Thursday, June 27, 2013

Can I Get An Example?

In the world of technology, I find myself often times falling further and further behind the younger generation. I still have not joined the world of Iphones but have managed to gain hold of my first Smart Phone. What I don't understand is if it's supposed to be so smart, why all the hassles of trying to use the apps that phone comes with. When I got my new phone there isn't even an owner's manual to accompany it, just a link within the phone that takes me to the internet to look at all the options. I don't know about you, but this just doesn't work for me. How can you follow along with a link on the web from your phone and then toggle back and forth to do what you need the phone do to. For me, often times it's the most simple thing, like putting my phone on silent or vibrate without having to go through multiple steps. I need an example to follow.

That is why I am more than thrilled when I find someone with the same phone as me, who has become a master at anything that phone can do. I'd rather consult with them than look through the millions of options online to explain what my friends can do in a short and sweet manner. I even love it when they show me things I didn't even know my phone can do like hitting an app called City Lens which opens up what looks like a camera option on my phone. I simply look through my phone's window and turn around and depending on what I'm searching for will show me where the nearest restaurant, bank, gas station or movie theater is based on where I am standing. I then simply click on the link and it magically opens up the navigation portion for turn by turn directions to wherever I am looking to go. I could easily see using this when visiting places where you literally don't know where anything is, like out of the area travelers.

So I am sure, you've figured out this isn't just about me and getting someone to show me how to use my phone, right?

Nope, it's a God thing today.

Meaning God's got a message for you today.

Just what is it, well its based on what I see happening around me every day. And it impacts me more when I see people who claim to be Christians leading people away from Christ. What do I mean exactly?

Lately even Christians have thrown up their hands in frustrations when the things they often pray about don't happen. It might mean a job change, financial help or you name it. In light of the way the world's headed, it's easy to get lost in the shuffle with everyone else. However what I find it that when people know you're a Christian, they expect a certain standard from you. Often times they expect you to handle crisis better than most. Often times we don't live up to their expectations. I think that reflects poorly on us because it sets the stage often times for what being a Christian looks like.

We are instructed by Jesus to follow Him. He is the perfect example. We are therefore, to be like examples of Jesus in the world today, since Jesus is not physically here. We are. We are often times the only examples people will see of what following Jesus looks like. We are to be that example to the world or at least the people we encounter every day. We don't have to be perfect, but I would examine how you act around people who know you are a Christian.

What would they say Christ looks like after looking at you?

Ouch! That one stung didn't it.

I'm the first to say, I mess up a lot. I don't always live up to what I believe Jesus wants to see me do every single day, and often times I don't even bother to take the time to say a simple prayer and invite Him into my day. I just assume He'll jump on board and follow me. But that is my first mistake. I can do NOTHING without Him. Oh sure I can accomplish things, but how many times I have missed the mark of what I was suppose to accomplish today because I was simply too worried about my to do list getting done.

Lately I've watched my fellow Christians simply give up. They go to work at a job they hate for years hoping that someone will simply fire them rather than quit and move on if they're not happy. They set a horrible example of what being a Christian is to those working around them see. I don't think they are setting the type of example God will ask us to show the world. We are instructed to give our very best every single day. We are followers of Christ, let His light shine before all to see.

I think most of us have simply thrown in the towel with the world. Living a life for Christ is not an easy one, but one we never have to go at alone. We have Jesus Christ, all Powerful, All Knowing, All Capable of providing for us whatever we need to accomplish His goal for us today.

I would encourage you to look at the example you've been setting lately. Would God be pleased?

How many people know you're a Christian? What kind of example have you been teaching them lately about what it is to follow Christ?

The end is drawing closer and it's time to not conform to the world's standards but to be set apart from them. I hope this message encourages you in some way and I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

Matthew 5:16 " In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Bitterness of Life

Who hasn't heard of Warheads?

Supposedly if you haven't, let me enlighten you.

