Monday, March 6, 2017

What does your life say?


People like testimonies. Some people love to tell their story to show how they've overcome, to show how they've grown, to show how awesome God is and to show how all things are possible. These testimonies can be faith based, financial, strength and even physically based like workouts or weight loss. Most all testimonies are inspirational that provoke a feeling of excitement and possibility. 

Most testimonies are based on large scale accomplishments, but what about your daily life? Everyday, every task, every emotion, and every moment has the ability to impact people. 

Maybe you don't want to admit it, but everyday people judge you and every day you judge people. Situations happen and you think I wouldn't have done that or I wouldn't have said that. Those same things are said about you. Your everyday actions have an influence on how non-believers percieve Christians. Your everyday actions can lead people or turn them away. 

When you say you're a Christian, but mope around without joy you tell the world Christianity is depressing. When you say all things are possible with God, but you question His plan you tell people that God's not in control and His ways stink. When you talk about having faith that can move mountains, but show fear you tell the world that faith isn't enough. When you talk about being Christ like, but can't control your temper or your gossip you tell the world Christians are hypocrites. 

Your actions need to align with what you say. Your thoughts need to be aligned with God's thoughts. Be careful that you aren't leading people astray. Be especially on guard about your own hypocrisy. 

Evaluate yourself, your goals, your heart, and your everyday interactions...what do they speak? Do they align with what you believe and say?

Don't lose your focus. Don't lose yourself. Don't let your daily testimonies discredit you or God. Mistakes happen, but they shouldn't be repetitive. Pray harder. Seek guidance. Ask for forgiveness. Admit your shortcomings.  Allow God to work in and through you in all areas of your life. Don't try to reign Supreme in certain areas of your own life. Surrender, trust and believe in the God who never fails! 


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

What defines you?


Fear is a word you hear so often. People are nervous about their future, their family, their friends, their finances, their jobs, their marriages, their kids. You name it someone is probably worried about it.

It’s hard not to be worried when you look at the world we live in. It doesn’t matter what political party you side with. It doesn’t matter what your personal views are. Honestly it just doesn’t matter because we live in a very crazy, messed up and divided world filled with lots of anger and hate.

It’s easy to be anxious about lots of things in life. It’s easy to second guess yourself. It’s easy to doubt your plans and at times it is even easy to doubt God’s plan. Things don’t always make sense. Situations arise and sometimes I find myself thinking….is this really your plan God? Is this supposed to be happening? How could this be a part of your plan?

Thankfully, we don’t have to understand everything. Sometimes we don’t even have to understand anything. We just have to trust in a God who is bigger than all circumstances. He has everything under control. He has a plan that surpasses all of our plans, goes beyond our understandings and His plans are always so much better than ours.

When worry sneaks into your life and fear starts to take control remember Philippians 4:4-9. Do not be anxious about anything. Be steadfast in prayer. Remember all the blessings that God has provided you with and thank Him for those. Only then will you find the peace that only God can provide.


In this life the storms will come and sometimes the darkness tries to creep in, but don’t let fear define you. Let your prayer life and faith be your defining points! Trust, obey, praise, expect and never forget that God is standing right beside you through it all. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

What's molding you?

Have you ever really studied a painting? Have you ever thought about the process of how the masterpiece painting was created? Did it come out exactly like the artist had planned?

Life is a process that we all go through. It molds you. Experiences and places shape you. Are you different now than you once were? Has life hardened you? Do you ever look back on the ways you used to be and see where you changed?

Just like in a painting life has a way of blurring lines together. Colors that were so vibrant and clear on their own become blended together. Sometimes that blending just happens on the edges, but sometimes the blending can go so much deeper. Things that once stood so prominent and clear become faded.

Think about your viewpoints. Think about your goals. Think about your lifestyle. Think about who you are as a person. What do they look like now? What did they look like in the past? What do you think they should actually look like?

As you get older and more mature your way of thinking changes. As you experience things your thoughts on that matter changes. You have deeper conversation with people and you give them the ability to influence you. As life happens you adapt as needed. It seems totally natural. It seems as though it would be harmless, but is it?

Take a look at Romans 12: 1-2…Don’t become so adjusted in your culture that you fit in without thinking.

Are you just adapting to your surroundings or are you blending into the culture around you? When people look at you can they tell you are different or does your life look exactly like everyone else’s? Have you maybe adjusted to this life too easily?

Maybe it’s time for you to give back your everyday life to God! Let Him work on you from the inside out. Commit more time to Him, to His word, and His people. Let Him carry you. Let Him fully direct your path. Let Him mold and shape you. Let Him set you apart. Let His word resonate in your heart!

Canvases that were once boring and white become completely unrecognizable. Which artist are you going to let create your masterpiece….the world or Your God?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Be the Game Changer

Be Kind. The smallest of gestures can make the greatest impact. Simple things you do have the ability to change atmospheres, to create new opportunities, and one by one can change the world. Little things that you think won’t make a difference can impact someone’s life in ways that you never imagined. They may be remembered weeks, days, months and years after they were done.

Sometimes you won’t hear the “thank you” that you think you deserve. Sometimes you won’t even get to see the response that you desire. Sometimes you may think that your effort and time was in vain, but I promise you it wasn’t. Kindness and love does not go unnoticed. Sometimes it just takes time to penetrate through the barriers that life has created.

Don’t give up. Don’t stop being light in the darkness. Don’t stop being the change that the world needs. Don’t stop because you don’t see what you expected to see. Masterpieces don’t happen over night. Beautiful paintings take time.

God has a plan for me, for you and for the crazy world that we live in. He sees your hurt. He sees your pain. He hears your cries. He hears your pleas and He knows your heart. Just because things aren’t going exactly as you planned or you don’t see what you thought you would see doesn’t mean that you should give up.

Maybe you need to push a little harder. Maybe you need to focus on your primary calling. Be the change the world needs. It’s time for you to shine brighter as you let God work through you. There are so many broken, hurting, confused, and lost people all around you. It’s time you take off your blinders. It’s time you start looking at people with God’s eyes. It’s time for you to get back to the basics. Stop focusing on the future. Focus on the now, the people God placed in your life, and in the location that God has placed you in.

You can’t expect the world to be a better place if you aren’t willing to pull up your sleeves and start working to make a difference. You can’t say one thing and do another thing because that is called hypocrisy. If you think the world needs more love then start sharing it. If you think the world needs more kindness be kind. Be the friend that you seek. Be the welcoming one. Be loving. Be Brave. Be strong. Be bold. Embrace others. Support people. Guide others and whenever you get the opportunity share the gospel because there is nothing that provides hope like Jesus does.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Priorities

Life is full of stuff, people to keep in contact with, tasks you feel you need to get done, hours spent at work, places you want to go, lazy days you feel you deserve, and sometimes a desire to do absolutely nothing. It can be hard to plan everything you can have going on. Sometimes your plate itself is overloaded and you are actually attempting to juggle multiple plates at once. How much of that stuff piled on your plate is necessary? How much stuff on that plate is just junk that fills your day or leaves you feeling empty? How much of that stuff on your plate do you place there just to feel valued or just so people may see you differently?

It’s a new year…a new start…maybe even a time for a new you. Evaluate your life and place priority numbers by all that stuff you have piled on your plate(s). Get rid of the excess, get rid of the junk and focus on what really matters.

Some of the things that you need to eliminate you might not actually see on your plate. Maybe some of the things you need to get rid of are part of the reason your plate is overloading. Maybe you need to work on being more focused. Maybe you need to kick that distraction right to the curb. Maybe you need to work on being more productive. Maybe you need to take that blah “winter blues” attitude and ship it right out the window as you soak up a little needed sunshine. Maybe you need to take that people pleaser, over the top, I have to be involved in everything attitude and send it to the moon.

Sometimes you have so many projects you wanted to get done. Sometimes you have so many things on your to-do list and you never get to them. Maybe you have legitimate reasons, but maybe you don’t. Maybe those things need to get done or maybe they don’t. You need to evaluate your life, your time, your desires, God’s plans, and your heart so everything can align how they are supposed to. Don’t spend your life being busy just for busy sake. How many times have you spent your day doing things, but only to realize at the end of the day you don’t really know what you did, but you know you were busy doing something?

Your life is made for so much more than eating, sleeping, working, repeating and eventually dying. You need to make each day count. I’m not just talking about living life more for you. Vacations are nice, exploring is nice, being active is great, spending time with your loved ones is great, but there’s still more to life than that. Work on creating a legacy. Work on being God’s hands and feet in this world. Work on spending more time with God so that you can hear Him when He calls you, when He directs you, or when you just need to sit in His presence and be renewed.

Your life has so much potential. You are given so many opportunities to do great things. You are called to do so much more. Don’t make excuses. Don’t waste the time that you have been given. Set your priorities right and everything will fall into place. God, spouse, family.


