Daily Walking with God

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Walking in the Word

Plant City's First Baptist Church

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Time flies. Hunter and Holly's graduation days.  One more child to go, and boy how Cole has changed in these photos!

Time flies. Hunter and Holly’s graduation days. One more child to go, and boy how Cole has changed in these photos!

This is  the season of graduation.  Tim and I have two down, and one to go.  When our eldest graduated, God gave me the scripture and words to put together “A letter to the graduate from God” I hope you will enjoy these words which are so very true for not only the graduate, yet for us all:

Dear Graduate,

Dream, and dream big!  I have some awesome plans waiting just for you.  I am so excited to see you discover your desires of your heart.  Can I give you a heads up?  It’s Me!  If you delight yourself in Me, you will discover that whatever you yearn for I do as well. 

Oh, how I anticipate the success you will have in your life.  Don’t try those “get-rich-quick” schemes, that satisfaction won’t last.  But if you work hard, persevere, and depend on Me you will find much gratification.  I promise you that!  And when I make a promise, I keep it!

I know, I know you will make mistakes.  People have done it sense the beginning of mankind.  But I need you to remember who you are and Whose you are.  You are My child.  When you make mistakes and IF you humbly pray and  look for Me and run as fast as you can from the wrongs you’ve done, I’ve got some good news.  I will hear you and forgive you. Just please remember that I am with you WHEREVER you go.  Be careful where you take Me.  Be strong and courageous!  Stick with Me and I’ll take you to some incredible places.

You will have many people advising you in your life.  May I recommend The Best Advisor for you?  Um, that would be Me, again.  Not only will I guide you, but I’ll keep My eye on you and your development. Hey, with Me, anything is possible.  Stick with Me, kid.

You want to go far in life?  Then have integrity.  Friends, co-workers, employers, family, and even just those observing you will admire your stance in standing firm in your faith and being honest.  You will have gained much in life when you display integrity.

Hey, don’t forget that my service is here for you twenty-four/seven.  All you have to do is call Me.  Oh how I love when you talk to Me.  Before you seek the face of man each day, chat with Me first.  When you have problems in life, call Me.  When you experience great blessings, hello…tell Me all about it and how much you appreciate those gifts from Me.

I am so proud of you!  You bring joy to my heart! (Can you see Me smiling?  I’ve got a huge smile!)  Let my joy be your strength.

Happy Graduation Day!

I love you!

God

Graduates, I’m so proud of you.   May you always treasure God’s word in your heart.  Always do your best and no less!

I pray God’s abundant love and blessings for y’all, Stephanie

I used the following bible verses in guiding me when writing this letter. 

  • For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11
  • “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  Psalm 37:4
  • “Depend on the Lord in whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”  Proverbs 16:3
  • “He had great success in everything he did because the Lord was with him.” 1 Samuel 18:14
  • Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.”  Proverbs 13:11-12
  • “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.”  Hebrew 10:36
  •  “If my people who are called by my name become humble and pray, and look for me, and turn away from their evil ways, then I will hear them from heaven. I will forgive their sin.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
  • “This is my command–be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9­­­­
  • “I will instruct you and guide you along the best pathway for your life;  I will advise you and watch your progress.”  Psalm 32:8
  • Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
  • “By standing firm you will gain life.”  Luke 21:19
  • “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”  Philippians 4:6
  • “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

Loblolly Bay on Anegada

Thumbing through the pages of family members’ bibles from generations past is often comforting. Knowing that my parents or grandparents or great-grands or even great-great-grandparents once turned these same pages, give me a since of Christian heritage that is often spoken about in the bible.

“One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.” Psalm 145:4

I am so grateful to have been raised in a family where God is the center of the home, from generations past, and generations to come.

Yet, recently I came across a handwritten note from a grandparent, and the words just tore my heart apart. Satan knows our weakness and would love to pounce on us when we least expect it.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

I could just imagine the devil wringing his hands together and having a smirk on his face as my mind was taking me places I truly did not desire to go. Bitterness, resentment, and sorrow was about to overtake my thoughts, when…God whispered, “My child, remember that the words written on the pages tucked in that bible are not the words I breathed on those pages.”

Peace rushed over me. I found comfort in knowing that all I need to do to combat the words of man (or Satan) are to read the words of my LORD.