These are small candies that are suppose to pack a powerful bitterness that most can barely handle. Unless of course if you love sour things like lemons and sour candy. Yet the impact is the greatest when you first pop the powdery hard candy in your mouth.

In fact, just thinking about this is making my mouth water. My husband and my youngest daughter can handle them. I have to hold on tight for the ride because I know if I can handle the bitterness for a minute or two, the true sweetness comes out when you get closer to the center.

In fact, check out these young faces and see what I mean. (If the video loads slowly, simply double click on the video to open it directly in YouTube.

So where I am going with this. Well God's great like that, in that I can be doing something like simply watching the video you just did above, and He uses that to shine a light on a message for me to share with you. It's simple but powerful.

The storms of life that we all have to endure are a whole lot like taking on a warhead. For some, they thrive in those types of situations. They smile and just get through it because they know it won't last long. Then there are those that can barely stand it when they find themselves at the beginning. They can't handle it for any length of time and spit it out. They completely miss out on the blessing they would have discovered if they simply endured the bitterness for a time.

Just like the Warhead candy, there are some that are easy to deal with than others. The blueberry ones the worst for me, I can barely hang on to get the end of those ones. Much like there are certain storms of like I don't deal well with like ones having to do with financial impacts I am not expecting. For others of you health issues, family relationships or job difficulties may be your blueberry Warhead.

What God is trying to teach us all, is that it will come to an end.

We have to endure these trials for a short time in His eyes so that the sweetness can come into our lives by simply weathering that storm He has placed in front of us. We will be used in the most amazing ways if we simply push on through that day and ask for God's help to get through it.

We'll never know just how close we were to getting to that sweet part of our storm if we simply give up and spit it out.

Trust in God in all things!

Sweetness always seems hidden beneath the bitterness of what life brings us if we are simply willing to wait it out and deal with it with God's help.

"I can do all things through Jesus Christ, who strengthens me." ~ Philippians 4:13

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Dying Tree

I have loved willow trees for as long as I can remember. Not sure if was since the introduction to Grandmother Willow from the Disney movie Pocahontas or those lazy mossy trees from pictures of the Louisiana Bayou's, but there seems to be something beckoning one to explore the world underneath the hanging branches.

That is why I was thrilled when we moved into our new home and found a Willow tree in our front yard. Just a baby one at that, but even more exciting was knowing when spring came, we'd have a place to hang out beneath the branches to find a cool place in the shade during the summer. In fact, my youngest daughter was already making plans to picnic underneath and spend time reading, or just doodling.

Well the spring came and soon the Willow began to really grow. Even though the high winds threatened to pull off all it's leaves and branches, it stood. It grew. Until this last week.

Very subtly the tree began to turn yellow. Just half of the tree. First I noticed it on a few lower hanging branches and then backing my car out of the garage I noticed that quite literally half of the tree looked yellow. It almost looked like two trees standing side by side. Not sure what was happening, I went to my computer and googled the symptoms.

Some said, the tree wasn't getting enough water. After the really hot heat waves we had been having, I thought that might have been the case. It literally seemed like someone was burning the leaves off the tree. The were dried out and crumbling.

More answers said, you might be overwatering it. Since we were already babying new grass that was coming in, we thought that might be the answer as well. But the lawn in places was dying as well. So that didn't seem like the likely cause.

The final two answers showed disease and borer insects like the Japanese beetle. In other words our tree was dying and it was letting us know. We immediately put a call into a local arborist but since it was late on Friday, we were told they could call us on Monday at the earliest. So we researched some more and discovered a remedy for disease and borer insects at our local home improvement store. One bucketful of this stuff was all it took to help heal the tree for the next 12 months. We should begin to see results in about a week or longer the label promised. So we applied the treatment and waited for the expert to show up.

He came by yesterday and said we did the right thing. It was a borer insect infestation that has been plaguing our tree for the last couple of years but the great news is that we caught it soon enough to save and heal our tree. We should see a completely different tree next year. We are excited.

