Friday, January 31, 2014

How to Get Through A Bad Day!

Just as you were headed to work today, you step outside to another cold, dreary and gray day. Rain is coming down in sheets and as you walk out to your car, you notice a flat tire. You shake your head wishing you would have taken the time to get your spare fixed so this wouldn't be an issue today and you could simply change the tire. As you step back inside the house to call for an emergency call to have someone help you, your phone rings. It's your boss telling you that you've been laid off due to the recent economic down turn in the company and hopefully in a few months they might be able to hire you back. How will you deal with things? Why does it always seem just when bad things happen, they come at your like a tidal wave? Where do you go from here?

Sometimes we wonder just why bad things happen to good people. Why, as believers in Jesus Christ, are we living a blessed life without all the tribulation and trials that should fall on the people who are walking around, shaking their fist at God, and moving ahead in the company with yet another undeserved promotion.

"In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived." ~ 2 Timothy 3:12

The Bible makes it quite clear that we aren't out of the woods just because we are believers in Christ. Just the other day, I was talking to my brother and telling him I know God will be working on me til the very end of my life to control my words and thoughts. It's a struggle to not unleash on those that deserve my words especially when I feel wronged. It's hard to turn the other cheek at times, especially when other people seem oblivious to what they say that impacts us, hurts us, wounds us deeply.

So how can we move on? How can we simply put all that stuff that is happening on the back burner and not let it hinder our walk of faith?

First of all I believe we need to understand as humans living in a sin-filled world we are in a daily battle. It will never let up until we reach our heavenly home. Emotions are funny things and too often we let them rule us instead of taking back the control we let them have on our situation. You might need to take a few moments or longer to process what is going on. It's easier to do when the situation isn't happening to you personally but to someone else who is simply sharing their struggle. We can see things differently because we aren't in the heat of the moment like they are, filled with all the emotions and feelings running around like caffeinated children in a china store unrestrained.

But we can take those thoughts captive. We can control them. Think you can't? Just imagine this situation happening and then someone showing up at your door unexpectedly whom you wanted to impress. The one you hope will NEVER see you sweat. Your pastor, your parents, someone you are hoping to impress with your calm, cool manner. Let me tell you, you'd be able to put that on the back burner in a second, paste on a happy face and get through your moment. That's how I can tell we can control our emotions and feelings.

Now we just need to put that into action. The enemy loves to torment us and replay the situation over and over again in our mind, on a never-ending loop. I believe the first thing we need to do is drop to our knees and pray. Ask God to help you deal with what's happening. To help you control your emotions, feelings, thoughts, words and actions and help them fall in line with His word. Ask God to show you what to do and to help you see things through His eyes and not your own.

Then I recommend, putting on some praise and worship music and thank God for what is happening. The Bible says we are to thank God in ALL things, not just the ones we'd love to thank Him for. We might not know what good is coming from where we are at in this moment, but God does. Will He share that with you, perhaps, but we shouldn't expect it. God knows when the timing will be right. We need to praise Him in our storm. Oh, it really upsets the enemy when we won't fall apart, wail and throw a fit. Nope, not going to give him the pleasure, going to go to God who can deal with it better than we can.

When you have calmed down, and feel God's peace come upon you, then I recommend, you go to His Word and see if you can gain insight or perspective in what is happening. Let's look at the situation above from a different perspective.

The rainy day in itself isn't so bad, it prevents you from having to turn on the water and water your plants. It's vital for life to grow in your yard and the sound alone if we simply stop at listen is soothing. It is washing away the dirt and pollutants in the air. That flat tire you got this morning, was meant to prevent you from heading into work because you were facing a lay off anyway. You wouldn't have dealt with it well if you had been in the office. Not only that, the flat tire prevented you from being in a huge accident that would have totaled your car and set you back even more financially. The job you just got laid off, was taking time away from your family and your commitment to your marriage. You were working so many hours just to make ends meet and you hated going in every single day. Now you can find something that works along the lines of what God has in store for you. That job is waiting for you to simply apply for it and it will bring you much more joy and happiness.

Changes how we view things right?

Why is it when tend to dwell on what isn't going right instead of what God has in mind instead?

