Childlike Faith

A8F0951A-ADAB-4914-8E48-05B257B72D47My daughter had the recent privilege of attending a Vacation Bible School. As usual, she brought home her CD from her week at camp. Seeing that she is passionate about music we, of course, had to play it in the car most every trip thereafter. As these songs played, my spirit lifted as I began to hum and then actually sing along! Hours later, when off on my own, I found myself continuing to sing the songs I picked up from the children’s CD. Although geared for children with the pep and extra fun flair, the VBS CD is chalk full of God’s truth.

Here are the lyrics to one of the songs on that CD. They are so applicable and true!

Thank you God for saving me. Rescued from the middle of the ocean deep. You set my feet on solid ground. I once was lost, but now I’m found. Everything I have I owe it all to you, for everything you are and all you do. I could write a book, fill every single page with a million reasons to thank you, Lord. Thank you God for the big blue sky and birds that fly so high. Thank you, God, for all my friends. Thank you, God, for your awesomeness. Thank you, God, for all you’ve done. You gave your one and only Son. Now I can have eternal life. Thank you for my opened eyes. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord.  – Million Reasons by Joy Stockler copyright 2018 Group Publishing Inc.

The Bible tells us we are to have childlike faith. In Matthew 18:3 Jesus tells us, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” What a beautiful example the Lord has given us. Children trust. They have soft hearts and are eager to learn. They forgive easily. They naturally look up to their Father and desire to please him. Their minds are like sponges soaking things up. We adults should also have such character traits but, as children of God. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight.”

In Psalm 16:5-8, King David acknowledges the joys and benefits of a life lived in companionship with God. “… you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

My daughter’s VBS music is such a beautiful portrayal of childlike faith. The words of the song speak of the truth of Jesus Christ and what He did for us. There is also much thankfulness. We are to be thankful even in the things we can easily take for granted such as the blue sky and our friends. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 Yes, the Lord our God is the Giver of them all!

Based off our example of a child, how can we embrace childlike faith? We must trust in the Lord, keep our hearts soft, be eager to learn what our Father wants to teach us, look to Jesus, desire to please Him, and soak up the truth found in the Bible, which is God’s infallible, inspired, and inerrant truth. Childlike faith is to trust and obey.

To Listen to Million Reasons Click here

This article, Childlike Faith, is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. Please do not cut and paste to Facebook or any other social media site. You may share this article with the share button that is on this page as that will link directly to this blog. Thank you. 😀

Advertisements
Posted in children of God, Focus on Christ, Trust | Leave a comment

A Sweet Aroma

300c9a5444b41c5b05ca3bf18ef12516[1]The scent of pine needles on a warm summer day brings me back to days of trout fishing with my family when I was a child. The smell of creosol reminds me of the newly built fence that housed my horse as a kid. The smell of a skunk triggers a memory of the time I drove through its spray as a teenager, in my 1965 VW Bug, only to arrive home and be ushered quickly out the back door and told to drop those stinky clothes! All these memories are attached to a certain scent. It is interesting how our sense of smell can trigger memories from our past and even influence our outlook on life. We each have a fragrance that permeates our lives.

One day, I came in from a run. Although I was very hot and sweaty, I ended up dinking around in the kitchen before showering. I was doing some dishes when I picked up a strong stench of what I thought was rotting meat. I figured it was coming from our trash can. Moments later, my son walked into the kitchen and asked, “What stinks mom?” I told him I couldn’t pinpoint it, but acknowledged it sure smelled terrible. As I drew closer to my son he shrieked back exclaiming, “It is you!” Mortified, I realized, he was right! I have since learned that eating large quantities of asparagus can result in stinky sweat smelling like sulfur.

Just as the food we eat oozes out from us, so also will other influences, experiences, and memories we hold in our heart. As a result, we can emit anger or joy, selfishness or sacrifice, cruelty or kindness, hate or love, judgment or compassion. What happens to us during our lifetime will certainly effect who we are. This is why it is so important we fill our minds with the truth of God’s word.

By filling our minds with the inerrant word of God, our hardened hearts can be softened and our minds can be healed. Hurt, pain, and sorrow can be released. The root of anger, hate, and bitterness can be plucked out and replaced by the seed of forgiveness and new life. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

For those who are dealing with some stinky situations in life, be encouraged. Isaiah 43:19 says, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” With Christ, we can work through the stench that comes from hurt, pain, disappointment, anger, hate, and bitterness. As we continue on our path of healing with the Lord, the odors that once permeated our life will begin to lessen. 2 Corinthians 2:15 tells us, “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” As we draw closer to Christ, we will begin to pick up the sweet fragrance that comes from walking closely with Him.

Ephesians 5:2 tells us we are to, “Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” Even though we may get hurt in this life, we have the hope of Christ to release us from negative thoughts and behavior, restore our relationship with the Lord and others, heal our minds and bodies, and make new again our very lives! Jeremiah 29:11 is a promise of that. It says, “For I know the plans for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” We are to fill our minds with the truth found in God’s word. When we are doing this, we will see changes in the very fragrance or our lives. “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

ALL praise be to God, we will reek no more!

This article, A Sweet Aroma is protected by copyright. It may not be copied and pasted in its entirety to be published or redistributed elsewhere without permission. This includes pasting an entire story to Facebook or any other social media site. Thank you. 🙂

Posted in Encouragement, hardship, Healing | Tagged | Leave a comment

Rest in the Lord

rest-in-the-lord-hammock-550x320[1]

Just Relax…

Just Rest…

Just Breathe…

This is what I felt the Lord was telling me.

Do you ever feel like you go from issue to issue, stress to stress, problem to problem? I sure do. Sometimes I wish I could just STOP THINKING. I find myself going in circles in my head reviewing possible plans and options and asking the Lord to show me His way. But, sometimes, He wants us to STOP THINKING and quietly wait upon Him for His perfect timing and answer.

I often FEEL overwhelmed when trying to make decisions and hope I am doing right before the Lord. It certainly is not easy. It is definitely uncomfortable. But, it is actually a good place to be as it stretches our faith. And that, my friend, is ALWAYS a good thing.

Do you ever FEAR taking a wrong turn in life? I do, especially when it comes to parenting my kids. I want the very best for them. Just as we want the best for our children, how much more the Lord wants that for us. 1 John 3:1 says, “The Father has loved us so much that we are called children of God.” He wants us to live lives grounded in the peace that surpasses all understanding, which only comes from walking closely with the Lord.

Do you remember a time, maybe when you were a child, when you did not have to concern yourself about the worries and many choices of life? Having someone provide a way for you is a freeing experience. Just as parents carry the burdens for a child, so the Lord can carry our burdens. Matthew 11:30 tells us, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” When we live lives yoked to the Lord, we will experience His peace as we stay in step with Him. He leads. He guides. He provides a way. He is strong and will get us through the tough times even when we feel the load is just too heavy.

If the answer we are seeking is not formulating, then sometimes the Lord is telling us to WAIT. But, not just wait, but wait on Him. We are to keep praising Him and thanking Him for what He is doing. We are to patiently anticipate His plan and timing of it, to be revealed to us. We must keep the faith. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

It is not simple. Sometimes we want THAT answer so badly. It is a challenge to not keep hashing things over. However, if we rest in Him, He will be our peace. In due time, He will speak into our hearts and minds the answer to the questions we have unwearyingly waited for.

