alarmThe other morning I was in my daughter’s room around 6:50 saying my routine thing, “Good morning, Beautiful.”  I decided to climb in her comfy bed and lie there for a bit. I cracked up when her alarm went off.  I saw the time that she sets her alarm for each morning. 6:52. Six: fifty-two?   That’s the sign of a girl who goes to the beat of her own drum.

This made me think about how God’s timing is.  2 Peter 3:8 says, But don’t forget this one thing, dear friends: To the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day.” God’s timing is not our timing.  Often we want things done right away, but we are called to “wait on the Lord”

Isaiah 40:31 reminds us to not only wait, but look what happens when we do:

 “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.

I pray many blessings and much joy for you! Have a wonderful day. – Stephanie

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABoy oh boy can (and does) Satan love to wreak havoc in our lives.  Can I get an “Amen”?  I have had two conversations lately when it is obvious that Satan is grinning from ear to ear.

One friend has a loved one where their body is being attacked.  Symptoms are there that originally led the doctors to believe that they have ALS, MS, cancer, or some other debilitating disease. After numerous doctor visits and tests, no named ailment is showing up.  What has happened in their life, on a personal level, has been a drastic change in the family unit.  Could their symptoms be Satan twisting his hands, laughing hauntingly, and causing anxiety to take shape in this person’s life by affecting their health? Or is it truly a known disease that is being masked somehow.  Who knows!  Well, Satan probably has a hint, and God knows.  (Please pray for my friend to have peace, a complete healing, and for Satan to back off.)

Another friend recently mentioned how she has a loved one that has been “on the dark side”.  Through much prayer and persistence and many of years of patience, a relationship is slowly being formed.  She desires continued prayer for her loved one to not be swayed by the “powers of the dark side”, but for God to shower them with His tender loving mercies.  (Please pray for this friend’s loved one to be strong in the Lord and His mighty power.)

Finally, without going into details now, I vividly remember the struggle in my life that Satan was enjoying.  Yes, I was bathing in God’s word, prayer, and my faith in Jesus Christ through it all, but when I discovered how my mother-in-law passed away I was in shock and mad. My emotions were a rollercoaster for months. When I would feel my thoughts wanting to dwell in evilness, I would have to make myself remember God’s word and His truth. Praise God that He brings peace and comfort to His loved ones.

I say these examples to bring you to God’s instruction as to how to protect ourselves from those attacks by the evil one.

In Ephesians 6:10-20  we read about how to take a stand against the devil’s schemes (that will come your way):

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

I pray that you and I will not face this world without God and His protection.  Are you on God’s side?  If you want to know Him more and have a relationship with Him, please click here  to find out more and to begin putting on your armor today.

I pray many blessings and much joy for you! Have a wonderful day. – Stephanie

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have had my share of humble pie.  And FYI…it doesn’t taste very good at all.

In James 4:10 we read, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up. 

Just yesterday my pastor gave a definition to the word humility.  He said, “Humility is a humble opinion of self because of a greater opinion of God.”  I love it!

When you have an awareness of the importance of God in your life, and an attitude of glorifying Him in all you say and do, you’ve got your priorities right.  God first, NOT yourself.

Whenever we turn our focus to ourselves, we become arrogant and often go through life with the mindset of “What’s in it for me” or “What about me?”  This sounds like an attitude of selfishness.  The bible has a plethora of verses that speak against being selfish.

According to 1 Peter 3:8 we are given this list of qualities to live by: be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.”  Wow! Imagine if we all lived like this?  Sounds like a peaceful way to live to me.

I pray that you will think of God and others before yourself.  “What’s in it for you?” A great reward from God.

 “I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.” Luke 6:35-36 (MSG)

I pray many blessings and much joy for you! – Stephanie

Happy Birthday, Blessed mom!

Happy Birthday, Blessed mom!

