Thanksgiving 2016

“Be mindful every minute of every hour of every day of the Lord’s presence.
In so doing you will be able to have a servants heart during
a busy and challenging season.” ~ Judy Slaughter

img_0376
Today as I reflect on what I am thankful for, I cannot help but look back on this year. In many ways it feels as if time as stood still. Life seems to have come to a stop. The momentum we had in January and February, the plans we had, were interrupted on February 29th.

But as I have spent time praying and meditating since then, I can see the Lord’s hand in our lives in ways I had never experienced before. Sure, there have been challenging times in my life. Days, weeks and even years when I felt lost and alone. Praying for one thing or another. Yet, not until Scott’s stroke do I think I truly understood who God was, what He was, or how present He was in my life and that of my family’s. It may have felt as if life stopped, but it has moved in some pretty amazing ways.

At our women’s Bible study this past Tuesday, Judy said something for all of us to keep in mind during this holiday season. Yet, as I read it again and again, I am wholly convicted that it needs to be a way of life in all times. She said, “Be mindful every minute of every hour of every day of the Lord’s presence. In so doing you will be able to have a servants heart during a busy and challenging season.” Keep Jesus in the forefront of my mind…all of the time. I’ve not let that word picture leave me since then. Seeing Him right next to me. Am I saying, doing, speaking and behaving in such a way that Jesus would approve?

So today, as you go about preparing your home for Thanksgiving, be mindful of the Lord’s presence. I know I will.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you…for the very life you have given me, for my husband whom I love and cherish, for my beautiful daughters whom are a delight in my life, for my mom whose kindness and love never cease to fill me, for my sister and her beautiful family, for my friends near and far, I am so grateful for your support,, encouragement, prayers, hugs and love. Thank you Lord for the country. We live in, for the freedoms we enjoy, for the ultimate sacrifice of the men of women in our military. Jesus, I pray for all of them that their day would be reminder to give thanks; for those who don’t know You, I pray they would find You and follow You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thanksgiving 2016

Step out in faith,
Walk with Jesus the King.
Give thanks for all that you have;
And with your lips worship and sing.

What does today mean,
To you my dear family and friends?
I hope and I pray your hearts overflow,
As you give thanks with hands you lovingly extend.

Give thanks to the Lord,
For His perfect provisions and plan.
No matter what message the world conveys,
Always follow His lead, and be fishers of man.

I cannot imagine,
The journey Jesus took.
But the days of His glory to come,
Are beautifully inscribed in the Bible, His book.

So open the pages,
It doesn’t matter which one.
For they all show His truth and His life.
And so perfectly, how with His death, sin is finished its done.

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:23‬

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His faithful love endures forever.” ‭Psalm 107:1

Advertisements

In the Morning

img_0147“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.” Psalm 143:8

There are so many things rumbling through my mind this morning. I am thinking of what lies before me…the busyness of the day. Bible study, an appointment for my husband, school for the girls, laundry and packing for our trip. I am thinking of a friend, whom I love very dearly, in a very difficult place, yet I know she is filled with hope of what is to come, of being with Jesus in heaven.

I am thinking of money, and how faithfully the Lord of lord’s, the King of kings, has provided for us beyond anything I could have ever dreamed or imagined. And knowing that truly everything we possess belongs to God. Always has and always will. More than I ever really understood.

I am thinking about what it means to meditate on God’s Word. In Deuteronomy 32:45-47 we read,

“When Moses finished reciting all these words to all Israel, he said to them, “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.””
‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭32:45-47‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬

I am thinking about how God’s words, through Moses, are our life, and not just idle words. How many words do I speak and think in any given day are idle? Likely, most of them.

“Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the Lord your God gives you for all time.” Deuteronomy‬ ‭4:39-40‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬

In the early morning, as I read God word, I see that He is using all of my life circumstances to bring Him glory. It is in our personal trials, when it feels as if we could not take one more step and fall on our knees in genuine submission, that God challenges our faith. In so doing we can rise up into His loving embrace, being assured of his promise, “that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land your God gives you for all time.” Duet. 4:40.

In the early morning hours,
When daylight is far away,
I lift my hands in adoration,
I pray Lord show me the way.

Though I cannot see the way to go,
I fully trust you’ll show the path.
You’re hand will take hold of mine,
I submit all to you; no more wrath.

This day is Yours, Lord on high,
Your word, it guides me through.
Through the trials and the challenges,
The pain and heartache, too.

And as the dark becomes light,
I will still but trust in You.
For nothing can separate us,
You guide from a heavenly view.

Thank you Jesus, Lord of lord’s.
Thank you for the gift you’ve given.
Abundant life, you are my rock,
In your death all my sins forgiven.

