12.29.2015

I Shall Incline My Ear

"I shall incline my ear to the Lord early in the morning." - Rosemarie

Because the Lord has called me into relationship, it is pertinent that I gain from such a communion when He awakens me early in the morning. While the house is still quite with family and dog still nestled under buried covers, it is an easy time for a busy mom and wife to just be—with no demands or lists to do. A time for me and my Lord to get reacquainted and address whatever is on my heart, and for an exchange of encouragement from Him as well, which is refreshing. For some an early cup of tea and a short devotional would suffice, but hear me Church, these have their place. However, I believe that early fellowship in conversation will be useful in the coming year. You will need it like bread and water -- to be confident in the Lord and find treasure in His safety. And in doing so, bring Him honor in all things!

The Spirit of God spoke in my heart the Word for 2016 very early this morning—obedience. And I’m not a bit surprised as it is an extension of what He has been teaching me these last few months. And as it was prophesied over me, “You desire to know Him better so He will reveal Himself in a better way in you, through you, and for you to explain. I will satisfy your thirst.”

Let the teachings here in this blog and in my home Bible Study be a memorial of all the Lord has taught me so that others may walk an easier path, have less to carry hidden within, and realize how much He loves you in spite of yourself.


“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19-22

Return in January as God reveals more of His instruction on obedience as it pertains to 2016. Until then, incline your ear early next morning to the Lord, and seek Him while He may be found!

“The Lord GOD has given Me The tongue of the learned, That I should know how to speak A word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear To hear as the learned. The Lord GOD has opened My ear; And I was not rebellious, Nor did I turn away.” Isaiah 50:4-5

12.07.2015

I Shall Not Be Moved

As parents, we seek out the golden threads in our children and with great care showcase and encourage them in their areas of aptitude. Like their fragile hearts as newborns we nourish and give them room to grow—while taking note to widen the gap between child and parent as they discover their purpose. Still, without forsaking a safety net as we stand by on the sidelines.

As our children progress in age and academically, we seem to reason that with this comes greater responsibility to include the introduction of preparedness, discipline, and commitment that accompany greatness in an individual. Mastery is a must no matter what the level of natural ability.

I have been instilling the importance of preparedness with my daughter for over a year now since my withdrawal for approval of a special event. It came with disappointment and tears. Yet, the lesson hasn’t fully been revealed to her.

My daughter's school chorus performed at a holiday public venue, which was not mandatory (should have been the tip-off) that was likened to a poorly run talent show. In the midst of it I found myself sinking in the seat with my husband beside me. I was making a mental list and checking it twice. What I tried so feverishly to prevent had come to pass regardless of my planning. The onus was clearly on the music teacher who had misled her students with too much independence, disappointed parents and possibly misrepresented the school. I frantically reached out to my sister thousands of miles away by text to find consolation during this train-wreck I witnessed. Meanwhile, I found out later that she had missed her own daughter’s college concert the same evening because of weather conditions. Our hearts were aching.

At first glance it seems to be training ground of letting go as I ditched the motherly safety net and kept silent until the ride home. Nevertheless, I have to give God the glory for His will that kept me glued and without blemish while cactus twinkled nearby.

The following morning while the moon could be seen amongst the stars, I searched out God. My mind grappled with rewind and what ifs. These are the times when I lean on God the most. He takes my hand when I am unsure. He comforts me when I want to react. He is the answer to every question.

So I am still and pray:

Preserve my O’ Lord
Let my words by Yours
Let me not dishonor You because of my fleshly desires or disappointments
Keep me hidden in Thee that when I speak it is only Your words that fill my mouth

Time has passed and my lips remain silent, and I am still praising God!

I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel;
My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.
I have set the Lord always before me;
Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.
Psalm 16:7-8

May the Lord continue to preserve me for His purpose. Whether I am teaching a bible study or at holiday festivities I must bring honor to my King.

Believers, mothers and fathers, kings and rulers of nations, my earnest plea for thee, that you realize that there is treasure found in the safety of God.


 
Whatever nonsense or chaos you find yourself in, remember to stay hidden in His presence, recall His Word, and "move ahead confidently with what you know is right and important in God's eyes." (Psalm 16:8 Life Application Study Bible)

11.24.2015

Daughter of the King {Bible Study}

Open Box (in the spirit) and Present Gift (put it on)




This crown signifies the status of the kingdom to which you are connected to not only in spirit. It’s your bloodline. The blood that flowed on Calvary! This kingdom – The Kingdom of God – is governed by the King of kings and the Lord of lords. His kingdom is above every kingdom on earth and under the earth. He is sovereign over all!

