A common way that we sin

1 Corinthians 8:12- You are sinning against Christ when you sin against other Christians by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong.

This about this verse for just a minute. Meditate on it and tell me what comes to you. It is important that we all understand that each verse in the Bible speaks to us as different parts of our life in different ways. We do don’t all get the same interpretation as the next person. They will be similar but will mean something different.

God gives us each our own paths and what is His calling for one is not His calling for another. Again, some people may have a similar path- such as a calling to be a Pastor- but they don’t have the same road map at all. That is why we each have our favorites to listen to. One may draw me in more while the other is driving you.

So now to what this verse made me think of today. Stephen Hawkings passed away recently and wow all the judgment on that man for not being a believer. It is not our place to judge him and maybe this is a bad example as according to him, God had no leading in his life. But I still believe God was there. He was a miracle- he was not to live as long as he did and his brain- wow! Okay, so I wish he could have seen God in his life here and maybe he did before he left this earth but we do not know God’s judgement on him so we must not judge. Do not bully someone after they passed.

Okay so now on to what else came to mind while reading this verse for me. Social media really as a whole. News stories with a response section as well. I’ve seen how much these things light up with responses because people strongly don’t believe the same way as another person. Every single one of our presidents are great examples on this. Now I’m not saying we don’t have a right to discussion on the topic but we judge the person’s path while discussing what they are doing. We need to stand up to a change that will affect the greater mass in a negative way- yes. But all the name calling and bullying that goes on with it- is what NEEDS to stop.

Christians get a bad name for doing this. The ones who like to say someone is finally rotting in hell because they didn’t believe- what??? Or that another person is going to hell for living their lifestyle that is definitely not a calling for them. Or they call them names based on some biased opinion. Those who cast the first stones…. We need to stop doing this. Yes God has his set of rules and yes we need to follow them but when it comes to our paths and interrupting scripture, we each have our place and we shall not judge or tempt the other person into doing what God has called them to do. We can only follow our path and share Jesus’s great love with others. Can you imagine being able to walk His path and be as kind and loving as He was when on this earth? It would be so beautiful. Yes, we are sinners and would never be able to be as perfect as He was/is but we can strive every day to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to Him.

Sending All My Love!
Now tell me your story-

Mortality

Over the last week or so, I have watched a friend go through the hard times of watching her mom in the hospital and eventually her gate was open to walk with Jesus. Her family was close by and it looks like they made so many wonderful memories in the hardest of times. Many times I found myself crying even though I never met this family because I understand so well what they are going through.

I remember that summer before thinking mom had a look in her eyes like she knew her final days were coming soon. I told my husband, we don’t have long with mom, maybe 6 months. He said, “Really?” and didn’t see what I saw but knew that we were close and sometimes I just know these things. Right before that Christmas, I remember thinking that she didn’t look well again- she just had this look in her eyes that I could see her time was coming. She ended up going into the doctor because of this cough and he officially told my parents it wouldn’t be long.

She celebrated Christmas with us and we got her into the nursing home after. She wasn’t doing well. She did her best every day to show us she was okay though. She hated the breathing tube so took it out of her nose often. She also tried to be stubborn with doing stuff for herself but they installed an alarm on her bed that went off if she tried to get out on her own. She couldn’t breathe well and it was really hard for her to even walk to the bathroom.

We colored and played cards when she was up for it and visited often. I knew she was hanging on for something but knew it wouldn’t be long. Easter came around. I saw her that morning on my way to the inlaw’s home. I told her I would be back after the others visited. I knew everyone was coming and with our family that would be crowded in that nursing home. I gave her a big hug, she didn’t have much in her hugs in weeks. She smiled, she was so happy for everyone to be coming.

I stopped back to the nursing home, I heard mom had such a wonderful day. I came into the room and she could barely move. I knew it would be soon. I gave her a hug and she just hung on. It was her strongest hug in a very long time. I said, “it’s okay mom, you can go see grandma and grandpa. I’ll be okay”. She shook her head yes and just held on for a few mins more. She fell back to sleep and I left.

