What mask are YOU wearing?

Do you ever wear masks? Hmmmm....


Please visit me at Laced With Grace today to ponder this devotion with me!


They are watching..........at Word-Filled Wednesday

Yay! Finally, today is the day that I get my "new" computer! I have been long awaiting it.....and have been reposting many of my favorite older posts for WFW. Many have been early posts that I added a picture to. BUT, this one (one of my FAVORITES!) already had the picture. My prayer is that is blesses you! And, check out Susan at Forever His for more great inspiration!





"...you became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers..." -1Thessalonians 1:6-7


reposted from 1/08
Aaron, my four year old, decided yesterday that he wanted to go into the office with Daddy to "work." So, he got ready, packing his bag with crayons, markers, coloring books, and envelopes. He took a shower and "shaved" like Daddy, got dressed (tie and all), put on his cologne, and was good to go. Now, that was adorable, but what was really neat was that his big sister Aly, 7, helped him get ready. They had been playing house and she was pretending to be his wife and his helpmate. She helped him pick his clothes, "ironed" his shirts, helped pack his bag, combed his hair, complete with hair gel, and reminded him to put on his cologne! When I complimented her about being a wonderful helpmate and very kind, she smiled and said, "Well, you are a good role model! I want to help my husband like you help Daddy."


Well, there were tears in my eyes! And, it was an encouragement that God knew I needed. But, it was also a HUGE reminder that our little ones ARE WATCHING us! Thankfully, Aly is seeing me role model helping my family and taking care of them. But, unfortunately, my children also see me "role model" negative behaviors- losing my temper, yelling.... And, I see those behaviors in my children, too, reminding me that the saying, "Do what I say, not what I do......" is true! I want to learn by this delightful experience that, with the power of God, I can live out my beliefs, and my children will "pick them up." Lord, I know they are watching!


Father, thank you for little reassurances like this. Thank you that you are such an encourager. Help me, Lord, to shine your Light to my children. Help me, by my words and actions to model living for you. Thank you, Lord! In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

My 500 Blog Post!

WOW! It's hard to believe that this is my 5ooth blog post! And, I can't believe that I have blogging since October 2007! I have learned a lot these 2 years, but I still have lots more to conquer. Thanks so much to all of my subscribers and followers. Thank you for all of your kind comments and encouragement. There is so much MORE I want to do in the world of blogging.....but all in His timing!


I saw someone do this once and loved the idea, so I thought I would "steal" it! :)


In honor of my 500th post......50 things you may not have known about me (or wanted to!) chuckle...chuckle....


DRUMROLL PLEASE.....




  1. I have been married to my honey, Brian for 21 years. We dated 5 years before we got married, so that means I have been with him for more than HALF of my life!! :)


  2. We have 5 awesome kids- Andrew, Ashley, Aly, Aaron, and Abigail. Yes, we are one of "those" cheesy families that name their kids with the same initial. Honestly, it didn't start that way....We loved both the names Andrew and Ashley. Then, when baby #3 was on the way, we loved "Alyssa" (our Aly for short). If she would have been a boy, she would have been Quinten. Then once you have 3 with "A", we had to keep going with the A theme so that any following children would not have a complex!


  3. I taught Kindergarten and 6th grade before staying home with my children.


  4. I have secret ambitions of being in a woman's roller derby league. ;)


  5. When I was little, I wanted to be a "Charlie's Angel" when I grew up!


  6. .....or a truck driver (thanks to the TV show BJ and the Bear).


  7. I was voted "Class Airhead" when I was a senior. They just didn't realize I am a "deep thinker"! Thus, at the senior class dinner, when the award recipient was announced (me) I didn't even know because I was deep in thought (daydreaming). I wasn't offended, though! :)


  8. I sign almost all of my emails with smiley faces! :) Love them!


  9. My favorite meal is STEAK!


  10. I don't like breakfast food.....


  11. unless it is Lucky Charms or Booberry...


  12. which of course I hardly ever eat :)...........


