Thursday, November 7, 2013

You ARE Chosen!

2 Chron. 29:11 - …. the Lord has chosen you...
I recently heard a mom say that she felt like she was living in the mundane. As a stay at home mom, she chased a toddler, fed a newborn, and did the daily "day-in, day-out" activities that need to get done in a home. Cooking, cleaning, cooking, cleaning, wiping noses, washing little fingers, laundry, and the list goes on.



Day in. Day out.

Are these things little value in the Kingdom? Is there value to them?

I asked the same question this morning as I was journaling. I made my list of things that need to be done. Today's list specifically, there seemed to be no "life-changing" or "world changing" activities on my list. As a Christian, wanting to take the world by storm for Jesus, change people's lives, help people, and I look at my current to-do list, and (aside from reading, listening to an audio, having my quiet time) the activities for today include: clean a box in the garage, do laundry, dishes, pick up living room. 

As I flipped open my Bible, I randomly fell upon 2 Chronicles 29:11, which read, "…the Lord has chosen you….". Though in context, this passage is talking to the Levites, those who are the ministers of this time, the priests. They are to guard and preserve the temple, the Holy place, receive offerings, etc. Though, as the yellow highlighted passage in my Bible stood out to me, I took a moment to listen to what that Still Small Voice had to say to me about being chosen.  (Substitute YOUR NAME and YOUR calling)
You are CHOSEN to be exactly Amy. Exactly where you are. Mom & wife. Pregnant right now. Business owner. Writer. You ARE CHOSEN to complete your calling. You ARE CALLED! Some days it may seem mundane. It may seem like the things are of little effect, but if you follow My Voice & plan, it all works into the big picture. Amy, I am not calling the perfect, I'm calling the willing. Those willing to listen, obey and act on My Word & Voice. Yes, some days it is as simple as cleaning a box out of the garage & doing laundry. Do not belittle the daily tasks. It is part of your CURRENT assignment, but it WILL NOT be your assignment forever. 
You are CHOSEN. You are CALLED. Even through the days that seem mundane. Organization and cleanliness allow a peaceful place for the Holy Spirit to operate and move. I've heard it said, "Clutter and chaos hinder the Holy Spirit. It breeds lack of peace." Maybe de-cluttering is what you are doing today. And do you know what, that is OKAY! It could very well be paving the way for starting up a ministry, and it may be right out of your garage!

You are CHOSEN and you are CALLED. If it's dishes and laundry today, accomplish TODAY's Calling. Conquering the World and seeing a million people saved may be work for next year, or 5 years from now or even 10, 20? But today, pave the way with your obedience…. even in the mundane.

You are CHOSEN to be YOU. Listen to the Voice of the Holy Spirit & obey today's assignment for your life.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Be All That You Can Be!

Eccl. 3:14 - ... He also has planted eternity in men's hearts and minds (a divinely planted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy.)
Have you ever felt a desire to do great things? Be great? You may not have a desire to enroll in the army, but their slogan, "Be All that You Can Be" rings true as a desire for accomplishment in your life.

Friend, God has placed inside you these desires. Desires to do great things! To be great! To accomplish. He has put in you the desire, and He will also give you the means to accomplish those things that you have been put here on earth to do. As it reminds us in Psalm 37:4, God gives us the desires of our hearts. Friend, he will give you YOUR desires! He places those desires in our hearts.

Continue to seek Him. Search Him out for answers. A phrase I have heard many times, "There is nothing that cannot be answered by sustained thought and prayer." Do you not know the next step in accomplishing your dream or desire? Think on it! Pray on it! Listen on it! Take some time and pray, then LISTEN to that Still Small Voice for a response. There are answers! Seek them out and LIVE YOUR DREAM!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Finding the WORD for YOUR Situation!

Jeremiah 30:2 - Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Write all the words that I have spoken to you in a book.
Jeremiah 30:8b - ... I will burst your bonds....
Is there something that you desire to come to pass in your life? Maybe it is the desire of an accomplishment; owning a business, becoming financially independent, writing & publishing a book. Maybe it's an actual physical item, like a house or car. Or quite possibly it could be experiencing freedom in your life from something that is holding you back, some sort of bondage, something you feel is holding you captive. It could be experiencing freedom from a long term addiction to food, alcohol, drugs, sexual sin.

Friend, I encourage you to FIND THE WORD for your situation! God has laid out 66 BOOKS of answers, and within the text of His Word is YOUR answer! There is the rock, the foundation, the place which to plant your flag! Plant your faith. Do you have a desire? FIND THE WORD for your situation and STAND on that promise until it comes to pass! Let's just look at a few examples:
  • Desire for a House:
  • Deuteronomy 6:10-11(KJV) - ..And the Lord thy God ... shall give thee houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not! - Do you desire a house? PLANT your faith on this verse! Plant your faith on THIS Word! Confess daily: "Thank you Lord for GIVING me HOUSES that are filled with good things! Thank you Father that you GIVE me the house I desire according to YOUR WORD in Deuteronomy 6:10-11! Thank you Lord! I receive your Word coming to pass in my life!"
  • Desire to be free from bondage:
  • Jeremiah 30:8 - I will BURST your bonds! - You do not have to remain captive to bondage! CONFESS daily, "Thank you Lord, according to Jeremiah 30:8, you have BURST the bondage I have had to the sin of ______________. Thank you for bursting that bondage! Thank you for SETTING ME FREE that I no longer have to remain a captive to this sin. Thank you for FREEDOM!!!"
  • Desire for Success as an Entrepreneur:
  • Proverbs 8:12 -  I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. - Witty Inventions? This could include concepts, ideas, actual inventions.... ideas that will help you be successful as a Child of God. Confess Daily: "Thank You Lord that you give me ideas, concepts, witty inventions that allow me to be financially independent. Ideas that You guide me to put into place that will allow me to financially bless and further my family and the Kingdom of God! Thank You that You give me more than enough in store for my family and to bless others!"
  • Desire for Healing to your Body:
  •  Psalm 107:20 - He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. - God can HEAL YOUR BODY. Apply the Word to it! Confess Daily: "Thank You Lord that You have sent out YOUR WORD to Heal my body! Thank You that I walk in divine health! Thank You for healing me of any disease, germ or virus that touches my body, that it dies instantly in Jesus Name. Thank You that everything that has a name has to bow at the name of Jesus. In Jesus name I speak to the sickness of _____________ , and tell it you have NO PLACE IN MY BODY! I call my body healed and whole in JESUS NAME!" - I confess this on a regular basis and THE WORD of God healed my deformed pinky finger!!! I had broken or severely jammed my pinky finger when I was younger, for 10-20 years, I had just accepted it! One day I noticed, after I had been REGULARLY confessing this confession over my body, ONE day I looked at my finger and it was COMPLETELY NORMAL! The Word of God straightened and thinned out my finger until it looked JUST LIKE my other normal, pinky finger! 

The WORD WORKS! Apply the WORD to your life
Whatever it is for you, whatever the need, the dream, the desire, there IS A WORD for your situation! Search out the Word for your situation. There is a WORD for anything and everything, it is your job to find these hidden treasures that are HIDDEN FOR YOU TO FIND, and apply them to your life! Be diligent to confess the Word over YOUR SITUATION and watch the WORD come to pass in your life!

