Back to basics

“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

I’m kinda at a loss this week. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be writing about today. I’ve been in a bit of a lull, as things open back up and cases rise, getting back into schedules and the swing of things, I have been struggling for growth.

The one thing I can tell you, is that during this time, my routines of fellowshipping with God have been very important to keeping me in line with the Spirit. Of not letting my lull become a backward slope. Just as important as they were when churches shut down and interpersonal fellowship wasn’t possible any more, here they are again, keeping me grounded in the faith. One thing I’ve realized is that maybe this concept could help others. Years ago, I smashed the sides of God’s box and let him in to all aspects of my life. And that, has truly changed my relationship with Him, and who I am as a person. This has grown my faith exponentially, and contributed to so many things that I am grateful for today.

One disclaimer I would like to put here, is that I did not add all of these things to my life at once, it was a slow process, but now that I am here, I cannot imagine not doing these things all the time. And, I am grateful for their constant reminders and continued contribution to my faith and keeping me connected and growing as much as possible.

I listen to Christian music as much as possible. I started with DC Talk since they were some of the first “cool” Christian bands I had heard of way-back-when. This has evolved into several different Christian stations between live worship music, DC Talk attitudes, old gospels, and anything in between that keeps me in the constant worship attitude. I do also listen to secular music from time-to-time, but I do try to limit it to bands with minimal/no swearing, positive messages, and the like. Just because I have personally noticed that tripping down that rabbit hole of other music does tend to change my attitude to my environment.

I pray every morning. To start my day off right. Now, I’m not perfect, I do miss some days, but for the most part, I try to make a point of praying every morning. I used to have lists of what subject I was particularly praying for on what days, and sometimes I still revert back to that. But, I’ve grown so much in my prayer life, that I no longer find these reminders necessary. I pray for general subjects every day and sprinkle in specific subjects as needed, but really it’s the time of talking with God and getting started on the right foot. And, I always pray, that he guides my path today, blesses the words from my mouth and the work of my hands, that they may bring glory and honor to Him.

I go to church. Now, I did get to go to church a while back, and it was very refreshing and filled me up, but sadly as cases have increased in our area, and as I’ve been getting back in the swing of things, this tidbit has fallen by the wayside. But, I don’t find this to be as critical since I am further along in my faith. And, I also have had a Bible Study that I am consistently able to attend (either in person, or virtually during the time when in person was not necessarily “allowed”). This enriching ability to discuss growth and needs and concepts with others helps keep perspective and growth possible. This interaction with other believers is part of what the body of Christ needs. Whether through going to church or meeting together on a smaller scale. The body of Christ needs to be connected. You have to have others around you to connect with and grow, just like children and family. That accountability, perspective, and support is vital. There are parts of church, of course, that you don’t get from a Bible Study, and vice versa, and it is best when you can have both, but during these times, you take what you can get.

One of the biggest parts of missing Church, is missing the sermons. The ability to just sit back and have your cup filled. Which is part of why I listen to podcasts of sermons. Sometimes, I binge on sermons and really get the cup filled, and other times I just need to be “topped off” and I’ll just listen to one or two. One aspect I really enjoy about this, is that I’m able to listen to various speakers, and I’ve started to realize I can listen to certain ones when I’m struggling with particular topics. Or some give you meat and potatoes and others give you milk and bread. Really just depends on your needs and where you’re at.

Then, of course, there’s actually reading your Bible! I haven’t done this one for a while, and as I sit here writing this, I realize that maybe this is what I need to get worked back in. I personally enjoy the YouVersion Bible app, that allows you to pick studies and get them in daily doses on truly whatever subject you want, and set little reminders to get your daily dose in. And, one thing I’ve found with reading the Bible is that it really fills you up. Seems to me, that a little bit, goes a long way. You really have to take time to digest what you’re reading, and that’s the nice thing about the app, it gives you insight from the author on what they pulled out of the scriptures to chew on. But really, however you can get some scripture in, you should. The Word fills you up. Breathed straight from the mouth of God. Speaking to you. Every time you read it.

So, I hope this helps, as usual, I see it has helped me. Sometimes, getting back to the basics, is how we move forward. Maybe there is something in here that you would like to integrate. Wherever you’re at, just remember that God is with you, and as long as you are trying to move forward, you will.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this day, and all the days. Thank you for your incredible patience with us. Thank you for all the ways you’ve given us to connect with You. Thank you for being with us in our ebbs and flows. Thank you for your incredible love that is unconditional and never ceases. Thank you for all that You do for us. That You are the Good, Good Father, that guides us, protects us, sustains us, comforts us, and is all things to all men. That we may all continue to grow in Your Love, in Your Spirit, in Your Everlasting Self. That we may continue to become better versions of ourselves and we continue to strive to be more like You and Your Son. Thank You Father, for all that You do, and all You will continue to do. May we all enjoy Your blessings, all the days of our lives. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Mission’s Circle

Please forgive me this week, as I do not know much about this mission at all, but just discovered it recently and it seems really neat. There is a online shopping website that donates a portion of it’s proceeds to missions, and it has quite a few faith-based items (wall-hangings, jewelry, etc.) I am not receiving any of the proceeds nor am I affiliated with them in any way. I just think it’s neat and wanted to share.

