Friday, December 21, 2012

About Grief - in my humble opinion

Everybody has an opinion, including me. But let's admit, some opinions are lame and some are great - it depends on the mindset of one giving their opinions and their audience. That being said, it's Christmas time and a lot of people are expressing opinions and emotions ranging from gun-control to whether or not saying Merry Christmas makes you divisive. None of us will ever agree on everything, but that won't stop us from promoting our own opinions, will it?
Having worked with hospice patients and families for several years in the area of dealing with grief, I do just want to share a few of my thoughts during this critical time of year when emotions and life's challenges always make people a little more melancholy than usual. But this year personal grief and loss is magnified as families grieve a senseless act that left many families without their loved ones - mostly little children - to love and hug this Christmas. Depending on your mindset, you can read on or don't bother. Warning: there is some opinion involved:-)
Dealing with grief is different for everyone and some cases can be more complicated than others. There are still some key things to remember.
We don't always have to come up with the right words - usually there are no right words. What is most important is that you just let someone know that you care about their loss. Tell them you are sorry and that you are there for them. Then....just be there and listen. Your presence and availability is so much more comforting than what you say. What they feel comfortable saying is so much more important. Expressing one's grief is necessary for them to begin a healing process. Keeping their thoughts and emotions inside is not healthy. However, they will share when they are ready. Just give them a safe and inviting environment to do so.
And sometimes we can say the absolute wrong things - steer clear of this. Don't tell someone you know how they feel - we can never know how another person feels in their loss. We can know how we feel or felt in our own losses, and those experiences sometimes are helpful when supporting others, but each person's experiences and feelings and reactions to such are different. Don't presume to know how another person feels. The same rule goes for cliches such as, "they're in a better place" or "everything happens for a reason". While there could be some truth to such statements in some cases, one should never say these things because they are just not things a grieving person needs or wants to hear.
To wrap it up, just "zip it" and "show up". Offer your condolences, listen, love, support and pray for them. Here is where my opinion and my beliefs come into this piece. My opinion is that genuine prayer is the best thing one can do for people who suffer losses and are struggling with grief. Of all the families I've counseled in their grief, it was those who had a hope and faith in God, that weathered the storms most successfully. Yes, they hurt and grieved like everyone else, but they had an outlet for which they could unload their burdens. They cried out to God and asked Him to share their burdens. It may take a lifetime to get over some kinds of pain and loss, but no one has to do it alone. God can carry our burdens and He can carry us. He can also send caring people to come alongside of us and lock arms with us. Even in grief, there is hope. There is hope that we can enjoy life again with the help of God and friends. And there is the hope that a loss only separates us from those we love temporarily. For those that have faith in our LORD, we know that an eternal perspective gets us through a life that is not exempt from pain and hurts, but can still be filled with joy again if we keep our eyes and hearts on Him.
Yes, this is my personal opinion, and all may not agree with it, but I live and will die by it. We all will die somehow, some way, some day. The Hope of the World will always comfort us when we call out to Him as our lives are torn apart with grief. Our Father puts the pieces, and our hearts, back together, one little piece at a time. One day we will smile again, after a loss or a grief. That is a hope we can hang on to. Take it one day at a time.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Perfect Gift

Are you in a frenzy to find the perfect gift to give this Christmas?  I've got the answer for you.  It is so simple, yet so difficult, for most of us to receive and give this amazing gift.  Let me tell you about this gift - the best gift I ever received or gave away.  The gift I'm speaking of is simply the love of Jesus.

If we have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we have been given a free gift.  Yet it costs so very much for Jesus and our Father God to give that gift to us.  Jesus came into our world in a simple fashion that had no material trappings with which to confuse such a gift.  His mother and earthly father had to beg for shelter in which she could give birth.  All that was available was a manger in a stable; not a usual place for humans; such an unusual place for a king.  Yet the gift was the embodiment of love - LOVE from our Father God.  When He came to earth as the baby Jesus, He came to be with us; Emmanuel - God with us.  When He came to be with us there was a greater gift within His purpose.  His purpose was to ultimately give His life for our sins, to be the only sacrifice that could ever atone for the sins of mankind.

