, but praise music helps.
So treat yourself to beautiful praise music and share your happiness all around! God bless you!
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:7 KJV
It’s Tuesday and a great day to try something new! What will you try?
In the midst of every trial and storm God is with us. Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians that God’s peace passes all understanding. Have you ever really considered what that means? It doesn’t matter whether we or anyone else understands or not, God’s peace is there for us to embrace.
Everyday I hear people talking about how they believe in all kinds of silly things such as, celebrity endorsed products for weight loss or healing, and following links for free money on the Internet. Yet, so many can’t believe in God, whose miracles are seen daily. God’s love is so great that his understanding surpasses our imaginations. It’s right there ready for us to take hold of at any moment. Don’t wait!
So today, I encourage you to embrace the peace! God bless you.
“‘There will be signs (attesting miracles) in the sun and moon and stars; and on the earth [there will be] distress and anguish among nations, in perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea and the waves, people fainting from fear and expectation of the [dreadful] things coming on the world; for the [very] powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see THE S ON OF M AN COMING IN A CLOUD with [transcendent, overwhelming] power [subduing the nations] and with great glory. Now when these things begin to occur, stand tall and lift up your heads [in joy], because [suffering ends as] your redemption is drawing near.” Then He told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they put out leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is near. So you too, when you see these things happening, know [without any doubt] that the kingdom of God is near. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, this generation [those living at that definite period of time preceding the second coming] will not pass away until everything takes place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. “But be on guard, so that your hearts are not weighed down and depressed with the giddiness of debauchery and the nausea of self-indulgence and the worldly worries of life, and then that day [when the Messiah returns] will not come on you suddenly like a trap; for it will come upon all those who live on the face of all the earth. But keep alert at all times [be attentive and ready], praying that you may have the strength and ability [to be found worthy and] to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand in the presence of the Son of Man [at His coming].’”
LUKE 21:25-36 AMP
Happy Monday! New beginnings fill us with joy of opportunities for second chances. We have now entered a new liturgical year beginning with Advent. Advent is a season of waiting and being penitent. We wait to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and we wait for his rebirth and second coming.
Advent is not a season of sitting around in fear of what’s to come. It’s a time to stand up and believe that our world is so safe that God allowed us to live here. It’s a time to rediscover our relationship with God. It’s a time of giving and loving others. No one knows when Jesus will return, so we should always be ready. However, that readiness should be with gladness, not fear.
We often get so caught up in the secular Christmas celebrations that we forget to stop and remember the one who was born of a virgin and sacrificed everything for us.
Where I live the devastation is present every day. Over the weekend we had flooding, and there are many living with tarps for roofs. There are many living in tents. It’s hard for me to feel the joy of the Christmas season. Others I know had Christmas trees set up before Thanksgiving. Everyone deals with stress differently. However, I do feel the presence of God all around and anticipate with great joy the celebration of Jesus’s birthday and the second coming of Christ.
Today, welcome the season of advent into your hearts. God bless you.
“Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts and encourages us in every trouble so that we will be able to comfort and encourage those who are in any kind of trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as Christ’s sufferings are ours in abundance [as they overflow to His followers], so also our comfort [our reassurance, our encouragement, our consolation] is abundant through Christ [it is truly more than enough to endure what we must]. But if we are troubled and distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted and encouraged, it is for your comfort, which works [in you] when you patiently endure the same sufferings which we experience. And our hope for you [our confident expectation of good for you] is firmly grounded [assured and unshaken], since we know that just as you share as partners in our sufferings, so also you share as partners in our comfort.”
2 CORINTHIANS 1:3-7 AMP
Happy Thursday! It’s a great time to seek forgiveness and to forgive others.
The older I grow, the more funerals I attend. This week two funerals are on my agenda. The hardest funerals for me are the ones where a child has died, and ones where intense grief is expressed. I also, out of selfishness, sometimes have trouble getting through funerals where I think the person was not a Christian, or that remind me of a something similar. Finally, I have a difficult time with funerals where sad music is played.
In Genesis 5:22-24 we learn that Enoch was taken to heaven without dying. Second Kings 2:11 tells us that Elijah was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind. There maybe others, but the majority of us are not getting out of this life without dying. It’s something we all have to do. That doesn’t really take away fear related to death.
