Daily Walking with God

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Walking in the Word

Plant City's First Baptist Church

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We had a blast a The ABBA museum in Stockholm recently.   Whose call will you listen to, your own or God's?

We had a blast a The ABBA museum in Stockholm recently.
Whose call will you listen to, your own or God’s?

There have been, and occasionally still are, times in my life when I shove (or even gently push) God’s instructions to the back of my mind, or choose not to follow His instructions. When I choose to live life “my way”, I am telling you…I put more troubles on my plate than a hungry giant at a buffet.

God doesn’t give us His word for us to simply read and appreciate what it says. No. He gives it to us to read, appreciate, and apply it to our lives…daily. Okay, not even just daily, but every moment of each day.

God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit LOVES you and me and desires the BEST for us. The best is HIS best.

In Psalm 119:89 and 93we read, “Your eternal word, O Lord, stands firm in heaven…I will never forget your commandments, for by them You give me life.” Amen! His word last forever. It wasn’t just true hundreds and thousands of years ago. It is still right and honorable today.

When we “forget/gently push/shove back” His commands and live life our way, sin creeps in. Satan is a happy camper and desires nothing more than for you and me to forget God’s plan, purpose, and instruction for our lives. Remember in Romans 6:23 we read “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” And…in James 1:15 it says, “Your desire grows inside you until it results in sin. Then the sin grows bigger and bigger and finally ends in death.”

Folks, God’s word is eternal! Don’t forget them.

Choose to live for God, and not yourself. He gives you life!

Whose “call” are you going to listen to in life, yours or God’s?

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up THE SON every moment of each day. –Stephanie

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Traveling with and being with my man makes me joyful.

Traveling with and being with my man makes me joyful.

What makes you feel joyful?

For me, a few things are:

  • My man, Tim
  • My children
  • Spending alone time with God and being in His word
  • Chocolate
  • Having my extended family all together
  • A day on the boat (beautiful weather, of course)
  • Traveling to new places
  • Laughter with family and friends
  • Music
  • A pedicure, okay…and a massage
  • Looking out and seeing God paint the sky glorious colors
  • A clean house
  • Hearing a child’s giggle
  • Oh, how this list could go on and on for me.

In Psalm 119:1-2 it says, “Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord.  Joyful are those who obey His laws and search for Him with all their hearts.” I appreciate folks of integrity. I often call my husband “my man of integrity”. Maybe that’s one of the many reasons why he makes me joyful. Yep.

When we follow God’s instructions, we are joyful. He may take us through some detours along the way, but in the end…joy!

Searching God with all my heart…ahhh, pure joy. I just LOVE digging in His word, learning more about Him, and falling more in love with my Savior.

These verses make me smile because they take my mind to a mindset of blessings. But there are so many more verses on joy. Do you need a few to make you smile?

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Provers 17:22

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans” 15:13

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4

“May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.” Psalm 104:34

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4

Wait! What? “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials”? Um…yes. These are those “detours” I mentioned previously. When we stick with God through those tough times in life (and you WILL have them), He produces joy in the end. It is often hard, very hard, to believe that any joy can come out of a horrible situation, but that’s what you must do…believe. Believe that God will see you through it all. He will.

So no matter where you are in life right now; whether you are in a blissful state of mind or a bonded one, know that when you have Christ in your heart, God is on your side, and joy, exceeding joy, is there for you.

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up THE SON every moment of each day. –Stephanie

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god is lightJust imagine if we all lived in unity in Christ.

Go ahead…ponder that for a moment.

Are you smiling?

If we would live in the light, where God is, then we wouldn’t have all the division that our world is in today.

I think God would tell us to:

  • Confess
  • Forgive
  • Trust in Him
  • Love
  • Be respectful
  • Just. Be. Nice.

