April 29, 2016

Pass It On

When I was young we played a game called Pass it On. It was normally played where there was a group of people, like slumber parties or on the playground. The first person in the group would whisper something in the next persons ear and say "pass it on." That person would whisper what the first person said to the next person and add something to it, and say "pass it on."  So by the time you got to the end, there was a whole story made up! You get the picture. 

Normally it was harmless, silly things being said, but I remember a time when playing "Pass it On" at a slumber party resulted in a couple of people who actually got hurt over it. Here is what happened. When playing this game, it got to the point of what we as adults would consider "gossip." By the time we returned to school on Monday the victims of the "pass it on" game were being talked about and made fun of at school, and the things being said were not true. They were not at the party to defend themselves when it began, so they had no way of knowing what would transpire out of a drama filled game that took place over the weekend. As the week progressed, people kept "passing it on," adding to the rumors and drama, and it got really ugly. I recall the sorrow in my own heart for taking place in the initial game, and vowed to never play that game again. I felt so bad for these people, they were my friends and I took place in starting these rumors about them, by hanging out with people who loved to start drama for others. 

I ended up confessing to my friends, and told them what happened and how the whole thing got so blown out of proportion. Of course some of the girls who were involved in the initial "Pass it On" game became very upset with me, but I was okay with that. I felt so much better by telling the truth. I realized who my real friends were, and that I was not being a real friend to them by keeping secrets and allowing people to continue to hurt them. 

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. Ephesians 4:25

I never did play "Pass it On again! 

Even today as adults, I think rumors and drama can get so far out of hand, and it can happen before you know what hit you. I still know people that I am very close to who love to carry the drama wherever they go, and will gossip about anything, to anyone who will listen. They love to create their own storms, then get mad when it rains. I have learned to pray beforehand when I know that I am going to be seeing these people. I have also learned that it is so easy to remove myself from conversations that I feel are heading that way. I can either try to change the subject, be honest and upfront by telling them that I do not care to partake in these kinds of conversations, or simply walk away if the opportunity is there.

He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity. Proverbs 21:23

We must guard our tongues and refrain from gossip. If we surrender our desires to the Lord, He will help us to remain obedient. There are so many verses in the Bible that talk about how gossip is displeasing to God, and I do not want any part of displeasing God! Now that is something I am willing to "Pass On!" 

I am linking up with Kate Motaung at Five Minute Friday, where you write about the prompt for 5 minutes each week. This weeks prompt is: PASS! 

April 24, 2016

Hopeless to Hopeful

I remember a time when I felt so hopeless. Empty. Discouraged. Angry. Miserable. Scared. Rejected. All those feelings that triggered hopelessness, went on, and on, and on! I felt like there was nothing to look forward to in life! Nothing made me happy. I searched, and still, could find no fulfillment. I wanted my life to be different. I wanted something, but had no clue on how to find it. I didn't even know what it was, or what I was looking for. I just knew that something had to change. Of course I was searching in all the wrong areas, looking in all the wrong places, and getting no where really fast! I wanted my longings to be fulfilled, but they remained unfulfilled. I got to the place where I felt so heartsick, despondent, and desperate. I trusted no one, and I manipulated many. I finally realized that living this life on my own terms was not working out, and I wanted and needed so much more. That is when I met my husband, and that is when I finally met Jesus!

Gradually I started feeling hopeful. My life was changing! My heart felt so much lighter, my life had meaning, and I could actually smile. I let go, and let God begin working in my life. I began to trust again, and I could see that God was fulfilling my dreams. I learned to wait on Him instead of manipulating or giving up on things. I began to learn that He had the power to fulfill my hearts desire, and I felt more hopeful each day.

I was learning to trust and have hope in the Lord. I was trusting His promises and His timing. I began reading the Bible, and really digging in. I remember the first time I read Isaiah 40:28-31, and feeling so much hope, that God was so powerful and everlasting. And knowing that with God, I could soar above difficulties, reduce the friction in my life, and manage my energy, so that I could run and not grow weary, and walk and not feel faint. What a reassuring promise!

