Thursday, December 29, 2016

Whatever You Need

Today's reading from St. Paul, writing to the Phillipians while shackled and imprisoned in some God-forsaken place, with martyrdom imminent and rapidly approaching, is a short excerpt but chock full of valuable lessons and insights for us all to this day.

St. Paul had indeed been a very wealthy man of abundance yet for his love of Jesus Christ he chose instead poverty and eventually death- he chose to focus on and enrich the only  "account" that matters at the end of the day.

It is inspirational and almost unimaginable to try to understand the depth and strength of his FAITH and TRUST in the Lord.

His attitude and unwavering love and belief in the Lord- while facing inevitable and painful DEATH - is something I for one struggle to comprehend and try to recall when some small little challenge presents itself in my life.

Not so easy, granted - but attainable!

Enjoy the Beautiful Weekend and Stay Strong!

"Brothers and sisters:  I rejoice greatly in the Lord that now at last you revived your concern for me.

You were, of course, concerned about me but lacked an opportunity.

Not that I say this because of need, for I have learned, in whatever situation I find myself, to be self-sufficient.

I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances;

I know also how to live with abundance.

In every circumstance and in all things
I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need.

I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.

Still, it was kind of you to share in my distress.

You Philippians indeed know that at the beginning of the Gospel, when I left Macedonia, not a single church shared with me in an account of giving and receiving, except you alone.

For even when I was at Thessalonica
you sent me something for my needs,
not only once but more than once.

It is not that I am eager for the gift;
rather, I am eager for the profit that accrues to YOUR account.

I have received full payment and I abound.

I am very well supplied because of what I received from you through Epaphroditus,
"a fragrant aroma," an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.

My God will fully supply whatever you need,
in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."

St. Paul to the Phillipians 4:10-19

Stay Strong!!

Strength With No Limits

RECEIVE MY GLORY-STRENGTH.

When ongoing problems require you to stick it out over the long haul, your faith sometimes falters.

That's when you resort to grimly gritting your teeth—simply passing time in a negative frame of mind.

This is not the way I want you to deal with difficulties.

I am sovereign over the circumstances of your life, so there are always opportunities to be found in them.

Sometimes those opportunities are so obvious you can't miss seeing them.

At other times—especially when the journey is hard and seems endless—you have to search for hidden treasure.

Do not be like the man who hid his master's talent in the ground because he was disgruntled with his circumstances.

He gave up and took the easy way out: blaming his hard situation rather than making the most of his opportunity.

The truth is, the more difficult your situation, the more treasure there is for you to discover in it.

I gladly give you Glory-strength; it is limitless and freely available to each of My followers.

It is exceedingly potent, because the Spirit Himself empowers you—strengthening you with Power in your inner being.

Moreover, Glory-strength enables you to keep on enduring the unendurable.

Since this strength has no limits, there is more than enough of it to spill over into Joy!

We pray that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives.

From " Jesus Lives " by Sarah Young

Stay Strong!

"It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy." COLOSSIANS 1:11 MSG

"See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power . . . and his recompense accompanies him.
ISAIAH 40:10

"And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours."
MATTHEW 25:25 NKJV

"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith . . . "
EPHESIANS 3:16

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

On The Wings of A Storm

"The LORD looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God."
 PSALM 14: 2

A dear friend describes some pretty significant testing.

She said in less than twelve months, she'd seen her health fail, her property damaged, a close friendship threatened —all while her workload at the office escalated.

Her story illustrates how life-shaking experiences can prepare us for a fresh encounter with God.

For my friend, it was a year that triggered a personal revival.

Sometimes only adversity can accomplish that kind of revival.

The Old Testament prophet Ezekiel related that as a captive to King Nebuchadnezzar, "I looked, and I saw a windstorm …an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light"(Ezekiel 1: 4).

But on the wings of that storm, God brought Ezekiel an important message, a wake-up call to a fresh vision of Jesus.

When the storm comes, look up for personal revival!

From " Fixing My Eyes on Jesus " by Anne Graham Lotz

Stay Strong!


ON THE WINGS OF A STORM

"The LORD looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God." 

-- PSALM 14: 2

A dear friend describes some pretty significant testing.

She said in less than twelve months, she'd seen her health fail, her property damaged, a close friendship threatened —all while her workload at the office escalated.

Her story illustrates how life-shaking experiences can prepare us for a fresh encounter with God.

For my friend, it was a year that triggered a personal revival.

Sometimes only adversity can accomplish that kind of revival.

The Old Testament prophet Ezekiel related that as a captive to King Nebuchadnezzar, "I looked, and I saw a windstorm …an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light"(Ezekiel 1: 4).

But on the wings of that storm, God brought Ezekiel an important message, a wake-up call to a fresh vision of Jesus.

When the storm comes, look up for personal revival!

From " Fixing My Eyes on Jesus " by Anne Graham Lotz

Stay Strong!

Friday, December 23, 2016

New Hope!

At At Christmas God shows His fidelity and inaugurates a new Kingdom, which gives a new Hope to humanity. 

And what is this Hope? 

Eternal life....

Look at Mary, Mother of Hope. 

With her "Yes" she opened the door of our world to God: her girl's heart was full of hope, all animated by faith; and so God chose her and she believed in his word.... 

Christmas will be truly a celebration if we receive Jesus, seed of hope that God deposits in the furrows of our personal and communal history. 

Every "Yes" to Jesus who comes is a seed of hope.

Let us have confidence in this seed of hope, in this yes: 

"Yes, Jesus, you can save me, you can save me."

 

A happy Christmas of Hope to all!

Pope Francis

Excerpted from his general  audience, December 21, 2016 God shows His fidelity and inaugurates a new Kingdom, which gives a new hope to humanity. And what is this hope? Eternal life....

Look at Mary, Mother of Hope. With her "Yes" she opened the door of our world to God: her girl's heart was full of hope, all animated by faith; and so God chose her and she believed in his word.... 

Christmas will be truly a celebration if we receive Jesus, seed of hope that God deposits in the furrows of our personal and communal history. Every "Yes" to Jesus who comes is a seed of hope.

Let us have confidence in this seed of hope, in this yes: "Yes, Jesus, you can save me, you can save me

Pope Francis
Excerpted from his general  audience, December 21, 2016

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Where We Learn

I apologize in advance for the length of this post but I truly hope you can soldier through it (and if not perhaps you can table it for when you have a few extra minutes) as I believe it carries a powerful message that will truly resonate strongly with a lot of us as we navigate this journey of life on earth! 

Stay Strong, Trust and Enjoy! :)

"Bouncing across raging seas, bent to our knees and clinging for safety, is where we learn to pray.

Ask Noah, adrift on the swells of the diluvian sea.

Ask Jonah, tossed about on the Mediterranean.

Ask the disciples, taking on water on the Sea of Galilee.

Ask Paul, weathering perilous storms on voyage after voyage.

