He is My Rock!

Have you ever felt like you just wanted to crawl under a rock and hide? I know that is just a figure of speech, but have you ever felt that way? You just feel like you need to be by yourself or you need to take a break from all the noises and distractions going on around you. Do you have some decisions to make and you just want to spend time alone with God in order to seek His guidance? Perhaps you are dealing with some issues that are hard to put into words and/or share with others and you just want to hide under a rock. Do you just need to rest and get closer to the Rock who saves you?

I must admit I have felt like crawling under a rock many times. Even during the pandemic and time of quarantining at home, there were times I just felt like too much was going on and I needed to crawl under a rock! I found myself trying to focus on too much and being distracted all at the same time. Thankfully, when I feel this way, I know where to find my Rock in order to steal away for awhile. God is my Rock. He is the One that I can take all my troubles to and lay them down at the foot of the cross. He is the One I can go to when I am feeling overwhelmed with everything that concerns me. He is the One I ask to take captive of my thoughts and to calm my spirit. He is my Rock!

Here are a few verses out of Psalms that you can pray whenever you may feel overwhelmed or feel like you may want to crawl under a rock:

“In you, LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me. Be my rock of refuge to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel. For you have been my hope. Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth.” Psalm 71:1-5 NIV

“I love you, LORD, you are my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior, my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.” Psalm 18:1-2 NLT

“He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.” Psalm 64:2 NLT

“But the LORD is my fortress; my God is the mighty rock where I hide.” Psalm 94:22 NLT

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Father, I thank You for being my Rock. I thank You for being my place of shelter and refuge. I thank You for being the Rock that gives me peace, hope, joy and love. I thank You for the strength I find in You to keep going. You are my Rock. In Jesus’ name, amen!

We Must Only Believe!

In these times of trouble, turmoil, violence, injustice, confusion, corruptness, catastrophic weather, political division, racial tensions, murders, homelessness, financial struggles, division within the church, this pandemic, and Covid-19 along with all other manner of sickness and disease, we must remember Jesus! We must remember Who He Is and we must remember what He can do.

Psalm 140:7 says He is our Sovereign Lord, our strong Deliverer! Psalm 61:3 reminds us He is our Refuge and our Strong Tower. In the book of Isaiah chapter 9 and verse 6, we were told He would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. We must remember that He is still all of this and more to us today!

Those who tried not to believe were witnesses to what He could do and even in their plot to crucify Him, He still lives today! In Acts 2:22-24(GNT) it says “Listen to these words, fellow Israelites! Jesus of Nazareth was a man whose divine authority was clearly proven to you by all the miracles and wonders which God performed through him. You yourselves know this, for it happened here among you. In accordance with his own plan God had already decided that Jesus would be handed over to you; and you killed him by letting sinful men crucify him. But God raised him from death, setting him free from its power, because it was impossible that death should hold him prisoner.” Death did not win!

Just as Jesus performed miracles, signs and wonders back then, He can still do the same today. We may not always see what He is doing, we just have to believe. Remember the story of Jairus and his daughter? Jairus had asked Jesus to come to his home because his daughter was ill. Before they could get to Jairus’ house, messengers reported to him that his daughter was already dead and they told Jairus he should not bother Jesus anymore. Mark 5:6 says “Jesus paid no attention to what they said, but told him, “Don’t be afraid, only believe.” Jesus made it to Jairus’ home and told everyone that the little girl was not dead, but that she was asleep. Even then, they made fun of what He said because they did not believe and he had them removed from the home. Jesus then entered the little girl’s room with 3 of his disciples, Jairus and his wife. When Jesus touched the little girl’s hand, he told her to get up. The scripture goes on to tell us that she got up and began to move around. We must remember that Jesus wants us to “only believe.”

Today, I hear the words Miracles, Signs and Wonders resonating in my spirit. Although we may see and hear of so much negativity and disastrous events going on in the world, I believe He is performing Miracles, Signs and Wonders. We don’t have to see what He is doing, we just have to believe. We must remember that in spite of all that is not good, He is our DELIVERER! He is our PROTECTOR! He is our PROVIDER! He is our SAVIOR! The things of this world should not imprison us; for we know who He is and what He can do! He is the One that brings forth MIRACLES, SIGNS, and WONDERS! We must only believe…

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To our Father in heaven, we thank You for being so good and merciful to us. We thank You for your loving kindness and Your tender mercies each morning. Father, we declare that we know who You are and we believe in what You are able to do. We believe You heal the sick, give sight to the blind and cause the lame to walk! We believe that You can speak to that which appears to be dead and that new life will spring forth. We believe that when we feel we can’t move forward, You order our steps and great things start to happen. We believe that You are performing MIRACLES, SIGNS and WONDERS right now in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, homes, prisons and on street corners. Father, we believe Your miracle working power stretches from nation to nation and kingdom to kingdom. Father, we believe we are not bound by what we actually see; and whether we are in the room or not, we believe You are performing MIRACLES, SIGNS and WONDERS! Father, we pay the naysayers no mind and we say in the mighty name of Jesus that we believe!

Inevitable Change

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Yes, that is a lizard in the picture!  I was outside checking on my plants the other morning, when I spotted this lizard being very still on the exterior wall of my home.   I really don’t do well with seeing lizards or any other little creatures around me, but this one had me reaching for my phone so that I could take a picture.  If you look closely, you will see what appears to be a white substance on the lizard.   My first thought was what did it get into, and then I realized that it might be shedding it’s old skin.

I tend to pay attention to the nature around me and I am always curious as to why God allows me to see or hear certain things. So after seeing this lizard,  I did a bit of research on lizards shedding their skins. I found out that shedding is an indication of growth and renewal.  I also found out that some lizards will eat the skin they shed for nourishment.  The shedding of the skin is an inevitable change the lizard will experience.

Does an inevitable change occur when we join with Christ? I surely hope so! Inevitable means that something is certain to happen.  Change means becoming or experiencing something different.  As we join with Christ we have to put away the former things and walk in our newness with Him.  Of course, this doesn’t mean everything will be easy from here on out, but it does mean we can find hope and peace in our newness with Him.  It means we can put all of our trust in Him instead of being so quick to worry and try to figure things out on our own.   It means we strive to be better and to make better choices.

II Corinthians 5:17(GNT) says “Anyone who has joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come.”   When we join with Christ, are we similar to this lizard shedding it’s skin? I would imagine that in a way we are.  Hopefully, we are getting rid of what is old to embrace the new.  Hopefully, we are able to allow what we’ve been through to help us grow and mature in our relationship with Christ.  Just as the lizard may eat it’s shed skin for nourishment, we can take our past experiences to learn life’s lessons and move forward.

