Friday, October 7, 2016

My 11th Hour Plea!

I know this is last minute, so I will make this short and sweet. I'm not sure if anyone will actually read this in time, but it's my 11th hour plea! PLEASE....help me to at LEAST make my $500 minimum goal tonight! The walk for life is tomorrow morning and I am only $162 away! Of course, I would LOVE to raise much more beyond that, but am grateful for whatever I can get for Heartline.

Please, help me right meow!
I've written a lot about the walks I have done in the past (and I tried extra hard last year, but still didn't raise very much). I know there are a lot of good causes and fundraisers out there that you might want to spend your time and money on instead. I get that. It doesn't have to be much. Just donate a buck for the babies (or whatever God lays on your heart) and share this link! PLEASE!! Heartline fell WAY short of their goal last year and it looks like this year isn't going to be a smashing success either. It breaks my heart and I hope that they never have to shut down! I don't want them to ever have to worry about that (or for scared and hurting women to not have a place to turn to) so PLEASE.....let's keep things going!

Grace and peace to you, my friends! I apologize that I haven't said anything about it sooner. I wrote a few updates on my fundraising page, but I never did get around to blogging about it here. Things have been busy and stressful lately; there just hasn't been much time. Personally, I've been exhausted and also dealing with some major back problems. It is going to be very painful for me to walk tomorrow, but I'm still going to do it because I'm committed and care so deeply about this! Please, pray for a miracle; not just for my healing but that Heartline will be fully funded! Thank you and God bless you!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

What's Your Scarlet Letter?

Branding. It applies to almost everything. From companies and organizations, to food, clothing, and skin; we have logos, slogans, and labels for nearly everything under the sun.

The one kind of brand that some never see is how we brand ourselves inside. It's something that I was thinking about during Kent's message today (you can watch it when it's uploaded, as well as the rest of the amazing "how to be a neighbor" series by clicking here). I won't re-preach the whole thing for you. I just want to highlight his key point from 1 Peter 2:4-5:
As you come to him, the living Stone--rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him--you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 
Kent reminded us that Jesus, the perfect Son of God who did nothing but good, was rejected by humans. So, why should we be surprised that we too (as followers of Christ) are also scorned and rejected by others in this world? In case you haven't noticed, Christians are being treated with more contempt and hostility than ever before. We're "hateful" and we're "bigots" and whatever else doesn't fit some kind of liberal version of God that the world wants to portray instead of the holy, righteous, sovereign, UNCHANGING God of the Bible. Jesus said that the world would hate and persecute us just as they did to him (John 15:1, Matthew 10:22, Matthew 24:9, Mark 13:13, Luke 21:17).

BUT.....

Just as Jesus was chosen and precious in God's eyes, SO ARE WE!! In verse nine of 1 Peter 2, it is reiterated and affirmed:
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praise of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

We are NOT defined by how the world views us. We are defined by Christ. Our identity is in Him. We are who HE says we are! The world rejects us and tears us down, but Jesus accepts us and calls us "chosen" and "precious". He TREASURES us as a prized possession that belongs to Him!

I don't know about you, but that means everything to me! I have struggled with my own "branding" throughout my life. I kind of relate it to "The Scarlet Letter". Many of us had to read it in school, so you're probably familiar with it. The story is about about a Puritan woman, Hester Prynne, who had to wear a scarlet "A" for "Adultress" as her punishment for her sin. She even chose to make her letter a very large one and wore it prominently. She could have made it small, and put it in a more discreet place, but she didn't. She was punishing herself just as much as everyone else was.

Can you imagine wearing a letter which branded you with your sin forever; being judged and shamed by others (as well as yourself) and living with the constant guilt and reminder of your mistake? We don't see that kind of literal thing today, but I assure you that it still exists. We all have some form of a scarlet letter. It may not be visible, but we (and sometimes other people) know it's there. We feel it with us every day and it haunts us. So often, we can't forgive ourselves and let go of our negative branding; refusing to accept that Christ took the punishment for our sins. We punish ourselves for years (or forever) even though our sins have been paid for!

