Monday, October 31, 2016

Will You Stand?

There is no better time than today to decide where you stand. I'm afraid that after next weeks election results, no matter which way it goes, our beliefs and freedoms will be shaken.

I wonder how many will stand up for what they believe?

Last night, we took about 20 from our church to see the movie, "I am not ashamed", a movie about Rachel who was killed in the Columbine High shooting for being a Christian.

After watching this tear jerker, I couldn't help but reflect on what kind of a stand I would take in such a moment. I was reminded of Ephesians 6:13...

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

No matter how many times I read it, the word "Stand" keeps jumping out to me.

You may ask, "how can I stand up for what I believe in this evil world that I live?"

"The peace of God transcends all understanding." (Philippians 4:7)

When we come to understand that we have been placed right where we are for a purpose, we will see that we each have the power to impact others. The things that we stand for not only affect us but it greatly affects those standing by.

Stand up for God, not only in how you live your life but Stand even if it means your faith will cost you your life.

Know what you believe and STAND!


Thursday, October 27, 2016

God has the answers!

Last night I taught one of the hardest lessons to our youth group that I've ever taught, "What suicide is and what it is not." While suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-24, it is still the most silent topic for many. People don't know what to say or how to answer the unknown questions that arise from suicide.

Depression and Suicide, like many other difficult things in life, are one of those things you want to ask God, "why?" Perhaps you are staring at a "why God?" situation right now, looking for answers but running into a dead end.

I didn't have all of the answers for the youth class last night, but I was able to direct them to the source that does.... the Bible. The Bible is the inspired Word of God and a lamp unto our feet, It has a way of illuminating the answers to our questions.

In Genesis chapter 21, we read a story of a woman and a child who desperately needed some illumination (some insight) on their current situation. It all started with Abraham and Sarah. You see they had been promised a son in their old age, but Abraham was 90 years old and STILL no son! So Sarah decides to take things in her own hands and she came up with a plan; instead of waiting upon the Lord, she suggests to Abraham that he have a child with their servant, Hagar.

That was Sarah's plan, not God's. Eventually, God's plan comes to pass and Sarah does have a son, just like He promised. However, Sarah began to resent her servant, Hagar and the son she had with Abraham. So, Sarah banished them.

What was Hagar to do? She was fearful that her and her son, Ishmael would surely die of starvation. In her moment of searching, she cried out to God and the Bible says He answered...

"Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink." (Genesis 22:19)

What a perfect example of what we need today. Like Hagar, we desperately need the Lord. The answer was right in front of her, all she had to do was open her eyes. I don't know what questions you may have for God, but I do know that He will answer if you call out to Him, and He will illuminate your way if you just open your eyes.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

There is Cedar in all of us!

I have been watching the house up the street from us being transformed. It is currently under a major remodeling and makeover. The entire house has been gutted and each day as I drive by, I can see the transformation happening right before my eyes. This week, the house got some beautiful cedar wood siding put in place. It is gorgeous mixed in with the stone front.

As the workers labored the other day, I noticed the pile of lumber stacked by the house. I also noticed that each piece of lumber was selected carefully before being hung. I couldn't stop thinking about that beautiful cedar wood; how each piece was delicately and carefully selected for this remodel job. Lumberjacks would tell you that the strongest wood usually comes from the trees that have weathered the roughest storms and conditions.

I suppose you could say the same about people. The strongest people that I know are that way because of the strong winds and battles they have endured. Look at Moses; if you could ask him how he became the great man that he was, assuredly, he would remind you of his trials with Pharaoh and the testing that the wilderness days brought him. How about Joseph? Surely his great power and position did not come easy, Joseph had to go thru the pit and slavery first before he saw great things.

Just like that cedar wood, that passed thru all of the inspections to be considered the best and just like Moses and Joseph, God is using the the bumps and the rough edges in us to perfect us to be used for something great!

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10)

I don't know what kind of remodeling or transforming that God is doing in you, but I guarantee you that the rough stuff, the hurts and the troubles that you feel, are the very things that will give you strength for where you are headed.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Should Christians watch scary movies ?

With Halloween just around the corner, my husband and I have noticed there is not much to watch on TV. All of the blood, guts and scary movies are playing. I use to, back in the day, enjoy watching scary movies. The kind that had you at the edge of your seat. I remember when I was a teenager, going to the theatre to watch the horror shows with my friends, the scarier the better, because we knew going into it, that it was all fake.

But is it?

