Theresa, me, and Tim...trying to figure out "which way to go" in Rome.

Theresa, me, and Tim…trying to figure out “which way to go” in Rome.

This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”

When I read Isaiah 48:17 this morning I began to pray for God’s guidance in my life and in each of my family member’s lives. While praying, the vision of a trip to Rome, Italy came to mind. We were there with our great friends, Dave and Theresa, back in the spring of 2005 (Wow! It’s been over ten years now!) I distinctly remember the maddening intersection we came upon while on a private tour. This wasn’t the typical traffic intersection I’m used to in my small town or even any metropolis I’d visited before. On top of Rome being an extremely congested already, this intersection had five roads which joined together at one location.

That scene was terribly confusing to me. I could remember a feeling of being overwhelmed rush through my head. I thought I had captured it all on camera, but when I looked through the photographs of that memorable adventure I couldn’t find the intersection photo, but I did find the picture included in this entry that conveys this bible verse as well.

Friends, we are faced with decisions every day. Often every minute of the day. When we hastily make a choice, we may not have given the situation to God yet. When we tend to make decisions on our own, without consulting with the Lord, hmmm…we better watch out.

In our home we have two who will be leaving for college next fall. I’ve asked them both where they think they want to go. After they’d given their response, I reminded them (as momma always does, and most likely always will) to seek God’s guidance. Go where God wants you to go.   Don’t attend a university just because “everyone else goes there” or (in Holly’s case) just because it is near the beach (even though that sounds perfect to me). Those are great reasons to help persuade you and make your decision, but if God doesn’t want you in a place, don’t go!

God’s path is much better. It may not be the easier path at times, but in the end, it will be the right one to follow. There will be glory in the end.

Just like that intersection in Rome gave me an overwhelming feeling, making the right decision for our lives can be that daunting. Why not lessen the “overwhelmingness” by giving it to our Heavenly Father. He wants what is best for us anyhow. “Overcome that Overwhelming feeling” by listening, seeking, and following Him!

Photo borrowed from Groupon.

Photo borrowed from Groupon.

“To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” Proverbs 21:3

Last week I misplaced an envelope that contained 18 Tomlin cards. These fundraiser cards were out on consignment, and they cost $15 each. I’ve searched in all locations that I would normally put them at work, home, and car, and haven’t been able to find them.

I finally mentioned something to Tim last night. I was hoping they would appear, but I had to tell him.

I texted the president of our PTSA in a panic and told her about the situation. This morning I went ahead and paid (ouch) for eighteen more cards that were already committed to some customers, and informed the sweet lady at the card table about what happened as well. She said, “Stephanie, I know you’re not Catholic, but I’ll say a little prayer to Saint Thomas to help you find them. (I think that’s the saint.)”

Well, after praying all week and now informing others of my predicament, a miracle happened.

I received a phone call this afternoon from one of my teacher friends. She told me how a waitress at our local ABC Pizza House brought the envelope to school today. She had been cleaning between the seats and found it! One week later! ALL 18 cards were there!

Could she have kept them? Sure. But, she didn’t! She did what was right and returned them to our school.

Woohoo!!! A weight had been lifted off my mind.

This afternoon I went by to give the waitress a tip and one of the Tomlin discount cards. She wasn’t there, but the cashier knew about what happened and assured me that she would give it to this sweet woman of integrity for me. I wish I could remember her name. (Maybe Lisa or Tina?)

So now…I have 18 more cards to now sell (or my son, Cole, does), and a greater appreciation for the honest people in our community.

If you go to ABC Pizza House in Plant City, be nice! If you get one of our Tomlin cards you’ll even save 15% off regular price menu items. ;)

Integrity matters!

God rocks!

After my journal entry from yesterday (God Gets It), He reminded me this morning of the verse I always cling to regarding my children.

Checkout the verse-for-today that was on my biblegateway.com app.View from The Cliff restaurant in Laguna

Yep, God’s cool like that.  He reminds me of and through His word. 

Are you in The Word?  Dive in.  Allow God to speak to and through you. 

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

 

 

He is our GodGod gets it.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “Parenting isn’t for sissies.” (Oh, I hope you click on that journal entry for some great parenting verses.)

I was so grateful this morning when I read Psalm 95. The way I recently felt over a situation with one of my children, God gets it.

Okay, here’s the real deal in a brief synopsis:   One of my children “got themselves into a pickle”. I felt numb, mad, said a few things, knew the “godly” response and words to say, got it off my chest, and then gave it all to God.

