Loves Truimphs over Death

Love triumphs over death!  As I sit here and tears roll down my cheeks this phrase makes me glad.

Romans 3:23

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

I found out last night that a family and a dear sister in Christ is mourning the loss of an adult child.  Even though that child had grown, left the home and had many struggles, the love that my dear friend had for him had not wavered.  Sadly some of our sins have higher consequences than others, but we all sin. And that lead me to the reminder that even as much love as that family and that mother had for her child/son/brother, God’s love for him was so much greater. Then that lead me straight to my sin and the wonderment of His love for me.

Ephesians 2:4-5

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—

Thankfully and with much prayer this son knew the Lord.  And even though his sin eventually cost him his life, God is rich in mercy and His love was great.  This son now suffers no more and is alive with Christ by grace.

1 John 4:9-11

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

So we are to love.

1 John 4:19

We love because he first loved us.

Because He first loved us.

Sadly some of our sins have greater consequences than others, but we all sin and we all can rejoice because Love, God’s love, triumphs over Death.

Lord, I ask you to be with my friend and their family.  Give them a peace over this lose knowing that their child/son/brother suffers no more.  I pray Lord that this be a reminder to us, to love.  I pray Lord that this also remind us that sin has consequences.  Help us Lord overcome our sin and triumph over death in Your arms. Amen!

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Surrender

#fmf

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.

And there are many more scriptures that talk to us about surrendering our life over to God.

Definition of surrender

to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand 
to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another
To surrender is to trust.  Not in my own power and not in the power of another human but only in the Power of God.
I didn’t have any control of my own life growing up.  Always living under the shadow and control of others.  So as I became an adult and found myself continuing to be hurt by others, I found a couple of areas in my life where I did have control.  After many years, I do mean many, I have found that the false belief that I am in control by my own power can have devastating consequences.
I am learning to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand.  Power, control and possession upon compulsion of myself has proven to be  disastrous because I did not always consult God’s teaching, Jesus’s example and the Holy Spirits guidance.
To finally find control and then have to learn how to give up completely in the favor of God has been challenging.  There are no easy to follow instructions and it leaves to much room for my “self” to choose.  But I’m learning.
But I’m learning, I desire, my pain is becoming greater than my gain!  I don’t want to hurt myself or others with my need to be in control of any area of my life.  I want God to be in control so I SURRENDER.
Lord, I so want to surrender to You. Please help me!  Amen
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Will Not be Hidden

Psalm 50

The Mighty One, God, the Lord,

    speaks and summons the earth
    from the rising of the sun to where it sets.
From Zion, perfect in beauty,
    God shines forth.
Our God comes
    and will not be silent;
a fire devours before him,
    and around him a tempest rages.

His majesty will not be hidden! Don’t be fooled into believing that we are on this earth to do as we desire and that the end will not draw near or will not be judged.  It has been said, “He giveith and he can takeith away”.  Our God is a mighty and loving God, he is gentle and compassionate but also angers.  Seek Him and walk in His leading!

Lord I am in awe of Your love for me.  I am grateful for Your grace.  Help me Lord walk on Your path of the straight and narrow.  Help me fight off the temptations of Satan.  Keep me safe from my own destruction.  Be with those of my family and the world that need You in their lives but do not know.  Amen!

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Intentional

#fmf

Start:

This word was made for me!  At least now it is.  A little over 5 years ago I moved to Kentucky from North Carolina.  This is only the 3rd place I have lived since becoming an “adult”.  I was in North Carolina, in the same town and the same church for 25 years, so  you can imagine how difficult it was for an introvert, shy women to move across states in her early 50’s.  Now I have to giggle as I type introvert and shy because I would say that most people that know me now, would not describe me as an introvert and shy.  But on the insides, that still describes me to a tea. Just in case you don’t know what an introvert looks like, click here… Introvert . This describes me, even now, with the exception of blood pressure(family inherited, thanks). Anyway, I’m coming to the word, yes, that word intentional.   Now I was just ripped away from everything that I was comfortable with and once in Kentucky, I was all but comfortable.

 

 

I settled in my home, found a job and decided on a church family.  Those were the easy parts, now I had to find relationships.  Even though I’m an introvert, I love relationships.  Always have!  I have people, that I would still call friends, since elementary school and I cherish everyone of them.  I have always been intentional about my relationships.  But starting a new set of relationships was more difficult than I imagined.

