Saturday, September 15, 2018

My Future Is In His Hands written by Tracey Graham

written September 19, 2017

"Appearance is something absolute, but reality is not that way - everything is interdependent, not absolute."  -Dalai Lama

It's been a while since I've written my thoughts down. For the last month or so, I've been lost. I don't know what to write, what to pray for or some days how to function.


It's been said that if you're still alive then God has a plan to use you. I'm alive but I don't know what he could possibly use me for? There are so many areas in my life that I need to work on, to give over to him to change me. The last month, I've been ashamed of who I've become. I so desperately want to change but I'm so scared of how to begin or more scared of....will the change last?

I finally realized that I sabotage relationships, good relationships. I push them away. I thought I was over my abandonment issues but I think there is something deeper that I'm not seeing. God, I need you to reveal my heart, my issues or what is the cause of my issues.

My Heavenly Father - I need you to pour down your Holy Spirit over me. I am lost, and I don't know how to overcome it. Only you can pull me up out of this pit and renew my spirit, my heart, my love for you. I pray that you will make all things new.  In your precious son's name - AMEN!!!

written by Tracey Graham





Saturday, September 8, 2018

Discipleship

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

Discipleship is teaching others how to follow Jesus. We don't have to be great theologians to teach others how to follow. It's in the simple every day things that we do all day that we can teach those around us how to follow Jesus.

When my grandkids are in the car we always sing songs from Sunday school that I have taught over the years. Their favorite is "Jesus Loves Me" and we always discuss afterwards God's love and say the verse together John 3:16. I have been using my car rides with my kids and grandkids as an opportunity to worship as we sing and learn more about God together!

May we leave behind a generation of men, women, children, and grandchildren who love Christ with all their heart!

 This is a picture of me with my nephews at Dubois Lagoon in the 1990's ~ we would go there  some days from 8:30 am to 8:30 pm having breakfast, lunch and dinner by the water.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Thankful

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation! Selah 
Psalm 68:19

There is so much to be thankful for each and every day. A heart of gratitude will change even the most bitter heart. God has given us life, love and salvation. Everything is not perfect in this broken world but there is still so much to enjoy all around us. A walk clears my head and makes me see life through grateful eyes. I am always in awe of the clouds, the sky, the ocean, a tree, a bird, a butterfly and so much more. 

Thankfulness brings joy when we realize how wonderful it is to have family and friends who love and care for us. God brings people into our lives to encourage us in our faith and in our daily walk. The other day one of my grandkids said, "Mom mom, you are my bestest friend!" It felt like my heart was going to burst with joy to hear such sweet words. Looking at her little face I could see she really wanted me to know how she felt in her heart. It may be a little thing but those are God's gifts in life and I am grateful!

"Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. Psalm 103:2-3

This is a picture of my backyard when we began planting flowers
 after a hurricane in 2005.

Friday, August 31, 2018

God Wants Our Battles

Judges 1:1  A time came after the death of Joshua when the People of Israel asked God, “Who will take the lead in going up against the Canaanites to fight them?”

Even though the people of Israel had won their battles in the book of Joshua there were still more battles to be fought. It is a reminder that no matter how long we have been Christians there are still personal and spiritual battles to be fought in our own lives. We never come to a place in our life where everything is figured out and all is well or we have arrived. There is always something within us that must be dealt with or conquered.

The same God that watched over the people of Israel is the same God today to watch over all of us. God will guide us and help us to be more what He has created us to be......


 This picture was taken on one of my walks, January 2012.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

I Am Asking "Why" Too!

I walk around with all the "WHY" questions like everyone else
and stay unsettled in the not knowing just how it all goes...
there are days I am strong and the WHY's are just there
then the days that my grief is just centered around all
the "WHY's" that are hanging around....

Amazing I get anything done trying to solve this mystery of
life and yet we all go along without knowing just "WHY" and
everyone works and everyone plays ~ even though we all
struggle with all the daily questions of "WHY"~I don't know!

Yes, I don't know "WHY" today or any day but have learned
that by faith to just trust that the God that I serve doesn't
need me to know all the answers right now but one day we will and
then we may be glad we didn't know - just sayin' it could be
so.....just my theory I know.....

WHY do you ask, do I believe such a thing and I have to
reply with the same as before, I don't know but I do.
I trust and by faith live without the question of "WHY"
being answered today.....hope you do too.....

"WHY?" Because I care about you..........written by Donella



When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:2

This picture was taken on one of my walks on the beach 2007.