You might try it next time trials, storms and life happens. God has something better just around the corner. I know you can't see it, but He can. Trust me, it's worth it! Are you willing to change your perspective, trust Him, surrender your situation to Him, and thank Him while you are waiting?

Would love to know how you handle difficult days and storms when they happen?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

How's Your Race Going?

Last night in church, we were asked the question of what do you want to hear when you enter the gates of Heaven and meet Jesus. Do you want to hear the words, "Well done good and faithful servant!" or "Just done?"

Pretty powerful statement when you think about it. All believers based on the gift of grace will enter the gates of Heaven but what else do you have to follow that up with?

"This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile ,for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." ~ Romans 3:22-24

The reference to Jew and Gentile refer to all of us living on earth, God's chosen people and everyone else, are referred to as Gentile's.

We will all be judged by God, but those of us as believers will not have to face the great white throne judgment but our acts of service as believers will be passed through the fire to see if our motives were along with Gods or for our own glory.

"By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames." ~ 1 Corinthians 3: 10-15 

Now don't go confusing this statement with thinking you have to do certain things to earn you way into Heaven, it's not about that, but more along the lines of what are you doing with your time you have left here on earth to share the word of your testimony in what God has done for your life? How are you acting like a light pointing people to Him? When people look at your life, do they see a reflection of Jesus in your life?

If not, perhaps it might require a further evaluation into your heart, your spiritual heart. The Bible speaks that we will all be known by the type of fruit we bear, what are you producing? Is there evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in your life? Can you point people to God? If someone asked you a question, would you know where to find it in the Bible and not just offer them your perspective on things?

“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”~ Matthew 12: 33-37

Perhaps we are standing for Jesus but are we growing in Christ as well? We can only move in two directions forward or backwards. Standing where we are currently is not a motion. Which direction are you headed??

Can you look back at your life and see some periods of a growth in your faith?

Hard questions sometimes require a hard approach to dig deeper into our spiritual walk to see where our hearts are.

I don't know about you, but I don't just want to show up to the party in heaven, I want to have a gift in hand to give to Jesus to thank Him for all He has done for me in my life. We, as believers are supposed to be working in His ministry to make a difference, to work on building our rewards in heaven where nothing can destroy them.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." ~ Matthew 6: 19-20

I don't know about you but if you have ever been invited to a party, it feels somewhat odd if you don't bring a gift. I want something to be able to give Jesus even though He doesn't want or expect anything from us. I want to be able to give Him something when I show up for the ultimate party in heaven! I want to thank Him for all He has done for me to make a significant impact in my life.

So how is your race going? Hopefully you are heading in the right direction. You are pushing on for the prize like a runner in a race! Working toward that finish line where we will hear the words we want to hear, His lord said to him, "‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’" ~ Matthew 25:21 (NKJV)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Is the Rapture on the Horizon?

Looking around at what is happening in the world today, it's hard not to believe that we might just be sitting on the cusp of the rapture of the church. We know as a nation in the past, we have been blessed beyond all measure when we kept our faith in God and His principles. I found it interesting this morning when going over the Bible in my morning devotions and came across this scripture today:

"The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statues of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward." ~Psalm 19:7-11

Makes me realize that God's Word once again rings clear to just how blessed as a nation we have been when we kept to His laws and His commands. How far we have fallen in recent times, and yet are we anymore surprised at where we stand today as a country?

When you look back historically at God's judgments on cities that decided they no longer needed God to run their lives, we can see how closely we resemble those ancient cities. Take a look at the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. How were the people living in those cities?

They had an abundance of food, were prideful of where they stood in comparison to everyone else in the land, and they were truly a perverse city indulging in every single type of sexual activity from homosexual marriages, adultery, promiscuity, drunkenness, gluttony  and they stood back shaking their fists at God almost mocking him that they no longer needed Him in their lives. God ultimately pronounced his judgement on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah raining down fire from the skies until they were no more.

Looking back at history to how things were in the days of Noah, we saw the same things present. Man's heart was so filled with evil that nothing was off limits, even the sons of god  marrying with the daughters of human. God was filled with such sorrow that man had completely succumbed to sin and evil that he rained down judgment on mankind except for Noah and his family, covering the earth with His judgement of rain for 40 days and 40 nights.

