Monday, January 26, 2015


Have you ever faced a really difficult challenge?  Life seems to throw them at us on a regular basis, doesn't it???  Challenges are part of this world and can be a test of our strength, a test of our character, or a call that requires full use of our abilities.  

Challenges can be a contest that is fun to engage in, too which is usually a much more welcome challenge!!!

Also, a challenge can be a formal objection to our point of view that demands an answer. Sometimes that answer can be given immediately and sometimes not.  It may be a process to find a solution or a long-term answer that may have many steps to accomplish.  Or, we may pose a challenge to someone else - we object to what is being said, done or in the process of changing something we hold dear.  Perhaps, the challenge requires us thinking about an issue differently so that a resolution can be found.  Perhaps, it requires researching something to come up with a new method or new way of accomplishing a task or project.

Perhaps the challenge is a health challenge - one that requires a huge amount of faith, patience and/or endurance!!!  This kind of challenge requires or demands a lot more of our time and energy!!!

Whatever the challenge is, it does require us to do something different than we ever have in the past.  Many times, the challenge requires us to be brave or daring and even defy the odds!!!  Challenges can cause us to question and/or inquire as to why or how something is done or has always been a certain way in the past.  Challenges can cause us to be motivated to change something we have been needing to address for a long, long time, too!

What was the last challenge you have been faced with?  How did you get through it?  What gave you the strength to make it through?  Who helped you through a difficult time or situation?  Where did you find the answer?

Many times, challenges ask us to apply special or extraordinary effort.  One of my very favorite scriptures is from Philippians 4:13 which says:

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  Wow..........what a way to face a challenge!!!  As you face the next challenge in your life, I hope you will find this strength surrounding you - it is available for the asking!!!  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Cleansing tears.......

Tears.......we all have them.  One situation or another throughout our lives brings us to the point of tears. We as women and men come to the point of tears for many reasons.  Some people, like me, are very soggy and tears flow freely; others, cannot let the emotion show until a breaking point and nothing else can be done.  Tears..........cleansing tears are finally released.  A flood starts and doesn't seem like it will ever end.

I was told while going through my divorce back in 2000, that tears were our way of clearing the path to God.  And, that tears were one way God cleanses us, heals us, and gives us new life.  I found this wisdom to be so true.  When the floods came, I felt as if they would never, never stop.  Yet, here I am, 15 years later and those tears have stopped - for the most part.  Once in a great while, I sigh a sigh of relief, and yet regret because of what my son had to endure.  What I had to endure to become healthy, whole.  Tears for me are a release and a blessing.  Now, I have tears of joy!!!  Many times, my heart swells so much with gladness that I cannot do anything else, but cry!!!  Tears.........come from tender hearts........come from wading through our loss and our love to our JOY!

Patsy Clairmont wrote these wise words in the margin of my Women of Faith Bible:
"To become tender hearted, insightful and responsive to the Lord and others, we must first wade through our own losses.  That means a willingness to feel the effect of our loss, to examine our hearts under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit, to release tears and to relinquish our rights to understand.  In doing so, we will feel the pain, but we'll learn appropriate ways to express it.  Sometimes, it will be through the healing release of tears, prayer, some form of art, or words - either spoken or written."

Pretty insightful, wouldn't you say?  I love Patsy's writing!!!  She has several great books - look her up and see what you find!!

One reason I came upon this reading today was that I was looking up this verse in Habakkuk 3:17-19:
"Though the fig tree does not bud, and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen, and no cattle in the stalls, YET I WILL REJOICE in the Lord, I will be JOYFUL in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights."

Wow.........what a verse and what incredible insight!!!  
"Yet I will the Lord!
I will be joyful in Savior!!!"

I pray that today, if you are to the point of tears, you will allow them to flow freely, openly, fully.  Tears cleanse our hearts, our souls and our minds.  Yes, there is the result of red, puffy eyes and sometimes a headache so throbbing that we have to lay down with a cold cloth on our head.  But, perhaps, that is just what you need:  REST!!!  Rest in the Savior's arms.........His everlasting Love surrounds us each moment.  I pray you will feel that soothing love today.  Blessings abound and tears are one of them!!!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Finding your Sweet Spot...

