Monday, October 17, 2016

When You Begin To Fall...

I made it up, over and around. It was low tide just like the local report said. I could've simply headed down the street for a normal beach shot, but an adventurous view was tugging at my heart. 

I sat basking in the warm glow of the setting sun. My tripod strategically placed in the middle of the fluorescent-green moss filled pools, as the sun dipped low beyond the horizon. I carefully climbed my way up a slick ledge above a break in the cliff to capture water shooting through and splashing high. 

I always push myself to areas that may be a bit treacherous attempting to achieve that perfect shot. After a short time, a rogue wave barreled up and over the entire area below. I immediately realized I'd waited a bit too long and my escape route was closing fast. I quickly scanned the ocean to see if another wave was coming. I had but a moment to get down and across the tide pools to safety. I wedged my left foot in a nook and attempted to place my right foot on an area to climb down. I hadn't accounted for the slickness of that particular spot, unaware the wave had reached that high. My foot slid down the ledge, my body following, my leg scraping on the way down, as I pummeled into the sharp, jagged pool below. My knee must've taken the blunt force. It was throbbing and I could barely walk, along with my shin, ankle and foot being pretty sliced up. But I was still in danger, so I forced myself up and hobbled to safety. 

I know, I know...what was I thinking? 
I don't know! 
I sometimes just charge forward and then find myself in deep water. 

Sin is like that, it can be enticing, attractive, misleading in its hidden danger. But when you go to those places you know you're not supposed to, you're bound to fall. 

I'm thankful I was able to walk to safety. I'm thankful I don't appear to have broken anything (pray for my knee-we'll see tomorrow). 

Friends, join me in remembering the next time temptation comes to pray before you act on it. Ask for The LORD's guidance, direction and strength to stay on the right path so you don't lose your secure footing and fall.  

"As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving."~Colossians 2:6-7

Jump on the Thankful Train...what are you thankful for?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Answered Prayer vs. Unanswered Prayer: A Lesson In Both

Today I'm thankful for answered prayer *and* unanswered prayer (a lesson in both). So let's review. I had two big prayers I lifted up today, one for health and one for favor. When I received the text that my dad's surgery to place a plate in his arm was a success and he was doing good, I was grateful. But after I knew my dad was okay...I couldn't stop focussing on the second request that didn't quite get answered the way I'd hoped. I asked, "LORD, what is going on? I don't get it?" 
And then, you know what? I planted myself right there. I sat in that place of discontentment, completely disregarding the *huge* answer I'd just received.  

Finally, after a few hours of mulling over it, I was reminded of two very important things: 
1) GOD is not my personal genie. HE is *always* working for what is *best* in every single situation. HE sees the end result to the trials and unanswered prayers. 
2) I need to trust and remain faithful in remembering all that GOD *has* done for my family and I; a constant state of gratitude. 

Friends, join me in praying for help to stay in a place of thankfulness even when some prayers seem to go unanswered. Let's ask The LORD to help us focus on the answers we *have* received...strengthening our faith. Let's ask forgiveness for the times we make it all about us, forgetting that it's really all about JESUS, what HE's done for us and our Salvation (the bigger picture.) Let's ask GOD to reveal the lessons HE's teaching in times of waiting (helping us grow).

"Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory,
Because of Your mercy,
Because of Your truth."~Psalm 115:1

Jump on the Thankful Train...what are you thankful for?

Monday, October 10, 2016

When Your Mistake Costs Much

So I was watching football after church today because duh...isn't that what everyone does during the most amazing season of the year? Anyways, while waiting for my Packers game I had the Eagles vs. the Lions game on. The Eagles were undefeated and on their way to yet another win when all of a sudden the Eagles running back fumbled the ball and the Lions recovered it. The cameraman continued to flash over to the running back whose error cost the Eagles their first loss 23-24. 
The running back was sitting alone and visibly upset at the magnitude of his error. Again and again, the camera went back to focus on him. I felt so bad for the guy, he was so distraught over his fumble. Finally he put on his helmet with a dark visor attached to keep the camera off him. 

