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Thank YOU!

Thank you for the gift of your time today. My prayer is each time you stop to visit you are blessed with truth, and encouraged to keep going ~ one foot in front of the other, chin up ~ simply because you've been reminded you are on the road to VICTORY!

Monday, December 30, 2013

My Prayer For You...December 30, 2013

My prayer for you and me this week...
greet the New Year with hope and joyful expectation...standing on tiptoes.  No matter the events of this past year, whether marvelous, pain-filled or a combination of everything in between, I invite you to walk with me on the pathway toward home, our glorious Kingdom home. Look up, do you see Jesus Lighting the Way?  He is our Treasure.  Jesus is our Inheritance.  He beckons us to persevere on this life journey with His Word as our road map, His Spirit as our compass, and people, Christ followers, as our fellow sojourners.

Maybe you've traveled a detour.  I've taken quite a few, so I can promise you, this word is true.  Jesus hears you as you whisper, "Help me, Lord!"; He'll make known to you the course correction you need.  (Jeremiah 33:2-3 "This is what the LORD says, He who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it - the LORD is His name: 'Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'")    

Perhaps you've never known - a secure, loving home awaits you where a good Father has chosen you for adoption, and not just a Father, but a King - The King!  It doesn't matter where you've been or how you've lived until now; today is the day you are able to receive your adoption into God's family as a joint heir with Christ!  (2 Corinthians 6:1-2 As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain.  For He says, "In the time of My favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.)

Possibly you've stayed close to Jesus, a loyal, submissive child of God, which as you know is no guarantee of a consistently smooth road home.  In this new year, you have the opportunity to take the hand of someone around you, and lovingly walk with them toward Jesus because you know Him, love Him and have the ability to share His love with those who don't!

Lord, Jesus, we declare You are Worthy of all our praise and devotion.  You have no boundaries of space and time.  For You there is no 'new year', no new chapters, rather a continuous story of love and victory!  Show us where we are in Your story.  Teach us to "fix our eyes on (You), the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the JOY set before (You) endured the cross, scorning it's shame and sat down at the right hand of the Throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2)
And Lord as we choose to walk toward You this new year, let us delight in reaching out to take the hand of another to walk along side; introducing them to You, sharing Your love, grace and mercy...all for Your Glory, Praise and build Your Kingdom. Amen!

Friday, December 27, 2013

This Week's Lightbulb Moment

How will we know we need a Savior unless we need saving?
Who me?

Particular events have a way of marking our lives.  One such event occurred in my life both figuratively and literally.  I was a tender age, and tender-hearted; though with a mind of my own and a strong will to match.

Do not despise the Lord's instruction, my (daughter), and do not loathe His discipline; for the Lord disciplines the one He loves, just as a (mother), the (daughter she) delights in. 
(Proverbs 3:11-12 HCSB)

As I remember, I was sitting on the floor in my brother's room watching Gilligan's Island on TV.  To keep my hands busy while watching the show, I tossed a kick ball in the air repeatedly.  At some point my mom walked by and said, "Don't throw that ball in the house, you're going to break something!"  (Did you just chuckle?)

You guessed it!  As soon as my mom turned the corner out of sight, I tossed the ball in the air just one more time to prove 'nothing bad' would happen, and WHAMO, the ball hit the glass ceiling light. (Visualize a slow motion movie scene)
As I heard the glass shatter, I jumped up and behind my brother's bed. small piece of glass in my thigh...hurt...crying...embarrassed...sorrowful...

And who was there to rescue me?  Mom, of course! 
Wearing shoes she walked across the glass, picked me up and carried me to safety, cleaned me up, bandaged my wounded leg, wiped my tears, and probably asked me if I understood why she didn't want me to toss the ball in the house.

I understood...she wasn't trying to take my fun away, she was trying to preserve my peace and protect me from dangerous, hurtful, even life-threatening circumstances.  

And so...the love of the Father...
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are! 
(I John 3:1 NIV)

Our (parents) disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His Holiness.  No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.  (Hebrews 12:10-11 NIV)

Monday, December 23, 2013

My Prayer for You...December 22, 2013

My prayer for you and me this fourth week of Advent is to live in peace. True peace results from living in the center of God's obedient to His call.  Jesus exemplified peace through obedience; He is perfectly obedient to His Father and He is The Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6 "For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

Feeling a bit overwhelmed the past few days with God's call to obediently follow, trust and wait in a specific area of my life, this morning the Lord so tenderly met me with peace in the truth of His Word.  The beautiful, awesome Christmas story made fresh and applicable to my life once again!

