Even If

This song speaks to me EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.
Even If- By MercyMe

They say sometimes you win some
Sometimes you lose some
And right now, right now I’m losing bad
I’ve stood on this stage night after night
Reminding the broken it’ll be alright
But right now, oh right now I just can’t

It’s easy to sing
When there’s nothing to bring me down
But what will I say
When I’m held to the flame
Like I am right now

I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone

They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Well good thing
A little faith is all I have, right now
But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Oh give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul

I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone

You’ve been faithful, You’ve been good
All of my days
Jesus, I will cling to You
Come what may
‘Cause I know You’re able
I know You can

I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone

It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

Faith like a Mustard Seed

There is just something about this Mustard Seed that God continues to bring to my attention through this trial. I have posted a lot in my blog about the Mustard seed and what I am learning about the significance of this seed and perseverance in seasons of uncertainty. This has spoken to me today:

“Even a little faith brings great results. Faith sees beyond the problems to the bigger perspective seen by God.” (Daily Success Day 247; Institute of Basic Life Principles).

Matthew 17:20- He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Even little faith brings great results. Ponder on that a minute. Little faith CAN move mountains. How little is your faith? Do you have faith? EVEN- LITTLE- FAITH- BRINGS- GREAT- RESULTS. We all have days I imagine where we doubt but we still have faith right? EVEN- LITTLE- FAITH- BRINGS- GREAT- RESULTS. WE MUST BELIEVE IT! Even with little faith- “NOTHING WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR YOU”.

In another post I talk about the speed of seed. How I have learned that sometimes in this age of technology where everything comes quickly to us, where everything is just the click of a button we become impatient easily and want things here and now- quick fixes. However, sometimes God moves at the speed of Seed. This verse doesn’t say how long it would take to move a mountain if you have faith like a mustard seed, it just says if you say to the mountain move, it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you. This is where the struggle comes in the waiting. Think about it though, God delivers on his promises but sometimes it is at the speed of the seed. Sometimes God is growing us, pruning us, and or keeps us dormant for a season until we can become a full blown mature plant from a tiny little seed. We must have faith. With even just “little” faith we are able to see beyond the problems to the bigger perspective seen by God. Humans see the seed; God sees the mature plant. HAVE FAITH- EVEN-LITTLE-FAITH-BRINGS-GREAT-RESULTS.

Faith is faith. NO matter how big or how little your faith is, if you have faith this scripture tells us to make bold requests to God. When we make bold requests to God in faith that is based on His word and the leading of the Holy Spirit he will move. EVEN-LITTLE-FAITH-BRINGS-GREAT-RESULTS. I think its important we learn to ask God to increase our spiritual discernment and fill our hearts with faith in Him. Have faith, believe, and then wait in expectation for God’s movement in your life. Suddenly or at the speed of seed, He will move!

Mark 11: 24- “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

EVEN-LITTLE-FAITH-BRINGS-GREAT-RESULTS.

 

Bedtime Bliss Experience #4

I’ve been doing a biblical word study on Joy. I often will sing “Ive got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart” with my boys and they always just giggle. I think a lot about the innocence of a child and how they are always full of joy and happiness without the weight of the world on their shoulders. Then I am reminded that the word tells us to have faith like a child.

Matthew 18:2-4 “He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (NKJV)

Mark 10:14-15 “…Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” (NKJV)

The bible talks about children coming to Jesus with openness, honesty, and unbridled joy. I am discovering that type of happy authenticity should be a hallmark of our faith as we receive God’s gift in Christ as adults. We are to be like the little children. God is showing us Joy comes from him. We can have the joy, joy, joy, joy down in our hearts despite our circumstance or the trials we are facing as adults. If our focus is on Christ, He will fill us with ALL JOY and PEACE in Believing, just as the little children believe.

Romans 15:13 “Now may the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (NKJV)

Jesus promoted a humble, honest faith in God, and HE used the innocence of a child as an example. Emulating the faith of children, we should simply take God at His word. As children trust their earthly fathers, we should trust that our father in heaven will give good gifts to those who ask him.

Matthew 7:11 “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (NIV)

I am learning no matter a circumstance or trial, we have to invite God into it. We have to pray fervently and specifically, inviting God’s presence into our lives. WE have to BELIEVE with childlike faith that His will is FOR US and he will give us what we ask, if we are specific and ask it according to His will. Joy is a gift that comes from seeking God, being in His presence, and Believing in His promises. THE Bliss Experience (perfect happiness or great joy) is only found on earth through inviting, knowing, experiencing, and living in the presence of God.

