MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR HIM IN 2019

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

Welcome to 2019!

Today is an Anniversary for me! Today marks three years of writing this BLOG!

If you would have told me three years ago, that I would have written a blog post each and every Tuesday for three years, I would have called you CRAZY! Not because you yourself are crazy, but because you would be crazy to believe that I could write, each and every week, without missing one week. Not even due to illness, vacation, sadness, pressing engagement, tragedy like a fire storm and evacuation, discouragement, family obligation, etc., etc., etc.! Not to mention CHRISTMAS DAY and NEW YEAR’S DAY falling on TUESDAY’S!

I could never have pulled this off by myself. In and of myself I am weak, discouraged too easily, distractible, lacking confidence, and tired. In fact, the truth is, God asked me to write this blog one year before I ever started writing it. I told Him He was crazy, not something I recommend doing by the way. I am not going to write a Theology book on talking back to God, but I could. I have done it way too many times to count. However, God is patient with me and He waits for me to come up to speed. He reminds me, ever so gently that I am indeed being disobedient. 

So, after the first six months of waiting I signed up for this Blog spot and paid the yearly fee for it. If you are doing your math correctly, that means I should be celebrating my three and a half year anniversary. Unfortunately, my disobedience continued another six months. I allowed discouragement and fear of rejection to rule the day, instead of my confidence and trust in God and His faithfulness. Also, something I do not recommend.

Finally, I listened and obeyed. It took me laying down my pride of rejection and fear of failure. In other words, I had to not care what people thought about what I was writing and care only about what Jesus thought about it. I had to not care about how many “hits” my posts were receiving, and care only about the content being the Word of God seasoned with my personal experiences and study.  I had to step aside from the game of comparison and allow God to speak through me. While that may seem like the hardest step to make, it wasn’t! For me, I LOVE studying the Word of God! The studying and the writing and the praying was the easiest part. THE CONSISTENCY of writing each and every week was the tough part. Now God has clearly not called everyone to writing once a week. In fact, “Blog Experts,” if there is such a thing, would tell you not to write so frequently. Leave your readers wanting more. Do not saturate the market, sprinkle it with nuggets of truth. But, my commitment was to write this Blog for God’s approval not for man’s. God asked me to write weekly, I am going to write weekly.

So now, three years later and I am writing weekly with no hesitations or problems. WRONG!

There have been many times I have come close to stopping. There have been many Tuesday’s where I have posted at the end of the day when my goal is to post my “TRUTH BOMB” in the morning. There have been times I have felt like I make no difference, so why should I continue? But each and every time I feel this way, I go back to God and He affirms His call to me.

So, I stick with it! I keep on keeping on and do my best to write what God has placed in my life to encourage, build up and support friends along the way. It’s not easy, but I have learned an important lesson!

TRUTH BOMB

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Don’t underestimate what you can do, if you stick with it!

If you would have told me three years ago that I would have been faithful to God’s call on my life without fail each and every Tuesday NO MATTER WHAT, I would never have believed I could do it. But with obedience to God, step by step, each and every day, we can accomplish much more than we think we can.

What is more pleasing to The Lord, your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your OBEDIENCE to His voice? LISTEN! OBEDIENCE is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.”   I Samuel 15:22

My interpretation= “obeying God’s call and listening to His voice  and being obedient to it, is better than sacrificing something in my life through a “New Year’s Resolution”, and offering my futile attempts at giving up the “fat” I love to indulge in, in my life.”

For me, that “fat” can be food, self-indulgence, and wasted time. It quickly can turn into self discouragement, loathing and unhealthy lifestyle.

What is it for you?

No matter what our “sacrifices and offerings” are, God is calling us to His better way of living. He is calling us to OBEDIENCE! When we obey, we will experience His faithfulness in accomplishing what we believed was impossible.

My obedience to God in 2019 is to listen to His voice, stick with whatever He calls me to do, and never underestimate the power of my God working in me!

HAPPY NEW YEAR FRIENDS!

