I'll talk...You listen!

When my sons were younger, they would talk about making friends. What was the true key to making friends? I would tell them to listen! People LOVE to talk about themselves. If you walk up to someone and ask them a question about themselves, they could go on and on. If a person has a complaint about their life, they could go on all day! If you ever talk to a child, the conversation is usually all about them. One thing that I've found is that as we grow up, that rarely changes. I recently told someone a problem I had and they completely ignored that statement and went on to tell me everything they had going on. I sat there reminding myself that even though this person, who is suppose to be my friend, didn't really care about me at that moment, we as people are completely selfish in nature. I met a couple of friends one time and I remember sitting there as they looked at me and said, "And how are you doing?" It completely stumped me! No one asks ME that! I have a husband and two children who need me to do, what seems to be everything for them! I cook, clean, teach school, and have to be there for constant support. Once my friends asked me that question, I sat there speechless. I literally had no idea what to say. I am usually the one asking how everyone else is doing. As a mom, you usually don't have time to think about yourself.

Now, let's turn our attention onto God. He created us and likes to spend time with us. When we pray, we say that we are talking to God. My question is, how are you talking to God? When you pray, do you sit down quick and make your list of needs? Do you thank Him for what He's given you? Do you take time to develop a relationship with Him and get to know Him? There are days when I find myself complaining to God, or giving Him my lists of "wants and needs". I then stop myself and think, is this a real relationship? This is exactly how people treat each other! We don't care about the person next to us in our attempt to reach the top of the ladder at work, or the person we swerved in front of to get just a little ahead in traffic. We don't give a second thought to the person who has to use up all their vacation time to take care of their sick children, because, "well, they made a choice to have kids." We don't listen to others problems anymore because we have our own and in our mind there are therapists for that.

Now that Thanksgiving is over, we can reflect on our time with our family and friends. As you sat around the table giving your list of thanks, or talking to that relative that you see only at holidays, did you talk only about your needs, how things are going for you? Or, did you listen to what everyone else was saying, and find out how they are truly doing?

And with God, are you developing a true relationship with Him? Are you reading His word and listening to what He wants to say to you? Or, are you just spouting off your lists of needs and wants. Have you ever taken the time to pray and ask God how He is doing? Do you care that He holds the whole world in His hands, including your life? Do you care that Jesus gave up His life for you? Let's take time to listen to others for a change. Take the listening challenge and decide that when you talk to a person, you will consume yourself with their needs and not your own. When they ask about you, quickly change it back to them and truly get to know them. Why not try the same thing with God? When you are praying and you find yourself beginning to think only of yourself, direct the prayers back to knowing Him more. And...don't forget to be thankful to God and for your family and friends who have to "listen" to you all day!

Galatians 6:2 "Bear ye one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ."

Ephesians 4:29 "29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to THEIR needs, that it may benefit those who listen."


For the Love of Money!

A man once worked hard all his life. He toiled with sweat as he slowly accumulated that hard earned money and land. He had married the love of his life and had several beautiful children. He continued to work hard to provide not only shelter, but food and all the many extra luxuries they all enjoyed. As the years passed by, he became older and could no longer live alone. His children that he once spent years lavishing upon, stripped him of all his money and possessions, and only allow him to have less than $50 a month for him to use freely.

Another story is of a very wealthy man. He owned a lot of land and had several people that worked for him. He was known as a so called "Christian", but was cruel to his workers and made sure that they felt less than he. After working for years for this man, a worker quit and said, "If he is a Christian, then I never want to be one."

Greed! It consumes, it destroys, and it is not of God. It is a root that takes over those who allow it to deeply penetrate their heart, until they want more and more and do not care who stands in their way. It divides families as people no longer care about the welfare of others, but believe they alone should be in charge of it all.

Matthew 19:24 says, "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

Why is that? If a person has money, they should be so thankful to God for providing for everything they need, want, and more. They should be giving some away to help all those less fortunate around them, and they should be content and happy, for they want for nothing! That is exactly the reason why! If you have everything you want, you are not in need of God! Men pride themselves on being the provider. The more they earn, the more they feel like they alone have earned it and no one else "deserves" their wealth. They begin to keep it all for themselves and start to think that since they have used their blood, sweat, and tears to earn this money, no one else is worthy of a penny of it. This reminds me of a family where the father worked and the mother stayed at home with their young children. He worked hard for their money and in his mind felt like she was doing nothing to contribute to their wealth. He decided she should have an "allowance" and only get a small part of what he makes. Even though she was taking care of his children, his home, she was still not worthy enough in his eyes to be equal.

As I watch all the celebrities on tv that make all these millions of dollars, I have yet to see a truly happy person. The news is constantly filled with divorce and how they will divide their fortunes. Even the richest of rich struggle with finances and sometimes find themselves bankrupt, alone, and even suicidal at times. The love of money and pressure of failure consumes those that can't reach that "America Dream".

Let us remember that someday we will stand before God. We can put all the money of this world that we have earned in our beautiful golden coffin, and that is where it will stay. The home, the cars, the trinkets that we hold dear will not be in lovely Walmart gift bags next to us as we stand before His throne. We will be all alone, as our lives, our past, and our future lay before God. In those moments, will God praise you for your love of others, admire you for your selfless sacrifices, or will he condemn you for having a greedy heart that ignored the widows, looked past the poor, and kept their life only to themselves.

May God forgive each of us for our selfishness, and may we always remember that things of this world pass away. It is only earthly, paper money and cannot be used to purchase one of those mansions in heaven.

1 Timothy 6:10
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.


Best Friends With Godly Benefits!

We have all heard the term "Friends With Benefits". It is the newest wave of ungodly principles hitting the world today. It basically refers to having a friend that you can sleep with on occasion if you like while still only remaining friends and never making any type of commitment. This phrase is all over the place now. There are books, tv shows, and movies being made showing that it is ok, and that eventually they realize that it either ruined the relationship or they end up falling madly in love with each other like some fable fairytale.

