Tuesday, July 29, 2014

With and Within You

Matthew 28:16-20 - Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Sn and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

John 20:19 - On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."

Colossians 1:27 - To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Colossians 1:27 (NLT) - For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.

Dear God, wash over me inside and out with Your peace. There are a lot of things that pull at me which make me restless and not at peace. But flood me with Your peace and help me to remember that You ARE with me and within me. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!


The Beauty of Creation

Psalm 29:2 - Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.

Isaiah 6:3 - And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!"

Dear God, every time I see a new rose or a new flower that will become a vegetable or a baby animal or the beautiful blue sky with the one fluffy white cloud, I am reminded of how wonderful and glorious You are. You are the master artist. Help me to always reflect upon You when I see those reminders in Your creation. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!


Wandering Thoughts

Matthew 22:34-40 - But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."

Hebrews 6:19-20 - We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

I John 2:28 - And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 

I John 2:28 (NLT) - And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that whine he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame.

Dear God, help me to always keep my thoughts centered on You first and foremost before and through any other thought that crosses my mind. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!


Monday, July 28, 2014

Soak in My Love

Psalm 139:1-4, 23-24 - O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

I John 4:18 - There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 

Dear God, thank You God for Your perfect love. It really does drive out fear. Thank You God for giving me the words I need for my letter. Now give me the opportunity to write it and the courage to send it. And prepare him to respond in kind. Prepare his heart for the truth that he will need to learn in the next few weeks. And may we both learn how to forgive even in what seems to be the most difficult of cases. Thank You God for perfect love. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Hope of Heaven

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

I Thessalonians 5:8 - But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

Hebrews 6:17-20- So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

Dear God, Thank You for giving me the hope to carry on. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Hope to Carry On by and Rich Mullins Caedmon's Call (YouTube)

can see Jesus hanging on the cross
I can see Jesus hanging on the cross
I can see Jesus hanging on the cross
He came looking for the lost

And love has come
Love has come
Love has come
And it's giving me hope to carry on

I can hear Jesus saying, "Father forgive"
I can hear Jesus saying, "Father forgive"
I can hear Jesus saying, "Father forgive"
What a thing He did

Love has come
Love has come
Love has come
And it's giving me hope to carry on

I can see love, love is all I want to see
Love can make a beggar rich, it can set a prisoner free
I know He can do it for you
And God knows He did it for me

I can see love, love is all I want to show you love
Love's the only way to go, it's love
And love is all a man might need to know
Yes, I know

You know Peter put away his sword
I can see Peter puttin' away his sword
I can see Peter, he put away his sword
He won't fight no more

Love has come
Love has come
Love has come
And it's giving me hope to carry on
I got to carry on

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Tune in to Me

Psalm 32:8 - I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you wih my eye upon you.

Psalm 119:35 - Lead me in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it.

Psalm 119:35 (ICB) - Help me obey your commands because that makes me happy.

Psalm 143:8 - Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

Dear God, I want to better enjoy what You have in store for me each day. Oh how right You are about the things that come up to "mess up" our scheduled days. Just like the day I was attacked by the wasp. It was supposed to be go to the doctor, go to the network leader conference at Ross Bridge. Go to lunch for cow appreciation day at Chick-fil-A between the two. Go drop things off at the libraries before the appointment. On the way out the door, BAM! The wasp was not supposed to be there. He was not supposed to be between me and the storm door. But he was and he struck out at me. It was only once, but it was enough. Now I feel like they are conspiring against me. We have plans to paint the overhangs sky blue to see if that works. We read that they do that in places like south Florida. But that wasp sure did try to mess things up. It was not supposed to happen. But it did. I can see where we might lose sight of You when the unexpected happens. And where we need to trust You more when it does. Otherwise, we would really be hurting and suffering and not enjoying life as we should. It is okay to have schedules and plans, but we should be willing to embrace changes more often knowing that You are still in control of things. Thank You for this valuable lesson. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Search for Me

Jeremiah 29:13-14 - You will seek me and find me. When you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

Jeremiah 29:13 (ICB) - You will search for men and when you search for me with all your heart, you will find me!

John 10:27 - My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Dear God, I am looking forward to finding You today. Whether in the laughter or the crying, the birds singing or the crickets chirping, the peace and the calm of the day or the storm of the night, I look forward to You. Thank You. In Jesus's Name, Amen!

