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Build One Another Up

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Encouraging Each Other

So, I had an interesting experience this week. I started a ladies bible study group about a year ago, and over the course of the year, as I’ve shared with other women, I’ve received a lot of people telling me they would like to get involved. This past week, we were getting ready to launch our new book, so I had a kick-off party. I invited every single person who said they were interested over these past few months. I invited some other people who I thought might enjoy it. I shared the word like I was starting a church. I organized games, prizes, drawings, snacks, had the first chapter of the book made in mass so everyone could get a preview. It was going to be GREAT!! I was so excited. All these women getting together to share and grow in Jesus.

Now, my “core” group is great! We are all friends outside of group, we’ve grown and shrank over this past year. We’ve been through some rough stuff and some great stuff. We’ve gotten together and hung out, outside of bible study. We’ve been there for each other. We’ve had nights where we had so much going on in our lives that we’ve just shared and been there for each and to give encouragement or advice, or just shared testimonies of how Jesus is working in our lives, instead of doing the actual “study”. We’ve crashed other bible study events because someone else was doing something that we thought we’d all enjoy and set our lesson plan aside. We’ve had craft and cooking nights, where the items we make are meant to be shared with people outside the group, to share our testimonies and bring others to the faith, or simply encourage them on their walk. I’m so proud of this group, and so encouraged by them. They’re exactly what I want and what I need. I believe that this is a big part of why I have grown so much in my walk over the past year, is because I needed this. I needed a core group of fellow believers to help me digest everything I’m learning during the week, to help me apply these things to my life, to share their experiences, to share scripture they know and give me insight on what Jesus says I should do in this situation. And, I do the same for them. Part of what’s so fun about our group, we don’t all go to the same church, nor are we the same denomination. And, I believe that we’re all changed, and definitely better believers, and better people for it.

Now, back to the party…. We set up, we had a room big enough to fit everyone reserved, we had name tags, snacks, everything. My core showed up, helped set up, brought their snacks, we arranged tables, got the games out. And waited…. and waited…. and no one came. No one. Not one new person. We waited a good 45 minutes after we we’re scheduled to start. Not one.

But, you know what? We still had a great time! We learned new things about each other, we’ve all been hanging out for over a year, and I still learned new things about my group that I didn’t know. We won all our prizes 🙂 Everyone went home with something. We all decided that we really enjoyed doing the games and we would start doing something with new games at either every meeting or every craft/cooking night. We had a really good discussion about stuff that’s been going on. We worked out our schedule for the summer. We definitely ate a lion’s share of all the chocolatey good snacks and really enjoyed each other’s company. We made arrangements for the following week. And, everyone reminded me, that people weren’t saying “no” to me. And, I get that, but I was so excited because this whole experience has done so much for me, and I wanted to share that with others, but I guess that’s just not part of the plan yet. And, that’s ok. I’ll have another one in the fall. The people who are supposed to be here, are here, and the doors are always open. As we all know, the Lord has timing for everything, and we just have to trust it.

What does the Bible say?

Now, as my mother always says, when the bible has a “therefore” look at the before.

1 Thessalonians 5:8-10 ” But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.”

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances;for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.

23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

25 Brothers and sisters, pray for us. 26 Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss. 27 I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters.

28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Now, I believe that Bible studies are important because you need help. You need a group of people praying for you, a group sharing with you, giving you advice, helping you grow, reminding you what the Bible says about your situations, because:

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” 1 Peter 4:12-14

You are going to face trials. You are going to struggle. Because you’re a believer, and because we live in a fallen world. And, you need support. Just like you need church. Just like Jesus had the Apostles. Our relationship is with the Lord, but having those around you to encourage you and help you grow, I believe, are just as important.

19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” – Matthew 18:19-20

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you. Thank you for our experiences. Thank you for our chances to grow. Thank you for everything you do for us. Thank you for sending your Son to save us. Thank you for encouraging me in the Faith today, and every day. Thank you for the blessing of believers that you have brought into my life. I pray that you bring these believers and encouragers into the lives of everyone. That you may lay your hands upon others to encourage and to grow, and to find their people to help them along their walks. That you may lay the same fire in their hearts to grow closer to you Father. That everyone can find encouragement in those around them, that they walk closer to you Father. I just pray for your blessing in our lives. I pray that we see your work everywhere, and in everyone. Words cannot express how grateful I am that you laid it on my heart to start my own Bible study and that you gave me such an incredible group of people to grow with, and I pray for that blessing on everyone reading this. I pray that everyone finds a group or fellow believer to have such a relationship with to grow. To learn your word, to make them better people. Thank you so much for all You do Father, and what you will continue to do, in all our lives. IN JESUS’ NAME! AMEN!!

Mission this week:

Each week, I’ve taken to supporting a mission outreach, here’s this week:

Channel to Brazil

Read more about Marcondes Marques here

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God’s Plans

“But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” Genesis 6:8

BRING THE RAIN!

I’ve had a story in my heart this week. And it all started with stumbling across this picture. It spoke to me. AMEN!! Sometimes, Faith will make you look stupid… until it starts to rain. I mean. It just flooded me with a particular story, which led to another, which has brought me to another…. and two of them, were after I saw this picture.

First Story

Let me share an interesting moment. Several years ago, my life had blown up in my face. I had just left a job of 5 years, with one of my favorite people, to start a new career path, and we were going to buy a house in the little town that the new job was in. And, I was loving the job. Everything was great! And, then, one day I got pulled into the CEO’s office, and proceeded to get eaten alive by the CEO and his right hand. I was able to pull out of buying the house in time, but it was all mortifying and heartbreaking! I still had a job, but if stuff was going to be like this, I wasn’t sticking around. And, in the midst of this angst, I put in an app at one company. That’s it, just one, and prayed for the best. It was all just taking a minute for me to really wrap my head around what was happening, so I hadn’t really hit the streets with my application yet. Then, our 1 vehicle started acting up, and I didn’t feel comfortable driving the 30-45 minutes to this job I was planning on leaving, anymore. So, I just quit. Turned in a resignation online, and just gave up. – This was on a Friday. I got called in for an interview on Monday. That all seemed well and good, couple days went by, I get called in for the next interview. Now, this job was entry-level, but bills don’t care right? So, I go in for the second interview, and I’m thinking I’m going to be talking shop, which I can do. And, they throw me a curve ball, and give me a manager who I don’t think has done “shop” a day in her life. So, I’m answering the ticky-tacky questions that they’re required to ask, and we get all done, and she just flips the paper over, and looks me dead-in-the-eye, and says,

“What are you doing?”
“Excuse me?”

“What are you doing? You obviously are way over-qualified. What are you doing?”

She caught me so off-guard, I just told the truth.

“Well, my career just blew up in my face, I just backed out on buying a house, and I still have to pay my bills. I’m good at running machines, you have machines, and I just need some time to think and figure out what I’m going to do.”

“Ok, thanks for coming in.”

So, of course, everyone’s like, how’d it go? blah, blah, blah. And, bar none, worst interview ever. But, that afternoon, they called, and I started that next Monday. That was over 5 years ago. I spent a year on the floor, four years as a Quality Technician in the Evaluation Lab, and I just got promoted to being a Buyer. Look at #Godshowup! It all seemed like utter madness when it was happening, but I wouldn’t have thought of it myself. Which is why I’m so glad, God has better plans for us, we just have to trust Him and HE WILL BRING THE RAIN!!!

