OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen you look through the posts on social media, you can easily have feelings of bitterness, envy, and self-pittiness.  Why those emotions?  Well, have you ever scrolled through posts and/or pictures and had thoughts like:

  • “There goes so-and-so receiving another award”
  • “Oh, look where they went on a trip. I wish I went on vacations like that?”
  • “Seriously, you have to post about your WHOLE morning, play-by-play.”
  • “They always look so happy and put together.”

What about when you see a post of a loved one passing and someone asks for prayer, and then there is someone asking for prayer because of their child has a cold?  Does one outweigh the other?

Think about this, my friend.  In Romans 12:15  we read, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”  God does not instruct us to rejoice in their failures and mourn in their successes.

If we take on the attitude that Christ commands us to, we will scroll through those posts and be happy for others in their accomplishments, and not be envious. Rejoice with those who rejoice!

“Where there is jealousy and selfishness, there will be confusion and every kind of evil.”  James 3:16

When we take on the attitude that Christ commands us to, we will be happy for those who get to travel and we get to experience their vacations with them via photographs. Rejoice!

“You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20:17

When we take on the attitude that Christ commands us to, we will celebrate with the one who accomplished much in their morning routine.  They felt a sense of accomplishment so “Ata-boy/girl” them. Rejoice!

I heard someone comment once about “I didn’t post my prayer request because it seemed so insignificant compared to others.”  Brothers and Sisters, your prayer request matters.  When we take on the attitude that Christ commands us to, the severity of a request doesn’t matter, we pray because someone asked us to.

“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”  Ephesians 6:18

I want to encourage you to change your attitude of bitterness to one of contentment, envious to kindness, and self-pity to compassion and empathy.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15

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

your sin doesn't define youIn all probability the most well-known verse in the bible is John 3:16.  See, I didn’t even have to write it out for you, you perhaps just started saying it from memory.  But take a look at the power and relief you find in the verse that follows:

“God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.” John 3:17

No, God didn’t send His Son to start pointing fingers.  No, Jesus didn’t walk around saying, “Nanny, nanny, boo boo.”  We are all sinners. Romans 3:23 confirms that statement when God breathed the words, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” 

Reflect on the story about the woman caught in adultery in John 8:1-11.

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he went back to the Temple area. The people all came to him, and he sat and taught them.

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought a woman they had caught in bed with a man who was not her husband. They forced her to stand in front of the people. They said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The Law of Moses commands us to stone to death any such woman. What do you say we should do?”

They were saying this to trick Jesus. They wanted to catch him saying something wrong so that they could have a charge against him. But Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground with his finger. The Jewish leaders continued to ask him their question. So he stood up and said, “Anyone here who has never sinned should throw the first stone at her.” Then Jesus stooped down again and wrote on the ground.

When they heard this, they began to leave one by one. The older men left first, and then the others. Jesus was left alone with the woman standing there in front of him. 10 He looked up again and said to her, “Where did they all go? Did no one judge you guilty?”

11 She answered, “No one, sir.”

Then Jesus said, “I don’t judge you either. You can go now, but don’t sin again.”

See, Jesus didn’t condemn her for doing wrong.  He knew what she had done, just like He knows what we have done.  Jesus didn’t allow her sin to define her.  The sin was the problem, not the woman herself.

You may have heard the phrase, “hate the sin, and love the sinner”, which sounds like what Jesus Christ had done for the adulterous woman.

God LOVES you and me.  He DOESN’T LIKE the sin that we allow ourselves to get entangled in.

If Jesus didn’t come to judge, then why should we judge others?

In Romans 8 we see where there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. (v.1)   As Christians we aren’t to live for our sinful selves, but for the Spirit.  Verses 5 and 6 say, “People who live following their sinful selves think only about what they want. But those who live following the Spirit are thinking about what the Spirit wants them to do.  If your thinking is controlled by your sinful self, there is spiritual death. But if your thinking is controlled by the Spirit, there is life and peace.”  Oh my! Please read all of chapter 8, I could go on and on but I already feel like I’m rambling.

Just remember…your past doesn’t define you.

 Oh, just one more awesome bit of scripture for you to chew on:

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” John 3:19-21

Jesus, The Light, reveals our sins.  He exposes them so that we can turn from them.  Are you walking in The Light?  It is the only way to live.

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

This picture of Holly and Hunter when they were little cracks me up!  This was probably taken in 1998.  Do you look like this when you're angry?

This picture of Holly and Hunter when they were little cracks me up! This was probably taken in 1998. Do you look like this when you’re angry?

“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” James 1:19

This verse has kept me out of more trouble, and it’s also spanked me a few times too.

Some of us are better listeners than others.  Many of us just want to listen and observe it all.  But knowing the right time to listen is important.

