Thursday, December 31, 2009

I'm officially in a winter-time funk. I find myself knowing that I should be doing something, only to put it on the back burner because "I don't want to". I am normally a very focused and motivated person so when I get into an "I don't want to" or "I don't care" mode, I know something has to change. I've read that more sunshine helps winter time blues and I'm going to try getting some (if that sun ever decides to shine) but I've decided that there is really only one way to truly get back to myself - spend time seeking what God wants me to do and then do it whether I want to or not.

I've been reading in Exodus about God's directions to Moses on the exact specifications of the sanctuary where He will dwell with His people. As I read, I wondered how all these directions could be important in my life. I realized that the point of these verses was that God's people needed to obey Him. Whether they understood why, or even understood at all, was not what was important - what was important was that they obeyed.

In the end of John, after receiving instruction from Jesus, Peter asks Jesus about John and what His plan is for Him. Jesus answers "...what is that to you? You must follow Me." Again, Jesus spoke to my heart - don't worry about what others say, don't worry about what others do, don't wait until you understand, don't try to use human understanding when seeking something so much bigger - just obey.

So, it is time to put on my big girl panties and obey.

Obey the leading in my heart even if I don't want to.

Obey what I know to be true even if I don't feel it.

Obey even when I have an I don't care attitude.

Obedience is what will bring us all into closer communion with our Father.

I hope and pray that 2010 will be a year that we can all make a decision to obey.

Happy New Year!
A Sweet Aroma
31 Dec 2009
Tracie Miles

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness." Galatians 5:22 (NIV)

A sweet thing happened recently. It was Sunday morning at church, and the congregation was standing, singing hymns. My precious little boy was beside me with his arms wrapped around my waist.Every few minutes, he pressed his face into my shirt. After several times, I finally determined he was sniffing me, so I leaned down and quietly asked why. He stood on his tip toes, put his face close to mine and whispered, "Because you smell like fruit, Mommy! It smells really good!" I smiled and knew what he smelled was one of my favorite perfumes which has a clean, sweet, fruity aroma.God turned my thoughts to how we're to be a pleasing aroma to Him, through thoughts, actions and behaviors carried out in the Spirit.

Ephesians 5:2 encourages us to "…live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" (NIV).What does that really mean? How can we offer a fragrant offering that is pleasing to God and be a fragrance to those around us?There is a Hawaiian saying, "Tiny is the flower, yet it scents the grasses around it." What a great illustration of how the smallest things can have impactful results. The fact that the flower is small and seemingly insignificant, does not keep it from spreading the fragrance it was created to share. In fact, often the smallest flower can have the most potent fragrance!Sometimes we may feel like a tiny flower. We wonder if we are really capable of doing anything big or important for Christ. Insecurities, feelings of unworthiness or life challenges prevent us from seeing how God can use us to bless Him and impact others. It is not the size of the actions that matter, but the aroma that is created by those actions. Each time we do something in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness we offer a fragrant offering to God. And we help others learn how to be a little fragrant flower too, in a big world that can be pretty stinky.Each one of us can choose what fragrance we exude. It might be a good idea to ask from time to time, What type of fragrance am I leaving behind? How am I affecting the world around me with the gifts God gave me? Am I exuding a spiritual aroma that is a fragrant offering to Christ? Our lingering fragrance should be one of love and kindness, not anger and harshness. Patience and faithfulness, not intolerance and selfishness. And lifting people's spirits with joy and peace, not leaving them discouraged and broken. Our fragrance should be sowing seeds that point to the goodness of Christ.When God created flowers, He intentionally created them to give off a sweet aroma. And He created us just the same.

So, what fragrance are you wearing today?

Dear Lord, teach me how to smell like You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:Sharing Grace: Recipes - Family Traditions - Gift Ideas by LeAnn RiceScared: A Novel on the Edge of the World by Tom DavisVisit Tracie's blog today Application Steps:"Spritz" on a sweet fragrance today that is pleasing t o Christ.Consider how you can "scent the grasses" in your life with God's love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness.Reflections:Think about the spiritual fragrance you have been wearing lately, and the impact it has on others.Do you think God is pleased with your lingering fragrance?Power Verses:2 Corinthians 2:15, "For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing." (NIV)© 2009 Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Hey all my bloggy friends - I've been missing you!! It's been so long since we've talked so I thought I'd post some pics of what I've been up to:
We celebrated Elizabeth's 14th birthday

We went sledding as a family
We spent time with our families as we celebrated Christmas. Here's me with my brothers and sisters. (Oh, and my nephew-to-be in Courtney's belly)

Mike and I also enjoyed special Christmas gifts from our children. Elizabeth made us pencils and a clock in her industrial tech class.

Nathan made a picture holder and purchased a pretty snowman ornament from the school store.
As you can see, its been a week of fun, fun and more fun. Hope your Christmas was a wonderful one too!
Have a great day
Living fearlessly in Christ

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

1 Peter 2:21&23
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

Convicting to the core

enough said

May your time with friends and family be blessed and treasured and your awareness of Christ be evident.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

My weekend was full of partying! Liz's birthday is on Christmas Eve so we normally have her party a week beforehand as to keep it separated from Christmas. Here she is with her favorite gift of the party - HUGE Blueberry muffins!! She loves muffins and her aunt Peg picked a perfect gift! :)

Our love of food comes honestly and when you get the whole fam together, you can find them in the kitchen :)

On Sunday, we had our YAC Christmas party. While we waited for lunch to cook, we had a story time with the kiddos and talked about what Christmas is truly about. After I read the first book, I picked up another but before I began to read, Kaylee asked if she could read the story to the children. I was ecstatic at her enthusiasm and handed the book over. She read the story "How God Made Christmas". My eyes filled with tears as I watched her read a beautiful truth to her peers. Her excitement and willingness really made my day. What a wonderful example she set for all of us that day.

Hope you have a wonderful day and a blessed Christmas!
Living fearlessly in Christ

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Everybody else is doing it!

If I don't I'll look like a freak!

Its not THAT bad.

If so and so can do it, why can't I?

I don't want to upset anyone.

God will forgive me.

I'll do it just this once.

I'll do better tomorrow or next week.

Do any of these sound familiar? They sure do to me because I've used each one when I'm looking to justify my evil actions. Here's a thought:

If I have to justify what I am doing, I should not being doing it in the first place!!

God has placed the Holy Spirit within us for many reasons, but one of those reasons is to convict us. There is a reason that we are feeling guilty about sinning and have a need to justify our actions - because God's sweet Spirit is trying to help us to follow Him.

Exodus 23:2
Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong...

Will you make the choice to listen to the Spirit today??

Have a great day and a great weekend
Living fearlessly in Christ

Thursday, December 10, 2009

This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Life is worth living just because God created this day just for us.

No matter what you are facing today or how you are feeling - God is in control and He is good all the time.

Praise God for His faithfulness!

Have a great day
Living fearlessly in Christ

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Everyone loves a good sale, Right? We'll let me tell you about a great one:

It’s a Hearts at Home
Black Friday after Black Friday Sale Dec. 7-11

Did you sleep in on Black Friday? Did you drag yourself out of bed, but still miss out on some awesome deals because you were standing in line too long at one store? Do you still have shopping to do, but dread the crowds, traffic, and cost? Let Hearts at Home help!

Their Black Friday sale has been extended to the week of December 7-11. Shop in the convenience of your own home and receive an unprecedented 25% off all of Hearts books and merchandise. They have great gifts for everyone in your family.

Find gifts for friends, teachers, bible study leaders, bus drivers, and everyone else on your list. You may even find something for yourself. This is a great time to stock up on all those Hearts at Home books you’ve been wanting to read.

Let your family know how much you would love a Hearts at Home gift certificate so you can use it for your Hearts at Home conference registration and/or Mom’s Night Out tickets.

Go to, choose your gifts, and enter code “HEARTGIFT” upon checkout. You will receive 25% off your total purchase (before tax and shipping).

