Wednesday, July 1, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  One of the daily devotionals I’m currently reading is “Do Something Beautiful for God – The Essential Teachings of Mother Teresa”.  I would like to share with you the reading for June 26th.  “I always begin my prayer in silence, for it is in the silence of the heart that God speaks.  God and silence are great friends.  We need to listen to God because it’s not what we say, but what He says to us and through us that matters.”

Last Thursday I received a text from a friend inviting me to a paint night with her on Saturday.  The friend that she originally planned that evening with had to cancel due to her husband being diagnosed with COVID.  When we talked through the details of paint night, she mentioned that another friend suggested that she ask me to go.  Out of curiosity I asked who suggested me.  There was a pause and then she mentioned one of our mutual friends.  My immediate thought was…”She paused because she didn’t want me to know that I wasn’t her first choice to ask.”  Well, I may not have been the first, but I was the one that said yes and we got to share a meal and have an enjoyable evening together. 

Seriously, I took no offense to not being the first one chosen, but that pause got me to thinking and having a conversation with God.  You know how that goes when God uses those extremely ordinary and potentially awkward moments to open our hearts and minds to Him.  He started off by asking me a question.  “Do you choose Me first?”  Well, I wish I could say yes, but Lord, the truth is no.  I don’t always choose you first.  “Why is that?”  I try to figure things out on my own and do things my way.  “Why?”  Well, sometimes you never even cross my mind.  Well, that was an arrow straight to my heart and very humbling.  Although that should have been more of an arrow straight to His heart.  I’m the one rejecting Him, so why does that make my heart hurt?  I believe it’s because I know deep down how much better life and interactions are when I first bring Him into the moment.  So why is it so easy to not include Him?  In one word…distraction.  And He just proved His point loud and clear.  As I was writing that last sentence, the 4 year old neighbor boy called me over to look at his chalk drawings and talk with me.  Okay, so it was a cute distraction, but a distraction none the less and goes to prove that life’s distractions come in many forms.  So the question I pose to you today is this…”How do you combat the distractions of life in order to keep Him front and center in your life and welcome Him to join you at every moment of your journey?”  Mother Teresa already shared one of her suggestions…Begin prayer in silence.  “It is in the silence of the heart that God speaks.”  Please feel free to share your thoughts and suggestions.  You can even share one of your awkward moments.  You never know, God may be using you to help me and other readers, to allow Him into our days a little bit more.  Bless others and be blessed. 

#CastingCrowns – One Awkward Moment

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  Today I want to allow you some time to breath in Romans 8: 28-39.   

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For Your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Let this promise of incomparable, unfailing, never leaving love of Christ fill your every breath.  His love is life. Bless others and be blessed.

#GeorgeBenson – Nothing’s Going to Change My Love for You

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  In my bathroom I have a coin shaped token that leans up against a statue of Christ and the token has Philippians 4:13 printed on it.  “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.”  I read that quiet often in hopes that God will prepare me for the next steps/journeys in my life. 

How often and how many of us are guilty of taking one line of scripture, place our interpretation on the line, and hold on to it for dear life.  Okay, you don’t have to admit to that, but I’m certainly guilty.  It’s a good thing God is patient and willing to remind me multiple times about lessons He’s already taught me, and willing to present them in different ways so that hopefully they stick this time.  I normally read the NIV Bible version, but a couple of days ago I read the HCSB Bible version of Philippians 4: 12-13 “In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content – whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.  I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.”  Wait a minute…WHAT?  “I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.” is about contentment?!  Being the best I am, where I am?  It’s not about the next greatest thing and what looks greener on the other side of the fence?  It’s about strengthening me for this moment, this challenge I’m now living.  It’s about the victory that’s within my reach, not some wish I could of, should of, would of moment.  Awakening moments like this with the Lord are great, although we don’t always want to hear them.  Wisdom does come at a price, which is more often than not, the price of pride which brings us back to humility.  Lord, I’m so thankful You are patient with me and willing to gently humble me in times like this.  Bless others and be blessed.

#ThirdDay – Show Me Your Glory

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  You’re in the moment but all you can see looking forward is uncertainty, inconsistency, confusion.  Sometimes wondering why you continue to stay in that moment and do what you’re doing while others keep leaving for the greener grass on the other side of the fence.  You’ve been in this moment for quite some time now.  Living in this moment of my work life, I don’t like the person I’m allowing myself to become.  Angry, on edge, snap at a moment’s notice.  This is not who I want to be.  What happened to the person that used to live at the surface that so easily found the good in all situations?  Esther was brought to my mind today.  Did she find herself in the ideal situation?  I think not.  Did she want to leave that situation?  I’m sure she did.  Did she take notice and gain wisdom?  Yes, she did.  Did she allow herself to be used for God’s will for the benefit of many?  Absolutely.