Now that I am older and a Believer in Christ, I have since changed my mind. The evil depicted in these horror movies may be fake on the screen, but evil in real life lurks around us and believe me, it is very real!

So how do we deal with these movies (and TV shows) that depict the use of magic, witchcraft and glorified violence? If you are a Christian, I believe that God wants you to use wisdom and be smart about the choices you make. I had to make a choice myself, was I willing to allow the evil thoughts and images to dance in my head from watching a movie or could I make a better choice?

"The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly." (Proverbs 15:14)

If you are still intrigued with the scary shows and wonder if it is ok for a Christian to watch, ask yourself this question, "should I watch this at all?" God said for us to have a pure heart and a clean mind. If the show you are about to watch will keep you from maintaining this, it may not be worth your time.

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." (Psalm 51:10) 

I can't tell you if watching the scary Halloween movies are wrong for you, but what I can do is suggest that you apply God's rating to the rating of the movie or show. Paul writes in Philippians that we should think on things that are excellent and praiseworthy; things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable. If you can spend 90 minutes watching ghosts, evil, mass killings, vampires, witchcraft and zombies and walk away feeling all those kind of things found in Philippians, more power to you. But I doubt that you can, I know I cannot.

I have come to know that there is a real enemy who lurks around to steal, kill and destroy. And he uses our mind and what we allow in our hearts and what we allow to be seen by our eyes to haunt and destroy us. I learned a long time ago in elementary school a very important logo, "garbage in, garbage out."

Keep the garbage out by keeping what's on the inside pure and clean. To do this, you may need to change the channel or switch theatres. Evil is not something to play around with.


Monday, October 24, 2016

What are we teaching?

Yesterday, during my husband's Sunday sermon, he reminded me of the startling fact that 80% of our children in church will leave their faith when they turn 18. 80%? That is 8 out of 10! That leads me to the question today, "What are we teaching?"

My husband also gave wise counsel to the congregation to be careful what we teach our little ones. If sports events, sleeping in or hanging with friends takes precedent over being in God's House on Sunday, could it be that we are teaching our kids that God is not important? Could we be contributing to that 80% statistic?

I've seen too many parents pour their heart and soul into the social and the athletic aspect of their child's life, while the spiritual investment takes back seat. I'm not saying that your child can't have fun, after all, my children all were involved in the school clubs, drama team, volleyball, baseball and football when they were young. But God and church commitments always came first.

I believe that we live in a day and age now that we MUST choose which side we live. Do we live for God or the world? Do we have a foot in or out? Are we hot or cold?

" Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)

God said that "no man can serve two masters", (Matthew 6:24) . I fear that we allow things to stand between us and our faith. When we allow other things to be more valued than our relationship with Christ, that "thing" becomes our master. We no longer serve God, but we serve those things that come before God. If we allow people or activities to take the place of serving God; then that something or someone has taken the place of who we serve. Whatever excuse we use, the bottom dollar is that when we choose to not be faithful to God, we just taught someone watching us that God is not as important to us as they thought.

The Bible says that our God is a jealous God, (see Exodus 34:14).  For this reason He will not stand to be placed second to anything. Growing up in church and raising my own family in church, I have learned that there is a balance and that by placing God at the top of my list, it not only makes my life seem smoother but my families lives as well. We must stand back and look at what we are teaching our children, not just at what we say but what they see us do.

Here are 4 reasons why it is imperative that we place God first in our busy schedules and lives and not as a back up plan:

1. It will teach compassion. As early as when kids learn to talk, they learn to reach out to people. Take a hurting parent and watch what a child will do; they will either try to solve the problem or they will come alongside and offer kindness or comfort to their parent. Children will follow your lead when they see you caring for those hurting in your church.

2. It will teach a godly work ethic. Everyone knows that we should have a good work ethic, but what about a godly work ethic? Our children need to see us demonstrating what faithfulness and obedience looks like thru how we work for God.

3. It will teach servanthood. The word "giving" isn't just about money. When we are faithful to God, that doesn't just mean with our time, but our talents and treasures too. When we put God first, that means in everything. We teach others by giving back to God what is His, not what is leftover, or a small portion, but what God deserves. He deserves our very best!

4. It will teach discernment. No one knows if someone is being genuine more then a child. They can spot a phony a mile away. When we put God first and seek His wisdom, we are teaching discernment. Even when our motives are pure, kids must learn that not everyone else's are, but the importance is to have the wisdom to know the difference. This comes from spiritual guidance.

