peace“And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.” Colossians 3:15a

Oh me oh my does this verse epitomize my thought this week over a decision that Tim and I are going through right now.

We are in a season in our life of changes.  Some changes are having to occur naturally due to life stages, and others are forced on us.  In the end, they will all be welcomed, pleasing, and I’m sure glory will be given to God.  But the one adjustment that I am specifically thinking of has just had “peace” written all over it this very week. (I can’t tell you now.  You’ll just have to wait.)

I want to encourage you that when you are going through anything, and I mean anything and everything (big or small), in life, give it all to God.  Pray each step you take.  Pray for God’s will to be done and your desire to be what His desire is for you.  You may not like the direction He’s taking you at first, but it sure will be the best path for you.  When you do, peace is what you will have.

I pray God’s abundant love and much joy for y’all.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“I always thank my God for you because of the grace that He has given you through Christ Jesus.  In Him you have been blessed in every way. You have been blessed in all your speaking and all your knowledge.”

I believe that people come into our lives for a reason, even if it is just for a season or even a glance.

When I read 1 Corinthians 1:4-5 a lovely lady came to my mind whom I’ve only recently met less than a handful of times.  I paused and prayed for her and her ministry that God just may be unfolding in front of her.

I reread the verse and other names would pop into my thoughts.  Tommy, Michael, Beth, Brian,…many of those who God has gifted to speak and so effectively and eloquently share the gospel.  These are those individuals who teach and challenge me in my walk with Jesus after I’ve heard them speak a sermon or lesson.

I continued to read this verse in another translation and more people would come to mind.  These folks may not have been given the gift to speak in front of a crowd, but they sure speak to me in our simple conversations.  They may have been words of encouragement, godly advice, shared their objective or subjective opinion or thoughts, or even simply just listened.

Finally, by the time I read my fourth and fifth translation of 1 Corinthians 1:4-5, I thought about and thanked God for those who definitely had no clue that I am giving thanks to God for them.  That person who I passed and smiled a genuine smile at just the right time, the singer who sang a song on the radio with the words I needed at that moment, the student who gave me a hug just because, and this simple gesture list could go on.

Right now, I am thanking God and praying for you.

I hope that when people cross your mind or path, that you will simply pause and thank God for them right then.

Have a beautiful day!

I pray God’s abundant love and much joy for y’all.

Blank scrollDear Child of Mine,

Are you in need of a blessing?  How about lots of blessings?  Why, sure you are!  I want you to be and feel blessed.  So, here’s what you need to do:

  • When you are in need of some advice, don’t waste your time listening, and especially following, the words of those who don’t love and follow me. Ha! Here’s bits of great advice…listen and follow Me! I’ve never led you astray, nor will I. I love you and desire the best for you. (Read Jeremiah 29:11)
  • Live like you love Me. Live as if I am always with you. Why? Because I love you so much and I truly am ALWAYS with you. (See Galatians 2:20 just for one of many confirmations about how I’m in and with you.)
  • When others are making fun of you because of Me, or making fun of just Me, don’t laugh and join in. That breaks my heart. (Read Ephesians 6:10-20 on how to protect yourself from these situations.)
  • LOVE what I have to teach you. (Proverbs 8:17 )
  • Read your bible, and just meditate in/on it throughout the day. (Learn from David in Psalm 119:10-11 .)

I can’t wait to shower you with all the blessings that I have to give to you!

I love you,

God

“Great blessings belong to those who don’t listen to evil advice, who don’t live like sinners, and who don’t join those who make fun of God.  Instead, they love the Lord’s teachings and think about them day and night.” Psalm 1:1-2

I pray God’s abundant love and much joy for y’all. – Stephanie

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI recently had an issue at work that made me want to have a temper-tantrum.  Okay, so I did have a little one, but I got over it because God got me over it by reminding me of His word.

I came home that day not in the best of moods, but when I finally realized, “Oh yea, pray”, that’s when my focus changed.

