Category Archives: Let your light shine

Try Something New Tuesday – Goodbye New Orleans

Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being] from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
‭‭GALATIANS‬ ‭1:3‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Good morning from the very beautiful New Orleans.  The sky is cloudless this morning as I prepare to depart this city rich with culture.  The visit has been a wonderful opportunity for me professionally and personally.  However, I miss my husband and  I’m ready to return home.  If you ever visit New Orleans, the food is magnificent.

83FD138B-CA27-49B6-97C8-E129F97CF81C

During my stay I worked on my studies some at night.  I’m currently studying the Book of Galatians.  The first chapter is packed full of information.  I spent three or four hours last night studying Galatians 1 and I’m still working on it.  One theme that jumped out at me and I wanted to share is “Grace versus Legalism”.  I often hear people say legalism, but I didn’t realize what they meant until now.  It’s completely understandable as Christians that we feel obligated to do something, but that is legalism.  It could be dressing a certain way, following Old Testament laws, or feeling obligated to go or serve at Church.  Legalism puts the focus on us rather than on our sweet Lord.  Rather that working to please God, we should focus on working for God because we love Him so much and in thanksgiving for all our blessings.  You see, we have salvation by faith and spirituality by grace.  There is nothing we can do to be saved, but accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  As our verse today tells us, peace is a part of that grace (Galatians 1:3).  Isn’t that great!  Then, the “works” we do should be in thanksgiving and a way of honoring our Lord.

36495585-5551-4A50-A9BB-B25E0A41BECC

So, today try something new by spending your time pleasing God in thanksgiving.  Have a super day!  God bless you.

Spread the Love Friday – Blown Away by Faith

The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.  Isaiah 58:11

Happy Friday!  It feels good to be back.  I apologize for my brief time away.  I will spend the day trying to catch up with everyone.

Over the last five to six weeks I’ve been working very long days at work, usually going in at 7 in the morning and rarely leaving before 9:30 in the evening. Plus, I’m a student, I’m active in my community and church, and I’m a grandmother who loves being involved.  So, I’ve been busy.  If you don’t know, I’m a City Planning Director of a small town in north Florida.  A little over a year ago we submitted an application to the American Planning Association (APA) for a Community Planning Assistance Team (CPAT) to visit our city and provide a plan to improve economic development.  Our city has been plagued by negative publicity related to abuses which may have taken place years ago in a reform school that has now closed.  Unfortunately, our city has felt the pain of job losses, and citizens moving away.  Now, it seems we have a bad reputation, which makes it hard to attract new businesses and visitors.

 

I felt God’s blessings when our application was selected. I remember dancing around the City Manager’s office with excitement when I learned the news.  To me this has been a big deal, so I began immediately planning to take advantage of this opportunity.  After entering into a contract, the team leader and program director visited our city last April.  The visit went well and my excitement escalated.

47E5ECCD-34FA-4EF2-83CB-DF33EAF2D15F

At the end of January, I was notified that the team would be arriving February 25th, and would stay through March 2nd.  With not much time to plan, a staff of four (one employee on vacation and another at training for over a week), along with working with another agency, we had to move quickly.

I don’t know if you have ever experienced this type of event, but it hinges on public participation.  One of the suggestions the team leader made early on was to host a community-wide, public function that would bring people out to participate in feedback.  I met with my colleague and we decided to use a model similar to one used in Durham, North Caroline.  Our city, county and community would get married.  After the name  “Marry Marianna” was approved by both agencies, the real work began.

A8767F0F-5F38-4C12-B201-FB1DCD12B5B5

I want you to know that things like this don’t fall into place.  I can honestly say that my colleague and I are very strong in our faith, and we both tried to select others who felt the same.  The funny thing is, we didn’t have to try hard because all along God brought the right people into our lives.  A close family friend joined efforts with a very sweet lady, who I now call my friend, to manage the entertainment.  They took care of everything free of charge and were a joy with which to work.  I never gave much thought to what they were doing, because I completely trusted them.  All the entertainment was provided free of charge and was inclusive.  I had a surprise at the event, when I saw my father was part of the crew!