Make sure you fill your life with the big important rocks first. Let the less important things fill in the gaps like sand. It’s okay to say no sometimes. It’s okay to get distracted sometimes. It’s okay to be busy sometimes and it’s okay to be lazy sometimes. You just have to make sure you have the right balance over all and that you focus on the right priorities all the time.  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Boastful….I’m sure we’ve all felt it

January 13, 2017

Sometimes when I’m at work I get a little boastful. It’s not easy going from hospital to hospital, continually adapting and proving yourself to other people. Maybe I get a little boastful when I talk about how awesome and smart my husband is. Sometimes I get a little prideful when I think of my family and what they have over come. Not to mention how quickly my pride sets in when I have proven someone wrong, when someone has finally listened and realized I was right all along.
                                                    
Pride can be such a tricky thing. People say you have to exude confidence. They say you need to let people know how great you are. They say you must prove yourself. But do we really? Is that really what we should be like? I think we need to work on being humble. A prideful heart can lead to large egos. Large egos tend to push people out of the way. It makes you forget what you were and where you came from. When your heart is full of pride does it even have room for God?

Maybe you forget that you are nothing without God. Maybe you forget that God provided the way for you. God paved the way for you. In fact, God did it all and you were just along for the ride. You might say, but I did ___, but I got that promotion, but I, but I, but I! You didn’t do anything. Let it sink in. You didn’t do anything. Everything you are and everything you will be is because of God. All good and perfect things come from the Lord.

Just take a quick peak at 2:Timothy 3. Those first few verses really paint things pretty clearly so much so that it says have nothing to do with such people. I think most people would say that a lot from those verses describes our culture pretty well. How much of that culture has crept into your life? How many words on that list do you have a tendency to do or be? Boastful…Proud…lovers of money…lovers of themselves…unforgiving…without self control…conceited. So many things that can slip into your life so easily, but can become so devastating.  So many things that can change your heart and your mind. You have to stay alert. You have to stay on guard. Don’t let the ways of this world penetrate who you are called to be in life and in Christ.

If you really feel the need to boast in anything maybe you should boast in God. In what He has done for you, in all the ways He has carried you. You need to humble yourself before the Lord. Let His ways lead you, let His words penetrate your heart, let everything that you do be done for the Lord, let God be the commander of your life. Don’t try to be your own guide and rely on God only in the hard times. He wants all of you, all the time.

Don’t trick yourself into thinking that you can take on your situation. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you can handle the world. You can’t. You were never created to do life alone. You were created in God’s image. He wants to be your companion. He wants to walk alongside you in life, no matter how crazy it gets. He wants to do great things in and through you, but He can’t if your pride gets in the way. He can’t if you don’t give Him any room to work.


Let go of your selfish ways. Let go of your pride. Let go of your control. Only one person can truly be the captain of the ship. Stop trying to take over the wheel. Stop trying to take credit for the work God has done in your life. Start thanking Him for what He has done. Start giving Him the praise that He deserves. Start letting Him work on your heart from the inside out. Let him reign control in your life and stop thinking that you have it all under control. You don’t…You never did. Sometimes you have a little trouble seeing that He was and will always be in control. Accept it, embrace it and be thankful for what He has planned, but don’t get in His way! 

Temper...Do you have one?

January 12, 2017

Do you ever stand your ground? Do you ever push back when someone is telling you something is fine when you know it’s not? Do you ever lose your temper because you’ve been told one thing only to find out what you were told was wrong? Do you ever lose your temper because you think you’ve been taken advantage off?

Sometimes in life it’s important to not be taken advantage of. Sometimes you have to stand your ground to teach others the right way to do things. Sometimes you have to be firm to not get kicked around like a soccer ball. However, if truth be told sometimes you just lose your temper and you try to find excuses for why you did. You try to justify your actions. You try making your actions seem acceptable, but deep down your heart knows.

In life there are definitely times to be strong, maybe even have a little attitude to get your point across, but it has to be a balance. It is not acceptable to go around acting like an attack dog. It is not acceptable to take your anger or frustration out on others. It is not acceptable to make people cry or feel inferior. Sometimes as hard as it is you have to bite your tongue and walk away even when you know you aren’t in the wrong.

Proverbs 14 shows a great contrast between the wise and the foolish on many things, but it mentions temper twice. In verse 29 it talks about patience providing great understanding, but quick tempered showing folly (lack of good sense). In verse 17 it says a quick tempered person does foolish things. How many times have you reacted in haste only to feel foolish later? How many times have you let the temper get the best of you that you feel remorseful later? How many times do you find yourself apologizing to someone because of the way you reacted? Sometimes it’s not even the words you say that are the actual problem, but how you say them.

Be cautious of your temperament. Be careful in your responses. Understand that your rash responses can have a negative impact on others and yourself. As Proverbs 15:18 says “a hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.” Remember that your reaction can help or hinder situations.

Your temper needs to be kept in check. You need to control your anger. You may be calm majority of the time, but do you have a little junk yard dog hidden inside of you? Do you have a tendency to lash out? Do you know what you are capable of with the words you speak and the tone that you speak them? I’m not saying you have to be kicked around, but you do need to be cautious. You do need to learn to control your tongue and your temper.


People remember how you make them feel. What kind of witness are you when you lash out? How can people come to you with their concerns if they are afraid of you? How can people feel love and supported if you tear them down? There is a balance you just have to find it and use it accordingly! 

Snowman Popcorn Gift



I found the idea for this of course on Pinterest, which led me to I heart naptime Blog. I thought it would be a perfect companion for a DVD gift set. It would also work nicely as a way to spread holiday cheer without much cost.

When I was reading through the comments on the I heart naptime blog there were quite a few people asking for dimensions. I never saw anything posted so I cannot say what dimensions were used in the original post, but I can tell you how I attempted to re-create it myself.

I used whatever items I found in my craft pile....
-  For the sleeve itself I cut regular computer paper down to 6 x 11.5 inches and just folded it around
   the popcorn. I taped my starting edge to the popcorn so it wouldn't fall out of the sleeve. The
   only problem with that is the snowman pretty much gets destroyed getting the popcorn out.
-  The main portion of the hat is a 3.5inch square from black cardstock. I used the george cartridge on
      my Cricut.
-  The hat brim is 6 x1 inches. I have the original cricut with the 6 in mat. I just cut the cardstock that       I had left on my cricut mat (from the hats) in half.
-  I used small black rhinestones for the eyes.
-  For the nose I started with a 2in diamond I cut using the george cricut cartridge. Then I cut the
     diamond in half. My husband said it was too symmetrical so I just cut a little more off.
- I drew the mouth on with a sharpie.
- I used 2 of the smallest buttons I had on the bottom and random buttons on the hat
- Then use any ribbon of your choice for the scarf.
- I did not attempt the rosy cheeks

I really love the original, but think mine came out okay too.




Gifts..what's your reaction?

January 11, 2017

Have you ever given someone a gift and didn’t quite get the reaction you expected. Maybe you gave someone a gift that you weren’t sure they would like and they in turn absolutely loved it. What a wonderful and surprising feeling that is. Then again have you ever given someone a present expecting that they would like it, but in turn they didn’t give you the reaction that you expected? Sometimes that happens and it stings a little bit. There is a level of disappointment for everyone that you weren’t quite expecting.

How many times do I do that to God? How many times am I ungrateful for the things He has provided both big and small? How many times do I take a gift from God for granted? How many times do I look at something God has given me and not seen the value? Honestly, how many times have I must have disappointed God with my reactions to His presents.

Many times I have heard people talk about the gift of salvation that God provides to everyone, but so often it sits on the shelf up-opened. That is an atrocity for sure, but I’m not the perfect gift acceptor either. Maybe you’ve accepted that gift of salvation, but that doesn’t mean that’s the only gift worth accepting. God overwhelms us daily with gifts, but how do we respond?

Maybe we all need to work a little bit on gratitude. Maybe we all need to open our eyes a little more so we can see the real gifts and blessings that God has provided to us. Think about yourself and what God has revealed to you. Think about how God teaches you things. Sometimes life experiences both happy and hurtful can be just what you need to see things clearly and to grow. Sometimes it’s only in those experiences that God can reach you. Sometimes it’s the only way that you can see things and sometimes you don’t even realize that it was God trying to show you.


Be grateful. Be thankful. Realize that regardless of where you are in life God isn’t through with you yet. Remember that He is continually working on you.  Don’t forget to look for the silver linings in life and don’t take your blessings from God granted. He’s the best gift giver in the world so be sure He sees the delightful, grateful reaction that He deserves. He doesn’t give bad gifts we just sometimes have the wrong eyes to the see the perfection of the gift He gave. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Be present.

January 10, 2017

It's interesting how you don't realize how much you talk to someone until you can't talk to them. It's funny how you don't always miss people or things until they are gone. It's sad that so often we just take people, time, things, and experiences for granted until they are gone.

You hadn't worn a shirt in years, but once you got rid of it you found yourself wanting to wear it. You never took the time to see a certain family member or friend, but once the opportunity to see them was gone you became devastated. Maybe you took time for granted and you got a bad medical diagnosis or in general realized just how incredibly fast time goes by. You took the opportunity to go to the beach, climb a mountain, enjoy a scenic drive, watch the birds, or____ for granted thinking you could always do that but for whatever reason that opportunity was gone.

