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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

November Challenge

Happy November 1st!
It is my birthday month and of course it is Thanksgiving!
So, to help us all focus on being thankful this month, I have a challenge. For the next thirty days, show gratitude.
Here are some ideas:
-Keep a thankful journal. Every night before bed write down 5 things you are thankful for. Think about the basics (clean water, warm place to sleep, socks, etc.) and the bigger things (someone special to love, a great job, a stranger's smile, etc.)
-Buy thirty thank you cards, and every day, send one to a person. (fire department, pastors, parents, girl at the coffee shop, mail carrier, etc.)
-Think of a few people who have been huge blessings to you, and make thank you baskets. (Include snacks, gift cards, sweet notes, and little thoughtful knick knacks, etc.)
-Whenever you go out anywhere, (coffee, gas station, grocery store, restaurant, etc.) say a sincere thank you with a smile, while making eye contact.
-Include kiddos! Have them draw pictures or bake cookies for local firefighters, or police stations and drop them off together.
-Do random acts of kindness, without expecting a thank you. (Consider the homeless, the broken, the elderly, etc.)
-Look up verses in the Bible about being thankful. (There's quite a few!)
So excited to start this with ya'll! Who's in? Can't wait to hear stories of what you're doing too!
Thank you for reading and supporting me!
Love, M

He is faithful.

There are times in my life where I can actually feel the presence of God. There are times when I know He is faithful, because the mountains keep on moving. I know He is real with everything in me. I talk to Him, and I know He listens.
But then there are these moments in life, where I don't feel it. I am overwhelmed, and I don't see His faithfulness.
This is when faith must step in. If faith is only active when life is beautiful, and God feels near, then it is a weak faith. But if I dig in my heels, and remember that this is just a dry period, and that's okay.
So, what about this slump I'm in? I have realized something in my own life lately, and last night in Bible study realized it all over again. I need to declare His faithfulness. Declaring His faithfulness helps me be faithful. It refocuses me. It reminds me that just last month, He was faithful in huge ways. Which means, He is faithful, today, when I just want to throw in the towel and take a nap, He's still faithful. It helps silence the enemy. When I am praising God, it stops Satan's lies about how God gave up on me. Satan wants more than anything, my faith to falter.
So, bear with me, as I remind myself of His faithfulness. I challenge you to do the same. Because there is beauty in realizing this truth.
God, You are still faithful when: life doesn't make sense, I'm tired, bills need to be paid, I'm in a mood, the power is out, I'm still tired, when death steals what we love, when cars don't start, when friends leave, days are long, no one else is there, I have been praying for something for years and don't see it any closer, people hurt my feelings, there isn't hot water, I feel rejected, I feel awkward, I am overwhelmed, I get sick, I cry all the time, I have been a bridesmaid 7 times, and I don't understand. God, you are always good. You are always faithful. My circumstances and emotions never change who You are, and that You are in control.
Psalm 18:25a To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
Psalm 33:4 For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.
Psalm 36:5 Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.
Psalm 89:1 I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.
Psalm 89:8 O Lord God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O Lord, and your faithfulness surrounds you.
Hosea 6:3 Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.
Happy Wednesday.
Love, M
Get ready for a huge month long challenge starting tomorrow morning!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Good things to do.

There are so many "good things to do" in my life:
-drink eight glasses of water a day
-sleep eight hours a night
-wash bed sheets frequently
-balance the checkbook
-be kind
-eat enough fruits and vegetables
-clean out the fridge
-wear sunscreen
-return phone calls
-send letters
-moisturize daily
-always take off make up before bed
-clean the toilet
-get oil in car changed every few months
-take vitamins
-exercise more
-fold and put away laundry
-wear deodorant
-read bible and spend time with Jesus
Somehow in the hustle and bustle of life, spending time in God's word gets thrown on the list of "good things to do". It slips from being a priority, to suddenly being something that gets done only if life slows down.
Well, I'm no expert, but life doesn't appear to be slowing down. So how does this all work?
Spending time with Jesus and being in His Word needs to be priority number one. Nothing is as important than sitting at His feet, even for a moment. I know if I make time to read the Bible in the morning, life may still be hard, but I have this strength to get through it, that I only get from spending time with Jesus.
Reading the Word isn't just a thing to check off of to do list for the day. Life doesn't make sense without it. I crave it. And when my desire slips, I beg for it to come back. There is so much value in reading the Bible, prayer, and just sitting at Jesus' feet.
I challenge you to really make it a priority. If you struggle with reading or wanting to read, ask God for the desire and help to do it. The words in that book are literally life changing. It is powerful.
Good night.
Love, M.
Also, please join me in praying for the east coast of the US, as they deal with this hurricane.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

My best friend.