In the meantime…

Just relax…

Just rest…

Just breathe…

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

This article, Rest in the Lord is protected by copyright. It may not be copy and pasted in its entirety to be republished and redistributed elsewhere without permission. This includes pasting entire story to Facebook, email, etc. Thank you. 🙂

 

 

Posted in Encouragement, Focus on Christ, Freedom, Trust | Leave a comment

We CAN Make a Difference

1f4161e8b426d5767fbb679c31371e82“You didn’t do anything to help, mom?” My teenage son’s question hung in the air as we drove. I had been telling him about an employee that fell at a store I had been shopping at. The guy had fallen hard, and as the sound of him hitting the floor rang out, my head quickly turned to see what had happened.

There on the floor lay a middle-aged man. He held his hand to his nose and was not getting up. People quickly crowded around him, as a co-worker ran to the back room for help. A passer-by shouted out, “He needs an ice-pack,” and kept shopping. I knew he needed much more than an ice-pack, as he was not getting up and continued to groan and keep a hand up to his head. I thought to myself. What can I do? And with that thought, I did the only thing I knew to do. I prayed for him and his healing, and quietly slipped out the door.

All that day that fellow lying on the floor kept coming to my mind. And, with each remembrance, I lifted him up in prayer. However, as the day progressed and after my son’s shocked response, I began to question myself. Perhaps I could have done something more. And so, I began praying… Lord, how could I have been of assistance? What should I do if I am once again in a similar situation? What are trying to teach me?

I am not typically a take charge type of person, especially in a crisis situation. I am more the soft spoken type who would wait for someone else to jump into action. As I prayed and mulled this over, I realized the Lord was telling me that I am actually very capable of helping. I could have called 911 or sat by his side and offered words of encouragement.  I could have prayed with him. How often do we walk away from a situation due to feelings of inadequacy, believing we have nothing to offer?

As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we can make a difference. We have the Holy Spirit within us. He will provide wisdom and discernment. If we listen, we can help others even when we feel insufficient. “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:5. However, it takes willingness on our part to take the risk of stepping out in faith. We need to put ourselves out there and be vulnerable to make a difference in the lives of those the Lord puts in our path.  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9.

We can pray for healing but, there time could be up. As a believer we must realize in an emergency situation lifting someone up in prayer could mean the difference of someone living or dying. And, ultimatley, their eternal destination of going to heaven or hell could be at stake. So, we must choose to be proactive in our Christian walk and faith. We should be alert and ready to be called into action. “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? And I said, “Here I am. Send me!”  Isaiah 6:8.

It is easy to cop out during a crisis situation. It is much harder to step out in faith and get involved. It comes down to this. Do we want to make a difference in the lives we touch in our daily walk? If so, we should be active in our faith and living boldly. 1 Thessalonians 2:12 says, “We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” We are to be encouraging, comforting, and live lives worthy of the Lord our God.

Since this emergency situation had such an impact upon me I couldn’t help asking about the employee’s condition upon my return visit, the following day. His co-worker told me he was in the hospital with a concussion, a broken nose, and a broken arm. He suffered some serious injuries, but thankfully he will recover in a matter of time. To God be ALL the glory!

 

 

Posted in Encouragement, Focus on Christ, Life lessons, Prayer | Leave a comment

The Path to Peace

imagesThe traffic had come to a standstill. It was a stifling hot day to sit at a dead stop on the freeway. My teenage son, cell phone with GPS in hand, piped up. “We can get out of this traffic and take an alternate route, mom!” Always up for an adventure with my kids and relieved to hear there was another way home, I immediately took him up on his suggestion. Little did I know, there would be a surprise in this adventure that would abruptly stop us in our tracks and strike a deep cord of fear within me.

The winding roads took us through dry summer fields of gold, neatly manicured vineyards, and quaint off the beaten path towns. Later, we drove through a foothill region with no trees whatsoever. Instead, countryside was dotted with huge white windmills that were being harnessed for power. It was one of those moments in time that I filed in my mind, to remember and hold dear to my heart forever. It was such a happy day. We had the radio blasting and all four windows of the car rolled down. The kids were singing, laughing, and sticking their hands and faces into the wind, and our car was filled with joy.

As we continued to journey on, we drove through wetlands. We crossed many uniquely built bridges that safely connected us to unknown territories. This was all new to us, as we had never ventured into such areas as these before. As we drove, the land we traversed became increasingly remote. The road narrowed to a single car width, resembling a paved bike trail. The sun was now setting, as the road paralleled a huge river. We marveled at the beauty of the sky and the brilliant colors of hot pink, purple, and orange that seemed to reach right down to the fast moving waters beneath it.

Passing other traffic was now only an occasional occurrence. It was a quiet peaceful drive as I embraced our adventure, and marveled at this amazing route my son had come up with to get us home. Gone was the hustle and bustle of heavy traffic and being stuck on the parking lot of the interstate. It was seemingly just the kids and I, and the massive river that traveled with us like a faithful friend.

Nightfall was quickly approaching. Our journey continued as our path twisted, turned, and then came to a stop. Before my eyes I saw an electronic gate with arms. Posted in front of it was a large sign. It read…  Last Ferry 9:00 p.m. Last WHAT?! Looking beyond the gate and sign, I saw what looked like some kind of military boat. The idea of driving my car with my babies onto such a mechanical thing, in order to cross the expanse of the river completely paralyzed me with fear. We had only 20 minutes to make a decision. If we choose not to cross, there would be hours of backtracking on tiny roads into the wee hours of the night and then on top of that, additional hours of freeway driving. I felt I had no choice.

I contemplated. I prayed. I played out scary thoughts of driving my babies onto the submarine looking barge and my car rolling off and dumping us into the swiftly flowing depths of the river. I think what made this so difficult for me was that it was just so unexpected. Never, in my mind, would I have thought I would be challenged to such a strange situation as this! I was alone with my kids with nightfall closing in, and in a strange remote unfamiliar place. I did not even know such opportunities as this existed in my state. And, so we sat, waiting for the inevitable moment when I would drive my car onto this mass that would move us from one expansive shore to the other. Why was I so afraid?

Fear can grip us, and when it does it can stop us in our tracks. Yes, sometimes fear can be a warning and we must take heed. However, not always. Was my fear warranted in this situation? Nope. However, fear is real and when we are afraid, the only way out of that fear is to put our trust in the only One who we can truly count on, the Lord Jesus Christ. And, that is just what I did. I prayed, committed the situation to the Lord, and then in faith, I drove my car onto that ferry. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

I’m not going to say I did not still have fear and insecurity as we slowly crossed that river. It was there. But, as we floated across, a peace came over me and I began to enjoy the experience. It was quite amazing! My car was safely locked in place. The kids thought it was too cool! And, it really was! The ferry was lit up and on the horizon was a lingering tinge of orange color in the night sky, along with the first few bright stars. Dare I say, it was even a bit romantic!

Once safe on the other side, I was relieved and flooded with joy. Not just for our safety, but for the entire experience. What seemed so unfamiliar, foreign, and frightening to me was, in actuality, a fun, chance of a lifetime opportunity. The kids and I will always remember that moment in time when we traveled across a huge river safely in our own family car!

We can choose fear in our life challenges, or we can choose faith. When faced with fear there are four things we can do to help us overcome our fear, after first praying about our situation. Always ask for wisdom, discernment, and guidance from the Lord. In addition to  prayer, calmly and logically work through the following:

  1. Identify the fear.
  2. Is it based on truth?
  3. Identify what is true.
  4. Concentrate on the many blessings in your life.