“We heard the true teaching from God. Now we tell it to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness. So if we say that we share in life with God, but we continue living in darkness, we are liars, who don’t follow the truth. We should live in the light, where God is. If we live in the light, we have fellowship with each other, and the blood sacrifice of Jesus, God’s Son, washes away every sin and makes us clean.  If we say that we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, God will forgive us. We can trust God to do this. He always does what is right. He will make us clean from all the wrong things we have done. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we are saying that God is a liar and that we don’t accept his true teaching.” 1 John 1:5-10

Can we all strive to live in Him?

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up THE SON every moment of each day. –Stephanie

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One of my cozy alley ways.

One of my cozy alley ways.

Tim, Holly, Cole, and I were walking the cobblestone street of a town. Our eyes were often drawn upward gazing at the details of the ancient buildings and copper steeples adorning the cathedrals. As we were strolling the main street, the side alley ways would catch my eye. While the family would stay on course, I would dart off to the side to see what was lurking hidden from the main view.

Each alley that I adventured into would fill me with awe, peace, and a serene scene.

Because I took the time to go deeper into the city streets I saw stunning architect, lushes gardens, and quaint cafés.

These scenes reminded me of how we often are in our walk with God as we thumb through the bible or in a simple devotion or verse-for-the-day.

Yes, staying in God’s word via a devotional or verse-for-the-day is refreshing and often awe inspiring. But…when you dig a little deeper into His word you walk away with an even richer experience with the Lord.

I want to encourage you to not just read a verse, but read it in its entire context.

Go…grow deeper in knowledge, wisdom, and in love with God.

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up THE SON every moment of each day. –Stephanie

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Don’t forget to share your photos of sunrises and sunsets on social media and use the hashtag #soakinguptheson.

 

Blessings from God.

It seems that every time you turn on the television or computer, or read the newspaper there is news that discourages you. Can I get an “Amen”?

Well, when Christ is IN you and you IN Christ He gives you a few blessings for us to enjoy. The Lord lavishes encouragement, comfort, sharing, mercy, and kindness. Oh, and this isn’t all. When we appreciate these blessings from the Lord, He will overflow us with: joy, love for others, unity, selflessness, and humility.

Think about what we have in Christ: the encouragement He has brought us, the comfort of His love, our sharing in His Spirit, and the mercy and kindness He has shown us. If you enjoy these blessings, then do what will make my joy complete: Agree with each other, and show your love for each other. Be united in your goals and in the way you think. In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. Philippians 2:1-4

Last month I had written “How to Cope with Grief” and mentioned a few things that helps me get through a season of grieving: clinging to God’s word, songs, prayer, walks, and knowing that I will see my loved one again in heaven. (Click on the link above to see songs and bible verses referenced to aid you in a time of broken-heartedness.) I didn’t realize last month the season that God was preparing me for. Within the past three weeks, I’ve witnessed (and gone through myself) a handful of dear friends grieve as they lost a loved one.

When I read Philippians 2:1-4, I could help but visualize one precious lady who is now walking with Jesus, Mrs. Lena Lott. Mrs. Lena exemplified the characteristics mentioned in these verses.

Mrs. Lena and Mr. Ron.  What a precious couple.

Mrs. Lena and Mr. Ron. What a precious couple.

While listening to her three children and some of her grandchildren speak about their momma and Mimi, it was evident that Mrs. Lena was an encourager, a comforter, shared in Jesus’ Spirit, and was full of mercy and kindness. She also characterized one who was selfless by honoring others more that herself and cared about the lives of others more than hers.

I found it interesting, at first, that her son mentioned that Mrs. Lena didn’t have any hobbies or interest of her own. Why didn’t she? Because she consumed her life with her Lord and family. In the obituary it states, “Her family was her life.” What a compliment of selflessness.

Her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren could easily give testimony (and did) of their momma/Mimi attending just about each function her family was involved in. And let me just add, that knowing this wonderful family…those activities kept Mrs. Lena extremely busy.

