Category Archives: General

Keep Your Eyes and Focus on Jesus

Keep Your Eyes and Focus on Jesus

Keep Your Eyes and Focus on Jesus

It’s easy to lose spiritual focus and get distracted when things don’t seem to be going our way. It’s especially true when we see or experience injustices, trouble, unethical behavior or wrongdoing. However, the Bible encourages us that even, and especially in those times, we should keep our focus and our eyes fixed on Jesus.

God has been showing me some of that lately. I tend to get more frustrated and discouraged when I rely on myself and my own strength instead of remembering that I have a God that will give me the strength I need to handle and endure anything that comes my way if I’ll just look to him.

Sometimes things just get under our skin so much that we forget about God’s role and ability in the whole process. For example, state budget cuts and administrative changes have completely affected education where I live. I teach at a local community college, and we’ve experienced some significant negative effects as well.

Take this upcoming semester, for instance…

In my department alone, over half of the classes have been canceled, instructors are receiving fewer teaching assignments but still have increased workloads, and a tremendous amount of autonomy has been eliminated. It’s super frustrating for both professors and students alike. I had a class canceled this semester, and a good friend of mine did as well, even though she was guaranteed a certain number of classes in return for some uncompensated work that she did.

In these situations it’s extremely easy to focus on the injustice. It’s easy to spend time stewing and trying to think of ways that we can make things right, change our circumstances, and/or make people see the error of their ways. What I should be doing instead is just focusing on God and the things that are in my control. I have to choose to shift my focus from the negative to God. 

Park’s tree

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Top 10 Posts of 2017

Top 10 Posts of 2017

“Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered” Psalms 105:5 (ESV)

This week I’m sharing the Top 10 Posts of 2017.  I always like to take the first of the year to recount some of the top or most popular posts of the previous year.  I like to share them for a few reasons…

First, there are several new subscribers/followers who may not have seen or read these posts and might find some of them to be helpful.

Secondly, looking back also helps me to remember what God has done and is still doing through this website. I continue to hope and pray that I am making an impact with what I write and share.

Lastly, it helps me (and hopefully you too) have ideas of how to pray based on what the current need or demand is, and when I know that I know how to continue to pray for others.  What people are frequently searching or clicking on can be an indicator of some of their needs. Whether it’s a need for spiritual growth, leading others to Christ or overcoming personal struggles, I can pray more specifically based on these posts and their popularity.

Take Some Practical Steps:

  • As you look through this list of most popular posts, please stop and take a minute to pray for one or more of the topics that stand out to you.
  • Please click on and read or re-read one or more of the posts from which you feel you may be able to receive some benefit or of which you might need some reminding.
  • Pay it forward…if one or more of the following posts has benefited you, please consider sharing the post on Facebook and/or your other social media channels (sharing links are available at the end of each post). You can also forward posts to specific people you know who might benefit (you might prayerfully consider who to share them with).
  • Lastly, please pray for me this year to #1-continue to help others, #2-for me to have to right words at the right time, and #3-for the right people to be directed to my site for God to help them.

Top 10 Posts of 2017

How to Pray for Unsaved Loved Ones...specific things to pray and what to expect

Top 10 Posts of 2017 #1

  1. How to Pray for Unsaved Loved Ones

We are instructed to pray for our unsaved loved ones. Sometimes it’s hard to know how/what to pray. This post will give you some specific things to pray and give you an idea of what to expect when you start praying.

Learn How to Overcome Feeling Unloved or Unwanted

Top 10 Posts of 2017 #2

  1. How to Overcome Feeling Unloved or Unwanted

Feeling unloved or unwanted is a common cause of insecurity.  This post covers how to overcome feeling unloved by following some practical steps.  It also includes a prayer straight from the bible to help overcome these feelings.

9 Common Causes of Insecurity

Top 10 Posts of 2017 #3

  1. 9 Common Causes of Insecurity

Most people deal with insecurity in one form or another.  This post addresses 9 common causes of insecurity with examples of each in scripture.  I share some of my personal struggles with insecurity.

