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Try Something New Tuesday – Rise Up with Courage!

Arise, raise up the youth and support him with your hand, for I intend to make him a great nation.  Genesis 21:18

Happy Tuesday!  It’s a glorious day.  When I was getting dressed this morning, I started thinking and wondering “why isn’t everyone a Christian?”.  I mean, if I were on the fence, I would reason that it wouldn’t hurt anything to try.  Then it occurred to me that repenting is a commitment everyone is not willing to make.

Have you ever thought about what it means to repent?  Have you used the word, but never really thought about it?  Well, you’re not alone.  I have used “repent” and many other words freely without much thought.  Repenting is first telling God you’re sorry.  That’s obvious to most, but there’s more.  It’s commitment to change.  It doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes, but it a commitment to live a different life.  I have a Christian friend who has had many extramarital affairs.  I asked her one day “have you ever thought about what it’s going to be like to stand before God and look at your life?”  She said “well, I made mistakes when I was growing up and my mom forgave me . . . God will forgive me in much the same way.”  I know men who have molested young girls all their life, and keep going back to God, asking for forgiveness.  Their behavior never changes.  Can you intentionally keep making the same mistakes and ask for forgiveness?  Yes, but that is not repenting.  When we repent, we ask for forgiveness and make a commitment to turn our life around.  We stand up with courage and ask God to help us to live a different kind of life.  We walk in the love of Jesus.

Are you going through life making the same mistakes over and over, while turning to God with pleas of forgiveness?  Stand up with courage today, and make a commitment to live a Christian life.  Leave the mistakes of the past behind you, and break through the cycle of sin!  God bless you.

Tell Me Something Good Monday – Optimism and Truth

Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically as something done for the Lord.  Colossians 3:2

It’s tell me something good Monday, and the church shooting in Texas is heavy on my mind.  I ask you to remember these families and the entire church congregation in your prayers, as I will.

So, how do we maintain optimism in a world where there are terrorist attacks every day?  I heard Billy Graham preaching on Serius XM this morning (Ch 145).  The time of his sermon seemed to be in the late 1970s or early 1980s, but the message was similar.  He referred to a failing economy, terrorist attacks, and a search for truth.  He even said he’d heard some say it might be the end of days.  Does any of this sound familiar?  Jesus said in John 8:32 “you will know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free.”  Jesus also said “I am the way, and the Truth and the light.  No man comes unto the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).  Jesus is the Truth.  We can be optimistic in a world full of evil when we know Jesus is with us.  We don’t have to be fearful.  That’s today’s Good News.

As you go through the day, have no fear.  Jesus is with you.  God bless you.

Renewal in God

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not be faint.  Isaiah 40:31

Good morning.  I hope your Saturday has started out wonderful and will be a great day!

Renewal in God builds our strength and eliminates fear, distrust, and evil thoughts and words.  When I was a teenager, I thought I was in love with a young man who I had known since preschool.  I would get weak in the knees at a glance and I couldn’t think of anything or anyone but him all the time.  Doing homework was impossible.  Of course, my adoration for this boy was a concern for my parents, who did everything they could to keep us apart.  As you can probably guess that didn’t work.  This young man cheated on me with other girls, but I didn’t trust my parents who wanted to protect me.  I trusted the guy that hurt me.  I finally broke up with him and moved on to dating some other guys.  I still didn’t trust my parents.  If they liked a young man I was dating, I stopped dating him.  I did some things I am ashamed of now and wound up feeling bad about myself.    Later, I married a man who my parents didn’t like.  After a few months he was cheating on me.  I fought to hold the relationship together, but we were divorced two years later.  Well, I blamed everyone.  I moved away from God and my parents.  I didn’t want to live anymore.  I felt hopeless.

Have you ever experienced distrust?  Have you ever had evil thoughts that turned into evil words?  Have you ever wondered why everything is going wrong in your life?  Have you moved away from God?  When we move away from God we begin to experience distrust and fear.  Fear leads to resentment, which leads to anger.  First thing we know, we are having evil thoughts, which leads to evil words.  The good thing for me was God never left me.  I started renewing my relationship with God and my parents.  I placed all my hope in Him, and there was hope.  A friend set me up on a blind date with someone I probably would have never dated by choice.  Why?  I was stuck in a rut of foolish thoughts and fears. I felt hurt, weak, and not strong enough to stand on my own.   With this man I found true love and I have been with him since that day over 31 years ago. Now, we renew  our relationship with God separately and together as a couple.  We are very strong spiritually.