 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Life Lesson

Proverbs 14:26 He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.

My parents were missionaries in Europe and they took me to church every Sunday, Wednesday night plus any other nights of the week for music practice, studies, events, etc. My Aunt Betty and Uncle Darrell also raised their own children in church and since I was at their home so often I went along. My senior year of high school I trusted in Christ as my personal Savior. I knew all about God in my head from growing up in church but I didn't have a personal relationship with Him in my heart until January 28, 1976.


God called me to ministry at 21 years of age and I also took my own children to church every time the door was open. I never let any other school or sport event interfere with church because I felt it was a priority. We have some amazing memories of our time together as a family and growing up in church.


Church is a place for children to learn how to do LIFE! There isn't any other institution here on this earth that teaches exactly what our children need in order to handle every situation for their future. There are still no guarantees that your children will turn out right but it gives them every opportunity to know the way....



This is a picture I took of my husband playing the drums with our daughter
 and her husband in 2012. They have all been involved with the Worship Team
 for many years. It is a joy to watch them all as they share in ministry 
and I am able to enjoy the music while holding my little grandchild. 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Facing Failure!

Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise;
When I sit in darkness,
The Lord will be a light to me. Micah 7:8

Micah said, when I fall, I shall arise. I may stumble, I may make mistakes and I may fail, but with God's help I am determined to get up and keep going.  Life is full of failures for all of us!

Failure comes in many forms such as not living up to our own expectations or the expectations of others. There are times we have been a disappointment to others or to ourselves. There was once a man who said, “We are either failing, or living with the consequences of failure, or recovering from failure, or facing failure in the face, or living with the fear of failure.” 

In almost any area of our lives, we can feel like a failure. We may have failed our parents, our spouse, our kids, our friends, our co-workers, our neighbors and the list goes on.  A great reminder of failure is the verse, Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."  

Failure is not just something for a limited few but instead is common to everyone.


These are treats the kids at church made on Sunday, January 2014.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A Mother's Dream!

When Eve held her babies in her arms I am sure it is much like we all do when we have our own children. We begin to hope and dream a bright future for each of them. Eve didn't dream that one child would grow up to be jealous of the other. She certainly never dreamed that one would grow up to kill the other one. As parents we are so devastated when our dreams for our children begin to unravel and we find ourselves grieving instead at the loss of those dreams.

Adam and Eve passed on the curse of their own sin to their children as we do ourselves. Fortunately, God in His mercy gave them another child named Seth and hope for the future. It is easy for us to look at other parents and see all their mistakes but not always our own. Before we blame Eve for the demise of her son or any other parents for their own weaknesses we have to realize how truly broken we ourselves are too. 

For ALL have sinned and that means ALL.....I look back now on my own life and can see more of my own mistakes as a mom than the mistakes of all the other moms around me. When I was a young mom I didn't see my own mistakes but I do now, it's called hindsight. If I had advice as a grandmother to younger mom's it would be not to judge other parents because there is so much more going on than you yourself can possibly know or see. It will be revealed later in your life so until that time just be kind to everyone and ask God to guide you moment by moment with your children.

And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, “For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.”  And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the Lord. Genesis 4:25-26

This picture was taken on a road along the Mediterranean Sea leading to 
Nerja Spain when I visited in 2007.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Recovering Resentment

 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! Genesis 45:4
 
Life is full of resentment and wounds when people hurt us instead of being a blessing to us. How we heal is more up to us than the ones who have wounded us. We have to learn how to recover from our resentment with God's help. 

Resentment is like cancer where it starts out small and needs to be released and removed immediately. If not, it will eat away at us and eventually destroy us.

Resentment focuses on the past. It replays the past over and over. It won't change the past but if not dealt with it can certainly have long lasting negative affects on our future. A happy, healthy life cannot be lived holding on to the past and certainly not holding on to our resentment.

Joseph had every right to be resentful of his brothers when they sold him into slavery but he recognized God's presence in his life even when things went so terribly wrong. In spite of all that was happening to him for so many years he trusted that God loved him and would be there for him. After many years, God blessed him and reconciled him to his family. It is impossible to have love and forgiveness where there is resentment. 

 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. Genesis 45:8

 This picture was taken from my hotel window in Atlanta 
at night on January 2014.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

What Is My Gift?