The storm you're facing may be financial, when you find yourself caught up in a Category 4 hurricane that sweeps over the economy like Katrina over the Gulf Coast.

Widespread flooding. Levees breaking. Your home underwater. Your family drowning in debt.

Standing in water to your waist is where you will learn to pray.

Your storm may be vocational, when your job is outsourced overseas or made obsolete by technology.

Wet with tears, your prayers take on new urgency.

The storm you face may be relational, when a friendship turns against you.

When a teenager is caught in the vortex of raging hormones, tempestuous emotions, and pressures from peers.

When a marriage is broadsided by a rogue wave of infidelity or grounded on a shallow reef that slowly sinks it.

Stuck in the mire, you pray.

Your storm may be physical, when your loss of balance turns out to be MS, or the lump turns out to be malignant.

It can be emotional, when the undulations of mood plunge you into the depths of depression.

Gasping for air, you pray.

The storm in your life may be a spiritual one, when you have been driven and tossed by the wind for so long and you have taken on so much water that you are filled with doubt.

You are holding on, but just barely, as wave after wave washes over you.

You're gasping for air, heaving your insides out.

Your eyes are stinging from all the water, and you can hardly see anything clearly.

How much more can you take?

How much longer can you hold on?

When your grip is slipping and you are suffocating, you feel as though the very last thing you can do is pray.

During these times, I most often pipe short, clipped, desperate prayers:

"Save me, Lord!"

"Help me."

"Please, help me."

"Please."

In a storm there are no requisite word counts.

There is no formal grammar.

There are no lofty phrases.

The Jesus prayer has just seven words:

"Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me."

Anne Lamott, who seems to pray like me, once identified the two most popular prayers in the world, ostensibly mid-storm and post-storm, as

"Help, help, help" and "Thank you, thank you, thank you."

The witness of Jesus' own disciples demonstrates that elaborate construction is not necessary:

"Master, don't you care that we are perishing?"

That was the prayer the disciples prayed when the storm swept over their boat and Jesus was asleep in the stern.

"Lord, save me!"

This was the prayer Peter prayed when he stepped out of the boat, taking his eyes off of Jesus and onto the wind and the waves that slapped against him.

The one prayer was a question, the other an exclamation.

In every life there are times when Jesus does seem to be asleep in the stern, while our lives are taking on water, and we are breaking our backs, bailing our hearts out.

How can he possibly be sleeping? On a cushion, no less!

How could he not hear the waves smashing against the hull, not feel the water sloshing over the sides?

How could he not see that we are perishing?

How could he not care?

We wake him with our prayers, or so it seems.

And he is inconvenienced, or so it seems.

Even irritated.

The question turns the way it did with the widow's question to the unrighteous judge (Luke 18:1–8).

And we learn that while we are looking for rescue, he is looking for FAITH.

It is difficult to be hard on the disciples.

What should they have done?

How should they have approached him?

Or when?

They didn't come to Jesus until they'd come to the end of themselves.

Maybe that is what prompted the rebuke.

Maybe they looked at him as their last resort INSTEAD of their FIRST.

Maybe they didn't want to disturb him, and that is what he wanted them to do most.

To come to him FIRST.

To realize he would WANT them to come to him first.

Jesus, no doubt, would have gladly received just a single word:

"Lord!"

"Master!"

There have been a lot of times when I have cried myself to sleep while praying.

Not sobbing, just gentle tears spilling from my eyes.

When the storm has raged for too long, we are weary.

We are out of thoughts.

We are out of feelings.

We are out of prayers.

What then?

When we've reached the end, Jesus simply receives us.

No words.

A sigh.

A heaving of your heart toward heaven, however heavy it may be to lift, however hard it may be to heft.

When it is too hard, the Holy Spirit will do the heaving, lifting, groaning, to carry it for you.

Unclenching our fists, the movement of prayer is to trust with the trust of Jesus.

In the same way Jesus fully entrusted himself into the hands of the Father who loved him, so we too are invited to entrust our lives into the hands of the Father who loves us.

Where you find yourself today, whether drifting effortlessly on serene glassy waters or thrown by desperate violent waves, how do your prayers sound?

Like sinking Peter, do you instinctively call out to Jesus for help?

Or like Jesus' terrified disciples, have you been hesitant to rouse the Master?

Hoarse from praying, do you at last offer a humble prayer of relinquishment?

Or speechless, desperate, do you simply lift your eyes toward heaven and let the Spirit interpret the groans of your heart?

Whichever way,  always know that Jesus' ear is constantly attuned to those who find themselves in life's storms.

Sometimes he quiets the storm.

Always, he calms and delivers his child."

"Those persons who know the deep peace of God, the unfathomable peace that passeth all understanding, are always men and women of much prayer." - R. A. Torrey

Taken From "At Peace in the Storm"  by Ken Gire

Stay Strong!!!




Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Welcoming Mary

Today's Gospel reading from Luke 1 is the story of the Visitation, when Mary went to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, who herself was pregnant with John the Baptist.

"Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb." Does this sound familiar? If you are a Catholic, it should. The words of Elizabeth are ones that we quote in the Hail Mary prayer. This isn't something that the Church made up. Surprise! Catholics really can quote Scripture!

We see today how honored Elizabeth was to have "the mother of my Lord" visit her. Elizabeth welcomed Mary into her home. A wonderful lesson for us. As we welcome Jesus into our homes and our hearts, we should also should be honored to welcome in His Mother.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. 

Amen.


From "60 Second Reflections" by Gus Lloyd 

Stay Strong, 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Hail Mary

Some ways to pray the Hail Mary 

St. Alphonsus provides some practical advice for praying the simplest and most popular of Marian prayers. 

Here are some ways to pray the Hail Mary. 

First, every morning and evening, when we get up and when we go to bed, we can say three Hail Marys lying down, or at least kneeling. 

Then we can add to each one this short prayer: 

"Mary, by your pure and immaculate conception, make my body pure, and my soul holy." 

We should then, as St. Stanislaus always did, ask Mary's blessing as our mother; place ourselves under the mantle of her protection; and beg her to guard us during the coming day or night from evil and,sin. 

For this purpose it's advisable to have a beautiful image of the Blessed Virgin. 

Second, we can say the Angelus, with the usual three Hail Marys, in the morning, at midday, and in the evening. 

Third, we can greet the Mother of God with a Hail Mary every hour on the hour. 

Fourth, whenever we go out of the house or return, we can greet the Blessed Virgin with a Hail Mary. That way, whether we are indoors or outdoors, she will guard us from all evil, dangers and sin. 

Fifth, we should honor every image of Mary that we pass with a Hail Mary. 

For this purpose, those who can would do well to place a beautiful image of the Blessed Virgin on an outside wall of their houses, so that it may be venerated by those who pass by. 

Sixth, we would do well to begin and end all our actions with a Hail Mary. They may be spiritual actions—prayer, Confession, Communion, spiritual reading, hearing sermons—or temporal, such as study, giving advice, working, or sitting down for a meal. 

