Once upon a time I was somewhat artsy. I enjoyed painting with water colors but the problem with them was, if I made a wrong stroke, it wasn’t easy to fix it. I could paint over it but if you looked closely, you could still see it. Pen & inks yielded the same challenges. I did some pencil drawings also. The great thing about those was that you could erase a mistake and never even know it was there. It was also very easy to smudge a line between black and white so that you couldn’t tell where one ended and the other began. Sometimes I think we want our lives to be in pencil. We want to be able to smudge that line between wrong & right and we want to be able to erase the parts that we don’t want anyone to see. Problem is, everything we do is permanent. Even when you try your best to hide a mistake, it’s still there & satan makes sure that there is always someone there just waiting to point out where you’ve messed up. The only way you can completely get rid of all the mistakes is to cover them with the blood of Jesus Christ. It will remove even the ugliest mistakes and guide you in creating a new work of art. And although Satan is still going to provide plenty of people to remind everyone what a mess your canvas used to be, all that will actually matter is that now you are the Master’s masterpiece.
I was eating lunch the other day & saw a squirrel in our yard. My daughter was all excited & didn’t understand why I was concerned about it. I explained that as it got closer to the back of our house, it was also getting further & further away from a tree, and that if our dog saw it, then it was going to have to be really fast to get back to safety before she caught it. Nonetheless it kept inching closer & closer until we tapped on the window & it ran back to safety. Unfortunately a couple of days later we discovered that it had ventured too far and wasn’t fast enough to get back to a safe haven before it met its fate. The world is full of things that we would like to have. If we could just get a little closer. And sometimes even when we get really close, nothing bad happens. So the next time we get even closer. And then one day, we don’t even realize that we have walked away from the only true safe haven that we have. The loving, protective arms of God. We are so enamored by the things of the world that we don’t even realize it. So when Satan attacks, it’s not because God has left us. It’s because we have left Him. And just for the record, my dog is not Satan. She just really likes to play with squirrels…unfortunately until they die.
On this 15th day, I LOVE my crazy life! Even though we have a tendency to bite off more than we can chew, over-schedule our week, and make life changing decisions at the worst possible time, God manages to carry us through! Very thankful that although I had things to do this weekend, God allowed me some much needed rest. Now…to hit the floor running in the morning!
On this 13th day, I LOVE sprinkling happiness around! If someone is on your mind, God put them there for a reason. Let them know they’re on your mind and say a prayer for them. Even if they just cross your mind. There’s no such thing as coincidence. They are whispers from God and He wants to work through you. Let Him! You’ll be glad you did!
On this 11th day I Love all of the blessings that God gives us! If God gives you the words, say them. If God puts a song in your heart, sing it. If He gives you love, share it. God doesn’t give us blessings to tuck away & save for later. He gives us an unending supply if blessings to share with others because He wants to work through us.
On this 9th day I LOVE that I grew up with parents that whipped my rear when I needed it, taught me the value of a dollar and that I had to WORK for something if I wanted it, and although I didn’t appreciate it then, I love that they were over-protective and didn’t allow me to do everything I wanted to. I managed to make enough mistakes with their guidance. I can only imagine how much trouble I could’ve gotten into without it. I pray that we can instill the same values in our girls as well as guiding the girls in choosing the path of righteousness.
On this 1st day I LOVE that I grew up with parents that whipped my rear when I needed it, taught me the value if a dollar and that I had to WORK for something if I wanted it, and although I didn’t appreciate it then, I love that they were over-protective and didn’t allow me to do everything I wanted to. I managed to make enough mistakes with their guidance. I can only imagine how much trouble I could’ve gotten into without it. I pray that we can instill the same values in our girls as well as guiding the girls in choosing the path of righteousness.
A few years ago we had an old horse that wintered really hard. So the next year, we gave her supplements with her feed and when it was really cold or rainy we put a turn-out blanket on her to keep her warm and dry. You see…she couldn’t tell us anything was wrong but God gave us eyes to see. Eyes to see that she was losing weight. Eyes to see that she had a tiredness about her. So why…if God gave us eyes to see…is it so easy to look past a friend, a family member, or even a stranger who is struggling? They probably won’t tell us…but if we are looking, God gives us eyes to see. God also gave us a mouth. So why aren’t we whispering words of encouragement and raising our voices in prayer instead of gossiping? God also gave us arms. So why aren’t we wrapping them around someone to let them know that we care instead of holding them at arms length? God also gave us feet. So why aren’t we using them to carry us to someone who has lost their way instead of running from the situation? God also gave us hands. So why are we only using our fingers to point instead of using our hands to lift someone up? God also gave us knees. So why aren’t we on them praying for God’s guidance every single day? God also gave us a heart. So why are we filling it with hate, discontentment, jealousy, and deceit, instead of filling it with the love of God? We are the body of Christ. If we aren’t using all of our parts for His glory, then whose glory are we using them for?
Thought for the day. Sometimes I think ice storms and other natural disasters serve as a lesson to show us that we are absolutely powerless and that God is in control. We’ve gotten to the point that electricity, hot water, and phones are necessities instead of conveniences. But when it is all stripped away, God is our only true necessity. And If we serve Him, He will provide for our real needs. Remembering a small ice storm we had about 6 years ago and I was so proud of how my girls handled the loss of power. They wrote stories, put puzzles together, acted out plays, and managed to not fight or kill each other whenever I had to go out to take care of all our critters. That night I was so thankful for the reminder that God is in control. I remember also being very thankful that it was only a 24 hour lesson…lol.
If I ate a bowl of fruit with a few nuts, oats, and a little yogurt on Monday morning, but then ate cupcakes, candy, cookies, and soft drinks for every meal the rest of the week, I probably wouldn’t be very healthy. Not only that, I probably wouldn’t feel very good. I would be physically and mentally unhealthy because it matters what you consume.
So when I find myself or my family in this unhealthy state, do I blame the grocery store? I mean after all, they sold me all the junk food. Shouldn’t they have done a better job making sure I bought healthy food…maybe more fruits and veggies? Should I blame my stove? I mean, it should be providing me and my family with healthier alternatives shouldn’t it?
