Daily Walking with God

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Walking in the Word

Plant City's First Baptist Church

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Holly received her USFSP c/o 2020 tassel.  Go Bulls.

Holly received her USFSP c/o 2020 tassel. Go Bulls.

“Can anyone hide from me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?” says the Lord. Jeremiah 23:24

Yep, that was the bible verse that I woke up to on the day we were moving our daughter to college. Appropriate to share with her? You bet! And…I reminded her that just because we don’t know what she’s up to, God does. (*wink*wink)

I am grateful that God is watching over and protecting Holly. I pray that she will have a God confidence in herself as she moves forward in this new adventure. I pray that Holly will cultivate new friendships and that they will keep each other accountable. I pray that she will develop a love for learning, be passionate about her studies, have a blast getting involved in campus life, and embrace all that USFSP has to offer.

“My God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence.  I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies.” 2 Samuel 22:3-4

“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17

Wise people want to learn more, so they listen closely to gain knowledge. Proverbs 18:15

Her first day: (The photos tell the story)

  • Get a “see ya later” hug from big bro.
  • Love Marley, the family dog, bye.
  • Load vehicle and head west.
  • Have parents, younger brother, and nana and grandpa help move in to dorm.
  • Pick up textbooks (even if one was the wrong one).
  • Settle in to the dorm and meet new roomies.
  • Receive “A Pocketful of Promises” book, like mom’s, for quick encouraging words from God.
  • Parents head to the beach.
  • Have a nice dinner on the water with parents.
  • Watch the sunset while having toes in the sand on the beach (This momma needed the peaceful feeling of seeing the sunset on the beach.)
  • Part ways.

Day Two:

  • Have breakfast at The Hanger with parents.
  • Receive tassel for the class of 2020 at convocation, with an awesome vocalist singing the National Anthem.
  • Have photo taken with classmates by the bull.
  • Last minute Publix trip before parents leave.
  • Farewell hugs and yes tears until…just next weekend. (*smile*)

What a rollercoaster of emotions the past few weeks have been. I invested in waterproof mascara and tissues, and knee pads for praying knees (JK about the knee pads, but serious about the praying.)

Change often brings challenges and may (usually) take us out of our comfort zones, but when we fully rely on God each step of the way, there will be victory in the end. It’s my desire for Holly step out in faith, face those challenges head on with confidence, and always look to God for guidance.

We have troubles all around us, but we are not defeated. We often don’t know what to do, but we don’t give up.  We are persecuted, but God does not leave us. We are hurt sometimes, but we are not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Praying for all you parents and newly-college-bound-kiddos. Trust in the Lord.

USFSP collage 3

USFSP collage 2

USFSP collage 1

 

Now if the fish were the size of my boy's catch...whoa!

Now if the fish were the size of my boy’s catch…whoa!

Jesus cracks me up. I wonder how many times He wanted to just shake His head and say, “Serious?”

First of all, He’s so considerate. In Mark 8:1-3 we see where a huge crowd, of about 4,000, had been gathered around and listening to and learning from Jesus for about three days. They had run out of food. The time had come for the crowd to leave when Jesus noticed the food dilemma. He told his disciples that he felt sorry for the people and didn’t want them leaving without food or they may faint.

Secondly, Jesus likes to include us. I think He enjoys making us feel wanted. See, there was a problem. The Christ could/can solve any problem at any time. He’s God! But He presented the “no food” situation to His disciples as if He was asking them what should be done about it, or maybe He was seeing how observant they were that there was a dilemma. Anyhow…In verses 2 and 3 He says, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat.  If I send them home hungry, they will faint along the way. For some of them have come a long distance.”

Now is where I can imagine Jesus shaking His head at the disciples’ response. They replied in verse 4, “How are we supposed to find enough food to feed them out here in the wilderness?” As if to say, “There’s not a Chick-fi-La for miles! It would take us days to get there and back.”

He’s done it before, He’ll do it again. Jesus instructed them to give Him some bread. Seven were given. Then some fish were provided too. Jesus blessed the food and divided it among the four thousand men! Do the math…7 loaves of bread and a few fish to feed 4,000 people, if not more. God doesn’t just stop there, He not only provided enough food for all to be completely full, but to have seven baskets of leftovers. He’s so cool!

God is The Provider!

He provided for folks in the bible, and He will still provide for you today.

Trust in Him.

He is compassionate towards and passionate about you.

