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Give me a word, Lord: CHURCHING

Colossians 4:5-6 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Philippians 2:5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.

I Peter 1:13-16 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

My husband and I enjoy winding down at the end of the day with a good movie. Sometimes I can stay awake for the whole movie, but a lot of the time, I fall asleep. One night after a super busy day on the farm, I watched part of a movie that came on at 10:00. Jeff had been in the hay field all morning while I chased and caught bugs with my grandson and then made some cucumber mint jam. We picked 4 bushels of purple hull peas as evening approached, and quite honestly, although I wanted to watch the movie, I couldn’t hold my eyes open. I asked Jeff to save it on DVR. Maybe we’ll watch it another night.

It was a cute movie, but what caught my attention was the idea of “churching”. There was a young lady who moved in with her ex-mother-in-law after the death of her ex-father-in-law. She was supposed to be helping the woman pack up, but she also wanted to help her through her grieving. The mother-in-law was very involved in her church, but the young lady had never been to church in her life. While packing, she found a Bible. It was Sunday morning so she suggested to the mother-in-law that they go “churching”, and off they went.

As I said, I couldn’t stay awake for it all, but here are a couple of my take aways. First of all, I saw church through the eyes of someone who had never been to church before. She was rough around the edges, and she didn’t know “how things worked.” She stood up in the middle of the sermon and asked questions, and got the pastor flustered. She was told, “we don’t really ask questions during the sermon.” The second time she went, she stood up before the sermon began and said she was just going to ask her questions up front so as not to interrupt. She asked if this religion was the right religion and if so why were there so many other religions and what made this one the right one. The pastor chuckled as he informed her that she sure did ask easy questions. He seemed to recognize her desire for knowledge about Christ. The second thing I noticed was the way her “churching” upset the church. You see, there was a snooty old church lady who called a committee meeting after the second church visit. She complained about the young women’s disruptive behavior, demanded that the pastor do something about it, and even had the audacity to tell him what to preach the next Sunday.

As an adult who has been in church my entire life, I find it hard to put myself in the shoes of someone who has never had the blessing of being raised with a family of believers. As such, it is easy for us “church people” to look down our noses at the non-churched when they show up and don’t act like us. We turn into the snooty old church lady with a bad attitude. I don’t think we mean to. I think we just haven’t put ourselves in their shoes.

We are called to be wise in the way that treat outsiders with conversations full of grace and seasoned with salt. We are called to love like Jesus loves, and we are called to share the gospel with everyone…not just people who are like us. Church is not the building. It is the body of believers. So I challenge you to go “churching” today. Share the love of Christ with everyone you come in contact with…especially those who are a little rough around the edges!

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Give me a word, Lord: WHO’S YOUR DADDY

Today’s word is an excerpt from my most recently released book “Inspirations from the Funny Farm.” The book includes a variety of true life stories and experiences from the farm as well as some family traditions and memories. I felt that today was a good day to share this. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

So many things have changed over the years. I think one thing that has changed that has made the biggest impact on our country is family structure. Everything about family structure has changed. Couples are divorcing in record number. Kids are being raised by single moms, single dads, and even same sex couples. Many kids today don’t recognize great parenting because they have never experienced it. I know that divorce happens, and I am not looking down on anyone that has been through a divorce. My parents divorced when I was 11 years old, and my first marriage ended in divorce. But I am one of the fortunate children of divorced parents. My daddy is an awesome Christian father, and he took his charge as daddy very seriously.

My daddy had all daughters. I was the tomboy of the bunch, and I loved doing all the things tomboys did. I have so many fond memories of my childhood that include my daddy. He was strict, but we knew that his strictness evolved from the love and concern he had for his children. He brought us to church the very first Sunday after we were born and pretty much every time the doors were open after that. We knew that Christ was important to him, and this knowledge and his faithfulness helped to build the foundation for us as we learned the ways of the Lord.
Daddy worked as a policeman when we were kids. I loved to spend time with him and thought of him as my own personal superhero. Daddy let me ride along with him in the patrol car many a night. Poplarville, MS, is a very small town, and there wasn’t a great deal of crime going on back then. He always kept things interesting though. We shot turtles off the city sewer treatment pond. We shined a spotlight at the streetlights to make them go dark. We spent many hours just sitting at the courthouse in the Sheriff’s office. I watched my daddy as he handled tough scenarios with grace and ease. Yes, he was and still is my hero.

After my parents divorced, Daddy was sad for a long while. Yet, he never waivered from being the strong Christian daddy that we knew him to be. Mama was a fighter. I loved her dearly, but facts are facts. She loved to pick fights with Daddy. The one thing that stands out most about my Daddy is that he never once fought back. He never spoke ill of my mother to us. He never argued with her in front of us. He always turned the other cheek and carried on. Though he had been through the fire, his character was never singed. This, my friends, is the kind of daddy that our society is sorely lacking. I praise God every day that he saw fit to make this wonderful man my daddy.

Jeff and I are both fortunate in this area. Jeff also has a wonderful father, and I am so lucky because he is now my father-in-law. We call Jeff’s dad Paw Paw JB. Jeff has told me some truly awesome stories of his childhood, and I know that he feels as blessed to have him for a dad as I do to have my own daddy. The first time I met Paw Paw JB, Jeff had warned me that Paw Paw probably wouldn’t like me. Yep, he actually told me that. He quickly followed that statement with, “but he’s gonna love you once he gets to know you. I promise.” Naturally, I was scared to death to meet him after that introduction. Jeff had invited me to go with his family to see the Christmas lights at Cassidy Park in Bogalusa. We stopped off at his parent’s house to pick up his mom, Nanny. Paw Paw had just come back home, and I quickly introduced myself to him. I stuck out my right hand to shake his hand. He had a bucket of worms in one hand. He kind of mumbled a hello and turned away. He did not shake my hand. I must admit, I was terrified of that man. Thankfully, that changed very quickly. As we got to know one another, I grew to love Paw Paw. He slowly let down that tough outer shell, and we got to know each other quite well.

For the first few years of our marriage, Jeff worked overseas a month at a time. Paw Paw would stop by on Saturday mornings and check in on me and our place. I would fix him a cup of coffee, and he slowly began to talk to me. He told me many stories from his youth. We discussed politics in depth, the problems of the world, and we developed a mutual respect for one another. He is 82 years old now, and he can still out work most people half his age. He has been a wonderful father to my husband through the years, and he is now a great grandfather.

Jeff and I have been truly blessed with great dads, and we know it. One of us is the product of divorce and the other is not. Two different men, two different pasts, two different career paths, but very much similar in the ways that they chose to lead their families. The difference between our dads and some other dads is that these men had strong Christian upbringings, and both became Christians themselves. They take their job as daddy very seriously. They love their family, children and grandchildren with their whole hearts, and they lead by example teaching those coming up behind them how to live a good life. We are very fortunate indeed. I realize that some of you may not have had the same good fortune to have dads like our dads but take heart. You have a Father who is even greater than the wonderful dads that we have. Our Father in heaven loves us more than we can even comprehend, and He wants a relationship with us. He doesn’t just want a Sunday morning relationship. He wants us to know Him as Daddy, Abba, Father. He knows our innermost thoughts and needs, and He desires that we come to Him for everything: the good, the bad, and the ugly. He desires a close relationship with his children. Just imagine seeing your daddy once a week for an hour or two and then not talking to him or seeing him or thinking about him for another week at which time you decided to give him another hour or two of your time. What kind of relationship would that be? Definitely not a very good one. But that is the type of relationship so many professing to be Christians have with Christ. They have a Sunday morning service relationship and that is it. Can you really know Christ that way? The answer is no. However, when we talk to Christ in the morning when we arise, before meals, all throughout the day, and then again before we slumber each night, we develop a strong relationship with our Father. We begin to know Him and rely on Him and seek Him. Then we truly become His children. We cannot do it all on our own, but with Him, we can do all things!

“I can do all things through Christ strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
“A father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.” Psalm 103:13
“Start children off in the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it. Psalm 22:6

“You are my hiding place, you will protect me from trouble, and surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:78

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Give me a word, Lord: FEEDING TIME

I Peter 2:2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.

Matthew 4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’

Jeremiah 15:16 When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight,
for I bear your name, Lord God Almighty.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

We have had so many bottle baby critters through the years. We have bottle fed wild baby deer, skunks, possums, raccoons, squirrels, and flying squirrels. We have also bottle fed calves, goats, sheep, coatimundi, lemur, and a kangaroo. When we bottle feed the critters they become very social animals, and they love interacting with humans. This is one commonality between all the critter species!

When we first get the hungry babies, we know we have to feed them. They have to continue getting nourishing milk so that they can survive, stay healthy, and gain strength. However, they are just babies, and they don’t realize that this kinky headed woman with a plastic nipple is trying to feed and nourish them. I’ll admit, the first few days are usually a struggle. After they finally learn to latch on to the bottle, it seems that they can’t get enough milk. They start eating well, and their appetites are voracious.

As Christians, we need to crave the word of God like these babies crave milk. We need to eat the word of God like the prophet Jeremiah. We need the word for survival. The word of God provides healing, strength, wisdom, and life. Just as physical food nourishes our physical bodies, the word of God nourishes our spiritual body. We need it to survive and grow.
Now, sometimes we think that we don’t have time for studying God’s word. We go to church on Sunday so that’s probably giving us enough spiritual nutrition to keep us going, right? Wrong! We make time to eat 3 hot meals a day for our physical health, but we seem to think we can get by on 1 or 2 snacks a week for our spiritual health.

God wants us to be in His word daily, but He doesn’t expect you to read it all day and all night every day. However, He does expect you to make time for Him daily though. We make time to eat, right? No matter how busy we get, when our stomachs start growling, we put some food in our bellies. Our spiritual body and mind crave a continual feeding of the word, and we should study the word every day to satisfy that need as well.

God knows we’re busy. He knows everything that’s going on in our lives, but He wants us to know Him better, to have a closer walk with Him, to feel His presence all day every day. One way to do this is by setting aside a special time each day to read the Bible. We may not understand all the words. We don’t need to study a new language. We don’t have to be a Bible scholar. We only need to read, soak in the words, reflect on them, and listen to what God has to say.

It may be hard to get into the habit at first. Getting those bottle babies to take the bottle the first couple of days is always a challenge, but just like they learn to latch on and crave the bottle, once we get into the habit of studying the Bible, we will develop voracious appetites for God’s Word. Start out slow and go. Go feed on the Word!!

(The image attached is a picture of Bucky, an axis deer. He isn’t a bottle baby anymore, but anytime there is a bottle baby in the barn Bucky gets a sip of the bottle.)

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Give me a word, Lord: ONE TRUE GOD

I Kings 18:26-39 26 So they took the bull given them and prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made. At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention. Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the LORD, which had been torn down. Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” With the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed. He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.” “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again. “Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench. At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD—he is God! The LORD—he is God!”

I love the example that Elijah gave us in this scripture exhibiting the true power of God. When we read through the book of Kings we see king after king who “did evil in the sight of the Lord.” Ahab was no exception. In fact, the scripture says that King Ahab did more evil than any of the kings before him. He must have been a pretty rotten scoundrel. God caused a drought that had lasted 3 years. Ahab was seeking the prophet Elijah will ill intent. Elijah showed up, and called all of the people together for a test. He told Ahab we’ll set up alters and all 450 of your prophets can call on your god, and me, one lone prophet, will call on my God, and we will see who the true God is. So they set up their alters, and King Ahab’s men called on Baal, their god, from morning to evening. They did not get a response. I chuckle a little when I read Elijah’s taunting words. He told them that maybe their god was asleep. Maybe they needed to shout louder and wake him up, or perhaps he was busy, or traveling, or in deep thought. So they shouted louder. But still no answer.

Then Elijah got his turn. He prepared the alter, then he poured water all over the alter…lots of water…enough for it to puddle up under the alter. Then he quietly called out to God. God sent fire down from heaven with so much force and heat that it burned the entire altar, the stones, the dust, and even licked up all of the water! The people witnessed the power of the one true God once more, and they turned to Him. And after a 3 year drought, rain came. It’s almost like the rain came down to gently wash and clean up that terrible place.

The people of Israel saw God work first hand on many occasions, but they persistently turned to false gods. We aren’t the biblical time Israealites, but we are just as guilty. We see the power of God on a daily basis, but we worship earthly idols. Perhaps not with intention, as the Israealites did, but we are guilty nonetheless. We focus our minds and energy and waste soooooo much time on TV, computers, cell phones, whatever it may be. We worry about the dollar, our house, and our vehicles. We want this or that. We think if only I could get this _ (fill in the blank), we would be happy, when actually what we are truly craving and in need of is a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior! He is all powerful, all knowing, and ever present. He doesn’t sleep, vacation, get too busy for us, and we are always on His mind. He is all we really need. The one true God is still here. The same God Elijah called on is the same God I talk to every day. You don’t have to shout or scream to get His attention. You must simply call out His name! He is the one true God!

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Give me a word, Lord: PICTURE PERFECT

Psalm 34:1-4 I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

Psalm 63:3-4 Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Do you ever just want to turn everything off…the news, the TV, the radio? Ugghh! That old saying, “No news is good news” has a whole lot of weight to it recently! I’m so very tired of all of the bad news that I keep hearing. There is so much evil going on in this world right now that it’s hard to see the good. It makes me want to run away to a desert island somewhere and just get away from it all…but then there’s God. No matter what is going on in this crazy world, I know that God is right here with me, seeing me through every challenge, and guiding my way so there is no need to run away. I only need to run…to Him!

I think we all create a perfect picture in our minds of how our lives are supposed to look, and when things happen that change the look of our lives, we may briefly forget that God is still right there with us. We can’t lose hope though. We can praise God through the storm because we have faith that His plan is always so much better than our plan!

David is a great example. He was the golden child anointed to be the next king. In his youth, he slayed the giant Goliath. He led multiple successful military campaigns, and he even married the daughter of King Saul. He must have had a beautiful picture in his mind of how his life would be. He served the Lord faithfully except for that one little hiccup with Bathsheba. Yet even with the almost perfect life, David found himself running from Saul, who wanted to kill him, for about 10 years and later running from his own son. But what did David do? He praised God. He knew that God would see him through whatever sticky situation that came his way, so he simply praised God. Take some time to read through the Psalms. David journaled his life in song and poetry in the Psalms. He cried out to God in anguish, but He never stopped praising Him!