The sad fact is that people actually believe that this can work. The lies being told by satan through these movies and books are being thrown out to our teenagers in bucket fulls. In society, we no longer believe that God has just one person in mind for us, and as far as saving yourself for marriage, it is being completely cut out of the equation all together. The basic thought now days is that a person should try out as many options as they can. You don't want to only have kissed one person or had sex with just the person you would want to marry. They make it sound like you need to have "sowed your wild oats" and "kissed many frogs" before you find "Mr. Right." It is as if we are living at a car dealership and are suppose to test drive many vehicles before we choose the right one. The problem is, we are not machines! We are humans designed by God. We are created in His image and are not made in that way. We have feelings and emotions that are attached to each person that we become close to. Ask anyone who has ever been in a relationship that ended if they still have feelings for them and they would say, "Yes!" The more people that you "try" out in relationships, the more confused a person becomes. When you find that "Mr. Right" and he eventually does something that upsets you, which he will, you begin to dream about the others you might have been with and thought that they wouldn't have done or said that to you. You begin to compare them to your spouse and the wheels of doubt and distrust begin to turn.

Now, I am going to get really personal here. I arrived at Bible College at the young age of 18. Excited to start a new adventure, I quickly realized that not all boys, even at a Bible college, had the right intentions. Not too long after school started, I had gone on a couple of small dates, but quickly I had met my future husband. We began to hang out just as friends. People thought we were dating, but we weren't. We just were getting to know each other. As the months went by, we decided to start dating, but we had decided to wait for our first kiss, so that we would not be led into temptation. After about a year, I got my first kiss from him and I kept myself pure until marriage. I had decided that long ago, because I wanted to honor God and my future husband. Now, if we get into little tiffs, which is rare, I don't have ways to compare him, because I am faithful to only him. He is my friend with Godly benefits. He is there when I go to sleep at night, and there when I wake up. He is there when I need a hug, and I can know for sure, that as long as God allows us to live, he will be there when I'm old and gray.

God has a plan for each of our futures. Whether he chooses for a person to face this life on their own, or has one special person in mind for us, we are responsible to save ourselves for that one person. The world has tried to tell us that we should be out there, trying out every car in the lot until we FIND that special one. But, we don't need to go looking, for God already knows and has that special person for us; all we need to do is wait for God to place them in our path. And when God brings them before you, remember to keep yourself pure until marriage and do not allow yourself to be caught in situations that cause you to sin. Hang out in groups and spend time just getting to know each other on a Godly level. Wait patiently and God will supply you your "Best Friend With Godly Benefits".

Hebrews 13:4 "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral."


God Used it for Good!

I was reading in Genesis about Joseph. Many of us know the story about a boy who was a favorite to his father. In jealousy, his brothers sold him as a slave. Through many trials of being in captivity and ending up in jail, he became one of the most powerful men in Egypt. In Genesis 50:20, the Bible says, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives". As you read the story, this boy who becomes a man through so many trials and hardships, is so quick to forgive those who had wronged him. It is truly amazing to read as the brothers worry about his revenge and Joseph cannot figure out why they are so worried. He had forgiven them, realizing that even though they had originally intended to harm him, God has used them. In the rest of the story of Joseph, we read there was a drought so horrible, that it would last for years. In preparation, God had sent Joseph there, to interpret dreams and help save the people of not only Egypt, but of the surrounding land, including his very own family. Joseph had realized in his heart, that God had used his sorrow, for a very special purpose.

We all face hardships in our life. As I look back on mine, I think of some of the cruel things that people have done to me. I remember the tears that stung my eyes as I begged God to release me from the pain I was going through at that moment. Even though those times are tough and can even be painful to look back on, I began to realize that God taught me some amazing and valuable lessons through each of those moments. I learned about God's grace, His true love for us, and how He wants us to love one another. He showed me true patience. Sure, there are times when the devil likes to remind me how someone has hurt me and my mind begins to seek revenge! Then God begins to remind me of how He used me, and helped me grow in each of those times.

As painful memories creep up, I encourage you to begin to pray over them and ask God to reveal to you the good that took place in those moments of misery. They can sometimes be very hard to see with our mortal, imperfect eyes, but let us allow the Holy Spirit to show us how we have grown through those tough times. Let us also forgive those who have done wrong to us and leave it in God's hands. Remember, there may have been times that we may have hurt others and would want them and God to forgive us.


Lust of the Eyes!

Recently I was scolded for being too protective of my teenage son. He had recently bought a football magazine and it had several pictures of cheerleaders showing most of what they had on top! I decided to color in a nice ink shirt for them. The point is not that I can protect him from the world, the point was to show him that things like that are not appropriate to set your eyes upon. He pours over those magazines for hours at a time, and if those pictures are in there, he will also be pouring over those pictures and is that something we should teach our children is ok to do?

Lust of the eyes! Many people don't even think about that anymore. Now days, a girl can wear almost anything, (or almost nothing)! My family recently went to see a Vikings game and I got to watch the cheerleaders. Back when I was a cheerleader, we wore longer skirts and full sweaters. Now, they have barely there skirts, and shirts that not only show the midriff, they barely cover the top! We were not allowed to dance provocatively, and now they can dance like they are strippers, in front of millions of viewers! On tv, young girls are taught to wear short, adult like clothes and we allow our children to watch this or even wear those outfits because it is the "in" thing to do. We are desensitized to it now. Everywhere we go, it's ok to show it off and it's ok to let everyone look and "lust" over you. Modesty is out the window and all we have left is the saying "the body is a beautiful thing." It IS, made by God, and is not meant to be used in ways to lure and cause sin.

The world wants us to think it's ok to stare longing at one another, to "lust" has become right instead of wrong and is now encouraged in the media, along with porn and other destructive ungodly habits. I draw clothes on those girls not only to protect my sons eyes, but show that God does not agree with what is being shown and that we need to make sure we are not allowing ourselves to fall into satan's web of lies. We also teach our son if an underwear ad comes on, or something inappropriate, to turn your head away and not allow yourself to dwell on what is being shown in this world. We can't hide our children in a box, but we can teach them how to protect their minds!

1 John 2:16 "For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world."


Being a Proactive Parent!

Have you ever been so tired that you don't care what your child is up to? Have you ever been exhausted from your day at work or from being awake all night with a screaming child that you throw whatever you can on the tv and just allow it to soothe them by giving you a little peace and quiet? What about when your child is older and you feel that they are old enough to decide for themselves whether something is worth watching? Do you really think they are off watching anything that would be good for them, and do you think there's anything actually good to be watching?

