Daily Walking with God

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Walking in the Word

Plant City's First Baptist Church

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seeking peaceBlessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9

All I can write about is from my own personal experience. I know that any time, and I mean ANY time, I am struggling with something or someone and I cry out to Jesus, His PEACE washes over me.

Recently I journaled about the “pure heart” Beatitude and the little issue I had with one of my children. (Click here to read the “pure heart” entry.) While I was seeking answers IN the bible, I could instantly sense a feeling of peace saturating my mind and body. His words were filling me with complete peace.

God’s timing is always perfect. Today’s Beatitude comes from Matthew 5:9 regarding “Blessed are the peacemakers”, and the verse-for-the-day coincided with it ever so sweetly:

Those who love your teachings will find true peace. Nothing can make them fall. Psalm 119:165

In John 1:12, we read how to become a child of God. “Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.

Reread those three verses again and see the truth that is interlaced in the midst of them.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9

Those who love your teachings will find true peace. Nothing can make them fall. Psalm 119:165

Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.

Here’s my take on it, due to personal experience:

  • Ultimate peace comes from God.
  • When you receive and believe in Christ you are a child of God
  • You desire to seek peace because God is a God of peace.
  • When you seek Him with all your heart, and search His word, you will fall in love with His teachings.
  • The more you seek, desire, read, and long for true peace, you discover that you are securely standing in the word of God. Safe and secure!
  • His word exceeds your expectations of peace, and gives you strength as well.

Are you with me?

Friend, no matter what chaos, trial, or stumbling block comes your way, ground yourself in God’s word.

When I’ve stood in the midst of a family’s divorce, death, financial woes, back-stabbing of close friends, etc. God’s word was and IS my source of peace and strength. Dig deep.

“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

Please click on this link, In need of peace? , to read more encouraging words on peace.

Have a restful day.

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

 

text to kidsSchool has started. Jobs continue. My children are growing up. #dontblink

Parents/Friends of youngins in school or young adults, I want to encourage you to do something. Some of you may do this, or something to this effect, already. Send your kiddos a little word for God via text. Sure, we may send encouraging words or photos occasionally, but God’s word…hello…keep pouring it out and into them.

I started doing this recently. I don’t send a word daily, just when I feel the verse-of-the-day it just what they needed that moment. Okay, they may open it, read it, or even glance at it, and continue about their day with no reply, but you know what? They will KNOW that their momma is thinking about them. They will, hopefully, REMEMBER one day that their mother desired(s) for them to know, grow, and to fall more in love with our Heavenly Father each day.

No response is necessary from my children (even though a “thanks” every now and then would be cool). I pray that my children will see the love of Christ in and through me, and that that is a trait that I pray they will instill in their lives as well.

No matter the age, no matter the stage…share God’s word.

Hunter, Holly, and Cole…I LOVE YOU.

All y’all, have a wonderful day.

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

text to kids 2

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Matthew 5:8

Just be genuine

I need some help here. I’ve said before that I am by no means a theologian. Studying God’s word, desiring to know more about Him, growing more in love with Christ daily, and sharing His love? Guilty. Expert in religious studies? Far from it.

My issue is this…This afternoon I had two disapproving conversations with one of my children. Two! In one day! With the same child! Like I’ve journaled about before… “Being a parent is not for sissies.”. Breathe. Anyhow, I sat down in my comfy chair to prepare to write this journal entry on the next Beatitude. Prior to typing I made the comment to my husband, “Now I’ve got to relax and get into a pure heart state of mind.”

I took a few deep breaths, read Matthew 5:8 again, and felt perplexed.

My mind wasn’t feeling very “pure” with my thoughts before sitting down and being at peace with God.

I read several commentaries to assist in clarifying what “pure heart” meant. One commentary stated, “The pure heart is marked by transparency and an uncompromising desire to please God in all things.” Okay, so am I being “transparent” in my journaling? I believe so, to an extent. Am I desiring to please God in all things? Again, I’d like to think that. So, maybe I’m on my way.

Then I read the definitions in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. One definition was (1) free from what vitiates (defects), weakens (reduce effectiveness), or pollutes (unclean) (2) containing nothing that does not properly belong. Ugh! Now I’m back to not having such a “pure heart”. My thoughts have been weakened by my disappointment in another.

Finally, I typed in the words pure heart in the search section on biblegateway.com. Eleven verses appeared from the NLT. Now, here’s my thoughts:

In Titus 1:15 it says, “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.” I BELIEVE! So I am pure.