We have to realize that God’s destiny for our lives doesn’t change because of our circumstances. The picture perfect life we have in our mind’s eye doesn’t even come close to the perfect plan that God has in store for us.

Although our lives look nothing like we pictured them at the moment, we can still praise God and rejoice in Him and His promises. He has big plans in store for us, and I’m willing to bet that it’s a picture perfect plan!

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Give me a word, Lord: SAVED

John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Normally, my morning devotions are written as an encouragement to myself with hopes of encouraging others, but today’s word is a little different. I recognized a trait in myself a couple of years ago. I realized that I was a bit of a narrow minded christian. Yep, I admit it. My narrow mindedness revolved around the fact that I had been brought up in church my whole life, and I just assumed that everyone I knew had that same good fortune. I was wrong. When I began to ask people where they attended church, I was overwhelmed by the number of responses I received from people telling me that they didn’t really go to church. It blew me away and broke my heart. As christians, we walk around with the absolute best news in the world, and we forget to share it with others. In case by chance you are reading this and you don’t know Christ, please keep reading. This one is for you!

We Mississippi Baptist refer to accepting Christ as our Lord and Savior as getting “saved”. I can remember a few years ago when joyfully discussing a co-workers child getting saved when a Catholic co-worker asked what we meant by the term “getting saved”. Narrow minded me thought everyone knew what that meant. It became apparent to me that even from church to church our “christianese” is different. See how narrow minded I was? At any rate, I explained what getting saved means, and I would like to try to do that today. It’s important so please stick with me.

God created the heavens and the earth. If you read Genesis 1:26, you will see the plural pronoun “our” when God said let us make man in our image. This shows us the trinity of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit’s presence at the time of the creation of earth and everything on it. There was a plan for you and I from the very beginning. Flip over to Matthew, and you can read about the birth of the Messiah. God sent His Son, Jesus to earth to be born as man, fully God and fully man, for a purpose. The purpose was for you and I to have a personal relationship with the Father and enjoy eternity with Him in heaven. You see, Jesus was crucified on a cross. He was crucified for the sins of mankind. He was completely sinless and perfect in every way. He had never so much as told a little white lie. Yet, He suffered a horrible agonizing death on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven. Three days later, He arose from the dead. The grave could not contain Him. Death could not win. He ascended to heaven but promises to return, and between you and me, that time looks like it is drawing near! When He ascended, He left with us a comforter, the Holy Spirit, and when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit resides within us to comfort us, lead us in the right direction, let us know when we are doing wrong, and helps to keep us on the right path.

I know this may sound like some big crazy sci-fi story. Who in the world would die for sinners? Who would selflessly die for murderers, thieves, liars, and even for me? Who would suffer an agonizing painful death so that I may live eternally? His name is Jesus. He is God in the flesh, and He loves you so much that He did all of this just for you! Why would He do that? Because He loves you! When we die, our souls will have a final destination: heaven or hell. With Jesus, your final address will be heaven. Without Him, it will be hell.
How do you get Jesus? How do you get saved? It doesn’t cost even one red cent! All you have to do is admit you are a sinner. We all are sinners. Read Romans 3:23, Roman’s 6:23, and I John 1:9. Believe that He died on the cross for your sins and was resurrected from the dead. Read John 3:16. And finally confess and choose Christ. Confess and allow Jesus to be in charge of your life. Read Romans 10:9 and Romans 10:13.

People ask me all the time how I always keep a smile on my face or why I always seem happy even when things aren’tgoing well. Happiness comes and goes, but the joy of knowing Jesus as my personal Savior continues through all of the goodness and badness life throws at me because I know that He is mine and I am His! Read Roman’s 15:13. Why don’t you get to know Him today?

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Give me a word, Lord: FAMILY

Psalm 103:17 But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.

Ephesians 4:2-3 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.


Family has always been of great importance to me. Our ways are probably considered old fashioned, but we still gather together as one big family for Sunday lunches after church. We have our grown kids over for supper at least once a week, and we sit down as a family for our evening meal every day. This gives us opportunities to love on our kids, hear what is going on in their lives, and share what is going on in ours. I value this time with family. It is more precious that diamonds!

God created humans with the family unit in mind. He designed it so that we would have parents and grandparents to impart their wisdom upon us, children for us to love and teach and guide, siblings to enjoy times of togetherness and joy, heartaches and heart breaks, and spouses to share in all of life’s ups and downs. He knew when He created us that family situations sometimes will get messy, and He provided a means for guidance and wisdom for any and every situation we may encounter. We have His Word to stand on and to guide us, the Holy Spirit within us, and God is ready to protect and bless our families through any and every situation we may encounter.

My greatest desire and constant prayer as a parent is for all of my children to follow Christ, to desire a closeness with Him, and follow the path that He designed specifically for them. I am so thankful for the many family blessings that God has bestowed on me. I am especially thankful for each and every member of my family. Family is so important to Christ, and I am so thankful for the family God gave me! Praying for your families today!

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Give me a word, Lord: DEVIL, GET OFF OF MY BACK!

2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Last month, I awoke with a little soreness in my lower back. Before it was all said and done, I had a back ache that lasted several weeks. I hadn’t done anything to cause the pain, but when you’re in your 50s, aches and pains just show up out of nowhere! I took a hot showers, and my sweet husband rubbed me down with Aspercreme with Lidocaine. I highly recommend this stuff. Keep it on hand. You won’t regret it! Today, the back pain is completely gone.

I started thinking about that back pain and that it felt like I was carrying a monkey on my back all day long. (Of course, I would relate it to an animal. Lol) But then, I started thinking about old Satan and how he sneaks in when we least expect it and jumps on our back. We then seem to try to carry the weight of the whole world around, and we slowly get bogged down and consumed by the weight of it all.

Everything around us seems to be going well, and then all of a sudden that old devil is riding on our back. He seeks to destroy everything good, and he always seems to show up when things are at their best. You want to know why? The devil can not stand to see us walking with Christ. He can’t stand to see us working for God, serving God, and doing well. If that old devil is trying to take a piggyback ride on your back, I can guarantee you that you are doing something right! If you aren’t living for Christ, he doesn’t give a two hoots about what you’re doing so he’ll leave you alone. But if you are feeling the attack, rest easy my friend, you are working for Christ, and Christ has already defeated that old devil! Scripture tells us that we will be persecuted if we are living a godly life. We can expect it, and knowledge is power.

When we know a storm is coming, we prepare. Well, my friend, spiritual warfare is here, and it’s time to prepare for battle! So how do I get the devil off my back? Aspercreme, as good as it is, will not help this problem. Nope! We have to bring in the big guns. The very first thing to do is pray. Call out to Christ. He has already defeated the devil, and He will deliver you from the evil one too. Get in the Word. Read all of the promises made to you by God, and trust in these. Lean on the promises of God. Memorize and quote that scripture. Use the sword of God to defend yourself. And while you are wielding that sword around, don’t forget to put on the full armor of God. He will protect His kids!

Just remember, it is not who you are that wins the battle, but “whose” you are! Keep fighting the evil one. God’s already decided who gets to win the battle!

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Give me a word, Lord: MOUNTAINS AND MAJESTY

Psalm 95:1-5 Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods. He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains. The sea belongs to him, for he made it. His hands formed the dry land, too.

I’m sitting here in the Dallas Fortworth Airport trying to get home. Our layover flight has been delayed, and we likely won’t make it home until 3:00 am. I have found myself with a few hours of idle time, and I confess that I don’t idle well. I am trying to return home after eight days of vacation after all, so I’m kind of in a hurry to get back home to the family and the critters. However, there is nothing I can do but wait…and praise God…and tell you good folks about the wonderful vacation we are returning home from.

My husband, Jeff, planned this vacation, booked it, and handled all of the details. All I had to do was pack and go. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I’ll admit that I was a bit leary, but as always everything turned out even better than expected. He booked an eight day vacation in the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. Oh, I’ve seen the Tetons first hand before and was very happy to return. The part I wasn’t sure about was the middle 4 days and 3 nights of the trip. Those days would be spent on a wagon train in the mountains, camping in cowboy tents….without the comforts of electricity….or running water. This country girl can adapt, but I must admit that I have a great fondness for electricity and hot showers!

Although I wasn’t sure what to expect, the moment that we landed at the Jackson Hole Airport, I knew that this would be a vacation of a lifetime. How? It was simple. I was greeted by the majesty of the Grand Tetons upon landing, and I saw, once again, with my very own eyes the absolute majesty of our Lord and Savior. The splendor and detail of His creation took my breath away. I just knew that everything would be alright.

We spent a couple of days in the town of Jackson Hole, WY, and on the third day, a bus picked us up and drove my husband and I and 34 other strangers up into the mountains to a very remote place. We were given a brief overview, served lunch, and then we either rode horseback or rode in covered wagons to our campsite. Once we arrived, we set up our tents and began to get busy getting to know the crew and the other campers. Each day, we rode horses, enjoyed visiting with new found friends, learned to throw knives and tomahawks and learned to rope a steer, and each night we slept under the stars. We also learned to share an outhouse with about 50 people. The cook served delicious hot meals three times a day cooked over an open fire and in Dutch ovens. After a good nights sleep each night, we awoke each morning to hot cowboy coffee and a hot breakfast. We would then break down our tents, pack up camp, and travel by horse or by wagon to the next camp.

My description probably doesn’t sound terribly exciting, but I must confess that this was truly one of my most memorable vacations ever. It was definitely different than any we have taken before, but it was not a bad kind of different. On the trail, we prayed openly before every meal inviting God into our camp and asking his blessings on our trip as well as praising Him for His goodness and glory. We went up on that mountain with 34 strangers and about 10 wranglers who were also strangers, but in four short days, we made friendships that will last a lifetime. We had no cell phones or internet distractions. There were no electronic devices. We had the mountain, the wagons, the horses, and the people. We communicated with one another. We shared our life stories, and we listened. We were taken back to a different time when people actually communicated with one another, worked together, prayed together, and laughed together. Most importantly, we saw and experienced the great majesty of our Lord. We were surrounded by unexplainable beauty.

Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods. He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains. The sea belongs to him, for he made it. His hands formed the dry land, too. Sometimes, we need to slow down and get away from the chaos of everyday life so that we can remind ourselves of the greatness of our God. We tend to get so overwhelmed with all of the white noise that roars in our ears daily, and it becomes difficult to recognize God’s majesty. You don’t have to go up on a mountain, my friend, but I do pray that you take some time to look for God in all things each day. He is in the glorious morning sunrises and the late evening sunsets. He is in the laughter of a baby, the colorful fluttering wings of a butterfly, and in all of the vibrant flowers we see each day. For it is our great God that created all of these things. His majesty is on the mountains for sure, but it can also be found in the valleys. You don’t have to take a vacation to find Him. He is right here, right now, waiting for you to enjoy His presence. Let us sing praises and shout joyfully to the Lord of our salvation.

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Give me a word, Lord: COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

Numbers 6:24-26 The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Psalm 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Count your blessings is an old hymn that many of you probably sang in church through the years. I woke up singing this song in my head this morning. The chorus says, “Count your blessings; Name them one by one. Count your blessings; See what God hath done. Count your blessings; Name them one by one. Count your many blessings; See what God hath done.”

This song was written by Johnson Oakman, Jr. in 1897. Johnson was born April 21, 1856 to a merchant in Lumberton, NJ. His dad was proclaimed to have the finest singing voice in town. Johnson unfortunately did not inherit his father’s beautiful voice. I feel his pain. My dad sings making a joyful noise, but I can only make a happy racket.

Johnson wanted to take part in the ministry, and after working for the family business a while, he studied ministry and ministered at the Methodist Episcopal Church. At age 36, he discovered his musical talent that he had been searching for. His talent for song writing became apparent, and he penned 200 songs per year, and eventually over 5000 songs flowed from his pen. You will recognize “No, Not One” and “Higher Ground”.
From what I see researching Johnson, he was a man with a strong desire to lead others to Christ, and he had a strong desire to sing praise to our Father. However, he lacked the physical talent of a voice for singing. That did not stop him. He knew that God gave him a talent and an ability to serve, and he found that he was able to preach the gospel through songs that he wrote. What a legacy of beautiful praise hymns he left for us to enjoy over a hundred years later!
This morning as that song resounded in my head, I couldn’t help but count my blessings as I said my morning prayers. Sometimes we get caught up in all the bad things going on or even dwell on the bad things that we’ve been through. We start a poor pitiful me campaign in our head, and then all we can see is the trouble we’ve endured. BUT if instead of dwelling on the bad, we remember the good we start recognizing blessing upon blessing that our loving Father has bestowed upon us. Even in our darkest hour, He is there, holding our hand, blessing us through our struggles.
The last verse of this song is my favorite: “So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged; God is over all. Count your many blessings; angels will attend, Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.” Today, spend some time counting your blessings and thanking God! I can’t sing, I’m not a song writer, but glory be to God that I can praise Him for all of the blessings He has given me!

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Give me a word, Lord: UNITY

Colossians 3:11-17 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Unity is the state of be joined as a whole. It is being a team and working together for a common cause. I see examples of unity on a daily basis at work. Our crew is a team of finely skilled professionals who come together to address the needs of any patient who walks through the door. For the receptionist, the manager, the nurse, and the provider, the patient is our priority. Our goal is to deliver high quality care whether it be for a splinter removal or a chainsaw laceration! The way that we achieve high quality care is through continued education opportunities, daily refreshing of our skills and knowledge, and knowing the strengths and weaknesses of our team as well as knowing the individual team member on a personal level. We aren’t just a bunch of co-workers. We are family, and we work together like a well oiled machine.

Now you know I don’t like to stand on a political soapbox, and I promise that I’m not going to do that today, but I just have to say that I have never in all my days seen this wonderful country that we live in be so un-united. As a nation, we are so divided, and it isn’t just due to one agenda. You can pick your own corner, but just be ready to come out fighting because someone is going to have a very strongly opposing view, and they are going to be ready to fight you for their viewpoint.

