Wednesday, April 30, 2008


....our troops

Today I am anxious because my son is coming home in 24 hours!

Jeremy has spent the past two years serving God in an awesome way as he serves our Country as an airman in the United States Air Force. This visit is sweet for me because there will only be one more time I will be able to see him, or touch him, or hug him or kiss him before he leaves for a one year term of duty in Korea.

Ever since my son got orders to go to Korea, I have heard one very familiar comment, "at least he isn't going to Iraq". I don't mean to step on toes here...but ....can I suggest that the LOCATION of duty does not mean less harm or less importance (or less heartache). When you have a loved one serving in the military, a piece of your heart goes to whatever piece of land they are protecting, whether it is here in the states or overseas somewhere.

With my son's homecoming fresh on my mind, I want to dedicate this weeks THANKFUL THURSDAY to all of the men and women who currently serve our country. How grateful I am, that they continue to defend what those who have served before them have fought for.







- You can show support for our troops by praying for them daily. If you have family members or church members in the military...make a list and call their names out daily and pray for their families. They need support and prayer also!

-This summer support the "100,000 Bibles for our troops in 100 days" promotion. Tyndale Publishing is sponsoring a program to supply our troops with Bibles. Starting June 1st, you can purchase a Bible for $4.99 and send to our troops. ... CLICK HERE for more information on how you can participate.

-When you see someone in military uniform...tell them THANK YOU!

I hope that you take time to watch the slideshow I prepared (top of side bar). Sure hope you have enjoyed today's THANKFUL THURSDAY, for more thankful posts, visit the site of IRIS and check out other thankful hearts!

Blessings, Laurie

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

LATE NIGHT CONSTRUCTION... a piece of my heart


"Now determine in your mind and HEART to seek the Lord your God"

Last night I had to drive to the airport to pick my husband up. He has been in Boston for the past five days teaching a Christian Education Seminar. His arrival time was to be at 5 pm, but due to rain, his flight was delayed in Boston. Upon arrival in Chicago, he had missed his connection to Memphis so he had to wait for the next flight. 4 1/2 hours later he was finally boarding a plane to come home.

He was to arrive in Memphis around 10 pm, I headed out the door at 9:30 to drive across the mississippi river to meet him as he got off of the plane. But I did not get very far, the traffic on the bridge was backed up, and not moving. All around me were these big semi trucks and I was crunched right in the middle.

hmmmm. Was it an accident up ahead? or a construction zone? If you live around here, you are too familiar with the nightmare of needing to get across the river when there is a delay on the bridge. Unfortunetly, there is no other way to get across the river besides waiting it out.

I waited awhile, but nobody was moving. All three lanes were at a standstill.

....I can't stand to be late!
....and now my husband was going to have to WAIT at another airport for who knows how long just because I can't get across the bridge!

It was getting late and I was all alone (not the safest thing to do at 10:00 at night in Memphis) and I only have 2 bars left on my cell phone before it is going to die. If only there was another way to get there, I thought. Certainly there is an escape from this nightmare of a traffic jam so late at night.

Just right ahead, there is the last exit right before the river. If only I could get over to it. I could at least turn around and go home and wait this out. I edge my way between two big semi trucks and weave over into the next lane. I see my escape ahead, the exit waits for me.

As I get nearer to the exit, I see ahead what the problem is. It isn't an accident at all. It is late night construction. They are replacing something and have the highway closed. I am able to get off the highway and manuever my way around past the construction and get back on the highway and make my way across the bridge.

My husband's plane was I had plenty of time to be in position to greet him as he arrived. Isn't God good!

I share all of that because today as I was thinking about this delay that I experienced, God reminded me that too often we come upon "bumps in the road" or "detours" in life. When life's problems come at us hard, we look for exits or escapes to get us out of the difficulty.

We forget that sometimes God needs us to slow down, and look to Him for the answer. He has already provided us with a way of escape, but we need to lean upon His understanding and let God take control of the wheel.

"No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it."

So if you find yourself late at night (or during the day) looking for an escape...


and that's a piece of my heart today;

Blessings, Laurie

Sunday, April 27, 2008

NEW LEADERS...this week's devotion


The United States is forever looking for new leaders. Every four years Presidential candidates traipse across the country, starting in Iowa, kissing babies, speaking at official functions, and in general trying to convince the people that they have the answers for what ails us.

Currently, all we have to do is turn on the television or pick up a newspaper and see all of the "promises" our current Presidential candidates are offering. We've heard the promises all before and I am confident in another four years we will hear it again. No matter how often we change the faces, the problems seem to find a way to continue. And promises meant for good go unmet.

