How to Bless your Future Generations

We all want to leave a lasting legacy to our children, grandchildren and beyond.
Money is quickly gone, houses get sold, businesses eventually fold,
but the legacy of what it looks like to live your life in step with God,
prayers that cover them in every situation, and
words of encouragement and wisdom from God's Word
will stay with them forever.

That kind of example - walking on obedience to His word,
loving God and loving the people He created - all the people,
will bring blessings untold to your descendants.
What greater legacy could you leave them?

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Trusting God Paid Off!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
(Proverbs 3:5-6)

Several years ago, we had a credit card with a $4000 outstanding balance. (Mostly due to an expensive surgery.) We were appalled and determined to get it paid off as quickly as possible. We cut back on everything. My husband took on extra jobs. I created custom items and sold them online. It was hard work, but we eventually got that card balance down to $400. We had taken Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and they had encouraged us to cut up our credit card, but I was afraid. What if we needed another surgery? What if our car broke down? What if something happened to a family member in Ohio and I had to fly home suddenly? I held onto the card.

Then several things happened - 3 more surgeries, multiple car breakdowns and family members that needed some help. Suddenly that credit card balance was almost $12,000 dollars! Appalled was not the word for what we felt - more like ashamed and panicked, wondering how in the world we would be able to ever pay this off.  

Then I received a statement that said if we paid $300 a month for the next 3 years, we could pay the card off in that amount of time. We were struggling just to make the minimum payments, so I couldn't imagine how we could afford $300 a month, but I felt God prompting me to trust Him. 

Took a leap of faith, cut the card in half, framed it and hung it on the wall, trusting God to help us make the large payments to pay the card off in 3 years. This week we made the final payment on the card! God came through every month and to our amazement we never needed a credit card even once during that time. Even more amazing, our car did break down, but each time we had the money to pay for it and just about the time we were sick of making repairs to it, we were given a car!. We did face another surgery, but we worked through the hospital to pay off our part without putting it on the card and without interest. I even made several trips to Ohio to help my mom after open heart surgery and just to visit, but I didn't have to pay for the tickets.

Trusting God definitely PAID OFF!

Do you have overwhelming credit card debt? Why not take a leap of faith. Cut the cards up and ask God to help you pay them off. 

Do you have a story of how God helped you out financially in an amazing way? Please share it in the comments. I'd love to celebrate God's goodness with you.

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Praying with Confidence

Sometimes God's word doesn't seem to match up with my experiences and reality. At first glance, 1 John 5:14-15 appears to be one of those passages...

"14This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him."

It's easy for us to skim through verse 14 and jump to the promise of verse 15 - he hears us and we have what we asked of him, but not so fast. If you're anything like me, that's not always a reality. I don't get everything I pray for, do you? So, let's dig a little deeper into this passage.

First of all, I love the fact that we can have confidence in approaching God. That could not be possible if He had not loved us enough to send Jesus to bear our sins on the cross in order to open the door for a right relationship with Himself. (Thank you, God!) So, confidently I go into prayer, confident that he hears my prayers - that they do not bounce off the ceiling or fall on deaf ears, but are carefully monitored by him. I am praying heart-to-heart.

The hard part of verse 14 is praying according to his will, for we don't know how to pray as we ought (Romans 8:26).  Fortunately, God has given us His Spirit, who helps us to pray and intercedes for us as we pray. It is the Holy Spirit who knows God's will - knows God's thoughts (1 Corinthians 2:10-16). As we pray, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us pray according to God's will and He will do so.

Still, we are human and our own desires creep into our prayers, so in the end, after we have prayed  and shared our cares and requests with God, we need to acquiesce to His will in the matter, just as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-42) when He closed His own prayer to be released from the cross with, "Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done." (Luke 22:42)  In doing this, we recognize and submit ourselves to the sovereignty of God.

So, pray with confidence, let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6), then end your prayer by submitting to God's will over your own, because His will is perfect (Romans 12:2). After that, you can relax and let Him handle the situation. Receive His promise to fill you with His peace, which transcends all understanding and will guard your heart and mind (Philippians 4:7). I am assuming that means guarding your heart and mind against worry and anxiety, as mentioned in Philippians 4:6.

