God – legit – moves mountains!

Matthew 19:26 –  Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”    

 faithcanmovemtnsPhoto cred: Morocco Pens

That’s right, MatthewI’ve seen the impossible become the possible!  I’ve witnessed, first-hand, what God can do! He moved a mountain that I had been standing at the foot of for so long, craning my neck all the way back to try to see to the top of it, but I never quite could.  It was a mountain that seemingly I created, yet feared.  In my mind’s eye, as I prayed on it… prayed that it would move far away from me, there was a tiny seed of doubt… I prayed on it, but I didn’t really believe that it could be moved.  So it stayed there. And it stayed. And it stayed. I’d pray every day for it to move, but that stupid seed was still there, too, and God knew it.  He tried to encourage me to crush that seed underfoot, but I had trouble hearing Him over the seed’s intent… doubt.

After nearly a year of staring at the foot of that impossible-to-move mountain, I finally heard God’s loving but firm voice say, “Just crush that seed of doubt and watch what happens. Trust me.  Put ALL of your faith in me and what you have believed to be impossible is possible…for me.”  So wearing a fabulous pair of boots, I placed that seed of doubt on the concrete and smashed it with my heel into a million pieces.  I knelt down, bowed my head, closed my eyes and prayed, thanking Him for His eternal love and faithfulness.

When I opened my eyes and stood up, I saw Him off in the distance carrying that mountain far, far away.  God moved that mountain for me as soon as I put all of my faith and trust in Him, and once I did so, I fully expected Him to move it. The moment I crushed that tiny seed of doubt, He blessed me in more ways than I could possibly imagine.

Although faith can move mountains, doubt can create them.  I was so tired of having such a stiff neck looking up at that mountain, I had considered pitching a tent at the foot of it and laying flat on the ground as I suspected that I’d be looking up at it forever.

I thank Him for commanding me to shut up and be still for a minute so that I could actually hear His message… to crush the seed of doubt, to put all of my trust and faith in Him so that He could do his job. After all, He IS God and He’s way better at it than I am!

Psalm 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God”.

~Let Love Lead The Way~ TP

 

                     

Christians are not “better” than anyone else…

…they’re just “better off with Jesus”.  ~Pastor Anthony Milas, Granite United Church

 

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Photo Cred:  Mountain Toppers

Profound words from an awesome and ever-engaging Pastor!  I have been attending Granited United Church for over nine months.  It’s been the most amazing experience of my life.  Why, you might ask?  Well, first, I have Jesus.  He is first and foremost in my heart and I welcomed Him as my Lord & Savior without a moment’s hesitation, doubt or fear of the unknown.  Additionally, to help me in my Christian walk, I have the passionate and heartfelt guidance of G.U.’s Lead Pastor, Anthony Milas as well as my Campus Pastor, Courtland Holloway and their lovely wives, Christy and Kara, not to mention my entire G.U. Family.  One of the first things I learned when I walked through their doors was that there are “No Perfect People Allowed” at Granite.  Outstanding!  I’m about as far from perfect as a person can be!

October is “Pastor Appreciation Month” and I can’t thank my Pastors enough for the way they pour into us each week.  They don’t walk in front of us, nor behind us, but beside us so that we may lean on them as we lean into the Word to better know and love Jesus.  So “Thank You” to all of the Granite United Pastors and their wives for helping us all on our respective Christian journies.  You are well-respected and well-loved!

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Photo Cred: LittleThingsAboutGod

As duly noted by Pastor Milas yesterday, as Christians, we need to say, “NO to the world and YES to the WORD”.  It’s not as difficult to do as it may seem.  Stick your nose in a Bible if you’ve never done so.  Perhaps start with the book of John.  When you read the gospels, you’ll see that Jesus didn’t come here to teach us about religion; He came to save us.  He wants to have a personal relationship with each one of us.  All we need to do is call upon His name, ask Him to forgive us of our sins and to be our Savior.   If you’ll take a leap of faith and do so, you’ll know the joy, peace and eternal love that salvation brings.

Sometimes, it’s not an easy path to walk…it can be lined with naysayers, those that may ridicule, judge or reject.  That’s okay, they’re not the ones I’m trying to please; only Him.  Do I completely understand EVERYTHING in the Bible…not even remotely, but it’s a work in progress; I’m a work in progress!  With the guidance of a very loving and devout Christian woman, who teaches my Bible Study class (shout out to Nancy Susan Salois!), I am learning and growing every time I immerse myself in the Word.