Unfortunately that seems to be how our brains work or at the very least how our society seems to work. We may say we are so blessed, we love our life, our opportunities, our families and friends, but do we? We may tell people every day that we love them, or we miss them, or that we would help them if they need anything, but do we really mean it?

How much of our lives are filled with empty words or false promises. I love my family and close friends but would I really do anything for them if they asked or would I have an excuse of why I couldn't do what they asked? Maybe my heart is in the right place, but my head isn't. Maybe my motives are right, but life doesn't seem to allow it. How often do we make an offer and hope that the other person doesn't accept it?

You see we don't always have an attitude or heart problem. Sometimes we have the best of intentions. Sometimes we really mean what we say, but often times we don't. Often times we make excuse after excuse. Often times we purposefully make our life so busy so we don't have the time to do some things we know we should.

It doesn't just happen with our families, friends or life circumstances, but it happens to us personally. We say we need to do_____ for ourselves, but we don't. We know we need to make time to better ourselves, but we don't. We say we'll read our Bibles, but we don't. We say we'll work on a stronger prayer life, but we don't. We say we'll give God 5 minutes in the morning or at night, but we don't.

We say a lot of things to ourselves, our loved ones and God, but we don't follow through. We don't make the changes we promised. We don't make the time. We just mess up a lot. Maybe we can find something or someone we can blame, but at some point we have to realize we are the ones that are really at fault. It's not anyone else's fault but mine.

The change has to start with you. Those false promises don't just impact the people you gave them too, but yourself. It doesn't just put a mark on your character, but on your heart. It slowly becomes easier to continue with the lies or let downs whether they are intentional or unintentional. The you that you were or intended to be slowly fades away.

You need to focus on your current opportunities. Focus on the people in your life now. Focus on your relationships now. Don't wait for an empty bed or empty home to realize what you should have been doing. Don't be so busy now that you will be full of regret later. Don't continue to take things for granted.

Don't miss opportunities because you think you'll have another chance. Life is fleeting. Change happens. People die. Time ticks right on by. Don't waste your life. Don't give in to the easy path. Make the effort. Climb longer, fight less, work harder, love now, embrace what your are given because you never know when it will be taken away. Live like you don't know what tomorrow will bring because we truly don't know what it will be.

Be grateful. Show love. Be patient. Show grace. Be present. Show compassion. Be the person you would be proud of. Show up when you say you will. Be there while you know you can. Embrace the present, let go of the past, look forward to the future, but don't depend on it. You just don't know what it will hold for you.

Make the best of today. Make the best of you. Make the best of your life. Make the best of what you are given and realize what adjustments you need to make for today. You aren't the only one depending on it or you. Be what God created and who He created you for.

Monday, January 9, 2017

How do people see you?

January 9, 2017

You think you are perfect, but you aren’t. You think that people don’t deserve forgiveness, but somehow you do. You think that people have messed up so bad and aren’t worthy of you or your time. But you know what you mess up a lot. You do things all the time that aren’t right. You ask for forgiveness from God a lot or at least you should.

What if He had that attitude with you? What if He said you don’t deserve His grace, forgiveness, mercy or love? He’d be right we (I) don’t, but He gives it to us anyway. When we mess up He doesn’t tell us we are undeserving or tell us that He doesn’t love us anymore. He could, but He doesn’t. He tells us it’s okay, you’re my Child and I love you. He helps us back on our feet when we fall. He carries us when we can’t walk anymore. He dusts us off. He builds us up and when we were drowning He saved us even though He didn’t have to.

That’s what we should do. That’s how we should be. That’s how we need to respond. We need to be Christ like. We need to be different and set apart. We don’t need to blend into our society. We need people to see what it means to be a real Christian. We as people have really messed up. We have become to engrained in society. We’ve become too dim of lights. No one wants to be like you if you seem the same as everyone else. No one wants to be a Christian if we seem like we know it all. Many people don’t see the point in being a Christian because they only see a group of people going around judging others or being hypocritical. Can you blame them? We need to re-define ourselves. We need to let people understand that we aren’t perfect, we mess up, and without God we would be lost and desperate.

Yes people need to change and need God, but yelling at them from the street corner won’t do it. Pointing out their sins won’t do it. We have to build relationships. We have to love people and hate their sin. We have to let them know that we are ALL sinners. They need to understand that we ALL need God’s grace, mercy and love all the time. It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been a Christian we still don’t have it all together and we are still works in progress.  


Only one man came to this earth that was perfect and His name was Jesus. He loved people. He let people know when they were doing things wrong, but He did it in the right manner. So in this crazy, dark world just be the Light. Follow Jesus’ example. That’s all we need and that’s all the world really needs….a whole lot more Jesus, which can change a whole lot of hearts, minds, families, communities, countries and the world. We’ve always known He’s the answer. We understand that is why He came so long ago and that’s why He died…to save His people and the world. Most people will say they love Jesus, but they hate His church. That needs to change, but it will only change if we change the way people see us, the true followers of Christ. 

Be the life vest!

January 8, 2017

Sometimes in life people have a tendency to be judgmental. Sometimes we have a tendency to be arrogant. We sometimes have a tendency to think that no one else is able to do something as well as we can. Sometimes this happens in the home between husbands and wives. Sometimes it happens when you think about children and how they are being raised. Sometimes it happens in the workplace where you feel like you are the only one that does things correctly, by the book, the safest way, the most efficient way, the best way, and the only way. Sometimes it even happens when you think you could do someone else’s job better than them.

I know we’ve all thought it especially me. If I’m being honest I didn’t just think about it last week, but I posted about it on Facebook. You know what thought I’m talking about…the how in the world can people who perform so subpar keep their job. At face value it maybe doesn’t seem that bad. Someone has a list of things you know they are supposed to do and they don’t do them. Someone in customer service is supposed to helpful, friendly, and have the attitude that the customer is always right, but they seem to have everything else except those qualities. Maybe it’s your server who just can’t seem to get your order correct or just can’t seem to keep up with all the tables they are given. Maybe it’s your spouse who you think isn’t doing enough around the house, with the kids, or their ability to clean. Maybe you subconsciously feel that you aren’t perfect in your job and that since other people judge you then you have the right to judge others.

It is true people don’t always do what they are supposed to do or when they are supposed to do it. People don’t always do things the best, most efficient, research proven, quality management proven way. People don’t all perform the same way. People have different ideas on how to raise children, clean dishes, wash laundry, answer the phone, send emails…whatever task you can think of no two people will do it exactly the same. Maybe sometimes they don’t know the best way or maybe the best way seems to confusing. Maybe your way of doing things just doesn’t make sense in their mind and so they think your way is wrong.

Regardless of the situation we don’t have the right to judge other people. We don’t have right to belittle someone. We don’t have the right to make someone feel inferior. I guess technically if you are in an authority position then maybe you do, but that doesn’t mean you should.

In this world life is hard. Jobs are hard. Families can be difficult. Home lives can be messy and painful. In this life it’s easy to be misunderstood. It’s easy for people to pass judgment especially if it’s someone that you don’t know, won’t see face to face or if you think they are inferior to you. It’s easy to think you know everything that you’re better than everyone else. It’s easy to make excuses for yourself, but call out anyone else’s excuses as garbage.

So people may be wrong. They may be mean. They may be hurtful, but that doesn’t mean you have to be too. Sometimes people are just doing the best that they can in the situation that they are facing. You don’t know their story. You don’t know all the stuff that they have piled on their plate. You don’t know what they are going through at home. You don’t know what they are going through at work. You really don’t know as much as you think you do at all.

So instead of passing judgment, harsh words, negative attitudes, or ultimatums try to add a little brightness to their day. Instead of being rude and hateful for what they are doing wrong try to show a little gratitude for what they are doing right. Instead of telling them that they are inferior and aren’t doing it right try to see their side of the story and see why they are doing it the way they are doing it.

If someone seems to be performing in a subpar way don’t immediately think that they just must be bad at their job. They could be having a bad day. They could be getting yelled at by other people. Their job could be on the line.  They could have outside stressors that you don’t know about and that you can’t see. Of course, you aren’t supposed to bring your baggage to work or your work baggage home, but that’s not always possible. Sometimes in life it’s very difficult to separate work and home. Sometimes life can have so much going on, situations that are so demanding or depressing that you just can’t help, but think of them. Sometimes people are at work not because they want to be, but because they have to be and they are doing the best they can.

Sometimes family members are in the hospital and you have to be at work because you can’t afford not to be. Sometimes kids are sick at home, but that parent can’t afford to have the day off or maybe they will lose their job if they called in. Sometimes as hard as you try to hide the pain, the tears, the exhaustion, the despair, and the negative outlook on life you just can’t do it. Sometimes it’s all you can do to get away from the table of co-workers, get out of someone’s office, to step out the patient’s room or make it to the bathroom before tears start rolling down your face or the anger just completely bubbles up inside of you.