Happy are those actions that are enclosed between two Hail Marys. 

Finally, we should say a Hail Mary in every temptation, in every danger, and in every inclination to anger. 

Do this, and you'll see the immense advantage it brings. 

—St. Alphonsus Liguori, The Glories of Mary 

CLOSING PRAYER 
From the Angelus: 

"The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary, and she conceived by the Holy Spirit. Hail, Mary . . ."

Stay Strong 

The Good Fight of Faith

"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed."
(1 Peter 4:12–13, NIV)

Don't Be Surprised

If you know you are going into a challenging season, you can get prepared for it.

You can make sure you are mentally ready.

But what about the difficulties that we don't see coming?

The unexpected crisis that catches you off-guard?

Sometimes, it can seem so overwhelming that it almost knocks the wind right out of you.

The scripture says that we shouldn't be surprised by fiery trials.

That's because the forces of darkness would not be fighting against you if they didn't know that God has something amazing in your future!

Sometimes, those unexpected difficulties are just a sign that you're on the right track.

It's always darkest just before the dawn appears.

The enemy always fights the hardest when you are closest to your breakthrough.

The key is to stay the course and keep fighting the good fight of faith.

In the difficult times, keep your joy and keep declaring God's Word over your future.

God has promised that you will overcome every obstacle.

You will defeat every enemy, and you will embrace the blessing and victory He has in store for you!

A Prayer for Today
"Father, thank You for walking with me in every season of life. Today, I cast all of my cares on You. I cast all of my difficulties, all of my questions, and all of my concerns. Thank You for working all things out for my good in Jesus' name. 

Amen."

From Today's Word

Stay Strong!

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Power of Joy

Happy Monday All!!  Enjoy this amazing week run up to Christmas and try to stay warm - and Joyful! :) 

Stay Strong!

"But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them."  

--- Acts 16:25

Our joy as a Christian should not depend on our circumstances.

Joy comes from God, and therefore it cannot be affected by what is outside of you.

Don't be fooled into letting the actions of others determine your joy.

True joy comes from knowing that God Himself lives within you and has fellowship with you, regardless of your environment.

Real joy lies in the knowledge that holy God has completely forgiven you of every sin, and even now, He has a home prepared in heaven where you can spend eternity with Him (John 14:3).

The circumstances of your life cannot change these truths!

Paul and Silas faced some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

They were falsely accused, arrested, and imprisoned. .

They were beaten and shackled in the darkest, coldest section of the prison.

But they refused to allow their horrific situation to dampen their joy!

They did not blame God for allowing these things to happen to them.

Instead, they praised Him for His goodness!

In the darkness of the night, they prayed and they sang.

God brought a miracle that released them from their chains, but perhaps the greater miracle was that His Holy Spirit could so fill them that even in their painful imprisonment they could overflow with joy!

Do not allow difficult events to cancel the joy of knowing you are a child of God!

Choose to allow God's Spirit to fill you with His unquenchable joy, and your life will be a miracle to those who watch you face the trials that come."

Stay Strong!  ;) 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Target Hope

Happy Friday!!

"Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see."
(Hebrews 11:1, NLT)

Give Your Faith a Target

So many people today are depressed and discouraged simply because they only focus on their present circumstances.

They're constantly dwelling on their problems, what they don't have, and what's wrong with them.

They don't realize it, but they're allowing the enemy to steal their hope.

This negative frame of mind is what keeps people from moving forward in life.

Understand today that faith is confidence and assurance about the things we hope for according to the promises of God.

Like an arrow, your faith points to the target of hope.

If you don't have hope, that arrow of faith will just drop to the ground.

It won't accomplish anything.

But when you keep your hopes up, when you keep expecting and believing, it's as if that target gets larger and larger—easier to hit!

Choose today to live with an attitude of expectancy.

Get your hopes up!

Start by taking captive any negative thoughts you may have one at a time.

As you focus on God's goodness and faithfulness, you'll feel that hope inside you growing.

You'll give your faith a target, and you'll move confidently into the blessings and peace the Lord has in store for you!

A Prayer for Today
"Father, today I surrender every thought to You. I choose to release my cares and concerns so I can focus on Your goodness in my life. Thank You for the gift of faith to see the impossible become possible as I continue to place my hope and confidence in You in Jesus' name, Amen.

Stay Strong!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Help Me Get Through This

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception! :)  Say a Hail Mary or 50 if you get a moment! :) 


"No matter how God answers this prayer, one thing is certain: 

He will speed up the process of healing and make sure you get through your ordeal with as little emotional, psychological, and spiritual damage as possible. 

And this guarantee doesn't apply to only the great cataclysmic misfortunes of life. 

It works for the smaller "slings and arrows" of daily living as well. 

You shouldn't wait for heart attacks or terminal illnesses or car accidents to ask for God's assistance. 

You should say this prayer when you have a toothache; you should say this prayer when your annoying colleague at work won't stop talking to you; you should say this prayer when you're stuck in a traffic jam! 

Whenever you have to face any kind of pain, you should say to God, 

"Lord, please help me get through this." 

And he will."

From "The 10 Prayers God Always Answers"

Stay Strong! :) 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Everything We Need

"By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence."
(2 Peter 1:3 NLT)

By His Divine Power

Whether you realize it or not, God has already given you everything you need to live the life He's called you to. 

You don't need to feel stressed out, worried or afraid. 

You don't have to wonder if you're "good enough" to receive from God because God's blessing has nothing to do with your performance. 

He has already blessed you and given you everything you need by His divine power!

The world's system tells us to strive, toil and scrape to get what we want. 

Our culture puts limits on people because of their natural abilities, resources, background or circumstances. 

But with God, there are no limits! 

By His divine power, you are equipped, well able and STRONG! 

You are covered by His grace and mercy, and you are empowered to do all He has called you to do!

The next time you start thinking "I can't..." or "I don't have what it takes...," attack those negative thoughts with the truth by declaring:

 "I have what it takes; I am well able; and I am equipped by His divine power at work in me!"

A Prayer for Today
"Father, thank You for Your power which is at work in me. Thank You for equipping me and calling me according to Your good purpose. Give me Your strength and peace today. I keep my mind stayed on You in Jesus' name. Amen."

Today's Word by Joel I

Stay Strong !

Monday, December 5, 2016

War

"This life is nothing but warfare and a series of temptations; we do not have to contend with enemies of flesh and blood but with the very powers of Hell. 

What better weapons could we possibly use to combat them than the Prayer which our great Captain taught us (Our Father), and the Angelic Salutation (Hail Mary) which has chased away devils, destroyed sin and renewed the world? 

What better weapon could we use than meditation on the life and passion of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? 

For, as Saint Peter says, it is with this thought we must arm ourselves in order to defend ourselves against the very same enemies which he conquered and which molest us every day." 