Yet last night just before bed God showed me that my spiritual life lately is a whole lot like my Willow tree. It still has life inside, but it will die unless I spend some more time with God in each day. Lately I've been busy doing chores, errands and trying to manage a busy life with a traveling husband and all the responsibility has been falling on my shoulders. I've been trying too hard to manage it all on my own, while God is waiting to carry this load for me. I simply need to turn to Him and ask for help. I need to reestablish my relationship with Him again so that I can handle the little frustrations that come each day that tip the scales against me.

I have to remember it was never mine to handle alone. Life isn't meant to be dealt with alone. God stands waiting for us to simply turn to Him and ask for help. The symptoms are always there, we simply need to be observant enough to look at the type of fruit we are bearing. Are we impatient, tired, weak, angry, frustrated or confused? Sounds like you need some spiritual treatment much like my tree needed some. Otherwise the insects and disease of this world will eat away at you bit by bit until you bear these types of emotions in your life. Don't you want to be joyful, loving, kind, patient, in control, and at peace? Then perhaps it's time to spend some time with God and ask for Him to give you a complete spiritual overhaul before it's too late. Soon enough you'll be good as new much like my tree will be.

Galatians 5:22-23 ~ "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Sitting down with author Billy Coffey!

I've always loved great stories. In part, because they stay with you long after you have finished. Some in fact have embedded themselves in my mind that even now they seem like my own personal memories. Then one day something truly wonderful happened. I came across a blog titled simply, "What I Learned Today" from Billy Coffey. He shared these simple, but relevant true stories that resounded deep inside your soul and once there they have never left. I am thrilled for that because I've gotten the opportunity to watch him live a dream.

He began writing these incredible stories on his blog while waiting for his big break. It has taken a lot of blood, sweat and tears but in the end, Billy is living every writers dream, to see your book published. Not only that but well received, liked, talked about and in demand. 

If you're a firm follower of Billy Coffey, then you already know most of this, but if you have found your way here today, well I'd like to believe God brought you here for a purpose.When Mockingbirds Sing is Billy's third novel. His first, Snow Day, is an amazing novel that chronicles what happens when that inevitable snow day occurs to different people all over a wonderful city. There is truly something to be found for everyone who reads it and everyone definitely has their favorite parts of the book. 

Paper Angels was Billy's second novel debut and chronicles the life of Andy Sommerville, who has been visited throughout his life by one he deems, the Old Man, who instructs him to keep a box of mementos that share special memories of people who have impacted his life. This is where we get to know just what the purpose in the collecting means and how he shares it with a woman named Elizabeth, he believes is a counselor in the hospital. What happens along the way touches you long after you finish the novel. 

Now in When Mockingbirds Sing, by far for me, his best novel yet, we are taken back to the town of Mattingly and we meet the Norcross family who has just moved there from a place simply known by the locals as Away. The story revolves around their nine-year-old daughter Leah who feels isolated partly because of her stutter. She finds solace in her conversations with the Rainbow Man who is only visible to Leah. The story builds as Leah finds herself painting pictures based on instructions from the Rainbow Man who appeal specifically to those she paints them for. It soon draws a line in the sand between the people of Mattingly who believe Leah and those that don't. You'll have to pick this one up to see the climatic ending of just what happens when people can't find explanations for what is going on in their small town. 

Now the fun part. I got to take some time and ask Billy some questions not only about the novel When Mockingbirds Sing but also about life in general. So without further delay, here goes!

1.Where did the idea to introduce mockingbirds to the novel stem from? In other words, why mockingbirds and not another species of bird?

My grandmother loved birds. I remember being just a kid and going to work up the garden with her. She’d start calling birds, one after the other—robins, sparrows, cardinals, anything. She’d whistle and sound just like them, and after a while I’d look up at the telephone line that ran the length of their yard and see it covered with birds. But she loved mockingbirds most of all. She passed on when I was just a boy. But for years after, every summer there would be a mockingbird singing every night in the big maple in our backyard. It just stuck with me, I guess.