John 14:13-14 “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” (NKJV)

The bedtime bliss experience tonight brought me great joy as I encountered smiles of residents that were thrilled to have a visitor, someone to tuck them in, pray with them and tell them goodnight. The mindset of these residents were that of little children- totally dependent upon another’s care, humble and innocent, and happy to have the presence of another with them. The smiles show the Joy and that Joy is contagious. Despite the loneliness of their circumstance- the prayer and the presence of the spirit brings JOY- wonderful Bedtime Bliss. May we all learn to live as little children and spread contagious Joy.

Bedtime Bliss Experience #3

I’ve really been looking into who Jesus was the kind of person he was. The Bible tells us to be like Jesus and that true joy is only found in Jesus. So who is he? I’ve been reading Grace for the Good girl by Emily freeman. This book is a must read. It has pretty much forever changed my life and given me a healthy view of salvation and how we are to live once we have accepted Christ. Having grown up in church this book describes how we occasionally wear masks, to be perceived as a “good Christian”, hiding who we really are. Furthermore, it describes how we often live in fear of people really knowing who we are and being rejected. Studying Jesus’ life is really is proof he accepts us just as we are and we no longer need to hide. Jesus never hid. This book puts it in good perspective.

Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman – The reputation of Jesus

Character refers to who you are. Reputation refers to who people think you are. I generally care more about who people think I am than who I really am. But Jesus was not a person trying to keep a good reputation intact. During his life on earth, he never tried to explain himself for the sake of his reputation. In his book Breaking the Rules, Fil Anderson talks about the scandalous reputation of Jesus:

He breaks all social etiquette in relating to people. He acknowledges no barriers or human divisions. There is no category of sinners he isolates himself from. Simply stated, Jesus is a miserable failure at meeting religious people’s expectations of him. He connects with the kinds of people he should disregard. He attends the wrong dinner parties. He is rude to respected religious leaders and polite to whores. He reprimands his own followers and praises outsiders and riffraff.

He healed people, but he didn’t heal everyone. He stirred things up wherever he went, and the Pharisees hated the fact that he existed. HE associated with adulterous and unclean women, lepers, and tax collectors. Though he was without sin, there were still those who questioned his reputation. Knowing there were people who disagreed, even hated him, didn’t cause him to change one thing he did. He wasn’t working to maintain a good reputation. He was walking in dependence on the Father. Jesus didn’t value what people thought he valued people, PERIOD. (pgs. 47-48).

Jesus valued people. I can’t tell you how my heart leaps for joy in valuing people and giving of my time to reach out to those who are lonely in need of someone else’s presence. No longer caring about what people think about me or my reputation, (how I sing/how I pray) and just following through with the Lord leading me to this nursing home has led to a freedom in Christ I have not known before. It has challenged me to step out of my comfort zone, to remove the mask of reputation (worrying about what people think of me) from my face, and moving forward as a daughter of God to value people no matter what people think of me.

My experience at the nursing home this week was another incredible one and while I feel selfish in saying this it blesses me in being there every single time. It is not about me though it is about doing what I have felt led to do and following through with God speaking to my heart. God is showing me that JOY is the return on my investment- I am experiencing JOY because I have followed through with Gods calling on investing myself (time) to give to others. While they seem to be unbelievably thankful and grateful that I am there, I am thankful to a greater extent that they let me be there. You see when I look at these people I see Jesus in EVERY single face. Jesus values people; He values these and his presence is with them always. I feel it when I am there.

Tonight I walked in one particular woman’s room and as I began talking two other women came in. I imagined this lady as the “popular” and “outgoing” girl through her life. She was accepting and loving of everyone, welcoming them into her room. Now the mind can do funny things. She told me they were all still up because they were going to see the governor tonight. He was going to be paying them a visit and that it would be great for me to keep them company before he came; it would “help keep them awake”. She began telling me about these other women who had joined us. One was her sister; the other her daughter (they were all in their 80s-90s). She was just as sweet as I imagined she was throughout her life but her mind was slowing letting go of reality. However, when I chimed in and told her I was there to pray with her before bed and asked if that was ok she instantly in her mind knew what prayer was and stated “well there is always time and need for prayer is there not?” I told her I believe you are right- let’s pray. As we prayed each and every one of these women instantly bowed their heads and closed their eyes. I know the Holy Spirit was there in that room with us.