Over 2000 years ago, Jesus pointed out that the problem was not finding new leaders, but rather finding a new style of leadership. The style of leadership of that day, is very similiar to what we see today, a leadership of self serving. This type of leadership has several shortcomings.
  • For one thing, the leader benefits far more than the followers do. They get the power and perks while the needs of the people are most often ignored. People will only tolerate that for so long.
  • Secondly, a dominant style of leadership is dependent soley on the main leaders insights. They don't listen to others. They often are not concerned with others. This means a very limited perspective when trying to address complex social needs.
  • Thirdly, Where does the cycle end? Self-focused people serve themselves for awhile and then are replaced by more self-focused people.
What Jesus called for was a NEW style of leadership-servant leadership!

Instead of taking a position of leadership to feel important or to control others or to get special perks, or any of the other self-serving reasons people have, He called on people to lead through serving God and others.

In the book of Luke we read the words of Christ; (chapter 22, verse 26-27)...
"But it must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever is greatest among you must become like the youngest, and whoever leads, like the one serving. (27) For who is greater, the one at the table or the one serving? Isn't it the one at the table? But I am among you as the One who serves."

When Christ spoke these words, He knew that He was about to die on a cross. The disciples were with Him at the Last Supper. They would go out to the Mount of Olives where Jesus would be betrayed by Judas Iscariot and arrested. He would become the victim of an unjust trial and then executed in one of the most cruel manners conceived by mankind...crucifixion.

Nevertheless, Jesus understood that His days on earth to teach His disciples how to become leaders were limited. We can see in Scripture, that Jesus chose from the very beginning to teach His disciples how to lead, so that they could lead His church forward after He had ascended to Heaven to be with His Father.

Jesus did not try to micromanage, He didn't tell them specifically where to lead, but how to lead. He wanted the Disciples to understand what had gone on before them. King David had once been a powerful king who dominated his part of the world. He made the rules. Jesus wanted to teach the Disciples that leadership is not through power, but through service!

Last week in the YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers of this blog about feeling like a servant. I asked, "as an adult, when do you most feel like a servant?" The top 3 results of that poll indicate that at times we all feel like a servant:

1. 42% polled indicated that they feel like a servant when someone tells them to do something rather than ask.
2. 23% of the voters also indicated that they feel like a servant whenever they have to pick up stuff in the house that someone else threw there.
3. 23% also indicated they feel like servants whenever they work long hours and have no time for fun.

Having a servant's heart and attitude is different than being mistreated or having unreasonable expectations put on you. This type of servant leadership I am talking about is not necessarily picking up everyones dirty socks around the house.

Jesus called for Christians to take on a different style of leadership. He wanted a servant leadership that could help people find liberation...not from political forces, but from the sin, the violence and the hate that so enslaved humankind.

"If the Son sets you free, you really will be free." - JESUS CHRIST

It took Jesus' first disciples a while to adapt to the leadership style that He was calling them to have. This high calling of servant leadership is not just a measuring stick for those in high profile leadership positions. It is our responsibility to educate ourselves on the current issues, and the current political candidates views, but the standard of servant leadership begins with me, it begins with you, all of us!

What style of leadership are you leading by?

Are you leading your sunday school class by serving others?
Are you leading your family by serving them unconditionally?
Are you leading your co-workers to Jesus by the way you act and speak at work?

It is my prayer that today you will choose to lead by serving God and serving others!


"which of the following would you least likely do right now, because it would lower your standard?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


As I meditated upon what I could share for this week's THANKFUL THURSDAY, I was brought back to earlier in my day when something was said that caused my mood to quickly change in my household. My kids negativity towards each other quickly altered my mood!

Moods can bring strange impulses; when we get moody, we want to do weird things or neglect our responsibilities. "I don't feel like doing anything today, I am in a bad mood! Just leave me alone!!"

Sound familiar?

Disciplined people submit their emotions to wisdom. They say, "These are my feelings, but I don't live by my feelings. I may have moods, but they don't dictate my actions." We will enjoy our day alot more if we discipline ourselves to do what we believe and not what we feel!
Therefore, today I am THANKFUL for DISCIPLINE....
1. I AM THANKFUL that when someone says something against me...God gives me the DISCIPLINE to forgive!

2. I AM THANKFUL that when things don't go the way I had planned...God gives me the DISCIPLINE of acceptance!

3. I AM THANKFUL that when I can't see how things are going to work out...God gives me the DISCIPLINE of peace!

4. I AM THANKFUL that when my unsaved friend is in need...God gives me the DISCIPLINE of discernment!

5. I AM THANKFUL that when I don't have the answers to lifes problems...God gives me the DISCIPLINE of reading His Word!

6. I AM THANKFUL that when my life gets so busy and out of control...God gives me the DISCIPLINE of time management!

7. I AM THANKFUL that when I am in need...God gives me the DISCIPLINE to give to others less fortunate!

8. I AM THANKFUL that when I don't feel like going to church...God gives me the DISCIPLINE to gather with fellow believers!

9. I AM THANKFUL that when my mood says "I can't do it!"...God gives me the DISCIPLINE to be an overcomer!

10. I AM THANKFUL that when I am faced with so many decisions...God gives me the DISCIPLINE to choose Him daily!

PROVERBS 1:3 "Receive instruction in wise dealing and the discipline of wise thoughtfulness, righteousness, justice, and integrity."


