Friday, October 29, 2010

From one pumpkin to another

The little kids will be out in numbers again this weekend. All dressed in their wigs, masks and costumes. Trick or treating has been a tradition for years. Our community has gotten kind of away from the door to door trick or treating and alot of kids go to local churches for harvest fests instead. Our church hosts a large community outreach during this time of year offering a safe and spiritual alternative. I am thankful to see good things come from an otherwise evil-intended celebration.

You can always tell it is getting close to harvest time when people start putting out pumpkins in their front yards. Our neighborhood is full of them. I have many fond memories of taking my children when they were young to the pumpkin patch to pick out their very own pumpkin. It was always fun to see the different kinds of pumpkins each one of them would pick. One would pick the largest one they could find, while another picked the smallest. I always liked to find a pumpkin that had indention's or markings in it that resembled a face. Whatever we ended up with, one thing was proven ... no two pumpkins were the same.

I think that being a Christian is much like a pumpkin in that pumpkin patch.

Just as we went to pick out a special pumpkin - God also reaches down and picks us up, brushes off the dirt and sees something very special about us. He then opens us up and reaches in and scoops out all the nasty stuff that lies inside. Stuff like doubt, fear, sin.

Once we are cleaned up inside, God then gives us a new look on the outside, a smile that is contagious for all to see it.

1 SAMUEL 16:7 "...for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

No matter how many bumps we have, God has the power to smooth them over and He always sees the beauty inside even before all the seeds and junk are removed. No pumpkin is complete without a light to reflect the new creation. So to finish His touch on His pumpkin patch, God places a light inside of us that shines on and on for all who passes by to see.

So from one pumpkin to another, may we all just keep our light burning brightly for all to see!

Have a safe weekend!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

THANKFUL THURSDAY ... splashes of color!

My favorite time of the year is upon us.

Fall time. The shift in temperatures. The change in colors. It all reminds me of the beauty of God's creation. How He splashes color into our world.

 Have you ever considered what creation would look like in black and white?

 It might be alittle drab!

But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.   Job 23:10

God not only splashed color in the leaves on the trees but He also splashed majestic colors into His children. When the leaves change color in the fall, they have a crispness to them, a beauty that is impeccable. A beauty that is comparable to a changed heart, a lost soul returning Home.

Seasons change and so do people. God's creative hand is responsible for both.

Today is THANKFUL THURSDAY and I am grateful for the splashes of color in our world. Physically and Spiritually.

What are you thankful for today? Please share your grateful heart with us over at LYNN'S as she is our TT hostess today. Next week we will begin a new month of Thankful Thursday right here at WOMEN TAKING A STAND!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD...why does it hurt so bad?

All of us have experienced hurt, it is a given that in this world that we live, we are going to experience hurt, lonliness, sorrow, separation and grief. I hear people ask, "Why did God create this world with so much suffering and heartache?" The answer is clear ... He didn't!!

The truth is, man created it and often times our grief and suffering will keep us from being all we can be in Christ because of our heartache.

In last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers the following question: "Are you experiencing heartache?" The top 3 answers were...

1. 44% voted and said YES they were hurting because someone they loved were hurting.
2. 33% responded and said NO they were not hurting now but have been hurt in the past.
3. 22% said YES they were hurting because they have lost a loved one.

There is no doubt that we all experience hurt, disappointment and grief from time to time. The question really isn't about "if" we hurt as it should be about "what to do" when we hurt! How do you handle grief in your life? Where do you go when you are hurt?

Many people just draw themselves in when they get hurt. If you have been hurt in a relationship, most likely you will put up a wall and not let others in as easily. Putting up walls only keeps us isolated and with isolation usually comes bitterness and misery.

When I think about grief in the Bible, I think about David.
Now here is a man very well acquinted with grief. David was King of Israel and he had many lovely wives. But when David saw the most beautiful wife of Uriah the Hittite, David coveted her for himself. (2 Samuel 11-12) This was the beginning of David's grief and misery.