Your Love Never Fails by Newsboys (YouTube) 

Nothing can separate 
Even if I run away
Your love never fails
I know I still make mistakes
You have new mercy for me everyday
Cause Your love never fails

You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There may be pain in the night
But joy comes in the morning
And when the oceans rage
I don't have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Your love never fails

The wind is strong and the water's deep
But I'm not alone here in these open seas
Cause Your love never fails
The chasm is far too wide
I never thought I'd reach the other side
But Your love never fails 

You make all things work together for my good
You make all things work together for my good




Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Be Thankful

Psalm 100:4 - Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 - Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Dear God, thank You for allowing me to have some freedom in how thankful I am to You. I can choose either to be thankful even in the hard times which shows greater trust in You or I can choose to continue to feel ungrateful which shows a wavering trust in You. Right now, I am having a hard feeling day, but thank You for what You will do today to protect me and to keep me from sinning. In Jesus' Name, Amen!


Be a Light

Exodus 3:14 - God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"

Matthew 5:14-16 - "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."

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

II Corinthians 3:18 - And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Dear God, help me to always reflect Your light, Your love, Your mercy, and be Your hands and Your feet in this world. Thank You for giving me the opportunity. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Hands and Feet by Audio Adrenaline (YouTube)

An image flashed across my TV screen
Another broken heart comes into view 
I saw the pain and I turned my back
Why can't I do the things I want to?
I'm willing yet I'm so afraid
You give me strength
When I say

Chorus
I wanna be Your hands
I wanna be Your feet
I'll go where You send me
I'll go where You send me
Be Your hands
I'll be Your feet
I'll go where You send me
I'll go where You send me 
(Repeat)

And I'll try, yeah, I'll try
To touch the world like
You touched my life
And I'll find my way
To be Your hands

I've abandoned every selfish thought 
I've surrendered everything I've got
You can have everything I am
And perfect everything I'm not 
I am willing
I'm not afraid
You give me strength 
When I say

Chorus

Hands 
Feet
Go
Go

Chorus

This is the lifetime I turned my back on You
From now on, I'll go so
Send me where You want me to
I finally have a mission
I promise I'll complete
I don't need excuses
When I am Your hands and feet

Live to Please Me

Matthew 6:1 - "Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven."

Matthew 6:1 (ICB) - Be careful! When you do good things, don't do them in front of people to be seen by them. If you do that, then you will have no reward from the Father in heaven.

Matthew 23:8 - "But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers."

Ephesians 5:7-10 - Therefore do not associate with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.

Dear God, help me to always live to please You and to not worry about what others may think. After all what they think does not really matter in the grand scheme of things. Thank You, God. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Plug into Me!

Proverbs 3:5 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Isaiah 30:15-16 - For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, "In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength." But you were unwilling, and you said, "No! We will flee upon horses"; therefore you shall flee away; and, "We will ride upon swift steeds"; therefore your pursuers will be swift.

Isaiah 30:15 (ICB) - This is what the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, says: "If you come back to me and trust me, you will be saved."

Dear God, help me learn to rest, not only in You, but also physically. I am getting sleep, but it is not the restful kind lately. And my body and mind are exhausted! Renew my strength. Refresh me. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Dare to Be Different

Psalm 34:5 - Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.

Psalm 42:1-2 - As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?

Philippians 2:14-16 - Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

Philippians 2:15 (ICB) - Then you will be innocent and without anything wrong in you. You will be God's children without fault. But you are living with crooked and mean people all around you. Among them you shine like stars in the dark world.

