Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Being in control!

I wonder how many of you reading this today like to be in control? There are many things that I like to be in control of... I like being in control of what I eat and what I don't eat. I like being in control of scheduling my day. I like being in control of where I go on vacation. All of these things are important for one to be in control of, but sometimes in life there are circumstances and events that are totally out of our control.

Even though we cannot always control the things that happen in our life, we can control how we react. When our minds are controlled by the Holy Spirit, we have a new sense of what control is. No matter what may come your way, no matter how difficult or dark your situation may seem, having the Holy Spirit in your life will allow you to control your response.

Control really isn't all that it is cracked up to be. Some people like to control people. In your relationships, at your job, even at church. This kind of control is different than what I am talking about though. This kind of control is what I call "manipulation". This kind of control is destructive. Not only in relationships but in ministry.

Having control is not the main is what you do with your control that is most important. Controlling others is not the same as allowing the Holy Spirit to have control in your life. One is destructive and the other is obedience.

ROMANS 8:6 "The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Holy Spirit is life and peace." (NIV)

When it comes to having control in your life, respond with godly thinking and not with sinful instincts such as manipulation. Doing so will take "being in control" to a whole new level.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

THANKFUL THURSDAY...the forgotten holiday!

I cannot believe it, but another Thanksgiving time has arrived! It is the holiday that I most look forward to. I love cooking all of my families favorite dishes and getting together with all of the family. Laughing, eating, more laughing, watching football, and going to late night movies. Unfortunately though Thanksgiving seems to be a forgotten holiday. It is just a "Thursday off of work" sandwiched in between Halloween and Christmas.

If you don't agree with me, just look at your local walmart and just see how much Thanksgiving decor you can find. I went today on a hunt for some special Thanksgiving dinnerware but to my dismay found nothing! There were already aisles of Christmas decor and even a clearance aisle of leftover Halloween decor...but NO Thanksgiving merchandise.

I cannot believe that so many people miss out on one of the greatest holidays. It seems like the focus of Thanksgiving has been taken from giving thanks for His plenty to making out shopping lists for the morning after. Somehow our idea of Thanksgiving has gone haywire. We have forgotten all about that first Thanksgiving, you know the one with the Pilgrims and Indians!

On that first Thanksgiving in 1621, the feast was to celebrate and show gratitude for survival. After being in America within a year, the Pilgrims lost half of their population due to starvation and disease. The Pilgrims hosted that first feast not to try out new recipes, but to celebrate life with their Indian friends and to show gratitude to God for His provision during difficult times.

It is my prayer that we will never forget what this holiday means. Not just today but each and every day may we all have the attitude like the celebrate life and show gratitude to God for His provision.

1 THESSALONIANS 5:18 "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

Today is THANKFUL THURSDAY and I am so glad that showing gratitude is not just a day, but it is an attitude of our heart. May we never forget to give thanks to God in ALL circumstances. The good ones, the bad ones, the sad ones, the happy ones. In all things...give thanks!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A PIECE OF MY HEART...infinity and beyond!

While I was in school, math was not always my strength. I enjoyed classes like accounting but when it came to advanced Algebra or mind had a hard time keeping up. Even though I did not understand everything about mathematical equations, one thing I fully comprehended was infinity. A number in math with infinity power is a number that goes on and on. It has no end.
Grasping this math concept was easy for me because I understood what infinite power was. I don't mean in math, but the infinite power of God!

PSALM 147:5 “Great is our Lord, and of great power: His understanding is infinite.”  KJV

Just like some math equations, there are some equations in life that I simply do not understand. I do not understand why loved ones get cancer. I do not understand why babies are born that are unwanted. I do not understand why people have to live on the street and go hungry. I do not understand why some people struggle while others have it easy. I do not understand why our prisons are busting out of the seams with inmates. I do not understand why people hurt other people. I simply do not understand everything.

Did you know that it is not for us to understand everything? The ups and downs of life are not for us to worry about. The only thing that we need to understand is that God is in control. He sees everything. He is all knowing. He understands our hurt, our pain, our loss. And He will turn it around for good.

God's love for us is endless. His message of hope is endless. His compassion, His joy, and His encouragement is endless. His ways are infinite. There is no end. It goes on and on and on.