I called my sister who was the contact for everything and I said you call me the second you hear. She was like what do you mean? mom was so good today, she laughed, told jokes, and so full of life. I said, Kathy- it will be soon. I explained what happened tonight and she was a bit baffled but knew I was probably right. I got the text first thing the next morning and I jumped in the car and went straight out there. She was barely breathing and passed so beautifully in front of the few of us that were there. My sister who was travelling still, said she saw a light in the rain and knew what had happened. She was close. It was so beautiful.

It is so hard to lose a mother but also so hard to watch them suffer. My prayers are going out to my friend’s family. I pray that they find comfort in knowing that she led a good life and will be going onto her eternal life free from pain. My love goes out to all who have lost someone close to them or going through anything similar.

Sending All My Love!
Now tell me your story-

A Fairytale

I was once asked, a long time ago, how could I believe as it sounds like a great story similar to Santa Claus. At that time, I was a bit thrown back and really wasn’t sure how to answer other than saying faith. Sure I’ve seen several things going around since then about how I would rather believe and be wrong and nothing happen than to not believe and be wrong and sentenced to a miserable afterlife. Sure that is great and all but here’s the thing, this friend is a great atheist friend of mind who needs facts.

She is an excellent person just never knew God. This question has haunted me for years. Anyone who knows a Christian well, knows that they love the opportunity to share and have been called to do so. So, when they haven’t been able to answer a question the way that they felt they should, it tends to bother them.

I have been reading Ezekiel off and on recently. The first chapter, you try to figure out what exactly he saw. It sounds like straight out of a movie with the 4 heads part man and part beast. But, it also leads to the thrown and the Lord. I would love to sit and analyze this out with a drawing one day. But when you read what he is called to do, it is not fairy tale story.   In fact, many would think he was crazy for listening to God in such a way.

This got me to thinking about the Bible as a whole and there is a lot of torture, war, anger, and no where near the loving story of Santa Claus. So, then there is Jesus, which I do think can sound very similar to those who don’t know Him. Sure, he saved us from out own sin. And he was a Saint but the torture that He endured is so much more or different than any story that I’ve read.

When I think of Saint Nick, sure there is the story of how he had to sneak around as to not get caught breaking the law but so he could spread the gifts of love and allow for children to have happiness. It is funny how this turned into a tradition of selfishness in many ways when it started so innocent. Jesus never snuck around even though many did not want to hear or believe who He was. He was ridiculed and punished even though He proved himself to be great time and time again.

Maybe this is why I froze on that day, there is so much to think about and how do you explain all of this in a short conversation. And with me, I definitely could make this so much longer with all the account of things not being easy at all but how in their beliefs, the conquered over evil. Okay so maybe that does sound a little fairy-talish but again, what does it really hurt to believe? And what happens if I’m right? I would much rather be here living my life in the name of the Father than questioning anything else.

Proverbs 15: 1- A gentle answer turns away wrath but harsh words stir up anger. 24- The path of life leads upward for the wise to keep him from going down to the grave.

Proverbs 16: 19-20- Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud. Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.

Sending All My Love!
Now tell me your story-

Give your praise

before you hit your knee- what a great phrase, have you ever thought about what it means?

It is so easy for us to fall into the victim role- it made not be our mentality per say but we fall into this role without thinking about it. We will think why is this happening to me and then we go straight to prayer griping about our woes. We ask, ask, ask, and repeat.

Now let’s stop and think about the saying. Giving praise does so much for us than we realize. Not only are we recognizing God for all that He does, we are seeing the great things in our life. Our focus begins to shift. We realize that it is not all bad.

A big question is where to get started. Praise doesn’t always come easy, especially when facing something big in our life. We tend to lose focus of the good and only see bad. I like to call this walking around in the dark and only seeing the dark. We forget to search for the light even though it is beckoning just beyond the tree line.

My advise- start with a list (if you know me, you know I LoVe my lists). I would say start really small. We tend to lean towards the big stuff first because we want to just jump. This is overwhelming and yes easy to give up. So write 1 thing down a day, if that is all you can do. Since it is common to start my goals in 3-5s, I would say start there. But do what you can, just remember not to over do it.