As Christians we know that when our earthly life is over, we will continue on a spiritual journey. This brings me great comfort, because I’m looking forward to serving God in a new capacity. That provides personal comfort, but what about when someone we know passes? The emotional pain can be more than any physical pain we have ever known. I’ve heard people say that they lost a piece of their heart. It’s a pain that doesn’t go away quickly. In my own life, I’ve found myself looking for the one who passed, knowing good and well they aren’t here anymore. I miss them so much. That’s when we have to be comforted by knowing that through Christ’s sufferings we will see our loved ones again. It’s like, as Billy Graham said, “changing addresses”. So, if our loved ones are Christians, we will see them and rejoice in heaven. That’s nice to know. We still have to go through the grieving process, which can be very difficult. We still miss our loved ones. Yet, there is hope around the corner that we will be reunited.
Over time I have found myself struggling with loss of adult family and friends who I feel certain were not Christians. As much as we may sometimes want to force people to make the right choice, we can’t. Everyone has a choice. Yet, sometimes people accept Christ as their personal savior in their last moments. There are other people who might not want you to be aware of their decisions. At the end of the day, it is their choice. Always remember that none of us are promised tomorrow. Make the most of your time in the best ways possible. Be the best Christian you can be. Then, when a family member passes, celebrate their life. Don’t mourn their death. Remember the good times and their contributions.
If you have lost a loved one, give yourself time to grieve. It’s normal. Let people help you. Read the scriptures and celebrate the passing of your loved one. Praise God with your every breath and know that your spiritual life will be unbelievable! God bless you!
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”
James 3:9-10 NIV
Happy Tuesday! It’s a great time to try something new. What will you do? Today, I’m going to be mindful of my tongue.
Have you ever found yourself aggravated and talking about someone? Did you feel like you were venting? Many of us consider this type of chat venting because we are trying to deal with something within ourselves. It’s important to remember that we are all God’s children, even the people that aggravate and make us angry. We never know what someone else has been through or what’s behind their words. Also, I heard a smart woman say that often this type of talk is due to insecurities, worry and fear.
James is saying that as Christians gossip, spreading rumors and anything in general that is bad that comes out of our mouths, pollutes Christianity as a whole. It also reflects what is in our hearts, especially when we are angry or under stress. How can you say that you love your neighbor, if you are tearing them down with your tongue? This is something that we all deal with and need to work on.
There are also people in our lives that have the same problem, sometimes worse. I’m sure you can think of someone who lives for drama and creates it. We can help them, but we must be careful not to get sucked in. These types of people can be very manipulative. Try redirecting their talk to helping the person they are talking about. Be thoughtful and have some ideas ready before the strife, gossip and drama begin. If it’s a close Christian friend you might be able to work out a plan together to remind your friend when he or she falls victim to this behavior.
Satan is alive and knows our weaknesses. He is ready to step in at anytime and lead Christians astray at a moment’s notice.
Minding our tongues is a great way to change the world one day at a time. God bless you.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
Happy Monday! Thanksgiving is wonderful time of the year. We enjoyed good friends, family and food. I feel very blessed and that is something good. I hope you enjoyed the holiday as well. I have a short post today, mostly due to the number of meetings in my schedule. I plan to return with a better post tomorrow.
Do you ever feel like your situation couldn’t possibly get any worse? Do you lose your focus and have trouble completing the smallest of tasks? Well, you might be depressed and need to see a doctor. In the meanwhile, remember that you are never alone and God is constantly sharpening your skills for future assignments. I often reflect and I never expected my life to unfold how it has. The best part is you never know who you are helping along the way.
“The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.”
Proverbs 15:4 NIV
Happy Wednesday! It’s the day before a holiday and everyone has their minds on family, cooking, cleaning, traveling and similar things. Don’t forget to be thankful. It’s not just about being thankful at mealtime, but remembering all things big and small in your life that are truly a blessing. We all have them, even in bad times.
The current trend is to find friends and dates on social media. From what I have seen, it leads many to heartache and depression. Most people have a few friends in their lives that would stop everything to help them. These are the people who are there when you are sick, have a loss or celebration. They are not jealous or gossipy about you. They don’t just show up for the food or to be seen. They love you for who you are and would give up everything they have to help you. Friendship is not about the number of likes you have on a post or the number of people who follow your social media site. It is certainly not about the number of people who call you friend on Facebook.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, I have seen many negative posts and some that were downright nasty. I urge you to remember that there are two sides to every story, and usually the one posting something controversial is trying to sway your thinking. The Bible addresses the tongue many times. Although posts are typed and the tongue isn’t used, the outcome is the similar. Evil words posted, just like evil words said, crush the spirit. I encourage you, when on Facebook and other social media, to use soothing and lighthearted posts. Lift people up, instead of bringing them down.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Ephesians 4:32 NIV
Happy Thursday! I’m so glad we made it through Wednesday. We all have challenging days from time-to-time, and yesterday qualified for me. Today is a new day and it feels great to start over.
