Monday, July 29, 2013

God Is Not Finished With You!

“But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the LORD with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill.” Psalm 3:3

Last night our daughter Natalie gave her dad and I tickets to see Amy Grant at the Greek Theatre. While we were at the concert, we discovered that a dear friend named Karen was also at the concert with her husband and their long time friend.

At intermission, Karen came to find us and she shared how unusual it was for her and her husband to go to concerts. With tears in her eyes, Karen shared that not only did God orchestrate her and her husband to go to the concert but also for them to invite their long time friend.

Karen’s dear friend has always had a deep love and respect for Amy Grant. Karen shared that her friend had at one time been suicidal. When she was in her teenage years, she had such low self esteem and poor body image that she thought that the only way out of her distress was to take her life. Her friend would retreat to her room and listen to Amy Grant's music. God had used Amy Grant’s music to communicate His love to her; her words soothed her and gave her the hope to not take action on her thoughts.

Karen's friend always had a dream to one day be able to meet Amy Grant in person so that she could thank her and tell her how God used her. Last night her dream came true - through God's grace and His provisions, Karen's friend was able to be one of the few who walked back stage and she was able to tell Amy face to face that God used her music to save her life many, many years ago.

Karen shared this story with tears in her eyes because she saw once again God's deep love and care for each one of us. Karen felt honored that the King of the Universe, the Lover of our souls, used her to bless her friend in a very special way.

Whenever you feel downcast and your heart is troubled, let God speak to you. Go to His Holy Word and then allow His words of truth and His tender, loving-kindness to penetrate your heart and your mind so that He can give you peace again. Be listening for God to speak to you through His Word, through a friend, through music, and through the beauty of creation.

God is not finished with you!

"For this is what the high and exalted One says - He who lives forever, whose name is holy: 'I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.'" Isaiah 57:15

The following is one of my favorite Amy Grant songs - enjoy!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Food For Thought

“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds, tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 11:18-19

When I was growing up, eating together at the end of the day was very important to my mom. When my husband and I started our family, it was very important to both of us that we always ate together at the end of the day as well. On some occasions, my husband would call me from work and tell me to go ahead and have dinner without him as he was going to work late.  I always responded, “That is okay, we will wait for you.” To this day, one of the joys we have as a family is eating a meal together.

In the book entitled, The Table Experience, by Devi Titus, she states “If home is where our hearts are formed, then the table is where our hearts are connected.” In her book she beautifully states, “Around the table, you will discover each one’s unique gifts, you will experience a dazzling restoration of value worth more than you could ever dream. Each person’s potential begins to be revealed.”
I believe that coming together at the end of the day to share a meal, brings pleasure to God – to the One who established the first family in the Garden of Eden. Whenever we value what God values - this brings pleasure to the LORD.  God values the family!

With everybody’s busy schedule, many times it is a challenge to make the family dinner a priority. However, when you are able to come together, enjoy God’s presence and enjoy the companionship of your loved ones.

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.” I Corinthians 10:31

Dear FATHER, thank you for designing the family unit. Thank you for designing community. Thank you for the value that you place on each one of us. Thank you for the gift of life and the simple pleasures of enjoying a meal together. May you always be the Guest of Honor at our tables. In Jesus’ Name – Amen.

P.S. Dear friends, due to a speaking commitment that I had made and that I am called to prepare for, I will not be posting to my blog as frequently as I have in the past. However, I will continue to post as the Lord leads me. I look forward to continue to share with you that His mercies are new every morning J


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Song of Faith

“Sing to God, sing in praise of His Name, extol Him who rides on the clouds, rejoice before Him – His Name is the LORD. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, He leads out the prisoners with singing...”  Psalm 68:4-6

“David praised God for His protection and provision. When we see God’s true majesty, our response should be to praise Him. This was a song of faith because many of these benefits had not yet come true in David’s time. It should also be our song of faith. We must continue to trust God because, in time, He will fulfill all His promises.” Bible Commentary

Are you waiting for a promise to be fulfilled by God? Start singing now because if there is anything you can be assured of - it is this: God keeps His promises - all of them! He is faithful and He knows those who are depending on Him!