There are so many other lessons to be learned from choosing to be faithful to God. These 4 basic teachings may be difficult to spot if we are not putting God first. Yes, I know God is everywhere, He can be with us at a Razorback game, or at a birthday party or in our recliner at home. But today, I am asking the question, "What are you teaching?"

The most effective life lessons are taught when we don't even realize we are teaching. I want to change that crazy statistic, I don't know about you, but 80% is too great of a number to lose our kids to. I want to place God #1 in all that I do and I don't want it to just be something I say, but something I do ...and something that I teach someone who is watching me.

"I say what I mean and I mean what I say". (Dr. Seuss)


Friday, October 21, 2016

Built on Solid Ground

What would your dream house look like? I always imagined mine to be a beach house overlooking the ocean with an all around, floor to ceiling, glass windows. No matter where you stood in the house, you could take in the beauty of the sunrise or listen to the sounds of the crashing waves.

Beautiful, but, how realistic and smart would that be? Not much privacy from the beach walkers, not to mention the risk of violent storms crashing in all of those windows. What a mess all that shattered glass would be. Its a good thing that not all houses are limited to our imagination.

I guess that's why there are seldom two houses built the same. Even if the same contractor builds them, no two people have the same "imaginations" or plans. "Different strokes for different folks" is the saying and variety is usually well played out. Not just in house building but in the kingdom of God as well.

Look at what 1 Corinthians says that having a variety can accomplish...

"Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, 'I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,' that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, 'I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,' would that make it any less part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell? But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where He wants it." (1 Corinthians 12:14-18)

You see, God does not give everyone the same gifts. If He did, everyone would be doing the same thing and something would be left undone. Not everyone can live in glass beach houses while the white picket farmhouses are forgotten. After all, what would we eat if the farmhouses were neglected while we all soaked up the sun and sea?

The point is that God never intended all of us to do the same thing. He has a specific thing for each of us to do, not just where we live or where we work but God has a specific thing that He has equipped each of us to do in the church and His Kingdom.

Not everyone is called to be the preacher. If God calls you to preach, then preach. Not everyone is called to be a teacher. If God calls you to teach, then teach. Not everyone is called to sing in the choir. If God calls you to sing, then sing. Not everyone is called to work with children. If God has called you to work with kids, work with kids. If the teacher is trying to sing while the singers are trying to work with kids, isn't that like trying to use your ear to smell with or opening your eye to listen with?

The body works better when everyone is doing their part, not someone else's part. Maybe you are still back on the beach, thinking that the glass beach house still sounds appealing but you are not quite sure. Not sure what your part is in the Kingdom of God, perhaps.

Take a minute to examine yourself. Usually that means examine your heart, but today I want you to examine yourself, literally. Look at your hands. Now look at your feet. Look at your eyes, your nose, your ears. Think about all of the things that you are able to do with these parts... now how can you offer these gifts, talents and abilities that God has given you to further God's kingdom?

Can you sing? Can you cook? Can you build something? Can you clean? Can you tell others about what God has done for you? Do you like to encourage people? Can you bake, can you fish, can you sew?

 What CAN you do? Do it! And watch God build His House on solid ground, not sinking sand.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

What to do if you dont understand

When we are faced with real life hurts, disappointments and tragedy, trusting God isn't always easy, especially when you don't understand. It is much easier to say, "trust God" when things are going well, but what if your world gets turned upside down and you don't  understand why?

I've had to ask myself that question, in the midst of asking God "why", I've had to make that choice of Whom will I trust for those things that don't seem clear or seem reasonable to me... my own
understanding or God's all knowing wisdom?

God doesn't mind us asking why; He fully understands that we will have questions. He is more concerned with what will we do with His answer, than He is with us questioning Him. I have some friends today asking God the "why" question. Tragedy has hit hard some family and friends near me and even though I cannot offer an answer to the "why" questions, I can encourage you today with 4 things to remember about trusting God when you don't understand...

1. Consider Who God is

"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." (Revelation 22:13)

Man is fallible, but with God, nothing escapes His eye. If He can hold the whole world in His Hands, what is your concern or mine to Him? Consider the source and how trustworthy and powerful the Alpha and Omega is. There is no other like Him.

2. You can trust Him

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding." (Proverbs 3:5)

No matter how scary things may seem, we must decide Who or what we will lean upon for strength. Trusting God does not mean you will not find yourself in uncomfortable circumstances, however, trusting God is saying you trust His ways more than your own. God's ways are much higher than ours and He will make a way. But we have to let God have His way; that means take our hands off and walk in obedience, no matter how uncomfortable it feels.

