11.20.2014

My Struggles #2

As if recent heart surgery from the Great Physician and the challenge to keep my marriage fresh and vibrant wasn't enough, I am now experiencing anxiety in great proportions. It has come in like a lion and continues to steal my joy and peace.

How did I get here?

Since the day darkness crept in I have lost six pounds and still counting with a depleted appetite. My sleep has been disrupted as well with a busy mind that comes and goes in extended intervals. Holding on hour by hour with overwhelming feelings as if I am literally breaking -- my heart crushed in a million bits.

Lord, what’s my testimony?

11.19.2014

My Struggles #1

Darkness crept in one ordinary day in November 2009.

Did I make it?

But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

I am here to testify that Jesus reached down in my pit and rescued me when I was willing to be broken and depend solely on Him.  I have learned, loved, forgiven, and grown. As of November 2012 I answered the call of Christ as an ordained minister, and today I am reaching the hopeless and discouraged during my ordinary day as a mom. God is faithful to bring about His scheduled opportunities to be His voice, and I am humbled to be in His service, while giving the devil a black eye.

In the years 2011 and 2012 I wrote over fifty posts on a read by invitation only blog where I shared intimate details of my breakthrough and the courage it took to change. It was written as a seedling of what was to come. To God be the glory it is happening! The following works are my own and may or may not be included in part or whole in my autobiographical testimony. My prayer is that my willingness to be vulnerable will help others on their journey to victory, this side of heaven. Follow along as I post snippets here under one label (see below) leading up to the publication in 2015/2016.

To God be the Glory for the things He has done!

11.13.2014

Brown Sugar Bourbon Thick Pork Chops

Pork chops are hardly cooked by me, although after tonight's meal I may be changing it up from the usual weekly beef burgers to the other white meat.

This week's sale on thick loin pork chops for $2.99 per pound was not easily passed by. They were priced at a 43% reduction with an expiry date of Friday—nothing too hard about that decision. I am a numbers girl and my hungry man, well is just that...hungry...hungry for meat.

McCormick Grill Mates® Brown Sugar Bourbon Marinade was my choice of seasoning using the citrus suggestion on the package with orange juice and white vinegar. Not grilling either, but breaking the rules further by transferring all that liquid goodness to the baking dish. Then I sprinkled a dose of brown sugar on each marinated chop just because before the oven. 

The resting chops were ready for plating as soon as my husband walked in, and it was a great paring with baked gluten free corn bread. Not to mention apple sauce as a side.

McCormick Salutes the Dinner Makers (Commercial) "Here's to you! Here's to homemade!"


Brown Sugar Bourbon Marinade


11.06.2014

Make a Shift

shift - 1. move or cause to move from one place to another, especially over a small distance. 2. a slight change in position, direction, or tendency.

As an American I know how blessed I am, and my heart swells with gratefulness towards God. I am blessed to be a blessing! It is my nature to give, and beyond the boarders in partnering with Gospel For Asia. One hundred percent of my giving seeds are used in the field and provide hope in practical ways.

God has been busy planting in me a love for the people of India. He is certainly up to something though I am unsure to what degree or how far this love will travel.

I am thankful for moments where God presents the possibility to give eternally and I respond affirmatively—rather than holding back with excuses attached or even worse yet, eating my seed when accumulating more stuff. Meanwhile, God meant for that portion to be shared with others less fortunate and desperate.

Jennifer Dukes Lee wrote here: "I pray that the image will forever inform my priorities."

There were a multitude of mud pies baking in the sun made with oil to fill the hungry bellies of starving people in Haiti.

10.31.2014

What Is Your Spiritual Temperature?

Cold = Worldly
Lukewarm = Makes God Vomit
Hot = Committed

"I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'--and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked-- I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." Revelation 3:15-22

God is saying something. Like in the book of Revelation -- a revealing of the truth -- you are neither fully committed to God nor do you deny Him incessantly. You have no zeal for the Lord, but instead are content with how things stand. Why give more than I have to? Can’t I blend in and not bring attention to myself? Why put myself in the category of the fanatical Believer? It’s cozy here. No controversies. I can be like the world and when Sunday comes I can rally and shout, “Amen!”