This visual reminded me how we often react to our life mistakes. We sit alone too long, mulling over again and again, mentally beating ourselves up. 
Today I'm thankful for the knowledge that while I'm not perfect and mess up often, I don't have to carry the weight on my shoulders, hiding behind a dark mask of shame and guilt. I'm thankful for a relationship with JESUS CHRIST that allows me to be forgiven, forgive myself, as well as others. 

Friends, if you've been carrying a burden for too long, it's time to let it go. Don't sit alone and hide. GOD's got big plans for you and it doesn't include moping around and looking behind. The past is past. Ask The LORD for forgiveness; lay it down and don't pick it back up. Keep your eyes on JESUS, ask HIM to take away your sins, forgive you, and come into your heart and life, making all things new. HE already paid the price, accept HIS forgiveness, the free gift HE gave to you upon the cross, rising on the 3rd day to newness of life. You've been called for more. Let the Light of CHRIST shine into the darkness. Let it go!

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."~2 Corinthians 5:17

Jump on the Thankful Train...what are you thankful for?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Finding Real Treasure-A True Story!

I was headed to the beach to take pics for my niece. I stopped at Target for a quick errand. I noticed a young girl and her baby sitting out front with a sign, so I grabbed a quick gift card. I stopped to give it to her, (now this is a disclaimer: please know that I'm *not* sharing this to get kudos, I'm sharing because I was being taught an important lesson today-you'll see what I mean as you read on). I asked her name and her baby's name, "Isabella and Alejandro," she said. She was from Romania and spoke broken English. I glanced at her sign, it said she was needing a motel room for the night. I didn't have any cash, but hoped the gift card would provide for some of her needs. I was late so I told her I'd be praying for them. I got to my car, and it hit me, "Why didn't you pray for them right then? Gulp. I got back out and asked if I could pray with them. She smiled and said, "Yes." We prayed together.
I went back to my car and realized I couldn't just leave. So I looked up the number to Collette's Children's Home in HB, and went back to give it to her. Her English was broken, so I called for her. They didn't offer immediate shelter, but gave me the number of a place that did. I handed the info to Isabella along with my number, and hurried back to my car a *third* time. 

By this time my two niece's and sis-in-law were already at the beach waiting for me. I apologized and hurried to meet them. For the next few hours we took fun maternity photos with some props I brought. One of them was a heart shaped wire basket. I bought fake shells to put in it. I didn't think it was good enough so I took our prized shell collection from home that the hubby, Anthony and I gathered through some painstaking adventures. Well guess what? I left my basket/shell collection lying in the sand and when I went back down the beach to get it...someone had taken it! I was soooo upset. Those shells were amazing and special.

Now here's where The LORD reminded me of Truth, and boy I needed it. While driving home, still *very* upset about the shells and not wanting to tell the hubby (he loves them as much as I do, if not more)...this thought poured over me, "You are worried about meaningless earthly treasures. I'm calling you to search for *real* treasure...lost, hurting and broken people who need hope, love and kindness. People who are wandering without a SAVIOR." 

I'm thankful for being strongly reminded of what has *true* value...and it's *not* things! I'm letting the thoughts of my lost shells go and praying for Isabella and her baby.

Friends, join me in keeping your focus on searching for *real* treasure in your day...the people JESUS places along your path!

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."~Matthew 6:21

Jump on the ThankfulTrain...what are you thankful for?

Monday, September 19, 2016

She's Thankful For What?

We turned down the aisle at Target and there was a woman and her adorable little Pomeranian sitting in her basket just begging to be pet. Of course we stopped to play and chat. The woman, Christy, was here visiting from Yosemite. She was the sweetest, most joy filled lady, which was in direct contrast to her story. She had breast cancer and a double mastectomy a year ago. She is now cancer free. 
I shared about my ongoing cancer check-ups, struggles and many answers to prayers. 
And do you know what she told us? 
Her eyes lit up as she said, "Cancer was one of the best things that's ever happened to me. It made me appreciate my life and realize that I do not have to worry about the little daily struggles. They are truly meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Life is too short to be miserable. I thank GOD each day for the gift of another day of life." 

