Husbands, Love Your Wives!

I remember back to when my husband and I were first married. Even though we had dated for two years, I remember it being hard to learn how to work together as one unit. The hard part was learning how to combine our separate lives. We each had our own set of friends, things we liked to do apart from each other, and it was tough to find a trusting middle ground. On one hand, guys love to hang out together and my husband is a night owl. He knows how to stay up late and enjoys a good video game. I, on the other hand, am an early to bed, early to rise kind of person. The two did not mix at first as I had the expectations of us falling asleep at the same time...like in all those movies I had seen!

As those first few months unfolded, I remember feeling so frustrated. We knew we loved each other, we felt like we had really spent a lot of time knowing each other before marriage, and yet, there were so many things I felt like I still didn't know. As we began to communicate and work together, we were able to come to a middle ground. My husband knew that he could no longer stay out late with the guys playing video games until 2am, and he would make sure to come home at a decent hour. Sure, we eventually figured out we would never fall asleep at the same time, but he would make an effort to pray with me before I went to sleep, creating that bond. His sacrifice and love showed me that I could trust him completely, for he didn't wander out late at night, or leave me alone without knowing where he was. I felt secure, which is one of the greatest things a husband can do for his wife. It is one way to show his love.

As the years went on and we began to have kids, our lives once again changed. Any extra time with our friends faded away as the all consuming stages of babyhood took over. I was a stay at home mom, where I spent the days staring into the eyes of my beautiful children, spending all those precious moments together, hearing them scream for 2 hours straight, wondering when I was going to get sleep, and forgetting what day it was. During those priceless and exhausting moments, I remember times when my husband would walk in the door. and I would hand him our child and go off to have a moment of peace. Even though he had just worked a long and exhausting shift, he would without complaint, take our child and give me rest. In those moments, he showed me how much he would sacrifice for me. He showed me love.

Now that our boys are getting older, we have new stresses that arrive. The biggest stress would have to be money. Not only do we have college looming near, we have to feed the hungry boys that have hollow legs. They, as all good teens, will want to drive soon and have a car, and they also need clothes constantly, since they seem to think they need to outgrow each article before they can wear them out. There are times when we stop and wonder how others make it and sometimes think that maybe we should both work. In those moments, we have learned to trust God. My husband feels that being home with our boys, teaching and training them is one of the most important jobs that we have as parents. Without hesitation he has encouraged me to stay at home, despite the grocery and clothes bill doubling. He is constantly supportive of putting our family first, and in that way, he shows me love.

No matter what situation you find yourself in today, I encourage you to build that trust with your spouse. Husbands, show your wives you care. You don't have to buy her a big expensive house or the latest car; a husband who supports and care for his wife no matter what is worth more than gold. It helps her to not only trust you completely, but makes her feel secure in herself as a wife and mother. Taking a moment to pray with her, removing the screaming child from her grasp to give her rest, and allowing her to fulfill the role she has as a mother, is priceless. She is God's gift to you, and her security rests in your hands.

1 Peter 3:7

"Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers."



Have you ever been praying and in the middle of your prayers you stop and suddenly remember a list of things you need to do later? Or...you are singing along to a church worship song, and your mind wanders as you begin realizing how hungry you are and how a cheeseburger sure sounds good! Lastly, you are tired, your kids have been sick and kept you up all night, and at the end of the service you have literally been "Sleep sitting"! As the sermon goes on, you realize that you heard absolutely nothing of what was just said to you! Distractions! Lack of Focus! We have all been there!

Lately God has been sharing with me about having a "true" heart. These things I wrote about are your basic distractions that the average person goes through occasionally. But, what if these things become a pattern and you begin to realize that as you are worshiping, you are not focused on God, and you are constantly distracted by the world around you.

I recently spoke to the Middle School youth on having a true heart of worship. Anyone can stand up and sing a song, raise their hands in praise and prayer, and go through the motions. Anyone can sit through a sermon, have their Bible rest on their lap, and not hear one word that was spoken. If while we are singing our songs, we aren't praising God with our heart, then the words are pointless. We can sit through every sermon, but if we aren't truly listening and desiring to learn how to apply what is said to our lives, we have gained nothing. Singing songs with just our lips and listening only with our ears will never help us develop a true relationship with God. God desires a heart that is thankful and full of praise.

We have all had those moments of distraction, but let it not become a pattern in our lives. As we sing a song of praise, let us sing with a heart that is focused on God and all the wonderful things He has done for us. When we pray, let us set aside our to do list and give God our undivided attention. When we hear a sermon, let us put aside our weekly distractions, our tiredness, and hunger pains, to try hard to focus on the truth that is being shared. Let our hearts and lives not become so distracted that we no longer have time or a desire to focus on the one thing that matters most!

John 4:24 "God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."


Being Satisfied

When my boys were young, my husband and I lived in a small, two bedroom apartment. The extent of our outside was a tiny bit of dirt that lie right in front of our living room window. I remember them opening the windows up, and driving their toy cars on that little patch of ground as if it was the best thing in the world! In those moments, I would pray that God would give us a bigger place to live. I felt bad having to raise my busy boys in such a tiny, confined space. I told God that if He gave me a bigger home, I would use it to invite people over and use it as a ministry.

After living in the apartments for a couple of years, God finally opened the door. A friend of ours was selling their place so that they could upgrade theirs. Living on one income, it was the perfect place for the boys to run. It had over 2100 square feet of space, their own bedroom, and even an office for my husband. We snatched it up and have lived there ever since.