Top 10 Posts of 2017 #4

  1. Name Meanings: How is Your Name Prophetic?

Your name and its meanings might have more to do with your life than you think.  Your name meanings might actually describe some of your character traits and/or the traits that God will use in you to accomplish His will for your future.  This post discusses how your name might be prophetic.

Learn how to lead someone to Christ here...

Top 10 Posts of 2017 #5

  1. How to Lead Someone to Christ

Knowing how to lead someone to Christ may seem nerve-wracking.  It’s not as hard as you might think.  This post includes 4 easy steps to follow to lead someone to Christ with links to follow-up posts about the next steps they need to take to further their walk with God.

Are You Salty? Do You Have the Qualities of Salt?

Top 10 Posts of 2017 #6

  1. Are You Salty? Do You Have the Qualities of Salt? Part 1

Part 1 of this post on being “salty” helps you to learn some of the qualities of salt and how you can use these qualities to make a difference in the world around you & in your spheres of influence. In short, it’s a few tips on how to walk the walk of a Christian in a sometimes not-so-friendly-to-Christians world.

Do you have children or people that you care for that are making bad choices? Try this Prayer For Those Who Make Bad Choices...

Top 10 Posts of 2017 #7

  1. Prayer for Those Who Make Bad Choices

When people you care about are making bad choices, the most important thing to do is to pray. Prayer is extremely powerful and produces results (James 5:16). This post has a prayer you can pray for people making bad choices, as well as including several scriptures upon which the prayer is based.

What 15 Years of Marriage Has Taught Me...Just a few things we've learned over the years

Top 10 Posts of 2017 #8

  1. What 15 Years of Marriage Has Taught Me…

My husband, Eric, and I wrote this post together after we celebrated our 15 year wedding anniversary in 2014.  We thought we’d have some fun sharing what 15 years of marriage has taught us.  Check this post out for some funny and some serious tips.

Prayer for When You’re Verbally Attacked

Top 10 Posts of 2017 #9

  1. Prayer for When You’re Verbally Attacked

Do you ever just feel attacked? Maybe it’s time to fight back…in the right way. I do believe there is a time and a place to endure attacks, but I also firmly believe that God never intended for us to be doormats to be walked on by people. This post has a prayer to go on the offensive when you’re being verbally attacked by people.

Scriptures to help when you feel attacked or persecuted…

Top 10 Posts of 2017 #10

  1. Scriptures to help when you feel attacked or persecuted …

This post contains some scriptures for when you feel attacked or persecuted. It’s helpful that God has given us some encouragement & direction on this topic. These scriptures are helpful and comforting to let us know that we’re not alone, that God is our avenger, and that we will be blessed and graced when enduring persecution.

Thank you for all of your support and encouragement in 2017!  Praying for you to be very Happy, Healthy & Prosperous in 2018 and all the years to come!

“Dear friend, I pray that you may prosper in every way and be in good health physically just as you are spiritually.” 3 John 1:2 (HCSB) 

P.S.  If you are not currently subscribed and liked any of these posts, you might enjoy receiving new posts delivered right to your inbox each week!  Sign up here

Also, if you have benefited from any of these posts or if you know anyone that could benefit from them, please pay it forward and share them via the sharing links below! “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 1 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV) 

 

Christmas Geese

Christmas Geese

A few years ago I heard this story as an analogy of why Jesus came to earth. I thought it was a perfect explanation that makes Jesus incarnation (becoming human) easier to understand. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas this year and a very Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous 2018!

Here is a longer, written version of the story that I found–the author is unknown:

There was once a man who didn’t believe in God and didn’t hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays, like Christmas. His wife did believe and raised their children to have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments.

One snowy Christmas Eve, his wife was taking their children to a Christmas Eve service in the farm community in which they lived. She asked her husband to come, but he refused as usual, “The Christmas story is nonsense!” he exclaimed. “Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man? That’s ridiculous!”

