Turn

#fmf

Seems my life has been one big revolving door.  It started when I was young.  Experiences I had put me on a path I couldn’t find myself turning away from.  I’ve made decisions, decided which way to turn and always seemed to find my way back to the same point.  Lost!  Confused!  Shamed!  Guilted!  Sinful!  Back to the same place, didn’t matter if I turned left or right, went straight or turned around.  Back to the same place!

Then I was guided by a dear lady that loved me enough to be brave with me. Share with me the turn that I needed to make.

Isaiah 59:2

But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.

I know now, the right turn to make but do I always choose it?

Isaiah 53:6

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

I have had to suffer great pain, much heart ache and some personal losses to draw closer to Him.  To understand that when ever I’m at a cross road and don’t know which way to turn, the right decision is to turn to God.  Reminding myself each time when my sin draws me away that Jesus already paid the price for me.

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Now, I come to a place where I know when I turn to Him it’s always going to be right.  I may have to wait on Him to show me my next steps but He will.

Isaiah 40:31

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

So no more revolving door for me!  I absolutely don’t always make the right decisions, don’t always take the right steps but I am aware each day that it’s a new one.  A new day to draw closer.  A new day to turn to Him and allow the Holy Spirit to guide me.  A new day to let His grace and the sacrifice that Jesus made for me renew my soul and turn me in the back to eternity.

Lord, I’m without words. Amen!

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Tick Tock

We all have 24 hours in a day, the only thing that is different between my time and yours is, how we spend it.  I don’t know about your time but mine is split up into basically 3, 8 hour segments.  One is sleeping (on a good day), 2 is work and 3 is free time.  The question is, how do I spend that 8 hours of free time and is it really 8 hours of “ME” time.  No way! I have many things that pull and tug at my “free time”.   My husband, my extended family, my church, my friends, my home and me.  Oops, God was left out of that list.  I feel like some days go that way, God is an after thought.

Matthew 6:33

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Tick Tock time is passing right in front of my eyes.  My kids have grown up, my grands are getting too big and my body is feeling the time that is passing.  What have I not done with all that time?

Today a friend from work was talking about not feeling like he spends enough time with God. But then he started telling me all the things he does with God, in prayer, listening to devotions and sharing his witness by praising God to others.  And I know this man, he’s a server and a steward of God’s blessings.  Is he perfect, no!  Does he spend as much time with God in silence as some others may, no!  Is his heart desiring to devote his life to  HIM, ABSOLUTELY!  So what else would God expect?

Ecclesiastes 3:1-10

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

I say to my self, I was doing what needed to be done.

I shared with him that I have the same struggles.  I don’t feel that I spend enough quiet time with God!  In this season of my life, I have to give myself some slack.   I have my own “time for everything” list.  My quiet time with the Lord may look differently than that of a women that is able to be a home maker (w/o children).  My devotion time may look different from that of a women that is home and raising a house full of kids.  The point is our time with God will look different according to what season of life we’re in.  Give yourself some slack!

I have 8 hours of free “ME” time.  Some would say that I need to use some of that time for things other than what I choose.  But it’s my time!  Time I can’t get back.  So I choose to use it spending a little time with God and allowing Him to speak through scripture to me so that I can share what He shows me to you.  I choose to sit one of one with ladies, living life together, sharing joys and trials, encouraging each other to seek God more in our lives.  I choose to serve others in church and community.  I choose to love my family with my time, share God’s love with them, tickling my grands and laughing out loud, singing songs & making silly faces.  I pray and I share my life with Him many times a day.  Right now a lengthy chat is not available.  There will be time in a different season of my life to sit for a couple hours in the mornings, talking to Him and waiting to hear Him speak. There will be time to do lots of different things but for now, I have 8 hours and I believe that as long as my heart desires for my life to be devoted to praising God and loving others, then that is all that HE expects of me.

Give yourself some slack!  That’s all HE wants from you too!

Ephesians 5:15-17

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Jesus too, had only a certain amount of time.  He had lots to do in that short few years in his mission to save us.  He carved out the time he needed to be alone with God.

Matthew 14:23

And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,

So, don’t be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is for you.

 

He has an overwhelming, never ending, reckless love for you and me.

Lord, you give me time, help me use it wisely, help me hear your leading and help me love with my time.  Amen!

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Other

#fmf

This word, we use it all the time and probably don’t even realize it.  In the NIV Bible  version it’s used almost 1000 times.  But do we really understand and do we really want to grasp what it means?  It literally means there is additional, differing in nature or kind and an alternative.  When we are deal with a culture  that is all about “ME” and yes that includes “ME”, having an “other” in the picture may be difficult.