There have been times (more than I care to admit) when I’ve spoken a bit too fast, and I’m not talking about speed.  Ha!  I’m from the south, we’re not known for fasting talking anyhow.  I’m referring to those times when I should have stop to think before I speak or give “my” opinion.

Have you ever heard that “God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason”?  Well, let’s practice James 1:19 and listen more before we open our mouth.

Slow to anger…yikes!  Becoming angry often happens in an instant as a response to a situation.  Take a breath. Get the facts.  Listen to all sides.  Pray.  Let God speak to you before you speak to others.  Others are often watching to see how you respond to a given circumstance.

Do you need so help in the area of controlling your tongue and anger?  I want to encourage you to seek advice from the best counselor I know…Jesus.

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

Here are just a few links for you to go to on those specific areas:

Power of Words

The Power of Words 2

Bible verses on anger

What Christians want to know about anger

What Christians want to know about cursing

the great physicianLast night at 12:10am my cell phone rang.  I didn’t recognize the number, so I answered it with a sleepy/panic “hello”, all to hear a professional sounding lady on the line asking for, “Dr. ___ please.”

I said, “Sorry, wrong number” and pushed the end call button.

Then at 2:30am I received another phone call.  It had the same three prefix numbers, but the last four digits were different.  Again I was awakened by the same lady’s polite request to speak with Dr. ____.

Finally, at 2:34am when the phone rang again, this time it was the same phone number calling.  I turned it off and sent it straight to voice mail.  This time I’m sure the lady heard that I was not a doctor, just a female giving you a bible verse for to ponder on and asking you to leave a message.

My early morning mis-phone calls made me think of how no matter what time of day I need to call on The Great Doctor, He’s there for me.  When I call on Jesus, He doesn’t say, “Sorry, wrong number” or end my call.  He is there.

Go back and see how Abram, Isaac, David, and many others called on the name of the Lord.

“There he (Abram) built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.”Genesis 12:8

“Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord.”  Genesis 26:25

“Because he turned his ear to me, I (David) will call on him as long as I live.”  Psalm 116:2

There’s no doubt that Jesus is The Great Physician.  Read Matthew 9 to see how Jesus healed the paralyzed man, and Matthew of his sins. He raised a dead girl to life, and healed the sick and bleeding woman.

Are you in need of a healing of some kind, call on The Good Doctor.  He’s always available.

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

AttitudeI love the gentle reminders that God gives me each day.

When my daughter was eleven years old she wrote me a note for Mother’s Day.  After I graciously said, and with a laugh, my “Ahhh, thanks.  I love it.” I sarcastically thought to myself, “Hmmm, that took a lot of thought.”

Well, it didn’t take me long at all to realize how perfect and true that simple note was.  I framed it, hung in my closet where I put on my shoes and jewelry each day, look at it, smile, and am reminded how accurate Holly’s statement is…not from a daughter to a mother, but from me to God.

Nowadays we see people (or self) with a “Whatever” attitude.  The kind where eyebrows may raise, eyes roll, and shoulders shrug.  The “Whatever” attitude we need to have should be like how we were instructed to live in Philippians 4:8-9:

“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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Maybe you could say the same thing as I occasionally can, “Heavenly Father, I love You.  I have an attitude, but in the end, I still love you.”

Could you write this same note to God? I can. But more importantly…HE still loves me/you/us!

Let’s work on having an Attitude that Christ would be proud of.

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

Here are a few more bible verse about attitude:

“If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too.”  Romans 14:18

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Romans 15:5-6

Have the Attitude of Christ:  “Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?” Philippians 2:1

“Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.”  1 Peter 3:8

 

God gives you endurance and encouragement.

We should do the same.

Who do you need to give a little patience and encouragement to today?

All I know is that this verse came at a perfect time for me this morning.  Maybe you need these words of encouragement yourself.

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

romans 15 5 and 6

 

nobody's perfect“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.Philippians 1:6

Nobody’s perfect, especially me.   Sometimes I think, say, or do something that either instantly or a while later say to myself, “Why did I do that?  Knucklehead!” I question myself because I know God was watching me and shaking His head as if to say, “Oh, my child, you’ve done it again. But take heart, I’m still working on you.”

This morning I was reminded this simply beautiful phrase: Because My love for you is perfect, you don’t have to be.

A precious friend of mine had given me a book on the computer to read titled, Confident Heart Devotional, A: 60 Days to Stop Doubting Yourself by Renee Swope.  That’s where the wonderful reminder came from.  (Thank you, Donna. Love you!)

Do you need to be reminded of this today as well?  God wants you to know that, “Because My love for you is perfect, you don’t have to be.”  Can I get an “Amen!”?

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

Thanks, Sandy, for the beautiful picture.

Thanks, Sandy, for the beautiful picture.

Stop.  Look.  Listen.