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Photo Cred:  www.mybible.com 

O Come to the Altar’ By Elevation Worship…. (an excerpt) of very POWERFUL lyrics!!

Are you hurting and broken within?
Overwhelmed by the weight of your sin?
Jesus is calling
Have you come to the end of yourself
Do you thirst for a drink from the well?
Jesus is calling
O come to the altar
The Father’s arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ
Leave behind your regrets and mistakes
Come today there’s no reason to wait
Jesus is calling
Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy
From the ashes a new life is born
Jesus is calling
Oh what a savior
Isn’t He wonderful?
Sing hallelujah, Christ is risen
Bow down before Him
For He is Lord of all
Bear your cross as you wait for the crown
Tell the world of the treasure you found

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Photo Cred:  Soul Shepherding

To not share the Good News and the peace and joy of loving Christ would be like not grabbing and pulling back on the arm of a toddler who’s about to step off a curb into traffic.  Why would I keep this all to myself?  Why wouldn’t I want my loved ones, both family and friends, to have what I have?  I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing and know that God has a plan for everyone.  He’ll do His work, and I’ll continue to do mine.

Granite United is a church that extends grace, not shame or criticism.   I’m so THANKFUL to have found this wonderful community where I get to worship, pray and be taught the Word of God in an awesome, very cool, and hip way (and by cool and hip, I mean “TOTALLY COOL AND HIP!”)

Again… a huge THANK YOU to Pastor Milas and ALL of Granite’s Campus Pastors!  Without “you”, we wouldn’t “be”.

Luke 15:3-7 – [3]So Jesus used this illustration: [4]”If you had one hundred sheep, and one of them strayed away and was lost in the wilderness, wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine others to go and search for the lost one until you found it?  [5]And then you would joyfully carry it home on your shoulders. [6] When you arrived, you would call together your friends and neighbors to rejoice with you because your lost sheep was found. [7] In the same way, Heaven will be happier over one lost sinner who returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!”

 

~Let Love Lead The Way~ TP

 

 

He’s Got My Baggage

 

 

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Photo cred:  Macy’s

Little did I know that I had “baggage”.  I thought I was “good”; perhaps toting around a small carry-on bag containing a few trinkets of regret, shame, embarrassment, guilt, etc.  It wasn’t until recently that I realized I had considerably more than a carry-on bag.  I had that, plus two of those big suitcases with the wheels and retractable handles, a garment bag, a duffle bag and a backpack.  Seriously?  Where did all of THIS come from?

I was simply “doing” life on my own…without help, without guidance and without purpose.  I thought I was managing things in a reasonable fashion.  I thought I was just like everyone else…sucking it up and moving forward.  Oh, I was, alright… I had my head down and plowed through everyone and everything, ignoring what was in my heart… knowing that something of enormous proportions was missing.  But what was it?  What was it that I was missing on my solo flight through life?  There was “something”!  It seemed to be on the very edge of my heart and mind, but whatever it was,  it seemed so elusive and mysterious.

I was plugging along by myself for over fifty years.  I had my beloved family and friends, my dogs, my job, a few hobbies, and my life “seemed” to be okay, average, “normal”… but ALWAYS, something seemed to be missing.

As I reflect back over the last five decades, I did start out with a small carry-on bag, no doubt, but over the course of time, the rest of my baggage crept in, almost imperceivably, and the next thing I knew, I had one of those hotel-dollys stacked high with the rest of my baggage. I hunkered down behind it holding on to the cold, brass rails in a defensive lineman’s stance, with all of my weight on the balls of my feet so I could reluctantly push it.  I pushed it uphill most of the way, only once in a while, when my life seemed simple, fun and carefree, did I take the opportunity to jump on the back of it while it careened downhill… going faster and faster….. Woooooooo Hoooooo!  On those rare occasions, that baggage dolly would inevitably come to a crashing halt, tipping over and spilling my regret, embarrassment, shame and guilt all over the ground.  I’d painstakingly gather everything back up and stuff it all neatly into my baggage, and I’d hunker down again and start pushing.

I was EXHAUSTED.  This down- and uphill battle was killing me…breaking my spirit into a million pieces.  How could I POSSIBLY go on any longer in this fashion?  How could I even entertain getting my life “under control”?  Who was going to save me and redirect my life so that I could live peacefully, joyfully and without guilt and shame?