"As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man." Matthew 24:37

We look at things around us today and God warned us of His impending judgement on the world that once things started to fall into these same patterns, His hand of mercy and judgement would only be held back for so long. Are we not living in the days similar to Noah or Sodom and Gomorrah? Where things that were once considered wrong are not being looked at as right? Everyone is given the opportunity to do what's right in their heart and man is choosing once more to push God back and take what they believe is what they are owed.

No where is Christianity, God, Jesus or the Bible more persecuted or argued against than now. You can speak about Mohammed, Buddah or any other religion but when Jesus is mentioned, hostility ensues. Why?

Because there is power in the name of Jesus! People don't like having the light shined in those dark places in their hearts. They don't want to be told what they are doing is wrong. They want what they want and have gone so far as to continue to keep pressing on for the removal of religious symbols affiliated with Jesus, the cross, nativity scenes, The Bible, prayer and even the sayings on our currency and even the pledge of the United States in school are constantly in the headlines. Is it any wonder why when we take God out of the equation we are surprised with the results?

Murders in schools, shootings at malls, abortion killing more babies than the Holocaust, same sex marriages, things that were once wrong are now being looked at in different perspectives. To each their own seems to be the new normal motto. But no where in history is Jesus more argued against then now. We need to stop taking a back seat to these things and stop backing down. We need to start standing up for the things this country was established upon. The Bible warns we will be persecuted for our righteousness but I'd rather have that fall out than to fall away from what I know it right.

We are literally on the threshold of watching for the sudden rapture of the church any day. I feel that it could happen sooner than most would like. The signs are on the horizon and the Bible speaks for us to watch for them in the skies and in what is happening in the world around us. Without the kinds of changes we need right now, to come back to God as a nation, God's judgement is coming. It will be swift but it will be righteous and trust me, you don't want to be left behind when it does. It will not be a party place with all your friends.

The Bible says "Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, ~ Philippians 2:9-11

Time is running out.... Is the rapture on the horizon?

I believe it is!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Hey, you down there!

"One newspaper columnist wrote about how God would like to take a turn to talk to us who live on earth. They wrote God started out with a greeting to those living on the earth and asked how things were going. It might look something like this:

Hello to all my sons and daughters living on earth,

Just thought I'd take a moment to ask you just how things are going there currently on earth since you have declared Me extinct and have taken charge of things. Is there peace and order in the new world you have created? Is it the perfect world you have envisioned? From where I am sitting I can see how children are often abused and neglected. I notice the millions of people that are addicted to drugs that are destroying your minds and lives. Your new morality has become slavery to immorality and you now live in fear and don't trust one another.

I see how children are no longer safe in their backyards or homes or even babies in their mother's womb. I have seen more murdering and suicides and what are called accidents are not accidents at all causing terrible suffering. Most of you are chasing after wealth and power or pleasures not thinking of me or helping others. You thought your Science and Technology could replace me. Natural disasters leave you helpless because you can't hold back the mighty waves of the seas or stop the earth from shaking. Can you control fire, wind and the sea?

Did you put the oil in the earth you use or the fish in the seas? Can you produce your own air, water, or soil or bring back the stars if they fall? Can you save yourself from flinging into space if the gravity should fail?

You could live by my commandments to find inward peace and happiness, but you have rejected them, or you have changed them to suit yourselves. Some of you have tried to explain your problems arrogantly with your vast scientific knowledge. Others just blame such things on Climate Change or Political Incorrectness.

My ways are higher and different from your ways as the heavens are above the earth. Just remember this: My mercy and longsuffering are forever, but my justice is final.

Love God. "(Helen Colby, "Hey, you down there, can we talk?," Fort Madison, Daily Democrat, no. September13(2011)

Interesting conversation considering that we are still murdering millions of innocent babies while others praise the results of a woman's right to choice for her own body even if it means taking the life of an unborn baby. God's mercy and long suffering are forever, but His justice is final. Time is running out and God's justice will be swift upon those who take the innocent life and continue to stand behind the policies that support this decision.

May we continue to lift our country up in prayer and pray for swift change to come upon the earth like never before. May we turn back to the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob. May we pray for hearts and minds to turn back to God and may we realize it before it's too late! 

