Birthday Boxes

Birthdays have become less about me, and more on giving and sharing my faith. In 2013, I set out to Be The Gift and it was a holy experience as I went about doing good in my community. An unforgettable birthday!


"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16 NKJV

This birthday in 2015 I want to give as well, and was inspired by a pin Birthday Boxes from I Can Teach My Child.  Contributing writer Amy shares, "...about how a heart of gold is filled with God's love to share with others."

That's it! I am a giver by design and giving is a big part of my testimony. I will bless others because God has blessed me!

Lord, I pray that I would be a blessing to others in giving as well as with kindness. I pray that my witness be pleasing and always with the right motive. I lay down at the altar my secret desire to go to the spa. I say no to vanity and cling to the promise that I am valued and treasured despite my gravity-challenged skin. I choose obedience. I choose the spirit, which is life...rather than choosing the flesh, which is death. I thank you Lord, you know my inner most parts and none of it is hidden from you. Let my giving on my birthday today outweigh the joy of having taught supple skin. There is nothing impossible for you!

God has never failed me! He is speaking directly to me through His holy God-breathed Word in black and white:

Acts 20:33-35 I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

Life Application Bible: Paul was satisfied with whatever he had, wherever he was, as long he could do God's work. Examine your attitudes toward wealth and comfort. If you focus more on what you don't have than what you do have, its time to reexamine your priorities and put God's work back in first place.  

Praise God! He keeps me in all my ways. He leads me in the right places in the right ways.

Psalm 23:1-3
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Look for an update of my adventures to the food bank!
Are these awesome or what?!

Wow! The front desk lady at my local food bank was not even surprised, but that's not worth mentioning other than the fact that more people are doing it. On my way there my thoughts wandered. Aha! It’s a party in a box! This would be an awesome food bank drive for the kids. They are all about the birthday party themes, decorations and cakes. I believe getting them involved would only make it that much more meaningful for your family while teaching them the character of Jesus and the nature of the Father.

I challenge you reader to deliver one Birthday Box in the month of your birthday (or your kids) and feel the blessing from above out of a heart of giving. Remember, we can't out give God though that should never be our motive--we give because we can. No matter the size of your basket of plenty please find a way to give a portion to those in your community, neighborhood, and especially family and friends. We all need to love and be loved in practical ways.

Birthdays for me are so much more than cake and frosting, but that doesn’t mean I’m skipping dessert. Amen! I can be yielded to the Holy Spirit and grow in my faith without depriving myself of celebration, treats, and blessings. It’s just a matter of a heart check while enjoying the fruits of my husband’s labor. To enjoy is good, but to share in the goodness of God is better!


Grace {Bible Study}

Greetings in the name of the Lord!

If you've found your way here I pray you're encouraged by my testimony of Jesus Christ, and my life living under the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen! I'm going somewhere in God!

Since July of this year God has given me the opportunity to feed spiritually another believer weekly. I'm encouraged myself as I dig deep in the Word of God to expound and articulate the Gospel as He guides me through study. Week after week I am blown away as He is on-point giving this Woman of God exactly what she needs.

Our God is a God of now. He has a now Word for your now situation.

Praise Break: We serve a mighty God! Glory to Him forever and ever!

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

This week's bible study, "The Grace that Keeps Us" was incredible. God does not disappoint. For the sake of time and space I merely wanted to share here my introduction before the study. It's a powerful illustration of what God is speaking about.

Last week, I met an elderly married couple. I noticed the husband helping the wife out of the car parked right next to me. They were headed for the salon. When I was returning back to my car from the grocery store I saw the same couple. Again, the husband helping the wife intentionally with every step. I caught up with them to say, "You're just the sweetest couple. How long have you been married?" He answered, "53 years," then she added, "I don't know how I did it?!" Without reservation I said, "I know...it was the grace of God." The corners of her mouth revealed a joyful smile, "You know...you're right."

I thought moments later that I should have taken their picture for prosperity's sake, but I would have missed my blessing. As I drove away weeping I muttered through my skin soaked cheeks, "How that blessed me."  A post card from Heaven.

