hope sign

hope sign

Friday, August 29, 2014

Write It Down

Henry and Pop

Here we are at the weekend that marks the end of summer for most. 

 Most kids will be officially back in school by Tuesday and schedules will take the place of summer freedoms.  People are closing their pools and vacations are over until next year.  It can all be pretty sad.  But, to tell you the truth, as much as I love summer, I LOVE FALL!!!  

Fall is the perfect time of warm days and cool nights.  

Bonfires in the pit, leaves are changing colors, the air is crisp and clean, pumpkins, apples, harvest, hay rides...fall is fun!

Last night we had a fire on the patio in the fire pit.  We were a little nervous because of the 2 year old and 4 year old that wanted to run around.  But all in all, it was nice.  Henry and I watched videos of him as a toddler singing, "Deep and Wide" with his KaKa (Aunt Kelcie, it's what he calls her) and Pop. There were lots of hugs and kisses and warming of the bums.   It was Luke Aaron's first bonfire but not his last.  He was content to just eat and dance with his mommy.  

Pop getting the fire going

Grammy and Pop enjoying the fire, coffee and each other

Scovia, wrapped in a blanket enjoying the fire

Juliana, dancing with Luke at his first bonfire

Aunt Tori and Parker enjoying the fire

This weekend, as you celebrate the last hurrah of summer,

 remember that each season brings it's own smells, challenges, triumphs and beauty.  

Enjoy each day and feel the love that God has richly given us in the beauty of this wonderful creation.  Be philosophic, write down what you see, feel, smell, hear and taste in this beautiful fall season.  Take photos of your family and relish in the memories made.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

You Are Called And Qualified By God

Do you ever feel intimidated by your short comings?

Do you ever compare your gifts to others who seem to have all the gifts?

Do you ever withdraw because you are afraid you just wont measure up?

Do you ever hide behind the abilities of others so you don't have to put yourself out there?

Statements like,"I am a behind the scenes worker," or "You are better at this than me, so you do it", roll off your tongue when asked to step out of your comfort zone.

We all have times when we don't feel adequate.  We look around and see so many who are much better equipped for the task at hand.

We are not alone with these feelings.  They are as old as time.  We can look through scripture and find men and women who had these feelings but what sets them apart is that these feelings didn't stop them from obedience and took them and most of the time, their whole country into victory.

Gideon...overcame his doubts, with a little fleecing and answered the call of God
Moses...overcame his disabilities and brought Israel out of Egypt...answering the call of God.
Joseph...overcame the rejection of his family and became royalty...answering the call of God...he forgave.

God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.  We have to be willing.  Sure, sometimes it takes some real talk with God.  We should talk real to God.  He knows our hearts and He isn't surprised by our feelings or our inadequacies.  

Let me tell you, each time I write this blog, I delete, rewrite, delete, rewrite, delete.  I think about who might be reading this and delete some more.  Unless I am writing about my kids or grand babies, I stress over offending anyone or sounding stupid.  My insecurities run wild and there are times that they win.  I will delete and not post anything because I feel like I just wont measure up.  Measure up to who? Good question.  I don't know the answer to that one.  

I have to do what God puts on my heart.  Do it with love and with all my ability.  It might not help some but it might help one or two of you out there.  Most of all, I am walking in obedience to what God has laid upon my heart.  

Whether you are being called into a season of battle, restoration, rejuvenation, victorious living...whatever the season you are in, rest in the knowledge that you are loved by the Creator of all. 

James 1:17New Life Version (NLV)

17 Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God. 

He is the One Who made all light. 

He does not change. 

No shadow is made by His turning.

Guess what, He thinks of you/us as good.  As Bishop Don Bledsoe says, "You are one of a kind, God designed, straight from His mind."  

You can make a difference in this world.  Be encouraged today.  He will qualify you where He has called you.  Availability leads to Ability.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Love...It's A Fruit

Some love words about me from my friends...
They uplift me when I am down

Our focus is too much on the bad things going on in this world or even in our own, personal world. We are easy to take offense, we even look out for things that may cause offense to us or to the ones we love.  It's to the point that any and everything we say is being judged by the "Don't offend me" police.

