Sunday, December 31, 2017

Stretching Your Soul

"Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes."  Isaiah 54:2 (NIV)

Hard to believe it is New Year's Eve already!  It seems as if the years pass by more quickly the older I get.  This is also the same time that I typically start thinking about personal goals for the next year.  Yes, always on my list is getting a bit more fit and eating better (that REALLY needs to be a priority this year).  I have let my fitness goals go to the wayside as I prepared for the holidays and it's time to make time for it in my day. 

I find that one of the greatest ways for me to feel a bit more fit is by stretching.  It seems to get this tired body moving.  As I continue stretching, I can see the progress as I can stretch just a little bit farther than the last time.  I have to share, I'll be starting with small stretches this new year - got a way to go to "touch my toes".

One of the areas that I also need to stretch is my soul, my faith.  As I think back on the last few months, I believe this is also an area I need to concentrate on - and I plan to put it at the TOP of my list!!  Probably many of us walk through our days with the same routines.  If you are like me, I need to put Jesus in the beginning of my day, as other things seem to float to the top as my day moves on, making it hard to find "faith" time.  The question becomes, what other things are more important than Jesus?  As I reflected on this, I realize it isn't those "things" that are more important, it is where I am putting those things in place of time with Jesus.

I started thinking about things that we can do to give Jesus not just my TIME, but my SOUL.  Where can I make improvements in my time with Jesus.  Let's take a look at a few:

  • Pick up a devotion.  During Christmas, I walked through a great little book I found on Christmas devotions.  Short stories along with Bible verses that began my day.  There are so many devotion opportunities - even ones that you can download to your phone and take with you anywhere!  It's time for me to find one to END my day with - not just begin my day.  How about you - maybe there is time for some devotion in your day?
  • Try a Bible study.  There may be opportunities at your local church for a Bible study with other parishioners.  It's always nice to sit around the table and discuss different areas of the Bible.  Also available are online Bible studies which provide you the opportunity to do a Bible study from the comfort of your own home in your own time.  I know I always can learn more about Jesus through studying His word.  
  • Prayer time with friends.  Prayer is an area I know I need to strengthen.  I seem to "fit it in"my day versus making specific time for it.  I usually talk with God on my way to work - during my commute.  Yet, where I find that prayer can be so impactful is when you write down what you are praying for and watch God in action!  I need to make a stretch in this area.  Maybe find a friend and pray together for all the needs you are aware of.  "For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am with them."  Matthew 18:20
  • Immerse in worship.  Sometimes, we can go to worship on Sundays as another item to check off the list.  Yep, attended church - I'm good!  I am sure that is NOT the way God wants us to attend worship.  It can be difficult to walk into church with a clear mind.  We all have so much on our minds these days.  I do know that when I make an effort in this area, my connection to our Lord is so much stronger - it is strengthened.  I am going to recommit to leaving my cluttered mind at the door of the sanctuary - and enter God's home with a clear mind.  
  • Open the Bible.  I will never forget some time back when the children were smaller.  I found one of my daughter's sitting on her bed one day after school, with her Bible open.  I asked what she was doing.  She said that she had a hard day at school and wanted to feel better.  "Is there a particular verse you are reading?" I asked.  She stated, "No, just reading whatever I open to makes me feel better."  Isn't that the truth!  Open the Bible - God takes us to where we need to go.
I know I have a great deal of stretching to do - and certainly not just physically.  I want to have a closer relationship to Jesus.  I want to be the Christian girl he wants me to be.  I want to show him how very much I love him.  So let's "lengthen our cords and strengthen our stakes" by stretching ourselves.  Happy New Year!

"Heavenly Father, stretching our muscles is great for us, but stretching our souls can be greater!  Help us to focus on stretching ourselves to have a greater relationship with you and to share your love with others.  Bring our minds to you not just in times of trouble but in daily connection - stretching towards your love.  In your holy name we pray, Amen!"

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Humbleness of Jesus

"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn."  Luke 2:7 (KJV)

Here we are on Christmas Eve.  The final entry in our Advent series this year brings us to the one with the greatest of humility, Jesus.  Every year, as we read the Christmas story, I am still amazed by the way our Dear Lord entered this world.  Yes, a carpenter was His earthly father and a young virgin His mother.   That was humble enough, wasn't it?  Couldn't Mary have given birth in the comfort of her own home with her mother by her side?  Couldn't Kings have called Mary to their palaces so she could give birth to the King of Kings in comfort?  None of that was God's plan.  He brought Mary and Joseph to the humbleness of the manger.

As we know, it wasn't just Jesus' BIRTH that was of humble state, but all of Jesus' life, there was the greatest of humbleness.  He, the King of Kings, could have had anything he wanted and lived a life of luxury while on earth.  Yet, He lived a simple upbringing, walked more than he rode, ate from what people gave Him, lived among the sinners, preached from a boat, and died on a cross.  Many times, people will ask "If He really was the King of Kings, why didn't He live a life more conducive of royalty?"  He certainly could have, but He lived that life for YOU and for ME.  Yes, for each and every person that was, is and will be.  

Jesus' humble life is a wonderful example for all of us.  He never "longed for more".  We all aspire to live a life that resembles that of our Dear Lord.  He provides us with the "playbook" to move forward in this direction.  How can we be more humble like Jesus?
  • Be satisfied, and more yet grateful, for all the things we have been blessed with.  Let us not long for "more" things, but be happy with what we have.
  • Eat of what we have, not longing for more.  God will provide everything that we need, even with our daily needs of food and water.
  • Preach of Jesus from wherever we are.  Let us not "long for the perfect time", to tell family and friends of the love of Jesus.  Every opportunity is the perfect time.
  • Remember that we are all sinners.  Our lives are not perfectly lived and neither are the lives of those around us.  May we remember that our "longing for more" perfect family members and friends is not where our hearts should take us.  Each person is perfect in God's sight.
I love the picture of the cross in the manger.  It so beautifully brings together Jesus' birth and death - helping to remind me that ALL of it was for ME!!  The truest and greatest gift of all!

This journey of humbleness reminds me that I have much to do in my life in this area.  From the letting go of pride like the wise men, to the humbleness of obeying and commitment from Joseph, to the humbleness of servitude of Mary; it all culminates in the life of humbleness from Jesus.  On this Christmas Eve, may we begin to live our lives with humble hearts in honor of the King of Kings - our very own Savior, Jesus.