If you know me well, you would know I have so many best friends, it is impossible to keep them straight. I have friends from childhood, friends from college, friends of the family, friends I meet and instantly know we were meant for each other.
But I have a very, very, very, best friend. We have a secret handshake. She cuddles up on my lap, and knows when my heart is sad. She can make me smile quicker than anyone else. We dress alike and pretend we are twins. We finish each other's sentences. We go shopping, to movies, and to the zoo together. We drive with the windows down, singing our favorite country songs as loud as we can. She is my best friend. She is also three years old.

Earlier this week, we were driving to some adventure, and just talking. She quickly got very serious, and asked who my best friend was. I reminded her that she was, for always. She then asked, well what about Jesus?

I was taken aback. I didn't think I spoke much about Him to her. But she then pointed out that she noticed that I talk to Him whenever we are in the car, especially if traffic is bad. She reminded me that I love to read about Him from my favorite book in the mornings, and she told me how I love to sing songs about Him throughout the day.

So I told her that she AND Jesus were my best friends. She then got very concerned that my best friend was a boy. :)

It makes my heart leap out of my chest with joy that I have never told her, but she knew. The past few weeks have been rough. I am still believing that God is good. But life has been overwhelming. My only true joy comes from Jesus, alone. She knew that. The one person who knows me better than anyone knew she wasn't the only best friend, it had to be Jesus too.

I have been wondering if people who aren't in the car and hear my prayers, or see me weeping as I sing that He is still good, or curled up with my Bible know that Jesus is my best friend and Savior. Can they tell by the way I speak or act? Can they tell when I am tired or cranky? Jesus is more than something to occupy my weekends. He is the one who loves me with an everlasting love. He is the only reason there is good in me. He is my Savior. And most importantly, He really is my best friend.

Is He your best friend too? He's a good one.

Have a lovely weekend. M. :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

It's a battle

Romans 7:19-20 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do - this I keep doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

If you're like me, you reread that trying to make sense of what is being said.

I want to do good, but I don't. I don't want to do evil, but I do. All because of my sinful nature.

How often do we have good intentions and we fall into evil?

We never wake up in the morning thinking we want to hurt feelings, be bitter, be greedy, cheat, lie, be rude, or be a jerk. But it is our sinful nature. That's the way we are naturally bent, to be jerks.
So, what do we do? Throw in the towel and be jerks, since that's the way we are naturally? I hope not!

There is an antidote to our jerky, selfish, sinful self. It's Jesus. He alone can make us into new creatures.

1 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Don't forget this life is a battle. Fight. Don't give up so easily.

Fight to be a better person than you were yesterday. Make changes so you are not in situations where you will give into doing what you don't want to do.
Be in the Word.

There is nothing like the Bible. It refreshes, reconnects, renews, restores, convicts and changes us. No other book has the power to change us like God's word. Be diligent with your time, and make time to sit at the feet of Jesus, everyday.

Spend time talking to Jesus in prayer. The more you are with Him, the more you will be like Him.

We have a fighting chance. Be intentional as you start your week. Keep changing. Don't be a jerk.

Happy Monday. Love, M

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Dark Days

We have been experiencing some dark days as family, friends, church, and community.

A beautiful, amazing, young girl went to be with Jesus on Friday.

And we are left here, distraught, questioning, numb, falling apart, and exhausted.

I was thinking yesterday about dark days.

The darkest day in history was the day that Jesus died.

We only see our side of the story, after all the pieces came together.