Wait a minute! Before you put on your boxing gloves, hear me out. I’m not trying to start a fight. I just want to end the fighting.
So what we do? Where do we go from here? Paul tells us the answer in Colossians 3. We are all very different people created uniquely by the divine Creator of the universe. As such, we are all going to believe differently, act differently, and yes, sometimes have very strong, deep opinions that are different from others. But if we have Christ within us, we are all unified in that one unique quality. We are God’s chosen. We are His children. As a child of God, we must clothe ourselves as His children. We have to learn to show compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. We have to learn to forgive as Christ forgives us. But most of all, we have to learn to love. These are the virtues that bring us to unity. I know that some of these virtues, maybe even most of these, don’t come easily or naturally to some of us. But I also know that as our love grows deeper for and in Christ, these virtues become our second nature.

I say all of that to say this; we need unity in our nation, our homes, our churches, and our families now more than ever. We need peace. The only way that we will achieve that is by practicing these virtues outlined by Paul. We have to become more like Christ, and more importantly, we have to share the love of Christ and the good news of salvation with this broken, hurting world. It’s not an option, Peeps. It’s our calling. When I see the mess that this country is in, I think, “there’s not much little old me can do to fix it.” And as an individual, I probably can’t, but when we join together, united as a body of believers in Christ, we can make mountains move! Let’s start trying hard to live in unity!

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Give me a word, Lord: EMPATHY

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

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Galatians 6:2-3 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. This involves not just actively listening to what someone says, but truly hearing what they are saying. That sounds silly, but it’s so important. How often do we listen, but not really hear? How often do we just nod and say uh-huh, but then minutes later we don’t even remember what the person was saying?

To be empathetic, we must train ourselves to be active listeners. I remember back in my early years of school while training to be a family nurse practitioner, I wrote down every thing I heard. In class, I wrote down everything the instructors said. Oh yes, I had some awesome notes. When I began seeing patients in clinicals, I wrote down everything the patient said while interviewing them. I was afraid I would forget something important. A very wise physician who was precepting me said, “stop writing down everything. Just listen and remember what they say.” That was probably some of the best advice I received while in school. I then had to retrain myself to listen and remember. I had to pay attention to not just what the patient was saying, but how they were saying it. Instead of writing notes, I was looking eye to eye with the patient. They had my full attention. I learned to not just hear what the patient said, but rather to feel what they were saying.

A whole lot of people are hurting right now for a countless number of reasons. As christians, we are to show compassion for others and comfort those going through troubled waters. Giving advice isn’t always the answer. When feeling troubled, people aren’t always looking to others for answers. Sometimes they just need to know that they are being heard and know that someone cares. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Today I challenge you to be empathetic. Look, listen, and hear what those around you are saying. We are all carrying a few burdens of our own, but how nice would it be to lighten someone else’s burdens today. Don’t try to solve the problems of the world. (I’m so guilty of this one.) Rather be a comforter. Show compassion. Love as Christ loves. Be empathetic! Point others to Christ by showing His love and compassion to this hurting world!

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Give me a word, Lord: CRACKED POTS

2 Corinthians 4:6-10 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

Yesterday, we talked about the potter and the clay parable and how we are molded and shaped by the hand of God. But what about when the pot gets cracked? Let’s talk about cracked pots today.

Paul is using this illustration of the treasure in clay jars as a metaphor for Christ in us humans. Back in Paul’s day, there were no banks. Money, valuables, and jewelry were stored in unassuming plain old clay pots. The pots were cheap to make, and they were readily available and pretty inconspicuous. The pots were just plain old pots, but inside the pot was a mighty treasure. When we are filled with Christ, we may look like a plain Jane like myself, but oh what a treasure there is on the inside of that plain Jane vessel! If we keep the treasure all to ourselves, we’re not doing any good. We have share Christ with others.

As we go through life and occasional struggles, we sometimes become a little broken. We get a chip here or we get a crack there. We get pressed hard at times, but we are not crushed. We recognize that we are cracked, but through the grace of God we are able to overcome whatever situation it was that cracked us in the first place. We then give glory to God, and that’s when His light shines through. His light shines boldly through our cracks for the world to see.

I read a story about a water bearer. Every day, he went to draw water for his master. He took two pots. One pot was cracked, and by the time he made it home each day, the cracked pot was only half full, while the other pot was completely full. The full pot complained to the water bearer, and the cracked pot felt bad about not doing his job well. He apologized. The water bearer told the cracked pot that he already knew about his flaw, and he used it to his advantage. He said that he planted seeds along the path, and each day, the cracked pot sprinkled water on the seeds and beautiful flowers grew. The water bearer was able to pick flowers for his master’s table daily because of the cracked pot.

We may look a little broken. We may feel that life has got us down. We feel cracked. Just remember that Christ is inside of you, and He shines brightest through those cracks. Use those cracks to share His glory. I’m thankful for my cracks. Being a cracked pot isn’t so bad!


(The picture today is the bottom of an old clay chiminea that broke years ago. I saved it, filled it with dirt, and I’ve grown many a beautiful flowers in that old cracked pot!)

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Give me a word, Lord: MOLDED AND SHAPED

Jeremiah 18:1-6 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.

Every now and then, I spend a little time reminiscing, and I think about all of the people who have been a part of my life. I’ve learned many life lessons and gained much knowledge from those who have worked to shape me into the person I am today. I have overflowing gratitude to all of those who have poured into me over the years helping me to become me. But we must be careful who we are allowing to shape and mold us. I have told my children multiple times to be careful when choosing who they spend all their time with. We tend to become like those around us. That’s not always a bad thing, but it can be. If we’re hanging out with those who are steering us away from Christ, then that can be very bad indeed. Who is shaping and molding you?

I love the parable in Jeremiah about the potter. In this scripture, the Lord tells Jeremiah to go to the potter’s house. Jeremiah arrived and saw the potter working on a jar. The clay became flawed so he made it into another pot. Then God told Jeremiah that he could treat Israel as the potter treats the clay in his hand.


God shapes us and molds us into the image of Christ. He is in control. He took a broken vessel like me, and He gently shaped me, molded me, and made me into a vessel for His service and glory. He gently works out the flaws. After a potter shapes and molds his clay, he has to put it into the kiln. Fire is used to solidify the vessel. In our daily walk, there will be times when we feel like we are in the fire. That’s okay though. Just keep on walking through that fire and remember that intense heat you are experiencing is solidifying the work that Christ is doing in and through you. We gain knowledge through trials, but even more importantly, we learn to lean on Christ when we are going through the fires of life. As we lean more on Christ, we then spend more time with Him, clinging to His Word. The more time I spend in the Word, the closer I become in my walk with Christ. He’s still shaping and molding this girl. I’m flawed, and I’m a continual work in progress, but I am so thankful I am in the Potter’s hands!

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Give me a word, Lord: ANCHOR

Hebrews 6:19-20 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

Storms in life will come and go. Weather in the deep south is predictably unpredictable. The kick off of summer also brings the kick off of hurricane season. When there is a tropical storm in the gulf, we begin to make preparations. We spend a little time picking up and preparing for the winds and the rains. We clear the back deck, put away the umbrellas, turned tables upside down, stored chairs away, all in preparation for possible strong winds. All small crafts on the coast of Louisiana and Mississippi will be ordered in. Even the strongest anchor wouldn’t be able to withstand hurricane force winds and waves. Oh but we have an even stronger anchor: an anchor of hope in Christ!

I’ve read this scripture from Hebrews 6 before. I’ve even quoted it, but I didn’t really understand all of it. I understand the part about Christ being the hope that is an anchor for the soul. It is truly my hope in Christ that anchors me firmly in my faith. But what about the rest of the verse? “It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” During biblical times, the Hebrews gathered around and within the tabernacle to worship. There were curtains or large veils within the tabernacle. Behind the innermost curtain was the holiest room on earth. This is the place that held the sacred ark of the covenant and the brilliant light of God, the shekinah, shone down. This was the God room. Once a year, the high priest would enter the God room with a pan of blood and pour it over the mercy seat. God witnessed the priest offering the sacrifice in the correct manner. This pleased God, and He graciously forgave the Hebrew people of their sins.

We don’t have to continue in this ritual any longer though because God sent a Savior. Jesus walked through life, took on life’s sufferings, and has gone before us. And now He pulls us towards Him. He invites His followers inside the curtain where we find hope in Him, relief from worries, doubts, and fears. Christ is a constant priest, not a once a year high priest. He is sitting on the throne next to God in the God room. He represents our needs to Him. There is nothing that we endure that is too great for Him to handle. Don’t forget where your hope is fastened. Jesus is the anchor. Rest in peace in Christ! If you aren’t feeling that hope in Christ, check your ties. The anchor has to be tied to the boat to work!

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Give me a word, Lord: JOYFUL HEART

Psalm 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Psalm 47:1 Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.

John 15:11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

A joyful heart is good medicine. Take if from me. I’m a family nurse practitioner! LOL. But seriously though, it really is. No matter what is going on around me, no matter how bad things appear, there is still joy that only comes from Christ in my heart. It is that joy that I cling to daily.

I’ll admit that there are days that I don’t wake up all grins and giggles. Some mornings, I need an extra strong cup of coffee to get me started, but then the joy of Jesus gets me going!
How does one get joy? How does one keep joy? Well, the answer is simple. Joy is found in the presence of Jesus. No matter what is going on, no matter how hard things get, no matter how big and bad the events of the world are, we can still find joy when we are in Christ.
I’ve been asked many times through the years why I am always smiling or how do I keep a positive attitude when things look grim. I love the line from the movie “Elf”, “I just like smiling. Smiling’s my favorite.” I love to smile, and I know that it is because I have Jesus in my heart. I have complete faith in Christ, and I know that no matter what is going on, I’m His and He is mine.

Peeps, life is hard, and it seems to be getting harder with each passing minute. Happiness fades in the midst of the troubles we encounter, but joy remains. If we remain in Christ, He remains in us. His joy also remains in us.

Don’t let the trials of the day get you down. Start each day with a cup of coffee and quiet time with Jesus. By growing closer to Christ each day, the joy within us grows and suddenly no matter the circumstances, we find that we have joy overflowing. Joy flows out through our words, our actions, and our love for others. Then, others will see that joy is overflowing from you, and they’ll want some of that joy too. They’ll even ask you where your joy comes from, and then you can tell them: Jesus. There is joy to be found in Jesus! Keep going to the throne of Christ. Keep studying His Word. Keep speaking to Him. Let the joy of Jesus overflow from you!

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Give me a word, Lord: LOVING OTHERS

John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Romans 12:9-20 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

If you turn on the news or even take a look at social media, you will see an occasional act of love and kindness, but more often than not you will see a lot of hate, people who are angry and acting out on that anger, people who are spewing words of hate rather than showing acts of love, and people just being plain old ugly. If we aren’t careful, we will get all caught up in that anger and hate, and before we know it, we are leading an army of angry people who seem to support our cause. Whoa there Peeps! We have to stop this! We have to stop right now! Why? Because when we react to situations with anger and hate we are not loving like Christ loves, and those who are not Christians are watching and seeing the example we are setting.

Wait a minute. Isn’t there a scripture about Jesus getting angry and turning over tables? (Matthew 21:12-13) It’s okay to get angry sometimes right? Yes, but in this scripture, Jesus was pointing to Himself and His coming death and resurrection. When we get angry, we must be careful that in our anger we aren’t pointing people away from Christ.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I have never been angry. Oh, have I been angry! Have I said things I later regretted? Yep, more times than I want to admit! I’m human. I mess up. I’m still a work in progress. The thing is though that as a follower of Christ, when I do these things, the Holy Spirit gently nudges me and let’s me know that once again I messed up. I realize that I messed up, and then I realize that I need to get things right. I need to apologize to the person or people who I’ve offended and show love. I ask for forgiveness.

One of my biggest fears is that my stupid, selfish actions would lead someone away from Christ. People are watching our behavior. They watch to see how we are going to handle bad situations. They watch to see how we react. As christians, we are expected to behave at a higher standard. We are expected to show the love of Christ no matter what we are going through. Why? Because Christ loved us enough to die on the cross for our sins and rise again so that we may have everlasting life. That is true love my friends.

So even though it’s hard, we have to daily strive to love like Jesus loves. Feed the hungry. Peeps, we always have food at our house! When someone is sad, cry with them. When someone rejoices, rejoice with them. We have to learn to live in harmony with one another. If you mess up, and you will, make it right. Make amends.

If I speak out in a way that seems very unChristlike or unloving, people are quick to associate my statements to my relationship with Christ, and they may even further associate the things I said to my family or my church family, and maybe, just maybe, I just steered someone away from Christ or visiting church because of my big mouth. Doing this would devastate me. I know I’m not perfect. I’m just a sinner saved by grace. If I have spoken in offense, I beg forgiveness.

I want to love like Jesus loves. I love you Peeps! If I have offended in the past, please know that I am sorry. As Christians, we are like toddlers learning to walk. With each passing day, we get better at walking with Christ. We learn from our mistakes and our love grows stronger for Christ and others. He said love others like we love Him. He didn’t say just love the ones that love you. He didn’t say just love the ones that act like you. He said love ’em all! We have to love everybody. Do it!

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Give me a word, Lord: NOTHING IS TOO HARD FOR GOD

Genesis 18:14 Is anything too hard for the LORD?

Matthew 17:20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Jeremiah 32:17 Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.

Have you ever had a really bad day? I’m sure if you are being truthful the answer is yes. We all have had bad days. Look around the world right now, and we see bad days repeating themselves and only seeming to become worse days! It looks like some crazy apocalyptic mini series playing out before our very eyes. The year of 2020 has proven to be a very bad year. We have had the first pandemic in over 100 years, there was then a rumor of murder hornets taking us over, murders and protests occurred, concerns of election fraud are still floating around, and a crisis at the border is ongoing! Jobs have been lost. Businesses have closed. It has been a messy year for sure, y’all, and we have had some very bad, terrible,, awful days this past year.

Bad days can get worse in our minds when we start dwelling on the problem and when we take our eyes off of the problem solver. We can easily get so caught up in the anguish of the terrible moment and the horrible things that are happening around us. Then we begin to worry and fret, and we do the worse thing possible: instead of turning to the Word of God, we turn on the news, we listen as some reporter gives us which is many times false or twisted information, and this just sends us into panic mode.

When we panic, we are focusing on the world, the problem, and on self. Oh but God! God is all powerful, and there is not a problem going on that He doesn’t know about. There is not a problem going on that He isn’t currently behind the scenes working on. He is working all things out for our good and His glory. We only have to have faith and knowledge that He will. But what if our faith isn’t strong enough? What if we feel too weak? Have no fear! God is here!

