18

Do We Really Believe It?

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ladderI know we all believe the things we read in God’s word, but do we really?

I was challenged in this area just last week. My husband was helping me shoot a picture for the cover of my ebook. If you missed that post, you can read it and see the picture by clicking here.

He, being on the roof many times, thought it would be really cool if we got a shot of me (having never been on the roof) up there with my arms lifted to the sky.

I thought it was a great idea! That is, until I got about halfway up the ladder. I told him I didn’t think I could do it, but he encouraged me to just keep climbing. I did, but instead of climbing up, I climbed back down, stepped onto solid ground, and told him that I just couldn’t do it. Continue reading →

6

Contentment

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contentment

I wonder how many of us are truly content with the lives we have.

How much time do we spend grumbling, complaining, and wishing our lives were different?

Do we lie awake at night with worry, or rely on a substance to get us through the day?

Do we let our circumstances determine our attitude?

For most of us, times are tough. Whether we are dealing issues surrounding health, finances, or relationships, life isn’t always easy. Continue reading →

18

When Our Thoughts and His Words Collide

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lamp-Bible

It recently occurred to me that there is a disconnect between the things I think and worry about and what Jesus has said in His Word. I worry about the dwindling savings, about retirement, about the future of my boys, and a host of other concerns. These are all things the world tells me I need to be concerned about. But what did Jesus say? Continue reading →

26

5 Reasons Why I Pray Before I Shop

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prayer-shopping

A few weeks ago, my Pastor’s wife and I headed ” the big city” to do some shopping. Our goal was to purchase groceries and board games for our upcoming Youth Night hosted by our church.

However, when one travels two and a half hours for a Costco, you can imagine I’m going to take advantage of that opportunity and do a little personal grocery shopping.

And so I prayed. I prayed for days before. I prayed not just for a safe trip, but for how I shop.

There are several reasons I do this: Continue reading →

17

How To Have A Mary Heart In A Martha World

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mary-heart-martha-world

It’s such a short story, and yet it convicts me every time.

The Bible astounds me. Not only does God love us enough write a love letter to us, but His Word is living and powerful. (Hebrews 4:12). I can read the same passages over and over again and learn something new each time.

In a Bible containing 66 books, more than 1,100 chapters, and over 32,000 verses, these 5 somehow seem to jump off the page and smack me over the head each time I read them. It doesn’t seem to matter how much I know this story, intellectually, it can take great effort and discipline to live it at times.

In Luke 10:38-42, we find the story of Mary and Martha. I’m sure you’re familiar with it. Continue reading →

13

Trimming Off The Suckers

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Tomatoes

A few years ago, a friend of ours came to our home for a visit. Having been a very successful, avid gardener for many years, I was anxious for him to come see our first garden. I wanted him to tell me what I needed to do next and how I could improve. That is until, he whipped his knife from his hip.

He bent down to his knees to examine my tomato plants, which I was very impressed with due to their abundant and overflowing leaves. They had started out as tiny little plants and now they collided into one another until you couldn’t tell one from the other. Boy, was I pleased!

My friend, however, had a look on his face that told me his excitement wasn’t quite the same as mine. He explained to me that I had a bunch of “suckers” on my tomato plants and that they needed to be trimmed back. Opening his knife, he looked up at me and asked if I trusted him.

Of course I trusted him.

Right? Continue reading →

6

You Are The Reason

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Breakfast-With-Jesus

The week before last, I wrote several posts about the idea that while preparing to teach Vacation Bible School to young children, I was reminded that God intends for the adults to be gleaning truths from His word as we are sharing them. Just because we are teaching doesn’t mean we aren’t learning.

Well, I’m back at it again this week.

Last Friday night, our church hosted a Youth Night complete with a spaghetti dinner and board games for all who wished to come fellowship. I gave a short devotion because I never want to miss an opportunity to share the gospel.

Like the previous week, I was reminded that I am never too old, never too familiar, never too well read that His truths do not continue to wash over me and bring me great comfort.

Let me share what I mean. Continue reading →

13

How To Find Peace When The Fires Rage

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Bible-Peace

As the worst fires in our state’s history rage a little too close to home, one cannot help but wonder about the what if’s. 

While I am choosing faith over fear, I cannot help but think practically about what we would do should evacuation, or God forbid, the loss of land, home, or property become a reality for us.

Continue reading →

12

Blessings

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blessings

A dear friend, missionary, and fellow blogger shared recently a post she, too, called BLESSINGS. (You can click on the highlighted text to visit her site.)

Bonnie wrote about how much the word “bless” is used and she began to “ponder what does BLESS really mean to me.” She not only shared a few of her thoughts, but encouraged her readers to do the same.

