Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Every Morning...

We are on the threshold of another new year. Do you see 2017 as a new beginning... true it can be a new beginning, but changing the calendar is no guarantee that life/circumstances will change. Let’s not put too many expectations on the new year being the "fix" for our happiness or lack thereof!

The bad news… going from 2016 to 2017 is not a magic pill! Happiness, per say, in any form is fleeting! Living a life dependent on feelings is a setup for disappointment!

Okay, now for the good news... Tomorrow morning, January 1, 2017 is a new beginning, but so is every morning that your eyes open and you have air in your lungs! Lamentations 3:23says that God's mercy & compassion are new every morning. I will take a new beginning every chance I can! In fact, some days my "new beginning" happens in the middle of my day! I see a new beginning as any moment when I recognize my actions or attitude are not in line with the way I know to be right.

Being happy is a good thing, but happiness is a feeling that fluctuates with circumstances. True joy comes from within... I know for myself, my joy comes from the Lord! Psalms 30:5 talks of crying through the night, but that joy comes in the morning (new beginning). And in Psalms 90:14 it says, God's mercy satisfies us each morning that we will have joy the rest of our lives.

So do you agree we put too much importance on the "new year thing?" New year... New you? Why wait? Make this very moment your new beginning! Don't expect flipping the calendar is really gonna fix anything!

I challenge you to go into this new year with an expectancy that your life will be different! Don't make the same choices as you always have... the definition of insanity - making the same choices & expecting a different result. Yep... been there, done that… still do at times! Are my circumstances perfect right now? Nope! Far from it! But you know what? I would not give up one ounce of my joy for it to be any different! Can you say the same? If not... I pray that over this next year you make the right decisions for you so you can say the same at the end of next year!

Here is the place I start... Fixing my eyes on Jesus, the writer and finisher of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross for my sin, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne. (Hebrews 12:2)

Happy "New Year!"
Rejoicing in Truth!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Gift of His Presence...

In preparation of Christmas I got out the boxes and boxes and boxes of decorations.  Some bring back precious memories, while others are just a passing fad.  I love adding just a little something new every year to keep things fresh though.  Did you ever notice that after the ornaments have been hanging on the tree for a few weeks they get kind of dusty?  Or is that just at my house?  I have an ongoing battle with dust… I hate to dust and I think dust purposely antagonizes me!!!

As I was checking my gift list and what we still need to get… my mind was drawn to Christ, Father’s Gift to us all.  The most precious gift ever! In so many ways, it has been a rough year for so many that I care about.  But my eyes keep turning back to that original Gift… no matter the circumstances of life the only thing that matters is our relationship with God... that started on that first Christmas morning.  Jesus Christ was born in a dusty stable, but from that very moment He started to change the world… He takes all the “dust” and grime of our lives and sweeps it all away never to be seen again, if we just turn to Him.

There have been many questions of why God lets things happen… some feeling like the bad circumstances are a punishment from God.  If you look in the Bible there are so many instances when bad things were happening to people and it was not as a punishment!  Look at Job for instance… what would we do if all our possessions were taken… we lost our job… our kids were killed???  I know for myself, I probably would ask God why He would allow such things… if He loves me so much how could He let me go through all this pain???

We like to understand things… we like to try and fix things… we think we know more of what we need than God does… admit it, we have all been there.  I will admit it… I am impatient… I like to figure things out on my own… I want to live in comfort not pain!  But if everything was “peachy keen” all the time how would I ever grow?  And truthfully, what would I need God for?  God may not bring on any of the distress in our lives but He will allow it… ultimately to be used for His glory!

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

In Job 38 and 39, God and Job are having a “conversation.”  If you take the time to read it you will see that God was letting Job know that no matter what his circumstances were God was still in control!  God created all things… He should know how to keep things going and in order! Hmm… not so easy to remember sometimes.

Getting back to the gift part… if our Heavenly Father was willing to give up His only Son to restore His relationship with us… why would He ever do anything to cause us harm?  He sent Jesus to earth as a precious little baby but He wants us to let Him be so much bigger than we can ever imagine in our lives!  So I guess the question is… If Father was willing to give me and you such a precious Gift are we willing to trust Him no matter our circumstances?