"Ever since the devil was crushed by the humility and passion of Jesus Christ he has been very nearly unable to attack a soul that is armed with meditation on the mysteries of Our Lord's life, and, if he does trouble such a soul, he is sure to be shamefully defeated." (Cardinal Hughes.) 

"Put you on the armor of God."

So arm yourselves with the arms of God—with the Holy Rosary—and you will crush the devil's head and you will stand firm in the face of all his temptations.

This is why even the material rosary itself is such a terrible thing for the devil, and why the Saints have used it to enchain devils and to chase them out of the bodies of people who were possessed. 

Such happenings are reported in more than one authentic record."

Stay Strong !

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Our Rock..Our Foundation

"Have you ever been to New York City?

If not, you've surely seen it before. Skyscrapers all throughout Manhattan reaching to the heavens.

Ever wonder how they put those things all so close together, and how they always remain so firm?

It's because of their foundation. Manhattan has this amazingly strong bedrock underneath all those huge buildings.

Ask any engineer and they will tell you…it all begins with a good foundation.

Without that, the structure hasn't got a chance.

In today's readings, we think about our foundation.

In the first reading from Isaiah 26, we read,

"For the Lord is an eternal Rock."

And in the Gospel reading from Matthew 7, Jesus says,

"Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock."

When you build something, you want to build it on firm ground; rock that is immovable.

It begs for us the question…what is the foundation on which you have built your faith?

Many people choose different foundations for their faith.

Some choose money; a fat bank account or a healthy 401(k) gives them peace of mind.

For others, relationships; their significant other will make them happy and be there for them always.

Er…not so much.

If the foundation of our faith is anything but Christ Jesus, we are in for a fall.

No one or nothing else will stand the test of eternity.

Father, forgive us for the times when we put our trust, build our faith foundation on things or people. Teach us to trust You alone, through your Son, Jesus Christ.
Amen.

Stay Strong!!

From "60 Second Reflections" by Gus Lloyd
www.guslloyd.com

Monday, November 28, 2016

Released

COME TO ME WHEN YOU ARE HURTING, AND I WILL SHARE YOUR PAIN.

Come to Me when you are joyful, and I will share your Joy—multiplying it many times over.

I invite you to come to Me just as you are—no matter what condition you're in.

You don't have to clean up your act first, since I already know the worst about you.

When you're hurting, you want to be with someone who understands you without condemning you.

When you're happy, you delight in being with someone who loves you enough to celebrate with you.

I understand you compassionately and love you exuberantly, so bring more and more of yourself to Me.

Most people are selective about which parts of themselves they share with Me.

Some hesitate to bring Me the traits they consider shameful.

Others are so used to living with painful feelings—loneliness, fear, guilt—that it never occurs to them to ask for help in dealing with these things.

Still others get so preoccupied with their struggles that they forget I'm even here.

There are hurting parts of you that I desire to heal.

However, some of them have been with you so long that you consider them part of your identity.

You carry them with you wherever you go, with little awareness.

On occasions when you have brought some damaged portion of yourself to Me, I have helped you walk in newfound freedom.

However, you are so addicted to certain painful patterns that you cannot easily break free from them.

Only repeatedly exposing them to My healing Presence will bring you long-term freedom.

When that happens, you will be released to experience Joy in much fuller measure.

I will share your Joy and multiply it many times over.

From " Jesus Lives " by Sarah Young

Stay Strong!

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
ROMANS 8:1

"The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy."
PSALM 126:3

"In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free."
PSALM 118:5

"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."
JOHN 8:36

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Cast Your Cares and Thrive

"Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers."
(3 John 1:2, NKJV)

It's Time to Thrive

Many people today are living in "survival mode."

If they can just make it through the day, they've accomplished their goal.

And, there are times when circumstances can seem overwhelming.

There are seasons that are more difficult than others.

But God doesn't want us to just survive, He wants us to thrive.

He wants us to prosper in all things.

One definition of the word "thrive" means "to realize a goal despite circumstances."

That means you can prosper in all things no matter what is going on around you.

You don't have to settle for an average year; you can have an extraordinary year.

You may be planning on just getting by, but God is planning on abundance.

He's planning on overflow.

It's time to get into agreement with God.

It's time to walk in His ways.

It's time see your dreams come to pass.

It's time to thrive because God has a plan for you to prosper in every area of your life!

A Prayer for Today
"Father, thank You for the gift of today. I choose to cast my cares on You knowing that You care about me and for me. Help me to see the good plan You have for me so that I can thrive the way You intended in Jesus' name.
Amen."

Stay Strong!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Our Hope and Our Shield - Always!!

WAIT IN HOPE FOR ME; I AM YOUR HELP AND YOUR SHIELD.

Waiting in itself is not a virtue.

The important thing is how you wait: in a resigned, impatient way or in hope—keeping your focus on Me.

One aspect of hope is confident expectation.

When your overarching hope is for Me, you have every reason to be confident.

I have promised to be with you always, even to the end of the age.

Moreover, at the end of time, I am coming back in glorious Power to judge the world and establish My kingdom.

While you are waiting, remember that I am your Help and your Shield.

My unfailing Love guarantees that I am always available to help you.

You access this loving help through your trust in Me.

No matter what is happening or how bad you feel, voice your trust in Me!

I have shielded you from many hardships, and I will continue to protect you.

So put your hope fully in Me, and the Light of My Presence will shine into your waiting times.

From "Jesus Today"

Stay Strong!

"We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield."
—Psalm 33: 20

"And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
—Matthew 28: 18–20 NKJV

"But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever."
—Psalm 52: 8

Friday, November 18, 2016

In the Face of Trials and Difficulties

Happy Friday All!!! 

Have a Terrific Weekend and Stay Strong in Faith and Trust and Gratitude! :)

"The Lord is faithful; He will strengthen and guard you from the evil one."
-- 2 Thessalonians 3:3

Paul was able to tell the troubled Thessalonian believers that the Lord would protect them from the evil one.

Like their founding pastor, these men and women had experienced various trials, including being persecuted and martyred for their faith.

In the two verses prior to this kingdom promise, Paul had requested prayer from the Thessalonians for himself and his coworkers.

Paul asked that they pray for God's Word to continue to spread rapidly and be received by others, and that the missionaries would be rescued from evil men.

In our focal verse, Paul turned from consideration of his own needs to those of the Thessalonians.

His assurance that the early Christians would experience strength and protection is based on a fundamental truth:

"The Lord is Faithful."

In other words, God can be trusted even in the face of persecution and difficulty.

His faithfulness ensures that he is at work in the midst of our suffering, that he will ultimately bring judgment on all evil, and that our days are secure in him.

Persecution by faithless persons was a stark reality for members of the early Christian church.

Thus, the declaration of God's faithfulness and the assurance of strength and protection must have greatly encouraged these new believers.

You may have noticed, both in this text and in real life, God's protection does not mean the absence of conflict and suffering.

It does, however, promise Strength and Preservation in the midst of the suffering.

The "evil one" may be a general reference to evil or to Satan himself.

