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I Give You Permission To Have A Bad Day

How many times have you blamed others for your bad day? Blame and excuses are two of the thieves of progress. As long as it is someone else’s fault my hands are tied. I can’t change until they do. I’m off the hook of having to change and have become a victim that can only move forward when the cause of my frustration does. Wait, you mean my joy now depends on someone that upsets me?

Or, I excuse my lack of control because you made me mad. I’m such a “good” person I would NEVER act like this if you hadn’t provoked me. It’s them, the weather, my parent’s, the way I was raised, the cat, my boss, the guy who cut me off in traffic…you get the picture. Maybe someone is just reminding you of how someone else hurt you in the past. If you haven’t been there, thanks for reading you can stop here. BUT, if you have, here’s something that helped me.

“Give others permission to have a bad day without having to fix it or join them.”

When my children were small and there were five of us under one roof hardly a day passed without someone having a good reason to have a bad day. Because I was the mother, my guilt meter was quick to kick in and I was sure I was the reason for the bad day. If I was responsible, then certainly it was my responsibility to fix it. In my effort to fix it, it didn’t take long before I had fully enraged (oops, I mean engaged) and jumped in the ring with the disheartened party. Now with someone to spar with, the battle gained intensity and before you know it, all 5 members of the family had been tagged and were vying for a spot in the ring. Oh, what a circus!

Some of my greatest freedom came when I decided (not out loud) to give other members of my family permission to have a bad day without me having to fix it or get in the ring with them. The strangest thing happened, when I removed the distraction of the fuel my anxiety added, the “fire” died out so so much quicker. Instead of trying to fix, I appealed to the One who really did understand the situation and asked that God would help them and many times, the conflict ended before everybody was involved.

Sometimes the person I had to give permission to have a bad day was me. In those cases I began to look to God to help me assimilate the emotions that were raging, begging Him to help me not take the “seeming” short cut of blame and excuses but rather responsibility for my emotions and my actions. Even as I type this I can hear my mom saying, “When it comes to judgement day, Debbie (my child hood best friend and person I would use to try to get my way) won’t be there, you will stand there all by yourself, Peggy.”

Blame leads to shame (that topic is for another day) just like it did in the Garden when Adam and Eve were asked if they had eaten the forbidden fruit. Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent and the serpent just laughed and said, “Mission Accomplished.”

God has freedom for YOU, and it is not dependent on if someone else changes. They may never change. Are you content to live the rest of your precious gift from God –LIFE –stopped because someone else won’t change?

Philippians 2:13 tells me (not someone else) to work out my OWN salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who is at work in me to will and to act according to His good purposeRomans 8:28 assures me that God is able to cause ALL things to work together for His glory and my good for those who love Him. I may not be able to see it now (Proverbs 3:5-6) but I am TRUSTING that in an hour, a day, a week, a year or more God will indeed work ALL together for His glory and my good.

I really can’t do this on my own, the emotions come to quick and too strong for me to control them on my own but through Christ (Philippians 4:13) I CAN! Won’t you join me this week. Give yourselves and others permission to have a bad day without having to fix them or join them.

Let me know if this helps you. If you have a topic you want me to talk about, please leave it in the comments below.

Believing for a fruitful 2018.

PeggyPearls

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Listen to Hear

Ear in Heart.2

Have you ever heard, “You didn’t hear what I said? You are not answering the question I asked?” I have. Time to hear better. Time to listen again, but this time listen to hear! In her book Who Switched Off My Brain? Caroline Leaf (pp 40-41) shares:

“Neurologically, your heart is sensitive to what you think and feel. Your thoughts directly affect your heart…

…your heart is not just a pump. … Science demonstrates that your heart has its own independent nervous system, … There are at least 40,000 neurons (nerve cells) in the heart — as many as are found in various parts of the brain. …

New scientific evidence on the heart’s neurological sensitivity indicates there are lines of communication between the brain and the heart that check the accuracy and integrity of your thought life. The reality is your heart is in constant communication with your brain and the rest of your body. The signals your heart sends to your brain influence not just perception and emotional processing, but higher cognitive functions as well.

Okay, so I like to express it this way, there is an EAR in the middle of your H”EAR”T. Use that ear to listen to hear.

