gift

Never underestimate the Power of a Gift

2 Corinthians 8:12

For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.

In this season that is so commercialized to entice you to spend lots of money in hopes to put the biggest smile on someone’s face, we must remember that the biggest gift we can give someone is our love.

Galatians 5:14

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
If we love then it’s not going to matter the size of the gift but that it was given in love.
We can tend to get financially in debt and stressed out with all the hype and that is not how we should feel.

2 Corinthians 9:7 

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Hebrews 13:16 

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

So step back and evaluate our gifts.  And always remember that a gift may not have any monetary value at all but could have the biggest impact on the receiver.

To read more about giving gifts BibleGateway.com-Logo

fridays-question

Friday’s Question

Do I really have to serve others?  100 ways to serve….

1 John 3:18    Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Matthew 5:16   In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

1 Peter 4:10    Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

Acts 20:35  In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

Read more about service by clicking BibleGateway.com-Logo

John Baker stated it well ” Faith without works is like a car without gasoline!

How can I keep my faith strong if I don’t serve?!

100 Ways to Serve others

Lord, thank You for giving us your son as an example of how to live and love others.  Help me to be reminded of the blessings that come by serving. Amen!

gratitude

Grateful for…………

Psalm 118:24  BibleGateway.com-Logo (click to read more)

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Grateful for……………….. Jesus!

Grateful for………………. a GOD who is POWERFUL, TRUSTWORTHY, LOVING, HONEST, FORGIVING, ALL KNOWING, JUSTIFIER, REDEEMER, ADVOCATE AND MUCH MORE.

Grateful for…………. my husband.  God had to have dropped him in my lap because if we’d gone to high school together, we would have been voted the “Most unlikely couple”.  Couldn’t hardly get 2 more different types of people.  And don’t get me wrong, just because God paired us up doesn’t mean it’s been like heaven on earth.  Remember, there are 2  humans involved.  But the 3 important things that God knew about both of us, is that we are loyal, determined and understand the definition of commitment. Love this man!

Grateful for ……………………my children and the love that their families are bringing me.

Grateful for ………………………friends. Old and New!

Grateful for………….. my church! Not only the building but the people. For the freedom I have to worship my Lord anytime on any day that I want to go there privately to pray or join in with a group of fellow Christians in Worship and Praise. No worries of persecution! Although every person in that building has hurts, bad habits and crazy hangups, I’m still grateful for them.

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Grateful for …………….freedom.  The list of freedoms that we have in this USA are countless. We may not always use the best judgement when exercising them but we still have them. The primary freedom that I’m grateful for is the ability to openly follow and love a great and mighty GOD!

Grateful for …………..my home.     God has truly provided. A natural trait of mine is to want more. Just being honest, that is what comes natural to me but I am learning that God will provide exactly what I need and nothing more. Sometimes he will let me have more but he is not concerned with the “more” only with the “need”. If I work harder, sacrifice things and “go for it!”, I may have more but sometimes there are things we will loose just in the pursuit of having more. So we should weigh our choices carefully. Checking our “contentment scale” regularly for balance.

Grateful for……………. me. God made one unique person when he stitched me together and he has been molding me since day one. At 55 I can think back in wonderment of the experiences that I’ve had and see how God has used each one to create “ME”. He believes that I’m perfect just as I am so I will claim it too! Matthew 5:48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Grateful for………… bible.  I have a place to go for all the answers.

Grateful for………… experiences.  Good and Bad.  Yes, I said bad!  They made me who I am. Didn’t feel good during them but now, I’m grateful.  God didn’t cause the bad but he did give me Grace through the Good and the Bad. Grateful!

Grateful for…….free speech. Like anything in this world, I pray that we will all use that freedom of speech a little wiser.

Grateful for…………..Universe. God gave us beauty every day , every minute and every place we look. There is not one thing He created that doesn’t have a purpose. Including me!