Of course not! I’m pretty sure that if my weekly diet consisted of one healthy meal and 20 unhealthy ones that I would have nobody to blame but myself. After all, I am solely responsible for making sure that what I eat will be nourishing. Because I know that it matters what I consume and it matters what I feed my family.
So why would I think that my Spiritual appetite and health are any less important? Why do we think we can consume Spiritual nourishment on Sunday morning and then spend the entire rest of the week gossiping, cussing, watching inappropriate things on television, listening to inappropriate music, and essentially feasting and filling ourselves with everything we can get out of this world?
And then when we find ourselves struggling in our relationship with God, drifting farther from Him, and watching our kids starting to make decisions that we know are wrong, who do we blame? Do we blame the church? After all, it’s their job to feed us Spiritually isn’t it? Do we blame the media? I mean, there is so much bad stuff out there telling us that wrong is right and right is wrong, it’s no wonder we’re all struggling.
IT MATTERS WHAT WE CONSUME! Whether it enters through the mouth, the ears, or the eyes….IT MATTERS!
Who chooses what we eat? Who chooses what we listen to? Who chooses what we watch on television? Who chooses what we gossip about? Who chooses who we help or who we hurt? Who chooses what we allow our kids to consume? Who chooses what we allow them to watch or listen to? Who chooses who we allow them to spend time with? Whether by word or by actions… YOU CHOOSE!!!
And it matters what you choose. Because whatever you choose to consume the most of, will eventually consume you.
“For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Luke 6:43-45 NKJV
Why do we go to church and what is the church to you? Well first of all, most of the time when we ask what the church is, people say it’s a building…God’s house. The building…God’s house…is where the church congregates but it’s not the church. We are the church. We are the body of Christ. Flesh & bone…not boards & shingles. So why do we “go to church”? Well…I prefer to say the church gathers since we are the church. So why do we gather? Is it to be entertained? Is it to show the world that we’re ‘good people’? Is it to be fed? Is it to try to cram a weeks worth of God into one day? Is it because we have kids & we think they probably need to be in church? Or is it to worship God? To give God the holy reverence that He should be given? Sometimes it seems that the world has lost the point of worship. We…me for sure…can’t seem to keep that humanness in us/me from turning what should be all about God into all about us/me. And then we leave church, and think we’re good until next week. If we only spoke to our spouse once a week, what kind of marriage would we have? A relationship with God is no different. Honor Him on his day, pray and meditate on Him the other 6. And don’t try to cram A week’s worth of God into one day. Think about it…what if God thought about us, only as much as we think about Him?
(Throwback to 2014)
My hubby moved our horses to a new place today. Four of them loaded into the trailer fine but one gave him all kinds of trouble. Four of them have been loaded and unloaded pretty often. They know what to expect & that they will be safe and protected. The other one has only been hauled a couple of times. And the last time was several years ago. All she knew is that she was perfectly happy in her pasture eating grass and that she didn’t want to go into that metal noisy thing. What she didn’t realize was that the place that she was going had more grass, a bigger pond, and that she would be much happier there. I think that becoming a Christian is kind of like that. We might agree to put the halter on but when Jesus starts pulling on us we have a tendency to set back & dig our hooves in. But every time we give in & go where He leads us, we find that there is a blessing waiting for us. And eventually we quit pulling on the lead rope as hard. And hopefully by the time we head home & see those pearly gates, we’re at a full gallop.
Spring’s abloom with flowers of faith!! On this 24th day I’ve been thinking about negative people. I know we are all negative at times but honestly…if we all stopped & thought about how blessed we are, we would never complain again. The communities that we complain about living in, are the same communities that come to our aid when we lose a loved one or suffer a tragedy. The jobs that we complain about, are the jobs that pay our mortgages, car payments, food and clothing. The groceries that we complain are too expensive are readily available, while there are countries where entire communities could live for a year on what we waste in a week. We are given everything that we need by the grace of God but we complain because we WANT more. We don’t need it but we want it. We are all guilty. What we need to remember is that we have to trust and thank God for allowing us to have what we do and realize that when we complain, what we are actually doing is criticizing HIS blessings. We need to humble ourselves before God and praise HIM in the sunshine and in the rain. And when we do that, flowers if faith will bloom!
On this 24th day, I LOVE how even though, I have a relationship with God and can feel Him moving in my life no matter where I am, that when I am in His house, I can feel His spirit wash over me even stronger. I cannot imagine trying to maintain my relationship with Him without spending time in His house worshiping and giving Him praise and glory. I know I have His holiness in me no matter where I am but spending time in His house is like fuel for my soul that gets me through the week. I absolutely hate that I missed yesterday because my daughter and I are both sick. I somehow feel incomplete when I miss church. God doesn’t want us there to occupy time or warm a pew. He wants us there to worship, praise, fellowship, and do His work & bring Him the glory. He died on the cross for me. I intend to live for Him.
When Jesus walked the earth with His disciples, He spent His time teaching. Teaching them about Him. Teaching them about the new law. Living as an example of how He wanted them to go forth and teach others. He was an example of what He wants all Christians to be. His second command was
Mark 12:31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
So my question is, why does it seem that too often, a new Christian is given a handshake, an “we will be praying for you” and expected to know how and what to do? It’s almost as if they are often set up for failure by the ones that are supposed to be teaching them how to walk with Christ. Because you see, a new Christian is a new disciple and the elder disciples should have enough love for their neighbor…their brother or sister in Christ…to help guide them.
Oh be careful little eyes what you see…. Gonna try really hard to be a living testimony for my girls. The bible says to honor your mother and father and I don’t want to make it hard for them to do. They will have enough challenges in this life without me making it even harder for them. My job in this life is to put God first, my husband and my children next. And as long as I am doing God’s Will, and living my life for Him, He will take care of my every need and fill my life with joy. The second I start thinking that I need more or different joy, that’s the second that Satan gains entry and convinces me that somehow I am more important than God or my family. Kids are very intuitive. They will not be fooled by empty words when our actions do not back them up. So my prayer is that, although my actions in this life haven’t always been honorable…with God’s help, they will be honorable in His sight, my husband’s, and my children’s. And that my words have the actions to back them up because you can’t fool you kids and you certainly can’t fool God.
