Daily Walking with God

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Walking in the Word

Plant City's First Baptist Church

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fall sunsetLately, I think my energy level is Janus-faced. I’m beaming with liveliness one minute, then exhausted and needing a power-nap the next.

I believe I resolved today’s levels of bi-polar energy: When I read scripture, my heart was giddy and the feeling of conquering the world (or maybe just the day) washed over me. “Bring on the day!” Then, an hour later, my body became sluggish. Hmmmm, could it have been the excessively large chocolate chip cookie that my husband brought home the night before? Hmmmm.

Bible vs. Cookie…bible was energizing…colossal cookie, night-night.

I feel like we just had a “squirrel moment”…Random thoughts with Stephanie. LOL!

Well, can I just share with you the scripture that made me giddy today? Great! Thanks. It is one of my favorite verses, “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 (Click here).

What is your heart’s desire?

Praying that my children’s desire will be to put first God in all they do and to please Him is part of my daily prayer life. Yea, yea, yea, we all have passions or dreams we pursue to find happiness and fulfillment in life, BUT…when you seek God’s will for your life and really want to put a smile on God’s face, you discover that HE IS what you desire, and you’ll discover that He can and will fill you with an abundance of joy. Delight in Him.

Here, take a look at the verse that follows verse 4 (it’s a great one too): “Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him, and He will help you.” Psalm 37:5. It doesn’t state to commit part-of-what-you-do to the Lord. Give Him your ALL. He is available 24/7, and desires to guide you through life. Trust Him. He’s got your back.

Don’t let these verses leave you feeling depleted. Allow them to give you energy, joy, and hope for a new day!

Tackle your day with God.

Blessings to you and yours,

Stephanie

 

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
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.

 

god-speaks-new-homeI’ve been quiet on my journaling, but God still speaks volumes to me. (Praise the Lord!)

Renovating a home has been a process of renovating my heart as well.

We are EXACTLY one week away until we close on the sale of the home which my husband AND children were raised in. It all seems surreal, yet exciting!

As I sit here on the only chair left in the home, I am reflective on the process, and my heart and ears are wide open for God’s voice. Yes, I feel His presence and am basking in His love.

Walking through each empty room reminds me that this home is still full of memories.

I wanted to jot a little diddy down for you to know that I’m still around. I so appreciate those of you who message me wondering where I’ve been. Becoming accustomed to no Wi-Fi is interesting. Yep, you heard right…limited, if any at all, Wi-Fi. Living off the grid, folks (sort of).

Stay tune or warning…there’s much more to come. Praise God that He isn’t like Wi-Fi. He is limitless!

Grateful for the verse-of-the-day today:

“Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.” Psalm 37:4

One of my favs!!…As you can tell by reading these journal entries: please click here.

I do pray that you have a blessed day. Go put a smile on someone’s face. Enjoy soaking up The Son in this glorious weather.

 

"Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it."  Proverbs 22:6

“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” Proverbs 22:6

I don’t know about what happens in your home, but in my house “what momma wants momma usually gets”, especially around Mother’s Day.

The majority of the time, what I want is most likely within reason, beneficial, and bathed in prayer. Okay, there are those extravagant moments as well, but for the most part I am a practical kinda girl.

During the sermon last week I jotted down a phrase and shared it with all three of my children. They each read it, and nodded their head in agreement. (Sorry, pastor, that I don’t believe it had anything to do with the sermon that I was definitely listening to…being a light and making God known…, but God whispered a little louder in my ear and I wrote what He told me.)

This little phrase I shared with my children was, “I want you to want what God wants for you.”

Is this too much to ask?

Let’s see if it follows my usual desires:

“Within reason”: this means that my desire is wise, reasonable, with a purpose, and motivating. Whichever synonym you choose to apply will still execute to the phrase I penned. For my children to desire God is definitely wise and with great purpose. Why? In Deuteronomy 5:33 we read, “Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper…” What mom wouldn’t want this for her children? I pray that they will LIVE life to its fullest, the way God intends them to live.