God’s power is exponential. The power of God isn’t relative to the amount faith we have. (Praise the Lord!) It is exponential in nature. God’s power is not dependent on the amount of faith or the level of faith that we have but rather on the amount of goodness and grace that God has. On those really horrible, tough, hard days we only have to remember that God is all powerful. There is nothing that He can not do. Trust that He will work it all out in His timing. He has a plan. Just trust Him to work it all out for your good and His glory!

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Give me a word, Lord: THORNS

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

We’ve all heard the expression “like a thorn in my flesh.” I’ve removed quite a few thorns in my life. I’ve removed thorns or splinters from many patients, my children, and most recently I had to get Jeff to help me pull a few splinters out of my hands and feet after pressure washing and staining the deck. Thorns hurt! At first, they are just a little aggravating, but if left in place they become sore and begin to fester up until the thorn becomes a constant aggravation.

Paul is speaking metaphorically here of a thorn in his flesh. We know that he is not talking about a literal thorn, but we do not know for sure what his ailment is. He uses the phrase as a metaphor for something that he is having to endure and suffer through. Many biblical scholars have guessed at what the thorn may be, but the fact is, Paul didn’t tell us. If he did, we couldn’t as easily relate to the scripture when going through our many times of thorns in the flesh. Whatever it was that Paul was enduring was significantly hard enough that Paul begged God THREE times to remove the thorn. He wanted God to take away the pain. He knew that God could take it away, but God chose not to.

Many times we pray about a situation we are in the midst of enduring, and we see God answer those prayers. Cancers disappear. Loved ones are healed. Strength is restored. But other times, we don’t get the answer we are asking for. Do you think it’s because God isn’t listening? Absolutely not! God hears us.
So why then does God let us continue to endure the thorns in our flesh? I believe that one reason is because the thorn helps us to grow in God. We gain godly character and maturity. The thorns also humble us. We can’t go around boasting and bragging about ourselves when we have a big old thorn in the flesh. Also, the thorns keep us running back to God. We call on Him. We lean on Him. We gather strength to continue living through Him.
God didn’t remove Paul’s thorn because He wanted Paul to recognize that His grace was sufficient and His power was perfected in Paul’s weakness. Sometimes God doesn’t remove our thorns for the same reason. He can remove the thorn, but this pales in comparison to seeing God meet our needs day to day. We have to realize that His grace is sufficient. He is all we need. The power of God is perfect. God is all powerful. We are so weak, but God makes us strong. When we recognize how weak we are, we realize how abundantly God pours out His grace on us. Don’t let the thorns get you down. God’s grace is sufficient to help you through the suffering. Just trust in Him!

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Give me a word, Lord: ALWAYS PRAY

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I haven’t always been a prayer warrior. It has taken 54 years to become the person I am today, and likely that is the result of many hours of prayer from my grandparents and parents. I’m still a work in progress. I’m still not who I want to be, but at least I’m not who I used to be! A few years ago, I started praying as soon as my eyes opened in the morning. I then pray on my drive to work. I say silent prayers throughout the day for patients, family, friends, and strangers. I see requests for prayer on Facebook, and I pray. I pray before going to sleep at night, and sometimes I actually fall asleep praying. There’s no better place to fall asleep than in the arms of our heavenly Father. And if I wake up during the night I pray. I have made it my habit to pray. I talk to God all day long. I rejoice in Him for who He is, praise His name, and thank Him for everything, even the hard stuff. I ask forgiveness for my sins and failures, and He wipes the slate clean.

I Thessalonians tells us to rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances. This means we are to pray and pray a lot. I don’t think the scripture means to get down on our knees and pray nonstop for days on end. Rather I think it means we need to develop a relationship with God in which we can go to him all day and night at any time for any reason and just talk to Him. We can’t get to know someone if we don’t talk to them. And we sure can’t get to know God if we don’t talk with Him regularly.

I have sometimes thought, why in the world do I need to tell God this or that? He already knows everything anyway. He knows my needs. He knows my life. That’s true. He does, but He wants us to come and communicate with Him on a personal level. He wants us to share our joys, our life, our good times, our bad times, and everything that’s going on in our lives. He wants us to talk with Him. He wants us to praise Him, honor Him, and glorify Him. He wants us to recognize His authority and power and ability to take care of us and all situations we encounter. As we get to know our Father on a personal level, with each prayer we become closer to Him. We start feeling unspeakable joy, we feel closeness to the God of the universe, and we find peace in every situation. When we truly get to know our Father, we begin to truly see His power, and soon we realize that the Creator of the universe created us, and He is working behind the scenes in every situation that we are encountering. He is working it all out for our good and His glory.

So today, if it hasn’t been your habit to pray always, I ask you to start now. Pray about everything and anything. Just talk to God. All you have to do is say, “Hey God. It’s me again. Can we talk?” I assure you He is waiting for you to call out to Him today. Rejoice in everything. Pray always. Be thankful for everything.

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Give me a word, Lord: INTERCESSION

I Thessalonians 5:17 Never stop praying.

Romans 8:26-27 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Intercession is defined as the action of saying a prayer on behalf of another person. When someone is going through a hard time, we intercede in prayer for them. When someone is lost, we intercede in prayer. When someone strays from their walk with Christ, we intercede for them. And praise God, He sent the Holy Spirit to intercede for us.

Last year on this day, someone I love with every fiber of my being, walked away to pursue life. I’m not talking about pursuing a dream. I’m talking about chasing the world rather than living for the Lord. I worried about her safety, security, health, well being, and most of all that she was seeking a lifestyle that was far from one of God. So, what did I do? I cried. I cried for pretty much 24 hours straight. Yea, as you might suspect, that didn’t do a lot of good, but hey, even the guys in the Bible wept and tore their clothes when they were upset. After the crying began, crying out to the Lord came next. In hindsight, this probably should’ve been first thing I did, but it didn’t take me long to realize that I needed to call on the Lord on behalf of this person. I know she is a Christian. I know that she knows the Lord. So I prayed…and prayed…and prayed. Through the years, I have learned that we can’t make important life decisions for others, even those we love deeply. God gave each of us free will, and one can not control another person’s free will.

So what did I do next? I entrusted this person to God, and I trusted that God was in control then just as He was last week, last year, and every year before that. God is in control, and He loves His kids. So I prayed, I gave her to God, and I am trusted that He would do a mighty work in her life. I interceded, and I trusted Him to intervene. Lastly, I kept on loving this person and showing her the love of God. It’s hard to show love when you are hurt, angry, or upset, but no matter what, that love is still there. You want to know something? God didn’t change things that night or even the next week, but I didn’t stop praying and trusting Him. No, change didn’t happen overnight, but God worked that situation out just as I had trusted that He would. He always works everything out for our good and His glory.

I wrote today’s devotional to speak to myself, but I’m hoping and praying that maybe by sharing my heart someone reading this can find comfort. The prayers we are praying are not falling on deaf ears. Our Father hears us. We only need to call on Him. That’s the easy part. Making that call to Christ is an easy thing to do. The trusting Him to handle the situation part…well that’s a little harder for us, but Peeps, God is God! There is nothing He can’t do! He’s our heavenly Father. He loves us more than we love anyone in the whole world. We have to trust Him to handle it. Let go and let God do what He needs to do. Keep on showing godly love for those you are praying for, and finally, don’t ever give up. Keep on praying and keep on trusting God. He’s got this.

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Give me a word, Lord: NEVER FORGET

I John 3:16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.

Romans 5:8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

john 15:13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

It’s Memorial Day, Peeps. It is not the day to celebrate our fighting men and women. Today is not their day. It is also not the day to celebrate our veterans who have come home from wars and battles. No my, friends, today is not their day either. Today we remember those who did not come home. We remember the hundreds and thousands of men and women who went into battle for our freedom and for the honor of this country but never returned. Today, we honor the memory of those who gave their lives in order that we may continue to have life. As we enjoy our long weekend, our minds are filled with mixed emotions. We can not easily celebrate the death of those soldiers without sadness and tears, but we can celebrate the freedom that each of us have in the United States of America because of those who freely gave their lives for our freedom. We must take time today to recognize the great price each and every soldier paid for the country that they loved.

The soldiers were not old men ready for the grave. No, on the contrary, most of the soldiers who have given their lives for this country were young men and women. They had families. Some were young fathers and mothers. They were sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, and each one was loved very much by the family they left behind. They had plans for the future that were abruptly changed one sad day on the battlefield. Their lives were halted, much too soon, well before they had planned, but why? They shed their blood on the battlefield for freedom and honor and glory. May we never forget the price they paid. We continue to live in a free society because of the great price paid by our friends in the military.

We must honor the memory of these fallen soldiers today. They gave their life so that we may live free. It is also a great day to praise our God for the awesome freedom in which we live. God sent His Son, Jesus, as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. He willingly suffered and died on the cross so that you and I may be free eternally. Jesus gave us ultimate freedom through his death, burial, and resurrection, “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” (John 8:36)

May we never forget! We live in a free country because of the men and women who gave their lives for our freedom, and we live free from sin’s grasp because Jesus died for our sins. Oh, my friends, may we never forget!

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Give me a word, Lord: FOLLOWING THE RECIPE

2 Peter 1:5-11 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.  The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins. So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Yesterday, we made a whole bunch of plum jelly: 33 half pints and 27 quarter pints. Making jelly is a little bit of a tedious task, but when the jelly sets, it is all worth it. The final product is shiny jars full of beautifully colored and delectable sweetness. As the jar lids begin to “ting” as they seal, we can hardly wait for the batches to cool down to see if the jelly is going to set. It should set every time because we follow the recipe, but sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it is human error, and other times, we don’t have the correct recipe. We have learned through the years that if we want to make jelly, we need to have Sure-jell, lots of pure cane sugar, fruit juice, and a Sure-jell recipe for the type of fruit juice that we have on hand. Measuring is absolutely necessary when making jelly. You can’t estimate or guesstimate. You have to have exact proportions of pectin, sugar, and juice. Most of the time (not always, but mostly) if we follow the recipe, the jelly sets beautifully. However, on occasion, we will try a new fruit and try to find an equivalent fruit recipe, and we end up with a big old batch of syrup. If you give me a fruit, I’m going to try to make jelly out of it. My husband says that I can make jelly out of a rock. I must admit that I haven’t tried that one yet, but I have tried some odd fruit jelly experiments.

Following the recipe is necessary for me. My husband could compete with world class chefs, and not ever use the first recipe. He is a fabulous cook. I have a small binder full of recipes in my head, but other than that, I’m a recipe Googler. I can cook just about anything, but I need to follow a recipe. In life, we also need a recipe to follow. I have often wished that life came with a recipe book, but with the passing years, I have realized that there are no secret hidden ingredients. The recipe is as simple as simple can be. It begins with faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. If we have faith in Christ, follow Him, and allow Him to be the King of our hearts, well my friends, Christ is the ONLY ingredient we need for the recipe of life. However, Peter shared some of the necessary ingredients that will make our lives even better. Let us look at the scripture again.

Peter reminds us that we are to supplement our faith with a generous portion of moral excellence. We must strive to live a good and moral life following the instruction manual given to us in God’s Word. To moral excellence, we must add knowledge. How do we gain knowledge? We ask God for it, and He will provide. The Bible is filled with knowledge. We must learn to devour it and soak in the words of wisdom on every page. Next, Peter says we must have self control. That one is a little bit harder. We must learn to tame not only our tongues, but also our minds. We must control the words that are coming out of us, but we must also control the thoughts that are inside of our minds and the actions that result from these thoughts. Next, we must add patient endurance with godliness. Oh boy, this recipe is getting harder and harder. Don’t fret, Peeps, we are not following this recipe alone. We have the Holy Spirit to guide us along the way, and with His help, patient endurance with godliness will follow. With godliness, we must add a good helping handful of brotherly affection and love for everyone. That one is not even an option. It’s a command!

Peter tells us that the more we grow like this, the more productive and useful we will be in our knowledge of Christ, but if we fail to develop in this way, we will be shortsighted or blind, forgetting that we have been cleansed from our old sins. It will be like making jelly that doesn’t set. Instead of being the children of God that we are chosen and called to be, we will turn into a bunch of big old messes that are not useful for the Kingdom. The main ingredient to living the good life is easy: accept Christ as your Savior. Once we do this, we can’t help but following the recipe of additional ingredients listed by Peter. When we fill our hearts with Christ, our hearts desire will be to become more like Christ on a daily basis. Our lives won’t always be perfect. God doesn’t expect us to get it right every time, and He doesn’t even expect us to perfect all of the qualities listed by Peter, but he does tell us that we can possess these qualities in increasing measure, growing in each of these areas, and growing in our relationship with Christ daily. This, my friends, is the best recipe for life!

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Give me a word, Lord: STEAKS, WORMS, AND TRUE LOVE

John 15:9-13 I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 

How do you define love? I’m guessing that we all have a fairly different definition of what love means to us. I look at my husband, and I feel loved. I see love in every action and deed that he does for me and for our family. It is not just a word he uses, it is an action word. He does so many things on a daily basis to show his love, and I have no doubt he loves me. Love isn’t always easy, but the old saying is true. It is always worth it! Love doesn’t always look like the movies either. We watch a lot of Hallmark around here, and we have come to find that true love writes it’s own story. That story is always so much better than a scripted TV movie.

Love can be hard at times, but it can also be fun. Just this past week, I arrived home from work, and my dear husband asked me to take a ride with him. He took me out for a steak dinner, and then he took me to pick Catalpa worms. Yes, you read that correctly. I filled my belly with steak, and then went out to a Catalpa orchard to pick worms. Why in the world would we do that? It’s simple. Catalpa worms make excellent fishing bait, and the river is finally going to get closer to a reasonable stage for fishing, and we love to fish. In order to catch fish, you must have the right bait, and how convenient it is that the bait is literally growing on trees! Love comes in all shades and colors. Date nights range from romantic dinners to picking worms. Who knew that love looked like that?

My sweet husband doesn’t always show his love with steak dinners and worm picking. No, he is a man of many talents, and he lets them shine through on a daily basis. He always makes a Yeti cup full of coffee and a big cup of ice water for me to take to work. He starts my car on cold mornings so that it is nice and toasty when I leave for work. He checks to see if I arrived safely. He does a million little things a day that show me he loves me, but most importantly, that man prays with me and for me daily. I am truly blessed to be married to this man.

