Friday, October 23, 2015

God Will Direct Your Path

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My life verse has always been Proverbs 3:5-6 and lately the Lord has been showing me Proverbs 3:6 (I know it follows verse 5 but that is what has been shown to me repeatedly) ‘in ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths’ ~ I feel that I am at a crossroads of sorts in a couple of areas of my life and I know God is telling me just to trust Him, to LIVE for Him and He will take care of the rest.  I am so thankful that God cares about every aspect of my life....and have peace in knowing He cares about YOU too!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Blessing's in the Bag: Items Needed

Can I just tell you that I am BLOWN AWAY by what God is doing?  Mikayla and I both thought we were done with the Blessing Bags until winter.....well, it looks like God had a DIFFERENT plan!

We are excited to get to continue on this journey and bless those less fortunate ~ I love seeing all the ways God is using the faith & willingness of a ten year old to touch SO many lives!

So - we have 2 big announcements......

1.  We have set up a Facebook page so that you can keep up-to-date with what's going on... The Blessing's In the Bag

2.  Many people are asking how they can help and what items are needed.  I have provided a list of items that are needed at this time. 

Thanks again to everyone that has helped this cause.  It is amazing at how the love of Jesus is quick story:

M personally handed out her bags to a group of homeless people in Charlotte.....a few weeks later, she sent them a card and cut out a paper heart for each person.  The lady that read the card to the group said that they almost RAN to the front to get one of the paper hearts and asked how to spell her name - each of them wrote her name on the heart and tucked it away ~ that's L-O-V-E in action!!  She is excitedly awaiting the opportunity to go back and visit this group of people.  They have touched HER life in such a mighty way!!

Ok - back to the list.....

Items Needed for "The Blessing's In the Bag"

  • Gallon Sized Ziploc Bags
  • Reusable Shopping Bags
  • Bottled Water
  • Travel sized shampoo, conditioner and lotion
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Combs
  • Gum
  • Individually Wrapped Candies
  • Wipes (small individually wrapped packages)
  • Wash cloths
  • Soap
  • Band aids
  • Food items ~ snacks that are individually wrapped [granola bars, packs of tuna, crackers, protein bars, etc]
  • Blankets
  • Gloves
  • Socks 
  • Scarves
  • Hats (warm)
  • Empty Pill Bottles (with labels removed)
  • Laundry Detergent (powdered only please)
  • Bible tracks and/or verse
  • Any small items you think they'd enjoy that will fit in a gallon sized bag

Friday, April 17, 2015

Book Review: Together With You by Victoria Bylin

Together With You by Victoria Bylin was an awesome book on love, faith and forgiveness. 

From the back cover:

When a Lost Child warning blares over the mall's PA system, Carly Mason finds the little girl playing with a stuffed rabbit. Something about Penny Tremaine is different. An ex-social worker, Carly recognizes that the child suffers fetal alcohol effects, and a piece of Carly's past suddenly confronts her. Never again will she become personally involved with a client. The risks are far too great. But something about Penny--and Penny's handsome father--tugs at Carly's heart.

Dr. Ryan Tremaine is trying to put his life back together. With his ex-wife remarried and on a trip far away, his two teenage sons and Penny are living under his roof full time. Ryan has put his faith in his Sink-or-Swim list, a plan to reconnect with his children. The first step: recruit Carly Mason to be Penny's nanny.

Ryan never anticipated being so drawn to Carly, an attraction Carly seems to fight as much as he does. Could Carly be the missing piece that helps his family stay afloat, or will their blossoming romance only complicate things further?

Known for her realistic and engaging characters, Victoria Bylin delivers an emotion-packed story reminiscent of The Sound of Music, one that reminds us all to believe in the power of faith and love.

There were so many thing I loved about this book but the focus on putting family first and finding healing from past mistakes were my favorite.  Isn't that what is important in life ~ family and freedom?  And who doesn't love a good love story?  I highly recommend Together With You by Victoria Bylin.    

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review. No other compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Willing Heart Can Change Lives

M with the 110 bags she stuffed for the homeless

For the past several years, each night, my daughter has prayed for the homeless people - that they would stay warm and have a safe place to sleep.  In the past few months, she has been asking if she can do something to help them.  I had seen the "blessing bag" idea all over Pinterest so I mentioned this to her and she excitedly said that was EXACTLY what she wanted to do.  Together, we made a list of items to include in the bags and I put notice on Facebook of her desire to bless those less fortunate.  She set a goal of 15 bags.

Her 1st donations

The outpouring of blessings she received was overwhelming.  We had so many people donate so many different things that it blew us away.   She reacted as though it was Christmas morning each time she received a package of donations.  She was SO excited to sort through all of the items and pack the bags.

Sorting through the donations
She worked really hard and with the help of some neighborhood friends was able to F-A-R exceed her original goal of 15 bags.  She was able to fill 110 bags!!!

Hard at Work Stuffing Bags
My mama heart was SO proud of her!  She put a lot of hard work into this and never once complained.  She made sure each person got nearly the same items and put much thought and care into stuffing each bag.  She was able to personally give out the bags - which she STILL talks about.  To be able to see people come literally from off the street and give them a bag and then turn around seeing them back on the street digging through to see what goodies they had - made her smile. 