Continue reading →

4

Waiting For Power

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Holy-Spirit

I hope that you have enjoyed this week of Vacation Bible School for grown-ups.

If you are just joining us, you can read the posts from earlier in the week – How Great Is My Faith?, The Result of Great Forgiveness, A Spiritual Rebirth, and The Importance Of Sharing Our Faith.

Today is our last day of VBS with the kids. It has been an exhausting, rewarding, challenging, and blessed week. I am so thankful to God for the opportunity for our community to come together to teach and encourage these children in their faith. I pray that you, too, have been blessed by what you have read here this week.

Today’s lesson comes from Acts 1:1-11. Our focus is that more than just telling others about Christ with our mouths; we need to show His love to others with our lives. Continue reading →

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The Importance of Sharing Our Faith

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2

A Spiritual Rebirth

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flowing-water

If you are just joining us this week, welcome.

We have been looking at the idea that Vacation Bible School has just as much to teach us adults as it does the children who attend. You can read the first two posts here: How Great Is My Faith? and The Result of Great Forgiveness.

Today we are looking at the story of Nicodemus and what Jesus had to say about spiritual rebirth. Our text comes from John 3:1-18. Continue reading →

6

The Result of Great Forgiveness

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cross-in-sky

This week we are looking at the idea that Vacation Bible School isn’t just for kids.

While the program is catered to them, specifically, I believe that God has just as much to teach us. Here is how I put it yesterday:  “While I don’t usually stumble upon brand new information while preparing to teach VBS, I am always humbled by the fact that though my head may know all of this stuff, my heart needs to ponder it yet again.” If you missed that post, you can read it here – How Great Is My Faith?

While yesterday’s subject was faith, today’s subject is LOVE.

My Bible titles Luke Chapter 7 as “A Sinful Woman Forgiven”. The lesson of this story is simple, yet profound: the result of great forgiveness is great love. Continue reading →

4

How Great Is My Faith?

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spoon-mustard-seeds

Vacation Bible School isn’t just for kids.

As I was preparing for my 9th VBS this week, I was once again reminded that every year I start out with the perspective that I will be teaching the children about God. Each year, I am reminded that while I may be teaching the kids about God, God is teaching me more about Him.

I take many weeks to read the Scriptures, the material, to plan, and to pray. Every time, I am reminded that I need these lessons just as much as the kids do. There will be some children who will hear these truths for the first time. There will be others who know the stories, but their faith will be strengthened.

While I don’t usually stumble upon brand new information while preparing to teach VBS, I am always humbled by the fact that though my head may know all of this stuff, my heart needs to ponder it yet again. Continue reading →

20

I Am Not A Gentile

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not-a-gentile

I had just had one of those precious moments with God. You know, the kind where He whispers something to your spirit? A few familiar words where He reminds you of something so simple, but so profound that you will never be the same?

I had just had one of those moments and I was moved to tears not because He revealed something to me that I didn’t already know, but because He allowed me to experience it to the depths of my soul. I was living in a moment where He was changing me with His love and I was in awe because I was aware of the work He was doing in me and for me in that very moment. Continue reading →

14

How Everything Can Change In A Moment

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two-holding-hands

One incident. One accident. One illness. One episode. One phone call.

We’ve all experienced a time in life when one moment has changed everything. Though we may get through the original event, we never really see things the same way again.

It has a way of changing us; a way of reminding us that life is short and time is precious. We remember that we forget to tell them they are loved, that they are precious, and that life is beautiful because of them.

I must have needed that reminder.

Just in case you do, too, hold your spouse a little longer the next time you are hugging. Make that phone call to say, “I’m sorry.” Send that card or gift that says, “You’ve blessed my life.” Hold your child’s face, look them in the eye, and tell them all that they mean to you.

‘Cause everything can change in a moment.  Continue reading →

8

Joyful, Hopeful, Patient, & Prayerful

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sunflower

A few years ago, my Sister-In-Law gave me a beautiful postcard that I have kept in my kitchen ever since. It has a picture of a big, bright sunflower and the words found in Romans 12:12, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.”

These words have been a source of strength to me over the years as I have read them. It recently occurred to me, however, that perhaps I have become so familiar with these words that I am letting them wash over me, rather than allowing them to really sink in. Come swim with me, will you? Continue reading →

13

Christmas In July

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advent-conspiracy

I know… I know… no one wants to think about Christmas in the middle of summer. Hang with me, though, I have a really good reason for mentioning it now.

You see, I’m a planner by nature. I like to plan meals, schedules, budgets, etc. July 1st means that this year is half over already.

