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Best of the Decade

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone! It is hard to believe today is the last 24 hours of the decade. The headlines are filled with the best of the last ten years for shows, music, movies, gadgets, electronics, cars, technology, and the list continues. Many have the mindset of “out with the old, in with the new” including myself. I have never seen such a line up for Goodwill donations as I experienced this morning.

Decades, years, days, hours-they all have a way of delivering the pieces of our lives. Promotions, degrees, new opportunities, marriages, deaths, sweet babies, travel, health issues, hobbies… You get the idea. Nothing seems to stay the same and we have to acclimate to unfamiliarity whether good or bad. Most will claim it is a matter of a person’s mindset and approach taken prior to any adjustment that determines if they can successfully adapt.

For me, this decade served a priceless gift. It required a humble surrender of all that I am without any reservations. The present was dispensed as a wake-up call and the message was sent to me through every aspect of my life. Many things were taken away yet blessings were supplied. I truly faced the unexpected and found myself inadequately prepared to handle the raging storm from 2013 to 2018. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, my faith in Christ my Savior, and the miraculous love of God, I accepted the refining journey and my outlook was transformed.

The Almighty God heard my cries and answered my prayers according to His will and not my own. (thank goodness!) It required more of Him and less of me. I had to let go of all that was holding me back and learn how to simplify my life so the focus was on Him. I am willing to admit, right up front, that the sacrifice of things and people in my life was heartbreaking. I’d even dare to say, my fleshly human nature of independence and being in control had to be placed on the chopping block as well. And guess what? I wouldn’t change a thing. (okay, maybe I would have surrendered faster!) Why was it worth the misery and pain? Because I received a relationship with the greatest King of Kings which is priceless!

For all of those who REALLY know me, those who are getting to know me, those who have experienced the Refining study, and those who will one day read this blog, here are some of my prayer requests I wrote down during the dark years.

1. Father, grow me to become an impactful vessel.

2. Please fill me with Your truth and employ me to carry out Your Will.

3. Let Your spirit be seen in me 100% 24/7 displaying a good fight.

4. I want Your favor and hedge of protection.

5. Bless my husband, children, mother, and entire family. Keep them fruitful for You.

6. Create in me a pure heart living and thriving completely for You.

7. Father bring change in my life and free me from anything holding me back from You.

8. I want to experience Your promises and identify myself in You.

9. Increase my desire to pray, heighten my spiritual interest, and show me how to use the helpmates You have provided.

10. And most of all Lord, I want to encourage others for generations to seek Your face above anything else in their lives.

Can any of you testify how God responded to my requests? 😊

God hears your prayers and answers them in ways far greater than you can imagine. I am living proof. I would encourage you to write down your 2020 requests and evaluate how to declutter your life so there is room for God to dwell within you at all times.God exceeds the Best of the Decade! He is the priceless gift for all eternity. Best wishes and love to all. Happy New Year! Welcome God into your 2020.

Happy Birthday Jesus

Bringing our Best for You Lord!

Hey Friends! Merry Christmas to each of you and your family. I pray your day has been a joyful time filled with peace and love. May you have time to reflect on the gift of Jesus and the hope born for us on that first Christmas.

We had a turn of events on Christmas Eve and spent the majority of the night and early morning in the ER with one of our parents. As I watched our family gather, I experienced joy among the concerns. The peace in each heart was a reflection of the Lord working within. This is the joy that is always present regardless of the life circumstances. Although there is surgery tomorrow and several months of rehabilitation ahead, everyone is filled with hope because of their faith in God.

A few members of the family were able to gather briefly today for our Savior Celebration. We completed the advent candle and my husband read the Christmas story. After lunch, we presented ourselves to the Lord by choosing a different colored candle. As we each placed our candle on the cake, we thought about the gifts given by the wise men. Our focus was to give our best to the Father as each of our candles were lit. I could hardly hold back the tears when we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus!

