Happy Valentines, “GODS LOVE US”

Who Is Love?

1st John 4:8
8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

John 4:16
16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

How Does God Love Us?

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Romans 8:35-39
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
John 15:13
13 Greater love has no one than this than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

Ephesians 1:4-5
just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.

John 4:7-10
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

How Are We Commanded To Love?

Matthew 22:37-40

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
John 13:34-35
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples if you have a love for one another.”

John 15:12-14
12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this than to lay down one’s life for his friends.14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.

How Should We Love One Another?

Philippians 2:1-11
Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others.
1 Corinthians 13
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicings in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
1 John 3:14-24
14 We know that we have passed from death to life because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother[a] abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
16 By this we know love because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
18 My little children, let us not love in word or in the tongue, but in deed and in truth. 19 And by this we know[b] that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. 20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. 22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us[c] commandment.
1 John 5:1-3
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

How Should Husbands and Wives Love One Another

Ephesians 5:21-33

21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.[a]
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body,[b] of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Love Your Enemies

 Matthew 5:38-48
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’[a] 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[b] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[c] 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren[d] only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors[e] do so?48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Romans 12:14
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Romans 12:17-21
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[a] says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”[b]

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Jesus A Gift To The World

Jesus A Gift To The World

Isaiah 7:14
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you[a] a sign: The virgin[b] will conceive and give birth to a son, and[c] will call him Immanuel.[d]
Matthew 1:23
23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[a] (which means “God with us”).
Luke 2:7
and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
John 1:14
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Isaiah 9:6
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.
Luke 1: 30-35
30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most  High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God.
Luke 2:13-14
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

John 3:16
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

This morning as I look out of my bedroom window, I can see snowflakes gently falling to the ground.   There are only three days left until Christmas, and basically, the entire town has come to a silent halt.   For days now, the weather stations have been predicting, that the temperatures would plunge to very low and dangerous levels and that we would see snow.  It was also predicted that this would be one of the coldest Christmases on record, across forty-five states.

That being said, isn’t amazing how God chooses to slow things down.  I consider this a huge blessing, especially this close to Christmas.  What a great opportunity to enjoy spending time with God, focusing on His birth and His sacrificial stay here on earth.  This is a wonderful time to curl up with a cup of hot chocolate or hot tea and spend hours reading, journaling, and studying His word. It is also a great time to refamiliarize yourself with the story of the birth of Christ. 

Also, take a moment and think about all that Mary and Joseph went through in preparation for Jesus’s entry into this cruel world in the form of flesh.  I encourage you to put yourself in Mary’s shoes for a minute.   How would you have responded to the Angel that brought Mary the excellent news, that she had been chosen to be the mother of Jesus?   How would you feel knowing that you were indeed carrying the Savior of the world?   How would feel knowing that you were bringing a child into this world, knowing that He would be crucified? You see even though she understood the purpose for His coming, He was still her son. 

It may be a little difficult for you to focus on all that I am asking you to do If you have not finished your Christmas shopping.  You are probably going into panic mode right about now, wondering when the streets will be cleared enough for you to finish your Christmas shopping.  I want to encourage you to take some time to release yourself from the commercial side of Christmas, relax, and just for a few minutes simply bask in the spiritual side of Christmas.  After all, it is what truly matters.  Everything else will work out one way or the other.  I know that when you do, you will feel a sense of peace and you will be blessed for being in God’s presence.  You will also be focusing on what Christmas is really about and that is Jesus!    May you and your family be blessed with a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

He Is The Real Gift!

Originally Posted December 4, 2016

Matthew 1:18-25
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.

Just a few days ago I was visiting with a lady who was very close to full blown panic mode, because she had not yet decorated her home for Christmas.

I was happy and skipping through life, virtually carefree until I spoke with her. All of a sudden, I started to feel a little stress creeping in, because I began to think at least your tree is out of the box.  My tree was still in the box and very much unassembled.

Of course I didn’t share that with her. Things started to rush through my head, such as, where are the Christmas lights, and what box are the decorations in?  You see we moved in the past year, and there are still boxes stored away. Let’s just say, I’m glad I am not the one who will have to look for the lights.  I am sharing this story with you today because it became quite clear to me, that I was starting to assume her stress and anxiety.