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:28-31

I have learned to be hopeful in all situations, not hopeless! I have learned that without God, we have no hope. But thanks to Jesus, we have His promise of hope! No matter what we face, we can take comfort in knowing that He is there for us, watching over us always. I am so grateful that God's Word is full of His promises, and in His word I can always find hope! In His word I found my way out of the dark and into His light!

So when I am in situations where I begin to feel hopeless, and want to give up, I know that all I need to do is pray and open my Bible. God can always change my circumstances, He can work it out. It may not always be exactly what I want, or how I want it, but it is always in a way that makes me feel hopeful, and not hopeless! 

I am linking up with Karen Beth at FInding the Grace Within/Tuesday at Ten
The prompt this week is: HOPEFUL! 

April 21, 2016

How Big Is Our God

Have you ever stopped and imagined, just how big our God is? I have. And when I do, I am in awe! There are so many examples of His greatness throughout scripture, but at times certain verses make me just stop and think about how amazing, and how big He is! How blessed we are! How much He loves us!

Psalm 147:3-5 says:
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.

I can't tell you how many times He has healed my broken heart! For so many years I didn't ask Him to, because I didn't know Him! I carried around such a heavy heart for my whole adult life, and finally surrendered at the age of 40. I was done! Done with bitterness, hurt, rejection, anger, misery, and fear. I knew that I needed God in order to be able to unpack all of that baggage.

I have at times tried to count stars. It doesn't take very long to lose track. Can you imagine calling each of them by name? Stars go way beyond our ability to see them. Even through the most powerful telescope, there is no way any human being could ever count all of the stars. Let alone call them by name. But God, He created each and every one of them, and He knows their names. Like His word says, His understanding has no limit! 

Psalm 8:3-9 says:
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! 

The same God who mends our broken hearts. The same God that knows the exact number of stars in the heavens, and calls them by name. That is the same God who has created the Universe. The same God who is working in our lives. The same God who is mindful of us, and calls us His Son's and Daughter's. He loves us so much that He sent His one and Only Son to humbly walk this earth, to submit to men, and to die on a cross so that we may have life in Him! 

So when I think about how BIG God is, my problems really seem small. I know that He can take care of all of my struggles, and all of my hardships. When I feel like He isn't doing things quite the way I would like Him to, I can trust that it is because He is handling my life exactly the way He wants to. He has the power to change things at any time, and if He doesn't, it is because His plans are better than mine! And I thank Him for that! 

Aren't you glad we have such a BIG LOVING FATHER? I am! 

I am linking up with Suzie Eller for #livefreeThursday. The prompt this week is How big is our God? 

April 17, 2016

I Am Taking Time

Recently my husband and I were asked to help out on Wednesday night with our Children's Ministry at Church. We normally do not go to Wednesday night services because of time. We both work full time, and we live 45 minutes away from our Church, and service is from 6:45 to 8:15 pm. Therefore, it would be late when we get home, and we are people who go to bed fairly early, and get up before dawn. So when I was approached, my reaction sort of surprised me. I immediately said YES! I wanted to take the time to serve, and to get involved with these kids. I was willing to sacrifice one night a week, to lose out on a couple of hours of sleep, and to take time to love these kids.

I knew right away that this was from God because I had been praying about ways to serve, and this is the answer to my prayer. I love kids, and nothing warms my heart more than to see young people serving Jesus, raising their hands in worship, and wanting to learn more about Him. This particular group of children are between 4th and 6th grade. Some of them come from the neighborhood and their parents do not attend Church. Some of them come from not so pretty home lives, and seem a bit troubled. Our mission is to love them and pray that we can plant some seeds in their lives, and hopefully the lives of their parents as well.

I didn't come to know the Lord until I was 40 years old, and have so many regrets for that, as well as not raising my own children in a Christian home. But we have been blessed with seeing two of our children become saved and baptized, and it is such a joy knowing that my children are walking with God. 