God prophetically emphasized in bible study through demonstration the purpose of my encounter with the elderly couple, "He wanted to show me the end result!"

God is at work through His Word as well as through application when we need to receive in order to stay-the-course and progress as He wills.

This week I found myself sharing with a banker an unfortunate incident regarding an accusation many years ago from an old bank employer after I changed employment. It turned out the manager of the branch was stealing money and was eventually prosecuted. However, during the investigation they were calling my new employer. Fortunately for me, I was in the right place at the right time and my new employer gave them a stern talking to. They never bothered me again.

After leaving the bank God quickened in my spirit that grace kept me when the accuser of the brethren tried to take me out (more than once), and that grace kept me when I failed on my own as well. We know about the grace that saves us, but believers need to know on a conscious level about the grace that keeps them.

Prayer: Lord, I need your grace to develop my abilities. Give me grace to do your will daily. Give me grace to follow you first and always. Give me grace to stop running after the dead things of this world. Give me grace to see with spiritual eyes what is a dead-end and what is life-giving according to you. Give me grace to bring salvation to my house. It starts with me Lord! What do you require? Give me grace to endure and give me your perspective on all things and in every situation.

If you find yourself in an unequally yoked marriage this study may be of encouragement. As a minister, I am not limited to teaching at my kitchen table. Please reach out and email me.

From my heart to yours: Blessings from Heaven which are good and perfect gifts that add no sorrow.


Out From Under

Summer is usually about spending extra on activities, camp and eating out. No longer are the kiddos in school with a packed lunch to-go. Nope! It’s all on mom to get the day going and keep going until lights out.

Last Sunday was different though, and truthfully I wish I had more of them.

  • Museum passes from the library. Cost: Free
  • Discounted Parking from museum. Cost: $1.00
  • $18.00 beaded bracelet from Kohl’s using rewards cash and additional coupon. Cost: $0.74
  • Pizza coupon. Cost: Free

Freebies and the library’s workshops and activities are making a difference for my child. I hope that you find treasure in your community as well this summer for you and the kids without breaking the budget.


I am not that diligent about coupons and such, but I do pay attention and try to make good daily decisions. Yet, God has been merciful when I was in the dark and foolishly spending our future.

My journey of being debt free began December 2011 with a decision to get off the hamster wheel and my husband in full agreement, and it has been an ongoing joint effort since. To date we have paid down $14k of credit card debt. We are also working towards paying off our only car note this December while a high deductible for my past surgeries is decreasing monthly.

Freedom! I’m no longer under, but out from under and thriving.

I am thankful for the lessons learned from hard choices made along the way, and my husband’s effort to stand together in this. However, at the foundation of it all was God’s gentle nudge to give me the strength to do something different. It wasn’t easy. Nevertheless, worth every inner grumble as I stopped believing the lies and replaced it with biblical truths in action that would carry us into our future with peace and liberty.

"With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26

Even though I share tidbits of my life here, my book will share greater insight. Look for it in 2016!


Inside Out

Update (three days later): My daughter and I are still reciting lines and secretly labeling others close to us with emotions. Hysterical! Never did I think it would have made such a mark on us. Go find out what the rest of us are laughing about and see it for yourself!

The hype of Inside Out though mild, left me feeling cheated as the credits rolled. Displeased with my 3D movie experience and the premium tickets paid for. I wanted more, much more. It was a good animated flick that made me cry as well as the urge to grab my daughter's hand to connect as mothers often do. Peppered also with humorous lines, but what about the treasures? There is nothing like leaving a movie theatre feeling full from good content, and above that a message that can make us think and open doors for discussion with our children. Besides, the fun of reciting memorable lines afterwards.

Moving on to mother-mode while in the car, I gave my daughter a quick math problem regarding the movie ticket pricing. Her usual joyful self switched to anger as her limitation in this particular subject became obvious, which was followed by an unrehearsed outburst underlined in disrespect. Instantly I recognized her emotions with an acute awareness. I made eye contact and recited the line, “The foot is going down,” and more of the same came later. Eureka! This movie was worth seeing. We even identified dad's favorite emotion. Thank you Disney Pixar we did find treasure after all!

