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Time flies! I didn’t realize that it had been 3 weeks since I had posted one of these. So, how have I discovered Jesus lately?

I sense the presence of Jesus in everything that I do. I know that He is the one that opens the doors as I start LIFE Single Mom Ministry. I know that He is the one that gives me the courage to obey and step out of my comfort zone. I know that He is the one who provides for me as I serve single moms.

Exodus 33:14

14 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

The presence of Jesus can be a reality in our lives if we choose to focus on Him and not our circumstances. When the Lord of Lords tells us that His presence will go with us, that is a promise that you can count on.

He will walk with you into court to fight for custody of your kids, face an abuser, end a marriage, or face the consequences of bad decisions.

He will comfort you when you lose a loved one and you feel alone.

He will pick up the shattered pieces of a house fire, a loss of employment, or a broken relationship.

He is with us ALWAYS!

Not only is He with us, He WILL GIVE US REST!

He will give us rest from the worry over adult children who are far from the Lord.

He will give us rest from the anxiety of waiting for those test results.

He will give us rest from the guilt of causing pain to those we love.

He will give us rest from the feeling of emptiness that comes with living a life without Him.

I challenge you today to focus on Jesus. Focus on the presence of the Lord of Lords. Remember the rest that comes from a life lived in Him.

I am always nervous when I step out to serve in any way. I wonder if I will fail or embarrass myself. But more often than not I end up being blessed more than I could ever imagine.

This is precisely what happened on Saturday 9/25 at the WBGL Single Mom Saturday. The Terre Haute location was Burger Chrysler Jeep and they were absolutely AMAZING! They gave each mom and oil change and car wash. On top of that, with the financial support of WBGL, an alternator was replaced for a single mom who had been having to have her vehicle charged every two weeks at Auto Zone to keep it going until she could get it fixed, an emergency fuel issue was fixed making a vehicle safe for a single mom and her kids, tie rods were fixed for one of the volunteers and a few other repairs were made making life a little easier for the single moms served.

Thanks to the donations of my generous church family at Terre Haute First Baptist Church, I was able to give the 16 single moms each a $25.00 gift card for a local gas station. We were also able to give away diapers to those in need of them.

I love days like this! I still get nervous, but God always gives me the words and the courage to go forward in His will and it is so worth it when I see the tears of gratitude form in the eyes of the moms.

There is nothing better than getting out and serving others! I am challenging you to serve someone this week and let me know how it goes.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

We have been studying the book of Job in my Sunday School class. When I read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 and think about my life, I know that I have not suffered anything that compares to what Job suffered. In chapter 2 verse 5, Job asks his wife, “shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” In John 16:33, Jesus tells us that in this world we WILL have trouble.

THE GOOD NEWS:

In John 16:33, Jesus also tells us to TAKE HEART! HE (Jesus) has overcome the world.

We have all felt pain and heartache in our lives. We all suffer at some point. No one is free from the pain and chaos of this world. BUT we CAN REJOICE! We CAN GIVE THANKS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES! We CAN TAKE HEART! This world is temporary. Our worldly trials are temporary. JESUS IS FOREVER! Hebrews 13:8 tells us that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Deuteronomy 31:6 tells us that God will neither leave us nor forsake us.

I will admit that I have not always rejoiced or given thanks when life throws me a curve ball. I can grumble, complain and whine like a two year old and expect God to fix everything RIGHT NOW!

My goal is to live out 1 Thessalonians 16-18 in my life, no matter what. I will bury John 16:33 in my heart for those times. I can REJOICE ALWAYS and GIVE THANKS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES because my Savior JESUS HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD and HE WILL NEVER LEAVE ME NOR FORSAKE ME.

Rooted

Colossians 2:6-7

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

I love the bright yellow of my Moon Cactus. The only issue that I have had with it is that it leans over. Why? After some research, I found that the Moon Cactus has a short life span because it’s roots are shallow. The roots of the Moon Cactus will never grow deep enough to allow the cactus to stand up straight. I have tried to bury it deeper in the soil, but it still leans pathetically. In my research I found that the only way for the Moon Cactus to grow deeper roots is for it to be grafted into another plant with deep roots (the example given was a dragon fruit). If it shares the roots of another stronger plant, it will flourish and stand strong.