"Dearest Jesus, may our hearts continue to turn to you as our guide to a life filled with humility.  You  so greatly showed us, through your life and those that you touched, the riches that come from being humble.  As we celebrate Christmas this year, may we remember to be humble, to live as you lived, in humility, in commitment, in servitude and in love.  In your greatness name we pray, Amen."



Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Humbleness of Mary

"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."
Luke 2:19 (NIV)

Over the past couple of weeks, I have had many of the "memory" posts from Facebook come up on my social media feed.  Almost each one of them has to do with me posting items about my children and me being proud of them.  I don't think there is a parent around that doesn't take an opportunity to proudly share with others the accomplishments of their children.  I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing.  I love to hear parents speak about their kids and all the great things they have done.  Likewise, I also like to chat about my children with others, too.

Is there something wrong with that?  Well, when I look at the paragraph above, I certainly see the word "proud" mentioned multiple times.  Should I be "checking" my proud moments at the door?  I do if I want to live a life of humility.  It is certainly okay to be feel proud of the achievements of your children, but what if I take that too far - what if I share those moments without listening to that of others?  I am sure there have been times when that has happened.  

Yet, if there is someone that had good reason to be proud of her child and share it with everyone, it was Mary.  Think about this.  Mary could have handled the entire situation from a different point of view.  When people were mocking her and shaming her, she could have shared, "Go ahead, you don't know who you are messing with!" or "Wait until you see what MY child is going to do."  Mary doesn't do ANY of that.  Although Mary had plenty of opportunity, she takes on a state of humility enveloped in servitude.  From the very beginning when she had that meeting with the angel, she accepted her role as a servant of God.  She lived the life of humbleness even after Jesus' death.

Mary is an incredible example of how to live a life of humility.  Mary never used the birth of the world's savior to her advantage.  In fact, she continued to live a life that was filled with serving God.  From Jesus' birth to Jesus' death, Mary served her son as the God that He was.  There are many actions that show Mary's humility.  Yet, the greatest of those, I believe, is the verse for today.  She pondered all that was said about Jesus' birth in her heart.  She didn't scream them from the mountaintops.  She didn't post it on the local social media.  She didn't send out her own messenger to tell the town of Bethlehem all that was happening in their little town.  Mary didn't fill her self with pride, but filled her heart with joy and servanthood.

The lessons are long on what we can do to emulate Mary in our lives.  Today's lesson is the greatest she gives us, the lesson of humility through servitude.  As we go through not just this Christmas season, but through our lives, may we ponder Mary in our hearts.  May we know that a life filled with humility is a great gift to our Savior Jesus.

Savior Jesus, please help me to have a heart of humility, like Mary.  May my life be one of servitude to you and to those that surround me.  Replace pride with humility and an opportunity to give to those around me.  In your gracious name I pray.  Amen!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Humbleness of Joseph

"When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife."  Matthew 1:24 (NIV)

Welcome to the second Sunday in Advent.  As we continue our series of Christmas Humbleness, we move to Joseph, Jesus' earthly father.  Joseph is someone who truly amazed me.  There is little written of Joseph in the Bible past the Christmas story.  Yet, here we learn much about this truly humble man.

Throughout the Christmas story, Joseph had to deal with many "curve balls".  Mary becomes pregnant prior to their marriage.  Joseph makes a decision to quietly divorce her (humble decision?).  In those days it was.  He didn't want to disgrace her, which was typical in these types of situations.  Joseph refuses pride and humbles himself to protect Mary.

Then there was the dream when the angel tells Joseph that he needs to continue with the marriage, that the son of Mary is Immanuel.  Joseph humbles himself and obeys God's word, taking Mary as his wife.  Joseph's life probably would have been easier if he had gone through with the decision to divorce her - he would have been free from the public humility he endured.  Yet, he knew that wasn't God's plan, so he obediently followed.

Joseph also obeys as they go to Bethlehem to be registered, and is at Mary's side as she takes that journey with him.  He doesn't abandon Mary and leave her behind.  Through all of this, Joseph stands up in humility and does the right thing - by Mary and by God.  

Later, Joseph wonders what he would actually teach Jesus - the son of God.  After all, Joseph was a simple carpenter and wasn't, in actuality, Jesus' father.  Joseph could have left at any time.  Joseph could have moved on.  Yet, that wasn't Joseph.  He brought to this world a picture of humility that stays with us today.

In Joseph, we see the humility of helping others, although the position we take may not be a popular one.  In Joseph, we see the humility of obeying, although obeying God's word may not be the popular one.  In Joseph, we see the humility of commitment, staying with Mary and Jesus long past the birth.  In Joseph, we see the humble man that God chose to be Jesus' earthly father.  

What can we learn from Joseph?  Being humble means obeying God's word through a commitment of helping others.  Joseph is our ultimate example of doing this.  In our every day lives, our opportunity to do this may be greater than we think.  Read God's word - see what He shares about us living out His word.   Find those that need to feel God's love and may we move forward in this love, even if it isn't the most "popular" thing to do.  Our opportunities are endless, as is God's love.  Through God, we are able to live a life of humbleness.  The most important thing to remember is that in all actions, the glory goes to God, not to ourselves.  At any time, Joseph could have proclaimed himself as Jesus' father, "Look at me, the father of the Savior of the World".  Yet, Joseph didn't do this.  Through his humbleness, he did so much more - he provided the image of humbleness to God.  May we do the same.

Dearest Jesus:  Your earthly father, Joseph, is a wonderful picture of humbleness.  Through his obedience to God, he lived this out through his actions that we read in the Christmas Story.  May we also show that level of humbleness in our daily actions - ensuring that all glory goes to you.  In your blessed name we pray, Amen. 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Humbleness of the Wise Men

"On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.  Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh."  Matthew 2:11 (NIV)

We are upon another Advent season.  Each year, they seem to come sooner and sooner.  There are an abundant amount of reasons why Advent is a favorite time of year for me.  The greatest is that it is time for us to slow down and focus - focus on what is truly important.  As we light our first advent candle, the candle of Hope, this Advent season I will be focusing on the humbleness of those in the Christmas Story.  Today, I begin with the wise men.