I also want to fill you in on a couple of other great opportunities!
Be sure to check out Jill Savage's blog this month (she is the founder and CEO of Hearts at Home). She is doing one giveaway A DAY through Christmas.

And, if you stop by the Hearts at Home blog December 8 - 11, you will have an opportunity to win a Heart's at Home prayer journal. The prayer journal is a brand new resource from Hearts at Home.

Merry Christmas from Hearts at Home!

Monday, December 7, 2009

We must get used to living as those who have truly died and risen with Christ so that our self, having been thoroughly deconstructed, can be put back together, not by the agendas that the world presses upon us but by God's Spirit.
N.T. Wright

Have a great day!
Living fearlessly in Christ

Thursday, December 3, 2009

As I read about the birth of Moses in Exodus 2:1-10 the other day, God spoke to my heart. In order to keep Moses alive after the order for all baby boys to be killed, Moses’ mother laid him in a waterproof basket in the Nile hoping that Pharaoh’s daughter would see him during her bath and take him in. Moses mother had to have been ecstatic when Pharaoh’s daughter did find him and requested her to take Moses and nurse him after she had found him in the river. What joy must have filled her heart. Sadness was not far away because verse 10 says that when Moses was old enough, Pharaoh’s daughter took him as her son. That meant that the excitement was over for Moses’ mother. Although I’m sure that she was very happy that her son’s life had been spared, her heart had to have been breaking as she let him go to be the son of this other woman.

Our ways are not God’s ways. God knows the bigger plan and the future – we do not. Moses’ mother had the choice, would she lose her faith because of her pain or would she give her hurt to God and receive His unmeasurable peace.

There are many people without jobs right now, and those who no longer have a home due to foreclosure. I attended a orphan benefit recently that opened my eyes to just how many children have no parents. I also became aware of how many have no home or food. We lose precious loved ones in sickness and death. Marriages and families fall apart. Children are being abused and abducted.

Yes, hard things happen but God does not leave or forsake us.

Rejoice in God; be full of Thanksgiving to Him! God is not asking us to rejoice in every circumstance we are in but to rejoice in Him and who He is. If we never received any additional blessing from God but the sacrifice of Jesus when He hung on the cross to die for us – He is worthy of our praise. Philippians 4:6 tells us not to be anxious but to pray. Prayer is our lifeline to peace. If you want peace – get into the habit of prayer. Times of intently focused prayer each day are very important, but just as important are those prayers like “help me, Lord”, “go before me, Lord”, forgive me, Lord”, or “I can’t do this on my own, Lord” that are continuous throughout our day.

Have a great day

Living fearlessly in Christ

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thank you, thank you for all of you that have been praying for me and my struggles with my current class. Monday night's session went really well and I could feel your prayers. I learned something really cool that I hadn't thought about before. We were discussing the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin in Luke 15 and the parable of the sower in Matthew 13.

Our professor asked what is humanly absurd about these parables. As I looked I realized that if I had one hundred sheep that would make me money, I wouldn't leave 99 of them to find one because I would risk losing the 99.

If I had a coin so valuable to me (assuming that I was poor and really needed it)that I would search high and low to find it, when I did find it I wouldn't invite all my friends and neighbors over for a party and spend the money.

If I was a farmer and wanted to make the most on my crops I would be careful where I spread my seeds and definitely wouldn't spread them where they could land on rocks or thistles.

In human terms, each parable seems crazy but in God's eyes they make total sense which is why Jesus shared them.

If we run away from God, He is willing to search for and seek us because of His amazing love.

When we have gone away but through God's seeking we come back, God doesn't hold a grudge but rejoices in being in communion with us.

God spreads His love seed everywhere, He does not discriminate, but it is our choice as to what kind of soil we are going to be.

Some things about God may seem absurd and confusing to us but we can always be assured that His way is the best way and putting aside our own understanding opens the door to a life lived in faithfulness.

Have a great day

Living fearlessly in Christ

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Yes, yes, I know - slacker is the only word to describe me since it has been over a week since I posted! I think this may be the longest I have went without posting since I started blogging but lack of time and internet issues kept getting in my way. Well, that is almost true - true, except for Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday where I pretty much planted myself on a couch. I think this was the best long weekend that my family and I have enjoyed in a long time because guess what we did - NOTHING! Yep, that is what I said - NOTHING! With two kids in sports, work, school, Bible studies, and housework, my life is in RUN mode all the time. It was very weird just sitting around and I felt guilty at times but I pushed it all aside and hung out with my family. We played board games, watched movies, took naps, played basketball and ate. The only thing we didn't do together was watch football - I am outnumbered 3 to 1 in watching football so I still sat on the couch with them but got some homework done to keep me awake (at least for a little while).

I now feel rejuvenated and ready for my week.

Hope you were able to enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family too

Have a great day

Living fearlessly in Christ

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thank you - thank you for your prayers over me as I spoke at Clinton Presbyterian church yesterday. It was an amazing morning of worship and God filled me with His words and peace. I continue to praise Him for His faithfulness!

My friend Tammy, had a sweet friend and mentor, Jean. Although their ages were quite far apart, they loved spending time together. As the years brought Jean into the nursing home with medical issues, Tammy continued to be a faithful friend and visit her every day. She told me of the encouragement, teaching and love she received from her mentor. One thing that stood out to Tammy was that Jean continued to praise God even through very difficult and trying times. Jean missed her family that wasn’t able to visit often and yet she would lift up her hands to God and exclaim “and yet I will praise Thee”. When she lost her sight and could only be reminded of the Word of God with her ears, she lifted up her hands to God and exclaimed “and yet I will praise Thee” as a cassette player became her new Bible. In the hospital, when Tammy sat by her bed during kidney dialysis and she would become ill and vomit, before raising her head from the bucket, the words slipped from her lips once again, “and yet will I praise Thee”. As I stood with Tammy and watched Jean slip into the hands of God, we knew that she had been preparing herself for the worship she would be involved in for all eternity and we whispered, and yet will we praise thee.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

This is a command. God’s will is that we gratefully acknowledge His hand in all circumstances, not for all circumstances. Circumstances change; God does not. Continuous prayer causes us to be open to God in all situations and we have the opportunity to talk to God about all situations. Do not be afraid to pour your heart out to Him. He is always listening and wants to hear and connect with you.

Have a great day!

Living fearlessly in Christ

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sniffles, congestion, coughing, full-blown flowage from the nose - pretty much sums it up. What, you ask? Me - thinking that I am unable to get sick and feeling fully confident of it as I cared for 10 sick babies on Tuesday at work. By Tuesday evening, I could feel it coming and then it was full-blown by Wednesday. When I returned to the preschool on Thursday, I ended up being sent home early because by shortly after lunch time, we only had 3 children due to illness. Well, I now have to admit that I am not SuperWoman being able to determine my own outcomes in life.

This also reminds me of how powerless I am in all of life without my total reliance on God. He is powerful - I am not. He is mighty - I am not. He is faithful - I am not. He is capable - I am not. I love the title of the book by Louie Giglio "I am not but I know I AM" - that pretty much sums it up!

As I prepare for our young adult group tonight and for doing a pulpit fill on Sunday, I am reminded once again of my insecurities and incapableness (I don't think that's a word but I'm using it anyway). Of myself, I cannot teach the Word of God in a way that sinks deep into the hearts of others but through the Holy Spirit, God can speak directly to them through my mouth.

What is my role? Be a life-long learner, prepare, be open, and say yes to anything God tells me to do.

That's it - simple but not easy!

Lord, thank you for Your Word and the way it transforms lives. Thank you Holy Spirit for residing in me, prompting, convicting and teaching. Thank you Jesus for being the Word become flesh. May You spill from me. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

Have a great day and a great weekend!

Living fearlessly in Christ

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hey all! Thanks for praying - my message for Sunday is complete and practiced! Yea God! Check out this devotion that touched my heart:

The Beauty of the Lord
18 Nov 2009
Lynn Cowell

"One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple." Psalm 27:4 (ESV)

The jagged scar on his back may be gruesome to some. To me, it is a mark of beauty. It is a reminder of the love he showed that day.

