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!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Favor of the Lord: Not to be confused with “the easy life” ~ Guest Post with Barbie Swihart

Thank you, Barbie Swihart, for this wonderful opportunity to be your guest blogger.  Blessings of JOY, dear daughter of the KING!

Maybe you've asked the Lord for a word for the new year, or maybe not.  It's become rather popular in my circle of community.  Rather than focus on a list of New Year’s resolutions, the last five years I’ve asked Holy Spirit to highlight a particular word to be my theme for the coming year.  

It's a word I use to search the Scriptures.  It's a word through which I continually ask, "Jesus, what do You want me to know?"

Each of these years has truly been an adventure with Him.  I've found this to be a faith-stretching exercise as well.  You see, Holy Spirit highlights a word already knowing all the details of the next year of my life. So, in many aspects this word for the year is much like the Lord Himself who goes before and behind and hems us in so that we are never, ever alone.

Perhaps this is why my word for 2015 (favor) has been a bit more challenging.  At first it seemed this word didn’t reconcile...continue reading.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Probably Proverbs - Answers to life's questions

In the past week, words have been pointed and shot like arrows through social media.  Sides have been drawn, judgments hurled and arguments formed in an attempt to persuade the other side, and to what end?

One side cheers, while the other side wails.

When angry words pierce hearts, is anyone persuaded?  
Does anyone win?

For those of us who follow Christ, we do well to heed the wisdom of God's Word regarding our words.

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, 
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 12:18 esv

It is not becoming of Father God's children to descend into arguments and judgment.  It is not our place to bring conviction to any human being.  In fact, Jesus' words were very specific and a direct commandment.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself."  
Matthew 22:37-39 niv

As we seek to obey our Father, we rely on Him to fill us with His love...the love that would proclaim His love for the whole world and His desire that no one would perish.
And as we live out His love for every person, blessing and praying for all and especially those with whom we disagree; Holy Spirit comes with conviction of truth.

Come Holy Spirit, teach us and fill us with Your love.
Come and do in all of us what only You can do to draw all men unto Yourself!
For Your Glory...Amen!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Probably Proverbs - Answers to life's questions

"My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline,
and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, 
because the Lord disciplines those He loves, 
and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son."
Hebrews 12:5-6 niv

It's Father's Day.  For some it is a happy day... 
For others, it's a day that threatens to tear off the scab from a deep heart wound.

I think Father's Day is a day to pray for our men; a wonderful reminder to ask Almighty God to Father our men with His unconditional love as they have never been fathered before.  This is a day, possibly to mark the beginning of a year (or even a decade...a generation) of speaking the names of our men before the Throne of Grace with compassion, love, grace and forgiveness.

Now that my sons are grown men, I've become more aware of young families with children.  I enjoy seeing young children with their parents and remembering the days gone by.  

I notice young dads, young parents in general, seem somewhat reluctant in disciplining their children.  In general, dads seem to lack confidence when normal child-like behavior takes over in public places.  So, as one who has been there, I feel a responsibility to encourage the young ones coming along behind us - the next generation raising the next generation.

Many times I have offered parents an understanding smile when small children are acting like children in public.  If the opportunity arises, I like to offer a word of encouragement to "keep going and don't give up, discipline is for the good of the child and is worth the difficult and painful moments in the long run".  I am amazed at the relief these words of encouragement - even a warm smile - bring to young parents.

Yesterday, my husband and I visited our neighborhood pool.  My heart was delighted to see so many dads with young children in tow...moms too.  I smiled (a lot) watching little girls and boys jump off the edge of the pool into strong daddy arms and ride on daddy backs into the deep end.  I especially enjoyed watching the dad, who stood in line with many little ones, take his turn in line for the diving board.  Who enjoyed it more...the kids or the man?

However, my heart truly hurt for the big, strong young man who struggled to discipline his strong-willed toddler who continually swatted at his dad, screaming, crying and kicking because dad said it was time to get out of the pool.  I admire this young dad even now as I think about his perseverance.  He didn't lose his temper; he acted like a "dad" and used calm discipline for the good of his child.

So, why did my heart hurt for him?  Though, he was acting as a good dad, his demeanor indicated he lacked confidence in his role as a disciplinarian.  He did a great job, but he was obviously embarrassed by his young son's behavior.  (Who hasn't been embarrassed by a young child's temper tantrum?)  I wanted so badly to walk over to him and tell him, "Good job, dad!", but he wouldn't have been able to hear me.  I did catch his eye a time or two and gave him, what I hope was, a reassuring smile.


I wonder...
What would happen in our men's lives...what would happen in our hearts...if we began today, ladies, to bless our men before the LORD?  What if we get on our knees (maybe our faces) before Jesus and confess our offenses toward the men in our lives because they haven't nearly lived up to who we thought they should be for us?

Holy Spirit come and use these words to pierce the dark places of our hearts.  Show us where we have harbored offenses.  Show us where we have allowed bitterness to take root and grow large like kudzu in our heart gardens.  

We repent, Jesus; we choose to turn away from the sin You already defeated in our lives.                                                                                     
Jesus, as we turn to You and allow You to till up our heart gardens, burning away everything which does not look like You, we trust You to sow in this redeemed soil all the seed which eagerly and abundantly bears the fruit of Holy Spirit.

And Father, we do lift up our men to You for encouragement, to be Fathered by You.  We know You love our men more than we do, and we know Your plan for them, Your correction of them is perfect.  Come Holy Spirit and do what only You can do for the men we love.  We bless them and speak life over them and thank You for helping us see Your men as You see them.  