Renewal in God builds our strength and eliminates fear, distrust, and evil thoughts and words.  Isaiah 40:31 says “[t]hose who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint.”  You see when we focus on building our relationship strong with God first, and loving others as ourselves second according to the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 22:37-39, we will renew our relationships with God and others without even realizing it.  We will become stronger without even knowing it.  I once had terrible social anxiety, and from time to time it still peaks it’s head out.   Let’s face it.  I was afraid of everything.  God fixed this anxiety for me.  One day I was telling a lady I had just met about my shyness in groups and my fear of public speaking, when a friend said “I don’t believe it.”  It occurred to me at that moment that while I was renewing my relationships with God and others, I became strong enough to soar like an eagle without even knowing it.

Do you want to spend your life in fear and distrust?  Does worry control your life?   If you are having worry, fear and distrust there must be something wrong.  These feelings are not what God wants for you.  Do you wish evil on others?  Even worse, do you speak evil?  Everyone gets caught up in these feelings and behaviors from time to time, but you have to turn to God in order to get things straightened out.  God’s word tells us in Isaiah 40:31 that when you renew your strength in God, you will not be faint or grow weary.  In fact, you will run  and soar like an eagle.  How do you do this?  You put your hope in God.

Our world is beautiful, but can sometimes present challenges.  Last night I was watching the news and I heard a heart wrenching story.  A man retired from the United States’ military turned his young son in for joining ISIS, killing a neighbor, and plotting to kill people at a concert.  While he seemed heartbroken, he didn’t seem to have fear, regret or evil thoughts.  How difficult it must have been for him to turn his son, who he loved with all his heart and who he had once hoped would follow in his own patriot footsteps, over to the police for a  punishment, which could very likely be death.  Are we strong enough?  Do we soar like eagles?  If we are to have the strength to stand up to evil in these types of situations, we have to put our hope in God.

Renewal in God builds our strength and eliminates fear, distrust, and evil thoughts and words. Today, renew your relationship with God.  God bless you.

Spread the Love Friday – Ask Him

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.  Ephesians 3:20-21

Happy Friday!  It’s a wonderful to be thankful and spread the love of Jesus!

Paul tells us in Ephesians 3:20 that Jesus can do more than we can even imagine, if we ask.  That verse is a little mind-blowing for me.  If I can’t imagine, how can I understand.  When we can’t understand, we must have faith.  Of course, that’s wonderful news, but how do we spread Jesus’ love when we can’t even imagine how expansive it is? Have you ever stopped to think about this?  Jesus died on the cross and bore all the sins of the world.  That means the sins of those before him, of those living during his time on earth, and for all future generations.  How can we even begin to fathom the sacrifices made for us?  The good news is we don’t need to understand!  All we need to do is study God’s word, have faith, and ask for help in prayer.

Ask Jesus to help you today when you spread his word, and trust him.  God bless you!

Forgiveness Thursday – Brokenness

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18

Good morning!  “This is the day the LORD has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24)  It’s a glorious day here in Florida.  We have mild temperatures and the sun is shining bright.  The leaves are changing and it feels good to be alive.   It’s Forgiveness Thursday and some of us are on the downside of the work week.  Don’t let a moment go by without getting right with God.

Often I hear people say “I’m broke” or “I’m broken”.  What do these phrases mean to you?  Does “broken” mean brokenhearted?  Do you have a broken bone or are you sick?  When you hear the word “broke,” does your mind immediately go to financial matters?  Does “broken” mean unworthy?  Do you think of relationship problems?  Maybe you think “I suck at being a Christian”.

 I have thought all of these thoughts at one time or another.  Regardless to which one comes to mind, there is one answer that will solve the problem.  Hebrews 13:5 tells us that God has promised he will never fail or abandon us.  So, no matter how broken you think you are, you can always turn to him.   When God does the mending, broken things become blessed.    We can also rest assured in knowing that in all things God works for the good (Romans 8:28).  While we may not understand now, we will one day.  Remember, that no one is too broken for the grace of Jesus.

