isaiah 30My heart has been heavy for a young lady this week.  Her walk with God is far from God.  When I read a verse from Isaiah 30, I just had to read more.  So when I read the chapter in its entirety, it was not just that girl that was on my mind, but many.

Take a look at a few of synopsis from chapter 30 and let me know if you don’t just see someone, yourself, our country, etc. in these verses.

Verse 1: The Lord said, “Look at these children. They don’t obey me. They make plans, but they don’t ask me to help them.”   I know I often have an idea pop into my head, I get excited about it, and then have to stop in my tracks to see if it is was God really wants from me.  From experience, I’ve come to realize that when “I” make my plans, and forget to include God, things don’t turn out so well.  Trust me…obey God and ask Him before you do anything!  Get on your knees and pray.

Verse 2:  God said, “For without consulting Me,…You have put your trust in ­­­­________.”  Okay, here’s another great point.  First of all, maybe you didn’t seek advice from God, but from other sources.  Then, you end up trusting a friend, self-help books, a psychic, tv experiences, drugs/alcohol, your own thoughts, etc. Yikes!  Newsflash…there’s only One that you can put complete trust in, and that’s Jesus.  Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t ask a godly friend for some advice, just make sure that you invite God first to guide you.

Verse 5:  “But you will be disappointed. They cannot and will not help you. They will bring nothing but shame and embarrassment.”  It is what it is…when you seek advice from someone or something completely without God in the equation, get ready for a little lesson in humility.

Verse 9: “Don’t trust and turn to those who lie and refuse to listen to the Lord’s teachings.” Ummm, No.  Period.  That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

Verses 10-11:  “Here’s what those you are turning to say, “Don’t tell us the truth. Say nice things to us and make us feel good. See only good things for us. 11 Stop seeing things that will really happen. Get out of our way. Stop telling us about the Holy One.” The truth isn’t always pretty.  It can actually hurt as well. We live in a society when we often hear, “Do what just feels good.” That’s not reality, my friend.  Seek the truth, not matter how bad it hurts.  You will grow in wisdom and character.

Verses 12-14:  “God says that bad things are going to happen when we don’t turn to and trust in Him.”  Again…period.

Verse 15:  “The Lord also informs us, ‘Only in returning to Me and resting in Me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength.”  Rest, salvation, quietness, and confidence…Those words just bring peace to my heart.

Verse 18:  “So since we refuse to turn to God and go to others for help, ‘the Lord must wait for you to come to Him so He can show you His love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God.  Blessed are those who wait for His help.” Wait for it, wait for it, ahhhh…love, compassion, help from a faithful and loving source…God.  Whether you are in a season of running from Him, or you just made a bad decision for a moment (that must have been a decision without God), you need to run to Him. Turn back to God!  He is waiting for you with open arms; arms full of love and compassion.

Verse 19:  “The Lord will hear your crying, and He will comfort you. When He hears you, He will help you.”  He can’t hear you unless you ask for help.  He sees you all day long, but you need to realize that YOU need the help.  Do it and simply say, “Lord, I need you.”  Guess what?  He’ll comfort you.

Verse 20-21: “The Lord might give you sorrow and pain like the bread and water you eat every day. But God is your teacher, and He will not continue to hide from you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes.  If you wander from the right path, either to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice behind you saying, “You should go this way. Here is the right way.” Life isn’t pain-free.  Learn from The Teacher.  Listen to His voice.

Verse 22:  “When you realize that God’s way is best, you will turn to the “untrusting” and say to them, “Good riddance!”   Haha!  See ya! God’s way is best!

Verse 23:  “When all is said and done, “then the Lord will bless you” with what you need.” Yes sir and ma’am, stick with God and you will be blessed!

I probably could have taken each of these sections and written a little diddy about them individually.  There’s so much life application here.  Well, isn’t that what the whole bible is about anyhow?

I want to encourage you to read Isaiah 30 and learn from the Israelites mistakes and God’s guidance.

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

less of youDon’t just “be”, but “be with an attitude”!

Some synonyms for the word “be” are: exist, live, be alive, subsist, survive, be there, be present and be real.

Some synonyms for the word “attitude” are: outlook, manner, approach, stance, position, feelings, and thoughts.

I pray that as you read this new twist on wonderful sermon by Jesus that you will just “Be real…for God” and “Take a stance…for God”.