“Blessed are the people who know how to praise you. They walk in the light of your presence, O Lord. They find joy in your name all day long. They are joyful in your righteousness because you are the glory of their strength. By your favor you give us victory.  Our shield belongs to the Lord.  Our king belongs to the Holy One of Israel.” Psalms 89:15-18 (GW)

Father, I thank You for Your goodness and the precious Gift of Your Son! I praise You for Your presence… that You will never leave us alone!  Lord, You are so faithful! All praise to You!

Rejoicing in Truth!

Monday, December 5, 2016

My Weakness, His Strength...

I have often heard people say during times of stress or problems, “I must be strong for them.”  Well, if you are dealing with pain, stress, sickness… here is something God spoke to my heart. He reminded me that I need to be weak in these times. I know that may sound ridiculous to you, but it is definitely what He showed me & here is why... 

God showed me… It is when I let myself be weak that my pride gets out of the way.

But when Jesus heard it, He replied, “Those who are strong and well (healthy) have no need of a physician, but those who are weak and sick.” ~ Matthew 9:12

It is when I am weak, I cry out to my Heavenly Father for help.

Pay attention to my cry for help because I am very weak. Rescue me from those who pursue me because they are too strong for me. ~ Psalms 142:6

It is when I am weak, I have no illusion that I am in control.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. ~ James 4:10

It is when I am weak, I will experience the blessings and benefits of being God’s child.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, ~ Ephesians 1:3

It is when I am weak, His strength becomes mine. 

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

It is when I am weak, my vulnerability brings His presence even stronger in my life.  

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. ~ Psalms 91:1

It is when I am weak, life detours will not distract me but will allow His will to shine through.  

Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. ~ Hebrews 12:12-13

It is when I am weak, He gets all the glory!

He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, ~ Romans 4:20

Let me be weak, Lord, living in Your strength!

So do not fear, for I am with you; 
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10

Rejoicing in Truth!

PS: This verse was laid on my heart today for someone… maybe it is you! When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” ~ John 11:4

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

What Are You Thinking?

I am a very inquisitive person.  I have always liked to know how things work… the reasons why things are done a certain way… things need to make sense to me.  A cognitive thinker you might say.  (Cognitive: acquiring knowledge by the use of reasoning, intuition, or perception; relating to thought processes.)  This however has not always been a good thing!

The good part of this is… I am pretty good at Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, Sudoku, word finds and crossword puzzles… none of which you can make a living at!!! Ha!  The bad part… I am an over-thinker!  If something doesn’t make sense I struggle with believing or following along.  This way of thinking can make things tough as a follower of Christ.  There are so many things that will not make sense to my human brain.  Many times what I am reading in God’s Word gets stuck between my brain and my heart.  I can be like a spoiled child and demand God to explain to me why things are the way they are, but how much good does that do? Or I can completely trust that He is in control and has it covered.

On the outside I might look like I am cool, calm & collected… truth is… there are times I can go from 0 to 100 in panic-mode! I hate that about myself! It use to happen a lot… poor Luke in the first few years of our marriage! The times are now fewer & farther in between, or maybe only 0 to 10! But I really don’t want any panic in my life anymore!

Reading in Psalm 131, I was shown how that we can be like the child who is still demanding food from the momma… we fret and cry and demand God to do what we want Him to do in our lives. Or we can be like the weaned child who sits on the mother’s lap content and satisfied.

Are there things in your life you just do not understand?  Maybe you are demanding things from God that He knows is not in your best interest.  When is the time you learn to be humble, patient, content… trust Him with your whole being and circumstance… even when you do not understand God’s reasoning?  I am not saying you shouldn’t ask God… He wants you to bring your desires and requests to Him.  What I feel this is saying is that no matter how long you have to wait for His answer… you trust Him with faith and patience not fret and worry. Like it says in Psalm 131:3 – “Hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever.”  After all, divine logic is so beyond humane thinking or understanding!

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. Philippians 4:6 (AMP)

Ask yourself, do you want to keep living in anguish and worry or are you willing to wait in faith, hope and peace???  Can you trust Father while He works it all out in His good, acceptable and perfect will?  I would say that is a resounding, “YES.”  It is not easy, but it is easier when we get our stinkin’ thinkin’ out of the way. 

Remember… nothing is a mystery to God. God is always the same! His faithfulness will never cease!

Rejoicing in Truth!

Monday, October 3, 2016

A Dot in His Picture...