2. Will there be another novel coming as a sequel to When Mockingbirds Sing? I know you are working on the companion book to Paper Angels involving the town of Mattingly again, but will there be one that continues the story of some of the characters in When Mockingbirds Sing like Allie, Tom or Ellen Norcross or even the Sheriff Jake since we never quite got to hear about his story of Happy Hollow.

The next novel will focus on Sheriff Jake. The one after that will be Allie’s. I think all the characters but Allie found some sort of closure by the end of When Mockingbirds Sing. That was by design. Allie’s my favorite, so I’m not done with her quite yet. Unfortunately, that also means she’s going to be hurting quite a bit.

3. What do you hope people take away from reading When Mockingbirds Sing?

I think there’s a prevalence in today’s society to fit everything we can into a single tiny box, whether it’s politics or social concerns or religion. That’s one of the main points the story ends up making—life is too full of mystery to be neatly fit into either/or. It’s oftentimes more and/both.

4. What made you decide to take a darker spin to your writing style? There is obviously a darker element that we see at play in this novel with a suspense side that is created when the painting Leah creates begin to have a prophetic vision to them.

I spent my first two books trying to get a feel for writing fiction. Mockingbirds is the result of that. Thomas Nelson gave me the freedom to produce the kind of books I really wanted to write. Mockingbirds really is darker than my other two novels. In some ways, the next one is even darker than Mockingbirds. But you know what? I think real life can be pretty dark as well, and I’m a big believer in the notion that we’re all surrounded by the unseen. So I don’t mind using a little darkness. It makes the light brighter.

5. Do you think the Rainbow Man will be returning in any of your future novels?

You never know. My gut reaction is no. But I’ll qualify that by saying the Rainbow Man was an instance of God stepping into the world for a brief moment, and that’s something you’ll always see in my books.

6. What do you think are the earmarks of a great storyteller?

An ear for dialogue, an eye for setting, and a good dose of honesty. And I think the best stories—the ones that stand the test of time—are those who don’t just tell what happens, but also speak to the deepest parts of us and what it means to be human.

7. How do you stay true to your faith in your novels without going overly religious that might turn some readers off?

I always think of the book of Esther in the Old Testament. God’s never mentioned once in those ten chapters, and yet He’s everywhere—just behind the scenes. That’s what I try to keep in mind when I write.

8. You say you wanted to be a baseball player growing up, have you considered the possibility of writing a book about a baseball player?

Oh, I’m sure sooner or later the subject of baseball will come up in a book. Or two. There are already a couple of ideas floating around.

9. What would the local people around your small town have to say about Billy Coffey?

I’m not sure a lot of them know I write books, or if they do, they don’t much care. I’m just Billy to all of them, and I like that just fine.

10. What is the biggest compliment/reward you’ve received since having your books published?

I think every writer wants to hear from readers who say this story was great or that character was riveting, but the best rewards to me are those who say a book or a blog post has really helped them through a rough time in their lives. That’s what I live for.

So there you have it in a nutshell! I want to personally thank Billy Coffey for taking some time out of his day to answer these questions. If you haven't already done so you can find more about Billy Coffey by visiting his website and while your there you can even get 30% off When Mockingbirds Sing by clicking here.

You can also follow Billy Coffey on Facebook so you don't miss out on any of his novels or short stories.

You can find his latest novel at your favorite book retailer or on Amazon by clicking here.

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (June 4, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401688217
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401688219
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1 inches

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Material Possessions

One of my most favorite things to do over the weekend is to yard sale or garage sale. Yes, I am one of those early risers who seeks our the local paper, plots my plan of attack and spend a few hours looking through stuff people are selling. In fact some of my best deals have been discovered at Estate Sales! I don't always have a goal in mind but I do have a price point in which I won't overspend. For me, it's a way of helping people who are selling off what they have spent a lifetime accumulating and are moving on to a different way of life.