Feel free to check it out: https://www.premierdesigns.com/

Diet

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7

“You are what you eat.” That has been on my mind this morning, and in my life this week. You are what you eat. Simply put, you put good stuff in, you get good stuff out. Garbage in, garbage out. I’ve had a couple instances throughout the past two weeks that really reinforce this fact. And, I’ve talked about it before as well. Prepare for Battle, Battle!, and Speak Life all touch on this concept.

But this week, it really feels like the news has become Satan’s soapbox to get everybody wound up. Which reminds me of some good information my mother gave me at one point: You know, the news, used to be a 10-15 minute segment on TV, once a day. That was it. 10-15 minutes of news, just the headlines, and if you wanted more information, you could grab the local newspaper. Now, there are channels dedicated to news 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You want to hear about how insanely horrible it is out there? You want a quick shot of depression? You want to spiral into a rollercoaster of sensing impending doom, watch the news for a minute. We have human trafficking over here, a double-dose of brink of war over there, a full cup of injustice and oppression for today’s special, and oh yeah, just in case that wasn’t overwhelming enough – let’s give you today’s death tolls from COVID, from war, from murders, from anything else we can get our hands on because you all need to know every single detail so you become so frozen with fear and angst and everything else that you can’t live your own life because look at all of this!!!

Ugh. What a nightmare. Now, I’m not saying these things are not important. They absolutely are. But, it’s like eating a balanced diet. There is absolutely no need to gorge yourself on the news. Besides the fact that they broadcast so much news and so many stories that you could get lost all day in there, which is not healthy. I would like to say it’s like chocolate, but you know, chocolate is actually good.

I personally do not watch the news at all. I read articles about the news, when I want to, when I’m in the right mindset and feel like I can handle it. I also take most of the news with a grain of salt, because I understand that there are a million different views about the situation and I’m only reading one flawed human’s interpretation of what happened. – Which by the way, let’s remember that even the best reporter is simply regurgitating “facts” they could find about an event, let alone the many people that are simply giving you their interpretation of events sprinkled with facts.

Another thing I keep in mind about the news, is that – Am I going to do anything about what I’m reading? Yes, the Russians doing whatever they’re doing these days is probably not good, but am I, going to do anything about it? – Probably not. So therefore, if I’m not going to invest my time and energy into doing something about this, should I be reading it? If I still feel like I should be reading it, fine, but then, if I am upset by what I have read, I have to decide how much time I’m going to be upset about it, then I need to let it go and let God handle it.

You know why I believe the news is Satan’s Soapbox? Because it gives people are spirit of fear. Which is not from God. The Spirit of Fear never comes from God. Never. God gives us the spirit of peace, love, understanding, and compassion.

I will say that I found it very interesting: Here we were, just a few months ago, mid-pandemic, and the news was full of articles about how much everyone was helping each other. How much humans were all getting together and loving on one another. We were going to get through this. All was not lost. Whispers of Revival were happening. So many people were just being the better side of humans, and it was touching and beautiful. Then, the news took a hard turn, and we’re back to every man for himself, and you can’t trust anybody, and nobody cares about you. Satan got scared, and he turned up the heat. Can’t be having that love stuff going around, can’t be letting God into the situation. – Because God is Love. And you know, that you hardly ever see articles about Love in the news… another good indicator of who’s really running the headlines.

So, I’ve said all of that, to say this. You are what you eat. If you are constantly munching on bones of bad news and everything that Satan wants you to focus on for items that more often than not, you can literally do nothing about, then you are going to be overwhelmed, depressed, and afraid. But, if you focus on the Word of God. If you read your Bible, and listen to sermons, and worship music, and spend your time loving your neighbor and trying to win souls for Christ, then You are putting good out there. You are being the light of the World. You are showing that there is Hope and Peace and Love to be had. By the blood of Jesus. By the redemption of our Savior. If you just try to change the world, by loving the circle that You are in, and showing love to your fellow man, and loving your neighbor as yourself, then THAT is what God’s plan is for you. And if you can do more – AMAZING!! If you have an idea about how to help some of the situations you are seeing in the news, God BLESS YOU!! But, do not let it be a tool from the devil to hold you down and let it be a spirit of fear that paralyzes you into not being the Light that God wants you to be. Break the chains that Satan aims to put on you. Be diligent for he stalks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he can devour. If you have been gobbling it up like Thanksgiving dinner, then maybe it’s time to consider a diet. Because You are a CHILD OF GOD. YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. YOU ARE AN OVERCOMER. YOU ARE VICTORIOUS. YOU CAN WIN LIFE.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You!! Thank you for being the Good, Good Father that you are. Thank you for being the love in the world. Thank you that you give us hope. That you give us life. Thank you for your amazing grace and your overwhelming peace. Thank you for giving us the supernatural peace that surpasses all understanding. Thank you that you never give us the spirit of fear. Thank you for loving us, for loving us so much that you sent your son to die for us that we may be redeemed, that we may know what your love feels like. That we may show your love to others. That we may put on the garment of praise to cast of the spirit of fear. That you have good plans for us and not to harm us, but to bless us. That we may bask in your love and be the light of the world for others, that they may also know your love. Thank you Father, for all you do for us, and all that you continue to do. That you may bless the work of our hands and words from our lips that they bring glory and honor to you Lord. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Trusting God

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. – Matthew 6:6

Trusting God. I had someone tell me this week, that they don’t trust God. That really threw me for a bit of a loop. You don’t trust God? But then, I remembered that there was a time, where I didn’t trust Him either. For that matter, I went through years of my life, with my back turned – not even believing in Him. Guess, the only reason it took me by surprise was because I trust Him so implicitly now, that the concept seemed foreign.

