#NationalTakeAChanceDay

James 4:14 ESV Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

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Some of you reading todays post will agree that you have some unfinished goals and/or dreams you have shelved.  Well today is National Take A Chance Day so it’s time to dust off those dreams and and move those old goals to the top of your list.

In todays scripture we are told that we aren’t promised tomorrow and life is short.  There are different reasons why we moved these items to the closet or to the bottom of the list.  The reason might be different from person to person, but incomplete is what they have in common.

I love this quote from Mark Twain ~ Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did.  So throw off the bowline, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover.  

Today be a risk-taker. Be willing to kick fear aside and take on the challenges, regardless of the outcome, to take a chance on your dream. Say yes without hesitation. And when your situation seems hopeless, trust God’s guidance even more. I think of myself as a risk-taker and still sometimes even though I long to be brave for God, fear sometimes holds me back when I get an opportunity to take a risk.

There were many brave women who took chances in the Bible.  One that I would like to discuss today is Rahab.  Scripture describes Rahab as “a harlot” in Joshua 2:1. But her past sins fade away when we see how she risked her own life to help Joshua’s men spy out the land. Rahab not only hid the men on her rooftop, but she also lied to the king’s men who asked about them. (Joshua 2:4). Punishment for lying to the king would be severe, but this didn’t deter Rahab from her goal – ensuring the safety of her family.

Rahab knew what was about to happen to her city, and she acknowledged God’s sovereignty. “…for the lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below,”(Joshua 2:11).

She shared her belief and extended an offer to Joshua’s men. She would help them in exchange for her family’s protection. The men agreed. As a result, Joshua spared Rahab. She and her family lived among the Israelites from the day the walls fell. (Joshua 6:25) Rahab took a big risk, setting her life on a course to be used by God in an even bigger way.

Rahab took action when she could’ve lost everything. Her love for God gave her the courage she needed to make daring decisions. Her life serves as inspiration for me today as I strive to become a better risk-taker and go after my incomplete goals and dreams. Release fear and face life’s challenges with risk-taking faith today.  What do you need to take a chance on?  Love, Career, Family, Church, Neighborhood?

#NationalTakeAChanceDay

Choose Not To Be Offended

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Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control

We live in a world where everyone is offended by someone or something. If we have differing opinions then we are offended. What has happened to healthy discussion and agreeing to disagree.

I love the scripture above regarding the fruits of the spirit. We all have them. They are all in our fruit bowls sitting on the table just waiting for us to choose which ones we will use for that day. Some of us just give them a quick glance as we leave the house, while others arms are spilling over with fruit as we rush off to our jobs.

Even the Bible tells us not argue over foolish things but to be kind. 2 Timothy 2:23-24 ESV Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil.

I think a few key words in this verse is ignorant controversies. I am sure you know someone who is passionate about their cause. As Christians, we must choose our causes wisely and then we must be able to listen to the other side without being offended.

When we become offended we loose our joy. Why would we allow someone else’s cause/passions cause us to be offended? 2 Timothy 2:14 ESV Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.

I was watching a TV show yesterday where a mediator was helping a couple with their communication issues. The man said he did not argue with his wife. He said that he simply stated his opinion and then his wife went around and around in circles stating hers, never really getting to her point.

As the discussion went on the mediator finally concluded that the real issue was the man wanted his wife to agree with him. When she tried to give her opinion and it was different than his, he would continue to talk about the issue until she gave in and agreed with him.

I choose not to be offended by things that people do or say that is different than what I believe in. As Christians we all the Bible to tell us what is right and wrong. The thing we should remember is that each of us will be accountable for our own words and actions. With that said, I believe we should listen, give our opinion and then exhibit the fruits of the spirit as we conclude our conversation.

Maybe I sound like old 60’s hippy, But I believe the lyrics of the old 60’s song What the World Needs Now is Love, has it right.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love, It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of, What the world needs now is love, sweet love, No not just for some but for everyone.

Everything Has A Time

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Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, Everything Has Its Time

How many of you have heard the saying “Life is like a box of chocolates”?