Have a THANKFUL THURSDAY. Visit IRIS for more Thankful Thursday postings!

Blessings, Laurie

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

YOUR BACK IS COVERED...a piece of my heart


"Now determine in your mind and HEART to seek the Lord your God."

For the past year and half I have had severe back pain and now am nursing a pinched nerve. I have tried Chiropractic care and recently have consulted a neurologist for any kind of treatment that would relieve me of the discomfort; I am willing to try anything to keep from having surgery.

The latest treatment that my family decided would be great for me is to have massage treatments. My husband and Son #3 purchased me some massage coupons at a
local Hospital that has a Rehab Center that offers this kind of treatment. Recently, I had the opportunity to cash in one of these coupons.

Now, I have heard people rave about massages. Can I tell you, that after an hour with this masseuse I hurt from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet! I went in with pain on my right side and when I walked out, I had pain in my neck, on my shoulders, and all over my backside! I guess I had what you call a “deep tissue” massage, because every tissue, every muscle, every cell in my body HURT!

Isn’t that just like some of us?

We start off with one problem but because we try to “fix it” in our own power, (instead of relying on Gods power and strength,) we end up with a whole heap of problems! It ends up worse than what we started with!

My massage experience reminded me that I need to trust Him and rely on His healing power. The healing was not in the hands of that massage therapist, but in His hands and it is in His time! When we rush things and take our difficulties out of His hands, we cause more problems and sometimes more pain (in my case…physical pain!)!

I love what I heard Joyce Meyers say at a recent conference,
Whatever you are going thru…God said He has gone before you and He’s got your back!”

My healing is in His hands! Praise the Lord!
He has my back covered!!

JOHN 16:33
"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

God has your back covered...
The answer is on the way!

And that's a piece of my heart today;

Love, Laurie

Sunday, April 20, 2008

CASTAWAY...April 20, 2008 Weekly Devotion

Thank you for joining me for this week's devotion. It is my prayer that your heart will be challenged and changed today as we meditate upon God's Word!

CASTAWAY...decision making
Everyday we are faced with making decisions. From simple decisions such as:
- what to wear,
- where to eat lunch,
- or should I have dessert or not?

to more complicated decisions such as:
- which bills can I pay this month,
- should I take that job offer in Seattle,
- how am I going to take care of my elderly parents,
- what treatment for my husband's cancer should we explore?

The choices that we make impact the lives of others and the futures of both ourselves and others. This can cause great stress in our lives!

In last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, voters voted on which area of their lives they were facing a decision, the top 3 results were:

1. 47% of readers voted that they are facing a financial decision right now.
2. 33% polled said they are making a career decision.
3. 28% said they are facing a health decision right now.

All of us face making decisions, some of us can relate to Tom Hanks way of making a decision in the movie, CASTAWAY. At the end of the movie, Tom stands in the middle of the intersection of a desert highway, he has just met the attractive owner of the package that he salvaged and protected after his plane crashed. North, South, East or West...which direction does actor Hanks go?
We often times stand at a crossroads in our lives
and wonder which way should I go?

We have so many options, so many choices and decisions to make. The stress in decision making is largely based on the fear of being wrong. We might feel like INDIANA JONES, another great movie, when Indiana is faced with having to choose which cup to drink from, the wrong choice would result in his death.
Are you facing a life or death decision today?

When it comes to making decisions, we desire guidance and often times look to God for direction. However, at times we feel like finding God's will for our lives is much like a game of hide and seek or a life size version of WHERE'S WALDO?
If only we could find what we are looking for.

I would like to expose 5 strategies that we use in our decision making that may lead us to feel like we are either a castaway, in a Indiana Jones movie or looking for Waldo....

1. PUTTING OUT THE FLEECE: we base our decision making on putting demands on God, ex: "God, if you want me to go into fulltime ministry, then make the next car that passes me be a red Honda Civic with a sunroof."

2. LOOKING FOR A SIGN: we read into signs that really are not from God, ex: you are considering a job transfer, after interviewing for the job, you do some apartment hunting. The site manager shows you a beautiful top floor apartment overlooking the pool, the manager tells you the apartment number is 620. AMAZING... your birthday is June 20th, it must be a sign from God!

3. HIJACKING SCRIPTURE: God does speak to us thru His word concerning His will, but sometmes we take a verse out of context to fit our decision making. ex: A Pastor from Arkansas is considering taking a church in Florida. He comes across the scripture in Isaiah 24:15 that says "Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord." He seizes the word EAST as God's confirmation for him to move to Florida.

4. REQUESTING A SOLITARY DOOR: Sometimes we ask God to open just one door so we will know it is the one that God wants us to go thru. The problem is often times we find more than one door open. ex: a high school senior may be accepted at 1, 2 or 3 good colleges. We find ourselves in a LETS MAKE A DEAL situation, do I pick door #1, 2 or 3? Sometimes even when there is just one solitary door, that does not mean it is the right one.