Be blessed today friend!

Friday, September 20, 2013

#263 - Why You WON'T MISS IT?

Jeremiah 29:13 - Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
Mark 1:35 (ESV) - And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. 
Proverbs 31:15 - She rises while it is yet night and gets [spiritual] food for her household... 
Have you ever thought, "I just don't want to miss it. I don't want to miss God."

I know that there have definitely been points along my life where I thought the very same thing. This morning as I was journaling and taking some time to listen to the Voice of the Holy Spirit, I felt very reassured by what I heard.

If you get this next thing down, I believe you will have won 95% of the battle!!

What is that? First things first: Daily time with the Lord. Once we have committed and have established a DISCIPLINE in devoting time EACH DAY with the Lord, I believe a large portion of any upcoming battle is won. I believe we will "WIN" the day! I believe we will "WIN" in our relationships. I believe we will "WIN" with our dreams and goals!

I attended a business class last night, and the gentleman was talking about a mentorship relationship and what it looks like, what proper communication looks like and doesn't look like. He said something to this effect, "I recently had a conversation with a guy that I am mentoring. Consistently, when we would get together, he would talk the whole time. It may be an hour long of him talking, the guy barely came up for air. He established a habit of monopolizing the conversation. I'm OK with that, but I finally told him. 'You don't need me. If all I am is just a wall for you to talk to, you don't need me.'"

A true mentoring relationship sometimes means you need to be quiet! A true mentoring relationship means that both parties talk and both parties listen.

What does your time with the Lord look like? What does your "quiet time" with Him look like? Like the protege in the above relationship, are you doing ALL THE TALKING when you spend time with the Lord? Do you pray and pray and pray, then get up to leave while the Lord is still just sitting there. He never had a chance to get a word in. He didn't have a chance to offer HIS advice, HIS answer to the situation or problem.

WHY can we be assured we will not miss it? This is what I heard this morning...
Why won't you miss it? Because of this! Because of this daily time spent with Me! When you spend daily time with Me & even open up yourself to LISTEN, I will SPEAK because you are seeking Me!! You won't miss it! Business, marriage, money, kids. You won't miss it.
So friend, I ask, are you spending time listening? Sitting in silence, pen & journal in hand, ready to hear from that still, small Voice? Ready to record His thoughts about the very situation you are seeking Him about?

I encourage you to take some time today, to get in a quiet place and in that silence ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -    LISTEN. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

#262 - Part 2: Fueling A Marriage That Will Last

Proverbs 31:12 -  She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her.
Ephesians 4:26-27 (MSG) -  Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.
Going on 13 years of marriage (January 6th!), Tyler and I got to talking the other day about our marriage. It was a good conversation. We discussed why we felt it had been so good up to this point, how to improve it going forward, and one specific building block came out of our conversation that I thought would be valuable to share.

As a newlywed couple in our early marriage, we decided that we would implement a monthly marriage evaluation. Each month, we spent time filling out an evaluation with questions that we had pre-determined. We had seen patterns good and bad modeled by our parents and other people, some that we wanted to follow, some that we wanted to avoid. Our marriage evaluation may have took 30-45 minutes for each of us to fill out separately before coming together and discussing each question. The questions covered every possible aspect that could bring turmoil into a marriage if not dealt with, such as: How is the meal preparation going? How are household chores being done? Is this effective? How is money being managed? How is our sex life? Have you felt romanced in the last month? How is fitness working within marriage? How are relationships/friendships outside of marriage? How has our relationship with the Lord been, our time alone with God? And the list goes on.


At the end of each marriage evaluation, we had TWO of the MOST IMPORTANT questions. I'll start with the last question.
  • On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your marriage and why? Where could it improve? 
That was a great question! For one month, I may have scored our marriage as an 7 with the reason "why" as, "I feel like I wasn't romanced at all. Our schedules just got too busy, and there was little of the spark." The following month, I would notice Tyler working on keeping the spark in our marriage. Maybe bring me flowers, or scheduling a romantic date with a walk on the beach. It was RARE, if ever, for two months in a row that we felt the "weak" spot was in the same area.


For me, and probably for most young married couples, I did not know how to communicate in the beginning. I definitely did not like confrontation. If my feelings got hurt, if not for this most important question, I would have pushed my hurt feelings under the carpet, only for hurt to build upon hurt. They may have been small hurts, but hurts nonetheless. Over time, those hurts would have most likely created scars over and around my heart. For some marriages, those small scars undealt with are what has led to the "D" word down the road. What was that question? 
  • List 2 positive withholds and 1 negative withhold that happened in the last month. 
"What in the world is a withhold?" you may ask. First of all, a "withhold" comes with rules. The recipient could only respond with TWO WORDS. "Thank You." A positive withhold was something that Tyler did that month that made me feel good. Maybe I didn't have time to comment or say something to him at the moment it happened, but it was something that made me feel good. A negative withhold was the opposite. It was something that he did or said that month that hurt my feelings or made me upset. We may have been in a public environment, not allowing me to comment immediately on it, and then maybe it was forgotten..... until I had to pull together 3 things for "Withholds" on our marriage evaluation. Then we would sandwich the withholds when we told the other person: one positive, one negative and wrap up with the final positive withhold.

What this taught me? As a newlywed, this was CRUCIAL to me in learning how to communicate. I knew that ALL Tyler could say in response was, "Thank you." That was the rule. He couldn't get defensive and try to defend his position, but could only say, "Thank you." Whether my feelings were right or wrong, had no bearings on the fact that they were my feelings, and my feelings had been hurt. Same with Tyler. When he would give me his "Withholds," I could not defend myself, but could only thank him for telling me. 

It was WONDERFUL! It allowed a "green," "newlywed couple" to voice our feelings, even the hard ones. Some months it may have been about something sexual, that would have been embarrassing for one of us to bring up otherwise. Other months, it may have been something I said to undermine Tyler in front of people he respected. 

Ultimately, our first year of marriage we LEARNED how to communicate. We learned how to talk about topics, despite how difficult the subject may be. When most of the time, newly married couples may take years to learn how to communicate and talk about the tough issues, some never talk about them, we learned during year one. 

We no longer do a monthly marriage evaluation, although we did discuss re-implementing it a few times a year when we go on our "husband/wife" weekend recharge retreats. Why reimplement it after so many years? Communicating and keeping our marriage fresh is worth it! 

What about you? How do you keep your marriage fresh? How do you keep the communication lines open with a busy life, jobs, kids, and everything else that goes on?

Friday, September 13, 2013

#261 - Part 1: Fueling a Marriage That Will LAST!

Proverbs 31:12 - She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her.
Proverbs 31:17 - She girds herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] and makes her arms strong and firm. 
In a recent conversation, my husband was telling me about a minister he was listening to. This minister said, "I love God more than I love my wife. But....... she also loves God more than she loves me!"

It is the key ingredient to a long & successful marriage. How would you respond if I posed the question to you? "Do you love God more than you love your spouse? Your children?"

Why is it so important to love God first? When you love God first and foremost, you will love your spouse how God would want you to love them, even on those days when they may be unbecoming, unattractive, frustrating. When you love God first and foremost, you will find ways to show love to your spouse, to make them feel special, to meet their needs.

