What a difference…

11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. – Ecclesiastes 3:11

a year makes

I always find as the year comes to an end, how life has changed in such a seemingly short period of time. Sometimes, for the better, sometimes for the worse. This past year, was thankfully, for the better. I have been quite caught up recently in how different my life looks now, compared to this time last year. And, I know, that all of it is thanks to my Heavenly Father. As previous years had experienced trials and tribulations, as bouts of my life have been roller coasters of madness and mayhem, this past year, was exceptionally great. Don’t get me wrong, it had it’s moments. But in the great, overall comparison. I find myself eternally grateful.

Last year at this time, my ends weren’t just not meeting, they couldn’t even see each other. I’m not sure they were even in the same building, let alone the same room. Our little family was going through a time of transition, a time of flex. I was working two jobs to try to help the ends get closer together, and I started writing this blog, and I was still trying to maneuver keeping a Bible Study together, and the million other little things I do. I was still recovering from the blow of falling and terribly injuring my back. I was still learning what life was like without my dad. My husband had left his old job and was battling his own demons. Our son was just trying to be a kid, who was also dealing with all his own stuff, living in a house, with two parents recovering from all these things. A time of flex. But strong, is what you are, when you have no other choice. And, by God, that is absolutely what my family is. Strong.

And, to think, how different this year looks. I have a new job – which made my ends almost able to make knots ;), my ladies’ bible study group finally got their forever home (I hope!) – we just had our first meeting in our newest location this past week! (Praise God!), my blog has a consistent audience – that I pray reads these words and is encouraged and grows from them. My husband is doing leaps and bounds better than last year, our candle business is taking off and doing seemingly better than ever before. Our son, is also doing better. As any parent knows, when the parents are doing better, generally the children improve, thankfully this is the case this time as well.

I’m telling you all of that, to tell you this. The biggest ways that #Godshowedup sometimes, is in the little things. It’s in the every day. It’s in the small ways and steps that we gradually take forward. In the things we take for granted. He is our strength, when we have no strength. He is the good, good Father, and if we continually trust in him, he will lead our steps. He will bring us forward. He will guide us in the ways that we should go. We just have to trust Him. Each & every day. Because, He doesn’t always show up in the big ways we expect, but he fine-tunes the little things sometimes, that we might miss. Until we take a step back and look at the big picture. At the difference a year can make. We have to trust Him for the battles, because He has won the war. We have to believe that what He has in store for us, is better than we can imagine for ourselves. We cannot see the forest for the trees, but He’s got the whole forest in His hands. My forest, and your forest, and your family’s forest, and He can absolutely see where we need to go, every step of the way. And, if we just trust Him, He will take us there.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for this day, and all the days. Thank you for every thing that you do for me, and for each person that reads this blog, for the lives they touch, for the people they love, for each and every one of them is precious in your eyes. That you may bless their hands, and their steps. That you may guide them every step of the way. That you may watch over them, and protect them, and keep them safe. That you may heal them, inside and out. That you may be the everlasting and everloving light that you are. A lamp unto our feet. That you have our lives in your hands, and we couldn’t ask for anything better. Bless your name Father. Bless our lives. May we all feel the incredible love, and life that you have for us. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!

Mission’s Circle

I’m taking a moment to encourage a mission that isn’t near my home, but it’s focus is near and dear to my heart. PTSD, mental illness, and addictions are serious, and real. They affect millions of people every year, and they’re so deceptive because they typically are dressed in normal clothes, and look like regular people. But, as my entire life has shown me, these people struggle the most. How hard is it to explain that your brain is your own worst enemy? How impossible is it to explain, that there is no tangible reason that you can’t function like everyone else, because you simply can’t. These are the battles that millions of people face. An underlying disease and crisis that sits just below the surface and doesn’t get nearly the attention it should, considering how many people are struggling with it. Feel free to check these guys out, I did find one that has a focus on helping people find Christ while they endure this journey, but really, take a moment and reach out wherever you can. Even if you don’t understand, sometimes the biggest impact you can make is just being there for someone who needs it.

A Place of Hope

Pray for those who need it, and for those who help, and for everyone fighting a battle today ❤

Battle!

” I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. ” Psalm 119:11

In the thick of it

Sorry I missed last week. I have deeply tried to be dependable and consistent, as this blog is very important to me, and I believe it’s important to many of my readers as well. So I first wanted to apologize, and to let you know that it’s not something that I took lightly. But, as I have warned you, when you are going the right way, you will be attacked. And, here I am, trying to share with all of you, to prepare you for battle, to help you endure the tough times, and Satan absolutely showed up. This past week was a roller-coaster of emotions. I went through so much stuff in just two short weeks. Sometimes it’s incredible how much life can get stuffed into a seemingly short period of time. But, I will say, that again, I felt so proud of myself, and I was reassured once again, that I’m on the right path. That I have the full armor of God and that I am a victor, and MORE THAN AN OVERCOMER!

Just a few short years ago, a couple weeks like this would’ve had me complaining and crying to everyone and anyone that would listen. I would be asking for prayers and pity as I didn’t know how I was going to make it. But God. But God, every day of the week, has made me a new creation. God continues to mold me and shape me to be more like His son. He has only brought me in closer to the fold. And, I have hidden His Word in my Heart that I might not sin against Him, that I might endure, that I would draw on the strength of our Mighty Lord and Savior to overcome. To have my breastplate of Righteousness, and my shoes of Peace, and Helmet of Salvation, and Shield of Faith, and Sword of Truth, that I extinguish the enemy’s fiery darts, and know that I serve the one true God.