She and the children went, and he stayed home.

That night the wind began to blow and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he could see was a blinding snowstorm. He sat down before the fireplace to relax. Suddenly, there was a loud thump. Something had hit the window.

Then, a second thump. He looked out, but couldn’t see more than a few feet because of the blinding snow.

When the storm let up a little, he ventured out to see what could have been beating on his window. In the field near the house was a flock of wild geese. Apparently they were flying south when they were caught in the blizzard and couldn’t go on.

They were lost and stranded on his farm, without food or shelter. Flapping their wings, they aimlessly flew around the field in low circles. Some had apparently flown into his window.

The man felt concern for the geese and wanted to help them.

The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It was warm and safe. They would be saved if they spent the night there waiting out the storm.

He opened the barn doors wide. Then he watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and enter. But the geese just fluttered around aimlessly and didn’t seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them.

The man tried to get their attention by waving a lantern, but that just seemed to scare them, and they moved further away. He went into the house and brought out some bread, broke it up, and made a breadcrumb trail leading to the barn. They still didn’t catch on.

Now he was getting frustrated. He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only became frightened and scattered in every direction except toward the barn.

Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be safe. “Why don’t they follow me?” he puzzled. “Can’t they see this is the only place where they can survive?”

He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn’t follow a human. “If only I were a goose, then I could save them,” he said out loud.

Suddenly, he had an idea. He went into the barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese. When he released his goose, it flew through the flock and straight into the safety of the barn. One by one the other geese followed it to safety.

He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed loudly in his mind: “If only I were a goose, then I could save them!” Then he thought about what he had said to his wife earlier that evening, “Why would God want to be like us? That’s ridiculous!”

Suddenly, it all made sense. That is what God had done. We were like the geese–blind, lost, perishing. God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and save us. That was the meaning of Christmas, he realized. As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet. Suddenly he understood what Christmas was all about, why Christ had come.

Years of doubt and disbelief vanished like the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first real prayer: “Thank You, Lord, for coming in human form to get me out of this world and leading me to a better one.”

Some Christmas throwbacks

Some Christmas throwbacks

This week I’m pushing the easy button and throwing back to some previous Christmas posts that I wrote in years past. I thought some of you might like to go back and revisit a few of these older posts and some of the newer readers might like to see some relevant posts from previous holiday seasons.

My Addiction to Hallmark Christmas Movies

My addiction to Hallmark Christmas movies...

My addiction to Hallmark Christmas movies…

I wrote this post when I realized how it can be easy to develop unrealistic expectations of what a Christmas holiday should look like. My real life had a tendency to pale in comparison to these fictional films. Additionally, Hallmark Christmas movies can offer an escape from an often stress-ridden and drama-filled holiday season. However, I decided that I don’t want my only Christmas memories with my family to be watching Hallmark Christmas movies. I wanted to “live” them out instead.

Read this post to learn more about making your own moments and memories during Christmas time. Also get a few tips and read a few funny stories about not overlooking the imperfect memories.

“Make the most of every opportunity…” Ephesians 5:16 (NLT)

Keep Christmas All Year

Keep Christmas All Year...here are some ideas...

Keep Christmas All Year…

I actually wrote this post after Christmas one year during one of my post-Christmas funks. The Christmas season is my favorite time of year with the build-up, the anticipation, and the ongoing celebration.  Unfortunately after it is all over, I often get a little sad.  This post was about my attempts to try to prolong the Christmas season by learning about different cultures and their celebrations such as Epiphany, the12 Days of Christmas or Christmastide, and Candlemas.

If you, like me, also get a little down after Christmas, go read this post to get some ideas of prolonging the season, the feeling, and the true meaning of Christmas throughout the year.

