Naps: biblical or not? 

This was just to great not to share. I saw this on a friend’s Facebook page today and I died laughing. Oh how good laughter is to the soul {Proverbs 17:22}. 

See…NAPS ARE BIBLICAL! Aren’t we to be putting-on Christ? 🤗

Hope you have a smile on your face! Have a blessed day friend,

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

“Where is Your Faith?”

Have you ever been fearful?

The kind of fearful that grabs the very core of your being so hard that you found yourself paralyzed which in return begins a series of after-effects that causes you to doubt your faith?

As a believer in Jesus Christ there tends to be a taboo, if you will – I like to call it a lack of honesty to self and with others, where one doesn’t discuss or share such matters. Sadly, we place more importance on what other’s think, what we think,, rather than being consumed with God thinks.

Please do not miss understand me, too live by faith and not by sight, trust and obey our gracious and glorious God, and live out our faith without waver is truly this girls desire, but more importantly God’s desire for each one of us. God in His mercy is so incredibly good to us for we do not deserve His mercies. We are consumed by His goodness, but let’s be finite honest here:

Have you not been fear-gripped to your soul in the midst of a storm?

You, I, and others (whether owned up to it or not) have at one point had their faith challenged or stretched to new levels; their faith wavered to some extent; struggled during a trial where we might have asked, “Lord what are you doing?” or may have even uttered the word, “Why” (yes, I wrote it!) because we don’t understand yet truly want too. God knows you better than you know you. God knows me better than I know me.

Let’s live in the land of God-Truth over façade.  

When you live in an area that is prone to horrific weather, you built safeguards. Your home is built on a firm foundation, and you have a plan. It is just the standard of life and no one questions your motives in planning, organizing or building. The risk is possible. The storm may come. You take action. You prepare. Your life, the life of your family depends on it.

I have been God-challenged yet extremely God-rebuked in the area of my personal foundation building on/in my Savior. Over the past year and a half, my foundation has been shakened, challenged to measures I knew not of, confused, fearful, doubtful, scary, yet it has seen the hand of God rebuild in me foundations on Christ through His conferring and solidifying wondering working power. I know it sounds crazy, it has been a whirlwind that has not been easy.

(pause moment) As a family, we look back and could tell you numerous ways how we have seen the very hand of God work miracles in our lives through His blessings, trials, and testing’s that truthfully make our heads spin (to God’s glory!!), but this storm…ummm, this storm has rocked my boat in more ways than I ever before.

Our Christ foundation is one that stands the test of time for He IS faithful. It is one that is built firmly on the Word of God for His Word is Truth and will not lead nor direct in any wrong way – He is trustworthy. God hasn’t changed.

As we have been in this lengthy storm, I have questioned my soul’s preparation. It is so easy to spit the words out in the good times that we trust God; it is so easy to trust and thank God when we get what we want, but when the desires of your heart turn to hope that is sickened, despaired, sorrow-filled, and there ‘seems’ to be no end in sight of relief, that stirs your soul in ways that are hard to swallow sometime. But should that change our trust and thanks to God? Should it look different? Should it be given differently? No, it shouldn’t. He is still the same God!

I think back to before this storm began and wonder, “Did I safeguard?” knowing full well that storms will come.

  • Do we spiritually plan?
  • Do we spiritually strategies, seek, and prepare for that storm like we would if we lived in “that” part of the country?

It is inevitable, the storms of life will come. It is easy to say that you are unshakable when all is well.

Maybe you are in one, just like I am!

So, what do we do?

  • In Luke 8, Jesus said, “Let’s go over to the other side.” So, Jesus is out on a boat with His disciples on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus decides to take a nap – some R & R time from one side to the next. Suddenly, without warning, a huge storm takes over the sea, water begins to fill their boat. The threat, within each disciple fear begins to take hold for the storm is pulling them under and sinking their boat. Remember what Jesus is doing? Napping. I find this so interesting. Here Jesus is at complete peace while the disciples are in complete fear for their lives – a storm to test their faith.

There were no meteorologists warning them of a storm, and frankly, were there any warning signs in the sky that day that the disciples saw to prepare them before setting sail? I don’t think so, we are talking about experienced fishermen on a lake that they knew all too well!

In 2004, my husband and I had the incredible privilege to go to Israel. The trip of a lifetime and one I would take again in a heartbeat. One of those days we were there we got to sail on a boat across the Sea of Galilee, the very same place where Jesus and His disciples sailed. The same sea that Jesus calmed (very humbling!). Before sailing on the Sea of Galilee, I had my ideas of what the Sea of Galilee looked like but to my surprise it is quite small. You can see from one side to the other.

This confirms, this storm really did catch these men off guard because they wouldn’t have sailed out had it been bad weather.

“Where’s your faith?”, Jesus asked them when they woke him up trembling with fear. Ouch! I don’t know about you, but this grips the core of my heart!

  • We too are often asked this very question by our Lord, “Where’s your faith?”.
  • Have you not heard Him whispered this very phrase in your ear and heart?

We walk this life – no, we all too often own this life as if it were our own. We enjoy the countless God-blessings He gives (we don’t reject those), then question God when a storm comes. When that “BAM” hits. Out of nowhere something rips into our faith – something that rips our faith away or challenges it to levels we never knew existed –and we say, “Lord, I cannot handle this!” “Is this a dream…am I in the twilight zone?” “Rescue me, Lord!” and Jesus replies, “Where’s your faith?”.

Where is my faith when this storm hit?

  • I haven’t prepared.

  • I didn’t prepare.