This Christmas was another learning (Refining) experience in my journey. God is teaching me to exercise my faith and know that He doesn’t waver although my world does. I am growing in wisdom and staying disciplined in worshipping the Father although my heart is broken for my sweet mother-in-law. God’s love changes my perspective when I surrender to His will and trust in His plans.

I love each of you and pray for each person who reads the blog. Thank you for enduring the ramblings God places on my heart. 2019 has brought changes and direction beyond my wildest dreams. I cannot wait to see what He has planned for 2020! Merry Christmas my sweet friends. Love to all and to all a good night.

Advent Week Four: LOVE

Pure amazing love…Song lyrics flood my mind when I think of God’s Love.

You Loved me FirstWhen I was wandering, when I was hiding, Jesus, You found me and You loved me first. God of full mercy, take all the glory. Jesus, you found me and You loved me first. You loved me first!
Love came down at ChristmasLove will be our token, Love be yours, and love be mine. Love from God to all of us, Love for plea and gift a sign.
Give Love on Christmas DayWhy don’t you give love on Christmas Day, even the man who has everything would be so happy if you would bring him love on Christmas day. No greater gift is there than love.
How Deep the Father’s Love for UsHow deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure, that He should give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure.
O Holy NightTruly He taught us to love one another, His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Your Love never failsThe wind is strong and the water’s deep, but I’m not alone here in these open seas. Cause Your love never fails. The chasm is far too wide. I never thought I’d reach the other side but Your love never fails.
Some Kind of LoveWhat kind of love goes into the darkness and pulls you back when you’re on the edge. What kind of love finds you when you’re hopeless, and gives you another second chance.
The Proof of Your LoveIf I sing but don’t have love, I waste my breath with every song
I bring an empty voice, a hollow noise. If I speak with a silver tongue, convince a crowd but don’t have love, I leave a bitter taste with every word I say.
Love Came Down and Rescued MeLove came down and rescued me. Love came down and set me free. I am yours Lord I’m forever yours. Mountains high or valley low, I sing out and remind my soul. I am yours, I am forever yours

And the list continues in my head…

Where would we be without the love of God? Christ gave the gift of His own life because of His unmeasurable love. I cannot seem to wrap my head around a life sacrifice of someone completely free of sin in order to pay the price for a guilty sinner like me. He gave us the flawless depiction of a modest servant yielding it all.

What defines love? Love is a gift given away. To me, there seems to be a sacrifice when it comes to selfless love. Relinquishing talents, gifts, time, selfish needs, etc. The love of Christ in us and through us brings change to circumstances, gives hope to the despair, and heals hearts. I believe genuine love is evident when a total submission to God’s will is present. When we yield to His calling and share His love, we acquire a marvelous love and discover a satisfaction like nothing else in the world.

Have you ever volunteered to feed the homeless, worked several hours for a women’s shelter, delivered food to the poor, visited a nursing home, offered your time to help others? Did you walk away with an unexplainable love in your heart from the Lord? This has been true for me personally. Even when I felt I had nothing to offer and was at an all-time low, a simple act of showing God’s love saturated my soul with goodness words cannot explain. The more of God’s love I give away, the more He seems to bestow.

When I ponder God’s love Becca Stevens, founder of Thistle Farms, comes to mind. She says, “Love is the most powerful force for healing and change in the world.”  She began an amazing global program for hurting woman due to various matters such as domestic violence, sexual abuse, addiction, and human trafficking. Thistle Farms gives women a chance to heal and become economically independent. Stevens has surrendered to God’s will and extended the gift of His love to a hurting world. There are countless women around the globe testifying to the transformation God’s love has made. Stevens’ dedication is contagious and inspiring on so many levels. I encourage you to read more about the program.