My biggest scarlet letters have been "D" for "divorce", "F" for "failure" (and "fat"), and no doubt there are others letters and words I could share about how I've felt and what I've dealt with in my heart. However, I am not defined and branded by these letters. Jesus has taken my "D" and given me the letter "R" for "restored" and "redeemed." That "F" now stands for "faith", "freedom", and "forgiveness". I have a "C" letter for "chosen", a "P" letter for "precious", and more than anything else, I am branded with a letter "G" for "grace"! YOU have these three letters too if you are a child of God because that is who you are, who you belong to, and what He calls you!

What scarlet letters are you holding onto? Are you ready to exchange them for pure, glistening, white ones? Isaiah 1:18 tells us that even though our sins are like scarlet, he will make them white as snow! That's an AMAZING transformation and He wants to do that for you! He wants to make you new and brand you with His love, mercy, and grace! Please, feel free to leave a comment (or message me) with what letters you're trading in and what letters He's giving you instead! When we share our stories, we can walk together and rejoice with one another!

Grace and peace to you, my friends! I felt like these were important thoughts to share today. If not for someone else, then at least for me. This is something that I will have to come back to and re-read because there are times where the old letters try to reattach themselves to my heart. The only way to prevent that is to remind myself of the TRUTH which can only be found in God's Word, as well as quality time with Him. It's a beautiful thing to have a relationship with the Almighty God; Creator of the Universe....and to BELONG to Him as a chosen and precious possession. It's no small thing to be a child of the Most High King and be an heir with His Son. Let's remind each other of that fact DAILY and delight in it; especially when others try to tell us differently. God bless you!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

"It's Not Over Yet!"

It's strange how much things can change within a week. Last week, I was composing a post that was full of optimism and hope. I had just been to a Cruz rally with my family and felt good about what the Indiana primary results would yield the next day. My heart was so full!

Needless to say, I was shocked, ashamed, and disappointed by the end of Tuesday evening. I guess the one consolation is, the counties I grew up in were both won by Cruz and the county that I currently reside in only went to trump by 1,100 votes. I was also proud of Fort Wayne (Allen county) that was won by Cruz. Maybe that's why I had so much faith in my beautiful conservative Indiana. I was raised in areas that were (and are) Christian and conservative. The people I knew/know were mainly against Trump, so I thought that things would go well. I figured the Indy and South Bend areas might be different, but I still thought that everything would work out.

The shock, anger, and sadness of the loss weighed heavily on the hearts of my family and I. The emotions were magnified when Cruz suspended his campaign so soon after the results were final. I don't know who cried more; me or the kids. Paige asked when we were moving to Canada, and Gianna bawled and said over and over again that she didn't want Trump and begged for Jesus to return within seconds to take her away. She also voiced something that was lingering in my own heart: "How will we ever stop abortion now? It will never end!" Though, as my good friend Cathie reminded me, we just have to keep saving them one by one. Even if legalized murder continues to go on, we have to keep caring and educating so that hearts and minds can be changed and people will choose life instead of of death.

The next morning, I kept thinking about King David in 2 Samuel 12:15-23. He fasted and prayed for his sick child until the child died. Then, he got up. He pulled himself together, cleaned himself up, ate, and carried on as normal. In my heart, I also felt that this was what I must do. I had fasted, prayed, and hoped for the best. During that time, I felt that God gave me the following words to prepare me for whatever was to come. Here is what I shared on Facebook that Tuesday afternoon before the results:

Fellow Hoosiers, PLEASE vote today! Your vote DOES matter because YOU matter. Your FAMILY matters. Your JOB matters. Your BELIEFS matter. ANYTHING and everything that matters to you WILL be affected (for good or for bad) depending on how you vote or if you neglect to vote at all. It's not only your right and honor to vote, but it is your duty as a patriot of this great land that we live in called "America"! I urge you, brothers and sisters, VOTE.....and vote WISELY! Do it for you, your family, and your children! Don't undervalue what your voice means just because you think you're only speaking for yourself (because you're not!). 