Grateful for ………………. the unexpected!
Sometimes we are strolling through life thinking that this is just how life is going to be and then God allows the unexpected to happen. That unexpected could be a good thing or a bad thing but there is always something to glean out of it. Something to learn!
James 4:13-14
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
John 16:13
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
2 Peter 1:3
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,
Matthew 6:13
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
So don’t stroll through life missing the unexpected. It just may be in that unexpected moment that we’re able to see God more clearly.
Grateful for ……………..clean air and water.   There are so many that live in areas where they don’t have such luxuries but yet I take them for granted on a daily basis.  I pray that I will remember my blessings breathing and being filled each day.

Genesis 2:15      The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

Grateful for…………. the ears of a friend and my own ears and God’s ears.  Life is………… well………….just life.  I love when I’m so happy that I could burst or when the pain is so great that my heart is breaking and I can call a friend.  To have an ear to listen to my cries of joy or of pain is simply all that is needed at times.   I have learned so much about hope and contentment from listening to others in their times of crying out. Those times have taught me to rejoice and to have compassion.  Then there is God.  The God of relationship. The one that is always listening for me to cry out to Him with my joys and my pain. He is my ultimate comforter.

John 10:27-28   My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

Mark 4:24   And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.

Psalm 25:4-5   Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

1 John 5:14   And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.

Grateful for…………..God’s creation.  Particularly animals today.  As I sit and watch the birds out my window.  He is a God of great imagination. Hundreds of different breads of animals but just in the bird species there are over 10,000 different types.  They are amazing and sweet little creatures.They instinctively  flutter around doing their daily chores seemingly without any question about what they should be doing.  My favorite is the hummer, they are just so sweet and fragile but are fast as lightening.  And even those little things have so many different characteristics. God, yes, He has the imagination. And He placed them all here for us to enjoy.

Grateful for……….. examples of Love.   Love unconditionally! Exactly what does that mean?  Well unconditional means “not limited in any way : complete and absolute”.  So is that even possible.  Jesus has shown that it is many times.

John 13:34   “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

Ephesians 5:25    Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

Leviticus 19:18     “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

I have to admit that there has been times when I have loved “myself” more than I love the other.  I am convicted to Not live my life that way.  I am to love as he has loved me, give myself up for the other and love as I love myself.

Grateful for…………. provisions.  This is definitely a time of us getting our fill of provisions.  I’m grateful that I’ve never felt the affects of not having food on my table.  But there are those that do. Today and through the days ahead I pray that I don’t forgot those who need.  I pray that I will look for ways to provide for others through the provisions that I have been given.

Grateful for…………… time. I have time today to rest. I’ll have time tomorrow to be busy. I’ve had time gone by to make memories. But I don’t know when my time will be gone. So I am going to make the most of the time I have right now to love others, right my wrongs, offer hope, give out kisses & tickles to my grand babies, make the most of family time, look at the stars in wonderment, soak in the sunshine, dance in the rain, wrap up in a warm blanket, help someone in need, lend a shoulder, an ear and a word of encouragement and share the word of God to those who need too hear it.

Grateful for……….. technology.  I will be the first to say, “technology is the ruin of relationships”.  Texting, emailing, internet searches, and the list could go on and on of the things that technology can do to harm our relationships.  It’s like any other addiction.  You have to walk away from it and not let it control you.  But for me, technology is a way that I can feel close to those that I’m geographically far away from.  To continue that connection with them in a way that I wouldn’t be able to if we did’t have it.  Yes, we could still do snail mail or call them on my corded home phone but to be able to visually see them, makes a huge difference. Yes, I spend a lot of time on the computer but I pray that I’m reaching someone that I might not be able to reach otherwise and sharing the word of God with them.  But as I was talking with a friend yesterday on the phone and as our phones were peeping from the incoming group texts & emails she said, “I had to put my phone away and pay attention to the people that were right in front of me”.  That is sometimes where we lack. Going out with friends or with your spouse but spending more time on the phone than with the ones right in front of us. That is when the addiction is taking over.  So I say, enjoy  our technology, catch up and keep up with those who live away from us but when there is a “real” person in the room with you, put the technology down. God is a God of Relationships!

