Vote God in 2016

I didn’t have to watch the debate last night because I saw so much feedback on Facebook (in the few minutes I browsed). I don’t think anything I read was positive, which is very sad on many counts. I actually read one comment where a person was condemning the candidate to hell. Terrible stuff.

Here’s the thing, ya’ll: we need to pray. Pray and make an educated, faith-based decision. I’m doing a study I found in Decision Magazine that may help you like it’s helped me. It’s about Prayer That Changes a Nation. It talks about how Daniel was in captivity as a slave for 67 years when he poured out his heart to God. Sixty seven years!!!

Another prayer I have is this: whomever we elect this fall, if they are not already a TRUE believer and follower of Jesus, that they will come to know Him as their savior. If their heart is truly saved, we’ll see the fruit of the Spirit in them and our nation will be changed because of it.

 

Encourage yourself in the Lord

Today’s Bible reading was about David coming home to Ziklag to find the Amalakites had burned it to the ground, taking all the women and children with them, including David’s two wives. The Bible says all the people with him wept until they could no longer weep. Are you there today?

The thing that stuck out to me was that “David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” It didn’t say he encouraged himself with the TV, radio, friends, family… He went straight to the source. His almighty God. His Father. His Provider.

If you’re struggling today, take time to read His word. Ask Him to speak to you. Trust that He is looking out for you.

Behold the fowls of the air

Birds to me are amazing creatures. I love to watch and listen to them; thankfully, I’m blessed to live in a gorgeous part of the world where they are part of my everyday life.

Yesterday, I had a chance to catch some on camera and it made me think of one of my favorite passages of scripture:

Matthew 6:25-33King James Version (KJV)

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

It’s hard for us humans not to let go and let God, but I promise he will take care of us. I can promise, because the Bible makes that promise.

I can think of several specific instances God has provided, not only my needs but my wants. These may sound silly, but each time these have happened, I know it’s God working and I take a minute to thank Him:

  • Last week, I was running low on deodorant and my mom gave me a brand new pack of 2 out of the blue.
  • About a month ago, my car was making an awful sound in the wheels. I took it to the shop expecting something that would be a few hundred bucks to fix, but come to find out, my wheels were just loose! The garage tightened my wheels and didn’t charge me a penny.
  • A while back, my husband asked for some crackers and were out. I told him we would pick some up at the store next time we were out. That VERY DAY, my mother in law asked if we wanted a box of crackers because she had picked up an extra during a buy one, get one free sell.
  • Last summer, I really wanted to some porch furniture and didn’t want to pay for any (I’m frugal). My husband’s relative was moving and gave a way of bunch of stuff, including a porch furniture set. Guess who got the furniture? We did!

You see, He will take care of you. He’s taken care of my these 34 years of life, and even in death, I know He’s got my back.

Have you decided it’s time to rely on God instead of yourself? Let me know if I can help you!
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Extra! Extra! Spring Newsletter is Here!

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Click here to read the newsletter now! (PDF download)

I’ve decided to do my newsletter quarterly and the spring issue is now here! I hope you enjoy reading what I’ve been up to and what’s on the radar for the next few months.

CONTEST!!! If you send me a Facebook message or email and tell me what’s on the Thrive calendar for Saturday, June 11, I will put you in the drawing for a FREE Thrive T-shirt in your size choice. Register by June 8, 2016 for your chance to win!

Believing God

My daily Bible reading landed me in Jonah 3 today, which stood out for two reasons. First, in the text were the words “believing God” which is the title of a book I’m currently reading (one of the many books I have going at the same time). Then, it talked about how the prayers of the people of Ninevah saved them from the wrath of God. I feel like God was sending me some messages through this reading this morning…

