I have GROWN UP :)

 So I do know there are many many areas that I am childish and need extra help. But today I am going to focus on my victories.  I must admit that this last year of trials has left me growing in great ways and I would not trade the lessons learned for anything.

 As I turn to the words of Jesus and learn HIS character I find that I stand stronger and am unmovable in new ways.

 The other day, something that would have bothered me to distraction and would have affected my mood, tried to rise up. This is an old haunt that has had control over me before. Yet I have chosen to renew my mind and focus on what the WORD says about me and these situations. I have chosen to focus my mind on what is GOOD, what is RIGHT and what brings HONOR to HIS name.

 So when these little darts started flying at my mind, and I began to get anxious, I pulled out my sword (the word of God) and dispelled those fiery darts! You know what ? IT WORKED! After just a few moments praying and focusing on the Lord and what HE says, my emotions and feelings were put in the right position.

Now these darts came at me a few times that day, and each time they needed to be addressed with the TRUTH of God’s word. If I would have excepted them as they shot at me, my whole day would have been different and the atmosphere around me rather soured.

We all have our battles and our areas we need to grow. But there is something so special about that moment when you realized, ” I have GROWN UP, and I have arrived in this area and it doesn’t own me!”

I feel like the child that has taken the first steps on their own, then it is time for a bicycle with no training wheels, then it is time for my drivers license. There is ALWAYS something new to learn but that doesn’t mean each time I grow a little more, that it is any less exciting. 

I remember the milestones of my children, they have ALL been special and continue to be so.

I have GROWN UP and in  areas of victory, they are true treasures. I am no longer a babe crying over the loss, but rejoicing in what I have gained 🙂

 

Challenge this day my friend: Keep pulling out that sword in your battles, keep growing and when you have realized you have accomplished a goal in your steps… REJOICE for the LORD IS GOOD!

Ephesians 4:14-15

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ

I am ALIVE RIGHT NOW

A dear friend of ours has been told that he only pumps ten percent of oxygen into his blood that his body needs. He is going through the process of discussing life options with hospice, planning where he wants to be when he dies.

I LOVE his heart and attitude. He knows that even though He is not technically well, that GOD has a plan for him and our friend knows he WILL LIVE every one of those days the Lord has planned.

Our friend has taught me to be a life-giver to those around me, to bring joy into the worlds depressing situations. He reminds me anew that the situation around us does not matter.

He always has a smile to greet us, his words to me a few days ago ministered to me deeply,

” I am not dying tomorrow, and I am alive right now!”

He was not spending our whole visit focusing on his death, or that one day he will die, maybe even soon…. he wants to live in his life in the moment of NOW.

He knows he is ready  to die, whenever the time may come, and he may flesh out and have a moment of doubt and frustration, but he doesn’t STAY there.

Fear is NOT an option. We have so much before us that if we stand and live in fear of our death or our health or our ‘what ifs’ we will be miserable!

I walked away from that moment of my technically dying friend, BLESSED!

He has decided NOT to live in a pity party, oh he has his moments but is not living in fret, working at not being angry, but to rejoice, and just love on the ones he has opportunity to love on all the days he has left. What a wonderful way to LIVE!

Challenge this day my friend: No matter what we are going through, we can rejoice that there is LIFE in us. The LIVING GOD has breathed new life into His children. We are not the old, we are not the same, we can have FULL victory over death and the darkness. Say to yourself… ” I AM ALIVE RIGHT NOW!”

Colossians 2:13

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins.

Teenite : Power of the tongue

Image I am posting this blog so the teens can catch up on what we did or remember the verses we shared together. I hope others enjoy the lesson as well. Remember, even if you ‘think’ someone understands you are ‘just’ kidding, their heart may be hurt or they may begin to believe what is thrown at them all the time. What do you want others to believe about themselves? What does God say about His children?

The event: Teen night … A time where we encourage the teens to minister one to another and make a difference in each others lives and our schools.

