Thursday, July 29, 2010

Don't waste the dog food!

At our house, we have 3 dogs. We have a little bitty dog (Maggie), we have a meduim size dog (Jasmine) and we have a very large dog (Lucy). When it comes to feeding these dogs, it takes a bunch of dog food! We have a big container that we store the dry dog food in. It will hold a 40-50 pound bag. It is easy to scoop out what we need from this container, however, the difficult part is pouring the food into 3 smaller bowls.

Apparently, the scooping from the big bin is the easy part. Carrying it to the bowls outside is the hard part. If the scoop is too full, food will fall from the overflow or most likely, fall on the ground when trying to fill the smaller bowls. It is wasted food.

As Christians, I envision God's blessings like that big bin of dog food. There is plenty. His bin is full to the brim. But when we scoop up His blessings, many times we are careless and we allow some to fall out of our hands and they lay on the ground, just being wasted.

PSALM 23:5,6 "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. (6) Surely goodness and mecry shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

When the dog food falls onto the ground, there is no way, especially with our large dog Lucy, that one drop will go wasted. She will not only get the morsal in the bowl quickly, but what is outside of the bowl. God's portion is great, and He wants us to enjoy all that He has for us. Not just what we can contain, but the Psalmist reminds us that His cup of blessings will run over!

I wonder what it would be like if we responded to God's blessings like our dog Lucy ... and didn't waste one morsal of all that our Master had to offer!

THANKFUL THURSDAY...whats the name?

Have you ever had your name printed on an announcement but only to find out that your name was incorrectly spelled? Worse than that, is to have someone introduce you but not pronounce your name correctly. The first instinct that I have when this happens is to correct the one speaking. After all, who wants their name known as something that it is not!

"You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name" (Exodus 20:7, NIV)

Obviously, God takes his name very seriously, and he doesn't want anyone misusing it. Consider this:

In ancient times, Kings would use messengers to communicate with other nations. When a messenger delivered a message, he would first announce the name of the king who sent him. This official announcement was very important. Once he used the king's name, his message carried the authority and power of the king. So, if the messenger delivered an inaccurate message, then he had "misused" the king's name because he said something with the king's authority that the king never told him to say.

The above verse in Exodus says that we should not misuse God's name. Like the messengers for the Kings, we are God's messengers. Misusing God's name means acting or speaking in ways that keep others from hearing the gospel message. This may include using God's name as an ugly swear word, but also it means doing things that go against His Word like gossiping, immorality or treating others unkindly.

I am thankful that there is power in the name of Jesus! Just speaking IT brings victory. May we all be sure that we do not misuse His name, so His message can be conveyed to everyone, correctly!

I will be hosting TT next month and look forward to seeing all of you here. Please join your grateful heart with ours today though over at Lynn's place as we all rejoice and be thankful! HAPPY THANKFUL THURSDAY!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD...there is power in the tongue

RIDDLE: What can taste sweet but have a nasty odor? ANSWER: Our tongue!

It is amazing that the same thing that enjoys sweet and delicious things such as a plump, juicy, ripe strawberry can be the same thing that spews out a foul and nasty odor such as the smell of dead fish. Our tongue not only has the ability to recognize good taste from bad, but it has the ability to speak good or bad. There is power in our tongue!

I came across an illustration recently that clearly explains why some people use their tongues as daggers:

“An advertisement appeared in which the devil was putting all of his tools up for sale. On the day of public inspection, each one of his tools was marked with its selling price: Hatred, Envy, Jealousy, Doubt, Lying, Pride, and so on, were each on the block. Set apart, however, from all the rest of the pile, was a harmless-looking tool, well-worn, but priced very high — it was discouragement!

Someone asked the devil, ‘why is that one priced so high?’ He replied, ‘Ah, that one is more useful to me than all the rest. With it I can pry open a man’s heart and enter, when I cannot get near him with any other tools. Once inside, I can lead him any way I choose. The tool is very worn because I use it on almost everyone, since few people know it belongs to me.’”

The enemy loves to sow discouragement — but believers have a tool much more powerful — encouragement! In last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers the following question, "Who is the last person to encourage you?" The top 3 responses were...