In January 1977, I was working at the only job I had worked since High School—a job I secured largely because my childhood pastor took a chance on me. He believed in who I could become not where I was when I started. After a little over four years I was happily enjoying my job, my church, my Bible Quiz teams, my first house and and rental income on the 2 extra bedrooms in my home. That is until that fateful day when one of my roommates, who was in college, looked at me and said,

“Peggy, you are in a rut.”

How could that little short sentence turn everything upside down? How could six words invade my contented life and make it restless? I don’t know but it did. It began a journey that would lead me to a decision in September 1977 that change my life forever. You see that small sentence started me exploring if there was a new next right step for me. I opened my ears and my eyes and started listening and watching for what my options were. I pursued three specific job opportunities between January and September

  • A job in Wisconsin–no, that wasn’t it, too far from family
  • A new start up in Springfield, MO where I was living at the time—because wisdom of my former Pastor and current boss, he protected me from making a BIG mistake
  • And a job in Iowa minutes from where my parents lived. I looked seriously at at this one at the beginning of the summer of 1977 but decided that’s wasn’t right either.

I decided to keep waiting restlessly, questioning why in the world my “friend” had to even speak such a sentence in the first place. I had been very happy in my “rut”, thank you very much.

Well, between January and May of that year my Dad started to have some health problems. Nothing that couldn’t be treated until he was diagnosed with a cordoma tumor at the base of his spine sometime early in the summer. The prognosis was good, he was scheduled for surgery in September with the expectation that they would get most of it and it would be over 20 years before it would return. Whew, that was good news following bad news but why did I still feel so unsettled?

The church I was attending in Springfield, MO was also unsettled during that summer. We had an interim Pastor for only that summer. He preached through the book of Philippians relating it his own transitional season. Wow, every week I felt like he was talking directly to me. I needed that summer for where God was taking me in my next season.

During the late summer I made a visit home. Still no clear direction. Even though Dad’s prognosis was good I decided it couldn’t hurt to see if the Iowa job was still an option. I was shocked, they had not hired anyone. How could that possibly be, had God saved that job for me?! In my hEARt I knew that He had. It was quickly confirmed through a conversation with my parents asking them what they would think if I took that job and moved home. Dad’s response was all the confirmation I needed. “You sure don’t have to but it would be very helpful.” I knew then I was giving my notice and moving to Des Moines. The waiting was over, whatever the waiting was to accomplish was now complete and now it was time to go. I thank God for that season of restlessness, without it I would have been content to stay put and could have easily missed taking my new opportunity in God’s timing.

You see, the surgery did not go as anticipated and Dad almost died three times on the operating table. God spared his life and we God granted us 10 more precious months with my Dad. I will ALWAYS treasure those 10 months I got to spend with my Dad. God knew before I did how important it was going to be for me to be in Iowa. He loved me enough to keep gently leading until I listened, really listened to hear.

In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus gave His disciples some final instructions of what His plan was for them after He would be gone.

“Go therefore and make disciples…”

But that GO was preceded by a WAIT in the second chapter of Acts. Just before Jesus ascended back to His Father He told them to WAIT before they went. Acts 2: 4 says,

Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised…

A lot of good things happened because they waited before they went. They waited, they listened, they didn’t know what exactly they were waiting for but trusted God that they would recognize it when it came. Because of their obedience, following Jesus’ instructions without fully understanding them, the whole world has been blessed. But when the WAIT was over they WENT. Both are important.

How does that relate to our daily life? Good question. My experience has been that God is always speaking, it’s up to me whether I’m listening. How about you? Are you restless but don’t really know why? Why not quiet yourself, turn off the distractions and just listen, really listen to the ear in your H”EAR”T and see what God is saying to you. Here’s some questions to ask yourself to get started listening:

  1. What has God said to me?
  2. Have I responded to what He has already said?
  3. Is there a song I need to be singing?
  4. What Scripture am I living?
  5. Is my WAIT over, is it time to quit making excuses and GO?

If this encourages you, thank you for sharing with others. Whether you are waiting or going, God is always speaking. Listen, really listen to hear,

Want to know more about my Dad? Check out previous post King of Dads 

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“It’s not about me, it’s about Him.”