I’m sure you’ve heard these words since you were a little child.  Your parents would remind you of this before you crossed the street.  You heard that you are to do this before crossing a railroad track (especially if you rode a school bus).  You were reminded of this when you received your driver’s license.  These three words are no stranger to our ears.

Well, I want to encourage, and remind, you that these three words don’t just apply to road rules, but to life rules, and we need to obey them.  I was reminiscent of this when I read Isaiah 55, oh and one treasure from Psalm.

“Be still, and know that I am God!  I will be honored by every nation.  I will be honored throughout the world.”Psalm 46:10

We need to STOP doing whatever we are doing and focus on God.  Turn your eyes to Him.  STOP living in selfishness, greed, pride, etc…just STOP floundering in sin and give your life to Christ. You’ll be happier and God will get the glory.

“So you should look for the Lord before it is too late. You should call to him now, while he is near.” Isaiah 55:6

LOOK up to God.  Call on Him.  He is here and wants to communicate with you, and you with Him.  Don’t wait until you think the time is right, or you’re worthy enough (that won’t happen), or…is too late.  LOOK for God now.

“Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life.  I will make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David.” Isaiah 55:3

LISTEN, did you hear that?  The Lord said to LSITEN and you will find life!  LISTEN and He will give you a sure, solid, unfailing, everlasting love!  He promises that.  Not to go all “Beatles” on you, but all you need is love, God’s love.

Now, we do need to STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN, and we may not (probably won’t) understand all that God is doing around and through us, but remember that He says in Isaiah 55:8-9 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Just trust in Him.

Allow God to use you.  He has great plans for you.  STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN and you will discover a life of joy and peace.  “It is the same with my word.  I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.  You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands!” Isaiah 55:11-12

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

 

My treasures.

My treasures.

Being a parent isn’t for sissies!

No matter the stage your child is in, you need to remember that “This too shall pass.”

I’ve said this quite often in my short 19 years of being a parent. But this stage has me on my knees more than anything.

With three children between the ages of 13-19, my hands are full, yet my cup runneth over.

I had a conversation with a few folks the other day that went something like this, “How do you instill in your child that you don’t want them to be just ordinary…God calls us to be EXTRAordinary…you’ve made plenty of mistakes and you don’t want to see your child making some of those same wrong choices in their life…Yes, they will make mistakes and learn from them, but it’s painful to watch as a parent…how do you respond to your child when they say, ‘Well, you did this and that and you turned out okay’…so many blessings I’m sure I missed out on, and I desire for my children to live the abundant life in Christ…it is even more rewarding than the blest life that I have now…”

A few things I’ve learned about parenting are:

When I read Zephaniah 3:17 this morning, I wanted more.  So I read chapter 3 in its entirety and felt God’s tapping me on the shoulder, and then put His arms around me, and say, “Little Momma, it will all be okay.  You’ve raised them the way I want you to. This too shall pass.  Your children are precious, because they are Mine.  Though they may turn at times, just like you did, they will find their way back to Me.”

I highlighted some verses that tell a story from Zephaniah 3 for you.  Read them and see your life unfold. Even though these scripture verses are talking about Jerusalem, it pertains to us, His chosen people:

V 1 …you have been stained with sin.

V 4 …treated holy things as if they were not holy. (remember…when you have Christ in you, your body is a holy temple)

V 5 …But the Lord is still in that city, and he continues to be good. He does not do anything wrong. He continues to help his people. Morning after morning he makes good decisions for them. Not a day passes without his justice. He never gives a decision that is crooked or is something to be ashamed of.

V 7 …I, God, tell you this so that you will learn a lesson. I want you to fear and respect me. If you do this, your home will not be destroyed, and I will not have to punish you the way I planned.

V8 …pretty much God says here, “I am upset with you, and here’s what I can do.” (Stephanie’s translation)

V 11 … I will remove all the bad people from Jerusalem…I will take away all the proud

V 12-13 …I will let only meek and humble people stay in my city, and they will trust the Lord’s name. The survivors of Israel will not do bad things or tell lies. They will not try to trick people with lies. They will be like sheep that eat and lie down in peace—and no one will bother them.”

Vv 16-18 …At that time Jerusalem will be told, “Be strong, don’t be afraid!  The Lord your God is with you. He is like a powerful soldier. He will save you. He will show how much he loves you and how happy he is with you. He will laugh and be happy about you, like people at a party. I will take away your shame.  I will make them stop hurting you.

V 20 …At that time I will lead you back home.  I will bring your people back together… You will see me bring back all the blessings you once had.” This is what the Lord said.

GLORY!  That’s what I see through it all when we turn back to Jesus.  Glory!