You can do it!

God’s power is working in you!

Meet me back here next Tuesday as we look at “SOMETHING NEW!”

Speak Truth Love

GIFTS, Week 4!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

“For unto us is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ The Lord.”

All the gifts have been given. All the gifts have been received! The paper and ribbon has been torn and cast aside. The expectations have been met, exceeded or missed. The day we have long anticipated has arrived. We have baked, shopped, planned and anxiously awaited. It is here and it is but a 24 hour day.

Look deeper… look past the met or unmet expectations. Look past the ribbon, bows and wrappings. He is waiting! He has come! EMMANUEL, GOD IS WITH US!

He is not a gift that lasts for 24 hours and is gone! He does not break, run out of batteries or fall apart after too much use! 

HE IS THE SON OF GOD! Sent by the Father Himself, to save us! He is our Redeemer, Savior, Deliverer, and Friend!

HE IS THE SUPREME GIFT! Given to all who receive Him!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!

We love, honor, adore and receive you!

TRUTH BOMB

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THE GREATEST GIFT THE WORLD HAS EVER OR WILL EVER RECEIVE IS JESUS!

Happy Birthday Jesus! 

Speak Truth Love

GIFTS, Week 3!

What are the smells of Christmas? Evergreen trees giving off the purest scent of pine, peppermint sticks curved into candy canes, fresh crisp air that hits your nostrils and almost freezes your nose…all of these are wonderful, but my favorite by far is the smell of freshly baked Christmas cookies, warm, delectable and waiting to be eaten!

One year I remember a much different smell. I walked into the house after school and a putrid smell hit my nose with force. I immediately gagged and plugged my nose. It smelled like a dead animal was in the house! Anyone who knows me well, knows I am a clean freak and am EXTREMELY sensitive to smells. But someone who had a terrible cold could have smelled this smell!

As I regained my composure, and held back the desire to throw up, I realized it was coming from our Christmas tree! That beautiful pine scent was being overwhelmed by a much stronger, rotten smell! I covered my face with a cloth and went in close to the tree. Nothing seemed to be on the branches. I lifted the tree skirt to check and see if possibly something had gotten into the water.

As I lifted the tree skirt, there it was! Someone had hidden a partially eaten turkey sandwich under the skirt. Only that child(I assumed), and God, knew how many days it had laid there, rotting and turning putrid!

To this day, I do not know which of my children hid their lunch under the tree skirt so they could run and grab one of those delicious, yummy smelling Christmas cookies, for neither one of them would tell on the other. I do have my suspicions however. Let me put it this way… when they were young, my daughter ate to survive and my son survived to eat. He takes after me!

That putrid smell overwhelmed our home and left no hint of the lovely evergreen. It reminds me of the “fragrance” I bring as a gift to my Savior this Christmas.

They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and MYRRH.”  Matthew 2:11

The third gift the Wise Men brought to Jesus was that of MYRRH.

Myrrh was an expensive and valuable aromatic resinous exudation, used in perfume.

In other words, IT SMELLED GREAT!

In another story told when Jesus was a grown man, we see Mary giving Jesus a very expensive, lavish and aromatic smelling gift. She takes a bottle of pure nard, a very expensive perfume, pours it on Jesus feet, and wipes His feet with her hair. When criticized by one of the disciples for “wasting” such an expensive perfume, Jesus responds;

Leave her alone.”   John 12:7

Jesus defends her and her lavish, beautiful smelling gift. The act of giving what was valuable to her and humbling herself to anoint Jesus feet with it and wiping His feet with her hair, was what truly made the gift smell so sweet.

What does my gift to Jesus smell like this Christmas? Is it begging to have the putrid, rotting smell of that turkey sandwich as I allow my mind to go crazy and build my anxiety as I worry about shopping, wrapping, baking, and getting every little detail of Christmas perfect? Or, is it beginning to smell like sweet perfume, MYRRH if you will, as I cast my anxieties and cares on Him?