There are many conflicting stories of who these three men were.  Kings?  Intellects?  Scientists?  Regardless of their particular background, it is safe to say that they were important men of their time.  Men who weren't of a servant nature.  Men who had living arrangements that were above average.  Men who were revered by others.  They were definitely a higher social stature.  As they set out on their journey, little did they know what they would find - and where they would find it.

As the wise men searched for the newborn king, as they followed the star, I can only imagine what was going through their minds.  They were looking for a newborn king.  Although the star was their guiding path, I would assume they would think there were also looking for a place where a newborn king would reside.  Weren't they surprised.  Yet, with all that they had, and all that they were, when they saw the newborn king, Jesus, they "bowed down and worshiped him."  Imagine, for a moment, kings of our nations today possibly bowing down in a lowly place for a newborn king.  Doesn't seem possible, does it?  Yet, these three wise men did just that.  They humbled themselves to the glory of our newborn king, Jesus.  They forgot about their intellect, their high social stature, the people who revered them, and they got down on bended knee to worship a child.  That picture of humbleness is beautiful.

During this Advent season, may we learn from those that were humble that first Christmas.  From the wise men we can learn much.  It didn't matter to them what their place was in the world, it was more important to be humble and bow down before Jesus.  The same is so true for us.  Regardless of our particular background, it is our time to bow down before Jesus.  May the pride that we might have in our lives for our intellect, our material items and our social stature be released to humble ourselves for the true king.  May we "bow down and worship him", and help others to see the awesomeness of the newborn king this Christmas season.  Take time to find ways to worship the True King this Advent Season.  I hope to start by reading and re-reading the Christmas story.  I always find something new and amazing each time I read it.  Let's remember to leave our "wealth" to the side and humble ourselves to Jesus and to each other.  When we look at the world through humble eyes, we see such great gifts - like the unconditional love of our Savior.  Blessings to all on this first Advent Sunday.

Dearest Jesus, help us to be humbled to you and to each other as the wise men humbled themselves that first Christmas.  Let us leave the pride of everyday life behind and may we rest our hearts close to yours as we bow down before you in the manger.  Help us, Jesus, to be more like the wise men as we approach each day.  In your heavenly Christmas name we pray, Amen.


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Saying Goodbye

"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace."  Numbers 6:24-26 (ESV)

Just like that, as fast as the children all joined us for the holiday, the house is now quiet again.  All the work and preparation, all the anticipation, and within a few short days, it is all over.  Is it just me or is the house even MORE quiet when all the children leave than what it was before they got there?  We were blessed to have all four children rejoin the household during Thanksgiving.  With everyone living their separate lives, it was truly a blessing.  I can still hear the laughter as they sat at the kitchen table Thanksgiving evening playing cards.  Truly made this mama's heart swell with joy.

It started Saturday - the exodus.  The first one took off mid-morning.  Close to 1PM on Sunday, they had all left.  Goodbyes can be hard, especially when you know it will be some time before we will all be together again.  How about you?  Did you spend these past few days with family and friends?  Are you also feeling the sense of loss as they say goodbye and leave the driveway?  It's hard to watch people leave us.  In trying to find a way to fill my heart again, I turned to scripture.

This wonderful blessing that our Lord bestows upon us is one I shared in my heart with my children today.  As they head off to a life outside of their childhood home, I have comfort knowing that our Lord is with them.  God doesn't disappoint.  He may not always give us what WE want WHEN we want it, but He always has a greater plan.  He has my children in His hands.  How do I know this?  

Because, in the verse above, I replace the word YOU with my children's names. When I do this, the verse becomes very personal to each and every one of them.  That is how I know God has their best intentions for them, that He will bless them with what they need.  He will love them - as I love them.  When I can't be there for my children, He will always be with them.  With that, I can be assured that they will receive great blessings from our Lord.  With that, I have peace.  

As you sent off family and friends this past weekend, pray the blessing above upon them.  Know that God is with them and will hold them in His hands.  Have peace in God's word, and that peace will pass all understanding.  

Advent begins next Sunday.  This year we will explore those who were humble during that first Christmas.  I pray you are blessed this Advent season.

"Heavenly Father, as family and friends leave our homes after the holidays, it can be tough to watch them leave.  Our homes may be going from lots of chatter to a sense of quiet.  Although we may feel a bit of longing for those who have returned home, we know that you will bless them and bring us peace.  Help us to be reminded of this.  In your name we pray, Amen."

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Thanksgiving in Despair

". . . always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name o four Lord Jesus Christ."  Ephesians 5:20 

So hard to believe that Thanksgiving is already here.  It seems like just a few weeks ago we were celebrating Easter.  Yet, here we are with a joyous focus on giving thanks for all the wonderful blessings we have been afforded.  Yes, I love Thanksgiving for all the wonders of the day - the gathering of family, the reminiscing of the goodness of God, and yes, the food and football!  This year, though, my thoughts have taken me to people and a world who don't seem to have much to be thankful for.

This past year, albeit gone so quickly, saw many tragedies.  Horrible natural disasters from earthquakes, to floods, to fires.  Dissension among people.  Destructive mass shootings.  It is hard to say "Happy Thanksgiving" when we think of all of those horrific events that have taken place during 2017.  Alongside of all of those events, we have the despair of our own lives - relationships that have been broken, health concerns, and economic difficulties.  So here we are - at Thanksgiving.  What is there to be thankful for?

Throughout all of the news footage of those that have been so drastically effected by the areas listed above, I find that there are people who are saying, "Thank you, Jesus."  Thank you, really?  Thank you for what?  As I listen to these folks speak, I am in awe and admiration of their faith.  For it is their faith that brings them to the table of thanksgiving in despair.  To have that level of faith in God is something I aspire to.  

Having faith when things are good, and thanking Jesus for all the good things, seems to make sense.  Yet, as our verse for today shares, we are to give thanks to Jesus ALWAYS.  Not just when things are great, but when things are tough.  What are we supposed to thank Jesus for during despair?