“Beneficial”: Desiring what God wants is just what The Doctor/The Great Physician ordered. He will prescribe you with hope, joy, and peace. Glory! “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

“Bathed in prayer”: Boy oh boy do I pray for my children! When I wake, walk, think, eat, even sleep…Hunter, Holly, and Cole’s names are lifted up to my Heavenly Father. He is The Ultimate Parent. When there are those times I want to just throw my hands up and shake my head, well…that is exactly what I do. I raise my hands to Him. I seek My Daddy’s advice and guidance in raising the children He so graciously gave to me to care for here on earth.

I’d say that this desire is spot on. And the “extravagance” that they will acquire through Christ is WOW! Incredible!

One of my all-time “go-to” “favorite” verses is found in Psalm 37:4 “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” I’ve discovered in life that when we find joy in the Lord, He IS our desire.

Let’s take a look at a few things that GOD WANTS:

God wants everyone to be saved and to fully understand the truth. 1 Timothy 2:4

So Jesus told them, “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me. 17 Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own. John 7:16-17

Always be full of joy. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17

God wants you to be holy. (verse 3) 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7

We even see what God DOES NOT WANT:

He does not want us to live in sin. (verse 7) 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7

Yes, I desire for my children to:

  • fully understand the truth and not believe the lies that the world will dangle in front of them
  • do the will of God and not their own
  • always be full of joy
  • never stop praying
  • always be thankful
  • live holy lives
  • and WANT WHAT GOD WANTS!

Amen.

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up The Son every moment of each day. –Stephanie

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Don’t forget to share your photos of sunrises and sunsets on social media and use the hashtag #soakinguptheson.

Follow me on Instagram @stephanie_shuff

HB sunsetThis week I have been in a funk. A spiritual and physical funk. But…today is a new day!

When I went to wash my face I read the words on the product I was using. It read, “skin brightening daily scrub”. As I was massaging the cleanser on my face I thought about the words “brightening daily”. That is exactly what God can and will do for your life when you pray and seek Him daily.

While splashing my face with water, after the daily scrub rejuvenated my skin, I could feel a radiance about me that had been missing from my demeanor over the past few days.

Yep, God had turned my normal routine of washing my face into a teachable and “get out of your funk” moment.

I hope that you will:

  • Take delight in today. It’s a new day.
  • Bathe yourself in His love.
  • Allow God to be the brightness that you need to carry you each day.
  • Remember that if you are in a funk, splash yourself with His word and radiance, and feel the freshness that He WILL wash over you.

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

“…Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word…” Ephesians 5:25-26

God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 1 John 1:5

Scrub away my guilt. Wash me clean from my sin. Psalms 51:2

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up The Son every moment of each day. –Stephanie

Please click here to subscribe so you won’t miss a journal entry. THANK YOU!!!

Don’t forget to share your photos of sunrises and sunsets on social media and use the hashtag #soakinguptheson.

Follow me on Instagram @stephanie_shuff

follow God heart“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives.  I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.”  Jeremiah 17:9-10

“A Letter from God, Vol. 6”

Dear Child of Mine,

­I need you to do Me a favor…don’t follow your heart.  I know that you’ve probably been advised by someone, at some point in your life, to do so, but I would rather you do something else.

Why don’t I want you to follow your heart?  Because the heart is devious.

This world is full of good and evil, so I need you to protect your heart.  Everything flows from your heart.  Really!  All that you see and hear doesn’t just go into your mind, but your heart.

Another phrase you’ve heard is “Garbage in, garbage out” .  Yep, it’s true.  When you surround yourself with goodness, you store decency in your heart.  The same goes for all the evilness you envelop in your life…you store wickedness in your heart.  Please try your best to fill your life with honesty and things of integrity.

Don’t just protect your heart and fill it with goodness, but trust in Me completely.  Yes, I know you often play ‘tug-of-war” with giving me control of your heart, but haven’t you learned by now that when you don’t give me a small portion of your heart, but ALL of it, your life goes so much better.  My course for your life will give you much delight.