Are you thinking – wow, where is the love of God in all this? Colleen, you are being too harsh on yourself. No, my friend, it is not about me, none of this is about me. This is the hand of God working in this soul’s heart showing me that I am so SO incapable without Him and HE IS GOD!

{{{the story isn’t finished}}}

God’s love is woven before, in, and through each storm we have gone through, are going through, and will ever go through as His child – Jeremiah 31:3; Matthew 28:20.

Luke 8 (NASB).

[22] Now on one of those (love this – one of those days…) days Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they launched out (no questions asked; no worries). [23] But as they were sailing along He (Jesus) fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake (Sea of Galilee), and they began to be swamped and to be in danger. [24] They (the disciples) came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And He (Jesus) got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm (that same power, that same authority – is the same yesterday, today and FOREVER!). [25] And He (Jesus) said to them, “Where is your faith?” They (the disciples) were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?”

There is only one way through the storm of life:

  • Standing firm the Word of God – His Word is Truth!

  • Standing firm in the beautiful Truth that Christ has already conquered them all – the victory is already won!

  • We can stand fearless in our storms even when we humanly ‘feel’ like we are unable because of Christ in us!

What a comfort!

  • There is a decision that must be made on the part of each individual – I will stand firm of the TRUTH of GOD’S WORD alone or I will not!

  • The same Jesus that calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee is the SAME Jesus! That same power, that same authority is the same yesterday (for the disciples), today (for us) and forever (for all)!

where is your faith

In Christ I Am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

 

 

The Delivery of Presentation: Know Who is Presenting.

  • Know “WHO” is presenting to you — not knowing could cost you far more than you bargained for. It is not always what it seems.
  • Stick to the WORD!
  • Satan is the master of lies, authors of lies, the great deceiver. He is NOT your friend.
  • I only know of ONE who came and died, out of immense love for mankind, on a Cross, his name is Jesus Christ!
  • Knowing “Who” is presenting makes all the difference in the world! 

Quote from my Beloved from our time in the Word together last night:

Live out the WORD! 

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Truth about a Lie

“We lie not only when we contradict the truth, but also when we mislead someone’s thinking. We lie when we pretend things are fine, when in reality we are angry or unhappy. We lie when we hide a problem with drinking or Internet pornography or other sin, making excuses and throwing up smokescreens that cover our tracks.

We even lie to ourselves when we make something bad look acceptable, or even desirable….Our culture is adept at using the power of language to mislead and warp perceptions. We call teacher-student sexual relations “affairs” instead of abuse of power. We call the brutal killing of a woman “a crime of passion” as the perpetrator sobs, “I loved her so much.” Language is twisted to make our actions look less heinous, more acceptable. But the Bible warns us, “What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).

Lying is one of the most destructive things we can do when we’re confronted about something we’ve done wrong (Proverbs 26:18-19,28). I have witnessed marriage after marriage crumble because the person who has been challenged will not come clean through humble confession of the whole truth.”

  • The Emotionally Destructive Relationship by Leslie Vernick, page 34

My friends, regardless if you are married or single, young or old, a believer in Jesus Christ for decades or for just a few months — lies present in your relationships {whether you are the liar or you are being lied too} will bring destruction to all involved. Sin affects more than just yourself! The truth always comes out. To lie is to sin!

“A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin” (Proverbs 26:28).

“As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?” (Proverbs 26:18-19)

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).

 

 

 

Status quo?

What’s your quo? No really. What is it? Think about it.

Is it normal? Do your eyes see only the run of the mill reality of life? Maybe it is overwhelmed? Children? You fill in your life happenings.

We cannot serve two master (Matthew 6:24). Many of us understand this but in reality we fight it, because we want both. We want God and everything else. We want a full time God while we are part time or grow complancent. It doesn’t work.

I will be the very first person to raise my hand in agreement including myself with everyone else that we are not perfect creeters on this side of heaven, but we are gloriously  saved sinners! We are saved by grace through God’s incredible love for us that we should intensely strive to please our Lord in every area of our life — and therefore end up not living the status quo!

Eyesight Matters


This past week I read through a 5-day devotional on “Who Am I” — Our Identity in Christ. Though the author had made some very good points throughout the week, one was very faulted. At first it hit me softly. Truthfully, it kind of bugged me, but I really didn’t know why because it ‘sounded’ good. The more I thought — the more bugged I became, so finally I asked my husband what his thoughts were. Sure enough…it was biblically wrong.

We must be ever so careful that what we read is biblical. It doesn’t mean we need to stick our heads in the sand, but we need to make sure that what we are in-taking lines up with Scripture. Our mind, heart, soul should be saying to self, “If that’s what God said — that settles it!” Quiet frankly we don’t have to get it…because HE DOES, [that is not a requirement for obedience] and that [should be] okay with me!

Friends, it’s Monday. [HAPPY MONDAY!!!!!]  May you have a beautiful, GOD-centered, CHRIST-focused week. May you share what HE has done in YOU with at least one person this week — how can we not? God has done so much for us. Take a few moments and read Ephesians 1:3-14. Oh, how I have been soooooooooo utterly humbled, put in awe, sorrowed in my soul at seeing who I am, convicted and yet beyond words of thankfulness for being a child of God. I have fallen on my face this week [being honest here] confessions of sinful pride of wanting more, of my ‘ideals’ and my sin — and truthfully not being satisfied with the incredible grace of God itself, which I do not deserve — because if that is all I had, that would be MORE than enough!

I am full. I am bountiful. I got off the throne.

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

{Graditude} God, Veterans, & USA

As we all know, this Monday will be Memorial Day. Many throughout the country have plans set or at least something in the making via plans — whether it is a parade, picnic, family gathering, or time spent doing nothing. Perhaps, maybe you are scheduled to work because you are a nurse or aid — whatever the case may be we all know that it is Memorial Day and the weekend is upon us.

