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Be prepared 

1 Peter 3:15,16 – “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.”

Well, the packing is almost done. I have been thinking about as many scenarios as possible to prepare for. I have bandaids, moleskin for blisters, a first aid kit, sunscreen, muscle rub, medication for pain and headaches, aloe. I have extra clothes. I have water bottles to fill. My goodness, I can’t believe all the stuff I have packed!

I like to be prepared. I don’t like to be caught off guard. I have even written off the address and lock box info for the house we are staying at just in case I don’t have cell phone service. I try to be prepared. 

But how well do I prepare myself for spiritual journeys? 

Each and every day is a new challenge, a new focus, a new opportunity to share Christ with someone. But am I ready?

Getting into the Word is a great start. Reading and studying and thinking about God’s precepts and principles is a necessary step in growing and preparing. 

Prayer is also a necessity. How can we expect to be ready for any spiritual battle or situation if we don’t communicate with The Commander and Chief? 

There is also one more thing that helps get me ready for spiritual journeys – my brothers and sisters in Christ, aka – my church family. I need them. I need their love. I need their support. I need their encouragement. But you can’t have that church family if you don’t make the sacrifice to be a part of it. 

Be prepared. Be prepared for life. Be prepared for spiritual issues and battles. Be prepared to be in His Word. Be prepared to spend time with your Savior. Be prepared to find love in your church family. Happy Monday. 

The week before

1 Peter 5:6,7 – “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

Do you ever dread a week? For me, the week before vacation is a dreaded week. I’m working like a crazy person trying to get everyone seen and all their paperwork completed that might be due while I’m gone. I’m thinking and making list after list about what I need to remember to purchase and pack. I’m leaving things out on counters so that I don’t forget them. I’m trying to clean my house because if I die, I don’t want people coming into my house dirty (I know, it’s morbid. I can’t help the way my brain works!). 

But here I am on Friday. One last day this week to get those people seen and get that paperwork done. One more day to get the items on that list. One more day to remember how God has brought me through this week. 

It hasn’t been a bad week. It really hasn’t been a rough week. It has just been a week. And as glad as I am that it is Friday, I’m really anticipating Monday at 2 – when work is truly finished and I clock into vacation mode. 

But God has got it between now and then. He sees my lists. He knows my potential issues and problems. He knows what all needs to happen between now and then. I’m not worried about it. God is going to take care of it. 

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

These are the words I’m claiming and have been claiming this week. I’m choosing today to lay my burdens at His feet and walk away trusting that He is going to make it happen one way or another. And I can do this because He loves me. He, the God of Heaven and Creator of all things and Savior of my soul, loves me – a sinner choosing to give my best by following after Him. 

So on this Friday, I want to encourage you to let Him love on you. Let Him take your burdens. Let Him hold you close. Let Him show just how awesome and amazing He can truly be. Happy Friday. 

14

1 Peter 3:2-4 – ” While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

It’s a big weekend – my daughter turns fourteen on Saturday. We are going out to a nice dinner tonight and tomorrow, she & I are going for a manicure and pedicure. 

But as she is growing and learning to be a woman, there is one thing that I want her to grasp and understand – beauty is not only skin deep. 

Beauty is something that comes from the inside. Beauty is a light that shines inside of you. It lights up a room. It can calm a situation. It brings warmth to a conversation. It is something that can’t be replicated in a doctor’s office. It isn’t something that can be taught. It has to be grown inside with diligence and patience. 

As my daughter faces even more challenges as a teenager via her peers and social media, I want her to appreciate what God is doing in her life. He is growing something special in her that He can use down the road to bring Him honor and glory. 

Yes, her hair is long and beautiful. Yes, her button nose is too cute. Yes, her freckles bring joy to my heart. And yes, her laughter is contagious. But it is her heart for others, her joyful spirit, her tenacity, her spunkiness and her love love of life that I don’t want to fade or grow dim or ever be cut off. 

Life takes it toll. Time marches on. But I pray that her beauty that truly lies within will never change. For that is what makes her my beautiful daughter. 

Heartbreak

1 Peter 3:15,16 – “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.”

Wednesday was a tough day. And I’m not talking about all the running that I had to do. No, I’m talking about a conversation I had with a patient I see. 

God had set it all up. I had received a random text from my mom about my aunt’s email address. And my patient wanted to know if everything was okay, seeing that I checked the text from my mom. Well, that opened the door for me to tell someone about Jesus by using my blog. 

Here’s where it gets tough – she told me she was agnostic and proceeded to very sweetly tell me what she believed and why. It was clear through the discussion that she had already made up her mind about Jesus. She had rejected Him. And it broke my heart. When I left, I cried. I called my husband. I called my mom. I was heartbroken that this dear lady, whom I care about, had made the choice to die and go to Hell, even though she doesn’t believe in it. 

How do you go on after that?

It is tough. I have to work with this lady. I have to help her achieve her physical goals while knowing that her eternal future is in jeopardy. 

All I can do is pray for her. I will keep living differently in front of her and keep interjecting Christ whenever I can. I need to know in my heart that I pricked her heart every time I had the opportunity. 