Dear God, I not only dare to be different but I love the fact that You created me to be different, autism and all. I have a unique perspective. I have a mind that thinks outside the box that many people seem to want to shove everyone into. I will not conform because I cannot. I am a round peg and I do not fit into the square hole. And people either need to accept and embrace that and learn how to work with me and my differences or they need to look in the mirror at themselves. The fact remains that Tom tried to say they tried to mainstream me and that their attempts to do so failed. The fact remains that what that church did was not mainstreaming at all, but excluding me. Mainstream means to include fully with some assistance or modifications. Not bully, abuse, or exclude from anything and everything. That team hurt me because they tried to force change that was not needed and that would have damaged who You created me to be. And Ginny saw through it and tried to stop it because she saw the pain and the suffering. Yet when Tom was informed of it, he brushed it off as me having misunderstood the intentions. If he had just listened, he would have known. If he had just talked to me back when our conflict in October happened, we would not be where we are today with me struggling to write the letter to give him the chance, the opportunity, to finally do the right thing. Dare to be different. I hope he dares to be different. He knew what they did was wrong. He acknowledged that what they were doing was wrong. But he did nothing to stop it. Dare to be different, Tom. I see better in you, Tom. And I know you better than that, Tom. I know you are capable of rising above, Tom. And that means there is hope if I can acknowledge these things about you, Tom. Dare to be different. You know, God, I am glad I am different. You have me a brain to reason and to think with. You gave me a brain to use. And while others may disagree, the fact remains that that brain and that ability to think and reason is why I am defensive about the whole Hobby Lobby legalism on parade debacle. You see, when I am personally affected by something, I care about it and I follow it and I research it extensively. That is why I know that the Supreme Court was wrong on so many levels. I read about the miracle baby born in Ireland. How her mom miscarried and was prescribed an abortion drug to help her to avoid infection. And how a few weeks later a heartbeat was detected. The little girl survived the whole ordeal! Yet I reasoned out that had that woman worked for Hobby Lobby, Hobby Lobby's legalism would have prohibited her doctor from being able to act in an emergency, the woman could have ended up with the infection the doctor wanted to prescribe abortion drugs to prevent, the remaining baby could have died or miscarried as a result of the infection if not the mom herself, and then Hobby Lobby would have been responsible for not one, but two deaths, all because they are legalists and the Supreme Court decided the corporation was a person. Dare to be different. God, thank You for making me different. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Unwanted Feelings

Isaiah 12:2 - "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation."

Ephesians 6:16-20 - In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

I John 1:5-7 - This is the message we have beard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

I John 1:5 - God is light; in him is no darkness at all.

Dear God, help me to not only understand the feelings I have but to not let them control me. When I am angry, let me be angry but without sin. When I am jealous, help remind me of all I have going for me, too. When I am sad or hurt or frustrated or afraid, help dispel the feelings or the desire to act out because of the feelings. Teach me God. Guide me. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

And That Is Faith...

Acts 17:26-28 - And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each of us, for "'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said, "'For we are indeed his offspring.'"

Hebrews 11:1 - Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1 (CEV) - Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see.

Dear God, I am glad that You really are all around me - in the trees, in the chirp of the baby bird, in the mew of the kitten, in the yip of the puppy, on the color of the rose, in the colors of the summer gardens, in the rainfall, in the thunder, in the rainbow, in the creek - I am truly glad You make Yourself known in the tiniest of ways, and sometimes even in the biggest ways, too. Help me always see You, always hear You, always feel You. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Don't Put Me on Hold

Song of Songs (Song of Solomon) 2:13 - The fig tree ripens its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away. 

Song of Songs 2:13 - My beautiful one, come with me.

Luke 10:41-42 - But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her."

Dear God, Thank You for wanting me to spend time with You and for wanting that time with me. Help me to always prioritize time with You no matter how busy life may seem to be. Thank You God for giving me peace, love, grace, and forgiveness. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Look Up!

Psalm 40:2-3 - He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and out their trust in the Lord.

Psalm 40:2 - He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and more; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

Psalm 42:5-6 - Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.

Psalm 147:10-11 - His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.

Dear God, help me not fall into that nasty pit of self-pity. Thank You for loving me enough to rescue me. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Jesus Lover of My Soul by Hillsong United (YouTube)

Jesus, Lover of my soul,
Jesus, I will never let you go
You've taken me from the miry clay
You've set my feet upon the rock, and now I know
I love You, I need You
Though my world may fall, I'll never let You go
My Savior, my closest friend,
I will worship You until the very end.
(Repeat)

It's Not a Suggestion

Psalm 62:8 - Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah

Psalm 62:8 (ICB) - Trust God all the time. Tell him all your problems. God is our protection.

Matthew 6:34 - "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." 

