Samaritan’s Feet….Changing lives one pair of shoes at a time!

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Making friends......one pair of shoes at a time!

Samaritan’s Feet volunteers & staff, Gaston County Commissioner, Tracy Philbeck and I washing feet and giving a new pair of shoes at Rhyne Elementary in Gastonia, Making Friends, one pair of shoes at a time!

Jesus said, “If you’ve had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you’re clean from head to toe. My concern,  you understand, is holiness,  not hygiene.” John 13:10

Spending time at the feet of others was the example Jesus set for us to follow as He bowed in subjection to the disciples for the purpose of washing their feet as an act of honor and service. Nothing can be greater, than knowing that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, humbled Himself to the position of servant. As we put ourselves in the position of service, we look up into the eyes of the ones that we have come to serve and say. “You are the most important person at this very moment. I want you to know that you are loved by God and by all of us. We are here today simply because of our heart to love and serve you just as Jesus did.”

Today, I was once again blessed to participate in a shoe distribution with Samaritan’s Feet. The mission and heartbeat of founder, Manny Ohonme, is 10 million pairs of shoes on the feet of 10 million children in the next 10 years You can read more about Manny’s story of how a simple pair of shoes changed his life and led him to follow what was exampled to him by the love of  one who came to serve him.

http://www.samaritansfeet.org/who-is-sf/mannys-story/

I have had the privilege of serving alongside Manny Ohonme and his wife, Tracie since 2005 and have nothing but the utmost love and respect for this man and his family who daily live out what they believe. While we do not often share the same schedule, we are often in contact and communication. Today, however, Monty and I were blessed with a most special opportunity; to give back to children, teacher’s and staff at an elementary school near our hometown of Dallas, NC. We rallied and gathered our friends to help us support the effort of Samaritan’s Feet in our Jerusalem. Gastonia, NC

On this day, 400 plus children, teachers, and staff would receive our undivided attention as we spent time getting to know them, focusing our hearts and attentions towards them, washing their feet and providing a new pair of socks and shoes for each one of them. The event was a surprise for the entire school and spear-headed by their caring principal, Rebecca Huffstetler.

The day started as usual with the younger children filling our stations. So, precious. Timid. Embarrassed and confused by all these people taking off their old shoes, putting their little feet in cold water, washing them and putting new shoes on their feet. Refreshing, but in time the older children would fill the chairs and their disbelief was often verbalized.

My breath-taking and life-joy moment happened near the end of the day when a less than thrilled tough 5th grade boy sat down in front of me. What would become my favorite conversation of the day began with, “So, lady, how much are they paying you to wash my feet, be nice to me and give me this new pair of shoes?” And with attitude and no smile, I might add. He was not rude. Simple putting it all on the table and in all likelihood, wanting to call me out and say, yep, told you so, they don’t care about me.

“Nothing.” I replied. “God loves me (us), we love you and I came here today to tell you how very special you are to Him and to me. Nothing more. Nothing less.” A cynical 10-year-old smile ensued. Our moment together ended within five-eight minutes and toward the end a new-found, whimsical, wry smile appeared. I held his hands, looked him square in the eyes and ended by letting him know that every step that he takes in these new pair of shoes, that I will be thinking of him, praying for him and trusting his life to a God that wants to do great things in and through him. His name will be written in my prayer journal and I will believe God for His very best until heaven.”

I continued as the Holy Spirit kicked my heart into gear and shared the gospel message of hope, a future, and of surrendering his heart to receive the free gift of life now and eternal through Jesus Christ. The promise of forgiveness, new life and God’s perfect plan for his life. You see, we get moments like these on occasion and I felt the urgency to seize the moment while it was sill today! I continued. “God’s plan for you is perfect. Your story is still being written. When you want to give up or you struggle, think of the silly lady who said, you can do it through complete surrender of your heart to the Lord and the power of God which is greater than your mind can conceive.” God wants you to know that you matter and that He has a plan for your life!! An, sweet friend, I pray for you, I will claim each step for the rest of your days for  God to do “exceedingly, abundantly in your life above all that you can ask or think.” HE IS ABLE!!!

He sheepishly, smiled. I said there is just one more thing. “Can I get a hug?” I have yet in my life until today, felt a more genuine embrace than from his big ole size 10 men’s shoe bear hug that I received from Gods most precious possession.
You see, God spoke directly to his heart today. The Holy Spirit penetrated the deepest part of this young mans soul and there is no doubt in my mind that the God of the universe will make good on a prayer prayed forward for a life in the balance between the god of this world and our heavenly Father’s will for his life.

