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Acts 10:34-35

34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.

Romans 2:11

For God does not show favoritism.

Galatians 2:5-6

We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. As for those who were held in high esteem—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism—they added nothing to my message.

As a single mom of five kids, I have been accused of showing favorites. Do I have a favorite? I can honestly say that I do not. I know it may seem at times that I favor this daughter or that son over the others, but I love all of my children the same and care deeply about the safety and welfare of all five of them. They are five separate people with five completely different personalities. I have a different relationship with each of them based on how our personalities mesh. Not only do they each have different personalities, they are each in different places in their lives. At times one may struggle more than the others and need more attention in that season of their lives. They are all growing in their own lives and my relationship with each one is different than what it once was. I have struggled at times in my relationship with each one, but I will never stop loving them. I will never stop caring about what each one goes through. I will never stop believing that they are the most precious people in this world.

I am reminded of the Parable of the Lost Sheep in Matthew 18:12-14:

12 “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? 13 And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away! 14 In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish. 

The shepherd leaves the others to go after the one. He doesn’t care what the one looks like or if the one was disobedient and ran off, He goes after the one regardless. No favorites. Not one cared about more or less than the others. All are equal in the shepherd’s eyes. God feels the same way about us. He loves us all the same. No favorites. He will leave the ninety-nine to go after the one. It doesn’t matter the socio-economic status, education, gender- identity, race, religion (you get the point) of the one. He will ALWAYS leave the others to go after the one.

God loves you! You will never do anything so wrong that God won’t pursue you. It doesn’t matter if you live in a penthouse or on the streets of skid row. It doesn’t matter if you are an addict or go to church three times a week and volunteer for every church activity. There is NOTHING that can separate you from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39). He loves you just as much as He loves all the rest of the sheep in His flock.

I challenge you to really take the time to reflect on God’s love for you. Use the internet to look up verses that tell us how much God loves us. Journal your thoughts and the verses that you find. I want you to open your heart to allow the love of God to fill you to overflowing. I want you to know in your inner most being that God has NO FAVORITES! I am always here to listen, pray for you and encourage you in this journey. YOU ARE LOVED!!!

 

 

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A Move

The last couple of months have been crazy and July has been a bit chaotic. After a year and a half of searching for the “perfect” house, Cherokee and Chris were finally able to close on the right house for their family. I had moved in with Cherokee two years ago to help her with bills and the kids. During this process, I had been worried (stressed to the max would be more like it!) that I would not have a place to live. I do work full-time, but do not make enough to support myself independently. This was something that I have struggled with. I hate asking for help! I explored all of my options and realized that none of them were good. It had become a matter of choosing the lesser evil. I was to the point of extreme anxiety (I actually did make a trip to the ER at the end of last September with chest pains) over this situation, when Cherokee and Chris asked me to move with them to help out with the kids. I was grateful, but still debated. In the last few months I decided that this was my best option, maybe for now or maybe forever. I am safe. I am in a position to save for the future and I get to spend time with my grand kids (Haydon 9, Ava 5, Keaton 4 and Christopher 2). We started moving the 6th of July and we are now settled in our new home. We are looking forward to things slowing down a bit, so we can enjoy the yard and our new lives. For Chris and Cherokee, this means discovering the joys and headaches of home-ownership and for me, it means enjoying family time and seeing where God leads. As I write this, 18 chicks have been purchased and a chicken coop is being built. I am grateful for this home. They are newlyweds who have just blended two families with four children and have been willing to throw Nana into the mix. We all come with our own personalities, ways of being raised and perspectives due to our different ages, but if we treat each other with love and respect, it can work. Nothing in life is easy, but with God ALL things are possible!

A Wedding

I mentioned above that Cherokee and Chris are newlyweds. They were married on July 21st. Added to the stress of moving, they were planning a wedding! It was simple, but beautiful. I am blessed to have Chris as my son-in-law and I am blessed to have Haydon and Keaton as grand-sons. I have been amazed at how well the newlyweds have worked together from the beginning and at how well they have blended their families. This is a marriage that will last forever!

A Visit

To add to the craziness of July, Kiowa was able to be here for a few days for her sister’s wedding and my parents drove from California to spend two weeks with us. They were able to be here for the wedding and we enjoyed getting to spend time with them. My parents visit every two years and the time is precious. I take a two week vacation then to spend as much time as possible with them and everything else gets put on the back burner. They left this morning. I miss them already.

I return to work tomorrow and life returns to normal. It is bitter sweet. I am left trying to find joy in the sadness of my parents leaving. I am left trying to calm my anxious heart over the thought of having to return to work. I remind myself that all I can do is embrace the good and surrender the rest to God. He is there in the center of it all!