Locally, I can think of several individuals illustrating the love of God. Milton Jones, president of Christian Relief Fund (CRF), who oversees a mission to provide food, clean water, education, healthcare, spiritual training, and disaster relief internationally. Jena Taylor, executive director of Faith City Missions, an organization reaching out to locals who are homeless, addicted to alcohol/drugs, or just in need of shelter, food, clothing, and God’s love. Eveline Rivers, founder of a thirty-year project dedicated to providing coats, the joy of Christmas and literacy promotion. Elia Moreno, founder of Living Intentionally Ministries and co-executive director of Texas Christian Community Development Network. Their mission statement is based on God’s incarnational love through Jesus Christ in order to extend hope and healing. The list continues of a mass of local individuals empowered by God’s amazing love.

The greatest gift I have ever received is the Love of God. He rescued me and opened doors to extend healing, protection, and a true Father’s love. I am astonished by His love shown and I cherish a growing relationship with Him. I am forever grateful for His sacrifice. When He directs me to carry out His will and calling, I pray my answer will always be YES LORD! I find myself fighting against my human, selfish desires and continually disciplining myself to stay under His authority. It is far from easy and I fail often. Yet, our Heavenly Father accepts me and loves me despite my shortfalls.

As Advent begins to come to an end, how will you continue to fill your mind and heart with God’s love? What will keep you modest and under His authority? How will you remind yourself of the significance of God’s gift of love? Where will you serve in 2020 to spread God’s mercy and grace to others?

May we never forget the best four-letter word…LOVE, a gift from above

Advent Week Three: JOY

For many years I misunderstood the source of joy. I found hope in being a Christian and peace by knowing Jesus Christ as my savior, yet I seemed to rely on my performance to experience joy. The sense of great accomplishments, hard work, and overwhelming devotion to whatever J-O-B used to be my J-O-Y! It took a major career upset and five years of a dark valley to get my attention and realize how guilty I was of idolatry and fake joy. The Lord revealed how genuine joy is only rooted in Christ. It has nothing to do with my performance.

Joy comes from God’s goodness and grace. It flows from a Father who loves us despite every fiber of our being. We can experience the joy of Christ through faith and a daily relationship with Him. This joy is not a roller coaster emotion but a gift that never disappoints, a promise that always fulfills, and a reassurance we are God’s children.

Our performance and circumstances do not determine its presence. It is a daily choice to tap into the fruit of the Holy Spirit and allow God to grow in and through us. We must intentionally fight against the enemy and cling to the Lord in all we do. Make no mistake…the enemy prowls 24/7 to kill your joy and turn you away from the amazing light of the Lord.

During this third week of advent, I encourage you to surround yourself with truth about joy through reading God’s Word. Pray out scripture and ask to receive God’s joy with thanksgiving and praise. May you find a renewal of JOY and be filled with His marvelous gift.  

Psalm 16:11 “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”

James 1:2-4 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

2 Corinthians 7:4 “I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.”

Psalm 4:7 “You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.”

John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”

Psalm 90:14 “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”

Philippians 1:25 “Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith.”

Praise to Him who brings great JOY!

BOOK REVIEW: The Will of God

Stanley, Charles F. (2019). The Will of God. Howard Books, New York:NY.

SUMMARY: In this writing, Stanley conveys the belief that God has a plan for every individual and wants each person to know it fully. The writer has developed means of discernment to assist readers in identifying their purpose and calling in God’s determined and desired will. All main points are backed by an abundance of scripture and examples from the Bible.

In the first few chapters, Stanley addresses God’s ultimate goal and His sovereignty. Readers are reminded that God wants a personal relationship more than anything else. The Father is said to communicate in an individual manner according to each person’s way of hearing. However, Stanley does recognize the barriers which block out God’s voice and the issue of free will.

The writer gently reminds believers that the key to knowing God’s will is a complete surrender of themselves. He identifies this subject as “staying on the altar” to be fully invested and remain connected to God’s will.  He also tackles the importance of Scripture and the Holy Spirit by focusing on the role each plays. Stanley pinpoints eight elements in acquiring God’s will and reason for not hearing God. The final chapter is designed to assist readers in their dedication and commitment to fulfilling God’s plan for their lives.