1. 44% of those voting said it was their spouse.
2. 33% voted and said a friend.
3. 11% responded and said a parent recently encouraged them.

I wonder if I had changed the poll around to say "Who did YOU encourage last", would the results would have been different? One of the things that I noticed about this weeks poll is that nobody said that they had been encouraged by a stranger. Yep - 0% on that one. That made me think about the sales clerk in Wal-mart who is having a really bad day ... do I encourage her? It made me also think about the airline employee who just got their face ripped off by the disgruntled customer in front of me ... how did I encourage them when it was my turn at the counter?

God places opportunities in our path every day to speak "life" into others, but somehow we miss it many times. We have our thoughts on our busy schedules, the kids ballgame later, what to cook for dinner, etc. We are focused on what is in our world instead of recognizing that ministry of encouragement to someone who is in desperate need.

HEBREWS 10:25 "Do not forsake the assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near."

I want to be an encouraging Christian, not just to my family and church friends, but to the strangers that cross my path each and every day. It's time that we show the enemy that his tool of discouragement is not worth much anymore because we have no use for it!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A PIECE OF MY HEART...what am I sensitive to?

If I had to describe myself to someone, I would say that I am a sensitive person. It is of great importance to me that those around me are being taken care of. In a Mary/Martha world, I would say that I am a "Martha". I am the one busy making sure all of the dinner guests have exactly what they need. I sit down last at the dinner table. If someone needs a refill on their beverage, I jump up to get it. It is important to me that all the details have been thought out and that each and every person who comes to sit at my dinner table leaves satisfied.

For anything less to happen would crush my spirit. It would simply devastate me. I am simply a sensitive Martha in my own flesh who wants to create a happy place for everyone!

I put so much into everything that I do, whether it is a family dinner or a well planned out Sunday School lesson. To know that someone was less than satisfied because of something I did or didn't do would simply break my heart. To one degree this is a good characteristic. Like Martha, it is good to plan, prepare and work hard. But on the other hand, it can be a stumbling block.

The Martha's in the world can lose sight of what is really important. When we busy ourselves with too many details, we often  miss out on the ministry opportunities God places before us. We not only become stumbling blocks to those that we could be ministering to, but, we stumble and become more sensitive about the event than God.

ROMANS 14:13 "Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this - not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way."

Today, my heart's cry is that I would stop being so sensitive about what others think and be more sensitive to what God thinks. I enjoy being a Martha but I don't want to miss out on sitting at His feet because of my over-sensitivity to creating happy places.

and this has been a piece of my heart today;

Monday, July 26, 2010

New Design

This past weekend I worked on a new design for my blog. I have been thinking about changing it now for awhile, a new face sometimes gives new life and new perspective. So I hope that everyone likes the new look of WOMEN TAKING A STAND!

Sometimes, when I think about my life, I wonder if I too need to have a new design applied. Face it, some days are better than others. And some days are better off forgotten! I don't know what your yesterday was like, it could have been the best day you ever had or it could have been the worst day. But today is a new day and God's Word says that His love is new every morning!

"His great love is new every morning. Lord, how faithful you are!" - Lamentations 3:23

Today may be the day that a new design needs to be applied to our lives. The old is put away, a new perspective is put in place as we trust God and remember that He is in control of ALL things. His love is new every morning, so there is no reason to stay the same way we were yesterday!

Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say REJOICE!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Whose responsibility is it?

R E S P O N S I B I L I T Y... something that we all agree others should have, but yet we struggle to maintain it ourselves! It seems more and more, there is a decline in personal responsibility. It is difficult to own up to our own mistakes - we see it in politics, we see it in business, we see it in the headlines and we see it in our living rooms.

Lack of responsibility is not just a problem with the rich and famous. Many times all we have to do to find an example of someone giving excuses is look in the mirror. It is so easy to give excuses for our actions. And it is very easy to find fault with others because it is easier to place blame rather than take responsibility.

ROMANS 2:1 "When you judge another, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things."