I Peter 4:10  As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God

written October 17, 2007 by my good friend Charlotte Hawkins:
Peter said that each believer has been given at least one gift to serve others. We are told to be good servants of those gifts. What do we do with these gifts? We’re supposed to use these gifts to serve others, as good stewards of God’s grace.

Whoever speaks, if that is your gift God has given you, use speaking to serve others. Whoever serves, if that is your gift God has given you, use practical acts of service to serve others. God not only gives us gifts but He also gives us the strength to use those gifts for Him.

“Biblical Servanthood is faithfully using whatever gifts God has given me by His grace. Using them, not squandering them, not wasting them, not ignoring them, not hoping someone else will use those gifts; but using whatever gifts God has given me for the benefit of others, to serve others.” Nancy Leigh DeMoss

How do we do it? By God’s strength, not my own. For His Glory, not mine. Faithfully using whatever gifts God has given me. The servant-hearted person is a discerning, observant person who looks around and sees that person who needs help, that person who needs encouragement, and that person who has other needs.

What is the purpose? “In order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belongs glory and dominion forever and forever.” Vs. 11

 This picture was taken while visiting friends in Mississippi in 2009.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

All About Integrity!

Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
    Who may live on your holy mountain?
The one whose walk is blameless,
    who does what is righteous,
    who speaks the truth from their heart;
3awhose tongue utters no slander....Psalm 15:1-3a

From the sermon by Rick Warren: 

God Blesses A Heart Of Integrity

Anytime we slander someone for their lifestyle or any other differences culturally or otherwise we lose our integrity.

This is a picture I took of my youngest daughter and her family ~ their reflection in a puddle after the rain.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Don't Be Afraid

If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. Psalm 139:9-10


When God pushes you to the edge of difficulty,
Trust Him fully,
Because two things can happen:
Either He'll catch you when you fall,
or He will teach you how to fly!
~Author Unknown 


Sometimes the Lord calms the storm. Sometimes he lets the storm rage and calms us instead. Fear grips our hearts and minds when we least expect it.  It can overcome us, paralyze us and depress us. Thank God for Jesus!






Monday, June 11, 2018

Sanballat Syndrome

But it so happened, when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, that he was furious and very indignant, and mocked the Jews.  Nehemiah 4:1


Sanballat set out to discourage and defeat the Jews. He made fun of them, mocked them and then went to battle against them. He even had Jews from within the camp that were helping give him information to help him overcome them. He became obsessed with their defeat because he was filled with so much hatred and despised them.

Does that sound like anyone in our own life? Unfortunately there are people within our families, communities and even churches that suffer from the Sanballat Syndrome. They have made it their quest to set out, mock, destroy and conquer others. They may not have an army with shields and swords but they have many other destructive tools. Gossip, slander and sarcasm are used to destroy one's spirit and reputation. Not acknowledging people or treating them as if they have no value is another method.

God protected the Jewish nation from Sanballat and God will protect us too! Some days it feels as if we are being defeated but no matter how things may seem always TRUST GOD!

 This picture was taken in the Everglades, May 2013.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Do We Care?

“Don’t be interested only in your own life, but be interested in what concerns others too.”  Phil 2:4

As a mother of young children I found it so frustrating and hurtful when my children did not care or appreciate each other. It seemed as if they could only focus on what the other siblings had that they didn't have. We are so much like our children in that we too focus on the blessings of others instead of the blessings God has given to us. 

It's human nature to be blinded by the great gifts we receive each day when we see someone else receiving something more. As parents we try to bless each child but our children only see what they have not received. It's a terrible character flaw within all of us when we think only of ourselves. We need to be thankful for our blessings but also for the blessings of others.


A picture taken on one of my many walks on the beach, March 2013.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Holding On To Hope

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;   Psalm 46:1-2

Hard times come in many different ways for each of us. No matter who we are or what we have, we can expect problems. God is not promising us a life without it but instead letting us know that He will be our refuge and strength in the midst of any and ALL our struggles. 

Our hope is not in other people or even in ourselves but in Him. I find that comforting because I know that I don't always get it right. God has brought me through so many things that were of my own doing. God has also brought me through many more things that were not of my own doing. 

God is our only HOPE in everything!

This picture was taken around the historical area of Fernandina Beach,  January 2013

Friday, June 1, 2018

Opposites Attract!

Let all that you do be done with love. I Corinthians 16:14
 
My husband and I are extreme opposites in every way. We think completely different in just about every single thing. What he notices, I don't and vice versa. We were brought up differently. We are wired and think differently too.