Just don’t take Him for granted.

In verses 11-13, I had to chuckle at Jesus again. This is where Pharisees demanded a miraculous sign, and “when He heard this, He sighed deeply in His spirit and said, “Why do these people keep demanding a miraculous sign?” (verse 12) Can’t you just imagine Jesus shaking His head as He was sighing deeply? Cracks me up.

He’s tough too. Also in verse 12 He says, “I want you to know that no miracle will be done to prove anything to you.” God doesn’t need to prove a thing. He is not a magician or circus act. He wants you to trust in Him and have faith.

Stop waiting around for God to show you a miraculous sign, and start believing in Him. He has great plans for you!

(Click here to read Mark 8:1-13)

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.

 

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Psalm 91:1

find rest

The pine tree standing in our pasture isn’t moving. It is planted into the ground and remains in place. As the day goes by the position of the sun causes a shadow to appear on the ground. On those scorching days you can see the cattle standing or lying in the shadow for shelter and protection from the harsh rays. The tree may remain in place, but the cattle are moving throughout the day to find comfort in the shadows of the tall pine.

God is immoveable. He remains the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8. As circumstances arise in your life, you begin to feel the “heat”/effects. I want to encourage you to remember to transfer your outlook/position/self to the Most High, the Immovable One, and the Unchanging Almighty God who will protect you and wants you to dwell with Him.

Feel safe in God’s arms.

Run to Him.

Find rest in God’s shadow.

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.

DSCN4056

You’re a good good father.

The man the God placed in my life 31 years ago who made me laugh, feel secure, was a stud (*wink*truth*), and loved me is still with me today. (Twenty-five awesome years of marriage approaching in October)

Now, fast forward all these years, his qualities are still the same, yet even more so. I often call him my Man-of-Integrity. He is a godly example to others as to how to be a husband, friend, and father. He’s the funny one in our family (so the kids say…I’m just the one they like to make fun of, LOL…yea, he is pretty funny). He is a great provider. The opportunities we’ve had, and still have, to travel and experience various adventures in life is due much to his wisdom, discernment, and hard work.

I pray that our children will see the man-of-God that I do. The man who prays throughout the day for God’s guidance. A man who reads scripture through devotion each morning. A man who quietly gives. A man who gives God his first fruits (at least 10%) of all earnings. The man who will fight for and adores his family.

People who respect the Lord will be safe, and they will make their children feel secure. Proverbs 14:26

As good as a father my man is to his three children, he leads by example of an amazing Father, his Heavenly Father.

It is my prayer that our children will look to their earthly father as a wonderful and loving example, but even more…I pray that they will always look to their Heavenly Daddy for what is perfect and precious.

Happy 20 years of Father’s Day to you Tim. I love you!!

Click here to hear Chris Tomlin’s “Good Good Father” song.

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.

 

The Lord is close to the brokenheartedWhat an emotional week we’ve had, not only for my home state, but for our country, and world as well. Terror has struck across our land.

My heart aches. God’s heart aches.

Yesterday I had a conversation with a gentleman about the recent events that have taken place in Orlando. He noticed my shirt that I was wearing, “Pray it Forward”; he heard me humming a Christian song; he said that he could sense God’s peace in my home, so this gentleman proceeded to ask me questions about God, my faith, why would God allow this, homosexuality, guns, etc. Our conversation was brief, but with much depth. I totally believe that God was pouring the words in and out of me throughout that precious exchange of words. Thank You, Lord, for providing godly wisdom when needed.

Instead of getting into the many aspects of the conversation I had yesterday, I do feel the need to share something else with you.

We all grieve. Whether it is for a situation that has occurred in our own family or for others, we all grieve.

In Psalm 34:18 we are told, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Amen. He is. I can testify to it as well. God is close. He will rescue. We have to reach out to Him and allow Him to rescue us during these times of heartbreak.

Remember the days following the attacks on 9/11? The churches were filled. People were seeking. Seeking God. Seeking answers. Seeking peace.

In opposition, People often want to push God away during these times. Some will even blame God. Most will question “why?”

Advice: Please don’t push Him away. Draw near to Him and He will come close to you (James 4:8). Don’t blame God. Please remember that our Creator has nothing to do with evil, only Satan does. Satan has come to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). Go ahead and question “why”, just be prepared to not get an answer right away. His thoughts and ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). We may never know the answers to the questions we have until we get to heaven.