Has anyone ever crossed the lines in a situation that involved your children? It doesn’t have to be anything major. I heard someone in authority once say “you can say anything you want about me, but leave my family alone”. It’s true. As a mother and grandmother, I am particularly sensitive to words and actions involving my children and grandchildren. You don’t play with a bear cub, because you know the mother bear will be somewhere close ready to take care of you. The same holds true of most mothers.
This morning I recall a particularly painful situation involving my daughter where I held a grudge. I have crossed paths with the woman over time, but I have managed to avoid her. Today, I found myself face-to-face with the lady. I know God was with me, because I handled the situation like a professional. I was kind, caring and helpful. After she left I reflected at how she is also a child of God, now suffering due to the Hurricane. How could I not forgive her, when God forgives me?
So today, join me in placing forgiveness at the top of your priorities. God bless you.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,”
James 1:19 NIV
Happy Wednesday! What a blessing it is to praise God after the storm!
We are five weeks after Hurricane Michael, and tempers are flaring. People are tired of the circumstances in which they are living. They are tired of fighting with insurance appraisers and FEMA representatives trying to obtain assistance. They are angry about the excessive traffic and undesirable visitors taking advantage of the situation. They are tired of the extra work and the way the town looks. Everyone longs for what used to be, and they are angry that the recovery has taken so long. The sad part is the recovery will take many more years. Our town has stopped in time, while the world has moved on. Halloween was cancelled and Thanksgiving doesn’t even seem important. Day-to-day is the reality.
It’s hard to be understanding when the attitude of pitching in and working together is gone. I was standing in line in the grocery store and a man came up to me and shouted something. I shook it off, because I understood. Another man walked up and shrugged his shoulders. This attitude has become common place at work.
What has happened is the community is going through a grieving process. The honeymoon stage of shock and feeling blessed has faded. Now the citizens of our town are oscillating between anger, bargaining and depression. When I say bargaining, I mean feelings and statements like “if only I had . . .”. There hasn’t been much acceptance that I’ve seen. This is very common from what I’ve been told. One or all of these feelings can be apparent separately or together in any order.
Have you ever known someone going through the grieving process? Have you been through the grieving process? Have you been through the grieving process with others, and had to try to keep your cool? Most of us can answer yes to one or all of these questions. It’s important to try to keep things in perspective as much as possible and remember what’s most important. Yet, when you break down, it’s okay. There is also nothing wrong with seeking assistance. It also helps to remember what James the Just said to be quick to listen, and slow to speak and anger.
If you are experiencing grief or helping someone who is, my heart goes out to you. I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday. God bless you.
“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Romans 5:5 NIV
It’s Saturday and a wonderful day to serve the Lord. I was looking forward to sleeping in this morning, but Dominic had other plans. I saw a cute meme that said if you want to remember to do something, give your cat a treat every time you do it, and the cat will remember. I find this theory to be absolutely true! The cat wakes me up to feed him. He is so sweet, when he’s hungry. So, no sleeping in for me.
Dominic also reminds me to give the dog a treat. As my husband says “dog goes out, cat gets treat!” Are people all that different? It’s interesting how little things bring back memories. Maybe it’s a song, or a scent. Sometimes someone says something, and a memory or dream comes to mind. Sometimes it might be just going somewhere, or completing a routine task. Unfortunately, all memories aren’t pleasant, and some are pleasant but are forever gone. It’s easy to see how depression sets in and can be hard to fight.
The key is to break the pattern. There’s been a great deal of research on this subject. Years ago I read some of Tony Robbins’ books. I recall him explaining how a person should do something drastic when they are feeling anxiety. For example, if you have a fear of public speaking, next time you are in a position to speak publicly you might want to have a friend tell you a joke or do something silly. When you have a good experience, pinch yourself or do something to help you remember. Next time you have to speak publicly, pinch yourself and remember the good experience. Trust me when I say that I’m oversimplying and Tony explains this much better. His techniques definitely work and I encourage you to study his teachings. However, I would like to add God to this equation. (Tony doesn’t say God. He says “your creator”.) I was able to improve my public speaking with Tony’s techniques, but it was when I said “Lord speak through me” that my life began to change. When I put the focus on helping God and others, things began to turn around.
