Wednesday, January 30, 2013

THANKFUL THURSDAY...Generosity 101

Have you ever dreamed of what you would do with a million dollars?

If you are like most people, this kind of money leaves us dreaming about all of the possibilities that this kind of cash would open to us. Bigger cars, nicer houses, fantastic vacations. The possibilities are endless. Most likely, giving the money away probably is not at the top of our list of possibilities though.

"Giving to God's work is not a habit that starts when we're experiencing material success. It's a habit best cultivated and nurtured in seasons of depending on God through lean times." - Joe Stowell

In the Bible, Paul very concisely points out that generosity is an attitude of the heart and not the condition of our circumstances. As clearly seen from the Macedonian church...

"Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity." 2 Corinthians 8:2

Generosity does not stem from wealth. Indeed it rises up out of our heart, no matter what our circumstances may be. Before we can give out of plenty, we must exercise having a giving heart in the difficult, trying times. If you are willing to give a bag of groceries to someone in need when you yourself are in need, giving selflessly probably will not change according to your financial standing.

Giving generously starts now. Right where you are, with whatever you have.

Today is THANKFUL THURSDAY and I am not only grateful for the times people have been generous to me, but I am also thankful for the opportunities that God has given me to be generous with what I have. May I never forget that it isn't the amount, its my attitude.

How about you ...what are you thankful for today? Please join us for THANKFUL THURSDAY by linking up your TT post below. I'm so honored to have been your host this month, next week my friend Iris will be hosting, hope to see you then!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

STOP being a pack rat christian!

I never thought I would find myself saying this but...
 we are pack rats!

How in the world in 20 years have we accumulated what we have?

We are in the process of moving out of our home and into the parsonage house near the church we are pastoring. With every closet and every nook and cranny that I look, I uncover so much clutter. I cannot understand why we must hang onto some of this stuff.

This past weekend while clearing out my husbands office, I uncovered not one pair of reading glasses but 6! Seriously? He can only wear one pair at a time!

As I continue to plow my way thru the piles, I am finding out that there is a huge difference between clutter and treasure. Sometimes, I wonder if I recognize the difference? Not just in my physical closets, but my spiritual closet as well.

Often times, we can become "pack rat Christians", instead of focusing on the treasures of the heart, we focus on the clutter.

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b)

I  would dare say say that God isn't too concerned with what is in my closet, which clothes I wear and how many pairs of shoes I have that don't fit any longer. His concern is not with our physical clutter, rather, the clutter that creeps in our heart...

Bad habits, bitterness, unforgiveneness, lack of obedience, anger, fear, and such things that can crowd God out of our heart.

Perhaps, during this house cleaning that I am in the midst of, I might need to stop, reflect and do alittle spiritual house cleaning. There is great satisfaction of cleaning out a closet, but even more so, such great joy in cleaning up our heart.

Is it time for some de-cluttering in your heart? May we not be "pack rat Christians" any longer.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." -Matthew 5:8

Thursday, January 24, 2013

THANKFUL THURSDAY...for by grace

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one can boast."
                                               EPHESIANS 2:8,9
Today's culture is not far different than the time that this passage was written. There appears to be a fundamental misunderstanding of what God's grace is towards mankind, especially in relation to salvation. All across America, I see a prevalent attitude that the more good you do, the more you get. All I have to do is pick up a tabloid and see that the more "good" one does, it brings "good" in your life, and doing "bad" only brings more "bad" into your life.

Often, after hearing of good things going on, I have heard people say to someone that they are being blessed by God for doing good things. Even though I believe that God blesses and rewards His faithful servants, I do not believe that His goodness is based upon our works.

However, this "good/good - bad/bad" thinking goes all the way back to our childhood. It starts when we all fret over whether or not we make the naughty or nice list. That's right. At Christmas, we tell our children that if they want to get presents, they must be good. And if they are found to be on the "naughty" list, they will receive nothing but coal!

This thinking carries over into our religious beliefs as well, especially when it comes to our salvation. When it comes to our salvation, there is no "naughty or nice" list. There is NOTHING that any of us can do to earn salvation. Jesus presents His gift of life to all ...and we all, at one time or another, have been on the naughty list. For the Bible says that "We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Ephesians 3:23)

So when it comes to understanding what His Grace is, and how it applies to the naughty or nice list, remember this:

1. You can NEVER be good enough to earn salvation, it is a gift of God's grace.
2. You can NEVER be bad enough to be ineligible for salvation, His grace is for everyone.

Today is THANKFUL THURSDAY and I am ever so thankful for His grace! I don't know where or what I would be without it. How about you? Have you accepted the gift of the grace of God yet? It doesn't matter what you have done, it only matters what you accept and believe. Won't you accept God's gift of eternal life today?

Share your grateful heart with us by linking up below.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

LACED WITH GRACE...Do the right thing

Today I have shared a devo with the readers over at LACED WITH GRACE entitled "Do the right thing." Hope you will go and check it out!

CLICK HERE to read it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


It's cold outside!