When my family went through a tragic death a few things that helped me were: clinging to God’s word, songs, prayer, walks, and knowing that I will see my loved one again in heaven.

Clinging to the Word: We are told that we will have troubles and trials in this world (John 16:33). Life isn’t fair. Read the book of Job or Psalms 73 or a plethora of other examples in the bible. We are also told that God is our strength, Comforter, Peace, Everlasting Love, and so much more! So, knowing that heartache will come and where to turn to when it does, was comforting for me. If you’re new to the bible, you can even google something like, “bible verses for when I feel __________” and a multitude of scripture will appear. I want to encourage you to seek peace through seeking God in His word. Cling to The Word.

Songs: Oh how I love music. Music can speak volumes to us, even without even hearing any words. I’ll never forget when a dear friend gave me the Mercy Me cd when I was in the midst of grieving. A song that helped me was “The Hurt and The Healer”. It’s been years since my personal experience, but when I hear the song today, and the words still bring tears of comfort to me.

Here are the lyrics: (Click here to view the video.)

Why? The question that is never far away The healing doesn’t come from the explained Jesus please don’t let this go in vain You’re all I have All that remains

So here I am What’s left of me Where glory meets my suffering

I’m alive. Even though a part of me has died You take my heart and breathe it back to life I’ll fall into Your arms open wide When the hurt and the healer collide

Breathe Sometimes I feel it’s all that I can do Pain so deep that I can hardly move Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You Lord take hold and pull me through

So here I am What’s left of me Where glory meets my suffering

I’m alive Even though a part of me has died You take my heart and breathe it back to life I’ll fall into Your arms open wide When the hurt and the healer collide

It’s the moment when humanity Is overcome by majesty When grace is ushered in for good And all our scars are understood When mercy takes its rightful place And all these questions fade away When out of the weakness we must bow And hear You say it’s over now

I’m alive Even though a part of me has died You take my heart and breathe it back to life I’ll fall into Your arms open wide When the hurt and the healer collide

Jesus come and break my fear Awake my heart and take my tears Find Your glory even here When the hurt and the healer collide

Jesus come and break my fear Awake my heart and take my tears Find Your glory even here When the hurt and the healer collide

Jesus come and break my fear Awake my heart and take my tears Find Your glory even here

Another song that is more current, with a beautiful message as to why it was written, that I feel helps to heal your broken heart is “Tell Your Heart To Beat Again” by Danny Gokey. Powerful! (Click here to view the testimony and live performance.)

You’re shattered, Like you’ve never been before. The life you knew, In a thousand pieces on the floor. And words fall short in times like these, When this world drives you to your knees. You think you’re never gonna get back, To the you that used to be.

Tell your heart to beat again. Close your eyes and breathe it in. Let the shadows fall away. Step into the light of grace. Yesterday’s a closing door. You don’t live there anymore. Say goodbye to where you’ve been. And tell your heart to beat again.

Beginning, Just let that word wash over you. It’s alright now, Love’s healing hands have pulled you through. So get back up, take step one, Leave the darkness, feel the sun. Cause your story’s far from over, And your journey’s just begun.

Tell your heart to beat again. Close your eyes and breathe it in. Let the shadows fall away. Step into the light of grace. Yesterday’s a closing door. You don’t live there anymore. Say goodbye to where you’ve been. And tell your heart to beat again.

Let every heartbreak, And every scar, Be a picture that reminds you, Who has carried you this far. ‘Cause love sees farther than you ever could, In this moment heaven’s working, Everything for your good.

Tell your heart to beat again. Close your eyes and breathe it in. Let the shadows fall away. Step into the light of grace. Yesterday’s a closing door. You don’t live there anymore. Say goodbye to where you’ve been. And tell your heart to beat again.

Oh how there are so many more songs that I could post. You could share. I’d love for you to post a song that has helped you through a difficult time in the comment section below. Allow music to speak to you, comfort you, and give you peace.

Prayer: I’m not sure how I’d get through a day without having a conversation with God. The thing with God is that even when we don’t know what to say He knows our hearts. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26. While grieving, I pray for forgiveness for myself, others, and the person who passed. I pray for peace, comfort, and understanding. I pray strength and words to say. I pray for my eyes to be open to the blessings I have. I pray for others. Praying for others and their needs was extremely helpful. It would make me feel useful and would take my mind off my selfish feelings and give me a mission. In a situation like the terrorist attack in Orlando, we are even instructed to pray for our enemies. “But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” Matthew 5:44 . God WILL deal with those who commit evil. We will each have to account for ourselves. PRAY.