That also means that Christmas will be here before we know it. We know it’s coming. It’s the same date each year. Most people, however, find themselves unprepared, financially, when the big day comes.

Speaking of finances, do you know how much we spend on Christmas gifts? Continue reading →

23

9 Ways to Speak (or not) Love Into Your Marriage

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Husband & Wife Holding Hands

In honor of my in-law’s 43rd wedding anniversary today, I’d like to share one of my favorite tips on cultivating a blessed marriage.

It’s a simple idea, but one that takes great effort.

Our marriage has experienced its fair share of highs and lows over the past 21 years. One thing we have learned is the power of our words. If you missed my recent guest post Guarding Our Words, you can read that here.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue” ~Proverbs 18:21 (NKJV)

My husband and I have created a daily habit of praising one another with our words. Too often, we do the opposite with our words when one of us is out of sorts, but that’s to be expected when two imperfect people attempt to do life together. In those times, hopefully one of us will respond to the other in grace, patience, and love. Usually, that is enough to change the entire course of a conversation that is headed in a downward spiral.

Too often, however, the second doesn’t choose to answer the first very kindly as feathers have been ruffled. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that that doesn’t go well. We don’t honor each other, or God, when we allow our words to take us down that path.

This is the difficult thing about relationships. We know how we are supposed to speak to one another, but when feelings are hurt, the mouth is much harder to control. In an effort to cultivate and maintain an honoring marriage, we have instilled a few guidelines that we follow regardless of how emotional we get. Continue reading →

10

How to Not Let the Past Dictate the Future

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chains

I am so thankful that I am a new me. I don’t like everything about the old me.

This isn’t a post where I get bragging rights. I’m not here to boast about how together I am.

In fact, I wrote recently about how we must be careful not to fall into the comparison trap. If you missed that post, you can read it here – Grace, Not Perfection.

You see, I have this wonderful friend who has, on occasion, lamented about how he wishes he had come to faith in Jesus Christ earlier in his life as it would have saved him some grief. I try to remind him that our pasts have made us who we are in the present.

We all have regrets about who we were and the things we have done, but we need to remember that it is the present that dictates how we are affected by our past. Continue reading →

8

Dreams, Goals, and God’s Will

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fireworks

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

When I think of the word dreams, the song lyrics “a dream is a wish your heart makes” immediately comes to mind. When we dream about the future, we think about things that we wish would happen.

My husband and I dream of paying off our mortgage as soon as possible and the financial relief that will give us. However much we dream about paying off our mortgage, it won’t happen on its own. This dream is nothing but a wish for the future because without goals, dream are just fairy tales. Making the dream come true will require another step. It will require not just wishing with our hearts, but working hard with our hands.

Set your goals high, and don’t stop til you get there.” ~Bo Jackson

Continue reading →

2

The Cost of Unbelief

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Lifted Hands Waterfall

Numbers 20 tells the story of Moses and the Israelites as they wander in the desert without water.

If you’re familiar with the story, you know that the Israelites often complained bitterly and incessantly to Moses because they considered their wandering in the desert to be a much harsher experience than their slavery in Egypt. At least there they had grain, figs, vines, pomegranates, cucumbers, and leeks among other culinary delights. Here, they didn’t even have water. They made sure to continually remind Moses of their discontent. Continue reading →

6

What If It’s Not A Happy Father’s Day?

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A Father's Love

I feel incredibly blessed on Father’s Day more than most.

Not only is the father of my children my very best friend, but he is a wonderful, loving, and dedicated father to our two children.

Another one of my very best friends is my own father. I appreciate his presence in my life more than words can express.

I have also been blessed with a kind, generous, and loving father-in-law.

And if that weren’t enough, I have a Father in Heaven who loves me more than I can possibly imagine. We all do.

On this day, I have so much to be thankful for and to celebrate, but I can’t help but think about those who do not feel the same way.

You see, for some, this day conjures up feelings of anger, pain, hurt, resentment, loss, frustration, and a host of other feelings.

While we spend the day celebrating the wonderful fathers in our lives, others wish this day simply didn’t exist. Continue reading →

6

He Is Praying For You

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wheat

And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” ~Luke 22:31-34 (NKJV)

As our family was reading this chapter, several thoughts came to mind. The first was, Has Satan asked to sift our family like wheat? Surely there are seasons in our lives where it seems like everything that can go wrong does, and we wonder if Godly testing might just be reason behind our circumstances.

My next thought was the overwhelming comfort I felt in Jesus’ words, “I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail.” I cannot even begin to put into words the peace that this sentence gives me; as I know that my Jesus not only prayed this for Peter, but that He prays it for you and I as well. Continue reading →

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