Another thought I had about this lizard shedding it’s skin is that you can’t put new wine into old wineskin.  Jesus says in Luke 5:37 NIV: “And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.”  This parable came about when there was a discussion of John’s disciples time of fasting being compared to Jesus and His disciples not fasting.  Traditionally, fasting was a time of mourning over sins or an urgency for prayer.  Jesus was telling them it was a time of celebration; time to embrace a new covenant.  How often do we try to hold onto old traditions that no longer serve a purpose to help us move forward?  

When I was a little girl, one of my chores was to iron pillow cases after the laundry was done.  I have often wondered what was the purpose in ironing pillow cases when we were just going to wrinkle them as soon as we laid our heads on them.  I do understand it was to make everything nice and neat, but really, what was the point?  Fast forward to today, I’m thankful for wrinkle free pillow cases and those decorative pillow covers.  But just imagine, if I told you I was still ironing pillow cases! You’d probably think does she know how much better it is to embrace the wrinkle free and not waste time ironing! She’s ironing something that does not need to be ironed. There are times we just have to let go of the old traditions and embrace what is new.  (I don’t know if that analogy worked for you, but it made me smile!)  

Jesus offers us something new everyday.  The Bible tells us His mercies are new every morning.  What He offers us is so much better than what we have.  I would like to think the lizard felt so much better after the shedding process was complete.  Getting rid of the old and shaking off that extra burden from the old skin it was carrying around was probably a relief.  I’m sure it looked different from the appearance I captured in my photo.  I believe we look different when we grow and mature in our relationship with Christ.   We don’t wear worry  on our faces as much.  We don’t look like we are carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders, because we know  we can cast our burdens on Him.

As you draw closer to Christ, I encourage you to embrace the inevitable changes that should occur in your life.  You have to get yourself to a place where you don’t do certain things you used to do.  You have to resist fleshly desires and seek God for strength and direction.  You have to increase your faith in Him, and make wise decisions concerning you and others.  You have to pray more and study the Bible more.  You have to shed the old and embrace the new.

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Father, we come before You and give thanks to You for being a gracious and merciful God.  We thank You for being wonderful and loving towards us.  Lord, we thank You for all things new.  We know You are the one Who makes a new way out of what was the old way, and we look to You for all we need.  Dear Father, we seek Your guidance for the inevitable changes in our lives because of our relationship with You.   We ask You to  cleanse us with hyssop; give us joy and gladness in bones that were once crushed.  Lord, we know as we embrace change and seek You to forgive us that You hide Your face from our sins and blot out our iniquities. Lord, as we join with You and change for the better, create in us a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within us.  In the precious name of Jesus, amen!

Are You Missing Out On What Mary Discovered?

Have you noticed that whenever you are researching or shopping online that a pop up appears out of nowhere?  Either customer service is being offered via a chat with a representative or an advertisement for something completely unrelated to your actual search pops up on the screen. Distractions!  These pop ups momentarily take my focus away from what I was trying to research.  I then have to intentionally take the time to dismiss this distraction or get even more distracted because I take up the offer to chat with the representative.

What about your phone? How often does it distract you?  I can be in the middle of responding to one text and get another text from someone else.  Quite often, I will switch to the new incoming text and start engaging in a conversation forgetting about the response I was sending to someone else.

What about setting aside time to spend with God?  How often are you distracted from your quiet time with God, because of all you have going on each day? There’s your family obligations, your work, ministry work, scheduled appointments, emergencies, friends who need you, social media distractions, and anything else that tends to pop up and capture part of your day.   Also, don’t forget within the 24 hours you are given, that you need time to get dressed, eat a meal or two and get a few hours of rest.  Where does the time go?

If you are able to get up and give God the first part of the day He blesses you with, that is great!  If you are able to give Him some time at night before going to bed, that is great, too.  But are you able to give Him time without being distracted?  Are you able to sit still and feel His presence? My answer to the last two questions is “sometimes!”  Thankfully, I am doing better than I have in the past.  I am grateful God is patient with me as I learn to deal with my distractions so I can enjoy being still in His presence even more.

Luke 12:40-41 tells the story of when Jesus visits Mary and Martha.  The verses from the New Living Translation says  “But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me”.  But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details.  There is only one thing worth being concerned about.  Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

We often get distracted by comparing what we do to what others are doing.  Martha actually told Jesus it was unfair she was working and Mary was sitting around doing nothing!  We have been conditioned to think it is better to be busy and moving around rather than to just take a moment to sit down and rest.  Imagine Martha’s surprise when Jesus told her that Mary was doing the right thing!  I wonder if she tried to continue the conversation with Him to try and prove her point.  More importantly, I wonder if she went back to the work she was doing and still missed out on what Mary had discovered.

What do you think Mary discovered?  I believe as Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, she discovered her Lord and Savior.  I believe she discovered the truest form of love.   I believe she released all hurt and shame and discovered forgiveness.   I believe she felt a peace from all her worries and day to day pressures.  The Bible tells us we can cast our cares on Him because He cares for us. I can only imagine that is what Mary did that day.   I believe Mary discovered Jesus was the answer to everything she needed.

Jesus was right there in the same house with Mary and Martha.  Mary chose to sit with Him and Martha chose to stay busy.  How often do you do what Martha chose to do?  Jesus is telling you He is right there with you and He wants to spend time with you, but you stay busy.  Are you too busy to take a few moments and be still in His presence? Are you missing out on the joy and peace that comes with sitting at His feet? Are you missing out on what Mary discovered?

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Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being so gracious and merciful to me.  Thank You for being loving and patient with me each day.  Lord, help me to be more like Mary and not become so distracted like Martha, that I miss an opportunity to sit with You.  Oftentimes, I get so anxious about my family, my job, my finances, my health, and other things that I just don’t take the time I should to spend with You.  Lord, help me to become more like Mary.

Father,  I pray that I don’t allow what others are doing to distract me from spending precious time with You.  Lord, I desire to make time, more often than I do, to sit with You.  Help me to tune out what is going on around me, so that I can become more in tune with You.  Lord, in Psalm 23:3 (Message) it says “You are true to your word, you let me catch my breath, and you send me in the right direction.”   I pray I will be more intentional in taking the time to sit at Jesus’ feet and  catch my breath, so that I can also discover what Mary discovered.  In Jesus’ wonderful name, amen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Have You Learned?

As I was coming out of a deep sleep this morning, I heard this question “What have you learned?”   I had to completely wake up to really start processing what I heard, but the question was clear.  Well, I’ve had my morning coffee and I’m still processing how to answer the question I heard.  I’ve tried to capture part of my answer in this blog post.

In the past few months we have learned and/or heard so much about COVID-19, a pandemic, social distancing, and racial injustices, just to name a few.  In a time when we should become more unified, it appears we are becoming more divided.   As I start to put together my answer, I do know this, God is God and He knows how to get our attention. There have been past events that have impacted different parts of the world before, but these recent events of 2020 have captured the attention of the whole world and impacted all of us.

