Inspiration, the Love of God, and Life's Lessons

The Honor of Speaking at Church

Today was Women’s Day at church. I was asked to give the sermon because my pastor reads my blog and thought I would deliver a good message. I had made notes in preparation, but found when I was at the podium the words that came weren’t mine at all.

I prayed this morning that God would give His message though me and that the congregation would receive it willingly. My intent was to talk about how to hear God when he speaks to us. So often we let everyday trials clutter our minds and hearts to the point that we can’t let our ears hear. We have the ability to hear God in ways other than using our ears. When we can quiet ourselves for just a few minutes, God’s message can be heard loud and clear, even if it’s a quiet as a whisper.

We are always on the search for meaning in life, answers to questions that seem impossible to answer. Ask God. Be willing to listen to what he has to say in return. You might not get the answer immediately, and a lot of the time it’s not the answer you may want to hear. But if you put all of your faith and trust in the Lord, knowing that he has paved this life path for you, knowing that he always hears your concerns and needs, it pleases Him and he will answer…in His time.

Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Expect that when you pray, God will hear you. Ask for miracles. Show him that you have faith in His almighty power to work miracles in your life and he will bless you beyond your wildest dreams.

Lord, thank you for speaking through me today to my church family. I pray that each of us grows stronger in our faith and that you will give us mercy and bless us with joy. I pray that you will work miracles for our loved ones who are suffering from physical pain as well as spiritual, and bring us closer together in You. In Jesus’ name I praise and thank you, amen!

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Overcoming Negativity

I haven’t posted in almost 2 weeks.  I’ve been sick, but I’ve also felt a little uninspired.  When I miss going to church and Sunday school I really notice a difference in my mood.  It’s so uplifting to be around my fellow Christians and to learn from each other.  When I lack that, I lack inspiration.

In the past week I’ve learned a very valuable lesson, which prompted me to write today.  Without going into great detail, I succumbed to negativity at the hand of a peer.  I was made to feel selfish in an unselfish situation and it brought out the worst in me in several ways.  My mood changed.  I told other people about the experience.  My words did not help anyone, but they did hurt myself.

As I spoke the words of my experience with this negative person to my friends and family, I began to believe that I was selfish.  Anyone who knows me knows that’s not true.  I am a very giving and loving person.  I gave away my joy and in return, made myself miserable.  I can’t blame anyone but myself.  I chose to give my joy away.  I allowed someone else to change how I felt and acted.

My lesson was to not let the actions of others affect how I react.  I don’t have to let anyone else affect how I feel about myself.  I don’t have to let anyone else steal my happiness and I surely don’t have to give it away so freely.  After a talk with my close friend, she forwarded me a verse from the Bible… she is such a great friend.  It says:

23 When he was insulted, he did not answer back with an insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but placed his hopes in God, the righteous Judge. 24 Christ himself carried our sins in his body to the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness.  It is by his wounds that you have been healed. 25 You were like sheep that had lost their way, but now you have been brought back to follow the shepherd and Keeper of your souls

I am so blessed to have a friend that inspires me.  I am so blessed to have God speak to me through others.  I am blessed to have discernment over what is Godly and what is not.  What I ask of you is to not let other people or situations affect how you act and feel.  It’s hard to do, but if we remember to turn the other cheek and not to insult when we’re insulted, God will give us more favor and mercy.  He sees what we need and he gives us his message clearly when we listen.

Thank you, God, for teaching me to turn my cheek.  Thank you for forgiving me of my transgressions.  Thank you for giving me today to meditate on what has happened and to turn it around into something positive.  In Jesus’ name, I praise and thank YOU, Amen!

A New Sprout Begins With A Seed

Happy New Year to everyone! We rang in 2013 in style, snoozing away until 5 minutes before the ball dropped, waking up just in time to wish each other “Happy New Year” and steal that oh-so-anticipated New Year’s kiss that seals the deal of a bright year ahead, then back to la-la land to dream our way into the early morning.  I hope yours was just as happy in your own ways!