Walk: Whether I was walking the hills of Kentucky, the beaches of Florida, or my neighborhood, walking was helpful in my time of grief. While walking I would either listen to music, chat with God, remember the good times, keep my eyes alert to what was surrounding me, and even listen. I’d listen for God’s still small, yet powerful, voice. One thing that I clearly felt God impressing on my heart was “I am not alone”. Death happens daily. Whether you’re grieving over an unexpected tragedy or a long awaited illness, and no matter the age or stage of life one is in, remember…YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Read the lyrics and listen “I Am Not Alone” by Kari Jobe. When I watched this video it was so eerie for me because the path looks exactly like our Kentucky trails through the woods. Exactly! Eerie, yet comforting. (I think God wanted me to see that now.)

“I Am Not Alone”

When I walk through deep waters, I know that You will be with me. When I’m standing in the fire, I will not be overcome. Through the valley of the shadow I will not fear. [x2:] I am not alone. I am not alone. You will go before me. You will never leave me. In the midst of deep sorrow. I see Your light is breaking through. The dark of night will not overtake me. I am pressing into You Lord, You fight my every battle. And I will not fear. [x4:] You amaze me. Redeem me. You call me as Your own. You’re my strength. You’re my defender. You’re my refuge in the storm. Through these trials You’ve always been faithful .You bring healing to my soul. [x6:] I am not alone. I am not alone. You will go before me. You will never leave .

Yes, God will go before you and never leave you!

Knowing that I will see my loved one again in heaven: Whenever tragedy strikes, like it has our nation, it makes me feel the sense of urgency and reflection. An urgency to want to make sure everyone knows my Savior. An urgency for all to desire to know Him personally and invite Christ into their hearts so that everyone has an opportunity to be in Heaven one day. Oh, friend, you can’t get to Heaven by just being good or because your grandparent is a Christian, or because you’ve graced the church doors with your presence. No. The ONLY way to Heaven is through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I can’t do it for you. Your parents cannot will it on you. You have to make the choice for yourself. So why wait? Do it now! As you can tell by just watching the news or driving down the street, we are not guaranteed tomorrow. Please get your heart right with Jesus today. I encourage you, if you have never made that decision to invite Christ into your heart, please seek a bible believing pastor, counselor, friend, or even message me. Click on the tab above titled “How to be a Christian”. It’s urgent! Reflect. Reflect on your life. Ask yourself, “How can I be a better person?” “What can I do to help others in their time of need?” “What does God want me to do with my life today to make a difference?” I am so grateful that God gives me the sense of urgency, reflection, and comfort in knowing that my family do have a personal relationship with Christ and that we will all meet again in Heaven.

Friend, I am praying for you through your time of grief.

We all grief.

You are not alone.

Trust. Trust in God.

You won’t regret clicking here to hear Lauren Daigle sing “Trust in You”.

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.

 

 

new mercies each morning

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.   Psalm 19:14

You’ve often heard someone say, “Think positive thoughts”. I’m all for thinking positive. But this morning, while I was praying for someone to have “positive thoughts” I could feel God press on me saying, “Don’t just pray that they will have positive thoughts, but godly thoughts.”

Positive thinking isn’t going to will something my way. It will make me feel better and more joyful in the process, yet I may not be content with the end result. Godly thinking is knowing that whatever happens in the end, if I’m having the mindset of God all will be well when all is said and done.

Like my wise husband simply stated when I asked him if he understood my thought process, “Yea. Positive thinking could be worldly, where godly thinking is more eternal.” Well said, Tim.

Here is my prayer:

“Lord, You are my Rock. You keep me strong when I am weak. Forgive me when I fail You. Please forgive me when my thoughts are not aligned with the plans You have for me. Help me to have the words that flow from my thoughts to my mouth be uplifting. Not only inspiring to others, but above all glorifying You in and through it all. I want to please You, Lord. Help me to be more than positive in my thoughts. I want to think godly thoughts. Guard my heart. Protect my thoughts. Filter my words to be the words that You will have me to speak. Forgive me for the words that I’ve already said today that were not pleasing to You. Cleanse me, oh Lord. Thank You for making me new. Thank You for your mercies each day. I love You, Lord. Amen.”