Let's take this conversation to our schools. Have you ever put your child into school and have no idea what curriculum they use? Do you know their teachers and their beliefs? Do you realize that teachers have the power to give your child any book they feel is appropriate to read in their rooms?

Now most parents are way to busy to look any further than dropping their kids off at school. They don't have time to get to know the teachers or even pay attention to what books their children brought home that day. We are in a world of busyness. Many times both parents work and on top of that we have sports activities, band, church, and million other things that can occupy our time. The devil loves this! We are too busy or exhausted to take the time to find out what our children are watching, or what their teacher is truly teaching. We don't know what curriculum is being used to teach our children at the schools and how young some subjects are truly being taught. If satan can keep us consumed with daily busyness to the point of not caring, then he is free to allow things to creep into our lives without us even realizing it!

Right now I am a stay at home mom, but I have also worked full-time while at the same time homeschooled my boys, and taken care of the home besides. I completely understand exhaustion, craziness, and busyness to the point of not caring. But...we as parents need to care! We need to be proactive parents! If our lives have become so busy that we no longer have time to fight for our children, then we need to reevaluate our schedules. Take the time to find out what your children are watching, find out what books your teacher has in her room that all children are free to read without your knowledge. Take the time to find out what curriculum is being used at your schools. Satan wants the world to become so consumed in life that we allow others to raise our children without us even realizing it's happening! If he can get us focused on our work, money, activities, and keep us moving, then we have no fight left in us.

A few years ago, the middle school had decided they wanted to change their sex education books. A few parents close to me that had middle schoolers at the time began to closely examine these books to find out how ungodly they were. Even though some of these parents were single moms fighting exhaustion and working alone to provide for their families, these parents took a stand. They fought and fought against it until the school chose to keep the old curriculum. They became "proactive parents". They could have easily not paid attention to what was being shown to their children and no one would have even noticed that the books were being changed.

I encourage all parents to be "proactive" in every part of their children's lives. Don't let the world raise our kids! Watch a movie before your young child is allowed to watch it, take the time to look through your child's school bag to find out what they are reading, and be a part of your child's school, getting to know their teachers and what is truly being taught. And...if you see something that satan is trying to sneak through, be sure to stand up against it and fight for our kids. Do you really think that satan or the world has our children's best in mind? If we don't fight for God and our kids, no one will!

1 Peter 5:8-9
"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings."


Oh Be Careful Little Tongue What You Say!

As a child, I remember going to this little Assembly of God church, and in a small Sunday School room, one of the mothers use to sit down at an old, wooden, upright piano and we sang "Oh Be Careful". The song goes like this, "Oh be careful little tongue what you say, oh be careful little tongue what you say, for the father up above is looking down in love, so be careful little tongue what you say."

The tongue, it is so small, yet can cause so much damage. In one swift word or tone, you can either uplift someone or tear them down. Many times we use the "just joking" trick. It's where you say something, realize it came out rude, and throw a quick "just joking" in there to appear that you didn't mean it, even though you did! In Matthew 12:34, it says, "...For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart."

My boys love each other, but let's face it...they are brothers! There are times when they bother each other, drive each other crazy, and say mean things. The "just joking" becomes a habit and so does the idea that we should pick each other apart in efforts to "make them a better person." There seems to be days when the verbal attacks seem to be greater than others. The parental reminder for us all is the often used phrase, "if you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all!"

One day my son had to memorize a verse for Royal Rangers. The verse is Ephesians 4:29, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." That verse was a great reminder to not only the boys, but to myself that we need to be careful what we say. What good does it do to complain about others, tear them down and make them feel less than a beautiful person designed by God. We are all made by God and to speak cruelly about someone is saying that God makes mistakes!

Let us remember how we like to be treated and think before we speak. Each of us are imperfect and we have no right as sinners to say cruel things to each other. So, before those thought come creeping out of your mouth, stop and think about the affects that would have on another person. Does what you say praise and uplift God? Does it encourage you or anyone around you? Would you want the same thing said to you? So, as your anger grows and thoughts start to consume you about that one person that you struggle with, begin to pray and ask God to help you understand what they might be going through, and that you can begin to see them through God's eyes.


Are We Truly Sorry?

Have you ever watched a child take a toy away from another? They then get caught by a parent or teacher and are told to say sorry. The little child reluctantly gives back the toy, clenches his fist, scrunches his little face and forces out a quick, "sorry!" The child then runs away to go off and forget what he's done, and grabs the next thing from another child. The parent knows that their child wasn't truly sorry and wasn't giving back the toy willingly; he was merely following the instructions laid out by his parent, and there was nothing heartfelt about that apology.

As Christians we are taught from a young age that God forgives. Those who walk in the door of a church for the first time are also immediately taught that God can forgive anything from their past. John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." To many that sounds easy! All we do is sin all week, and run to church on Sunday and confess it all like a grocery list. After the service is over, they feel so much better and run off knowingly committing the same sins and thinking that next Sunday they can just come and do it all over again. Some people pray before they do it! "Oh, Lord, "I know you say not to do this, but I have to, so I ask that you forgive me for what I'm about to do!" If God's word says don't do it, then don't do it. Yes, God truly "forgives" when we are "truly" sorry! In the dictionary, the term "sorry" means, "feeling sorrow, regret, or penitence". In the modern "Urban Dictionary", the first definition talks about using it to make a person shut up! Oh, how times have changed. We don't say sorry because we mean it, we say it to just quick get people to stop bothering us about our sins and to just quickly move on, not truly caring about what we have just done. In the Bible it talks about people sinning and in Acts 3:19 it says, "Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away." The word "repent" means, "to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to 'CHANGE' one's life for the better; be penitent." In this verse you are truly saying you are sorry for your sins and you are turning away from them and turning yourself to God. You leave those sins and do your best not to repeat them. In John 8, it talks about a woman who committed adultery. People were trying to condemn her and Jesus said, "“All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” People use this verse often to get out of what they did wrong, but aren't truly sorry about what they have done. They might feel a tad "guilty", but they are quick to say, "well, she did the same thing, so it's no big deal, we all sin." The part that everyone seems to leave out in this important chapter, is in verse 11 when Jesus says, "...Go and sin no more." He is telling her that if she is truly sorry then He has forgiven her, but she must not go back to the sin that he has just forgiven her from.