That being said, I am a true believer that you do not try and offend.  We should do our best to avoid offending someone with our words.  Kindness should always win over my need to say something.

I truly believe it is a matter of the heart.  What is the heart of the statement.  I know some things are just mean no matter what but I am not talking about hate speech.  I am talking about someone writing or talking about a subject...what is the heart of the writer or speaker?

Too often times, we are so concerned about how we feel that we don't take into consideration how the other person feels or where they are coming from.  We just assume they are judging us or condemning us or our actions out of malice or hate.  We don't take the time to consider others.

We need to live a life of LOVE.  Love for God, Others and believe it or not, Ourselves.  The Bible tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves.  If we don't love ourselves, how can we show love to our neighbor?  And, we know that God is love.  All love comes from Him.  He is the fullness of love.

When I focus more on love, how I love God, how I love my family, how I love my friends, church, neighbor, people all over the world...I fill my life with wonderful love.  My perspective, the way I see my world, the way I talk and even the way I listen is altered because of this love.  I am not so easily offended and I don't easily offend.

1 Corinthians 13 The Message (MSG)

The Way of Love

13 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
8-10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
11 When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Make a point to show love to someone today.  It can be anybody...even yourself.  Quit with the negative talk against yourself.  Say something positive.  I know, it can feel crazy but it is necessary.  I pray you have a blessed, happy day.
Love...its a fruit!!!!!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Password, "Thank You!"

I wanted to share with you today a passage of scripture that I had to memorize as a child in a Christian school.  This was one of our monthly memorization challenges and I am so glad that we had to do this. Yesterday, I read it in the Message Bible and I fell in love with this scripture all over again.  It's just beautiful and uplifting, giving great instruction on Thanksgiving.  I hope it blesses you as much as it blessed me.

"On your feet now-
applaud God!
Bring a gift of laughter,
sing yourselves into his
Know this: God is God,
and God, God.
He made us; we didn't 
make him.
We're his people, his well-
tended sheep.
Enter with the password:
"Thank you!"
Make yourselves at home,
talking praise.
Thank him.  Worship him.
For God is sheer beauty,
all-generous in love,
loyal always and ever."

-Psalm 100 MSG

When I look at the things and people around me with a thankful heart, my whole perspective changes.  I value more things, I interact with others better, I can learn easier, I am more teachable, I am more submissive to those who have authority in my life, I am more content...the list goes on and on.  It all stems from a thankful heart. I know who my source is, for everything I need in this life and eternal life...JESUS.  So I will praise Him, worship Him, thank Him, love Him.

What do you see when you look at this imperfection on the road?
I see a heart...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Seeds Grow In Dark Places-CS Lewis

Our sky, one day last month

CS Lewis wrote, "seeds grow in dark places."

I read that this morning and the words will not leave me.  

It seems like there is a lot of darkness in the world today.  Christians, Americans, people all over the world are being killed daily.  In our own streets, homes, neighborhoods...death surrounds us.  But we are not defeated.  We are not without hope.  We are not destroyed.  

Seeds are growing in these dark places.  Seeds of life, love and peace.  Seeds that have been planted by the blood of soldiers believing for a better tomorrow. Seeds of Christians, standing for their Faith and their God.  Seeds of mothers, fathers, grandparents protecting their children...giving their lives in love. Seeds sown in prayer closets of praying mothers, sisters, Pastors, teachers. Seeds sown in back allies ministering to the needs of the homeless, beaten and hopeless.  

Don't be afraid of the dark.  

Allow the time of darkness to be a place of rest so your seeds have time to germinate and a new life to begin.  A new life of Hope. A new life of Peace.  A new life of Joy.  A New Life.  

We can't always see it in the early stages but eventually you will start to see signs of New Life.  It can only be hidden for so long.  

The faithful love of the LORD never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
-Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT

New Life on my Magnolia Tree

I want to encourage you today, don't be afraid.  Rest in the knowledge that in no matter what the circumstances are around me, Jesus loves me.  I will give myself and life to Him.  It really just might be a time of quiet gardening in your life.  I cannot wait to see what comes of the seeds that have been planted in me and by me, for His Kingdom.