3. Simply obey

"Obedience is better than sacrifice." (1 Samuel 15:22)

God places so much emphasis on our obedience that He places it higher than offering up sacrificial praise. Even in times of confusion, God is calling us to trust and obey Him. God pours out blessings on those who choose to obey Him.

4. God will lead you

"The Lord said to Abram, 'Leave your native country, your relatives, and your family and go to the land that I will show you." (Genesis 12:1)

Sometimes, God places us in a situation that seems foreign but in a place that we must trust Him for everything. It is during these times that we learn to walk by faith not by sight.

Trusting God even when we don't understand His plan is simply a step of faith. What do you need faith for today? Whatever it is, I want you to know that you can trust God. You may not understand the "why" but you can trust the "Who!"


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Let's Dance

One of the worst feelings anyone could ever feel has to be that of not feeling like they are enough. Not feeling worthy. Not feeling like they belong.
This thought took me down memory lane to elementary school; gym class to be exact. It was my sixth grade year and for some crazy reason my gym teacher thought it would be sensational to have her less than coordinated, clumsy, 6th grade students learn to square dance. Of course, the only sensible and logical way to pair off the dance teams would be to line up boys on one wall and girls on the other wall, and count off. Once the count off was completed, all the ones with the same number would line up on the square dance square, picking their partner.
There was always that one that no one seemed to want to pick. Perhaps it was the uncoordinated one. Or the unpopular one. Sometimes it was someone I felt sorry for and sometimes I was the one.
Whoever was the last to be picked, it surely left a mark; a feeling of not being wanted or not feeling good enough.
The enemy uses that same feeling, that same emotion, that same lie, to torment us as we go thru the rest of our lives after gym class. Throughout scripture, It is clear that God loves us. God is passionate about us and wants good things for us; if not, He would never have sent His Son to die for us.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” (John 3:16)
The enemy knows all about this and he doesn’t want us to know about this kind of love, he would rather we look around and see how others see us and take that “gym class” let down mentality and let it become who we are. But God wants us to know that He sees us and even if no one else chooses us, He does. And He did!
This kind of acceptance cannot be found anywhere else. No man will ever find us good enough or worthy. There will always be something to measure up to, or to earn or to prove. We can thank Adam and Eve for this, for it was their weakness that allowed satan to convince them that God’s love was not enough for them.
“‘You will not surely die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good from evil.’ When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband and he ate it.” (Genesis 3:4-6)
Imagine how God must have felt when Adam and Eve decided that God’s love was not enough for them. I can only imagine that same feeling is felt when you and I ask, “Is it enough?” How disappointing it must be for God to not be chosen, especially when all options are lined up and He is clearly the best choice.
Sixth grade gym class was a long time ago and those feelings of not being chosen surface from time to time when I feel rejected by my family, my friends, my peers; but because of the great love of Christ, I am guaranteed to never dance alone. God has chosen me and He has chosen you.
Let’s dance.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

No Turning Back

One of my favorite old songs we use to sing in church is, "I have decided to follow Jesus". This song takes me back to the little white church I grew up in on Cherry Street in Green Bay, WI.

I thought about those great hymn sings in that little church today as I was reading in the book of Luke. I came across this one passage that leaped out at me and instantly the words of that song played in my head..."The world behind me, the cross before me. No turning back, no turning back."

Luke 9:62 says, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."

When I look at the words of this scripture and the words of that song, I can't help but see a profound biblical truth for us today: a Christians life must keep going forward to reach the prize.

Many great military leaders in history have gone to war and fought the fight. Some have relented and thrown up their hands in defeat. Some have even retreated.

For the Christian, we must not give up. We must not get discouraged to the point of quitting. We must not retreat.

As the sun was setting on Paul's ministry, he wrote...

 "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:7)

Paul was "struck down, but not destroyed" (2 Corinthians 4:9). After being stoned and left to die, Paul got up and moved forward.  "But one thing I do," Paul said, " forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize." (Philippians 3:13,14)

I don't know what kind of battle you face today, but I do know that God doesn't want you to give up. He has brought you this far for a reason and like Paul, you may feel struck down but friend, you are NOT destroyed.

Keep your eye on the prize, and when things get tough, don't turn back...thats not where Jesus is, He is in front of you.

Decide to follow Jesus. No turning back!


Monday, October 17, 2016

Got questions? God has the answer.