And, I knew all of that, because I read the Bible, because I pray, because I have a relationship with my Lord and Savior, and in all the moments that I felt like everything was too much, that I just couldn’t believe what was happening next. #Godshowedup. Because He always does. Because He never fails, abandons, or forsakes. Every time, when I could feel myself starting to FrEaK oUt, God would whisper an assurance. He would use someone nearby to just say something so profound that I knew who was really speaking. I knew they were just being used as a mouthpiece to help assure me that I was on the right path, and that I would endure, I just had to keep my shield up and my sword close and stand firm in my shoes of peace. And that was something else too. His overwhelming, ethereal peace would just nestle down deep inside me, like a warm hug.

In the midst of a particularly trying moment this past week, when someone I was talking to was literally being hysterical, one moment crying, the next full of rage, all of the sudden, they just went, “And, Why are you so loving?” <—- Awww, right in the feels. The only response I had was the truth, “Because that’s what Jesus wants, and I do love you.” Right in the midst of mayhem, God reminded me that I am a new creation, I’m not joining in the hysteria, I’m the calm, I’m the center, I’m the light. And although, this person doesn’t practice as much Jesus as they would like, in that moment, I was the Bible they needed. I am the 5th apostle, and so are You. Sometimes, you might be the only Bible someone reads. I really try to live that. How are we supposed to bring people to Christ, if we are full of hate, or grief, or worry, or whatever? Who wants a part of that? But if you are just so loving and peaceful that it blows people away and seems incomprehensible, people want that. Who doesn’t want to be someone who always seems to know what to do or say, in the midst of chaos?

That’s the purpose of the armor. That’s the purpose of the Bible. That’s the purpose of having a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus Christ and the Father and the Holy Spirit. Is to let them guide you and mold you and shape you into something AMAZING! You are wonderful just as you are, and God loves you. But, just as parents always want what’s best for their children – so does our heavenly Father, and He knows that there’s a better version of You. He also knows that sometimes You are the only Bible that someone else is reading, be worth reading. Let His Light shine through You.

I have experienced some true chaos in my life. And, in the grand scheme of things, these past two weeks weren’t too terrible, but to have the peace of God inside me while I was in them made them seem even less terrible. Looking back in retrospect, I’m like, “Whew! That was rough!” But, honestly, I can’t imagine enduring them without God. Without having those reassurances that I’m on the right path. And, the craziest thing was that while I was writing “Prepare for Battle” I knew Satan was cooking some stuff up, but I sleep in my armor, so I was ready.

Because, I AM A VICTOR,

I AM MORE THAN AN OVERCOMER,

I AM GOD’S SECRET WEAPON.

EVERY.

DAY.

OF.

THE.

WEEK.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You. Thank you for holding my hand, thank you for giving me words of encouragement. I pray Father, that you stand with your army every day of the week, and give them the assurances they need to be Overcomers. That they too, are your secret weapon. That you bless our hands and our feet, our comings and goings. I pray that you give the supernatural, ethereal peace to all of us. That we may all be the gospel and the Bible that others need to see your light. I pray that You bless each and every one of us, that we NEVER face our battles alone. That you are the Great and Almighty Father, and that you have defeated Satan with your heel, and that we might also crush him with ours. That we always have the strength for another day, another battle Father. That we might always rise up again and be the Victors, in Your GREAT AND GLORIOUS NAME! IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!

Mission’s Circle

There are many branches of the Union Gospel Mission. I am picking one that’s close to home. As we draw into the winter months, this homeless shelter will house hundreds, if not thousands, of people from getting frostbite and succumbing to the elements. They also preach the gospel and help every one in need that comes to their door. ” The Sioux Falls Union Gospel Mission where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is still preached every evening at 8 p.m., where food, clothing, shelter, and care are given freely to all who are in need, and where its purpose is still to “Proclaim the Gospel of Salvation by Grace in Christ and Him crucified, for the salvation of souls and the establishing of believers.” Please pray for them, and for those that need their help. *Keep warm!

Donate here

Featured

Prepare for Battle

Putting on the Full Armor of God. It’s not a piece of armor, it’s not a small bit. It doesn’t protect just a small portion of us. It’s Full Armor. The helmet of Salvation, the Sword of the Spirit, the shoes of the Gospel of peace, the belt of Truth, the breastplate of Righteousness, and the shield of Faith. Complete from head to toe. I do like to say that it leaves your back exposed, but God’s got your back 😉 Also, all the armor is toward the front, because we’re supposed to be moving forward. Please believe that we are fighting a battle. That the devil attacks those who are aware, and leaves those who are blindly following the way of the world alone for fear of removing the veil. If you never feel spiritually attacked, it’s probably because you aren’t going the right way.

I will say this Armor has changed my life. About a year and a half ago, when we started our Ladies Bible Study, we dug in to a heavy study by Priscilla Shirer. It was amazing! It was life changing! It’s a complete, in-depth study into the full armor of God, and I will never be the same. We all joked during the time that it was too heavy, and that we may have bitten off more than we could chew, but even if you retained half of what it was trying to help you understand, you’re better off for it. Now, I’m not here to promote her book, although I have linked it in her name so you can find it if you’re interested. I’m here to encourage you, to dig in to putting on God’s armor for yourself.