Matthew 18:20  For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Even though these women had lost portions of their minds, we all four were gathered in His name. I know He was with us. Isn’t that powerful? The spirit is with us even when our minds are slipping away. I never really thought about this but wow! We will never truly understand how active the spirit is inside of us, but He never leaves us or forsakes us. Even in our older age.

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (NIV)

Deuteronomy 31:8 “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (NIV)

The next lady I visited was much more “with it” than the others. She went on and on about being lonely, but that she had a great life that the Lord had blessed her with a wonderful family. She was so very thankful. She said her husband had passed but they had a wonderful marriage; she can’t believe the lord took him first. I asked her what the secret was to a life of happily ever after and she said “You just love; you really love no matter what and you give and take. You have to give a little here and take a little there.” She began showing me pictures of her family and she went on to say, “He was a wonderful man. He set us up before we retired. He did so in a way that even after he was gone he is still taking care of us. All of us.” I told her it sounded like they had left a pretty good legacy for their family. She replied, “He did a wonderful job loving us; we were a team. We built a home and lived there forever. We had four kids. They take a lot from you, so we never moved. We lived and we loved and I’m forever grateful for my amazing family.” Wow what a story! Short yet powerful. To live; to love and to be forever grateful. She blessed me with her wisdom. I told her I wanted to pray with her and she said, “Please do”. At the completion of the prayer she said, “Thank you I am at peace now that was wonderful. You get pretty lonely around here in the evenings when everyone goes home.”

Jesus values people period. He didn’t care about reputation. The old me would have worried about even exposing my prayer to someone who didn’t know me. To pray out loud in front of others; what will they think of me? The new me values every life, every circumstance. It’s not about me, it’s about Jesus. These people need people and still need to feel value in their lives. Jesus is showing me-step out of my comfort and I will find joy. He is showing me by just being around others and valuing everyone no matter their age, walk of life, way of life, situation, circumstance he would value them. This is what we are to do too. I am laying down my reputation and striving to build my character like Jesus. You should try it too; it is very liberating!

 

 

Bedtime Bliss Experience #2

Tonight I was super excited to make my way back to the sweet residents of this nursing home. I knew that the Lord would meet me there and give me great Joy in the experience. It’s funny the staff tells me I am such a blessing to the residents but I don’t see it as that. I see them more as the blessing to me. I can’t tell you the Joy I experience each time I walk into a room, see a smiling face, and greet the residents. They are all so joyful to see a new face and to have a visitor, particularly at bedtime, they love it! Each time I tell them why I am there to help them get settled into bed, sing a song with them, read with them, or pray with them. They all begin telling me stories about their days or about their lives. Many of them have dementia/Alzheimer’s, but it is absolutely amazing to see what hymns and prayer stir within these residents . It’s like their souls, spirits, and minds align in that moment. They remember words to hymns; they pray bowing their heads and closing their eyes; some join in with each and in turn pray for me. What a blessing!

Here are some of the fun memories from tonight:

One Lady began telling me about her Children when I came in the room. She was angry very angry because her children had taken away her independence and they were “out to get her”. I smiled and told her I thought her kids put her in a very nice place because the people treat her wonderful right where she is at. I mentioned that I thought her kids had her best interest in mind, that her kids loved her. She replied, “My son he’s a keeper. I have three daughters they are the one’s out to get me.” I just kind of laughed and said, “I have two sons, they are momma’s boys. I know what you mean.” She would pause and tell me different things about her life, then at times just smile at me. Then she would be very complimentary of me (I’m telling you if you ever need a confidence booster, just go visit residents in a nursing home-they make you feel so special)!  I told her I was there to pray and sing with her and she perked up when I mentioned prayer. I said I had heard she wasnt sleeping well and she just said it’s my family, my family. I told her I would pray for her and her sweet family. So we prayed and held hands and in that moment that we were bowing our heads, I felt the presence of God. This woman with dementia/Alzhiemer’s still knew prayer, her mind was sick but her heart was not. I felt her soul and mind connect in that instance like she BELIEVED! As a believer that belief never goes away- even when to the world it seems you lose your mind. It was there. She still valued prayer and knew it was purposeful! At the end of the prayer she was so thankful. She squeezed my hand and just seemed so relieved. She said, “That took care of it all, Thank you”. Meaning we prayed over her, her family, and her caregivers and that was what she needed; she was content. I helped her settle into her chair for the night and thanked her for letting me visit with her. I turned out her light and closed the door.

