Monday, February 19, 2018

This Little Light...

The scriptures above really made me stop and pause this morning to ponder how I handle and live out what I have been given.  A lot of the time I feel like I am the person that hears the Word and lets the cares of the world and desires for other things enter in my heart and choke out the truth, therefore I am unfruitful.  That concerns me and helps me to examine what my life looks like and what the truth of it is. Is my light shining? Am I bearing fruit?

This is why I need to be in the Word daily. I am so self centered. If I don't read these truths daily then I don't even think much about who I should be before God and the cares of the day crowd Him out.

So thankful for the Word.

I love this instagram post that came across my feed a few days ago.  Like Aaron Ivey says, "WHAT A PRAYER! Take a risk and pray it with me."

I am praying that we all continue to dig into the Word and that God is showing us what we are to lay on our hearts daily. It is a game changer to ask God to show you through His Spirit what you need to see and learn and dwell on when you read scripture. The Word is alive. Have a super Monday!

Blessings Amy 

Monday, February 5, 2018

A Little Facebook Breakup...

This pic above was me. Not the girl, but the guy.  My husband was the one who would get agitated with me again and again. We have been pretty upfront about no phones while eating together, during worship, when visiting with guests, while driving, etc. but outside of those times I did not have much self control. 

Facebook was the draw most of the time. Instagram and Twitter were interesting but not like zoning out of the present and into facebook. (Notice I refuse to capitalize facebook when I don't have to. Can't give it that power. wink. wink.) Truly though, it was running my world but I just would not admit it and really did not even notice what it was doing.  I enjoyed keeping up with friends, reading foodie posts, getting health tips and getting outraged at political stuff. (No, not really.) I started to feed on the sensationalism and crazy stories and noticed I would be upset about things that "might" happen and alarmed at all the political speak. Even though I hated how people treated each other, it was sadly interesting to kind of watch it happen. The scrolling and scrolling was addicting to me. 

The past 5 years or so I have been trying to train my mind, heart and schedule to be in the Word of God daily. Like I wrote about my husband in my last post, I have had his constant, quiet example for years of him studying in the mornings. I have done pretty good in making this standing appointment for quite some time but the facebook addiction was still ruling. I am thankful that I have a husband that loves me enough to tell me over and over (knowing I would be annoyed) that I had a problem. "Honey, you don't seem to be able to put your phone down." "Do you really have to be on facebook the first thing in the morning?" "You are always so stressed about things you cannot control after reading all of that stuff." Now, why in the world could I not curb my incredible desire to check into what was happening on facebook before I even poured my first cup of coffee or cracked open my Bible? I don't know, but most of the time, I couldn't. Pitiful. Believe me, sharing this is painful and is hurting my feelings, but it does feel good to be honest.  I actually think I let the enemy that prowls around looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8) maintain a stronghold through it in my mind and life for a long time. I know that sounds dramatic but I believe it is profoundly true. 

God started to bring to mind all of the things I had been neglecting and the people I have looked through, and not at and the huge amounts of wasted time that I cannot get back. He showed me that my example of staring at my phone is a terrible pattern that my children and grandchild are seeing and will think is perfectly normal and carry on in their lives.  He brought to mind all of the wonderful things I could be doing and dreaming about to further the Kingdom and to love people instead of being stressed out and comparing myself to other people constantly on social media and constantly picking up my phone to scroll to see what was happening. Basically, living by watching everyone else's lives and not living mine. 

So, I finally decided to just take the facebook app off of my phone in January.  It was hard at first, kind of like what I might imagine someone going totally off of sugar and feeling that they might die or some other addiction that makes you feel panicky not to have. But after about a week I realized I was free. In a way, I had my life back. I had my eyes opened to things I had neglected and I had better conversations with people and I was not stressed out like I used to be. I felt lighter and was moving more (not sitting all the time) and talking more and  I still have a desktop computer that we use for work and I allow myself to look at facebook once a day but no scrolling is allowed. There are few pages I go to and people I to go directly to check on, but I have put a time limit on it. 