5. GIVING THE PEACE SIGN: At times we put too much importance on the presence or absence of inner calmness. We can have peace within ourselves but is it God's peace?

PSALM 23, vs. 1-4
"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. (2) He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, (3) He restores my soul, He guides me in paths of righteousness for His names sake. (4) Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."

This passage is often times referred to in the time of death. We seldom think of the 23rd Psalm as a reassuring passage for facing the challenges of making important decisions. God refers to us, His children, as His sheep and He is our shepherd. Look at the verbs in this passage...

vs. 2: LEADS

Christ chooses us, He has purchased us, He calls us by name, He makes us His own, and He delights in caring for us. He LEADS us; RESTORES us; GUIDES us; COMFORTS us and is WITH us!

Next time you are facing a major decision in your life, refer back to the 23rd Psalm and try these important 3 things before making life changing decisions....

take time to pray daily and ask God for wisdom in all of your decisions. (James 1:5) Before we can know what God is leading us to do, we must know the voice of God.

the freedom to choose implies the need to choose WISELY. Gather as much information as possible before making a decision. Ask the Who, What, Why and Where questions.

ask for honest feedback from people who are wise, mature and knowledgable. They should be knowledgable in two areas: first, they should be familiar with your strengths, weaknesses, abilities and personality and secondly, they should be knowledgable of the area of your need. ex: you wouldn't ask a waitress who struggles with money for advice on your finances, you might seek out an accountant or CPA in the church that is known to have expertise in this area.
Are you facing a major decision in your life today?
Which example describes you in your current decision making habits...

It is my prayer that today, you will lean upon your shepherd, JESUS CHRIST, to lead, guide and protect you as you make your decisions.

Have a wonderful week in the Lord!

God Bless, Laurie

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Have you ever been invited to a party, but became reluctant to go because you didn't really know anybody else that would be attending?

In the BLOGGY world, parties such as this go on all of the time. The fun part about these BLOG PARTIES is that someone always comes away as a winner! Prizes are usually given away at these parties and everybody gets to connect with new friends.

I have met so many great, godly women thru my blog and I want to invite you to an upcoming blog party. My friend Sharon has done a wonderful job over at the Assembly of God Blog Ring. This is a place that you can find blogs written by people asssociated with the Assemblies of God denomination. Blogs written by Pastors, Pastors wives, and lay people. All good reading. I encourage you to check it out!

And if you like Parties and Prizes....join us in the fun! For more information on the party or the blogring, CLICK HERE.

Here's your party hat...HAVE FUN!
Love, Laurie

Friday, April 18, 2008


As I was thinking of a song that I could share for this weeks THEN SINGS MY SOUL SATURDAY, my thoughts turned to a great old hymn. When I was much younger, I always listened to Jimmy Swaggart before heading off to church. One of the reasons I liked to tune in was to hear one of his singers, John Starnes. Nobody could sing a hymn like John.

A few years ago, John Starnes came and sang at our church. I was so excited to meet him in person and he so graciously autographed my cd. One of my favorite hymns he sings is "The Lighthouse". So many times, in my daily life, storms brew up and the winds of the world hit hard.


"When I 'm tossed about...

it sends out a light that I might see...

The light that shines in the darkness...

will safely lead us all...

If it wasn't for the lighthouse...

This ship would be no more!"

Facing a storm?
Isn't it refreshing to know we can run to the arms of Jesus.
He is our lighthouse!

signsmiraclesandwonders HAS MORE "Then Sings My Soul Saturdays" videos!

Have a blessed Saturday...

Love, Laurie

Wednesday, April 16, 2008




This is one of my favorite memes...THANKFUL THURSDAY. It is a day I look forward to share with my friends a glimpse in what I am thanking the Lord for today. Yesterday, I had a very difficult day physically, I suffered in pain most of the day because of a pinched nerve I have been nursing. As I sought God in my time of need, a feeling of "joy" came over my spirit. Isn't that a strange thing to happen while I was in my hour of need?

So today I want to share with you 8 "joy's" that I am thankful for....
JOHN 15:11 "These things I have spoken to you , that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full."

1. I AM THANKFUL for the joyful sound of children laughing and giggling.

2. I AM THANKFUL for the joy I have when I watch my kids play sports, play an instrument or act in a drama.

3. I AM THANKFUL for the joy that my husband gives me when he showers me with love and attention.

4. I AM THANKFUL for the joy (and pride!) I experience when I see my son Jeremy in his blues (Air Force uniform).

5. I AM THANKFUL for the joyous times I spend with good friends.

6. I AM THANKFUL for the joy of worshipping Jesus Christ (freely).

7. I AM THANKFUL for the strength I receive from the joy of the Lord.

8. I AM THANKFUL for the joy (and promises) a new day with God brings.

Do you have a joyful heart today?
Even in your hour of need....
rejoice and be glad!!