II Corinthians 12:9 - But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Dear God, it is so hard to only focus on the today rather than to worry about what's ahead. A lot of things can catch us off guard. But in focusing on the today right now, all I will be able to adequately ask is that people who are voting in the run offs in my district make the right decision. The problem I am noticing is that many people want to vote based on whether they believe a candidate is a Christian or not. What they do not seem to understand though is that could actually cost them and everyone else dearly. Especially when those so-called Christian candidates are also running a campaign on hate for the president. If the candidate truly was a Christian, they should be running a campaign of respect and willingness to work with the president to do what is best for all the people. The ACA, for example, which was proposed by republicans to start with, is good for all the people. How so? It ends discriminatory practices that allowed insurance companies to deny people based on pre-exisitng conditions or even drop them when they got sick. Case in point: Before the ACA, if my immune deficiency had been determined to have been present at birth, the insurance company could have said that condition was pre-existing and dropped me when I went for treatment because of a condition that the immune deficiency causes me to have. Even though I never knew about the immune deficiency until adulthood. The ACA is a good thing because it equalizes opportunity for everyone when it comes to getting insurance to help with the costs of healthcare. It helps families like my own to no longer be crushed by the costs of healthcare. The problem is the people who chose to block the Medicaid expansion in states where Medicaid is already more dysfunctional than it should be because it doesn't follow federal Medicaid guidelines. The other problem is the employers have too much control in a person's doctor-patient relationship. They need to eliminate employer-based insurance altogether so everyone will be on an equal playing field. I have private pay insurance and my insurance should not be better than or worse than an employee for some company. If we pay the same thing and have the same plan, than they should have the same coverage and so should I. Why should an employee have autism coverage when I don't? Why should I have coverage of all forms of birth control when they don't because some stupid judges decided a corporation can have beliefs, which actually is the stupidest and most unethical and unbiblical thing I have ever heard? How can a corporation have beliefs when a corporation cannot breathe, walk, think, eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, feel, etc. on its own? It cannot. The Bible says that You created man and woman in Your image, not corporations. The Bible says Jesus came to die on the cross so that man may live, not corporations. Even the founding fathers of the United States said all men were created equal, not corporations. And the constitution starts, "we the people," not we the corporations. Until a corporation has the capacity to feel and think and breathe on its own, it cannot have beliefs. Based on that judgment, my dog believes all men should be castrated because she has closely held beliefs that men are bad. My dog is not a person, but she does have closely held beliefs. I have observed them. So I guess I should take her case to the Supreme Court and convince them that unless all men are castrated because I think the Bible should agree with me on it even though that is not what the Bible says that my religious freedoms are being trampled? Yeah, same logic as the Hobby Lobby case even if it sounds stupid. But see, that is why I think people who only vote for others because they are "Christian," might be doing themselves and everyone else a major disservice. DeMarco for example says he is a good Christian. But his campaign says he hates the president and plans to fight the president (excuse me, your job if elected to congress is to work with the president). And just this past week alone, I received TWO attack ads in the mail from his campaign. Yeah, no. Not a Christian. A true Christian would not attack another like that. I cannot wait until November when I can vote for Mr. Vise. I already did my research into him and what he stands for and he was very open and honest with me about the questions I asked him. He was very personable. And I have a feeling he really gets it and will be the best choice for my district because he is willing to listen to all his constituents and not just the rich ones. Which is good because a lot of veterans are not rich. A lot of disabled people are not rich. God, why do people insist on using women and veterans as pawns in their sick game of politics and why do people insist on voting based on party rather than actual issues? Not all democrats or non-republicans support abortion? But they see anything besides an R, and they instantly assume that the person cannot be Christian or must somehow support abortion. I have a feeling if more research was done into when abortion became legal, people might be suprised to find that a republican was president or that congress was republican or even the senate. Who knows for sure? And contrary to popular opinion, the democrats have a long history have caring more about the poor and the veterans and the disabled and the elderly than the republicans. Which is odd since "democrats cannot be Christians." Says who? The Bible has no political party and from what I have read in the Bible so far this year, Jesus was a socialist and more in line with today's democrats than today's republicans. Just saying. God, one more worry to release: I am going to take time to actually begin to write the letter later today. Give me the words I need to say. Good or bad. Guide me to write what he needs to hear. Give me the courage and the strength to offer him grace and forgiveness and opportunity to receive it. Soften his heart and prepare it for the words that will come his way. Guide him to respond in kind. Okay, God. That was a lot. Thank You for caring enough to hear all my worries, no matter how big or small. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

The Journey

Psalm 16:11 - You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 37:23-24 - The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.

Psalm 37:23-24 (NLT) - The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.

Dear God, baby steps, God. Baby steps. Keep holding my hand. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Constantly and Perfectly Loved

Psalm 34:5 - Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.

Ephesians 2:1-10 - And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience–among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by ntpature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Hebrews 3:1-2 -  Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God's house.

Dear God, when I got stung by the wasp on Friday, I thought there was no way You loved me. That wasp, your creation, was mean to me. He was hateful to me. He hurt me. But in that, I see where wasps can be like people. People turn on each other other the stupidest things sometimes. Instead of exercising love and grace with each other and listening to them, they sting. But You love is every day, all the time. You live us when we feel fat and ugly or when we feel beautiful and smart. You live us even when we beat ourselves up. Perfect love. May there be more of it. Thank You, God, for loving me even when I feel unworthy of being loved. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Finding Your Passion and Calling

I wish it was easy sometimes to find one's passion and calling in life. The thing is that sometimes I feel like the world is asking me to do something I really cannot do: settle on one thing and do it. What? At 35, I still have not settled on one thing. I love writing and I love teaching and the truth is that I can teach through my writing. Some of you may or may not already know I am in process of writing a book. On living with autism. And at this point it may develop based on a series of interviews that get recorded and transcribed. It will tackle questions answered by me and questions answered by mom. It will include resources and suggestions for churches, schools, and others who encounter those of us whom God has both blessed and challenged with autism, and it will be a resource in general. I have considered becoming an interpreter for the deaf. But don't get me wrong, that will be the hardest thing I strive for in my life. I love music, but I do not want to do a job being paid to do music. It might squelch my passion. I love doing puppets, but again the same fear. I only recently started doing art. I have gone loom band crazy and have already sold several of my first creations to raise money that I will later turn around and donate to autism organizations. But I have come full circle. I want to work with special needs. 

Let me give some of my background. Before I ever got my first diagnosis of anything other than mitral valve prolapse which was only arrived at after I passed out at school during my junior year and had to be rushed to the hospital for testing, the doctors thought I had had a seizure. Well, their medicines didn't help. So finally the doctor landed on testing my heart. And the home monitor showed a definite problem. I went through a lot of home monitoring - brain activity, heart activity. Let's just say that the worst part was having to note when I went number two because apparently that can make your heart go crazy. 

My senior year in high school, I was done with virtually all of my requisite classes and doing one of my classes through video homeschool to get credit for it. I ended up having three open periods but was only allowed one study hall, so I asked if I could be a teacher's aide since I was considering education as my major in college. I was assigned to K4. I loved it! But the teacher had a point of tension. She had a little boy with Down Syndrome in the class who often demanded a lot of attention which kept her on her toes while she tried to teach the others. After a little bit of time, I took a liking to him and desired to do what I could to help the teacher, so I gave him a little but of extra special attention. Sometimes it just meant me sitting in a chair and letting him sit on my lap. And he was happy like that. The other kids were happy that he was happy and the teacher couldn't seem to thank me enough. Later that year, I wrote a poem about him that we presented to his mom. I still remember that boy - Blake. A few years later, in college, I met a guy who was related to Blake and told me he remembered the poem is had written and how touched his family was by it. It really made my day. I do not know what became of Blake. But I still remember how he taught me about love and compassion. Because of Blake, I wanted to work with other special needs people. 

Here's the thing, fast forward to today. I have come full circle. Although it may not be in a classroom teaching special needs children, and although it may not be journalism like I ended up getting my degree in, I have found my true passion and calling. And it is special needs. You see, God has equipped me for it. I have special needs myself. I know what it is like to go through school and college without knowing you have something wrong but yet knowing something about you is different. Or going through life with the wrong diagnosis. Or trying to advocate for yourself only to hit brick walls (ignorance). And the thing is, it happens everywhere. Churches, schools, jobs, even programs designed to work with special needs people. Shocker on that last one, but for the sake of learning to better advocate for myself, I will withhold more specific information about that aspect. 