I cannot carry a tune as well as my daughters’ however there is a song that God places in our heart that needs no voice. His song brings forth the fruit of unspeakable joy! The God who rides on the clouds knows us, loves us and hears the song in our heart - the song of faith!

Do you have a song of faith? In time, He will fulfill all His promises to you! Regardless of whether you can carry a tune or not – sing, sing, sing!

“Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, praise His Name, proclaim His salvation day after day.”   Psalm 96:1-2

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Peace On A Tightrope

"If I say, “My foot slips,” Your unfailing love, O LORD, will hold me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comfort delights my soul.” Psalm 94:18-19

What concern do you have on your heart today? What is causing you to feel that your foot is slipping? The Bible says that His mercy, His unfailing love will hold us up and support us.

Sometimes, the concerns we have begin to multiply within us and our concerns start having a compound effect and before we know it our peace is gone – nowhere to be found. The Bible says when those anxieties within us begin to multiply, His words of truth and words of comfort delight our soul!

When I think of God keeping our foot from slipping, I think of the day when I watched Nik Wallenda walk across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope without any safety nets (you may have seen him as well). Even in the midst of the multitude of his anxieties, God’s words of truth delighted his soul and gave him peace. Here are some statements that he spoke to His LORD unashamed as the world watched and listened:

“Thank you Jesus for this view.” “Lord, help this cable to calm down by the authority of Christ.” “Calm those winds in the Name of Jesus.” “Keep me calm.” “Help me to relax Father - You are my King.” “You are my Protector.” “You are my Shield.” “You are my Strength.” “You are my LORD.” “He (the enemy) has no hold on me.” “How I love You.” “He is giving me strength.” “Yes, Jesus keep this cable calm, you are my Savior.” “God, You are so good.” “Peace that passes all understanding – overcome me.” “Show glory to Your Name.” “You are my King.” “You are my peace, my wisdom, my guidance.” “LORD, you are everything.” “You are my All and All.”

Nik Wallenda safely walked across the Grand Canyon because God’s words of truth and God’s words of comfort delighted his soul and gave Him peace. Whatever you are “walking across” and whatever “winds” you are facing that threaten you to become unbalanced, know that God’s unfailing love will hold you up and keep your foot from slipping as you turn to Him for peace and strength!

Take a few moments today - not tomorrow but today - to open up His Word and enjoy His presence and let Him delight your soul. As you turn your face towards Him, may He release you from an anxious heart and delight your soul with His comfort and peace!

“He calms the storm, so that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; so He guides them to their desired haven.” Psalm 107:29-30

Below I have attached the link to Nik Wallenda's crossing of the Grand Canyon should you like to watch it at your leisure.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Seeking God

As I was looking through my files, I found this message that I would like to share with you. His words are a great reminder to continue to seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. (Colossians 3:1)

When A Woman Walks with God

By:  Franklin Graham, “Living Beyond the Limits”

“Many women embrace a life that goes against the grain of our modern society.  They have in common a shared faith in God, an iron-clad commitment to serve Jesus Christ, and a daily practice of learning to walk in obedience with the King of kings and the Lord of lords:  This is accomplished through the careful study of God’s Word while applying it to their daily lives.

 If you want to be a woman of God, obey Him.  Don’t litter your mind with all the garbage that is cast in front of you by the world: tabloid magazines and talk shows that fling gossip, scandal, and slander around for all to hear.  Remember garbage in, garbage out.

 Instead of keeping in step with Hollywood, change your direction and walk with God. How?  Talk to Him. Ask Him to take your hand and lead you through each day of your life so that you stay on track.  Study His Word – and obey it.

 If we fill our minds with things of the world, we will continually be defeated.  If we want to be in sync with God, we need to redirect our thoughts in obedience to Him.  This is the path we must follow – to set our minds on the things in heaven, not on the things on earth (Col. 3:2).”

Let’s be women of God who go against the grain of our modern society!

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth”. Colossians 3:1-2

Monday, July 22, 2013

It Is Not About Defeat!!

