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Seeking Sonshine

"Not all who wander are lost" – J.R.R. Tolkien

It may be Saturday…but Sunday’s on the WAY!

Holy Saturday, Saturday before Easter, Black Saturday, Easter Eve. 
I can’t imagine how bleak and dark this day was for the followers and especially the apostles of Jesus. Can you imagine how Peter was doing? He had denied His own Lord and Savior and wasn’t even present at Calvary to see Him die. We all know how Judas handled his betrayal of Jesus. We know John the loyal, steadfast one was the only apostle to remain with Him. We know Mary, Jesus’ mother, was there as well.


But what I really want to know how Mary, his mother, was doing. After all, she was the only one who truly knew (because of solid proof) that her son WAS indeed the Messiah. The human side of Mary had to be wracked with grief because of the agony of watching her beloved son and Savior die in the most gruesome of ways.. and it was because of her. Because of ALL who would follow her.  Because of us. We know she pondered things in her heart because the Scripture tells us this. 


Stop for just a minute to consider how Jesus had personally ministered to Mary since she was a young teen. He was her first child, the one who made her become a mother and who had been a perfect child. (By the way, can you imagine the heyday the enemy had to have created in the way of sibling rivalry? How do you compete when your brother is Jesus… AND your parents really do worship Him?! 😬😬😬)  I hesitate to think about all the mistakes I made with my firsts with either of my kids!! I was terrified most of the time. But if my baby was Jesus?!?! Good thing He is the Author of Forgiveness, I am just saying! 😂 

Parents can be so hard on themselves when they make a mistake with their child. Can you imagine the fight between Mary and Joseph when they both realized they had left their son, you know, only the Alpha and Omega, behind at the temple? How many times have I forged on in my life when things were good or I was busy, and left Jesus behind. Remember, Jesus was the only perfect member of that family…not his parents. 

Then again, I am almost glad that we don’t know what Mary was doing. Maybe she was holding a Prayer Vigil with her closest family and friends. Maybe she was pleading with them to have hope, because He did exactly as the Scriptures foretold and all has come to pass. But, somehow, I revel in the fact that Mary is a lot like all of us. Sometimes when we know something without a shadow of a doubt, the enemy still tries to make us doubt. Grief is blinding to every sense in your body. It would be perfectly acceptable for her to be inconsolable and alone, deep in sorrow. It’s hard for us to imagine because we know what happens on Sunday. 


So let’s dig deeper.

What about the situation you are facing, have faced, or will face soon? When you don’t know what the test results will say when they come back. When you aren’t sure your child is going to make it. When there’s no telling what will happen…the middle battleground. The Black Saturdays of our lives are the days of the unknown.  I personally believe that these are the reason faith is called a fight. It is a massive war on these days. If I am not armored up and prayed up, I am in trouble. My attitude will sour, my thoughts are more negative and my soul gets downcast. Even when I know, I have Victory in ANY situation because of what Jesus did and endured for me on Good Friday. 


Sometimes, we just have to give our deepest sorrows, regrets, failures and grief to the One who bore them already. He wants to take them from you. He KNOWS how heavy it is to carry all the baggage we lug around our lives. He lugged a cross that was heavy all on its own, without the sin of the world, all the way to Calvary. He finished it. Can we finish it?

If we can, we give our Savior the most beautiful gift that we will never get to give Him on the other side of Glory. No angel can provide that kind of worship to Him. Only the people He created out of His own image can offer Him the kind of surrender and love that we can give… if we choose to. And that is why it is such a beautiful gift for Him to receive. It is because we choose to, out of the free will that He gave us. Just like He chose to give His life for us.