Another Lady, whom I visited with last time was quite spunky. I imagined she had a pretty interesting life because when I entered the room she said, “3-2-1 Blastoff! We are going to Mexico in the morning aren’t we?” I just laughed and she said, “Hello, aren’t those are plans for tomorrow we are headed to Mexico.” I wasn’t sure how to respond but let her know they had fun stuff planned for her tomorrow. I asked her if she remembered me from last week and she said she did. I told her I was there to pray with her again and sing to her if she would like before bed. She said she would love to pray. She grabbed my hands and bowed her head and we began our prayer. I prayed over her and as I said Amen she chimed in, “Thank you for this beautiful sweet girl, be with us as we go to Mexico and serve the people and give them food, help us to do what we need.” (Again another confidence booster for me- Ha!) When she finished she patted my hands and began laying down. She asked me to get her another cover, so I did and I tucked her in for the night. I left the room and a nurse walked by I was curious about this resident and her Mexico stories. Apparently, she was a flight attendant and quite an entertaining one!

One of the last ladies I visited was a repeat from before as well. I could tell she must have been a go- getter throughout her life because she always stayed up late, had lots of mail from people, and loved to watch t.v. and keep up with the news. She was eating an oatmeal  creme pie with milk when I arrived. She was so happy to see me, even though I interrupted her basketball game, and immediately asked me to mute the t.v. She didn’t remember me from last time, but she was thrilled when I told her why I was there and so excited for me to sing. I told her I didn’t have that great of a voice and that I would like for her to sing with me, she thought about it and said she would try. I asked her if she liked hymns. She perked up. We sang amazing grace and How Great Thou Art. Again it was amazing to see how much she remembered and how her soul, spirit, and mind just seemed to connect in that moment. It was a great experience.

It was inspiring to see faith in these residents even as they struggled with their minds and losing memories from their lives. I truly believe that as a born again Christian, Christ and the Holy Spirit, dwell within you all the days of your life. If you question me, I challenge you to go do the same as I- visit some residents who have been diagnosed with Dementia/Alzhiemer’s and see that you do not too sense how their souls, spirits, and minds align when singing hymnals or praying. It is an unbelievable experience. You will be blessed and sense the presence of God!

 

The Scars that Shaped Me

“The Scars that Shaped Me: How God Meets us in Suffering” By: Vaneetha Rendall Risner

I have been reading this book at bedtime for the last couple of nights. This book is amazing. It is raw. It is emotional. It is pure. It is authentic. I love how she pours her heart out to her readers. I love how all the thoughts or doubts I have ever had in suffering, she seems to identify with as well. If anyone is going through a trial or suffering, I highly recommend this book. Most of the chapters have spoke to me in some fashion and challenged me to dig deeper in my walk with Christ.

One particular chapter, The agony of waiting, really grabbed my heartstrings tonight. I want to share a part of the chapter.

The Most Precious Answer -“The Scars that Shaped Me” (pg. 80)

Abraham’s faith wasn’t in the promise alone. His faith was rooted in the Promiser. Because his faith was not in what God would do for him (Give him a son), but in God himself, Abraham was willing to risk (Sacrifice Isaac). He could do whatever God asked. He wasn’t holding on to a particular outcome. He was holding on to God. Abraham’s waiting strengthened his faith. Taught him God’s ways, Showed him God’s faithfulness. Abraham knew that God would provide everything he needed.

I have the same assurance Abraham did-that God will provide everything I need. As I let that promise sink in, I see my waiting differently. Perhaps God is making me-and you-wait for the same reasons that he made Abraham wait: to forge our faith. To make us attentive to his voice. To deepen our relationship. To solidify our trust. To prepare us for ministry. To transform us into his likeness.

In retrospect, I realize that this is the most precious answer God can give us: wait. It makes us cling to him rather than to an outcome. God knows what I need; I do not. He sees the future; I cannot. His perspective is eternal; mine is not. He will give me what is best for me when it is best for me. As Paul Tripp says, “Waiting is not just about what I get at the end of the wait, but about who I become as I wait.”

Waiting is HARD-SO HARD! Praise God there is purpose in the wait. We can never make sense of the storm when we are in it, but we can seek God who will get us through it. As I wait in my circumstance I am challenged to redirect my focus. I want to ask God for my desires at the end of this waiting and that is ok, but I need to ask God change me as I wait. I need to ask God to mold me into his likeness, to help me become more like him as I wait. In asking God these things, He will reveal to me areas of my life I must change. I need to take my focus off my circumstance and put in on Christ.  Ultimately, His desires for my life will become my desires and when the waiting is over I will begin to see His purpose in it all.