I am reminded once again of our great country. Oh, I know we can easily find fault in it somewhere or in someone, but before we get sidetracked, let’s not — for we do indeed have much to be thankful for! Like our freedom!

  • Before I even continue any further, I would like to thank all of you who have either served our great USA in the past or today are actively serving. Though we may not personally know one another — in our home, your sacrifice (your families sacrifice) is not forgotten. We rejoice in our God-given freedom and know that freedom is NOT free, nor will it ever be. We thank YOU!
  • I think of those who gave their lives, WE REMEMBER; for you have not given in vain. Though your families grieve the most [which we grieve with them], in our home, we choose to remember and not forget we are free — our lives would be far different if it weren’t for brave men and women who didn’t serve this great country we call America! Thank you!
  • There is one other person I’d liked to thank…my Navy man. I am proud of my husband and his service to our country. He stands strong as a reminder. He is a truly a man of God. [super-incredibly-thankful for him!] Thank you! 

So the weekend is happening. Monday is fastly approaching. Whatever plans you may have — or not have, may I encourage you to STOP and take a few minutes to: 

1) Thank the Lord for your freedom. 

  • Seriously, you could be living in another country where let’s just say, things could be MUCH different! You are blessed!

2) Thank a veteran.

  • Whether it is at a parade, in a checkout line or at a gas station or your neighbor — thank a vet! Maybe invite one to your picnic!

3) Take time to pray for our country.

  • America needs our prayer.

  • America needs to keep God first.

  • Psalm 33:12-13 “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.  The Lord looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men.”

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


Have a safe, memory-thankful-filled Memorial Day. 

God-Checks [ever so vital]

How we ‘see’ God is critical.

It is vital that we continually retain our mind & heart in a God-check so that we are not creating a manifestation of God [our own idea of who God is] but rather seeing who God actually is through His Word and by His character.

Be in the Words of God. 

God will not be ignored. He instructs us to worship and fear Him.

Just a FEW verses…hope they are an encouragement to your soul. Have a sweet time looking up more! All verses are from the NASB (fyi).

  • Deut. 6:13 “You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him…”
  • Deut. 8:6 “Therefore, you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him.”
  • Deut. 11:16 “Beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn away and serve other gods and worship them.”
  • Deut. 13:4 “You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.”
  • Psalm 40:3 “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the Lord.”
  • Psalm 66:16 “Come and hear, all who fear God, And I will tell of what He has done for my soul.”
  • Psalm 99:5 “Exalt the Lord our God And worship at His footstool; Holy is He.”
  • Eccl. 8:13 “But it will not be well for the evil man and he will not lengthen his days like a shadow, because he does not fear God.”
  • Isaiah 42:8 “I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images.”
  • Luke 4:8 “Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’”
  • Rev. 14:7 “…“Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.”

GOD

“I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another,
Nor My praise to graven images.” Isaiah 42:8

Is God Enough?

So, I have been reading this book called Crazy Love by Francis Chan. It was part of a course requirement for my husband’s one doctoral class – it caught my eye. So when he finished reading the book, I asked him if I could borrow it. WOW…my heart!!!! Since reading the book my soul has been greatly rebuked and challenged yet encouraged in the greatness of who God is and how much He so desires me — and YOU!

Today, I’d love to jot down for you a few excerpts from Mr. Chan’s book from pages 41-45 [please note that all bold words within quotation marks are from Crazy Love].

My prayer for you is that through reading these thought provoking reminders they will both challenge and encourage your soul; make you honestly evaluate your own relationship with God; make you question who you ‘think’ God is – or realize if you have created your own idea of God and not truly see who God really is; and help bring your soul to the only place where it should go — bowed down; worshipping God because of who He is; because it belongs to Him, because of who I am – to be awe-struck just as I am.


“When I am consumed by my problem – stressed out about life, mu family, and my job – I actually convey the belief that I think the circumstances are more important than God’s command to always rejoice. [Phil. 4:4]

In other words, when consumed by my circumstances I say…that I have a “right” to disobey God because of the magnitude of my responsibilities…but in God’s eyes this thinking is wrong.

WORRY implies that we don’t quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what’s happening in our lives. [OUCH!!] 

STRESS says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, out lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control. [Double OUCH!!] 
Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it’s okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance. They declare our tendency to forget that we have been forgiven, that our lives here are brief, that we are headed to a place where we won’t be lonely, afraid, or hurt ever again, and that in the context of God’s strength, our problems are small indeed.

First Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” So what does this mean? Frankly, you need to get over yourself. It might sound harsh, but that’s seriously what it means.

Maybe life’s pretty good for you right now, God has given you this good stuff so that you can show the world a person who enjoys blessings, but who is still totally obsessed with God.

Or maybe life is tough right now, and everything feels like a struggle. God has allowed hard things in your life so you can show the world that your God is great and that knowing Him brings peace and joy, even when life is hard. [Isn’t God Good!?] Like the psalmist who wrote, “I saw the prosperity of the wicked… Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure… When I tried to understand all this it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God” (Ps. 73:3; 13, 16-17).

It is easy to become disillusioned with the circumstances of our lives compared to others’. But in the presence of God, He gives us a deeper peace and joy that transcends it all.  

To be brutally honest, it doesn’t really matter what place you find yourself in right now. Your part is to bring Him glory – whether eating a sandwich on a lunch break, drinking coffee at 12:04 a.m. so you can stay awake to study, or watching your four-moth-old take a nap. The point of your life is to point to Him. Whatever you are doing, God wants to be glorified, because this whole thing is His. It is His…World, His Gift.”