Grateful for……………. Sunshine! Warms my soul and a reminder from the Lord that even when there are stormy days he promises that the Sun will rise and a new day will come.
2 Corinthians 4:16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
Luke 1:78-80 A new day will dawn on us from above because our God is loving and merciful. He will give light to those who live in the dark and in death’s shadow.
He will guide us into the way of peace.”
 Grateful for…………. forgiveness.  Christ was the perfect example of forgiveness.  He was beat and slandered.  His friends turned against him.  But yet He died for me!
Grateful for………… Grace!   For me the sinner!  I try everyday by my own will and I fail everyday by my own will.  But when I tap into the heart of Jesus daily, I may still fail but I’m covered by Grace.  He covers it all, regardless of how great or how small the sin, it’s still sin but He knows my heart and He loves me in the middle of it.
Grateful for……….. Community!  I love being by myself but I also love community.  The feeling of togetherness.  Doesn’t matter if it’s within the confounds of my home with my family,  the confounds of the church, the confounds of my job, the confounds of a simple meal with a friend or the confounds of a celebration with many, there is just something about unified community.  I’m grateful that the Lord blessed me with so many.

How about you?

1-cor-12

Come Together

1 Corinthians 12:20  BibleGateway.com-Logo

As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

There are many parts but one body.   Just as God gave me 2 ears, 2 eyes, 2 legs/feet, 2 arms/hands, 2 lungs but only 1 heart, none of the parts would work if the heart was not functioning.  We are all separate parts of the body, leader, organizer, picky, dreamer, encourager, socialite, patience, intelligent, bossy,  impartial, generous, forgiving, adaptable, fearless, trusting, humble , helpful,  reliable,  dependable, adventurous, and sarcastic and many more traits but together we make beautiful, one body.  Our natural traits can always be used by God for something wonderful.  We simply must remember that we are not here alone, we are a body of many parts.

Lord, help me to keep others on the forefront of my mind.  Remembering that for my gifts to be used at their best, I must allow others to use their gifts along side of me.  I thank You for creating us all different but fitting us together perfectly. Amen!

 

be-thankful

Being Thankful

Colossians 3:15 

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Rushing through life, allowing outside influences to skew our focus, thinking only of self, hording our resources, the master mentality and many other reasons that we loose sight of “Being Thankful”.

I find this to be true while riding the motorcycle.  It is a time for me to just sit back, clear my mind and relax. To not think on or pay attention to outside (outside me) things.  But I have learned that there is much beauty outside (outside me) and if I don’t open my eyes wide and watch for things then I will surely miss them. They will simply be a blur and I will have missed something great.

God has so many things to show me, teach me, bless me with that don’t have anything to do with the inside (me).  So although I am not perfect and I definitely don’t do it perfect every day, I strive to let the peace of Christ rule in my heart and look to the outside (others) and create peace within the whole body.  To be thankful for each other, to be thankful for all experiences, to be thankful and see where He is leading me.  Perfect…..No  Striving…. Yes    Thankful…… Absolutely!

I encourage you to look into the stories of the bible and find what the Lord is showing you. Know that He has great things in store for you if you will only focus and not loose sight. BibleGateway.com-Logo

Lord, I thank You always. Help me to stay focused in my heart.

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Greatest is Love

1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I know several couples who have celebrated mile stone anniversaries this year.  I myself celebrated 23 years so I’m so ready for # 25.   I know that each one of those couples have seen great times but they have also seen dark.  Now mind you, I have known them all closely so I know the darkest and the lightest times of their life.  I’ve seen them love each other even in times that they would rather leave than love but they’ve held firm to the commitment that they made to themselves, their friends, their children and mostly to God.  In these days it is rare to see a marriage stand firm against this world (Satan).  It is so easy to forget and get caught up with what’s on the other side of that fence that you may feel trapped in.  Obviously there are times when your commitment to God is not shared by your partner and there fore it wouldn’t matter how much faith, hope and love you show but whether your spouse get’s it or not, God sees you.  I watch as the children of my friends, maybe not fully understanding the sacrifices that their parents have made to and for each other but they will come to understand and see their struggles and watch them cling to what is right, forgoing their own personal desires at times.  I myself have had to make those decisions and thankfully my husband was one of faith, hope and love also.  And I am well aware of the example that has set for my children. When the going gets tough the tough stick together.  It’s easier at times to leave but God’s design is not always the easier. Romans 5:4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. How much character have we shown our children and those around us by perservering?