 Ladies during this season we can get so caught up in the presentation of everything that we miss the things that are really important. So let’s just breathe slowly, breathe in and breathe out.  Just take a moment to slow down inside, and just breathe.

Now that I have your attention and you have calmed down let’s talk about what’s really important. Let’s talk about the precious souls that we will scurry past, if we are not carefully watching for those who are truly in pain, and hurting during this season.

Who will you bless?  There are those who will have no one to share Christmas with.  So why not set an extra place at the table and invite someone over to partake in a wonderful meal, and just to feel as a part of your family. Pick up an extra pair of gloves or a devotional, or something that you can wrap and share with them. So that as your family gathers around the tree they will feel like they belong as well.  Why not send a special card of encouragement, or call someone who may be struggling  with their first Christmas after losing a family member. Become a Christmas Angel  to a family that can’t afford to purchase toys for their little children. Volunteer at a shelter.  Reach out to someone this season and give a gift of love, not to someone who will then rush out and buy you a gift also, but to someone who is deeply in need of help.

Look for the opportunities to share Jesus with those that you come in contact with. You are their link to hope, as you share the true story of Christmas, and remind them why Jesus came  you are giving them hope. Hope gives them a reason to keep living and to keep trying here on earth.  Most importantly you are sharing the eternal hope they have in Christ for a life with Him eternally.

It doesn’t matter how much is under the tree.  What matters is that we see a glimpse of Jesus this season and that others see a glimpse of Him too, because He is the real Gift and the Reason for the Season!

Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)
6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

10 Tips On How To Have A Strong Prayer Ministry

I am happy to say, that I am blessed that I come from a praying family.   All of my life I have witnessed what it looks like to see God powerfully working as a result of prayers going up.  There is a saying that I have heard over the years, and you probably have heard it too ” When prayers go up blessings come down”.

Today because I believe so strongly in the power of prayer, I would like to share 10 Tips that I think will give you a strong Prayer Ministry.   If you do decide to start your own personal Prayer Ministry, you can be sure that God will be honored and you will be blessed.

10 Tips On How To Have A Strong Prayer Ministry

1.  Keep a small notebook and an ink pen in your purse at all times, to write down prayer requests.  Be sure you not only write down their request but try to get their contact info also.
2.  Set aside a few minutes each day to pray over the prayer request in your notebook.  Continue praying over these requests, until your prayers have been answered.  Put a heart or star by the name of the person that you were praying for.   It will be encouraging to see how many prayers are being answered.
3.  Follow up with a call or text to see how the person you are praying for is doing, and how you can better serve them through continued prayer.
4.  If you have their mailing address send them a card of encouragement.
5.  If a prayer request is anonymous or unspoken.  Respect the privacy of the person requesting the prayer.  God knows who they are and their circumstances.
6.  Find a scripture that applies to their situation and share it with the person that you are praying for to encourage them.
7.  When their prayer has been answered, call them and ask them if they are ok with you praying a prayer of praise and Thanksgiving.  This will encourage them to remember to give God the glory for their answered prayer.
8.  Some prayers are not answered quickly.  It may take months even years to get an answer.  In this case assure the person that you are praying for, that God hears their prayers and that they are not in this alone.  Let them know you are willing to continue praying until God sends their answer.
9.  Depending on the severity of the prayer request, you may consider asking the person if they are ok with you sharing their request with other prayer warriors that you know.  Only share if you have been given permission to do so.
10. I personally use the ACTS method of praying.  I even use this method in journaling my prayers.  I think that you may like it as well, and it is something great to share with the person you are praying for.

   A- Adoration
  C- Confession
   T- Thanksgiving
  S- Supplication
May God richly bless you, as you go to Him in the prayer on behalf of those who need to hear from Him. Your example of praying may lead someone to Christ. Remember prayer changes things and it changes people.  We definitely love and serve a God who answers prayers.

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[a] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[b] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
2 Kings 6:17
17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
1 John 5:16
16 If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that.
1 Samuel 12:23
23 As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right.
Job 42:10
10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.
James 5:16
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Colossians 4:2
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.