It's no secret for whom my votes were cast (‪‎Ted Cruz‬, Jim Banks‬, Marlin Stutzman‬). They got my vote because GOD gets my vote. I vote for the ones who follow His ways, not their own way. If we keep voting out of our own selfishness and ignorance, we will reap the fruit of it. We will continue to have a nation that is vulnerable to our enemies and be stripped of the right to protect ourselves when our right to bear arms is ripped away from us. We will also continue to see our taxes raised and wasted senselessly; and Planned Parenthood will still keep robbing us of our money as they continue to rob our nation of innocent human life to sell for profit. 

If evil continues to thrive, it's not because God allows it....it's because WE do! It isn't the will of God for us to hurt and suffer. He longs to heal us and give us life abundantly. However, how can He give it if we won't accept it? How can we receive it if we don't choose it? We all have free-will. Our choices determine whether we live in victory or defeat; live and thrive, or decay. It is imperative that we elect people that share our worldview because we are CHOOSING them to make crucial decisions on OUR behalf! YOU are picking who gets to sit in that congressional/senate seat, or oval office chair. Whose hand do you want signing important legislation? Whose mind do you want making life and death decisions? What kind of heart do you want deciding how to use and spend your hard earned money? It SHOULD be a person who is a servant of the Lord because He who serves the Lord knows how to best serve others and have your interest at heart over his own. He will govern with godly wisdom, common sense, and character. 

I'm pleading with you one last time......allow God to speak to your heart and give you the wisdom, discernment, and conviction to make the right choice! May God bless you and may ‪God bless America!

I asked myself (and I'm asking you, brothers and sisters): Is God still good, unfailing, and worthy of our praise? Yes, yes, yes....He is...and His love endures forever!!! It made me think of "Praise You in This Storm" by Casting Crowns and the old song "I Will Praise The Lord" by Ray Boltz. PEOPLE have failed, but God has not. In fact, in the midst of my stages of grief, God comforted me in an amazing way! I had not intended to listen to the radio on the way to work that morning, but it was already on when I started the car. The very first song that played for me was "It's Not Over Yet" by For King & Country. I had heard it countless times before (and had actually been feeling burned out on it). However, it was like I was listening to it for the first time because the words seemed to be so clear and profound:

They are inside your head
You got a voice that says
You won't get past this one
You won't win your freedom

It's like a constant war
And you want to settle that score
But you're bruised and beaten
And you feel defeated

This goes out to the heaviest heart

Oh, to everyone who's hit their limit
It's not over yet
It's not over ye-et
And even when you think you're finished
It's not over yet
It's not over ye-et
Keep on fighting
Out of the dark
Into the light
It's not over
Hope is rising
Never give in
Never give up
It's not over
Can I just say, "Wow!"?!! My heavy heart felt like it had hit its limit; fighting the good fight in this political war while being told by opposing forces in my head (and in the world) that there's no winning this one. There's no hope for freedom. The American ideals and "one nation under God" is gone. Yet, I am encouraged to "keep on fighting"! It's NOT over! "Out of the dark...into the light...it's not over....hope is rising....never give in...never give up...it's not over!"  

If there's anything we know about God, it's that He likes to show up and show off at the last minute, doesn't He? ;) Everyone thought it was over when Jesus died on the cross, and the disciples went back to their "normal" lives. But....what happened next?! That's why I feel that God was reminding me that this fight isn't over! Even Ted Cruz said that he was going to continue fighting. This whole thing could be a big strategic move (Reagan did this same thing). Or, it could just mean that he's still going to fight the good fight in the senate. Cruz or no Cruz, God is still God and He gets the last word no matter what does or doesn't happen with politics or all the drama in the world. He is with us....always!

As if this song weren't enough, there were four more songs that played right after the first one that spoke to my heart: 

"Blessings" by Laura Story 
"Tell Your Heart To Beat Again" by Danny Gokey 
"The River" by Jordan Feliz
"Press On" by Building 429

I have put these songs (as well as the other songs I mentioned) into a YouTube playlist so you can hear the music, see the lyrics, and allow the words and common themes to speak to you as well. Each and every song spoke to me as if God was having a whole conversation/pep talk with me! It all fit together perfectly! I was renewed with fresh hope and faith as well as the desire to persevere and praise Him no matter what! 