In fact just this morning I woke up with such a burden on my heart based on an Estate Sale my husband and I went to just last weekend. It wasn't even one that was published in the local paper. We were on our way to one yard sale when we spotted a plywood sign with the words Estate Sale spray painted on it. Through a series of negotiated turns and looking for more signs, we came upon a single story older ranch home. The front yard was overgrown with dead or dying hedges and bushes and the garage was open, revealing a mound of what appeared to be trash in the center.

We called out a hello to see if we landed on the right place, and a young teen ventured out of the house with his head down apparently in the middle of texting someone on his phone. We asked if he was in fact having an Estate Sale and where it might be? He pointed into the garage and said, "You can start in the garage and then in the house. It's all for sale." He never looked up just kept right on texting and headed back into the house.

My husband and I both looked at one another and wondered if this was for real or not. But like most explorers we ventured forward. The mound in the garage was literally piled high with boxes with stuff spilling out of them. Neither of us wanted to attempt tackling that pile and wondered what the house might offer. It was simply more of the same. Strewn all over the house it looked like someone had literally ransacked this home and all the remnants were left wherever they happen to fall. There were old figurines that lay broken on an old table, and just stuff as far as the eye could see. The young teen we met in the garage sat on a chair in the kitchen, nose still deep into his texting.

My hubby asked if this was his home, and without looking up, he said it was his grandmothers house. "If you see anything you want, make me an offer." He went back to texting. As I walked around and over piles of debris on the floor I wondered if this is how the women who used to live here, left her home or was this what was left after the family came through and just took what they wanted? As I looked at the books, records, furniture or stuff this women collected over the years, I grew sadden. Is this what our lives will look like long after we are gone? Will people come along and dig through our personal things, taking what they want, what they think they can sell and simply leave all the rest behind for someone to pilfer through? What about all the memories that they left behind caught up in the things they bought, collected or kept?

It reminded me of what God tells us about collect material possessions here on earth where they don't last and instead spend our time, precious as it is, collecting possessions in heaven where this will never happen. What a truly memorable moment for me. In fact, my husband and I talked about it as well picked up a few records and figurines that this is what lies ahead for all the stuff we own here on earth. When our time comes, people will determine what our stuff is worth and either keep it, sell it or simply throw it away. Nothing we buy in this lifetime will be waiting for us in heaven. It is simply passed down, sold or thrown away. Puts a completely different spin on what we think our net worth and value are.

In fact just this morning, my brother and I were having a conversation and he was sharing how one person he met had a net worth of more than a billion dollars. You would never think about it looking at this man. I countered his comment with I'd rather have a net worth of more than a billion dollars in heaven than one here on earth. Sure it might satisfy a few wants and needs for the moment, but I couldn't help but find my way back to the Estate Sale I visited this past weekend. Nothing lasts forever except what we do here for the glory of God and His kingdom. I think it's time to get busy and see what we can do now to impact what happens in our eternal home much more than the one we have now.

There are literally so many needs that need to be fulfilled and we have ALL the resources to help. Sometimes we simply choose to let someone else meet that need, but I feel God is challenging YOU to do your part and help. In whatever way you can. Perhaps its volunteering, sponsoring a child in need, or donating money to someplace you always wanted to but never found the time. Today is that day. Today YOU can make a difference. The best part is that what you do today to help the least of these in need with the right heart, goes a long way towards your heavenly home. Remember God is watching and He knows your heart and your thoughts. Stop waiting for someone else to do it. This is your moment!

1 John 4:20 ~ "If people say, 'I love God,' but hate their brothers or sisters, they are liars. Those who do not love their brothers and sisters, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have never seen."

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Living in an ABC world

I felt compelled to share this post after praying for what God wanted me to share with you today through this blog post and since lately I've been following a certain type of pattern about Christians living in the world today, I thought this made perfect sense.