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Truth About Dying

What might this be? What truth?

Suddenly I wasn't sure if I wanted to hear this or not either. I looked at the woman on the bed, and I saw my mother. I don't mean that she looked like her. The woman in front of me was much older than my mom, who had been only forty-two when she died. But the smell of the room and the helpless anger inside it were exactly the same. Many nights I had lain awake on the floor of my mother's bedroom. Hour after hour I would listen to her cough, but it was not her coughing that frightened me. No, I dreaded the silence I knew was coming. I dreaded the moment when the coughing would stop.

"Darrel," Jones began, "you think that your sweet wife is at the end, but that is only a lie you have believed. Because your fear has grown, you believe her fear has become greater...which is another lie. You believe she is experiencing something bad that gets worse until there is nothing at all That, too, is a lie."

"Here is the truth, Darrel. She is not at the end. She is at the beginning. Her fear has not become greater; it has become less and less until now, her fear is gone altogether. And she is not experiencing something bad that gets worse until there is nothing at all...she is experiencing something incredible that gets better, until there is everything."

Jones looked down at the woman and lightly touched her head. "Before this woman was ever born, when she was warm and snug inside her mama's belly, she kicked and twisted, moving this way and that. For months she struggled. She became uncomfortable. She longed for more freedom and began to sense that the worlds she inhabited was not where she ultimately belonged. She did not know what was on the other side of her struggle, but she was getting ready to experience something new and wonderful that in her wildest imaginings could not be described. Darrel...she was getting ready to breathe.

"And when she finally drew that first breath, it was clean and fresh and like nothing she had ever felt. She took another breath and another - and all around her, loved ones and friends cheered in a joyous celebration of her arrival."

Jones looked closely at the woman's face."Look at her now, Darrel," he said. "For many years this dear child was happy and content in this body. But for some time now, she has struggled. She has become uncomfortable. She has begun to long for freedom from the pain of this body and has sensed that the world she inhabits is not where she ultimately belongs. Even now she does not fully appreciate the reality that is waiting on the other side of her struggle, but she is preparing to experience something new and wonderful that in her wildest imaginings could not be described. Right now...right this minute...she is getting ready to breathe.

"And when she draws that first breath, it will be clean and clear and fresh, like nothing she has ever experienced. She will take another breath and another and another; and all around, her loved ones, her family and friends, will cheer in a joyous celebration of her arrival.

"Do not be afraid for yourself, Darrel. You can make the same journey one day - you can join her if you choose to do so. And don't be afraid for her. She is fine. Remember...she is getting ready to breathe."

After a time of quiet Jones slipped out of the room, and I followed, leaving Darrel alone with the woman. He was still on his knees with his upper body on the bed. He held her hand and was peacefully asleep.

It was a serenity he had not felt in a long time. Somehow Darrel's mind drifted easily through the years as he dreamed of the past he remembered and a future he had never allowed himself to imagine." (Excerpt from The Noticer Returns by Andy Andrews.)

When I read this yesterday I was so comforted by the notion of seeing death in a different perspective as Jones so eloquently tells this man watching the woman he has loved his entire life slowly slip away from him. I decided to share this with so many of you that are facing this same situation or have recently watched this happen to a family member or friend. Hope this provides you with a different perspective on transitioning from this life to our eternal one in the life of a believer. You too can have that future you have yet to imagine if you are a follower of Jesus Christ. If not, it's not too late to change. Comment below and let us pray for you or private message me if you'd like. I'd love to help you find your forever home in Heaven! It truly is a life changing decision.

For those of you that love this excerpt from The Noticer Returns, trust me when I tell you, you will absolutely LOVE this book. You can pick it up today at your favorite retailer.

You can also find Andy Andrews on Facebook to learn more about Jones!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Are YOU Really Saved?

One of my thankful blessings for today is the wisdom that comes from moments with Andy Andrews. Every single book I've read of his doesn't exactly give away the "Aha" moments you find inside the cover but it is a discovery that each of us makes on our own.

Last night while sitting in church, I happened to wind up third row from the front and gained an interesting perspective. In fact witnessing and experiencing it myself enabled me to understand the answer of a man I questioned about why he was moving further and further up in rows closer to the front in church. He answered simply with a smile, "Less distractions up here. When I sit further back I am easily distracted by people talking, late comers walking in, and even what some people are doing instead of simply paying attention. When I sit up here, I don't see them. I can experience a closer connection to God during my time here."