 

Along our journey to complete this nuptial, we worked hard, but I found many people stepped up to help without much effort on our part.  Wedding cake, drinks, money and many more items along with time were donated.

During the planning of Marry Marianna, I was also very busy setting up and confirming meetings with what would be more than 150 stakeholders, and writing three newspaper articles a week.  That was time-consuming, so I relied heavily on my assistant to take care of details such as ordering supplies for the team and organizing what would become a week-long community event.  My colleague and I were also very busy with public speaking engagements, which placed a heavier load on my other Continue reading Spread the Love Friday – Blown Away by Faith

Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday – There No Such Thing as Impossible

And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
‭‭Mark‬ ‭10:27‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday!  We have been very busy at work planning a community event.  This is not my first rodeo, but I’m looking forward to many successful times on the journey and at the end.  What surprises me is the lack of optimism that I have seen when speaking with people about the event.  Maybe it’s realism.  I don’t know, but I always shoot for the stars.  If I hit the moon, I still consider whatever I’m striving for a success.

B26163CE-593A-4D31-914F-F09B571A14F7

Have you ever had doubts about outcomes, not just an event, but in life?  Have you ever had work that had to be completed in a certain amount of time, but you just knew you wouldn’t make it?  Have ever tried fasting and your doubts got the best of you?  Do you have someone at home that requires all your attention and you are struggling to work, take care of others and take care of everything at home? Having faith doesn’t make things easy.  We still have struggles along the way.  It’s believing in something you can’t see.  Jesus taught that through God nothing is impossible (Mark 10:27).  Faith is also believing in others and helping them, especially when they don’t believe in themselves.  Often, people are so beaten down that they need to harness themselves to your belief in order to succeed.  That’s okay, because we want to make the world a better place.

4A5F5746-3A54-45ED-BAA3-F7D79E589060

Today, use your faith to make the world a better place by believing for yourself and helping others.  God bless you.

Spread the Love Friday – Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and establish you in every good work.
‭‭2 Thessalonians‬ ‭2:16-17‬ ‭KJV‬‬

It’s Friday and cold, but the sun is out.  Yesterday, Landon stayed and played all day.  He loves his new car so much, that he had a picnic in it.

40E87591-26AE-4305-B1E6-A615D4CE7047

Last night we enjoyed an evening out to watch different local musical artists perform in the park.   Man, oh man!  We have some unbelievably talented folks here.  It was cold and rainy, but it was fun to bundle up and enjoy a night out.  This morning I’m fighting with a playful kitten.  I have toddler proofed my home.  He’s into everything.  This morning nine month old Dominic pulled the table runner off the table and my crystal candle holders were caught in flight.  I removed the table runner, then he was playing with the battery operated candles inside the crystal.  Now, he’s popping my fingers as I type.  Let’s just say that life is exciting with Dominic these days.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Have you ever suffered from anxiety?  I hear many people say that they suffer from social anxiety.  I would dare to guess that most, if not all, of us have experienced some anxiety from time to time.  Has anxiety ever stopped you in your tracks?  What I’m talking about is a physiological reaction.  The type of reaction where maybe you feel like you’re having a heart attack?  Another type of reaction might be to sweat profusely?  Sometimes my eyes water, my body shakes and I can’t speak for choking on my saliva.  Has this ever happened to you?  What about in public?  I’ve been told that the more you do whatever it is that’s causing the reaction, the less the reaction will occur.  I don’t think so.  I think one of the tricks is to have a good reaction and remember it.  Years ago, I read one of Tony Robbins books and learned this.  Actually, I’ve read nearly all, if not all, of his books.  He teaches and is the co-founder of Neurolinguistic Programming.  I’m not going to try to explain it, because the best thing for you to do is read his books.  After studying his books, I tried to find successful moments, no matter how small, and remember them.  Believe me, when I say they were very small at first.