The mistake that I make so often is looking at what I think others should or should not do instead of looking at myself. It is easy for me to say or think, "it's not my responsibility!" and refuse to change my ways. I have to admit there are some things around our house that I just do not enjoy to do and I wish someone else would take the responsibility for it. I really don't like having to change the toilet paper roll every single time I go into our bathroom. I also do not like to carry the trash out. I especially do not like to pick up every one's wet towels off of the bathroom floor. Why does it have to be my responsibility to do these things?

In last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I asked the following question, "What responsibility do you have that you really wish you didn't have?" The top 3 answers were:

1. 36% of those voting said they wish they didn't have to pay the bills.
2. 18% voted and said they wish they didn't have the responsibility of washing the dishes.
3. 18% responded and said they don't like having to balance the checkbook.

We all have things that we wish we didn't have to do, but pushing our responsibility off onto someone else is not God's way of showing love to others. When others do not live up to their responsibility, instead of becoming annoyed ... ask God to help you to fulfill your duties and then forgive others when they fall down on their responsibility.

Change yourself and then let God change others.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

THANKFUL THURSDAY...putting it in His hand

For years now, I have been standing in the gap for my friend and praying for her and her family. The burden that she carries for her family is great, more specifically for her son who is not serving the Lord. Many times I have agreed with her at the altar, calling out her son's name to the Lord. It is difficult for me to look at my friend and see the pain, the anguish and the tears as she hurts so badly for the decisions that her loved one has made.

As a mother myself, I know how grieved I become over some of the decisions my children make. It is at this point I realize that the best action I can take is intercessory prayer and placing my loved one in God's hands! After all, as much as my heart hurts for my loved ones, don't you know that the heart of God is even more grieved?

“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven,” Mathew 5:16

Let your light shine brightly in front of those around you, and let God take care of the rest! For each one of us lie in the hands of God!

I am so thankful for the gentle hands of God. What are you thankful for today? Join your grateful heart with ours over at Lynn's place today for THANKFUL THURSDAY!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

AT THE WELL...A lesson from a babe!

Today I have shared a devotion with the readers of AT THE WELL, entitled "A lesson from a babe!". This is a recount of a true story and I pray it will minister to you today. Please check out this great website that features marvelous devotions every day!

Recently, I was with a dear friend of mine whose sister was near death due to a stroke. While visiting my friend, a dear saint from the church had stopped by, delivering food for the family. Now ... this sweet sister in the Lord happens to have the same first name as my friends sister who was near death. While we were all visiting around the kitchen table, my friend called out to her grandchildren to come to say hello. When it came time for her 3 year old grandson to say hello to the dear sweet saint from the church, (who happened to have the same name as his dying great aunt) - instead of "hello", He announced quite loudly ... "are YOU dying?"

Of course we all had a big belly chuckle. We were just thankful that the dear saint either did not hear him or did not seem bothered by what the precious 3 year old had to say.

As sweet and cute as that sounds, I believe there is a lesson from the mouth of a babe for all of us. One of the greatest fears that most Christians have is witnessing to unbelievers. I don't know what we fear more ... that someone will say YES and then we won't know what else to say or if we fear someone saying NO and then we are rejected.

Witnessing to others is really easy, but we want to make it difficult. One of the greatest witnessing tools is simply your LIFE! That means the greatest witnessing tool we have is just letting our life shine in front of others.

Whether you know it or not, people are watching us and we are influencing others one way or the other. We are leading others either TO Christ or AWAY from Christ. Witnessing is not only just living Christ for others to see, but sharing Christ may also be like that 3 year old boy did ... we just simply need to ask an important spiritual question: "Are you dying?"

"In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16 ESV)

Share Christ with someone today ... use words if necessary!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A PIECE OF MY HEART...assurance policy

As you all know, we are living in uncertain times. The future of our health care plans are alittle shaky right now. With everything that our current President is proposing, I'm not even sure if my family will be able to get the proper medical treatment that they will need in the future. This is scary for alot of people.

Up until now, having an insurance policy gave us assurance. At least we knew that 50% (or whatever percent your coverage paid) would be covered. We could count on it! I am not sure what we can count on with the proposed health care package that our Government is planning to offer us.

