Daily Walking with God

November 2017
S M T W T F S
« Oct    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Archives

Walking in the Word

Plant City's First Baptist Church

Recent Comments

Subscribe to receive new blogposts


 

Search Results for: romans 5:3-5

stormWith clean-ups, clean-outs, and all things that deal with Hurricane Irma, and on top of Harvey and Irma…the catastrophic earthquake in Mexico and another fatal hurricane named Maria…I’ve been quiet and reflective. My heart and prayers go out to all.

Heartaches and heartbreaks happen in life. Troubles and trials WILL come our way.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

That stinks! Yet it is required. Events, such as these, are required to build character in ourselves, collaborate for a purpose with others, and to demonstrate Christ’s love in desperate times.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”  Romans 5:3-5

Yesterday, I heard a news reporter mention that some say that our world will end on September 23, 2017. Well, I do agree with people that we are in the end-times, but I must also agree with God’s Word. In Matthew 24:36, 42, and 44 the Bible repeats to us that we do NOT know the date, day, time, or anything of such specifics when Jesus is coming again.

36“No one knows when that day or time will be. The Son and the angels in heaven don’t know when it will be. Only the Father knows…42 “So always be ready. You don’t know the day your Lord will come… 44 So you also must be ready. The Son of Man will come at a time when you don’t expect Him.”

So, let’s say that man is smarter than Jesus and that man does know that September 23rd is indeed the last day. (“Even the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom. Even the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”1 Corinthians 1:25. ) Are you ready? Is your heart right with God? Do you believe in Him with all your heart?

Yes, our world is showing true signs of the end-of-times:

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5

“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. Matthew 24:7

Agree?

But…we do NOT know when. So…while we wait for that glorious day:

  • Love others
  • Help others
  • ­­­­Be kind
  • Be humble
  • Obey
  • Show gratitude
  • Be holy
  • Forgive
  • Have self-control
  • Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength
  • Share and show His love with others
  • Pray

Can you? Will you? You’ve got this…with God.

Have a beautiful day. Enjoy soaking up The Son wherever you are.

Love to you and yours, Stephanie

#theendtimes  #liveforGod #shareHislove

 

boat 2I heard a thundering boom. When I leaped from the truck and overheard a friend say, “Where’s Tim?”, my heart leaped out of my chest. As I ran to the edge of the dock, getting ready to jump in and search for my man, Tim came out of the water, from about ten feet from the back of the boat, and must have heard and seen the panic in me. He calmly said, “Here I am. I’m okay.”

You see, the tide was extremely low when we returned from boating with friends. Everyone grabbed their belongings and helped clean the boat. Four friends went ahead and departed for the house, I sat in the backseat of the truck because we were to the normal part of simply raising the boat on the lift and leaving, and three remaining friends were standing by the dock waiting for Tim. Since the tide was tremendously low, Tim decided to pull it up as far as it could go into our slip, and raise it a little until he would return in a couple of hours once the tide began to rise. Tim was in the back of the boat removing the plug, when the back weight of the boat gave way and almost capsized backwards. The motor was submerged for about ten minutes, while the three men pushed/pulled/untangled the boatlift.

My hands were trembling for a while, heart pounding, breaths were deep, and tears followed once alone. I was so proud of my man’s reaction. That could have been a moment of tempers flying and word choices not so pleasing, yet Tim remained calm and focused. Yea, he was frustrated, but his reaction was stellar. He was grateful no one was hurt.

Those three men displayed great teamwork and encouraging camaraderie under pressure. Two neighbors and two of our friends who had already left returned to help. Supportive friends are much appreciated.

Reflecting on the boating incident, one of my favorite scriptures come to mind:

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” Romans 5:3-5

Okay, when comparing strife in life, in our minds, there is just really no comparing. Yet, no matter the degree of difficulty one encounters, God cares. He also desires the same outcome…development of endurance, character, and confident hope.

I pray that you will choose to react in a way that sets you apart from others. Set apart in a way that is pleasing to God. Be a testimony for Him.

Blessings to you and yours.  Love, Stephanie

boat 1

You must fear the Lord your God and worship him and cling to him.  Deut. 10:20a

You must fear the Lord your God and worship him and cling to him. Deut. 10:20a

Within the past week I’ve had some heartfelt conversations with three different friends. Each word was being conveyed with deep distress. The struggle was, and is, real.