Mary, the Virgin Mary, chosen by God to bare His Son; I think chosen because God knew she would say "yes" to His call.  Today I saw with new eyes, the depth of Mary's obedience and the peace she was given as a result.  Mary received a life altering message from the angel, Gabriel, and her response was immediate, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." (Luke 2:38)

I was struck today with a renewed realization Mary didn't argue with Gabriel about how this assignment from God would impact her.  Knowing people would talk and understanding the severe consequences of being with child prematurely, and for Joseph, not of his seed, Mary didn't ask Gabriel for time to consult with her parents or with Joseph.  Mary, simply received the favor of the Lord, His call on her life, and obediently said, "Yes, Lord, I am your servant."

The result of Mary's obedience was peace as the Lord Himself took care of the details.  "An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.'" (Matthew 1:20)  It was then Joseph's opportunity and responsibility to say "yes" to the Lord for his appointed role in God's plan.  And he did say yes, "When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son.  And he called his name Jesus." (Matthew 1:24-25)

Peace, the world looks for peace, desires peace and demands peace will only be possible when all strife, conflict and wars are ended.  However, that is not the truth of God's word, as we see through Mary and Joseph, and their obedient "yes, Lord". The peace of God is available to us through simple obedience in the midst of chaos, family squabbles, political differences, and warring governments. Peace has come, Immanuel, God with us, King Jesus, Ruler of all!

Lord, Jesus, Prince of Peace, thank You for the peace You give when we submit to You, Your plan and Your time with an obedient heart and an obedient walk.  Thank You for working out the details when we simply bow in Your Presence and say, "Yes, Lord, I am Your servant, and I surrender to Your will."  You are my peace, You are our peace; may we exemplify Your peace as we walk in this dark world obedient to Your call, glorifying and exalting Your name above all names, Amen and Amen!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

This Week's Lightbulb Moment

Not everyone knows what I know.

Hold on, please, before you think me arrogant.  Let me explain...

When I began my first professional job out of college, one overarching rule was continually preached.  Don't assume; you'll make an ass out of u and me!  Lest I assume everyone has heard this advice, ass/u/me, get it?

Thirty years later, I've not forgotten the lesson, and thirty years later I can agree; it is true, I've proven it a time or two myself.

A week ago, my husband and I hosted a Christmas party.  As an ice breaker - conversation starter, we greeted everyone at the door with a sticker, which we placed on our guest's back.  On each sticker was written the name of a character from a Christmas movie.  We selected characters from four well known (or so I assumed) Christmas movies.  Through conversation with other guests, each person tried to guess "their character".  Once successful the sticker was moved to their chest.

I was sure our choices of characters and movies were so simplistic; that is until person after person (pointing at an other's back) would say to me, "I don't know that character.  What movie are they from?"  I was so shocked and disappointed, though much conversation was created.  I mean, who doesn't know Mary Bailey, Violet, Mr. Fezziwig, Bob Cratchit or Cindy Lou Who?  Apparently, quite a few.  Anyway, no one called me a "you know what", and in the long run the game served it's purpose!

Cleaning up after the party, I was reminded (lightbulb), not everyone knows what I know.  I was also reminded of a story my dad told me years ago.  He, along with mom, and some friends were discussing the funny looking guy with the rainbow wig who kept popping up at football games holding a sign which read 'John 3:16'. One lady spoke up, "What does that mean anyway?".  My dad,
assuming everyone knew what he knew, laughed and said, "Everyone knows John 3:16!"  Silence...she, and perhaps others at the table, didn't know.  My dad felt like a "you know what"!

Lest I assume everyone knows what I know, John 3:16 means this... God so loved the world (us, the people in the world) He gave His one and only Son (Jesus) so that whoever (everyone who, including you and me) believes in Him (proclaims He is the Son of God) will not be condemned, but have eternal LIFE with Him.