He committed adultery with Bathsheba and she became pregnant. David tried to trick Uriah into believing the child was his, but was unable to so he had Uriah murdered on the battlefield. After such a tangle of sin, lies and deception, no doubt David probably struggled with guilt. And sorrow, when the son that Bethsheba gave him died. It was during this difficult time of his life that David wrote this:

"Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted away from grief, my soul, and my body also." (Psalm 31:9)

Adultery. Murder. Lying. Deceit. Death.
David is saying that because of his agony, he has cried and cried so much that his soul and body are wasting away. What David is saying is that guilt will make you sick! Circumstances such as these certainly can feel overwhelming and hopeless, but I love how David responded to his grief!

How easily it would have been for him to throw in the towel. Give up. Curse God. Blame others. But instead what David did was cry out to God. David learned to live with what he couldn't change. He couldn't change the sin. He couldn't change that the baby died. Nothing can change your past, but with God's help you can move forward with Him and not live in guilt!

That's not all that David learned. David willed himself to worship. Inspite of his circumstances. When David learned of the death of his son, he went out and worshipped God. At the moment of the greatest hurt in his life, David chose to praise God! Worship will transform your grief and heartache!

God is the Great Shepherd Who has the ability to restore your soul. It is my prayer that each of us will be like David and discover that the victory is not focusing on our difficulty but focusing on God and His Power!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Me and my shadow!

This morning we awoke to a mighty storm brewing over our house.
The winds were gushing wild, the sky was as dark as could be and there seemed to be a shadow of gloom hovering in the air.

I have just described today's weather in my neighborhood, but don't you know that this could also describe how you feel when you are going thru a valley. A dark spot. A trial. A testing that seems too much to handle.

Did you know that regardless of the weather conditions, when you are facing a valley, it is dreadful and dreary. The sun can be shining brightly in the sky above, but on the floor of the valley lies misery, gloom and darkness. It is so easy to become overwhelmed and to begin believing that the whole world is full of darkness and light will never shine again. Can I tell you, that these type of shadows are very deceiving!

Shadows always seem larger than life. Think about it ... when you are out on the street and see your shadow in front of you, doesn't it grow larger than it is? The shadows of darkness that looms around us always appear larger than they are in reality.

I got thinking about shadows the other day,
and I realized that being afraid of the dark is not very rational. Shadows cannot hurt us. They may seem large and the darkness of them may seem unsettling, but truth is - there is nothing tangible about shadows. When was the last time you were hurt by a shadow?

I stood out in my front driveway the other day, and a UPS truck drove by, as it passed me, the shadow of the truck illuminated my drive. But I was not afraid, why? because shadows have no substance. Almost as quickly as the shadow appeared, light overcast the shadow.

Wherever there are shadows ... there is also light! In fact, without light, shadows would not exist. Light must encounter the darkness for a shadow to be created.

Jesus said, "As long as I am in the world, I am the Light of the world!" (John 9:5)

Whenever we find ourselves in the valley and fearing the shadows that loom around us, the best action to take is to just turn our back on the shadow and face the light. Remember, there is always light in your shadow, where God's light is, darkness will not remain.

Don't fear the shadow, walk in His light!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Batteries required!

Have you ever purchased a new electronic device, only to find out after you got home from the store that "batteries are required"? If you are like me, most likely you got all the way home with your new purchase but with NO batteries. Without the batteries, your new purchase is worthless.

Spiritually speaking, without "batteries", we can find ourselves in the same place...feeling worthless. The Holy Spirit acts as the Christian's batteries. They are required in order to grow in Him.

Micah 6:8. . . . "And what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"
Batteries are not the only thing required, Micah 6:8 shows us 3 things that are required of us by God:

First, God wants us "to do justly." In other words, stop trusting our own righteousness and live according to God's way of doing things. 

Second, we are  "to love mercy." Be generous in your giving and forgiving of both others and yourself.

Thirdly, God wants us "to walk humbly" with Him.