The Bible repeatedly tells us that there will be trouble, that we will suffer, that we will be attacked, but that we already have what we need to defend ourselves. The mistake that most Christians make is that God is inside our Sunday box. He was never meant to be there. In today’s world, we have so much of our life separated out into their own boxes and sections that we forget – that all of those boxes – belong in a bigger box – the God box. We belong in God’s box. He was never meant to be kept apart from the rest of everything, He was meant to hold on to everything in Him. Part of how we do that, is by putting on our armor, daily.

Don’t you already feel like every day is a battle? We joke that it is, but it’s a half-hearted joke, because – seriously – it is. Don’t you think, you would feel better if you felt like you were prepared? That if every morning you woke up, and put on your breastplate of Righteousness, because you are Righteous. You are righteous, because He has made you Righteous. You are His. You are the Victor. You are blessed. You are forgiven. You are as Righteous as Christ. Then, hold your breastplate of righteousness in place with the belt of Truth. His Word is Truth. You are holding your Righteousness to yourself, with His Truth that He has given us. That He has spoken over us and to us. Strap on the shoes of the Gospel of Peace. Because He is peace. His word brings peace. He gives us a supernatural peace that cannot be explained, except only as the Love of God. The consuming, overwhelming, reckless Love of God. His Love implants a Peace deep within our souls, a peace that I have only tapped into recently, but am so deeply in love with. An ethereal peace that blows my mind. The Helmet of Salvation – that I touched on last week. Something to protect your most sacred of space, the one thing that can make you, or break you. Your own mind. A Helmet of Blessed Assurance, of eternal Salvation, of the knowledge of a God that will never leave you or forsake you, a God that has overcome the world, and the devil, and everything in between. A God that sent His Son to die for You, that you may live, may WIN LIFE, that You may stand victorious with Him forever and ever. A God that only wants good things for you, a God that believes in You, that made you so perfectly woven together because the world needed one of you too. Your Sword of the Spirit and your shield of Faith. Because when you can’t attack with the Spirit, you block with your Faith. Thrust & perry. Actively alternating as needed. And also, with a Sword, you apply very little effort – with a whole lot of effect. It’s a giant extension of yourself and it does all of the work. You need only to learn how to use it, like everything, it takes practice.

I am a new creation in Christ because I actively put on my armor every day. Because I pick when to use my shield, and when to use the Sword. I’m constantly retraining my brain to be more like Christ – and it shows. All the time. I hold tight to my Gospel of Peace, because I know Peace & Love are from God, and I want everything He has to give me. I know I am Righteous because the Truth has told me so. I am a Warrior in God’s army, the most calm, loving warrior I can be. Because only love drives out hate. Because light overcomes darkness. Because I am fighting a winning battle. I’m playing with a stacked deck, and the best armor there is.

I hope you choose to start putting on your armor too. It’s a gift from God, that prepares you for this day, and every day.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you. For this day, and every day, of the rest of my life. I praise your name, Almighty Father. Sweet, sweet Father of everlasting peace. That you give such amazing gifts. That we may cloak ourselves in Your Armor. Built to defend and defy satan. That we may always know who our real enemy is, that we may hold tight to our Salvation. That we may rest in your blessed assurance and supernatural peace. That we may always move forward, even when it’s slow, and know that you’ve always got our back. Bless your Holy Name Father, THE GREAT I AM! That we may always and forever be, faithful and victorious warriors in you. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Mission’s Circle

Last Chance for Operation Christmas Child!! Collection starts all over America on November 18th! Last year, 10 million shoeboxes reached children all over the world. Spreading good news, and great joy to even more children! Spreading the Gospel, and hopefully planting the seed of the armor for their lives. Please take a moment to read about and pray about this wonderful ministry, and that each of those boxes – get exactly where they need to go. YOU CAN EVEN BUILD ONE ONLINE!! – $25

Read here.

Donate!

Head games

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. – Romans 8:26-27

Funny how the worst battles you’ll ever face, can be inside your head. This week was rough. It was the anniversary of my dad’s death, but of course, not a lot of people know that. So, life just keeps moving along. It’s weird how those can be some of the most supernatural and other-worldly days of your life. Because inside your head, you’re like, How can everybody just be doing life? How can everyone just be walking around like everything’s ok? But in retrospect, how often do I just walk around, doing life, on days like this for other people? Because we have no idea. And because on the outside, I still look like me. I still look like it’s just another day in life, and so no one knows. And, really, it is just another day. It’s just your brain that says that it’s not. I used my techniques of quoting scripture on Thursday, and a couple other days this week, when I was completely freaking out, on the brink of an anxiety attack. It’s incredible how calming that can be. And, how the Bible helps us to wage this war, inside our mind.

As Ephesians 6:10-18 states,

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Today, I’m just focusing on the helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit. The helmet of Salvation to protect your mind. As I discussed weeks ago, we are continually “Working out our Salvation”. Yes, we acknowledge that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, and died for our sins. But that’s not where our Salvation is supposed to end. In order to become a new creation in Christ, we are supposed to be working out our Salvation. And part of that, is learning to “think right.” Thinking with the mind of Christ. So, on weeks or days or months like this, we have the ability to grow A LOT, if we just take advantage of it. We have to replace our habits of worry, anxiety, and foul thoughts, with “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–” Philippians 4:8 These are the thoughts we are supposed to be having. God doesn’t want you to feel tormented or anguished or grieved, he wants you to have the mind of Christ. To think about the good things. And, I kept telling myself, that my Dad would not want this day to ruin my life. I just needed to think about good things. I still got caught up, I still had moments where I was completely in my feelings, but I just remind myself of the best quote I’ve ever heard:

And, although, this week, it was mainly grief that I was struggling with, this applies to everything that scours your mind. It applies to all the moments gripped in fear, and turmoil, and angst. Memorize a scripture, recite it to yourself, start singing praise music, push the devil out of your mind. 2 Timothy 1:7, For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. We learn to wield these tools, by using them. We have to actively work out our salvation. We put on the helmet of Salvation, we take up the Sword of the Spirit. See how both of those – call you to action? You have to actively pursue your Salvation.