  13. I LOVE Glenn Beck


  14. I went to Illinois State University.


  15. One of the movies I remember most from when I was a kid is "Hero at Large."


  16. When I was a kid, I was obsessed with Joan Crawford.


  17. I love art. I love to draw.


  18. I love to scrapbook.


  19. I don't do any of the three any more. :(


  20. I am adopted.


  21. I was in a "beauty" pageant in high school. (I know I can't believe it, either!) I didn't win, but I did get an award for raising the most advertising dollars!


  22. I love gum (and love to blow bubbles). I remember having DETENTIONS constantly in 4th grade for forgetting to take out my gum at school.


  23. I am a "24" junkie. Superman wears Jack Bauer underwear!!!!!


  24. I loved Archie comics when I was a kid.


  25. My dog, Taffy was one of the first dogs diagnosed with heartworm. Doctors were able to use her body to come up with a vaccine.


  26. I love American history. I was in a "history club" in 6th grade.


  27. My hometown, Streator, was "the glass capital of the world."


  28. I can remember watching "Lawrence Welk" and "Hee Haw" every Saturday night as a kid!


  29. I never like Chinese food until I was pregnant with Andrew.


  30. I love to SWIM.......love the water......I can remember doing backwards somersaults underwater when I was a kid. I think my all time record was 13. OK....JUST 20 MORE TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!
  31. We are Disney "junkies" visiting Walt Disney World 5 times now.
  32. One of my favorite places ever is the Grand Canyon.
  33. My middle name is Kay.
  34. One of my favorite books is "True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle" and
  35. "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry".
  36. The last book I read was "Just Walk Across the Room" by Bill Hybels.
  37. I am reading "Battlefield of the Mind" by Joyce Meyers for the 2nd time.
  38. I love to play Uno
  39. and Skippo
  40. Monopoly
  41. and Life.
  42. I once stayed up to 4 AM putting together a Yogi Bear puzzle. I decided to NEVER again purchase a puzzle that cannot be completed within an hour or two!!!!!!!
  43. My favorite game when I was a kid was Clue.
  44. I once cheated playing UNO with my mom and dad, hiding cards under my bottom! I will never forget that and they don't let me forget either!!!!!!!!
  45. My eyes are hazel, sometimes looking dark brown while other times looking greenish.
  46. I went to a Rick Springfield concert when I was young...
  47. and the Police....
  48. but they weren't as awesome as the Newsboys who I saw last summer!
  49. I would love to go on a Holy Land trip visiting the places where Jesus walked.
  50. My prayer for YOU is that you know and love the Lord Jesus Christ!

Well.....there are 5o things about me. Many blessings to you!

AAAHHH...choo..sniffle..sniffle



I've been getting over (dare I say it?) the flu or a cold or a virus....whatever it was! Feeling better....thanks for your prayers!



To Raise Them Up...to NOT be "Mean Girls"!

Have you ever had an experience with a "mean girl"? Have you ever been a "mean girl"? Did you know there were "mean girls" in the Bible? Please join me today At the Well as I share what God has taught me about mean girls!

Garbage Day....at the Internet Cafe!


Please join me today at the Cafe... where I am talking about taking out the garbage!


How do I slow down?!.....Word Filled Wednesday


"He will quiet you with His love." Zephaniah 3:17


Well, how do we slow down?!


I was once preparing for a talk called "Don't Waste Your Life!" when a dear friend asked what the topic was about. I told her it that it is about God's plans for us ( and how they are very different from our own at times!), our relationship with Him, and the busyness of life. She then said, (and I love this!) "Well, are you going to tell me how to NOT be busy or just that I am too busy! Because I already know that!"

I can relate to her frustration. Sometimes we get caught up in the "busyness trap," and we don't see a way out! We know we are not feeling at peace, but don't know how to slow down. Sometimes we are looking for a "magic formula" or some "secret."



I wish I had a "secret" to tell you. There is no "magic formula." We all know in our hearts what we need to do, but we struggle with doing it! It is so simple- we need to begin taking things OUT of our schedules instead of continuing to put them in! I heard some sound advice from Rick Warren (Purpose Driven Life) once- anytime you add a new activity to your life, you need to take something away. I know, I know, it sounds too simple. Then, your next question is HOW?! How do I remove "stuff?"

