What a great visit to LW Christian Church in New Lenox today. The sermon started with this song by Ray Charles….(you don’t know me), a good song, but kinda sad… right? Which is a thought provoking topic to really think about as we ponder such a topic. I’m going to indulge and share even more of my thoughts with what the pastor shared today. It’s kinda important stuff this relationship thing!!!!

The crowd – does anyone really know me?

Ponder it. Do you know me? Do you know your “friends”, “acquaintances”, “family/relatives”, “neighbors”, etc? Probably not as much as you think. We usually just know the surface things. Stay with me here… I’ll dig a bit deeper……..

Most of us who have been around for awhile get it. We know that there’s no perfect relationship. We misunderstand, love, like, mistreat, take for granted, get snarky and so on. (We won’t dive into the real ugly ~ for the sake of not going down a negative bunny trail!). What I will add here, is that we must keep in mind, that once sin came into the world, we needed a Redeemer. Adam and Eve broke the perfect plan by eating the apple. So…. we know all people are fallen, sinful and live in the flesh. With that said, we know that some are just nicer folks than others. This brings to a head, grace, mercy and honesty to all. Communication (appropriately executed) is key to keeping relationships running as smooth as possible. We “soulfully join our spirit with others”.

Relationships are work. This is something we really need to emphasis to our children when they are young and formative. It’ll save a lot of hurt and pain later down the road, learning how to build relationships.

If at best, we might have one or two super close people in our life. But we can work on improving such associations and live as peacefully as we can, because we need each other more than we need technology. God made us for relationships. (I will add, there are some times that we need to remove ourselves from volatile people who refuse to work at communications and developing themselves and with others. Another topic for another day).

We usually show most of our colors of the rainbow as we spend time with people. Those we work with, the family we live with; they know our idiosyncrasies, the outline of our lives, what we eat, our families etc. That’s a pretty close relationship over all. But even closer is that of our spouse, children and parents. BUT, sometimes those closest to us don’t see or like when we stretch out into new waters. New goals, new things we do to improve and grow, make others nervous, jealous and so forth. So, communication is key, being open and honest).

I tell the story in my new book “Forever Hope”, how God brought me to this little podunk town back in 1970, as a young girl, to meet my best friend. We became soul sisters. I never imagined the depth of care, concern, love, fun, and joy in having someone that never condemned, no jealousy, and never had an argument. We had fun together, we laughed, we cried, and grew in each season of life together. In all my relationships in life, no one matched the level she and I had. We could sit quietly with no words for long periods of time. We could talk, fix people, fix each other ( or try to at least, lol). We often talked how rare it was to have a long lasting relationship with no boats rocked – never! We loved each other for who we were. And we were opposite in many ways.

But the bigger point in this story, is twofold. Without God, we cannot love others.

Matthew 22:36-40 
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. … then to love others as you love yourself.

We cannot love others when we struggle with our own issues. We need to be whole and not the master of our own destiny. God planned our lives out before we were born! The only way to work that out in this world is to break the cycles. Be honest with yourself and the shortcomings. It is a work in progress for our WHOLE life. Cuz once we conquer one issue, we gotta get to and through the next. Take care of you by running to the Father. Asking for forgiveness through the blood of Jesus.

This chapter explains it perfectly. Stop and reflect as you read it. Know that the power of God is in you, on you and with you. Reach into HIS heart and let him enter into your heart……

Psalm 139

You know me Lord

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 139:17 Or How amazing are your thoughts concerning me

God is with us each moment of each day. He is ever present, and knows everything in our mind and heart before we even act on it. Reaching for eternity is key. The promise is the most important relationship we have. God first, others then ourselves. But we need to be sure to wake up each day, seeking forgiveness when we fall short, make mistakes, say things we should not have, loose the temper etc etc etc. God loves us. He loves YOU. He is personal and generational. he loves the young, and the old and the in-between! His promises are for all of us. No matter where you go, no matter what you do. No matter the struggle. Seek God. Talk to him like you’d talk to your soul mate. If you don’t have a soul mate, you know how to imagine that relationship. God is that and a bag of chips! 🙂

May we be kind to ourselves, which in turn will turn into kindness to others. May our lives be a double fold blessing to everyone we meet. Even if they don’t want to accept the gift of joy, love and happiness.. those are the ones who are lacking love most. Pray for them.

People need to know you care. People need the Lord. You are showing HIS love in a tangible way when taking the time to say a hello, get to know someone on a deeper level. Spend time together. Make a difference today! Don’t let people be faceless and alone. Let’s promise to dig deep with the help of our Savior, who will show us how to build each relationship in its unique way. God is faithful to help us.

Catch the truth of God and ALL he has for you in this day and time. Be sure to read the Bible every day. Pray every day… even if it’s on the way to work. you can speak outloud or quietly in your mind. God hears your heart.