Each person felt as if they’ve hit rock bottom. I believe that when we are in that state is often when God reminds us that we have no place to look but up to Him.

I shared Romans 5:3-5 with each friend. Not only because I believe in His Word and trust the bible for correcting and teaching me, but because I have had to use these verses several times in my own life to just make it through the day or the situation I was in. These are verses to have in front of me daily.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Listen, troubles and trials WILL come our way. Hold on! Hold on to Jesus! He is The Hope that WILL get you through your circumstance.

Satan just loves to play puppeteer with us here on earth. But do you know what? He won’t give up, yet he has ALREADY been defeated. Yes! Rejoice in and through the suffering. Don’t allow the evil one to get a good grip on your weakness. He knows them, and he sure will weave his way into your psyche, but remember…God has you in the palm of His hand (Isaiah 49:16). He is not letting go of you. Sure, you may have a foot of finger dangling on the outside, and Satan will try his best to pull on you, but your Heavenly Father is NOT letting go of you. So hold on to Him as well.

Satan has one purpose in life: The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10 Did you notice Jesus’ purpose? It’s the total opposite of that sneaky evil one’s.

 

Do you not know?     Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God,     the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary,     and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary     and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary,     and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the Lord     will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;     they will run and not grow weary,     they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:28-31

Look to the God of hope. He will give you strength.

But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.2 Thessalonians 3:3

I pray that you will rest in His arms and feel God protecting you through it all. He will. Yes, He will!!

Blessings and love to you and yours. Stephanie

Romans 5:3-5 has been a source for many journal entries for me.  Click here to view:  http://soakinguptheson.com/?s=romans+5%3A3-5&search=Search

 

 

follow-himThis past weekend Tim was in north Florida and Holly and I went to Georgia. We timed our return home so we could meet at an exit, have Holly ride with her dad so they could visit before she abruptly had to get back to college once we were home, and then follow each other back home.

While following my man’s immense truck I thought to myself, “I’d follow him anywhere.”

Then The Man (God) touched my heart and whispered in my ear, “Follow Me anywhere.”

Throughout the trip back home I kept having “God thoughts” pop into my mind about following God.

  • While following behind Tim’s massive vehicle I couldn’t see what was in front of me, or I should say him. I had to TRUST in his ability to GUIDE me away from the danger of other vehicles and debris along the road.  Such as it is with our walk with God…we don’t know what lies ahead for us in life. God does. We must TRUST in and FOLLOW the Lord in our daily walks. He WILL GUIDE us along the right path when we seek His will for our lives. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6. Keep your eyes on Jesus. “I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8.
  • Did I say other vehicles and debris along the road? Yes. We will have OBSTACLES in life. Romans 16:17 says, “I appeal to you, brothers, to WATCH OUT for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.”Some hindrances come our way via man, and others…possibly God. (What do you think?) During those times of being face-to-face with the hurdles in life, hold on to what is true: “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” Romans 5:3-5. So be careful of the obstacles in your way. Be sure to turn to God’s word when being tested. He WILL GUIDE you through and around them.
  • There were moments when I wanted to get in another lane because it appeared that another lane was going to get me where I wanted to go quicker. Yea, I tired, but in the end…I should have stayed behind Tim. Such as it is with my walk with God. There are those times when I want to move ahead and get to a destination more rapidly than the route God was/is taking me, but…as it was with my man, The Man has a better plan. “Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.” Proverbs 4:25

 

I’m grateful that God whispered thoughts to me while driving the interstate. Keeping focused on God sure assisted in passing the time instead of getting frustrated with traffic.

Following God is the way to go. Will you follow Him?

Have a wonderful day.

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

 

Whose you are

Remember to not forget who you are and Whose you are.

I often reiterate those words to my children, “Remember who you are and Whose you are.” But my children are not the only ones who need that little reminder, I do too.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him…Dear children, don’t let anyone lead you into the wrong way. Christ always did what was right. So to be good like Christ, you must do what is right. The devil has been sinning since the beginning. Anyone who continues to sin belongs to the devil. The Son of God came for this: to destroy the devil’s work.  1 John 3:1, 7-8

The choices we make in life and our reactions to situations we find ourselves in display a lot about our character.

