Category Archives: Faith

Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday – Sin Can Keep You from Your Gifts

“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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

Tell Me Something Good Monday – Things Are Getting Better Slowly

“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.

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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.

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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.

Forgiveness Thursday – On Premeditated Sin

“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.

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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.

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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.

 

Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday – Praise God

“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?

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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.

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So treat yourself to beautiful praise music and share your happiness all around!  God bless you!

Try Something New Tuesday – Embrace Peace

“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.

Try Something New Tuesday – Watch Your Tongue

“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.

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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.

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!

 

Tell Me Something Good Monday – It’s a Beautiful Day!

“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬
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Happy Monday!  This morning I heard Jamie Grace’s song Beautiful Day and I’ve been smiling and dancing all around.  That’s something good!  Yesterday, we went back to worshipping in our church.  We also went back to our normal routine of breakfast and Sunday School.  That felt good.  It was an opportunity for people to share their stories and feelings.  Sometimes it’s nice to be able to talk with trusted friends and family who understand.  That’s good news.  This morning I feel the sun shining on me and just want to sing.

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Are you in a leadership position at work, church or maybe in a civic organization?  What kind of leader are you?  I’ve been working on some research involving three kings:  Saul, David and Absalom.  This morning Saul is on my mind.  First Samuel tells us that Saul was the tallest and most handsome man in his area.  Yet, he had insecurities.  When anointed to be King, at one point he hid.  King Saul was a people pleaser.  In fact, it was more important for him to keep the troops happy, than to follow God’s instructions.  In his attempts to stay in control he caused his troops to fight hungry, which led to more sin.  Then, he feared a young man, David, would take his crown.  David did take the crown, but what Saul didn’t understand was David wasn’t after the crown.  He just wanted to sing and worship God.  King Saul didn’t start out wicked and evil, but that is where he was at the end of his life.

Have you ever worried about losing your position to someone else?  Have you made decisions to keep the crowd happy? The answer is seeking God’s will first.  If you seek God’s will, he will place you exactly where you need to be at the perfect time.  He will raise you up to your potential.  He wants you to succeed.

I hope you have a wonderful day and seek God first in all you do.  God bless you!

 

Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday – Healing through Grief

“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.

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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.

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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.

Shut the Door on Yesterday and Shine

“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.

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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.