So, in ALL our lives, in ALL our situations, let us remember, in the great words of Carman, Sunday’s on the way. 🎤  

Sunday’s on the way in the weakest areas of ourselves. Sunday’s on the way for the hurting. Sunday’s on the way for the brokenness. Sunday’s on the way for the lonely and the downcast souls!!! Watch out devil, because Sunday’s on the WAY!

https://youtu.be/muK1DPKhKJ8


Photo Credits:

http://www.first-baptist-church-carrollton-ky.com/Standing-Near-the-Cross.html

http://www.zrarts.com/Mother-Mary-at-Cross/

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.pinterest.com/amp/pin/438045501228762798/

https://www.pinterest.com/explore/easter-quotes/



When God is in the Classroom

Mrs. Ackley

I’ve heard it said in various ways, “They have taken God out of the classroom.” I’ve even been asked, “How can you work in a public school when you can’t share your faith with the kids?” I’ve watched teachers walk away from public education with great frustration because of politics, evaluation systems, state standards, pay, and lack of support.

If I am being honest, there are days in which I ask, “Why am I still here?”

Yet, every time I ask myself that question, I hear a soft whisper in my soul… “Because I am here.”

God is in your classroom.

From the depths of my soul, I believe that God has never, can never, and will never be removed from the classroom–even a public school classroom.  One, He is bigger than that. Besides the fact that He is omnipresent , He is the “indwelling spirit” that fills you…

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IF: Gathering 2017…Disciple

I just experienced my very first IF: Gathering (mostly online) and may I say….WOW.

That was intense.

No wonder this thing has spread like wildfire. Ladies, if you have not experienced IF, you are missing out on seeing God showing up and MOVING. You can access it here and I gain nothing by you doing this. I am in no way affiliated with IF, just an amazed first time attendee. I implore you to watch these conversations and these teachings on your own time because they are powerful and are based on scripture that is alive and relevant for you, today.

http://live.ifgathering.com/livestreams/

Yesterday was my birthday and IF being the first weekend in February is the best gift I could imagine. What a blessing to spend 24 hours before beginning a new age to reflect and reprioritize! This year, the focus of the gathering was on the early church and how Jesus only used a few disciples. Twelve, to be exact. Those twelve spread the Good News across Judea, Samaria and all over the world. I had never studied Acts or the Apostles before. Now, I can’t stop thinking about them.  These men were with Jesus. They were chosen by Him to follow Him. They watched Him teach, heal, perform miracles, die, be buried, grieved His death, and saw Him after He rose again. They were the first ones to ever be filled with the Holy Spirit. And all but one died a martyr’s death for it.  Their stories are remarkable. Jesus changed their lives forever. He is still in the life changing business, which is good news in today’s world. It is our job, those of us who have experienced His goodness and His grace, to pour that into others so they can experience it for themselves.


I had a lot to unpack after hearing these dynamic women’s challenging sermons and I had to examine my heart and my motives. I am now one year older. What am I going to be intentional about this trip around the sun? I want it to count for the Kingdom…I want my life to matter in some way. Don’t we all want this to some degree or another? I decided to take Jennie Allen’s Word from God and apply  it. Disciple. Yes, Lord. Show me what it looks like for me. 

I believe He will show up and off for us in our own individual lives if we will simply offer up our hands and say, Yes, Lord. I will be a woman who says Yes to whatever You have planned for my life. Because I have tried to run it my own way and I have tanked it in fantastic fashion in so little time! We have so little time here on Earth. There are so many people hurting all around us that could really use Jesus. 


What if we said Yes, Lord? Choose me. Send me. I am ready. I will go. 


I don’t know what or where this will look like. I know it starts with an everyday intentional choice to surrender my will to His. Whether I feel like it or not. Jennie’s talk about discipline painfully convicted me that it is an area I have ignored for far too long. It is past time I addressed it. (Even though my Sanguine self screams against it!! 😂)


Photo Credits:

#ifgathering2017

https://m.facebook.com/IFgathering/

https://hisimagenme.wordpress.com/tag/obedience/

The Wrestling Match

I have always found the Biblical story of Jacob extremely interesting. They lived for so long back in those days, that they are intertwined in a lot of Biblical history! First of all, he is Isaac (of Abraham and Sarah) and Rebekah’s younger son. He has a twin brother who is older and can totally kick his you know what from birth, practically. No pressure living up to this family’s legacy (Grandpa Father of Nations over there) to begin with. All family has its Jerry Springer moments and this one was no different. I admit, I do find small amounts of comfort in that. 😂 

Jacob was a Mama’s boy and his Mama, Rebekah, had a prophecy given to her during her turbulent pregnancy with the twin boys. 

The Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your body. Two tribes that are now inside you will be separated. One nation will be stronger than the other. The older son will serve the younger one.” – Genesis 25:23

She later helped Jacob (#younger) trick his father into stealing Esau (#olderverymadmuchbiggerbrother)’s birthright. You have to consider that she probably thought she was doing God’s will. See, women aren’t stupid. We love ALL our kids the same, right? So if God tells you that one of them is going to serve the other one… then which one are you going to side with so you steer clear of a nursing home? Just throwing that out there. Not defending her by any means. I am just saying that it is a lot easier to read scripture thousands of years later and assume that we would make better choices when we regularly miss great opportunities in our own lives on a day to day basis.


This wasn’t the first time Jacob used deceit when it came to his brother. (Jealous, much?) Genesis 25:29-34 tells us about how Esau came in from a hunting trip and was so hungry, he gave Jacob whatever he wanted for wanted for a bowl of stew. Of course, Jacob wanted his birthright. That sounds crazy to us, but I can name too many things I traded in for a bowl of stew in my life. Taking the easy way instead the right way. Applying a short term, earthly fix to a spiritual problem. How many times have I traded in my birthright for a bowl of stew because I was facing a storm? That is the trigger for me. Maybe it’s different for you.

It’s not always easy to remember that we have an Anchor in the storm. Until you do remember in a storm. Then, it changes how you view storms.


I used to fear storms in my life. Truth be told, fear had a stronghold so deep in my world that I suffered physical symptoms because of it for years. It was linked to my gut and stomach. I worried and feared about horrible outcomes that never came. I wallowed in self pity and regret. I listened to thoughts that whispered self deprecating lies about myself because I did not put enough truth in between my ears to know the difference between lies and truths. Friends, please learn from my mistakes. Pick up the Bible. Google God’s Promises to you. Listen to the lyrics of this song.

“No Longer Slaves”

You unravel me with a melody
You surround me with a song

Of deliverance from my enemies

‘Til all my fears are gone

[2x]
I’m no longer a slave to fear

I am a child of God
From my mother’s womb
You have chosen me

Love has called my name

I’ve been born again

Into your family

Your blood flows through my veins

[4x]
I’m no longer a slave to fear

I am a child of God
I am surrounded

By the arms of the father

I am surrounded

By songs of deliverance
We’ve been liberated

From our bondage

We’re the sons and the daughters

Let us sing our freedom
You split the sea

So I could walk right through it

My fears were drowned in perfect love

You rescued me

And I could stand and sing

I am a child of God…
You split the sea

So I could walk right through it

You drowned my fears in perfect love

You rescued me

And I will stand and sing

I am a child of God
Yes, I am

I am a child of God

I am a child of God

Yes, I am

I am a child of God

Full of faith

Yes, I am a child of God

I am a child of God
[3x]

I’m no longer a slave to fear

I am a child of God

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Vbp2eZ7b45I -Bethel Music Video

Jacob probably had some strongholds, I would imagine. After all, he was on the run from a really mad Esau and Friends. (Sounds like a kids show!) Simply put, Jacob is sweating bullets and becomes desperate to save his life. He then comes into contact with an Angel. The Angel is basically telling him that he is lacking in some major areas. Jacob is obviously feeling very guilty and repents over and over to the Angel. The Angel, however, refuses to budge. Jacob, in all his desperation and worry, begins to WRESTLE the Angel. (Dude…no, do you really think you’ll win?!) But he doesn’t care! Why? What could be so important that he would act the fool with a representative of God? He wrestled him to receive a blessing! This guy is obsessed with blessings!  This post explains it well and compares it to present day believers:

http://www.preparingforeternity.com/sr/sr13.htm
“There is so little exercise of true faith and so little of the weight of truth resting upon many professed believers because they are indolent in spiritual things. They are unwilling to make exertions, to deny self, to agonize before God, to pray long and earnestly for the blessing, and therefore they do not obtain it. That faith which will live through the time of trouble must be daily in exercise now. Those who do not make strong efforts now to exercise persevering faith, will be wholly unprepared to exercise that faith which will enable them to stand in the day of trouble.”

