Who are you listening to?

How old do I have to get?

How many experiences do I have to have?

How many times will I see miracles happen?

How many promises are kept?

How many dreams are realized?

How many?

Before I quit listening to Satan’s whispers in my ear!

How many?

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

Now, I’m gonna admit something here. Self doubt runs a muck in my mind. It’s a learned trait. Never seemed to quiet measure up to those I sought love and admiration from. Not sure why and not blaming. It just is.

But now………. I know better. The ONE I seek love from created me, knows me and still loves me with un-measurable love.

Yet, when that crafty prowler gets in my ear, I still begin to listen.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

It happened to me just the other day. Some things were going on in my world and Satan was working overtime. But you know what, I recognized his skeeming and called him out on it. Satan ain’t gonna win this one! Cause my God has me!

I understand that as long as I live and as long as I’m seeking my God daily, living out my salvation given by Jesus and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead me………….. Satan’s gonna keep trying!

Not today Satan!

Ephesians 6:10-18 

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

Thank you again Lord!

No difference!

What do you see?

I see innocent love for a friend. A friend they don’t even know. A friend who, to them, are no different!

After just a few minutes of being at the splash pad, both my girls made quick friends with several kids. It seems that age and race aren’t an issue. So, where did it start being an issue? Will I be able to influence my girls so they continue to see no difference or will the world’s influence get them?

Can they continue to just love the love that John speaks of?

John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

There are many more scriptures that speak of how we should love each other. As we age, we loose the innocence, we are influenced by the world, it’s impossible to stop. Heck! I influence my girls, that’s just how it goes. But regardless of age, race, gender or religion (or lack there of), that group of new friends, that group of old friends, our neighbors are still just imperfect people, trying to find their way in this world just like me, just like my girls. So can we put influences aside and just love.

Lord protect my girls. Protect all my grands. Protect this world from ugliness. Amen!

Where would I be?

Without Him? Lost!

I was talking to my daughter in law the other day about some circumstances in my life at this moment and she asked me what was next. You know I didn’t even have to think, which was a little surprising to me, but my response was, “I’m not sure but I’m positive it will be better”.

That would not have been my answer 30 years ago when I found myself newly divorced. That would not have been my answer 18 years ago with a sick child and a wayward child. Not 13 years ago when there was a real possibility of finding myself alone again. And surely, you’d say, how about 7 years ago as we move away from everything and everyone I knew, including our children, to move to a new state. Nope not even 7 years ago. And actually several since then. But now, my answer is, “I’m not sure but I’m positive it will be better”.

I can say that with surety because I lived through 30 years ago, 18 years ago, 13 years ago and even 7 years ago to find myself better than then. At the time I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but with HIM everything is possible.

Psalm 18:16 He reached down from heaven and took me and drew me out of my great trials. He rescued me from deep waters.

I just found a new life song. One that creates huge tears to well up in my eyes. Because today, I can say, that He rescued me with faith that he will also rescue me now.

Life rarely ever throws at you what you expect. And life, although has some of the most glorious times, also can have some of the hardest. But in this life, God has never gave up on me and always fought my battles for me.

To Him I am grateful! Amen!

5

#fmf

Well, today proves that you can never be too old to learn something! My participation in Five Minute Friday writings (even though I rarely ever do it on Friday and rarely stay under 5 mins) has challenged me to seek out more information, searching through scripture to find the meaning and understanding of things more deeply. That is never a bad thing!

Immediately when I saw the prompt to be “5”, my mind jumped to the number of grands I have. 5 wonderful and beautiful blessings that God has given me. 5 new little people who challenge me to be a better version of me. 5 creations that God has placed on this earth for me to influence. 5 of His children, with individual personalities, which makes it exciting when dealing with them. Much like dealing with the rest of the world, except with more responsibility. 5 reasons to be Thankful each new day!

In my search for the meaning of 5, I found several interesting things. I’m not going to credit them all to be true or scriptural but I’ll share some of them with you and you can study for yourself. So here we go…..

