Tuesday, August 31, 2010


We all love celebrations! Party hats, streamers, cake and ice cream, presents and lots and lots of laughter! Coming together to celebrate is also a wonderful way to get together with family and friends.

If I asked how many of you have celebrated a birthday or anniversary in the past 3 months, many of you would say you have! We just had a big birthday party for our daughters 15th birthday with a bunch of her friends. After all the teenagers finally left, and the cake was scraped off the floor and the final dish was put away...I wondered to myself, "why do we celebrate these things anyway?" One of the reasons we celebrate such events is to honor and remember that special day. The day someone was born or the day someone was united in marriage.

In last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers the following question: "What is the last thing that you celebrated?" The top 3 answers were:

1. 25% of those voting said that they recently celebrated someones birthday!
2. Another 25% said they have celebrated an answer to prayer!
3. 8% voted and said that they have celebrated an anniversary!

No matter what you have recently celebrated, no doubt it was a time of rejoicing! One of the things that really surprised me about this weeks poll is that 0% (nobody) responded and said the last thing they celebrated was "their salvation". What a day that was when each of you bowed at an altar (or wherever you knelt) and asked Jesus to be Lord of your life. Such a celebration went on in heaven. There was rejoicing all over the golden streets that a prodigal had returned home!

1 Corinthians 13:6 "Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth."

From the very moment we close our Bible in the morning, nearly everything else that we will encounter for the day will be trying to lure us away from the Truths that we just read. The opinions of our co-workers or fellow students, the news reporters on television, the websites that we visit on the Internet - these and more will be working overtime to shape our mind on what is true and what is not true.

When we understand that God's Word is the Truth (and nothing but the Truth!), we will understand the meaning of "real life". The Bible holds the principles of what things really are or ought to be. God's ideals and instructions are the only pathways to attaining Truth. When we finally realize all of this and follow Him in obedience - that is surely something to rejoice about!

Each day with Jesus is a day worth celebrating! Have you accepted Christ to be your Lord of All? - then REJOICE, again I say REJOICE!

*If you are reading this post today and you have NOT accepted Christ as your Savior but would like to, it is very easy. God loved you SO MUCH that He sent His son Jesus to die for you so that you could have eternal life. (John 3:16) God knows that we ALL have sinned and come short of His Glory, (Romans 3:23) that is why He offers His gift of life freely (Romans 6:23). To receive God's gift of forgiveness and eternal life, all you have to do is confess that Jesus IS Lord and ask Him to forgive you of your sins. Because of your belief in Him, you are now set free! (Romans 10:9-10) If He is the Lord of your life ... let us know, so we can CELEBRATE with you!*

A PIECE OF MY HEART...Turn up your hearing aid!

“Doc, since you fixed my hearing aid, I don’t miss a thing!” crowed the elderly patient.

“Your family must be happy, not having to yell so much any more,” replied the audiologist.

“Oh, I haven’t told them,” he explained, “and since I’ve been listening to their conversations, I’ve changed my will three times!”

Many times, when people speak, we only hear what we want to hear. I would say that is also true of our relationship with God sometimes.

We pray.
We fast.
We pray some more.

But do we listen? What do we hear the Lord saying to us?

Many times, we do all the right things, (pray, read the Bible, fast) but we still tune out what the Lord is trying to speak to us. We allow circumstances and other people's voices stand in the way of what God is speaking. We tune Him out and listen to what we WANT to hear, instead of what the Lord is saying.

"Speak; for Thy servant heareth." 1Samuel 3:10

In order to hear clearly what God is speaking, we have to turn our hearing aids up. Be careful though, you might be surprised at what you will hear! 

and this has been a piece of  my heart today;

Monday, August 30, 2010

LACED WITH GRACE...digging it up

I have shared a devotion with the readers of LACED WITH GRACE today. Laced With Grace is another great place for you to receive encouragement as a team of awesome Christian ladies share from their hearts Monday thru Friday. Come check it out! Here is today's devo:

Several years ago, we had a family pet that we had for several years. "Stormy" was a German Shepherd/black lab mix that weighed in at 100 pounds. She was one of the greatest dogs we ever had. Stormy developed a tumor that became large enough that it slowed her down. She was an older dog, so we decided it best to put her to sleep. It was one of the hardest decisions we had to make, as we all loved her dearly

When the vet asked my husband and I what we wanted to do with her body, we decided that we would bring her back to the house and bury her on our property. The children would be arriving home from school soon, and we could have a family burial for our beloved pet of many years. So we wrapped that 100 pound dog up in a sheet and brought her home.