“Many of us want a ‘religion’ but don’t want a ‘Christianity’ that touches our lives.” [Pastor Bob Loggans] “We want the world and Jesus too – it doesn’t work that way. We cannot have them both.” [Pastor Richard Woodruff]  I have such great pastors — so blessed & thankful!!

Folks, we have got to decide!

Is it Jesus or not?

What is the point of my life? I already know the answer to that question for God has already told me in His Word. The real question is:

WILL I OBEY?

Joshua_24-15

Blessings, In Christ I Am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}   

C.S. Lewis & Joy {1}

{Lewis quotes and excerpts from Shadowlands and Songs of Light: An Journey into Joy and Healing} Author: Kevin Ott

the Other-Worldly Joy

In C.S. Lewis’ autobiography, Surprised by Joy, he tells of experiencing an other-worldly joy ─ a specific Joy that defies our modern understanding. This idea of Joy is not a satisfied desire but an unsatisfied desire ─ a deep longing for God, a hungry pursuit of God’s heart that never ends and is more satisfying than any earthly happiness.

Lewis recalls three seemingly trivial and disconnected events with a common thread: he experienced a sudden, piercing pang of longing ─ a bittersweet ache and yearning for something far-off, other-worldly, and unnamed during each event.

He would later recognize these sudden aches of longing: a deep spiritual hunger for God ─ not just for an intellectual knowledge of God, but for a real relationship with Him. These deep longings in Lewis’ life ─ these stabs of Joy ─ worked as flashing sign-markers pointing him down the path toward Christ.

How to Act on This:

True Joy, as Lewis presents it to us, is the ache for something beyond this world. The Holy Spirit uses this restlessness to awaken spiritual hunger. When little moments of life ─ like the way the light falls on a summer evening ─ stir you with a deep longing that’s hard to define, don’t look to earthly pursuits to fill the void. Instead, allow the ache to push you deeper into your relationship with God. Pursue Him. Allow that longing for Him to become the hottest fire in your heart.

C. S. Lewis Quote of the Day, from Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life:

“The reader who finds these three episodes [in which Joy occurred] of no interest need read this book no further, for in a sense the central story of my life is about nothing else.”

Shadowlands and Songs of Light Quote of the Day:

“Joy—that sharp, wonderful Stab of Longing—has a lithe, muscular lightness to it. It’s deft. It produces longing that weighs heavy on the heart, but it does so with precision and coordination…it dashes in with the agility of a hummingbird claiming its nectar from the flower, and then zips away. It pricks, then vanishes, leaving a wake of mystery and longing behind it.”

Passage: Psalm 16:11

 

Are you a Teacup or a Teapot?

My heart is in prayer over a speaking engagement I have been invited to speak at this coming May. Tonight, I was surfing the web and doing a bit of research over a few topics and came across this adorable idea (thought). It has grabbed my hearts attention and is intriguing my thoughts:

“Are you a Teacup or a Teapot?”

Now if any of you have planned a ladies’ tea or banquet, we usually focus your attention on those adorable dainty china teacups. Let’s face it — they are pure loveliness in your hands! (and the tea is good too!) We use the images of teacups from our invites to the décor; to crafts and door prizes. The possibilities are rather unless. Then you add the delicious food, laughter with sweet fellowship, then a devotional that challenges yet encourages your heart — bliss and loveliness all wrapped in one! I truly adore teacups.

I also adore teapots, but they don’t get as much praise and attention as their counterparts do. This is why when I came across this little poem with its question, I stopped.

I would love to share it with you now:


Are you a Teacup or a Teapot?

Characteristics of Teacups:
Beautiful
Delicate, yet strong
Unique
Offers relaxation and soothes the spirit
Holds what is put into them with no outlet

Characteristics of Teapots:
Beautiful
Delicate, yet strong
Unique
Offers relaxation and soothers the spirit
Pours out what is put into it

-author unknown-


2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (NASB) says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.”

When you compare a teacup and a teapot you will notice each have fine qualities as they sit as individuals, yet one holds onto what is put into it, while the other pours it out again.

The question is asked: “Which would you rather be a Teacup or a Teapot?”

If ‘tea’ is left inside, even in the most beautiful of loveliest teacups ever to be created, it will become old. Stagnant. Useless. So it is with us. If we hold onto blessings and choose not to pour out ourselves onto others because of the goodness of God in the land of the living (Ps 27:13), we too become old. Stagnant. Useless. Oh, we may remain beautiful on the outside, but what is on the inside becomes selfish and displeasing to our Lord.

Like the teapot, it pours out what was poured in. So it is with us. If we pour ourselves and our blessings out over others we bring glory to our Lord and blessings to others, but we also will find our souls rejuvenated and revived. Funny how the Lord turns your ‘pouring’ full circle. How He chooses to refill you and bless your soul because you chose to pour out. When we go back to Him to refuel, He fills you once again with His Spirit, Word, His Love, and exactly what He knows you need — and even maybe what you need to give to someone else that you aren’t even aware of. What an encouragement!

Isn’t God great!

The Lord is the one who fills us each day. We cannot fill ourselves! We are unable.

Be sure you are spending time in His Word daily and taking time to commune with God in prayer! Allow Him to encourage you, teach you, comfort you, challenge you, and strengthen you. As He is walking with you through your life and circumstances — share that God-love, God-wisdom and those God-blessings that He has filled you with others!

Now I love both teacups and teapots. But I have been challenged and I hope that you have been too. Don’t be a teacup — Be a TEAPOT!