I know I am not alone in this. I am afraid satan is using this fun tool (our phones) to isolate and anger and entertain us right out of our minds.  God help us. God help me. I am thankful, even ecstatic about this little bit of facebook freedom for my heart and mind.  Our phones and facebook and instagram and twitter and whatever else we use can be tools to glorify God and spread the great news of Jesus and I am so thankful for that. Let us keep an open mind and be on the lookout for how easily we can get lulled into letting these communication tools became a huge distraction and stronghold. 

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.

Blessings! Amy

Friday, February 2, 2018

He Reads...

I am so thankful for my husband for many reasons, but the one I want to visit shortly about today is how blessed I have been to have his example all these years of daily Bible study.  He is an early riser and there have been very few mornings of our married life that he has not been up and in the Word. He reads and then journals thoughts and scriptures and then talks to God. He also reads other powerful books that point to God and to Godly leadership and good life. 

He has about 20 years of daily bible reading journals that he can look back on and remember hard times and good times and he can see how God has moved in and through and with us. He sees how God has answered prayers, not answered prayers and how He made us wait on Him for long periods of time, usually to teach us something.  One of his favorite quotes is: "Readers are leaders". I believe that after watching him grow all these years. 

Rooted deep and strong in his heart is first and foremost the Word of God. 

I am thankful that he is in love with Jesus. 
I am thankful that he gets emotional about God.
I believe that he leads a humble and sanctified life (not perfect) before God because after all these years of spending time with Him it is God he longs to please. Not me, not men, but God. 

I pray that men in our country and all over this world will lead their families to heaven. I pray that men will lead their wives. I pray that all men that seek Jesus will be committed to being in the Word. I pray they will make a daily appointment to draw near to Him, not to check off a box but to fall in love with Jesus. I pray for such a deep love that what the world has to offer will hold no appeal. 

A few days ago Wes (our 20 something year old son) and I were discussing a scripture that spoke about mighty men in the Bible. He made a comment that was haunting. He said he wished that he knew more mighty men in the church. Oh, how our young men need to see mighty men of God.  Men of God, please live out loud for Jesus. Show our young men that He is more important than anything else in your life. Please show emotion in worship about God. Let us see who your heart belongs to. In your jobs and our in the world please leave an example of uncompromising faith and honesty and trust in God. Our young men especially are watching and want to learn and want your example and want a visual, spiritual goal to strive toward. They need to see Jesus with skin on.  They need to see Him through you. 

I am so thankful for the men that I see that are living and loving for God. I pray that our boys have encounters with you mighty men of God so that they will have a bigger desire to know this God you love so much. I pray also that our girls will be drawn to Jesus because of your love and example of what a man should live like and love like. 
I took a picture of the last entry from Sid's daily bible/scripture journal from today because I wanted to see what scriptures were on his heart for the day. I especially love the last one. We talked a lot about this scripture to our boys when they were growing up. 

Bind them on your heart.
Fasten them around your neck.
When you walk they will guide you.
When you sleep they will watch over you.
When you wake they will speak for you.
The Words of God are alive. 

Right now he is also reading this super little book by Mark Batterson.

Here are a few pictures of very powerful words from the book...
I LOVE this: We don't read the Bible. It reads us. 

This verse was so sweet to me this past week:
Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are my Savior and my HOPE is in You all day long. Ps. 25:4-6

When we stay in the Word we realize we get to be shown how to live and be guided and taught and get the blessing of hope. 
 Have a happy week! Run with joy and let's continue to read together daily. 
 Blessings! Amy

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Hey Wednesday!

I am two days late. Sorry. :)
I have been trying to be disciplined to do some things in my life on schedule. Unfortunately, crazy life has happened the past few days. It has been a challenge for me to be scheduled. I am a fly by the seat of your pants kind of person but I know I need to practice working harder at sticking with a plan on some things.  I pray God will keep working on me (and not give up).

The last few days have felt like this: 

Here are few scriptures from this past week from the One Year Bible that really stuck out for me:
This one was from this morning. This was one of the scriptures that I used to sing to our boys when they were small. I would just put any catchy tune with a short scripture and sing them over and over. (Like my Mom used to say, "Talk truth until you are blue in the face.")  I can still hear them and see them singing with me. Some days I really miss those little ones. 

What a powerful passage. 
My mouth and my heart. 
All of it Lord, may it be pleasing to You. 

And this one:
Gen. 39:7-10-Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!”

But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.

