His plans

Everyone is very special to God.  We were all made in his image. That is why we can all live our lives to the fullest. He knew us before we were ever born. He sees the big picture. He is looking through a wide lens. Everything that will make us the best we can be is all planned out.

We have a very important purpose. God knows before anything ever happens how his plan will work best. It would work perfectly if we did everything right. Problem is that we are not perfect. We are all given free will to do as we want. Life is a learning process that lasts till our very last breath.

The people we are around as we grow. The time we were born. Where we were born. Our choices that we make. All these things make us who we are. For every action God has a consequence for us. Good behaviors bring blessings. Bad behaviors will bring more challenges and trials.

God is not surprised by any of these life choices. Good or bad he sees them coming and adjusts our lives with his love and care. Making our lives work out for our best.

He is not just concerned about us but about everyone. Our lives do impact everyone else’s.

Take a family for example. I have one sister and two brothers. I was the first born to my parents. They were good Christians and my grandfather was a Baptist minister. All these things made me who I was and the relationships I had with each member of my family touched each ones lives.

Slowly I was becoming who he made me to be. Trials come to teach us. Just as we go through school from grades kindergarten till we finish High school. These trials are meant to help us grow. They come with tests that we need to pass to move us to the next level.

Some move quickly and others take more time. Molding us and making us just right.

We can trust that God knows just what he is doing. He can keep our life on track just as he keeps billions of other lives on track.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “ plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. “ Jeremiah 29:11   NIV

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”  Jeremiah 1:5 NIV

We continue to be special because of every life we touch. It is so easy to say, “ if only this happened”, or “I did this differently.” We might not see our lives as good.

God sees the whole picture though, remember. He is making our lives count.

Lord God,

Please help me to stick with your plans, help me to do your will. To be the best I can be. Make my life make a difference in the lives of others.

Amen

Attitude of gratitude

It’s that time of year again. Hard to believe but it is already time for thanksgiving this Thursday. Time to spend with family and friends enjoying what God designed from the very beginning when he said, “it is not good for man to be alone.” Fellowship and enjoying others is so important to a satisfied life.

Living every day with an attitude of gratitude and gratefulness can really make a great difference in our quality of life. People spend a lot of time and money trying to enjoy life. I heard it said that it really comes down to 10% of how life treats you and 90% of the attitude you have to that life. So true.

We all have trials and tough situations to face. They bring growth to our lives. We can dwell on the negative or we can look at the positive. I never wanted to be a recovering stroke victim. Unable to walk or even stand. One good hand, poor speech that is very hard to understand. Not much control over body functions.

I have to live in an old folks home away from my family. I don’t see my grandkids that much and my ex-husband has moved on. I have plenty to be bitter about. People tell me life has dealt me an unfair hand but I want my remaining years to be happy and fulfilled. I want my days joyful.

My life is what it is. God has given me a good life. A life that is designed just for me and what is truly best for me. All good and perfect gifts come from the father above. I truly believe that.  I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. He is right there beside me helping me.

Every day I want to do God’s perfect will for my life. To be able to further his kingdom and touch everyone I come in contact with for God. This is the cry of my heart every morning.

I may be totally helpless when I am flat on my back in bed but when I am up in my electric wheelchair I am very independent. It has taken years of work to get there. But I feel blessed. It could be so much worse. I am used to the life I live. Every minute of every day I see things I can be thankful for.

Quiet is one thing in my life right now that I cherish. It lets me spend time talking to God and also hearing him speak to me. I also have a roommate who watches television 24/7 and with poor hearing it is very loud so I spend all day outside enjoying God’s handiwork.

Living in Arizona we have nice weather most of the year and since I’ve lived here my whole life I enjoy even 100 degree days so only a few weeks am I indoors.

The home I live in is my family. I know everyone and care very much about their lives.

I have my meals prepared, my room and home cleaned, my laundry done and most every need met. My time is free to spend as I want. If I want to sleep all day I can or get up early.

I so love to spend quality time with my children and grandkids. They all live out of town but like to visit. My oldest lives in Ohio but married an airline pilot so I see her a lot. With Facebook I can check in on them anytime.

I have a friend that always reacts to everything coming his way and always negatively. “Oh, I’m not very good today.”  It really worries me how he can be so miserable so much of the time. That is not a good way to live.

I have some really great friends and I love my church and church family. God also has given me favor with people. He has shown me that I am good at encouraging others. It is my calling. I love to write and God has helped me to be good at it. I never would have envisioned my life as it is now but he knows me better than I do.

I am a better person than I thought I could be but then he knows what I’m capable of.

I can’t wait for what is next.

Managing our mindsh

“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish in the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”   Genesis 1: 26 NIV

God made us like him with the ability to think and reason. To be in control of our environment. We have been given free will to think however we want. And because we are made in his image we are able to accomplish great things. With his help who knows what we can do.