This is good news...
if you know it like I know it!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

My Prayer for You...December 15, 2013

My prayer for you and me this third week of Advent is simply to be filled with JOY.  Whether currently living in a happy, fulfilled, and content season of life or struggling to get out of bed every morning feeling the despair of taking in one more breath; my prayer for you and me this week is to be filled with JOY...supernatural JOY...unspeakable JOY.  
The Joy of the Lord is (our) strength. (Nehemiah 8:10 ESV)

Over the last six years, I've learned a whole new and deeper meaning of JOY from the circumstances of life, through which the Sovereign Lord has allowed me to persevere.  

A season of dark days full of uncertainty regarding marriage, and sons leaving home; the pain of allowing children to become adults by their own choices, the recognition of unforgiveness in family relationships growing bitter roots, and the despair of understanding failure.  I've endured a season of longing and pleading for reconciliation, freedom, love, peace, and JOY!  

I've discovered it is true (Psalm 30:5), "weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning."  The journey of the last few years has been through some of the toughest terrain I've walked in my 50 years of life, and yet I understand this path may just be training ground for experiences still ahead.  Only God knows the full view of our pathway home toward His Kingdom.

No matter what lies ahead, these past few years are precious to me for they have forged in me resilience, faith, assurance, strength, hope, love, forgiveness and most of all JOY!

Thus, in this third week of Advent, my prayer for you and me is to ask and receive...

Lord, Jesus, Sovereign and Merciful God, You know where we walk on this journey with You. You see us for You have never left us nor will You ever forsake us.  You know the terrain and how You will use it to train us for Kingdom living. You know the good plan You have for Your children; Your plan to continually refine us into the image of Your dear Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.  We declare our gratitude that JOY comes from You, and is available for the asking.  So, Lord God, we ask for a filling to the full of Your JOY and receive Your JOY as our strength for our journey...divine journey with Jesus. For Your Glory, Amen and Amen!

Nehemiah 8:10,  Psalm 16:11, Psalm 30:5, Psalm 51:11-13, Psalm 84:1-3, Psalm 126:5-6, Isaiah 49:13, Isaiah 55, Jeremiah 15:16, Zephaniah 3:17, Luke 2:10, Luke 19:5-7, John 16:24, John 20:20, Romans 5:4, Romans 15:13, 2 Corinthians 8:2, Galatians 5:22, Philippians 2:2, 
Colossians 1:11, Hebrews 1:9, Hebrews 12:2, James 1:2, 
I Peter 1:8, 3 John 1:4, Jude 1:24, Revelation 19:7

Sunday, December 8, 2013

My Prayer For You...December 8, 2013

My prayer for you and me this week...the second week of to receive peace through the ministry of reconciliation given to us by Christ and, in turn, as far as it depends on us, to live at peace with everyone. 
(2 Corinthians 5:18 & Romans 12:18)

This sounds like a nice sentiment for the Christmas season doesn't it?  Truly though, complete peace has eluded me this week as I learned my actions deeply offended a friend's brother.  Have you ever longed for reconciliation and a restoration of peace?

My intent was to show the love of Jesus and open the door to a lasting and fruitful friendship. However, in my zeal, I theoretically blasted through the "relationship door" busting my friend's brother in the nose causing surprise and great pain.  Much like cooking a meal in an attempt to provide care only to later learn the recipient suffered food poisoning!  My friend's brother is rightfully offended, and I am the offender. 

How could I be so careless, and yet have such pure intent toward this man?  I made an assumption when I should have diligently verified the resource.  I walked right into the devil's scheme to confirm this man's view of Christians; those people who declare, "Jesus loves you!" only to scream, "and by the way, you're going to hell!"

Oh Lord, Jesus, I need You, the One Who came to reconcile my sinful self to Your Righteousness; I need You to make a way for me to be reconciled to this dear man.  

As I have prayed so many times in the past, Lord Jesus, I have made a complete mess of this attempt to show Your love, and I need You to make up for my failure.  Please do the miraculous as I (and maybe others reading along) pursue peace and reconciliation.

Lord, Jesus, thank You for making a victory out of the devil's desire to defeat and destroy.  Thank You for the victory which comes from submitting myself under Your authority, confessing my sin, and thank You for restoring my peace. We pray all glory and honor and praise will be Yours, Jesus, in Your Holy name. Amen!