What happened in 1941?  Was it WW II, Joe Louis dominate for heavyweight boxing titles, Orson Welles direct and star in “Citizen Kane”, Bob Hope perform his first USO show, Joe DiMaggio break hitting streaks and named AL MVP, Walt Disney release the animation “Dumbo”, or the bombing of Pearl Harbour?  Yes, all those historical events took place, but something more grand occurred for me. Judith Marie West came into this world on January 24, 1941…my Momma.

When I woke up this “birthday morning of my mom” and thought about and prayed for her, some words came to my mind that describes her:  hospitable, Servanthood, overcomer, and just plain ole “there”.

Hospitable:  Throughout my entire life our home was a place of gathering.  My momma was never one to turn down hosting a party, dinner, or a social event of any kind.  Whether it was her sisterhood with Beta Sigma Phi, neighborhood kids, church folks, a plethora of her four children’s involvement in the FFA, other clubs, school, athletics, or whatever the occurrence may be, Judy was always the hostess with the mostess.

Mom and Carol (my dear step-dad), even had a room built on to their home that was large enough to host gathering.  Now, she may say they builtit to entertain all their 36+ children and grandchildren at Thanksgiving and Christmas time, but I’m pretty sure they had in mind to host other events as well.  Both of them enjoy hosting their Sunday school Valentine’s Day party, baby and bridal showers, her Pinecrest High School classmates’ gatherings, and other memory making moments through the year.

Friends have often told me, “Your mother always has the sweetest smile on her face.”  Or “Your mom is the kindest lady I know.”  Mom was, and still is, a fabulous and generous host, and she always does it with a smile.

Servanthood:  Recently, my daughter and I were talking about the characteristics of Servanthood.  When I had to conquer up a visual of someone for her to capture in her mind, I didn’t have to think very hard.  When I think of my mom, I think of a loving and godly servant.

As you can tell from above, mom loves to entertain.  Being hospitable and being a servant go hand and hand.  But even a little further than being a hostess, mom is one that goes the extra mile to serve you.  When asked to bring food for tailgating at a Gator game or just a little something to a dinner party, she isn’t going to just swing by and purchase a bucket of chicken to share, oh no, Judith Marie is going to fry you up some of her homemade chicken. (Hmmm, thinking about that…mom, wanna come over for dinner and bring “a little something”?) She is not afraid to whip you up some of her delicious homemade buttermilk biscuits either.

Mom is one her serves her family, friends, and others in need without hesitation.  Yet, even more than just serving others, she serves her Lord Jesus Christ.  My mother will be willing to serve you with a smile, but she knows that her main priority lies with the Lord.  She has always served at church in various ways.  Whether it is through singing, cooking, or decorating, mom is a willing servant.

Overcomer:  I’ve seen my mom go through some tough times. She is not one that gives up. Sometimes she made need a little push, but giving up is not an option for my mom.

Over the past few years, my mom has endured numerous surgeries.  When I saw her persevere during recovery, I was impressed.  Unfortunately, she has had setbacks.   She has been fallen into and even hit by a car, each time on the shoulder in which she had her surgery.  Mom, be strong.  Continue to overcome.  Nothing is impossible with God.

She was holding my hand during the Strawberry Festival Baby Parade, and is still holding my hand now.

She was holding my hand during the Strawberry Festival Baby Parade, and is still holding my hand now.

Just plain ole “there”:  My mom has been and is always there for me. I can hardly recall an event (good or bad) or competition in my life when my mom wasn’t by my side or my three brothers’ as well. As her family grew, she and grandpa are “there”.  They travel many miles and through many states to be there for their children, grandchildren, and now great-grandbabies.  It doesn’t matter if it is a sporting event, a birthday party, birth, baptism, school function, or any other occasion, they are “there”.  I’ve seen my mom put a halt to her life to sit with friends and family in the hospital or their home during difficult times.  She just wants to “be there” for others in their time of need.