I reached out to this person, later in the week, and shared one of my trust building exercises that I did to learn how to trust God. Because, for me, that’s kinda what you have to do. It’s a relationship, a very difficult one at that, to get started. Because your relationship is with someone you can’t see or hear, but you can feel. And, you can see the evidence of, but not actually see God. When you think about it that way, it really makes a lot of sense, that it’s hard to trust God, because in order to trust Him, you have to have a relationship. And the relationship you build with God, isn’t going to be like any other for many reasons, but if not, solely for the fact that you can’t interact with Him like you do anyone else. And, that is a hard relationship to build on, when you’re getting started at least.

So, way back when, God and I did trust building exercises. I made the conscious effort to pray as much as possible, (like once a day), but then I would remember what I prayed for. And, I would continue to pray for my list of things, every time, until they got answered. Then – when I would get an answer, I would write it down on a slip of paper, and put it in my prayer box *pictured above*. (I decorated a shadow box, but really you could use a shoebox, a mason jar, whatever container you like.) And, it didn’t have to be long or anything. I prayed for “Jamie’s job opportunity” or “healing for Linda”. But once the prayer was answered, it was written down, and put in the box. Next thing I knew, the box was so full, that I needed to empty it! I wanted to continue to keep my answered prayers, so I also bought one of those film sheet photo albums, and laid the answered prayers in there. Then, started the process all over again. I now have quite the collection of answered prayers, which is fun and neat to share. Look at all the time’s #Godshowedup! But, really, in retrospect, it was a trust building exercise. I’m sure there are plenty of ways to learn how to trust God, but I really enjoyed mine that gave me actual physical evidence that God was working on me, and cared about me. That we were in this relationship together. I wasn’t testing Him, I was giving myself actual, viable proof that He was doing exactly what He said He would.

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

1 John 5:14-15

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

John 15:7

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Mark 11:24

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.

Psalm 37:4-5

But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.

Micah 7:7

And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

Psalm 50:15

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.

Jeremiah 29:12

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for everything. Thank you for your Good Words. Thank you for showing up! For giving us an incredible opportunity to have a relationship with you. Thank you for everything you’ve done for us. For continuing to be there for us, to help us along the way. Thank you for answered prayers Father. That you bless us Father, each and every day. That You are always working in our lives. That You care about each and every one of us. Words cannot express my appreciation for you. How much my soul rejoices to be in this relationship with you. The gratitude I have that you are my salvation, and my rock, and my shield, and my comforter, my Father, and friend. Thank you for blessing me Father, all the days of my life. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Mission’s Circle

What better mission to focus on this week, than the Gideon’s. You know those Bibles you find in your hotel room? The Gideon’s make that happen. The Gideon’s number one request of their sponsors, is prayer. You can join and receive a daily prayer guide.

Part of their mission statement:

“We exist as an advocate for the lost, to bring them the saving knowledge of the Word through not only placing and distributing Scriptures, but also through personal witnessing and by associating together for service. As a united force for the Gospel, we remain rooted in tradition, but we operate under the firm belief that anyone can be a valuable asset to this invaluable cause. We provide many opportunities to partner with us through either prayer or financial support. Join us, and let’s spread the Good News.”

Check them out here

Become a prayer partner here

Go with the flow

“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

“Make a plan, then go with the flow.” – Pastor Dave Kaufman

“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” – Pastor Dave Kaufman

Both of these statements have had a profound impact on me. I heard them quite some time ago during a sermon about financial responsibility, but really they apply to most things in life. They have also helped me accept change so much. I used to be someone who was completely “put out” when someone messed with my plans. But, now, that seems to be the constant state. My life has become this ever-evolving state of “making a plan, then going with the flow.” And, really, the Bible, is almost nothing but examples of how people had a plan, then ended up going with the flow, either willingly or after repeatedly kicking against the goads.

Sarah and Abraham

Joseph (and the coat of many colors)

Elijah

Job

The Apostles (particularly Peter)

Jesus

All sorts of people that had lives heading in a particular direction that they had planned out for themselves, and then having to adapt to a hard left turn, or several turns. One of the many things, I have brought out of this concept of making a plan, and going with the flow, is the simple fact that understanding that the chances of the plan going my way is less than likely, has made me incredibly willing to accept change. And, the ability to understand that and to know that at any moment the plan will change, has also given me a certain peace. That supernatural peace that surpasses understanding. This ability to shuck off the yoke of worry about tomorrow, tonight, 3 weeks from now.