In either case, it is comforting and encouraging to know that we have God's protection ALWAYS regardless of the trials or storms that we will surely encounter in this lifetime. "

Stay Strong!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Recharge Your Strength

Happy Monday All!
We will get through it! :)
Stay Strong!

"I AM THE LIGHT THAT SHINES ON IN THE darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it—and it never will!

When multiple problems are closing in on you, the Light of My Presence may seem like a dim memory.

If you are feeling distant from Me, it's time for you to stop everything and pour out your heart to Me.

Carve out some time and space to talk with Me about your problems and your feelings.

Let Me help you carry your burdens and show you the way forward.

No matter how much darkness you see in the world around you, My Light continues to shine on, for it is infinitely more powerful!

Because you are My child, this Light shines not only upon you but also within you.

You live in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, and this is the perfect backdrop for you to shine as light in the world.

Take time to bask in My radiant Presence.

Let My boundless energy recharge your strength so you can blaze boldly in the darkness around you."

- From "Jesus Today " by Sarah Young

Stay Strong!

"The Light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it, put it out or absorbed it or appropriated it, and is unreceptive to it."
—John 1: 5 AMP

"Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge."
—Psalm 62:

"Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world."
—Philippians 2: 14–15 NKJV

Friday, November 11, 2016

Victory is ours

Happy Friday and Happy Veterans Day All!

Enjoy and Stay Strong!!

"The Lord is my Strength and my song; he has given me Victory."
(Psalm 118:14, NLT)

"Do you need more joy, victory and confidence in your life today?

You might need to evaluate what you are thinking about on a daily basis.

If you go around thinking things like, "I'm just average," "I've already reached my limits," or "I've missed so many good opportunities," then those thoughts are going to drag you down and hold you back.

Instead, every morning when you wake up, start your day with thoughts of HOPE and SUCCESS!

Determine to be Victory-minded!

The Bible tells us that what we think about, we WILL become.

When you think thoughts of success, victory, joy and peace, your life will be filled with success, victory, joy and peace!

It doesn't matter what's going on around you when the greater One lives in you!

You are an OVERCOMER through Christ.

Today, set your mind on victory and move forward into the victory He has for you!"

A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, thank You for the gift of another day! I choose to be victory-minded and focus on Your goodness. Help me, Holy Spirit, to stay focused on the blessings and favor You have for me in Jesus' name!
Amen.

From Today's Word by Joel I

Stay Strong!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Antidote For All Fear

Psalm 27:5
"He will conceal me in His shelter in the day of adversity; He will hide me under the cover of His tent."

Do you ever feel like everyone is out to get you?

I know it sounds a little paranoid, but there are days when it just seems we can't get a break and that everything and everyone is marshaled against us.

In the early verses of Psalm 27, David spoke of evildoers who came against him to devour his flesh.

He even spoke of the possibility of an army being deployed against him.

That's because when God rejected Saul as king and chose David in his place, Saul sent his army to destroy him—the one man who was the imminent threat to his kingly reign.

Thus, David's fear was well grounded.

Today you may be facing both adversaries and circumstances that seem overwhelming.

How should you respond?

Let's take a lesson from David.

Listen to the dramatic beginning to Psalm 27:

- "The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom should I fear?

- The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?"

David made two profound declarations about the Lord, followed by two questions.

If the Lord is your light, your salvation, and the stronghold of your life, is there anyone or anything you should fear?

The answer is an obvious "no one" and "nothing."

How did David summon such courage in the face of opposition?

He sought God's presence with passionate intensity.

David knew that God's presence was the antidote for all fear.

He spoke of God concealing him and covering him with his tent.

These images probably relate to the large traveling tent called the Tabernacle, which was the place of worship and the symbol of God's presence among his people.

This tent appeared too flimsy to offer any protection from one's enemy.

But it was not so much the substance of the place of worship as it was the substance of the God of worship.

In Psalm 32:7, David declared:

"You are my hiding place;
You protect me from trouble;
You surround me with joyful shouts of deliverance."

When you find yourself in times of trial, in the midst of a relentless storm, or struggling with fear, doubts or anxiety, do exactly as David did -find your shelter in His presence."

From "God Will" by  Ken Hemphill

Stay Strong!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Our Own Cross...

And he went out carrying his own cross (John 19:17).

There is a poem called "The Changed Cross."

It represents a weary one who thought that her cross was surely heavier than those of others whom she saw about her, and she prayed and wished that she might choose an other instead of her own.

She slept, and in her dream she was led to a place where many crosses lay, crosses of different shapes and sizes.

There was a little one most beauteous to behold, set in jewels and gold.

"Ah, this I can wear with comfort," she said.

So she took it up, but her weak form shook beneath it.

The jewels and the gold were beautiful, but they were far too heavy for her.

Next she saw a lovely cross with fair flowers entwined around its sculptured form.

Surely that was the one for her.

She lifted it, but beneath the flowers were piercing thorns which tore her flesh.

At last, as she went on, she came to a plain cross, without jewels, without carvings, with only a few words of love inscribed upon it.

This she took up and it proved the best of all, the easiest to be borne.

And as she looked upon it, bathed in the radiance that fell from Heaven, she recognized HER OWN OLD cross.

She had found it again, and it was the best of all and lightest for her.

God knows best what cross we need to bear.

We do not know how heavy other people's crosses are.

We envy someone who is rich; his is a golden cross set with jewels, but we do not know how heavy it is.

Here is another whose life seems very lovely. She bears a cross twined with flowers.

If we could try all the other crosses that we think lighter than our own, we would at last find that not one of them suited us so well as our own.

   --Glimpses through Life's Windows

Have a Blessed Week!! Stay Strong!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Strength for EVERYTHING

Today's reading from St. Paul, writing to the Phillipians while shackled and imprisoned in some God-forsaken place, with martyrdom imminent and rapidly approaching, is a short excerpt but chock full of valuable lessons and insights for us all to this day.

St. Paul had indeed been a very wealthy man of abundance yet for his love of Jesus Christ he chose instead poverty and eventually death- he chose to focus on and enrich the only  "account" that matters at the end of the day.

It is inspirational and almost unimaginable to try to understand the depth and strength of his FAITH and TRUST in the Lord.

His attitude and unwavering love and belief in the Lord- while facing inevitable and painful DEATH - is something I for one struggle to comprehend and try to recall when some small little challenge presents itself in my life.

Not so easy, granted - but attainable!

Enjoy the Beautiful Weekend and Stay Strong!

"Brothers and sisters:  I rejoice greatly in the Lord that now at last you revived your concern for me.

You were, of course, concerned about me but lacked an opportunity.

Not that I say this because of need, for I have learned, in whatever situation I find myself,
to be self-sufficient.

I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances;

I know also how to live with abundance.

In every circumstance and in all things
I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need.

I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.

Still, it was kind of you to share in my distress.

You Philippians indeed know that at the beginning of the Gospel, when I left Macedonia, not a single church shared with me in an account of giving and receiving, except you alone.