Are you pouring it out or are you holding it all in?
God has giving us so much. How can we NOT share it with those around us?

God has forgiven us of everything! How can we not NOT share His love, forgiveness, the Cross and Resurrection with others?

Make your own list — and keep adding to it — but make sure you SHARE it with others and be a beautiful blessing of a TEAPOT.

Sincerely,

In Christ I am SHE

{Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

AMEN

Blessings to you my friends!

{HOPE} is Essential

Hope is essential.

Hope that is grounded in the Lord is a sure foundation.

Here is a link (below) to an article written by my husband that I had to share.

There is no other way to say it better. My heart has been stirred, challenged and encouraged. We pray together that it will be the same for you.

Thank you my Love for being an instrument in the Master’s hand.

I love you, Pastor Richard Woodruff.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/hope-essential-richard-woodruff

 

Offense: Ready or Not Here They Come {revised}

Have you ever wondered why believers in Jesus Christ make living the Christian life harder than it needs to be?  I do.

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Before you come to any conclusions that somehow I have a handle on it, I am just as guilty – for the same sinful flesh rears its ugly head within me as it does in anyone who does not daily walk with their Lord. If you are honest with yourself, you’d agree – because it has happened to you as well.

  I recently read a post (on a certain social media site) of an individual who was seriously contemplating leaving their church due to the stupidity of words from another human being. I know how sad, right? Or not?

Before I continue let’s clarify an area of grave importance – there is never a time nor a place where the deed of gossip should be present in the heart or on the tongue of a believer; nor is it “fun” to those on the receiving end.  Therefore, if you are a believer and I mean –  a claimer of Christ as personal Lord and Savior – being a gossiper or listener of gossip ought never to be present in your life.

Before the Throne of God, vitriolic words period are never tolerated nor should they live amongst one believer to another. It is just that simple. Gossip is sin. Sadly, this very act was what had happened to this dear soul in the post I read days ago.

Gossip is SIN!

Now that we have a clear understanding that gossip is both sinful and harmful to all those involved, I am baffled how those who claim Christ justify their choice of disobedience to God yet still claim their love to Him.  How can this be?

Walk with me here for a moment or two as I explain:

SCENE:  Gossip occurs. You get wind of it though the grapevine. You have a choice…

Difference between information and transformation WOWYou react in becoming justified in your hurt. Your response reveals the treasure of your heart. The inward heart response lashes outwardly via the flesh and thus reaction take place – justification of self opts out of obedience to God.

What has happened?

An individual has chosen to turn and walk away from God due to the fallacies of others. 

Does this even make any sense?

Most of us would answer ‘NO!’ yet 9.99% of us have done this very thing at least once in our lifetime.

This is where I question – Why?

Why was I reading such a post from an individual I knew well?

Why would we, as sons and daughter of God, who know that we are individually responsible and commanded to obey the Word of God choose to disobey?  Thinking of my friends post, if you are not familiar with it, in Hebrews it says that, “we are to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together” (10:25).  Is this not a God-command to be obeyed?

Question:

Is it ever justified to seriously contemplate leaving the church and take a break from God due to the stupidity of another?

There is NO verse to claim for such a justification. It does not fit in accordance to the Scripture — GOD’S WORD, does it?

Despite your or my personal view on accountability, responsibility, submission, and obedience (regardless of whether you are right or wrong – Scriptural or not), this you can be sure of – God said that you will stand before Him one day give an account (see the Revelation for starters) – that is a guarantee.  It is impossible for God to break His own Word.

It is foolishness to think we could live so flipped over our God-given responsibility of walking in obedience by establishing our own self-justification by blaming others. This my friend is not spiritual maturity or strength but rather our own lack of spiritual backbone (it is spiritual weakness) – living in the FLESH can never respond in the SPIRIT…never!   

You will never hear God say, “It’s okay to disobey my Word.”


 IT IS TIME TO TAKE ACTION

{God-centered & Christ-focused}

     It is time we seriously rethink our own thinking, our position – and/or our reactions towards those who sin against us regardless of whatever offense it may be.  In the New Testament is clearly states that “when” those offenses come; not “if” they come. This can only happen if we are preparing beforehand.

Living a carnal Christian life yet claiming our love for God is impossible.

It brings no pleasure to God nor is biblical.

{How do we handle sinful offenses?}


Are we to genocide our obedience to God because of the sinfulness of others? I think not!

  • Why lay aside what we know is the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE and except the lies from the pit of deception and allow our own sinful flesh over the One & Only true and Holy God?
  • In God’s gracious love and mercy He created us with an intellect – emotion – and will.  We are not robots. We are free to choose. If we choose to take the route of rejecting God – the very truth of God’s Word – and not live by faith on His promises through His Word, then we have chosen to reject our Lord. We live a carnal, cold to lukewarm life. The end result: we live in sin. We cannot say before God or others “We love God” when our actions and words tell or show Him otherwise.

Matthew 18:7 “Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!”  (see Luke 17)

Matthew 18:15-21 “15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. 18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.  21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”

In handling an offense directed toward us, God has wonderfully prescribed the proper method in handling such issues.