As I type this, my lights are flickering, which is not a common occurrence in our house.  I can’t help but wonder if there’s a storm brewing for the day or if this is a warning of what’s to come for the new year as I’m typing.  When I asked what to type about today the words “Start with your seed” came to me.  The premise would be, of course, that every new sprout begins with a seed. As I discussed with a longtime friend on my birthday last Saturday, sometimes we plant seeds of goodness, whether we realize it or not.  Sometimes they sprout right away because the climate and conditions are just right.  Sometimes, as in my case, it took 20 years for the seeds that were planted in me to start to sprout.  Nevertheless, they’re sprouting, and growing wildly towards God and the path He has paved for me.

Seeds of all kinds can be planted, however, as I’m reminded with the flickering of my lights.  Just as easily as we can plant seeds of goodness, favor, and kindness, there are equal amounts of bad seeds being planted as well: Jealousy, hatred, contempt, ignorance… And depending on how receptive your soil is, it’s easy to breed both kinds of seeds.

The good news is that we have a choice.  We can use our “weed killers” at any given moment, and without having to look back on the ugliness that grew before because we are blessed with forgiveness.  We can choose to further our growth by planting seeds in our friends, family, even strangers.  A smile is a great seed to plant… and it’s contagious in such a good way!  Start this new year off by planting a seed of goodness: Smile at someone today, even if you don’t feel like it, even if you don’t think they deserve it… because you never know what anyone else has going on in their lives, you never know how that smile will affect someone else’s day, you never know when that seed of goodness will sprout into a beautiful flower that will continue to bloom for years to come… all because you took the time today to spend one minute giving someone an act of kindness, a smile.

It takes a village to raise a child, but it only takes a seed to start something beautiful.  It may not sprout in your time, but it will sprout in God’s time.  Believe in yourself, in the power you have to be kind and understanding of other people and their situations, and the power that God has put in you to plant His seeds all around you.  You never know when they’ll take off and flourish.

Today I give thanks for a full year of hope ahead. I give thanks for the friends and family that have supported me and had faith in me when I didn’t have faith in myself, let alone, my God.  I give thanks for forgiveness of my sins and transgressions, that I can help spread the Word to anyone who is ready to receive it, and I pray that these seeds I am planting take root and spread from generation to generation.  I Jesus’ name, I praise and thank Him, Amen!

I “Got” To Clean My House!

Yes, I said it.  I got to clean my house.  Not slang, as in, “I’ve really got to clean my house because it’s filthy”.  I GOT to clean my house today.

See, I will be the first to admit that house chores are not on the top of my favorite things to do. Luckily, I’ve been blessed with a helpful husband who does more than his fair share.  However, today I have learned a lesson… so I’m sharing it with you.

I have a house to clean.  Not “I have to clean a house”.  I have a roof over my head.  It has electricity, running water, and all kinds of cleaning products to use.

I also have bronchitis.  I’ve been told by the doctors in the ER that I have to stay inside, in a warm room, and to drink plenty of fluids while taking the prescribed medicines they gave me yesterday morning.  Instead of sitting here sulking, I decided to turn it around.  I have time off from work due to the holiday week. I don’t have to worry about missing any work time since I’m off already, whew!  I have time to recuperate.  I have the house to myself today because my husband is out hunting so we can use the new meat grinder my parents gifted us for Christmas. (He’s only a little excited to make deer burgers and sausage)  I’ve taken the time inside, by myself, to do a little catching up on all things: emails, phone calls, laundry, dusting, and now I’m cooking Turkey Soup (boy the house smells great!).

I didn’t have to do any of these things.  I’ve been blessed with the ability to walk, see, move about freely… I have the tools necessary to do the things I’ve accomplished today, and moreover, my husband will be happy when he comes home to find that he has a clean house, clean clothes, and a warm meal waiting.