For even when I was at Thessalonica
you sent me something for my needs,
not only once but more than once.

It is not that I am eager for the gift;
rather, I am eager for the profit that accrues to YOUR account.

I have received full payment and I abound.

I am very well supplied because of what I received from you through Epaphroditus,
"a fragrant aroma," an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.

My God will fully supply whatever you need,
in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."

St. Paul to the Phillipians 4:10-19

Stay Strong!!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Comfort, Revive, and Restore

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble."
(Psalm 46:1, NIV)

In the Day of Trouble

God is always present with you.

That means at ALL times, continually, perpetually, throughout all time,

God is with you.

In your day of trouble, He is there to help you.

How is He your help?

By providing whatever you need; by opening doors for you; by orchestrating things in your favor.

"Help" is specific to your need and we serve a God who is very specific.

Because He is always with you, He always knows exactly what you need!

Today, are you facing trouble or adversity?

Know that God is with you.

Look to Him for help.

Trust that He has the answer, and that He is working things out in your favor.

As you continue to believe Him and follow His direction, He will lead you in the way that you should go.

He will comfort you, revive you, restore you and bless you!

He will be your ever-present help because He is forever faithful to His Word!

A Prayer for Today
"Father, thank You for being my ever-present help. I trust today that You are with me, that You are comforting me and restoring my soul. I lift my eyes to You this day. Help me to follow Your commands and honor You as You direct my steps. In Jesus' Name.
Amen."

From 'Today's Word '!

Stay Strong!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Expect

Happy All Saints Day!!

Everyone has heard, "You get what you deserve."

It's not true.

You actually get what you expect.

Jesus was clear about this.

In the second chapter of Mark, we read about four vision-filled friends who had a huge expectation.

They thought that if they could get their sick buddy to Jesus,

He could make something impossible happen.

Their expectations rose so high, they grabbed their friend, carried him to the house where Jesus was teaching, and when they realized the crowd was too thick to get through, sawed a hole in the roof of the home and lowered their friend down to Jesus.

Their expectation led to action and to a miracle when Jesus completely healed their friend.

The story of these four guys suggests to me that if your expectations are high enough, it's even possible to trigger a miracle.

They didn't cause a miracle.

That's God's job.

However, their expectations led to actions that triggered God doing a miracle.

Why would you want to live any other way, when you know your actions can trigger a miracle in your life and in the lives of others around you?

On the other hand, I believe the most depressing, debilitating acronym ever is TWNC:

Things Will Never Change.

This toxic, dangerous thought process has the power to destroy your marriage, friendships, and career.

These four words, Things Will Never Change, replace confidence with cynicism.

These four words, Things Will Never Change, replace high hopes with depression and despair.

These four words, Things Will Never Change, blind people to the possibility that God might have better days ahead.

These four words, Things Will Never Change, are so powerful they can handcuff the hands of God.

Jesus didn't do any miracles in His hometown of Nazareth.

Why?

The Bible says, "because of their unbelief"(Matthew 13: 58 NKJV).

We've become less like Steve Jobs and more like most car companies.

Have you ever seen a concept car unveiled at an auto show? They rock!

But when you see what comes out five years later, you say, "That reeks."

How did they snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?

What typically happens is that the engineers say this is impossible and the finance people say that is impossible, and by the time they're done, they've created a goofy car that nobody wants.

Start believing impossible things are possible, because you ARE going to get what you expect!

STAY STRONG!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Life Changing Power of Hope

"I want to ask you one question that has the power to change the rest of your life.

This one question is so important it should be the primary question asked by every parent of every teenager.

This question is so important it should be the primary question asked by a spouse discouraged by his or her marriage.

This question is so important it should be asked by anyone currently feeling discouraged about themselves.

This question is so important it should be the first question asked by people who want to change their lives, lose weight, get out of debt, or have a better future.

This question has the power to lift a person out of discouragement.

It has the power to transform somebody's mood.

It has the power to turn around a company or a church or a family.

This question is actually more than a question.

It becomes a frame of reference for how you look at everything.

When this question moves from being a question to being a habit, to being your lifestyle, everybody you know will be affected.

A person trained to ask this question becomes •someone people flock to for advice and encouragement, •the parent everybody wishes they had, •the spouse everybody wishes they were married to, •the friend everybody wishes they knew, and •a better person, a better coach, a better teacher, a better employee, a better leader.

This question is the reason Peter went from being a complete failure to being one of the first great leaders of the Christian church.

I believe this question was uppermost in Jesus'mind every time He looked at His disciples.

Here is the question:

......

'What can this become? "

We learn this from Jesus.

Jesus tipped His hand when He looked at some young, inexperienced men and made an astounding statement:

"Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men"(Mark 1: 17 NASB).

None of the disciples was a first-round draft pick.

They were a mess.

Peter had his mouth always open, his foot always in it.

Thomas met every plan with, "I doubt it."

St. John the Divine? That same John and his brother James were called the "Sons of Thunder."

Matthew was a selfish tax collector.

As a group, they were always arguing about who was greatest.

The only thing they seemed to do right was "borrow"a kid's lunch one day so Jesus could feed five thousand people.

What made Jesus so effective?

What made Him the single most magnetic leader ever to walk this planet?

What was it about Jesus that liberated people from their pasts and freed them to go on to become something they never dreamed?

Here it is:

Jesus was not focused on what people were like. He was focused on WHAT THEY COULD BECOME.

Show me a parent of a teenager who is focused on what their kid is like right now, and I'll show you a discouraged parent.

Show me a parent who is focused on what his or her teenager can become, and anything is possible.

Show me a husband or wife focused on what his or her marriage is like right now, and usually I can show you a discouraged person.

Show me a couple focused on what their marriage can become, and anything is possible.

Show me Christians focused on what their spiritual lives are like right now.

In all likelihood they will be discouraged, but the minute they begin to focus on what their relationship with God could become, anything is possible.

Show me a person who wishes he was in better shape physically but is focused on what his life is like right now, and he is probably discouraged.

Yet all kinds of possibilities emerge the minute he focuses on what he could become in the future.

Everything changes when we ask the question, "Am I able to see things not as they are right now but in terms of what they can become?"

"I will make you become fishers of men,"Jesus said, and by following through on His word, He changed, is changing, and will change the world.

Forever."

From "The Hope Quotient" by Ray Johnston

Stay Strong!

Friday, October 28, 2016

True and Clear Presence in the Storm

*"Everything is possible for him who believes"(Mark 9: 23).

• "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father"(John 14: 12).

•"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer"(Matthew 21: 22).

Whipped by the winds and waves, the very last thing many of us can do in our darkness and despair is to save ourselves.

Weary and without strength, we simply cannot hoist ourselves to safety.

But in the swirling chaos of our thoughts and fears, when we can no longer stay afloat, some of us are grasped by fellow sojourn ears who have somehow made it to solid ground.