I’m hungry so I’m sitting here debating on if it’s too early to have lunch and it has occurred to me….I’m hungry! So who cares if it’s not the customary ‘lunch time’! When we are hungry, we should eat. When we are empty, we should be filled. God is always willing to feed us, we need only to seek Him. We don’t have to wait until Sunday. He’s there for us 24/7/365. So if you’re hungry, be fed!
There are smart phones, smart cars, and smart houses. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could walk around every day wearing a smart armor? Something that would protect our bodies, minds, and hearts. Something that would allow us to move freely but still fully protect us from the evils of this world? Wouldn’t it be awesome if we had a smart armor? An armor…dare I say…of God? A helmet that would protect our minds by keeping them focused on Him and to hold the knowledge that we receive from His Word. A shield to guard us from Satan’s attacks. A belt to carry the tools that we would need for any situation. A breastplate to protect our hearts. The Bible to serve as our sword to slay evil with the truth of God. And shoes that would always keep us on the path to righteousness. Wow! Wouldn’t a “smart armor” be awesome?!? Well…we have one! But we have to put forth enough effort to put it on. We have everything we could ever need…if we would only prepare ourself. God has provided the armor. Now are we smart enough to put it on?
Heavenly Father, Thank YOU for YOUR whispers that guide us. The whispers that tell us right from wrong, good from bad, and the whispers that tell us YOUR Will. Help us to be patient and listen for the whispers. Help us to silence the shouts and cries of the world around us and to listen for YOUR voice. Forgive us when we fail to muffle the outside noise and concentrate fully on YOU. For it’s in the peaceful silence that we can be still and know that YOU are GOD. All glory be to God. Amen.
During the summer, my plants are beautiful! They are full and green. But every year I bring them in for winter. Right now they aren’t looking so great. I keep them watered but no matter how well I take care of them, unless they get a lot of sunlight, they just don’t do as well. I can usually get them through the winter but until it warms up and I move them somewhere that they can get lots of sunlight, they simply survive. Then I realized that I spent a lot of years simply surviving and I didn’t even know it. It wasn’t until I received the Son’s light that I began to thrive. You see…we all have needs and although we can exist on this earth…in this world’s ever present darkness….if we want to live, we’ve got to allow God’s light to shine within us.
If you’ve ever flown, you know that when the flight attendant goes through the little safety demonstration, you are advised that in an emergency, you are to put your oxygen mask on before helping anyone else. They tell us this because if there was an emergency, we are only helpful to others if we have taken the appropriate precautions to help ourselves first. We can’t help out anyone else if we pass out because we failed to first put our own mask on. God wants us to spread His word and plant seeds but He doesn’t want us to get so busy doing this that we fail to grow in Him. We can (&should) tell a million people of His love for us, but how well can we do that if we aren’t learning & growing in Christ ourselves? How can we help others if we aren’t first infused with the Holy Spirit? That way, you can show God’s love to many instead of using up all of our oxygen on one.
A vehicle is a pretty big investment. So we take care of it. We make sure the oil is changed regularly, we keep fuel in it, drive it with care. We watch for the “check engine” light or other warnings & try to take care of them before we have a serious problem. But do we spend that much time & energy on our marriages? Are we making sure that our spouse is getting the care & attention that they need? Are we watching for warning lights with them? Everyone has ups & downs but I believe the best way to increase your odds of having a successful marriage is to put Christ right smack dab in the center of it. If Christ is the glue that holds your marriage together, then nothing can ever break that bond. However…you may want to warn your spouse before you start being more attentive. I was extra sweet to my hubby this morning & I think he left for work worrying that I was up to something…heehee.
Thank You Lord, for Your amazing grace. For just as David was a man after Your own heart, I pray that You would help me to nourish and cultivate a devotion to You, and that You might see me as You saw David. I desire to behold Your beauty, and dwell in Your house. Let seeking Your heart be the goal in my life, even in busy and stressful times. No…ESPECIALLY in busy and stressful times. Help me discover the emotions and purposes of Your heart. And teach me to align my heart with Yours. Help me to recommit myself to You daily, choosing to seek Your face. In difficult times, open my heart to receive Your revelation and guide me in Your purpose. And in everything I do, let it all be for Your glory. Amen!
Are you going to church tomorrow? If so, why? Are you going out of habit? Are you going because that’s just what you do on Sunday? Are you going because you have responsibilities? Are you going because that place would just fall apart without you? Are you going so that you can show God what all you have done for Him this week? Are you going so that you can put a checkmark next to your list of good deeds? Are you going so that you will be considered an upstanding citizen? Are you going because someone has guilted you into it? Are you going so that you can share your beautiful voice with others? Are you going for the meal afterwards? Are you going because you have made the building your legacy? Or are you going to the building to worship God as part of His body…as His church? Are you going because you have..or desire to have a living, loving, relationship with Christ and you want to spend the day worshiping and praising Him? That’s why I go. But what do you do when you get there & you can’t feel the presence of the Holy Spirit? I’m going to be brutally honest & say that there have been times that i felt exactly like that. So I asked myself why…and when I couldn’t come up with anything, I prayed & asked God. Yes. I should’ve started with Him to begin with but as is human nature, I wasted a lot of time trying to figure it out myself. And this is what I heard in my heart….’why would the Holy Spirit come to a place that He is not welcome or has not been invited?’ I mean after all, humans are nothing if not self absorbed. We want and expect the whole world to revolve around us so why would we be any different at church? So here’s my prayer…. Oh dear precious Heavenly Father, Thank You for Your protection, care, provision, and council this week. Thank You for taking care of me every minute of every day. Forgive me for the time I wasted this week on anything that wasn’t for Your glory. I pray that if it is Your will for Your children to attend a meeting of Your church tomorrow, that they come for reasons that glorify You and not themselves. I pray that each and everyone will personally invite Your Holy Spirit into their worship services tomorrow and that they will worship and praise You in a manner that is pleasing to You. And I pray that nobody will attempt to quench Your Holy Spirit, but instead, allow You to infuse them and guide them in their words and their actions. I ask these things in the holiest of names, Jesus Christ. Amen.
