The 8 F's

Focused on Faith, Family, Friends, Finances, Freedom, Following, Fitness and Fun

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Man Shall Not Live By Bread Alone

     Yesterday, my husband was telling me of a spirited discussion that he and his Men's Bible Study had during their weekly meetings.  They were discussing whether or not man needed the Word of God, or the Bible, to stay spiritual, or connected to God.  I found this very intriguing and have been meditating on it since hearing of it.  This morning as I was waking up, the Lord spoke to me in answer to the question and said, "Man shall not live by bread alone."
     I looked up this verse in the Bible, Matthew 4:4.  Jesus was lead into the desert by the Holy Spirit for 40 days and was tempted by the devil to turn stone into bread.  Where upon, Jesus replied, "It is written: 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"  Jesus quoted from scripture, Deuteronomy 8:3, 'He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.'
     If we live by Jesus' example, we will see that he didn't just pray to God.  Anyone can cry out to the Lord.  But, we cannot truly live in Him without His Word.  Scripture repeatedly tells us we will never mature into someone who knows God, without His word (1 John 2:12-14).  Amos the prophet tells us that a day will come, when there is famine and drought, not for food and water, but a famine for hearing the words of the Lord, Amos 8:11.  The Lord can satisfy your spiritual hunger, if you "listen to me...hear me, that your soul may live", Isaiah 55:2-3.
     How are we to evangelize without the word?  How are we to carry out the great commission?  "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20  Without the word, how are we to teach the word?
     I have lived most of my life without the word, mostly in prayer, only hearing the word at church on Sundays.  Only in the last year have I truly dug into the word, and as a consequence, have started to mature as a Christian.  I have been a "Christian Child" most of my adult life.  But am now becoming an adult (1 John 2:12-14).  Without the knowledge of God, I am a captive of the world (2 Cor. 10:5)  I need to be washed daily with the word, to make me holy, just as Christ did for the church (Eph. 5:25).  I have grace and peace, in abundance, through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord (2 Peter 1:2).
     Knowledge can only come through reading the word, listening to the word, praying about the word and applying the word.  We cannot hope to attain the knowledge of who God is, what God is, how we can be in relationship with God and how we can serve God without His Word.  Yes, we can have a relationship with God without reading the Bible.  But, to what level?  We can serve God without reading the Bible, but how effective will we be?  Without the word, I was just existing!  His word is my manna.  I cannot live on bread alone.
     Let me leave you with a prayer from John 17:13-17.  Jesus praying for his disciples, "I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.  I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.  My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.  Sanctify them by the truth, your word is truth."

Thanks to Carrie Rester and Angela Broussard for their fabulous Gulf Coast Blessings Bible study on the Love Letters of John, where some of the references in this blog came from.

Thank you Father for your Word!

Your sister in Christ,

Monday, December 10, 2012

Loving the Unlovely

First let me preface what I mean by unlovely:  people that are difficult to love, complaining, dictatorial, not nice, negative, loud, nosy, get the picture.  We all know people like this.  Maybe we are the unlovely ones.  I know I have my moments!

In Paul's letter to the Romans, Chapter 12:4-5, he says, "Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."  We all belong to one another.  Wow, I never thought about you belonging to me, or me belonging to you.  It's like two body parts, let's say my hands and my feet.  My hands rarely meet up with my feet, only to put my shoes on or scrub them or massage them.  In essence, my hands serve my feet.  My feet appreciate and love my hands.  So too do I love and appreciate you as a fellow member of the body of Christ.

My feet on the other hand serve the whole body, by getting me where I need to go.  They make contact with the "world" every time I stand up.  They take such a beating by the "world" and are not very lovely.  So too are some of us in the body of Christ.  Some, take such a beating and are not very lovely, but serve the body day in and day out.  Does our physical body despise our feet just because they take a beating and are not nice to look at or smell not so nice sometimes?  We appreciate our feet don't we?  We love our feet, they are a part of us, a part of our body.

The unlovely or unloveable are a part of the body of Christ, thus, they are a part of us!  The unlovely are a part of us, they belong to us and we belong to them.  So we should be devoted to one another in brotherly love and honor one another above ourselves. Rom. 12:10  Love our neighbors as a part of ourselves. Matt. 22:39  We CHOOSE to do this in obedience to God's love for us and in us.  When we love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, we are in communion with Him through Christ.  ...."in Christ,  we who are many form one body..."  In Christ, we can love the unlovely.