Situations happen. Life happens and bad things happen to good people. Sometimes good people seem like bad people and bad people seem like even worse people. Sometimes people know they are failing. Sometimes people know they are about to drown and they don’t need you to tell them that, but to throw them a life preserver. Sometimes people are truly drowning and yes it might be important to get help, but you also have to jump in to save them. Are you saving people or are pushing their head back under water when they are coming up gasping for air?

Be the life vest. Be the person that helps someone up on their feet when they have fallen. Be the person that shows a little mercy, a little grace or a little compassion to someone even if they don’t deserve it. Be the person that you would want someone to be towards you if you were desperate, if you were drowning, if you were beaten up by life. Most people don’t need anymore suck it up buttercup people in their lives. Most people need a little light, a little help, a little love, a little support, and a whole lot of forgiveness in this life.


Can you be that person? Can you be the person that blesses someone even if that person just spit in your face. It’s not an easy task and it’s not something that anyone really wants to do, but it’s what we were called to do. It’s what Christians are supposed to be. We can’t lead someone to Christ with the attitudes of the world. You lead someone to Christ, by being someone that the world doesn’t understand. You love people to life and to Christ. Don’t believe me? Look at Jesus, look at His life. He didn’t condemn the people who wronged Him. He said forgive them Father for they know not what they do. 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Silence....

January 7th, 2017

It’s interesting how different words can mean something to different people. Take the word silence for instance. For some people silence is a comforting feeling. It means an absence of noise, a break from the chaos, a time of inner reflection, a time of peace, or a time of hearing absolutely nothing. Some people look forward to a time of absolute silence. They enjoy meals with little speaking. They don’t feel the need to speak just to be heard, but only when they have things worth saying. They just like to be quiet, to sit in silence, and they are perfectly content with that.

Then of course there are other people (like myself) who panic a little on the inside when they hear silence. In my mind silence doesn’t bring a feeling of comfort; but of fear, despair, pain, and maybe even anger. In a house with 3 girls, a couple of dogs, 2 fairly outspoken parents, and friends there was no time for real silence.  In my house growing up silence meant two things…you were doing something you weren’t supposed to be doing and you didn’t want to get caught or someone was upset with you.

I don’t think that either of those views is necessarily wrong. I do think that the way you perceive silence has a lot to do with what you learned, what you observed, how it was defined to you and how it has been portrayed in your life. My husband can sit for hours quiet in his thoughts. Sometimes he likes to have just a little background noise to drown out the world around him so he can focus. I on the other hand cannot sit quiet with my own thoughts. I can’t sit still with my mouth shut for more than a few minutes. I just have to break the silence. I just have to say something, sing something, or make the radio play something.

Sitting there with your own thoughts can be painful. It can be sobering. It can be educational. It can even by hysterical. Imagine just sitting comfortably without speaking or thinking of your own thoughts for just a few minutes. Imagine what you could hear in just those few minutes. Imagine what God could speak to you if you would just give Him the opportunity.

Our culture is based on being so busy, so involved and at times completely over stimulated. Taking a few minutes each day to spend just listening to God, just listening for that still calm voice could be life changing. It could be enough to change situations, to change homes, to change families, to change most anything.

Unfortunately learning to embrace silence isn’t the only thing that would be required for such a task. We’d also have to work on giving up our time too. Most people can’t even “find” the extra time to go to read God’s word, to spend time worshipping him, or even to go to His house. Can God really expect so much from us? He gave His life for me, so I’m sure that anytime that I can give back could never repay that debt. If He asks you to do something He has a reason for that. He has a plan for that.

Maybe He wants you to have a time to be renewed, refreshed, re-filled. Maybe He just wants you to take afew minutes each day out of your busy schedule to remind Him and yourself that you know He is important. Maybe He just needs to tell you something and you can’t hear it through all the noise in your life.

In Luke 10:38-42 Jesus is visiting with Mary and Martha in their home. Martha was so busy preparing things for Jesus that she missed out on an opportunity to fellowship with Jesus. She was so distracted by what she thought she just had to do that she missed the opportunity to talk with Jesus face to face. Her sister Mary, who is often seen as lazy, had it right. Mary stopped everything to be with Jesus. She realized that He was the most important thing and needed to be the priority on her to do list. Don’t be so busy with your life that you can’t see God when He is right in front of your face. Don’t get so busy doing things that you think need to be done that you don’t have time for God. Don’t get distracted by yourself and your personal preferences that you can’t hear from God.

Embrace the silence. Embrace a change of pace. Embrace an ever loving God who wants to have a relationship with you. He doesn’t want a one sided relationship where you do all the talking. He wants to be able to communicate with you. Will you give Him that opportunity? Will you give Him just a little bit of your time? Will you stop getting so distracted that you continue to lose sight of what’s really important? Can you let go of your own thoughts, concerns and feelings so you can spend a little more time with your Heavenly Father? At this point if He yelled at the top of His lungs would you even be able to hear Him? Would you even care that He tried to get your attention?

Focus on God. Focus on His calling for your life. Maybe He wants to speak to you in the silence. Maybe He just wants you to give Him the time of day. Whatever you do, however you do it, just make sure that you do it! Make sure that you make God the center of your life. Make sure that He knows how much you love Him, how thankful you are, and that nothing in this life is worth doing without Him.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Unanswered Prayers

Have you ever thought about God and what it would be like to have all the world crying out to you, reaching out to you, counting on you and thinking that you just have to fix everything? I’m pretty sure no one would want that job. Obviously no one else is capable of doing that job. Some people may think they could do better, but I know that is not true.

God has things all under control. He really does hear our cries. He listens to every pray we say to Him. He hears every song that we sing to Him. He knows everything that we need. Think of how Superman can hear Lois Lane when she is in danger. Now think how crazy it would be to hear every person in the world if you were Superman and everyone else was Lois Lane.

Can you even imagine what that would be like. Can you even imagine what all that noise would sound like? Now think about how God doesn’t just hear it all as noise, but He hears each voice individually. He hears each cry to Him from each person and it’s not just noise, but their heart, their need, their desires, their cry out from the deepest, darkest places of their heart. That sounds crazy, but it sounds so amazing as well. Think about that for just one more minute. God hears every voice. He hears every person. He hears everything from everyone at all times, but he can hear my individual voice too. He can hear my heart and your heart at the same time. That’s a level of multi-tasking that I would never in my wildest dreams want to deal with.

Some people may say that because He has so many people talking to Him at once that maybe He just misses a prayer here or there. I don’t know about that. I believe He hears every prayer I make. I think he sees every tear I cry. I know that He holds me in the palm of His hand along with every other person.

Some may say, but what about my prayer that God didn’t answer? What about my desire that God didn’t give me? What about___? Yeah what about it. God doesn’t answer every prayer, every time. He didn’t say that He would. He does hear them, He does listen, and He does care about each and every one of us. Just because God doesn’t answer your prayer doesn’t mean He doesn’t love you. It doesn’t mean that He doesn’t hear you. It doesn’t mean that He doesn’t want to heal you or make you whole again. It just means that for whatever reason your answered prayer isn’t a part of His plan at that time. It’s not part of the big picture for life and for the world.

Maybe you suffer in life for a reason you don’t understand. Maybe you cry yourself to sleep at night because God isn’t healing you like you thought He would. Maybe at the end of the day you just want God to fix something in your life. Maybe you want God to save your best friend, or your only family member that you can think truly needs His saving grace.

Maybe you think God can and should do just this one thing for you because He is an all loving God. He absolutely is an amazing God, that loves His people, that loves everything He created, but he isn’t a puppet on a string. He doesn’t just do what you say you want. He isn’t a genie that grants 3 wishes like in the cartoon. He isn’t your parents that sometimes will let you do things that they know you shouldn’t not because they are bad parents, but because they are sick of hearing you whine.

God isn’t like that. He isn’t going to give in just because you cry out to Him all day everyday. He will act when the timing is right, when you need something and when your plan actually lines up with His plan. Not everyone gets the miraculous healing, not everyone gets a home restored, not everyone in life gets what they think they need. It may not seem fair, life may not seem fair, at times you may think God isn’t being fair, but He is.

He sees the big picture. He sees your strong faith in the most desperate situations, even if those situations end in a way that you didn’t pray for. Sometimes it is those situations that can be used to help others. God can see how your strong faith can be a teaching point. How that faith can be used to bring someone to a saving grace and faith in Jesus. He knows that your broken home, your crying heart, your incredibly tough break in life hurts like no other, but He also knows that your situation can help someone else, your story can change someone else’s heart... can make someone come to the light. It might not be your plan, but sometimes His plan doesn’t line up with ours.

Sometimes His plan is not what you think is perfect, but it really is. This life that we live in can be a really tough, unfair, unjust world that has more hate, disrespect, messy situations, and so much darkness you think you need a brighter flashlight. The problem isn’t God. The problem isn’t His plan. The problem is you, your friends, your country, your life, your biases, your made up solutions, your I can fix anything that life throws my way attitude. That’s not what God needs.