I held the sweetest little baby the other day. She was a tiny little thing and I couldn’t help but think, “I could just hold her all day!” But then, after about 30 minutes, I noticed my arm starting to get tired. Then I remembered when my girls were little and I would have to hold them for long periods of time. After a while, it didn’t matter how much or how little they weighed. What started out as something very light would eventually feel very heavy. My arm, shoulder, neck, and back would eventually start hurting and I can remember a few times thinking that my precious, tiny little angels seemed to weigh 1000 pounds and I thought my arm would fall off if I didn’t lay them down. It occurred to me that worries, problems, non-forgiveness, and sin can have the same affect. If something is troubling me and I think about it, and worry about it, and continue re-hashing it over and over again, then something that may have started out very small, now seems very large and is weighing on me. And the weight of the burden is not due to the burden itself. It’s due to the fact that I picked it up and never put it down. So just as the weight of a tiny baby can affect your back, shoulders, arms, & neck….the weight of worries, problems, non-forgiveness, and sin and affect all areas in your life. So when you start to feel the all too familiar weight of the world on you shoulders, remember that all you have to do is give it to God and let Him hold it for you.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV
Yesterday I was reading something I wrote about pride & jealousy. The more I ponder it, the more I think that unmerited jealousy is actually fear. If we live in fear that someone we love might hurt us…it’s most likely because someone in our past hurt us. And out of some sort of self preservation, our instinct is to lash out at others before they have a chance to hurt us. But in doing this we are removing God’s protection over our relationship. We’re saying, “God, I don’t trust you to protect my marriage, friendship, relationship, etc.”. Every accusation that we throw is actually us pushing God away. We’re allowing Satan to control our minds and our actions and we tell ourselves that it’s because we love this person so much. Relationships are hard enough. But when we remove God’s protection from them, we leave them open for Satan to slip in. WE open the door. Nobody else. Just us. By not trusting God, and instead trusting ourself & fooling ourself into believing that our actions are warranted, we have left our relationship vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. And he will attack. Every time we level an accusation, he attacks. Every time we allow our tempers to flare in a jealous rage, he attacks. Every time we lash out because of our own insecurities, he attacks. Every time we take our past out on our present, he attacks. We are all broken. If we don’t forgive and forget those in our past, then we allow Satan to control our future. The bible tells us 365 times to have no fear so I’m pretty sure God is serious about it. Let go of the fear, jealousy, and pride and trust God to cover and bless your relationship. And don’t open that door!
A few years ago I began having pains in my big toe. I had been working on our new house, moving stuff in & on my feet a lot…up & down ladders… stairs…climbing on countertops to reach shelves…all the things us short peeps have to do…lol. So I figured it was from all that. I had a couple of days that I wasn’t on my feet much & my toe stopped hurting. But then as soon as I was back on my feet it started up again. I finally realized I had managed to develop a callous on the bottom of my big toe (because I hardly ever wear shoes) and it was causing my toe to hit the floor unevenly when I walked. A callous doesn’t just show up overnight. It takes a long time to form. And we don’t even notice it at first. In fact, it’s not until it causes us pain that we even pay attention to it. It’s kind of like when we let sin creep into our lives. We might say a bad word…I mean we aren’t in church right now. Or find something & rather than exhausting every effort to find the real owner, we decide that we must be meant to have it. Or we might tell our kids a “little white lie” because we’re just too exhausted to deal with them when we tell them the truth. And since we’ve benefited from all these sins, we might as well miss church Sunday because we’d much rather sleep in but let’s tell them we’re sick (aka lie) so that we don’t feel guilty. And then before we know it, we have built a callous of sin between us & God. A callous that has affected your walking to the point that you have strayed from the path. So… to prevent callouses, anoint your feet with lotion & anoint your soul with the Holy Spirit!
Why is it, when someone asks us to pray for them, our knee-jerk reaction is to think, “I wonder what’s wrong? I wonder if it’s their health? Their marriage? Their kids?” I’m as guilty as anyone. I don’t do it hoping for these things to be troubled…I don’t think anyone does. It’s simply an automatic reaction. But the fact is, God knows their need and it’s none of our business. Our first reaction should be to go straight to God and then let Him handle it….no questions asked. Because sometimes, the most powerful prayers are the ones that are not clouded with our opinions of the situation.
I realize that I expect a lot from my kids. I also realize that when I’m frustrated about their behavior or attitude that they are still better behaved than a lot of kids. I realize they’re not perfect and that they’re going to mess up. I realize that most parents allow their kids more lead way than I do when it comes to language, sarcasm, and sassing and that what I consider bad behavior, most parents wouldn’t. And I realize that in the broad scope of things, my kids are awesome and what little trouble I have out of them at home, at least their behavior is really good everywhere else. I realize all of this. But I also realize that God has entrusted me to prepare them for life. It is my responsibility to teach them to be kind, respectful, grateful, and to follow instruction. It is my responsibility to teach them to obey those who are in authority unless those in authority are trying to harm them. It is my responsibility to teach them everything that I can until I can no longer teach. Jesus was teaching His disciples right up until He was arrested and crucified. So why on earth would I ever assume that my kids know how to make right decisions when there are still so many things to teach them?
The heart wants what the heart wants. But the mind makes the decision of what the body does. The desires of your heart may come from God, but they may also come from Satan. The only way to know the difference is by knowing God’s Word. Because while you may feel that the desire is either right or wrong….it really depends on what you are basing it on. Is your right & wrong based on what the world views as right and wrong? Or is it based on what God says is right and wrong? Only one is correct. God. If you allow Satan in your head, he will tell you that happiness is anywhere but where God wants you. Outside of your marriage, outside of your church, outside of God’s will & protection. He can make feel like you will be happier, wealthier, healthier, more powerful, or that you “deserve” more. But only you can allow your actions to follow. Only you can choose to ask God to allow you to bloom where you are planted. Where He has planted you. Your happiness in life is not based on the desires of your heart. It’s based on making decisions in your life that are pleasing to God. Only then will you have true happiness.
