Friday, January 18, 2019

Turn the Page

Welcome to my friends from the Encouragement Cafe! Thank you for joining me today! Like I said in the devotional, "Life is full of choices!" They truly never end, but I want to encourage you in a specific area today.

Like I wrote in my previous post, much of my time is spent in a gym these days. All 3 of our boys are wrestling and our 2 girls are playing basketball. As I coach the b-ball team, I find myself remembering that sports can teach us so much about life and our spiritual walk.

One phrase I've said a few times this season is: "Turn the page." The words come as I talk with an athlete who's made a mistake. Basketball is a physical game, but it requires mental strength as well. Turnovers are part of the game and bad calls can be too. Sometimes your shot isn't falling, but still you must press on.

I still remember my high school coach telling us, "Don't let one mistake lead to two." Now as a coach myself, I see this happen quite often. When a player makes a bad pass, they tend to make a bad play on defense. This takes place because mistakes tend to get in our head; they become the focus of our attention. We think about what we did wrong instead of what we need to do next. We allow what happened in the past to impact what happens in the future.

In attempt to encourage my players to not get stuck in their mistakes, we simply say, "Turn the page." We've talked about this as a team and the girls know what the simple statement suggests. Knowing this and doing it are two different things, which is where choices come in. My athletes can decide if they are going to move past their mistake or dwell on it and friend, you and I can do the same.

There comes a time in practice and in games when athletes must make this choice and though our playing days come to end the need for perseverance never does. We mess up as friends, employees, wives and moms and when we do, Satan tends to pounce.

Our mistakes impact our lives and the people we touch, but they also affect our minds. Doubts can creep in and lies can lead us astray, so mentally we must turn the page. Friend, daily you and I need to choose to exercise Philippians 3:13-14. Here Paul tells us, "Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead; I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Once we make the decision to turn the page, we then must choose to press on. This isn't easy on the basketball court and it's just as challenging in life, but our effort will be rewarded! Whatever mistake you make today, I pray you can put it behind you and move on. Then make the choice to do the work that lies in front of you! Friend, turning the page might help my team win a game, but this choice for us as Christians has the potential to impact eternity, so let's choose wisely today!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

The Purpose of Practice

As a mom to athletes and a basketball coach, practice is a part of my daily routine. I spend time planning it, driving kids to it and leading it, which is probably why the word caught my attention the other day as I read my Bible.

Philippians 4:8-9 says, "What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you."

Verse 8 is one I've read numerous times, studied a few times and even memorized, but nearly a week ago it was verse 9 that really went to my heart. "Practice these things" seemed to jump off the page and I dug a bit deeper and thought a bit more. I found myself thinking about it through the day and eventually found myself back in God's Word with a desire to know more.

Like I said, practice is part of our everyday life right now. Our two girls are playing basketball and three boys are wrestling. They practice at the school and at home as well. I coach the girls and help them practice too. As a coach and former player, I know practice is important. It's where we prepare, learn and improve. It's vital for success as a team and individual.

Practice clearly plays a part in the world of athletics, but does it have a place in our spiritual life? According to God's Word, the answer is clearly "Yes!" In Philippians, Paul clearly tells us to practice. In simple terms, practice means: to do, so Paul is instructing the people then, and you and me now, to do what he did, to follow his example and imitate him.

Really, it's no different than what a coach does with their team. I show my young girls how to pass, shoot and dribble. I explain offensive plays and defensive position. Athletes need to listen, understand and execute. Sometimes they try and fail, but that's why we practice. Friend, as a believer we must "practice" the same. In God's Word, He clearly instructs - we need to read, study, pray for understanding and humble ourselves to obey. Practice comes down to doing what we know.

This effort and event can lead to victories on the playing field, but the purpose of spiritual practice is so much more important. Let's read the end of verse 9 again - "and the God of peace will be with you." Friend, when we practice the spiritual disciplines Paul addresses we aren't guaranteed success, but we are promised God's presence and His peace!

As a player, I experienced some difficult practices, but I was always thankful I endured and did the work. I have no doubt we will say the same when we practice prayer, thanksgiving and Godly thinking. Practicing holy habits will improve our spiritual walk and daily living. This practice prepares us for eternity and invites God into the present.