Friday, December 6, 2013

This Week's Lightbulb Moment

With God, everything means no less than ALL.

One weekend night when I was a youngster, I was given the great responsibility of ordering the pizza meal for the family.  My mom explained the process, "It's easy!  Just call Steve's Pizza, and tell them you want to order a large pizza with everything for pick up."

I gathered my courage, dialed the number and stated our order; just as my mom coached me.  The voice on the other end asked an unexpected question, "Is that everything with anchovies?"

I returned the question, "Does an everything pizza include anchovies?  I'm supposed to order a large pizza with everything."

We drove to Steve's to pick up our large pizza with everything.  Once we arrived home and opened the pizza box, my parents groaned, "Ohhhhh, they put anchovies on this pizza!"  All eyes turned to me, "Did you order anchovies?"

"Well yes, I asked for a large pizza with everything.  Everything included anchovies."  The pizza was terribly salty though we picked off as many anchovies as possible.  From then on, I was reminded, "everything except anchovies!"

I like to have everything I like without any of the things I don't like.  God, though, when He says everything, He means all that is best for me according to His good plan.

In light of this revelation, I am pondering two "everything" scriptures tonight...  

Moreover we know that to those who love God, who are called according to His plan, everything that happens fits into a pattern for good.
Romans 8:28 (Phillips)

His (God's) divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him Who called us by His own glory and goodness.
2 Peter 1:3 (HCSB)

In God's Kingdom, everything means all...including the anchovies, which I would rather do without.  Thank You Lord for saying what You mean and meaning what You say.  You are trustworthy!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

My Prayer For You...December 1, 2013

My prayer for you and me this week...this first week of Advent.  My prayer for all of us; take time today to ask the Lord, God Almighty, what, if anything, is
keeping us from completely focusing on Jesus this Christmas season.  

In our attempt to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, is there anything in the way of our view?  Is there a distraction? Might we have a love - something we hold tightly to our self, which keeps our eyes averted from His. 

What if the Lord were to ask us to place on His altar, our distractions, our beloved treasure?  Genesis 22:1-18  God asked Abraham to offer his son, Isaac, on the altar of sacrifice.  Let this truth sink in: God asked for Isaac; the son of promise, the son through whom God promised offspring in number as the stars in the night sky, a nation, a land, and a blessing for all the peoples of the earth.  

Abraham obeyed immediately and placed his beloved son, Isaac, on the altar of the Lord.  Abraham didn't know how, but he trusted the Lord, God, Himself would provide and keep His Holy promise.  And God provided a ram for the burnt offering.

Lord, God, You created us and You know us inside and out. You know where we trust You completely and You know the exceptions.  You understand when we say, "I believe, help my unbelief!"

Oh Lord, we are not hiding anything from You. You know what keeps us from focusing on You.  Please, by Your Holy Spirit, put a spotlight on anything and everything keeping us from full devotion to You.  

We want to love You first with our whole heart.  We want to keep our eyes fixed on You continually, moving in closer, trusting You more completely and withholding nothing from You!

Father, God, may You be able to say to us as You said to Abraham, " I know you fear God, seeing you have not withheld..." Genesis 22:12  In Jesus' Holy and Saving name, we ask, we trust, and obey expectantly.  Amen!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

This Week's Lightbulb Moment

Joy overflows from a grateful heart; a heart tested, tried, and found faithful in endurance.

Consider it a great joy, my brothers (sisters), whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
James 1:2-4 (HCSB)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 22, 2013

This Week's Lightbulb Moment

Unmerited favor has the power to create a grateful heart...
producing acts of unmerited favor...

The woman at the well was shunned by her own Samaritan people for the reason Jesus stated truthfully; she had five husbands and the man she currently lived with was not her husband.

Yet when she received the Living Water Jesus offered her freely, the woman went immediately to the people who rejected her.  She invited them to come meet Jesus and receive for themselves the freedom only the Messiah had the power to give.

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him (Jesus) because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did."  John 4:39 (NIV)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Simplicity of Giving Thanks

As I move toward the week of Thanksgiving, the words "thanks" and "giving" seem to be highlighted all around me - everywhere!