Second Story

So, I met a man last night, who has an incredible story. 38 years ago, he was going through a similar circumstance. He had dreams, goals, things he had figured out with his life. And, he failed. It all blew up in his face, and he said, the whole time that God was nagging at him to minister, and he kept saying, “I will when ….” whatever. Well, all his whatever’s fell through, and here God had gotten him all alone, and was like, “Go”. And, he says, “With what?” God told him, “with what you have.” He had coffee and bread. This man lives near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Near the favelas. Where some of the poorest of the poor live.

He went out on the streets with coffee and bread. He stumbled across some kids (12-14 years old) who were so high they couldn’t even tell him their own names at first. After giving them some of the coffee and bread, one of the kids asked this man to spell his name. “Ok, what’s your name?” “Cisero” So, he wrote down the kid’s name on a piece of paper. And, the kid said, “Now, I’m somebody!” That simple act had made those kids feel important. He asked them if they wanted to know Jesus, they did. He led them in the Sinner’s prayer, and talked with them a while more. Then, right as he was getting ready to leave, one kid yells out, “Hey, you coming back tomorrow?” The man said, “Yes. I’ll see you tomorrow.” This was the beginning of his ministry.

Over the years, he has helped thousands of kids break the cycle of poverty. He now leads a ministry group that orchestrates a school for the kids of the favela teaching them photography, music, art, computer skills. They have one of the only computer labs in the city! Feeding them every day! Feeding their entire families a couple times a year! Encouraging them to fellowship with each other and minister to others. Sometimes they help the kids all the way through college, and all the while teaching the love of Jesus. WHAT AN INCREDIBLE MINISTRY!! It seemed crazy, and then GOD BROUGHT THE RAIN!!!

Third Story

So, I’m talking to the guy a little after service is over, and we start discussing some different stuff, and I tell him about my blog. This peaks his interest. He needs a Marketing Manager for their Facebook and social media. They’re so busy down there with the day-in and out of the kids and activities that they’re struggling to get the word out to people to help their ministry. Well, because I have my blog, I also have a social network. I tell him I will reach out to the ladies who also have Christian blogs to see if someone might have the skills he’s looking for. So, I get home last night and post it to the FB page. I’ve already had two people reach out who are both looking for a ministry, and have been to the area in Brazil and would love to be a Marketing Manager for him! People who have been praying – for rain! and – GOD BROUGHT THE RAIN!!!

Now, if I hadn’t started a blog, we would’ve had an entirely different conversation. If I had stayed home last night, I never would’ve met him. If I hadn’t…. believed that God would bring the rain. I don’t know that I’ve ever posted something to this FB group, except for the usual stuff we do, reading each other’s blogs, encouraging each other, etc. But, last night, I jumped on and threw it out there. And God brought the rain. He always does.

All of these stories have also inspired me to try to see if my ladies’ Bible Study would be interested in doing free will donations to featured ministries every other month. AND, I will be promoting a ministry in my blog. You can check out this gentleman’s ministry here, and donate or sponsor a child, or just pray for them! Because who doesn’t need more prayer?!?!

I hope these encourage you. I hope they bless you. I hope you know, that if you have faith, God will always bring the rain!! He never fails, never gives up, and he’s always there. One of my favorite Pastor Kevin quotes, “God has more faith in you than you do!” Tell him to BRING THE RAIN!! He will not disappoint.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for your everlasting rain. Thank you for always showing up, right on time, all the time. Thank you that you give us the examples of Noah and people along our walks to reassure us that you will always bring the rain. You are the beginning and the end, the SAME GOD as Noah and Abraham, and who raised JESUS FROM THE DEAD, is the SAME GOD TODAY! You’re always there. Always watching, always ready to catch us, and show us something better. Give us the Faith and the peace to trust your will, and that you always have something better in mind for us. Thank you Father that you have more Faith in us than we do, and may we all learn to have the same Faith in you. Thank you for all that you are and all that you would have us be. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

To learn more about Marcondes Marques and his ministry. Check out @ChanneltoBrazil on Facebook or go to their website: http://www.thechannel.org

For More stories about God Bringing Rain:

God who provides

Don’t quench the Spirit

Cookies

Spoons 2

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Worry

“Cast all your anxiety upon Him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

Trouble

This past week has been a week of worry for quite a few people in my life. And the mix of things go from worrying about something small that is going to happen the next day and be over in ten minutes, to life-changing adult issues that could, and probably will, affect the rest of their lives. And, to be honest, I’m pretty proud, because I think this is the most chill I’ve ever been in my life. 3 years ago, it wouldn’t have been the same story. 3 years ago, I would’ve been a wreck. I would’ve have been worrying, and racking my brain on how to help all these people. But, I’ve really grown in the past three years. I’ve learned that God shows up. I’ve learned that the ONLY thing I can do sometimes, is pray about it and trust that God is going to put his hand in there and sort it all out. I have also learned that God is going to fix it, however he’s going to fix it, and that I need to trust what he does. Not all of my concerns have worked out the way I thought, or in a way that I feel is right, but I also know that I can’t see the big picture, so eventually, someday, it’s all going to make sense.

What does God say:

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. – Proverbs 12:25

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God – Phillippians 4:6-7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

And, as I’m sure, many of you have heard in your lives, the Bible is quoted to have said, “Fear not” 365 times, which is one for every day of the year. Why? Why should we fear not? Because God has promises, and we need only to remember them.

The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still – Exodus 14:14

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. – Isaiah 40:29

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, – Isaiah 54:10

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. – James 4:7

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

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. – Deuteronomy 31:8

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11

So, if the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed – John 8:36

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. – Mark 11:24

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. – Phillippians 4:19

I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies. – Psalm 18:3

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. – Psalm 34:17

God is putting his hand on your life. God will step in for you. God will show up. God will be there, if you only let him. God has got it all under control, and you just need to pray for the peace that surpasses all understanding in Christ Jesus, to let him do it. Humble yourself to the Lord, and ask him to fix it, and to give you the peace to stand back and let Him.

You know, it’s always so incredible, and part of why I love my blog so much. There are weeks, where I totally know what I’m going to talk to you guys about, and then there are weeks like today, where I literally sat down in front of the computer without a clue of what we were going to discuss, and sometimes it’s just a word, and sometimes it’s everything that’s in here – just comes pouring forth from my fingertips. That someone who reads this, it’s exactly what they needed to hear. That God is speaking to you. I’ve received so many incredible testimonies of people moved by what is shared here. And, I pray that it continues, as long as it needs to. I pray that God continues to use me as a vessel to help others see his glory and his grace and his overwhelming love for all of you. That it may bless you and keep you, just as the ever-loving Father intended.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, you are such a good God, and I thank you for all that you are. I thank you, that you are actively working in our lives and that you care for us. I thank you for the opportunity to share with these people and help them grow in Your word. You are so incredible and amazing, and I thank you that you sent your Son that we may be your people. I just want to pray for anyone reading this, that they may see you Show UP! That whatever is troubling them may be overcome by you. That you are the Victor, Father, and that we need only to trust in your word and in You. That your blessings may pour out on our lives, that we become so blessed we don’t know what to do with ourselves but share the testimonies and victories with others that they may receive your blessings too. That you are the great and glorious God of all, and the SAME GOD who blessed Abraham, and the SAME GOD who sent his Son for us and raised Him from the DEAD, is the SAME GOD who is blessing us today. That NOTHING is too big for You God, and we need only to be still and let you have your way with us, and in us, and around us. May we be so blessed that all we can see is YOU. Thank you. Thank you for your blessings. IN JESUS’ NAME! AMEN!!!