  1. Be in prayerful consideration before you go to your offender. Be on your knees before your God. Plead with Him to change your heart first, then prepare your mouth to speak, your heart to be ready to resolve, and a willingness to forgive your offender. (Matthew 6:33; Jeremiah 33:3; Proverbs 3:5-6; Psalm 51; Psalm 56:3; and a thousand more verses to help, support, and encourage your soul.)
  2. Go to the individual that offended you alone in private first. If your safety is in question, please do not go alone. (Matthew 18)
  3. Do not “broadcast” your situation to others or try to create sympathy or a following from others. Is it okay to ask for counsel? YES – Godly counsel is the best but when you “broadcast” you are gossiping. Do not vent your issue to parties who are not involved.
  4. Be honest in your conversation; do not use anger to get your sought result. Allow God to be your vindicator. If your offender is defensive, your God given calmness and tone of voice with His peace will rule over the situation regardless of the outcome.
  5. Reconciliation is the goal. Stand firm in the Lord and His leading. Do not back down on reproving and/or rebuking the behavior or offense(s) that have occurred. Do not be offensive while doing so for this only fuels strife – this is where you will see your time in prayer rules and the power of God’s preparation in you is at work. God will empower you! Seek to gain the brother or sister (reconcile and restore the relationship) rather than to take revenge.
  6. Be aware of your own heart being oversensitive and/or insensitive on the part of the person. Do not over exaggerate or under exaggerate.  Tell the truth!

To see first hand the wondering working HEALING power of God in you is indescribable. Don’t underestimate God in you! You are 100% indwelled with the power of the Holy Spirit!

  • Use this opportunity to seek to grow in spiritual maturity in Christ. Be prayerful and sensitive in how you approach. Be ready to respond and deal with each situation with meekness, God-boldness, reliance and humility in Christ. Be careful about how you treat one another especially when you know how it feels. Seek to treat others as you would wish to be treated – with kindness and respect.
  • Ask for God’s grace to develop the spiritual vision to see offenses coming and not be drawn into them; but rather have the wisdom and grace to handle them and bring Him glory through them. Remember to pray for God’s grace to discern how to respond in a godly way to each specific situations and to each specific person.

The MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION:

“What If?” the offender doesn’t take responsibility for their actions or ask you to forgiveness them – What should I do?

If the problem remains unresolved, take one or two people with you as witnesses “that every word may be established.” The integrity of “objective” witnesses are important in this step. The key word here is “objective witnesses” – these folks will truly help you (for they will tell you when you are doing right or wrong and will help you in the situation you find yourself in with God’s Word). Don’t ask witnesses who only side with you – ask a person or persons whom you trust and that has a solid walk with God. You want people surrounding you that will help you spiritually!

Always remember that the goal is not for you to win or get justice, but to “gain your brother or sister”, by reconciling the relationship.

If the matter is still unresolved, then it must be taken to the church. Hopefully you have already sought the wise counsel of your Pastor. When you come to this stage, you cannot take the matter to the church without your Pastor’s knowledge or guidance in the situation. His wisdom and leadership in of great value and resource – tap into that God-given Shepherd resource! Your Pastor is also a great example of a “witness”.

When the offence is of a nature that it requires this serious measure we must remember that the goal is still reconciliation (to “win the person” back to appropriate fellowship). Telling it to the church would involve taking the matter to spiritual leadership.

Remember above all to stand firm on God Word and His promises. Come boldly to the Lord in prayer and seek His face!  See to the glory of God. 

{Conclusion of the Matter}

I happily report that a couple days later I read another post concerning the individual I spoke of in the beginning. It read of many thanks to those who commented and rejoiced in the outcome that had taken place for the gossiper (or slanderer) repented of what they had said and done then asked for forgiveness. My friend freely gave forgiveness back and the relationship/fellowship was restored. PRAISE THE LORD!!!

Seeing the wondering working power of the LORD!  Can I hear an AMEN!

In Christ I am SHE  {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered}

the Struggle is Real but so is GOD!

Very honesty, my mind floods with where to begin.  I have longed to blog for the past several weeks yet haven’t had the ability to put thought into words due to the inward struggle of my heart.  My soul is in distress, migraines are intense, the struggle is real but so is GOD!!  

If my flesh were speaking, it would “spill the beans” to proclaim the wrongs done towards us and make them right!  To herald the truth so the truth would be known.  To correct those individuals thus putting them in their rightful place and make them see the errors of their ways.

Yes, this is pure flesh!  To be honest, I have thought about it but spiritually it is what I cannot do (Romans 12:19).

For I know that wouldn’t be pleasing to my Lord nor would it be a testimony that I would long to represent for my Lord.  Nor would it be profitable or helpful for those involved – for their spiritual growth is at stake.  So, in the midst of my own distress, aching, and sorrow-filled heart I am choosing to stand in the shadow of my Almighty – to be redeemed one day, in His time, but for only one glory  —-> HIS!  

The past year has been no picnic in the park for my family and I, but I speak personally here.  In my weak spirit, it trembles in fear, yet speaks in the midst of deep distress and intensely yearns with more passion than I can express to understand and grasp the knowledge with humbleness to grow before my Lord through this trial.  

In God’s graciousness there have been blessings along this road for which I am truly and utterly thankful for.  Believe me, I have been keenly aware of these blessings for I have looked HARD – very hard for them.  They have been those  “diamonds in the ruff”  that have stood against the wiles of the devil, the wiles of man’s sinfulness, and even against my own sinful heart struggling from within. They have been God’s messages to me saying, “I love you” and “I know, I see” or “I understand, I am here” and “I know you don’t understand, but I am still in control…trust me” for these I rejoice over. 

Another cherished blessing has been my precious family. In my weakness, they are compassion and strength. In my time of need, they are understanding and prayerful, wise and loving. I rise up and call them blessed!   

We all have trials throughout our lifetime. We all have choices to make within those storms that are vital to our outcome. Edit

I don’t know about you, but I for one want to learn the lesson the first time! No matter how hard the trial may be we must choose Christ over self (better or bitter).  God’s plan doesn’t hinge on my feelings.  God’s purposes are immovable because they rest on solid ground — because HE IS solid ground. For without God we are nothing.  Without Him we cannot live.  Regardless of mountaintop or valley, we are to be daily feasting on the Word. 