So, when you wonder if God still uses the smallest of opportunities for His good and His glory, remember the hardened heart of my friend today. And when you pray, you need not know his name but that his heavenly Father is well acquainted with the matters of his precious heart and life. Next time you think, I should do something to help….just do it. Don’t wait. The true blessing will be yours. And when you wonder, does God really still open hearts in the least imaginable ways….like through a pair of shoes, a smile, a hug, a word of affirmation, a touch or a smile? May you see my face smiling back at you and saying….Oh yes He does!! Remember, Jesus said it best….”My concern is holiness…” May we walk simply on this path of righteous living….and trust God for life-changing results! For His glory! Amen and Amen!

Caring for God’s beloved!

Ten Days of Thanks {Thanksgiving Blessings}

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When Jesus Gave Thanks

To everyone who is thirsty, he gives something to drink; to everyone who is hungry, he gives good things to eat. Psalm 107:9 CEV

Roughly half of Jesus’ public prayers in the four Gospels are prayers of thanksgiving for food. He thanked God for five loaves and two fish while feeding the five thousand. When He broke bread for the Last Supper, and when He appeared to the disciples and they fed Him, He thanked the Father. Any time He touched food in the Bible, He gave thanks.

Follow the example of Jesus;
recognize the Lord is our Great Provider.

How has the Lord provided for you today?

Ten Days of Thanks {Day Ten}

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Day Ten

God’s beautiful message to you ~His beloved

When you are thankful, you worship Me acceptably—with reverence and awe. Thanksgiving is not just a holiday celebration once a year. It’s an attitude of the heart that produces Joy; it is also a biblical command. You cannot worship Me acceptably with an ungrateful heart. You may go through the motions, but your ingratitude will hold you back.

Whenever you’re struggling spiritually or emotionally, pause and check your “thankfulness gauge.” If the reading is low, ask Me to help you increase your level of gratefulness. Search for reasons to thank Me; jot them down if you like. Your perspective will gradually shift from focusing on all that is wrong to rejoicing in things that are right.

No matter what is happening, you can be joyful in God your Savior. Because of My finished work on the cross, you have a glorious future that is guaranteed forever! Rejoice in this free gift of salvation—for you, for all who trust Me as Savior. Let your heart overflow with thankfulness, and I will fill you with My Joy.

Finding joy in every moment today after recalling a time when God would teach me so much about living out my salvation with great joy in my heart.

Every morning my sweet little military man goes through his “get ready” morning routine. He has always worn a pair of bedroom slippers. Through the years I have grown fond of hearing him shuffle around the house. But that has not always been the case because once he takes those slippers off for the day, he puts them in the same place AND might I add, right in the path I need to walk as I get up to get ready. This morning, I tripped over those slippers just as I do most every morning unless I am up before him. 30 plus years ago this very little thing grew into a huge argument. Of course he thought is was NO BIG Deal. Truth is -it was not and still is not that big of a deal but all I asked was could he please find a better place to put them. And that my friend did not go well. Okay, so maybe I did not say it as kindly as what I just wrote. 🤪 He did his best to oblige and really tried but eventually they were right back where his daily routine ended. Slippers by the dresser, he’d sit on the edge of the bed, put his work shoes on, check himself in the mirror and off into the day he would go.

Today I laughed so hard I cried. Ever gotten caught up in staying aggravated about something that really does not matter? I remember the day God set me free from wasting time on trivial things- well at least regarding those slippers. I confess I am a still a work in progress after all of these years.

It was around Thanksgiving time AND the day of the “intense” conversation about the slippers. I was packing for my family to go home to NC to visit family when I received a phone call from a church friend. She asked if we could be accountability partners as she prepared to lead an upcoming women’s conference at our church. She was struggling with the team around her complaining and being snarky about everything. She had just had a hard conversation with someone on the team. She said, “I feel like I keep getting tripped up on an old pair of shoes and it is time to move them out of the way.” I want to be grateful but the old way of doing things just takes my joy away.”

I busted out laughing and felt such deep pangs of conviction at the same time. Lord forgive me. I had to share with her authentically that Monty and I had argued over a pair of bedroom slippers that very morning. Isn’t it interesting how God brings hearts together who need each other? In that moment I realized, the shoes were NOT the problem. I was the one with the problem. And perhaps, that “old pair of shoes” she was speaking about was not the problem either. We agreed in that moment to look for ways to thank God and to empower change rather than throw out a perfectly good old shoes. Maybe we could both shift our perspective from focusing on all that is wrong to rejoicing in the things that are right.

I encouraged my friend to make things right by embracing the wisdom the “old shoes” brought to the process instead of so easily tossing them. We would pray for an awakening to the scripture, for fresh eyes for this incredible event and for God’s Grace to see beyond the temporal and set our perspective the way God sees it.

A shift. New perspective. New focus. Rejoicing

The event ending up bringing so much honor to the Lord but more than anything we learned that perspective is everything. When we focused on the Lord instead of what was wrong it led us to what was most important, good, worthy and joy-filling. Needless to say God breathed in us new perspectives and rejoicing in all that is right.