One thing that brought on severe anxiety for me was public speaking.  I had done it for years, and it didn’t get better.  Just speaking to one person sometimes brought on an attack. Embarrassing public situations just made it worse.  All I could do, was think “what if this happens” and “what if that happens”.  My mind raced through scenarios.  So, what I did was catch myself in a public situation that I was not too anxious in, and I pinched my hand hard.  Then, whenever I had to speak again, instead of thinking of failure, I pinched my hand and tried to remember each little success.  As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t let my mind think about any of the “what if’s”.  I just tried to focus on each little success.  This did work, but it took years and I never felt completely comfortable in social situations.  Of course, I didn’t have personal training with Tony Robbins.  That would have been awesome.  I was able to be president of a local civic club without too much trouble.

1B01F10E-2B1F-4B2E-AC87-88BCA636CEC4

Then, I took piano.  Part of playing piano is making mistakes in front someone who is watching you play.  Yikes!  All I had to do was think about someone listening to me, and the whole song was a flop!  I could know every note and not get one right.  Fortunately, I had a very understanding teacher.  I took lessons for four years.  I never mastered piano, but I became a little less anxious about public performance.

B372F6D1-0D39-49B6-9531-B7E74C052676

Whenever I was called into the ministry, I thought well, surely God just wants me to write or work behind the scenes, because I have this anxiety problem.  Then, when I was asked to teach Sunday School, I wasn’t sure if I could do it.  Yet, how could I tell God no?  So, I stepped out of my comfort zone and took a chance.  I’m not going to lie and say that I don’t have some anxiety from time-to-time, but when I’m doing God’s work, I’m 99% better.  Some people have told me that they can’t believe I was ever timid at all.  Isn’t that great!

88789E3F-3F02-46D7-A44A-E8768BE9DFC9

I guess you are wondering why I’m telling you this.  I know people who have let anxiety rule them.  It’s really sad.  The more you give anxiety control over your life, the more it will take control.  Please don’t do that.  Second Thessalonians 2:16-17 tells us to “[c]omfort  your hearts, and establish you in every good work”.  God wants us to step out of our comfort zones and do his work.  He wants us to be happy and enjoy life.  Some people need to seek professional help.  However, if you will listen and do God’s work, I think you’ll find a great deal of the anxiety will disappear.

Today, I ask you to step outside your comfort zone and take a chance on spreading God’s love to others.  God bless you.

For more information about Tony Robbins visit http://www.tonyrobbins.com.

Spread the Love Friday – It’s Not Over Yet!

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:1‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Good Morning!  It’s the Friday before Christmas and life is so busy!  Even in our small town, the stores are packed and people are inundated with last-minute shopping.  Tensions are high this time of year.  My own anxiety got the best of me yesterday.  I told our minister at a party last night that I thought I had gotten up on the wrong side of the bed, because the whole day had been a little sour.  I was surprised to hear him say that it was understandable with work to finish up, shopping to do, decorating, preparing for gatherings and similar things taking place.

569B38C3-98B8-44B8-B28C-E27A556A67DD

This time of year we have so much more to do than usual.  That alone brings stress.  Then, we spend more money, which leads to more stress.  We are often confused about what to purchase for gifts.  Of  course, we want our gifts to be perfect, which is even more stress. For me food is also an issue.  I had a session with my weight watchers coach this morning.  I used all my points for yesterday, plus 11 more points than was available for the week.  Did I eat a lot?  Not really.  I just had two parties with rich food in one day.  Also, there was less time to exercise.  Hmmm, that’s more stress. However, she was very kind and understanding, too. Finally, we all know that Christmas isn’t about commercialism, so I don’t know about you, but I’m more involved in church and giving to the needy.  All of these things bring joy and stress.

D3343A93-19C4-458E-98AF-9501FD8BA047.jpeg

So, today I’m spreading the love and understanding that I received to you.  If you feel a little, or even a lot stressed, it’s okay.  There is still hope for tomorrow.  God bless you

 

Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday – Strive Spiritual Gifts

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Matthew 6:33

Good Morning!  We have made it half way into the week on the week before Christmas!