You can start at the simplest. I’m thankful for the roof over my head, food on my table, my family and pets. I’m thank to have a job, a car, place to live, and that list can go on and on. Easy enough, write down 3-5 similar each day. As you are going, start looking at more of your day. I’m thankful I made it to work on time and safe. I’m thankful that all my family made it home tonight to eat dinner around the table. I’m thankful for the time I spent with my friend or family member that is hard to see. The more you start to see these things daily, the more light you start to let in and the less dark your world will become.

Colossians 3:17 (NIV)

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

A book that I was recommended to read and is in my amazon cart for my next order is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. My understanding it is about a woman who is finding her way to thankfulness and her recommendations on how to do this & what she experienced doing so. If you get this book, let me know what you think and I’ll do the same as soon as I read it.

Sending All My Love!
Now tell me your story-

It is all in how you look at it

Life is so full of ups and downs. There are so many punches thrown our way and it is how we deal with each punch that defines us. Sometimes, it is a simple word. Other times, it may be a physical punch. But most of the time, its the trials that we are facing in life.

A lot starts with our thoughts, which we can control even though it seems so hard to do at times. Do we think the worst possible things? Are we trapped in thinking only bad will come? Or are we trying to look to the future and what that has in store for us. Are we taking each day as it comes?

I was reading in the Pslams today. David struggled so badly with this. He felt God was punishing him for his transgressions. He felt all alone and that so many were out to get him. Through it all he trusted in God, though. He knew that he needed to stay in prayer, praising the Lord, asking for forgiveness and then waiting for the storm to pass.

While David knew so much was going wrong in his life, he never thought this was the end all. He talked to God about all the things that was going on and then asked the Lord to walk with him, to forgive him. It is so powerful to know that someone has your back even if they are not of this world. Having that Holy Spirit living deep inside you is something to give praise to. This was a gift to us when Jesus left this world and I truly treasure it daily. Knowing this, I know I can conquer all the crap that is thrown at me, which lately has been a bit more.

Psalm 145- A psalm of praise of David.

I will exalt you, my God and King,
    and praise your name forever and ever.
I will praise you every day;
    yes, I will praise you forever.
Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!
    No one can measure his greatness.

Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts;
    let them proclaim your power.
I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor
    and your wonderful miracles.
Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue;
    I will proclaim your greatness.
Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness;
    they will sing with joy about your righteousness.

The Lord is merciful and compassionate,
    slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
The Lord is good to everyone.
    He showers compassion on all his creation.
10 All of your works will thank you, Lord,
    and your faithful followers will praise you.
11 They will speak of the glory of your kingdom;
    they will give examples of your power.
12 They will tell about your mighty deeds
    and about the majesty and glory of your reign.
13 For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.
    You rule throughout all generations.

The Lord always keeps his promises;
    he is gracious in all he does.
14 The Lord helps the fallen
    and lifts those bent beneath their loads.
15 The eyes of all look to you in hope;
    you give them their food as they need it.
16 When you open your hand,
    you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.
17 The Lord is righteous in everything he does;
    he is filled with kindness.
18 The Lord is close to all who call on him,
    yes, to all who call on him in truth.
19 He grants the desires of those who fear him;
    he hears their cries for help and rescues them.
20 The Lord protects all those who love him,
    but he destroys the wicked.

21 I will praise the Lord,
    and may everyone on earth bless his holy name
    forever and ever.

Sending All My Love!
Now tell me your story-

What is enough?

This is a question that I often times find myself struggling with. Am I doing enough, should I help more, can I help more, where do I go to help more or am I doing enough?  The funny thing is I often feel conflicted in answering this question. This question was a part of the Church sermon this morning. The answer is whatever God places on your heart is enough.  Okay, so that I get and many times I think that I am doing enough.

So I leave Church and this question feels answered but at the same time I start to question the things that I want/ am doing. Is it too much, am I going too far. Then my heart again goes to wanting to do more. So back to Church I go. But seriously, I am studying the poverty cure and I did go back to Church. Tonight we looked at Rwanda and wow, I mean I remember Hotel Rwanda was hard to watch but that’s a movie. So seeing this and thinking, this was just a few years ago (yes a bit more than that but in relevance to when we look at history) and where was I? Young, yes and definitely focused on myself. I didn’t even have the thought of kids or my future (well my dreamed future) in mind much.