But just imagine his disciples who had followed him for years, giving their lives to His ministry, and suddenly were without their leader and teacher. Hopeless. Imagine his mama, Mary. She knew He was the Messiah, but to watch her baby die in front of her for nothing he had done, must've been awful beyond words. Crowds of people who believed and followed, suddenly doubted everything they thought to be true. Angels could not figure out what was happening to heaven's darling. Satan himself rejoicing, believing he had foiled God's plan.

But God was still in control. He was still good. He was still working in ways no one could fathom, behind the scenes.

Three days later, Jesus actually rose from the dead. The dead, not a nap. He conquered death, hell, the grave, Satan, and gave hope. We no longer have to fear death. We have hope. We have promises. Heaven is real. Jesus took care of business.

So, as we go through dark days, we can know with assurance a few things.

God is still on the throne. He is in control. He is good. He is faithful. He doesn't change when life does. He is working this for good for those who love Him. He alone is our hope.

The one phrase the past few days that has risen above any other has been, "God is good." He is good whether or not we believe He is. He is good regardless of our circumstances. He is good. Always. He is good.

Please be praying for peace, and rest for all who knew and loved Ariel. Be praying that Jesus will continue to be shared, and lives will be changed.

Love, M

Saturday, October 13, 2012

It's only Jesus.

Tragedy has recently struck very close to home.

A beautiful life was unexpectedly taken.

I have had many conversations with many people sorting out emotions, feelings, and life.

A few people have said the same thing to me, leaving me shocked.

"Well, if she knew you, then you know she is in a better place."

Hold up.

Because she knew me?


Because she knew Jesus personally, and in a real way, she is in Heaven with Him. I don't doubt that for a moment.

Not because she was a good person. Not because she believed in a better place. Not because enough people prayed for her to go to heaven. Not because of anything other than she confessed with her mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believed in her heart that God had raised Him from the dead.

Knowing me, being my friend, or anything I could do in my power will never do anything for anyone. But believing in Jesus will change everything.

He alone is the way, the truth, and the life. No one gets to the Father (God) except through Jesus. He is the only reason I am who I am. He is the only good in me. He is the only one who can change a life. He alone conquered the grave.

It's Jesus. That's all.

Love, M

Friday, October 12, 2012


Psalm 34:11 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 31:14-15a But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, "You are my God." My times are in your hands.

Psalm 46:10a Be still, and know that I am God;

Psalm 62:8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

Love, M

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Update on Nestor

The other day, I received a message from my good friend in Bolivia.

She has been my connection to what is going on there. She has been able to go and hold babes that I can't right now. I am so grateful to have her be my eyes and ears in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Here is part of her email.

i just spent the afternoon with nestor and juana and things arent good.  His heart (where they operated) is infected, and he has what looks like a swollen knot on his chest showing it.  he has been running a fever for a while.  he needs to be back in the hospital and they need to do a test (i think it is like a scope) to see into his heart what is going on.  The doctors need him in the hospital for 3 weeks to treat this.  This is going to cost 15,000 bs or about $2,170 (they say, though it could be more or less depending on how long the treatment takes.  we plan on going tomorrow to the tv station at hope and pray they will allow juana to give an interview for free that they will broadcast as a fundraiser.  we are also asking the foundtation that helped with the surgery to help again.  we are hoping and praying that with these efforts, God will provide the money.  We are trying to get this all done quickly, because this infection could be fatal if it is not treated.  Please please pray hard that the money comes in and that Nestor may be healed completely.  Juana was in tears today.  My heart is so heavy for this family.  However, Nestor has put on 3 kilos (like almost 13 pounds) and looks so much healthier because of this!  He also has started smiling and laughing.  He is anxious to try to push himself up and he seems like he has a fighting spirit within him.  He has also started making some noises and loves sticking out his tongue.  on and the best part... he has a mohawk.
So, please, please, please, pray for Nestor with me. Pray for complete healing in his little body, and for his family to know Jesus.

Thanks to everyone who has been following his story. It brings tears to my eyes, and joy to my heart to know that you, who have never met this baby, love him, and ask about him.

Thank you for encouraging me, and for praying.

Have a wonderful Wednesday.

Love, M