10.30.2014

Internet Make-Over

What do you think?

It was certainly time to update things around here. I do hope you like the premade design from Kreated by Kelsey on Etsy. She has done a fabulous job from start to finish. Her prices are budget friendly and add-ons reasonable.

Who knew under four hours there would be a whimsy title and widened columns at Cup of Goodness?!

Thanks Kelsey for being available and for one hassle-free and affordable make-over. You rock!

Connect with Kelsey on her website and twitter.

10.29.2014

Daily Manna: Was Blind, But Now I See

Daily Manna is a series of devotions that you may snack on for encouragement today. However, if you have skipped spiritual meals and find you are malnourished please take pause and visit here a while.

I pray my obedience to share His truth brings you encouragement, and enlightens you in God's ways, which are higher than our ways.

"I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind, but now I see."

10.24.2014

Daily Manna: Be Still

Daily Manna is a series of devotions that you may snack on for encouragement today. However, if you have skipped spiritual meals and find you are malnourished please take pause and visit here a while.

I pray my obedience to share His truth brings you encouragement, and enlightens you in God's ways, which are higher than our ways.

When you're in a hard place remember Psalm 46:10a.
"Be still, and know that I am God."

10.16.2014

Good News

It has been more than 20 months since my diagnosis of Thyroid Cancer after a routine partial thyroidectomy, and last week's lab results proved to be good. Okay, better than good—no signs of cancer. Alleluia!

Celebrating for so many reasons to include today's good news and sponsoring Jayanti from India, a young girl from Gospel for Asia Bridge of Hope ministry.

View my Pinterest board Small Battles or check out the tags below to find out about the backstory, but even if you skip it please know that I give God all the glory for the work of His hands. Multiple small battles with surgeries in February 2013 with scary secondary complications was a testimony to God's faithfulness.


I Am a "Kept" Woman by Pastor Margarett
You see, there were a few times when I thought I would lose my mind, but God kept me sane. (Isa. 26:3)
There were times when I thought I could go no longer, but the Lord kept me moving. (Gen. 28:15)
At times, I've wanted to lash out at those whom I felt had done me wrong, but the Lord kept my mouth shut. (Psa. 13)
Sometimes, I think the money just isn't enough, but God has helped me to keep the lights on, the water on, the car paid, the house paid, etc.., (Mat. 6:25-34)
When I thought I would fall, He kept me up. When I thought I was weak, He kept me strong! (I Pet. 5:7, Mat. 11:28-30)
I could go on and on and on, but I'm sure you hear me! I'm blessed to be "kept."

10.14.2014

Hope for a Child

A giver by nature because that is the very nature of God, and I am His seed.

If I were financially able I would help more while sharing God's goodness, but though I desire to do more I cannot overlook the possibility of making a difference now with the little I have.

Little is MUCH in the HANDS of GOD!

After reading the free book No Longer a Slumdog from GFA (Gospel for Asia) it has compelled me to do something. The reality for these abandon and sold children is horrific.

"Thousands of children living in slum conditions throughout South Asia. Real children share their real stories of crisis and how our loving God intervened to rescue them."

Get No Longer a Slumdog - Free!

Today I took a leap of faith like never before! I sponsored a young girl named Jayanti for the year. Yes a whole year—and upfront. This means that no problem, trial, or set back can steal my desire to do more. My smile is huge knowing that the enemy cannot persuade me to stop or discontinue this giving as it is already done in Jesus' name.

Blessed already making the decision and sharing with her in a letter:

10.13.2014

Anoint Me Lord, For Greater Works

“See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father.” 1 John 2:24

(written July 11, 2014)

As the overhead clouds cast shadows on the desert mountains I wonder if that is a direct parallel of my current season in life. Though the sun shines the clouds are bulky with a dark gray underside. At any moment there could be a torrential downpour, causing all living things beneath its burst changed and refreshed.

