Prayer Challenge

I want to ask you to say this prayer out loud, if possible.

“I belong to God. I am a holy vessel because I have the Holy Spirit of the Living God. The Lord of Heaven and earth has said to me; “I declare you holy!”. I commit to start believing what He says. I AM HOLY! Remind me daily, Spirit of the Living God, to treat myself as holy, open my eyes to every scheme of The Enemy to treat me as if I'm not. You, God, are Holy. Your word is the truth. This day Father, I chose to believe you! I ask this in the mighty name of your son Jesus Christ, who died on a cross for me so that I could be a coheir to the kingdom of God. Amen”

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Have a Safe and Blessed Happy New Year!

Lifestyle Christianity - Movie FULL HD ( Todd White )

This is an amazing movie that shows the power of God to take his broken children and turn them into his strongest tools. Todd White is an evangelist every day that his eyes open. He is ON FIRE for the Lord. Personally, I felt like I received a spiritual refueling just from watching this movie.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Psalm of the Week - 6:9 - December 26, 2016

Photo by Cassie Pilger    Lighthouse on Lake Michigan
The Lord is My Lighthouse.

Love unending
Incredible gift of love
Grace is given through Jesus' sacrifice
Holy, Holy, Holy
Turn toward Jesus' light and
Hopelessness turns into never-ending hope
Only Jesus could rescue me from addiction
Ugly life of mine was changed forever! 
Son of God, Jesus Christ, redeemed me
Eternal life with him is my prize

Verse of the Week - Ephesians 6:18 - December 26, 2016

Photo by Cassie Pilger                                                   Lake Michigan shoreline
Wherever you are, look around you. 
Is there someone you can pray for? Ask Jesus to show you someone who needs prayer. Believe it will happen and it will! He will show someone to you.  

Ask the person if you can pray for them. 
Don't wait to get home. Offer to pray with them wherever you are. Honestly, very few people have ever turned down my offer to pray with them.

Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the right words to speak. 
Believe it will happen and it will! Open your mouth and be surprised by the Holy Spirit flowing out of your mouth in the form of words. 

However, if your person appears to be uncomfortable with praying on the spot, 
tell them you will pray for them as soon as you leave them. People who don't go to church still believe in the power of prayer. 

As you start to leave your person, 
start praying and keep on praying. You can pray silently and walk at the same time. Wrap them in a spiritual blanket of prayer. 

Matthew 7:8
For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Romans 8:26
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know how we ought to pray, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans too deep for words.
1 Timothy 2:1
First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered on behalf of all men

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Psalm of the Week - 148:11-13 - December 19, 2016

Even in this world, dark and bad as it is, God is praised. 

  • Let all manner of persons praise God. Those of every rank, high and low. 
  • Let us show that we are his saints by praising his name continually. 
  • He is not only our Creator, but our Redeemer; who made us a people near unto him. 
  • We may...understand Christ, whom God has exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour.
  • In redemption, that unspeakable glory is displayed, which forms the source of all our hopes and joys. 
  • May the Lord pardon us, and teach our hearts to love him more and praise him better.
Adapted from Matthew Henry's Concise Bible Commentary

Verse of the Week - Galatians 4:6-7 - December 19, 2016

Sons and Daughters of God
"As a consequence of your being adopted into the family of God, and being regarded as his sons. It follows as a part of his purpose of adoption that his children shall have the spirit of the Lord Jesus."
Barnes Notes on the Bible

Act Like Heirs
"May the temper and conduct of sons ever show our adoption; and may the Holy Spirit witness with our spirits that we are children and heirs of God."
Matthew Henry's Concise Bible Commentary

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Psalm of the Week - 9:9 - December 11, 2016

Not everyone enjoys Christmas. 
Some have never enjoyed it. Others are not enjoying it because they are the victim of holiday heartbreak. 

Holiday heartbreak is when your relationship ends during the holiday season. 
Yep, your soulmate, or so you thought,  breaks up with you. Many partners choose to end their relationship before the holiday season officially starts. 

I had this happen to me. 
However, it occurred immediately after the holidays. Just as I felt that we had safely survived our first Christmas together, I received an 8:00 A.M. phone call at work that turned my world upside down. I was emotionally blindsided. Numb and stunned would be an accurate description of how I felt while I listened to my fellow end our relationship via a phone call. 

Oh, I forgot to tell you that this happened on a Monday morning.  After he ended the call, my first reaction was to call a close friend and pour my heart out. After that, I buried myself in the Lord. I hid in the shelter of his refuge for weeks.