THIS IS CRUCIAL! Sure, we can only control our own love for the Lord... we cannot control our spouse, and their commitment and time they spend with the Lord. BUT we can CONTROL ourself! When we LOVE the Lord first, it WILL spill off into all other relationships in our life. His love will overflow into our relationship with our spouse, our co-workers, our children. When we love God first, HE will give us wisdom HOW TO love! Maybe it's loving in a way that we would not have thought of on our own. Maybe, unbeknownst to us, our spouse is really feeling like he/she needs a break. He/she would feel loved just by having a weekend getaway to recoup. Fishing. Chilling. Sleeping. In a mountain cabin. Alone or with you. SO... because we love the LORD first, the Holy Spirit leads us to send them on a little 1, 2, 3 day getaway to refresh (no kids allowed!). Maybe it's something as simple as, our spouse would feel loved by having some of their favorite fresh baked cookies when they get home from a long day at work. Maybe it's the new "technology" piece they were eye-balling at BestBuy, or a new shirt? Maybe it's just walking in the house to a wife with make-up on, her hair done & in clothes other than sweatpants & a T-shirt?

FUELING your marriage is IMPORTANT! You cannot get a return on investment if you do not invest!! That could mean a regular weekly, or monthly date night. A husband/wife retreat to getaway without kids... once or twice a year. It doesn't have to be too fancy, but investing in the babysitter, the lodging, the meals could REAP GREAT DIVIDENDS into a long, healthy and happy marriage!!!

Some days it's about the little things. The little things DO matter. Saving the curly chips for them, because those are their favorites. Pulling the covers up and tucking them in when it's time for bed, because they like their covers tight. Filling up their coffee cup for a refill so they don't have to get out of their comfy seat. Peeling their tomato that you put on their sandwich, because it shows you went the extra step - and it's just how grandma did for them! Loving them. Saying kind words. Not nagging. Serving their favorite foods. Showing love how THEY receive love the best! If you need help in this area, a great book to read and RE-read is, "The Five Love Languages." ----- And friend, let me remind you of the principle of sowing and reaping. When you SOW these good seeds into your spouse, you WILL REAP a harvest in return! Don't fret! If you feel like you are doing all the giving and sowing, continue sowing with a good attitude, GOD SEE'S! Your good deeds will not go unnoticed!

Finally, the Proverbs 31 woman girds herself with spiritual strength. FRIEND, YOU need to be renewed and refreshed! YOU need to have YOUR batteries recharged too. This may mean TAKING SOME THINGS OFF YOUR PLATE, OFF YOUR CALENDAR! Her physical fitness strength gives her the extra energy she needs to keep up, to keep her metabolism high and give her those endorphins (the happy chemical her body makes!)! Her mental strength keeps her sharp, because she invests time into reading books to help her grow mentally versus wasting countless hours watching TV, on Facebook or playing mindless games on her iPhone. She finds ways to STAY SHARP, stay mentally strong, to be an iron-sharpener to her husband.

It's OUR job to get OURSELF right. Let's begin today. What are some ways we can FUEL our marriage today??? I'd love to hear ONE way that YOU fuel your marriage? Feel free to share! :)

Have a blessed day!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

#260 - How to Recognize the Noise!

DID YOU KNOW: You wondering why there are "#'s" in front of some blog posts and not others? Well... here's your answer. Today's blog, #260, will somewhat have reference back to the Proverbs 31 Woman. Any blog posts that do not have a number at the beginning of the title will just be a general devotion, not referring to a passage in Proverbs 31. Also, unless specified differently, the Amplified Version of the Bible is typically used. 

Proverbs 31:16 -  She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.
In referring to the Proverbs 31 woman, she is obviously an accomplished woman. She has done much, and is greatly to be modeled after. Though, most people have NO strength left, mental or physical because their productive time has been spent on things done in vain, activities that they should not have been doing in the first place. We can find ourselves not moving on to bearing fruit and having fruitful vines because our lack of strength never gets us to planting the vines! THE VINES ARE NEVER PLANTED BECAUSE WE ARE TOO BUSY WITH THE NOISE!!! We remain UNFRUITFUL in the areas God has called us to because of the noise.

Have you ever thought this: "There is so much noise, I cannot even hear myself think!" Noise around you. Noise in your head. Noise in your thoughts. Noise on your calendar, your phone, your computer. Noise. Noise. Noise! So much noise, you cannot hear.

Noise comes in many different formats. This morning while having my quiet time and thinking about a bit of a rushed morning schedule once we get started, I found myself asking the Lord this question. "Father, will you please guide me today? Teach me how to listen and obey even amongst the hustle and bustle, in all the noise. Help me Father. Shutting out noise. I know you knew noise would come. And I know they had their own kind of noise when Proverbs 31 was written."

The phrase, "Handling Noise in order to Hear" came to mind. With all of that said, I'd like to share with you some of the insights on noise that I received. EVALUATE YOURSELF. Are there any areas in the below noise categories that you need to eliminate, evaluate, tweak or even potentially focus on more?

Noise can be boiled down to two main categories. External Noise & Internal Noise. Let's look at the following list, not all is bad noise, but can be noise nonetheless.

External Noise
  1. Having the TV on - needing noise in the background, often does not allow us to think, pray or hear from the Holy Spirit
  2. Cell Phone - Can be an obvious distraction. Be it games, email, texting, etc. In the Roman times they entertained people to keep them from THINKING and revolting.  Hum.... could cell phones be a point of distraction to keep us from thinking?
  3. Apps on your cell phone - Each app adds an additional element of noise...just one more thing to look at or do.
  4. Music or audios - While your driving, do you ever have time to think? Or is there always noise in the background?
  5. Children - Let's be honest, from the time they wake up, if they are toddler the idea of thinking quietly may be a far fetch from reality.
  6. Activities - How many activities do you choose to be involved in and are they the right activities?
  7. Schedules - What's on your schedule? Your husbands schedule? Your kids schedule? 
  8. What you allow to GO on your schedule? - Like the Proverbs 31 woman in verse 16, do you expand prudently? Do you really evaluate and consider whether your time should be going to this area?
  9. Facebook, twitter, Social Media - Need I say more? At the end of the day, minutes can easily turn into hours if we are not careful. 
  10. Pictures - Constantly having to "capture the moment". (Often this causes us to miss the real "moments" because we are trying to capture them.)
  11. Overcommitting
  12. Disorganization - A mess. 
  13. Lack of Systems in place - Constantly have to think, "Where am I going to put this?" because it doesn't have a place. 
  14. Excessive Entertainment - Always a movie, Netflix, a show, a book. 
  15. Work
  16. The WRONG Work 
Internal Noise
  1. Comparing - Allowing your mind to compare yourself to others
  2. Busyness - No downtime to sit quietly and think or pray. 
  3. Guilt - Guilt is a condemnation tool that takes your listening focus onto the negative.
  4. Self-Talk - What do you SAY to yourself? What are you speaking into existence about your life? Family? Children? Your day? Your future?
  5. Belief or Lack of Belief - Believing the wrong way. How or what are you believing from the Lord? Often our own belief is too low not allowing GOD to do His part. I heard the words, "BELIEVE ME WILDLY!"
  6. Wandering thoughts - Thinking about nothing and meaningless things. That is noise and wasted time. 