“Remember his covenant forever–the commitment he made to a thousand generations.” 1 Chronicles 16:15 (NLT) 

Whether Happy or Hurting Remember Immanuel

Whether Happy or Hurting Remember Immanuel

Whether Happy or Hurting Remember Immanuel…

I wrote this post reflecting on the reality that the Christmas season isn’t always a happy one for some.  It can bring painful reminders.  In this post I discussed that part of Christmas should not only be to celebrate the human birth of Christ but to recognize and remember his deity as well.  It reflects on Jesus’ name “Immanuel” which means “God with us”. God came to be with us. We are not isolated and alone. In a lonely, hurting and isolated world God said, “I want to come be with you. I want to help you. You’re not alone.”

If Christmas brings memories of loss or is a time of pain in your life, go read this post to get some encouragement that you are not alone.

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).” Matthew 1:23 (NIV) 

The Story of Christmas

The Story of Christmas: An amazing rendition you have to see

The Story of Christmas…

This post contains a video with one of the most amazing retellings of the story of Christmas that I have ever heard along with some beautiful Christmas songs.

“The Savior–yes, the Messiah, the Lord–has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” Luke 2:11 (NLT)

 

Enjoy your last week before Christmas! Make memories and don’t forget the reason we celebrate—Jesus!

P.S.  If you’re new to Happy, Healthy, & Prosperous and liked any of these posts, you might enjoy receiving new posts delivered right to your inbox each week!  Sign up here 

If you have benefited from this post or if you know anyone that could benefit from this, please pay it forward and share this post with them via the sharing links below! “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 1 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)

 

#GivingTuesday: Glory House

#GivingTuesday: Glory House

#GivingTuesday: Glory House

Hello everyone! Since today’s blog post falls on #GivingTuesday, I’d like to take this opportunity to share a participating organization that is very close to my heart—Glory House. In case you don’t know #GivingTuesday is the biggest day of the year for on-line charitable giving.

Here is some background information from GivingTuesday.org

“#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.”

This year I have partnered with the Glory House Ministry for #GivingTuesday to help spread the news about their Restoration Program. This is a wonderful ministry that I have come to know and love over the past several years. They are helping women and their families transform their lives. Women come from all over the United States to break free from drugs, alcoholism, anxiety, depression, and other life issues, Please check out their Website and Facebook to learn more about what they do.

Glory House Website

Glory House Facebook

My involvement with Glory House

Several years ago Susie Barnes, Executive Director of Glory House, started asking me about the success skills classes that I teach at a local college, and we agreed that these “life skills” weren’t just applicable to college students.  EVERYONE needs to learn and know these skills! We decided that this type of class would be a perfect fit for ladies going through the restoration process.

So, I developed a curriculum for a Life Skills class that helps the ladies learn how to practically apply God’s Word in everyday, real-life situations.  We focus on topics such as communication skills, time management, note taking skills, goal setting, career prep, money management, problem solving, overcoming insecurity, finding their gifts and talents, and much more. We learn about the practical side of these various life skills and then also focus on what God’s Word has to say about each of these areas of life as well.

I’ve now been serving at Glory House for the past 6+ years!  I love working with these ladies so much—they feel like family.  Honestly, sometimes I really wonder who gets more out of our classes…them or me!  God has really taught me so much, and I’ve grown spiritually and developed my own gifts more just by serving them.  Supporting Glory House is a perfect opportunity to shine God’s light to some wonderful people who will in turn pay it forward by shining an even brighter light of a restored life that glorifies God and points people to Jesus.

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:14-16 (NLT)

Take a look and Ms. Jerry Kay’s, Ms. Amanda’s, and Ms. Emily’s stories…

Ms. Jerry Kay:

Ms. Amanda:

Ms. Emily:

Click here to open Ms. Jerry Kay’s Video if unable to view video above
Click here to open Ms. Amanda’s Video if unable to view video above
Click here to open Ms. Emily’s Video if unable to view the video above

2017 #GivingTuesday Goal

This year Glory House has a goal to raise $14,000 on #GivingTuesday. $14,000 is the amount of money it takes per month to keep Glory House running.  Reaching this goal will enable this ministry to continue bringing Hope, Healing, and Direction to women and their families everywhere. Meeting their goal will also help Glory House finish 2017 strong financially.