If I have gained anything in the most recent years, it has been that I have no idea what’s going to happen next, and there is absolutely no way to prepare for it, except to make a plan, and go with the flow. And, the making a plan part, is still critically important. You still have to have a general heading, an intended direction. Otherwise, it’s like you’re going along and you get thrown in a deep pool… you still have to know which way is up. Whether it brings you to the other side of the pool, or just above the place where you went in. And, God is like your lifeguard. You have to be willing to let Him help you navigate your way out. <– That thought reminds me of lifeguard training. They actually teach lifeguards how to grab someone in a rescue situation, because, they state – you are going to have some people who are panicking so much that they will endanger your life while you are trying to save them. God knows how to hold onto you, whether you are being cooperative or flailing about hysterical.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for your supernatural wisdom. For your amazing grace to us, and our situations. That You, Father, are our lifeguard. That you hold onto us, and protect us from harm. That you bless us in all that we do. That You, are the good, good Father who reaches out and lifts us up with your mighty right hand. Thank you for your guidance Father, that You have given us Your Word filled with examples of people who plan, adapt, and overcome. That we are sided with You, Father, the great Overcomer! The Victor, in all things. That we may join with you, Father, in each day, through each trial, through each plan and come out on the other side, exactly where we need to be. Thank You Father, for your many blessings, that you guide us and protect us, each step along the way. Thank You for all that You are, and all that You would have us be. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Featured

Prayer

The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth. – Psalm 145:18

You know, if there’s one thing I’ve learned through my most recent experiences, it’s been, that having a personal relationship with God – is what you need the most. You can’t count on being able to go to church, you can’t count on being around other believers to lift you up, you can’t count on having someone else help fill you up. You have to learn how to have the personal connection with God, in order to keep yourself going. And, when you’re down and out and you don’t know what to do, you’re not always going to be able to reach out to someone for direction. Especially, when you don’t really know what’s wrong with you. The Father knows His children. He knows just what you need. And, He will provide.

These past several months, I haven’t been attending church because of the coronavirus. I was able to attend Bible Study because we got it set up online. I was still in contact with other believers throughout the time, but not nearly like it was before. And what really helped me through all of this, and ultimately what helped lead me out of being burnt, was prayer.

What helped me when my back was injured. Prayer.

What helped me through the Year of Great Loss. Prayer.

What helped me when I was working two jobs and couldn’t make ends meet. Prayer.

What helped me get through sickness. Prayer.

What helped me get through months of isolation. Prayer.

That personal time with God. Talking to the Father. Prayer is the key. The key that unlocks so many things. That helps us tap into the Father, tap into ourselves. Helps bring the Father’s kingdom to earth. Manifesting His will among us and in our lives and in other’s lives. I cannot emphasize it enough. I really enjoyed a post I did a while back on Prayer, so I’m going to leave you with that today, and some links to all the other ones I’ve done on Prayer. I hope it helps. I hope it heals. I hope it helps you move forward in your faith and have a deeper relationship with the Father.

Prayer Life

Salvation

Praying Through

God answers prayer

Battle!

Prayer

Prayer (continued)

The Long Game

Speak Life

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this day, and all the days. Thank you that you sent Your Son so that we may have a personal relationship with you. That we may talk to you anytime and all the time. Thank you for blessings us now and forever after with all the many blessings that you have for us. That you guide us and watch over us Father. That you keep your Word and that we may keep Your Word in our hearts that we may know your truth. Thank You Father that you have given us one of the most powerful tools there is, the ability to talk directly to You, anytime, anyplace. That we may grow deeper in our connection with You Father. That we may know you, on the deepest level. That we may help manifest Your Word and Your Will here on Earth, through the mighty power of prayer. That you may know us Father and guide us according to your will. That you may forever change our lives for the better, and that others may know you through us. Thank you for all that You have done, and all that You will have us do. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Living Water

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. – Isaiah 12:3

As I have been recovering from burn out, I was reminded of this post a little while back. It was during the recovery from flu season a while ago:

I just went through a rough season, my entire month of February was a wreck. Like, freight train. First, my son got the flu, then my husband, then myself. Only, my son got a fever and some gut rot deal, my husband had a fever for 5 days and pretty much slept the whole time. And, I got some sort of stomach flu deal, that made it impossible for me to keep anything inside me. Day 3 of my flu, I had become so dehydrated, that I required medical attention. I woke up as soon as the clinic opened and told them that I needed to get in ASAP. They could see me within the hour. Amazing. I opened up my front door, blizzard. I seriously was so delirious from my illness that I considered calling an ambulance. But, I knew that if I could just get there, I would be ok. So, I get the last of my strength, and I get in the car to go to the clinic. I’m practically delusional by this point, my mouth and throat are dry, every time I take a drink my lips and throat instantly need more fluids and are dry again. The doctor pretty much just looked at me and said, “We need to get some fluids in you.” I had lost 10 pounds, at least, maybe more. I’m not someone who can afford to lose 10 pounds. I didn’t even recognize myself in the mirror. As they took me back to a room and got me situated, my messenger app buzzed. It’s the women’s feed from church. We use it as a way to share encouraging words, or request prayers, quick notes, etc. The Pastor shared her morning devo: “Come to me for rest and refreshment. This journey has been too much for you, and you are bone-weary. Do not be ashamed of your exhaustion. Instead, see it as an opportunity for Me to take charge of your life.” – (which is an excerpt from Shannon Stoddard on beliefnet) But, this word came to me, right as they are plugging IVs into my arm, and I just shed a tear. Yes, Lord. You are my rest and refreshment. I ended up needing two bags worth of fluids to get me back to some sort of human. And, I rested while they pumped me full of fluids, but I knew I was going to be fine with that word. Amen.