Verse 9 just really helps me to see how I have to put everything in my life under the thought that I live to please God.  Joseph knew it was wrong and that he would displease his master but his biggest concern was pleasing and being obedient to his God. I pray we can all have this bigger view of how we live our lives. 

I love straightforward verses like this:
Psalm 15:1-5

Who may live on your holy mountain?
The one whose walk is blameless, (innocent of wrongdoing)
who does what is righteous, (morally right or virtuous)
who speaks the truth from their heart
whose tongue utters no slander,  (a false and malicious statement)
who does no wrong to a neighbor,
and casts no slur on others; (making damaging or insulting allegations)
who despises a vile person
but honors those who fear the Lord; (highly respect and esteem)
who keeps an oath even when it hurts, (a solemn promise)
and does not change their mind;
who lends money to the poor without interest;
who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
Whoever does these things
will never be shaken.

I pray that this week is a smooth and calm one. I pray that we can all see God more clearly as we continue to meet Him each day in His Word and in prayer as the Spirit leads us. 

Blessings! Amy

Monday, January 15, 2018

Getting The New Year Started...

I finally washed and changed my chalk board for the new year.  A fresh start feels good. It's a little cliche to believe in new year's resolutions but I kind of like it. Revisiting goals and ways of living and brainstorming on better ways is good for me.  I usually lament taking down the Christmas decorations and still do (a little) but also felt some relief to clean up and restore normalcy.  

This past week we had some dear friends over that I have missed and have tried to connect with for a long time. We all go to the same church crazily enough but when you go to a big church you have to work extra hard to keep connection. My house was a mess. I live by this motto below and ask for a little forgiveness. We don't live nasty, no way, but if a door is closed you might not want to look behind that unless you want to see the real me. :) 

But, seriously, if we have to have everything perfect before we have someone over and share our hospitality we might never do it. We all feel the same I think. Just do it. Fellowship is good for the soul and there is something heart warming about sharing a meal in our homes. 
In looking at the past week in our One Year Bible these scriptures really touched me:

For the Lord gives wisdom and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. Prov. 2:6

(He gives when we ask. He tells us to ask for wisdom and He will give it. Supernatural wisdom? Yes. Please.)
Today this scripture was also about wisdom:
Proverbs 3:16-18

Another that really got my imagination going:
I say to you that many will come from the east and from the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven.  Gen. 24:50

That's us you guys! Can you imagine? Maybe that might be one of my problems. Maybe I don't imagine enough what our final destination will be like.  Can you imagine gathering at a feast with the men and women that we have read about in the Bible? Praise our good God that we have that to anticipate! What a great thing to dream about and to look forward to and to help us examine our daily lives here on earth.  I am looking forward to a reserved spot at that table.

I will leave you with this last inspiring verse:

You are the light of the world!! Let your light shine before men so that they can see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven!  Matt. 5:14-15

Did you catch that we are to have good deeds? I firmly believe that being in the Word leads to the excitement of doing good deeds toward others. When I am not reading and growing in knowledge of God I am all about myself. Why would I feel motivated to be about loving people much?  When I am grounded in the Word and reading daily I am reminded that this world is about Jesus and not about me. He says to love and that for sure ties into thinking of good deeds to shower upon people.

Have a great week! Let's dig in, stay in the Word and become more for grounded for Him and for the Kingdom!

Blessings! Amy

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

His Word On My Heart

Good morning. Happy January! Once again, here we are taking assessment of how the past year has gone and hopefully making positive changes in daily schedules, as well as in our commitments. We are trying to think about not giving all "yes" answers, but asking God to show us the most important "yes" plans for our lives.  Saying "no" is okay. We are praying for focus and to do a few things well for the Kingdom and for our immediate and church family, instead of many things in a half-hearted way because we are too scattered to care. 

Anyone else feel that way sometimes? of my hearts desires is to encourage people to schedule in daily Bible reading. I feel strongly about it because there were so many years that I walked on my own thinking I knew enough. Up until my 50th year I am ashamed to say I had not read the bible through in its entirety. How sad is that? This hope and concept that I profess and base my life on, yet I had not even listened to the voice of my God in every word of His book.  