We thank Him for life and for death, as we never know when death occurs what life would have been like for that person.  We thank Him for difficulties, as it is our opportunity to get closer to God, in prayer and petition.  We thank Him for losing everything, as we know that what we have is truly His anyhow, and He will always provide.  We thank Him that through the despair, our faith in Him is truly most important.  Thanksgiving in Despair always takes me to Job.  Now there was a man with despair.  Yet His faith was there, deeply rooted, for all of us to see.

Do you have someone who you know is dealing with difficulty?  Maybe you are having tough times?  Now is the time, dear brother and sister, to give thanks.  Give thanks to God who listens to your prayers and provides you a blanket of love.  Give thanks to God who blesses you in small ways each moment of the day.  Give thanks to God that He never lets go of you, no matter how bleak - NEVER.  During this Thanksgiving, may we give thanks under all circumstances, even in despair.

"Dearest Jesus, help us to remember to give thanksgiving in despair.  When life seems so difficult, may we remember your love for us and the way you continue to bless us when life is dark.  Help us to go to you, in faith, and know that you have all situations covered.  Thank you Jesus, that your love is eternal and your help is forever.   In Jesus' name I pray, Amen."

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Grumbling to Gratefulness

"Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure "children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.""  Philippians 2:14-15 (NIV)

It started early in the day.  I went to get a cup of coffee, and there it was - two people complaining that the line was too long.  I got my coffee, went back to my car, and began the drive to work.  Along the way, I noticed the car next to me was distracted at a red light.  The car behind them began beeping like crazy.  All I could think to myself was "I can't wait to get to work (how often do we say that)!"  Once at work, though, it didn't stop.  It seemed as if the entire day was filled with people complaining.  I heard complaints ranging from something not being done fast enough to being done too fast.  I heard grumbling about the weather, the food, the way people were being treated, etc.  It seemed no matter which way I turned, the grumbling words were gaining momentum.

Have you ever had a day like that?  What I found was that by the end of the day, guess who felt like joining the crowd?  Yes, sorry to say, me.  It seemed that if everyone else was miserable, I might as well be miserable too.  At that moment, three words came to my mind - STOP, CHECK AND ACT!  
     STOP - stop the grumbling.  Just stop the words and thoughts that were coming to me.
     CHECK - check to see if what I was grumbling about needed attention or was I chiming in with the people around me
     ACT - take action and accountability for what I was feeling and saying.

Sure enough, after I stopped, checked and acted, the words and complaints stopped.  I realized that I should be full of gratefulness for all I had - grateful for a good job with great people; grateful for my health; grateful for a wonderful family; most importantly - grateful for my heavenly Father.  It was amazing that the three or four minutes I took to stop, check and act, put a completely different perspective on my day.  As the great Billy Graham said, "Grumbling and gratitude, for the children of God, are in conflict.  Be grateful and you won't grumble.  Grumble and you won't be grateful."

Life can be difficult!  Our days can be filled with so much to be frustrated about, angry about, and we may believe we have every right to complain.  Add into the equation social media and gossip corners and before you know, we have a full-fledged grumbling session going on.  What we need to remember, what "I" need to remember, is that if we changed our perspective - just a little bit - we will see so much that we have to be grateful for.  If we change our grumbling to gratefulness, God will take center stage!  Isn't that a far better way to live our lives?  It certainly will prove healthier for our minds, our hearts and our souls.  The next time there is a grumbling session being started, why not "stop, check and act"!  Change your words, your thoughts and your deeds to ones of gratefulness.

Heavenly Father, so many times during my day I can hear words of grumbling.  It is easy to get caught up in the complaining and join in with those around me.  I ask that the Holy Spirit moves me to Stop, Check and Act.  Change my mindset from one of grumbling to one of gratefulness.  Help me to find those one or two items that I should be grateful for - beginning with you!  My sins are forgiven and I'm going to paradise - that is the greatest thing to be grateful for!


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Turn Back Time

"'I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.'  So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down."  Isaiah 38:8 (NIV)

Today marked another year that we turned back the clocks.  Of course, there is much debate about "why" we do it, but nevertheless, most of us turned our clocks back.  Doing so always make me wonder, "What if we could turn back time?  What if we could go back in time and undo things that we had done?"

As I sat on my front porch this morning, it was a reflective type of day.  There was a bit of chill in the air and many of the trees have begun the process of shedding their leaves.  Days like today make me ask, "What would I undo if I could turn back time?"  I know, many people say that they have no regrets.  I'm not stating that my life is full of regrets, but there are certainly times when I said something that I wish I hadn't; as the words came out of my mouth - for a split second - I wished I could have turned back time.  There are also times when I should have said something that I didn't - again, wishing I could have turned back time.  Last, but not least, are those times that I did something that I wish I hadn't.  Well, you have the picture by now.  All of these times I wish I could have taken back - turned back the hands of time ever so briefly so that I made a different choice.

Today's verse truly took me back.  I had no idea until I was researching for today's post that there was a reference of turning back time.  Although it was in a very different context, it helped me to reflect. Turning back time on earth doesn't happen.  Yet, what we do have, is God's grace and forgiveness when we would like to turn back time to make different choices.  God is there for us to help us realize that although time cannot be turned back ten steps in the sun, God is there to help bring me forgiveness.

God's grace is so great.  He is there for us in every situation.  Yes, even the situations when we would like to go back in time.  The next time a word comes out of my mouth that I would like to take back, I will reflect on the Good Lord who is always there to provide me the forgiveness I very deeply need.

Dear Lord, your love, grace and mercy can bring me forgiveness when I would like to turn back time and reverse choices.  Please help me to quickly see those situations and immediately ask forgiveness - from those here on earth as well as with you. May I learn from those moments for my future.  Please bring me reflection always.  Amen!"


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Winds

"He  got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet!  Be Still!"  Then the wind died down and it was completely calm."  Mark 4:39  (NIV)

Lying in my bed with the window slightly cracked, I heard the wind.  It was the wind of autumn.  The wind seems different in autumn to me.  Maybe it includes a bit of a chill as compared to the wind of summer.  Maybe it includes a smell of the leaves.  Yet, it even seems to sound different.  Almost like a calling of, "It's time".  It's time to slow down a little, and actually listen to the wind.  It's time to enjoy all that autumn brings.  