If you would like some stories on how life can be a wreck:

The Year of Great Loss

Plans, Plans, Plans

Life

And when God shows up (in addition to some of the above):

Don’t quench the Spirit

My grace is sufficient

The God who provides

Little Help?

Spoons 1 and Spoons 2

The Bible Study

Cookies

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Prayer Life

” I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. ” Psalm 145:1 (NIV)

Take it to the Lord in prayer

So, if you’ve been with me for a while here, then you know, I completely see God working in my life. If not, feel free to take a stroll through some of my previous posts, like Christmas Story, Year of Great Loss, or How I’ve gotten here. But, the truth is, I absolutely see God working in my life. This is also evidenced by my Prayer Box. Which is a collection of answered prayers over the years, which, if you don’t have a way to record how God is answering your prayers, I suggest you start, since it really gives you a chance to reflect, and to thank God for all he does for you. It also is a testimony you can share with others, when they’re having questions about what your God does for you.

But, I’m really telling you that ^, to tell you this. What makes us so different? Do I have something you don’t? Do you feel like God isn’t showing up for you? He can. He absolutely will. If you want him to, he’ll step right in, and be all that you think he can be, and more. If you do feel like God is actively present in your life, AMEN! Good for you! I’m glad! It’s one of the most incredible and amazing feelings there is. It’s comforting, it’s amazing, it’s just bar-none, one of the best feelings you can experience, and if you’ve already got it, then I’m so happy for you. But, if you don’t… read on. Let me share with you a big part of how I got here.

Change the game

Obviously, if you don’t feel like God’s showing up, change the game. The first thing, I suggest, is prayer. Talking to God – makes you want to read about God, reading about God – makes you want to get around people who are experiencing God in their lives, and experiencing God in our lives – is the end game, right? Everything else kinda falls in after that. Once you’re really experiencing God in your life, you want to tell people about it, you want to volunteer, you want to draw closer, learn more, be more – all of it. But, if you’re struggling to have that connection, the most powerful thing you can do is pray. There’s a reason they’re called prayer warriors. They’ve honed their skills, they’re in battle, they’re making plans and waiting to listen to what the Father has to say about what they should do. They’re warriors, they’ve spent time on their knees, on their hands and faces, crying out to God, talking to God, sharpening their iron, and asking the Father for exactly what they need or want, or whatever. But, how do we get there? It’s going to sound simple, because it is. Take the time to pray.

Now, how do we pray? How do you pray? Well, their’s the Lord’s Prayer, which really is a very basic template that we can use. And, from everything I understand, if we follow that template, it gives you a really good start to get rolling.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

So, let’s take that. Starting with telling God how good he is. Thanking him for everything he’s given to us. There’s another scripture that tells us, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:4. We start with telling God how amazing we know he is, or how amazing he can be, and thanking him for all we have. You can be as specific or general as you are comfortable. You’re proclaiming this, reassuring yourself and God that he is good, and you are grateful. Grateful that he sent his son to die for you and thankful for all that you have. He is the good Father, and he wants to do good things for you. Also, let’s remember that it’s much easier to ask for stuff when we’re talking nicely isn’t it? Get more flies with honey, start the conversation off on a good note.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,

Here it gets a little more intense. One of the hardest things for us to get through our heads, is that we need to ask for his will to be done. Not ours. His will, is always, so much better than ours. His will be done. Bring it down to Earth. Don’t ask for the specific outcome you want all the time, especially if it’s a tricky situation. Example: a very sick baby is in the ICU, you may instinctively ask for the baby to come home…. but what we really want is for a healthy baby to come home, no matter how long that takes in the hospital. Therefore: Heal the baby. Miraculous, overwhelming health, so the baby can come home. Proclaim the baby’s health over the want for it to come home. Right? That’s a very basic example, but really, you have to change the way you think a little bit. Think about what you’re asking for. Or, if you don’t know what you’re asking for (i.e. you don’t understand what the situation’s best outcome would be) then, just give it to God. “God, lay your hands on this situation. Give everyone the understanding and the wisdom to make the best choices. You, Father, are the only one who knows how to fix this, put the solution in the minds and hearts of those who need to know how to fix this.” We’re messengers and warriors bringing his will down to Earth. Proclaim it, give Him the in to the situation. His will be done.

Give us this day, our daily bread

Provide for me and my family, meet our needs, exceed our needs. Help me know throughout the day, what I need to do, and give me the strength to do it. Help me give bread to others.

And forgive us of our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us

OOOOOOoohhhh snap. Can we skip this part? lol. This, is a good reminder, that every day, we need to forgive, because he forgives us. That grudge you’ve been holding, let it go. If God can forgive you, you need to forgive others. Ask for him to help you forgive others. I’ll be honest, I’m still actively working on this. I have a couple people, I need to forgive, and I’m continuously asking God to help give me the grace and the peace to forgive them. I know that the problem is my own, the people have shown repentance and remorse, and I need to forgive. I need to forgive because it’s what’s best for me, not necessarily what’s best for them, even if they haven’t acted sorry or said sorry, we didn’t say we were sorry originally either, but God forgave us, so we must also forgive. Take a moment to be honest with God. Or take the moment to ask for forgiveness about stuff you know you did wrong. We’re all sinners, struggling to get better, ask him to help you be better, it works. He will. He wants the best for all of us, but we need to be honest about it.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil

Ask Him to help you walk the straight and narrow. We all have monkeys on our backs, skeletons in our closets, and vices that we’re dealing with. Ask him to guide you to the better you. Give him the in to your conscience, to catch you up when you’re looking to slip up. Ask him to save you from you. My spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak. He knows that, the apostles knew it, Jesus knew it, everybody knows it, ask God to help you with it. We are our own worst enemies, that’s why God put a God-shaped hole in us, because only in Him can we be complete. Only in Him can we conquer our demons. Only in Him can we aspire to be more than we are, in every way. And if you’ve got something that you’re struggling with, start spending that time with God, praying, reading, getting with the right crowd, whatever. Fill it up, with God time. He does not disappoint! I can personally attest to the fact that NOTHING else fills that hole like Jesus does.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen!

Amen and AMEN!!! We’re closing with a promise. Your kingdom, forever and ever and ever. He is the victor. Bring him down to Earth. Thank you God for being good. Thank you God that your kingdom reigns.

If you follow this template, you’re on the right track. You’ll be spending more time with God. Open up the prayer. Carve out time from your schedule to talk to God. I wake up 10-15 minutes earlier than I used to, just to be sure I have God time. I get down on my hands and knees, with my face on the floor, most mornings, and proceed to pour out my soul before I start the day. I ask him to guide my steps. I ask him to protect me and my family and friends and whomever else I’ve been asked to pray for. I ask for his intervention where-ever it’s needed. Feel free to step in at any moment God, I will absolutely step aside. I don’t need to fix everything, I can’t fix everything, and THAT’S TOTALLY OK!!! We are not God. We’re just his children, and sometimes with children, parents need to step in. Just let it happen. You’ll be a better person for it. Ask for the wisdom to understand when those moments are.

