Thursday, February 24, 2011

THANKFUL THURSDAY...childlike faith

I love watching a young mother with her baby. The interaction between the infant and the mother is one of total trust. A baby never questions his mother when she buckles him in his car seat. He never asks, "Why are you taking me there?" Instead, the baby just sits back in his car seat and trusts that wherever his mother takes him, he will be safe.

This is the same kind of trust that we should have with our Heavenly Father...

"One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch them and bless them, but the disciples told them not to bother Him. But when Jesus saw what was happening, He was very displeased with His disciples. He said to them, 'Let the children come to Me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you, anyone who doesn't have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God.' Then He took the children into His arms and placed His hands on their heads and blessed them." (Mark 10:13-16)

A child has complete security in knowing that his parents love him and will take care of him. He has no worries. No concerns. No reason to doubt. This is the kind of child-like faith that can give us complete trust in the One Who cares so deeply for us.

Aren't you thankful that we have a Heavenly Father that we can trust in? Completely. It's much simpler than we try to make it. Trust Him and put your child-like faith into action!

I have been honored to be your hostess for THANKFUL THURSDAY this month. Next week, we will be meeting at Iris's for the month of March. Share your grateful heart with us by linking up below and be sure to come back next week! HAPPY TT!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD...if the horse dies, should you dismount?

So many times I see myself doing the same things, the same way, over and over and over again. Many times we tackle the day-in and day-out activities of our day with the same attitude and the same approach. I wonder what would happen if we shook things up abit and changed a few things?

Would it be better, worse or no different?

It is hard to change things. Especially if things are going good. But what about when things aren't working right...why are we afraid to change things then?

Being unwilling to change things reminds me of the old saying, "You can't beat a dead horse" other words, if the horse is already dead, beating it is not going to change a thing.

I wonder if sometimes we try to keep things alive that are already dead by doing things the same way. For instance if putting the wrong kind of oil in your car causes your car to stall...why would you keep putting that oil in your car? Sometimes you have to change your method of madness to get different results. More positive results.

According to Rick Warren, pastor of the Saddleback Community church and author of the book, The Purpose Driven Church, the reason that 95% of all churches in the world never grow past 300 members is because their structure keeps them from growing beyond that point.

"When a thing grows weak and out of date, it is obviously soon going to disappear. That's true of churches, too. If a church cannot change, it will eventually die." -Rick Warren

In last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers the following question, "What kind of change do you anticipate in the year 2012?" The top 3 responses were...

1. 44% of those voting said they anticipate a change in their spirituality.
2. Another 44% voted and said a change financially.
3. 33% responded and said that they plan to change where they live.

"When a thing grows weak and out of date, it is obviously soon going to disappear." (Hebrews 8:13 NIV)

Probably one of the hardest places to accept change is in our churches. We get comfortable doing the same thing. Many times, we have the mindset that since we have done it "this way" since the beginning of time, we can't do it any other way. I full heartily believe that if it ain't broke, why fix it...but I also believe that why should we wait until it is broke to try other things.

In the spiritual world ... this may mean trying new and exciting ways to draw people in. It isn't changing God's is just trying new methods to present the Gospel.

In the physical world...this may mean putting away some old habits and trying some new habits that will spur on new growth and vitality. It may mean paying your bills in a different way, or changing some eating habits or altering the things that we allow our ears and eyes to fixate upon.

2012 can be a year of change. But we got to stop trying to beat a dead horse...we have to have a willing heart and an obedient spirit to change the things that God would have us change.

This same principle applies to many areas of life. Often we do not want to make changes in our life, especially if it is to our disadvantage...but the truth is there are times in our lifes that we NEED to make changes.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A PIECE OF MY HEART...Take a stand!

Isn't it interesting that when we pick up the newspaper or turn on the news, we hear about all the protests that people are making about their rights. Gay rights. Abortion rights. Right to commit mercy killing. However, I seldom see headlines that say, "CHRISTIANS FIGHT FOR WHAT IS RIGHT!"

Don't get me wrong. I think there is a right way and a wrong way that Christians can take a stand. I have been to places like Los Angeles where I have seen people marching up and down the street holding signs and hollering out to all of the pedestrians how they are going to die and go to hell. I'm not sure that this is the RIGHT way to get the message of Christ across to people. But I do think there IS a RIGHT way that we can take a stand for Christ.