Next time we will discuss ways to not be offended by our neighbor so that we can stay in communion with Christ.

Thanks to Carrie Rester and Angela Broussard for such a rich sharing of faith and inspiration through their "Straight From The Heart: Love from the Letters of John" Bible study.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Three Words I Long To Hear

     Today I am struggling with keeping my mouth shut.  Who am I kidding...I struggle with this EVERYDAY!  Why do I desire to say, "No, that's not right," to my husband about 50 times a day?  Why is it so hard to let it go?  Does it matter who is right and who is wrong I tell myself?  My ego is screaming YEEESSSS!  But my heart is quietly whispering no, it doesn't matter.  How do I feel when I am told I am wrong?  I feel hurt, adversarial, indignant.  I tend to become argumentative with a desire to justify myself, my ego.  That's the same way most everyone feels when they are told they are wrong.
     What is a better way to deal with my ego?  What is a good attitude to adopt when confronted?  What should I do when I desire to let someone else know they are wrong?  My Mom used to say, "If you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all."  We've all heard that before, but how many of us actually do it?  I actually tried it out this morning.  I have kept quiet before, but it always feels like a volcano about to explode!  It is one of the hardest things in the world for me to do.  Anyway, I tried it this morning, kept my mouth shut.  But, I gave him "the look".  You know what I mean...actions speak louder than words.  "The look" said, "You are wrong!"  Us women are really good at "the look".  It is passed down from daughter to daughter.  Ha!  It's like a 6-shooter.  We draw, aim and shoot all in one motion!
     Whether I use words or "the look", neither makes the other person feel like a person worthy of my love.  I love my husband and feel he is worthy to be loved.  God gave us His son, to prove his love for us.  How hard then should it be for me to love my husband with my words?  Without giving him "the look".  The Bible teaches us to love our neighbors as ourselves, to love our enemies, to bite our tongues.  It is part of our fallen nature, having eaten from the tree of knowledge, to desire to be right.  I long to hear, "YOU ARE RIGHT".
     In this dog eat dog world we are constantly justifying ourselves, our ideas, our actions, our attitudes and our words.  Our desire to be right overcomes all logical reasoning at times.  I have found myself in the midst of arguments that I no longer knew what I was arguing about.  I have found myself persuaded but too stubborn to concede or admit I was wrong, or that there were errors in my logic.  It's even difficult to write it on paper, W-R-O-N-G. Eeeek!
     Why not give it a try ? Why not treat others as I want to be treated?  Speak to others with an attitude of loving my neighbor as myself.  Let them know they are right!
     Today I am going to keep my mouth shut.  I won't tell anyone they are wrong.  I won't point out their trivial errors.  And if told I am wrong, I will politely and without malice or sarcasm say the three words I long to hear myself, "You are right."

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dear Teenagers,

Before you were born, I had your whole life planned out, every detail.  I knew when you would walk, when your first tooth would come in, when you would first say Daddy.  I gave you amazing gifts and talents.  You are special to me.  "I love you."

While you were in your crib, I whispered sweet love songs to you.  I adore you.  I put my Holy Spirit into you so that you could know me and hear me when I whispered "I love you."

I have watched your world through your eyes.  I have tasted your bread through your mouth.  I have listened to the world through your ears.  So many distractions.  Can you hear me?  "I love you."  You were playing X-Box today.  I tried to talk to you about your friend, but you could not hear me.  I was there, watching your gifts get used on a T.V. game, when your friend was hurting and needed your gift for listening.

I was there at the Mall where you spent every penny you had on things, on stuff that doesn't reward you like I reward you.  Can stuff love you like I can?  All you need is me.  Abide in me as I abide in you.  Open your ears and hear that "I love you."

I was hungry when you walked by me.  You laughed and pinched your nose.  I was lonely and scared and you left me there on the street.  I want you to know me and to love me like I love you.

I have watched you grow and take different paths than the ones I whispered for you to take.  I gave you free will because  I will not force you to love me.  "I will always love you though."

I gave you gifts and talents so that your life would be a glorious offering to others and to me.  So that your light would shine so brightly that others would be amazed and want to know me too.  So they would see my love in you.