I have been experiencing an emotional season of being “bone-weary” – what a great expression. Deep down in your bones weary, the kind of exhausted that doesn’t go away with a nap and some food. The kind of can’t-give-any-more that you just don’t know what to do with. God knows. He knows this happens. That’s why He tells us that He is our Living Water. That He is our rest and refreshment. That we can tap into Him and He will take us through the rest. Just like the “Footsteps” poem, where when there was only one set of footprints – He carried us. We don’t need to be strong, He is strong for us. We don’t need to be everything we need, He’s got us covered.

“But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 4:14

And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.

Revelation 21:6

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.

Isaiah 44:3

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.

John 7:37

And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Isaiah 58:11

That he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,

Ephesians 5:26

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

John 6:35

God wants to refresh us. God doesn’t want us to feel bone-weary. And, one of the most refreshing and powerful ways to feel refreshed by God, is to pray and to worship. Prayer is the most intimate and refreshing time with the Father. A time to discuss, to speak our needs and to listen. To let Him overwhelm our souls with the answer. To let Him work in our Spirit to give us the living water that we need. And then, to worship out loud our exhaltation to the Lord. It’s a renewing interaction to shout to the Lord and praise Him for all that He does for us. To look back and see all that He has done, and to know that in the looking forward, He will do even more. He never fails, His words do not return void. He will always be there for us, and will lift us up, and even carry us – when we need it most. Do not let yourself struggle through the exhaustion, turn to the Lord who has everything you need to get you through whatever season in your life. He is the Living Water. He has everything you need to refresh your soul. Take a drink and thirst no more.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you! Thank you for being our Living Water. Thank you for refreshment. Thank you for your blessings in overflow. Thank you that You bless us, and have given us Your Word, full of encouragement. Your Word which holds the key to our salvation, both eternal salvation, and salvation every day. That You bless us with the exact words we need, when we need them. Thank you for sending Your son, and making it possible for us to have a personal relationship with You. That we may seek You in prayer. That You will answer us. That You will bless us, and not only meet our needs, but exceed them. That we may know that You are the good, good God who never fails and who loves His children. That You know that we become bone-weary and that is why You have given us the words that You are the Living Water. That we may live forever in You. That You help us win Life. Life in the here and now, and Life eternal. Thank You for Your many blessings Father. Thank You for ALL that You have done, and all that You will continue to do. In JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Busy, busy,… burnt

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. – Romans 8:11

I don’t know about you, but there’s been a few times in my life where things just get super hectic. I’m a busy person anyway, an “A” personality type. Always got something going on, but believe it or not, even so, I still always feel like I’m managing it… most of the time, or right up-until I’m not. A few years ago, I fell and hurt my back, which did cause me to slow down some. And, at the time, caused me to slow down a lot. But, even when I recuperated, I had learned from the experience and still tried to manage my busy-ness a little better. That time made me realize that I could take a lot of things off my plate, because really, I was the only one who had put them there. Then, a bit later, I was working two jobs trying to keep our heads above water, and once again realized that I didn’t need to be doing as much as I was – and more things fell off my plate. Even further back, I had a realization that in all the busy-ness, it was essential to take time for myself. And, I have found ways to do that over the years, and it’s really helped me manage the busy times. But, recently, something happened that I realized I had never experienced before…. I got burnt out. It was like a switch had flipped. And suddenly, I wasn’t me anymore. Now, I’m still burnt out, but I feel like I’m coming out of it.

Now, I’m a google-er. Symptoms, Google. How to, Google. What’s this, Google. But, this time, Google kinda failed me. I Googled “burn out” and visited a variety of sites to see what could be done about this new experience, and read about all my options, and was kinda like, “I can’t really do any of this stuff right now.” I need something to do – today. You know what never fails? God. God never fails. In this intense moment of how do I handle this? I dug into my experiences. What did I do when I hurt my back? Leaned into God. What did I do when I was working two jobs? Leaned into God. Well, sad to say, but that’s not going to be one of the results that Google brings up for you. “Have you tried asking God to help you through this?” “Maybe you should double-down on listening to sermons and worship music” But that’s what’s helping me here. God’s strength, God’s patience, God’s intersession. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned, when I can’t do it, God can. And, I just need to channel the Holy Spirit to work through me. I’m not doing it anymore, God is. He knows what to do, and I can’t do it without Him.