How do you deal with bossy people? Everyday I am surrounded by people who want to tell me what to do, what to think, what to wear and how to act. So are you. If you don't get it from those you work with or go to school with, all you have to do is turn on the television and be bombarded by social pressure to drive a certain car, wear a certain brand of shoe or become more like a certain superstar.

People not only like to tell us what to do but they like to tell us how things are. "If you don't follow my diet plan, you cannot be lean and mean." Diet and fashion are not the only things people pressure us about. People via social media have no qualms to tell people their opinion or if they think YOU are wrong.

Face it, no one likes to be told what to do or what to be. God included. But yet we find ourselves doing this very thing to God, telling Him how it is. How many times have you prayed and poured your heart out to God about your problems or moment of crisis and then follow it up with a plan of action of how God can fix your problems (or fix someone who is a problem). We tend to give God our "blessing" checklist as if God can't come up with ways to shower blessings upon us.

Here we are, doing to God what we dislike others doing to us. Here we are, telling God how things are or ought to be. Here we are, questioning God when things don't go as we see. Just like Job, we question God. But the same answer given to Job is the same answer that applies to you and me today...

"Who are you to question Me?" Where were you when I formed the mountains and told the water you can go this far and no further?" "Have you commanded the mornings?" "Can you make it rain?"

How easily it is for us to forget about the awesome Hand of God. How He created all things and sustains all things, He sees all, knows all, and IS all! Not everything is for our knowledge, not everything is for our understanding and God doesn't always do things according to our plan.

"God's voice thunders in marvelous ways; He does great things beyond our understanding." (Job 37:5)

God doesn't mind our questions, but whose voice of reason will you bend an ear to? May we all humble ourselves before God and trust Him for the answers and the blessings that He chooses to extend. Even if it is not in our understanding, God's ways are always higher (and better) than ours.

God isn't trying to be bossy, but with all respect, when is the last time you created a heaven and earth and all that is in it? Trust the great Creator for everything that you are in need of, even those things that you completely do not understand. God has a plan and He has an answer for every one of our questions.


Friday, October 14, 2016

Please Pray Before You Vote: my only political post you will see

In just a little over 3 weeks we will usher in a new President of the United States. I am sure you have your doubts, concerns and turmoil like many do over this change of arms. I will never use this platform of where I pen my thoughts for political gain or political attack like so many others do. It is not my business whom you vote for and it is not your business who I cast my vote for. Who we stand behind in the political race really isn't the issue at hand, rather, Who do we stand with.

The headline news, the bickering debates, the heated Facebook posts all lead me to wonder where can we even begin. I am not sure of any of the candidates brought before us, all that I am sure of is that America has a deep ache in their hearts for a land that needs God's mercy.

I'm not sure where all of this fear comes from; because the God that I serve never leaves us to fend for ourselves. He said He would never leave us or forsake us, so why are we wretched with this worry and fear? The last time I read the last book of the Bible, God still rules, He hasn't lost control, He has a plan and His divine purpose WILL prevail.

Everyone is trying to decide who is the more evil one, Clinton or Trump? All the while forgetting that God Himself has had plenty of experience dealing with evil leaders. In 2 Kings, Elijah, whom was a great prophet of God during a time of great evil leaders, was spared by God. Elijah was brought to heaven via a chariot without ever facing death. But even at this merciful hand of God, evil still went on...

King Hosea, the last king of Israel, was attacked by the Assyrian nation and destroyed. The king of Assyrian gave the land to other people of different countries. (2 Kings 17)

King Hezekiah of Judah was a good king whom trusted God but made some mistakes. He had a son, Manasseh who was very evil and killed alot of people. This angered God so He decided to destroy the nation of Judah. (2 Kings 21:1-18)

But Josiah, the grandson of Manasseh became king and he was a good king who served God and led his people to serve God. This caused God to turn His heart back for the nation of Judah. But after Josiah's death, all the kings of Judah were evil. Take king Nebuchadnezzar, he destroyed Jerusalem. (2 Kings, chapters 2 &3)

So, what do these kings of the Old Testament have to do with us today? Alot. Take some time to dig into the Word and see for yourself that when the kings served God, God helped them. However, the kings who did not and did evil things, God opposed them. The lesson for us today is who are we going to serve?

We must follow God and trust Him. No hidden emails, secret meetings and discolored locker room talks come as a surprise to God. He knows it all and He is no less powerful than when He rose Elijah into the heavens riding on a chariot.