He wrestled with this Angel all night. He wouldn’t stop. He couldn’t stop. It’s fascinating to me. First of all, what had to be going through Jacob’s head to wrestle an Angel?! I mean, that is wrestling with not flesh and blood to the most literal terms!! If the Angel killed him, what would happen? I guess he didn’t care. He must have been so desperate for God to move on his behalf, he would have done anything and given anything to be different. 

I have been there. This rings very true with me in different parts of my life. Times that I questioned it all. I couldn’t and refused to try and understand. It can very vividly be described as a wrestling match within myself. I think a lot of people have a similar experience in their lives as well. It is a time when you must decide what you’re going to believe and follow it, no matter what. A time when you must set your true North. It can be a situation, a diagnosis, an addiction, a death, worries, anxiety, depression, or any kind of overwhelming circumstances that will test every part of you. Pieces you never knew existed will be under attack from forces you never see. You may wrestle for awhile with God, but don’t ever let Him go. 


Jacob refused to let go. The Angel touched his hip and dislocated it and Jacob never walked right again. But what a story he had to tell why he was using a cane! The cane is a symbol of leaning on God. He got his blessing from the Lord and his name was changed to Israel. He ended up fulfilling his part of his family’s legacy.

But not without struggle. Not without a wrestling match. 

Struggle is not an ideal place to be. It is not something we choose for ourselves and no matter how many inspiring pins we pin to our spiritual Pinterest boards, it is uncomfortable. It hurts. It can make us angry and emotional. It doesn’t tend to bring out our best. But it is shaping us to be our best. Painfully. Slowly. Persevering. 




This definitely sounds like a trait that comes from God to me. The many blessings that come to those with a tenacious mindset and have staying power include longer and happier marriages, raising children that stick with problems even when they are difficult, determination to keep going in journies to getting healthier and actually reaching goals we set, going to work with a purposefulness in mind and refusing to let distractions sidetrack what we are meant to accomplish. Perseverance can help us in every single area of our lives. And we receive it by the testing of our faith.

So stand strong and pray. Grab on and don’t let go. Receive the blessing. ❤️
Photo Credits:

http://www.christianquotes.info/top-quotes/17-powerful-quotes-judging-accepting-others/

http://www.artic.edu/event/gallery-talk-storm-and-stress

https://www.google.com/amp/s/dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/1423-genesis-32/amp/

Image created with Youversion.com Bible app

https://www.google.com/search?q=perseverance&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-us&client=safari

2016….The Year That Wasn’t. Except it Was.

I use Timehop and I am enjoying a 40 day streak (longest ever for me!) where I remember to check the app to see my social media and IPhone picture past from the last seven years or so. This came up a few days ago. 

Better prices and new beginnings were my hopes capping off a shocking layoff early in the year. Well, now that I am at the end of 2016, I can say that new beginnings definitely happened. I became an art and computers teacher in a junior high school. Better prices didn’t really happen. But my definition on what it meant did. I went through a health issue with my left eye that got worse before it got better over a period of months later on in 2016. I was learning to teach and trying to balance it all out. (I feel sorry for my students for having me my very first time in this field!)  But I learned that my weakness is made perfect in Him. He can sustain me and allow me to grow and learn and cultivate relationships with my students that needed to be there during key moments in both mine and their lives. He can be trusted with my health. He can be trusted with my daughter. He is our Healer. He surrounds me with His loving kindness through an incredibly caring church family. He encourages me through my family and friends. I am blessed and where I am meant to be at this time in my life. None of this was attained without cost or great loss to me in some defined quantity; but the question became what is my measure of value for life going to look like? 