When you open a box of chocolates, there is a variety of flavors available. The problem with a box that contains a variety of chocolates is that each piece is covered in chocolate so you have no idea what you are getting. Even though you have no idea what flavor each piece holds you are going to eat one, then two, then three. Some pieces will be the same as previous ones and some will be brand new.

This saying reminded me of the passage of scripture for today. You never know what life is going to give you. What the next day will hold. So every day – every new experience – is something you really don’t know about until you actually live it. It may not be an experience you like. It may be the greatest experience ever. But you don’t know until you’ve lived it, and by then it’s too late to not live it.

This scripture tells us that there 28 ways that our days, weeks, months and years can go. We live in a world that is ever changing. We are continually passing and repassing between these 28 options. We must realize that ultimately, God is in control and and we have to trust that God will be with us in the good and the bad seasons. We can’t get comfortable when we are in prosperity, life may be easy, and yet not secure. We live in a world of changes and therefore have no reason to say, To-morrow shall be as this day

Whether you are in a time of plenty or a time of want, in good times or in bad, remember there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. The real lesson: you take what life gives you with trust and confident of that God is in control and He is with you always. Enjoy your life. Remember….this too shall pass.

God Is A Promise Keeper

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Genesis 9: 8-17

8 Again, God said to Noah and his sons: 9 I am going to make a solemn promise to you and to everyone who will live after you. 10 This includes the birds and the animals that came out of the boat. 11 I promise every living creature that the earth and those living on it will never again be destroyed by a flood. 12-13 The rainbow that I have put in the sky will be my sign to you and to every living creature on earth. It will remind you that I will keep this promise forever. 14 When I send clouds over the earth, and a rainbow appears in the sky, 15 I will remember my promise to you and to all other living creatures. Never again will I let floodwaters destroy all life. 16 When I see the rainbow in the sky, I will always remember the promise that I have made to every living creature. 17 The rainbow will be the sign of that solemn promise.

It was so timely, yesterday, talked to the kiddos in nursery about Noah and the flood. (because of all the rain we are having). Of course, all the little children cared about was naming the animals that went into the ark and the sounds each animal made. For me those things were certainly cool, however I could not get the words SOLEMNLY PROMISE out of mind all yesterday and today.

The scripture did not say God promised but it says he made a solemn promise. One definition for SOLEMN: characterized by deep sincerity. Think about that for a moment. God….Anything he says is impactful and true but add to his words A SOLEMN PROMISE. Man that is one more promise if you ask me. I am grateful that God has kept this promise and that He will continue to keep it too.

There are many, many promises of God in Scripture. In each promise, God pledges that something will (or will not) be done or given or come to pass. These are not flippant, casual promises such as we often make; these promises of God are rock-solid, unequivocal commitments made by God Himself. Because God is faithful, the recipients of the divine promises can have full assurance that what God has pledged will indeed be realized (Numbers 23:19). I thought it would be great to kick out Monday with a few of Gods promises from His Word.

God promised that if we search for Him we will find Him (Deuteronomy 4:29). He is not playing hard-to-get. “Our God is near us whenever we pray to him” (Deuteronomy 4:7).

God promised protection for His children (Psalm 121). He was the vigilant watchman over all Israel.

God promised that His love will never fail (1 Chronicles 16:34). He is faithful in every way.

God promised blessing for all who will delight themselves in His Word (Psalm 1:1–3). Simple faith has its rewards.

God promised salvation to all who believe in His Son (Romans 1:16–17). There is no greater blessing than the free gift of God’s salvation.

God promised that all things will work out for good for His children (Romans 8:28). This is the broader picture that keeps us from being dismayed by present circumstances.

God promised comfort in our trials (2 Corinthians 1:3–4). He has a plan, and one day we will be able to share the comfort we receive.

God promised peace when we pray (Philippians 4:6–7). His peace is protection. It will “guard your hearts and your minds in Christ.”

God promised to supply our needs (Matthew 6:33; Philippians 4:19). Not that we get everything we want, but our needs will be taken care of. We are more valuable than the birds, and our Heavenly Father feeds them (Matthew 6:26).