Trusting in God is like going to infinity and beyond!

There is no end to what God can do for you! Do you understand and fully comprehend this my friend?

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (NIV)

Thursday, November 17, 2011


PSALM 118:1 "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever."

As we quickly approach Thanksgiving of 2011, I can't help but to look back over the past 11 months and trace God's hand. From the first day of January to today, He has led me, guided me, provided for me, healed me, seen me thru some difficult times and at all times He has loved me and believed in me.

It is a tradition in our home to take a moment around the table to give special thanks. As I begin to make preparations for the holiday feast, I have asked God to also prepare my grateful heart. So I am getting a head start on things here on Thankful Thursday by offering up my top ten THANKFUL list for 2011...

#10. I am thankful for surviving a cold, wintry January. 3 things that I couldn't do without ... central heat, hot chocolate and my electric heating blanket!

#9. I am thankful for being able to receive my 31st valentine from my one and only valentine. God has given us so many great years together and I am blessed to be married to my best friend for over 30 years.

#8. I am thankful for God's provision. Even in times of turmoil and unstable financial times, He is still an on-time God! Heat, Air, food, clothing, and luxuries such as the washing machine, microwave and Internet service can be all taken for granted. I'm thankful for all of it!

#7. I am thankful for good health. A common cold, a slight headache and a sinus infection is nothing compared to cancer, lupus or chronic depression. Without good health, I may not be able to work, or enjoy day to day activities.

#6. I am thankful for good memories. Even in the shadow of death of a loved one, I can always cherish memories of a last smile, a last conversation and a last "I love you." Alot of things can be taken from us but our memories stay intact.

#5. I am thankful for my Dad. Even though we were separated for 40 years, the few short years we had together were a blessing. I am grateful to be reunited with him before God took him home this year.

#4. I am thankful for our freedoms. Not only for the American freedoms I enjoy but also the freedom to worship my Lord freely and safely in our Country. I am truly thankful to be an American!

#3. I am thankful for the tests and trials that God has seen me thru. They have caused me to step out of my comfort zone and strengthen my trust in God.

#2. I am thankful for my beautiful family and for their love and support. During times that nobody else has been there for me, my family has been. I am grateful for the love, support and faithfulness of my beloved for over 30 years. I am grateful for the trust God gave me to raise 4 of His beautiful children. (David, Jeremy, Jordan and Anna) I am grateful for the godly mates that our children have chosen (Sue, Rachel, Krista) and lastly I am so grateful for our first grandchild born recently. Family is a never ending circle of love!

AND THE #1 reason I am grateful in 2011...

#1. I am thankful for salvation and everything that comes with it. Love, forgiveness, acceptance and deliverance. I could not and would not want to face one day without God. He is the reason I can face each day, even the tough days.

Maybe you would like to join in and see what you can come up with. I promise you that as you reflect back, you will be astonished at how easy it will be to trace God's hand in your life! To join in on THANKFUL THURSDAY, link your post up below in Mr. Linky!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Growing Pains!

When my son was young, he would complain of terrible leg pain when he would go to bed. He would wake me up with his crying, he would say, "I think my skin is trying to come off!" Of course his skin was not trying to come off, we came to the conclusion that what he was experiencing was growing pains.

There wasn't much we could do for his pain, he just had to endure it. Eventually his growing pains subsided but in the meantime, the best comfort I could give him was rubbing his legs and giving him a hug. Even though this act of love did not take away his pain completely, it helped him make it thru another night.

Many times, as growing Christians we also experience growing pains. Some people call it trials or tribulations. Trials or growing pains...either way you describe it, it is often very painful to go thru. But all the while that we struggle, or have pains in our lifes, God is using our situations to stretch us, to mold us, to make us better. To be more refined.

Just as my son found comfort in my acts of love, God also is comforting us during our times of pain. He understands what we are going thru and He stays right by our side thru it all. We may wonder why He doesn't take the pain and heartache from us, but it is in the midst of our pain that we often draw closest to Him.