With the increasing number of teen pregnancies and the overwhelming amount of overcrowding in our prisons, it almost seems to me that not only do we live in a world that is rampant with sinful behaviour but we, as a society, have become numb to it. We have looked the other way. We have become too accepting. We no longer take a stand against it.


Partly, I think because we feel outnumbered. Maybe we are afraid. Possibly people will laugh at us. We want to make a difference but feel like it is impossible.

In my small town where I live, often, you can see a middle aged man who rides his bicycle up and down the street. He waves a huge American flag and shouts out at cars as they drive by. I don't necessarily think that many people pay attention to what he is saying as much as they are laughing at him for being such a spectacle. I don't even really know what the guy is shouting, but I have to admit, I give him props for being brave enough to take his conviction to the level of not being afraid to share it with anyone.

You can find people everywhere who believe in something. Many will even stand up for what they believe. Few will die for what they believe. I wonder why it is rare that we hear about Christians standing up for what they believe. In the book, FOXES BOOK OF MARTYRS, you can read about how some Christians not only stood up but they died for the cause of Christ. I don't really read that in my local headlines.

ROMANS 1:16 "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes."

Isn't it time that the voice of Truth is heard? God is looking for some brave warriors that will stand up and be counted! Can you be counted on?

and this has been a piece of my heart today!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

THANKFUL THURSDAY...will anyone remember my name?

It seems like people are constantly trying to make a name for themselves. It starts out at a young age, while in school, we strive to be known as something .... class clown, school jock, teachers pet and making a name for ourselves continues on all thru adulthood.

We eventually get to a point in our life that we wonder if people will even remember us when we are long gone from this earth. Will they even remember our name or what accomplishments we achieved in our life?

As I pondered this thought this week, I tried thinking back to my school days and I tried to list at least 10 people that I remembered from school. It was harder than I thought it would be. I could not even remember my teachers names, names of  people who had huge impacts on my life. I have memories of their faces and the classrooms, but their names just escape me.

Wouldn't it be awful if our own loved ones forgot our names?
My dad has been battling dementia and often times gets confused. Sometimes his speech is not what it should be and it is difficult to communicate with him. Today, his wife put the phone to his ear so I could talk to him and when I asked him if he knew who he was talking to, he said, "Laurie Ann". That tickled me to hear him say that, it has been years since anyone has called me "Laurie Ann".

Today, I was reminded that no matter what our circumstances are, we all have a Father who will never forget our name. He knows us so intimately, more intimately than anyone else, and when others forget...God will always remember who we are. For we are His chosen, His children, His beloved.

Isaiah 43:2 "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine."
This week I am so thankful that God knows my name! What are you grateful for? Please share your grateful heart with us and link up your THANKFUL THURSDAY post below!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD...handling strife like the Velveteen Rabbit

Some people just have a need to argue everything. It doesn't really matter what it is about. If the color of the carpet is blue, they want it to be red. If everyone likes the movie, they think it was horrible. If the temperature is just right outside, they think it is too hot or too cold. No matter what the topic, they will try to argue just for the sake of arguing.

In last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers the following question, "Is there someone you have conflict with right now?" The top 2 answers were:

1. 42% responded and said they have conflict with someone in their family.
2. Another 42% voted and said that they are conflict-free right now.

Conflict. It happens everywhere. In the home. At school. At work. Yes, even at church.

The Bible does not condemn conflict, however, the Bible does give instruction on how to be more Christ-like and allow God to use strife in our life to mold us, strengthen us and change us.

People can have different opinions and beliefs. Different does not always have to mean "conflict". But there should also be a warning to us when people try to impart their different opinions on us, especially when it comes to faith and beliefs. We are not called to blindly accept everything that we hear, in fact, we should as Christians challenge things we hear that go against our understanding.

"Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." Acts 17:11

Faith is not about blind acceptance. But it is certainly not about quarreling either. Quarreling can go beyond mere words and turn into physical fighting. There are ways that we can disagree while maintaining order.

I personally do not like strife. In fact, I will go to great lengths to avoid it. But sometimes the lesson  learned from strife is exactly what I need to sharpen my iron. In the book, The Velveteen Rabbit, the skin horse tells rabbit..

"Real isn't how you are made. It's a thing that happens to you ... it doesn't happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept."