1AB436EC-88F7-4A46-A8A8-647D7C529C4A

This morning I’m reminded of the need to learn more Bible verses.  Why?  Often, we know the verses, but don’t know where they came from.  In these cases we can’t specifically direct others on where to find the promises of God.  Saying “read this” while handing someone the Bible can be a little overwhelming.  Sometimes we become unsure if the verse is in the Bible because it is so familiar.  It is also helpful to know the context of the verse.  Then you can explain the setting.  Another reason is it’s good to use God’s word when praying.  Jesus is the best example of this.  When he was tempted by Satan, he used God’s word.  Why wouldn’t we follow his example?  Finally, quoting scripture can be comforting to ourselves and others in times of trouble.

Today’s verse is found in Matthew 6:33.  It is one of the teachings of Christ.  What does it mean?  Above all else strive after God’s kingdom and his way of doing right.   When you do this, all things will be given to you.  Broken down even further, I believe God doesn’t want us to be distracted by worldly things.  Worldly things trap us financially and sometimes morally only for temporary happiness.  I have learned that the unhappiness associated with too much debt is far greater than the temporary happiness of whatever I thought I had to have at a particular moment.  I have also known people who sought after high wages, only to be trapped ethically, and forced to do things they didn’t believe in.

E9E6A13B-A275-43F7-A828-5308DFE53926

So, you might be thinking if you don’t think about a new car all the time, then God will provide it.  The verse says “all things shall be added unto you”.  I would say “yes” and “no”.  Let’s start with the “no”.  The things that will be added unto you are for basic needs, like food, clothing and shelter, and spiritual gifts, like wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord (wonder and awe).  While this isn’t a new car, having these gifts may provide opportunities that lead to a new car.  Then again, if you are striving for Godly things, a new car is probably not on your radar.  You might say “but my car is in the shop and I don’t know how I’m going to get to work tomorrow.”  God doesn’t want us to worry about tomorrow.  In fact, Philippians 4:19 tells us that God will supply your needs.  So, plan and work for tomorrow, but live in today.   Focus on spiritual growth and being like God.  This type of growth will prepare you for all your tomorrows.

All the Bible verses that we are learning can be found in the Scripture Typer App under the group Hisperfecttiming.  Join me in learning scriptures and striving for spiritual gifts in our daily lives.  God bless you.

 

Tell Me Something Good Monday -Christmas Celebrations

I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭145:5‬ ‭

Happy cold Monday!  My something good is we enjoyed taking our grandson to church with us yesterday.  He is so cute.  In the middle of the sermon, he began humming.  I guess I could have stopped him, but it wasn’t very loud and I was thinking of Psalm 66:1.  Why not make a joyful noise at church, especially if it’s not disruptive?  I want him to love worshipping God, so I enjoyed his joy.  I was recently listening to Joyce Meyer and she said we should enjoy worshipping our Lord.  We don’t have to think of worship service as a somber event.  Yes, be respectful, but enjoy your time with God and your fellowship with other Christians.  After all, why would anyone want to go to church if it was always somber.

BE11486B-E848-4AE1-BEA0-7C0B5160864D

Have you ever wondered if it was okay to celebrate?  If so, I have good news for you.  God doesn’t want you to be unhappy, but to rejoice.  There are celebrations throughout the Bible.  Wedding celebrations lasted for a week and sometimes even longer.  What could be better than celebrating the birth of Jesus, our redeemer!  While you are at it, celebrate birthdays of friends and family.  We are so blessed to have one another.  Christian fellowship is wonderful.  We learn from each other and have common bonds for support.  The world would be a lonely place without the people in our lives.

B05AD1D1-F628-411B-90AC-1A4D063AC337

Join me today in celebrating all life and the birth of Jesus throughout the holidays and every day!  God bless you.

Spread the Love Friday – Warm them up!

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 

Good morning!  It’s still cold and raining in Florida.

5AFC7DCB-7AC1-4E72-AADC-3A5D4EF9DEF6

I woke up early today to take my grandson, Landon to school only to learn I had mixed up the days.  Add to that, my cold now includes a sore throat.  So, as I was sitting here aggravated with myself, I received a clear message from God.  “Take them warm hot chocolate.  They are working in the cold and rain.”  At first I thought . . . What?  I’m sick.  I told myself that I would work on my blog post since I had extra time.  Then I heard it again. “Take them something warm.  They are cold.”  Okay, this time I hear and understand clearly, but who?  Who is cold?  So, I said “no problem God, but show me who.”  I began pulling up my blog and I heard it again.  I know this sounds a little nuts to some of you, but I feel like I’m supposed to share this.  If it is cold this morning where you are, join me in taking a thermos of hot chocolate or coffee with you when you go out.  Someone will need it today, and we will know who it is when we see them.  Hmmm.  Maybe it wasn’t a mistake that I woke up early.  As I have been typing this post, my sore throat has eased up.