One of the most powerful prayers I have ever learned is Ephesians 1:15-23:

15 Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere,[a] 16 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, 17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom[b] and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.[c]

19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself. – (emphasis -my own)

Let me say that again, “I ALSO PRAY THAT YOU WILL UNDERSTAND THE INCREDIBLE GREATNESS OF GOD’S POWER FOR US WHO BELIEVE HIM. THIS IS THE SAME MIGHTY POWER THAT RAISED CHRIST FROM THE DEAD AND SEATED HIM IN THE PLACE OF HONOR AT GOD’S RIGHT HAND IN THE HEAVENLY REALMS.” — That’s the power you have inside you when you believe. I don’t know about you, but every time I pray this prayer, I feel like Superman. I have access to the power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead. When I don’t have the strength to go on, I have the power that raised Christ from the dead. When I don’t have the patience to understand, I have the patience of the God who waited 3 days to raise his Son from the dead – which must’ve seemed like an eternity. When I cannot fully fathom the situation, I have the same God who created the universe living inside me who will help me understand when the time is right, or give me the peace needed to know that I don’t need to understand. SAME GOD. It’s one of the most important things I’ve learned as a Christian. The SAME GOD I’m praying to and worshiping because of all His Awesomeness, is the SAME GOD living inside me. AND WE CAN DO ANYTHING.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for your infinite wisdom. Thank You that you save us from ourselves. Thank You that you drop eternal understanding deep into us that we may always know what to do in every situation. That You have Power beyond our understanding. That You always have the strength to do more. That You will always guide our steps if we just hold up the lantern. That you are an endless spring of everything we need. That the answer is always You, God. We just need to have the sense to remember it. Thank You Father for having Paul write down these words that we may always remember that the SAME GOD who rose Jesus Christ from the dead – lives inside us. And that we may always be able to face each and every situation with the understanding that it’s not us, it’s You. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Good day

Stand firm, and you will win life. – Luke 21:19

It’s been an interesting week. I feel like I’ve written that so many times. I’m coming to believe that I must live an interesting life. Or maybe my bar for interesting is really low. I’m not sure, but life is definitely an adventure. I really enjoy my life, even when it’s hard, even when it seems impossible, even when absolutely everything is going left… because you know it isn’t going right. – Lol! I’m sorry, I had to. That’s my kind of humor right there.

So, I feel the need to share this week about something that might not be considered completely biblical, but it is important. You have to stay positive. Thinking positively, leads to positive results. And, I believe my happiness is directly linked to my perception of life. Which is something I taught myself. I didn’t used to be positive. I used to hate life and be angry at the world. I used to be a little ball of rage and hate – all the time. Life was unfair, I had gotten the short end of the stick, and nothing was ever going to go my way. But, years ago, some really tragic stuff happened. Years ago, I went through various life-altering experiences that were the by-products of the choices I had made, that were so significant that I couldn’t continue to go that way. And, although, I’m not comfortable enough to speak about all of that. I can tell you that I had to start thinking positively to get out of it. What had to change, was me.

So, I’m going to let you in on a little secret, I set the bar low on positivity, and that has been my main standard ever since. Although I definitely have grown from there, when I’m feeling really down in the dumps, or everything’s going left, I resort back to my original standard. And, to share that standard with you, I’ll tell you a cute little story.

Years ago, my dad showed up at my house unexpectedly. And, when I answered the door, he just started regurgitating his upset feelings and how upset he was to me (and if his anger had been valid, I would’ve listened, but he was all bent out of shape over nothing.) So, I stopped him, put my hand up between us, and said, “I’m having a good day, if you want to come hang out that’s fine, but I’m not going to listen to this, you’ll have to find something else to talk about while you’re here.” At which point, he got that deer-in-the-headlights look for a second, he thought about it. Then, he said, “Ok, I would like to hang out.” So, I welcomed him in, and he sat down and started hanging out. Some time had passed, and suddenly he asks, “What made your day so good?” “Excuse me?” “Well, you said earlier, you had a good day, what made your day so good?” “oh, well, nothing really. But, nobody is in the hospital, nobody has died, and nobody’s in jail, so, it’s a good day.” He was pretty shocked. And, replied, “That’s a pretty low bar for good days.” And, I said, “Well, if you set a really low bar, you have a lot more good days.”

And, it’s true. There are bad moments during your day, but they only take up a fraction of that time. And, you can even have huge sections of your day that are rough, but two things to keep in mind, is that You control how you respond to them, and at any given point, You can get over them and turn your day around.

A couple weeks ago, I was having a particularly rough day because things were not going my way. Our ability to move was at a standstill and completely dependent on things that were out of my control. And, I had to wait for a response. I was livid. So, I packed up my family and we headed out to the farm to take care of our garden for a while, while we waited. By the time we were done weeding and chatting, I was much calmer, and right as we were getting ready to leave, we got the call that everything could move forward as almost originally planned. But, it still wasn’t a bad day, it was a rough few moments, it was infuriating for a time, but we did get to work in the garden, see my family, we were productive, and by the time everything was said-and-done, it all worked out. I did keep telling myself that within 2 weeks, one way or another, this would all be over.