I like this holiday called Thanksgiving!  In fact, I like it so much, I don't do anything "Christmas" until after Thanksgiving is finished so as not to distract me from fully embracing Thanksgiving!

I like Thanksgiving; it's simple! Decorations are low key, shopping is limited mostly to groceries, and there's no obligation to design a card, include a family portrait, or write a state of the family letter; though I do enjoy writing many little "thank you" notes during the month of November. 

It's a simple little holiday; though the implications of giving thanks and showing gratitude are monumental!  The tiny exercise of finding just one blessing for which to be thankful trains my heart and mind to recognize the good in my life.  Over time, a natural lifestyle of thankfulness is developing in me.

Gratitude is similar.  Smiling and saying thank you takes a moment, but reaps a bounty of smiles and kind words in return.  One of my favorite Thanksgiving activities is to take a pack of sticky notes or index cards and write "I appreciate you!" or a Scripture verse on them, subsequently distributing these small gifts of gratitude to random people who divinely cross my path.  Talk about turning a frown upside down!

I think, to miss thanksgiving is to miss profound truth and valuable opportunities.  Giving thanks causes me to pause
and think about others rather than focus on myself, and creates opportunity to encourage people and appreciate blessings; resulting in a more joyful and content me!  
Besides it's really simple and fun!  Yes, indeed, Thanksgiving is one of my very favorite holidays.  Thank you for letting me share why!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

My Prayer For You...November 17, 2013

My prayer for you and me this week...

...persevere on the sunshine filled, straight path; persevere on the foggy, winding path; persevere on the dark and narrow path, and persevere when you don't know why you should take one more step.

Persevere in doing good...persevere when you are growing weary.  Persevere, press on...just one foot in front of the other with your eyes fixed on Jesus because He awaits you at the finish line.  He is your Great Reward, Jesus Christ of Nazareth - King Jesus, and He will reward you with the crown of life!

Lord, Jesus, we want to persevere, help us to persevere. When we are weary, tempted to quit, give us a glimpse of Your presence, tune our ears to Your whisper as You call us by name, and remind us of the goal to finish the race for Your glory.  In Your Strong and Sustaining name we pray, Amen!

Psalm 23:2-4, Isaiah 43:1-2, Isaiah 48:17, Galatians 6:9, Hebrews 12:1-3 and James 1:12

Thursday, November 14, 2013

This Week's Lightbulb Moment

"I don't have to be afraid, Jesus is my peace!"
Isabel Snell, 3&1/2 years wise.

My dear friend, and proud Nana, Ruth Snell, shared with me Isabel's testimony.
During their visit to the park, Isabel climbed to the top of a slide, sat down, and steadied herself with the truth she knows; "I don't have to be afraid, Jesus is my peace!" Subsequently, Isabel, secure in the grip of Jesus her peace, pushed off for a thrill ride to a safe landing!

What an excellent way to live!  
I am forever thankful for this freeing truth from the mouth of a pre-schooler, who experiences her adventurous life to the full, out of the boldness of her young faith.

Me...flying... Stone Mountain, GA

Me too, Isabel, thank you!  
Oh Lord, may I also greet each day for the rest of my life with this confident declaration; "I don't have to be afraid, Jesus is my peace!"

Me, 50th birthday, shell bucket in hand!
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.  For He Himself is our peace
Ephesians 2:13-14a

Sunday, November 10, 2013

My Prayer For You...November 10, 2013

My prayer for you and me this week...

Holy Spirit remind us of our desperate condition without Christ.  God, Your word tells us we were dead in our transgressions and sins (Ephesians 2:1) until You, who are rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:4-5).

This week, Holy Spirit, I ask You to cause us to see our own face in the faces of the people we tend to judge.  As we encounter wretched sinners this week, may we see ourselves in their place.  Give us a visual of our own dead, dry bones without Christ's resurrected life in us.

Surely, Lord God Almighty, this recognition of our own
resurrection from death to life will create a flood of gratitude in our own hearts, and overflow into hearts of compassion for those around us who are the walking dead.

The Spirit of the Lord asked Ezekiel, "Son of man, can these bones live?"  Then He said to me, "Prophesy to these bones and say to them, 'Dry bones hear the word of the Lord!  This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life."
Ezekiel 37:3-5 (NIV)