Dear Lord, there are people all over this world hurting. There are families mourning the loss of loved ones. There are people suffering from physical, sexual, & mental abuse. There are children that are going to bed tonight hungry & cold. There are some that have made so many bad decisions that they can’t see a way out. There are people who have have been hurt by those they trusted & have hardened their hearts. There are those fighting health battles. There are those, who although they know deep inside their hearts that You are real, have grown up in a world full of people who tell them that You’re not. So many tragedies and You know each and every person who is going thru those tragedies. So today I pray for comfort, healing, peace, love, forgiveness, and that each and every heart that has been hardened by the things of the world would be softened to allow Your mercy and grace to seep in. I pray that tomorrow, as people wake up, instead of looking to news or social media for answers of what’s going on, that they will begin their day with You asking for eyes to see the best in people, ears to hear only what concerns them, tongues to glorify rather than justify, arms to extend a helping hand, and hearts that are filled with Your love. And in everything that we do, I pray that we do it all for Your glory and in all thankfulness to you. Amen.
We all walk a moral line. Sometimes we veer off, we may even change lines, but nonetheless, we walk a line. The question is, whose line are we walking? Are we walking the line set by our parents? One set by our school? Maybe it’s one set by our government and law enforcement. Or are we trying our best to walk God’s line? If all the different lines we could choose, there is only one that never changes. Every other line can change. Laws change, rules change, opinions & attitudes change, but God’s word doesn’t. Other lines may run parallel, cross over, or even run along with God’s for a short time, but at some point, the other lines will go in their own direction. And God’s line is the only one that will lead you to Him. So when you’re deciding what moral line you want to walk, you need to realize that although there are lots of good lines that may take you on a lovely journey, they won’t get you anywhere. Only Jesus can get you on the right path and keep you there. Even when you make a mis-step, He will reach out & give you a hand to steady you.
After reading a post “welcoming opinions” today, I offered up my opinion. The request was regarding Jesus, and I guess from my answer, it must have been apparent that I was a Christian, because boy did I get pounced on. Not by the original post-er but by others that were following the post. I was accused of not answering and avoiding the question but the fact is, I answered it according to my belief. The problem is, too often, people ask our opinions but unless we answer the way they WANT us to answer, then they really don’t want our opinion. Sometimes I think that’s why so often we put off praying about something. We don’t want to ask God because we don’t really want His answer. We want Him to tell us what we want to hear. We want to believe that our own opinions about things are fact, when really, Jesus is the only truth and the only way. So while I will be more careful about falling into the “what’s your opinion” trap from now on, I will also try my best to care and respect what God’s opinion is on all things and attempt to live my life for His glory. Because in the end, His opinion is the only one that matters.
Have you ever been trying to concentrate on a task while someone is standing in front of you yelling? And whether they are yelling at you or someone else, it can break your concentration and cause a mistake. This was happening to my daughter a few years ago and my advice to her was to close her eyes and ignore everything and everyone except what she was supposed to be doing. Easier said than done, but that’s all I had for her at the time…lol. But isn’t that what Satan does to us? He gets in front of us and tries to make us take our eyes off of Jesus. And we make it so easy for him to do it. He uses the news, the Internet, people, our finances, even our own family and friends. We get so wound up trying to control the world that we forget that God isn’t on the other side of our problems. He’s inside of us. We allow Satan to put things between us and God, but as long as we have the Holy Spirit inside of us to guide us, Satan has no power, because all we have to do is close our eyes and know that God is with us and He will never leave us.
Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,“Never will I leave you;never will I forsake you.”
So a little while back I noticed that I was having trouble seeing the computer screen at work. I chalked it up to a new system with smaller fonts & every day eye strain because it was worse when I was tired. I even bought reading glasses but they didn’t seem to help much. So when I quit work, it actually got better & I packed away those silly reading glasses that I obviously didn’t need. Then…a few months later, I noticed that the words in our church hymnals were getting smaller & harder to see. So low & behold, when we moved, I unpacked a box & there were those silly old reading glasses that I obviously didn’t need. But if I didn’t need them, why didn’t I just throw them away? Hmmm…maybe there’s a reason I kept them. So I put them on. And holy cow! I could see!!! I could see & didn’t even know that I couldn’t before. That’s what it was like when I accepted Jesus! Suddenly I could see and yet I had walked around blind as a bat for years & didn’t have a clue! My point is…if you have packed Jesus away because you think you don’t need Him, unpack Him and everything will become clear!
When you’re moving, you take down all your pictures and shelves. And when you’ve taken everything off the walls, you can see every nail hole. So you set about filling them in so that the new owners don’t have to see them. But no matter how hard you try, when the light hits that spot just right, you can still see the hole. You move your furniture & discover the massive amount of dust and cobwebs that have accumulated so you sweep, mop, & vacuum so that everything is clean. We do all this to remove all the ugliness. How often do we try to do this in our lives too? While…with the help of Christ…we can clean up our lives & behavior, remove parts that clutter up and collect dust, no matter how hard we work, there are still scars. Scars that no matter how hard we try to cover them, will always be visible to others. But even covered in scars, we should be thankful that we have them. Because by the scars endured by Jesus, we are healed. And with no healing we would have no scars. We would have open wounds.
I remember one day when I was packing up our old house to move. While some rooms were overflowing with boxes, others just got emptier. I began to notice that the more stuff that I removed from a room, the easier it was to hear even the smallest noise. I had a small solar operated flower in my kitchen window. When the sun was shining, it moved back and forth. This little flower had been in my window for at least 2 years and until that day I never knew that it made any noise. We are very much like a house. When we are filled up with things from the world it is sometimes hard to hear that still small voice guiding us. But when we start removing the unnecessary things and instead fill that space with the Holy Spirit then it gets easier and easier to hear what God wants us to hear.
My oldest child has the strangest habit of wrapping herself up in her sheet like a mummy when she goes to bed. It drives me crazy because I just know she’s gonna suffocate or strangle herself some day. So I can’t sleep until I make sure she’s asleep & unwrap her head every night. Because while she appears to be sleeping, it’s hard to tell if she’s breathing. It sounds awful but there’s a fairly fine line between sleep and death. Our relationship with God is very similar. So many people say they are Christians but when it comes to being an active Christian, it seems they are sound asleep. My biggest fear is that when Christ returns, He won’t find sleeping Christians but rather dead ones. Because if you want the Holy Spirit of God alive in you, you have to be alive in Him. Wake up & be revived!!!
Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you. Holy cow!!! How are we mere humans supposed to do that?!? Especially when Satan is right there providing every blunt rude remark or reaction that we desire & calls it ‘speaking our mind’. He’s telling us to enjoy others misery and calls it karma. All this & what he’s basically saying is, “Trust me. Don’t trust God.” Because he knows that God will handle it at the perfect time and in the perfect way. He knows that by obeying God and holding our tongue and guarding our actions, we have disarmed him & his control on us. So back to my question. How are we supposed to do that? We simply let go & let God.
I’ve seen many people hurt by careless words in my life. Sometimes the words weren’t meant to intentionally hurt but sometimes they are. Sometimes they are words of judgement. Sometimes they are proudly stated because an inability to control the tongue is confused with boldness and speaking ones mind. And I have suffered from many of these same afflictions. But then I think about Jesus. And all the times that He had every right to be angry. And all the times He could’ve lined someone out with a good tongue lashing because the fact is He was ALWAYS right. But He didn’t. He always chose His words carefully. Controlling His tongue at all times. And never using His words as a weapon. Because where our tongue goes, our body follows. Just as a horse that is bridled goes in the direction that you pull the bit.
Proverbs 17:27-28 The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint,and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent,and discerning if they hold their tongues.
We found a snake under our equipment shed a few years ago. We hadn’t been able to mow because of all the rain & had never really organized & de-cluttered out there since we moved. We also had an abundance of field mice that liked to eat any spilled horse or chicken feed so it was like an all you can eat buffet for snakes. It took a snake to kick us into action. My hubby cleaned & organized under the shed, I mowed as soon as it was dry enough too, and we got some cats that were happy to keep the field mice to a minimum.
Snakes only show up when there is adequate food and plenty of places to hide. Sin is much the same. When we quit feeding the desires that lead to sin…when we clean out all the clutter in our lives so that God’s light can shine into all the places we like to keep hidden, sin will not be as apt to slither in. And when and if it still manages to find a way in, cut its head off. Because there are no good sins. Plus! If you keep the clutter out & the yard mowed, it’s a lot harder to forget how green your own grass is.
I’ve been thinking about a woman I know. By the time she was around 12 or 13 she was sentenced to death. Not for any horrific crime. She was guilty of many offenses but nothing serious. She actually considered herself to be a pretty good person overall. Problem was, it was all of her own doing. She actually CHOSE the death penalty. She was approached many, many times and given the option of having her entire record wiped clean and start fresh. Each time she simply ignored the request. You would think there was some sort of catch for her to turn down the offer each time but there wasn’t. As the years rocked on & she inched closer to the point that her sentence would be carried out, she was once again approached and offered freedom and to have her entire past record wiped clean. This time she accepted. She asked the One offering, what it was she had to do for such a gift. Especially since she had made so many mistakes, forgiveness was completely undeserved and she had so foolishly turned it down so many times. He simply said, “Just follow Me.” I was that woman and I chose Jesus over death. I don’t know how many times Jesus would have offered to expunge my record and release me from the prison that I had put myself in…nobody knows. All I know is that I’m so thankful I accepted His gift before my sentence could be carried out. We are all headed to the exact same fate…sentenced to death for the same crime of unbelief….until we choose to follow Him.
We’ve been working on our property for 6 ½ years. We may never get it exactly like we want it, but we keep working which means we may always have brush piles to burn. We went out last night and the wood was damp so we put some feed sacks on it and lit it. It finally caught and burned. But even if the sacks didn’t work, I’m pretty sure Todd would’ve thrown a little diesel on it. My point is, we didn’t let a little moisture stop us from accomplishing what we went out to do. So why do we let Satan stop us when we’re trying to bring glory to God? I remember a time when, if the sun didn’t come up just right on Sunday, we would just stay home from church. If I didn’t want to keep a promise, I’d just pull out the quickest excuse…aka lie…that I could think of. Thankfully God kept adding fuel and we finally caught fire.
Why do we donate blood? I’m pretty sure that most people that give, do so because they hope that their gift of blood will save someone’s life. We give less than 30 minutes of our time to give a small amount of our blood, retrieved by a tiny needle, in completely sanitary conditions, in an air conditioned area, and then we are usually given a snack. Any questions that are asked that could be the least little bit embarrassing are asked in a room where nobody else can hear. So basically we aren’t even inconvenienced for the most part. Jesus on the other hand, was beaten, made to carry His own cross, stripped naked, and rather than a tiny needle, they used nails. And He didn’t just give a little bag of blood. He gave all of His blood to save anyone who is willing to accept Him. And because His blood is guaranteed to save anyone who chooses to receive it, He is the one true universal donor.
Awhile back, on separate occasions, I spoke with 2 ladies about gardening. One lady told me that you can’t get anything to grow in Arkansas & that she has never had anything but bad luck with gardening since she moved here. The other lady told me that we are blessed to live here because you can grow anything here. The lady that had such skepticism about gardening, has the same attitude about everything else in life. And while she will tell you that she’s a Christian, her actions tell a different story. The other lady has devoted most of her life to living for God & to helping others. You never have to wonder if she’s a Christian because her actions tell you. And while I have seen both ladies bring in bountiful harvests, I have only seen one give the glory to God. Maybe if everyone would give God the glory, then it wouldn’t matter how many veggies we grow….maybe we would appreciate that God allowed us to have enough.
It’s all about your line. Some may argue but I believe every parent has a “line” that their children know not to cross. However….some peoples lines are much further away than others. While some may view a particular behavior as acceptable, others would be mortified should their child behave in such a way. God gives us a line. And His line NEVER moves. It is in the same place no matter where we are. Inside of His line we are protected by His mercy and grace. Outside of it we are not. His line makes a complete circle around Him. Inside that circle, we have eternal life. Outside, an eternity of torture. But it’s our choice. Choose the circle of life.