I would apologize to Monty later that night. Don’t get me wrong, I still get tripped up on where he chooses to put them but I have learned to give thanks instead. It fills my heart and comforts me in knowing that if the Lord wills this beautiful man will come in the door tonight and shuffle around until the days end. I am blessed to be his helpmate and give thanks for the incredible husband, father, grandfather, friend to many and best friend to me that he is.

Point of confession, my joy is made complete on the cold days when I eye his slippers not two feet from me. I quietly slip them on and putter around the house secure in keeping them for him to come home to.

My heart is overflowing with thankfulness and joy my friend! This has been a very sacred place to me over the last ten days. I am genuinely going to miss our time together. Thank you to every heart that has taken the time to pause here. I pray this practice of faith in the midst of real life has led you to see with eyes that look for gratitude, ears that lean in close to hear to what God is speaking to you and faith to know that no matter the struggle God loves you and will use all things for good for those who are called according to His purpose. I promise you that no matter how hard things are God has a treasured ending that will be YOUR story to tell just as I have shared a few of mine.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.—Hebrews 12:28

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.—Psalm 100:4 nkjv

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.—1 Corinthians 13:6

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.—Habakkuk 3:17–18

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 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. Colossians 3:15-17

10 Days of Thanks {Day Nine}

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Day Nine

Nurture well your thankfulness, for it is the royal road to Joy! In fact, no pleasure is really complete without expressing gratitude for it. It’s good to thank the people through whom you receive blessings, but remember that I am God from whom all blessings flow. So praise and thank Me frequently each day. This nurtures your soul and completes your Joy. It also enhances your relationship with Me, providing an easy way for you to draw near Me.

As My cherished follower, you have received the glorious gift of grace —unearned, undeserved favor. No one and no set of circumstances can strip you of this lavish gift. You belong to Me forever! Nothing in all creation will be able to separate you from My Love.

When you awaken each morning, say, “Thank You, Jesus, for the gift of this new day.” As you journey through the day, be on the look- out for blessings and pleasures I scatter along your path. The greatest treasure is My Presence with you, for I am the indescribable Gift.

I love how every day we share I am reminded of the presence of God and the gift of life we have through His Son Jesus Christ. Today leads us back to basic truths that sustain and brings joy to my souls every say. No matter the circumstances, there is unwavering hope in my Lord. I love starting my day with worshipping Him leaning in to thanksgiving.

There have been several seasons of my life when I have experienced such deep gratitude that it spilled out into every part of my life. One particular time in my life I felt an earnest desire to grow even deeper in this area. What began as a special journaling idea turned into a very special tradition in my home that started many years ago.

As a military family we looked forward to the annual Christmas cards from family, friends, church family and treasured friends we had made through our years of moving. One year after Christmas I decided to really stay my mind and nurture my heart in the area of thankfulness. By nature I am a very thankful person. So I grabbed a journal, my Bible and decided to do a Biblical word study of the word thankful. My heart was to find ways to incorporate thankfulness to God but also how to share my gratitude for others as well.

I happened to notice a stack of Christmas greeting cards that I had not put away. The Holy Spirit nudged my heart toward them. So I grabbed the stack, found a basket and made a decision to draw a card every other day or so, pray for that person(s) and mail them a note relating my gratitude for our shared story. This would go hand-in-hand with my thankfulness journey. Needless to say this simple exercise transformed my heart to one of praying for ways to encourage people by sharing my gratitude for them with them.

It was a beautiful journey that is still a very special part of my life. We would eventually include it as a part of our family table. We would draw a card, share stories of our thankfulness to the Lord for the friend or family and pray for them as well. This has grown so much, that I now have a larger greeting card holder for my Christmas cards. Why? Because throughout Christmas we use it to display our cards, leave them up all year and continue to add any cards or communications we receive to the card holder as a reminder of our shared journey. Every other day or so I still grab a card and pray as an exercise of thankfulness snd faith.

I want to encourage you to find your own journey of thankfulness. I can still feel the joy that I gained during that year of gratitude and thanksgiving. Made my heart large the more I practiced what I learned by speaking life into others. It might just include your time, a prayer, heartfelt writings, reading God’s word more specifically or genuinely thanking the postal clerk for their hard work and service. People need to know they are valued. Our act of obedience is to give thanks in ALL things AND encourage thanksgiving in others.

Finally, these last eight days have been very special for me. I am so very grateful and want to thank you for hanging with me and for the sweet messages you have sent. I am thankful to God for this journey with MRO and that God has allowed our paths to cross. Every relationship that has communicated with me is diverse and MY heart beats to tell you thank you for being the beautiful complete of the years I have served to date. Your kindness is remarkable. You are beautiful each and every one of you. Beautiful soul deep.