But I know, there is still a greater love than this. Our love story is one of my all time favorites, but there is one that tops our story. There is a love story that is so much better than steak dinners and picking worms. It is the story of the gospel. It is the story of the love that our Lord and Savior has for each and everyone of us. Jesus laid down His life for you and for me. He took our sins upon Himself so that we may be made right with the Father. He died for our sins. He suffered immensely because we are sinners. He took on the cross for the good, bad, and even the terrible sinners in this world. But he overcame the cross. He was resurrected just as He promised. Jesus set the greatest example of how to show love that has ever been seen by man. He defines true love like no other.

John reminds us to share this great love in chapter 15. I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. We are to love like Jesus loved, y’all. That’s a tough act to follow. Jesus walked this earth as fully man and fully God, and He did it with perfection….no sin…no mistakes…pure perfection. He gave up His life so that we may have eternal life. There is no truer love than this. What does He ask us to do? He simply asks us to love like He loves. I don’t know what kind of situation you are in right now. It may not be full of steak dinners or picking Catalpa worms, but no matter what is going on in your life, you can rest assured that you are loved unconditionally and most abundantly by the giver of life. Jesus loves you. He loves you right now, just as you are. He desires a relationship with you. You don’t have to “get right” first. You don’t have to do anything except accept the gift of salvation. And if you accept that gift, then my friend, you will know true love, and I guarantee you that it is a love like no other love!

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Give me a word, Lord: BE STILL

Psalm 46:10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Being still. Boy do I have trouble with that one. Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t do “being still” very well. My body is in constant motion. I’ve made a point of making myself stop and be still while writing these early morning devotionals. It’s nice to get into God’s Word and spend some quiet time with Jesus and coffee. I am currently sitting out on my deck listening to the sound of the creek as it ripples by. The birds sound like a beautiful praise team, chirping and singing away. I can hear a few frogs chime in with their ribbits here and there. I even hear some coyotes howling in the distance. Yes, this is a great place to be still although I won’t sit here very long. I have a full day ahead of me, and I can’t be still for long at all. It’s springtime on the farm, and I’m too young to retire despite what my creaking bones and joints keep telling me. Yet, God commands us to be still. Not only that, He tells us to know that He is God. That is some seriously important information right there, Peeps! Be still and know!

I don’t think that God wants us to stop working. He gave us hands and feet, and He expects us to work. There are dozens of verses in the bible about not being lazy or about being slothful. God is speaking here to His battle prone people. He is telling them to cease and desist, to stop, to be still. He is letting them know that He is in control. After all, He is God almighty! He is letting them know, “I got this. Let it go. I’m in control.”

Oh, the battles that rage on in this curly head of mine. I spend way too much time trying to fight the battles in my head, solve the problems of the world, or figure out how a situation will end or resolve. I’m a problem solver. That’s a big part of who I am. Oh, I pray about the problems. I give them to God, but I admit that I’m guilty of grabbing them back far too many times! God doesn’t want us to do this. He is bigger than any problem we will encounter, and guess what? He already knows the solution. There is no reason to sit and fret. God’s got it! We only have to be still and know that He has it. He is going to work everything out for our good and His glory. We only have to be still and know that He will! Give it to God and let it go! Be still and know!

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Give me a word, Lord: CLING TO THE VINE

John 15:1-8 “I am the the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Every winter, Jeff prunes the scuppernong vines. He prunes all of the branches off. When he finishes there’s not much of a plant left. All the branches that were cut off are dragged away. The scuppernong plants look very unfruitful at this point. There are minimal vines. There are no branches. There is no fruit. All that is remaining is the base of the plant stems and the root system. Through the winter months, it appears dead and lifeless, but then along comes spring. New shoots and bud spurs develop, and before we know it, there are vibrant green vines covering our trellises. Then tiny fruit begins to appear, and by August we have sweet scuppernongs to tease our tastebuds.

But what about those branches we cut off last winter? Are they producing fruit? No way! They are no longer connected to the vine. They are just dead branches now. We could make some wreaths out of them, but otherwise, they are pretty useless at this point.

In John 15, Jesus tells us that He is the true vine, and His Father is the gardener. He cuts of the branches that aren’t bearing fruit, and He prunes the ones that are bearing fruit so that they will be more fruitful. God prunes us. Have you ever thought about that? The pruning process occurs when we go through transitions in life. God will sometimes use these opportunities to prune us and take away things that are keeping us from Him. He removes things that are getting in the way of our growth and spiritual walk with Him. In doing so, we focus more on Christ and less on ourselves, and thus we become more fruitful. Just as those scuppernong branches thrive when attached to vine, we will thrive when we stay attached to Christ. If we aren’t attached and clinging to the true vine, we aren’t going to be able to produce any fruit because in reality we can’t produce fruit on our own. Christ produces the fruit through us. We have to remain in Him. We must remain attached to the vine and rooted in Him. Pruning can be tough. Change is hard. But changing for Christ is always worth it. If you feel like you’re being pruned currently, take heart, spring is here. The fruit is coming. We just have to be patient and cling to the vine!

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Give me a word, Lord: FAMILY

Psalm 127:3-5 Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.

John 1:12-13 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

What does family look like to you? I’m willing to guess that everyone who answered this question would give a slightly different response. There are many who still have the traditional family unit, but many more families aren’t as traditional. My mom and dad divorced when I was 11 years old. Later, my dad remarried, and our new family unit became one of a dad, stepmom, and SIX daughters! Raising six girls under one roof had to be hard on my dad and stepmom, but I’m so very thankful that under that roof we were shown love, taught about Christ, and were raised in the church. I owe my foundation as a christian primarily to the teachings of my daddy, and I will be forever grateful that he pointed me in the direction of Christ.

My current family unit consists of my husband, myself, two stepsons and two adopted children. I tell people all the time that I didn’t birth any of them, but I couldn’t love them even an ounce more if I had. I don’t consider my kids step or adopted. I consider them mine. I would never ever try to replace Conner and EJ’s birth mom. I couldn’t if I tried. She was a wonderful woman called home to the Lord too soon. Even though the kids know that I would never try to replace her as their mom, it doesn’t make them any less my sons. I have such a great love for my family, and my children and grandchild are a monumental part of that love. I can’t explain it. It’s just an all consuming love. When I married Jeff, I didn’t just marry him, I married the whole family, and I didn’t just fall in love with Jeff, I fell in love with the whole family. We are one. We are family.

Another family unit to consider is the church family. Oh what joy is to be found in the gathering together with my family of believers. We realized how terribly we missed gathering as a church body for a period of time during this pandemic, and I think that brought even more value to the church family unit. I love my church family.. We talk to one another, encourage one another, share devotionals with one another, and try to help one another with any needs that arise. We are family. We have so much love for one another, and it is such a great comfort to know that these people are my people! God’s family is my family.

This brings me to my third famly unit. The family of God. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are immediately adopted into the family of God. No paperwork needed. No attorneys, no documents, no court hearings, just immediate adoption into the family. We become children of the one true God, and He becomes our Father. We become children of the King of kings, Lord of lords, the almighty God of the universe! Isn’t that the most awesome thing in the whole wide world? The special love that we have for our own children, our spouses, our family and our church family pales in comparison to the great love that our heavenly Father has for each and every one of us. You are a child of the One who created the heavens and the earth. You are an heir to throne!

Your family unit may look very different from mine, and that’s okay. We are all uniquely made, and our lives are intertwined together although vastly different. But if you have a relationship with our Lord and Savior, you are part of the best family in the entire world, and you are my family! God loves you and so do I! If you aren’t part of God’s family today, it’s not too late. Call on the Father today and join the family of God!

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Give me a word, Lord: RESOLVING CONFLICT

James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

2 Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

James 1:19-20 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

Have you ever been so angry about something that you couldn’t think straight? Or maybe someone said something to you that hurt your feelings severely. Our first reaction and instinct is anger. We get angry at that person who offended us. We get boiling mad. We want to lash out. We call up a friend and vent. Sometimes we even turn to social media to tell the world how we have been offended. We cry, we scream, and we fuss. But after we do all of that, we are still angry. Did it help? Nope! Did we resolve anything by our actions during the heat of anger? Nope! So why then do we react that way? I think the answer to that question is that it is human nature.

It’s easy to get caught up on the heat of the moment and say things that we may later regret. It’s easy to be mad. It hurts, but it’s easy. It’s not so easy to deal with the problem. It’s not easy to be confrontational. I for one hate confrontation. I don’t like to tell someone that I’m angry about something that they said or did. It’s hard for me to be that person. But do you want to know what is even harder? Hanging on to that anger. When you hang on to the anger, you slowly become burdened down by the weight of it. Relationships become strained and torn apart.

There’s an old quote I once heard during a sermon, “Holding onto anger is like swallowing poison and expecting the other person to die.” We are slowly killing ourselves and our relationships with the anger inside of us.
How do we fix this problem? Conflict resolution is the key. We must connect one on one with the person and share our heart with them. James 5:16 tells us that earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and will produce wonderful results. Before we move into conflict resolution, we have to talk to God about the issue. Make sure we are going about things in the right way and make sure our hearts are right with God. After we have prayed about it, then we can move on to the good part: healing. Pray for the person who has hurt you, and then go to that person, share your heart with them. When we are hurt or angry, rather than sitting on the anger and letting it fester and grow, we must go to that person in a loving, gentle manner and talk it out. Share with a kind and gentle spirit. Screaming will not help! Speak softly and talk it out. Make sure that the other person understands your heart’s intention. The intention should be one of moving forward and working through the conflict.

It is never easy. Things that really matter usually don’t come easy, but it is definitely worth it. Don’t hold on to grudges. Set yourself and the other person free!

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Give me a word, Lord: BE SALTY

Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”

Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

I have been off work the last couple of days and it’s springtime on the farm, and springtime means garden time. Garden time means preserving. Saturday, the kids helped Jeff and I snap a bushel of green beans.. We then canned 26 quarts of green beans, and we put 19 quarts of cauliflower in the freezer.. We love working together as a family canning and preserving. It is a lot of hard work, but the food tastes oh so much better than anything that you can buy from the store.

One of the important ingredients used in canning vegetables is salt. Salt has been used for many years in food preservation to prevent decay of food. Back in the first century, Middle Easterners used salt to preserve food due to lack of refrigeration. The salt helped to keep the food from decaying quickly. We also use salt to add flavor to the foods we are preserving. Salt just makes foods taste better. Also, when we eat foods flavored with salt, we become thirsty. These are three of the functions of salt: preservation, flavor, and increasing thirst.

You have probably been told once or twice in the past to “stop being so salty,” but today, I’m going to tell you to be even more salty! As a Christ follower we are to be preservatives to the world. We are to help preserve the world from sin and evil by living for Christ daily. We are to share Christ’s love with a dying and decaying world. That’s part of our calling as salty Christians. We must share our faith so that others can cling to the beautiful gift of salvation.

Secondly, we are supposed to add the flavor of life to the world. Think about the difference a little salt makes. Try frying up an egg and not adding any seasoning. How bland would that be? How much better is it if you add a little salt and pepper? Now we’re talking. What a difference it makes in the taste of the food! Salt adds flavor. As Christians, we should be making a difference in the world. This world is in a mess. There is so much evil everywhere we look. As followers of Christ, we should be doing what we can to make a change. We can’t reverse the corruption of this old world, only God can, but we definitely can make an impact.
When things go wrong, we tend to give up, run the other way, or look the other way. We don’t want to do what is necessary to make a change. But we can’t lose our saltiness too quickly. There’s work to be done, and you may be the saltiness someone has been looking for that points that person the Christ. We must daily strive to live life out flavored with the goodness of Christ.

Salt also makes us thirsty. Jesus wants us to thirst for Him. The saltier we are, the thirstier we will be for Christ. We will crave Him more, and we will constantly be trying to quench our thirst for Him. After all, He is the living water.
One other thing I’ve learned about salt is that the old devil doesn’t like it at all! The saltier you become in your Christian walk, the madder he becomes. The closer you walk towards Christ, the harder he will work to try to break you down. He’ll try to throw troubles in your path, but you just have to persevere towards preservation of faith in Christ. You have to keep sprinkling salt all over the place and keep your words and your life seasoned with love for Christ and others. Continue to thirst for the Lord no matter how trying things become. Get put there and be salty today!

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Give me a word, Lord: MOVING TOWARD THE FINISH LINE

Hebrews 6:1 Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God.

Acts 17:28 For in him we live and move and have our being.’

Philippians 3:13-14 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

A few years ago, I decided that I was going to run my first 5K. Let me begin by saying that it wasn’t a very smart idea to decide to run my first 5K in my early 40s! As with anything I do though, I began training with all that I had. I started running back and forth to Pop Hill Road which is 3.2 miles roundtrip from my house. I ran 5-6 mornings per week for over 3 months. The big day finally came, and I ran the race. It was a June morning in Mississippi. The humidity was about 499%, and it was so HOT! I thought I would die, but that little voice in my head kept pushing me on to the finish line. I actually won first place in my age group, but I was by no means first. The guy that finished first beat me by a whole seven minutes! That 5K taught me two things. First of all, I don’t like running. Give me a fast paced walk any day of the week, and I’m your girl, but running, no thank you! Second, I am not a quitter. I kept running forward even though it was hotter than blue blazes, and I thought I might literally melt into the asphalt, but I didn’t quit. I finished. I got the prize., and now it’s collecting dust somewhere upstairs.

Sometimes in life we have trouble moving forward. We get caught up in our past, and we keep revisiting the old. Don’t get me wrong, reminiscing can be a joyful thing to do, but we can’t live there in our past. Sometimes we get stuck in a rut. We feel like we’ve messed up so bad that we can’t dig our way out. Or perhaps we feel like the sin we are in is too big or too bad to move away from. Maybe we think that we’ve messed our lives up so bad that God doesn’t want us anymore. Well, my friend, let me tell you, we can not do anything that can’t be forgiven by our loving Father except denying Him.