Read these verses to analyze your character. Empower these verses to inspire you to strive to be more like Christ, and if you are a believer…more like the child of God that you are:

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:3-5

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect. Romans 12:2

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:12-17

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. Philippians 4:8

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 2 Peter 1:5-7

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

This is where it all began!  Great memories working here.

This is where it all began! Great memories working here.

Twenty Five years ago today I officially began my teaching career at Springhead Elementary School. Twenty-five years!

I will never forget that first year. The day before Valentine’s Day, I took over for a first-grade teacher who went on a six-week medical leave. After spending a day with that class, I’m understanding the need of a mental, I mean medical leave. LOL!

Miss Parker (me) entered the doors of a small brown portable full of tiny tables, a chalkboard wall, and twenty plus children. This class was known as a boisterous group of munchkins. But it didn’t take but a couple of days for them to see and understand that their new teacher was fresh, organized, and ready to give some tough-love. During that short six-week time period, those children grew in discipline in and outside of the classroom, and learned so much in their tiny minds. Yes, I’m a little bit proud of how I was able to turn those children around. But…then I earned a reputation of being able to handle some of those “lovelies” that may need a new face to encourage them.

After that six-week stunt, God opened another door at that same school. A fifth grade teacher took an energy transfer. So I went from having a class of first graders to thirty-six fifth graders. What?!

I remember sitting on the classroom floor, surrounded by tons of teacher and school supplies and room décor, crying and praying because I was feeling a bit, okay a lot, overwhelmed. God sent me a precious angel to mentor me. When Mrs. Wynn started her first year teaching first grade (or was it second?) at Pinecrest Elementary School, I was a student in her very first classroom. Now, fast forward about sixteen years, and Mrs. Wynn was the reading specialist at Springhead Elementary. She came into the classroom, wrapped her arms around me, gave me some words of wisdom, looked around at all the “stuff” on the floor, desks, and counters, and said, “Stephanie, all this can wait. Your new students just want you and for you to teach them.” Her little chat with me and her sweet presence calmed me and encouraged me to hold my head up, persevere, and to just teach.

The year was a success! I still have former students come up to me and tell me something about that year…and it was all good too. God gave me grace and much perseverance that first year.

I loved teaching back then. I was teaching beside my best friend, Kerri, and lifelong friend, Danna. Creativity was poured into each lesson, students enjoyed coming to school, when they didn’t understand something we were able to take the time to dig a little deeper, and teaching was just FUN and REWARDING.

After spending 2 ½ years at Springhead, Tim and I moved to Kissimmee, Florida for his work (We had married in October of 1991). I had the opportunity to teach second grade at a new year-round school. I LOVED IT!!!! The school was definitely proactive, forward in their teaching, and challenging. Stressful at timtes? You bet! I learned to say “No”, and prioritize better. I met wonderful friends (Elizabeth, Judy, Dianne, and many more) whom I still am in contact with today, even though we are all scattered across the country. The year-round concept was fabulous! I had the pleasure to write curriculum for the county and for the school at a newly developed community, Celebration.

Stop! I feel like I’m giving my resume. Ugh!

Here’s the deal…

  • We came back home,
  • Had three children,
  • Taught school for two more years, stayed home eleven years, went back to teaching, and still teaching today.

During these years many things have changed. Teaching styles, class sizes, students, the love for the job vs. the love of teaching (Yikes! That’s a whole other journal entry. Teaching isn’t as fun, creative, and enjoyable anymore.) On a more positive thought, all I’m going to say now is:

  • I still love teaching.
  • I pray for (and sometimes with) my students.
  • God’s given me a wonderful and at times challenge mission field.
  • I lean on God more and more each day.
  • I’m blessed to be able to have a job that I enjoy my co-workers and bosses.

Advice to young folks…find something you enjoy doing and discover a way to make money doing it. You need to love doing what you are doing in life. Persevere, lean on God, and allow your occupation to be a mission field for Christ.