I think I feel so compelled to share this with you, because I recently prayed with someone, and when I got done praying. They lifted their head, and said, “You are praying totally different than I’ve ever heard. I don’t think we have the same God.” And, I responded, “Well, my God shows up. And my God knows what to do, and I just pray in a way that let’s him show up and do what he needs to do to fix it.” And, to be honest, that was a really hard prayer, over an incredibly difficult and scary situation, and I just started with, You’re the Good Father, we’ve messed up, but you love us, and you’re absolutely going to step in and save us, because that’s what you do, you’re the God that saves. – it was a lot longer than that, but I have never felt so calm and relaxed and confident about a situation in my life. But, I know that He shows up, you just need to step aside. And that person felt much better about the situation too, just because I felt so confident about it. But, trust me, that person and I used to pray the same way – the only difference is, I’ve changed the game, to how it’s really supposed to be.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you so much. Thank you for this blog. Thank you for this opportunity to talk to all these people. Thank you for being amazing! Thank you for all the incredible things in my life. Thank you for knowing more than me and knowing what’s best for me, and looking out for me, and all these people reading this. Thank you that they are taking the time to read this, that they want to draw closer to you, Lord. Watch over them Father. Keep them safe. Bless them. Bless their lives. Open your windows and pour out blessings upon them. Give them so much that they don’t know what to do with it all, and then give them more. Bless their relationships, bless their minds and their hearts. Reach in there, and make them hearts of flesh and hearts on fire for you, Father. Draw them closer to you Father. Help them fill that God shaped hole in their life. Forgive them Father, help them forgive others. Help bring us all closer together. Help us see what you want us to see, bless our hands and feet that they do your will. Help us bring glory and honor to you, in all that we do. IN JESUS’ NAME!!! AMEN!!

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Best You

” For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. ” Psalm 139:13-14

The Best You

These past few weeks at my new job have been interesting. And, again, I deeply appreciate my guest entry last week, as that helped lighten my load, as it started to warm up here, and it created a whole slew of things to do. But, as I sit down, to wonder what we’re going to discuss here this week, it all became clear – in an instant. Be your best you. As my verse this week states: we are fearfully and wonderfully made. God made us just as we were intended to be. Be your best you. Easier said than done. I’ve had a couple reminders these past few weeks. I’ll share with you here.

Get it together

I’m a really organized person. Like really organized. It’s a control thing, it’s an OCD thing, it’s how my brain works, and when things get too messy, I struggle to cope and to keep up. Which is a far cry from where I used to be. But, how I got here is not too much of the point. The point is, with a new job, you have to switch gears. You have to get a new kind of organized. What worked for your old job, will not necessarily work for your new. And, in my new role, I’m moving at the speed of the internet, so taking the time to figure out how to organize stuff is not really up there on everyone else’s priorities, but it was jamming me up. What I mean by that, is my new boss would ask me a question about something, and because I haven’t gotten a system together yet, it’s taking me 3x as long to get the answer, get it together, figure out where that one thing was written…. UGH!!! Not me. Not me, at all. Although, he’s been incredibly graceful and understanding, I feel like I’ve got egg on my face. So, I took extra time these past couple days to start sorting, organizing, and putting myself back together. And, I already feel a lot better. Because I know, that my best self, cannot function under a certain level of chaos. But – it took me a long time to figure that out. Before, I would just buckle under pressure. Not understanding what my issue was. Not understanding why I suddenly just couldn’t do something any more. Retrospect – it got too messy, and I had not been taking any maintenance steps to clean it up. Or any extra steps to get it under control in the first place. Although you might not need to clean or organize to function, you do have something that helps you feel like you’ve got it together, and you need to make sure that when life starts spiraling, you’re taking the extra time or making time to do what you need to do, to be the best you. Otherwise, something’s going to give… and it’ll probably be you.

Give yourself some grace

Now, because I’ve learned from past mistakes, and because this isn’t my first rodeo. I also understand that I need to give myself some grace. We are always our own worst critics. And as you saw a moment ago, my boss has been very gracious, he gets it. This job is intense. You know the job’s going to be intense, when they’re forewarning you, in the interview. Straight-up. No beating around the bush. How do you handle stress? And, we strive to only work 45 hour weeks… Absolutely transparent about what I’m signing up for. And, although, it’s only my second week, I knew that I needed to figure something out quickly, even if it would go through major re-vamping later. And, my boss has told me, almost every single day, “Good job.” “You did well today”. Something. So, I know that I’m putting my best foot forward, and he is acknowledging that. It’s ok that I’m struggling for stuff here and there, I’m trying to catch 50 balls in the air, it’s no easy task. In the first few weeks, some stuff is going to hit the ground, and that’s ok. I think, everyone would be surprised if some stuff didn’t fall. I still feel really great about my job. I like my boss. I do not regret my decisions. I do not feel like I have to be perfect. And, I’m totally honest when I catch a mistake. And, everyone would much rather be told that a mistake happened and proactively do something about it, than catch it two weeks from now when it hit the fan. Learning moment. *By the way, that’s just something to live by. Own your mistakes, asking for grace in advance is much healthier than asking for it afterwards. And, it slips out of people’s memories a lot faster than when it all went catastrophically wrong and you spent twice as much time cleaning up the mess. Ain’t nobody got time for that 😉 Give yourself grace like God gives you grace. Every day, all the time. It’s hard being a human. Cut yourself some slack.

Know your worth

Here’s my favorite story of the week. My son was playing a new computer game the other night, and unbeknownst to us, it had a chat feed at the bottom of the screen. So, here’s my son, playing a brand new game that he’s been all excited about, and he’s struggling, and the trolls show up…. And, you know, they all start saying all this horrible garbage, because that’s what trolls do. Next thing we know, we tell him his time is up, and as he angrily closes out the screens, he turns around, and he’s got tears streaming down his face. And, I’m thinking, he’s upset because his time went by “too quickly” and he wants to keep playing. So I start saying, you know, we set a timer, timer’s done, man. He’s like, “No, it’s not that. It’s just that everyone sucks.” And I’m like, ? “What are you talking about? Who sucks?” He says, “All those awful people in the game.” Again, “What?” Then, he informs us that there was a little chat screen below the big game window (that we couldn’t really see from where we sit), and that he was having a hard time playing the game because he didn’t understand some of the stuff, and that people were making fun of him. OOOOOOHHHHHH!!!! *Mom moment* Well, honey, you can’t let those people get to you, they’re just angry little kids, they had no idea it was your first time playing. (disclaimer, my son is almost 10) The conversation continues, and morphs into a discussion where I finally looked at him and said, “I’m going to give you some real grown up advice here. You ready? You can’t ever let someone tell you what you’re worth. You have to decide that. You know, you’re an amazing little kid, you’re in Cub Scouts, you do community service, you’re learning the piano, you’re an A/B student, you’re amazing. You have a good heart. Those kids don’t know any of that stuff. Same thing goes for kids at school, they have no idea all the stuff you do, and even if you’re not good at some things, you’re an incredible human being.” He kinda just looked at me like I was stuck in the dark ages. So, “You know why I got this new job?” “Because it gives you more money.” “No, I mean, do you know why I got this new job when other people didn’t? I was up against like 20 other applicants. Why I got it?” He shakes his head no. “I got this job, because I walked in there and told those people I was worth it. Didn’t matter that I was one of the youngest applicants. Didn’t matter that I hadn’t done this job in over 5 years. Didn’t matter anything else. I walked in there, and I owned it. Because I knew I was worth it. Because I decided a long time ago, if I want something, I’m worth it. You know, when I was growing up, I got made fun of because I had glasses, because I was poor, because I lived on a farm, because I had an accent, because of whatever, but I realized one day, that I’m worth it. And no one else is ever going to tell me that, you can’t ever let someone else decide how much you’re worth. You have to know, then tell everybody else how it is.” <—- I think that’s some of the best advice that has ever come out of my mouth. It was a super proud mom moment. I hope it sticks. It’s true.