This morning I was reminded of something I didn’t want to remember. Have you ever regretted saying or doing something? It’s easy to get a little “bummed” (to use the words of a friend). I put in my AirPods and began cleaning house, when a Danny Gokey song began to play. I listened to him explain my own brokenness, but I began to smile and sing. You see, we all have regrets and sadness, but God wants us to rise and shut the door on our past so we can shine for Him.
This song served as a great interruption to my bad memory. It’s as soft as Dominic waking me up, and as powerful as someone shaking me to get my attention. That was probably God using Danny’s Gokey to remind me of the power we have available through Him. Regardless to what has happened in your life, God wants you to shine and help others. I hope you enjoy the song and the day! God bless you.
“Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, my soul.”
Psalm 146:1 NIV
Happy Friday! It’s a great day to spread God’s love.
Have you ever considered the pureness of your heart? Most of us can fake kindness or put on a good attitude around people, when things are going well. However, when things get tough on the outside, the real person shines through. This morning I’m mindful of David pouring his heart out to God in praise, despite the fact that King Saul was trying to kill him. Even when his son Absalom tried to overthrow him, David refused to fight or even allow someone to speak badly about Absalom. He just wanted to praise God.
It’s difficult to put David’s actions into a modern perspective. The world tells us to look out for ourselves first and fight for our rights regardless of who are what is in the way. It’s a dog eat dog world. Yet, we know that we are to seek pleasing God first and foremost. I think it is probably something we all need to work on every day. Yet, what better way to spread the love of God. If you are stressed, angry, sick or in pain and your pure heart shines through, everyone sees it.
Today, spread God’s love through a pure heart. God bless you.
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
Isaiah 53:5 NIV
Happy Thursday! It’s a great time to ask for forgiveness and to forgive others.
Have you ever done something you felt left you unworthy of forgiveness? I think everyone probably feels that way about something. Most of us know we need to repent, but there is a step I rarely hear that is helpful in the forgiveness process. Take time to forgive yourself. Then, let it go. Accept God’s perfect healing.
Take time today and every day to practice forgiveness. God bless you.
“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalm 37:4 NIV
Happy Monday! It’s a great time to celebrate all the good in our lives! The highlight of my weekend was my sweet grandson. Unfortunately for me, I don’t know all the super heroes. Landon came running up to me saying “I’m Cat Boy and you’re the Flash”. I was excited to know which ones he was talking about. Then, he announced “change, you’re Blue Beetle”. Hmm Blue Beetle? I didn’t know that one. So, I started pretending to be a beetle in what was pretty strange, I must admit. That’s when Anna announced, “silly Bebaws, Blue Beetle has swords”. Okay, I thought. I can do this. So, I began using my arms as swords, when I was told I still didn’t have it quite right. I opted for my superhero name they have given me at work, “the Shadow”. I still haven’t figured that one out.
Isn’t it amazing how God is always understanding when we are struggling and trying to figure out what to do. Psalms 37:4 tells us that when we take delight in the Lord, he will give us the desires of our heart. Have you ever wondered what the desires of your heart truly are? We all have seasons in our life, where we are haunted by our mistakes. Sometimes we may want forgiveness, but are not ready to change. Despite all of our short comings, God is still here with all the answers. Even when the answers aren’t what we want to hear. That’s when we need to rely most on His strength and comfort.
I hope you have a wonderful Monday. Trust in God. God bless you.
“Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.” Philemon 1:7 NIV
Happy Friday! It’s a great time to spread God’s love everywhere you go. In a town that has been destroyed by a hurricane, faces dripping with despair are commonplace. What can we do to ease pain in a situation like this? Of course, we can offer our services to help with cleanup. We can feed people who are hungry. We can assist with finding places for homeless. We can invite people to church and share God’s love. Is there anything more?
Encouragement is one of the best gifts we can give one another that doesn’t cost a dime. TobyMac once said that “with every person you meet you can either bring life or bring them down”. People can detect your kindness and attitude by looking at your face and body movements. They can even detect it in your voice over the telephone.
So, take time to smile and give someone an encouraging word. God bless you.
“What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?”