If this has happened to you, do not forget that God wants to shelter you. 
He is a refuge in times of trouble. He is waiting to welcome you with open arms. Pour your heartache and hurt out to him in prayer. Then, grab your bible and read, read, read. Let your Heavenly Father take charge and heal you. It won't happen overnight, but it will happen. 

Verse of the Week - Matthew 1:23 - December 11, 2016

The mystery of Christ's becoming man is to be adored, not curiously inquired into. 
It was so ordered that Christ should have our nature, yet that he should be pure from the defilement of original sin, which has been communicated to all the race of Adam, or mankind.

It is the thoughtful, not the unthinking, whom God will guide. 
God's time to come with instruction to his people, is when they are at a loss. Divine comforts most delight the soul when under the pressure of perplexed thoughts. 

Joseph is told that Mary should bring forth the Saviour of the world. 
Joseph did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, speedily, without delay, and cheerfully, without dispute. 

He was to call his name Jesus, a Saviour. 
And the reason of that name is clear, for those whom Christ saves, he saves from their sins; from the guilt of sin by the merit of his death, and from the power of sin by the Spirit of his grace. In saving them from sin, he saves them from wrath and the curse, and all misery, here and hereafter.

Christ came to save his people, not in their sins, but from their sins; and so to redeem them from among men, to himself, who is separate from sinners. 

By applying the general rules of the written word
We should in all the steps of our lives, particularly the great turns of them, take direction from God, and we shall find this safe and comfortable.

Adapted from Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Psalm of the Week - 125:3 - December 4, 2016

Confidence in God
  1. All whose minds are stayed on God, they shall be as a mountain supported by providence, much more as a holy mountain supported by promise. They cannot be removed from confidence in God. 
  2. Committing themselves to God, they shall be safe from their enemies.
  3. God's covenant with his people cannot be broken, nor his care of them cease. 
  4. Their troubles shall last no longer than their strength will bear them up under them.
  5. The scepter of the wicked may come and may fall upon the righteous, upon their persons, their estates, their liberties, their families names, on anything that falls to their lot; only it cannot reach their souls. 
Adapted from Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary

Verse of the Week - 1 Corinthians 10:13 - December 4, 2016

Things to Remember
  • Carnal desires gain strength by indulgence - Do not indulge them.
  • Nothing in Scripture is written in vain; and it is our wisdom and duty to learn from it. Others have fallen, and so may we.  
  • God is wise as well as faithful. He knows what we can bear. 
  • He will make a way to escape; he will deliver either from the trial itself, or at least the mischief of it. 
  • We have full encouragement to flee from sin, and to be faithful to God. 
  • We cannot fall by temptation, if we hold fast to God. 
  • Whether the world smiles or frowns, it is an enemy.
  • Believers shall be strengthened to overcome the world, with all its terrors and enticements. 
  • The awe and reverence of the Lord, put into the hearts of the faithful, will be the great means of safety from sin.
adapted from Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary

Procrastination, Prayer, and Cupcakes

My personal procrastination seems to increase as my prayer life decreases. 
Yesterday morning, I finally realized why I was feeling overwhelmed and promptly started praying out loud in the car on the way to work.

Since, I live and drive through a rural area, only cows and deer are going to see me talking out loud to Jesus in the car like a crazy lady. Yep, I am crazy about Jesus! 

The sense of overwhelmedness slowly receded as I talked with Jesus in prayer and my workday went well.

Procrastinating at Home
The procrastination proceeded to return after I arrived home and should have been making three types of frosting for the 8 dozen cupcakes I was going to make Friday evening to sell at at community marketplace event. 

You know the consequence of procrastination is normally not getting a task completed, or having to work hours longer to get it done. Knowing this consequence and going ahead with the task are two different things. Unfortunately, I didn't pray either. 

Yep, the frosting didn't get made because I was procrastinating, but I told myself I was tired from working all day and deserved to rest. Additionally, no prayer was involved in this small decision because I knew that I was setting myself up to bake, frost, and package 96 cupcakes the next evening. Can you identify?

Friday evening arrived and I started baking cupcakes the moment I arrived home from work at 4:00 PM. With cool down times, two cupcake pans, etc. it took me until about 9:44 PM to bake the almost 100 cupcakes and complete the trio of frostings for them. 

Now I said a prayer and made a pot of coffee as I began to pipe frosting and package the cupcakes. At 1:35 AM I finished loading the last container of cupcakes into my car and said a quick prayer to Jesus thanking him for giving me the strength to complete my cupcake marathon. 