Both my husband and I are self-employed and the high cost of private insurance is too much - my husband has had to work a second job to provide health insurance for our family. He works this extra job specifically for the benefits, as do the majority of the employees of this large package company. So what will happen when health insurance will no longer be an option, but provided by the Government? Places like where my husband works will shut down, because those employed there will no longer need to work there if their insurance is not going to be paid for them.

When this happens ... the assurance that so many of us have been accustomed to will no longer be in existence. We are living in crazy times, and nobody really knows what will happen with the health care plan.

PSALM 118:8 " It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man."

So what will be better...government provided or a private plan? There is really only one insurance company that has been found to be truly faithful to help us in our time of need through it all.

No, it’s not the RED CROSS!
It's not the BLUE CROSS!
It’s just THE CROSS!

The best part of this insurance plan is, it doesn't cost a thing! His Assurance can be our insurance! Have you invested in His plan yet?


*I am an American and have and will always support the leaders of our Country ... this blog post is NOT anti-Obama or anti-healthcare plan ... it is directly from God's Word that man will let us down but God is in Whom we must trust! "In God we trust"'s what our country was founded on! **

And this has been a piece of my heart today;

Monday, July 19, 2010

He will wipe every tear

Lately, I have crossed paths with several people who are in the midst of turmoil and pain. Their hearts are broken, their lives have been ripped apart and they just feel lost and hopeless.

I have been in such a place. A place that seems so dark and dreary. A place that seems like I am all alone. A place that I call out to God - but it seems like He has left me like all of the others.

This is not an easy place to be. Nor is it a place that we want to stay for long. I don't know why or how this works ... but whenever I have been in this dreary place and I call out the name of Jesus ... somehow the pain, the sorrow, and the tears seem to fade. There is just something about that name ...JESUS!

Jesus Jesus Jesus, how sweet is the name of Jesus!

Revelation 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (NIV)

If you are reading this today, and you are hurting - call out the name of Jesus! Your circumstances may not change, but the condition of your heart may change. He will restore your joy, your peace and your purpose!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Having strong roots!

We have a very large oak tree in our front yard. It is very old, but yet it has withstood many strong winds, tornadoes and hail storms. Even though the winter cold hits hard, this tree has stood strong and each spring its leaves have been replenished and the spirit of this awesome tree shines thru in the brilliant colors of autumn leaves. Without strong roots, none of this would be possible.

"But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” - Jeremiah 17: 7-8 (NIV)

Jeremiah compared the strong, well-developed roots of a tree to a person who places trust in God. A tree shoots out roots to be able to withstand heat, wind, and even periods of drought. In the same way, the stronger our roots in God, the more we are able to deal with trials, change and disappointments.

Having strong roots planted with God is much like my strong and blooming tree. The Spirit of God shines thru us as we get planted in His Word and His Ways. It is our growing faith in Him that will sustain us in all our seasons of life. The storms of life can leave us feeling battered and bruised, but when our feet are planted firm in God...nothing can uproot us!

Make sure you are planted with strong roots!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

THANKFUL THURSDAY...walking a tight rope

One of the most amazing things to watch is a tightrope artist. It is one thing that these performers have to go high up to reach their performing stage, but it is a completely other thing that they walk across a very thin rope as they risk falling a great distance.

Watching them walk across a tightrope scares me. Especially when their steps become wobbly and it looks like they are going to fall down to the ground. But even when they do fall off of the rope - there is a safety net below to catch them. What a peace of mind for the one high up on the wire to know that their fall will be secure and safe.

Life can be alot like walking a tightrope! But today I am so thankful that when it feels that way, that God 's arms are outstretched and will cushion our fall.

PSALMS 91:1,2 "He Who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. (2) I will say to the Lord, 'my Refuge and my Fortress, my God, in Whom I trust!"

When it seems like you are falling from your tight rope ... remember God is your safety net. Is your safety net in place today?

Lynn is our TT hostess this month, please join your grateful hearts
with ours today by linking your Thankful Thursday post over at Lynn's place!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD...who holds the key?

Unforgiveness ... such an ugly word. It can also be a very ugly prison that often times we place ourselves in.