The point is we are all imperfect sinners, and yes we will do things against God and His word at times. We as Christians though, should be reading God's word and learning what we should and should not be doing. When these sins occur and we have realized what we have done, we need to come with a truly sorrowful heart, truly knowing and feeling sorry for what we have done. Knowing that we have offended God, our sorrow should be so great that we want to turn from the sin that was committed and "Go and sin no more." That is when we are honestly sorry, and then God sees and knows our hearts and grants that amazing forgiveness that is talked about in His word.


Cliques Don't Belong in Church!

In society we are known by our social status! In school you have the jocks, the cheerleaders, the popular kids, the nerds, and there's those that are somewhere in between. Very quickly, kids begin to form "cliques" and spend time only with their certain friends. They eat together, go to each others houses for sleepovers, birthday parties, and as they get older, their weekends are filled with their "friends". When I was in 6th grade, I already had my set of friends. This new girl walks into the room and I remember seeing a girl very different from myself. She had way too much make-up on for our age and wore outfits that my parents would have never let me leave the house wearing. I began to hear whispers from others around the room as she had entered. At that moment I had a decision to make. I could run off with my group of friends and let her fend for herself, or do something. I walked over to this girl and began to talk with her. I invited her to sit near me, play outside with me and eventually, I invited her to church and to church camp. As the years went by, we grew apart and went our separate ways. We ran into each other once in awhile and later I added her as a FB friend. She began to tell me about how she never knew Jesus loved her until I invited her to camp, and how she ran away from it for awhile, but then she found God once again. What would have happened if I had just walked away from her that day in 6th grade to be with my clique? Where would she be today?

In churches today, I find there's a lot of "Religious Cliques". You have the staff, the specific "helpers" for each department, the ones who are wealthy and give that amazing tithe, and then there's the ones that fall to the side. They may not be new, but have never really fit in. Maybe they have tried and in their mind failed. Maybe they see all these people who know each other and have never once seen a friendly smile, or someone that has taken the time to break away from their "friends" to extend an invitation to be apart. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to ask. If you are sitting in church and people can look at you and say, "oh, I know her, she's friends with this person and that person", then you are not being the Christian you are called to be. You have wrapped yourself up into a "clique" and have not allowed others to step inside and be apart. There should be no "cliques" in church, for we should all be willing to work together and stand side by side for God's kingdom. We should be united and remember that greeters are there to greet the door, but we should all have our hands extended to each other in friendship and love. Let's not get wrapped up in our social status at church, for God loves us, and has given each of us an invitation to be apart of His life forever!

James 2:1-4 "My dear brothers and sisters, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, never think some people are more important than others. Suppose someone comes into your church meeting wearing nice clothes and a gold ring. At the same time a poor person comes in wearing old, dirty clothes. You show special attention to the one wearing nice clothes and say, 'please, sit here in this good seat.' But you say to the poor person 'Stand over there.' or, 'sit on the floor by my feet.' What are you doing? You are making some people more important than others, and with evil thoughts you are deciding that one person is better."


Nothing Replaces the Bible

Each day, my children and I set aside time to read and pray. I actually schedule this time in so that it is never forgotten, and also, so that time doesn't get away from us and it doesn't get pushed aside. One day I found my son reading these Christian books during his devotional time. I reminded him that there are times to read those books, but they can never replace the Bible.

The Bible is a book that was "breathed" by God. It is His words, and is the only book in the entire world that is without error. In this day and age, we have so many resources. We have Christian book stores, online stores, websites, blogs, and can grab a kindle to find every book imaginable. These books can be a great help along our Christian journey, but we need to be careful not to replace it with the Bible. Man wrote all these other books, and if people are all imperfect, then so are their books! The Bible is the one true source to tell us how to live, and what God expects of us as followers of Christ.

The world we live in has gradually become a gray world. There is no black or white, right or wrong, only acceptance of whatever someone wants to do. The Bible is very specific in what is right and wrong, how we should pray, and where we will go when this world ends. No other book can replace the truth that comes from God's word. I encourage you each day to take time to read the Bible, even if it's only one chapter a day. Set aside those "help" books for a moment, and pray before you read. Pick a version that is best for you, ask God to help you truly understand each part, and allow Him to reveal His ultimate plan for your life!

Joshua 1:8 "Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do."


When God "Pushes" Us!

This week we celebrated my nieces 12th birthday. She sat at the piano and played a lovely tune as the memories began to flood back to when I was her age. Back then, I was hitting Jr. High, and had been taking piano for about 4 years. Being in a small church, I was also helping out playing for our worship. I didn't mind the small, intimate group of people listening to me play. It was easy and comfortable for me, since I had known them all for so many years.

Since I was in Jr. High, I was able to be apart of the Jr. High choir. I was excited to sing with such a large group of people. One day I was called into the instructors office. It turned out that one of the ladies from my church had told him that I played piano well. He quickly asked me to start playing for the group. I said yes, but felt dragged into it since I knew they needed pianists. I didn't feel ready for that challenge. I began to play for not only the large singing group, but in front of the large crowds of parents at all the musical events. As I grew older, I was asked to play and sing for Girls Glee and eventually did both for Swing choir.

Thinking back on my life, I began to realize that most of my accomplishments were achieved after someone "pushed" me into it. I felt pushed into playing piano for the school and ended up playing for almost all of the choirs. I was "pushed" into trying out for the singing group in college and was not only asked to sing, but to play piano and to be the team leader.

I began to realize that even though I don't enjoy being "pushed" by people, or by God, that if there weren't people along the way to encourage me, I would have never accomplished the things I did. Being "pushed" and "stretched" is so uncomfortable at the time. We can become overwhelmed with fear or the instant doubt can set in. If we get past those feelings and begin to pray about what God "pushes" us into, then He can use us in a way far bigger than we could ever imagine.

My son has been taking drum lessons since he was in first grade. He was comfortable just playing at home with the family and wasn't ready to do more. The worship leaders asked if he would be willing to start to play with them. The "pushing" and "stretching" began. He didn't want to do it. He was nervous and it wasn't what "HE" had in mind. He said he wasn't ready, and yet God was ready for him to keep moving forward. The first practice, I had to practically "push" him into the building. That same day, he came out with a smile so big and he told me how he loved it. He is now not only helping with the main worship, he has played in youth worship, and has been asked to play drums for another small ensemble. He hated being "pushed" at the time, but he sure loves where he is at today.