The first thing we need to begin doing is PRAYING about what God's will is for our lives. Now, we are really good at doing this when some big catastrophe comes up, or we have to make a huge decision, but we forget about the "little" things. Maybe we just don't want to "bother" God with the "trivial" stuff. Or, maybe we really don't want God's input into our activities because deep down we know He will tell us to let go of some things. Maybe we have just never thought about before!

Jesus was a busy guy here on earth! He WALKED (no cars to get Him there in a matter of minutes or hours, it took days!) the land, healing the sick, casting out demons, performing miracles, teaching the people, and ministering to them. But, I never saw Him stressed about His workload! Why? Two things. First, He got away OFTEN to pray! As busy as He was, He met with Father continually. And, the second was He always did the will of the Father.



I am sure that while He was on earth, Jesus could have healed many more. He could have taught more. He could have done more! But, He sought out God's will for Him, and when God said, "Go to the next town." It was time to go! In His obedience, He followed the Perfect Plan, doing exactly what He was meant to do.

How many times do I pray about my kids' activities? Now, I am pretty good about praying for God's will in my own activities (learned that the hard way!), and I seek out His will for what I am doing. I always tell people I need to pray first before I make a commitment. (Like I said I learned that the hard way!!!!) But, with my kids, I just barreled ahead, signing them up for all of these activities because, my goodness, if the girls don't dance, they will be deprived, or if Andrew doesn't play football, well, ALL boys play football. And, if you don't play soccer, you can't live in America!

God has really been dealing with me in this area over the last few years and it has been so LIBERATING! (Both for me and for the kids!) It started one spring when both girls were in dance and Andrew was busy with scouts and basketball. The girls were also playing soccer. A typical Saturday was two soccer games and a basketball game before noon. Well, the girls were supposed to get dance recital pictures taken, (different times) and Andrew had to do an activity for scouting. I was freaking out, wondering how I was going to pull all of this off, because they were at different times. The Holy Spirit spoke directly in my heart, "Tracy, you don't HAVE to get the dance picture! You'll take plenty of your own pictures. They just had soccer pictures done and Spring school pictures. Just because it is written on someone's calendar, it doesn't mean you HAVE TO DO IT!"



Freedom!!!!!!!!!!! I never realized until that moment that I didn't have to do these things!



I don't have to go to that meeting, just because they are having it? I don't have to sign the kids up for this, even though "everybody" else is?!

The climax came the next fall. I had already decided that we would take a break from dance. The girls weren't "in love" with it as much as mom anyway! So, we decided we would only do soccer for them, with church on Wed. nights and Indian Princesses once a month. Well, mom missed the deadline to sign up. I immediately felt guilty and horrible. I rushed to the YMCA with my check, hoping to still get in (it was only one day after the deadline!). They wouldn't take my money, but they did put me on a waiting list. Then, I felt a leading to pray. I realized I hadn't really sought out God's will in all of this. I know He has plans for my children as well as me, and I needed to seek Him out in all of this. Well, I prayed that if it was His will that they do soccer, then He would open that door. But, if it was better for the girls not to play in the spring, that He would close the door. I surrendered it to Him and asked Him to be over it.

Well, the girls did NOT get on a team (hallelujah!) and it was wonderful! They were so happy! They were able to play (like kids!) after school and our Saturdays were spent as a family, doing some chores, running to Target for our groceries, and then having fun! They just needed a break. They both are playing again, but it was a season where God's best was that we didn't do it.

Jesus promises that His burden is light. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, (remember- Jesus prayed and spent time with the Father, and obeyed the will of the Father) for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” If we are not experiencing peace, then something is wrong. Isaiah says, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” If God has truly called you to everything you are doing, then He will equip you to handle it all! Let us seek God and ask Him what we should be doing with our time.

"My soul finds rest in God alone."

I pray that you will experience the peace that passes all understanding as you continue to seek Him out- above all!