Friend, most athletes will tell you practice isn't always easy, but they know it is necessary. Can you as a disciple of Jesus say the same? Are you willing to practice today? Start with practicing what Paul shares in verse 8 - "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things..." Today pay attention to your thought life. Take your thoughts captive. Tune out the lies. Replace the doubts with Truth. Think Godly thoughts. Practice having the mind of Christ. Your day will be better because God will be with you!!

Heavenly Father, thank you for always teaching us. I'm grateful for your living active Word that never returns void and speaks to my heart. Lord, help me practice hard for you. As a coach I know practice serves a purpose, thank you for showing me spiritual practice is necessary too. Help me imitate Paul as he imitated Christ. Thank you for your presence and peace. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

What Mary Knew... (A short Christmas study)

What Mary knew...(A Short Pre-Christmas Study)

A popular Christmas song asks the question, "Mary, did you know?" I appreciate the song and find myself pondering Mary's role as mother of our Lord and Savior. These are things to think about, but as I've been studying the Christmas story and events leading up to it, I find thoughts of what Mary knew running through my head. 

I'm excited to share this lesson with you and look forward to hearing your thoughts. In these days leading up to Christmas I encourage you to open the Word and learn a bit more about the woman who brought Jesus into the world. 

So to begin a few questions to get you thinking -  What comes to mind when you think of Mary? How would you describe her? What can we learn about God through her? How can we apply her story to our life? 

Let's begin our study by reading Luke 1:26-38. Here Mary is visited by an angel. The girl is betrothed to be married; this is not a casual agreement, but a promise to Joseph. Many commentators believe she was 15 or 16 years old, but as we will see, even if she was young, she was spiritually mature. As you read these verses think about these questions -

What did the angel tell her?

How did Mary respond?

What trait in Mary would you like to exhibit?

Friend, it's interesting to back up and read the previous conversation between Zechariah and the angel. The news is similar, but the response varies. Mary and Zechariah are both distressed, told not to be afraid and are promised a son, but that's where the similarities end. The dad to be asks a question and hesitates while Mary receives the news and believes. How do you respond when faced with unexpected news or direction?

Before leaving this conversation, a quick point I found verse 36, the angel tells Mary of Elizabeth's pregnancy. God didn't just send a promise to His favored one, but also provided evidence of His power. Friend, we may not have an angel bringing us news, but when we get God's direction, may we look to His Word and remember the countless examples of His power!

As we continue our walk through the Word, lets read Luke 1:39-45. What catches your attention here? What do Elizabeth's words tell us about Mary? More importantly what do they tell us about God and Jesus? 

Perhaps one of the most important lessons we can learn from this short passage is another powerful example of humility. Elizabeth is human, just like you and me, but yet she didn't let jealousy take over or envious thoughts enter her mind...she recognized the presence of the Lord and knew her right position. May you and I do the same!!

As we move forward, we hear from Mary herself. Read Luke 1:46-56. Here we read what has come to be known as "Mary's Song" or "The Magnificat." Mary clearly knew the Old Testament as she draws on words from Scripture to offer praise to God. 

Read 1 Samuel 2:1-10. What similarities do you notice between Mary's words and Hannah's prayer? 

Use the following cross references to get a better understanding of Mary's knowledge of scripture. Note what you learn about the character and power of God in these verses. 

Luke 1:47-48 – 1 Samuel 1:11
Luke 1:49 – Psalm 111:9
Luke 1:50 – Psalm 103:13,17
Luke 1:51 – Psalm 89:10
Luke 1:52- Job 12:19
Luke 1:53 – Psalm 107:9
Luke 1:54 – Psalm 98:3, Isaiah 41:8
Luke 1:55 – Genesis 17:7

Friend, these words from Mary express her emotion and experience. From her meditation, we see she had words from the Old Testament hidden in her heart. Her praise to God before the promise even comes true is a powerful remedy to pride; may we remember this and practice it in the future!

To close, I encourage you to pause for a minute and think about Mary. She is a woman who set an example worthy for us as women to follow. She brought Jesus into this world and friend, you and I still shine His light. We can do that better if we model some of the characteristics we see in Mary. 

