Saturday, November 30, 2013

Friends Leave Footprints

“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Isn’t it a blessing when God puts loving and faithful friends in our path to hold us up when we go through misfortune… hardship…sorrow…


laughs and rejoices when we experience joy…blessings…success?

I think God places pretty special and unique people in our lives that impact our hearts, and show us examples of how to be forgiving, kind, content, cheerful, helpful, and faithful. We all have people who have affected our lives, whether close by or from a distance, who have been kind with a generous word or a good deed. And God has carefully chosen them to shape us into who we are and influence our character.


“Greater love has no one than this; that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

The people that we call our true friends are those who God has chosen to be in our lives; the ones who make an impact, and teach us lessons about ourselves and others. True relationships are those we can depend on; the ones we can confide in and tell our deepest secrets to. I believe that God has given us the freedom and privilege to share and give, and to take advantage of the energy that flows through our live and relationships by participating and interacting with others. The people that God puts in our life are not there by accident; it’s not a coincidence…it’s a gift from God!

…people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime…

It’s so important to choose the people we associate with because they are such an influence in our lives. Our real friends are those who stick by us no matter what “moment” we are living in, because they care about us…they love us…they understand us…they rejoice with us…they suffer with us! We are blessed when they have pure hearts that love the Lord so that they can encourage and motivate us to stumble and not fall. And to rejoice and sing praises out loud. They help us clearly see and fulfill the vision that God puts into our hearts. They may seem like a Godsend, and they are! The bible tells us to choose our friends carefully, and when we allow God’s intervention, one of the first things we may see is that He starts pruning out those He doesn’t want in our lives, and bringing those in that He does.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor; if either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” (Ecclesiastes4:9-10)

The ties of friends are strengthened by both inspiration and joy, and we must nurture, 
enjoy, and protect them. When we give the gift of friendship, we can just feel the presence of God flow through us with love and compassion. When we give ourselves away, we can feel a passage opening up and allowing an abundance of happiness and grace in our hearts that on one can ever take away! When we work together and care for each other we are an example of Christ putting other’s first and we experience unity. I can’t imagine a day going by without heartfelt fellowship and interaction with the friends that God has placed in my life; friends near and far, and my wonderful blogger and Pinterest friends, have given me endless faith, encouragement, support, and laughter; they have brought me peace and happiness that I could never experience otherwise!

“If you have gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if His love has made any difference in your life, if being in the community of the spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care-then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends.” (Philippians 2:1-2)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Are You Laughing?

Warning: Laughter may be hazardous to what ails you...

 “Of all the things God created, I am often most grateful He created laughter.” (Charles Swindoll)

Aside from all the wonderful benefits laughter can bring, laughing just makes you feel so darn good! No matter what the age, laughter is just one of those things that has the ability, even for a few minutes, to pick us up and allows us to escape from our responsibilities, sorrow, or worries. It’s so powerful that it consumes our senses and lifts the weight (at least temporarily!) from our shoulders. Nothing works faster or more effectively to bring our minds and body back into balance than a good laugh. Even when we are going through a difficult time, smiles and laughter can go a long way in making us feel better.

Thank God for His wonderful gift of laughter!

“He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.”     (Job 8:21)

God fills us with so much joy and laughter as He adds to our lives and brings about change through His promises. He teaches us that joy is a duty, and a virtue that every Christian should plant and harvest. Proverbs 15:15 says that a cheerful heart has a continual feast. Laughter has its place in every healthy and faithful life, and when we allow ourselves to become engulfed in His glory, He brings joy, abundance, and laughter into our lives that we can share with others. When you surround yourself with people who have a great sense of humor not only does it make life more fun, but it canl release stress that we often experience on a daily basis. And there are just times when the best help we can give to a loved one is the gift of laughter. A person may really need the sound of laughter to make it through the day, and we may just be that person to bring joy into someone’s life today!

There are tons of reasons to laugh…            

  • ·         Laughing is an effective way to reduce stress

  • ·         Laughter boosts the immune system

  • ·         Laughter strengthens our relationships and is contagious to others

  • ·         Laughing improves our mood and adds joy and zest to our lives

  • ·         Laughter exercises your face muscles

  • ·        Laughing relaxes the body and reduces problems associated with high blood pressure, ulcers, and strokes

Joy and laughter colors our whole personality. We can’t always choose what is going to happen to us, but we can choose our attitude in the situation. Humor lightens our burdens, inspires hope, connects us to others, and keeps us grounded. Living a life of positive thinking and laughter is bound to make us happier and more confident throughout our daily routine, and God tells us to be joyful and loving, to fill our lives with laughter! When we do this, we will be happier, healthier, and a better testimony of His love; ultimate joy comes from Christ dwelling within us!