Our sweet spot is that place where our greatest passions and our talents or abilities intersect.
Proverbs 31 Ministries had this quote on their website this week and it made me wonder:  Have I found my sweet spot in life?  Have I found my greatest passion?  My talent?  My ability?  Have you ever thought about your “sweet spot?”  And, what exactly is that???  Each of us may have a different idea of what that means in our own life.  If you haven’t given it any thought before, why not???  This might be a great time to consider challenging yourself to find it!
What talents and abilities do you have?  Are you using them on a regular basis or are they lying dormant?  Has it been a while since you felt passionate about something?  If so, it may be time to begin to explore some ideas.  What interests you?  What do you find appealing?  Fascinating?  What peeks your curiosity?  What grabs your attention?  What do you find yourself absorbed in as you go about your day?  Do you have a hobby that seems to engross your thoughts and time more than other activities?  Or, is there something you have never tried before that you want to do just for fun?
Is there something that could intersect with your talents and ability and become a passion?  Is there a calling that you have felt for a long time and have never acted upon it? 
Think about that, reflect on the possibilities, and open yourself to new realms you have never explored before today.
Dig Deep!  What have you been putting off?   An idea, a thought, a trip, a new hobby or something that has been on that back burner that needs to be kindled or perhaps re-kindled???  Is there a risk you could take and step out of your comfort zone to find your sweet spot???
We each have been given so much!  Have you ever wondered why you have been placed on this planet?  What is your purpose?  Your dream?  Each of us have to find it on our own – but, we have to start looking for it!!!
Over the past few years, God has placed an incredible passion on my heart to show people how important they are to Him.  You matter.  I matter.  Yes, we all matter to God!!!  And, He has given each of us specific talents and abilities to use for the good of those around us!!!  And, He has given each of us a unique perspective on life! 
Why not break out of that comfort zone and try something new?  Get creative!!!  Experiment!!!  Find something that really lights your fire and go for it!  Learn a new language…….take a trip to a little town near you and explore……..go for a long walk or a long drive and let yourself just experience someplace new and different for a change!  Take a friend along……..ask a neighbor to go with you!

Whatever may ignite your passion to find that “sweet spot” in your own life, do it!!!  It will be a sweet revelation………..I promise!!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

From Epiphany to Daily Epiphanies.........

Yesterday was Epiphany....have you ever heard of it before?  Have you ever celebrated it before?
What in the world is Epiphany?  Well, it is a Christian Festival day celebrated on January 6, commemorating the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles (people other than God's chosen Jewish people) in the person of the Magi - the Wise Men.  The Wise Men traveled three years to see the Christ Child.....It wasn't until I was in my 40's that I learned that fact.  The Scriptures tell the story as if it happened on the night that Christ was born, but with further research, we learn that it took them three years to follow that bright, bright star!!!
Three years....would you travel 3 years to see something magnificent?  Years ago, I don't believe I would have said yes to that question.  Now, after learning so much from studying God's Word over the past several years, and because I am learning more every day, I believe God's love is worth that journey. Yes, I would travel 3 years to find that gift. Yes, I would travel 3 years to have that experience.  Yes, I would travel 3 years to search for God.  And, longer, if needed.

So, how long does it take for us to learn about love, joy and peace in our lives???  20 years?  30 Years? 40 Years? 50 Years or more???  Love is the ultimate gift of Christmas. Love is the reason why Jesus came into our world so long ago.  "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believe in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."  (John 3:16)  God SO loved the world...not just a little bit, not just sort of, but EXTRAVAGANTLY!!!  God loved us SO much that He gave it all for us.  Why would someone give up their life for us?  Why would someone love us THAT much?  Because He is God.  Because He has a plan.  Because He wants to be our Peace.  Because He wants to reveal His Joy.  Because He came to show us that Love in person.  Up front and personal.  That's quite an epiphany if we think about it....quite an awareness....quite a revelation.  Soak up that knowledge of God's love into your soul....feel it sink in.....allow it to permeate your is pretty incredible.  And, is definitely an "epiphany!"

Another definition of epiphany is a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.
Hmmm......have you ever had such a sudden, intuitive moment?  A moment when you realized something you have been missing for a while???  Or, have you experienced an insight to something that has puzzled you for a long, long time?  Something so simple and yet so complex.  Something you just didn't get and now you do? Clarity.  Wisdom.  Guidance.  An answer.  A knowing - deep in your soul.

Our perceptions of various concepts in this world can be a little skewed at times.....we want what we want. We think our own thoughts and cannot consider some other way or method.  We don't want to hear what other people see or think.  We don't quite get what the meaning is or how something can be a reality in our corner of the world.  And, then, WHAM!  An insight occurs.  We understand.  We finally get it.  It makes sense now.....epiphany!!!

One of my devotions this week talked about "Daily Epiphanies."  Little miracles that occur in our lives - that occur in succession that we don't even notice.  Things we take for granted and don't even realize it.
God reveals His Love to us in many ways every day.  Daily awakenings.  Daily bits of wisdom.  Daily awarenesses.  Little nudges that lead to something we may have wanted our whole lives and never knew how to go about getting.  Subtle changes in our demeanor that we have wished for much of our adult lives and now is happening.  Epiphanies that now are a reality for us.  Consider what God has done.  Consider opening up to a new way of thinking, feeling, or acting.  Consider having an "epiphany" and sharing it with the world!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A New Year 2015!!!
(Part 2)