In closing, we have today and tomorrow to lead us into Thanksgiving. I am thankful for freedom. I am hopeful for our future because I know my El Shaddai – the all sufficient one is in control. I am thankful for our families health and how God has protected us. I am thankful for the God’s indescribable gift of His son Jesus. I am thankful that He desires to be in relationships with each and every one of us.

Find your I am thankful for in scripture and in life…… write them down, write them on your heart and share the fullness of joy with every opportunity the Lord gives you this week.

Happy Thank-LIVING!!

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise! Psalm 95:2 amp

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8–9

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38–39

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15 nkjv

Ten Days of Thanks {Day Eight}

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Day Eight

God’s beautiful message to you ~His beloved.


Thank Me for all the challenges in your life. They are gifts from Me—opportunities to grow stronger and more dependent on Me. Most people think that the stronger they get, the less dependent they will be. But in My kingdom, strength and dependence go hand in hand. This is because you were designed to walk close to Me as you journey through your life. Challenging circumstances highlight your neediness and help you rely on My infinite sufficiency.

When circumstances are tough and you rise to the occasion, trusting in Me, you are blessed. Hope is seasoned in us when we go through challenges that we think are too much to bear. When you do so in reliance on Me, our relationship grows stronger.

Your success in handling difficulties also increases your sense of security. You gain confidence that you and I together can cope with whatever hard times the future may bring. You are ready for anything and equal to anything through the One who infuses inner strength into you.

Rejoice in MY sufficiency!

Pause right here friend. This is a linger longer moment.

While you are tryin to wrap your head around all of that- let me share my heart as it knows the sufficiency of God who carried me THROUGH the valley of the shadow of death. We walked in God’s sufficiency and are grateful for our El Shaddai- the all sufficient one.

Rejoice in MY sufficiency.

Our story~

1985 was one of the hardest years that I have ever journeyed. On May 2, 1985 my 42 year old father had a massive heart attack while asleep. There was nothing they could have done if a doc had been right there. He was light and love in this world. We would bury him on May 4- my daughter Ashley’s 2nd birthday. We all moved in a fog for weeks. We lived in Pennsylvania and drove 12 hours “home” every weekend to try and help my mom and sister navigate new and difficult days.

I was 34 weeks pregnant and was about to head to the restroom just before bed. I took one step, had a major contraction and then my water broke. I went immediately into labor and things were progressing very fast. The neighbor came over to sit in our home while Ashley slept. On May 31 @12:27am our son Ryan was born. My placenta had ruptured and After my c-section, Ryan was in grave danger at delivery. He would need help breathing and went immediately to the ICU. To spare you the details we spent a long week fighting for his little life. But praise be to our 23 inch long almost 6lb baby boy was a fighter from day one. They warned us he may have some delays and we listened respectfully. God would show Himself as sufficient in ways we had never known before. Did we battle through delays? Yes. But we pushed through believing God for HIS strength with every challenge. And He was gracious.

You may not know my son but he beat every statistic, graduated college and is now a Walgreen’s manager in Denver, NC. Stop by and tell him his mom sent you! We refused to believe the enemies lies because we knew the sufficiency of our almighty God.

My friend, I know that there are some of you who are battling giants right now. Maybe you have known or are suffering. There is pain or no end in sight. There were days when Ryan was growing up that I doubted and worried and relied on my own sufficiency. You too? It is fair and real that we will sometimes wrangle through and find our way back to Him. I have heard from some of you who are hurting, broken-hearted, lonely, grieving…. Pause right now and name what is weighing you down. Please know that I paused and am praying right now that this post will draw your eyes toward heaven and our Lord. That you will find comfort in the following truths. Claim them as your own and thank Him for always being trustworthy, faithful and steadfast. God is calling us now to let go of our circumstances and cling to the all-sufficient one.

I want to end with the following truths. Through the years, I kept one journal of just truths about God’s sufficiency. Every time that I was given the opportunity to be swayed to MY sufficiency and learn more about HIS sufficiency, I would simply write it down as a covenant to walk in HIS sufficiency anew.

God Is:

Sufficient wisdom and knowledge
Sufficient strength
Sufficient grace
Sufficient mercy
Sufficient power
Sufficient over heaven and earth
Sufficient provision
Sufficient peace
Sufficient joy on every side.

God’s sufficiency became very real to me while I was doing a Bible Study on 1 Peter not long after my dad’s death. I still cling to this verse fondly because it is truth that we have stood firm in a number of times throughout our lives. Giving thanks for the truths that we have learned along the way.


Rejoicing in HIS sufficiency…….