Winds can bring so many things into our lives.  Many times, we see the "winds of life" as being the activities that come into our lives that can turn our worlds upside down.  Maybe it is the wind of a health concern.  Maybe it is the wind of job issues.  Maybe it is the wind of relationships.  So many times, the winds that comes into our lives create anxiousness and anxiety.  

This was the case of the disciples while they were on the water with Jesus.  All in a boat heading out across the water.  Jesus rested.  I'm sure with all the teaching, healing, preaching, etc., that Jesus did, there probably wasn't a lot of time for that.  Yet, He rested.  While on the water, a storm began brewing and the winds were coming into the disciples lives.  They called upon their teacher, their friend, their Lord, and He rebuked the winds, told them to "be still", and it became completely calm.

I love this Bible story as it teaches us so much:
  • As believers, the winds of life will stir up our lives.  We are not immune to difficult times.
  • As believers, we don't have to endure the winds of life alone.  
  • As believers, our first call should be to The One who can calm our winds.  This is an area I consistently need to work on.
  • As believers, we need to have simple faith that Jesus will calm our winds, when it is time.  So often, I want Him to calm my winds during MY time - we certainly know better!
  • As believers, we need to respond to Him calming our winds with thanks and praise.
The winds of life will blow.  They may knock us off our feet.  Yet, we have One who will not only stand beside us during these times, but will calm the winds.  We need to go to Jesus during these times and watch the goodness He can bring to us.  Have faith, simple faith, that Jesus can calm our storms.

Dearest Jesus, how often we forget when the wind rolls into our lives that the One who can truly calm our storms is a prayer away.  May we reach out to you, Jesus.  Fill  our hearts and our heads with the simple faith that you are waiting to hear from us, and that you will making "everything still".  Jesus, I ask that you calm the winds of those that are facing fierce winds in their lives.  Help them to reach out to you so that you may help them.  In your wondrous name I pray, Amen!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Reaffirmation


"I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him."  2 Corinthians 2:8  (NIV)

To reaffirm - state again as a fact, assert again strongly.  That is autumn for me.  Waiting every year for October to arrive is a reaffirmation for me.  Reaffirming what you may ask?  Reaffirming God's presence.  I see God in so many wonderful every day events year round.  Yet, for some reason, during Autumn, it seems as if He says, "I'm Back!"  The brilliant trees, the cooling weather, the gathering of family through apple picking or pumpkin carving, all remind me that God is present and close to me.  This time, it made me think of our own reaffirmations.

You believe you have heard a calling.  You follow your dream.  Head on.  You work hard, make plans, evaluate the plan, execute on the plan and then Satan comes in - with DOUBT.  Not just the kind that makes you "wonder" if this was really your calling, your plan, but the kind that says, "Are you kidding?  What were you thinking?"

I'm sure I'm not the only one that has had this happen.  Maybe it was the dream job.  Maybe it was the ultimate project.  Maybe it was __________  (you can fill in the blank).  All I know is that the certainty of the path has turned into the uncertainty of tomorrow.   It can feel as if the balloon you blew up had a pin poked into it.  All the air comes pouring out.  It can all come to a halt and we can feel paralyzed.

This has happened, on more than one occasion to me.  It can be defeating.  Then God comes in - and reaffirms His presence (just like the Autumn leaves).  How so?  Through an encouraging word of a friend who, all of the sudden shares with you that what you are doing is making a difference.  A kind note from a coworker who let's you know you are headed down the right path.  Warmth fills your being and you experience the glow of reaffirmation.  I was blessed to have this happen during the past couple of weeks.  It changed my perspective - it helped me to continue down the path I have chosen.

Please, let us all take the time to reaffirm someone close to us - a family member's love, a friend's dream, a co worker's efforts.  Reaffirmation fills us up when the air is out of the balloon and turns our uncertainty of tomorrow back to the certainty of the path.  It doesn't take much - a quick chat, a few words in a note, maybe even a small drawing on a post-it note.  The few minutes can restore some one's faith, and God will be shining through YOU to another.  Here is to the reaffirmation of Autumn, and of others!!

Dearest Jesus, help us to take the few minutes to reaffirm someone today.  Help us to see who needs to see YOU in their dream.  May we be the one to reaffirm their journey so that they can see you, Jesus, on the path.  In your heavenly name we pray, Amen.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Simplest of Faith


"So, as I sit on my special rock, I pray for many things:
  • for healing; physically, mentally, and spiritually
  • for love; love of family, friends and others
  • for hope; the hope I'll never have to do this again
  • for peace; the peace that truly passes all understanding"
The above was taken from a journal I wrote 18 years ago - a journal that I kept as I went through my journey with cancer.  Eighteen years ago this past weekend, I was diagnosed with cancer.  It certainly was not expected - no history of cancer in my family.  Yet, it was my journey to take.  So it began.  That journey is an entire blog series all in its own.  There were many things I learned on that journey.  I believe that is when I started learning about simple faith.

During this time of my life, I took to writing in a journal.  Who would have known all these years later that I would find inspiration from that journal in many ways.  At this time every year, I make it a point to read that journal and remind myself of something - that when times get hard, having the simplest of faith creates a journey of hope.  For those of you who are reading this and have gone through a struggle similar to this, you know that you come out the other side a different person.  I believe that has happened to me.  Throughout the surgeries, the chemo treatments, the loss of hair, the radiation, the burns associated with that, and then the recovery, something became increasingly clear.  

I knew that God was with me.  In anxious-filled thoughts, in moments of despair, in anger and frustration, in sadness of what life would never be like again, and in hope for moving forward, God was with me.  Sometimes, I would do as the entry above shares, I would sit and pray.  Other times, I felt like I had no more prayer in me.  To God, either situation was okay - He was always there for me.  

I look back at that time and realized that many of the God-filled moments in my life had been put aside - teaching Sunday School became infrequent, going to church was built around moments when I felt well, there weren't any Bible Studies, I rarely picked up my Bible, and my prayer life was inconsistent.  Yet, God didn't give up on me.  I talked to Him, He talked back.  Through people who graciously helped me during this time.  Through cards and letters.  Through hugs and kind words.  God was talking to me - and I was listening.

