Good Morning, Lord

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Mornings

Recently, I read a blog post from IBelieve.com about praying before getting your day started and before getting caught up in the day.  Making that connection with the Father first thing in the morning.  After reading this blog, I thought about my mornings because I try to connect with the Lord before I start each day.  I strongly feel taking this time makes me a better overall person, wife, mother, friend, and employee because I started  my day working on my relationship with my Lord and Savior.

How does my morning begin?  I start each morning not just with a workout and walking my dog, but by spending time in God’s Word.  I open my day with devotion and prayer.  I stop and thank him for all the good he has given me in my life.  I count my blessings.  I find joy in the morning which carries me through the rest of my day.  This time lifts me up for the rest of my day. “Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”  Psalm 143:8.  As I was writing this blog post, I ran across this picture on Facebook.  This is another reminder of why we should begin our day with the Lord and thank him for his blessings.

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Spreading Love

My mornings have changed over the years, sometimes I have been real exact in my time and other times I let the Lord lead the way.  There have been times when I focused on others in prayer and times when I have focused on my needs from the Lord.  There have been times where my devotions have been guided and other times where I just opened his word.  I have always tried to find his love for my life and then spread his love to others.  The only way I have found to make this impactful in my life is to begin the day with Him.  “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” Psalm 90:14.

 

Closing Verse:  Lamentations 3:22-23

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Challenge: How do you begin your day?  Consider beginning your day with the Lord. and see the way he will bless you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Searching For A New Heart – part 2

(First posted on March 31, 2013)

Heart of Doubt

kablam_glossy_heartI am continuing to search scripture in order to understand my heart and how to fully allow God into my heart so his work can be done.  I closed my last post dealing with doubt and fear in my heart.  Today I begin my search with thoughts about how the heart is connected to our thoughts.  Doubt and Trouble come from our thoughts, and I found scripture on this in Mark 2:6,8.  Verse 6 reads, “And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts,” followed up in verse 8 “But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, ‘Why do you reason about these things in your hearts?”  The scribes were full of pride, remember that for later, and in their hearts they reasoned that when Jesus healed other it was sinful.  In Matthew 9:4 Jesus even says on the same occasion, “But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, ‘Why do you think evil in your hearts?”.  Evil comes from the heart into our thoughts, but there is good news!  Psalm 19:14 says “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”  We can ensure that our thoughts are good and acceptable to Go, but we must focus our heart toward good and God.

Pride

Looking back at the prideful scribes who allowed their pride to plant sin in their hearts and cloud their judgement on Jesus.  Pride evokes fear in me and my heart as it should after reading Proverbs 16:5 which reads “Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished.”  That is a powerful verse that makes you stop in your tracks.  How many times have we been overcome with pride. How often do we want things our way and fail to consider everything because of our pride.  How often do we want to be praised for what we do instead of serving for the Lord and him alone.  Pride an abomination to the Lord brings silence to me right now.  I wait for God to move.  Leviticus 19:17 mentions hate in the heart, “You shall not hate your brother in your heart.  You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him.”  God commanded his people not to have hate in their heart.

Hope vs Wickedness

I tremble before the Lord as I read these verses because I know that God can withdraw himself from my heart if I do not keep my focus on him just as he did with Pharaoh first stating in Exodus 4:21 “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand,  But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.”  God allows hardening of the heart when he is not living in your heart.  When God is living in our hearts we have purpose.  2 Corinthians 9:7 says ” So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”  We have purpose we give from the heart which leads to rejoicing from the heart.  Acts 2:26 tells us ” Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.”  These verses give me hope that the wickedness of my heart will not win out over the Lord living in my heart.

Loving with the Heart

I hold several verses close to my heart and want to share.  Earlier I mentioned that God does not like hate in our heart and commanded it of his people.  Jesus brought a new commandment found in Mark 12: 30-31,33.  In verse 30 -31 Jesus says, ” And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength,” This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  This is finalized in verse 33 showing Jesus as the one true sacrifice where we can find such love in ourselves and our hearts.  Verse 33 reads, ” And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”  These commandments and the love I want to hold for the Lord and others in my heart are summed up in Matthew 6: 19-21.  My focus is really on verse 21 but I feel the verses as a whole really shows me that I need to focus on the Lord so my heart is lead to my treasures.  Otherwise my treasures will be evil and sinful and of this world.  Beginning in verse 19, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where the moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; (20) but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Closing Verse:  Matthew 6: 21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Challenge:  Commit your heart to the Lord and your store treasures in heaven.  I pray God will help you and me focus on a new heart.

“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.

Sunsets

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Easter Sunsets

The week after Easter this year is my Spring Break, and my husband and I were able to take a few days and enjoy the warm Florida sunshine and gulf coast beaches.  This is one of my happy places.  The best part is watching the sunset.  As the sun descents down into the gulf waters the colors and sites are like no other and I am sure there is a God.  “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”  Ecclesiastes 3:11.  God shares beautiful sunsets to remind me of his majestic presences so I have no excuse but to turn my heart and mind back to relationship with him.  “On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.”  Psalms 145:5

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Knowing God Through a Sunset

“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Romans 1: 19-20

Just as I watch the beauty of a sunset and am reminded of God, I am also reminded of his creation of the light out of darkness.  His handiwork not mine is what I see  in nature and in my own life.  “When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,” Proverbs 8:27.