However, in all that has taken place, I don’t think God was necessarily telling me to look at the whole world, as much as He was telling me to look within. Then, He wakes me up this morning and I hear the Holy Spirit asking ” what have you learned?” The teacher is silent and the question is before me waiting on a response.  I read II Chronicles 7:14 -15 in the NIV Bible which says “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.”

This was one of the first scriptures I was drawn to read once everything started to spiral in late February and early March of this year.   If  I’ve learned anything, it is that as one of God’s people that I must look within first.   I must look within my own heart to remain humble. I must talk to God daily and I must seek Him in all parts of my life.  I thought I was doing this before, but it seems different now.  Perhaps this is why I heard the question. The scripture in II Chronicles then goes on to say turn from wicked ways, which means I have to get rid of what is unclean and unrighteous in me.  I have to seek God’s forgiveness.  It doesn’t say I should try to fix others in their uncleanliness first.  It says that as one of His people, I have to turn from my own wicked ways.  Psalm 139 is one of my favorite Psalms and I often pray verses 23 and 24, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is anything offensive in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

I’ve learned to ask God more to keep me humble, to hear my prayers and to forgive me of my sins.   I believe we are in a season where we have to make our relationship with God even more personal than it was before; we have to seek His face.   II Chronicles 7:14 to some, can be a suggestion; to some, words of warning, and to some, words of instructions.  I’ve learned to use them as daily instructions for me because I want God to hear me from where He is in heaven.  I want Him to forgive me and I want Him to heal every part of me and to heal this land we all live in.  This land He created just as He created each one of us.

I will definitely continue to pray for others and ask God to help them just as He helps me. However, there has been such a shift in what is going on in the world today that I have to take time to really focus on who I am in Christ and what He wants me to do.    He wants me to humble myself, AND pray AND seek His face AND turn from my wicked ways.  He wants me to call myself one of His people so that when I speak, He will hear me.

So I ask you the question I heard this morning, “What have you learned?”

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Dear Lord, we need You more than ever before.  Somewhere along the way we’ve made a mess of things, we’ve missed the mark and we’ve fallen short of what is Your perfect will and perfect way.   We ask now that You will help us to stay in a posture of being humble.  We pray for You to hear our prayers as we seek to draw closer to You.  We pray You forgive us of our sins and You cleanse us from within.  We pray Your ears are attentive to our prayers; we pray You hear us, and we pray You heal our land.  Thank You, Lord, that Your word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Please have mercy on us and show us the way.  We pray this as people who are called by Your name, and we ask this in the mighty name of Jesus!

 

Thankful 2B Thankful

 

Be Thankful!     The other morning as I was saying my prayers, I said “Lord, I know I tend to be thankful for the same things over and over again. I thank You for waking me up. I thank You for my life and allowing me to see another day.  I thank You for keeping my children, siblings and friends safe. I thank You for the followers on Broken-2b-Restored. I thank You for a roof over my head and food on my table.” I said, “Lord, I know I sound like a broken record and that I am always thankful for the same things.” But then I said, “Lord, I am just thankful to be thankful!”

Thankful to be thankful! This made me realize that I have not always told Him Thank You. As a young person in college, I would just get up and take everything for granted.   As I became a full time employee, wife, and mother, I would wake up and maybe say a brief Thank You, but then I would just go on about my day.  Reflecting on this and how He has kept me over the years, made me realize even more how thankful I am.

Like most, I have been through my share of  ups and downs.  I have had some major disappointments and personal challenges that weighed heavy on my heart, my body, and my mind. I have wondered how the bills were going to get paid: how was I going to free myself from a verbally abusive and controlling spouse, or how I was going to be a good mother to my children.  And today, when I look back on where I was and where I am now, I am so very thankful.  I am thankful to be thankful, because of how God has kept me.  He has protected me from the seen and unseen dangers.   He has kept me and my children safe; He has clothed and fed us; and He has always provided us with a roof over our heads.

As I grew closer to God and I learned to ask Jesus to intercede on my behalf, my perspective on being thankful changed. I stopped taking it for granted that I just woke up each morning.  I know that God’s mercies towards me are new every morning, even when I tend to thank Him for the same people and things over and over again. I know I can repeat these words of thankfulness and also add onto it as each day passes, because He waits to hear from me. I know He has always provided for me and that He will continue to do so.  Yes, I have continued to experience the ups and downs that come with living this life here on Earth, but I’m thankful for every day, every blessing, and every lesson learned.   I am thankful to be thankful.

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Dear God, thank You for keeping me and my family covered under Your mighty protection.  Thank You for continuously blessing us and showing us how much You love us.  Thank You for my life, health and strength. Thank You for allowing me to see how good You have been to me, and for teaching me the lessons to be learned from heartbreaks and disappointments.  Thank You for Your grace and mercy towards me. Thank You for Jesus and Thank You for The Holy Spirit. Lord, I am just thankful 2b thankful! In Jesus’ name, Amen!

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Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 NIV

Every good and  perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of fristfruits of all he created. James 1:17-18 NIV

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV

Do not be anxious about anything, but  in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13 NIV

 

 

Why? What has He done wrong?

In my quiet time the past few days, I have chosen to read chapters in the Bible that lead up to Resurrection Sunday. These are the final chapters that take us through revealing the plot to kill Jesus and then to The Resurrection.  This morning, I have been reading Matthew 27 which tells the story of when Jesus was handed over to Pilate.

As I was reading the part where the shouting crowd chose to release Barabbas over Jesus, Pilate’s 2 questions to them in verse 23 resonated from the page.   Pilate asked the crowd “Why?”  And then, He asked “What has He done wrong?”   These questions seemed to incite the crowd more and they shouted “Crucify Him!”, yet they never answered Pilate’s questions.

In Luke 23:34 after Jesus was on the Cross between the 2 criminals,  Jesus said “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.”   When Jesus said to forgive them, He answered Pilate’s questions.  In my spiritual mind,  Jesus answered the questions in reverse order.

Pilate:  What has He done wrong?

Jesus:  I have done nothing wrong.

Pilate:  Why?

Jesus:  They have done wrong!  I am doing this for them.

Jesus’ dying on the Cross is the answer to what the people did wrong back then and to what we do wrong now.  On the day He was crucified, it was not about the wrongs that just occurred on that day.  Jesus’ death on the Cross was about our sins: the wrongs of our bad choices, the wrongs of our unclean thoughts, the wrongs of our sinful activities, the wrongs of our bad behavior and the wrongs of our bad attitudes.  Our sinful nature is the answer to the question Why?