Simplicity that I understood last night when I too, found less distractions having the people we normally talk to before service sitting behind me instead of in front of me. I had to admit the closer you get to the front, takes you back to school, where no one wanted to sit in front. You can't hide anything by sitting in the front. Maybe that's the point as well. I don't want to hide in church, I want to separate myself a bit and simply draw into the presence of God alone. That is just what I got last night along with a lesson in fruit inspection and along with Andy's message today, I think they make for the perfect blog message today from God.

The Bible states that we are known by our fruits. In fact, I even came across a book titled "Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart," which as a believer definitely garnered my immediate attention. I mean why often times do we continually question whether our salvation is genuine. Is it the enemy simply placing seeds of doubts in our heart or do we really wonder if we are saved. I mean, I want to know for sure, because if I should die I want to be immediately in God's presence being ushered into Heaven.

In last nights message, it became as clear as day! It is by our lives that we will know if we are truly saved. It's the fruit that we bear as believers. I'm sure you can remember back to your life before you came to know God. Has your life changed from what it was before? Are you still convicted by the Holy Spirit when you are about to do something wrong or you have sinned? Then those are the proof you need to begin taking a hard look at and realize that no matter how many times you question whether or not your saved, you are!! You don't have to ask God into your heart again and again as if you have doubts. Believe and have faith! If your life clearly speaks a profound change in your life since God took residence there, you are Saved! Now you just need to address your belief a bit more and accept the power of the Holy Spirit in your life.

1 Thessalonians 1:4-10 ~ "For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you  because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath." 

I was challenged today by Andy Andrews and asked the question, how do you set standards in your life and are there really standards we can accept and follow or is that simply a myth and left to everyone's perception? I'd love to know your thoughts on standards for parenting, finances, marriage, etc if you care to share them, and I encourage you to stop by tomorrow and learn more about what people had to say and what I believe we can learn from it all.

"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." ~ Proverbs 16:3

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Blessings in Disguise

Image courtesy of Universal Pictures

In the movie Bruce Almighty, Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) is given the opportunity to be endowed with all of God's powers for a brief time, seeing as he has been complaining to God (Morgan Freeman) about how easy he seems to have it and how Bruce is being ignored no matter how hard he tries to come out on top. At first, Bruce utilizes those almighty powers to "right a few wrongs in his life" without regard to the consequences.

For example when trying to prepare for a romantic night with his girlfriend, Grace Connelly (Jennifer Aniston) he hand picks places in the night sky to place stars, often smudging one away with his finger. While the moon is perfect is too far so Bruce tosses an imaginary lasso around it and pulls it closer. It impresses Grace but later on, we overhear reports of unheard of flooding due to an unusual lunar tide in some areas. While Bruce was busy romancing Grace, he fails to realize that his actions caused grief and suffering without his consideration about what he was doing and how it would impact others. By the end of the film however Bruce gets past his selfish whims and finally sees how much good one man can truly do without being endowed with supernatural god-like powers.

It reminded me of the ripple effect otherwise known as the Butterfly effect to some. It is what one seemingly innocent act can do that affects so many people like just our being in someone's life and having a conversation, a simple smile or a random encounter in our mind. But nothing is random in God's world. In fact from the very beginning, He knows how all of our lives will play out. Nothing you do or can do or even intentionally set up to do can surprise God. He knew you would do it before you even thought it up. Pretty amazing right?

Yet often times we fail to see these as blessings in disguise because we are not getting what we believe WE deserve instead. But I challenge you to a 31 day journal experience to capture the every day things that happen in your life and see the many blessings God sends your way in disguise. Consider the busy mom of two young children that has to face dealing with life alone while her husband needs to travel for work. Did you ever stop and consider the blessings that come from that experience aside from the financial ones, like being grateful he has a job. That is not what I am talking about. How about changing your perspective on that a minute.

How about seeing it as the time you get to spend doing some quite reflection and Bible Study without interruption, or having free time to enjoy a book or movie you always wanted to watch but no one else does, time for some personal quiet time for a bath or even a lunch or coffee with a friend without feeling guilty of spending time away? This is what I am talking about.

