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‘God made dirt, dirt don’t hurt.’ It’s a saying that I’m sure we’ve all heard so many times!  But, my reply every time I hear it said, “Well, God made rattlesnakes. And rattlesnakes WILL hurt!” Nevertheless, it is very true that you shouldn’t be afraid to work hard and get your hands dirty. In my family, mud and dirt has NEVER been a problem. And no, I don’t mean, ‘It’s never been a problem, we stay out of it.’ I mean, ‘We’ve never had a problem playing and working IN the mud and dirt.’ Some of you are probably cringing and crying right now… Sorry.  We’ve always loved being outside and working with our hands.  I walked outside a few weeks ago to see a huge mountain of dirt in the middle of one of our gardens. Turns out, the ‘three little musketeers’ had built a huge castle and dug a moat around it. It was so adorable to see them working so hard on it. I’m so glad that my siblings can always turn everything into a great adventure! They always have so much fun. And they look pretty cute while doing it too! 
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This was originally published on "A Sweet N Simple Life" blog on Wordpress. Cynthia is our oldest daughter & has a beautiful as well as inspirational blog of her own!  Check It Out Here! 

 
 
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Today marks the beginning of a new year. A fresh start, new beginnings, better choices... and resolutions. But that doesn’t mean it’s always going to be happy. Sometimes this “fresh start” hits us in the middle of tragedy. January 1, 2007, my family was sitting in intensive care while our 3 year old was on life support as she went through chemo treatments. Now ten years later I am with my sister as she strives to put together the pieces of her life after a fatal accident has left her a widow with 2 boys and another on the way. Through these hardships of life are we expected to just put on our party hats and smile for the new year?

Truth be told- no matter what day of the year it is- life can be difficult. Trials overwhelm us. The New Year is not always a happy one. I Corinthians 15 tells us “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” Our hope needs to come from above, but it also needs to exceed our life on earth. We have hope because our Saviour has conquered the grave. He gives us new life and His promises are eternal. Jesus is not just a fairy tale to make us feel good. He is the true and living God. Not only is he the Creator of everything in heaven and earth- but the giver and sustainer of our very being. He gives us hope and peace and rest beyond our understanding. And when this life comes crashing in from all sides, by His strength we can look past our circumstances to see our Saviour.

So, what do we do when we are overwhelmed by a storm in life? As cliche’ as it might sound, we need to take one step at a time. Do what we know is right. Put your trust in Christ to guide you as He has promised. His Word will be a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path. His Spirit will be your Comforter and your strength from day to day. His love will give you a song in the night. And if He feels too far away… reach out for Him; he tells us in Acts 17:27 that He is right there. Follow and obey His will each moment as He guides you through this difficult part of your journey.

And the happiness? Yes, we are promised that too. But it might not look like the happiness that you would see on a child’s face when you pull into Chuck-E-Cheese. It may be the deep sense of peace that passes all understanding when our hearts and minds are focused on following Christ no matter what this world throws our way. It is the inner joy that we cannot explain when deep inside we know we are walking through the valley that the Lord has prepared for us. It is the comfort in seeing only one set of footprints in the sand- because we know he is carrying us.

If this new year has come upon you at a time when there is no celebration in your heart, take comfort. Stay close to the Saviour’s side. Lean upon Him. Let Him carry you into this New Year.  

Please pray for my sister Tiffany and her boys. For those who would like to help them monetarily- donations can be sent to: Tulsa Baptist Temple, (William Scott Warren Memorial Fund), 1203 S. Columbia Place, Tulsa, OK 74104 

 
 
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I hope you know John 3:16. Truly know it. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God gave us the greatest gift imaginable- and He did it out of love for us. Loving us even while we were yet sinners. Sending Jesus down to pay the penalty and price for our sin. He could have left us condemned- but instead he gave us a Saviour. All we have to do is put our trust in Him, ask Him to forgive our sins and be our Saviour. John 3:16

Jesus went to the cross for us. He was crucified, buried, and rose again. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (vs. 36) Light and darkness. Belief and unbelief. Saved and lost. God has given us such a stark contrast between Light and darkness, the Spirit and the flesh, life and death… yet it seems like our lives are still so full of grey areas? We see such a wonderful gift that God has given us, yet choose to walk in darkness. John 3:19 tell us plainly, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

Jesus knows us so well. He explains the reason for this in verse 20. The light shows us our true selves. It reproves us of the wrongs we have done. It doesn’t feel good to be reproved. It can be embarrassing to be corrected. If we have a big dirty stain on our clothes, we definitely do not want anyone to see it! If we can’t change… we try to cover it up! But wait… who says we can’t change?