Oh, precious child, speaking of delight…delight in Me!  When you do find your pleasure in Me, boy oh boy, do I have a gift for you.  Your heart desires so much, but you will discover that when you delight in Me, I AM the desire of your heart!  That brings a smile to My face just knowing that you desire and delight in Me.

So go ahead and protect your heart, fill it with goodness, and delight in Me.  When you do you will find the strength that can only come from Me.  You and your heart will be happy.  I sure hope you find your satisfaction in Me.

Remember, I am the Great Physician.  I am the Heart Doctor.  I examine your heart and know all your secrets.  Are you putting a smile on My face?

I love you,

God

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Luke 6:45

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Colossians 3:15

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.  Proverbs 17:22

 

 

From the book, "A Pocketful of Promises"

From the book, “A Pocketful of Promises”

Yesterday I received a text from a dear soul to me that read, “Any chance you are available tomorrow afternoon for some me time?  I really could use some encouragement.”

My reply was, “Yes!”

What about you?  Could you use some encouragement?

I woke up this morning with Hillsong’s song, “Christ is Enough” running through my head.  B-E-A-Utiful!  (Click here for the acoustic video.)  Encouragement?  Yes!

In my A Pocketful of Promises book that goes with me wherever I go, I turned to the section on encouragement to find a few words to share with you. Here are some encouraging words from The Encourager, God:

Do not gloat over me, my enemies!  For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. Micah 7:8

Do not be afraid as you go out to fight your enemies today! Do not lose heart or panic or tremble before them. For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!”  Deuteronomy 20:3-4

“Take delight in theLord, and He will give you your heart’s desires. Psalm 37:4

“I can do all things through Chirst who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:13

“Be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!” 2 Chronicles 15:7

For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.”  Hebrews 3:14

Now it’s your turn…Go be an encourager to and for someone today.

I pray many blessings and much joy for you! – Stephanie

aint nobody gonna steal my joyThe other day at school someone posted a paper in different areas of the school. On that paper it read to “Take one”.  Take what?  Well, at the bottom of the page it had words, in a tag format, for you to rip one off and take like, peace, love, joy,… I guess you could say the “Fruit of the Spirit” list, but I can’t recall all the words on the list at this moment.  Whatever they were, I loved the idea.

When I first saw it, I noticed that no one had taken any words, so I thought that it was just there for us to read. Then later in the day I become aware of some missing tags. So, I scanned the list of encouraging words again, and saw the word joy. I tore it off and said, “Ain’t nobody gonna steal my joy!”

I carried that tiny piece of paper around in my pocket all day and later tacked it to a board beside my desk. I would feel it in my pocket and then look at it on my board over the next couple of days, and again say to myself, “Ain’t nobody gonna steal my joy!” knowing that my joy comes from the Lord.

I did keep that word in my mind for a few days, and it seemed to remind me to prioritize and focus on the joy that God gives me each day.  And then, I let it happen…I allowed folks/circumstances to “steal my joy”.  Ugh!

Whether it was a “feel the pressure” type of meeting, the last class period of the day, one of my own children, or whatever/whomever, I allowed my joy to be depleted.  (Hence the dry spell of my writing over the past week.)

I’d pray and open God’s word each day, feel His love and gentle reminders, but in the back of my mind, I still had some joy missing.

I’ve kept a couple of bible-verse-of-the-day scriptures opened on my computer. One is “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”Psalm 27:14. Yes. I know!  But waiting is what I didn’t want to have to do in one situation, but I know that “This too shall pass” and that God’s got this! (Okay, Lord, I’ll wait.  I’ll try my best to wait patiently, but I will wait.)

The second verse-of-the-day was “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4.  Ahhh, one of my all time favorite bible verses.  Again…(Yes, Lord, you know what my earthly desires are, and I know You want my desire to be You alone.  Okay.  I desire You and your will for my life.)  It excites me to know that when I turn my focus and desires to Jesus, His plan is always so much better than the plan that I had mapped out in my mind for me.