As I read and meditate upon this passage of how I can give God the things He requires of me, I realize that it is  not about writing a check, or doing more good works, or attending more church services. It's about being surrendered to His will and obedient to His Word (without grumbling and complaining.) Giving up self and putting on Christ is the right thing to do because it is the REQUIRED thing.

Do you have your batteries His Spirit in place?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Are you a "Shrek-like" Christian?

There are those kind of people who you just don't want to mess around with.
The people who can lift cars with one hand. The people who can crush an aluminum can with their forehead. The people who can rip phone books in half. Call them muscle men, school bullies or your worst nightmare. Whatever you call them, you sure do not want to make them mad!

How we respond to these kind of people reminds me of how people responded to Shrek in the animated movie "Shrek". He was big. He was green and he was mean. He was an ogre. Nobody liked him, but yet, everyone feared him. Nobody liked to get on his bad side and everyone trembled to go against him, they knew nobody could defeat him. Shrek was a strong ogre and he was victorious each time.

EPHESIANS 6:10 "Finally be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power."

Just like there are strong men in this world, men like the green ogre Shrek, there are also strong Christians. Men and women who have built a solid foundation on Christ, Christians that have withstood the elements of this world. Their strength comes from placing their lives on a rock of faith, the kind that cannot be moved.

I admire men and women like this. They have earned the respect of their peers, because those around them know they are the real deal. True, authentic Christians. They don't just talk the talk, they walk the walk and they wear the name "Christian" proudly and honorably.

You can always tell who the strong Christians are ...
they are the ones that when they enter a room, the atmosphere changes. The rowdy group quiets down, the cursing stops and no more inappropriate talk is spoken. Strong Christians get this respect because of the impact they have made on people and those in the room respect them for the strength that they possess.

Having spiritual strength is not casting fear upon people. People recognize a strong Christian by what they stand for, how they lead, how they love others and how they give glory to God for the good and bad things in their life.

Shrek may have seemed big and bad to some, but inside he was nothing but a loving, tender hearted ogre. Are you a strong Christian?

God is looking for some "Shrek-like" Christians
Where does your strength ooze out from...your bi-cep or your heart?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

THANKFUL in a fog

Have you ever had to drive in a dense fog before?
It is difficult to see anything in front of you. The white blanket of fog whites out everything visible. The cars around you. The bridge. The road. The nearby buildings. I will never forget one particular foggy morning. It was several years ago when I still lived in my childhood hometown, a tragedy occurred one foggy morning. The fog was so thick, that a multi-car pile up occurred on one of the bridges. Lives were changed that day.

I read somewhere that if you would take a dense fog that covered 7 square city blocks and condensed it, you would get less than one single 8 ounce glass of water! Is that not amazing that one single glass of water vaporized can actually transform into a dense, blinding fog covering 7 blocks!

Worry is like fog!
We allow something in our life - whatever it may be - that amounts to almost nothing, to become a blinding, all encompassing vapor that hinders our faith. Worrying will cause you to not see things clearly, it will blindside you and it will keep you living in a constant fog.

A study conducted by the University of Michigan discovered some things about the state of worry:

1. 60% of what you worry about is unwarranted.
2. 20% of what you worry about is already past; it is over and done with.
3. 10% are issues so petty that it is foolish to worry about them.
4. 4%-5% are justifiable concerns, but there is nothing you can do about them; they are out of your hands.
5. Only 2% of what we fear and worry about is legitimate.

Before you allow your foggy state of mind to rob you of peace, joy and contentment, you need to know that there is freedom from worry. When we shrink those problems that have us so worried right back to their normal size and place them in the hands of God, the fog will immediately be lifted. When we understand that He is in control of ALL things, our lives will be changed.

I am thankful for His leading and guiding as we go thru an occasional dense fog. How about you? What are you grateful for today? Join your grateful heart with ours for THANKFUL THURSDAY.