I encourage you to do the same. When you are feeling down and possibly filled with resentment, sorrow, bitterness, and any other destructive thought, all you need to do is seek comfort in God’s word.

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Have a beautiful day soaking up The Son in the sun.

Blessings to you and yours, Stephanie
 

This is Sadie and Lindy.

This is Sadie and Lindy.

The morning I woke, knowing that I was going to visit and spend time with a friend in need, this scripture appeared on my phone:

“Yes, God’s riches are very great! His wisdom and knowledge have no end! No one can explain what God decides. No one can understand His ways. As the Scriptures say, ‘Who can know what is on the Lord’s mind? Who is able to give him advice?’ ‘Who has ever given God anything? God owes nothing to anyone.’ Yes, God made all things. And everything continues through him and for him. To God be the glory forever! Amen. Romans 11:33-36

I shared this with my precious friend with joy and confidence, and it seemed to bring a smile to her face as well.

Last week I was scrolling through Facebook. A lady whom I’ve known over the past dozen years had posted a plea to her wall. When I read her words, I could feel her heart. She wrote:

It is with a heavy heart that I am informing my friends and family that Apache Way Farm Rescue Sanctuary may have to close its doors. As many of you know the last few years has been difficult on me financially due to my car accident at no fault of mine and having to give up my dance and cheer studio was also not easy for my soul to bare. I kept telling myself that the accident got my business but it’s not getting my animals. However, the donations have been good but not enough to keep this rescue going. I am a non-for profit 501c3 which allows me to reach out and ask for donations as all nonprofits do, but begging is something I have not been able to do. Reaching out to anyone who can follow through with a solution for me as some of these babies have been together for 10 + years and could not be separated. I have exhausted my options from my end and do not know where to turn. So yes, I am begging now for a wonderful solution to keep this rescue a float AND I get it not everyone is an animal lover but if you could witness the results that I have witnessed watching these animals turn many human lives around from autistic children to adults with down syndrome and even people with depression and anxiety. This rescue has been a therapeutic facility for many years and it has also allowed students to receive many volunteer hours for school not to mention a God sent for even myself. This has been my life for 29 years and I have seen the miraculous changes it has made to not only the animals but to the people who have come through my gate. Any help would be greatly appreciated as this decision is the hardest I have ever had to endure. Thank you for your time.

You’ve got to understand, Lori Matta is one of the toughest, strongest, most determined and caring individuals you’ll meet. So, when I read her posting, my heart went out to her, and prayers were lifted up.

Meet my new friend, Brooke the cow.  She followed me wherever I went.

Meet my new friend, Brooke the cow. She followed me wherever I went.  Like Lori said, “When was the last time you hug a cow?” LOL!  It had been a while, Lori.

I met Lori years ago when she was in my Sunday School department at church. Lori was always one who would ask those tough questions and just soaked up each lesson.

Not long after our meeting, my daughter Holly was interested in taking dance. Lori is who we went to for instruction, and Holly loved spending time with this fun and focused dance instructor. Knowing that Lori was a formal NFL cheerleader, kept my daughter’s interest and made her feel special.

Yes, Lori is originally from Massachusetts. She was a New England Patriots cheerleader for three years, and is still a dedicated alumnus. Lori will be participating, on the field at half time during a home NFL game, in an alumni and current Patriots cheerleader show. Although there will be much dancing taking place, Lori mentioned that she will be on the field, but not dancing. (You never know, Lori.  God’s not done with you and your dance moves yet.)

You see, the year 2014 was an extremely difficult year for Lori. Her father, whom she calls the soul of her family, unexpectedly passed away.  This completely devastated Lori.  Lori says that he loved unconditionally.  Just a few months later, just a couple of days after Lori was doing back handsprings with her cheer girls and dancing around with the kids (and even a fun mom) in her class, she was in an automobile accident. She had broken her pelvic, shattered her knee, torn ligaments in her neck,  among other injuries. These injuries debilitated Lori severely.

Lori was able to keep her popular dance studio open, but with great difficulty. She had come to the conclusion, after much prayer and trials, that she was going to have to close the doors of Dance Carousel at the end of the recital season.

Lori has a great love for family and dance, but that’s not all. When she was three-year-old, after her mother observed Lori playing, she told her that she was a nurturer.  This trait is so very true and evident still today.

