Thursday, October 30, 2014

Book recommendation to refocus a heart

A few months ago, I registered to run a half marathon in January.  I have run one before so I was aware of the amount of training that was involved.  I was excited to take on the challenge because I am two years past 40 and wanted to show myself that I could still do it.  I'm a bit competitive with myself!

Prior to beginning my training, I noticed that my knee would feel weird after a workout.  I ignored it {because that's what I do} and started my running training.  After runs, my knee would ache and feel tight, but after walking it out it would feel better. 

Almost two weeks ago as I was cooking dinner, I had a stabbing pain that stopped me in my tracks.  I had no choice but to listen to it.  Thankfully, my husband is a Physician Assistant and specializes in orthopedics.  When he came home, he examined it and told me I was slowly breaking my bone and I had to stop ALL activity for at least two to three weeks.  Not what these training for a half marathon ears wanted to hear!

I walked around that night focused on my knee.  I was silently feeling sorry for myself and wondering how in the world I was going to keep my training on course. 

As I layed in bed that night, I picked up a book I had ordered and began reading it.  God knew I was going to need that book that very day!

Product Details
To order this book, please click here.
The author of this book is a beautiful child of God.  She is battling terminal cancer, a mama to 4, a cherished wife, and a lover and truster of Jesus.  She had much to teach my inwardly focused heart. 
I could not put this book down.  In fact, I read it in a day and a half.  My heart aches for her, but I did not walk away in despair.  She approaches life and God in a way that brings hope and healing.  While her life story is not one she would choose, she embraces it and uses it to share the love of Jesus.  Yes, she cries and wishes she could raise her babies until her head is full of gray hair and she has spent many years on this earth.  But she knows that God's plans are perfect and she is confident that He will hold her loves as she relocates to her eternal home.
This book reminded me that it is not my knee, training for a half marathon, or anything else that brings pleasure that is important.  What matters is the love that we share with others, the time we spend with our loves, and the glory we bring to our Creator each and every minute we breathe on this earth.
When our focus is on Jesus, everything else falls perfectly in place.  We no longer look to people or things to shape our lives, we look to Him.  No diagnoses, messy house, unkind person, overall bad day, etc. can change who we are in Him and the promises He has for us.
I am grateful to Kara Tippitts for sharing her story and love for Jesus.  She is definitely a faithful servant.
It no longer matters if I run the half or not.  What matters is that I'm a child of Jesus.  He has given me a beautiful life to live.  It is not defined by anything but His love and my ability to share it openly and live life in abundance.  None of us knows how many breathes we have left, but we can be confident that Jesus is faithful and will take care of everything. 
May we be purposeful and leave our worries and fears at His feet.  May our trust in Him outweigh any fears or disappointments that we carry.
Wherever life finds you, may you always find yourself wrapped in His perfect love.
Hebrews 10:23 - Let us hold on to the confession of hope without wavering.  For He that has promised is faithful.
Sending my love to all -

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Letters from my heart

Dear parents,

Our children are wonderful gifts from God.  {Psalm 127:3-Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.}  He entrusted us to raise them well, protect them, and teach them about His love and His ways.  All too often, I see you throwing your children to the wolves of the world.  Turning a blind eye to things so that you will not go against the grain or so your children will "fit in" only causes them harm.  Please teach them that their worth comes from JESUS alone.  It is not found in their clothes, acceptance from others, or if they have a boyfriend/girlfriend.  Allowing them to go to parties where alcohol and people whom you know {or should know} are not good peers only sets them up for trouble.  Please open your eyes and cherish their futures.  Is it really worth sacrificing their sweet hearts to feel like the cool parent or the parent friend??  {Mark 9:42-Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.}

Dear people who look at the socioeconomic status of people rather than their hearts,

{1 Samuel 16:7-But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him.  Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.}  My heart breaks and becomes angry when I see you judge someone on what they possess materially.  Recently, you hurt a dear friend of mine because she didn't live in the neighborhood with the humongous houses.  How shallow.  My friend's heart is so big that I don't know how it stays in her sweet body.  You know what, it actually doesn't.  The love she shares with everyone around her is endless.  She can't help but give the love of Jesus away.  When you judge someone based on material possessions, you are losing out on wonderful people.  Does it really matter the car someone drives, their address, or what brand of clothes they wear??  I pray for you.  I don't pray in a way that causes anger to rise up out of me.  Rather I pray that you will soon know what true love feels like.  It must be so painful and lonely to live and only see the outside.  {Matthew 6:19-20 - Don't collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.  But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don't break in and steal.}

Dear children of God who are striving daily to truly walk with Him and honor Him-

Truly walking with Jesus can completely change your life.  It is thrilling, refreshing, and so peaceful to trust in Him with all that you have every single day.  Yes, it can get lonely when you feel you are the only one truly trying to honor Him but don't give up.  He sees your faithfulness and obedience.  He looks at you and says, "Well done my good and faithful servant."   Continue to grow towards Him by reading your Bible daily, talking with Him throughout the day {prayer}, and honoring Him in all that you do, say, think, and choose for entertainment.  Each night when you lay your head down, may you know that you fought the good fight, finished your daily race honoring Him, and kept the faith {2 Timothy 4:7}.  Stand strong, dear friend!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Scripture Study Printable-Week Three

To print the above card, click here.