God says:

She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. – Proverbs 3:15

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. – Luke 12:6-7 (During a time when pennies were like a day’s wages)

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved – Colossians 3:12a

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. – Psalm 139:13-14

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

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

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God – Matthew 5:5-9

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17

Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. – Psalm 100:3

We are beautiful and wonderful to God. He made us. Every last bit of us, and although we are always striving to be better people in general and more Christ-like, we’re still worth it. Every day of the week! Every time! We’re always worth it! One of my favorite pinterest quotes is this:

I mean! C’mon! Think about yourself that way! I hope this helps. I hope it inspires. I hope you all know, I’m praying for you. For you to be the best you, but even if every day doesn’t feel like that, you’re still trying, being a human is hard. Take a tip from the Father, and give yourself some grace! ❤

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your grace. Thank you for your overwhelming grace and mercy. May it pour out upon us. Into our souls. Deep down in the depths of our being, so much, as to overflow onto those around us. That others may see your grace through us. That we may show your grace because we know your grace. Thank you for your blessings Father. Thank you for the lives that we live. Thank you that you are the great Father that knit us together in our mother’s wombs. That you remind us of how special and precious we are. That you, who created everything, decided the world needed one of us too. Thank you for giving us the chance to honor you with our lives. Thank you that your grace and mercy knows no bounds, and that you don’t leave us where we are but you are always helping us fine tune ourselves to be more like you. Thank you that we’re worth it. Every time, all the time. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!!

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Which Gate?

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matt. 7:13-14

Guest Entry 

This week, I’m happy to have a guest entry. I’d like to introduce Jeff Struwe. We go to the same church, and we work at the same place. Jeff and I connected a few weeks ago after Sunday Service, and I gave him my card to hop online and check out my blog. He was so interested and excited about it, that I offered to have him do a guest entry for me. And, he did not disappoint! Jeff is working with a local group to compile a book, that I must admit, I cannot wait to read! I hope you all enjoy Jeff’s share as much as I did. ❤ Thanks Jeff!

The Wide Gate

Walking In Faith is one of those blogs that once I read the first one I look forward to the next. Stephanie Hale has created this blog who gives us life lessons while walking in faith.  I am extremely privileged to be allowed to participate in this week’s Walking In Faith.

My personal testimony is perfect for Christ’s teaching in Matthew 7. And making a bold prediction, many born again Christians will admittedly agree.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.   Matthew 7: 13-14

When I was 14 years-old a friend’s father paid for a one week Baptist bible camp in North Dakota. This was in lieu of payment for doing chores on their family farm. I concurred. What followed was my biggest life changing moment. On the next to last day of camp, I gave my life to Jesus. However, what followed for 39 years was anything but living a life of Christ. Our actions are our responsibility. I had no idea how to follow up once I gave my life to Jesus; regular bible study (daily), attending a bible based church, and the camaraderie with other born again Christians. You see, for the 39 years I did virtually what I wished. Nothing bad, but certainly not a Christian lifestyle. I basically put Jesus on a back burner and helped raise a family until after 20 years of marriage ended in divorce.

But never once did I feel miserable. A second relationship didn’t fare well either. But this time I knew things had to change. Not only was this last relationship a failure, but after working for 20 years with the Post Office – a job I really loved – work began to get on my nerves.

The Narrow Gate

I left everything behind and struck out for a place I referred to as home (South Dakota). I guess I was like Jonah. Trying to hide from God. We all know how that turned out and it was no different than my situation.

You see, I was walking on that wide path and realized destruction wasn’t far away. I needed to do something, so . . . I literally called out to Jesus and reminded Him that 39 years ago I gave Him my life. Imagine, reminding Jesus of my situation. After being hired by my current employer, the Holy Spirit spoke to me about finding a church. (#Godshowedup) I attended a few in the surrounding area of Brookings, but after dating a co-worker for a month or so, she brought me to Holy Life Tabernacle in Brookings. BINGO. Twelve years later, my most important day of the week is Sunday. Fellowship at the Tabernacle. And that co-worker?  We have been married 11+ years.

I have to be perfectly clear though. Even knowing that I am on that narrow path leading to the greatest prize, Heaven, I must watch my step. And I know that many, many others are in the same situation I am. I would like to offer 2 Christian songs about my Walk In Faith. The first is the song, “I Am A Child of God.” The lyric is: “I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God.” You see, fear is the opposite of faith, and to walk in faith we are applying the teachings of Jesus and living with the Holy Spirit within us. The other is a song by Building 429. The title is “Where I Belong” and the lyric is, “All I know is I’m not here yet, This is not where I belong, Take this world and give me Jesus, This is not where I belong . . . “

Dwell on these lyrics. John 14:6 says, Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  Walking in fear is giving in to the devil and walking in faith is following Jesus. And Building 429 tells us that as followers of Christ, this world that we live on is temporary and living with Jesus is eternity. To all my brothers and sisters in Christ, walk on that narrow path that Jesus describes to us in Matthew 7. Walk in Faith and you will be rewarded the grand prize.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that you have faith in us. Thank you that you do not leave us where we are. That you save us from us! Thank you that you have made a way for us to get to you. That we are reminded that You want us all to be saved. Whether we sin terribly, or whether we’re just not quite walking as straight of a path as we should. You’ve forgiven it all, you’ve removed our sin from us as far as the East is from the West. That we may always remember that you wash us white as snow, as the pure, freshly fallen crystal snow, that’s so pure. Our sin is removed by your blood, that you’ve paid the ultimate price and that we may honor our covenant with you by living in a way that you would want for us. That we may honor your name with all that we are, that we continue to straighten our feet and keep our eyes on the prize – our eternal life with you. That no matter where we’re at, we can re-adjust our steps and fall in line with your will for us. That you are the good, good Father, and that you only want good things for us. Thank you Father for all that you are, and all that you would have us be. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Speak Life

” The tongue has the power of life and death,
    and those who love it will eat its fruit. ” Proverbs 18:21

Change the Game

So, a few weeks ago, I discussed how changing the way I prayed has changed my prayer life. Which is true, but if you think about it, part of it is how I talk to God. How I talk in general, has also changed. You may have heard sermons where your tongue is a double-edged sword, or how you need to watch your language and not let foul things out of it, and all of this is true…. but, did you know, that you can speak life? Did you know that by not only trying to tame your tongue from evil, you can also use it to change your life? You can use it to make things happen… Let me explain.

” The tongue has the power of life and death,
    and those who love it will eat its fruit. ” Proverbs 18:21

So, there it is ^ in the Bible, which is just one of the many scriptures that discuss the power of the tongue. But, a few years ago, I walked into a church that actually practices this. A church that when we opened for prayer in the morning, the Pastor started praying, “That you may be the head and not the tail, that you will be above and not below, that God will open up his windows of blessings and pour them out upon you, that you will have exceptional overflow.” Ummm, YES, PLEASE?!?!? I started praying that over my life. I embraced that. And, let me say, God does not disappoint, I think we all know that I’ve shared that.