I sat down to write this morning, and absolutely could not. I had something on my heart that was plaguing my mind, and I was trying to push it away, but I just couldn’t shake it. I had to make a phone call, to talk to someone, because my mind was eating me and I was afraid that something was going horribly wrong, because of course, it’s not just my dad that died. And, I needed to touch base with someone who had also suffered this loss. And, I had missed their calls on the day of, and I had tried to call back yesterday repeatedly, with no success, and I needed to know, everything was ok. So, first I made this phone call. And, everything was fine. It was all in my head. I had tried to battle this spirit of fear, but it was still creeping in there, and with this phone call, everything was washed away. Yep, Saturday morning, living life, no worries here. And, low and behold, here was what I needed to be talking about this morning. God always knows what we need, and he is the good, good Father who provides. He has given us all the tools, we need to simply use them. We have an entire Bible of scripture and the Word, to help us with this battle. He sent his Son to save us, and to give us a way to receive the Holy Spirit, who is our greatest battle-mate. He’s like our General. We need only to turn to him, and he will direct our path. He stands at the top of the hill, and surveys the whole battlefield, to tell us where to go and what to do. We need to trust him – with our lives. 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27. We put on the armor of our Salvation, to help protect us against the spirits of fear – because they are never from God. Our armor is built to battle the other-worldly things that are happening all around us and to us. But, God has given us everything we need to win in this battlefield, out here and in our heads.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you!!! Thank you for all that you are, and all that you would have us be. Thank you for the tools of our Salvation. Thank you for sending your Son, and your Holy Spirit. Thank you for the opportunities to work out my Salvation. To continue to make me a better creation, to be more like your Son every day. To help me hide your word in my heart that I may win life. Thank you for all that you are, and all that you would have me be. Thank you for saving me, on the day of my repentance, and every day for the rest of my life. I pray today Father, that you help everyone reading this to know of your deep love for us, and that you wish to save us from the world, and from ourselves, from the spirits of fear – because they are not from You, Father, and we only want the good, good things that come from You. Thank you for this day, and all the days of the rest of my life. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!!

Missions’ Circle

What an appropriate ministry again, Teen Challenge. A ministry that helps people overcome addiction and all the spirits of this world. Who gives people the tools, to win life. This is a ministry program that helps people learn about and utilize the tools that the Bible and our Father gives us to come back into the fold. To fight off the devil’s hold on their lives, and learn that God only wants good things for us. Please take some time to read about them here.

And donate here.

Eyes Wide Open

The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises up those who are bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous; – Psalm 146:8

So, I’ve heard a lot this week about testimonies. And, it has compelled me to share a piece of my own. Now, I’ve shared bits and pieces throughout my blog entries, but I’m particularly compelled to share a certain part of mine this week, and dig a little deeper.

Here is the “Year of Great Loss”, with a little more insight.

2017 was one for the books. Literally.

My brother-in-law was falsely imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit (detained in December of 2016), then his wife moved in with us for a time, another brother-in-law was already living with us, and another brother-in-law moved in with us due to relocation and health issues. My husband’s grandpa died from old age. My husband’s Step-Father died. We inherited a dog that was very ill and needed a lot of medical attention because my husband’s Step-Father passed away from complications of his alcoholism. We got a new landlord overnight in January because the house, that we offered to buy, was sold out from under us, and then 8 months later (still in 2017)-the new landlord came and told us we had 45 days to move out because the house was getting demolished. We moved into a new house, only to find that the landlord was crazy and trying to triple the rent. So, we moved into another new house within 30 days of moving out/in to the other one. My brother-in-law was convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sentenced to 10 years in prison. And, in between, some of those, we had some major family rifts and fights because life happens. My Uncle’s house burned down and he was in the ICU from the burns and complications from the fire, and remained there for almost 2 months. All the while, we’re trying to work, and our son is trying go to school. Then, when everything finally looked like it was starting to calm down. My dad died.

Now, I know that doesn’t look like much because it’s written down, but of course, I’m leaving a lot of the in-between out. All of these things happened in a period of 10 months. I literally felt like I was still dealing and trying to cope with the last thing, when the next thing would happen. If you would like to see a “time-line” that stretches them out a bit more – you can read “The Year of Great Loss” here.