When I came to Jesus, there were so many people that came beside me and gave me love and guidance. They took me under their wings, and showed me a love that I had never known before. They took the time to mentor me, to pray with me and for me, and to guide me. They were showing the love of Jesus. That is my goal with these children. I pray that they will accept God at a young age, and have a long, beautiful relationship. I pray that they feel the love we have for them, that we love them like Jesus, and that we will be blessed with patience and understanding as we walk beside them. I am so excited to see what the outcome could be. God works in awesome ways, and He never ceases to amaze me! 

So YES, we are taking the time to love, mentor, and pray for these kids, and watch some beautiful things happen! 

I am linking up with Karen Beth at Tuesday at Ten. The prompt this week is {TIME}

April 11, 2016

Break the Chains

I have said it before, and I will say it again. One of my biggest regrets in life is that I waited so long to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I was 40 years old before I really even thought about Jesus too much, and I didn't know much about Him. I knew that He lived in Heaven, and that we are supposed to pray to Him, and that's seriously about it. (Sad, huh?) There were a handful of times as a child when my parents took us to Sunday School, and church, but very rarely. So therefore, I did not raise my children in a Christian home.

I sometimes wonder how much different things would have been if I would have chosen to do things differently. I was thinking about this the other day, actually talking to a friend about it. And a memory hit me! I am not sure if this is what led me away, or not, but when I think about it, it very well could have been.

When I was 16, I was pregnant with my first child. I had a family member who was a Christian and she invited me to church. I accepted her invitation, and was really kind of looking forward to it. The evening came, she picked me up, and we went to her church. When I walked in I witnessed a room full of people with hands held high, people at the altar knelt in prayer, and a few people jumping up and down, yelling and screaming. Her church was having what she called a Revival, and they had a guest Evangelist. She went forward and joined her church family. I sat quietly in the back row with my 9 year old little brother. I must admit I was a little bit scared. I had never seen this kind of thing before. The church that my parents took us to that handful of times was very small and conservative. Eventually the guest evangelist noticed me and my brother in the back. He approached us and introduced himself. He stood before us, reached out his hand and took mine. He asked me if I was saved. I had no clue what he meant. I was thinking to myself, saved from what?  I told him that I didn't know what he meant, and he proceeded to sit down and tell me that I should not be wearing makeup, I should not be wearing jewelry, and I definitely should not be having a baby at my age. He also told me that he would not leave that pew until I told him that I was saved by the blood of Jesus Christ! Not knowing what to do, I said, "I am saved!" He finally left, and I took my brother and went to the car. That was the last time I thought about going to church really, for many years.

Finally, when I met my husband, he introduced me to Jesus! He was like a gift from God. He was like no one I had ever met in my life. He was kind and caring, and treated me with respect. He also introduced me to a church family that I have fallen deeply in love with over these past 12 years. 

Since my husband and I have been together, we have been blessed with seeing 2 out of our 5 adult children accept Jesus into their hearts, and be baptized. Praise God! We have committed to specifically praying each week for 1 of our remaining 3 that have not come to know the Lord. We are alternating weeks and lifting them to God, fervently praying that God will break every chain that binds them to the ways they are living. We have 9 grandchildren that we desperately want to see grow up knowing Jesus! 

Dear Father, I lift our children and grandchildren up to You! Father, I pray that You would remove the veil from their eyes, and let them see You. I pray that as their eyes are opened that You would bring about situations and circumstances that would lead them to the truth. I pray that You would soften their heart's, put a new Spirit in them, take out their stony, stubborn heart, and give them a responsive heart. Lord, please draw them to You, and give them a desire for You. Please put people in their paths that would help guide them to You. Let them see You wherever they go, so much that they could not escape You. Please wrap Your hedge of protection around them, so that any ungodly influences around them would lose interest and depart. Lord, please break any chains that bind them, and free them from Satan's influence over their minds and emotions. I pray that their minds, hearts and lives would be transformed and renewed. I pray that they would be convicted by the Holy Spirit, and that they would have Your attitude toward sin. Father, please let Your kindness lead them to full repentance and help them to turn away from their sin. Thank You Father! In Jesus Name I Pray! Amen!

Linking up with Karen Beth at Finding the Grace Within/Tuesday at Ten The prompt this week is:


April 6, 2016

Will You Decide?