Moral - Pray more and procrastinate less.

Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Ephesians 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Psalm of the Week - 135:5 - November 27, 2016

What other gods could be in my life today? 
Idols can be anything that stops God from being the number one priority in my life. The following list is made up of activities that have been OR can be a god, or idol in my life. 
  1. Television viewing - hours and hours devoted to viewing ungodly programming
  2. Social media - hours and hours spent on games and messaging that takes away time spent in bible study and prayer
  3. Busyness - activities that prevent bible study, prayer, and discipleship
  4. Materialism - the pursuit of material possessions above and beyond actual needs
Today, I KNOW that God is great and is above all things
I marvel at sunsets, cloud patterns, rainbows, and the intricate designs of tiny flowers as I acknowledge that God is the Great Creator of All. God is indeed great and is above all things. Amen.  

Additional Bible Verses
Romans 1:25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.
2 Corinthians 11:31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying.

Verse of the Week - 2 Corinthians 11:14 - November 27, 2016

14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Be wary of who you listen to and give charity to. 
Many people have learned to con Christians out of material goods by passing themselves off as followers of Jesus when they are actually followers of Satan. They sound like faithful followers who knows the Bible. In fact, they do know the Bible, but they only know enough to disguise themselves as a Christian while following their own agenda. This isn't a new issue. In fact, Paul addresses this issue in 2 Corinthians 11.

Paul knew that there were counterfeit apostles who had learned just enough from himself and the true apostles to pass themselves off as followers of Jesus. Paul also said he wasn't surprised because Satan can be an angel of light too. Followers of Satan come in many disguises, just as Satan can appear as an angel of light to further his own plan, which is always the opposite of God's plan. 
  • Counterfeit Prophets and Apostles
There were counterfeit prophets under the Old Testament, who wore the garb and learned the language of the prophets of the Lord. So there were counterfeit apostles under the New Testament, who seemed in many respects like the true apostles of Christ.
  • Hypocrisy
Hypocrisy is a thing not to be much wondered at in this world, especially when we consider the great influence Satan has upon the minds of many people.
  • Satan, Angel of Light
As he can turn himself into any shape, and put on almost any form, and look sometimes like an angel of light, in order to promote his kingdom of darkness, so he will teach his ministers and instruments to do the same.

  1. 2 Peter 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves.
  2. Matthew 7:15 "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
  3. Matthew 24:24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders that would deceive even the elect, if that were possible.
  4. Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary

Saturday, November 26, 2016

A Joyful 2016 Thanksgiving with Family

Last year my Ashley volunteered to have Thanksgiving at her house. 
Her sister and I took her up on the offer and we had a wonderful time with all of the kids, grand kids, my parents, and us. I am so thankful to spend time with my family.

In October, I asked her if she still wanted to host the Thanksgiving dinner this year. 
She said she would have to talk to her boyfriend and get back with me. Last year they were just dating, this year they are a couple. In the end, she said yes and published a private Facebook event and invited the family to post what they would bring. This simplified the process of a family Thanksgiving meal a lot! It is the perfect halfway point for her sister and has LOTS of kid stuff for the grandchildren. I am thankful that they agreed. I am thankful to spend time with my busy daughters and their families.

Wednesday Before Thanksgiving
Wednesday evening, I joined Ashley in her kitchen and provided some advice on her apple pie making while I demonstrated how to make bread stuffing. As a young girl, Ashley wasn't interested in cooking. I tried to teach her the basics, but these weren't her favorite lessons. I am thankful to be this girl's mother. She brings me joy.

However, over the last three years,
I have received a lot of texts and phone calls about how to cook side and main dishes. I'm happily providing this information and sharing my recipes with her. (Her sister did this about ten years ago.) At last! I can share and pass on my knowledge of family cooking that was shared with me by my great grandmas, grandmas, and my mom with my other daughter! I am joyful and thankful that I am able to share traditional family dishes with my daughters. 

My parents weren't able to make the Thanksgiving meal this year. 
Mom and Dad hosted my brother Rick and his family. I am thankful that I have parents who are healthy and able to live independently.

My son-in-law Curt had invited his dad, but Buell had said no. 
However he did show up unexpectedly and we welcomed him with open arms. Buell's wife died two years ago and as a one-time widow, I know how hard year two was for me. I am thankful my silent prayer was heard and we could enfold Buell with our love during this difficult time. 