TO DO: Make a "THINK LIST" - When you have the down time, what are some things you need to think on? Have a list ready & THINK on these things. It may be an organized prayer time, it may be thinking on ways to organize and streamline your life, it may be thinking on your next steps towards accomplishing your dream, being productive, parenting, being healthy, preparing healthy meals, developing a schedule for YOURSELF, cleaning, etc. Develop a THINK LIST. When your mind is tempted to wander about nothing or spend countless hours drifting into Facebook, INSTEAD with a THINK LIST in place, you may find yourself creating valuable systems to put into place in your home that will help you have more peace and be more productive, and ultimately accomplish what GOD would have you accomplish on a daily basis! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

#259 - THREE Power Tips of Encouragement

Romans 15:1, 2, 4, 5 - We who are strong [in our convictions and of robust faith] ... (2)Let each one of us make it a practice to please (make happy) his neighbor for his good and for his true welfare, to edify him [to strengthen him and build him up spiritually]....(4)the encouragement [drawn] from the Scriptures we might hold fast to and cherish hope. (5)...the God Who gives the power of patient endurance (steadfastness) and Who supplies encouragement
Proverbs 31:12 - She comforts, encouragesand does him only good as long as there is life within her.
Encouragement and strength come from God and from His Word. His Word was brought for this purpose, to strengthen, guide and direct the believer. To give us a roadmap when we need direction, comfort when we need help, peace when we need calmed in our spirit and answers when we choose to look. Let's look at the 3 power tips of encouragement.

  1. GIVE IT - Encouragement, as we see in Romans 15:2, is for YOU and I, We who are strong in our convictions and of robust faith, "encouragement" is for us to GIVE. When? As often as possible! To who? Our neighbor, the person next to us, friends, believers, and even the non-believer. That we should be concerned about his/her TRUE WELFARE. It may just be our encouragement that gets them through the day. It could be as simple as complimenting the cashier at the grocery store for her friendly smile or pretty skin. She may just get home that night with that as the highlight of her day. Encouragement. Give it freely and give it often!
  2. RECEIVE IT from the Word - Do you need encouragement? The WORD is a giver of encouragement. The WORD was put into place for you and I to be able to come and RECEIVE the much needed encouragement that we will need often as believers. The Word is designed to fill you with hope, to encourage and build you up. The Word is designed to be your sword, your strength, so that you do not have to go ONE DAY without hope and direction! Believers SHOULD BE the most hopeful, expectant, excited people alive. When we know Who is on the inside of us, what is to come and that God is on our side, we have a LOT to be excited about. Today, receive YOUR encouragement from making sure you spend some time in the Word. 
  3. RECEIVE IT from God - According to Romans 15:5, GOD supplies us with encouragement. Maybe you are out and about, you don't have access to pulling out your Bible, maybe you don't have access to just sitting down to dive into the Word, you can still receive encouragement from God, the Holy Spirit Himself!! Begin to pray. If you are in your car, begin to thank God outloud. Thank Him for encouraging you. Thank Him for helping you in your situation (in advance). Thank Him for giving you the words to speak in your upcoming meeting. Thank Him for guiding you. Thank Him IN ADVANCE for what it is you need. Praise Him. Sing to Him. Allow your spirit to be encouraged by the very Holy Spirit that is with you 24/7! The Holy Spirit lives inside of you, as as part of the Trinity, part of God, the Holy Spirit is there to ENCOURAGE YOU! Take advantage of it and RECEIVE! 
We see that our Proverbs 31 friend practices the art of encouraging her husband. As long as their is life within her, she makes sure that she puts Romans 15:2 into action! He is the man that God had placed in her life to be her partner and completer. Her encouragement to him only helps him to lead their family better. Sister, encourage your husband today. Build him up. Think of three kind things to say to him that would encourage him. Maybe it's simply, "Hey honey, I just want to let you know that I appreciate you going to work to provide for our family. I don't see or know what you go through every day, but I know it can take a toll on you at times. Thank you so much for providing for our family, even when your job may throw some hard things at you. I want you to know I SEE and I appreciate you. I love you." 

Give and receive encouragement today. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

CONGRATS! - Guest Post by New Author Natalie Replogle!!

Today I am hosting a stop on the blog tour for author, Natalie Replogle. As friends and going to the same High School as Natalie, I'm so excited that her book, A Rescued Heart has now been released! In today's blog, she will be answering a few questions about her book.

Your personal faith is very important to you.  How does this show up in your writing and/or characters?
A lot of Christian books I’ve read have one of the main characters that doesn’t know or want God and learns along the way who God is and begins a relationship with Him. I wanted to do things a little different. I wanted both main characters to share the faith and by doing this show the ups and downs of living a life as a follower of Christ. We are all sinners saved by Grace, no one is perfect, but we do serve a perfect God. I wanted people to see that even believers struggle along the way, make poor choices and don’t trust God the way we should. My prayer is that someone reading my book will identify with one of the characters and see changes they can make in their own life.

How long did it take to write the book?
The first draft took me a little over a year, but it took much longer until I was done with the final draft. From the day I started writing until I had the final draft took about three years. I had already sent out my manuscript to a few agents when I started working on the outline of the second book. I did a few chapters and sent them off to my editor but got a reply that what I had wasn’t going to work. We spoke on the phone and talked about some options and then came to the decision that I had to go back and change a portion of first book to make the second book flow better.  I love the new changes and what it added to the storyline. I think it brought improved suspense and added more depth to the characters. 

Do you have book #2 already written?
I am halfway done! With our busy summer, I took a break on writing to focus on my family and give my mind a little rest. Now that school has started my free time has increased and I’m looking forward to getting back to my characters!

Did you use the Author’s Learning Center to help you with your writing?
No, I did not.  I just did a lot of research on how to write a fiction book.  I had an amazing editor offer to help me on my grammar and she was also such a great encourager and person to bounce ideas around with….and someone that spoke honestly with me when she thought things needed to change or didn’t work. I also read and reread all of my favorite author’s books and took notes on how they wrote, explained scenes, dialogue, introductions, etc. I did a few writing contests in hopes to get feedback. I did a Genesis contest through ACFW that was for unpublished authors. It was the first five pages and I had a published author (Lynette Eason), an agent and a publisher critique it. I also got connected (through a mutual friend) with fiction author Sharlene MacLaren who critiqued my first chapter and gave me great advice and so kindly answered a few of my questions.

Head over to Amazon where you can read a short preview from the book and you can either buy the paper or e-book version of A Rescued Heart.  
Here's the link:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

#258 - FOUR Ways to be a Super Woman!

Proverbs 31:15-16a - She rises while it is yet night and gets [spiritual] food for her household and assigns her maids their tasks. She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]...
As we read about the Proverbs 31 woman, I'm sure you've thought it too... she is Super Woman! When we read about all her attributes and accomplishments, it can be extremely intimidating in comparison to where we may currently be in life. I assure you, I am NO different! I often stand in awe of this amazing woman.