Psalm 13: 1-2 “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? Will you forget me forever? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? O Lord, how long?” 

Romans 4:20-21 “No unbelief made (Abraham) waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”

As we wait may we all GROW STRONG IN OUR FAITH, just as Abraham did. May we all give glory to God in our suffering know suffering produces FAITH! I love looking at different translations of verses in the bible. This particular verse has been in my head tonight. The different translations really spoke to me- maybe they will encourage you as well.

Romans 5:3-5 

(MSG) “There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!”

(NKJV) “3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

(NIV)” Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

(KJV) “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:”

(NLT)” We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.”

 

 

Down for the Night

My Bedtime Bliss is with the Lord tonight. I have come down with the flu and will not be making my rounds to the nursing home. I would never want to pass along this bug to the sweet residents. So instead of writing about my time with them tonight, I want to share with you some things I have been discovering in my prayer life. I’m learning a lot about prayer in this season. I hope it encourages you as well. In reading the Draw the Circle prayer challenge- Day 12: Sow a seed- I am learning to have patience and trust the Lord is at work.

Matthew 17:20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.

Genesis 1:11-12 “Let the land sprout with vegetation, every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kind of plants and trees from which they came.”

Draw the Circle by: Mark Batterson; Part of Day 12 that spoke to me:

The seed may be the most amazing example of God’s prolific creativity.

If we are going to understand the potential of faith, we have to understand the power of a seed. Jesus spoke of our faith in relation to a mustard seed, the smallest known garden seed in that culture. Like every seed, it needs to germinate and this particular seed can take up to 10 days to germinate. That is the very nature of the seed they go underground, disappear, and while it may seem like they are dead, they are not. They are just germinating beneath the surface!

If you saw a mustard seed but didn’t know what is was you would have a hard time imagining what it could become. It carries all the nutrients you need to survive. FAITH IS A LOT LIKE THE MUSTARD SEED IT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE MUCH, BUT WE NEVER KNOW WHAT IT CAN BECOME. A LITTLE FAITH GOES A LONG WAY IN FACT- A LITTLE FAITH WILL LAST AN ETERNITY!

PRAYING IS PLANTING- Each prayer is like a seed that gets planted in the ground. It disappears for a season, but it eventually bears fruit that blesses future generations. Our prayers bear fruit forever. Even when we die, our prayers don’t. Each prayer takes on a life, an eternal life of its own.

We want to reap the very second we sow. We want God to microwave answers. We want things to happen at the speed of light instead of the speed of a seed planted in the ground, but almost all spiritual realities in scripture are described in agricultural terms. We want our dreams to become reality overnight. We want our prayers answered immediately. But that isn’t the way it works in Gods Kingdom.

  • We need patience of the planter
  • We need the foresight of the farmer.
  • We need the mind-set of the sower.

We worry far too much about outcomes instead of focusing on inputs. We cannot make things grow. Period. All we can do is plan and water. But if we plant and water, God promises to give that increase.

If you sow kindness you reap kindness. If you sow generosity, you reap generosity. If you sow love, you reap love.

ALL OF US GO THROUGH TIMES OF SPIRITURAL, RELATIONAL, OR FINANCIAL FAMINES. It seems like the harvest will never come. And the temptation is to stop planting, but my advice is simple sow a seed. Keep praying, keep obeying, keep giving, keep loving, keep serving. And if you keep sowing the right seeds the harvest of blessing will come in God’s time, in God’s way!

IF WE DO THE LITTLE THINGS LIKE THEY ARE BIG THINGS THEN GOD WILL DO THE BIG THINGS LIKE THEY ARE LITTLE THINGS.

I began thinking about my Faith and how I have been strongly convicted in doubting God way too much. I can’t describe it really, it’s like I BELIEVE IN GOD and HIS PROMISES, but my mind can’t fully grasp Faith without Doubting. I tell myself I will not doubt but it’s a mind game. I HAVE TO Choose to NOT Doubt and Choose to HAVE FAITH. I Have to tell my mind Faith – Faith – Faith! I have to give all my doubts to God and I have to BELIEVE in HIS WORD (the seed)! I have to plant (pray) the seed (the word) to get the doubts out of my MIND!

2 Chronicles 20:20 “Early in the morning they left for the desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the LORD your GOD and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.”

Isaiah 7:9 “…If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.”

Matthew 6:25-30 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life. And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, you of little faith? O do not worry, saying What shall we eat? Or What shall we drink? Or what shall we wear? For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 9:22 “Jesus turned and saw her, ‘Take heart, daughter,’ he said, ‘Your faith has healed you.’ And the woman was HEALED in that moment.”