Last Wednesday our Pastor brought up how close we appear to be living in the end times. Is it possible that this will be the generation that never faces a physical death as believers? I would be more than thrilled to know that I would not have to physically die but instead be caught up to meet Christ in the sky as the Bible promises to believers. In light of recent events surrounding Israel, Russia and Syria it appears that the Bible prophecy regarding Gog and Magog is rapidly approaching from Ezekiel 38.

As people living in the world today so many of us are being caught unaware or simply too busy for God any longer. We know that attending church is not a requirement for salvation but instead simply a way to recharge our weekly batteries and be lifted up in spirit with fellowship with other believers. But the church has never been about believers instead it's for those the most in need. The world it seems is accepting everything and anything, but Christ, thus our ABC's.

Don't believe me?

Just taking a scroll through your local TV or cable programming. You'll find virtually every single acceptable show that 50 to 70 years ago, would have never been broadcast for families to view. There are programs for us to accept what the world deems is acceptable as the New Normal or even Modern Family. There are cable stations geared to the alternate lifestyle of homosexual living. Even reality shows now are showing us that nothing is off limits anymore.

What's more interesting is the amount of paranormal shows and movies that are impacting our eyes. The goal is simply this, to get our minds and thoughts off of God and instead off of Him and what the Bible proclaims is the truth. It is the enemies goal to show you that paranormal stuff isn't scary but should be embraced and looked into further. If we aren't careful at watching what is happening around us, we will be completely caught off guard. The goal of the enemy is always been about lies and subtly. Convince us that God doesn't exist and that we are in control of destiny and we will begin to accept anything as a substitute for God.

UFO's and aliens, more of the enemies ploys to teach us that God doesn't exist but that they do. Another influence to keep us out of the Word and into the world.

Looking at what is happening in virtually every family, city, state and country, anything but Christ is considered acceptable. The minute you start talking about the Bible, Jesus Christ and sin, all of a sudden, Christians face unheard of persecution by others. You are labeled a bigot, a racist, narrow-minded, you hate people that aren't like yourselves and now you find yourself in trouble. But that is exactly what Jesus reminded us would face us in the end times.

Family members would fight and argue with one another, husbands and wives would find themselves at odds with one another, people claiming what used to be wrong is now considered acceptable or even right and what is right is considered wrong.

Matthew 10:21-22 ~ "Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved."

Yet we need to hold strong and keep on persevering. Our race isn't over just yet, but it seems as though the finish line is growing closer. Let us keep on working on taking the prizes the enemy would claim for himself. Let us all rise up in a great revival for God and take back the ground the enemy wants to desperately to claim. If you don't have a great scripture as a life verse to memorize, I would strongly suggest you find one. One that empowers you with the Holy Spirit. One that will draw you through the dark times ahead. It truly seems as if Dumbledore's quote to Harry Potter is relevant even as we draw near to our own end times,

"Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.
-Albus Dumbledore”

Perhaps J.K. Rowling knew a thing or two about what God's Word has to say. If only we'd heed the call.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

What Does Your Life Your Look Like?

Every year I get a letter from an organization now that my kids are still in school offering a chance for them to be Ambassadors and have the opportunity to travel. It's always fun to read about the trip but we are often stuck on the price to send our kids for a week to 10 days on a trip quite literally at times around the world. Sometimes it's exotic locations like Egypt or a European journey through Paris, Italy and Germany, an opportunity to visit things we've only read about in the History books. Sometimes I wonder if my own parents received letters and never shared them with me because the cost is always an issue.

It reminded me about a study I did this morning in my devotions about developing our own character as representatives in Christ. As believers we are Ambassadors for Christ in everything we do or say. What we need to stop doing is living for people. What people will think about us when we fall at times, like all Christians do. We are representatives for the Holy Spirit dwelling within us to show people what Jesus Christ looks like because they may not have heard about Him, read about Him and they certainly can't see Him any longer since He left the Earth so many years ago.

If you think about your day to day dealings with every single person you interact with such as family, friends and even strangers. We need to understand that its never about us, but about Him. Jesus is trying to reach someone through us. We either honor Him or dishonor Him in everything we do or say. WOW! Did you catch that?