These simple steps can help rule out unwarranted fears that are not based in reality, which will free us up to operate on faith. Hebrews 11:1, tells us that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

This testimony about my fear of crossing the river on a ferry with my kids in our family car may seem silly. However, it is a good example of how in life we travel to unknown places and are continually faced with uncomfortable and unexpected situations. Next time you are faced with a decision to make and you are fearful, ask yourself… is this fear based in truth? If you are forthright with the Lord He will make things clear to you. In Matthew 17:20 Jesus tells us, “If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘’Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” Yes, we must have faith as the Lord instructs us.

So, while out on the highways and byways of life, I encourage you, when your life path comes to a surprising halt, and you are gripped by fear, choose instead to seek the Lord. He will flood you with His perfect peace and He will lead you and guide you in the way you should go. He is always faithful to those who call on Him.  “The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him.” Lamentations 3:25 And, often times, when we are afraid, we need not be. Instead, choose to “be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 You will be glad you did!

This article, Path to Peace is protected by copyright. It may not be copy and pasted in its entirety to be republished and redistributed elsewhere without permission. This includes pasting entire story to Facebook, email, etc. Thank you. 🙂

Posted in Focus on Christ, God's Faithfulness, Life lessons, Trust | Leave a comment

Clothe Yourself in Kindness

20150517_SundayScripture_Colossians-3-Graphic-Image-SMALLThe Lord has been speaking to my heart about kindness. He has gotten my attention by showering me with more kindness than usual lately. It is amazing how an act of kindness can change a person’s day or even complete outlook on life. There is power in the act of being kind to one another and even more so is the power of a prayer.

Simply said, kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. It is far reaching and can be accomplished in countless ways. I enjoy trail running and am fortunate to live in an area where I can easily access mountain trails.  It is the norm for me to be running along in my zone when all of a sudden I am face to face with a guy whizzing towards me on his mountain bike. I usually jump off the trail out of harm’s way or stop running so he can fly by me on the single track trail.  However, the other day, a guy who was approaching me on his mountain bike completely stopped. He got off his bike and moved to the side of the trail, then waited for me to run on by.  As I did, he was smiling and cheerfully greeted me and wished me a good day! This never happens so when it did, I felt like I was being treated as a lady of honor and with great respect. It was almost as if he took a knee for me! This random act of kindness was very courteous and polite and left me feeling flattered and even a bit smitten!

The act of pay it forward is always such a blessing. This happened to me twice this month. The first was when I was in a drive-thru at Star Bucks and a complete stranger in the car ahead of me bought my hot latte and morning inspiration. What a surprise that was! I left that drive-thru in shock and a bit beside myself that a random person would reach out to me when I did nothing at all to deserve it. I was so caught off guard and touched by the kindness of this stranger. It made my day and I felt like screaming it out to everyone on social media! Just a couple weeks later my neighbor was in the Taco Bell drive-thru and guess what she did? Yep, you guessed it. She bought the tacos and burritos the kids and I had ordered. I was blown away! I was filled with gratitude, which caused me to want to bless her back. So, the next day she got brownies and a bouquet of flowers from me to brighten her day. When someone is kind, it is contagious and can inspire us to be tender-hearted in return. It’s a win win. The giver is blessed by the act of giving, as it is a very rewarding experience. The one receiving the kind act is pleasantly surprised and ever so grateful.

When my dad passed away unexpectedly, my Aunt reached out. She provided nutritious homemade food that could be ready to eat with minimal effort on my part. She had my favorite comfort soup, fresh bread, prepackaged salad, a roasted chicken, and delicious pumpkin bread made from scratch. As if that wasn’t enough, she included a fresh bouquet of flowers to brighten our home. Having her reach out to me encouraged my grieving heart. She made a hard time more bearable. I was able to easily sustain myself and my kids over that next week. Her act of kindness was far reaching into both my heart and home.

It was during this same period of time while I was grieving the death of my dad that I became completely overwhelmed and depressed. It was one of those complete meltdown moments in life. I had gone to my quiet place in my home where I could be alone with the Lord to pray. I had my Bible, my journal, and had also been texting a friend who was concerned about me. The tears began to flow and quickly turned into loud sobbing. It was not only the pain of the loss of my dad I was feeling, but other hurt that I had been carrying, which all came tumbling out. It was in the middle of all this pain and crying that my phone rang. It was a long-time Christian friend of mine who rarely called. But, call me she did and it was all I could do to say “hello”. This friend went right to prayer, speaking loudly and with authority, as I cried into the phone. She continued in prayer for me until the sobs quieted and completely stopped. We then discussed why my heart was so troubled. As she listened, the heaviness of my heart lifted. By the end of our conversation she had me laughing and planning a girl’s getaway together with her! Her phone call and intercessory prayer changed me, for good. Her timely call and prayer lifted my spirit and broke the bondage of past hurt that was burdening my soul. I am so thankful for my friend who cared enough to reach out to me during a painful time in my life. Because of her prayer covering, listening ear, and encouraging words I was able to pull out of what overwhelmed my heart and soul. I thank the Lord for my praying friend!

These different acts of kindness each had a tremendous effect upon me, each one in a completely different way. The result of each was, of course, all good! They were all uniquely different and with equally diverse outcomes. I thank the Lord for the people who touch my life with their love, kindness, respect, compassion, and most importantly, the love of Christ. When people are thoughtful and caring it brightens our day, encourages our heart, and can lift our spirit! It can also inspire us to reach out to others. And when kindness is paired with prayer… “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 Thank you Lord… Amen!

You are free to share the link via social media, but this article Clothe Yourself in Kindness may not be copy and pasted in its entirety to be republished and redistributed elsewhere without permission this includes pasting entire story to Facebook, email, etc.

 

 

Posted in Kindness, Love, Prayer, Thankful

THAT Open Door

open-doors-decorating-ideas-4-833x675Proverbs 16:9 tells us, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” How important it is to allow the Lord to lead us!

To assure we are walking in the Lord’s best way and will for our life, we must be in constant communication with the Lord our God. This means reading His word, taking time to sit at His feet in prayer and worship, and denying ourselves of the things in our life that inappropriately steal away our time with the Lord. If we are not communing with the Lord as we should, we can easily begin to self –absorb our lives with things that are not God’s best way for our lives.

The Christian life often makes reference to an open door. This could be a new beginning such as a career opportunity or a myriad of other life choices. However, just because a door has opened in the believer’s life does not automatically mean it is God’s optimal way.  Often times, an open door will appear to be an amazing choice that seems to make complete sense. But the Bible, our instruction manual for living life, tells us in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” For this reason, the Christ follower must seek discernment and wisdom from the Lord before making such decisions.

How difficult it is when THAT open door is something we WANT. Maybe it is an unfulfilled dream or the desire to achieve a certain accomplishment. Personal gratification and the pride of life are huge obstacles that need to be overcome when seeking God’s best and perfect will for our lives. Our human minds cannot begin to grasp the depth of God’s plans and purposes. His ways are ALWAYS much better and bigger than our own.

What is ideal is when we are able to mesh our heart’s desire with that of the Lord’s. This can be done by a surrender of control and a submission of one’s life to the Lord our God. Sometimes that means denying what we think we want in this life and instead trusting the Lord for His best for us, even if it seems illogical or foolish through the eyes of those looking in and, perhaps. even to ourselves. Faith and trust in the Lord are essential, as Jesus tells us in Matthew 17:20, “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

What can be tricky is when life is happening and things are moving quickly forward and things seem to be falling into place. But then, a lack of peace sets in that is disturbing enough to cause all forward motion to come to a complete stop. This I believe is a warning from the Holy Spirit, a quickening of our spirit that the Lord uses to get our attention in order to prevent us from making a bad decision or poor life choice that could have dire consequences in our life.