Girlfriends and Birthdays

Girlfriends and Birthdays

It was a beautiful sunshiny September day, and it was just perfect for an outdoor Birthday celebration.  As I sat outside on my girlfriend’s patio, eating the best salad that I think that I have ever tasted, that was followed by the best chocolate cake that I think that I have ever tasted,
I felt complete gratitude. 

My gratitude was not because the food was so good,  but because my two girlfriends and I, could be together again, for our yearly Birthday celebration. This year was really special, because we had missed the last two years, due to the pandemic and also due to some health issues. 

We were so excited to be together again in person.   It was great for the three of us to catch up on how things were going in our lives, and to just sit and enjoy each other’s company.  We had some serious heart sharing moments, and some giggles too of course.  More giggles than heart sharing probably.  God had blessed all three of us to see another birthday and our yearly Birthday tradition was back on track.  God is good!

When I returned home I reflected on the time that we had spent together that day,  and it made my heart feel warm.  There is nothing like having great friends!   

God in His infinite wisdom,  knew that we would need to be connected to one another.   Our connection to one another gives us  support, relationship, accountability and  recreational fun and enjoyment with one another.

 My prayer is that you are not choosing to live life isolated from the great friendships that you could be enjoying.

If you are a person who struggles with  building friendships, I encourage you to get connected to a local Church in your area, and attend a few of the events that they are having for the congregation.  At first it may feel a little awkward but keep going, slowly you will start to make friends and the quality of your life will become so much richer.

Both of the friends that I share my birthday with each year, are women that I met at church almost thirty years ago.  They both have been such a blessing to me and I hope that I have been the same to them. 

If you are in need of a great friend, I encourage you to pray today and ask God to bless you to meet a good Christian friend, and He will certainly bless you with one.  Before you know it,  you will have traditions that are special to you as well.  Most importantly remember this,  to have a good friend, you have to be a good friend.

If you already have great friends, but you have not connected with them in a while,  I encourage you to reach out to them, even if only by phone.  Stay connected!   Remember great friends are like jewels.  They are rare, so cherish them.  May God bless you as you start to experience the richness of true friendships!

Proverbs 18:24
24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 17:17
17 A friend loves at all times,  and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
Proverbs 27:9
Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,  and the pleasantness of a friend
springs from their heartfelt advice.
John 15:12-13
12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Ecclesiastes 4:10
10 If either of them falls down,   one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
Psalm 133:1
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
1 Thessalonians 5:11
11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Romans 12:10
10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Hang In There Moms

Hang In There Moms

Leviticus 19:32
32 “‘Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.
Exodus 20:12

12 “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
1 Timothy 5:1-3
Never speak harshly to an older man,[a] but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father. Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers. Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters.Take care of[b] any widow who has no one else to care for her.
Ephesians 6:2-3
“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
Proverbs 23:22
22 Listen to your father, who gave you life, and don’t despise your mother when she is old.

Mother’s Day is a day that is traditionally set aside to give honor to mothers, for their hard work, love, and dedication to their families.  As my family honored me with a nice meal and gifts this past Mother’s Day, I reflected back on those long hard days as a new mom.  I remembered the fear that came over me as my husband and I left the hospital with a newborn baby.  The thought of keeping a baby alive was so scary to me.  A million “What ifs” ran through my mind?

Our daughter was a colicky baby, so there were many sleepless nights and this went on for months.   As the months went by, I became more confident as a mom, and with lots of prayers, God gave me the strength for each new day. 

By the time our daughter was seven years old, she was on a basketball court.  Her dad was her very first coach.  She played the sport for ten years.  When she got to Junior High School, she played on a traveling team during the summer months and on her school team during the school year.  When she played on the traveling team, it seemed like we were out of town every weekend.  We played teams in Missouri, Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma. The expense of staying in hotels almost every weekend, not to mention food and gas was quite expensive.  It was a sacrifice that we were willing to make since she enjoyed it so much.

I cannot even begin to count the hours that I sat in my car, or in a hot gym waiting to pick her up from practices.  I was in a weekly Bible Study at the time, so I always made sure that my Bible was in the car.  I knew that I would have plenty of time to complete my assignments while waiting for her to get out of her practice.