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

 

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  Proverbs 22:6

“If you don’t correct your children, you don’t love them. If you love them, you will be quick to discipline them.”  Proverbs 13:24

“Always be joyful.17 Never stop praying.18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“If they stumble, they will not fall, because the Lord reaches out to steady them.”  Psalm 37:24

IMG_7123Every day I am surrounded by women who are strong, loving, compassionate, and most importantly ladies who fear the Lord.

In Proverbs 31:30we read “…but a woman who respects the Lord should be praised.” When I read this verse my thoughts went to my mom, my sisters-in-love (I love this name that a dear friend, Pam, gives to her “in-laws”), precious friends, many godly ladies in my life, and last weekend.  Yes, those are a lot of thoughts.  Like I mentioned previously, I am surrounded by fabulous women.  Praise God!IMG_7159

First of all, “fearing the Lord”…William D. Eisenhower says in his article ‘Fearing God’ in Christianity Today:“Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but love from the Lord is its completion.” I found an informative article on the internet that explains fearing the Lord.  If you need clarification on this topic, checkout “What does it mean to fear God?

Now, you may have read the list of women who I thought of and was puzzled by the last item in my list, “last weekend”.  Yes, last weekend I attended a Ladies Retreat.  For the past few years, Kay Morris, the director of women’s ministry at my church, and her team have created a wonderful “get-a-way” to occur on the Friday night before Mother’s Day and the event ends at noon on Saturday.  It’s called “Spring Breakaway”.

This year the guest speaker was Tracey Lynn Russell.  Her topic is about living a repurposed life.  Tracey is a gifted speaker with a beautiful testimony.  To discover how God has repurposed her life, and still is, was interesting.  She used various mason jars as visuals to illustrate how they can be repurposed with the different stages in our own lives.  Listening to Tracey speak encouraged me let go of some plans that I have and watch God turn them into a purpose for Him.  We all have a testimony.  I want to challenge you to write down significant occurrences from your life and see how God has repurposed you!IMG_7149

The music at the Spring Breakaway was such a time of worship and praise.  Two ladies sang in beautiful harmony that I didn’t even realized they sang!  Hands were being raised in praise and honor to God, tears would even flow as emotions were heighted, and..hmmm…who said Baptist don’t dance (?)…there were hips swaying and heads shaking. Glory!  At times I would step out of my own worship time to glance around the room full of ladies.  What a priceless sight to see God-fearing women sing praises to our King.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Psalm 139:13-14

What made this event even more special and memorable was that I got to spend it with my mom.  I am blessed to have such a God-fearing woman who instilled in me a love for my Heavenly Father.  She is beautiful inside and out!

Jeanne, I hope I look this good in FOUR years.  Thanks for being my roomie, Momma J.

Jeanne, I hope I look this good in FOUR years. Thanks for being my roomie, Momma J.

Wait, did I say mom?  I meant mothers.  Okay, this is going to be quite comical to some who know her, but…When my friend (of only four years older), Jeanne, and I went to grab a quick bit before the first session began we each ordered a slice of pizza.  The male-server looked at us and said with a grin, “Is this a mother/daughter weekend?”  Bahahahaha!!  I cracked up!  Jeanne on the other hand was wondering if she was getting her pizza FREE!  Jeanne was gracious and ended up laughing at the whole thing.  Not only was Jeanne my “other mother” for the night, she was my roomie and another God-fearing woman that I had the pleasure of being surrounded by.

“My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.” Psalm 119:50IMG_7161

One of the precious moments I captured on my iPhone camera was the image of a dear lady and her sister.  During the praise and worship time through song, the two ladies held hands through one song that I know hit close to home.  You see, as I am typing this now, today is the first year date from when her son, Doug entered Heaven’s gates.  Not only was Doug Mrs. Liz’s son, but my husband’s best friend  and the one who was responsible for getting Tim and I together. (The two links highlighted are worthy reads.)  Mrs. Liz and Ms. Sandy are two God-fearing women who are both learning to repurpose their lives.  I was so grateful and excited that Mrs. Liz had the opportunity to attend the Spring Breakaway.

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”  Romans 8:28

I loved the decorations at the retreat!  A talented lady, Kathy Wall, provided the centerpieces.  Over the past few weeks I have noticed her posting these incredible artworks on Facebook.  Kathy calls it “doodling”, but I call it a God-purpose in her life.  Not only did she provide the table displays, but had a few copies made of her “doodling” for us to take home.  Kathy, I am proudly displaying it on my wall in a blue frame to accent the stunning colors your hands doodled.  Thank you!  Another…God-fearing woman who is humbly sharing her talent.IMG_7160

IMG_7166Kay and team, I just want to thank you for a refreshing event!  I can’t wait until next year.

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

God doodling

Kay Morris.  Well done!

Kay Morris. Well done!

IMG_7237

My roomies: Jeanne, Tonya, and Lindy.