You Are Loved!

Happy Mother’s Day!

This morning as I was finishing up my prayer time, I heard the LORD say be still a minute. As I stayed on my knees, what I heard in my spirit was these 3 words, “You are loved.” This brought tears to my eyes because as Mother’s Day approaches, for some of us, it is not always a day of joyous celebrations. A feeling of heaviness has been tugging on my heart most of this week, because I’ve been through some disappointments or known others dealing with so many different emotions that try to hinder us from celebrating this particular holiday.

As the day approaches and plans are being made for Mother’s Day, some are dealing with the loss of a mother or the loss of a child, whether it is a recent loss or years ago. This past week I’ve seen numerous social media posts of friends wishing their mothers or children were still here with them to celebrate Mother’s Day. There are some women who are dealing with not being able to conceive a child or not being able to carry a child full term. Others are dealing with growing older and not being able to start a family. Some are dealing with children who have distanced themselves from their families. Some are dealing with children who constantly get into trouble. Some mothers are wondering, if they will receive a call or text just to acknowledge it is Mother’s Day! And, some are even dealing with broken relationships with their own mothers.

So many different emotions can be triggered on Mother’s Day, and as with any holiday, this day can be a bittersweet day. So if you are struggling with any sadness or disappointment on this Mother’s Day, be encouraged. Be encouraged, because God wants you to know that “you are loved!” On this day and every day, He blesses us with His love because He is love. He loves us in spite of our circumstances and He loves us in the midst of our sadness and disappointments.

You are loved by your Father in heaven and He celebrates you and comforts you on this Mother’s Day.

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Father, we thank You. We thank You for protecting us through the night and waking us up to see a new day. We thank You for this Mother’s Day and we trust You to guide us through the day. We thank you for mothers who are joyously celebrating this day and we pray for those who are dealing with bittersweet emotions. We thank You for all mothers. Father, we look to You to comfort our hearts and give us peace. Heal our hearts and help us to forgive; wipe away every tear that falls. Father, we look to You to protect our families and to restore relationships. We can’t thank You enough for your precious thoughts towards us. Father, thank You for reminding us that we are loved and most importantly that no matter the circumstances, we are loved by You! In Jesus’ precious name, Amen!

John 4:16 NIV: “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”

Psalm 136:26 NIV: “Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.”

Zephaniah 3:17 GNT: “For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

Psalm 139: 17-18 NLT: “How precious are your thoughts about me, God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!”

“You Are Loved”

At The Right Time, The Door Will Open

This morning I got up a bit earlier than I had planned. Imagine wanting to sleep in on a Saturday, but you get up earlier than you normally do on Monday through Friday! As I was trying to decide what playlist of worship music I should listen to this morning, I opened the back door that leads to my patio and I could hear birds already singing for me. I let the screen down on the screen door as a way to “turn the volume up” to hear the birds! It was too early and too dark for me to sit out on the patio and I had not had my 1st cup of coffee.

A few minutes later, although it was still dark and I had not turned the coffee maker on, I decided to open the screen door and step outside anyway. As I grabbed the door handle to open the door, the handle fell onto the floor! At this point I am trying not to panic, because I realize I can’t open the door to get outside. I am thinking it is too early in the day to start off like this! Panic was about to kick in, because I felt like I was locked inside from getting to my patio.

This is the time of the year I enjoy sitting outside throughout the morning just listening to the birds, watching the clouds and talking to God with my cup of coffee near by. So now my thoughts want to really race with this situation and I start to think what if I was sitting outside when this happened? How would I get back into the house, because there is a fence around my property. The gate is locked and I don’t have my house key to get in through the front! As I said, panic was about to kick in!

Now you may be wondering why didn’t I just pick up the door handle to put it back on the door. Well, I did, but still being in near panic mode, I was not processing what I needed do. I kept thinking I can’t open the door and who will I need to call to fix the door and how much will it cost? I took a deep breath and started to put the door handle back in place to connect with the door. It took me a couple of tries and then I was able to adjust it so the door would open and I was able to tighten the handle in place as well. All of this activity with the door lasted less than a few minutes. Truthfully, it has taken me longer to explain it here than it took for me to put the handle back on the door.

So at this very moment, the sun is out and I am sitting outside on my patio. I am enjoying my morning coffee as I listen to the birds sing and as I watch the trees sway with the wind gently blowing on what is a beautiful Saturday morning. As I think about my situation earlier with the door, I am reminded that when God has an open door for you, no man or no thing can shut you out, lock you out or keep you out. You may think you have missed out on an opportunity or you may feel you have been locked out or excluded from plans others have made, but when God has something for you, it will be yours! You may have to make some adjustments and continue praying, but when it is time, God will make sure the door opens for you! I thought I was in an unwelcome and unexpected situation this morning, but I am also reminded to be anxious for nothing!

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Father, thank You for this new day and the tender mercies You grant us each morning. Thank You for blessing us to see and hear the beauty of nature around us. Father, we thank You for opening doors of opportunities and blessings that no man or no thing can shut. We thank You, Father, for designating the right time and the right circumstances to open doors for us. Father, we also thank You for doors that have been shut, because they were not our doors to open and the time was not designated by You! It is in Jesus’ mighty name, we say amen and amen again!

“…At the right time, I, the LORD, will make it happen.” Isaiah 60:22 NLT

” I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” Revelation 3:8 NIV

” Do not be anxious about anything, but in every and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Try Again!

A few months ago a young friend of mine asked me when I was going to write another post on this blog. I shared with her I had a few drafts pending, but I had not completed any of them. She encouraged me to get back on task of writing as she enjoys reading this blog. Today, I have tried several times to complete a post and I find myself at a crossroads. I have all these thoughts and ideas as to what I can write about, but even today I find myself struggling to write. I always pray as I write so that I will capture what God wants me to write in these posts. Today, as I prayed, I told God I want to write and I want to finish this post.

As I uttered those words, the Holy Spirit reminded of the story of when Peter told the disciples he was going to fish and they decided to go with him. However, as they fished into the night they did not catch any fish. The scripture in John 21:4-6 in the NIV says: “Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He call out to them “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.” There is no doubt that Peter knew how to fish, but there are times we experience frustrations, disappointments and struggles which might hinder us from accomplishing our goals. Peter had just gone through a time where he had denied Jesus 3 times and saw Him crucified.

Prior to hearing Jesus’ voice Peter was probably ready to call it a day and go back out at a later time. Several times in recent months and even today, I have sat down in front of my computer only to walk away leaving the screen blank or with just a title and no accompanying sentences. I just could not get the words, sentences or paragraphs to flow onto the page. Just like Peter and the disciples, I was coming up with nothing. Today, after quite a few attempts I was led to go sit back down in front of the computer and write. Sometimes, we may feel like giving up or feel the time is not right to finish what we have started. I am thankful for those who want to read what I write and who encourage me along the way. More importantly, I am thankful for Jesus who has a way of saying “try again.” He told Peter to put the nets on the other side of the boat. Today, He told me to “go sit back down at the computer and write”. What is He telling you to start, to continue or to finish? I pray you hear Him say “try again”.

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Father, thank You for today. Thank You for giving us another chance. Thank You for Your encouragement and inspiration that flows to us. Father, it is because of You that even when we fail, even when we come up short, or even when we encounter blank pages in our lives, we can still move forward and try again. Father, it is because of You that we can do all things in Jesus who gives us strength. Father, we pray ears will be open to hear You say, try again. And as you called Peter and the disciples “friends’, we thank You for calling us Your friends. We thank You for being a friend so full of love and encouragement towards us. It is in Jesus’ precious name, we say 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!

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!

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!

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!

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!

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!