When passengers fled the doomed Titanic in lifeboats, some were able to reach across the icy waters and throw a lifeline to other passengers who were desperate and foundering.

Working together, they would pull a victim into the safety of the boat, provide a blanket or simply the heat of their own bodies.

Once rescued, one could help to rescue another.

In this manner, many have received calm in the storms that threaten to overwhelm.

In the faces of friends, or even strangers, they have recognized the palpable presence of God.

Someone has lent a listening ear, has reached out with arms of love, bearing God's own presence to one in need.

A family coming home from the hospital following a child's surgery finds a feast set out on their dining room table and a freezer full of prepared meals.

A couple facing unemployment, returning home from a day of job searching, finds a generous gift card to the local grocery store tucked into their mailbox.

A struggling single mom, raising a teenage son who lives to play basketball, learns that her son has been awarded a full scholarship to summer basketball camp by a mysterious benefactor.

When circumstances threaten to undo, others provide tangible signs of God's presence in the midst of the storm.

Sometimes the rescuer will be wearing a cross on a chain around her neck.

Sometimes he will be carrying a Bible.

Other times, God sends helpers with no identifying sign other than compassion, and sometimes dressed in the most unusual garb.

We may not recognize the one here on earth  who by the direction and grace of God delivers us safely out of the storm, but we can be assured that help will come IF we ask for it IN FAITH and expect it - and it will come at times from the most unexpected of channels."

Remember you are never Alone and the tide always turns our way - by the Grace and Mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Give thanks and praise as His Mercy endures forever! :)

Stay Strong!

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

In the Midst of the Storm

"...he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike."
(Matthew 5:45, NLT)

In the Midst of the Storm

We all have opportunities to get upset and live stressed out.

The storms of life come to every person.

No matter how good a person you are, you're going to have some "rain" in your life.

When these storms come, a lot people use their faith to try to control their circumstances.

But I've found it's better to use my faith to control myself in the midst of my circumstances.

I know that if I can just remain stable in the storms of life and stay in peace, that's what allows God to act on my behalf.

God never said that we wouldn't have difficulties, but He did promise we could have peace in the midst of the storms.

When you face adversities, one of the most powerful things you can do is simply stay calm.

When you are at peace, you are displaying your faith in God.

By your actions, you're saying, "God, I know You're still on the throne. I know You're bigger than this problem."

So keep peace in the midst of your storms today.

Trust that He is working behind the scenes.

Keep your heart open to Him because soon He will deliver you!

A Prayer for Today
"Father God, thank You for peace in the midst of the storms of life. I choose to hold my peace knowing that You are working behind the scenes. I trust You, I trust Your timing, and I trust that You are working everything together for my good because You love me in Jesus' name.
Amen."

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Use the Gift

"And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness..."
(Romans 8:26, NLT)

He is Strong in You

Sometimes, people get distracted by what they consider to be a disadvantage or weakness in their lives.

It may be something about their personality or looks that they don't like.

Or, maybe they've been through an unfair situation: a divorce, a bad business deal or a bad break.

We all have things that can feel like disadvantages; things that make it harder on us.

It may even be a physical handicap, and you can't get around like you used to.

But just because you have a "disadvantage," just because you've been through a tough time doesn't mean you're supposed to sit back and settle where you are.

God still has something great for you to do!

He wants to show Himself strong in and through you, and He's given you His Holy Spirit to equip you in this life.

Today let the Holy Spirit help you when you feel weak.

Let Him empower you with truth that will set you free.

Stay in faith and don't get negative toward yourself or your future.

Let God take what you think is a liability and turn it into an asset!

Let Him take what you think is a disadvantage and turn it around to be an advantage!

Remember, you are more than a conqueror today and every day because He is strong in you!

A Prayer for Today
"Father, today I give You all that I am. I invite You into the weak places in my life so that You can turn them into strengths. Thank You for working in my life and filling me with faith and expectancy in Jesus' name.
Amen."

From "Today's Word"

Stay Strong!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Cast Your Anxiety

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."
(1 Peter 5:7, NIV)

Cast Your Cares

God cares so much about you today.

Not only does He love and care about you, He cares about the things that concern you as well.

If you have concerns, worry or anxiety about something in your life today—finances, relationships, your job or anything else—know that your heavenly Father ALREADY has a plan to take care of those things for you.

It's a good plan, and He wants to show Himself strong on your behalf.

Scripture reminds us that the lilies of the field and the birds of the air are cared for, how much more will your heavenly Father take care of you?

Today, cast your anxiety on Him and trust that He is going to take care of you!

Refuse to dwell on your problems and don't allow them to steal your peace and joy any longer.

Instead, meditate on His Word and confess His promises over your life!

Cast your cares on Him and experience His peace, joy and blessing all the days of your life!

A Prayer for Today
"Father, thank You for loving me and caring for me. I cast my cares on You and trust that You are working behind the scenes on my behalf. I set my mind on You and look for Your goodness in my life in Jesus' name.
Amen."

From "Today's Word"

Stay Strong! Happy Weekend!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Countless Blessings

"Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare."
(Psalm 40:5, NIV)

God has wonderful things prepared for your future!

Even though you might be facing some circumstances that seem unfair, or things aren't going the way you planned, God's good plan still remains.

Even when life isn't fair, God is always fair.

He is always working behind the scenes on your behalf to move you forward into the destiny that He has prepared for you.

Remember, in order to keep your life moving in the right direction, you need to keep your thoughts, heart and words moving in the right direction.

The best way to do this is by declaring His wonderful deeds!

When you start recounting all the ways God has blessed your life, just like the psalmist, you'll find that His goodness goes beyond what you could ever imagine.

Right now, take a moment and think about all the goodness in your life.

Declare His deeds and focus your thoughts on Him.

Keep your words and thoughts going in the right direction so you can keep moving forward into the abundant life He has promised you!

A Prayer for Today
"Father, today I declare Your goodness and faithfulness in my life. Thank You for blessing me beyond my comprehension. You alone are worthy of all the praise, glory and honor. I bless You today and always in Jesus' name.
Amen."

Stay Strong!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Gethsemane

The Garden of Gethsemane has long been a strong influence in my faith and I often find myself reflecting on that evening before the Lord's agony and death on the cross for all of our sakes.

For me it is remarkable that the Son of God struggled so much with His role in the redemption of the world (justifiably I would say) that he sweat actual blood in his agony and prayer. 

To me Gethsemane represents all of the things we experience that we just wish we could avoid and have taken away from us. 

It represents all the tough and painful events that we all are inevitably going to undergo in our lives - things we don't understand and cannot fathom why we are being asked to endure them.

The lesson of Gethsemane to me is that we will have to go through some agonies in our lifetime.  We are going to want and pray for them to be taken from us just as Jesus did so fervently that evening in the Garden.

But guess what, if God did not spare His own Son what he had to endure in order to save all of us, we too will be made to endure some challenges and storms that we clearly don't want and wish we could avoid.

We need to get through the night.