I recommend Inside Out for children ages nine and older. Parents should see the movie with their children or separately for questions and discussion. The emotion Anger references curse words and is bleeped out once. You may want to wait until this is on DVD if your monthly budget has no wriggle room. If not, at least skip the premium tickets as it lacks 3D pop out effects. If I cannot convince you perhaps it is those goofy keepsake glasses you covet!


Bored Jar

School is officially out and with the long Holiday weekend over my daughter is already looking for ways to keep busy. The beginning is easy with online coloring pages and a goal to learn cursive beyond her first name. I'm proud that she's willing to learn something this summer as opposed to just having fun. We even signed her up for a Beginner Spanish program at the local library. It's a certified curriculum with a biweekly commitment. Libraries apparently have high standards too and I'm thankful that was shared upfront. Free is hard to find, and when it's desirable and works with the schedule I take advantage of it. Opportunist?! More like divine favor as we wait with expectancy that God will meet our every need.

I came across the Bored Jar on Twitter and then did some further exploring on Pinterest to find a plethora of ideas on the design and its contents. So much that it took me into the wee hours of the morning without ever noticing that minutes quickly turned into hours.

Bored Jar (Ball Smooth Canning Jar)

My apologies to those who are looking for crafty perfection here. My design is generic--and dare I say elementary-like. Using only colored markers, left over gift wrap paper and craft sticks with random string from a past project. The bulk of my time was spent on the actual ideas written on each craft stick. Some were duplicated two or three times because it was either super fun or had an educational benefit. I even threw in a couple of chores.

Here's my list:

Practice a song. 2x
Scooter Ride 2x
Read for 30 minutes. 2x
Read for 20 minutes. 2x
Go swimming. 2x
Write a letter. 3x
Dance party. 2x
Jump rope.
Clean your room.
Watch a movie!
Play a game.
Have a bubble bath!
Make a trail through the house with a roll of toilet paper.
Make a playlist of songs.
Learn something new on Youtube.
Write in your journal.
Play cards.
Watch funny videos on Youtube.
Call grandma. 2x
Make a card for someone you love. 2x
Go to the Zoo!
Create a keepsake.
Color or draw.
Help mom organize.
Paint your nails.
Make a wish list.
Watch old family videos.
Learn a new hairstyle.
Write a short story and illustrate it.

Well that should do it -- forty-two activities to fill in the gaps and kill that boredom!


Daily Manna: Tribulations

"...rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:2-5

To any and all -- believer and unbeliever, Jew, Gentile or Greek. This faith I speak of in God as a minister. Even if you are unsure at this time and place…I am very sure of who He is and that He is able to turn it around. Let me remind you of God, who cares for you and understands your plight, predicament or mess. His arms are not too short to save!

May He who holds the world hold you in your hour of need or in the moment of indecision.

"It is in the quiet crucible of your personal private sufferings that your noblest dreams are born and God's greatest gifts are given in compensation for what you've been through." ~ Wintley Phipps @WintleyPhipps It Is Well With My Soul (From Bill Gloria Gaither Live) from bill-and-gloria-gaither on GodTube.

Encouragement written on this page, which is suspended and accessed through the Internet—a much different tool then Paul used to preach to the churches scattered abroad, reach the lost or bring Living Water to the sick. Still, the motivation and prompting of the Holy Spirit are the same.

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.


Do it! {Walk on the Water}

Most have a word for the coming year, but God has given me a smidgen more… a phrase, "Trust in the Lord!" In my study time I read numerous scriptures that boosted my faith and provided peace while I nestled in His loving promises line by line.

I came to the conclusion that we must rest in His greatness. For there is no greatness in ourselves other than the Holy Spirit, who’s ability is everlasting. He will surely bring us through, and perhaps even carry a few. Nonetheless, the Holy Spirit is more than capable and willing to go before us, guide us and intervene no matter our season in life.

Let faith increase and move the heart of God in our favor. And if you think He has already done so much, I say there’s more!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Lord is still stirring my heart, and in my quiet time I reflect and dig deeper as I think of others thrusting to new heights and taking that first step in faith to trust Him like never before.

I speak from my heart, "They are walking to the shore Lord."