I’ve decided to change my perspective about a lot of things as of late.  I’ve changed how I view people’s criticism of me and my walk of faith.  I’ve changed how I let other people’s moods or actions affect my moods and actions.  I’ve changed how I look at the gift of each day, the sun shining, my dogs barking, my new puppies crying (and opening their eyes now, at a week and a half old), my dirty house that I get to clean, my old VW station wagon that is paid for and runs like a champ, the job I get to return to after this reprieve.  It’s all in how you look at things that can make or break you.

I have so many blessings that I can’t begin to count them.  They come in all forms: people, moments in time, experiences, gifts, breath… I could go on and on, but you get the picture.  Today I thank God for every blessing I have, that I “got” to clean my house, and that I “Get It”.  I hope you “get it” too.

Enjoy your day… I know I am.  In Jesus’ name I thank HIM, Amen!

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Two little peanuts cuddling… and this is how I found them, not posed for cuteness

Why Do You Celebrate Christmas?

I pose this question because it keeps occurring to me and I can’t shake it: Why do YOU, personally, celebrate Christmas?

Is it because you always have, from childhood, and you’re carrying on with tradition?

Is it because you enjoy decorating for the season?

Is it because you can get great deals at all of the sales that are only available this time of year?

Is it because you have children and you want to give them a sense of normalcy?

Is it because you celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?

Is it because you have the opportunity to get a few days off from work to relax and enjoy loved ones?

Is it because that’s what society deems “normal”?

The other thing that won’t leave my thoughts is this: If you aren’t a Christian, if you don’t believe in Jesus Christ, why would you celebrate the day of His birth?  It’s not a selfish question, like I don’t want to share the holiday with non-believers, it’s a true curiosity.  I invite you to please leave comments or feedback to answer some of these questions.  I’d really like to learn your “reason for the season”.

My reason for the season is to celebrate the fact that God gave us his only Son, Jesus Christ, over 2000 years ago, to save us from sin. What a gift! No material gifts under the tree can top that.

Of course, I do participate in gift-giving, I do decorate my house, I do plan family dinner, I look forward to having the week off to relax and enjoy my friends and family, and to have a moment to breathe and knit my fingers to the bone (because that’s what I do when I’m not typing).  However, even though I do all of these typical things during this Christmas holiday I keep in mind to ask for forgiveness, to give thanks for our Savior, and to attend church to give worship to Him with my fellow Christians.

I suppose the point of this whole blog entry is this: Christians have become the minority in this country, yet the celebration of Christmas seems to be at an all time high.

Today I pray that everyone has God come into their hearts so that we can all remember why we truly celebrate Christmas. I give thanks that we were given salvation through Jesus’ birth. I ask for forgiveness of all of my sins. I ask for widespread kindness and compassion in a country who has waged a not-so-silent war against religion. I pray that we all realize that “when you believe, you receive” not only applies to children and Santa, but it applies to us as Christians: When you believe in Him, you begin to receive His blessings.  For all of this and so much more, in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!

The Angel of the Lord atop our tree

The Angel atop our tree

The Blessing of A Child

My husband and I haven’t been blessed with children of our own.  My health issues took care of that years before we were married.  I have been blessed several times in my life with the children of my loved ones; my cousin’s daughters, my sister’s daughters, and my very close friend’s daughters all have a very special place in my heart.  I was lucky enough to live in the same house with 4 of these girls for a minute in this lifetime and they changed my heart and life from the time they graced me with their presence until this very second.  I just can’t express the love I have for them, and I honestly thought I’d never love another child like I love those girls.

I’ve been blessed with a job that has afforded me to expand my love and my heart to other children.  Of course, in a school of nearly 170 students, I do have a few “favorites”.  I know that certain ones recognize me sitting at the front desk and gravitate towards me, and I happily collect any and all hugs that come my way.  They color me pictures, we get to interact together for a few brief minutes before they head to their classrooms, and I cherish these moments.