Lynn is our gracious host this month. Link up HERE! In Lynn's TT post, she asked us to list 10 things you may not know about ourselves. I had already written my TT post but will add my short list here:


1. I have 1 husband, 4 kids, 2 daughter in laws, 3 dogs, 2 cars and an empty bank account!
2. I got married at the age of 17!
3. I have a birthmark - a small hole in my earlobe!
4. I do NOT like diet drinks!
5. I cannot resist a good sale on shoes!
6. I am a Pastors wife!
7. One of my first jobs was working for a newspaper!
8. I am a northern raised girl living in the south. (that makes me a southernized Yankee!)
9. I have been married 29 years to my high school sweetie!
10. Life is an adventure and I am living an extreme one!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD...don't let your knees buckle!

Have you ever tried to withstand a heavy burden of guilt?
 There are two things about guilt that you can count on: 1. We ALL have plenty to feel guilty about. 2. We CANNOT get away from it.

PROVERBS 20:27 "The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the innermost parts of his being."

Solomon is saying that you and I have a conscience that cannot be turned on and off. Having guilt is one of those things that if left unaddressed, it just grows and grows. We cannot tuck it away and hope that it will fade from our memory and our spirit.

Have you ever had a fear of no return?
The biggest factor in feeling this way is unresolved guilt. We all have it. We regret something we said (or didn't say)! We feel guilty about how we did something (or because we didn't do something)! In last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I asked the readers about this:

"Do you have guilt about something?"
1. 55% of those voting said, YES, for something I said!
2. 33% voted and said, YES, for something I have done!
3. Another 33% responded, YES, for something I should have done!

Unresolved guilt is good for only one thing ... to grow and grow and grow. When we allow this to happen, it leaves us feeling hopeless and burdened down. This is exactly where the enemy would like to see us remain.

David struggled with his own kind of guilt:

"For my iniquities are gone over my head; as a heavy burden they weigh too much for me. My wounds grow foul and fester because of my folly. I am bent over and greatly bowed down; I go mourning all day long." (Psalm 38:4-6)
Our shoulders are not wide enough to carry the load of feeling guilty. In New York City, there is a statue of a Greek god, Atlas. The statue weighs 2 tons and it depicts Atlas carrying the entire heavens on his shoulders as his punishment for having defied Zeus. But if you look carefully at the statue, you will see that while his shoulders are broad and he appears very strong, his knees are buckling under the immense weight of the universe on his shoulders.

This is exactly how guilt affects our lives - it is beyond our ability to carry. There is only one place that is wide enough and strong enough to hold our guilt and that is at the foot of the cross. His shoulders are broad enough, wide enough and His knees will not buckle. He holds the world in His hands ... what's alittle more weight for Him?

"Dear Lord - Forgive me for holding onto things that I know I shouldn't. Forgive me for not always doing the right things, not saying the right things and not doing the right things. I know that your blood cleanses me, so I am asking you today to remove the guilt that I feel and restore my soul! From this day forward, I place my words, my actions and my life in your hands, have Your way, I pray! AMEN"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's time to put the bib up!

Can you imagine what it would be like if babies never grew, but just stayed babies?
Life as we know it would be very strange. As we drove down the highway, we would look over and see a little one driving their big wheel down the road with their baby bonnet on. In the break room at work, fellow employees would be drinking a baby bottle instead of a coca cola. At McDonald's, there would be no big Macs or jumbo size fries ... only Gerber selections, such as peaches or sweet potatoes or applesauce!

That would be crazy, wouldn't it? You would seriously be concerned about your baby if it did not grow. And so would everyone else around you ... they would wonder what was wrong with your baby, why isn't it growing?

If this is true physically, why then do we not seem as concerned with our spiritual growth?

Some Christians who have served the Lord for many years are still doing the same things they did years ago. The signs of their infancy are still intact. Instead of growing up and moving onto to "Big girl/boy" things, they are still nursing on spiritual milk. Milk, for the Christian, is learning about the basics of Christianity. (Who God is, What He has done for us)

A healthy, growing infant will not be satisfied with just drinking milk.
 Eventually, it becomes not satisfying, not enough to keep them full. A growing Christian needs to move past the milk and begin to chew on some meat. The milk will only satisfy for awhile, it is the meat of the Word that will allow us to grow up alittle bit. We need to have something to chew on, not just swallow, we need the deeper truths of God's Word.

"Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." –Hebrews 5:13-14

Physically, our bodies eventually stop growing. But Spiritually, growth is never ending until we are called to our eternal home. There will always be something to learn from God's Word which in turn will give us new ways to trust Him. When we delve into His deeper truths, we no longer need the pacifier.

If we are still doing the same spiritual things we did a year ago, it may be time for us to grow up alittle bit! I'm ready to put the bib away, how about you?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Laced with Grace...getting across the monkey bars

Today I have shared a devotion over at LACED WITH GRACE!

It is entitled, "Getting across the monkey bars"....

"When I was a young girl, my favorite thing to do on the playground was climbing on the monkey bars. These metal bars always seemed to fascinate me. It was a challenge to me to see how long I could hang by my arms or legs. On days that I felt really strong, I would see how quickly I could cross the bars, moving one hand after another until I had crossed to the other side. Usually by the time I reached the middle section, my"...CLICK HERE to read the rest of this devo!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The storm is coming!

Here in the south, we are in desperate need for rain.
It seems like it has been so long since we have had a good old rain storm. Usually we do not like it to rain, it keeps us from doing all of our favorite things like being outdoors and going for a brisk walk. But rain is good, and it is needed for things to grow. Things like the farmers field, the trees, the flowers, the grass.

Rain is good.

How many times do we look at the storms in our personal life as a bad thing?
Face it, none of us like to endure the storms, the troubles, the hardships. Sometimes it is difficult to see past the clouds, but it is in these moments, that God showers down His love, His grace and His compassion upon us. Even though we don't like the storm, we need the storm so we can grow in Him.

His rain is refreshing!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

THANKFUL I have to go to church?

I have a friend that has fallen into that old familiar trap that so many Christians fall into. They get busy with kids ballgames, work seminars and yearly vacations and find themselves attending church services less and less.

At first, it is just an occasional Sunday, then it is 2 Sundays out of the month and before long, it is a rare occasion to attend church, maybe at Christmas and Easter. It is not a deliberate action, but something that is a slow fade. It is gradual and like my friend, it is almost unnoticeable (to them), but very noticeable to others.

I love what Billy Graham says:

 "Being in church no more makes you a Christian than being in a garage makes you a car."

Even though church attendance is NOT what makes you a Christian,  I believe that attending church will nurture you and grow you as a Christian! Attending church serves a three-fold purpose to help us to grow in our faith:

1. To worship with other believers.
2. Church is a place of Christian fellowship.
3. Church is a place where we can use our gifts in service and ministry.

HEBREWS 10:25 "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching."
We can worship God anywhere.
 On the lake. From our recliner. Out on the golf course. But not attending worship service with like believers causes us to miss out on encouraging others, and others being able to encourage us. While you do not have to be in church to be a Christian, there is certainly a "void" when you are not there.
You don't HAVE to go to church, but why wouldn't you WANT to?
 I am thankful for the opportunity to worship my Lord with my brothers and sisters in the Lord ... for me, it is like "dress rehearsal" for what is to come in our eternal place of worship!
Please join your grateful heart with ours over at THANKFUL THURSDAY! Stop over at LYNN'S, she is our gracious hostess this month. See you over there!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD...Who is in charge?

We have all seen athletes on television getting all pumped up before competing against their opponents. In fact, some athletes carry their "greatness" alittle too far. To stir up excitement they pound on their chest or bounce up and down. All of this is to get the adrenaline of the fans going and to psych themselves up for a winning match!

Recently, I read a story about a boxer who was doing all of that, but got alittle too "psyched" up as he punched himself in the face. The self-inflicted blow cracked the boxer's jaw and the second blow broke his nose and put him down for the count. How unfortunate for this athlete, that he was carried away on a stretcher before his opponent ever stepped foot in the ring.

Many of us go through life doing exactly what this athlete did. Often times it is the self inflicted pain that we cause ourselves that creates the most damage. The biggest self-inflicted blow that strikes us the feeling of fear...