But, what else can the tongue do?

17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons;they will speak in new tongues;18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” – Mark 16:17-18

It speaks life! Don’t just try to tame your tongue not to curse, but to heal the sick, to claim your blessings, to drive out demons. I was talking to one of my Christian friends a few years ago, and I was complaining about some stuff that had happened that day. And, she says, “You know what I do? I go over to a door, and say, ‘Satan, GET OUT!’ and then I slam the door behind him.” She physically assists her tongue in telling Satan to get out of here! And, he does! It’s always so incredible! So powerful!

Another part of taming your tongue is not complaining. Have you ever noticed, the more you complain, the more there seems to be to complain about? But, if you don’t complain… there seems to be less to complain about? I think, it’s because, when we complain we’re admitting defeat, giving the devil his in. And he just uses that to jump all over us. But, if we claim Jesus, and Victory over our situations, God steps in. You know, one time, I made a joke about, “Not today, Satan.” but, then, the joke goes on, where Satan’s like, “But you’ve been putting me off for weeks now, when are we going to get together?” Now, at first I read the little joke, but, then I repeated it out loud to a few people…. then, I had the worst several weeks of my life, and had to claim Jesus all over my situation for a while to “undo” the provocation I had caused. I know that may seem silly, but I’m a little nervous just writing it. Because it’s real. We’re really at work in a war between the worlds, and although God has the victory, we live in a fallen world where Satan is most definitely alive and well.

It Heals

I recently listened to a missionary who suddenly fell very ill right before a missionary trip. She seriously considered going to the hospital, but she was afraid that if she went, they wouldn’t let her go on the trip. So she prayed about it. And the word she received, was to act like she wasn’t sick. Do all the things you would do, as if you weren’t sick. So, for almost an entire day, she was doubled-over, sweating, in agonizing pain, sick to her stomach, – going to church, standing up for worship, raising her hands and dancing for the Father, she went out to lunch (like they always do), she ate food (even though she had no appetite), she just kept going about her business and thanking God, praying to God, asking him for his healing. And, just hours before they were to leave, the affliction suddenly stopped, just as suddenly as it had began.

The stories of healing go on and on, I could probably do a whole entry just on ones I’ve heard. That’s because we serve the great physician. The great Healer. He’s the one who made us, he always knows how to fix us. I recently heard another testimony of miraculous healing of a cancerous tumor that had amassed to the size of an orange in a very short time, suddenly healing overnight after the laying on of hands. Verified by doctors both times, “Yep, definitely cancer.” to “I can’t find it.”

I mean, HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD?!? Speak it over your life! My God is GREAT, He can do anything and everything! You just need to believe, and testify to the power of His greatness! One of the things, I constantly remind myself when I start to feel doubt creep in, “I believe in the SAME GOD who raised CHRIST FROM THE DEAD!” Just that thought sends chills through me. That’s the God I serve. That’s my amazing, incredible, GREAT GOD!!

“Whoever would love life
    and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
    and their lips from deceitful speech. ” 1 Peter 3:10

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29

” The soothing tongue is a tree of life,
    but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit. ” Proverbs 15:4

“What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” Matthew 15:11

” Those who guard their mouths and their tongues
    keep themselves from calamity.” Proverbs 21:23

“The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the speech of the upright rescues them. The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous stands firm.” Proverbs 12:6-7

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your goodness. Thank you for your grace. Thank you for your healing! Inside and out. Thank you for your mighty hand and incredible miracles. Thank you for this time together. We pray today Father, that you lay your hand on our tongues. That we may only speak life. That we may go forth in your Word, and shine your light upon others. That your healing rain may pour out upon us. That your light and love be so present in our lives that others ask us how to find You. I pray that we are the head and not the tail, that we have lives of exceptional overflow. That you open the windows and pour out your blessings upon us. That everything we could ever need, You would provide. I pray that you help us strengthen our Faith, that we see so many miracles in our lives that we can’t shut up about You. I pray that we all draw closer to You, that You draw closer to us. That You keep us in your arms, heal our afflictions, bless our lives, and that we may honor You with all that we are. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!!

Missions Ministry:

Each week, I promote a ministry here: (This is the woman who was going on a mission trip above). Please check out this week’s incredible ministry: https://www.gotellministry.org/

Full Circle

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6

It starts…

If you’ve been reading here for a while, you might know some of this, but for those of you who haven’t here’s a short recap. Years ago, I worked for a different company, and was brought from the shop floor into a desk job (which never happens there), and I got the incredible opportunity to work with a woman who would become one of my best friends. She was also my mentor, she had 30 years in the industry, and I was going to school online at night, and then would come in during the day, and we would discuss various aspects of business, and she would teach me everything she knew about the work that we did. Sadly, this company that I worked for, didn’t have the best culture, so I finally decided that this is not where I wanted to spend my career. I moved into another position at a different company, but in a short time, found out that this one wasn’t going to work either. I ended up starting back at the bottom, at another local company, but this one had a GREAT culture, and I loved the company. I also just felt like I needed some time to sort my life out, since leaving the second company had been a rough and eye-opening experience. While I thought I was sorting things out, I thought part of my solution was taking me far away from here, but #Godshowedup 3 days before we were going to start making real moves to start looking into other places to live, and gave me an incredible dream job opportunity at the same company where I was starting over from the ground up. You can read more about this here: Plans, Plans, Plans.

So, I’ve been in this crazy, incredible job for the past four years. And, it’s been great, I’ve loved it! I’ve been so busy enjoying my job, I never really had a chance to stop and look around me. My one coworker states that this job moves so quickly it’s like trying to catch a freight train on foot. It’s fast-paced, high stress, and you’re so busy all the time, you hardly have a moment to catch your breath. But, I’ve enjoyed it! I always would joke with people, that I forget that they pay me to do this sometimes, then someone walks in and hands me a paycheck, and I’m like, “Oh yeah, this is how I pay my bills!” I mean, that’s the goal, right? But, you know, there was always something that I had in the back of my mind. I used to have a desk, and wear professional clothes, and I have a degree, and…..But, oh well. I knew God was doing stuff. And, I just had to trust that he had the big picture sorted out. I had no idea what that looked like. Well, then a couple months ago, right before my Christmas miracle, someone within the company asked me to apply for a job coming open. And, I thought, here it is! This is more along my career path, here we go! So, I applied, and got through 2nd interview…. and they picked the other candidate. Oh, I was frustrated, but I also reminded myself that God knows what he’s doing, and that must not have been what he was doing, but it did make me start thinking about other opportunities again. And, low and behold, within the last 30 days, another position opened up. And, this one, again, was along my career path, was what I was working on achieving with my mentor. Here we go! So, again, I applied, made it through 2nd interview….and I GOT IT!!! But, if the other person had specifically asked me to apply for the one a couple months ago, I wouldn’t have taken the time to realize I was ready for something else.<— See how God used that?