Let's remember that if we are not moving forward we are standing still, or worse, moving backwards. God wants us to continue to grow in all the talents that He has given us. If you are feeling "pushed" and "stretched", be encouraged that God thinks highly of you, believes in you, and wants the best from you.

Psalm 32:8 "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you."


Give and it Shall Be Given to You!

Selfishness: We all have it buried deep inside us. We like to have things done our way and be in control. We also want to keep "our" things that we have earned, and seem to have a tough time sharing them with others. As a child, one of the first words we learn is "MINE!" We take what we can, struggle with learning the words "Thank-you", and run off with the toys of others, because we feel we should have those too! As we grow a little older, we start to learn about sharing, but it still becomes difficult. We are now at a point where we earn what we get. We work long, hard hours for the few priceless dollars we receive. We save for the "precious" things that mean so much to us and keep them safe along side us. If God asked you to give up or share those precious things, would you?

Those of us that have kids, know what's it's like to give up your life and money, for someone else. Once you have kids, nothing is your own. You no longer sleep when you choose, good luck eating hot food, because by the time you feed everyone else, your food is cold. Your once somewhat lucrative paycheck has now dwindled down to buying extra food, toys, and minivans. As your children grow older, different things take priority. You now have to think about getting them a car, paying for their college, and eventually a wedding.

My son has recently started understanding the meaning of selfishness. On one hand, he's a teen, who wants to earn his own money and buy his own things. On the other hand, he is still too young for a real job, and obviously still relies on us for all his needs to be fulfilled. He has started mowing lawns for the summer to earn extra cash, and has now discovered the love of independence. Along with this comes the responsibility of understanding and finding the balance of "give" and "keep". I recently saw him take some of his hard earned money out of his pocket and give it to a friend so they could get some food at the pool. I later asked him about it, and he said that one day when he was at the pool with no money, he had a good friend just give him money for a snack. This friend didn't ask for anything in return and freely gave it. At that moment, he understood true giving. His friend truly cared about him, was having a great time, and wanted to share what he had. He also began to realize that this friend was like that every time he saw him. He was always ready to share everything he had. In turn, my son wanted to be like him.

Knowing I wanted to take this opportunity, I began to share with my son about how God wants us to give and shared the verse Luke 6:38 "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Not fully understanding what this meant, I described it to him, as I only I can, with an example of brown sugar. When I bake cookies, I don't take the brown sugar, lightly dump it into the cup, and put it in the bowl. I put the cup deep inside the bag, pressing in the sugar over and over until no more can be contained in that cup. It is the same with giving. When you give with a tight fist, you are not truly giving. You are secretly wishing you didn't have to give, and you feel that you could do something better with it. After you give it, you don't feel good, you feel angry and frustrated. But, when you freely give, with your whole heart, you feel a sense of joy. Not only does God fill you with a little, he pours it into your heart until it overflows. He packs that sugar in as tight as He can until there's no place left! After describing this image to my son, a day later he was doing his devotions and it was on the exact same subject with the exact same verse. With a big smile, he walks over and shares what he had learned. How amazing it was for me to see my son realize the true blessings of God. It brought me to tears.

I know times are hard, the economy is bad, jobs are few, and money is barely there. I also know that my GOD is big, and owns all that there is. He shares this world with me, gives me all that I have, wants to bless me and all His children. As a parent spends all their time, energy, and money on their children to give them the things they need, God wants to do the same for us. He gives it freely, because He loves us. Let us not be selfish and hold on to what we have, but let's share it with others. You may not have much, but God can multiply it and bless it. He will also bless you for your faithfulness!

God's amazing protection!

Continuing on with my stories of miracles and protection, I want to take you back to when I was just a young child. My father was a farmer, but to make ends meet, he also worked in our nearby small town. One day he climbed up a ladder that was on the outside of a very tall grain elevator. At the top was a lid that he had to lift, but it was pretty far away from where he was. As he began to reach for this lid, he began to realize that the ladder was no longer attached to the building. As if in slow motion, he saw the ladder start to move away for the building, as his body started falling backwards. My father frantically looked for something, anything to grab onto, but everything was smooth and there was no place to get his grip. As he saw the building move farther away from his grasp, he felt two hands, placed on the small of his back, and he and the ladder were pushed back up to the side of the building. Shocked, stunned and speechless, God had just saved him from death! I am so thankful for God's protection for my father and that he is alive to be with us today!

Psalm 91:3 "He will keep you safe from all hidden dangers..."


You are never alone!

Have you ever felt so sick, that you literally feel like you are going to die? I'm sure we have all had the stomach flu, and you feel so sick that the thought of actually feeling well enough to walk around again is far from your mind. At those moments, a person feels so alone. No matter who is by your side, you are facing it alone. Others may have been through what you are going through and understand your feelings, but you are the one going through the pain and having to face it.

Our extended families have been hit hard with illness. Some of them handle it well and want people around them, others want to be left alone to deal with their own suffering, shutting others out. Now, I am a fixer by nature. When I see someone hurting, I want to run over and fix it immediately! I hate to see someone in pain, and fighting amongst each other makes me sad, because to me, life is just to short to waste a moment. There are times, though, that even if I do reach out, the other person doesn't want my help. They are the ones going through the actual pain, they are going through it alone and want to keep it that way. I may not understand it, but I have to learn to respect their decisions.

Not being able to understand why a person would want to go through something alone, God revealed to me that He can use the loneliness and pain to reach them. Have you ever tried to run away from God, or hide what you have done? God sees all, knows all, and obviously, you can't hide from Him! For awhile, things may be going ok all alone, until you start to hit some rough spots! Pretty soon things get worse and worse until you hit the lowest of lows. Right there, God has you cornered, doesn't He? Where does one turn to when there are no places left to run? They turn to God. At the weakest of moments, where there is no place left to hide, people turn to God. Someday when each of us face death, we will do it alone. People may hold our hands and comfort us, try to understand, but they cannot. We must each do it alone. Will you still be running? At that moment, eternity will have caught you in a corner, and there's no place to hide.