This compassion was one for animals. Lori began rescuing horses and hasn’t looked back. Apache Way Rescue Farm was established in 1989. The mission statement is, The mission of Apache Way Farm Rescue is to rescue, rehab, and provide a forever home to the loving animals who were given an unfortunate start in life by others, or not able to be cared for any longer.”

When the harsh winters became too much for her animals, she moved to Florida to continue rehabilitating these precious animals.

These animals are not only rescued by Lori, but help “rescue” others as well. As stated in a flyer that Lori gave me: “I love what I do, and I do what I love, which is making everyone happy. This sanctuary is not only a place for a new life for animals, but it also serves as a rescue for the human kind. This sanctuary has been a second home to many families with physically challenged children, pre-teens suffering from anxiety and depression, and high school volunteers in the area who need experience with rescued animals in a safe learning facility.” Lori informed me that once a month adults who have Down’s Syndrome come to spend time on the farm too.

Last week, when I went to take photos of the animals, hear more of Lori’s heart, and just love on her and pray with her, my intentions were to be on the farm for about an hour. Ha! Almost four hours went by, and I could have stayed longer. I fell in love with ALL the critters, and even more with Lori.

Lori used to be this tone and vibrant lady, with arm muscles that I quite envied. Her now frail body may not be as strong in appearance as it once was, but her passion rock solid.

This is like a petting zoo that allows you to interact one-on-one with the animals. Fences don’t have to separate you from loving on, and being loved by, these animals.

We walked around and played with dogs, pigs, donkeys, horses of all sizes, a llama, and a huge cow. Some horses have been with Lori for over 20 years. One horse is 36 years of age, and she recently lost a horse who was fifty years old. A horse 50 years of age! She told me that the vet says that Lori’s animals live long because of the love they receive from her.  Much like her father, Lori loves unconditionally!

The landscape has drastically changed over the past few months.  With no rain, this drought has turned the once green pastures into the land of sand.  Though the grass is sparse, Lori sacrifices to keep these animals healthy and well fed.

Once an animal is rescued from Lori, as she pulls up to her gate, she pauses to say a prayer of love and protection for her new forever friend. She sits in the stall with them throughout the night, waiting for the animal to slowly come to her. Lori’s dedication, love, and perseverance is evident in the gentleness of each animal.

As the two of us visited and loved on each animal, Lori would share their individual stories with me.  One animal has Tourette’s, one suffers with seizures, one was severely burned multiple times with a cigar, many were to the point of starvation, and the list goes on. These are not just rescued animals, but these are her babies.

Lori informed me that if you breathe into the animals nostrils, they will get your scent and become familiar with you.

Lori informed me that if you breathe into the animals nostrils, they will get your scent and become familiar with you.

Cuervo was burned several times, on all legs and parts of his body, by a cigar.

Cuervo was burned several times, on all legs and parts of his body, by a cigar.

 

The day after our visit, I went to show Lori the photos I had taken. Tears were in her eyes as she said, “These are my babies.” Yes, they are. And, Lori, you are a wonderful parent.

Neck braces, casts, crutches, and even homemade walking shoes aren’t keeping this lady down. Lori may feel like she has hit rock bottom, but she is NOT out. I mentioned to her that I’ve often found that it is in those times in our lives when we feel that we’ve hit our lowest, that there is no place to look but up to God. God is always there to help us. We just need to call out to Him.

Three surgeries have pasts and there are more surgeries in Lori’s future. The thought of not being able to work and keep up with the farm is more devastating to her than her physical condition.

Therefore, I am sharing a slither of her story with you. Much like her plea on social media (which was tremendously hard for this strong and proud woman to share) I am imploring with you to consider helping my friend. How? To donate…PayPal account for the rescue is lorimatta7@gmail.com. You can visit and like her page at https://www.facebook.com/Apache-Way-Farm-Rescue-Inc-349975538370830/?pnref=lhc . Since this organization is a 501c3, you can get a tax deduction. Another way to assist in the care of these animals is to visit Bliss Feed at 3669 Paul Buchman Hwy in Plant City, Florida. Lori has an account there and you can purchase feed for the animals and she will be contacted.

Indy the Tourette's Dancing horse!  Cracked me up!!!  Lori has music playing in the barn.  Ever since she receive Indy, she would sway back and forth dancing.  Indy can even would stomp to the beat.  LOVE!