Just like rabbit, we often times wish we could become "real" without uncomfortable things happening to us. But life just isn't like that. We must struggle, confront and engage fully in life if we are to become all that God has intended for us to be. Sometimes, along the way we become bruised, but with each bump and bruise, we become stronger.

Stronger in our faith and stronger in our walk with God!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A PIECE OF MY HEART...aiming high

Are you willing to dream big dreams? My teen daughter has had a dream. A dream to be a model and break into the fashion world. Most people probably thought that her dream was unrealistic. She is young. She is not tall. Face it, in today's world everyone is a critic. One of the worse critics of all, is yourself. And I can imagine that even my daughter had a glimpse of doubt that her dream could come true.

But I found a Christian modeling agency that acted as scouts looking for fashion models, commercial models and actors. I sent them an inquiry and the next thing I know they are calling us for my daughter to come audition.

Dream big? I would say that Walt Disney is not the only one who can make dreams come true. God promises that we can do "all things" through Him.

"I am able to do all things through Him Who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)

But yet, most of us live far below our potential. We take half measures; we dream small dreams, we waste precious time and energy on the distractions of this world. But God has so many other plans for us. Our Creator intends for us to live faithful, hopeful, courageous and abundant lives. He knows what we are capable of so much more than we do.

I don't know how my daughters name got to the top of the list to be called for that audition, but I am pretty sure God had something to do with it. When we put our talents and treasures in God's hands, anything is possible. The day after the audition, my daughter got a callback and was chosen to represent our state of Arkansas as a teen commercial model.

I would like to tell you CANNOT out-dream God!

and this has been a piece of my heart today;

Monday, February 14, 2011

How much do you love me?

Today is Valentines Day. A day set aside once a year to express our love to our beloveds. Even though this is a holiday, that in my opinion, is totally over commercialized, I love the whole concept of what Valentines Day brings.


Some people think this day is about flowers and chocolate but really it is more about the expression of love. Sometimes it feels like my heart is going to burst wide open when I think about how much I love certain people in my life. Especially my family. But just about the time that I think that I cannot love them anymore, I think about 1 Corinthians, chapter 13...

"Love is patient, it is kind, it is not jealous, boastful or rude. It does not demand it's own way, it is not irritable or does it keep records of wrong doings. Love never gives up, it never loses faith. It is always hopeful. Love endures."

I have great love for others, but when I look to the cross I realize just how weak my love is. It is my desire to love people, and not just as an expression of emotion but I want to love people like God loves ... unconditional.

Love is a choice. Not just today, but 365 days a year. There should never be a question in your loved ones mind as to how much they are loved. When I think about the love of God, there is never a question of how much He loves me!

Happy Valentines Day! You are loved!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

THANKFUL THURSDAY...the warmth of His smile

Have you ever wondered where smiles come from?
As with everything else, they originate in God. He smiled first before we smiled. He still smiles over us.

(Zephaniah 3:17) "The Lord your God in your midst. the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."

A smile is like the sun shining upon us. There is one spot in the living area of our home where the sun shines in. I love this spot. I gravitate to it. To bask in the warmth of the sun not only brings warmth to the physical body but also to the soul. You can forget worries and problems when you bask in the sun. Unfortunately, right now we are in the midst of winter blizzard and the sun just has not been shining thru the window.

As I think about that, I realize that the warmth of God's smile has no boundaries. It doesn't matter what the temperature is outside. He smiles over us continually. It never ceases.

Wouldn't it be great if we could fully grasp that thought, especially on the dark, cold days that we encounter. You know those kind of days that nobody seems to have any joy, let alone a smile to share. May you feel the warmth of His smile over you today!

Thank you Lord for your smile, thank you for the SONshine that you bring into my daily life. May I extend that same joy to those around me. For a smile can literally shine for miles. -Amen

We are so glad that you joined us today for THANKFUL THURSDAY. We want to rejoice with you over what God has done in your life...share your grateful heart with us by linking up below!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD...a personal retreat

On several occasions, Jesus withdrew from the crowd, retreating from the busyness of life. Scripture depicts Jesus retreating after long, busy days. He knew the value of time alone to regroup, rethink, reevaluate and to refuel. One thing I have noticed about the times that Jesus got away to spend some solitude with His Father is that following His retreat time, powerful and miraculous things happened...He walked on water, calmed the storm, healed a paralytic to mention a few.