Even though I live in the south, some of you might be laughing, because we southerners don't really know what "cold" is. Not like some of you. Cold to us is when the temperatures drop below 50. Even though that does not compare to the northern temperatures of below zero, it is still cold outside!

We have had some freezing rain here, which has made driving almost unbearable. It took some people over four hours to drive what should have normally taken 30 minutes. This made many people very grumpy. I've been stuck in traffic for hours like that before and believe me it is NO fun. But cold weather does not have to be something that causes us to complain.

Afterall, the regular occurance of cold is part of the promise made to Noah after the flood. God swore never to destroy every living creature again...

"As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease." Genesis 8:22
Cold can be a wonderful thing.

Doesn't a cold drink quench your thirst? The cold can keep us indoors, wrapped up in front of a fire to read a book. The cold can motivate us to invite friends over for a big pot of chili. The cold can keep us in on a friday night playing board games with our kids instead of running in different directions. The cold can remind us of our appreciation of the warmth of the sun.

So as the cold winter brews up around you outside, sit around the fire and bask in the warmth of the Son! God's love will be the fire that never goes out.

Today is THANKFUL THURSDAY and I am thankful for alot of things, but on this cold day, I am really thankful for the warmth of God's love, grace and forgiveness. How about you? What are you grateful for today? Please link up with us below. HAPPY TT!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

WE are the church!

Several years ago, a youth pastor commented to me how completely different all four of our kids were. So different, that it was hard to imagine that they grew up in the same house. One of the greatest things about my family is how different each of us is. There is nothing wrong with different.

Having differences in family does not make one better than the other, it just makes us different. Our kids all have different strengths and different weaknesses.  That is what makes them unique and special. And as different as we may be, at the end of the day, we are still family.

Sometimes, I think we can lose sight of that in the family of God.
 Lately, I have been hearing other Christians comparing their church to others. I know, I know…it’s like the story of the young boy who tells all of his friends that HIS dad is the biggest, the strongest and the fastest. We all like to think that OUR church is the best, with the best pastor, the best worship, and where the Holy Spirit moves like no other.

But we need to be careful of who and what we are boasting about. THE church is not the name on the sign, nor is it the man we call “pastor”, THE church isn’t even how large or small our congregation is or how many members are in the choir. THE church is not where it is located, or how much it cost.
THE church comes in different sizes, shapes and colors. For you see, THE church is not a building, it is not a person, THE church is where God resides. WE are the church…but who is we?

WE are His followers. We are spirit filled, forgiven followers of Christ. WE are from many denominations, with one belief…that Jesus Christ is Lord, He lived, He died, He rose again, and He is sitting at the right hand of the Father, interceding on our behalf, and He is going to return one day, very soon.
We may all be different, but we are from the same family. And one day, we will walk the streets of gold together.  Heaven will not be divided by race, or by wealth or by denomination.  Nor will heaven be divided by how big or small the church you attended, or how loud you sang, or if you jumped the pew or prayed silently.  
1 Corinthians 12:27 “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”

Please do not make the mistake of committing the sin of self-righteousness or judging by doing church comparison. Like my kids, we, as Christians, all have our differences…but in the end, we are all family. The family of God!
WE are the church!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


At the beginning of this new year, I devoted to read thru the Bible. Each morning, I sit with my Read-thru-the-Bible-in-a-year Bible and read the passages for the day. It feels good to be working towards a goal.

But is that all it is? Is it just about being able to cross off my daily reading list or is it more?

Reading God's Word must be more. God's Word says that we should study to show ourselves approved...
2 Timothy 2:15 "Study to shew yourself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
With the stress of life, and the workings of the enemy, we all need God's Word in our life. We not only need to read It, but study It, Believe It, Know It and be able to teach It! The only way we can do that is by putting God's Word in our heart.

It is safe to say that we can't just read His Word, We must meditate upon it daily so it becomes part of us.

Today is THANKFUL THURSDAY and I am so thankful for God's Word. From age to age, It never changes. The only thing that changes is me, when I allow His Word to permeate my heart and soul.

Join your grateful heart with ours today by linking up your TT post below.

Keeping in step

"And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters...Enoch walked with God, then he was no more, because God took him away." Genesis 5:22,24

I noticed that the above scripture mentioned two times that Enoch "walked with God"...what does it mean to walk with God?

Many of us probably get a mental picture in our head of Enoch literally taking a leisurely stroll down the lane with God. Years ago, when I taught pre-school, I recall one of my students recapping the story of Enoch. She said: "Enoch use to go on long walks with God, except one day, they walked so far that God said to Enoch, 'It is too far to walk back so just come home with me.' "

I chuckle at that now as I recall it just like I did back then. But really, doesn't that capture the essence of what "walking with God" is all about. Not literally, but spiritually.

Enoch was walking with God even in the midst of a godless generation, he went the same way that God went, he was keeping in step with Him. We are no different than Enoch. The sinful nature that surrounds us is the same sinful nature that surrounded Enoch. This is why it is imperative that we take daily walks with God.