Mom, God instructs us in Proverbs 23:22b, Respect your mother, even when she is old.”  Well, how can I not (with a little chuckle) include the last part of this verse on your birthday?  Even when you’re “old”…I respect you.

Honoring you is a must!  Not only on your birthday, but on each day, God thinks it’s pretty significant to do so.  So significant that He made it one of the Ten Commandments. Exodus 20:12 says, Honor your father and mother.”

Proverbs 31:25-30 reads:

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Mom, you are blessed!  Thank you for fearing the Lord and instilling that characteristic in me.  Thank you for loving me unconditionally.  Thank you for always being there, and for just being you.

Happy Birthday to my momma!  I love you.

My whole life...my momma.

My whole life…my momma.

how can I pray for youThose of you that know me know that you can count on me to pray for you and yours.  I pray because I sure need it, and plus…Jesus did, and I believe He is a pretty awesome guy to follow His ways.

Well, last week I saw a young lady, a college student, who is the daughter of a friend of mine, post on her Facebook wall, “How can I pray for you today?”  Awesome, Lindsie!  Why didn’t I think of that?  Those words were simple and to the point.

I asked Lindsie if I could use her as an example.  She is a “Be Bold for God” kind of girl, so she didn’t hesitate when I asked.  Lindsie not only had almost twenty requests come across her wall for others to see (and hopefully pray for them), but several more people private messaged and texted her.  She said that “Ever since high school, I’ve felt led to ask on random days. Some people just need prayer but would never ask themselves.”  Don’t you just love her already?

What about you?  Do you need pray?  Are you willing to pray for others?

I want to challenge you to be bold and simply ask others, “How can I pray for you today?”  Whether you post it on whatever social media you have, ask the waiter/waitress at the restaurant you are dining at, call a friend, etc… go for it!  Maybe, just like Lindsie said, that there is someone that just needs a prayer but would never ask for it themselves.

“Pray without ceasing” 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

I pray many blessings and much joy for you! – Stephanie

making dumplings 3 This evening I came home feeling defeated. I knew I had to get back to work while at home, but I also knew that I had to have my mind set in peace and confidence in God first.

So before I began “getting back to work after being at work all day”, I rested in God’s goodness.   I needed to be refreshed.

Ahhh. Satisfaction. Here’s where God led me:making dumplings 1

Last night I made some homemade chicken-n-dumplins. MmmmMmmm good. I used a family recipe and rolled the dumplins out with my granny’s rolling pin. Those dumplins sure were satisfying to my soul. They were made with the traditions of family, love, and great memories as well. (I’m getting a smile on my face just thinking about them.)

Those dumplins weren’t the only thing that was and is satisfying my soul. God showed me these verses to go along with my “dumplin’ theme”.

  • “He satisfies those who are thirsty. He fills those who are hungry with good things.” Psalm 107:9
  • “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.” Psalm 19:7
  • “When I sit down to satisfy my hunger, my joyful lips hunger to praise you!Psalm 63:5

 

I do feel revived now after reading God’s word.  I can always trust in Him to bring joy to my soul.  May God receive all glory and praise!

So when you need some reviving after feeling defeated, open up His word and trust in the Lord to give you exactly what you need. Amen!

Now, I better go get me a bowl of those leftover dumplins before I get back to work.

I love family traditions passed down.

I love family traditions passed down.

I pray many blessings and much joy for you! – Stephanie

great joy“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” James 1:2  

When you read the last part of the second verse from James 1, you might shake your head and say “What?  An opportunity for joy in times of trouble?  Not now, Lord, not now.”  But that is exactly what God wants for you when all is said and done…Joy.

When troubles and trials do come your way, it often rocks your world.

One brief example I recall is when a loved one tragically and suddenly passed away, and her brother ended up accepting Christ as His Savior at her funeral. (Please read Sadness into Joy for the whole precious story.) Joy in the end of troubles!