Over the last year we, my hubby & I, have really had to change the way we are living our life. Serving God & trying to do His will, as we understand it, has been a part of the majority of our married life… but God has really challenged us (me) more than ever.  God is always asking me, “How much are you willing to trust Me? Are you ready to give everything up as you know it, to follow Me to something bigger I have for your life?”  I am sharing this to only say that God keeps “shaking” us/me awake to what new step He has for us... what might be next?

As a kid I can remember playing with a sliding tile puzzle… maybe some of you don’t even know what I am talking about. It is a hand-held plastic game board, about 3”x 3”, that had 15 interlocking tiles that you would slide around trying to put all the tiles in order to make a picture or to get the numbers in order.  Each tile was important to the puzzle, and each move you made could make it or break it.  There would be many times I would slide the same piece around in a “circle” trying to get it to go where it belonged. I must confess there were times I tried to cheat by popping a tile out so I could solve it easily… that never worked though because even if I could get it popped out I could not get it pushed back in!

That is how my life feels sometimes lately… like a sliding tile puzzle!  God has every piece of my life in His hands and He has to be the one to make the picture.  There are many days I try to slide a tile into a different position and that usually just scrambles things all the more.  I can only see one piece at a time… and some days maybe not even the whole piece… but God can see the whole picture. 

Okay, so here is my fleshly truth… there are moments or even days that I want to turn back from this path.  It seems too hard when I feel like I don’t know where I belong.  I feel lonely and isolated, and let’s face it… just plain impatient!  I know God knows what He is doing, but does He have to take so long to do it??? Really?!

And God’s truth… He knows the plans He has for me, plans for peace and not harm, and a future filled with hope (Jeremiah 29:11).  He also has promised never to leave me (Hebrews 13:5) He said, if I love Him I will be obedient to His Word (John 14:23, 2 John 1:6).  And just like Jesus said to Peter when Peter wanted to walk on water to come to Jesus, but failed… “You of little faith, why do you doubt?” Matthew 14:31

That is it… there really can be no arguing with God’s truth! I cannot live by how I feel which changes from moment to moment! I have God’s solid truth to stand on.  I may be only a dot in His big picture, but it is okay… that is where faith and trust have to come into play.  I must trust Him enough to go where He says to go, move where He says to move, and speak what He says to speak.

As we grow in our faith… we can see clearer & clearer, or maybe it isn’t really clearer, but rather that we are walking by faith & not by sight! (2 Corinthians 5:7) Some days I must look like… 2 steps forward, 3 steps back! Do you have those days too? We can always say, “No.”… but the truth is… it is not about us.  We all are a dot in His picture! Is your dot in the place where He wants you to be?

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. ~ Psalm 51:10

I don’t know what you are going through, but God does… He cares.  Cry out to Him and lay yourself at His feet.  When feelings start to overtake remember His Truth!  Lord, I pray for each person that reads this… help us to keep our eyes focused on You… the One that holds life in His hands. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Rejoicing in Truth!


Monday, September 12, 2016

Safe in His Arms...

The days are getting shorter… Fall is drawing near! I love Fall… the trees changing colors, the cooler temps, sunny days with cool nights. Last year, the autumn season was a very tough time for me… turmoil & anxiety invaded my life… it was a horrible, struggling time for me. A time I do not want to revisit! Trying to prepare my heart against any of the discouraging darts of the enemy with this next season just around the corner.

Looking to Psalm 139, the whole chapter… it's an incredible “word picture”. Verse 10 is a verse of peace for me…“Even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.” This verse brings to mind the lyrics to this song by 33 Miles:
I know it seems like this could be
The darkest day you've known
But believe you me
The God of strength will never let you go
He will overcome, I know

Through many dangers, toils and snares
You have already come
His grace has brought you safe this far
His grace will lead you home

And the arms that hold the universe
Are holding you tonight
You can rest inside
It's gonna be alright

And the voice that calmed the raging sea
Is calling you His child
So be still and know He's in control
He will never let you go

It is a great reminder that no matter what you may be going through our Heavenly Father is here to lead you and hold you.  As followers of Christ we are never left alone to deal with the turmoil of this world.  I can picture God holding me up with His right hand while pointing me to the path He has planned for me with His other.  Trusting and resting that He is in control… giving it all up to You, Lord.  What peace that puts deep down in my soul!!!