Because of God's great gift to us, we can have life.  We can have an abundant life now, in the love and grace of Jesus.  We can live with the peace and guidance of God's Holy Spirit within us - a peace and wisdom that the world cannot otherwise offer.  We can be assured to live forever with God, in heaven, when we leave this earth.  It doesn't take someone well-educated; it doesn't take someone with lots of material wealth and riches; it doesn't take someone who is perfect to give or receive this gift.  It take someone who is willing to say, "I need a Savior and I accept this free gift"!

So, are you scrambling for that perfect gift to give someone this Christmas?  Why not give everyone you encounter this Christmas - loved ones, friends, acquaintances, and strangers - the love of Jesus?  Let me go one step further.  Why not give people this gift throughout the year?  We don't have to wait until Christmas.  God's love can be given to people every day of our lives.  We can tell people who don't know about Jesus who He is, what He has done for us, how His love changed our lives and has given us a hope for eternal life.  We can encourage those that do know Him that He is faithful and His grace is sufficient for our every need.  We can offer love and community to people with authenticity and passion.  We can let the light of Jesus shine brightly within us and spill out all over everyone we encounter.  Such a gift cannot be matched with material aspiration or gain.  Such a gift is immeasurable and incomparable.  Such a gift is priceless.

Everyone needs the gift of Jesus.  Be the one to give the most precious gift one could ever give or receive.  It's so much better than a sweater, a scarf, a pair of socks, or underwear.  Yeah, I think you get the picture....what are you waiting for....give the love of Jesus away this Christmas and everyday.  It's a great way to make this world a better place - one person at a time.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Thanksgiving is tomorrow.  People are bustling around, going to and fro.  Some have friends and family with which they will share a meal and enjoy each other's company.  That's a true blessing to be near your family and actually enjoy being with them.  Much of America gets this right; many just miss the boat.

Bill and I are not with family this year for Thanksgiving and, to be quiet honest with you, it's a little strange.  I'm reflecting on the Lord's blessings in our life, but that human connection, that family bond, is so significant.  Being by ourselves demonstrates to me what many people go through during holidays and other important times when they are alone and everyone else has the cheer of connecting with others.  Bill and I still have each other.  Some people have no one.  My heart should ache for them.  Maybe God is giving me a glimpse into that kind of compassion for hurting people.

I do have one dear friend that has noticed my melancholy approach to this time of year.  She has bent over backwards to get Bill and I to come enjoy wonderful food and fellowship with her family.  I'm so grateful, but somehow I think we're supposed to sit this one out.  We are going to a homeless mission on Thanksgiving morning to help serve their food.  Maybe God will further open my eyes and heart to the plight of people who have nothing or no one.  My desire is that they will know that they always have God; that He never leaves them or forsakes them.  It is also to show them kindness and genuine compassion, to offer up prayers for them and to give them a sincere smile along with a scoop of good food.

Bill and I have been impressed lately that, in order to carry out the ministry God has set before us, we have to love others with our entire hearts, not with just our minds.  That's no easy task for me.  You see, to love completely is to open our life and our heart up to possible hurt and pain.  I've spent many years trying to protect myself and those I love from pain.  If I let my guard down, let people in, I could possibly get hurt.  It's that kind of love we have to demonstrate to those which God allows us to minister to.  Don't get me wrong, we do have love for people in the ministry wherein God has allowed us to serve.  But, I'm talking about a  different kind of love; a magnified agape love that Jesus had for others; a selfless kind of love; a love that means we could get hurt by human nature and a sinful world.  I've come to realize that is the only way to truly love well.  Any other kind of love is controlled by us, dispensed at will.  Selfless love just IS.  It comes from God's power and Spirit.

So, I thank God for this Thanksgiving.  I thank Him for teaching me a lesson in love.  I thank Him that His love is sweet enough to put His arms around me and remind me that He is more than enough for me.  I thank Him that I have such a wonderful life partner in my husband, Bill.  I thank Him that my daughter has a wonderful husband and that his sweet family is so gracious to be her family when her parents cannot be there for her.  I thank Him for my parents, who are now feasting at His banquet table.  I thank Him for my sisters and their families and Bill's sister and their families, whom we love dearly.  I thank Him for all of our relatives whom we don't have the opportunity to see often, but are forever in our hearts.  I thank Him for our friends, new and old, who are such an important part of our life.  I thank Him for a calling to ministry and hearts that a sensitive to His leading.  It is only through Him that we are able to reach those whom He has appointed us to impact and touch for His kingdom.