The picturesque landscape is inviting to the eyes. However, my spirit man needs a drink from the Well of Truth that only the Holy Spirit can offer. And without fail He delivers to quench my thirst for answers.

9.25.2014

My List of 50

It is my special birthday and how blessed I am!

Birthday greetings started early morning from family and continued throughout the day with emails and texts from friends. Not to mention birthday surprises in unexpected ways. Truthfully, I had low expectations, so to my amazement the day ended with many cards, gifts, and a dozen roses.

To even utter the words that I have made it to 50 is something to praise God for. Less than two years ago I went through a series of operations that ended in a tracheoplasty. Routine operations that had secondary complications, which are always likely to be problematic. 

Over the years when I think of my circumstances and experiences, and how God has kept me, it makes my heart fill up with gladness. For God is good all the time, and all the time God is good! Amen! I am still standing strong.

6.22.2014

Seekers

In this generation we are seekers of fun, entertainment and thrills. Whether we engage in adventurous outdoor fun, family activities or perhaps eating out as a family in restaurants—these alone are not sinful. However, anything in excess can be questionable.

It has been a few Sundays that we have eaten out as a family after church and each time I felt dissatisfied with the money spent, and knowing I could do better in my own kitchen. Yes, I can cook! The interesting thing is we have eaten at different eateries with and without coupons, for an ordinary Sunday and a significant celebration. None stood out, and all left me with an experience that took from me rather than adding to my life.

4.24.2014

Victorious Living

2 Timothy 2:11-12 “For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.”

To deny Christ would be to deny the very existence of myself, because He has not only given life, but walks with me daily that I may finish strong and give Him the glory. I thank God for His guidance, and protection even when I chose false shortcuts or strayed. I owe the One True God my life – my very breath. For He has done so much for me that I cannot tell it all!

I have traveled up hill and through rock-ridden paths to get here today. It has been no primrose path to be free, but I found strength through faith for the journey. Many along the way have supported and encouraged me with prayers as well. However, it is God alone who wrote my story from the very beginning -- before I was ever a thought or named. I thank God for His unique flare to write a story full of life, passion, and giving that has been uniquely mine. I can visualize how with one stroke of His hand my life journey begins and ends with a celebratory victory roar. Though He also foreknew of my struggles, challenges, and even failures in between He was merciful to underline each of them with His grace to keep me focused on the prize ahead -- my purpose in Christ Jesus.

Thus far my life story has meaning and purpose and there are witnesses to testify. Nevertheless, I am expecting more of His goodness and revelation knowledge that I may begin the next step towards my God-given destiny.

Yes, there is more!

2.26.2014

Journey of Faith

But Ruth said (to Naomi): "Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. Ruth 1:16,22a

Like Ruth, I have come from a people who were ignorant with idol worship that followed blindly religious culture and traditions before them. Not to mention survival of self was a matter of daily struggle for the women before me. My journey similar to Ruth’s -- I was born into the most unlikely circumstances and my future already deemed insignificant. Yet, God Himself has called me out from among them.

“Daughter of the King of kings, Priest, Redeemer, Sanctifier, and The Alpha and Omega—come out from among them to serve and speak My truth.”

He did so with Ruth as well, to carry a seed of greatness -- Obed, her son with Boaz, who begat Jesse and Jesse begat David. This connection in history and time was God’s reward for her devotion to Him and following His commandments wholeheartedly—secondary to that being a woman of excellent character who made wise choices.

2.06.2014

Get Your Head Out of Yesterday


When grey skies suddenly show up in the continually blue and sunny valley of the Southwest I wonder if it is a direct reflection of a melancholy mood. Nevertheless, I cannot excuse the devil and his trickery of calling to mind my yesterdays, and today this trickster came on strong, which has me on alert.