Prayer: Lord God, I need you, every hour every day. You know me well. And I admit I need you more than breath itself. Help me today within my own life. Heal my body, my mind and my heart. I need to release some things so I can be whole. you are the one who can do that. Forgive me for being short tempered, judgmental, and hurtful in words and actions. Help me to do better each day. Quicken in my soul when I am about to go to a dark bunny hole of sin. I repent. My heart wants to be joyful, live in peace, love and have mercy and grace that abounds from your heart, through mine. Thank you Jesus for all you’ve done for me. The Great I Am. God of all creation. I love you. Amen

If you are in the Lincoln Way area in Illinois, please check out LW Christian Church. they have two services each Sunday at 9 and 10:30. They have a wonderful children program, and it’s very family oriented. There’s lots of space, they are community minded and love Jesus.

Also, if you have lost hope and need some encouragement, whether it’s a prodigal family member, struggles with parents, unsaved loved ones, or you are grieving the death of a child or spouse, or friend, please grab my book on Amazon. Forever Hope, it offers encouragement and hope in spite of the struggles we have in life.

The story of my life has been one that has had its fill of struggle. I’m sure you have your experiences as well.

What a great confidence to find peace for my soul, that only comes in Christ

We all have a story to tell.

The amazing thing is, when we share our struggle, it encourages someone else.

As I wrote this book, I will be honest to say there was a bit of conversation (one sided, don’t ya know!). I did not want to share the raw details of my life with the world. It’s personal. It’s up-close.

It’s “my” story. It’s also in the past. I am one to move on, walk into the next season with gusto, determination, and hope, not daring to get stuck in the way life was – whether it be the good or the bad.

As I would “disagree/argue” with God, that I did NOT want to share the details, my fingers just kept typing. The writing continued. The story fell onto the paper with tears, memories, love, hope and awe-ness to God, who is the Maker of my life.

How fitting it was to name the book FOREVER HOPE.
Hope is not a sometimes thing in our life. Especially if you have Jesus as friend, Savior, Lord and Guide.

I was reminded again, through each page I wrote, a deeper sense how much he loves me. How those details were simply intertwined within every fiber of my being. None of the situations were a surprise to Him. He knew my life before I was formed in my mothers womb. Jeremiah 1:5 / Psalm 139:13.

I knew that was so as I lived THROUGH the pivotal challenges, each one designed to strengthen me, not tear me down. God’s faithfulness stays strong always. We can count on Him. He never fails us. (remember, when the thought comes to your mind, asking God why would you do this… he doesn’t bring harm, the enemy, aka devil does).

I say all this, to invite you to grow stronger, not in your power, but in God’s goodness and strength. We must look to Him with all our life.

For more encouragement, click here for the link to purchase Forever Hope.

Prayer:  Lord help me to be an instrument of your love. Use my situation to help other by your Word and my testimony. Nothing goes to waste, no matter how good or bad life may look at the moment. everything changes as we trust you more. I love you Jesus. Help me every moment of every day. Amen

The soothing sound of soft winds blowing on a sunny blue skied day, (especially in Florida), bring such peace. As I am hear visiting my son, and I must say, it’s quite strange to think Christmas is in only five short days, and I am outside in 78 degree, blue skied days, full of soft soothing winds. My mind feels like it’s playing  games!  Adapting – takes time I suppose. When I get back home to Chicago next week, we will have wintery grey skies, possible snow and lots of cold – (with no complaints from me – I enjoy the 20-35 degree weather)!

It’s just a bit more challenging in the deep of the Midwest winters to go outside and listen to the wind and clouds, it’s much to frigid at times to enjoy the blue skies – or not so blue many times; that’s what is so special about going away for a period of time, where the climate is different.

The other day while enjoying  the JAX Beach, it  brought me to a total relaxed state. (haven’t had that in a l.o.n.g. time, sad to say). Something about the vastness of the ocean,  and the beautiful white sand, with no shoes that bring such ease and peace. It’s truly  the most serene place for me personally. I can lay on the beach and be content just sitting there, hours at a time. My mind rests and reflects best on the beach. The swoosh of the waves, the simplicity of watching kids play making sandcastles, sweet couples, old and young, holding hands while walking along the water; There is no place else that brings such relaxation and true enjoyment with sweet reflection of life.

The goodness of God. He told the waters where to stop – have you ever wondered that ? That spot at each beach should just flow  further and further onto land. But it doesn’t. Unless  a storm rages – (yet even then, the water can only go so far). Because God speaks.

Just as He spoke 2000+ years ago, he speaks now. God speaks these words into YOUR life, hat means you can speak these words into your life as well….   His command makes a demand on a situation!    You do the same!   Today!   Do you need peace?   healing?  joy ? hope?

Where is that place of solitude you need to go to today?  Run to the Father. Talk to him, cry out to him with your deepest need.  He may need to work in and through you, just as he has done with me, MANY  times.     Taste and SEE the Lord IS good!