It was also revealed that in the last months of her life, she was in much pain. No one would have known this about Mrs. Lena because she always presented herself as a well-kept and strong woman who was taking care of her husband of 62 years. She loved Mr. Ron, and he adored his love.

Mr. Ron, I was encourage by you to hear you speak about how you wanted to gain wait. You were even specific to say how much weight you desired to gain. That simple sentence gave me a sense of the hope and determination you have to continue your bride’s hobby of living for your family. You have always been a strong, handsome, God-fearing, and loving man who always had a big hug to give me. I’m praying for you! I love you!

Mrs. Lott encouraged her children to always be respectful and to work hard. She didn’t only encourage them to do so, but stood firm in making sure they did.

I had known Mrs. Lena for most of my life. Her love for Jesus and her family wasn’t only an encouragement for her own family, but to me as well.

At the end of the service to celebrate Mrs. Lena Mae Lott’s life, her dedication and love for Jesus was also evident. During a time of prayer, an invitation to accept Christ as one’s Savior was presented. From what I could gather, about three individuals prayed the sinner’s prayer and confirmed that they wanted Jesus to be the Boss of their life. I personally remember the comfort I found in knowing that through my mother-in-law’s death, others gained a new life in Christ.

We will never know the impact our lives make on others. It is my prayer that you will evaluate your life and choose to live out the blessings that The Lord has for you: encouragement, comfort, sharing, mercy, and kindness, joy, love for others, unity, selflessness, and humility.

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up THE SON every moment of each day. –Stephanie

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2 tim 3

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4

Live on The Word of God!

When you feel….                                                             God’s Word will….

You are surrounded by hatred                                              encompass you with LOVE

Hopeless                                                                             give you HOPE

Scared                                                                                 provide PROTECTION

Empty                                                                                 FILL you up

Lonely                                                                                 ACCOMPANY you

Sad                                                                                      fill you with JOY

Weak                                                                                   make you STRONG

Angry                                                                                  CALM you

Depleted                                                                             PROVIDE you with all your needs

Lost                                                                                     GUIDE you on the right path

Persecuted                                                                         give you RELIEF

Lost                                                                                     SAVE you

Tempted                                                                            WARN and RESCUE us when we cry out to The Lord

And so much more!!

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

If we want to learn how to TRULY LIVE we need to open the Holy Bible and breathe in God’s spoken word. Yes, the scriptures were penned by man, but God gave them the words to inscribe. It is true. It is from God. It is here to teach, reprimand, repair, and educate us. We need to read it, pray it, believe it, and apply it to our lives.

We need to be living on and in The Word.

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up THE SON every moment of each day. –Stephanie

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Don’t forget to share your photos of sunrises and sunsets on social media and use the hashtag #soakinguptheson.

 

tarpon fishing

“Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” Jeremiah 32:17

Glory!

There have been times when you may cry out, “I just can’t do it!” or “It’s too hard”.

Allow me to remind you that when you have Christ in your heart, He gives you strength. You can do anything! Nothing is too difficult for God.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Hold your head up high, high into the heavens, and ask God for the strength you need for that moment. He WILL give it to you.

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up THE SON every moment of each day. –Stephanie

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Don’t forget to share your photos of sunrises and sunsets on social media and use the hashtag #soakinguptheson.

 

My three loves.

My three loves.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6

God’s not finished with you and me yet.

Until the day He calls us home or He returns, we are a work in progress.

When I read Ephesians 3:14-21 this morning, how could I not turn it into a prayer for my own children? So I did. I prayed this again for myself and family, and then again for you.

I encourage you to read it, pray it, believe it, and to apply it to your life. It’s good stuff, y’all!

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. 20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21

  • God created EVERYTHING.
  • He is magnificent!
  • God has infinite resources that He will empower you with.
  • He will give you strength.
  • Trust Him!
  • Grow in love and stronger with God.
  • His love for you is immeasurable.
  • Loving Christ is an experience that is never-ending.
  • He will make you whole.
  • God is life-giving and powerful.
  • Give God ALL the glory.
  • His powerful work WITHIN us is enormously more than we could ever imagine.
  • His love goes on for generations to come.