We planted some trees a few weeks ago and they are thriving. Several of them already have fruit on them. But a couple of days ago, after a lot of rain and wind, I noticed one of them had blown over. We stood it back up & it’s still doing well. It just simply hadn’t had enough time to take root. Withstanding the wind is one of the reasons that a good root system is so important. Another is so that in times of drought, the roots can reach way down into underground water supplies and survive. Todd & I have been on a type of journey for the last few months. We have felt like God is calling us to draw closer to Him. It’s as if we feel the need to become more deeply rooted in Christ. Life is always going to have storms and even droughts. But the deeper that you are rooted in Christ, the stronger you will be.
Thought for the day. This may only happen to me, but seems like every time we get lots of rain, suddenly I find spiders in my house. I’m assuming that they are trying to move to dry ground. When it’s dry & sunny I rarely find one in the house. But you let a little…or a lot…of rain fall & here they come. Pretty sure God is up there shaking His head thinking, “Yes little spider. Why do you always wait for the rain to seek My shelter?” And it’s true! So often we think we can handle something on our own and the next thing you know we are swept away, trying to keep our heads above water. But the thing we have to remember, is that even when we fail to move to God’s higher ground…even when we are being washed downstream…even when we can’t see any way out…all we have to do is ask & God will lift us from the swift waters, dry us off, and shelter us from the storm.
There have always been bullies in the world. I’ve been trying to figure out how the cruel, mean, hateful actions of others seem to have much more devastating results more often these days than they did years ago. Part of me wonders if it’s because everything is headline news now whereas before social media, it was confined to word of mouth gossip or nasty note passing campaigns. Or maybe the results were as horrible then as they are now but we didn’t learn of suicides and mass shootings for such things because news didn’t travel as fast. Or maybe…just maybe…there wasn’t as much bullying because more kids were raised in church with biblical principles and parents were less likely to spare the rod when they misbehaved. And maybe the victims of bullying didn’t feel like they were all alone in a world full of people that hated them because they knew that no matter what, God was with them and would never leave them or forsake them because they accepted Him. Perhaps the world had more love in it back then because it allowed more God in it. Perhaps marriages succeeded more often because they were based on biblical principles rather than worldly desires. Maybe…just maybe…if we would let God back into families…back into our children…back into our government…back into our schools…back into our work….back into every portion of our lives…then maybe there would be so much love in the world that evil would cease to exist. Because evil is the absence of God and cannot exist when God is present.
I made homemade chocolate chip cookies yesterday. I’ve baked them dozens of times but I still look at the recipe so I don’t forget anything or measure wrong. Life is full of steps and measurements. There are ingredients that benefit our life and some that leave a bad taste. You can go through life not following a recipe and in turn make a lot of bad cookies or you can follow the recipe that Jesus left for you. The bible has everything you need to know. It has the recipe for a perfect life within its pages. But you have to follow it. Problem is, too often if we decide we don’t necessarily like one of the ingredients…or we think it’s gonna be too hard or too much trouble to get…so we decide to leave it out. But for an abundant life, you must follow the recipe of God’s word…just like you follow a recipe to make a good homemade chocolate chip cookie. Complete and in full.
I have spent the last couple of weeks praying. Multiple times a day. Praying while cleaning. Praying while cooking. Praying while driving. Praying for healing for a loved one that has been very sick.
One day last week, after I had been praying, I was thinking about the situation and I had concerns. Because although her condition had not worsened, it didn’t seem to be getting any better. And at some point, something needed to change. And I thought to myself…maybe the prayers need to change. I’ve been praying for weeks to heal her, to comfort her, to ease her pain, for God’s guidance for the doctors and nurses… But what did Jesus say in scripture every time He healed someone? He told them that their FAITH has healed them.
So that day, my prayers changed. Rather than asking for healing, I began thanking God for the healing He was doing right now! It became almost a chant. I spent the day with an almost constant mental loop of thanking God for His healing and for His faithfulness to answer prayers.
The next morning we got a call that she had been able to sit up and visit with her husband. Still very very sick…but improvement!!
So the loop continued. I thanked God. Not a hopeful thankfulness. But a, “Thank you God because I KNOW that You are healing her right now!” I wholehearted faith fueled prayer KNOWING that God was working a miracle even as I was praying.
So the next day we get a phone call, and not only has she improved, but she is home from the hospital!!!
So maybe…if you have been praying and nothing is changing….maybe it’s the prayer that needs to change. Because it’s not our prayers that heal…it’s our faith.
We may no longer live in a time when we all sit out on the porch every evening and visit with our neighbors or run next door to borrow a cup of sugar…but just because things are different doesn’t mean that we don’t have that same kinship of the past. Now when I need something, I can post it on Facebook and within a few minutes I have at least 10 friends who have come to my rescue. And in today’s society, I may not sit on the porch drinking sweet tea and visiting with my neighbors, but instead I sip a sonic drink while visiting with my football people, volleyball people, basketball people, softball people, track people, and spend my Sundays and Wednesdays with my church people. So while things might not be like they used to be….some things will never change. Your community…your people…are your root system and God is the soil that keeps you firmly anchored and nourished.
It’s so easy for me to get disgusted & overwhelmed by the deterioration of the world’s morals & ethics. I was watching something on the news & my normal knee-jerk reaction was to blame the government. And in doing so, I heard that all too familiar still, small voice say, “It starts at home.” This country as a whole has a disease that is eating away at it. A disease that makes sin ok & calls Christians fools. The problem is…the government is not the disease. It’s the symptom. The root of the disease is in each and every home in America. It begins when we fail to make God first and foremost in everything that we do. Yes…everything. We put ourselves in first place and everything becomes about, “what’s in it for me?”. It festers and multiplies when we fail to teach our children biblical truths by living our lives as examples and showing them the path to righteousness. It spreads from home to home when we fail to love our neighbor and instead spread rumors, boast pridefully of “our” accomplishments, or look down on someone when we should be lifting them up. We can treat the symptoms and things may seem somewhat better for a little while. But it’s only when we get to the root of the disease and make Jesus Christ the Lord & Savior of our own family…my own family, that true healing begins. And then we start helping others heal by sharing God’s word and biblical truths.