I looked at my youngest child and said, “I’m sorry I said some of the things I did. I’m ‘Miss Positive’ all the time but I’m human too. I hope you learn from your sibling’s predicament so you won’t have to go through this, and me with you. Just, please, since I don’t get upset often, when I get mad LET ME BE MAD for a little bit, and then I lay it all down at Jesus’ feet.” (Don’t judge…I’m just keeping it real.)

In this morning’s verse(s)-for-the-day I read:

Come, let us bow down and worship Him! Let us kneel before the Lord who made us. He is our God, and we are the people He cares for, His sheep that walk by His side. Listen to his voice today:”

I knew there was more to the story so I read the rest of Psalm 95, and boy am I glad that I did because I sure needed to hear and see it. I appreciate how The Message translation put verses7-11. Read and feel “The Parent” speak:

Drop everything and listen, listen as He speaks: “Don’t turn a deaf ear as in the Bitter Uprising, as on the day of the Wilderness Test, when your ancestors turned and put Me (God) to the test. For forty years they watched Me at work among them, as over and over they tried my patience. And I was provoked—oh, was I provoked! ‘Can’t they keep their minds on God for five minutes? (I wish I could double underline that sentence. LOL) Do they simply refuse to walk down my road?’ Exasperated, I exploded, ‘They’ll never get where they’re headed, never be able to sit down and rest.’”

Here’s what I’ve got to say: “Thank You, Lord, for being real! You comfort me, even in times of my brief “explosion”. I am eternally grateful that I don’t have to stay upset, I can give it all to You! Thank You for reminding me to come to You, to bring it all to You, and bow down and worship at Your feet. You care. I am listening. I hear You. I LOVE You! I pray that my children (and me) will always seek Your face, and that they will turn to You for guidance in their lives. When those moments arise and I say “I don’t have this”, praise You that You’ve “got it”, Lord. Amen.”

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

will work for foodOrder up!

Are you hungry?

I LOVE bread! When we go out to a restaurant and they provide bread prior to our meal, I must confess that I get a little giddy. I especially enjoy it when the bread is fresh out of the oven and the butter (hmmm…honey butter) just melts when you spread it on.

I can easily recount going to a friend’s home when I was much younger and her mother would have freshly baked bread. Not only did she provide scrumptious bread, but they owned a dairy farm and there would be fresh milk and butter as well.

Okay, I’m getting a bit hungry for some now. But no matter how much I love the warm bread dipped in butter or an olive oil dipping concoction, it won’t satisfy me forever.

In John 6:1-24, we read the accounts of Jesus feeding the five thousand. It wasn’t long after that miraculous event when they people started looking for Jesus again. His reply was:

“Why are you looking for me? Is it because you saw miraculous signs? The truth is, you are looking for me because you ate the bread and were satisfied. 27 But earthly food spoils and ruins. So don’t work to get that kind of food. But work to get the food that stays good and gives you eternal life. The Son of Man will give you that food. He is the only one qualified by God the Father to give it to you.” John 6:27

Of course the people asked Jesus: “What does God want us to do?” verse 28

In verse 29 Jesus answered, “The work God wants you to do is this: to believe in the one He sent.”

Of course in their human nature they had the attitude, and the audacity to ask Christ, “What will You do for me?” Ugh!

In Jesus’ reply He said, “My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. God’s bread is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

They wanted it! They desired to have a piece of the “True Bread”.

In verse 35 JC said, “I am the bread that gives life. No one who comes to me will ever be hungry.”

Order up!

So let me ask you again, “Are you hungry?”

Request for some Jesus to come into your life. He IS the Bread of Life! You will be satisfied for a lifetime! Hmmmmm. Now that’s good stuff!

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

 

“God, you give true peace to people who depend on you, to those who trust in you.

So (people) trust the Lord always, because in the Lord Yah you have a place of safety forever.” Isaiah 26:3-4

depend on GodYesterday Tim and I attended a funeral. We did not know the thirty something year old gentleman who it was in memory of, but our family are friends with the deceased older brother, and his cousin happens to be our Sunday school teacher.

We went not knowing what to expect, because we didn’t know if he was a Christian or not. Praise God that his great uncle spoke with him numerous times about his relationship with Christ, and confirmed that he had “given his life to Christ when he was young and hasn’t taken it back yet”.

Family members spoke. They made us laugh, and they brought tears to our eyes. A slideshow of his fun life was shown, a video clip of him playing with (I believe) his young son was presented, and a voice recording of a practical joke that his younger sister did on him was heard. Even though we entered into the ceremony not ever meeting our friend’s brother, we walked away feeling like we’d known him for a lifetime.

The eldest sister had made a comment something to the effect of “it’s too bad that Isaac never got to see his calling here on earth that God had for him.” But, my friends, I believe his calling was possibly yesterday at the service, and Isaac was looking down smiling.