I think if I am really honest the sunset does remind me of life and its shortness.  The sun will set.  The end will come.  I hope that I have left behind happiness and not strife.  This is my reminder when I see the sunset.  I am not promised tomorrow.  “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” Proverbs 27:1.  Carpe Diem – Seize the Day!  Live for Christ today not tomorrow because we do not know what tomorrow brings.

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Anger and Sunsets

The reminder of how short life is comes this scripture that also reminds me to not hold onto grudges and anger – from Ephesians 4: 26-27, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”  Just one more reminder that sunset could be our last one so do not leave anything undone.  Do not let your angry and the devil win.  Make amends with others before the sunsets.  Live a life of Psalms 103:8, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”

Closing Verse: “From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!” Psalm 113:3
Challenge:  Prepare for the Sunset.

A Simple Life

Shining God’s Light

Sharing Christ’s Love

As the new year is beginning, I do want to look toward the future with a brighter lighter.  This new year, I am beginning my day with three strategic ways to encourage myself so that I might be a better example of Christ’s Love for others.  I don’t usually plug specific apps or websites, but I am today, yet I challenge you to find what works and motivates you to get moving everyday for the Lord.  I know for me it can sometimes be hard to get going and put others above myself.  I want others to Christ in me.  I want to serve others not myself!  I want to be the catalyst that brings out the best in others.  Here is how I am starting each day in 2018. Let’s look at one day of my new year and what the Lord delivers to me.  Here was Tuesday January 9, 2018.

KLOVE Radio

I listen to KLOVE radio each morning as I drive to work.  This is a time of worship and prayer for me.  Although it is a short ride each morning, this time is significant for me each day.  Sometimes it is the music as I have written about before and then again it could be a story that is shared, but many times I end my ride in tears with the Lord.  Before I even begin this ride to work, I wake each morning and open my email to read the KLOVE verse of the day.  This past Tuesday the verse read, “This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you:  God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.”  1 John 1:5 (NLT).  As I began the morning reading this verse, I listened to Jesus sharing his Father and mine with me that God is the light in my life and darkness is not found with God.  I set my eyes on the sharing the light of God.  I challenge you to bring KLOVE into your life just a little each day if you don’t listen to their station now.

Shine Text App

Since the New Year, I read about this app that delivers motivational text to you each day.  I was intrigued and decided to sign up.  There is also an app so you can choose how the text is delivered either through text or notification from the app.  I have really been inspired by these text that I receive right after I get to work each morning.  You get to choose the time that your text is delivered.  I like to get to work, get a cup of coffee, begin my day greeting students, and then receive some more motivation from this text before the day really gets rolling.  On Tuesday, I received this text: ” “Anything we do takes time away from something *else* we could have done, Allie.  Rather than try to tackle *all the things* today, prioritize the moves that matter most.”  Powerful!  What a great reminder as I get my day started to make smart decisions and prioritize my day.  I need to choose what matters for the day and accomplish these task well.  It is better to a job I can be proud of then just to do a long list of stuff!.  What Matters Most Today?!  Another Challenge, if you need some motivation in your life then check out Shine Text.

YOUVersion Bible – Daily Bible Verse

Just before lunch around 11am, I received my Verse of the Day from YouVersion Bible app.  Getting one more bible verse in the late morning hours of my day keeps on the path of remaining focused on the Lord as I walk through my day.  Just another reminder that I want to be an example of Christ in the lives of those around me.  The verse I received on Tuesday:  “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”  Proverbs 16:3 ESV.  On this day this is a perfect verse as I reflect on my work and how I can continue to do what is best for the students and staff that I serve.

Making Connections

As I reflect on the gifts that the Lord gave me just on this past Tuesday, I realize that there are connections.  I began with a reminder that God is the light in my life, followed by the motivation to focus on what matters most in my life that day, and then to commit the work that I am doing to the Lord.  How can I not have a great day each and every day if just Tuesday was this motivational and reflective for my life.  I challenge you to make some connections for your life.  Find some motivation for you each day that will bring you closer to the Lord and show you what is important for your life.  Have a Great New Year in 2018!

Closing Verse:  Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Challenge:  Find Inspiration and Motivation for you life each and every day.  Don’t overlook the little ways God can speak to you.

 

Be Awesome! Be You!

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New Year Resolutions

As the new year begins, so many of us make resolutions or promises to ourselves and our futures.  A resolution according to the Google Dictionary, is a firm decision to do or not to do something.  Many of these resolutions go unfulfilled each year, so I am struggling as this new begins to decide whether I will make any promises to myself for 2018.  Or, I could just choose to be happy, grow closer to my Father, and just Be Me!.  I am leaning toward the latter decision, but I stumble at Being Me because how easy will it be for me to actually be me.  Can I even be true to myself?