  • As a nation, the only way we will see significant change is if we repent and pray to God with sincere hearts. This story mentions EVERYONE from the king down to the livestock fasted and wore sackcloth and sat in ashes. Sounds a little crazy in our society, but wouldn’t God take notice if His children took a few days from our lavish diets, stopped what we were doing (a day off from work to pray???), and sat around in sackcloth?
  • What made them do this? They “believed God”. I think sometimes we don’t believe God’s promises or we try to limit his power. In the smallest or largest circumstances of life, He is there to help if we just ask him.
  • The king proclaimed a decree calling for the fast and prayer (verse 6), but it reads to me that the “people of Ninevah” believed first (verse 5). It looks like the leaders of that time valued what the people did.
  • Not only were they to “cry mightily unto God” but they were to “turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.” I’m not sure what your “evil way” is, but each of us has at least one evil tendency. Is it the gossip that you help spread at work? Is it the pornography that you watch when no one is around? Is it the little lie you tell thinking it’s harmless? Is it your judgmental attitude toward others? Whatever it is, we have to turn from these things and cry unto God if we want to see change.
  • Finally, verse 10 says “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.” God didn’t destroy Ninevah because they had a sincere heart of repentance.

The National Day of Prayer is coming up Thursday, May 5. Wouldn’t that be a great time for us to take action?

Time for Prayer

I’m part of a Bible study group right now focusing on the War Room movie. The first couple of days have been about if you’re hot, cold, or lukewarm with God as well as your relationship in the church. Ultimately, it will be about prayer life and how it can things in your world.

The other day I was cleaning and found a CD I had put up by Beth Stephens about prayer. She is a phenomenal pastor (yes, I said SHE) and had a great message about prayer. It actually brought me to tears when I was driving because she started asking tough questions like:

When’s the last time you stayed up all night praying for your unsaved loved ones?

When did you just pray for 6 hours?

Just one hour? 

Have your children and grandchildren heard you crying out to God for them?

Honestly, I can’t say I’ve ever prayed for one hour continuously for something. I’m ashamed to admit it and I feel convicted to begin working on that area of my life. My longest prayers are maybe 15 minutes to this point.

Beth tells of how her grandmother remembers going to church on Sunday morning, then everyone would go to their houses and have a quick bite of lunch, not bothering to do the dishes, but throwing a bed sheet over the table for later. Then, they would go into the fields and pray as a church. By the time Sunday evening service came, people were filled with the Holy Ghost and falling in the doors of the church.

As Christians, our prayer lives should be strong, regular, and never-ceasing. Easy to say, hard to do, right? Yes, it can be challenging, but it’s a lot about priorities.

She also told a story of a friend that called her saying how her prayer life was weak and needed help. So, Beth asked her what she was doing right then and the lady said “Driving my daughter to soccer practice.” Then Beth asked what she was doing after that, and the woman said “Taking my daughter to gymnastics.” As Beth continued to ask her about her evening, the lady was then going to go home, have dinner, do homework with her daughter and go to bed. Sounds like a lot of Americans, right?

Beth’s point in the end was that extracurricular activities are all fine and good, but when these kids get to be teenagers and are faced with the hard decisions in life, is hanging from a gymnastics bar going to be what she needs? Wouldn’t you rather your children in the hard times remember your praying for them so they can call out to God for help? Don’t you want them to remember how much you cared for them in a Godly way?

I know this is probably rubbing some of you the wrong way for several reasons:

  1. I’m a part-time worker who stays at home with my kids (which in your eyes frees up a lot of time in my life)
  2. You’re always traveling 100 miles per hour with your own family’s obligations (and you feel guilty)
  3. Our culture has you believing that prayer doesn’t matter

Don’t worry, her sermon stepped on my toes, too!

It boils down to this – we make time to do what we WANT to do. Plain and simple. But as we make our schedules and go throughout our days, let us be mindful of setting aside time for prayer. It’s one of the most eternal activities that is going to matter in the end.