It reminds me of us as Christians. We are the Moon Cactus. Our roots will be shallow and we will lean over if we are not grafted into something with a deeper, stronger root.

John 15: 1-8

“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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

John 15:1-8 tells us that Jesus is the true vine. In order for us to stand strong, in order for our roots to grow deep enough to withstand the storms of life, we need to be grafted into the one true vine, Jesus. If we want deep roots, we must remain in Jesus.

How do we remain in Jesus?

  1. Study God’s Word- We need to know the Bible. Even the Devil knows the Bible and he will use it against us any chance he gets. In order to remain grafted into the Vine, we need to study and meditate on the Word of God, so that we can defeat the Devil before he defeats us.
  2. Pray- We need to be in continual prayer as we go about our day in order to withstand the spears that will come against us in the course of the day. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray continually. Prayer is a conversation with God. When we enter into prayer on a continual basis, we become as one with God. Praying continually brings intimacy with God (Jesus) and we find that it is easier to remain in Him as we live our lives in this world of chaos.
  3. Give Thanks- 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks in ALL circumstances. We are not to just give thanks when our lives are going great and we are on top of the world. We are also to give thanks when we have hit rock bottom and our lives are falling apart. If we want to remain in Jesus, we must find the good in the bad. We must thank God for the trials that work to make our faith stronger and our roots deeper.
  4. Build Community- We need the fellowship of other Christians to keep us strong and standing tall. We need to be active in a local body of believers in order to be fed the Word of God and to be watered by the support and community of the Church. When we serve others and allow others to serve us we will find ourselves growing a deeper relationship with Jesus and the end result will be deeper roots.

I don’t want to be like the Moon Cactus with it’s shallow roots and short life span. I want my roots to be deep enough that I can withstand the storms of life that threaten to take me down. I want to stand tall in my faith, knowing that because I am grafted into the Vine I can withstand anything. I want to remain in Jesus, so that Jesus will remain in me.

Challenge: As you go about your life this week, I want you to dig into God’s Word. I want you to pray as you go about your daily activities. I want you to give thanks in the good and the bad. I want you to find a local church that you can build community with. You will find that as you intentionally make the effort to remain in Jesus your roots (and your faith) will grow deep enough and strong enough to withstand any storm.

Wow! It has been a month since I posted an update! It has been a busy Summer and I can’t believe Fall is just around the corner!

On the personal front

We had our granddaughter Lily visit for about 6 weeks from Florida in June and July. It was really nice to be able to get to spend an extended amount of time with her.

We had our niece with us for about a month in July after she had a fire at her house.

My parents were here for a week in mid-August from California. They had not been here for 3 years and they drive. California to Indiana is a long drive for anyone, but these 2 adventurers are in their mid-seventies! It was a bitter sweet visit as they announced that due to my dad’s health issues they would not be able to make it back. That means that God willing we will have to make it there. I have not been home since 1994. I trust God to make it happen.

On the ministry front

I have been busy getting the word out about the Single Mom LIFE Group. Speaking of the LIFE Group, we had our first meeting this past Wednesday and 3 single moms attended! I was super excited to have them and it went well! I am also blessed to have my daughter, Cree, co-facilitating with me. She is Aaron to my Moses. That speech that Moses gave God about not being eloquent, yep that’s me! I am a socially awkward, social anxiety ridden introvert who would rather hide from the people. HA! Such a sense of humor God has! Moses and I are often the types of people that God chooses to put up in the front. Thank God for the Aaron’s and the Cree’s of this world who speak well and are the social butterflies of society.

WBGL’s Single Mom Saturday is coming up on September 25th!