We have one problem though. We tend to live by our feelings. They are not always true. Satan has come to steal, kill, and destroy us. His best and easiest weapon is telling us how to feel to get us to act how he wants. “Oh you feel lousy and no one likes you. It is going to be a bad day.”

We believe him, but that is not the truth. God loves us and wants us to have a good day. We need to take control of our mind. If it is not something God would say then it probably isn’t true. But how do you get control. It’s so easy to feel from one moment to the next.

Someone says something you don’t like. You dwell on it and anger and bitterness ensues. You start becoming short with others. It just keeps growing. You are having a bad day.

I have learned that speaking life and positive things that are in God’s word to myself throughout the day keeps me positive. I have read the Bible every morning for many years now. It has helped me learn many verses. Promises God has given me. Keys for having a full and abundant life.

These are things he has told me to dwell on. And by dwelling on them I keep my mind positive. Satan doesn’t have a chance deceiving me. When he tries, and he will, I can respond with God’s words. Satan does not stand a chance.

When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness he overcame every temptation by speaking His father’s words. When he was tempted to turn stones into bread. He said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

Even when Satan tried to trick Jesus by telling him to do something because God’s Words said, “…”. Jesus said, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God. He did not do or think what Satan wanted him to do or think. He knew better.

We need to have that kind of control over our minds.

Midterm Elections

“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God,  and the authorities that exist are ordained by God.” Romans’ 13:1 NIV

As this week approaches and voting for midterm elections is here God wants us to know that he is in control.  He needs each and everyone of us to get involved. Voting is a right we need to exercise. The fate of our country is in our hands.

I will admit that I haven’t felt a need to vote since I had my stroke. Since 2005 I felt that I was out of touch and was not qualified to be voting. I was living in a nursing home and didn’t really watch news, so I didn’t know who to vote for. But God convicted me. I can get enough information to make educated decisions on voting.

My roommate likes to watch MSNBC every day. I have learned so much in the last few weeks. Our country and the world we live in is out of control. God has shown me that it is so important to vote for those people that we feel would do a good job.

President Trump is not one of my favorite people. He is our President and we need to support him, respect and pray for him.  We also need to pray for other leaders. Senators, congressmen, mayors, governors, and all those in authority over us. They deserve respect for what they do.

I know that even King David did things that I don’t agree with. He was though, a man after God’s own heart. No one is perfect, we are all imperfect. God uses us to get things done in this world. Trump has tried to remind the American people how important God and his word are to its people.

At one time we were One Nation under God and our founding fathers based our laws and amendments on Godly principles. We were a very blessed country for many years. We have taken God out of our schools and our courthouses and we wonder why we are going downhill fast.

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV

These people we vote for are working for all of us and need wisdom and guidance to do their jobs well. Even if we didn’t vote for them we need to support them when they are elected. We need to pray for them. We need to pray for our country and it’s people.

No one can do much alone. But with support and working as a team we are stronger. We can be unstoppable.

The Cross of Christ

This week I watched a movie that was so good. I strongly recommend Pure Flix as a provider of great faith based movies and family programming. I have seen so many good movies with a message. The one I watched this week was about how different lives are just threads in the beautiful tapestry God is designing.

You never know when our life will interact with another life that may have a divine purpose with far reaching ramifications. It showed the lives of several individuals going about their everyday lives but how they all were intermeshing to bring His will and ultimately salvation to lost and hurting lives far from him.

The main thing I took from the movie is something a man walking the streets with a large wooden cross asked to a local minister. “Do you believe in the cross of Christ?”

He said well of course, I’m a preacher. But it didn’t end there. It got him thinking and it did me to.

Growing up as a Christian in a Christian home I knew all about Christ. We went to church Sundays and Wednesdays, had Bible studies at my parents house one night a week. My parents worked with the college class so we were always getting together with them to do fun things.

I enjoyed being around my church friends. That was a big part of my life and who I was. But at other times it was business as usual. God didn’t affect much of my life. Oh I always tried to be good and knew God was important but it didn’t really change the way I lived.

As many of you know a severe stroke got my attention when I was only 45. Up till then I did what I wanted and when I wanted in regards to my life. That stroke was a wake up call from God. I almost died. Was I ready to meet God?

It was all different for me and tragedy often brings questions into our lives. What is life all about? What lies ahead? Our we ready? How have we run the race? I had to do a lot of seeking and I came up lacking greatly. I was not who I should be but God who is faithful, knows us, loves us, and gives us a do over.

The question that preacher heard hit him so hard that he asked it to his congregation.

“ Do you believe in the cross of Christ?”

Jesus, God’s son who had been with him since time began made a plan with his father. Thousands of years ago before we were ever born, although God for knew each one of us and loved us. They had to make a way for us to be together apart from sin. Yet we are all sinners, everyone.