My prayer for you today (from Psalm 20)
"May the Lord answer you when you are in distress (when the washer has broken down, when you are feeling sick, when your child has failed a test...)
May the name of God of Jacob protect you.
May He send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.
May He remember all of your sacrifices. (Selah- think on this...)
May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the Name of the Lord!
May the Lord grant all of your requests.
We trust in the Name of the Lord our God
."

Blessings!
In His grace, love, joy, and PEACE,
Tracy
Please visit Lori at All You Have to Give for more inspiration!

Put on that armor!

Grace and peace to you all this morning!

Do you ever wake up feeling "heavy?" All the burdens of the day upon you, and you haven't even brushed your teeth yet? That's where I was this morning. Thinking (OK, worrying) about all those things that need to be done- kitchen cleaned, floors scrubbed, bathrooms cleaned (didn't I just do that on Wed?!), the laundry room cleaned and ready for winter, my closet cleaned, all of the laundry put away...

I was feeling that overwhelming feeling of "how am I going to accomplish all of this?!" Even on my morning walk, the time when I meet with God, praying and praising, I felt very distracted and my mind had a hard time staying in one place! He spoke to me, "Tracy, of all days- put on your armor!" So, I thought I would put it on with each one of you, so that we may together "stand firm and be alert," ready for whatever comes our way.

Let's praise Him before anything else!
from Psalm 57:
"I am in the midst of lions; I lie among ravenous beasts- men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp words (OK, David was being chased down by Saul, in fear for his life. But- that laundry room is a ravenous beast to me! Thinking about it is devouring my energy and my joy!)
BE EXALTED, O GOD, ABOVE THE HEAVENS; LET YOUR GLORY BE OVER ALL THE EARTH.
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise You, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples.
FOR GREAT IS YOUR LOVE, REACHING TO THE HEAVENS; YOUR FAITHFULNESS REACHES TO THE SKIES.
BE EXALTED, O GOD, ABOVE THE HEAVENS; LET YOUR GLORY BE OVER ALL THE EARTH.

the armor from Ephesians 6:


"Finally, be strong in the Lord and IN HIS MIGHTY POWER (Lord,
I want to rely on YOUR power- not my own. Help me to be strong in YOU!).
Put on the full armor of God so that you can stake stand against ALL
the devil's schemes
(whether he is trying to steal your joy, distract
you or replace the Truth with lies).
...stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand (sometimes, that is all we have left- we are just standing and saying, "I will not give up!").
Stand FIRM then, with the belt of TRUTH buckled around your waist..."


Lord, we do put on your Truth. Jesus said, I AM THE TRUTH. We buckle the Lord Jesus Christ around our waist.

And just like any weight lifter would never lift a heavy weight without first buckling that leather belt around his waist, we would not dare lift any weight of the world without first buckling the Truth around our waist.

The center of your body is the "powerhouse." If it is out of shape, it can cause all sorts of problems. We need Jesus and the written word- Truth centering us, making us strong, giving us the support we need. Lord, I believe Your Word is Truth, it is power. I choose to believe it. No matter what I am "feeling," I choose to put on the Truth and the promises of Your Word. I am a Child of the Most High God. You love me. If You are for me, who dare be against me? I am more than a conqueror in the Lord Jesus Christ. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I am precious and honored in Your sight. You are working ALL things together for my good (all things aren't "good," but Your are working everything together FOR MY GOOD!). Jesus said, "Then you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free." I choose to BELIEVE AND LIVE OUT THE TRUTH- IT WILL BRING FREEDOM IN EVERY AREA OF MY LIFE.

We put on the breastplate of righteousness. And, again, where does our righteousness come from? It comes from Jesus! What does a breastplate cover? Our hearts! The Bible says, "Above all else- guard your hearts, for it is the wellspring of life." We place Jesus over our hearts. Above everything else, we ask You God, to come in and make our hearts pure!

Make my heart like yours! Give me a new heart. Work my heart so that it soft and pliable and ready to listen to You. Purify my heart. "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." Lord, help me to set my heart on things above, not on earthly things. Show me things in my heart that You want to change. Help me to surrender ALL of my heart to You and to Your good and healing hands. I know Philippians tells me that when I pray (and am NOT anxious about anything), the peace that passes all understanding will keep and guard my heart (and mind) in Christ Jesus. I give You my heart, God and I place the righteousness of Jesus over it.