We have to move forward by becoming mature followers of Christ. We must recognize our sins, admit them, and ask repentance. When we do this, we truly move forward, and we must continue in that forward movement towards the finish line. Life is one great big adventure, but it’s not just an adventure. Every day is a new opportunity to get things right, a new opportunity to serve Christ, and another chance to learn more about Christ and to grow closer in our walk with Him. With each passing day that our wonderful God creates, we are given one more chance to move forward towards Him, and one more chance to move closer to the finish line. My goal now is making it to the eternal finish line: heaven. I already know I won’t be first. It’s not that kind of race. I do want to finish well though. I want to arrive at those pearly gates knowing that I trained well here on earth, I studied the Word, I shared the gospel, and I served my Lord and Savior. It seems that everything in life is a race, but there is only one race that has eternal consequences. Are you running towards Christ today? I can hardly wait to get to that finish line! Oh, what a prize that will be!

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Give me a word, Lord: GOLDEN RULE

Matthew 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Mark 12:31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.

Whether you were raised in church or not, you have probably been taught the golden rule since early childhood. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It’s actually biblically based coming from Matthew 7 and Luke 6, and these words were spoken to us by Jesus. It ought to be easy enough for us to do this. We can treat people like we want to be treated, right?

Oh, but human nature tends to get in the way. Someone hurts us, so we want to hurt them. It’s all about getting even, holding a grudge, or even suing someone who wronged us. And we don’t just want to get even, we want everyone to know about the mean thing that was done to us. We start gossiping and telling everyone we can what so and so did to us and how angry we are. We want sympathy for the wrong that’s been done, or we just want everyone to be as angry as we are about the situation as we are.
Whoa, wait a minute, I thought we were doing unto others as we want them to do unto us. I don’t want people hurting me, gossiping about me, or being angry with me. I don’t want to be the bad guy that everyone is talking about. Ouch! There it is. Breaking that simple rule is so easy.

It’s hard to treat others as we want to be treated, but it is the right thing to do. It’s not only right, it’s the christian/biblical thing to do. Matthew 22:37-39 tells us : “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Jesus tells us to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and then love your neighbor as yourself. He commands us to love: love God, love others. It’s easy to get mad and get even. It takes a little more effort to turn the other cheek when we get angry or hurt, but it actually feels so much better. Anger and bitterness will burn an ugly hole in our being and sooner or later that ugliness will rear its ugly head. If we are truly living for Christ, we have to truly live like Christ, and living like Christ is living with love for others…all others…even those others that hurt us, made us mad, or those that we just find really hard to like. We have to learn to forgive and forget. Forgiveness sets us free! If we learn to have a forgiving attitude, we aren’t holding on to grudges and anger, and we can get on with enjoying life the way God truly wants us to enjoy it. Living out the golden rule will lead to immeasurable blessings! Be blessed today!

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Give me a word, Lord: TESTS

Zechariah 13:9 This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.'”

Job 23:10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.

Psalm 66:10 For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried.

With graduations occurring all around us, today I’m reflecting on high school days and college days and tests. Uggh. Tests! I used to have really bad test anxiety in school. I’m not kidding, y’all, it was BAD! It took time, but I gradually learned how to work the test anxiety to my favor, and I thank God for giving me a photographic memory. I was able to visualize my notes or the text that I needed to recall. However, I didn’t learn to study until I went to college. Boy was that a struggle! There were tests in high school, tests in college, and it seems like there have been “life” tests every day since.

Psalm 66:10 says that God tests us like silver. In order to purify silver and make it shiny and beautiful, it has to go through a series of firings to literally burn off everything that isn’t actually silver. After it has all been melted down, the silversmith blows air through it to blow off anything else that isn’t pure silver, and the end result is beautiful shiny, pure silver without any additives such as soil, dirt, or grime.

We all hate to be tested and tried. This past year has seemed like a really big test for many of us, we weren’t prepared for the test, and we still aren’t sure we will pass the test! Are we going to have a job? Are the bills going to get paid? Will we have enough food? Are we going to run out of toilet paper, gas, or whatever the latest shortage is? A virus has run rampant through our nation, and we all feel like we are in the fire. There is good news though! No matter how bad things look, God is still good, and God is still on the throne. When we look at the test, we get anxious. We worry about the outcome. We try to prepare. We worry about getting burned by the fire, but instead of looking at the test we need to focus on the Teacher. We need to remember that the testing and trying will serve to bring out the beauty in us. It will strengthen us. It will purify us. And most importantly, it teaches us to rely on the Creator rather than ourselves.

I always hated tests in school, but I always learned from them. If I missed a question, I never forgot the answer to that question ever again! I learned from my mistakes, and I took that knowledge with me. The same goes for real life. When we are tested or tried, we will make mistakes, but we learn from them, we grow from them, and we become a better person. So the next time you feel like you are in the fire, just remember that you are not there to get burned but rather you are getting purified so that you can come out as beautiful as silver and as strong as gold! Lean on the Teacher and learn from the test!

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Give me a word, Lord: GROWING PAINS

I Samuel 24:4-6 The men said, “This is the day the Lord spoke of when he said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’” Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.”
10-11 This day you have seen with your own eyes how the Lord delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I will not lay my hand on my lord, because he is the Lord’s anointed.’ See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cutoff the corner of your robe but did not kill you.

Is there anybody in your life that you just want to cut off, get rid of, say “see ya”? If we’re being truthful, the answer has to be yes. There are friends, loved ones, and even enemies who have wronged us or hurt us in ways that seem to be unforgivable. Our human nature is to get mad and get even, or get mad and cut them out of our lives.


This scripture is a clip from I Samuel 24. I urge you to read the whole chapter or even the whole book. Saul was God’s appointed, but he messed up and didn’t follow God’s command. David was then anointed to be the next king, but Saul was still on the throne for the time being. Saul felt threatened by David. He knew that God had taken his hand off of him, and that David was now God’s chosen. He was angry and jealous, and all he wanted was to kill David. He chased him relentlessly. God always protected David. Then one day, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. He didn’t know that David was in the cave. David crept up and cut off a piece of Saul’s robe. He had the perfect opportunity to kill the man that had been trying so hard to kill him, but he didn’t. And then, what’s even more important, David’s conscience got to him, and he felt guilty for even cutting the hem of his robe. When Saul left the cave, David called out to him. He told him that he had the chance to kill him, but he didn’t. Saul realized what a truly good man David was, and he saw first hand that David had repaid evil with good. He knew that David would be the next king, and that he would be a very good king.


David knew that he was already next in line to be king. He could’ve just killed Saul and sped things up, but God’s timing doesn’t work that way, and I think David knew that. I also think that God used Saul to grow David into the man that He wanted him to be. He grew in wisdom, strength, and integrity due to the trials he faced while dealing with Saul.


Maybe, just maybe, God put some strong willed, mean hearted, evil doing person in your path to grow you. Hmmm. Never thought of that! Maybe He put that person in your life for you to grow them. Maybe you are supposed to show that person the love of Christ. You may be the only example of Christ that person ever sees in their lifetime. It’s hard to see our growth during those hard times, but when we look back, we see how God grew us through the situations. Knowing Christ is important, but once we know Him, we have to grow…grow in knowledge of Him, grow in our relationship with Him, grow in our relationship with others, and grow in strength and integrity in ourselves. We have to grow daily to become more like Christ. Those daily struggles and knuckleheads that are placed in our paths are part of the growing process. Let those tough times grow you closer to God. Growing pains are hard, but the reward is so great!

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Give me a word, Lord: FOLLOW THE LEADER

I Peter 2:21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

Matthew 4:19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Luke 9:23-25 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

I am not a good follower, I never have been, and probably never will be a good follower. My career has always caused me to move fast and think fast. I walk rapidly even when I’m off duty. I drive too fast. I even speak too fast. I have a lot to say in a short amount of time so I have to say it quickly. My patients have had to remind me on occasion to slow down when they catch me talking too fast. And I’ve even been accused of not being a natural born southerner due to my rapid speech. I can’t help it. There is much to accomplish with little time available to accomplish those things.

Because I’m always on the go and moving quickly, I can not stand following. I do not like getting behind a slow moving vehicle. I don’t like to walk behind slow walking people. I’ve got things to do. I can’t follow. I’ve got to lead. Oh my! Do I have trouble with this one! In this fast paced world we live in, there is One who is worthy of being followed: Jesus Christ! BUT He doesn’t merely want us to follow Him, He commands it. How then does a fast moving, fast talking girl like me quit trying to take the lead and slow down and just follow? I think the key is learning to slow down.

First of all, we have to make time for Christ. We are so busy with worldly obligations. We have to set aside time specifically for Christ. We need time every day to really soak in the Word of God. Linger over the scripture. Don’t rush through it. Slow down and absorb it. Study the Word and take time to ask God what He is trying to teach you. Through studying His Word and speaking to Him in prayer, you will hear His voice. You probably will not hear the audible voice of God, but you will hear from Him if you take the time to listen. He will guide your path and let you know what you should be doing and even where you should be going. Then, finally, you just have to follow His lead. Let Christ lead you. Be obedient to His commands.

Being a Christ follower isn’t just about following the leader. It’s living it out. Living for Christ daily. Sharing Christ with others. When we follow Christ we have to leave things behind that hinder us from having a close relationship with Him. We have to put Him first, others second, and ourselves last. That’s tough in this me, me, me society we live in. It’s hard to learn to be a follower when you’re born to be a leader. How about following Christ so enthusiastically that you can’t help but lead others to Him? Hmm! Follow the Leader, and lead others to Him! That’s what it’s all about! Leading others to Christ. Live it! Love it! Follow Him! If you keep your eyes on Christ, I promise you that you can’t go wrong. You can only go right! You just have to follow the Leader!

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Give me a word, Lord: WORRY

Matthew 6:25-34 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Anyone out there guilty of worrying? Don’t all raise your hands at the same time. This pandemic has taken worry to a whole new level. Everywhere I turn, I run into people who are worried. I treat patients in the clinic all day who are worried. People are anxious about their health, anxious about their income and providing for their families, anxious about the economy, anxious about COVID-19, and anxious about the surrounding conspiracy theories…and the worry list goes on and on.


Listen up peeps, your girl here was a professional in the field of worry. For as far back into the dark recesses of my mind that I can reach, I have been a world class worrier. When I say professional, I mean it. I was good at it! I was so good that if I didn’t have something to worry about, I would dream up some silly circumstance or possibility, and then I would worry on that. Almost 30 years ago, I graduated valedictorian of my nursing class and was asked to speak at graduation. I was so worried that I would fall down while walking to the stage, or forget what I was going to say, and I was overwhelmingly worried that I would have to pee before the ceremony ended! I’m serious, I’m telling you that I worried! I worried a lot.


A few years ago, I posted something on facebook about my supreme skills of worry, and a good friend brought me to my knees, and I am forever grateful. She messaged me and told me that what I said about worrying surprised her. She said that she knew I was a Christian, and informed me that worrying was a form of sin. Wait…what?? Sin?? Oh my!

Philippians 4:6 reads “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Well, there you have it folks. Right there in black and white. Don’t…be…anxious…about…ANYTHING! But instead pray…about…EVERYTHING! God knows we are going to worry, but He wants us to turn to Him when we do. He wants us to give it to Him and let it go. When we worry, our thoughts are on our fear rather than on the Savior. We become consumed with worry, and we are not consumed with Christ.


Over the past ten years my prayer life has grown by leaps and bounds. I tug on the good Lord’s ears 24/7. I started clinging to this verse with both hands, and every time a worried thought tried to sneak in, I just prayed that worry right to God. I have retired from being a professional worrier, and am now pursuing studies as a professional prayer! When I worry, I go to the feet of my Lord and Savior and lay my burdens down. I’m getting better about leaving them there too. I used to grab them back up and try to carry them with me, but I’ve learned that my shoulders aren’t that big.


We have a loving Savior who says come to Me! He clothes the fields with splendidly beautiful flowers. If He put so much finite detail into a flower that is going to wilt and fade away with the changing seasons, how much more does He love you and I who were created in His image? The answer: immeasurably! He’s got you! Just lay it all at His feet! Don’t worry! Pray!

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Give me a word, Lord: TRUST

Psalm 62:8 Trust in him at all times, oh people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.

Joshua 1:9 Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good.

Trust is a little word with a BIG meaning. We put our trust in so many things of the world…our jobs, our finances, our health, our friends, and our families…just to name a few, but every single one of these can fail us at any given moment. If you don’t believe me, just look around. People are losing jobs and salaries are being cut. Healthy people are getting sick, and some are dying. The ones we love most seem to hurt us most because we care so much about them. Of all the things we can put our trust in, there’s only One that will never fail us.

My daddy has quoted Proverbs 3:5-6 many times as one of his favorite verses, and it has become one of my favorites through the years as well. We can’t lean on our own understanding. I don’t understand why this world looks like it’s falling apart at the seams, but God does. God knows the big picture. He has a plan. It’s not our job to understand it. It’s our job to trust God. If you don’t believe me, just grab your Bible and read it for yourself. It says “trust God” more than 150 times! He’s going to work everything out for our good and His glory.

We’ve strayed so far from God’s path as a nation. It’s time for us to acknowledge that God is God, and it is time to let Him put us back on the track. He loves each and every one of us, big ugly sins and all. He desires a relationship with His kids. All we have to do is trust in Him!

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Give me a word, Lord: CRISIS

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

Deuteronomy 31:8 The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

I John 4:4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

One thing is for sure, we are either in the middle of a crisis, just coming out of a crisis, or preparing for the next crisis. It’s a vicious cycle. We’re in the midst of several crises right now: the Corona virus pandemic, shortages (this week it was gas – who knows what it will be next week), economic insecurity, and the list goes on. On top of that, many of my friends and family are going through a personal crisis of death or sickness of a loved one, marital issues, trouble with finances, and the list also goes on and on. It’s really hard in the midst of a crisis to recognize that this is the perfect opportunity for us to truly experience our Savior’s power, His great love for us, His immeasurable wisdom, His ability to get us through the crisis, and then, my favorite part, that peace and security that He gives us that could only come from Him.

When we learn to put total trust and faith in Christ our Savior, we soon slowly but surely realize that the God that created the heavens and the earth is the same God that is with us each and every day. He abides in us. He is in control. Knowing this and trusting this gives us joy that far outweighs any crisis we are in the midst of. The indwelling spirit of God gives us security that nothing can shake and a peaceful knowledge that we’re in His hands.

As crazy as it sounds, when in the middle of a crisis, whatever the crisis may be, thank and praise God. During the hardest times in life is when the peace of God is most clearly manifested to us. Even though the crisis is painful, the trial will serve to bring you closer to the Savior if you continue to keep your faith in Him. Keep the faith. Praise Him during the storms. The Son will shine through!