I recently experienced this, personally. It shook me up and stopped me completely. I had been striving hard and was becoming increasingly consumed by my own determination and goals that I had set before myself. I could sense other priorities beginning to slide in my life, along with my strength and peace of mind.

I am thankful to the Lord for His conviction in my life. He has since rerouted and refocused me on the correct priorities in my life. I admit, it was difficult for me to let go of my own selfish thoughts, plans, and pride of life ideas. But, thankfully, the Lord has given me His perfect peace. Surrendering to the Lord is the best place to be in life. “You  will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3 The Lord is my Provider and I trust Him to make a way for me. I am yoked to Christ. “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:30

I wrote this article five months ago and never published it. It has taken me all this time to process, adjust, and surrender my life completely after the Lord stopped me from making a big mistake in my life. Letting go of a certain goal or dream in life can be tough, but totally worth it! The Lord always knows BEST. I am rejoicing in ALL the Lord is doing in my life. He has since opened new doors of opportunity for me. I am so thankful for the Lord’s amazing love, grace, and mercy. He is the all knowing Sovereign God of the universe. Thank you Lord for your unconditional love! “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19 AMEN! Go out in peace as you seek the Lord’s best open door for your life. You will be glad you did!

This article, “THAT Open Door” is protected by copyright. You are free to share the link via social media, but this article may not be copy and pasted in its entirety to be republished and redistributed elsewhere without permission this includes pasting entire story to Facebook, Pinterest, email, etcetera.

 

Posted in Focus on Christ, God's Faithfulness, Trust | Leave a comment

God’s Best

Honeysuckle-010[1].jpgThe green vine eloquently twisted and intertwined with the branches of the young sapling. But as this vine continued to grow, it began choking the life of the tree it was encroaching upon. The long vines had wrapped themselves around the width of the tree branches and began cutting into it. In other places the vine had completely tangled itself within the tree. What appeared as a representation of beauty and new life was actually choking the life out of the young tree. The vine would soon need to be cut-off; otherwise, the tree’s growth would be stunted and damaged. The symbolism of the vine is likened to things in the world that appear to be good for us, but are actually detrimental.

There are many beautiful things in this world that we intertwine our lives with. People, objects, activities, and habits can seem like good and healthy choices or lifestyles, but are they? What is good for one person may or may not be good for another. Just because a friend, leader, relative, or co-worker chooses to do, or not do something, does not mean it is the way for us to live. How often do we hear someone tell us their opinion regarding a life choice we are trying to make?  People gladly offer their opinions. We need to be cautious not to listen to the advice of others without first bringing it before the Lord.

Who knows your every thought, need, and desire? The only One who truly knows you inside and out is your Heavenly Father, your Maker. He made you. He wired you to think and operate for His purposes. “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14 But, how many of us are living our lives for His full potential?

The noise of this world is loud. Unless we choose carefully, we will live with a continual barrage of opinion being thrown at us. Most everywhere we turn we find an attitude, a belief, or a judgment be it through media, or an interpersonal relationship. No matter what is said to us, thrown at us or dictated to us, we must bring it back to God’s word, the Bible. The Bible is our instruction manual for how to live life. If anyone ever says to you, “this is what I think you should do,” do not do it. Instead, run swiftly to the One who does know what you should do. God, the Creator of the universe is the only One who truly knows what is best for you. And, don’t we all want the very best God has for us? You bet we do!

Is there a beautiful alluring something in your life that on its own, is a good thing, but for you, is not? Are you doing some thing because it is working for someone else? Are you listening to the advice of another? Whatever the case, I would encourage you to re-evaluate why you are choosing to live the way you are. We should be conscious of why we choose to do the things we do. After all, we are the ones who must live with the consequences of our life choices.

The world is full of the lushness of life that appeals to our flesh and minds, choking us when its vines wrap themselves around our neck and bind us. We must be proactive in our faith and on our knees before the Lord to be wise and discerning. I urge you to seek God first in all you do. We are to obey the Lord our God. Obedience is what truly matters in this life. Do not allow the world to deceive you with its cunning behavior and do not fall prey to listening to the advice of others without first consulting with Almighty God. “But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

 

Posted in Focus on Christ, Life lessons | Leave a comment

Press on Toward the Goal

pigpen-color[1]I was under siege. I felt like Pig-Pen, but instead of a cloud of dirt surrounding me I had a black cloud of gnats around my head, dive bombing my face and buzzing my ears. I began flailing and waving my hands in an effort to swat them away however, it only seemed to makes matters worse as if it egged them on to attack me all the more. The gnats were so distracting I was having a hard time focusing on my run, and that is when the Lord began speaking to my heart.

I had run this particular trail three times a week for over a year and never had this problem. But, the last few times out, the gnats would overtake me and cause me to bat my arms in the air completely throwing off my running focus. After miles of dealing with this, I would eventually tire. I found that if the gnats landed on my face they would succumb to their death by getting stuck in a pool of sweat and then they would get wiped out permanently, as I brushed their lifeless bodies off my face. I also realized that if I could remain focused on the run, I could actually temporarily outrun them by speeding up. However, inevitably, I would begin to slow down without the constant barrage of gnats pestering me. They would then return to me and continue in their harassment. It seemed the more I focused on them, the worse they got, which is what seems to happen when we focus on the problems in our life.

This brings me to what the Lord was teaching me. Gnats are incredibly DISTRACTING. Gnats are like the distractions we face in life. When we focus on a problem instead of Christ, we will begin to slow down, flail, and ultimately lose our focus, which can be quite costly in this thing we live call LIFE. We must NOT allow ourselves to fall into this trap. Thinking continually about a life issue will only make our head spin in circles and cause massive unproductivity and misery. We must stop pondering and focusing on problematic issues and resist the why is this happening thought pattern. The Lord does not call us to understand all that happens to us in life, but He does call us to trust in Him. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

The funny thing is, before I was able to put the finishing touches on this post, I went on another run and encountered more gnats! As I mentioned before, I found that if I would just run with the gnats, peacefully without flailing or swatting at them, which by the way is an extremely difficult thing to do, the gnats would land on my saturated sweaty face and I could just calmly wipe them away. This expends much less energy on my part, saving it for the run! And, so it is in life. Giving in, submitting to the way life is, tolerating it, embracing it, and keeping a focus on pushing forward with Christ is the answer and I believe, the way to go! And, so it is with our distractions in life. If we can keep our focus on the Lord, He will take care of our problems. He will wipe them away as we trust in Him to take care of us. Isaiah 26:3 tells us, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

Instead of us focusing on our problems and negativity in life, we are called to a higher purpose in Christ. We must run fast and hard in life, staying focused on Christ, not slowing down for distractions or allowing ourselves to become overrun by them. We must keep our eyes on Christ, trusting Him completely in all things. If we do this, the gnats, the distractions in our life, will dissipate as the everlasting faithful love of our Father in Heaven floods our minds with His perfect peace. Keep running with the Lord and that distraction in life will soon be a thing of the past as the Lord faithfully puts it behind you. Philippians 3:12 tells us, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

This article, “Press on Toward the Goal” is protected by copyright. You are free to share the link via social media, but this article may not be copy and pasted in its entirety to be republished and redistributed elsewhere without permission this includes pasting entire story to Facebook, Pinterest.com, email, etcetera.

Posted in Encouragement, Focus on Christ, Life lessons | 1 Comment

Breathless!