Take A Practical Step to Support Glory House this 2017 #GivingTuesday:

I would love for you to join with me in supporting this life changing ministry on this #GivingTuesday! Please pray about giving towards their $14,000 goal. If you are ready to give now, you can click on the secure Glory House PayPal link below…

#GivingTuesday

Know someone else who could either benefit from Glory House or who would be interested in supporting this ministry? Share this post via the sharing links below!

Hey Mom, Are You and Dad Santa?

Hey Mom, Are You and Dad Santa?

Hey Mom, Are You and Dad Santa?

Well, I had the Santa conversation this past weekend. Honestly I expected it some time ago, but somehow we’ve been able to avert it. This past week I’ve been recovering from a bout of vertigo. I decided to take the weekend to just completely rest and veg out because lying down seems to help significantly. Thankfully Hallmark has already started their Christmas movie bonanza so I had that to help with the boredom. You know how I’m a sucker for Hallmark Christmas movies! 🙂

So there I was just lying there in and out of sleep, relishing my Christmas movies, when my son comes in and lays across my bed. Then the question came…

Hey Mom, are you and dad Santa?

I knew this question would come. 

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Be a Light in the Darkness

Be a Light in the Darkness

Be a Light in the Darkness

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:14-16 (NLT)

It seems like lately there has been so much awful, negative stuff going on all around us. There have been numerous devastating hurricanes and storms one right after another. Tragedies, attacks, murders and threats are happening both on grand scales and at individual levels affecting families all over the world. Suicide is wreaking havoc on the families and friends of its victims. Racial tensions are causing division. I could go on, but I think you get the picture. A lot stuff going on in the world lately just really kind of sucks to be honest! It’s dark. It’s broken.

Be a light in the darkness...The darkest nights produce the brightest stars.

The darkest nights produce the brightest stars.

On a side note…I have a friend that’s endured a lot of dark and tough times throughout the course of her life. No matter what she has gone through or continues to go through, she continues to stay positive even during some of the toughest times. She consistently remains a light in the darkness and a beacon of hope. This year for her birthday I got her a bracelet that reminded me so much of her that said, “The darkest nights produce the brightest stars.” More Christians need to follow her example to be a light in the darkness. 

Just this past weekend my pastor did a message on “What Difference Does God Make…In the Face of Evil?” One of our pastors pointed out that in dark times it’s an opportunity for Christians to shine even brighter. One of my devotions this week also emphasized the importance of sharing hope and bearing witness of Jesus. It’s kind of been a theme that I’ve seen repeated lately—that we need to be a light.

Now, how can we practically do that?

Practical wisdom on how to be a light in scripture

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Preparing for the Storms of Life

Preparing for the Storms of Life

Preparing for the Storms of Life

Last week we talked about how we can be like palm trees through the storms of life. Jesus warned us that these storms WILL come. However, He also told us to take heart because He has overcome the world. After all, even the winds and the waves obey him!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)

“The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!”” Matthew 8:27 (NIV)

Sometimes we don’t have advance notice when the storms of life hit. It could be a lost job, an unfaithful spouse, the death of a loved one, or a sudden illness or injury among many other possible things. Therefore, since the timing of trouble is so unpredictable, it’s important to always stay prepared and ready. We need to make preparations in advance. We can’t wait until the storm comes. At that point it’s too late.

Just like one would prepare for an approaching hurricane by boarding up windows, gathering supplies, getting gas, and taking shelter, we too need to take precautions to be able to weather the potential storms of life that could come our way. 

Take Some Practical Steps to Prepare for the Storms of Life:

  • First, make sure to build your life on the right foundation–on God and His principles and teachings.

Homes built on sand will blow and wash away when storms come. A house built on a firm foundation, a rock, will outlast the storm. God is our rock!

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” Matthew 7:24-27 (NLT)

“The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.” Psalm 18:2 (NLT)

  • Next, build and develop your faith.

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