 

I received a call from Kiowa (my Air Force daughter) one afternoon, which is not unusual in itself, but she had an interesting story to tell me. She lives about 40 minutes from her base and along her route there is an intersection with stop signs that Semi’s don’t like to stop for. She had told me this before when I visited in May and had added that there are many wrecks due to the Semi’s running the signs and hitting other vehicles. She continued to tell me that on her way to work that morning, she realized that she had forgotten her rain gear and it was supposed to rain. She works outside and rain gear is a must. She was already half way to work, but turned around and headed back home. On her way back to work, as she approached the above intersection she realized that there had been an accident and clean-up was underway. A Semi had hit another car. She did the calculations in timing and realized that had she not gone back, that it could have been her. She drives a small Mazda Miata. Her little 2-seat sports car would not have fared well if it had been hit by a Semi. She said the other car was a larger vehicle and everyone was okay.

Kiowa knew that this was a “God-thing.” She recognized that God had sent her back and had probably saved her life. Many times when we are inconvenienced in any way, we become impatient. We rant and possibly become hazards on the road because we have been inconvenienced and are now in a hurry. We become angry with everyone in our way. We struggle to find God in the situation. I have learned two things from Kiowa’s story:

  1. Be Patient– God won’t always tell us why we are being inconvenienced. He expects us to trust Him and be patient. Our inconveniences may not always be to save us from harm. God may be putting us in a position to minister to someone else. God may be using us to save someone else’s life. There is always a reason for wild goose chases. Be patient when God sends you on one and look around you to see if there is someone who needs a helping hand or simply an encouraging word.
  2. Be Obedient– If Kiowa had not been obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit, this story could have ended much differently. I thank God for keeping her safe! We need to be obedient in ALL situations. We may never know when God is saving our life or someone else’s life, but when the Holy Spirit starts to lead us down an inconvenient path, Be obedient. God knows exactly what He is doing and sees everything that is going on. Trust Him! He may be saving our life or using us to save a life. Either way, we need to trust that He is in control and be obedient to that nudging of the Holy Spirit.

I learned from Kiowa’s experience. I am not always patient when God sends me back for something I forgot or something comes up at an inconvenient time. I have a tendency to whine and complain. I need to be more like Kiowa. She saw God in the situation. She was able to see the bigger picture.

Dearest Lord,

Give me a patient heart. Help me to see the bigger picture when I am inconvenienced. Help me to see YOU in the wild goose chases of life. Help me be patient when I am inconvenienced and give me eyes to see the “someone” who may need a helping hand or an encouraging word. Give me a heart to love those who so desperately need someone to love them. Help me to realize when you are using me to save a life and more than anything, Lord, give me an obedient heart. Give me a heart that follows the nudging of the Holy Spirit no matter what. I long to do your will. Praise you, Father!   Amen

 

 

Fear Of Man

 

Proverbs 29:25

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

Isaiah 51:12

“I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mere mortals, human beings who are but grass,

Psalm 118:8

It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.

1 Samuel 15:24

Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them.

Galatians 1:10

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Deuteronomy 31:6

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Acts 5:29

Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!

Proverbs 19:23

The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.

I’m sure that I am not the only one who has ever been afraid of another person or group of people. I don’t know the statistics, but I would wager a guess that fear of people is high on the list of fears. In this world of chaos and evil, we are justified to be afraid. We are afraid of someone’s reaction if we don’t agree with them. We are afraid to defend someone because we may become the target. We are afraid to go to concerts or other populated venues because of recent mass shootings. It is normal to be afraid. I have lived a life afraid of people. I shrink from confrontations. I hate listening to the news because it scares me. We have had two standoffs in my own city of 80,000 people in the last couple of months that has led to the loss of life. We hear more about drugs, robberies and murder and it scares me.

It shouldn’t scare me. As a child of God, I should never fear man. I only need to fear God. I should never try to do well to impress so and so. I only need to glorify God. I should never give in to the manipulations of a bully out of fear. I need to trust God to work in the situation. I should never fear someone who wants to hurt me. My God is all powerful and is more than capable of protecting me from those who want to cause me harm.

Is the fear of man keeping you from your God given purpose?

In fact, 1 Samuel 15:24 tells us that fearing man is a sin! Acts 5:29 tells us that we MUST obey God rather than humans. In Deuteronomy 31:6 we are told NOT to be afraid of man, because God is with us. God tells us to be strong and courageous. Easier said than done, I know. I also know that if we live our lives in fear of man and what he can do to us, we will never be able to truly live. I have sacrificed to many years living in fear of what man can do to me. I am choosing to trust and obey God. I am choosing to allow God to protect me in those situations when I am facing an angry person or a possible negative reaction to news I have to give. We can’t run from people. We can’t bury our heads in the sand. Our only option is to trust God.