So, today if you feel broken, rest in knowing that grace is enough.  If you know someone broken, stop what you are doing and pray with them.  God bless you.

 

Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday – Let God Shine the Way

The Lord is my light and my salvation.  Psalm 27:1

I can’t believe it’s November already!  It’s Wednesday and a great time to use your gifts to help others.

Have you ever felt confident God was answering a prayer, when suddenly something happens that brings doubt to your mind?  I have too.  Months ago I asked God to cure my Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Over the past few months I have been feeling better. Funny, the more I do for God, the better I feel. Yesterday, I had an appointment with my Rheumatologist.  If I haven’t mentioned it before, God has sent the nicest, most caring doctors to me.  Well, I had some inflammation, my white count was low and there were some concerns over my eyes.  My mind went to working in overdrive.  What now?  Oh no, what if. . .?

While I was in the doctors’ office, the nurse who was assisting me was talking about mammograms.  That was another appointment I had yesterday.  Her best friend had recently undergone total mastectomy surgery.  I explained that our group Crafty Ladies at Work (CLAW) makes knitted knockers and crocheted tatas, as well as prayer shawls.  Quickly I began texting my group so we could get to work making tatas for this lady.  It occurred to me later in the evening that nothing has changed.  I’m still healed.  God was just slowing me down to give the nurse time to tell me about her friend.  I have too much work yet to do for God to let the evil one slow me down.  As long as God needs me to do his work, I will never give up.

Today, when you go out into the world, focus on helping God and he will show you the way.  God bless you.

Try Something New Tuesday – Fall Festival

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God.  James 1:5

Happy Halloween!

Halloween was once the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain, which marked the beginning of winter and end of harvest.  The change in the seasons was believed to be a time the dead could cross over.  All Hallows’ Eve (also called Halloween) or All Saints’ Eve is celebrated on October 31st.  It’s the eve before November 1st, which begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, a Christian observance in many western countries.  Allhallowtide is a time set aside in the liturgical year to celebrate and remember those who have died before us, including saints and martyrs.  Over the centuries, Halloween has become a time of parties, cookouts, treats, hayrides, jack-o-lanterns, spooky movies, and fun for kids and adults.  Is this holiday bad?  I think it depends on what you are celebrating and what’s in your heart.  As Saint Frances once said, “[w]here there is hatred, let me sow love.”

When I was a child, Halloween was a great time to carve pumpkins, dress up and get candy.  We walked around the neighborhood where our family knew all the neighbors. It was great fun!

When I was about 13, my role changed to the one who gave out the candy.  As a teenager we had special teen events at church, where we went on hayrides, bobbed for apples, and watched black and white  Frankenstein movies.

One year Halloween fell on a Friday night that coincided with a football game.  I was in the high school band, and that year we dressed up and had a stage show.  I clearly remember playing the “Purple People Eater” song on my saxophone, while a classmate dressed as the Purple People Eater danced around.  Fun times were had by all.

When my children were growing up, the world was a bit more scary and uncertain,  but we live in a suburban neighborhood where the neighbors made it fun.  We carved pumpkins, decorated, threw parties and cookouts for the kids, and let them ride down the neighborhood streets on a trailer full of hay to get some candy.  Most costumes weren’t scary.  Still, I was careful to only let my children go where I knew the neighbors.  Still fun!  When they were older, they gave out candy and we watched spooky movies together.

In our town we have four churches and a City Hall each a block apart on one street.  Our minister has come to refer to the collective group of ministers as the Clinton Street Clergy.  Most of the churches in our town have some sort of fall festival for the children.  Over the last few years the Clinton Street Clergy and our City have provided a trunk or treat event on Halloween.  It is a safe alternative for area children and adults to have a good time.  It is more like a fall festival and over time the official name has changed to the Clinton Street Fall Festival.  We usually donate candy, but this year my family is going to decorate our car and hand out candy.  I look forward to seeing the children dressed up, especially my little grandson who will be dressed as a baby dragon this year.

For my family and friends, Halloween is an annual fall tradition where families spend time together at home and church.  In our world where people can’t hold a conversation without a smart device, that’s not so bad.

This Halloween I encourage you to be safe and have fun.  God bless you!