Yet, Thank You, doesn't seem sufficient to thank the Savior of the world.  Even though my effort to thank Him will fall short of that which I need to thank Him for, I still will attempt to give Him my thanks and praise.  I thank You, LORD, for your forgiveness.  When You forgave me, You set everything else in motion for the outcome of my life; You gave me a reservation to spend eternity with You in heaven.  For that, I thank You!  I thank You, LORD, for your Word and Your Holy Spirit that guides me and comforts me; gives me wisdom and gives me strength.  For that, I thank You!  I thank You, LORD, for a life of blessings.  You have given me Your love and the love of others.  You have healed me physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  I thank You, LORD, for a heart of praise.  You have filled my heart with gratitude towards You and all that You have done and continue to do for me.  For the music you put in my heart and on my lips, I thank You.  You want to spend time with me.  You welcome me to come to You in prayer.  You hear my prayers and You even have mercy on me and answer so many of my prayers.  You are AWESOME, dear LORD and I THANK YOU!!!

That only scratches the surface of what I could thank my LORD for.  This list is nowhere near exhaustive in thanks potential.  It just helps me work through centering my thoughts on where my help comes from.  I pray that God continues to expand my heart in love and thanksgiving for Him and the people He loves.  He has called me to do that with all my heart.  With His help, I'll get better at it, day by day.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Psalm 147:1
Praise the LORD.  How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise Him!

Col 3:15-17
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful.  Let the word of God dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Jesus Calling

I am a raving fan of Sarah Young's "Jesus Calling" Devotions.  I often can't get enough of the sweet richness just one day's devotional message brings to me, so I often read forward for several days and then read them over as each day occurs.  As a matter of fact, if you are looking for great gift ideas for Christmas, consider stocking up on these little gems.  They make thoughtful and valuable gifts that pack the weight of daily blessings to fortunate recipients of such a gift.  Take my word for it....I'm right on this:-)

I have given away at least five of my own copies of "Jesus Calling" in recent months because the Holy Spirit prompted me to do so on the spot.  Why?  I just wanted to bless someone with what I feel is a kiss from God through the pages of this devotional.  The forward to this devotional tells of how the author writes in a style that embodies the Holy Spirit speaking directly to her (or us as we read it).  She writes in a conversational style that speaks God's Spirit to our spirit and references bible verses that prompt the foundation of the devotions.  I'm 100% sure you will love it for yourself and everyone that receives this gift will love it as well.  You can thank me

This brings me to my reason for speaking of this today.  I read forward to the devotion for November 6th.  This is a presidential election year and I found it interesting to see the devotion for this day.  It encouraged my spirit and reads as follows:

"Seek to please ME above all else.  As you journey through today, there will be many choice-points along your way.  Most of the day's decisions will be small ones you have to make quickly.  You need some rule of thumb to help you make good choices.  Many people's decisions are a combination of their habitual responses and their desire to please themselves or others.  This is not My way for you.  Strive to please Me in everything, not just in major decisions.  This is possible only to the extent that you are living in close communion with Me.  When My Presence is your deepest delight, you know almost instinctively what will please Me.  A quick glance at Me is all you need to make the right choice.  Delight yourself in Me more and more; seek My pleasure in all you do."  This passage is found in "Jesus Calling" and is based on scriptures from JOHN 8:29; HEBREWS 11:5-6; PSALM 37:4

Life is full of choices.  God gives us the freedom to make our own choices.  He leads us in paths of righteousness, but we always have to make the choice to go our own way or to follow His ways.  I'm so grateful He gives us a road map through His Word and a personal guide in the person of His Holy Spirit.  Jesus is calling.  I so want to hear Him and answer appropriately.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Are you full of IT?