The downside to our place is our lack of outside space; there's not much land to run free on, and we are surrounded by houses. As the boys got older, the house became more crowded, and the little legs that would sprint across the entire house at full speed, would start making the trip in shorter times. We didn't have much of a back yard for them to run freely in, and our home has no basement. We began to second guess our choice as we became dissatisfied with the things we didn't have, losing track of all the blessings that were right before us.

God gave us a home with lots of space, individual rooms for the boys, cheap enough that I could stay at home full time, and has two large living rooms so that I can keep that promise I made to God. I always say that my house may not be a mansion, but it is filled with love. Next to someone with a apartment, or without a place to stay, we are beyond wealthy. We must not get distracted with the things of this world, that we don't realize the amazing blessings that lay right before us. We don't have two fancy vehicles with heated seats and tvs, but we do have two older vehicles that are paid off in full and get us to wherever we need to be.

Let us remember to see all the amazing things that God has blessed us with and not dwell on the things we don't have. Money never made anyone a better person, and is just extra stuff that we can never take with us to heaven. It is good to work hard, but it is not good to work only to be dissatisfied and continue to only want more. Take a moment to thank God for that run down car that gets you to work, a creaky floor that has had lots of life run on it, and a home that may not be a mansion, but is filled with lots of love.

Matthew 6:19-20
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."


A Father to the Fatherless

I recently watched a show called "Intervention". This show followed drug addicts throughout their day, documenting the pain and turmoil that not only the addict feels, but the emotional heartbreak of the family that surrounds them. As I began to watch the different story lines of these addicts, I saw a pattern form. In each tragic story, the father was absent from their life. For some of them their father never wanted anything to do with them. In others, the father was at one time their hero, and in hard times abandoned them. In each scenario, you could feel the pain that was caused by rejection of the one person that was suppose to care for them the most. Some of these children, abused by others, and ignored by their parents, were once little children with beautiful smiles, a hope for life, and an innocence that was ripped from them. In each of these stories, their life changed once they hit middle school. The reality of life hit them, and since they had no father to run into the arms of, they began searching for something to fill the void. They found people that would "accept" them for who they were. They felt like they were closer to the drugs and to those friends than they were to their own fractured family.

The family unit is fading fast. We no longer have two parents raising children, we have a growing majority of split homes, multiple divorces, and kids left in the balance. How do we repair the damage of those whose father's have abandoned them, the ones who have been abused, or those that feel like there's just no hope? The reality is that there will always be those parents in this world of sin, and there will always be those kids that are left to pick up the pieces.

I recently read a book called, "One Home at a Time" by Dennis Rainey. In this book he talks about the declining family unit and its effect on America. He begins by telling a story of a couple who were on the verge of a divorce. Both the husband and the wife had been through many things in their life, and neither knew how to truly love each other. As they were about to sign the divorce papers, they agreed to go to a marriage conference. Reluctantly they went and God began to speak to them. Their life was not instantly changed, but they decided to "try". Though they didn't know how to pray, they threw some words out to God, in hopes that He was out there somewhere. The road wasn't easy, they both continued to fight, and in the midst would stop and pray. As each day went by, they found they were starting to feel love once again for each other, and their child saw the amazing difference that God was making in their family.

In the Bible it says that God is a "Father to the fatherless". He is the one we turn to in the time of trouble. How do we help those who feel they have no hope? How do we reach those millions of children, teens, and adults who have been abused and abandoned by their own father? We pray! In 2 Corinthians 7:14, the Bible says, "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

Our nation is in a crisis, and the ship is sinking fast. We may feel like things look hopeless, and how can you as one person change anything. It begins with prayer! If you are a person who has been abandoned by their father, or you're a single mom, trying to be a mom and a dad to your children, don't give up hope! He is the Father to the fatherless, He is the one that when all others fail, we can run into His arms. He will never leave us nor forsake us, and He is the one that we pray to when the road is long and all hope is gone.


Allowing God to Lead You!

Years ago, my sons were in a private school. I put them in there because I had always loved school and wanted them to have the same experiences I had. I soon realized that my son had issues with socializing. I pulled him out and homeschooled him for a year. Determined that he would have a "normal" school upbringing, I put him back into school. Still struggling, I pulled him out again. I began to realize that the life I wanted for my child was just that; it was what "I" wanted. At that moment, I realized that God had called me to homeschool my kids, and since then, I have never looked back.

Recently, my husband and I had decided that now that the kids are older, I should maybe look for a part-time job. In the past I have had jobs, but usually my kids are always with me, since I usually worked in daycares. Deciding this was what was right for our family, I submitted my resume. Not long after I got a call. After the call, I got an interview, and after that I got the job. Praying that this was right, I had made a list of things that I had to have. First I wanted Sundays and Wednesdays off for church, and second, I needed to work nights, since I homeschool during the day. The future employer accepted these requests and I started my new job journey. Thinking that God had opened all these doors for me, I just knew this must be what He had for me, and I went in with high expectations and excitement that I would succeed! Between the time that I sent in my resume, to the time that I began working, problems began to arise. First, we started having car problems. We had to take it in twice. Then the church began to call and ask me to be apart of different things. I had been trying to be involved in certain areas for years, and all of the sudden doors had opened up, and I had no time to be involved. Groups that I had once been in charge of, began to be pushed to the side, due to work conflict.

As the changes all took place over the course of three weeks, I finally sat down with my husband and began to realize that this perfect looking job, with all these open doors, was not God's plan at all for us! I had selfishly wanted my own agenda, and pushed until God said, "FINE", and gave me what I wanted. I may not have thrown tantrums, or whined that I needed a job, but I certainly did not consult God enough, and did not rely on Him to meet our needs. Realizing that this was not where God wanted me, I turned in my resignation, and will continue to stay at home with my children full time. The moment that God gave me clarity on my selfish and stubborn ways, I turned from them and asked for forgiveness.