“He alone is my rock and my salvation.” Psalm 62:2a

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

“God, you give true peace to people who depend on you, to those who trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

“Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” Psalm 51:2

“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.” Lamentations 3:22-23

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.

Holly's bday sunrise 1

This morning, as the sun was rising, I went out on the balcony to capture God’s greatness and pray blessings for my birthday girl.

Today is Holly’s 18th Birthday. She actually has written on our refrigerator calendar, beside the month of June, “Holly’s Month”. She didn’t write “Holly’s Month” only because of her birthday, but she graduated, turns 18, has orientation at her new school, moves in to her dorm, and begins college life…all within a period of three weeks. So, yea, this is considered not only “Holly’s Month” but we should probably add the words “Holly’s Monumental Milestone Month”.

Last June 9th I posted a journal entry titled “Who Is She?” (Please click here to view.) Throughout the entry I had describe Holly as: free spirited, an adventurer, an old soul, loves history, loyal, beautiful, determined, chill, international, chosen, a child of God, my friend, my daughter…Holly. God gave me a bible verse to coincide with each description. I just went back and read that journal entry. The descriptive words are still true, the bible verses will always stand, but a few of the examples have differed or expanded for the better over the year. No matter what has changed, Holly is still my beautiful inside and out daughter!

A precious and talented friend of mine does what she calls doodling. I call it “God Doodling”. (Please click her to see her work featured in three other entries.) What happened was this: I told her about the thirteen descriptive words I had for Holly and asked her if she wouldn’t mind using her talent to create an 8×10 for each bible verse. Kathy agreed. She informed me that before she put a pencil to the each page she would talk to God. She prayed about what to draw, and for Holly. EACH time! I am so grateful for the talent that God gave Kathy and the prayerful intentions He placed in her heart. When she gave them to me and told me her process, she was rubbing her hands over the package of 8x10s as if she was still praying blessings over them. These pieces of art are special to me and now to Holly. She will be taking these to college with her as a reminder of who she is and Whose she is.

God Doodling for Holly, by Kathy Wall

God Doodling for Holly, by Kathy Wall

Holly, your mom and dad love you so much. You truly are a beautiful young woman inside and out. We pray that you will always seek God’s advice in all you do, grow in His wisdom and knowledge, and love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Remember who you are and Whose you are. As much as we love you and want the best for you, God loves you more and desires great things for you. He has a wonderful and perfect plan for your life. Seek Him always.

HaPpY 18th BiThDaY!!!!!

Free spirited: My brothers and sisters, God chose you to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful selves. Instead, serve each other with love.”  Galatians 5:13.

Adventurer: ‘You will teach me the right way to live. Just being with you will bring complete happiness. Being at your right side will make me happy forever.” Psalm 16:11

Old soul: Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”-Mother Teresa

Loves history:  “Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us. Those things were written so that we could have hope. That hope comes from the patience and encouragement that the Scriptures give us.”  Romans 15:4

Loyal: “Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life, righteousness, and honor.” Proverbs 21:21

Beautiful: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”  1 Peter 3:3-4

Determined: “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:13

Chill: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”  Philippians 4:8

International: “The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” Psalm 121:8

Chosen: “Be holy in everything you do, just as God is holy. He is the one who chose you.” 1 Peter 1:15

Child of God: “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.”  John 1:12

Myfriend:  “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” Ecclesiastes 4:9

Daughter: “Children are a gift from the Lord, a reward from a mother’s womb.” Psalm 127:3

The Birthday Girl!  I love you, Holly Anne.

The Birthday Girl! I love you, Holly Anne.

I pray that each of 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.

 

 

She graduated from being a Raider to now a Bull.

She graduated from being a Raider to now a Bull.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights. Habakkuk 3:19

Give credit where credit is due.

God’s power and awesomeness is recognized in chapter 3 of the book of Habakkuk. The prophet Habakkuk doesn’t only acknowledge the wonderment of our Sovereign Lord and proclaims that even through the difficulties in life we need to rejoice the Lord, but that we grasp the fact that it is God our Creator who strengthens us and helps us succeed in all we do.

Yesterday my family celebrated my daughter’s graduation. In the principal’s speech she eluded to the fact that these graduates didn’t get this far on their own. She gave acknowledgment to the parents, families, coaches, administrators, and teachers that have partaken in the students’ lives over the past thirteen years of their educational career.

In the salutatorian’s speech it was mentioned that it has taken a village for the students to arrive to this point in their lives.