In First Timothy 1:5, Paul pens, “The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.” My faith IS genuine.

As I dig deeper into God’s word, I am gathering that a “pure heart” is one who has been washed by the blood of the Lamb. One who has placed their trust in Jesus Christ. One who has a personal relationship with The Lord.

Am I right?

Your input.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Matthew 5:8

Yes, I will see God! When this life on earth is over, I know that I will be seeing my God face to face. Praise the Lord! Pure heart for sure in heaven.

I’m so grateful that I find strength, peace, and comfort in delving in to God’s word. My heart is feeling less polluted and more effective.

Try God. He works!

Have a wonderful day.

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

 

 

 

Just be merciful“MERCY!!” was the cry we heard coming from another room.

I’ll never forget the time when one of my children wasn’t feeling well. This child was not one to be graceful when regurgitating. You would have thought that someone had lit a fire in their belly each time they had any tummy issues growing up. One night, they had knelt down to the throne. Not The Mercy Seat you hear about that was on top of The Arch of The Covenant, but you would have thought they did. All of a sudden we heard this roaring call, as if they were possessed by demons, cry out “MERCY!” We all looked at each other in horror, but at the same time cracked up laughing. I am laughing now as I think back on that episode that occurred many years ago. Don’t judge me…not being a bad mom…just couldn’t help myself. And, yes, I compassionately went in to assist my child in any way. (With a smirk, of course).

To this day, I’m not sure if their Sunday school teacher had recently taught a lesson on mercy or what, but my child was “begging for some compassionate treatment in their time of distress”. (Dictionary)

Today’s Beatitude focus comes from Matthew 5:7:

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Romans 3:23 tells us, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Because of our sin: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23. You know what? God owes you and me nothing! But what did He do? He sent His Son to die for OUR SINS so that we can choose to live eternally with Him. He LOVES you! He desires to have a relationship with us.

It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, how bad you think you are, or that you “think” you’re never going to be good enough for God…God loves you!

So, what should you do about it? Do as Hebrews 4:16 says, “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

Do as my child illustrated years ago, kneel down (it doesn’t have to be the same “throne” they used) and cry out for mercy to our forgiving and gracious God. He WILL give it to you.

“So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. 13 There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.” James 2:12-13

Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Matthew 9:13

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:1-5

Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:36

Jesus is merciful, and we are to strive to be more like Him every day. So, go…be merciful to others. Show compassion, especially to those who are not deserving of it at that time.

Have a wonderful day.

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

 

Beautiful landscape of Rio.

Beautiful landscape of Rio.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6 

As I am sitting here about to type my journal entry on the next Beatitude, my husband shares a video with me on some people in Rio, Brazil who are either biking, walking, and even jumping up and reaching into an open bus window to steal from someone else. UGH!!

We personally witnessed an event exactly like that when we visited Rio de Janeiro years ago. We were walking along the beautiful mosaic sidewalk between the crowded beach and bustling street when a young man on a bicycle peddled by, reached out to yank the gold choker off an elderly lady’s neck who was directly in front of us. Luckily, the perpetrator wasn’t successful on his attempt. The elder couple were shaken and we were all in disbelief.

The sidewalk in Rio.

The sidewalk in Rio.

When I read Matthew 5:6 this morning, I couldn’t help but think about the recent heated debates our country has been having over “Black Lives Matter”. I am NOT going to get into a political debate now, but I will say this…When someone of authority, especially LAW ENFORCEMENT, commands you (no matter your skin color!!) to stop and possibly put your hands up…JUST DO IT! Don’t run. Don’t attempt to do something idiotic. Just do THE RIGHT THING and obey. Even if you are mistakenly stopped, and haven’t done anything wrong, just obey. They are taught to do what they have to do to keep us and themselves safe.

How many times do we do the same thing to our Heavenly Father? He commands us to do something (whether it is to stop or move ahead), yet we often want to be like Jonah and flee.

If we would just do the right thing, we will discover that He desires what is best for us.

­I want to encourage you to desire/hunger/thirst for the right things in life…Jesus. You will be totally satisfied and filled with great joy.

Have a wonderful day.

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

 

 

 

These flowers were place at the French Embassy in Denmark after the latest terrorist attack.

These flowers were place at the French Embassy in Denmark after the latest terrorist attack.