  • The number 5 symbolizes God’s grace, goodness and favor toward humans and is mentioned 318 times in Scripture.
  • Five is the number of grace, and multiplied by itself, which is 25, is ‘grace upon grace’ (John 1:16).  
  • The Ten Commandments contains two sets of 5 commandments. The first five commandments are related to our treatment and relationship with God, and the last five concern our relationship with others humans.
  • There are 5 primary types of offerings God commanded Israel to bring to him. They are the Burnt Offering (Leviticus 1; 8:18 – 21; 16:24), Sin (Leviticus 4; 16:3 – 22), Trespass (Leviticus 5:14 – 19; 6:1 – 7; 7:1 – 6), Grain (Leviticus 2) and Peace Offering (Leviticus 3; 7:11- 34).
  • The Book of Psalms is divided into 5 major sections. Section 1 (Psalm 1 to 41) refers to the Passover, Israel’s beginning, and the start of the God’s plan of salvation that centers around Christ. Section 2 (42 to 72) sings about a unified Israel in the land and pictures the creation of the New Testament Church. And the others for you to find.
  • We have 5 senses, 5 toes and 5 fingers.
  • According to the Bible, there are 5 big mysteries in this world, which are represented as the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, the Creation and the Redemption.
  • The 5th book of the Bible, called Deuteronomy, is dedicated to God’s grace.

I think that will keep you busy for a while. But to my surprise the #5 has significance!

John 1:16  Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.

In my life 5 has great significance for many reasons. The greatest for me here on this earth are my 5 grands! And as it says in John 1:16, “Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given”.

The grace that I have today with my grands is on top of the abundant grace that He has given me throughout my life and will continue to give me until the end of my day. Not deserved but freely given.

So today Lord, I am grateful for 5. My 5 lovelies, my 5 grands. And I ask that you wrap your loving arms around them for all of their days. Amen!

Life

Life: the existence of an individual human being

And I have had almost 58 years of that!

And I’m learning to cherish each moment instead of dreaming of the tomorrows.

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make a man—someone like ourselves, to be the master of all life upon the earth and in the skies and in the seas.” (TLB)

He created me, someone like Him, to be the master of all life! Not to master over it but to really live in it! Not to control it but to love Him so much that I would cherish all of it as it comes. Not to run away from it but to run towards all that He brings in it. I’ve been guilty of trying to be master over it, control it and at times run from it.

I love the image of the mountains with the land so green and lush, beaming with life. Elevation with hills and valleys, highs and lows, rolling here and there. Where there is fog in the valleys making it hard to see where to go as the fog lifts the higher you get. And skies clear, ready to open up into beautiful fluffy clouds and bright shining sun (SON). Life is much like this!

My life has been and still can be much like this. But I’m learning! Learning to breath slowly in the valleys. Reaching out for His hand to lead me through the fog, Guiding me up to the highest peak. I have not always walked this path with understanding that He was always with me. Hence the reason for believing that I could master it, control it and even run from it.

John 14:6  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (ESV)

After many years of clawing my nails into the dirt and multiple scrapped knees, I have learned, I must rest in Jesus. He is the one who will lead me to the highest place, heaven, where I will be with my Father in eternity. The place where this life that I live each day is meant to end.

But until then, how am I going to live this life?

Romans 12:2  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (ESV)

Am I going to allow the world to form me into who it thinks I am or am I going to live this one life, the life HE gave me, seeking Him. Living this one life asking Him to mold me and show me who He created me to be. Loving as He has loved me, showing grace to others as He has shown me grace. Even in my sin He shows grace to me, when I don’t deserve it. I sin each day, yet I love Him but my human desires get in my way. And for those who don’t know or understand Him, I will show mercy for them, just as He showed mercy for my so many years before my birth and still shows mercy on me. I will live this one life each moment as if the next moment I could be with Him.

Lord, as I walk the hills and valleys of my life, I look to You to show me my next step. Walk with me, hold my hand and carry me when I need it so that I have the strength to live this life for You. Amen!