I wish I could have some power and miracles happen in my life. The problem may very well be that I just don't spend enough time in the mountains. A personal retreat can give a whole new look at life and a renewing of our spirit. The problem with taking a spiritual retreat is the same problem we run up against when trying to schedule a very badly needed vacation ... there is no time!

In last weeks YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers the following question, "If you could go on a retreat, who would you take with you?" The top 3 responses were:

1. 27% voted and said they would take their spouse.
2. Another 27% said that they would take their mom.
3. 18% responded and said that they would go alone.

Interesting thing about this poll, when taking a retreat, often times we think of getting away with someone we want to spend time with instead of getting away with God. Are we simply too busy for a retreat with God?

While the temptation is there to get more time in our day by cutting out God's share, it is not suggested. The more time we need to stretch into a day is the very moment that we need to realize that we need to spend more time with God. I love what Martin Luther said about this...

"I have so much to do (today) that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer."
Jesus lived this. Spending more time with God His Father sustained Him and gave Him clear direction.

Do you ever feel like other people decide on how you spend your time? Your boss, your kids, your spouse. Sometimes, we get so caught up in our daily schedules that we forget that all of these activities that we become consumed with are simply our choice to make. It is a conscious decision that we make to do all that we do, it is also a conscious decision that we make when we do not take time to sit at the feet of Jesus.

When is the last time that you took a personal retreat with God? It may be time to clear the calendar and schedule one.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A PIECE OF MY HEART...recognizing Jesus!

My father has been in the hospital this week. His failing health is getting weaker and weaker. I had a phone call from his wife this morning that he did not recognize anyone. Many times, because of medicines and illnesses, people get to a mind set of confusion and it is difficult for them to recognize people, even those that are closest to them.

As I was thinking about that this morning, I was thinking about Jesus Disciples. Have you ever noticed that Jesus' followers had difficulty recognizing Him when He appeared to them after His resurrection?
  • He appeared to Mary and she thought He was a gardener. (John 20:14, 15)
  • He appeared, walked and talked with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and they did not realize it was Him. (Luke 24:13-32)
  • He yelled to the disciples in the boat fishing and they did not recognize Him. (John 21:4)
Why couldn't they recognize Him? Did their grief blind them?

Human pain and suffering can do that. It can give the illusion that we're all alone and we do not recognize those around us, even our closest loved ones.

Could it have been their lack of expectation? Jesus had died. They knew death was final, so they did not expect to see Jesus again. Even if this man looked like Jesus, it could not be Him. He was dead.

Or could it be that they were kept from recognizing Him?
Could it be that they were being taught a new way of seeing Jesus?

Even though they did not recognize Jesus right away, they did have their eyes opened. In each case something happened that opened their eyes to the startling realization - that it was Jesus!

There is so much we can learn from the disciples. In fact, the way they were taught to see Jesus is the way we, who have never seen Jesus physically, are to see and recognize Him. In Christ we have the grace and senses needed to see. Just because we don't recognize or hear Him doesn't mean that He is not with us.

2 Corinthians 5:7 "For we walk by faith, not by sight."

Monday, February 7, 2011

Superbowl Faith

I shared the following devo today with the readers of LACED WITH GRACE. You can read other devo's from great Christian authors daily...check it out!

The BIG game is over. The victory was sweet for this Title-town home-town girl! Growing up just down the street from Lambeau field made me proud to see the championship trophy come back home last night.

I love watching the Superbowl game! Not just when “my” team is playing, but because it is the game of all games, the game of the year that in the end someone is going to be walking away with the prize…the championship ring!

I think it is funny the kind of people that watch the Superbowl games.

First you have the “INQUISITIVE” fans, these are the spectators that only watch the game to see the flashy commercials. They are not interested in the game, except for the final moment.

Then you have the “INDIFFERENT” fans. These are the fans that could really care less about the game or the commercials. They don’t really care who wins, or by how much.

Finally, you have the “INTERESTED” fans. These are the one that I relate to the most. These are the football fans that really care about the game. They have their eye on the prize…the final prize, that is..the Lambeau trophy and the Superbowl ring!

Does this also not describe the kind of faith in God that most people have?