I'd like to think that we could still have a godly leader if people in the remaining states will still vote for Cruz and prevent Trump from getting to 1237 delegates (which will obviously get Cruz the nomination on a second ballot at the convention). But, even if that (or some other miracle) doesn't happen, it's all going to be ok. No matter what catastrophe Obama, Hillary, Trump, or anyone brings about in America, we will persevere. We will fight the good fight until the day we die or until Jesus comes back; whichever comes first. If our nation truly has become so godless as to vote for its own destruction, God will let us have what we asked for. We'll be like the Israelites wandering around in the desert; moaning and complaining when we could be in the Promised Land if we would only shut up and listen. History doesn't HAVE TO repeat itself, but if we refuse to learn from history, we will most certainly keep repeating it. 

Grace and peace to you, my friends! I truly hope that things can miraculously turn around for the better in these next few months before the nominations are official. No matter what happens, though, I will not give my vote of consent to Trump, Hillary, or anyone that goes against my faith in Christ. I will not be a part of that. If that means voting for a third party, write-in, or not getting to vote at all, I'll do it. I don't answer to people. I answer to God; and my aim is to always be on the same side as Him! May God bless you and may God bless America as we fight the good fight and press on in faith! It's not over yet!!! :)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Come What May....TOMORROW!!!

Tonight, I watched my girls in a Spring Program at school. The grade below them sang classic songs from the musical "Annie" (which I adored because I used to watch the 1982 movie all the time and LOVED the songs!). When they started singing "Tomorrow", I got the same chills that I always do. Does anyone else tear up when they hear it?! It's so filled with hope, optimism, and perseverance. It's inspiring!

Car Selfie On The Way To The Rally!
The song made me think of how my family and I had spent the day. We got the rare and unique opportunity to experience a political rally. It isn't very often that Indiana's vote matters so much! It's VERY exciting! Therefore, we made sure to go to the Ted Cruz rally in Fort Wayne.

It was a wonderful experience! We greatly enjoyed gathering with 2,000 fellow patriots who are firm believers in our constitution and faith in God. The speakers were all fantastic! There was a local pastor that encouraged us with these two verses from the Bible; describing how it was easy to discern who to vote for. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:5-7) and you can't serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24). He said there's been one candidate that constantly boasts and is always talking about his wealth (HINT: It's NOT Ted Cruz!). So, if he's opposing the "proud" one who is boasting about his riches (and it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven), don't we want to be on GOD'S side? I know I do! That's why we have been supporting Ted Cruz because not only has he been fighting for our constitutional rights (and will continue to do so), but he has the character and humility needed to be a SERVANT for God and country!

That same pastor that shared those verses also shared with us that he had gotten a personal call from Cruz's father. They talked for 20 minutes or more and he said that he was amazed at his knowledge of the scriptures and could tell he was a brother in the Lord and that his family had been immersed in the Christian faith all their lives. The pastor asked him if he could count on the fact that when Cruz is president, he will be on his knees in prayer in that oval office depending on God and asking him what to do (and especially in the toughest decisions when it's hard to know what to do). He assured him with confidence that he would absolutely be doing that because that is the way they have always lived their faith in their family.

I think that that part of the rally really resonated with me the most. Of course, I also enjoyed Glen Beck and how he re-told the story of George Washington's leadership, hardships, and service to the country (and that that's what our country needs to remember and fight for right now). I was also energized and thrilled to hear Ted Cruz speak. However, the words from that pastor gave a new insight into Ted's heart and faith foundation. It cemented into my mind the fact that Ted Cruz is the right, best, and only choice!

When the rally was over, we pushed forward to the front to see if we could meet with Cruz for a few moments. My daughter, Gianna, had written a letter of encouragement for him that we gave to WOWO's Pat Miller to give to him (he assured us he would make sure he got it!). Gianna kept calling out for him in the crowd, and he smiled and waved to her. I was able to capture his attention when I said, "Make sure you stick it to Planned Parenthood!" The crowd affirmed my statement as I stretched out my hand toward Ted Cruz. He grasped my hand, and in those several seconds, it was like he communicated to me more than words ever could. I felt a peace, calm, and relief that I haven't felt in this election in a while (or probably at all!). In his strong but gentle hand, I felt a sense of promise, reassurance, and understanding. It was like when a parent, family member, or close friend squeezes your hand to let you know, "It's going to be alright. I'm here for you!" It was a hand I felt good about placing mine in! In that moment, he was saying "We're going to get it done! We will fight to the end for all we hold dear!" I didn't want to let go lol ("I'll never let go, Ted.....I'll never let go!!"). ;)