TRUTH BOMB

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CASTING OUR CARES ON JESUS GIVES US A SWEET AROMA.

So, what kind of smell are we going to give off this Christmas season? Is it one that makes those around us want to plug their noses and run the other way, or one that draws others near as we draw near to God Himself?

Speak Truth Love

GIFTS, Week 2!

The second gift brought by the Wise Men to Jesus was FRANKINCENSE.

Then they, (The Wise Men from the East), opened their treasure chests and gave Him, (Jesus), gifts of gold, frankincense…”               Matthew 2:11

Frankincense is often called “The King of Oils.” How cool is it, that the “King of Oils”, was given to The King of Kings!

I just love those godly tidbits that come together and make us think, did God do that on purpose?

Pondering thoughts about God and His magnificence, are always good for us to do.

God can do ANYTHING He wants to do. Keeping our eyes open to notice His powerful hand at work, gives us a front row seat to His workings!

So, what about this gift? Frankincense is renowned as one of the most prized and precious oils. In Biblical times the Babylonians and Assyrians would burn Frankincense in religious ceremonies. In the very definition of the word Frankincense is the translation meaning, “High Quality Incense.”

It is referred to by many as “The Jesus Oil”, or “The Miracle Oil.” This is due to the act that it has proven qualities to rejuvenate skin cells. It has been used for centuries for it’s healing properties.

Frankincense has healing properties and healing brings peace. Isn’t that exactly what The King of Kings, Jesus, brought and continues to bring to all of us?

At this crazy, busy time of year, maybe the greatest gift we can receive from Jesus and give back to Him is our inner peace. The whole world may be spinning around us out of control. The list of gifts to buy, the money to buy them with, and the event to attend, may be spinning out of control. But the gift of Frankincense can remind us that peace is within our reach.

The Wise Men offered the gift of Frankincense, the King of oils, to Jesus. He received it.

Jesus, The King of Kings, is offering us the gift of peace in our spirits, through His Holy Spirit, if we accept it from Him.

Jesus promises a PEACE that the world can not comprehend and that is beyond our understanding. We can have this inner PEACE, even when the world around us is in utter craziness.

Then you will experience God’s PEACE, which exceeds anything we can understand, His PEACE will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

So, receive His gift of PEACE, and feel His calm take over your being. Take a deep breath, utter a silent prayer and sit for a minute. Allow His spirit to speak to yours. You will be amazed as His gift of Peace floods your being.

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God gives peace in the middle of the crazy.

Happy Shopping, Baking, Party Going, Etc…. Friends, don’t forget to B R E A T H E! His peace is for you.

Speak Truth Love

GIFTS

Have you ever been presented with a gift, so beautifully wrapped that you do not want to open it? Sounds silly, doesn’t it. But, the truth is, a gift only becomes a gift when you choose to receive it.

Think about the best gift you have ever been given. It may have had great material value, or possibly it had none at all.

I remember one Christmas when I was only 13 years old. I had asked for a stereo of my own that year. For those of you reading this and asking yourselves, what is she talking about? You are more than likely under the age of 40! A stereo was a turntable that played records and had two speakers. I thought that turning 13 (after all I had just turned 13, twenty days before Christmas), made me a “Big Kid Now,” and I needed a stereo of my own.

I knew my parents had always struggled financially, and this year was no exception, but I had asked for a stereo anyway. Christmas morning came and my three sisters and I ran to the tree. We opened the lovely presents underneath and when we finished there was a small sense of sadness that ran through me. I didn’t want it to be there, and I was sorry that it was there. But nonetheless, it was there. That feeling of disappointment and let down. I do not know if my parents could see it on my face or not. I tried to hide it and show my appreciation for what I had received, but it was still there. It nagged at me and made me feel guilty. All of sudden my dad looked at me and called my name, “Lisa Kay”, he said, “did you get everything you wanted?” I looked up at him and answered, “Yes, thank you.”