The “Be Attitudes”:

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

 “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

 “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

 “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

 “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

 “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

 “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

Matthew 5:3-12  (from the Message translation)

Now, go back and reread and allow these attitudes from Christ marinate into you.

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

This is a picture of the bag I bought the other day with this saying on it.  (Fringe Boutique in Plant City)

This is a picture of the bag I bought the other day with this saying on it. (Fringe Boutique in Plant City)

Following God’s plan can be scary.  Why?  We possibly become afraid because we are not in control, or maybe it is because of the whole “unknown” thing.

Well, friend, you are not alone when you feel this way.

Think about Mary about 2014 years ago. An angel appeared to inform her of God’s plan.

In Luke 1:30 the angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!” According to various translations, Mary was disturbed, confused, shaken, and trembling.

But then guess what?  When you continue reading the verses that follow, you see how Mary did what you and I would probably do; she questioned God on her ability to see His plan through.  In verse 34 “Mary asked the angel, ‘But how can this happen? I am a virgin.’”  Remember Moses questioning God as well on his ability to speak because he was slow in his speech?  What about Sarah  getting pregnant at such an old age, or even Mary’s cousin Elizabeth  pregnant with John the Baptist when she wasn’t able to conceive as well?  No need for us to question God’s plan for us or our ability to carry it through.  We must remember…

  • God is the God of miracles and promises.
  • He can do anything.
  • It’s not through “us” that things happen for His glory, it is God through us.

Glory!!

If you continue reading in scripture (and I sure hope you do), you read how Mary pretty much said, “Yes, Lord.” in verse 38, and was willing to trust Him.

And then…Mary does, beginning at verse 46, what we should do while we are in and through the midst of our journey with God, she gave praise to Him.

Have you heard the quote, “I don’t know what my future holds, but I know Who holds my future.”?  I love it!  Trust, my friend.  Trust in God and God alone.  Praise Him through your doubts, struggles, and adventures.  Know that He will carry you through it all. Give Him all the glory.

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

good morning beautifulJust about every morning when I go to wake Holly up I say, “Good morning, Beautiful, it’s time to get up.”

Sleeping Beauty may not appreciate me waking her up to go to school, but I sure hope that she will appreciate those words of truth and sweetness as she rises and shines each day.

We read in Luke 1:28 that when the angel greeted Mary he said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”  I like how the Message translation says this verse, “Good morning! You’re beautiful with God’s beauty, Beautiful inside and out! God be with you.”  

Don’t you just love that!  I hope that you will imagine God saying these words to you each morning as you wake up.  Now, that’s just sweetness.

If you haven’t imagined it yet, allow me to say this to you, “Good day!  You are beautiful with God’s beauty.  I pray that His beauty will shine from the inside out.  God is with you, so feel it, live it, and love His presence with you.”

You are beautiful!

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

IMG_5832 (1)“The Lord your God will send to you a prophet… You must listen to him.” Deuteronomy 18:15

Do you sometimes wonder if God is listening to you, or if He is answering (one way or the other) a request made by you?  I know that I have.

I know God hears me.  I just sometimes get impatient and want confirmation on a situation NOW.  Then there are those moments when it appears that God has answered me, but I question Him and say, “God, are you sure?”  During those times is when I’m reminded of the following:

  • “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous.  Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14
  • “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.Lamentations 3:25
  • “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8

 

What about those dry spells you have in your life?  Those are the times when you really want to hear from God, but you just feel “Blah” inside regarding your communication with Him.  Again, I have had those moments when I feel like He isn’t revealing anything to me.  You may even call out as David did in Psalm 10:1God, are you avoiding me? Where are you when I need you? But…God always has His way of using even those moments in your life to show or teach you something; possibly to just keep relying on Him.  Here are some scriptures the refresh me during those “blah” spells:

  • “For I will pour out water to quench your thirst and to irrigate your parched fields. And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your children” Isaiah 44:3
  • “But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

 

You can believe what you read at the top in Deuteronomy 18:15, “The Lord your God will send to you a prophetYou must listen to him.”  God did send a prophet.  Samuel confirmed that this prophet who God sent was Jesus.  Read Acts 3:22.  Stephen, as well, spoke of Jesus as the prophet when he gave his speech to the Sanhedrin’s in Acts 7:37Jesus came into our world to do exactly what God had set out for Him to do from the very beginning of time.  He is listening to you; we just need to make sure that we are listening to Him.  How?