Ok so these are just a few of my favorites. Now together let’s add to the list. What else does God promise us? If you have a favorite promise that is not listed then add it and claim it as your favorite. Remember, GOD IS A PROMISE KEEPER

Pass Comfort On

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2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

I love this scripture. God will comfort us and then he wants us to pass it on. There was a movie that came out in 2000 called Pay It Forward. If you have never watched it I encourage you to have a family movie night with popcorn and pizza to watch it soon.

In the movie a social studies teacher gives an assignment to his junior high class to think of an idea to change the world for the better, then put it into action. One of the students, decided to create a plan for “paying forward” favors He not only affects the life of his struggling single mother, but he sets in motion an unprecedented wave of human kindness which, unbeknownst to him, blossomed into a national phenomenon.

I know another story, this one true, of 12 men, the disciples, who followed Jesus and His way of loving others, sharing the good news about salvation and their own personal stories of how Jesus changed them, who also created a national phenomenon and the WORLD changed.

There are a few truths in this scripture that I want to encourage you with today. Verse 3 begins with “Praise be the God of Comfort.” I am sure everyone reading this scripture has been through some tough times in your life that God got you through. If you are hurting this morning, go to Him and talk to Him, cry, shout, beg…but whatever you do, go to Him. Start by Praising God for getting you through the past trials and asking him to help you with you this one. He is with you and He loves you. He will help you get through whatever you are dealing with. Maybe you are trying to stop an addiction. Maybe your child is dealing with depression or self-harm. Maybe you are struggling with a friendship, finances, your marriage, your job and/or insert your trial. GOD CAN COMFORT YOU. He is with you always and he will get you through whatever you are struggling with.

Now, for those who have gotten through a struggle, Praise God this morning. Ask Him to lead you to someone who needs to hear your story of success. Ask God to give you courage to share your story to encourage someone else. Maybe you are a private person and you don’t want anyone to know your story. PRAY. Ask God to give you the courage to not worry about the situation and what people will think about it but to help you focus on the story of God getting you through it.

The last verse of todays scripture ends with “who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” Help to comfort someone today because God got you through your trouble to do just that. Like the movie Pay Forward and the disciples, let’s set in motion an unprecedented wave of human kindness which, will blossom into a national phenomenon and change the world for Christ. Whatever your trial today, know that I am praying for each of you who are in my group.

Equipped For Good Work

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2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The first word in verse 16 is ALL. I think every Christian would agree that the Bible is true. ALL of it. Where the difficulty comes in is the rest of verse 16; it is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. It sounds good and holy, however we don’t want to use ALL that is in the Bible to live our lives.

Some say they live by the new testament, some say they live by the old testament while others say they live by both. Yet how many really live as God has instructed us to the fullest? Why do morals and values change from generation to generation however God and His word remain the same yesterday, today and forever? The answer is simple. We are choosing to ignore Gods instructions on life.

Instructions on topics like; living together, prayer in school, homosexuality, mental illness, attending church, sex outside of marriage, drugs, forgiveness, friendship and the list goes on, are all given in the Bible. These instructions are for those of us who know Christ, not the lost.

Verse 17 ends with: so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. If we want the world to be a better place then, we, the Christians have to know what is in God’s word. We need to read it, believe it and live it. Don’t pick and choose what you like and don’t like. As Nike says JUST DO IT.

Today I challenge you to find a time to pray, read your bible and then pray again. Ask God to teach you, rebuke you, correct you and train you in righteousness, so that you may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. If you aren’t a Christian then I invite you to become one. Send me a PM and I will contact you to walk with you to become one. Lets change the world for the better one Christian at a time.

Grandchildren

Today’s Truth: However, be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you don’t forget the things which you have seen with your own eyes. Don’t let them fade from your memory as long as you live. Teach them to your children and grandchildren. Deuteronomy 4:9 (GW)

From My Heart To Yours:

I am fortunate enough to be blessed with 3 grown children and 7 grandchildren. 4 of them live in the same town as I do, 1 lives 1 1/2 away in another town and the last one lives 2 hours away in a different town. We always try to find time for us to visit the grandkids or for them to visit us. Last week I kept the youngest grandchild, Bryson, who is almost 1-year-old, for 5 days. This weekend I have the other 6 grandchildren for 10 days. Whew I am tired just thinking about it.