I told you all of that, to tell you this. I don’t know how people survive life without leaning on God. During that time, I was really trying to grow in my faith. I was burning for the Spirit. I was going to church, I was growing my Christian friendships, I was praying daily for long periods of time, I was doing devotionals. And, I was lost. Why was this all happening?! What was going on?! I had moments of feeling like it was penitence for my previous life of partying and madness and anger. I had moments of feeling like God had abandoned me. I had moments of feeling like giving up on this whole faith thing. I mean, what was God doing up there? But, I just kept going through the motions, I stuck to it. I really didn’t want to go back to the “old me”. That person was so angry, and hateful, and lost, and dead. I just kept praying, asking God what I was supposed to be doing down here? What am I supposed to do about all these things that are just happening to me? And, somewhere around getting evicted, and my brother-in-law going through his trial, and the family fights happening, is when, I was praying one morning, and once again asking God, “What are you doing?” “What is this?” “WHY?!?!?” I was so completely broken. I was so crushed. So devastated. So completely hopeless. This “still small voice” said – “It’s not me.” I think I actually gasped. The veil was torn from my eyes. WHAAAT?!?! #Godshowedup

All of the sudden, so many things made sense. It wasn’t God doing anything. I think this is one of Satan’s best tricks. Having a bunch of stuff happen to you, so if you do have faith, you seem to remember that you have God, but you almost forget that there’s a devil. And you start blaming the wrong “person”. Please believe, if you think God is doing terrible things, or “allowing” terrible things to happen to you – YOU ARE BLAMING THE WRONG PARTY! Satan does this to help separate you from the only thing that can save you – God. He does these things to make you feel alone. We forget that our adversary is the same party who can convince people to murder, who has been around since before man was created. This is not his first rodeo. He knows exactly how to get you, exactly how to play you, exactly what buttons to push, and who to use to push them. We have to remember that it is not God doing these things. We love to quote that the “devil has come to steal, kill, and destroy”, but as soon as stealing, killing, and destruction start happening, we’re like, “God, why are you doing this?” He’s not! We live in a world where Satan reigns, we are to bring God’s kingdom to earth. We have to speak life to our situations. We have to walk over, open the door, and tell Satan to GET OUT!

Ever since this time, I have had my eyes wide open. I literally had one day, where I had been sharing my faith at work, and having several conversations about God, and I was so excited, and on cloud 9, here I was sharing the gospel and helping people grow in their faith. And, I got home, and my husband jumped down my throat. He just started saying all sorts of nasty things (which is not like him), and after a few moments, I just said, I’m going to go run an errand and cut the conversation off. When I got outside the house, I prayed and prayed that Satan leave my house. That was not my husband in there. I ran my errands, and right before I stepped back in the house, I prayed again that the devil get out. And, when I walked back in, my husband came and hugged me, and told me he had no idea where that came from, and he was so sorry for all the stuff he had said…. And my husband doesn’t believe in any of this stuff. Oh, I knew where it came from. My eyes are wide open.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you!! Thank you for being the good, good Father. Thank you that you save us from ourselves. Thank you that you care SO MUCH, that you sent your son to die for us. That you gave us a way to have a relationship with you, that we might lean on you, and that you may hold us up with your mighty right hand. That you are our strength, and our comforter, and everything that we could ever need. I pray today Father, that you remove the veil from everyone’s eyes. That they may see the devils in their lives. That they may truly understand the hand that moves all these pawns down here, and that we know in our hearts who is truly doing all these things to us. I pray Father, that you bless us. We are the head and not the tail, and may we step on the serpent and crush him with our heel. That we are victorious in you. I pray that you give all these people eyes to see the tricks of the enemy and not fall prey to him. That we may always lean on you, Father. That you always protect us, we just need to lean in. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Mission’s Circle

This week, I’m going to focus on Teen Challenge. Talk about trying help people remove the veil. I think they’re mission statement says it pretty well, ” For over 60 years, Adult & Teen Challenge USA has operated on a holistic model of drug and alcohol recovery. This means that we are concerned with the body, mind, and spirit of those who come to our addiction recovery centers. Our vision is to see all people freed from addiction through the power of Jesus Christ!” Please take some time to read about them here.

And donate here.

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Letting it go

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

I’m circling back to Mercy and Grace this week. I’ve heard a lot of people this week talking about being offended. How they’re offended, how someone has done them wrong. And, I know, we say that they need to “let it go”, we tell ourselves that we need to “let it go”, but how? How do we let it go? How do we get over it? How do we extend that mercy and grace. How do we stop drinking the poison of anger and pain and suffering (and expecting the other person to die)?

Well, I will share of my experience of getting past a major offense. Something major and traumatic had happened between a family member and myself. And, every time, I started to think about what that person had done and how mad I was about it, I picked a scripture, and would replace those thoughts with that scripture. I started to retrain my brain. Every time I got mad, I would start reciting that scripture to myself. Now, this was not easy, and sometimes I had to recite that scripture for hours in my head, and sometimes I would dwell a little while before I started reciting that scripture, but eventually it just started working. It got easier and easier to stop thinking about how angry and hurt I was, and it started closing that wound up. It started to change my heart of stone, to a heart of flesh. It started to change the way I think. And, I believe that was one of the most powerful things I’ve learned as a follower of Jesus.

For several reasons:

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” – Psalm 119:11

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” – Phillippians 4:8

“In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. 29 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. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. – Ephesians 4:26-31

11 Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end. – Proverbs 29:11

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. – James 1:19-20

8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. 9 For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. – Psalm 37:8-9

And, here was the verse I memorized, the scripture I recited repeatedly, the one that helped calm me and retrained my brain to stop living in the past, to stop giving the devil a foothold, to letting someone else steal the peace that God has given me and that no man may take away:

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for peace today. I pray that we learn to “think right” that we clothe ourselves in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. That we forgive those who have offended us as you have forgiven us for all of our sins, and continue to forgive us. I pray that we meld ourselves more to the mind of Christ. That we love our brethren. That we believe in the mercy and that grace that you have for us, and that we extend that incredible grace and mercy to those around us. That we claim the peace that you have given us for ourselves. That we continue to bend our hearts to walk like you Father. And that you reach inside us and give us healing. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Mission Circle

Operation Christmas Child! This particular mission, is very near and dear to my heart. What an incredible opportunity. For less than $20, you can make a shoebox for a child, and drop it off at a local collection center, and spread love and the good news around the world. From right where you’re at. In every shoebox, Samaritan’s Purse puts a leaflet that gives the Salvation Story in their language, and as they’re distributing them, they share the story of Jesus Christ.