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Give me a word, Lord: BARE FEET and CLIMBING TREES

Ephesians 4:7 However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ.

Psalm 143:5-6 I remember the days of old. I ponder all your great works and think about what you have done.  I lift my hands to you in prayer.

When I think back to my younger days, it seems that the days were long and the years were longer. It took five years to get from one Christmas to the next in kid years. But I reflect back now, and I realize that as a child my mind wasn’t filled with many memories because I hadn’t yet made a lot of memories. As an adult, growing older each minute, I now recognize that the days are much shorter and it only takes a month for a year to pass in adult years. Time is slipping by so quickly. Our minds are storehouses of memories of days gone by, and we want to sit down and reminisce and reflect on the days gone by. Why? Why do we do this? I personally feel that reminiscence is a gift from God, and it is a gift that He fully expects us to take advantage of. When we reflect back on the days of old, we remember experiences, good and bad. We remember the trials, but we also remember how God’s grace pulled us through each and every time. We reflect on the many times that God showed us mercy when we surely didn’t deserve even a second thought.

I am so thankful that my good God has left my memory intact, and I love it when He allows me to return down those old country roads. It only takes a smell, a sight, or perhaps even a sound to cause me to reminisce on the days of old. While I was riding around with my husband last weekend, I noticed that the Mimosa trees have started blooming. Every time I see those fuzzy pink blossoms, I am taken back to my youth. I was a regular old tomboy. My daddy raised six girls and no boys. I enjoyed the outdoor life. I enjoyed fishing, walking in the woods, riding in the police car with my dad, and hanging out at the Sheriff’s department for hours on end. I only wore shoes for church and school, and the bottom of my feet were as tough as cowhide. I walked many miles on those bare feet, and I climbed many a tree. The Mimosas bring me back to my grandparents house each year as the first blossoms appear. My daddy’s parents had a big old Mimosa tree at the corner of their front yard. I remember climbing that with my bare feet and lanky arms and legs. My sisters and I climbed and laughed and had a ball in that old Mimosa tree. I loved that old tree. As we drove past Grandma’s house going to my daddy’s this week, I pointed out the old stump to my husband and once again remembered those barefoot days climbing trees.

That may seem like a silly little detail of my childhood to some, but that small memory is flooded with many more memories. It is tied to the very people who instilled a love for Christ in me. My grandparents raised up my godly father who raised up six children in Christ. I didn’t recognize that as a child. I didn’t realize that my grandparents were instilling a love of Christ in me while I was visiting their home and climbing their tree, but THEY DID! They took time to show me the ways of the Lord. I saw their love for the Lord in their actions and their hard work. Grandma brought us to “singing school” at her church every summer. It apparently didn’t work out as hoped for me because we all know that this girl still can’t carry a tune in a bucket, yet I still remember those days with great fondness.

Today is a good day to reminisce. It’s okay to remember the past as long as we don’t take up residence there. Take some time to remember the people that helped form you into the person you are today. Reflect on who planted the seeds that brought you to Christ. Think about who watered those seeds. Reminisce on the goodness of our great God and remember all of the times that he poured out his grace and mercy in your life. It is those memories that give us the courage needed to continue the road to this thing called life. Those memories also help us when we struggle. When we are going through a difficult season, we can reflect back and remember all of the times that God got us through the difficult times. His love never fails us. He never leaves us. He was there when I was barefooted and climbing trees, and He is right here with me now. Thank you God for growing me in you each and every step of the way.

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Give me a word, Lord: CONNECTED

Ephesians 2:18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

James 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Early last spring, Jeff hung some outdoor string lights that run from our outdoor kitchen all the way around the edge of the back deck. A few nights ago, We hadn’t plugged the lights in for a log while, and when Jeff plugged them in, to our surprise only the first string of lights lit up. By the light of a flashlight our son, Conner, checked the fuses in the second strand, but still no light. Jeff then shined the flashlight down the strings of light, and he quickly discovered the problem. The wire was cut! Apparently a squirrel decided to chew the wire into. We had lost our connection. Fortunately for us, and that little squirrel, I happened to have had a spare string of lights so the connection was quickly re-established, and light once again overcame darkness.


Sometimes little squirrels sneak into our lives and our connection to Christ seems to get cut off. We feel far removed from God, and we feel like we have to handle life on our own. Our light has gone out. We are lost in the dark.
Fortunately for us, we don’t have to remain in the dark. Our light is just a prayer away! Just think about it, Peeps! All of the power of heaven is available to us! That, my friends, is quite an amazing thought!


When we were on a mission trip in the Dominican Republic, the pastor told a story about a man who kept praying to God to give him things to fill up his home. He went room by room filling up the house with so many material things. As he filled each room up, he moved God to the next room because there wasn’t room for Him there. After he finally had all the stuff he thought he needed, he had moved God outside. He slowly began to feel very lonely, and he started praying. He asked God why he had left him. God replied, “I never left you. You pushed me away.”


We need to keep this in mind. God NEVER leaves us. When we can’t feel His presence, when we feel we’ve lost our connection, it is very likely that we have pushed Him away. He didn’t leave. We just got busy doing our own thing and chasing our own squirrels…the very same squirrels that where cutting our line of connection.


Fixing the connection is so easy. The Light is still right there where you left Him. He’s waiting for you to reconnect, and all you have to do is call out His name. Pray. Talk to the Father. Ask Him into your life. There is nothing like the light of Christ to fill you up and keep you going. Be filled with the Light, and let your light shine today!

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Give me a word, Lord: TROUBLE, TROUBLE EVERYWHERE

2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

James 1:2-4 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

There is trouble, trouble everywhere! No matter what we do in life, occasionally trouble or hardship is going to arise. When this happens, and it’s going to happen, it is our natural human instinct to start worrying about the circumstances. We can easily get caught up in circumstances, and we tend to forget that God is already working behind the scenes. God sees our lives from a completely different vantage point, and from His viewpoint everything going on in our lives has a purpose that fits perfectly into His plan for our lives. Isn’t that an amazing thought? I’m always in awe when I realize that our all powerful, all knowing, loving, merciful God pays attention to little old insignificant me and my day to day circumstances!


The scripture reminds us that it is not the seen circumstances that are important, but rather it’s what God is doing in the unseen. It’s what He is achieving eternally. What we are dealing with now, momentary troubles or hardships, are producing everlasting joy! Wait what? Joy? Yes, JOY!


Take a look around today. What troubles are you currently enduring that may be causing you to take your eyes off of God? Are your temporary hardships stealing your joy? God loves us so much more than we can comprehend. He desires a close, personal relationship with us on an individual level. He wants us to come to Him not just in the good times, but also in the bad. He wants us to approach Him with confidence knowing that He will show mercy to us and give us grace. When we do this, approach God with our troubles confidently, we realize that He is not only going to see us through our troubled times, but He is also going to bless us beyond measure through those circumstances. That’s where the joy comes in! With Christ, we can move right on past our trouble and move right on to victory! Don’t waste time on worry…give it to God and get going…

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Give me a word, Lord: SHARING

Mark 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

Philemon 1:6 and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.

Psalm 96:2-4 Sing to the LORD; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods.

Sharing can be easy at times, but other times it is very difficult to share. Take for instance a toddler who is playing with his favorite toy. If you attempt to take that toy, you are likely going to meet the fiery wrath of the terrible twos! We have to teach children to share with others. Our Jude doesn’t like to share his Pop Pop, Mimi, Paw Paw, Mama, Daddy, or Nanny with others, but that kid has a sharing heart! He loves to pick flowers and bring them to all the ladies. I can’t tell you how many rocks I’ve been gifted because “this one is just beautiful, Mimi, and I want you to have it.” Or “I want you to have this one because it’s a perfect square.” And he loves to share his lovely art work and make cards and write letters in 4 year old jargon. He makes my heart smile BIG!

I love to share too. I love to make things and give them away just because it’s so much fun. I started sharing these morning devotionals because I felt we all could use a little encouragement during this storm of life we are going through. I love, love, love sharing my faith! It’s really easy for me to sit down here every morning and pour my heart out to whoever is reading and tell you about Christ. I pray before I write, and I ask God to give the words to share. As you can see, I’m not short on words! But what about that sharing the good news of Christ one on one? Ouch! That one is a little harder. Even though it’s hard, we have to share Christ with others. It’s our duty! If we don’t share Him, who will?

When I first became a Christian, I was like a toddler with a new toy. I had Christ. He was mine. I was saved. I didn’t need to share Him. For many years, I was content in the knowledge that I was saved by faith, and that’s all I needed. However, the good Lord saw fit to change my heart and helped me realize that everybody needed Jesus, not just me! It’s hard to get those conversations started at first. The first words are always the hardest, but once the words start flowing, they will continue to flow. You just have to get started. Our pastor shared some evangelism pearls with us a while back. He shared that we could start by asking about family, and then activities they enjoy, and then move on to discussing religion. Ask what church they attend. Then the conversation can flow to sharing Christ. It helps when you have a plan in place, but sometimes you just have to wing it.

We ran into an old friend at the gas pumps a while back. I was in the store, and he and Jeff spoke for a few minutes before I came out. After we left, Jeff said they were talking about how nice these spring mornings have been, and Eddie asked him, “what do you think the thermostat in heaven is going to be set on?” I told Jeff, “wow, I’m stealing that line!” What a great, easy way to lead into a conversation about Christ!

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Give me a word, Lord: TAKING CARE OF THE TEMPLE

2 Corinthians 7:1 Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

I Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

About this time last year, I had the bright idea to ask my husband if I could pressure wash the back deck. It was turning gray and there was a lot of mildew here and there. I thought we better clean it up before the wood started to decay. I didn’t think that thought through fully because, of course, after you pressure wash all the deck, you then must pressure wash all the railing around the deck…and then around the entire house…and then the porches…and you can’t forget the sidewalks. But finally, after the grime and wear of the last 2-3 years had been washed away, we carefully applied a new stain sealer to all of the wood, and suddenly, it looked brand new. After much hard work and a few wayward splinters, I was able to say, “wow, that hard work really paid off!” It can be a very tedious task taking care of the physical aspects of our home, but if we want to keep living here and enjoying this piece of paradise that God gave us, it’s something that we must do.


Now, what about our physical bodies? Yea, you knew the nurse practitioner in me had to go there. We take care of our homes because we live inside them, but what about the body? Well, that’s even more important. The Holy Spirit resides inside of each and everyone of us if we have been saved by faith. Our bodies are temples in which the Holy Spirit lives so shouldn’t we make a concerted effort to take care of the Holy Spirit’s home? Sure we do, but how? We have to take care of ourselves physically & spiritually. We need to get a good nights sleep so that we are refreshed and ready to take on the day. We need to eat a healthy diet so that we have energy to do the tasks at hand. We need regular exercise to keep our bodies strong and ready to go into action. We have to continue to grow in the word to keep our minds sharp and focused on Christ. And we must strive daily to live for Christ.

This sounds like I’m just trying to throw in a medical lecture here, but what I am saying is so very true. If we aren’t taking care of our bodies, the living temple of the Holy Spirit, how in the world can we expect to be able to do the job that is set before us? If we want to keep living for Christ, we must take care of the physical body as well as the spiritual. I love our little home and our little piece of paradise that God has given us for now, but this is not my eternal home. Even so I want to take care of it while I live here. And I want to take care of myself so that I can continue to do the Lord’s work and His will. Physical health is very important! Take care of yourself! And when you see Christ using you for His glory and our good, you will say, “wow, that hard work is paying off.” We aren’t finished yet, but we’ll get there. Take care of yourself physically and spiritually each and every day.

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Give me a word, Lord: LOVE

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Proverbs 3:3-4

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” I John 4:9-11

“What’s love got to do with it?” I love singing that song in my best Tina Turner voice at the top of my lungs with my wild crazy hair (because it’s always crazy) while riding in the car with my daughter. Crystal always laughs out loud as she reminds me once again that I can’t sing. But I assure you, just because I can’t doesn’t mean I won’t sing! Just ask my kids and they will tell you! I love my family. I love crazy little moments like this that make us giggle and laugh until we cry. I love my husband more than I dreamed possible. I love my kids, and oh, how I love my little grandson! Over the past weekend, my family has shown me so much love as we celebrated Mother’s Day. The gifts were all very memorable, but the love of family, the love of my children, well that my friends is priceless!

Most of the time it’s easy to love. God blessed me with a heart the size of Texas, and I love with every ounce of my being. Yes, most of the time, loving other is easy, but other times…it may be a little harder! It’s easy to love when everything is going well, when everyone is getting along, and when things are running smoothly. It’s easy to love those who love you. It’s a little more difficult to love when things aren’t going the way we want them to. It get’s hard to love when someone hurts us or when we are mad or angry about something. It really gets hard to love those who hate us. However, when I think about love, I think about all of the wonderful blessings God has bestowed upon me. I can’t possibly think about love without thinking of the love of God. He loved us so much that He sent His son to die for us. There is definitely no greater love than that. As Christ followers, we are commanded to love like Jesus loves. He didn’t tell us to love the ones that love us. No, my friends, Jesus commanded that we love them all…the good, bad, and ugly acting ones! That’s definitely not an easy command to follow, yet we must strive to do so.

Our pastor always says that a way we can check our love for God is by looking at how well we love others. That doesn’t mean how well you love those you are supposed to love, but rather how well are we loving those unlovables? I have found that the more in love we are with Jesus, the easier that task of loving others becomes. This past year has been a tough time for all of us to endure, but I have seen firsthand how showing a little love makes things so much better. No matter how bad things seem, don’t forget that God loves you and He is on your side. Hang on to that and share some of that love with others today. I love ya Peeps!

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Give me a word, Lord: SOUR LEMONS OR SWEET LEMONADE

Phillipians 4:9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Ephesians 5:1-2 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

When times get tough, the tough get going. That old saying rings very true. It’s funny how hard times tend to bring out our true colors. When you squeeze a lemon, you will either get a bitter glass of lemon juice or you can add a little sugar and enjoy a glass of lemonade. What about when you squeeze a person though? When someone is put under pressure, stress, or hard times and is squeezed, what comes out? The true heart of the person will generally show. You might see anger or bitterness, or you might actually see love and continued joy despite the circumstances.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. As Christians, we are by definition followers of Christ. We must be imitators of Christ. In Philippians 4:9, Paul is saying, “if you want to live like Christ, live like me. Do what I’ve taught you.” Paul continually lived His life with eternity in mind. He set a high bar for us all to follow. When I compare myself to Paul, I find that I fall so short. When I compare myself to Christ…well I can’t even compare. I wish I could be more like Paul and so confident that my conduct was so becoming of Christ that I were truly a reflection of Christ in all that I do. I mean really, we wear His name in our name as Christians.