After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace [who imparts His blessing and favor], who called you to His own eternal glory in Christ, will Himself complete, confirm, strengthen, and establish you [making you what you ought to be]. To Him be dominion (power, authority, sovereignty) forever and ever. Amen…….I have written to you briefly, to counsel and testify that this is the true grace [the undeserved favor] of God. Stand firm in it!
1 Peter 5:12-14 amp


And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:8

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.
James 1:2 msg

But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me. Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love. Psalm 31:14–16

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency.
Philippians 4:13 amp

Not that we are sufficiently qualified in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency and qualifications come from God.
2 Corinthians 3:5

10 Days of Thanks {Day Seven}

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Day Seven

God’s beautiful message to you ~His beloved.


Thank Me for the glorious gift of forgiveness. I am your Savior-God, and I alone can give you this blessing. I went to exorbitant expense to procure this gift for you. You receive forgiveness and become My child by receiving Me and believing in My Name. This Name, Jesus, means the Lord saves. To receive this gift of salvation, you need to trust Me as your only Hope—the One who delivers you from all your sins.

There is no condemnation for those who are in Me. I want you to enjoy the wonder of walking through your life as My follower—totally forgiven! The best response to this wondrous gift is to live in gratitude, seeking to please Me above all else. You don’t need to do good things to secure My Love, because it’s already yours. Just let your desire to please Me flow readily out of your grateful heart. Thanking Me frequently will help you stay close to Me, ready to follow wherever I lead. Rejoice, beloved, for through Me the law of the Spirit of Life has set you free!

That genuinely seems difficult. Right? In my 42 year relationship with the Lord, there is one thing I know so very real. Enmity with someone else can do hinder our relationship with the Lord. A number of years ago there was a moment of conflict between a friend and I. Truthfully I cannot even remember what happened, what was said except that she felt as if she had offended me. The next time we were together she handed me an envelope. Inside this envelope was a sticky note and a bandaid.

She had written out the following quote:

Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words but to pour them all out , just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and soft them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away. ~George Eliot

You will have conflict with others at times in your life. For us, I was not offended but in her own mind and heart, she felt there need to make things right. It is a good practice to keep these things current. How many people do you know who are still holding on to something someone did years ago? Not good. It can escalate and detour not only the people involved but everyone around them. The ripple affect can go on for generations.

If there is one thing I know, holding unforgiveness in your heart will rob you of joy, full life and put unnessary distance between you and the Lord. Out of obedience to the Lord, my friend was convicted by the Holy Spirit to not only maintain OUR relationship but her relationship with Him. This sticky note and bandaid has been in the front of my Bible since the day she gave it me. It is a constant reminder of our responsibility in relationships to live right before the Lord when it comes to forgiving.

Romans 12:18 says it this way: “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.”

My friend, if you want to walk in the freedom of forgiveness with the Lord then you must not hold unforgiveness in your heart. At the end of every day, I pray this passage of scripture and ask God to bring awareness to anything I have done that day that I need to make right with Him or with someone else. God is good snd loving. He has a beautiful and gentle way of encouraging me to make right snd stay pure before Him. I am the first to confess that I am not perfect. I will fail you. But God forgives snd restores. That I know.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

Lord help us to stay our path and help us to forgive, just as you forgave us!

Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. — Ephesians 4:32o

You. Are. Loved.

Forgiven by Crowder

https://youtu.be/uUiwA1JNDig

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.—John 1:12

And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.—Acts 4:12 nasb

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.—Romans 8:1–2

10 Days of Thanks {Day Six}

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Day Six


God’s beautiful message to you ~His beloved.

I want you to linger in gratitude. This is a most delightful place—where the Joy of My Presence shines warmly upon you. ☀️ You often pray fervently for something until you receive the answer you desire. When I grant your request, you respond joyfully and thankfully. But your tendency is to move on rather quickly to the next matter.

I want you to remain for a while in an attitude of grateful Joy. Instead of experiencing only a short-lived burst of gratitude, let this pleasure flow freely into the future by training yourself to recall what I have done.

During Monty’s tenure in the Air Force, we lived in a 150 year old historic house at the top of a mountain that looked down over Morgantown, West Virginia. Winter was cold as winters are yet filled with beauty. Every flake of snow would bring change to our view as if gently shaking a snow globe. It was a magical day like that when God gave me pause.

I had put the kids down for naps. After closing the last bedroom door quietly behind me, I turned to see a prism of radiant light beaming through the window at the end of the hall. I was immediately drawn to it. The laundry could wait. So I grabbed my Bible, a chair and just sat in the warmth of the light. It was joyful just to linger there. I felt the Lord’s presence and found refuge in the oneness I experienced with the Him that day. I was a baby Christian with two children under the age of two. I was struggling with finding time alone and quiet time with the Lord had become the last thing on the “to do” list.