Operation Christmas Child

Donate here

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Work in Progress – continued

So, as I was getting ready to post the most recent blog entry, I kept having this nagging feeling that it was incomplete. Kept feeling like there was more to that entry. More than just me admitting that I struggle too, that I’m still completely human sometimes. The reason I don’t post those things as often is because I’m trying not to focus on those moments. It’s kinda the same philosophy as: you are what you eat. This blog is to be lifting people up. It’s how God is working in my life, and those around me. And, if I sit here and focus on all the bad stuff all the time. I could go on for days and days.

My life is not perfect, by any means, I have my own struggles, I help people with theirs, other’s lives are so intertwined with mine that theirs become mine. But, that’s not the point. I’m sure you do too. That’s life, I’m pretty sure that’s the definition of life. It’s not our cars, or what we have, or where we work, or any of that. It’s our experiences. It’s the problems we face, it’s the problems we fail to face, it’s where we succeed and where we fail. I admitted my problem because it’s still a problem. I still battle it. It’s been over 2 years since I’ve been there, but it doesn’t mean that I’m not still overcoming it. It’s been over 10 years since I’ve battled some of my other issues, it doesn’t mean that I do not still constantly battle them. It doesn’t mean that Satan doesn’t still use them to try to make me bend or break. And please believe, some days are harder than others. But, I’m on team God now.

And, I have my eyes on the prize. I’m about my Father’s business. I will be attacked, I will be persecuted, but I am more than an overcomer. I am the secret weapon of God.

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

Romans 8:37

We had the prophetess Crystal Jones speaking at our Women’s Alive Conference this weekend, and she spoke these words over us, and now I’m speaking them to you. You are God’s secret weapon in someone’s life. You are more than an overcomer. You are here to be about your Father’s business. May you be emboldened with the Will and Strength and Desire of God to be about his business, as I am. May you reach out where you’re at, and beyond where you’re at, to be God’s secret weapon. To shine His light so brightly, that men will know that You work for the Almighty God.

Something else that was said this weekend, was where she admitted that she had called our Pastor Jeanne in a moment of turmoil and grief to ask for guidance. And our pastor told her, “Lean into Easy”. God’s yoke is easy. Lean into God’s yoke. Read your bible, pray, minister to others, go to church, fellowship, call or text your fellow believers and tell them to pray for you. Lean into Easy. Take your yoke off and throw it at his feet. It is not yours to bear, you are to lay yours down and pick his up. Lean into Easy. When life is too much to stand, kneel. This week, when I could’ve let the devil win, I just turned on praise music instead. I just started overwhelming myself with podcasts of victory and overcoming. I buckled down, and reminded myself who I belong to. I ran to my Daddy and told him to take this away from me. And He did. Because He never fails. He makes me more than an overcomer. I am a victor. I am royalty. I serve the Almighty God, and I bend to no man, and I definitely don’t bend to the devil. God loved me too much to leave me there. And, He loves me too much to leave me here. I’m going to continue to go further, to be more. Because God is more. He is so much more. He is more than I could ever think or imagine, and He wants me to have it all. And You. I’m not special, by any means. I don’t have anything different than you. I just love God, and know that He loves me back, and with Him I CAN DO ALL THINGS.

You know, it was funny, I told a couple people that the only reason I don’t like going to conferences or big spiritual events like this is because then I get attacked. And, I hadn’t even made it home from the conference, and I was being attacked. Then, I got home, and here was another blow. But, I just reminded myself that, “If you’re never getting attacked, it’s probably because you’re going the wrong way.” I was warned in podcast that if you ever wanted to be a preacher, or a mouthpiece to God, you were going to be attacked. It’s not an easy life. But, God makes it easy. His yoke is easy. The devil isn’t attacking me, he’s attacking God in me. He’s trying to shut me up. He’s trying to steal, kill, and destroy. He is the source of all lies. And, I believe the one true, good God. And Satan is never going to shut me up, he can’t have my joy, I will win life. Every day of the week – because I’m on team God.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you!! Thank you that your yoke is easy. Thank you that you take all my burdens away. Thank you that you have removed the veil from my eyes, that I may always see my true enemy. Thank you that you love me too much to leave me where I was at, or to leave me here either. That I may continue to go above and beyond. That you may give me all you have, that I may bless others with your gifts, and may show your light to the world, that no man may deny you. Blessed be the name of our ALMIGHTY GOD!! IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

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Work in progress

” He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” – Mark 5:34

I realized this week, that I may have painted this picture for my audience that has me being “holier than thou” sometimes. And I want to take a moment to make sure that I completely understand that this is not the case.

I’m so broken sometimes, so very, very human. I simply choose not to focus on that part so much, not because I want you to think I’m good or perfect or anything really. What I want to focus on is that God is, that he has things to teach us, that he knows we are a work in progress, and loves us anyway, forgives us anyway.

This week, I was very human, very me, but in the midst of all of it I was putting on a garment of praise.