Then I sing in a soft voice, "Walk on the water."

I declare, "Eyes on the Lord! Trust in Him!"

Thank you Heavenly Father for Your encouragement. You see our glorious and victorious end from the beginning!

Then I stumble on more to share the Father's heart, and to those whom Christ is calling to, "Get out of your boat no matter the storm, and come to me."

In faith, walk on the water. Jesus won't let you go while you take a step into the unknown.

“Come” by David Bowman
Price: $0.95-$249.00
One simple word spoken to Peter when he asked if he, too, could walk on the water with Christ (Matthew 14). Jesus invited his friend to Come. Come and do the impossible. And the amazing thing is … Peter did it! He actually walked on water! This piece captures that poignant moment between these two men: Jesus encouraging Peter, hand out-stretched, smiling at the faith of his disciple. Peter determined, full of trust, his eyes completely focused on the Master. In our lives, we have times when we are asked to “do the impossible” so to speak. Bear a burden, weather a trial, overcome an addiction, wage our personal wars. Christ reminds us that ALL things are possible when we keep our eyes and our hearts focused on Him. Simply … Come

Matthew 14:22-33New King James Version (NKJV)
Jesus Walks on the Sea Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.

Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.

But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”

And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”

So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”

And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”


Trust In The Lord

May this find you hopeful as you trust in the Lord in 2015. Trust in His greatness! For our abilities are limited and our knowledge futile in the sight of God.

Bible Scriptures for Reflection:

Psalm 84:4-5 Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are those who dwell in Your house and Your presence; they will be singing Your praises all the day long. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 [Most] blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters that spreads out its roots by the river; and it shall not see and fear when heat comes; but its leaf shall be green. It shall not be anxious and full of care in the year of drought, nor shall it cease yielding fruit.

Psalm 34:8 O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good! Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who trusts and takes refuge in Him.

Psalm 40:4 Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who makes the Lord his refuge and trust, and turns not to the proud or to followers of false gods.

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.

Isaiah 31:1 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses and trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but they look not to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek and consult the Lord!


Gifts That Keep on Giving

Christmas Eve is officially here, and there are some who still have shopping to do. Forget about the sales or crowds at the mall. Go online without delay to give gifts that will “help rescue families from poverty and bring Christ’s love.”

Ordering is easy at Gospel for Asia Christmas Gift Catalog. Select from a plethora of gifts to meet every budget. Buy your grandma a pair of chickens for $11 not for their "hilariously annoying" clucking sound alone, but for the possibility of income and hope for the family that receives them. “Families sell the eggs or hatch the eggs and sell the chicks.” Grandma doesn’t need another set of Holiday dish towels. Get her a gift she’ll remember always. Let your love for her reach Asia this Christmas for $11 and make a difference!

For the people of Asia, a pair of chickens can create a steady income. Chicken eggs provide food for the family and the extras can be sold at market. Through this simple gift, you may help a malnourished child become stronger every day because of the tasty eggs.

This is a great way to introduce a Christian Christmas tradition because you’re wrapping up presents and giving to the Lord. These gifts are eternal and “100% of what you give for Christmas gifts goes to the field.”

"Jesus Christ is the giver of all good gifts," Hansini explained to her parents, "and it is because of the love and grace of Christ that our family is able to overcome all our financial struggles."

Give to the Ebenezer Scrooge of the neighborhood a lamb for $65. Why not?! Show the love of Christ this Christmas to the unwanted and unlovely. Customize and print at home your free card and leave it on their door or in their mailbox anonymously. It may be their only Christmas gift this year, and one that could begin the healing of the heart.

One lamb will produce up to 30 pounds of wool each year. That's like giving an Asian family 10 miles of yarn! And wool is not the only thing lambs have to offer. Their rich, nutritious milk is an excellent source of calcium and makes delicious cheese. A pair of lambs will reproduce, providing even more lambs for wool, milk, and meat. These little animals truly make a difference.

For the engaged and married couples this year how about a pair of rabbits for $11. They are “furry and cute, and quickly multiply. Providing a steady diet of lean meat and plenty of bunnies to sell.” This gift choice is a no-brainer, and while the recipients will be thankful they are sure to laugh a little as well.