Her words hit hard. How can she be thankful for receiving a disease that changes your life forever? This is a whole new level of thankfulness that is mind boggling...defying all human logic. But there it was. Spoken out loud in the middle of the store from a woman who was thrust into an unimaginable battle. But through her struggle The LORD met her there, revealing something deeper to her spirit. 
She told me she was going to continue to pray for me and I told her I'd be praying for her also. We hugged one another like old friends. As we walked away she said, "You are so precious Lisa. I may never run into you again here on earth but I look forward to one day seeing you in Heaven." 

Oh friends, I'm thankful for meeting this beautiful woman. I'm thankful for those daily *GOD* moments that remind.
If you find yourself struggling over the *little* things, like I often do, join me today in taking a different outlook. A renewing of mind and thoughts. A reset of truth. A *larger* view. A reminder of Blessings in the middle of struggles. Time is short. Days and years fly by. 
What are we doing with our time? 
Worrying? Stressing?
Let's ask for The LORD's help to truly see things through HIS Eyes. 

For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ."~1 Corinthians 2:16

Jump on the #ThankfulTrain...what are you thankful for?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

When HIS Words Pour Over You...

When you sit longer and the LORD pours HIS Love upon your heart, mind and soul, spilling over onto the pages. HIS Words bringing a complete refreshing to my parched spirit...

"I Am with you. Do not forget this truth. Stop laboring in your mind, body and spirit, rest in ME daily. When tasks crowd and fill your mind, your thoughts wander as you seek to grab something to steady your emotions. As you learn to continually take every thought captive into the truth of MY Word, you will find peace. I Am not a burdensome taskmaster, but a safe place to rest your weary soul. Come to MY Unending Fountain of Love, Mercy and Grace. Let it wash over you. 

This world seeks to distract you with many things. I have come that you may have Life – More Abundantly. I Am the Living Water. Come near and wash away the lies of the enemy. Do not shrink back at the difficult tasks I've place before you. As you lean into MY Strength, I Enable you to accomplish all things that bring ME Glory. Be still. Rest in MY Embrace. I Am more than enough for whatever you face. I Am the LORD your GOD, the Maker of Heaven and earth… Rest in ME. I will strengthen and renew you daily. Do not continue running through your day, giving no thought to MY Will. Stay in the moment with me. MY Grace is Sufficient. 

Accomplish what I place in front of you right now, giving no thought to what lies ahead. Wait on ME, as I take the reins of your life and your heart. Let ME lead and you follow; for in this you will find rest. You will be Renewed, Revived, Strengthened and given Wisdom to carry out MY Good and Perfect Will for your life. More of ME and less of you. Do not forget who I AM. Stop limiting ME in your life. I've called you to be a Bold, Fearless, Faith-Filled servant of your Mighty and Holy GOD. Behold the work I've place before you. Lead souls back to ME." 

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."~2 Corinthians 12:9

And then He told them, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone."~Mark 16:15 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Pushing Past Fear!

Lil Josh just got home from a week long church camp at Hume Lake. Last year we'd discussed him going because some of our older kids had gone before and had an amazing time. We knew it'd be an awesome experience for him. But he wasn't emotionally ready. He still struggled with social situations and was very nervous about it. So we told him not to worry but next year (this year), we wanted him to really think about going, pushing himself outside comfort zones...into areas where growth can occur. 

So today, I'm thankful for the incredible work The LORD is doing in his life. He had a great time! He came home and shared all that he'd experienced. 
I asked him if it'd be okay if I shared this on my Thankful Train, explaining exactly what I'd write, because I didn't want him to feel uncomfortable with sharing personal struggles. 
He told me he was fine with it. 
I'm thankful for his openness in letting me share all that the The LORD is doing in his life...which in turn shows others the difference JESUS can make in their life too. 

Friends, never underestimate the things JESUS can do in *your* life. All the past pain, brokenness, fear, sorrow and uncertainty can be turned around. HE restores all that was once lost, making *all* things new. Join me in laying it all down each day. Allow JESUS to step right into the center of the storm. 

"The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit."~Psalm 34:18

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful.”~Revelation 21:5

Jump on the #ThankfulTrain, what are you thankful for?
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