I have been through a rather long weekend that began yesterday. And it started on a sour note. Or rather I should say, a stinging note? I had to go the endocrinologist and on the way out the door, a wasp got caught between me and the storm door. Well, I got my first ever wasp sting. And let's just say I would rather relive appendicitis than go through what I went through. In that moment after it happened, my mom described what was the worst and most frightening meltdown she had ever seen. It was a look of pain and panic all at once. Pain because my arm had just been stung and was really hurting. Panic because my arm swelled up and we didn't know how my body would respond to the sting. Mom said if we had been outside when it occurred that I would have possibly bolted down the street trying to get away from the wasp and her worst fear might have come to pass. And yes, I do have a feeling she may be contacting the local sheriff about getting a tracking bracelet on me as a preventive measure. We instantly began treatment with Benadryl and some solutions to calm the sting. Ice for swelling. Tylenol for fever that developed overnight. Hydrocortisone for itching. We did go to the clinic after everything was wrapped up. No stinger left behind. Localized reaction. The doctor assured us that subsequent wasp stings should not be any worse. But a reaction is still a reaction and when you have history, it is always best to get checked out. I will make a confession. I am now terrified of going out of the doors anywhere for fear of a wasp lurking about waiting for its next victim. We spent a lot of time when we got back home with me cooped up inside while mom went around the doors and the windows spraying all the wasp nests that were found. Some of them had eggs. Not good. And I am so ready to paint the overhangs sky blue just to see if it will actually reduce the population. 

After the endocrinologist, we went for a free meal for cow appreciation day. Then from there went straight to what I will say was a life changing event for me. I feel more empowered now. And I feel more ready. I am starting a family social and support group for individuals and families touched by special needs. And even ones who aren't because we need all the support we can get. I got to network with others who are leading groups in other parts of the state. I got to know a few of the resources out there. And I feel like I have more direction. Now if only we can work on creating a job that pays me for the passion I have rediscovered, right? I am entering the world of becoming a resource person for churches and schools so when they have a family with special needs come along, I can help them as much as I can or even direct them to more appropriate sources. So now there is my passion or point B. Here I am at point A. And I now need to know how to get from point A to point B so I don't just run around in circles chasing my tail. 

I learned something completely by mistake though. Fire alarms in ginormous hotels are not good things. How do they get disabled people down the stairs? I have to make a point to seek more input on this matter. 

Anyway, I say all of this to encourage others out there who may also be struggling to find that passion and calling in their own lives. Oh, and don't be afraid if in the time you are seeking it, you don't have a job. You shouldn't just settle on a job just because it pays money. You shouldn't have to anyway. Keep your head up and keep praying for God to grant you wisdom and guide you down your path. He will. And ultimately, don't be afraid to take baby steps. Baby steps. Baby steps.

Oh, if you feel like I have just described, feel free to leave a comment below so people who read this can pray for you. And so I can also pray for you.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

My Name

John 16:24 - Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

Acts 4:12 - "...And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

Acts 4:12 (CEV) - Only Jesus has the power to save! His name is the only one in all the world that can save anyone.

Dear God, help me to always remember to never use Your name in an ugly way that hurts You. I love You, God. And praise You for all You do and are going to do in my life. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Worship Only Me

Exodus 20:4-6 - "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Ou shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands who love me and keep my commandments."

Exodus 20:4 (NLT) - You must not make yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or on the sea.

II Samuel 22:29 - For you are my lamp, O Lord, and my God lightens my darkness.

Dear God, help me to not bow down to the "idols" in this world, no matter who or what they may be. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Be Real with Me

John 15:13-15 - Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 

John 15:15 (ICB) - I don't call you servants now. A servant does not know what his master is doing. But now I call you friends because I have made known to you everything I have heard from my Father.

Revelation 17:14 - "...They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful."

Dear God, You are telling me that a true friend is someone I can trust completely and feel free to be myself with. That a true friend loves me just the way I am and not only knows the worst about me but also sees the very best in me. I want that. I need that. For once in my life, I really need a true friend. Someone I can really be real with. And who will love me no matter what. God, I am now struggling also with this reading on another note. Servants versus friends. It seems perhaps that the PCA as a denomination may not actually have the best system. Because they do too much in secret. An ideal church set up would have deacons and elders, but it would also be open for the congregation to observe the meetings and help make more informed decisions. Maybe if that had been the case I would still be able to attend church with my friends. Instead of a select few men full of hate being able to bully and control things. Now I have something that I need to wrestle with. Thank You for opening my eyes. And thank You for being my friend. In Jesus' Name, Amen!


Listen for My Voice

Genesis 1:27 - So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 - "...I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell on the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them."

Deuteronomy 30:20 - Love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life.