#Godshowedup

And, this job, is WAY better, way more prestigious, and it solves all my money issues, which has been a general theme for a few of my posts. Plus, I feel like it’s a sort of reward, definitely a blessing. I started tithing when money was tight, now, I’m going to really start making some waves! I stayed true, thanked God for his mercy and grace, and knew that he had the bigger plan sorted out. When I was asked, in the second interview, what kinds of things do I do for self improvement outside of work, I mentioned my blog and told them it was about my faith. I mean, Holy Ghost! I felt like that was a big step out in faith moment – here I am with two directors and my new boss, and I’m like, “well, I’ve picked up sewing and made some neat things. And, I’ve started a blog about my faith, that’s been interesting and rewarding, and I’ve started a ladies bible study, and I’m working on helping people prepare with missions, and I help out with my son’s ……” etc. Three of the four things I listed first though, were about my building my faith and relationship with our Lord and Savior. And, man, did God show up?!?!

Also, funny side note. On the day that I’m waiting for an answer (because I was supposed to know whether or not I got the job a few days ago, but some stuff happened that delayed things.) I was having a terrible day. I was doing my job by myself, work was crazy because of some things happening from all this wild weather, I had several tasks to complete in a short amount of time…. I mean, it was all just kind of a hot mess, and so was I. But, I got everything done, and I’m clocking out for the day (which on this day is noon). So, I go to get some lunch for my family and myself and even that’s a hot mess. I mean, I just cannot win. Everything is just not happening today. But, I’m trying for all I’m worth to stay cool. I had just recently had a really terrible day, and God helped me through it, so SAME GOD today as the other day. I’ll be alright. I get home with the food, and they get MY order wrong. My husband and my son, theirs is fine, but mine, all sorts of messed up, and I REALLY wanted my food, they could’ve cared less. UGH! But, I was also reminded of a blog I had read a while back, where the girl had discussed Elijah yelling at God and complaining how everything was wrong and messed up (1 Kings 19:5). And, God was like, here’s some food… and why don’t you take a nap? And, we should all remember to never underestimate the power of food and a nap. So, that’s exactly what I did. I ate my messed up order, and I took a nap. And, when I woke up, I had just missed a call from my soon-to-be new boss. So, I shook off the sleep, and called him back. And, he offered me the job. #Godshowedup Nothing about my day seemed nearly as bad when I woke up, even before I called him back to find out things were about to change forever 🙂

So although this story is just a few short paragraphs, from beginning to now, is over 7 years of my life. 7 years of trusting that God knows what’s up, and I’m just trusting him to show me what I’m doing. And, this is just the work part, the other parts of my blog discuss the personal battles that have happened in between those 7 years. The constant refining and removing and shifting that God has been working at to help get me where I am. All those things are working together to help me get to where I’m going. And, although I have no idea what the future has for me, I’m only 30. I mean, if this is where I’m at now, I know that God has got some serious stuff going on and big plans for my life. I know, that if I just continue to trust him, and let him make my path straight, it’s all going to work out. There were plenty of times where I couldn’t see the forest through the trees, but now, hind-sight is 20/20.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for your blessings. Thank you for always having things figured out for us. Thank you for your faith in us, and our faith in you. That we always be drawn closer to you. That we may follow in the footsteps you make for us. That we may have the great peace that surpasses all understanding because our thoughts are not your thoughts and you have great thoughts about us that we cannot comprehend. That the blessings you wish to pour out upon us are more than enough, greater than anything we could ever imagine. That you are the great and mighty Father who loves his children dearly and wishes only the best for us. That you are the Beginning and the End, and that you are there before we get there. That we can walk in faith because you know where we’re going, like a parent guiding a child, holding our hands through the turmoil, and picking us up and carrying us through when we need it. That you are the great and mighty God who ensures our future and leads us in the way to it. Thank you God for all that you are, and all that you are making us to be. IN JESUS’ NAME!!! AMEN!!

Little help?


32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32 (NIV)

Sifting you as wheat

So, these past few weeks, I’ve been sharing about some difficult times in my life, and how I’ve handled them. I’ve been wondering how the Lord was going to bring this all together, how is he once again going to use these things for good? And, low and behold, on Wednesday night at church, here was this verse.

“But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32 (NIV)

The Holy Spirit said, “Here it is.”

Some context here, in case you don’t know where this is at in the story of Jesus. They had all just shared the last supper together, and Jesus was telling everyone about the fact that he was about to be betrayed, and betrayed, and the disciples were going to fail, but that everything was going to work out. And, his faithful Simon Peter, declares that he would follow Jesus to prison or death, but we know better don’t we? Just a little further, in the same chapter, less than 24 hours after it’s been decreed, Simon does denounce our Savior, not once, but three times, just as Jesus said.

And, that was it. Jesus wrote Simon Peter off. No forgiveness here….? I’m kidding. Jesus gave him the reassuring words, that he had prayed for him. Jesus knew Satan was going to sift him like wheat. It bothers me a little that they translated this word to “sifted” in the Bible. Have you seen wheat get “sifted”? It’s not like sifting powdered sugar, it’s this whole tumultuous ordeal! It’s a process, it doesn’t look the same AT ALL! It’s not gentle, it’s not slight, it’s not a soft, cute thing whatsoever! So, I really feel like that gets downplayed here. Jesus tells Simon, that the devil is about to mess you up! And, it happens, doesn’t it? Just like it happens with us. We get tossed over, stirred up, shaken, and we don’t look anything like we did before. But, Jesus has prayed for us too. Don’t lose faith. He has prayed because he knew Satan was going to “sift” us.

The Bible tells us repeatedly that we are going to go through trials and tribulations, but don’t lose heart, for God is the Victor. And, here I’ve been sharing my stories with you, to let you know, I’m still here, because God’s got my back. Because, I put my Faith in Him. The winner of life. A couple years ago, around the time that the Year of Great Loss, was just getting started, I had an epiphany moment. I realized that older people were really chill, for the most part. If you think about it, they’re pretty laid back, aren’t they? They don’t really get ruffled over much. Because, they’ve lived it. Whatever you’re going through, they’ve been there, done that. And, they’re still here. And, they’re the people that we turn to when life is happening, for their wisdom, experience, for guidance, which is good, that’s something we should be doing. But, we often forget another tool at our fingertips. The Bible! Here is Simon Peter, getting ready to go through the wringer, but Jesus reassures him, I have prayed for you, that you keep the Faith, and then strengthen your brethren. Just as we are supposed to do. We are supposed to use the things in our lives to help others understand that they are not alone, and to help them know that they can get through anything, if they just turn to God. That’s how we’re getting through all of this stuff! We lean on the Victor, turn it over to Jesus, who has overcome the world, so that we might also overcome it. And, something that I think is also incredibly powerful, Jesus prays for us.