Did I happen to also mention, that she was in a youth choir for the university here in our town, as well as she took piano lessons for about 8 years, and was very active with the youth in our church.  There were times when I felt like I was living out of my car.  During those years I worked from home running a home-based business, and I thank God that because I owned my own business, I had the flexibility to be present and a part of my daughter’s life and her activities.   Our lives were crazy busy and full during those years.  As I look back on it now, we were probably too busy. 
I hope that you do not think that I am complaining because I am not. I am simply sharing this so that you will know, that I truly understand what it is like to be a tired, busy working wife and mom.  I am here to give you hope, and to encourage you that you will get through those hard days, just as I did.  I have had people tell me that they don’t know how I did it, and all I can say is; But God!    I prayed and asked Him to give me strength for each new day as I still do. I stayed in the word daily and that seemed to be a huge source of encouragement to me. It was an encouragement to me, especially on those days that I didn’t think I could do another thing, and dinner still had to be prepared and dishes still had to be washed.

My daughter is an adult now, and looking back I am thankful for every mile that I  had to drive her, during those super busy years. We were able to have great conversations as we drove from place to place.  I am thankful for every basketball practice that I had to wait through, and every game that I had to attend.  I am thankful for every piano lesson and every piano recital.  I am thankful for the choir rehearsals, the summer church camps, and too many birthday parties to count, that I drove her to.  You see I realize that all of these things were the experiences that contributed to her becoming the woman that she is today.  I thank God that He helped my husband and me, not only survive those years but to enjoy them also. I am grateful that He guided us in guiding her.  I can honestly say that it all was well worth it.

Therefore, if I could give you any one piece of advice, it would be to pray.  Pray daily for the strength to be the mother that your child needs for you to be, and the mother that God is calling you to be.  Pray over your children each and every day. I prayed a prayer of protection over my daughter every morning, as I drove her to school.  She did not exit my car until we had prayed.  Pray with your husband regarding your children.  Pray for God’s directions for their future to be crystal clear to them.  Pray that God will bless them with friends who desire to do what is right.  Pray for their future mates.  Most importantly pray, that your children have a receptive heart for God at an early age and that they will hear and know his voice when He is speaking to them.   Pray that their desire will be to please Him, by being obedient to you as well as to Him.

Hang In there moms God has you, and you will survive this thing called motherhood.  You may even find out that you enjoy it.  Remember you can do All things through Christ who strengthens you!

Oh, To Be Content

Have you ever gone through a season when life seemed absolutely unbearable?  Have you ever become impatient with God, because He was moving way too slow.  Could it be that you are just simply disenchanted with the way your life is going right now?  If your answer is yes to any of these questions, today I would like to visit with you briefly about what it means to be content.

 When you go to your dictionary and look up the word content, you may see the following as a definition;  in a state of peaceful happiness, satisfied with a certain level of achievement, and not wishing for more, a state of satisfaction.

In Philippians 4:11 Paul says I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances, a little bit later in 4:13 He says that; I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.  After thinking about this, I have personally come to the conclusion, that Paul’s contentment was based not only on his trust in God but in his trust in God’s character. He had experienced God’s faithfulness through numerous circumstances, and he had seen the heart of God throughout His journey.

Being content is not always easy.   But if we just think back, and reflect on all of the times that God has been faithful to us in the past through the hard times, it helps us to remain hopeful for our future.   Contentment, in my opinion, can be simple, trusting while you are waiting.  Trusting that when the time is right, God will change your set of circumstances, and if He chooses not to, you are still trusting that He will only do what is best for you. Either way, trusting God is the real source of contentment and inner peace.  As you spend more and more time with God, you will grow to trust Him more and more.

Today, I want to encourage you to seek His face daily.  Choose peace and contentment over stress and worry. Remember, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you, and that means even going through the hard stuff.

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong

Hebrews 13:5
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;  never will I forsake you.”[a]
1 Timothy 6:6-10
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Romans 15:13
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Psalm 62:5-8
Yes, my soul, find rest in God;  my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;  he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God[a];  he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.


Savor Every Moment

Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil. 10 Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave,[a] there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.