Could you use some peace today? Go ahead, read and meditate on Psalms 139 and see what Holy Spirit will show you to give you comfort in whatever circumstance you may be going through.
“Even though I walk into the middle of trouble, You guard my life against the anger of my enemies. You stretch out Your hand, and Your right hand saves me.” ~ Psalms 138:7
God’s hands will never fail you… not ever!
To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. ~ (Jude 24-25)

Rejoicing in Truth!


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Promises in the Dark...

As we are getting closer to the end of summer, it makes me a little sad.  You can see the days are getting shorter… it gets darker earlier.  To be perfectly honest, I am not a fan of the dark!  I don’t know if it is because I really cannot see what might be lurking in the dark or what… all I know is the dark makes me uncomfortable. 

Almost all of my life I have slept with a nightlight on at night. When I was young the light in the hall outside my bedroom was on every night. I shared a room with my older sister & we always kept the door opened, at least a crack, so the glow from the hall could always be seen in our room for security’s sake! Even now as an adult I still have a small light somewhere near so I can fall asleep easier. Some may think that is silly, but for me there is nothing worse than waking up in complete darkness! In the dark, things don’t look like they should… I imagine things that aren’t really there… reality is askew in the darkness. When I can see the light… anxiety & fear fades away.

In the Old Testament of God’s Word you can read that God dwelt in the darkness (Exodus 19:9 and 20:21).  In 2 Chronicles 6:1 it says, “…The LORD hath said that He would dwell in the thick darkness.”  I know these verses are referring to God always being with the Children of Israel in the dark cloud that followed them on their trek to the Promise Land, but when I read that verse in the King James Version… I found a comfort in knowing that God is with me even in the dark. 

It’s the same way in my spiritual life… the world can be a dark place… an anxiety escalator for sure. There are so many times in each one of our lives when we feel like we are in the dark. Maybe not a physical darkness, but an emotional darkness… financial problems, illness, a death of a loved one, loss of a job… those can all put us in a feeling of being in the dark, which in turn may settle us in a spiritually dark place.  When those things happen do you ever question where God is… do you feel abandoned?  In our logical way of thinking we know He is always there with us, but when life’s disasters seem to be piling up one after another, do you question if God is keeping His promise to you? 

“For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” ~ Hebrews 13:5b

That is a great verse… a great promise, but it is one of those verses that rolls off the tongue but maybe not always sinks into the heart.  God never promised us that we would not have troubles in our life… in fact He told us we would have troubles, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33   Really?... ok, great, He has promised us trials (yikes), but He also promised us that He will give us the strength to get through anything… the words of victory, “I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD.”  But we still need to do everything possible to always see the Light of Christ. Remember, Jesus Christ knows what it was like to face the darkness of this world too. As He took His last breath on the cross the world went dark. 

If you are a follower of Christ then you have Him living inside you so that makes you an overcomer!  You are not alone! God is always with you, even in the darkest places of your life… His light will shine forth… you will make it through… and on the other-side of this trial you will have a testimony that will have His glory shining all over it!  Believe it when Christ promised us, “…lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. ~ Matthew 28:20b

Let God be your nightlight, your daylight… your only LIGHT! Darkness flees in the LIGHT!

Father, I thank You for Your promises.  I thank You that You are always near.  I pray, Father for each person that reads this to feel Your holy presence embracing them.  I ask You to pour out a greater portion of Your strength on them… that they know and believe that it is only through You that they can conqueror whatever trial stands before them.  I praise You for what You are doing and for what You are going to do. Giving You all the glory in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Rejoicing in Truth!


Thursday, August 11, 2016

That Special Someone...

How precious is it to hear that “special someone” call you by name? Luke & I have been married for 26 years today. In all those years he has actually called me by name very few times… I do love to hear him say my name. This might sound strange, but much of the time he either calls me sweetie or sweetheart… most of the rest of the time I just hear his voice & I know he is talking to me. Hearing the voice of the one I love & the one who loves me, makes me stay in-tune to him… not always, but most of the time… that is what we try for anyway!

Isaiah 43:1 says ~ … this is what the Lord says, who created you… He who formed you: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine…”

I can look at this verse in a couple different ways… one being as an observer, not really seeing this as personal. Like looking at someone else’s story, wishing it was my story. 