In your moments of heartache, loss and despair, reach out to God. You may be running away, but He has never left your side!

Deuteronomy 31:6
"Be strong and courageous. ...for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."


Stories of Miracles and Protection - 1

Today was Father's Day, and it was a special day of spending time with my father and whole family! My husband, kids and I started our day as we do each Sunday, by going to church. In the sermon, our Pastor was talking about how we should share our stories about what God has done for us and pass them down to our children. Today as we were sitting around the table, we began to share stories of all the miracles that God had done in our lives. All the stories were amazing, and at several times they brought tears to my strong, dad's eyes. Of course the stories also brought tears to the rest of us! In my next few blogs, I would like to share some of these stories with you. They are special to me, because I have heard them over and over, and yet every time they bring me amazement at how great our God really is!

The first story I would like to share is about a time when we first started attending the A/G church. My dad would every once in awhile have a very strange heart beat. He didn't know what was wrong, but all he knew was that he had a wife and two little ones that he wanted to live a long life for. One night at church, my dad began to pray for healing of his heart. As he focused in on God, he felt a burning pain so deep that he prayed, "God, I asked you to heal me, not to kill me!" As he stood there, the pain felt like burning hand or fist literally go through his chest. As soon as the pain left, he turned to look at a woman standing nearby and she pointed right at him and said, "something just happened to you!" And so it did, God had healed him! From that moment on, my dad never had anymore problems with his heart! Praise God for His healing touch, and so many wonderful years with my dad!

As the weeks continue, I will share more stories of God's amazing protection on me and my family! I pray that these stories encourage you and fill your hearts with faith and hope!

Isaiah 53:5
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.


Leaning on Jesus

Recently my life has been a series of ups and downs. A mixture of good, bad and ugly! Not getting into the sorry, little details of my life, I will tell that I have had about every emotion known to man in these last six months. Just when I think one challenge is ending, another begins. There are days when I wonder why I wake up to trudge through another moment and then I realize, I love being alive! Not only do I enjoy spending time with my husband and children, I know that no matter what I go through, things can always get worse. At those moments I begin to remind myself that when I feel like I can't go on, that's when I'm trying to do things in my own strength. I have to begin to lean on Jesus and let him carry me. Let's face it, we are all independent, and it is hard to relinquish control of our daily schedules, let alone our entire lives. I like to know what's ahead, how to plan my day, get my paper and pen out, and write those lists. Surprises are good too, but nothing compared to having a plan! No one can plan for a family member to become sick, or to lose a loved one to suicide. One moment your walking along and the surprise of your life strikes you with one phone call. At those moments, when life takes us by surprise, we need to remind ourselves that we are not in control. Even when things do not go as we think they should, God knows what lies ahead. We need to begin to lean on him and not for a moment think that we are strong enough to walk this road of life alone.

Proverbs 3:5-6
"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."


Lord, I need a map!

Ever feel like you are just lost and you don't know where God wants you? You think you are going in the right direction and the next moment there's a huge stop sign; something difficult happens that prevents you from going the direction you were heading! At that moment, you start to doubt everything! It sure would be nice in those moments for you to be able to go into google maps/directions, type your name in, and have directions all mapped out for you!

Recently we have been deciding different directions for our children. The path they take now can determine alot about their future. We recently had talked to our son about joining the worship team and he became terrified; he refused due to fear! I knew this fear was the devil trying to keep him from moving in God's direction and it was a very hard month of prayer. After much prayer, he finally was willing to try. To ease his fears, the worship leader told him, they would just have him practice and not even consider putting him on stage for several months until he was ready. I dropped him off and picked him up an hour later to find him a changed kid! He ran over to me in excitement and exclaimed that he was going to get to play on stage tomorrow if it was ok with me! What had happened to my fearful child just an hour before? Because of prayer, and the willingness of him to at least try, God had removed all fear from his mind. He instantly became full of joy and it had completely changed his view! Even though I knew it was the right direction for him, he could not see it. He was blinded by fear and he couldn't see the steps that God had placed for his life. What if he had never walked into the church that day and began to follow a different path?

There are days when I would love a map, and for God to say, go here...step there...don't go that way! God does give us a map through people, but it's a daily, small map! He uses people around us to confirm or stop a direction. We had been taking my son to a music teacher for years and he had to take some time off. At that moment, God opened the doors for him to be a part of worship, where they are not only going to teach him more about music, but encourage him in worship and how to be in God's presence! What an amazing change of path that I never expected! So, even though I would love a map, the moments of surprise and amazement at God's plan and direction is what makes not having one so worthwhile. Knowing that God has a specific plan for each of our lives and trusting that each tiny lit stepping stone or twist and turn is always for our good.

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."


Be Interested in the Lives of Others!

Have you ever heard the expression, "leave someone better than the way you found them"? It means to help improve someones day. In this world, we are so caught up in our daily routines and sometimes just feel like we are barely making it through, that we forget about the person next to us!

When we think about helping others, we tend to think of things like charity work and helping the church. We many times think we have to have money to give and that is not always the case. Sure, we need to help our church and give to God what we owe Him and try to bless our missionaries and other charities. The one thing that I think we miss most of the time is the simple, inexpensive things we can do for others around us.

Ever since I was born, I have been known for my giant smile. I have had more comments made about my large toothy grin than I begin to tell! One time, when I was only about 8 years old, my pastor asked me why I smile so much. At the time, I didn't know how to answer that. I never thought that I smiled more than the average person, but I guess to him I did! At that moment, I looked back at his beaming face and realized, I had brought him joy. Now that I'm older, I realize how hard being a mom is and how life can get you down. I know the trials that one can face and how just a smile from my children, husband or a friend can brighten my day! Sometimes, I will go through crazy Walmart and just put on a perma-grin and see how peoples attitude change just by seeing a happy person go through and actually say "excuse me". Or, I may stop and chat with the cashier and ask them about "Their" day, rather than them always feeling obligated to make me, the customer, feel welcomed. Whenever I stop to say, "and how are you?" to them, they always look back with a smile and seem surprised that someone would ask them that for a change!