Object Lesson: Teens raced to drink Kool Aid through red licorice straws. The only thing was, we did not tell them that we didn’t sweeten the Kool Aid that they were drinking. When their drink was finished they had to chew their licorice up and they were the victor.

The message: Just like unsweetened  Kool Aid, the bitterness of all the world has to throw at us is hard to swallow. It is hard to listen to and can effect those around us when we are a part of the problem.

Tearing down, harsh jesting, spite, gossip, slander do not  produce goodness but is bitterness to others and often times it hurts more than we see with our eyes.

Scripture References: Bitterness- Just like unsweetened Kool Aid

Ephesians 4:31-32

Proverbs15:1

I Thessalonians 5:11-14

Ephesians 5:4

But we have the word: Represented by sweet licorice. We must know who we are to Jesus. We must build ourselves up with the word. That we can eat of the fruit of the Lord, put in Good words in our mouths and be sweet to the world. With the word of God in our life and filling our lips we are victorious. We should be using those words to bless the atmosphere around us.

Scripture References for what GOD says- Sweet licorice

Philippians 4:7

1 Corinthians 2 :16

Isaiah 54:14

Ephesians 2:5

Deuteronomy 28:13

Challenge this day my friends: Consider the words that pour from your mouth and strive to bless all those that have to hear them rather than tear them down or creating a bitter taste in the mouth.

Proverbs 18:21-

 The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.

( NLT )

Finish the RACE

I just watched a very moving video where a teen helped carry a fallen competitor over the finish line of the state track meet. The ending was the most profound and I will be posting the link at the end of the blog for you all to see it and be blessed.

The actions of support for the one team member got me to thinking of the race in my own life.

I am called to complete and finish ALL that the Lord has for me to do. I am to stand in my faith and not waver. Often I get bogged down by my limits or life circumstances that can be dizzying, and want to give up, but God promises to be my strength and to be my aid as I finish what He has before me. When I am burdened He carries those burdens for me.

There are times I have put things on the shelf to refuel and that can be healthy, but never my faith in the moments of rest, always trusting that He will accomplish what He sets out to complete in me. I can not listen to the lies that bombard my mind that I won’t get there. I have had definite times that I just wanted to give up and not keep striving for that goal, but then He sends a reminder and I am lifted and ready to go on.

I want to reach the destination He has for me. I desire to touch the lives He has for my harvest. I want to remember to STAND in FAITH always and I want that moment when I can give a collective sigh and say;

” YES, I MADE IT! ”

Challenge this day my friends: Evaluate the races in your life that you are meant to complete but desire to give up on and remember, you are NEVER alone!

2 Timothy 4:7-

have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.

Psalm 68:19-

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Selah

The LINK I promised 🙂 Blessings!!!
http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/highschool-prep-rally/ohio-runner-stops-state-final-aid-fallen-opponent-100722161.html

Lepers are everywhere

At church today a group was telling us about their experience in India and how blessed they were to have been a blessing. The reaction of the leprous community to touch and respect was heart-moving. The contact with an outsider, meant SO much to them. The man went on to say that even if we can not all travel around the world, there are ‘lepers’ all over our communities, you know the unlovelies… and it got me to thinking.

How many times have I passed by the harried mother that was just screaming at her child because she is so frustrated with her situation, without taking the moment to encourage her? How many children have crossed my path that I have hurried along as they try to talk with me, because I need to be somewhere?

Just recently outside a restaurant a man asked for change and being in a society where a debit card is always used, I truly didn’t have any. Also even if I did I would have hesitated pulling open my purse with a stranger in the dark at ten o clock at night. I went in with my friend to the restaurant and  we had a meal. It wasn’t until laying down to sleep that the thought struck me, I NEED TO KEEP MY MIND and HEART OPEN to opportunities… I could have said, “no I have no change, but are you hungry or thirsty, come and sit with us at the table.” THAT would have taken nothing from me truly, and I would have gained SO much.

