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. "