Confession…I am the youngest child of four, AND the ONLY girl. So, yes, I am a bit “spoiled”. I like to call that a blessing from God. Being in that God-given situation, I’ve often had more confidence in myself than warranted. The attitude of “I can do that”, still creeps up and I can easily be filled with a sense of pride.

Confidence in God is a great thing.  Just be mindful of a confidence in self that becomes cocky.

Praise God that He has given me the prayerful life of discernment in my more mature years. Yes, I still think, “I can do whatever”, but the Lord often does a few things: 1) makes me realize that “Yes, I can, but I don’t need to”, 2) reminds me that my body is older than my mind sometimes, and 3) to stop and pray more before committing. I’ve even found myself being in prayer about a situation, gone with it, and later realized that He used a particular experience to keep me in my place and humble me. Boy oh boy, have I had my share of humble pie. I would like to say that I’m over it, but I have a feeling that God is not finished with His lessons for me yet…all for my own good.

Our next Beatitude come from Matthew 5:5. Jesus says, “God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.”

Again, The Message Translations keeps it simple and more understandable:

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.”

Are you happy with who you are?

No matter what your situation may be: stop, reflect, see where God has you, pray to embrace the moment (good or bad), and breathe in God’s goodness. When you do, you will soon feel more content. Your focus will be more on God and not on you.

When you are not humble, you are often…let’s say, “full of yourself”.

It is during those “full of myself/it’s all about me” moments when I am convicted to be more like Christ.  Jesus didn’t come to be served, yet to serve.  I have found, for me, that when those selfish moments creep up, I need go do something for someone else.  Serve.

I can easily recollect a few humbling moments in my life, and they are the most grateful experiences.  In was during times of service that my eyes were opened to the gratefulness in life and an appreciation for others in a beautiful and humbling light.

I want to encourage you to be FILLED WITH CHRIST. Count your blessings and allow Jesus to overflow in and through you. You will notice a change. Others will notice the difference in you as well.

I type the word humble in the search section on Biblegateway.com. Here are just a few key points I jotted down from what God instructs us in His word:

  • Stubborn hearts will be humbled.
  • He will make you humble through testing and teachable moments, for your own good.
  • The Lord will rescue the humble.
  • God will humble our enemies.
  • Being humble is an act of surrendering to the Lord.
  • When we humble ourselves we often spare ourselves much heartache.
  • God hears and restores you when you humble yourself and seek Him.
  • Humbling yourself is a change of heart.
  • When you humble yourself to the Lord, His anger diminishes.
  • When you become humble you are relinquishing yourself from pride.
  • We need to learn from The Humble One, Jesus.
  • You are great and will become exalted, when you are humble.
  • Don’t try to present yourself as humble. God will see right through it.
  • You are chosen, and God desires for you to be humble.

Reread that list. Claim it. Believe it. His words are true. Humble yourself before HIM.

 

Have a wonderful day.

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

 

 

 

Just be 2

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

Tim and I arrived home last night from visiting some precious and lifelong family friends, when I looked ahead to see what was the next Beatitude. Wow! I knew this one was coming up, but I didn’t realize it was going to have the perfect timing that it did. You see, our dear friends were just returning home from their meeting at the funeral home. Their frail, yet still so handsome and gentle-spirited husband/daddy/grandaddy was called home to Jesus.

I’ve said it before and will say it again…It doesn’t matter the age or stage in life…losing a loved one is HARD.

Oh, friend, you are not alone in mourning. Jesus did:

“Jesus wept.” John 11:35

Death is such a process in life that we go through that God exemplified it via His own Son. The glory is…He did this so that WE could live!

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”John 3:16

Grief is a occurrence that we will all experience at some point in our lives. I know for me, I embrace the assurance that THIS is not my home. This life on earth will end, and my eternal home in heaven awaits. There:

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:4

Oh GLORIOUS day that will be!

You too can have that same assurance. All you have to do is believe in Jesus Christ, repent from your sins (that He died for anyhow), invite Him to be the Boss of your life, and start truly living.

I know that our dear friend had this same confidence in the Lord. Mr. Hardee is suffering no more. Like his lovely, and always so elegant wife, said, “I’m not sad for Jimmie. He is fine. I’m sad for me.”

I’m sure Mrs. Ola Jean felt how The Message Translation expressed Matthew 5:4:

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.”

Yes, we will mourn, but grasp to the fact that you will be comforted. Comforted by our loving and compassionate Heavenly Father.

Have a wonderful day.