And then…this morning, before I did anything else, I did my daily chat with God. This time, I was reminded about that word joy in my prayer and asked God to speak to me and through me, and to give me joy in my heart and peace of mind.  I then proceeded to read the verse-of-the-day, and guess what?  No, don’t guess, just read this for yourself: “Your help made me so happy.  Give me that joy again.  Make my spirit strong and ready to obey You.” Psalm 51:12. Hahaha, God was like, “You asked for it.”  And my reply to Him is, “Yes I did and thank You, Lord!”

Just like keeping that tiny piece of paper in my pocket, on my board for glancing at, or on my mind would keep His joy fresh and my heart happy, that’s what His word does for us when we keep it in the forefront of our minds.

I pray that you will keep God’s word in your heart and remember “Ain’t nobody gonna steal my joy” as long as God’s in control.  Give it all to Him.

To whomever left those papers on the wall at my school, if you ever read this (first of all, please don’t be critical of my grammar, you would keep yourself quite busy editing my entries, hahaha) thank you. Thank you for the gentle reminder that I need His joy in my life ever second of the day.

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

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these devotionals. Please send a private message to: soakinguptheson1@aol.com

words to live byDo you think that God thinks about us the way I was thinking of my children this morning…”Just obey, and everything will be okay.”?

I woke up this morning at six o’clock.  I could feel God pressing on my heart to look up scriptures in the areas of “Choosing Friends”, “Choosing a career”, and “Dating”.  So, after I tried to go back to sleep, unsuccessfully, I got up and did what God was wanting me to do.

Before I looked up bible verses, I turned to today’s devotion in the book Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young.  Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if today’s devotion didn’t speak right to me.  It read:

“I speak to you from the deepest heaven.  You hear Me in the depths of your being.  Deep calls unto deep.  You are blessed to hear Me so directly.  Never take this privilege for granted.  The best response is a heart overflowing with gratitude.  I am training you to cultivate a thankful mind-set.  This is like building your house on a firm rock, where life’s storms cannot shake you.  As you learn these lessons, you are to teach them to others.  I will open up the way before you, one step at a time.”

Okay, God, I’m listening, obeying, and grateful that You speak to me and I hear You.

After praying for God to speak to me and through me, I began seeking those bible verses and writing them down (Yes, I wrote them.  Old school.  It seemed more personal.)  I knew I wanted to share them with my children, so I didn’t want to overwhelm them with every verse I came across.  I jotted down two to four for each subject area.

Regarding “Choosing Friends”  I penned down: 1 Corinthians 15:33, Proverbs 13:20 , Proverbs 12:26, and Proverbs 22:24-25 .

“Choosing a Career”:  Proverbs 3:5-6, Proverbs 16:3, Jeremiah 29:11-13, and Psalm 37:4.

“Dating”:   2 Corinthians 6:14 and 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

Then, when I finished writing my final verse, that’s when my “happy world hanging with God” became reality.  I heard my phone informing me of a text message.  I saw that I had missed several messages. I opened one up from one of my children.  This child sent me a screenshot of a message on Twitter regarding one of my other children. Ugh!  I was appalled!  I immediately ran upstairs to confront the guilty party. Even though my child did not post the tweet in the first place, they knew about it.  (Did I say I was appalled?!!!)

The post was deleted, but we all know that once something is out there, it is out there.

My heart was still racing, so I sent a text to my child.  It wasn’t long before they were downstairs with the look of remorse and sadness all over their body.

I thank God that He had given me scripture to share with my children.   You better believe that I shared the “Choosing Friends” verses with my child this morning. The timing was perfect, just like His always is.

In Colossians 3:20 (MSG) we read, “Children, do what your parents tell you. This delights the Master no end.  My children have heard Tim and I preach the same sermon regarding choices and social media plenty of times.  If they would just “obey, everything would be okay”.  Hmmm, God has given us His instructions on living life and we’ve heard numerous sermons preached on how to live, but we still occasionally tend to do things our own way.  Yep, I bet God is staring at us and thinking, “If you would just obey me (your Parent) everything will be okay.”

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