Solomon could have had anything, literally ANYTHING he wanted from God. He picked wisdom. Even God Himself was so impressed with Solomon’s request that He granted it and had to give him more because his answer was just that good! Now, Solomon’s earthly father was King David. King David was no mere mortal among men. He was described in the scriptures as a man after God’s own Heart… so just throwing it out there that Solomon definitely had connections. He had to have heard the incredible stories about his father, both amazing and horrifying. After all, his dad had the ability to magnify mistakes and glories to a magnitude of 50K. Bathsheba was Solomon’s mama. She was beautiful and had lost her first baby with David due to “bad choices on David’s part.” Not really hers. She pretty much had to do what the King commanded. But still, God chose Solomon. No matter what his parents had done, Solomon loved God. And for a brief time, Solomon followed God and was an incredible vessel for His glory on this Earth. He tragically fell later and succumbed to the world. But, for a time, he was a great ruler. There are great lessons to be learned from Solomon, even today.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.gotquestions.org/amp/life-Solomon.html?client=safari

Loved ones were lost this year, too. It was a year full of trials for many people. We were never promised a trial free existence. We were promised joy and perseverance and that our faith would be made perfect, lacking nothing

“Possessing joy is a choice. We choose whether to value God’s presence, promises, and work in our lives. When we yield to the Spirit, He opens our eyes to God’s grace around us and fills us with joy (Romans 15:13). Joy is not to be found in a fallen world; it is only fellowship with God that can make our joy complete (1 John 1:4).”

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.gotquestions.org/amp/fruit-Holy-Spirit-joy.html?client=safari


We can choose to follow other gods like Solomon or remain in his first choice: Seek God’s wisdom in our lives. Ask for discernment in our choices. Seek and choose joy. It’s part of His yoke and it is the light part. Praise as much as you can. It is good for our souls to do it in any plight. We show the enemy that he cannot stop us from thanking our Jesus and praising His Name, no matter what he tries to throw at us. We will not give up because we believe that the name of Jesus is the most powerful name there is. And He is worth fighting for. ❤️

We are in a season to remember and celebrate His coming to Earth to save us from ourselves. May we remember that when the enemy tempts us to remember things that take our focus off the One who was born to redeem us and changes our future for eternity as well as on Earth. We remember and Rejoice!


May we choose the fullness of joy in all seasons of our lives. May we meet trials and suffering head on with this confidence. That the blood of Jesus is more powerful than any two edged sword and the name of Jesus is to be praised in 2017 and beyond. ❤️


Photo Credits:

https://missjc.com/tag/dreams/

https://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2013/01/page/2/

When It Rains

There are times in this life that test everything you have, everything you know and everything you believe. Spiritual attacks can roll into your everyday life so minor that you don’t even notice them until they build up and beat down relentlessly for a season. I visualize them as Oklahoma thunderstorms in April and May. There is a “season” that we Oklahomans know to be weather aware and smart about severe weather preparation. Supercells can spring up unexpectedly and sometimes all the warnings in the world cannot prepare you for what you are about to endure. The intensity of a situation can change in minutes. High pressure moments crashing into low emotions can create a funnel of destruction across your life in minutes. Tornado sirens are not out of the norm for me, as a native Oklahoman. However, I admit that I do feel much safer now that we have a storm shelter installed. (Except my husband never thinks we need to go down there. Even when the weatherman says to. But that’s another topic for another day! 😂😉❤️)



*Personal Note.

I faced a storm a year ago now that involved almost losing my precious then four year old daughter. If you know me very well, you would know that I spent almost all of my pregnancy with her terrified of what may come next. Would I lose her? Would I miscarry again? When is it okay to hope again? Is this my fault somehow? Could I have done more or less or changed the outcome, somehow? The enemy had a heyday with my thought life. I was so focused on the storm, I forgot to keep my eyes on Jesus. 

Until He gently and firmly reminded me to look up and remember who He was. He was the very same Jesus who healed a Roman Centurion’s daughter because of his faith in Him. He was and is the very same One whose cloak healed a very sick woman, simply because of her belief that all she needed to do was just touch His hem and she would receive restoration of life that could be found nowhere else. A timely Word reminded me that I am not in control of what happens in this life, but I know the One who promised me that He would use all things for good if I love and trust Him. 