“The human spirit is never finished when it is is finished when it surrenders.” Ben Stein

The above is an amazing statement to make and it is very inspiring. There have been people in this life that have overcome significant odds when confronted with adversity. I have special people in my life that I have been inspired by and continue to be so inspired. The choices that people make during those times of adversity to focus on God, His love and His strength - make all the difference in the world in whether they succeed or withdraw. If we chose to withdraw, we holdback God's greatest victories for us and the opportunity to glorify His Name.

Please watch this short video below, as just one small example out of many of non-surrender. The young lady in the video, Heather Dorniden, shared this testimony, "I feel like the Lord just filled me up and gave me the opportunity to show what amazing things can happen through Him." 

May we not surrender in days of adversity.

May we get up when we fall.

May our focus be on Christ so we can finish strong!
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Fear Of The LORD

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding. To Him belongs eternal praise.” Psalm 111:10

One day I went to get my vacuum cleaner repaired.  When I walked into the store with two of my daughters, we met a very outgoing and nice young gentleman who was the attendant at the time.  As I shared with him what was wrong with my machine, he began to repair it.  As he was repairing it, we struck up a conversation.  He said that he was a Christian and as soon as he knew I was a Christian as well, our conversation was fueled with both of us sharing about God’s faithfulness and God’s love.  My daughters loved the way he expressed his love for the Lord.  He made us laugh and we were all hi-fiving each other each time we expressed how great God is.  Needless to say, there was a lot of joy and laughter in the store.

He shared with me that he recently rededicated his life to God and that he also recently just got back with his wife after a short separation.  He said that he was serious about having a marriage the way God intended.  He wanted to be a good example to his children and he shared that he was determined to be the husband that God called him to be.  When he talked about his relationship with God, his eyes lit up and the joy on his face was hard to miss – his love for the Lord was a beautiful sight.

Right before I left with a repaired vacuum cleaner in my hand, I turned to him and said, “You know, your love for your wife will not keep you faithful to her.”  He looked at me with a puzzled look on his face.  I then said, “What will keep you faithful to your wife - is the fear of God.”  His face lit up again and he said, “Amen sister!”    

The kind of fear of the Lord that followers of Christ have - is not the kind of fear that causes you to be afraid of Him because we fear His judgment.  Followers of Christ understand that Jesus took the penalty for our sins at the cross when He died for us – Jesus took away the fear of judgment.  The kind of fear that followers have, causes us to reverence Him, respect Him and value His commands over our emotions because He has proven to us that His instruction leads to life.  It is the fear of the Lord described in Psalm 19:9, “The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.  The decrees of the LORD are firm and all of them are righteous.” 

When we respect and reverence God, we will love His precepts and statutes.  The Bible says that God’s statute are more precious than gold and they are sweeter than honey. By them we are warned and keeping them there is great reward (Psalm 19:7-11).

“When we think of statutes, precepts and commands, we often think of rules that keep us from having fun. But here we see the opposite-law that revives us, makes us wise, gives joy to the heart, gives light to the eyes, warns us, and rewards us. That’s because God’s laws are guidelines and lights for our path, rather than chains on our hands and feet. They point at danger and warn us and then point at success and guide us.” Bible Commentary for Psalm 19:7-11

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life.” Proverbs 9:10

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Vase Or A Bucket?

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8

There is something very beautiful about the prophet Isaiah’s immediate response to God.  His willingness to be used by God is a reflection of his heart and love for His LORD.   I was reading a book by Charles Stanley entitled, “The Blessings of Brokenness”, and the verse above reminded me of what I read.  I think you will be blessed too as I share it with you!

“God’s desire is for us to serve, not for us to be served. Jesus clearly taught that the servant is the one who is the greatest of all. Service is to be our life.  It’s a matter of being a vase or a bucket. You can have a beautiful vase that’s worth thousands of dollars and set it in a prominent place in your home so that you and others can walk by and say, ‘Isn’t that pretty?’ Or you can have an old five-gallon bucket and use it to carry water to refresh a lot of people who are thirsty. The same is true for us in ministry. Some folks desire solely to be pretty, looked at, and admired for their “worth”. Others are willing to be old buckets, full of God and emptied of self, in order to be of service to others.”

The Bible tells us that when God called Isaiah as a prophet, God did not encourage him with predictions of great success. God told Isaiah that the people would not listen. But God wanted him to speak and write His messages anyways because eventually some would listen.