While my husband and my two older sons began to dig the hole on our property, I instructed them to keep digging and I would go pick up our young daughter from daycare and when we returned we could have our final good-bye. But before I could return with my daughter, my husband and sons finished digging the hole and went ahead and buried Stormy. Upon arrival back home, my daughter and I were horrified that they had gone ahead and buried our precious pet without us!

My oldest son stood, with his foot still on the shovel and looked over at us blubbering females and said to my husband, "We have to dig her up, don't we?" My husband replied, "uh-huh!"

We have had alot of pets since Stormy, but I can guarantee you that she was the only dog that died and got buried twice!

I was thinking about Stormy today and that burial story and it dawned on me that we are just like the dog who got buried twice. Many times, when we come to the altar with our sins, our problems and our struggles we give it all to God. We bury our burdens and walk away. But walking away just isn't enough. We tend to turn around and pick up the shovel and dig back up all those burdens once again.

“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

I can only imagine how weary and tiring it must have been for my son to dig and dig and dig that grave for our pet,  not once - but twice. How tiring it is keep shoveling and digging dirt, without resting.

The problems that we carry around on our shoulders can become so heavy that it is difficult for us to escape or find rest. Giving it all to God will ease the load. Once we do that, God buries it, never to be reminded of it again! The problem is that we tend to take the shovel from God's hand and we dig back up those burdens and place them back on our shoulders.

So who has control of the shovel - you or God? Isn't it time to bury those burdens for once and for all? Today is the day, give the shovel back to God!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Can you hear me now?

I have learned a very valuable lesson this week. Have you ever heard the saying of "what you say and what you do is two different things?" I learned this week that this statement is not always true! In fact, it should go like this:

"What you say and what you do is two different things...but the third thing is, what do you convey?"

It is no longer enough to just speak your mind, and then allow your actions to follow up with what you have spoken. If people around you do not fully understand what you mean, then you have not fully conveyed the proper message.

For example: I can say, " I have to lose weight!", but then I constantly eat pie. This is two different things. I have said one thing, but I do another. But what do others convey about what I said and what I do? Someone could very possibly misunderstood me! Possibly what someone heard me say is ... "I have to lose weight", so in order to help me, they refuse to let me eat any pie. And as people continualy remove pie from me, I wonder, "Do they think I am fat?" The message has somehow gotten mixed up.

It is a vicious cycle, isn't it? God's Word says that we must make our yes be yes, and our no be no. This is talking about how we shouldn't talk out of both sides of our mouth, but I believe we also should be clear in what we speak. Our message must be clearly understood.

 If it is not understood, who is at fault? The speaker or the hearer?

MATTHEW 5:37 "But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes', and your 'No' be 'No', for whatever is more than these is from the evil one."

Can you hear me now? How about now? Today, I am learning to lean upon God for the right words to speak. May I speak with clarity and boldness, so those standing near can clearly hear the message I have.

THANKFUL THURSDAY...everything to everybody

I don't know about you, but I have a tendency to try to be everything to everybody. Not just in my family, but at work and at church. It is the hardest thing for me to say no to anybody and when I do say no ... I absolutely feel like I have let someone down.

As you can imagine, as a Pastors wife, one of the things that I have had to learn is that I CANNOT do everything! Nor should I be expected to. I am a wife and mother first, then a PW. People at our church have never, (let me repeat...NEVER)  put this kind of stress on me, it is I, who puts pressure on myself to try to do so much.

But I have been wrong. I do not have any kind of superpowers. I don't have bionic strength. I don't have nine lives. I don't even live in a time capsule. I have the same amount of time as everyone else in a day, and it is up to me to be a good manager of my time. God has been reminding me of this lately, that if my time is not His time, it may be a waste of time.

In all of the time I have spent trying to be everything to everyone, I have forgotten that it is not me who needs to be everything to everyone but it is God Who IS everything to everyone.

1 CORINTHIANS 15:28 "Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him Who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all."

When I commit everything to Him, He becomes the center of my attention and not things that I have absolutely no power over. I am so thankful that God does not put demands on me to be perfect, He loves me just the way I am and doesn't expect me to be the all in all. That's His job!

Today is THANKFUL THURSDAY, and we want to hear what you are thankful for today. Please join your grateful heart with ours and link your TT post below in Mr. Linky!

Next week, you can find TT over at Iris's place!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD: leaving on a jet plane

"Leaving on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again."
In the 1960's, John Denver wrote this song, "Leaving on a jet plane", sung by Peter, Paul and Mary. Truth of it is, sometimes in life, this is exactly what we would like to do: board a plane and not know when we will be back!