I love taking walks. In fact it is one of the things that I love doing with my husband. One of the reasons for this is clearly not because of the exercise but it is to simply spend time with him. We hold hands. We talk. We laugh. Sometimes I have to step up my walk to stay in step with him.

The same is true with  my walk with God. Walking with Him brings joy. It is talking with Him and holding His hand. But the best part of taking a life long walk with God is that when I hit a pothole along the way and begin to stumble, He is there to pick me up, steady me and place me back on the walkway of life again.

When is the last time you took a stroll with God? It is my prayer that we could all have a Enoch walk, the kind that will just lead us home.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Do you hear what I hear?

In today’s world, we can follow a lot of people and a lot of things. We can follow our friends. We can follow our family. We can follow our government leaders. We can follow what the entertainment world.

Truth be told, we all follow something or someone. Unfortunately, what or who is leading us is not always good or end up good.

 This is why it is imperative that we choose wisely Whom we serve, in other words, Whom we follow.

Choosing to follow Christ is a very wise choice. Some people think that you only have to choose Him once. But to follow Christ is a DAILY choice…

Luke 9:23 “Then He said them all, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.’ “

It is a DAILY choice to follow Gods lead. In the Bible, Simeon was such a man. (Luke 2:25) Simeon, a righteous and devout man, followed God’s leading to go into the temple in Jerusalem on a certain day and at a certain time. In order to be like Simeon and be able to hear and know God’s leading, we must do the following…

LISTEN. Are you listening to God?
WATCH. Are your eyes focused on Him?
OBEY. Are you following God’s laws or man’s?

Simeon was in the right place at the right time because he was waiting on God! That is the kind of Christian I want to be. One that chooses daily to follow God and one that is in tune to His leading.

Do you have your spiritual listening ears on today?


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Check your attitude at the door

When it comes to having an attitude, I'm sure we all think about teenagers. But honestly, I think our teens get a bad wrap about being the ones with bad attitudes. As a mother, I have been having the "talk" with my kids for the past 30 years about checking their attitude. But if I could be honest and transparent, I would have to admit that I too, have an attitude sometimes.

Anytime we feel mistreated, or lied to, or cheated, or done wrongly in any form or fashion, we feel we have the "right" to cop an attitude. But we don't. Two wrongs does not make a right.

Just as it pleases me as a parent when my children have the right attitude, even more so, does it please our heavenly Father when our attitudes are positive.

John Maxwell writes, "Great leaders understand that the right attitude will set the right atmosphere, which enables the right response from others."

So, in other words, our attitude is not contingent upon others. Rather, what kind of attitude or tone we use is entirely up to us. We set the tone. But to be honest with you, without the Holy Spirit leading us and guiding us and pruning us, our attitude will continue to be bad to the bone.

God has called us all to be leaders. Whether at home, school, work or church, our attitude can make or break us (and those we lead), whether you are young or old, check your attitude at the door. Before going out and before coming in...set the right atmosphere by having a godly attitude.

1 Peter 5:2 "Shepherd God's flock, for whom you are responsible. Watch over them because you want to, not because you are forced. That is how God wants it. Do it because you are happy to serve." (NCV)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

THANKFUL THURSDAY...a glimpse of a grateful heart

As we begin another year of the Lord, I am honored to serve as one of your THANKFUL THURSDAY hosts. One of the things that I love about Thursdays is that I can share with my readers and my friends how gracious God has been to me by revealing a small glimpse of my grateful heart at least once a week.

It is my hope and prayer that my thankfulness is more than just a once a week event. Having a grateful heart is not about a "day" as it is about the condition of my heart.

 I am reminded of a story that I read once about a king that became disturbed by the ingratitude of his royal court. You see, he had prepared a large banquet for them, but while he and his royal guests were being seated, a beggar came into the hall. He sat down at the kings table and gorged himself with food. Afterwards, he got up and without saying one word, he just left the room.

The royal guests were furious with him and wanted to go after him to have their way with him for his ingratitude. But the king stopped them. He said to the people, "That beggar has only one time done to an earthly king what each of you do 3 times a day to your heavenly King." He continued, "You sit here at the table and eat until you are satisfied, then you walk away, never recognizing God or even expressing one word of thanks to Him."

I don't know about you my friend, but I do not want to be like the royal guests. Lord, help me to not go one day without giving Him thanks! For that fact, let not one blessing go by that I do not give honor where honor is due.

 1 Chronicles 16:8 "Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon His name, make known His deeds among the people."

As you join your grateful heart with ours today on THANKFUL THURSDAY, may you remember that today we may be expressing what is in our hearts and on our lips, but it isn't just for today...may we express it the other 6 days of the week as well.

 Iris and I will be co-hosting THANKFUL THURSDAY again this year. You will find the TT hosting schedule on each of our blogs, each of us will host a month at a time. We look forward to another year of sharing our thanks with one another. Please join us each week by linking up your TT post and together we will give God our honor and gratitude.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

LACED WITH GRACE....New Years Resolution, seek God first!

Today I have shared a devotion with the readers over at LACED WITH GRACE. If you are having trouble finding a good resolution to make this year, why not start with seeking God first! CLICK THE LINK to read this post!