In a sense, God was calling Isaiah to be an “old bucket”, full of God and emptied of self, in order to be of service to others!

“The joy set before us, however, is the joy of knowing that God is with us, that God is working in us and through us, and that God is pleased with us. And friend, there’s no greater joy than that.” Charles Stanley

"Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"



Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Way Forward

"Then the Lord said to Moses,'Quit praying and get the people moving! Forward March!'” Exodus 14:15

You have probably heard the saying, “Showing up is half the battle”. The first time I heard the concept of showing up, was about nine years ago when I was complaining to God about how unprepared I felt for a speaking commitment. I kept on whining to myself day after day about my need to be prepared for a message.  Sometimes I complained in prayer, but mostly it was a nagging thought of guilt that stole my joy away.  Finally, as I came to God with my cares, I heard His still, small voice say, “Show up.” Up to that point I was blind to the fact that each day that went by I did everything but “show up”.  The next morning, I woke up very early, sat at the kitchen table and there is where God met me.  I did my part in showing up and God did His part in inspiring me to write a message.

I can’t help but think of a story in the Bible in the book of Exodus. God had just delivered the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt. Moses was their appointed leader by God to lead approximately two million people through the desert to their appointed promise land. Throughout their travels in the desert, it was God who enabled Moses and the people to keep moving forward.

As the Israelites were encamped near the sea, the Egyptians decided that they had made a huge mistake in letting the Israelites free (Little did they know that their power was limited by God). The Egyptians – all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, horsemen and troops – pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea. As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw the Egyptians marching against them. The Bible says in Exodus 14:11 that the Israelites were terrified and cried to the Lord. They turned to Moses whining and this is some of what they said, “Have you brought us out here to die in the desert because there were not enough graves for us in Egypt? Why did you make us leave Egypt?” Moses responded by saying this, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand where you are and watch, and you will see the wonderful way the Lord will rescue you today. The Egyptians you are looking at – you will never see them again. The Lord will fight for you, and you won’t need to lift a finger!”

What God said next to Moses was something very interesting to me.  God said in Exodus 14:13 “Quit praying and get the people moving! Forward March!” God instructed Moses to hold his rod over the water and by God’s power - the Red Sea opened up a path for the Israelites to safely walk through on dry ground - saving His people from Pharaoh and all his men.

More than likely, if we want to accomplish anything, we will be called to “show up”. If in faith we do “show up”, God will part the red seas in our lives and we will confidently and successfully be able to accomplish what God has placed in our hearts to do.
FATHER, how gracious you are!  Thank you for your protection and for the effective and powerful ways You use to encourage us to move forward – sometimes it is through a gentle word and other times it is through a strong command. Thank you that we can always trust in your unconditional love and your perfect will for our lives. In Jesus’ Name we pray – Amen

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Heart To Mouth

“The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.” Proverbs 15:28

Yesterday, as I was enjoying lunch with a friend, we were discussing an e-mail that my friend had received and that needed to be addressed immediately.  As my friend hurried back to work, I blurted out without thinking “Remember - respond instead of react”. I was surprised that I had given that exhortation to my friend. I decided I would research the differences between reacting vs. responding and below is good information from the site that I found entitled, – A Mindful Difference.

React in action. When people react, it seems to be defensive. We seem to be at a disadvantage. We are uncomfortable with what is being said or done, and we react. In our reactions, our emotions take a central role. The hair on our neck stands on end. We feel our stomach turn. Our face heats up and our defenses are on red alert. We know reactions when we see it. There is a downside to reacting. We let emotions without reason drive us forward. We lose control. Reacting is sporadic and emotional. The upside may be passion, but our passion needs to be centered on purpose, not an unexpected, unproductive stimulus.”

“Respond in action. On the flip side is respond. There is still an external spur to our response. Responding, though, is more thoughtful. Responses contain reasoning. The difference may be this: Responding is guided less by emotion and more by logic. Responding may be passive in nature, as we are going second in a series. However, a response is more active, and it can change the direction of an interaction. The upside of a solid response is an engaging conversation, all positive and all civil. We learn. We grow. We listen. We respond. We act forthrightly and from within.”