And then it happened.   That elusive and mysterious component missing in my life showed up.  All I had to do was stop pushing that dolly full of my baggage, open my heart and my mind and ask for help.  I knew I couldn’t do this alone any longer.  I needed help, I needed rest.  I needed Him.  Only He could take this load off of my nearly broken back and shoulders.  When He offered to take my baggage from me and told me to follow Him… I couldn’t do it fast enough!  Without a moment’s hesitation, I started to transfer my baggage from that dolly to Him.  Each time I ladened Him with yet another bag, He stood tall, His knees never buckeled, His stance never wavered.  His pile was getting bigger and heavier by the minute and mine was getting smaller and lighter.  By the time I finished, He had it all…

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Photo cred: Pintrest

He reached over and took my hand.  As I stepped into His love, light and life, I never looked back.  I’ll NEVER be able to thank Him for what He’s done for me.

We all have baggage…some loads are lighter than others, but we ALL have it, nonetheless.  When you’ve had enough of doing this life on your own, He’s waiting for you…

God is greater than the burdens you are carrying.

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Photo cred:  Proverbs 31 Ministries

 

~Let Love Lead The Way~ TP

 

 

Whaddya mean, you want me to *SERVE*?!?

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Photo Cred:  Illinois Baptist State Association 

After I joined my local bible-based Christian Church, Granite United, I kept hearing chatter about “serving”.  Being new to the church, I was unclear as to what that meant.  As I continued attending service each week, the notion of “serving” began to unfold and before I knew what I was doing, I had filled out a “Connection Card” checking off the box for “Kids Ministry”.  Wait a second…”Kids Ministry”?  What could I, as a new Christian, possibly “teach” these kids about Jesus?  They probably know way more about Him than I do.  They’ll probably teach me a thing or two.  But okay… I committed to doing it…and so it began.

Easter Service…my first time in KM.  These little bright and shining faces looking at me like I knew what I was doing (I was as nervous as a tortoise trying to cross Route 93), but I just “went with it”.  I mean, these are “just kids” after all, right?

We played some games and did a lesson followed by an Easter Egg hunt.  I watched as one of the sweetest little girls on the planet handed over the “golden” Easter Egg that she had found to a boy who happens to be blind.  As I watched this transaction transpire, the waterworks came on and I was sobbing like a baby.  I had just witnessed a four year old angelic-looking girl gladly, graciously and lovingly give up the coveted golden Easter Egg to a boy who, although he couldn’t see it, knew it was a “big deal”.  He squealed in overjoyed delight, jumping up and down with a smile on his face that went from ear-to-ear.  I stood there placing my hand on the little girl’s shoulder and bending down to her level, told her how “very proud I was of her for giving him the golden egg and that was such an unselfish thing to do.”  Looking up at me with her big, beautiful blue eyes and an ever-present smile, she beamed, “I know!”  Being such a little girl, this was, in no way, a self-serving or self-aggrandizing statement.  It was “matter of fact”, as if she simply knew that what she had done was a “good” and “kind” thing.  :::I was still crying at this point, but reined it in a little so as not to alarm them:::

As we wrapped up the Easter Egg hunt, service had concluded and parents were arriving to pick up their kids.  Hugs all around and heartfelt “good-byes” ensued.  For those that know me well, know that sometimes I’m overcome by emotion and this day was no exception.  I got in my car and as I drove the 15 minutes to get home, my heart was so full of love and happiness over these kids, I continued to cry, barely being able to see where I was going.

So I’m a few rounds into KM and let me share with you how it’s changed me and what I’ve learned.  I’ve “taught” a couple of lessons… Noah’s Ark & God’s Rainbow and the Last Supper & Communion.  I’ve watched these kids be engaging, kind, selfless and loving.  I always used to jokingly say that I could never “run a daycare” because by the end of the day, when the parents would arrive to pick up their kids, they’d either find them hanging from the ceiling fan or duct-taped to the wall, suggesting that I’d never have the patience or wherewithal to “deal” with kids.  All joking aside, how wrong I was!  I am so thankful to be involved in Kids Ministry and knowing that it’s a committed process to teach children about Jesus in a fun and loving way; without it being too overwhelming for them.