My go-to bible verses over the years:

  • And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”  Galatians 6:9
  • And we are also happy with the troubles we have. Why are we happy with troubles? Because we know that these troubles make us more patient.And this patience is proof that we are strong. And this proof gives us hope.And this hope will never disappoint us. We know this because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts through the Holy Spirit he gave us.”  Romans 5:3-5
  • 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

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

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

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

Follow me on Instagram @stephanie_shuff

hollywood sign with holly

See the tiny Hollywood sign to the right of Holly? Yep, that’s the view, but priceless memoires.

The smallest of things, bring back some of the greatest memories.

Last night I opened my bathroom drawer to find a hair tie. The one I grabbed was a simple, grey, no-tangle hair tie that Holly and I were given before we took our family hike up Runyon Canyon in Los Angeles, California this past summer.   This tiny tie brought back a wealth of memories.

Runyon Canyon is an approximately 160 park in LA where people of all ages and stages, ride their bikes, jog, walk, and capture moments. We left our hotel, walked three blocks, and entered through the decorative iron gates. It was there at the gates where we received our little gifts.

For Florida folks, who aren’t used to hiking up hills, at times the walk was a challenge. We weren’t too far into the hike when the whining and complaining started from the younger folks in our family, okay…especially Holly. She was the main reason why Tim and I gathered everyone up that morning to go to Runyon Canyon. Holly had to have a picture with “her namesake”, the Hollywood sign.

Up some stairs, around bends, up the dusty trail we marched. There were benches and beautiful panoramas to enjoy along the way. The scenes were breathtaking. Literally, it took Holly’s breath away. At one point, she proclaimed, “I just can’t go on.   I’ll wait here. Come back and get me when you’re done. I can’t breathe.” Well, that would be a problem since we were not coming back in the same directions from where we came.

The boys hiked on up and I stayed behind to encourage Holly. I’d give her water, motivate her with words, and encouraged her to keep moving.

Just like in life, the journeys we often take are hard. We have to stay motivated and need encouragement from others. We must persevere to reach our goal. Life. Is. Hard…just deal with it and keep moving forward.

Holly’s expression was priceless when she reached the top.holly's expression

Again, like in life we often set our expectations so grand, only to be let down. When Holly made it up to the rest of our crew, we pointed to the Hollywood sign and said there it is. The look on her face was like, “Are you kidding me? I hiked up this mountain to see the sign so far away! Ugh!” We did see the infamous sign, but it was still quite a distance away from us. But…we did see it. It may have been a glimpse of what we imagined, but the goal was conquered and we worked together.

The rest of the hike had us walking downhill, so it was more pleasant. We’d laugh, compete on who was going to be in the lead, and have great chats along the way.

Boy, did those hair ties come in handy. It was hot!

The small hair tie that I grabbed last night reminded me of:

  • A phenomenal family vacation where they kids all got along beautifully, enjoyed each other’s company, and many laughs were had.
  • Perseverance is important in life. Never give up!
  • We need encouragers in life. Be an encourager to others, and when you need one, I bet God will send one your way.
  • Stay on God’s path and there’s great reward in the end.
  • Treasure the small things in life. They make for big adventures and memories.

“How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!” Psalm 133:1

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.Psalm 16:11

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:3-5

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

 

 

 

 

IMG_7620The other day a friend of mine said, “You can tell a lot about a person when you look at their kitchen.” As I looked at her immaculate kitchen, my mind raced with opinions of what others would have to say about me and my kitchen.

The following morning while I was cleaning up my kitchen, her statement rattled through my psyche.  I began to look at different areas of the room and ponder the question, “Really, what does my kitchen say about me?”

I snapped a few photos and began to journal.  Here’s my first thought (of about ten in a series titled, “Lessons from My Kitchen”):

My fruit bowl…The basin of produce in my home doesn’t always look so appealing (much like the photo).  When I purchase these healthy items, it is with good intention. It’s one of those things that when we have no fruit, family members ask, “Do we have any bananas?”  Or someone makes the remark “I wish we had some apples.” Of course, when I do purchase them, well…you can see what happens.

So this bowl of fruit led me to believe that sometimes in life you have good intentions, things go wrong, so that’s when you “make lemonade out of lemons”.