Yes! You (all of us) haven’t gotten as far as you have on your own. Giving credit where credit is due is an important awareness. Yet, above all the individuals that have assisted you along the way in your life’s journey, in your weakest moments, through the unsteady times that life presents, it is through your faith in God that you made it. He truly is your strength. God is your constant and immovable dependability. The Lord is who aspires you to reach those great heights in life.

Instead of having a graduation party (which Holly didn’t want), she gladly agreed to invite family and those family-friends who have helped mold her into the young woman that she has become over for an after-graduation-dinner. Oh, there really are an abundant of folks that we could have and should have invited, but then I would have had to rent out an arena. Yes, it does take a village. I am so grateful for each friend of ours, teacher, coach, pastor, church member, etc. who been influential in Holly’s life. THANK YOU!

Thank you family, Joneses, Batleys, Hipplers, Shouses, Knoxs, and countless others who have influenced Holly along life's way.

Thank you family, Joneses, Batleys, Hipplers, Shouses, Knoxs, and countless others who have influenced Holly along life’s way.

Whether we could have filled an arena or simply gathered around in our modest kitchen, Holly truly had an audience of one. Influential people have come and gone in my children’s lives, yet One remains constant…God.  To God be the glory.

It is my prayer that as she embarks in this next season in her life that Holly will (as The Message translation puts it in Habakkuk 3:19) take heart and gain strength, run like a deer, and feel like she’s queen of the mountain all through Jesus Christ. I pray that she will appreciate and acknowledge those who aid her in her future endeavors, but always remember that her faith and confidence in God is her constant. The Lord is her strength, help, and place of safety.

Happy season of graduation to all graduates. Happy growing in grace, truth, and wisdom in God to all.

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

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Grad and Wedding WeekendY’all, this is good stuff!

First of all, whew!…what a weekend! I’ve attended graduation parties, driven five hours (one way) to see the beautifully God-filled wedding of my nephew and drove back home (five more hours) in one day, rose early Sunday morning to honor the graduates at Plant City High School at the touching and traditional Baccalaureate, have driven out to see and walk on the progress of the building of our new home, and celebrated the graduates at a phenomenal evening worship service and time of fellowship at my church. Can I have a weekend to recoup please?

All of the aforementioned have been great cause of celebration. Yet, I’ve had conversations with friends regarding other events in their lives that were not cause for feelings so festive. The dying of a loved one and the choices a good teen has made that warrants one to have a criminal record are among those conversations.

When I read this morning’s scripture, I was reminded that no matter the age or stage of life you are in, we serve a POWERFUL God! He CAN turn any event into glory. Yes! Whether the circumstance you are going through is filled with celebration or heartache there is HOPE. When we allow Christ to reside in us, and be grounded in and experience His love (a love that is incomprehensible), that is when we will be overcome by His power. His power is IN us! He has already overcame the world…we can too! May all the glory be given to The Almighty.

Listen.  In Ephesians 3:17-19 we read these powerful words:

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. Ephesians 3:17-19 NLT

I pray them for you, as Paul did in Ephesians, and I want to encourage you to pray this scripture as well. Wait! Don’t just pray it, BELIEVE it. THAT’S where you will begin to sense the POWER of His word.

In closing, I leave with you the words to Jeremy Camp’s song, “Same Power”, that was sung last night at the grad service.

The same power that rose Jesus from the grave.  The same power that commands the dead to wake.  Lives in us, lives in us. 

The same power that moves mountains when He speaks.  The same power that can calm a raging sea.  Lives in us, lives in us.  He lives in us, lives in us.  http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/jeremycamp/samepower.html

Right after we worshipped through this song last night, the families of the graduates were invited to gather around their honoree to pray for and encourage them. I looked into my Holly’s eyes and reminded her that the words of this song are true. That she has the power of God living IN her. Oh how I pray that she, and all of us, will remember the power within us and as the song also says,

We will not be overtaken.  We will not be overcome.

Exclamation Point!

GLORY!

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

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God gave me the right verse for the right time.  He’s so like that!  Just what I needed this morning.

My late mother-in-law's bicycle. Dawned with pink roses. Soooo Jany.

My late mother-in-law’s bicycle. Dawned with pink roses. Soooo Jany.

 

Thank you, Lord, for bringing peace during ALL seasons, in every way, at just the right time. I love you!

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!!!

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