Often I am nudged to do things in the natural to be represented in the spiritual realm. Amen!

Write your name in the air. Now erase it. Write in your most beautiful handwriting…use swirls and big letters…calligraphy-like.
Daughter of the King
You, the Daughter of the King, have rights and privileges that the common people are not privy to. You sit under a King who has given you spiritual authority in your province (jurisdiction -- home, neighborhood, and community).

Your kingdom is full of riches and treasures in heavenly places. You have access to it by faith. Call on the name that is above every name!

With these great benefits come great personal sacrifices, and an obligation to the Kingdom of God to represent Our King with great honor. We are to be careful not to bring dishonor by way of our actions, decisions or choices.

You may ask, “Is it possible to be honorable?”

It is—if we are in relationship with God who is holy, we can by His guiding gentle hand be holy and bring honor to Jesus in the province we reside and have authority over.

Recently, I co-signed onto a tweet that seemed innocent, but God thought otherwise. To think Jesus was in the phrase, which should have sanctified the rest. As quickly as I accepted that with an action the Lord chastised me. I heard clearly in the still small voice,

Let no unclean thing defile the temple.

I was a bit taken back not sure what the Spirit of God was conveying to me in revelation. Then it hit me like a brick. It was for me!

Defile: 1. to make foul, dirty, or unclean; pollute; taint; debase. 2. to violate the chastity of. 3. to make impure for ceremonial use; desecrate. Synonyms: spoil, desecrates something sacred

1 Corinthians 3:17
2 Corinthians 6:17
Revelation 21:27

Proverbs 3:12
Hebrews 12:6

In His goodness, God was revealing to me that being hip and relevant is not holy, and as He put it, “It defiles the temple.” Jesus never assimilated. He never blended in with the culture. He stood out and apart. So many who take on the name of Jesus to be labeled in membership, clothing, tattoos, jewelry, and d├ęcor or dare I say on the ministry's letterhead. Yet, the name of Jesus alone doesn't sanctify the rest -- what is dishonorable. In fact, it's the opposite. Isn't it?! A little leaven will spoil the whole loaf.

The Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees
Matthew 16:5-12
Life Application Bible: Jesus used leaven as an example of how a small amount of evil can affect a large group of people. The wrong teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees were leading many people astray. Beware of the tendency to say, “How can this little wrong possibly affect anyone?”

Galatians 5:7b-9
Life Application Bible: A little leaven (yeast) causes a whole lump of dough to rise. It only takes one wrong person to infect all the others.

To be more precise, it only takes one wrong source of input to defile your temple. The source can be a likeness of Christianity, and maybe even uses scripture or the use of Our Saviors name, although the teaching is unsanctified as a whole.

If you’re gleaning from any source to be fed -- learn and grow -- other than the truth of Christ’s teaching and the Word of God you are heading down a slippery slope. You will begin to co-mingle ideas and philosophies with scripture making it difficult for yourself in the near future to stand in the worst of times.

Colossians 2:8-10
Life Application Bible: Paul writes against any philosophy of life based only on human ideas and experiences. Paul himself was a gifted philosopher, so he is not condemning philosophy. He is condemning teaching that credits humanity, not Christ, with being the answer to life’s problems. That approach becomes a false religion. There are many man-made approaches to life’s problems that totally disregard God. To resist heresy you must use your mind, keep your eyes on Christ, and study God’s Word.

1 Corinthians 5:6-8
"...you truly are unleavened." 1 Corinthians 5:7
Unleavened in the Greek is azumos, which means uncorrupted.
Life Application Bible: Paul does not expect anyone to be sinless—all believers struggle with sin daily. Instead, he is speaking against those who deliberately sin, feel no guilt, and refuse to repent. This kind of sin cannot be tolerated in the church because it affects others. We have a responsibility to other believers. Yeast (leaven) makes bread dough rise. A little bit affects the whole batch. Blatant sin, left uncorrected, confuse and divide the congregation. While believers should encourage, pray for, and build up one another, they must also be intolerant of sin that jeopardizes the spiritual health of the church.

In a smaller setting, our homes could be in a state of confusion and divided. Our relationships with our children affected as well. Sin in our life can spill over into work/career/school with negative repercussions also.

Walking in the Spirit
Galatians 5:16-25

When we’re walking in the spirit blessings, favor and hand-holding guidance are a given. Even so, correction comes also. Most children want all the good stuff being connected to their parents, but have a tendency to rebel in disobedience. We are no different in this tendency because we are Children of God. However, when we are a true follower of Christ – His disciple – correction is a must as we mature in the faith -- learning and growing in Christ!