Once your faith and trust is put in the Lord Jesus Christ- the devil knows he has lost you for eternity. The next best thing he can do is try to win over the rest of your life here on earth. It truly is a battle between Light and darkness. But, Christian, we have God on our side. And God is ready to give you the victory!  The best thing any one of us can do is to come closer and closer to the Light! Let God’s Word shine on our lives, clean or dirty. He knows how to get those spots out! If you have a stain of sin on your life today, I challenge you to step into the light. If the devil has been deceiving you and you think you are overcome, there is no hope, no way you can live in righteousness, don’t listen. He is a deceiver. God wants to shine His Light onto your life and make you clean! If you have trusted Christ as your Saviour- don’t be afraid to trust Him with your life!!



Do you have questions about salvation? www.needgod.com

 
 
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I Chronicles 16...  David's Psalm

Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.

9 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.

10 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.

11 Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.

12 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

23 Sing unto the Lord, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation.

24 Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations.

25 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods.

26 For all the gods of the people are idols: but the Lord made the heavens.

27 Glory and honour are in his presence; strength and gladness are in his place.

28 Give unto the Lord, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength.

29 Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

30 Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved.

31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The Lord reigneth.

32 Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof: let the fields rejoice, and all that is therein.

33 Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the Lord, because he cometh to judge the earth.

34 O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.

35 And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise.

36 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel for ever and ever. And all the people said, Amen, and praised the Lord.

...Wow!! So many GREAT reminders to GLORIFY the Lord! I love reading this each morning as a reminder to Glorify God throughout my day.  Seek the Lord! Remember all He has done! Sing to Him!! Talk about Him to those around you each day. He is great and deserves our words of praise! 

Leave a comment below to share with others which psalms are a blessing to you in your walk with God!!

 
 
Scrolling through Facebook I came across an article that caught my attention. Scientists that have studied married couples for 4 decades to figure out why some marriages work while others fall apart (either ending in divorce or living in misery) have come to a conclusion. By scientific, I mean the whole deal: thousands of couples, multitude of researchers, electrodes hooked to the brain kind of science. Guess what they found… couples that are kind to each other are the happiest.

Now, I’m not trying to steal anyone’s thunder here- but  have you read your Bible lately? I promise it won’t take you 40 years, doesn’t require a master's’ degree, and you won’t need any electrodes!

We could use many examples, but let's just look at one.
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We really could apply this to any relationship. When we live according to God’s Word things work out. Obviously it takes two, and I’m not disputing that. So to clarify, if both parties involved are kind to each other there is a happy marriage, happy siblings, happy in-laws, happy co-workers, happy people in the world. So basically all I am saying is that we could obtain world peace (if every person in it followed God.) But let’s start here: Be ye kind one to another. Commanded in the Bible and proven by science!
 
 
PictureI fell in love with this peacemaker bracelet!
Who wants to love life? Sounds good, right? Just like we all have a natural desire to care for ourselves, look out for ourselves, and want the best for ourselves, we also desire to live a happy life. Unfortunately, life is not always a walk in the park. It can come with some pretty harsh blows. So, how can we have a life of peace, joy, and happiness? The answer is found in God's Word. His promises are true and His way is always right. God gives us the formula we need to see good days. 
I Peter 3:10 begins, "For he that will love life...." First off, there is a will, a desire, to love life. Do you desire to love life? Have you even realized that God desires for you not only to be His child, but to live according to His will and enjoy the life here on earth that He has blessed you with. God gives us a way to have a life we can truly love! Pay attention: "For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it."  If you and I want to see "good days" we need to lay out a game plan to make these verses a part of our daily living. We need to get serious about this and see how much we can really love our life!


1. Let him refrain his tongue from evil.


Think of a parent refraining their young one from running into the street, or of a police officer that must refrain a suspect attempting to harm another. These are not just nonchalant casual encounters. This is head to head- do whatever needs to be done- kind of action! We are told here that if we want to love life we need to refrain our tongue! If we consider those things that bring us hardship in almost any relationship, most of them, if not all, can probably be brought back to a tiny little tongue, just doing what it does best! Let's get serious and active about refraining our tongue. This little tongue is no small matter!


2. And his lips that they speak no guile. 


More about our mouth! Oh, yes. Something I find very convicting as I read these little passages in my Bible are the absolutes. "No guile." That doesn't leave any wiggle-room! Maybe we think that we are just about as good as we can get, after all, we are only human! But you see- as Christians, we are not only expected to use our mouths to bless those we love, but we are also told to bless our enemies! We are not on this earth to compare ourselves to the one standing next to us, but to Jesus Christ Himself. And chapter two verse 22 says He did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to [God.]  Is this the pattern we are following?