Maybe you struggle with allowing God to lead you. It can be hard to allow God to have complete control of your life! Sure, it would be nice for us to have that income and not always feel like we are barely getting by, but I can also tell you that I have so much more faith than I ever had before. God has taken care of us in ways that may seem impossible, but He always swooped in and saved the day. We have never been without a home, food, car, or any of our basic needs. Through the years He has taken care of them all! I encourage you today to examine your life and make sure that you are following the path that God has for you. Set your pride and stubbornness aside and allow God to lead you into a path of blessing by honoring Him.

Isaiah 48:17 “...I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go."


Being a Godly Influence!

Two boys were walking along, looking as if they wanted to get into a little bit of mischief. While walking, I heard a voice calling for them to come back. Instantly one boy turned around and started going towards the woman, when the other boy grabbed his arm, told him to ignore her and just keep going. A second time you heard the woman yell for them. Once again the first boy turned toward her and began walking her way, when the second boy told him not to and to continue on with him. After several moments of the second boy, pulling on and working hard to get the first boy to disobey, and seeing the obvious struggle in the eyes and body language of the first boy, eventually the second boy got his way and both boys ended up running the opposite direction of the woman.

Influence. We all have influence over people, and we may have no idea how we are affecting them. The influence can also go both ways. You could be dragging someone else down, or they could be dragging you! Have you ever had a habit that you just can't seem to shake? Maybe you smoke, or maybe you can't help overeating. It is something that you may have struggled with for a long time. To get over these things are hard because we usually surround ourselves with people who have those same issues. "Birds of a feather" they say. If you smoke, you have your smoking buddies that you hang outside with during work breaks. If you like to eat, usually your whole family does too, making it hard to diet while they feast on chicken wings.

The principle of influence also applies to our spiritual life. If we are spending large amounts of time with people who don't go to church, maybe never read the Bible, don't believe it is wrong to cheat on your spouse, or are comfortable lying, then you too, slowly become influenced by these things. Slowly you drop your guard and begin to rationalize that the things you are doing are not so bad. For, if all your friends are doing it and seem to have it all together, it doesn't seem to be as sinful anymore. You spend extra time with a co-worker at the bars without your spouse, you slowly fall away from your marriage, you stop reading your Bible or attending church, and then suddenly you find yourself far away from where you ever thought you could be.

Be careful who your close friends are. The idea of "missionary dating", where a Christian dates or marries a non-christian to get them saved, never works. In the end you will be dragged down, not the other way around. It is far easier to go down a hill than to climb up it. It is not hard to eat a doughnut, but it sure is hard to get those love handles off! Make sure that not only are you surrounded by people of Godly influence, but that you yourself are also being a person that would not take the hand of someone next to you and cause them to be led astray.

Proverbs 12:26
"The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray."



The boys wanted to go on one final trip to the pool. We got there early and had the best seats on the end. My chair was near two sets of pop & candy machines. While reading my book, I heard a group of young kids by the machines. First they were checking out each one, next they began to slowly bang on them, and then they started to hit the "change" slot repeatedly. As I watched, at first wondering if they lost their change, one boy tells another boy to get a shoe. The boys comes back with a tennis shoe and they begin to hit the change slot over and over with this shoe. I began to observe that no adults were checking up on these children, and so I casually walked over. I first asked them if there was a problem in case they lost their change. I asked them what they were up to and they honestly replied that they were trying to get change out of this machine. I reminded them that what they were doing was stealing. As I questioned them, two of the boys dropped their head in shame as one boy began to conjure up this lie that he was trying to get change out of the machine, just so he could give it back to the pool staff. I once again reminded them it was stealing and asked them if they were here with their parents. These young 7 or 8 years olds were there at the pool alone, with no one to report to. They were free as they could be to do what they wanted, since the pool staff had so many kids and not enough eyes to keep track of what everyone is up to.

I sent those boys on their way reminding them that what they were doing was wrong. Later as I was still reading my book, I look over at the other set of pop machines. There, two boys had found a large, thick, metal wire, and were trying to pick the lock or shove it into the change slot. Once again noticing that no one was around, I walked up to the boys. Repeating the same questions, I asked them what they were doing. Yet again they were honest and said they were trying to get some money. I reminded them that this was stealing and that God would not approve of their actions. I once again sent the second set of boys off on their way, reminding them where I was sitting. I could see it all over their faces that if I wasn't sitting right there to watch, they would have loved to come back and attempt it one more time.

Accountability! This world has no desire for it. If we can get away with it, why not try it. There is no right or wrong anymore, it is how far can we go without getting caught! In the wonderful world of entertainment, television use to have guidelines that would protect not only the young innocent minds, but understood the Biblical lines of right and wrong. Today, it is not what shouldn't be watched, it is how much can we get away with. The networks don't try to line up with any type of moral accountability, for that has been thrown out the window. We now see shows where there's more bleeps than actual words. Soon, those bleeps will no longer be there and all will be acceptable as the lines between good and evil become blurred.

We as humans don't want to be told what to do. We want to have our personal rights and freedoms, and we certainly don't want to be accountable for anything. What would have happened if I had let those boys continue to try and steal or break those machines? What would happen if no one ever told you what was right and wrong? We don't like to be preached to and want do our own thing, yet we should not be allowed to do whatever feels best to us. God gives us His word with clear guidelines on what is right and what is wrong. We are to read it, learn it, and share it with others.