Savor Every Moment
Yesterday my daughter drove me to a doctor’s appointment. As I rode in the car the sunshine was beaming through the windows on my face, and it felt absolutely wonderful.  The weather was perfect!  It was about 78 degrees out, and it was just a glorious day.  Even though the air conditioner was on, I took a moment and rolled down my window just to breathe in the fresh air. I wanted to take it all in. I didn’t want to miss a single thing about yesterday.  A few of the trees have started to change colors here, and the timing is perfect because it was also the first day of Fall. Fall is absolutely by far, my favorite time of year.  I was careful to look at the gorgeous trees and the beautiful clear blue sky, as we drove by.   I enjoyed looking at what the Master Artist was creating.  When I see days like yesterday where the weather is just absolutely perfect, I see it totally as a gift from God. Of course, we know that every day is a gift from God, but I think days like that, are considered a special gift from God.

So after getting back from the doctor’s office and taking a short nap, I decided to continue my self-care time by resting in my comfy chair. While sitting there, I decided to scroll through Facebook to see what was going on.  And that’s when my day took a turn.  I saw that a friend that I had not spoken to within about three years, had passed away from pneumonia at only 46 years of age.  Needless to say, I was totally shocked!   Her husband is now left to raise their only child who is about 8 years of age.

Last night as I thought of her, and how she enjoyed traveling, decorating her home beautifully, going to concerts, riding motorcycles with her husband, and oh let’s not forget shopping for the most gorgeous of clothes for she and her daughter, I was happy that she had lived a very full life in her short 46 years.  I was happy that she had not put a thing on hold.  She absolutely loved being a mom and a wife. She loved cooking from scratch and trying new recipes.   She struggled with some health issues, so she always prepared very healthy meals, for her and her family. Her husband absolutely adored her, and the feeling was so mutual.

I thought of her most of the night.  I remember hearing that death is for the living, and I can truly say that an unexpected death gets our attention like nothing else. It causes us to go deep in thought and to reflect.  Last night as I laid in bed, I remember thanking God for my day.   After hearing such sad news about my friend, I was so glad that going to the doctor was not just another ride in the car, but I was truly glad that I had savored every moment of my ride. Going forward I want to really be present and alert as I go through my day.  I don’t want to just go through the motions, I want to enjoy each day that God gives me. I want to thank Him for allowing me to open my eyes to each new day. I want to savor every experience.   I want to be present in every moment.  Ladies I don’t want to miss a thing!

We all know that we will leave this earth one day. What we don’t know is when or how, and that’s one of the mysteries of death. But be clear, death is certain!  So I encourage you to live a full life starting today. Don’t put the things that you want to do on hold. Figure out a way to do the things that are important to you or that you are passionate about.  Don’t assume that you have time.  As you start this process, start with time with God each and every day. Pray for His divine favor over your life.  Ask Him to remind you to slow down and savor every moment.  Even when life is hard, and those days will come, trust God and try to savor your day anyway.  Don’t let the enemy steal your joy. Remember there is a blessing in every day, even the hard days.

Who loves like a Mother?

Isaiah 49:15 (NLT)
15 “Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child?
    Can she feel no love for the child she has borne?
But even if that were possible,   I would not forget you!

Proverbs 31:28
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;  her husband also, and he praises her:

Who loves like a mother? Only God can love deeper than a mother. A mother’s heart is forever connected to the heart of her child. No matter how young or how old her child is, no matter how far away and no matter how many children have come through her womb she will be forever connected to each one.

God has placed in a mother’s heart the ability to love sacrificially.

Mothers willfully denied themselves many wonderful things that they would enjoy or that would make their lives more pleasant in order to put the needs and desires of their children first. A mother’s greatest joy is to see her children happy, well nurtured, and well protected. A mother’s nature is to protect her children. One of her heart’s desires is to make sure that her children are safe at all times.

The Annual Christmas Program

Luke 1:31-35 (NLT)
31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel[a] forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.

John 1:14 (NLT)
14 So the Word became human[a] and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.[b] And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

2 Corinthians 8:9 (NLT)
You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.

In 1954 my dad asked my mother to be his bride. Although exciting, that was not the only wonderful thing that would happen that year. Daddy had always worked faithfully in the church, and after returning home from the military he continued to be a faithful Christian worker. By this time, he was twenty-five years old and had already been elected to hold the position of Sunday School Superintendent for the church.