MY $.02: This book was recommended by a friend and they even loaned me their book. My heart honestly skipped a beat as I began reading. Each page is filled with scripture reference and encouragement to knowing and living God’s will. It perfectly aligns with Refining because it focuses on the importance of attaining God’s purpose for your life, the significance of having a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and the need to continually rely on Scripture and the Holy Spirit.

I appreciated how Stanley shared personal experiences and biblical stories to help solidify some of his points throughout the book. The book highlights key points and uses bold print to catch the readers attention to main thoughts or steps written.  One example is “God’s desired will is that we serve Him—and that we do so wholeheartedly. Whether we do and to the extent that we do is up to us.”  

If you are struggling to hear God’s voice, know your life purpose, identify your calling, or just want a deeper walk with the Lord, I would suggest this book. For me, it is a great personal resource to reference and is a perfect support when delivering some main topics in the Refining study. I love the fact that the appendix is filled with “promise verses about God’s will”.  

Don’t just take my word for it:

Advent Week Two: PEACE

The glorious sound of the ocean’s ebb and flow brings an inner peace to my soul. It takes me to a world without the hustle and bustle, everyday trials, and earthly demands. Renewal and restoration seem to wash over me with each wave swooshing upon the sand. This is my happy place.

Earthly peace is offered to us in various forms without a lasting promise. The best it has to offer is a temporary state. Scripture reminds us of true peace. In John 14:27 we find a different type of tranquility; “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Our Heavenly Father sent the Prince of Peace. The Son of God came into the world to bring reconciliation for us all. Freedom through Christ’s intercession offers us peace beyond comprehension.

Charles F. Stanley maintains we can abundantly encounter “a peace which surpasses all comprehension” (Philippians 4:7) when we are entirely committed to the will of God. Christ tenders a supernatural calmness as we walk in harmony with Him and allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through us. God transports His peace within us regardless of what life is throwing our way: depression, anxiety, death, health issues, troubled relationships, stress, hopelessness, … Psalm 29:11 declares “The Lord gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.”

Oh Lord thank you for the freedom from earthly strife and circumstances through your amazing peace. Your love affirms a tranquility and stillness far from our understanding. Father, teach us to surrender all that we are and have to you. Give us your supernatural strength to carry out your divine plan and let your peace wash over us. May we rest in your presence and hold tight to the calmness you bring.

During this second week of Advent, help us be more aware of the serenity we find in you. We are so grateful for the Prince of Peace. As 1 John 5:11 states we are eternally thankful for abundant life given to the world through Jesus Christ. Let us embrace Immanuel (God with us) and share this precious gift to those who are unaware of salvation. Draw us closer each moment. We love you precious Lord.  


Advent Week One: HOPE

Most dictionaries will define hope as an expectation or desire for something to transpire. The Word of God provides followers hope which exceeds anything the world can promise. Our Father offers steadfast truth shown to be reliable and trustworthy. We are reminded of this in scripture.

In Hebrews 6:15-20 God’s Word states:  And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

God has proven over and over that His Word is dependable and unswerving to establish hope beyond a mere wish. Hope by God’s design surpasses any earthly classification or meaning. Our God has clarified the hope He gives through His track record of fulfilled assurances. He promised and furnished salvation to all through the gift of Jesus Christ. Our Father goes above and beyond any human guarantee. The Lord does not waver. In Numbers 23:19 it states:  God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

What are you counting on in life? A career, spouse, family, friends, stock market, co-workers, paycheck, self, material items, . . .  Where is your hope?

Psalm 62:5-8

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

First Sunday of Advent Isaiah 9:2, 6-7:
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”

Dear Father, Thank you for your offering of hope through your son, Jesus Christ. You, O Lord, are our hope and we are dependent upon you for all our needs. May your precious gift of eternal life ring out from our hearts for the world to hear of your sweet love. Let us walk out our salvation by strengthening our relationship with you. Father give us pure hearts, humble spirits, and strong faith. We are forever grateful for your astounding hope. Amen.

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