Rabbits are easy to feed and can be raised in a small space—an important consideration in the crowded areas of Asia.

Chose from other Gifts from the Stable. Give gifts this year that “help rescue families from poverty and bring Christ’s love.”

Bless children in Asia and impact communities with a donation to my Gospel for Asia Christmas Campaign. There’s nothing more special than sponsoring a child, but with Hope for a Child you have the opportunity for God to multiply your seed. We cannot change the world on our own, but together we can make a difference. Little is MUCH in the hands of GOD!

"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name." John 15:16


Daily Manna: Who I Am In Christ

Christmas is a joyous time for most, but for some it can be a challenge to get through the heightened spirit of the Season when life happens. The circumstances vary with big questions about the timing, loss, or perhaps the setback. Maybe worse yet, it is a disappointment that is unbearable to carry into 2015.

Whatever your trial, above all remember that it is better to know Jesus than to have answers (at least at this juncture).

As a shepherd for the sheep, I want to assure you that to gain footing and push through the process you must realize who you are in Christ. For I admit without a tight grip on that truth this journey can be difficult—and when trouble comes and it will (John 16:33), you won't be standing on sinking sand. You will be able to bear the weight of it. Grow in that hard place where grace is extended. And as God wills with maturity in Christ, share your testimony of victory to help others.

"Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." Romans 8:37

God's Everlasting Love Romans 8:31-39 NKJV

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.


Ridiculous Grace

ridiculous (slang): extremely impressive; unbelievable

Sin happens to the best of us. It shows its ugliness in our family, small circle of friends, and in the church we have it also with leaders and preachers. Of course let us not forget to turn that finger-pointing on ourselves.

We wonder if there is any way of getting up from a fall so hard that God would leave us there. Pass us by, and not give our pitiful soul another thought. Nothing could be farther from the truth of who He is. God is love. And He offers us ridiculous grace as we draw near…broken and shameful with open hands, our will surrendered, and hearts ready to receive the saving knowledge of Christ.

“But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:20-21

Jesus Christ is grace. He is a gift from God that we especially celebrate this Christmas season. It is not a gift that is deserved nor can it ever be earned. Still, He offers it wrapped with mercy to receive in our hearts.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Jesus died for us, "and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:4-6). His grace is extended to every race, color, religion, and doctrine under the sun. He died for you. He died for me. He loves us equally and unconditionally whether we are for Him or against Him. It matters not, if you believe or despise Him. If you agree with His ways or reject them. He loves us! He has always loved us, and it endures for eternity without change. His love is not persuaded by emotions or circumstances nor does it have limitations.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

God loves us enough that Christ -- His only begotten Son, Jesus -- was made the propitiation for our sin. By His death on the cross He turned away the wrath of God and stood in our place. He took on the rejection and punishment we rightly deserve; whereby we have been given absolution from sin because of love demonstrated on Calvary.

John Piper writes online in Are We to Continue in Sin That Grace Might Increase? “This is extreme grace: Christ's obedience, not ours, is the ground of our justification. God reckons us righteous, and accepts us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness (Titus 3:5), but because of deeds done by Christ in righteousness.” Extreme grace as John Piper penned translates today as ridiculous grace.

What are you waiting for? Whether you are sipping on hot chocolate by the Christmas tree, in public, or in a pew at church—Jesus is holding out His hands to you. He has been longing to embrace you and pour out liquid love that fills every empty hole, mends the broken places, and heals the hurts. There is no reason to wait any longer. How many Christmases have passed? How many new years have rung in without a promise for victory ahead?

You are a sinner, and not alone “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)” Jesus is in the cleaning up and cleansing business. Let your heart be assured that He who came into the world as a babe “did not come to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:17)”

God is offering ridiculous grace in the first most important step of faith when you believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior, with benefits to be in right standing before Him and declare victory as an overcomer. Surrender to the will of God and renounce Satan and his hold on you. Begin to disconnect yourself from the realm of darkness with an intentional effort “to resist the devil...and He will flee. (James 4:7-10)”

This Christmas become a Child of God, no longer an illegitimate son or daughter, but rather a co-heir with Christ (Romans 8:17). Come as you are to the mercy seat of Christ, receive grace, and be saved. Let your name be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 21:27), like the others before you, and those with you today accepting grace as a gift.