I’m going to detour a minute from me being intentional to encouraging others to be intentional. Things to pay attention to if you will.

  1. If you notice someone at church, work or in a social group that you don’t recognize, reach out.
  2. If you notice someone that is obviously sad, show compassion and concern.
  3. If you notice someone that is struggling to get their footing in the new surrounding, walk beside them.

Now for me, skipping past 5 years.  I had very few be intentional with me, I am so grateful for those that were.  So I grabbed hold of that word “INTENTIONAL” and ran with it.  I ungracefully flubbed things up sometimes but it was so full filling on the times I showed “Grace” with my intentionality.  I may not be the life of the party or get the most “likes” on my social media but you can be sure that walking intentional in my day to day life is a part of who I am.

I realized that I had that greatest example of being Intentional.  Wasn’t God intentional from the start, as he created everything so beautifully, created man and then created woman to be with man.   He watched what was created and was saddened, He knew then what you and I needed now.  He marks His every move with intentionality.

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Matthew 28:19

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Being intentional is a must.  We may muddle through this life just fine without it, but we won’t sore through as was intended.

Stop:

As part of my journey with intentionality, I wrote a 5 day post on being intentional.  If you’d like to read it click here…..  Intentional

“Intentional” by Travis Greene

Thank You Lord for your plan, thank You Jesus for your love and thank You Holy Spirit for walking through it with me.  Amen!

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Rahab life and I am Thankful

Jodi Willoughby: Gentle, sweet spirit.  That is Jodi.  She has come from a far away place and has ended up smack dab in the middle of the arms of Jesus.  And she is thrilled about it and not afraid to tell ya’.  The words that I have been blessed with as she has prayed over me, filled my soul with Joy and Peace.  I’m grateful to call her friend.

18238156_706205722895394_8908235468170939061_oI’ve been a wife for 27 years to my husband, Ted and a mother for 14 years to my son, Luke.

I want to tell you some of my testimony in hopes that it will bless  you and give glory to the Lord. I’m 51 years old and have served the Lord for 26 of them.

I love to read and recently read a book by my friend’s favorite author, Tessa Afshar called “Pearl in the Sand”.  It chronicles the life of Rahab, she was the prostitute who saved the pies in the Old Testament.  Rahab and the woman by the well are women I can identify with.  These women had lives full of bad choices and many sins.  They spent a lot of years living lives that seemed would never amount to much except heartache and regret.  But both of them changed and turned their lives around by accepting Jesus in their heart.

I too made a lot of bad choices when I was young.  Circumstances played a part but I still made the choices that basically shaped my life.

When we are young we don’t realize sometimes that that we can get scars only Jesus can heal.  When I was 15 I lost my father in a tragic accident.  I was on only child and it drastically changed the course of my life.  I filled my youth with bitterness and one bad decision after another.  I lived the life of Rahab and the woman at the well in many ways. I was grasping for anything or anyone who would love me.  During this time I was hurt physically very bad.  I was in the hospital for 3 months and in a coma for 13 days.  I had a great chance of dying.  But God had mercy on me.  I’d like to tell you my life changed right after that, but it didn’t.  I returned to  a life far from God for four more  years.  I sank lower and lower in a pit.  And when it seemed nothing would help me out of it, God sent me another miracle.  Now I have to tell you, I was living in a far off place I’m sure few have heard of.  And then God sent Ted.  Three months after meeting him we married.  Me, the girl no one decent would ever marry, I married one of the most decent men in the world.  I asked him one time, why me?  His exact words were “he saw good in me”. That reminds me of Jesus.  He sees good in all of us.  When I gave my heart to Jesus my eyes were truly opened.  I saw people, all people, and they had great worth.  There is no shame and no sin that God can not take away.  I stand in awe of my Savior who has blessed me beyond what I deserve.  And I am Thankful!  Life is such a gift and it should be lived to make a difference in someone’s life.

So remember, no matter what you, YOU ARE LOVED BEYOND MEASURE!

Ephesians 3:16-21

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Lord I thank you for bringing Jodi in my life.  I pray that I will be an encouragement to her just as she has reminded me that regardless of where I have come from, I know that I will end up sitting at Your right hand.  Amen!

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Priorities and Sacrifice

Luke 12:34

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

When we are a child, our brain rules our motives.  As we age hopefully our heart will become part of our decision making process.  As it says in Luke, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  If I find my treasure in material things then I’m going to put money ahead of all things.  My priorities will be numbered with #1 being determined by how much I will make or what will that get me.  The sacrifices I make will most likely be those of relationships, memories and love.