Let's look at just a few things from the verses above and see how we may be able to apply these Super Woman qualities!
(1) Benefits to "rising while it is yet night" - The house is quiet. For maybe the only time in the next 24 hours will you be able to think without hearing, "Mommmmy! Mommmmy!" Or without wiping a mouth, washing fingers, cleaning up spilled milk, picking up toys before your spouse walks in the door. I read this morning the quality of "THINK TIME."
    • "Resolve now to set aside some time each day (at least thirty minutes) to be completely by yourself.... Select a time when your mind is fresh and when you can be free from distractions.... Spend some time in managed solitude every day and think yourself to success." - David J. Schwartz
(2) Getting YOUR Spiritual Food or Direction - As a woman, mom, business owner, employee, wife, friend, sister, daughter, we have responsibilities that involve the well-being and growth of others. As a mom, it's mine (and your) responsibility to grow our children up in the Lord. HOW are we doing that on a daily basis? Is it a planned event? Are we daily imparting the Word of God into our children, teaching them Biblical lessons or how to act as a child of God? With grown kids... are we encouraging them in their walk with the Lord? Cheering them on to seek the Lord even in the little things? Being an iron-sharpener versus a constant bearer of gossip? Being spiritually fed every morning put US in the right mentality to be able to LEAD our children & ourselves! Being spiritually fed and taking that morning time to THINK and PRAY, allows us to be SPIRITUALLY DIRECTED for our day, so those things we do are not done in vain! 
(3) Assign maids their tasks! - I don't know about you, but I have yet to hire a maid, though I look forward to the day I will be able too!! Until then, how are we doing in assigning those MAID TASKS? Planning when things are going to get done?
    • Meal Preparation - healthy & on time for the family 
    • Cleaning - baseboards, toilets, mopping, dusting, vacuuming... all the fun stuff!
    • Laundry - washing, folding AND putting away. 
    • Organizing - how does that tupperware cabinet look? the garage? the pantry? your closet? 
This time of planning of when you are going to get to some of these things. To be honest, I need to work on every one of these areas! But, if we never take the time to assign these tasks to OURSELVES (until we can afford a maid), they may go undone, or a point of stress because we always feel behind. IF ONLY we PLANNED out these items, we may be surprised at the amount of time we actually have AFTER they are completed, not to mention how good we feel about ourselves. (i.e. not carrying that guilt around, and nervous if our husbands are going to ask us for clean underwear again - they are still in the laundry basket!) UNTIL "we" have a maid, our job is to PLAN, PLAN, PLAN - ASSIGN THE TASK. Pull out the calendar, and FIND a TIME to ASSIGN THAT TASK!!! Maybe it's one day a month where we prepare meals in advance to freeze? Just PLAN it!
(4) CONSIDER & Expand PRUDENTLY - I KNOW God has called me to do great things with my life, to accomplish things that will change people's lives for the better. I also know that He has called YOU to great things too! He has a purpose and plan, and it is OUR JOB to accomplish HIS purpose for our life. That will take carefully considering everything that goes onto our calendar. If we are going to add something to the calendar, expanding prudently after time as put prayerfully considering that activity. IS it something that you and I are suppose to do, or will it be just one more thing to keep us "busy?" (B.U.S.Y. - Being Under Satan's Yoke) - Make sure that "BUSY" isn't keeping you from accomplishing God's BEST for your life! Sometimes the most POWERFUL and SPIRITUAL word can be "NO"!  Consider, maybe you are suppose to say NO to that committee so you can actually work towards the assignment GOD has for you to do! 
Be blessed! Maybe take ONE thing in the above thoughts that you can work on this week. We CAN BE SUPER WOMEN! It may just take a little THINKING and PLANNING! :)

    Monday, August 26, 2013

    How to GROW Belief?

    Matthew 17:20-21 (NKJ) - So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
    If you remember in the Bible it talked about each of us given the measure of faith as believers. One believer not given a "greater measure," but each of us has the same amount. Well then, why do some people do significantly more with their life? Why does it appear some people have such greater faith because they accomplish so much more? Well.... let's take a look at that this morning.

    Here in Matthew 17, the disciples have just come to Jesus because they were not able to cast out a demon. They wanted to know why, so Jesus goes about telling them. They had been given "the" measure of faith, so faith should not have been the problem. Jesus proceeds to tell them it is because of their unbelief. When I looked up "unbelief" in the dictionary, it defined it as skepticism, rejection of belief. 

    Where and what is the TIME spent on? Rejecting belief? Dwelling on what is not possible? OR is time spent on building up belief? Building up what IS possible? Unbelief is rejection of belief. Belief was defined as confidence in the truth. A quote I read this morning goes hand in hand with what we are talking about, "It is usually overlooked, it is noteworthy that leaders spend a considerable time alone, with nothing but their own thinking apparatus." 

    To increase belief, we need to increase the time we spend on that topic or area we are looking to grow. At the end of Matthew 17:21, it talks about prayer and fasting. The type of demon that the disciples were trying to cast out only came out through prayer and fasting. Their unbelief was too great, they had not spent enough time increasing their belief. In this instance, Jesus said it could have been done through prayer and fasting. Prayer, often something done alone.... and when one fasts, it is often giving up food to spend more time in prayer or with the Lord alone.

    Leaders spend considerable time alone. 

    It is not a mystery that the greatest leaders, good and bad (Stalin, Hitler, etc - spent jail time and had much alone time to devise their evil schemes) spend a lot of time alone. They are able to plan, increase belief in the plan. Increase belief in their beliefs!

    So.... today.... what area do you want to grow in belief? DWELL on the positive of it. DWELL on why it is possible! DWELL on the how it can be done. Continue to think, dwell, ponder on the positive, on the possibility. GET ALONE to think, to journal, to pray. As you do this, watch your unbelief diminish until all that is left over is the DOING IT!!!! You will have accomplished what at one point seemed like a distant wish or dream! Through spending that time alone growing your belief, you will have accomplished victory!

    Thursday, August 22, 2013

    Seeds of Expectancy!

    1 Cor. 3:7 - So neither he who plants is anything nor he who waters, but (only) God Who makes it grow AND become greater. 
    Maybe the Holy Spirit is trying to get ME to get something, because the theme today is the same. Expectancy! Here were the words I journaled as I was listening this morning...
    Plant seeds of expectation Amy. EXPECT today that I will DO great things!! Smile & EXPECT. At each corner, expect good. LOOK for it! Recognize it!! Make a list if you need too. 
    Planting seeds of expectancy. What a fun way to go through the day! Smiling, looking around at each corner with great anticipation of GOD putting that next great thing or person there. Even looking down to the ground to see a penny or quarter. Making that "mental" or "written out" list of the GOOD things God is doing. Today for example.... it's a BEAUTIFUL day here in South Carolina! For the first in many days it is not raining and is suppose to stay sunny all day! YIPPEE! The perfect day to do something special with my kiddos!

    Smile. Expect. Drive and expect. Walk and expect. Answer the phone and expect. PLANT SEEDS of expectancy. God will make your dreams and goals grow. God will help those seeds not just grow, but become greater! Is it a seed of EXPECTANCY for growth in your business? Expect to meet the next customer today.

    God will not only help the seeds GROW, he will make them become GREATER!

    Keep your list today. Write down everything GREAT and SMALL that God does... from the penny and front row parking place to the huge new customer account or new friend you met. Expect GOD to do what HE can do!

