Count Your Blessings

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I haven’t spent as much time in the car listening to the radio this summer and since I have been working this past week once again my drive includes listening to KLove.  I have these moments when listening to music sometimes and it goes like this, What is the name of this song?  Who sings this song?  I really love the message of this song!  I need to Shazam this song?  So today I am sharing a new song for me and the impact while driving to work as I thought about the meaning.
Count Your Blessing
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I was blind, now I’m seeing in color
I was dead, now I’m living forever
I had failed, but you were my redeemer
I’ve been blessed beyond all measure

Blessed

If there is one thing I have fully determined this summer, it is that I am blessed.  God has given me the time to disconnect from the world and focus on Him and what he has given me.  “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”  James 1:17.  I have been blessed with two beautiful daughters who are hard working and independent.  I have been blessed with a loving husband who has loved me now over 30 years with all my faults and failures.  I have been blessed with a career that touches children and (I pray) I have changed some of their lives.  God is Good, but this summer He asked me to really look and appreciate the beauty he created and blessed me with.  Although, I understand the words I was blind and now I see in color as being saved, the past month showed me that color in 3D.  I really see the colors now, Lord.  I see what is important.  I am living and want to continue to live both here and forever with you.  “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,” 1 Peter 5:6.

Treasure

I was lost, now I’m found by the father
I’ve been changed from a ruin to treasure
I’ve been given a hope and a future
I’ve been blessed beyond all measure
I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Letting go and trusting when I cannot see
I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Surely every season you are good to me
Oh, you are good to me
Oh, you are good to me
God is showing me the treasures he has stored up for me.  “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.” Luke 12:33.  I want to focus more on trying to live out this verse.  Sell, share, and live with less in order to experience God more.  He is allowing me to taste heaven here on earth, and I am thirsty for more.  I want to experience more of his beauty and grace.  I want to not just count my blessing but enjoy my blessings.  I want to enjoy a future that is full of both my Father in heaven and my remaining days here on earth.   Luke 12:34 states it best, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Strength

You were there in the valley of shadows
You were there in the depth of my sorrows
You’re my strength, my hope for tomorrow
I’ve been blessed beyond all measure
I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Letting go and trusting when I cannot see
I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Surely every season you are good to me
Oh, you are good to me
Oh, you are good to me
I have walked through valleys and across mountain tops and I know that my life will be filled with both.  Yet, I have hope in God’s strength, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”  Philippians 4:13.  As I walk through the life God is giving me and count the many blessings, I know that I continue to need his strength to make the decisions and walk his path.  I know that the only strength I can rely on is that which the Lord provides.  Driving and listening to this song, I feel my Lord’s strength which I will need and promised to me in  1 Chronicles 16:11, “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!”
Surely your goodness pursues me
Surely your heart is still for me
I will remember your mercies all my days
Through every storm and gale
Closing Verse: “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31.
Challenge:  Take the time today to stop and count your blessings and lean on the Lord’s strength for your life.

 

Songwriters: Gareth Gilkeson / Chris Llewellyn / Bridget Herron / Ali Gilkeson / Will Herron / Steve Mitchell / Patrick Thompson
Counting Every Blessing lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group

 

God is my Anchor

Lessons Learned – Here are a few.

Lesson #1:  Ok, I said there would be a guest post, but as new cruisers we have learned a lesson we should have already known.  Don’t boat on a schedule, so our planned four day trip from St. Petersburg, Florida to Mobile, Alabama took seven days.  Therefore our new blog site does not have a post ready yet, but now that we have stopped I will be able to spend some time reflecting on the last seven days.  Take your time because there is a time to hurry and sometimes there is a time to be patient and cruising in a boat is a patient time.  “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:” Ecclesiastes 3:1.

Lesson #2:  Prepare for the worst.  “But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”” Luke 21:36.  Yes, we learned a lesson the hard way one night and did not prepare and protect ourselves as we should have, but God was there and help us through the storm, literally, and provided us the wisdom that only he can provide.  “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5.

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Lesson #3:  Have a good anchor.  All I can say is that our anchor is pretty special to us after this first voyage.  I have thought often of all she has held us through over the last seven days.  I look at her and see her as a metaphor of Christ.  Christ is our rock and he holds us close to him and protects us from evil.  That is what our anchor did she held us close and protected us.  “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,”  Hebrews 6:19.

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So I will try again next week to share our new traveling blog and our first passage.  Stay tuned for more lessons and all the fun!

Closing Verse:  “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:14.