It's not too late to begin your life with me.  It's not too late to use your gifts to help others.  I want others to know of my great and abiding love for you and for them.  They will never know unless you shine!  And you will never shine, unless you know that I love you.  Listen for me.  I am calling you.  I love you and want you to love me.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Robe

I was reminded again of my favorite verse regarding faith last night at a women's Bible study.  Luke 8:42-48.  Jesus is walking through a large crowd.  People are pressing in on every side.  The disciples are all around him, trying to keep the people from knocking him over.  When all of a sudden he feels power being released from him.  Someone touched him and his power was released.  I wonder how many were pressed against him.  It could have been any of them touching him.  But why was the power released to only one out of the entire crowd?

The "one" who touched him, the woman, had been sick for 12 years.  She had a bleeding disorder.  In those days, women were made to stay in separate living quarters during their time of menstruation.  They were seen as unclean.  This woman had been separated from her family and friends for TWELVE YEARS!  If she had children, they grew up without their mother.  Her children must have heard about their mother and may have caught glimpses of her, but never gotten to know her.  How lonely she must have been!  She was ostracized from her family and community.  She had a white hot desire to be healed!

I imagine the scene happening something like this...Jesus is walking through the crowd.  His disciples are playing body guard.  It's noisy with so many people trying to get a glimpse of him, touch him and talk to him.  In their eyes, he is something of a celebrity, a miracle worker.  He smiles at all of them, even touching some of them as he passes.  And then to his surprise, he feels the power of his Father surge through him and go out to someone.  But who?  He stops and looks around. The disciples just want to get through this crowd.  But Jesus stops and looks around with joy and a little bewilderment on his face.  "Who just touched me?"  he asks.

Upon touching Jesus, the woman stops moving.  The crowd goes past her.  She looks down into her open palms.  She felt it!  She felt the energy surge into her body, through her hands and down into her womb.  She knows in that instant that she is different.  Dare she hope that she is clean again?  Dare she hope that she can go home?  She knows she is healed, but still can't quite believe it!

She had heard rumors about a teacher and healer named Jesus.  Her most heartfelt desire was to be healed.  She had been labeled as "unclean" 12 years ago.  Twelve years is a long time to be ostracised.  She wanted so desperately to be clean again.  She dreaded going out in public though.  Someone might say something mean to her.  They might call her names and yell at her.  If it was true that he could heal her, then she had to take the chance!  She had to go to him.  She had to risk public humiliation.  Her hope and desire overcame her fear.

The crowd was huge.  But she could see him in the distance.  She stood on the edge of the crowd, not wanting to be noticed.  She was afraid...afraid of the people, afraid that she might make a fool out of herself, afraid that she might have to live with the disorder for many more years.  But she also had an inkling of hope.  Hope that he could heal her.  Hope that she would be made clean.  Hope that she could go home to her husband and children.  So she went for it!  She pushed her way into the fray.  She got close to him, but not close enough.  She could only reach the hem of his robe.  And as she touched it, a shock wave went through her!

A gasp left her mouth and then a small smile crept upon her face.  She looked up in amazement and noticed that Jesus had stopped.  He was looking around him.  She hid her face and turned around.  But he continued to look for the one who had touched him.  She didn't want him to know it was her.  She had always been known as the "unclean" one.  She felt small and insignificant.  Who am I that He would choose to heal me?  She knew he knew it was her.  She went to him, out of obedience and with humility.

He looked at her with her head bowed.  He lifted her chin to look at him.  She gazed into the most loving eyes she had ever seen and felt a warmth come over her.  Such love poured out from him as she had never known before.  And then he said, "Daughter your faith has healed you.  Go in peace." (NIV)  She paused for only a second and then turned, pushed her way through the crowd and ran as fast as she could run, skip, jump and twirl all the way home.  HOME!  She could go home!  She could not wipe the smile off of her face or the joy from her heart.

When we come face to face with Jesus, we come to him broken and unclean, in thoughts and deeds.  But, when we come to Him in obedience and with BELIEF, he rewards us with forgiveness and healing.  He makes us clean again!  When we ask, "Who am I that God would choose to work a miracle?  I am small and insignificant." But God says, "Who are you NOT to be worthy of my workings through you?"  He uses each of us according to our faith!  Do we have the faith and the guts to reach out for his robe?  I want to go home laughing, skipping and jumping with a huge smile on my face.  I am going for it!  I am going to touch his robe!

Glory and honor to God for the miracles that happen every day in our lives!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

TV: friend or foe?