2D37A446-73FB-4250-94BD-A97A1B521AF4

Today, I challenge you to take something to warm to at least one person who is out in the cold. I can’t wait to hear what you have to share about this experience.  I will share as well.   Stay blessed.

 

 

Forgiveness Thursday – Grudges

He reached down from heaven and rescued me; He drew me out of deep waters.  Psalm 18:16

Happy Thursday!  I’m posting at lunch today.  It’s a little later than usual because for some reason, I just can’t get my act together. Ever been there?  In Florida it is getting colder by the minute.  It was raining and 56 degrees when I took my dogs out this morning.  Now, it is still drizzling rain and the temperature is dropping.  There is a chance for snow on Saturday.  We actually get a few flurries once in a while in Florida, believe it or not.  However, it is the exception, not the rule.  I was wearing shorts and flip flops just a couple of days ago.

Have you ever gone somewhere and everyone was talking wonderfully about a person that has been especially mean to you publicly on more than one occasion?  Have you ever found out that your friends all like someone you don’t?  Did you feel angry at them?  Have you ever been around people who just get on your nerves.  I’m talking about their hygiene, mannerisms, style, etc.?  Hmmm.  I’ve got some good news and some bad news.  First, the bad news is the problem is with you.  Ouch!  Don’t feel bad, because I was enjoying this bitter tea earlier this week.  I had to stop what I was doing, go somewhere quiet, and get right with God.  Why?  Well, first we know Jesus taught that loving our neighbors as ourselves is the second most important commandment (Matthew 22:39). It doesn’t matter what they do or say.  You are responsible for you, not them.  Everyone has different gifts to bring to the table.  We need to love them for who they are and avoid judging.  Do you remember what Jesus says about casting stones (John 8:7)?  As the story goes, the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman before Jesus who had committed adultery.  Under the Old Covenant, the punishment for adultery was stoning.  Jesus explained that only people who had never done anything wrong (sinned) should cast stones.  The ending is good.  All the accusers left her and Jesus told her to “go and sin no more” (John  8:11).  How many times have I gotten caught up in this type of behavior?  Too many to count! Sound familiar?  Jesus taught that we are to forgive others just like God forgives us (Matthew 6:14).

4B9FC844-32FB-4814-984A-22DB7C504C75

The good news is we can start right now.  Just bow your head and get right with God.  You can do it anywhere, and usually without anyone knowing.  Forgive those who have done you wrong, and let go of grudges.  While you are forgiving others, ask for forgiveness.  Dismiss bitter talk and gossip.  It makes matters worse.  Don’t wish bad on someone who has done you wrong.  That makes you wrong.  Forgiveness is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.  It frees your heart from bitterness.  One of my favorite and most comforting verses says “and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians‬ ‭4:7‬).  Every time I hear or read these words, I feel tremendous comfort.  It’s peace beyond our understanding that we receive when we forgive.  Isn’t that great!

Today and every day, join me in letting go of grudges and asking God for forgiveness.  God bless you!

 

Spread the Love Friday – Build Them Up

Encourage each other and build each other up.  1 Thessalonians 5:11

Good Morning!  Have you ever been so excited that you just can’t wait for something to happen?  Tomorrow we are giving my grandson a birthday party.  He turned three on the 18th,  but I’m still excited.  Funny, when I was a child it seem to take so long for birthdays to come around.  Now, birthdays come around way too fast.  We are so blessed to be able to see the world through his eyes.

I’m beyond happy this morning, but everyone does not feel the same.        If you know someone with struggles this morning, build them up.  If you are struggling, know that everything is temporary.  I love you and God loves you.  Never give up.

Have a blessed day!  God bless you.