This just isn't really reality for most of us. Some of us are lucky to get to board a plane and be gone for a week's vacation. But to be gone indefinitely, well that just seems like a dream.

Sometimes I think about what a great adventure it would be to just pack a few things, and start over in a new town. The problem with this idea is that it would only be an adventure, not reality. When life hits us hard, we tend to want to just run or hide from it all. But no matter where you go or how long you run, the problems or issues at hand will always be there with you. Isn't it better to just stay planted and come face-to-face with your problems?

Fleeing seems to be how some people handle difficulties in their relationships. Instead of talking things out or giving grace in broken relationships, we just throw in the towel and walk away from people in our lives. Forgiveness seems to be something thrown out like the trash.

In marriages, I see too many couples breaking up because they choose to not forgive. Love is a choice, but when things get rough and tough, they pack up their choices in a bag and board a plane right on out of their marriage.

In marriage, God ordains a man and a woman to become one, this is not just an intimate thing. Becoming one with God as the headship over their home. Becoming united as one in mind and heart. When one in the marriage decides to pack and leave ... they are not one any longer.

GENESIS 2:4 "A man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh."

It is completely understood what God is saying... we must leave the apron strings of our mother and father when we wed, so we can become united, become one with our mate. But how can we become united or one with others in our life? You know... the ones that frustrate us, irritate us, anger us, get on our ever-last nerves ...is it possible to be united with these people or is it easier to just pack our bag and flee from them?

"And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet fragrance." Ephesians 5: 2

From time to time, we all have the inkling to leave something or someone. In fact in last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers the following question: "Is there someone or something in your life that you have been thinking about leaving?" The top 3 answers were...

1. 33% voted and said they were thinking of leaving their town.
2. 26% said they were thinking of leaving their job.
3. Another 26% responded and said they were thinking of leaving some stress behind.

There's nothing wrong with change. But what about some of the other votes: 6% voted and said they were thinking about leaving their spouse. Another 6% said they were thinking about leaving their church. 12% voted and said they were thinking about leaving their friends. Is it possible that these votes represent stress and difficulty in relationships to the point of wanting to pack up and leave on a jet plane?

Paul says in the book of Romans that our tribulations will produce perseverance, and through our perseverance, we build character and when we have a reputable character ... we have hope! (Romans 5:3) There is hope for those things that drive you to want to leave. So trust God and stay ... He will see you thru whatever troubles you today.

One day we will all board a jet plane and never return ... not to this earth as we know it, but we will go to our heavenly home. But until that day, we must press in and stay committed to one another and to God!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A PIECE OF MY HEART...doing the laundry

One of my favorite household chores to do is laundry. I know what most of you are thinking...I am crazy! There's just something about the freshness of folding the warm, right out of the dryer, clean clothes. I love it!

It is not just the clothes we wear on our backs that needs to be laundered. Our shirts are not the only thing that gets soiled, our minds and hearts do as well. Sometimes we just have to stop and sort out our own dirty laundry of the heart and apply the stain-out where needed.

If you profess to be a Christian, that does not mean that your life does not get soiled. Because it does. I know mine does, and most likely, yours does too. At least a little bit.

God’s Word comes with washing instructions. It tells us that all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God (Romans 3:23)… sin is the soiled laundry we need to keep washed clean.

Doing our spiritual laundry is easy, God's Word instructs us how to do it: God said that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness…

 “cleanse us from all unrighteousness”… (1 John 1:9)

Now that will get the laundry done! When we come to Jesus and confess our sins, our unrighteousness will be washed away like in a rinse cycle.

  • that grape you ate as you walked by the fruit and vegetable stand at the grocery store ... your stealing will be washed away!
  • that morning that you called in sick, when you really wanted to hit the big sale at your favorite department store ...your lies will be washed away!
  • that morning that you were running late, and you cursed at the slow driver in front of you ... your loss of control will be washed away!
There is no such thing as the color gray when it comes to how we live our lives…it is either black with sin or whiter than snow, washed by the blood of the Lamb. God only sees our lives in black and white…we are either clean or dirty…and the only way to get into Heaven, to spend eternity with our Lord is to be clean!

Has your laundry been washed and is it whiter than snow? Apply the stain master today, apply His blood and you will surely be cleansed like never before!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sheep gone astray!

ISAIAH 53:6 "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."

I have read this scripture passage many times, but this morning when I read it, something just jumped out at me. I have been thinking about the sermon message that our senior pastor brought forth yesterday about how deeply our God loves us. In my quiet time this morning, I am still reflecting on the awesomeness of the width and depth of the love of Christ.