Tami, Cree, and I also have a craft fair that weekend! So I need to leave off here and get to crafting…

I remember growing up watching those movies and T.V. shows where there is a definite theme of good vs. evil. I would pretend I was Wonder Woman or one of Charlie’s Angels chasing the bad guys. I cheered on Daniel LaRusso in the original Karate Kid and rooted for the girl being bullied by the mean girls. Unfortunately, this theme of good vs. evil isn’t just a topic picked to make movies more interesting. It is an issue that we live with on a daily basis in real life. We choose on a daily basis good vs. evil, heaven vs. hell, purity vs. sin, or God vs. Satan. It’s a choice that we all have to make. Will we serve God or will we serve the world (Satan)? Will we have a relationship with God or will we have a relationship with the world (Satan)? There is no escaping this decision, because when we die we will either go to heaven or we will go to hell. 

I was raised in church and even when I was young I never really considered a life separate from God. I was baptized when I was nine and although I didn’t always live according to God’s will, I always knew that I wanted (I needed) a relationship with God. When I compare the characteristics of God to the characteristics of Satan, the decision is easy. 

The characteristics of God:

God is love (1 John 4:8)

God is peace (Ephesians 2:14)

God is joy (Nehemiah 8:10)

God is compassionate (Psalm 116:5)

God is forgiving (Daniel 9:9)

God is a God of justice (Isaiah 30:18)

God is our refuge (Psalm 46:1)

The characteristics of Satan:

Satan is the evil one (1 John 2:13)

Satan is the deceiver (2 Corinthians 11:14, Genesis 3:13)

Satan is a schemer (Ephesians 6:11)

Satan is a murderer (John 8:44)

Satan is a liar (John 8:44)

Satan is wicked, violent and proud (Ezekiel 28:14-18)

Satan tempts us to sin (1 Corinthians 7:5)

In this life, we have to choose God or Satan. We have to choose to have a relationship with the God of the universe who loves us or the deceiver of the world who causes chaos and violence. John 3:16 tells us that God loved us so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die for our sins so that we can have eternal life in heaven with Him. 1 Peter 5:8-9 tells us that our enemy (Satan) prowls around looking for someone to devour. 

Even though I was raised in the Church, I came to a point where I had to make the decision for myself, who I would serve. It was never a question for me who I would serve. I knew enough of God’s goodness to choose to serve Him always. God has blessed me in so many ways over the last 21 years as a single mom. Is life always perfect? Absolutely not. There have been dark days when I thought that God had left me. He had not. When I focus on Him and not on my situation I feel His presence and His peace. God loves me. Satan wants to destroy me. Why serve someone who wants to destroy me? I believe in what the Bible tells me. I have felt the love of God in my life. I have seen God answer my prayers and I have the faith to believe in what I can’t see. I also see the hatred, the anger and the violence caused by the Devil. I see the fighting in the streets, the division of God’s people, and the killing of innocent lives. This is all at the hands of Satan. Why would I serve or be in a relationship with someone like that? Why would you? I choose to serve God. I choose to be in a relationship with God. 

Who are you currently serving (God or the world (Satan))? Why?

Reflect on the characteristics of God and Satan. 

Does knowing the characteristics of both change your mind in either direction? Why?

Now that you have a different perspective on serving God or Satan, what are your thoughts?

If you have been in a relationship with the world, I want you to reflect on how that has been for you. 

Are you struggling with sin? 

Are you trying to fill a void that nothing on this earth can fill?

Are you willing to give God a chance?

If you do not have a relationship with God or do not believe in God, I challenge you to give Him a chance. Pray and start a conversation with Him. Open the Bible and let His word breathe His LIFE into you. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. 

God’s Miracles

Genesis 1:1

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Psalm 139:13-14

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Romans 1:20

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Psalm 33:6

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.

Psalm 90:2

Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Revelation 5:13

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”

Ecclesiastes 3:11

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Psalm 95:6

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.

John 1:3

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

1 Corinthians 8:6

Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

When I took the picture shown above, I started to reflect on creation and how AWESOME God truly is. The perfection of the flower and the bee left me in awe of God’s goodness and power. Read the scripture verses above and let the goodness and AWESOME power of God sink into your spirit.