There are people in our communities all around us, that we could be giving them the only opportunity of light, and joy that they will see for a LONG time. If I pass them by, how many other people walk on by too?

I can feel completely alone in my community of family, friends, and co workers, how much so would a person that is truly alone? We see them every day; in the grocery store, holding a sign on the corner, at the library, or laying in the grass at the park.

I see how quickly it all can fade away, how quickly people come and go in our lives and our situations can change in an instant. This has happened in my own life, we were set up pretty good  and then went from much to little, how broken one could become when they didn’t have much to begin with and then lose all that they had? They need us, they need encouragement, joy, and someone to CARE.

Challenge this day my friend: Be aware of the needs around us, both emotional and physical. Can we pay that grocery tab of the single woman in line in front of us? Can we grab the cart and return it for the weary? Can we smile and give a bless you with eye contact and wave rather than walk by with our eyes to the ground? Maybe, handing out water to the sign holder and a protein bar  is an option.

It is time to reach out to the Lepers. They are precious in His sight!

Matthew 35: 37-40

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?

 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?

 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Beware…sweet doesn’t always mean good!

The recent stint of food poisoning for my friend from food that was absolutely wonderful tasting, led me to a lesson for the youth kids at my home.

We used marshmallows, soft, white, sweet marshmallows to represent sin. ( I wanted to use bubblegum but didn’t have that on hand)
Then we had to keep placing marshmallows in our mouths and try to say, Jesus is Lord. As each sin was crammed into the mouth, it was harder and harder to say Jesus is Lord.

Sometimes sin in our lives can seem so right, and be sweet for the moment: we can gossip with the excuse that we are lifting a sister in prayer, or we can serve the church ministry while neglecting our family at home, or we can shout praises in church and then slander our boss or family member because they made us mad, and we can call it righteous indignation.

We can mistakenly place sin in our mouth over and over and our walk becomes messy and sticky. The bitterness settles in and what once tasted sweet, no longer is. The more that the bitterness, and the root of sin buries in our heart, the harder it is to walk in Joy or sing the praises of Jesus. We can get in the trap without realizing it, but when conviction stirs in our hearts we need to recognize it and turn it over to the Lord. When sin is left in the heart, our life and walk reflect it. The word says we will be known by our fruit.

People notice when you gossip, people notice when you slander. It may not be apparent right away but will make you sick in the end spiritually if you keep walking in it.

We all sin and every one falls short of the glory of God. There is grace that covers that sin as we repent and turn away we have the VICTORY over that sin. As we walk closer to the father, the sin won’t seem so sweet anymore but foul or even off as it is on our lips, the conviction will come and we will hopefully pursue truly good things, that are ALL HIM.

Challenge this day my friend: Self examination; is there an area you may have felt conviction and you have slowly still ate from the wrong food? It is time to give it up and walk in your true victory in pursuit of Him.

Romans 6:13-14

 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.

 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

FULLNESS has arrived

I have begun my journey of blogging to encourage others to find joy, as well as my own pursuit of the fullness of joy of the Lord.

I am so gloriously happy to report that while things may get me down for a moment I do not stay there. I am no longer operating in fear or circumstances. It has been a rough journey and while I do not think the things that kept going wrong one after another were God’s doing, I do believe He used them to do a work in me. All things that are meant to harm us are used for the glory of God, for those who love Him.
I dug deeper into His word, I drew closer to Him, I sang out His praises when I did not feel like it and He used those opportunities to grow me. I never knew how much growing I needed to do, until I had true testing in my life. And test after test came, week after week.

I realized fresh that my fullness of joy was finally here, when I got devastating news about my moms health. While for a moment I was stunned and even saddened. I did not stay there. I know God already knows the plans He has for us and I know His promises for us.