I learned so much through this project ~ the main thing is that when God lays something on your heart ~ Do IT!!  M is 10 - she could have looked at the issue of homelessness and thought it was too big for her to make a difference but God used the willing heart of a 10 year old girl to touch the lives of 1-1-0 people!  What can he do in your life and those around you, if you are willing?

"Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?"
James 2:15-16

Monday, April 13, 2015

God Made You Unique ~ Be the Best You!

Purpose God Jesus
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We each have a unique fingerprint pattern and it can be used in the world to tell us apart from another person.  Our fingerprints are made up specific information that is unique to each one of us.  No 2 fingerprints are the same.

Like fingerprints, we are made up of our own unique qualities.  Each person was created with abilities and giftings that are their own and make them who they are.  Every one of us has a purpose –  a job, persay to do for the Lord.  God needs you to be who he created you to be in your home, your work, your church, in whatever it is that he has called you to do.  Again, like a fingerprint, there is no other YOU. 

Even with our own individuality, God uses us together to paint a bigger, beautiful picture.

Let’s read in 1 Corinthians 12 how each part of the body is needed….

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

So, just as these scriptures remind us, we are all different yet we all make up one body.  Each person is needed for the body of Christ to be complete. 

This is why it is so important not to compare yourself or be jealous of other people.  God created each one of us with certain ‘ingredients’ that make us who we are…..some of us are great cooks , while others are excellent bakers, some have a gifting to work with children while others work better with the elderly.   ALL of those people are important but none more important than the other.  Our different gifts and abilities should make us love and depend on one another and therefore make us more united as one body in Christ. 

Comparison games are dangerous and bring division. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side so be careful how you compare yourself to others – we should strive to be like Jesus and that is the only comparison we should make. 

There is only one Y-O-U ~ so go out and be the best YOU that you can be!! 

For we are God’s own handiwork, His workmanship, recreated in Christ Jesus, born anew, that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us, taking paths which He prepared ahead of time.  That we should walk in them, living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live.
Ephesians 2:10 AMP

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Working On Our Spiritual Strength

work out spiritual
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It’s that time of the year where many people have made their resolutions and starting out the new year focused on their goals.  It’s a good time to sit and reflect on the days that have past and really dig into what God has in store for you in the days to come.  If you are a resolution/goal or new year’s list maker - you probably have something along the lines of eating better, losing weight or working out on your list.
It is important to take care of our physical bodies but we also need to take care of our spiritual bodies as well. There are spiritual "muscles" that we need to workout ......

The 1st muscle is our FAITH.

In Matthew chapter 17 we read about a father who brought his son to be prayed over.  If we pick up the story at verse 16 - read through to verse 20.  (You can read it here)

Jesus said that if you have faith as a mustard seed - you can move mountains.  We all have mountains in our lives.  Loneliness….loss of job….sickness...wounded relationship….trouble at work.  Whatever it is - it can be removed.

Have you ever looked at a mustard seed?  They are tiny - THAT is all the faith required to move a mountain!!

But just like junk food can limit your progress when you are working out, unbelief will limit your faith. If we look back at Matthew 17, in verse 20 - Jesus told his disciples that it was their unbelief that hindered the healing of the boy.  Grab you a mustard seed and put it somewhere as a reminder that it isn’t the quantity of faith that matters - but the quality.  Resist the unbelief and know that with God ALL things are possible.

The 2nd muscle to workout is the muscle of PRAISE

I think that we all know that exercise is good for us, right?  So we can all agree that it is something that we should do.  What about praising the Lord daily?  That’s something we should do as well, right?  Just like we may neglect exercising our physical bodies, do we also neglect singing praises to the Lord?

Psalm 100:4 says “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.  

When we praise the Lord, it makes it less about us and more about God.  Praise builds us up spiritually and keeps us from crumbling, for the JOY of the Lord is our strength.

There are so many scriptures on praising the Lord, that I can't list them all but I encourage you to grab your Bible and read through the Psalms - it is FULL of praises to the King of Kings!!

The next muscle to work out is Prayer

There is always a debate on how often we should work out physically but there is NO debate on how often we should pray.  

Psalm 55:17 says “Evening and morning and at noon, I will pray and cry aloud; and He shall hear my voice”

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says to pray without ceasing.

Making prayer a vital part of our lives gives us strength.  It uplifts and strengthens us as we go on our way.  Prayer is a POWERFUL tool that we all have available.

The last and most important muscle to work out is The Word

Staying in the Word daily builds up our bodies.  We’ve just got to keep reading, studying and memorizing God’s Word to stay fit and strong. 

Psalm 119:11 - Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that i might not sin against thee.

2 Timothy 2:16 - All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

Just like if you were to walk into the gym for the first time, you couldn’t pick up the heaviest weight and begin to do arm curls.  In order for you to be able to arm curl that heavy weight, you have to start with the 5 lb weight or the 10 lb weight and move up as you build your strength.  

In the same way, you aren’t going to automatically know the whole Bible by heart.  You have to start with what you know and build on that.  Start with a verse…..or two and then keep trying to learn more.

In my own life, I can see where some of these muscles have gotten a little weak, maybe not as strong as they once were.  I know that I need to work on these muscles - EVERY day.  The easiest way to work out is with a group or a friend, so grab a friend and work together this year to hold one another accountable to grow strong in the Lord together.