Spending time each day to reflect on those simple random things that happen every day and finding the purpose of what they mean as a blessing to you instead. I hope you decide to take me up on this challenge and if you're a Facebook follower of mine, I'll be sharing all my daily blessings I discover on my page so won't you join me?

If you're a Twitter fan, come follow me as well. I'll be tweeting those out to you throughout the day as well. You just never know how much it can change your perspective on your life and what happens to you every day!

Walking by faith means being prepared to trust where we are not permitted to see. ~ John Blanchard

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

How Commited Are You Really?

This year God has laid the word Commit on my heart and that is my lesson for this year. For me I tend to join things with the best of intentions but often times don't follow things through to completion. I often look back and wonder just what things would look like if I followed them through to completion. How very different my life would look. Even taking my own personal spiritual walk for granted. Here in this blessed country, for now, we have the ability to order a Bible or even get one for free if times are hard. Not in other places in the world. They would be grateful for the things we take for granted every day. I've seen the videos where groups of people long with great desire for God's Word and they truly treasure it like it is the most precious thing in the world.

Do we see it the same way?

Or have we simply taken even having the Word of God for granted?

Do we rush to stress filled levels like we do when our car keys or phone or even ATM cards are misplaced as we do when we can't find our Bible?

Why is it that we don't treasure it like we should.

"My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God". ~ Proverbs 2:1-5

I happened upon Proverbs in my morning devotional this morning and it really spoke to something my husband had been struggling with and that is learning scripture and keeping it in your heart. Able to memorize it and recall it when you need it the most. He struggles even after learning it to keep remembering it. I asked it he had prayed to God to help him commit those verses to his heart and he admitted he hadn't.

So why are our committments to God often times half hearted attempts. Why do we put time with God on the back burner? Shouldn't God be the most important thing we do every single day? This is why I believe that God has called this word to my heart this year.

I wanted and felt drawn to God more so this year. Maybe we are going home soon, but I do know that the more time I spend with family, the greater my relationship is. The more I share my thoughts and fears with them the less of a burden they become. Why then, is it so hard to commit to spending more time with God?

I feel that we often will come to God when all else fails or when we find time in our busy days. I wonder if we could see God that perhaps it might help more for us to spend quality time with Him. But do you realize that God is all around you. When you are rushing to work, do you spend any time noticing the handiwork He has so lovingly created, from the sunflowers on the side of the freeway, that wave to you each morning, or the one of a kind masterpiece of sunrises and sunsets, you do realize that they are never the same twice? Oh how often do we take the things in front of us for granted simply because we have seen them a thousand times?

Want a different perspective on life?

Spend just a few hours with a toddler! Everything they see, in most cases they are seeing for the first time! That is why they stop and look at things in the greatest sense of wonder and detail, even if it's just an ant walking on the sidewalk or a weed sprouting up from a crack in the street. Imagine if we all took just a little more time today and changed our perspective and commit to making some changes in our day. Placing God first instead of last. Seeking Him each day.

I would love to hear what you "saw" today in a different way. Please share those thoughts today with me! If you need prayer too, please reach out to me, I'd love to pray for you as well!

Monday, January 6, 2014

God loves Math!

I have noticed when it comes to math I need a calculator. It seems the older I get the harder it is for me to remain focused and all those things I committed to memory so long ago is taking me longer to load. That is why having a calculator is handy.

Once thing I noticed quite awhile ago is that God is present in math. He especially loves to add and multiply while the world tends to focus on subtracting and dividing even all the way down to negative numbers if need be. It even makes sense if you look at things from a different perspective. God is absolute. In Algebra whenever you deal with an absolute negative number it is also converted to the positive aspect of it. For example, |-9| is converted to 9. That is its absolute. God never deals with negative anything unless it is to convert it to a positive when asked. God is our absolute restorer.

It even works that way in our relationships. We should be focusing on the aspects of first of all making sure any of our relationships is founded with God. If it's not, we are seriously asking for trouble. So if it is founded with God as our foundational component, then He is at will to work in multiplying and adding to our lives and those of us that are involved in it.