It was suppose to be a day filled with wonderful memories with my husband's family in the foothills of South Carolina. The highlight of our trip would be Slippery Rock, a natural water slide in the cool Pisgah forest. However, under the guidance of a "local" we changed our plans to go to a different waterfall.

When we reached it, the waterfall wasn't quite what we were told or expected. Unprotected. Steeper . Less water. No lifeguard, no stairs, no rope. Though disappointed, we vowed to make the best of it.

Greg watched the kids start down the steep slope. Sensing everything was not as smooth as it seemed, he called to our nine-year-old daughter, "Wait for me, and we'll go together."

The laughter and squeals brought joy to my heart. Wanting to catch their expressions, I looked down to adjust my camera's zoom. Looking up, I caught his eye. Something was wrong. I pulled the camera away just in time to witness Greg sticking out his leg, causing him and Madison to spin. Instead of her head slamming into the stone wall, Greg's bare back took the blow.

The day ended then, with a trip to the emergency room. The four-inch gash on his back, evidence he saved our daughter. Today, it is a thick red scar; proof of his love for his family.

My First Love also bears scars of love. Though I haven't seen them, I know they're there. I was young, naive and taking the course wi th no stairs, no rope, no lifeguard. I wanted to "live a little." Just before I smashed against the rock of this world, I listened to Jesus' invitation: "Wait for me; let Me get you out of harm's way and lead you." I fell into His accepting arms, rescued and safe.

Like I was, there are those who want to go their own way. They are oblivious to the rushing power of sin, which will smash them against the hard walls of this world. Thoughts such as "I can flirt with this sin; I just want a little fun!" or "I'm tired of responsibility. It's my turn. My kids will bounce back," or "I don't have to put up with him anymore. It's my life too," take precedence. Inevitable destruction follows. All along Jesus is at the top of the slope inviting them: "Wait for Me. Let's go together and I will lead you."

They've missed the Man. They've missed His strength. They've missed the scars that are proof that His love held Him to that gnarly cross when His mind and body sc reamed out. I see the price He paid to protect me from my own destruction and all I can say is "Oh, the beauty of the Lord."

Dear Lord, help me look to You every day. Help me trust Your instructions and warnings, knowing that You love me more than I love myself. You are my first love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I am on a mission! A few months ago I was asked to speak at Clinton Presbyterian church on Nov 22. When I thought of something that I could use in my message for that day, I would add it to a file in my computer but kept putting off getting it all put together. I knew it was coming soon but haven't found the time to work on it. Last night at Liz's basketball game, a friend asked me when I was speaking, my response: "in a couple weeks on Nov 22". She looked a little confused and then explained that Nov 22nd was THIS COMING Sunday! I just about fell off of my bleacher!!!! So, all homework and housework is put aside today until my message is complete and I have it revised and practiced.

Just where does the time go????

Off to work I go........

Have a great day

Living fearlessly in Christ

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'm struggling today and am in need of prayer, please. I am attempting to fight off evil thoughts in regards to my current class and professor. I do not want to allow the actions of one person to ruin my workday, time with my family or even one moment of my life. God gives us joy and no one else can take that joy away unless we allow them to. I have allowed someone to take my joy and I say "no more"!

I realize we all have people who get under our skin from time to time - how do you find it best to deal with them?

What do you think about to get your mind off the situation?

Lord, help my focus to stay on You today and help me to show continuous grace to others just like you show me. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Have a great day!

Living fearlessly in Christ

Monday, November 16, 2009

Good morning and happy Monday my bloggy friends! I am wiped out but still in amazement of the power of God at yesterdays orphan/adoption awareness benefit in Pontiac. I had the privilege of volunteering at the event.
Here is the amazing couple with a heart for orphans that put it on - Dan and Christi Ucherek. I would have never even imagined doing something like that at 25 years old!
Here's Christi again and our friend Susan who also helped at the event.
Afterward, I was so excited to go to dinner with Lysa Terkeurst, president of Proverbs 31 ministries and her assistant, Holly Good. Lysa was the main speaker at the event and did a wonderful job of sharing her adoption story.
I will post more about the event tomorrow but have to head out to take my kiddos to school.
One thing is for sure - - - God is GOOD!!!
Living fearlessly in Christ

Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Friday! I'm sitting in humble adoration of our God. As I continue reading Exodus, God continues to speak to my heart. First I can totally relate to Moses' fear of what God has asked him to do. Sometimes God asks us to do things that are WAY beyond our capabilities and comfort zones but the amazing thing is that He has already made the way - we just have to put one foot in front of the other in obedience.

As I have read about Pharaohs rejection of Moses' requests to let the Israelites go, something else has stood out to me. Pharaoh says no to God, God brings forth plagues upon Pharaoh and the land, Pharaoh agrees and begs to have Moses pray for the plague to end, and then Pharaoh hardens his heart and says no again.

Oh how this reeks of my life! I go along on my own until something bad happens, beg to God for relief, and when all is good again, go back to my old ways until I need Him again. I guess Pharaoh and I have a lot in common!

Being a Christ Follower means following Christ ALL THE TIME. Not just when I'm hurting. Not just when I need help. Not just when I feel like it. It is a lifelong lifestyle. It is time to say yes!

Have a great day and a great weekend!

Living fearlessly in Christ

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It's confession Thursday! I love being a student......when I have time to get my homework done. Contrary to what I thought would happen, I truly love being in school. In fact, I have even enjoyed doing homework as I dig deeper into the Word of God, textbooks, and my brain. Recently, I have found myself beginning to feel a little burnt out. Between chasing both my kids to basketball practices and games, looking for a job, 3 small groups, working part-time, keeping up with the housework, and writing a message for an upcoming pulpit fill, I've found it harder and harder to do my best on my homework. My last professor was pretty easy and didn't expect much and I found myself falling into the trap of not doing my best. Since I began this new class with a very strict and by-the-book professor, I have to straighten up and get back on track. I turned my first paper in on Monday and when I got online to check my grade yesterday, I was shocked when I saw a 70% as my grade. I have never got a C on a paper and very rarely a B! The anger immediately started to burn within me. How could he do this to me? Doesn't he realize that I want an A? Doesn't he realize that no other professor has given me a C? What is wrong with him? What a jerk!

I used my anger for good use and helped Nathan clean his room that went far too long without cleaning. As I cleaned and vented, God helped me realize that my professor had done nothing wrong. There was only one person to blame for this grade and it was No - that couldn't be! :) I didn't like having to be accountable for my effort on the paper, but I had to be. It was I that hurried. It was I that just tried to fill in space. It was I that failed to write it for God and not for man.

Humbling, oh so humbling - to point the finger at me, once again.

Lord, please forgive me for trying to go my own way again. Forgive me for trying to do just enough to please man instead of doing my best for You. Help me to remember that You have placed me where I need to be and I need to learn all I can from where I am. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

Living fearlessly in Christ

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Started a new class last night on the life of Christ. My professor is in his mid twenties and has 2 masters degrees and a phd - talk about motivated!

What has your desire to know Christ better motivated you to do? I'd love to hear your answers!

Have a great day
Living fearlessly in Christ

Monday, November 9, 2009

Good morning and happy Monday my bloggy friends! I found great encouragement from my Exodus study this morning. In chapter 7, God is explaining to Moses that He wants him to go back to Pharaoh and ask to release the Israelites again even though God knows that Pharaoh is going to say no. God explains His plan of eventually changing Pharaoh's mind for him but wants Moses to be obedient now regardless of what Pharaoh says.

God knows my future.

God knows your future.

God has a plan for each of us and will make that plan happen.

We may see situations as impossible because of obstacles before us but we must remember that NOTHING is impossible with God!

Even when things do not go the way we think they should does not mean that it is time to give up and go another direction.

Be patient and allow God to lead your path.