We fit our feet with the readiness (to be fully prepared) that comes from the gospel of peace. Lord, our feet take us everywhere we go. We put on Jesus on our feet- the gospel of peace. Jesus is the only way we have peace with God. Help us to take Him everywhere we go, being a Light for Him, shining His light. Help us to spread the good news of our faith. In every word, to friends to strangers, to our husbands and to our children, let us exude Jesus. Help us to "walk the walk" with Jesus fitted to our feet. When I read this part of the armor, I am always reminded that after Jesus healed so many, He would say, "Go in peace- your faith has healed (saved) you." Lord it is our faith that brings peace- peace with God, peace with others, peace within ourselves. Lord, strengthen our faith!

In addition to all of this, take up the shield of FAITH! Yes! It is not faith in ourselves, our abilities, the world.... But, faith in You, the Lord Jesus Christ! I can do all things through Christ! I believe "You are who You say You are, God! I believe You can do the things You say You can do! I believe I AM WHO YOU SAY I AM- blessed, chosen, adopted, accepted in the Beloved, included in Christ, FORGIVEN, redeemed, a child of the Most High God! I believe Your Word is alive and active in me!"(Beth Moore) Lord, there is no better shield than our faith!

Have you seen movies like "Gladiator?" The shields were huge, covering the soldiers' whole body. And, when a group of soldiers were together, they went down together, as a whole (like the Body of Christ), bringing their shields together as one. With this shield, "we extinguish ALL the flaming arrows of the enemy." We put out every lie and scheme of the evil one by holding up our faith in the One who already has defeated him! Satan is a defeated foe! "He that is in me is GREATER than he that is in the world- Satan." We pick up our shields and stand firm against the enemy, choosing to believe God and all of His promises.

"Take up the helmet of salvation." Wow! Ladies, so often the battle begins in our minds! It starts as a sliver of doubt. A lie planted by the enemy. Our own fleshly desires and sin. It can be a lack of trust in God. But, put on the helmet around your mind! And, where does my salvation come from? It comes from Jesus! I am putting Jesus around my mind, my thoughts. I am "taking EVERY thought captive in obedience to Jesus Christ."

No matter how I can explain it, how reasonable it looks, how much I desire to think it, I am giving it over to Jesus! The Word says I have the mind of Christ! I want to think like You, Lord! I want to put down every lofty thought and vain imagination that comes against You. I want to trust You and what Your Word says! Lord, clean up my mind! I surrender it to You! I don't want to think things that are NOT of You! Take every thought, every idea, and make it Your own. Your Word says I do NOT have a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love, self-control and SOUND MIND. Again, Your Word says DO NOT BE ANXIOUS OR WORRY about anything (ANYTHING!!!!!!!), BUT IN EVERYTHING, TO PRAY ABOUT IT WITH THANKSGIVING, AND THEN THE PEACE THAT PASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING WILL KEEP AND GUARD YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS. Lord, renew my mind in You.

And, finally, we are to take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Again, Jesus, You say You are the Word. I pick up the Living Word and the Written Word, my sword, and I fight against anything that would come against me. I cut through any lie of the enemy. I cut through any misconception, any confusion.

Your Word is LIFE and TRUTH. Lord, Your Word is a light for my path (in the world's darkness, Your Truth will shine Your way). I want to hide Your Word in my heart so that I may not sin against You. Your Word shows me the way I should go. Grow in me Your Word, O Lord. Give me a spirit of wisdom and revelation while reading it so that I may know You better! Fill me with Your Word and Your Truth.

Now we are ready for our day! May grace and mercy and peace be yours in abundance today!

Thankful Thursday....lost and found.

Welcome to Thankful Thursday, a day to praise God and thank Him for all He has done in our lives! I have a GREAT story about a GREAT God that I want to share this week.

I was walking/driving home from school with the kids. Because we live SEVERAL blocks from the kids' school, I drive part of the way and then walk the remainder. It's too far for Abigail, so I bring the stroller for her to ride in.