Challenge:  Make Christ your anchor and live life today!

Happy Friday

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“50”

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Happy Birthday

50 Birthdays

Today is a weird day not because it is my birthday but because it is my 50th birthday.  Wow, I can remember as a child thinking “50” was really old, but it really does not feel that old now that I have arrived.  Actually, I might like it!  My daughter told me just yesterday that i don’t look “50” and how happy she is that her dad and I are seeking our dreams earlier in life rather than later.

So with a cold beer, I sit on the back of our new home on my 50th birthday seeking my dream.  I pause to stare down the seagull that has dropped by to challenge me for my sandwich.  He is a daily visitor to the pole behind our boat.  Although, he is pesky, I stop and look up close at him and he is a reminder me of all the delicate workings in God’s creation.  All the simple things I long to see.  “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?’ Matthew 6:26.

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God’s Creation

In the evenings we watch the osprey drive into the water for dinner.  Just a few days ago one sat fishing off the boat next to us without a care in the world.  He watched us but was not alarmed by us.  Watching his majestic body work and move is just an awesome site and another piece of this world I long to have the time to just sit and watch like I did that day.  The feeling of being awe struck  as our eyes met each other.  God’s handiwork is exquisite.  “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31.

 

I have seen dolphins, manatees, tarpon, and rays from this seat.  Now, I am ready for a bigger adventure and a deeper discovery of God’s world.  Yes, I am turning “50” and it makes me a little queasy because my body is getting older and I feel it, but reaching this birthday was a marker for me of what is to come – what God has planned.  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11.

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Closing Verse:  “Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Challenge:  Seek God Now!

Next week, I will share an entry from from a new blog.  A sneak peak at the adventure my husband and I are seeking together.  You will find that post here so stay tuned.

Slowing Life Down

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A New Journey

A new journey will soon begin in our lives, one where we are deeply seeking to leave the fast paced world behind us and seek a slower life where we can connect with God’s beautiful creation on a daily basis.  We are both excited and nervous about what the future holds.  Yet, we know that God wants us to want less and seek him more.  So, we are on a mission to have and need less in our lives.  (FYI- Everything is for sale).  The next phase of our lives will be to let more of the worldly things go and seek God in his creation.  “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” 1 Colossians 1:16.

Why?

Why?  Some people do ask us about our decision to explore God’s world.  We feel a deep calling to let the hustle and bustle of this world go and seek the beauty while we are able.  There will always be time to work and we will continue to world remotely as we can, but we know that this is the time for us to go.  We have watched God work over the past several months to ensure our decision is the right one.  We have followed the path God laid before us when we were young and we have been blessed. Our careers have been fulfilling, our children are grown and independent and moving on with their lives.  We are proud of the young women they have become and their hearts for the Lord.  We have followed the path God laid before us so long ago when we met back in 1986.  “You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’”  Acts 2:28.

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Peaceful/Slower Life

Today we feel a calling to a more peaceful life where we are in control of our destiny and day to day life.  Where we can seek the peace of God more diligently each and every day.  “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”  1 Timothy 2:1-2.  Although, we have made the decision to this by traveling either by water or land, each of us can slow down and live a life that is more focused on God and less on the worldly things of this world.  Dive into prayer and seek your Father.  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.

Closing Verse:  “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6.

Challenge: Seek a slower more peaceful life and don’t miss out on God each and every day.

New Body…New Life

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Celebrating Life

This past weekend we laid my mother in law to rest.  The funeral was such a celebration of her life and I am thankful for friends and family who came together to celebrate her.  I can smile again thinking about her life and knowing that she has found a new home in heaven.  Last week I was mourning while watching the slow and painful stages of death. My heart was broken as I watched her through nine long days and I longed for her to find peace with her Father in heaven.  “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18.  I could only ask each day over and over -Why is she hanging on?  Others around us asked the same question or Who was she waiting on?  I am not sure and we may never know, but a friend did share that God would not take her home until her purpose was complete.  “Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,” Job 14:5.  We may not know her final purpose yet, but I do believe there was a purpose in the last nine days of her life.  May God’s Will Be Done.