When we were younger we did not appreciate those differences. Our pride and immaturity caused us to argue over those differences more than appreciating our differences. We have learned over the years to trust and respect each other with our opposite approaches. We have learned each others strengths and to put aside our own pride. To allow each other to make choices and do things that are contrary to our own response. 

 This is a picture of my husband that I took October 14, 2012.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

~Grateful For Family~

The longer we know someone it is easier to take them for granted. We are not always grateful for the family that God has put into our life. We focus more on the bad memories than the good ones. We could all complain about something in everyone around us. There is certainly plenty in myself that others could and do complain about. We are all a mess!

We have to choose to be grateful for our family, our friends, our neighbors, etc. How do we show that we value those who God has placed in to our life? Let's be more thankful and not be guilty of  just complaining, making fun, nagging or criticizing them.

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you. Philippians 1:3


This is a picture of my Aunt & Uncle with their kids and grandkids in Tennessee at Point Park Lookout Mountain, Thanksgiving 2010 ~ this is a family tradition and many wonderful memories I have with all of them! 

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Taking Pictures of Life!

There is nothing in this world that I enjoy more than taking a picture of something or someone. The pictures that I take now or have taken many years ago encourage me in my daily life. They were all taken at different phases of my life that I am so thankful for and all good memories. I love looking back at the good times and I look forward to the good times ahead. No matter what time in my life that I look back on my pictures I remember more the joy of that time than the difficult circumstances because of those pictures.

We don't take pictures of the ugly or the mess of life but instead of the moments we want to cherish forever. The pictures we take are wonderful reminders of the joyful times. When I look at pictures of my kids when I was a single parent and all their smiles and our celebrations together, it makes my heart smile. We struggled then financially and emotionally but we still had fun too! The things we did together then are priceless memories that I love to reflect on again and again.

My pictures are a constant reminder of the joy then and the joy now! I thank God for my dad who recorded my entire childhood to remind me of the good family times we all had together. I am also thankful to be able to take pictures of my own kids and grandkids to cherish all our memories together. Most of all I am thankful to God that as I grow older I have become more forgetful of the less than joyful moments of life!

Psalm 30:5b Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.



 This is one of my grand~girls popping bubbles on Easter 2014.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

We Need Others!

And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; Genesis 2:18a

In life, I believe we all need each other. God created all of us to dwell with him and with each other. We think sometimes that we can do it on our own but I can tell you at my age I have learned that is impossible. I need the people in my life such as my husband, my kids, my grand~kids, my brothers and sisters, my nieces and nephews, my aunt & uncle, my cousins and that is just the family side of things. I also need my friends, my church family, my neighbors, my co-workers and that list is endless too.

Thank you Lord for bringing people into my life that I need and also need me. It makes life sweeter as we go hand in hand with one another through the good and the difficult of our journeys together!



This picture was taken after climbing Sleepy Bear Dunes while camping in Michigan around 1998  with my mom and my family from Spain.

Friday, April 27, 2018

The Way Of Love

I Corinthians 13
Love never give up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

This is the "love" chapter in the Bible and one of my favorites because I need to be reminded....

My friend, Jack Alexander, used to live by these words: It's more important to engrave your name in the hearts of others than any other tribute this world can offer.


This is a picture of my young niece Mackenzie holding a shell that she found when we were swimming together in the ocean.  It looked like the letter L was carved on the shell.

Friday, March 23, 2018

One Moment At A Time!

And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

This is advice I often give that has helped me during those difficult days where you feel you cannot handle one more thing. Some days we can only handle one day at a time. Some days it may only be one hour at a time. During a stressful life event it may only be handled 15 minutes at a time.

Don't look too far ahead when times are difficult because it can be too crippling. Instead break life into small pieces that can be handled and asking God to take care of the rest. Stress can exacerbate any physical or emotional problem and make us feel we are defeated before we even begin. Planning in our minds only moments at a time as we are going through any difficulty will ease up the pressure and worry of the future.


This may not be something we need today but we may know someone who does and we can pass it on....

 This is an old barn in Tennessee when I visited January, 2010.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Faith Of A Mustard Seed

Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.

written December 30, 2010:

God's role, His promise, is to care for us. To worry is to try and usurp God’s role in our life. It's so easy to keep God out of our lives and to control our own life. Then life becomes out of control and gives us something that we ourselves see no way out or no way of controlling and we want supernatural power from above. We've all been there one time or another, then what do we do?