In Isaiah, we, the sinner, are being compared to a lost sheep. For ALL of us are lost in sin at one point in time in our lives.

ROMANS 3:23 "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."

There is a peculiar sinfulness about every one; all of us are sinful, but each of us have our own sinful nature to tend with. My heart cannot be compared to yours, and yours cannot be compared to someone elses. What is found in my dark heart, may not be found in another. Repentance is not only genuine but it is individual. Nobody else can repent for the sins I have committed. This may leave one feeling lonely, like it is "them against the world".

 "We have turned every one to his own way," is a confession that each of us have sinned in such a way that it is difficult for us to perceive the same in others.

When we confess our wrong doing to God, it is a breaking moment. Oh the times I have knelt at an altar broken before God, weeping and confessing and repenting. When I think about the heaviness that my sinful nature brings upon me, and the sorrow and pain that it must cause my heavenly Father, I meditate upon the last part of this passage in Isaiah...

..."and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."

I cannot take the sins of others upon my back, my own sins are heavy enough to carry...but...Jesus Christ bore not only my sins, but every ones sins. Now that is almost unimaginable to me. Think about how heavy laden your own burdens are...now add everyone else's burdens on top of yours - impossible to carry! But that is exactly what Jesus did on Calvary!

Misery was replaced with Mercy!
Sorrow was replaced with restful souls!
The bruising of our hearts was healed by way of a bruised Saviour!

The width and depth of God's love is unimaginable, immeasurable and irreplaceable. Don't take your eyes off of the cross, what was lost is now found in His resurrection!

Friday, August 20, 2010

11 things you do not learn in school

Yesterday I gave thanks for our teachers as we embark on another school year. Our children's education is so important, not only in the classroom but the relationship lessons that are learned along the way are just as important. Learning does not stop once you graduate, lessons of life sometimes teach us more than a textbook ever could.

Recently, I came across this list from Charles Syke, who authored DUMBING DOWN OUR KIDS. He volunteered for high school and college graduates a list of eleven things they did not learn in school.:

Rule 1: Life is not fair; get use to it.

Rule 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make 40 thousand dollars a year right out of high school. College either, most likely. You won't be a vice president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping; they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you screw up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes. Learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, washing your clothes, cooking your meals, and listening to you talk about how cool you are. So before you save the rain forest from the blood-sucking parasites of your parents' generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades; they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This, of course, doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off, spring and winter breaks, and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

Mr. Syke has one thing right, we are never too old to learn from life. Some of us learn some of these things thru the school of hard knocks. Each lesson, as hard as it may be, is never in vain. God's word says that the testing of our faith will produce patience:

James 1:2-4 NKJV "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, {3} knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. {4} But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."

What hard lessons have you learned this week? Count it all joy! God has the master plan and He will teach you His ways if you open your heart to Him.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

THANKFUL THURSDAY... Christian teachers

Today marks the start of a new school year in my small community. As we begin our day today, different feelings swarm our heads. Nervousness sets in as some are starting a new school, a new class and meeting new friends. Excitement is full for the old friendships that will be rekindled after a long summer break. Parents are relieved to get back to their normal routine around the house and teachers await with anticipation for the opportunity to instruct yet another room full of students.

I have already been in prayer for the new school year for our teen daughter, as she starts high school. The most exciting but yet life deciding years are about to unfold for her. I pray that she will not only be safe at her school, but that she will study hard and be surrounded with Christian friends and teachers.

This past year, she had a teacher that was a Christian, and believe me, it made all of the difference in her life. She became Anna's confident and someone she could trust and go to in times of trouble. When Anna was having a bad day, just being able to go and see a friendly face was enough to turn her frown upside down.

Teachers have an insurmountable effect on their students. Either positive or negative. I am thankful for the positive influence of Christian teachers and workers in the education system. They may not be able to teach about the Bible or their faith in the classroom, but their attitude and love towards their students speaks volumes, even without sharing Christ with words...their actions does the talking.

PROVERBS 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

Today on Thankful Thursday, I am ever so grateful for the teachers that are leading by godly examples and training our students to be more than average, but to be superior, not just academically but spiritually on campus!

What are you thankful for today? Please share your TT post with us by linking up below with Mr. Linky. Happy Thankful Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD...united we stand

"United we stand, divided we fall". - Benjamin Franklin
Even our forefathers knew the importance of standing united together. It is something that for centuries we have been fighting for in our country. Not just at the front lines of war, but in our state and local legislative offices as well.

We, as Americans, get frustrated when it seems those we elect in public office do not see eye to eye but yet in our own lives, we are the same.