Resembling the ministry of Apostle Paul, I write these words to recognize your value you in the faith of Jesus Christ, my brothers and sisters. You are royalty seated in heavenly places in position as the son or daughter of a king, and co-heirs in Christ according to scripture. Therefore, I encourage you and testify of the benefits of such a position. Likewise, I must also share the heart of God concerning correction, not because I am above the same, for I myself were subject to it—and it is my obligation as a minister of the Gospel to feed you what the Lord has plated up for me to digest.

11.12.2015

Are You Ready? {Bible Study}

The revelation of God’s Word is revealed for purpose -- to give us direction and instruction, not only for ourselves, but for those under the care and love of Christ within ministry. It makes clear the crooked way straight. It brings to the forefront what needs to be made right.

I thank God for His faithfulness concerning our Bible Study, Renewal, providing meat week to week to feed His sheep.

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins
Matthew 25:1-13 (Red Letter, Jesus is Speaking)


 

The parable expounds on two types of people wise and foolish. Some people of the Church – Believers – are NOT ready because they are NOT true converts. They’re still holding onto issues in their life, and have not made Him Lord of their life—He is not a priority.

‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ” Matthew 15:8-9

These (foolish) Virgins are the attendants at the wedding not multiple brides. The Virgins are eager to meet the Bridegroom with anticipation of the celebration. Yet, the foolish Virgins are unprepared and will be turned away.

This parable illustrates watchfulness.

All have been given an invitation. However, do you have your oil in reserve?

The Lord is showing us that we could be turned away from such an invitation. How could that be?

“…not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-27

What does the Bible say concerning our assurance?

Colossians 1:21-23 “If” is a conjunction -- a word that connects two clauses presenting a condition. “If” is contingent/conditional in the Holy Bible.

Life Application Bible: The way to be free from sin is to trust Jesus Christ to take it away. We must remain “grounded and steadfast” in the truth of the gospel, putting our confidence in Jesus alone to forgive our sins, to make us right with God, and to empower us to live the way he desires.

Is playin’ church or being Christian in name only grounded and steadfast in the truth of the gospel? Is that putting confidence in Christ? We need to ask ourselves, "Where’s the fruit?" Are we empowered to live the way he desires?

Colossians 2:6-7
Life Application Bible: Receiving Christ as Lord of your life is the beginning of life with Christ. But you must continue to follow his leadership by being rooted, built up, and established in the faith. Christ wants to guide you and help you with your daily problems. You can live for Christ by (1) committing your life and submitting your will to him (Romans 12:1-2); (2) seeking to learn from him, his life, and his teachings (3:16); and (3) recognizing the Holy Spirit’s power in you (Acts 1:8; Galatians 5:22).

Do you want just enough of Jesus to have your needs met or do you want to live for Christ?! Whatever level your faith, I say there’s more…more of God, more of Jesus and more of the Holy Spirit!

If you’re reading this, it’s probably your heart’s desire, but you might ask yourself, “How do I get there from here?”

Promise of the Lord’s Help
Isaiah 42:16

Isaiah 40:3-5
Life Application Study Bible: Preparing a straight highway means removing obstacles and rolling out the red carpet for the coming of the Lord. The wilderness is a picture of life’s trails and sufferings. We are not immune to these, but our faith need not be hindered by them. Isaiah told people to prepare to see God work.

Luke 3:5
Life Application Study Bible: In John’s day, before a king took a trip, messengers would tell those he was planning to visit to prepare the roads for him. Similarly John told his listeners to make their lives ready so the Lord could come to them. To prepare for Jesus’ coming to us, we must focus on him, listen to his words, and respond obediently to his directions.

This is Father’s heart for us! The Holy Spirit will be our Helper in removing obstacles and hindrances so that we may flourish in righteousness and receive our full spiritual inheritance.

There were only so many who made it to the Promised Land (rest). Do you want to make it to the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey? I’m not talking about your inheritance in Heaven, but while in your earthly vessel. There are promises to benefit from that you and I can attain if we are willing.

“Lord, teach us to pray.” Luke 11:1

“So He said to them, When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven.” Luke 11:2

Who wants the Kingdom of God to invade their life…their ministry?

It’s possible, and together we will see the glory of the Lord revealed. Get ready to see God work in your life, your family, and in your ministry!

My Prayer for You: Ephesians 3:14-19

10.28.2015

God, What Can You Do With Me? {Bible Study}

Last week's Bible Study helped us understand that though we indeed have the nagging of self-hatred or self-analysis to the point of paralysis and the enemy's accusations it's enough to bring us to the point of giving up. Yet, at our lowest when we think, "God, what can you do with me?" Then He opens the door, and asks us to walk through it by faith.