Our pastor also preached a similar sermon related to this very message from Draw the Circle that really spoke to me:

John Lindell- James River Church

Mark 4:26-27: He also said, “This is what the Kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.”

If you don’t plant you don’t harvest.

Luke 8:4-5: “While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable, “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up.”

(*The word of God is a Seed. The farmer went out to plant a seed)

Luke 8:11- “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.”

Luke 8:15- “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” (Seed on good soil produces a harvest)

1 Corinthians 15:38- “But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its’ own body.” (Our resurrected bodies are like a seed).

1 John 3:9- “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him: he cannot go on sinning because he has been born of God.” (Eternal life of God in us is a seed-God’s seed remains in him.)

Matthew 13:38- “The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one.”

John 4:35- “Do you not say, “Four months more and then the harvest? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”

2 Corinthians 9:6-7: “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly; and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”

2 Corinthians 9:10- “Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.”

Luke 17:5-6- “The apostles said to the Lord, Increase our faith!” He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, be uprooted and planted in the sea, and it will obey you.”

If every time in Faith you pray, you are planting a seed; YOUR PRAYERS BRING ABOUT SOMETHING BIGGER THAN YOUR PRAYERS JUST LIKE THE SEED.

DON’T DIMINISH THE IMPORTANCE AND THE POWER OF PRAYER.

Have you ever had these thoughts?

  1. Our prayers don’t seem big compared to our need. (My little prayer against my need- My prayer isn’t big enough it is so inadequate; I just don’t have the words)
  • God doesn’t weigh the prayer the way we weigh the prayer
  • Your prayers bring about something different than your prayers.
  1. We pray and it appears nothing has happened so we stop praying
  • We want God to move at the speed of light but God moves sometimes at the speed of seed.
  • We need the patience of a planter/farmer.
  • Pray to plant a seed that WILL BRING HARVEST.
  1. We worry too much about the outcome instead of focusing on the input.
  • You can’t make things happen
  • Some things are beyond you
  • Mark 4:26-27: He also said, “This is what the Kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he DOES NOT KNOW HOW.
    • You can’t understand- You plant (Pray) GOD GROWS IT!

How many times have you heard people tell you things are out of your control, let go and let God, give it to God- and when you hear these things are you really able to do that? We cannot make things happen. Some things are beyond us, but nothing is beyond God.

Prayer is so very powerful. As I learn more how the word of God is the seed and I need to plant (pray) God’s word to be powerful and effective in my life, I become encouraged. If I have the faith that God will Grow my seed, I will reap a harvest in due time. This is what his word promises ME and all those who believe in him.

As I went to Mark to study this scripture further, the Lord really spoke to me in that the parable of the Growing seed is Mark 4:26-29; The parable of the Mustard Seed is Mark 4:30-34; then, I find Jesus calms the storm in Mark 4:35-41. I do not believe this is a coincidence that the Lord would have the parables of the seed prior to the calming of the storm. I think there is purpose in these being next to one another in scripture. We have learned in scripture the Seed is the Word and to have FAITH IN THE SEED. When we have faith as a seed (or in the word) and we plant the seed (pray) We will REAP a harvest. The seed sprouts and grows though we DO NOT KNOW HOW- BUT THE HARVEST WILL COME. This doesn’t mean it will come how we think we want it to or how we think it should but the word promises the HARVEST WILL COME. I think I know the best way but in reality his word tells us HIS WAY AND IN HIS TIME IS THE BEST WAY.

Mark (4:35-41) tells us that same day after Jesus told the parables of the seed he asked his disciples to go over to the other side (vs. 35- Jesus left the territory of Galilee to go to the region of the Gerasenes). So the disciples along with Jesus got on a boat and began traveling to the other side. Jesus was sleeping on the boat and a storm began. The disciples began to doubt EVEN WITH JESUS ON THE BOAT (wow) as the waves began crashing on/over them. They woke Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (vs. 38). Immediately Jesus got up and vs. 39 tells us he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

I find it some what encouraging in a way to see that even the disciples doubted Jesus in the storm and JESUS WAS RIGHT THERE WITH THEM. They could see him and touch him and knew He was God, yet they still doubted in the midst of their circumstance. This doesn’t make it right but is this not what we do today? Or at least me.