The reason all of this reminds me of that little orphan Annie song is because "Tomorrow" is such a big day (and LESS than a day away now!). As I write this, there is a little over an hour until midnight. The morning will come, the sun will come out, and the day will be new. It will be a turning point for America (and the world) as Indiana steps out and votes on whose "hands" we decide to put our trust in. Ultimately, it's all in God's hands; our hope and trust is in the Lord. We need to SEEK the Lord and vote for the one that translates into a "vote" for God; a vote for HIS side and HIS ways. God will bless America again if we put our faith into His hands and vote for the servant that He has risen up to defend faith and values.

Ted Cruz & Governor Mike Pence
Hoosiers, your vote DOES matter! The fate of America is on the line and it matters GREATLY whose hands it's in (and that includes your state and local reps)!! Ted Cruz is the only candidate who has always stood CONSISTENTLY for the faith and hope we have in God and on the foundation our forefathers built this nation upon. He has a servant's heart and the drive/perseverance to never quit on America! Make those headlines say what they were saying at the rally: "Trump failed. Kasich bailed. Cruz prevailed!"

Grace and peace to you, my friends! Please, feel free to share this post with fellow Hoosiers (or anyone that has yet to vote in the primaries). We can't have a godly president if we don't vote for a godly nominee! Do your duty, my fellow Americans! Fast. Pray. VOTE!! Don't sit this one out! Find your polling place here! Come what may!!! Tomorrow,...tomorrow....I love ya! Stick out your chin, and grin, and vote TED CRUZ!!! :) May God bless you and may God bless America!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Words...They Don't Mean What You Think They Mean!

The new popular political terminology these days involve words like "career politician", "establishment", "political insider", and the ever so popular buzz word "outsider." I'm getting fed up with these words and here's why:
Today, we received two mailers from those running for Congress: Jim Banks and Kip Tom. While I understand WHY those around here are voting for Kip (given that he's a local, a farmer, and the "outsider") I am casting my vote for Jim Banks. 
 
Kip's mailer condemned Pam Galloway, Liz Brown, and Jim Banks for being state senators; labeling them those oh so terrible words of "career politicians" and "political outsiders". I think the only trendy word he forgot to throw in there was "establishment." In probably every instance in which these words and phrases are used, it is meant to be an insult and encourage voters to think that it makes a person corrupt and that they should be voted out of office. Generally speaking, I think that would probably be a fair generalization for many politicians (like Nancy Pelosi, for example). Indeed, there are many politicians that have been in the government for far too long and have used and abused their power; all the while accomplishing NOTHING for the American people. They most definitely deserve the the negative meaning of the label and their days of "service" should be over.

However......

Like many words, there is more than one meaning. I think it is tasteless and unfair for Kip Tom to try and use these labels in its negative connotation to describe these decent conservative senators who have served Indiana well. I'm particularly turned off by the fact that he would like to slap a label like that on Jim Banks who has earned a few more "labels" that far removes him from the negative picture that Kip is trying to paint of him.

Jim Banks is a U.S. Navy Reserve veteran who took a leave of absence from the Indiana Sate Senate and his business to deploy to Afghanistan. I don't think he had much time to be a "political insider" because he was busy defending our freedom and doing more than just standing around talking about what America should be doing overseas. He actually went over there and DID something! Furthermore, this "career politician" has the endorsements of Allen County Right to Life, Indiana Right to Life, Gun Owners of America, The Senate Conservatives Fund, Dr. James Dobson, and MANY many more! WHY? Well, that's because in his "career" as a "politician" he has been taking action! He's not in this for himself. He's SERVING and getting things done and standing up for Hoosier values!