She was a woman who seems to have thought more than she spoke. (Luke 1:29, 2:19, 2:51) She was a woman of faith - she didn't doubt, she didn't laugh and she didn't ask for a sign - she believed. She was submissive, even when it involved risk. Teenage pregnancy had consequences, but she trusted God's plan and offered to serve Him in the greatest way. She was familiar with Scripture and close to God. Finally, she was a woman of humility...she didn't argue with the angel, but accepted God's call. She admitted her position and knew she was a recipient of God's grace before she was ever a giver of it. She was secure in her identity as a child of the most high God.

There were things Mary didn't know as she held Jesus in her arms, but there was plenty she understood as she started the journey with Him. The same is true for us. Wherever we are on our walk of faith, there are questions we can't yet answer, but friend there are promises we can cling to and truths we can stand on. This Christmas, may we follow Mary's lead and humble ourselves so that the Holy Spirit can shine through us and do what He knows needs to be done!!

Dear Heavenly Father, You are the Mighty One. You have the power to do the impossible. Thank you for Mary's example and help me too be one who believes. Help me to meditate on your Word and cling to your Truth. Equip me to trust and obey. Tender my heart so that I hear your voice and walk in your ways. I echo Mary's words and say, my soul glorifies you and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. As Christmas nears, help me abide in your Word and enjoy your presence. Mary physically brought Jesus into the world and through my words, actions and life may I spiritually do the same. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Christmas Without You

Christmas seems to have snuck up on me faster this year than it has in the past. Our busy schedule may have something to do with that, but today as school and sports have hit pause for the holiday season I've found myself thinking more about it. Many thoughts have entered my mind, I've checked my shopping list and started to bake and as my focus shifts, memories come to mind. Some have made me smile, others bring a laugh and a few bring a tear. I've recalled Christmas celebrations without ones I love and I know others are walking that road for the first time this year. Friend, my heart hurts for you, but I also want to share hope with you. Christmas really is a birthday party for the One we call Savior. No matter who you are missing, He is here with you. No gift under your tree can top the One God has already given. In the midst of your grief and loss, I pray you remember the ones you love and cling to the One who loves you. 

Words from 2013 - 

As we gear up to celebrate the biggest holiday of the year my heart is heavy. I've found myself thinking of and missing my grandma B quite often the last couple of weeks. She loved Christmas - the gatherings, the presents, the fun. Memories have flooded my mind and tears have filled my eyes. And thankfully hope has filled my heart.

G'ma B with Jed in 2011.
My gratefulness for Christmas has increased...Jesus first had to be born so then He could die. Friends, that death was for you and for me. And now as I grieve and experience Christmas without one I love, I'm thankful He came. Regardless of what gift I find under the tree, this Christmas Christ has already given the greatest gift to me. He's saved me and given eternal life. He provides peace, creates joy and gives me hope.

I'm missing G'ma B and Christmas is hard, but yet I'm reminded of Jesus and know Christmas is good! The words below are an attempt to express that a bit better....

Christmas without you just isn't the same.
Empty is the stocking that bears your name.
Thoughts of the presents you'd buy
brings a tear to my eye.
Family gatherings were always fun,
especially when the dishes were done!
Your meals were always delicious
because you were so ambitious!
Memories of the gifts you made
are ones I hope never fade.

Christmas without you is kind of sad,
but I know you wouldn't want me to feel bad.
These feelings of grief during the season
leave me reflecting on the reason.
Christmas is a time to celebrate
something, Someone special and great!
Jesus, the baby, was born
so we wouldn't be torn.
God gave us His Son
so His will could be done.

Christmas without you leaves me thinking of what lies ahead
and I'm reminded of what was said,
"Whoever believes in the baby who came
and confesses in His name
this one will be saved,
his road to heaven is paved."
You did these things
and know the joy it brings,
You've been completely restored
and are now celebrating with our Lord.

Christmas without you is hard,
my heart feels a little scarred,
sometimes the tears fall
and then it's Jesus I call.
With Him I share my heart
and the pain starts to depart.
I'm reminded of the hope He brings
and to Him my soul clings.
This year I celebrate without you,
but someday we'll be together and all will be new.