According to A.C. Nielson Co. the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV per day.
70% of Day Care centers use TV during a typical day.
Hours per year the average American youth spends in school: 900 hours.
Hours per year the average American youth watches television: 1500.
Percentage of 4-6 year-olds who, when asked to choose between watching TV and spending time with their fathers, preferred television: 54.
Number of minutes per week that parents spend in meaningful conversation with their children: 3.5. Percentage of parents who would like to limit their children's TV watching: 73.
Percentage of Americans who can name The Three Stooges: 59.
Percentage who can name at least three justices of the U.S. Supreme Court: 17

There is a reason I had cable turned off 3 years ago.  I am reminded why on those rare occasions I see a show on TV marketed to children and teens (we do subscribe to Netflix).  I confess, when my kids were little, and I had poor parenting skills, I used the TV as a babysitter.  Little did I know, the shows my kids watched, were undermining my influence over them.  The TV was teaching them that it's OK to lie.  It's OK to skip school.  It's OK to be disrespectful to others.  It's no secret that the parents on these shows are either bumbling fools or not written into the script at all.   No where are morals or guidelines taught by a parent or even a teacher.  School is a joke in much of the programming.

Children's minds develop at an accelerated rate when they are young.  Their sense of right and wrong are also developing during these very impressionable years.  As parents, we know it's our job to instill what is right or wrong behavior in our children, not the TV's.  I am not criticizing those of you who enjoy watching TV.  As a matter of fact, I enjoy TV.  But, I know that whatever I allow into my head affects my thinking.   I believe there is a place for TV and enjoy watching quality family shows and movies with my kids.  I also use it to help with homeschooling.  There are some great shows and documentaries to assist in learning history, science, religion, literary classics and even math!

According to Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) test results, which are published widely on the internet, the U.S. is getting left in the dust in math, science and reading.  The PISA tests how advanced students are in these three subjects compared to students around the world.  The U.S. is trailing China, Finland and South Korea among other nations.  As of December, 2010, the U.S.A. ranked 23rd or 24th in most subjects.

A report released by the company that produces the PISA, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, suggests that the biggest difference between countries is in the "culture of education".  The Chinese have a super competitive learning environment with little emphasis on TV and extra curricular activities and sports.   They place their teachers in the highest regard.  And schools generally go later into the day, into the weekends and over the summer time.

The culture of education in America is not as competitive as it once was.  Our children are taught "what" to think and not "how" to think.  This ideology is reinforced by TV shows that undermine education and family values. You may think this is a big leap.  But what do most kids do when they get home from school? Depending on which study you read, kids spend half an hour to an hour or more watching TV vs. studying.  I realize there are other problems with our education system.  But our media does not help instill a culture of learning.  And whether we like it or not, our children are being influenced by what they watch on TV.

As I write this, it's summer time, and my kids, ages 10 and 11, get bored, like most kids their age.  I limit TV to 1-2 hours of quality programming (not documentaries) and gaming to 1-2 hours each day, and that's after they have read for 30 minutes.  This may seem extreme for some of you.  They complained about it at first, but now they know that they have to CREATE their own fun times and not rely on the TV to do it for them.  They are learning HOW to think and not what to think.  Some days they watch more than that.  But we try to stick to these limits.

Please don't get the wrong idea.  I am not bashing parents or teachers.  We don't get a rule book for parenting when we have children.  It's not easy.  And I admire and respect America's teachers.  My parents are teachers.  Teachers have their hands bureaucratically tied.  They have to accomplish much with little.  I love teachers!  It's television programming and hours spent watching bubblegum episodes that bother me.  It's how these programs are programming our nation into mindless vicarious zombies that bother me.

I want our children, the future leaders of America, to know how to think for themselves and not have it spoon fed to them through the TV.  They should be learning right and wrong from us, their parents and guardians who love them and care for them.  I want our children to know, by how much time we spend with them, that they are important and worthy of our love and attention!  We can at least be aware of what our children are watching and how it affects them. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to be a better teacher than those they see on TV.

Blessings and encouragement to you and your family. : )

Friday, June 22, 2012

God Has This!

Did you ever wish for just one perfect day?  One day where no one said anything mean or insensitive.  One day where I didn't hurt someone else's feelings.  One day when I actually got everything on my todo list. One day when I was on time for everything.  One day when I was the perfect Mom or the perfect wife.  One day when I didn't burn breakfast.  One day when more than 10 people actually read my blog (that's just wishful thinking ).  I am laughing as I write this, but some days, these things really bother me.  What upsets me the most is when I have said something without thinking.  I feel like such a jerk.  How can I take it back.  It's already out of my mouth. I worry and toil over it.