Having spiritual growing pains is meant to soften our hearts and to give us more compassion towards others that may go thru the same difficulties in the future. Going thru trials brings humility to us and teaches us to depend upon God. Growing pains also can take the focus off of us and placed upon God and what His will is for our lives.

Without the pains of growing, we would not know how to trust Him or obey Him or even need Him.

ROMANS 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose."

It is during the growing pains of our christian journey that we feel the peace of God in our lives. Even though we can still feel the sting of the pain, we also feel the hand of God working in us and thru our situation.

Are you experiencing some growing pains today?

God is giving you a testimony...but you have to go thru the test first!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I have often wondered about those disciples that Jesus took with Him to pray in those last hours. He asked them to stay awake and pray with Him, but as we all know, they fell down on their job. They could not stay awake, therefore, they were not able to accomplish what Jesus asked of them.

If I needed someone to do something so important and they were found asleep on the job, I would not be so understanding. But as I look at scripture I see that even though the disciples failed at this task, there was still more for them to do...

"Arise, let us be going. Behold, he who betrays me is at hand." - MARK 14:42

Even though the moment of urgency had passed, and the disciples failed in the one task that Jesus asked of them, there was still hope for them. In the above passage, Jesus did not dwell on the shortcomings of His followers, rather He recognized other duties still awaiting the disciples. Jesus calls them to ARISE to meet these needs.

Even though the disciples failed in one responsibility, there was no time to curl up and quit. There was no time to sink deep down in despair for failing their Master. The time was short, and they needed to stand up and meet the responsibility that still laid before them.

Sometimes, actually time and time again, I have failed my Master. It would be easy to throw in the towel and just give up. But like the disciples, I too, need to realize that it is time for me to just ARISE and continue on with the work that God has laid out before me.

I have failed Him in the past, and I will fail Him again. And so have you. Even on the darkest mornings, there is still light in the day to turn things around. So just ARISE and get going. There is still work to be done.

And this has been a piece of my heart today;

Thursday, November 10, 2011

THANKFUL THURSDAY...surely our God is able!

I tried moving a very large piece of furniture by myself, but I failed. It was too heavy, it was too hard for just one person to do.

 Have you ever tried to do something that was just too hard?

For instance, have you ever wondered if you could  lift up a car off of a crushed person? Would you be able to find a lost pearl ring buried in the sand at the beach? Seem impossible to do?

You may not have had to do either of those difficult things, but many of you have been faced with some other very hard things in life. Hard things like the loss of a job, sickness and even death. All of these are difficult for us to bear, but for God, there is nothing too difficult. Even in the loss of jobs and in the loss of a loved one, God is able to see us thru.

Jeremiah 32:17 (ESV)"Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you."

Jeremiah recognized that no matter how much he exercised his muscles that it was God, not him, that was the strong man. God can easily arm wrestle any need that we have. He did it for Jeremiah and He will do it for us.

God made the heavens and the earths for Pete's sake...what could we possibly have that could be harder than that for God? He holds everything in His palm, not just the stars and the moon, but He also holds our sorrows, our fears, our trials, and our tears in His palm.

If we can trust Him for the heavens and the earth and all that is in it, then why can we not trust Him with everything else? Things may seem difficult and too hard for you my friend, but trust me, nothing that you face today is too difficult for God. Surely He is able....

With the Thanksgiving holiday coming in just 2 short weeks, I am reminded that some of us are in a battle right now. Some of us are struggling financially. And some of us will not have family, friends or even a turkey to share a meal with on Thanksgiving Day. Even in the midst of our despair, we must remember that He is able. He will meet our needs and He will provide. I don't know how. I don't know when. But I know that He will. I am so thankful today that nothing is too difficult for Him!

Today is THANKFUL THURSDAY, please join your grateful heart with ours as we all link up our TT posts here today. If you are in a situation that is too difficult for you, listen to the song that I have uploaded from Gaither Homecoming, may it remind you that surely our God is able!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Answering the call!

Last night my husband got an unexpected call. Just as he was about to get ready to go to bed, his work called and needed him to come in and cover someones shift. He wasn't expecting to have to do that so he was not dressed for the part. After a quick trip to our closet he found what he needed to look the part...his scrubs. He was now ready to answer the call.