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31
On this 28th day I’m feeling blessed that although I often find myself saying, “What is wrong with people!?”…I know that there are many really good people in the world. I’m thankful that our hearts have not been hardened to the point that we don’t feel excruciating sadness for the tragic events going on in the world. Oh how I wish everyone could see that if this world would just turn to God that all things would be healed and become right. If you’re missing something in your life, you will never fill it with money…people…work…hobbies…or habits. There is a Jesus shaped hole in everyone and He is the only thing that will fill it and complete you.
On this 26th day, I’m so thankful for God’s blessing of forgiveness. If you’re wandering thru life like I was for many years thinking, “I’m a decent person, God wouldn’t send me to Hell” then you need to be aware that God does not send you to Hell. Your sins do. We are ALL headed to Hell unless we make the one and only choice that can save us. Jesus is the only One that can save you. He loves you and allows you to make your own choices…right or wrong. So if you “think” you’ll be ok…if you “think” you’ve been saved…if you don’t KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt and if you can’t feel the love of God inside of you, then my advise would be to pray until you KNOW! And if you think you’re too far gone to deserve God’s love and forgiveness, then you should also know that NOBODY deserves it but It was made available to everyone thru the blood of Jesus Christ. Nobody is so good that they don’t need it and nobody is so bad that they can’t have it.
How can anyone neglect a child? How can a mother carry a person in her womb and not have an overwhelming love for it? How can anyone not make loving, caring for, and protecting their child a priority? But how can even the best parents….parents who love their kids, clothe and feed their kids….support them in all their extra curricular activities….spend countless hours with them…..how can they not be concerned with their children’s souls? I ask this because I was once one of those people. My excuse was that God saves all children. And I still believe that is true. By here’s the problem with that excuse ….children grow up. They pass that age of accountability. And if they don’t accept Jesus as their savior then their security is gone. It’s gone and we have failed to teach them the most important thing. And if they’ve never been taught of God and His love for them and accept Him as their savior, then it doesn’t matter how good they are…how many A’s they bring home…how many points they score….how many people they help….none of those things will get them to the eternal prize.
On this 23rd day, I feel blessed to know that I NEED to have my toes stepped on! I fear that too many people are attracted to preachers that sugar coat everything and don’t tell you what you need to hear. If a preacher is preaching nothing but rainbows and happiness and never tells you about the consequences of sin, then you need a new preacher! And if you walk around in a bubble, continually sinning while praising God for your “blessings” and spewing the “don’t judge me because Jesus didn’t judge” excuse….then you better break open your bible because while you are right that Jesus came not to judge but to save…you need to know that we will all absolutely will be judged by God almighty! Whew! I’m on fire tonight !!! And if I stepped on any toes…your welcome;) Hopefully someday you’ll thank me for it & if it makes you feel any better mine get stepped on all the time…lol.
On this 22nd day, I’m blessed that although my couch and ottoman are covered with folded laundry, we have plenty to wear. And even though I still have dishes in the sink from last night, we have plenty to eat. And even though we never have enough time to spend with everyone we would like to, we have friends and family that we love and miss. And although my to-do lists never get complete before more is added to them and I often feel overwhelmed and stressed about getting it all done, I have an amazing life. THANK YOU JESUS FOR EVERYTHING!!!
Yesterday the weather was so nice! It was absolutely beautiful outside. Today, not so much. So I’ve decided that I’m gonna start referring to the weather as our hokey pokey weather. Then it occurred to me that too often we have hokey pokey faith. We sometimes put our problems in God’s hands but then pull them out because we think that we can handle them ourself. Or we’ll give him our praise but then turn around and take it away by reminding others how great we are. We’ll put one foot on the path of righteousness but then take it out if we think we’ve found a faster track in this world. We’ll put one hand in to reach out to a friend in need but then pull it back out when it’s someone that we don’t think deserves our help. We’ll put our head in but then pull it back out so we can hear the latest tidbit of gossip. But once we put our whole self in, God will turn our life around. And THAT’S what it’s all about!!!
Last Sunday was Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday represents the day that, as Jesus rode into the city, he was greeted by people waving palm branches and praising Him. By Friday, some of these same people were yelling, “Crucify Him!!” So why do we refer to a day that brought such pain and suffering to Jesus as Good Friday? Because without it, we would have no hope. We received the greatest gift ever through His death. Because, although He suffered greatly….He loved even more. He carried our burdens on that cross. He bore our punishment. He died our death. And He did it because He loves us that much. So…is the life you’re living, worth Him dying for?
Pride. It’s been said the center of pride is “I”. We all have it. I’ve seen it destroy marriages. I’ve seen it tear families apart. I’ve seen it split churches. I’ve seen it divide nations. It’s the attitude that, “I’m right no matter the cost!” But when you look back at some of the best people in your life, you will usually see that the reason that they were good was because they were also humble. Even when you’re right, you can be the rightest of rights but if you go about being right the wrong way…you’re wrong. THE best…the only…sinless man, could have stood up and yelled to the world that He was right and that everyone else was sinners, and that the only way to get to heaven was to believe in Him! But instead He died for them….for us. We all have pride, but the question is, does pride have us?
Although I’m thankful for so many things every day, I can honestly say that I never thank God enough for all of my many blessings. So on this day, which has seemingly been a disaster since I woke up, I thought it appropriate to begin this month with a thankful heart. So today, I’m thankful for bad days, because without them I wouldn’t fully appreciate the good ones. I’m thankful for tears because if I didn’t shed them, then it would mean that my heart had hardened. And I’m thankful most of all for God because I know that no matter how bad things get, He is always right there with me showing me the good when I can’t seem to find it for myself. Because even on my worst day….I have more blessings than I could ever deserve. But all that doesn’t mean that sometimes I’m not also really thankful when day is almost over…but it does mean that I’m so very thankful when I wake up and God has blessed me with a whole new day.
On this last day, while I’ve spent most of the month thinking about things that change, I’ve spent most of today thinking about things that never change. God never changes. He is the same today as he was when His Son died on the cross to save us.