Sunday, October 30, 2016

A day with God

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you had a great weekend. I had a blast at my writers retreat, but there's nothing much better than coming home.

I taught a lesson in church a few weeks ago about our commitment to God. We shared ideas on how to come closer to Him. I offered a little trick I used a few years ago that worked remarkably well.

One day I put a penny in my shoe. Every time I felt the penny, I said a prayer to God. I prayed at a stoplight, in my house, at the store, at my kids' school. I was aprayin' all day!

That night when I knelt down to say my evening prayers, in which I normally talk to God about my day, I started to tell Him all that had happened, but found myself stopping each time and saying, "Oh, you know that. You were there."

God is always with us, I believe that. But, when I purposefully turned my attention to Him throughout the day, I never felt alone.

And, in the end, I felt closer to Him.

Try it today! Put a penny in your shoe, then spend the day with God. And if you'd like, come back and share with us here how it was for you!

Have a great day in (and with) Him, my friends!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Be strong and of good courage

Have you ever stood before something that seemed so large, so massive, that you were sure you'd never succeed? Maybe it was the trial of a sick child, or a lost job. Maybe your marriage is struggling, or your own health is compromised. Maybe there are problems in your extended family that yo simply don't know how to resolve. Maybe you stand and look at parts of the world we live and and feel like it's heading towards the crapper.

Times like these we may feel overwhelmed, filled with doubt, riddled by fear.

I image that's how Joshua was feeling when he was given charge of the thousands of Israelite nomads. There he was, left with a ginormous group who'd traveled in circles in the wilderness for 40 years, waiting for the time they could claim their promised land. Their beloved leader, Moses, had just died.  And now . . .NOW was the time the Lord chose to have Israel take Canaan. 

He's a better person than me, because I would have probably looked at the Lord and said something like, "Really?" You've had four decades with Moses in the lead. Four. And now, he's gone. And you want to me to lead these people whose diet has been manna foreverrrrrrrr and take over Canaan? Maaaaybe not the best idea."

I'm assuming the Lord knew that Joshua would be a little hesitant or afraid, for before Joshua could even begin to protest, the Lord encourages him three times to be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:6,7,9), He knew that what He was asking Joshua to do was big and scary--daunting even. And yet, it had to be done. Sometimes the promises of the Lord are handed to us, and other times, as this, it requires our reaching. And boy was He asking Joshua and his people to reach.

But, here are two really beautiful promise the Lord gave Joshua:

"As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee; I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee" (vs 5)

and this one:

"The Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest" (vs 9).

Oh how I love those promises!! Joshua must have as well, becasue after the Lord asked him to do perhaps the most difficult thing he'd done in his life, there was no argument, no rebuttal, no bartering. He simply went and did it, trusting that God would keep His promises.

And He did.

It's the same with us.

Sometimes He asks us to reach for blessings; and sometimes we have to reach through some really dark or scary things to get them. But, we can find strength and courage knowing that our Lord is with us; He will not fail us or forsake us. Wherever we go, He will be there too.

I don't see it as Him standing beside us and, pointing to a mountain spewing volcanic lava, saying, "Go over there. I've got something for you. I promise, it'll be worth it."

No, I see Him standing beside us, pointing to wherever we need to go, and saying, "Come. Let's go together. I have something wonderful for you."

Sisters, the Lord is with us. He won't forsake us. We need not fear if we look to Him. 

Let us be strong! Let us have good courage. Let us go and conquer the cities set before us. Let us claim the promises He has for us.

Let us believe our Lord when He says, "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid: neither be though dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest." 

And then let's go.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Trading fear for faith

've thought and studied on fear for a few years now. I've pondered whether it's good or bad, the physiological aspects of fear, and even if it's real. But I'm not going to get into any of that today.

Today I just want to share a thought and a question:

Thought: God does not give the spirit of fear, but He does ask us to do hard things, things out of our comfort zones. That's the only place we grow, the place where we experience resistance to our naturally desired state of complacency and ease and safety.

That's where the the power comes from-His power. When we turn our hearts and will to Him, we get in return power to do those things He has for us. 

Some of the things that have frightened me the most have turned out to be the best things for me. And I would have never found them or experienced them if I had let fear decide for me. But when I trade fear for trust in Him, and move forward, I can have a sound mind knowing that His power will carry me through.

He has faith in us. He has faith in you. If your are facing something that is causing you fear this day, ask God if it's something He wants or needs to you do or experience. If the answer is yes, then breathe deep, and go for it.

Now here's my question: How do you do that? When you feel fear in the face of His will, how do you push through that fear, overcome that fear, to walk in His power with a sound mind as you strive to love His will?

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Regular people with glorious purposes

Painting by Bernard Plockhorst 
Days before Jesus's crucifixion, He made a triumphant entry into Jerusalem, a sign to all who would believe that He is the Savior of His people and the world. As significant as this event was, I'd like to focus on the preceding verses, found in Mark 11:1-6.

Jesus needed a donkey for his grand entry:

1. And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples,

2 And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him.

One thing I love about this is that we don't know the names of these disciples. It doesn't say He asked Peter or James or John- His right-hand men- to do such a vital task. Nope, seems to be just to regular disciples. This tells me that Jesus counts on people like us- just regular women with faults and weaknesses but flowing faith- to help in in His work.

Reading on . . .

3 And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.

4 And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him.

5 And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt?

6 And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go

Sometimes the Lord asks us to do things that don't always make sense. It might be tempting to doubt or falter. We wonder if we heard Him right, or if we can what He has asked us to do.

But here's the powerful lesson tucked into these verses: Jesus has things He wants us to do, and if we do our best to obey, He will provide a way.

Today, let's not doubt His purpose for us. We are regular people with glorious purposes. And that's awesome.

​So, let's go boldly and do what He asks us to do- even if it might not make sense. Let's trust Him. Let's let Him work through us and see miracles happen before our eyes.

Have an amazing day in Him, my friends!

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