Take Genesis for example when God created man, He saw that it was not good and decided he needed a helper so he ADDED to the man providing him a woman and saw that it was good. Even when Abraham asked about his descendants, God told him He would increase the numbers to Abraham household so that they would outnumber even the stars in the sky.

When you look at all of Jesus' miracles, from the feeding of the 5000, Jesus prayed to God and He multiplied the loaves and fishes. So much so, that there was more than plenty left over after starting with just a few fishes and a couple loaves of bread.

Even when the storms of life arrive, as long as we remain faithful to God in our endeavors, He if faithful to us. Even when great loss comes God loves to deal with adding and multiplying in our lives. It is the enemy that loves to take us away or subtract us from God. His favorite is division. The more he can cause division among the members of God's family, the more he wins.

So whenever we are faced with uncertainty we should look at our math and see if it adds up. If it doesn't perhaps it isn't in God's plan for our lives if it involves subtracting and dividing. Then again we have to be diligent to make sure we are not the ones adding and multiplying in our own lives of our own accord and to the desires of our own heart.

Usually when we are told to give something up it is for our benefit, like giving up a sin filled life. God's not taking anything away from us, but removing what should have never been there in the first place when man first sinned.

It is interesting to see things from this perspective and to truly see how God really is involved in every aspect our of lives. I don't know about you but I like the adding and multiplying that God does more than the ones I do, and I definitely see that areas where division and subtraction are areas for concern. It makes me look and make sure that I am lined up in God's will in my life. I often find that when those times come, I have simply walked too far from God's will in my life.

Ultimately remember that when those times of struggle come, God is always there. He is your absolute variable. He remains constant and unchanging even if the world isn't. I don't know about you, but I love God's math in my life!!!

"Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming".~  Peter 1:13 NIV

Friday, January 3, 2014

Gone, but Not Forgotten!

All good things must come to an end one day, or so the saying goes! It's time for another trip down memory lane today at some of our favorites from years past are revisited again. And yes, some of that came from yesterday's phone call with my brother.

Looking back since 2008 when the economy really took a turn for the worst so many of our favorite chain stores are no longer in business. One's like Mervyn's were a classic for us because they used to carry some great brands and the stores were always well stocked and clean. It was definitely a place I always went when I wanted something exceptional. Now I have to visit Kohl's or the upscale J.C. Penney's.

However taking a look back at some of the changes even that store went though says a whole lot about our times. I remember when Mervyn's used to offer specials during Christmas that will certain purchases you got FREE gifts like a set of wine glasses with perfume purchase, or even Knott's Jams and Jelly's with other purchases. It allowed you to definitely stretch your Christmas budget a whole lot more.

Now it's time to really go back in time to some old favorites that are no longer in business at least where I live.

My all time favorite store was Woolworth's. I remember visiting that store with my mom each Christmas Eve when the store would stay open all night long and have special guest passes so only those that had them got to get into the store for special Christmas deals. I absolutely LOVED doing that every year!

Then there were membership stores like Gemco. I remember we could only get in to this store if my parents flashed their membership card. I guess it was similar to Costco but not quite as warehouse-like. They literally had everything.

Then there were old favorites like Montgomery Wards, a definite competitor with Sears, but I know I loved Montgomery Wards so much more than Sears. Sad to see that one close on our end.

Then there was an oldie like Zody's. I can't even remember what use to be in this store except something probably along the lines of Kmart or even Target.

Like all great things, these have come to an end at least here in California but the memories behind some of these amazing shopping trips were definitely something to reflect on and remember good times. What about you? What old vintage shopping stores did you use to shop at and what memories do they still hold for you?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Vintage Toys

Sometimes the best conversations I have are with my brother Mike over the phone or in person about growing up. Today was just one of those times. Not quite sure how we got started on the topic of our favorite toys we had growing  up but it definitely brought up special memories of how we use to spend our free time in an age where technology was for the most part absent until later.

I remember Saturday mornings were days we looked forward to because it was for two precious hours from 8:00am to 10:00am we got to watch the Bugs Bunny and Road Runner Hour, then we grabbed our favorite toys and headed outside to play until it was too dark or too cold to be outside any more. No cell phones, internet or video games. This was all about putting our imaginations to work.

Want to walk on memory lane with me? I'm sure if you're around my age you can relate!