“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again-rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)

Linking up this week with:

Wholehearted Wednesday

Friday, November 15, 2013

Trust and Obey

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Do you ever pray and give something to God feeling pretty confident that He will take care of the problem and it will just go away? (Okay; that’s called trust!) Of course, that’s an easy solution, and many times that’s exactly what He does. However, what is your reaction when He has another plan, and he speaks to you through a devotional or verse directing your path in a different direction? Does your mind immediately switch into panic mode? It’s always frightening when God leans in and propels us to handle a situation that may seem overwhelming, and to step out of our comfort zone following His lead no matter what. But the bottom line is…when the Lord calls us to perform or carry out a difficult situation that seems unreasonable or uncomfortable to us, we really have two options…

…we can obey and trust Him even though we would really rather just ignore it…
…we can become fearful, independent, or disobedient and attempt to find a way out…

~Trust and Obey~

“For anyone out there who doesn’t know where you’re going, anyone groping in the dark, here’s what: Trust in God. Lean on your God! (Isaiah 50:10 Message)

There are times in all of our lives when God requires us to step out into the unknown…to take a leap of faith, or…go out on a limb. And when we listen and obey, He will guide us in making (and also in resolving), the most difficult decisions that we have to make. Some of us are reluctant to trust God completely in solving some of our conflicts and situations, fearing that He may want to make changes to our perfect plans. But yes; He will make changes! Isn’t it logical that that the very One who created us knows better than we, and has infinitely better solutions? Trust and obey…these two words pretty much sum up God’s purpose for our lives. Trusting makes obedience easier and obedience produces ever-increasing trust. Obedience really is a part of trust, and when we refuse to obey it is an act of distrust.

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. (Isaiah 26:3-4)

How often do we make lists of “pros and cons” or consult others before finally doing what God has laid on our hearts? How many times have we said to God that we trust in Him all the while making a back-up plan “B”? At times, obedience is a struggle as our minds run all through the reasons that God’s path is unreasonable or painful. Fear and disobedience can dominate us, and our will battles to comply when everything inside of us is screaming to turn and run the other way! God may let us go to a certain point before He steps in, but believe me; He will step in! As if we don’t already know, God relentlessly pursues us with His grace and abounding love. He patiently waits and carves out our next step as we trust and obey, and if He didn’t think we were ready, He wouldn’t have chosen this path for us. God is calling us to step out in faith and trust Him; He is asking us to believe that His power will equip us for what He is asking us to do. All we need to do is…

~Trust and Obey!~

linking up this week with:

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Thankful Heart

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17)

How do you think you would view your life if you ~started each day~ and ~ended each day~ with a grateful heart?

Counting our blessings, noticing the simple pleasures, and living each moment as if it were a miracle shifts our focus from what our lives may be lacking to the abundance that is already present. It’s so easy to take for granted the good that is already present in our lives, and rather focus on what’s not present in our lives. When things don’t go our way, we need to remember that with every difficulty we need to ask ourselves, “what’s good about this?”, “what can I learn from this?”, and “how can I benefit from this?”. Many people struggle with finding contentment, but why do we put ourselves in a race to succeed and gain when instead we could be enjoying what we have and where we are currently in this present moment?

So…how do we come to have a thankful heart?

~How can we be grateful to God for the small things, the stuff we take for granted, or the things that we feel we are entitled to?~

~How can we be thankful in the hard things, the ugly things, the “I never wanted” things, the things of sorrow and pain; is it really possible?~

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (I Thessalonians 5:18)

·         Choose your feelings…begin each day with prayer, inspirational reading, uplifting music; speak words of gratitude, and think on all the things you have to be thankful for!

·         Choose your actions…our hearts overflow when we put love in action and give the gift of friendship; thankfulness is expressed through our ability to bless others!

·        Choose your words…Pause and think before you speak, and rather than grumble, think about what is helpful, useful, and uplifting in all circumstances. Our conversation reveals what is in our hearts!

“Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!” (Psalm 95:2)

There is a strength that comes from having a thankful heart; possessing a grateful heart is not an obligation, but rather a privilege! There is something to be thankful for in each and every moment of our day. When we start to recognize everything as something to be grateful for, that’s when things begin to change. Trust and gratitude go hand in hand, and when we trust that there is a divine reason for everything, we can be thankful for all of it.

We are showing…

v  faith in place of uncertainty;

v  appreciation instead of dissatisfaction,

v  and love instead of fear!

When we show gratitude for all our blessings (no matter how big or small), they multiply and we have more to be thankful for! Every experience comes to us from God’s personal and loving hand; He is arranging the events of our lives, and we need to see this evidence all around with eyes that see God’s hand at work in every moment of every day. When our feelings, actions, and words are focused on our many blessings, we see normal, everyday things as a gift, and with thankfulness in our hearts we will reap a harvest of gratitude instead of dissatisfaction and restlessness. Thankfulness and gratitude protects and guards our heart!!

                                                Linking up this week with:

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Flower Fades

“The grass withers and the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)

As the days grow shorter in fall it’s not uncommon for the winter blues to start setting in, and many people are affected and react adversely to the decreasing amounts of sunlight and the colder temperatures. We are entering a season of cold and darkness, and will soon awake in the dark, go to work in the dark, come home in the dark, and go to sleep in the dark! As winter settles in, flowers lose their blooms and trees become barren; all the colors fade away and it may seem that the world is void of any life. But even though winter may seem dark and gray, it brings a lot of things we don’t savor and enjoy during the other seasons.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to a sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I propose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)

As one season appears and fades into the next, so does our life go through a season of change, and even though winter may not be the easiest season we will experience, the “winter” in our lives cannot be avoided, but rather it should be lived in all its glory! It is often in the winter season that we really come to know God more; that’s when we can experience the “winters” in our lives to guide us, shape us, and refine us. The shorter days that are upon us should be used to get more rest; they are a time of personal growth and a restful break. We are able to reflect on where we have been and where we are going; what we have learned and how we have grown by past experiences. It’s as if we have to become empty and get rid of all the clutter so that God can have more room to work within us.

“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22)

The coming cold and darkness of winter urges us to slow down, replenish our energy, conserve our strength, and reflect on our spiritual growth. The winter in our life has a beauty different from the other seasons; it has an emptiness just waiting to be filled by God. The period of darkness is where His light can shine more brightly for us, and we can experience His promises in a way we have never known before. When He shines His magnificent light, it is a time for rebirth, renewal, and hope! During the darkest and coldest time of the year, the light and warmth of God is present; it is God in the winter in our life that gives us hope, and draws us close to Him to prepare our hearts for His blessings and amazing grace. 

Linking up this week with:

USE this for BLOG

Saturday, October 19, 2013

All About Accountability

What is accountability?

“So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God…” (Romans 14:12)

When you behave in a personally accountable way, you take full responsibility for your own tasks and their outcomes…good or bad…

You are…






Accountability is a lot easier to talk about than it is to practice; people avoid accountability for various reasons, including pride, ignorance, fear, and self-reliance. Think about it…how often do we analyze our mistakes unless we are held accountable for them? It’s much easier to just ignore what we are doing wrong…unless of course there is the possibility of being held liable for it. We all love the freedom that we have been blessed with; however with our wonderful rights come important responsibilities. And as Christians we are accountable to God and others for the path we take in life, and we should accept this responsibility as a gift. Not only does it provide us with a system of checks and balances for our own actions, it also gives us the opportunity to share our lives with others and encourage them.   

“And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13)

We often have this amazing ability to mess up sometimes; thankfully God has given us His presence to help us, but He has also given us each other.

Accountability allows us to be answerable to one another and enables us to share our lives with each other in a deep, reflective way so that it protects us from isolation, pride, temptation and weakness. True accountability involves letting another person into the interior of our lives, and submitting ourselves in an atmosphere of trust when we are weak and struggling, growing and learning, or need prayer and encouragement. We all have “stuff” in our lives that needs encouragement and conviction, and God brings people onto our lives to walk alongside us, to mentor and guide us. To hold ourselves answerable to others is to trust their judgment and to believe that they are devoted to the same truths and values we are, because we really do need each other more than we like to admit!

“Let us think about each other and help each other to show love and do good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)

Accountability requires mutual respect; and God’s word tells us that we have an obligation to hold each other responsible for our actions. We need relationships with others to maintain our spiritual health and to help them maintain theirs. Holding others accountable is about helping them reach their goals, and building character, patience, and dependence on God’s grace. It is our responsibility to hold others accountable for their actions especially when we observe someone who is acting in a way that doesn't reflect God’s will. It’s important for us to remember that God’s plan is for us to lovingly confront each other with their best interest in mind.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.” (Hebrews 10:25)

Our attitudes toward accountability eventually reflect our attitude toward our accountability to God and others. Therefore we need to hold on to our responsibility to give an answer for what we do, and understand where we need help or where we can help others reach our/their full potential. Then we will become more aware of our life’s purpose that God has unfolded before us…to grow and produce Godly character and fruit in unity with each other.

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