Funny when the real stress of this life hits and your view on life is never the same as it was before. I will never forget the surrealness of those hours that December 22 or 23. I can’t remember, exactly. They ran together after that midnight, when all hell broke loose. But they couldn’t have her. No, she belonged to Jesus. And Jesus was going to heal her completely. I started thanking Him ahead of the Miracle at St. Francis Children’s Hospital. 
That’s what I refer to it as. We came in so scared and yet so confident that Jesus would meet us there and cleanse her with healing power like only He has. I had heard a sermon about this just beforehand. God is moved by our faith. He wants to know what we are willing to surrender for it. I found my way to the chapel in a beautiful building that housed these beautiful children who were all so very sick from one ailment or another. And I couldn’t help but ache for Someone to heal them. All of them. But especially my little punkin bear. And I laid everything out that I had at His feet, including everything I had been holding back. For a change.

And He gave everything back to me better. Faster. Truer. It was love, a tangible love, that He opened my baby’s eyes again and she got better and better. Jesus healed my daughter. Hallelujah!!! I will never forget how I had never experienced true gratitude or complete brokenness than I did in those moments. But, they completely changed my relationship with Christ forever. It became my faith in those moments. 

I imagine how Peter must have felt when Christ pulled him out from what had to have been a terrifying moment for him, and in an instant, total peace. No more raging waves of fear and anxiety or turmoil. All of it gone, in a heartbeat. Safety achieved, it became an iconic example of how we should navigate storms in our own lives. Whether they fall from the sky or swallow us up in seas of regret and pain, God can use ALL things for good. God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good. ❤


Photo Credits:

http://www.langfordphotography.com/keyword/oklahoma;thunderstorm

http://www.news9.com/story/16976276/severe-thunderstorm-causes-damage-in-central-oklahoma

http://www.jesusplusnothing.com/studies/online/Walkonwater.htm

http://www.allcupation.com/quotes/motivational-quotes-about-career-development-and-life-165/

The Cell Phone Waiting Lot of Life

I went to visit a dear friend in Atlanta a year ago today, and I saw something that I had never seen before at the airport. There was a cell phone waiting lot. This intrigued me. (Why? I have no idea) I had to find out more about this cell phone waiting lot. It sounded pretty self explanatory. It is a lot where you can park and wait to pick up a passenger without having to pay. You basically wait until your person says, “Hey, I’m here!” It is a good way to keep the traffic more clear and less congestion. Pretty good idea! I saw this at my own hometown airport and remember thinking, we have arrived! We have a cell phone waiting lot! 😂

Then God showed me that my life should resemble that of a cell phone waiting lot. 

Wait, What? (These are the profound things I hear. A cell phone lot?)

I love the way God ministers to me personally because He knows my nature is to find beauty in random things. He has a cool sense of humor. Sometimes. 😄 (Okay all the time but sometimes it isn’t as funny to me… 😉)

I think Joseph would understand living life in a cell phone waiting lot. God showed him a grand vision of his future right before he got sold into slavery by the hand of his own brothers. Waiting lot and the passenger he is waiting for is God, Himself. I want to know if Joseph ever freaked out just once. The Bible isn’t specific, but I envision it sounding like this if I were Joseph:

Jo: Um, God? Are you there God, it’s me, Joseph. (😉) Is this because I bragged about my dream to my brothers? Because they were evidently not nearly as excited as I thought they would be. God? Day 2. What is going on?!?! Seriously? Is this a joke? Day 40. God. I am sorry about the coat thing, too. Day 146. What did I do? My life is over. There is nothing left for me. My whole life is gone. 

Good thing I am not Joseph, right? God would have probably struck me down right then and there for ruining the awesome Bible Story with the cool coat guy.Who went on to become falsely accused of rape. Then, having the ultimate chance at revenge…and choosing live, a chance at family and forgiveness instead. Joseph spent a LOT of time waiting in the cell phone LOT called jail or slavery in his lifetime. Waiting for the moment God promised him in a unique way to Joseph alone. And Joseph believed. And he overcame it ALL through the one who would mirror the same savior to all humanity. 

Sometimes, I wish the Bible elaborated more and let us know how okay with this Joseph was in every moment. Because it is hard to stay humble in the lot. “But, God, I earned this promotion. We both know it.” “God, I beg of you, please get me out of this situation and I swear I will do whatever you want me to forever. Just help me this once!” “God, when is it my time? How long must I wait?” (He heard that last one from me quite a bit.) 

