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Archive for the ‘Discovering Jesus’ Category

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.

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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.

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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…

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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

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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!!!

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I did my absolute favorite thing Tuesday morning: I went to the LIBRARY! I was so excited! I love the library. I love the smell of books. I love the comfortable feeling of being among friends who are just waiting to take you away to other lands if you just have the imagination to go along with them. The library is my happy place!

I had done some research the night before and decided that I wanted to start reading Jan Karon’s The Mitford Series. It is a series based in the fictional town of Mitford, North Carolina. The main character is a 60 year old Episcopalian rector named Father Tim. The book outlines the problems and shenanigans of a quirky bunch of characters that inhabit the town and how they affect the life of our dear rector. I am on chapter 8 of the first book, “At Home in Mitford” and I have been sucked in to a world of small town simplicity and charm. The best part, though, is that the series is a Christian based series and the nuggets of wisdom found within the stories is priceless.

Father Tim had dashed off a note to his brother Walter (who lives in Father Tim’s childhood home of Mississippi) and in that letter he had quoted Hebrews 4:16 Let us, therefore, come BOLDLY (with confidence NIV) unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Father Tim then reflects on how he needs to Preach BOLDLY! Love BOLDLY! Jog BOLDLY! And most crucial of all, do NOT approach God whining or begging, but boldly—as a child of the King.

This really spoke to me, because on occasion I have been known to whine a little. I have also been known to beg when things get really rough. This passage reminds me that I can pray BOLDLY and with confidence because I am a child of the King of Kings. I can boldly and with confidence pray and trust that God will faithfully hold to His promises. I can Live BOLDLY! I can Serve single moms BOLDLY! I can Share my testimony BOLDLY! I can do all these things with the confidence that God has my back.

Luke 11:9-13

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

We can trust our Father to give us good gifts. We can approach Him boldly and with confidence. We don’t have to whine or beg like a petulant child. We can put our trust in His promises. We can live life boldly when we live for HIM!

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I celebrated my 51st birthday on Tuesday. I have always loved my birthday, but this years lack of fanfare left me feeling forgotten. Don’t get me wrong, all 5 of my kids acknowledged my birthday, but I’m still not sure if it was simply out of obligation. No presents and I am planning my own birthday dinner for Monday night when my daughter, Cree and her husband get back from California. I was disappointed, to say the least. I have had other years like this and it never really bothered me before. I guess the difference is that this year my kids are adults with lives of their own. They are supposed to move into their own lives and be productive members of society.

BUT THEY AREN’T SUPPOSED TO FORGET THEIR PARENTS!!!

At least that is my opinion. Before you think that I am throwing my kids under the bus, the Holy Spirit used my pity party to convict me of my own relationship with my parents and asked me a very disturbing question, “What do you do for your parents?” Yep! I was quickly humbled and had to admit that I haven’t done near enough to celebrate my parent’s birthdays or their wedding anniversaries. In my defense, my parents live in California and I live in Indiana, but there is no excuse for the many years when I didn’t send a card much less acknowledge their birthdays. The last few years I have sent a card and sometimes a gift card for a restaurant that they like, but honestly I have not done near enough. My parents are in their mid 70’s and have been married for 52 years. I need to do more for my own parents. I need to set the example.

I also need to remember that the world does NOT revolve around me. They have their own lives. They have or will be creating their own families. As much as it hurts, I have to remember that this is all a good thing. I realize that it hurts because I lived on my own with the kids for many years. In a way it seems like I am losing them and that I will be alone. I guess that’s why the lack of fanfare for my birthday really hurt me this year. It’s a transition and transitions can cause discomfort and even some emotional pain.

SO WHAT WILL I DO WITH ALL OF THIS?

I’m definitely NOT going to wallow in it! I will enjoy my belated dinner Monday night and accept the little gifts of love that my kids do give all year round. I will enjoy being a part of my grandkids lives and watching them grow in their own relationships with God. Ava, who will be 8 on Sunday has talked to our church Children’s Director about being baptized! THIS is what I get to be a part of EVERY DAY! I am building a single mom ministry and a single mom community as well. I am now part of a loving church. I am reaching out to community agencies and have had wonderful responses from several of them. I will be reaching out to other local churches in the near future and as I reach out I know that my own community/support system will grow. What do you do as a single mom when your kids grow up and leave you behind? You find that one thing that you are passionate about and create a community around that. You reach out and create a new you. You do what you had been putting off for years. You quit feeling sorry for yourself.

I love my kids abundantly and I am so proud of who they are and are becoming. My intention is never to make them feel guilty for growing up. This is about my having to deal with emotions. We CAN control our emotions. We CAN control how we feel. If we focus on God and allow His Spirit to abide in us.

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1 Philippians 1:6

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.

I have been seeing this verse quite a bit lately and it popped up again in the children’s sermon at church this morning. Is God trying to tell me something?

I love this verse! Any time I get overwhelmed or discouraged by the amount of work I need to do I remember that God will finish what He started. Any time I get worried or anxious about my financial situation I remember that God will provide and equip me to do the work that He has called me too.

I am turning 51 tomorrow and I start to wonder if it’s to late. But then I remember that I am more equipped now having been through the fire of single motherhood. My faith has grown so much through the last few years as I learned about God and really started to lean on God.