God is the only one that can instruct us to worship no other god, because He is like No other.

Exodus 34:14

Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
The bible is clear about how we should look at the other…….

Luke 6:31

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

John 15:12

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Romans 12:10

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Romans 15:1-2

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.

Philippians 2:3-4

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Matthew 6:14-15

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

 

So, regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, religion, geographical location, size, shape, personality, upbringing  or any other things that would draw us away from the “other” and it just simply may be because they are NOT LIKE “ME”, the bible tells us different.

Lord, help me be open to the “other”.  Amen

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He Filtered it, Felt It & I give Him Glory

Juanita Everman:   I met Juanita soon after moving to Kentucky.  She was an energetic women with a push to help those who struggle, like none I had ever witnessed.  Quickly after is when she was told of her cancer and started treatments.  We’d have private lunches at her home during the day and pray and talk and pray and talk.  This was a time that we became real with each other.  We have very similar stories of struggle and because of Jesus we also have very similar stories of victory.  I’ve been blessed to call her friend and look forward to many more years of praying and talking.

IMG_4501This is my God story.  How He didn’t give up on me and how He has carried me through my trails to see the joy on the other side.

I knew of Jesus and went to church some as a child.  By the time I was in elementary school we quit going to church.  I wouldn’t seek Jesus until I was so desperate and hopeless in my life.  I became a Christ follower at 43.

His word says in Romans 5:3 – 5 says Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character;character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom has given us.  I love this verse – it tells me that life is not going to be all roses when we serve Him.  It tells me we will have troubles and suffering, but – look what we gain HOPE AND JOY.

My life has been full of suffering, some from my own choices and some from life. I was sexually abuse as a child.  It was hard to have safe feelings in intimate relationships.  I had no self-worth and I was afraid to express my feelings and stayed in harmful relationships to long.  I have been married three times and divorced twice. My husband and I are celebrating 27 years of marriage and 21 years of sobriety.

Before turning my life over to Jesus I lived in the world.  I took everything it had to offer and lived my life taking chance after chance.  I had so many troubles and I had no idea how to fix them.  This life was of my own doing.  I had to suffer the consequences of my actions.  That was my choice, my fault.

How do you keep on living and have hope when you’ve just been told you have cancer? I thought I was doing every thing right.  I was living for Christ.  Giving my all and now what? My first diagnosis was in 2013. 172 I went into surgery for a fibroid tumor and when I woke up I was told I had stage 2a Ovarian Cancer.  The next few months were very hard.  I tried to keep my focus on positive things.  The chemo treatments made me so weak and sick I didn’t think I could continue them.  And then I would think of my husband and children how could I leave them.  How could I not do everything I can to get well.  It was hard not to get in that dark place where I would give up.  Its hard to describe the feeling of just wanting it to be over, not wanting to be so sick.  But yet not wanting to give up.  I only went out to go to church and that was not that often.

It was because of God’s Word and my sisters and brothers in Christ that I was able at stay positive and make it through this trail.  I kept asking God what I was to do or to learn.  I realized all the pain and suffering He had gone through for me – for us all.  That no matter what I went through He had already been there.  He knew what I would go through and He was there to comfort me and give me the strength and hope to get through it.  I started serving at Celebrate Recovery as soon as I could and going into the jail to do CR Inside.

In January 2017 my cancer had returned.  There was one spot and the only way to reach it was surgery.  I was heart broken.  Why again?  I had all the fears and doubts again.  The sinking lost feeling of dying.  But I prayed Your will not mine.  I was ready.  I didn’t think after the first time that I would face it again.  After surgery I made the decision not to go through chemo again.  It was one spot.  I would leave it up to my Heavenly Father.  I am seeing a holistic doctor and I have changed the whole way of take care of myself.  This is very hard also.  Especially when it seems everything is geared around food!!  I take my own food a lot or just eat at home.  I have tried so many times to lose weight only to fail.  I have lost so much weight – I didn’t even notice because my focus was on living a healthy life and not my weight.  I wanted to live for Christ and my family.

September 2017 I had a CT scan come back with a spot on my lung.  I prayed and prayed.  I had a PET scan to see if anything was there.  This was just before my youngest daughters wedding and also the Rally4Recovery.  I had to stay busy.  I couldn’t think about what the news would be.  I was ready to give up.  I had fought all I could fight.  If it was back – I would let God guide me on what steps to take.  I started to think about the things I needed to get in order.  What I had to take care of so I would be prepared.  But with in few seconds of feeling like giving I heard a small voice.  YOU CAN’T GIVE UP! YOU HAVE TO MUCH TO DO!!