God knows us, He understands us, and above all, he loves us.  When we believe and have the faith that He is in control, He fills us with hope, joy, and peace.  He doesn't just "sprinkle" those things on us, He fills us up - to the brim!  Yes, that even happens during times of struggle and despair.  Remember, just have faith that He will provide.  Go to Him with your thoughts.  Live your life in His light.  The rest is an incredible journey that brings us to the other side - a different person - one that is embraced with God's love.

Heavenly Father, we know that by living our lives with the simplest of faith, your blessings will adorn us.  Help us to always remember that - even when life gets hard.  May we come to you with our faith, that you may see our struggles and bring us to the other side - one that is filled with your grace, mercy, peace and love.  In your gracious name we pray.  Amen."



Sunday, October 8, 2017

Changing Colors

"For he satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness."  Psalm 107:9 (KJV)

Many of you know how much I love autumn.  It is truly a season that I wait for all year.  Once the last days of August hit, I'm ready to bring out all of the autumn candles and decorations and try to wait, patiently, for the beautiful colors to surround me.  I believe it is one of the main reasons I live in New England.  I can't imagine October without the colors of autumn.

This year, I waited.  And waited.  A couple of weeks ago I noticed that leaves seemed to have a different hue to them, but I wasn't seeing the radiant colors of autumn.  So I waited.  And waited.  To be honest, there was even a slight sadness to my demeanor.  Was autumn going to pass us by this year?  Were the leaves going to move from green to brown without the beautiful autumn colors of red, orange and yellow?

It reminded me of many times in my life when I have waited for something - truly longing for something, as our verse for today shares.  It could have been a time when I longed for our family to be all together - for a meal or just to talk.  Other times, it was when I was struggling with health issues and longed to feel better - desperately wanting the pain and discomfort to be lifted.  Whatever the wait was, it seemed to feel like it was going to take a lifetime.

Then enters God!  As He always has, He comes into my longing world and fills it up!  Maybe it is a quick family dinner when everyone is available - time cherished around the table with lively conversation.  This always fills my soul with goodness.  Maybe it was finally having a day when I felt good after many months of chemo.  That certainly filled my soul with goodness and provided the hope needed that better days were coming.  

God fills our longing souls.  As always, it is in His time, but He always delivers!  Whatever we may be longing for, God will share with us what is good and right just for us.  Although our times of longing may seem like an eternity, God will provide.  God's love for us promises us the goodness that He wants for his children.  When He provides, we are satisfied - our souls are filled to the brim!  Alleluia!

So what about autumn?  As always, God delivered.  What seemed like overnight, the trees changed from brown to beautiful colors of red, yellow and orange.  This has certainly filled my soul!  I am in awe every autumn at the beauty God provides for me, for us!  He takes that broad paintbrush and covers us with autumn hues.  My hungry soul is filled with goodness.  What does it take?  Just a little simple faith that my God will always deliver!  Praise be to Him!!

"Heavenly Father, thank you for filling my soul - just at the right time.  May all of us who may be longing for something so dear to us have simple faith that you will fill our souls.  On those days, may we give thanks to you, God, for remembering us, your children.  In your name we pray, Amen."

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Laser Focus

"Then Jesus declared, "I am the one speaking to you - I am he."  John 4:26 (NIV)

I have many areas of self improvement, but one that I struggle with the most is thought racing.  Let me explain.  I will be speaking about one topic and then my mind will quickly shift to something as a thought races into my mind.  Or I may be listening to a person and thinking about other things that need to get done.  I tend to be better at focus when I am at work than when I'm at home.  You can ask my husband.  We will be driving in the car having a conversation about something and within five minutes I will have changed the subject three times.  Yep - just a bit frustrating for the person I am with (again, just ask my husband!).

I'm not sure when this struggle started.  If I look back, I think it was when I became a mom.  Mothers out there - you know the struggle.  You have fifteen things that need to get done so thinking about them all at the same time makes it more efficient - right?  Yea, probably not!  I used to think that was the case, but in all reality, I know it isn't so.  When I lack focus, I usually disappoint the person I am with.  They thought that they had my full attention, and they deserve my full attention.  Yet, when my mind races, they truly don't have my full attention.

Let's shift to Jesus for a moment.  If there was a person on this earth who had a lot on His mind, I would say that Jesus gets to top that list.  He certainly knew his mission and He went about teaching, healing and modeling behaviors that all of us aspire to.  Of the many characteristics that Jesus portrays, the one that I really admire was His focus.  Whenever he speaks to a person or listens to a person, He focuses just on them.  There is no "changing of the subject' or lack of listening skills with Jesus.  

Whenever I read excerpts from the Bible where Jesus is speaking to someone or listening to someone, you truly sense that He is there just with that person.  Whether there is a crowd of people around or not, that person He is speaking to is the only one that matters at that time.  Wouldn't you like to be on the receiving end of a conversation like that?  To truly have some one's laser focus, laser attention?  My friends, let me share with you.

You DO have some one's laser focus.  Just as Jesus focused on each person when He was on earth, He does that for each of us today.  When we go to Jesus in thought and prayer, He is listening just to YOU.  When we go to Jesus and ask Him to talk with us - He does, just to YOU.  Jesus' focus with those he traveled with many years ago is the same focus He provides for us today.  By going to Jesus in thought, word, and deed, He will provide us with the attention that we are looking for - each and every time.  Yes, even with all that Jesus concerns himself with, YOU become his number one focus.  Please, remember this as you seek His counsel.  He will always be focused on you.

Dearest Jesus, we thank you for your laser focus in our lives.  As we go to you, we know that you are listening and speaking just to us.  Your mind doesn't race or wander with random thoughts, but hears our every words and speaks to us with love.  Help us to have that same focus as we speak and listen to others.  In your gracious name we pray.  Amen.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Why God, Why??



In times of trouble and turmoil, as much as I would like to admit that I have never questioned God, I have.  Yes, in the beginning of the difficulty, I typically try to handle it on my own - no need to bother God on THIS one!  Yet, as the situation becomes more and more difficult, I begin praying.  For those times when it was grave, I would pray and pray and pray.  When those prayers weren't immediately answered, I would begin to question.  "Why God, Why?  Why are you letting this happen?  Why aren't you answering my prayers?"  As we all know, God answers our prayers in His way and in His time - always to our needs.