3. Let him eschew evil.


Here we have an even stronger word than "refrain." It is actually fun to see all the ways different dictionaries explain eschew! Each of them is pretty clear- you are getting away!! // to fight off; renounce; steer clear of; have nothing to do with; shun; to avoid something intentionally; to purposely try to stay away from; to avoid using, accepting, participating in, or partaking of //  Do you really want to love life? Hey, it looks to me like we need to be making some serious actions to "eschew" those things contrary to God's will and God's way in our life! I ask each of you to set aside some time today to pray and ask God what evil there is in your life that you need to fight off, renounce, and steer clear of! Remember, there are promises ahead that we can only claim once we have followed His path.


4. And do good.


The Bible tells us to "do good unto all men" (Gal. 6:10) and to "maintain good works" (Titus 3:8,14). It's not just enough to keep the bad out of our life- but we need to fill it with good! Be good to your husband, good to your children, good to your family, friends, church body, neighbors, strangers, and even mean people! Do good.
It's not a social gospel- it's God's command for Christians. Yes, we should be good. But being good isn't of much use if we are not doing good. 


5. Seek peace, and ensue it.


This world has enough drama. Just don't get involved. You need your sanity. You need your peace of mind. Jesus says in His sermon on the mount "Blessed are the peacemakers." Be a peace maker. Seek it, follow it, make it happen. You will be blessed!! You will find joy in the simple things of life. You will love life and see good days. Take God at His Word and claim those promises that follow. Meditate on His Word and follow Him today! 



Live your life God's way- and you will truly LOVE the life you live!

 
 
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“For by grace are ye saved through faith…” (Ephesians 2:8a)

“But without faith it is impossible to please him…” (Hebrews 11:6a)

The very foundation of our life with Christ is faith. We must have faith. We are saved through faith. We must continue to walk in faith. We should pray, as the disciples did, that the Lord would increase our faith.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 17 that with faith as a grain of mustard seed a mountain could be removed, and again in Luke 17 that with that same faith a sycamine tree would be plucked up by the root and planted in the sea.

Yet I Corinthians 13:2 gets to the heart of the issue. You see, though we need faith to live the Christian life, faith is not enough. Faith without works is dead. I Corinthians 13:2 says that “though I have ALL FAITH, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.”

It is easy to get so caught up in our Christian living that we begin to overlook others. We may be keeping our Bible reading schedule on track and showing up for every church ministry- yet not noticing the souls that God has placed along our way. If so, our lives have become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.

Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35) Also, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matthew 22:39)

Galatians 6 is so full of advice on how we should treat each other. Paul encourages and admonishes us, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” (Ephesians 6:9,10)

Charity is having a genuine and sincere concern for others. Genuine. From the heart. Sincere. Without hypocrisy.

And not just concern for “certain” others. God is no respecter of persons.

“Charity suffereth long (longsuffering), and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” (I Corinthians 13:4-7)

That’s a lot to live up to. In fact, I’ll be working on that until Jesus comes! (And I hope you are too.) Because faith without works is dead. You’ve heard the old saying, “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care!” It’s true.

“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (I Cor. 13:13)

 
 
We all know by now that we need to “set a watch” over our mouth and be careful what we say. We ought not to be gossiping, backbiting, and slandering. It doesn’t take long to figure out a person by just listening to what (or who) they talk about. Here is a quick example of a few of the many many verses that warn us against using our words to sow discord:

James 1:26 - If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

Proverbs 16:28 - A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.

Psalms 101:5 - Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.
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But what if we aren’t the one spreading the gossip? Do we get a free pass to listen to everything going on around us? I mean… the Bible does say we shouldn’t answer a matter before we hear it. So, does that make it right to go around making sure we get the whole story from everyone on every bit of gossip that comes our way? Actually, that just might be wrestling the Scriptures to our own destruction. The Bible contains a severe warning for those listening ears as well.

Yesterday I was made aware of some personal matters that were being discussed about my family. The content really didn’t bother me because I’m not afraid to give the truth and state the facts on what actually happened. It was just a mistake. But what did cause concern was how so many people had no problem discussing our personal matters.

When one dear brother in Christ asked me in sincerity, “Aren’t you concerned about the things being said about you?” I must say I answered quite quickly- and quite frankly. No.

Why not? Because the Bible tells us clearly in Proverbs 17:4 “A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.” You see, it takes two to gossip. It takes a talker, and it takes a listener. Be careful if you pride yourself in your ability to hold your tongue and speak few words- people know who the gossipers are… and they know who’s listening!

I am not concerned about my testimony being marred by someone with such a low moral character that they would go about seeking gossip and slander, and you shouldn’t either. You see, following God gives a life of peace. Even when we make mistakes. It’s okay with me to admit that and move on.

If you (like me) often find yourself “out of the loop” as to what the latest gossip is going around, count yourself blessed that the gossipers know that you are not a good listener!!
 
 
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We live in a time when a day hardly passes without hearing, “There’s just not enough time!”