As usual, the meal timetable didn't work out because of a faulty turkey timer. 
However, this is why Buell was able to sit and share food with us AND Ashley told Scott she should have listened to him about using their meat thermometer. Her sister made a video of Ashley saying this to prove that she had actually said this! Laughter and love surrounded these two moments. I am thankful that we laugh at the unexpected and love each other unconditionally. Yes, our family members have faults, but we know people aren't perfect. I am thankful for the laughter and love we show and share with each other.

Galatians 6:9
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 
Colossians 3:15
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Romans 12:12
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Psalm of the Week - 128:2 - November 20, 2016

Thanksgiving is Thursday and I felt this was an appropriate verse for this week. However, remember that for many folks this is not a time of happiness and joy. Pray for the sad at heart this week. Look around you and see if there is someone that needs encouraging. 

Verse of the Week - Ephesians 5:19-20 - November 20, 2016

No matter what is going on in your life, keep on singing inside your heart and praise our Holy Father in the name of Jesus for everything that you do have. Gratitude for the riches around you will help you keep positive and joyful.

Thanksgiving week can be a time of reflection upon how the Lord has worked in your life through the last year. Can you see His hand at work?

Don't let stress get you down this week, as the holiday season officially starts. Thank Jesus and God for the simplest things in life like:
  • waking up
  • having family
  • having a place to stay
  • food is available
  • clothes are available
  • the sunrise is beautiful
  • the clouds and sky are gorgeous

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Celebration and Sadness with a Lot of Prayer

Celebrations and Sadness 
This list sums up my last couple of weeks.

  • grandchild with viral meningitis - lots of prayer and faith in action have been required. 
  • two coworkers and a member of my church family have babies on the way - joyful praise prayers and celebration cupcakes have been given. 
  • 24 yr. old momma died in a car wreck - praying for the family and her babies who won't know her
  • a faithful single friend turned 50 - prayer, encouragement, and a cupcake bouquet
My grandchild is healed, thank you Jesus! 
His mom was quite upset and stayed with him overnight at the hospital. However, it was an extremely light case of viral meningitis. The hubby and I are positive this is because of the surge of prayer offered by us and our prayer warrior friends and family.  

Aren't new babies awesome? 
I love making cupcakes to celebrate a little baby that is on the way. I am praying that the expecting moms remain healthy and that the Lord continue to protect. them. 
Praying for days about the loss of a young mom and her family. 
Her family includes two families that I am acquainted with and they seem to be seeing more than their share of sadness right now. Lift these folks up in prayer please. Jesus knows who they are. 

My Sister-in-Faith
I love my sister-in-faith whom I also work with and I felt an urgency to encourage her on her 50th birthday. This lovely lady has had her share of life happenings over the last six years. Divorce, empty nest, and losing a beloved family member have all happened to this gentle, lovely gal. I was happy to make her a beautiful, pull-a-part birthday cake that was part of a birthday card shower at work. 
During this time of celebrations and sadness, the guest preacher at church preached on Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt and how we have to step out in faith. 

God is exactly where he always is - right in front of us, or covering our backs. 
We just need remain faithful and not want to quit every time we get fearful, or it looks like the odds are against us. He will always watch over us.
"The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name." Exodus 15:3 NIV
God will always defend us. He is a warrior God. This thought comforts me. God and Jesus are fighting for me and you. We just have to keep on praying and being faithful. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Psalm of the Week - 89:14 - November 6, 2016

God loves his people and he is faithful. No matter what is going on in my life today, I know that Jesus is sitting on the right hand of God and that he is there for me. After all, he did die on the cross for me. 

Verse of the Week - Matthew 16:15-17 - November 6, 2016

Who do you say Jesus is? I say Jesus is my lord and savior. He is the Son of God. Jesus is the foundation of the church. 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Psalm of the Week - 119:45 - October 30, 2016

I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. Psalm 119:45

The Service of God is Liberty
We need to pray that we may never be afraid or ashamed to own God's truths and ways before men. There is no full happiness, or perfect liberty, but in keeping God's law. We must never be ashamed or afraid to own our religion. The more delight we take in the service of God, the nearer we come to perfection. Not only consent to his law as good, but take pleasure in it as good for us.     Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary

Verse of the Week - Romans 8:26 - October 30, 2016

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Romans 8:26

How happy I am that the Holy Spirit dwells in me! 
The Holy Spirit intercedes for me  with God. I may not know what to pray, but the Holy Spirit does.
Sometimes, the only words that I pray is, "Help me, Father." 
In times like this, the Spirit is interceding for me, too. After all, who knows my mind and heart better than the living Spirit of God that dwells within me? 
My Heart is Sad
Additionally, my heart is sad for my brothers and sisters who are living in persecution around the world and the growing immorality all around me. The Holy Spirit takes this sadness I bear and intercedes for me in unspoken groaning to our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus.