Pilate’s questions were for that particular moment in time.  However, the reason the crowd did not respond with an answer was because Jesus had to get to the Cross for the answer to be revealed.   His answer was for all of eternity.   John 3:16-17 says “For God so loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.  (HCSB)

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Dear Heavenly Father,  thank You for Your Beloved Son, Jesus!  Thank You for the love You have shown us over and over again.  Jesus, we thank You for the precious blood You shed for each one of us.  I pray that as we prepare to celebrate Resurrection Sunday, that lives will be changed and souls will be saved as we give remembrance unto You.  I pray there will be a true understanding for many to the question as to Why You died on the Cross.  I pray more people will come to believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Please forgive us of our sins!  It is in  His mighty and precious name, I say Amen!

A View Versus A Vision!

 

The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” (Genesis 13:14-17)

We do not see what God sees.  We see what is currently in front of us and God sees our future, our destiny and our purpose. We have a view but God has a vision.  A view is the actual extent or range of your vision.  Vision is the power of anticipating that which may come to be! In the scripture above, Abram had a view of the land in front of him. The vision was in the length and breadth of all the land and the offspring to come.  The view to Abram was that he and his wife, Sarai, were too old to have children.  The vision was the offspring that would be too numerous to count!

Our view is so much different from God’s vision.  We see our current situation and God sees what will come to pass.

The view is the struggle; the vision is the victory!

The view is the cancer; the vision is the healing!

The view is the unemployment; the vision is the new business!

The view is living from paycheck to paycheck; the vision is the harvest!

The view is the  problem; the vision is the praise!

Abram was a man of great faith.  He made a decision to trust and believe in God’s promises to him.  As he walked through the length and breadth of the land, he experienced some setbacks and some situations, but he kept on walking in faith.   Are you focusing on your current view right now? Or has God given you a vision?  Continue walking in faith.  God has plans to prosper you and give you hope for your future!

Don’t give up!

Don’t let the view distract you!

The vision is so much better!

To the persecutors of Jesus, the view was death on the Cross.  The vision was eternal life and salvation!

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Dear Lord, I am thankful that you have better things in store for me than I what I can see right now. I am thankful that Your vision will bring me through this current view that I have.  I am leaning and trusting on You, Dear Father, as I take this walk of faith to get to where You would have me to be!  In Jesus’ name, I say Amen!

Didn’t You Hear Me?

The past few weeks have been very challenging to say the least.  It seems like I get over one hurdle and before I can get one foot on the ground, another hurdle is before me!  Today, when I got home from work I had to get to my prayer closet to have one of those heart to heart conversations with God.  Our conversation went like this :

Me:  Lord, what is going on?  Why do I feel like I am in several battles at one time?  Why do I feel that I am under attack?  Why do I feel such a heaviness is on me?

God: My child, you feel this way because you have not laid your burdens down. You have not trusted me to fight your battles!

Me:  Yes, I did turn all of this over to You!  Didn’t you hear my prayers the other night when I was crying out to You?  I laid it all down, every challenge, every struggle, every disappointment.  I gave it all to You.  You must have heard me!

God: Yes, my child, I most certainly did hear you crying out to me.

Me: Well, what’s the problem?

God: My child, as soon as you finished your prayer and said in the name of Jesus, you went right back to worrying about everything you prayed about!

Me: Did I do that?

God: Yes, you did do that! In fact, you did not give me a chance to let you know that I got this! I am God all by myself! I can fight all of your battles.  I can lift every burden!  I can wipe away all of your tears.  I can mend your broken heart.  My child, I can guide you safely through every storm!

Me:  Wow!  I didn’t even realize I picked my burdens back up.  Forgive me?

God: Of course, my child, I forgive you!  But now I need you to do something for me.

Me:  What would that be?

God: Trust me!  I got this!

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Dear Lord, I am trusting You with everything!  (The good and the not so good.) I am trusting You to work everything out.  I release all of my worries and struggles to You.  I release every distraction and stumbling block to You. I  put all of my trust and confidence in You to fight all of my battles! I declare peace in every area of my life!   In Jesus’ name I thankfully say, Amen!

It’s As Simple As That!

Preview

God is great; God is good!

Let us thank Him for our food!

Bow our heads and all be fed.

Give us Lord, our daily bread!

This is a simple prayer I was taught as a child to bless my food before eating.  This is the same simple prayer, 30 some years, later I taught my three young children.  A few evenings ago, I was blessed to see how this simple prayer had impacted my 17-year-old son’s life.

When my son, Isaiah, came home from basketball practice the other night he was tired and hungry (or better yet, hungry and tired!)  It was still some time before dinner, so he made himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for a snack.  When he sat down to eat his sandwich, he bowed his head and blessed his sandwich.  As simple as that, he said a prayer over his snack!  I know that his prayers to bless his food have changed since I taught him the simple prayer cited above. The point is that he is still giving God thanks for his food, even if it was just a snack!  It touched my heart to see him bow his head and give thanks for something that most of us would take for granted, because it was of course, just a small snack before dinner.

1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 tells us to “pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  This means in all you do or in all you may be going through, that you are to be in constant prayer and thankfulness.  It does not matter whether it is a snack or a full course meal.  It does not matter whether you are in a good place in your life or in a not so good place.  It does not matter whether all your bills are paid or whether they are all past due.  What matters is that you are giving God thanks for His current and future provisions to you.  What also matters is that you are taking all of our requests and needs to Him in prayer and being thankful as you wait for God to move in your circumstances.  It’s as simple as that!

My son was praying and giving God thanks for a snack.  He had an expectation that God was going to give him more to eat later on that evening.  However,  he gave God thanks for what he had available to him at that time as he patiently waited to receive the bigger blessing later on!  It’s as simple as that!

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Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for always giving me the opportunity to come to you in prayer.  I am thankful that I can make my requests known to You and You are an ever present help in my life.  I thank You for the small blessings as well as the bigger blessings.  I thank You for all You have done for me!  In the name of Jesus, Amen!

It’s as simple as that!

Where Did The Time Go?

Just a few months ago I was eagerly anticipating my youngest daughter’s graduation from high school.  When that day and that moment arrived,  my heart was filled with mixed emotions.  I was a proud mother to see her stand before her graduating class and deliver the commencement address; but I also knew it was time to let her go.  I kept asking God where did the time go?  It seems like You just gave her to me and now. . .

And now, here  we are already in September and she has completed 2 weeks in college.  Where did the time go? I now have two in college and one beginning  his Senior year in high school.   I have watched my three children grow from babies into young adults and I can’t help but to marvel as to how the time has flown by.

It seems like it was just yesterday when I was taking them to  daycare and kindergarten.  I must admit the thought of my children not being home every night has been tough at times.  Over the years I have gotten comfortable in knowing they were safe and secure in their rooms and close by if I needed to look in on them.  Now,  I’m watching my son go out in the evenings to hang out with his friends knowing that within less than a year he will also be on his way to college.  There is so much going on in the world these days, that it’s only natural you want to protect your loved ones at all times, especially your children.  You want to keep them close by as if nothing could happen to them at home, school,  church or in places we call familiar.