In last weeks YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers the following question: " Is there someone in your life that you wish you were unified with?" The top 3 answers were...

1. 50% of those responding said they wish there were more unified with their parents!
2. 30% voted and said they wish they were more unified with their children!
3. Another 30% replied and said God!

This weeks poll suggests to me that we have division within our own family relationships. Unity - what does it mean anyway? One definition that I found for "being united" was being in harmony! This is certainly a tall order for sinful people such as us, but not impossible.

"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." - Romans 3:23

It is because of God's grace that we are able to be united not just with Him but with others as well. One of the most impressive things about the Bible is the way everything is linked together, there is consistency throughout all of the pages. Even though it was written over a span of 1600 years by more than 40 writers, God was the One Who authored it with one united voice. Not just then, but even today He speaks through His Inspired Word directly to us.

Unity. Togetherness. Oneness.

These are the unshakable hallmarks of our living God. From the very beginning of time, we see His unity at work through the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). God the Father is there, creating the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1) and the Spirit is moving over the surface of the waters (Genesis 1:2). The Son, Who is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature (Hebrews 1:3) joins in speaking the world into existence.

Unity. Togetherness. Oneness.

The unity of the Trinity reaches back all thru history and continues into the future. The power of His Oneness is unbreakable and unending. This kind of unity is also possible and needed in our homes, at work,  in our recreational activities and most definitely in the political realm. Even though our minds run a million miles apart, and our day to day activities put a time restriction on us, our hearts can be in one accord.

John 17:11 "Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are."

When we seek to be united with Him, He will give us the ability to be unified with others. It is not the heart of God for His people to be divided. United we must stand!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A PIECE Of MY HEART...I need your help, contact my lawyer!

Every single day when I go to check my email, I have a very important message that needs my immediate attention. It is a message about someone needing my help! They have WAY too much money and they need my assistance. If I will contact their lawyer, they will put the money in my bank account and when they arrive in the states I will be highly rewarded for my bravery and partnership with them for securing their money.

I don't know about you, but do you smell a scam here? It's funny to me how people can really think others will fall for this? But yet, I wonder, if I get these messages every single day, someone MUST BE falling for it, otherwise they would stop trying, right?,

There is another kind of scam that people fall for, it is just as dirty, low down and smelly but more intensified. It is the schemes and plots of Satan himself. He is the biggest liar, the worse fake and he will stop at nothing to make you believe in his scam!

 "The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I have come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly." - Jesus Christ (John 10:10)

When you hear the voice of the enemy, begging and pleading for your life - turn to the lawyer of all Lawyers ...God is truth. He is the way. He will not leave you nor forsake you. He is the real deal. In Him you can place your trust.

Fortune? We may not be rich here on earth, but the riches that await us in our heavenly home is far better than any riches some foreigner across the ocean can falsely offer us. If you have a personal relationship with God, then you are a child of a King, and with royalty with Him comes treasures beyond our imagination.

Seek His treasure!

and this has been a piece of my heart today;

Monday, August 16, 2010

I don't have time for that!

Face it, we live in a fast world. Everything that we know is fast. We eat at fast food restaurants, we drive fast cars and we all live in the fast lane of life! It seems in today's world, nobody knows what it is like to wait for things. We do not know how to wait on time. We want things and we want them NOW! We don't want to wait 6 months, 2 weeks or even a second. We are programmed to gravitate towards instant gratification.

The problem with living in such a world, is that we run low on patience and we tend to grow lazy. It is easier to rush thru things rather than take our time and make sure things are done right, the first time.

"If you don't have time to do it right, you must have time to do it over." - ANONYMOUS
God is looking for some laborers that are not lazy. A lazy Christian is not a productive Christian, but at the same time God is not looking for workmen that are just busy workers. All of us can fill our schedule up with "things" to do, but how productive are your "things" being for the Kingdom of God? Are we rushing thru our Christian responsibilities like we rush thru everything else, or do we take the time to hear God's voice and work in a manner that is pleasing to Him?

MATTHEW 9:37,38 He said to His Disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. (38) Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."

Time is short and there is still alot of work to do before the Lord returns. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow, so don't let work go undone or think that it is someone else's responsibility. The harvest is certainly plenty, but if we each do our part and do it well... it will be time well spent.

If God is asking you to be obedient...then just do it, and do it right the first time because you may not have time to do it over.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hanging on by a thread

It didn't take long for me to figure out that my friend was sending me an SOS message. She was in deep trouble and she knew it.