Today I greeted Josiah, an intelligent, handsome 3 year old and his mother (rightly, named Angel) as they walked in.  He came straight to me and handed me a Christmas gift.  I always greet them with a “Good Morning” and a “Have a good night” when they come and go, but Josiah isn’t one of the children who frequents my office on a regular basis.  He’s such a cutie and his mother stops to speak with me from time to time after she’s delivered him to his destination.  When he handed me the gift I exclaimed, “Josiah! Is this for Ms. Lisa?” and he smiled.  His mother said, “No, it’s not for ‘Ms. Lisa’.  He told his nana that she had to wrap this present so he could give it to his ‘Princess’. When I asked him who his ‘Princess’ was he said, ‘Mommy, you know who she is. My ‘Princess’ at the big desk.”  As soon as the words were out of her mouth I scooped up Josiah and gave him the biggest hug!  I had tears of joy streaming uncontrollably down my cheeks!  This little child, the quiet little boy who always waves and speaks to me not only knows my name, but I’m his Princess!  What an honor!  His gift wasn’t only wrapped in that present, his real gift was giving me the blessing of his love.

We may not be blessed with natural born children, but we are blessed with each child that crosses our paths.  I just wanted to take the opportunity to acknowledge the gift that all children can be to adults that get caught up in the rush of life.  God gave them to us to nurture and love.  I’m so thankful today, not only for little Josiah, but for all of the children in my life, old and new.  There just can’t be too much love, especially God’s love and blessings.

Thank you, Jesus, for the blessing of today. Thank you for all of the children that have come in and out of my life and the children that I look forward to throughout my years.  Thank you for letting me be a positive influence on them and help me continue to be a beacon of light to any child that needs me.  In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN!

The Land of Cuteness: Puppies!

My sweet Mia gave birth to 13 amazing little puppies early Saturday morning. 2 didn’t make it, but these 11 are troopers! My heart overflows with joy when I look at them and hear the cries for their mama. It’s going to be hard to give them new homes when the time comes.

The weekend proved to be challenging not only for Mia, but for myself as well. We were blessed with these little miracles. We were blessed with time to spend with much loved friends and their children. I was also blessed with the knowledge that not all people share in the joy I’ve found since I’ve been baptized and traded in my previous lifestyle for a life filled with religious epiphanies.

You might question why I call this a blessing. It’s because I see knowledge of any form as a blessing. I’ll be the first to admit that my life prior to October 23, 2011 was full of sin. I still sin, after all, I am human. I just try to be a good Christian now, whereas before I didn’t see myself as being held accountable to a higher power, to God. I’ve been called a hypocrite, crazy, a “whackadoo”, etc. for my recent sharing of my experiences. My blessing is knowing that no matter what people think or say, my faith is not wavering. My blessing is knowing that God’s opinion is really the only one that matters. After all, He’s who I need to answer to when my time comes to leave this world, not friends, not family, not strangers.

As a reader you have the choice to read my writings or to pass by them. I’ve invited opinions and offered comparisons of experiences so that we may learn from each other. I do not push my beliefs on anyone else. I simply publish what I think and feel because it’s my right, just like everyone else, to do so. When you feel like I’m pushing you in a Christian direction, perhaps you should ask yourself what the pushing is about… whether it’s me being “overboard” or whether it’s God calling you to step up your game. Either way, it’s your call, your decision to keep reading or to discard my words. After all, we all have a freedom of choice.

My choice is to honor God. My choice is to continue to give thanks publicly for all of my blessings, my family, my friends, and my new little puppies. My choice is to lead my life by what the Bible tells me to do, to live by God’s word, to try to be a better Christian every day of the rest of my life. I pray that God touches all who need him and forgives all of us to whom it applies for ever turning our backs on our faith. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen!

Not Just Gun Control, but Sin Control

By now we have all heard of the tragic loss in the Connecticut shooting.  I can’t begin to fathom any rationalization of any acts of this nature, other than to know that Satan has struck again.  Not only have the people of that community lost their children, but the children who witnessed the shooting will suffer psychological impacts for years to come.