Well, when we had reached the van and was packing up the stroller, three kids got my attention from across the street. They held up a black item and yelled over, "Do you know who this camera belongs too?"

As I squinted to get a better look, I realized it was MINE!

It had been in the stroller from a school activity the day before and I had forgotten all about it. It must have fallen out of the stroller when I had unpacked it and put Abigail in. I had not even noticed that it fell out!!!!!!

So, excitedly, I screamed, "Yes! It's mine!!!!!"

Oh......I was THANKING God! He had been looking out for ME! I wouldn't even known where to begin looking for the camera if/when I realized it was missing. The kids were so honest. I know it was God who prompted them to ask me. They didn't even know me! Oh, how GOOD our God is!

He is an "EVER-PRESENT HELP"! Please scroll down and read the next post that celebrates how God helps us in our times of trouble...

and please visit my very good friend Lynn for more THANKFULNESS!

Is the earth shaking?!





“God is our refuge and strength (mighty and impenetrable to temptation), an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” – Psalm 46:1-3



Wow! This psalm says so much, and we could so easily skim right over it, reading it without giving it much thought. But, let's ponder it together....



Have you ever felt like life was crashing in around you? Have you felt like the earth was “giving way” under your feet? Have you ever felt like mountains were going to fall down all around you? Have you heard waters roar in your life? Has it seemed like life was falling apart? Have you felt afraid, unsure, stressed, attacked, or that life seems too difficult? This is exactly what the psalmist is talking about.

But, he has an answer for us.

Verse 1 says, “God is our refuge.” Don’t miss the first point- God is OUR refuge. This is personal. He is not someone else’s, but MY refuge. I can claim this for myself!

What is a refuge? It is “a place of shelter, protection from danger or difficulty, a place of safety, a safe retreat.” GOD is those things to us- He is our safe place- our protection from danger and difficulty.

God is also my strength. The Amplified Bible says “mighty and impenetrable to temptation.”

God is mighty- able to defeat any temptation or trouble that would come my way. Strength is “the state or quality of being strong, the power to resist strain, stress, and the power to resist attack.” This verse doesn’t say that I am my strength- it says “God is my strength.” I don’t have to draw upon my own strength and power, thankfully, because my strength always falls short! I am never strong enough, but God is.

Then, the psalm says that God is “ever-present.” He never leaves! He is ALWAYS here with us (even when we don’t “feel” like He is here, the Truth is that He is always, ever present). Psalm 121 says God is always watching over us. “He who watches over you will not slumber nor sleep (you don’t have to “lose sleep” with worrying, God is NOT sleeping). He watches over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” So, God is always with us, ever-present.

Well, not only is God always present, but He is an “ever-present HELP in trouble.” Sometimes we may have people in our lives that are always there in times of trouble, but they are not a help. God is a HELP. He is full of wisdom, He knows how to help. He sees the whole picture of your life, not just what you are going through at the time. He knows what we need even more than we ourselves do. And, “He works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” Sometimes, God is the only One who can help and we can trust and know that He has a perfect plan.

The next verse says “THEREFORE (therefore, because He is our refuge and our strength and is an ever-present HELP in times of trouble), we will not fear.”

This is a bold statement. It doesn’t say we shouldn’t fear, or that we don’t have to fear, maybe we won’t fear, but is a confident faith statement WE WILL NOT FEAR. I will make the choice to NOT fear, but instead to trust God because He is ever present and never leaves me, because He is my refuge, my safe place, and He is my power, my strength to resist stress and attack. Even though my circumstances may be awful- the mountains are falling down around me and I am in an earthquake of life- I am going to CHOOSE to trust in God. I am going to encourage myself in the Truth. I am going to resist fear and keep my eyes set on the One who can save me. I am going to believe this Word and live it, no matter how I may “feel.” I am going to repeat over and over to my heart that “God is my refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.” I am going to declare this Truth and choose to believe it.