In the middle of her crisis, she did what every trained survivor would do... she called out for help. To her, it seemed like she was in the middle of the ocean, on a sinking ship, with no life jacket available. But to those of us not in the sinking ship with her, we were nestled in on dry land, safe and sound, away from any harm and danger.

Sounds like pages right out of a novel, but truth be told, we all have been in the sinking boat before. Tired, frustrated, no where to turn, barely hanging on. When we get to this point, we cry out for help, we send up SOS messages but unfortunately those on the shore are so busy with their own problems, they totally miss the smoke signals.

No matter where you find yourself today ... out at sea or safely on the shore, God is always aware of your surroundings. He knows exactly what kind of turmoil you are facing. You may feel alone and shipwrecked, but God is the One Who comes and rescues us from the rough waters. He is never too far down the shore to hear your SOS call.

MARK 4:39 "Then He arose and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, 'Peace, be still!' and the wind ceased and there was a great calm."

When you feel like you are barely hanging by a thread, and your storm is about to capsize you ... Call out to God, He is the One Who will calm your storm.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Driving down the road, I noticed a sign at a local church that said, "Hope is Real." I loved the message that was being proclaimed to all those who drove by, but I realize that for so many who drive by and see that sign, hope is not real to them.

Offering hope to one another is one of the greatest gifts we can give. You see, someone who is hopeless and feeling alone cannot usually help themselves out of their situation. A great sense of loss and helplessness comes over them, and this is where we, as Christians, can come alongside them and offer them the gift of hope... the gift of the good news of Jesus Christ, that is.

One of the biggest problems in today's society is that so many people have lost hope. I would venture to say that many of those people driving by the sign I saw, have lost hope. They have so many hurts, problems, illnesses, financial difficulties and family problems, that they have no hope that it will ever get better. We have lost hope in family. We have lost hope in friends. We have lost hope in our economy. We have lost hope in just about everything that ever mattered to us because it seems we live in a hopeless world.

Apart from God, this world can be an awful, hopeless place. But with God's help, we can make it. No matter what situation you find yourself in today, I want you to know there IS hope! You may not see it or even feel it, but believe me, there is hope for you. REAL HOPE.

Romans 15: 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."

There is only one place that you can find hope that is real and that is in Jesus Christ. Today on this THANKFUL THURSDAY I am so grateful to know that He will restore the hope that seems lost. He is a God of hope, a good God that turns the impossible into the possible. Lean upon Him and trust His ways and learn to hope once again!

HAPPY TT! Won't you share your grateful heart with us today? Link up your TT post below in Mr. Linky.

**if you like this devotion, you might want to check out my devotion I have written for LACED WITH GRACE today, entitled "The Lord is my Shepherd". CLICK HERE

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD... what is your motivator?

What is the inspiration behind expressing love and concern for others? For me...it depends on who I am concerning myself with.

The reason I care about my husband is probably going to be different than the reason I care about my boss! I express love to my sweetie, because I have chosen to love him, but my boss, well that is an entirely different thing. Even though I have chosen to be employed where I am, it could change any day any moment! The basis of our commitment may not always be love, it may be for a good paycheck, or to climb the ladder or for recognition.

Our moods and emotions can create all kinds of reasons for motivation, and at any given day, because emotions are like roller coasters, reasons why we do the things we do can change quickly!

When we base our reason for loving others and caring about people on God, we can be sure of it. His love is a guaranteed type of love. One that will stay the same, all of the time.

A parent of a young child may change the house rules as the child grows up. What motivates a 3 year old probably is not going to be what motivates a 16 year old. So we change how we motivate our children as they grow. But on the flip side of this, what motivates your child to listen to your rules? Possibly it is fear of daddy's belt or they may be merely motivated to listen out of respect for you as their parent.

When we choose to be motivated by God's kind of love, the kind that honors, respects, and sacrifices it pleases the parent of all parents. It pleases God.

In last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL,  I polled the readers the following question: "What is difficult for you to get motivated about?" The top 3 answers were...

1. 70% of those responding said that they have a hard time getting motivated to exercise.
2. 60% voted and said they have a hard time being motivated to do housework.
3. 30% voted that they have other things in their life that is hard to be motivated with.

This week's poll shows me that what we have difficulty with is duties. Love that is motivated by mere duty cannot hold out for very long. If you are simply being dutiful to your spouse, your children or your employer ... something is bound to erupt. If we are looking for favorable conditions to make us happy, most likely sufficient breathing oxygen will escape us.

Only love that is lifted up as an offering to God is able to sustain itself. You cannot leave love or what motivates you to love to chance. You can't just "hope" for the best. When God is your motivator, then there are no chances taken ...His hope is simply the BEST!