As these young boys had no one to be accountable to, they let their freedom lead them into a path of deceit. As the world does what is right in their own eyes, we as Christians are to show them the path to Godliness, and remind them that someday we all will be responsible to answer to God and be accountable for own actions.

Galatians 6:1-2 "Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."


Judge Not!

The boys love to go to the pool during the summer. They love to hit Terrace Pool where they have the slides and other fun things to do. Of course, it is a very popular pool and is so full at times that people can get turned away. With such a crowd, the chairs are limited, and so we have to get there right before it opens, stand in a large crowded line, and make a mad dash to the chairs. Those who wait end up having to walk a long way, or won't even get a chair! We recently went to the pool and got there early enough to get a nice set of chairs in the front. The boys took off for the slides as I grabbed my book to enjoy soaking up some rays. As I sat there, the chairs began to fill up. A small family started walking around looking for chairs. Now, if you don't have anything on a chair, it's basically free for the taking. Right in front of me, they walked over to a set of four chairs. The two on the outside had stuff on them, but the two in the middle had nothing on them. You could tell they were pushed together, so they were probably a set for a family, but they were all off swimming. The woman began to take the two middle chairs that had nothing on them out of the middle, and then moved them off away to the side for her family to sit on. This amused me as I wondered if there was in fact people that had saved these chairs, and what the reaction would be once they arrived back to their spot to find them missing! The pool break came, and sure enough, a family of four comes back to find their chairs missing! They searched and searched and found a couple chairs around, brought them up to the rest of their chairs, and once again they had their four chairs. All of the sudden, as I am chatting with my boys, I began to realize that some of them are staring at us with looks of irritation. I began to realize that our chairs were directly behind them, giving the appearance that we dragged their two chairs away from them. In my mind, I wanted to quickly point to the people who did take it from them, but decided to leave it alone. What good would it do, but make me feel vindicated and draw attention to another family who just wanted a place to sit. I left it in God's hands and let it go.

Later, my son comes running over to me. He has always been allowed to run and jump in the pool by the lifeguard from the white line. Apparently the current lifeguard had decided this wasn't a good idea and was telling him to stop. He didn't realize he couldn't do it, and out of nowhere, an adult woman on the side, jumped up, started screaming at my son that he had a problem with authority! Trying desperately to explain that he didn't hear the lifeguard, the woman continued to scream, lumping my son into the world's set of dysfunctional youth! He came over to me stunned, never having anyone yell at him as she did. He didn't mean to disobey, but the woman, who didn't know him, immediately judged him. While hearing this story, the mom instincts took off, and I wanted to go defend my son. Instead, I listened to the story he told, used the moment to share some wisdom with my son, and left it in God's hands.

What do these two stories have in common? In both stories, without all the facts, they were quick to judge. To the family who lost their chairs, we were sitting near, so obviously we were the ones that took them from them. In the case of my son, the woman assumed he just didn't want to listen to the lifeguard, and instantly took it upon herself to take charge and teach this out of control youth a lesson!

In this world, we are quick to judge, and quick to fight back. We see something that looks obvious to us, but is not what it seems at all and we automatically make it our job to decide if they are guilty and deserve punishment! In Matthew 7:1, the Bible says, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged." The person that always seems rude to you, may not even know they are being rude, but may be going through a divorce. The man who caught you off at the turning lane, may have just lost his job and was driving in sheer emotion! The person next to you at church, that never says, "Hi", appears to not like you, and seems unsocial, could be in a an abusive relationship, hurting and struggling to bring themselves each Sunday. We never truly know what is going on in each situation of everyone's life, but God does. The next time you find yourself griping about the crabby mailman, or the rude cashier, think for a moment what might be going on in their life. Let God use you to quietly pray for them in those moments. In the end, God will be our judge, leave it in His hands. For when your life is through, He will be the only one judging you.

James 1:19 "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."


Being Where God Has Called You!

I'm a dreamer! If I had my way, I would be in far off countries, working with the orphans. I would take my husband and children across the country and share what God has done in our lives! I would start a bakery, and share my love of baking with all those around me! I could go on and on! I have a million things that "I" would like to do. There are times when I become frustrated and feel like I have never made any kind of difference in this world. I am a stay at home mom, who homeschools her kids! I am not a movie star, who can use the media to share my faith. I am not a rock star with a hit single that has "Jesus" written on my posters and CD's. I am not a missionary, who travels into the deep jungles, and leads those dying and lost to Christ. I am only...a wife...a mom...a dreamer!

I recently became discouraged as I sometimes struggle to find my place. Being a homeschooling mother, I have to be proactive to find a place in this world for my kids. I cannot rely on the public school to provide them with opportunities to be in band, sports, music, or art. I have to go and find those opportunities. Do I just go and plop my kids in the first thing that I find for them? No, I begin to pray and ask God where He wants them. I am a dreamer! I want my kids involved in everything! Does that mean that God wants them involved in everything? In our daily lives, we need to learn to pray and ask God for His direction! One thing I have learned is that it isn't worth being apart of something if God hasn't called me to do it! Each one of us has specific talents that God has given us. I know nothing about changing oil in a car, and yet our church has a ministry that helps the widows and single moms with that. I may have youth, but don't make me sit in a room filled with teens! I could spend all day with children, and yet, I have had moms complain that they could never work with kids all day!

We each have dreams, and we each have a specific calling that God has on our lives. I may be a dreamer, and I may never achieve the large dreams because God did not call me to fulfill those dreams. He can take and use those dreams in a different way. He may not call me to go across seas and help the orphans, but he has brought children in need across my path. I have held children that only needed someone to take the time to hug them. I may not get to have my own bakery, but I can bake and share with those around me. I can bring cookies to a neighbor and show them the love of Jesus.