 

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up THE SON every moment of each day. –Stephanie

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Don’t forget to share your photos of sunrises and sunsets on social media and use the hashtag #soakinguptheson.

jany and teaToday I woke up singing “Happy Birthday to you…” That’s what my mother-in-love would do on all our birthdays. No matter where we were, you were sure to get a phone call with her singing “Happy Birthday”. Well, today is Jany’s birthday. I wasn’t able to call her on the phone, but I still sang the HB song to her.

She’s celebrating BIG TIME in heaven.

When Jany passed away there were so many sincere and genuine comments posted by many. I tried to copy and save them all, but I’m sure I missed a few. Here are just a couple of handfuls of comments some folks left. I found them therapeutic at the time, and still do today.

  • Loved her family and her flowers!
  • Was always beautiful. She reminded me if an angel the first time I met her.
  • I loved her smile and her laughter….it was contagious!
  • Bought me socks at my lingerie shower!! (along with other items). She said, you will need these honey! It can get cold some nights and your husband is not going to want you to wear anything…you should at least keep your feet warm! Those socks came in very handy!!! Loved her sense of humor and passion for life!
  • always willing to help others
  • never snobby, flashy, or fake
  • real- without being rude
  • sweet
  • knew how to make a home beautiful
  • dainty
  • true model of ladylike behavior-she left big shoes to fill on this one
  • Was a dear friend, a great home and yard decorator, proud of her family, loved my daughter, elegant, loved doing for others, and gave me a wonderful son-in- law.
  • Was a great friend, never wavered in her stance on life, and always lifting people up.

True. All true.

Jany wasn’t alone on the day she was born. She was born a twin. Her twin brother Johnny is a hoot. I love you, uncle Johnny. I hope you had a wonderful birthday. You are always one to make others laugh. I sure hope you had a good laugh today.

Johnny and Jany when they were around 3 years old.

Johnny and Jany when they were around 3 years old.

Happy Birthday, Jany and Johnny.

Note to all:

  • Capture the moments.  They’ll make for wonderful memories to look back on.
  • Love your loved ones.
  • Celebrate life.
  • Know where you are going when your time comes.
  • Ask Jesus into your heart.  Grow closer to Him.  Desire Christ.  Share His love with others.  This will be the best gift you’ll ever receive.  It’s free.  Everlasting.

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up THE SON every moment of each day. –Stephanie

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Don’t forget to share your photos of sunrises and sunsets on social media and use the hashtag #soakinguptheson.

 

Thanks, Sandy, for the beautiful picture.

Thanks, Sandy, for the beautiful picture.

Do I have or know the perfect plan for my life, my children’s, those who ask for godly advice? No way. But I do know The One whose way IS perfect.

Recently this wonderful twenty something young woman was seeking for what was the right path in her life. She had three of us more seasoned women huddled around her giving her personal testimonies and words of wisdom. In the end, it simply came down to one word…PRAY.

Ugh! It seems so unpretentious, but it is so true. Simplicity at its best.

We DON’T know the right path for our lives, but God does. So why do we still try to figure things out on our own or seek advice from others. Accountability? Sympathy? Searching for someone to agree with our heart? Oh, there are various reasons, but allow me to give you some priceless and powerful advice…PRAY.

Simply ask God. Be still. Listen. Read scripture. Pray more. He will hear you and show you the right way, His way, to go.

Humbly look to God for protection from unsolicited forces and in all situations.

God’s way is perfect.  All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to Him for protection. Psalm 18:30

If you have any questions, problems, needing guidance to and for anything in life…PRAY. God’s got this.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up THE SON every moment of each day. –Stephanie

Please click here to subscribe so you won’t miss a journal entry. THANK YOU!!!

Don’t forget to share your photos of sunrises and sunsets on social media and use the hashtag #soakinguptheson.