Party in Heaven

Last week I could only mourn her end and how heart wrenching it was to watch, but now I can celebrate her life and knowing that she is “partying” in heaven.  (We told her everyday that she was going to be late for her party).  I know that at her party she now is new and alive.  “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,” John 11:25.  Her frail and worn body has been replaced with a heavenly body promised by God in 1 Corinthians 15:54, ” When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:  “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

God’s Promise

Scripture brings so many promises to believers of what God has done, is doing, and will do.  God provide the perfect sacrifice in his son Jesus Christ, so that through death we now can find life.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.  While we walk through this earthly life longing for our home in heaven, God is preparing a place for us in his house.  John 14:1-3 provides us with this promise, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”   So I walk now more confident in my future and in the promises God has made because I have victory in Jesus – ““O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-57.  Death has no hold on me anymore because Christ conquered Death.  I fear not.  “And the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”  Revelations 1:18.

Closing Verse:  “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4.

Challenge:  Walk each day in the faith that this earthly world is not your home.

 

Time…Part 2

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Wasting Time

As I write this I am in one of those situations where I stop and think this thought:  (I am losing four hours of my life that I can not get back!). As I endure the slow passage of time, I write and ponder how much time I waste in my life.  “Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”, Ephesians 5:16-17.  Sometimes I am responsible for my own loss of time.  My bad choices lead to wasting time when better use of my time was in order.  Then again, sometimes I am just stuck in a situation out of my control where my time gets wasted!  Both are frustrating, and I call to God to show me how to manage and control time better in my life.  Yet, no matter what I lean including scriptures like Romans 8:28, ” And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

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Social Media (Connect to Part 1)

A few weeks ago I posted another blog on time where social media was a focus.  Since that post the conversations I have had about social media and wasting time have been quite eye opening for both myself and others.  I have found myself wasting time multiple times this way.  This piece really hit home for many people.  One discussion was about how social media effects our children and their time and learning.  Something to ponder.  “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” 2Timothy #:16.   What I can say is that I have become much more conscientious of my time and social media use.  I actually believe I am finding some more time in my life!  Here is my reminder put the phone down and live life a little more.

Time for Good

One definite change I learned from my first post is that God needed more time from my life, so I made some changes.  I am getting up earlier sometimes going to bed later, while reorganizing and restructuring my time.  Although, I still have to think specifically about my new routines until they become more habitual, yet I know I am headed in the right direction.  My time is turning more to good and God.  I must be conscientious and specific with my time, and planning some social media fasting in my future.  How About You?  “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”  Matthew 5:16.

Closing Verse:  “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” Colossians 3:23.

Challenge:  How much time do you waste in a day?  How much time do you lose from your life?

#WatchGod

This past week my prayers have changed to ask the Lord to help this person through some struggles that have come into his/her life.  Although, the weekend brought fun times and family the struggle for the family was still there.  I know that he/she is leaning on the Lord and my prayers are that his arms are felt.  I pray for more smiles in the week to come.  I have finished up my 30 days but this person will find a permanent spot in my prayer life.  May God Bless!

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Time…

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Importance of Time

“We all start out in life with one thing in common; We all have the same amount of time. It’s just a matter of what we do with it.”  This quote by Harvey Mackay has me thinking some about the importance of time and how I use my time.  Each day, week , and month, I find myself often wondering where time went, so I decided to analyze my time for one typical day.  Many of these items overlap but it is still eye-opening.  “Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”  Ephesians 5:16.

 

 

What I do? How much Time I spend?
Quiet Time with God 25 mins
Me Time 15 mins
Family (including screen time) 4 hrs 20 mins
Work without Screen Time 3 hrs and 45 mins
Work with Screen Time 12 hrs and 20 mins
Social Media 2 hrs and 10 mins
Exercise 50 mins

*All times are rounded off and generalized.

What do I see?  I work too much and spend too much time in front of a screen whether work or personal.  What I say is important just does not look that important in my life.  An obvious adjustment would be to disconnect from devices.  So my question to anyone reading this is how important is time and how should our time be distributed.  Take some time to analyze your day.

Social Media

Although, I can honestly say that I am not an overly active social media user.  I do spend time scrolling, some might call it “trolling”, social media.  Most of my online activity is on Twitter and blogging.  Otherwise I am just scrolling and viewing others.  Now that I type this it seems sad because it really is a waste of my time to scroll social media apps.  Could I do without it?  My immediate answer is yes!  “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”  James 4:14.

Taking the time to analyze how I use my time really makes me realize how using social media and/or other various apps can become an addiction.  I started thinking about my time after finding this video on Facebook of all places.  Yet, It has caused me to think about my time and what my mind and life could be without so much influence and addition.

 

This video causes me to wonder whether screen time is an idol in our society.  At what point does using social media and other apps move from productive to addictive and fall into idol status. “Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.” Jonah 2:8.

What Does the Bible Say About Time?