Psalm 73:26 "My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

With each step of faith the Lord beckons me to deeper waters, trusting without borders. I am humbled that this seeking soul who needs to be stretched daily in salvation is asked to follow, and then lead others. How can it be? I think I am not fit to introduce you to Him, never mind taking your hand to walk a while and speak of Him. Yet, He has uses the lowly, the beaten up and trashed of the world to give God glory. He takes the broken of the world and in His hands makes them beautiful in His time.

I suspect this decrease of self, will only intensify as I have seen it so in these many years since 1996 when I asked Jesus into my heart. What a glorious journey, but oh the breaking which allowed glory a place to reign in my heart. Let my heart fail, and even my flesh Lord, but I will stand on this truth no matter the circumstances or doubting thoughts, you are my strength and my portion forever!

Believe what the Bible says as truth. Don’t let the comments and opinions of others carry such weight in our hearts. No matter the rejection or neglect of those we love it is Jesus’ love that satisfies us most. His love is selfless and has no agenda other than to love us with perfection. The enemy’s voice is futile and speaks only lies.

Revelation 12:11 "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death."

With the Holy Spirit we have the power and authority to change what is expected of us because of our family history or lineage curses, and to re-write what was predisposed about us. If our mothers were fearful that doesn’t have to be our destiny. If our father was a lover of money, women or alcohol we can side with Christ and take a stand for righteous living. If our ancestors were idol worshippers we can choose the One True God to show our affections to. If divorce and depression run rampant in our family generations it can stop with us. Not because we will it, but it is by the blood of Christ that we have the power and authority to decree and declare that our outcome be different, and overcome the enemy – who is under our feet!

Romans 16:20 "And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly."

My free will has nothing to do with when I began my life, what family I am connected to, or when my ending will be. However, it’s the dash in between that is all up to me in Christ Jesus!



If we are under the guidance of Holy Spirit we know that Psalm 139:16 is true because He is a witness to God’s Word in our spirit-man through revelation. Believe the Word of God above your circumstances or your predisposition in life. We shall overcome!

 
Be open to how God can use you this coming week. God sees the heart of man not the outward appearance or behavior.

You are a likely candidate to bring God glory. Go! Be His hands and feet! God will use those who are willing and available. Let Him qualify you as you step out in faith. God be glorified!

10.06.2015

Wings To Fly

“...let us lay aside every weight...and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1

A shift is in the works, and I’m being intentionally quiet and seeking the Lord. In times such as these I trade-in my exuberance for a reflective demeanor. Inward I go. Perhaps it’s a survival method to guard from self condemnation that sometimes comes with parenting. What if? Why do I take after my mom? Why can’t I be more like them?

Last weekend my daughter and I shared some pretty ugly moments over studying and homework at the kitchen table, which caused a trigger to search my heart. I'm still searching, and likewise checking my motives in comparison with God’s desire at this particular season. This is most important, as I have been through many shifts as needs changed and her independence grew. Like potty training or the first days of school, I felt a shift no matter how much I wanted to keep things as they were.

Whether moms give in right away or drag out the process, we instinctively know when it’s time to give our children a gentle push.


I’ve pushed my daughter in so many areas, but I gather this one will be bitter sweet as I let go and let God. I am unsure what will come of this next push in giving her more room to be responsible. Will there be failing grades or missed assignments? I’m a little unnerved. Even so, I stumble over this truth, “When do I stop, so that God can begin His work (in her).” This child is my precious promise, and like every other parent I don’t want her to have less than what is possible. I don’t want her to wait years upon years to succeed in something…anything. Yet, even now God is speaking, “If you don’t let go she’ll never learn to run to Me.” And so I surrender, for God has already begun the work in my heart revealing His desire.

Even though life happens, and we say with a smirk, “It is what it is,” as Believers we have an advantage. We have access to God in heaven sitting on the throne wanting to hear from us. And He is faithful to comfort, guide and lead in all things.

Since the birth of my daughter I have done a lot of growing up with her, and it’s been a beautiful journey overall. Perhaps this too will take on a vibrant hue of gold when I take a step back in a few months and declare, “Look what the Lord has done!”

 

9.25.2015

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!

#BETHEGIFT
BECAUSE GOD HAS BLESSED ME
IN SO MANY WAYS BIG AND SMALL

"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?!
 
#BeTheGift


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!

9.17.2015

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.

6.25.2015

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.

Confession

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

6.20.2015

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!

5.28.2015

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
Dust.
Pinterest
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.
Kindle
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!

5.14.2015

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.


1.14.2015

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.”
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