I wish I could just be good all of the time.  Hah!  There is only one who lived on this earth that was perfect.  And there will never be another.  None of us are perfect.  I strive for perfection.  But some days,  I just get worn out!  I've messed up so bad, that I don't even want to try anymore.  I throw my hands in the air and scream, "I QUIT!"  Quitting doesn't mean I get a "Get Out of Jail FREE card".  It doesn't make it ok to be bad.  It just means that I can't do it without help.  When I quit, I give God control over my life.  When I quit on being perfect, I ask for forgiveness for messing things up that day.  I quit trying to control every tiny detail of my life and let God take the wheel.

It is freeing to know that the Bible says we will tire, we will be overcome with exhaustion, we will fall.  "She has wearied herself with toil." Ezekiel 24:12  And in Psalm 127:2, "It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sheep."  And it is comforting to know that when we do fall, God has this! Jesus reminds us that "my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matt 11:30

We are not supposed to be perfect.  We are not supposed to control every detail of our life.  When we walk with our Savior, we let Him lead.  When I find myself in this I QUIT kind of day, I inevitably pull out my Bible and am reminded of the many who came before me who were not perfect, but whom God loved perfectly.  And when they let His will be done, miracles happened.

And no matter what you do, how well or how poorly, He loves you perfectly too. And if you will let Him lead you, great things will happen in your life.

Glory to God for loving us just as we are.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Live the Life You've Always Wanted

Everyday I talk to people who struggle with their life.  They float through life from one thing to another (that was me, by the way).  Nothing makes them happy.  Nothing gives them purpose or satisfaction for very long.  Life becomes boring and apathetic.  What's missing is hope for your future, or purpose..  It takes a little work to detect what your purpose is, but once you do, you will have passion in your life.  You will be excited to get up in the mornings!  Instead of living for the weekends, you will live for everyday!  Everything you do will be focused on your purpose.  It won't always be easy or blissful.  But it will be worth it.

You will begin to see that the good things in your life are not good enough.  You now live for GREAT things in your life.  Good isn't good enough for God.  He wants GREAT!  And He knows that you are worthy of GREAT.  From the day that Jesus shed His blood to wash away your imperfections, you became GREAT.  Don't settle for less.  Our God is not a God of mediocrity.  He is a God of GREATNESS!  He did not make you to be or do small things.  You were made for great things.  "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." Romans 8:28  To the Pharaoh in Exodus 9:16, "I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."

So how do you find your purpose?  Much has been written about purpose and one of the best books I have found covers it perfectly in the first chapter.  Resolved: 13 Resolutions for Life by Orrin Woodward.  This book helped me to detect my purpose.  My purpose is to help you find yours.  You can purchase this book from my website or on

I pray that you will be blessed from reading this and that you detect your purpose and begin to live a life that you have always wanted.  God wants you to live your purpose as He did with King David in 1 Samuel and King Solomon in Kings.  The ripple effect of them living their lives with purpose was Jesus.  What will be your ripple effect?  Glory to God for all our GREAT blessings!


Friday, May 25, 2012

The Nudge

Did you ever feel God nudging you to do something, to take on a new project or service?  It’s not always a comfortable feeling. After Hurricane Katrina came through the Mississippi gulf coast, He nudged me to take action.  I happened to live in Biloxi and went to a church that played an integral part in the rebuilding process. Our Pastor’s wife, Judy Bultman, was the Director for our volunteer ministry.  She was/is an amazing woman. God anointed her and she became a leader with a gift of inspiring others. She loved the ministry. Then her husband retired and they moved to Georgia, where they were originally from. That left a gaping hole in the ministry.

The Director position needed to be filled for the ministry to continue. More homes needed to be rebuilt and we were the “food and shelter” for the volunteers that came from all over the U.S. to rebuild homes. Judy came to me one day and asked if I would take over. I have never felt smaller and so inadequate to fill a job.  Just like Saul who said, “Me? Am I not from the smallest tribe in Israel? Is not my clan the least of these?” 1 Samuel 9:21  I gave every excuse I could think of as to why I was the worst person for the job.  But I still felt God nudging me to take this on.  Instead of asking the Lord what gifts have you given me to do the job right, I was asking Him to let me out of it. I took the job without a joyful heart. But God has a way of changing our hearts to His Glory and revealing our gifts to serve Him.