EPHESIANS 6:7 "Render service with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to men."

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A PIECE OF MY HEART...oh be careful what they see

It is an old Sunday School song, but yet such a powerful message:

"Oh be careful little ears, what you hear, for the Father up above, is looking down in love, so be careful little ears, what you hear. Oh be careful little eyes, what you see, for the Father up above, is looking down in love, so be careful little eyes, what you see."
This song played and replayed in my head yesterday after I took a short drive thru our little town running my daily errands. As I drove down one of our streets, near many businesses, I noticed a parked car sitting along the side of the road. The reason it caught my eye, was because there was a small child hanging out the window of this parked car. As I got up closer to the car, the small child, probably about 5 or 6 years of age, was laughing and then putting up his middle finger as drivers passed by.

My heart was sad when I saw this. At 5 or 6 years of age, the only way a child knows to do this is if they saw someone else doing it.

Oh my...what has happened to the SALT that Matthew speaks about?

MATTHEW 5:13 "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men."

People watch us. The little eyes that watch us may be the young in age or the young in spirit. As Christians, we must watch what we say, what we do and how we act. What are others seeing in us? Do our actions lead people TO Christ or AWAY from Him?

Let's be careful what their little eyes see!

and this has been a piece of my heart today;

Monday, August 9, 2010

What's under the footrest?

One of the best chairs in our house is the recliner. By far, it is the most comfortable seat in the house. One of the reasons it is so comfortable is how it lays back and the foot rest pops up. It doesn't take long before you nestle in and settle down for a nap.

Invariably, when this happens, one or two of our dogs will find their resting place smack dab underneath that footrest. They seem to find peace in knowing that they are safe and sound near their master, under our feet, while reclined in that reclining chair.
ISAIAH 66:1 Thus says the Lord, "Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest?"

The scripture says God’s captain chair, His throne, is in heaven… and His footstool is right here on earth! This planet is God’s footstool. That means everything – the mountains, the rivers, oceans, your home, are under His feet…but, more than that, our problems, our worries, our fears – they are all under His feet as well!

So we got to just stop worrying and just relax – kick up our feet, and rest in Him, give those problems over to Him and realize that every issue we deal with is truly under His feet!

Friday, August 6, 2010

LOL ...laughing out loud

Recently I read a cute story about how you can stay married for a long time:

A small-town couple was celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and their long, loving relationship had long been the talk of the town. For this special occasion, a local newspaper reporter paid them a visit to inquire as to the secret of their happy marriage.

 “Well,” explained the husband, “it really all goes back to our honeymoon. We visited the Grand Canyon and took a trip down to the bottom of the canyon by pack mule. We hadn’t gone too far when my wife’s mule stumbled. My wife quietly said ‘That’s once.’ We proceeded a little farther when the mule stumbled again. Once more my wife quietly spoke: ‘That’s twice.’ We hadn’t gone a half-mile when the mule stumbled a third time. My wife promptly removed a revolver from her purse, hopped down off the beast, and shot the mule dead. I began to protest over her treatment of the mule when she looked at me and quietly said, ‘That’s once.”’

It's been said that children laugh 300 to 400 times a day while adults laugh only a mere 15! Believe it or not, experts say that laughing aids digestion, lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, increases muscle flexion, boosts the immune system, heals broken relationships and produces a general sense of well-being!

I hope that this story of how to maintain your marriage gave you a little chuckle in your belly today. Truly it is good to laugh and for some of us - it has been awhile since we have done that.

Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

THANKFUL THURSDAY...don't push my buttons!

Good Morning...sorry my TT post is up late, I tried all night last night to upload it but our server was done. Technology is great until it isn't convenient for us! lol

What is the first thing you do when you get on an elevator? Push buttons, right? Sometimes I push the wrong button and I end up going to the wrong place. In life, people can really push my buttons!

It's like being caged up in that small elevator, when I am frustrated with button pushing people I just can't seem to escape them. Even though I get frustrated with these button pushing people in my life, God understands them and loves them and is patient with them.

2 Corinthians 6:17 "Come out from among them and be separated, says the Lord!"

I may not understand why people have the need to push my buttons, but I do know that I can entrust them to God and that I can walk away differently, just like I can walk out of an elevator differently than how I walked in.

Today, I am thankful for the button pushers in my life. lol That's right. Because without them, my patience could not grow and I would not depend on God to mold me in such a way that I too would not become a button pusher!

What are you grateful for today? Join up with us today for THANKFUL THURSDAY!