Or I can take it in as a participant, this being a personal message for me. Grab a hold of all that this includes... "you are Mine"! Those words make my heart leap for joy! What about yours? 

Have you accepted that love from Father, or are you still just an observer? Have you let the blood of Christ cover the sin of your past, present, & future? You don't have to wish this to be your story... you just have to ask Christ to be the Lord of your life! He is that special someone... He has called you by name! Will you heed the call?

The voice of Father calls you by name… the Love of a lifetime is speaking your name! Do you hear it? Are you in-tune to it… to Him?

Rejoicing in Truth!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

On a Mission...

I just have some thoughts to share today… hopefully it will speak to your heart too!

We were so blessed to have last-minute overnight guests from the Netherlands… a mother & daughter from Holland. Funny because another room was occupied by a couple from Holland, Michigan! I am amused & amazed many times by how God orchestrates these visitors to our home! You might call it coincidence, but I call it God wink moments! It has happened many times in the last 2 years with the B&B!

At breakfast there was great conversation between the Michiganders & the Nederlanders… the ladies from the Netherlands shared that they speak 6 different languages! That just blows my mind! I speak a little French & a tiny Spanish, & I am still working on English!

Part of my quiet time every day usually includes “Our Daily Bread”… today it just fit so well with my life! The title of today’s was “True Communication”… most of it was about the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2. But here is one statement that spoke to my heart, “We may not speak or understand many languages, but we know that the Holy Spirit equips us to connect with people in other ways. Amazingly, we are God’s hands and feet – and mouth – to further His mission. Today, how might we – with the Spirit’s help – reach out to someone unlike us?”

Every time we are blessed to welcome “strangers” into our home… I am in awe of the opportunity the Lord has given us! Why did He put this gift of hospitality in both Luke & myself? Why did He see fit to give us this home to fulfill this mission? Why does it not bother me to clean toilets & do laundry? When God impressed on us the name for the B&B, Shining Light Inn Bed & Breakfast… we knew it was not about a job, but a vocation!

In the past I had a friend that would always ask me, “What is your passion?” I never really knew how to answer that. Doing what I love to do… using the gifts God has given me… that was just who I was, not what I necessarily saw as my “passion”. This morning two of our guests mentioned the word passion… they said how every detail shows how passionate we are about what we do with the B&B. Also, that doing the little extra things for presentation & flavor of the breakfast was done with passion. It hit me this morning that this is my passion… loving on people… making people feel extra special… just listening to their story… making the environment warm & welcoming! Passion… passion… passion! Honestly, I never saw it… what I do & how I do it is just who I am… true passion doesn’t have to be hard! Duh! I’m a little slow sometimes! Ha! It might entail hard work, but it will still come naturally!

"Love sincerely. Hate evil. Hold on to what is good. Be devoted to each other like a loving family. Excel in showing respect for each other. Don’t be lazy in showing devotion. Use you energy to serve the Lord. Be happy in your confidence, be patient in trouble, and pray continually. Share what you have with God’s people who are in need. Be hospitable.” ~ Romans 12:9-13

I am thankful that Father God has given us a chance to connect with people from all over the world! He has equipped us to be His hands & feet while operating the Inn. He also has equipped you to touch lives wherever you are at today or whatever you are doing! We just need to be aware… don’t get so caught up in the job that we miss the mission! That is a great reminder for me as well!

Our prayer for the B&B is, “Lord, bring us exactly who You want to come through our door.” Hey & if you are prompted to come for a visit… our door is always open!

Rejoicing in Truth!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

It's All Good!

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” ~ Hebrews 4:13 (TNIV)  What does that verse speak to you?  In the New King James version it says, And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”  I love how the word, “naked” is used!  When I read that it made me see how freeing that is… that God sees me “naked”… warts, moles, lumps, bumps, sin, and all!!! And yet He still chooses to love me and use me in His great plan!!!

You might wonder why I would see it as freeing… how many of us can even fathom the idea of standing naked in front of anyone and the vulnerability that would produce???  I know… yikes!  Almost intolerable, right?  But this verse shows that we are already that vulnerable with God.  We can never pull anything over on our Heavenly Father, so why try???  Do I sin?  Do I make mistakes?  Do I judge others unfairly?  Yes… yes… and yes!  It is not that I will never screw-up, but when I do it is just so much easier to confess it and seek God’s forgiveness as soon as I recognize my sin.  That is what is so freeing for me!  Father always knows what is coming… we never surprise Him.  And He has promised us He will always forgive when we ask with sincere hearts.