Are you Willing?

#fmf #marcomoments

As we are fast approaching the year anniversary of a sweet little one, Marco Shemwell, going to sit with Jesus, I feel a heavy burden for my friends, Marco’s parents, Liz and Ben, along with their family. Even though my heart is heavy for them, I’m positive that their heart is even heavier. But as a believer of a God that loves greater than we could even imagine and a believer of a son, Jesus, that His father gave to us through death for our salvation, I’m positive that His heart is burdened far more. I wrote about that burden, my burden, and rejoice now as time has passed and I’ve seen a glimpse of how God can make good out of bad.

https://rhondagouldonline.com/2018/09/24/as-she-remembers-her-child-and-weeps/ (click link to read)

On the day that Marco was injured and throughout weeks and now months, my head and heart have been filled with so many emotions. Today I want to focus on Marco’s mommy & daddy, Liz and Ben. Being “Willing” to do what the Lord asks of you can be hard for average asks but when you’re asked to make good out of the loss of a child, being “willing” is a HUGE ASK! But Liz and Ben have said “YES” to the big ask of being “willing”.

The captioned picture of Marco is just a glimpse of the life that little boy brought to this family and now is only a glimpse of the life and hope that he continues to bring to so many more. His mommy and daddy have chosen to let the life of their son to not end with sadness but to let his life continue by encouraging others to bring #marcomoments of joy, hope and lasting happiness to communities and even more far reaching simply by being “willing” to say “yes” to God’s call.

I rejoice with Liz and Ben as they still feel the loss of Marco but choose to see the difference he is making by the ripple effects of fulfilling God’s purpose.

I am including links on this post so that you too can see those ripple effects. I hope that you will be encouraged to be “willing” to say “yes” to God’s calling and find ways to create lots of #marcomoments. Watch out for those ripple effects!

Mar · co  Mo · ment

noun

  1. A positive, perspective-changing experience worth sharing with others.
  2. Love in action.

https://www.marcoshemwellfoundation.org/

I am proud to be called friend. I’m grateful for the opportunity to watch God work. We are not guaranteed that life is going to be easy but we are guaranteed that God will overcome.

John 16:33  I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

And I am grateful that I have the opportunity, given to me by the grace and forgiveness of my Jesus, to rejoice in heaven one day.

Take

#fmf

Take………..this one could go in all different directions as most of them can. One train of thought arose in me immediately……….. “Take time to…………..” Whatever it is you want to fill in the blank with. Time is a precious commodity and what you use that time for can be even more precious. So if I take time then that means I want to make the most of it.

I want to ……

Take time to listen

Take time to grow

Take time to connect

Take time to rejoice

Take time to grieve

Take time to learn

Take time to teach

Take time to serve

Take time to just be

I’ve come to appreciate that I have a Lord who

Takes time to just be with me

Takes time to serve me

Takes time to teach me

Takes time to learn from me

Takes time to grieve with me

Takes time to rejoice with me

Takes time to connect with me

Takes time to grow me

Takes time to listen to me

Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

He is in my midst and as I take time to wait for Him through my walk on this path, He will make the most out of all I take time for. His mercy and grace falls over me abundantly as I take time for Him.

Got Questions

#fmf

So many questions! I don’t have 1, I have many!

To watch a child growing, their curiosity is explosive. They are questioning everything. What is this? What does this do? Who is that? Where did it go? Why? Why? Why? I may not have all the same questions but I still have them. Why is one of the greatest.

In my life many questions have arose. Some I get full answers to, some only partially and some I will have to wait till I face my Father in Heaven face to face. And I have to be okay with that, I don’t have much other choice.

There are easy questions! Where are we going on vacation?

There are hard questions! Why did you choose to do such a horrible thing?

But whether easy or hard, God gave us a tool to use to help us manage the answers. Bible! He gave us someone to direct us to peace in the questions. Jesus! He walks with us still as we live out those answers. Holy Spirit!

Jeremiah 33:3 

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.