I must say that choosing to believe the goodness of God in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13);  to devour God’s Word every second whether or not my soul or mind can consume it all or not during these difficult times…has been my lifesaver!

I NEED GOD!  

Everyday there is a choice we must make. There are actions and reactions that reveal our relationship with Christ and we cannot and should not let that go even when our hearts and minds are struggling to survive!

 

In His beauty and love for His own, God takes us through places that we don’t understand to prepare us for places He has prepared for us.

The Lord is so gracious to us.  For my God is good on the mountaintop as well as in the valley.  There is never not a place where He is not – where I am.

 

 

 

It’s Strange

* It’s strange how twenty dollars seems like such a large amount when you donate it to church, but such a small amount when you go shopping.

* It’s strange how 2 hours seem so long when you’re at church, and how short they seem when you’re watching a movie.

* It’s strange that you can’t find words to say when you’re praying, but you have no trouble thinking what to talk about with a friend.

* It’s strange how difficult it is to read one chapter of the Bible, but how easy it is to read a popular novel.

* It’s strange how everyone wants front-row-tickets to concerts, but they want to sit in the last row at Church.

* It’s strange how we need to know about an event for Church 2-3 weeks before the day so we can include it in our agenda, but we can adjust it for other events in the last minute?

* It’s strange how difficult it is to learn a fact about God and share it with others, but it’s easy to repeat gossip.

* It’s strange how we believe everything that magazines and newspapers say, but we question the words in the Bible?

– Author unknown

Matthew 6:21

Did some God-Running

 

Couple days ago, I was reading I Samuel chapter 1 in my personal devotions. Since then my heart has been impacted and so impressed by Hannah’s own personal walk with God, specifically seen through her prayer. I have read Hannah’s story many times before in the past, but this time was different.

Through Hannah’s example, I want to instill within my own heart and live before my Lord from within and without in such trust. So, in many ways, I am really writing to myself and sharing it with you, so thanks my friends for listening. Our Lord is so wonderful and timely.

When reading Hannah’s story in the past I remember understanding it, feeling her pain (more so as a married adult), understanding she was ridiculed by those from within her very home and seeing her being mistaken for a woman who was drunk instead of being intensely sorrowful in pray before her Lord by the priest, and so on. If you know her story, you know what I mean.

But reading through her prayer this time it has gripped my heart for it is far more than what meets the eye. Yes, she was asking the Lord for a son and then in the same sentence giving him back to God, but what I have missed many times before is Hannah’s heart (I Samuel 1:10-11).

As I started to think about this prayer that came so humbly yet truthfully from her heart, I began to think, what kind of woman asks God for a son (who has no children – remember her circumstances here) and then in the same sentence says, “…then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life…” (I Samuel 1:11) Think of it.

I know, personally speaking, we have gone through some tough waters as a couple and as a family. I can imagine that you have too. Life is good and filled with many blessings from the Lord, but life can also be very challenging and hard at times – so much so that we cannot even speak the words in prayer. We groan. Been there? When this happens, the Spirit speaks for us and makes intercession for us – I don’t know about you, but this give me goosebumps! (Thank you, LORD!)

This is where Hannah was. She was groaning. Her pain was intensely deep. Humanly speaking many would probably say Hannah would have been justified in being bitter over her plot in life. She was barren. Everyone around her knew it. In that day being barren was considered a curse from Lord. Now her husband loved her, but he did have another wife; her name was, Peninnah. Now Peninnah wasn’t the nicest lady to be cohabitating with for she was fruitful, multiplying and making sure Hannah felt every dig, every sarcasm, and every hairy eye she made!

Those who have walked the valley of grief (which comes in many forms) know there are stages. My husband and I like to call them “waves” because that’s what it feels like. We can say God is bigger than any situation, but living that out is another.

It is true, God is bigger that ANY situation we find ourselves in, but there is a choice on our end that must be made in each situation or circumstance we find ourselves in: To walk with God or without God.

I know that may sound very trite, but to be very frank it is everything! Without God, I don’t want to even think about how horrible it would be, but I can tell you first hand that with God – with God, the impossible is possible! It is still a process that you must walk through, but His strength and most of all His comfort is far more than I could ever describe on paper (that is another story for another day). It is deeper than the ocean, sweet, gentle yet strong and very VERY tender to your broken heart!     

Hannah chose God. She chose to humble herself under the mighty hand of God and His plan for her life whether she understood that plan or not. When found that day in the temple and thought to be “drunk” it was her broken heart speaking to the Lord. Her hurts. Her pains. Her fears.

Her prayer that day could have been much different. She could have prayed for God to shut Peninnah’s mouth or close her womb. She could have prayed that the ridicule and humiliation would stop, but instead she asked God to change HER! Wow! She approached God with humbleness and confidence in trust including her pain and lack of understanding why to trust – not in self but trust GOD! Hannah is an incredible example of ‘better’ over ‘bitter.’

That prayer in the temple was life altering for Hannah. What a glorious day it would be if we, like Hannah, choose God’s freedom over bondage. 

I will never look at Hannah the same again. Her heart was revealed that day for all generations to see. May I follow her godly example.

To you my friend, if your soul is beaten, hurting, looking for something or wondering, take it to the ONE who truly cares for you – GOD! Allow Him to pick you up, heal your soul, set you free from whatever it is that has you bond and may you experience the inward blessings that only God can fulfill. He desires this for you!

Thankful Hannah ran to God!

I did some running to God myself this week! I don’t want to be bond but free in Christ!