We're all full of something.  What am I full of?  What are you full of?  Honestly, in and of myself, I'm full of a sinful nature.  But through Christ, I've become a new creation and God's Spirit lives in me.  I also choose to fill myself with more of His knowledge and truth daily.  Doing so helps me dispense more of His love and grace.  I cannot know how to love properly if I have not learned how to do so from my Master.

I told my cousin recently that God is my happy pill.  I need a dose of Him daily.  I need His Holy Spirit to fill me constantly.  I need to work with Him, so I can give Him operating room to have His way.  That leads me to my observation that we're all full of something. 

The most alarming thing to me in today's culture is a generation of idealists who have tried to re-define things like love, service and justice. The question shouldn't be, "What would Jesus do"? He's already done it.
The question should be, "What can I do to totally surrender my will to God's will?" It is only at that true surrender of my ideals to God's Truth that He can show me how to love Him better and, subsequently, I can learn to love others the way He does.

Our ways are not God's ways. In all honesty, our definition of His love is puny, at best. But God is willing to show us His ways if we're willing to lay down our arrogance and accept His wisdom. An idealist is full of pride. A surrendered servant of the Lord is full of His Holy Spirit. We're not fooling anyone but ourselves with our lofty ideals, because God knows what we're full of. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

God makes me grin:-)

Well, darn it, I had decided I could not take any more of the aggravation my keeping abreast of the pre-election political arena was causing me.  I decided that my only hope was to focus on God and His truths and to pray that He will have mercy on us and our nation in this election.  I know He knows best, so I reluctantly handed over any pre-conceived notions that my way of thinking was the right way of thinking.  Every day, I have to surrender such control to our sovereign God, who is still on the throne; who is still in control; who is still God; who just IS!

I thought I'd have some coffee today with devotions, but God gave me so much more.  Today's reading and study took me to Deuteronomy 32:28-29, "They are a nation without sense, there is no discernment in them. If only they were wise and would understand this and discern what their end will be"! NIV 

I realize this passage is referring to the Israelites, but I'm also cognisant that we, as a people, have mimicked the behaviors of the Israelites more times that we would care to remember.  We're a repetitious people with short memories and even shorter focus.  God laid out a history; He laid out a play book for the future.  Unfortunately, we don't like to play by the rules.  We ignore direction and we keep making the same mistakes over and over.  Yes, we are no better than Israelites at heart.  Our sins parallel theirs, but sometimes I wonder if we aren't trying to surpass their level of rebellion and ungodliness. 

But, I do digress from my main point, which is this: My devotion today was entitled "Making Wise Decisions".  It talked about the people of Israel having little discernment and lacking wisdom.  In contrast, Moses was intimately acquainted with God and sought His will in all things.  It is said that the wise person knows the will of God but the successful person knows and does the will of God.  The devotion gave the following questions for Christ followers to consider when trying to discern God's will and make wise decisions.
  • Have you prayed about it?  You might recall that the Lord's prayer begins with a petition to establish His kingdom and do His will.
  • Is it consistent with the Word of God?  We should consult the bible when making decisions.  The major part of God's will for our lives has already been revealed in His Word.
  • Does this decision or choice compromise my Christian witness?  If any choice we are considering requires us to compromise our integrity or christian witness, then that choice is the wrong choice.  The end does not justify the means.  My thought is, "What good is our life if we sell our soul to the devil?
  • Will the Lord be glorified?  Are we seeking the glory of humankind or the glory of God?  Can we make this choice and know that it honors God?  Are we concerned about building God's kingdom or ours?
  • Am I choosing and acting responsibly?  What are my responsibilities and how can my actions carry them out honorably?
  • Is it reasonable?  God expects us to think with the wisdom He provides.  He is a rational God and His ways are reasonable.
  • Are unbiased, spiritually sensitive associates in agreement?  We should be careful not to consult only with those who are inclined to agree with us or with those we know are afraid to be honest with us or disagree with us.  We should give people permission to ask hard questions and be ready to reconcile our hearts and actions to God's Word.
  • Do I have a sanctified desire to do it?  The greatest joy in life is to serve God and be in His will.  We should feel good about doing God's will, and we should want nothing less.  If we delight ourselves in the Lord, His desires will be our desires.
  • Do I have a peace about it?  If we are within the boundaries of God's will, we will sense an inner confirmation from Him.  Sometimes we have to wrestle with God's will verses our own will.  His conviction always leads us to surrender our will to His and, when we do, He gives us peace that surpasses understanding.
I think God showed me this passage and these truths today to remind me that my decision to focus on Him is the wisest decision I can make.  I should run my decisions through the grid of truth He has given me in His Word and the peace and guidance His Spirit provides to me.  I am to pray about it, seek Him and His ways first in all things, and leave the results to Him.  Thanks God, for giving me peace to know that You are in control and that the best person I can talk to about the upcoming election is YOU!  You do make me grin!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Why I drove an hour to show support for Chick-Fil-A