God is building a team of great players, and training His team to go all the way to the end. To fight for the final prize, to win the trophy of all trophies. To obtain the ring of all rings … to obtain His prize that awaits us, eternal glory!

But so many of us take our eye off of the prize. We tend to have “inquisitive” faith, the kind that causes us to ask questions about God but yet never really joining His team as a believer. Then there are the ones who have “indifferent” faith, the kind of faith that really does not depend upon God at all. They go thru life thinking that they are good people, therefore they do not need to join sides.

However, the kind of faith that I pray to have is the “interested” kind of faith, this is the kind of faith that will keep you in the game, it will cause us to strive to be more like Paul instructs us…

“One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.” (Philippians 3:13-15)

God’s team has plenty of positions available, but we have to be interested, not inquisitive, not indifferent but interested. So…what kind of superbowl faith do you have?

Thursday, February 3, 2011


One of the sweetest things that my husband does for me is he keeps my car filled up with gas. I cannot even remember the last time that my gas tank was running on empty. However, when it comes to my spiritual tank, nobody can make sure it is filled up except me.

None of us can grow in the Lord by hanging onto the coattails of others. It doesn't matter who we are married to or who our parents are. They can be as spiritual as can be, but if we do not have a intimate relationship with Jesus Christ ourselves, it just won't be enough to know someone who does.

EPHESIANS 5:18 "Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of Him." (MSG)

Spending time with God is the exact fuel that our spiritual tanks need. When is the last time that you filled up?

I am so glad that you joined us today for THANKFUL THURSDAY. I am rejoicing in the fact that we do not have to run on empty any longer. God gives us the energy and strength that we need to face whatever lies ahead for us. What are you giving God praise for today? Link up your TT post below so we can all rejoice with you!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD...first things first

One of the first steps to becoming a better life manager is to have a clear sense of purpose. Each day I have a master plan of what needs to be accomplished, it may or may not get done, but I do indeed have a list! Many times, my day of duties are already rolling around in my head before I even plant my feet on the floor and go running.

Each of us starts our day off in a routine. In last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, some of you said that your daily routine starts with waking up, showering, drinking coffee, and reading God's Word. Many times how I start my day is a good indicator how the rest of my day will go. If I wake up late and find myself rushed and not able to get things done around the house first before walking out the door - it is a good indicator how things will go the rest of the day...I will run out of gas, my boss will yell at me, the clerk at the store will short change me, the dry cleaners will not be able to find my favorite pair of slacks, etc.


When my day starts out right, and everything goes smoothly before I get running, usually it is the beginning of a great day. The big difference in how my day can go is whether or not I took time to sit at the feet of God. I take time to greet the children and my husband before they start the day, but do I take time to greet God before I start mine?

Proverbs 10:27 "Reverence for God adds hours to each day." (TLB)

When I think about managing my daily allotted time, I can't help but think of Luke's account of Mary and Martha. Many times I find myself focusing on doing good things to please God but I actually do not take time to just sit at His feet, listening and learning from Him.

I suppose time management experts would suggest that we all be more like Martha and get more done in less time, but Jesus said that it was Mary who chose the good thing. I have found that when I take time for Him, and give Him my attention first thing, than the rest of the daily "Martha" tasks will just fall into place.

Do you have a clear day-to-day purpose?
Make sure God is leading you thru your day ... things go much smoother that way.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

LWG...timing is everything!

Today, you can find me over at LACED WITH GRACE where I have shared a devotion entitled, "Timing is everything" ....

Waiting for something is the hardest thing for me to do.

I guess many of you are like me when it comes to being patient for things to happen. I remember when I was pregnant with all four of my children, in the beginning of my pregnancy, 9 months just seemed like an eternity. But then as time passed, and my womb grew, and the birth came ... the previous 9 months just seemed like a blur of time.

Many times when we are anxious about something in our life, time seems to tick on so slowly! We live in a society today that has grown to be impatient with waiting. Look at everything that is at our food, fast cars, drive thru pharmacies, instant tax rebates. Seems like we have become so use to getting everything we want instantly that we don't know how to wait for the right time for things to happen.

My favorite story in the Bible demonstrates so perfectly the timing of God. Joseph remained in prison for 3 long years, until the right time came for him to be brought to Pharaoh and he was then made second in command in all of Egypt....CLICK HERE to read the rest of this devo!