I rest this morning, a heart at peace,
Your word my firm foundation.
No matter what may come my way,
I submit to you, Creator of creation.

img_2260

Heavenly Father,  this day and every day is Your good and perfect gift.  Let me see not only with my eyes, but also with my heart, my spirit and my mind, all that You would want me to see.  Help me to be like Christ Jesus who made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant. (Philippians 2:7)  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

In Fear of Darkness

 

img_0256

I arose early this morning. Something I’ve not done in quite a while. So many things going on in my wee brain. The list of to do’s, the places I need to bring my children or my husband this week, the light fixture in the closet that needs something other than replacement bulbs.

But what weighs on my mind the most this morning as I read my bible was fear. Fear of what we can’t see. I liken it to the fear a child may have of the dark. It’s scary. We wonder what is lurking in the darkness.

When I was younger I was afraid of the dark. I would lay in bed, eyes wide open, waiting. At some point in the night exhaustion would overtake me and I would fall asleep. Waking to the light of day, and putting my fear away until later. There were nights the fear was paralyzing.. Gripping me with a stronghold.

I don’t remember at what age I begin to let go of the fear of the darkness. I know I was an adult. Having not been raised in a believing home, there was much spiritual darkness all around, all of the time. Day and night. I now know that is what contributed to my fear. But what of those raised in a Christian home? Why do some still fear the dark of night?

In First Peter, the fifth chapter, verse 8 we read, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” We are to be alert and of a sober (to make or become more serious, sensible, and solemn) mind. Remembering that God is a not a God of disorder but of peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33

So is fear of darkness unfounded? Absolutely not. To be afraid of darkness is to acknowledge that Satan lurks in the shadows of our lives. But, we, as believers, are to live in the light. With the Trinity on our team, we can overcome the dark because He has come to overcome the world, which is dark.

There are dark forces all around us. It might be a website we frequent, music we listen to, thoughts we have. In a sneaky and conniving way the enemy uses these and many others to put unfounded fear in us.

Fear of shadows that move in the night,
Oh heart, my heart stay focused on God’s light.

When fear grips my soul-
To You I give all control.

Fear has no place in my life anymore,
God’s peace I pray, in joy I’ll soar.

There may be a day when some fear returns,
But my God will abate all of my fearful concerns.

img_2253

The first step to overcoming fear is to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior. To let the Holy Spirit indwell in you. “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,: and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9 proclaims.

Next, with godly fear and trembling (“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.: Philippians 2:12)) pray believing that He who created the darkness and the light is with you. A light on a hill cannot be covered. With Him, you and I are that light. Let His light shine before all men… (“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14. )

Finally, search scripture that speaks of overcoming your fear. Read these scriptures as prayers, write them down, and read them during the day and during the night. Let God’s amazing grace and peace wash over you, and see how He washes away your fear.

So as my day comes to a close, and the sun is now beginning to set, may I be held in my Savior’s strong protective arms.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for showing me sections of scripture that remove doubt and fear of your sovereignty. I lift to You a sweet young girl who has been gripped with this kind of fear, I lift her to Jesus; loving arms; I pray you will no longer fear the shadows, but illuminate all darkness with His light. In His name I pray, Amen.

“Say to those with fearful hearts; be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with diving retribution he will come to save you.” Isaiah 35:4”

Blurred Lines

img_2251

“I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:15-16

Do you ever feel sad, angry, overwhelmed, exhausted, alone and confused all at once? That the life you have is just too much and you want to pack up and leave it all behind? There are days, my friend, when I couldn’t move fast enough in the opposite direction of where I am.  Get me outta here!

Yet, is that what God really wants me to do?

It’s been a life altering season for my small family of four. I used to think the baby and toddler years were the tough ones. Not to demean them, for they are a unique and challenging time for many stay at home moms.

But having had stroke happen, one is never prepared. I sure wasn’t.

From the fear of losing my husband to this dreadful brain attack, to the preparation of finally bringing him home. I was ill-prepared. So much to do, and so much to know. Which I didn’t fully understand at the time. “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7. How grateful I am for a Savior who knows what I need before I ask, who cares for me. Especially in this season.

In the beginning I could not see clearly. My life lines became very blurry. Many days they still are.  But what has not been blurred is my need to stay focused on Jesus and his beautiful words written for me. I belong with Him, to Him. My life and my hope are built upon the solid rock of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Although I don’t know how it will all turn out, I can be certain of the end. In the end I will be sitting with Jesus in heaven, forever. Enveloped in His glory. 🤗

“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” Proverbs 24:3-4.

Oh, let my life be a reflection of Proverbs 24:3-4!

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians‬ ‭6:9‬ ‭‬‬

I am weary, to be sure.  But am reminded that staying on the course of doing good, there will be a harvest.  In God’s perfect timing and way.

When life’s lines become blurry,
When burdens seem to great.
Just rest in Him, no need to hurry,
With Him it’s never to late.