 

Tell Me Something Good Monday – the Beauty of Darkness

The beauty of darkness is that God can put pieces back together.  Jeremiah 17:14

Happy Monday!  My Monday seems a little frantic and manic.  Monday is like that sometimes.  I was running a little late, but when I got to my car I knew I was going to be late.  There was ice on the windshield.  The temperatures are in the mid- to upper-30s this morning.  It wasn’t my plan, but I sure enjoyed pausing for a moment and breathing in the cooler weather.  Guess what?  I wasn’t late.

Do you ever feel like your world is falling apart?  Do you feel like you just can’t seem to get yourself together because something is always dragging you down?  I’ve been studying the Book of Jeremiah for a school paper I am writing.  God used Jeremiah to warn the Israelites about their disobedience repeatedly, but they just wouldn’t stop worshipping idols.  Well, bad led to more bad.  The Israelites were attacked, scattered and endured famine.  They just couldn’t get themselves straightened out.  The good news according to Jeremiah 17:14 is there is beauty in darkness, because God can help us when we turn to him.

Today, if your Monday, or your life is a little chaotic, turn to God.  God bless you.

Praise the Lord Sunday – What About Your Neighbor?

And Jesus replied to him, “‘Y OU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’  This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others].’ The whole Law and the [writings of the] Prophets depend on these two commandments.”
‭‭MATTHEW‬ ‭22:37-40‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Praise the Lord it’s Sunday!  Take time out of your day today to show God how much you love him.

Jesus teaches us to love our neighbors, but have you ever felt this commandment is easy to say, but hard to do?  Have you wondered if it is even possible to love everyone?  I came across this poem by D. H.  Lawrence that sums up how we feel sometimes.

Love Thy Neighbour

I love my neighbour

but

are these things my neighbours?

these two-legged things that walk and talk and eat and cachinnate*,

and even seem to smile, seem to smile, ye gods!

Am I told that these things are my neighbours?

All I can say then is Nay! nay! nay! nay! nay!

D. H. Lawrence

This poem is  a little humorous, but you get the point.  I have heard people say, “how can we have world peace if we can’t even love our neighbors.”  Interesting point!  The first step to loving your neighbor is loving God.  When we love God, we want to do what is pleasing to him.  Plus, we can ask him for help.  The second step is to allow yourself to mentally walk in the shoes of the other person.  We don’t all look the same or have the same experiences.  So, we don’t think alike.  That’s good.  Can you imagine how boring it would be if we all thought alike.  Third step is to love yourself without putting all the emphasis on yourself.  Don’t hang on everyone’s last word.  Finally, pray for help, walk with God and practice.  So, in case you’re wondering who your neighbor is, Edith Stein says it well.  “Whoever is near us and needing us must be our ‘neighbor’; it does not matter whether he is related to us or not, whether he is morally worthy of our help or not. The love of Christ knows no limits. It never ends; it does not shrink from ugliness and filth.”

As you praise God today, remember to love everyone around you.  God bless you!

 

D.H. Lawrence, “Love Thy Neighbor” from The Complete Poems of D. H. Lawrence, edited by Vivian de Sola Pinto and F. Warren Roberts. Copyright © 1964, 1971 by Angelo Ravagli and C. M. Weekley, Executors of the Estate of Frieda Lawrence Ravagli. Used by permission of Viking Penguin, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

 

Teach Your Children in the Way of the LORD

All your children will be taught by the LORD, and great will be their peace.  Isaiah 54:13

It’s a lazy, rainy Saturday at my home.  I’m enjoying a little time with my husband and grandson this morning.  It’s so important to spend time with our children and grandchildren.  They remember what happens at home, which can be good and bad.  If you are raising your children in the way of the Lord and living by example, it’s great!  There are so many outside influences that are not good that they are exposed to.  Yesterday, I was taking Landon to school and he said “look Bebaws, it’s a glorious day!”  Isn’t that great!It’s always great when they feel love and happiness at home and at grandma’s house.   If you are not living the life you want your children to imitate,  get right with God and ask for help.  It’s never too late.  Start today.  If you don’t have children, be a tutor, mentor, big brother/sister, Sunday School teacher, or super aunt or uncle.  Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders.  Believe me when I say it matters.

Today, I encourage you to make the difference in the life of a child!  God bless you.