Besides Barbies and G-I-Joes, which occupied hours and hours of our time, Hot Wheels were our favorite. We used to store the cars in shoe boxes and during the week after homework was done we would take down some old paneling my dad had stored in the garage and we would draw roads and cities to drive our Hot Wheels on. We removed all the model buildings from my brothers train set my dad built him and added those to our panel city. The top of my mom's record player was the mall and we even added Elmer's Glue to the parking lot of the mall for speed bumps when it dried. During the holidays like Christmas, we added small pine trees to an empty section of the city as a Christmas tree lot and even Candy Pumpkins were our pumpkin patch. In fact today, we can't help remembering these times when we see them in the stores at Halloween.

It was all about imagine and for my brother and I, we were never without. Some of the toys we talked about this morning was Johnny and Jane West Action Figures complete with the buck board and horses.

We also remember the old fashioned Hot Wheel tracks with the 2 foot orange tracks with the purple tongues that enabled us to connect them together.

I remember having a Duke the Rescue Dog with his action set that I used to play with as Barbie's dog. That was before the days when Barbies came with everything.

I had the Barbie RV with the pop out tent that was something we played with every weekend.

I absolutely LOVED Breyer Horses and even to this day, still pick them up at Garage Sales when I find them. Back when I was little I didn't have too many but the ones I did were truly cherished by a little girl who loved horses!

My brother also remembered Sizzlers the first race cars that were powered to run on the Hot Wheel tracks before AFX. Don't get me started there too. AFX tracks were the best. You always needed to have a pencil eraser and copper penny on hand just to tune up your cars.

The best part is that these were all part of our childhood. Even now, they truly don't make them like they used to. Oh but the memories they provided and still do looking back. What were your favorite toys from your childhood before technology came into play?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Building Foundations

First of all Happy 2014 to everyone who stops by this way and happens upon my blog. I welcome you with warm blessings from the bottom of my heart. I hope what you find here touches something deep within your soul and causes you to reflect on the meaning, but more importantly to see God in everything that I do this year.

Everything I encountered today seemed to point to the beginning of what I hope will be a much different year. As the first day of my 2014 book, I am greeted with unlimited possibilities and a willingness to completely turn my entire life over to God for His use. Knowing that and understanding that today for most offers a clean slate and I wanted to make sure that mine began with the strongest foundation I could. No building or structure can be built and expected to last without a strong foundation. It might stand the test of time for some years but without a solid rock to build upon it will soon succumb to the forces of the elements and give way to time.

Yet looking back historically a lot of structures that were built upon strong foundations have lasted. The pyramids of Egypt, the buildings of Ancient Rome, even some places that have been buried are being unearthed and restored. Yet I am not saying that they are just as perfect as the day they were built, far from that, but they remain standing is the point. Even the great Leaning Tower of Pisa is still standing but even scientist agree that without intervention at some point, the Tower will fall due to the softening soil beneath it.

So in order to establish a great order, I went back to the beginning today. Back to Genesis 1 and the creation of the world. We see that without light, it would remain a darkened void but it was the Light that made it good. In fact, everything that God created was built upon a solid structure. Light, Sky, Land, Water, Life all came in just the right order to ensure that what He created was good. There was a reason why it happened in that order. It makes sense when you look at it layer by layer.

It gives you a different perspective viewing things that way God designed them to be much like the foundational relationship he wanted between us and Him. We were never meant to be self serving and coming to God only when our attempts failed. Deep down inside us, we were created for something more. That is the reason for the pursuit of stuff. We are looking to fill a God-shaped hole in our lives that can only be filled by God. It's the very reason why when we get what we believe will make us happy, after some time, we are looking for something else. It never lasts, but our relationship with God was built to last. It was made to last not only in this lifetime, but more importantly throughout eternity as well.

Since today is the beginning of my first step in the right direction, I am beginning with God and going back to the basics. I am giving up unhealthy foods and taking God's direction. I hope you'll join me along the way and for today it begins with wholesome foods again. I can't wait to see where I will end up in 30 days. Yet with God's help I know I can do this no matter what temptations the enemy places in my path and who he decides to use to get me to fall. I have a strong foundation to begin with and I know it will last.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV