Never.

There ‘s always an excuse for being late to something.

When was the last time God was our excuse for being late? “I’m sorry…I just got so caught up in His presence that I lost track of time.”

My bet is never.

And yet, when He calls us away to spend time with Him, we give Him one right after the other, “I have to pick up my kid from practice,” “I’m too tired,” or “I made plans with a friend.”

We can justify ourselves all day long with the importance of those things, but the reality is that we just told the Creator of this universe that those things trump Him. Those things outrank Him in our hearts.

We do that, because we have the understanding that God will give us more grace than the others will. We abuse His grace, prostituting it for our momentary pleasure rather than appreciate it as a gift of our covenant with Him.

His love is deep, but He’s tired of being our mistress. He’s looking for a bride.

It’s time to stop treading the shallow waters of Christianity. He’s calling us deeper.

”Behold I stand at the door and knock…”

Will you invite Him in, or will you be too busy?

Marinate in God’s Presence

Marinate in God’s Presence’

To marinate is a process where flavor is added by soaking food in spices to enhance the flavor. This phrase was in a devotion and has had me in some deep thought for about a month. There are so many things that can lead our thoughts into bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, just to name a few. We can choose to stew in all the things, allowing our emotions to rule our thoughts and lives, which will begin to manifest itself in our speech and actions….we truly become what we think! But Jesus came to give us a better way – a way out.

2 Cor. 10:5 “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of Christ.”

God knows we have have struggles with our thoughts and emotions…His Word is full of advice for every situation we find ourselves in. In Phil. 4:8 Paul gives us some things to think on to replace thoughts that are contrary to God’s Word. Meditate on the things that are praise worthy, true, noble, pure, lovely and things that have a good report. Matt. 6:33 “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

When we choose to Marinate in His Presence, soaking in His character/flavor…it will be His flavor…the fruit of the Spirit, His peace and joy that will begin to manifest in our speech and actions.

Col. 4:6 “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that we may know how we should answer one another.”

There is nothing that compares to being in The Presence of God….just to soak in His goodness…it will change our world and the world around us.

Listen.

Anyone else for real huff and puff at God? No. Just me. Cool. Cool.

I know it’s ridiculous and I know it’s immature – but I’m just trying to be real with y’all.

Sometimes God gets in our business and we don’t like it. That’s the truth.

But you better listen. He’s in your business because He wants to make you better. He’s in your business because He can see a much bigger picture. He’s in your business because you’re His girl.

Next time you want to huff and puff and eye roll galore – maybe thank Him instead. Maybe say, “I see you, God. I see you watching over me. I see you wanting the best for me. I see you.”

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

Turn your eyes

Can I just be real with you guys a second? The last 6 weeks have been really tough for me. Wait, scratch that, back it up, let’s try this again…

The last twelve months have been really toughfor me! Twelve months, people. That’s a whole year.

It all began with this virus you may have heard of – Covid-19, times two – and ended with a very unfriendly, debilitating little condition called pancreatitis. Believe it or not, for me, pancreatitis was a whole new level of awful, even compared to Covid-19. Yep, this one landed me in the hospital for eight days, kindafighting for my life for a minute there. And,listen, eight days is a long time to be in the hospital – about eight days too many.

Add that to all the lunacy going on in the world today – a country, polarized politically, “the church,” fighting amongst ourselves over insignificant things, families in crisis, addiction, homelessness, marriages in trouble…I could go on and on and on. 

So, here I am, trying to get my bearings on the many issues of life and society today – most of which I can’t remotely figure out how to fix – all the while adjusting to only eating around thirty fat grams per day. That was the last straw, I guess, because, apparently, I ate way more than thirty fat grams per day in my other, pre-pancreatitis life, that I loved so very much.

The truth is I wake up most mornings feeling anything but normal and put on a brave face, push through, silently hoping the state of the world and my lack of weekly Mexican food is just a bad nightmare. 

To be honest, I’m weary, I’m exhausted, I’m concerned, I’m confused, I’m hungry.

One night I was in the hospital, unable to sleep – OK, most nights, most nights I was in the hospital, unable to sleep – and cried out to Jesus. 

“Jesus, I need Your help. I need to know you’re here with me, right now, in this dreaded hospital room, not to mention this terrible hospital bed. I need You to comfort me, I need You to still me.We had all these plans, Lord, and now what? I can barely walk to the bathroom without help, how will I ever make a difference for You now?”

And very quietly I heard Him say,

“Sherra, come to Me. You need rest, not just for your body, but for your mind and your emotions. Come to Me.” 

For those of you who might not know this Scripture, it’s found in Matthew 11:28-30. It says,

Then Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

“Rest for my weary soul.” Guys, if I’ve ever in my life needed to hear those words, it was that night! 

The truth is, this life gets crazy, it gets bumpy, it gets hard; there are twists and turns coming that we could never anticipate. We will all experience these times of trouble, probably several times over, and there is no way we can navigate them in our own strength. So, what do we do? 

We go to Jesus – the One who understands this human life, in every way; the One who has promised to ALWAYS be with us and never, ever leave us; the One who always has our backs and knows all the answers.

That night in the hospital, I put on some worship music, one of Shane & Shane’s Hymns albums.One of the first songs that played was “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” Fluke? I think not. 

The thing about this song is that it was my grandmother’s favorite hymn. I can remember,as a little girl, many nights, hearing her praying before bed. She’d not had the easiest life, but you never would have known it. Her faith in God was completely unwavering. Often, as she finished praying, she’d break out into the hymn she loved so much. The lyrics remind us that when we look at Jesus, our problems just seem to fade and not be nearly as clear and pressing as they were. My grandmother always modeled for me that, no matter what your problems were, Jesus was your answer. So, when you don’t know what to do, turn your eyes on the One who does.

How about you today? Are you weary and heavy burdened? Chances are you might be. Me, I still can’t eat cheese enchiladas, but I’m learning to keep my focus on Jesus, no matter what this world or our enemy may throw at me on any given day. He has the answers, Friend. Go to Him.

Oh, and I have discovered the magic of shrimp tacos. 

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

By Helen H. Lemmel

 

O soul are you weary and troubled​​​His word shall not fail you he promised

No light in the darkness you see​​​​Believe him and all will be well

There’s light for a look at the Savior​​​Then go to a world that is dying

And life more abundant and free​​​​His perfect salvation to tell.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus​​​​Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Look full in his wonderful face​​​​Look full in his wonderful face

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim​​And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of his glory and graceIn the light of his glory and grace

Let God Lead

Can you think back to that lovely period of time called adolescence when you thought you knew it ALL? I remember my parents giving me advice, and in the back of my mind, I would think, “They have no idea what they are talking about.” What I couldn’t understand at that point in my young life was that my parents gave their advice or made decisions based on their wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and experience.  They only wanted what was best for me and knew how to guide me in that direction.  It’s funny how things come full circle because I am now the parent trying to guide my children and help them make good, sound decisions.  And let me just tell you, with a soon-to-be teenage daughter, it is very trying at times!

The other day, it hit me.  This picture looks so much like our relationship with the Father.  He knows what is best for us, and He has every step of our life planned out completely.  So how is it that we end up OFF the beaten path? Because even as adults, we tend to act just like those hard-headed, stubbornly independent teenagers we once were.  When things are smooth-sailing, we take the reins and subconsciously tell God, “It’s ok, I’ve got this!” In the moment, we may feel like we know what is best for us, and we stop seeking God’s perfect will for our life.  Sometimes, we may just downright refuse to get in His will because we are uncomfortable, scared, or anxious.  But friends, what better place to be than in the divine and perfect will of the One who created us?? God will never lead us to a place where He will not also equip us for what lies ahead.  Proverbs 16:9 says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”  Sometimes, God may close a door that we just knew should swing wide open, and we have to trust that God sees the bigger picture.  I’ve learned over the years that if God says “no,” it’s usually because He is protecting me from something I cannot see, and He has something better for me ahead.  In all of our infinite wisdom, we tend to sometimes think we know how to plan our lives out perfectly.  Oh, but even on our good days, we don’t even come close to being able to orchestrate our lives in the way that God does.  When we choose our own free will over the path God has planned for us, we ultimately derail and will always miss out on the blessing God has for us.  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

When I was younger, I used to sing a southern gospel song in church called, “Keep Me In Your Will” by Jessica King. The chorus says, “Put me where you want to, not where I want to be. If I should ask for things I want, just give me what I need. When I complain from time to time, forgive me Lord, I pray. And keep me in your will, so I won’t be in Your way.” Today, let’s step aside and let God lead. Trust Him completely, and know that He never steers us wrong!

Just because.

This past Sunday morning it rained. While it was raining the sun was shining so bright.

I thought about this for a while that day.

And I applied it to my life. In what ways was it raining, but God still shined.

Just because you are having a bad day, it doesn’t mean God isn’t working.

Just because you feel far from God, it doesn’t mean He isn’t showing Himself to others through you.

Just because you can’t see God in the world around you, it doesn’t mean He isn’t there.

God still works even when it doesn’t work with you.

He still shines even when it’s raining.

He gives you strength even when you might feel weak.

You find that strength in His Word.

Isaiah 41:10

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous hand. “

John 1:5

“ the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Shine

The bank account is busting and so are the stress levels.

School just needs to start – IYKYK. Am I right?

But in the midst of all the things, don’t forget about THE thing – and that’s shining for Jesus.

This year I pray that you shine:

▪️Big

▪️Bold

▪️Bright

I pray that your own kiddos, your students, and your friends feel that Jesus glow radiating out of every pore of your existence.

I pray you don’t grow weary.

I pray you run that race, girl.

I pray you run hard.

I pray.

It’s gonna be hard.

It’s gonna be exhausting.

But man will it be worth it.

Here’s to the 22-23 school year. ☀️

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

Galatians 6:9

Be intentional

Intentionally praying. Are you doing it?

I know I wasn’t for a long time. Sometimes we pray out of habit because we know it’s the right thing to do. Sometimes we just pray on a schedule because life gets too busy. Sometimes we just don’t pray at all.

The struggle is real.

A few months ago the words “be intentional” came over me while praying. These words have really stuck with me.