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Photo cred:  Kids Matter Kids Ministry

Kids Ministry has taught me patience, to be able to see Jesus through the wonder-filled eyes of children.  It’s taught me about giving my time, willingly and lovingly, to assist these kids in learning about and coming to know Jesus.  After all, I’m a “Baby Christian”, so I’m learning right along with them.

Since kids can sometimes be unpredictable, there have been a few moments where things were going a little “sideways”, but through the loving hand of Jesus Christ, I found myself de-escalating a situation that otherwise may have ended with a ceiling fan or duct tape.  (Just kidding!)

In all seriousness, I never, in a million years, would’ve thought that I would be where I am today…completely devoted and ever-faithful in following Christ and serving in Kids Ministry.  These kids have impressed upon me their desire and willingness to know the Lord, and by His mercy and grace I will humbly do my best to help them on their journey.  I’ll hold their hands and take this walk with them, knowing that if either of us stumble, Jesus will be there to pick us up and help us continue on our way.

If you’re a part of the Granite United family and haven’t yet served in Kids Ministry, I urge you to do so.  Not only will you be helping kids learn about Jesus, you will be rewarded in ways you never could’ve imagined!

Matthew 18:2-4 [2]”And calling to Him a child, He put him in the midst of them and said, ‘Truly I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. [4]Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven’.”

~Let Love Lead The Way~ TP

 

 

 

 

Eternity DOES hang in the balance! Where do you think YOU’RE going?

 

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Photo cred:  Indian in the Machine

All of my life I’ve never wavered in thinking that after we “die physically” we still continue to exist.  In being raised Catholic, I was taught about heaven and hell, but always believed that if I were a “good person”, heaven awaits!!  My bag’s been packed for years, not that I’ll need much in heaven; after all it IS heaven, but just to be on the safe side, my bag includes my Keurig machine, my favorite “Dog Lover” coffee mug, a never-ending supply of Peet’s Major Dickason K-Cups, Hershey’s Chocolate and Caramel creamer, as well as my iPad and wireless keyboard…after all, I’ll HAVE to blog about heaven when I get there!  As I trudged along in my humble worldly life, I truly thought that I was “good to go”…landing in heaven for all eternity because I believed in it and I certainly didn’t want to go to hell.   I mean, isn’t being a kind, humble, caring, selfless person enough?  Nope.

John 14:6 ~ Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

I always thought the aforementioned verse meant that as long as I “believed” in Jesus, I was all set…Red-carpet-roll-out upon MY arrival into heaven!  Whoop whoop!  Ummmm… “no”…that’s not what it means.  :::Insert ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ look here:::

Luke 16:19-30 tells the story of the “Rich Man and Lazarus”.  The rich man was just that in his worldly life…rich… he had every worldly possession his heart desired, but refused to repent and turn his life over to God.  The poor man, Lazarus, covered in sores, [21]who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores.  [22]The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, [23]and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.  [24]And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ [25]But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. [26]And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us. [27]And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— [28]for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ [29]But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ [30]And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ [31]He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

EVERYONE needs to know that there is a heaven to gain, but there is also a hell to shun!  Poet Willam Arthur Tell wrote a thought-provoking poem about this; well worth the read.

At service yesterday, our Lead Pastor reminded us that “Good people don’t go to heaven…FORGIVEN people DO!”  Asking Jesus to forgive us of our sins and to be our Lord and Savior means we ARE forgiven.  This is a life-changing commitment; the difference between spending eternity in heaven vs. hell.

I know that for many years I thought I was all set and that heaven awaits me when my time on this earth ends.  I was pretty confident in that belief; I didn’t know anything to the contrary.  I never opened a bible when I attended Mass; it was something that the Priest opened up and read the gospel from.  I thought, “I’ll never understand or be able to comprehend it.  Does the Word really pertain to ‘me’?”  Oh, “yes”, it does!  I’m in His Word EVERY day.  The Bible is a living document, directing me where I need to be EVERY time I open it.  He knows… it’s by his mercy, grace and favor that I humbly live.  Jesus IS the truth, the way and the life and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ve grabbed ahold of his hand and I’m NEVER letting go!

I’m not special, not in the least.  But I am FORGIVEN and I am SAVED.  That’s all fine and good, but what about those that aren’t?  Don’t they deserve to know that their eternity hangs in the balance?  “Leave no man behind”.  Seek and find; bring those you love (and even those you don’t) to Jesus.