I can't tell you who to vote for, but I do urge you to pray. Three things that we, as Christians, need to bombard heaven for:

1. Pray that our nation will return to God.

"If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)

2. Pray for our leaders and those in authority. Even if it is not your supported candidate, pray for our next President.

"I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people; for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness." (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

3. Pray for our hope to be steadfast in the Lord.

"Look at the nations and watch; and be utterly amazed for I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told." (Habakkuk 1:5)

I love that last verse. Yes, God is on the case. No worries, because He is not biting His nails or pacing the heaven floors about this election. We can rest assured that He has a plan and evil will not overpower the King of kings! (read the book of Revelation)

Now, I've got to ask you a question... about this upcoming election... have you prayed about it as much as you've fretted about it? If not, please pray before you cast your vote. And please vote, its your responsibility and privilege.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Cast your Cares

The saying is true … “when it rains, it pours.” And for some people, it has been raining hard. Today, as I was going over my prayer journal and calling out names that I had written down, I couldn’t help notice that so many families right now are going thru some heavy torrential storms: prayer requests for adult children addicted to drugs, for marriages that are broken, for constant conflict and drama in families and for serious physical ailments. All of these families I mention from my journal come from strong Christian homes.
I hurt for these godly moms who are hurting for their families. They all love God, serve Him and trust Him but yet they find themselves in this time of difficulty, with winds so strong they barely can hold on.
Sometimes what makes sense on paper or even in our mind never settles in our heart. No one wants turmoil for their children and just like these mom’s on my prayer list, God feels the pain and He doesn’t want any of it for His children either.
I heard a preacher once preach a sermon about coping and he said, “It is difficult to wrap your heart around trouble when it pierces your soul.” So what can we do when our heart breaks in half? How do we pray for our sisters that are barely holding on because of their pierced souls?
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you; casting all your cares on Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6,7)

God does not want us to “cope” with our troubles, He said give it all to Him. The thing that I see happening whenever we try to cope is that we end up trying to accept things as they are or we try to hang on for as long as we can. Coping is like a rope; given enough weight or pressure, it WILL break or unravel. Coping is nothing but a rope, just waiting for things (or us) to come unraveled.
God said give it to Him so that way we no longer have to hold it. That is the beauty of casting our cares upon Him, we no longer have to struggle with the load because He’s got it. And when God calms the storm, every single time there is a rainbow, indicating that He is greater and stronger and nothing is too great for Him.
Cast your cares and see if your storm doesn’t settle down. Exchange your rope for a beautiful rainbow.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Appreciate your Pastor

Typically in the month of October, across the states, local churches honor their Pastors with appreciation for Pastor Appreciation month. This week is designated "Pastor Appreciation week", so with all of that said, I thought I would designate todays blog post with some thoughts from scripture on how to honor your Pastor.

Before I begin, let me say that I have been on both sides of the fence; I have served under many Pastors and for the past 17+ years, I have served with my husband as we have labored as Pastor's . In both roles, it has been an honor and privilege to serve my Pastor.

Let's understand what the word "serving" means, or rather, what it doesn't mean. Serving your Pastor does not mean that you will always agree or see eye to eye. I have not always been on the same page as my Pastor and certainly not the one I am married to at all times. God never said to agree always but He did urge us to honor them and be at peace with one another:

"And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their works sake." (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13)

The role of "Pastor" is one of the five gifts of church leadership office as outlined in Ephesians (4:11-13) and it is considered a gift that God has bestowed upon the church. Serving in such a capacity is truly an awesome blessing while at the same time overwhelming as God raises the bar for accountability.

I am sure that each of you love and appreciate your Pastor as I do mine. As someone who gets to go home with her Pastor, I can tell you that the hat your Pastor wears on Sunday morning doesn't come off when they leave the building. A Pastor is on call 24/7, and will be at your hospital bedside, your loved ones funeral or your child's school function as often as they can be. Many times putting their needs and their families needs aside. A Pastor not only loves their congregation but they pray for them and serves them endlessly and selflessly. I guess this is why we take this time out to appreciate our Pastors efforts, because many times we have no idea what all these dedicated men and women do behind the scenes and we take it for granted.

We always appreciate the lunches and dinners this time of the year, not to mention the pies and cakes, but can I give you 3 simple things from God's Word that will encourage your Pastor more than anything and not even cost a dime?

1. Serve with your Pastor.  No Pastor can do it alone and shouldn't do it alone. Be an armor bearer.

"Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins," (James 5:19-20)

2. Submit to your Pastor. Even in differences, God says we are to submit to the authority that He places over us. Always seek peace in all that you do, not only with your Pastor present but also when he/she is not around.

"Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy, not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you." (Hebrews 13:17)

3. Stand with your Pastor. Just like you get discouraged, so do Pastors. They carry a heavy load and they need not only the first two things I mentioned, but they need your support too. When things are going great and when things are alittle rocky - support your Pastor! Pastors need to know that you are on their team.

"Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine." (1 Timothy 5:17)

There are so many other things I could write on this topic, but for the sake of space today, I would urge you, if it is hard for you to do any of the above 3 things, then first and foremost, please saturate yourself in prayer. Pray for your Pastor, pray for your church and pray that God would use you to be the encouragement that not only your Pastor needs, but that God needs you to be.

I hope your Pastor has a great Pastor Appreciation week; bake a cake or something sweet if you want, but don't forget to let your spiritual leader know that you love them and are praying for them. Prayer is the best gift any Pastor could receive.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

God is with you...always!

God is with us everywhere we go.

That statement right there should not only give us assurance but it should also scare us straight. I am so glad that wherever I go, I am not alone. God told Joshua to be strong and to have courage. Then He told him this...

"The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9)

Sometimes when we go thru things, other people just don't get us, they don't understand how we feel. It can leave us feeling alone and like no one cares but look around when this happens and see Gods presence. He never leaves us. He is always present.

Even when we find ourselves in places that we know we shouldn't be. When we hang out with the wrong people or do things in secret that we think no one sees; God is there with us. He sees us. He knows us. He is present even when we are not aware of it.

"Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you." (Isaiah 43:1-3)

I love how God says we are His. He walks with us everywhere we go and He is leading us, guiding us and believing in us. Even when we take a wrong turn, He never leaves our side.

I think of my own kids, when they were growing up it was impossible for me to watch them at all times. It never failed, the one moment I took my eyes off of them is when something would happen. They would slip or they would wander off or they would get into mischief. No doubt, if they knew momma was watching, they would never have put their hand in the cookie jar!

While a parent can never see everything, God does. He always has His eye on us and even when we get our hand caught in the cookie jar, He saw it coming a mile away but yet He never once took His eye off of us.

I don't know where life finds you today. Maybe in a place with some cookie crumbs on your hands, if so, remember that God is with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He will just love you and guide you, if you will let Him.


Monday, October 10, 2016


Have you ever said to yourself, "I am finished!" I have. In fact, just this past week I had to deal with a situation that did not end very favorably. After much soul searching, I came up with one solution: "I'm over it!"

That's right. I said it..."I'm done", "I'm over it", "It is finished"! But is it? Is it ever finished when a relationship goes bad? or a conversation turns heated? or a friend turns on you or a worse yet, a family member? Can it be done and over with if there is no resolve to the difficulty or confusion? If a "I'm sorry" is never verbalized, can it truly be finished?

There are a lot of things in life that go unfinished. Like our daily chores. How many times are we truly caught up on the laundry and there is no more to tend to? Very rarely. But Jesus serves as the prime example that when the end is near, we can all look back and see that the difficulties and hardships were not all for nothing. That the end is the end and there is no more to come. Even when there are no apologies, true forgiveness can be extended. Isn't that what Jesus did for you and me?

"When He had received the drink, Jesus said, 'It is finished.' " (John 19:30)

Often as adults, we go through life battling with regret. We wish we had more time, we wish we had done things differently, we wish that the clock could be turned back. People can literally be crippled in life with these feelings of regret and remorse and "If only". Today I am not talking about the "what ifs", but what do we do when life struggles set us back, can we truly say to ourselves and to God, "it IS finished!"?

Jesus, the Son of God completed the task set before Him. Even though some did not believe. Some ridiculed Him. Some spat at Him. And some turned their back on Him. Even so, He fought the fight to the very end and when the end came, with love in His heart even for those who betrayed Him, He was able to say to God...IT IS FINISHED.

As you look to your circumstances today and you declare that you are done with it or done with someone; think about the cross. Think about the sacrifice. Think about the love. And then when you declare you are finished ... give it to God and let it be done and let the glory be His.

To God be the Glory for the things that HE has done!


Friday, October 7, 2016



Face it, there are just some days that putting one foot in front of the other is a struggle. I can muster up my own discouragement without the help of others. And on those days that I am feeling totally unable, unusable, unfit - that is NOT the day that I need someone else to come alongside me and kick me when I'm down.

Discouragement; some days we just don't see the full picture, the grey area becomes solid black and God? - He seems far off and in the distance.

I know I am not the only one who feels this way sometimes, in fact, David who wrote the Psalms faced days, even years, like this in his own life. The book of Psalms are full of verses that express his own despair and feeling of abandonment.