Also in a matter of days I discovered my teen son was very seriously playing and toying with the idea of suicide. When I discovered this I was away from home and fear and panic could have taken hold of me a few months ago. But not this time, I laughed and declared, MY SON HAS A PURPOSE and nothing will deter that! I was concerned from time to time while I was away, and that prompted prayers of protection and covering over my sons heart as well as lots of texts to stay in touch…. but it did not lead me into a pattern of being frozen or overly consumed with it. I do not fear it! I have joy despite the circumstances around me.

Are home is to be listed for sale in a matter of months and we have NOTHING set aside for moving, and my husband still does not have a job, our credit score is horrid now and technically renting can be darn near impossible, but I do not care what ‘technically is’ God is bigger and  I am NOT letting that rob my joy.

Joy does NOT need to be based on our circumstances. It is a gift to us. The son has set us free from the bondage of worry, depression, fear and doubt. In my pursuit of Joy I decided to be a joy spreader, putting it out there all that I could. What happened then? BLESSED was the joy maker!

I will not walk in darkness but rather the light of the truth of what is MINE. Fullness of joy is mine!

Challenge this day my friend: Keep pursuing your victory over the concerns of the world. Keep pursuing the fullness of Joy. Get into the word, spend time in prayer and speak out against the things that want to pull you into the trap. Fullness of joy is ours to have in His presence, His presence dwells in the spirit of the believer, we need to practice walking in it 🙂
JOY is yours in the morning!

Acts 2: 25-28

David said about him:

“‘I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest in hope,
 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
you will not let your holy one see decay.
 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.

I want to radiate

I am aware the background to this message may sound like I am a tad bit spoiled. Trust me when I say that I know I have been. Here is a glimpse of that spoiled child in me anyway. 🙂

We live right next to a highway. On that noisy highway, are the neighbors, a gas station and a restaurant.
We blissfully slept in our new home the first few months, then one night when we clicked off the lights there was still  so much light in the room we could see the expressions on each others faces from across the room. There was now a flood of bright white light pouring in. Our neighbors so graciously bought floodlights for their parking lot and pointed them straight at our bedroom window. Previously we lived on a quiet 22 acres in the country that was stark black at night, this was a drastic change.

It could have been broad daylight it was so bright in the room. We had no money for curtains, so for a few weeks we slept (or tried to) in the light. Payday came and we found some discounted black curtains on clearance and it was blissfully dark in the room again, with only a little light seeping through the edges of the curtain.

Thinking on this light and the fact that it wasn’t very pleasant, still makes me think about how light works and how it pierces the darkness and changes a room.

A dark room with a few carefully placed lit candles becomes warm and friendly.

Reflecting on light and how bright and persistent it can be, reminds me of my desire to be that kind of light. One that changes an atmosphere and continues to shine, just because I am there. I want to lighten a room (in a GOOD way) by bringing joy and a hope.

One of the definitions of light in the dictionary is : The radiance or illumination from a particular source.

I WANT to be that particular source.  I so desire to radiate with the love of God, with HIS light. I do not want to bring darkness to a room with my grumbling, gossiping, worrying, complaining, sad self. I want to be SO full with the joy of the Lord that it can not help but spill out and onto others around me.

I want the surroundings about me to brighten with joy and animation because I am there and the Spirit of the Lord is a part of me.

One way to be the full light the Lord has for me to be, is to dig into the word and allow Him to work in me. Spending my days in prayer and worshiping the Lord in Spirit and truth continually and asking Him to always have His way in me. It is so important that I change the focus of my world around me and circumstances to a focus of Him and a love for His people. Taking steps towards being a light and letting go of the things that darken me is the only way I will be a light that penetrates the atmosphere!

Challenge this day my friends: Decide to be a light, and go for it.

Let me know the things you have done to be a light to others. Let’s share our ideas and experiences so we can grow together.

Psalm 89:15-

Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, LORD.

New Living Translation

I AM all this and more!

 My in-laws passed down some valuable lessons to my husband during prayer time when he was a child. My husband then passed these very true facts down to our children and I over heard and learned as well.

 I still to this day need to make an effort to remember what my position is, what I have, and who I am in Christ.