I was trying to survive the high school jungle. Nothing in comparison so probably wasn’t real to me.  So, I sat there tonight, watching this lady talk about her hiding and survival. She kept saying the Lord’s prayer and stopping on the forgiveness part. I’ve stopped there before myself too. Can you imagine forgiving the person who killed your family, your friends, and then boasted about how many they killed? For me, it has gone to the abuse that I endured. I have forgiven but this never met as much to me as I heard her talk about her hate but knowing that she wanted to be close to the Lord.

She asked him to show her His sight in this because she cannot do it. He revealed to her the story of Jesus saying, “Please forgive them for they do not know what they do”. She realized they were blinded by hate and did not know what they were doing and it opened her eyes to pray for them. They were coming after her still and she was praying for them. We can’t even begin to imagine this. But it was so powerful.

This topic opened up so many more topics about what are we doing here? I know my work is not done. There is so much left in me. Maybe I don’t need to volunteer for everything but I have so much more left to be done. His word is so important and I know I need to share it. We started out in Mark 2 this evening. A story I know well. I remember reading and being told it so many times as a kid. I also remember thinking that I don’t know how this relates to me.

The part I want to share with you comes from the study piece of my Bible.

“The friends of the paralytic show a great love for him and a great faith in Jesus. If T-shirts could be printed for these men, a perfect slogan would be, ‘Actions speak louder than words.’ No obstacle- even a roof- can slow them down. But even greater than their love is their faith. Just as we wouldn’t waste time cracking open a nut if we didn’t have hop of finding “treasure” inside, these men wouldn’t have ripped open a ceiling unless they had believed the treasure of healing for their friend could be found inside. In the end, Jesus provides a healing because he “saw their faith” (Mark 2: 5)- the faith of the friends! The beauty of their role doesn’t start with their muscles; it starts with their hearts. – Women of Faith Study Bible

I think trust and faith can be a hard thing. Can you imagine going through the crowds and seeing them getting worse to get to the Almighty? Then, to make the decision to climb up to the roof with a paralyzed man and cut it open? Most of of probably would have said, “we will try tomorrow, hopefully there will be a lesser crowd”. But they knew He was healer and now was the time to do it. How many opportunities do you think we’ve missed to seize the time? God is all around us giving us strength and faith in what to do but I believe we have our blinders on. Can you imagine what would have happened if Moses walked passed the burning bush? God probably would have given him another opportunity but would this be at a time that the story would have went different? I don’t know.

So I leave you with, keep your eyes open wide, keep your hearts open wider, and let the Holy Spirit take over with discernment so you don’t miss your opportunity.

Sending All My Love!
Now tell me your story-

I am not ashamed

I remember the news of the Columbine Shooting well. I sat there and watched the unfolding of the event and just couldn’t believe it. As I watched this movie, I remembered how much I forgot about the events of that day.

I remember being:

  • 20 years old- not that much older than those high schoolers.
  • Pregnant with my second child
  • Very Naive
  • And the 13 tears- Oh how I forgot this but now I remember

I remember how I thought, what is this world I am bring children into. I have thought that I couple other times in life- when the towers went down and not the exact question now but now is what kind of world will my children bring kids into.

What was ironic is today a Church in TX was under fire. Someone went into the Church and started shooting. It was not that long ago that the Vegas Strip Shooting occurred. I don’t think the shock of it ever goes away but it is becoming way to common to see these shootings and that is just sad.

It makes you question so much but also it brings on fear to many. In the movie, we see this young lady who was the first to be shot, she was in a constant battle with today’s world and following her beliefs. I feel so many of us feel this battle. I know I do. Here is the thing- NOW is NOT the time to be afraid- it is the time to be strong in faith.