Indy the Tourette’s Dancing horse! Cracked me up!!! Lori has music playing in the barn. Ever since she receive Indy, she would sway back and forth dancing. Indy can even would stomp to the beat. LOVE!

Lori, you may feel meager during this season of your life, but remember that your Heavenly Father is rich in blessings, wisdom, and knowledge. Yes, His ways are not our ways, and we may not understand why people (or animals) go through the trials they do, but hold on tight to Jesus, there will be glory in the end when you lean on Him.

“Yes, God’s riches are very great! His wisdom and knowledge have no end! No one can explain what God decides. No one can understand His ways. As the Scriptures say, ‘Who can know what is on the Lord’s mind? Who is able to give him advice?’ ‘Who has ever given God anything? God owes nothing to anyone.’ Yes, God made all things. And everything continues through him and for him. To God be the glory forever! Amen. Romans 11:33-36

Thank you all for your donation to Apache Way Rescue Farm.

“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and t he destitute.  Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”  Psalm 82:3-4

 

Aires the dog. When Lori saw this photo and the appearance of tears, she said, "That's what the animals looked like when I told them I may have to lose the farm."  Oh my!

Aires the dog. When Lori saw this photo and the appearance of tears, she said, “That’s what the animals looked like when I told them I may have to lose the farm.” Oh my!

Hi, Rudy!  One of many donkeys.

Hi, Rudy! One of many donkeys.

Lori rubbed Chicklett's back to make him smile.

Say “Cheese”.  Lori rubbed Chicklett’s back to make him smile.

3 blind horses:  Apache, Ginger, and Mama Rose

Apache, Ginger, and Mama Rose are the three blind horses.

DSCN4664

Jeffery the Llama was curious.

Tucker

Saddlebred, Tucker, was one tall dude!

Buckshot

How cool was Buckshot in this photo?

 

This picture doesn't do justice to Hope's eyes.  They are the most beautiful blue eyes

This picture doesn’t do justice to Hope’s eyes. They are the most beautiful blue eyes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Mom's Day photo from 2016.

Our Mom’s Day photo from 2016.

Recently a dear friend, Dede, “copied and pasted” a wonderful answer to the question, “Mom, what do you want for Mother’s Day?” The response is more than wonderful it’s spot on:

I want you. I want you to keep coming around, I want you to bring your girlfriends around, I want you to ask me questions, ask my advice, tell me your problems, ask for my opinion, (even if you don’t like it) and most importantly ask for my help. I want you to come over and rant about your problems, rant about life, whatever. Tell me about your job, your worries, your fur babies. I want you to continue sharing your life with me. Come over and laugh with me, or laugh at me, I don’t care. Hearing you laugh is music to me.

I spent the better part of my life raising you the best way I knew how. Now, give me time to sit back and admire my work.

Raid my refrigerator, help yourself, I really don’t mind. In fact, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I want you to spend your money making a better life for you and your future family, I have the things I need. I want to see you happy and healthy. When you ask me what I want for Mother’s Day, I say “nothing” because you’ve already been giving me my gift all year. I want you.

I have no idea who the originator of the response is, but I must say, the older (more seasoned) I get, the more I totally agree.

As a mother of three…ages 21, less than a month shy of 19, and 15…I would be so grateful for my children to:

  • Reply to a text. I like to know you’re still alive.
  • Actually, text me” just because”.
  • Bring your friends over, lots of times. I love to hear you communicate with your friends, because I get to discover fabulous (and not so fabulous) things about you. I get to see you laugh more, and actually talk.
  • Make wise choices with your future spouse, family, and God in mind.
  • Hug me when you walk through the door, or when you leave.
  • Say “I love you” before you go, or…even better…just out of the blue.
  • Embrace and be grateful for the opportunities that we give you.
  • Simply…get along…be friends with one another.

I’m at an age, and a time in my life, that when I want something material, I can go get it. YOU are what I desire for Mom’s Day. Time with you is what matters.

I know, I know, one day you’ll grow older, marry, and have children of you own, and things may change, but until then…let’s just enjoy each other, laugh lots, share good times and bad, and be filled with joy because we do have each other.

