“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.
“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.