"For what I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me."  -JOB (Job 3:25)

We all have the capability of sabotaging our own lives if we allow our fears to determine our destiny. Fear can lead to self-inflicted blows that we may never be able to recover from. Fear can also leave us feeling discontented or restless with life.

RESTLESSNESS IS THINKING... "I am not in charge!"
Worry often comes from the fear of not being in control, it leaves us feeling restless. Restlessness is perhaps one of the best words I can think of to describe our generation. Looking around at our culture, it appears that we are a nation that is bored, restless and desiring to be in control of every aspect of our lives.

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

1. 91% voted and said that knowing God is in control brings contentment.
2. 41% responded and said having a loving family brings contentment.
3. 33% voted that knowing their kids were being taken care of brought them contentment.

I was so pleased that the majority of votes declared that contentment comes from God! I read a poll in a NEWSWEEK edition asking Christian teens this question:

"Can a good person who does not share your religious beliefs attain salvation or go to heaven?"

68% of the voting Christian teens said YES they can!
Let that set in for a minute...2/3 of teenagers being raised in church believe that there is NO significant difference between their own faith and other religions. What has happened in our world that "what we believe" and "what we do" is now two separate worlds? I would guess that it goes back to that boxer who caused self-inflicted wounds to himself, like him, we all want to be in control. We want to be in control of what we do, what we say and what we believe.

If we let someone else get into the ring with us, somehow, we surrender our control. But the truth of it is, without God in the ring with us, we cannot win. We are already defeated.

MATTHEW 11:30 "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

God will require some things of us when we surrender our lives over to Him. He may require us to give some things up and He may require us to step out of our comfort zone. But when we submit everything to Him and place our lives under His control, we are no longer restless athletes but content ones.

"Jesus did not come to earth to teach Christianity, He is Christianity. Remove Jesus from the equation and Christianity collapses." -Josh McDowell
Who is in control of your fight ... You or God? Make sure He is in the ring with you!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Shadows are scary

Last night in the middle of the night, I heard a rustling noise. It awoke me from my dead sleep, as I looked across my dark bedroom I noticed a shadow over in the corner. I couldn't quite make out what the shadow was... was it something I had left there? or was it someone hiding in the corner? My imagination went wild and I found myself frozen in time for a second.

Shadows can be so deceiving to us!
Shadows always appear larger than life. Think about it...when you see your shadow in front of you out on the street, doesn't it reach far beyond your actual size? Those things in life that can seem so threatening always appear bigger than they are in reality.

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
When I turned on the bedroom light I saw that the shadow was exactly that ... just a shadow! It only appeared to be something it was not, but the light gave me a different perspective. When we apply His light to our circumstances, our perspective can change. Many times it is in the valleys (or the shadows of life) that we come face to face with God. It is in these moments that we just don't talk about God...we talk to God!

Shadows may seem scary.
God's light will always illuminate His goodness and kindness. All the days of our life!

and this has been a piece of my heart today;

Monday, October 11, 2010

70 x 7 rule

I have been doing a study on forgiveness for the book I am currently writing. Because of different circumstances in my life, I have learned a few things about forgiveness. For instance, did you know that forgiveness is a choice?

That's right!
 It is up to me, it is my choice whether or not I will forgive someone who has hurt me. It is not up to that other person but me. Choices...we are all faced with them each day, but how many of us wake up each morning and contemplate who we will forgive this day. In the Fathers Prayer, it says, "Forgive those who trespass against us." So I know I have to make a choice.

But we have to choose wisely!
What if we choose poorly? What if the offense is far too great to forgive? Are we suppose to still forgive it?

MATTHEW 18:21, 22 “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven."

In order for us to understand and grasp hold of the 70x7 rule, we must understand the power of God's forgiveness. We must recognize that we are forgiven through His shed blood and He is faithful to forgive those who ask for forgiveness and repent of their wrong doing. Not once, not twice, but 70 times 7!

God has already made up His mind ... He chooses to forgive you, if you will accept it. Who will you choose to forgive today?