The Sunday afternoon I had to leave Cecily at a college 4 hours from home, I had my emotions in check (or at least I thought I did!) I was so busy running around trying to make sure she had everything she needed before we left, that I did not have much time to think about getting emotional.  Just two years before I had taken her sister to school and figured I know how this works now; I can handle it! I’m a big girl! I’ve got this all under control!

Well, I’m sure you can guess what happened. As soon as it came time to give our hugs goodbye, I realized this was it. This was the moment of letting go!   Where did the 18 years go?  When I saw Cecily hugging her brother and sister goodbye, the tears just started to flow.  I could not stop them!  As I hugged her and the tears continued to flow, I said another prayer over my child and her new journey in life.  I gave thanks to the Lord for blessing me with her.  I  told Him that I was trusting Him even more to keep watch over her.

 You see, I needed this reassurance for me more so than I needed it for Cecily. For the past 18 years I’ve known this day would come. I’ve known that my assignment was to raise Cecily as best I could and to encourage her to have her own relationship with God.  He tells us in Isaiah 55 (NIV)

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

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Cecily Elise Matthews, although I am marveling at how fast the time has flown by, I know you are in God’s hands and you will continue to flourish.  He has a greater purpose and plan for you and it will be fulfilled.  Because of this, I am ok with the letting go and allowing you to grow and prosper according to His divine will. You are a blessing to me and I am blessed because you call me mommy!

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The link below is a post I had the opportunity to write when my oldest daughter graduated from high school 2 years ago. The words “Take Courage” still resonate within me today.  Thanks, to my sister Change Agents, Renee and Roslyn! Love you both!

http://doubleportioninspiration.blogspot.com/2011/06/take-courage.html

Why Does It Have To Hurt So Much?

Have you ever experienced an excruciating physical pain and wondered why it had to hurt so much?  This is the type of pain that goes beyond a mere “ouch”.   And what about the pain that digs deep into your emotions?  The pain that breaks your heart and pulls at every part of your physical and emotional being. This could be pain that comes from a serious illness, a failed marriage or the loss of a loved one.  And how about that deep pain we feel due to our own bad choices and subsequent regrets?

Have you ever cried out to the LORD and asked why does it hurt so much?

The pains we experience in life will sometimes cause us to withdraw from a particular activity and/or withdraw from people. There are some athletes who become injured playing their favorite sport.  However, if they experience a torn ligament or broken limb, they may not feel up to returning to their sport for fear of being injured again and feeling that same unpleasant pain.

If you have ever experienced pain inflicted by another person, this could cause you to withdraw from building other friendships and keep you from trusting others.  I have been in this situation a few times.  I have believed someone was my friend only to find out they were doing things and saying things about me that would not meet the definition of friendship.  I have fallen in love and been married only to feel the heartache that comes from harsh words and hurtful actions that caused my heart to break and my trust to be broken.

When you experience a deep hurtful pain, it’s only natural to wonder why does it have to hurt so much? With any pain, whether physical or emotional, there is a healing process.  When you seek medical treatment you have to explain to the doctors and nurses what hurts and give them a level from 1 to 10 as to how much it hurts.   You also have to follow the directions and orders given by the doctors and nurses in order to assist with the progression of your physical healing.

When you have experienced the pain that digs deep into your emotions, you can also seek counseling from a trained professional.  Most of us tend to shy away from counseling because we feel it sends a message something is wrong with us.   This should be a matter of choice for you and perhaps talking to someone on a regular basis is just what you need to help with your healing.  Trying to go it alone may not be the answer for you, so hopefully there is  a ministry or a person within your church that you can call on to help with your healing process.

When I have experienced that deep pain and wondered why did it have to hurt so much, I have trusted in the Lord.  I know the hurt I feel will eventually go away, but I also know that it has also made me stronger.  I have survived the abuse; I have survived the ridicule; I have survived the disappointments and I have survived the dishonesty. I have survived the brokenness!  I can talk to God better than I can talk to anyone else and I know He listens to me even though He already knows what I am going to say.   I know He cares for me and He wants me to trust Him with all of my heart and soul.

Psalm 51:17  says “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou will not despise.”

When I have wondered, why it hurt so much, I am reminded of Jesus.  I know that the beating He took, the carrying of the cross and being nailed to the cross had to hurt.  I know that the sneers from the crowd and the crown of thorns on His head caused Him some pain.   But, He endured that pain for me.  So when I am hurting and I am wondering why, I pull my strength from my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  I know that although my tears are flowing, He will give me joy in the morning.  I can wonder why it hurts, but I know the pain is what will draw me closer to  Him.

I was broken and He restored me!

Celebrating Rosa Lee!

Today I am celebrating my mother, Rosa Lee!

  Today would have been her 80th birthday.

When my mother was still alive we would ask her how she was doing and she would say “Oh, I’m having a grand time”!  She would put such an emphasis on the word grand that you could not help but to smile with her.

There were many times in the last couple of years of her life, that she did not always remember who I was when I would visit her.  She would recognize my children and call them by name, but she would look at me and could not remember. She would even say that my children were Jackie’s children but did not realize that I was Jackie!  I would tell her that it was okay and then I would ask her how she was doing.  She never failed to say she was fine and she was having  a “grand time”!

Towards the end, when her memory and health were fading more and more, she would still continue to tell us she was having a “grand time” !

 I can only imagine that every day since January 5, 2011, the day the LORD called her home, that she has been having a “GRAND TIME”!

To God Be the Glory!

It is with much love that I am celebrating Rosa Lee!

Everything I Need!

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me besides the still waters.

He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil; for thou art with me;

thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;

 thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The 23rd Psalm is familiar to most of us.  We either learned it at an early age or we have just heard it so much that we can recite it without looking in the bible.  The past few days, in my quiet time, God has brought this scripture before me to meditate on.  In reading the 23rd Psalm, God ever so gently reminds me that He is everything I need.  Plain and simple as that, He lets me know that He is my shepherd and with him there is no lack.  He gives me peace, comfort, and restoration when my soul is anxious.  He gives me time and a place to rest.  He provides the beauty of nature for me to look at daily.  When evil is lurking near me, He tells me not to be fearful because He is right there with me to shield me from all harm and danger.  When others are  challenging me and even at times attacking who I am, He covers me with an anointed oil that only He can cover me in.  And then,  just like that, He blesses me!  In my best times and even in my broken times, His goodness and mercy is ever-present.

Plain and simple, He is everything I need!

Promises

We’ve all heard the old saying “promises were made to be broken”! I am not sure who first coined that phrase but it is obvious they were either on the receiving end of a broken promise or they broke a promise to someone.