So many people fall away from the church because someone professing to be “Christian” said or did something that was totally unchristlike, and it destroyed their faith. But we have to realize that we can’t place our faith in man. Man is totally imperfect, but a saving relationship in Christ makes us right.Today, think on this. We are getting squeezed pretty hard right now. Times are tough. Our true hearts are going to show. Are you looking like a bitter, sour lemon, or are you sweet and savory like a cool glass of lemonade?

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Give me a word, Lord: REFRESHED PHYSICALLY AND SPIRITUALLY

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit. Psalm 51:10-12

Do you ever get weary? Do you ever feel tired? Boy oh boy, this girl right here has felt some kind of weary and tired lately. I’m so tired somedays that my coffee needs coffee! It’s been a crazy year in the general, and it has definitely been crazy in the medical field. I leave the clinic completely exhausted at the end of the day. Between putting on PPE to go outside and evaluate and screen for COVID 19 to suturing lacerations, splitting fractures, to treating all sorts of chronic and acute illnesses, there isn’t any time to relax or refresh…at least not until I get in the car to drive home. God knew what He was doing when He placed me at a clinic that is a 25 minute drive from home. I get 25 whole minutes to pray and praise Him on my way to work, and I get 25 minutes to unwind while listening to a sermon and praying on my way home. Yep, He rigged it. Today, I’m doing home visits. He rigged that too. I’m going to be working, but it isn’t like work at all. I get to spend time in the home of patients, one on one, evaluating and teaching, unhurried, doing what I love. After a long day today, I may be tired, but I’ll also be refreshed. Not only that, God provides physical refreshment through time with family and friends, and let’s not forget that big old bed we get to crawl into every night and get refreshing physical rest!

Sometimes in our spiritual walk we get weary similar to the way our physical walk wears us down. How do we get refreshed spiritually? The answer is pretty much the same. We have to rest in the Lord! Sounds silly, huh? But it’s true! We try to do everything on our own. We tend to have an “I got this” mentality, when in reality, we don’t have it at all! Without Christ, we don’t have anything. With Him, we have all that we will ever need. When we quit trying to do everything on our own, and we start relying on Christ more and more and on ourselves less and less, we won’t grow weary. Rather will gain strength spiritually. When we get in His word and speak to Him in prayer, we are refreshed and renewed and strengthened spiritually. Yep. He has that rigged too,, for our good and His glory! Let Christ refresh you today! There’s nothing better than sipping a refreshing drink of the living water!

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Give me a word, Lord: SATISFIED

Psalm 63:1 You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.

Isaiah 58:11 The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

In this world of “gimme more” mentality, it seems almost impossible to be satisfied with anything. There is always something new that recently arrived on the market. The commercials make it sound like that new thing is something we can’t live without. We become preoccupied with the thought of obtaining that new thing that we just have to have until we finally break down and make the purchase. Oh man, this is just what I wanted! But soon thereafter, the new wears off, and we are out looking for the next new must have item. We keep trying to fill a void that we feel with in us with stuff. Unfortunately, that particular void can’t be filled with stuff. It can only be filled with Christ!
How then do we get satisfied with Christ? You have to seek Him. The best way I’ve found to do this is to pray and stay in His word. Fill your heart and mind with Christ and that void will disappear. Fill yourself up with the Word of God, and then you can take the Word with you wherever you go. Learn to lean on Him, talk to Him, share your praises and your prayers with the One who loves you most. There is no greater satisfaction than having a personal relationship with Christ! Get satisfied today!

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Give me a word, Lord: STILL SMALL VOICE

Isaiah 30:21 Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.

John 14:26 But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.

John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,[a] who will never leave you.

Come on, Lord! Really? That’s a tough one. The words popped in my head the second I rolled over this morning, “voice of God”. How does one explain hearing the voice of God? I’m going to be the first to admit that I have never heard the audible voice of God, and I often doubt in my mind those that say they do. I mean I wish God would just holler at me sometimes, but instead, He politely uses that still small voice. So how does He speak to us? He speaks to us through His Word, the Bible. It’s our handbook for life. You can find all the answers you need right there. He speaks to us through prayer. And He speaks to us through our thoughts. Wait, what? Yep, I said it. At least that’s how He speaks to me on a regular basis. I don’t mean I hear voices in my head. I don’t hear actual sentences or a manly or godly voice speaking, but rather it’s more like a feeling. I get an overwhelming feeling about something…relationships, work, finances, and pretty much every aspect of my life. As Christians, the Holy Spirit resides within us. He guides us and directs us if we will only stop long enough to hear. If you have an overwhelming thought to do something or say something or pray for someone or help someone, well then, that’s very likely God speaking to you. The problem we run into is we have to discern whether its God’s voice or our own. Is it in line with biblical principles, or is what I keep thinking about in line with the world? Ha! That’s a tough one.

How do we learn to recognize the voice of God? First, we have to get all of those other voices out of our head. Clear our minds and make room for Him. We can’t hear the Father over all of that other racket we have going on. Find a quiet place with no distractions and talk to God about anything and everything that is going on in your life. Let Him be involved in every aspect. We also have to get to know Him on a very personal level. He already knows us…everything about us…even the exact number of hairs on our head, but do we know Him? We have to make an effort to get to know the Father. We must study His word, and we have to talk to Him on a regular basis. Just as you recognize the voice of your spouse or children in the middle of a crowded room, you will recognize God tugging at your heart and guiding your way.

This morning, Paw Paw arrived at our house at 6 am because the men are loading yearlings up to sale. He cracked the front door open, and our goofy, Bear, started barking. Paw Paw closed the door quickly. He then cracked it again, and Bear barked louder. Finally, Jeff said, “speak to him, Daddy. He doesn’t know who you are ’til he hears your voice.” We think Bear has problems with his vision, maybe or maybe not, but he has problems nonetheless. He startles so easily, but when we speak, he calms right down. He needs to hear his master speak. Kind of sounds familiar, huh? We run through life crazy busy, worrying, and fretting, but when we finally stop long enough to hear our Master speak, we receive calm assurance that everything is gonna be okay. God is with us. He is ever present. If you aren’t hearing Him, maybe you need to work on your receiver because the transmitter never stops working! Be still and know!

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Give me a word, Lord: STUCK

Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

A couple of weeks ago, we turned our rescued raccoons out. We live on eighty acres in a park like paradise with lots of trees and a small creek trickling through our property. It truly is a perfect place for wildlife to live and enjoy out the days of their lives. The raccoons have been hand fed daily portions of baked sweet potatoes, apples, grapes, bananas, and dog food plus occasional supplements of baked chicken and boiled eggs. Yes our raccoons are quite spoiled. After turning them out, I continue to serve up the same meal on a daily basis until they learn to forage on their own.

Sylvie is my most recent female to release. She has been coming up to the house for treats, tearing up my flower pots on the deck, and making her presence known. This weekend, however, Sylvie got stuck! We have a metal carport cover next to our big shed that is down by the barn which we use for storing feed and equipment. There is a gap of a little over a foot between the roof of the shed and the carport cover. Somehow, Miss Sylvie got onto the carport cover, and then couldn’t get back onto the roof of the shed. There are several trees in close proximity to the shed in which she could use to climb down, but there aren’t any close enough to the carport cover. My girl was stuck. We waited to give her a chance to figure the situation out by herself, but she seemed to truly be stuck. Finally, after realizing that she wasn’t going to get down on her own, my husband put our big 12 foot ladder next to the shed. We placed a heavy board to make a bridge between the two roofs, and I put food and water on top of the shed. It didn’t take her long to get “unstuck” after that. She made her way down, and this morning, the deck flowers have been rearranged again, my front door hanger is on the ground, and evidently, Sylvie has remained “unstuck” for the night!

Have you ever been stuck in a place that you didn’t want to be? Have you ever gotten yourself into a situation in which you couldn’t find your way out? Have you perhaps just felt like you were stuck in a rut? So many times in life we struggle with the thought that life isn’t going the way that we planned, and when we think along this line, we become unhappy about our situation. Life is hard, y’all. It can be full of heartbreaks and disappointments, and sometimes we look around and wonder what happened. How in the world did I get stuck in this rut? How did I get stuck in this situation? Many times, it isn’t our fault, but occasionally we look within and realize that we are totally responsible for the mess we are in, and we are going to need some help getting out of it.

Life is hard, and it seems to be getting harder with each passing day. We have pressing schedules with lists of obligations that we have to meet. We have so many tasks to complete in a single day, and if we dare look at the calendar for the week, we can quickly become overwhelmed. Sometimes we feel stuck in a rut of endless tasks and duties. We want to find a sense of relief and respite, but we can not see any relief in sight. We allow ourselves to dwell on the situation rather than the solution. We long to be rescued.

When we find ourselves stuck and feeling unhappy about life’s situations, we can find great encouragement in scripture. The Apostle Paul always knew exactly what to say. The scripture above was written while Paul was in prison. He tells us that he has learned to be content with whatever he had. He had learned to live with almost nothing or with everything. He was in prison, y’all! He didn’t have anything, yet he was content. How was this so? We read further to see that Paul shares the secret of his contentment. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. It is through Christ that we find the strength to endure every situation. It is through Christ that we too find true contentment. And, it is through Christ that we are rescued!

If you’re feeling stuck right now, you don’t need a ladder and a makeshift bridge to get to where you need to be. No, my friend, you only need “The Bridge”, the Savior. He bridged the gap when He gave His life for your sins, and there is no deep secret here. All you have to do is call out to Him. You don’t have to stay stuck. Let the Savior save you today! And while we wait, even if the weight if the wait is heavy, we can be content knowing that we can do everything with Christ who strengthens us!

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Give me a word, Lord: PUTTING OFF AND PUTTING ON

Colossians 3:16-17  Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

Read full scripture text: Colossians 3:1-17

This morning, I would like to review some important instructions found in Colossians 3. In this chapter, Paul instructs believers to put to death or put off the old self and put on the new self. If we are to walk in Christ we must put off the things that are not of Him, and put on the things of Christ. I love Paul’s writings. He gets right to the point, and his love for Christ shines through the words that he writes.

What are the things that we should put off or put to death? The first thing Paul mentions is that we shouldn’t think about the things of earth. Our focus should be heavenward and not on the things of this life. We have died to this life, so we are to put to death the sinful, earthly things within us. Paul doesn’t make any bones about it, and he lists some specific sins that believers should put off. These include sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. We are not to be greedy, as greed can lead to idolatry and worshiping the things of this world. Paul also reminds us to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. We are not to lie to one another. It is human nature to sin. We are imperfect creations, but we can be made perfect through a loving relationship with Christ who intercedes for us with the Father. If we love Christ, we find it easy to put off these things of the world because the things that we put on are so much better.

What are we to put on? We are to set out sights on the realities of heaven where Christ sits on the right hand of God! We are to dwell on thoughts of heaven and not on the things of this life. We are to put on our new nature and be renewed as we daily learn and get to know our Creator and become more like Him. Paul reminds us that it doesn’t matter who or what we are. Christ is all that matters, and He lives in all of us. We are God’s chosen people. He chose you, and He chose me! Because we are chosen by God, we must put on tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. We have to be willing to make allowances for each other’s faults, and we must forgive those who offend us. We all have a few faults of our own which have been forgiven and forgotten by our loving Father. Can we not do the same for those who have wronged us? We must also put on love, for it is love that will bind us together in perfect harmony. And with love, we find peace that comes only from Christ.

We are chosen by Christ. Ponder that thought for a moment, and then recline in it. John 15:16 reads, “You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.” He chose us! And because He chose us, we are new creations in Christ. Our love for Him should overflow into our daily lives so much so that those around us see that we are different. We behave differently. We live differently. As you consider Paul’s instructions this morning, think about your personal relationship with Christ. Is there anything that you need to “put off”? Are there a few things that you need to “put on”? It may seem like a daunting task, but nothing is impossible with Christ. Go to Him in prayer. Seek His guidance and will for your life. I promise you that He will help you put off those things that are not of Him, and He will help you put on the things of Christ!

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Give me a word, Lord: GROWING WHILE WAITING

Romans 4:18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

Psalm 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

James 5:7-8 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.

And we wait…. It seems like we are always waiting on something or someone. Waiting is hard for me. I’m a “gotta get it done and gotta get it done right now” kind of person. I don’t like to to sit idly and wait. BUT Christ has shown me through the years that He accomplishes all things in His time and not mine. And when we wait on His timing, great lessons are learned and great blessings are received while we wait. Abraham was 100 years old, and Sarah was 90 or 91 when Isaac was born. Talk about a long wait!! And those Israelites, oh those Israelites, their deliverance from Egypt took 420 years. They had to wait 40 more years before God allowed them to enter the promised land. Apparently, they had a LOT to learn!! God’s people waited generation after generation for the Messiah, and now we are awaiting His return! Yes, we wait.

My husband has frequently told me, “Good things come to those who wait.” We wait for so many things in this life. We are now awaiting the arrival of another grandchild this October. We await with excited anticipation. Some are awaiting test results. Some people are waiting for a healing. Some people are waiting for a loved one to return home from the military. We are all waiting for that lost loved one to come to Christ. This too takes time…and much waiting! Even though the weight of the wait is so very heavy, the wait is always worth it.

So, what are we to do while we wait? We can let God strengthen our faith while we are waiting. Use this time to get to know God better. Get in His word. Read your Bible while you wait. And pray, pray, pray! Talk to our heavenly Father. Bend His ear. He truly wants to hear from His kids just as we long to talk to and hear from our own parents, kids, friends, & family. Use this time to get to know God better. Ask yourself, how am I growing while I’m waiting? We’ve all grown immensely over the past year. Think about the wisdom you have gained. God has given each of us responsibilities in certain areas, but we do not have sovereignty in any area. We must remember that we are being carried on the shoulders of our Savior! Wait on Him!