    Tuesday, August 20, 2013


    Psalm 85:8 - I will listen [with expectancy] to what God the Lord will say...
    At times... I'm sure we are all guilty. Guilty of what? Guilty of falling into the trap of the mundane routine, specifically when it comes to our time with God. Hopefully, you have a regular time that you spend each day with God, preferably morning, allowing your day to be fueled with the Word. Thankfully, it is a routine that I have been pretty consistent with, not perfect, but consistent.

    This morning, as I read, I was convicted of how often my time previously was spent without expectancy. My routine of reading and journaling, at times, left out the true fervor of seeking, reading, listening with expectancy to what the Lord was going to tell me or reveal to me.

    So my question to you (and me), do you need to revamp your quiet time? Do you need to make an alteration? An adjustment? In that time when you quiet yourself to just listen, tune in to that still small Voice, do you need to increase your expectancy? An hour or two hours in the Word, pales in comparison from hearing ONE WORD or ONE SENTENCE from the Lord about your exact situation.

    When you get in that place next, I encourage you to listen with expectancy. There are hidden treasures for you, hidden for you, not from you. Listen, really listen. EXPECT that what you are going to hear next from that still small Voice is going to be EXACTLY what you need!

    Monday, August 19, 2013

    Not Missing the Memories Along the Way!

    Ps 80: 3, 7, 19 - Restore us again... Restore us again... Restore us, cause Your face to shine (in pleasure, approval & favor on us)...
    Ps 81:8, 10 - ... if you would listen to Me! (10) I am the Lord your God Who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide & I will fill it. 
    Do you feel like sometimes you are thinking to yourself, "Restore me Lord, Restore me. Restore me." Or, "Just get me to 'that' place. Get me where I want to go. Get me there. Can I please just 'arrive.'"

    Like a crop takes time to grow, so does your harvest. This morning as I journaled, read the Word and listened to the Lord, I felt like He was gently nudging me to remember, "If you will just listen to Me, I will fill your every desire." Similar to what the Psalmists said in Psalm 81, " your mouth wide & I will fill it."

    As I was listening, I got a picture of a woman. She was standing in her kitchen area, holding a cup of warm coffee. As she peered out the window, steam floated off the fragile china-like mug. It was a brisk morning, fall was upon her and her family. She was not where she wanted to be in life, far from where she thought she would be at this point. Though, she smiled nonetheless. For today, she was going to enjoy and drink in every moment of what her day would bring. She was going to enjoy her kids. She was going to revel in the moment of laughter when her child said and did something funny. Today, she was going to enjoy the journey on the way to where she was going.

    Maybe you feel you are in a "Joseph" place in your life. Be it in the pit or prison, maybe just accused of  something you did not do. But as it says in Psalm 81:8,10 - "If you would listen to ME! I am the Lord your God Who brought you up out of the land land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide and I will fill it." 

    During this time, if you and I would listen to the Lord, HE will fill our every desire. Even during this time where we are on the journey to where we want to go, maybe seemingly far from our final "dream" destination, BUT, if we would listen to the Lord, He will even allow this journey-time to be enjoyable. Like the woman I saw, in the midst of the journey, we will be able to not miss the memory moments. We will be able to ENJOY every step of the way.

    And like Joseph, do you know where our journey will end if we choose to listen to the Lord?! It will end up FUL-FILLED! And you will not miss a laugh, the first tooth your child loses, funny dance time, birthday surprises, game night, dinner joy .... buried away forever, in the recesses of your mind will be each memory and moment that you did not miss during this journey. When you reach the ultimate destination of your dream or goal, you will not feel like the journey was in vain because it is filled with precious memories along the way.

    Today, the place where you are at, choose to find the JOY in each of todays moments. Close your eyes,  and take a snapshot of "this" moment, the funny faces of your child. Save the picture in your mind, they will not be young forever.

    Enjoy today, find it's JOY. When you reach your final destination, you will have a photobook of amazing memories!

    Monday, August 12, 2013

    Need an ANSWER?

    Mark 4:20, 22 - And those sown on the good (well-adapted) soil are the ones who hear the Word and receive and accept and welcome it and bear fruit—some thirty times as much as was sown, some sixty times as much, and some [even] a hundred times as much. [Things are hidden temporarily only as a means to revelation.] For there is nothing hidden except to be revealed, nor is anything [temporarily] kept secret except in order that it may be made known.
    Do you have questions? Need answers? The answer you are seeking is not hidden FROM you, it is hidden FOR YOU! The revelation that you desire for your situation is not designed to be kept hidden, it is designed for you to FIND it. God is not One to just dangle something in front of you (in this case, a question) with no means for you to find the answer to it. Answers are there, and you are MEANT to find them. Let's take a look at a few situations in the Bible.

    Noah. Let's look at Noah. In Genesis 6:9, it said that Noah walked in habitual fellowship with God. God had a man that He knew would listen to His instructions, and when the time came, Noah was mandated to build a boat, a big boat. God gave him very specific instructions, a detailed plan with measurements, the type of material, everything Noah needed in order to build this boat to God's specifications. It needed to withstand the weight of ALL the animals that would be on the boat. It needed to withstand the storms and weather. Noah listened, and God answered. God gave Noah a plan.

    Moses. After 40 years of personal exile due to killing a man, Moses was called back to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses was called by God to go before Pharaoh to make the request, as we know, "Let My people go!" It was a request from God Himself. God wanted to Israelites to be set free from captivity. You remember, the 10 plagues... God told Moses exactly what to do in order for the Israelites to be set free. Sure, it took 10 major plagues before Pharaoh would listen, but in the end, the people were set free. Moses listened, and God answered. God gave Moses a plan.

    Solomon. Solomon was directed to build the Lord's house (1 Kings 6). From the cedar to the dimensions, from the inner sanctuary to overlaying the floors with gold; God gave Solomon very specific instructions on how to build the temple and with the exact materials. It was a specific project. Solomon listened, and God answered. God gave Solomon a plan.

    Friend, YOU are no different. Remember the verse that says God is the same yesterday, today & tomorrow. You serve the SAME God that Noah, Moses & Solomon served. Although, YOU and I have something even better! As Christians, when we got saved, the Holy Spirit Himself came to live inside of us.

    Are you feeling like your schedule is crazy? How can you possibly get everything done? YOUR answer is not hidden FROM you, it is hidden FOR YOU! Ask. Seek. Just like God laid out dimensions for the completion of the temple, He will lay out specifically what kind of schedule for your day. Just ask.

    Is it marital? How to keep your laundry caught up? How to grow your business? How to spend more time with your family? How to increase your income. There is no problem that sustained thought (prayer) can't answer!

    So today.... whatever the question or problem.... commit some time to seeking the Lord! Just like Noah, Moses & Solomon, if you listen, you may be very surprised at the depth of detail you get back! It's there for you to find, YOUR answer is not hidden FROM you, it is hidden FOR YOU!


    Sunday, August 11, 2013

    Is it Dark? GOOD IS COMING!