  • Make sure you don’t have any unconfessed sin. If so, clear that slate with God now.
  • Open your bible. Get into His word and allow Him to reveal great things to you. Yes, even about a specific situation you are going through now.
  • Pray. Never give up on communicating with God. He is always here ready to chat with you.
  • Be willing to accept those struggles you are going through. God is molding you and your character. Stick with Him through those tough times and get ready to see His glory shine through in the end.

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

one-way-signWhen there are warning signs posted somewhere, they are there for a good reason.

I remember when I was in high school riding in my first limousine. After the event we were all hungry, so the limo driver took us through the Wendy’s drive thru. The driver, who wasn’t from our town and had never been here before, didn’t realize all the “One Way” streets we had. Where Wendy’s is located there are “One Way” streets on both sides of the restaurant. So, after we received our order, the driver pulled out onto the street going the “wrong way”.

He was embarrassed. Those of us who knew the way and realized what had happened, yelled with wide-eyes from the back, “This is a ‘One Way’ street.  You’re going the wrong way!”  Some were laughing at the whole scene.  We talked about the incident for a while after it had happened, and got a few more laughs, and sighs of relief.  The feeling of relief because going the “wrong way” could have ended up in an accident or worse.

In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.  Friends, here’s your warning sign. There is only ‘One Way’ to get to Heaven and it is through having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Think about the scenario above:

  • Someone did not know their way around town.
  • There were warning signs posted at the entrance and exit of the restaurant stating that those were “One Way” streets.
  • When someone went the wrong way, and others laughed.
  • Some did yell out the warning, but it was after the fact.
  • This incident could have resulted in a horrible accident.
  • Once the limousine was turned around and heading in the right direction, all was well.

Now use the scenario to help you in doing the right thing:

  • You may not have known “the way” before, but I’m here to tell you that there is a way, only one way, and it is through Jesus.
  • Signs are posted in our bibles. We just need to open the bible, read it, and share it.
  • When someone is going the wrong way, don’t laugh at them, inform them that they are going the wrong way and guide them in the right direction. Save them from eternal embarrassment.
  • Try to help others avoid making the biggest mistake of their lives before they end up in a horrible place.
  • Show others how to turn their lives around and help get them going in the right direction.
  • All will be well when we all get to heaven.

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

Click here  to help you understand how to get going the “right way”.

john 10When I read the verse for the day today, it brought to my mind a wonderful adventure that Tim and I (along with some fabulous friends) had this year.  I want to share a brief video with you I was able to capture, that I know many folks will not have the opportunity to see personally in their life time.

First of all…the traveling that I’ve had the opportunity to experience has truly blessed my life and broadened my outlook on people and places.  That’s what traveling does. I know most of my friends appreciate the photos that I share on social media because they say things like, “Please keep sharing because I will never have the chance to go there”, “Thanks for sharing because it helped me plan my trip”, or “Your photos take me to another place.  Thank you.”,… I do not post to boast, and I definitely don’t want to make anyone have any ill feelings.

I mention this because a dear friend of mine (whom shares many travels with me) shared an article about why people should not post their travel photos on social media. (“Great vacations?  Don’t Brag to Your Friends.”)  I want to say, if I offend anyone “psychologically”, I truly apologize.  My life is transparent, and I love to share my experiences with others.  As many of you can attest, I try to turn my opportunities to godly stories of life lessons for our lives. To God be ALL the glory.

This subject can go on and on in various ways, but let’s get to the good stuff and the point of this posting.

 The verse-for-the-day is, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10:14-15.

When we went to New Zealand this past February, we visited a working sheep farm.  This specific day had to be one of the best days!  (Not that there were any bad days at all on this trip.)  Our tour guide, Mark, took our group of seven to a ranch where they were working and trimming the sheep.  After hours of stunning sites and many memorable experiences, we were leaving the ranch and preparing to get on a jet boat for another wild adventure, this time on the river.  Our timing was perfect!  The sheep owners were shepherding the herd to cross the bridge.  Mark informed us that this was a rare opportunity.  So out came the cameras, and still shots and videos were ready for the making.

The way that each dog “shepherded” the sheep was incredible to watch.  There were about four dogs.  Each had a specific task.  The sheep knew each dogs bark and what command they were to follow.

Do you know The Good Shepherd’s voice?  Jesus is The Good Shepherd.  He did lay down His life for you and me like the bible verse states.  The more we focus on God, and not our “sheepishly” wondering ways, the safer and more secure we are.  Oh how I pray that you will tune your ears and eyes to Jesus.  Let Him guide you each day.