In seasons past, I learned the danger in disappointment, discouragement, and those feelings of dissatisfaction that are a warning sign due to unsettling circumstances and relying heavily on what’s incoming or the lack there of.

During an innocent thought of comparing my egg salad sandwich on honey oat with spinach, tomatoes and onions to a similar sandwich of more than ten years ago I was quickly drawn into my past with scrumptious sandwiches and all the rest, but wisdom revealed the truth.

11.19.2013

Hopeless & Fearful

Hopelessness is a lie from the pit of hell, and it leaves nothing behind but death and destruction in its track. Though one might find themselves in the midst of its ugly grip and taunting lies I speak life and truth – if you let Christ guide your life you will not stumble in darkness.

If you ever wondered what fear is, it’s a feeling that once fully grown has a life of its own. I share from experience that it merely starts as an imagination, notion or doubt that festers, and with each feeding of belief in the untruth it morphs into an oppressing blackness in which you find impossible to free from.

What’s most perplexing is that once engulfed in the black heaviness of fear many things that came easily are a struggle. Smiling is nonexistent, finding the beauty in anything or to realize a blessing is scarce, and hope is dead. There is nothing to look forward to, except more of the same hopeless thoughts brimming with fear and the dismal dark future.

Marked as a Believer I was. Still, I was not cultivating my relationship with God diligently. I was careless and my spiritual tank empty. The enemy took full advantage of my spiritual predicament and planted one thought.

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2

Thoughts enter and exit every hour of every day, that’s not the issue, rather it is what value we place on the thought and the choice to build it up or tear it down. When one is full of faith encouraging ourselves in scripture is not a bother nor is it challenging to tear down lies. Quite the opposite, when you are not grounded in the Word of God or spiritually weak a thought can fester, and lead to death -- death of dreams, relationships, eternal spiritual death, and for some the snuffing out of their own light and/or others. It’s tragic to consider that hopelessness and fear can lead to unthinkable acts.

I’m battle tested and a survivor in my private struggle to find joy, and when given an opportunity I find the courage to speak up and motivate my audience to hold on and let the Holy Spirit lead. I tell all with zeal that He (Jesus) rescued me from that hellish state of being, and grateful that I am free indeed. Nevertheless, I am not neglectful to share additional portions to include crippling fear, ugly incidents, emotional pain, and trusting God to give others more when I was in need. While the world told me to take time for me and seek restitution with the person(s) who have wronged me, Jesus asked that I surrender to His plan, forgive, and give selflessly. The work was deep and intense, yet necessary. In exchanging my ashes for God’s beauty I found grace for myself and others. Then the shift began, “and the light shined in the darkness,” hope birthed and faith renewed. No longer did I feed the lies, on the contrary I was more willingly to cling to hope that does not disappoint—Jesus, the Son of God. I came to the comforting realization that my worst case scenario in life held no weight to the glory and goodness I had in Jesus. He was my all and all!

I aspire to grow with each season of life and that dark period marked in months, years ago, was no exception. To date the most challenging and rewarding as the Holy Spirit - a gentle helper - guided my every step, along with the support of many laborers and their prayers to give me a surer footing and hope for a brighter tomorrow.



“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:4-5

Life Application Study Bible: The darkness of evil never has and never will overcome or extinguish God’s light. Jesus Christ the Creator of Life, and his life brings light to mankind. In His light, we see ourselves as we really are (sinners in need of a Savior). When we follow Jesus, the true Light, we can avoid walking blindly and falling into sin. He lights the path ahead of us so we can see how to live. He removes the darkness of sin from our lives. Have you allowed the light of Christ to shine into your life? Let God guide your life, and you’ll never need to stumble in darkness.

11.13.2013

Do Not Fear, Little Flock

Lately I've been intentional concerning the Lord and giving Him my first and best--and from day to day it has multiplied with an increasing hunger for the same. How grateful I am that my spirit has been strengthened and my faith fortified for on the horizon are big life decisions.