This verse says that I can be confident that God will finish the good work that He started in me. The definition of confident is having a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something, being certain of your abilities, or having trust in people, plans, or the future. I know that I won’t succeed on my own. I do, however, trust in God to give me the ability to succeed. I am CONFIDENT in God!

Luke 1:45

Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!

When God says that He will complete the good work that He has begun in me, I BELIEVE IT! I believe that He WILL fulfill His promises to me. He is a good and faithful God. I trust in Him and Him alone. To emphasize His point yesterday, we sang the Lion and the Lamb. The one phrase that keeps repeating itself in my mind is, “who can stop the Lord Almighty?” No one can stop the Lord from completing His will. NO ONE!

I love receiving lessons from the Lord. He speaks to us in ways that encourage and motivate us. It’s in the quiet whispers of a sermon or a song or a Bible scripture that He speaks to us. My heart is open. Is yours?

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Psalm 46:10

Be still, and know that I am God!

This is one of my favorite Bible verses and probably the one I struggle with the most. I don’t like to wait. I don’t like the feeling of being stuck in difficult situations. I don’t like feeling like things will never change. My response to these situations is always to try to control the situation myself. I try to speed up the process. I try to manipulate God until I think MY will is HIS will. It NEVER works! I end up feeling frustrated and desperate on top of everything else I was originally feeling.

BE STILL!

This does not mean to sit on our bums and not do anything. This is the time to pray, read the Bible and prepare to fulfill God’s call. If we already know our purpose, then this is the time to prepare to fulfill that purpose. This means doing research in the field of our purpose, obtaining formal education in that field, talking to people already in the field to see what we need to know before we make the leap. This is the time to seek God and to prepare. If we do not know our purpose, but feel God’s call on our life, then this is the time to dig in and seek God on this matter. This is the time to pray through until we get an answer.

We also need to ask ourselves if God is making us wait because of our own sinful lifestyles or characteristics. Is He wanting to prune us before He moves us forward? What is He trying to teach us as we wait?

This time of stillness can be a very productive time. It gives us time to reflect. It gives us time to seek God with ALL OF OUR HEARTS as we wait on Him. It gives us time to ask ourselves the hard questions about our own character.

What am I waiting on?

I have finally been released to start LIFE Single Mom Ministry after 15 years of waiting. In that time of stillness I prepared and I sat at the throne of God seeking Him desperately. I allowed God to refine me into a woman that He could use in this ministry. This is a journey, but I am not near as stubborn and bull-headed as I once was. I am not near the whiny, petulant child that I once was. I have come a long way and I still have a long way to go. The ministry is moving forward now and for that I am grateful.

I am still waiting on God’s answer for an income. This is truly an exercise in faith building as I see my savings dwindle and nothing on the horizon. I trust God. I know that He has called me to run this ministry full-time and that my “income” will come from Him. God has provided for me AND 5 kids and He will NOT turn His back on me now.

What are you waiting on?

If God has called you to a season of stillness, seek Him first. We will only prolong the season if we rebel and refuse to cooperate. Believe me! I know from first hand experience how long God can keep us waiting until we decide to submit to His will. It’s a hard lesson and I want to save you the pain of learning the way I have. Rebelling against God will never work. God loves us and wants to use us in bringing the love and peace of Christ to others here on earth. He can not use us if we choose to be defiant.

AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD!

This is a command! We are to always remember that our God is in control of ALL things. There is nothing that He does not know or has not seen. There is nothing on this earth or in the heavens that happens that is out of His control. He stops some things from happening and He allows other things to happen. Remember in the beginning of the book of Job (If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to) when Satan and God were having a discussion about God’s servant Job? God gave His permission for Satan to strike Job. God also put conditions on what Satan was allowed to do. Even Satan can NOT act outside of God’s will! Let that sink in! Because He gave us free will to choose right and wrong, God does allow bad things to happen. That does NOT mean that He is not in control. HE IS!!! He is now and He ALWAYS will be! When you are in this waiting season, remember that He may be working behind the scenes to set things up for you. I can look back at the last 15 years and see where God was working on my behalf, even when I knew nothing about it. Pastor John told me that He has received complaints in the past of how the church treated single moms (parents). This is why he was so on board with starting a single mom ministry. God was working behind the scenes. Don’t ever think that he will leave you in the stillness. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He knows where you are and He is diligently working on His will for your life. Be patient! God is in control!

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My daughter, Kiowa, gave me two devotionals, PRAY LIKE THIS: A 52-Week Prayer Journal and Trusting God day by day, by Joyce Meyer. I have spent the last two weeks devouring every scripture and every word, every day! It was definitely a gift from God because they have intertwined so much! They also have touched me right where I am right now.

Philippians 4:6-7

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Romans 12:12

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer

Psalm 34:4

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

1 John 5:14-15

14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Matthew 6:34

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own.

Mark 10:27

Jesus looked at them and said, “with man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Matthew 6:27

Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

2 Timothy 1:7

For the spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

It never ceases to amaze me how God uses His Word (the Holy Bible) to speak to us. The Bible is the LIVING Word of God and it breathes life into us. God speaks to me about prayer and worry. He reminds me that I CAN control my thoughts. I CAN renew my mind. I CAN CHOOSE to focus my thoughts on Him and not on the negative things going on around me. We need God’s Word. We need the Bible and sometimes God sends us devotionals to bring out the life of those words.

It was a gift that spoke to my soul and has lifted me up. Kiowa didn’t know how her gift would impact me, but God did. I love how He does that!

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