God needs you to stop trying to fix things that are broken especially when you don’t even know anything about it. Yet, you think you can tell Him how He is supposed to fix it. That is absolutely crazy. Tell your doctor next time that He does not need to perform some procedure on you because you can fix your heart yourself, that you know how to perform the surgery yourself because you read about it online, that you don’t need to take those pills he gave you because you found some crazy concoction on the internet that will cure it all. I’m sure that doctor would laugh in your face. He would tell you that he will see you back in his office when your plan failed. That’s kind of how you sound to God when you cry out saying His plan stinks.

When you tell Him it’s okay God I got this. He just laughs a little and I’m sure sighs because you are a complete mess. He sees that you aren’t built on the right foundation for yourself and your family.  He knows that you need to stop with your nonsense and focus on what you really need in your life, but unfortunately you have to see the error of your ways. You have to re-focus your mind on the situations that need shaping, molding, changing and healing. Those are the things you need to work on fixing. You need to work on your own heart to know that God reigns in control.

You aren’t performing the surgery, but you need to do what the master physician says to do. You need to work on hearing God’s full word and not just the parts that you want to hear or the parts that make you feel all warm and tingly. You need to start working on fixing the relationships that you messed up yourself. You need to ask for forgiveness when you have messed up. Those are things you can do.

Leave everything else to God especially the big stuff. Let God control the things that you have absolutely no business controlling. Let God reign in your life. You just need to focus on fixing your foundation that life has cracked along the way. You just need to focus on God and His plan for you. Be so busy with what God has called you to do that you don’t even have time to think about the things that you think you are missing in this life. Start spending time in God’s word, in God’s house, praise Him in the good times, in the bad times, in the sad times and in the I can’t believe God really just did that for me times. He’s worthy of all praise. He’s worthy in all situations. He’s worthy in your times of strength, sadness, gladness, madness, and even in those times where you just aren’t even sure what you are supposed to be thinking or doing.

He’s the ever present, ever helping, ever loving, ever providing father. You don’t have to have things all figured out because He does. You don’t need to work on fixing everything in your life or your world. You just need to work on doing your part, securing yourself to the foundation that cannot be moved. Make your foundation as strong as possible. The storms of life are never going to go away. Your situations aren’t always going to be perfect. Life won’t be perfect either, but God is.


His foundation is the most solid foundation that can build something on. Stop building your house and your life on grass, on sand, or little rocks that will shift in a storm. Build your foundation on God, His word, and when the storm does come (as you know it will) you won’t be shaken. You won’t be moved. You will stand tall with God right beside you as you face life together no matter how crazy it gets you will stand firm if you stand with God. 

Foundation...How stable is yours?

January 5, 2017

Everything in your life has foundations…your home, your work, your school, your church, and even your life. Maybe they are very sturdy and built on concrete. In some places they can be built on sand, which can be dangerous as sand has a tendency to shift. As Christians we are called to have our foundation built on the rock of Jesus. You know how that old song goes…My rock of foundation it cannot be moved. My rock of foundation that you read about in Psalm 62:6 the one that says I will not be shaken or I  cannot be moved a dozen or more times.

But really what is your foundation set on. Have you really created a strong foundation? Is your foundation really set on biblical based views, morals, goals, and mindsets? Is God’s word so hidden in your heart that when hard times come (and they will) that you can cling tight to His word? That in the midst of your despair, in the eye of the storm, in the darkest corner of your life you can lean in, press in, move on and without a doubt maintain a sense of comfort and a peace in your situation? Without question you believe that no matter what goes on in your life that God reigns supreme that God has things under control, and that God is standing right next to you in your mess, in your problem or in your dire need.

It’s pretty easy to say yup I’m standing on the rock of Jesus, I have faith that can move mountains especially when it only has to be as small as a mustard seed. That’s a pretty small amount of faith if you think about it, but have you ever even looked at a mustard seed before? Have you ever seen one, or are you just assuming that it is a pretty small seed and that you don’t always need so much faith to get those mountains to move in your life?

Maybe you need to know what you are talking about before you start spewing thoughts or saying things that you think God has said in His scriptures. You need to know what those scriptures say. You need to read them daily. You need to study them. Maybe you even need to dissect them so you can really know what they mean. Don’t just pick one line of a verse and cling to it, say “that’s my verse, that’s my motto for the year,” or “that’s my favorite one from the Bible.” There are a whole lot of verses in that book. Picking one out of context is not beneficial. Others might say those are just stories about people long ago and they don’t apply to you. That’s not true either. God’s word is for every person, for each day, and it is true.

His word is life changing and the Bible can speak to you. The Bible can give you everything you need to know if you would actually just read it. However, you can’t pick and choose a few lines, a few verses, or a few partial stories and automatically say that’s a word for you, for your situation or for your life. You can’t pick a few things from the Bible, a few things that your best friend says, a few things that your pastor said, a few things that your neighbor says, and a few things that your heart says and say that you have a firm foundation that cannot be moved.

See there is a problem with that line of thought. Some people don’t teach from the Bible. Some people are telling you things that they have heard from a generation before. That sounds okay until you think about how stories change as they are told from one person to the next person. How words are changed, characters are embellished, story lines change, and over time the whole story you hear isn’t even the story that actually happened.

People aren’t bad for that. People don’t try to lead others a stray just because they want to. Most people aren’t out on a path to make everyone else fail, but there are a few of those evil spirited people in your world. Honestly though most people want the best for others. Most people want to see others succeed and to prosper. The problem is that not even the people who you think have it all together, the people you have set on earthly thrones, the people that you lean on and think they know everything don’t know it all. They may know a lot, but they don’t know everything, they can’t know everything. They can try as hard as they really want to, but the reality is they absolutely cannot know everything. Only God can know it all, see it all, control it all, and help you believe what you need to believe.

The problem with your picking key parts from key scriptures is that you are forming God’s word into what you want to hear. You are changing things and adapting them to your specific need or circumstance. You don’t see the whole picture and honestly you don’t want to see the whole picture. You just want to see what you want to see when you would like to see that. That might not be bad in most things, but when that storm rolls in off the ocean, when that snow comes pouring out of the mountains with unforeseen situations, when the rug you are standing on is ripped out from under your feet so fast that you fall flat on your face you need something to catch you. You need something that will help you to be able to get back up on your feet even if you feel like your legs are broken. You need a foundation so deeply rooted in ALL of God’s words not just little bitty pieces that you selected for yourself.

Sometimes you really do think you know it all and it’s in your most difficult situation that you learn, you grow and you adapt. Maybe God doesn’t want you to stumble so much and keep falling on your face in front of the crowd. He doesn’t want you to keep hurting yourself or others. He wants you to know Him, to know His heart, to read His word and to build yourself a true foundation that absolutely will not be moved…a foundation that doesn’t even rock when the earthquakes from life happen. He wants you to be so rooted in Him that when the hurricane comes it does not knock you over. When life gets so hard that you think you will surely fall, that you think there is no way out of this, that you think nothing will ever be this bad again, God wants you to stand firm as a statue. He wants you to stand and not be moved. He wants you to move those mountains that He allows you to move with your very little seed of faith even if you think you have the most faith you’ve ever seen.

He wants all of that for you and more, but He wants you to have your home, your heart and your family to be truly built on a foundation where He is in control. You need that kind of foundation, that kind of peace, that kind of trust and that kind of hope, but you have to work for it. You have to build some of it yourself. You have to know that He could make it unshakeable on His own, but that’s not what is going to happen. You have to change your ways, change your ideas and change your heart. You really need to dig into His word every single day with new eyes to see what is really in that book that people say is so so good.

You have to grow in ways you never thought were possible. You have to keep faith even in the storm. You need to move with God and not against God. You can’t fight Him or His plans and think that your thoughts align with God. You have to stop fooling yourself. You have to stop thinking one thing with your head, but knowing in your heart that you are wrong for your thinking. You know what you should be doing, but you just don’t necessarily want to do that. You’d rather sit, cry and moan that your life isn’t what you wanted. That your situation is unfair and that sometimes God’s plans just plain stink, but you are a fool.

You are an absolute fool if you can’t trust God. You have no problem trusting with the small stuff, trusting with the little things that you think you want. Why do you have such a problem letting go of your life? Why do you struggle letting go of your future? Why do you struggle with surrendering everything to a God that you know has everything in the palm of His hand? Is it possible that your foundation isn’t quite as strong as you thought it was? Is it possible that your faith that built your foundation might have a very small crack in it that needs repaired? Is it possible that you say one thing with your mouth, but your heart and head don’t necessarily agree with what you think you believe?

It really is possible that you struggle so much in your crazy life, that you cry over things you know aren’t right, that you want to give up some things and not others because you don’t really want to surrender everything. You say that you do, that God reigns in control of your life, but does He really truly reign over everything or are you just sharing a few parts with Him and trying to fool yourselves and others when you say that He has your whole life for the rest of your life.