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

 

 

just be 1The next few days, I’m going to focus each day on a different Beatitude. What is a Beatitude? They are the blessings that Jesus listed in His Sermon on the Mount.

First of all, do you want to be a beatified person? Of course you do! According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, being a beatified person would convey that you are enjoying the bliss of heaven. Ahhhh..not that sounds refreshing, and exciting!

Let’s take a look at the first of many Beatitudes:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (NIV) Matthew 5:1-3

I often get a giggle out of how The Message translation puts a spin on these verses: “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule.” (MSG)

Well? Have you been there? At the end of the rope? Miserable in your spirit?

Okay, here’s an excerpt from the journal entry, “How Freeing” , I wrote last year. The powerful phrase from Francesca Battistelli’s song came to my mind after reading Matthew 5:3:

Do you ever read a bible verse or hear a bible story that you’ve read before, if not a thousand times, but “this” time you read it God reveals something new and fresh to you? He so does this! God’s word is living and relevant to our lives each day. We just need to read with open minds for Him to share His freshness with us.

That’s how I felt about the phrase in this song. The last part of the chorus says, “But on Your shoulders I can see I’m free to be me, and You’re free to be You”. When she sang the words, You’re free to be You, I was like, “Whoa!”

How often do we hold God back? Really. Think about it. We frequently want to control situations in our lives. When we do this, we are holding God back. We are not freeing Him to give us all the blessings He has for us. Friend, we are missing out when we control things and don’t allow God to do what He does (and knows) is best.

Stand on God’s shoulders and feel the freedom of living out His will for your life.

So true! When there is less of you and more of God, you are rich! A lively quality and enthusiasm of and for life. That’s it…when we focus more on God and less on our selves, THAT is truly living!

Go…Just Be…ready for more of God.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” Psalms 34:8

“Great blessings belong to those who fear and respect the Lord and live the way he wants.” Psalms 128:1

Have a wonderful day.

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

 

 

a plan for youDo you have a “plan” for your life?

Maybe someone else thinks they have a “plan” for you.

Making plans are great, just make sure that you are prayerful, flexible, and patient.

Why? Because God has had a plan for you since before you were born. A great plan! His plan is perfect.

The more you seek Christ and desire to know, grow, and fall more in love with Him, the easier it will be to see the plan God has for you.

Desire God’s plan over your plan. In the end you won’t be dissatisfied with your circumstances, only filled with peace and joy, and the comfort of knowing that He is The Boss of your life instead of you. Whew! Relinquish that stress now.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10

Have a wonderful day.

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

 

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7

I had to laugh when I read this verse. Why? Because of a recent event that occurred at our home.

Crazy Mom Award! Forgiving Son Award!

Almost a month ago, the day before four out of five family members were leaving for vacation and the day before our eldest was going to a concert, this incident occurred.

Hunter (our eldest) often needs me to trim his hair with the electric razor. Oh, now you think you know where I’m going with this. Hang on. The battery was low, so I’d trim a little, then plug it in to charge. This process was repeated again. Why we didn’t just have Hunter sit closer to the plug, I have no idea, but it is what it is.

Over time, the sun was descending, and the visibility was becoming problematic. Again…why we didn’t turn the lights on…I have no idea.

When we thought the razor was fully charged, I grabbed the device, proceeded to trim Hunter’s hair, and….OH MY…all I saw in the dimness of the night was white! White on the top of my brown haired boy’s head!

Hunter was a trooper. And, no, the top part is natural balding, not mom-balding-me.

Hunter was a trooper. And, no, the top part is natural balding, not mom-balding-me.

Immediately I gasped, walked over to the swing, dropped the razor, walked away from it (as if IT was the evil one) and towards the pool, knelt down with my head to the brick pavers, and said, “I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry!” (I am cringing now, and laughing with my entire body at the same time, just thinking about it.) I could feel my heart racing as I was bowing down to the ground.

Of course this was a video/photo moment. Hunter had to view the mistake his mother had made atop his head. He observed the video, shook his head, and grinned. Whew!

He even entrusted me to continue to trim his entire head so the hair would blend in a bit.

In the end, this two inch by four inch section was able to be hidden under a hat. Oh, I’m sure the following night at the concert with his pals he showed them his lack-of-hair, and they all had a good laugh at this crazy momma.

Hunter was a good sport. His hair grows quickly. And…it’s just hair!

I believe God was busy subtracting that night.

I hope you can find laughter in verses and in small “Ooops” in life.

Have a wonderful day.

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

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