That may seem like a harmless exasperation from one who just has “so much to do.” But will you take a moment with me to stop and think about Who made this time to begin with? Who put seven days in a week, 24 hours in a day, and sixty minutes in an hour. God knew every hair we would have on our head. He knew every detail that would encompass our daily life. Yet He still put seven days in a week, 24 hours in a day, and just sixty minutes in an hour.

Is that enough? It was for Him.

I think it is time we say it is enough for us. If God made my body to need 7-9 hours of sleep. I need to get 7-9 hours of sleep. If God gave me a husband and children, I need to spend the time necessary to care for my husband and children. If God desires a personal relationship with me daily in His Word and in prayer, then I do have the time to read and pray. If God has chosen a ministry for me to be a part of, I must also have time for serving.

It comes down to two very simple truths. Math… and choices. Math tells us that there are 1,440 minutes in a day. If we take away 480 (that’s 8 hours) for sleep that leaves a whopping 960 minutes left for us stay at home mom’s. If you spend another 480 at work each day you still have 480 left. So, either way, there’s the math. Math doesn’t lie.

Math doesn’t lie, but humans do. Many claim they don’t get near 8 hours of sleep… but that just makes our case worse. That means we have MORE time to get done those things we say there isn’t enough time for. Many studies have been done to prove that most of the time we overestimate the time we spend working and underestimate the time we admit to sleeping and relaxing. There are many great time management websites and books dedicated to that topic and I’ll let the professionals deal with the rest of that!

And maybe your situation is different. After all, each of us is unique! You may have health issues that cause you to spend more of your time in bed, or maybe the opposite goes for you and you can buzz around on just 5-6 hours. Or maybe due to a new baby or child’s illness you just can’t get the rest your body needs, but you have to just pull through any ways! (I’m sure we’ve all been there!)

Let’s get to that second truth. Choices.  

It is very easy to confuse time and choices. I can illustrate this very quickly. Ask someone to time you. Walk into your bathroom and clean your toilet. Inside and out. Get the whole thing looking like new. If that is something you do regularly it probably took about 5 minutes. How about the sink? Spray it down and give it a good shine. How many minutes did that take? The truth is, most things don’t take very long.

So how is it that we keep “running out of time?”

Choices. You see, time doesn’t wait for us. It keeps moving, whether we do or not.

It probably takes about the same amount of time to read a story to your child as is would to check your messages. Yet the smile on his face is worth more than a thousand emojis- I promise!

If there is time for an hour long television program, there is time to take the prayer list to the prayer closet. We could all use a sweet hour of prayer to escape from the cares of this world and see God’s hand move in our life.

And how many minutes does it take to show kindness? We think we don’t have time- yet all we need to do is give someone a smile and hug, stop and write a thinking of you card, or maybe just sit down for a few minutes with someone you love.

But how do we deal with the rushing about here and there feeling like we can never get everything done? Baby steps. If you have a household chore or errand looming over your head, ruining your day because you just keep thinking of it… thinking that you’ll never get it done... stop a moment and think about how many minutes it would actually take. You might be surprised that you can actually get it done. Or at least get a plan and get started. You will feel much better.

Take care of those minutes. Make them count. Do the important things. If you really DON’T have enough time, analyze your life and think about what God wants you to do. He is the One who gave you seven days in a week, 24 hours in a day, and sixty minutes in every hour!  Your life is made of those minutes!!

 
 
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Can you imagine if someone said to you, “You can’t serve the Lord!”

I can just hear all of the arguments that would start!!

“Of course I can!”

“No one can stop me from serving God!”

“I will keep serving Him no matter what!!”

Yet that is exactly what Joshua said to the Hebrew people after that famous challenge: “Choose you this day whom ye will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Oh yes, they made a great claim! “God forbid that we should forsake the Lord!”  I mean, if you had a choice, wouldn’t you choose to serve the true God? ...Wouldn’t we all?

But there was something else… a matter of the heart. We can claim all we want that we have given God our lives and we are following Him alone, yet our actions (inside and out) speak louder than our words.  Joshua wasn’t so quick to accept their choice, but followed it up with a pretty harsh challenge. “Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.”

God sees past our words. God sees our heart. God sees our desires and our motives. He sees our pride, our self will, our true intentions.

The people in Joshua 24 insisted that they did choose to serve God, so Joshua gives them a challenge: “Put away the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the LORD God of Israel.”

It is good to honor God, to speak of God, to proclaim God’s goodness with our words, but if we have not inclined our heart towards Him, it is all in vain. God is a jealous God. He doesn’t just want us to fill our seat in the pew on Sunday. He wants our hearts towards Him alone. Jesus says the hypocrites “draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.”

When you make a choice to serve God and Him alone it is noticeable. We don’t just choose God and still keep everything else we want in this life. There are some things we must “put away” as we incline our hearts unto the Lord!  God knows the difference between heartfelt repentance and alligator tears!

Next time you see the phrase “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” take a look at your life. When God looks at your heart what does He see?

 

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