The videos I’m posting don’t give justice to the whole site we saw.  I guess one could say it’s an “I guess you had to be there” type of shots, but hey, this clip is better than none at all.  Enjoy the herding of the sheep.

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

New Zealand sheep herding 1

New Zealand sheep herding 2

(I had to create a You Tube account in order to post these videos.  Yikes!  Technology. Watch out world. LOL)

 

“This is the day the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be happy today!Psalm 118:24

tim's 46th bdayToday is Friday.  That’s a reason to celebrate.

Today is our small town’s annual Christmas parade.  That’s a time for celebration.

But, today is special day for another reason…my man’s 46th birthday!

Yes, the Lord formed a precious baby boy in his mother’s womb, and was delivered to us on December 5, 1968.  I am so grateful that God had a plan for Tim, and especially that I’m a part of it.

I have always called Tim “my man of integrity”. He is such an honest, trustworthy, and gracious guy.  Tim is fun, adventurous, and compassionate.  The decisions he makes are humble and true. Can you tell that I not only love my man, but I’m IN love with him too.

“Thank You, Lord, for sending Tim my way.  Thank You for the man You’ve made him to be.  I am blessed to have such a great father to my children, and a hunk for me to hold each night. (Yes, I just said that.)  I pray many blessings on and for Tim, Lord. And may he always give You the glory and honor for it all.  Amen.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TIM!!!!!  I love you!!!

 

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I borrowed the picture from Google images.

I borrowed the picture from Google images.

When it comes to all this social media terminology, my kids just end up laughing and say, “Nevermind, mom.  You just don’t understand.”  And…they’re right!  Who are you “following”, “ follow”, “tweet/twit”, “friend”, “block”, “favorite”, “retweet”, “my story”, WHATEVER! It gets to be too much.  Social Media overload for this momma.

Well, I’ve been invited to “follow” someone and I accepted the “friend request”. If I had a “twitter” I’d tweet (or whatever birdcall) about all the events in his life. “Blocking” him is not an option.  I just couldn’t imagine, nor do I ever desire to, living a day without following him.

You are invited as well.

If you misplaced your invitation, here it is:

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Follow Jesus.

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

From Jesus is Calling

From Jesus is Calling

Last night was not the most restful of nights.  I woke up at 1:18am feeling as though I had slept through the night.  That’s a great feeling, except when you know you have hours left to sleep and you’re wide awake.  When I focused on trying to go back to sleep by just closing my eyes and lying still, I wasn’t successful. That’s when I felt as if God put someone in my mind to pray for them…so I did. Many thoughts and prayers for this person came to my mind, and my focus was not on me but on God and this other individual.  Guess what happened?  I ended up falling asleep while chatting with Jesus. I like falling asleep while talking to my Best Friend For-eternity.

Around 4:00am, I woke up again.  This time, I didn’t try any sleepy-time remedies on my own; I went straight to continuing my conversation with my BFF.  God not only kept me praying for that one person from my 1:18 awakening, but He gave me a few more others to say a little prayer for.

I discovered that the underlying theme for each person was a need for a feeling of peace to wash over them.

You see, each person’s situation was different, yet God’s grace, stillness, and comfort was what they each needed to make it through this season in their life.  (Don’t we all!)

Then, when it was officially time to rise and shine, I went to read today’s devotional in the Jesus Calling book and guess what the theme for today was?  Yep, you guessed it…peace.

Here are the verses that went with it today:

  • Lord, help me learn your ways.  Show me how you want me to live.” Psalm 25:4
  • ‘On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. 21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”’ John 20:19-21
  • “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

 

Here are the thoughts God kept revealing to me this morning:

  • You will go through tough times in life. Some may last longer than others. No matter what the struggle is or how long it will last, God will be right beside you.
  • Allow Him to show you His glory in the end.
  • Grab hold of His hand and walk with Him.
  • Don’t try to solve life’s problems on your own.
  • People are watching you to see how you handle your situation. They may be someone observing you to see how a Christian goes through tough times, or it may be a child looking at you to discover how they should one day handle life’s ups-and-downs.
  • Remember your strength comes from the Lord, not your own.
  • Remember that God will use situations in your life to build your character and make you stronger. Yes, even if it completely stinks in the meantime.
  • Smile…God’s got this. Give it to Him!
  • And when you can’t sleep at night, talk to Jesus. He’s always up and ready to chat. HE doesn’t mind if you fall asleep on Him.

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