You prayed.
You put it in God's hands.
God's got it.
He will do what is best.
Rest in Him.

...and that's how you pray with CONFIDENCE!

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How to Develop Intimacy with God

Exodus 33 records an amazing conversation between Moses and God...
12 Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ 13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”
14 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”
17 And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked,because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”
18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”
19 And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
Were you as astonished as I was at the boldness of Moses when speaking to the Lord? 

Where did this confidence come from? I believe the answer is found in verse 12 when God said...

"I know you by name and you have found favor with me."
Moses and God had an intimate relationship. That kind of relationship can only be developed after spending much time together, after displaying devotion and obedience to God, after walking with Him daily in a way that honors Him.

 Do you wish that you had that kind of relationship with God? I know I do and I'm willing to put in the time, live my life to the best of ability to please Him, cultivate intimacy with Him and listen hard for His directions for me.

There is no better pursuit that we can have then an intimate friendship with our Creator.

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Oh, my Soul - I'm NOT Alone!

The song, Oh My Soul, by Casting Crowns has been pulling at me for a couple of weeks, now. Especially the line that goes, "There's a place where fear has to meet the God you know."

Today, I found the story behind the song on YouTube and it really spoke to my heart...

 I'm not really a fearful person, but lately, fear has been trying to rear its ugly head where my health is concerned. I have a disease (not cancer). I'm not comfortable sharing the details, but there is no cure and no effective treatment. For the past 12 years, it has been getting steadily worse and painful. You can't tell it by looking at me, but I feel it every day. The fear that keeps cropping up is what the future might hold. How bad will it get? Will it turn into cancer? etc.

When that fear rises up in me, I have to remind myself that I am not alone. God walks through every step of life with me. He is fully aware of what's happening. He more than able to heal me, but if that's not his plan, I'm okay with it as long as I know He is with me. Why? Because I know he loves me beyond measure and even if this condition takes my life, I am going to be with Him.

In the meantime, I want to live my life in a way that honors Him every day. I want to love others and let him love love them through me. I want to point the way to Him so that others can experience the joy and peace that comes from  knowing they are loved more than they can ever understand and that they are not alone.

Here's the song, I'm Not Alone...

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Detoxing Your Thought Life

Do you use the You Version app of the Bible?  I do and I love it. I have it on both my phone and my Kindle Fire and find it invaluable tool for digging into God's word, reading uplifting and eye-opening devotionals and sharing it with my friends.

Today I started a new devotional plan called Soul Detox by Craig Groeschel and already, day one of the plan touched me deeply.  It talks about detoxing our minds from toxic thoughts. I know, right? It's amazing how many times toxic thoughts enter our minds and how they they affect our relationships, our moods and our outlook on life.

Look at what God has to say about this...
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:8
My child, pay attention to my words; listen closely to what I say.
Don't ever forget my words; keep them always in mind.
They are the key to life for those who find them;
they bring health to the whole body. 
Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life Proverbs 4:20-23

It seems that in these two passages of scripture, God has given us the key to detoxing our minds, hearts and spirits. I keep hearing that we can retrain our brains. I'm not sure if that's true, but I do know that we can renew our minds.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Matthew Henry's Commentary on this verse says that as we renew our minds (by submitting to his will, taking in his word and applying it to our lives and walking in obedience to him, we develop...

New dispositions and inclinations, new sympathies and antipathies; the understanding enlightened, the conscience softened, the thoughts rectified; the will bowed to the will of God, and the affections made spiritual and heavenly: so that the man is not what he was—old things are passed away, all things are become new; he acts from new principles, by new rules, with new designs. The mind is the acting ruling part of us; so that the renewing of the mind is the renewing of the whole man, for out of it are the issues of life. - This is called the transforming of us.
Part of the detox process for our thought life is to be aware of what we used to call stinkin' thinkin' and to be active in combating it.  I call this my 3R plan for detoxing my mind. (I just made that up 😊)

  • Recognize (toxic thoughts)
  • Reject them
  • Replace them
And I'll be replacing them with - whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy.

How about you? Have toxic thoughts negatively affected your life and relationships?

Do your entertain those thoughts or do you have a plan to combat them?

Feel free to use mine.

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