These last 12 weeks have been a roller coaster for me. Work has been intense, there is a virus out there, we’ve had to move. But, I have technically have had 0 bad days. Rough moments, intense times, but no bad days. Because it’s all about perspective and positivity. And, it’s not something I think we come by naturally. We have to work at it. And, if you have to set the bar really low to help you get started, then do it. It’s worth it. It completely changes your outlook on life, and it really helps you have more good days and starts changing the way you look at the world.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you! Thank you for your many blessings. Thank you for helping us grow from trial to trial, and grace to grace. Thank you that you only want good things for us. That you only wish to bless us and to lift us up! That You are an AMAZING GOD, that watches over us and protects us. That you love us in all of our flaws, and that you only wish to make us more like your son, through a love and guidance that only you can give. That You are the amazing good Father that watches his flock, guides his people, and keeps his children. That you love us so unconditionally. That You give us a wholeness and fullness at life. And through You and Your Son, that we may win life. Life everlasting, and the life here. That you bless us each and every day, that all our days are good. Thank you for all that you do for us Father, and all that you will continue to do. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Bizarre

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

My season of waiting is over for now. We have successfully moved. Although I am grateful to be done with the wait, as always every experience helps you grow. There were times during the wait that it seemed like it would never be done, times where we were tip-toeing around remodeling people and the landlord to orchestrate this thing. It was one of the most stressful and time-consuming endeavors my husband and I have had to deal with for a while. Which is a little crazy considering some of the things we’ve had to deal with over the years. But live and learn. And, as I kept reminding myself and my husband, that by the 1st, this would all be over. And for the most part, it is.

It was kinda funny, as I woke up this morning and started thinking of what to write this week, I was reminded of another bizarre story of waiting. I’m not completely convinced that I should share it, but I do feel like the Lord reminded me of this particular time, for someone out there reading this. So, here we go.

Years ago, I started getting a lump on my hip during that time of the month. Like a lump the size of an orange. And, then, after about a week, it would disappear. 3 weeks later, here it was again. After 2 months of this, and a coworker asking me about it because they could see it’s gargantuan size through my shirt, I decided to go to the doctor the next time it showed up. This began a series of doctors visits. Ultrasounds, scans, tests, etc. for months. And each month it would disappear, and reappear. Just on the right side, and about the same size, every time. It was terrifying, what was happening? Doctor after doctor, visit after visit, test after test. And no one has an answer. You can visibly see it, but it’s not showing up as anything. No ones knows. I finally go in for this last ditch test before they state that they’re going to have to give me either an MRI or they’re going to do exploratory surgery. I go in and they do the test (I cannot currently recall what kind of test it was), and I wait. And, I wait, and I wait. No one calls me after 3 days with results. Finally on the 4th day, I call the doctor’s office, and they tell me the doctor will call me back today. So, I wait, and when the doctor finally does call me back, she starts talking about all the stuff we’re going to do next, and I’m like, “What about my test results?” And she says, “Oh, we didn’t see anything, and you know, after all these negative tests and nothing showing up….Maybe you’re just imagining it.” I hung up. I’m imagining it? No, sweetheart, I’m not imagining a lump so large that I have purchased different pairs of pants to accommodate it. I’m not imagining something that multiple people have now questioned me about, and even one of the technicians stated, “Oh there’s definitely something there.” while conducting one of my tests. So, at that point, what do you do? Multiple doctors, multiple tests, many months of insane bills and waiting, and waiting, and waiting. To have someone accuse you of imagining it? Well, I’m not sure what you would do, but I stopped going to the doctor. Apparently, this is part of my life now. I just accepted my fate, and essentially laid down. I’m not paying any more doctors to deal with this. Well, a couple months later, I went in for my annual check-up, and my doctor at the time started discussing all this with me, and stated that because of all these issues and being unable to truly diagnose it – that I should be aware that I might have problems having children….

I don’t know about you, but I was never one who thought they would have children. I was more concerned with growing up and being super successful and having a penthouse apartment and being the CEO of a company – not getting a husband, and a child, and settling down. But, as soon as someone tells you, you can’t (or might not) have something, suddenly, that’s the only thing you want. And, after my parents tried for 17 years to have a baby before I came along, I was a little nervous about my family’s track record of being able to have babies. So, I went home, and told my boyfriend of 7 years at that point, that I wanted to have a baby. There was some discussion, and he conceded – we would start trying to have a baby. And, as I tell people whenever I tell this story, little did I think about that I was dating a man from one of the most fertile families I have ever met. We tried for a whopping 30 days, before I found out that I was pregnant.

So, I call the doctor for my first baby appointment. I walk into the office, I talk to the nurse, and then, the doctor comes in and starts getting my history. Have I ever had any problems with my reproductive organs? Well, for the past year, I have had this crazy lump that grows on my hip and then disappears after a week… I did several tests but no one could ever tell me what it was. She asked my 7 more questions about the lump, I answered yes to all of them, and she says,”Oh I bet I know what it was. Humans have mammary glands in all the same places dogs do. Every once in a while, when your hormones get out of whack, one of them will swell up like that, and disappear with your cycle. 95% of women get them in their armpit, but the other 5% show up in the other spots. I bet that’s all it was, and why it didn’t get diagnosed properly. It wouldn’t have shown up on any of those tests – you would’ve needed an MRI. And, now that you’re having a baby, I bet when you’re done, it’ll never happen again, because your baby will reset your hormones.”