This job was a 24 hour kind of job.  We had volunteers at our church day and night.  I had a family with 2 small children.  My kids spent a lot of time at the church with me.  I was on call 24/7.  It was difficult juggling work and family, more so with a 24 hour job.  And I was not a good time manager.  I had to learn to delegate and let go of a few things.

While Judy was the Director, she had started a tradition of prayer time every morning after breakfast and before the volunteers went out to work on houses. This became the highlight of my day.  At first I was very nervous about praying in front of others, but it was expected of me because I was the leader. As the days passed, I began to relax and not worry about what others thought and focused on praising our amazing Creator, our Lord and Savior.

I learned many things during this time. It was a true to life, “Come to Jesus” moment in time. Some leaders are born, some are made and some are thrown into the battle to sink or swim.  Let’s just say, some days I sank, some days I swam, and still other days I swam with the sharks. I was NOT a Judy Bultman.  But, I was an obedient, joyful servant of God. And He used me to serve others, just as I had been praying for many years.

Everyone has gifts they can use to serve God. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. But how often do we put ourselves in a position to build our strengths and weaknesses?  Our spiritual strengths need to be built, just like our muscles. We need to “workout” every day in order to be strong spiritually and mentally.  God knew I needed to stretch and grow spiritually.  That is why He put me in a position that I was not quite ready for. I wouldn’t have done it on my own.  He nudged me into stretching and working out my strengths.

When you feel uncomfortable doing something new, that just means you are stretching.  Your mind and spirit need to be stretched in order to grow.  So, if you are ready to grow and don't mind being a little uncomfortable, try something new.  What can you do to work out every day?  Here are a couple of things that have worked for me:  

1 .    Study the Bible.  It is full of strengths and weaknesses we can learn from.  The characters from the Bible were not fictional characters or folk tales.  They were real people, with real feelings, with real issues to deal with.  We can learn from their mistakes and their successes.  

2 .        Take a Spiritual Gifts inventory.  Find out what your gifts are and ask God where you can use your gifts to glorify Him.  

3.     Stretch your mind by taking the Mental Fitness Challenge(MFC).  The MFC is sweeping the nation, challenging people to "Live the Life You've Always Wanted."  I am taking the MFC right now…stretching my mind.  You can take the 7 Day Free Challenge and find out what your strengths and weaknesses are with the free assessment. Follow this link:  

4.     Pray for God to stretch you and guide you along the way.  Then glorify Him when you begin to change and grow!

   Blessings!  Glory to God for all our good things!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

God Stopped the Sun

James 1: 6-8  But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

For years I struggled with my faith, not quite trusting what God's plan was for me. Just the word itself, FAITH, was kind of scary to me. Because I thought that meant I had to let go of everything, I could not be in control. After much reading of the Bible and other good books, prayer and meditation, I discovered that is only partially true. Yes, I have to let God drive the vehicle. But I have to take care of the vehicle. I still have responsibilities that I must control. I am in control of my own faith! Faith is BELIEF that God has a plan for you. It's taking steps on the path God has laid out for you. Faith is an ACTION word! When you take action, so does God, and in a BIG BIG way!

So what actions can I take for God to perform miracles in my life? The first action is belief. If you don't quite believe but want to, here is way to bolster your faith:  read the Bible. It is full of great stories of faith! Meditate on scripture day and night.  Find scripture that you can refer to in your everyday life. Write them down and carry them in your pocket or purse to refer to during your work day. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. This is one area that you do have control over.

You have control over your thoughts, what you think, what you ALLOW in your head. Do I allow negative thoughts to creep into my thinking? If so, do I allow them to stay there? Why? I am in control. What are my options? Well, I can let the negative thoughts stay there and infect my soul. Or, I can replace the negative with positive. What a great idea! But this takes constant vigilance. Negative thoughts create fear. Positive ones create hope! When you replace your negative thoughts with positive ones, you allow God into your heart. When you allow the negative thoughts to fester inside of you, you keep God from working miracles in your life. And God is all about miracles! He wants to create miracles for you.

The second action step is to do something that demonstrates your belief. Maybe you believe that God is leading you to missions work in another country, or in taking care of the homeless, or even the young single mother who appeared in your church last Sunday, or maybe you feel God asking you to be a better money manager for Him. What steps could you take in obedience to the tug of your heart strings? What kind of help do they need? What books do you need to read to improve your chances of success?  Who can you talk to that has already been down this road?