But maybe it is listed in the Bible only as Joseph’s overall theme, or decision, to stick to God’s plan for a reason. That is a clear point in the story. Joseph could have quit and had lots of opportunities to do so. The odds stacked against him in Potifer’s eyes, a man he respected and owed a great deal to. When the lid shut over his head and he could no longer hear the mocking or yelling of his brothers. The Bible doesn’t tell us what he thought but I can only imagine what I had been thinking if I were Joseph. And that humbles me pretty fast. My focus is too often only on what I can see. What I can prove. What my past experiences have shaped my outlook to be. But God is most concerned in our faith. What do we believe, no matter what we complain about or voice fears or concerns or anger toward? What do we believe? Because if it is circumstantial, we will never live in the peace Jesus died for us to have in our daily lives. Who wants us to live in constant worry, defeat, anxiety, live in the WHAT-ifs realm and forget about others and what God wants for us. Not Jesus. Our spiritual enemy.

Armor of God Prayer for Mornings
We must put on our armor DAILY and prepare for attacks on our minds and hearts, especially. 


We may not see the why in our situation. In some, we may never know this side of heaven. Here is what we can know:


How do we hope in the Lord, even when we are in the waiting lot of life?

Janet Eckles Article

Let’s connect to the Lord’s WiFi. #vinebrancheswifi

Photo Credits:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwiJ5oOVkPvOAhXC6SYKHRYhAxYQjhwIBQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.yelp.com%2Fbiz%2Fnewark-airport-cell-phone-lot-elizabeth&psig=AFQjCNFn98c6qsgBEwOOWgAvygmAI7J3HQ&ust=1473264369400408&rct=j

http://biblia.com/bible/esv/1%20Pet%205.6

http://littlebirdieblessings.blogspot.com/2015/05/sunday-scripture-hope.html

The Struggle With Struggling

Today, it gets real here on the blog. I am going to talk about stuff I never talk about because I am too embarrassed to admit that I struggle. I want to be that person that never doubts God in their life. The one who never struggles with her weight or her self esteem because she has her priorities in check. That girl who has her spending under control and never has to worry about how the mortgage will get paid or if the car will be in the driveway tomorrow. I’d like to write this and pretend it’s all true and that I completely trust God and all He has done and will do. 

But I am not that person. Fact is, I do struggle and to be completely honest, I am struggling. I struggle with doubt, with decision making, with lack of discipline and worry. Sometimes on a daily basis. I can see God working in other people’s lives and my own, sometimes. So why do I doubt? Why do I make bad choices when I know better? 

Why do I keep struggling with struggles when I believe in the One who overcame struggling once and for all?



I love this image and these words. They make me stop and think. It’s hard for us to remember that the heroes of our faith never had advanced warning or assurance of the endings to their stories. (Some did, but it took years to manifest. Sarah laughed, remember?)  It is easy to imagine saying, “I would totally walk in that fiery furnace. Jesus shows up so it’s cool.” Three men said yes when the only assurance they could see was their imminent departure from this world. And they went in. The craziest part of the whole story is what they told those Babylonians!  They stated even if their God does NOT come through; even STILL they would praise and trust Him. 

Even if, still. 

Even if I cannot see a way, still I will go down the path God is leading me down. (And I will try not to be as begrudging along the way. Shadrach, I aim for your faith. Because right, I feel like a hot mess of Peter’s anxiety, Moses’ insecurity, David’s fear, Thomas’ doubt and Saul’s regret.) 


I am learning love and faith are not single decisions or grand gestures. They are daily choices that, contrary to my long held belief, have nothing to do with emotions or feelings. Maybe you need this, too.