“If we freely admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just, true to His own nature and promises, and will forgive our sins and continuously cleanse us from all unrighteousness (everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action).” ~ I John 1:9 (AMP) 

A weight has been lifted off me! I cannot hide my “nakedness” from Him, but that is okay!!!  I challenge you to take the time to read Hebrews 4 and see what other great things God has for you.  Remember to allow yourself to stand “naked” before God… let Him point out those things that may not be quite right.  You are already accepted… it’s ALL good!

Rejoicing in Truth!


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Living Strong...

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”  Ecclesiastes 4:12

Just like a braid… if you just twisted two pieces of hair or rope or string it might stay for awhile, but it will fall apart.  If you braid three pieces of hair, rope or string it will hold up forever or at least until a part of the trio weakens or becomes frayed. 

How do we keep our hair strong and healthy? By eating right, having good nutrition, cleansing it regularly, trimming the split ends. It is the same in our walk through life… we need to feed on God’s Word, we have to receive every bit of nourishment we can from Him.

We need to ask & allow the Holy Spirit to show us what needs cleansing in us… asking for forgiveness and getting freedom from the “dirt” that can easily build up. Chances are we may not even notice it until it shows up in our stinky attitude! This is where I have to really watch & pray… there have been/still are so many changes going on in my life. Some days I wake up on the “wrong side of the bed”… I need to seek God immediately! These times of weakness & ungratefulness are the moments the “dirt” can start piling up. Who needs to carry around that extra weight? Unlike Pigpen from the Peanuts cartoon, we don’t have a dust cloud following us around to show the filth! But we do have the Holy Spirit to shine light into those dark areas!

And the hardest one of all… we need to accept that God (the gardener) prunes us to produce more fruit in our lives. Ouch! A painful process that can lead to greater things in our life! We have a good, good Father… He doesn’t just make a cut & leave us to bleed out! He gets rid of what is no longer useful, & then places His healing hand of love on that exposed area. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about how precious those moments are… when I throw my hands in the air & tell the Lord to have at it… take what needs to be taken… I surrender… it’s all His anyway! Whatever will bring You glory, Lord!

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. Now you are clean through the Word which I have spoken over you.”  ~ John 15:1-3

I don’t know what any of you are going through at this very moment but know that you don’t have to be alone in it! If you are married… the cord of three should be you, your spouse, & God. If you are single… ask God for discernment in what friendships you can trust to strengthen your cord of living for Him. We are not called to live life alone.

“As iron sharpens iron, so a person sharpens the countenance of a friend.” ~ Proverbs 27:17
Rejoicing in Truth!


Monday, April 11, 2016

Accepted… It’s ALL Good

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” ~ Hebrews 4:13 (TNIV)  

What does that verse speak to you?  In the New King James version it says,And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”  I love how the word, “naked” is used!  When I read that it made me see how freeing that is… that God sees me “naked”… warts, moles, lumps, bumps, sin, and all!!! And yet He still chooses to love me and use me in His great plan!!!

You might wonder why I would see it as freeing… how many of us can even fathom the idea of standing naked in front of anyone and the vulnerability that would produce???  I know… yikes!  Almost intolerable, right?  But this verse shows that we are already that vulnerable with God.  We can never pull anything over on our Heavenly Father, so why try???  Do I sin?  Do I make mistakes?  Do I judge others unfairly?  Yes… yes… and yes!  

It is not that I will never screw-up, but when I do it is just so much easier to confess it and seek God’s forgiveness as soon as I recognize my sin.  That is what is so freeing for me!  Father always knows what is coming… we never surprise Him.  And He has promised us He will always forgive when we ask with sincere hearts.

“If we freely admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just, true to His own nature and promises, and will forgive our sins and continuously cleanse us from all unrighteousness (everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action).” ~ I John 1:9 (AMP)

A weight has been lifted off me! I cannot hide my “nakedness” from Him, but that is okay!!!  I challenge you to take the time to read Hebrews 4 and see what other great things God has for you.  Remember to allow yourself to stand “naked” before God… let Him point out those things that may not be quite right.  You are already accepted… it’s ALL good!

Rejoicing in Truth!