Struts_00[1] (2)The door slammed shut, grabbing my attention. There, across the room, stood my son, a young man of 14 years old. He was distraught and trying to speak, but all he could say was, “the…” and then gibberish, followed by incomplete thoughts that made no sense. I abruptly ended my phone call and ran to my son. He was shaking and out of breath. He finally pulled together his first sentence. “The hood of the Toyota slammed shut on my hands and I was stuck!” I immediately sat him down, then dashed to get Advil and an ice pack. He quickly swallowed the pain relief pills and we soothed his hand with the ice. I then began to pray, “Dear Lord Jesus please heal my son’s hand…”

He was still shaking as I held his hand to examine the extent of his injury. As I did this, he recounted the incident. He had been under the hood, replacing a valve cover gasket when the hood shock broke. The hood slammed down on him, pinning his left hand. He was trapped and in tremendous pain. He had called out to me, but with the house being tightly sealed, I heard nothing. Thankfully, he had been holding a flashlight with an extended handle on it. It lessened the blow to his hand, and, as a result, was completely cut in half by the weight of the hood. His cell phone was within eyeshot, but he could not reach for it. In his desperation, pain, and panic, his adrenaline kicked in and he was able to partially lift the hood off his hand and slip it out, leaving a large warp in the hood that is now our visual reminder of the incident.

I thanked the Lord my son still had his fingers. But, I thought we would probably be taking a trip to the doctor followed by x-rays in the morning. I dreaded the thought of a possible break or even worse, nerve damage. His hand was pretty banged up and one finger was especially cut and traumatized, plus, he was having trouble moving his fingers. As the evening progressed I watched for swelling and discoloration and asked about his pain level. It was not swelling as I had anticipated and he kept telling me, “Mom, I can’t feel anything.” This led me to believe he may have some kind of serious damage. We continued icing and praying throughout the evening. By bedtime the Advil had worn off and my son still told me he couldn’t feel anything. It was then that I realized what he meant was, he had no pain! The fingers that he could not move earlier were now beginning to bend. We continued to pray and thank the Lord for saving my son’s fingers and for the healing work He was doing. Then, we drifted off to sleep

The next morning, I expected to see swelling and possibly black or blue bruising on my son’s hand and fingers. However, there was none. He had no pain and had almost completely regained mobility in his injured fingers. The Lord had healed his hand! Jeremiah 30:17 says, “I will restore you to health and heal your wounds, declares the Lord.” What an incredible promise. Yes, God, the Creator of the Universe is our Great Physician.

I continue to thank the Lord for His faithfulness in taking care of our son and how our Heavenly Father gave my son the power he needed to get out from under the hood of that car, saved his fingers, and miraculously healed his hand from the trauma of the weighty hood that crashed down on him. I thank the Lord that as His children, we are never alone. He is always with us taking care of us. Joshua 1:9 tells us, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Thank you, Jesus, for your faithfulness, always. Great and mighty is the Lord our God.

Posted in God's Faithfulness, Healing, Prayer | 2 Comments

A Humbling Spoonful

giant-house-spider1A friend had asked if her son could stay with us for a couple of days while she and her husband went away on a marriage retreat. I had willfully agreed, and our kids were having a great time together. On the last evening of his stay, I was thinking back upon the weekend and how good I felt about helping my friend and also providing a nice weekend for her son with plenty of delicious healthy hearty meals. It was this very thought that would get me in trouble.

As I prepared dinner that night, I put together one of my family’s favorite meals. It was chicken enchiladas with sour cream and cheese in a green tomatillo sauce. I was feeling pleased with myself and was thinking how wonderful it was that I was feeding my friend’s son so well, hoping he would appreciate his time with us and every tasty meal I fixed too.

Dinner time came and we all seemed to be enjoying the delicious meal I had prepared, to the pride of my heart! Everything seemed just perfect. We had fun dinner conversation and smiling faces, while the food disappeared from each plate. Then, there came a screech from the corner of the table where our guest of honor was eating. Much to my shock and dismay, as I approached the end of the dinner table, my eyes honing in, there in the middle of his plate, was an ugly, gigantic, unidentifiable slimy brown spider, covered in green enchilada sauce! My heart sank, and I felt as tall as that smashed flattened spider on the plate.

Oh dear Lord! How in the world did this happen? Was it in that spicy green sauce I poured from a can onto my tenderly wrapped chicken in tortillas? Was it lying in the pan dead and I didn’t notice? Did he crawl in my casserole dish when I turned my head and then become my victim? Or, was he a destitute spider who had just decided life was not worth living and to end it all he jumped right in just as I slid it all into the oven?! I had no answers. This, I thought, was crazy and quite repulsive.

How humbled I was, along with being mortified and embarrassed! There, on the plate of our guest, the one person I was trying to impress with delicious food, prepared from my heart, sat an ugly arthropod with eight legs and chelicerae with fangs that inject venom. All eating at the table had come to an immediate halt. Jumping up and quickly scraping the dead disgusting arachnid from my guest’s plate was not enough to encourage further eating at that table. And so, the weekend had come to an end and I had reached a new pinnacle of being humbled.

That was eight years ago, and I am still impacted, even today. How easy it is to get puffed up with our silly insignificant selves. We tend to try to do things with our own ability, thinking we got it going on, and, if that isn’t bad enough, with the motive being to impress others. “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2

Instead of trying to impress others, the Bible tells us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” Colossians 3:23. I have found having this mindset is the most rewarding way to live. When we seek to please our Father in Heaven, not mere man, it really does change everything. God sees our hearts and when we are doing our work unto Him, He blesses and affirms us in ways that will never compare to the words of affirmation that come from man.

Remarkably, in spite of the revolting revelation of a spider in our chicken enchiladas that night, my kids still embrace and enjoy eating that meal. For me it is a constant reminder and message in being humble and seeking to serve and please the One True Living God, not people. It makes me chuckle as I reminisce how God used a dinner we have now coined as Spiderlada, to humble my spirit. I am grateful to the Lord for His love, grace, and mercy as I realize God can teach us much, even in the simple everyday tasks of our life. It’s important to remember, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you; Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” Romans 12:3.

This article, “A Humbling Spoonful of Spiderlada” is protected by copyright. You are free to share the link via social media, but this article may not be copy and pasted in its entirety to be republished and redistributed elsewhere without permission this includes pasting entire story to Facebook, Pinterest.com, email, etcetera.

Posted in God, Humility, Pride | Leave a comment

Enthralled by His Splendor

santaynezStaring into the eyes of a wild animal is captivating. Spellbound, it seems as if I am looking deep into its very soul. For those brief sacred seconds it is as if time is standing still. Gripped by its beauty, not wanting to lose the eye lock, I barely breathe, let alone move. It is an intense privilege to encounter one of God’s creatures and stare deep into its eyes.

It was on a wooded trail with green and gold foliage and a meandering stream that trickled discreetly behind the suburbs and cookie cutter houses. An experience I will never forget. From the first step into this refuge of tall oaks, dirt trail, and knee high weeds, it was as if God had opened a window from heaven.

Gracing the sky, as I began my trek into the wooded land, was a Great Blue Heron cruising calmly and ever so elegantly overhead. As I padded along, soaking up the tranquility, I next saw a flock of wild turkeys marching through a nearby clearing. With the rustling of brush came two scampering brown squirrels, chattering their gibberish and jumping from the low hanging tree branches onto the trail just ahead. But, it was what I would find just around the upcoming crook in the trail that would charm me completely.