Imagine yourself in a prison-like setting. As you look around, you see a number of cells visible from where you stand. In these cells, you see people from your past who are incarcerated there. In one cell, there is someone who wounded you as a child. In another cell, you see so-called friends who wronged you. In yet another cell, sitting in a corner is a loved one; a mother or a father or a sibling that turned their back on you. In the corner is a rather large cell and this is where your spouse sits, trapped just like all of the others in this self-made jail that you have created.

The picture of this prison is not an actual prison, but simply a room in our hearts. Hearts that have become bitter and full of unforgiveness can be a very dark and lonely place that exists inside of us every day. Just like a judge who awaits on the other side of a prison chamber with the key, outside the door of our prison chamber, Jesus stands. He is extending the key to us so we may release each inmate that we have imprisoned with our own unforgiveness.

The problem with this scenario is that we like to hold onto the key, so we can decide, if and when those imprisoned can be let go and forgiven.

In last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers the following question: "Who is the hardest person for you to forgive?" The top 3 answers were...

1. 35% of those voting said that forgiving their spouse is hard.
2. 21% voted and said that forgiving their parents is hard.
3. 14% responded and said the hardest person to forgive is their friends.

Forgiving others is not easy. Forgiving those who have hurt us does not clear any wrong doing, in fact God is keeping record. The only thing cleared is that we don't have to worry about how to punish those who have harmed us. Forgiving others is not releasing them from wrong doing - it is releasing them to God.

In Matthew, Jesus tells a parable of the ungrateful servant. A man owed a sizable amount of money and he was surprised to hear his Master grant mercy on him and  forgive him of his debt. When released from jail, the servant did a most unexpected thing - he went to another man who owed him a much smaller amount and demanded immediate payment! When the Master heard of this, he became angry:

"His Lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him." (Matthew 18:34)

Torture. Prison. This is what comes to mind when I think about unforgiveness. The problem with my prison scenario is that often times we refuse to allow God to free those whom we have imprisoned with our anger, bitterness and unforgiveness. When we hold onto the key and keep those who have hurt us captive, we ourselves take residence up in one of the empty cells in our prison.

It is then that we become like the servant in Jesus' story - we choose to not extend forgiveness and we are handed over to the jailers and torturers. Our freedom now depends on us forgiving others.

Do you have someone in your life that you need to forgive? Free them from your imprisonment - hand over the key to Jesus!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A PIECE OF MY HEART... Seek and find

Have you ever looked thru the WHERE'S WALDO books? When our children were younger, we enjoyed sitting together and trying to find Waldo on every page. It was really difficult to find him on some of those pages, as he was hidden so well! But we kept seeking until we found him.

I think in life, we are all seeking different things. We seek love. We seek riches. We seek to be popular. And on occasion we seek God. Unfortunately, we seek certain things a little bit harder than other things. When it comes to seeking God, I wonder how hard I seek Him? and if He would consider me to be diligent in my seeking?

"And without faith it is impossible to please God. because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6)

Life is alot like the WHERE'S WALDO books ... things appear to us that are nothing but mere imposter's! The enemy likes to trip us up with difficulties and temptations, and many times our eyes become blinded. It is difficult to find God in our circumstances, but just like WALDO can be found on every page of the book ... GOD can be found on every page of our life!

We just have to keep seeking Him!

and this has been a piece of my heart today!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Don't Jump!

I've heard of people being scared of spiders ... but how crazy would it be for someone to climb out of a 10-story window and jump to get away from a spider? That would just be insane! No doubt, I would wonder what in the world is this person thinking - how much scarier would a fall from 10 feet be compared to a little spider?

In the book of Luke in the Bible, Jesus addresses this very subject with His disciples. He wanted them to see how insignificant the fear of people is compared to the fear of God. We can end up with much bigger problems if we let the fear of things overcome us, especially the fear of what others think.

It is really easy to do stupid things out of fear. Sometimes we say things just because we are afraid of what people will think of us. Other times, we do things out of fear, afraid that people will reject us. However, when we care more about what other people think than what God thinks ... we are headed for trouble!

LUKE 12:7 "Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows."