Friday, March 25, 2016

No Greater Love...

Good Friday – I’ve often wondered why it is called “Good Friday”—if this is the day Christ was crucified… then why is it good?  Just think about that day… the day Christ gave up His life… does it bring mixed feelings?  On one side, no one would have a chance of eternal life in Heaven without this Great Sacrifice. So it is good for the sake of our salvation, but so sad that it was my sins and your sins that sent Him to that death on the cross.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

Focus on that verse for a moment… it is a mind blowing verse for me… would I be willing to lay my life down for a friend?  As I was thinking on that God showed me He was not asking me to just physically lay down my life for my friends, but to spiritually and emotionally lay it all down for Him!  Really think about that… if someone put a gun to your head and said “deny Christ or die” would you have the strength to die for Him?  I would hope I would. On the other hand, everyday we are asked to “die to self”… but how easy is that to do?

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

If you are at all like me, most every day I know I am a total failure at that… since I am not even close to perfect, but God can see if I have a desire and a willing heart to lay it all done for Him. And because of His unconditional, unfailing love, He gives us an “A” for accepted and not an “F” for failure… He made each one of us… He knows we are all works in progress… we are blessed, priceless children of our Heavenly Father! I am so thankful that He loved us so much to give us a second chance at life by giving up His Son to save all those who believe and receive Him.

Take a look at the story of Mary of Bethany pouring out the precious ointment on Jesus, just days before His triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. 

Mark 14:3-9 says:

Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had suffered from a skin disease. While Jesus was sitting there, a woman went to him. She had a bottle of very expensive perfume made from pure nard. She opened the bottle and poured the perfume on his head.
Some who were there were irritated and said to one another, “Why was the perfume wasted like this? This perfume could have been sold for a high price, and the money could have been given to the poor.” So they said some very unkind things to her.
Jesus said, “Leave her alone! Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing for me. You will always have the poor with you and can help them whenever you want. But you will not always have me with you. She did what she could. She came to pour perfume on my body before it is placed in a tomb. I can guarantee this truth: Wherever the Good News is spoken in the world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”
Mary didn’t do what she did for the memorial to her… she loved Jesus so much & with the mindset that His death was for certain & very soon, she gave it all up for Him. She showed her love like no one else did at that meal. This ointment was worth a lot of money, but that didn’t matter to her… she didn’t care what people thought of her “waste” of this ointment. Mary humbled herself in worship at the feet of Jesus. Are we pouring out our worship on Him just days before Good Friday & Easter? What do you have that is priceless possession? Your heart? Yourself?

If Christ just died for us then the story would be over, but He died because of our sin and He rose from the dead to break the bonds of death (sin) and the grave!  Remember… it is only because of Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and RESURRECTION that each one of us can have eternal life through Him.  Good Friday in itself is not good, but when we look at the whole picture… the whole story, the Greatest Love Story ever told… now that is good!

All of the time Christ spent here on earth needs to be remembered… needs to be shared… it is the Good News. Even remembering the sadness of “Good Friday” so that we can have hearts of thanksgiving to sing the praises of the risen Lord on Easter morning!

Rejoicing in Truth!


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Time In Between...

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is when Peter was asked to step out of the boat and walk on water. Read it in Matthew 14:22-33. I can remember as a kid in Sunday school hearing this story... in fact I can almost hear Mrs. Bauer, the beginners’ class teacher, telling that story. She was such a sweet, loving lady and I am sure she had great impact on many lives, including mine. Anyway, back to the story... as a kid it seemed so "mystical" to me (although I am sure as a kid I didn't know that was the word for it!).

I can remember being down at our local beach and thinking if I put my eyes on Jesus I should be able to walk on water... I was taught that Jesus was in my heart, so I fixed my eyes on my chest (because that was where my heart is... and Jesus lives there... are you still with me?) and stepping out very carefully to try and walk on water... why didn't it work for me... what did I do wrong????? Oh, the mind of a child... wish I could be that naive now.

Do you ever feel like the in between time is the hardest time? For instance, what do you think was going through Peter's mind the time between when he asked Jesus to bid him come and walk on the water and when he actually got out of the boat??? Do you think he was thinking, "Do I, don't I, do I, don't I?" Did he have anxiety? I find for myself the in between time is probably the hardest time... the thinking about it... wondering what will happen... should I, shouldn't I?... is this really what I should be doing?... how long do I have to wait?... what am I to learn in this time?