Sometimes I think as Christians, we try to dress the part. We try to walk a certain way, talk a certain way, pray a certain way and even dress a certain way.

As a young girl, I use to think that holiness had something to do with the outer appearance. One of the holiest ladies that I knew, (the pastors wife), always had everything together. Her clothes were the finest, her hair was never out of place, her nails were always filed and painted pretty and every Sunday she was in her place (at the piano). She didn't say much, but she always had a smile on her face. To me, as a young girl, this was the perfect picture of holiness.

As I got older, I quickly realized that make up, clothes and having the ability to play an instrument has absolutely nothing to do with holiness. I also realized that those who stand up on the platform are not always the perfect person that we all so often put up on a pedestal. Holiness is not the outer appearance.

Unfortunately, there are alot of people who think like I did when I was younger. We are looking inside the walls of the church and we are defining what holiness is by what we see or by what we don't see. But the truth of it is, it doesn't matter how much make up we apply or how many designer clothes we wear, holiness is not something that we can acquire by changing our wardrobe or looks. We cannot just dress the part.

The more we read God's Word and understand His ways, the more our attitudes and behaviors change. The closer we walk with Him, the more we will come to realize that holiness has absolutely nothing to do with our outer appearance but it has everything to do with what resides on the inside.

Holiness is something that only God can identify and define. God looks past our outer shell, He looks at our heart. He sees what is pure and what is unclean. None of us, even on our best days, can obtain holiness in our own strength. To be holy is a change of heart, it is an indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us. It is an obedience to His will and call on our lives. These are all things that occur inside and not on the outside.

Even though holiness starts on the inside, it should also seep to the outside for others to see. But we must remember that on our own, holiness is impossible to acquire. We cannot just dress the part, when we get the call to obey Him, we must go as we are and let Him adorn us with His blood and His power.

2 TIMOTHY 1:9 (niv)"He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time."

Are you ready to answer the call?

Monday, November 7, 2011

What's that knocking at the door?

Have you ever been startled by an unexpected knocking at your door?

Several years ago, my husband and I were sitting alone in our family room watching late night television when we were startled by a rapping at our door. Because the hour was late, my husband told me to stay in the family room while he checked it out. He peeked out the window, but saw no car. He slowly opened the front door, but found nobody to be at the door. He stepped out onto the front step and looked to the right and to the left, but saw no one.

He came back into the house, perplexed. Possibly it was a neighbor child pulling a prank. After a few minutes had passed, we heard it again. (rap rap rap) Again my husband goes to the door, but finds no one to be there.

My husband was determined to catch whoever was disturbing our household at such a late hour. This time he waited by the door, ready for the next rapping on the door to jump out and grab whoever has been knocking at our door. A few minutes pass and sure enough the pranksters come back ... rap, rap, rap at the door. My husband flings the door open and jumps outside...but nobody was there.

It turns out, a short time later, that we discover that the rap, rap, rap at the door wasn't anybody at all trying to pull a prank. Actually it was our pet dog, who was laying against another door in the house and when she would scratch, she would hit the door making the rap, rap, rap sound.

That is about one of the funniest stories I love to tell about how my husband tried to catch the midnight intruder who insisted on rapping on our door but never would come in. As funny as that is, the truth is that many of us are doing the same thing but it isn't funny at all.

Many times we rap on God's door, we ask for blessings, healing and provision but then we don't really expect them. We knock but we never really intend to enter. And we aren't satisfied with knocking just once, but we come back again and again. Knocking, asking for an answer but then we just run away. We don't stand still and wait for the door to open.

I don't know why we flee after we have knocked on God's door. Maybe it is because we fear the outcome, or afraid that God will not answer our need or He may not even hear us. So we find it easier to just walk away.

Luke 11:9 "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

The truth is that we cannot expect God to answer our runaway knocks. He didn't promise that...He said that we should keep knocking and knocking until He opens the door.

May we become more persistent in our prayers and come to Him fully expecting. And when He opens the door, may we not run away but walk thru the door.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

THANKFUL THURSDAY...let the thanks begin!