When the bananas start to have those brown spots, I get a little giddy thinking that it won’t be long and I can just make some delicious banana bread.

When there are a plethora of apples left over from the bag that I purchased and not all were eaten, that just means that the kitchen is about to get filled with the aroma of a scrumptious apple cake.

Oh, and when you have a lemon at the bottom of the bowl and it may be past using for food or beverage purposes, cut it in half, put on in the sink disposal, turn it on, and allow the smell of lemon fill your kitchen and clean your sink. Save the other half for the next day.

Recently, I had a dear person in my life do something with good intentions.  They served well in this area of their lives for many years, and were a blessing to many.  An incident occurred, and it stunk! It really stunk.  Through these type of experiences in our lives, we must realize:  We can’t go back and change things, what’s done is done;  Let’s focus on how we are going to move forward and bring glory to God through it all;  One must seize this as an opportunity to grow closer to God and depend on Him.

Here’s one of my all time favs that I read often:  “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:3-5

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”  James 1:2-3

“Dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:13-14

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32

“Great blessings belong to those who suffer persecution for doing what is right. God’s kingdom belongs to them.People will insult you and hurt you. They will lie and say all kinds of evil things about you because you follow me. But when they do that, know that great blessings belong to you.  Be happy about it. Be very glad because you have a great reward waiting for you in heaven. People did these same bad things to the prophets who lived before you.”  Matthew 5:10-12

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

Look around your kitchen and ponder on what others may say about you.  Turn it into a God lesson.  I hope you stay tuned for more “Lessons from My Kitchen”).

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

 

Photo borrowed from an article in the Plant City Observer.

Photo borrowed from an article in the Plant City Observer.

My heart, thoughts, and prayers go out to the Hitchcock and Parke family without ceasing, as today they celebrate the life of their precious four-year-old son, grandson, nephew, great-grand, and brother.

When I read through comments and articles in the newspapers, it is evident that this boy, even though he has only walked this earth for a short time, had a huge impact on all those he came in contact with. As you can tell from the borrowed photo, Hayden Hitchcock had an infectious smile.

When tragedy strikes you, you question, hurt, and cry out; all the while God is looking down on you wanting to comfort and strengthen you.  When you find yourself in a difficult situation that has brought you to your knees or even flat on your face, you have no place else to look but up.  That’s when you look up and notice that our great God is looking down on you.

I cannot imagine what Hayden’s parents (Kristen and Brett) are going through, but I do know a Parent who does; our Heavenly Father.  Even though the circumstances are different than His was when His Son passed, God knows. He knows how one feels, the thoughts racing through their minds, their mumbled prayers when one’s words may not be clear or they may not even not what to say.  He knows.

God also knows how to strengthen, comfort, hold, love, and help you bring glory to Him through it all.

In Isaiah 41:10 the Lord says, “I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  He will.  God will reach out, take hold of you, and wrap you in His loving arms.

This precious family is a family of faith.  Their belief, trust, and confidence in God have been, and will continue to be, evident.  Will all their faith bring Hayden back?  Not physically, but through conversations, stories shared, sights of his favorite hero Captain America, and precious memories will keep Hayden’s memory alive.  Will they see Hayden again?  Not here on earth, but absolutely when we all get to Heaven.  I can imagine Hayden sitting and smiling on Jesus’ lap, and then when God tell Jesus to come back and get His bride (us), Hayden will be jumping with open arms when he sees his momma and daddy.  Oh, what a sweet sight.

In John 16:33 we are told that, “In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!”  Yep, troubles will come, but… “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.” Romans 8:18.  Until then…When heartache comes, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalm 34:18.  Until He comes… “We glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5.

Be strong Hitchcock and Parke family.  Be strong in the Lord, know that He will use you for His glory, and hold onto hope.

Thank you all for praying for this dear family. This Celebration of Life will not be a good-bye, just a see you later.

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

Romans 5 5 jarsBelieve it or not, I just don’t have anything to say. Well, of course I do, but when God woke me early this morning to pray for a long list, He also gave me these verses to share.

I’m hope you or someone you know could use this today:

“There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!Romans 5:3-5(MSG)

Start gathering your containers for God’s blessings; just know that they will all overflow!

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