Romans 12:2 - Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (...that by testing you may discern what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.)

Dear God, help me control my thoughts so that I can listen to Your voice. Help me to not let them take over and drown You out by them becoming noise. And thank You for the stillness that You have for me to sit and enjoy Your presence. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Taste of Heaven

John 15:11 - These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

John 15:11 - I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

I Corinthians 13:12 - So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Dear God, I want more of the joy You have in store for me. Definitely bless me abundantly with that joy, YOUR joy. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Think the Thought

Psalm 20:7 - Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

Luke 1:79 - "...to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."

I John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Dear God, Thank You God for being willing to forgive me when I have a bad thought. Thank You for teaching me that the thoughts that I think could impact the way I act or react. Yesterday I was feeling very frustrated over things. And at one point, I shouted, "Water buffalo." Of course, it was so random, mom started laughing and she asked me about it. I figured out after some thinking that the reason I sometimes say random things like that is to soft reset my mind so I can try to refocus which can calm me down even under the roughest of times. Now, after all of that, it might be a good idea to try to write out what frustrated me and then talk with someone who might be able to help me identify ways in which I can help the other person learn how they can more appropriately handle their end of things so that they do not lead me down a path of contempt toward them over their own responses or actions. Think the thought. Talk the talk. AND walk the walk. Too bad, I have not seen most Christians who evidence doing all of those things. And this election year is bringing out the worst in them. God, help me to do all three. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Holy Ground

Exodus 3:5 - Then he said, "Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground."

Isaiah 9:6 - For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Zechariah 9:9 - Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having mounted on a donkey. 

Romans 8:15-17 - For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Dear God, Sometimes it can be so hard to be with You. The demands of this world keep pulling at me trying to separate me from being with You. The best thing I can think to do when that happens is to give it to You. Today I am to meet with a guy. And yes, I may have liked him last year, but it does seem I have had a 180 toward him now. Should I be worried about that 180? God, give me wisdom in what to do. Thank You for wanting to spend time with me. In Jesus' Name, Amen!


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Jump in with Both Feet

Psalm 56:3-4 - When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?

Isaiah 43:19 - Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:19 (ICB) - Look at the new thing I am going to do. It is already happening. Don't you see it? I will make a road in the desert. I will make rivers in the dry land.

Romans 8:38-39 - For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, no re powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Dear God, how right You that I do wish I could have complete control over my life so that I know I can be safe and so that I can predict what is going to happen during my day. But sadly, I don't. Even if I had some control, other people would come along that would murk things up. Other people are not predictable. And just when you think you figure someone out, even they throw a curveball and a hammer in the gears. Teach me, God, how to rest solely on You and Your control of my life. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Singing with the Angels

Psalm 100:4 - Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

John 4:21-24 - Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."

Dear God, thank You for teaching me about true worship. True worship does not have to take place in a building with a bunch of people sitting and standing and sitting and apstamding or following a particular format or order or playing certain types of songs. True worship in spirit and truth is the kind that a person can do every day of the week, every hour of the day, every minute of the hour, every second of the minute. True worship is not contingent on a time or a place, but takes place in the heart. I want to keep singing with the angels. Thank You God. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Not Guilty

Luke 6:37-38 - "Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you."

Romans 8:1 - There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:1 (ICB) - So now, those who are in Christ Jesus are not judged guilty.

II Timothy 4:8 - Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the right of judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

Titus 3:4-7 - But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according tot he hope of eternal life.