I pray that you all have a wonderful Mother’s Day. Your mom may be celebrating with Jesus (oh what a glorious day), you may have someone you thinks of as a mother figure, you may be a mom yourself, or you may have others who look to you as a mom…HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

“Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from Him.” Psalm 127:3

“She speaks with wisdom and teaches others to be loving and kind. She oversees the care of her house. She is never lazy.” Proverbs 31:26-27

“Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding. The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.  Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice” Proverbs 23:22-25

 

 

I can vividly remember singing the old hymn, I need Thee, oh I need Thee.  Every hour I need Thee.... growing up.

I can vividly remember singing the old hymn, I need Thee, oh I need Thee. Every hour I need Thee…. growing up.

Recently my family rose from slumber to begin a day of work around the home. The list of things-to-do would grow throughout the morning as a new need would arise. I made the comment, “I need to go spend some time with Jesus.”

A family member replied, “You don’t ‘need’ to, you want to.”

I agreed, and continued working for a while longer.

Then it hit me…Yes! Yes, I DO NEED to spend time with Jesus. I WANT to and I NEED to.

For me, I can totally notice a transformation in my demeanor when I haven’t spent some quality time with my Heavenly Father. Let’s just say that I am much happier when I have rest in my Father’s arms.

A few days later I was retelling the story to a friend. She made a remark that rings true. She replied, “Some of us need to want Jesus more than we do.”

Yes! We may often recognize the necessity to need Christ in our lives, but frequently lack the desire, the want, to call upon His name and spend some quality time with our Creator.

Dear one, please allow me to encourage you to desire time with God. One of my favorite verses comes from Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Ultimately, you will discover that your desire IS HIM.

Want Him AND need Him.

After King Solomon prayed a prayer of dedication of the temple to God, he stood and said to the congregation, “May He give us the desire to do His will in everything and to obey all the commands, decrees, and regulations that He gave our ancestors. And may these words that I have prayed in the presence of the LORD be before Him constantly, day and night, so that the LORD our God may give justice to me and to His people Israel, according to each day’s needs. Then people all over the earth will know that the LORD alone is God and there is no other. And may you be completely faithful to the LORD our God. May you always obey His decrees and commands, just as you are doing today.” 1 Kings 8:58-61

Wow! That is powerful, still true today, invigorating, and my prayer for us today.

“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

Have a beautiful day. Blessings to y’all, Stephanie.

 

scatter (2)_LIGod’s gone and done it again.

This morning “my plan” was to sit in my oversized comfy chair in my study, and get busy spending time with Jesus. I had three devotionals I was working on, and I was ready to begin studying and typing.

Then, as Tim was leaving for work, he asked me to distribute the grass seed before the rain tomorrow. All eleven bags. At first I was like, “no problem”. I created a dispenser out of a gallon container and began the process. Rain is in the forecast for tomorrow (that right there is a PRAISE THE LORD hope), so I knew the urgency of covering the ground with the seed and fertilizer mixture before the rain came.

Well, the gallon contraption seemed to be time consuming and flimsy more than anything, so I decided to scatter the seed with my bare hand. About an hour into the spreading, I annoyingly would glance at the time, sigh, and think to myself, “I wanted to spend time with Jesus, NOT waste the entire morning dispensing seed.”

Right then and there it was as if God whispered, “But, Stephanie, you are spending time with Me. Listen and change your perspective.”

Instantly, Matthew 13:1-23 flooded my mind. This is where you find The Parable of the Sower.

As in written in Matthew 13:16, I felt “Blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.”

The continuation of my spreading of the seed wasn’t so bothersome any more. This became precious time with God, and He revealed numerous things to me during the next thirty minutes.

There was a sense of urgency to complete the task of spreading the grass seed. We, Christians, should have the same urgency to share the gospel with others. None of us are promised tomorrow, nor do we know the hour or day when Jesus will return, but we do know that He is coming! When He does, we should desire for all those around us to know and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, so that we will all be in Paradise with our Heavenly Father one day.

Much like the parable, there was diverse types of soil that the seed was landing on. Some was hardened soil, other ground didn’t look so promising because of its surroundings, but there was some good soil for growing upon. I scattered the mixture on all the varieties of soil. My thoughts were that it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what your background or current situation is, God wants you!

Is sharing the gospel an easy thing? I don’t think so. There are moments when just a simple smile, or the way you carry yourself, or a kind word can speak volumes about who you are and the message you want to get across to someone. Yet, sharing can be sacrificial as well.