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I love Chick-Fil-A.  I have shared my sentiments toward them for years.  So today, when I was able to drive an hour to the closest establishment to show my support for them, I did so for many reasons.  The first reason is that I do have a genuine affinity for the organization and their products.  I have admired the founder of Chick-Fil-A for years for his integrity and character.  I love that encouraging Christian music is always playing in their restaurants.  It's just an atmosphere I love being in.  And the chicken and sweet tea take me to a happy place.  Today, the crowd was delightful and no one was hateful or ugly. A good time and good food was had by all. No harm done.

Another reason is that there has been much "distorting", not real reporting, going on surrounding the circumstances that led to why Gov. Mike Huckabee called for people to show their support of Chick-Fil-A.  I also admire Gov. Huckabee as a man of character and integrity and am thankful that he was brave enough to speak out against the campaign that was waged against Chick-Fil-A and their owners.  What actually happened was that the president of Chick-Fil-A, a southern baptist - mind you, was being interviewed by the Baptist Press and was asked about his views on marriage.  His answer was predictable.  He supports traditional marriage between a man and a woman.  From that interview, the liberal media and those in opposition to traditional marriage called for a boycott of Chick-Fil-A restaurants.  There never was any discrimination on Chick-Fil-A's part; they always treated both employees and customers with equality and respect.  Gov. Huckabee called on people to show their support of Chick-Fil-A amidst all the unfair accusations and threats (some by political officials) that resulted from the media and groups falsely reporting the facts.  There was a lot of hate being spewed....but it wasn't by Chick-Fil-A; it was by people who opposed the president of the company's answer to a question.  The discrimination was against Chick-Fil-A.

Something about the whole thing just made me realize that our culture is upside down.  In today's culture, what is right is purported to be wrong and what is wrong is considered the new normal.  Many people may sit back quietly and just let it play out, but I don't have to be one of them.  I have to pray and be led by God as to what is right for me to do in the situation.  What is interesting is that, like mine, there are any number of opinions out there supporting or opposing, analyzing or condemning why people should or shouldn't be supporting Chick-Fil-A.  They are entitled to their opinions.  What I will speak out against though, is the view that we are somehow in error for showing our support.  Our support has been called everything from judgemental to hateful.  People have perched themselves upon their well constructed self-righteous thrones and accused us of not "loving" the way Jesus would.  I have considered all of these diatribes and I respectfully say, "Rubbish"!  Here's why....

I am a believer in Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit lives within me.  He is the same Holy Spirit that lives within each believer, but He guides all of us differently, according to the passions He has placed within us.  It may be okay for one person to lay low and never show support or dissent for anything, but it is also okay for others to show support and dissent when it is warranted.  Anyone suggesting differently may be assuming that they know only what God can know.  As I was driving home today I was listening to a radio program wherein a gentleman was passive in showing support for Chick-Fil-A.  He liked the company, but thought showing support for them would hurt the cause of Christ.  He is entitled to his opinion and it may be right for him.  It may make him feel better to think that he is loving people better by not ever putting his beliefs out there enough to offend anyone.  That doesn't mean it is right for me or that his opinion is God's will for everyone. 

My understanding of culture and truth is that the way and cross of Jesus Christ will be offensive to some.  They will be opposed to the discomfort of truth and will only be comfortable with grace.  Jesus hung out with sinners, thank goodness, or I would have never had a chance to know Him.  However, once we are in His presence, He loves us too much to leave us where He found us; He commands a change that reconciles with His truth.  I view that as grace.  I call that God's best for us.  I also believe that we should do our best to create environments wherein grace invites people in so we can show them the love of Christ.  The hope there is that they recognize God's love for them and want the balance of His truth in their lives to live out His best for them.  Reality is, that it doesn't always happen that way.