Honestly if you are a spirit-filled and a spirit-led child of God, sadness for the state of this world should be in your heart too. This doesn't mean you should be visibly sad, just aware of the inroads the Enemy has made in society around the world.

Can you picture the Holy Spirit groaning our sadness to God in heaven for the state of his creation?  

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Verse of the Week - Romans 8:26 - October 23, 2016

How happy I am that the Holy Spirit dwells in me! 
The Holy Spirit intercedes for me  with God. I may not know what to pray, but the Holy Spirit does.
Sometimes, the only words that I pray is, "Help me, Father." 
In times like this, the Spirit is interceding for me, too. After all, who knows my mind and heart better than the living Spirit of God that dwells within me? 
My Heart is Sad
Additionally, my heart is sad for my brothers and sisters who are living in persecution around the world and the growing immorality all around me. The Holy Spirit takes this sadness I bear and intercedes for me in unspoken groaning to our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus.

Honestly if you are a spirit-filled and a spirit-led child of God, sadness for the state of this world should be in your heart too. This doesn't mean you should be visibly sad, just aware of the inroads the Enemy has made in society around the world.
Can you picture the Holy Spirit groaning our sadness to God in heaven for the state of his creation?  

Psalm of the Week - 119:44 - October 23, 2016

Alley Springs, Eminence MO
Author Sallee Bonham on bottom left of picture. 
Picture taken by Jamie Roberts 2016 

Bill and I went on a fall ride a week ago. 
We knew it would probably be our last outing before the weather turned. It was chilly as we rode our bikes to the meet up in Houston, MO. Eleven of us arrived at the gas station that is located at the crossroads of Hwy. 63S and Hwy. 17 in Houston. We topped off our gas tanks and then the group rode the smaller highways through Summersville and on to Alley Springs. 
Fall in the Ozarks
As we road down one of  the smaller roads that was bordered by trees, the wind kept brown leaves swirling around  in the air like leaf airplanes circling an airfield. The leaves would tip left and right while floating downward like a graceful airplane landing on the runway. Yes, fall has arrived in the Ozarks and ride season is at an end for those of us who can't, or don't ride in cold weather all bundled up like a mummy. 
Lunch and Fellowship
Lunch was a happy affair and Jesus was a topic of our conversation. Being with a group of fellow believers who always want to obey the Word of God and share the Good News of Jesus Christ is uplifting. It is a spiritual refueling so to speak. The Holy Spirit in each of us was smiling as we enjoyed the day that the Lord had made and were glad in it.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Forgiven and Trying to Reflect Jesus

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

Forgiven, so forgive others
As I read this verse, the last phrase caught my attention, "Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Now I KNOW that I was forgiven for all of my wrongdoing before I made a commitment  to follow the teachings of Jesus.
My before Jesus motto: Life in the fast lane. That was the 1970's - 1980's lifestyle I practiced.
I left Jesus behind me when I left home at seventeen years old to go to Navy boot camp in Orlando, Florida. The old saying, sewing some wild oats, is one way to describe how I lived for about sixteen years. 
My life with Jesus motto is: Jesus is Lord of my life.
When I came to Jesus, he forgave me and my life changed forever. Today, I read the Bible, stay sober, and have become a completely new woman. I was forgiven all of my wrongdoing by the blood of Jesus Christ. The Lord forgave me and  I have to forgive others. 
Reflecting Jesus can be tough, but I am trying my best to do this, one day at a time with Jesus Christ. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