You can try to continue on with your selfish, foolish ways, thinking you are safe, that you hit a home run in your life and God just sat on the sidelines watching. You can certainly think you did everything in your life and you didn’t need help from a single person. Try that out and see how it works for you. See how lying to yourself really works. It won’t take you that long to realize that you are a selfish, prideful person that really truly needs the grace and protection from God.

Maybe you think you aren’t that bad. Maybe you think I need God, I rely on God every day to get me through my life. That sounds great, but do you just rely on Him because your life is hard because your life is spinning out of control because of all the mistakes you keep making. Your life is a huge pile of mess because you keep saying one thing and doing another. Maybe you should submit everything to God and quit keeping a little corner of your heart for yourself and your selfish needs. Maybe you need to stop saying God you can reign in this situation, but I got this one over here myself. Maybe you need to focus on who has that attitude problem, who has the heart problem and go the one that can fix it all, make all things new, and create in you a whole heart.

He can mend any heart that is given to Him if His will is to do that. He can take any situation and turn it around if it works for His good and not yours. Of course God loves you, He wants the best for you, but He really wants the best for the whole world and not just you.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Don't get distracted

January 4, 2017

Sometimes life gets busy, work gets busy and families get busy. Visiting with the ones you love is important, but at times can also be exhausting. I'm not talking exhausting because of the people themselves, but because often times in this life if we take time to do one thing then something else gets put on the back burner.

If we take a few days to spend with family or a few days to spend quality time with my husband or a few hours to go to an event to cheer on our loved ones the reality is that is lost time doing something else. Time that you planned for something else. Maybe that something else is important, maybe it seems super pertinent or maybe it's just something you think needs to get done. Having a lot on my plate isn't a bad thing unless it keeps me distracted and away from time with God.

I love camping. I love hiking and I love being outdoors taking in God's beauty. In the peace and quiet of nature I can feel God. I can be reminded of how awesome He truly is. Sometimes when we reach a vista point I might even be brought to a point of true awe in our creator that makes all things. I might even be made speechless or moved to tears when I let it all sink in… His greatness, how He created it all, how He made me, how He loves me and no matter the canvas or materials He uses He is the best artist in the world.

I'm not just talking about His masterpieces in nature, but in me, in people, in creatures and the human body. How He makes us all beautiful and all new. How our bodies are formed and designed. How intricate our bodies are. How after years of research scientists don't completely understand them or our world, but God sure does.

For me being outdoors can be a spiritual time. A place where I can be restored. A place where I can praise God and a place where often times I do praise God without even realizing it. But at the same time those activities could be wrong and bad for me. Not just because I get blisters and my body aches, but because they could be stopping me from doing God's will. Maybe He had another plan for me, but I was too focused on what I wanted to do that I missed it. Maybe He wanted to use me to serve others, but I was too busy planning my adventure that I missed my opportunity. Maybe sometimes in life I get too busy thinking about me, my time, my family, my job, my passions and my desires that I don't hear God telling me...Go here I need you...Go there those people need you or Go_____ because I've got a huge plan and you have a purpose.

Stop looking at life and what you want. Stop looking at opportunities and saying nope that's the wrong one. Please stop looking at things and saying this really isn't how it's supposed to be. Can you really just trust God already? Hasn't He proven enough to you already? Hasn't He made Himself known enough? Hasn't He performed enough miracles in your life alone?

Now isn't any different. Now isn't a time of doubt. Now is a time to have renewed faith. Now is a time to not only trust Him, but you. He'll put you where you need to be, where He wants you, when He wants you there. Stop trying to understand everything. Stop trying to make your own plans. They are going to fail anyway. Stop keeping yourself so occupied that you don't hear Him. Who cares what Facebook has to say. Who cares if you have a new email. Who cares if you have a new text message. They can wait. Your instant gratification and always needing to be entertained is often detrimental. Your vision gets cloudy, God's voice gets drown out and your heart gets hardened.

Go back to simpler times. Go back to simpler days when life wasn't so busy. When you filled your time and days with what was truly important. The days where you focused on the people you really cared about and not the friends on the Internet that are people you've met a few times. You don't have to fully unplug. You don't have to withdraw from society. You don't have to go back to the stone age. You just need to set limits.

Don't spend all day everyday seeing what's happening in the world or the lives of your random acquaintances. Don't spend so much time reading the news that doesn't pertain to you. Spend your days doing what really matters. Love your real friends and family while you have the chance. Love your neighbors like you love yourself. Love your spouse more. Meet your family's needs more. Show more grace. Be less judgmental. Show love, kindness and compassion.

Homes are broken, hearts are hurting and your attitude doesn't help. Your it will all be okay attitude might not be what people need to hear. Yes it's true God works out everything for the good of those that love Him. Unfortunately not everyone loves Him. Unfortunately not everyone has a peace that exceeds everything or a joy that knows no limits. You live in a tough and harsh world. Don't get caught up in the antics, in the depression or in the judgmental hate spewing ways. It's not the answer and never has been.

You need to work hard to be a change for the world, but for yourself as well. You need your own hurts healed, your own pain eliminated and your own joy restored. You can't take care of anyone else when you are sick. You can't save the world and lose yourself. You can't preach a message of hope if you don't feel hopeful yourself even when you know you should be full of hope. You aren't a failure or a bad person or even a back sliding Christian if you have a little doubt. You have always and will always be a work in progress. A work in progress that needs God and a work in progress that on your own will fail.

You just need a little direction. You just need a little restoration. A little time down in the minor leagues so you can get your swing back the way it should be. Maybe you need to perfect some things and then you'll be back where you belong. Sometimes you can get a little defeated, a little lost, a little confused, but you will come back. You'll right the ship. You'll put the right captain in the seat and you'll learn to do the paddling only when He tells you to and only when you have to. If you paddle while the captain is controlling the boat you'll just get tired, just waste your energy, and exhaust yourself for no reason.

Don't lose hope. Don't lose sight of what's truly important. Don't let unimportant things take priority in your life. Don't let confusion take a place in your life. Kick it out along with the devil. They have long overstayed their welcome. Times are changing, the world is changing and it might seem like it's spinning out of control, but it's not. God's got everything under control and you know it deep down. You just need help to actually see it through your eyes especially when you have your doubting glasses on.

Be brave. Be strong. Be yourself and wait for the right doors to open. The door that God opens is the one you want and need. Be patient. Keep your faith. Trust the God that has never failed you and He won't fail you anytime or ever. You might not see His vision, but He does and it's not only bigger than you can imagine, but better too. You won't regret it. You won't regret your time of perceived hardship that leads to spiritual growth. You'll never really regret anything in life that leads you closer to Him. Get ready. Hold tight. Pray without ceasing not because He doesn't know what you need, but because your faith needs it and so does your heart. He will set you on Eagle's wings and you will soar, but only after He tells you to Go, to move, to do and His plan for you is known.

He is so so good. You know it. You say you believe it, but do you? When push comes to shove… when your faith is tested where exactly do you stand? People are watching. They want to see you stumble. They want to see you proven wrong. They want to say I told you so. They want to say where's your God now?

Are you going to give them that opportunity? Are you going to make a real stand with and for God or are you going to look like a coward that runs away when times are hard, when life isn't what you thought, when things don't look perfect. He needs you to be faithful. Maybe just maybe He wants to use you and your story to reach others, but He can't do that if you give up. If you throw in your towel He doesn't throw in His, but people won't see that. They only see you.

Be careful. Slopes can be slippery, falling really hurts, and climbing back up is very very difficult and tiring. You are almost to the top don't force yourself back to the valley floor just because you can or want to take a different path. God’s path is the best. The guide book you have doesn't have all the routes, but God's does. His book is complete. It's the right one and it's the one I'm going to take no matter what even if sometimes on my own I've veered a little off path I know what's right and that's where I'm headed even if it took me longer than it was supposed to.

You've wandered in the woods long enough. Come back to the trail. You know you don't just hurt yourself when you go off course. You can lead others right behind you. Now it is time to lead yourself and others back to the real path that God laid out just for you and them.

Don't give up. Catch your breath. Get your rest. You say the best view always come after the hardest climb and it'll be worth it. Tighten those boots for a little bit more climbing. Your vista point is so close. It'll be worth the effort, work, tears, blisters from life and any pain you endured along the way. Don't lose your focus or your footing on the rocks of life. Follow your path. Climb your mountain and then take in everything God has for you...everything He used to get you there… everything you thought wasn't right. Those were just a few things He needed you to learn. Embrace your life and his plan for you. It's beyond what you expected and He deserves all the glory and praise Not you!

Online excerpt

I did not write this post. In fact, I'm not really even sure how I found it. It popped up in a Google search when I was looking for something else, but it's good. It says a lot of things that I believe and in a better way than I could say them.

The original post can be found at Christianpost.com and is long, even longer than my posts. I am just sharing a little excerpt, the part that really stuck out to me. Maybe it'll resonate with you too.