“And provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. I was praising God for giving me the strength to not be me, or the old me anyway.” Isaiah 61:3

I had a couple tough days this week, but I was praising God in the midst of it, because thank God I don’t drink anymore. There was a day this week that I would’ve crawled into a bottle before 10am and called it. I was done. But instead, I didn’t. Because God didn’t leave me there, he has given me the strength to move past that. And please believe, the devil knew I was struggling, he just kept piling it on, but I buckled down. I thanked God that he is good and that alcohol is not my answer anymore. I have to be about my Father’s business.

I am a work in progress, if I’m still breathing -he’s still working. And that’s ok. I’m never going to be perfect. I’m just trying every day to be more of who he wants me to be. One step at a time, one day at a time, sometimes one minute at a time. Less of me and more of you, God. Sometimes, I’m my biggest reader. I write this blog with some incredible insight that has been given to me, sometimes I don’t even realize what I’m writing until I go back and read it, and I’m like, “wow, good stuff” (and I’ll admit, sometimes not so great- but I’m a work in progress!)

I’m just walking by faith, letting my Savior lead me. Trusting that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing, praying for guidance and understanding, praying that I am about my Father’s business.

Because that’s what all of this is really about. A journey, a relationship, both of those things are messy, not perfect, not always exactly what you think, and may not take you where you were expecting to go, but unlike any other relationship or journey, I can promise that they are absolutely worth it. Thank God that he loves you enough to save you from you. He loves us more than enough. He wants more than enough for all of us.

He wants to make us more like him, and less of us.  That’s the incredible thing about this relationship, it’s God who defines us, not our situations or our circumstances or anything like that.  It’s what the Bible says we are, what God says we are, we are the Sons and Daughters of the Almighty God! We are His children, we are royalty, we are heirs to the throne, we are his beloveds, we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  God loves us for who we are.  He created this whole big wide world and galaxy, and decided that the world needed one of you too.  Don’t ever forget that! 

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, THANK YOU!! Thank you, that you don’t leave us where we are. Thank you that we can boldly come before your throne. Thank you that you give us a garment of praise, oil of joy, and beauty for ashes. Thank you that you are the incredible GOOD GOOD FATHER! Thank you that you watch over us, guide us, and protect us. Thank you that you are the Light! That others may see your light through us. Thank You for all that you are Father. Thank you for this blessed life. Joy for the morning and life all of our days. Thank you for giving us the victory. That you have already won. That we may stand with you as victors in Christ Jesus. That you are the SAME GOD who rose Christ FROM THE DEAD, and that you will raise us too – that all we ever have to do is ask. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Mission’s Circle

Operation Christmas Child! This particular mission, is very near and dear to my heart. What an incredible opportunity. For less than $20, you can make a shoebox for a child, and drop it off at a local collection center, and spread love and the good news around the world. From right where you’re at. In every shoebox, Samaritan’s Purse puts a leaflet that gives the Salvation Story in their language, and as they’re distributing them, they share the story of Jesus Christ.

Operation Christmas Child

Donate here

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Funny how that works

20 Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 
21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. – Hebrews 13:20-21

God prepares you

I really had no idea what I was going to write about this morning, but as always, God provides. As I sat down at our computer desk, I was flooded with the thoughts of how things come full circle. Of how, God prepares you for what you’re going to need later. As I spoke these last two weeks, first on Mercy, then about how I had needed to apply mercy that very week. It’s all just so incredible how God works.

It’s true though. Another great example, is one of my Pastors, was recently moved to write a book, like couldn’t shake the urge. And, when she sat down to really start writing it, she started going through her notes from previous years, and realized, she had practically already written it. Now, her book is available to everyone, and it’s a message of Goodbye Panic, Hello Peace. You can find it for sale here. #Godshowedup!

I have another friend, who started a home business in the past couple years. She’s a home & life organizer, she helps people declutter their houses, and their lives with creative and positive solutions, while being understanding and supportive. And recently when she was going back through some of her paperwork and different things she had collected (articles, documents, etc.) , she realized that this had been a passion of hers for years. And, here God had helped her make it into a business. #Godshowedup!

Even with the example of my mercy story, and the many, many other stories I’ve related to you over the almost 1 year I’ve been writing this blog. I felt compelled this week, in the fact that 1) I’ve been writing this blog for almost a year (?!?!? What?!) and 2) this week, I had yet another miraculous series of events that has compelled me to reflect in awe and wonder as to what the future will hold. Many, many moons ago, my husband and I had a candle business, and in our first real year of running the business, we turned a profit. But, then, life got in the way, and we focused on various other things for a long time, but as a lot of things have calmed down, and we’ve had the ability to refocus some efforts… here we’ve come full circle. Now, over the years, it’s been very tempting to restart the business, but it’s never been a good time, or we couldn’t focus our efforts. But now, it all seems right. And, with the internet businesses better than ever, I’m more optimistic than ever. I also had a girlfriend recently who was getting rid of a bunch of candle stuff, that I took off her hands for her ;). I mean – #Godshowedup!

It’s really incredible, when you leave everything in God’s hands, you do start seeing God’s hands in everything. I could go on and on, but I’ll just share a recap of this year’s areas where #Godshowedup. Because when you let him, He’ll show up, every time.

The Bible Study

Spoons 1 & Spoons 2

Light

Plans, plans, plans…

The God who provides

Don’t quench the Spirit

My Grace is sufficient

The Year of Great Loss

Full Circle

Best You

Worry

God’s Plans

How Great is our God?!

