Just Keep Swimming

I think most of us have seen the movie “Finding Nemo” when the character Dori sings “just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” In the movie “Finding Dori” we learn why she sings that song. She is a small young fish and sings the song with her parents when she is learning how to swim and she continues to sing the song when she is facing her fears.

We all have fears that we must face. Whether we are a small fish, a child, or an adult, we all have fears. “If you don’t look at fear as your enemy it will one day defeat you” (Havilah Cunningham). You are either driven by fear, or overtaken by fear. What will it be for you? If you let fear defeat you, you will not grow or become the person God made you to be. You can either step forward into growth or step back into safety. What will it be for you?

There is a spirit of fear that wants to dominate everything in you. It is Satan’s way of stopping you from doing the powerful things God created you to do. Will you let him stop you? Will you let him win? What happens when you face fear? What if? What would you become? You will not know unless you do it, unless you take action. It will not be easy. Facing what you are afraid of is NOT easy, but you will never know who you could be or what life has for you if you don’t.

I was asked why I go on so many trips, and do so many activities and adventures. And my answer is this, there is so much on this earth to experience and so many places to go, why not try to do as much as possible?! I said yes to an 11 month Christian mission trip to 11 different countries. I was scared. I was afraid. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I did it anyway and I am here to tell you I do not regret going one bit! I am so happy I was obedient to God. I grew in ways I would have never if I didn’t step out of my comfort zone and face my fears.

Our job is to be obedient and say yes to the opportunity in front of us even if it scares us. There is anointing that comes when you obey God. And when we obey the supernatural will happen. And I experienced just that. God gave me an anointing over my life and I experienced miracles, and went on many adventures.

I have run and finished a half marathon, completed a triathlon, hiked Half Dome in Yosemite, training now to hike Mount Whitney (the tallest peak in the continental America), went shark cage diving, laid with tigers, rode an elephant, went on a safari. I’m not saying this to brag of all the things I’ve done. This is a result of saying yes to an opportunity, facing fears and going for it. I accepted the challenge of training, of leaving the country for a year and in return I was able to do all this and more! 

Are you going to “just keep swimming” or are you going to let fear defeat you? It’s up to you.

finding-dori

Sermon from a Junk Yard

Today, my boy and his buddies went meticulously through a junk yard and came home with bits of broken things – toys, wheels, pieces of wood, sticks, and the like. My first thought was, “Oh, no, more clutter for the yard!”

Once in a while it is good for a mother to be an eavesdropper – she can learn a lot that way!

The boys were in a state of ecstasy. They were exchanging pieces of junk back and forth – taking “dibbies” on this piece and “dibbies” on that.  And I heard them say, “Now, are you sure you are not going to change your mind? Are you sure I can keep this?”

“But what are you going to use it for?” I asked.

And they began to tell me of the wonderful things this junk could make. Why, this piece of bent wood would make a wonderful lance; and this one could be made into a gun; and the wheels and broken toys – there was just no end to the amazing ways they could be used! I shrugged my shoulders and went into the house, for, not having the eyes of a child, I could not see the end results.

Photo Credit: Orin Zebest via Flickr Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Orin Zebest via Flickr Creative Commons

But, I thought, is not this just the way God looks at our poor shattered lives when they are ruined and disgraced by sin? To Him they are not a piece of junk. The world may laugh and point the fingers of scorn at the derelict, but to God, this is a precious soul for whom Christ died.

I may look at the poor drunk of skid row – the bum who has become a derelict -and I cannot see the possibilities lying dormant in that soul – but God can! I cannot see the soul winner, the missionary, the preacher – but God can!

He that winneth souls is wise,” says the scripture. A small boy won may become a leader of men for Christ. A teen-age girl, allowing Christ to straighten out a tangled life, may turn a multitude to the Master. There are so many needy souls around us. But I must not limit the amazing Grace of God choosing to testify only to those who seem to me to be likely subjects for the kingdom of heaven. For I do not have the eyes to see the end result of a transformed life.

This post is a reprint from Foursquare Magazine – November, 1959.
Reposted from LWT 6/16/14

GOD SINGS!

Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJ)
“The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.”

This prophecy from Zephaniah is a promise for Israel….but we can take it for ourselves!

YES…GOD SINGS!!! Since we are created in his image, we sing and make music. Every people group on the planet has figured out a way to make music and rhythms since time began.

musical notes

Everything God has created sings. The heavens declare His Glory. Do you know that Astronomists have discovered that the stars and planets have audible notes? They are forever singing!

The rocks sing, the rivers, lakes and streams sing. The ocean sings a beautiful unending song. The trees sing as the wind moves them. Insects sing.