The cheap 'gospel' of western spirituality says that the path to happiness is accepting and loving yourself as you are, and believing that God wants to affirm you in whatever way that you choose to live out your life. But the real truth, the biblical truth, is that true joy is found not in self-acceptance, but self-denial. Not the insane, pleasure less I'm-gonna-beat-myself-with-a-stick-every-time-I-have-a-bad-thought kind self-denial, but the denial of sinful, me-centered thrills and spills for the sake of experiencing a better, pure, God-centered joy.
The reality is that if we're seeking happiness outside of God Himself, we're short changing ourselves. We're being cheap happiness chasers — living our lives for fleeting, momentary pleasures that can't satisfy our God-given capacities for God-centered joy. The void in our souls where true, God-centered joy was made to dwell is far too deep and wide for anything or anyone in this world to fill it. We will never be satisfied living our lives for ourselves. You will not be able to find contentment. We will always thirst for more. We were made to live for so much more than ourselves.
The Bible points us to a life of obsession with the beauty and glory of God because it's only when we lose ourselves in Him that we will ever actually find ourselves and, in turn, grasp true joy. Coming to God through the reconciling work of Jesus and feasting, day after day, upon all that He is for us — that will satisfy our souls. That will quench our thirst. 
The call of the true gospel is not to be all that we can be and throw a little Jesus on it — it's to be reconciled to God through the work of Jesus Christ and to enjoy Him forever! God is the most valuable being in the universe. He's not boring or stiff or tame. He's outrageously interesting and the greatness of all that He is can (and will) be chased after for eternity. The best that He can give us is Himself, and that's exactly what He does in the gospel. If we want true satisfaction and lasting joy, we will not find it in going to church to "worship God for us" or in "doing good for ourselves." We won't find it in deciding for ourselves who and what we are. We will only find it in and through the Person of Jesus Christ. 
True joy is wrapped up in knowing and savoring the Person of God. It can be found nowhere else. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

There's power in His Presence

January 3rd. 2017

I am so thankful for a God that meets me where I am in life. Sometimes He uses people in my life to speak to me, mentor me, test and encourage me. Sometimes He uses music to break down walls, to speak directly to my heart, and to remind me with complete peace that He is my God, He loves me, and He wants to use me for His purpose. It's always a humbling experience to truly worship and feel His presence. I love Christian music, but singing along to your favorite song on Klove is not real worship. Singing along, clapping my hands even at church doesn't mean I'm worshiping. It requires something deeper, it requires your heart, a cleared mind where you can think of nothing else. It's an act of submission, humbling yourself before the almighty and experiencing His life changing presence.

Sometimes I cry, sometimes I smile, sometimes I just feel completely at peace. We can all
speculate what we will do especially when we are face to face with God, but we can never really know. His presence is all consuming, ever present, and a life changing experience. We can only sample a taste of it, but then you'll crave it, you'll want it, need it and can't live without it. God's presence will surely change you from the inside out. He changes me. He humbles me. He molds
me. He shapes me. He prunes me and through it all He loves me. He can do the same to you. It's a process and no matter where you are in life He isn't finished with you or with me. He calls us to be like Him and in order for that to happen He has a lot of work to do. A lot of weeds to trim, junk to throw away, hurts to heal, hearts to mend, and joy to be restored. That's just what I need though.

What about you? What do you need?

Maybe God wants to restore brokeness in your relationships, broken spirits or broken homes. Maybe you need more love, more hope, more joy and less tears. I'm sure we've all been desperate seeking a change not just in others but in ourselves. Sometimes we think we can make it. We think we can handle it. We think we don't need God, but if I'm honest I know that is a lie. If you really think about it, really process it and look deep into your heart you'll realize it too. We all fall short, we've all sinned, we all struggle each and every day. That doesn't all just go away when you become a Christian. In fact sometimes life gets harder. The devil likes to fight back even stronger. He doesn't want you to win, to succeed, to defeat the enemy which is him so don't expect life to be easy. Don't expect roses and chocolates, unicorns and fairies.

DO expect peace that passes all understanding, love that exceeds all expectations and faith that can move mountains. Expect that when you cry out at the altar that God hears your heart and hears your cries. At those hard moments in life He won't just hold my hand, but He will carry me. He won't just hold my hand, but He will fully embrace me. He will hold me up when my legs are too weak to stand. When tears stream down my face like a river He will wipe them away. When I feel as though I can't go on He will push me, move me carry me where I need to go.

When I surrender myself to him and worship the one true King He will meet me there. His presence will consume me. My heart will be restored. My faith re-ignited. My soul will dance with joy and my heart will bound with delight. To experience His presence is a true gift. It's something that you can't just tap into. It's something that you leap into and is something that absolutely can't be explained.

I love that my God desires to know me, to love me and make Himself known to me. I'm thankful that although He meets me at His house each week He also meets me at my home too. Sometimes He meets me in my car, at my work, at my family's home or even in one of my patient’s rooms. God doesn't just sit back and watch if my life seems to be spinning out of control or if my life seems to be going perfectly. He's actively involved, always present, and always making His ways known.

Sometimes I can hear Him speak so clearly and sometimes I think are you really there God are you sure you won't abandon me like some people have. Sometimes I don't hear Him and it's not because He left me, but because I have wandered too far like a young child at the grocery store. He can hear me, He can even see me, but I might have drifted too far away… a little too far down the river of life. I'm not necessarily talking over a waterfall, but just far enough that the rushing water of life drowns out His voice. The sun glistening ever so brightly on the water and ways of this world blind me from seeing His face. It's in those moments I have to remember to paddle back upstream, to get as close to His boat as possible. I have to tie my boat to His with a rope that will never break even in the rapids. I have to put on my darkest sunglasses and maybe even some side blinders so I can see His face and not get so easily distracted with life.

It's not God who has a heart problem, but me. It's not God who has a hearing or visual problem, but me. It's not God who has an ego or pride and a puffed up chest, but me. He could play that card. He could say you messed up, you didn't follow my directions or my ways, but He doesn't. He says come back my child I love you, I know you did wrong, but I forgive you. He doesn't say I'm the best,
You don't deserve me, you aren't good enough, you are a failure that never learns. He easily could but He doesn't because He sees us in His image, through the eyes of a parent, through the eyes of forgiveness and grace. He says I love you in your mess, in your brokenness, in your selfishness, with your prideful tendencies and your sometimes know it all ways. He'll work it out. He'll continue to change me. He'll continue to make me new. Most importantly He will let me enter into His presence where walls are broken down, hearts are changed, attitudes are eliminated and I am reminded that He is all that I need. He is all I've ever needed and He is so glad that I finally learned that.

It doesn't matter where we are in life. All it matters is who we are letting guide our ship. That we trust our Captain, that we let our lives be in His hands and that our hearts belong to Him too.

Friends can become the only family members you were able to choose.

January 2, 2017

Be thankful for good friends….friendships that cross miles, that last throughout years, that last throughout hardships, pains and trials. Be thankful for friendships that are blessings. Be thankful for friends you can share both the happiest and saddest of times with. Friends that you can laugh, cry, and delight with.

Don't focus on the number of friends you have. Don't focus on how far away your friends are from you. Don't focus on where you might be in a few years. Focus on the quality of the friendships you have, on the time you have with them no matter where or how long it may be. Focus on the joy and love that they provide and that you give back. Sure it might be easy if they were right next door. It might even be nice if you had so many that the door wouldn't stay closed, but most of them would be superficial. Most of them would only care about what they get out of it. Relationships aren't meant for that. Friendships were created to be mutual. Friends were created to be a companion, to help carry heavy burdens, to help celebrate happy occasions. You weren't created to do life alone, but with others. You were created to love others and to bless others. Be thankful for old friends that became family and that you know you can call on for anything. Be thankful for new friends that you meet along the way. Be thankful for friendships you had in the past that guided and helped you through certain situations and chapters in your life. They may not have been the lifelong friendships you thought or hoped they would be, but they were what you needed and when you needed them. Just like God opens and closes doors and windows He brings people in and out of your life. Only a select few are designed to make the whole journey with you side by side. Some of them are able to watch from a distance even cheering you on and you don't even know it.

God has plans. He knows who you need. He knows what you need. He knows how you need things. Sometimes in life you're in the middle of a party surrounded by so many people you can barely remember all the names and sometimes you sit quietly with 1 or 2 key players by your side. It comes in phases, in chapters, and sometimes your playbill isn't exactly what you had thought. Sometimes the show goes of course, lines are forgotten, people miss their cues, audiences leave, and sometimes actors feel alone and broken even when they are completely surrounded in the limelight. It's okay to ask questions, to wish things were different, but it's not okay to take your people for granted. When you whine about how bad you have it, how lonely life can be and how you wish you had someone to talk to you are telling your people, your friends, your family and even God that they aren't enough...that you need more, you need better and that they are inadequate. Be careful what you wish for and who you pick to be on your team. Life doesn't always allow trades. Life does not always allow relief pitchers. Life can be messy and it can't be dirty, but it's worth it and so are the people God put on your team no matter how big or small your roster is.