God reminded me that He isn’t going to give me anything I can’t handle with his help.  He reminded me that those tough moments in life are what make me stronger and build my character.  He reminded me that I can do anything as long as He is with me.

All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.”  1 Corinthians 10:13

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

“But the Lord said, “My grace is all you need. Only when you are weak can everything be done completely by my power.” So I will gladly boast about my weaknesses. Then Christ’s power can stay in me. 10 Yes, I am glad to have weaknesses if they are for Christ. I am glad to be insulted and have hard times. I am glad when I am persecuted and have problems, because it is when I am weak that I am really strong.”  1 Corinthians 12:9-10

I was tested even more in that situation, but you know what? I believe I passed that test and all was well.  To God be ALL the glory!

Have an awesome week ahead.  I hope that through God reminding me, that I’m reminding you to trust in Him and know that you’ve got this as long as you turn to and trust in Him.

I pray God’s abundant love and much joy for y’all.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA couple of times this week the bible-verse-of-the-day had to deal with “The Spirit”.  So I decided, or really God laid it on my heart, to find some more scripture to share with you to let you know just a little about Who The Spirit is.  I pray that by the time you read all these verse, you will be motivated to live this contagious life that The Spirit exemplifies.

The Spirit is a helper, a teacher, and a memory coach. (The older I get the more I definitely need a memory coach.) 

  • “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:26.
  • “And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.” 1 Corinthians 2:13

The Spirit is our strength when we have none, and our negotiator when we are at a loss for words. 

  • “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Romans 8:26

The Spirit encompasses all the characteristics that we need.

  • “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

The Spirit is a present you receive when you ask Jesus into your heart.

  • “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38

The Spirit takes residency in you. 

  • Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,” 1 Corinthians 16:9

The Spirit is Who makes you feel new when you are born again, and a leader we should follow.

  • We get our new life from the Spirit, so we should follow the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25

The Spirit makes you feel alive!

  • “Christ himself suffered when he died for you, and with that one death he paid for your sins. He was not guilty, but he died for people who are guilty.  He did this to bring all of you to God. In his physical form he was killed, but he was made alive by the Spirit.” 1 Peter 3:18

The Spirit is full of hope, joy, and peace that you can have, and it can be contagious as it overflows from you.

  • I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

If you want to truly have The Spirit living within you, check this out. You won’t regret it.

I pray God’s abundant love and much joy for y’all.

We ate lunch across the street from the General Store in Hana.When you do good, you stop ignorant people from saying foolish things about you. This is what God wants. 16 Live like free people, but don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Live as those who are serving God.” 1 Peter 2:15-16

Let’s just say first of all that I teach middle school.  Let the drama begin.

Over the years, even when I taught elementary age children, kids would come up to me to inform me that “so-and-so” said this about them.  My usual advice, after probing more into the situation and discovering (as always) they “never did or said that” (wink wink), is “Darlin’, just prove them wrong.  Live in such a way that will show them and others that you are not that person.  If you do and say things that are right, you’ll have nothing to worry about and their chatter will end.  The truth will win in the end.”

What about you?  It doesn’t matter what age you are, if you are doing good and living for the Lord, let them talk. Maybe your “God goodness” will become contagious.

In verse twelve of this same chapter there is a verse that is similar.  It reads, “People who don’t believe are living all around you. They may say that you are doing wrong. So live such good lives that they will see the good you do, and they will give glory to God on the day He comes. Amen!

I encourage you to go ahead and read this chapter in its entirety: 1 Peter 2.  It is full of advice on how to live our lives.  (Leave it to God to give us an Instruction Book on how to live.  We just need to open it and do what it says.  I just love the bible!)

I pray God’s abundant love and much joy for y’all.

praying for youI just couldn’t help myself. I’d read one verse and get a smile on my face and thoughts rushing through my head. But there was so much more waiting for me.

