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Thank-filled Thursdays: Week 10

I am thankful for my husband. Specifically, for his knowledge, ability and work ethic. He keeps our home in good repair and makes it a nice place to live. He has spent the past few months working in every spare minute to renovate our basement. It is now almost done and has added so much value to our home and provided a comfortable place for family to enjoy andguests can stay.
I am so thankful God gave me a husband that not only knows how to work on our house but is willing to go the extra mile even when he is tired after a long day.I have one great guy!

Enjoy Your Food (Thank-filled Thursdays: Week 9)

(Once again, Thursday alluded me and this is a bit late.... but better late than never, right?) This may sound silly, but I am thankful for delicious foods. Yep, that’s my belly talking. I truly enjoy every bite of a pomegranate. And a steaming cup of coffee in the morning. And a tender steak cooked just right. And a fresh crisp salad with sweet peppers and avocado. And ice cream. And broccoli cooked with cheese on top. And….. Well, you get the point. I’m so glad God made food with such variety and taste. We have to eat to stay alive and He didn’t have to make it all so good, but He did. And that makes me smile with thanks today. What are you thankful for today?

God's Love (Thank-filled Thursdays: Week 8)

First of all, I am thankful that you are so gracious in allowing me to post a "Thank-filled Thursday" post on a Friday!  :)  Oh, how my week has gotten away from me! Now, on to what should have been posted yesterday.... Today I am thankful for God’s love. He loves me because He loves. Not because I am loveable. This fact holds so much security. Have you ever thought about this? Why does God love you? Does He love you more when your actions please Him? Does He love you less when you disobey Him? God’s love isn’t based on me. His love isn’t based on you. And that’s a good thing. Because some days I am less than loveable. Much less. I assume you are nodding your head with me that you are less than loveable at times as well.

God loves because He is love. When we understand this, it compels us to live in a way that pleases Him. It inspires us to love others. Not because we want Him to love us more, but because we want to love Him more. We learn from His love. Where would we be with…

When God Crashes Your Party (Thank-filled Thursdays: Week 7)

Today I am thankful that God crashes my parties. Ever have one of those parties? It just feels so right. So deserved. Like youhave the right to feel this way. Ya, me too. I’m with you, Girl. Some days I’m a real “party-girl” if you know what I mean. “Poor me, I never get what I want…. Things never go well for me…. I’m just not appreciated….” When I carried my little party to church with me one day, my Father intervened and reigned on my parade. It was a good thing, too or I don’t know how long I would have partied like that.

The music began. It was a song I am well familiar with. One of my favorites. And I joined in the singing, but couldn’t get many words out before my heart became convicted. Busted. My party had been crashed. Time for a change of attitude in my heart.  Blessed be Your name
when the sun shines down on me, When the world is all as it should be Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be Your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Thank-filled Thursdays: Week 6

Oops! It has been such a busy week here that I missed  posting this on Thursday... thankfully, we can be thankful any day of the week! Today I am thankful for the privilege of prayer. I have a friend. She is 10 years old and has a cancerous brain tumor. You’d never know it, just looking at her. She is a normal, happy young girl. And I have learned so much from watching her as she walks down this road God has allowed in her life.
As I pray for her in my morning coffee time, my heart is heavy for her and her parents. Without prayer, this would be an unbearable burden to carry.I can only try to imagine what they must feel. They are up against a rare cancer, even the best doctors are unsure how to treat it. How thankful I am that they know the Great Physician, the One who has the power to heal. And the power to use even this to grow them and those around them.
It is truly a privilege to be able to go before the King of kings, the Creator of all and speak our concerns. I pray God will heal …

Thank-filled Thursdays: Week 5

I'm so glad you're joining me for Thank-filled Thursdays! As we come upon Thanksgiving, I want to grow a heart of thanksgiving. Be truly thankful. See my life with grateful eyes. I know you do too.

Today I am thankful for:

A godly mom. She taught me things she probably didn't even know I was picking up from her. Some things she didn't verbally teach, she didn't have to, I learned as I watched her. Like seeing her sit in her chair with a hot cup of tea in the mornings as she was reading her Bible. Like her gentle and quiet spirit. And her generosity.

