“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.
“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” II Corinthians 12:9 NKJV
Happy Friday my friends! Some weeks are tough and this one has been especially tough for me trying to race the clock and meet deadlines. Yet, I have a sense of accomplishment this morning. I feel like I made a difference. At the end of the day, that can be a game changer.
Have you ever fought for someone else? Most of us do it every day without thinking twice. Maybe it was for your children or your parents. You might have fought for an employee. Maybe you stood up for someone who seemed less that acceptable to others. Whenever we take these types of actions in our lives, we automatically feel the rewards. We don’t have to toot our horn or brag. God rewards us.
Have you ever had a heavy heart or maybe felt depressed? Depression is real. Society tells us that we are doing too much and should withdraw from helping others to take care of ourselves. This type of self-medicating often leads to alcoholism, drug abuse and isolation. While we should make time for ourselves, when we help others, God heals our hearts. In fact, the more we give of ourselves to help others, the happier we become. The grace of Jesus is the healing we need.
You might wonder what you can do. A very wise friend of mine once said that she listens closely to what others are saying, so that she is able to understand what is not being vocalized. That struck me and I have never forgotten. It means watching the person’s body language. It means really listening and not just waiting to make your point. I started doing this and found that the majority of the time I forget what I was going to say. Yet, it helps me to understand the needs of others. Once you know what someone needs, you can help them, and the process continues.
Today I urge you to reach out to others and help them. Your heart will be full! God bless you.
“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
Good morning children of God and Happy Thursday. It’s Forgiveness Thursday, which is a reminder to start anew forgiving yourself and others.
With the recent destruction of Hurricane Michael, I find myself busier than ever trying to make a difference, but with the same demands from people. Actually with more demands from other people. I know and see the needs and do not feel angered. Yet, sometimes I think bureaucratic requirements that will not make a huge difference in how life goes on from day, should be maybe more reasonable considering the circumstances.
Then, I face the day-to-day problems of life. Last week our Great Dane died unexpectedly leaving a hole in our hearts and lives. Our cat is not at all happy either. My husband burned his hands badly. Then, the part the took the cake for me, was sitting in the doctor’s office for the second time with vampire red eyes and painful joints listening to the doctor tell me there is nothing else he could do for me until a new drug is developed that will not lower my white count so much.
I’m no different than you or anyone else. We all have struggles. It’s how we respond that determines how happy we will be. Where do you find your hope?
Monday night my husband and I attended a For King and Country concert, which touched our hearts and provided good Christian praise music and entertainment. I was even impressed with the t-shirt sales staff, who prayed with the volunteers and taught them how to make a difference in the lives of the concert attendees. Then, yesterday, after hitting my point of exhaustion, I led the teen group at our church. God showed me the hope I needed again. There may be lots of bad in the world, but there is always hope when we take time to listen and train our youth.
So, today I encourage you to listen to Holy Spirit God has poured into our hearts. He is provided for our comfort and for us to use to comfort others. God bless you.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
Happy Friday. I haven’t posted in a few weeks and I feel like I owe my readers an explanation. Sometimes explanations are easier to feel than to relay. Last Spring I took on an additional duty at work of writing newspaper articles weekly. I love this new part of my job. I have the opportunity to hear stories and convey them in a positive light. It’s not like regular news reporting. It’s promoting businesses and how people feel about themselves. So, weekly I interview people and write two to three articles which appear in two newspapers. I was very blessed to have one article appear in two larger, regional newspapers. I had experienced some heartbreak at home and this new venture, although stressful when meeting deadlines, left me feeling like I helped people.
Then, October 10th the world as our community knows it changed when Hurricane Michael wiped out our town. The workload in our office increased dramatically. I sometimes feel my head is spinning with tasks I’m juggling. Again, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I want to help with housing, economic recovery and spiritual health. So, about two months ago I began working more closely with others on housing provisions. Then, about a month ago I decided to get involved with the long term recovery team. This is on top of my already too busy workload. Yet, it feels good to make a difference in whatever small way I can.
In the middle of all this recovery work and writing, I decided to join the gym on January 1st. I want to be healthier and lose weight. I haven’t lost weight, but I have been faithful to going to the gym six days a week for 1-2 hours a day. Also, around this time we learned our daughter is going to have a baby. How exciting! I knew I needed to finish up my classes, so I could make her a quilt.
Then, one other thing happened. I had been hearing the call for a while, but for whatever reason, I wasn’t responding. One morning while leading Sunday School a grandmother conveyed her concerns about what was being taught in history at the local public school and how it conflicted with what the Bible tells us. So, I knew I needed to step up. Now, I’m leading a teen group on Wednesday night. For a church that had few children attending Sunday School, I feel so blessed to have 5-9 teens coming every week to learn. What a blessing!
Well, no one can do it all, and I’m no exception. In the midst of my own stress, I felt Satan’s daily attacks. Before I knew it, I wasn’t keeping up with my classes. I was studying my Bible to teach, but not for my daily reading, and I quit writing my blog. Most days I was going to work at 7 am and getting home around 9:30 pm. My husband has been supportive and helpful with the house work, but my life lacks balance. In the middle of it all I was spending far too much time on social media.
So tonight I realized that I need to give up a few bad habits and add back the good. While I will not be posting every day. I plan to post one to two times a week. I also plan to study my Bible daily for my relationship with God. I’m going to work more on my classes and spend less time on games and social media.