When you live and work through extended periods of challenges like this, one of the benefits you can experience is that you’re able to look back while still in the moment, and see how you’ve served others and have grown.  What is He preparing me for?  I don’t know.  I just don’t know.  But I do know that I don’t want to let these moments pass by and not gain the wisdom He is placing before me.  I know that I can not do this on my own.  I need Him and those He has purposefully placed around me.  I know that moments of silence can be a greater ally than many words spoken.  And I know that scaling this mountain is but a single step in Your plan.  Although I feel ill prepared, You have made me for such a time as this.  Lord, I pray that I accept that which the journey has to offer and not just focus on a desired outcome.  Bless others and be blessed.

#MileyCyrus – The Climb

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  There is just something about sunshine and warmer weather that brings with it a feeling of hope and possibility.  Even through all the frustrations that come daily with my job, my midday lunch walk always calms and recharges me for the afternoon ahead.  That brief time in the sun can change your perspective and brighten your outlook.  There is a definite difference in me when I’m not able to take my lunch walk.  Think for a moment what it feels like outside when it’s 65 and cloudy, maybe damp or rainy, compared to 65 and sunny.

Now think for a moment how your life feels when Satan blocks out the Son.  Think about how drained, uninspired, melancholy your days feel.  John 1:5 tells us “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  The light doesn’t try to overcome the darkness.  The light is the source and it’s the darkness that tries to over shadow the light.  Remember that.  At the core of your being there is light.  The Light and life of Christ.   John 8:12 reminds us, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  With Christ at the center of your life, you are the light that will shine and break through the darkness.  The darkness can only try to cover up the Light, but it can never break through the Light.  That reminds me of something my daughter has shared with me on multiple occasions and has really stuck with me.  “The sun always comes out after the storm.”  And why is that…because the Son is constant and the clouds are simply passing through.  Stand strong in the Lord and His beacon of Light.  Bless others and be blessed.

#DebbyBoone – You Light Up My Life

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you. One of the challenges to parenting is after you offer your wisdom and experience, you allow your children the freedom to make their own choices and suffer the consequences of their typically self- centered, unwise decisions and actions.  That was me last week.  So, my kids are probably trying to figure out who did what, but it was me.  I was the unwise child acting in my own self-centeredness.  That event happened at the end of the workday last Thursday and then I had four days off.  And that’s when God the Father leaned in a bit harder on the parenting side of our relationship.  The scripture He kept replaying those four days was Matthew 18: 15-17.  “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you.  If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.  But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”  Me in my oh so incredible wisdom allowed my frustrations with a situation to build up to the boiling point.  What made it worse was that I skipped steps 1 and 2, as instructed in the scripture, and went right to letting the whole church know.  Honestly, I hope I’m the only person this has happened to, but I’m guessing some of you may have skipped a few steps along the way also.  First, I would not want to be treated that way.  Second, taking that approach doesn’t solve anything.  Third, humility and apologies are necessary follow-ups, whether you choose to or not.  Regardless of whether we feel that we’re in the right or not, there is a reason for God’s three step approach to challenging situations and people interactions.  Yes, it’s about protecting the other person, but a big part of it is about protecting us from ourselves.  Our Father is guiding us to be the best that we can be for ourselves and more importantly for Him.  Lord, I pray that I listen to Your wisdom and guiding words sooner, so that I don’t work myself to the boiling point again.  Let me be a better example of Your love and grace.  Bless others and be blessed.

#ThomasRhett – Be A Light

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you. Peace, that’s what I’ve been desiring lately. I’m being pull in so many directions that I can’t sustain. I’ve found myself this past week feeling very physically and mentally anxious and having to talk myself down to a place of stillness. I’m thankful that God is allowing me to recognize what’s going on and He has given me the knowledge to work myself through those situations. But none the less, I do not like living in those moments. It feels as though I’ve come to a place where I’m mentally beat down and I just want to do nothing. I yearn for His presence and peace. Just quiet moments sitting with Him, letting go of my grasp on things, and letting the stress roll off my back. Brian gave me a devotional book for Mother’s Day called Unbridled Faith by Cara Whitney. I’m not too far into it yet, but it seems to be about her relationships and interactions with horses and how they allow her to experience the Lord and the lessons He has to offer. I told Brian last night that I really like how Cara writes very plainly, as if she’s just having a conversation with me. I could use some down to earth peace, with highlights of heavenly backing. With today’s music, I would encourage you to put everything aside, close your eyes, and allow the music to break open your exterior shell and penetrate to your soul. Don’t rush this. Breath in, then out. Melt into His presence and be overcome by His peace. Play it a few times, if that’s what it takes. Christ’s peace be with you and those you bring it to. Bless others and be blessed.

#OurWorshipSound – Background Instrumental Track – One

#CaraWhitney – Unbridled Faith

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  Recently God has been showing me how trust, faith, and patience in His plan will come with great joy and peace.  And yes, I’m saying this with a big grin on my face.  I know there is a part in all of us that wants to rush His plan.  You may have even said to yourself, “I need ___ now!”  Actually, it’s that you want it now, not that you need it.  I’ve had a couple dreams of things that I’ve wanted since I was in high school.  God plants dreams within us to bless us.  But when we try to rush those dreams, sometimes they will hurt us more than bless us.  Last month we were actually able to accomplish one of my high school dreams, without going into debt for it.  What a great feeling that’s been.  And a lot of fun.  I’ve tried to rush the process a few times on the other dream I’ve had, but the results weren’t lasting.  Again this week He told us, “Not no, just not this one.”  Although we don’t always understand, He knows the real difference between achieving something and thriving within it.  What is it that you’ve been dreaming of?  Anxious and excited about and trying to maybe achieve outside of God’s timing?  Take a breath……In…….Out.  Step into His stride.  His pace.  Allow His gifts to be the full and complete blessing He desires them to be for you.  Have faith and walk in that faith.  Bless others and be blessed.