Oh how I am loving memorizing and going deeper into Scripture with all of you.  I look so forward to Monday mornings when I begin placing a new love note from God in my heart.  I am so strengthened knowing that His Word is being etched on my heart and our relationship is growing even deeper.  I hope you are feeling as blessed as I am.

This week's Scripture deals with standing firm in our faith.  Standing firm takes action.  We must be proactive daily in our walk with Jesus.  This Scripture is not meant to discourage us, but rather encourage us.  We should be encouraged that when we stand firm in Jesus, He guarantees that we will not fall no matter what situation we are in.

To print the Scripture worksheet, please click here.

I hope you are encouraged this week as we learn to stand even taller with our sweet Jesus.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Five Facts About Me

I really enjoy reading posts that let me know the blogger a bit better.  So here are five facts about me that you may not know.  :)

1.}  During the week, my alarm goes off at 5:30am.  I love waking up before anyone else in my home and having quiet time.  I am an early bird for sure!

2.}  I really enjoy doing laundry and have set days that I get to do it.  I am not sure why I love it so much.  Maybe it's the sense of accomplishment?  Or maybe I'm just a weirdo! :)

3.}  I have tried numerous shampoos and conditioners over the years and I have FINALLY found the ones!  My hair has never looked more healthy and I have had lots of good hair days.  My true loves are Redken All Soft shampoo and conditioner.

4.}  I love, love, love almond butter.  If it weren't for the calories, I could eat a whole jar in one sitting.  {Oops...I think I'm drooling!!}  I have a tablespoon on Ezekiel toast each morning and never grow tired of it.

5.}  My favorite city is New York City.  Ahh....just typing it makes me smile!!  I love the sights, the busy, the restaurants, the subway, the people, the shows, the shopping....I could go on and on!! :)

And my P.S. is .... I enjoy laughing and finding funnies in my day.  I get a kick out of making my husband laugh, especially when he's trying to fall asleep.  Is that mischievous of me?? ;)

I hope you all feel like you know me a bit better now-

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Phew...It's not about us

I have people in my life that just aren't very nice.  One minute they are friendly, and the next minute they are ouchy.  I refer to them in this way because when I walk away from them, I feel like I've been a big angry horse.

Can you relate??

Unfortunately, I can't extinguish these people from my life.  My family and I would have to move far, far away. 

Does anyone come to mind as you read this?  It's not a nice warm fuzzy feeling, is it?

When I think about these people, I can get grumpy.  My mood can literally be affected. 

I've been thinking about this a great deal lately.  My husband and I were talking about it the other night and discussing how people that are mean, passive aggressive, and selfish make those around them feel so dirty.  The people on the receiving end can walk away feeling so wounded and frustrated. 

We also discussed that the people are just not joyful people. How truly sad-

A dear friend and I got onto the subject today and really dug deep into it.  We decided that those people, and people like them, aren't really being mean to us.  Their hearts are suffocating in pain.  Nobody chooses to be mean.  They become that way because they have held on to hurts, insecurities, worth issues, traumas, etc. 

So often, people {me included!} look in a mirror rather than looking at the other person.  We feel the rejection and the sting and take it personally.  We focus on how it makes us feel rather than how the other person feels.

I am not saying we should ever allow ourselves to be treated badly.  I fully believe we should take up for ourselves.  Often times, that means stepping away from the situation.  If we must be around the person, we can excuse ourselves to a different area. 

As my friend and I were talking, I felt a big weight being lifted off of my shoulders.  While it doesn't feel nice to be around mean or passive aggressive people, it is not about ME or YOU.  It is totally about the people acting out.  It is about their feelings of pain, unworthiness, loneliness, etc.

This totally changed the game for me.  Yes, I have heard this many, many, many times before.  However, I had let my heart forget.  I held up a mirror and only recognized my hurts.  Shame on me.

When I consider the pain that weighs hearts down, it makes me ache for the people that often cause me to want to kick a wall.  My focus has changed and I can now realize that they need a good dose of Jesus.  They need to be reminded {or shown for the first time} that they are loved by a King.  He longs to carry their burdens and fill their hearts with His love.  He longs to show them the freedom that comes with His worth, not the world's hurts.

