Category Archives: Change the World

SPREAD THE LOVE FRIDAy – living from Disaster to disaster Without losing your positive attitude

“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.


Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday – Stop Bad Chatter

“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.

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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.

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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.

Have a wonderful day and God bless you!

 

Try Something New Tuesday – Make a Joyful Noise

Let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them!
‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭16:32‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Happy Tuesday!  It’s a great day to try something new.

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Have you ever felt betrayed or like your world has fallen apart abruptly?  It happens to all of us.  What works for me is to make a joyful noise unto the LORD.  Have you ever sang “I’ve got the Joy, Joy, Joy down in my heart”?  It’s hard to be upset when you sing that song.  If that doesn’t work for you, sing another song.  Fill your heart with gladness,  As my husband says “don’t let Satan pull you until you spiral down”.  We always have something to be thankful for.

I hope you have a glorious day!  God bless you!

 

Perseverance during Life’s Trials

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
‭‭James‬ ‭1:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

F82890B1-382F-48D2-9A1F-40EAAF7835A6We have all endured temptations and preserved through life’s  trials, but some seem especially difficult.  Saying goodbye to a family member too soon, watching a friend slowly die or suffer with an illness, poverty, war, homelessness, hunger, and pain are among of the trials we encounter, and there are many more.  How close we live to pain and suffering.  Yet, when we search our hearts, we can find a glimpse of happiness even in the most painful moments.  Although it may be difficult, there is always something for which to be thankful, and there is always someone who has more difficult trials.

God does not bring pain and suffering, but people sometimes suffer because of their 5A149D40-4077-47B5-87E1-F8A9BEBB0DB6beliefs.  John the Baptizer was beheaded after rebuking Herod for marrying Herodias, his niece and ex-wife of his brother  (Mark 6:17–29).  Stephen was stoned to death (Acts 7:54-60), as was James, the brother of Jesus.  Peter was crucified upside down and Paul was beheaded.  Other early disciples were crucified in various places.  Christians have been cooked alive, dragged to death, skinned alive, sewn into skins and eaten alive by wild animals,  starved, boiled, ground to death, had the inner organs eaten by pigs while alive and tortured in numerous other ways.  Christians are still persecuted today.

So, one must wonder despite all these horrible things why has Christianity grown 51101F3D-30BE-4445-898E-A0AF47B4EACFexponentially from the very beginning.  Why are people willing to be tortured and killed without fighting back and all the while praying for those who persecute them?  For me the answer is undeserved loving forgiveness and redemption from sin (grace) by faith that brings promises of eternal life.  The faith carried by beliefs is so strong that we are able to face adversity in the steps of Jesus.  James the Just, who was later stoned to death , said “[b]lessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James‬ ‭1:12‬‬‬).  The good news is whether you are dying a martyr or living through every day trials, your love for the Lord will lead you to the “crown of life”.  Keep the faith.

Have a super Saturday.  God bless you.

Forgiveness Thursday – Claim Your Blessings

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

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

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

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

Have a great day!  God bless you.

Light of the World Blogger Award

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

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Light of the World Award

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

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

My Answers to Joe’s Questions

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

https://youtu.be/oLURTvUQoTM

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

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

My Nominations

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

The Rules

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

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

Tell Me Something Good Monday – Breaking Old Habits

But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭1:2‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Happy Monday!  Tell me something good!  I have several stories to share.  First, I saw a lightning bolt come down and hit the transformer in front of the house next to ours Saturday.  It was amazing.  The good news is that we had little damage during the storms over the weekend.  The one on Saturday was during the time my husband usually drives home for lunch.  I found out my prayers were answered when I learned he decided to eat at work that day.  Another blessing was I taught Sunday School to a multigenerational class yesterday.  What fun!  We only had a few hiccups that will be ironed out before next week.  Finally, Landon came over yesterday while his parents went on a date.  We all enjoyed the afternoon.  I hope you had a good weekend and will share your stories.