One choice at a time. ❤️

Photo Credits:

Good Can Turn Around Any Situation – Religious Quote

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/all-begins-and-ends-your-mind-what-you.html


September 11, A Call to Battle

Many of us can remember exactly where we were and what we were doing on that crisp September morning, fifteen years ago. Time stood still. The unthinkable happened and we had no idea how to process it. We were under attack yet could not move. All we could do was stare at a screen for those of us not in the affected zones and pray. It felt so reactive and shook our core of safety by simply having a zip code in the United States of America. We saw the physical manifestation of the battle that had been raging and continues to rage in the spiritual realm.

No, not in the smoke. Although some believe that see it clearly above, and claim an angel here:


Let’s understand science’s reasoning for this.

“The experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data was coined apophenia by the German neurologist, Klaus Conrad. He originally described this phenomenon as a kind of psychotic thought process, though it is now viewed as being a ubiquitous feature of human nature. Science historian Michael Shermer has called the same phenomenon patternicity. Shermer has pointed out that our brains do not include a “baloney-detection network” that would allow us to distinguish between true and false patterns.” – Bruce Poulsen, Ph.D.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/reality-play/201207/being-amused-apophenia

“The psychological phenomenon that causes some people to see or hear a vague or random image or sound as something significant is known as pareidolia (par-i-DOH-lee-a). The word is derived from the Greek words para, meaning something faulty, wrong, instead of, and the noun eidōlon, meaning image, form or shape. Pareidolia is a type of apophenia, which is a more generalized term for seeing patterns in random data. Some common examples are seeing a likeness of Jesus in the clouds or an image of a man on the surface of the moon.” – Kim Zimmerman

http://www.livescience.com/25448-pareidolia.html

The Rorschach inkblot test uses pareidolia in an attempt to gain insight into a person’s mental state.

We, as Christians, can acknowledge science’s findings, but do still choose to find a deeper meaning in life through our relationship with Christ. It is because we choose to see life through the lens of a child of God. It is who we believe we are because God’s Word says it’s who we are. 

The book of Daniel has always been one of my favorite ones because it contains so many awesome Bible stories. One lesser known one occurs in Daniel, Chapter 10.

“The prophet Daniel had received a troubling vision concerning a great war (Daniel 10:1). He went into a three-week period of mourning, fasting, and prayer. In response to Daniel’s prayer, God sent a heavenly messenger to explain the vision. However, the messenger was delayed for those same three weeks, as he explains to Daniel: “But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia” (Daniel 10:13). Later, the angel speaking to Daniel predicts further fighting: “Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince)” (verses 20–21).

http://www.gotquestions.org/prince-of-Persia.html

I really like this article because the author  talks about how the battle is real and is happening even now. Our prayers can help change the tide of the battle.

Queen Esther and Mordecai rose against a physical prince of Persia, named Haman decades after Daniel. This article is a staunch call to prayer if there are Hamans in your life. https://nightshade130.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/dealing-with-hamans-in-your-life-spiritual-warfare-prayer/

We can sum all of this up by recognizing that there has been spiritual warfare at least since Daniel’s time. Strategically enough, the Islamic extremists’ center seems to be located in and around what was Persia in Biblical times. We know that evil has lurked behind rulers in this world like Adolph Hitler, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden to name a few. We know that Jesus has overcome the world and all its evil empires, plans and destruction. 

“What we KNOW (1. God is good. 2. God is good to us. 3. God is good at being God.) MUST dictate what we see, or what we see will VIOLATE what we know.” -Lysa TerKeurst Uninvited

We know God is on the throne. He knows what is going on and the truth behind why it is happening in the first place. We pray for those who are our enemies, because Jesus commanded us to. We pray for our protection and fight the spiritual battles that we have been called to fight in our lives. We give praise to the One who gives us Victory through His death and resurrection in our battles. And we remember the fallen along the way and their families. 

Because one day, the last person who remembers 9/11 will pass away. What have we left the future generations to remember and memorialize what happened that crisp September day? 

How about a winning strategy and a God who overcomes all struggles and all battles?  I don’t know what battles you are fighting today, but our enemy is the same. Let us never forget this. We can join together and fight on our knees to reclaim our circumstances, decisions, lives, towns, cities, countries and world for Jesus Christ. 

Photo Credits:

http://www.snopes.com/rumors/wtcface.asp

Angel and Devil on 9-11

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