    Jeremiah 1:11-12 -  Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Jeremiah, what do you see? And I said, I see a branch or shoot of an almond tree [the emblem of alertness and activity, blossoming in late winter]. Then said the Lord to me, You have seen well, for I am alert and active, watching over My word to perform it.
    Did you, like me, find it odd that a tree or anything would be blooming in LATE winter? Winter is not the time for things to bloom. When I've read this scripture, I've often thought this, but this morning I actually looked up when an almond tree should bloom and it is NOT in late winter. Almond trees should bloom in early spring, and optimally when there is no chance of a frost.

    What does that mean to you? Do you feel you are in darkness? Does your situation seem bleak right now? Do you feel you are in the wilderness? Friend, let me tell you, wherever you are right now have faith, says that Lord that "I am alert and active, watching over My word to perform it." The LORD, though it may seem like a dark and dreary time for you, it may seem cold, gloomy and dark.... like winter, but have FAITH that the LORD IS ACTIVE in your situation. What's even better, that the LORD can make things BLOOM at the most un-optimal time! You may be in a "winter" right now in life, be it job challenges, financial, health, family, business, stress of busyness.... whatever your "winter" is, HAVE FAITH that even in this time, the LORD IS ACTIVE in the background. Expect good things. Expect that even during this "winter" season, this "dark" time that in the background the Lord is alert, active, and working on your behalf to make things come out in YOUR FAVOR in the long run! That in the MIDDLE of it all, He can make things bloom. He can make flowers even in the winter. 

    EXPECT GOOD. You are a child of the MOST HIGH GOD, choose to believe today in the LIGHT and not in the darkness. Choose to believe that though you may not see it yet, GOOD IS COMING!

    Be blessed!

    Saturday, August 10, 2013

    #257 - How to Fill Up your "JOY TANK"

    Eccl 2:26a - For to the person who pleases Him God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy...
    Prov. 31:18a - She tastes and sees that her gain from work [with and for God] is good...
    Good Morning! :) And technically "WELCOME BACK!" (to both of us!) I'm excited about this next phase of my journey for consistent weekly blog posts, and I'm excited about you stopping back in again on a regular basis. It seems with kids come change, and changes of seasons. I think I may have come to the realization that there is always going to be something "new" to adjust to.... our upcoming "new" will be pre-school, then welcoming a new baby into the family come December. In the meantime, we are just going to ROLL with the calling God has on my life, which is to write. With that said.... let's begin...

    Have you ever found yourself in a rut of a routine that has become mundane and unfulfilling? Maybe you go weeks, months, even years doing the same things, but instead of with a smile on your face while doing these activities, a somber expression is pasted there instead. When at one time you found daily joy in what you were doing, but somewhere along the way, the joy has disappeared.

    In Ecclesiastes 2 verse 26, it talks about pleasing God. I'm sure if we got out a piece of paper and began to brain storm, we could come up with several ways to please God.... obedience, service, love, worship, studying His Word... the list would go on. I believe ONE way that we please God, is to be OBEDIENT to our calling, to be obedient to using the gifts He has given us. Proverbs 31:18 talks about the Proverbs 31 Woman seeing that her work with and for God is good. Her work, what she has done for God (which may include for God's people) is good. Our Proverbs 31 friend even "tastes," she "experiences" that her work has been good. Our Proverbs 31 friend sees that in her work, she has gain and has ADDED VALUE.

    I believe from the moment in our life where we do not feel like we are adding value to others or making a difference in someone's life, we begin to lose some of our joy, some of our edge. Life begins to seem mundane and unfulfilling. When we are just going through the motions, not adding value our "joy levels" go down and down and down, until our "Joy Tank" is empty.

    So... maybe it's time for you?? Maybe it's time for you to sit down and really reflect on your gifts or your calling. If I were a betting person, I would guess that when you are operating in your gift, it brings you joy. Maybe you LOVE to bake. I would guess, when you are baking, whether it be for your husband or a friend, I bet it brings you joy. Maybe for you it's writing? Or helping people put a wardrobe together that is trendy? Maybe it's painting? Working with kids? Doing yard work? What brings you joy?? How can you USE YOUR GIFT to ADD VALUE to others?

    Take out a piece of paper. Brainstorm. How can you USE your gifts today? Tomorrow? This week? How can you use your gifts on a REGULAR BASIS? If you can answer that question for yourself, and APPLY the answer, watch your Joy Tank fill up! Each day, instead of walking in mundane activities, you will see a NEW YOU! You will see a YOU who is fulfilled again, who is finding JOY again, whose daily activities are producing a new excitement for life!

    I would LOVE to hear from you, what is ONE thing you could do to INCREASE YOUR JOY TANK? Is it making cookies for a friend? Singing in your church choir? Let's increase our JOY by walking in the gifts & calling God has given us!

    Thursday, June 13, 2013


    Habakkuk 2:3 - For the vision is yet for an appointed time and it hastens to the end [fulfillment]; it will not deceive or disappoint. Though it tarry, wait [earnestly] for it, because it will surely come; it will not be behindhand on its appointed day.
    Galatians 6:9 - And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.
    Have you been trudging along towards your goal? Some days almost painfully. Waiting, hoping, praying, pleading, desiring with your whole being for the time to come when the appointed day has arrived?! Has it seemed like an eternity in the pursuit of your dream, your goal a reality, but you are ready for the goal to not just be a goal anymore, but an accomplishment!

    Friend, this morning, I hope to breath hope back into your soul. If you're growing tired, I hope that The Word this morning can provide a new joy and expectation to you!

    It was five years ago, I was working in banking as a Merchant Sales Rep. Every day was a day to chase the next deal, call the next prospective client, email the next Business Services Officer with an update on their latest referral. Though each day was a race to achieve my monthly sales goals, the days became mundane. The alarm clock would ring in the morning and I would just pull the covers up over my head. I desired to do anything but go to work. Upon waking, I would go to the bathroom and think, "Maybe I'll be pregnant. Then maybe I can get out of this job?" Don't get me wrong, it was actually a really good job. I enjoyed the sales aspect of it, and I enjoyed performing, but I was ready to be done.

    I remember being out running in the afternoon. I would have my iPod with me, and as I would leave our 800 square foot, 2 bedroom apartment, I would hit the pavement to run around the lake. About half way into my run, I would hit this spot on the lake where I could walk down to the water and the trees shaded me. The song, "I AM FREE" off the iWorship, Promise Keepers CD would come on.  I would stand on the shore of the lake, my headphones on with no houses too close, eyes closed, I would lift my arms up high in the air and with all that I had I began to belt the words out,  "I am free to run! I am free to run! I am free to dance! I am free to dance! I am free to live for you! I am free to live for you! I am free! I am freeeeeee!!!!" 

    I longed to be free. I longed for freedom with such intensity. Tyler Jr was so real to me, though I hadn't yet laid eyes on his face. I knew him, though we had not yet met. I thought about him.

    That was 5 years ago. Now for over 3 1/2 years I have been resigned from Corporate America and a stay at home mom! During those runs, during the time of crying out, I had NO idea that my appointed time had almost arrived. I was RIGHT UPON my appointed time. Literally 18 months away, I entered into my appointed time.