To view other THANKFUL THURSDAY blog posts...CLICK HERE!


Blessings, Laurie

Monday, April 14, 2008

PLANTED SEEDS....a piece of my heart

1 CHRONICLES 22:19 "Now determine in your mind and HEART to seek the Lord your God."


I love springtime in the south, it is my favorite time of the year. Of course, if you looked out your window earlier today here in the south, you may have been confused as to what season we were actually in. The clouds came in this morning, and dropped yet some more rain on our already drenched land, followed by (yes you saw it correctly) hail and then a short time later the sun peaked. Isn't it wonderful living in the south?

How do we know when spring has finally sprung? Well, the first sign will be the new growth of plants budding up thru the soil. My husband, who loves to putter in the yard and plant a huge vegetable garden, has already been out there tilling and planting. It is so fun to watch him as he goes thru all of the steps of gardening; tilling the ground, planting, weeding, watering, more weeding and then finally the reward: a big,ripe, juicy tomato! (reaping what he sowed).

For the past couple of years, I have had a group of ladies join me on a prayer forum on the internet. One of the most anticipated thing on this prayer forum is the daily scripture reading that I post. The ladies have determined in their hearts that making Gods Word a priority in their day was important to them. Meditation upon Gods Word reminds me of that whole planting and reaping system I spoke of earlier.

Often times, we want to reap the blessings and rewards that God has to offer us but we don't want to take the time for the planting, the nurturing and the watering of the seeds sown in our spirit.

I applaud these women who have purposed in their hearts these past two years to be disciples of Jesus Christ. Personal discipleship to me is having an intentional and purposeful journey of getting to know Christ. Encountering Him thru His Word and thru daily communication with Him.

Thinking like a gardener; when you plant seeds of a flower, with the proper care of watering and tending of that plant, you will eventually see a beautiful flower sprout up from the ground. A product of your nurturing!

God has spoken seeds of growth throughout His Word. It is up to us to plant these spiritual seeds in our hearts and minds. If we do not tend to the nurturing of our spirit, it will die. Just like the flower in the garden that needs nutrients in order to continue living, we as Gods children need the nutrients that His Word gives us. What we plant (spiritually) will eventually be the final product for all to see.

The daily scripture reading I spoke of earlier is just a small tool that allows us to meditate upon the Word daily. This should not replace your personal study time with the Father, but it can enhance your daily growth time with the Lord as you study, memorize and meditate upon His Word.

This awesome tool has now been added to this blog page, it is my prayer that you will join me and my friends from the prayer forum to determine in your heart and mind to dwell on the Word of God, this will be one way to strengthen your growth with Him.

There is nothing more beautiful than a flower bud that has just blossomed. When we soak in the Word of God, it will radiate its beauty in and thru us. A flower that has bloomed eventually loses its petals and dies, but the Word of God is the same today, yesterday and forever and does not change.

Isn't it a wonderful sight to see godly women spreading the fragrance of Jesus Christ to all those that can see?

The DAILY SCRIPTURE READING is available to all to meditate upon. Look daily for the petals of fragrance (on top of the side bar on blog) and determine in your heart to blossom in the Lord!


Blessings, Laurie

Sunday, April 13, 2008

PRISON WALLS...April 13, 2008 weekly devotion

overcoming unfulfilled expectations
Thank you for joining me for this week's devotion. It is my prayer that your heart will be challenged and changed today as we meditate upon God's Word!

Have you ever looked around at what was happening in your life and said, "How did I get here? This is not where I wanted to be. This is not what I had planned?"

This place of unfulfilled expectations is much like putting coins in a vending machine for a snickers bar but you get a bag of pork rinds instead! YUCK! some of us feel like that. You have worked have been have prayed...but yet, you keep thinking to yourself "this has gotta change, it has to get better!"

Maybe you are reading this today and find yourself struggling with unfulfilled expectations. The current situation you are in, you are finding it hard to find contentment.

Apostle Paul is a worthy mentor for us on the subject of contentment. He had hoped to go to Rome as a preacher but instead found himself as a prisoner. We can learn much from his reacton to this difficult situation he found himself in. ASK YOURSELF: WHAT IS CONTENTMENT?
-What I have vs what I should have
we are comfortable with the moment we are in. We live well for how we imagine things ought to be but not so well with how things actually are.

-What I have now vs. what I once had
Paul had known wealth, status and comfort as a Pharisee. He did not whine about his present situation or compare it to the life of ease prior to the ministry he had.

-What I have vs what others have
Contentment is undermined by comparisons. You can always find people who are more attractive, wealthier, more successful and who seem to enjoy more freedoms than you. They have bigger houses, newer cars, they have dream jobs, take incredible vacations and have fewer health problems.

There is a hidden belief that we cannot be happy "until"....