I imagine there was a bit of a catch in my throat as I uttered the words that did not hold complete truth. He told me to look behind the couch. I did, and there was my stereo box! It was the most beautiful gift I had ever seen. I just stood and stared and then started to cry. My Dad said, “if you don’t open it, you will never know what’s inside.”

I loved that stereo, and played it long into my twenties. I loved getting new albums and listening to them over and over. I have never been more surprised by a gift before, and never have I learned a more valuable lesson.

A gift is only a gift if we open it and receive it. Otherwise, it is simply a package. It may be exquisitely wrapped in the finest of papers and adorned with the perfect ribbon or bow, but unopened, it remains simply a package.

Truth Bomb

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A gift is simply a package if we do not open it and receive it.

It’s December, and more than likely you will be presented with a gift or two. They may be beautifully wrapped, but unless you open it and receive it, it will simply be a pretty package.

At one VERY special birthday party, three gifts were given. The first gift was GOLD.

The star they had seen in the East guided them, (the wise men), to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When  they saw the star they were filled with joy! They entered the house, and saw the child with His mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped Him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave gifts of gold….”                                     Matthew 2:9-11

Gold is a valuable, precious yellow metallic element that is not subject to oxidation or corrosion.

I love that the first gift given to The King of Kings, was given by an earthly King, and it had great value, but even greater was it’s ability to not turn or corrode. I also love that we are told that the Wise Man had to OPEN his treasure chest and take the gift out to give it away!

This reminds me, that I can give a gift to my King Jesus by opening up my time and commitment to love and serve Him no matter what. By giving Him myself and not allowing anything to get in the way to discolor my love for Him or corrode the time I spend with Him.

This is my gift of Gold to my King Jesus!

I look forward to this wonderful Season of giving and receiving that we are entering. I pray that we open ourselves up to both giving and receiving.

After all, It Is “The Most Wonderful Time of The Year!”

Speak Truth Love

GIVING THANKS, Week 4- Part Two

Last week I opened up the blog giving thanks to God for my greatest blessing from Him – My Marriage and Family! I shared part One of my blessing, my marriage, because it came first!

Today’s Blog is about Part Two, what followed next…

Three years after Jim and I were married, God blessed us with Christina Nicole. She has the most beautiful, round, sparkling blue eyes, (my mom actually told me that I should have named her Crystal because of her eyes, instead of Christina), and she has one of the sharpest minds I have ever seen and a loyal, tender, giving heart of gold, she is my TREASURE, my gift from God! Two and a half years almost to the day after she was born, God blessed us with James Tyler. He has beautiful big blue/green eyes that are almond shaped. He has a sharp mind that studies, thinks and ponders before he speaks. His heart is big, true, loyal, giving and holds nothing back! He is my HEART, my gift from God!

God blessed Jim and I with two beautiful biological children and showed us in living color the truth in His Word that says,

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him.”   Psalm 127:3

God gifted us with two beautiful children that we did not deserve. Our commitment to God, each other, and them, was that we would raise them to know, love and serve God to the best of our ability. Knowing full well that the choice to do so, would eventually fall to them!

Children are not born with a “money back guarantee”, and no instructional manual is attached. The only knowledge or information given to us is ‘God’s Love Letter’, His Word, The Word of God. In it’s pages is all of the wisdom, truth, knowledge and guidance that we need to live our lives well and raise our children according to His will and purposes.

Direct your children unto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”     Proverbs 22:6

This is a directive from God to parents. Truth imparted to us by The Living God. Instructions, knowledge and information furnished to us through God’s Word, with authority and wisdom.

Parents, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up in the discipline and instruction of The Lord.”                                                     Ephesians 6:4

Jim and I believed that our marriage and family was a priceless gift from God. We took that gift, treasured it and committed to do our best with God’s help to Raise A Godly Heritage.

Through many mistakes, triumphs, ups and downs, God has honored His promise to guide us, direct us, and keep our children close to Himself. He has enriched our family and added to our two children, two beautiful children by marriage, our son-in-law Craig, and our daughter-in-law Allie, two beautiful grandchildren and a new grand baby on the way!