Now is the time to be like Rachel and not be afraid to stand your ground and walk your faith. It is amazing how people will see that light in you and will follow. They may be resistant but who are you kidding, you know you have been too- maybe in a different way but we all are scared on some level. BUT it is amazing what a difference you will see when you let that light shine bright. And the thing is, when someone tells you how bright you shine, you won’t even think you are at that time. You are just doing what comes natural and it will throw you off- possibly even make you blush. But it is an amazing feel to know that God lives in you through the Holy Spirit and that light shines bright when you let it out.

 

Galatians 2: 20- My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Sending All My Love!
Now tell me your story-

The Ten Commandments

Why does it feel so hard in today’s world to follow these. I feel like the last 5 are easy- the first 5 are the hardest. For some, I know it will be different. The last ones- okay do not murder- easy enough, I have no desire to do this and it’s the law. Don’t steal- no need for this either- now I will admit sometimes I am faced with that dilemma of the checkout clerk forgetting to scan something (the water on the bottom of the cart right before their shift is over and they are trying to hurry) and do I go back into the store after unpacking the cart in the car to pay or not. It is laziness not to and technically stealing. Or lying- which is the next one. This one can be tough at time and what about omitting the truth- is that a lie? So I do struggle a bit with that piece of it- does everyone need to know everything? I think not but who am I to judge- pray on it and whatever the Holy Spirit tells you is the answer. Okay and the last one can be tricky too but not in the way that I think it was intended but maybe I am wrong. So do not want your neighbors things. So I don’t want their stuff literally but they may have a deck that I could see looking great on my house so I may work hard to earn and buy it. But I would never want something to the point of stealing it or anything or that sorts, which is they way that I see this commandment being.

Now on to what I see are the tougher ones. Honor God- okay seems easy but here’s the thing, I don’t put him first in everything I do. I make my own decisions without asking God first if it is right and often times, I find myself hating whatever I thought was good at the time. Do not take the Lord’s name in vain- wow how this one has became a regular thing to do in our society. It is tough when in anger or frustration not to call out God D… it or whatever way you use it – God Bless America is one I used to hear out of one person’s mouth. Do not make idols- now I do not take gold and make it into something to worship but we all do this with famous people or even with something as simple as our home. We put a lot of energy into whatever the item is (sports, money, concert, TVs, yardwork- cleaning) and take away our time with God. These things take His place so they do become idols in that way.

The Sabbath- this is one I’ve been studying greatly as of recently as I will be leading a Bible study in it in just a couple weeks. How hard is it to rest???? Did you know that margin is needed in our lives? We, as women blame Eve for taking the apple and making us miserable. But truth be told, we can’t handle margin either. God made a margin by saying they could not touch the tree, just as He has set the Sabbath aside for us. When is the last time you rested with the Lord?

 

Sending All My Love!
Now tell me your story-

Inspiration Comes from Anywhere

This morning has been an interesting morning to say the least. God is so powerful that he like to let you know what He wants from you and it is usually a pretty Bold (I hate the word sign) vision. This is the first Monday of the new month. Every month, I write my goals for Plexus in my planner, my affirmations for the month, maybe a Bible verse and so on. Every week, I do a Bible verse to start my week and then try to plan out the entire week to make sure that I’m active in my journey. I try to remember the time of rest, which as you know it is hard and I still need to finish that study.

In discussions with my husband this weekend, I set myself up for some lofty goals. I talked to him about how I would like to use my real estate business to pay off our second mortgage by the end of the year and if I do that I go full time in that and become a yoga instructor. Well, of course, I would write too. So this morning, I started it in the Bible which I try to do every day. I read all about Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah. Then I went on to read whatever verse was on the page and on to my verse of the day in my phone. It’s funny how it all related. See I was reading the profiles of the ladies after reading the book of Ruth a few days ago.

The page next to Ruth ended up talking about her son, who is the grandfather of David, who wrote many of the Psalms, which is where I ended with my inspiration verse. I then, went to my monthly goals, visions, affirmations and as I was going I felt the Lord giving me these things freely. Telling me what I need to do. It is so scary. I left this blog post open last night after seeing a post on fb from her mom.