Take a look. I want you to walk with me on this little journey:

“Since the day we heard these things about you, we have continued praying for you. This is what we pray:  that God will make you completely sure of what He wants by giving you all the wisdom and spiritual understanding you need;” Colossians 1:9

While reading verse 9 my thoughts automatically went to my three children. Ever since the day I knew about them, saw their precious little faces, and held them in my arms, I began praying for them.  I’d pray (and still do, it seems even more devoutly now) for them to desire God more than anything.  I pray that they will love Him more each day.  I pray that they desire to grow closer to and know more about Christ every hour.  I pray that God will reveal a glimpse of their future to them as they stay walking with Him, and that Hunter, Holly, and Cole will be filled with wisdom and understanding. I do!  And will continue to do so.

That’s when I notice the semi-colon at the end of verse nine. I wanted more.  So…

 “that this will help you live in a way that brings honor to the Lord and pleases Him in every way; that your life will produce good works of every kind and that you will grow in your knowledge of God;” Colossians 1:9-10

Yes! When we desire what God has planned for our lives, we live in a way that brings glory and honor to Him. Not only that, our knowledge in Christ will grow more. We will never know all there is to know about God while we are here on earth.  Keep growing in Him, my friend.  I so pray this for my children.

Hang on though, there’s more. Didn’t you see that second semi-colon?

“that God will strengthen you with His own great power, so that you will be patient and not give up when troubles come. Then you will be happy,” Colossians 1:9-11

Did you catch that? Oh, brothers and sisters, God will strengthen you! It’s not by your power but His.  Why will He strengthen you?  It says so that you will be patient and not give up when troubles come.  Those troubles sure do come, but when they do call out to Jesus.  He will see you through.  You are not alone!  Ummm, and did you also notice that after those troubles, and when you rely on Him, and when you desire to know Him and His will for you, that you will be happy.  Happy, happy, happy!

Okay, just one more:

“and give thanks to the Father. He has made you able to have what He has promised to give all His holy people, who live in the light.” Colossians 1:9-12

Whew! Are you getting as excited about God’s word as I am?  If not, go back and reread all four verses together.  Don’t just read them, believe them.

When God makes a promise, He means it. It is not broken.  He has so much, oh, alright, everything to give!

I hope you recognized that I started out talking about how I pray this for Hunter, Holly, and Cole, but it’s not for just them; I am praying this for you right now as well.

Seek His face. Give glory and honor to Him.  Be happy!

I pray God’s abundant love and much joy for y’all.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAReceiving news of a loss of someone’s life is never easy. I came home yesterday to discover the tragic death of a precious lady’s son.  He left behind four children (ages 1-19, I believe) a wife, parents, family, and friends.  Then this morning I was reading about a friend who is experiencing three loved ones’ losses at this time. 

We all will/do experience death and how we get through it can differ. God wanted me to share some scriptures with you that helped me get through our family’s tragic loss in June 2013.  I pray that you will choose to get through a loss by holding Jesus’ hand and allowing Him to carry you.

Whether you are just trying to find the right words to say or write to someone that is suffering or you are afflicted yourself, I hope that you will take comfort in these verses:

  • “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2
  • “my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior;” 2 Samuel 22:3
  • “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. He recues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalm 34:18
  • “For His unfailing love toward those who love Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to His children, tender and compassionate to those who fear Him. For He knows how weak we are; He remembers we are only dust.” Psalm 103:11-14
  • “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all that He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
  • “For I hold you by your right hand—I, the Lord your God.  And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.’” Isaiah 41:13
  • “The God of Israel is the one who gives strength and power to His people.”  Psalm 68:35
  • “The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.” Psalm 28:7

 

  • “Pray to the Lord, and he will hear you. He will save you from all your troubles.” Psalm 34:17
  • “And me? I pray. God, it’s time for a break! God, answer in love! Answer with your sure salvation!  Rescue me from the swamp, Don’t let me go under for good, Pull me out of the clutch of the enemy; This whirlpool is sucking me down. Don’t let the swamp be my grave, the Black Hole swallow me, its jaws clenched around me. Now answer me, God, because you love me; Let me see your great mercy full-face. Don’t look the other way; your servant can’t take it.  I’m in trouble. Answer right now! Come close, God; get me out of here. Rescue me.”  Psalm 69:13-18
  • You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.”  John 16:20b

 

  • “I have told you these things so that you can have peace in me. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” John 16:33
  • Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,” James 1:2
  • “The faithful love of the Lord never ends!  His mercies never cease.   Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” Lamentations 3:22-23
  • “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
  • 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 

 

Be strong in the Lord. He will give you strength.