It is that time of the year again when the leaves begin to fall, the weather gets cooler and we get closer to the holidays. In November, we turn our heart towards the Thanksgiving holiday, the special time that we eat turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie. But that isn't all. Thanksgiving time is also a time that we turn our heart towards the good things in our life and we offer up thanks.

However, Thanksgiving is not just a day or a special meal. Thanksgiving is an attitude of the heart.

Farmers have the right kind of attitude when it comes to giving thanks. They plow the land, they plant the seeds, they work the land and while they wait for the harvest...they give thanks. They thank God for the plenty that will come their way in a few months. We also need to give thanks, even when we haven't seen the harvest yet. We may not have everything in our house that we want, but we still need to have a thankful heart. Look at what David said about this...

"I will thank you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High"(Psalm 9:1-2, NLT)

God loves to hear our thanks! I would imagine that when we do not express our thanks to Him it is much the same as when our own children fall short on giving thanks to us for the things we do for them.

When my children were young, often times my day as a mother was full of running around doing things for them. Cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, driving to school, going to the store, making doctor appointments, baking cookies, helping them study for a test, paying for sports uniforms, taking them to their ball practices, taking them to McDonald's for lunch, etc, etc. And  many times all of this was done with no thanks given. Sometimes I noticed the seemingly ungrateful heart of my young ens, but yet I kept on doing these selfless love acts over and over again, because I wanted to.

As great as my love is for my children, our Heavenly Fathers love is even greater. He does things for us because He wants to and His deeds are awesome. Even when we cannot see the harvest, we can know that He has a marvelous work in store. May we continually give thanks to Him for His goodness! Not just on Thanksgiving but may we give thanks with a very grateful, THANKFUL heart. Daily.

Today I am hosting THANKFUL THURSDAY, and I would encourage you to stop and give Him thanks today. Even for those things that you are still waiting to happen. God not only loves a cheerful giver but He cherishes a grateful heart! We would love to hear from you today, share your grateful heart with us here at TT by linking up your grateful post!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Choosing to NOT be offended!!

I am sure all of us can say that we all know someone who gets offended easily. Seems like no matter what is said, or how it is said, there is a risk in communication that may lead to someone walking away upset, hurt or misunderstood.

I use to be a person that got my feelings hurt easily. But to be quite honest, God showed me that it is not good to always wear our hearts on our sleeves or to be easily offended. One thing that I learned early on in ministry is that from time to time we just need to have thick skin. Sometimes we have to let things go in one ear and out the other. Other times we just have to let things roll off our back, so to say. If I could quote a not so christian saying right here to make my point,

 "We gotta know when to hold em and know when to fold em."  (Kenny Rogers)
Sometimes we just have to know when to walk away. Kenny was talking about gambling, but I am talking about life and knowing that there is a time to just walk away from always having hurt feelings.

Some people hurt others intentionally, but I have found that most people who hurt our feelings are not even aware that they do. Sometimes I wonder if offense is put on us by others or if we, ourselves, are responsible for being offended? When words are spoken, do you jump to conclusions and choose to be offended?

Taking offense is a choice that we each make...

PROV. 18:11 "A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook offense."

God is saying that we have another choice other than being offended with others. Instead of allowing offense to harbor in our hearts towards people which in turn usually grows into anger, bitterness and resentment, we can instead choose to see past the words and actions of others. We can look into the heart.

What is really going on...are they just mean spirited or is there a hidden issue that is below the surface? Instead of being angry at the words or actions, can we listen and try to find resolve?

This past year God has seen me thru some things that has softened my heart towards hurting people. When we can see past the hurt, and even the hurtful words people often speak, we will be able to see their heart. It is the heart that God is most concerned with. We cannot continue to go thru life allowing others to offend us, it will keep us from seeing things like God sees things.

Words spoken (whether ill intended or not) is not what causes offense. Offense happens when we make a choice to allow words of others to take root in our hearts. It is our responsibility to stop words entering our heart and infecting it with anger, malice or bitterness. God is pleased when we make this choice to not allow offense to control our heart and our life.

This choice is a win-win situation. Instead of allowing offense to control us, we now control it. We can now do what Kenny Rogers was saying..."know when to hold em and know when to fold em"!

Let the words go, just let them go. Choose to NOT be offended!