With faith as small as a mustard seed,
Great mountains and oceans He moved;
And in faith the multitudes did He feed,
My friend there is nothing God cannot improve.

Be strong and courageous, but not in yourself,
But in God whose proven through the ages,
His treasure abounds, not ever withheld,
For in His death did he pay our sins wages.
His word reminds us he’ll not forget us,
He’s engraved us in the palm of his hand.
We are worth more than rubies and such,
So take heed of each word and command.

For the days will soon come to an end,
All the trials and challenges and pain.
And He’ll say, “Well done, my faithful friend .”
Nothings lost, but all eternity you gain.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians‬ ‭2:8-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬

Dear Father God, I pray that I would live today as though it were my last on earth; that I would serve others, put others before myself; that I would rest in the knowledge that with You I need nothing, for with You I have everything. I pray that I would be a hearer and doer of Your Word; that I would be kind, gentle, loving and long-suffering. You know that in my flesh I can’t do anything, but with You, in You all things are possible. Lord, you have been faithful even when I am not; your hand is ever upon me; on Your hand my name is engraved. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for this life you have given me. Let me love because you first loved me; let me hope because you have shown me what it means to be hopeful; let me give because you have given to me the ultimate gift, Your life in exchange for my sins.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!

CREATED, CALLED, CONTROLLED

Then Moses said to the people of Israel, “See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, (‭Exodus‬ ‭35‬:‭30-31‬ ESV)

Created in Your image,
To live a life in love.
I belong to you, my Lord,
From the earth and up above.

Called into Your service,
My life belongs to You.
My every waking hour, I pray,
Your light shines brightly through.

Control me Lord, in everything
I say, and do, and think.
Your gift to me, the world to see,
For You my heart does sync.

Characterized by God’s wisdom,
A trait each day I’ll wear,
From now until He calls me home,
This is my daily prayer.

Commanded by Your Word to show
The love you’ve freely given.
My life is filled to overflowing.
In Christ I am truly forgiven.

Colored by Your many shades
Of crimson, bright and clear.
A reflection of Your majesty,
God’s presence is ever near.

Citizens of heaven,
I pray we all will be.
In His Presence we’re made whole,
Dear friend-Jesus is the Key.

Created in His image.
You can rest assured,
He holds you in His loving arms,
For you -death He endured.

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. (‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭29‬:‭11‬ ESV)

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, (‭Philippians‬ ‭3‬:‭20‬ ESV)

…and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. (‭Colossians‬ ‭3‬:‭10‬ ESV)

Laughter

img_2248

Laughter…is the best medicine.

I wrote  this yesterday morning.  Just now getting to finish and post. 🙂

Today is Halloween. Although as family we don’t celebrate what this day is about, we do participate in a huge happening at our church. A harvest party.

This year has been pretty challenging for our family. So as the announcement came and sign-ups to help were posted, we said “yes!” Yes to being helpers. Yes to participating in sharing the gospel message. Yes to fun and laughter.

We have been helpers before, each of us. But this year as I think about the past eight months I want to have fun, to laugh, to be silly. Because laughter is the best medicine. Here’s a great article from healthdigezt.com listing nine benefits of laughter. http://www.healthdigezt.com/9-very-real-benefits-of-laughter/

So what does laughter and our churches harvest party have to do with the challenges in my life, you ask? Well, let me tell you. When the weight of life has got me feeling down, I know its time for a change. Being silly, dancing, singing and just general goofiness, lifted my spirits yesterday. I attended a volunteer meeting with our youngest daughter. As we stood in line for lunch, the music was playing right next to us. In a light-hearted and silly way, I started to dance. Of course my daughter backed away from me a bit, giving me the look that only a 13 year old can. But, let me tell you, the feeling in my heart and head were incredible. I can’t remember feeling so good.

Laughter and good times don’t change our situation. However, they can change how we look at them. How we feel overall. I know it’s a chemical thing in our bodies. It’s a very good thing.

So, as I prepare for the day, school, errands, chores…I am excited about tonight’s party. I am looking forward to donning my costume (a jaguar onesie), maybe even drawing whiskers on my face. The thought of it delights my soul.

“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” Proverbs‬ ‭15:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬

This verse says it all, don’t you agree? In your own experience, haven’t you found that when your own heart is happy everyone around you can tell? Your eyes light up, your step is bouncier, you can laugh at yourself. We all need more laughter in our lives.

Laughter, happy hearts and a joyful spirit. James 5:13 says, “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.” So I hope we will, today, chose to be happy.

Laughter is the best way,
To find your true home.
Let your heart rejoice and say,
“let joy be my way to roam.

There’s not nearly enough laughter,
In this world in which we live.
So let your voices forever after,
In Jesus’ joy you’ll be eternally attractive.

Be silly, fun and a bit carefree,
Each day make happiness your choice.
Let the world know and see,
In the Lord you fully rejoice.