Meanwhile, Mr. "Outsider" has only one claim to fame: that he has no political experience and that because of that, we should vote him straight into Congress. Now, I don't know about you, but I am very confused as to WHY it is now a BAD thing to have experience, know what you're doing, and  serve as an elected representative for the people of the state/country that you love! I can't imagine running for office, but if I did, I would obviously start small and work my way up. That's how it typically goes, right? I mean, my own "career" in customer service type jobs didn't start with me being an Administrative Assistant at 14 years old. No, I started as a waitress and then a cashier at the local grocery store. I moved on to a local Christian bookstore, did some factory work for a short time, was a stay-at-home-mom for many years, and then reentered the workforce again as I went from retail superstore to small business bookstore once again. Each time, my experience got me better pay, a better position, and more experience to take into my next role...all leading up to the wonderful job I have now as an Administrative Assistant for the Salvation Army. Each employer gave me my job based on my experience as a "customer service insider" and my "career" in customer service lol. The retail "establishment" world hasn't soured my character or my passion for people. Rather, it has given me the opportunity to gain more insight and knowledge into how big businesses AND small businesses work and how to relate to people in different work environments. Experience makes you valuable!

It is our job, as voters, to look at a candidate's resume and see if his experience and accomplishments fit the job. Kip Tom "says" he's pro-life and for the 2nd amendment, but I see nothing on his mailer (or on his website) that tells me more than just those phrases. Compare that to Jim Banks' website where he gives details and insight into what he believes, what he fights for, HOW he has already fought for it, and WHAT he is going to do to CONTINUE that fight. Basically, the only thing Kip Tom is saying is that he's a farmer, has created jobs, and believes in our values. I'm sorry, sir, but just because vagueness works for Donald Trump doesn't mean that it's going to work for you (and it certainly doesn't work for me!).

Bottom line is, don't condemn a politician just because that's his title. It's not fair and accurate to apply a job stereotype to every person and situation. There are good and bad seeds in every profession. Some mechanics are fair; others rip you off. Most doctors are excellent, but some should have their licenses revoked. Most cops serve and protect the way they should; some abuse their power. Politicians are the same way. There ARE some good ones who really do care and serve the way our forefathers intended (like Rand Paul, for example). Don't let the corrupt ones sour it for you! Additionally, no one (no matter how good they are at their job) will be free from mistakes or be perfect in what they do. We're all human.  

I do not condemn Jim Banks for his experience or his career. It is BECAUSE of those things that he has been able to serve well (and will continue to do so). As for Kip Tom, I'm not doubting that he possibly has the potential to do well in Congress even though he has no political experience. After all, I have no degree or "real" experience as an Administrative Assistant but was still given a chance to prove myself, show off my skills and natural abilities, and serve my bosses, coworkers, and clients with all my heart. Kip may be worth a chance, but having no political experience doesn't automatically make you a good choice just because you're an "outsider". Experience IS good and it DOES matter! Kip's tagline on the other side of his mailer says, "He isn't like the other candidates." I agree. He's not, and that may not be such a good thing; just as having experience isn't such a bad thing. After all, the "career politician" isn't wasting space on his mailer to label Kip and try to make HIM look bad. ;)
 
My family & I with Marlin Stutzman at the Walk for Life.

Grace and peace to you, my friends! No matter what state you live in, I hope that you research the candidates and vote for those with the character, integrity, and experience to serve your state (and our country) well! I also endorse Marlin Stutzman for Senate and Ted Cruz for president! God bless you all and may God bless America!! 

Monday, January 4, 2016

3 Essential Steps to Make 2016 an Awesome Year


There is one New Year's resolution that is always especially good (and at ANY time of the year). That resolution is to spend more time with God. Even if you just start small, it can have a bigger impact than you could have imagined! I've found this to be true with the Beth Moore "Breaking Free Day by Day" devotional that I've started. I was expecting the devotionals to be longer reads, but I'm finding that the verse with a short paragraph can be all you need to springboard you into more!