I’ve seen posts on Facebook rallying for the ban of guns, all guns, period.  The argument is that guns kill.  While I fully support the control of all semi-automatic weapons (in my opinion they should be relegated to the military), I do not support the outlaw of guns as a whole. What I do support is the outlaw of sin, and I offer than instead of complete gun control we exercise “sin control”.  If more people were to turn to Scripture and truly believe that God has the ultimate judgement of all of our sins, the world would improve one person at a time. When we control our sin, the gun control will fall into place.

For ease, I’m copying and pasting what I posted this morning on my Facebook in response to my family member’s comment about me defending my Constitutional Rights by keeping the guns that allow me to have food on my table for we depend on that to feed ourselves.  Rightfully, she argued the rights of the children that were taken and never given any rights and that semi-automatic guns are indeed part of the problem.  However, my original post was to defend my right to keep the hunting weapons we need to sustain this life in my house.

 I work in a preschool and have had to call the police 3 times in 3 months, most recently this week due to a mentally unstable man. Being the first person to see people approach & enter my building you better bet your pants off that I wish it were permissible to have a concealed weapon to defend not only myself, but every 168 of the 3-to-5 year olds I care for and am responsible for protecting. There is NO justification for violence, period. Perhaps if there was more outreach by people who know the plagued with insanity, maybe if the country as a whole could have a sense of responsibility to be held accountable, we might make some impact. I know how easily guns can fall into the hands of nutbags, need I remind you of our recent ordeal being robbed of our weapons? Living in a world like this, you need to be prepared to defend yourself. It’s not getting any better. Do you know if someone comes into your home & robs you blind you have more rights letting them get away with it than if you were to defend yourself? Gun control is totally necessary. The point of my post was directed to those who have jumped on a bandstand arguing the outlaw of guns completely. Bottom line for me, personally, is to abide by the Bible and treat others with kindness and compassion, meanwhile i have to be alert that the devil works in all forms, and I, for one, won’t back down. Will I break the law? No, of course not. Will I pray that our country starts heading in a better direction so we can have some sense of security? You betcha! Again, I pray for anyone and everyone affected by this tragedy, especially for the innocent babies and their devastated families.

What I ask of you today, of all of us, is to turn our lives over to God, to come to a better world where we know that we have a higher calling.  We are not meant to hurt each other, judge each other, least of all kill each other.  To cope with this loss I’m relying on my faith.  I pray that this kind of event is prevented in the future because God enters the hearts of all who need Him.  I pray that our nation uses this as a wake up call and instead of being passive about religion turns their lives over to the Word of the Bible, God’s Word, and abides by it.

My heart and prayers are with the families, friends, and all of the people in this country that have been touched and devastated by the loss of so many loved ones due to the instability of humans and Satan’s power over them.  I pray that God comes into our hearts and minds, that we keep mindful that our duty is to treat each other as we want to be treated, with kindness and compassion, respect, and dignity.  I pray that we can all rely on God to get us through this and all tragedies as we face a world that has turned it’s back on the Church and God in general. I pray for forgiveness.  I pray for comfort.  I pray for protection.  I pray for the widespread blessing of God’s love to enter the hearts of all who need to know Him. In Jesus’ name, I pray, AMEN!

Stronger Faith, Stronger Prayers, and Justice Served

Those that are close to us know that we’ve been through some very trying times in the past few months. Today was the day we’ve been waiting for, praying every day that things would go our way.  We’ve asked for prayer from our friends, family, church family, coworkers, anyone who we know are deeply rooted in their faith.  We’ve prayed that the person who pressed charges against my husband, falsely accusing him, would have God come into his heart.  We’ve prayed that justice would be served and that Clay would be cleared of these false charges.  We’ve prayed that we wouldn’t have to worry anymore that we would be robbed in the middle of the night by this man or any of his accomplices.