Another thought struck me today, as I was trying to get inside this passivist's head and understand where he was coming from.  First of all, I failed to do so - I couldn't agree that his viewpoint was a universal "right" thing to do.  Right for him, maybe, but not for everyone.  I started thinking about the all but non-existent church in England.  It was once a vibrant, thriving church that has become, at best, lukewarm, but more probably, ineffective.  I wondered if, when there was a crossroads in the culture, the people allowed the Holy Spirit to guide them with passionate grace and truth ,or if they just decided to sit on their hands and take a passivist stance.  I think the answer is obvious.  The culture took over and the church diminished into little or no influence.  I would say that passivist approach hurt the cause of Christ. 

I know many will disagree, but I'll ask them to consult with their Holy Spirit and I'll remain perfectly content to consult with mine.  After all, I don't want to find out what our country would look like in the future if we all maintained the same view.  It's not an option for me.  I'm completely at peace for supporting Chick-Fil-A today and I'm quiet sure God is not upset at me for doing so.  We aren't all puppets wherein God is the Great Puppeteer who maneuvers all of our strings equally.  He gives us all different passions and allows us to use them freely.  We can either use them, or not - for fear of insulting someone.  I choose to use my passions for His glory and I am not ashamed.  I'll leave the results to Him.


Friday, July 27, 2012

God's Side

I heard something today that made me reflect on some things that have been going on in our culture lately.  Abraham Lincoln once said, "My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right."  WOW!  That shouldn't be such a revelation, but it is.  Instead of trying to argue that God is on our side, we should make every effort to reconcile ourselves and our lives, our way of thinking, to God and His Word.  There is one caveat to that realization, though...One would have to know what God's Word truly says by reading and studying it and applying it to their life, in order to know what God's side truly looks like.

There is a "WORLD" of difference between following Jesus and just assenting to Jesus and expecting Him to follow us.  In one view, we are more interested in pleasing the world and our personal desires than we are in pleasing God.  In the other view, we truly seek God and His truth, despite what others and the world have distorted as the new truth.  The two views are polar opposites.  The world's views can be deceiving and we can easily try to rationalize how God's Word does not apply to the world today or to our lives and views.  We pick sides, based on our own perspective and views.  We have become desensitized to God's views and over-sensitive to a world that is completely in left field. 

What to do?  It's a question, or series of questions, that every true believer of Jesus Christ has to ask of themselves.  Am I going to follow the world's ways or am I going to follow the ways of Jesus?  Am I going to keep my mouth shut or am I going to boldly stand up for truth against a culture that denies it?  Am I going to love those that hate me and what I believe because that is what Jesus would do?  Am I going to represent my Lord well, while being a light for His truth, in a dark world?  All of these questions come at me with great conviction.  Where is my answer?  The answer to any question we have is found in the presence of  our Lord.  We can go ahead of Him and act on our own or say how we feel about a particular situation, but we should always consult with God and ask Him how to handle the situation in love, with grace and truth.

I believe the bible to be the inerrant Word of God.  I don't take that lightly.  Yet, in that, I know that God commands us to love others, despite their view of His truth.  How to do that appropriately is always my quandary.  We must always love the person before the issue.  Yet we must love them enough that they see the real Jesus in our lives.  When people see the Jesus that leads our lives in Spirt and in truth and with a grace that loves well, it draws them to our Jesus.  Our lives should attract them to want the peace and joy in the Lord that we display.  Let's not get that wrong, folks.  We have to love on people enough that they want to know what, or WHO, drives us.  When that kind of relationship grows, it opens the door for questions about a God who loves us so much that He does not want to leave us where we are.  He does not want us to follow the ways of the world.  God loves us so much that He does not want us to be deceived.  He wants us to reconcile what we may or may not believe to His truth.  But, we have to truly want that ourselves before we will ever believe it.