I was mesmerized by the very nature the Lord had shown me, as I slipped into this sanctuary of unexpected wildlife. It felt as if I had entered into a special land and was being romanced by the surrounding splendor, titillated by each step I was taking. In a dreamlike state of mind, I looked up, and with great surprise was face to face with a huge owl.

guenclose1We each froze. He sat perched on a branch. He was majestic and alluring. We had an eye lock on one another. I felt hypnotized and unable to look away. I could not look away. We stared and gazed and ogled at one another. Neither one of us dared to move. He seemed just as attracted to me. The longer I looked into his eyes, the more I wanted to stay. I felt as if I never wanted that stare to end. It was like he was looking deep into my soul. I was truly transfixed by that owl. He had my complete attention and adoration. The feeling I had in his presence was that of awe. He was stunning. And, for some strange reason, he seemed to be equally absorbed by my presence. I was so drawn to him I did not want to leave at all. It was like I wanted to stay there forever. It was a surreal experience.

The encounter I had that day left an impression on me. I felt the Lord had shared with me a piece of His lovely world that I had been unaware of and was right there the whole time, just waiting for me to find, to notice, to acknowledge, to receive. Such splendor and fascination, like a secret gift in life. This made me think of the gift of salvation we have through Christ Jesus.

What if you were enthralled, allured, and completely drawn to Christ, compelled by His love and adoration? What if you accepted Him as a gift? He would change your life. Your eyes would be opened and you would see there is another dimension to this life. There is more than meets the eye. Jesus is awestruck over you. Christ’s love is deep. He never looks away from you. He always has His eye on you. He is ever watchful. Once you experience His presence, you will never want to be without Him, nor will you have to. In Joshua 1:5 the Bible tells us that the Lord says, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Staring into the eyes of one of God’s creatures is riveting. The incident I had that day on the wooded path will never be forgotten, as it is etched in my mind forever. I was truly enchanted by God’s creature. But, how much more am I captivated by the Lord our God. Nothing compares to looking up into the eyes of the Lord, being enthralled by His majesty and allure, and staring into His eyes of everlasting peace.

This article, “Enthralled by His Splendor” is protected by copyright. You are free to share the link via social media, but this article may not be copy and pasted in its entirety to be republished and redistributed elsewhere without permission this includes pasting entire story to Facebook, Pinterest.com, email, etcetera.

 

Posted in Focus on Christ, God's Handiwork | Leave a comment

Do Not Be Shaken

long trainOff in the distance, I could hear its roar. I encountered it often on my morning runs. I was breathing heavy as I had started up a hill that now led directly up to the tracks. There, I would meet it face to face, as it would stop me from continuing on my planned course. Being so close to the train always triggered a sense of fear, as years ago the train had actually derailed in this very area. As much as I wanted to, I could not dismiss the thoughts of it possibly derailing and crushing me under the weight of the massive box cars. How often we feel this way when it comes to real issues in our life.

trainsAs the train approached, it was clanking along loudly and rhythmically. It was moving at a rapid pace. The ground seemed to be shaking. Yet, there I stood watching it go by, car after car. I was not going to be afraid. It was a long train and as I stood staring at it, my mind moved onto the spiritual parallels of this train. I knew the Lord was with me and I did not need to be fearful, as a scripture came to my mind. Psalm 16:8 says, “I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.”

TRAINS CAN BE…

Loud

Unexpected

Scary

Trains can be likened to the trials we face in life.

There are the rapid moving Amtrak trains, the lengthier box car trains, and the train that comes to town and just stops and sits on the tracks with its engines running. It does not come and go quickly, but it stays and waits, until given the green light to pull out and move on. Sometimes, these are the most annoying because they are in the path blocking the way and continuing on cannot happened until they move on by. Just as these trains come down the tracks, so do life’s hardships.

Sickness

Financial crisis

Divorce

Loss of a loved one

And, all the smaller miscellaneous things that just happen, like the family dog getting hit by a car, empty cupboards, behavior challenges with the children, paying that inflated energy bill, and the unending consequences of a lost marriage, that can add up to a heavy burden for one to carry alone. But, just as that train, they all have a beginning and an end. And the Lord never gives us more than we can handle.

What are we to do when these trains of life come barreling into our own lives? God’s Word says, “Surely he will never be shaken.” Psalm 112:6. We are to stand firm in our faith, trusting the Lord and resting in Him as the train either comes and goes quickly, lingers on car after car, or sits at a dead stop. We are not to fear nor be disturbed. Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” That is an AWESOME promise to us, from the Lord, the Creator of the Universe!

Psalm 16 8

When hardships in life feel as though they may crush us by their weight, we are not to fear. We are not to be overcome. We are not to be shaken. The Lord our God is to be our Strength. We are to keep our eyes fixed on Him, trusting in Him, standing firm in our faith that He will get us through the hard times. When we stand firmly grounded in the Truth of God’s word, we will stand the duration, trusting in our Savior to work things out for our best good and holding onto the promise found in Romans 8:28,” And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

This article, “Do Not Be Shaken” is protected by copyright. You are free to share the link via social media, but this article may not be copy and pasted in its entirety to be republished and redistributed elsewhere without permission (this includes pasting entire story to Facebook, Pinterest, email, etc.).

Posted in God's Faithfulness, hardship, Trust | Tagged | Leave a comment

Life is Beautiful

web-decker_2-trails-flowers1Running a red dirt trail in the still quiet morning hours, with rays of sunshine beginning to light the tips of the tall pines, I often wonder what is lurking beyond the reverent beauty before my eyes. As I run the path through the wilderness, I contemplate the spiritual symbolism of this path I am running on and that of the life we live.

Everything is seemingly picture perfect as I run this path, mile after continuous mile. The scenery is stunning green and gold foliage mixed with lavender flowers creeping through the tall weeds, wild daisies that seem to smile, and majestic pines that whisper in the wind.weimar-canal1 The rushing sound of the water along the trail is like a faithful friend running by my side. The crisp cool air of the early morning fills me with vigor and anticipation of a new day!

Running through this earthly paradise, I realize there are numerous dangers that I am not able to see or perceive. My limited vision won’t allow me to see all that surrounds me, as there is a canopy of camouflage that distorts the clarity of my vision. Often, I am startled by a lizard jetting beneath my feet, a squirrel scampering up a tree, or even a deer bounding through the brush. These animals may startle me, but in actuality are harmless. It is what I am not seeing that could potentially cause harm.

Scanning the horizon for a bear or lion is futile due to my inability to decipher what I am truly seeing as I pass through the forest. Eyes dart as they may, and peering into the brush, neck crooked, to see what a scuffle beneath the brush could be provides only a distraction, at best. How important it is to focus on the path straight ahead on the running trail and, yes, in our day to day living. “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.” Proverbs 4:25

How often our vision is obstructed by the world we live in. With a continual barrage of craziness that is dished out by the world and fed to us on a daily basis, it is no wonder it can be difficult to decipher the truth and depth of deception occurring around us. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” We must be aware and discerning, seeking Christ in all things and situations so we will not be deceived or overcome by the world’s godless ways. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

Lavender flowers, wild daisies, and tall pines with soft rays of sunshine provide a pleasant trail to trek, even though there are unseen dangers in the camouflaged forest. Keep your eyes straight ahead and focused on the path with Christ instead of the distractions of this world and you will see just how truly beautiful life will be.bridge

Posted in Beauty, Focus on Christ, God | Tagged | Leave a comment

Get Covered

praywithoutceasingIt wasn’t but a few short weeks and those darn stains were back and the carpet seemed as dirty as before, if not even worse! The spots weren’t lifting as easily as the prior scrub, so my mind began to formulate an alternative plan. We needed a type of covering to help keep the filth from getting into the carpet. The use of a clear carpet runner to cover the areas that were prone to stain would be helpful. Yes, a covering was needed to help remedy this problem from continuing to fester. Just as the carpet needed a covering to keep from stain and harm, how much more the children of God!