Recap of Joyce Meyer & YFi Youth Summit

On Friday, I enjoyed a trip to Winston Salem, NC with my mom and step dad to see Joyce Meyer in person. This was my first Joyce experience, and I really enjoyed it. The praise and worship with Matt Redman was great, too. Here are the notes I gathered from the experience that day:

  • Joyce opened asking if people were taking care of themselves (eating right, drinking enough water, getting enough rest at night, and exercising) which I LOVED! She made the point that you should pray for people to be convicted to change if they aren’t taking care of themselves and if you’re not investing in yourself, then you can’t participate in stuff you need to do.
  • Dave (Joyce’s husband) came out and spoke about how Americans need to learn the history of the nation so we can change the outcome. He quoted that freedom requires a tithe of our time, but bondage requires all of our time and freedom. He recommended reading “America’s Providential History” book. I have to admit, I’ve never been a big history buff, but he made it clear that I need to understand it so I can help our country with the issues that we’re facing today.
  • I didn’t know that Joyce Meyer’s ministry team creates water wells in remote villages across the world and builds churches beside them, so when folks come to get their clean, life-saving water, they can also hear about Jesus.
  • We need to be willing to do insignificant things – make ourselves servants to keep ourselves in check (I agree).
  • Talk to people who are ignored by everyone else – we are to set the standard of behavior as Christians.
  • Don’t only show up to do just your part!
  • A leader tells people to follow me – Paul told people to “follow my example”…we should all be able to tell people to follow our example and they would be doing the right thing (following God)
  • Do we have proper “fruit” and do we examine the fruit of those who claim to be Christians?
  • You can’t be selfish and be happy (AMEN!)
  • If you teach people how to behave without the love of God, there’s just frustration.
  • God’s love is not based on your behavior, but your behavior should be based on God’s love.
  • Ephesians 1-3 are all about God’s love
  • WHERE YOU ARE MAY NOT BE YOUR FAULT, but if you stay there, it is your fault. (I love that one!)
  • Listening to sermons and not doing anything (going out into the world) is like overeating and not exercising.
  • Scriptures:
    • Proverbs 11
    • Matthew 11:29
    • John 13 (about foot washing)
    • James 1:4 (patience)
    • Psalm 133 (unity, anointing, blessing)
    • Matthew 5:9
    • Matthew 21:18-19 (when a fig tree has leaves, it’s supposed to have fruit)
    • Ephesians 4 (main message – 16 behaviors of a Christian)
    • 1 John 5:3
    • John 14:15 (obedience may cause sacrifice)

Saturday, the YFi Youth Summit was at Skyview Baptist Church in Fancy Gap. This is a branch of Joy Ranch Home for Children, and it was very good. The session opened with speaker R.B. Mitchell who wrote a book called “Castaway Kid.” He was left in an orphanage at the age of 3 (in the 1950s) and stayed there for 14 years. He talked a lot about abandonment and working through his issues with God’s grace. I participated in sessions about addiction and sexuality as well. The next summit is coming up in July. Check out their calendar for all the details at http://www.goyfi.com/hot-spots-calendar.html.

I am ashamed to admit that my Bible reading suffered over the weekend. I missed THREE days of my study alone with God and I could tell it. I felt very disconnected yesterday (Sunday) which is supposed to be the Sabbath. But I’m back on track this morning!

Oh, and an amusing update on my last post from last week about the $7 diaper coupon. Food Lion sent me another legit $7 off two cases of diapers. Now, ain’t that just too funny?

He’s Still Workin’ on Me

I am ashamed to admit that the following story is true and happened just yesterday.

I am a loyal Food Lion grocery shopper and they send me some pretty good coupons sometimes. Last week, I got one that was for $7 off two cases of diapers. If you’ve ever had kids in diapers, you know that even if you buy the less expensive ones, it’s still expensive! Either way, I took advantage of the digital coupon last week and was happy.

Well, this week it was still showing up in my online coupons, so I loaded up on two cases of diapers again. When I got to the register, it wouldn’t take the $7 off again. My gut (in this case, the Holy Spirit) told me to tell the cashier that I’d already used the coupon. But, I insisted on asking the cashier come and have the manager take the $7 off again (they were stumped as to why the offer wasn’t working). I knew it was wrong and felt guilty the minute I did it. I should have stopped right there and told them I had already used the coupon. It was stealing – plain and simple.

I packed my groceries in the car, still feeling guilty about what I had done. Then, I began to realize that I was going to pay for what I had done, and probably more than just $7. And, I did.