The wrath of God is something we should all fear. Failing to respect Him is like choosing the 10-story drop over the itsy-bitsy spider. In the end, the only opinion that matters is God's, so give over all of your other fears to Him. He's got your back!

Friday, July 9, 2010

LACED WITH GRACE... a fish lesson

Today I have shared a short devotion over at LACED WITH GRACE, entitled "A Fish Lesson".

When a storm sweeps across the ocean surface, the fish below know exactly where the water is still — deep down under. While up on the surface, the winds and the waves are raging, but below lies water completely at peace. Perhaps we could learn a lesson from fish! Consider this. In a shallow relationship with God ...

CLICK HERE to read the rest of today's devo!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

THANKFUL THURSDAY ...shoe shiner

Giving of yourself goes so much more deeper than just dropping a dollar or two in the offering plate or going to a mission to feed the hungry. Many of the greatest feats of servant hood go unnoticed.

A story about D.L.Moody, a powerful leader in Christianity, shows how giving of yourself secretly can be a powerful thing:

A large group of European pastors came to one of D. L. Moody’s Northfield Bible Conferences in Massachusetts in the late 1800s. Following the European custom of the time, each guest put his shoes outside his room to be cleaned by the hall servants overnight. But of course this was America and there were no hall servants.

Walking the dormitory halls that night, Moody saw the shoes and determined not to embarrass his brothers. He mentioned the need to some ministerial students who were there, but met with only silence or pious excuses. Moody returned to the dorm, gathered up the shoes, and, alone in his room, the world’s only famous evangelist began to clean and polish the shoes. Only the unexpected arrival of a friend in the midst of the work revealed the secret.

When the foreign visitors opened their doors the next morning, their shoes were shined. They never knew by whom. Moody told no one, but his friend told a few people, and during the rest of the conference, different men volunteered to shine the shoes in secret.

How humbling is that?  Many of us want to be great ministers for the Lord. We want our names and our works to be remembered. But how many of us are willing to be shoe shiners? Not only would Jesus have shined those shoes in secret, but He would have returned to wash their feet also!

Matthew 6:4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

Have you been asking the Lord to use you? Shine someone’s dingy shoes, give a gift to someone in need, love on someone hard to love — but don’t tell the world — do it in secret! You can be sure that the Lord sees these things and you will be rewarded!

Today on this THANKFUL THURSDAY, I am honored and blessed that God has put some "shoe shiners" in my life. People who have given of their finances, their time and their love to me and my family, often times anonymously. I want to be like that, like Jesus, giving sacrifices with no strings attached!

Join your grateful heart with ours by linking up over at LYNN'S as we celebrate TT this week!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD...who are you protecting on your watch?

Having relationships with people can be made up of many things, including joys, sorrows, successes and failures. When you think of your closest relationships, say with your spouse or your children, the furthest thing from your mind is for it be a battleground. Sometimes in our relationships, we have to be able to choose our battles!

Face it, the enemy lurks around every corner to try to trip us up and confuse us and to leave us with our guard down. The place I see this happening the most is in our relationships. Just like the jewelry store that is guarded by security to protect the valuable goods inside, we must stand guard over the precious valuables that God has entrusted with us in our relationships.

Sometimes the lurking thief will not be so noticeable, it may come looking attractive and desirable but it's main goal is to undermine your love and appreciation for those closest to you. In your marriage, the thief may come to lure your heart away by offering unrealistic comparisons or unhealthy desires. When it comes to our relationships, we must put on the armor and pick up the sword to protect against such attacks.

 In last weeks YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers the following question, "When you think of PROTECTION, what do you think of?" The top 2 answers were:

1. 83% of those voting said that they think of God when it comes to protection.
2. 16% of those responding said they think of Police.

Protecting your loved ones against physical harm is one thing, but how can we protect our relationships against spiritual and emotional scarring? Too many relationships are infected with crippling parasites. A parasite is anything that will latch on and suck the life out of you! The kind of parasites I am talking about are the kind that suck good things out of your relationship. Parasites like addictions, gambling, drugs and pornography. These things will not only steal the loyalty from your relationships but it will infect the hearts of those you love the most. Protecting our loved ones does not stop with installing a burglary system in our homes, we must protect the heart as well.