God’s Righteousness Through Faith
"But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." Romans 3:21-26


Kingdom Builder

As an active Kingdom Builder under the expanse of God’s authority I toil in a way that He has predetermined and in the land which He gave me. Each day I set out to bring Him glory and point others to Him who is the author and finisher of our faith.

It seems I have entered into a season of increasing faith and God-opportunities. There are fortuitous encounters whereby we encourage one another, pray, and praise God for all that He has done in and through our lives.

I was on a mission for gluten-free bread when a worker approached me. Her kindness made me pause during the rush of morning errands. She recognized me from the same store in another location that I frequent most. After the introduction she asked about my scar from thyroid surgery. From there our conversation segued into a melodic tempo of God’s goodness. We had Jesus in common—and on that note, we took turns confessing His deliberate fingerprint in our similar circumstances.

I imagined the angels of Heaven were recording our every faith-filled praise, and that God was pleased with our faithfulness to recall His healing power.

We should never devalue the goodness of God and how He brought us through.

The polished woman was sitting in my row with her husband between us. He shared that she was purposely withholding a hand shake because of her recent Chemotherapy treatment. Moved by compassion I asked her name and expressed that I would pray. No sooner did my sentence end...then she leaned in. My attention shifted and I opened my mouth, “This will not consume you.”

God doesn’t bring us through trials and give us the victory for a one-time celebration. No, He is known for giving us a repeated victory so that we may be carriers of His promise to those who are hopeless or in crisis.

Carry on Christian solider and deliver with love and compassion the revelation you received by the power of the Holy Spirit, according to your unique circumstances and victory. You will find that your zeal to be used as a Kingdom Builder will open doors and bring about favor -- the tangible evidence of the Lord's approval.

While I am ready to give a Word in due season as He directs, God is also concerned about what concerns me.

During a drive to a favorite eatery I lowered my radio, and in prayer entered into the throne room of God with thanksgiving and praise. It was a heartfelt communion thanking Him for what He has done and what He is doing—making something out of nothing. Even so, I have concerns also that were verbalized, though underlined with faith that He would accomplish the finished work of the cross in those I love most.

I am like everyone else. There are areas in my life where I triumph. Yet, there are areas under construction. In relationships that are effortless while some are taxing.

Eating alone, but always open for conversation, a friendly voice commented on my butter-dressed baked-potato. She sat across from me while her husband went missing for a moment. We did the usual chit-chat, although once we acknowledged God our smiles widened. Her story-telling was sweet like honey, and I could have listened until sunset. Her common thread was God’s faithfulness regardless of the years in waiting. I was captivated. She spoke of her day of victory and how it unfolded. Reminding me of the importance of loving and how it melts the hardest of hearts.

When we are intimate with God we are able to hear His voice, what He’s speaking and how He feels about us. We can either receive directly from that still small voice or from people He chooses.

I pray you continue in the call of Christ, and do your part as He instructs using your God-given abilities. For together we will build the Kingdom of God!


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?


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!


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


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.


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!”


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.


Daily Manna: Was Blind, But Now I See

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

My darkest hours drew me closer to Him, and I outlasted the storm. You will too! Remember, it doesn't matter how you start the race or the messed up middle, but how you finish strong for Christ.

"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." Read more from Hopeless & Fearful.

How to Recognize You Are under a Spiritual Attack - Jentezen Franklin

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.


Daily Manna: Be Still

When you're in a hard place remember Psalm 46:10a.

"Be still, and know that I am God."

Yield and rely on His leading. In faith, hold on tight to His promises. Whatever the challenge, circumstance, or burden He is faithful to be there with you. You are not alone!

Have faith that you can finish your race strong standing on His Word!

Daily Manna in the Holy Scriptures:

"Yet He had commanded the clouds above, And opened the doors of heaven, Had rained down manna on them to eat, And given them of the bread of heaven. Men ate angels' food; He sent them food to the full." Psalm 78:23-25
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.


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