Yesterday, we brought up the subject of goals for 2015.  We asked you what you wanted to do with your life for this New Year and what would you like to have happen in your life this year?  There are so many ways to look at the beginning of a new year!!!  I hope you take some time to ask yourself some of those questions and let your mind and heart answer.  We are so blessed to have so many choices in this life and asking ourselves a few of these kinds of questions at the beginning of a new year has some merit!  Also, answering some of them may put into place a new thought process that allows you to move forward in an area you may have been previously stuck or in a rut! 
Go ahead, try it – you may like the results!!! 
Today, I am asking you a different type of question:   Have you considered asking God to show you what direction He has in mind for you?  What does He have planned for you?  Where does He want you to go?  Or, accomplish? Or, be a part of? 
As I ask this question, I realize how difficult it is to discern what the God of the Universe has in mind for your life, but are you willing to open yourself up to learning what He would like to do in you and through you?  He has given you gifts, talents and abilities to use for His Glory!!!  He has a plan to reach other people in your life who may need what you have to offer or give.  Most of the time, we do not realize the reason we have been given a talent or skill is that that gift is to be used for the benefit of other people.  Yep!  That’s right!  It may have been given to you, but may be primarily to be used for other people!
I am in the middle of a Beth Moore Bible Study called:  To Live is Christ.  This week we are studying the Spiritual Gifts God has placed in every believer.  That’s right.  Every person who accepts Christ as their Savior has been given a gift (or perhaps more than one gift) to lift up the body of Christ.  To help others.  To assist in bringing love, joy, peace, patience and goodness to others - to show God’s love to the world!!!
So, are you willing to learn what those gifts are?  Would you be willing to put your talents out there to help someone else?  Perhaps you are being called to go on a mission trip at your church.  Perhaps you are being called to give of your time at a Homeless or Women’s shelter.  Perhaps you are being called to donate clothes or bedding for those who have none.  Perhaps you are being called to volunteer to help a neighbor move.  Perhaps you are being called to teach the little ones at your church. Perhaps you are called to teach other people less fortunate to read.  The possibilities are endless!!! 
And, better yet, ask yourself:  What do you want to do for Him today???  How can you share the love and joy, the forgiveness and mercy, the faith and hope of Christ to another person today?  Where can you go to spread a splash of joy or an encouraging word to someone who needs to hear it?  What can you do to offer grace?

I have a dear friend whose mother taught her to surrender her day to the Lord every morning and ask for her assignment.  Her assignment to share Christ’s love.
Have you surrendered your life for the benefit of others?  Have you asked where you can be used?  Have you considered the purpose for your life as being something more than what your mind can conceive?  Have you considered that God has a plan for your life which is far greater than you realized as the reason you are on this planet???
If not, you might want to sit down and contemplate the bigger picture of God’s infinite love.  He wants to spread it to everyone.  Not just a few.  Not just you.  Everyone!!!

Another favorite devotional book I read is called God Calling. Its authors are anonymous.  Two listeners.  Waiting to hear from God each day.  January 2nd’s devotion suggests these questions to contemplate today:
“How many burdens can you lighten today?  This year?  How many hearts can you cheer?  How many souls can you help?”  Wow…..these are enormous questions to ask ourselves!!!

This is a new year.  And, it can be a new adventure to find out how we fit into God’s plans.  And, how we can be used for His Glory!  I pray you will each contemplate that possibility and purpose for your life.  Happy New Year!!!  It will be a GLORIOUS year!!!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The New Year 2015

Here it is - 2015!!!  Ready to unfold, ready to experience, ready to make anew!!!
Life, love, laughter and Joy are waiting to be had and held.......a great adventure is about to begin!!!

As Melody Beattie says:  A new year stands before us....Let it unfold....

Here are a few questions to contemplate on this New Year's Day:
"What would you like to have happen in your life this year?
What would you like to do? to accomplish?
What good would you like to attract into your life?
What particular areas of growth would you like to have happen to you?
What blocks, or character defects, would you like to have removed?
What would you like to attain?  Little things and big things?
Where would you like to go?
What would you like to have happen in friendship and love?
What would you like to have happen in your family life?
What problems would you like to see solved?
What decisions would you like to make?
What would you like to happen in your career?
What would you like to see happen inside and around you?"

As Melody suggests:  "Make New Year's goals.  Dig within, and discover what you would like to have happen in your life this year. Goals give us direction.  They put a powerful force into play on a universal, conscious, and subconscious level.  Goals give our life direction.

Write it down!  Take a piece of paper, a few minutes, a few hours of your time, and write it all down - as an affirmation of you, your life, and your ability to choose.  Then, let it go!
Certainly, things happen that are out of our control.  sometimes, these events are pleasant surprises; sometimes, they are of another nature.  But they are all part of the chapter that will be this year in our life and will lead us forward in the story.
The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written.  We can help write the story by setting goals and writing them down."  

Open yourself wide to the possibilities of 2015!!!  A new journey has begun and it can be the ride of your life!!!