The sea animals communicate with audible sounds. All land animals, wild and domestic have a voice.

The birds have been created to sing beautiful melodies that identify who they are. Good job, God!
You are such a creative creator!!

You cannot think of anything that does not sing in some way.

When you become a believer in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, God is satisfied and rejoices OVER YOU with happiness and singing. It is as though He leans back with a big sigh and SINGS OVER YOU because YOU GET IT! Then He quiets you with His love.

TAKE HIS SALVATION, LOVE, JOY AND PEACE TODAY, AND KEEP GOD SINGING!!!

(repost from July 10, 2014)

Which Son Are You?

Hebrews 4:12 says the Word of God is living and active. I love when I hear a teaching on God’s Word that makes me realize this all over again. It is such a beautiful thing to ponder when God uses an anointed teacher to reveal His truth in a fresh new way.

We all know the story of the prodigal son. In fact, it may have become boring, common, predictable, and just so much yada yada yada to our ears. I heard Troy Murphy, Chaplain for the Green Bay Packers, speak recently on the scriptures found in Luke 15:11-32, and God used his words to rock my world. I’ll give you one highlight, but it’s definitely worth watching the whole sermon here.

We have the two sons to consider, the prodigal son and the older brother.

Think about this: when the younger son asked his father for his inheritance, we see no mention that the father argued with him, or told him what a mistake he was making. He gave his son the inheritance. In the same way, God won’t disrupt our wandering. We don’t have to go off the deep end to be a prodigal. In fact, we all could be prodigals in some way. A prodigal is not necessarily a desperate, horrible sinner, but someone who wants to pick and choose what he wants from the Father, and then live life on his own terms.

Ouch. Guilty.

The older son is the obedient one, but boy oh boy does he have an attitude problem! I’ve done this for you. I’ve done that for you, and you’ve never done ___________ for me! This self righteous attitude says I want something from God, but I have to do something to earn it. Then, God will OWE ME.

Ouch again.

If there is anything to take away from this, it’s that we are all both prodigals and older sons at some point. Both are dangerous places to live, but in a sense, the prodigal is actually more desirable than being the know-it-all-do-good-live-by-the-rules son.

Why? Because of verse 17: “When he came to his senses...”

The Bible says the prodigal son came to his senses and ran back to the father, and we see that the older son remained bitter and refused to join in the celebration. Sadly, we see so many Christians choosing to be the older son, even when they witness the compassionate heart of the Father welcoming a prodigal back home.  It makes my heart sad for them.

And then I think of all the prodigals wandering the earth, experiencing hardships that may lead them to that point of coming to their senses, and it makes me so happy we have a father who will celebrate us when we come to our senses and run back into his arms!

Father and son having fun together in sunset ocean on summer holidays

Luke 15:11-32 New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Lost Son

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

 

Slow to Anger

“STOP THAT! STOP BEING SO BAD!” she said as she smacked her child’s hand and grabbed him, continuing to pull him through the store aisle. He had been trying to grab a box of cereal from the shelf, like ALL kids do!

I must have seen that 5 times in my short grocery trip. Not one time did she stop what she was doing, look him in the eye and explain to him how she expected him to behave.

What a contrast with another Mom whose little girl did the exact same thing. The little girl grabbed something off the shelf, and with great poise and patience, her Mom put the package back on the shelf and stopped her cart. She knelt down and looked in her child’s eyes and said, “I know it’s so exciting to see things you like and it is tempting to grab them! But, when we shop I need you to keep your hands to yourself and be a good girl. Mommy loves you!” She ended with a hug and then they continued on her way.

That little girl held her head up high. She had been very gently reprimanded and she knew how much her Mommy loved her. By contrast the little boy who had been smacked and dragged through the store continued to grab things and never behaved properly. He pointed his eyes toward the floor and walked with a posture of anger and defeat.

Thankfully our God is like that second Mom! He is slow to anger and quick to forgive. He loves us and carefully and lovingly corrects us. He is patient and makes sure we know how much he cares for us. Imagine what life would be like if He were like that first Mom!

He wants us to be slow to anger and take time to process our circumstances before we act. I used to be much more of a “reactor” than a patient processor. With some time, usually the issue becomes much more manageable and seems less dramatic.

GraceYes, I am still perfecting this skill. The better I get at it, the less reparations I have to make in my relationships and the less stress I have to manage within myself. It is fabulous!

Let us all remember the great patience and love our Heavenly Father has for each and every one of us despite our glaring imperfections! And, let us pass this same grace on to others.

“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” Psalm 103:8 NIV

“For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You.” Psalm 86:5 NASB

LET GO!