The spot did not show up on the PET scan.  I was so grateful to God.  I choose not to have the following CT and PET scans three months later.  My blood work was good and I decided I would except that as answer that everything is ok for now.  God is so good.  God is so good.  I listened again to that small voice that I heard in 2013 to have the pain checked out.

I listened and I didn’t give up!   I was working on a non-profit organization with a friend.  An organization that carries out recovery-focused community education and outreach programs, and peer-based recovery support services.  It is in the process of starting.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve those in need.

IMG_4704I choose today to take each trail as a way to look at what is going on in my life and how can I direct it back to Jesus.  He has already filtered it, He has felted it.  Now I have to use it to glorify my Lord and Savior!  God never waste a hurt.

Lord, I thank You for my friend.  I ask that You will continue to bless her life as she continues to give You glory.  I pray for those around her that are influenced by her gentle and loving spirit.  Amen!

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Release

#fmf

We are told to in  1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

That means to release them to Him.  When we wake each morning, eyes open and our minds go immediately to the thoughts that haunt us.  Those that keep us awake at night, those that cause us to react to others instead of love and those that tie us down to sin.  When we wake each morning, not releasing those thoughts to Him, we are not allowing the blood that flowed from Jesus to cover us.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Trusting in the Lord completely means releasing it ALL to Him.  Holding nothing back, letting go of it, freeing ourselves from the weight.   I have released, taken back, released again, found new ones and released them.  No greater freedom than knowing that He is carrying it for you.  That I can lean on him and he will guide me.

Isaiah 43:18-19

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

 God transformed me, he allowed me to release my sin, my pain, my shame, my anger, my control to Him.  I am free of them but they are not forgotten.  He wants me to use those former things, to help others.  Sharing allows others to see they are not alone.  Helps them find their strength through Jesus so they can be free.
“I am struck by how sharing our weakness and difficulties is more nourishing to others than sharing our qualities and successes.”
― Jean Vanier, Community And Growth

John 8:32

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

I am free indeed.  Thank you Jesus! Amen!

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Settle

#fmf  on Monday

Romans 2:6-8

He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.

What is your first thought when the word settle is brought to your mind?

Settle a score……..

Settle a debt……….

Settle the noises……..

Settle down………

This word could bring up a number of thoughts and emotions.  It could bring thoughts of peace or rage.  It could only involve yourself or…..

Mark 8:36

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

It could involve others.  But when I think of Settle, it involves me and Jesus.   I have gone to Him many times to settle my soul.  I have reached out from the point of pain and of shame.  Each time He draws me near, forgives, loves and redeems me.  Each time He settles my soul.

Psalm 23:3

He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

You alone are the one I can trust to settle me Lord.  Amen!

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He has Risen

1 Peter 1:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

I was brought to know God through a neighbor.  She had no idea what I had already been through or what my future would hold for me.  But she did know that I didn’t know where to find hope.  She knew that my life would find pain, as it does for everyone.  She knew that there would be trials and temptations, as everyone has. She knew that I didn’t know Christ, as we all need to.  She took me and choose to be intentional with me.  She knew that I would need Him, as everyone does. So she was brave and shared with me .  That bravery saved me!  Without Him, I would be nothing, with Him I am enough.

“I will Rise” by Chris Tomlin

Christ did that for me.  Even before I was a thought, Christ died so that I could be free and he was resurrected so I would have hope.

Grateful! Amen!

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Chaos

1 Corinthians 14:33

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints,

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

1 Corinthians 14:40

But all things should be done decently and in order.

I don’t watch the news!  Or do internet searches to see what all the hype is about.  And rarely do I share my thoughts on social media.  I just don’t!  It’s enough just to make it through a day, love the people in my life and trust in my Lord for tomorrow without bringing bias opinions into my world.   I catch what I need from my trusted sources, I form my thoughts on the subject and if action steps are needed from me, I take them.

This world we live in is full of chaos.  Sometimes that chaos distorts the truth.  Most of the time it distorts God’s truth.   I don’t want to be ignorant about the issues that are MOST important but I also don’t want them to steer me away from what’s MOST important.  And that is my trust that God has this handled.  Whatever THIS is!

There is a lot of bad in this world, people making decisions for other people, all you have to do is open up social media, listen to the radio, read the news papers or ask your neighbor, it’s everywhere.  We can easily jump on that bad wagon and spread that bad.  Yes, we do sometimes need to be proactive and use our voices to make change but there are ways in which we should do that.  The bible lays those ways out clearly for us.