-I refuse to be happy until we can move into a bigger house!
-I cannot be happy until I am married!
-I cannot find happiness until I have children!
-I cannot be happy until I find a better job!
-I will be much happier when the kids are healthy, well behaved and making good grades, and not until then!

Philippians 4:11 "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content."

If Paul had been writing about this contentment from a comfy office in Phillipi, we might easily say,..."yea, sure Paul-try walking in my shoes and see how content you would be!" Our sarcasm would quickly be silenced when we realize that Paul is speaking of this contentment from inside prison walls!
Some of us feel trapped in our circumstances and we often times feel imprisoned by our surroundings. Think about this for a moment: Paul was chained to Roman Soldiers 24 hours a day and yet was not held captive by discontent. He did not feel tortured by his circumstances either!
In last weeks, YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled readers to vote on what they think their attitude would be if imprisoned like Apostle Paul. The top three responses were:

1. 43% polled said they would say "with God's help I will survive one day a time"
2.18% voted they would say "the jail stinks, the food stinks, the guard stinks!"
3.18% of those polled said they would "suffer through it".

I don't know what my attitude would be if I were there in prison like Paul, but I pray I could have a perspective like he did. The writings of Paul reveals to us two things about contentment:

A. Contentment is the fruit of perspective
Paul shares with us in the book of Philippians where his extraordinary perspective came from:

-God's glory is more important than any other comfort or sucess (1:20;2:16-17)
-His citizenship is not here (3:20)
-This world cannot fulfill my highest ambition (3:7-8)
-What other people think of me is not of the highest importance (1:15-18)

B. Contentment is a process
"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances."
- Apostle Paul

Learning is a stair step lessons build on previous understandings. Contentment is like climbing a set of stairs, each step takes you closer to your destination. Pauls learning to be content did not happen the day following his Damascus Road conversion. The learning steps of contentment are as follows:

step #1: learn to trust God's goodness
step# 2: find meaning in the midst of your difficulty
step# 3: find reasons to celebrate
When you find yourself in a place of experiencing unfulfilled expectations...whether a person has let you down or circumstances have brought you to a place you don't want to to explore the season you are in and strive to not focus on what is wrong or missing in your life. There are unique places, wonderful things, precious moments and unlimited opportunities just waiting for us to explore.

I pray that you will be able to break free of those prison walls that imprison you with discontentment this week.

Have a wonderful week!

Blessings, Laurie

Please take time to vote in this weeks poll, "In what area of your life are you facing a decision right now?" Your opinion really does matter!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

THEN SINGS MY SOUL SATURDAYS: The end of The Beginning

The meme of THEN SINGS MY SOUL SATURDAYS is a great way to prepare our hearts for worship. It is no surprise that I have chosen one of my favorite artists again for this weeks song. DAVID PHELPS. There is so much power and truth in songs, and this one does just that.

For many of us, we view death as the end...but I am thankful that the death at calvary, the blood shed for me was just the beginning and not the end! Listen to the words of this song....

CLICK HERE to view the music video

You can find more songs on THEN SINGS MY SOUL SATURDAYS over here:

Have a Worship-filled Saturday!!

Blessings, Laurie

Thursday, April 10, 2008



PSALM 98:4
"Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises."

I awoke earlier than I had liked this morning when I heard a loud noise outside of my bedroom window. Normally, a loud car driving by, would not awaken me, but this morning it did. Noises can be inconvenient and annoying!
Today, on THANKFUL THURSDAY, I want to share with you some NOISES that I am thankful for...

1. I'M THANKFUL for the noise of cheerping birds early in the reminds me of God's beautiful creation!

2. I'M THANKFUL for the noise of whining and crying of young is a reminder to me that my children will only be in my care for a very short time!

3. I'M THANKFUL for the awful noise of squeeling that my old, rusty car reminds me how blessed I am to have a car to drive!

4. I'M THANKFUL for the noise of sirens that cause me to pull over and be late for is a reminder to me how blessed I am that I am not on the way to the hospital!

5. I'M THANKFUL for the noise of loud music at youth night in reminds me how blessed we are to live in a place that we can worship freely, without fear, and out in the open. It also reminds me how glad I am that the youth are in God's house and not out on the street!

6. I'M also THANKFUL for the reminds me that it is in my stillness before the Lord that He will lead and guide me!





Tuesday, April 8, 2008



"Now determine in your mind and HEART to seek the Lord your God."
It is my prayer that today as I share a piece of my heart that your heart will be encouraged and strengthened!

Have you ever had a week that if you were asked to do one more thing, go to one more meeting, cook one more meal, answer one more question…that you wish you could just evaporate into a thin vapor! We all have weeks like this. For some of us, we have days, weeks or even months that we feel drained. For some of us, this past year has left us feeling like we are running on empty. We have no more to give.
Since this week's devotion is about facing changes in our life, I wanted to share with you the journey that I found myself on 15 years ago when a major change sprouted up in my life!