Timing

Working Out My Salvation

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you!! Thank you for being the incredible, amazing, Good Father that you are. Thank you, that you show up! Thank you for being faithful. For wanting the best for us. Thank you that you are the Good, Good Father, who slowly shows us all the things we need to work toward your will for us. Thank You for laying your hands on our lives. Thank You, for all that you do Father. My words cannot express my gratitude for your will and hands in my life. I pray that everyone reading this experience the amazing awe and wonder that I have experienced at watching you work my life, for your good. I love you Father, and I appreciate all that you’ve done for me, and I ask that you show everyone here how much you show up. I pray that they let you work your hands in their lives. I know that you are the ALMIGHTY GOD WHO SHOWS UP, EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK! And, I’m so grateful for that. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Mission’s Circle

Women’s Alive Conference is this next weekend! This is held in Brookings South Dakota, every year in October. A time for refreshment and renewal. A time for women to get together and encourage each other, and to soak in God’s word, and make lasting relationships with each other, and God. It’s October 18th & 19th. Crystal Jones is the guest speaker this year.

If you would like to join us, please register with the Holy Life Tabernacle. (Click here) It’s only $20!

Or if you would like to donate, click here, and chose Women’s Alive Conference in the options.

Working out my salvation

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, -Phillippians 2:12

Work it out

God’s got a sense of humor. And, I had one of those moments this week, where I really felt like I had it all together. You know? Like, yes, I’m really understanding this. Really drawing closer to God. Felt the Holy Spirit and I really making strides. Just mmm, I got this. Then, the past snuck up on me. Came out of left field…. And, I just had to look up and laugh, because I knew God was giggling. Looking down on me, “Really got this all worked out, do you? Let’s see how you feel about this.” And, suddenly, I was all human again.

That happens though, doesn’t it? We feel like we’re really doing things, really getting tuned in, really growing. And then, something comes up where we have to apply what we’ve learned. Ugh! What?!? C’mon! But, that’s why we’re told, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” Phillippians 2:12

We’re supposed to be working out our salvation. We’re supposed to be learning new things about our salvation, about the plan that God has for us and what that means in our lives. Then, we’re supposed to be applying it. And, He gives us a clue as well, “with fear and trembling” – doesn’t sound like it’s going to be easy, does it?

So, last week, I wrote on Mercy. First, we have to understand Mercy, to extend grace. We have to embrace the concept of being merciful, because even as the old antic says, “forgive and forget” – first we have to forgive – then, we can forget.

Many, many moons ago, I had someone in my life, who was a nightmare. Someone, who I went to school with, so it wasn’t like there was a lot I could do to avoid them, but for whatever reason, we did not get along, and lots of bad things happened because of it. And, I had told myself that I had forgiven them. I had let all of that go. But, then, this person had grown up, and is now involved with a relative of mine. And, in part of me saying that I had forgiven them, I had refused to tell anyone what had happened so long ago, since I didn’t want to skew anyone’s feelings about this person. Everyone has the capacity to change, so I was trying to give them a chance with everyone else. But, I personally, kept my distance. In hindsight, that sounds super-forgiving right? 😉 But, this past week, my relative was in dire trouble, and there was no way that I could help without having to talk to this person. And, I talked to them, very chill, conversation was very matter-of-fact, helping get the situation handled, and moving on. And, then, because they now have my phone number, they texted me…. Here’s where God started giggling. This person, couldn’t even remember what all had happened, but was very sorry for whatever it was, and was hoping that I would forgive whatever it was and genuinely hoped that we could have a relationship. This person couldn’t even remember what they had done, and I’m over here holding on tight. Oh mercy me, time to work on my salvation.

“If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” John 20:23 How can I hold onto someone’s sins, and condemn them, when they don’t even remember what happened? Why was I holding on so tight? I had done things far worse, remembered those things, and hoped that as I asked forgiveness they would find it in their hearts to forgive. Why am I acting differently? Because I’m human. But, more of you and less of me, God. Time to grow, time to apply what we’ve learned, and practice what I preach…. <— Ha, see what I did there 😉

So, I will be putting all of this down. Laying it at the feet of my Savior, and asking him to heal my heart, and let me grow. Let me know what it’s like to be more like him, and less like me.

Another thing that happened this week, and maybe you’ve seen it. Is this incredible video. This kid, who takes a moment to testify God’s mercy and grace to the world. Who publicly forgives his brother’s murderer, and says that it’s what his brother would want, and what God wants. As many comments state, we wish we could all be a little more like this guy, I challenge us to try.

https://www.npr.org/2019/10/03/766866875/brandt-jeans-act-of-grace-toward-his-brother-s-killer-sparks-a-debate-over-forgi

God bless you and keep you.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for your mercy. Thank you for being such an incredible example for us. Thank you that we have the opportunity to continually work out our salvation. Thank you that You are the good Father who forgives all, and challenges us to do the same. That we may bless those around us with your eternal mercy and grace. That others may see your light through us. That this man’s testimony of your forgiveness and your grace may soften people’s hearts and lead people to you. And that it may have the ripple effect, that other’s may challenge themselves to be more like you Father, and forgive and forget and only want the best for all. More of you, and less of us. Every day of the week. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Mission’s Circle

Going to take a short break from promoting Operation Christmas Child, to promote the Women’s Alive Conference! This is held in Brookings South Dakota, every year in October. A time for refreshment and renewal. A time for women to get together and encourage each other, and to soak in God’s word, and make lasting relationships with each other, and God. It’s October 18th & 19th.

If you would like to join us, please register with the Holy Life Tabernacle. (Click here) It’s only $20!

Or if you would like to donate, click here, and chose Women’s Alive Conference in the options.