In my last post we chatted about how do you define celebrate. After celebrating my husband’s birthday “not my way” my idea of what celebrate means has shifted. “It’s not about me, it’s about him” (the person being celebrated.)

I also discovered something else — not only was Randy more satisfied, so was I. I was more satisfied because the goal was to communicate how much I valued Randy. It was really less work and I actually achieved my goal. By letting go of big decorations, fancy food and as many people as the house would hold, my actions simply said, “what you want, Randy, is important to me.”

If that works with Randy, I wonder if it would work with the most important relationship in my life, God? (It’s okay everybody, Randy knows he is 2nd and he wouldn’t have it any other way.) What if I would lay down what I “think” makes God happy and actually pay attention to what He tells me is important to Him. What a novel idea, “It’s not about me, it’s about Him.” Did you get a chance to look at Psalm 100? Psalm 100 is the beginning of my scavenger hunt in God’s Word to discover how God says He wants to be worshipped.

Psalm 100

 Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.

 

Here just a little of what I gleaned, these are the action words that stood out,

  • Shout
  • Serve
  • Come
  • Know
  • Enter
  • Give Thanks
  • Bless

Jesus said “True worshippers worship in spirit and in truth” – in other words they are active participants. Have you ever had a conversation with someone whose body was there but their mind was elsewhere. Not very rewarding or engaging.

This week as you MAKE time to spend with God, keep in mind, “It’s not about me, it’s about Him.” Shout, serve, come, know, enter, give thanks and bless. Anticipate how many of these you can do this week and think of how many different places and ways you can actively worship God.

One of my family’s favorite phrases is, We are on an adventure.” Please join me on an adventure this week celebrating God His way. After all, “It’s not about me, it’s about Him!”

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How do you define “Celebrate”?

CelbrateCelebrate! Don’t you just love that word? Just saying it makes me smile and get ready for something fun to happen. I drafted this post on October 2nd – my hubby’s 65th birthday—since then we have been celebrating Randy. My friend, my confidant, the one I am privileged to share life with for 36 years on December 26 of this year. My gift, the one worth waiting for, my treasure, my husband. We just now got back from attending his requested gift – a conference at the Creation Museum in Kentucky. It was fabulous! Randy values experience over “party”. So to celebrate Randy, I had to put aside my ideas of what celebrate means and conform to what would say “I ❤ you” to him.

About 40 year ago, Randy made a decision that great benefits and promised retirement were not good enough reasons to spend the next 40-years cooped up in an inside office. Right out of college he landed a prestigious job with Mobil Oil as a geophysicist. As Randy’s 65th birthday was approaching our daughter remembered her dad sharing that decision. She wittingly defined one of the consequences of that choice to leave Mobil Oil, benefits and all.

“Well, Dad, you are not going to get that office retirement party, cake, dinner and great watch. What do you think?” You see, instead of spending his life waiting for retirement, Randy decided he wanted to live his life and enjoy the adventure. His deep love of the Bible led him to over 30 years of full-time ministry. Because of many wise financial decisions over the years, he is now self-employed managing our rentals, living on his schedule, active in our local church and dreaming and praying for ideas of having a family business.

That’s when the idea of a reFIREment party was born in place of a retirement party because Randy is far from retired and very much reFIREd. Our reFIREment party included:

  • Theme: No boundaries, No Limits 
  • Theme song: Take the Limits Off
  • Key Verse: Isaiah 54:2 NASB, ““Enlarge the place of your tent; Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not; Lengthen your cords. And strengthen your pegs.” (How convenient my name is Peggy.)
  • 🎵 The granddaughters sang Joshua 1:9 with a little help from G.P. (that’s me, Grandma Peggy) to get the party/experience started.
  • 🎵 Then our children and their spouses sang “No Longer Slaves” and “Good Good Father”. Pass the Kleenexes please.
  • ✍ After that we brainstormed ideas for a family business.
brainstorm.jpg
“Brainstorming”

The plan was to tape a sheet of brown paper to the wall but the tape wouldn’t stick. We had to adjust and put the 3′ by 5′ paper on the table (that’s feet not inches). This meant we had to “bring our ideas to the table.” Everyone gathered around, grabbed markers and started writing. Even the granddaughters grabbed markers and drew lines as fast as they could. It was a special moment indeed. Don’t you love it when you have an idea and God makes it so much better?