Thoughts of G'ma B and moments of grief make me think of others too - friends who've lost their mom, another who lost her dad, some who miss their little boy and others celebrating their baby girl's first Christmas without her. Friend, if you are experiencing grief this Christmas, I pray you can look to Christ, the baby in the manager who grew to be our Savior, and find ALL that you need.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; 
and the government shall be upon his shoulder, 
and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, 
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." 
Isaiah 9:6

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

More to the story...

The other day I read a verse from the Bible and this picture popped into my head. It's from over 5 years ago, but it always brings a lesson to mind.

On first look the picture is cute...2 boys and a puppy are bound to bring a smile, right? My son and nephew were having a wonderful time giving grandpa's new puppy a ride on the swing.

We've heard it said that a picture paints a thousand words and I agree with that statement, but I also know there's almost always more to the story. When a moment is captured in time, we can not possibly know all the details. By simply looking at this picture, you can't tell me where it was taken, who was in it or what was going on. You don't know what led up to the event or what took place afterwards.

You will be quite grateful I don't have a picture for what happened next. You see the verse I read that brought this picture to mind was Proverbs 26:11, which says - "Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly." 

I apologize for the image that may have popped into your head and though I battled with writing about this gross reality of a dog's life, God's led me to share. It's true - this cute little puppy got sick from his ride and did what makes us sick, he returned to his vomit.

Friend, instead of focusing on the nastiness of that picture, let's shift our eyes. Let's take a closer look at the end of this proverb. Solomon informs us that this disgusting picture is no different than a fool returning to his folly. This is wisdom we need to pay attention to!

Now, chances are you don't consider yourself a fool, but I want to encourage you to think for a minute. Do you ever do anything foolish? Do you participate in folly? That's not a very common word, so let's define it quickly: to lack good sense or a foolish act, idea or practice. We can dig a bit deeper and look at it from a biblical perspective. Here we find the meaning: anything contrasting wisdom, to act with self-sufficiency, ignorance, and without thinking.

When we look at it that way, I have to admit I've been a fool. It pains me even more to say - "I've repeated my folly." How about you?

The picture we see as we read the beginning of this Proverb isn't good, but friend the picture God sees when we live out the end of verse 11 is even worse. Thankfully, God is a good, gracious and forgiving Father, but we must remember He is holy and hates sin. Our foolishness separates us from the One who called us to be set apart. 

It's vital that we as believers have our eyes opened to the foolish things we say, do and think. I trust these words will help us do just that...

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7) No matter what folly came to mind, remember God can help you turn from it. Go to Him, humble yourself and ask Him for wisdom. Then once He provides, apply what you learn. 

Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered. (Proverbs 28:26) Self-confidence is not a good thing. When we rely on ourselves and live according to the flesh, bad things happen. Ask God to fill you with His Spirit and help you walk in His ways...He will lead us away from the folly, but we must trust Him!

The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly (Proverbs 15:14) What are you looking for? Who are you looking to? In our world today, countless things vy for our attention and promise what we want, but we must stay focused and set our eyes on Christ and allow God to feed us with His Word. It is the living water that will equip us for life. 

Friend, please know these words don't come from one who has this figured out...God always has me write a message I need to read. He's opened my eyes to foolish things I do over and over again. It's truly no different than a dog returning to his vomit. That's a gross picture, but it's a powerful one too. Sometimes we need to look past the surface and beyond the perfection a picture can paint, we need to remember there's more to the story. We're not perfect, but our perfect Lord and Savior can change us from the inside out. 

As you wrestle with this and do the work wisdom requires, please remember Jesus loves us and always welcomes us back just like man does with his 4-legged best friend! 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Knock, Knock

Hello Friends! Thank you for joining me today. A big welcome to those of you stopping by from Encouragement Cafe. It was a joy to share a devotional with you! (Read it HERE.) We were talking about choosing friends wisely and thoughts about friends brought Proverbs 18:24b to mind. Here we read - "there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Aren't you thankful that Jesus is that friend? I know I sure am!!