As I have aged, I realize what is a priority to me.  I am abundantly aware of the sacrifices I have to make.  I treasure relationships.  The treasures in my life are people I love.  That is where my heart is, those are who I sacrifice for.

Romans 5:8

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

I am a sinner!  No doubt about that.  I strive each day to do better.  Yet, God showed his love for me, yes me, a sinner.  Sacrificing his son, Christ, and allowing Him to die on the cross for me.

Now, since my treasure is relationships, my family, my husband, my children and grand children have my heart.  To sacrifice them would be painful.  I will sacrifice for them but I would find it hard to sacrifice them, but God did that for me.  So, to make Christ a priority in my life will take sacrifice from me.  Sacrifice that I’m willing and eager to give.  My time, my money and my pride.

Philippians 2:4

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Priorities and sacrifice usually do not go together.  Our priorities stem from our own interests.  What do I enjoy, what do I want, how will that make me feel and the list continues.  Sacrifice usually stems from the needs of others.  What do they enjoy, what do they want, how will that make them feel and the list continues.

So could it read… Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Making your priority Christ, sacrificing for others and allowing love to be your treasure.

I list my priorities, with the top 2 being Christ and family.  I love them beyond and they are my treasure and my heart is filled.  To sacrifice for them is to put Christ above myself and put their interest before my own.

Lord, I praise You and thank You for in every way filling my life.  Forgiving me when I fail and walking with me when I get back up.  I thank You for being faithful to me while I learn to be faithful to you.  I ask You Lord to speak firmly to me as I list out my priorities and make it clear the sacrifices I must make.  Amen!

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SIMPLIFY

#fmf

To Simplify your life doesn’t mean you have to be boring!

“Stop trying to impress people with your clothes and impress them with your life.”
― Richard J. FosterCelebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth

start:

One of the best things I’ve done for me and my family is to simplify.  The word simplify to most would mean to get rid of “stuff”,  material things and busynesss.   And that certainly is part of simplifying your life.  But those things are worldly and I also wanted to simplify my spiritual.  I learned the most about that by studying the “Celebration of Disciplines “.  The book discusses internal, external and corporate disciplines, one of which is Simplicity.

My inward life must be focused on the things of God before my outward life will exhibit Him.  Simplification of life has many facets and must be intentional.  How I worship Him, how I walk through my day and how I engage in relationships all are affected by how much He is a part of my inside.

For me I had to work on my ” Boundaries ” .  This helped me know where I start and where I stop.

To Simplify is to Free yourself from unneeded baggage. Whatever that baggage looks like.

stop:

“And so I urge you to still every motion that is not rooted in the Kingdom. Become quiet, hushed, motionless until you are finally centered. Strip away all excess baggage and nonessential trappings until you have come into the stark reality of the Kingdom of God. Let go of all distractions until you are driven into the Core. Allow God to reshuffle your priorities and eliminate unnecessary froth. Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, ‘Pray for me that I not loosen my grip on the hands of Jesus even under the guise of ministering to the poor.’ That is our first task: to grip the hands of Jesus with such tenacity that we are obliged to follow his lead, to seek first his Kingdom.”
― Richard J. FosterFreedom of Simplicity: Finding Harmony in a Complex World

“If you are too busy to read, you are too busy.”
― Richard J. FosterFreedom of Simplicity: Finding Harmony in a Complex World

Love the Lord with all your might and all your soul!  Amen!

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Shame

I have lived with my fair share of SHAME!

Psalm 34:4-5

I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.

Like the circle of SHAME in the picture with me, the little dot in the middle, shame can engulf you and keep you captive.  It can cause you to make bad decisions, push people away for fear they will learn of your shame, create guilt which will lead to more shame.  This was me.  Me for many years.  I put on a good front, plastered a smile on my face and dressed the outside up real good but the inside was overtaken.

But also like the picture there are paths to escape from the shame.  To not allow it to surround you.   It’s called courage.  But you might say, “I have no courage”, “I am not strong enough”, and my response would be, “No you’re not but your Jesus is”.

Psalms says, “I sought the Lord, he answered me, delivered me and he made me radiant and my face will not be ashamed”.  I was not courageous, I was not strong but with Him I am now unashamed.