He is always there!

God keeps His promises!

 

Our Soul’s Longing

I don’t know what your story looks like. I don’t know what the innermost parts of your heart look like, but I know who does, God!

You see, He doesn’t see a sinner, a failure, or any of the labels you put upon yourself. He sees only YOU. His precious daughter or son who is worthy of His love and forgiveness. You may not like yourself but God loves you beyond word and deed – so much so, that you were worth dieing for (even before you were a thought).

Funny thing about this ‘negative self promotion of self’ is just that: SELF. It comes from within (in our home we call it “STINKIN’-THINKIN’). We could also call it pride. Yes, self pity is pride.

Funny how the devil enjoys a defeated Christian who is absorbed with selfish-wrongful thoughts we think of ourself or maybe even of others. We do it to ourself. Maybe for some it is a form of self inflicted torture to mask the pain that they really feel deep within…the need for CHRIST!

Can you be a believer in Jesus Christ and not have a close intimate relationship with Him that changes you from the inside out…sadly, yes (satan’s favorite Christian). Could you be reading this blog and wonder what in the world am I talking about – this “Jesus filling my aching hurting heart…” Yes, I know He can!

It is only when we finally come to that place in our life when all else has failed and nothing but Christ will do (not a crutch) – just Christ. The awesome power of truly getting real with our soul and seeing our need for Christ because He is our Creator and I am His creation. Then and only can we begin the journey of healing from being filled with self to begin filled with the only One that can truly satisfies our soul!

Do you remember that sobbing tear-filled, broken spirit-needing God woman in Luke 7:36-50 (if not that’s OK because we’ll explain). Despite the jeering comments, the head turning crowd, and her own reputation she came boldly to Jesus not only with outward adoration but also with inward declaration. She not only poured out her dowery (which was very costly to her future) but she realized that Jesus Christ was the only One who can fill, cleanse, heal, forgive, restore, and free her hurting soul from within.

The same is true today, it is only when we bow at the feet of Jesus with our tear-soaked heart and pour out our alabaster jar do we find His peace, forgiveness, healing, cleansing, filling and find our innermost parts filled.

It’s a promise. It can be yours.

a Picture of Hope

‘Tell Your Heart to Beat Again’* – the first time I heard this song/testimony of the heart surgeon was about two or three weeks ago through a Facebook tag from my middle sister. I listened. Then listened again and again. It was so powerful to my soul that I couldn’t even repost it because it brought such tears to my eyes – especially with the recent last of my Dad, it ripped into my soul in ways that I am still working/healing through.

Over the years, my husband and I have had many losses through death. Whether it was grandparents that we adored, my husband’s father, to our third child passing exactly a week after my husband’s mother who we loved so much, then my Daddy.

This is my Daddy (the picture). He entered into eternity suddenly on July 31, 2016. There were no warnings. No signs. Nothing. One second an earthly-citizen the next a 

 heavenly-citizen standing face to face with his Savior. The night we received that phone call, truthfully I don’t remember much except  a few things like first hearing that Dad had a heart attack – but remembering saying to myself “we will go and see him – he will pull through again.” Death wasn’t even on my radar. The next thing I remember is “I’m sorry (my name) your Dad didn’t make it.” Didn’t make it – that is impossible, they didn’t know who they were talking about! My Dad is stronger than strong. But, it was true. Dad was gone.

It has been an interesting wave-like several months. My sweet husband, children and I have faced many life changing events over this past year. New state. New job. Great incredible accomplishments. New church. Old friends gone. New friends are next to none. Away from the known. Extended family far away. Dad entered eternity. Oh, and I turned 40 (that wasn’t hard…lol).

Much to take in and digest when it happens all at once. Not impossible with Christ, the Lord has been incredibly good to us; He has protected us in a million ways, guided, and provided, but I must admit that humanly my faith has been challenged so intensely. At times the challenging’s have been so hard that it has scared me, but now; now, though I still don’t understand everything or his wise loving plan, this challenge of soul has sparked a journey in my soul that I couldn’t have dreamed of. My soul is literally burning with fire and sometimes it is all I can do to accomplish what I should be doing.

The passing of my earthly father has truly been hard – no goodbyes, no last hugs, no last anything’s – just gone. I miss him. It wasn’t in my plans for Dad to enter Heaven at 64 years old. It wasn’t suppose to happen that way. I struggle (some days more than others), but in my struggling it has brought me closer to my heavenly Father and ignited me in ways I knew not of. I couldn’t write it any better then the bridge of the song:

Let every heartbreak

And every scar

Be a picture that reminds you

Who has carried you this far

‘Cause love sees farther than you ever could

In this moment heaven’s working

Everything for your good

My soul is starting to beat again through the healing power of Jesus Christ. It is bursting into flames and how can I not speak boldly for on King? How can I not share Christ with others? Eternity is forever. Life is truly short! How can I not live in boldness to speak of Him? How can I not live my created God-confident life for this world is not my home for one day (sooner than I think) my time on earth is up just like yours is.

I could choose to take the reins of control and pretend to live this life as though I was the one in control, but I am not and neither are you. God is in control whether we want accept that reality or not. We are the creation and he is the Creator.

This life is not mine and I am choosing to not live another moment as though it is mine but rather I as simple clay – an instrument in His molding hands, willing. Obedient. Quick to respond to His Word. Putting on Christ. There is surety and intense hope in Jesus Christ for the future that I have never known before.

*disclaimer: I am so thankful for my precious sister posting this song to me via FB. This song has been an encouragement to my heart, but I must note, personally I do not support everything he (Danny Gokey) sings or produces nor have I seen or heard everything he has sung or produced.