What are some of the things you are holding onto? What is one thing you are holding on so tightly that it has to be pried out of your fingers? What is something you do not want to give up control over?

There are many areas in our life that we want to hold onto whether it’s children, a job, house, any material possessions or loved ones. We want to be able to control it. But I have news for you…

YOU CAN’T.

You cannot control life. You can control, however, how you respond to the circumstances that happen in your life.

There is one person who can control life and it’s not you….it’s GOD.

He wants you to give over control. He wants you to let go of the things you are holding on so tightly. And I have good news for you, He is the BEST person to take control because he will make whatever situation, whatever circumstance better than you could have ever made it.

God wants to bless you. He wants to bless you abundantly. But he won’t do that if you do not trust him. Trust him with the small things and he will trust you with the big things. Whatever size your problem or plan is, give it to God. He will blow you out of the water with what he does with it!

You have to TRUST HIM.

Right now I am trying to start my own business. I am starting to notice a pattern. When I try to do things my way, nothing happens, no one is reached, I haven’t been able to make any connections in the field I am working in. But when I pray over what God wants to share to others through me, or ask him what he wants to do in my business, I am blown away with the amount of people who watch and listen to my content, the connections and meetings I make. And it’s all because I come to God first. I come to God with my plans and ask him for his. I give him each situation and allow him to use me in it.

Let go of your plan. You will not regret it, I promise. God has a much better plan for you than you have for yourself!

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”

Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

When you let go and let God take control it will feel something like this…  : )

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You Can’t Earn It

“But the father said to his servants, Quick! Bring the best robe and put in on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet…” Luke 15:22

You may have heard this story of the prodigal son who squandered his inheritance and was living in obscure poverty when he finally came to his senses and returned to his father to ask if he could work as his hired help. The father was so overjoyed his son had returned home, that he restored him to his previous status, including giving him the family ring that would forever give him all the rights to something he did not earn.

That ring, though.

Photo: Jostens

Photo: Jostens

Troy Murphy, a Wisconsin pastor who also happens to be the chaplain for the Green Bay Packers football team, tells a story about when they won the Super Bowl in 2010. A few weeks after that big game, he was running on the treadmill when he answered a phone call that went something like, “How soon can you come here to be fitted for your Super Bowl ring?” You better believe he stopped that treadmill and rushed to the stadium as soon as he could. As he flashed the ring to us and we all ooohed and ahhhhed at its bling & beauty, he said, “I don’t know if you remember, but I didn’t catch a pass during that game. I didn’t go out and make any tackles. I never ran a ball into the end zone.” And yet, here he was, the recipient of a ring that makes him part of something he did not earn.

What a gift we’ve been given!

God loves you unconditionally, as you are and not as you should be, because nobody is as they should be

~Brennan Manning~

 

HOW IMPORTANT IS ENCOURAGEMENT?

This is the 250th entry of our Life Words Today blog!

Amazing how time flies by!!! What started as an idea, a desire that I voiced to my sister, Tami, as we walked along the beach of Salisbury, Massachusetts, became a reality. She is a computer whiz…..I am not. So she began to do the research on how to set it up.

Here we are, still sharing our thoughts and words of encouragement to you, our faithful readers!

In the past I taught a class for women’s retreats entitled “Life Words vs Death Words.” It is to our disadvantage to speak death words – not only to others, but also to ourselves. The enemy of our souls wants us to think we are worthless and of no value. Then he can persuade us to turn our backs on God. He is a crafty one, and lying is his native language.

Sooooo…..the need for us frail humans to be encouraged is not only biblical, but a basic human need.

We have shared our individual struggles with you and included you in our personal thoughts and meditations. Hopefully you have been encouraged to “keep on keeping on” regardless of your circumstances.

Life is hard, and when you know someone else has experienced similar hardships and has gained strength and perspective from them, it lets you know you are not alone.

Although we have pulled out some of our Mother’s writings from the 80’s, we are also mother/daughter, mother/daughter, with experience ages of 28-74, and we all live in different areas of the United States.  We have shared with you diverse life experiences and views, but all with a biblical base and personal relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ.

We take seriously the teaching of God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Prophets and Apostles who made sure we had the inspired scriptures to guide us through life. There is no greater “manual” for what to do or not do in life than the Holy Word of God.

Even if you have no one person to encourage you, read and re-read the 23rd Psalm!!!  Almighty God said He would never leave you. There are many scriptures that will encourage you on your life journey.  But, seek out a godly person to encourage you and pray with you.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome, “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established….that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.” Romans 1:11-12

BE ENCOURAGED!

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Your Tribe

Back in February I joined the John Maxwell Team (JMT) to learn and grow in leadership and to become a certified coach and speaker. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I signed up let alone have to funds to do it. However I knew I was taking a leap of faith and I deep down I knew God would catch me and provide.