This practice has changed life for better in every way.  Last year I made up a couple of spiral notebooks with space for daily journaling and prayers and to write down scripture that moved me or made me think from the daily Bible readings. It is very simple but yet has been a valuable tool in helping to stay anchored in the Word.  Sid and I used these spirals along with our One Year Bible for the past year. It has been a blessing to read separately but then talk about what was impressed upon us. We are amazed that each year as we read through we see how alive the Word is. There is always something new that grabs us or a scripture that draws us into deeper meaning.  God's Word, and the fact that it is supernaturally alive, is just an amazing fact and blessing. 

Hebrews 4:12For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Seriously. I think that is what is so moving to me.  The aliveness of it. It discerns my heart as I read it? The Spirit of God living through the Word and living in us. Blows my mind and makes me want to dig in deeper to understand more and apply to life. 

Last Christmas my Mom and Dad gave all of our family the One Year Bible.  Their hope was that we would all be reading the same life-giving words each day together. It has been a great blessing. Not perfect, believe me, but good.  Days have been missed and some days reading seems like it might be simply checking off a list that you did it.  However, as we ask God to show us what to learn we become addicted to being with Him in the Word.  It's like that first good cup of coffee in the morning. As I commit to making this a priority when first waking up, in anticipation of what He is going to reveal today, His Word helps guide my thoughts and actions.  That is comforting and exciting.

I had someone say to me a few days ago that they were just weary of just studying the Bible and not putting it into practice in real life. Agree. I believe that there is much better chance of living it out if you are dwelling in His words though. Through the way I react in stressful or challenging situations, I have realized my life is either God's way or my selfish way. Usually when it is my worldly, selfish way I have not been dwelling with Him daily and getting a refreshed mind and heart.

It's simple, and at the same time hard. But also worth scheduling it in my day. In fact, it may be so worthwhile that it determines the trajectory of my life. At first, it can feel like I am checking off a To Do list. But just lean in and listen, wait and see how He explodes your heart and mind with the movement of the Spirit in His words of life when you commit to being in daily fellowship with Him.

If you are interested in reading with us this year and want to use this simple spiral you can pick one up here: His Word On My Heart (There is one for Men and one for Women) It is not dated so you can start any day. Just start on a Monday.

We will be sharing thoughts each Monday about the scriptures from the past week. Give it some thought, consider joining us and come along.

I will leave you with these sweet words from my Mama. GranJan.

Blessings! Amy

Sunday, August 13, 2017

7 Ways Older Folks Get It Right...

What can we gain in wisdom from people older than us?

We all seem to realize as we age that our parents (who we once thought didn't understand anything) are really and truly full of wisdom.

This morning our preacher (Dustin Bartee) blessed us with thoughts about 7 ways older folks teach us to live better. (This blog post for today is about point number one.) His words in bold.

1. Look up. There is so much competition for our faces and our attention.  We ignore beauty and people by having our faces constantly in our technology. We struggle with having our phones in our face and ears at all times.  (Guilty as charged.)

I wonder sometimes if we will end up with a society of people that don't even know how to hold a decent conversation, much less get along because of the isolation that our cell phones and iPad bring to our lives. I am most concerned that our children will feel that something on Mom and Dad's phone is more important than they are. These same children will then become just as addicted as Mom and Dad because they copy what they see.

I pray that our children will see our faces in our bibles more than in our phones, and that they will know we seek God's face above all else. We not only need to look up (from our phones) but look up steadily at Jesus. (Again, I am guilty.)

1 Chronicles 16:11- 
Look to the Lord and His strength; seek HIS face always. 

Psalm 27:8- 
My heart says of You, "Seek His face!" Your face, Lord, I will seek.

As my husband and I were having a meal out one evening last week we noticed how many people sat at tables together but were not present because they were engrossed in their phones. Amazing. We took out pen and paper right there and made a list of when it is not acceptable (for us) to be on our phones. Here is what we came up with. (Please know that I am aware that there are times in all of the situations below that we need to have our phones handy for communicating with people. I pray we just don't let them have a stronghold on our minds and lives.)

*During meals at home and out to eat. (We have a friend that tells people up front that they pay for the meal if they get their phones out while eating. I like that.)

*When I am in bed before I go to sleep. 

*At church. (Yes, I know that people use their phones for reading the bible. That is great! I understand, but it makes it so easy to do other things besides reading the scripture, at least for me. If we are tempted to shop on Amazon during worship or text someone maybe bringing our physical bible to church would be a good idea. It's easy, and we can take notes in it too.  People have done it for years and years, really.)