So, let's take those small, inexpensive talents that God gave each one of us to bless someone today. Bake a cookie for your neighbor, smile understandingly at the mom who seems overwhelmed with her 3 children in a cart, help a person who can't reach that top shelf or just wait patiently in a line and smile at the person next to you. Be on the lookout for someone to encourage and then I guarantee you will stop thinking about just yourself and it will not only help others, you will feel good about yourself too and improve your day!

Philippians 2:4 "Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others."


God gives us gifts, big and small!

Recently I had a tough week. My son, whom I love, was dealing with some teenage type of issues and I felt as if I had no idea what I was doing! Through it all, God knew each step and used each trial as an important teaching tool. After that horrible time, God began to give us blessings to encourage us. First my sons were able to meet the players of a local football team, where they got autographs and pictures, then I found out that our church was going to help pay for everyone's hotel room for an upcoming JBQ tournament. Then after trying to plan my son's birthday party, I had casually signed up for a chance to win a free party. That week, I had found out that I had won! I couldn't believe the blessings God had given me to encourage me after having such a struggle just days before.

Now, these are blessings that I can truly see, because they are not things that usually happen to us. But, what about the amazing daily gifts that God gives us? Each day I try to think of something small that God has blessed me with and thank Him for it. There are so many things that we take for granted. Just being able to breathe each day is a blessing, for there are so many who struggle with allergies and other health issues. Two beautiful children that I teach each day, and the freedom that I get to teach them amazes me! Heat, a bed, more clothes and shoes than a person needs, are all blessings. Parents who love me, a husband who has taken care of me...and even if it was all stripped from me tomorrow, a God who saved me. Let us remember not only the big, obvious gifts that God gives us, let us remember the daily small ones too! As we begin to give God thanks, we will realize that no matter what we are going through or how little or much we have, we are truly blessed!

James 1:17 "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."


Following God's Will, Not Ours!

We've spent lots of money, time and plenty of effort to get our children involved in different activities. We have tried soccer & baseball, along with lots of activities through the associations and involving them in personal music lessons. As the kids grow older, we begin to look toward their future and what God would want from them. I know personally, I have tried to do what "I" think is best for the boys. I always want them involved in things so they stay active and sometimes I need to just stop and realize that it may not be what God has in mind for them. I recently tried to get my son involved in a certain activity and no matter how hard I tried, nothing ever came of it. I ended up just completely dropping the subject and left it in God's hands. About 6 months later, I was just chatting with a parent and mentioned the activity my son was interested in and this sparked a flood of excitement. Instantly things were in the works to get him involved in this particular area. My son commented how I got this all going, and I told him that it wasn't me at all. I wasn't even thinking about him being involved in this situation, and God completely opened the doors. It was God's special timing!

In all of this, God reminded me that I am not completely in charge of my path. If I am truly in tune with Him, He will allow me to move forward through the doors that He has planned for my life. It is easy to try to take life into our own hands, and when we do this, it never turns out right. We continue to fight and fight to obtain something that can never truly be fully achieved or that you feel completely satisfied with. When we pray for God's will and let Him choose His perfect timing, then things just fall into place, filling us with joy and true contentment.

Psalms 32:8 "The Lord says, 'I will make you wise and show you where to go. I will guide you and watch over you."



When I was in 7th grade, I was a busy little thing. I was in band, choir, cheerleading and FCA. I was also big into making new friends. We all know what it's like to be in 7th Grade and we all know at that moment in life, how important to feel accepted is. I had plenty of friends, but I decided I wanted to branch out. So, I began to make friends with others. I started spending time with one girl in particular and we just hit it off. We began to go to each others homes and spend all our study halls together. After awhile, out of the blue, another girl would come up to me and just start screaming and swearing at me. Each day she would come over to my locker and just let me verbally have it. Then she began to do it more often and started screaming at me in the locker rooms until it would bring me to tears. I couldn't figure out why she had focused so hard on me. Assuming she was a crazy person, and had lost all sense of reason, I began to try to avoid her as much as I could. No matter what though, she still found me. Finally one day, my soft, bubbly, little teenage heart had had enough and I just started screaming back at her. She stopped and began to leave me alone. After talking with my new friend, I found out that this girl use to hang out with her all the time and she wasn't actually crazy, but jealous of me. I had taken one of her friends away from her and she had been overcome with emotion. Here I thought this tough girl who acted like she wanted to harm me, wasn't tough at all. She was hurting inside and didn't know how to truly express it. At that moment, I could have continued on and tried to hurt her for all the times she attacked me. Instead, I decided to forgive her and try to understand the loneliness she had been facing.

In Psalm 103:12, the Bible says, "He has removed our sins as far from us as far as the East is from the West." Here it tells us of God's unending love for us. His forgiveness knows no limits. It is so easy for Him to forgive us, yet we seem unable to do the same. Someone says or does something cruel to us and immediately we are hurt and want to retaliate. We should always take the time to cool off, pray for that person and begin to leave it in God's hands. Now, I know how tough that can be, but as we do, God will begin to soften our hearts towards that person and give us understanding. We may not see what is going on in their life that has caused them so much pain. Remember, there are two sides to every story! Let's begin to pray for those who upset us and not be quick to judge them back. We need to begin to ask God to heal them of what is causing them hurt and pain. In return, God can heal you of the pain they have caused you, and help you to truly forgive them. Remember, we are all imperfect and have all done things that have hurt or upset others. God forgives us for all the many things we have done, let us forgive others and let it go!


Turning Tragedy into Faith!

On Saturday, I was getting my hair colored. The hairstylist was a woman who had married a man who left a religious colony. He had run away at the age of 19 and is now living for God with his family, and are now members of a Christian church. We began to talk about different religions and the subject turned to one of my relatives who had recently been diagnosed with brain cancer. She told me about her husband's cousin who was living in the colony and had also developed a brain tumor years ago. They had told this man there was nothing more that could be done and that he should begin to prepare to die. Being that they were no longer in the colony, my hairstylist and her husband were not allowed in unless they were granted special permission. They asked their family if they could visit him and pray for him. They were told they could come, but they shouldn't pray for him because it would do no good. They went in and saw him and he allowed them to pray for him. They laid hands on him and said only a short little prayer in front of skeptical, onlooking family. After they had left, the man was to have another scan done. When they saw the results, they were amazed to find that the tumor was beginning to shrink and was dissolving into water. As the months passed, the tumor had completely dissolved and he is now completely whole. In complete awe of what just happened, the family began to believe in the power of God and prayer. This life threatening tragedy had been turned into faith.