Have a great day!

Living fearlessly in Christ

Friday, November 6, 2009

We live in a very individualistic society. The days of community are slowly slipping away. It is easy to go about our day with our own agenda in mind with no concern of what is going on around us. The Bible clearly states that we need each other. Galatians 6:2, Proverbs 27:17, and Romans 12:4-5 are just a few.

Are you connected in a community?I'm not talking about a town but a group of individuals that you can truly connect with.

Are you open to meeting new people even though it may take you from your comfort zone?

Instead of coming home from work and closing your garage door, do you ever walk over to your neighbors to visit?

Are you involved in a small group at your church?

Staying connected with other Christians makes you more likely to stay connected with God and isn't that what we all want and need?

I challenge you to do something today that connects you with someone else. Let me know what you do and how it worked.

Have a great day and a great weekend

Living fearlessly in Christ

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"We humans are quick to blame God for our troubles. God does permit wicked, godless people like Pharaoh to bring suffering and injustice on other people. God's people need faith and patience to wait for God's liberating actions."
NIV notes on Exodus 5:1-23

Amen and Amen!

Have a wonderful day

Living fearlessly in Christ

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Good morning my bloggy friends! I've been thinking about what God can teach us as we go through difficult times. Struggles in my past have taught me humility, perseverance, patience, and that God is faithful. A few things have stuck with me but others continue to be a struggle for me and God has to continuously teach me. I think I would endure a lot less hardship if I would just learn my lesson the first time but unfortunately I have a very thick and stubborn skull!

My newest struggle is to consistently be teaching my children the Word of God. As God has laid the importance of parental spiritual teaching on my heart, I have been convicted when I've thought of the times that I have fallen short.

Oh how I want to raise children that are so connected with God that they want to serve and obey Him every day of their lives but I fall short by not being the example that God wants me to be, not taking daily time to be in the Word with them, and not taking every opportunity to teach them a life lesson and how it applies to God's will.

I have repented of this short coming and asked God to give me great motivation and perseverance for this endeavor. I had the privilege of presenting a message last night at school on how it is the parents responsibility and not the church's responsibility to raise up spiritual champions.

Here's some things that I'm going to try:

Have a full fledged Bible study with our children at least once per week

When life happens, I will cease opportunities to share with our children how their situation or their response to the situation can be directed by the Word of God.

Use every opportunity to be a teaching lesson even when they roll their eyes at me

Purchase some Bible based games (Bible Trivia Pursuit or Bible Apples to Apples) and learn as we play

Now, don't get me wrong, live happens and things get crazy but I really want to be more intentional about taking the time to teach my children and I know that with the help of the prompting of the Holy Spirit, I can improve.

Have a great day!

Living fearlessly in Christ

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

In Exodus 3:19-20 God tells Moses "But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. So I will stretch out My hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go."

Is there something holding you back?

Is there something that God has laid on your heart but man tells you it cannot happen?

Does your situation seem impossible?


Have a glorious day!

Living fearlessly in Christ

Monday, November 2, 2009

Long time, no talk! Glad to be back with you today! Last week, I began studying the book of Exodus. As I read chapter 2 about the birth of Moses, God opened my eyes and spoke to my heart. Many of you have heard about Moses mother putting him in a basket and leaving him to float in the Nile river ever since you were a child in Sunday school. Pharaoh had ordered for all Israelite baby boys that were born to be thrown into the Nile and killed to keep from increasing God's people. Moses' mother had tried to hide him for 3 months but finally had to try something else to save her baby. Moses' sister watched as he floated past where Pharaoh's daughter bathed. The mother's heart must have been busting with joy and excitement when her daughter came to her and told her that she got to keep Moses and nurse him for pharaoh's daughter. I bet she soaked up every moment she had with her son. Verse 10 came too soon, "When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son." Reading that verse broke my heart. If I were in her shoes, I would have been praying and hoping that God would intervene and allow me to keep my son. I cannot imagine the pain of giving my child away. I'm sure that her mothers heart was thankful that Moses was alive and well but how could giving him away be whats best for him.

This reminded me of how God's ways are not our ways. His "fair" is not our fair. Our hearts have to break sometimes to accomplish His will but we must remember, He has felt the pain of giving up a child and so much more. He understands but He also knows what is best for all involved.

Faith is believing that God knows what is best and accepting His will. Will this be joyful at times, for sure. Will this be heartbreaking at times, absolutely.

God is good all the time and all the time God is good.

Have a great day

Living fearlessly in Christ

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Good morning my bloggy friends! As my kids continue to grow older by the day, God continues to remind me how very little time I have left with them. Our daughter's basketball team won their 2nd tournament of the season last night. My husband began coaching these girls when they were in 3rd and 4th grades through the Boys and Girls club. We have such a close bond with these girls as we have watched them grow into young women. It broke his heart to let them go to the jr high coaches when they reached 7th grade, not because the coaches weren't good but because he wanted to continue to coach them. The impact that he has had on them amazes me as each girl comes to him after the game to get a hug and high-five. Many times I have underestimated the impact that I can have on a child. How about you? Do you realize how important your love and presence is in the lives of your children or a child?
Have a great day
Living fearlessly in Christ

Monday, October 26, 2009

Good morning and happy Monday! I'm so excited to share with you that our son made the decision yesterday to be baptized. For awhile, he had been struggling with if he had truly accepted God over a year ago and what did accepting God really mean in his life. My heart ached as I watched him struggle and wonder but I just continued to encourage him and pray with him over his heart and his relationship with God. As we were eating dinner on Saturday night, he announces that he and God had worked everything out in his heart and that he was ready to be baptized. On Sunday, his Sunday school lesson was on salvation and baptism which confirmed what God had placed in his sweet heart. So after church, he asked me to let our pastor know that he was ready and to get him on a list for the next baptism service. What wonderful joy filled Mike and I's hearts as we listened to him explain his journey of thought and prayer over the matter. God is good and never ceases to amaze me!

Something else that I have been thinking about is how God puts people in our lives to teach us and make us into who He wants us to be. I so easily fall into judging what other people's lives must be like determined by who their married to, how their children act and what kind of house they live in. As Mike and I have continued to lead our young adult connection group and get to know more intimately those in our group, I have been surprised to find that many are not what I imagined them to be. Our goal is to make the group a place where people can be open, honest and real as we walk through this life together - through this honesty we have found that those around us are walking the same difficult path as we are. God is teaching me that no matter who your married to, who your children are, where you live or what kind of job you have - we are all in the same boat. We all have insecurities, hurts, mistakes, and happiness. It is time to put away our intimidation and insecurities and build up those around us, no matter who they are.

Have a great day!

Living fearlessly in Christ

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Good morning and sorry about missing our time together yesterday. It was a whirlwind of a day that didn't allow for time in front of my computer. Today and tomorrow, I am subbing at Faithful Friends preschool again but this time with the toddlers. I have the opportunity to meet new kids and new staff members today and I pray that God's light will shine through me.

Did you realize that no matter where you are in life, you have a mission field?

Every job is a mission field. Each person that God puts in your path needs Him. Every moment of our lives can be worship.

Will you choose to see your life as an opportunity to share Christ or will you choose to get so caught up in your daily duties that you miss out on opportunities.

It is not easy to do but will you make the right choice today?

By the way, I came up with a new slogan for our family today: We're team Todd and we follow God! (my kids rolled their eyes, but I thought it was GOOD!)

Living fearlessly in Christ

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I read the note posted by me so long ago "God's goal for me is not comfort but character development." Obviously, what I want and what He wants is two different things because I would much rather have the comfort! In the past, there have been times in my life when I have felt like God was stripping me down to nothing but it was only to build me back up with so much more of Him. I think I'm going through another similar time. My own selfishness and pride has continued to build and through the process of thinking I would have no problems getting a new job and 9 weeks later, still not having a job, has knocked me down a few notches. Thinking that I could easily find a job with a large wage but only finding those that pay minimum wage, has also altered my thinking.