The scripture for today is one that I try hard to remember and practice every time I am with my grandchildren. I really do love the Lord with all my heart, all my soul and all my mind and I want them to love Him as I do. Every time I am with them I try to find ways to add God into the conversation.

Over the next 10 days I plan to blog about my grandbabies, better known as gbabies, and tell you some of the creative ways we get to talk about God. I will also share with you things they tell me about God. This should be an interesting week of God talk. I am sure I will learn a few things from them about God that I did not know before and I can’t wait to share those with you too.

I have always known that I was blessed to have seen all my children grow up, get married and have children of their own but the scriptures talks about grandparents and grandchildren quite a bit.  God’s word describes blessing and gives instructions for grandparents.

Promises, Blessings and Instructions:

Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.  Proverbs 17:6 (ESV)   I feel like a Queen with my gbabies.  It is wonderful to see the smiles, the excitement and shrills when I visit.  To them you can never do any wrong.  They love you even if you discipline them.  They take everything to heart that you say and hang on every word you speak.  If you say it they believe it!

May you see your children’s children! Peace be upon Israel!  Psalm 128:6 (ESV) It’s a blessing if you get to see your children’s children yet with the blessing comes great responsibilities.  I think it funny when I see the gbabies displaying some of the same traits that their parents have.  Every says, “When I grow up and have kids I will never….”  When they grow up guess what?  They do what they said they would never do.  Now they understand why their parents did it in the first place.  It gives me great pride and joy to see that the gbabies really are a lot like their parents because they have great parents.

“And as for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord: “My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,” says the Lord, “from this time forth and forevermore.” Isaiah 59:21 (ESV)  This scripture is a wonderful promise if we are telling our gbabies about God.  When I was a parent I was so busy working or cleaning or taking care of other things that I constantly stressed about everything.  Today’s culture is even more stressful for parents.  Because the parents are running here and running there, taking the kids to swim lessons, dance lesson and ball games they may not have the time to talk to the kids about God like we do as grandparents.  While our children, now parents themselves, are getting busier we, as grandparents, are slowing down.  Why do you think that is?  I think it is because with age comes wisdom.  We begin to see parenting differently.  We see life differently.  We see God differently.  We know as our life begins to slow down what things are most important in life.  God really becomes number one and a sense of urgency comes upon us to share that with those we love, to make a difference with the next generation.  Speak God’s words to your grandchildren, read them the bible, share stories of things he has done for you and their parents, tell them the bible stories in a way that they will remember them.  Speak the words to them so that will speak the words to their children and their grandchildren.

Honor widows who are truly widows. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. 1 Timothy 5:3-4 (ESV)This is a long gone tradition but one that needs to resurface.  I remember as a little child my great-grandmother lived with us.  Her hospital bed sat in the middle of our living room.  We helped my mother take care of all her needs from food to bathing.  I can still hear her telling us stories of the old days and things about my dad that we thought were funny and interesting.  We loved her so much and missed her dearly after she passed.  I am very proud of my parents.  They made huge sacrifices to take care of my great-mother.  I always thought my parents were great parents, and they were, but they were also being obedient to what God said they should do.  I want to instill this in my children and grandchildren as well.

You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, Exodus 20:5 (ESV)  We must remember that what we do will affect our children and grandchild down the road.  As my pastor husband says “Your children will be more like you than you can ever imagine”.  Parents have to be aware at all times that our personalities, our behaviors, our traditions, our opinions etc will pass on to our children.  These things will pass on to our children’s children and to the third and fourth generation.  I want to be responsible for passing on things that make a difference.  Things of God.

Let’s Pray:

Dear Lord, as parents, aunts and/or grandparents we know the long-term effects we can have on the little ones in our family.  Sometimes, we forget how important it is to make our conversations with them about you. Help us to remember to share our stories of blessings, the stories in the Bible and to encourage them to love you with all their heart, all their soul and all their minds. In Jesus Name. AMEN.