*When I have company in my home.

*While watching t.v. or a movie with someone else. (Really, there is no need to multitask between phone and a movie. Just slow down.)

*During business meetings. 

*When with our children. (Don't turn them into a person that never looks up.)

*While driving a car. Duh. 

*Bottom line...WHENEVER I am with another person my phone should be put away. Period. The people that are in front of me are more important than seeing what everyone else is doing through my phone. 

Dustin reminded us of the groups of older gentlemen that we occasionally see in McDonald's or in a small town cafe. They sit with warm cups of coffee ignoring the television blaring and the busyness of people around them. They look into the eyes of the men around them connecting with their hearts and minds. They have old fashioned conversation and they know each other. 

They look up. 
May we do the same. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Negativity Stinks...

This super little easy to read book has been out since 2007. I am wondering why I have not seen it before but am very thankful to have gotten my hands on it and my mind pondering its principles. I think it was written for people in the workplace or folks in leadership roles specifically, but hey, aren't we all meant to be leaders? 

This book gives 10 rules to fuel your life, your work or your team with positive energy. When I first read that it sort of smacked of "new age" with the word energy in the subtitle. Not the case though. It is about how being a positive, energetic person can energize the people around you. I was hoping that eventually it would speak of Jesus but it never went there. If you add the reason (Jesus) for true joy and energy and positivity then you really have something to shout about! 

I love this goal planning page in the book. I firmly believe that we have to set high and lofty goals. We need goals that inspire and excite us to move forward.  If we envision positive and energizing goals for life, our work, our team, our relationships and most importantly our families, we will be on the road to improving all aspects of our life. My brother used to say "If you set low goals you will always hit them so set HIGH goals." Think big! Think of goals that you can only reach with God's help!

Enjoy this super little book. I sure did. 

I will leave you with these thoughts from class this morning. We talked about what it means to deny yourself and take up your cross daily and follow Jesus.  DAILY was the word that stuck out to me. 

If we focus on Jesus and feed on His word daily we will probably have the mindset to try to be His hands and feet on this earth.  We will choose to try to lose our selfishness and focus on following Him and trying to love like He does.  People won't be able to resist our "Energy Bus" attitude if we choose to live this way. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Just Say No...

It's time to just shop my closet.

I have realized in the past month how I just blindly buy clothing without thinking. (You know that "Oh, that is SO cute and on sale" thought that runs through my head even though I just dropped by Target to get toilet paper thing.)

So, I am banning myself from buying any clothing for one year. Yes, that is drastic but for a random pretty undisciplined person like me drastic measures are needed.  The first month was hard because I was so used to just grabbing something that I liked be it a shirt or capris or cute dress.  If I wanted it I bought it and there in lies lots of trouble. When I start adding up what all that compulsive buying costs it becomes startling. Maybe even more startling is my lack of discipline and focus on myself.

With the money spent in a year on frivolous clothes shopping I probably could finance a romantic trip somewhere with my husband. We could be sipping coffee and making goo goo eyes at each other with all the cash that I have spent on well, things that don't matter. (I know we have to have clothing and it matters but good grief, how much do we need? Again, yelling at myself.)  Better yet, I could be helping people that need our assistance financially if I am more careful about how I spend.

Let's just say this is an examining time.  I am just at two months into this experiment and I have found that it is quite freeing mentally for me.  I am also finding that I really like the challenge of shopping in my closet. There is stuff in there that I forgot I had and remember that I really like. It is also a motivator to get moving and loose a few pounds and get back into that size that I really feel comfortable at. Again, seeing that discipline in my life is greatly needed.

As Bob Goff says, "Fail trying, don't fail watching." I am going to put some "umph" into my try.

Up for the challenge? Come along for this experiment as we pray for direction and think about how we spend money. Now that I have put this out there and have spoken it out loud I am thankful for this accountability with you. Let's do it!

  I say NO to shopping for fun and momentary, fleeting satisfaction. 

Father, I know this might seem like a silly thing to do but I truly want to be responsible about what You have provided for us. I pray for an awareness of the needs of others and for an awakening to what I truly need and how I spend money.