Dear God, thank You for declaring me NOT GUILTY. Now help me take the same forgiveness You have given me and show it to Tom as You give me the words I need to say to him in the letter. And please God, work in his heart as I prepare that letter and get it ready for mailing to reach out in kind and offer the same forgiveness You have for him as well. Like the words of Jesus say, "Judge no, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven...." While it may too late for things to be corrected with regard to the abuse his church put me through, and I will include a letter for them delivery contingent upon his response offering them the same opportunity, it really is not too late for Tom. I still care about him as a friend cares about a friend. And that is the honest truth since really I have no other choice but to be honest here or anywhere. God, I do have one other request. And this might actually bring a smile or a laugh for Tom if he happens to read this, but a certain young man really needs some major help! He has asked me if I want to hang out with him. Now he is leaning toward Friday. But here's the kicker, it is like he wants me to commit when I do not even know what he wants to do and what time! I am shaking my head with aggravation as I say to my mom, "Mom, this guy will need to man up and realize if he is going to initiate and ask, he will need to make the plans. If I initiate and ask, I should be responsible to make the plans or at least contribute to them. How can I commit when I do not know when and where and what. Girls need at least 48 hours so they can properly prepare. And I have a responsibility to my dog this weekend first and foremost. The fireworks. But if this is how this is going to be, there will be NO wedding bells anytime in the next five years. I can handle parenting when I am financially able to adopt, but I do not know about him being able to handle it." Mom's response: "If his mom would spend more time teaching him things, maybe, but someone has to teach him." After seeing him in a grocery store the other day (I know what are the odds?!?), she was tickled because he ran into us with the same three items he checked out do the store with yet he was seen going all over the store looking for things. He had not been given any list or he was distracted when the list was given and didn't get it written down. Duly noted that I will need to ask about having someone lead a class to teach the special needs parents how to help us become as fully independent as possible. Life skills. I still need some life skills as well, but I think I may actually have a slight edge at this point. Now about the size of our kitchen and house not being conducive to expansion. If my mom does ever need to be placed in a wheelchair like the doctors are talking about doing, we would need a new house-one that is deemed ADA-compliant. The kitchen alone.... Even the hallway. God, I thank you for Your forgiveness. Now I ask for. Your provision for my family when it comes to financial needs. $3000 needed for hearing aids. And insurance doesn't pay for adults who need them. And we still have some home repairs to make as well. I know You will help make sure we have what we need, but we could use a miracle. Thank You God for everything You have done and will do and are doing for me. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Not Guilty Anymore by Aaron Keyes (YouTube)

It doesn't matter what you've done
It doesn't matter where you're coming from
Doesn't matter where you've been
Hear me tell you I forgive

You're not guilty anymore
You're not filthy anymore
I love you, mercy is yours
You're not broken anymore

You're not captive anymore
I love you, mercy is yours

Can you believe that this is true?
Grace abundant I am giving you
Cleansing deeper than you know
All was paid for long ago

There is now
Therefore no condemnation 
For those who are in Jesus

You're not guilty anymore
You're not filthy anymore
I love you, mercy is yours
You're not broken anymore

You're not captive anymore
I love you, mercy us yours

You are spotless
You are holy
You are faultless
You are whole

You are righteous
You are blameless
You are pardoned
You are mine

Not Guilty by Mandisa (YouTube)

I stand accused
There's a list a mile long
Of all my sins
Of everything that I've done wrong
I'm so ashamed
There's nowhere left for me to hide
This is the day
I must answer for my life

My fate is in the Judge's hands
But then He turns to me and says

I know you
I love you
I gave My life to save you
Love paid the price for mercy
My verdict not guilty

How can it be?
I can't begin to comprehend
What kind of grace
Would take the place of all my sin?

I stand in awe
Now that I have been set free
And the tears well up as I look at the cross
'Cause it should have been me

My fate was in the nail scarred hands
He stretched them out for me and said

I know you
I love you
I gave My life to save you
Love paid the price for mercy
My verdict not guilty

I'm falling on my knees to thank You
With everything I am I'll praise. You
So grateful for the words I heard You say

I know you
I love you
I gave My life to save you
Love paid the price for mercy
My verdict not guilty

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I Am the Great Artist

Deuteronomy 33:27 - The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.

Psalm 5:2-3 - Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray. O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch. (...in the morning I direct my prayer to you....)

Psalm 5:3 (ICB) - Lord, every morning you hear my voice. Every morning, I tell you what I need. And I wait for your answer.

Dear God, thank You for working on the masterpiece that makes up each and every day of my life. Thank You that each and every day provides an opportunity for a blank canvas to start fresh with. Thank Ypu for the beautiful colors that are in Your love, mercy, peace, hope and joy. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Fight for Your Time with Me

Deuteronomy 33:12 - Of Benjamin he said, "The beloved of the Lord dwells in safety. The High God surrounds him all day long, and dwells between his shoulders.

Psalm 37:4 - Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 48:9 - We have thought on your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple.

Dear God, it is sad when we have to fight for time to be with anyone. Whether it is You, family, or friends. We should not be fighting for time to be with those we love. We should not feel we are sacrificing time either. We should be more than willing to carve out special time. Please God, surround me Your love right now. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!
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