If we have the faith of a mustard seed, all things are possible. You know how small a mustard seed is?  My father gave me a silver charm bracelet with a mustard see charm when I was a little girl to show me the example of how much faith I needed in order for God to work in my life. That was a wonderful way for me to learn this lesson and I have passed that bracelet on to my grandchild, Veronica.


Let's give God control of everything!



Joy comes from the Lord who lives in us, not from what's happening around us.


This picture was taken of an orchid on the hood of my car in 2009.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

God's Got The Power

God's power can transform our lives. Our finite minds cannot comprehend an infinite God. God's power changes us!


...that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,  Ephesians 3:16-17

We limit God's power in our lives because we don't fully understand or trust Him. We begin to worry, fear and doubt. We limit God's power with anger, unforgiveness, gossip, sarcasm, cruelty and bitterness. If we are truly rooted and grounded in love according to these verses then there would be no room for any of those things.

Our sin keeps God's power from transforming our lives!

This is a picture of my youngest daughter on a swing 
at a carnival with my grandkids, November 17, 2012.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Help Wanted: Holy Spirit!

One thing I have learned is that I cannot control anyone or anything. When I was younger I believed I had the power to change the world. I'm not sure where I developed that thought process but I really did think I could. After raising my own children, I have certainly been humbled into knowing I can't control even a small child, a teen, or adult child. My children ALL have a mind of their own.

There are times when I want to control what others are thinking, feeling, believing, etc. I give it my best effort in trying to convince them of what I believe is the better way to think, feel, believe, etc. It sounds to me like I may have some control issues but I will write about that on another day. God has given everyone a free-will and we have to honor that in each individual.


Only God can change the heart of any individual. Allow God to change others internally because it's the only possible solution. It seems there are so many of us who try to be the "Holy Spirit" in the lives of others but that just does not work. First of all, when I am consumed with how others behave then I have taken the focus off myself and what needs to change in me. Secondly, if I am concerned over someone's actions then that should just be a reminder to bring them before the Lord and leave them there. It's God's job, not ours ~ so let it go! God may or may not change that individual but I guarantee He will change our own hearts in a way we never dreamed possible. ~


Life would be simpler and more enjoyable when we focus on God and His desire for our lives! Stay focused!


~ This is the day that the Lord hath made (Psalm 118:24a).....I don't want to mess it up!


This picture was taken of my youngest daughters little one on February 2013. She is wearing a dress that her own mama used to wear when she was the same age.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

God's Road Map For Life

      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 shall direct your paths.

God has a plan and purpose for each one of us and wants to direct our lives in every way. We need to seek His will each and every day in order to stay on the right road of life. If not, we will lose our way and it can become very difficult to get back on the right road and will delay us to where He wants us to be......

My prayer: Lord, forgive me for not going in the right direction and please guide me today so that I will not get lost but instead be able to accomplish what you need for me to do!


The meaning and purpose you find in helping others will enrich and expand your life!


This picture was taken at sunset while visiting Fernandina Beach 2014.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Love Is Time!

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her Ephesians 5:25

Busy lives cause us to forget what is important. The best expression of LOVE is time. The most valuable thing we can give to anyone is our time. This is an area where I need to improve and has always been more a weakness than one of my strengths.


My husband is very good at giving me his attention. He is also good at giving attention to my children and my grandchildren. He gave more of himself to his family than to his work or any other thing in his life. There was never anything he preferred doing or had any desire to do more than just being around all of us. When the children all left the nest he especially enjoyed our time together. He still reminds me when I get too busy with making plans to be sure to schedule plenty of time for just us.

I used to be at a Mock 4 with my hair on fire on a daily basis but many things have come into my life to make me change my perspective on time. My priorities have changed for the better and I make plenty of time to do the things that really matter most. I don't always get it right but I do have a great example that I live with who gives me good counsel when I begin to find myself too busy.

God blessed me with a man who will give me all the time I want or need ~ He shows me that I am his priority and that he values me. Time is a special gift!

Each week after work my husband takes time to have a tea party with each of my sons daughters. They love having him sit at their little tables and sharing their drinks and snacks. He loves it too! This picture was taken February 2014.

Monday, February 12, 2018

God's Promise!

 And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Your fathers, including Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, dwelt on the other side of the River in old times; and they served other gods. Joshua 24:2

God made a promise (also called a Covenant) with Abram in the book of Genesis. The covenant with Abram is to show us that God will bless anyone no matter who they are. At that time Abram came from a family background of people who worshiped false gods and yet God chose him to bless. It is to encourage us that no matter what kind of background we have or what sin may have been in our life God wants to bless us. The same promise then is the same promise of blessing God wants to give to us and to our families if we choose to trust in Him.