I love that God has given us the Bible, a manual on how to live life skillfully. The Bible says that the righteous (those who have humbled themselves and received Christ as their Lord and Savior), carefully plan their words before they pour out their thoughts. 

FATHER, let our conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that we may know how to answer everyone (Colossians 4:6).  Thank you for all the times you have forgiven us when we blurted out impulsive and hurtful words towards others – even when we felt it was justified. Thank you for the Word of God and the wisdom that you give us as we turn to your Word for instruction. Thank you that we can always turn to you for forgiveness.  We love You and in Jesus Name we pray – Amen.

Monday, July 15, 2013

God’s Call - Do You Hear It?

“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

Sometimes people read about great men and women of the Bible and think they were born with their strong faith and have lived a perfect life.  But that is the furthest from the truth; many of the great men and women of the Bible have lived imperfect lives but God graciously used them nevertheless.

We have a perfect example in the Bible of God starting a good work in someone and completing it - just look at one of Jesus’ disciples - Simon Peter.

In John 1:40-42 the Bible records for us the first time Peter came face to face with Jesus. What an honor for Peter to be able to meet the One who created him! It says in verse 42, “Now when Jesus looked at him, He said to Peter, “You are Simon son of John, you will be called Cephas (which, when translated, is Peter = the rock).

You may be wondering to yourself, “What does God see when He looks at me?” May I remind you that when Jesus sees you - He not only sees you as you are today but He sees the person that you will become in His Hands! 

The Bible shares with us that Peter stumbled greatly after his first encounter with Jesus but the following is what is encouraging: In spite of Peter’s failures, shortcomings  -  even in spite of Peter denying the Lord Jesus Christ  -  he went on to do great things for God! God used Peter's sermon at Pentecost to add three thousand souls as believers in Christ. Peter was also called to minister to the Gentiles and God used His tenacity to preach the good news effectively.  Peter also performed many miracles like healing the sick and he was esteemed highly. He went on to do great things for God because it was God who began the work in Peter’s life in the first place and it was God who completed the work in Peter’s life up to his last breath.

Just like Peter, we make lots of mistakes but God can still use our broken lives, IF, we are opened to Him, we too can go on to be used in many small or great ways to bring Him glory! 

If you feel that God is calling you into something that is different than what you are accustomed to, embrace His call! He will give you all the grace and power that you will need to do great things for His Glory!
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him is glory both now and forever! Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18


Friday, July 12, 2013

Last Night

Last night our family attended a wake for my brother-in-law’s brother.  When I awoke this morning, this is the scripture that my mind was filled with: “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

“There are days when the last thing we want to do is rejoice. Tell God how you truly feel and just like the writers of the Psalms who often felt this way, as they talked to God, their prayers ended in praise. When you don’t feel like rejoicing, you will find that God will give you a reason to rejoice. God has given you this day to live and to serve Him – be glad!” Bible Commentary

FATHER, thank you for filling our mind with your Word!  Thank you for this day that You have made!  May we share it in a way that brings you glory as if it is our last day on earth. We love You – In Jesus’ Name - Amen

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Bake Me A Cake

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

Have you ever said, “God, I don’t have the resources for the needs we have to buy a home, to buy a car, to buy food, to pay for my children’s education, to pay for our monthly bills, etc.?

I would like to share a story from the Bible about a widow who was going through some very tough times.  In 1 Kings 17, the Bible says that Elijah, a prophet of God, proclaimed a drought to King Ahab, due to the nation’s idolatry. God instructed Elijah to leave the area and go to a city named Zarephath – for God had commanded a widow in the city to provide for him there.    

This is where the story gets interesting.  When Elijah arrived in Zarephath, indeed there was a widow - but she was gathering sticks to cook the last meal for her and her son!  As soon as Elijah saw her he asked her for water and bread to eat.  This was her response, ”As the LORD your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”

Why would God send Elijah to a widow who barely had enough food for her and her son’s last “meal”?  

Watch what Elijah says to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the LORD sends rain on the earth.’ ”

The Bible says that the widow “Went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days.  The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke by Elijah.”

Why did God send Elijah to a widow who barely had enough food?  Because God knew that she would obey and trust God as her provider when she heard the word from Elijah.