As I listened to this woman's story, I was reminded that even though we go through trials, God can use what we are going through to bring us or someone else closer to Him. This man was facing death, not just physical death, but eternal death. God allowed him to go through this trial in order to save not just him, but his family. No matter what you are going through today, begin to pray for God to show you His plan for it all. Usually when I go through hard times, there is a great lesson to be learned, not just by me, but those around who are watching. I also want to remind you, that even when we pray our hardest, healing is not always what God has planned. In those moments, we need to continue to pray for peace and understanding and allow God to increase our faith during times of tragedy.

Romans 8:28 "We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. They are the people He called, because that was His plan.


Making it Through by the skin of God's Teeth!

I love to play those cheesy little computer games. You know the ones where you have to blast the balls, or match the colors. Every time I think I'm about dead, I somehow come out alive and live to fight the next round. Sometimes I breeze right through a level and other times I barely make it by the skin of my teeth; I think I've lost and out of nowhere I make it through.

When I barely squeak through, God reminds me that my life is alot like that. There are moments when life seems like a breeze and everything is going my way. Finances look good, children are healthy, husband has a good job and the weeks fly by. And then there are the times when I feel like I am barely squeaking by. Finances may be very tight, the children are constantly sick and the weeks drag on as if they will never end! God reminds me that He is in charge of it all. He blesses me with hope and strength to stand on my own during the good times and carries me through those rough times. I may feel like I won't make it to that next level in my life, but somehow through the grace of God, I make it! After those times have finished, I look back and stand amazed at how difficult and hard it was for me, and yet miraculously God brought me through.

In Psalm 56:3 it says, "When I am afraid, I will trust in you." At those moments when you feel your heart stop and you feel like you are barely making it through, just drop it all in the lap of God. It's funny how we think we are somehow in control of it all and that we are the ones just squeaking by in life. God knows every part of us and we need to learn to just trust in Him and let him walk beside us at times and carry us at others.


Keep Going

I had been trying to follow what I felt God wanted me to do. I began by prayer and had several confirmations that I was on the right track. One day, someone began to just verbally attack what I was doing. Afterward, I began to doubt myself and wondered if I was truly doing what God had asked of me. So, I began to pray and ask God to reveal to me what He wanted from me, and if I was going in His direction. A couple of hours later, I was in a store and out of the blue a person I had not seen in awhile appears. They begin to tell me that I was doing a great job and to "keep going". Those two words stuck with me. I had asked God what I should do, and His reply was to "keep going".

When I was thinking of a verse for this blog, my mind kept going back to Mark 10:9 where it says, "Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Now, I know that in both Matthew and Mark, they are referring to marriage in this statement. But, to me, it also meant the joining of other things, like the joining between God and myself. God had placed a direction in me and we were walking together and no matter what "man" or others may say, I was to keep going together with Him.

In this world full of negativity, people are always trying to tear each other down or be in charge of one another. Sometimes life truly feels like an uphill battle. You may feel at times that you don't understand the path you are heading. If God has placed a goal or direction in your life, I encourage you to "keep going" and let Him lead you. Satan will always try to use others to discourage you from going forward with God's plan, but if you continue in prayer, God will reveal what He wants from you. Remember that if you trust in man it will lead to failure, but, if you trust in God, He will bless it if you only "keep going."


God loves us!

I know a man whose wife is an alcoholic. I watch this amazing man try to save her. I have never seen a husband work so hard at helping his wife as this man. He has tried everything, and stayed with her through it all. Each time he tells a story, my heart breaks for him, as all he wants is for his wife to feel loved, and to be whole again. He watches over her when she is in need, and he waits for her when she runs away. His love is so great, that there's nothing she could do, or has done, to make him stop loving her.

How much does God love us? So much, that He gave His son to die for us. Now, I would like to think that I'm a pretty Godly person, but when it comes to giving up my children, I don't think I could go through with it. What sacrifice, what amazing love He has for us! I can't even stand to see my children in pain or upset! I'm the type to dive in and save the day and just "fix" it all. But, we couldn't be fixed! We were sinners; we were dying and going to Hell! God did the unthinkable and let His son go through pain and suffering, and Jesus willingly followed to his demise for us!

In Romans 5:8, the Bible says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." It says "While we were STILL SINNERS". We weren't running around being perfect little angels and doing all the right things. We were still sinners and Christ loved us enough that He was willing to die for us. Now that is true love!

But, you have no idea what I've done? No, I don't, but God does, and He still loves you and has never left you! He watches you and wants to help you when you are in need. He waits for you to return when you have run away. All he wants is for you to feel loved and to be whole again.


Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

This past week, I became very ill. It began with a small sore throat and led to excruciating pain, to where I could no longer swallow, and body aches took over my entire being. I slept for hours at a time and the world around me grew less and less important as I could no longer function. The small amount of time that I was awake, I would pray and ask God to heal me and finding at times that I could hardly bear the pain. I went to the Dr. where they gave me these gigantic pills that took 3 full days to work and as the pain slowly decreased my world came back into focus. I started to live again and forget the pain that had robbed me of my moments just days before.

There's a song called "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus". In this song, it says, "Look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will go strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace." This world is full of pain and suffering. More and more people are getting cancer, suffering from heart attacks and the number of new illnesses are endless. We live day to day wondering what could hit us next and how we would handle the pain that comes with it. But, as hard and painful as it is on this earth, there is a hope. Someday all this pain that consumes us here on earth will be forgotten. We won't remember the sadness of losing that special someone or the heartache that gripped us when someone close to us has become ill. The tears we cry will be gone and the the many things that once consumed our lives will be vanished in an instant. In Revelation 21:14 it says, "He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever."

As long as we are here in this imperfect world there will be pain. We will have to endure hardships. But, we need to "turn our eyes upon Jesus" and let the "things of earth grow strangely dim." As we focus on Him, this life becomes less important and we realize that we are here for just a short time. May we all learn to focus on having Christ in our heart that someday we can join Him and be free from death, sorrow, crying and pain.