While watching a movie last night, it had a picture of a chicken in it, when my mind started asking, “Did I bring my bag of meat in from the car?” To the refrigerator I went to find that I had indeed left the meat in the car. Chicken and bacon worth not $7, but $14! I didn’t get upset, but actually laughed at myself for being so silly. Six hours in a 60 degree car meant I had to throw it all away.

Now, I’m not saying God was getting back at me for “stealing” or “lying” about the coupon. I knew better than to do what I did, and I believe God allowed me to experience a consequence for disobeying and breaking His commandments.

Today, I was outside with the boys and my eldest (age 4) was remarking how God made all the pretty flowers, birds, trees, etc. That made me try to recall a song about creation and the one that came to mind was “He’s Still Working on Me”.

He’s still working on me, 
To make he what I ought to be.
It took Him just a week to make the moon and the stars,
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.
How loving and patient he must be.
He’s still working on me.

Thankfully, I serve a loving God who forgives me and leads me with His Holy Spirit. If only we could be that forgiving of ourselves and one another!

Harvest America & Tell Someone

A while back, I kept hearing this man named Greg Laurie on the Christian radio station. He has these short blurbs about living your life through God and he really caught my attention. At first, I was a little skeptical – he just didn’t look like the other preachers I had seen and followed. I signed up for his daily devotional and over the months, I have concluded he truly is a man of God and is spreading the saving message of Jesus. I like the way he always includes scripture – it’s not just his opinion.

So, when I started seeing things about Harvest America, I began to read more about it. Then, I decided it was something our church should host. After a few frustrating hurdles, it’s official that we’re hosting the event at Stone Mountain Baptist Church on March 6 at 7 pm!

Who is the message for? EVERYONE! I feel believers will be inspired and non-believers may hear something that helps them decided God really is FOR them, not against them.

Last week, my copy of “Tell Someone” arrived and I have been reading and laughing my way through. It’s a serious topic about sharing your faith with others, but the stories he tells are so funny! If you’re a Christian who struggles to witness to others, I recommend this book.

This morning, I read Hosea chapter 4. The verse that leaped off the page at me was verse 6: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou has forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” 

Obviously, this text was written way before 2016 and God was not specifically speaking of present day folks; however, I feel that this message is the same for us today. If we reject the knowledge that is so easily and readily available (the truths found in the Bible), then why shouldn’t he reject us?

Going further, if people don’t know the word or have never been introduced to Christ, then how are they to have the knowledge to save them?

We have to spread the good news. Right now. It’s urgent!

Action Steps:

  1. Pray for opportunities to share your testimony with others (God will put people in your path if you do – I promise)
  2. Pray for a successful Harvest America event on March 6 (and plan to attend if you can)
  3. Pray for the Decision America tour
  4. Read your Bible daily
  5. Let me know if I can help you with something in your life – I can definitely help you pray!

Be Bold

Did you know God can speak through a Page-A-Day calendar? He spoke to me just this morning – not 30 minutes ago.

I’ve been reading in the book of Daniel since last week and it’s inspired me to Be Bold for Christ. As a Christian, you think it would be easy to share the story of Jesus with others, but it’s quite challenging for me. One of my biggest weaknesses is testifying to others why I have so much joy and peace. It’s all because of Jesus. Sure, it’s easy to sit here in my pajamas and type that to you reader, but to speak those words to your face…another subject. So, I’m praying for boldness and opportunity to share my faith. That may be dangerous…mom always said “Don’t pray for patience.” (The Lord will give you challenges to help you achieve patience if you ask.)

Anyway, I had read my Bible and was feeling bold when I pulled off yesterday’s page on the calendar. I had to grin when the BE BOLD was right there in my face. Thank you God!

In chapter 9, Daniel is praying for God to have mercy on his people because they have been wicked sinners. That’s what I’m praying for American right now through the Decision America Tour. Will you join me?

Today “Dare to be a Daniel, dare to stand alone. Dare to have a purpose firm and dare to make it known.”