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The good news is, is that HEAVEN is FOREVER, but we must not forget that so is HELL.  There’s no bargaining your way out of hell.  There’s no begging for forgiveness then… it’ll be too late.  There is NO WAY out of HELL…EVER.

There are people in my life whom I desperately want to turn to Jesus.  Deep-rooted in the back of my mind (until now) has been the haunting thought that, “They’ll never do it.  They’ll never repent and be forgiven and saved.”  Shame on me.  My Pastor said yesterday, “Don’t answer somebody’s “No” for them.”  AMEN!  Who am I to assume they can’t or they won’t?  It may seem like an impossible task for ME, but nothing is impossible for God and with His love, faithfulness and guidance, I will continue to ask them, I will continue to pray for them, and I will continue to let them see Jesus in me.

Romans 10:9-10 ~ “[9]because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. [10]For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”

~Let Love Lead The Way~ TP

 

 

 

Love my enemies? You’re kidding me, right?!

IMG_0055.PNGPhoto cred:  Bloor Landsdowne Christian Fellowship

 

Old Me:  “Shut up, Matthew!”

New Me:  “Okay, I get it, but this is NOT gonna be easy!  Just sayin’…”

I’m in the Bible every day.  I know that the greatest second commandment is, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” ~Matthew 22:38

Ugh.  I keep reminding myself that I’m only human.  That when someone is against me, slighting me, undermining me, the “old me” rears its ugly head and the venomous feelings of revenge surface, and I know exactly who’s behind it.  The enemy.  I momentarily entertain the “old feelings”… of who and what I used to be and when I reflect back on the times I would’ve gladly engaged in a WWE smackdown, taking pleasure in “giving someone what they had coming”, I’m so ashamed.  Embarrassed, too.

That was me… really?  Yes, it was, right up until I turned my heart and life over to Jesus.  Not gonna lie… this is the one that I struggle with the most.  REALLY struggle with. Not that I was, by any stretch, a bad person, but if someone intentionally hurt me, I was all over them like “white on rice”.   There was NO way I was going to “let someone hurt me, and get away with it.”  Since becoming a Christian, I feel as though I’ve been “turning the other cheek” so often that I’ve got whiplash.  True story.

I’ve always considered myself to be humble, kind and thoughtful…UNTIL someone came at me.  Then it was “game on”.  The humble, kind and thoughtful me went out the window and was replaced with the “Terminator”.  Yuck.  It pains me to even acknowledge it and write it “out loud”.

Each day I pray for God’s mercy, wisdom, grace and favor.  I ask Him for His strength and guidance in my Christian Walk.  I pray for those who are suffering, who are less fortunate, for those who don’t know Jesus and “yes”, I pray for my enemies.  By the time I “get to them” in my prayers, it’s more like a “footnote”; a perfunctory recognition of their existence.  Oopsies!

I realize now that when I pray for my enemies I need to do so in a truly loving and forgiving way.  Praying for those against me initially was contrary to everything I felt and believed… it’s not easy… not in the least, but it’s what I NEED to do… it’s the RIGHT thing to do.  I recently shared the following post on FB by Pastor Joel Osteen:

  • Bless Your Enemies… Jesus said in Luke 6:27-28 “Bless those that curse you, do good to those that hurt you, pray for those that mistreat you.”  One test we all have to pass is being good to people that have not been good to us.  It won’t make sense in your mind, everything in you will will say, “Hold a grudge, talk bad about them, look for ways to get even.”  Your job is not to pay people back.  Your job is to bless your enemies.

Challenge accepted, Pastor Osteen.

To my enemies, ga’head “bring it”.  I’ll be waiting for you, with a heart full of forgiveness and prayers for your well-being.  Because at the end of the day, I’m living my life as Jesus did, to the very best of my ability, and, quite frankly, the simple reminder to myself is, “What would Jesus do?”  He’d bless them, forgive them and love them.  He’s so awesome.  I thank Him every day for blessing me, forgiving me and loving me.  I’m a sinner; not unlike my enemies.  If He can forgive me, I can certainly forgive them.

~Matthew 5:44 – “But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

Okay, Matthew… message received loud and clear and I’m sorry that the “old me” told you to “shut up”.  The “new me” will keep reminding myself of this message every day, until I no longer have to “think” about it; that praying for and loving my enemies will come as second nature to me and I’ll do it willingly, gladly and with nothing in my heart but love.  Consider me a “work in progress.”