You may be a dreamer, and you may be frustrated at where you are. Pray that God will show you why He has placed you where you are today! Be where God has called you, and let Him guide you into fulfilling His dream for you!

Philippians 2:13 "For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure."


Your Kids Need Jesus, Too!

A young man was raised in a Christian home. His father was a preacher, and would spend most of his time out doing his ministry and was never around. So consumed with helping others, he forgot about sharing the love of Christ with his own children. Now as an adult, he no longer wants anything to do with church. The pain of never truly having his father's love or attention, has taken its toll, and in his mind, Christianity was the thing that separated them.

I have heard the stories time and time again, where pastors or missionary kids no longer want to serve Christ. Their parents were so busy saving the lost, they forgot to save their own kids.

There are times in my life that I feel like I don't amount to much in the world's eyes. I am a stay at home mom, who has decided to put my children ahead of any type of career. There are times when I resent the fact of being at home. Then, there are times when I see the relationship that I have with my kids, and the type of relationship that they have with God, and it makes it all worth it to me. This is not to say that moms who work, can't juggle both! The reminder is, that we as parents need to take time for our kids. If we are so caught up in our work, ministry, or activities, and set aside no time for them, they will grow up feeling like they never knew us, and when they become adults, will have no time for us!

Set aside time each day to talk to your kids. Pray with them, hug them, and tell them you love them. Team them about Jesus, and show them daily how to follow Him. For, if you are too busy shining your light only to the world, your children may become lost!

Ephesians 6:4 "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."

Deuteronomy 6:4-9
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."


I NEED you, Jesus!

I have been recently writing down a list of blessings and a list of needs. I try to keep track of all the wonderful things that God has done for me each day, and then I write down our needs and pray over them. As I glanced to the very beginning of my journal, I realized that as different needs were met, I had more needs that would take their place. God had faithfully taken care of many of our family needs, but there always seemed to be something else that replaced it. I became discouraged, and felt like I could just never get ahead! When would the needs ever end? If it wasn't one thing I needed, it was another, and I started to feel like all I was doing was begging for help! I then began to remind myself that as a human, we always need God. Each moment we are alive, we are dependent upon Him.

We as parents know what it is like to have someone depend on you for everything! As you bring home that newborn baby, there's not a thing it can do to survive without us. Left alone they would surely die. So, we take care of their every need. We put our heart and our soul into caring for them. We don't decide one day that even though the child constantly needs us, that we have just had enough and stop caring for them. We love them, and through the sleepless nights and exhausting tantrum days, we press on. Even as they get older, their needs may change, but there is a constant need.

Each moment we need God. We cannot live one moment without His breath of life. He knows that we need Him. He understands our fragile human form, our helpless nature, and that we are completely dependent upon Him! Don't be afraid to lean on Him and share your needs. He knows before we ask them; He knows we cannot do it ourselves. He never sleeps, cares for us through our daily tantrums, and knowing how helpless we truly are, would never ever think of leaving our side. Remember to thank God for all the daily blessings He has given you, but never think for a moment, that He doesn't want you to share all your needs with Him. As we enjoy helping, taking care of, and providing for the needs of our children, so does our heavenly father want to provide for our needs.

Philippians 4:6 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

Philippians 4:19 "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."


Year of Gladness!

This year our church had a theme called "March Gladness". Everyone was encouraged to find people to help and bless throughout the month of March. While it is a good concept, it is something that I believe everyone should already be doing! As the world grows darker, so does the love for ourselves and the hatred towards one another. No one has compassion for anyone anymore. We are told to look out for ourselves and to fight our way to the top no matter who is in our way. The workplace no longer cares about its employees. To them, the workers are a dime a dozen, and if we can't show up for 60 hours a week, then there's plenty who will. There is no security in a job anymore. Once they offer you a job, they make you sign the dotted line saying that they don't care what happens, they can fire you at any moment.

We have become a selfish society, not caring about the person next to us. We are all in financial crisis and couldn't possibly part with what little we have to help someone else, for we are in need ourselves! The Bible talks about the world getting darker and the love for oneself. In 2 Timothy 3:1-4 it says, "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God." Does this sound like our world today? It most certainly does!

We no longer stop over at our neighbors to borrow a cup of sugar, or invite someone over to spend time with us. We don't stop to help a stranded motorist for fear of what might happen to us. We no longer open up our hands to help others in need, we close our fist and remind ourselves that we have bills and needs or our own and must therefore fend for ourselves! After all, we are the ones making our own money, and obviously those struggling don't have enough faith or determination to make the kind of money we do...so why should we share? One of the saddest statements I have heard someone say is when someone asked if they would be willing to give to the poor, and the person points to their well dressed kids, who have already been fed several times that day, have all their needs met, and says, "I already do!" That is what our society has become!

Let us take time to care and bless the people around us! Sure, none of us think we have enough to give at times, but when we take what little we have and share it with someone in need, God promises to bless and take care of us. Not only does He promise to take care of us, in Luke 6:38 it says, "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." It doesn't say, "help someone and you will feel miserable and be left to die!" How good do you feel when you take a moment to help someone you know is in need? It makes you feel worthwhile! Find someone today to bless! Bake them something, send them a card telling them you are praying for them, or just call them and invite them out for lunch. Let others know that they are important and are loved! Not only will they be blessed, you will also!


Be an Example!