I know that when I look back at the most difficult times in my life, I was NOT jumping for joy in the midst of it all.  But I can see the good that did come out of it all in the end when I relied on Christ.  That’s the key…relying on Christ.

Satan would like nothing better than for when you go through trials that you suffer and not recover.  He wants to wreak havoc on your life.  But we don’t want Satan to be the one receiving “joy”, let’s leave all the joy to us through Jesus Christ.

Brothers and Sisters, I want to encourage you to stand strong and lean on Christ when you are in the midst of the difficulties in your life.

I pray many blessings and much joy for you! – Stephanie

prayer postcardsSorry for a double-day post, but…OMGoodness!  I’m so excited!

Remember the entry I wrote on December 31st titled, Christmas Cards…Praying Cards ?  Well, I decided to take it a step further.  I created a postcard so that after praying for and thinking of you all day; I’m sending you and yours a little note letting you know that you were prayed for that day.

Let me just tell you how rewarding this experience has been.  When I see friends and loved ones’ card or picture on my refrigerator, reminding me to pray for them that day, all sorts of precious memories flood my mind. Many great memories of our times together!  It is giving me the opportunity to tell God how thankful I am to have them in my life.

I want to encourage you to…“Never stop praying.”  1 Thessalonians 5:17

I pray many blessings and much joy for you! – Stephanie

god chose youDo you sometimes say or do something without thinking? Boy, I know I have (and still make that mistake occasionally), and “Ouch”…it does not always end so pretty.

Thinking before you say or do anything is very wise.  It demonstrates self-control.

When I read 1 Peter 1:13-16 this morning, the first sentence said, “So prepare you minds for action and exercise self-control.”  Self control isn’t something that comes easily.  It is a characteristic that requires practice and patience as well.  (That’s a whole other journal session or two.)

In verse 15, it reads, “now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.”  First of all, take a moment and immerse yourself in the fact that God chose you.  Whew!  That should make you feel special. *smile*dance*jump up and down*

Now, when you are a Christian you have Jesus in your heart, body, mind, and soul. God wants you to be more like Him.  He desires the best for you.  So in everything you do (in speech and actions) strive to live the godly life.  He is in you, so why not try to live the way that will be pleasing to Him.

I like the “let-me-tell-you-like-it-is” way that the Message translations says 1 Peter 1:13-16:

So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that’s coming when Jesus arrives. Don’t lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn’t know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, “I am holy; you be holy.”

When you think before you say or do anything now, just remember that it’s not about YOU, it’s all about God. Make Him happy; even if you have to suffer for a little while by biting your tongue, it will all be worth it in the end.

Bring glory to God in all you say and do. Allow Him to shape and mold you into the person He wants you to be.

I pray many blessings and much joy for you! – Stephanie

From the book, "A Pocketful of Promises"

From the book, “A Pocketful of Promises”

Yesterday I received a text from a dear soul to me that read, “Any chance you are available tomorrow afternoon for some me time?  I really could use some encouragement.”

My reply was, “Yes!”

What about you?  Could you use some encouragement?

I woke up this morning with Hillsong’s song, “Christ is Enough” running through my head.  B-E-A-Utiful!  (Click here for the acoustic video.)  Encouragement?  Yes!

In my A Pocketful of Promises book that goes with me wherever I go, I turned to the section on encouragement to find a few words to share with you. Here are some encouraging words from The Encourager, God:

Do not gloat over me, my enemies!  For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. Micah 7:8

Do not be afraid as you go out to fight your enemies today! Do not lose heart or panic or tremble before them. For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!”  Deuteronomy 20:3-4

“Take delight in theLord, and He will give you your heart’s desires. Psalm 37:4

“I can do all things through Chirst who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:13

“Be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!” 2 Chronicles 15:7

For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.”  Hebrews 3:14

Now it’s your turn…Go be an encourager to and for someone today.

I pray many blessings and much joy for you! – Stephanie