#JordanFeliz – Faith

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  Gifts and blessings come to you in many ways, shapes and sizes.  It could be a joyous smile to end a long day at work.  It could be the satisfaction of a task well done.  It could be the gift of a financial program that enables living a debt free life style. (Thank you Linda!)  It could be the gift of health and confidence from a fitness program.  That’s exactly what I was given this past week.  My daughter Diana offered me a one year subscription to Beachbody On Demand.  She’s been a Beachbody coach for about a year and even though I’m a pretty active person and she asked me multiple times about doing one of her fitness programs, I wasn’t quite ready.  Isn’t that true for so many things in our lives.  The Lord keeps coming to us and offering us what He knows to be the best for us, but mentally, physically, whatever the case may be, we just aren’t ready to accept His invitation.  He may leave you alone for a while, but be sure that if it’s best for you and will prepare you for the next adventures in your life, He will be knocking on your until you say yes.  Likewise, with things that we go to Him about.  He’ll give us a Yes, No, or Not Now answers.  We do the same to Him.  Afterall, we were made in His image.  So, here’s the thing.  When you hear a YES, you need to be ready to embrace that gift for all it’s worth.  Don’t just take it and put it on a shelf where it sits and looks pretty.  Put some wear and tear on those gifts.  Be like a cat with a jingle ball.  Bap it.  Chase it.  Bite into it a little.  Throw it in the air.  Wear yourself out trying to get every little bit of learning, entertainment and enjoyment out of your gift.  If you don’t, you will NEVER know the full extent of the gift you’ve been given.  Allow Him to expand your mind and grow your perspective.  After all, you’re worth it.  I mean, He did willingly die on a cross to prove that.  Flaws and all.  Bless others and be blessed.

#Mandisa – What You’re Worth

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  Moments matter.  As I sat down to begin writing, I put the thumb drive in the computer and opened the file that contains all my 😎🐫🎤 messages and song list.  What…Why is the file empty?  Okay, close it out and reopen it.  Nope, still empty.  Okay, move it from one port to a different port.  What?  Did I seriously delete 5+ years of messages???  Well, it would take awhile to rebuild, but I’m not going to stress about it.  I need to focus on today’s message and just start writing.  This thumb drive has been kind of touchy lately.  I better copy the files to another drive before I lose them all.  Silly me.  I was looking for my file on the wrong drive.  Here it is!  It’s okay, you can laugh with me.  I was laughing at myself.  Me and computers have a love hate relationship.  I love it when they work and hate it when I don’t know how to make them work.  Some of you may have the same kind of relations with technology.  I’m sure some of you have also proven the definition of insanity by trying the same thing over and over again and expected different results.  Although this could have been a potentially stressful moment, God guided me to keep focused, not worry about trying to recoup the past, and press on with the task at hand.  By doing so, I found my “lost” files and He reshowed me the peace He brings if we trust Him and live in the moment.  You know, not get swept away and overcome with fear, stress, anger…

In light of the unexpected changes within our world lately, you may be experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions trying to deal with your new social distance / closer family normal.  It’s been interesting talking with individuals that normally don’t work from home.  We love our children, but you have to admit it can be a BIG change to be around them 24/7.  It makes me smile, although those that I was talking with weren’t smiling at the time.  I’ve heard construction work going on, dogs barking, packages be delivered, kids crying and yelling “Dad!  I want to play with that!”  I’ve heard parents walking into different rooms trying to find a quite place to conduct business, only to find those little ones like a trail of chicks were still at their feet.  True, we aren’t able to attend normal church services right now, but I think we’ve all probably experienced parents trying to keep their children quiet in church so they don’t disrupt the service and embarrass the parents.  Now that I’m no longer on the side of experiencing those moments as a parent, I’m able to find peace, calm, and a smile in moments like those.  I’ve also learned to say a prayer for the parent as well as the child so that they to will experience peace, calm and a smile.  Yes, these can be very challenging moments, but they are also opportunities to actively seek Christ’s peace and the blessings He is offering you and your family.  Seek the joy, the playfulness, the gazes, hugs and kisses that you wouldn’t otherwise had the moments together to experience.  For a couple years Brian and I worked side by side.  It certainly wasn’t always hunky dory, but there was no doubt that the good times far outweighed the challenging and we both agree that we had great conversations that we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to experience.  Soak in these moments and don’t allow yourself to be distracted.  Every one is precious and a gift to receive.  Both for you and them.  Bless others and be blessed.

#JeremyCamp – Keep Me in the Moment