Start asking questions. Do some research. Find out what might be needed. Is your knowledge in this area as good as it could be? And then watch while God steps in and helps you make a plan of action. As you make that first step, He will provide a second and a third.  The more obedient you are, the more He provides. Pray for guidance. Pray for courage. Pray for strength. Pray for miracles, TAKE ACTION and watch God at work.

God's plan for you will never happen unless you take action, until you believe and are obedient to Him. Faith is a requirement for God to fulfill your destiny. Lisa Turkquirst said recently at an Exceptional Women's Conference, "My job is to be obedient to God. God's job is results." It is a symbiotic relationship. In order for God to get results and show off His Glory, so there is no doubt in anyone's mind that He made the impossible possible, we must be obedient to Him. We must have faith so that everyone can see His Glory!

I love the story of Joshua 10:12-14. Joshua was in the middle of conquering the Promised Land, in a heated battle with the five Kings of the Amorites. Joshua prayed to God to stop the sun so they could finish the battle. And God did just that! He stopped the sun for an extra day! Joshua's faith was so strong and he was so obedient that God did as he asked. God got results and there was no doubt in anyone's mind who performed that miracle.

Do you think Joshua was afraid? I certainly would have been. Taking action, at times, may be very scary. Having courage means pushing on anyway, even though we are scared. Being afraid and taking action anyway is called obedience. God's most amazing miracles happen when we are obedient in the face of fear. Don't be surprised when God steps in to save the day. Many times it will be obvious, as the sun stopping. Other times we won't know until later, the results of His handywork. He won't leave any doubt about who should get the credit for His work. He shines brightest when you are faithful and obedient!

Blessings! Glory to God for all our good things!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Something's Missing

I spent five years in the military flying on C-130s as a Loadmaster. It was the best part-time job I ever had. Well, let me rephrase that. I thought it was the best part-time job at the time. It was definitely fun and full of temptations. My weakness was having too much fun...partying and drinking too much. I often said and did things that hurt other people, things that I regret. I cussed like a sailor, just like my Grandmother! It was all good natured, but not lady-like, and definitely not honorable. When I wasn't drinking, I was actually a nice person. But, you know what, nice isn't good enough for God.
He wanted me, all of me, and I wasn't willing to sacrifice my "fun times" for Him.

I remember thinking that something was missing in my life. And I tried to fill it with things that I thought mattered. I watched hours of TV, read tons of Sci-Fi, tried different hobbies. But none of it was satisfying. The "missingness" eluded me. I woke up each day with a hunger that couldn't be quenched.

What's really funny is many of the other airmen would come to me. like a counselor. and confide that they felt something missing in their lives too! How could I help them when I couldn't even help myself? I never let on that I was having the same problem they were. I tried to help them find purpose in their lives. Ever heard of that saying, "That's like copper calling the kettle black."? Yep! That was me! I was probably a shade darker than them! Tarnished beyond recognition.

It took another decade of lessons for me to learn my purpose and fill the emptiness inside of me. I came back to Christ in 2001 when my first child was baptized. Christ took me in like the prodigal son. I felt at home for the first time in fifteen years. But my hunger wasn't quenched. I then went looking for my purpose. I immediately read Rick Warren's, The Purpose Driven Life, and loved it. But it still did not put me any closer to my purpose. I felt sure that I had a purpose, but could not detect what it was. I knew that I was supposed to help people. But how!!!

Many years of volunteering for different charities still left me void. I enjoyed the volunteering but felt no passion. The hunger was still there! And then divine intervention occurred. I knew it immediately. I felt I needed to start my own business and was looking on-line for a franchise that would suit mine and my family's needs. I had narrowed it down to 3. They were all under $20K to get started. That would have wiped out our savings. But, I was so desparate to have a purpose, I was willing to pay any price. As I was weighing my options, the phone rang. It was a friend of mine who said that he had a business opportunity he wanted to show me. My head started to spin and my ears rang. I said, "Can you come over right now?"

And the rest is history. That was three years ago. Thanks to Orrin Woodward, the author of Resolved: 13 Resolutions for Life, I have zeroed in on my purpose and have a vehicle to drive the dream!!  The hunger has turned into a passion that would light up the entire Eastern seaboard. My purpose to help others has taken a road I never could have imagined in my wildest dreams.  I will save that for another post. :D  Glory to God for all our good things!