I celebrate Randy (his way) because . . .

  • It’s biblical – Ephesians. 5:33, “…wives see that you respect/reverence your husband”
  • I’t’s rewarding–makes me happy to remember why I love him and Randy happy because he feels like I noticed him.
  • It’s necessary–I want to speak in “honor” of him not in “memory” of him.

Respect – that’s a word that is losing it’s meaning in our culture.  The 1828 Webster Dictionary describes respect this way:

  1. To regard; to have regard to in design or purpose.
  2. To have regard to, in relation or connection; to relate to.
  3. To view or consider with some degree of reverence; to esteem as possessed of real worth.
  4. Regard; attention.
  5. Good will; favor
Ark-Kissing
Williamstown, KY
Ark (10-2017)
Ark Encounter

In day to day living it can be so easy to get busy with life and lose sight of those people in your life of real worth. So, instead of lots of decorations, a fancy meal and cake we celebrated Randy his way. Surrounded by music, those he loves and brainstorming into his dream, taking him to a seminar to feed his quest for knowledge and commitment to God’s Word, it was a good celebration. Why? Because we celebrated in his “celebration love language.” This will change my future celebrations – it will not be about what makes me feel special but what will celebrate who they are.

Take a fresh look at Psalm 100. Instead of me telling you what it says, won’t you help me unpack this passage? Please comment on what stands out to you. I’ll be back in two weeks to tell you what stands out to me. Until then, join me in celebrating God His way.

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What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

Have you ever prayed James 1:5? I cannot count the number of times that I have prayed that prayer. If I’ve prayed with you, you have probably heard me pray that verse out loud for you or for me or for both of us. Why do I pray it so fervently? Because I have lived it so often.

Even though I have prayed it often, it was not until recently that I connected verse 5 to verses two through four, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:5 will never be the same for me again.

I remember praying this prayer a little over a year ago. My daughter and her family were pursuing buying their first house in Texas. Per our normal Aunternet participation (if you want to know what the Aunternet is, please email me at peggy@peggypearls.com), we were interceding for God to open the doors and remove obstacles so they could close on their first home. I was discussing this with my sister Penny, who lives in California. Penny told me she was not praying for the house to close but for God’s will to be done. My heart leaped within me.  See, my heart’s secret desire was for them to move to Tennessee but I felt like I had to keep it to myself. Her brief comments gave me permission to pray for God’s wisdom and trust Him with the results. I’m so glad I did because we have enjoyed having Chase, Krista and Emma here in Tennessee for one year this month. God’s wisdom way trumped my puny ideas.

Why was wisdom required?

Because it was unclear what would be best for their family. They had just lived James 1:2-4, “…when you face trials of many kinds…” over the previous year. They had relocated from Austin where they had many networked friendships to Dallas—a new location with limited support—when their daughter, Emma was born at 25 weeks 4 days. Emma spent 105 days in the NICU, came home on oxygen and had many specialist appointments and therapy visits in her first year of life all while Chase and Krista held down full-time jobs.  I guarantee it took a lot of perseverance to navigate this season of life.

Join me in a conversation about James 1:2-5.  Count it all joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds…who me? Yes, you.

Why?

…because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. (That is if you have gone all the way through and persevered, you will know that the testing produces perseverance.) Verse 4 begins with a little BIG word, let—little because it is short, big because it requires big action on my part—perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Really, you mean if I will persevere—persist, don’t quit right before the breakthrough, keep on keeping on—perseverance can FINISH its work in me and help me grow up? So, does that mean if I don’t persevere I will hinder my maturing process? What do you think?

The chapter doesn’t stop there, it continues with good advice on how to actually “let” this process proceed. Enter verse 5, “If anyone lacks wisdom, you should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

James 1-5

As I am writing this blog, I recognize that before I connected these verses God was already guiding. I saw them lived out before my eyes:

  • Chase, Krista and Emma faced an insurmountable trial. Emma was born as a micro preemie – beating statistic after statistic.
  • Should the Williamson’s stay in Texas or make their move to Tennessee?
  • Whatever decision was made it would mean two years minimum before any future relocations were considered. Either location had it’s pros and cons.
  • Prayer for wisdom and direction
  • Decision was made to move to Tennessee (me, doing the happy dance).
  • BONUS – Krista’s best friend from College moved to Nashville area same day as Chase and Krista.
  • I get to have them close (I may be the biggest winner of all.)