I am linking up with Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday. This is a weekly challenge where you write on the weekly prompt for 5 minutes and link up on Kate's site.. Please make sure you visit the one who posted before you and leave a comment, or a word of encouragement. 

I really struggled with this weeks prompt for some reason. The word is DECIDE, and I was drawing a blank, until today. Today I finally decided what to write about! 

I came home from work and checked my mail. In my mailbox was my March newsletter from Franklin Graham on The Decision America Tour. I have been excited for this tour since they announced it sometime last year. I have joined the Ohio Decision America Prayer Group on Facebook, ( I believe there is a Facebook group for each state.) I have taken the pledge to God and My Country, and I will definitely be attending the rally when Mr. Graham visits our State Capital building in Ohio. 

I also have a Decision America Prayer Journal where I can write prayers and praises for each State as Mr. Graham goes to the Capital buildings and preaches the Gospel. The journal has information on each State and what we should be praying for as well. In Ohio, the prayer request is to Pray for a new generation of young Christians to rise up across the state as they hear the Gospel through every means possible. Ask God to use music, movies, social media, and the latest technology to reach children, teens, and young adults with the life-transforming message of Jesus Christ. 

"Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.'" -Matthew 19:14 ESV

I totally agree with Mr. Graham when he says, "America is in trouble." What America needs is a spiritual revolution. It will only happen if we turn to God. As Christians we need to stand together and ask God to intervene in this country, to forgive us and to give us another chance. 

Turn us back to You, O Lord, and we will be restored. Lamentations 5:21 - NKJV

Mr. Graham reports that so far, over 1,400 people have prayed to accept Christ as their Savior! How exciting is that? 

Friends, if you have not already done so, I would love for you to decide to join Mr. Graham in praying for our Country, and spreading the Good News! You can find more information on your State and sign the pledge here.

Also, if you have never linked up with Kate, try it today! You will be glad you did!

April 2, 2016

My Past His Plan

I admit that my past as an adult isn't admirable, but it is mine. I am not proud of my past as an adult, and by no means do I miss it, but I am thankful for it. I have learned to be thankful for it, because, it is what led me to God. I made so many mistakes and bad choices, and the guilt laid on my shoulders for many years. Even after I came to know Jesus. But the more I walk with Him, talk with Him, and study God's word, I am learning to forget the past, to let Jesus wash it all away, and look forward to the future and what lies ahead. 

The part of my past that I do miss is my childhood, and my dad! Even though I was not raised in a Christian home, I was very loved, protected, and cared for by my dad. My dad would have turned 79 years old on January 7, 2016, and on July 15, 2016, it will be 38 years since he passed away. That is almost as long as his time on earth. He was 41 years, 6 months, and 8 days old when he passed away from a brain aneurysm. My dad was amazing! He loved us unconditionally, with his whole heart! He taught me that same kind of love, and he taught me to love and protect my own. I was just 15 years old when he passed away, and I can honestly say that there have been very few, if any, days that I haven't thought about him at some point during the day. I miss him terribly, still. So many times I think about him, and wonder, "why my dad, God?" And I admit, at times, I still feel cheated. But I have a peace in my heart, because my dad accepted Jesus before he passed away. And then I remind myself that there is no more pain, and no more sorrow in Heaven, only joy! I know that God has a time for each of us, and my dad's time on earth was complete. He served his purpose, and God needed him at home, in Heaven. On the days that I really miss my dad, I find comfort in this verse. 

If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Romans 14:8

I done a Bible Study last year called Your Life Still Counts, by Tracie Miles. This study was what taught me to finally be able to accept my past, to let go of the burdens of guilt and shame, and to know without a doubt in my heart, that God uses my past for His purpose, and He will guide me to a beautiful future if I let Him. I am certainly willing to let Him! 

It is my heart's desire to use my past to help other women who may be struggling with the same things that I once did. I want to show them the Hope and Love that is found in Jesus. I want to guide them to the One who can take their past and turn it into a beautiful future! I want to share with them all of the blessings that God has placed in my life! Me, the one who thought God could never love me because of my past! 

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

Linking up with Karen Beth at Finding the Grace Within/Tuesday at Ten 
The prompt this week is PAST!