Waiting

Guest Post by Dianne Timberlake

The Father is watching and waiting…

Luke 15 is a love story straight from our Lord. In this passage, Jesus tells us three parables with the central theme that God loves us and is moving to redeem the lost.

The parable of the lost son (prodigal son) is my favorite because it is also my story. It is the story of all redeemed sinners. I was lost, but now I am found. I was blind, but now I see. I have a Savior who reached down from heaven and washed my sin away with His precious blood. Amazing grace! Amazing love! Luke 15 tells us of a sinner coming to saving grace.

A man had two sons. The youngest demanded his share of his father’s estate and then spent it all in DISOBEDIENCE in another land. God sent (or allowed) a famine to come to that land, and the young man began to be in NEED. (It’s amazing what a little famine in our lives can do for our thinking.) 

The young man CAME TO HIS SENSES and remembered that his father’s hired men ate better than the pigs he was feeding (and whose food he was contemplating). He ran to tell his father that HE HAD SINNED against him and to ask for a job as a hired man.

The best part! The father saw him from a long way off and ran to hug and kiss his lost son who was coming home at last. The father had been watching and waiting. He didn’t rebuke the son or hire him to work in the fields. The father had compassion and REDEEMED THE LOST SON. In fact, he had a welcome back party. He gave the son a robe, a ring, and sandals to establish his position in the family. (The older brother wasn’t too thrilled. In fact, he was bitter and jealous, but that’s a story for another day.)

Our Lord is still watching and waiting for the lost to come home. His Holy Spirit is stirring and convicting even today. He may send/allow some tough times to encourage the lost to seek Him, but there is no sin that He will not forgive (except denying that Jesus is the Son of God sent to save the lost). Our Heavenly Father is not waiting with a big stick or a stern lecture. He is patiently waiting to forgive and redeem lost souls. Run home! The Father loves you and is watching and waiting to bring you back into His family.

I see you

Hey Educator.

I see you.

I see you walking into a war zone every single day. A war zone full of germs, opinions, budget constraints, and laws made by humans sitting in an office hundred of miles away.

I see you risking your health and your sanity. I see the ever changing guidelines. The emails. The unknown.

I see the long hours. The late nights. The lesson plans that will no longer work because of a change in protocol.

But most of all I see you loving those babies. I see you teaching your heart out. I see you risking it all. And I see you not giving up.

I see you trying to keep life as normal as possible for these kiddos in a very abnormal situation.

Because you love what you do.

Because you love them.

Because this is who you are.

I see you.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

The truth

🎶 Word of life

Speak to my weary heart

Strengthen my broken parts

Lead me to Your open arms

Word of truth

Illuminate all these lies

The enemy speaks inside

In freedom I will rise🎶

With information being flung at us left and right it’s hard fo know what’s true and what’s not. I’ll be honest – it’s just downright confusing.

But here’s the truth – God’s word.

Open it up.

Read it for yourself.

Meditate on it.

Memorize it.

Really study it.

That’s your best bet and our only hope.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105

Sing over Me

Guest Post by Mrs. Mary Staggs

Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV

“The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing”

Have any of you every rocked their babies or grandbabies and sang to them – especially if they are crying and tired?

If you know me, you know I love babies. I love being Nana, and I love your babies, too. I think the most peaceful and comforting thing for me is to rock my babies and sing to them. Praying over them, asking God to comfort them, to give them opportunities to succeed, and to love God and know Him personally.  

I have also always enjoyed hearing my husband sing to our kids and our grandbabies; his beautiful comforting voice is a gift. Now I even get to hear my kids sing to our grandbabies. That is a blessing! Whether it’s a made up song or an old Hymn – it brings a soothing comfort.

As long as I can remember I loved climbing into my daddy’s lap. Even as a grown woman with kids of my own, I would gently lay in my daddy’s lap in his chair when I came to visit. I don’t remember him singing but he would hum, talk, and maybe tell me a story.

I memorized his hands – they seemed gigantic to me. I knew they were strong. They worked hard. I never saw them as dirty even though they were in fact oil and grease stained, often cracked and dry. But to me they represented safety, love, and provision.