Lord father may I not take for granted this love from another that You have given me to share my life with.  Neither of us are perfect alone but by being intertwined with You Lord we are.  Amen!

To find out more about the Love that God has for us, the love that Jesus has exampled for us and the love that we are to have for another.  Read from BibleGateway.com-Logo

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fridays-question

Friday’s Question

Is it really worth listening for the voice of God?

1 Samuel 3:10 (Click here)

Matthew 4:2-4 (Click here)

Proverbs 2:1-5 (Click here)

Mark 4:24 (Click here)

John 10:27-28 (Click here)

Psalm 37:4-5

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.

Revelation 3:20

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

Romans 10:17

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Find More BibleGateway.com-Logo

I could not live without hearing His voice.  He is my peace through my stress and my light in darkness.  He loves without question and His faithfulness gives me hope.

Lord, I’m grateful! Please Lord be with those that I love and help them stay on Your path.  I pray for those who do not know you. Amen

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15-one-liners

15 One liners

James 1:19 (CLICK HERE)

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;

Proverbs 2:2 (CLICK HERE)

Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding;

  1. The more time I spend defending my beliefs the less others listen to me
  2. The harder I try to prove my point the less I’m looking at God’s point
  3. The more I’m talking the less I’m listening
  4. God gave us a heart and a brain, it’s best to use both of them
  5. Listening to the opposing side can strengthen and mold mine
  6. When it’s more important to be right then it is to know God’s truth, there’s a problem
  7. Standing for all who God created is more important than standing for self
  8. Better to look at the “whole” story than to stand on just a few lines.  (The bible is not just a couple scriptures to prove a point, it’s a whole story that contains 66 books, and you must put them all together for HIS whole story.)
  9. Just because it’s the way it’s always been doesn’t mean it’s the way it needs to be
  10. Empathy and compromise may not be popular but they make me more willing
  11. Closing myself off into my own little world doesn’t keep me safe it makes me dangerous
  12. Brain knowledge isn’t always a good indicator of how smart we are
  13. We’re only as smart as our minds are open
  14. When the going gets tough, the tough look to God
  15. He has taught me to STOP, BREATH AND LISTEN

To learn more about what the Lord has taught me and become His student too!                            BibleGateway.com-Logo

Lord help me to remember that You are my guide. Amen!

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SAVED MY LIFE

Tianna Cummings:  I have known Tianna since she was a little girl.  And I’ve also gotten to experience serving along side of her.  She is passionate about what she believes the Lord is leading her to do and she loves deeply.  I’m proud to have been able to be a part of her growing up years and I’m excited to see what the Lord does with her future.  One thing for sure I know is that she will do it to the best of her ability and she isn’t afraid of following His lead.  Glad to be a 2nd mom to this wonderful child of God!

tiannaMy story with God, is a simple one – He saved my life. When I say that, I don’t mean God sending his one and only son to be crucified so that I might live. God sent me people that reminded me, not only who He is and why but that I matter and I have been given the gift of a life that needs living.

My parents got pregnant with me at a young age, they separated at a young age, which left me at a young age, without a father. Ironically, one of the few things I ever longed for in this world, was a strong, father/daughter relationship and that is still something I desire to have as a 23 year old young women. I truly believe that my God has a real serious sense of humor. He has always known my heart but our definitions haven’t always come from the same dictionary. God blessed me with a grandfather who has taken on some of the familial father roles; this is how God started placing people in my life.