I know God is right here with me yet in my circumstance I struggle to just let go and let God. He is right here with me, being in his presence planting seeds and digging in the word can calm my storm; I still doubt at times. Here is the catch, Jesus is telling me like his disciples in vs. 40, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Then the disciples in vs 41 “They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” We see God do miracles everyday, yet when we are in certain circumstances we struggle to have the faith in that instance that we need because we doubt and let fear creep in. When we have the all-powerful mighty God on our side why do we do this? Jesus himself tells us, “WHY ARE YOU SO AFRAID? DO YOU STILL HAVE NO FAITH?” This is very convicting to me. If I truly BELIEVE GOD IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS I SHOULD NOT BE AFRAID. I should trust and believe that when I plant a seed in my circumstance (Pray God’s word over it) I will reap a harvest in due time. No matter what storm I encounter Jesus tells me HAVE FAITH- DO NOT BE AFRAID.

So as I journey through life and as do you, remember sow the seed (the word), plant it (pray it) over your life, so that in due time you will reap a Harvest even through the storms of life. Have faith that in the storms of your life God’s got you. Your prayers may not be answered immediately, God may be answering them at the speed of seed. Work to develop perseverance through the knowledge of the word (the seed) so that you can persevere at the speed of the seed versus doubting and fearing through the growth process. I BELIEVE your faith with be strengthened through the knowledge attained and that the seed will slowly grow and remove doubt and fear. This is an ongoing process for me but I BELIEVE this is what God desires for us all- To live a life that continuously plants a seed- which eventually grows and flourishes into a beautiful Harvest for HIS GLORY!

Dancing in the Rain

As I walked out of the resident hall in the nursing home from my first Bedtime Bliss experience I looked up and there was a bulletin board with a quote that stated:

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; It’s about learning to dance in the rain!”

Wow! This really spoke to me. Great quote to end a great night!

Lord help me to dance in the rain and find JOY in my everyday- Amen!

Bedtime Bliss Experience #1

My first Bedtime Bliss experience without my boys (see the About page for full Details).

Tonight was a BIG Deal for me. Not only is my SINGING voice one that has been known to scare people in the past (Ha!) it is totally out of my comfort zone to go up to someone I do not know and ask if I can pray with them. However, I knew the Lord wanted me to share with others my Bedtime Bliss since I would not be sharing it with my sons tonight.

In order to pep myself up, I went to a coffee shop prior to visiting the nursing home and journaled and read to prepare myself. I was reminded of the first bible verse I ever taught my son:

“Have I not commanded you, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

I sat and reflected on how I had gotten to this particular moment. My mind was spinning. You see for me I have been so wrapped up in being a momma the last three years, my world outside of the walls of our home and outside of our boys has been pretty small. This was so much out of my comfort zone. I have been struggling with self-esteem lately and just finding myself again. While raising my babies, and staying at home and investing in them is one of life’s greatest blessings, I have not made the time to invest in myself. This has caused me in a sense to lose who I am in them. In turn it has caused my relationships to suffer, my self-esteem to suffer, and really just overall balance in my life to suffer. I have recently seen a counselor who has mentioned 4 areas of self-esteem: Physical traits, personality, talents (things that come naturally or are effortless) and Skills (things you have taught yourself). I have been thinking a lot about these. She challenged me to try to think of one thing in one of these categories that I like about myself everyday of the next 7 days. For some of you this may be easy, but for me I have actually found it to be extremely hard.

I am a nurse and so with nursing automatically comes a certain skill set but I feel one of the things about me that is related to my personality is I am a very compassionate caring person. I got to thinking I really think Bedtime Bliss will help build my self-esteem because I will be acting on one of the things I actually like about myself. Ha! Then I got to thinking talents; I love to write and have often been told I have excellent writing skills, so why not write about the Bedtime Bliss experience- So I started this blog in hopes it would inspire others and again maybe build upon my self-esteem!

As I left the coffee shop I sat in my car and I prayed, “Lord I never thought I would be here in this moment, use my circumstance for your glory while I fully expect you to Deliver me from my circumstance, I don’t know when that will be Lord but you will help me persevere through it. I believe you have great things in store for me. God while I hope to bless these residents tonight, Lord speak to me through them. Use the residents to open my eyes to JOY and discovering who I truly am in you. Thank you for this opportunity. Make me strong and courageous; I know you are with me- Amen.”

I pulled into the nursing home said one more little prayer just asking God to give me boldness and strength and help me as I stepped out of my comfort zone. I got out of my car and walked in and was immediately welcomed by sweet smiling faces sitting watching the evening news. Some residents were already in bed and that is where I started. The staff said have at it, so I began visiting residents who were already in their rooms. You see I do much better with one-on-one moments at least for now…that was as courageous as I felt I could be. This was a huge step for me.