1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.       
I need to use my time living life not watching it pass by…
Closing Verse:  “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalms 90:12
Challenge:  I definitely want to challenge you to take on the challenge of becoming social media free for a determined amount of time.  I am definitely accepting the challenge from the video in June!
#WatchGod:  This week my prayers continue to provide a work environment where things are booming.  Viewing social media, how ironic!, I see this person is spending more time with friends and nature.  I pray this is a calling from God and he is speaking more deeply in his/her life.

Write Your Story

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Life’s Story

My most recent morning devotions have been about loving and building relationship with God while writing your story.  I do not mean pen to paper but writing a life story.  We all have one but how we tell it is what separates us from each other.  Some tell their story with addictions and lack of self-worth,  some based on their job and how others view their work, Some are depressed and lost, but I want to tell my story through my relationship with my Savior.  Even so it is much easier to type my story than to live it. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Following God’s Path

I stop to think about my Life Story.  Each month is a chapter that leads to each year which separates my life into sections.   Looking backwards at my story,  I can see God working and moving in my life just as I can see when I tried to take control of my life and not follow his path.  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11.  It is obvious when I am following God’s plan and everything seems so smooth and then I grab the reins and muck everything up in my life.  Writing a living breathing story of relationship can be hard, but the reflection of this story is in a marriage.

Marriage: The Example

Marriage is ordained by God and he established the union as a reflection of Christ and his bride the church.  Christ who loves me unconditionally and sacrificed his life for me on the cross.  “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,” Ephesians 5:25. Christ set the example not just for marriage but for the deeper relationship he calls me into with him.  My relationship with Christ must come first even before my marriage, but sets the example for my relationship within my marriage and how that portion of my Life Story should be written.  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:4.

Closing Verse: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7.

Challenge: Write Your Life Story

#WatchGod – Week One Update

I began my challenge last week to pray for someone for 30 days.  God has been working this past week in this persons life especially in their job.  Their job is exploding and smiles are abundant.  Praise God!  I pray that God will work even more deeply in this person’s life. “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4.

#WatchGod

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Loving Others

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34.  I am beginning a May Challenge that I read about recently,  and will be sharing my journey each week in my blog post.  I am sharing the challenge now hoping that readers will join me and share their experiences with me and others.  I want to hear what happens!  So……

Challenge

Here is the Challenge:

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Choosing Someone to Love

As a sidenote, I keep prayer cards one for each person that I pray for each day.  This is a tip I learned in a life group reading and discussing the book, A Praying Life by Paul L. Miller.  I feel lead to choose someone not on my prayer cards.  This might have been the greater challenge because I have a lot of prayer cards!

I looked around me at others who touch my life for that person that God was calling me towards.  That person who needed something, and then God place him/her in front of me.  “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24.

Challenge Begins

I begin my 30 days of prayer for this person today.  “Pray without ceasing,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17.  I can not wait to share what I see God doing in his/her life each week!  If you accept this challenge please share what God is doing through your prayer life for this person.  Join Me in #WatchGod.

Closing Verse:   1 John 4:19-21 “We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

Challenge: Ask God to provide someone for you to spend 30 days praying for.  #WatchGod

Sometimes I Wonder Why?

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Why?

This past week I was reminded of God and how he works in my life.  I move through life and forget sometimes how much control he really has in my walk.  How he cares for me and others around me?  This week he reminded me once again of his presence in my life. “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” John 14:20.  I stood in a moment when I knew that God had been at work.

Skip it or not?

I have to honestly admit I was dreading something this past week.  The snow at the beginning of the week made it even more desirable to skip out on a promise I had made, but I knew I had given my word so I plunged forward.  I guess I felt my heart strings being pulled and did not even know why.  “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28.  That is the work I saw from the Lord this week.  He used everything to bring good not just into my life but to those around me.  I am not sure if those with me realized the impact but this day did not pass me by without knowing that God had been in full control and done his good work.

Where God is?

Now looking back from the other side and knowing that I almost did not go, I can see God’s full plan and the blessings he provided for me.   I thought I did not want to go, but now I know that I would not have missed it for the world.  What I thought I was going for had nothing to do with the lesson that God taught me that day.  Where was God?  He was in an unexpected place where I was not looking, yet he reminds me to look every where for him.  “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:13.  Maybe it was a slap in the face to remember that I am to be seeking him, but when I fail like this past week he will seek me.  “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10

Closing Verse: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own           understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

Challenge: Seek God first in all that you do, but know that he will seek you in a place you might least expect it.