The Lord loves us more than I love my babies, and more than my daddy loved me. God wants me to allow Him to sing over me, rest in His love and His safety, to be calmed by His still small voice, and His word that is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path! Psalms 119:105 (I was always afraid of the dark…)

I don’t know about you but there are days I still feel like that little girl – afraid, tired, cranky, insecure, and hopeless. But my Father God wraps His love around me and sings over me – refreshing my soul. He gives me hope, peace, and joy to face the next minute!

Sisters and brothers, allow the creator of the universe, who knows everything about you, who gave His only son for you – to rejoice over you. Spend time with Him. He loves you. Be quiet and rest in His peace.

Please if you don’t have a personal relationship with HIM, ask someone how to find that peace, that joy, and that strength in the midst of the world we live in.

Remember, God cares for you…1 Peter 5:7 and so do I.

Just be kind

I had something else planned to share today, but God has changed things up a bit. I like when that happens.

I’ve been struggling the past week. Nobody knows that though because I’ve kept it to myself. I didn’t want to bring anyone else down.

Grief is a punk.

Timehop is killing me. Each morning brings snapshots of back to school cuteness from years past. Each morning is one day closer to Maverick’s senior year. Each morning is a reminder that my mom isn’t here to experience it with me. Y’all, she loved that boy so much.

Yesterday was hard. His kindergarten graduation picture did me in. Rough stuff.

However, I pulled myself together, told myself to fake it till I make it, and drove to work. When I rounded the corner to my office I literally stopped in my tracks. My door was covered with post it notes.

If you know you know.

Beautiful, uplifting, kind, loving, words. Just what my little heart needed. It felt like the biggest, tightest hug sent straight from God – and my momma.

I said all of that to say this – you really don’t know what people are going through. That’s not just some trite saying plastered on a coffee cup in the Walmart. It’s for real.

If God places it on your heart to share a kind word or a text or an email or a post it note –

Do it. There’s a reason. Your words are God’s

Words. We mirror Him. We are working for Him, and people are His business.

I don’t ever want to be the one that tears someone down.

I want to be a builder upper.

A promise keeper.

A hope giver.

A kind word sayer.

A negative attitude slayer.

And that’s exactly what my work family was for me yesterday. This morning I’m crying again. But happy tears. This is going to be a great year full of happy memories for my sweet boy, and I know my momma (like my sweet friend said) has the best seat in the house for it.

Just be kind 💛

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Check yourself

Guest Post by Mrs. Shayla Parker

I found this meme on Instagram the other day. And I was like, “WOAH. Yes!”

I sat on my high horse and thought I need to share this. I need to let people know they need to check themselves…. pause for dramatic effect… It wasn’t about them. It was about me. Aren’t I just as guilty? Am I fixing my soul?

I work out and eat relatively healthy – most of the time. If you’ve ever met me on a Saturday or on vacation you’d probably disagree. When I don’t eat what actually fuels my body, I feel so guilty. If I go a week without working out, I feel so gross – insert picture of Jabba the Hut.

But if I don’t read my Bible or write in my gratitude journal for a day, does that make me feel guilty?  If I don’t make an active effort to get to church and worship – which to be honest, I haven’t done enough of lately – how does that make me feel? If I go a week saying the same prayers at night, dozing off and never really TALKING with God, does that make me feel gross? Am I putting the same amount of effort into feeding and fixing my soul as I am fixing the outside of me?

Oftentimes, no. Check yo’ self.

Check your own soul.

What are you allowing yourself to be consumed by?

Try to cut other people some slack. We’re all working on pushing some kind of boulder up a hill. We’re all searching for happiness. But, be sure it’s not just superficial happiness. I mean really dig and figure out what makes your soul happy.

And please – please be kind to one another. 💛

Be Bold

I do not know who this story came from or how I heard it, but I do know one thing – It has stuck with me.

As the story goes, there once was two Christians. One older, blind lady, and one young lumberjack. After a long hard day at work, this lumberjack decided to head on over to a food store to get some water.

As he is walking there, he sees the elderly blind woman talking to a mannequin. She is proclaiming the gospel and does not see that she is talking to a mannequin.

“Old lady,” he says, “Do you realize who you are talking to? You are talking to a mannequin!” he says in judgement, thinking of her as a fool.

“Thank you kind sir for telling me! I now must go to spread the good word! Actually, sir do you know of Jesus?”

“Yes, i know of Jesus,” he responds. “But lady, why do u speak to the mannequin? Don’t you fear of looking stupid?”

“Oh no! I would rather spread the Good News than sit at home in misery pondering what others think of me. It is my duty to spread the gospel! I must proclaim to all, no matter the circumstances,” she tells the lumberjack.

My retelling of this story may not have been perfectly right or the same exact wording, but it is the exact the message! Spread the word of God boldly! The blind woman didn’t care that she was sharing Jesus to a mannequin, she cared that she was sharing the word to the world!

So I have one question for you. Are you the lumberjack or the blind lady?

Mark 16:15

“And He said to them, ‘Go into the world and spread the gospel to every creature.’”

The Plan

That picture in your mind of how you think things are going to be – yeah – you might as well wad that thing up into a paper basketball and chunk it across the room.

It ain’t happening.

This summer was supposed to be “the” summer. You know – the one before my child’s senior year. The summer that we were supposed to do all the things because technically next summer he is grown.

All the things did not happen. Instead we spent the entire summer at doctor appts for various unforeseen reasons that I’m not even ready to talk about.

But you know what – it was still a good, good summer. We were together. We laughed. A lot. We loved. We ate. We slept. We were content.

I said all of that to say this – life is not always going to go according to [my] plan. Be happy anyways. Life is not always going to be easy – choose to be happy anyways. Life’s GPS will eventually take you down a different road – enjoy the route anyways.

Don’t get so fixated on how you think things should be that you can’t enjoy the things when that doesn’t pan out.

Plan for the best, but prepare for the re-route –

and be ok with it.

“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 hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Sunshine

Guest Post by Mrs. Melanie Wheeler


When I was asked to write for Rays of Sunshine, I spent a good amount of time praying and thinking about the mission of this great organization and how they bless many students, teachers, and administrators in Southeast Texas schools. The items these students and teachers receive are usually small, but the difference they make in people’s lives is oh, so BIG!

Many mornings, my heart is encouraged when I stop the scrollthrough the mindless words on social media and read the uplifting words of Daisy or one of the many guest writers. A few words. A little scripture. It’s a small thing. Yet it blesses those who read them in a BIG way!

These thoughts got me thinking about the small acts of kindness that have been extended to me in recent memory and the impact that they have had on me. We can so easily get caught up in the self-focused ways of the world that tell us we are “Made for More” or we need to “Dream Big”. 

Yes, sometimes God calls us to take BIG steps for His Kingdom, like Daisy did in starting Rays of Sunshine. But let’s not allow our pursuit of the next big step to cause us to miss out on the many little ways that God is calling us to bless others in our lives along the way. 

There is a big difference in the feel of a spotlight and the feel of sunshine on your shoulders. One is all about us, the other comes from something much bigger!

As many students prepare to return to classrooms this week, there are some who will feel the sun shine upon them a little more brightly thanks to Rays of Sunshine! Let’s all commit to finding small ways that we can bless those around us. Those small acts of service that God is calling you to do could make the biggest difference in the lives of others. 

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” -John 8:12

Strong and Steady

Guest Post by Mrs. Kylie Lyday

“But why do you call Me “Lord, Lord,” and not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:46-49

I remember my grandparents house very vividly. Perhaps it reminds me of the Miranda Lambert song, “The House That Built Me”. I remember being a young girl into my teen years walking through the home and whether it was the morning or night I walked carefully with every sound being heard. The house was a country home a good ways off the highway. Quiet and peaceful. You could hear every move though due to the home being on blocks. It didn’t have a solid foundation. Every creak, loud step, motion, was heard or felt. Just on the outside. The inside was completed with love, strength, and faithfulness.

As I think back I realize what a beautiful illustration the Lord left me with those memories. As a youth director I teach on a strong foundation in Christ many times a year. The importance of having a sturdy foundation and not just shakeable blocks – not relying on the outside world. The foundation the world gives us will be shaken, unsteady, and not secure. But the inside, it can change things. It can change our perspective, attitude, and strength. If we are strong on the inside nothing in this world can dig and ruin our foundation. Give your heart to Jesus and build the right foundation and your mind, soul, and ears will follow. Jesus defeated the cross because he knew his foundation was solid. He knew his purpose, and his love. You can too.

“For no one can lay down any foundation other than the one we already have, Jesus Christ.”

1 Corinthians 3:11 NLT

There’s no foundation like the foundation we find in Jesus. Strong, sturdy, and unshakeable. Build that today.