Who am I to think that I could be better than someone else searching for a job? Who am I to think I deserve something more than anyone else?

Who am I?

I am nothing and no one without Christ, just a lost sinner, but with Christ I am a daughter of the King. I am joint heirs with Christ Jesus. I have the hope of spending eternity in heaven.

No job or paycheck can ever compare with my relationship with Christ and the things of eternity.

Desperately needing a job to help support our family, I walked into McDonald's yesterday and asked a register girl that looked about 12, to speak to a manager. She answered that she was the manager and was happy to set up an interview with her tomorrow.

I am humbled to say the least but I know that each experience that comes my way can be used by God to make me into the woman He wants me to be.

What are you facing right now that you can choose to be thankful for?

Living fearlessly in Christ

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Day I Sat in God's Lap
19 Oct 2009Tracie Miles

"Come near to God and he will come near to you." James 4:8a (NIV)

A couple months ago, I found myself in despair. I had been hurt and felt betrayed by a friend. How was I going to fix the issues I was suddenly facing? My heart and mind were overwhelmed with the storm that had unexpectedly raged into my life.One Sunday afternoon, I was feeling especially sad and worried about it. To hide my tears from my family, I wandered quietly into the solace of my bedroom. It was a rainy day and the room was dim, so I clicked on the lamp beside my bed. As the warm glow of light bathed the room, my eyes fell upon the little glass box a sweet friend had given me a few weeks earlier.This beautiful engraved box, wrapped in a soft yellow bow, was filled with little slips of carefully folded papers, and on each slip of paper was an encouraging Bible verse. This would have been a wonderful gift in itself, but to make it even more special, my friend had inserted my name into each of the verses. When I read them, I felt as if God was speaking directly to me, as if He was calling out to Tracie, by name.As I sat quietly alone in my bedroom unfolding each little slip of paper, tears streamed down my face. I read every verse silently, asking God to hear my prayers, comfort me, take away my hurt, and show me the way.

After a few minutes of intense prayer and focus, I became aware of God's presence in the room.I felt Him wrap His holy comforting arms around me and pull me into His presence. Suddenly, an idea popped into my mind. Instead of putting the papers back in the glass box after reading them, I spread them out all around me. Most were in front of me so I could read and focus on them over and over. But I placed several to my right, se veral to my left, and even put a few behind my back.As I sat on my bed, fully surrounded on every side by holy words, God impressed upon my heart that I was virtually nestled into His lap; the lap of my heavenly Father. The thought nearly took my breath away.

What an awesome privilege to be positioned right smack in the middle of God's Word. To be sitting in the lap of the One who created me. To be entirely physically surrounded by His truths. To see His written promises speaking specifically to me.I realized I wasn't merely surrounded by slips of paper. I was surrounded by countless reassurances that He heard my prayers.

What a gentle reminder that I needed to put my trust in Him, and I really could find rest in Him.I thanked God for reminding me that when I seek Him, I will find Him, and for helping me see just how alive His Word really is.

Dear Lord, thank You for who You are. For the privilege of getting to spend time with You and sit qu ietly with You. Thank You for engaging in conversation with me, a broken and needy soul. Help me have the strength through You to overcome the obstacles that Satan would love for me to trip over. Give me the passion and commitment to continue seeking You with all my heart, even when life gets tough or people disappoint me. Thank You for always being there when I need You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Friday, October 16, 2009

We celebrated my dad's 60th birthday last night with a surprise party and oh, was he surprised!! He continues to threaten my mom with what is now going to happen in two years on her 60th! Here's a few pics of the fun.

My sister, Shelly, her hubby Scott and their daughter, Amanda serving cake and punch.
My mom and dad

Sister-in-law, Brandi, granny and sister, Shelly
The delicious cake with my dad's favorite car on it.
Celebrating life - isn't it great!!
Have a great day and a great weekend
Living fearlessly in Christ

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Well, I guess I was wrong about the whole subbing for the rest of the week. It worked out well, since I normally clean for a neighbor on Thursdays - so I'm headed out to clean. Before I go, I wanted to share a thought with you:

As I read Matthew 28:1-10 about the resurrection of Jesus, something stood out to me. After Mary and Mary Magdalene were told by the angel that Jesus had rose from the dead, they left to tell His disciples. On their way: vs 9 "Suddenly Jesus met them. 'Greetings,' He said. They came to Him, clasped His feet and worshiped Him."

In order to "clasp His feet", they would have had to fall down in worship.

When was the last time you collapsed in worship?

Was the promise of the resurrection any different than every other promise God keeps?


Do you take the time to at least thank God when He keeps His promises? How about when He answers a prayer?

Our crazy busy lifestyles can keep us from taking the time to worship. Are you willing to make a commitment to take time today to thank God for keeping His promises?

Have a great day!
Living fearlessly in Christ

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thanks for your prayers, I survived my first day of work out of the house in 12 years and then headed straight to school. It made for a long day but I will continue to praise God for His faithfulness. I am headed out again for another day of subbing and I'm guessing for the rest of the week, I will be doing the same.

Transitions are difficult at times, but are amazing learning opportunities.

What is God teaching you during this time of experience?

Have a great day!

Living fearlessly in Christ

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Getting ready to head to work. Weird, I haven't said that in about 12 years! I'm not officially working yet but am subbing today for a lady with a sick child at Faithful Friends preschool. Thank you for praying. I found out yesterday that I won't be needed on a regular basis for teaching until December but at least I know that I will have a job in less than 2 more months. I thank God for His faithfulness and pray that His will be done in my life.

Thanks again for praying and I'll keep you updated on how it all goes.

Living fearlessly in Christ

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hello my bloggy friends! I'm back and no, I have not fallen off the end of the earth. It feels like such a long time since we've talked. I forgot to tell you that I was heading to Indiana to help a friend get ready for her garage sale last week and since there isn't school today, the kids and I slept in! Yea!!

I am waiting for a return call on a job lead. I received a call from the owner of a local Christian preschool last week asking if I would be interested in a teaching job for 3, 4, and 5 year olds. Since MY plan was to do something different from daycare with this new job, I told her that I would have to think about it and let her know. Over the past few days, God and others have reminded me that this job would be exactly what I have been praying for: work in the town I live, a ministry position, and an easy transition.

I called her back on Friday and left a message and then called again this morning and left a message. I haven't heard back yet, but can I ask that you will be praying for God's will to be done in my life?

If this is where He wants me, then it is where I want to be.

I'll keep you updated!

Thanks bunches
Living fearlessly in Christ

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Life is just plain hard sometimes and it is so easy to fix our minds on the difficulties we face. It is a great time to focus on me, me and me. As I read Matthew 27:32-44 today, I realized that while Jesus was being mocked, flogged and crucified, His focus stayed on God and others. He didn't complain about the pain or how hard it was to endure. He didn't turn away from God because He didn't save Him from the pain. He continued a life of worship even in His agony.

This realization brings much conviction to my heart.

Are you turning away from God because of your pain? Are you fixed on your hurts and your fears instead of focusing on God and others?

May we all continue to live a life of worship no matter what our circumstances may be.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Today I was reading about the soldiers mocking Jesus before His crucifixion in Matthew 27:27-31. These guards took the time to strip Jesus of His clothes and put on Him a robe. Then they also took the time and effort to twist together a crown of thorns to put on His head and put a staff in His right hand. They made a game of mocking Him over His kingship. They then had to take His robe back off and put His clothes back on. My question was: why go to all the extra trouble just to make fun of someone?

Then it hit me - this wasn't just done to Jesus but is something we do on a regular basis. I am doing the same thing when I take time out of my day to gossip; I am doing the same thing when I make a snyd remark about someone each time I see them and then move out of hearing distance; I am doing the same thing when I repeatedly bring up past mistakes of others.

I am doing the same thing to Jesus because when I mock, hurt, gossip about, or judge others, I do it to Him. This thought brought conviction to my heart.