I want to encourage you to pause for a moment and think about your friendship with Jesus. How would you describe it? Are you working on it? Are you investing in the relationship?

If you're taking this exercise seriously those are challenging questions. But that's OK. It can be helpful  to have our eyes opened and beneficial to realize improvements can be made.

There's a verse my pastor taught on back in August that continues to be on mind and I trust could be helpful for you to think about as well. It truly helps our relationship with our BFF!!

Revelation 3:20 says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me."

Chances are you've heard these words before, but have you studied them? Have you applied them to your life?

Don't worry if your answer is no...the beauty of our relationship with others, including Jesus, is it can grow. The same is true with God's is living and active and our understanding of it grows as we mature in the faith.

Revelations is not the easiest book to read or understand, but it opens with letters to churches. Jesus offers words of encouragement, but he also mentions areas of concern. Chances are He would do the same for you and me today.

We can get a glimpse of what He might say to us from  His letter to the church in Laodicea. He points out some problems, gives advice and offers an invitation. If we consider Him our friend, we must listen to His words.

Friend, He is standing at the door of your heart and knocking...will you let Him in?

You may be thinking - "I've already done that. I've accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. I've confessed my sin and professed my faith." If that's the case I'm grateful, but I also know you may need to respond to yet another knock.

These words in Revelation 3:20 were written to the church. Jesus was instructing them to let Him in. As believers you and I have accepted Him, but have we surrendered all? Have we welcomed Him into every area of our lives? Does He have ownership of our whole heart? Are there moments we go in a different room? Are there times we act like He's not with us?

Again, I realize these aren't easy questions, but the past few months have shown me they are important ones. We are in the midst of harvest season when days are busy and patience can run short, in these moments it can be easy to respond in the flesh. I'm mom to 5 and there are times my reactions don't match my desires. When that happens, I know I haven't responded to the knock.

We are in a spiritual battle...our enemy, Satan, knows Jesus has power and has already left him defeated, but he also knows how to tempt. He doesn't want us to open the door. When we leave Jesus on the outside, we are weak and likely to fall. If we don't open the door, we react and end up with regrets.

Today, won't you open the door, invite Jesus in and enjoy time with your best friend?!

For my mom friends...if you'd like to teach your children about this, here's an idea. We've spent time studying this as a family and have agreed to use a knock to help each other out. When we sense or observe someone in our home living in the flesh, we do a gentle knock (only after making sure we've already answered the knock on our heart). It has been a simple way to get attention and encourage one another to walk in the Spirit. It was a humbling experience when my daughter did a knock for me, but I'm grateful for the tool it has been as we all walk with Jesus.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Ripple Effect

A welcome to those of you joining me from Encouragement Cafe! It's been a blessing to share a few recent devotionals and to be walking through my study, "ReNEWal Road" with you! As I've read comments and prayed, God's brought much to mind. He's reminded me of doubts, fears and insecurities. I never expected to be at a place where I wrote and then led a Bible study, but God worked. He's done so much in my heart and mind. He's helping me become who He created me to be. He's helped me overcome and trust. He's equipped me to seek and obey. He's given me the gift of faith and helps me believe. His mercies are new every morning and His grace never ends. 

He's used time in His Word to renew my mind. He's used messages from my pastor to convict and teach. He's worked through people - prayers, encouraging words, wisdom and listening ears. All of this plays a part in who I am and what God has done. I'm so thankful for each and everyone who's helped along the way. 

Tonight the Lord brought to mind a post from a couple of years ago. Before you read it below, I want to encourage you with a truth that's been on my heart: "And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6 Friend, no matter where you are at or what your life looks like, God is still at work. Seek Him, Trust Him and Obey Him. His work doesn't always follow our schedule, but it is part of His perfect plan. 

As He works in you, may you allow Him to work through you. The things you say and do make an impact. Do your best to be a part of someone else's story!

The Ripple Effect (April 17, 2016)
Spring has finally arrived here in Iowa, which means life is busy on the farm. Today in between feeding my farmers and helping clean up some oats, the kids and I took time to do one of their favorite things. We walked down to the neighbor's quarry and threw rocks. We've been doing this for years and though I no longer push a stroller, God continues to teach me a lesson. 