Have you ever known kids who were always at church? If the church was open, they were there! They would go to camps, and missions trips, say all the right things when asked questions about God or the Bible, and would always "appear" holy. Yet, when they became adults, they somehow stopped attending church all together and eventually want nothing to do with church or God. Many times we can't figure out what happened. There are many reasons, but one reason I have seen in other families is that the parents don't practice what they preach! They doll their kids up for Sunday and Wednesdays, parade themselves around like they are the holiest of family to the outside, and then when they get home, all of it changes. They shell off their Sunday clothes and Sunday attitudes and leave it at the door. They open the fridge, grab that can of beer, swear, yell at the kids to leave them alone, and turn on the tv, viewing what most would think to be inappropriate to watch. Their children observe as they go from Saints to Sinners in a matter of seconds as their mind becomes confused. They start to view their families as hypocrites and realize that church is something they just "do" for a moment, but not for a lifetime. As soon as they become adults and have a choice, they drop their life of hypocrisy and run as far as they can. They no longer want to parade themselves around. They turn their backs on anything that reminds them of the life that their family put them through, and decide that if that is true Christianity, they want no part of it.

We as parents are responsible for not just the physical and emotional needs of our kids, we are also responsible for their spiritual growth! I had someone tell me that they babysat a child in their home and they would pray with them and tell them about Jesus. By the time the parents worked long hours, and finally took the child home, fed them, and put them to bed, the babysitter actually saw the child more than the parents. Yet, when the child got home, they were surrounded by swearing, alcohol, and a complete lack of respect toward God. Even though the babysitter had more time with the child, who do you think the child followed? The parents!

May God help us to be a true example to our children. Our lives should match at church and at home. If we are truly following God's word, and have Christ in our heart, then there should be no difference in the activities, attitude, and love that we show our children from the moment we step into church to the moment we step into our homes. May God remind us that we are the one main example that our children see, and they will follow in our example. Let us make sure that it is truly a Godly one!

Ephesians 6:4 "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord."


Yes, God...I'll Do it!

God has been working on my heart recently. He urged me to put Him first with everything, and that this year should be a year with the motto "Fear to Faith". He encouraged me to say "Yes" and let Him take care of the rest. So, I first grabbed my laptop and created a better budget. Now, I am an organized person, so I have had a budget for years. The difference between this budget, and the one I had before, is that I would up my tithe and trust more in God! Being a family with one small income, it makes it tough to trust sometimes, even though I feel like that's all we do! After the budget, I found an old "Journal" book that was empty, and decided to record daily the things that God placed on my heart, or in my life that day. I wrote down the desires of my heart for my life, and the needs that seem impossible to reach! I then wrote down my goals of giving and helping! I asked God to bring before me, people who needed a blessing! I had to begin to focus off of myself, and begin to focus on the needs of others!

So, through this month's journey, I began to ask God to bring others before me, and that when asked to do something that I knew was for Him, I would say "yes". He began to show me people in need. I would hop in a car, and see that their gas tank was on empty, or be asked to visit a child in the hospital. I began to see the needs of others, that may seem small to us, and large to them!

This morning God reminded me of so many things that I have said "No" to. I have turned down so many things in my life for fear of failure. I like my comfort zone, and realize that I only attempt things that I know I can succeed at! I began to wonder where I would be, and how much God could have blessed me, if I had only been willing to say, "Yes...I'll do it!"

I encourage you today to say "Yes" to God! Don't let the doubts and fears of failure keep you from what God has for you! You can hold yourself back and never try, never fail, and never succeed!

Philippians 4:6 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."


The Reality of Valentine's Day!

I woke up this morning to a sick child. My boys have been battling colds this week and my son woke up feeling miserable. A quick goodbye to my husband and he was off to work, and the reality of school, meals, dishes, and laundry set in for my "Valentine's Day".

"Valentine's Day"...the day of LOVE! The day when we remember how blessed those of us are to have that special someone standing next to us. But, what is the reality of love and marriage? Is it like the movies, where time stops for the rest of your life and you live in this little love bubble? Of course not, and that is where fantasy changes to reality. Love in a marriage changes, it grows, it matures. Just ask any first time parents who haven't slept or seen each other in like a month! You go into this robot mode of doing things just to survive your day and have nothing left at the end of it. Does that mean that the couple has "fallen out" of love?

When my husband and I first met, we spent every moment together. We had every class together and we never got tired of spending each moment glued at the hip. As we got older, things changed! We both got jobs, had two kids, and you have to be pulled apart at times. It would be rare for anyone to be able to spend 24/7 together their whole life. But, as life changes, you have to fight for time with your spouse. Marriage takes work, you can't just rely on the fact that you made those vows. As the saying goes, "It takes two to tango." It takes both of you working together to make a marriage work. If one stops trying, that's when things fall apart. Does that mean that the other person should just give up? No, prayer can move mountains, change lives, and heal relationships.

The reality of love and marriage is not fireworks each day or flowers blooming each morning as a bird rests on your shoulder on the way to work. It's the reality of saying "I love you" before you jet off to work, getting up in the middle of the night to calm your crying child so that the other can finally get some rest, fixing them soup when they are sick, or knowing you've had a bad day and buying you that favorite piece of chocolate! It's the day to day reality that builds a marriage. Knowing that they are waiting for you after that long day at work, and knowing that they won't leave you, but will hold your hand as you walk up the rough hills and mountains of life is what marriage is all about.

I Corinthians 13:4-7
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes,always perseveres."



