“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.
“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.
“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.
“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!
“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!
“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.
“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!