A Joyful Dog Mom, OR Not

Being a dog mom is a lot like being a toddler mom.
The Accident
Nugget missed a step on the back deck stairs and fell down the stairs. I felt sorry for him and carried him up the steps. BIG mistake. 
My Mistake
He won't come up the stairs by himself anymore and I carried him up the stairs several times a day for two days.That got old fast! I decided to let him out front with Thumper, who isn't confined to the fenced in yard because she always does her business and comes right back in. I should have known better.
Disappearing Dog
Yesterday morning Nugget went out with her and disappeared for an hour. I saw him in the trailer park, but he came home when I called him. BUSTED! I told him he was NEVER going out the front door again.
Stubborn Mom Takes On Stubborn Dog
After church, Nugget goes down the back deck steps with the other two dogs and won't come back up. I put a bucket of water along the fence and left him outside by himself. Every time the other two dogs came back in the house, I would call Nugget and offer a treat, but he would stand at the bottom of the stairs wagging his tail at me. Finally at 10 o'clock last night, 10 hours after he went down the back deck steps, he finally decides to bound up the back deck steps like a deer and come in the house.
The Winner is...
Mom won that round and learned a lesson with the stubborn little dog.  
He may look innocent with those big brown eyes and wagging tail, but inside is a crafty, little manipulator ready to take full advantage of a situation.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Psalm of the Week - 119:43 - October 16, 2016

As I read this bible verse, one word comes to mind  - faith. The word of truth is the Holy Bible. I speak that truth and have put my hope in that truth.

I have no doubt that Jesus lived as man and god, died on a cross for my sins, arose three days later, taught the disciples before ascending to heaven, and the Holy Spirit was given as promised.

I know that the Holy Spirit dwells inside me and has sealed me as a child of God. I never want the word of truth taken from me. It is what grounds me and sustains me. 

Verse of the Week - Ephesians 1:13 - October 16, 2016

Having believed is the key here. I believe the gospel of my salvation, the Holy Bible. I believe the truth that it contains. My life is lived according to the Bible and because I believe, I am marked with a seal, the Holy Spirit. 

I don't know about you, but I am in awe of the fact that I am sealed as a child of God by the Holy Spirit. 

Using wax seals on stationary, or important documents, has gone out of fashion. However, we still mark important documents with a watermark that reads important, confidential, or even top secret. These watermarks are incorporated as part of the documents. 

Think about this, the Holy Spirit is like an invisible watermark that is imprinted upon each bible-believing, child of God. The Holy Spirit isn't visible, but our actions should reflect his presence. Do my actions let others see that I am sealed with the Holy Spirit? I surely hope so. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Verse of the Week - 2 Timothy 2:8 - October 9, 2016

Photo by Cindy Hicks-Butler at the Cruising for Christmas Toy Ride in Belle, MO 10/8/2016

Athletes train, practise, and compete according to the rules of their sport. 
Training requires a commitment to practicing daily, pleasing their coach, and learning the techniques of their sport so that they may win in competition and receive a medal.

Training Daily
Training daily requires an athlete to leave their old life behind. They make a decision to live a committed life devoted to their sport. The next requirement is to listen to their coach.

Coach is the Boss
Athletes who do not listen to their coach don't make it very far in their sport. A coach isn't going to put up with an athlete who isn't willing to follow their instructions. The instructions are meant to help the athlete develop into a stronger, more proficient competitor through learning the techniques of their sport.

Follow the Rules
Once an athlete becomes a proficient competitor, they are still not going to win and receive a medal unless they follow the individual rules of their sport. Athletes are expected to be familiar with the rules of each competition they compete in. 

Similarly, Christians train too. 
Christian training requires a commitment to practise living in a new way daily, pleasing their coach, Jesus,  and learning the techniques set out in the New Testament.

Leave the Old Life Behind
Daily life requires Christians to leave their old life behind. they make a decision to live a committed life devoted to their sport, Christianity. The next requirement is to listen to their coach.

Jesus left clear instructions for every Christian to follow in the New Testament. 
These instructions are meant to help each Christian to develop a deeper faith and a closer relationship with Jesus. Christians who follow the instructions of their coach stop being a new Christian and develop into a mature Christian who handles the demands of life more proficiently. Our coach wants us to live in a way that reflects that fact that we are living in accordance to the Biblical teachings. 

Christians must stay focused and become more familiar with the teachings of Jesus. 
The teachings from our Heavenly Coach will enable us to receive our crown when we arrive at the finish line in Heaven. That is the goal - victoriously arriving in Heaven and being with Jesus for eternity. 

Psalm of the Week - 121:8 - October 9, 2016

God watches over his children in the same manner that a pet owner takes care of a beloved pet. 
I watch over the coming and going of my dog Beast every day.
Why do I do this? Because I love him and want to make sure he has everything that he needs to be happy and healthy. In the same way that I watch over Beast, the Heavenly Father, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, watches over me. I have absolutely no doubt about this.