I opened my Bible, laid it on my lap and vividly remember reading but I could not tell you what I read. It was just nice to warm up in the rays of sunshine. Over the next hour God would give me pause and four words that I call the four “L’s”. He had beckoned me that day and it was so contrary to any other experience that I had ever known. Out of obedience I faithfully wrote down each word in my journal because I knew this was special and something that would be a huge catalyst in transforming my journey of faith.

Lean
Listen
Linger
Lift

We must make time for pause in our lives. Shut down the noise of the world and pursue the presence of God.

LEAN in close to your Heavenly Father
Listen intently for His instruction
Linger just a little longer in the stillness
Lift your heart and remain in gratefulness

God impressed upon my heart to end every time alone with him with this practice. Many days I listen to worship music in the last moments and LIFT my hands to Him in praise. I have nurtured and gained spiritual health through the years through this practice because it became my habit. The longer I serve Him the sweeter this time has become.

Now don’t get me wrong, my faith walk has ebbed and flowed through the years. There have been seasons when life has handed me hard things, found myself spiritually low from giving to others and then wrangling through life moments that have demanded every little piece of me. If you are there, I am simply here to encourage you to find that place again. He has not let go of you. He sees. He knows. God is a good and compassionate Father. If you are a prodigal, His arms are open wide. Maybe it is time to run home. It is never too late to get started again.

Lean in my friend- He is there.
Listen for His voice- let the Holy Spirit comfort you
Linger there and wrap yourself up in His love and light Lift up your heartfelt cry to Him and express the deep and hard place you are in. His forgiveness comes with deep compassion and His love will lead you to deep gratitude. This I know.

I looked forward to my daily retreat during nap time. Some days we lingered long and others I’d simply lean into His presence as Father God. But one thing that would remain was ending with a time of thanksgiving for His great love.

I still find joy leaning in close to the Lord. I know it brings joy to Him when I express my gratitude for His goodness. At this time in my life I experience a deep desire to sit quietly and wait to hear His still small voice. To linger in His presence cares so perfectly for my soul. Worship and adoration are the wellspring of life. Lifting Him up keeps my eyes on Him and stays my way in serving Him.

I know God is saying much to us all this season of thanks-

He reminds us gently and lovingly. Keep bringing your gratitude to Me. A thankful heart will remind and guide you in all that really matters. Keep focusing on your faith walk. Out of love and gratitude find ways to serve others. This thankfulness will bless you doubly—with happy memories and the delight of simply sharing life with Me.

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
Psalm 95:2 nkjv

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.1 Corinthians 15:57

Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth.
1 Chronicles 16:12 nkjv


10 Days of Thanks {Day Five}

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Glimpses of Glory

Day Five

God’s beautiful message to you- His beloved.

A thankful attitude opens windows of heaven. Spiritual blessings fall freely onto you through those openings into eternity. Moreover, as you look up with a grateful heart, you get glimpses of Glory through those windows. You cannot yet live in heaven, but you can experience foretastes of your ultimate home.

Such samples of heavenly fare revive your hope. Thankfulness opens you up to these experiences, which then provide further reasons to be grateful. Thus your path becomes an upward spiral: ever increasing in gladness.

Thankfulness is not some sort of magic formula; it is the language of Love, which enables you to communicate intimately with Me. A thankful mind-set does not entail a denial of reality with its plethora of problems. Instead, it rejoices in Me, your Savior, in the midst of trials and tribulations. I am your refuge and strength, an ever-present and well-proved help in trouble.

Many of you know about the tragic loss our family experienced in May 2018. No matter how difficult our circumstances, I can say with a pure heart that our family has never lost hope. The rainbow photo above was taken the day our nephew left the ICU and was placed in a regular room. He and our sister-in-law’s survival was an absolute miracle. We thanked God and continue to do so daily for their lives, for those who survived and prayed for complete healing. Rainbows were commonplace throughout 2018 and appeared to spill down from heaven as glorious light on very special occasions just like this day. As we walked to the parking deck, the view of this beautiful rainbow became the first of many that would seal our hope in our Heavenly Father. I still smile at the thought of a gracious God who gave us of glimpses of glory and hovered right over our nephews room. My friend, His promises are true and trustworthy and on this day we were reminded to find our hope in God alone. Hope that we still cling to today.

So I come as a way of encouragement today. This I know, giving thanks with a grateful heart in spite of your circumstances will sustain you through the darkest days of your lives. And every now and then, our loving and good Father encourages our hearts because He knows this will lead us to places of increasing gladness.

My grandfather used to say it this way: Being grateful isn’t hard. Forgetting to be grateful is what makes life hard. Thanks Papa Spell for your wisdom.

Today, I choose gratitude. I pray you will be encouraged to do so as well.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. —Ephesians 1:3

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. —Habakkuk 3:17–18

God is our Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very present and well-proved help in trouble. —Psalm 46:1 amp

10 Days of Thanks {Day Four}

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Day Four

God’s beautiful message to you- His beloved.