Also, this devotion from the book Jesus Calling seemed perfect for today’s journaling. (see picture)jesus calling

I pray God’s abundant love and much joy for y’all.

shineGod has been dealing with me in so many ways and levels lately. Oh, I could write in about ten different avenues right now, but God’s not ready for me to reveal things yet. Boy what a sense of humor He has.

One thing I can say now is that God has been showing me how when we are transparent in our lives, His voice speaks louder to others.

Over the past few days, I have been wrestling with the thought of how others are perceived by us (or vice versa) in our minds. Back in October I briefly wrote about the self-esteem issue  via the social media. The other day a friend of mine shared an article discussing the issue of when we share vacation photos with others, is it bragging or not and how those pictures make others feel about their own lives.  Our times have changed with the access of the internet, some for the good, and some for the not-so-good.

Are our lives being perceived as perfect to others?

Let me just tell you, for me my life is far from perfect, but with Christ…He makes everything alright. And through Him, I know that in the end, our lives will be made perfect.  Glory!

People see the happy go-lucky Stephanie and think that I’ve got it all together. Now, I am a blessed girl in many ways, but hmmm, the answer to that question would be a big “Nah!”

Do I struggle with the everyday issues with living with two (almost three) teens? Do I question God about things my family is going through, what my children will do with their lives, what I will do with my life, why things change, change, and keep changing, etc. (there’s more change going on in our lives right now that I can count. That’s a journal entry for another time.) Do I desire for communication with and between siblings, friends, and family? Oh, this list could go on and become truly transparent, and the answer to all those questions is “You bet!”

But…the one thing that keeps me going and “happy-go-lucky” is the confidence and assurance that I have in knowing that my Personal Savior, Jesus Christ, is with me all the way. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9. I know that things in life are constantly changing and struggles are always there, but the one thing that does not and will not change is God.  He is as He says He is in Malachi 3:6, I am the LORD, and I do not change” and in Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” I have learned that I must “not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7.

I heard yesterday in church from our music interim that I’m not alone with my recent thoughts of how we/people are perceived by others. He shared a conversation that had occurred that morning between him and a complete stranger at the gas station.  The stranger observed Danny and commented on how Danny looked like “he has it all together”.  Danny went on to share how he doesn’t. So what’s the difference between what is going on in Danny’s (mine and others) lives that gives the appearance of that we’ve “got it all together”?  Jesus!  I know that I surely do not have it all together, but with God dwelling in my heart, His light shines through.

Matthew 5:16 says, Let your light shine before people in such a way that they will see your good actions and glorify your Father in heaven.”

I pray that no matter what you are going through in your thoughts or life, that you will put your confidence in Jesus Christ and let your light shine for Him. He will take care of everything and reveal to you why those struggles you are going through are making you a stronger and better person (whether you like it or not right now).

I pray God’s abundant love and much joy for y’all.

Thanks, Kelly, for the picture.

Thanks, Kelly, for the picture.

“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

Just so you know…

  • There ain’t no god like my God.
  • You have a choice to make. Will you serve other gods or The One True God?
  • Undesirable means unwanted, uninvited, unwelcomed. Ha! That’s so NOT like my God. He desires/wants/invites/welcomes you to follow and serve Him, and the blessings that you’ll receive will knock your socks off.
  • You make your choice. All I know is that me and my household, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD.

That’s all.

I hope you make the best decision of your life and choose to serve Him.

I pray God’s abundant love and much joy for y’all.