I have been reflecting on how quickly the Summer is flying by. In the blink of an eye the Summer (the year) is gone and it leaves me asking myself, “what have I done that made a difference?” “Have I loved someone to Jesus?” “Have I done anything that really matters?” “Have I lived to glorify God’s name?”

It seems to be true that the older you get the faster the years fly by. I feel it as I have turned 51 and I can’t seem to find the time to even breathe. To just be able to put the brakes on a little and slow the clock would be great, but that’s not how things work. So what can we do when we become so overwhelmed by life that you become physically exhausted?

Focus on God– Take your eyes off of the world and put them on God. Allow Him to fill your heart and spirit with the peace that surpasses all understanding. He controls it all! Even the devil has to ask His permission before he acts. When we focus on our circumstances we will become overwhelmed and stressed out. When we focus on God and put our trust in Him we will find that our circumstances do not control us.

Live in the Present– We can not change the past so fretting over what was is futile. The same can be said for worrying about the future. Things happen that we can not control. Worry only makes us sick and unable to handle difficult situations calmly. We need to live in the present. We need to focus only on what is happening now and know that God is with us.

Choose to Love– We can choose to live life with a bad attitude sulking over every negative thing that has happened to us or we can choose to love others despite the pain we have lived through. Even when we feel attacked by the devil we can still choose to love those around us. God often calls us to love those that may seem unlovable. He expects us to love those who maybe a bit prickly. It may seem like an impossible task, but I remind myself that God still loves me when I am acting prickly and less than my lovable self. If everyone would let go of our own agendas and choose to love selflessly this world would be a better place.

I fully acknowledge that I can’t stop the clock and at 51 I am not getting any younger. All I can do is choose to live each day for Christ. I can focus on God and choose to surrender all circumstances to Him. I can choose to love those around me. I choose to make the most of the years I have left. I will live wholly for God.

I will choose to love

I will choose Jesus

I will choose God

Yesterday America celebrated our Independence Day and there was no better way to celebrate it than by going to church. In the sermon, Pastor John, reminded us that as Christians we celebrate an Independence that is even more important than the independence that we celebrate as a nation.

When Jesus died on the cross, He freed us from a certain death and eternity in Hell. When He shed His blood for us, Jesus gave us freedom from sin, IF we will confess, repent and transform our lives through Him.

There is no freedom if you don’t have Jesus! Even when life gets chaotic and horrible things happen in the world, I still have a certain peace knowing that God is still present, God is still working in the mess, and lives can be transformed in the storm. I know that I can be joyful always because I am saved by the blood of Jesus and I WILL be in the presence of my Messiah one day. No matter what happens on this earth, I can look forward to an eternal life in heaven and that is only because of the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for us. He CHOSE to die for us! You better believe that it was a choice that Jesus made. He did not have to obey the Father. He had free will just as we do, but He CHOSE LOVE. He chose to overlook the hate of those who were beating Him. He chose to love those who killed Him. He forgave those who would trample upon the lives of others.

JESUS CHOSE LOVE!!!

He had every right to turn His back on humanity. God had every right to change His mind and let us all burn in Hell. But, He did not turn His back or change His mind. HE CHOSE LOVE!!!

CHALLENGE:

When someone comes against you, choose love instead of hate. When someone causes you pain, choose love instead of revenge. When someone beats you down physically, emotionally, mentally or verbally choose to love them instead of living a life of anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness. It never does any good to wallow in anger and hurt. Jesus didn’t wallow. He CHOSE to love those who hung Him on the cross to die a horrible horrible death. Choose to forgive. Choose to pray for your enemies as Jesus did.

CHOOSE LOVE!!!

My best friend and I took an 8.5 hour road trip to North Carolina last weekend and the Holy Spirit used the experience to remind me how some common events on the road can be lessons in our relationship with God:

Wrong Turns– I remember in the early days of the GPS when a wrong turn was taken and I would hear the GPS say, “re-calculating.” There are times in life when we take a wrong turn and need to re-calculate. Those wrong turns take us away from where God wants us to be and we need to pause in prayer and figure out how to get back to where God wants us. The lesson: Wrong turns are inevitable. We need to know how to re-calculate and get back on God’s path.