Fifteen years ago, Clayton and I gathered our children up and ventured out on a journey. The journey was a road trip, a trip that was going to take us from Wisconsin to Arkansas. We had just accepted a job transfer with the company Clayton was working for at the time. The moving truck had already come. As it drove off with all of our belongings, we packed up our most valuable possessions in our car, our three little boys. We would catch up with the rest of our belongings in a few days in Arkansas. So our journey began.

The 12-hour drive became 15 hours; no doubt, any of you who have traveled with young children know how that happens. As we got closer to our destination, to our new home in Arkansas- the anticipation increased, the excitement grew, and the restlessness eased.

However, as the excitement grew inside the car, something was missing, something began to slow us down. You see, a few miles back, Clayton got weary and asked me to take over at the wheel. As the driver, I made a huge error…I did not keep an eye on the gas gauge. And just as we were approaching our destination, our tired little old car gave out! That is right, we ran out of gas, we were running on vapors.

Luckily, we were able to make it to the last wayside before our destination and a State Employee was kind enough to take Clayton to get some gas. Once we were able to get refueled, we were good to go and able to finish the journey that we started out on.

I share that story with you because I think in our daily walk with God, we too, start out on a journey but somewhere along the way, we get tired and we give up. We run out of gas so to speak and we feel like we are running on empty.

Why does this happen to Christians?
This can happen for numerous reasons, but two reasons are because we take on too much and also we often listen to the voice of others instead of the voice of God!
"Can you teach this Sunday School Class?" "Sure, I'd love to" INSTEAD OF "I'd love to but let me pray about it first."

Are you running on empty? Do you feel drained? Have you run out of gas?
…. in your ministry? …….at work? …….in your home? ………in your heart?

I would like to leave you today with 3 things that will help you get back on track..

It is very easy for us to find things to do instead of doing things for God. If you have taken on more than you can handle, Stop and ask God right now to forgive you and ask Him to reveal to you what He wants you to do and then strive to do it with excellence. Sometimes we have to drop some things that are keeping us from sitting at Jesus feet. Jesus reminded Mary of that same thing in Luke 10.

But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41 2.

I once heard a keynote speaker start his conference out with this statement, “ If you think it’s time to quit, it is too soon!” sometimes when we feel overwhelmed with things, this may be the time to quietly ask God to speak to us, to change us and to help us get back on track. Whether it is in ministry or at home that you feel drained, God can replenish whatever is lacking in your life. Ask God today to refresh your mind, your spirit and your commitment to Him and to your family.

"Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." 2 Cor. 5:17 3.

In our journey to Arkansas, our trip would have been incomplete if we had not been able to stop and refuel. We would not have been able to finish what we started out to do. A Christian that does not take time to stop and refuel will also not be able to finish the race he has started. For a Christian to stop and refuel means she/he must spend time in Gods Word and spend time with God.

“Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry". Psalms 39:12

If we keep running on an empty tank, we will run dry and no one around us will be able to relax. The Lord keeps us going. We need to take some time out of our busy schedule to sit at His feet to refuel.

I pray today that your spirit will be refreshed and refueled!

and that's a piece of my heart today;

Blessings, Laurie

Monday, April 7, 2008


"The Revolving Door"
(overcoming change)
Thank you for joining me for this week's devotion. It is my prayer that your heart will be challenged and changed today as we meditate upon God's Word!

We are living in a time of change! Just look around and we can all see the advances of technology. Can you think of some things that we have today that our great-grandparents did not have?

A statement I read this week from Leonard Sweet, as he spoke to a group of church leaders: "We who are alive today have witnessed the 3rd great invention that changes learning. The 1st great invention was the introduction of the Greek Alphabet in 8 B.C.; the 2nd great invention was the Guttenberg's printing press. Neither of those inventions brought change as rapidly and as globally as the 3rd great invention...the invention of the Internet!

The Internet has changed not only our learning, but communication. Think about it, there is no information that we cannot get our hands on via the computer.
Stress comes with change, ordinarily, the stress that sweeps over us because of change is not in the "larger world". Typically, the stress is caused by the changes that are introduced into our private world. Changes such as divorce, relocation, change in career, unemployment, marriage, sickness, death, and raising children are just a few.

If we could label the change in our life in four different categories, they would be:
1.Welcome and expected (such as a promotion)
2. Welcome and unexpected (such as a mid-year bonus)
3. Unwelcome and expected (such as your company is downsizing)
4. Unwelcome and unexpected (such as sudden termination of your job)

Most of our stressful change in our life will fall under category 4; Unwelcome and Unexpected. This is where life's crisis and tragedies usually fall.
Last week in the YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled readers the following question, "If you were required to relocate to another city, what or who would you miss the most about your present community?" Here are the top 3 results:

1. 52% voters said they would miss their Church
2. 44% polled voted that they would miss their family
3. 20% voted that friends would be missed
A bumper sticker I saw the other day, "Change is good...You go first!" Well, that pretty much sums up our attitude about change! Change is good as long as it is happening to someone else or if the change does not hinder our agenda. No matter how we feel about change, it never goes away. The statement, "Change is a constant" is true of life..regardless of status, position, power or wealth. Life is like a revolving door, always changing. There is only one thing that I can think of that remains the same.