When we take the time to do these things and more, we are wasting time. If I say that I want to live a life of worship to God, these evils cannot be a part of it.

Lord, please forgive me for allowing my thoughts, actions and words to be filled with evil. Help me to remember that my life is to be worshipful to You and when I disobey, I am not bringing worship to You. Guide and direct my tongue. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.

Living fearlessly in Christ

Monday, October 5, 2009

Road Trip!

Good morning and happy Monday! :) Sorry if that's too cheery for you today, but I'm excited to share about a great day we had yesterday. After running around like crazy people last week, Mike and I decided that yesterday was going to be a family day. We checked the Internet for some places to take the kids with free admission and hit the road. We left for our road trip about 10 am and returned about 7 pm. We traveled all over the lower central Illinois region. Here's some pics of the fun:
Crazy kids in the car
The fam at Dickson Mounds

Mike and I in the school house at New Salem
Mike and Nate at New Salem
Liz and I in the outhouse (guess we should have closed the door!)

We also toured the countryside, campgrounds, and state parks but I have to say, the best part was just being together with no agendas or interruptions. Life gets too crazy sometimes and we need to take time to just be together.
I hope you take the time today to appreciate your family
Living fearlessly in Christ

Friday, October 2, 2009

Just heading out the door for a busy day. Please be praying for an interview I will have at 2:00 today. Thanks bunches!

Lysa Terkeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries will be on Oprah today. Watch and support an amazing opportunity for her to share the love of Christ on Oprah's show!

Have a great day and a great weekend!

Living fearlessly in Christ

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Hey all! I'm heading out to make some $$ this morning. I will be cleaning my neighbors house once per week until I find a job. If you know of anyone else looking for help around the house or yard, feel free to give them my name.

My granny gave me this yesterday and I loved it and had to share:

By Corrie Bramsen
I sang the hymns on Sundays, and I knew all the lines, to, "All to Jesus I Surrender" and, "His Hand in Mine." But then the day arrived when God put it to the test; He said, "I want to use your life to show My way is best. "I don't want folks to only Hear words of trust and praise; it's not enough to quote the lines on which you have been raised. "I want your life to prove it; I want the world to see what I can do within a heart that's truly giv'n to Me. "For I will show the great things that I, the Lord, can do; I will display My glory... and I'm asking to use you. "But I don't need your efforts, your energy or strength; I'm not looking for a hero, or some super-human saint. "I want to have your weakness, I want to take your pain -- and use your inabilities to glorify My name. "And I want you to trust Me, to daily seek my face; I have not promised answers, I have only promised grace. "For the underlying issue is really not about all the great things I'll do through you, or the way you'll help Me out. "But it's what I'm doing in you that I want the world to see; the way a life of nothingness is beautiful in Me. "So trust Me, precious child, and someday you'll understand, that what seemed to you so senseless, was exactly what I planned!"
Makes me cry every time - Thank you Jesus!
Living fearlessly in Christ

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Mere Piece of Bronze

29 Sep 2009Marybeth Whalen

"He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan)." II Kings 18:4 (NIV)

I used to have a quote, cut from a magazine article, taped above my desk. I can't recall the exact quote, but the gist of it was that while our children are gifts from God, it's easy to let them become little idols. I remember the shock value of reading those words printed on the page. My children? Idols? It sounded like heresy! But as I allowed the words to sink in, I realized that the person who penned those words was right. Most anything can become an idol in our hearts -becoming more important th an our relationship with God, taking priority over His place in our life.In Numbers 21:8-9, God told the Israelites to raise a bronze snake on a pole and look to it in order to be healed. Seven hundred years later, the Israelites had gotten off track. They had turned that snake - something that was God's idea -into an idol they worshiped. In our verse for today, we see Hezekiah destroying the snake in an effort to turn the people's hearts back to God. The word Nehushtan in the verse means "a mere piece of bronze." The bronze snake was not the answer to the people's problems. They had attached too much significance to it. Hezekiah had no choice but to refocus their attention where it needed to be by physically removing the idol.Idols can take many forms in our lives. Family members and friends can become idols. Doctors and medicine can become idols. Work and hobbies can become idols. Entertainment - movies, TV, music, games - can become idols. Food can become an idol. An idol by definition is anything that we place our trust in, anything that takes precedence over God. While we may not pray to it and burn incense to it, it becomes more important than anything, including God. Just like God designed the snake to be a good thing in the lives of His people, so He allows us to have good things in our lives. He just doesn't want us to get things out of whack, as we are prone to do. It's not that the thing itself is the problem; it's our attitude about that thing.God showed me that I needed to destroy any idols in my life. For me, I had to spend a lot of time refocusing my priorities. I started with how important I had made my husband and children. Yes, my family needed me. Yes, I needed to spend time with them. Yes, I loved them dearly. But they couldn't take the place of my relationship with the Lord. I had to put them in their proper place and renew my perspective. This can only be done with intentionality and continual heart work. God gives u s good things to enjoy - family and friends and work and food and hobbies and entertainment. But He has also given us Himself, opening the door wide for us to come before His throne. May we keep good things in their place and keep God on the throne of our lives.

Dear Lord, please get my attention when I get distracted. Help me to keep the good things in my life where they belong and to keep You first. Help me destroy any idols I have placed ahead of You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Unexpected things come up in life. When my alarm went off this morning, did I expect to find the evidence of our dog having an accident in his kennel and him covered in a mess? No. Did I expect to have to clean his kennel and give him a bath all before 7 am? No. But unexpected things happen and we have to make the choice whether we are going to roll with the punches or get all uptight and freaked out.

It brings me great peace to know that nothing is unexpected for God. He is in control and anything that comes to me has to go through Him first!

Have a great day

Living fearlessly in Christ

Monday, September 28, 2009

Good morning and happy Monday! As I got ready for church yesterday, I looked out the window to see a squirrel taunting our dog, Cooper. This is not the first time I've seen this, but it has happened many times over the past couple weeks. When Cooper is tied to his leash, he is right next to a fence, but can't quite reach the fence. On top of the fence, Mr Squirrel has inched a bit closer to Cooper each day attempting to see how close he can get to him without being attacked. Of course, this drives Cooper crazy because he wants to eat Mr Squirrel so badly!

I thought about how this is much like how satan works. He knows what our flesh desires and little by little begins tempting us with it. As the temptation comes closer and closer, we think about it more often. We desire it more because it is just out of our reach. But one day, when we're tired, bored or weak, that "squirrel" is right in front of our face and easily reachable.

Through the strength of God, we can resist. Scripture tells us that God will give us a way out of temptation. But the question is: will we take the way out or will we fall to our flesh and give in?

Standing strong in the face of temptation is not easy, but in the end will make our lives filled with peace.

Have a great day

Living fearlessly in Christ

Friday, September 25, 2009

The words I read cut me like a knife "Then all the disciples deserted Him and fled" (Matt 26:56).

I cannot imagine how many times this can be said of me.

How many times has Jesus watched me desert Him, again?

I am ashamed of the number.

The past is permanent and cannot be changed, but the future is ahead and is full of hope.

Lord, please forgive me for the times that I seek my own will over Yours. Help me to live a life that doesn't desert You but embraces You and Your will for me. Lord thank you that Your Word is ALIVE and works in our hearts. In Jesus' Name, Amen.