Speeding– I have to admit that out on the open road, I will speed. I realized though, that when I go speeding past everything, I miss seeing the beauty that is around me. It is the same way in life. When we speed through life, we miss the beauty of building relationships, seeing the goodness of God in the world, and growing roots right where God has placed us. The person who speeds through life will not grow roots. They will not have strong, intimate relationships. They will not build that community with other believers. They will end up alone. The lesson: We need to learn how to slow down and enjoy the blessings and the beauty that surrounds us. There is so much goodness in this world, but in order to see what God wants us to see, we need to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life.

Roadblocks– Roadblocks are part of a road trip. We will come across accidents, speed traps, construction work and other inconveniences that will slow us down or make us stop altogether. There are times in life when we will come to a roadblock or obstacle that may slow us down or stop us altogether. Sometimes that roadblock may be from God for our own good or they could be from the enemy to keep us from fulfilling God’s will for our lives. Roadblocks can be physical or they can be feelings, such as, fear. Prayer is the only way to handle a roadblock. Praying boldly and trusting God to help us in our time of need. The lesson: Instead of whining or complaining when we encounter a roadblock, we need to use the time to kneel in prayer and stand strong in faith, trusting that God will work all things out for those who love Him.

Road Signs– Road signs tell us important information. They tell us the speed limit. They tell us where gas stations and restaurants are located. They tell us where tourist attractions are located. They tell us when construction workers are present. They tell us when our turn or highway is coming up and they give direction. Road signs are important on a road trip and they are equally important in our life. Our body tells us when we are getting sick. We may see road signs when our job is coming to an end or we are in need of a change. The Bible can be considered God’s road sign to us. When we read it, we read God’s warnings of living in sin and we can read of His promises when we live according to His will. The lesson: We need to pay attention to the signs around us that give us information. We need to read and meditate on the Bible in order for us to understand God’s road signs that guide us in our lives.

Exhaustion– Exhaustion on the road can lead to accidents and even death. We should not drive if we are too tired to function properly. God wants us to rest. We will not be able to function properly in our lives if we are exhausted. If we keep going we will make ourselves physically, emotionally and mentally sick. Any of those can lead to death. We need to rest in order to continue to stay healthy and serve others according to God’s will. We can not effectively do God’s will if we are too tired. The lesson: Rest! God rested on the seventh day after He created the earth and everything in it. Schedule time every day to rest in some fashion. Schedule time away every couple of months to recharge your batteries.

Sharing The Road– Sharing the road is part of going on a road trip. More than likely there will be other drivers on the road with you. How will you act towards them? If another driver cuts you off, will you graciously give them space or will you angrily flip them the bird? Do you give semi’s room to get in front of you or do you speed up so that they don’t have the room to get over? How you share the road is an indication of how you share your life. God wants us to be gracious, to show mercy and love. We are to be compassionate and make sacrifices if needed. The lesson: We will always have other people in our lives. God wants us to treat others with love. Jesus said to love our neighbors as ourselves. Love each other. this is the #1 commandment!

The Big Picture– I sometimes get frustrated with the GPS because it only gives one step at a time. It won’t show the big picture. I often like to see the big picture when I am going somewhere to make sure that I am on the right road. It’s that way in life too. God will often only give me one step at a time, knowing that seeing the big picture would most likely overwhelm me and send me running. I am learning to trust in only getting one step at a time. When God puts a task in front of me, I obediently do it and then He gives me another task and soon I see where He is taking me. The lesson: Be content with taking one step at a time. Seeing the big picture can be overwhelming and may cause you to stop in your tracks.

I love how God can use every experience to teach us important life lessons. Even a road trip can be used to teach us how to live a more fulfilled Christian life. If we open our hearts and our eyes, we will see the lessons of God at every turn. I will call it living discipleship. I will call it the Holy Spirit.