She didn't have to say these things, she modeled them. Her actions spoke volumes to my young heart and strongly influenced me. I am grateful for her influence in my life, and by the grace of God in giving me a godly mom, I have forever been changed. Except for the hot tea, I prefer coffee, of course!

Thank-filled Thursdays Week 4

Today I am thankful for the joys of being a Grandma. Those little ones bring so much joy and laughter to my life! As I watch them grow and pray for their hearts to love God, my prayer life is seeing a fresh new stage.
What are you thankful for today?

Running The Race

For those of you who know me, it may seem strange to see this title on my blog. It probably seems a bit inconsistent with my character as I do not have a single athletic cell in my body. Never have. I avoid sweating. And sore muscles. This would include running. And so I don’t run. Period. I wish I did. I drive by runners (Notice I’m the one in the car, not the one running.) and it looks like a good form of exercise,a way to stay in shape, build self-discipline and get firm muscles (versus the squishiness that comes from avoiding such activities, ahem.). But I just don’t know how to run … and I don’t like it anyway. There, I said it. I don’t like running.

I am in a race, though. This one doesn’t require running shorts. Thank God for that, you don’t want me running around in those, it’s not a pretty sight! It doesn’t require Nikes, which is good because I really would rather spend my money on cute sandals. Or sweating, which is good since I have a life rule to avoid sweating. This seems …

Thank-filled Thursdays: Week 3

We have spent the last week with our 2 boys, their wives and daughters. (So wish our daughter and her fiancé could have joined us – but college schedules made it impossible.) What an enjoyable time! Hiking, bear hunting (the guys, not me) and just having fun together. And of course, the highlight, was watching the little grandies play together. As I watch my kids, I am overwhelmed with thanksgiving to see that they walk in truth. (3 John 1:4). They aren’t perfect and I don’t want to ever make them feel they need to be, they need God’s grace just like you and I.

But I see hearts that want to follow His way. Hearts that want to raise kids that love God.To have marriages that reflect God’s love.And willing to serve. My heart is proud of them, and thankful to God for His grace in our family. So, it’s your turn: What are you thankful for today?

Thank-filled Thursdays Week 2

This has been such a busy, busy week, I am ashamed to say that I sat at my computer for a little while trying to think of something I am thankful for today.It’s not that I don’t have anything to be thankful for, or that my heart has been in a grumbly mood. I just have not stepped off the merry-go-round of life to take a moment to focus on being grateful. My mind has been immersed in my to-do list. Craft show preparations… wedding plans… packing for a trip to Montana… preparing Sunday School lessons…canning…and writing. We do this, don’t we. We get all caught up in life and forget to stop and say thanks. It sounds so ridiculous as I write this, giving thanks to my Creator is so much more important than anything on my to-do list. It’s healthy for my heart, too. The tyranny of the urgent shadows the true need of my heart if I am not careful. Maybe you fall into that, too. Stop today and tell God something you are thankful for.
Today I am thankful for: Peace in my heart. Not just ordinary p…

Regret vs. Rejuvinate

Tv shows like “Flea Market Flip” flash across the screen… “Mom” Blogs thriving on the internet… Craft how-to videos on You Tube … Etsy, full of all sorts of creative things people have made… Books- authors achieving what I dreamed of, and with subjects I can write about! I wish I had done these things…. The things I knew God has gifted me to do and always wanted to do but for one reason or another, couldn’t or didn’t…. I can sit and shake my head, let my heart sink and die a little each time I feel the twinge of “I wish I had…..” OR I can take steps toward achieving at least one of my goals.

But that requires I stop the regret and rejuvenate those goals. Put some proactive movements in place. I love quotes and I recently came across a good one by Mark Twain “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” Getting started. Instead of just watching the you tube clips, get in my craft room and make something. Then, instead of just making it, get it on etsy or to a local shop and sell it…. …

Thank Filled Thursdays

A couple of years ago, I posted a series on 25 Days of Praise. It was so good for my heart to focus on being thankful and praising God! And it's time to focus on being grateful again. So, now through Thanksgiving, each Thursday I will post something I am thankful for. Wouldn’t it be fun if we could fill the comments with things you are thankful for as well? It would be like a virtual party of praise! So, here goes…
Today I am thankful for…
Fall weather. New seasons bring change and freshness, reminding me that God does the same in my heart. Along with my coffee each morning, He brings fresh mercy into my life.  His grace is not based on what I have done, but on Who He is and what He has done.