A Divine Appointment
23 Sep 2009Wendy Blight

"He answered, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind;' and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Luke 10:27 (NIV)

Every Memorial Day weekend my friend Karen and I travel with our families to Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, for five days of rest and relaxation. We just cannot wait to dig our toes in the sand, take long walks on the beach, and enjoy the island's incredible sunsets. Every trip is special, but this most recent trip stood above all others.Karen and I ran to the local grocery. Feeding nine people for five days resulted in two carts overflowing with food and supplies. We approached the checkout lines looking for the shortest line. We chose a line with an older wo man without a cart. Apparently waiting on someone else, she motioned for us to go ahead of her. Moments later, a young woman scurried up pushing a crying child in a half-full cart. It was clear the older woman was frustrated that they now had to wait behind us, so we offered to give her back her place in line.As the young woman and her child passed by me, my heart began to pound. I physically began to tremble. I felt God impressing upon my heart that Karen and I were to buy her groceries. I hesitated, but past experience caused me to obey. I tapped the young woman on the shoulder and spoke these exact words, "I know it sounds strange, but God told me that we are to buy your groceries."She graciously accepted with tears in her eyes, and then she and the older woman left. A few minutes later, the older woman returned to share an incredible story. The young woman was her daughter. Her name was Micah.Micah's husband had walked out on her and her young son a fe w months before. He had abused her for years before leaving. She could barely make ends meet and felt completely abandoned by everyone, especially God.Days before this God-ordained meeting in the grocery story, Micah and her mother had prayed. Her mother prayed that God would draw Micah back into relationship with Him. Micah prayed, "God, if you are real, if you love me, show Yourself to me!" As her mother shared these words, it was a powerful moment. Micah, in the midst of her deepest sorrow and pain cried out to God for His Presence. Karen and I simply walked in the store that day to complete an ordinary task. And God crossed our paths at one point in time to show each of us He is active, involved, and OH SO REAL!Yes, it was a great day for Micah. But what a day it was for Karen and me as well! Our obedience to the Lord's prompting touched this woman's life in such a powerful way that she KNEW He was real and had not abandoned her, and that He answers prayer.

A divin e appointment ... a day I will treasure forever.

Heavenly Father, Sovereign Lord, the Great I Am. Thank You that You have planned every day of our lives before we have lived a single day. Thank You that You speak into our lives today. Thank You that You invite us to join You in Your work. Father, give us opportunities to be Your hands and feet. Give us ears to hear and eyes to see the broken and hurting people all around us. Give us a heart of obedience. Give us boldness to speak. May all glory and honor and praise go to You. In Jesus' Name Amen.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Next, Jesus takes His disciples to Gethsemane and asks them to keep watch while He goes off to pray. Although He is in complete agony over what He is about to face, the disciples fall asleep and are caught each time Jesus returns.

Once again, people disappoint Jesus.

Jesus tells them "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." (Matthew 26:41)

What wonderful advice for each of us!

Jesus warns that our own desire is not enough - we need the strength of God. We need the strength that comes from prayer.

We discussed some temptations last night at our Bible study that are so hard to overcome. Yes, they are hard to overcome but through the strength of God they are not impossible to overcome!

I encourage you to make the choice today to begin fervently praying about overcoming your strongest temptations. Not just that the temptation will go away but that the mighty power of God will give you the strength to resist the temptation.

Let me know if you will begin praying about it because I want to be praying with you.

Living fearlessly in Christ

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I don't even have to ask the question "have you been hurt by a friend or loved one?" because I already know the answer. We live in a world full of sin and we are selfish, sinful people, which is why we all get hurt at times.

Over the past couple days, I have been reading in the 26th chapter of Matthew verses 14-35. 2 things really stuck out to me:

1. Jesus was very open and clear when He told the disciples that Judas would betray Him and that Peter would disown Him.

2. Although, Jesus knew what these 2 men were going to do, He still made the choice to fellowship with them and continue to teach them.

Jesus was a very loving, kind and compassionate man but He was also a straight-shooter. He did not hide behind a mask or sugar coat what needed to be said. He laid issues on the table, so people could either repent and change or reject His teaching.

He was rejected, mocked, betrayed, deserted, and hated but He didn't respond in those ways.

He was focused on His mission. He wanted to please and obey His Father.

I want to be so focused on my mission from God that my reaction to others mirrors His.

Jesus' example to us to follow when we are hurt by others - love them.

Jesus didn't throw Judas and Peter out of the disciples group because of what they were going to do - He continued to love them and teach them. We should do the same.

Man, that's a tough one to follow but regardless of the difficulty, we are to follow the example of Christ and through His power, we can prevail.

Living fearlessly in Christ

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Who are you when no one else is watching?

God is always watching

Monday, September 21, 2009

This weekend brought a whirlwind of emotions for me. Friday afternoon, Mike and I made a road trip to the Bloomington RP and then to Canton IL to pick up some things. The kids didn't want to go, so we had a wonderful 4 hours together, alone in the car. Life is crazy sometimes and we don't get much time to just visit with each other so we both soaked up this wonderful date time!

Saturday we worked at home as a family and then headed to LeRoy to spend time with my baby sister (Courtney) and her hubby (Jordan) who were here from Detroit. Jordan's brother and his wife had just had a baby on Thursday and we celebrated this new life together. We were all visiting at my mom's house when Courtney gave mom a card that revealed 2 sonogram pictures - which told us that she was pregnant. We all were so excited and there were congratulations and hugs all around. As we talked about this wonderful news, Jordan's phone rang and was told that his grandparents had been in a motorcycle accident. We spent the rest of the evening praying for them.

On Sunday morning, we found out that the motorcycle they were on, blew a tire and it went out of control and his grandmother died in the accident. As we drove to church, I wondered why such a devastating thing had to happen in the midst of so much joy.

We don't get the privilege of always knowing why things must happen the way they do, but what I do know is that God is in control and knows much better than me. I ask for your prayers for the Whitted family. Thank you

Living fearlessly in Christ

Friday, September 18, 2009

Good morning and happy Friday my bloggy friends! I truly hope this day finds you ready to serve the Savior!

I read Matthew 26:6-13 this morning about when a woman anoints Jesus' head with perfume. He is reclining at the table in Simon's home when she enters in and pours her jar of perfume over his head. The disciples get angry and think that a much better use of the expensive perfume would have been to sell it and give the money to the poor, but Jesus knew her heart and knew that she was making a sacrifice to Him.

I can't tell you how many times I have been stopped from doing something because I was afraid of what other people may say or think. I'm ashamed to admit it, but it is true. Whether it's not raising my hands in worship, not telling others about Christ or any thing else, I am rejecting God when I stop doing things for Him because of my own selfishness.

I was so encouraged by this woman. I don't know how many people were in this house with Jesus, but to her it didn't matter. It didn't matter what they thought or said, she was there for one reason and one reason only, to worship.

I can learn a lot from this woman and must make the choice to be a follower of Christ and show it no matter where I am and who I am with.

Lord, please forgive me for focusing on myself and others instead of keeping it all on You. Help me to be Your light, no matter where I am or who I'm with. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

Have a great day and a great weekend!

Living fearlessly in Christ

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Have you ever been so overwhelmed by a task that you don't start it because you didn't know where to begin?

I have, many times but I decided to do something different this time.

My assignment was to write a paper on how God's redemption process runs through the entire Bible - book by book, people, events, themes, etc. I knew this would take a while and it was not the only paper due for next week, so I made the decision that I was going to spend all day on Tuesday to write it and get it off my to-do list.

I got up on Tuesday, showered, ate and then sat down with my laptop, my school books, my notes and my Bible. I began the session with prayer and went to work...... 6 hours later, my brain hurt, my eyes hurt, my back hurt, and I was only 1/2 done with my paper!! I was overwhelmed and when I thought about how much more I had to do, I was depressed too!

I grumbled about my lack of accomplishment for the day to my husband and he sweetly assured me that I would get it done and that having 1/2 done was much better than having none done.

He was right - through the grace and inspiration of God, I was able to get it finished on Wednesday. The relief of having it completed was wonderful but what was even better was the fact that I learned alot in the process about the Bible and about God.

What may seem overwhelming to me is definitely not overwhelming to God. Nothing is overwhelming to God because He is in control of all things. This was one more lesson of God's faithfulness and His ability to do all things - my only requirement is to say yes to His calling and be willing to be used by Him. It is so good to know that He takes care of everything else!

Will you let God have what is overwhelming you today?

Living fearlessly in Christ

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sanctification is still on my brain.

Don't make excuses for not doing what God calls you to do!