Do you have a beloved pet that you ensure is happy, healthy, and wants for nothing? 
If you do, then you need to realize that God watches over you in the same manner that you see to the needs of your pet, or pets. God loves you. Yes, he wants to make sure that your needs are met, now and forevermore.

No Spoiling
I tend to over-pamper my pet. That is where God differs from me. He takes care of me and makes sure my needs are provided. However, he isn't going to spoil me. At least, that has been my experience. 

Spiritual and Physical Needs
God meets my spiritual needs and provides my must-have physical needs like food, a place to live, and clothing. I trust Him to do this in the same way that my pets don't doubt that I am going to provide their needs. I know they are dogs, but I can better understand my relationship with God in this context. 

The Analogy
I hope this analogy between the way we watch the comings and goings of our pets and how God watches our comings and goings helps you to find a closer relationship with God. He loves us. Trust Him to be watchful today and forevermore. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Ordinary, But Faithful Conference

What does ordinary, but faithful mean to you? 
This was the theme of the conference that I attended and the first small group discussion question at the conference. Good question isn't it? 

Conference Focus
The conference focused on Mrs. Noah, Ms. Anna, and Mrs. Eunice/Mrs. Lois. The attendees listened to and discussed the lives of these four ordinary, but faithful women in the three part, large group session. Each part of the large group session began with ladies in robes who addressed us as if they were Mrs. Noah, Ms. Anna, and Mrs. Lois. 

Personally, I was surprised that I didn't know who the last three were and that I had somehow skipped over the verse or two that mentions these ladies without stopping to think about them. 

Mrs. Noah
Mrs. Noah had to take a faith walk when her husband told her God had instructed him to build a boat in the yard. Think about how you would react to that. How would the neighbors act during the 75-100 years it took to build the ark? Mrs. Noah had to leave her parents and family behind to a terrible end. I'm sure Noah and Mrs. Noah tried to get them on board with God. Then, she had to adapt to life on the ark for a year. Her "ordinary" days certainly required her to be faithful. 

"God has a purpose for each ordinary day...In our ordinary days and our ordinary ways...Remember we serve an extra-ordinary God."

Ms. Anna
Ms. Anna was a prophetess who lived at the temple in Jerusalem after her husband of seven years died. If she married at fourteen, which was the normal age to marry, she was only twenty-one when her husband died. She met Jesus when Mary and Joseph brought him to the temple. You find this information in Luke 2:36-38.

Fasting isn't necessarily from food. You can fast from social media, TV viewing, or busyness. Yes, fasting isn't just fasting from food. This was a reminder that I needed to hear. 

"Anna gave thanks...all those years of ordinary days in the temple worshiping, serving, praying, and fasting allowed her to witness the newborn Christ and proclaim Him to others. This proclaiming Him to others makes any ordinary day Special!"

Mrs. Eunice and Mrs. Lois
Mrs. Eunice and Mrs. Lois are Timothy's mother and grandmother. Paul mentions them in 2 Timothy 1:5. Wow! These ladies had to let go of Timothy and let him leave to preach with Barnabas and Paul. Timothy was with Paul when he was in chains. This was a sobering thought because I am a mom and a grandmother. It is easy for me to identify with these ladies' feelings and emotions. 

"Mom and grandmother had a role in the life of their loved one. In our ordinary days, using our limited time left to influence the next generation! We walk each ordinary day serving our extra-ordinary God with purpose."

Small Group Session
Each small group had the same 5 questions and readings to discuss:
  1. What does "Ordinary, but Faithful" mean to you?
  2. Which woman could you identify with the most? Why?
  3. What is the world's view of "success"? How does this world view affect you sense of worth? Would this world view have an impact on how you view your ordinary days?
  4. Read 2 Corinthians 5:7 and discuss practical ways you can continue to grow in your faith walk.
  5. Read Luke 25:21 and discuss the meaning of the verse. Are hearing the words of Jesus your heart's desire?
The Conference Impact On Myself
I believe this conference impacted my life by causing me to look more closely at the lives of these biblical ladies and relate what happened to them to myself. These ladies may only be mentioned briefly in the Bible, but they had a huge impact on the lives of their loved ones and church family. 

No matter how insignificant I may feel in God's plan, my life and how I live it does matter. 
The impact of my faith may not be seen by me now, but in the future I may be blessed to see how the ripples of my faith have spread outwardly from me and have touched the lives of those around me like the ripples from a stone tossed into the still waters of a pond. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Verse of the Week - John 3:29 - October 2, 2016

My wedding day was full of love and joy. When we walked down the church aisle as Mr. and Mrs. Bonham, our hearts were overflowing with joy and love for each other. Our friends and family flanked us and we were the center of attention.