Today was a perfect example of how my heart was so blessed that it spurred me to read more. Then, I started putting what was on my heart into a Facebook status and discovered that it was more suited for a blog. What I've found in Isaiah 33 today are three really great tips for getting 2016 started off right! It begins with the verse featured in today's devotional that first inspired me:

1. Have the right foundation! He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure. - Isaiah 33:6.

If there's one thing that's an absolute "must have", it's the right foundation! You can't build a house, a life, or ANYTHING without it! You have absolutely no stability or reliability if the foundation isn't solid, strong, and well established. I'll tell you one thing, Christ is my firm foundation and "on Christ the solid rock I stand! All other ground is sinking sand". I can hear my Grandmother's singing voice in my head as I remember that hymn; which further makes me remember how long my foundation has been there. My parents laid it for me because my grandparents and great-grandparents laid it for them as well. It's a rich legacy of faith that has been passed down because I come from a family who has a fear of the Lord. Therefore, we have "the key to this treasure" which is the Kingdom of God. The rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge have never been in short supply in our lives! It has nourished and sustained my family for generations! I am incredibly blessed to have this foundation; and to pass it down to our children as well. Sadly, I know that not everyone has had this same experience. The good news is, it's not too late to start rebuilding! If you have a crumbling foundation, or no foundation at all, start building on The Rock (no, not Dwayne Johnson; I'm talking about Jesus!). Get plugged in with a great church in your community. If you don't know where to start, leave a comment or contact me and I'll help you get started wherever you are! You aren't meant to be a loner; get connected with other believers to help build you up so you can start growing in your faith (Ephesians 4:29, Hebrews 10:25).

2. Pray! Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. - Isaiah 33:2.

When I read that verse, I could feel the intense depth of that earnest plea! I think I will put this on the fridge so I can see it and recite it in the morning. To me, it communicates the strong desire to be close to the Lord as well as the hope that He will hear us and pour out His Spirit and blessings. It speaks of the need to be filled with His supernatural strength and to save us not just in the eternal sense, but in the every day sense. This verse feels very powerful to me because I know that God hears a heartfelt prayer like this. I know it is His joy to answer by providing the fruit of His Spirit in abundance! I believe that Beth Moore mentioned in another study that the fruit of the Spirit doesn't just change our lives, it changes our day! Yes, all of us who yearn for immediate gratification, the Spirit of the Lord is for NOW! It's not a distant hope or promise; it's NOW! Take hold of it through prayer! That relationship with the Father is for EVERY DAY; not "someday" when we go to heaven. "Ask and it will be give to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." - Matthew 7:7.

3. Discover Him in His Word.
For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; it is he who will save us. - Isaiah 33:22.

This verse makes a point of reminding us about how multi-faceted our God is! It's hard to take it all in sometimes, but as we read His Word, we learn more about the character of God and who He is. He is our King, our judge, the lawgiver; and we are the sinners that constantly break his laws. However, He is ALSO the one who SAVES us! Does anyone else find that amazing? It's almost difficult to comprehend, but it makes sense when you remember that He is our Father. A loving parent, even though he disciplines his child, works to restore and strengthen fellowship again even after the child has done wrong and broken the rules that are there for his benefit. I am thankful that God has allowed me to experience this as a mother because it helps me understand how He is with me as my Father. I will always be His child. No matter what I've done wrong, He restores and forgives me; always working to restore fellowship and intimacy with Him again. He rescues and spares us ALL from His own judgement because of the blood of His own Son who took our place! He is a good, GOOD Father; it's who He is (yes, that's a worship song....watch/listen!).  


The more I've discovered and read about the heart of God in the Bible, the more that I understand! That understanding has been more valuable in my life than anything because every truth I meditate on and absorb enriches my life in ways that nothing else can! His Word is the bread of life that always satisfies (John 6:35) and Christ gives us the living water that never runs dry and always quenches us (John 7:38). In Him, our soul's deepest longing is met! In fact, Beth Moore mentioned that in the previous devotional. She pointed out the simple fact that when we're hungry or thirsty, we eat and drink to satisfy/quench it. We need to take the same cue when we sense our soul is empty: "The most obvious symptom of a soul in need of God's satisfaction is a sense of inner emptiness--the awareness of a 'hollow place' somewhere deep inside--the inability to be satisfied. Let this longing drive you to your Savior." 

Grace and peace to you, my friends! I hope that this will be a blessed year for everyone! May we all discover God in fresh new ways which will deepen our faith! God bless you n the new year (and always)!