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever." -HEBREWS 13:8

Can you imagine, the company that you work for has just told you that they have an incredible, new opportunity for you in a DIFFERENT city. They will not tell you where it is, but you must put your house up for sale, and pack up the moving van before receiving an envelope with directions to your new place of residence. What would your response to this offer be?

God told Abram to leave his country, leave his people and leave his father's household with no other information, he had no guarantees, not even a road map to follow!

GENESIS 12:1-5
"The Lord had said to Abram, 'Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. (2)I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. (3)I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse; and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.' (4)So Abram left, as the Lord told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran. (5) He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possession's they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan and they arrived there/"

People often refer to relocating as being "uprooted". When a plant is transplanted, it does not warm up to its new home immediately; one may say the plant goes into an organic state of shock. A newly transported tree will require more water than an established tree. People are much like transplanted plants..we resist change!

  • Abram was told to release what was familiar and secure. Everything that he had known, and understood and counted on was now on the other side of the revolving door. Adapting to change is similar to scuba diving at night; you have left the security of the boat but without a light, you can only see a few feet in front of you. FAITH AND TRUST IN GOD IS THE LIGHT THAT GUIDES US IN CHANGE!
  • It is at a crossroads of change that we typically grow the most! Change always has the potential to spark growth in us as it introduces new challenges and opportunities. Change is like a gorilla who gets on a bus and he wants to sit in your seat...staying where you are is NOT an option! Change has the potential to grow our character, our relationships, it enhances our skills and opens up new opportunities. CHANGE IS A FAITHFUL AND COURAGEOUS ADAPTATION!
  • When things are in disorder around us, we search for something that is steady and reliable. When the swift currents try to sink us, we need an anchor. Change will force us to depend upon God. CHANGE THROWS US OFF BALANCE, BUT WE MUST CLING AND TIGHTEN OUR GRIP ON GOD!

It is my prayer that as the revolving door brings change into your life, that you will cling to God. Cling to Him like a vine...during a storm, a vine actually strengthens its grip on the tree. In your crisis of change, grip the presence of God thru prayer and worship!

Cling to Him like a mountain experienced climber will apply a firm grip with his toes and fingers and he presses his body into the face of the mountain. In your revolving door of change, stay close to God and hold on tight during the steep climbs of change in your life!

Have a blessed (and changed) Week!

Blessings, Laurie


Please vote in this weeks poll; "If you were in prison as the apostle Paul was, what do you think your attitude might be?" Please cast your vote...YOUR OPINION MATTERS!


A. ROWLAND..."Let us seek the spirit of the poor widow, who knew that God could do without her gift, but felt that her love could not be satisfied without her sacrifice."


"The Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." 1 SAMUEL 16:7

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A PIECE OF MY HEART...Thankful Thursdays!


1 CHRONICLES 22:19 "Now determine in your mind and HEART to seek the Lord your God."


I first heard of this thing in bloggy world called "THANKFUL THURSDAYS" over at STING MY HEART. The first time I saw this feature, I thought what a grand be thankful on a day other than Thanksgiving day!!

1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-19 " Rejoice always, (17) pray without ceasing, (18)in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (19) Do not quench the Spirit."

So how do I quench the Spirit?

  • complaining
  • whining
  • spirit of negativity

Be thankful for everything?

  • for sickness?
  • for a dead-end job?
  • for troubles and tribulations?
Renewing my mind comes from spending time in God's presence. His ideals and attitude will become in me and I will think of myself in a different light and look at those things around me thru the mind of Christ, which is full of love. (Romans 12:2)

So today, as I set my mind on Christ and His love for me, I just HAVE TO say thanks. Just a few things I am rejoicing about today:

  1. THANK YOU Lord for loving me beyond measure!
  2. THANK YOU Lord for changing my heart and my life!
  3. THANK YOU Lord for giving me a God fearing, God loving husband.
  4. THANK YOU Lord that after 27 years, hubby still chases me!
  5. THANK YOU Lord for the most beautiful children, who all live for you!
  6. THANK YOU Lord that I am not in the hospital, sick with diseases!
  7. THANK YOU Lord for your Holy Spirit that guides me every day!
  8. THANK YOU Lord that I had plenty to eat today!
  9. THANK YOU Lord for Your peace that passes all understanding!
  10. THANK YOU Lord for choosing me before I even knew you!
click here, to find out more about THANKFUL THURSDAYS!

What are you thankful for today?

Have you taken time today to rejoice and give thanks?

God loves you and desires to hear from you today!!

and that's a piece of my heart today!

Blessings, Laurie