If God is really our Lord and Master, we will willingly obey - even when we don't understand. What we have is not ours anyway - we are only caretakers of the many blessings of God. When we abuse what God has given to us, we deserve to face consequences.

Matthew 25:31-46:

The Judgment

31"But when (A)the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then (B)He will sit on His glorious throne.
32"All the nations will be (C)gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, (D)as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;
33and He will put the sheep (E)on His right, and the goats (F)on the left.
34"Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, (G)inherit the kingdom prepared for you (H)from the foundation of the world.
35'For (I)I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; (J)I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;
36(K)naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you (L)visited Me; (M)I was in prison, and you came to Me.'
37"Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?
38'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?
39'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'
40"(N)The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, (O)to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'
41"Then He will also say to those on His left, '(P)Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the (Q)eternal fire which has been prepared for (R)the devil and his angels;
42for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;
43I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.'
44"Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?'
45"Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'
46"These will go away into (S)eternal punishment, but the righteous into (T)eternal life."

Have a great day saying yes to the leading of the Holy Spirit!

Living fearlessly in Christ

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

As I read the parable of the loaned money today in Matthew 25:14-30, it instantly reminded me of a discussion we had in class last night. In the parable, the master gives his slaves talents comparable with their abilities and then leaves on a journey. When he gets back, he wants to see what each has done with his talents.

The talents represent resources we are given by God. God gives us time, money, gifts, etc. according to our abilities and He expects us to use them in a wise way. We are responsible for using them and He will ask what we have done with them one day.

Last night we discussed sanctification - the process of living our lives in a way that pleases Christ. When we become Christians, we confess and repent of our sinful ways. Confessing is admitting but repenting is actually making a choice to not repeat those sins again. Sanctification is that process. Now, don't get me wrong, I realize that we cannot be perfect and their are certain sins that can come back over and over but as a Christian we must choose to work hard at resisting those temptations that allow our old self to enter in.

Through the life-long sanctification process, we should be bearing fruit in our lives. Others should be able to see a difference in the way you live your life after becoming a Christian. If your life has not changed since accepting Christ, then you have some serious considerations to make.

Although we are not saved by our works, the gift of the Holy Spirit upon acceptance of Christ, prompts Christians to serve just as Christ served. Due to the overwhelming thankfulness we have to God for forgiving our sins, and the desire for others to see Christ, we serve Christ by serving others. This can happen in many different ways but the questions are: How are you living your life as an example of Who you serve? and How are you serving?

Have a great day

Living fearlessly in Christ

Monday, September 14, 2009

Last week I wrote my 500th post on this blog. As I look back over the last 500 posts, I am amazed at all God has taught me. In somethings, I've learned my lesson easily but others have taken me time and time again. I was taught another very valuable lesson over the weekend.

Our son loves to skateboard. At home, he has constructed all kinds of different ramps and bars to practice his different tricks on. We heard that there was a skate park in Pontiac and he was so excited to go. As we mentioned this to some of our friends, we were told not to go to the skate park because there were "bad" people there. They said it wasn't safe to be there and we definitely shouldn't take our son there.

As a family, we had stopped by there for a few weeks after church on Sunday to find the place empty and Nate had a great time practicing. Nate had a friend spend the night on Saturday and wanted to take his friend. We headed up to find the whole park full of boys with skateboards and bicycles. Nate and his friend went in and tried to do some boarding but were very intimidated by the presence and talent of these other boys. One boy in particular was doing tricks that I had only seen in the X-games. Like most of the others there, he was tattooed, smoking a cigarette and swearing but seemed to have a kind spirit about him as he talked with the others. I started asking him about how long he had been boarding and told him how talented I thought he was. I noticed his face started to beam. It wasn't long after that I saw him taking Nate and his friend under his wing to help them with their skateboarding. He patiently demonstrated some techniques as they listened and practiced intently. The section they were practicing in soon became full again and they backed off and waited for a break in the action. After a short while, another boy parked his bike right in front of the entrance to the half-pipe so no one else could enter and told Nathan and his friend that they could have it to themselves for awhile. Before we left, my husband talked to and shook the hands of these boys who helped Nate and his friend. It was a heart-warming experience.

I'm so glad that we decided to take our son to the skate park. As we watched, Mike and I realized once again that we are to look at the heart of a man and not his outward appearance. We also realized what a great opportunity we have to show the love of Christ to these boys that we hang with at the skate park.

Praise God for opportunities to serve Him by serving others. I can and do walk right past many opportunities but I'm glad for the prompting to pay attention on Saturday.

Have a great day

Living fearlessly in Christ

Friday, September 11, 2009

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will be glad and rejoice in it! Yesterday I talked about being thankful in whatever circumstance I face. Well, I have to tell you, I am thankful and rejoicing today! :) As you know, I have been out of work for a few weeks and when you are self-employed there is no unemployment check coming in. My husband gets paid every two weeks and today is the day that he gets paid. I've thought about how today I would sit down to pay bills and there would be more bills than money. I knew that I would have to choose what ones I was going to pay and what ones would be left unpaid. At times, I worried and at others I believed that God would provide - I guess it just depended on the day. As I read His Word, He reassured me that I needed to be patient. I needed to wait on His provision. So, instead of worrying, I made the choice to pray, pray and then pray. I asked God to help my unbelief and I asked Him to provide what we needed to pay our bills today. I couldn't figure out how it could happen but I prayed anyway.

Praise, glory, and honor be to God! I had two people hand me a check out of the blue, yesterday and received another in the mail! This money was enough to not just cover our bills today but for the rest of the month. Even as I type those words, the tears flow in thankfulness. I cried alot yesterday in awe and thankfulness of our God. God is good all the time and all the time God is good. He worked through the generosity of those sweet wonderful people. Thank you Lord and thank you to those who touched our hearts with their generosity.

May you have a blessed day and weekend

Living fearlessly in Christ

Shelter from the Storms
11 Sep 2009
Melanie Chitwood

"Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us." Psalm 62:8 (NAS)

The thunder and lightning of a powerful storm rattled our house last night. As rain slashed against the windows and lightning lit up the dark sky, I woke up just long enough to make room for my youngest son and yellow lab to join me and my husband in bed. I remember thinking with surprise that I didn't even know it was going to storm.What a picture of my life lately. It's been a year of unexpected rain. Some just drizzles, but others, like the storm hitting me most recently, have rattled windows with wave after wave of thunder and bursts of lightning.What about you? Is there stormy weather in your life right now? Where are you finding shelter from the storms?My friends and family have been a shelter for me this year, just like my family was last night as we all huddled together in bed. They've encouraged and supported me. And most importantly, they've pointed me to the strongest shelter from the storms, my Heavenly Father.As I've turned to Scripture this week, I'm amazed at the number of times it reminds us God is our shelter. God knows that we will encounter hard times and His Word reminds us that the strongest and safest shelter is God Himself.As always we have a choice: get drenched in the rain or seek shelter. You see, the storms of life can cause us to run toward God, but just as easily they can cause us to turn away. A whole range of emotions can leave us standing in the rain to get drenched: bitterness, anger, confusion, helplessness, or hopelessness. If you can relate to these emotions, you might feel badly for having these emotions, but don't let these feelings keep you from God.Read the Psalms and you'll see that God can handle every emotion. Negative emotions are not a reason to turn away from God. They're the very reason to turn to Him, desperately wanting the kind of faith and strength only God can provide.Keep turning to God, continue to tell Him in prayer how you feel, and leave your emotions with Him. As you do, you'll start to feel His nearness, His hope, His promise, and His comfort. If you find yourself returning to feelings of fear or hopelessness, just go back to God. Be honest in your prayers. Acknowledge that you're having a hard time, but that you want to trust Him in your circumstances. Know that He loves you and will consistently and constantly be your shelter from the storms.

Dear Lord, "Hear my cry, O God; give heed to my prayer. From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a refuge for me, a tower of strength against the enemy. Let me dwell in Your tent forever; let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings" (Psalm 61:1-4, NAS). In Jesus' Name, Amen.