There are a few good things that have occurred over the course of the last year. God has brought some special Christian friends into my life. One friend is my gym buddy. Another is my spiritual friend, who fasts and prays with me. Also, about a year ago I joined a Women’s Bible Study class in another town and with another denomination. I love these ladies. We study together every week.
I have come to realize that none of us are perfect, but I have been growing despite setbacks. Satan knows our weaknesses and when I’m under attack the most, I must be doing something right.
It has now been over four months since the storm hit. I was in a meeting on Wednesday where six of the eight people present still did not have phone and Internet service. Our community was hit by one of the largest storms recorded, but we were forgotten. I live in a rural area with lots of trees, or maybe I should say we had lots of trees. The damage we have dealt with is different from what others have experienced. The storm hit right before the election and the California fires. We have been forgotten by many. Yet here we are, a community already economically depressed, with businesses and residents gone. This morning I was told that a school bus never picked up some of the children. Why? It’s easier to leave than to struggle in the aftermath. There were not enough school bus drivers. This is one of the many issues we face. Depression is another. I heard a report of seven suicides related to the storm. Just driving through the debris daily is depressing and many are not able to use their church buildings. Our church has this problem. Yet, our blessings are more. Hundreds of people have helped our community and we have each other. Above all we have our sweet Lord.
I request prayers for our community. God bless you.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,”
James 1:2 NIV
Happy Tuesday! Since Hurricane Michael came through the Florida Panhandle, I talk to depressed people every day. Honestly, the feelings have washed over me from time to time. It’s difficult to find joy in your world when it has been devastated. Every time we walk out the door we are faced with it again. So, we face daily trials, which will last for many years. Of course, we all have many things to be thankful for, and we are all thankful. Yet that is not enough.
Many people face depression and trials that still their joy. It doesn’t have to be a hurricane. It could be a situation at work, or with family. It could be a problem with finances, especially with the government shut down. Many people worry so much about their children that they lose their joy. It’s a common problem. We look to the past have regret. We look too far into the future and have fear.
I was listening to a minister this morning who said “if you are not joyful, then there is a problem with your priorities”. This statement is powerful. Where do you find your joy. How many times have you posted photos on Facebook or Instagram to get likes. Do you think likes determine friendship? I use Facebook, but we can’t let it rule our life. Most of us have a few friends we can call on in emergency, and they aren’t the many who like our photos and memes.
True joy comes from a heart with God as the top priority. If you are finding your joy is gone and you are in despair. Check your heart and priorities. Don’t look to what’s around you. Don’t look to the past or too far into the future. Look to God and place him first. Realize that whatever trial your facing is temporary and is being used to shape you.
“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 KJV
Happy Thursday and happy 2019! In the panhandle of Florida, as in many places, the new year provides hope: hope for new opportunities; hope for answers to difficult questions; hope for forgiveness for past mistakes; and hope for the return of our pre-Hurricane Michael world. While our city will not be the same and our hearts are broken, there is always hope when we place our faith in God.
Sunday I was studying my Bible and a verse jumped out at me. The Apostle Paul explained to the Corinthians that he had been taunted by Satan and asked three times for Satan’s torment to be removed from him. Jesus explained that Paul’s strength was mad perfect in weakness. Therefore, Paul should be pleased to experience illnesses, persecutions and distress.
God always knows what we need and when we need it. Of course, these verses were not new to me, but still spoke to me. Every time we are tempted, sick and/or distressed, we become stronger with God when we resist. We pass the test and are stronger every time. These verses bring back a children’s song we all know, “Jesus Loves Me”. The song s ays “in our weakness He is strong”.
When things get tough, we don’t have to turn to partying, drugs, alcohol, or affairs. All we need to do is study our Bibles, praise God in songs, and pray. Trust me when I say, you will be stronger. It’s hard to be mad when you are doing these things.
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”
Romans 5:1-6 KJV
Happy Thursday! I was able to take a few days off during the holidays and found myself sick with a nasty upper respiratory infection. The upside is I slowed down and took time to ponder my decisions and life. Over the past couple of years I have learned that my Christian growth cannot be rushed. God’s timing is not my own. I love setting goals and timelines, which is helpful in daily life. However, in my Christian growth I’ve found God holds me accountable to certain lessons along the way. Although it’s tough, I’m thankful.
Have you ever slipped up in one area of your life and suddenly found your entire life spinning out-of-control? I was watching television yesterday and heard a story about a man who had a horrible fungal infection in his lungs. The fungus baffled physicians, not only wondering the origin, but also how to slow its growth. I listened carefully thinking of a slice of molded bread and how quickly the mold spreads. As it turned out, the man enjoyed sniffing socks, and in this unusual pastime inhaled the fungus.
This story seemed a little gross and silly to me. However, I was reminded of how even a small slip can lead to overwhelming changes outside of God’s light, if not kept in check. The sin could be something simple as worrying about our children, or it might originate with pride. Regardless, if we don’t ask for forgiveness and make a concerted effort to turn our lives around, the sin continues to grow like a fungus. Even worse, we start justifying the sin and the spiraling continues.
The Apostle Paul taught the first century Romans that we can grow through our tribulations. Just as the Penicillin that cures our infections comes from that nasty looking mold, we can gain patience, experience and renewed hope without shame through God’s love. Christ already made the sacrifice for us.
Forgiveness is a simple process, which can be difficult and take time. However, when we keep pushing through the pain, we receive a peace beyond all understanding. Have a wonderful Thursday. God bless you.
“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!