After repeated blessings and answered prayer yesterday I offered my thankfulness through tears and ministering* to the Lord, then I heard that still small voice, "It is my good pleasure to bless you." Found in scripture in the book of Luke.


"Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Luke 12:32

Glory to God! Bless His Holy name! For He has set His eyes upon me and my spirit abides in Him.

I encourage you to trust God, and give the Lord your time in prayer for others and giving to those He directs from your basket of riches. As His servant it is your good pleasure to do so.

"But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: "He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever." Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God." 2 Cor. 9:6-11

For as Believers we acknowledge the cost of our sins upon Him, and our obedient response is to surrender, follow, serve, and worship Him alone. Having an intentional and committed relationship with Jesus we are assured of our inheritance in this life and the next. 

*serve, worship
 Luke 12:22-34

11.01.2013

Operation Sticky Notes

Being a newbie on Twitter I have been particularly excited with anything related to Believers and giving. Many are familiar with #PayItForward, and fewer of you have heard of #BeTheGift, which by fate alone did I stumble upon the night before my birthday. Nevertheless, a couple of weeks ago I found yet another way to give through #OperationStickyNotes.

#OperationStickyNotes has been making a difference by Generation Y with Twitter Profile AFH - All For Him - Twibbon (a movement for Christ) in schools primarily, and now making it's way out into the communities and inspiring others to join in. The encourager leaves positive messages and/or scripture(s) written on sticky notes everywhere and anywhere for others. They are unexpected blessings that are making a difference. I was particularly giddy over this type of mission as it was low-cost, anonymous, and notes left in the most inconspicuous of places to include a library book drop, library magazine, water vending machine, mailbox, bathroom stalls, and car window.


If you take a step back you can see the bigger picture, these acts of kindness are all connected in what seems to be a giving movement that is stirring in the hearts of God's chosen to make a difference in their community—speaking life, sharing hope that does not disappoint, and ministering to those in the midst of struggles.

I encourage you to give out of your basket of blessings, whatever its size, because sometimes the smallest gesture could mean everything to someone struggling. If you’re concerned about your monthly budget constraints I assure you sales are plentiful and the expense is less than lunch out with a friend.

He wants us to be the gift! Jesus was God’s gift to the world, so why do you think it strange that we also are asked to do the same?

10.04.2013

Stop Wanting To Get And Give!

God has been dealing with me on a personal level concerning a relationship that demands more of me than I’d like to give at times. It’s uncomfortable, and giving up of what I could be gaining elsewhere if it were my choice.

I know I’m not alone. Your situation may differ in the scenario, but the lesson is similar. You’re in a tight spot, and for either the sake of your marriage and/or the family you’ll endure. Maybe you’re moving again. Maybe your spouse has a difficult time staying in a job for a season. Maybe you’re stuck in a dead church or a church that doesn’t celebrate the gifts of the Holy Spirit in their fullness. Change the people and/or circumstance it matters not.

God has a way of pairing us up with those who are unlike us, and for good reason. We’re learning to soften our hard edges while we live life up close and personal as a witness of God’s goodness. All the while sharing His promises, and laying down our own desires. We talk about doing what Jesus did. However, are we really ready to do that? Are we ready to put aside our selfish longings and be as selfless as He was?

It’s not easy to do at all, especially when we feel like we’ve done enough. Regardless, God is demanding more from you. We must be confident “that He who has begun a good work in us will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.  To press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus,” and trust Him with our desires and dreams. We need to find joy in giving of ourselves as He did.

What if your greatest divine purpose was to be witness to this other person?

What if all of your sacrifices were to eventually lead this person to the saving knowledge of Christ?

Sharing the Gospel is vital, but equally important if not more is living it out daily.

I give you permission to feel sorry for yourself for a minute, and then move on.

I’m blessed and encouraged that God in His goodness brings revelation to my spirit so that my head and heart are connected to His ways, which are higher than mine.

The lesson is crystal clear: He wants me to be the gift!

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

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