So while I was writing freely, I started thinking about the books I started and the things that I was doing now. An idea came to me for a book that has been in the works my whole life. I mean total excitement in this book that I knew I needed to write but struggled with it. I needed to get on my computer immediately and make sure I transfer my books into word out of the app I was using (just didn’t organize well) and make sure to get my idea down.

This blog was there, so I minimized it so I could quickly work on the moving of the books, yes I have 4 or 5 that I’ve started. Once I was done, I went to read it. It is about a young lady who has found herself choosing safe instead of what God calls her to do and is making a change. Beautifully written but it spoke to me on my decision for my path. But it’s funny how it relates to my Bible study of the morning. See, Orpah took the path of least resistance, we don’t know much of her story but we know Ruth, who remained faithful- had the best story. As she was a great-grandmother to Christ. She did not do what was easy but what was right and what God called her to do. She worked hard and reaped so many rewards for that faithfulness. It is amazing how God will totally work your morning, day, or weeks to show you what you need to do.

My inspiration verse:  Psalm 5:11-12 (NIV)

11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
    let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
    that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

12 Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;
    you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

Sending All My Love!
Now tell me your story-

A Sunday School Lesson

I teach 2nd grade Sunday school, which is a complete joy, even though 12 eight year-olds can be rough. Yesterday, I got to learn the lesson. There is this sweet, very energetic girl in my class. She is a girl that I have thought about before as she seems to be “left out”. The other girls tolerate her but also seem to not make a point to sit by her. I noticed this a while back but since I didn’t really know, I let it go.  She is the sweetest girl to them- when one comes in late, she’ll say, “yay, so and so is here” or like yesterday, “I get to sit by so and so, this is exciting since it’s been so long”.

So this brings me to yesterday. This girl was very energetic, as usual. She was moving things around, interrupting others, and just loud. So when she was trying to move something or fiddle, I put my hand on top of hers to get her to stop. She turned it into the game where you try to get your hand on top. So we played that for a while and had a small conversation while still keeping the lesson going. She said to me that my skin was so fair compared to hers (yes, this is very true, as I am very pale).

I explained how I have Swedish in my background and she replied with how she has a very little Native American in hers. I said that was the same as my dad, who also has a very little French in him. I said how he was much darker than me, like her. I told her I take after my mom, who was also very pale. She than said that she hopes that she doesn’t take after her mom. I asked her why and her reply was that she was f a t. It did take me a second to figure out what she meant (kind of cute spelling it out- like us parents tend to do when we don’t want super young kids to understand us).

I turned to her and said you know that can play into health, a medical type condition. She, then, said to me that they think her mom might have diabetes.  I told her that I have a daughter with diabetes and she looked shocked. I said there are different kinds and this is not something that you can help because it is something in the body. I told her how K has to take up to 5 shots a day because of hers and her mouth dropped. She wanted to meet her.

Oh how I wish I had the time to really talk to her. After, we huddled for a game and she wanted to be close to me. She needed contact- she didn’t mind the hand game because she needed that. After all this, I just felt like she puts on this tough act because she is craving the attention. She talks all the time, interrupts all the time, is very distracting to the class- you know the kid that I’m talking about if you ever been in a classroom.

Have you ever stopped to think about this kid? The longer that I work with the kids in the Church, the more I realize that this is their safe place. They want to thrive. There is no judgement. I remember volunteering when my kids were little in there 2nd grade math class. There was this boy that was like this and I remember the teacher telling me that it is sad because the parents of this boy did not care. She or the school would call them and they would not do anything about his behavior. They didn’t come to anything or participate at all. So in a way the school was raising this kid. This is sad.

Back to Sunday school; I’ve seen kids who are so shy, open up and really participate. They have so much fun. They just want to feel a part of something and this is somewhere that they can go to learn and know that they are cared about.  By now, you are probably wondering how I was able to have so much side conversation. I co-teach and this was my week off. So I sit with the kids and “learn” with them. I participate and help to keep those who are a bit more energetic to keep peace. It is an awesome experience to be on both ends of the teaching and learning.

I love my journey in giving back.

Matthew 28:19-20:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Sending All My Love!
Now tell me your story-