I hope that as you end this 2017 year, your goal and hope for 2018 will be the wonderful attributes that He has in store for you. You just need to find  that quiet place – be it your own backyard, the car, or shower – somewhere where you can settle your mind – and speak to God clearly, and wait for his wonderful assurance  – he will give you your hearts desire as you line  up  your life and thoughts with  His words!

 

Merry Christmas to you – enjoy, relax – don’t go over crazy with stuff, but simplify as much as possible to see your family – be attentive to their lives. Love wins – every time!  May the soft sounds of the wind and waves ease your mind today!  ~ love you guys and gals!

It is time to rise up into NEW life.

Struggles are real. Troubles will come and go. But standing firm in the foundation of GOD’s love, grace and heart will guide you to GO IN and possess what he has planned for YOU to do. To possess means to TAKE ACTION. Do it. Do it afraid, do it when you feel confident. Just take that step.

Fear  will stop progression. That is the ultimate plan of the enemy of our soul. He does NOT want us to succeed. He wants to hinder our walk and our path. He attacks with schemes so sly – and sometimes so obvious. Take heed. Be aware. Even if we trip, fail or totally mess up today – tomorrow is a new and fresh day. God’s got our back. Never look down, keep your shoulders back, and be secure in who you are in Christ, and that those around you will see His goodness that lives in you, no matter the circumstances!

God has ADOPTED YOU into HIS family. You are anointed, blessed and highly favored. You are blessed coming in and going out. God created adoption papers! he will never leave you nor forsake you. No.matter.what.you.have.done! You belong to God! Jesus is and was the sacrifice for your life. Trust Him. He loves you with an everlasting love! Your name is written in His Word. He has set you free, so you can soar to new heights!
No living in slavery, we don’t have to finance our adoption. We don’t have to complete a “to do list” to conquer or pay for His love for us. Just accept His offer of salvation through Jesus Christ.
He gives the invitation to come and thirst no more!

Keep in prayer – God search me, and know my heart, let me not become self absorbed – but focused on the plan where you can USE me to make a difference on this earth.

Live a life from orphan to an HEIR!  You have JOY, PEACE, FREEDOM, LIFE! so REJOICE in the LORD always – and again I say REJOICE

His river will flow through you as you keep drinking His cup!  Rejoice, and always give thanks, for He is certainly good!

8510 Orange daisy

       

God’s Promises…..

 In Patience

2013. It’s now OVER!  Phew! What a year. Started out with the passing of my Uncle and Mom – in Jan/ March respectively. They both had health struggles, in the end there is some relief that the pain was over for them. Still tough for those left behind on this earth. Then moving forward into the days without them, trying to celebrate life’s events, with the void of them not being there with us. Had a few others whose spouse, child passed as well. Oh, the heart aches at the many losses we’ve endured this year. Year ended with a friend suddenly passing, and my sister in law as well. Just before Christmas. Rough few weeks in December.
Then there were the days in between those life-altering events, the daily struggles of many unknown and unforeseen problems. Just life in general not working out as hoped, never seeming to get that break that was much needed, and trying to stay “positive” and in faith. I will admit it was not easy  – too many days I struggled with doubt, bits of depression, fear, wondering why life was not moving accordingly.
But God.
He never gives up on me! Good thing. I cannot imagine doing life without Jesus. The LIFE GIVER. Through the day to day routines, he still protects, guides, listens, and wants me to lean on Him ever the more.  He offers patience to endure through the good times and bad times, teaching along the way. I will learn, change, adapt to His way, since it’s just easier and so much more rewarding as I take the  hand of my Daddy. He never steers me wrong. It’s a new year, with  fresh horizons. I can see the Son rising over my life as well as IN my life. Its’ a new season, fresh anointing,  good things are about to happen. Doors that were locked will be swung wide open. Goodness and mercy follows me all the days of my life! Praising my Jesus all the day long! This is my story!
 
Let us pray: 
Father God, you love me so. I thank you that you never give up on me! Praising you for your mercy, which is new each morning. As the roller coaster of life brings us up and down, and all around, leading me to you, days may be joyful but also rough, tiring and often exhausting.  Yet, you are my/our firm foundation that brings peace and wisdom. I pray you guide me so that I will show patience and love to those I come in contact with. Even those who are rough and tough, those who stretch my patience to the max, I need you Holy Spirit to live through me, extending love and grace to everyone. Let my life shine with all your attributes so many will come to know the evidence of who you are.  Love you so much Jesus.
Verses to Guide us in the journey:
My soul still remembers, and sinks within me.
This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.
 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.
 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”
 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the Lord.  Lamentations 3:20-26 NKJV
I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me,and heard my cry.
 He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,and set my feet upon a rock,
and established my steps.
 He has put a new song in my mouth— Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the Lord
Psalm 40:1-3

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such there is no law.  And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.   If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  Galatians 5:22-25