Today as you enjoy the cooler weather and fresh air, stop to thank Him for it and His mercy as well!
What are you thankful for? Let me know in the comments!

A Few Of My Favorite Things

These are a few of my favorite things….. Fresh apricots falling from the tree Warm summer sun and time to relax in it Fresh veggies from the garden Sitting around discussing scripture passages with friends Swinging in my hammock swing Iced coffee on a hot day Lake Michigan, sand dunes, and watching my kids enjoy it all Fresh picked Indiana blueberries A visit from my awesome in-laws Crossing items off my to-do list


Enjoy your summer, and don't forget to stop and give thanks for each of your favorite things!

Set Up

"My favorite in Scripture is Ephesians 2:10. It says: "We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works prepared for us in advance." I love that tag line: "prepared for us in advance." Translation: God is setting you up."

"That tag line fills me with holy anticipation. It gives me an unshakable sense of destiny. If we simply stay in tune with what the Holy Spirit is saying and doing we will walk into situations that God has divinely orchestrated for us. I don't believe in coincidence. I believe in providence. God is in the business of making sure we're in the right place at the right time. There are divine appointments that God is already setting up for next day delivery!"
by Mark Batterson http://www.markbatterson.com/uncategorized/god-is-setting-you-up/ Makes me think of times in my life when I feel like I’ve been set up……
I run into someone at the grocery store, cart full, schedule even more full….. in a time crun…

How Do I Have An Undivided Heart?

Each summer we used to operate a large fundraiser for Impact Skate Park & Youth Center where I was the manager. This was a huge undertaking and required hours upon hours of time and many volunteers to make it happen. One morning as I was preparing and mentally coaching myself for the day ahead, I caught a glimpse of a verse card sitting quietly on the bathroom counter. “Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth;

Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” Psalm 86:11

An undivided heart.Lord, how do I have an undivided heart while I am working long days in the heat to raise money? I’m over tired, stressed with all the responsibility on my shoulders, discouraged by lack of volunteers, and wondering if we will make enough this year. My total focus these next 10 days must be on running the fundraiser, how do I fit You in?
The answer came softly. It’s not that my mind cannot be going in many directions all day, but that my inner compass is steadily pointing to H…

Solemn Acts Of Devotion

Around the 4th of July, we all get to feeling a bit more patriotic than usual, celebrating with flags lining Main Street, parades, and even red white and blue flip flops. America has been a great country enjoying freedom for 237 years.
My favorite preacher, who happens to be my husband and is very patriotic, spoke a while back on the solemn acts of devotion of our country’s founding fathers. I was inspired and thought I’d share some of what he spoke about. (I will put his words in quotes to give credit where credit is due.)
56 men signed the Declaration of Independence.I have always admired these men, but never realized just what it meant for them to put their “John Hancock” on that document of 1,321 words.
“Each of these men was willing to sacrifice everything for a cause they believed in and history shows that they paid a price for that bravery.”
These men endured great hardships.For some of them, businesses were destroyed… families were harassed and ran for their lives….homes and …

When is Good - Good Enough?

We are told over and over to do our best. Leave it all on the floor. Give yourself totally to the task or game. Be the best. Don’t settle for less. Rise above the crowd. Be an over-achiever. But, really, is this as good as it sounds? There is absolutely no way we can do our absolute best on everything in life – work, home, marriage, parenting, cooking, ministry, appearance, etc… Just think of each thing you do each day, if you took the time to do your absolute best on each item, you would be a worn out mess before your second cup of coffee! Your relationships would be strained. Your nerves would be fraying.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t do well. God tells us “whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) He says whatever. Meaning everything. But He doesn’t say do your best at it. Do it perfect. So when is good… good enough? In all the whatevers I do each day, how do I know when and where to do a good job and when and where to slow down and do my absolute best?