Deuteronomy 4:7 NIV
Good morning from the City of Southern Charm! One thing I have noticed since Hurricane Michael hit has been the beauty of our City lies not only in what is visible in the surroundings, but also in the hearts of the people who live here. It’s amazing how grateful people are despite their extraordinary losses. In a world that seems to promote the wrong values, the attitudes of the people who live here are refreshing! I’ve heard very few people complaining. Usually when I ask someone how they are doing since the storm, they reply “I’m thankful and blessed to be alive”. That’s how I feel too. There have also been many people from all over the country here trying to help with restoring power, maintaining order, responding to emergencies and providing food, supplies and shelter. All these people are doing business here in the businesses that are able to open. Good can come out of bad.
Today’s Try Something New Tuesday. Every Tuesday I ask my staff “what will you try?”. I’ve heard some serious and some silly responses over the years. It can be difficult to think of something new, because it requires us to extend ourselves beyond our normal routine and to think outside of the box. I have to admit, sometimes I find it hard to think of something new. While I was at the conference, I bought a book, which I already had a digital copy. The book is small enough to fit into my bag and I can carry it wherever I go. It’s called “The Secret Power of Speaking God’s Word” and it’s written by Joyce Meyers. What makes the book special is the contents have a list of emotions, issues and blessings that you can look up by topic. For example, you might look up civic duty with the election at hand. When you turn to the pages on the subject you will find scripture based on the topic. I gave it a try yesterday. Amazing! Yesterday, I looked up contentment. I prayed using the scriptures from this little book. What will you try?
I would like to encourage Americans to exercise their right to vote. Often people take this opportunity for granted. Pray about your decision and vote. Christian values have been lost in recent years and your vote really does make a difference.
Have a wonderful day and try something new! God Bless You.
“But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.”
Psalms 3:3 KJV
Happy Monday! The conference was amazing! I felt like everyone there was the “real deal”. I’m referring to all 10,000 attendees, the crew working the conference and the people on stage. Everyone was approachable and friendly, but on a different journey in their Christian walk. All good conferences must come to an end, and that includes the excitement. When we return home it is important to be committed in our walk with Christ.
I don’t have a problem with commitment, so I was ready to get back to work. All the way home I praised God. Then, I came home and reality set in. Before I left for Tampa, our daughter, son-in-law and grandson were staying with us. I was also very busy at work dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. I think I was so busy that I was in denial. So, after I returned home I realized we needed something from the store. As tired as I was I told my husband that I was making a run to the store. He warned me, but I didn’t pay attention. I’m a little stubborn. I drove into town at about 8 pm. Nothing was open but one convenience store surrounded by police cars. I had forgotten about the curfew, which I was violating. It felt like a police state. Sunday I couldn’t make or receive calls, or use the Internet. In fact, we are not supposed to have service until November 29th. I also cannot receive my medication that is delivered by FedEx. In my frustration I went to town hoping for a signal. Then, it hit me. The town I have spent more than 20 years trying to improve is devastated. Someone told me of a neighbor who was trying clean up his yard and perished because a tree fell on him. I also was informed that a young woman whom I knew died from suicide last week. My heart was heavy. All I could do was cry.
Reality sets in eventually for everyone. It’s not the end of the world. It just took me a little while to deal with my situation. God is good all the time though. I remembered the dancing and fun we had at the conference. I turned on my radio and began dancing. If you are ever feeling sad, turn on some good praise music and dance. My mood was quickly lifted. I have to add that it is good exercise too! The words reminded of what is really important, and the movement felt good.
We all have a ministry. How can we accomplish anything with a “gloom and doom” attitude? So today and all this week, I’m going to take a break a couple of times during the day, and dance for a few minutes. As a matter of fact, I might just do this indefinitely. Let me know if this works for you. God bless you!
“And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward.”
1 Kings 13:7 KJV
Good morning from beautiful Tampa, Florida! Today is the second day of the Joyce Meyer Love Life Women’s Conference and I’m so excited! This is the get away that was much needed. If you have never been to hear the teachings of Joyce, her conferences are wonderful. However, I have to say that this conference has been kicked up more than a few notches. Wow! Elevation Worship and Natalie Grant were amazing last night. Thousands of women were praising God together.
Joyce announced last night that always before the Love Life Women’s Conference was held in St. Louis. I knew. I wanted to go for many years. That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to buy tickets. The conference is sold out, but it is being aired live through the Internet. I encourage you to join in the fun.
So, it’s okay to have fun and refresh your body and soul sometimes. Then, when you are refreshed, refresh the souls others. Have a wonderful day. God bless you.