Are you going through “tough” times? Do not fear, go and do as God has spoken to your heart – God always supplies our daily needs and much more!
"Every miracle, large or small, begins with an act of obedience. We may not see the solution until we take the first step of faith." Bible Commentary



Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Balancing Act

“Better is a handful, with quietness, than two handfuls with labor and striving after wind.” Ecclesiastes 4:6

Question:  What does an unbalanced wheel and a person’s unbalanced life have in common? 
Answer:  They both will wear out faster if not balanced properly. 

Just like a wheel needs counter weight to create a smooth rotation, our lives need to be balanced otherwise our life will spin out of control. When we are not balanced with a handful of work and a handful of rest, we too will begin “bouncing on the road” and we will wear out faster.  This is not our loving heavenly Father’s desire for us – living a balanced life brings glory to God as it reflects His desire to prosper us and not to harm us (Jeremiah 29:11). Unfortunately, I have not always taken my own advice and I have paid a price for not carefully regulating my rest times. 

In my book, A Stroke of Love, I share how I learned the “hard way” of living unbalanced.  Sometimes, God’s love for us causes Him to step in and provide the balance that His children need – He lovingly did that for me and the lessons I have learned will not soon be forgotten.  “The answer is to work hard but with moderation. Take time to enjoy the other gifts God has given and realize that it is God who gives out the assignments and the rewards, not us.” Bible Commentary

Do you have one handful of rest and one handful of work?  If you do, praise God, you are a wise soul.  If you don’t, take heart, as rarely are we in perfect balance continually. I have learned that as soon as a car drives off with newly balanced tires, they begin to get out of balance almost immediately as every bump and corner affects the balance of the tire.  Just like a tire needs to be balanced regularly; our life needs to be rebalanced regularly as there are many “bumps” in the road of life. 

Thankfully, we have a heavenly Father who lovingly shows us if we need to work more diligently or if we need to rest more intentionally.

FATHER, thank you that there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. Help us to live life with the purpose of bringing pleasure to You. Thank you for the times that you have led us to green pastures and thank you for the gift of work. We love You – In Jesus’ Name we pray – Amen.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Breaking Bones

“Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.” Proverbs 25:15

Gentleness is named as a fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22. One of the definitions of gentleness is to ennoble; dignify. Whenever we treat people with gentleness we dignify our fellowman. Sometimes the last thing we want to be is gentle – especially if we are not getting our way. But the Bible encourages us that we don’t always need to be severe or harsh in our responses. In fact, the Bible tells us that if we are patient, a soft tongue can persuade a ruler. May I also add that a gentle tongue can speak to a discouraged heart?

When I think of gentleness, I can’t help but to recall a story in 1 Kings beginning in chapter 19. It is a story about a man named Elijah who was a prophet of God and who was a man of great faith. However, after he experienced two wonderful spiritual victories, a woman named Jezebel threatened his life and he became so afraid of her, that he ran for his life. Elijah ran to a place called Beersheba in Judah and when he arrived he prayed to God that he might die.  Elijah was so fatigued and discouraged that he said, “I have had enough, LORD, take my life...” The Bible tells us that God prescribed physical rest and good food for his discouraged heart.

What I love the most about this story is what took place in I Kings 19:10-13. The LORD said to Elijah,“Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." The Bible said, "Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind.  After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.”  It is evident that God not only reveals Himself in powerful miraculous ways, but God’s voice is also in the gentle sound of a whisper. 

The Bible tells us that Elijah recognized the gentleness of God’s voice and that helped him hear the encouragement he needed which enabled him to complete his destiny!

If you or someone you know is discouraged, remember that what a discouraged heart needs more than anything is a peaceful sleep, a good meal, and a gentle word.

If you are having a hard time communicating your point of view with a difficult person, remember don’t physically break their bonesJ, instead try the power of a gentle tongue.

“God is often found gently whispering in the quietness of a humbled heart.”  (Bible Commentary)


Monday, July 8, 2013


“Search me God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

This weekend my husband and I had an interesting conversation regarding a pamphlet he read. The article stated that over time car manufacturing companies have learned to improve their processes in building quality products. The conversation quickly turned to how we could apply the methods described in the pamphlet to our life.