$6000 and a year after my lump started, I walked into a doctor’s office that I only could’ve met if pregnant, and she tells me what my lump is – with 7 questions and no tests. And, it’s true, it has never returned. Like I said, a bizarre story of waiting, but so many interesting aspects, and so many good things came from it, of course, the most important, being my son. But, what a bizarre story?! Even as I’m writing it, it just blows my mind. This whole thing took place during a time when I was not close to God, but I did start going to church during this time. Starting opening the door to have God back in my life, but I think, that he was already there just waiting on the sidelines whether I realized it or not.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this day and all the days. Thank you for your miraculous blessings. Thank you for being behind the scenes and in front of the scenes, and the omnipresent God that you are. Thank you for all that you have done for us. Thank you for everything that you do for us on a daily basis. Thank you for being there in the wait, and in the success, and in the failure. Thank you for all that you have done for us and all that you will do for us. Thank you for your amazing grace and mercy as we wander through these lives of ours. That you watch over us and guide us, sometimes without us knowing, or always being in the fold. That you always have good plans for us, to prosper us and not to harm us. That you help us maneuver through these lives of ours in, sometimes, only a way that you could. That you watch over us so much and love us so much. That you are the Great, Great Father who lifts us in our troubles and helps us celebrate our success. Thank You for being the AMAZING GOD that you are, and we are so blessed to have you in our lives. Thank You! IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Intermission

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” Isaiah 30:18

Tick… tock… tick… tock… Waiting, waiting, waiting. Funny how you think that you wait well, until you have to. Then, I feel like we all turn into children, watching the clock, waiting for Christmas morning. Where our nerves are so on edge, and the minutes seem to take hours, and it seems like the waiting will never end. I’m going through a short season of waiting right now, as I’m sure I stated last week, and I decided this week, I was going to get a little help and perspective from some of my other bloggers out there. Ones who have waited. Sometimes for years, some for months, and some might be still waiting. It always helps to know you are not alone. That we all take turns waiting for something. So, this week, I’m shining the spotlight on some of the other people out there who have shared their stories of waiting. And I hope they encourage you, that it’s not over, it’s not the end, that His word never returns void, that He always fulfills His promises, and that we can wait, and hopefully continue to learn to wait well.

“Is this what life is like when God is quiet? Grey, foggy, silence . . .

I have several friends waiting on God right now. These friends are waiting on a forever home, a spouse, a baby, a prodigal child to return to God and to hear about a job. Their humanness wants the silence to end right now, showing them their happy ending in this season. Their desire for holiness tells them He is who He says He is as they ask for more patience.

It’s so hard to be in the waiting room as you long to hear from God. The feeling of frustration, anxiety and even fear can be overwhelming. Any answer is better than waiting.

I learned the difficulties of this season when my younger son, Wesley, was about ten weeks old. A group of us had gone to an Amy Grant concert so my sister graciously agreed to come over and watch the boys. There was a whole debacle with lost keys so we were rather late getting home. When I entered the house, Beth rushed over to tell me that Wes’s lips had turned blue when he was sleeping. She woke him up and he seemed fine but she thought I should know.

Silence in the waiting room, Nita Wilkinson, Read the rest of the story here: https://www.inthewhisper.org/post/silence-in-the-waiting-room?fbclid=IwAR3_gV1LxIlrh4n_IyOK7exmbojz8AAQhgbc3gO23DTQnmnR346XEERQUXI

Seasons of waiting are hard. About 10 years ago, we were selling our house to move about an hour away to the bigger city where my husband’s office was. I was also pregnant with our first baby, so we had a bit of a deadline.

First we had our house for sale by owner and sold it. Then the buyer backed out. We decided to list with a realtor. We told the house again. And again the buyer backed out.

We were beyond discouraged. I especially struggled with it because I have anxiety issues and the added pregnancy hormones didn’t help. We even ended up in small claims court a few months later with one of the buyers over earnest money. It was ridiculous.

Surviving a season of waiting, Stacy Shannon, Read the rest of the story here: http://familieswithgrace.com/2018/11/07/surviving-a-season-of-waiting-what-i-learned-in-the-nine-years-it-took-to-sell-my-house/?fbclid=IwAR3_gV1LxIlrh4n_IyOK7exmbojz8AAQhgbc3gO23DTQnmnR346XEERQUXI

Knowing there was something to be learned even in our struggles, we looked for God’s message. And we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

It’s nearly fall 2018, and in many ways, we are still waiting for God’s direction. While we’ve moved to a new season of ministry, there is still the element of waiting lingering and no clear direction on what we are waiting for.

Anticipating God’s Best While You Wait, Robin Alter Gray, Read the rest of the story here: https://inthegrayarea.com/anticipating-gods-best-while-you-wait/?fbclid=IwAR0IQ1vvuss1t4BGoxFK3wb_q2lyHzY9etqSjgt8EmK91O2vvCLOI_pxNzk

Are you waiting for a miracle and growing weary in the meantime? Have you given up hope that God even hears your prayers or cares to answer them? Let’s face it, waiting for a miracle is hard work.

As a child and then an adult, I desperately shouted out to God to heal my step-father. Here was a man who had it all, a lucrative profession, a family who loved him, and status in the community. He was fun, loving, treated me like his own, had a heart of gold, and was full of life before his addictions took over.

When You Are Tired of Waiting for a Miracle, Maree Dee, Read the rest of the story here: https://www.embracingtheunexpected.com/tired-waiting-for-a-miracle/?fbclid=IwAR0PEwIzO3qSewG5EHcyWeJ0KAZLY8OkScM5Alt0ByqaEtiwfL6cyl-b6AA