    Just like Jeremiah talks about how God knew us BEFORE we were even in our mothers womb! YOU were appointed a specific time to be born. Just like YOU were appointed the EXACT time of your birth, YOUR DREAM has been given an EXACT appointed time of its fruition! There is an appointed time, an appointed DAY, a due time and an appointed SEASON!  God HAS NOT forgotten about your goal! God has NOT forgotten about your dream. God is LINING everything up for you so that your APPOINTED DAY will be a glorious one! A day of rejoicing! Not just ONE day either! BUT, so that your appointed day can bring joy that will spring forward into the NEXT appointed season of your life!

    FRIEND, your job? What is your job? Do NOT give up! Do not lose heart about your goal! It may seem like it has been taking forever.... but friend, I look back on my runs around the lake.... and all I can think about was that it seemed like an eternity ago. I have enjoyed 3 1/2+ years of being a FREE MAMA! And I LOVE IT! Your APPOINTED DAY could be TODAY! It could be TOMORROW! Your job? Do not grow weary! Work with diligence. Work with joy. Do not allow frustration to hold you down. Frustration is from the enemy. Have FAITH that GOD IS! God IS working everything out for you and YOU WILL NOT MISS IT! He has DESIGNED you for greatness! He has designed you with a PURPOSE! He has placed desires in your heart and HE WILL HELP YOU to FULFILL them!

    Friend... today, don't grow weary, but pursue on in PEACE. Pursue on KNOWING that GOD has an appointed time for you. And TODAY could be the day you meet the person God has been preparing for you that will CHANGE YOUR LIFE!

    Stay steady. Stay on the path. Continue to SEEK the Lord FIRST. Your appointed time WILL SURELY COME! Now that is a promise to SHOUT about!!!

    Monday, May 13, 2013

    Victim or Victor?

    James 1:12 - Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive [the victor’s] crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him.
    This morning, waking up much later than normal, I felt like my quiet time began with me crawling before the throne of grace with my head held down. It wasn't the first morning of me waking up late, but I was coming off a week of waking up late. I know that the repetition of good habits creates a good habit. The repetition of bad habits, creates a bad habit... and I know just what time I need to wake up in order to complete my whole morning routine before kids start waking up. Who knows, when kids wake up, there is NO looking back!?! :) In a good way, they are a blessing, but any sort of a "quiet time" with the Lord once kids are up would be laced with many interruptions.... and as you can imagine with a 3 year old and 1 year old, would be anything BUT quiet! :)

    I know that the Slight Edge in being a mom, running a peaceful home, getting things that are productive done, ultimately HINGES completely around whether MAMA gets her quiet time with the Lord each morning. The mornings when it does not get done, I notice my patience is shorter, I feel like things are more chaotic, and often from a productivity standpoint, I feel like little gets done, short of having kids fed and dressed! Time with the Lord paves the foundation of a solid, peaceful, productive day!

    Well, as I journaled I threw up all the "blah blah's"... you know, maybe you've done it too? All of the reasons "why" my actions could be justified. All the excuses. All the buts. I read a quote that was very fitting by Les Brown, "The only limits to the possibilities in your life tomorrow are the buts you use today.*" 

    After I was done journaling my "justifications," I decided to listen to see what the Holy Spirit might have to whisper in my ear. Would it make me feel better about myself? Would it be a "that's ok, shake it off" sort of talk? Well... it went something like this...
    Are you going to "allow" or "accept" circumstances? Are you going to justify sleeping in? Are you going to be on the fence about working out? You decide. You can be a victim & by doing so, you will give life to symptoms the world wants to give you. Or you can go about being productive, having energy, eating healthy, being fit, making this an amazing year. You decide! Last week was a bit of a funk. You basically fed into symptoms. You were a victim. This week, you decide. 
    The Hebrew definition for "crown" is this:  A wreath or garland which was given as a prize to victors in public games.  

    My daily actions determine whether I am going to allow life to treat me as the VICTIM to my circumstances or whether I am going to choose to be the VICTOR in my circumstances. My response to how I feel, how I handle good or bad reports, housework that has seemed to mounded up overnight, the "To-Do" list that seems never-ending.... my response to any and all of these things, in part determines whether I will be the Victim or Victor! At the end of the day, I decide whether the victors crown will be placed on my head, or garland around my neck (as it defines in the Hebrew). I decide whether I will win or lose. I decide whether I will respond as the Victim or Victor! Will I tackle the things that need to get done, or will I allow the guilt of not getting them done to tackle me. 

    I decide. You decide. Will you be the Victim or the Victor today? You choose. 


    * Quote 

    Wednesday, May 8, 2013

    #256 - Do you LONG for a Real Life, In Person, Best Friend?

    Proverbs 18:24 - The man of many friends [a friend of all the world] will prove himself a bad friend, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (sister*)
    Proverbs 31:20 - She opens her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her filled hands to the needy [whether in body, mind, or spirit]. 
    Have you longed for a friend? Not just any friend, but a friend that can sit down at your kitchen table and just by the way you move around your kitchen, they know immediately that something is wrong. The kind of friend that can come over and see you without make-up on, and you're OK with it. The kind of friend who is OK just being bored at your house, even if you are cleaning, doing laundry, dishes, whatever needs done... while they either help, or talk while you work. Better yet, they listen while you work. They provide that listening ear for the thing you desperately want to get off your heart. They don't judge you. They keep you accountable if they see you overstep boundaries that a Christian woman should not overstep. They don't gossip. They build up, lift up and encourage.  They believe in your dreams. They are your biggest cheerleader.

    Does this person to you, sound like an impossible figment of our imagination? The literal perfect friend and perfect relationship. An iron sharpener in the life of a mom, wife, sister, daughter, Christian woman. I think this person DOES sound like a dream friend!! BUT... this person is possible!!

    As I was reading Proverbs 18:24, I decided to check out the Greek/Hebrew breakdown of who this friend really is. This was encouraging. Here are a few of my favorite depiction's from the Hebrew breakdown for the latter part of the verse: ...and there is a friend [that] sticketh closer than a brother.

    • there is = being, existence, substance, there is or are
    • a friend human love for another, includes family; human love for or to God; act of being a friend; God's love toward man
    • [that] sticketh closer clinging, adhering to
    • than a brother = each to the other (reciprocal relationship)
    In the AMT version... otherwise known as the "Amy McCart Translation" :) ... this verse could break down this way, and it sounds so encouraging! 
    There is in existence, an actual human being who is a God kind of friend. This God kind of friend loves you and is there for you adhering to you almost like glue! They are there! But it is a RECIPROCAL friendship. You give and they give. You are both there for one another building up, listening and encouraging one another. This GOD Kind of Friend, is really in EXISTENCE for you. 
    So... that is my rendition of this Proverbs 18:24 friend. Our Proverbs 31 role model also fits the bill in this area. She reaches out with her filled hands to you as a friend. Her filled hands, encompassing whatever it is you need. Maybe it is just someone to listen. Maybe it is a shoulder to cry on. Maybe it is someone to just pass the day with running errands or letting your kids play together. Maybe this friend will fill your need of an encourager in your life, a cheerleader.

    Friend, your best friend is out there. Today... maybe sow for her. Sow a seed for your best friend that you may not know yet. Maybe it is the seed of encouragement to someone. Maybe it is a text to a friend letting them know you are praying for them. Maybe it is the seed of an encouraging note to someone or phone call. If you are in need, sow a seed.

    Share your thoughts! What does a best friend look like to you?

     *sister = the "AMT version" :)

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