Do not let shame engulf you, seek the Lord Jesus, surround yourself with others who will lift you up in prayers, who will support you when your weak and walk side by side with you through it.  Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit to walk that path with and He will also place just the right people in your view to help you.

I was reading a book by Brene’ Brown called “The Gifts of Imperfections” and it has some really good tips.

Shame resilience equals Courage:

  • Name it
  • Talk about it
  • Tell your story

How to recognize your shame:

  • Who do you become when you feel shame
  • How do you protect yourself
  • Who do you call to work through it
  • What’s the most courageous thing you can do for yourself

Factors of a Resilient Person:

  • Resourceful
  • More likely to seek help
  • Believe that they can do something to help them manage their feelings
  • Know that Social support is available
  • Will connect with others

Pushing through & Digging Deep

  • Deliberate in thoughts & behaviors through prayer and meditation
  • Inspired to make new & different choices
  • Get going – take action

And this one last thought……….

Only when we know our own darkness well, can we be present in the darkness of others. We realize compassion when we share humanity.

So I say to you and to me, don’t let Satan’s lies keep you hidden away in Shame. It’s time to Break free!

Lord, I thank you for journeying with me through my life.  I thank you for stretching me beyond what I believed I could be stretched.  I ask you to continue to help me walk my path and I pray that I will continue to seek you always.  Amen!

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MOTIVATE

#fmf

Ordinarily when you hear the word motivated, we immediately think about goals.  Weight loss goals, career goals, financial goals or anything else that you want to accomplish.  At least that is where my mind goes.  I know for me all those things have come to play in my life and one of them is still kicking my butt.  I just can’t seem to “get motivated” enough to accomplish my goal.  This self motivation is more interested in satisfying my desires than my needs.  I think it’s time to stop with the “self will” and focus on “God’s will”.   Stop thinking it’s in my power and start believing it’s in God’s power.

Matthew 19:26

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

I actually prefer motivating others.  It comes easier to me.  I need to remember Romans 12:11 and be more fervent in the spirit and less slothful when dealing with myself.

Romans 12:11

Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.

So regardless of whether I’m dealing with myself or encouraging other, my real motivation is that I’m working heartily as for the Lord instead of self.

Colossians 3:23

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

My word for this year is BRAVE, so with that word in mind, I’m going to use it in trusting the Lord to be my motivator.   Not self motivated but Lord motivated.

Lord, I am depending on You! Amen

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BRAVE IN 2018

My word for this year is BRAVE.  I have had many opportunities over the last couple years to act in ways of bravery.  But I definitely haven’t mastered it.  I definitely didn’t always achieve the exact ending to the story that I desired.  Some of the reasons for that may have been because of the other people involved but there is a good chance that my need for understanding what bravery is and who to call on, outside of myself, needs to be strengthened.

Psalm 27:14 

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the Lord is with him.”
Notice anything?   Wait for the Lord and the Lord is with Him. Two very distinct statements.  I may think I’m being brave but am I waiting on the Lord’s leading for the perfect timing to speak up or act in my bravery? Am I asking Him to be with me?
I recently read the book “Braving the Wilderness” by Brene’ Brown and found it to be an excellent guide .   Things to look for as I’m waiting on the Lord and asking for his leading.
When facing the wilderness, this could be a situation or a particular person, we need to watch out for these things.
1. What’s okay in a discussion and what’s not.  What do you do when you find yourself in that situation?
2. When cultivating relationships look for reliability, because if you don’t have reliability your simply knee deep in BS.
3. Can you hold the other person/people accountable for less BS and more honesty?
4. Is confidentiality honored
5. Regardless of what we face, do we hold true to our integrity?  Choosing what conversations are productive or not.
6. Stay away from judging.  Ourselves or others.  Being willing to listen and not jumping onto the winner/looser mode.
7. What’s the most generous assumption about the other person/people around us.  And what boundaries need to be in place to be more kind and tolerant.
So I choose Brave.  God is with me always.  Jesus died for my sin and laid a pathway as a guide.  And I am given the Holy Spirit to walk with me daily, if I listen He will lead me.
I encourage you to be brave in your walk.  I encourage you to draw closer to our Lord and let Him mark out your path.  And I pray that we both will wait for Him to give us the words and actions needed to be BRAVE.
Lord, I trust in Your guidance.  I pray that I will wait and listen closely for your voice and the touch of your hand leading me.  Amen!
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