Let’s look at the meaning of the word covering. The English definition is, an object or substance that goes over or on top of something especially in order to hide or protect it. Source Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary. Now let’s see what the Hebrew translations have to say. There are three Hebrew words we need to look at. Sakak, which means to overshadow, screen, cover. Kasah, which means to cover for clothing or secrecy. And, kaphar, which means to cover, purge, or make atonement for sin, make reconciliation. Source Strong’s Concordance.

praywithothersWhen we pray to our Heavenly Father, we are covered in prayer. Looking back at the above definitions we can derive from this the importance in having such a covering. For this reason, we are to have other believers that we can call upon for prayer. We need people we can be accountable to that will listen and lift us up in prayer, as needs arise. Romans 7:18 tells us, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh, for I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” When struggling with sin in your life, don’t go at it alone. The enemy wants to isolate and condemn you, and tell you how rotten you are. As you share with another in words and heartfelt prayer, the darkness will be brought into the light. You will enter into freedom as the Holy Spirit ministers to your very soul. Matthew 18:20 tells us, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” With Christ you can overcome and will be victorious.

Philippians 4:6 tells us “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know to God.” We are to pray without ceasing. Whatever is bothering you, upsetting you, causing you pain and misery, or confusion, bring it to the Lord. He will give you the strength and ability to deal with the situation. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12. During our times of intense spiritual battle, we must unite in prayer with other believers by sharing our troubles and sin issues. The Lord will be faithful to hear your cry and deliver you from all your troubles. Psalm 34:17

wingscoverIn Psalm 91 of the Bible, the Lord provides us with a complete shield of protection that can only be found in Him. He promises in Psalm 91:4 “He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall find protection; His faithfulness shall be your shield and wall.” If we faithfully pray this prayer of protection, the Lord will be faithful to protect you and your loved ones from all wickedness and harm. What an awesome promise the Lord has given to us! Our hope is not is our own strength or wisdom, but from seeking divine protection from our Creator. Yes, the One who created the heavens and the earth will also take care of you. “Why, even the hairs of your head area all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7

The stains on the carpet are a consequence from an unchanged behavior pattern that is still occurring, that being, living life and making messes! These stains, like sin, are ever recurring as we live and make messes in our lives, some intentional and others unintentional, due to our sin nature. With God as our strength and refuge we will be victorious over sin and able to live a life that glorifies God. Enlist the help of other believers to pray with you. Do not be anxious about anything, but instead, pray without ceasing. And most importantly, pray the shield of God’s protection over the ones you love. You will be safe under God’s covering, for great and mighty is He.

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER

This article, “Get Covered” is protected by copyright. You are free to share the link via social media, but this article may not be copy and pasted in its entirety to be republished and redistributed elsewhere without permission (this includes pasting entire story to Facebook, Pinterest, email, etc.).

Posted in Freedom, God, Prayer | Tagged | Leave a comment

Clean the Stains of the Heart

Dirt, spills, and ground in unidentified particles make for a filthy carpet. Day after day the grim continues to spread and multiply, along with the guilt of not getting it cleaned up. The worse the carpet looks, the more ignored it gets, as if there is absolutely no hope at all to ever rid it of its stain. It is depressing to look at and an embarrassing way of life. Until, a choice is made to do something to change its condition. That feeling of putting something off that needs to be cleaned can be carried over to our spiritual life.

Down on my hands and knees scrubbing the filthy carpet stains, a sense of relief swept over me as the stains begin to lift. Pretty much all hope  was gone that this carpet would ever even appear remotely clean again. I had even gone so far as to buy numerous throw rugs in an attempt to cover and hide these filthy and embarrassing stains from the sight of others, as I was so disgusted by it all and the thought of what the possible ramifications would be when we move out of the home.  So, when to my surprise the stains began to vanish before my very eyes, my hope was restored and joy overflowed my heart and mind! There was a remedy for these stains, and I found it, and it worked!

As I continued to scrub, to my hearts delight, I began thinking about the spiritual symbolism of stains and sins in the human heart. How often we sin and don’t even know it. Add to that the wrong things we do, and say, and think, that we are actually aware of. And then, on top of that, all the sin we keep hidden in our hearts that we are too embarrassed or shameful to admit to others, ourselves, and our Lord God who actually sees it all.

The Bible says we are to take every thought captive to obey Christ, 1 Corinthians 10:5. We all have sin in our lives. We all have certain sin tendencies and areas of weakness that we struggle to overcome. Do you feel dirty and possibly embarrassed by your past? Do you wish you could free yourself of the stains you have acquired over the years? What about the consequences of living a life of sin? Would you like to be clean? In Isaiah 43:35 Jesus promises, “But I wipe away your sins because of who I am. And so, I will forget the wrongs you have done.” What an incredible hope we have in Christ! All that filth found in our hearts can actually be cleaned up with the right stain remover, JESUS. And what a relief it is when the filth and stains are gone.

jesus-poster-love-god[1]Hope!

Freedom!

Victory!

A changed life!

There is a section in the Bible referred to as the Romans Road to Salvation. It teaches and explains how Jesus died to cleanse us of our sins that we may be clean and have eternal life in Him. “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

How to Accept Christ

The Romans Road to Salvation:

In the Bible, in the book of Romans, is a clear message to us; we need salvation. These Scriptures also tell us exactly what we need to do to be saved! Please take a moment to read through the Scriptures.

Romans 3:10 “As it is written, there is none righteous, not even one…”

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.”

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 10:9-10 “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth confesses, resulting in salvation.”

Romans 10:13 “For whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”

If you would like to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you must do what Romans 10:9-10 says. You just need to make this the prayer of your heart. Here is an example. You may use your own words.

Dear Lord Jesus, I come before you acknowledging You are Almighty God, Creator of the Universe. Please forgive me for all my sins now and in the past, (you may speak of specific instances that you would like to repent of and seek forgiveness). Please come into my heart and life and be my Savior. Thank you for dying for me and my sin on the cross. Please help me to seek You and draw near to You, and may You rule over my flesh, as I now turn to follow you. Please, become Lord of my life. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

Children-on-God[1]If you have just prayed this sinner’s prayer you are now a child of the One True King! Jesus has forgiven you and cleansed you of all sin. You are a new and clean person in Christ. He has wiped away all your stains and sins. You are free and victorious in Christ. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

                               To God be all the glory!

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER

This article, “Clean the Stains of the Heart” is protected by copyright. You are free to share the link via social media, but this article may not be copy and pasted in its entirety to be republished and redistributed elsewhere without permission (this includes pasting entire story to Facebook, Pinterest, email, etc.).

Continue reading

Posted in Freedom, Salvation, Sin | Leave a comment

Stay the Course

stay-the-course[1]Staying the course is a popular expression in the United States. It is referring to a person who perseveres to the end. We all need to stay the course in life, but how do we do just that? How do we stay focused with a constant barrage of challenges and trials in our life? How do we stay the course when life’s circumstances seem to pull us off course?