I spent my formative years in North Carolina, while my father lived in Minnesota. When I was 11 years old, I told my mom, I wanted to move to Minnesota to live with my father, my step mom and my step brother, to help eliminate any of the excuses he fashioned for why we didn’t have a relationship. In the time I lived in Minnesota with them, I became very depressed and in fact suicidal. I think that I have always been a strong believer in the fact that God knows my heart and of course when you make those desires known, He will give them to you (within reason.) At 12, going on 13, the young girl in me, couldn’t understand why God hadn’t given my father the days off work to spend with me, or the courage to just tell me why he didn’t do for me but could do for his step son – those times and conversations never came. With that, I began traveling down the road of reason that if I couldn’t have the one desire of my heart – a true dad, then there would be no need to keep fighting for that or hurting over it not happening. But when I came back to North Carolina, I started almost therapy with my youth minister. Funny thing, looking back, that was God placing a man in my life to fill a void.

After returning back to North Carolina and starting high school, I began struggling with my mom. Growing up in a single parent household was given a new meaning when my life started. As I mentioned before, my parents got pregnant young, my parents and I are nineteen years apart. At no fault of my mom, I think it just got hard for her. At one point, we lived with my grandparents, I remember she moved out and I stayed with them to go to better schools and then she just stopped coming by the house, or I would only see her on the weekends and then back home with my (grand)parents. Definition wise, I come from a single mother household, but I grew up with two parents, they just didn’t directly birth me. That was a long way around, but starting high school, my mom and I began to have some issues of respect, and boundaries. Some would consider it normal, if these were issues with a parent you saw everyday, but that wasn’t us. This took me ever further down the path of suicide that I started a few years earlier – if the people that God gave me as parents don’t respect me or love me or want to do for me, then why should I make it harder for them?

I didn’t know it then, but God had always heard my prayers and knew my heart, but it wasn’t until that moment, he began to what appeared to be, as actively answering. He sent me women from my church, with boys, or adult children, or no children at all- women like Rhoda Gould, Ingrid Ruffin and Natasha Owens. These women all entered my life for different reasons and have stayed with me through many seasons.

Without these women and men, my story would have ended years too soon. My life is not perfect. I eventually had to accept that I would have to forgive my father and that my mom and I are better apart. I thank God for the role both my parents have played and still play in shaping the adult I am becoming. Now, my father believes he his entitled to a relationship with me and had this epiphany after my 21st birthday. I have now come to the realization that I had forgiven my father at 18, for the hurt caused up until that point, but now I need to forgive him for the hurt he’s brought back between then and now. And I am learning discernment in speaking to my mother as her adult child.

Some people think because I am outgoing and loud and comfortable in front of crowds, that it’s easy. I understand that there will always be someone my age or younger who has or is living something far worse than what I’ve experienced – it’s all relative, but that doesn’t mean that my monsters are any less terrifying to me or the same for the next person.

As my 21st birthday gift to myself, I got, “Matthew 6:25, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry for each day has enough troubles of its own.’

Love always and forever, Mommy.” I have learned my past took too much energy in worrying about a world without me in it. My God clearly states in that verse that I am more important than the animals and yet, even they don’t worry. Sharing that just leaves room for God to save another life, just like he saved mine!  Tianna Cummings

Lord, be with Tianna as she moves into the next phase of life following You.  Give her the people around her  that will encourage her and help keep her on the path to You.  Thank You Lord for allowing me to be part of her journey.  Remind us Lord that we are to seek out those we can serve.  Amen!

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me

The “ME” Culture

Matthew 25: 35-40

‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’   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.”  

BibleGateway.com-Logo

The “ME” Culture………………  what does that wording sound like.  Well, if you guessed, “It’s all about me” then you got it right! We do live in a culture that if it’s not about us or somehow going to benefit us, then we aren’t much for it.  What happened about thinking of other before ourselves?

There is always going to be seasons of our lives where we have to have the focus inward or at least towards our family but when you bunch your life span together, the bulk of it should be serving others.   Now that service can look much different.   I love the article below that Rick Warren wrote.

We Serve God by Serving Others by Rick Warren (click here)

So let’s get out of the “ME” Culture and bond together in the “OTHERS” Culture.  Start serving today!

Lord thank You!  I praise your name and your love that you show me daily.  I thank  you for people in my life that help me to be better.  I ask you to continue to work in me so that I am able to focus on others.  I love you and thank you.  Amen!

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