We need to get through the storm.

As Jesus did that fateful night, after praying we must accept the Garden and TRUST that God will bring us through whatever storm he has us experience.

And as we saw with Jesus and Gethsemane,  the Lord will NEVER make us endure these storms alone. 

He sent an angel to comfort Jesus as He struggled with the "chalice" in front of Him and gave him the Strength and Trust to carry on in the grand scheme He had planned for our salvation.

And the result is all the many gifts and blessings we have been given today!

Stay Strong and Persevere! :)

"When I am in need of peace, I join Jesus on his knees in the garden of Gethsemane.

In the midst of his own violent storm, about to be seized by Roman authorities, Jesus pauses to pray.

Sometimes it takes a lot of sweat, tears, and agony to get to the point of peace, but prayer is what leads us there, just as it led our Lord.

This glimpse of Jesus praying in the storm is reminiscent of Martin Luther's own insistence:

"I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer."

For Jesus, there wasn't any strategizing to be done with the disciples that was more important than prayer, especially as storm clouds gathered.

What makes this scene an unlikely source of comfort is that Jesus does drown, in a manner of speaking.

It is neither a story of heroic rescue nor of rains that suddenly cease.

In the garden, however, Jesus' prayer is still a source of comfort to me.

There, he prays a prayer of relinquishment, offering,

"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done" (Luke 22:42).

That THIS was the prayer of Jesus when thunder clapped and winds roared around him, gives me peace to join him in the same prayer."

From "At Peace in the Storm" by Ken Gire

Stay Strong!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Where We Learn

I apologize in advance for the length of this post but I truly hope you can soldier through it (and if not perhaps you can table it for when you have a few extra minutes) as I believe it carries a powerful message that will truly resonate strongly with a lot of us as we navigate this journey of life on earth! 

Stay Strong, Trust and Enjoy! :)

"Bouncing across raging seas, bent to our knees and clinging for safety, is where we learn to pray.

Ask Noah, adrift on the swells of the diluvian sea.

Ask Jonah, tossed about on the Mediterranean.

Ask the disciples, taking on water on the Sea of Galilee.

Ask Paul, weathering perilous storms on voyage after voyage.

The storm you're facing may be financial, when you find yourself caught up in a Category 4 hurricane that sweeps over the economy like Katrina over the Gulf Coast.

Widespread flooding. Levees breaking. Your home underwater. Your family drowning in debt.

Standing in water to your waist is where you will learn to pray.

Your storm may be vocational, when your job is outsourced overseas or made obsolete by technology.

Wet with tears, your prayers take on new urgency.

The storm you face may be relational, when a friendship turns against you.

When a teenager is caught in the vortex of raging hormones, tempestuous emotions, and pressures from peers.

When a marriage is broadsided by a rogue wave of infidelity or grounded on a shallow reef that slowly sinks it.

Stuck in the mire, you pray.

Your storm may be physical, when your loss of balance turns out to be MS, or the lump turns out to be malignant.

It can be emotional, when the undulations of mood plunge you into the depths of depression.

Gasping for air, you pray.

The storm in your life may be a spiritual one, when you have been driven and tossed by the wind for so long and you have taken on so much water that you are filled with doubt.

You are holding on, but just barely, as wave after wave washes over you.

You're gasping for air, heaving your insides out.

Your eyes are stinging from all the water, and you can hardly see anything clearly.

How much more can you take?

How much longer can you hold on?

When your grip is slipping and you are suffocating, you feel as though the very last thing you can do is pray.

During these times, I most often pipe short, clipped, desperate prayers:

"Save me, Lord!"

"Help me."

"Please, help me."

"Please."

In a storm there are no requisite word counts.

There is no formal grammar.

There are no lofty phrases.

The Jesus prayer has just seven words:

"Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me."

Anne Lamott, who seems to pray like me, once identified the two most popular prayers in the world, ostensibly mid-storm and post-storm, as

"Help, help, help" and "Thank you, thank you, thank you."

The witness of Jesus' own disciples demonstrates that elaborate construction is not necessary:

"Master, don't you care that we are perishing?"

That was the prayer the disciples prayed when the storm swept over their boat and Jesus was asleep in the stern.

"Lord, save me!"

This was the prayer Peter prayed when he stepped out of the boat, taking his eyes off of Jesus and onto the wind and the waves that slapped against him.

The one prayer was a question, the other an exclamation.

In every life there are times when Jesus does seem to be asleep in the stern, while our lives are taking on water, and we are breaking our backs, bailing our hearts out.

How can he possibly be sleeping? On a cushion, no less!

How could he not hear the waves smashing against the hull, not feel the water sloshing over the sides?

How could he not see that we are perishing?

How could he not care?

We wake him with our prayers, or so it seems.

And he is inconvenienced, or so it seems.

Even irritated.

The question turns the way it did with the widow's question to the unrighteous judge (Luke 18:1–8).

And we learn that while we are looking for rescue, he is looking for FAITH.

It is difficult to be hard on the disciples.

What should they have done?

How should they have approached him?

Or when?

They didn't come to Jesus until they'd come to the end of themselves.

Maybe that is what prompted the rebuke.

Maybe they looked at him as their last resort INSTEAD of their FIRST.

Maybe they didn't want to disturb him, and that is what he wanted them to do most.

To come to him FIRST.

To realize he would WANT them to come to him first.

Jesus, no doubt, would have gladly received just a single word:

"Lord!"

"Master!"

There have been a lot of times when I have cried myself to sleep while praying.

Not sobbing, just gentle tears spilling from my eyes.

When the storm has raged for too long, we are weary.

We are out of thoughts.

We are out of feelings.

We are out of prayers.

What then?

When we've reached the end, Jesus simply receives us.

No words.

A sigh.

A heaving of your heart toward heaven, however heavy it may be to lift, however hard it may be to heft.

When it is too hard, the Holy Spirit will do the heaving, lifting, groaning, to carry it for you.

Unclenching our fists, the movement of prayer is to trust with the trust of Jesus.

In the same way Jesus fully entrusted himself into the hands of the Father who loved him, so we too are invited to entrust our lives into the hands of the Father who loves us.

Where you find yourself today, whether drifting effortlessly on serene glassy waters or thrown by desperate violent waves, how do your prayers sound?

Like sinking Peter, do you instinctively call out to Jesus for help?

Or like Jesus' terrified disciples, have you been hesitant to rouse the Master?

Hoarse from praying, do you at last offer a humble prayer of relinquishment?

Or speechless, desperate, do you simply lift your eyes toward heaven and let the Spirit interpret the groans of your heart?

Whichever way,  always know that Jesus' ear is constantly attuned to those who find themselves in life's storms.

Sometimes he quiets the storm.

Always, he calms and delivers his child."

"Those persons who know the deep peace of God, the unfathomable peace that passeth all understanding, are always men and women of much prayer." - R. A. Torrey

Taken From "At Peace in the Storm"  by Ken Gire

Stay Strong!!!