Thank Me throughout this day for My Presence and My Peace. These are gifts of supernatural proportions. Ever since the resurrection, I have comforted My followers with these messages: Peace be with you, and I am with you always. Listen as I offer you My Peace and Presence in full measure. The best way to receive these glorious gifts is to thank Me for them.

It is impossible to spend too much time thanking and praising Me. I created you first and foremost to glorify Me. Thanksgiving and praise put you in proper relationship with Me, opening the way for My riches to flow into you. As you thank Me for My Presence and Peace, you appropriate My richest gifts.

My friend, trusting God and walking in His peace and presence is giving Him His rightful place in our lives. We were created by Him and for Him to bring glory to Him. To give glory to Him is to live our lives in such a way that we give a correct opinion of who He is. We bear His imagine in a world longing for peace and His presence.

In the center of Hiroshima, Japan, the twisted ruins of the former exhibition hall remains as a memorial to the death and horror of the atomic blast. On a small monument, one word is inscribed in large, bold letters: PEACE. Man has long desired peace, but found it to be elusive because he does not know how to acquire it.

In the Old Testament peace indicated material prosperity or physical safety. Yet for the new-testament church, that is those who have trusted in Christ as their savior, peace means so much more: spiritual well-being, completeness, fulfillment, well-being, security and stability of mind.

“Believers rejoice. Be made complete [be what you should be], be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace [enjoy the spiritual well-being experienced by believers who walk closely with God]; and the God of love and peace [the source of lovingkindness] will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11 (AMP)

True, heartfelt peace is not merely the absence of or restraint from conflict, but a life-giving, proactive, heartfelt peace that comes with completely yielding to God.

Because of Jesus we have been brought into oneness with the Lord. His presence and peace are the well from which we draw life. Out of the abundance of a life of peace with God, we can do nothing less than to pour out our praise for His presence and beautiful peace that permeates every part of who we are.

Walk boldly into this day beloved of God. May Jehovah Shalom- the Lord our peace who goes before us make a way for His presence to lead you and fill you for the kingdom work that can only be done by you. The world is waiting. Keep praising. Keep singing. Rejoice always. Make time for worshipping God and listening for His still small voice. The fruit of God’s spirit is alive in you. Share the love and speak peace for the glory of God.

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal” Isaiah 26:3–4

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” Luke 24:36

“And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. Hebrews 13:15

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”
2 Corinthians 9:15 nkjv
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

10 Days of Thanks {Day Three}

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Day Three

God’s beautiful message to you- His beloved. 

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

I am calling you to a life of thankfulness. I want all your moments to be punctuated with thanksgiving. The basis for your gratitude is My sovereignty. I am the Creator and Controller of the universe. Heaven and earth are filled with My glorious Presence.

My husband Monty served in the US Air Force for 23 years. We were blessed to see the best of this beautiful country that we call home. Over his career, we lived in 8 different states and helped start three new churches in three of those states. There have been many adventures along the way, and we are grateful to the Lord for allowing us the opportunity to live ten-thousand lifetimes.

Yet, if I can be honest with you, there were hard times. Lonely and isolating times where we knew no one. Because of Monty’s career field, we were not assigned to a base so there was no support and no other military families in the community. Of our almost 40 years of marriage, Monty has probably been away from our little family for 3 1/2 of those years. Deployments, education/schooling, temporary duties and wherever the USAF decided they needed him took priority over everything. 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months at a time.

There was one particular move that we made that I thought was the most horrible decision ever handed to us. Monty had 18 years in the AF, we had built our forever home in the Raleigh, NC area and our plan was to retire there. Monty was a career medical (docs/nurses) recruiter for the AF and was very successful. We were set for him to become a medical headhunter for several of the hospitals in eastern NC. We were surprised to get word that he had a new assignment/huge promotion and we would move to Muncie, IN. WHERE? Really? We were in an amazing church, I was on staff there, had the most amazing friends and God was really moving in this church. Move. Noooo.

Long story short. I went kicking and screaming. Not literally but I just could not see God’s hand anywhere. I was overwhelmed with frustration, feelings of abandonment and anger. I would hold on to those feelings for nearly a year. Then it started snowing and the isolation would walk hand in had with loneliness and deep sadness. Surely God had made a mistake. Surely I knew better. I had closed my heart off to the possibility that God was going to do something good in our lives. So, I put my game face on and told God straight up I was not happy and then proceeded to lead my children on “one more amazing adventure” and we are gonna have fun if it kills us. Ugh.