 

Fast-forward 6 months and here I am a certified life coach and have met some incredible people along the way. I just got home from the JMT live event and I am blown away by the ways God showed up.

 

We were “randomly” placed at a table for the entire 3 days. I was placed at a table with 6 complete strangers from every walk of life and from all over the country and world! We represented California, New Jersey, Colorado, Oklahoma, Maryland, and the United Kingdom.

 

The first day with these strangers we had to give a 5 minute presentation. It could be on whatever topic we wanted but each of us told a piece of our stories, which gave us a better understanding of each other from the start. The main component for each of our stories was God. We connected on a spiritual level, which I know is now why we are like FAMILY!

 

By the end of the event we were praying together and created accountability for one another. Four of us took a leap of faith to bring ourselves and our businesses to the next level. We were in complete fear and very unsure about what to do, but we brought our concerns to the Lord together and had an encounter with God that brought us to tears and I believe closer as a group. We walked up to the counter together as a tribe and signed up for a mentorship program.

 

We are a tribe. We are committed to each other’s success.

 

This is not the only tribe I am apart of. I established another tribe when I went to a marketing conference in July. Each one of them loves the Lord and we hold each other accountable and support one another. The neat thing about each of these groups is that I could combine the two and everyone would get along and be on the same page. We are all after success, living a life for God, living out our calling, and helping others live out theirs. I love each of these groups dearly and they are not the only people I consider being my tribe.

 

Do you have a group of people who support you, drive you towards your potential and not your pain? Who will keep you accountable to do what you say you are going to do? Who will pray with you and for you?

 

Find your TRIBE. It takes setting out in faith, stepping out of your comfort zone and meeting people in places you would have never expected. It takes talking to strangers and being vulnerable. Step out in faith. God will catch you and bless you in ways you would have never imagined!

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I love you and I am so thankful for you Tribe 306!

I Have Fought the Good Fight…

There’s something about celebrating the life of one who’s gone to heaven before us that makes us evaluate EVERYTHING. Am I right?

I find myself mulling over the questions: Will I be missed? Will people cry? Will my life be worth celebrating? Will my legacy live on? What is my legacy, anyway?

Our family suffered a loss last week when our cousin Steve went home to heaven. It wasn’t unexpected, Steve had suffered the ravaging effects of Muscular Dystrophy for nearly 40 years. But oh, the hole that is left by his passing.

I was fortunate to travel to Oregon to be with family at this time, and witness the great outpouring of love for my cousin. The family had beautiful tributes to share, but it was the comments made by his ham radio buddies that really got to me.

After being diagnosed at age 13, Steve immersed himself in the ham radio world. Before the internet was even a glimmer, he had acquaintances around the world. Ever friendly, ever helpful, Steve became a bright light in the community, even going on to win awards for his skills too numerous to count. He shared recipes for his favorite foods and “traveled” the world by talking with friends and strangers on his radio, and looking at photos on his computer. He was noted for being the first ham radio operator to make contact with the Space Shuttle, among so many other accomplishments.

Steven Richard Kelly ~ March 13, 1964 - August 4, 2016

Steven Richard Kelly ~ March 13, 1964 – August 4, 2016

This was a man who hadn’t left the house for probably more than a decade, and now I’m hearing story after story of how he had helped design landscaping, a radio tower, and even a kitchen or two. In the midst of his own pain and what appeared to outsiders to be isolation, Steve pushed past the limits of his diagnosis and used technology to reach out and make a difference in the lives of others. He lived the life he was given to the fullest he was able.

As I sat there listening to his friend’s tearful tribute, I was in awe of this man and felt very sorry I hadn’t made a point to spend more time with him each time I came to town. Obviously this is my loss.

Which brings me back to the task at hand… taking inventory of my life.

If I had a diagnosis rendering me housebound, would I proceed to make such a difference in the lives of others that they would pack the house for my memorial service? My thought right now is that I would waste an awful lot of time feeling sorry for myself and searching for a way out of my predicament.

Steve never did that. He knew where he was going, and he knew where his strength for each day came from. He didn’t complain about his lot in life, he made the most of it.

I believe God gives us glimpses like this to snap us out of our own complacency. We all can remember those who have risen above their circumstances with such a force of character it’s impossible to ignore. And impossible to avoid. Take a moment to think back on that person you know, and use their inspiration to go and change your world… and just maybe that world will say they are better for having known you.

Live the life you are given to the fullest you are able.

Thanks for the reminder, Steve. Tell everyone hi for us and keep that heavenly party jammin’ until we get there!

” I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” 

2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NKJV)