My eyes may begin growing grass, because the way the wind would blow I surely got my share of mixture in my face.   I would find myself blindly spreading the grass as I closed my eyes to protect them.

Walking along some of that hardened and uneven ground gave my tender right ankle a run for it. I had to be aware of my surroundings and cautiously walk.

We often share God’s love in those same circumstances. We may blindly enter a conversation or must be watchful of the locations we find ourselves in. Regardless of how sketchy or compromising the environment may be, if you go with God, you’re good. He’s already been there before you. Pray before you go.

This morning’s plan wasn’t what I expected…it was better!

I do pray that tomorrow’s forecast is a sure thing. We NEED the rain!

I have no idea which seed may take, but in due time we will see the fruition of my scattering.

Even though I’m not sure about my landscapes future, I have hope, and know that I did my best.

Can you (I) say that regarding our scattering of God’s love to others?

Oh, how I pray Matthew 13:9, “he who has ears, let him hear.” Listen.

I pray blessings upon you and the boldness to go share His love with others. May you find joy in those annoying moments, and hear God whisper a new perspective in your ear.

 

 

be still sunset

Slow ride…take it easy. No, I’m not talking about the song. I’m thinking about life.

This is a lesson that I have learned and continue to learn.

I look around the sphere I’m in, and observe the people hustling and bustling through life, “they” make me want to just breathe for them. Whew.

There is this home we rent at the beach that has a sign nailed to a palm tree. When my youngest first saw it he replied, “Look mom. That’s your tree.” The sign humbly says, “Simplify”. Yes, this lesson, which I continuously learn, is evident in my life so much that my children see it. (Thank You, Jesus!)

I’ve preached it to them and mentioned how “busy” I used to be in life, and how you must learn to prioritize. Numerous times I’ve laid it all out to Jesus and prayed, “Lord, you know what ‘I’ want to get done today, but I truly want what You desire for me to accomplish today. Please give the time needed to do Your will.” By golly, He gives me so much time in my day to check off “my” list of things to do, AND it almost always seems that He’s even given me extra time to relax. (Again…thank You, Jesus!)

Friend, can I testify to you that ever since I broke my leg (last November), and definitely had to “Be Still”, my life has simplified even more than before. My pace is a bit slower, but all the task STILL get done. My heartrate seems to be even more chill than it was before. Yes, it may take a little longer to accomplish a task, but it gets done and I am a happier person.

“Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest.” Matthew 11:28-29

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10

“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.” Psalm 62:5

So, as my friend says, “Slow your roll”, and take it easy.  Life is short.  Be happy.

Blessings to you. Love , Stephanie.

More entries on busyness, click here, and being still click here.

 

 

 

he is with youWe hear those words, “It is finished!” in John 19:30 as Jesus took His last breath. But is it really finished?

Let’s probe into what was supposedly finished:

What did Jesus finish? “I brought glory to You here on earth by completing the work You gave me to do.” John 17:4

Who gave Jesus work to do? According to Luke 2:49, He was about His Father’s business.

What was His Father’s business? “For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” Luke 19:10

Okay, so Jesus came and did His Father’s business, but still…is He finished? As prophesized in Isaiah 53, in Luke 24:46 we read, and He said to them, “This it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day.” So, YES, His mission here on earth was completed.

Yet…when something in life is finished, that usually means there is a new beginning.

Think about various endings in life and what may take place afterwards:

  • You graduate from high school, so…you either start your college life or begin your career.
  • You finish building a new home, so…you move in to begin making new memories.
  • You may finish a medical treatment, so…you can begin living again.
  • You complete a book, so…you possibly begin a new one.

You get the picture, and can create your own “ending and beginning” scenario.

So, what is the beginning of this new phase for Christ? For us “little Christ” (Christians) to, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Matthew 28:19a

Then what? “Teach the new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.” Matthew 28:19b

Do I do it alone? No way! Matthew 28:19c is like a powerful confirmation “Oh, and by the way…” section that reads, “I (Jesus) am with you always, even to the end of age.”

Friend, we are not finished yet.  Keep going!  Persevere!

The greatest bullet point you could add to the “ending and beginning” list above would be for you to end your old way of living, and begin a new life in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

John 5:24, “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my (Jesus’) message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they had already passed from death into life.”

It is my prayer that you will finish your life of living the way the world wants you to live, and begin living the abundant life that God desires for you to have and fully live.