This is how I imagine it will be when I hear my spiritual bridegroom's voice as he greets me and welcomes me home. On that day, I will know a completeness that I cannot even imagine. Amen? 

Psalm of the Week - 121:7 - October 2, 2016

Lake of the Ozarks photograph by Cassie Pilger 
In the same way that I can stand on a hilltop and survey the landscape, the Lord will keep watch over my life. The Lord is over all, through all, and in all of my life. (Ephesians 4:6) He doesn't want harm to befall me, or any of his children. He is an ever-vigilant God who loves me.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Road Trip! A Workshop and a Women's Conference.

Workshop day! 
I like learning new skills that I can apply to my job. Meeting and greeting fellow paraprofessionals and talking shop with others who have similar on-the-job challenges is fun and inspires more creative thinking. At least, I think so.

Similarly, going to a one day women's conference helps me to learn a new approach, or point of view to my faith.

Meeting and greeting other women of faith is fun and inspires me. Listening to a variety of women speak on a topic helps my faith to deepen and grow as I listen to the differing attitudes and outlooks on faith.

A Workshop and a Women's Conference
This week I am going to a workshop for work AND going to a half-day fall women's conference at a local church. I am excited and happy to be going to both - it's a win-win for me!

The Workshop
The workshop is for experienced paraprofessionals with four or more years of experience. I went to the beginning paraprofessional workshop last year because I had not worked in the special education department in years and I knew that many things had changed, especially the terminology. Last year's workshop was helpful and informative. This year's workshop should also be fun, helpful, and informative. In fact, I have found myself looking forward to this date.

The Conference
The women's conference topic is "Ordinary, but Faithful." I am looking forward to attending and sharing what I learn with you. Ordinary, but faithful is a fairly broad topic. I wonder which biblical women we will be taking a closer look at?

The woman at the well was an ordinary Samaritan woman who just went to get water one morning. Maybe it is Mary and Martha because they were ordinary women and sisters who served Jesus when he was in town staying at their house. Hmmm...who else? In the old testament there are quite a few women who were living an ordinary and normal life. I will just have to wait and see.

I am looking forward to my road trips!
Yes, I get to go to the workshop on Friday and the conference is on the following Saturday morning. I am also looking forward to seeing if the Lord has a divine appointment or two in store for me. Hope you are well and enjoying today.
Bye for now!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Verse of the Week - 2 Timothy 2:3 - September 25, 2016

Endure hardship. 
This phrase doesn't mean a lot to someone like me who has grownup in a country with an enormous amount of personal freedom and hasn't experienced any type of persecution beyond a scowling face, or a yelled"Go Home!"

The stories of my persecuted brothers and sisters in faith make me weep. 
Today, in 2016, my brothers and sister in faith are being jailed, maimed, beaten, and killed because of their faith. Right now, as you read this post, fellow believers are being ripped from their homes and loved ones.

One story in particular has me praying hard for a sister in faith in Nigeria, Africa. 
Her husband and son were killed by terrorists who broke into their home. Her two little girls were kidnapped by the terrorists. The girls were 6 and 8 years old. I don't even want to think about what happened to these baby girls. To read all of this heartbreaking story, Click Here

The Lord has been speaking to my heart about praying for the persecuted church ever since I started praying for a sister in faith in 2014 who was in prison with her baby. 

After 2 weeks of steady prayer, she was released and flown to the United States. My prayers for her were answered. My last post on persecuted Christians in Africa was in January when I woke up at 3:30 am and was led to pray hard for the men and women of faith in Africa and the missionaries that are there trying to help them. Again, the Lord is speaking to me to continue praying and writing about what is happening to the children of light in a darkened world. 

Pray with me for the missionaries and faithful Christians who are enduring hardship because they are being good soldiers for Jesus Christ. 

Jesus, I know how sad you must be as you sit on your throne in heaven and see your followers being beaten, maimed, threatened, and killed because thy love you with all their heart. I ask that you be with them at all times. Do not let their feet slip. Shade them from harm. Watch over their comings and goings today and forever. Let your protection be evident so that your faithful ones may give you the honor, glory, and can proclaim to the persecutors that you are all powerful. They can proclaim that their God is alive and actively protecting them. I ask these things in your powerful name Jesus and by the blood you shed to save us from sin. Amen. 

To learn more about persecuted Christians and what you can do  Click Here