Our promise to God to “raise a godly heritage,” remains strong as we continue to pour into the lives of our children and grandchildren.

WHY? BECAUSE:

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CHILDREN ARE A GIFT FROM GOD!

ON THIS TWENTY-SEVENTH DAY OF NOVEMBER 2018, I GIVE THANKS TO GOD FOR MY MARRIAGE AND FAMILY!

As this month of giving thanks nears its end, my prayer is that we would all retain a heart of Thanksgiving to God each and every day of the year!

Speak Truth Love

November: Giving Thanks, Week 3 – Part One

Last week I shared about the one thing I am most thankful for: The fact that God goes after me! That my God pursues me, no matter how far I may wander.

Today, I am giving thanks for my greatest blessing from God: My Marriage and Family!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

1 Chronicles 16:34

My grandmother told me for years that she was praying for God to bring a godly husband into my life. My grandmother’s faith was lived out daily as she walked humbly and securely with her God. I believed her sincerity and trusted in her faith. Walking that faith out in my own life was a different matter!

I left a broken home bound for college alone and a bit frightened. I clung to the hope of the faith I witnessed in my grandmother’s life, and slowly but surly began to take my own steps of faith. I chose a Christian college over my dad’s attempts to persuade me in a secular direction. I knew that if I was going to make this faith my own, I would need to trust God with my whole life. I gave it to Him that day as I walked away from my father’s hurtful words, “that I would amount to nothing.” My heavenly father stepped in and changed and assured me that, “He was my father and He would never leave me or forsake me.”

That year he led me to my husband. We met in the youth group at the local church that I had walked to by myself and started attending. I asked where I could serve and they told me there was a class of 2nd grade boys that needed help. Many of those little boys were being bused to church from their lower income neighborhood. I was told that several young men were driving those buses, bringing those children to church each week. Little did I know that one of them would become my husband in less than two years.

While there is much, much more to the story, this is a blog about ‘Giving Thanks!’ I told as much of the story as I did, to truly give thanks to God for what He orchestrated in bringing Jim Swaney into my life.

The first time I ever laid eyes on him or heard him speak a word was when he taught a Bible Study at our college campus. I fell in love with his heart for God. It was clear to me from the beginning that his first love was God, and I only hoped I would come next!

Jim and I wrote our own wedding Invitation…

“Knowing that we are better together for Christ than apart, we commit ourselves to Him, His purposes and each other on this Eighteenth day of August…,”

This August will be our 35th wedding anniversary! We praise God for our relationship and give Him all the glory!

In a day and age when it is no longer considered “IN” AKA correct, appropriate, intellectual or accurate to repeat and commit to traditional vows that say, “What God has joined together, let no man separate.” I am glad we said just that!

God’s wisdom, God’s love, (not my self-centered, selfish love), God’s strength, God’s power living through us, and our steadfast commitment to His plan for our lives and not our own, has kept our marriage “Surviving and Thriving!”

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I do not take God’s greatest blessing in my life for granted! I do not share this blog post lightly or flippantly. I do not take for granted the blessing and gift of my marriage. I know that many others have a very different story than mine. I believe that God is also a God of Grace and forgiveness and His great love makes all things new. But this is my story and it is a true story that begs to give God all the glory. It also brings me to my knees daily in sincere THANKSGIVING.

Oh Lord, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them.”

Isaiah 25:1

We all have blessings in our lives that without God in them would be no more than good fortune. Those unique, defining moments that clearly mark the direct and divine hand of God in our lives. While many other parts of our lives may be falling apart or meagerly constructed, these blessings stand out as “ONLY GOD” activities!

Truth Bomb

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Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!

During this special week of THANKSGIVING, where our country still sets a day aside to give thanks, I thank God for my greatest blessing, my marriage. I pray you are thanking God for your greatest blessing this week. He deserves ALL the glory!

Wishing you all the Best of Thanksgivings!

Love and blessings,

Speak Truth Love