It's "Come to Jesus" time when we truly let His Word divide truth and lies.  Our feelings and views are based on our perceptions of things.  When we truly give God and His Holy Spirit the wheel in the thoughts that drive our minds and actions, we are at a crossroads and we have to decide, "Are we going to continue to drive this vehicle or are we going to turn it over to Jesus?"  When we honestly turn control over to Jesus, we are set on a new path....His BEST path for our lives.  There is no auto-pilot in this kind of journey.  It is a purposeful decision to give God control and let Him take the wheel that guides us on our journey.  The truth is, we can end up on the other side of the "World".  We can end up in the best place we could possibly be.  We could actually end up on God's side.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Practicing Thankfulness

I am 100% certain that I am not the only person who feels the presence and blessings of God in my life.  Yet I talk to people or hear people all the time who say that they don't hear from God or they don't "feel" God.  This always leaves me in a quandary because I KNOW God is there; He is the common denominator.  The other denominator is the individual involved.  And, yes, I can remember when I wasn't so conscious of God's goodness and faithfulness.  I suppose it was not until I needed Him, BIG, in my life that I recognised that He was there all along.  What changed?  My pursuit of Him, of His peace, of His presence changed for me.  And that changed everything.

I'm not sure where you are on your journey with God today, but I can promise you this....God loves you and wants to be in relationship with you.  He wants you to know that He cares and He wants you to rest in His presence.  This is no easy task because it flies in the face of pride.  Our pride tells us that we can do life on our own; we don't really need any help.  God tells us we can do life much better if we surrender it to Him and let Him guide and lead us.  It really is a simple concept, yet so hard for so many of us to grasp. 

I've found that I can be assured of God's presence in my life as I seek Him and thank Him.  I'm truly amazed at the frequency in which He shows up as I do this.  And I'm even more aware that I'm the only one keeping Him at bay.  As my focus and thoughts toward, and of, God go, so my day and my life goes.  I read this in my "Jesus Is Calling" devotional today and I want to challenge you with it as well.  It is written as if Jesus is talking directly to us.  "When thankfulness flows freely from your heart and lips, let your gratitude draw you close to Me.  I want you to learn the art of giving thanks in all circumstances.  See how many times you can thank Me daily; this will awaken your awareness to a multitude of blessings.  It will also cushion the impact of trials when they come against you.  Practice My Presence by practicing the discipline of thankfulness."

I will never be the most brilliant person in the world; maybe not even in the room, but I will always be the one Jesus loves.  How do I know?  Because He has promised His love to me and He is faithful.  My gratitude for His love brings me in close proximity to Him.  He is always with me.  When we seek Him with all our heart, we will most definitely find Him.  He said as much in His Word.  I'm just blessed enough to believe Him and respond to His promise with gratitude.  You can too.  It will really change everything. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Soaking up the "Son"

It's bright and early on this 1st day of July in 2012 and I'm having my coffee...iced.  It's quiet delightful to enjoy the quietness of the morning and set my mind on things above.  It's much easier to do so before the world and it's distractions come rushing in.  A friend recently gave me Sarah Young's devotional, Jesus Calling.  I'm reading today's devotion and it's just perfect.  I thought I'd share it with you.  She uses her own words to paraphrase scripture and writes as though God were talking directly to us.  He always is, isn't He?

The following is based on scripture from Psalm 48:9; Deut 33:12; Psalm 37:4.  I know you will want to check out those bible addresses so God can further speak to you!

I AM LIFE AND LIGHT IN ABUNDANCE.  As you spend time "soaking" in My Presence, you are energized and lightened.  Through communing with Me, you transfer your heavy burdens to My strong shoulders.  By gazing at Me, you gain My perspective on your life.  This time alone with Me is essential for unscrambling your thoughts and smoothing out the day before you.

Be willing to fight for this precious time with Me.  Opposition comes in many forms: your own desire to linger in bed; the evil one's determination to distract you from Me; the pressure of family, friends, and your own inner critic to spend your time more productively.  As you grow in your desire to please Me above all else, you gain strength to resist these opponents.  Delight yourself in Me, for I am the deepest Desire of your heart!