Just be thankful. Just be happy. Don't whine about things that are over, be happy that they happened. Be happy about the people that you have right next to you, cheering you on, lifting you up and helping you grow. Don't focus on numbers, but on the quality of the friendships you have. Most importantly be thankful God doesn't make you do life alone. No matter what is going on you will always have at least one friend and He is the bestest of friends. He puts all other friends to shame. His name is Jesus. He died for you and He wants nothing more than for you to love Him, to be his companion, to lean on him in the good and bad times, and to do life with Him as your guide. Any other friends you have are icing on the cake and people that you shouldn't take for granted. They are the people that have been chosen to experience every part of your life with you, for a chosen amount of time, but not for just one thing, but for it all… pain, sorrrow and joys. Let your heart sing for God is truly good, life is good, friends are blessings and love is definitely worth sharing.

New beginnings, new opportunities, and a new light to shine

January 1, 2017

Be thankful for new beginnings. Be thankful for doors that have been closed. Be thankful for opportunities that you are given and for a God who changes those opportunities. God orchestrates your life. He knows your heart. He knows what you want. He knows your desires and your dreams. He knows all things and all situations. He knows what you need and when you need it so when He shuts a door leave it where it belongs… in the past. Don't try to pry it back open. Don't try to look through the crack at the things that were. Don't focus on the was. You need to focus on the is. Focus on the doors God has opened for you now. Focus on the opportunities He has given you now. Focus on the new beginnings, new friends, new years, new love, new desires, new hopes, new dreams and new times.

The start of a new calendar year is a perfect time for change, for resolutions, for striving to be better, but you need to make sure that those goals line up with God. Make sure that those dreams are what God would want, that your motives are right, that your intentions are good and that your heart is in the right place. Even the best of plans are imperfect in God's eyes. Even your best isn't always enough to break bad habits, to stop bad decisions or to change situations. Rely on God. Pray harder. Seek His will for your life and not yours.


Today the first day of the new year and everyday of your life focus on new chapters, blank pages and living your life as God wants you too. You don't need a new year to start the process, but it sure doesn't hurt. Focus on making this the best year of your life thus far. Make it a year of more love, more service, more giving and more sacrificing. Make it a year that's less of you and more of God, less of you and more for God's people, for God's heart. Be His hands and feet in a broken and dark world. Be His light that shines brighter than it ever has. Be His voice that speaks out more than you think you can. Share more, love more and give more of yourself, your time and your gifts for a world that needs you and for people that desperately need it. You are a light in the world that needs to shine please don't hide it in a box, but let in shine with high intensity. Let it be a beacon of hope for others.

Spend Wisely

Dec 31, 2016

Be thankful for deals, for clearance, for sales or whatever you feel like calling it on that day. Don't go overboard when things are cheap. Don't buy, buy, buy just because you can. God calls you to be a good steward of what He has given you. Don't buy things that are going to sit in the closet and never see the light of day. Don't just buy things because you think it's a bargain. You need to buy things that you have a plan for, that you have a home for, that you can bless others with, that can bring joy to someone, that you can add a smile to someone’s face.

You don't need help gathering stuff. You don't need help creating clutter. You don't need help filling up your cabinets or overflowing your storage space. You need help spending wisely especially when you think it's such a great deal. Is it really a great deal or just a low price on junk?


Try to think clearer, try to see things for what they are really worth, try to look at things with another set of eyes, and ask yourself if it's really necessary. Deals are good. Getting more for your money is great. Being able to bless people while spending little is an awesome feeling, but be cautious of your spending and of your mindset. Just be careful. Be wise. Spend God's money wisely and appropriately just like you would want someone to spend yours. It's not just smart, but necessary. It's something that must be learned. It's something that you need to work on everyday. Money isn't the root of all evil it's just a necessary means in your world that requires smart thinking and spending so be careful and remember it's best used as a blessing for both you and others.

Be a blessing

December 30, 2016

Be thankful for families and communities that instilled the spirit of loving and caring for your neighbors. They taught you to provide for others needs…to step up not just in the  hard times, but in the happy times. To bless others in anyway you can. Pray for people in times of need, prepare meals for busy families, lend a hand to weary parent(s) who need a break, help others carry their burdens. Don't judge others for their shortcomings. Help them to come out of the darkness, to escape from the gutters. Sometimes people suffer in silence, sometimes people suffer in the limelight, sometimes people cope in inappropriate ways. They don't necessarily know the way they should cope, they are doing the best they can in desperate situations. In those situations it's not the time to point out their failures.


In those times they need you to come along side them, to support them, to love them and to prop them up on their leaning side, to keep them from falling into desperation, despair or darkness. Wherever people are in their life they can anyways use a little light, a little love and a little joy. People can always use an extra smile or a lightened load. Do what you can, share when you can, love when you can and be a blessing anytime you can. Maybe you don't have money for food, maybe you don't have the extra time at that particular moment, maybe you only have a second, maybe you only have a very small portion, maybe you only have a hug or a word of encouragement use it, don't waste it. Take advantage of any opportunity you are given. God can use the smallest of things to make a big difference so don't think I don't have enough or that you can't do enough. Just do your best and let God do the rest. People will notice and lives can be impacted if you'll only do your part.

Change your glasses. You need a new lenses

December 29, 2016

Be thankful for things. Of course having too much stuff can be overwhelming and actually cause more stress than happiness, but be thankful for what you have been given. God has blessed you beyond measure. Don’t focus on how many bags you checked after having Christmas with your family, the shopping you did on your own or the amount of clothes you own. Don’t think about the extra money it will cost you, the task of putting it all away or finding a place to store things. You have everything that you need and pretty much everything that you want. You live in a blessed country that is rich with wealth.

Some places people have to worry about what food they have for dinner or if they will have anything for dinner at all. Have you ever had to worry about that? Chances are slim. Some people have to worry about if they can afford to go to the doctor even when they are knocking at death’s door. What about you...is that a concern for you? For most it’s not. Even if you don’t have the money right away you can put it on a credit card, take out a loan, work some overtime and call it a day. I mean it’s not ideal, but it’s an option. You don’t have to consider actually dying instead of calling for help. We pick up our home phone, smart phone or newest app when we need help. We don’t have to call the local doctor in the community and hope they have the time, the experience, the knowledge or supplies to take care of us. If they don’t feel prepared they can transfer you to a higher level of care, send you to another town, send you to the experts, but they don’t leave you lying in a bed to die just because of your finances. This is America. This is the place that has EMTALA laws, the place that requires ERs to treat you regardless of how you can pay. So next time you think about how bad you have it, how little money you have try to think of the people that are so much worse of than you, so much worse off than majority of our country.

Think of the people who don’t have homes, don’t have clothes, don’t have shoes, water, food let alone the basic necessities that our country considers. You don’t need Cable, you want it. You don’t need the internet you want it. You don’t need the latest and greatest technology you want it. Get your priorities straight. Get your mind straight. Will you really die without it or just whine without it. Will you really have such a terrible day without it or just a day outside of your comfort zone? Sometimes all it takes is a look at others, a look at those that really are having a bad day, a tough life, a bad break to realize that even in your worst imaginable situation you probably don’t have it so bad. You probably don’t have it as hard as you think. You probably don’t have it any worse than most people. You just have been looking at your life through the wrong lenses. Looking at your life through the pity eye. Looking at your life through the woe as me glasses.

You need to look at your life through the I am blessed lenses. The I have been provided everything I need to survive mentality. The I am a son or daughter of the king glasses. The I am more than a conqueror glasses and the Satan doesn’t have control over my life attitude. When you start to get your life aligned with God’s perspectives change, attitudes changes, lives change, families change, cities change, countries change and ultimately the world changes. Stop with the pity party. Stop with the poor me, I missed my blessing, I missed my opportunity. I missed my ___. It’s not that bad. Life’s not that bad and at the end of the day most of us will climb into our comfy, warm bed, with our clean sheets, and toasty toes. We’ll wake up in the morning begrudgingly to the sound of an alarm clock, but we woke up. We were given another day. We were given an opportunity to make a difference. That may have come earlier than you may have liked, but it came. It was gift given to us.


A gift from our heavenly father saying I’m not done with you. I still have plan for you. I still have a task that you need to complete. I still have a hope for you. I still have joy that will be placed in your heart. You still have a song to sing. You still have a word to give. You still have a moment to share. You might have some tears to share in a tough situation. You might have to hold someone and tell them it’s all going to be okay even though you may not fully know that. You might have to hold someone’s hand that is enduring what they really believe is the worst day of their life, but chances are it’s not. Regardless of what we go through joy will still come in the morning. God still loves us even in our messes and God still reigns in control. So shape up. Climb out of your pity party slumber. Get rid of your I can’t cut a break in life attitude. Eliminate the I just can’t do this anymore mantra and rise up. Take whatever cross it is that you are carrying and move on down the road. Take your broken, beaten up self and dust yourself off because God’s not finished with you and you shouldn’t be either!