The other day I was on my way to work.  The air was crisp (always makes me happy).  I thought about my family and realized that for this moment in time, things were good.  Everyone was working.  Those who were physically challenged were getting better.  In that one moment, there was peace.  It was a really nice feeling.  It made me think.  Why do we question God when things are tough, but never ask that same question when things are good?  When was the last time, when things were going well, we raised our voice to God saying, "Why God, Why?"  It certainly had never happened to me before.

Yet, I did.  I raised my voice and said, "God, I know things are going well for my family, while others are suffering.  Why God, Why?"  Then I was quiet.  I listened for God's answer.  As always, it wasn't right away.  This thought continued with me throughout most of the day.  It was positive, yet inquisitive.  This thought helped to bring me to today's verse.

God's with us, in every step of our lives.  He doesn't leave us when things go "south", and, even more so, He is with us when we are blessed.  When we ask, "Why God" when things are tough, the answers are usually very clear.  We need to go through those trials and tribulations to fully appreciate God's awesomeness.  We need to experience the pain to fully rely on Jesus and give our problems to Him.  With that level of faith, God is happy.  It isn't a bother to go to God when things are difficult.  He WANTS us to approach His throne with our worries and burdens.

He also wants us to approach His throne with our praises of thanksgiving.  Not just when our prayers are answered, but in everyday living.  God allows for the tough days to strengthen our faith.  God also allows for the good days to ALSO strengthen our faith.  For God is there for it all, for all things in all times.  How blessed we are to have such an awesome God!  

Heavenly Father, we thank you for your presence - in trials and goodness.  Many times, I ask "why is this happening to me" when I am in difficult times.  Yet, I typically don't say, "why is this happening to me" when things are great.  What I DO know is that you are there for it all, because you love us, care for us, and guide us with each step.  Thank you God for walking with me on this earthly journey.  I look forward to the heavenly journey!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

No, No, No

"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."  1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)

I am sure we have all been around a two-year old who, in a moment of independence, screams, "No, No, No".  Of course, these times always seem to happen in the middle of a grocery store or during a church sermon.  It's always difficult to navigate through these situations, but eventually, the independence moves on and the sweet child returns.

Move forward 13 years and the independence returns.  Now, our child is a teenager and those words seem to return back to their vocabulary.  Maybe we are asking them to clean their rooms.  Maybe it is to attend a family function versus going out with friends.  Whatever the situation, the words of, "No, No, No" return, now in greater defiance.  Yes, we manage to navigate through these situations as well.

Funny, though, as we grow older, how those words become more difficult to say.  What was once so easy to come out of our mouths, even at a young age, becomes difficult.  Work asks for commitments and we say, "Yes"!  Friends ask for commitments and we say, "Yes"!  Family asks for commitments and we say, "Yes"!  Church asks for commitments and we say, "Yes"!  We are supposed to do good, correct?  We are supposed to help others, correct?  Yet, what happens when, by saying yes, we find ourselves over-extended, stressed to exhaustion, and feeling resentment each time the word "Yes" comes out of our mouths?

I have been in this situation multiple times.  I am certain that all of you may have found yourselves in these times as well.  It is so hard to rationalize saying No.  People come to us for a reason - because they need something, they need help.  That is why I love this verse so much.  We are tempted for many reasons to say yes in all situations.  Helping others makes US feel good.  There is a sense of pride that comes with "doing it all".  These are all common reactions.  Yet, when the"yes" overcomes us, we can fall into many negative behaviors that are not Christlike.

When I get overextended:
  • Sleep evades me
  • Happiness turns into constant seriousness
  • Worry takes over 
  • Resentment sets in
  • The tone of my voice can be bitter
God will never give us more than we can handle.  Many times, especially during times of trial, it feels like He does - but He always provides a way out - a light that shines on us.  The same happens when we get to the "no" point.  What am I supposed to say "NO" to Jesus?  Talk to our Jesus, let Him know your anguish and pain.  HE will tell you, He will provide you with the words.

  • "I wish I could, but my plate is a bit full right now.  I wouldn't do your request justice.  Maybe there is someone else on the church council that can assist."
  • "I would love to take on this work project.  Maybe you can assist me in prioritizing my work so I can ensure a quality job."
  • "Gee sis, I just can't get together this weekend - but let's make a date for next Wednesday".
Saying "no" can be difficult, especially for us "yes" people.  Yet, in can be freeing.  In saying no to certain things, we will be able to do the "yes" things with our full attention.  God doesn't want worry and resentment in our lives.  He will guide us to a less-stressed life with His power to say no!

Heavenly Father, I don't find it easy to say, "no".  I want to help others and be of aid.  Yet, when I over-extend myself, I know the stress of the situation can become unbearable.  Help me and guide me to go to you FIRST before saying YES.  Guide me to situations where I can say "no" with greater confidence and in love to all.  In your gracious name I pray, Amen.




Sunday, September 10, 2017

No Secrets

"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account."  Hebrews 4:13 (NIV)

We were sitting around the kitchen table with all the kids, now young adults.  We reminisced about days gone by and how those "teenage years" weren't exactly moments of heaven, for them or for us!  As each child shared things that were done "against the rules", there was a bit of a pride factor they has that us,  as parents, never found out about their secrets.  They had actually gotten away with going against the rules and us parents were not aware.

It made me think of my teenage years.  Certainly as a teenager, I as well, did things that I would be less than proud of and also didn't tell my parents (statute of limitations is up Mom!).  I guess, down deep, there was also a sense of pride that I had when I got away with breaking some rules.  Of course, there were plenty of times that I didn't get away with breaking the rules!  

Fast forward a few years (okay, quite a few years), to my life today.  Even today, there are thoughts that I have or sins I have committed that I think, "well, at least nobody is aware of those sins."  I breathe a sigh of relief and move on.  Yet, I don't move too far.  For I realize very quickly that there is someone that knows about those sins.  As in our verse for today, "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight".  He knows everything that I do, everything that I say, and everything that I think.  Therefore, with God, there are no secrets!