So....I am committing to pray for my ouchies.  The next time I have an ugly thought about them or cringe when I see them, I will immediately go to God.  I will pray for them to experience His peace and redemption.  I will pray that they fully trust in Him to take their hurts and live lives that honor Him.

I'm certain - because I'm human - that I will not be perfect at this.  Thankfully, Jesus doesn't want perfection.  He wants effort and He wants my heart to be focused on Him.  May He convict me every time my thoughts are negative and inwardly focused.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Scripture Study Printables-Week Two

{To print this memory card, click here}

Our Scripture study this week is John 10:10.  I believe this verse is so important, especially with all of the scary things going on in our world and country.  Satan would love nothing more than to get us in such a tizzy that we fail to look to Jesus.  Jesus has promised us a life of abundance when we place our eyes and hearts on Him.

Jesus guarantees His loves a life full of abundance when we rid our hearts of lies and walk fully with Him.  I'm excited to see what God does to our hearts this week as we gather at His throne and become more confident of the lives He longs for us to have.

Won't you join me this week in memorizing this verse and integrating it fully in to our lives?  Oh the joy that comes from studying God's Word!

The printable study sheet involves a series of heart questions that will cause you to rid your heart of the thief's lies and grab fully on to the life Jesus desires for you.

{To print the worksheet, click here}

I hope you have started a folder for the worksheets so that you can easily refer to them.  Remember to keep the memory verse printable with you at all times.  The more you repeat it, the faster it will attach itself to your heart and mind.

Praying for all you to feel Christ's abundance this week.

In love-

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Standing up for Jesus

Something has been weighing on my heart so heavily lately but I haven't spoken or written much about it.  Honestly, I was afraid of offending people.  I pray each morning for Jesus to break my heart for what breaks His and I can tell you with confidence that He certainly has.

I have decided to take a stand for Jesus.  I am choosing to stand firm in my faith and my love for Him.  It's time to care more about offending Him than offending people. 

My stand is against the practice of homosexuality.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Don't you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God's kingdom?  Do not be deceived:  No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or anyone practicing homosexuality, no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God's kingdom.

That's a pretty hefty list of sins, don't you think?

If you read through them, you will only find one that society celebrates and tells us we should tolerate.

In all of the sins listed I have only heard of parades, flags, Disney days, etc. for homosexuality. 

The definition of tolerance is "a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one's own" {}

I have searched and searched the Bible and cannot find one single Scripture that tells me to have a permissive attitude towards a sin.  In all honesty, I don't think we are suppose to be ok with sin.  Doesn't that take away from Jesus dying for us?  Isn't it a slap in His face to sweep sin under the rug and tell Him to chill out about it? 

{Click here to read an article from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association about tolerance.}

I have, however, found numerous Scriptures that instruct me to love EVERYBODY. God has given me a heart filled with love for people.  If you know me personally, then you know I speak the truth.  I am the kind of person who will compliment (not flatter), help, and love all over someone regardless of color, socioeconomic class, etc.  In no way whatsoever am I calling for a rise up against people.  I am calling for a rise up against sin.  Those are two totally separate things.

Honestly, I completely believe those who call themselves Christians should be loving all over people who identify with homosexuality.  Aren't we suppose to be living lives that mirror Jesus?  We are suppose to be stepping out in society sharing His love with ALL people.  When we throw hate, we turn people away from Jesus. 

Recently I was asked, "You are a sinner.  Don't you want people to be tolerant of you?"  My answer was a definite NO.  I don't want people to be tolerant of my sins.  I want people to speak to me in love.  Love is not always fluffy and feel good.  Love is about truth and wanting what is best for a person.  If I am walking in sin, I want those around me to talk with me about it.  If I get mad, then the nasty sin of pride has reared it's ugly head.

I live in Houston, Texas and our mayor is openly gay.  In the past week, she has called for various pastors around our city to hand over any sermon notes/sermons that speak out against homosexuality or her.  If they do not, she will hold them in contempt of court.  {You can read about it here.}  Thankfully the pastors are not hiding behind closed doors, they are standing up knowing Jesus is right with them.  One in particular said that he has been called to speak the truths of Scripture, not cower to intimidation.  Good for him.

I'm standing up for Jesus and calling for prayer for those who are living in homosexuality.  As  Christians, it is time to get back to openly and honestly serving and loving Jesus.  We have to stand firm in our faith and our belief in the Scriptures.  If we truly believe the Bible is the Word of God, then we have to take Him at His word.  We can't treat the Bible like trail mix and pick and choose what feels good to us. 

Stand firm in love for Jesus and all people.  Are you willing to love Jesus and people enough to speak truths and not hide behind political correctness?