Prayer

Let’s take this into consideration. When people unload stuff on us, we tell them, “I’ll pray for you.” Why? Because, it’s really the most powerful thing we can do. We tell God about the issue, and then we ask for Him to put his mighty hand upon it – and bless it, comfort it, exalt it. No matter what we do to help the situation, God can do more. Whatever we have in mind for the person, God has more. We turn these things over to Him, because he knows best. And, think about it, Jesus is praying for us. Jesus prayed for his disciples, and continues to pray for them- because we are now his disciples. He’s up there, praying for you, praying for your struggle, praying for your needs, praying that you may keep the Faith, and strengthen your brethren. This concept of Jesus praying for us, was shared at church a while back, and has been so comforting and encouraging to me. To simply remember that Jesus is praying for me. ❤ My Lord and Savior is praying for me. Wanting good things for me, praying that I keep the Faith, wanting me to strengthen all of you. To encourage you. To comfort you. To tell you that Jesus has got you! He loves you, and he’s here for you, that you may not lose the Faith.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for these people. I pray for everyone that needs to be lifted up. I pray for your comfort and blessing on their lives. I pray that you watch over them, and guide them. I pray that they remember that they are on the same team as the God who has RAISED PEOPLE FROM THE DEAD! That they are with the God who has THAT power, that strength, that righteousness. That you are the God of MORE THAN ENOUGH! That nothing is impossible for you, God. And that we may all keep the Faith! And that you may give us the wisdom and assurance to share our testimonies with others, that we may show others YOUR way. That they may understand what a Great and Loving and ALL POWERFUL God you are. I pray, that they lean upon you, and find rest in your arms. That we may all be victors with you, Father. That your windows open up to pour out blessings upon us. That may we all remember that You are there for us, and Jesus is praying for us, and that our lives are in your hands, that you may bless us and keep us safe that we may do your will all the days of our lives. In JESUS’ NAME! AMEN!!

The Year of Great Loss

Taking your own advice

So, I’ve been doing this blog for a while now, and have found it so incredible, how many times, I’ve needed to read my own blog. Like, while my kid was having his outbreak, and I was stressing out, my mom said, “Go read your blog.” (which was this post.) Or, there have been a few times where I just read it, and I pull a little piece of insight that I didn’t have before. It’s been quite the incredible little item of retrospection. And, we all need to do that sometimes don’t we? Take a moment to listen to ourselves, and maybe even let the Holy Spirit help you pick up on some additional insight that you didn’t realize you needed or already had.

So, I said a couple weeks ago, I was going to be sharing about some major life events that would never leave me the same. My biggest and most recent one, was “The Year of Great Loss.” Sometimes when my husband and I go through major life events or stories that we’ll never forget, we give them nicknames. This is a snapshot of what happened to us in 2017. I don’t feel like dragging the story out because a lot of it was Satan, but after I handed it over to God, he’s used it all for good.

The Year of Great Loss

December 2016: my friend is falsely jailed for a crime they didn’t commit

January 2017: My landlord sold our house out from under us. And, the person he sold it to, is a Scrooge.

February (All in 2017): my friend’s wife moves in because he’s in jail until the trial and she needs help; my husband’s grandpa passed

March: friend gets let out on bail, but isn’t allowed to move in with us, wife has to move out

April: life long friend is hospitalized for alcoholism, we inherit the dog, who is very sick (eye infection, skin infection, and some cancer)

May: friend from alcoholism passes, another friend moves in because he moved from far away & needs help (and is suffering from health problems), we continue to try to help the dog-they won’t operate on the cancer until the other problems clear-up

June: finally get the dog “ok” for surgery

July: full of family birthdays (good stress <3)

August: serious fighting with some of our live-in friends and family members, also was notified that our house is going to get demolished – we have 45 days to move out, trial for my friend begins, the wife that lived with us – her dad passes

September: my uncle’s house burned down, he’s in the ICU with his whole family, we’re packing and moving into another house, my friend is found guilty for a crime he didn’t commit

October: we find out the house we just moved into is owned by a crazy person who now tries to triple the rent, my uncle is working on getting out of ICU – everyone else has been released, we find a new place (we have just moved an entire house worth of stuff twice, in less than 30 days), both roommates move out when we do

November: my uncle is finally released from ICU, and my dad passes away from a massive heart attack

I don’t remember much after that.

I literally got to a point during all this, where if I wasn’t keeping you in the loop, I just didn’t even bother trying to explain what was happening. I had a few people tell me that I reminded them of Job. And, the best part of that, is that Job got everything back twice-over. Now, I will say, some of that you really can’t get back – losing loved ones, but in the aftermath of losing loved ones, you really change your perspective on life. That was probably one of the bigger benefits of all this. Also, when I’m looking back on it, I realized, that just a little before EVERYTHING started, I really started praying. Like really praying. Down on my hands and knees, worshiping God for his greatness, being thankful for everything, and praying for others and myself, for more than 3 minutes, sometimes I would lose track of time I was praying so long. And, as Ephesians 6:12 says: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (ESV)

Somewhere around August, between fighting with friends, and getting told that we needed to move out, Satan showed his hand. I had this epiphany moment, where I realized that there was no way that all of this was coincidence. That Satan didn’t like what I was up to, and where I was going in my life, and began to take me down a notch (or five :P). Which only caused me to double-down for a while there. And, as you can see between August and November – it only climaxed into a whirlwind of madness, because Satan and I both knew who we were dealing with. And, then I believe that God stepped in, and took my dad home, and said, “Enough”. Because everything stopped after that. And, it was exactly what our entire family needed to begin healing, to put things in perspective, to draw us closer to Him. I couldn’t have made it through that year without God.

He’s used a lot of those things for good.

The dog needed someone who could care for her, so she ended up with us, and we got her back to being all better, cancer-free and able to live out a few more years. The house we lived in originally, wasn’t the best, and with the weather we’ve had this year, we would probably be suffering for it. My husband and I finally moved into a house that doesn’t allow roommates, which had been a big part of our lives for almost 15 years. We always lived in places that had an “extra” room, and it always seemed to be filled with someone in need. But, God finally closed that chapter of our lives, which has allowed the two of us to grow closer again. My friend who is still falsely imprisoned right now, has started a ministry within the prison, and using this to glorify God. His wife stays strong in the Faith, and helps keep people updated out here, and also shares his ministry information with us – we continue to fight the charges – more info another time here. My uncle’s house burned down, and he was released just in time to be here with us when my dad passed. He’s also been on a journey since then of adjustment and a self-discovery of sorts. And, although it was and is hard, my dad passing has allowed much of my family to grow closer to each other, and to God. We stepped into new roles, we’ve taken on different responsibilities, and we’ve grown as people and as followers in Christ, which is exactly the kind of legacy my dad would want. So, although, 2017 was a Year of Great Loss, it’s been gain since. Just as God promises. Satan tried to take me down, to steal, kill, and destroy. But, when I leaned on God, he lifted me up with his mighty right hand. (Isaiah 41:10) And, currently, I feel like I’m winning life. (Luke 21:19) Which is a far cry from just 2 years ago.

Now, I hope you all know that I didn’t share this story to gain pity, but to encourage you. Although our circumstances are different, God will help you win. It’s a promise. He is the Victor. And he wants us to have the Victory. No matter how big your problems seem, God’s handled them all before, you just need to let him. Also, always remember who you’re fighting. You’re not fighting a diagnosis, or a coworker, or a family member, or a circumstance, you’re fighting Satan. But, we’re on the winning team, we just have to remember that.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, you are amazing. You are our Victor. You are our strength, encouragement, and comforter. You are everything we could ever need. May your blessings pour out upon us. May your face shine upon us, and may we find ourselves always in your arms. Help us to grow our Faith, that we may recognize Satan’s attacks for what they are, and let you handle them. That you use everything in our lives for your good. That you equip us for these battles, that you help us keep our hearts and eyes focused on you. That you give us your supernatural strength and wisdom to win at life. That we may be servants that make you proud. That we can share our testimonies with those around us, to encourage them and give them strength and understanding to win their battles. May we do this all for your glory and honor. In JESUS’ NAME. AMEN!!