No Secrets?  Don't we all wish that there were some secrets that don't need to be shared?  Maybe, but with God, there are No Secrets!  There is no ability to run and hide, no ability to think that I got away with something, not ability for someone not to find out.  I have to share, that verse has come into my mind many times when I was thinking thoughts that may not be desirable or about to say something that I shouldn't.  Knowing that God is watching my every move and knows my every thought does make me stop in my tracks.  It has stopped me from doing or thinking something that was of a sinful nature.  I sin; I know that!  God certainly knows that even better than I do. 

So, if God knows everything and I sin all the time, then what is it worth to not sin and not try to be a good person?  Why don't I just live in sin all the time?  Because, with God, there is forgiveness.  No matter how bad my "secrets" are, God knows them and forgives them.  "For God so loved the world that he fave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."  John 3:16.   Although I might want to have secrets in my life, the Dear Lord sees it all - there are no secrets.  Better yet, though, there is forgiveness!  

Heavenly Father, help us to remember that there are no secrets in our lives.  You know all of our thoughts, words, and deeds.  Help to guide us to do as you direct, Jesus.  When we fall from your path, please help us to remember that you provide us unconditional love and forgiveness so we may get up the next day to do your will.  In your name we pray.  Amen

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Missing You

"As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem."  Isaiah 66:13 (NIV)

It's that time of year when children go back to school.  Some are entering grade school, others heading back to high school; still others are off to college.  When the children headed off to school, there was always a piece of my heart that went with them.  I have to say, when they went off to school through high school, it wasn't too bad - I knew they were coming home at the end of the day.   

College was a bit different.  When we dropped off our children at college, it would be days/weeks before we would see them again.  Yes, it is different now compared to when I was a kid.  Through modern technology, we can "see" our kids (when they choose to answer our Skype)!  Yet, again, we knew that at the end of the semester, they would be home again.  Although those times, as they entered adulthood, were harder to navigate, I still knew they were coming home.

These days, our goodbyes are more difficult for this mama's heart.  As we move our children from our home into their new homes as they begin their adult lives, I know that they are moving on with their lives.  Yes, I still long for the days that they would be coming home.  Bottom line?  I miss them!  I miss the rowdy conversations around the dinner table.  I miss the picking on each other.  I miss the laughter.  I even miss taking care of their needs, cooking meals for them, and hearing about their heartaches.

I thought about my role as a mom this weekend, and how that role is changing.  Will my children still need me?  Will they still find time to talk to me, tell me about their days, the good stuff and the tough stuff?  I pray for each of them and hope that their lives find time to come home and chat~~  When they call or stop by, I am certainly comforted.

This reminds me of our Dear Lord.  Does He miss me?  Am I coming home to Him each day?  Does He get to "see" me?  I am certain that Jesus' heart longs for us, just as a parent longs for their child.   When we 'move away' and are not coming home to Jesus like we should, I am very certain that His heart pains for us.   Life today can be busy - very busy.  Much can interfere with our time of devotion and worship.  Yet, we need to remember how much Jesus gives to us; everything we have is a blessing from Him.  Going home to Jesus, talking with Him, telling Him how your day went, sharing the good and the difficult, gives us the comfort that we need.  

During these days, as our children head off to the next chapter in their lives, whether kindergarten or adulthood, may we be reminded of the days when we say grace together, have devotions together, and pray together.  We need to have simple faith that our Dear Lord is there with them, when we can't be.  We need to have simple faith that Jesus will be their "go to" person if we aren't available.  We need to have simple faith that God is with them, and in them, as they head off to their days.  We may miss them, but God's got them!!

Dear Jesus, as our children head off too school or work, we ask that you be with them.  We may miss them, but we know that you have them Jesus, in the palm of your hand.  Walk beside them as they go through their days and let them always know that we are a phone call or visit away.  May we, as parents, have simple faith that you will guide us all on this journey.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Faith Through Disasters

Image result for hurricane harvey
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."  2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV)

It is horrifying to see the pictures coming out of Texas.  As the days continue, we begin to see more and more of the destruction from Hurricane Harvey.  Roads have been washed away.  Homes have been washed away.  Cars and belongings, all washed away.  At the writing of this blog post, the rain continues to come down over Texas.   As I watch the news and see the devastation, it's hard to understand the magnitude of what this hurricane has actually caused.  My heart goes out to all that are dealing with this.

Over the years, all over the world, there has been devastation like this.  Whether it comes in the form of wind and rain, or tornadoes, or fires, or snow, or drought or other weather phenomenons, disasters occur.  We tend to look at natural disasters as difficult to control.  How do you control Mother Nature?  Obviously, we can't.  

There are other disasters in our lives that aren't produced by nature that can be just as devastating.  They can come in the form of a broken relationship, someone who leaves earth far too soon, financial difficulties, health hardships, etc.  Disasters can come in so many forms, predicted or unforeseen.  How do we respond to these types of disasters?

These are the times when our Dear Lord shouts and says, "Here I am, Lean on Me!"  He knows, better than all of us do, that hardships and disasters will come into our lives.  Yet it is how we deal with these hardships that help us get to the other side - with hope.  As our verse for this week shares, "...we are not crushed, not in despair, not abandoned, not destroyed."  Why?  

Because our Jesus is with us every step of the way.  He is there as our belongings move with the water.  He is there when our loved one is taken from us.  He is there when we hear a diagnosis of cancer.  He is there when we are lonely.  He is there - every moment of every day.  We will face difficult times as Christians.  Our paths are not paved with gold and always full of sunshine.  What makes our hard times different?  We have a Savior who has been through pain.  He knows what our pain is like and He will guide us through it.  With our faith as a cornerstone, our lives will move forward - in hope.

As we go through the disasters of our life, it is hard to see "the other side".  Yet, when we have faith  through these disasters, we know that better days are ahead of us.  There is a rainbow of hope.  There is Jesus waiting to help us.  Let Him help you!!

"Heavenly Father, we ask that you be with those that are going through personal disasters right now.  Our greatest thoughts are with those in Texas.  Help them, Jesus, to have faith through all of this.  Please put your loving arms around them, let them know you are there with them, and provide the hope that they desperately need.  We also ask that you be with all that are in the midst of difficult times.  Help them to reach out to you, and please respond to them with love.  In your gracious name we pray, Amen." 

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Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope we can share how God's grace has been life changing and that SIMPLE FAITH, getting back to a life that is rooted in the basics, can truly set us free to achieve so much in our lives.