Please give me some feedback for my book. I am looking for your insight on forgiveness for my devotional book that I am currently writing. I may not be able to use all of the comments received, but will use as many as possible. CLICK HERE to answer the question..."Define forgiveness and what is the hardest thing for you to forgive?"

Friday, October 8, 2010

Losing my marbles

Imagine if each day lived was like a jar of marbles. At the end of each day, you removed one marble from the jar. It would only be a matter of time before the jar would empty out.

No more opportunities.

I wonder if life was truly like this and we had a jar of marbles to indicate how many more days we had on this earth...would we spend our day differently? Would there be things that we would be sure we did or said before taking yet another marble out of the jar?

I would hope so.

Paul said in Romans that it is time to awake from our sleep...

"And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now salvation is nearer than when we first believed." (Romans 13:11)

Each of us has a limited time on earth
No-one knows the hour that we will be called home to be with Him. Death will come for each us, none us know for certain exactly how many marbles we have in our jar of life. It is up to us that we live each day, each moment, each opportunity like it could be our last.

Once the opportunity passes and night becomes day again - it is gone, and cannot return. It is imperative that we understand that TODAY is the day of salvation - for some of us will not have tomorrow. Some of us are already down to our last marble in the jar.

Life is short.
Opportunities are limited. What will you do with the rest of your days ... serve Him or lose your marbles?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

THANKFUL THURSDAY...can you hear the wind?

Last weekend, a huge burst of wind kicked up. It seemed like it just came from nowhere. I was driving down the highway and all of a sudden you could hear the whistling of the wind, the leaves on the trees were swooshing and anything that lay on the ground was now swirling around in mid-air. It felt like we were about to be swept away.

It was really odd. One minute it was calm and the next it was like a wind monsoon!

Wind can be like that. You never know when it will pick up and you never know in which direction it is going to blow. Last week's sudden burst of wind reminded me of what Jesus said to Nicodemus...

"Do not marvel that I said to you 'You must be born again.' " (John 3:8)

"The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit." (John 3:9)

I am fascinated with windmills. A few years ago when we were in Amsterdam, we got to see real windmills. Their vastness was totally amazing to me, but even more amazing is the fact that without the wind, windmills would just be useless. Windmills are designed to be propelled by the wind, without the wind blowing, windmills are powerless.

We, as Christians, need to be like windmills. We must be empowered by the Holy Spirit and like that big windstorm we had recently, we may not know which way His wind will blow but we must be sensitive to it.

Without His Wind, we are powerless! Aren't you thankful for His Wind? Today is THANKFUL THURSDAY and we join our grateful hearts with LYNN today. Lynn is our TT hostess for the month of October.

I NEED HELP FOR MY BOOK: I am currently writing a devotional book and I am looking for some testimonies about FORGIVENESS. I would appreciate your input...I may not be able to use every ones comments, but will try to use as many as possible. GO HERE to give your feedback.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD...things that weigh too much

It seems that once something goes wrong or even might possibly be wrong ... our minds run wild!! It seems to me that when an illness comes upon me, my mind begins to run backwards about what triggered the illness and before I know it, I am fast forwarded to working thru every horribly possible scenario, right up to the point of dirt being thrown onto my casket. I know that I am not alone, many of us get swallowed up in our vast scope of daily worries!

"The moment we are born, we begin to die."

Sounds like an oxy-moron to me, but it is true. From the very beginning, with the first breath we take, we begin an adventure that will eventually lead to our death. If we are not living, we are dying. There is nothing we can do about it, we have to just trust God.

Worrying is the same thing. There is nothing we can do about it - so why not just trust God?

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

1. 28% of those voting said they worry about finances.
2. Another 28% voted and said their children.
3. 14% voted and said they worry about their health and the economy.

There is no question about it, we are worriers! Sometimes the weight of the world is just too much too bear, but we should not be surprised at the things that happen that cause us such worry. The Bible says we are not guaranteed a life free from pain or illness. When sin entered the world, it brought with it pain, disease, illness and death. None of us are free from this - we are ALL under the curse that resulted from Adam and Eve's sin in the garden of Eden.