Oh God, You are the best Father!  Thank You for growing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in our hearts.  And thank You for correcting us, Your children, for our good and so that we will look more and more like You, through Your Son, and by the power of Holy Spirit!

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers!
We bless you to look to your Father in heaven for instruction as you fulfill your responsibilities as a dad and love your children with the love of Jesus.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Probably Proverbs - Answers to life's questions

He who guards his lips guards his life,
but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.
Proverbs 13:3 NIV

Do you ever have difficulty because of your words?

Have you ever experienced that moment when the words are right on your tongue and Holy Spirit sends out the instant spell check to your brain, but you purposely (in the emotion of the moment) disregard His warning, and let the words fly?

Do you ever wonder how you can feel so justified one moment and 30 seconds later grieve the depravity of your soul?

Well, maybe you have better self-control.  Or maybe you are more obedient to Holy Spirit in the heat of the moment.  I can honestly say this is an area of great growth for me.  Jesus revealed my tongue as an area of weakness early in my walk with Him.  It was a humbling and difficult realization because this issue with my tongue doesn't have anything to do with using profanity.  It has to do with the words of my tongue having the power of life and death, blessing and cursing.

I am so grateful; one of the first books of the Bible I studied in depth was James.
These words from James 3:3-6 struck at the heart of my weakness.

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.  Or take ships as an example.  Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot want to go.  Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.  Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.  The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body.  It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

I have no power within myself to control my tongue.  As Holy Spirit has made this small, but lethal aspect of my human body an object of priority, I have chosen to surrender.  I am grateful to Father for His loving discipline in asking that I place my tongue in submission to His will.

I am grateful because I know my Father wants best for me.  He wants my heart and soul to be full of the fruit of His Holy Spirit so that my words which flow from my tongue will be full of grace and love and joy and hope.

The rest of His words in James 3 are true.  

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who have been made in God's likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.  My brothers, this should not be so.  Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?  My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs?  Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Oh, Father, again today, I surrender my tongue to Your will.  I ask like Isaiah that You cleanse my lips with Your Holy fire.  I ask You Holy Spirit to bring loving conviction and highlight areas in which I need to confess the sin in my heart which pours forth sin from my mouth.  I confess.  I surrender.

And, I thank You Jesus for taking all my sin upon Yourself on the cross.  I thank You for Your cleansing blood and for the Robe of Righteousness You have given me to wear for all eternity!  I thank You Jesus for taking my sinful words from within and replacing them with words of righteousness; words tasting of the fruits of Holy Spirit.
For Your Glory Father...For Your Glory and my growth as a child of Your Kingdom.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Five Minute Friday::Rise

Blessings of remembering the BRAVE on this Memorial Day 2015; those who gave their very lives for the freedom of us who live.  On this day of remembrance I am joining Kate Motaung and over a hundred other beautiful women for Five Minute Friday.

This week's prompt is RISE.  

My timer is set for 5 minutes.


I saw the word RISE on Kate's website, but in my mind I read ARISE.  Immediately my thoughts recalled an old hymn I just recently sang in a ministry training conference, and by which my soul was wonderously moved.

The refrain was immediately on my lips as I saw the word RISE.

I will arise and go to Jesus, 
He will embrace me in His arms; 
In the arms of my dear Savior, 
O, there are ten thousand charms.

I was so stirred by this hymn, quite foreign and ancient sounding in contrast to the more common worship music of our day.  The cadence and the words caused me to stand at attention and focus on the meaning of what I was singing.  Holy Spirit brought a sudden conviction, "Wake up, and pay attention to this battle cry.  Sing it for all your worth if you really mean it!"

Once home from the conference, I went to the internet to research this old hymn.  The words were written by Joseph Hart in 1759, while the music was previously written by Jean Jacques Rousseau in 1750.  Such an old, old hymn and yet it was chosen in our modern day to bring a group of believers, training for leadership, into worship before Almighty God.  Interestingly, the name of this hymn is Come, Ye Sinners.  How utterly appropriate!

Here are the words, which struck deep to awaken my spirit.  Here are the words, which caused me to stand at attention as if waiting for my Commander to hand me His battle orders.

Come, ye sinner, poor and needy.  Weak and wounded sick and sore.
Jesus ready stands to save you.  Full of pity, love and power:
He is able, He is able, He is willing; doubt no more.
He is able, He is able, He is willing; dount no more.

refrain - 
I will arise and go to Jesus, 
He will embrace me in His arms; 
In the arms of my dear Savior, 
O, there are ten thousand charms.

Come, ye thirsty, come and welcome, God's free bounty glorify.
True belief and true repentance, Every grace that bring us nigh, 
Without money, without money; Come to Jesus Christ and buy.
Without money, without money; Come to Jesus Christ and buy.

refrain - 

Come, ye weary, heavy laden.  Bruised and broken, full of sin; 
If you tarry, till you're better, You may never enter in:
Not the righteous, not the righteous; Sinners Jesus came to win.
Not the righteous, not the righteous; Sinners Jesus came to win.

refrain - 
I will arise and go to Jesus, 
He will embrace me in His arms; 
In the arms of my dear Savior, 
O, there are ten thousand charms.

Grateful today as an American citizen for all our brave men and women who gave their lives so I might freely write, post, believe and live today.  Grateful today for my dear Savior, Who came and called my name to follow Him; He gave His life a ransom for mine.  I will arise and go to Jesus!

I Will Arise and Go To Jesus (Come, Ye Sinners) by Michael Card, Starkindler: A Celtic Conversation Across Time

Jesus as example...

So if I, Your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet,
you also ought to wash one another's feet.
For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you.
John 13:14-15  hcsb