Chaos is going to happen, we live in a broken world but if we are leaning on God with all trust that His plan will prevail, then there isn’t a band wagon around that will bring about unruly anger, gnashing of teeth and lashing out with our voice.  Use that voice to bring TRUTH to this world.

Jeremiah 29:11 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

 

Lord, help me keep my mouth closed when necessary and speak of your love boldly always.  Amen!

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Love: For the Sake of Family

1 John 4:19

We love because he first loved us.

Family……

We all have one.  Some are small, some are large, some know God and some do not.  Some financially prosper and some are scrapping by.  Some live on this side of the tracks and some on the other.   Some are very doting over each other and some barely realize you’re in the room.  But the one thing that we all have in our families is baggage.  Baggage that has been carried for generations.  Some have learned how to unpack their baggage and some are carrying a full load and continue to stuff more in.

I have been on a several year journey of unpacking.    My load has become lighter.  My blessing have become greater.  DSCN0010

Ephesians 4:2

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,

This has not been an easy process.  Many tears have been shed both by me and others.   I would love to say that it was always done with a humble and gentle spirit and with much patience but I can’t.

The thing about baggage, is that it’s been shoved in that space for a long time, seeping, stewing and sometimes resulting in great sin.  So when  you’re unpacking it what do you do with all of it.  I had to give it to HIM.  A great God, who covers all the sin (baggage) with his blood and forgives with an overabundance of grace.  He is my example of how to unpack my baggage.

Luke 6:37

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

The most recent “stuff” being unpacked was the reunion of a father, who had been absent for almost 50 years.  I have been unpacking this particular stuff for a little over a year but this was not only my baggage it was also the baggage of generations before me.  I refused to let it pile on baggage to the next generation.  Everyone doesn’t unpack as quickly as others, some unpack neatly, with gentleness and understanding, and some unpack with flailing arms, judgement, anger and resentment.  We all have to have “our time” of unpacking.   But at the end of the unpacking process, we should all come with the same mind as in Luke 6:37.

This weekend I witnessed the unpacking of much baggage.  The dad and mom, who raised me and the dad, who gave me life along with his wife gathered with my family to celebrate the 6th birthday of my granddaughter.  Baggage being unpacked little by little.  Anger, judgement, resentment being released and smiles replacing it.  No more tears only joy.

Isaiah 44:22

I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.

DSCN0011

So some baggage was all laid out for God to cover over with grace and love.  Redeeming generations and giving a lighter load to carry.  From my right is my dad, the man who gave me life and his wife, my step mom. On my left is my mom and my dad, who cared for my needs.  The rest of that crazy looking bunch is my husband and kids.  Can’t get much more blessed than that on this earth.

So there will still be some unpacking to do, I’m sure.  But we each have seen how God can replace the old with the new and release us from our pasts.  To the future with joy, peace and love.  I encourage you to do some unpacking of your own but put as much love back in as possible.

Lord, I become more grateful as the days go by.  Amen!

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Routine

#fmf 

Definition of routine

a regular course of procedure
habitual or mechanical performance

 

To a very structured, very organized person, like myself, a routine is one thing that I stand firm on.  Give me a procedure to go by, tell me what steps needs to be taken and I will carry that out with great precision.  I have my routine, I get up at 5:40, get on the computer for 20 min, shower, computer, dress, make up, do my hair and I’m off to whatever that days routine calls for.  I don’t have stacks of mail sitting on my counter because I go through it as soon as it comes out of the mail box, trash or file cabinet.  That’s just me. Very routine oriented.  It simplifies my life by being on a routine and organized.  Not much craziness going on here.  But, a routine that is drawn with a very dark, deep line, not flexible is not a good thing.  Our routine must include space, space for others.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Romans 12:10

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

If my routine is so set in stone, what happens when the phone rings and a friend needs a listening ear?  What happens when things break, that gift you ordered don’t arrive on time, a child gets sick and you can’t go to that gathering you looked forward to and that can go on and on.  Because we live in a world with people.  Do we leave space in our routine for others.

And then, Yes, there is GOD!

Isaiah 6:8

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

2 Timothy 4:2

Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

Am I so focused on what I  need to get accomplished that I don’t hear him?  Hear His calling me.  Feel the Holy Spirit tugging at my arm, pushing me.  Am I aware that He is wanting to use me?  And am I going to be available?

So a routine is good, great in fact, to streamline and simplify our lives but don’t miss out on life around you as you live your routine.

Lord, help me be focused but flexible! Love you and I’m grateful to you! Amen!

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