JOHN 16:33 "In the world you will have tribulation."

Jesus never said it would be easy. Instead of asking, 'Why, God? Why me?" - pray this way, "God, what do You want to teach me?"

The Apostle Paul had a painful, lingering condition. He referred to his pain as a "thorn in his flesh." Paul struggled with his thorn, so shall we struggle with ours. Paul prayed and asked for his thorn to be removed, but God's response is exactly what we need to hear today as we feel heavy burdened with things of this life ...

"My Grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor. 12:9)

When we as Christians suffer, it is always an opportunity to  trust God and give Him glory! When we trust Him, His peace will overfill our mind and our soul.

What weighs heavy on your mind today? Lean upon Him and allow His strength to lift the weight of the world off of your shoulders.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart." - Proverbs 3:5

"Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him." - Psalm 2:12

A PIECE OF MY HEART...a stone of sodium

I looked out my front door to see what the commotion was about. The neighborhood dogs were all barking, almost like in unison. It didn't take me long to see what all of the racket was about. Someone was out walking their dog.

It appeared there was more "stopping" then "walking" going on.

The poor dog on the leash was totally distracted by all of the barking dogs. It appeared the poor fella did not know which way to go. To the right or to the left. In his confusion, he just stopped dead in his tracks. The human at the end of the leash tried to get the dog to budge, with no prevail.

As humorous as I thought this picture looked, I realized how very NOT funny it is when this happens to us humans. Truth is, many times we can be walking the straight and narrow pathway and BANG...something pops up in front of us that totally distracts us from following God's lead. We hesitate, should we go to the right or to the left?  Many times when we take control of the leash, we end up going the wrong way or worse yet, we just stay at a standstill.

Staying at a standstill is not a good place to be.
Look at Lot's wife. She did not follow God's lead and ended up being at a permanent standstill. She became a pillar of salt!

GENESIS 19:26 "But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt."

God was leading Lot and his family to a better place, to a place of safety and of new beginnings. Lot's wife was not looking forward, she was still focused on the past, on what she was leaving behind. Maybe the story of Lot is not so much about disobedience as it is for us to see the importance of not staying in our past. We must trust God for our future and allow Him to take control of the leash while we are on this "walk" of life.

If that dog would have just trusted his owner, he could have quickly gotten past the barking dogs. No doubt the human would have taken him down a safe path. When we relinquish the control back to God, He will not lead us astray. But if we don't trust Him, we jeopardize the possibility of becoming a stone of sodium. A pillar of salt.

Will you look to your future? or are you going to look back?

this has been a piece of my heart today;

Monday, October 4, 2010

A letter to my readers!

Dear family, friends and followers of my blog;

Thank you for following my blog and for your constant support and encouragement. Who would have thought that God would stir in me a new found passion when I started blogging several years ago.

But He did, and I love to share His love and encouragement thru my writing! As many of you know, I am currently writing my first devotional book. I am so excited about this while at the same totally scared! But God has it all under control and in His hands, I place each page that is written.

I cannot do this alone!!
 I already have God with me, but I also need YOU! In my devotional book, I will be covering several "life" topics and there is no better way to express God's power and love than thru personal testimonies. In my devotional book, I will be highlighting testimonies from people just like you! So get ready to share with others what God has done for you!

Currently, I am writing the chapter of "Forgiveness". Please leave me an answer to the following question in the comment section:

 "How do you define forgiveness? and please share with the readers the one thing that you find the most difficult to forgive."

Please include your name, blog site and email address with your response. I will not be able to use every one's comments in my book, but I will use as many as I can.

Thank you for your support and love;

Friday, October 1, 2010

LACED WITH GRACE...I need a drink

Today I have shared a few thoughts over at the LACED WITH GRACE devotional site. Today's devo is entitled, "I need a drink!". CLICK HERE to read it!

You may want to check LWG out daily ... we have a team of talented and spirit-led writers sharing from their heart 5 days a week! It is a daily blessing of hope, love and encouragement!