If you have had any disappointments in relationships, you might believe this is a true statement.  Remember when you met that special someone, and all appeared to be going well in the relationship?  You tiptoed around as if you were walking on air.  You could finish each other’s sentences and you stayed on the phone just listening to each other breathe.  You promised to  love each other forever.  You promised to be true to each other.   It didn’t matter that you were only 16.  It was a promise! Then came the unexpected break up.  The tears flowed and your heart was broken!  You just knew you would never love like that again.  “Promises were made to be broken”.

Then there are those special friendships where you promise to be friends forever!  Today, the term is BFF (best friends forever). You shared secrets and promised not to tell.  The next thing you know that secret you told was  being broadcast all over town, on the school yard and even at your church.  You learn the hard way that the best kept secret is the one you just don’t tell.  “Promises were made to be broken!”

The word promise is defined as a declaration to do, to give or to arrange something.  A promise can also  be a declaration not to do something. It is a pledge or a vow. And oh, how it hurts when you realize a promise made to you will not be kept or was never intended to be kept!  How could you have been so gullible to believe the promises spoken to you were truthfully spoken?

When I was in my brokenness because of broken promises, I called on Jesus!  I wanted to know why. Why would anyone want to hurt me with false promises? Why would anyone tell me lies and still continue to look me in my face? Why would they not keep their promises to me?  Why?  I can’t tell you that I have ever found the answers to any of my whys.  I just know these were some experiences I had to go through in my life’s journey.

 When you enter into a relationship with the LORD, you will come to know that He will keep His promises.

 God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act?   Does he promise and not fulfill?    I have received a command to bless;  he has blessed, and I cannot change it. (Numbers 23:19-20)

He gives us instructions to do right and we can receive what the LORD has promised.

 Do what is right and good in the LORD’s sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land the LORD promised on oath to your ancestors (Deuteronomy 6:18) 

He can be trusted!

Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. (2 Samuel 7:28)

Even in times of trouble, He promises to sustain you.

Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed. (Psalm 119:116)

If we believe in Him, He promises us eternal life!

For God so loved the world, that HE agave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

And this is what he promised us–eternal life. (1 John 2:25)

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Dear LORD, Thank you for your promises!  Thank you for loving me when promises that were made to me were broken.  Thank you for sustaining me.  Forgive me, LORD, for uttering promises that I did not keep.  LORD, I thank You for being gracious and merciful.  LORD, help me to do right and to live right so that I may continue to receive your great promises in my life.  I thank You for the promises that have already been fulfilled and I thank you for the promises that are yet to be! Dear LORD, I thank you, that even in my brokenness, you were restoring me with your promises.  In the name of Jesus, I say, Amen.

Determined!

At the beginning of this year a dear friend challenged her Facebook friends to come up with one word to take them through the year.  I chose the word DETERMINED!   The word determined is an adjective that means having made a firm decision and being resolved not to change it!

I purposely chose the word determined because I have it resolved in my spirit that I am moving forward in this life and not backwards.  I am determined not to allow past hurts and disappointments take me back to a dark place or time in my life.  Galatians 5:1  In this freedom Christ has made us free; stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery which you have put off!

I am determined to walk in victory no matter what people say about me or think about me!   I am determined to encourage myself even when no one else does.  I am determined to receive the blessings and promises God has in store for me!  Psalm 23:5  He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  He anoints my head with oil; my cup runs over!

I have made the decision to live each day as a blessing from God.  I am determined to find joy in each day that I am able to wake up, even when I know I will have to face some challenges.  Psalm 118:24 This is the day which the LORD has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it!

I am determined to spend more time with my Father!  The one who can comfort me like no other; the One who truly listens and understands me for who I am.  I am determined to draw closer to the One who  has given me purpose and direction.  Psalm 121:1-2  I will look to the hills from where my help comes from! My help comes from the LORD who made heaven and earth!

I am resolved to be a better person because I want to be more like Him!  Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them!

 I am determined to take better care of myself.  I am determined to make better food choices. I am determined to exercise more.  I am determined to live more healthy and more holy!  Psalm 139:14  I praise Him because I am fearfully and wonderfully made! 

I am determined to trust God more and more with all aspects of my life.  I trust him with my family, my friends, my career, my finances, my ups and my downs! I am determined to let go and let God, because I know how awesome He truly is!  Psalm 24: 10  Who is the King of glory? The Lord Almighty—-He is the King of Glory!

Even in my brokenness, I am determined 2b restored!

Even In My Brokenness. . . . .

1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2“Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.  Jeremiah 18:1-4

Take a minute and reflect  back on what may have been one of your darkest moments.  When and where did you experience your brokenness?  It may have been the loss of a loved one, the end of a tumultuous relationship, the loss of a job, or a financial hardship.  Could it have been a health issue, drug addiction, depression or eviction from your home?

You may have felt like giving up and running away from your situation.  Maybe you were tempted to drown your troubles by drinking  some wine or some other alcoholic beverage.   Or did the temptation of doing drugs try to lure you back in for a temporary fix? Perhaps  you were tempted to call someone who could only bring more misery and destruction into your life. Did you get so broken that you even considered taking your own life?

Now take a look at yourself today!  Do you see how God sustained you and covered you so that you could be restored? Although you might have felt alone and empty, He did not ever leave you and He surely did not forsake you.  Even in your brokenness, it was God who kept you from taking a drink from the bottle.  Even in your brokenness, it was God who did not allow you to succumb to a temporary high from drugs.  It was God who kept you away from the person or persons who would be of no good for the plans God had in store for you.  Your life was and still is in His hands!

There have been a “few” times in my life, where I was ready to give up.  I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel and I would become more discouraged day by day.  It got to the point, I did not even know what to pray for.  I would just say “God, I am still here”, but I would feel so tired and worn down.  I would try to smile on the outside while all the time I was a mess  on the inside.  Then God started to show me how He was moving in my life.  He moved me from one location to another.  He put new people in my life; people who did not mind telling me they were praying for me even if they did not know me! Then there were some people who had to be moved out of my life; the ones that thought they knew me.  The ones who would speak negative things over my life and try to steal my confidence and rob me of my joy.  Well, God took care of that, too! Sometimes just as quickly as He will move someone into your life, He will allow relationships to come to an end. Even in the brokenness that we experience, God has a way of restoring us and elevating us to a new place in Him.

Imagine the joy and freedom I felt, when I  started to realize that God was working things out for me.  He was restoring me even in the midst of my brokenness.  My restoration did not come suddenly; it was a process.  A process similar to the clay on the potter’s wheel before the pot is finished! During this process, I learned how my brokenness was making me stronger.  Today, I can proudly say, I was broken to be restored.  I give God all the glory and praise for what He has done in my life and for what He is getting ready to do.  You see, even in my brokenness, He was already making me into a better person for Him! I am restored!  Thank you, Jesus!