 I AM above and not beneath.

I AM a winner not a loser.

I AM a believer not a doubter.

I AM blessed coming in and blessed going out.

I AM able to do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I AM the head and not the tail.

I AM what God says I am and I can DO what God says I can do.

I AM filled with love, power and a sound mind not a spirit of fear! I have the mind of Christ.

 When I stop and remember the truth rather than what my moment would have me believe it is then that I know I blessed. I see my atmosphere around me change. It is very hard to walk around in depression when I am speaking life over my home, children, husband, loved ones and self. It is not hard to have hope when I focus on HIM and the fact He is always faithful.

 It has taken a long time for me to believe these truths about myself. But truths they are and I will not forget them. 

 ALL situations will work out of for the good of those who love Him. I KNOW the Lord will work all things out for my good, because I love Him.

 I look at all the ways there has been grace in my life and all the way things already have worked out for good. I can trust that it will continue. I am one blessed gal.

 

 Challenge this day my friend: Even if you do not believe that YOU ARE, speak these truths, until the truth becomes alive in you. Speak the truth I AM until you ARE. We can do EVERYTHING He created us to do!

 Ephesians 2:10- 

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

 (NIV)

 

Heritage

Image

 

I look at my father and grandmother together and my heart swells with joy. My father respects his mother. He holds her in high regard. He would never chose to hurt her with his words or dishonor her.

I know along the way, my grandmother must have made mistakes. I am a mother of three and I have made plenty of them. It is only normal that we wouldn’t get everything perfect. But no matter whether we make mistakes or not my grandmother has a son that honors her, and I have three sons that honor me. 

My grandmother has passed on traditions to her children. She has passed on characteristics and traits as well as her families culture.

She has learned new things her whole lifetime and shared those experiences of joys, pains, struggles, triumphs, heartache and love with me during late night conversations when I was a young lady. I treasure each moment that we have spent having those talks and prayer times. 

My most recent visit left me cherishing those moments passed even more. As my grandmother’s memory fades from that it once was, I am left with the reminder that we are human and time is precious. 

My father raised me with care and love and shared his wisdom and kindness and has taught me how to forgive. These things I am certain he had learned from his mother. Even if  mother and son were not aware that she was passing traits to him, she did, and in turn he passed them to me.

This is what heritage is about. Passing down to the next generation. Passing down your most valuable treasure. Isn’t love one of those most precious treasures of all?

I am aware not all parents are great benefactors. There are many traits you may wish you did not experience or learn. Even the best intentions can leave scarred, hurting children. My father made mistakes, I make mistakes with my children, but our Heavenly father will not hurt us or forsake us!

My father has adopted me. He is not my biological father. My biological father never wanted me. There was nothing from him. I was held for the first time by my adopted father, never my biological father. I was taught to ride a bike by my adoptive father, I was taught to laugh, blow bubbles, fish and be silly by my adoptive father. I have learned what it means to have love from someone that CHOSE to love me. 

This is what Christ can do. He chooses us. God knew us from the very beginning and He wants to be your father.

I look at this earthly relationship of a father that loved and raised me and a grandmother that loved and raised him and am reminded how much more so should I honor my heavenly father. 

He can be the love that you have not had, or the comfort you have not had, or the joy you have not had. He can be everything you may have wished your earthly father was.

I am reminded of what I should do concerning my heavenly father!

All the things that the Lord promises me, all His attributes can be passed on to me, because I AM His child. I should honor Him, respect Him and give Him my devotion.

I am an heir to the very heritage of the almighty God. I am His and I must honor Him with my life. He has chosen to adopt me into the Kingdom. THAT is something to have JOY in!!!!

 

Challenge this day my friend: Allow the LORD to be your Benefactor. Allow Him to be your parent. To shower you with His love, gifts, treasures and joy.

Ephesians 1:3-6

  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,   even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love  he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,   to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 

(English Standard Version) 

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