I can’t save her. I can’t make her believe in Jesus Christ. I can’t change her mind. But I can love her. I can show her Jesus in my thoughts, my actions and my words. I can tell my brothers and sisters in Christ about her need and have them pray with me. That’s all I can do. And if the opportunity presents itself again, I will pounce on it…again. I just need to be listening and be aware of what God is laying before me. 

Living life on purpose 

1 Peter 3:10-11 – “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.”

I was listening to the lessons last night at church and one theme kept coming to mind – on purpose. Do we do things on purpose? 

Most of the time, I feel that I’m “rolling with the punches”. Sometimes that’s necessary. Unfortunately, my rolling is more like the rolling of a square tire – it’s not pretty but it is possible, with a lot of work. But I shouldn’t do that. 

I need to be living my life on purpose, even through the rough spots. 

When I cook, every ingredient has a purpose. There is a time to put it into the mix that creates exactly what it was meant to create. When I do it out of order, it doesn’t turn out right. I have to do each step on purpose. 

In these verses today, we see how to live a life that we can love – a life pleasing unto God. 

1) Hold your tongue – Don’t speak evil against others. Don’t cut them down. Don’t say things to hurt others. Watch what you say. Now, if that doesn’t require purpose, I don’t know what would. It takes thought and effort to allow God to guard your tongue. Sometimes life is rolling along and wham! Out flies something that you wish you could take back. Unfortunately, once it’s out there, it can never come back. Guard your tongue. 

2) Go away from evil and do good. This seems obvious, right? But is it? Satan makes evil look good. He disguises the wrong in the cloak of goodness. And it’s not until your knee deep in it that the cloak comes off. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish right from wrong because of that cloak. This is why it is so important to purposefully ask God what you should do. Living life on purpose means finding out the truth – knowing good from evil and seeking after the good. 

3) Go after peace – This is definitely a choice. Peace requires purpose and determination. It is so easy to seek revenge when we are wronged, but that’s not what God would have us to do. We have to purpose in our heart to go after peace and not let the hardships and problems drag us into the pit of dispair and unrest. 

This is all about decisions. Decisions to live life on purpose. Decisions to choose God’s way above our own. Decisions to roll like a round wheel and not a square one. 

I am planning to write this week about doing things on purpose. God laid it on my heart last night to stop flying by the seat of my pants when it comes to my spiritual life. I need to purposefully choose each and every day how and when to live out His purpose in my life. And it starts with recognizing the problem. I invite you to join me in learning to live on purpose. 

Know who you fight

Ephesians 6:10-12 – “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places .”

We depend so much on our sight. We want to see the beauty of God’s creation. We want to see the smiling faces of our loved ones. We want to be able to read. Our sight is vitally important to us. 

So, how are we supposed to fight someone we can’t see? We can see the ground before us and look to where the holes might be in the grass, but sometimes we miss one and fall in. We can watch the traffic out on the road, but sometimes someone does something that causes an accident that we never saw coming. 

As a follower of Christ, we do not battle against things we can see and touch. We battle against principles and ideas. And at times, it gets really dark because we find ourself in a battle with “rulers of darkness” and “spiritual wickedness”. Serious stuff. 

We like to joke that the devil is this dumb little demon with horns and a pitchfork. But in reality, we are facing a fallen angelic being who is a maniac with destruction in his heart. This isn’t some little red being snearing in the corner, rubbing his hands together and giggling mischievously. No, 1 Peter 5:8 says this – “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”. A lion. There is nothing sweet and innocent about a full grown lion. I don’t believe that Peter was speaking of a cub here. 

Sometimes, we all need a reminder of who it is we are dealing with in our daily life. We need to be vigilant in remembering that this devil is no cute and mischievous little demon. He is a full grown, mean and nasty, ready to tear you apart kind of being. You need to be prepared. 

The great thing about all this is God doesn’t leave us without protection. We have the armor of God. Read Ephesians 6:13-18. It’s all right there in black and white. It is ready for you to check out and apply. 

That one beautiful day…

  
1 Peter 3:8 – “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous”

As you can see, it was a beautiful day at the soccer field yesterday. As my son was working on his skills, I watched and listened to another team practicing. 

The girls were running around the fields as a team. They all started out together, but as the yards wore on, they began to spread out. One girl kept getting farther and farther behind. 

As the girls began crossing the finish line, they began to line up and cheer one another across the line. The last girl was really far behind. I mean, like 2 minutes behind her teammate. Instead of laughing or complaining, they began chanting her name – “Let’s go Charlotte, let’s go!” (Go ahead and clap/clap, you know you want to!)

It was beautiful! Actually, if you know me, it brought tears to my eyes! Girls can be especially harsh sometimes. So to hear these girls genuinely cheering for her…well, it warmed my heart. 

Sometimes we need someone cheering us on. Sometimes we are the last one to come across the line. Sometimes we are hard pressed to make it over the line. But when we hear someone cheering out our name, clapping their hands for us, we get that last little bit of encouragement that we need to push through. 

So be an encourager to someone today. You never know, they might feel like they are at the end of the line and need someone to cheer them on. Go ahead, be their encouragement, be their cheerleader!