The pamphlet stated that whenever there was a break down in the manufacturing of a product, they learned that they needed to get to the root of the problem in order to identify the cause. The companies found that if they did not get to the root cause, they ended up masking the problem in order to quickly move the product through the process resulting in possible recalls and a product less than quality.

Here is the part that is interesting and can be applied to our lives.  What they learned was that in order to identify the root cause of the break down in the process, they needed to repeatedly ask the question “why” until a root cause was identified. They found that the first answer as to “why” something happened was often the answer with the least value.  But if they kept asking themselves “why” and with each answer becoming more honest, they would get to the root of the problem.

“The process is often compared to the peeling of an onion, layer by layer the answers get closer and closer to the core of the issue.  Another parallel is that the longer one peels the more likely there will be tears, as the first answer is the answer that most people will be comfortable with.”  FMEA Handbook

As my husband and I were discussing this, we couldn’t help but see the connection in addressing issues related to human behavior.  Many times we too when confronted with problems in our lives and when asked “why” will blame other people or things for our wrong behavior as a defensive mechanism; we know that if we truly addressed the issue there would be pain to us just like the peeling of an onion as we move closer to the core of the issue.

God never wants us to mask any issue in our life - He loves us too much for that!  He knows that when we are honest with ourselves before Him, this is when He can reveal the root cause to us, and then the true issue can be identified and the healing can begin.

The next time you are frustrated or feeling like life is causing you to lose your peace, don’t try to quickly fix the problem by masking it will comfortable explanations.  Instead ask yourself “why” at least five times because remember...the first time you ask yourself “why”, more than likely it will be the answer with the least value.  Let God help you peel away the layers to get to the real root cause of the issue that is impacting your peace.  And in the tears, you will find the answer.

Dear FATHER, You have perfect knowledge of man – such knowledge is too wonderful for me.  Thank you that even though You know us completely, You love us anyways. Thank you for Your patience and for always wanting only the best for all of us.  Help us to be humble enough to face the truth that You already know.  We love You and in Jesus’ Name we pray – Amen.

“...and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:24

Friday, July 5, 2013

Start Small

“Do not despise small beginnings....” Zechariah 4:10

This scripture reminds me of when my husband and I first got married.  We wanted to buy a house that had a nice size yard and a garage. However, whenever we looked at properties, the type of houses my husband and I desired were way beyond our means.  Over the years we realized that it would be wise to start with something, however small it may be - with or without a yard or a garage. (Our first home purchased was a cozy 640 square feet and a carport:))

It took us five years to come to that wise conclusion of “starting”.  Sometimes when we have a desire, goal or a dream, we keep putting it off because the circumstances are not “just right”.

What dream, goal, desire or ministry has God place on your heart that you have put aside until a better time comes along or until the circumstances in your life settle down a bit?  The following quote by Donald S. Whitney, has served as an inspiration to both my husband and I whenever we felt God has called us to a specific task:“We often find ourselves thinking ....when life settles down a bit, I’ll....but we should have learned by now that life never settles down.  Whatever we want to accomplish, we must do with life unsettled.”

If God has placed a desire on your heart, today is the perfect time to start.  Start small and move in the direction that God is leading you in – however small of a step that may be:)!

P.S. Has God put a desire in your heart to read and study the entire Bible in one year? Start today! Day one: Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth..............”




Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Don't Give Up!

“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16

May I share a story with you that I pray will inspire you to never give up praying even if the answers to your prayers don’t come immediately?  You may have heard of this story before, but every time I hear it, I am reminded of the importance of persistent prayer.

The story is about a wealthy insurance broker who was caught up with gold fever and headed to Colorado along with some of his friends to invest in a mining venture.  They formed a corporation and bought expensive equipment to mine a wealthy vein of gold ore in Colorado. I read this story in the book, Effective Prayer Life, by Chuck Smith.  Chuck Smith shares that after the corporation paid off its debts, the vein of gold ran out.  The investors continued to mine, but in the process, ran themselves back into debt again while finding no gold.  In their frustration, they decide to sell the mine and all of the equipment to a junk dealer for only a few hundred dollars.