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Today, I’m mindful of how we learn to be the people we become.  I heard Andy Stanley tell the cutest story on television yesterday about his niece.  The story has just stuck with me.  He said his young niece (probably elementary school age) had been on the swim team for several years and loved it.  However, she always finished last.  So, as she was preparing for her first swim meet of the season, her mother told her to try really hard to win.  The young child said “is that what this is about?  I thought we were going to meet people.”  I may not have retold the story exactly as he did, but as I chuckle I am thinking about how we learn as children.  Our families and caregivers have a large hand in our growth.  Did your parents teach you to think or work?  Mine taught me to work hard and be self-sufficient.  I am very thankful for all they did for me.  My grandparents had a large role in my spiritual growth.

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Have you ever wondered why you do something silly or maybe not so healthy?  Well, your parents can’t take all the credit.  As we grow older we are exposed to many forces that shape our physical, mental and emotional growth.  The good news is, if you have an undesirable habit, regardless of where it originated, you can work on it now.   Start today by counting your blessings.  Focus your energy on helping others.  Spend time every day studying and speaking God’s word.  It’s never too late to get started.

Have a wonderful Monday!  God bless you.

Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday – Choices

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tell Me Something Good Monday – Listen

Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.    Matthew 10:32

Good morning from beautiful New Orleans!  It is amazing how fast a few days go by when I’m on vacation.  Maybe it’s because I’m super busy or maybe because I’m having a wonderful time.  Last night I took a boat tour on the Natchez.  No matter how many times my southern accent tries to enunciate this name correctly, I just can’t seem to get it.  Lol. Let’s just say, I don’t blend.  When I speak, it sounds like I just came off Scarlet O’Hara’s Plantation, Tara.

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The Natchez was wonderful.  I might have been the only passenger without a family, so I had the opportunity to listen to the jazz music, study my school work, enjoy the view, and eat some of the most delicious food I’ve ever enjoyed.  Now, that is something good.  The Natchez came back early for a fire works show.  As I was wandering to a spot to call my Lift driver, I saw Cafe Beignet.  Now, I have been wanting to try beignets since I arrived.  I picked up my warm beignets and headed back to my hotel room.  The Lift driver asked me “what smells so delicious?”  Well, let me just say, Beignets are a treat from heaven.  I’ve never experienced anything like them.  They were delicious and worth the wait.  I may have to do a little extra walking today and every day for the rest of my life.

At the conference yesterday and again today, I am reviewing resumes.  This is my second year serving at a national conference in this capacity.  I think I may have learned more than the people visiting my table.  Yesterday, I spoke with a man about my age looking to change careers, a young man still going to school and thinking about the future, and a doctor who needed to break free from her university job.  Helping others is a great way to learn.  Plus, I enjoy hearing their stories.  I pray that I was able to provide a little guidance.

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After lunch I took a tour of the Biomedical District in New Orleans and sat by another planner from Bermuda.  He was very interesting and I was able to share my Christian beliefs in casual conversation.  I think God allowed me to come here to hear different life stories.  I’ve heard many and I’m a better person from the experience.

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I have a packed schedule today, so I will close for now.  Have a wonderful day and embrace the opportunity to share something good.  God bless you.

Tell Me Something Good Monday – All Things Come from the Lord

First pride, then the crash— the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭16:18‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Good Morning!  Tell me something good!  I had a wonderful quiet weekend at home studying.  I’m slowly catching up on some school work and planning an upcoming trip to New Orleans.  It’s a business trip, but still exciting.  I can’t wait to hear about your weekend.

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Have you ever worked hard to accomplish something, praying along the way, only to later to take credit for what God has done in your life?  Have you ever worked hard and felt most deserving, only to be overlooked repeatedly while someone less qualified seems to always be noticed.  Well, you’re not alone.  I heard a Hebrew parable over the weekend that went something like this.  In this story God is the light and prosperity is a shadow.  When you chase after the light and submerge yourself in the love of the light, the shadow will follow you.  God takes care of those who put him first.  He wants you to be successful and happy.  However, if you chase after the shadow (prosperity), you will never catch your dreams. You’ll run in circles frustrated by your inability to make progress despite all the education, hours of work, community service or whatever else you do.

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Start your week by submerging yourself in God’s love.  Put him first and continue to work on building your career, family, vacation or whatever your dreams may be.  God bless you.