Really enjoy this day the Lord has given us and, "Soak up the Son"!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

You Are Accepted - In Christ

When we believe in Christ and invite Him into our hearts, we become someone new.  We are not the old person.  Unfortunately, we don't always know who God says we become when we make the decision to believe in his son, Jesus.  We have to study God's word to see who He says we are and we have to start living in our new identity.  Over the next few weeks, I will be taking a look at several scriptures to see what our God says about us.  He says we are accepted, secure and significant through belief in Christ.  Let's start with a scripture that tells us we are Accepted:

In Christ - We are Accepted
In the Gospel of John, he is intent upon telling us who Jesus is.  John 1:12 concludes that "Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God." NIV 

We are accepted by God through our belief in His Son Jesus Christ.  When we believe in His name, we become children of God; we become accepted.  We need never fear rejection again.  We are completely and eternally accepted as a child of God when we believe in Jesus.  Who we are determines what we do, and God wants us to know that we are His children.  I love the way my Freedom In Christ Bible puts this.  It says that believers are not in the process of becoming children of God; they are children of God who are in the process of becoming like Christ.  Do you truly believe in and follow Jesus?  If you do, then you are a child of God.  Believe it and rest in the assurance that you are His.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Who are We?

I've loved having extra time to read, study, pray and worship since my job was eliminated.  Me and God have been hanging out together and, I tell you, I am so relieved that I am never alone.  Neither are you - if you are a believer in Jesus Christ and you have invited Him into your life and heart and asked Him to be your Lord and Savior.  The bible gives us truths about who we become - Who We Are - when we believe and walk with Christ.  Knowing and living out these truths can be a game-changer in a believer's life. 

I discovered this cool graphic art thing called Wordle and I entered words and phrases that support what scripture says about who we are IN CHRIST.  It created a cool word graphic to remind us of these important truths.  I also got the idea that people would benefit from knowing just what the bible says about our position in Christ.  I study this really awesome bible that's called the Freedom In Christ Bible and it is packed with nuggets of truth and insight that help us get to know God for who His is and to understand who He says we are - In Christ.  The bible gives us scripture and truth that says We Are Accepted, We Are Secure, and We Are Significant - IN CHRIST.  In future days, I hope to give specific scripture and expound upon some of these phrases and truths found in God's Word.  For now, I hope you can view my Wordle graphic.  If not, I've put it onto my main home page. 

I look forward to talking more with you about your identity in Christ!  Until then, know that you are never alone.  I don't know about you, but that gives me great joy and comfort.

Friday, February 24, 2012


They say it's my birthday....Happy Birthday to me!  I'm hearing that song in my head.  Are you hearing it?  What a whirlwind kind of week I've had.  I found out this week that my job, and entire department, was being eliminated and my last day of work would be today...on my birthday.  Really?  Yea, really! 

Initially, that was a bummer and I'd really be gossiping if I went into the details of what that company is all about, but suffice it to say that I've come to realize that my unexpected departure was all for the best.  God had an exit strategy for me.  Not exactly what I would have chosen or expected, but for my benefit, nonetheless.  I recently prayed that God would free me up to do more ministry with my husband.  Be careful what you pray for, because God has the prerogative and power to answer.  He is faithful to give us that which fulfills His purposes.  Really!

As I awoke this morning, I was reminded that God doesn't often make Himself known in the ways that I would expect.  Most people who know me, also know that I hate snow - unless it's on a  mountain in beautiful Colorado!  Yet, this morning there was such a magnificent blanket of snow here in the Midwest.  My usual disdain for such weather was quickly dissolved as I took in the beauty of the landscape.  Just as that blanket of snow had thoroughly covered the tree branches and transformed them into a beautiful masterpiece, God's comfort and peace had blanketed me with His strength and love and was continuing to transform my heart.  What a special birthday gift.  It was not at all what I expected, but such a blessing! Really:-)

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."  NIV

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Reaching the Clouds

This is on our trip to Steamboat Springs, CO a couple of summers ago.  It almost feels like you're meeting the clouds and arriving in Paradise:)

So I am trying to figure out Pinterest and I want to download some of my pictures and videos to my blog so I can pin them to Pinterest.  If that sounds like a foreign language to you, you're in good company.  I may need a Pinterest interpreter to help me with the technological navigation.  Here fingers are crossed for success in my endeavor.