Yet, it is here, in the book of Psalms, that I find the encouragement to live my life victoriously despite the dark periods in my life:

"Forever, O Lord, Your Word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations. Your established the earth, and it stands." (Psalm 119:89,90)

The thing about the circumstances in our life is this: they may change us, but our circumstances NEVER change God. God is the same today as He was on creation day when He created the stars, the moon and the sky. He is the same as the day that He led the Israelites through the Red Sea. God is the same as the day He fed 5,000 with just 5 fish. Our circumstances may change, but God never does!

It perplexes me still, that people, including close family and friends will choose to bring discouragement unto others. The words they speak, the actions they choose cause me to think that they do not see the full picture either. How can they? If their words tear down, how can they see the good God is doing?

Life brings enough troubles on its own, I would like to encourage you this day that if you feel discouraged because of something someone said or did, or you just feel unworthy in some area of your life; look to God, see His faithfulness and trust Him with your circumstances. Trust me, no matter what your circumstances look like, God isn't surprised and He wont change His mind about you because of it.


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Stumbling Blocks

Stumbling Blocks

Have you ever stumbled over something? I have. In that moment when our feet won't work right and they get entangled and we fall on our face, what can we do?

The first thing I would do is look around and see if anyone witnessed my fall. I've stumbled before and have heard people chuckle at my klutziness. But have you ever tripped someone accidentally and caused them to fall? Not as funny, is it?

Stumbling blocks. No one wants to be one or have them in their life.

Before we can avoid stumbling blocks, we must first recognize them. Many people will say if you do this or do that (insert your own do or don't), it will cause someone to stumble. While that may be true, because it could, let me insert a thought here:

Someone else's guilt or belief cannot be put on you as wrong unless, UNLESS, it goes against God's Word.

In other words if your friend thinks it's wrong to go to the beach with mixed company, it doesn't make it wrong per say, because face it, there isn't an 11th commandment: "Thou shalt not go to the beach with the opposite sex."

That is simply the opinion of one person. A stumbling block as referenced in the Bible is talking about avoiding those things in our life that serve as an obstacle to our relationship with Christ. Anything that would serve as a snare, a temptation or a means to come between you and the Lord.

The phrase “stumbling block” is actually used 14 times in various translations of the Bible. Now that we understand "what" a stumbling block can be, "who" can be one?

Anyone can be one, even those doing great things for the Lord can at times present stumbling blocks to us. Look at Peter.

Jesus called Peter a stumbling block after Peter rebuked the Lord for confessing that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priest and the teachers of the law. When Jesus said that He must be killed but on the third day He would be raised to life, Peter insisted that such a thing would never happen. Selfishness was at the root of Peter’s words and Jesus recognized it for what it was...

“Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns’” (Matthew 16:23, NIV).

Peter was more concerned about himself than the plan of God, and therefore he presented a stumbling block.

Jesus was perfect. We are not. But how often has someone, even with good intentions, discouraged us from following the will God has for our life?

Jesus was quick to recognize the stumbling blocks along the way and He was quick to confront them and press on.

You and I must learn to do the same. Stumbling is not funny, not to God, not when someone spiritually stumbles and falls. May we all consider one another and if someone believes it's wrong to go to the beach with mixed company; put your toes in the sand at another time, so your friend will not be offended, so they may not fall into sin or stumble at your expense.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

TODAY'S DAILY...two is better than one!

Whenever you think you can go it alone, think again. Everyone needs someone.

In the book of Ecclesiastes, it even suggests that two are better than one...

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; if one falls down, his friend can help." (Ecc. 4:9)

Too many times in my own life when things hit me hard, I hesitate to ask for help. In my own mind and heart I think flying solo is best.

But I am wrong.

God never meant for us to go thru life alone. Nothing could be more truer than the statement of "two is better than one" when it comes to spiritual matters in our life.

The enemy may easily overpower the one that stands alone, but two can stick together and defend themselves more easily. Think about the young sheep who gets away from the flock, it becomes the target of easy prey; but when the young sheep is surrounded by other sheep the enemy will stay back afraid of being ambushed.

The writer of Ecclesiastes says it even more eloquently...

"A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." (Verse 12)

If you find yourself feeling alone today, I urge you, first of all, know that you are NOT alone because God is with you but secondly, you do NOT need to go thru discouragement, struggles and life alone.

I need you. You need me. And we all need God. Together, we can stand together because two IS better than one!