This psalm ends with a verse you may be familiar with, “Be still and know that I am God.” Let’s quiet our hearts and our minds and KNOW in our hearts and minds that He is God. He is Creator of the Universe. He is Creator of each one of us. He is the Alpha and Omega- the Beginning and End. He is our Father, our Savior, our Friend. He is our refuge and strength and ever-present help.

Father, we praise You. We love You. We know that You are God. We stand in awe and amazement of Your love and Your power and Your glory. We thank You that You are our safe place, our strength. We thank You that You take our burdens- You are strong enough. You help us in times of trouble and we need not fear. Lord, I pray for anyone that is experiencing an “earthquake” of life, they feel the earth giving way beneath them. Come to them, Lord Jesus. Remind them that they are not alone. Whisper to them that You are here, waiting for them to lean back upon You, to depend on You. Make it reality to them of who You are. Praise You, God! In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

Word- Filled Wednesday....Seasons

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

…He has made everything beautiful in its time.” –Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 11


Have you noticed the trees starting to turn the beautiful colors of autumn? I love the fall; it is my favorite season! I began thinking about seasons…..how we have different seasons in our lives.

We have different seasons in our lives as well.

For instance, several years ago I had an in-home daycare and took care of several little ones including my own. In 2000, God placed on my heart the desire to “do” daycare in my home. My kids were all very young. I know it was God who placed this desire in my heart because I never was excited to wipe yucky noses of OTHER people’s children! (And the many other ways a mother serves her children!) But, God gave me the ability to truly LOVE these children as my own. And, it turned out to be a precious time in my life. I am thankful for the years of serving, singing bible songs, teaching bible stories, and just LOVING on these precious ones.

He taught me many life lessons in this season. But, I tend to have a hard time with CHANGE. I don’t want to let go, and try to hold on to things the way they are with both hands, kicking and screaming all the way! Well, God, began to “take away” these daycare families one by one through different circumstances. After much prayer, I began to realize that daycare had been a season of my life, and that season had come to an end. As my children have gotten older, I realize I do not have the time to invest in daycare families. I need to physically give of my self to my OWN family. Now, am I am thankful for a new season in my life, and thanked God for His wisdom.

As a mom, I remind myself that this time, too, is just a season. My children will only be this young once. They are growing up. Sometimes, I can get frustrated because I want to do more.....There are things I desire to do for "me." God has planted many dreams and desires in my heart, but, I remind myself to be patient and wait for His timing. I have to remember that season has not yet come.

You see, planting comes in a different season than harvesting. A farmer does not harvest in the same season as he has planted. Some “crops” take longer than others. For instance, when we plant sweet peas in the garden, they come up much faster than the tomatoes. There is a season to plant, a season to harvest, a season to plow (ouch!). There are times when God is plowing up the weeds and tilling the soil of my heart. But, “He makes everything beautiful in its time.” Thank You, God for that promise.

Father, I praise You. Thank You for Your infinite wisdom. Thank You that You know when a season has come to an end. I may try to hold on, kicking and screaming, but I surrender to You. Thank You, God, that make everything beautiful in its time, in Your time. Help me to be patient, Lord, when I am in season that is difficult. Remind me that is a SEASON, and “this too shall pass.” Thank You for Your harvest season! I love You, Lord! Praise You, Jesus! In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.
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In Other Words....Living Differently


Today Debbie at Heart Choices has asked us to ponder this message:

"Christians make a difference in this world by being different from this world;

they don't make a difference by being the same."

from Unfashionable by Tullian Tchividjian


I LOVE this quote!

Jesus told us that we are "the light of the world." He said, "A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:13-16

When we were out in the desert in Arizona, we were staying at a remote resort outside of Phoenix. At night we could go out on the balcony and look out into the darkness. It is so DARK in the desert. But, when we turned towards Phoenix, the city was a shining light in the darkness. It was BRIGHT and could be seen for miles and miles and miles. Jesus says WE are to be that light.....

The world is HUNGRY for something different. The world is lost and hungry and suffering and debilitated and ailing......it is darkness. Flip channels to any variety of reality shows and watch for a few minutes and you will see people who are empty...searching....needing...