Why? Well, the brother-in-law, who is a former wild-soul-born-again-and-now-a-preacher (I’d love to hear his testimony!), did just that…preached. He shared about Christ’s love and asked people to turn their lives around and invite Jesus into their heart because having Jesus in your heart is the ONLY way one can get to Heaven. When he boldly asked for those to stand that did that during the service, from what I saw, about five people actually stood up. Praise Jesus! It was at that moment I thought to myself, “THAT was Isaac’s calling…that through his unfortunate and unexpected accident…people he loved came to know Christ and will one day be in Heaven with Him instead of dying an eternal death in Hell.

I know (really…personally I know… Sadness into Joy ) it is hard to come to grips with the fact that a loved one dying young could be a blessing to others. But to know that others have come to know Christ through the loved one’s death brings comfort and peace in the midst of their passing.

It is my prayer that through this season (and always) that this precious family will do as we read in Isaiah and depend on and trust in God to have the peace that can only be found in Christ. That they will take comfort in running to God as their safe place.

Did you need to hear these words today? I hope that you will always seek God, fall more in love with Him, share the Good News, and feel complete peace through our Heavenly Father.

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

Zach, Vicki, Pam, Kerri, Laura, Stephanie, Brooke, Matt, Lauren, and me.  The 2015-2016 6th grade lunch gang.

Zach, Vicki, Pam, Kerri, Laura, Stephanie, Brooke, Matt, Lauren, and me. The 2015-2016 6th grade lunch gang.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

I am so blessed to work with some amazing people!

We’ve had a few changes this year with some taking a leave, working at a different time, or newbees coming to join us. But no matter the changes that will occur in the lives of my coworkers, one thing is for sure…they make me a better person. They rock!

I sure hope you are surrounded by folks that encourage you, make you a better person, and that make you smile.

Happy first day of school to my pals.

know peaceThank You, Lord!

He always knows the right verse or life experience to show me when I’m either about to, in the middle of, or have just past a situation.

Yesterday I came home from work and Tim told me something that right away I began praying for. Several times throughout the night I would wake up and begin to pray for that situation. I specifically prayed for peace each time.

Well, when it was finally time to rise-and-shine I read my bible-verse-for-the-day and here is what I read:

“Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.” Psalm 119:165

Again… Thank You, Lord!

Do you need some reassurance of peace over a circumstance today? God’s got plenty of peace to share with you.

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27

Oh! May the God of hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!” Romans 15:13

And He will be our peaceMicah 5:5a

(And there are sooooo many more verses about the peace that comes from God.  Get in His word and seek it.)

Let God be your peace today. Find peace in Him.

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

 

Tim, Cole, and Hunter...ready for their gator hunting experience.

Tim, Cole, and Hunter…ready for their gator hunting experience.

Yesterday my man sent me this picture. When I first saw it I had a tremendous smile and thought to myself, “I LOVE this photo for so many reasons. But I especially love it because these boys are mine!”

They are mine.

As soon as I said that I imagined God looking down on us and saying, “I love them for so many reasons, but most of all because they are Mine!”

“See how very much our Father loves us, for He calls us His children, and that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1

“I, God Most High, say, ‘You are gods, My own sons.’” Psalm 82:6

I sure hope I give God reason to smile. I want to make Him proud. What about you?

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

(Well, my boys sent this pic to me right before they took off to go fill two gator hunting tags. Success! They ended their adventurous night with an 8’7” and a 9’6” gator. Fun memories for my boys. Now…Holly and I want a crack at it next time.)

Tim gator hunting Hunter gator hunting

 

 

give him your allI’m pretty confident that you’ve heard and/or said the words, “It’s better to give than to receive.” Well, the first person to have said that was Jesus.

Paul wrote in Acts 20:35 “…remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

When I read this morning’s scripture, the above thought came to my mind, along with some others. Here’s the bible verse:

“He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32(NIV)

“God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us?” (MSG)

Now here are some of the other thoughts I had:

  • I couldn’t imagine giving up my own child the way God did for others. He must love us a WHOLE bunch.
  • God is very generous.
  • Since we are to strive to be more like Christ, we need to freely give to others as well with our time, talents, finances, etc.
  • Like I just mentioned to one of my children this week…when we serve and do something for others, we end up being the ones who are blessed by knowing that we did something for someone else to hopefully make their life a little easier.
  • “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Luke 6:31
  • Since Jesus instructed us to treat others the way we want to be treat, let’s see…He gave ALL to and for us. We need to give ALL to and for HIM.

Hey, have you read a bible verse to day and had some thoughts about it? I’d love to hear which verse and your thoughts.

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