You know where this is going. God allowed me my spiritual tantrum. He is God like that. I continued to pursue my relationship with the Lord. God began to lead me on a journey that opened doors for ministry in ways He had never done before. Mid-western folks are the best but it took them a while to finally accept this southern girl with a twang. God was good and faithful. Sovereign and gracious. There was an awakening in this little college town. People were coming to Christ and with every small faithful moment of surrender, God would care for us and bless every area of our lives. Muncie was a Romans 8 road for sure but I learned a lot about gratitude and THANKS-living. Go revealed Himself in ways that I had never known Him before. He firmly, yet lovingly walked me out of the pit into His glorious light. These are things I have pulled from my prayer journal from that time in my life. Thought it might speak to you just as I felt God speaking to me then.

I wrote this on the morning that we had received 26 inches of snow in 24 hours. Monty was stranded in Indianapolis after the interstate was closed down. Our power had gone out @ 2am. The kids were in the bed with me with almost every blanket we owned on top of us. By 7 am we could see our breath and were freezing. It was 10 degrees below zero and the wind chill was beyond wicked.

Funny thing is the kids thought this was the coolest thing ever! So we called just in time to get the last hotel room at the good hotel. We laughed and made plans for hot chocolate as soon as we got to the hotel. I smiled deep and gratitude filled my heart.

These are the words God spoke to my heart as well in that moment.

When you criticize or complain, you are acting as if you think you could run the world better than I do. From your limited human perspective, it may look as if I’m mismanaging things. But you don’t know what I know or see what I see. If I pulled back the curtain to allow you to view heavenly realms, you would understand much more.

However, I have designed you to live by faith, not by sight. I lovingly shield you from knowing the future or seeing into the spirit world. Acknowledge My sovereignty by giving thanks in all circumstances.

“…the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them….” Romans 8:26-28

We lovingly think of Muncie, IN now. We made the most amazing friends in this quaint little town. Beautiful memories. I often wonder how I would be different if I had MY way. I would have never known God’s goodness and absolute love for me. He was my companion, friend and Heavenly Father. Wisdom reminds me the things I learned about the Lord that year and I would not change a thing.

Today may be the perfect time to grab your Bible and check out Romans 8 for yourself. Maybe it is what your heart needs as well. It’s ok. God knows snd a good long visit to that passage of scripture all breathes life into my soul. I know you will identify and want to lay hold of the truths written there. I promise it will be a spiritual exercise as powerful as your morning workout.

We live by faith, not by sight. —2 Corinthians 5:7

PS. Just in case you ever wondered- Nothing can separate you from His love. 

You are so LOVED!!!!

10 Days of Thanks {Day Two}

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Day Two

God’s beautiful message to His beloved. 

Let Me teach you thankfulness. Begin by acknowledging that everything—all your possessions and all that you are—belongs to Me. The dawning of each new day is a gift from Me, not to be taken for granted. The earth is vibrantly alive with My blessings, giving vivid testimony to My Presence. If you slow down your pace of life, you can find Me anywhere.

Some of My most precious children have been laid aside in sick- beds or shut away in prisons. Others have voluntarily learned the discipline of spending time alone with Me. The secret of being THANK-ful is learning to see everything from My perspective. My world is your classroom. My Word is a lamp to your feet and a light for your path.

The following words resonate in my mind and heart at this day’s beginning.

“Humbly let go. Let go of trying to do, let go of trying to control, let go of my own way, let go of my own fears. Let God blow His wind, His trials, oxygen for joy’s fire. Leave the hand open and be. Be at peace. Bend the knee and be small and let God give what God chooses to give because He only gives love and whispers a surprised thanks. This is the fuel for joy’s flame. Fullness of joy is discovered only in the emptying of will. And I can empty. I can empty because counting His graces has awakened me to how He cherishes me, holds me, passionately values me. I can empty because I am full of His love. I can trust.” ~Ann VosKamp

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” —Hebrews 12:28–29

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. —Psalm 19:1 nkjv

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

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7

Beautiful friend, my heart overflows with such gratitude for this time we are sharing. How I long that we learn how gratitude flips our internal switch from defeat to victory. As followers of Christ, gratitude should be at the center of our life of faith. I know that sounds way too simple to be true, but isn’t that the essence of ALL deep truth? So very simple that we’re tempted to dismiss it and so hard that it is exactly what God uses to change the hardness of our lives.

Who is ready to start rewriting old habits with new habits of grate-FULL and thank-FULL living? Let’s grab a sticky note, before the day begins, choose one thing you are grateful for- Write it down, keep that note before you all day long and the next morning do the very same thing. When gratitude and thanks to God becomes our habit, so joy in God becomes our life.

Precious one, Jesus came that we might have life and have it to the FULL! Grateful living is a practice that continues to fill my life with joy. This shared journey is for our food and His glory. Oh how God wants this season of thanks to be one you have prepared your heart for by making more room for gratitude snd thankfulness.

Now get on out there! HIS light in YOU is what the world needs today. Keep shining!!!

P.S. – I’ve included three pages for notes. Write down the important stuff!! 🤗