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Dear Lord, I pray for those who may be experiencing a brokenness.  I pray they will call on the wonderful name of Jesus.  Set them free, dear Lord, from the situation that has broken their hearts and broken their spirits.  Set them free from the addictions, from the depression and from the bad relationships.  God create in them a clean heart and restore them to be who you have purposed them to be.  God, I ask that You show them how mighty and wonderful you are.  God, I pray for healing in the mind, body and soul.  Where there is lack, I ask that you supply their every need.   God, I thank you for the restoration even in the midst of their brokenness! Amen.

Go Back and Say Thank You!

In the story of the 10 lepers, we are told that Jesus healed all 10 from leprosy, but only one returned to say thank you.

In the book of Luke, chapter 17, the Message version, it reads as follows: “11-13 It happened that as he made his way toward Jerusalem, he crossed over the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance but raised their voices, calling out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”14-16Taking a good look at them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”They went, and while still on their way, became clean. One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank him enough—and he was a Samaritan.17-19Jesus said, “Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?” Then he said to him, “Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you.

When you take the time to reflect over situations you’ve been in where do you stand? Are you part of the 9 or did you go back and say “thank You”? As the world continues to see so much sickness, disease, death, chaos, devastation and violence have you thanked God that you are still here? If you are reading this, you have survived all that 2020 threw at you and you have survived a good part of 2021. Have you remembered to say “Thank You”?

Be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life union with Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (GNT)

I want to encourage you, that if you have not taken the time to tell God “Thank You, that it’s not too late to go back and tell Him.

Heavenly Father, we are coming back to say Thank You. Thank You for waking us up today. Thank You for protecting us and providing for us. Thank You for Your unconditional Love. Thank You for Your Grace and Your Mercy. Thank You for all the things You have done and especially for those things where we failed to show gratitude. Father, please forgive us for not coming back to say “Thank You”. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Leave It In God’s Hands

This past Saturday while I was preparing to go walk around a local farmer’s market, I went to open my wallet to get my bank card and I could not find it. As I looked further, not only was my bank card missing, but so was my driver’s license and a few other cards. I immediately began to look through my purse hoping those items had fallen loose into the bottom of my purse, but they were not there! I was still in my car so I started to reach around on the floor again hoping maybe those items were just on the floor of the car. They were not there! Thankfully, I was able to get what I needed by using another card that was still in my purse, but I was nervous about the items I could not find. I was hopeful that maybe they had fallen out at home, because I had not been anywhere in the past few days where I had need to reach for anything in my purse or wallet.

Well, when I arrived home and started to look around in what I thought were the obvious places, I did not find my missing items. At this point, I am starting to process where I may have lost them and who has found them and what are they going to do with my information! Will they try to use my info or will they make attempts to return to me as my address is on my driver’s license? I was able to go online and freeze my bank and credit cards. I was still hoping my lost items would be found. I called the grocery store where I had last used my bank card and the store I was in prior to realizing I did not have my card. They were not there! As for my driver’s license, I checked the replacement process and knew I would have to go into the DMV on Monday to get a replacement. Although I was frustrated over having somehow lost my bank card and driver’s license, what more could I do? The cards were lost and I would have to make the necessary calls and/or appointments to get these items replaced. However, I was still thinking where and how did I lose my cards and who has found them and what are they going to do! After searching around the house and my car again, I decided to pray over the whole situation and leave it in God’s hands so that I could relax.

Monday morning came and I was not looking forward to going to the DMV to get my license replaced. I told my daughter that I also could not find my earphones and that perhaps I lost them at the same time I lost my other items. A few minutes later she asks me did I recall dropping my purse the other day? My reply was no, at least I don’t recall dropping it or even reaching down to pick it up. I have a small canvas storage box I keep in the hallway right as we walk into the house from the garage. She happened to look down and notice what looked like my earphones and when she checked the box, the cards and my driver’s license were in the box! Needless to say I was relieved and thankful! I had been looking for something that was not really lost; it was just hidden from my sight.

I am sharing this to let you know there are times we think we may have lost out on opportunities, lost out on relationships, lost out on achieving goals or even lost ourselves somewhere along life’s journey, but it could be we have not lost these things at all. Some of the things we desire and need, are not always lost from within our reach, they are just hidden for a time in order for us to leave it in God’s hands. We have to learn to trust God in all things, great and small, and believe that He knows what is best for us and He knows when the timing is best for us. The very things we’ve lost could be waiting on us to find them through God and not through our own plans or through our own understanding. God tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all of your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. “ (NLT)

I want to encourage you to pray over that opportunity or the relationship you feel has been lost and leave it in God’s hands. He knows exactly when you thought you lost it and what it meant to you. We have to learn to trust His plan for us and allow Him to restore what has been lost. He will restore to us what has been lost according to His plans and purpose for our lives. When we leave our circumstances in God’s hands, we will be even more blessed than we could’ve hoped or imagined. In doing it His way, He gets the glory!

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Father, we thank You for being our LORD and King of Kings! We praise You for the great blessings You have already given us. We come before Your throne and ask for Your help in restoring what has been lost in our lives. Some feel they have lost out on opportunities, some have lost out on relationships and some have even lost their way. Father, we need You to help us get back what we can’t find on our own. We put everything in Your hands and ask for Your grace and Your guidance. Lead us back to those things that we’ve lost along the way according to Your will. Restore the hope, joy, peace and love to our hearts. Father, we ask You to restore those things that were hidden, lost or delayed in our circumstances, because we needed to learn to trust You more and leave it all in Your hands! We give You all the glory! In Jesus’ mighty name, amen!

2021, Here We Come!

We are in the final week of 2020, and most are hoping and praying that 2021 will be a better year than 2020 has been. We really don’t know what 2021 will bring, but as we approach this new year, I have my eyes fixed on Jesus. How about you? Are your eyes fixed on Jesus? I don’t want to be sidetracked by what may happen or what people may do in 2021. I want to hold onto the goal that I am being beckoned to move forward to Jesus. The only way for me to do that is to keep my eyes fixed on Him.

Over the years, to help me keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, I have learned to use scriptures to guide me in my prayers. I have hung on to His words to help me lean into what He wants me to do concerning my relationship with Him. Here are just a few scriptures that have helped me navigate through 2020 and will help me press into 2021:

“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have made it. But, I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal where God is beckoning us onward – to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” (Philippians 3:12-14 MSG)

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. (Hebrews 12:1-2 NLT)

“I look up to the mountains; does my help come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God who made heaven and earth, and mountains. He won’t let you stumble, your Guardian God won’t sleep. Not on your life Israel’s Guardian will never doze or sleep.” (Psalm121:1-3 MSG)

” When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is mankind that You are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:3-4 NIV)

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. (John 3:16-17 NIV)

There are so many more scriptures I could list, and I am hopeful you already have your own guiding scriptures. I just believe in order to step into this new year, and to face all that awaits whether good or not so good, we must press into God’s Word. In His Word, we find how much He loves us and how compassionate He is towards us.