I…

This World Is Not My Home

We took a “girls” day recently. We shopped, laughed and just enjoyed a day away. Then we stopped at Hobby Lobby. Walking down the home décor aisles, my heart was lifted. The beautiful things around me were like fresh spring air after a long winter.
My feelings couldn’t be contained. “Ahhhh! My heart feels like it’s at home!” I took a deep breath to drink it all in. Sigh. If it weren’t for Dave (Ramsey, that is), my cart would have been full with all the wonders my eyes beheld.
In a world of sin and decay, our hearts long for home. Home. The word stirs up warm fuzzy feelings for most of us, whether it’s the place we grew up or the place we’ve created as adults. Home. Ahhhh! Sigh. Its where we are accepted. Loved. Comfortable. Where we belong.
Zephaniah 3:20 “At that time I will gather you;
at that time I will bring you home.
I will give you honor and praise
among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunes
before your very eyes,”
says the Lord
.

When we see the spiritual decli…

Who Is The Cheerleader? God Or You?

The sound of March Madness has filled our home lately. The squeaking of shoes on the court, the cheers of the crowd, the commentary of the announcers... The excitement in the air can almost be felt through the TV. I am not really interested in basketball, instead I am more entertained by commercials and the NCAA commercial caught my attention with the tag line “Think of us as your cheerleader.”In fact, it got me to thinking about my spiritual “game”. Makes me think about the streets of Jerusalem as they were filled with excitement on one very special day 1,980 years ago. People lined the streets, palm branches waving. Exuberance filled the air. “Hosannah!” “Hosannah!” They had waited for a deliverer, and as Jesus rode into the city they cheered Him on. The One on the donkey didn’t join in the enthusiasm. Instead, He wept, saddened by their lack of belief. They wanted Him to deliver them, but on their own terms and in their own way. They wanted Him to meet their expectations. They were…

Prayer and Praise While I Wait

We recently finished up our study of James and chapter 5 left me with a lot to think about. It’s so easy to envy the wicked. They seem to have abundance, answer to no one and have all the fun…. At least that is what Satan wants me to believe. But God reminds me of the truth. The truth of eternity. And it is because of this truth that I can push aside the envy and be patient, waiting on God.

With spring approaching, I have been eagerly perusing the racks of seeds on display in the home improvement stores. My mind envisions plants of zucchini, tomatoes, snap peas, and basil growing in the sunshine this summer. I can’t wait to plant my garden, but the cold weather insists that I be patient and wait. Once I do get to plant it, there will be more waiting to be done. But as I wait, I will can busy myself with weeding, watching for bugs, fertilizing, watering and caring for the plants as they grow, anticipating the delicious veggies that will be produced. I don’t exactly enjoy all these tasks…

Humble, Humble, Humble

The desires that battle with in me have a huge pull on my heart and devotion. I want my way, I want to go and do and have. As a little girl in kindergarten, I envied my friend’s pretty curls and wanted them. I even prayed over and over that God would give me curly hair. He never did. Why not? I asked purely for my own satisfaction. All for me, me, me with no desire to please God. Friendship with the world. God calls this adultery. Unfaithfulness to the One and Only. I can’t love God and be or even wish to be friends with the world. Straddling the fence is making a choice. And it’s a bad choice that sets me as an enemy to God. Not a place I want to be, no, sir!

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (Verse 6) It is pride that makes me want to belong in the world. To fit in and look normal. To do what everyone else is doing. To be noticed and liked. To be my own boss. Pride in my heart says “I know what’s best for me, I don’t really need God.” I must put on humility to o…

Wisdom, Genuine or Counterfeit, That is the Question.

Welcome back! We are in James 3:13-18 this week, and we are half way done with our study. There is so much packed into this short book, and its been so fun to study it with you! There are two kinds of wisdom, one from God (the genuine article) and the other a counterfeit version from the Father of Lies. James makes it clear that the earthly variety looks like wisdom and can be mistaken for true wisdom of the heavenly variety. When we break this passage down into 2 lists and it’s hard to see how one could get the 2 confused. Bitter envy on one side and mercy on the other.Selfish ambition vs humility. Disorder vs peace- loving. Doesn’t sound too easy to mistake one for the other to me.But they can and do get confused, even by the most well-intentioned of us.

Sometimes we live as if sin labeled with “good judgment” or “standing on a principle” somehow gets excused. Attempts to manipulate and cajole others to get our way - done in the name of what is “right” - seem to be acceptable and the …

Taming The Terrible Tongue

Ready for more on James? This week we studied the first half of James chapter 3. It is easy to read these 12 verses, nod our heads and agree that we all need to tame our tongues; it’s difficult to do but we all could use some work in this area. Right? Sometimes we read a familiar passage like this and then proceed on our merry way. But God’s word is intended to be like a light shining into our lives. Like a mirror held up to our hearts to show us what is really in there (and sometimes that is not a pretty sight, no it’s not…Ugh!) and what we can become (which is a sight of true beauty).

This focus of this passage is the tongue, our speech, what we say. We can’t brush past the first 2 verses just because we do not hold the title of teacher. James points out that those who teach (and we use our tongues to teach) will be judged more strictly as teaching brings more responsibility and more accountability. Don’t we all fit into this category at times? When we share Christ with someone? When…

Is It Faith Alone or By Works?

This our 4th week studying James in our Ladies Bible Study on Monday evenings and I’m so glad to have you join us for the weekly recap! It has been so much fun digging in and studying scripture and using our own pretty little heads to think it through. Yes, sir, we are becoming scholars for sure! Well, maybe we have a way to go to achieve that title, but we’re getting closer, don’t you agree?There is a lot to discuss in this passage, so let’s get started before our coffee cools. V 14 If we claim to have faith in God but there is no evidence in our lives, what good is that faith? Can faith that just sits and doesn’t produce anything save you? Scripture makes it clear that we are saved by faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:28) But this whole passage seems to suggest otherwise.

Verse 17 “…faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” Verse 20 “…faith without deeds is useless.”Verse 26 “…so faith without deeds is dead.”

V 19 Mere belief in God is not enough. Even the demons …

Do You REALLY Keep the Royal Law?

I’m so glad you’re back! This week we discussed James chapter 2:1-13. In just 13 verses, James packs a lot of meat for us to chew. In case you’re just joining us, you can catch up on the first 2 posts on James hereandhere.If you would like to read along in James, Biblegatewayis an awesome resource for that. V 1-4 Don’t show favoritism. We all know this, don’t we? The situation he brings up is a classic. And none of us would be that blatant about showing favoritism to the well-dressed visitor versus the shabby-looking visitor. Would we? Nope, we are way more clever than that. We tend to avoid the overly needy, not wanting to start something we might not want to continue. What if they become too dependent on me? What if they need my help more than I want to help? And so it is much easier to reach out to those less needy, those who are less likely to follow us home and invade our lives like a lost puppy. Yup, that’s favoritism. In its sneakiest form. And God says its evil. Ouch.

V 5-7 Mov…

Is Your Religion Worthless?

Howdy! So glad to see you joined me for the recap of week 2 of our Bible Study on James! It’s so good to have you here! Brrr! It’s cold outside, its currently -13 as I write this (wind chill is -49), does that even qualify as cold, or is it more like frozen? Anyway, grab something warm to drink and let’s get started. Most of us are familiar with this passage in James 1:19-27.

Be quick to listen…Be slow to speak…Be slow to become angry…Get rid of all moral filth…Get rid of all the evil so prevalent among you…Humbly accept the word planted in you (this can save you)…Do not just listen to the word…Do what it says…Look intently into the perfect law…Don’t forget what it says…Keep a tight rein on your tongue…Look after orphans and widows…

Such good and needed instruction packed neatly into one little passage. It’s like a power packed vitamin for the believer’s soul. Wait a minute! Remember who James is talking to? The scattered Christians. They left homes and families, were running for their …

Joy, Persecution & Doubting, Oh My!

Have you ever been so excited about something? And you just have to tell someone about it? Me too! I’m totally pumped about our Ladies Bible Study on Monday nights. We have decided to be big girls and dig into the Bible ourselves. No study book. No workbook. No DVD to watch. Just us, God and His word. We are learning to study on our own. To learn hermeneutics, exegesis, and ask who, what, when, where, why and how. Yes, we will miss Beth for a semester, but it will be good for us and I’m sure she would approve of this, maybe even be proud of us big girls! Last night we discussed James chapter 1 verses 1-18. Everyone was eager to share what they pulled out in their studies. Which led to an hour and a half of good conversation. I absolutely love a good theological conversation, don’t you? It truly feeds my soul. It strengthens my heart. And it inspires me to study some more.

For those who can’t make it to the study and for anyone else who just loves studying the Word, I will be sharing som…