The world looks to the Church to be DIFFERENT. Yes, the world is quick to condemn us as Christians. But, usually it is because we are hypocritical....saying one thing and doing another.... If they were honest, they would tell us that they WANT us to be DIFFERENT.

When you are in the dark, what is it that you stumble around for? What is it that you are searching for? What is it that you desire more than anything else?

LIGHT

Are we shining? Are we shining the Light of Christ?

Or...are focused on BEING LIKE THE WORLD? Are we allowing the world to seep in...little by little...so that the lines are blurred and we can't be distinguished from the world?

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of Him and were taught in Him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor....In your anger do not sin. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, vulgar talk or coarse joking, which are of out of place, but rather thanksgiving.....

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light. (Ephesians 4 and 5)

Lord, may I be a Light shining for You. When the world looks at me, may they see something different....holy, set apart, separate. Lord, be big in me. Lord, I choose to put ON YOU. I love You, Lord.

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Gathering at the Well


Good morning, Sisters! As we gather together this morning, drinking deeply from the Living Water of Jesus and His Word, Deb from One Single Minute has asked us to ponder a very thought-provoking topic: Living in an Evil World.

She asks: Do you find yourself taking part in godless living and sinful pleasures?
If so....What steps are you going to take to gain strength in wisdom, righteousness and devotion to God?

It's a heart issue! As I continue to ponder the question and going back to the scripture passage...my mind keeps going back to the "health" of my heart.

Am I pained when I sin?

Do I continue to ask God, "Get my heart right, God!"

Am I grieved when I fall?

Do I seek purity?

Or.....

Have I become "immune" to my sin?

Do I even notice it anymore?

Do I keep "moving the line" a little more...a little more.....a little more....?

Joyce Meyer said something this morning that really resonated with me:

Compromise is when "you go a little below what you know what is right."

Have we, especially as a generation, as the Church, gone a little below what we know is right? Have we let a little more and little more and little more creep in slowly?

Sin is crouching at our door, waiting to devour us.

It begins "small"....watching unwholesome TV or movies (Desperate Housewives, anyone?), listening to unwholesome music, reading "just the headlines" of the gossip magazines in the checkout line....

And before we know it, sin escalates into an affair, living with a boyfriend, pornography.....

We have compromised a little...allowed just a little below what we know is right....and then, a little more....a little more...

So, what do I do?

PRAY!

REPENT!

SEEK JESUS!

READ THE WORD!

I know that the answer has to be seeking Jesus, falling on Him, declaring that I can't do anything without Him, turning AWAY from sin and TO faith, reading the Word so that I know the difference between lies and Truth, and continue to pray for God to purify my thoughts, my motives, my heart....

Jesus died so that we could live a life FREE from sin and death! Jesus told the woman in John 8 to "go and sin no more." He can tell that to her because HE GIVES THE GRACE TO BE ABLE TO DO IT!

Jesus wasn't saying, "You better not mess up again or you'll be on the rock pile tomorrow!" He was saying, "I have given you FREEDOM so that you no longer are a slave to sin!"

The very next words of Jesus after freeing this woman are: "I am the Light of the World! Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12)

In the REALITY of life, it means I must make some choices.

I have to CHOOSE to turn off the TV (or talk radio, or the computer). For me, it is turning ON Christian teaching- either radio, TV, DVDs (check your church library- they are a great resource!), or Christian blogs. I also have the Bible on CD. When I am working around the house, doing chores, I CHOOSE to turn on things that will renew my mind.

"Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but instead be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is- His good, pleasing, and perfect will." Romans 12:2

"Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you were living in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: Be holy, because I am holy." 1Peter1:13-16

I want God to reveal to me areas of my heart that are not following Him. I want Him to purify me. I don't want to try to do it in my strength (because that is when I fail!). I want Him to SHINE through me. I continue to PRAY this every day.

.Father God, I love You! I thank You for all You have done! Thank You for Jesus! Thank You that You have given us FREEDOM through Christ! Help us, Lord, to walk in this freedom. Purify our hearts and minds, Lord. Father, show us areas of our lives where we are taking part in godless living and sinful desires. God, get my heart right! Lord, purify Your Church. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen

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