Blessings to all, Stephanie.

 

 

 

 

paradise

Thought One:

They called out to Him, “If you are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.” Luke 23:37

I can imagine Jesus forgivingly looking at them and saying to Himself, “It’s not about me now, I’m busy saving all of you.”

Why do I say forgivingly? Because in verse 34, while the soldiers gambled for His clothes by throwing dice, Jesus said, “Father, forgive the, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Even in His agonizing state, He found time to forgive.

Thank You, Lord, for your graciousness and forgiveness.

Thought Two:

“One of the criminals hanging beside Him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving Yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!” 40 But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? 41 We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” 43 And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” Luke 23:39-43

Do you realize that with God, it is never too late to turn to Him? Here you had two bad dudes on both sides of Jesus, getting ready to pay for their wrongdoings, and Jesus paying for all OUR wrongdoings. He did no wrong. One of the prisoners recognized Christ, and must have known about Him because he didn’t disagree that Jesus was the Messiah, and he stated that Jesus had not done anything wrong. Jesus showed mercy on this criminal and saved his soul.

Now, for the other criminal, he will be in hell for eternity instead of Paradise.

You have a choice to make as well. Will it be Heaven or Hell? I pray that you’ve already made your choice to be in heaven for your eternal life, and experience heaven on earth until that time comes. How? By accepting Jesus as your personal savior, believe that He was born of a virgin and is the Son of God, that He died for you and me, and rose again to live forever at the right hand of God. Simply ask God to forgive you and to make your heart His home. He will. He knows if you sincerely mean it. He knew you before you were born and knows each hair on your head. You can’t fool God.

May this Easter not only be the time that we celebrate Jesus rising from the grave, but a time of rejoicing you being raised from your old sinful life into a new life in Christ. Hallelujah!

GXKA8996

Good Friday? What’s so “good” about remembering the death of Jesus Christ. He suffered and died by means of one of the most horrific ways to die. Not only was Jesus Christ nailed to the cross in form of great humiliation, but was flogged, mocked, beaten, and had insulting remarks made to Him.

Allow me to share a few GOOD thoughts that came to my mind while reading Luke 23 today:

  • We all go through trials in life. Jesus went through them ALL. The symbolism of Christ’ crucifixion reminds me that when those trials come our way, there WILL be glory in the end. Y’all…the day of Jesus’ death was horrendous, but Sunday is coming! That’s GOOD!
    • And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10
    • Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12
    • Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12
    • I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
  • Today I was sitting on the beach around 1:00pm until 2:00pm. The sun was shining brightly and all was right in my world. The day that The Christ was crucified the world became completely dark between noon until three o’clock. Now, if that were to happen to me today while basking in the sun, I would have been perplexed and thought the world was coming to an end. Honestly, I have no idea what I would have thought, but it definitely would had been a memorable experience. When this happened on that iconic day, it was if the world was mourning the death of God’s Son. Do you think all those who hurled those insults and abused the Savior felt perplexed? Maybe they felt guilty for what they had done. Maybe they too thought the world was ending. Well, in a way, their world did end. Their world of religious traditions ended. Now ALL/EVERYONE had complete access to God. That’s GOOD!
    • It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon,  for the sun stopped shining. Luke 23:44-45a
  • Oh, don’t stop at the beginning of verse 45. Read the entire verse: for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Whew! Now hang on, read Matthew 27:51a: At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. From TOP TO BOTTOM! Every time I read those verse it takes me back to a Beth Moore bible study when she brought out the significance of those three words. Get this…the curtain was about 60 feet high. 60 FEET! I’m sitting near a tree now that is probably about 30 feet high. When I imagine the height of the curtain, that some say was about four inches thick…holy moly…that’s a curtain! If man were to tear it, it would be from the bottom to the top. But man didn’t tear the curtain, God did. Our Heavenly Father, up above, reached down and tore the curtain of the temple. This symbolizes that we don’t have to go through priest to enter the Holy of Holies for atonement for our sins. Nope. Jesus did that for us when He dies for our sins on the cross. Through Jesus’ death, we now have complete access to God. That’s GOOD!
    • And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. 20 By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. 21 And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:19-25

It’s all GOOD, y’all!

Happy Good Friday, and remember that Sunday is a coming!

Blessings to you all, and enjoy soaking up The Son, in the sun. I am. Stephanie