I guess that is the question... what am I to learn in the time in between? This time can be the hardest but it can also be the most rewarding. During these times we can be drawn closer to God... our eyes can be taken off ourselves and our problems... we can reach out to help someone else... we can completely surrender our ways to God's ways.

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." ~Isaiah 40:31

Here are the lyrics to a song I really love called "Time In Between" by Francesca Battistelli
You were there when Your Father said, "Let there be the light"
You obeyed when He whispered, "Son, You have to leave tonight"
To spend nine months in a mother's womb, three days in a borrowed tomb
It's the time in between that brings me to my knees
Knowing You came for me
And all that I can be I'm amazed, so amazed
And I thank You for the time in between
Don't take much for this crazy world to rob me of my peace
And the enemy of my soul says You're holding out on me
So I stand here lifting empty hands for You to fill me up again
But it's the time in between that I fall down to my knees waiting on what You'll bring
And the things that I can see I know that my songs incomplete
Still I sing in the time in between
So many ways Your love has saved the day
And I'm grateful for them all.
But it's the time in between the middle of two things that says everything
It's the reason I believe, I'm amazed, so amazed
And I thank You for the time in between.
Lord, I thank You for the time in between.
Just know that in the time in between you are not alone… you are not the only one!  Hold tight to ALL that you know to be truth… God’s Living Truth inside you.  In the silence… in the stillness you can rest in His loving arms and His faithfulness.  Be amazed… be thankful… praise Him!  He will get you through!  He will complete the work He has begun in you!

I’m convinced that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it through to completion on the day of Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 1:6 

Rejoicing in Truth!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Forgotten? I Think Not...

Do you have those moments, maybe even days, when you feel like you are alone and forgotten?  You feel invisible at work… the kids are growing up and spending more time away… you have not met the “love of your life.”  All these things can make you feel isolated and alone.

I know for myself when I have those moments I would rather just lay on the couch and pull the blanket up over my head.  And I might do that for a short time.  But I have come to realize that when I “feel” forgotten or alone… that is definitely a time to do the opposite of what I am feeling.

My encouragement to you today is that you are not ever forgotten… you are never alone! As a child of God, you know He is always with you… even when you don’t feel like it.  All the things you have done for the Lord will always be remembered... as a "warrior" you may end up hurt and distraught... but anything done in faith and love will be honored by God... don't let life make you feel insignificant or discouraged.  God remembers the good done in His name.

“God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure.  We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” ~ Hebrews 6:10-12

And you know one of the best ways to not feel forgotten is to take your eyes off yourself and put your eyes back on God.  He has given each one of us so many opportunities to serve Him and reach out to those in need.  And this seems like a great day to start! So my challenge is for each one of you to pick up your sword and get ready to slice through the feelings that are bringing you down!

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” ~Hebrews 4:12

Let the high praises of God be in your mouth, and a two-edged sword in your hand. (Psalms 149:6)

Rejoicing in Truth!


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Quiet, Please... Hear It?

Do you find yourself in the “bumps & bruises” of life? I really try not to let life get me down, but when it’s one thing after another… it gets very hard to keep looking on the sunny-side of things! I’m sure many of you may be feeling the same way. 

I was reading in 1 Kings 19:11-12… Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

As I read these verses this picture came to my mind & my heart… I could see unpleasant things of life happening one right after the other. Things that are scary… things that can shake your foundation… things that might even make you feel like you are losing everything… things you don’t understand, & you cannot get a grip on why it is happening. I am not saying the Lord causes these things, but I do believe whatever happens in life… God does allow.

When these things occur, we have a choice to make… we will let it rip us further from the Lord, or we will let it draw us closer to Him. We cannot live in the turmoil of whatever is shaking your world, because it is only in the quiet we can hear the still small voice… the voice of the Lord.

Do you hear it? Shhhhhh… Find a moment to step away from the hub-bub of life… quiet your heart… lean in to Him. He is whispering to the ears of your heart! He is a good Daddy… He will not always stop the yucky things of life, but remember He will always use them for good.

“…know that all things work together for the good of those who love God—those whom He has called according to His plan.” ~ Romans 8:28

My prayer today is that you will hear His still small voice… that the peace that passes all understanding will keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

Rejoicing in Truth!