I sat with a group of people that I had "known" for years. This group had people that were mostly older than me. We may have a few things in common and saw each other maybe once a week. I looked at these familiar faces and asked them if they had ever invited me over to their home. Then I asked them to look at each other and wanted to know if they have ever invited the person next to them over to their home. Then I asked them if I had ever invited any of them to my home. In all three cases, the answer was "no". The look on their faces as they pondered these questions, was of amazement. Here we saw each other occasionally, but we had never gone above and beyond that.

Why? Well, for one reason, we see enough of each other outside of our homes, right? We also each have our own set of friends that we enjoy spending time with. Thirdly, we are so busy! Many have full-time jobs, church, and all those extra activities we spend time doing throughout our week. One last excuse I heard was they didn't invite anyone over...ever! They may not think their house is big enough, or clean enough. Maybe they don't like to cook and would feel uncomfortable having a person come over and just serve them take-out.

Let me tell you a story my husband told me. One time when he was young, his dad invited their church's pastor over for dinner. Travis' family were surprised that he even had time to come over since they assumed he was invited out all the time..after all, he was the Pastor! As they sat to eat their meal, this statement was expressed to their special guest. Do you know what his response was? That was the first time he had ever been invited over to someone's house!

In this world we are so busy going from one activity to another that we have no time left for each other. When I first started attending our church, two couples that were slightly older than me invited me over to their home. They didn't live in a mansion, they didn't have lobster tail with fancy red roasted potatoes, but they cared enough to invite us. We sat at their living room table just talking for a couple of hours. That gesture meant so much to us! Even though we felt invisible in that big church, they saw us and wanted to get to know us! So, ok, maybe you have a small house, and maybe you hate to cook, and maybe you struggle with being outgoing yourself and never ever invite anyone to invade your space. Is this the kind of feelings that God wants us to have? If we consume ourselves with doubt and fear that we are not good enough, then we are at a standstill which is where the devil wants us!

In the Bible it talks about how Jesus would go around and spend time with those less fortunate. It would anger others because if Jesus was holy, why would He spend time with such riff raff. He befriended Matthew and Zacchaeus, the "tax collectors" and had the nerve to go to their house!! He acknowledged the woman at the well who had too many men and sin in her life to be counted worthy enough to be in the presence of one so Holy. Yet, He took the time to tell her about salvation...and yet He takes the time for us. But, we are so much more holy, right? We never do anything wrong and He would be welcome anytime in our too small, disorganized home?

Let's step out of our comfort zone! In March our church is doing "March Gladness". We are suppose to try to find someone that we can be a blessing to. Start praying that God will bring the right people before you to bless, and be prepared to get stretched. If you are not moving forward you are standing still and as others move ahead, you fall behind. If you feel your house is not worthy, I guarantee that lonely family that has never been invited out will not care! If you don't have one single cooking gene in your body, grab some pizza and share your time over your living room table; I know for a fact that those parents with young kids needing a moment of adult conversation and guidance won't care. All they want from you is love, time, and a little "hospitality".

Matt 9:9-13 "When Jesus was leaving, he saw a man named Matthew sitting in the tax collector's booth. Jesus said to him, 'Follow me,' and he stood up and followed Jesus. As Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collector's and 'sinners' came and ate with Jesus and His followers. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked Jesus' followers, 'Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?' When Jesus heard them, he said, 'It is not the healthy people who need a doctor, but the sick. Go and learn what this means. I want kindness more than I want animal sacrifices. I did not come to invite good people but to invite sinners."


Lack of Focus

Have you ever caught yourself staring at something or someone and yet your mind is so far gone that you don't even truly see what is in front of you? Have you ever read something three times in a row, yet your mind is off somewhere else and you have no idea what you just read? As I was trying to do my devotions, I opened my Bible to begin reading. I read part of the chapter, and my mind wandered; I read it again, and there it goes again! After the third time of reading it, and yet having my mind consumed with the tasks of the day ahead of me, I realized my focus was completely gone. In frustration, I closed my Bible, and began to pray for focus.

"Focus"...in this crazy world of constant technology, kids, and work, our lives become this jumble of never ending tasks. We get up in the morning, and our to do list seems to get longer each day. As our children get older, they get more involved in activities, and of course, then so do we! Noise is all around us the second that alarm goes off. We surround ourselves with music, from our cars to our iPods. The kids never stop talking and neither does our boss! We bounce from one thing to the next all day as our schedule grows, and the day dwindles. Once home, we have supper to prepare, kids to bathe, homework to help with, and by chance, we may get to sit down for a moment to watch that favorite show. In the midst of all this chaos, it sometimes becomes hard to focus on God. And...when we do take the time, we give Him what's left. A long day, tired body, quick prayer as you drift off to sleep, and we start our day all over again, giving God a small amount of time. I sometimes ask my kids to compare the amount of time they watch t.v. to the amount of time they read the Bible or pray.

We all know that there are many things that consume our day, and the ability to read more Bible than the amount of time we have to spend working is obviously not possible. But, when we do take the time to sit down and read or pray, where should our focus be? We need to find a time each day that we can actually sit down in peace and quiet. It is easier said than done for those moms who have screaming children that never seem to take naps at the same time. We all know there will be days when it all seems impossible, but can you imagine spending a day not talking to your child? Now imagine a week goes by, or a month and you have not spoken to them once. This is how our Heavenly Father feels about us. We give and talk to everyone else all day long and at the end of the day have no time or words left for Him. So we try to throw in a quick prayer as we think about food instead of how thankful we are, or a prayer before bed as we are thinking only about how tired we are and what we need to accomplish the next day.

Let us try to set aside time each day to focus on God and His word. Start off small, and as we start to focus on God, He will allow the stresses of this world to become less important and the need to spend more time with Him will become greater.