**check back later to link your TT post up in Mr Linky ... we are having problems this morning. Or leave your link in the comments and I will try to link you up later) thanks!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD...making sacrifices

Life can be hard. Choices need to be made. Hard times come and go. Loved ones leave this world. Close friends move away. Sickness wracks our bodies. Life is tough sometimes...but what we usually mean when we say this is that life is hard FOR US sometimes. We notice it right away when we are mistreated or inconvenienced. We are quick to sulk when we feel deprived or unappreciated. Face it, when life is difficult for us, we notice!

But what about when life is hard for others? How quickly do we notice that?

We look at their complaining and sulking as a bad attitude, instead of noting that they may need an encouraging word or a pat on the back or just someone to show concern or assistance. We miss the mark when it comes to other people's difficult times, the pain and pressure that they are under just doesn't register with us the same way it does when it is OUR pain and pressure. When we feel like complaining, we expect everyone to feel sorry for us but we don't do the same for others.

When we love someone though, it doesn't happen this way. I have less tolerance for a strangers whining attitude than those that are close to me. The reason is that I can usually see trouble brewing far ahead. I can see the weight building and the stress piling up on those closest to me. When I see these signs, love spruces into action. I can't always fix the problems, but I can encourage them with my words and my actions. This sometimes means I will need to sacrifice something though. It may mean I will have to sacrifice taking my mind off of my own problems and put others before me.

That's not the only thing we might need to sacrifice...in last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers the following question, "What do you sacrifice the most?" The top 3 responses were:

1. 42% of those voting said that they sacrifice their time the most.
2. 28% voted and said that their feelings get sacrificed.
3. 14% responded and said that they sacrifice their sleep.

Love makes sacrifices. Even when the other person is so burdened down with the cares of the world that they take it out on us. They say things that they don't mean. The act in a way that is totally not them. Love will oversee these things, after all wouldn't you want someone to oversee your bad attitude in the midst of your crisis?

Loving others is not alway agreeing, but it is forgiving and understanding and giving grace. Isn't that what Jesus did?

(1 John 3:16) "He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers."

Not only brothers...but sisters, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends, neighbors and yes, even strangers. Jesus taught us that the evidence of love is found in seeing a need in others, and then doing everything possible to satisfy the need. Sometimes it is a sacrificial token of love.

God sacrificed so much for us, so why is it so difficult for us to sacrifice just a little?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A PIECE OF MY HEART...what are the colors of the leaves?

I came across a picture the other day of our enormous tree that sits out in front of our house. The picture however, did not look like our tree. The reason was because the picture was taken last winter when the leaves had already fallen. This time of year, that tree is full of leaves and stands so strong and healthy!

Same tree, different seasons. I am reminded of a story I read recently about how we can look at things differently, depending on the season:

"There was a man who had four sons. He wanted them to learn to not judge things too quickly, so he sent them each on a quest to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away. He sent his first son in the winter, his second in the spring, his third in summer and his youngest in the fall. When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen.

The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted. The second son said no – it was covered with green buds and full of promise. The third son disagreed, he said it was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful, it was the most graceful thing he had ever seen. The last son disagreed with all of them; he said it was ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfillment.

After hearing all his son’s responses, the wise father replied, “Sons, you are all right — because you have each seen only one season in the tree’s life. But you cannot judge a tree, or a person, or anything else by only one season. Most things can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons have come to pass”.
This story reminds me of what Paul instructs us in 1 Corinthians, chapter 4...

"Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God." (1 Cor. 4:5)

We are all in different seasons with our walk with the Lord and judging others before all their leaves have blossomed is like taking God's colors out of His creation.

and this has been a piece of my heart today;

Monday, August 2, 2010

Master planner

In life, unexpected surprises come. But nothing takes God by surprise, He is the master planner! Family may turn against us and friends may turn their backs. Face it, life is pounded with illnesses and problems that seem to attack from every side...but in it all, God still has a plan for all of us.

Joseph is a great example of surprises in life. Sold as a slave into Egypt by his own brothers, Joseph was betrayed and imprisoned. No doubt, he must have wondered where God was and what He was doing.

But after years of preparation, Joseph was placed in the highest position in the land, second only to Pharaoh. Joseph was chosen by God to orchestrate His plan for saving the world from famine. It appeared that the Lord had surprises of His own. After Joseph rrevealed himself to his brothers, he summed it up beautifully:

 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good, in order to bring it about as [it is] this day, to save many people alive. .” (Genesis 50:20)

When our situations are difficult to handle and downright impossible to explain, we need to remind ourselves that God said, “I know the plans I have for you.”  Just as He had a plan for Joseph, He has a plan for us. He is the Master planner and in Him we can place our trust!