Our prayers were answered today.  All of them.  We waited patiently as the judge called each case and heard their testimony, gave her ruling, and moved on to the next dramatic incident.  We heard lies, we heard pleading, we heard truth.  I noticed that the judge was wearing a small cross on the outside of her robe.  I knew that God was in that courtroom and that His hand was on us, just like we’d prayed for.  Finally, they brought out the man dressed in a bright orange jumpsuit, the one who robbed us of our sleep, our possessions, our sanity, and our security.  But he didn’t rob us of our faith.  If anything, this whole ordeal has made our faith stronger.  I never thought I’d say it, but I’m thankful that because of this experience we are better Christians.  God promises that He will bring us through the difficult times not only answering our prayers, but propelling us to a better destiny for keeping our faith in Him.

This man is facing 10 felonies as it stood today.  Tonight I pray that God comes into his heart, into the heart of his girlfriend, and anyone else that was involved with his crimes.  I pray that they get to know God as we have and can begin to trust in Him to turn their lives around.

Tonight I give thanks for a loving, honest, amazing husband.  I give thanks for his freedom, cleared name, and renewed happiness.  I give thanks that tonight we can relax and sleep well knowing that God is ever present in our lives and that our prayers and the prayers of those who care for us have been answered.  I praise and thank Him!  Thank You, Jesus, not only for dying for our sins, but for hearing each and every prayer, bringing us through adversity praying stronger prayers with stronger faith in You and Your Power in our lives.  For all of our blessings and so, so much more… I praise and thank you, In Jesus’ name, AMEN!

The Blessing of Friendships

I haven’t written this week. I’ve been sulking and mourning the loss of my friend and coworker. My days of sorrow have now ended, much thanks to the beautiful “homecoming ceremony” I attended yesterday for Tammy.  We were reminded by her Pastor of Tammy’s infectious smile and told that each smile we receive or give is a blessing from God.  It brings happiness to both the giver and the recipient. Tammy had one of the best smiles I’ve ever seen and that’s exactly how I’ll remember her.

I was blessed to know Tammy for a few minutes in this lifetime.  I’ve become more aware this week of the other friendships I’ve been blessed with since I started my job in September.  God truly does put the right people in your life right when you need them.  The women I work with are all very strong in their faith, which helps me stay strong in my own faith when I have difficult days.  I have been blessed with friendships based on the love of God, a shared faith that He will provide exactly what we need when we need it, and a respect for the blessing of discernment.

My family has expanded since I married my husband last year.  I have been blessed with new cousins on his side of the family, one in particular.  We share the same name (I like to call us “Team Lisa”) and we share the same belief in the Power of God in our lives.  We are blessed to share the same church family as well as our married family.  We even got hired with the same company at the same time.  God has shown me on more than one occasion that He put Lisa in my life for a reason.  We support each other and love each other, not because we have to due to church, work, or familial obligations, but because it’s just natural.  I know that God put us together, just like He put my husband and me together, at just the right time. He made my family bigger and stronger, through our faith in Him.

"Team Lisa" - my friend, family and blessing

“Team Lisa” – my friend, family and blessing

Today I am thankful for my friendships, each and every one of them.  I have many; I am blessed in that way.  I am thankful for God giving me discernment so I will know a true Christian from a false witness.  I am thankful for the blessing that is God’s love through friendship and family.

If you have someone in your life that has touched your heart in a way that you know could only happen through God, let them know how much you appreciate them.  We aren’t promised a tomorrow, but we’re blessed with today.  Take a minute today to thank the people in your life for their love and kindness, give them a smile… a blessing in turn for being a blessing to you.

I pray today that we all have a minute to acknowledge the love and favor God has blessed us with. I pray for my friends and family that we all can appreciate each other and give credit where credit is due: to God. I pray that He keeps us all in his grace and favor and that He strengthens our bonds, in Jesus’ name, Amen!


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