Colossians 3:2 "Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. "



Well, as most of you know, I decided to end my fast early. My stomach was so ill half the time, that I found myself mostly praying for my health and I was struggling with the concept of it being a fast to pray for greater, more important needs, other than my own health! It became too hard to get the daily things, like teaching my children accomplished. I did enjoy some of my time doing it, and it was a great learning experience.

During my time on the fast, I was reading the book, "Know Why You Believe", by Paul E. Little. It's truly a wonderful book, full of facts on how to prove God to be real and defends the Christian faith. While reading it, there was a part that struck me. It was basically talking about how in this day, we have such great archaeological proof that Jesus walked on this earth, and that the Bible was real and "breathed" by God. As I was reading the book, it was fascinating to find out all the discoveries that have been made over these last few decades! Yet, it seems as if Christianity continues to be viewed by so many as false and the joke of all jokes on television. It basically comes down to choice! As all the evidence lays before us, proving God and the Bible's true existence through the ages, man must choose to believe the evidence. We all seem to believe the many books written about our presidents, the history books of war, and yet, with all this proof, people don't want to "choose" to believe that God is real, the Bible is truly the word of God, and that Jesus really did walk on this earth, die, and appear 3 days later!

As the anniversary of legalizing abortion took place yesterday, I was brought back to this topic of "choice". In this day and age, there is no greater proof that at the beginning of conception there's a little baby in their mommy's tummy. We now have amazing technology where there's ultrasounds in 3D and 4D showing us every little detail from the earliest of stages. God has also given us the technology to save a child from the earliest stages of life like never before! I recently just read that they saved a child who was only 9oz when born! How amazing! Yet, with all this technology proving that there's a little baby in the womb from conception, we have aborted 50,000,000 babies, and it continues to climb! How do we ignore the fact that we can see their little tiny heads and heartbeats; how do we ignore the fact that books of the Bible have been found with more original copies than any other book, proving it's authenticity? We "choose" to ignore it! How sad and ignorant we are as a people that even with the evidence thrown in front of us, we still choose not to believe.

Proverbs 1:7 "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline."


Daniel Fast - Day 7

Well, I am a week in and I am surprised I lasted. Apparently, I am the only one that is surprised, since I keep asking people if they can believe I'm still doing this, and everyone said, "YES!". According to them, they knew I would continue, since when I say I'm going to do it, I always follow through. I'm not sure if that's integrity, or just my stubbornness that comes through!

I do have to admit, it's been a hard week for me at times. It's not necessarily the foods I miss, it's that my stomach is not always happy! On the "physical" side of this fast, I have lost 8 pounds in these 7 days and my body is slowly adjusting. I have tried to get more creative as each day passes. Stir-fry is my best friend in the food department at this moment. I have found that the lack of sugar sure changes the way things taste. On the other hand, I have made many things that the rest of the family has liked. I alter it some for them by throwing in some ham in the pea soup, or making homemade french fries in the oven with olive oil, and they eat meat with it, but they seem to be also enjoying the extra vegetables around the house.

On the prayer side of things, I have been enjoying my time. I had been talking about reading through Revelations, but as I began to pray, I felt the need to learn more about defending my faith. At TBC, we took a class that used the books, "Know What You Believe", and "Know Why You Believe", by Paul E Little. If you have not read these books, I suggest you pick up a copy! Travis loves these books so much, that if he sees them, he buys an extra one to give to someone who he thinks really needs to understand our faith. Even though I have read this before, it's good to sharpen those swords and prepare for any question thrown at you when it comes to believing in Jesus Christ. I have really been enjoying my time, and take notes of things that really make an impact on my heart. God has also been encouraging me in my music. Yesterday, I was asked to help work on a music project that will stretch me creatively! I am excited to see what God has in store.

I want to encourage those of you who are doing the Daniel Fast, to keep going! It is hard at times, but the rewards will be great! I also want to encourage everyone to pick up a copy of the books I talked about. You will not be sorry, and it answers all the lies that the media and past theories try to prove.

May God bless you all this coming week!

In honor of Tim Tebow, I will share with you John 3:16

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."


Daniel Fast - Day 1

Our church has been called to do a "Daniel Fast". What is a "Daniel Fast" you may ask? Well, it's basically a time of prayer and devotion to God while eliminating certain foods from your diet. In Daniel 10:3, the Bible says, "I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks." So, as you see, the fast consists of a strict diet of only fruits, vegetables, seeds, and whole grains. During this time of fast, a person spends time in prayer during the preparations of meals and extra special time in your devotions. Using this time, it allows us to draw closer to God and help you focus on some of the independent issues we may face in our daily Christian walk.

Day 1, "Pop no more". Well, it's Day 1 for me, and of course at this moment, I am only thinking about the things that will be taken away from me today. I will miss my caffeine, meat, and of course sugar!!! I have already bought all the foods I need to help me through this coming week, but as I am the only member of my family doing this, it's going to be hard to watch everyone else eat the things I love!

On the spiritual side, I am ready to start diving in! This last week in devotions, I have reread the book of Daniel, and during my fast will begin studying the book of Revelations. I, of course, try to read my Bible each day, but I tend to avoid Revelations. That book scares me at times! The end, the things to come, the unknown, make me nervous! I am hoping that as I read and fast these next three weeks, God will open up wisdom and remove fear from my heart.

Well, to all my Facebook friends out there that follow my blogs, I will not be on for three weeks. I will update you here, and if you want to contact me, please leave your comments on my blog website. God bless all my friends who are doing this along side me.