We can't act like everyone else we see. We need to develop new habits and realize with time growing shorter and the persecution of Christians everywhere growing more intense, now is the time to shine for God. When people are suffering and dealing with the struggles of this world instead of praying for their problems to cease, perhaps we could offer prayers for endurance, comfort and strength. There is a huge learning that happens when we endure the storms of life. Paul never prayed for the problems of the church to go away, but for them to have the strength to endure and learn from them.

We need to make sure we are putting forth our very best in doing what we can for God. I don't mean perfection but excellence. The very best to our ability, giving God your very best you can offer today.

You don't want to leave this earth simply being takers but to leave a legacy behind that shows what an impact you offered to give God opportunity to work through you. Are you open? Are you ready to show the excellence in what you offer people today? Are you ready to be an Ambassador for Christ? God needs you to reach others today. Remember it's not about you, it's all about Him!

"We are therefore Christs ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christs behalf: Be reconciled to God." ~ 2 Corinthians 5:20

Monday, June 3, 2013

Having a Thankful Heart!

We had an amazing weekend. So many things to truly be thankful for. I lay in bed each morning and before I even take one step out of bed, I try and remember to thank God for granting me the opportunity to even be here today. Not sure what He has in mind for me today, but I know He's got a plan in mind. It's also a way to begin my day on a positive note.

I don't need reminders of just how old I'm getting or how on certain days it would feel better to simply lay in bed all day instead of venturing out and accomplishing what needs to get done. School, book reviews, or chores around the house. There is always something that needs to get done.

That's why I decided to share my thoughts with you on changing the way we begin our day. I was even challenged this morning through a Facebook post to change my thinking today to simply reflect all the things that are going right today, and not everything that isn't. WOW! What a thought for the day!

Imagine how that might impact your day to face that challenge on your own. No complaining, whining or even dwelling on what isn't going right, hasn't happened yet or what has yet to happen. Just taking each hour as it comes and finding something to be thankful for. The problem we often have is that it happens so often we fail to see it as the blessing it is. How often we put the key in the ignition to our car, and turning the key and it starts! How on just our simple faith alone, we believed it would, but we forget to be thankful that it did.

We get like that a lot. Forgetting to say thank you to people who do things everyday that make our life more meaningful. I think we all forget to say thank you when we should. For the ride to work everyday that someone may provide, for the bills that get paid because there is someone in our home that makes a living for that to be possible, for those that work in our communities to keep them safe. Imagine what a world would look like, if we thanked more people for what they do to make our lives better.

Yet the first thing we do when something goes wrong is forgetting all the times God answered our prayers. We get to be like the Israelites who wandered the desert complaining about everything but forgetting all that God has already did for them. It's like they forget that He is capable of doing anything they need.

I need to remind you that God owns every single thing in this world. He is capable of providing for ALL of your needs. He can simply move things around on His own to make the answers to your prayers come true, so why do our prayer lives reflect anything less than belief that He can make that happen. Where did our confidence go?

Perhaps we need to journal our prayers to God more. Date them with what we need as well as the scripture promises that go along with our belief that God can make that happen. Then stand back in awe and be prepared for some mighty works from God. If we are faithful and turn our lives and needs to Him, He will answer. Just remember, He may not always answer the way we would like, but He does answer.

And if you don't have any needs at the moment, I would be praying and thanking God for that time in your life and be aware that He may be asking you to meet the needs of someone who is praying for help. Be open to letting God work in your life and using you in ANY way He needs to accomplish His work and to bring about His glory. All He needs is an open door and a willing heart.

Thank You Lord for the work You will accomplish today in my life. Thank You for meeting all the needs I have today. Thank You for the opportunity to provide an open door, a willing heart and a thankful attitude for You to do a great work in me. No matter what happens today Lord, I will be looking for the good. May my attitude of gratitude be so contagious everyone begins to catch it today. Thank You for simply being You! ~ AMEN!