The junk dealer hired a geologist and the geologist came back with a report which stated: “If you’ll dig three feet past the point where they quit you’ll find that same vein of gold.”  The junk dealer became the wealthiest mine owner in the state of Colorado.  Chuck Smith said, “Just three more feet! I wonder how many times we, too, stop three feet short of victory.”

Chuck Smith shared this important insight, “Many times we give up a little bit too soon.  Whenever Satan begins losing his grip he makes a last, desperate lunge. This is when we all too often become tired and give up, quitting just short of victory.”

What have you been praying for?  Have you become discouraged because a great concern on your heart goes unanswered?  Or, has a great concern you have been praying for seem to be getting worse?  Don’t give up!  We are to keep praying until we see the answer or until God has given us a peace in our heart about an unchanged situation. This is called resting in His will and trusting His ways more than ours.  I can assure you that God will answer us according to His best for our situation – which is always better than ours! Remember, your fervent prayers accomplish great results – don’t give up!

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

I Will Care For You

“I will be your God through all your lifetime, yes, even when your hair is white with age.  I made you and I will care for you.  I will carry you along and be your Savior.” Isaiah 46:4

One day, our pastor shared with us how sometimes we know we have a need - but we don’t know exactly what that need is until we see it and experience it.  He shared an example of one day while he was at home, he knew he was craving something  - but couldn’t put his finger on what it was until his son walked into the room with a tall glass of ice water.  As soon as he saw it, he said, “That is exactly what I want and what I need.” 

God not only knows what we need physically, but He knows what we need emotionally and spiritually.  Yesterday morning, the LORD pointed me to the scripture above and as soon as I read it, it was like a tall refreshing glass of ice water on a scorching day.  God’s words were just what I needed and I felt the care of the Lord. Later in the afternoon, His Words continued to refresh me as God showed me the same scripture through a book that I had not picked up for several years. 

Have you seen and felt God’s care for you? He knows your every need even before you know it and goes before you to provide and care for you.

Has God provided a smile to you from your child?

Has God provided a cool place for you when it was scorching hot outside?

Has God provided helping hands to carry your heavy loads when you were weary?

Has God provided you with a time of fellowship that has enriched you and lightened your heart?

Maybe this evening you may want to step outside and look up into the heavens and remind yourself of the One who created all the stars for us to enjoy. The Bible says in Isaiah 40:26, “He brings the stars out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of His great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.”

Today be encouraged as you remember that not a single star is missing and not a single day goes by without His tender care for you.  He not only walks with you but He has promised to carry you throughout your lifetime – even when your hair is white with age!  

HEAVENLY FATHER, thank you for knowing what we need before we ask You.  Thank you for providing and meeting those needs at the right time  - just when we need it.  LORD, may you use us to show Your love and care to those around us and may You receive the glory that is due to Your Name.   In Jesus’ Name I pray – Amen.



Monday, July 1, 2013

Praise is Coming!

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”Psalm 42:11

Isn’t this a great scripture?!  The writer of this Psalm was feeling distressed and agitated – he was disturbed within his soul.  He was not at peace with himself or his situation.  We can all relate to this writer’s feelings at one time or another as life can give us many reasons to feel dejected in spirit – there is no question of that! However God, through this scripture, gave us an antidote for when we feel "downcast”.

When our soul is downcast, we have focused our thoughts on our inability to help ourselves or others.  But watch what the psalmist said to himself. The psalmist said, “Put your hope in God”. The word “put” means to move or place anything so as to get it into or out of a specific location or position.  The psalmist moved his thoughts off of his inability and placed his thoughts onto God’s ability to help him.  

When we focus our thoughts on God’s ability, this is hoping in God! And when we are hoping in God, we will say as the psalmist said, "Praise is coming!".

Dear friends - praise is coming!  Our loving, heavenly Father describes the peace He wants us to have like a river; a peaceful, easy flowing river.  Do you have this kind of peace in your soul today?  If you don’t, may I encourage you to put your hope in God and join in with the psalmist, “For I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God!”

FATHER, Keep us as the apple of your eye and may the hope you give us cause praises to rise up within us.   FATHER, if any of my friends who are reading this today have the spirit of heaviness, I pray that in the Name of Jesus, you will give them a garment of praise.  In Jesus’ Name I pray – Amen.