I pray you have a blessed and safe new year. 2021, Here we come!

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Dear Father, we thank you for being our Good Shepherd. We honor and praise You for being kind and merciful to us. We thank You for this last week of December, and we thank You for giving us strength to run to the end of 2020.

LORD, there have been some challenging days and some moments where our hearts have been heavy, but we have held onto knowing that You have never left us or forsaken us. We thank You, Father, for being our Protector, our Provider and our Peace. We thank You for giving us hope when all around seemed hopeless. LORD, we thank You for the joy You gave us even as we were weeping.

Dear LORD, we pray for safe passage into this new year. Please bless and keep us through all that we may face in the days to come. Please continue to protect us, to provide for us and to guide us. Precious Father, we pray for Your divine healing grace and mercy to cure all manner of sickness and disease. We pray You will provide safe shelter for those who are homeless. Father, bless the unemployed with jobs and thank You for all the financial blessings we will recieve.

LORD, we pray as this year ends and a new one begins that the spiritually lost will be found and the spiritually blind will see. We thank You for bringing prodigal sons and daughters home. Lord, we declare breakthrough and deliverance for those struggling because of evil plots and plans that have taken them out of Your will.

LORD, we pray that as we look to the hills, we see You as our forever Help in this world. Please forgive us for our wrongs and disobedience. Help us to do better and to live more righteously. Father, we thank You in advance for all You will do to keep us safe and watch over us. Because of You, Lord and because we know You go before us, we boldly declare to 2021, Here we come! In the matchless and mighty name of Jesus, we say amen and amen again!

Are You Ready?

We have made it to the last month of 2020! I don’t know about you, but now that we are in December I feel this year has zipped by! Yes, I said zipped! In spite of all that has been going on around us, I feel like 2020 started just a short while ago and here we are approaching the last few weeks of the year! You’re probably thanking God for 2020 coming to an end, but are you ready for 2021? Are you really ready?

I have been hearing people say “I will be so glad when 2020 is over.” Or I’ve heard, “I can’t wait for things to get back to normal!” Do you really think things will go back to a resemblance of 2019 as if 2020 did not happen? During my 2020 experience, I have felt that God was shaking things up so that we would not return to the normalcy of pre-2020, but that what He planned for us would manifest in the earth.

Now don’t get me wrong, 2020 was not what I had anticipated it to be. One minute we were ushering in a new year with new resolutions, new hopes, and then all of a sudden, something happened that we did not expect to see or experience! And the interesting thing about approaching the year 2020 was that many were speaking of it being a year of 20/20 vision and insight! I’d venture to say that most of us did not see any of what we expected to see in 2020! I look at 2020 not just as another year in my life, but I will remember it as an unusual and amazing experience. The year 2020 has not been like any other year I have seen in my lifetime. I have had my share of ups and downs this year; I’ve had moments of joy and moments of despair, but God has continually blessed me and sustained me throughout 2020.

Isaiah 55:8-11 says “For My thoughts are not your thoughts and your ways are not My ways. This is the LORD’s declaration. For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For just as rain and snow fall from heaven, and do not return there without saturating the earth, and making it germinate and sprout, and providing seed to sow and food to eat, so My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please, and it will prosper in what I send it to do.” No matter what we were planning and thinking right before the strike of midnight on January 1, 2020, God’s thoughts were already different than ours. His plans, in the midst of all that we have experienced in 2020, was that His word would accomplish what He intended to accomplish.

I ask again, are you ready? Are you ready for what 2021 may bring? I hear the LORD say don’t just finish the year strong, finish ready! Be prepared! He asks what have you learned about Him in 2020 that will prepare you for 2021? Have you grown in your relationship with Him over these past 12 months? Have you spent more time complaining or have you spent more time being grateful? Have you worried more or have you put more of your trust in Him? Have you spent more time watching news reports or have you spent more time reading the Bible and feasting on God’s word? Have you prayed and fasted more? It’s not too late to consider making some changes before midnight strikes and we usher in the year 2021.

I don’t know how much different 2021 will be from 2020, but I do know God has a purpose and a plan for us. What God has set in motion will not return to Him empty or void. In 2020 we have gone through the pains of feeling the thorns from the rose bush before we see the rose blooming. I don’t know about you, but I am ready to see the roses bloom!

The remainder of Isaiah 55 in verses 12-13 reads as follows: You will indeed go out with joy and be peacefully guided; the mountains and the hills will break into singing before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thorn bush, a cypress will come up and instead of the brier, a myrtle will come up; it will make a name for the LORD as an everlasting sign that will not be destroyed.

Before this year ends I would encourage you to give some thought as to what you have learned from 2020. More importantly, what have you learned from God? I would also encourage you to write your thoughts and memories in a journal. I think our 2020 experience will make some amazing stories to tell in later years.

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Dear Father in Heaven, how amazing and wonderful You are! Thank You for blessing us to live through the experience of 2020. Prepare us to be ready for what You have in store for us in 2021. Saturate us with strength, power, wisdom, knowledge and love that comes from You. LORD, let the words of our mouths and meditations of our hearts be acceptable to You. Forgive us of our sins. LORD, we thank You for being the giver of life and the sustainer of life. Prepare us to be ready for what You will accomplish in the days ahead and bless us to see how Your plans will prosper in this land. In the precious and mighty name of Jesus, amen!

While You Wait On God

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When you don’t know what to expect in your personal circumstances or what to expect in what is going on in the world today, expect God.  The definition of expect means to regard something as likely to happen.  Today, I encourage you to  expect God to show up and to work everything out on your behalf.   Expect God to make a way out of no way.  Expect God to be your Healer, your Provider and your Protector. While you wait on the Lord, you should wait with an expectancy.  Expectancy means the state of thinking  or hoping that something pleasant will happen.  While you wait on God, expect Him to be your Strength, your Hope and your Peace.

Psalm 130:5-6 says ” I wait on the Lord, my whole being waits and in his word I put my hope.  I wait for the Lord more than the watchmen wait for morning, more than watchman wait for the morning.” NIV

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Dear Father, thank You for being everything we need.  While we wait for You to do great and mighty things, we wait with a joyful expectancy.  We know that as we wait on You, Lord, You will move in a mighty way.  Dear Lord, even in the midst of chaos,  we still wait with an expectancy knowing You already have the victory.  While we wait, Lord,  we wait with our whole beings and we stand firm on the promises of  Your word.  Lord, we thank You that we can walk by faith and not by sight, confidently expecting Your promises to be fulfilled in our lives. In Jesus’ mighty and precious name, amen and amen again!