The Scale

I have to stop and be honest here.  Coming out of the New Year, I look in the mirror and struggle to find love for myself.  The holidays are not always physically nice to me, and especially on the scales, but as I work to make a decision on a resolution, keeping the ultimate resolution of weight loss also on my mind, I found this quote…

To be honest, after reading the quote, I added the Be Awesome, Be You, it seemed like a perfect ending.  I  believe that this quote means that if I can Be Me, then I will not have anything to really worry about from the scale.  If I put Me first, and work to bring deeper meaning to my life then the scale will take care of itself.  I know I need to be conscious of it, but not driven by it.  I need to stop the worry of the scale and Be Me!

Choosing Happiness

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 is a direct reminder to seek the Lord to find the happiness that my heart desires.  2018 will be a year for me to really work harder on my relationship with the Lord.  I seek his love and path for me, and will spend more time praying for his guidance in my life.

Relationship with the Lord

James 4:8 reads, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”  This is a promise from scripture that if I want deeper relationship with the Lord then God will meet me.  1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing”.  As I enter the new year I will pray. My constant prayer will be to build a stronger relationship with the Lord and the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 will be more fruitful, “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.”

New Me

This will be my new year resolution for 2018.  I will seek who I am.  I will stop allowing society and others to drive and determine who I am, but will turn inward and dig to find the scattered pieces inside that make me – ME.  I will seek the presence of my Father even more.  I pray for his guidance in walking a path of self discovery.  I have let the world create Me and somewhere along the way, I believe pieces of me have been lost. Psalm 139:13-14 reminds me that God is my creator, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  God knows my heart and he created me, so together we can find ME.  I believe the beginning of a new year is about reflection and moving forward and that is the path I am going to choose to Be Me.  Happy New Year.

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Closing Verse:  You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.  Song of Solomon 4:7

Challenge:  Seek Yourself!  Be Awesome!  Be You!

 

Christmas Lights

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Christmas Lights

The tree is up and the lights are beginning to glisten and shine on homes around the neighborhood.  Homes and business are beginning to show signs of Christmas with lights abundantly shining.  There have been times in my past where this time of year would bring anxiety to my life, as my to do list just seemed to grow and I had no idea what to buy or give as gifts.  A few weeks ago when God first touched me with the song “Trust in You” by Lauren Daigle​​​​​​​I was sitting at a stop light and reading a church sign on the corner.  It seems funny to me that I can’t remember what the sign said because I love church signs, but only the feeling that this would be a season of enjoying and not worrying.  Maybe it was the darkness full of lights around me as I was driving, that made me think of Christmas and the coming season of lights, but I felt an exciting for the coming Christmas season, excitement, and the lights.  The lights were going to be important this year. I stop and enjoy each new one home that lights up.  I become mesmerized in the beauty of the lights which are reminding me this year of Jesus and his words in John 14:6, “‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The Star

I love the Moravian star.  If I had one I would probably leave it up year round, so this time of year I get to see the star again.  Have you stopped to really look at one and see all the crosses that come together to create this star?   I imagine this is the unusual star in the heavens above the manager.  Matthew 2: 9-10 shares the joy of the wise men when they found Jesus, “After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.”  As I enjoy the stars of Christmas, I realize that the stars we admire in the heavens are creation of God.  Psalms 147:4 reads, “He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.”  Each star including the one that rose over Jesus’s birth is named by God, the Creator.

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Christmas Season

Let’s all slow down this Christmas season and enjoy the lights of Christmas, find God’s peace, and His blessings in the lights.  Let go of the chaos this time of year can bring and stop and enjoy what is important.  Stop and remember that God brought his only Son as baby to walk in our footsteps without sin.  Jesus knows us and understands our walk.  Stop and walk with him through this season.  I know peace will be found and will be infinitely better than the hustle and bustle.  For as John 1:5 reminds us all, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Closing Verse:  Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Challenge:  Stop and Walk with Jesus through the Christmas Season.

Living in the Fog

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The Fog

Do you ever feel like you are walking through a fog in life?  You just are not living clearly day to day and things just seem blurry.  This has been the week that I have just walked through.  After the the struggles over the past two weeks, this week was to be the beginning of normal again, but then again that is not always how God works in our lives.  One moment of happiness and a sigh of relief and in the next moment chaos and the unknown.  Yet, God was there.

Blessed Struggles

Working through the good and the bad and finding the moments to stop and cherish have been important over the past few weeks in my life.  Although, God knows my struggles he continues to bless me because I know that others are struggling with more than I could bare at this moment and for that I thankful for his grace and mercy.

Searching for Answers

As I walk through the fog, I stop to wonder what I am to learn from this moment from God.  What is he teaching me in this moment?  So I search scripture for answers and once again I am driven back to a favorite reliable verse.  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.”  God is in the fog, knows the fog, and will use the fog for good.  Now, I feel the fog lifting and know that God is here and working through all the struggles.

Closing Verse:  Romans 12:9  “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.”

Challenge:  Seek His Word when you find yourself in the Fog.

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