The residents in the facility all have some stage of Alzhiemers, some are better than others in regards to memory and understanding what you are saying. The first resident I visited was curled up in bed and as I walked in she just smiled ear to ear. She asked me to turn on her light and I did. I told her my name and asked if I could pray with her before she fell asleep she just smiled and said “I would really like that”. So I prayed with her and she squeezed my hand. Every moment of that prayer the squeeze got tighter and tighter. I felt as if the Lord was holding our hands as well. She had a great hand squeeze for such a frail woman! When I completed the prayer she said “thank you that was so sweet.” Then I just said do you like to sing and she said yes but I don’t remember the words so I asked her if I could sing Amazing Grace to her. She smiled so big and said, “YES!” So I sung the song and honestly my voice was terrible even more so that normal because I was so nervous. I really have always been so scared to sing in front of people! At the completion of the song she thanked me and I asked her if I could help her get more comfortable and she said she was doing fine and would sleep well now. I told her to have a nice night and I was on to the next room.

The second resident I visited was a talker! She was sitting in her chair in her room watching the news and as I came in she said, “Hi, it’s so good to see you again I remember you!” This cracked me up because we hadn’t met yet, but I loved the warm welcome! She began telling me about her husband and showed me a younger picture and and older picture and she began telling me the younger one had passed but she didn’t think the older one had. It’s amazing what age can do to your mind. I asked her if I could pray with her but before we got started another resident walked in her room. They embraced one another and she introduced me. She said this was one of her good friends and they both were so excited that I was there to pray with them. It was almost as if their souls still knew God even though their minds may not fully comprehend Him any longer. I can’t explain it- the Joy that was expressed in their faces when talking about prayer and God- I knew the Lord was in our midst.

We held hands and it was like in that moment I felt God saying “This is where you belong. Don’t you see I have given you a heart to serve others; keep doing this-THEY will bless you! I will give you my JOY through them.”

I prayed the simple prayer I had prayed with the other resident, “Lord thank you for these sweet ladies and the lives represented here. Thank you for the care givers that provide for them every day. I ask that you comfort these women and give them peace as they rest. May you help them find your Joy in their everyday. Amen.” Thats just a simple version of what I prayed. I occasionally ask the residents if they have any specific needs but with Alzheimers or dementia they often don’t know or for instance, one resident told me to pray for her husband and he had passed several years prior.

After praying with these women they said to me, “You bring us so much JOY. You are so sweet that was so kind.” In my mind I was immediately thinking wow, these women are confined to nursing home, most nights they are extremely lonely all I did was take 15 min to talk and pray with them and they told me I made their day. I immediately thanked God for this opportunity because I began to realize instead of focusing on myself and my circumstance and fears, God was allowing me to meet someone else in their loneliness and give me moments of JOY, moments of distraction, and moments of realizing there was a bigger purpose beyond my circumstance.

The fourth resident I saw was a sweet little lady all tucked in, jewelry all still on and make-up caked on. I imagined her in her early years as a woman who was quite stylish and put together. I walked in and introduced myself and told her why I was there. She was so excited. She said are your boys here tonight. I told her they were not but that I wanted to bring their bedtime experience to her and asked if I could pray and sing with her. We prayed and she was so thankful. She seemed a lot more “with it” than the other residents. I asked her if she liked to sing she said yes but she needed the book to read the words. I asked her if she knew Amazing Grace and she said that was one of her favorites. She just told me I would have to start her off. I began singing and she chimed right in. She had a much more beautiful voice than I did though. While at times she forgot the words she caught up with me and kept on singing. That was such a precious moment to me. Afterwords she said, “You know singing just makes you happy. If you sing you can find Joy.” That just made me thank God and confirmed yet another way I can find joy in my circumstance. I told her singing and praising always has made me feel better as well. (I just do it more in private usually because I don’t like to scare people off!)

The Lord met me there tonight. He showed me I can do anything with his strength. He showed me despite my circumstance and this trial in my life there is JOY, I can still persevere through it and trust the Lord is working on my behalf.

Thank you Lord for giving me this idea, I know it is from you because it is nothing I could ever do on my own…Bedtime Bliss...Thank you for giving me the courage to step out of my comfort zone. Thank you for blessing me tonight through these sweet residents and revealing to me your love through them.

James 1: 2-12 :Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation-since they will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business. Blessed is the one who persevered under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.