Lack of rest actually contributes to restlessness, not just physically, but spiritually. We need to rest our bodies daily, but resting our soul is of the utmost importance. We must learn to rest in the Lord, where He will renew our strength and refresh our very soul. images8NTJ3L0CIf we do not take time out to read God’s word, commune with Him, praise Him, give our troubles over to Him, and trust in Him, we can tire or become easily overwhelmed, lose our focus, and become ineffective in not only our daily routine, but also in our witness to others. That, would be exactly what the enemy would want; an ineffective, confused, miserable Christian. In Matthew 11:29 Jesus tells us to, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

It is also important that we renew our spirit and mind. When we infuse our mind with the truth of the Bible, it allows us to filter out the things of this world, false doctrines, lies of the enemy, and allows us to be wise and discerning as God’s word seeps deeply into our very soul. Ephesians 4:23 tells us to word-of-god1[1]“Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” And, in Romans 12:2 God tells us “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

You must take time to refresh yourself; however that looks for you, without feeling guilty. Down time is essential in order to be well, function properly, and be spiritually healthy. The actual definition of down time is, a time during which a machine, especially a computer, is out of action or unavailable for use. Or, as we American’s use it, as a time of reduced activity or inactivity.imagesXKLTD474 A frazzled Christian tends to lose the joy of the Lord, and will not be productive in going about their Father’s business on that given day. Jeremiah 31:25 promises us, “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” You will find you have new strength and energy when you do, and, your days will be more productive and happier as the Lord gives you a fresh perspective on life.

As we know, life happens, and we can get distracted by the circumstances of life. Problems come up and our human tendency is to think, ponder, and pour ourselves into trying to fix and resolve them on our own. When this happens, we actually lose focus of our very solution. Colossians 3:2 tells us to “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” We must take our eyes off our problems and put them back on Christ. When we fall prey to the stress of circumstance we must refocus. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 aae5edfb8508e0165b969a0e0b7aa071[1]We must give those problems over to Christ by laying them down at the foot of the cross and, in faith, trust Him to work things out for our best and highest good. Romans 8:28 says that “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” As the Lord takes you through challenges of this life, thank Him for what he is teaching you and continue to rejoice in Him. This will refocus you on Christ, not your circumstances.

Remember to rest in the Lord, renew your mind, take time to refresh your soul, and always keep your eyes on Christ. You will be amazed at what the Lord takes you victoriously through, and teaches you, as you rest in Him. Staying the course through life’s trials and challenges is possible when we put the Lord first in our life. As you put your trust in the Lord you will find you have renewed vitality in life. Life is good because… God is Great!GodisGreat

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER

This article, “Stay the Course” is protected by copyright. You are free to share the link via social media, but this article may not be copy and pasted in its entirety to be republished and redistributed elsewhere without permission (this includes pasting entire story to Facebook, Pinterest, email, etc.).

Posted in Focus on Christ, Life lessons, Stay the course, trials of life | Leave a comment

Happy Father’s Day God

66201ba151a9717958f87070c5ac0245[1]Father’s Day in America is a day set aside to revere the dad in our life. It is a day we focus on our father’s and just how truly great they are. We rejoice in our Papa’s, give them gifts and words of praise, and barbecue in their honor. If we give this sort of praise to our earthly dad’s, how much more we should give praise to our Father in Heaven!

The Bible tells us that we are ALL children of God. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1 Think about what this truly means. What a heritage we have, as we are heirs of the One True King!

The scriptures reference our Heavenly Father as our Abba Father. The relationship we are to have with God is to be as that of a child to their dad. Abba is Greek for father and is used as the term of tender endearment by a beloved child – i.e. in an affectionate, dependent relationship with their father; daddy or papa as cited in the Strong Concordance. We are children of the God of the universe who created all things. “Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” 1 Corinthians 8:6

As we celebrate Father’s Day, let’s also remember and celebrate our Heavenly Father in heaven who loves us like no other. Matthew 23:9 says, “And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.” Let’s rejoice, and give praise and honor to our Abba Father this Father’s Day. Happy Father’s Day, God!

7111c33232c4e73002aeb9573f1ac775[1]

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER

This article, “Happy Father’s Day God” is protected by copyright. You are free to share the link via social media, but this article may not be copy and pasted in its entirety to be republished and redistributed elsewhere without permission (this includes pasting entire story to Facebook, Pinterest, email, etc.).

Posted in Abba Father, children of God, God | Leave a comment

Run Your Race

trailflower

A good solid run is satisfying, as it is both mentally and physically challenging. It clears the mind, strengthens the body, and refreshes the soul. There are parallels in the physical exertion of running that can be carried over and applied to living life closely with Christ.

Running hills are strenuous, and depending on the elevation and terrain involved, can be down right grueling. Breathing heavily with muscles that are screaming, runners press on. They overcome by not giving in to the pain and exhaustion their body is feeling. They endure. And with every hill they climb their bodies get stronger. These are like the trials and tribulations of life. We must stay strong even when something in life appears to be too big, overwhelming, or daunting. We must choose to stay the course, trusting in Christ to keep us strong in Him. And with each trial He brings us through and each giant He has us overcome, our strength will increase. Philippians 4:13

Mountainous terrain can be dangerous. Rocks, loose granite or shale, sand or mud, creeks and cliffs, lizards that jet beneath moving feet, and snakes that slither are all a par for the course. To navigate such a trail you need a sure footing, or what the Bible refers to as hind’s feet. This can only come with time and continued experience out on the trail by logging in distance and overcoming challenging variables. It is easy to lose a footing or catch a toe on a rock, resulting in a fall that is physically painful or a hit to our pride. And, so it is with the Lord. As we run our race through life with Him, He leads us through perilous times that are difficult, hard to navigate through, painful and often times, humbling. With each challenge we grow and learn to persevere just as runners do on the trail, ultimately receiving spiritual hind’s feet as we stay on our life path with our Lord and Savior. Habakkuk 3:19

Whether it be on a damp foggy trail or parched desert terrain, the threat of dehydration is on every runner’s course. It can sneak up quickly, causing weakness and confusion, and can put a stop to even the strongest of runners. Totally preventable, every runner must hydrate. And, so it is in life. If we don’t quench our thirst, if we don’t drink from the Living Water of Christ, we will soon tire and lose focus as spiritual dehydration sets in. As you run the race of life, continue drinking in the truth found only in God’s word. You will stay the course and finish strong. John 4:14

The spiritual parallels between the physical run and the spiritual run of life are genuine. As hard as it may be, embrace the hills in your life. Better yet, conquer them! Keep a sure footing by gaining your hind’s feet. And, most importantly, stay strong in the Lord by drinking in His word. Let the Lord renew and refresh your soul. You will be glad you did!

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER

This article, “Run Your Race” is protected by copyright. You are free to share the link via social media, but this article may not be copy and pasted in its entirety to be republished and redistributed elsewhere without permission (this includes pasting entire story to Facebook, Pinterest, email, etc.).

Posted in dehydration, running, trials of life | Tagged | 1 Comment

Keeping the Heart Hidden in God


Only a relationship with our Heavenly Abba Father will fill the human heart’s desire for love. Knowing Jesus our Loving Savior is like no other love.max lucado Be thankful ladies, you are loved by Jesus! He knows what is best for you. Trust Him with your whole heart and life. He has a plan. Stay on your life path with Him, developing into the woman of God HE wants you to be.

If your Abba Father has a man for you in the future, then He will bring him about in such a way that you know he is from your Heavenly Father. It is not up to you to be looking or searching, but keep your focus fixed on Christ as you go about His business getting to know Him better and making Him known to others.

Single ladies, trust in Jesus. Wait upon Him, His plan, and His timing. While you are waiting, grow and blossom in Him and live out the adventure that awaits you as you seek a life with The One True King. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ” God’s way is best and it will be well worth the wait!

#IloveJesus#GodisFaithful#JesusismyHusband

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER

This article, “Keeping the Heart Hidden in God” is protected by copyright. You are free to share the link via social media, but this article may not be copy and pasted in its entirety to be republished and redistributed elsewhere without permission (this includes pasting entire story to Facebook, Pinterest, email, etc.).

Posted in God's Faithfulness, Love | Leave a comment
%d bloggers like this: