Where Are Your Steps Taking You?

What is your purpose in life? Why did God put you on this earth at this specific time? Why are you at the job you are at? What path are you suppose to take in the future? These are all great questions that God has answers to! Unfortunately, He doesn't always lay it out in front of us in a daily map! Wouldn't that be nice!

Many of us live life in a monotonous fashion. We get up way too early for our taste and fumble our way in the dark to find that ever so hidden light switch. We drag ourselves with eyes clenched over to the coffee machine, where we beg for a cup to brew quickly and go through the tedious motions of getting ready for our day. We get to our job and force our way through each boring task, waiting for that final "bell" to ring. We then drive home, plop ourselves in front of the tv, and finally fall asleep. We awake, yet again, as we begrudgingly start the next day all over again. This humdrum life we live becomes meaningless and overall depressing!

What is God's purpose for us? What are we missing in our average day to day? Many of us think that to be called by God we have to be a missionary, out in the trenches, fighting to survive to tell others about Christ. But, if we are all missionaries, where are the doctors to take care of us if we are sick? Well, then we have to be pastors, standing in front of the pulpit to be used by God! Nope! If we were all pastors, who would fight those fires when your crazy cooking gets out of hand? God has called us to be the light right where He has placed us. He hasn't called us all to be missionaries overseas, but He might be calling you to pray for the person in that cubicle next to you and invite them to church. He may not have called you to be a pastor, but He may be asking you to help a needy family during the holiday season.

If life has become a daily chore for you, I encourage to stop and look around you this holiday season. What is your purpose for being at your job? I am not talking about the importance of your job from an earthly standpoint; I am talking about the spiritual reason that God has placed you where you are each day? Who do you see? Really look into the eyes of that Starbucks barista handing you that coffee each morning. Why did God put them in front of you that day? Why did you drive by that accident on the way to work? Was it because of your strong CPR skills? No, take a moment to pray for the people involved and remember them throughout the day. Who knows where they will eternally be that day.

I charge you to open your eyes daily. Truly take a moment to really look at each person that crosses your path, listen carefully to those people on the phone that you may be helping pay their bill, or observe the co-worker that might be struggling that day. What can you do for them? If nothing physically, then may we always remember to pray for those around us, for God has a purpose for you and for them. God does not make mistakes and has ordered your steps and theirs. Where are your steps taking you today?

Psalm 90: 10& 12 "The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away...So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom."


Find Your Passion!

Have you ever noticed when others or yourself are working out of obligation instead of passion, and the fire for what they are doing is just...out? Whether it be your job, church, family, or other obligations, even if the person is great at what they do, and people can find them irreplaceable, it is not where their joy is...their spark for it is....dead. God has been showing me, as I watch others, the difference between being great at something out of obligation and being great at something with a passion! Those are two totally different things! One is like going through the motions and the other is going above and beyond with a smile on your face, joy in your heart and a spring in your step! What are your passions? Are you going through the motions because you are great at what you do? Are you enduring and just passing the days? ...Or are you striving for that passion that only God gives through His calling?

If you find yourself complaining more about what you are doing than finding actual joy in it, then it is time to reevaluate! This is not to say that you won't have bad days and times where you second guess your choice...we all have those days and shouldn't run on emotion. But....if you feel like you are just going through the motions, then I encourage you today to pick up that pen and write a poem, paint a picture, jump out of that plane, run with the bulls, and tomorrow, play in the snow...all with a smile on your face and joy in your heart! Find the passion that God has stirred in you and begin to pursue it!

"Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).


Release Your Inner David!

Last night while I was sleeping, I began to dream. I felt this presence come over me. It held me down, shut my lips, and would not allow me to move. As I was laying there, motionless, the only thing that I could whisper was, "Jesus". I began to whisper it over and over. I was slowly able to say it louder and louder, until my lips were loosened, and I was able to say, "In the name of Jesus!" I suddenly awoke! My heart was pounding out of my chest! I snuggled close to my husband, as if he could protect me from this nightmare. I laid in silence, heart pounding, for what felt like an eternity. Everytime I felt that my heart was about to slow down, it began to pound once again. My heart finally settled down, and I felt a peace come over me. God said to me, "Release your inner David." Release my inner David? What does that even mean. I slowly got up the courage to grab my Bible, leave my little, safe cocoon, and go onto the couch to figure out what God was trying to tell me.

Most people have heard of the story of David and Goliath. Even if you don't crack the Bible often, you have heard of that story as a child. It takes place in 1 Samuel 17. In this story you have war. The fight is between the Israelites and Philistines. In the story it talks about a Giant named, Goliath. The Bible states that Goliath was 9 ft 4" tall! Wow! It says his helmet was made of bronze, and his armor weighed 125 lbs! The army of the Philistines stood behind their giant. He went each day to the front of the line and screamed, "Send one of your 'men' to fight me!"

Now, in this story, we know of a young shepherd boy. He was, just a boy. He helped his father and older brothers tend their sheep. While some of his brothers went off to fight, his father sent him to take them food and to check-up on them. David took the food, and while at the front of the battle line, he watched as this giant of a man came out and said his speech once again. "Send one of your 'men' to fight me!" David, although just a boy, wanted to know what was going to be done about this giant that mocked God and their army. It says that David said to Saul, "Don't let anyone be discouraged, I, your servant will go and fight this Philistine! 1 Samuel 17:32. Can you imagine what Saul is thinking right now? He has an army of all these strong men that run and hide at the sight of this giant, and this boy comes to him, ready to step up to the plate and take him head on! It says that Saul replied, "You can't go against this Philistine and fight him, you're only a boy! (Vs 33). After David convinced Saul that he was right for this job, Saul tried to give him armor. This armor was way too heavy, for he was only a boy! He told Saul that he could mot wear it for he was not used to it. He took it off and as we all know, found those smooth stones. A weapon he was used to. He was familiar with it, because God had already trained him how to use it effectively in his life.

Now, little David was ready to face this giant. He had his large, strong army...er...scared army behind him. He has his amazing armor...um...his slingshot and rock, while Goliath had a confident army, and armor that probably weighed as much as David alone! David did not let those thoughts stop him! He knew that God was with him. In the Bible it says that Goliath began to go towards David. At that moment, David ran to meet him! Not only did David go out there with no army behind him and no armor, he ran to his enemy! It says he took that one smooth stone, and you know the rest! Yep, right between the eyes! Down goes that 9 ft 4 inch giant! One stone!

Now, what does that story have to do with me? With us? I am but a small person. I am human, weak, and at times feel ill-equipped. We have mountains that we face, dragons to conquer, and giants to kill. But....we are just a boy inside. We feel at times these giants are too much for us. We run, we hide, we look for others to fight for us. We look at the armor of the enemy and think about how strong they must be as we sit and hold this little, tiny rock in our hands. We forget at times that we have the greatest weapon...God! The Bible says, "If God is for us, who can be against us!"

Last night, I awoke from a dream where I was held down, mouth muzzled, not allowed to move! The one thing I could do? Say the name of Jesus! It started out as a whisper, and grew, and grew! I awoke! Fear overcame me! God took over and encouraged me to find my "Inner David"....my confidence...my calling!

What giants are you facing today? Do you feel overwhelmed, inadequate, ill-equipped, and like you are just a small boy that is powerless against such an obstacle? Release your inner David today. Do you think David had fear? Do you think that his heart was pounding out of his chest while he ran to his enemy? I do! I feel, though, he ran with confidence! He knew that God had prepared him for this moment...not with swords, bows, guns, grenades, but with a sling and a stone, that had been used to protect his family's sheep. What is your weapon? What has God given you to defeat those giants in your life? Use what is uniquely yours, given to you by God! Take hold of that sling, be confident, run up to that giant, and release your inner David!


Touched by an Angel

Many of you may have heard, read, or seen the book or movie, "90 Minutes in Heaven." This story is about a preacher who was hit by a truck on a highway, died, went to Heaven, and returned back to earth to tell us of his journey. It is a very powerful story that God used to give us a glimpse of Heaven, to show us that it is real, and to remind us to keep the faith! My story is not about a horrible tragedy; I was never in harm nor was I dying, but my story is just as real.

Do you ever struggle with fear? When you were young, did you jump under the covers during a thunderstorm, cry for your mother when that thunder clapped, or run to the closet at the first blast of wind? For me, one of my greatest fears was a thunderstorm. I always envisioned a tornado destroying the house, taking me up in it, or that the lightning would strike me. (I suppose I had seen Dorothy in her flying house too many times!) During those moments, I would be completely consumed by fear. I would cry uncontrollably and run to the closet for safety, hide under the covers, or run to my mom!

I grew-up in a 4 story home. You had the attic, which was cool to me, filled with trinkets from the past, the upstairs, the downstairs, and the creepy basement...hey, I was little! Since the time I was born, I shared a room downstairs with my brother while my parents had their bedroom next door to us. I was always near someone while I slept. I felt safe and secure. As I got a little older, my parents decided we needed our own rooms and moved us upstairs. I had this nice, big room filled with my toys and stuffed animals. Along with this wonderful room came windows...lots of windows. We lived on a farm, and from where my room was, you could see fields and farm equipment for a mile. The view was amazing, until it was night when it was completely dark or there was a thunderstorm. Most nights, if I was afraid, I would either run downstairs to jump into bed with my mom or I would sneak into my brother's room for safety. One night I awoke to flashes of light. A storm was upon us! Lighting the night sky was constant flickers of light, loud crashes, and whistling winds. I jumped out of my bed, terrified! I remember thinking that I was a big girl now, I shouldn't bother my parents or brother, and that I needed to be brave. But, the problem was, I didn't know how! I ran to the upstairs hallway and silently began to cry. In the hallway was a picture that had been hanging there since I could remember. It is a very famous picture of two children about to cross a bridge as an angel stood near to protect them. I stared and stared at that picture as I silently cried and cried, afraid of the noises and lights that the storm was producing. I walked back into my room that was lined with windows. Everywhere I turned I saw the storm that was terrorizing my thoughts. After standing there crying, feeling like my feet were frozen in fright, I jumped into bed and pulled the covers over my head. I do not remember falling asleep, but I must have, as the next memory I have was being awoken by a different light. This light was beautiful; it glowed. My eyes opened as I looked to my left and saw an angel sitting beside me on my bed. Unable to speak or move the rest of my body, I remember feeling startled, yet calm. In a voice so clear, the angel said, "Do not be afraid, God is with you." As quickly as he had appeared, he had gone. In what seemed like an instant, it was morning. I awoke and immediately knew what had miraculously occurred. I rushed downstairs quickly to tell my mother. Unlike the story of the man afraid to tell others, in fear that he would appear crazy, I knew that my parents would believe me. I had seen an angel. God had sent me my guardian angel! I did not hesitate to share the news.

To this day, I can remember it like it was yesterday. I remember the room, where he sat, his voice, and the exact words. I apply it to my life, and tell the story to my children to let them know that God is real. I was not dying, I was in no real harm, but God cared enough about me, a little child, that he took time to comfort me and let me know that it will be alright...He is with me; He is always with me. I carry this story with me always. He is not just with me during the thunderstorms; He is with me when I feel afraid in any situation of my life, no matter how big or small.

Are you afraid today? Have you let the storms of life consume you with fear? God is with you; there is no need to be afraid.

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


Seek Him First!

My boys are busy, often running around in a hurry! In the chaos, they often misplace things. I try to remind my boys that if you lose something, the first thing you need to do is pray about it! So many times they look and look for things missing, and the second we pray, God reveals it to us! Today, my oldest son lost his keys to his car at the local gaming center. He looked, and looked, and then called me in a panic. I drove over there, huddled the boys together in the parking lot, and we prayed! We walked in, and I said to him, "Did you check the garbage?" Sure enough, it was there! He threw it away with candy wrappers he had in his pocket! We were in there a total of 30 seconds before he found it!

It is amazing to think that God cares about our smallest of needs, but reminds us that we need to look to Him first! How many times do we try to do things in our strength? How many times are we too independent to pray? As Christians, the first thing on our minds should be to cry out to God for our needs, and yet we continue to fight our own fight. I am thankful that God reminds us to seek Him first, to run to Him in our time of need, and to know that even when we foolishly try every other path, He is waiting there for us to come back to Him for the answers.

My son lost something important to him. He searched and searched on his own, leaving himself feeling distraught and frustrated. Not finding what he desired, he calls for me, hoping that I can rescue him from his plight. How many times do we turn to each other first for wisdom, instead of running to God for help? May we truly learn to lean on God, put Him first in all our circumstances, and allow Him to be in control of every part of our life! May we always, "Seek Him First".

Luke 12:31 "But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.


Bloom Where You are Planted

Have you ever heard the phrase, "Bloom where you are planted?" Yesterday, some of our sweet youth performed a human video. As they were performing it, a flood of emotions filled me. You know those moments where God reveals? Well, this was one of them for me. As I sat there, God reminded me of what an amazing opportunity I have as a youth leader. Each one of those beautiful youth that were moving on stage to that music are mine. Mine in the sense that God had entrusted them to me to help teach and nurture. I know each one of those youth personally. I know their likes and dislikes, their friends; I see their smiles, feel their hugs when they greet me, and know their struggles. Some are friends with my boys, others are on my worship team, and yet others I have in my small group at times. I get the privilege of seeing them each week, talk to them, pray with them, rejoice with them in their journeys, and minister to them in their moments of trials. I have had parents encourage me and thank me for pouring into their children. In that moment of clarity, God reminded me how He has blessed me with this amazing ministry. It is uniquely made for me at this moment in time.

Being a homeschool mom, I can keep myself very busy. I have the daily stresses of teaching my children, along with the constant need to keep them socialized. While doing this, sometimes it means running from place to place to place. Being a youth leader takes time. It is not a quick go and come home type of thing. There's weekly gatherings, weekend game nights, prayer nights, monthly meetings, etc. There's cupcakes to bake, and music to make. There's schedules to write, and don't forget the most important, nightly prayers to say. Being a youth leader that wants to make a difference, takes work. I have to admit that it sometimes makes me tired. I have to drag myself some days there, after having a long day with school. But, when I get there, I am greeted with smiles; excited students ready to learn music. Bright eyes staring at me, waiting to touch those instruments and begin to practice a new song. In those moments, God fills me back up with joy. He reminds me of the lives I touch weekly. I am not some great and mighty theologian. I am not best friends with Ken Ham, or have the following of Billy Graham, yet I am no less of a person in God's eyes. I fill a role that only a few have been chosen to do at this time.

What is your role in the life of your church? Maybe you love people and feel called to be a greeter. Perhaps you love children and feel led to help with kids church. Or, maybe your time only allows you to help once in awhile with offering. Whatever you do, it is important in the eyes of God. Grow in the areas that God has for you. Even though you are exhausted at times or feel like you barely have a moment left, dig a little deeper and see where God can take you. Whatever your calling, allow God to show you how to make the most of it, and bloom where you are planted!

Jeremiah 17:7-8 "“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”


Keep Moving Forward!

Recently my husband was in the hospital. At that moment it was scary, because things were unknown. While in the hospital, he had some tests done with no questions answered. Once he left, we began our search for, "why". He began to go to a specialist and then began to take more tests. As each test is taken, and no answers are given, we eventually became discouraged. Yet, we need to find a reason, so that we can try to do our best to prevent it from happening again...so we keep moving forward!

I recently talked with someone who was struggling with an addiction. Try as they might, they could not get a hold on it. They became discouraged and at times just wanted to give up and cave in, since they were sinners, and well, they couldn't help themselves any longer. I told them to keep moving towards God. Each step taken is one step closer to victory. Sure, there are steps back in life, and we all experience them, but if we take two steps forward, and one step back, we are still one step closer!

I gave them an example for this. When a person is addicted to chocolate, and never exercise, their addiction grows...along with their waistline! If a person begins to take a step forward by going on a treadmill, or going to the gym, they will begin to move forward in their goals. If they cave and slam a bunch of chocolate down and give up, they have just taken several steps back and are no longer moving forward. But, if they realize what they have just done, jump back on the treadmill and try again, they begin to align their goals, moving forward yet again.

It is easy to find time for the things of this world. If you had a choice between chocolate or exercise, which would you choose? Unless you are obsessed with fitness, you would choose chocolate. But, is that good for us? Sin is easy; it's comfortable. If you have a choice between going to church or watching that football game; watching your favorite t.v. show or spending extra time reading God's word; Reading your favorite novel or donating extra time to help out at your church, which would you choose? Sometimes it takes discipline to set yourself aside and put God first. If you have picked up that chocolate, neglected your Bible, stopped donating your time, you are not moving forward and will find yourself in a place you may not want or expect yourself to be! Let's remember that it is not always easy to put away our addictions, that is why they have that name! But, through Christ, and dying to ourselves daily, we can begin to take those steps toward Christ and away from the things that destroy us! If you find yourself in the midst of your sin, it is never too late to take those steps. Pick up your Bible, drop to your knees in prayer, put down the chocolate...and keep moving forward!

1 Chronicles 16:11 "Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always."