Was I being intentional with my prayers and my day to day life? The answer was no. Now I try to be intentional with everything I do.

From my social life to my work life. I challenge you to be intentional. I challenge you to really know what you are praying – to really know how you are spending your days honoring God.

Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. 1 Chronicles 16:11

Airplanes

I recently heard something interesting about airplanes that I’ve never EVER heard before. At any given moment, an airplane may have to go off its intended flight path…Not WAY off from what the original path looked like, but some variance in the original plan is to be expected.

There are all kinds of reasons for this deviation – weather, turbulence, wind, air traffic, to avoid a specific airspace…whatever the reason, some shift in their flight plan is to be expected because of all the things that could possibly happen on the way to their destination…all the things that could affect their ability to stay exactly on course they planned.

.

The main thing is, of course, that the pilot and the plane both know where the plane will take off and where it will land, but getting there to that final destination may look differently than originally anticipated.

The pilot and the plane know the starting point and the ending point.

They know their home base and their destination.

Regardless of the groundwork done by the pilot.

Regardless of the directions from the air traffic controller.

Regardless of the information set in the GPS of the plane.

The plane may have to take a different route to get to the destination than they intended.

Sound familiar?

I’d say this flight plan scenario is a whole lot like life.

We make plans,

We plan our future,

And even plan our days minute by minute, but they don’t always go like we’d thought they would.

In fact, I’m going to take a wild guess and say that around 99.5% of the time, things don’t go as any of us want/intend them to go. This could be something as simple as spilling something on your brand new dress on the first day of school OR it could be something as big as a health scare.

The only reassuring part of this whole thing is that plans HAVE been made for each of our lives.

A path has been set…just not by us. By God.

Proverbs 16:9 – The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.

Proverbs 16:1 – The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.

What exactly does this mean for us?

It means plan away, set that path, set goals and even achieve them..but be prepared – things may not turn out quite like you thought they would.

Sometimes, it means things go in a very different direction than we anticipated they would.

Sometimes it means we’re disappointed, surprised, and even frustrated.

Sometimes it means we just flat out don’t get what we want, but –

SOMEtimes, it means we get so much more than we ever imagined possible that we’re literally in awe.

Sometimes miracles happen.

Sometimes things we least expect in life come together for us.

Many fruits of the spirit come into play when our life is being directed by God and Godly things –

A whole lot of patience, an extreme amount of faithfulness, and a HUGE amount of self control. Trust the process is always a phrase that comes to mind when thinking of God’s plans and his time compared to our own.

Now getting there is another story. Although you don’t know what this life will look like or the steps you’ll take to be all that God intended you to be, he does. You may have twists and turns you never expected, you may have to experience things you’d rather not, you may even have to do things you never imagined in a million years you’d do, but regardless, if you can be still long enough to listen and follow his lead, you’ll get there.

Just know that unlike the path of that airplane, your path is not directed by the weather or a restricted airspace – your path is directed by the one who knows YOU,

the one who knows what’s BEST for you,

the one who is protecting from sights unseen and events unknown by you,

and the one who loves you more than anything in the world – so trust him.

Even when it doesn’t go like you planned.

God knows where you started, and God knows where you’re going…and even if you don’t know how you’re getting there,

He does.

Hunger

Jesus tells us, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry.”

What is spiritual hunger?

What is physical hunger?

Hunger is a feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food coupled with the desire to eat

There’s a song “Amen simple Gospel“ by Kari Jobe. I first heard this song with the passing of my mama. It spoke volumes to me, and I pretty much listen to it at least once every day. I guess it goes back to my heart feelings about hunger. Everyday when I say my prayers I ask for the hungry to be fed and the sick to be well in a way that they see it is God who provides.

When I first heard this song my heart rejoiced when I heard that the hungry shall feast because I know what physical hunger feels like, and I can’t stand the thought of people -especially children- going hungry. Now I’m not talking about you just ate and I’m still hungry.

I’m talking one meal a day and that’s all there was – no snacks in the cupboard and no munching between meals. The hungry people suffer because the last meal was little and far between. 😢

I’ve often pondered on the subject of spiritual hunger. What does scripture John 6:35 mean? Jesus is the Bread of Life. How will we never go hungry again? By eating.

We can compare our physical hunger with spiritual hunger to get our answer. Physical hunger is a feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food and is coupled with desire to eat.

To never go spiritually hungry we have to snack on JESUS! Jesus has everything we need for our spiritual state. HE said whoever comes to Him will not go hungry. Go hungry – that’s the key phrase. If you snack, eat, snack, eat and repeat you will not go hungry. I love my Jesus, and I snack on Him every hour of the day by thanking him for things throughout the day.

Talking to Him even over the littlest stuff and then eating when I’m praying and reading his word, ect…..

If you don’t eat and snack on spiritual things of Jesus your mind will become weak, you will feel discomfort, and like the body you will have desires to eat the intake of unhealthy spiritual things.

You fill in the blank because we all eat differently. This will eventually cause great hunger – ultimately lead to starving. Spiritual starvation is a terrible lonely place😢

Come all who are hungry.

One day we will feast on Jesus when we see him face to face.