God also used the apostle Paul in a tremendous way and he was an executioner of anyone who professed to be a Christ follower. These are two people in the scriptures that had terrible and damaging background checks but God changed their future. That should give us hope that no matter what God can change all that is negative about us and use us for something great!


This picture was taken on my walk June 11, 2014. I had to ask God to 
forgive me for not taking more time to enjoy all the beauty around me.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

God's Control!

And he went out to meet Asa, and said to him: “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. II Chronicles 15:2

King Asa decided to trust in men and his own riches to protect him instead of God and was defeated.


The bad news is we are way weaker and worse than we think we are....the good news is that Jesus is way stronger and better than we could ever hope or imagine....a quote from Pastor Tullian


Be brave and trust God to take care of everything!

 This picture was taken on a walk October 20, 2012 at Morikami Japanese Gardens.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Seek And You Will Find Him!

Matthew 6:33 Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.

Last week I taught our kids at church this verse. I explained that if you seek God first then He will take care of everything else. We named all the problems that could happen to kids under 10 years of age. I explained that God wanted to take care of all their concerns but He wanted them to seek Him first each day.  The simplest way that I could think of to teach this life application of seeking God in their young lives was to teach these 3 steps:

1. Pray
2. Read Your Bible
3. Obey (asking God to help them obey their parents, teachers, etc.)

These were the 3 steps I told them they would need to do in order to seek God first every day. It's the same with us too. We need to pray, read our Bibles and ask God to guide us and strengthen us to be obedient to Him in our pursuit of seeking Him.


My daughter took this picture of her children playing
 on the beach while visiting New York several years ago.

Friday, February 9, 2018

God Changes Things!

And He changes the times and the seasons; Daniel 2:21a

The story of Joseph is such an encouragement to me when life doesn't make sense. I think about when his brothers threw him into a pit to kill him and then sold him into slavery. Then his encounter with Potiphar's wife and getting thrown into prison. There were so many things that happened to Joseph that were so terribly wrong and yet he never  let the circumstances change his trust in God. Joseph trusted that God's hand was upon him and moved forward every day doing what ever needed to be done. Many years later God blessed him by making him 2nd in command to the great nation of Egypt. He was reunited with his family and everything changed.

There are many stories in the Bible that show us that God uses the good and the bad for his purpose. We can't always trust in the circumstances of our life but we can always trust God. It should give us hope that no matter what difficulty we may have that God has His purpose and His plan for us too. We can trust Him to make everything right no matter how impossible it may seem and no matter how much we have messed it up.

God can take our hopeless circumstance that we are facing today and make it  our blessing for tomorrow, next week, next month or next year. 
He brought us life from death 2000 years ago....

 This picture was taken at the Historical Fernandina Beach on January 2014.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Frugal Living

Matthew 6:33 Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. 

A consecrated Jewish believer, Dr. Max Reich, gave this testimony: "When my wife and I were first married, we felt called to full-time Christian service, God blessed our ministry and many people accepted the Lord. Although our income was small and we had few worldly possessions, our hearts were full of joy. One day, however, my wife said, "Max, there's nothing to eat for dinner!'

I didn't reply at first but stood listening to the birds singing in the trees.

Suddenly these words from a well-known Gospel song flashed through my mind: 'His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.' Immediately I said, 'If our Heavenly Father feeds the birds, surely He'll take care of us!' Just then a lady knocked at the door. After introducing herself she said, 'My husband was a hopeless alcoholic. Every time he got his check he'd spend most of it to get drunk, so the children and I were often hungry. Recently he heard you preach the Gospel, and the Lord worked a miracle in his heart. Now he's a changed man! For the first time in years he brought home a full week's pay, and I was able to get a good supply of groceries. I thought as I was cooking, part of this food really belongs to Brother Reich. I was going to bring you some later, but I felt compelled to do it immediately. Here's half of the chicken I fried and some biscuits fresh from the oven!' 'We were so happy,' said Dr. Reich, that we sang, 'Praise God from whom all blessings flow!' To this moment the Lord has never failed to give us our daily bread."

Worrying can be helpful when it spurs you to take action and solve a problem. But if you’re preoccupied with “what ifs” and worst-case scenarios, worry becomes a problem of its own.

 This picture was taken at La Mancha Spain 2007.