One thing that continues to strike me as I enjoy the view and slice of solitude is the ripple that's always created when the kids throw rocks. No rock enters the water without making a difference. Few rocks leave a single impact on the water. Most of them create a ripple in the water that continues to spread long after the rock pierces the surface. 

Today as my kids enjoyed this activity for the first time in months, my mind went to work thinking about something God has had on my heart. I too am leaving a mark...granted I'm not throwing rocks to do it, but I am using words and my actions to make a difference. The question is: Is it one for good or not? 

Friend, join me in thinking about the words that left your mouth today. Did they encourage, uplift and equip? Or were they filled with anger and pierced the heart? Our words impact the one we are speaking to, but they affect others as well - the people who over hear our conversation and those who come in contact with the one we impacted. Just like the rocks my kids throw create ripples in the water, our words do the same in the hearts of those we love. 

Do you want that impact to be positive for those you love and glorifying to the God we serve? If so, scripture has some wisdom for us -

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (Ephesians 4:29)

"Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips." (Ecclesiastes 10:12)

"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." (Colossians 4:6)

There's much more to say about our words and the power of the tongue, but let's also think about our actions a bit. Think about the things you do, the attitude you have and body language you use. What kind of impact does this have on the people around you? I know it doesn't take long to read that question, so I encourage you to stop for a minute and really think about it. How would your husband or children answer that question? Or your co-workers or church family? 

Friend, I know it's possible for Satan to use this to condemn you, but I pray that won't happen. Instead if it's necessary I'm asking God to use it to convict you. Allow Him to examine your heart and if needed let Him show you how your actions aren't leaving the mark you want. God created each of us for His glory and to do good. This is no easy task, but with God's leading and the Spirit's filling it is possible. 

Colossians 3:17 pretty much sums it up - "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."

As I watched my little guys, I realized they didn't have to do much to create a ripple effect. They simply had to pick up the rocks and throw them. Friend, we don't have to complicate this process either. Let's allow God to fill us up by spending time with Him in His Word and through prayer and then let Him pour us out. 

This sounds simple and easy on paper, but I know it's work. It takes time, effort and self-control. But you know what? If we don't practice this before we throw the rock, so to speak, it will take more time, effort and self-control to fix the mess we create. Because the truth is we are always creating a ripple effect! We might as well make it one we're proud of and God is pleased with!

It was quite fitting tonight to read the following post when I checked Facebook. A friend had shared these words with a mutual friend - "So thankful for you and for how you change my world constantly and consistently by pointing me to Jesus!" Followed by this quote, "You get to change the world every time you change someone's day." Friends, that's a glimpse of a positive ripple effect. The things we do and say - they matter. It doesn't matter if they are BIG or little things, but instead it's the heart they are said and done with and the One they point to. Want to change the world? Start by changing someone's day!

I want to close with a song that God periodically brings back to me...John Waller's, "Somebody Else's Story". I encourage you to think about the words he sings, they tie right in with the ripple effect. 

Do you want to be a part of somebody else's story? Do you want to be the one who shines the light of Jesus? I know that can be hard and scary, but think about it this way - Who has played a part in your story? Who's ripple has impacted you in a positive way? Aren't you grateful for them? Let their ripple continue as you impact another!!

Friend, I don't know if we've met face to face or not, but God has connected hearts here and I'm grateful for you!! I appreciate YOU, your encouragement and friendship! I'm thankful YOU are part of my story and I pray 1 Thessalonians 5:11 continues to be true in your life and mine - "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."

Dear Heavenly Father, in the same way the water ripples, I pray my actions and words will positively impact others. Thank you for the reminder that what I do matters and always impacts others, I desire for that to be a difference that matters for eternity. Use me Lord in another's story...may I point others to You and may they in turn do the same. It doesn't take a big rock to make a splash, which reminds me it doesn't take a famous speaker or powerful pastor to impact Your kingdom. So Father God I ask You to fill me up so You can pour me out. Help me create a ripple for You today. In the precious and powerful name of Jesus I pray...Amen