Are you facing “trials of many kinds”, feeling overwhelmed? Don’t know what to do next. Persevere, persist, don’t give up. Statistics are high for those who quit right before their breakthrough—don’t be that person. Ask for wisdom and hold on tight until it comes.

For further encouragement use this link to request a free download of 5 Tips to Daily Renewal.

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Talk To Me

“Use your words, talk to me.” You may hear these words at my house at a regular basis – you see, we have the privilege of having a 23-month old in our home who is on the verge of a word avalanche. The journey started really from birth – and early birth – 25 weeks 4 days at 1 lb. 10 oz.  One of her first communications was the first time her mom had a chance to visit her in her in the NICU. Krista said, “Hi, baby,” and teeny tiny Emma turned her head with eyes that had not yet opened in the direction of Krista’s voice. Do you think Krista noticed?

Then, Krista and Chase were able to touch Emma. One of my favorite early pictures of Emma and Krista – Emma whole hand on Krista’s finger tip. After that, came the “Smile!”. Melt your heart when eyes lock and smile curve on the end of her lips. Could it get any better?! Oh yes, more so much more.

After that came the sign language – more, milk, please, thank you. Emma’s ability to communicate concepts before words could even be formed. Eventually a trickle of words, Dada, mama, milk . . . little by little the conversation was beginning. When we stopped to document them there were over 50 words in her growing vocabulary. Then two words together, “Bye Daddy,” Bye Mommy”. Just this past week she exploded a 3-word sentence, “I did it!” (consonances and all).  There’s the chatter, totally unintelligible but the foundation of the soon coming avalanche of words with understanding, and it all started with the turning of the head, with closed eyes toward the voice she had heard from her time in the womb.

Psalm 139:3-5,

You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.

Matthew 7:11 says, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” If we in our humanness find ourselves responding to Emma’s growing ability to communicate, how much more will our heavenly Father be patient with us as we learn to, “talk to Him.” Did you know that “talking to God” or better yet, “talking with God” is really what prayer is about? It is not a formula, a how to, an activity to check off your daily list. Today, when you approach your “prayer time”, forget the formulas and come into the presence of a loving heavenly Father who is waiting to enjoy you right where you are, ready to lead you each step of the way.

Take your next right communication step today. Today may just be the turning of your head with closed eyes toward the sound of His Voice. If you have questions about how to start the conversation with God, please comment below or email me at peggy@peggypearls.

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Emma today with her personality showing.

Joy Thief #1: RATs

RAT really awful thought.1
RATs – Really Awful Thoughts

Have you ever come face to face with a real live rat? When I was living on the farm in Iowa. I did just that. Headed to the basement to get some of Mom’s canned tomatoes for the chili and only half paying attention. A couple steps down the stairs, I noticed it – a big fat rat just waiting for me to step on it.  Immediately I ran like crazy back to the kitchen, closed the door, shook my arms and screamed. I was not going to allow the rat to get close to me, potentially bite me and infect me with some deadly disease. Did I mention I do NOT like rats?

Mom still needed the canned tomatoes. Identifying the rat was not enough, now I was forced to face the rat — it was the rat or Mom. This time I returned to the basement steps ready for war. With broom in hand I went to the steps, scared the rat away and continued on my mission with eyes wide open. We didn’t stop there, we also got the biggest traps we could find so when the rat returned he could be evicted permanently. To speed up the process a couple of our outdoor cats immediately became inside cats. Goal: replace the RATs with CATs.

There is another RAT that we encounter every day– the deadly RATs (really awful thoughts) that are constantly bombarding our mind and speaking lies that block our path of progress. If allowed to stay, they will keep us from happiness, purpose and from the tasks that propel us forward. Sometimes they hide behind other thoughts, creep in when words spoken to us hit our insecurities, fears and weaknesses. We find ourselves stopping dead in our tracks and are tempted to retreat and never go that way again. Just like the physical RATs, the same principles can apply to mental RATs (really awful thoughts) – identify & face, set traps and replace.