~Matthew 6:14-15 – [14]For if you forgive others their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you.  [15]but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

~Let Love Lead The Way~ TP

The blessings DO come!

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In the beginning of my Christian walk, I didn’t fully understand what “the blessings come after the surrender” meant…  I had a pretty good idea but I was of the mindset that I’d probably have to “see it” to “believe it”.  My intent was innocent enough in that I didn’t want to blatantly “test God” and he knew it (because He knows everything!), it was simply because I was in the infancy stages of my new life in Christ that He most likely wanted to do me a solid, letting me know and encouraging me in my new found faith in Him.

As I faithfully was in the Bible every day, journaling, attending worship and service each week, willingly and gladly dropping my offering in the “bucket”, serving in Kids Ministry and spreading the Good News, not only with my mouth but via my social media accounts, I watched my new life unfold, like a flower in a garden blossoming under the warmth of the sun, the blessings – big and small – started to come.

At first, and although I don’t believe in coincidences, I did just that…. I thought that perhaps the first few blessings were merely coincidences.  How wrong I was!  His faithfulness is endless.  As our Lead Pastor has said many times, “He’ll meet you wherever you are, but He loves you too much to leave you there.”  Jesus reached down and saved me… doing for me, what I couldn’t do for myself.  God loves and protects me, laying His ever-powerful hand upon my shoulder, gently guiding and moving me forward in my faith.

IMG_0052.JPGPhoto Cred:  “The Hand of God” by Artist Yongsung Kim

As I witnessed the blessings, at first unsure if they were truly blessings from Him, I “Let Go and Let God” and I put my faith and trust in Him.  After I truly surrendered, I could see His love, guidance and direction for me.  Quite frankly, I was in awe… I was truly amazed and I thought, “He truly IS in my life.  He truly IS leading my steps; Psalms 119:105 – “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

I had suffered an annual financial loss that I thought would ruin my family.  I envisioned all sorts of loss and devastation, uncertain as to how we could possibly make “ends meet”.  This financial loss came at the beginning of this year and I was so afraid as to what the future would hold.  Three weeks later, I turned my life and heart over to Jesus… putting my faith and trust in Him.  And then it began…

I started to build my relationship with Jesus, never looking back, turning back or going back to my old life.  At first, my Christian Walk was in baby steps, after all, I was a “baby Christian”.  As I toddled my way through, before I knew it, I was walking and only falling down occasionally, then I progressed to walking confidently, without a care or thought of falling, unless I clumsily tripped over something!  The next thing I knew, I was running, full-tilt, into his loving and awaiting arms… always keeping my eyes on Him, above and beyond everything else.

I found myself, contrary to what I had anticipated, managing to pay our bills each month without truly struggling.  Why do I have this extra money in my paycheck this pay period?  Oh…that would be an unexpected, one-time discretionary bonus to thank me for my contributions the previous year.  Hmmm…. all of a sudden, the LAST payment for my car loan was coming up… there’s a savings every month that had escaped me in my financial planning/budgetary process.  Oh, look… I just finished making the last payment on a credit card.  All of my blessings have not only been monetary in nature (although gladly welcomed!).  As I’ve continued to be faithful in living through Jesus, I’ve noticed a positive change in some of the people around me.  Although some may not be ready to commit their lives to Him, they’re seeing Jesus in me and it’s affecting them in what I believe is a very positive way.  I love how all of this “works”.  The bottom line is all I needed to do was ask Jesus to forgive me and to be my Lord and Savior and truly commit my life to Him and “Voila!”, the blessings started to come — big and small.  To quote my campus pastor, “I’ll NEVER get over what Jesus did for me!”  Neither will, I pastor… neither will I!

So today’s blessing was that I woke up at 7:20 and thought, “Oh, good grief… I’ve woken up late… I’ve got less than an hour to get ready for work.”  As I lay there, playing out in my head everything I needed to get done in the next 40 minutes, I heard this faint voice say, “Relax…it’s SUNDAY!”  Wha…What…WHAT?!  Yes… YES… Y E S !!!  This was followed by me jumping up and making my coffee and knowing that today was “blog” day… thanking and praising Him through every sip and back-spaced typo!

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~Psalms 23:1-3 – “[1]The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.  [2]He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters.  [3]He restores my soul.  He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

And the blessings keep coming!

~Let Love Lead The Way~ TP