 

Knowing God

 

This week, I have started an online Bible study for women dealing with fear and anxiety (https://lovegodgreatly.com/) and I have started reading a book written by Nancy Wilson, Learning Contentment: A Study for Ladies of Every Age. I am reading a chapter per week in it and this week, both studies dealt with the subject of knowing God. They delved into the miracles of God and the fact that we can trust God to work miracles today on our behalf.

I have “known” God since I was a little girl. I was raised in church, baptized at nine and have loved the Lord all of my life. I know all about the miracles that God performed in the Bible. It is one thing to have “head knowledge” of who God is, but it is a completely different thing to “know in your heart” who God is. I think this might be it for me. Because of my tendency to build walls and my inability to really connect with people on an intimate level, I think I have been shutting God out of my life on some important level. Anxiety and fear are NOT from God. When we choose to worry and allow fear to keep us from God’s best for us, we are telling God that we don’t trust Him with our lives, or with our future. This is hard for me to deal with, because I love God with all of my heart and the last thing I want is to live in disobedience to Him by living in fear.

God has performed miracles in my own life as a single mom. I have been on the receiving end of His providence. I know that He will provide and protect always and yet, I still let worry and anxiety keep me imprisoned. I guess I just have to take this journey one moment at a time, one situation at a time and CHOOSE to trust God instead of worrying about the future. It is a choice. When we feel the fear and anxiety grip our heart, it is up to us to acknowledge it, do what we need to do to prepare for a possible situation, and trust God with the outcome.

Isaiah 41:10

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

This is a journey. It is my decision to tear down the wall and allow God in. I have lived within this prison for 47 years and I want to be free. It isn’t easy. It means being vulnerable and transparent. It means opening old wounds so they may heal correctly. It means being refined and pruned. Healing is painful, but so worth it.

Stay with me as I update you on the ups and downs of this journey and as always, if you need prayer to start or continue your own journey to healing, please contact me. I am always here to travel through this life with you.

God Bless!

Silence

 

I haven’t written in over a month. After 3 months of being inspired by God to write two or three posts a week, in the middle of April, God went silent. I tried to draw inspiration to write on my own, but I have nothing. Without God, I have nothing.

What does it mean?

I’m not saying that God has left me. God is still here with me. I feel HIS presence and I know that He will not stay silent forever. This is a time of reflection and learning.

I was able to drive to Georgia to spend a few days with my daughter, Kiowa, who has been in Georgia since the beginning of April. Talon, Ty and I drove down to see her and spend Mother’s Day with her. Kiowa lives out in the boonies. Seriously, her town is a few houses that share a zip code and nothing more! She has no internet and no cell phone connection for those of us with companies that aren’t Verizon. Kiowa has service most of the time, but the boys and I did not. Internet services do not provide services to her area, she will blow through the gigs with a hot spot, so she will more than likely have to get satellite. Talon was going crazy without his phone and camped out at the only hot spot in the house. I still had my phone glued to my hip, even though it was a useless accessory at that point. About 3 days in, I realized that God was trying to teach me something here. There is peace in being unplugged. When I finally give up on trying to find a “connection,” let go of the constant need to watch something or be on my lap top, I will hear God again. I will again find the most important “connection” that I don’t ever want to lose.

So, back to the land of cell phones, lap tops, and Facebook, I am shutting it all off and spending time with God. It won’t be easy. Why is it so hard to make time for the ONE that I love with all of my heart? Why do I let all of these things get in the way of my relationship with HIM?

God has given me a ministry of prayer. I have seen some things at the world level start to happen in answer to my prayers. I am in awe that God gives us the privilege to partner with Him in His ministry and will. I cannot pray efficiently when I let technology and the busyness of life take priority over what God wants me to do. I need to unplug on a daily basis and put God’s ministry first. I have finally found my God given ministry. I now need to make it a priority.

God’s silence doesn’t mean that He has left us. Sometimes, it simply means that we have something to learn.

Psalm 1:1-3

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lordand who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.

 Psalm 4:1

Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

Psalm 4:8

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 7:17

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.

Psalm 8:1-9

Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. Lord, our Lord how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 9:9-10

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 10 Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Psalm 9:12

For he who avenges blood remembers; he does not ignore the cries of the afflicted.

Psalm 9:18

But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.

Psalm 10:17-18

17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, 18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.

Psalm 11:7

For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face.

Psalm 12:7

You, Lord, will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked,

Psalm 13:5-6

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise,
   for he has been good to me.

Psalm 16:11

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Psalm 24:1

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;

Psalm 25:1

In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.

Psalm 25:4-5

Show me your ways, Lordteach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

Psalm 25:8-9

Good and upright is the Lordtherefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right
    and teaches them his way.

Psalm 25:12

Who, then, are those who fear the LordHe will instruct them in the ways they should choose.

Psalm 25:14

The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.

Psalm 25:20-21

20 Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. 21 May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you.