The Bible speaks about this protective role.

EZEKIEL 34:8 "the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed the flock."

The shepherds took extra good care of their own needs and fed their own appetites but they gave little to no thought to the safety of those under their supervision. We each have been given a responsibility to care for and nurture someone, whether its your spouse, your children, your aging parents or an unsaved loved one.

In Matthew 24 it suggests that if the head of the house had known that the thief was coming in the middle of the night, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into...We each have charge over someone, the role is ours to protect them. We must take our watch seriously!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A PIECE OF MY HEART... kaleidoscope dreams

Have you ever held a kaleidoscope in your hand? This amazing tube fascinates me when all of the many pebbles and beads inside turn into a magnificent design when it is held up to the light. A if that alone is not amazing enough, each time you turn the scope, the light reflects yet another breathtaking image. Each view seems more amazing than the last. The progression of the images just captivates me each time.

I was thinking about this kaleidoscope and how without the light, we see something different. We just see the beads and the pebbles. The light is what changes everything.

God's Light changes everything also. God is a progressive God and the dreams that we dream, the visions that we have will all take on a new form once His light is applied.

ACTS 2:17 "In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams."
His Light can turn our kaleidoscope dreams into amazing pieces of beauty and art.

and this has been a piece of my heart today;

Monday, July 5, 2010

May we never forget!

Backyard BBQ'S, parades and fireworks. All of it makes for a wonderful celebration of Independence Day!  I hope that your weekend included some family fun as you celebrated your freedom.

Fireworks always make me feel proud to be an American. As the sky is lit up with the magnificent colors and the sound of each one going - it always make me think of the freedoms that I have always known because of of this great Country I live in. Realizing that in some countries, freedom is not something that is available, certainly not celebrated.

Celebrating the 4th is much more for me than just having hot dogs, lighting fireworks and waving the flag ... Independence Day is remembering that our right to life and our pursuit of happiness really comes from God.

May we never forget where our freedoms come from!

Friday, July 2, 2010


One of the biggest concerns people have these days is having their identity stolen. We personally have safety cautions placed on our credit reports to protect ourselves from this happening. It is a very scary thing to think of what damage a person could do by stealing our identity.

Everything about us could be stolen, erased, simply gone just by someone stealing our identity. This feeling of emptiness and being lost is sometimes how I feel in life. Those times that I am soul searching or looking for direction in my life, I often feel like I just don't know who I am. It feels like someone else has stepped into my shoes and taken over my identity.

Times of uncertainty often has me asking God questions like, "Who am I?" and "Where am I going?" It is in these moments that I have to place my trust in God and know that my identity is not where I work, or who calls me friend, but it is WHOSE I am!

In order to not have your identity stolen ... we must know who we are!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

THANKFUL THURSDAY...Who holds your tomorrows?

If you are like me, you keep a detailed appointment book. If I didn't live by my calendar, it would be difficult for me to keep my days in order. Lately, I have been thinking about my tomorrows and the important things that still need to be accomplished while I still have time.

I've been thinking about a "bucket list" of sorts. You know, a list of all the important things that I would like to accomplish in my lifetime. The problem with having such a list is that it takes no time at all for the things on my calendar to overtake the things on my bucket list.

It seems for some time now I have been saying I am going to organize all of my photo's and get them in organized, detailed scrapbooks. The problem is I keep saying "tomorrow" I will get started and then my "tomorrows" never seem to come. In fact, it hasn't been days that have flashed by without me starting on such a project but now years have come and gone and still no scrapbook!

I don't know if my "tomorrow" will ever come to accomplish my scrapping adventure, but I do know that time is fragile and only God knows how many "tomorrows" I have left to accomplish the great and magnificient things that He has asked me to do.

JAMES 4:14 "Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away."

I am so thankful for each moment God has given me and I don't want to waste any more time. May we submit each day to God, for only he knows what our tomorrow holds.

Join your grateful hearts with ours over at LYNN'S. She is our gracious THANKFUL THURSDAY hostess this month.