  1. Take time to IDENTIFY & FACE the RATs (really awful thoughts) are stopping your forward progress. Once identified, arm yourself with God’s Word to face the RAT equipped to scare it away. Apply 2 Corinthians 10:5, “…taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” If it doesn’t agree with what God says about us, we need to take our “broom” and tell it to flee.
  2. SET TRAPS to keep the RATs (really awful thoughts) from having freedom to roam in your mind. The Promises of God are great traps to catch unwanted RATs. Philippians 4:13, “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.”
  3. REPLACE your RATs (really awful thought) with CATs (constant abiding thankfulness). Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” In effect you are rooting out really awful thoughts (RATs) and replacing them with promises with constant abiding thankfulness (CATs) from God’s all inspiring, unchanging powerful Word.

Oh, by the way, we got rid of the rats but guess what came back the next winter, you’re right a new bunch of RATS.  We set the traps, ran them off and and replaced them with a nice big cat, just like the last group. Having a joyful life is not a one-time decision but a daily process so every time a RAT (really awful thought) shows up be ready to face and replace it with a promise from God with a constant abiding thankfulness (CAT).

Want to learn more on this topic, sign up for “I’ll Be Happy When…” Event, March 25, 2017, 9:30 – 11:30 am.  Hit the “I’ll Be Happy When” tab at the top to register.

 

 

 

Does God Care About Clothes?

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Emma’s Clothing Miracle

In September, God gave me a heart’s desire – my daughter and her family moved to Nashville. I cannot tell you how happy this has made my heart.

As with any transition there are a lot of new things – new housing, new friends, new church, new EXPENSES and growth. Our precious miracle granddaughter began to grow out of the clothes she had (babies do that) – all the shower gifts (clothing up to 12 months) were coming to an end. My daughter Krista was thinking now what? Then she remembered Matthew 6:28-29, “28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.” God has taken care and clothed Chase and me, surely He will take care of Emma too.  

The NEXT DAY, we went to visit a house to possibly purchase. The house was out of our price range, but during the tour of the house the wife just “happened to mention” that she was getting ready to sell her daughter’s smaller clothes (12 months – 3 years). We just “happened to ask” – how much do you want for them. Hmmm, $50.00. SOLD! Fifteen minutes later we left with boxes of clothes including some really cute shoes. Sometimes the main thing is not the main thing – that visit really wasn’t about the house.

30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Is there anything worrying you today? If God cares about clothing Emma He is big enough to care for your concerns. (By the way, the clothes in this picture are about 1/4 of the clothes we purchased.)

 

 

Stones of Remembrance – “Grace to Face”

Joshua 4 – “The Crossing of the Jordan River”

Moses has died and it is time for the Israelites to go into the land of Canaan – again, just as there was when they left slavery in Egypt, there was water in their way.  This time it was the Jordan River AND it is a flood stage – in the natural looks like the least likely time to cross BUT GOD makes a way where there seems to be no way.

The situation was so similar to the need to cross the Red Sea but God’s strategy was not the same.  This time the Lord instructed Joshua to have the priests take the Ark of the covenant and “step into” the water, did I mention it was flood stage?!

As soon as their feet hit the water, the waters parted.  They stood in the middle of the river until all the Israelites crossed, again on dry land. (With God ALL things are possible!)

After they had crossed, Joshua sent someone from each of the 12 tribes and had each of them collect a stone from the middle of the river where the priests feet had stood.  Joshua took the 12 “stones of remembranceand built an altar for future generations to remember what God had done for His people on that day – something to trigger the stories for future generations so they would remember and know God as well.

These stones were collected from the middle of the miracle.  Here are a few of my stones of remembrance that remind me of times God met me in the middle of my flood stage when I needed a miracle.

Spring, 1973 – I was about to graduate from High School and did not have a clue what my next right step was.  God gave me Psalm 32:8 as a promise to me. His grace to face my future.

Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

July 30, 1978 – 2:30 AM my Dad took his final breath.  First time death had walked so close to my heart.  God’s Word was there to strengthen.  In the months before when Dad was so sick with cancer I tried to face this time and it crushed me.  What I discovered was that the grace to face was not available UNTIL July 30, 1978 – then and only then did I experience God’s all-sufficient grace for that day.

2 Corinthians 12:9: 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Then another verse I had learned years before in Bible Quiz began to make sense.  Matthew   6:34.  When I tried to face my loss without God’s grace to face I only had my own strength to depend on – it wasn’t enough!  Sufficient for each day is its own trouble – don’t borrow tomorrow’s problems! WAIT for “grace to face”, it will be there when you need it!

Matthew 6:34 (ESV)  “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

January 27, 2003 – early in the morning we received news that my 39-year old brother-in-law had died of a heart attack.  Grief, fear, anxiety all rushed over me at the same time.  In the midst, God assured us that “His grace is sufficient.” 2 Corinthians 12:19 and “He would never leave or forsake us.” (Hebrew 13:5)  Years later God comforted us yet again with John 12:24.  God extended His grace to face my sorrow.

John 12:24 (ESV) – 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

Spring, 2008 –Our oldest son, Kyle, won the NCSC (National Collegiate Sales Competition) Joshua 1:9 was his verse that sustained him through the competition. God extend grace to face his challenge. Joshua 1:9 is a verse he had learned from G. T. and the Halo Express “cassettes” when he was a child. (Check out their CDs at this link: https://www.gthalo.com.  Great resource for hiding God’s Word in your child’s heart.)

Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

July 2012 – Moving after 21 1/2 years in same place.  We had served Treasure Coast Assembly in Vero Beach, FL since November, 1990 and felt our work there was completed. We felt like Abraham, we were following God without knowing exactly where we were going.  God used Proverbs 3:5-6 for me, especially the second phrase. This was a season I needed to trust without understanding.  Believing that God would be there with grace to face.

Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

January, 2016 – Randy, my amazing husband, is leading us as a family to live Isaiah 54:2.  Looking forward to what that will mean for the Williams. Anticipating God’s grace to face our growth.

Isaiah 54:2 – “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.” (some versions say “pegs”)

These are just a few of my stones of remembrance.  I actually got some rocks, put the verse on it with a reminder word from the middle of my miracles.  My stones represent times God has met me.  When I face a new challenge, it is good to refer to the past help to fan my faith for my current obstacle. He will be there with grace to face when I need it.

Please share in the comments below. a stone of remembrance when God has given you grace to face. Thank you for journeying with me.

Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life

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Want to change the way your behavior?  Change your thinking — don’t know about you but that is easier said than done.  Romans 12:2 says, And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7

With all that is happening in our world today it could be very easy to be overwhelmed with a busy mind.  When I become the victim of “stinking thinking” scripture helps me refocus – especially scripture put to music.  G. T. and the Halo Express are cassettes (my age is showing) I listened to with my children that used this technique.  Great stories for young children with all the songs Scripture set to music.  There are still times those songs come back to me when I am in an potentially overwhelming situation and they redirect my thinking.  One in particular is:

(Imagine a deep angel voice), “Have I not commanded you be strong and courageous, have I not commanded you be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you, be with you, wherever you may go. Joshua, Joshua, Joshua 1:9)  

Okay, kind of hard to imagine – it is on CD 4 – Winning the Great Race (my favorite)  Here’s the link to their website:  https://www.gthalo.com

“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7

Today I CHOOSE to give the Word of God preference above what I feel – God’s Word is true now matter how I feel or what my circumstances.  So, when today I pray that I will be able to put into practice Romans 8:5-6.

Romans 8:5-6 Amplified Bible (AMP)

For those who are living according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh [which gratify the body], but those who are livingaccording to the Spirit, [set their minds on] the things of the Spirit [His will and purpose]. Now the mind of the flesh is death [both now and forever—because it pursues sin]; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace [the spiritual well-being that comes from walking with God—both now and forever];

How can I change my thinking? Change my life? By aligning my thinking with the Word of God.

“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7

Check out G.T. Halo Express at their website at https://www.gthalo.com.  If you have any young children in your family, I highly recommend this series.  #4 Winning the Great Race of Faith is my personal favorite.