We may not always have easy questions and we may not always get the answers we want or we may just have to live out the questions to find the answers, all the while living with the understanding that God always will answer us.

3 Stages of our Relationship

The man I don’t remember

The man I didn’t know

The man I won’t ever forget

This past weekend. On Father’s Day weekend. We celebrated his life.

Here is what I am left with as he has gone to sit with Jesus.

Dad

The man that we are celebrating today, I call Dad.  If I have one regret for the last 2.5 years it would be that he never heard me call him “dad”. I had an excuse and some would say “it was understandable.” But I still wish I’d had a chance to say it to him.  I know he is watching me and he is able now to see what I said about him to so many others and his heart would be full.

2.5 years ago, I received a phone call asking me to call him. Honestly, I hadn’t given him a second thought for so many years.  The first thing that I did was tell my husband and then we both started goggle searching to see what type of man he was.  Making sure he wasn’t an ax murderer or something but what we found was a kind man who gave to others for many years.  So I called him.

Yes, it was awkard at first but we talked several times and then decided he and Jackie could come to KY and we could meet.  I knew he was sick already at this point and I knew that God always has a plan greater than my own and even if His plan was solely to give a man with much regret and little time a peace and happiness that he so longed for, then I could give that.  But as I said, God always has a plan greater than my own.  In Jeremiah 29, it says “ 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.

He shared his regrets with me and the many dreams of one day being reconnected. He shared stories with me about my early years that I never knew.  He shared his life with me and welcomed me in.  His love was great and it was evident from the start.  For me it took a while.

And I trusted God again.  I allowed God to show me a glimpse of his plan.   And as always it is good.  As it says in Acts 1, He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.

I didn’t know where this would go.  I didn’t know if I even needed it. But I did know that God asked me to do it.  So I did.

And what a blessing it has been.  I understand that the man I’ve known over the last 2.5 years may have mellowed and grown in wisdom and love as he aged but I’ve also witnessed and heard many talk about the man he was to them.  One who gave without expecting back.  One who genuinely sought out ways he could make a difference in your life.  One who even in his pain could lift up the spirits of others.  One who would go the extra mile to make sure you knew you were important to him. One who gave all the love he had to give.  This is what I also got from him.  And I know many sitting in this room today received the same.

Dad said to me many times, “I wish I had gotten up the nerve to contact you earlier” and my response would always be, “It was in God’s perfect timing”.   This perfect timing is proven in Ecclesiastes 3 & 8 where it says, For there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble lies heavy on him andHe has made everything beautiful in its time.

I didn’t know what God was doing in my life 2.5 years ago but I was faithful.  Dad didn’t know what was going to happened when he made that call but he was faithful.  And God blessed us all for that faithfulness.  In Psalms 37 it says,Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

We’ve laughed many times. We’ve had serious conversations and some that were just plain silly.  He had pushed himself so he could spend time and enjoy his grands & great grands.  And I believe he found his way back to God by sharing a church pew with me.  I was honored to help him down on the alter at church so he could talk with His Lord a bit.  It was an honor to have had this time.

So even though our time together was short, my family, his family, our family grew in love with each other.   Yes, God knew what we needed.  Our family is forever changed and forever blessed because of dad.  He not only brought us the love that only he could give but he has given us the love of Jackie so we can continue to be blessed.

So today there is no regret because God’s plan is perfect.

And I end with Proverbs 10,The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.

I am grateful. I am blessed. God’s promise full filled.

NAME

#fmf

In today’s culture, it is all about what name do I fall under. It ranges from white, female, heterosexual, mom, wife, Lollie, Christian and republican, whose identity or value is determined by whatever name is attached to me.  Your name may be different or it may be the same.   But thankfully my name is not determined by culture it is determined by who God says I am.  That my identity is found in Him.  And my value is weighed only by His scales. Only if we all could live by this.

John 1:12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God

Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in his own imagein the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Psalm 139:14  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

And because I know that my name is not determined by culture all is well with my soul!