Jesus would give up his right to be equal to God and come to earth as a helpless new born baby. He would be 100% man with all the failings we have, yet not sin, not even once. He would live a perfect life, with God’s help. Submitting to all authorities even to being hung on that cross to die as a hated criminal.

His perfect sacrifice, pure and blameless, would be just what we would need to be redeemed. By faith, only, we have been bought with a very high price. We don’t deserve it. We could never earn it. Still he did it for everyone who will believe.

How do I thank him for that gift properly? Everything I have ever done wrong in my life is washed away as if it never happened. I am far from perfect even though I try to do good. Do I really try to do his will for my life? Do I serve him and those around me?

Everyone I come in contact with is loved greatly by God. Who knows if I may divinely impact their lives, whether good or bad. Might I be the last Christian to leave an example of my fathers love in their lives. We are all the hands, feet, finances, and love of God in this world.

Do we draw others to him with our lives? He has promised to help us. To make our lives extra impactful for him. Not just an ordinary life, but one that truly matters to others. I always try to do his will. But do I pay that much attention to my every interaction with others.

I will now. It makes so much difference to those around me. I talk with difficulty, and my words may be few, but they need to be intentional. “God help me to always stay in control with my emotions by trusting that you are in control of what happens to me, good or bad.”

Fear Not

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. “. Isaiah 41:10. NIV

Fear Not. This is harder to do than it sounds. I have learned over my fifty-nine years that there really is nothing to fear when you know who you are in, Christ. All my life I struggled to read God’s word making excuses because life always seemed hectic. Being a good wife and raising three daughters to be Godly women always seemed more than enough.

When I had my stroke at the age of 45 I suddenly had all the time in the world. I knew only that God was in control and he was good. I had a friend come to visit me that offered to read the Bible to me. I remembered how much comfort it brought and decided to read every day.

That was in 2005 and I may have missed only a few days since. They were always rough days so I learned not to forget. I put it first. Through it I learned more of my fathers love and righteousness. He became so real to me.

I learned that there is no need to fear. My God is right there always holding my hand. I used to fear the pain of dying or being hurt badly but when I had my stroke I almost died but I felt great peace. I knew I had to be strong for my family. I also knew He was able to help me in my weakness.

One day at a time I got my life back and through many trials since I have seen his had on my life. I no longer worry, he’s got it. I don’t need to have the answers but I know who does. I know he loves me and is working everything out for my best. Not what I see is best but what he knows is best.

He created this whole universe and has kept it going for thousands of years. He knows what he’s doing far better than me. He knows everything happening before it happens. My God can do the impossible and has more times than I know.

I have a picture of my granddaughter that shows how I feel.

She is walking alone in the woods this summer on her vacation. Her dad said it first but it really resonated with me as I looked at it.

She is one lone little girl heading out against a dark and often scary forest but she walks without fear she is strong, headstrong, she can take on anything. I feel the same way now. I know I am not in control but I know who is and that makes me strong.

I have learned so much about the one in control and trust him with my life and when it’s through I’ll be with him forever and can’t wait so what should I fear.

Take every thought captive

“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.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV

What goes on in the human mind most often should stay there. Even the foolish look smart when they keep their mouth shut. The tongue has the power of life and death. This week I was witness to people say whatever was on their mind no matter how ugly and it really ate at me.

How can people be so hurtful. They tell themselves I have always been treated poorly so they deserve it. Nobody deserves to be treated poorly but we are all imperfect people. This is a messed up world we live in. Hate is prevalent.

We should however weigh all our thoughts, especially before verbalizing them. Is what we are thinking Christ like, will it hurt someone, would you want to hear it.? Once out of the mouth damage has been done and it is very hard to undo.

Something I always try to remember is that God loves us. This is a greatly cherished child of God I am speaking to. How would God want me to talk to them. This has helped me see others with so much love and respect. I could not hurt them intentionally.

I love people, all people and that is one reason why I love life. So many unique and different people all around me. I really like to get to know them. I also love to help others anyway I can even just encouragement.

You also need to consider thoughts about yourself and how you feel. I know we can really make ourselves down just by the things we feel. I tell myself every morning that this is the day God made for me and I will rejoice in it. I will be happy even if I feel sick , I don’t like breakfast, or someone says something harsh.

I always try to have a smile to share. My face muscles are weak so I may have a frown but I am always happy. I can get emotional at times and get touched in my heart easily. These are good kinds of sad though. This shows compassion. Hurt someone I love and it hurts me.

Things we think about ourselves can be destructive too. I’ll never be able too…

I can’t do that, bad things always happen to me, and I’m no good. We should always speak things we want as though they were. That will make them happen more times than not.

Share words of life when you speak. Do all you do as unto the Lord. These are ways to always be Christlike in action.